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Does "Ameiko Kaijitsu" = "Mary Sue"?


Jade Regent

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RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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From another thread ...

Joana wrote:
Ameiko Kaijitsu. And that wasn't the GM; it was the players. She's such a Mary Sue her reputation preceded her. I was running a wizard with tricked-out Knowledges and had an awful run of dice where I couldn't make a DC 15 check with a +9 bonus, and all the other PCs were like, "So what? We'll just go ask Ameiko; she knows everything! And she's beautiful and talented and wonderful!" I came close to quitting that game, too, as the whole adventure hook seems to be "drop everything at Ameiko's whim to go make her a princess just because you all love her so much."

Interresting question: Is Ameiko Kaijitsu a "Mary Sue" type character?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Further evidence from the Ask James Jacobs thread:

James Jacobs wrote:
Joana wrote:
Does Ameiko Kaijitsu, in fact, have any flaws? I mean actual flaws, not "Oh, she's so spunky and headstrong, isn't it adorable?" I'm playing a female PC in Jade Regent and how perfect and wonderful she is at everything and how much everyone in town adores her is getting laid on really thick. It's like adventuring with a Disney Princess, and I'm about ready to jump ship and side with the Wicked Queen. :P
She doesn't follow authority figures very well, and she tends to be a bit overconfident in her ability to get out of any situation, and sometimes has trouble managing her temper (especially in the face of certain injustices).

So, yeah, sounds like your basic Disney Channel heroine. ;)


Lord Fyre wrote:

From another thread ...

Joana wrote:
Ameiko Kaijitsu. And that wasn't the GM; it was the players. She's such a Mary Sue her reputation preceded her. I was running a wizard with tricked-out Knowledges and had an awful run of dice where I couldn't make a DC 15 check with a +9 bonus, and all the other PCs were like, "So what? We'll just go ask Ameiko; she knows everything! And she's beautiful and talented and wonderful!" I came close to quitting that game, too, as the whole adventure hook seems to be "drop everything at Ameiko's whim to go make her a princess just because you all love her so much."
Interresting question: Is Ameiko Kaijitsu a "Mary Sue" type character?

sounds more like a players/PCs problem than an Ameiko one, also she start the AP at an higher level and probably has more life experience than the PCs... but for some reasons she seems hard to DM/GM corectly.


I got the impression that she was a Mary Sue from the portions I read of the AP. That being the case, is it an awful sin? Or is it an example of embracing a well worn fictional trope?

For me, Jade Regent was very clearly "that type" of adventure path. As such it didn't get my dander up because it wasn't like the GMpc nature of it was shamefully hidden, only to emerge throughout the adventure path and leave me with a 'oh come on' aftertaste.

They just came right out with "Ameiko is the cat's pajamas...get on board or go home." I personally decided to stay home :) but I cheerfully wished everyone well that decided to embark on a journey to get Mulan home.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Well... she IS the one on the cover. None of your player characters get that honor. They don't get illustrated at all! So of course she's the important one!

/snarky humor mode off

That said... the whole point of the Jade Regent Adventure Path can be boiled down to this: "Help the NPC achieve her destiny." Which is actually a pretty standard fantasy plotline... it's one that's a bit strange and difficult to translate into an RPG, though, where it can be difficult for players to accept the fact that the storyline isn't about them. There's a lot of stuff we did in the Jade Regent adventures to try to keep the focus from making Ameiko the star, and keeping that focus on the PCs, because they're the ones who are playing the game, after all, not Ameiko. Whether or not a GM running the adventures follows that advice or not is beyond our control, alas.

But yeah... One of the first things the GM should come clear with the PCs if he wants to run Jade Regent (and one of the things we tried to get across in the Player's Guide without being too spoilery) is to tell them something like this:

"This is an Adventure Path where you help an NPC do something, so if you aren't comfortable with the fact that one of the NPCs in the adventure is as important to the storyline as your player characters are, let me know and I'll run one of the other dozen or so Adventure Paths that Paizo has published."

That said... if Ameiko dies, the Adventure Path doesn't end. There's a lot of stuff in the AP that helps GMs keep the storyline going if she dies—and in fact, if you want, you can run the AP so that she dies no matter what, which then puts the mantle of destiny onto the PCs. That DOES take the adventure path's plot and theme away from the intended one... but what's the point of playing/running an RPG if you can't adjust the game to your own preferences?


Herbo wrote:

I got the impression that she was a Mary Sue from the portions I read of the AP. That being the case, is it an awful sin? Or is it an example of embracing a well worn fictional trope?

For me, Jade Regent was very clearly "that type" of adventure path. As such it didn't get my dander up because it wasn't like the GMpc nature of it was shamefully hidden, only to emerge throughout the adventure path and leave me with a 'oh come on' aftertaste.

They just came right out with "Ameiko is the cat's pajamas...get on board or go home." I personally decided to stay home :) but I cheerfully wished everyone well that decided to embark on a journey to get Mulan home.

While she is important to the plot, she isn't supposed to be the center of attention the rest of the time, and

Spoiler:
She doesn't have to survive the AP, even if it's prefered.

edit: Ninja'ed be OCD-Rex.


If Ameiko was a Mary Sue, she probably wouldn't spend so much time being kidnapped or getting put into a coma. Nor would she need the PCs' help in getting things done.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Charlie Brooks wrote:
If Ameiko was a Mary Sue, she probably wouldn't spend so much time being kidnapped or getting put into a coma. Nor would she need the PCs' help in getting things done.

Correct.

In fact, I actually think she spends far TOO much time in a coma or being kidnapped. It's a fine line to walk between making a key, important NPC be helpful and respectable and strong, and from not dominating the game and being the star.

For a while, in fact, I was STRONGLY considering making it the assumption that Ameiko and the other key NPCs were the PCs. Essentially saying "If you play this AP, you don't make your own characters—you play these pre-built characters instead." It's how the Dragonlance modules worked back in the day.

Unfortunately, that's a style of play that's largely fallen from favor, and for various other reasons (mostly boiling down to "People want to make their own characters, so let them!") the "play the AP as these characters" option got "demoted" to an option tucked away in the corners of the Player's Guide and the GM material.


James Jacobs wrote:


That said... if Ameiko dies, the Adventure Path doesn't end. There's a lot of stuff in the AP that helps GMs keep the storyline going if she dies—and in fact, if you want, you can run the AP so that she dies no matter what, which then puts the mantle of destiny onto the PCs. That DOES take the adventure path's plot and theme away from the intended one... but what's the point of playing/running an RPG if you can't adjust the game to your own preferences?

Exactly. Her role hasn't bothered my players so far, but if it ever starts to, she's just gonna die. They still have plenty of reason as scions to keep going.


I don't know, the term "Mary Sue" doesn't really have any meaning any more. Is it a self-insert character that can do no wrong, and is perfect in every way, even having flaws that are endearing instead of...flaws?

If that's the case I don't think Ameiko falls into that category. From what I gathered she's kind of a failed adventurer in a way. The PCs are bailing her out of numerous situations along the way, and aside from having a unique destiny and driving the plot of the adventure, she becomes sort of secondary to the AP at a certain point.

I thought all the Jade Regent NPCs provided an interesting way to connect the PCs with a group of people who probably aren't going to approach the peaks that the PCs will, but are there kind of as a supporting cast. Not Sue-like at all.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Dan Grendell 815 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


That said... if Ameiko dies, the Adventure Path doesn't end. There's a lot of stuff in the AP that helps GMs keep the storyline going if she dies—and in fact, if you want, you can run the AP so that she dies no matter what, which then puts the mantle of destiny onto the PCs. That DOES take the adventure path's plot and theme away from the intended one... but what's the point of playing/running an RPG if you can't adjust the game to your own preferences?

Exactly. Her role hasn't bothered my players so far, but if it ever starts to, she's just gonna die. They still have plenty of reason as scions to keep going.

Honestly... if you're doing your job right as the GM (and it sounds like you are), the PCs shouldn't hate or be bothered by her. She SHOULD be a welcome friend and ally. That is, after all, the entire point of the AP—to have strong NPC allies working with the PCs.


While many aspects of Ameiko fit a certain stereotype, I don't think it is really the "Mary Sue." From my understanding, the defining aspects of a Mary Sue are wish fulfillment and special powers. Unless James Jacobs has always wanted to be a bar owner with some seriously messed up family drama and terrible luck, I don't think the first part is applicable. As for special powers... check out her stat block. Ya. Other than being a princess, she doesn't have anything special going for her.

She does, however, fit a certain "hot-headed heroine" mold. I don't think that is, in and of itself, bad. She has quite a lot written about her for an NPC, but the parts about her personality wouldn't fill more than a couple of pages total. To get the idea of the character across in such a short area you have to paint with some broad strokes. If she was a character in a novel I would expect more nuance, or in the context of actually playing the game, but for a written adventure it isn't bad.

Now, Joana did make another point about the overuse about these types of NPCs (those being, attractive female humans). By my count, 7 out of 10 initial modules in the AP line have attractive female humans as the main allied NPCs. If you include half-elves and ensembles, you get 9 out of 10 (go, Kingmaker). While I don't think any of these characters are bad on their own, and the sampling isn't exactly thorough or scientific, it is something that deserves to be noticed.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:

While many aspects of Ameiko fit a certain stereotype, I don't think it is really the "Mary Sue." From my understanding, the defining aspects of a the Mary Sue are wish fulfillment and special powers. Unless James Jacobs has always wanted to be a bar owner with some seriously messed up family drama, I don't think the first part is applicable. As for special powers... check out her stat block. Ya. Other than being a princess, she doesn't have a lot going for her.

She does, however, fit a certain "hot-headed heroine" mold. I don't think that is, in and of itself, bad. She has quite a lot written about her for an NPC, but the parts about her personality wouldn't fill more than a couple of pages total. To get the idea of the character across in such a short area you have to paint with some broad strokes. If she was a character in a novel I would expect more nuance, or if James Jacobs was running her himself, but for an adventure it isn't that bad.

Now, Joana did make another point about the overuse about these types of NPCs (those being, attractive female humans). By my count, 7 out of 10 initial modules in the AP line have attractive female humans as the main allied NPCs. If you include half-elves and ensembles, you get 9 out of 10 (go, Kingmaker). While I don't think any of these characters are bad on their own, and the sampling isn't exactly thorough or scientific, it is something that deserves to be noticed.

While Ameiko IS somewhat modeled after an old Planescape character I played a decade ago, her incarnation as a bartender/ex-adventurer in Sandpoint is very much her own character. In fact, I put her into the first Pathfinder adventure entirely because I wanted to some day do the Jade Regent Adventure Path—her presence in Runelords is mostly just to establish her character so that by the time I got around to launching Jade Regent, players would already know her and the revelation of what and who she is would be more interesting.

The fact that the majority of our ally NPCs weigh heavily in the "attractive female human" category is indeed something that deserves to be noticed. It's something, in fact, that I do try to avoid doing too much, even though it DOES still happen. For example, making one of the ally NPCs in Jade Regent be an old woman plays against that stereotype. And part of it is also my natural inclination to avoid having a gender bias toward male characters—all too often, for example, an adventuring group is depicted as being composed of mostly male characters with one female character. That's why of our first four iconic characters we debuted in Pathfinder I pushed to have that ratio reversed, with 1 male and 3 female characters.

Anyway... good feedback!


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Nope, she isn't My Blessed Divine Center Of The Universe Self.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Charlie Brooks wrote:
If Ameiko was a Mary Sue, she probably wouldn't spend so much time being kidnapped or getting put into a coma. Nor would she need the PCs' help in getting things done.

For a while, in fact, I was STRONGLY considering making it the assumption that Ameiko and the other key NPCs were the PCs. Essentially saying "If you play this AP, you don't make your own characters—you play these pre-built characters instead." It's how the Dragonlance modules worked back in the day.

Unfortunately, that's a style of play that's largely fallen from favor, and for various other reasons (mostly boiling down to "People want to make their own characters, so let them!") the "play the AP as these characters" option got "demoted" to an option tucked away in the corners of the Player's Guide and the GM material.

Actually, that was one of the things I hated about the Dragonlance Modules-the poorly designed characters you were pretty much forced to play. It would have been much better, in my opinion, if they'd done something like JR did and:

1) Kept the pregens as background NPCs

2) Made the pregens interesting

So, I think it was handled well in thie AP. As has been mentioned, none of the named NPCs HAVE to survive...

(That being said, back in the early 90's, I played in a MERP campaign where only one of the other players had ever read/seen LOTR or the Hobbit, but the GM was a Tolkien Fetishist...The adventure took place just after the Hobbit and through a strange series of adventures, the party ended up getting Bilbo drunk (who most of the heroes saw as an annoying halfling) and then we rolled him and stole his "Cool Magic Sword, Mitril Armor, and the neat ring of invisibility...Most of the players ahd no idea what we had just done. The GM completely flipped out and in the middle of a screetching coniption fit, threatened to leave the group if we didn't immediately return the stuff and start following the books...which we did.

But personally, as a GM, I think it would have been fun to see what happened if WE had to take the ring to Mount Doom...

Similar thing happened when Rick Hunter and Minmei died in the first adventure of a Palladium Robotech campaign...)

What I'm saying is...as long as the heroes are the FOCUS of the STORY, it's OK if there are more important people in the adventure...


Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:
She does, however, fit a certain "hot-headed heroine" mold. I don't think that is, in and of itself, bad. She has quite a lot written about her for an NPC, but the parts about her personality wouldn't fill more than a couple of pages total. To get the idea of the character across in such a short area you have to paint with some broad strokes. If she was a character in a novel I would expect more nuance, or in the context of actually playing the game, but for a written adventure it isn't bad.

Yes, she's a "hot-headed heroine" but I don't think that makes her a poorly written character (i know you didn't say that).

It's just that I guess those types of people are more often drawn to a career as adventurer and therefore represented there above average. The girls that grow up dreaming of their wedding day with some guy from across the village and want nothing more in their life than a house full of kids, yes, they're not really those that pick up a sword and slay dragons.

And before someone brings up an example, yes I'm sure there are characters like that too, but they're not the norm. :)

And just because something has a page on tvtropes doesn't mean anything either, certainly not that it's bad. I mean you can find EVERYTHING there by now if you enter the right keywords. Oh the character is blonde, female and not a nobel prize winner? Oh it's the dumb blonde. But now she's smart? Oh they totally went to inverse the trope, how lame!

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber

If I get to run this, I plan to ask m players if any of them fancies playing a bard, and if it is my male player then I'll double check that he is okay playing a female bard.
If that happens then Ameiko can be a PC, if not then she can be an NPC. I'll do the same with the other three as well: making it an option rather than a damand or something that is pressured.


Lord Fyre wrote:

From another thread ...

Joana wrote:
Ameiko Kaijitsu. And that wasn't the GM; it was the players. She's such a Mary Sue her reputation preceded her. I was running a wizard with tricked-out Knowledges and had an awful run of dice where I couldn't make a DC 15 check with a +9 bonus, and all the other PCs were like, "So what? We'll just go ask Ameiko; she knows everything! And she's beautiful and talented and wonderful!" I came close to quitting that game, too, as the whole adventure hook seems to be "drop everything at Ameiko's whim to go make her a princess just because you all love her so much."
Interresting question: Is Ameiko Kaijitsu a "Mary Sue" type character?

No, she isn't. Please stop using "Mary Sue" for an important NPC, it's stupid and counterproductive.

Of course if a GM uses her that way, it's her/his problem. But as presented, Ameiko definitely is not a Mary Sue. I'd rather say that she is being used as the "damsel in distress" way too often in the AP, which goes a long way of making her look incompetent, a burden and someone unfit to rule a fricking empire. I definitely would have wanted her to get at least some character development in the AP, where she comes to terms with being a future empress. I'll put that in myself now, but it should have been in there, instead of yet another suggestion to have Ameiko abducted. Again.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:
Please stop using "Mary Sue" for an important NPC, it's stupid and counterproductive.

Not to mention that it assumes everybody knows what you're trying to suggest. I assume it's a reference to some popular culture icon, but that certainly wasn't a part of the popular culture where (and when) I grew up.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber

Mary Sue sounds like some litigation-crazy lawyer gal to me!


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I'll dunk my two cents in here to say I hope that the next helpful character in an AP is a super old ex-adventurer. We need more Vencarlo Orsini types in APs, and far less "moderately attractive female character who uses romance as a reward and gets left out of the flavor text in the next five books."


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Well, at least I am not the only one who was upset at that. ^^

But one more time about Ameiko being the perennial damsel-in-distress in the AP, it got to the point where I was reminded of that line from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "Dawn is in danger? Must be Tuesday..."

Cheliax

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

Further evidence from the Ask James Jacobs thread:

James Jacobs wrote:
Joana wrote:
Does Ameiko Kaijitsu, in fact, have any flaws? I mean actual flaws, not "Oh, she's so spunky and headstrong, isn't it adorable?" I'm playing a female PC in Jade Regent and how perfect and wonderful she is at everything and how much everyone in town adores her is getting laid on really thick. It's like adventuring with a Disney Princess, and I'm about ready to jump ship and side with the Wicked Queen. :P
She doesn't follow authority figures very well, and she tends to be a bit overconfident in her ability to get out of any situation, and sometimes has trouble managing her temper (especially in the face of certain injustices).
So, yeah, sounds like your basic Disney Channel heroine. ;)

To be fair and to put it in context she is no more of a Mary sue than the shipwreak NPC'S in Serpent Skull

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber

Isn't Mary Sue spiderman's love interest?


That'd be Mary Jane Watson.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

For those who don't know:

Mary Sue

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

And no, I don't think Ameiko is a Sue.


I honestly think the only point that could possible be made for her being a Mary Sue (that term is used so inflationary that it has pretty much lost all meaning anyway) is that it's one of JJ's ex-PCs.

If this was a homegrown campaign where the GM introduces an ex PC then it might be true, but while JJ introduces her in the book, it's really up to the GM to fill her with life and give her a personality.


James Jacobs wrote:
For a while, in fact, I was STRONGLY considering making it the assumption that Ameiko and the other key NPCs were the PCs. Essentially saying "If you play this AP, you don't make your own characters—you play these pre-built characters instead." It's how the Dragonlance modules worked back in the day.

Oh my goodness. That would have been something indeed.

In old-school D&D circles the Dragonlance modules and how they worked is the very moment "Dungeons & Dragons" went from old-school (i.e. good) to new-school (i.e. bad). It would have been interesting to see Pathfinder follow a similar course and the reaction to it. I don't think it would have been a fun experience! :)


I just don't get the sue vibe from her. The players didn't seem to either, so I guess I'm doing an alright job at portraying her. In fact, they think she's awesome.

I think its all in how you portray her. She, to me, is a woman who has been through a lot, and is trying to escape some memories by chasing down a fantastic dream that just fell into her lap.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My main issue with Ameiko in the adventure is that it's assumed all the PCS adore her to the extent they'll drop their lives and take off on a caravan trip just on her selfish whim. But unless everyone takes Best Friend or Childhood Crush (Ameiko), there's no reason given for them to be so fond of her. It's just given that everyone loves her because, well, she's Ameiko Kaijitsu, duh.

It's especially odd, given that there's an option in the relationship rules for PCs to be her rivals and hate her ... but then why would they agree to drop everything and go with her in the first place, especially on a trip whose end goal is to make your greatest enemy an empress??? I honestly expect more of an adventure hook out of Paizo than "The hot chick asks you to do something stupid."

I don't like my PC being told they like an NPC in lieu of that NPC doing something in-game to cause me to like them and want to help them. Ameiko's just coasting on her reputation in Jade Regent.

EDIT: To clarify, "the hot chick asked me to do something stupid" is a fine plot-hook for some PCs. I've just grown used to Paizo providing enough reason for all different kinds of PCs to want to participate in their APs: "He thinks the NPC is hot and is hoping to get lucky; she is concerned about the ramifications to society and Golarion as a whole if X isn't done/undone; I'm interested in the ancient library rumored to be hidden at the adventure site that will make my academic career; and the halfling just wants the treasure."


Joana wrote:

I honestly expect more of an adventure hook out of Paizo than "The hot chick asks you to do something stupid."

Well we are talking about RPG gamers after all. I know more than a few that are susceptible to this in real life. So I could see why it would seem plausible to some! ;)


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Joana wrote:

My main issue with Ameiko in the adventure is that it's assumed all the PCS adore her to the extent they'll drop their lives and take off on a caravan trip just on her selfish whim. But unless everyone takes Best Friend or Childhood Crush (Ameiko), there's no reason given for them to be so fond of her. It's just given that everyone loves her because, well, she's Ameiko Kaijitsu, duh.

It's especially odd, given that there's an option in the relationship rules for PCs to be her rivals and hate her ... but then why would they agree to drop everything and go with her in the first place, especially on a trip whose end goal is to make your greatest enemy an empress??? I honestly expect more of an adventure hook out of Paizo than "The hot chick asks you to do something stupid."

I don't like my PC being told they like an NPC in lieu of that NPC doing something in-game to cause me to like them and want to help them. Ameiko's just coasting on her reputation in Jade Regent.

EDIT: To clarify, "the hot chick asked me to do something stupid" is a fine plot-hook for some PCs. I've just grown used to Paizo providing enough reason for all different kinds of PCs to want to participate in their APs: "He thinks the NPC is hot and is hoping to get lucky; she is concerned about the ramifications to society and Golarion as a whole if X isn't done/undone; I'm interested in the ancient library rumored to be hidden at the adventure site that will make my academic career; and the halfling just wants the treasure."

I think there is always a key background element in an AP that the GM needs to identify early, and have a good idea how to handle it for their group. When I run this AP, developing Ameiko's personality and the characters' relationships to her will be key.


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Joana wrote:
My main issue with Ameiko in the adventure is that it's assumed all the PCS adore her to the extent they'll drop their lives and take off on a caravan trip just on her selfish whim. But unless everyone takes Best Friend or Childhood Crush (Ameiko), there's no reason given for them to be so fond of her. It's just given that everyone loves her because, well, she's Ameiko Kaijitsu, duh.

Well as JJ said, it's been established right from the start that this is sorta what the AP is about. If you then build a PC that's absolutely oposing everything Ameiko does just to opose it, then you build a PC that's just incompatible with the type of adventure.

It's like the GM says "Ok this is a campaign to save the world" and you show up with an anti-paladin.

By the time Ameiko asks them to accompany them to Minkai the PCs have been through alot together already, probably saved eahc others lifes a few times, so they decide to stick together after that too.
Maybe they always dreamt about explorin the world and take that chance even if it means havin to go with Ameiko. I mean its Minkai, the other side of the world.
Maybe they have a thing for Sandru or Shalelu or even Koya and since they come along, so will they.

And thats just a few examples that I came up with in a minute. It's kinda your responsibility to make a character that fits with the AP not the AP's to accomodate every possible one you can come up with.


Joana wrote:

My main issue with Ameiko in the adventure is that it's assumed all the PCS adore her to the extent they'll drop their lives and take off on a caravan trip just on her selfish whim. But unless everyone takes Best Friend or Childhood Crush (Ameiko), there's no reason given for them to be so fond of her. It's just given that everyone loves her because, well, she's Ameiko Kaijitsu, duh.

It's especially odd, given that there's an option in the relationship rules for PCs to be her rivals and hate her ... but then why would they agree to drop everything and go with her in the first place, especially on a trip whose end goal is to make your greatest enemy an empress??? I honestly expect more of an adventure hook out of Paizo than "The hot chick asks you to do something stupid."

I don't like my PC being told they like an NPC in lieu of that NPC doing something in-game to cause me to like them and want to help them. Ameiko's just coasting on her reputation in Jade Regent.

EDIT: To clarify, "the hot chick asked me to do something stupid" is a fine plot-hook for some PCs. I've just grown used to Paizo providing enough reason for all different kinds of PCs to want to participate in their APs: "He thinks the NPC is hot and is hoping to get lucky; she is concerned about the ramifications to society and Golarion as a whole if X isn't done/undone; I'm interested in the ancient library rumored to be hidden at the adventure site that will make my academic career; and the halfling just wants the treasure."

Well, the fault's on you for not reading the Players's Guide, then. You get options to be friends, family or whatnot with one of the four NPCs, you don't exactly need to be a friend of Ameiko. The Players's Guide explicitly states that the AP assumes that your character is hankering to go on a great journey, so the decision to follow one of the four NPCs should be easy, even if you don't particularly like Ameiko.

Honestly, at this point your posts read like you are having a bad reaction to the other players preferring the NPC over your PC. That's not the adventures fault, but the reason lies with how the other players reacted to Ameiko and how your GM plays her. Trust me, the adventure itself does very little to flesh Ameiko out beyond some character traits and her background. And "flirtatious and perfect" is not in her description.


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Joana wrote:
I don't like my PC being told they like an NPC in lieu of that NPC doing something in-game to cause me to like them and want to help them.

While I don't necessarily disagree with you...

One has to wonder: If the above is the case, why did you agree to play Jade Regent in the first place, since that's what the entire thing's about, from day 1?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

*shrug* I wasn't very enthusiastic about it from the description, but that's what the DM wanted to run and everyone else wanted to play. And given the fact that the Player's Guide explicitly provided the option of not liking Ameiko, I assumed the module would provide other reasons to cooperate with the plot other than making Ameiko happy or would put the PCs in her debt for some reason, so that even those who didn't like her would want to help her out to be freed from their obligation.

I fully admit to being spoiled by Paizo APs. The hooks are generally very well set to appeal to a broad variety of characters and motivations. This one just seemed like they took the lazy way out to me, as the developers couldn't imagine anyone not wanting to help out Ameiko.


Joana wrote:
My main issue with Ameiko in the adventure is that it's assumed all the PCS adore her to the extent they'll drop their lives and take off on a caravan trip just on her selfish whim. But unless everyone takes Best Friend or Childhood Crush (Ameiko), there's no reason given for them to be so fond of her. It's just given that everyone loves her because, well, she's Ameiko Kaijitsu, duh.

I don't see any point in the adventure path where the PCs are assumed to adore her. Sure, things work more easily if they get along with her, but there are three other friends/allies in the caravan that the PCs probably have connections to as well.

Quote:
It's especially odd, given that there's an option in the relationship rules for PCs to be her rivals and hate her ... but then why would they agree to drop everything and go with her in the first place, especially on a trip whose end goal is to make your greatest enemy an empress??? I honestly expect more of an adventure hook out of Paizo than "The hot chick asks you to do something stupid."

Rivalry is not the same as hatred. And again, there are multiple other NPCs in the caravan that the PCs might be attached to. Or they could be along for a reward. Or, if they're evil and really don't like Ameiko, they could just kill her and take the throne themselves. There are a lot of ways to go with the adventure path, and while the books have an assumption based on what most groups are expected to do, there's nothing to my knowledge explicitly saying that the PCs have to follow Ameiko just because or that they even need to like her.

Quote:
I don't like my PC being told they like an NPC in lieu of that NPC doing something in-game to cause me to like them and want to help them. Ameiko's just coasting on her reputation in Jade Regent.

Again, I don't think there's any place where the adventure path says the PCs automatically like Ameiko, except for the very base assumption of the campaign that says the group grew up near her.

Quote:
EDIT: To clarify, "the hot chick asked me to do something stupid" is a fine plot-hook for some PCs. I've just grown used to Paizo providing enough reason for all different kinds of PCs to want to participate in their APs: "He thinks the NPC is hot and is hoping to get lucky; she is concerned about the ramifications to society and Golarion as a whole if X isn't done/undone; I'm interested in the ancient library rumored to be hidden at the adventure site that will make my academic career; and the halfling just wants the treasure."

Each PC is assumed to have a background tie to one of the NPCs in the caravan. And "the hot chick asked me to do something stupid" isn't even part of the base assumption of the game, since the player's guide is pretty explicit about romances being optional because not everyone is interested in playing that.

Sure, if you want to play somebody who hates Ameiko and can't stand to spend any amount of time with her no matter what your other buddies want to do, there might be some conflicts there.

The general campaign assumption has two assumptions: 1) You have at least one friend in the caravan, and 2) You have a will to go out and do stupid things (a prerequisite for being an adventurer). Nowhere in the adventures does it say you have to adore Ameiko or even think she's that interesting.

I'm not trying to be contrary, but I just don't see any example in the actual text that mentions how wonderful Ameiko is and how all the PCs must follow her whims. Granted, I don't have the books in front of me, but if it's in there, it's not printed in any way that makes it stand out to me.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
Joana wrote:

*shrug* I wasn't very enthusiastic about it from the description, but that's what the DM wanted to run and everyone else wanted to play. And given the fact that the Player's Guide explicitly provided the option of not liking Ameiko, I assumed the module would provide other reasons to cooperate with the plot other than making Ameiko happy or would put the PCs in her debt for some reason, so that even those who didn't like her would want to help her out to be freed from their obligation.

I fully admit to being spoiled by Paizo APs. The hooks are generally very well set to appeal to a broad variety of characters and motivations. This one just seemed like they took the lazy way out to me, as the developers couldn't imagine anyone not wanting to help out Ameiko.

This is why I insist on good PCs.

If two good characters are rivals that does not mean that they wish to crush each others' hopes and dreams, just that they want to be cooler, wittier, cleverer and more succesful... It is also pointed out that a high rivalry score can flip over into a grand romance, so that should point to the kind of rivalry you are expected to create. In fact, the Player's Guide uses the term 'competitive' a lot.

The module provides you with the opportunity to visit Minkai and do so with your loyal adventuring companions. Plenty of people have already pointed out that the lust-for-travel option is presented for those who don't want a relationship with any of the four main characters.
These are the options you spurned:
Best Friends with Ameiko
Best friends with Sandru
Caravan Guard
Childhood Crush on Ameiko
Childhood Crush on Shalelu
Childhood Crush on Sandru
Foster Child of Koya
Family Friend of Koya
Hero Worship of Ameiko
Hero Worship of Shalelu
Rescued by Koya
Rescued by Shalelu
Student Survivalist learning from Shalelu
Younger Sibling of Ameiko
Younger Sibling of Shalelu
Younger Sibling of Sandru

So, if we take out the option of a positive relationship with Ameiko we've still got 12 campaign traits to connect you to the adventure which do not require you to like Ameiko.

Maybe I am misreading, but your post comes across as: "I didn't want to play this AP so I deliberately made a character who would be difficult and awkward."

Andoran

I had the same concerns about the NPC's when I first tried to DM this AP. So I basically shafted them, put them off to the side and didn't do anything with them. It was foolish. This AP is about friendships. Not every PC has to be bff's with Ameiko, she's not the only NPC. Even, if your PC doesn't want to have connections of friendships with the NPC's I could still think of a number of reasons for travelling with the caravan.

Off the top of my head, here's one: You're the last surviving heir of one of the other 5 families of Minkai. You were sent by your father to find the Amatatsus before your house fell. He sent you with an ancestral sword of your own. You make it to Kalsgard, where you hear about a family, the "Kajitsus" who came over the crown of the world around the same time the Amatatsu's fled. This family quickly became very successful traders in the north before disappearing suddenly. You're on your way south to Magnimar, their last known location, when you stop in a small coastal town, Sandpoint. This character has no ties to any of the NPC's but has significant reasons for sticking with the group. Perhaps they'll slowly reveal their identity to their fellow PC's and ask for their support. The NPC's would still be a significant part of this reframed AP, but they would be eventual foes who couldn't be challenged until the PC's grew in power. Sounds like an intriguing way to run the Jade Regent to me.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

*shrug* This thread isn't about me or my PC or my GM or my group. It's about Ameiko and whether or not she can do any wrong. As she's actually depicted by Paizo, it's probably an unfair criticism. In practice, to many players who are familiar with Paizo's work, she's synonymous with 'sexy and exciting,' so even if a GM doesn't portray her as an ubercompetent know-it-all, the players react to her as if she were. Our GM even objected to the PCs' insistence that Ameiko can answer any question of lore or identify any esoteric item with, "Everyone seems to think she's super-high level for some reason!"

Osirion

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

The only solution to a problem like that would be never to use any competent, smart, good loking or in any other way exiting NPC in a Setting or at least never ever to reuse one, because the players/gamemasters out there might overdo these traits.

I don't think that is doable without a big sacrifice to setting and adventures.

Shadow Lodge

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I had the opposite problem: most of my players didn't see what the big deal was, about any of the NPCs, and didn't listen to them at all. I actually had to run a cut-away where my players played the NPCs rescuing a kidnapped PC, so that they could see how good they really were.

In fact, my players see Ameiko as overprotective of her little sister, obsessed with her family legacy, too forgiving of her little brother, and unreasonably afraid of snakes. In the end, they swore to save the people of Minkai _with_ her, not _for_ her. That's a big difference, and makes for a more participatory campaign all around. If the other players in your group treated her like a perfect font of knowledge, that's on them, because it's not in the adventure as written.

Your GM probably should have had her say "no," and "I don't know," and "why are you guys asking me all these questions" more. On the other hand, I see no reason you couldn't have played a character who just wanted to leave Sandpoint and explore the world. S/he doesn't have to care what happens to Ameiko - she's just a ticket out of town. You could even build a character that didn't like Ameiko, and you'd really enjoy the AP once the PCs are higher level than her, and Ameiko starts to depend on them, rather than the other way around.

If your fellow players have an over-estimation of Ameiko's value and importance, so do you, in a different way, whether that comes from your GM or a misreading of the Player's Guide. The NPCs _are_ important, but not more important than the PCs. In the end, it's an ensemble piece, like Firefly. (I would argue that in that analogy, Ameiko is River: mostly a plot device, and kind of crazy and damaged.)


Joana wrote:
*shrug* This thread isn't about me or my PC or my GM or my group. It's about Ameiko and whether or not she can do any wrong. As she's actually depicted by Paizo, it's probably an unfair criticism. In practice, to many players who are familiar with Paizo's work, she's synonymous with 'sexy and exciting,' so even if a GM doesn't portray her as an ubercompetent know-it-all, the players react to her as if she were. Our GM even objected to the PCs' insistence that Ameiko can answer any question of lore or identify any esoteric item with, "Everyone seems to think she's super-high level for some reason!"

Admittedly, this is my group's first encounter with Ameiko, but I'm still not seeing where the idea of her doing no wrong comes from. She's not high level, and she spends a lot of the adventure path in over her head and needing the PCs to bail her out. Maybe the players you mention are picking up on something I'm missing, but it seems they're making some assumptions that aren't backed up within the context of the actual adventure path.

Honestly, if I were to see any of the four NPCs as big darned heroes, I'd probably expect it from Shalelu. She's the one introduced as a badass from day one in Rise of the Runelords, while Ameiko basically tapped out of adventuring because it was too much for her. But to each their own, I guess.


When the adventure starts, Ameiko is 5th level, and from the view of a 1st level character freaking powerful. She's seen the world, while they probably have not, so it makes sense to ask for her advice here and there.

But as they have their own adventure and become more powerful they eventually realise that Ameiko is not a demi-god but just another human.


GeraintElberion wrote:

If I get to run this, I plan to ask m players if any of them fancies playing a bard, and if it is my male player then I'll double check that he is okay playing a female bard.

If that happens then Ameiko can be a PC, if not then she can be an NPC. I'll do the same with the other three as well: making it an option rather than a damand or something that is pressured.

They are all above level 1, and in 2 case, we don't know what was their class at first level.


Quatar wrote:

When the adventure starts, Ameiko is 5th level, and from the view of a 1st level character freaking powerful. She's seen the world, while they probably have not, so it makes sense to ask for her advice here and there.

But as they have their own adventure and become more powerful they eventually realise that Ameiko is not a demi-god but just another human.

More like that they realize that they are now demi-gods, too and better ones than her. :p

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

I can see from the throng an answers to this thread that Ameiko is not a "Mary Sue" by most definitions; but that handling her (and Shalelu Andosana for that matter) well is very important to avoid that impression.

Am I reading you correctly?


Lord Fyre wrote:

I can see from the throng an answers to this thread that Ameiko is not a "Mary Sue" by most definitions; but that handling her (and Shalelu Andosana for that matter) well is very important to avoid that impression.

Am I reading you correctly?

I'd call that a good interpretation. One that could ring true for any number of characters really, and yes, that includes Ameiko (and Shalelu).


Personally I preferred Ameiko as the bartender with crazy family problems than heir to the throne. Personally I've always hated that kind of plot, which is a shame, because I was really excited for Jade Reagent despite that and I loved the way the adventure handled the NPCs and their motivations. I found it important (in Runelords, anyhow) not to overplay her, and not to stray too far from the "rough and tumble bartender" mould as the adventure progressed. My players engaged with her more than any other NPC, so I suppose I did a decent job.

I'd probably run Jade Reagent as James said, with the players choosing NPCs from the group. Unfortunately the gender balance is WAY, way off for my table and I doubt anyone would be overly enthusiastic about premades. I think I asked in the first few weeks after the paths release, but has anyone ran it with one of the players taking over an NPC? How did it go?

Really all this thread has done is made me notice how much I really dislike Sandara Quinn in S&S (who's a personalitiless blob, by my reckoning) and I may cut her and sub her out for Rosie Cusswell. Good thread, guys. :P

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