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Adventure Path community publishing: the Missing Manual


Council of Thieves

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

In the last couple of weeks some of the chat denizens and I were kicking around ideas of ways of continuing the Council of Thieves Adventure Path past the final module.

This discussion got me thinking about a nice community driven project. Elevator pitch: the community assembles the collective wisdom found in the GM Reference AP threads into a "missing manual"/ "AP #7" pdf.

Taking the Council of Thieves AP as an example, this AP #7 might contain:


  • Ideas on how to continue the adventure past #6; for example: mechanics for managing the party-PC-wants-to-run-for-mayor-of-Westcrown; plot line for "the Queen sails down from Egorian with her army and the PCs enlist the help of the disenfranchised nobles, Order of the Scourge, and Andoran revolutionaries to wage an actual revolution against the Thrunists!
  • Collected (usually James Jacob provided) errata
  • Community created handouts - for example, my Liebdaga's Infernal Contract, or my build your own Chelish Crux
  • Tools drawing together the AP metaplot together. When running an AP I frequently have to go through the entire thing and draw together how everything fits together; for example, Treppa's heirarchy of noble houses, or, more extreme, a visual timeline of the AP a la XKCD's movie narrative charts
  • Hooks for folding one-shot modules into the AP; for example, I ran my party through Masks of the Living God, swapping out the Razmirian cultists for Mammonites
  • Analysis of how to improve specific combat scenarios; for example, removing the staggered condition from Liebdaga to make the Big Boss Fight more fun for the players.

So:

#1: Any interest in this? I'd probably start with CoT.
#2: What would Paizo's position on a AP Missing Manual community published content be? "That's awesome?", or "That's copyrighted material, piss off!"

Cheers!

Cheliax

1) dunno if I'd use it, as I don't know when/if I'm running CoT. However, I'd definitely lurk it. I like the politics that come with high levels and would be interested to see what you come up with.

2) I presume this would be free content? If so, I think the history has been "That's awesome". Any attempt at remuneration is almost guaranteed to generate the secondary response.

Grand Lodge

It would be a free pdf.

Cheliax

Then I think it would be ok. Especially if you were open on the boards where they could see what you were doing. It encourages people to play. Moreover, it encourages people who want to GM it to go out and buy the AP.

Just my observations, and in no way legal advice...


sozin wrote:
#2: What would Paizo's position on a AP Missing Manual community published content be? "That's awesome?", or "That's copyrighted material, piss off!"

As long as you follow Paizo's Community Use Policy, you'll find that there is an established tradition of community publishing in Wayfinder.


Oh, wow. Well, I have the rest of the adventure roughly plotted out through level 20. Would we include people's continuation plots?

Grand Lodge

Totally! I'm envisioning multiple continuation plot ideas, in various degrees of flushed-outed-ness.


I missed you by about two minutes this morning. Would have loved to be in on the discussion.

Grand Lodge

I've published the skeleton of the document on google docs here

If you are interesting in signing up as a collaborator, please email me at sozinsky at gmail dot com and I'll permission you as a doc editor.


Sozin: Updated doc with my suggestions and contribution offerings in maroon. Some of my docs are in spreadsheets which are handy to have in the original spreadsheet format rather than text, so they can be sorted and filtered. Any idea on how to handle that?

Where do you want contributions placed - inline in the text?

I used things contributed by others who may not sign up as contributors. If they published a link to their material here, can we include it? For example, I used Turin the Mad's generic Wiscrani for reference a few times.


Sozin, looks like there is a call for your rumor table.


Hi,

I'd like to chime in here. I have just started to run the CoT AP and have been stymied by several issues or concerns (though I have continued to push forward, several of my players found a few of my replies kind of hollow...). This "Missing Manual (MisM)" you all are putting together is a welcome sight and greatly appreciated.

I have been searching for advice on running this AP from those that have completed it so I could (hopefully) utilize their additional works and learn from their experiences - and hopefully be able to give my players a much better gaming setting than I see in the modules as presented. The items the MisM will contain are, to me, essential to running the AP well and with continuity. My searches to date have not been as fruitful as hoped for. (It is very aggravating that once the AP is completed (written/published) there is no official errata put out to fix or adjust the much in need issues. No one is perfect but please step up and help your patrons get the best experience possible... THIS should be part of the product.)

So, the short of it: *I* will use the compilation you all are creating. It is wanted. It is needed. It will be utilized. All of your efforts are appreciated.

From myself and my players, Thank You.

Voo

P.S. - Don't forget to add Sean McD's new Westcrown map - it's fantastic. He did an exceptional piece.

Grand Lodge

Quote:
If they published a link to their material here, can we include it? For example, I used Turin the Mad's generic Wiscrani for reference a few times.

I think its fair game and in the spirit of community contributions. Let's just make sure we give credit where credit is due in all cases.

Quote:
looks like there is a call for your rumor table

Added to the doc

Quote:
Some of my docs are in spreadsheets which are handy to have in the original spreadsheet format rather than text, so they can be sorted and filtered. Any idea on how to handle that?

I believe google docs lets you do that in-line as tables, including a nifty Excel->docs converter. I haven't played around with it. One for the backlog.

Quote:
So, the short of it: *I* will use the compilation you all are creating. It is wanted. It is needed. It will be utilized. All of your efforts are appreciated.

Good feedback, thank you. Treppa and I were discussing online and we think about a 1 year time frame is right for this project (we both have a lot going on right now), so, it probably won't be extremely helpful to you in the short term. I'm shooting for Dec 31 2012 as the "real" publication of the doc, although I'm sure we'll have multiple updates between now and then.

In the meantime, I created a set of organization cards for the GM to cut out and handout as appropriate. Here it is.


VooDoo wrote:

Hi,

I have just started to run the CoT AP and have been stymied by several issues or concerns (though I have continued to push forward, several of my players found a few of my replies kind of hollow...).
Voo

Since it looks like the manual may take a while, is there anything you need quickly that could go up early?


Hi,

Thank you both, Treppa and Sozin, for putting this together (and all who contribute).

Treppa,to answer your question, yes. I would like a foreshadowing and NPC appearance ("seen" not clothing) timeline. I have read the first three books of the AP but I already see several personalities I should have had the PCs see or hear of by now. I have been pushing names and Wiscrani noun-age but noteworthy or upcoming NPCs have not been highlighted enough. Perhaps, also add quick suggestions on how to get hidden background info into the players' hands (from whom, when, etc.).

Second, a "How to fix continuity" and/or how to make things realistic (like the NPC "waiting" for the PCs in that special section of the Mayor's house - without any real idea the PCs are going to show up there, in that special place...) type of document would be great too. Maybe part of this would be to remark upon a couple of NPCs, who if the PCs play well, are not even ever heard of or seen - they die ignobly in the background - and how to bring them forward into the viewable story so having them included in the AP is not a waste of space. :-|

Even if both/either of these docs are just in an outline format, but state what needs to be changed (whether or now exactly how or even if just an arrow: go from this X >> to this Y) would be extremely helpful. (I have two puzzle solvers in my group and continuity issues are their bane.)

I hope my reply answers your question well enough. If not, let me know and I will explain or speak to the topic again.

Thanks.

V


My reply above is meant as an either/or and as "Thanks for asking - and maybe even offering. If you were able to put something together, any of the pieces above - even in just a bullet or outline format - would be appreciated. Any of it." type of response. I had to post quick and go, so I hope it read well enough on your side. I was not asking for the world but attempting to get you as much info for possibilities as I could.

Again, I appreciate your offering of help and for starting this project. I've asked several local DMs who have completed this AP for assistance or even just their own notes, digital or photocopied [I offered to pay and do the copying...)], but none have followed through.

To paraphrase Leia, "Help me, Treppa-wan (and sozin) Kenobi; you're my only hope" hahaha

Thanks

V


VooDoo - Where is your party right now? Have you started the AP?

My notes are at home and I'm at work for the next *mumble* hours. I'll have to dig 'em up there and probably scan/post to google docs fer ya, so it will probably be sometime tomorrow for the NPC index. Treppa

Sozin, you look... different.


Treppa,

My group is following up on a lead about a potential lair of the group called the Bastards (and entering said lair, good or bad). We had a couple of minor side-treks to help gain XP and to better fill in the story line (went to the island to find out about a "Night Pass" and went in hunt of shadow beasts). I've been holding them back a bit and we just ended a month and a half hiatus from this campaign. Starting up again Sunday.

Thanks.

(maybe a new feather in his headdress... ?) :-)


Note: The party has been in Westcrown for some time now, and have accomplished the as-listed scenarios up to their current position - investigating a bastardized lead. I have also given them numerous, minor side-treks to look into - we've had many session, so don't let their current position mislead.


OK, but you're not too far into it. That's good. I read through all the AP's before beginning and made half of them related to documented NPC's, so they fit seamlessly into Westcrown. It was sweet. Any chance you can retrofit relationships for any of your party?


I just looked at the page, and I really think making a DM's guide to an AP is one of the best ideas I've heard on these boards in a long time. I really like how you've formatted it and am interested in seeing how it turns out. For my part, I've completed the AP and have pretty hefty notes on Council Captain conversions, expanding encounters, rewrites of some NPCs and so forth. Some of this is detailed in my "Council of Thieves" review, though for time's sake I didn't copy their stats into the review. If anything in this review interests you (besides the re-drawing of Walcourt, which would take me more time than I have to reproduce digitally), let me know. I have no problem recopying side notes or stats for anyone's use.

My issue with redrawing the Walcourt map:
In a way, I used a personalized approach to the dungeon, utilzing tiles, plexiglass, and markers to make both floors. While the notes I have basically show where I moved a trap or encounter to, most of it would have to be done from memeory (from about two months ago) since the map was done in the aforementioned format (we kept the map intact in our playing space until the module was finished). Anyways, reproduding this digitally would take me time that I need to devote to running Carrion Crown in about a month, as there are definitely tweaks that I need to put into that path (though not nearly as many as this AP). Hope I can still help in your project, nonetheless.


Treppa,

I can present and *ask* my players if relationships can be adjusted but most have back-stories that they may not want to tie to others. They are great role-players and have so far loved how their stories are slowly unfolding and playing out at the table. It's been fun. I've added some extra twists (not screwing them but plot additions) and Wows! for them to experience in upcoming sessions that fully tie-in to their backgrounds. I may be able to add new/unknown relationships within this context, depending upon exactly what the new connections are.

Character Info - My players stay out, please.:
We have:
Cleric/Priestess of Lamashtu, who has been able to infiltrate the first layer of the Church of Asmodeus (via only personally usable magic item {forwent Traits in exchange} and forgery - story mode mostly) send to cause/ferment anarchy within the city.

A tiefling magus who is just figuring out that tieflings are not really dung and deserve equal rights (he will find out soon that he is actually an outcast member of a minor Wiscrani noble house). Wants to raise the rights of tieflings.

A very overweight, gluttonous, greedy but tasteful, with a flair for the extravagant and better things in life druid (w/chihuahua companion - yes, carried in a bag... hahaha), who wants to gain (minor) noble status and then party (read: eat and drink) for the rest of his life. He is highly skilled in assessing valuables.

A drug addicted "human" (aasimar) "fighter" (paladin) who is a great asset to the party but makes them a bit uneasy. Used the tiefling alt ability chart and modified it for "good". He rolled 100 so got two rolls: Change/hide alignment radiated and healed by both positive/negative energy. He was once an evil cleric of Asmodeus but was turned on by his fellow clergy (or the Church as he sees it) and murdered to hide their deeds. He was reincarnated by some good priests/the gods into this new body. Doesn't actually use the drug; he dyes his eyes each day and affects a manner to make it look like he uses the drug (to hide his nonhuman eyes) - he has bluff and Profession: Actor to assist. He is bent on exposing the corruption of (HAH!) and bringing down the Church of Asmodeus. Party is getting close to figuring out something is more than not right with him... haha

A mercenary ranger. (Player is on/off with making it to sessions, so an NPC mostly.)

Magus, druid and "fighter" grew up in Westcrown. Priestess and merc live here on/off for the last six years.

All have a buy-in to making Westcrown a better place (again), for one personal reason of another.


We've put this campaign on hold - indefinitely. Actually, on hold until I decide if I can get into it and improve it enough so that *I* am also enthusiastic about DMing it.

I will check back here periodically and see what you all have had time to put up. Sharlata was nice enough to share his work on this AP with me (Thanks!). So when I look over resources and complete my notes of the AP, I will see where we sit with this campaign.

Thanks again (not fully leaving but probably going quiet. you are welcome to PM me if I haven't been here in a while. not abandoning, just reading and making notes...).

- V

The Unhappy Reasons:
The first book, even with my adjustments and additions, has so far fallen flat on the whole group. My group says it all feels cliche and "been there" to them (except for my additions...). :-( I can see where they would feel that. I am saddened to say, this first book isn't (or hasn't been to us) anything special. I was hoping for an AP that I *wouldn't* (and say that twice for emphasis) have to modify but slightly - this one is not that AP. I was hoping for a Grand Entrance (TM) with the first module of the AP, an awesome, colourful and exciting sojourn into the Old Soul of Westcrown, but we don't feel that.

Perhaps it's not all the AP's issues: perhaps my group is too experienced or too sharp and this just isn't for an experienced set of people. Maybe it's written with more of a new group in mind. Maybe it's my DMing as I am so unimpressed by this intro module because it is rather blah and riddled with emptiness, that it shows at the table (and that further detracts from the players' already ho-hum enjoyment). For whatever reasons, I need to think on this before we go any further.

(This is not meant as a dig on the AP. The above is a real expression of what we have experienced.)


Im interested, but I have also planned out how my campaign will go, and I may be heading in a different direction.

Here's the proposed order of adventures, we're adding in all sorts of things.

http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/24455/wikis/order-of-adventures

Taldor

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber

This is a brilliant idea.

To get people involved, it might be better to add what you can straight away and allow it to evolve through collaboration on the actual document.

Advice for changing the order of events and including how to adjust CRs might be helpful too.


#1: Any interest in this? I'd probably start with CoT.

Yes! i'm really interested in this thing!


Treppa wrote:

Sozin: Updated doc with my suggestions and contribution offerings in maroon. Some of my docs are in spreadsheets which are handy to have in the original spreadsheet format rather than text, so they can be sorted and filtered. Any idea on how to handle that?

Where do you want contributions placed - inline in the text?

I used things contributed by others who may not sign up as contributors. If they published a link to their material here, can we include it? For example, I used Turin the Mad's generic Wiscrani for reference a few times.

I had totally forgotten about that. Thank you very much for both including and crediting!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Where is the "generic Wiscrani" document? I would love to peruse that.

I heard that someone did Six Trials for six players by working the two suggested extra characters into that. Any of you know where I can find that script? I need a five-person version, so I could work from the four-person and six-person versions to get something like that (unless it's already been done).

A timeline would be brilliant. We're still in chapter one, but my players declined to attack Hellknights and aren't interested in allying with the Children of Westcrown, so I'm reworking plot hooks as best I can, and I'd love to work ahead wherever possible.

Thank-you for organizing this!


I may have missed it, but is there a link to look at this thing as it stands now? I'm starting CoT tomorrow and would love some more ideas.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Outline


Hey there!

I'm definitely very interested in taking part in this. May I suggest my own contribution to this compendium? I've worked on two projects so far, and another one is about to come to light.

A recurring villain - the Hound

Westcrown newspaper project

My third (and current) project deals with how to continue the campaign after part VI. Long story short, my players want to play Skull & Shackles, and after both APs are done, they'll be able to bring either of their characters from those two APs for the final part, dubbed "Cheliax in Flames" (working title, and a bow to Warhammer RPG's most excellent campaign).

If you're interested in including one or all the docs mentioned earlier to your compendium and need them in not-pdf format, please send me an email at: cyril dot corbaz at citycable dot ch


powerdemon wrote:
I may have missed it, but is there a link to look at this thing as it stands now? I'm starting CoT tomorrow and would love some more ideas.

Not for my stuff. I lost a bunch and will be recreating it for my new run of CoT which starts soon. :( Sorry.


If it were me I'd leave the Andoran people out - there are plenty of Chelish subversive-and-would-be-revolutionaries around for characters to make contact with.

Remember also all the "hooks" that were layed for eventual revenge of Mammon - and also the potential friendship with surviving Drovenges ("friendship" might be too strong a word - at first. But that's one of the dangling hooks).

I'd also leave out the "they attack with their army!" part - at least until late, late.

IMO it should be more in the sphere of political intrigue, manuevering, subtly building up a support base, convincing the convincable (such as, potentially, Goneville Chard and those like him) that the Thrunes do not stand for or provide the rule of law (hint: they don't; a law code arbitrarily applied and where you can be found guilty of something no matter what you do is chaos), and the like.

"Battles" would be the occasional small-squad level combats appropriate to PC interaction, "covert action" both by the PCs and against them.

Meta-theme would be to proceed further along the path the PCs started in Westcrown: bring light to the darkness, rather than wreck up the place (prevent others from wrecking up the place, and restore what has been wrecked).

IMO it's not really possible, or for truly Good and/or Lawful-leaning-towards Good PCs, desirable for just Westcrown to become independent surrounded by a sea of Thrune (especially given that Westcrown is on the river that leads to Egorian); so the PCs will have to navigate Chelish politics to continue what they've been doing - make things as bright as possible, rebuild Westcrown (Kingmaker helps here), and, in the ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny, overthrow the House of Thrune and marginalize Asomodeus.

The goal, IMO, should not be "create a carbon-copy of Andoran" - and, given the attitide of the Chelish people, PCs should not find much support for "lets ally with Andoran and emulate them."

No, rather the theme and atmosphere would be: what would Cheliax become if it were to follow the ethos of Iomedae (and other lawful-goodish dieties), rather than under the domination of the faith of Asmodeus? (No, the goal would not be to recreate places like Lastwall or Mendev; it would be no more to "make Cheliax a Crusader State" than it would be "make Cheliax or Westcrown a pale imitation of Andoran") - rather than the Iomedic portfolio of crusading, the emphasis would, IMO, be on her portfolio as patron of Justice and Rulership.

Done right it would probably be at least as long as the original AP, and intrigue would probably be the heart of it, especially early on, building alliances while not provoking an armed conflict, especially civil war (which the Chelish have an aversion to after the last one. After all, the last civil war produced what they have now. . .and they consider what they have now an improvement over that. IMO, PCs would not find much support if they started rabble-rousing with foreign/Andorian revolutionaries to blow up Cheliax; not at all. Quite the contrary. That'd probably turn off their good-aligned Chelish allies, not to mention the lawful-neutral-but-potentially-sympathetic-and-eventually-supportive ones).

This could include, especially if Chammady survived, working with and converting the remaining Council of Thieves (who, after all, are also networked into the other Aristocratic families the PCs will be attempting to gain and/or keep support of) - a sub-theme being converting evil/formerly evil to good (or at least neutral).

None of which would be easy, mind. But it's also not as if Andoran can beat Cheliax in a straight-up fight and would risk provoking one. But a truly epic and worthy goal, something the majority of Chelish people - like the majority of Wiscrani - deserve far more than "being wiped off the planet."

Edit: it would include plenty of stuff along these lines:

Khelavraa wrote:
Further our Inquisitor of Iomedae has gone so far as to set up shadow courts where the common people can come for fair arbitration and they are working with a couple of the Dotari Leaders to help keep the streets quiet.

+1 that's excellent!

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