There's a lot to like about the finale and even this season but unfortunately there also seemed to be a lot of missteps in plotting, and story in favour of whiz bang pacing. The GI has a lot of potential as a villain but seemed really undeveloped and underused.
I love the Deck of Many Things. Its funny how many times it showed up in games I played as a kid (and usually ended poorly, I do remember my low level wizard going up against Death single-handedly).
I used it as a DM in an AP campaign and we had a lot of fun, used the Harrow Deck of Many Things and on the whole it helped the PCs though my favourite was the last player to make a draw (and it should be noted this player often had bad luck) after everyone else got something shiny pulled the card that created 1d6 evil versions of himself that sought to thwart his plans. He rolled a six. Needless to say next session the party met a lot of elves with goatees and sneak attacks. Good times.
I'd ask the group what they're interested in terms of styles, genres. Carrion Crown is great for instance if you're group is up for gothic horror but probably won't work as well if they're not. In terms of recommendations I'll second Crimson Throne as the best of the APs and has broad appeal but it is 3.5. I'm halfway through running Jade Regent for a group of mostly new PF players and it has been going well on the whole (the 3rd book needs some re-work).
Different strokes for different folks. But really the OPs remarks aren't get anything more than leave Numeria, Distant Worlds out of your campaign. The only thing I'd add is that the boundaries b/w fantasy and SF used to be a lot less distinct and this was reflected in the early days of D&D (not just Expedition to Barrier but other SF/pulp-ish influences). I always think of that Gray Mouser story where they bump into the German time travelling scientist...
So really the robots and John Carter of Mars stuff isn't anything new, if anything Golarion's inclusion of these themes are harkening to the roots of the hobby. And lets face it the roots of the hobby are still in the imagination of a 12 year old saying wouldn't it be cool if the fighter, elf, wizard and dwarf had to travel through time with the Doctor to rescue a Princess and obtain the plans for a new battle station from the evil empire of kill-bots?
Canticle For Leibowitz - as other posters mentioned is the best starting point if you're looking for a novel to incorporate into the curriculum.
I will also mention The Chyrsalids by John Wyndham. I personally don't like the novel and didn't care for it when I was a teenager but there are a lot of students that react positvely to this material and its themes.
For my money you may want to track down short stories:
The Winnowing Issac Asimov
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream Harlan Ellison (this one gets violent and disturbing but depends on the group)
History Lesson Arthur C. Clarke
Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury (I can't remember the name of it but the story where the death of the Earth is witnessed by the martian colonists, chilling stuff)
If i think of more I'll post em
I've ran both and the group had a great time (I did however truncate the last several adventures of Savage Tide, I think the party ended around 16th-17th lvl).
ST - obviously pirates, lots of demons, amazing locale with the Isle of Dread and a trip into the Abyss. VV makes for a good recurring villain. Tides of Dread is one of my fav adventures.
Downside is the sea journey can drag, Lightless Depths is interesting but recommend cutting half of it down for pacing. The Abyss adventures aren't really all that good aside from some D&D namechecking. A lot of the adventures will require some footwork to be able to actually communicate the background to the party.
CoCT boasts a great setting and offers lots of opportunities for the party to feel connected to the city. However, players need to buy-in to the idea that they have a reason to want to save the city as well its not the nicest of places to live. Great cast of NPCs, memorable villains and varied adventures. The first two are great, the third has a very strong first half with the second half being not quite up to snuff, the rest of the AP plays nice with a big dramatic sweep and lots of potential for swashbuckling it up. The last adventure needs some additional work to make it feel as epic as it should be (the party spent quite some time building alliances with the Shoanti and Magnimar to build an army and a fleet to take the city) and the final villain will need to be adjusted to make it satisfyingly challenging.
Out of the two, I feel that on the whole CoCT is the stronger one and it is probably the strongest of all the APs but both are a blast.
Jade Regent has very little undead and even if your players don't tend to work well with groups its an easy fix as the supporting group is not all that necessary. And Ameiko is not necessary for the campaign to go forward (and really its better to have a player fill her role anyways)
Strangely as terrible how that fell out for the party, the added pressures, conflicts and need to fix their f*%ck up sounds like it would make for an engaging game. (Assuming the players arent' at cross purposes)
I'd bring the Sczarni hard down on the party, have Sheila let the party know they need to up their game, as for Natalya yeah the Tower Girls seems the most elegant solution.
Unfortunately, I moved away and only ran CC as far as the ToB but my plan was to have Kendra be the
living heir to tar-baphon and thus replace Count Galdana. I had planned to pepper clues about Lorrimor's old adventuring party that had broken up over some terrible falling out. Essentially, the party's paladin discovered Kendra's mother's heritage (who was part of the party) and killed her leading the party to split up and the paladin to fall from grace. I had plans to introduce these old adventurers throughout the AP. They had a brief run in witht he paladin who was running Tamrivena but due to the campaign ending didn't have a chance to see it unfold
Assuming you're running through Brinewall from JR. While a fun dungeon it isn't too challenging (a few encounters here and there) and should be just right for a group of new players especially. I agree with whats been posted re rationing of spells but if the 15 min adventuring day has them down consider adding another NPC from the caravan perhaps Sandru or at least coming across a wand of cure light wounds in the treasure from the next encounter.
Courtesy of googleshng in the Hungry storm thread:
To Iqaliat: 128 miles/4 days
Crimson Throne (3.5 rules) is probably the best overall if you're looking for a unified campaign arc.
I'd recommend Carrion Crown too and am halfway thru running Jade Regent (our group is on the north pole trek) and its been enjoyable so far.
As for Book 3 in JR
I agree with magnus as is the book is heavy on the slog. I made significant revisions essentially taking some of the proposed encounters and making them full on stories that could be played in a session. So for instance, the village of lost children took an entire session with additional encounters both combat and rp, the witchfire I had trying to create an undead frost giant jarl to combat the new menace created by Katiana etc. So each session while it includes some travel has a loose plot and story for the players so it is n't just a grind. I'm just coming up to Iqaliat next session
Though its 3.5 Curse of the Crimson Throne is probably the best of the APs though I'd not recommend skipping Book 1 as it does a very good job of establishing the setting and the city.
Otherwise Carrion Crown is another I'd recommend and would be easy to truncate the inciting incident of Book 1 into Book 2
Thought I'd punt this out there and see what folks think and if anyone has any other elements they'd suggest adding.
So my group just started Hungry Storm and I think have enjoyed the first two books. Coming to Katyiana I felt it was not really connected to the AP storyline so my first thought was to change her up a bit. The general idea was that as the Five Storms had also been corrupting the royal families maybe they had had some success with one of the Amatatsu. So I have thought that perhaps Rokuro had a sister, Kaori. Kaori a young woman had impetuosly fallen for a charming samurai who was in truth one of the Five Storms. Over time Kaori became corrupted by the oni or at least made into an unwitting pawn. Kaori was whisked away with her family but on the journey had been attempting to use divination magic to send a message to her lover. On the Crown of the World Rokuro stumbled on her in the midst of this. Assuming the worst Rokuro using Suishen cut her down where she fell into a glacial crevasse. She survived though her body broken and her mind frayed. In the deep ice her pain and anguish attracted the attention of Sithud his presence lingering in the area. Over the decades she has grown in power and been transformed into essentially the same creature and role as Katiyana. But now instead of facing an unrelated evil they are dealing with an insane, vengeful and demonic relative eager to wreak her revenge on the family that abandoned her.
The other thought I had is if Kaori back in Minkai had concealed a pregnancy and that the child of her union with this oni was in fact the Jade Regent (his oni heritage providing him with longevity) providing him with some claim to the throne by blood (though superseded by Ameiko due to the unnatural and baseborn union).
Thought I'd put that out there and see if anyone else had any thoughts about adding to this backstory, I thought it might work to strengthen/unify some of the elements of the campaign's background.
I'm running this and we're a bit into Book 3. A paladin is a good choice for the AP and should give lots of opportunities for the pal to shine both in combat and RP. A druid likewise would be a good choice especially with all the travelling. As the other posters mentioned any of the classes are feasible (as for gunslingers well Ameiko is a gunslinger in my campaign and is doing well).
I did scan through threads on sunder but did not come across this. Basicially I'm building a graveknight samurai with improved sunder and one of his annoying tricks will be to sunder weapons before he goes in for the kill. My question is does a cavalier's challenge apply to damage on sunder or only direct physical attacks against the target? I feel it might be the latter but was wondering if I missed anything.
On a related topic from my reading it sounds like the official ruling is you can sunder in a charge (and I would assume spirited charge would double that damage) just can't use vital strike.
Been thinking about changing the Improved Feint in my JR campaign changing the move action to a swift action. I thought there might be a feat like Improved Greater Feint that did this but doesn't appear to be. What are folks thoughts on this change? This is mainly to give the rogue a bit of a leg up (and of course the evil ninjas the party is fighting, heh heh heh). I don't see any big consequences aside from making the feat a bit more useful.
The first book of SS is probably a great introductory adventure as it starts with investigation, puzzle-solving and a fair amount of RP. With a new group of players as much as I love the first fight with the pugwampis they are frustrating with the rerolls. I'd suggest changing them with something similar (or doing away with the bad luck effect). I'd just jump into the module as is given that is a slow start to things.
One thing to consider is that the encounter virtually guarantees the boat will sink. If this happens in the middle of a 300' river, the party would need to make a lot of swim checks to get to shore (while presumably fighting the drake possibly in heavy armour). Not sure what level they are
As for rowing the party members can still duck, move to the side. Perhaps a flat -2 to their AC may work better.
Scott Betts wrote:
Fish out of water might work if you have one. If you have a whole party of fish out of water characters then that's probably a signal the players weren't that interested in the style.
As for trying hard enough... Just because you shoehorned a concept into the proposed setting doesn't necessarily make you more creative then the player that worked with the proposed setting/style.
Scott Betts wrote:
Fair enough, I'd concur with the dislike of unilateralism. As I've mentioned in this and the other thread collaboration, cooperation are the cornerstones of any rpg.
Scott Betts wrote:
Not that I think my post will sway you but to chime in. Yes, Golarion is fun and for some games having all the character options available is fine. I don't think every game needs to take that approach necessarily. There is a plethora of different RPGs geared to different genres whether they be Call of Cthulhu, Cypberpunk etc. Even in fantasy RPGs, Harn presents a very different type of world, feel than Golarion or generic PF. They do posit some sort of baseline setting and a general genre but there is of course a wealth of character options in any of these games that should appeal to a wide range of tastes.
Players have enourmous freedom to create the type of character they want. If the GM puts some restrictions to guide the campaign to fit the desired genre this is a good thing because presumably the group agreed to play to that genre and these choices should help further that goal. There should be some back and forth and collaboration on that but if in the end the group agreed to do a stone age campaign then yes having a gunslinger in it probably will dampen the enthusiasm the group had for the idea. In the end I don't think reasonable restrictions are an affront to player creativity rather they should be an invitation to be creative in those guidelines.
Scott Betts wrote:
Ultimately, because part of the job of being a DM is having the final say. The player may have good reasons, the DM may have good reasons. If they can't be worked out then yes I think the default decision is to go with the DM's ruling. You may not agree with it, you may not like it but just like a rules argument that would never end you just need to say this is how it is lets move on. And yes this does leave it open for jerkish behaviour from certain people. Luckily, I've never really experienced something like this since I was playing with my brothers when I was a kid (you know because you're supposed to be a jerk to your brother)
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
No disagreement there. The player thats doing that is collaborating with the premise by using the class but re-skinning it. I meant the example more in the sense of an actual japanese influenced samurai.
To elaborate from my earlier post, its about the buy-in from the player. Whether your playing an oriental campaign. greek or in Korvosa if the player wants to play that type of campaign they're better off creating a character that actively plays to the premise. In some campaigns that can be pretty open (RoTR, Shattered Star is a great example of a just about everything goes). You can be that guy that plays something totally against the grain and it can even work sometimes just less likely and to be honest its often needlessly contrarian. That said the GM needs to give the players creative space but there's nothing wrong with giving some parameters (if anything it should help)
Bad Dms aside, if a DM pitches a concept for a campaign to a group (and assuming the group is interested) they should build characters that are geared towards that overarching concept (e.g. if the campaign is Greek myth then really don't suggest playing a samurai). As a DM I'm fairly open to suggestions even strange ones and yes there are ways to shoehorn character ideas into the most unlikely of settings but truthfully it won't be as fun for the player if they had said yes to the idea and built upon it. Its a collaborative game.
An example comes to mind from when I ran Crimson Throne. I gave the group the overall pitch of what the campaign was about and info regarding the city's background and Varisia. I lucked out and nearly all the players built interesting characters with an investment in the setting. And I'm not talking about extensive backgrounds in most cases just enough to gradually build and develop. Throughout the campaign I built on those backgrounds and wove them into a fairly well-tailored campaign. However, there was one player who wanted to play an elven ninja. I didn't say no though I did suggest playing a rogue instead even supplying some juicy hooks to do with the thieve's guild in the city. He wanted to play the ninja and because the concept really had no good way of linking to the city his character throughout the campaign sort of stuck out like a sore thumb (the other players certainly noticed) We made some attempts but they were I think obvious to everyone pretty shoehorned. Truthfully I don't think he had as much fun as if he had instead embraced the setting/campaign.
I think a good DM should present a sense of the world and an overall concept. Good players will pick up on those cues and make them their own. Then the DM follows suit and adapts/tailors the adventure and campaign to include those. No one is getting the short end of the stick but a DM usually has to make the first suggestion to get the ball rolling.
Well Rise of ther Runelords, Shattered Star might fit the bill (they're all centred in one region, Varisia). Carrion Crown while undead heavy does boast enough variety of monsters and takes place in one country (though it takes you on a good road trip).
Not sure if what you're suggesting is a good idea especially as it sounds like you have decided the outcome. Give them a tough, challenging encounter (maybe a past enemy that holds a grudge against a specific member of the group) but I wouldn't plan on a specific outcome like the one you outlined. Especially as a way for them to pick an alignment. Just have them pick an alignment.
Also, where are you in the AP?
That said challenging a 3 person party should be pretty easy.
Yep this thread will end well...
As a GM in 2e, Ravenloft was my fave setting. Even at the time I was pretty aware that the setting was kind of a screw to players what with the dark powers and all. PCs died, got corrupted, but still mostly had a chance to kick in the villain's head at the end (or at least die trying). There probably was a fair amount of railroading (though I never did anything as extreme as some of the RL modules -like killing the party in the first encounter a la Adam's Wrath). But we had fun. Because of the players and I assume that I was doing an OK job to keep them at the table.
So today Gming PF there are some things I roll my eyes about but I'm still having fun Gming or as a player. There's player entitlement but there's always been player entitlement like most of these discussions it boils down to the group agreeing what they're interested in playing, a few guidelines and finding something that appeals to them (at least most of the time). The rules have changed and yes given players more options vis a vis their characters but the GM can still drop a red dragon or have the dark powers steal away their artifact of shiny goodness if thats what he wants. Whether the players stay is up to them as it always has been.
Ouch, that does sound like an anticlimactic ending. I have found doing the final confrontation bit in any campaign tricky but that sounds positively depressing.
Does sound like the GM would have benefited to tailoring things to the group a bit more. At that point the Five Storms should have a pretty good idea of who they're up against.
Great show and as others have mentioned had a big influence on my GMing style and planning campaigns. Curse of the Crimson Throne particularly ended up with a B5 feel. Zellara's prophecies cribbed a bit from the show, I even recall giving a fantasy version of the story about the Coventry bombing and Churchill as Zellara's advice not to let on about what they know about their enemies.
As for season 5, you know I actually quite liked it, didn't work all the time but it did give the show a proper send off and not an abrupt end. I thought Crusade had potential but it never had time to develop.
Happy 20th B5, I'll have to give some of the old episodes a watch now!
Tides of Dread from STAP focuses on preparing for and fighting off a pirate attack on a town. It's fairly high level 9-10is IIRC. Essentially, the first part of the adventure focused on ways that the party could help ready the town (e.g. fortifications, recruiting allies etc.). The actual battle was a a series of set-piece battles and challenges that were crucial to turning the tide of battle. You may be able to use the framework and simply change the terrain. The adventure does feature a Victory Point system that helps measure and indicate the degree of success or failure the party has over the entire conflict.
Also, Paizo had a 3.5 adventure, the Enemy Within that centered around a town under siege by demonic forces. I dont recall very much about mass battles in it though.
I know one tip as a DM is at the end of the session, ask for criticism (or at least ask how was that for folks) especially if you're dealing with players you may not know that well. Of course you can pick things up as you run about playstyles but nothing helps more than direct open discussion. If the DM doesn't offer you a chance to comment then I'd suggest politely expressing your opinion (hopefully there would some positives along with your negatives). 9/10 should be sorted with honest talk. Sure there is 1/10 that things just won't work and it does sound like the Op has had some bad luck.
By a decade ago I would take you are referring to 3.0? Then yes I'd agree with you since PF is essentially the same game. I don't recall as many issues in high level play in 2.0. Sure, there were plenty of options with high level spells, magic items just not the quantity of prescribed rules, armies of modifiers etc. that slow down gameplay as 3E/PF does. Or rather not as much.
As for the whole kids these days argument and vague accusations of social engineering have fun with that.
Depends on the players/group. Lvl 7 is fine but 12+ higher begins to get significantly more involved. If the players know their character and abilities and have a good handle on the pile of modifiers it can run fine. It does take some more investment of rules, system knowledge though than some will make. But if you're running from lvl1 up then the players have time to learn their characters and their abilities as they grow. Pf/3.5 is pretty rules intensive though there isn't really any getting around that.
Hi all so had my first fatality in the JR campaign I'm running last session. It was a pretty minor encounter in the adventure pretty close to a random encounter really. So we've been using hero points in the campaign thus far in lieu of XP (just levelling up when appropriate). So the player used his hero points to cheat death (later found out that he needed 2 when he only had 1 but that was my fault and didn't realize until well after the fact but that was my fault).
Spoiler:. I like having death be a possibility in the campaign. So was wondering how people who use hero points have found the use of cheat death to be?
Amatatsu Seal which can do ressurection once a month
The only thing I can suggest is see if they might bite for a one-shot, maybe even with pre-gen characters. Savage Worlds (multi-genre system - great for pulpy action), Chaosium BRP. The main obstacle is probably not wanting to learn a whole other system so probably best to find something rules-lite.
Back in the 2e days I had a blast running House of Strahd (the 2e update to Castle Ravenloft). For Pathfinder, if you're looking for a haunted castle adventure I would again recommend Scarwall. Best way to describe it is Hellraiser meets Castle Ravenloft. I'm not big on dungeon crawls but this adventure really worked for my group. EtCR while I wanted to like it and it is still a useable adventure feels like more work than needed.
Agree with the bump in skill points. In 3.5 I routinely lifted every class by 2 points (save rogues). If people have skills outside of the absolutely essential ones (e.g Perception, used to be concentration) they will want to use them which increases imaginative possibilities.
However, I don't think Fighters should get good will saves. Its a pretty big chink in their armour and there are ways to help protect the fighter but its not a bad thing to have a weaker area. Then again I didn't mind wizards having d4 hp either so maybe its just me.
7 Swords is a funhouse dungeon, it might feel a bit redundant after the Vivified Labyrinth though...
There's a fair amount of overland travel to get to the Cinderlands which opens up some possibilities. Lift somethings from some of the other Varisia APs (Hook Mtn Massacre, or Asylum Stone for some Kaer Maga fun) That or a simple dragon terrorizing the village en route could justify going up a level too.