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Parts 4 and 5 in Edge of Anarchy


Curse of the Crimson Throne


I've just started reading through CotCT (thinking of converting it to Savage Worlds to run with my group). I was just wondering if parts 4 and 5 actually serve any purpose other than feeding the PCs some xp? They seem completely pointless, but I may be missing something that's important later in the campaign. Or can these parts be completely skipped over without causing any problems?


You could leave out sections 4 and 5, but the PCs connection with Cressida and the guard do play in a bit later even in book 6. If you wanted to rewrite the parts to fit your own flavor, I'd say go for it, but just out and out skipping the sections puts the party extremely behind in terms of level and wealth, and it hurts their relationship with the city and its people, in my opinion.


They can be skipped storywise, but they play a big part insofar as getting the PCs and the Korvosan Guard working together. Establishing a good working relationship with Cressida is something you should do, even if you change the specific encounters for something else.

Beyond that, my best advice is to read the entire AP before you start running it. That really helps you as DM to get the feel for where the story is actually going, and also allows you to foreshadow future events. You may also discover some plotlines you wish to change or build up/down, and use that information to alter earlier adventures.


Generally concur with the other two posters. Also a lot of book I is just setting up the city and getting the players familiar with the streets and people of Korvosa. If I recall Part 5 is the Dead Warrens? This sets up Rolth quite nicely. As presented Rolth is an understated villain. I expanded his influence and presence in the campaign and he became a memorable and significant villain (also helped I brought him back as a lich later on). It also allows a chance for the party to get to know Thousand Bones and a bit more of the Shoanti. Yeah honestly theres very little 'fat' in book 1 of the AP.


Part 4 is Ok enough because at least it has something to do with the chaos going on, but part 5 just seems so random and pointless. Since I don't need to worry about experience and levels I suppose I could do part 4 and skip part 5, or maybe find something to replace part 5 that's actually tied to the events of the adventure. I just hate how D&D always seems to have all this filler just to get the PCs to the next level.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I find this a perfect opportunity to introduce additional episodes that deal with some of the PCs' desires and personal side-quests. If something doesn't make sense, skip it and create your own.


I've finished reading the first two books and so far I'm not liking what I'm reading. The AP seems like nothing more than a series of disconnected "mini-quests" that have nothing to do with each other or the main plot of the campaign. In book two the only parts that are worth running are the very first and last parts. I'll try reading through the next book or two, but I don't think I'm going to be running this AP after all.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That's pretty harsh. There is an overall plot line and the only one that isn't really *required* would be Chapter 5 (Scarwall). It's really there to give the cleric(s) in the party a chance to shine, IMO.

There is a single protagonist that the AP hints at here and there. If played correctly, the party won't actually be *sure* until Chapter 4. It was then that my group decided who the master villain was, but also that the villain had resources that they couldn't overcome.

I do agree that things seem a little disconnected unless you read up through Chapter 4 at least. I was playing the AP one chapter at a time and while I knew what the grand arc was I will admit that without the larger picture it would've looked rather "piecemeal".


I actually like some side-quests at the lower levels. It gives you a chance to get a feel for the city, the PCs can grow, both in levels and in character, they develop a bond with eachother and certain NPCs and the city is firmly established as their home base.

You should feel free to use your own ideas and adventures if you fel you can link them tighter to the plot. The queen just assumed control and is working her evil scheme. It takes some time to develop that plot. Time you can use to keep the PCs busy, sometimes with adventures that tie into that plot directly, but also with sidetreks.


Shad0wdrag0n wrote:
I've finished reading the first two books and so far I'm not liking what I'm reading. The AP seems like nothing more than a series of disconnected "mini-quests" that have nothing to do with each other or the main plot of the campaign. In book two the only parts that are worth running are the very first and last parts. I'll try reading through the next book or two, but I don't think I'm going to be running this AP after all.

Those mini-quests are the plot of the campaign. This is an AP about the fall of the city of Korvosa and the hero's who save it. BBEG finds an evil artifact is what drives the plot...not the plot itself.

Treat this as a semi-sandbox and when running it as you need to develop both the NPCs and also the players interests in the city.

Now this may not work for you and that is fine. There are other APs that are a little tighter...just stay away from Kingmaker as it has the same issues of lots of mini quests in a plot that, while it comes with bad guys, is really about the location itself and how the players interact with it -in Kingmaker its a wilderness they turn into a kingdom.

What you might want to do is take a look at the Council of Thieves AP. Council of Thieves is a plot driven adventure about some Aristocrats that try and take over a city and is much less about the city itself and much more about the schemes of the various BBEGs. Its much tighter in design.

Ironically I bet that was probably what Paizo initially thought that they where doing 'right' with the adventure. In other words one of the reasons why they believed that Council of Thieves was an improvement over Curse of the Crimson Throne. In reality its what makes most fans consider it a distant second to Curse of the Crimson Throne...but the clear example that allows us to compare and contrast that did not come out until Kingmaker, when suddenly it all fell together and made sense. Still if you happen to be looking for a tighter plot in a city adventure it just might suite your needs perfectly.


Not everything has to be directly connected to the Big Overarching Plot. This is not a Hollywood film that tries to cram the plot of a whole series into 90 minutes so you can't waste any time with anything that isn't super important to the series' plot. That might be a good approach when you're doing a one shot, but for a whole campaign, I'd find that extremely annoying.

Roleplaying campaigns/adventure paths really are like a series, not like a film. You have time going off the arc, do stuff that might not figure into the Story Arc, but will help you develop the world, and the players develop their character and the party interaction and dynamics.

Part Four in Edge of Anarchy is part of the plot, anyway, since the party is supposed to have close ties with the Guard.

Part Five in Edge of Anarchy is useful because it will confront the players with a criminal element they can't just kill to death with violence, and situations like that usually help define the characters. Plus, knivesies is fun.

Is it irreplaceable? No, it isn't. You can make your own side quest. (Of course, the point of store-bought modules is not doing your own adventures).

As for Seven Days to the Grave, It is pretty much all part of the plot!

In Part one, you'll get a foreshadowing of the troubles to come.

Part two might not be directly connected to the rest of Seven Days, but it fit neatly into the campaign as a whole: It gives observant players clues as to the identity of the city's favourite folk hero and start building a relationship with what can very well become a PC's cohort or love interest (or both).

Part three hits the city (and party) with the plague, and introduces the Physicians, which will play a major part in the rest of Seven Days.

Part four might seem like a set of un-related mini-quests, but they have their purpose: They show the characters what a city in the grip of a crisis looks like, and how people will react to it.

Part five, of course, is the big climax.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


Ironically I bet that was probably what Paizo initially thought that they where doing 'right' with the adventure. In other words one of the reasons why they believed that Council of Thieves was an improvement over Curse of the Crimson Throne. In reality its what makes most fans consider it a distant second to Curse of the Crimson Throne...

They're two different animals. Both free-form and structured campaigns have their merits and followers. Crimson Throne has strong elements of both, but campaigns that adhere strongly to one of the styles can be just as good, if done right.

What Council of Thieves has over Curse of the Crimson Throne is that they made a true City campaign. Curse makes you leave the city behind after half-time, which is a bad thing for many.


I cannot say much more than the others have already, but I will tell you that I considered cutting out a section of book 1 but because I had not prepared what I had intended to, I ran it out of the book for my group. My party just started 7DttG last night, and where they are as characters in their development and how they feel about the city (and many of the PCs- how they feel about the people there)... I couldn't imagine doing the campaign another way.

Skipping 7DttG as a whole (if that's what you're thinking) I would caution against. This is where they find Ileosa's true colors, if the players and PCs don't already have an idea. It's a time for you, as a DM, to tug at some heartstrings and emotionally invest your players (and therefore the PCs) in continuing with the game and to complete the entire adventure. You can run EoA and 7DttG in a more Kingmaker fashion; I've seen some post here that they did it in a 'job board' style, like in Dragon Age: Origins, if that's more your playstyle.

If you think you can do this better, all the more power to you. But if run by a good DM, by the beginning of 7DttG, you can have your players eating out of the palm of your hand and you can lead them about by the heartstrings.

Good luck.


To add a few things:

-the side quest structure is IMO a feature of the AP. Often my party went about things in a non-sequential way and the fact that the AP was often set up like this made that easy to do with minimal fuss. I thought it struck a good balance between having a structure but still open and flexible.

-7DaystotheGrave is actually the best adventure of the AP and its here that the side-quest structure really shines.

Spoiler:
Reason is it gives the party a chance to experience all the chaos and horror that a plague would bring and it gradually drops hints of a deliberate agenda eventually guiding them to the responsible party. I think otherwise it would've been a straight attack the bad guy's lair adventure.

My players really enjoyed the second book.

To conclude, not everything is essential and hard-wired to the overall plot but the scenarios and episodes do have a cumulative effect in that the players should hopefully be able to identify better with the city and NPCs. That way they have a stake in trying to save Korvosa. That and each of them are of course or should be fun to play through in their own right.


I actually prefer RotR over what I've read of CotCT (up to book 5 now, which looks like it would make an excellent stand-alone adventure actually). I think I'll check out Council of Thieves and see if I like it better than CotCT. I'm not opposed to the occasional side-quest, but when the majority of the campaign is side-quests I start to have a problem. I also don't like how the heroes just abandon the city half way through the campaign. If all those mini quests are meant to make the players/characters invested in the well-being of the city, why do the characters just leave after all that build-up? No, the main story behind CotCT is a really cool idea, but in my opinion it just wasn't executed very well.


KaeYoss wrote:
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


Ironically I bet that was probably what Paizo initially thought that they where doing 'right' with the adventure. In other words one of the reasons why they believed that Council of Thieves was an improvement over Curse of the Crimson Throne. In reality its what makes most fans consider it a distant second to Curse of the Crimson Throne...

They're two different animals. Both free-form and structured campaigns have their merits and followers. Crimson Throne has strong elements of both, but campaigns that adhere strongly to one of the styles can be just as good, if done right.

What Council of Thieves has over Curse of the Crimson Throne is that they made a true City campaign. Curse makes you leave the city behind after half-time, which is a bad thing for many.

They are, of course, subjective and not everyone is looking for the same things in an AP.

Still Adventure Paths The Good Bad and What Were They Thinking is pretty consistent, even surprisingly so, in ranking Curse of the Crimson Throne over Council of Thieves. When most of the fan base is leaning one way its probably worth taking notice. Especially considering that The Sixfold Trial from Council of Thieves is widely considered an exceptional adventure. Maybe the best single volume written so far for any AP while a lot of people who played Curse of the Crimson Throne where unhappy with the party leaving Korvosa in History of Ashes and especially in Skeletons of Scarwall.

With those two strikes against it and no such mistakes in Council of Thieves you'd think the Fanbase would be completely on board with Council of Thieves being Curse of the Crimson Throne 'done right'. But their not - I feel Kingmaker tells us why this is so because it shares with Curse of the Crimson Throne an element of both sandbox and development in a specific somewhat contained environment and has been widely lauded. It allows us to put our fingure on what it was that made Curse of the Crimson Throne so popular despite its issues.

None of this is to say that well plotted APs don't have a place, Rise of the Runelords gets good marks as an AP and Savage Tide was quite popular in its day.


I
I'd concur with McDonald's observations. Though I also agree that History of Ashes and Scarwall are while good adventures too long of a time to be away from Korvosa. It is fairly easy to slash away encounters and condense those adventures to shorten the timespan.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Shad0wdrag0n wrote:
I actually prefer RotR over what I've read of CotCT (up to book 5 now, which looks like it would make an excellent stand-alone adventure actually). I think I'll check out Council of Thieves and see if I like it better than CotCT. I'm not opposed to the occasional side-quest, but when the majority of the campaign is side-quests I start to have a problem.

I wouldn't really call anything past Book 2 'sidequests'. In fact, I wouldn't really call anything before that a real 'sidequest' either. During the first two books, ever so-called sidequest is the heros' attempts to get a grip on the crises facing the city--and slowly beginning to realize that those crises have all been organized as part of a larger scheme. I'd argue every one of them is a lot more directly connected to the plot than, say, the entire first volume of Rise of the Runelords. All these quests also serve to set up and foreshadow characters and plot elements which recur throughout the adventure path. In Book 3, hunted by the antagonists forces, the PCs search for allies, encountering several complications along the way. In Book 4, they have been driven out of the city, but their allies are able to point them to where they can uncover more information about what's happening. In Book 5, they follow up on that information, and acquire the Plot Coupon. Book6 is their triumphant return to the city to vanquish the Big Bad once and for all.

Shad0wdrag0n wrote:
I also don't like how the heroes just abandon the city half way through the campaign. If all those mini quests are meant to make the players/characters invested in the well-being of the city, why do the characters just leave after all that build-up? No, the main story behind CotCT is a really cool idea, but in my opinion it just wasn't executed very well.

They don't 'just leave'. They are declared Public Enemy #1 by an enemy with powers they don't understand. They have little choice but to retreat, regroup and reevaluate. A big part of Book 3 is finding the seneschal and getting him to safety--ever hear of a 'government-in-exile'?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
Shad0wdrag0n wrote:
I also don't like how the heroes just abandon the city half way through the campaign. If all those mini quests are meant to make the players/characters invested in the well-being of the city, why do the characters just leave after all that build-up? No, the main story behind CotCT is a really cool idea, but in my opinion it just wasn't executed very well.

They should only leave reluctantly when they determine that...

Spoiler:

1. The queen somehow got her hands on a powerful shoanti arftifact that makes her effectively indestructible....like the mayor in buffy season 3
2. They have rescued the seneschal and have to get him to safety
3. The Shoanti are the only ones who might know a way to defeat the queen

I am running this now and intend to stretch out 1-3 as best I can then have 4&5 seem like a race to get the maguffin, then 6 be a substantial section again. Emphasise the city as much as possible.

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