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Alurad Sorizan

magnuskn's page

6,176 posts (6,178 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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Bendis is one of the best writers Marvel has, IMO, just to make a counterpoint here.


MMCJawa wrote:
Paizo's new cookbook series, starting off with Ultimate Pizza

Eh, I think it'd be "How to serve man", written by some orc in Belkzen.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Okay. Here's one problem I have with the d20 system - it de-emphasizes roleplay and increases the importance of die-rolling.

...

Quote:

I want roleplaying. Roleplaying! I want my players to go through an encounter and have that plaintive little voice ask "can he do that?" I want my players to prevail without ever having drawn a sword. I want them to pull an Asimov in "Foundation and Empire" and defeat the Mule in a verbal argument within the first page of 11 pages of debate and dialogue.

And I want Paizo to take that chance and create that product. I think they would be better for it. And I think we as GMs and players would be better for this.

I dont quite understand why you want them to do that within the system you think isnt really designed for it. Given you think the system de-emphasizes roleplay and you want roleplay - why not just play another system?

Pathfinder seems to me to involve lots of numbers and other objective elements and is well suited to combats or other events resolved with dicerolls. I dont see much value in trying to write APs to suit an approach which isnt so heavily aligned with the system's strengths.

I disagree with your assertions.


Yeah, he already knew that they are coming, the party did not try to disguise their approach. ^^

I've determined that I'll keep the opposing force at its current level, with the additional summons Xanthir already will do per round, it is going to be incredibly complex, anyway. That's seven enemy types, plus Xanthir, plus Arueshalae to manage. oO


Yep, the devs vastly underestimated the damage output PC's have at the high (meaning: after 3rd ^^) tiers. Now, the problem here already is that they have published a lot of mythic creatures and redoing all their hitpoints would be awkward. I wonder if the writers are willing to go to that length.

Then again, I've said since the alpha of the CRB that at high levels hitpoint totals for opponents (and PC's, to be perfectly honest) are way too low compared to the damage output of a normal party.

magnuskn wrote:

Have hitpoints and AC been adjusted upwards for the higher CR monsters?

A problem I generally encountered in my campaigns was that at higher levels, players were able to put out several hundreds of points of damage in a round, making fights even against a dragon generally last only about two to three rounds.

That's from June 2009. ^^


thejeff wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
mikeawmids wrote:
I imagine there are also financial implications to consider. Paizo seem to sell a lot of miniatures, battle maps and cardboard monsters. You're not going to need those in a heavily roleplaying orientated AP, which would cut into their profits, to some extent.
That does not sound like a logical explanation. RP characters make as good miniatures as ones from dungeon heavy AP's.

But you don't need to lay out a bunch of miniatures for a RP encounter.

Of course you can buy miniatures anyway, even of characters who'll never show up on a battlemap and you can just use tokens instead of buying miniatures anyway, but the motivation is there.

If I'd be affluent enough to afford any miniatures at all, I'd buy them for the value alone of having a diverse selection. :p


mikeawmids wrote:
I imagine there are also financial implications to consider. Paizo seem to sell a lot of miniatures, battle maps and cardboard monsters. You're not going to need those in a heavily roleplaying orientated AP, which would cut into their profits, to some extent.

That does not sound like a logical explanation. RP characters make as good miniatures as ones from dungeon heavy AP's.

captain yesterday wrote:

If you venture too far into role playing while eliminating combat, then you might as well be LARPing, or playing with action figures and Barbie Dolls (which with an inmaginative ten year old i've been doing for years any way:)

myself personally, i'm fine with the status quo as it is, a little more interaction is cool, just not too far, a balance must be maintained

And once again you manage to (probably unintentionally) insult people who disagree with you. Congrats.


Wrath wrote:

@magnuskn. Mate, I agree that advice for what people think are improvements are something Paizo appreciates, especially when presented well. It's just in this case I truly believe that if Paizo took on board what you want, the APs would be less of what I want.

Well, I don't really believe that. You really like spending hours and hours on pointless filler encounters, which do nothing but cost time?

Essentially what you are saying at the moment is that your taste is more worthy of Paizo's attention than mine and that I should just suck it up and take what they give me. The argument that "you can always change it up as GM" is so fallacious that it isn't even funny, because I could just reverse it ("If Paizo would just put 20% combat encounters into their AP's, you could as a GM always add your own!") and it would be just as much a fallacy as your argument.

The only thing I am doing here is giving feedback in the most cogent way I can and hope that some of it resonates with James and any other writer who happens to be reading this.


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I'll be honest, I don't see why we couldn't have a "mythic" storyline within the normal rules. Mythic rules don't really add much than additional levels to the entire thing and just crank the numbers game higher. It's kind of like with a new World of Warcraft expansion, where suddenly all the stuff you did before is meaningless and there is a number explosion.

If Paizo would tighten the leveling pace for a more "powerful" storyline so that the last module goes from levels 17-20, then that would make for an extremely powerful finale all by its own, no need to add the mythic rules on top. IMO, a level 20 group would have no problem downing Tar-Baphon.


Against. Until the developers actually take care to make mythic opponents mythic, instead of cannon fodder.


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Mattastrophic wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
I'll just respond quickly to this: I am writing a campaign set in Oppara at this time. While I am stuck at the very beginning , due to a full-time job and other commitments...

What a coincidence! You and I see eye-to-eye on a lot of things about the APs, and I am also slowly developing a campaign set in Oppara. Naturally, I am also stuck at the beginning, due to a full-time job and other commitments.

That's great!

-Matt

<fistbump>

Wrath wrote:

I've run homebrew. They're tough to do from a time perspective but give you exactly what Magnuskin is asking for. The best homebrew I ever ran was when I had my huge collection of Dungeon magazines and use those to create encounters and jobs for the pcs on the fly. 90% of the work was done for me and all I needed to do as DM was come up with clever ways to tie them into the game. It was great, and gave the players the freedom to create and run what they wanted. Lots of bookkeeping in the end though. Especially after the first year and half, tracking everything became hard.

Then I discovered APs. It has everything. A n overarching plot to help keep the game focused. It has all combat stats ready to go assuming the players follow the AP. Most importantly though, it has enough background on major players that I can absolutely allow players the freedom to build into the world around them as necessary. I've run PbP on these forums and the roleplay was so intense the games became real. I've had one table group that took NPCs as wives in the end.

The trick is to find what your players want and what you've got time for. APs took most of the work out of my hands. I still book keep if necessary, but I don't need to find reasons for missions to tie together, nor do I need to spend time creating NPCs etc. if my players save a nameless NPC I just go to suggested names for race from the setting and use one of them. If I need some idea of what saved NPC will do then I use background info from the APs themselves to make those decisions. Which they provide for you. It's called extrapolating and is a skill you need to use if you want to run sandbox feel game but only have time to get APs.

Paizo presents exactly the right blend for me and my party. It's the combat stats that take the most time to design and put together. Story elements can be made up on he the spot with enough background knowledge to understand how the NPCs are thinking. The DM's job is to be familiar enough with that background that they can make...

Well, I am someone who basically was (and is) in the position you are in. However, I think that the AP's still can use improvement in some sections, which is why I criticise aspects which I think need those improvements. The argument that "GM's an always make adjustments" is, IMO, not a valid one to not make improvements, since with this argument Paizo could as well forego any roleplaying aspects and just publish 50 pages of statblocks and flavor text for rooms every month.


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Session of July 22nd 2014:

Five players in attendance. Pretty standard session today, picking up from the two week hiatus. Basically two big fights, against a.) the colloxus demon, four blackfire adepts and two scions of Baphomet and b.) afterwards against a greater thanadaemon and its summoned elder styx water elemental. The two fights and prior exertions burned enough resources that the party had to rest one hour (via recuperation) to feel confident enough to advance to the final fight against Xanthir Vang. Since I was concerned that the party might not be up to the fight against Vang in their current state, I dropped some Nectar of the Gods (six vials in total, so one per character) on them. In my game, that stuff is a minor artifact, so I am not anxious that they can produce their own. Vang already had retrieved two doses for himself prior, so I can boost him a bit up if needed.

In any case, so far the line-up for the final fight of module four looks like this: In the corner of the good guys, all six party members plus Arueshalae; in the corner of the bad guys, Xanthir Vang, four blackfire adepts, one glabrezu, two advanced retrievers, two apocalypse locusts, one shadow demon. I am not sure if I should add even more to Vangs line-up, since he had an additional hour to get ready. In any case, this will be getting seriously complicated to run, although I am pretty sure that the deck is going to get cleared fast of some of the more minion-like opponents.

My main concern is to get Vangs defences up early in the fight, so that he has his mythic Globe of Invulnerability + his mythic Wall of Force up in round one. Otherwise, I fear that he'll get an angry barbarian to the face and that would seriously cramp his style for the rest of the encounter. After that, he should be free to do stuff at will until he runs out of minions + summons.


So, what about Nameless Cultist #23? :p


The problem with "fight to the death" is that, very often, PC's don't kill the opponent, either wittingly or unwittingly, just by the nature of the game. But if you got "fight to the death" in the morale statblock, it seems that the author assumes 99% that the enemy will be dead at the end of the combat and so will play no role anymore in the AP. So there is almost never any thought given to how the opponent will react to having lost, being alive and so on.


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I'll play a Sorcerer every day of the week over a Wizard. The only thing that Paizo needs to "unchain" on the Sorcerer is more bloodlines. ^^


Ashiel wrote:
I dunno, but if I was going to stat out clerics for him, I'd need to homebrew a hypocrisy domain just for him.

Now that sounds a bit hostile.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Thanks, you guys. It went... well, I guess. Aside from the knowledge test of laws (something I never touched before studying for this), I think I did passingly well on all other topics.

We'll see if it is enough to be in the 10% of the over 2000 people who took the test in all of Germany and advance to the oral exam.


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I am not stopping with this AP so far, I only had to put it on hiatus for two weeks, due to RL.

Speaking of that, I am off for the written examination for the foreign affairs department of Germany. Me and a thousand other people around Germany, so let's see if I do okay. I got the karmic advantage of it being my birthday, at least. :p


captain yesterday wrote:

Magnuskn, Happy Birthday! and best of luck with your job exam and the rest of your job hunt:)

also have you considered Skull & Shackles? is it that the Pirate theme is hard for you and yours to embrace? i get that, however it is one of the best for what you describe and with the add ons coming this fall from Paizo and already available from Legendary Games the sand box feel can be mostly hiddden, just a thought:)

A bit premature with the birthday wishes (it's on Monday), but thank you for all the good wishes, nonetheless. :)


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Well, I'd be up for such a group, if a good timeslot could be found. However, since I am just now urgently looking for a new job (and the next days also got a very important exam/job interview coming up on Monday and I will spend the next two days memorizing German history / German politics / International law / economics / trivia knowledge and dates as well as I can, after weeks of reading up on those topics), that date may be difficult to nail down. :p

Anyway, thanks to James for acknowledging our feedback. I think the most important part to take note of is really that the comparative damage output of PC's to durability of opponents is wildly off in favor of the PC's and there needs to be adjustments made on how tough opponents are in Mythic.


Yeah, we will play again on Tuesday, so we'll see how it goes then. The party actually is low enough on resources that I am beginning to worry that the rest of the Ivory Sanctum may be a bit too much at this point.


Graeme Lewis wrote:
This assumes that the PCs are immediately going to be super-aggressive to every NPC presented as an enemy, which isn't necessarily how it goes. I can't speak for your groups, of course, but I doubt attacking every NPC that stands in their way is the way PCs should be expected to respond.

If you are storming a cathedral full of high-level death cultists who want to ressurect a demi-god lich, you really expect a party to chat up the next undead horror they encounter?

Anyway, I fear I must adjourn any further discussion until at least Wednesday, since I have two days of intense studying ahead of me, one day of a very important exam which goes from morning to evening plus my birthday and then the next day prep time for the other RP round and getting out as many job applications as I can.

Sorry to temporarily bail on the discussion at this point, but these next days are very important for me and I can't spend hours composing long replies, since tempus fugit.


James Jacobs wrote:

It kind of sounds to me, Magnuskn, that the product you're looking for to run your campaigns isn't actually an Adventure Path, but a detailed campaign setting. After reading so many of your posts, I really think you're using the wrong tool (Adventure Paths) to run your games. Not that there's anything wrong with that! But I suspect you'd have a lot more fun taking a book like, say Magnimar (choosing that 'cause I'm familiar with it) and simply using that book to generate ideas for adventures and NPCs and stories for your group to go on.

Adventure Paths are not for everyone. They're pretty popular, though, and as evidenced by a fair number of the replies your posts have been getting, for most of our customers they do the job they're trying to do. They just don't for you, and that's fine... that just means you should consider using different types of resources to run your games, perhaps.

That all said... I do value your feedback (and ALL feedback!) and use them to constantly adjust and refine the Adventure Paths I work on and develop (which means that any feedback I get on a particular element of a particular adventure may need to wait six to twelve months before I get a chance to actually put that feedback into practice)... but I don't have the luxury to hand-tailor each Adventure Path to each GM who runs them. Especially since a not inconsiderate amount of my time available to tailor and adjust and develop an AP is whittled down by the number of posts I make to these boards trying to explain why we do things the way we do... ;-)

I need to leave for work in 10 minutes (and won't be able to do much before tomorrow, RP this evening after work), so I'll just respond quickly to this: I am writing a campaign set in Oppara at this time. While I am stuck at the very beginning , due to a full-time job and other commitments, the cause for me to do that was that I had noticed that my players were falling into a rut with the way they handled roleplaying with NPC's. And I do blame much of how AP's are structured for this, since NPC's so often fall into the background after being introduced.

James Jacobs wrote:
I've actually taken that to heart for most of the encounters I do. That's why I try to ensure that all major NPCs or creatures have backstories, in fact... for the ones that DO happen to end in any one session in something other than combat.

Got to respond to this, too. A way to ensure that those backstories might get used is to write less NPC's which will fight to the death. Just saying. Also, one of my two RP groups is very much trying to not kill their opponents. Giving more options what you can do with captured opponents would also help.

Even on a technical level, you very often don't kill downed opponents. AP's assume too much that they are out of the picture forever after being defeated.

Anyway, I'll try to expound on some more of the things I think could be done a bit better in AP's in terms of coherent storytelling when I get time again, i.e. Saturday. Thanks for listening to our feedback, James!


Oh, WotR definitely has been one of the AP's which has been better in keeping NPC's around... only that they are not given much to do and they don't have much of a personality to begin with. In my campaign, they have kind of dropped into the background because, them being seven in their number, they kind of have blended into each other, especially Aron, Sosiel, Anevia and Aravashniel. Given their lack of importance to the plot, my players have mostly ignored them after their initial introduction and when they interact with NPC's, it is with the memorable ones like Irabeth, Horgus and Arueshalae.

Of course not every opponent in an AP gets a full blown background, but enough of them have at least a few paragraphs about their backstory, which more often than not is unnecessary for their function in the AP (i.e. "die in twelve seconds"). Just looking through the last module of WotR I am finding many more such small write-ups than you mentioned.

As for flavor text, I am honestly getting a bit tired of the umpteenth time I have to read out to my group how "against the north wall stands a desk, while to the south a passage yawns into darkness" or something in that vein. Yes, flavor text for rooms is kind of necessary, but combined it eats up a lot of space and often adds very, very little to an encounter.


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Yeah, if we can get "experimental AP"'s every second AP, I think a more RP-focused AP would probably fall into that category for Paizo, too.


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I personally think that players would react well to more frequent roleplaying scenarios and not so big dungeons.

As you say, players need to be able to trust the GM more that a roleplaying scenario won't necessarily be only a lead-in to some fight. On the same page, GM's need to get more such scenarios from AP's.

As I expounded upon in prior posts, there have been modules which included such scenarios, so it isn't as if the writers don't know how to do them. OTOH, the same module which had that excellent RP scenario also included one of the longest, most turgidly boring dungeons I've ever seen in an AP. ^^


Tangent101 wrote:

As one other player mentioned, one problem lies with the fact you usually have one (at most) player who focuses on skills like diplomacy, bluff, and the like. The difficulty is in determining how to effectively use roleplay in advancing the plot.

That said, the flaw in this argument is that you're still engaged in combat. It's just that instead of hit points, weapons, and armor class, you're using skills and difficulty levels. This is why the "research combat" in Mummy's Mask was innovative and interesting as it allowed EVERYONE to participate (if I'm remembering correctly).

Likewise, for an effective roleplaying solution (or as I mentioned in the other thread the "Asimov Solution" as per "Foundation and Empire" and the defeat of the Mule) you cannot rely on actual dice-rolling for the solution. Instead, you need to adapt to the flow of roleplay. Thus even the low-charisma fighter could come up with some effective means of participating - for instance, using a demonstration of his combat prowess to impress the other side.

Agreed on all points. The Jade Regent scenario I mentioned include just such things.

Tangent101 wrote:
Ultimately, any situation in the game could be solved by roleplaying if the GM chooses to allow that solution. For instance, talking Karzoug into forsaking his plans for conquest and instead establishing Xin-Shalast as a newfound center of trade in a region of Valasia (or however you spell that nation's name) and using knowledge and trade to expand his influence over time, instead of strength-of-arms. (Ultimately it would get him more wealth than wasting lives and resources fighting, thus being attractive to his greed.) While the rules don't allow it, if the GM is willing to allow a diplomatic solution and the players argue their case well, then why not?

Mostly because the AP as written does not allow it. Since I am playing in RotRL, I can't say how exactly those modules play out (and would appreciate a lack of spoilers), but I am pretty sure that "kick in the door and kill the guy" is the only way the AP handles it.

Yes, you can always as a GM change the AP if your players really, really want it. But that was not the point of this thread, the point I am trying to make is that AP's should by themselves include additional roleplaying scenarios instead of just more meaningless combat and maybe alternate paths to resolving conflicts instead of having to kill everybody.


Seannoss wrote:

We see eye to eye on certain things, so let me see if I can take a stab at this too.

Pathfinder and all of its previous incarnations focuses on combat. Just take a look at all of the feats and class abilities. I think that we know this to be true.

For an AP to become more RP intensive there would have to be additional subsystems or rules in place, and we've seen those work to mixed success. I tried to come up with a 'social chase' scene and it was a challenge due to the lack of skills as almost everything boils down to three skills.

Four skills for social stuff, IMO. Diplomacy, Bluff, Intimidate, Sense Motive. Although Intimidate is wonky, since using it in most settings has actually almost always negative effects on your social success.

I see what you mean about those additional subsystems, since every first stab by Paizo at them have been pretty bad (kingdom building, caravan rules, relationship rules, mythic rules). But I'd rather see them try and fail somewhat then see them just put out the same kind of combat overdosed AP's for years and years.

Seannoss wrote:
However, Paizo does include many scenes that involve RPing. I'm sure that this happens more often in some APs than in others. I've started Skull and Shackles and that is as RP heavy as anything I could imagine. But even in something that's basic good vs evil in WotR there are many opportunities for RP: mongrelmen, set encounters in Kenabras, the mystery in the army, the Vahnes, Arushelae, the barbarians and Jerribeth... Thats not terrible for an off the top of my head list in the first three parts.

They are miniscule compared to the vast majority of combat related writing in those modules. Furthermore, none of them, aside from Arue, have any continuity with the rest of the AP. You deal with them and then they are forgotten. I'd like to see some story with consequence later on in the AP.

Seannoss wrote:
I think that you are usually correct about that page of history that PCs never find out. But... if you wish for heavier RPing then there is hopefully a way to use that history to have the bad guy interact with your PCs in interesting ways.

How exactly am I to go about this, outside of putting an impassable barrier between the opponent and the PC's everytime I want the guy to have a good "Mwahaha!" moment. And it really takes people out of the moment of kicking in the door in a dungeon when the bad guy goes on a "I am the Bandit King, hear my lamentation about my sucky life!" rant. Try to think for a second how a scene like that would look in a real life fantasy dungeon scenario. No, not actual "real life", but try to imagine yourself as an adventurer in a party, you kick in the door to a room and the chief cultist tries to stop you with "But wait! I need to expound on who I am and what I am doing here!".

Seannoss wrote:
And I suspect that a good chunk of Paizo's players wouldn't want a 50/50 mix. See all of the my DPS is best threads.

Given a lack of surveys on the topic and, so far, an unwillingness by Paizo to put out those surveys (which they did for the ACG playtest, so it isn't as if they can't do so), we'll probably never know. I think the very contrary about the topic.


Kairos Dawnfury wrote:

My friend and I take great pride in doing the work to use the NPCs involved in the APs to craft stories for the characters. By leaving that RP up to us, it opens up way more options than scripted events. What I heard from Mr. Magnuskn is scripted events which are going to up the page count severely and limit the options for GMs like myself.

If I don't like an NPC, I axe them and replace them. If I love them, I extend their appearances. The toolkit approach to RP Paizo has given us makes that depth of customization fantastic.

And the same way Fighters are only good at fighting, I typically only have one Face in a group who is good at Facing. So if I have 4 players, and only one wants to do social encounters, having 25% of the writing going to him is pretty balanced.

No, I exactly do not want heavily scripted social encounters, because they so far very often in AP's include large sections of pre-written text, which take up a lot of word count and are difficult to work in.

What I want are RP scenarios which give the GM goals to hit and tasks for the PC's to accomplish and the GM is given the liberty of putting the scenario before his players in the way he thinks is appropiate.

What I want are story guidelines for NPC's, where we get a direction on how those NPC's will react to the story unfolding around them (which, typically for AP's, gets more and more dangerous and epic with every level) and how they should evolve as persons.

Pre-scripted detailed scenes are mostly bad, because they do not have enough flexibility to accomodate the variance in player groups. However, that does not have to mean that writers can't assign any type of continuity to stories and NPC's, like we have in many AP's right now.

I'd much rather have an evolving storyline for a few NPC's over an AP which helps most groups, but which gets interrupted for a few parties because some players love playing chaotic stupid sociopaths, than another five write-ups about some random villain who will last only for twelve to eighteen seconds after the party have met them.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
I suspect that depends on how you define what's roleplaying and what's combat. Are you counting things like adventure background and summary, and location character backgrounds/descriptions? Because I'd be inclined to, and that makes a big difference.

I went through the module in a pretty unscientific way, so maybe you can add one or two pages to RP related things and substract two pages from combat related stuff, due to villain background being in the pages concerned to storming a location. I don't see the big difference, because, as I pointed out in my last post, large sections related to background information about villains who only serve as a speedbump to the main villains lair are wasted wordcount to me. Because, unless you force a conversation in, most of the times the encounter will go "party opens door, roll initiative".

Deadmanwalking wrote:


I, too, am talking about what Paizo writes. Paizo doesn't write a story in an AP volume, not really. Nor should they. Paizo provides a set of characters, locations, and ongoing sequences of events for the PCs to step into and act on as they see fit. That's not a story, it's the framework to hang a story on. And that's pretty much the way it should be for pretty much any roleplaying game module.

I don't necessarily disagree, but nonetheless it is noticeable that a much larger section of the modules is dedicated to combat related things than to roleplaying related things. And then those combat related writings take a much, much longer time to play out, due to the nature of the game, than the roleplaying related things.

I put up the Jade Regent example in my first post because it was one of the rare instances where a writer brought evening filling scenarios up in an AP module, giving only a loose framework what the players and NPC's wanted to accomplish. I can and did work with that and got one of the most enjoyable roleplaying experiences out of it I had with AP's. And that is what I want more of, not more dungeon delving and slaying of "fight to the death" enemies.

Deadmanwalking wrote:


But that means that, if discounting background information, or only counting it as part of combat, obviously there's not gonna be a lot of roeplaying stuff unless you throw in scripted conversations...and scripted roleplaying stuff tends to be a bit awkward anyway. There are other ways to throw in roeplaying, don't get me wrong...but they tend to be rather singular events (big parties, for example) and thus hard to shoehorn into every adventure. And besides, Paizo does those. There's a major interaction in part 3 of Legacy of Fire, several in almost all of the parts of CotCT, at least one in Serpent's Skull...and so on and so forth.

I disagree. A roleplaying scenario can be succinct, put goals to hit before the GM and give him only a rough outline of how the NPC's will behave. Again I am recurring to said situation in Jade Regent. As I heard, Council of Thieves also has a very roleplaying oriented plot in its second module.

So it definitely is possible to include involved roleplaying scenarios in AP's without scripted conversations (which, I agree, are painful and awkward to work in). The problem is that Paizo very much seems to favor combat over RP.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Firstly, that's once it's become a fight (which isn't always a given by any means). Secondly, that's actually pretty rare in all the modules I've looked through. It's more common for things like demons and non-intelligent creatures, but few humanoid adversaries fight to the death if they can avoid it. To take a random module, in the Snows of Summer there are three enemies who will fight to the death who aren't undead, constructs, or summoned and bound creatures. That's a lot less than the number who will surrender or flee at some point.

The "fight to the death" thing varies between enemy types. Death cultists will almost always fight to the death, as do demon cultists (of which I am getting very many in Wrath of the Righteous). So it varies from AP to AP. But in my experience, the majority of enemies have a "fight to the death" morale statblock, outside of special scenarios.

Deadmanwalking wrote:


Important encounters can indeed take a whole session. And that is indeed the way the system works...so what exactly is Paizo supposed to do about that? I mean, seriously, it sounds like you're complaining about the adventure writing...but this is a system assumption. It's built in. Only by removing combat entirely can you avoid this (And in that case...why are you using Pathfinder at all? It's a very combat oriented system.)

I am using Pathfinder because I like D&D. That's about it. I think, while the skill system of D20 systems has some glaring flaws, it still is one of the best skill systems in roleplaying games. I like the magic system. And high-magic fantasy has always been dear to my heart.

That Pathfinder is very combat oriented does not preclude AP's being more roleplaying oriented. Roleplaying XP are just as good as combat XP. It is a choice by the developers that they put the focus so heavily on combat.

And as for combat length, the way to solve the ratio of combat to RP seems to me to be the removal of "trash" encounters. Trash is to mean the term as used in MMO's, i.e. lesser monsters between boss monsters. I am not against a pulse pounding combat encounter which takes an entire evening. I am against all the mook monsters whose encounters eat tons time to resolve but do not have a chance of stopping the party.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Of course that's not how the game plays out. Or how it's written. The point of the backstory isn't to recite it, the point is that it informs how you play the character, which is often highly relevant if they actually interact with the PCs (which many, if not most, do in one way or another). And that makes it useful, borderline essential, from a roleplaying perspective.

Yes, that is exactly how it plays out 90% of the time. Players are in a dungeon to stop evil cultists from sacrificing virgin puppies, they are not going to stop and chat with evil cultist #31 after kicking in the door to his 10-by-10 foot Cubicle Of Evil.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Indeed. But this is an unavoidable part of the medium...there's no good way around it. So, once again, what exactly do you want done differently in this regard?

Instead of wasting word count on detailed backstories for Speedbump the Impotent #3, assume that most groups do not include people who want to channel their inner sociopaths and include some further story for NPC's who are supposed to be still alive in later modules. Yeah, that may be wasted wordcount for some groups, but so is the explanation on the oh-so-tragic backstory for the next guy with weird markings on his face, who will catch an axe to said face in 12 seconds, anyway. Mooks can be used to great effect by being meatshields to stop the party from bumrushing the BBEG of this section of the dungeon. Them staying in their rooms when they can hear the party approaching two minutes before is just lazy writing. And, YES, that still happens way too often in AP's.

Deadmanwalking wrote:


What you're talking about is gonna require more than a couple of Skype meetings, it's more like a full collaboration. You know how many is the most authors I've ever seen write one good book collaboratively? Four. Y'know how long most authors take to write a collaborative work? From what I can tell at least a year. You're asking for a six person (many of whom have day jobs) full collaboration in six months. That's a trifle unreasonable.

No, it is not. Nobody is asking for a full collaboration. What I am asking for is, when you introduce, say, three important NPC's in adventure one, the writers and editors coordinate at the beginning of the AP development cycle where those characters are supposed to go during the campaign. Every writer gets a starting and ending point for his module. After they deliver in their story progression for those NPC's (which would be, maybe, one or two pages per module), the editor then cleans up the whole thing so that the story progression is smooth for the entire AP.

And, hell, there are other recurring AP's story foibles that need to be cleaned up after years and years of new adventure paths. Like, introduce your main villain before the last module (or even the last fight)! Have him interact in non-dangerous ways with the party during the AP, so that the last encounter is not literally a "And who the hell are you?" first meeting.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Sorry, if most modules contain a page-count of (grabbing random module from the shelf, gets... The Empty Throne from Jade Regent) about 28 pages of combat related stuff (including flavor text for rooms, obviously) and 10 pages of role-playing related things, then I think my assertion of 75% combat-related writing is well founded.

I suspect that depends on how you define what's roleplaying and what's combat. Are you counting things like adventure background and summary, and location character backgrounds/descriptions? Because I'd be inclined to, and that makes a big difference.

magnuskn wrote:
Remember, I highlighted as written to make clear that I am talking about how the modules are presented to us officially. What individual GM's make of them is not what Paizo writes.

I, too, am talking about what Paizo writes. Paizo doesn't write a story in an AP volume, not really. Nor should they. Paizo provides a set of characters, locations, and ongoing sequences of events for the PCs to step into and act on as they see fit. That's not a story, it's the framework to hang a story on. And that's pretty much the way it should be for pretty much any roleplaying game module.

But that means that, if discounting background information, or only counting it as part of combat, obviously there's not gonna be a lot of roeplaying stuff unless you throw in scripted conversations...and scripted roleplaying stuff tends to be a bit awkward anyway. There are other ways to throw in roeplaying, don't get me wrong...but they tend to be rather singular events (big parties, for example) and thus hard to shoehorn into every adventure. And besides, Paizo does those. There's a major interaction in part 3 of Legacy of Fire, several in almost all of the parts of CotCT, at least one in Serpent's Skull...and so on and so forth.

magnuskn wrote:
Also, solving encounters peacefully is most often undermined by the morale statblock, which way more often than not specifies that the opponent will fight to the death.

Firstly, that's once it's become a fight (which isn't always a given by any means). Secondly, that's actually pretty rare in all the modules I've looked through. It's more common for things like demons and non-intelligent creatures, but few humanoid adversaries fight to the death if they can avoid it. To take a random module, in the Snows of Summer there are three enemies who will fight to the death who aren't undead, constructs, or summoned and bound creatures. That's a lot less than the number who will surrender or flee at some point.

magnuskn wrote:
Which I do more often than not, but the more important encounters can easily fill a single session completely. One encounter, one session. That's just how the system works, especially at the higher levels when things like option paralysis, stacking effects and lots of different enemies crop up much more frequently.

Important encounters can indeed take a whole session. And that is indeed the way the system works...so what exactly is Paizo supposed to do about that? I mean, seriously, it sounds like you're complaining about the adventure writing...but this is a system assumption. It's built in. Only by removing combat entirely can you avoid this (And in that case...why are you using Pathfinder at all? It's a very combat oriented system.)

magnuskn wrote:
Again, as written is the operative word here. If you have some dude spouting off his sob story why he became Slanderous the Obliterator to the party (and they are even inclined to listen.), then that's not how the official module plays it out most of the time. Mostly, it is "party enters room, find weird looking dude who attacks immediately" and the GM gets half a page of "Slanderous was abandoned as a youth by his hateful parents and raised by the League of Extreme Evil to kick puppies and burn villages or the other way around".

Of course that's not how the game plays out. Or how it's written. The point of the backstory isn't to recite it, the point is that it informs how you play the character, which is often highly relevant if they actually interact with the PCs (which many, if not most, do in one way or another). And that makes it useful, borderline essential, from a roleplaying perspective.

magnuskn wrote:
Yeah, well. That is what makes AP's very different from any other decent storytelling medium. In about every other medium, characters are allowed to evolve, change their motivations, grow attachments and so on. In AP's, since writers cannot predict if Player X is playing "Dimwit the Slaughterer, Chaotic Stupid Anti-Paladin", they give us some NPC's in one module and afterwards all is put onto the GM to give them their story.

Indeed. But this is an unavoidable part of the medium...there's no good way around it. So, once again, what exactly do you want done differently in this regard?

magnuskn wrote:
And while I had the very same discussion with James about how coordinating the six writers and their editor(s) is too difficult, I refuse to accept that explanation. Every other company in the world is able to hold a telephone/chat conference. Nobody is expecting those seven to nine people to stay in contact constantly, but you can't tell me that it is logistically impossible to schedule two or three brainstorming sessions over the period of six months.
What you're talking about is gonna require more than a couple of Skype meetings, it's more like a full collaboration. You know how many is the most authors I've ever seen write one good book collaboratively? Four. Y'know how long most authors take to write a collaborative work? From what I can tell at least a year. You're asking for a six person (many of whom have day jobs) full collaboration in six months. That's a trifle unreasonable.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
I'd strongly disagree with this. Almost all APs include quite a bit on how to play the various NPCs encountered, with the clear intention that it be used in roleplaying said characters, and a fair number of suggestions for both non-combat encounters and how to resolve potential combat encounters peacefully. You certainly can focus primarily on the combat, but you're hardly required to do so or not given the tools to focus away from it.

Sorry, if most modules contain a page-count of (grabbing random module from the shelf, gets... The Empty Throne from Jade Regent) about 28 pages of combat related stuff (including flavor text for rooms, obviously) and 10 pages of role-playing related things, then I think my assertion of 75% combat-related writing is well founded.

Remember, I highlighted as written to make clear that I am talking about how the modules are presented to us officially. What individual GM's make of them is not what Paizo writes.

Also, solving encounters peacefully is most often undermined by the morale statblock, which way more often than not specifies that the opponent will fight to the death.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
And if you want to minimize how long setting up fights takes, scrapping the use of a map is a pretty easy way to do it that doesn't actually change the game all that much.

Which I do more often than not, but the more important encounters can easily fill a single session completely. One encounter, one session. That's just how the system works, especially at the higher levels when things like option paralysis, stacking effects and lots of different enemies crop up much more frequently.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Who says those descriptions don't get used? I think I've used most of them fairly extensively in running APs precisely because I really enjoy the roleplaying aspects of things more than I really do combat.

Again, as written is the operative word here. If you have some dude spouting off his sob story why he became Slanderous the Obliterator to the party (and they are even inclined to listen.), then that's not how the official module plays it out most of the time. Mostly, it is "party enters room, find weird looking dude who attacks immediately" and the GM gets half a page of "Slanderous was abandoned as a youth by his hateful parents and raised by the League of Extreme Evil to kick puppies and burn villages or the other way around".

Deadmanwalking wrote:
The issue with a lot of your complaints is that, by their nature, all the chapters of an AP are written pretty close to simultaneously by different authors (and have to be, since they take more than a month to write). That makes doing the kinds of things you suggest here rather logistically difficult. Nonetheless, they manage to add recurring characters in several APS (Serpent's Skull and CotCT leap to mind)...and I actually don't want any character evolution to be pre-scripted, since that really damages the players' ability to influence that sort of thing.

Yeah, well. That is what makes AP's very different from any other decent storytelling medium. In about every other medium, characters are allowed to evolve, change their motivations, grow attachments and so on. In AP's, since writers cannot predict if Player X is playing "Dimwit the Slaughterer, Chaotic Stupid Anti-Paladin", they give us some NPC's in one module and afterwards all is put onto the GM to give them their story.

And while I had the very same discussion with James about how coordinating the six writers and their editor(s) is too difficult, I refuse to accept that explanation. Every other company in the world is able to hold a telephone/chat conference. Nobody is expecting those seven to nine people to stay in contact constantly, but you can't tell me that it is logistically impossible to schedule two or three brainstorming sessions over the period of six months.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Using the AP's as written, combat is about 75% of the time you spend in an AP. Since combat encounters take so long to set up and play out (even an encounter which is totally harmless to the PC's will take at least half an hour to draw up a map and then get through the entire thing), they constitute so much of the time spend playing Pathfinder. If that is your kind of game, I'm happy for you.

I'd strongly disagree with this. Almost all APs include quite a bit on how to play the various NPCs encountered, with the clear intention that it be used in roleplaying said characters, and a fair number of suggestions for both non-combat encounters and how to resolve potential combat encounters peacefully. You certainly can focus primarily on the combat, but you're hardly required to do so or not given the tools to focus away from it.

And if you want to minimize how long setting up fights takes, scrapping the use of a map is a pretty easy way to do it that doesn't actually change the game all that much.

magnuskn wrote:
I'd prefer more roleplaying scenarios, like at the start of book four of Jade Regent. That were four and a half pages of RP scenario and this was enough to fill two evenings of gaming.

I haven't read Jade Regent (I still intend to play it one of these days), so I can't comment here.

magnuskn wrote:
Since AP modules often spend a page to explain to GM's who the villain for a certain fight is (and those explanations will never be known to the players, for whom s/he is just "that weird thing we fight now") and single stat blocks can also eat most of a page, I think exchanging fights for roleplaying scenarios would work out quite well.

Who says those descriptions don't get used? I think I've used most of them fairly extensively in running APs precisely because I really enjoy the roleplaying aspects of things more than I really do combat.

magnuskn wrote:
But overall I have become disenchanted with many of the published AP's because of just the reason of combat > story in AP's and other things related to storytelling, like lack of plot coherency, lack of recurring and evolving characters and so on, so maybe I am simply wanting to move into another direction with my storytelling as a GM.
The issue with a lot of your complaints is that, by their nature, all the chapters of an AP are written pretty close to simultaneously by different authors (and have to be, since they take more than a month to write). That makes doing the kinds of things you suggest here rather logistically difficult. Nonetheless, they manage to add recurring characters in several APS (Serpent's Skull and CotCT leap to mind)...and I actually don't want any character evolution to be pre-scripted, since that really damages the players' ability to influence that sort of thing.


Using the AP's as written, combat is about 75% of the time you spend in an AP. Since combat encounters take so long to set up and play out (even an encounter which is totally harmless to the PC's will take at least half an hour to draw up a map and then get through the entire thing), they constitute so much of the time spend playing Pathfinder. If that is your kind of game, I'm happy for you.

I'd prefer more roleplaying scenarios, like at the start of book four of Jade Regent. That were four and a half pages of RP scenario and this was enough to fill two evenings of gaming. Since AP modules often spend a page to explain to GM's who the villain for a certain fight is (and those explanations will never be known to the players, for whom s/he is just "that weird thing we fight now") and single stat blocks can also eat most of a page, I think exchanging fights for roleplaying scenarios would work out quite well.

But overall I have become disenchanted with many of the published AP's because of just the reason of combat > story in AP's and other things related to storytelling, like lack of plot coherency, lack of recurring and evolving characters and so on, so maybe I am simply wanting to move into another direction with my storytelling as a GM.


Well, I got into a discussion about the combat to roleplaying ratio and about more coherent roleplaying scenarios and stories in the "Giantslayer! What do we know?" thread and was asked to take it to another thread. So, I'll try to recreate the discussion in this thread and see where it goes from here.

My starting post:

Probably a lost cause, but an AP centered on roleplaying instead of constant fighting would really be appreciated.

Joseph Wilson's reply:

Joseph Wilson wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Probably a lost cause, but an AP centered on roleplaying instead of constant fighting would really be appreciated.

I'm not sure why I'm commenting as, to use your phrase, I'm sure it's a "lost cause." I've seen your interactions with James over the years, and my approach to the game, as well as my experiences with it, line up pretty much 100% with James'.

I am an incredibly story-oriented GM. I HATE combat-centric plots and campaigns. Which isn't to say I hate combat (if I did, Pathfinder wouldn't be the game for me), but the story and roleplaying always has to come first, with the combats serving the story.

With that said, I have never had any issues running Pathfinder APs. In fact, since I started running them rather than homebrew, I've had more fun gaming, and have had more memorable roleplaying experiences than ever before. As far as I'm concerned, Paizo gives the GM all the tools they need to make an AP as roleplay or combat heavy as they choose. I always choose the former, and have had nothing but positive experiences.

Next, I'm gearing up to start running Iron Gods. I probably won't end up running Giantslayer, but I greatly look forward to reading and being inspired by it!


Of course, I'll open another thread on the topic.


I had to substitute a character, because one the players wanted to play another class. The method I used was that he was stabbed in a desperate struggle in combat with a demon cultist with a Nahyndrian crystal and that the crystal merged with him.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
I suspect that depends on how you define what's roleplaying and what's combat. Are you counting things like adventure background and summary, and location character backgrounds/descriptions? Because I'd be inclined to, and that makes a big difference.

I went through the module in a pretty unscientific way, so maybe you can add one or two pages to RP related things and substract two pages from combat related stuff, due to villain background being in the pages concerned to storming a location. I don't see the big difference, because, as I pointed out in my last post, large sections related to background information about villains who only serve as a speedbump to the main villains lair are wasted wordcount to me. Because, unless you force a conversation in, most of the times the encounter will go "party opens door, roll initiative".

Deadmanwalking wrote:


I, too, am talking about what Paizo writes. Paizo doesn't write a story in an AP volume, not really. Nor should they. Paizo provides a set of characters, locations, and ongoing sequences of events for the PCs to step into and act on as they see fit. That's not a story, it's the framework to hang a story on. And that's pretty much the way it should be for pretty much any roleplaying game module.

I don't necessarily disagree, but nonetheless it is noticeable that a much larger section of the modules is dedicated to combat related things than to roleplaying related things. And then those combat related writings take a much, much longer time to play out, due to the nature of the game, than the roleplaying related things.

I put up the Jade Regent example in my first post because it was one of the rare instances where a writer brought evening filling scenarios up in an AP module, giving only a loose framework what the players and NPC's wanted to accomplish. I can and did work with that and got one of the most enjoyable roleplaying experiences out of it I had with AP's. And that is what I want more of, not more dungeon delving and slaying of "fight to the death" enemies.

Deadmanwalking wrote:


But that means that, if discounting background information, or only counting it as part of combat, obviously there's not gonna be a lot of roeplaying stuff unless you throw in scripted conversations...and scripted roleplaying stuff tends to be a bit awkward anyway. There are other ways to throw in roeplaying, don't get me wrong...but they tend to be rather singular events (big parties, for example) and thus hard to shoehorn into every adventure. And besides, Paizo does those. There's a major interaction in part 3 of Legacy of Fire, several in almost all of the parts of CotCT, at least one in Serpent's Skull...and so on and so forth.

I disagree. A roleplaying scenario can be succinct, put goals to hit before the GM and give him only a rough outline of how the NPC's will behave. Again I am recurring to said situation in Jade Regent. As I heard, Council of Thieves also has a very roleplaying oriented plot in its second module.

So it definitely is possible to include involved roleplaying scenarios in AP's without scripted conversations (which, I agree, are painful and awkward to work in). The problem is that Paizo very much seems to favor combat over RP.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Firstly, that's once it's become a fight (which isn't always a given by any means). Secondly, that's actually pretty rare in all the modules I've looked through. It's more common for things like demons and non-intelligent creatures, but few humanoid adversaries fight to the death if they can avoid it. To take a random module, in the Snows of Summer there are three enemies who will fight to the death who aren't undead, constructs, or summoned and bound creatures. That's a lot less than the number who will surrender or flee at some point.

The "fight to the death" thing varies between enemy types. Death cultists will almost always fight to the death, as do demon cultists (of which I am getting very many in Wrath of the Righteous). So it varies from AP to AP. But in my experience, the majority of enemies have a "fight to the death" morale statblock, outside of special scenarios.

Deadmanwalking wrote:


Important encounters can indeed take a whole session. And that is indeed the way the system works...so what exactly is Paizo supposed to do about that? I mean, seriously, it sounds like you're complaining about the adventure writing...but this is a system assumption. It's built in. Only by removing combat entirely can you avoid this (And in that case...why are you using Pathfinder at all? It's a very combat oriented system.)

I am using Pathfinder because I like D&D. That's about it. I think, while the skill system of D20 systems has some glaring flaws, it still is one of the best skill systems in roleplaying games. I like the magic system. And high-magic fantasy has always been dear to my heart.

That Pathfinder is very combat oriented does not preclude AP's being more roleplaying oriented. Roleplaying XP are just as good as combat XP. It is a choice by the developers that they put the focus so heavily on combat.

And as for combat length, the way to solve the ratio of combat to RP seems to me to be the removal of "trash" encounters. Trash is to mean the term as used in MMO's, i.e. lesser monsters between boss monsters. I am not against a pulse pounding combat encounter which takes an entire evening. I am against all the mook monsters whose encounters eat tons time to resolve but do not have a chance of stopping the party.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Of course that's not how the game plays out. Or how it's written. The point of the backstory isn't to recite it, the point is that it informs how you play the character, which is often highly relevant if they actually interact with the PCs (which many, if not most, do in one way or another). And that makes it useful, borderline essential, from a roleplaying perspective.

Yes, that is exactly how it plays out 90% of the time. Players are in a dungeon to stop evil cultists from sacrificing virgin puppies, they are not going to stop and chat with evil cultist #31 after kicking in the door to his 10-by-10 foot Cubicle Of Evil.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Indeed. But this is an unavoidable part of the medium...there's no good way around it. So, once again, what exactly do you want done differently in this regard?

Instead of wasting word count on detailed backstories for Speedbump the Impotent #3, assume that most groups do not include people who want to channel their inner sociopaths and include some further story for NPC's who are supposed to be still alive in later modules. Yeah, that may be wasted wordcount for some groups, but so is the explanation on the oh-so-tragic backstory for the next guy with weird markings on his face, who will catch an axe to said face in 12 seconds, anyway. Mooks can be used to great effect by being meatshields to stop the party from bumrushing the BBEG of this section of the dungeon. Them staying in their rooms when they can hear the party approaching two minutes before is just lazy writing. And, YES, that still happens way too often in AP's.

Deadmanwalking wrote:


What you're talking about is gonna require more than a couple of Skype meetings, it's more like a full collaboration. You know how many is the most authors I've ever seen write one good book collaboratively? Four. Y'know how long most authors take to write a collaborative work? From what I can tell at least a year. You're asking for a six person (many of whom have day jobs) full collaboration in six months. That's a trifle unreasonable.

No, it is not. Nobody is asking for a full collaboration. What I am asking for is, when you introduce, say, three important NPC's in adventure one, the writers and editors coordinate at the beginning of the AP development cycle where those characters are supposed to go during the campaign. Every writer gets a starting and ending point for his module. After they deliver in their story progression for those NPC's (which would be, maybe, one or two pages per module), the editor then cleans up the whole thing so that the story progression is smooth for the entire AP.

And, hell, there are other recurring AP's story foibles that need to be cleaned up after years and years of new adventure paths. Like, introduce your main villain before the last module (or even the last fight)! Have him interact in non-dangerous ways with the party during the AP, so that the last encounter is not literally a "And who the hell are you?" first meeting.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
I'd strongly disagree with this. Almost all APs include quite a bit on how to play the various NPCs encountered, with the clear intention that it be used in roleplaying said characters, and a fair number of suggestions for both non-combat encounters and how to resolve potential combat encounters peacefully. You certainly can focus primarily on the combat, but you're hardly required to do so or not given the tools to focus away from it.

Sorry, if most modules contain a page-count of (grabbing random module from the shelf, gets... The Empty Throne from Jade Regent) about 28 pages of combat related stuff (including flavor text for rooms, obviously) and 10 pages of role-playing related things, then I think my assertion of 75% combat-related writing is well founded.

Remember, I highlighted as written to make clear that I am talking about how the modules are presented to us officially. What individual GM's make of them is not what Paizo writes.

Also, solving encounters peacefully is most often undermined by the morale statblock, which way more often than not specifies that the opponent will fight to the death.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
And if you want to minimize how long setting up fights takes, scrapping the use of a map is a pretty easy way to do it that doesn't actually change the game all that much.

Which I do more often than not, but the more important encounters can easily fill a single session completely. One encounter, one session. That's just how the system works, especially at the higher levels when things like option paralysis, stacking effects and lots of different enemies crop up much more frequently.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Who says those descriptions don't get used? I think I've used most of them fairly extensively in running APs precisely because I really enjoy the roleplaying aspects of things more than I really do combat.

Again, as written is the operative word here. If you have some dude spouting off his sob story why he became Slanderous the Obliterator to the party (and they are even inclined to listen.), then that's not how the official module plays it out most of the time. Mostly, it is "party enters room, find weird looking dude who attacks immediately" and the GM gets half a page of "Slanderous was abandoned as a youth by his hateful parents and raised by the League of Extreme Evil to kick puppies and burn villages or the other way around".

Deadmanwalking wrote:
The issue with a lot of your complaints is that, by their nature, all the chapters of an AP are written pretty close to simultaneously by different authors (and have to be, since they take more than a month to write). That makes doing the kinds of things you suggest here rather logistically difficult. Nonetheless, they manage to add recurring characters in several APS (Serpent's Skull and CotCT leap to mind)...and I actually don't want any character evolution to be pre-scripted, since that really damages the players' ability to influence that sort of thing.

Yeah, well. That is what makes AP's very different from any other decent storytelling medium. In about every other medium, characters are allowed to evolve, change their motivations, grow attachments and so on. In AP's, since writers cannot predict if Player X is playing "Dimwit the Slaughterer, Chaotic Stupid Anti-Paladin", they give us some NPC's in one module and afterwards all is put onto the GM to give them their story.

And while I had the very same discussion with James about how coordinating the six writers and their editor(s) is too difficult, I refuse to accept that explanation. Every other company in the world is able to hold a telephone/chat conference. Nobody is expecting those seven to nine people to stay in contact constantly, but you can't tell me that it is logistically impossible to schedule two or three brainstorming sessions over the period of six months.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Using the AP's as written, combat is about 75% of the time you spend in an AP. Since combat encounters take so long to set up and play out (even an encounter which is totally harmless to the PC's will take at least half an hour to draw up a map and then get through the entire thing), they constitute so much of the time spend playing Pathfinder. If that is your kind of game, I'm happy for you.

I'd prefer more roleplaying scenarios, like at the start of book four of Jade Regent. That were four and a half pages of RP scenario and this was enough to fill two evenings of gaming. Since AP modules often spend a page to explain to GM's who the villain for a certain fight is (and those explanations will never be known to the players, for whom s/he is just "that weird thing we fight now") and single stat blocks can also eat most of a page, I think exchanging fights for roleplaying scenarios would work out quite well.

But overall I have become disenchanted with many of the published AP's because of just the reason of combat > story in AP's and other things related to storytelling, like lack of plot coherency, lack of recurring and evolving characters and so on, so maybe I am simply wanting to move into another direction with my storytelling as a GM.


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It has not been? That's a crime, it really is the best AP module I've ever seen your company publish (followed by The Dead Heart of Xin, Tide of Honor and Seven Days to the Grave, by the way).

Anyway, I hope Brandon can write another AP module soon, he is very, very good at it, actively listens to constructive criticism and proceeds to use it to write better for his next work.


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James Jacobs wrote:
It'd only increase your chances if you somehow managed to pick the AP that I've already hired 6 authors to start writing on. AKA: The AP is chosen, and can't be changed now! :-)

Well, at the very least I can say what I'd like to see after that.

Oh, and hire Brandon Hodge again. Guy writes the best module you've ever published and then drops from the face of the earth, as far as AP modules go. Not really fair.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Probably a lost cause, but an AP centered on roleplaying instead of constant fighting would really be appreciated.


Does writing in large letters somehow improve the chance of my preferences being chosen?

Anyway, I'd really like an AP centered on Taldor, Andoran or Tian Xia. Or the return of Sorshen, the NC 17 AP. :p


Ultimate Campaign, p. 173 should give the answer.

An answer which sadly lacks any context in lore or rules, but it's an answer nonetheless.


Viva Alemania! :D

Back on track now, after Beckenbauer had to bend the timeline in 1990. Next championship 2034! :p


Um, yeah... if they will go with an armless waterbender, having children out of wedlock from different fathers doesn't seem so far-fetched.


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Hahahaha... no.

Macross forever.


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If I would start over from the beginning, I would go down the route of ripping out mythic rules completely (almost) for the player characters and giving them an level for every two mythic tiers they get. I would probably keep surges, mythic power and some of the base mythic abilities, but not the attribute increases and mythic feats and path abilities.

I'd keep the enemies mostly the same as they are in the books, although depending on my groups composition and number of players, I would sometimes still use Scorpions upgrades.

Water under the bridge for me, since we are using mythic rules 75% intact in my campaign, but that is what I would do if running this campaign again for another group.


Uh, actually there are new spells in about every companion book Paizo is releasing. On a monthly schedule. So, unless you completely separate the setting-neutral / Golarion books, there are a ton of spells, items and feats which are very much splintered along the publishing line.

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