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What XP progression for Kingmaker


Kingmaker


Hi all. My group is gearing up to start the Kingmaker campaign and I was just wondering - is there a recommended XP progression for the PCs?

Thanks!


GrandReaper wrote:

Hi all. My group is gearing up to start the Kingmaker campaign and I was just wondering - is there a recommended XP progression for the PCs?

Thanks!

Hello, and welcome to the boards! :)

Kingmaker--and all the Adventure Paths from #25 (Council of Thieves) onwards--assume the Medium advancement track. The previous ones use 3.5's, but can be approximated by using the Fast track. Hope this helps! :)


Thanks! I'm not new to the boards, just a big lurker. :D

Cheliax

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hey! Glad to hear you're about to run Kingmaker! It's an awesome campaign. After having run it myself though, I would actually recommend doing away with the xp system entirely in this particular game & simply leveling the PCs when the book says to. I found that due to the hugely open ended nature of the game I was finding places where I wanted to add in extra encounters & quests, be they my own home brew, Paizo modules, etc., but was unable to for fear that the party would end up with an xp surplus & plow through later events in the AP. A lot of this problem did come from having an overpowered group, but since Kingmaker really does leave you so many tantalizing opportunities to expand upon what it provides you, I would highly recommend nixing the traditional xp system. I think it'll help you out a lot in the long-haul :]

Paizo Employee Webstore Gninja Minion

Moved thread.


First of I have to strongly disagree with xn0o0cl3. This AP is the worst suited for doing away with the XP system, because players can just jump ahead in the story and could end up leveling twice in a session with just minor combat and then not again for twenty more sessions. At the very best you would have very annoyed players.
In addition Kingmaker is supposed to be a Sandbox, so if you simply level them when the plot says, they have a hard time running into anything that's too powerful to deal with. And the other way around is also true; the players should be able to get ahead of the power curve and have an (fairly) easy time; if you add enough to the story that the players are far ahead of where they should be, chances are you have new villains anyway, so the book encounters become less relevant, and the group powering through them becomes desirable.

What XP progression is recommended? That depends on how you run the game. How much XP do you award for role playing? How interested is your group in role playing? How much time do you have? How much stuff will you add to the core the books present? How much will the players be into diplomacy? Into interacting with other kingdoms? How much do they invest in the larger story? What else will you add to flesh out the area and story?
Kingmaker as presented can be described as a solid outline. You can simply follow what's written in the book and have fun, but if you add to the world, get the players to interact beyond where you lead them by the nose, and tailor everything to suit your needs, it becomes a far better experience.

If you run as is, medium track works fine. If your players invest into the world and really use the sandbox to tell their own story and you give them the tools they need, Slow or even slower XP progression works better.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

I don't follow any XP track. I level them up when I feel like it. That being said, it comes out to something slightly slower than the Slow track.

Osirion

I have to agree with story point leveling. I know this reduces the XP incentive to explore, but XP leveling can causes problems with level advancement and side plots, which you should have plenty of, given the sandbox style.

Story points help make the AP stay GM friendly and not be even more time consuming than it already is. If the players are annoyed at getting stuck at a level, tell them to advance the story or grow the kingdom to a certain size if they want to level, whatever triggers the next story point.

Maybe I am fairly lucky, but my players are sort of pleasantly surprised when they level, since mostly they are focusd on the kingdom building and in game storyline progression and whether or not they are "leveling" in those areas.

Grand Lodge

I agree with Old Drake. I'm currently using the medium progression, as recommended by the AP. However, I'm doing more encounters than what's in the AP, and will be adding in more side quests and such. I'm going to keep an eye on the APL. I'm expecting that at some point, I'll be moving to the slow track.

One of the things I REALLY like about this AP is it runs counter to the meta-gaming mindset some players have that everything they encounter in the world was put there by the DM especially for them and will be level/CR appropriate. Not only is that completely unrealistic and destroys suspension of disbelief, it also makes the game too easy and encourages "stupid play". All you have to do is read through the obituaries to see how many players have had to learn this lesson the hard way. In KM, it's a live world out there, and just because you're first level, doesn't mean everything you stumble across in your travels is defeatable at that level.

I think throwing the xp system out of the window could run counter to that. It will depend on your players ultimately, but I've never been a fan of that method. As a player, I want to feel I've earned my levels by decisions I've made. When the DM gets rid of xp and just hand-waves leveling, it often can feel arbitrary. What's worse, if you have players that metagame at all (and most do to at least some degree), they'll eventually realize that they level "when the story demands it" no matter what. This can lead to some problems.

I'd recommend finding the xp rate and track that has the characters leveling appropriately, even if it means you have to use the slow track, or even slower, as opposed to getting rid of xp altogether. Unless you know for sure your players will be cool with it, I think it's more likely at least some of them won't (even if not right away).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've been using the Pathfinder Society rules as much as possible - with a few exceptions like crafting and baring certain classes (gunslinger. summoner).

I primarily use plot points to level the group, but I've actually found that they are also following the level every three 4-hour session. We play mostly 3.5 hour sessions. They are at the very edge of finishing book 1 and will level to 4 as soon as they do.

I may move to XP awards once the kingdom building begins, but I'll probably just use it more as a guide to when I should level them.


redcelt32 wrote:

I have to agree with story point leveling. I know this reduces the XP incentive to explore, but XP leveling can causes problems with level advancement and side plots, which you should have plenty of, given the sandbox style.

Story points help make the AP stay GM friendly and not be even more time consuming than it already is. If the players are annoyed at getting stuck at a level, tell them to advance the story or grow the kingdom to a certain size if they want to level, whatever triggers the next story point.

Maybe I am fairly lucky, but my players are sort of pleasantly surprised when they level, since mostly they are focusd on the kingdom building and in game storyline progression and whether or not they are "leveling" in those areas.

I can see that working if the players stay very close to the printed material and don't go beyond it. But what happens if for ten or more sessions there's diplomatic meetings and intrigue in Brevoy and Mivon, with spy missions and other stuff they want to do thrown in? Kingmaker is a lot about being able to follow where the players want to go, and if you only level for story points that you predict, let alone only story points given in the adventure, you'll discourage the players from doing anything but passively following the plot. They should be rewarded, not penalized, for becoming part of the world! That's what makes Kingmaker better/different from other APs.

On the other side you have players that jump ahead. In Varnhold Vanishing they could buy a scroll and locate the tomb fairly easily and teleport to very near the big boss, before any other encounter or event takes place; so do they get two levels for the two spells they cast? Because that's where they are story wise now...
Blood for Blood starts at tenth, but after hearing about the barbarians they might decide to take their leader out first; again, they are supposed to be two level highers, so do they get two levels because they advanced that much story wise?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Old Drake wrote:
so do they get two levels because they advanced that much story wise?

Of course not, if they skip ahead, they have to go back and earn the levels with kingdom building and exploration. Assuming they survive the higher level encounters.

Silver Crusade

I'm in book 2 and have used medium, but with a few bad rolls on the random encounter tables leading to extra combats, your XP can quickly get out of line with the adventure. I have also added custom content, and this has increased the XP flow.

Given the sandbox nature and what I have done, I'd be inclined to use the "slow" track (and may switch to it) and give a "story" award for major accomplishments. If XP is lagging, you can always award XP for handling social encounters rather than just combats.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

I stopped using XP entirely with my group. It became needless book-keeping, so now I level the characters whenever they finish a major plot-point rather than use XP.

This has freed me up in two ways:

I can slow time down and add additional adventures, expansions etc. without worrying the players will be OP when they hit the next portion of the published book.

I no longer have to keep track of party XP totals, and let them take secondary PCs so they can try different character types in what has become a very long (and wonderful) campaign.


I've been using long progression to make sure players stay cagey and master their classes. Also means most vets are older, which I find perfect.

Cheliax

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I stopped using XP entirely with my group. It became needless book-keeping, so now I level the characters whenever they finish a major plot-point rather than use XP.

This has freed me up in two ways:

I can slow time down and add additional adventures, expansions etc. without worrying the players will be OP when they hit the next portion of the published book.

I no longer have to keep track of party XP totals, and let them take secondary PCs so they can try different character types in what has become a very long (and wonderful) campaign.

This would have been the right course for our group, in retrospect the XP in the books didn't match the expectations of the next book.


I try to follow the little notes at the beginning of the book. The "THey shoudl be around level x".
When I notice they are lagging a bit behind, I give roleplay experience (for a complete book) and add one or two 'deadly' adventures.

Silver Crusade

Update: we switched to a "story based" system as encounter-based XP was getting tough to balance if the random encounter table rolled a few times and tough if a player has to miss some time.

Books are generally based for 3 levels, so for upcoming VV, we're testing the following, level gained when, as a group:

*75% of secondary quests attempted/completed
*Kingdom size ___ achieved (based on recommended module size)
*Main quest completed


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

Personally, I'll be using the slow progression when I run this AP. My group loves gaining XP and seeing the progression, so I won't take it out, but there's just too much I want to do with this type of campaign outside of just what's written on the page. I think by taking the slow progression, I can fit it all in much more fluidly.

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