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Emissary


Compatible Products from Other Publishers


Let me just throw out a crazy idea. And before I go any further, let me make clear -- I'm not saying FMG is publishing this. And our recently announced Throne of Night AP is definitely NOT this.

Emissary

For a century there has been nothing but endless war in the Nine Nations. For a century there has been only destruction, death and devastation. Hardly anyone alive today can remember why the great war began. But now there is at last one fragile chance for peace. It lies in the hands of the Emissary.

The Emissary would be an adventure or perhaps even an adventure path where you need never draw a weapon or cast a hostile spell. Yes, violence will likely happen from time to time if you fail at your mission to bring peace to the Nine Nations.

There would political maneuvering, intrigue, stealth missions, traps and puzzles galore. There would be fantastic monsters and an epic quest through nine different fantastic realms locked in senseless war. You don't defeat the dragon with a sword. You defeat it with a riddle contest. There would be all sorts of danger and adventure -- just not combat. Or at least no essential combat.

Combat is only something that happens when you fail in your destiny as the Emissary.

I know there would need to be a few system tweaks here and there to accomodate the lack of focus on combat. But I think it is definitely within the realm of the possible with just a few house rules. And I am definitely not describing an adventure that is just a series of diplomacy checks. I'm really describing an adventure that is fundamentally focused on puzzles and roleplaying.

So, sound interesting? The most boring snooze-fest ever? What do you think? I really am incredibly curious.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sounds fun. I'd be interested if, as you say, it's more than a bunch of Diplomacy checks. I think you'd need a "social combat" system where arguments can be won or lost, and I (as a PC) can't just choose to hate you, despite you're incredibly high Charisma and Diplomacy.


Great idea. As refreshing as beating people senseless is, it would be nice to be able to solve the adventure without needing your wall of fighters. The group I play with (many of us are GMs that will trade off positions when their AP is finished) would enjoy this and I would be happy to play or run it.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sounds cool. I'd buy it.

Publisher, Dreamscarred Press

Sounds very interesting.


Few questions about this if you have the idea developed enough yet, mostly about the world.
1 Are the Nine Nations the only nations or are there minor kingdoms sheltered off elsewhere beyond the reaches of the war?
2 Given the war, I assume that these nations are relatively close together, is this true?
3 What's the general flavor of the world?
4 Have any nations been wiped out by the war? Was it originally a war between ten nations? Is it actually now a war between eight?

Thanks and good luck.

Andoran

Yeah, I'm totally in on this one. The Diplomacy skill alone sounds like it would be worth its weight in gold in this adventure/adventure path, assuming non-tangible things have some sort of weight to base the gold off. Regardless, I would buy this, definitely.

Taldor

That would be some great news !


Minion GM wrote:

Few questions about this if you have the idea developed enough yet, mostly about the world.

1 Are the Nine Nations the only nations or are there minor kingdoms sheltered off elsewhere beyond the reaches of the war?
2 Given the war, I assume that these nations are relatively close together, is this true?
3 What's the general flavor of the world?
4 Have any nations been wiped out by the war? Was it originally a war between ten nations? Is it actually now a war between eight?

Thanks and good luck.

Just a few thoughts.

1. I envision the Nine Nations basically being fantasy Europe -- not the entire world but definitely an important part of it.

2. They are very close.

3. Fantasy renaissance, I should think. Rapiers and muskets being much more the norm than full plate and longswords.

4. At least one of the nations has been all but wiped out and is the puppet of another.

All of this is very preliminary. I've got about two pages of notes mostly consisting of raw ideas and spirited notes.

I thought I'd post a very brief summary of those notes to see if it had any commercial potential.

Gary McBride
Callous Jack,

Glad you think so. We'll be having more previews and sample art in coming months as we prep for our 2013 release schedule.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games
Check out our kickstarter! Creature Cards


I'd absolutely love to play such a module or even AP!


Just a heads-up: LPJr Design has Debatable Actions, a kind of social combat system and I've been using it for quite some time in my home-game. For me, it doesn't work wholly as intended, but with some experience and revisions my buddies and I have tweaked and expanded it quite a bit, so Gary, If you want to take a look at it, I'd be willing to send v.0.8 of the tweaked system to you upon my return in November. Cheers!


EZG,

I'd absolutely love to take a look at that. At the very least it should be thought-provoking. At your leisure of course. Between finishing Way of the Wicked, the Kickstarter, some freelancing, and well... life, let us just say that I am adequately busy.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games
Check out our kickstarter! Creature Cards

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

I would love this.


Gary, since you were so fast, I sent the rules over.

Hope you'll find them interesting. In court sessions and senate discussions, they worked well for my group, giving even all the martial characters something to do while also letting the social skill monkeys shine in their element.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I'd LOVE to see this happen!

I've long held that the d20 System can be used for more than just combat, and it'd be great to see this untapped potential brought to light!

I do agree with Endzeitgeist that some rules would need to be expanded and revised though; Bluff and Diplomacy skill checks alone aren't enough.

Also, while I have a lot of respect for LPJ as a publisher, Debatable Actions is, IIRC, a Pathfinder update of Dynasties & Demagogues, from Atlas Games. That link will show you most of what's in the book.


You know after I posted this in September and got very little response, I thought this might be a genuinely bad idea.

Now, I'm starting to reconsider. An adventure path focused on social combat sounds like something that would be incredibly cool to write.

Another neat thing about this project is that it would be easier than any adventure path I can conceive to run it as a solo AP.

Still, I wonder if the market is there...

I see there as being at least two major mechanical additions here -- a social combat system, obviously. But also for a campaign where riddles and puzzles might play a major role, I would also like a system where the PCs can receive hints and use their character abilities to help them solve a puzzle that has them stumped.

I can already see this campaign having various jobs for the PCs to accomplish: the negotiator, the infiltrator, the riddle master, and more.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games
Check out our kickstarter! Creature Cards


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hmm, sounds interesting... I dunno about commiting to a whole AP that is all puzzles, but a module would certainly be interesting. I didn't even notive this thread previously, or I would have commented Gary :) You forgot to tag it was one of yours!

Andoran

Endzeitgeist wrote:
Just a heads-up: LPJr Design has Debatable Actions, a kind of social combat system and I've been using it for quite some time in my home-game. For me, it doesn't work wholly as intended, but with some experience and revisions my buddies and I have tweaked and expanded it quite a bit, so Gary, If you want to take a look at it, I'd be willing to send v.0.8 of the tweaked system to you upon my return in November. Cheers!

I would actually be interested in your tweaked system as well, if you're okay with it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Conceptually, the idea of a role-playing heavy intrigue plotline sounds great. Especially with a more grey and less paladin-centric black & white world.
The puzzles part is where you would likely lose me though.

Puzzles would be a 180 in my headspace for a mostly role-playing driven game because most puzzles revolve around challenging the player, rather than the character. Having to work around "is my character smart enough to figure this out?" (or the opposite, "why is my INT 20 character NOT smart enough to figure this out?") can definitely pull you out of role-play heavy headspace. Similar answer to riddles. The opposite would likely be even more frustrating if you figured it out and your character (for whatever mechanical reason) didn't or couldn't.

I would love, love, love to see social subsystems for long-term diplomacy vs. charm effects, establishing & maintaining Contacts, establishing & maintaining cover identities, etc. There may be that sort of thing out there already that I'm unaware of, but it's the sort of thing that would be great to cannibalize for long term high-level play as well as a one-off AP. I actually subscribed to the Paizo AP's because well, they started a pirate AP, but I kept my subscription because they have a tendency to introduce interesting subsystems in them.

More Roles Thoughts:

Not sure if you were thinking Roles or Archtypes, but to add to your list above, I could also see:
Cleaner not just assassinations, but also confusing witnesses and making sure there are no 'mundane trails' left by the others.
Sweeper - someone that makes sure that the non-muscle side of security is taken care of. Looks out for scrying sensors, eavesdropping mimics, doppelgangers, etc.
Fixer - hate using the Cyberpunk flavor term, but couldn't think of a better one - the guy (or gal) who always knows who to ask and always has the right favors to call in or offer. Always knows where to go to get things done.

More fun with intrigue plots:

Other stuff that would be fun - destabilizing governments, fomenting revolution, inciting riots, disillusioning clergy, restoring faith via diplomacy, misinformation campaigns, saving the reasonable evil NPC instead of the good aligned war-monger NPC, tips and tricks on how to fool magical scrying & lie detection, etc. etc. etc.

A possible fun way to deal with a puzzle:

Instead of having the player solve a puzzle, since you're pondering a political game, what about having the PCs try to coach or act as "ringers" in a puzzle contest to gain political advantage. Ex. Sphinx asking a riddle of the snobbish noble that the PCs have to keep uneaten, PCs know the answer and attempt to give subtle hints via Bluff that the NPC will get via Sense Motive, but that the Sphinx will not. Include list of circumstance bonus / penalty topics and role-playing hints to assist die rolls.
Ditto with a puzzle. Maybe the same noble is trying to get in some sort of equivalent of a Pathfinder Society and their parents/aunt/uncle/grandparent has promised aid to the PCs if they can help them...

Apologies for the long ramble, I should probably spend less time posting after 1am, but found the subject interesting.

TL;DR - A high intrigue campaign with more "grey" morality would be awesome. Overwhelming emphasis on puzzles & riddles more aimed at Players that Characters would diminish interest.

-TimD

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

I'd definitely be interested in such an adventure. I'm not sure how well it works as an entire 6-installment adventure path but perhaps a smaller campaign arc (trilogy?) might work.

The only possible issue, as I see it, is that most classes are geared toward armed conflict, or at least a large part of the classes' class features are. In a game focusing on political intrigue and social combat, a lot of classes might become rather ineffective, so a good mix of armed and social conflict might be a good idea.

Just a thought.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

The issue with riddles and puzzles is that it highlights the dichotomy of player ability versus character ability. It becomes trying to choose between "the players need to solve this" and "the PCs have a mechanic for determining if they solve this."

That's been a sticky wicket in RPGs for years, and would definitely come up again here.

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