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AP question

Dungeon Magazine General Discussion

I can't decide whether to purchase the pdfs for Age of Worms, or order the issues for Savage Tide (is there pdfs also for this AP). I already own the Shackled City, and would like to run the Age of Worms or Savage Tide.

Which do you think would work better for a weekly gaming group, and if you have played through either, which would you recommend?


Sorry if this is in the wrong forum.

A search should bring a couple of threads devoted to this topic. From past experience with those other threads all I can say is that both have their adherents.

Its going to depend on what kind of game you'd like to run really. Both will definitly work for a gaming group that meets regularly but they do have significant thematic differences. I'll take a shot at trying to describe some of the differences from a NPOV and hopefully you can make up your own mind on which one feels right for you.

Both stories are railroady in the sense that your going to go from adventure #1 through to Adventure #12 but aspects of how this runs are different depending on the AP.

Savage Tide is a story about a brother and sister. Sure their are going to be evil artifacts, demon lords, and a plot to take over the world but fundamentally this AP is the story of Lavina and her Brother Vanthus.

This AP is for you if your really good at making NPCs come to life. Your players are part of this story and play an important role but they need to want to play along. They must want to interact with NPCs and want to be part of something larger themselves. Loners just out for themselves are generally going to have difficulties sticking with this story. The players have a 'boss' in this AP and it plays best if their willing to work with that. Many of the important events in Savage Tide run on something of a scene format. Scene A is followed by Scene B which in turn is followed by Scene C. Players can't really buck this trend much of the time without hurting the story thats being told. Essentially this AP ties the players hands more firmly then Age of Worms but in exchange one gets much more dynamic NPC interactions.

Age of Worms makes the threat of the plot to take over the world something that takes centre stage as opposed to the NPCs. Essentially NPCs play much less of a significant role in this AP. On the upside the players can pretty much deal with each adventure as they see fit. Each adventure is more of a mini-sandbox. The part where they get started on the adventure is usually fairly hardwired but how they handle things from their is pretty much up to them. For most of this AP the players are pretty much on their own battling against the coming Apocalypse. This AP is for you if your players like an 'us against the world' feel to their game and don't enjoy having NPCs tell them what to do.

Savage Tide takes place out of doors much more often then Age of Worms. Your PCs should, ideally, like Dungeons in both APs but its more important that they like them in Age of Worms as their are simply more Dungeons. The Dungeons are - on average much bigger in Age of Worms. This is the root of why Age of Worms is more a sandbox then Savage Tide. In Savage Tide the adventures are usually broken up into many smaller encounters (the scenes essentially). They tend to deal with encounter X - then stop adventuring talk with the NPC who sends them off to deal with encounter Y after which they will talk with the NPC again to find out whats next on the agenda. In Age of Worms usually your going to one big locale. Adventure Starts by talking with an NPC who sets up the goal and the rest of the adventure is the PCs tackling that goal, they generally won't get new mission orders until the next adventure.

Note that these are general themes - there are exceptions. Some adventures in Savage Tide are singular big locales and some adventures in Age of Worms are composed of a lot of little encounters.

I am considering using one of the Adventure Paths with my current gaming group. If anyone can help me I need to know which issues of Dungeon magazine to look for in my collection for Age of Worms, and/or Savage Tide. And if anyone would also happen to know which issues of Dragon magazine had articles supportive of these stories. Thank You.

David Wagus wrote:
If anyone can help me I need to know which issues of Dungeon magazine to look for in my collection for Age of Worms, and/or Savage Tide

AoW - #124-135

STAP - #139-150

Bruce Callan wrote:
Which do you think would work better for a weekly gaming group, and if you have played through either, which would you recommend?

JMacD made some good overview comments already about the nature and settings of the APs. I haven't played either, but read them both and have some thoughts.

AoW - I think this can have a darker, creepier tone. My biggest complain is that before long I found all the worm-ridden, infecting monsters redundant. There is some variety in the encounters, and a pretty cool urban/social scenario nearer the end. It is another "save-the-world" scenario.

STAP - Personally, STAP is by far my favorite AP from Dungeon. It has a great variety of encounters, settings and situations. About 2/3rds of the way through it leaves the Prime Material Plane and doesn't return, so be prepared for that. Also, the PCs spend the majority of their mid-levels away from civilization, so just as they're earning enough gold to buy cool magic items they have no access to them. This has been a major issue with the AP, but there are plenty of threads with DMs offering creative ways around the problem.

Although it's wilderness-heavy, STAP has some exciting and innovative social/political encounters and scenarios that combine great RP with a video game style series of "mini-game" quests to earn enough "points" to complete an objective.

Ultimately, the choice probably depends upon the nature and interests of your group. If they love RP, big open spaces and don't mind not being able to shop for magic items then STAP. If they love dungeon-crawls and horror-stories, then AoW.



Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You can find the Age of Worms adventure path issues here and the Savage Tide adventure path issues here. Additionally, Dungeon 114 and 149 each had an adventure in the same region as the Savage Tide.

While the Age of Worms issues are all available in PDF format, the Savage Tide issues are not (except for the first installment) due to licensing issues with WotC. So you're stuck with getting hard copy (or possibly dubious sources) for the last path.

As for the Dragon magazine support articles for the two paths, check the issues which were published at the same time as the relevant Dungeon magazines. The Age of Worms support articles were called "Wormfood" (Dragon 333 - 344), and the ones for Savage Tide were entitled "Savage Tidings" (Dragon 348 - 359, but none available in PDF thanks to WotC).

Liberty's Edge

As has been previously mentioned there has been a lot of webspace devoted to debating the strengths and weaknesses of the three APs. Ultimately it comes down to everyone has their favorites and the community is pretty evenly split.

In my opinion, I have read all three, and I think they all have some major strengths and weaknesses. If you ran Shackled City you know what to expect from an epic scale AP. The two following APs are considerably stronger and tighter in the writing and the themes.

What I decided to do was just run them in order. I think they get cooler as they go so I started with Shackled City and am now almost done with it. It's not my favorite of the three, but it's been amazingly fun.

In my opinion, Age of Worms has an awesome creepy Lovecraftian tone and flavor. But the adventures themselves are kind of site based, focusing a bit more on dungeon crawls than I tend to like. On the other hand, Savage Tide has the swashbuckling adventure I enjoy running without the story elements I enjoy as much.

Both are great and worth the investment in my opinion.

And each one is never played exactly as written, as suppose that it's the creativity and capacity at storytelling of the DM which is important.
If some elements are too present (dungeon crawl....) skip them, cut rooms....
Too many undead : change monster type to aberration or magical beast....
And so on...

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