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Disappointed...


Kingmaker

51 to 98 of 98 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Shieldknight wrote:

SO, if someone were to want to put a demon into this AP, where would you do it? I have two characters that have demons in their background and would love the opportunity to push those buttons. Any ideas on placement and timing?

Thanks.

Hire a succubus spymaster.


Gorbacz wrote:
I really like how the OP never bothered to come back, but such is the way of "I don't like something *pout*" threads.

Typical seagull. Flies down, craps on everything, flies away.


The DM finally came in on RPG.net, and said it was a group issue, but still tried to blame Paizo

Quote:
While I understand Paizo trying to level things down so a random non-optimized 15pb group can beat it, they took it too far in this case.

He then goes on to say:

Quote:
So the PROBLEM here is that there is no inter-party balance. Two power-gamers and two "normal" characters makes for a very skewed game, and if I do not aim to challenge the power-gamers, they beat every encounter in 2 rounds TOPS, but if I don't go with the "average" challenge level, the remaining two players find it hard to overcome the challenges.

It is the DM's job to control party disparity. At least it was last time I checked anyway. Reduce point buy, available books, loot and so on.


wraithstrike wrote:

The DM finally came in on RPG.net, and said it was a group issue, but still tried to blame Paizo

Quote:
While I understand Paizo trying to level things down so a random non-optimized 15pb group can beat it, they took it too far in this case.

He then goes on to say:

Quote:
So the PROBLEM here is that there is no inter-party balance. Two power-gamers and two "normal" characters makes for a very skewed game, and if I do not aim to challenge the power-gamers, they beat every encounter in 2 rounds TOPS, but if I don't go with the "average" challenge level, the remaining two players find it hard to overcome the challenges.
It is the DM's job to control party disparity. At least it was last time I checked anyway. Reduce point buy, available books, loot and so on.

There is a difference between criticizing and blaming.

The whole nature of kingmaker requires a higher difficulty IMO. You have next to infinite downtime and can craft whatever your hearts desire. When PCs have ACs from 35-45 at lv12 as an effect of the AP, the difficulty needs to be above-average.

My party: (At lv12)
The Fighter - AC37-43 depending on buffs and stance. +30ish to hit. Does 150-200 damage on average in a round.
The Cavalier - AC35-44. +20ish to hit. Grants everyone else +10 to hit, serves as buff-tank.
The Cleric - AC28-buffalicious. Full casting and channel, excellent stat gear, usually summons huge elementals.
The Wizard - AC N/A (Mirror Image, Diplacement, Invisible etc etc etc). Int29, access to all the spells he could desire. Craft-guru and usually "wins" the encounter with his spells in 1-2 rounds.
The Paladin Cohort - AC27-34. +20ish to hit. Not too powerful compared to players, but chips in.

And yes, I do admit that it is more my fault than Paizo's. Allowing players to use 3.X was an error I had to rectify. Starting with a 25 point buy which we use as standard for home-brews was an error. Allowing players to make characters before I had gotten part1 was an error.

But that still taken into consideration, part 5 is still... bad IMO. The challenge-level is next to non-existent. War is optional as you can scry-blast weakling commanders and disband armies in a minute. There are NO casters working for the bad-guys. The "ambushes" are jokes. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth to know that KING is so impotent. It just... does not work for me.

And I am pretty sure it is not just me being overly harsh, because part 6 looks pretty good as it is. I might tweak it to make up for the 10 higher point buy, but I saw no need to dramatically change it. Spellcasters, strange events and no "you have wizard, so you win" moments.


Kevin Mack wrote:
I was wondering if someone could give me a link to these origonal drafts people are talking about.

I'll echo this. My inclination is to use things as they're written in the published form, but I'd love to see the originals to pull ideas from.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bobson wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
I was wondering if someone could give me a link to these origonal drafts people are talking about.
I'll echo this. My inclination is to use things as they're written in the published form, but I'd love to see the originals to pull ideas from.

Since Jason already put it out in another thread, I am assuming he is OK with me reposting it:

Send him a mail on tjadenjason@gmail.com and he will send a copy if you have already purchased part 5.

That's how I got my copy.

Most of it is awesome. The competition is far more involved and rewarding, the ambush feels like an actual ambush, the king and his cohorts are a threat, and it actually FEELS like a high level adventure.

Might want to trim down some parts though. The joust is next to un-winnable unless you have a mounted combat specialist in the party (maxed ride, full BAB, and most lance and mount-relevant feats, if not ALL of them), and the mass combat stuff was not finalized in the notes, meaning it doesn't consider it overly much, instead relying on the PCs doing key events where mundane defenses fall short. Best to have both parts.


Kamelguru wrote:
The joust is next to un-winnable unless you have a mounted combat specialist in the party

That sounds interesting. The future general in my party is a cavalier.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kamelguru wrote:
But that still taken into consideration, part 5 is still... bad IMO. The challenge-level is next to non-existent. War is optional as you can scry-blast weakling commanders and disband armies in a minute. There are NO casters working for the bad-guys. The "ambushes" are jokes. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth to know that KING is so impotent. It just... does not work for me.

Knowing your group, and their play-style, much better than Paizo does, would it not be easy enough for you to tweak those things to make them a challenge?

I often hear it said on these messageboards that if something isn't exactly to your liking, as the DM, there is no reason why you can't change it. I think that might have been your best bet in this option. I know that's my intention when I start up the KM AP. The books will become the outline as the kingdom gets underway in earnest, and I'll be twisting and playing with the material as I believe necessary to give my players the challenge they'll want.

Paizo is kind of shackled with the responsibility of playing to the lowest common denominator, really, which I think is great, because the stuff they put out--while some of it undoubtedly has flaws--is still very high quality.

So, my advice here (as a relatively novice PF GM, mind you--I've only been running these games for about ten months) would be to tweak the enemy armies, ambushes, kings, etc. to better fit your party in these instances. Admittedly, you probably already do. =)


KaeYoss wrote:
Kamelguru wrote:
The joust is next to un-winnable unless you have a mounted combat specialist in the party
That sounds interesting. The future general in my party is a cavalier.

"Just" being a cavalier won't save his bacon. He needs to have most of the mounted and lance feats to stand a chance. Target CMD is 50. But there are a lot of things that improves your odds. The king in my game is a cavalier, but he doesn't have a single feat in anything mounted/lance, and only has a str of 14 (18 with gear). He did not stand much of a chance.

Patrick Pinnow wrote:
Kamelguru wrote:
But that still taken into consideration, part 5 is still... bad IMO. The challenge-level is next to non-existent. War is optional as you can scry-blast weakling commanders and disband armies in a minute. There are NO casters working for the bad-guys. The "ambushes" are jokes. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth to know that KING is so impotent. It just... does not work for me.

Knowing your group, and their play-style, much better than Paizo does, would it not be easy enough for you to tweak those things to make them a challenge?

I often hear it said on these messageboards that if something isn't exactly to your liking, as the DM, there is no reason why you can't change it. I think that might have been your best bet in this option. I know that's my intention when I start up the KM AP. The books will become the outline as the kingdom gets underway in earnest, and I'll be twisting and playing with the material as I believe necessary to give my players the challenge they'll want.

Paizo is kind of shackled with the responsibility of playing to the lowest common denominator, really, which I think is great, because the stuff they put out--while some of it undoubtedly has flaws--is still very high quality.

So, my advice here (as a relatively novice PF GM, mind you--I've only been running these games for about ten months) would be to tweak the enemy armies, ambushes, kings, etc. to better fit your party in these instances. Admittedly, you probably already do. =)

Oh, I do tweak, my gripe with War of the River Kings is not just that it is low-powered, it is that it doesn't live up to it's title or level. Unlike part 6, part 5 doesn't feel like a high level adventure at all. There are no real spellcasters, the tactics employed are simple, there is little to no use of high level abilities nor do they consider the high level abilities of PCs, the enemies are pushovers at best, not using their abilities to their fullest, etc.

I am using an amalgam of Jason's original manuscript and the published edition, as there are things that tie parts 5 and 6 together. Between the two I have found a way to truly demonize the final boss, and force my players to take a few hard choices. I am quite pleased with the final product, and even if one player might gripe that I disregard some parts since they broke the BP system utterly, it comes down to a more complete sandbox, where their actions may allow for multiple solutions to the part, and not just "Kill baddie, take land" which has been the norm so far.


Kamelguru wrote:
KaeYoss wrote:
Kamelguru wrote:
The joust is next to un-winnable unless you have a mounted combat specialist in the party
That sounds interesting. The future general in my party is a cavalier.
"Just" being a cavalier won't save his bacon. He needs to have most of the mounted and lance feats to stand a chance. Target CMD is 50. But there are a lot of things that improves your odds. The king in my game is a cavalier, but he doesn't have a single feat in anything mounted/lance, and only has a str of 14 (18 with gear). He did not stand much of a chance.

I don't have the sheet here, but he already has several mounted combat feats, including the eponymous one, Ride-By Attack and Spirited Charge. He's all about killing things while sitting on horses.


KaeYoss wrote:
Kamelguru wrote:
KaeYoss wrote:
Kamelguru wrote:
The joust is next to un-winnable unless you have a mounted combat specialist in the party
That sounds interesting. The future general in my party is a cavalier.
"Just" being a cavalier won't save his bacon. He needs to have most of the mounted and lance feats to stand a chance. Target CMD is 50. But there are a lot of things that improves your odds. The king in my game is a cavalier, but he doesn't have a single feat in anything mounted/lance, and only has a str of 14 (18 with gear). He did not stand much of a chance.
I don't have the sheet here, but he already has several mounted combat feats, including the eponymous one, Ride-By Attack and Spirited Charge. He's all about killing things while sitting on horses.

Sounds good. Might still want to tone the baddie down a little though :P

According to my calculations, a lv13 fighter optimized to do this would have to roll a 15 or so to dismount the champion. No idea how the baddie got quite so insane.

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
I really like how the OP never bothered to come back, but such is the way of "I don't like something *pout*" threads.

*sniff, sniff*

Ew, I smell troll.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

One amusing element in writing the adventure was that, since this is a war against a human kingdom, human soldiers are a frequent enemy to encounter. I developed several standard types, and perhaps one of the most common types was the "Pitax archer."

Except, I forgot to include the stat block in the manuscript... :)

In case you might have wondered what these guys were supposed to be:

PITAX ARCHER CR 6
Male human fighter 6/ranger 1
N Medium humanoid (human)
Init +7; Senses Perception +11

DEFENSE
AC 24, touch 15, flat-footed 19 (+7 armor, +4 Dex, +1 dodge, +2 shield)
hp 45 (7d10+7)
Fort +8, Ref +3, Will +1

OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee handaxe +10/+5 (1d6+2/x3)
Ranged bow +14/+9 (1d8+6/x3)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks favored enemy (humans +2)

TACTICS
During Combat Pitax Archers will use their speed to duck in and out of cover with Shot on the Run, making a single Vital Strike bowshot each round and using Wind Stance to evade readied attacks.
Morale Pitax Archers will duck into cover and drink their potions if brought below 10 hp, then re-enter the battle; if brought below that level again, they flee.

STATISTICS
Str 14, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +7; CMB +9; CMD 23
Feats Dodge, Mobility, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Shot on the Run, Vital Strike, Weapon Focus (longbow), Weapon Specialization (longbow), Wind Stance
Skills Acrobatics +12, Perception +11, Stealth +12, Survival +7
SQ armor mastery 1, weapon mastery (bows) 1
Combat Gear +1 breastplate, +1 buckler, +1 composite longbow (STR 14), 20 arrows, 10 cold iron arrows, 5 adamantine arrows, 5 +1 human bane arrows, masterwork handaxe; Other Gear potion of cure serious wounds.

P.S. When I was writing up the stat blocks for the various ogre magi, I mistakenly added in the stat and AC mods for the giant form I spell, forgetting that the "change shape" special ability doesn't give those. Hence, if you are looking at the manuscript notes, you should give the ogre magi a pass and reverse-engineer out the GF1 mods (+6 ST, -2 DX, +4 CN, +4 natural armor), which will make those guys a little less insane. :)


There is one major flaw in the 'Unbeatable champion", which the PCs can certainly use to their advantage. The barbarian champion wants to kill PCs, so he's doing damage, not jousting. The PC champion in my game, who did have most of the mounted combat feats, and was thoroughly drunk (dwarf F13 on Warpig), took three or four shots, maybe 100 pts plus in damage, and eventually cleanly unseated the barbarian.


Major__Tom wrote:
There is one major flaw in the 'Unbeatable champion", which the PCs can certainly use to their advantage. The barbarian champion wants to kill PCs, so he's doing damage, not jousting. The PC champion in my game, who did have most of the mounted combat feats, and was thoroughly drunk (dwarf F13 on Warpig), took three or four shots, maybe 100 pts plus in damage, and eventually cleanly unseated the barbarian.

The Pitax champ in the published edition is a pushover compared to the one in Jason's cut. Villamor hardly knows the front end of a lance to the rear compared to Lord Arnefax, who is a higher level character optimized for jousting. Any given PC fighter-type can win the logging and the joust in the AP. In Jason's Directors Cut, not so much.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kamelguru wrote:
But all in all, Jason's original draft has spirit and gusto that I sorely miss in Paizo's part 5, which as written, easily is my least favorite part of the AP, and would have been nothing but a series of anticlimactic tedium for my relatively overpowered party.

How would you rate the other modules of the AP in terms of difficulty? I just started out my Kingmaker campaign yesterday ( one of two, the other starts in a month or two ), and I'd be interested in what I can look forward to. :D


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:
Kamelguru wrote:
But all in all, Jason's original draft has spirit and gusto that I sorely miss in Paizo's part 5, which as written, easily is my least favorite part of the AP, and would have been nothing but a series of anticlimactic tedium for my relatively overpowered party.
How would you rate the other modules of the AP in terms of difficulty? I just started out my Kingmaker campaign yesterday ( one of two, the other starts in a month or two ), and I'd be interested in what I can look forward to. :D

My assessment of book 1 was that I had to beef stuff up. My players are a little overpowered, having rolled stats between 22 and 34 points, but are all taking fairly unoptimal builds (non-light TWF, blaster druid, blind oracle of lore with no offensive abilities, inquisitor focusing on skills). They still trounced everything. The Stag Lord Fort needed some planning, but the rest was a cakewalk.

I'm in section 2 now, and it has been better. I still beef stuff up though.


Kamelguru wrote:
Bobson wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
I was wondering if someone could give me a link to these origonal drafts people are talking about.
I'll echo this. My inclination is to use things as they're written in the published form, but I'd love to see the originals to pull ideas from.

Since Jason already put it out in another thread, I am assuming he is OK with me reposting it:

Send him a mail on tjadenjason@gmail.com and he will send a copy if you have already purchased part 5.

That's how I got my copy.

Most of it is awesome. The competition is far more involved and rewarding, the ambush feels like an actual ambush, the king and his cohorts are a threat, and it actually FEELS like a high level adventure.

Might want to trim down some parts though. The joust is next to un-winnable unless you have a mounted combat specialist in the party (maxed ride, full BAB, and most lance and mount-relevant feats, if not ALL of them), and the mass combat stuff was not finalized in the notes, meaning it doesn't consider it overly much, instead relying on the PCs doing key events where mundane defenses fall short. Best to have both parts.

Thanks! I'll certainly shoot off an email once we're getting closer to that part of the campaign (we still haven't had our first session yet).


magnuskn wrote:
Kamelguru wrote:
But all in all, Jason's original draft has spirit and gusto that I sorely miss in Paizo's part 5, which as written, easily is my least favorite part of the AP, and would have been nothing but a series of anticlimactic tedium for my relatively overpowered party.
How would you rate the other modules of the AP in terms of difficulty? I just started out my Kingmaker campaign yesterday ( one of two, the other starts in a month or two ), and I'd be interested in what I can look forward to. :D

Depends entirely. Having a wizard and a cleric with crafting feats downs the difficulty quite severely. There are a lot of enemies susceptible to mind-affecting magic, and many "deadly" encounters have been trivialized through the use of spells. The bosses tend to be mostly tough fights, depending on how the PCs approach them.

Part 1: Easy if you have a caster and actually communicate with people. Possible to resolve final boss with guile and cleverness. Moderate to hard if you go in guns blazing.

Part 2: Depends. If you explore in a ever-expanding sphere, you should have an easy time of it. A few potentially lethal moments. Easy if you have casters and take it nice and slow, moderate if not. Random encounter table more dangerous than most scripted encounters.

Part 3: Another mixed bag. Found most the fights on the easy side. Only PC deaths were random encounters with exceptional rolling. Amusing and epic end-encounter. Wish THIS was part 5 in terms of power, as the baddie here seems more appropriate for high level play.

Part 4: A breeze. Nothing scary before the end-dungeon, and even there not too hard. A functioning group should have no problems whatsoever. Underoptimized wizard made me cringe. No magical defenses whatsoever. Ignores existence of potential PC casters.

Part 5: Ridiculously easy. Personally my least favorite as written, but climbing to second most favorite when meshed with Jason's manuscript. Otherwise an insult to high level gaming. As written, my party (or any other party I have GM'ed for or played in) could take the end-battle with the king, that is supposed to be at lv15, at lv12 or 13. Mass combat should have been implemented at level 5-8, where you can't teleport-assassinate generals, auto-win and be "immune" to enemy warriors.

Part 6: Moderately hard. My absolute favorite. Off comes the kiddie gloves, and we encounter dangerous casters, interesting uses of templates and base creatures that hardly see any use. The only part where having a caster does not ensure pretty automatic victory or let you take out the boss from the start. Feels epic, and promises some amazing moments.

So yeah, if paizo had swapped the plots and baddies of parts 3 and 5, much would have been better in my eyes. Wish I had waited until I had the complete adventure path so I could have done just so. Sure, a lot of work, but I truly think dealing with war at lv7-9 and facing Irovetti at lv10 would be more appropriate. And it would let me up the much more "epic" Vordekai to be a terror that needs the might of lv15 characters.

So all in all, it is a pretty easy AP in my opinion, as you have as much downtime as you need, and money is accessible. But as a sandbox, I guess it needs to be. And aiming for the casual players who do not optimize as much as mine, that is a good thing.

With a wizard and a cleric, with crafting feats: Easy
Lacking one of the casters: Moderate
No casters: Hard


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
Jason Nelson wrote:

One amusing element in writing the adventure was that, since this is a war against a human kingdom, human soldiers are a frequent enemy to encounter. I developed several standard types, and perhaps one of the most common types was the "Pitax archer."

Except, I forgot to include the stat block in the manuscript... :)

In case you might have wondered what these guys were supposed to be:

PITAX ARCHER CR 6
Male human fighter 6/ranger 1
N Medium humanoid (human)
Init +7; Senses Perception +11

DEFENSE
AC 24, touch 15, flat-footed 19 (+7 armor, +4 Dex, +1 dodge, +2 shield)
hp 45 (7d10+7)
Fort +8, Ref +3, Will +1

OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee handaxe +10/+5 (1d6+2/x3)
Ranged bow +14/+9 (1d8+6/x3)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks favored enemy (humans +2)

TACTICS
During Combat Pitax Archers will use their speed to duck in and out of cover with Shot on the Run, making a single Vital Strike bowshot each round and using Wind Stance to evade readied attacks.
Morale Pitax Archers will duck into cover and drink their potions if brought below 10 hp, then re-enter the battle; if brought below that level again, they flee.

STATISTICS
Str 14, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +7; CMB +9; CMD 23
Feats Dodge, Mobility, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Shot on the Run, Vital Strike, Weapon Focus (longbow), Weapon Specialization (longbow), Wind Stance
Skills Acrobatics +12, Perception +11, Stealth +12, Survival +7
SQ armor mastery 1, weapon mastery (bows) 1
Combat Gear +1 breastplate, +1 buckler, +1 composite longbow (STR 14), 20 arrows, 10 cold iron arrows, 5 adamantine arrows, 5 +1 human bane arrows, masterwork handaxe; Other Gear potion of cure serious wounds.

P.S. When I was writing up the stat blocks for the various ogre magi, I mistakenly added in the stat and AC mods for the giant form...

We caught him! Hey, look: Stats! Let's rifle though his pockets and see what else he's got!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks for the info, Caineach and Kamelguru. :)

I guess it is a good think that I prohibited item crafting feats right off the start for this campaign and also prohibited making withdrawals from the city coffers ( outside of recuperating investments 1 to 1 ). :p


Kamelguru wrote:

So yeah, if paizo had swapped the plots and baddies of parts 3 and 5, much would have been better in my eyes. Wish I had waited until I had the complete adventure path so I could have done just so. Sure, a lot of work, but I truly think dealing with war at lv7-9 and facing Irovetti at lv10 would be more appropriate. And it would let me up the much more "epic" Vordekai to be a terror that needs the might of lv15 characters.

Interesting suggestion. It certainly provides food for thought.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Are wrote:
Kamelguru wrote:

So yeah, if paizo had swapped the plots and baddies of parts 3 and 5, much would have been better in my eyes. Wish I had waited until I had the complete adventure path so I could have done just so. Sure, a lot of work, but I truly think dealing with war at lv7-9 and facing Irovetti at lv10 would be more appropriate. And it would let me up the much more "epic" Vordekai to be a terror that needs the might of lv15 characters.

Interesting suggestion. It certainly provides food for thought.

In my home game, I'll be reversing 3 and 4 in the order they occur. Then again, this campaign has taken sort of a strange path...

1 - Crypt of the Everflame
2 - mini-adventure based on Russ Taylor's "Darkblight" entry from Superstar 3 years ago
3 - the very beginning of Masks of the Living God
4 - lake journey across Lake Encarthan to a PF-ized "Keep on the Borderlands"
5 - and THEN getting dropped by one-way portal into the middle of Stolen Land (with a colony charter they got as treasure off the bad guy they had been chasing - the evil elf woman from MotLG). Since the PCs were already around 4th-5th level, we skipped some sections and I up-powered others.
6 - Rivers Run Red
7 - Then to clear out Candlemere Isle, which became most of Skinsaw Murders from RotRL.
8 - Most of Hook Mountain Massacre (transposed to the westernmost failed colony, west of Drelev, north of Pitax, in Glenebon)
9 - Blood for Blood (mostly done; they are in the tombs now)

Then it'll be home for a little R&R and then Varnhold. While I understand the idea of having BfB come right before WotRK if you are expecting war to follow pretty quickly (since in the official mods Irovetti as a big bad is revealed in BfB), in my case that's being left much more ambiguous, so I'd rather have a threat on the eastern front take their attention away from Irovetti and the west.

Besides, it also gives Irovetti a chance to gobble up unclaimed hexes from Drelev while the PCs' kingdom is trying to deal with the collapse of Varnhold in the east.

I'm not sure I would want to have Vordakai in between Irovetti and the final adventure, though. I think it becomes a distraction from the final reveal of the true mover behind events. He makes an interesting diversion, because he literally has nothing to do with her, but that makes it tricky to introduce him around the same time you introduce her - that is, one right after the other.

I think if you did that, you'd want to find some way for the two of them (the BBEGs) to know something about each other and be rivals. I would probably avoid the old trick, complained about elsewhere, of "making" the PCs ally with Vordakai to defeat Naersynda, but why not have BOTH of the bad guys working against the PCs at the same time, each wanting to crush them for their own reasons. Having to figure out how to deal with two major threats simultaneously might be a challenging change of pace for parties lulled into AP-complacency... :)


It is noteworthy that a fair number of Kingmaker campaigns have incorporated elements from Rise of the Runelords, especially Chapters 2 and 3. Talk about that "gamer zeitgeist" that crops up fairly often ...

My group came in from CoT at 11th and are now super-scary 14ths with cohorts falling out of their haversacks in the beginning of V V. I will definitely hit up your notes for Chapter 5.

Although I have my own twisted plans for upgunning Chapter 4 ... <grins>

Great to hear your ideas, Jason!

Sczarni

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

@Jason Nelson, @Turin;

Funny, that. And all of us using those banjo swinging degenerates too.

Something about minds & thinking alike, etc...


Jason Nelson wrote:
I'm not sure I would want to have Vordakai in between Irovetti and the final adventure, though. I think it becomes a distraction from the final reveal of the true mover behind events. He makes an interesting diversion, because he literally has nothing to do with her, but that makes it tricky to introduce him around the same time you introduce her - that is, one right after the other.

One idea would be for Nyrissa to get the PCs to go after V. Try and get 'em to wipe each other out. I mean, who needs the competition? She could even show up in the PCs' kingdom asking for aid. When they meet her in 6...;)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Hi gang.

"We" might want to "spoiler" tag things, especially if there is talk about some specific villains, plot-points and the like.

Just a thought. :)

~Dean


"Where would an appropriate place to stick a demon be?"

Spoiler:

In my game, after Tartuk's defeat at the Sootscale Caverns, the PCs made a tenuous friendship with the Sootscales. However, Tartuk loyalists defected and scattered off into the woods, naming themselves Sharptooth Kobolds.

Throughout the rest of the campaign, I'm going to have them crop up on some occasion. They will be the ones to raid Narthropple's caravan, as well some of the banditry kingdom events, for example; when there's spare XP to be awarded I may have kobold-related encounters, possibly even small dungeons. Each time they vanquish the Sharptooths they will scatter, eventually reforming in a different part of the kingdom.

At the end of the game, the PCs are going to become aware of a cult in the heart of their city, and will track it down to a subterranean temple. There, they will find the last of the Sharptooth kobolds venerating a Horned Devil -- literally the personification of their god Sharptooth -- and possibly saturated with a degree of divine power he's reaped from his worshipers. He will be the cause of many bad things that have been happening to them at that point, and finishing him will finish the Sharptooth legacy.


That's also a very setting-appropriate thing to have happen, I'll note. In Guide to the River Kingdoms, the Religion section notes that a curiousity of the River Kingdoms is that there exist deities that are invented out of belief, who lose power the further away their worshipers go from the River Kingdoms (Gyronna and Hanspur are the exceptions to this, legitimate minor deities with power throughout Golarion).

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

psionichamster wrote:

@Jason Nelson, @Turin;

Funny, that. And all of us using those banjo swinging degenerates too.

Something about minds & thinking alike, etc...

Actually, that was the one part of HMM that I didn't use - the Graul house. To me, it seemed like it was written to be gross for the sake of being gross, which is really just not my cup of tea, and in fact was the reason that I hadn't even looked at RotRL for years even though I had ready access to it. Turns out there was lots of other useful and cool stuff in the series. I just cut out the parts that were not to my taste.

The house was there, but the Black Arrows had made an escape attempt and most of the Grauls had chased them, ending up stuck in a giant spider nesting area in the woods, with most of them dead. They explored the house a little, and saw a few bits of token grossness but found no one alive and I think burned the place to the ground.


Jason Nelson wrote:
psionichamster wrote:

@Jason Nelson, @Turin;

Funny, that. And all of us using those banjo swinging degenerates too.

Something about minds & thinking alike, etc...

Actually, that was the one part of HMM that I didn't use - the Graul house. To me, it seemed like it was written to be gross for the sake of being gross, which is really just not my cup of tea, and in fact was the reason that I hadn't even looked at RotRL for years even though I had ready access to it. Turns out there was lots of other useful and cool stuff in the series. I just cut out the parts that were not to my taste.

The house was there, but the Black Arrows had made an escape attempt and most of the Grauls had chased them, ending up stuck in a giant spider nesting area in the woods, with most of them dead. They explored the house a little, and saw a few bits of token grossness but found no one alive and I think burned the place to the ground.

I don't believe that any one of those who have refitted HMM to KM used the actual house - just the Grauls themselves. They're just ... wrong that way. The players don't so directly have to deal with the nastiest stuff so much I think.


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If I were to rewrite the continuity to make part 3 and 5 switch places, there would have to be some changes to the plot.
- Vordekai (through minions) would be the one to find and exhume Briar and hold it to spite Naryssa, allowing her to take the land, but leave the dead after the wars for him to animate and start building his undead rule up after she has gotten what she needs from the prime material.

- Irovetti and the festival would be toned down to fit more in with the levels presented in the Guide to the River Kingdoms, where there seems to be no such thing as a high level NPC, and keep the internal continuity of the game.

- The war would have happened when the kingdom is relatively new, and more vulnerable, circling around Drelev, who is occupied with their own problems in guise of the barbarians and Vordekai who is manipulating them instead of Irovetti. Vordekai is offering Irovetti control of Drelev as part of a sinister deal, secretly planning to let everyone kill each other off, producing a ripe harvest of fresh corpses for him to command as his undead army.

- Part 4 would go on much as it is. More undead trolls than live ones. Armag is crazed with power, but has a gleam of insight of the true horror that is about to engulf the realm, and as he falls, his spirit tells the PCs that poop is about to hit the fan.

- Part 5, I would scale up the incidents at Varnhold, the grasp of the undead and daemonic more complete, players have to deal with a dread lich that has the power to send waves of undead to harass their towns, making defenses still relevant, and the consequences of losing that much more disturbing. Showdown with a lv17 Vordekai, making for a truly lethal lich that has the power to back up his backstory.

- Part 6 would be going down pretty much as is.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Adrien Meyer wrote:


Are you referring to this thread on RPG.net ?

Wow that thread is gettin ugly near the end.


Regarding making Vordakai a bigger threat closer to the end of the AP, I have every intention of introducing the original Vordakai after the climax of the AP as published. Remember that the Vordakai in the Varnhold Vanishing is only an apprentice of the original...


Kevin Mack wrote:
Adrien Meyer wrote:


Are you referring to this thread on RPG.net ?

Wow that thread is gettin ugly near the end.

Defaming someone on the internet over the RP equivalent of "But you said there would be ice-cream!" instead of turning to the person in question and learning the circumstances and reasons for it often turns out that way. He expected something to be catered to him, to let his character shine, but instead it was a somewhat humiliating foreshadowing event that no-one managed to pick up on because they don't pay attention. I made a call to ignore something that turned out to be completely broken and would have been a tedious bore if used as is (see my thread called '2000 tarrasques mounted on 2000 red wyrms need a 20...' to see why), and he thought that was a bad call. This is all that went down.

My wife getting pissed off and hanging out more dirty laundry was more than I bartered for, but c'est la vie.


Kamelguru wrote:
Lots of interesting stufff about AP difficulty based on his experience with running Kingmaker for a fairly optimized party using generous stats and 3.X splat book material.

My advice to people running the AP is to open each book to the back when they start that adventure and look at the iconics. This will give you an idea of what power level the adventure is designed for, as written, and if your party looks stronger than that, you need to ramp things up if you want to maintain the same level of challenge. So...

1) If you use more than 15 pt buy, you have to ramp it up
2) If you have more than 4 characters, you have to ramp it up
3) If your group optimizes, you have to ramp it up
4) If your group is very tactically smart, you have to ramp it up
5) If your group crafts magic items extensively or you allow Magic Mart, you have to ramp it up
6) If you allow 3PP or 3.X splat books (or, arguably, even the APG), you have to ramp it up
7) If your group does 2 or more of thes things, you need to ramp it up even more.

Personally, my group has seven characters, 4 of whom are very experienced, tactically savvy players, and I use a generous character generation die-rolling method that usually comes out to about a 30-35 pt buy, but not optimized (e.g. the wizard could end up with a 15 strength and the fighter could end up with a 15 intelligence). I also allow the APG. So I ramp things up a lot. In general, when facing mobs, I'm at least doubling the number. Almost everything they face is given the advanced template and/or additional class levels, if it has any. Lone BBEG encounters are frequently spiced with a few minions to reduce the effects of action economy. We're just starting Varnhold Vanishing, and it has worked pretty well so far.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Jason Nelson wrote:

One amusing element in writing the adventure was that, since this is a war against a human kingdom, human soldiers are a frequent enemy to encounter. I developed several standard types, and perhaps one of the most common types was the "Pitax archer."

Except, I forgot to include the stat block in the manuscript... :)

In case you might have wondered what these guys were supposed to be:

PITAX ARCHER CR 6

The above guys, btw, yes ARE mooks as far as high-level characters are concerned. However, many encounters with them begin with them behind cover or arrow slits, or moving in and out of field of fire, or coming in waves, so that the fire concentration that makes PCs so effective against mooks is dissipated. It's not meeting 20 of them at once, but rather waves of several coming in and out and back again. Are they effective? It depends. They're only supposed to be juuuust enough of a threat to interfere with PC actions or distract them or to inconvenience them while the big guns are firing.

Jason Nelson wrote:
P.S. When I was writing up the stat blocks for the various ogre magi, I mistakenly added in the stat and AC mods for the giant form I spell, forgetting that the "change shape" special ability doesn't give those. Hence, if you are looking at the manuscript notes, you should give the ogre magi a pass and reverse-engineer out the GF1 mods (+6 ST, -2 DX, +4 CN, +4 natural armor), which will make those guys a little less insane. :)

I should point out that in the most recent versions of the manuscript I went back and fixed both of the above errors - included the Pitax archer stat block and stripped out the incorrect stat mods for the ogre magi.


Leaving a dot here.


Kamelguru wrote:
Say what you want about the balance issues or whatnot, Jason's original script is (to me) far superior than the final product on several levels.

Is there any place where one could find this original one?


This is still one of my favorite APs to date. The tourney is not only a great way to intro the group to the other River Nations but is also a good non-standard encounter area. Like the Murderplay in CoT.
My only gripe is the Mass Combat rules. If Mass Combat ever becomes a little more refined, I'll use it. Other than that, if I ever run it I'll use different filler and do the Mass Combat in the background thing.

Shadow Lodge

Rickmeister wrote:
Kamelguru wrote:
Say what you want about the balance issues or whatnot, Jason's original script is (to me) far superior than the final product on several levels.
Is there any place where one could find this original one?

Seconded, I'd love to see the ramped-up Pitax Kamelguru mentioned.


From upthread:

Kamelguru wrote:
Bobson wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
I was wondering if someone could give me a link to these origonal drafts people are talking about.
I'll echo this. My inclination is to use things as they're written in the published form, but I'd love to see the originals to pull ideas from.

Since Jason already put it out in another thread, I am assuming he is OK with me reposting it:

Send him a mail on tjadenjason@gmail.com and he will send a copy if you have already purchased part 5.

That's how I got my copy.

Most of it is awesome. The competition is far more involved and rewarding, the ambush feels like an actual ambush, the king and his cohorts are a threat, and it actually FEELS like a high level adventure.

Might want to trim down some parts though. The joust is next to un-winnable unless you have a mounted combat specialist in the party (maxed ride, full BAB, and most lance and mount-relevant feats, if not ALL of them), and the mass combat stuff was not finalized in the notes, meaning it doesn't consider it overly much, instead relying on the PCs doing key events where mundane defenses fall short. Best to have both parts.

The document comes with a "Do not post this online" requirement.

Shadow Lodge

Thanks!


Sunderstone wrote:


My only gripe is the Mass Combat rules. If Mass Combat ever becomes a little more refined, I'll use it. Other than that, if I ever run it I'll use different filler and do the Mass Combat in the background thing.

I agree about these rules. They're way too abstract for my tastes. There's several modifications out there - I've put out one which is based on Warpath, and can be called "regular combat writ large", and someone else just posted a revision of the River Nations rules which is a really good expansion on the basic army rules. Check out the last page of the mass combat sticky for links to both.


Not to take his side but maybe he is referencing

spoiler:
VV the demon in vordakai's tomb that holds the centaur. You don't HAVE to make a deal but its a tough fight if you don't.


DM_Kumo Gekkou wrote:

Not to take his side but maybe he is referencing

** spoiler omitted **

Haven't read the AP, but if that's what he's referring to I don't think "the adventure is easier if you deal with a demon" is even close to "you MUST deal with a demon."

The latter is stupid and is railroading of the absolute dumbest degree. The former is a decent example of the "have a harder time, but feel accomplished" vs. "it's easier, but you'll feel dirty afterwards" dilemma, which I wholly endorse using on occasion.


Bobson wrote:
Sunderstone wrote:


My only gripe is the Mass Combat rules. If Mass Combat ever becomes a little more refined, I'll use it. Other than that, if I ever run it I'll use different filler and do the Mass Combat in the background thing.
I agree about these rules. They're way too abstract for my tastes. There's several modifications out there - I've put out one which is based on Warpath, and can be called "regular combat writ large", and someone else just posted a revision of the River Nations rules which is a really good expansion on the basic army rules. Check out the last page of the mass combat sticky for links to both.

Anyone know a good fix or alternative rule set for mass combat?

I've been worrying about those rules for quite a while now as a DM.


Icyshadow wrote:
Bobson wrote:
Sunderstone wrote:


My only gripe is the Mass Combat rules. If Mass Combat ever becomes a little more refined, I'll use it. Other than that, if I ever run it I'll use different filler and do the Mass Combat in the background thing.
I agree about these rules. They're way too abstract for my tastes. There's several modifications out there - I've put out one which is based on Warpath, and can be called "regular combat writ large", and someone else just posted a revision of the River Nations rules which is a really good expansion on the basic army rules. Check out the last page of the mass combat sticky for links to both.

Anyone know a good fix or alternative rule set for mass combat?

I've been worrying about those rules for quite a while now as a DM.

Ultimate Campaign will probably help clean up the existing rules, some...

But it's important to remember that wargames and RPGs are NOT natural allies. In fact, the measure of consequence in both games is so radically different that they are notoriously hard to combine well.

In the end, what you should do is play the KM mass combat rules in an old-school, heavily descriptive way; something like how you might play OD&D. Be extremely imaginative with the rules, make on the fly rulings, and gloss over anything that the player characters aren't directly controlling, instead operating through unreliable or partially reliable messengers and proxies.

The end result will feel more like a real war and give a better role-playing experience.

Now, it hurts me a little bit to say that, because I share the same perfectionist, "scale-it-up" impulse that no doubt drove many of you to pick up Kingmaker. I love that stuff. But don't let the pipe dream of a full war system occlude your vision of player characters experiencing a war from within!

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