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Does Paizo actually PLAY their adventure paths?


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion

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OK... so I just finished book 2 of the Crimson Throne adventure path.

I am not going to spoil anything because its a great adventure. But the final scenario battle of the adventure is essentially a string of battles which can reasonably be considered 2 minor battles, and 4 to 5 back to back CR8 or CR9 encounters (one of which includes a demon which are generally under CRed)

On top of that, the situation is not exactly one that allows for sleeping and resting between battle so the encounter is plotted out to happen essentially in one continual run.

The thing is... the characters are supposed to be no more than level 7 when they battle this scenario... in our case we entered the sequence of events at level 5 and the GM allowed us a mid-scenario 'find a place to level up, rest and recuperate' and still 3 out of 7 characters were killed .

I dont think its reasonable that any but the most meta gamed, min/maxed characters could have reasonably taken out this scenario.

Are we just that bad or is the scenario just way over powered?

Grand Lodge

I'll respond to the title and not the content... Sometimes I also get the feeling that things aren't play tested and I have an ongoing love-hate thing with loving their product and hating their editing and checking of new release products.


Yeah, I think they miss a lot, and don't playtest them much.

The horrors, the flaws, the worship when the adventure paths have so many flaws and assumptions. I'm not that impressed really. More later!

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

I know the area you're talking about, and I've run it for my Players before. They didn't seem to have as much trouble as you did.

Curse of the Crimson Throne Spoilers

Spoiler:

The Daemon and the Vampire don't have to be fought at all, and the necromancer should try and escape when the tide of battle turns against him. Also level 5 is too low to tackle that particular dungeon and I'm surprised your GM let you get there before hitting at least 6 or 7.

Being released at a monthly rate means it's nigh impossible to playtest an entire AP issue, that's why Paizo relies on top designers.

That said, of course there are flaws in the APs, but that's the nature of trying to create adventures for EVERY group ever. GMs should do at least a little to tailor things to their party and pick where problem sections might arise.

But if someone can point out another company releasing adventures of such consistent high quality with as few problem areas on such a regular schedule please I'd love to hear about them.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Two questions. One, is this a PF conversion? And two, if it is, which Advancement chart are you using? 3.5 APs need to be played on the Fast chart, and it sounds like your GM may be using the Medium chart if you hit everything - the numbers add up that way, anyway.


They cannot possibly play test it enough with the ridiculous release schedule they have. I'm hoping that going forward, they will tone it down as their back catalog grows larger and larger. Two full length campaigns per year is more than anyone I know can handle running or playing, so at this point it's probably more about catching people with a theme they like.

More polish would help the GM so much, especially (in my experience) the organisation of the content. I hate it when I'm describing an NPC, adding some stuff of my own, then find another description of the same NPC in a completely unexpected place later on and it conflicts with what I've done so I have to rejig everything slightly.

As for the difficulty, I find it to be very challenging, which is probably the least problematic way of balancing. The GM can always fudge it downward but increasing encounter difficulty is a lot harder. Playing the APs with 4 players, 15 point buy, normal progression, strict WBL will rely on optimization a lot.

Then there are of course some things that make you go "why". Like 1D4 troll random encounters at level 1.

Liberty's Edge

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I have GM it with 6 characters, not particularly optimized. It was hard (and justly so) but absolutely doable.
If you have started the big fight at level 5 you were noticeably underpowered. Being a larger group help only up to a point, after that your average hit point, saves and higher level spells/abilities become too low for the intended opposition.

In game the risk of character deaths should be present. While it should not be common the players should be aware that their character are risking their life. If a piece of an adventure is a cakewalk it can be done in background, without the need to roll every hit and miss of a fight whose result is already decided.


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I think they aim at the party of skilled optimisers since it's easier to tone something down than it is to increase the difficulty.

They are explicit about the fact that a DM should modify the material as required to suit their players and that it is impossible for them to produce adventures which are always going to be well balanced for any given group.

I think it's something of a myth that running a published adventure requires less prep time than running a homebrew. I think it requires less creative effort, but it takes just as much actual grunt work (in my experience) to ensure it's going to work for your group. There are plenty of modules I just cant run with my group because I know my players either won't take the hook or won't have the same reaction to the scenario as the author expects. I also know that I have to make everything easier after about level five since our group is nowhere near as good at optimising characters as the Paizo developers. (So if I dont lay off, they're all going to die).

Silver Crusade

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PF APs assume that players grasp the basics of optimization and system mastery.

If they don't, and if their tactics are shoddy, things can go rough in places.

D&D is a tactical wargame, at least as far as rules are concerned. Step up or fall out.

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

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Gorbacz wrote:

PF APs assume that players grasp the basics of optimization and system mastery.

If they don't, and if their tactics are shoddy, things can go rough in places.

D&D is a tactical wargame, at least as far as rules are concerned. Step up or fall out.

That's a little harsh. If you have players that aren't big optimizers the difficulty can be somewhat mitigated by giving the players higher point buys or recommending more powerful class choices (Summoner, Druid, Barbarian, Alchemist).

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Of course. And several AP's are less demanding (KM is a great example). And the GM can always adjust the difficulty as he/she sees fit.

But then again, there's always Xanesha :)


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Gorbacz wrote:
But then again, there's always Xanesha :)

Very soon now the older fans can tell the newer fans, "back in my day Xanesha was a TPK machine, you kids have it soooo easy ...."

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber
Trikk wrote:
Then there are of course some things that make you go "why". Like 1D4 troll random encounters at level 1.

Or 2d8 at level 3 or 4.

But if it's Kingmaker you're referring to here, those encounters make sense. Given enough distance to start the encounter, they've got the option of running (and then complaining, and then finally hand-wringing when they start hearing about troll problems).

AFAIK, encounters well above APL are fairly rare on random tables... a couple powerful ones remind the party about using discretion, not using combat in every scenario, and generally makes them value their characters' mortality.


Chris Kenney wrote:
Two questions. One, is this a PF conversion? And two, if it is, which Advancement chart are you using? 3.5 APs need to be played on the Fast chart, and it sounds like your GM may be using the Medium chart if you hit everything - the numbers add up that way, anyway.

Interesting. Can you elaborate on this?

I'm playing in a RotRL campaign in Pathfinder and the whole group feels like we're under leveled and/or leveling too slowly but the DM is pretty adamant about the Medium progression. Can you give me some math and/or site some other discussion about this that says the fast track is more appropriate?

Liberty's Edge

meatrace wrote:
I'm playing in a RotRL campaign in Pathfinder and the whole group feels like we're under leveled and/or leveling too slowly but the DM is pretty adamant about the Medium progression. Can you give me some math and/or site some other discussion about this that says the fast track is more appropriate?

The 3.5 APs were written in line with the 3.5 rules, including their advancement track, which was actually slightly faster than the fast AP track in Pathfinder, as it set each level as needing that level x 1000 to make the next level. To keep pace with the Challenge Rating pace of 3.5 APs, you either need to add multiple encounters (with breaks!) to increase the XP, or advance the PCs on the fast advancement track.

Dark Archive

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I, GROGNARD wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
But then again, there's always Xanesha :)
Very soon now the older fans can tell the newer fans, "back in my day Xanesha was a TPK machine, you kids have it soooo easy ...."

I know I will. ;D

Yes, some (most) PF APs are harsh on the players - and that's the way it should be.
You're playing an adventurer, someone who risks his own life and soul, not just an occasional scratch, bruise or easily (magically) healed cut. Death should be a constant - even if not too frequent - threat.

I've come to be really annoyed by the modern concept of "I'm a hero, I should survive" in gaming.


golem101 wrote:

I've come to be really annoyed by the modern concept of "I'm a hero, I should survive" in gaming.

I've always been a subscriber to the statement "3 out of 4 adventurers don't make it past their first year." and from what I've seen in my games adventurers usually reach between level 7 and level 14 over the course of their first year.

In other words if everyone in one of my games makes it to the end of the first game year alive their doing really well. Usually some of them are going to die before reaching that landmark whether its due to bad rolls, a misjudgment on their part or just plain bad luck where they miss a vital item or pieice of information. Which doesn't even count the ones where a PC would actually retire to run an inn because of injuries/they've made enough money to not want to adventure anymore which don't normally come up in a party but can be accounted for by players leaving or joining the game.

EDIT
For example one game I was running the party up against an enemy inspired by the movie the thing and it ended in a total party kill due to a combination of one player misssing and injuring another party member and their using up too much of their available fire resources before the final boss. Even then it was close but that's the kind of thing that happens when your adventuring, if your lucky you'll make it to high level and if your not your bones will lie in some forgotten valley till another party comes along and takes the magic items as loot.

EDIT 2
Or in a game I was playing where there was an assasin after the party and when he entered the building the two fighters charged out to try and stop him, in their underwear with only their weapons, and were killed whereas my mage hid and tried setting up an ambush which resulted in her surviving. End Score 3 dead adventurers if you include the dwarf who died from a disease within only a few months adventuring.


Its my belief that character death is a part of the game... but I dont believe that half the group should expect to die in a book. what i mean is that I think its good for players to be vested in their character. when a character dies your not only killing the weeks of play that the player has had with the character but also the weeks of play the players planned out with the character. your killing a past and future and in my personal oppinion its not fun.

nor should it be.

A well done battle should be one in which every one fears for their lives but deaths are kind of limited to unexpected crits or bad tactics.

when a 5th level character opens a door and dies to a 9th level wizard casting suffocation in the surprise round... thats a little annoying. If the players are then expected to defeat that guy, followed by a demon, then a 10th level cleric, then something else... well hell I think even at level 7 that would be tough.

having said that, your correct... the GM should balance things for the group and some GMs are better at that than others. But as it is a part of the story line some GMs find it hard to justify arbitrary modifications of the story line. My GM does his best to modify the the game in small limited tweeks in order to keep the game fun and avoid TPK. he does a pretty good job and to be honest this is not a whine about how hard the game is or complaints about the product.

I was just wondering why they would bother to design the story that way. If played as written the power level required by the group does not really allow for FUN play with non optimized role playing characters. instead people have to use the most broken template they can find to ensure they are strong enough to complete a step by step robotic walk though of the story line.

Once again... I thoroughly enjoy the AP and I am not really complaining, its perfectly reasonable to assume the GM can tweek to fit the party but I wonder if Paiso actually plays through encounters on their own and think to themselves... "Hm... maybe a chance to rest would be useful, or that 5th encounter 4 levels above the group is not that reasonable at this point. "


Can't help you there as I can't recall seeingn any of the adventure paths.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber
meatrace wrote:
Chris Kenney wrote:
3.5 APs need to be played on the Fast chart, and it sounds like your GM may be using the Medium chart if you hit everything - the numbers add up that way, anyway.

Interesting. Can you elaborate on this?

I'm playing in a RotRL campaign in Pathfinder and the whole group feels like we're under leveled and/or leveling too slowly but the DM is pretty adamant about the Medium progression.

From the Pathfinder Conversion Guide in the "Running the Game" section:

One of the first decisions you need to make concerns the rate of advancement for the group. For a slow game, the PCs will gain a level after having faced roughly 30 encounters. For a medium game, they will gain a level after 20 encounters. A fast game (which was the default for 3.5) allowed the PCs to gain a level after about 13 encounters. This decision determines the XP chart used by the PCs to gain levels (see page 30) and the treasure table used to add treasure to encounters (see page 399).

Sounds like the RotRL and perhaps the CotCT group from the OP are running medium progression. Not saying there aren't hard fights anyway but not so sure about running into 4+ CR battles on a regular basis.

Star Voter 2013

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

Sure Paizo might not playtst all their games but so what... Your DM should know the Party's strengths and weaknesses and should be able to tweak it so that the AP is challenging but yet doable. Sometimes very challenging! Your an Adventurer and there is DEADLY RISK involved with adventuring.

Have fun enjoy the ride and if doesnt work out try again (ask my players they're in RotRL -the death count is over 10 already).


The game I am running just got to the end of the first part of rise of the rune lords. Now overall this module wasn't overly challenging, but it was a very good intro to both the setting and the path in general. The fight with the BBEG however took a nasty turn. She is standing there with a little hell hound that the party had already easily smoked a pair of. The only problem is, the unthinkable happens, the cleric fails a will save and starts fleeing along with the barbarian. because of this and the magus in the party getting hit with a nasty crit he goes down, unconcious and bleeding. He makes his stabilize check but then the BBEG is bleeding out a little herself so casts death knell..... I kinda hated killing a party member but the player is cool with it and is one of those guys that always has another idea he wants to try out. A couple of the other party members I might have fudged the call a bit more but not him.

I guess what I'm trying to say is sometimes a party death or 2 helps drive that mortality issue home with the players.

Asta
PSY


I have played plenty of adventures where there is only one or two conscious or dying at the end. My first character was a bard back in 2nd edition. I was unconscious most of the time.

I have found over the years that there are different play styles. I never once have had a player in my games:
1-Scout ahead
2-Scry ahead
3-Use divinations
4-Retreat from anything other than authorities, armies or dragons.

I think this is due to hacknslash video games.

When I talk to other gamers many of them have the same experience. Others however take things at a much slower pace. They scry, they scout, devine, charm minions into sharing secrets, and get this rather than camp hold up in a dangerous dungeon filled to the brim with monsters and undead. They actually travel back to safety, resupply before going back, heal up and go back at it better equipped.

I think writes of adventures keep both groups in mind and sometimes favor those who prepare themselves beyond equipment. I am certainly not saying this happened to your group but knowing dungeon layout, expected dangers and so forth can mitigate some challenges.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
I, GROGNARD wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
But then again, there's always Xanesha :)
Very soon now the older fans can tell the newer fans, "back in my day Xanesha was a TPK machine, you kids have it soooo easy ...."

Xan-who? Oh, you mean that lamia matriarch in that clock tower I dropped on her? Damn, I didn't even know she was in there. *shrug* Really easy encounter...

Liberty's Edge

In response to the title: After freelancing a couple of times, it is my understanding that most RPG publishers expect the author to do the play-testing. That is part of what you're being paid for. Err, part of for what you're being paid. Err, part of your job.

Sigh.

So, maybe the better question is, "Does Paizo actually require their AP's to be play tested?"


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Shivok wrote:
Sure Paizo might not playtst all their games but so what... Your DM should know the Party's strengths and weaknesses and should be able to tweak it so that the AP is challenging but yet doable.

This is drawing close to the Oberoni Fallacy.


I get the impression that people are thinking that I am upset at dieing.

its not at all that, and I am not angry, like i said the adventure is fun and after everything we went home last night happy.

I do however expect a level of reasonable balance to an adventure. I can accept any of the individual battles we faced... even 2 back to back.

but if paizo dropped a cr 7 dragon as the end game boss of a level 1 to 3 adventure the correct answer would not be "well some time people die"

with that in mind the end of a level 4 to 7 book should probably not include a CR9 demon with flight, breath weapon, ranged attack, sickening aura and a 35% chance to summon a copy of itself. placed smack dab in the middle of several other CR 8 to 10 encounters in an environment where "rest" is not really viable because you walked into a relatively small temple so sleeping or walking away for a day or two to rest is not from a story perspective.

Yes, your correct there are things the GM can do to balance it out from ensuring the group is maxed level when they enter the encounter to small tweaks and fudges to attempt to make it challenging but not a guaranteed TPK. but I guess my real question is what kind of group does Paizo expect would make the scenario a well balanced encounter.

what kind of group would generally get through that entire scenario losing only 1 or 2 characters but successfully defeating all of the required encounters without rest or modification?


Well I think the biggest thing is definitely that you should be using the Fast advancement for the AP.

Having a couple more levels makes a HUGE difference.
I went through that part of the adventure with 3 pretty optimized characters, and it was fairly balanced, but we were level 7 I think.
So a group of 4-5 not particularly optimized characters should be pretty balanced too.
A group of level 5 characters running through that part should be expected to have a REALLY hard time (as you did)

I think the Daemon was even harder than the end boss, the combination of abilities is pretty rough, especially if you are not prepared for it.

Paizo Employee Webstore Gninja Minion , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Moved thread.
The adventure paths starting with Council of Thieves are meant to be run at medium advancement (if you're playing the ones prior to that, the fast XP track is the one you should be using, as has been pointed out) with four players. (As far as I know, the standard fighter, cleric, rogue, wizard party seems to be the default, expected make-up for an adventure. I could be wrong.)

If you have more players, you'll have to adjust accordingly.
If you have inexperienced players, you'll have to adjust.
If, for whatever reason, you have an all-fighter party, chances are you might have to adjust things.

We can't predict every party make-up, which is arguably one of the biggest challenges for any GM running an AP, or any published adventure. Writers are expected to playtest their adventures before turning them in--that's part of what they're being paid for to do.

Sovereign Court

Steve Geddes wrote:

I think they aim at the party of skilled optimisers since it's easier to tone something down than it is to increase the difficulty.

Uh ? I thought they were going for the casual players crowd. my group would hardly ever feel threatened without me rewritng the difficulty up.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
blue_the_wolf wrote:

But the final scenario battle of the adventure is essentially a string of battles which can reasonably be considered 2 minor battles, and 4 to 5 back to back CR8 or CR9 encounters (one of which includes a demon which are generally under CRed)

On top of that, the situation is not exactly one that allows for sleeping and resting between battle so the encounter is plotted out to happen essentially in one continual run.

The life of an adventurer is difficult. And often short.

-Skeld


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
pres man wrote:
Shivok wrote:
Sure Paizo might not playtst all their games but so what... Your DM should know the Party's strengths and weaknesses and should be able to tweak it so that the AP is challenging but yet doable.
This is drawing close to the Oberoni Fallacy.

Whereas I ran ROTR using the SLOW AP progression. I just added enough other stuff and allowed for XP for more RPing. Still kept the surviving characters at the right level for each adventure arc though.

That's part of being a GM.

If the party isn't high enough level to handle the next chapter...you need to give them stuff to experience (and not all of it has to be combat).

In the first two modules, we had several side stories. (Actually, we started with Into the Haunted Woods). Often, the side stories we adventures of their own choosing...following hints, leads, or their own backstories.

This led them to encounter an Attic Whisperer in the orphanage, explore Chopper's Isle, battle the Sandpoint Devil, drink the hagfish water, gamble at the bars (using the gambling rules and games from Second Darkness) uncover the mystery in Wolf's Ear, explore a ship that crashed off the coast, and get involved in multiple romances, intrigues, partys, and role playing antics.

And as a GM, its my jo to work those in and give them places to do them. And it allowed me to hand out good RP experience to keep them on track for advancement.


I read Pathfinder Adventure Path #37: Souls for Smuggler's Shiv (Serpent's Skull 1 of 6), and I read some comments on it, it either wasn't playtested much or was playtested with an optimized meta-gamey party... For a 15 PB levels 1-4 AP, a lot of the chalanges are a bit much... the side-bar/"windows" tell the PCs should use stuff available only at much higher levels, ridiculously high DC... It is kinda obvious it was first designed for higher level play and not everything was adjusted for being in a part 1 of an AP.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Paizo's early APs were more challenging and they responded to feedback by better balancing their encounters.

Of course, the feedback they resonded to wasn't as snarkily antagonistic in its title as this thread.

This thread only exists because either the OP's search-fu is weak or he could not be bothered. There have been loads of threads discussing this and Paizo have responded positively.

One of the things they seem to have recognised is that Steve Geddes' post above is dead wrong: it is actually easier to make something tougher than it is to weaken it (if you want to know why, check out all those old threads).

I would like to suggest a new thread title: "Does the OP actually THINK before he gets all snarky?"

Wow, that's a pretty rude thread title... almost as rude as the actual thread title.

The most important rule... dudes!


From what I have read it seems they play tested Kingmaker at least the kingdom building rules. With all the other sub-system broken and their quick release dates I would doubt they play test anything else in the AP's. Its a pity really because they make a very good product that could be a great product with play testing


blue_the_wolf wrote:


with that in mind the end of a level 4 to 7 book should probably not include a CR9 demon with flight, breath weapon, ranged attack, sickening aura and a 35% chance to summon a copy of itself. placed smack dab in the middle of several other CR 8 to 10 encounters in an environment where "rest" is not really viable

I ran my players through that. They were level 6, and there were 6 of them. They survived just fine. Overall that dungeon has a reputation for being tough but not grotesquely so.

The encounter you mention here is optional -- the PCs can easily avoid it. As for the others,

Spoiler:

Rolth is tough, but he's alone except for a couple of low level mooks -- the PCs will drop the mooks quickly and then get action economy on him. My PCs found him a challenging fight (they weren't expecting Ice Storm at all) but once they got a couple of melee characters adjacent to him, he had to Dim Door out.

The nosferatu is another avoidable, optional encounter. My PCs ended up fighting him and came very close to losing and dying. But, again, action economy prevailed. (He escaped to his coffin.)

Lady Andaisin ended up being almost a pushover, relatively speaking. The PCs were expecting something like her, and her ranting gave them time to prepare. They successfully dispelled her Air Walk, and then the barbarian grappled her. And that was it... they wisely took her alive, so she never had a chance to do the die-and-come-back thing.

BTW, for future reference, if you want to know whether a particular AP event is too tough you can skim the AP obituary threads.

Doug M.


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Stereofm wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I think they aim at the party of skilled optimisers since it's easier to tone something down than it is to increase the difficulty.
Uh ? I thought they were going for the casual players crowd. my group would hardly ever feel threatened without me rewritng the difficulty up.

Then I suspect you don't appreciate just how casual some of us are. :)

We will pretty much always die midway through any published adventure (for characters over fifth or so level) if we play it as written - we just run into something which seems impossible to us.

I don't mean to suggest my group is "normal", nor that paizo aim for the extreme. I probably should have said "rules literate players who aim for competent characters" rather than "skilled optimisers".


I, GROGNARD wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
But then again, there's always Xanesha :)
Very soon now the older fans can tell the newer fans, "back in my day Xanesha was a TPK machine, you kids have it soooo easy ...."

In my party, my character was the only one that survived fighting her. Managed to kill her with the best rolling I have ever pulled off. The party was a mess. Get this, one got frozen to stone, later was turned back by city cleric, then while taking the mayor back on horse with haste, he natural 1'd the ride check, then a second natural one. So my character is a near gibbering 4/5ths killed wreck, the other formerly stone to flesh guy tries to ride off and return the mayor, he crashes horse, is killed in the fall (didn't exactly have a huge lot of hp left) and the mayor is critted, he almost dies. This is after everyone else has already died.

Insanity. Train wreck.


blue_the_wolf wrote:

Its my belief that character death is a part of the game... but I dont believe that half the group should expect to die in a book. what i mean is that I think its good for players to be vested in their character. when a character dies your not only killing the weeks of play that the player has had with the character but also the weeks of play the players planned out with the character. your killing a past and future and in my personal oppinion its not fun.

nor should it be.

A well done battle should be one in which every one fears for their lives but deaths are kind of limited to unexpected crits or bad tactics.

when a 5th level character opens a door and dies to a 9th level wizard casting suffocation in the surprise round... thats a little annoying. If the players are then expected to defeat that guy, followed by a demon, then a 10th level cleric, then something else... well hell I think even at level 7 that would be tough.

having said that, your correct... the GM should balance things for the group and some GMs are better at that than others. But as it is a part of the story line some GMs find it hard to justify arbitrary modifications of the story line. My GM does his best to modify the the game in small limited tweeks in order to keep the game fun and avoid TPK. he does a pretty good job and to be honest this is not a whine about how hard the game is or complaints about the product.

I was just wondering why they would bother to design the story that way. If played as written the power level required by the group does not really allow for FUN play with non optimized role playing characters. instead people have to use the most broken template they can find to ensure they are strong enough to complete a step by step robotic walk though of the story line.

Once again... I thoroughly enjoy the AP and I am not really complaining, its perfectly reasonable to assume the GM can tweek to fit the party but I wonder if Paiso actually plays through encounters on their own and think to themselves......

Ha! *Imagine a bearded and scarred warrior is telling you this tale, his accent is somewhere between Irish, Welsh, and very guttural, perhaps drunk*.

So many dead adventurers. Two tpks, one full-metal armoured cleric even exploded from damage before she even got to her initiative! The crazy greater Barghest sneaked her, won initiative, sneak and full rounded her. She exploded over the rest of the party. Blood-o-cleric was on the menu. It mixed well with blood-o-whole-party.

Fortunately, my character had stayed back in S#$*point. Nursing a drink and mourning his dead friends, the near tpk prior, that only he had walked out of.

I remember the dm said, "you should have gone with them, they would have won". "F*ck you I said, I would have died like the rest of them."

And then to solve this problem, one player was possessed by a cloak, and under dm control single handedly killed the greater barghest many crs above him. Sure. Sure. Worse game ever.

I remember really early saying, we shouldn't attack the goblins, we should arm the populace, fortify up, makes this the seven samurai, not just us fighting all our foes. But nooo, the dm wouldn't allow us to play it smart and let the enemy come to us, nooo. Fault of the dm not the setting though there.


GeraintElberion wrote:

Paizo's early APs were more challenging and they responded to feedback by better balancing their encounters.

Of course, the feedback they resonded to wasn't as snarkily antagonistic in its title as this thread.

This thread only exists because either the OP's search-fu is weak or he could not be bothered. There have been loads of threads discussing this and Paizo have responded positively.

One of the things they seem to have recognised is that Steve Geddes' post above is dead wrong: it is actually easier to make something tougher than it is to weaken it (if you want to know why, check out all those old threads).

I would like to suggest a new thread title: "Does the OP actually THINK before he gets all snarky?"

Wow, that's a pretty rude thread title... almost as rude as the actual thread title.

The most important rule... dudes!

The chap is a bit critical, there is nothing wrong with that. I've seen far too much defence of paizo and real discouragement of critique and discussion on these boards. It's okay man, they will deal with it, and people will vent their frustrations or point out ridiculous parts. It's okay. I'm reminded of the Serpent's skull books and the gorilla king now. You must complete these challenges to satisfy me, or probably die (via army).

The Exchange Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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blue_the_wolf wrote:


with that in mind the end of a level 4 to 7 book should probably not include a CR9 demon with flight, breath weapon, ranged attack, sickening aura and a 35% chance to summon a copy of itself. placed smack dab in the middle of several other CR 8 to 10 encounters in an environment where "rest" is not really viable because you walked into a relatively small temple so sleeping or walking away for a day or two to rest is not from a story perspective.

Dudemeister addressed this already. In the adventure as written, that daemon does not have to be fought unless the PCs break open the container it is imprisoned in. A Knowledge(planes) roll by a party member should be enough to tell a group of injured and resource-depleted adventurers that they definitely should not do so.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Reminder: whatever a player gets from an AP is always the written text + GM's input.

I recall one fellow nerdraging about some encounter in an AP adventure up until someone pointed out that said encounter has totally different opponents as written.


Text, dm's organisation and level of adoption of text, luck of the dice on the night, how good the team's teamwork is, did they get themselves into a really bad spot prior or during an encounter (e.g. crit ally).

All that is just part of it, but some paizo stuff makes me cringe or roll my eyes. The grovel quests especially in Curse of the Crimson throne involving the tribesmen.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
blue_the_wolf wrote:


when a 5th level character opens a door and dies to a 9th level wizard casting suffocation in the surprise round... thats a little annoying. If the players are then expected to defeat that guy, followed by a demon, then a 10th level cleric, then something else... well hell I think even at level 7 that would be tough.

Suffocation = Pathfinder APG

CoCT = 3.5 adventure

If your GM has updated the adventure without rebalancing it the problem isn't Paizo playtesting but your GM doing a doubtful conversion job.

CoCT:

In the module as written the highest level wizard I see is a level 8.
Suffocation is a level 5 spell.
Aim your rage to your GM.


Regarding the spoiler: If the DM updated it to Pathfinder rules, he would have discovered that NPCs are 1 CR lower in PF than in 3.5, and so may very well have compensated by adding a level to obtain the written CR.


blue_the_wolf wrote:


when a 5th level character opens a door and dies to a 9th level wizard casting suffocation in the surprise round... thats a little annoying. If the players are then expected to defeat that guy, followed by a demon, then a 10th level cleric, then something else... well hell I think even at level 7 that would be tough.
Diego Rossi wrote:

In the module as written the highest level wizard I see is a level 8.

Suffocation is a level 5 spell.
Aim your rage to your GM.

My GM killed my magus with Circle of Death as he charged said wizard...

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

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Steve Geddes wrote:
I think it's something of a myth that running a published adventure requires less prep time than running a homebrew. I think it requires less creative effort, but it takes just as much actual grunt work (in my experience) to ensure it's going to work for your group. There are plenty of modules I just cant run with my group because I know my players either won't take the hook or won't have the same reaction to the scenario as the author expects. I also know that I have to make everything easier after about level five since our group is nowhere near as good at optimising characters as the Paizo developers. (So if I dont lay off, they're all going to die).

I'm a pretty good GM and I can put some encounters together in a hurry, say 2-5 hours prep time for a session.

With an adventure path I spend 2-5 hours of prep time and I get that, plut I get detailed maps; interesting NPCs and locations; excellent artwork detailing those locations; oddball stuff like little songs, poems, or in-game events; rich descriptive text; custom rules, items, or spells for the setting or a particular villain.

The point of buying an adventure path is not to lessen the workload of the GM, it is to increase the richness of the experience for you and your players. Obviously, it's possible to build out a really amazing experience like this for a group, I've had a GM do this and it's pretty amazing, but the amount of work involved in doing that is vastly larger than most GMs (who have families and lives) can afford to invest.

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Oh, I dunno, I'd say the adventure paths save a ton of work. The only reason I have time to run two groups is because the second group is running through an adventure path that I'm pretty much running as written.

There's no way I'd have time to run two "from scratch" campaigns.


Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Maps, Modules, Tales Subscriber
gbonehead wrote:

Oh, I dunno, I'd say the adventure paths save a ton of work. The only reason I have time to run two groups is because the second group is running through an adventure path that I'm pretty much running as written.

There's no way I'd have time to run two "from scratch" campaigns.

It probably depends somewhat on the skill of your players. Our group would die in the second or third instalment of pretty much any of the APs if we just ran it as written - we're not terribly good at creating characters, nor do we have a very good understanding of high level tactics (pretty much anything above 5th level, it seems).

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

"Run as written" to me is not the same as "run as if you are a robot."

I always adjust things on the fly when I run if they're not appropriate to the party at hand. I view that as entirely different than writing materials from scratch.

But I can see what you mean. For example, I did not use the trust mechanic as written in Haunting of Harrowstone (because I read ahead of time there were editorial errors associated with it).

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