I'm about to try something special for this AP. I'm about to start it with only one PC. I thought about getting all the NPCs (Koya, Ameiko, Sandru, Shalelu) to level 1 and here's the party!
I've even got a buzz about making it FF-style and permitting three NPCs at any time on the party, including all the ones that will join later (Spivey, Kelda, etc.) I think this will clear any eventual problems about "lazy NPCs" staying at the caravan while we get the throne for Ms Kaijitsu...
I lack any good ideas about how to start the whole thing. Ameiko is supposed to be a retired adventurer... at level 1? Koya going in the swamps being 70 years old?
I can't seem to find any good motives for the NPCs to start the adventure (or I'm too lazy to do it alone and needed some help XD)
Anyone did the same or have any tip/advice for me?
Thanks a lot!
|Mort the Cleverly Named|
A motive is pretty simple. Ameiko loves Sandpoint. Shalelu hates goblins. Pretty good reason for either of them to go deal with the Licktoad situation. Sandru isn't going to let Ameiko go get herself killed, and Koya is looking for more adventure in her life. After they find learn about Ameiko's legacy their friendship/desire for adventure/whatever would be the same as in a regular game. Honestly, it is less of a problem than running the AP straight out of the Player's Guide (which sets the PCs up as friends of the NPCs, but gives them little reason to adventure together into the swamp).
Making the characters level 1, when they have already lived such interesting lives, is more of a verisimilitude issue than a motivation issue. But not a terribly important one, in my opinion. Yes, it is a bit weird. Then again, so is the fact that most APs take characters from level 1 shlubs to level 16 demigods in a matter of months, if not weeks. Or that the world's greatest cobbler ends up with piles of hitpoints and combat ability. Levels make the world a strange place if you think about them too much. I'd say bite the bullet, cover your ears, and try not to think about it until after the first adventure, when they are up to an appropriate level and it doesn't matter anymore anyway.
You might also want to consider only having Shalelu go into the swamps with the PC. She is teaching a newbie the art of goblin killing, so she lets them do most of the work, make mistakes so that they learn, provides some healing by way of a wand of CLWs, etc...
I had Sandru and Koya out of town when the swamps were explored, rolling into to town just as the party was leaving the swamps, meeting them on the road.
The above should allow you to run the AP with just a single PC, and not have any disconnect at the first couple of PC levels.
Thank you both for your advice!
Effectively, motive is pretty simple. I'll just roll with it.
I like Mistwalker's idea for NPCs' level, letting Shalelu help out in the swamp. Maybe that's what I'll do if the player chooses a campaign trait that links him to the elf!