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RPG Superstar 2015

Things you've changed, and things you should have. [Spoilers]


Jade Regent

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I'm interested in hearing about adjustments, major or minor that people have made in various parts of Jade Regent. I've personally had the good fortune to be able to run the adventure twice, with two different groups (technically three times up to the end of NoFS, and then thrice beyond that), and so I've been running things as-written for the group in the lead and with adjustments based on what worked and what didn't for the group that's further behind them.

Some of the biggest changes I've made so far are in Night of Frozen Shadows. I gave them a few days to prepare for the funeral ship, as I felt the gap between the fight at Asvig's farm and the trip out to the ship itself was too rushed, and the players ended up successfully tracking it to the warehouse it was being stored in. The shark-eating crab was run as an encounter on their way to the rimerunners guildhall instead of here, and they thus fought ninja in the warehouse itself, and assumed that they'd destroyed Ulf's method of execution before it.

I'm also making massive edits to Goti Runecaster's backstory, on account of the first group killing him without ever realizing who they were killing, and the exchange afterwords of:
"So who was Goti Runecaster, we heard about him but we never met him"
"You did meet him, he was the troll-like guy with the zombies who you killed before he could get up"
"Oh, that was him? I had no idea".
I was really disappointed a character important enough to get his own two-page spread in the AP had so little significance, so I'm taking advantage of the players being somewhat stuck on what to do next to allow them to track down some info on his backstory and meet his mother, making him a bit of a sympathetic character.

In addition to that, I made adjustments to how the forces of Ravenscraeg position themselves while on alert, though that was more due to me not understanding the AP's explanation of how they were actually supposed to organize themselves at the time of running it. I.e. I made changes in that case on account of "I was winging it" rather than any actual need for changes.

The one encounter I wish I'd changed was Zaiobe. The first group never encountered her on their first run through Brinewall, and killed her without conversing on their second, so when the third group got to her I had no clue that running her betrayal as-written was a horribly bad idea. They players were disappointed with how it all played-out, and the encounter left a bad taste in my mouth. Given a do-over I would definitely try to make her betrayl more subtle, and potentially more negotiable than suddenly deciding "Thanks for your help, I'mma kill you for your stuff now" was.

Star Voter 2013

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gluttony wrote:


In addition to that, I made adjustments to how the forces of Ravenscraeg position themselves while on alert, though that was more due to me not understanding the AP's explanation of how they were actually supposed to organize themselves at the time of running it. I.e. I made changes in that case on...

As far as Zaiobe goes, she ended up playing a pretty memorable role in our game. My players threw me for a bit of a loop by killing off Kikonu the first time they met him (an amusing/memorable story for another time if folks are interested enough). I really liked Zaiobe though, and still wanted to work her in.

Right up to the beginning of the next session, I still had no idea how I was going to to work her in, so I just gave up thinking about it and decided to wing it. What ended up happening was a power struggle for taking over the leadership of the castle between Zaiobe and Nevakali with the PCs in the middle. Made for some really fun roleplaying, with ultimately Nevakali getting killed first up on the walls along with the Mobat.

At one point after that, Zaiobe decided she was bored and so ordered the PCs to bring the prisoner (Kelda) to her for excecution. The PCs, finally having had enough of her, formulated an ambush. They went through the motions of following the orders, Kelda remaining resolutely stoic the whole time, and went before Zaiobe who was standing before her newly acquired throne. (Slugwort was also present, feeling responsible for his prisoner, and mourning the death of Kikonu). The ninja forced Kelda to kneel before Zaiobe, raised his katana as if to behead her, and instead struck Zaiobe.

There began a pretty epic fight which involved the cleric playing his Lust plot twist card to change Slugwort's allegiance; the group fighting along side "The Naked Chick" (as they still didn't know her name, she was wearing just her rag as they hadn't retrieved her stuff, and the ninja threw her his spare wakizashi); they spilled out into the courtyard so Zaiobe could use her flight and flaming arrows to her advantage; the wizard split from the group and went up on the walls to get a better vantage, only to be killed by a massive critical hit from her flaming arrow (RIP Theran); the ninja shamefully running away across the courtyard when he had cause fear cast on him; and finally the sweet feel of victory as Zaiobe fell from the sky, and Slugwort assuming the throne of Brinewall

Shadow Lodge

That Zaiobi fight sounds epic!

I took a cue from Clark Peterson, who has a thread way down in the forum and added a couple of elements to the beginning of the game. First, the characters met Slorb, who begged them to help him save the village. This gave them a personal investment in going, as opposed to "helping the town," which half the group would have been less into. The group failed to parley with the goblins, wiped out the village and now Slorb is Chief of Nothing. It made for a sad "rise to power" story, which foreshadows nicely some of the stuff coming later. Meanwhile, there is a rival adventuring party that includes Ameiko's little brother, the only living male Amatatsu heir, adding in a serious element of competition (especially since one of the PCs is her sister). One of those rival adventurers is a weyang, which will be fun to play eventually. I expect the parties to meet and work together on the crown of the world, and plan to kill (most of) the other party off during Forest of Spirits, unless something more interesting comes up along the way.

Also, Reta Bigbad and Stumpbiter were Chief Gutwad's guards. Since three of my players had played "We Be Goblins," they got a kick out of seeing their old characters again, and felt a little bad about killing them.

My group was going to skip Walthus altogether (not knowing that he would die if they did so, and with no way in the adventure to every find out), so I sent Ameiko, Sandru and Shalelu out to talk to him. This made for an interesting character moment, as Ameiko has a fear of snakes, and Walthus's house is full of them. Great sister-bonding.

In the swamp, the adventuring party that had gone missing a few days before had been raised as skeletons by Tsutamu (except for their cleric, who was killed by the amoeba).

I added in a lot of encounters on the road, beyond the few that were in the back of the adventure, pulling some from the threads here and others from character plots I wanted to run. We're using the caravan rules, with minor modifications for action economy, and currently the players love them. If that changes, we'll roll with it. My favorite of the encounters was when Ameiko and Sandru went off near Wolf's Ear to pay their respects to Sandru's brother. Most of the PCs followed them, chastised them for leaving the caravan, and then everyone was attacked by the same cannibals. Great Ameiko moment, as she killed the druid (one of the players was running her for the combat, and got to play out her catharsis).

It looks like I'll have a couple of players join before the group finishes Brinewall, so their characters will start the game in the cell with Kelda. That's a pretty big change.

I haven't had to change anything in Brinewall, yet. We're running F2F, so it's slower than PBP.


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I've made a lot of edits to #3 and #4. The oni encounter and Dead Man's Dome in #3 were cut, wrapped together and repackaged as a samurai riding a Tien caravan and coming to kill the PCs-- he ended up as a vassal to the cavalier. Since some PCs were children of other PCs-- we had a grandson of one PC from Second Darkness, and one PC was a grandson of the PC from Council of Thieves and son of a PC from Curse of the Crimson throne-- I had Katiyana summon up the ghostly ether of what was left of the final villains from those campaigns to fight the PCs during their climactic encounter, which made her a little cooler in my mind.

#4, I added a lot more stuff with the kami and Miyaro, and changed her from a kitsune to a red-fox werewolf. I made significant edits to Miyaro-- she became the last Shojinawa scion. I changed the history so that Akinosa killed the Shojinawa as they tried to escape Minkai-- They had evacuated alongside the Amatatsu, but they were forced to enter the Forest of Spirits to avoid being captured by the oni and were all wiped out except for Miyaro, who was left hidden in the forest as a baby and was raised by the kami. I also changed her from a rogue to a monk.

PCs, No:
I also changed The Jade Regent's backstory a lot as a result, and am revealing it to the PCs in Munasukaru's Penance-- by having Munasukaru tell it to the PCs through the use of casting illusion spells to depict a shadow puppet theatre on the walls of the Penance through her imperfect crystal ball. I'll post up what I changed if you guys like, but it's fairly long.

A lot of my campaign has been changed to introduce the 5 families. The PCs likely

PCs, No!:
are going to meet the other 3 Scions, which will be O-Sayumi, Habasuta Hatsue and a more Minkai stand-in for the paladin in Ruby Phoenix Tournament.
They'll also
PCs, No!:
re-compose the seals of the other families so that they can enter the Imperial Shrine in the harbor of Kasai. They have the Amatatsu Seal, found in the basement of Brinewall, and the Shojinawa Seal that Akinosa stole, but will need to win the Ruby Phoenix Tournament to gain the Teikoku Seal and save O-Sayumi to receive the Sugimatu Seal. I'm in love with the idea of having one of the Tao-Tiehs disgorge the Higashiyama Seal just because I think it'd be really funny to play up that it has been lost to time and that it can never be re-created and etc. etc. just to have it fall into their laps, mostly to hammer home that the PCs are "destined."

Contributor

This is all very interesting.

My group is about to reach the very first encounter in Night of Frozen Shadows, so they haven't long left Brinewall.

I didn't like the Zaiobe betrayal either, so I cut it. Sort of. I had her make an alliance with the PCs to get back at Kikonu and she led him into an ambush, but he got away before the PCs could even touch him. After that, she more or less left them to deal with Kikonu on their own while she went and recovered the statuette of Pazuzu from near the caravan (one of the PCs had picked it up, and had to get Koya to use her scroll of remove curse on it). Zaiobe grabbed the statuette and got into a little bow-slinging fight with the NPCs at the caravan before flying off with the statuette towards the Red Bishop (as per her backstory).

I've removed the caravan rules completely because we had had quite enough of arbitrary upper-tier rules above the PC level from playing Kingmaker. The journeys between adventure sites have needed to be filled in, and that's fun and allowed for RP opportunities both within the group and with NPCs they meet along the way.

I threw in Feast of Ravenmoor on the journey to Brinewall. We had 6 PCs at the time and I figured even though they were lower level than the adventure recommended they could deal with it, and they did (albeit with a little help from Sandru and Shalelu).

If I could start again, I think I'd remove the caravan altogether and run the AP as a more normal adventure featuring just the PC party, or even suggest that players take the roles of the NPCs.

I'm finding the inclusion of the NPCs to be problematic, and difficult to reconcile with the realism of the rest of the game. Why do the PCs have to do everything instead of Ameiko and her friends? I want the PCs to feel that they have some say in their fate, rather than riding along on rails going wherever the caravan goes.

Of course, I can (and probably will) do something about all these issues, but this seemed like a convenient and opportune place to have a whinge and a moan.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

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All of the talk of Zaiobe in this thread is making me a bit regretful. I ran her pretty much as written, and I feel like I've missed an opportunity.

The biggest change I made to Brinewall Legacy is I kept Ameiko active throughout all of it. Rather than the kami possessing her, I figured that it should possess someone in order to get her attention, to make her want to go find the warding box and the Amatatsu Seal. So it took Sandru out of the picture; that definitely stopped the caravan, and triggered her survivor's guilt over Sandru's little brother (although that bit of backstory has only been alluded to so far). It also gave the PCs a chance to see Ameiko in action; she has a reputation for being a badass, and I didn't like the "damsel in constant distress" that she seemed to be in the modules as written.

Since my party consists of three people, I've been having one or two NPCs joining them on their expeditions. It makes them feel much more involved, and does away with the "why are the NPCs so damn lazy?" feeling that their constantly staying behind with the caravan conveys.

I altered caravan combat considerably, based on suggestions made here on the message boards, but my players still don't like it. They like the other caravan stuff; the Security and Resolve checks and trading, but the combat, even after I made it more involved for all the PCs, left them cold. So my current plan is to have it so that combat is as normal on the road, but the caravan in total acts as another character making attacks. It can be attacked in turn, taking HP damage as the rules. The PCs are currently in Kalsgard, so I haven't had the opportunity to actually test that plan out yet.

Speaking of Kalsgard, I hated the first half of Night of Frozen Shadows as written. It's a terrible mystery, full of situations where there's only one way to get the right answer and huge leaps of logic (why would all parties take the "join Snorri Stone-eye" thing literally?). So I stripped it down to its barest components and created multiple alternate sources of info for them to get. In my version of events, the Rimerunners learned where Suishen was from Madame Kawaoh, the Tien antiques dealer. She bore Fynn Snaevald a grudge for refusing to part with Suishen, so when Rimerunners agents started bullying her for info about magical katanas, she gave it up quickly. The ninjas were already on board Snaevald's funeral ship, as they had been given order to put him down if he escaped the hold before the ship caught fire. This was also to undo the stupidity of it being impossible for the PCs to see the ninjas coming, and how exactly the Frozen Shadows knew that the PCs would raid that ship within hours of them learning about it.

Instead of the chain of events as written, my PCs snuck into Longthew's party, got his information and departed peacefully (after he died unexpectedly of blood geas, they politely excused themselves and made a break for it). They learned Madame Kawaoh's information after doing her a favor as a sidequest. They attended the Stone-Eye funeral as guests, luckily spotted the ninja's canoes departing and intercepted them at the beach where they made land. After capturing and interrogating the ninja, they used them as bait to lure Omoyani to Kalsgard, where they ambushed and killed her (although they were trying to catch her). They used Spivey's divination abilities to sort through the information they'd gotten and launched their attack on Ravenscraeg based on that.

I also heavily revamped Goti Runecaster. For a villain who gets a two-page spread and a lot of mention in the text as Someone To Watch Out For, fighting him in a hallway as a guard is stupid. My Goti Runecaster is rumored to be a shapeshifter (I swapped out acid arrow for alter self in his spell-list) and many people as rightfully paranoid about him. In the public eye, Thorborg Silverskorr bought Ravenscraeg as a favor to Runecaster, and the ninjas of the Frozen Shadows identify him as their ultimate mastermind. The PCs went to Ravenscraeg thinking that he's the boss of the adventure, so learning that he's deferring to a red-skinned ogre who's actually Thorborg Silverskorr (from the imprisoned merchant) was something of a twist.

But I'm getting twistier. Goti will be the final boss inside of Ravenscraeg inside the twisted pagoda, and he's going to use alter self to impersonate Thorborg Silverskorr. He'll also surrender if it's clear he's going to lose and be a helpful source of info to the PCs if they interrogate him. After all, his ultimate goal is helping his adoptive mother, and he cares nothing for the political struggles on another continent. He removed his blood geas at the first possible opportunity, and Kimandatsu has no idea.

So the PCs will fight Goti, retrieve Ulf, leave Ravenscraeg... and then they'll fight Kimandatsu. Who's destroyed the stairs leading out of Ravenscraeg and surrounded herself with meat-shield "reinforcements". Should be a highly memorable battle.


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Two more things I've been planning to do, but haven't done yet:

I plan to add in two more ancestral weapons. We've got three of the five royal families represented, and that just makes me wonder why the other two aren't included. So we've got:

Suishen (katana) - Amatatsu
Thundering Blade (naginata) - Sugimatu
Daikyu (longbow) - Higashiyama

Which means the Shojinawa and Teikoku families aren't getting representation. As such I've created the weapons Suzaku (longsword) of the Teikoku and a thusfar unnamed Longspear of the Shojinawa. Those two weapons will both apply the "weak to ancestral weapons" penalty on their respective opponents in the well of demons when the time comes. I've given out Suzaku in book 1 (as part of the Brinewall treasure) and the spear will be in book three, possibly as part of Vegsundvaag's horde. That way there will be a pattern of one ancestral weapon per book of the adventure, except in the finale. I'm still working on naming the spear, naginata, and longbow for now, but they're all going to be intelligent weapons. Once the party gets Suishen they'll learn that Suzaku, the one already with them has a mind of its own. It's just unable to speak to its wielders.

And I plan to pretty much cut the yeti caves out of the Uqtaal Necropolis. Instead those caves will have a variety of undead. My players in the first group got sick of "Oh look, more yetis and nothing else" so I think it's for the best to break the monotony.


The first book I put in lots of little vignettes with the NPC's to really start to build a foundation for the NPC's personality and what not. I would really advise doing this(and keeping on doing this throughout the books) to really tie your NPC's into the mix.

Book two, my PC's stay back!:

The second book I am changing the Ameiko kidnapping to Kelda. My PC's showed early signs of attachment to the crass Ulfen girl, so i've done up some Oxgutter family drama that will eventually lead to her rather callous, self serving father basically selling her to Thorborg for a change to catch the ear of Svenn Bloodeagle.

My PC's made a few rather public scenes, so they picked up eyes pretty quickly. They have visited the Oxgutter estate on a few occasions and Kelda has been seen visiting with them, so the suspicion is on.

I figured Kimandatsu, or any oni for that matter, would cherish the opportunity to turn an ally against their friends, so depending on my PC's time table. And she has powers to particularly turn that nasty for a potential captive.


@Asurasan: Heh, interestingly I've done similiar.

Spoiler:
By which I mean Oxgutter family drama.

I made Kelda's biological mother Goti Runecaster's adoptive mother, and added in a sister of Kelda's, who is rather prim and proper, in stark contrast to both the wild barbarian tendencies of both her sister and her father and the wild arcane powers of both her mother and her adoptive brother.

Kelda will turn up dead as a result of the Fatal Warning, being assassinated on her way back from bringing her gift to the PCs caravan, throwing them into the family's matters, and they're likely going to be arranging (through Kelda's sister) a meeting with her mother, and possibly Goti himself later on.

They've failed on all their other attempts at learning Ravenscraeg's (and Ulf's, and Uksahkka's, and later whatever NPC gets kidnapped's) location that the book gives (aside from breaking into the guildhall, which they've prematurely determined won't yield any benefit), so this is sort of my attempt to not let the adventure grind to a halt just because the dice didn't roll in their favour.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

my players (all 7) considered assulting a castle and decided that would be too difficult, and they rolled very well and tracked kelda to the area of the secret entrance then found the entrance that leads to the boss...

in a tense fight (both primary melee combatants went down) everyone had taken at least half damage and the clerics were out of channeled healing they actully defeated the creature, thanks in no small part to a musket master, they then rested hideing on the ledge beneath the secret door to the prison

i've therefore had to change the whole creature posistioning due to them being focused on defending the dungeon rather than the surface, all the trogs attacked a 4 rounds after the first gunshot went off in the kitchen (at the laundry fungus) were again defeated, but the pc's had to rehide to rest, and their intrusion was discovered overnight

after a small ambush i had kikonu invite the pc's to watch his masterpeice, they discussed it then had a vote about what to do. kikonu forced the issue at the end of that round by attacking from range (no one was surprised given the vote being held), the pc's removed half his hp before he gracefully steped back to avoid provoking an aoo and dimension doored up stairs,

i need to consider the rest of the castle, the haunts and clues must remain however the courtyard will be no challenge as written so i'm thinking on the alternatives

Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps Subscriber

I would add another encounter between Karlsgard to the Rimethirst Mountains - a journey of approximately 36 days through very interesting terrain and territory without any encounters seems a bit of a wave off.

Here is an encounter which uses a real world Nordic monster/myth.


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I'm on my first run through of the AP, currently doing Forest of Spirits, and have been running things mostly as printed. The only major change I did was adding a new significant NPC.

On their way to Brinewall the PCs met Kinshiro Iseou, a bird merchant from Minkai who was stranded in the middle of nowhere. They agreed to take him back to Minkai and he served as a merchant with no monthly salary. Unbeknownst to them however, Kinshiro was actually the god Apsu in disguise and his precious birds were actually dragons! I did this to enforce the feeling of destiny, and also to make it more like traditional Odyssey stories, like...well the Odyssey, where the gods were always watching. The characters could build relationship points with Kinshiro and if communally they got enough he would bless them in part six with a big reveal. Unfortunately it didn't work out that way.

The story of Kinshiro ties into the one thing I wish I had changed so far, which was Katiyana's fight in the storm tower. My party was a monk, a bow fighter, a two weapon fighter, and a barbarian, so they were pretty handicapped to start. Not to mention the bow fighter was completely useless because of the winds. The fight turned into a 18 round long slog fest where Katiyana whittled down their HP while remaining mostly untouched. The barbarian died to an exploding electricity crystal, the monk was almost dead, the two weapon fighter was permanently blind, and bow fighter was still useless. Faced with a TPK, I did the only thing I could think of, deus ex machina. Apsu burst through the side of the Storm Tower and used his healing breath to revive and fully heal everyone, after which they took care of Katiyana pretty quickly. After revealing his presence Apsu left and erased everyone's memory of him, except for the PCs'. He also took the barbarian, who had died, to train him to fight evil dragons. I could have avoided this if I had toned down the wind speed, or not made mistakes with the fight like misreading call lightning storm or forgetting about the switch that stopped the winds for a little bit.

The name for Apsu's alter ego was very intentional by the way. The chinese characters for his first name, kinshiro, are "metal" and "white". When combined they form the character "platinum". The characters for his last name, Iseou, are "dragon" and "king."


Gluttony wrote:


And I plan to pretty much cut the yeti caves out of the Uqtaal Necropolis. Instead those caves will have a variety of undead. My players in the first group got sick of "Oh look, more yetis and nothing else" so I think it's for the best to break the monotony.

I cut the yeti caves as well, or I should say I cut out almost all of the Yeti fights. I agree they are really monotonous and they make an already long dungeon even longer.


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For me, the draw of an Asian-inspired adventure path was partly defeated by having the entire first half of it take place against a non-Asian-inspired backdrop. Not to say the Viking and Inuit themes aren't interesting, of course. Heck, I'd love to see a "Far North" themed AP in the future. It was just a larger thematic shift coupled with a far longer wait to get to the “meat” of the AP than I was prepared for.

So, for my run, I've opted to straight-up handwave the western elements away. Naturally, this has involved taking quite a few liberties with the geography involved in the first two installments, as well as some of the NPCs and locations involved. Some alterations have been relatively inconsequential (replacing the goblins in the first act of Brinewall Legacy with kijimunas) to the more wide-sweeping (while I've kept most of Night of Frozen Shadows intact, Kalsgard and all its NPCs have been modified to be more appropriate to the area I've relocated things to).

The Hungry Storm has proven more troublesome, as the big “cross the north pole in a caravan” adventure. I had considered just handwaving the polar aspect as steppes or a desert instead, but with so much of the adventure so intimately connected to the arctic environment, I’ve opted to just drop that installment altogether and pad out the missing levels with shorter adventures along the road. So far, I've utilized the PFS Quest for Perfection trilogy between Brinewall and Kalsgard, albeit with some major story tweaking to integrate better into the AP’s overarching plot.

Spoilers for non-Jade Regent material ahead:

Rather than Kalsgard, I had the Amatatsu Seal's visions reveal that Suishen had been left for safekeeping at Clouded Path Monastery. After arriving at the monastery, the party learned from the last surviving monk that the yeti had arrived after it had already been ransacked and both the sword and the monastery’s grandmaster abducted by a group of soon-to-be familiar ninjas (While they would find Suishen as per normal in Ravenscraeg; the grandmaster would be less fortunate, ending up behind a certain glass screen). On the way back down the mountain, the party had their first encounter with a certain raven, who flew off after the party's bard fired at it with his crossbow. (As a sidenote, this was to be the start of a running "enmity" between the two, with that damn bird evading crossbow bolts every time it showed up to spy, until said bard finally struck (and for max damage, no less) as Wodes attempted to flee the battle in Ravenscraeg). The following two Quest for Perfection scenarios transformed into a “follow the breadcrumbs” situation, with the border guard from In Hostile Waters and the bandit leader from Defenders of Nesting Swallow both blood geased minions of Kimandatsu. From there, the trail finally led the party to the Kalsgard stand-in and eventually to Ravenscraeg itself. All in all, I’m pleased with how the appropriation of the Quest for Perfection series turned out, as it allowed me to foreshadow the Frozen Shadows and Kimandatsu for much longer (and inadvertently create a serious rivalry between the bard and the bird).

With the Frozen Shadows now out of the way, I’ve some planning to do for the next stage, although I intend to bring in the Ruby Phoenix Tournament just before the Forest of Spirits, at which point I hope to finally start running things by the book (or at least as close to by the book as I’ve ever ran any published adventure).

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've mentioned this elsewhere, but I ran an interlude as the caravan was travelling north to Kalsgard. The players took the role of geas'd npcs sent off to steal suishen.


I'm just about to embark on this AP with a handful of players who have already played parts of it elsewhere - two of these players are attempting to run the same AP with other groups, but also wish to play it, and two of them were in a game which fizzled fairly early on. (We play pbp.) As such, pretty much everyone is more familiar than I am (so far) with the details - I've only just acquired the first few parts and am frantically leafing through them now to catch up.

I think it's important to make each AP your own, with modifications like these, and I shall be keeping an eye on this thread. Just now, though, I have a question : Would it harm anything for me to make the witch more Neutral (yes, I know she's dead), and thence to allow Diplomacy on the ratling familiar? Just as an alternative approach, because my party already knows Walthus and there's no cinematic or storytelling value in charging in there, especially when everybody knows he's a Stalker. Also, there's a Witch in my party, and it would seem to make a natural tie-in...perhaps this witch once visited that one for some basic instruction/spell sharing, so it would seem natural to ask for her help?

I know it seems a small thing, I just didn't want to turn around and have it bite me in the arse.

Incidentally, why does everyone seem to beeline to Walthus in the beginning? I mean yes, it's recommended, but it's hardly the only way, and I'd imagine that the approach would depend on what sorts of party members you have. Rangers might be more likely to know or find the other paths, just as well as casters might be curious to locate the witch (even without my modifications).


Why would the Ratling need to be neutral to allow diplomacy? He's an intelligent being, give him motivations, wants, desires. You can definitely diplomacize an evil intelligent creature.

...Though he may attack first and only stoop to diplomacy when it's clear that he's losing.

Same goes for witches. There's nothing to say an evil one couldn't swap ideas with good and neutral witches. They don't have any alignment restrictions on who they're allowed to hang out with after all, and drawing on the help and knowledge of good people to further your own power isn't a violation of evil, it's just a smart thing to do.

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

Added spoiler tag to title.


Oh, and to add to my previous thought, no, it wouldn't technically harm anything to make the witch and her ratling more neutral (it messes up the fact that a spellcaster has to be CE to take a ratling as a familiar, but if you intend to change the ratling's alignment, I don't see why the master's couldn't change to match). The witch's house is an individual area that has no real bearing on any other part of the adventure, at least not as-written anyways.


A fair point - it's more a matter of my party witch than the NPC one. She's very, er, enthusiastically Good. If Megus had a reputation for nastiness, this one would've taken it poorly. I may use that later, though, some time where my PCs wouldn't know straight off that the NPC is evil.

Also, thanks Liz. ;)

Star Voter 2013

Rather than have Zaiobe attack the PCs immediately following Kikonu's death, I had her reach out to telepathically to the rogue and offer an alliance against the rest of the group. The rogue successfully bluffed her into thinking the team-up was legit, but then told the rest of the group what was coming. However, the ambush is set up to coincide with the fight against the half-fiend in the basement, as the PCs have been having an easy time of things and are getting cocky.

It remains to be seen what will happen, but the combination of the half-fiend and Zaiobe might be too much for the group to handle, even if they know what's coming.


Michael Radagast wrote:
She's very, er, enthusiastically Good.

Wow, a good-aligned witch, gotta say I've never seen someone play one of those. :P (My current party's witch is NE. All other witches I've seen have been either evil NPCs or N or CN PCs.)


Heh...she's very sensitive about her alignment. :P

Shadow Lodge

Made a change for a six person party: the party had gone around the back way and cleared the basement before finding Kikonu, and took out Nindinzego in three rounds (Witch-sleep + four-person coup = short fight), so I decided to up the game.

In the throne room, Kikonu had invited all of the intelligent, living denizens to watch his "dress rehearsal," with the troglodytes sitting in the middle of the room, 30' away from the performers. while Buttersnips sat on the arm of the throne and Zaiobe hung in the rafters. What ensued was the best combat of the game, so far. Half the party went down, and they squeaked out a win. Zaiobi survived to run away so that I can bring her back in my competing party of NPCs, later.

They haven't gotten there, yet, but I also wrote individual visions to go with the group vision at the end. Everybody gets a chat with their god/ grandfather/ dead best friend/ Harrow deck/ etc. Hopefully, that will serve to tie them further to the idea of destiny.

I'm still solidifying ideas, but I liked what The Realmforged did above, so I'm also modifying "Hungry Storm," though not dropping it.

Some of my initial ideas:
I like some of the initial encounters, since witches, frost giants and arctic chimera will set the mood of the frozen north well. I'm dropping in parts 1 and 3 of "Quest for Perfection" while the party is in the LLK, though. Then, when they reach the Iquiliat village I'm replacing the white dragon with yetis, so that they can demonstrate their mastery of the defense point mechanics from QfP3. I want to keep the morozkos, so a pared-down version of the tower will probably be controlled by an oni, who is delaying them. On the tower, they will find a Harrow Deck, leading them into "The Harrowing." The usual road through will have been collapsed by the Five Storms, so the party will have to go via another route, controlled by ratkin, and we'll play through the "Sundered Path" two-parter (assuming that I like part 2 as much as I do part 1).

Basically, I'm adding in parts of "Quest for Perfection," "The Harrowing" and "Sundered Path," so that I can take out the more problematic parts of "Hungry Storm," including Kitiyana.

More to come, I'm sure.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I haven't made it so far (aside from reading the module) but what was problematic about Katiyana in your opinion?

Shadow Lodge

thomrenault wrote:
I haven't made it so far (aside from reading the module) but what was problematic about Katiyana in your opinion?

The issue may be unique to my group.:
Two major issues: the yeti and the "bad penny" problem. Having a foe flee and return is one thing, but killing one and having it come back immediately after would drive my group crazy, in a bad way. They wouldn't say, "oh, man, that's so tricky!" They'd say, "that's cheap-ass and we're playing a different game, now." While I personally like her, and Sitthudd, I know my group and I know it wouldn't go well. I also don't like that she doesn't tie into the meta-plot at all. I want every major villain to tie, however indirectly, to the Five Storms, otherwise my players will lose the thread, because it takes us about six months to play through one chapter.

Aside from that, the yetis are just a slog, and undead don't say "frozen north" or "Asian action adventure" to me (except for yuki-ona, which I'm keeping).


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I must reiterate my appreciation for this thread - as much as I enjoy and appreciate the Paths as written, there are *lots* of odd alterations and customizations which may be made here or there, which Paizo very understandably has neither the space nor the inclination for. Every AP forum should have one of these threads.

I'm throwing my lot in with the Zaiobe-changers - I've bumped her to CN, and she's only at Brinewall for the library, trying to figure out who/what/why her voice is gone. Pazazu is only a suspect, with perhaps Hshurha and Hei Feng (who is going to be the same deity as Gozreh, I think) also mentioned. Despite being an oracle, she really comes off rather witchy, with a bit of Tia Dalma thrown in for fun and flavor. She'll recognize Whispering Shrike, as well - by the name Fūshen.

Suishen is only one of five (I have five PCs, so...) and also not the ancestral weapon. The weapon is Kūshen, the fifth elemental. Five PCs, five elements, Five Storms - five weapons. Qi Zhong will also come into play, I'm sure...I like using the gods as [hopefully] very subtle plot-pushers, especially in such a destiny-themed adventure.

So will she turn on the party? Probably not, for so long as she can benefit from them. What she wants is knowledge, and they're likely to acquire that for her. Kikonu has certainly given her as much as he has...she would probably have left him in peace as well, if he hadn't insulted her in such a sensitive way. That's my take, anyroad.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The biggest issue I found with Katiyana...

Spoiler:
...In my group's case it was not so much the fact that she came back that annoyed them, it was the fact that she came back suddenly in a massive and deadly storm attack without any prior warning that she was still around. It seemed like a massively contrived situation designed to either kill them or railroad them.

My group doesn't mind a bit of railroading, but they get annoyed when it's so obvious that they're being railroaded, and when the railroading takes the form of "do this, or you will all die horribly".

The second time I get to Katiyana's initial death scene I'm going to have things foreshadowed more. Her essence being sucked into the storm sphere will not be something that only I as the GM know, the players will see it happen. They'll see her slowly transforming into a morozko behind them as they travel away from the tower. And Tunuak's bore will foreshadow this as well. Included among his drawings will be text describing how a sacrificial soul of Sithhud's faithful might "achieve enlightenment", becoming a morozko. I'll be changing things so that her eventual death and transformation were part of Katiyana's plan all along.

When she dies, her soul will (visibly) rise into the storm, her voice will ring out triumphantly that her willingness to fight to the death to defend her lord's tower has marked her as truly faithful, worthy of becoming a living storm, she'll gloat, mock the PCs for unknowingly completing her plan by killing her... And then she'll swear as she realizes that she can't figure out how to move in her new form.

Eventually she'll get the hang of it, but she'll be immobile days, weeks, possibly months. Long enough for the PCs to become convinced that she's never going to get the hang of it. And when she does finally come racing towards them at the wall of heaven, they'll know what's happening.

It's still railroady, but I think it's better foreshadowed that way, and that the players will get more enjoyment out of it.

(And in the event that the PCs capture her alive, Katiyana will bite her own tongue to deliberately die and become a morozko. If they restrain her from doing that she'll be hit by lightning, a freak accident really, but she'll claim it was Sithhud's doing, that her lord finished her off so she could ascend, that it was a sign of her importance to him.)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Michael Radagast wrote:
I must reiterate my appreciation for this thread - as much as I enjoy and appreciate the Paths as written, there are *lots* of odd alterations and customizations which may be made here or there, which Paizo very understandably has neither the space nor the inclination for. Every AP forum should have one of these threads.

Agreed. I told my players that they're getting "Jade Regent: Director's Cut" since this is my second time running it, and I've got a whole bunch of great advice here. My biggest mistake in the first run through was I didn't do nearly enough in the beginning with the main NPC's. It made a lot of things awkward, later on.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Gluttony wrote:

The biggest issue I found with Katiyana...

** spoiler omitted **...

Regarding your spoiler, I'd have to check the final published version again, but the manuscript turnover contained a lot of foreshadowing of Katiyana's return. I'm pretty sure her first return is at Dead Man's Dome in the published version as well (though I just re-read the final, and it is a much less obvious return than I had intended), long before she truly 'becomes one with the storm' with the super-railroad-morozko that closes the pass (although again I think I did include a sidebar section on what to do if PCs choose to muscle through the storm and take the pass anyway, so it wasn't impossible to do, just REALLY hard).

TL;DR - If Katiyana didn't return or give any evidence of returning until the Wall of Heaven, I can see how that would be kind of a bummer. If you are interested in how I set up her gradual return with foreshadowing and ongoing encounters/flavor stuff, feel free to email me at

Spoiler:
tjaden jason at gmail dot com


Dead Man's Dome has lots of undead sent by her, with some laughing on the wind and manifestation of her spirit. Then after that, the next time she resurfaces is The Last Pass. There's nothing that really foreshadows the whole

Spoiler:
She will return as a massive storm of death

thing.

There's also no real indication that I can find prior to her death that she'll return at all, which could make a fair number of players angry.


I thought when...

Spoiler:

She dies in the storm tower, her soul is sucked out by the Storm Sphere and dispersed into the storm above. I'm not sitting with my book at the moment and may well have made that part up to mentally fill in the gap?

I will most likely foreshadow it in my own way, but I am curious to see what Jason had in the original manuscript. Email sent Jason.


Asurasan wrote:

I thought when...

** spoiler omitted **

I will most likely foreshadow it in my own way, but I am curious to see what Jason had in the original manuscript. Email sent Jason.

Personally, I've included a look at most of the upcoming campaign as a part of the Visions of Jade at the end of Brinewall Legacy, and part of it was this vision:

"You see a winged woman with blue skin. She's dressed in a white fur coat an looks at you with hate as a storm gathers behind her"

I hope my players understand this as the foreshadow for what's coming with Katiyana.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Gluttony wrote:

Dead Man's Dome has lots of undead sent by her, with some laughing on the wind and manifestation of her spirit. Then after that, the next time she resurfaces is The Last Pass. There's nothing that really foreshadows the whole

** spoiler omitted **

thing.

Yeah, as I said above I reread the published version's text there, and her return is very much minimized. In the turnover, there were manifestations that happened as random events between the north pole and Dead Man's Dome, and then she showed up in person at the end of the last wave of undead (after sort of progressively manifesting through the first waves of the attack).

Gluttony wrote:
There's also no real indication that I can find prior to her death that she'll return at all, which could make a fair number of players angry.

I'm not sure why it would make your players angry for a villain to return, foreshadowed or not.

PCs: "But you were DEAD!"
Villain: "I got better!"

Isn't that a common enough trope in all of fantasy and fiction? I would totally get it if it happened all the time. That would be annoying. But for it to happen once during a campaign? I guess different groups have different pet peeves.


Jason Nelson wrote:

I'm not sure why it would make your players angry for a villain to return, foreshadowed or not.

PCs: "But you were DEAD!"
Villain: "I got better!"

Isn't that a common enough trope in all of fantasy and fiction? I would totally get it if it happened all the time. That would be annoying. But for it to happen once during a campaign? I guess different groups have different pet peeves.

I don't think my players in particular would be upset to the point of anger about that (they might be a bit miffed that it came out of left field without warning, but overall they're a rather reasonable group who understand how plot generally works), but I've known a number of players who will immediately declare something bad adventure writing for not giving them warning that a villain is coming back, and potential methods to stop the return before it happens.

...Not that it's easy make that work in an adventure path, but some players are difficult sometimes.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Indeed. This just in: "The bad guys usually DON'T tell you what they're doing." :)

Contributor

Asurasan wrote:
I will most likely foreshadow it in my own way, but I am curious to see what Jason had in the original manuscript. Email sent Jason.

Likewise (including the email :p)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
gang wrote:
Asurasan wrote:
I will most likely foreshadow it in my own way, but I am curious to see what Jason had in the original manuscript. Email sent Jason.
Likewise (including the email :p)

Same here. I'm interested in knowing. :)

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

I've you've emailed me, I've emailed you. Happy reading!

Contributor

Jason Nelson wrote:
I've you've emailed me, I've emailed you. Happy reading!

I haven't received an email :'(

Why? Why are you punishing me this way? *sob*

(maybe I sent to the wrong email address, so I've sent another email :p)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I just added a session to Jade Regent after the players returned from Brinestump Village. In my campaign, the PC's spared half of the Licktoad Tribe, under the new leadership of Chief Scribbleface. The session deals with the fallout from this choice, which--strangely enough-- turns out to be wildly unpopular in Sandpoint:

:

I. The Trip back to Sandpoint
-Possible encounter with the Soggy River Monster. (optional) 1-2 on 1d6
-Goblins have already left Licktoad Village.

II. The Heroes of Sandpoint?:
(Day 1)
-As the PC’s return the whole town breaks out into celebration.
-The Mayor declares a feast for that evening.

Event 1: Official Reaction to the new Licktoad Tribe. (Afternoon of Day 1)
If the PC's reveal that they let the tribe live, then both Sheriff Hemlock and Mayor Deverin have the responses listed below. When the PC's collect their reward, the Sheriff will ask why they didn't get more ears, if the PC's lie, they must beat the Sheriff's sense motive. Otherwise:
-The Sheriff suggests that the PC’s be banished from Sandpoint, or brought to Magnimar on criminal charges: (Conspiracy to commit Arson etc)

-Mayor Deverin is upset, but agrees that as long as the PC’s take the Goblins far away immediately in the morning following the feast, the PC’s may return as citizens. Mayor also reluctantly agrees to pay the Goblin bounty (but only if she’s convinced that the PC’s won’t leave town without bloodshed DC 17 Intimidate or if the PC’s somehow charm her into it Dip 20). She wants to keep the whole thing hushed up, so she doesn't cancel the feast.

-If the PC’s mention anything about sparing the Goblins to NPC's other than the main 4), the word gets around quickly, and Villagers reactions are mostly negative. Most are deep-set in their hatred of Goblins, given the history of Sandpoint. Younger villagers seem more accepting of the idea that peace might be possible with Goblin tribes.

Event 2: The Heroes' Feast
(Early evening, Day 1)
-Stealing 'Festival events' from the Licktoad Goblins Feast (see "We Be Goblins!") and the Feast of Ravenmoor, for the competitions during the Heroes' feast (reskinned to remove the horror/goblin vibes).

-During the feast, the NPC who gives the Feast of Ravenmoor, learns that the party is heading north, passing by Ravenmoor, asks them to check into her brother’s whereabouts. The PC's must make an opposed sense motive to tell that she thinks her brother is somewhat shady, and a diplomacy DC 14 to get her to tell them the full story.

Event 3: The Nighttime Thieves:
(Late Evening, day 1)
-Chief Scribbleface wrongfully assumes that the PC's have gotten the whole village on board with the peace between the Licktoads and Sandpoint, he decides to bring the tribe into Sandpoint to scavenge material for the Goblin Wagon. To avoid Dogs/Horses, the tribe comes at night. They manage to cobble together a wagon which will hold the whole tribe (without being noticed), but while gathering rations (from the town square where the feast was held, they are discovered and chased out of town). Passive Perception Check at this point for PC's to hear the goblins or the mob beginning to form.

Event 4: The Path of Destiny
(early afternoon, Day 1. Sometime before the Heroes Feast)
-Ameiko reads the letter from Rokuro to Lonjiku.
-Gets everyone excited to go to Brinewall Village
(Late Evening of Day 2, After the Feast/'Thieves')
- Daviren Hosk (Hmn Rng 4) gets a mob formed up to enact ‘mob justice’ on the PC’s for bringing the Goblins to town.
-Begins with a alchemist’s fire thrown through the window of the Rusty Dragon
-The Tavern catches on fire.
-PC’s have to gather equipment and flee.
-All of the Main NPC’s are in the Tavern at this point.
-Sandru takes the lead and tells the PC’s to make their ways to his caravan outside of the town.

III. The Caravan gets underway (Flex-time)

Event 1: Meeting up with the Caravan/Goblin Wagon.
-Roleplay it out. The Varisians seem to take the banishment/getting chased out of the village in stride, other NPC's (i.e. Ameiko/Shalelu) might be more upset to have been chased out by a mob. Let the PC's react and interact.

Event 2: The Toll Road through the Churlwood.
-3 Wererat Bandits
-Swarms of rats at their command (3/day)
Meet Lute Haggersly (heading towards Riddleport) haggling over the price. One of the Wererats transforms and summons up a swarm of rats to kill/intimidate Lute. (Enter PC’s)

Event 3: Pursued
-Daviren Hosk isn't satisfied with banishment, he has pursued the PC's and intends to kill the Licktoads and collect on the still-active goblin bounty. He'll focus his attention on them in the evening, when the PC's are doing their own thing, he'll fight until the goblins are dead, at which point he flees if outnumbered/outmatched by the PC's


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So that Daviren Hosk character is a complete retard? Going up against about eight high-level characters + a lot of Goblins by himself?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

that wasn't my intent. I was going to have him attack while the players were not paying attention, and then attempt to flee if discovered. He's not suicidal, but he won't stop following the caravan until the Goblins are dead. I'm assuming that the PC's will track him down and kill him, rather than give him another chance to strike.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Okay, then I guess he's just suicidal. Which, as far as I know, could be just what he is.


Jason Nelson wrote:
Indeed. This just in: "The bad guys usually DON'T tell you what they're doing." :)

What are you saying? Have you never watched a James Bond movie?!

I'm also considering shortening the trip to Tian Xia a bit, so more of the AP actually plays in "asia". My group is still in the Brinestump Marsh, so I have some time to think about it.
Maybe the Amatatsu Seal, or the Kami bound to it actually manages to teleport them across half the world in a massive act of divine power curcumventing the ward that normally prevents teleportation, once they open the Warding Box in Brinewlal the first time. But it won't be able to do such a feat for the next century now, as it depleted most of the kami's essence with it.

That way I could run the last 5 APs in Tian Xia, with changes that replace the vikings with samurai or so.

Not sure it's really a good idea. Maybe I'll discuss it with my group, if they want an "asian focused" adventure or rather the experience of travelling the world.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thomrenault wrote:

I just added a session to Jade Regent after the players returned from Brinestump Village. In my campaign, the PC's spared half of the Licktoad Tribe, under the new leadership of Chief Scribbleface. The session deals with the fallout from this choice, which--strangely enough-- turns out to be wildly unpopular in Sandpoint:

** spoiler omitted **...

Hmm, well I think the reactions of some of the characters are a little bit extreme, but if that's how you want to take things it sounds like it will be an interesting experience. I wouldn't count on your PCs just accepting being kicked out of their home town though, might be some problems there.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I get that he wants to get them on the road, but the people of Sandpoint forming a lynchmob seems *way* extreme. Especially since Ameiko, Koya and Shalelu are with the group.

Star Voter 2013

I've been adapting the adventure path to my own setting. While I'm trying to nudge the PCs into going over the top of the globe a la the adventure path, they seem to really like the idea of trying an alternate route through the mountain range that serves as the eastern border of my campaign map and which nobody has crossed. If they wind up going that route, I'll finally have to figure out what's on the other side of those mountains and how that mystery land can eventually lead to the pseudo-Japan I have on the other side of my game world.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Charlie Brooks wrote:
I've been adapting the adventure path to my own setting. While I'm trying to nudge the PCs into going over the top of the globe a la the adventure path, they seem to really like the idea of trying an alternate route through the mountain range that serves as the eastern border of my campaign map and which nobody has crossed. If they wind up going that route, I'll finally have to figure out what's on the other side of those mountains and how that mystery land can eventually lead to the pseudo-Japan I have on the other side of my game world.

Horrible, horrible monsters. Also it'll take about 4 times as long ;)

Mostly kidding, unless you are happy with that becoming cannon in your campaign. That's the excuse paizo uses anyway (maybe not the four times as long, but between Inner Sea and Tian Xia is Arcadia, which is full of horrible, horrible sea monsters.

Star Voter 2013

Peanuts wrote:
Charlie Brooks wrote:
I've been adapting the adventure path to my own setting. While I'm trying to nudge the PCs into going over the top of the globe a la the adventure path, they seem to really like the idea of trying an alternate route through the mountain range that serves as the eastern border of my campaign map and which nobody has crossed. If they wind up going that route, I'll finally have to figure out what's on the other side of those mountains and how that mystery land can eventually lead to the pseudo-Japan I have on the other side of my game world.

Horrible, horrible monsters. Also it'll take about 4 times as long ;)

Mostly kidding, unless you are happy with that becoming cannon in your campaign. That's the excuse paizo uses anyway (maybe not the four times as long, but between Inner Sea and Tian Xia is Arcadia, which is full of horrible, horrible sea monsters.

I'm kinda thinking some sort of lost world full of dinosaurs and jungles. But I'd also kind of like something a bit out there. I mean, this is totally undiscovered territory - not even teleportation magic is capable of crossing the mountains.

If this situation comes to pass, I'll probably adapt some of the encounters on the Crown of the World to crossing the mountain range, but beyond that I'll probably have to derail the adventure path until it hooks back up on the other side of the world.

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