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Rise of the Runelords


Rise of the Runelords

Shadow Lodge

I am looking at running Rise of the Runelords and was just looking for a general overview of the AP, as well as some tips and things to look out for from people that have played through it. What is the overarching story/plot? Without to many spoilers. :)

I'm mostly looking to get an idea if this is something I want to try, and I already have part 1. Any help is appreciated.


I'm currently a player in the "Rise of the Runelords"-campaign and so far we've played to the third book, the hook mountain massacre.

We all have just loved the game, and after each session, we end up craving for more. Although the beginning is almost clichéd with goblins and their raid, it gives nice balance to the horrors thereafter.

So far I can't say what the overall plot is, but I know it's something big. Or at least the opponents tend to grow in size the further we've come. But I have a hunch that the whole of Golarion is threatened by something ancient called the runelords.

So far the adventure has had a lovecraftian feel to it. Me as a Lovecraft fan might be a bit biased, but that's what makes it so great. I simply love slowly unwinding horror in any form. But I recommend Rise of the Runelords based on what I've played so far.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

ROTR is a great Adventure Path.

I think you'll find a great mix of Horror, Humor, Combat, Epic Threats, and Role Playing throughout the campaign.

My players are loving it.

Scarab Sages

I think the key to the Rise of the Runelords AP is getting the characters immersed in the storyline. The story and details of individual NPCs, buildings, and places are amazing and numerous, and they really help the AP come alive. I have noticed that the few games that the group abandoned the storyline halfway through it, seemed to be ones where the party didn't get invested in the town of Sandpoint and its people in the very beginning, which really ties the whole thing together. Its a GREAT story, cleverly disguised as a campaign.

Shadow Lodge

Has anyone ran into any troubles with specific classes/prestige classes, or the like. So far, I am only allowing the PF Core book, and plan on using the Bestiary when possible.

Also, I'm just dipping into the 1st book so far, but what level does it go up to, under normal circumstances?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I have run most classes (due to attrition) in Runelords, no troubles that I've found, except perhaps a foolishly stat'd Monk.

They really took pains to give each class times to shine. Opportunities for Bards to perform, Rangers to track, Druids to slip through woodlands, Paladins to stand strong against fear, Mage types to blast things nigh-unhurtable, lots of different fight situations to show off a Fighter's particular style, *great* stealth opportunities. And that's all in Burnt Offerings.

On the fast progression (what Runelords was written at) players should be nearly 5th level by the end, assuming normal group size, and they hit everything of particular value. Skinsaw Murders continues at 4th level, but if your group is only 3rd (as some of mine was) it shouldn't be a problem at the start.

Shadow Lodge

Majuba wrote:


On the fast progression (what Runelords was written at) players should be nearly 5th level by the end, assuming normal group size, and they hit everything of particular value. Skinsaw Murders continues at 4th level, but if your group is only 3rd (as some of mine was) it shouldn't be a problem at the start.

Sorry, what I mean is at the end of the Rise of the Runelords AP. Is it a 1-20 (ish), module?

Also, will there be a problem without one of the major party rles being filled? Most likely to be the rogue/trapfinder. If there is someone that can open locks, is that a problem?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Under normal circumstances, your group ought to finish up somewhere around 16th-18th level at the end.

Assuming a 4-person party, there are plenty of places to insert an NPC in and pick up any slack the group might have.


RotRL is a 1 - 15th/16th AP.

When to level:

Normal party (4-5):
Level 2 - Before Heading into the Catacombs of Wrath
Level 3 - Just before Thistletop
Level 4 - End of Burnt Offerings
Level 5 - Just before Misgivings
Level 6 - End of Misgivings
Level 7 - End of Skinsaw Murders
Level 8 - After Graul Farmstead
Level 9 - After retaking the Fort
Level 10 - End of Hook Mountain Massacre
Level 11 - Reaching Jorgenfist
(by XP I am guessing they would be part way through Jorgenfist, but I like the cleaner cut off point when using this method)
Level 12 - End of Fortress of the Stone Giants
Level 13 - Entering the Runeforge
Level 14 - End of Sins of the Saviors
Level 15 - Entering the Pinnacle of Avarice
Level 16 - Beginning fight with Karzoug

Large party (6-7):
Level 2 - Before Heading into the Catacombs of Wrath
Level 3 - End of Burnt Offerings
Level 4 - Just before Misgivings
Level 5 -Just after Misgivings
Level 6 - Just after the fight with the cult
Level 7 - After Graul Farmstead
Level 8 - After retaking the Fort
Level 9 - start of Fortress of the Stone Giants
Level 10 - when the characters go beneath Jorgenfist
Level 11 - start of Sins of the Saviors
Level 12 - when they enter Runeforge
Level 13 - start of Spires of Xin-Shalast
Level 14 - when they enter Xin-Shalast
Level 15 - when they enter the Pinnacle of Avarice or perhaps before they encounter Karzoug

As far as missing a trapfinder, it could be problematic, but if the cleric / wizard takes find traps / knock and have dispel magic available you should be mostly ok. That of course means you need tank or tank jr. to bash open things and take damage....

-- david
Papa.DRB

Beckett wrote:

Sorry, what I mean is at the end of the Rise of the Runelords AP. Is it a 1-20 (ish), module?

Also, will there be a problem without one of the major party rles being filled? Most likely to be the rogue/trapfinder. If there is someone that can open locks, is that a problem?

Liberty's Edge

If you scroll down the boards further you will find a whole section dedicated to each of the Adventure Path's, including Rise of the Runelords. There you will find all kinds of information, everything from clarifications to conversions for the Pathfinder RPG as well as community made tools and enhancements. You will also find each module has it's own page as well as specific questions other GMs and Players have had. I am sure that just about any question you have can be answered there. If not, I know that if you throw up your questions some one will have an insight for you.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Our group is taking its sweet time with Burnt Offerings (5 players = NPC) and they are loving it. After three sessions we've just finished the Festival...but the heroes have several friends in town now and have a reason to want the NPCs to survive. If your group likes to Role Play, the town of Sandpoint has some great chances to do a lot of non-combat. (And we use the Festival Games from this forum and the gambling rules from Second Darkness to add more actions to the festival and bars...)

As for Non-Core Classes, I allowed the Spellblade, Warlock, Artificer, and Shaman from TOS and the Hedge Witch from the PF Database (the party picked up a Hedge Witch, shes the NPC).

Shadow Lodge

It will be some peoples first time for Pathfinder, so I want to stick to just Core book right now. My guess so far is an Oracle and Fighter. I want them to learn the PF system before looking at outside Feats, Spells, and Classes. May not have an arcanist either, not sure yet.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Definitely be sure to use the Pathfinder Traits as well. It gives the dual bouns of a little extra Oomph for the characters AND it gives them a nice background hook.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I haven't noticed any particular need for any particular class at any point in the campaign so far, including rogue/trapfinder types. The only "role" that is strongly needed is the ability to heal massive amounts of damage between battles (which cure light wands *can* take care of) starting with #3.

Also I'd say stick with the Bonus Background feats in the player's guide, instead of traits. They're generally a bit stronger than two traits, and well suited to the campaign.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Beckett wrote:

I am looking at running Rise of the Runelords and was just looking for a general overview of the AP, as well as some tips and things to look out for from people that have played through it. What is the overarching story/plot? Without to many spoilers. :)

I'm mostly looking to get an idea if this is something I want to try, and I already have part 1. Any help is appreciated.

I've been running this AP for the last year and 2 months. We are on #5...Sins of the Saviors.

While I agree that no classes are particularly essential, having a wizard in the group is just cool in terms of the villain at the end of the AP.

One suggestion...read all of the adventures before you start running it. Making those long-range story connections between the PCs and certain NPCs will be incredibly rewarding for you as well as your players. We (my players and I) also used a lot of the NPCs as fill in PCs when characters died. That way, they were pretty much already involved within the story more or less. That made for exciting character development.

PS...My friend was so impressed with the story arc, he adapted Burnt Offerings into a play for his middle school (he's the drama teacher) and ran it for two weekends. It was a blast!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Majuba wrote:

I haven't noticed any particular need for any particular class at any point in the campaign so far, including rogue/trapfinder types. The only "role" that is strongly needed is the ability to heal massive amounts of damage between battles (which cure light wands *can* take care of) starting with #3.

Also I'd say stick with the Bonus Background feats in the player's guide, instead of traits. They're generally a bit stronger than two traits, and well suited to the campaign.

There's a link on one of the threads that turns those Feats into traits (along witha few other good ROTR/ Varisian traits).

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game Subscriber
gigglestick wrote:

(And we use the Festival Games from this forum and the gambling rules from Second Darkness to add more actions to the festival and bars...)

Awesome! I'm glad to hear someone is making use of the festival games. I had lots of fun creating them.

I'd say of the four traditional roles, the rogue role is the one that you can go without the easiest. The other three are going to be more important. There are many points that will be much easier if you have access to the cleric and wizard abilities. Of course the fighter role is always needed for when you just need to bash some heads.

I found the Goblins to be quite a challenge during the raid for non-fighters, if they get stuck in close combat with them due to their fairly high AC. That shouldn't be a problem for most spell casters and clerics though, if you are using the Pathfinder rules, as they have some nice ranged abilities that should stop them. What hurts is the group likely isn't wearing their armor or big weapons, so they fighters aren't much better than the non-fighters in combat with the goblins.

My 8 year old son is playing and he is a Barbarian, I'm running three NPC friends of his character, and he was complaining the whole time he wished he had his Greatsword and Armor. He did come to respect the usefulness of the lowly Punching Dagger though! It's his first time playing an RPG but he's loving it. He's got a surpisingly good character concept, and he decided before we started playing that his parents were killed by Goblins (no encouragement from me) so this is playing into the raid perfectly.


A question for those DM's who are familiar with this adventure path: I have been running Burnt Offerings and the players and I are enjoying it. I've been looking at Skinsaw Murders and am not sure it's something I want to run for my group... probably because I myself am not crazy about horror/haunted house type stuff...

If I insert some other adventures/encounters after Burnt Offerings to make sure the party is of an appropriate level will I be able to just skip #2 and send my party into the 3rd part of the adventure path (and then the 4th and 5th) OR is there any important stuff from part 2 that will leave gaping holes in the stuff that follows?


I was looking at Skinsaw not too long ago (my group just finished most of Burnt Offerings) and from what I can remember the haunted house area is only a smallish part of the book. Other than background on one of the adventure's (Skinsaw, not the whole adventure path) main villians, I don't remember anything super important that they get out of the house.

From memory, the adventure is cut into three or four pieces.

Introduction. Various plot points are introduced, such as the party seeing the handy work of one of the adventure's main villians in two seperate areas.

Footwork. The party ends up at the haunted house and learns some history on someone they will eventually be fighting. They also find a letter (just remembered this part) that leads them to a near by city, where I think all the villians of the adventure are located. If you really want to skip the haunted house, there are other ways to get this info to the party. I can give you ideas, but they would contain spoilers.

Investigation. The party gets to the big city, and searches out the first big bad guy. They find out this adventure, like ogres, has layers...and will track down a second, and then third big bad guy before finishing things. Of course...this third bad guy is the puppet of further bad guys...but they exsist in later books.


Hope this thread isn't too dead....

Would it be appropriate to add another monster or two per encounter if running 6 pc's? The book is set for 4 pc's.

And just a a side question, it says the book will play out over 6 months. How long/often of a game session is that based on?

I found a post listing when to level, (Papa-DRB's in this thread) though I still have reservations .

How exactly does one calculate xp? On a medium progression and adding the xp from the CR's divided by 6 (# of pc's) I wouldn't have the pc's level until Thistletop. The list (Papa-DRB's) has them leveling before entering The Catacombs of Wrath. How is the xp figured?

Thanks for any help that can be given!

Grand Lodge

VikingRS wrote:

Hope this thread isn't too dead....

Would it be appropriate to add another monster or two per encounter if running 6 pc's? The book is set for 4 pc's.

And just a a side question, it says the book will play out over 6 months. How long/often of a game session is that based on?

I found a post listing when to level, (Papa-DRB's in this thread) though I still have reservations .

How exactly does one calculate xp? On a medium progression and adding the xp from the CR's divided by 6 (# of pc's) I wouldn't have the pc's level until Thistletop. The list (Papa-DRB's) has them leveling before entering The Catacombs of Wrath. How is the xp figured?

Thanks for any help that can be given!

Generally I add one or two "minion"-type monsters (lower CR) to tie them up, because makes the combats a little more challenging...

It has been suggested that you use the fast progression for the AP, but I use the medium, but do a lot of side quests and Role playing XP bonus. We have been playing once a week (4 hour sessions) for about 6 months now and we are in the middle of Hook Mountain Massacre. Though lately I have been throwing in an extra 2 hr session in the middle of the week, just to tie up some of the details...


Also if you are into the Golarion Setting Rise of the Runelords has fantastic information on Varisia, the Varisians, and Magnimar :)

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