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RPG Superstar 2015

Fleshing out Kenabres - Pre-WotR Adventures


Wrath of the Righteous

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

After looking over the start of Wrath of the Righteous, I realized that the destruction of Kenabres at the start of the adventure lacked any real impact. Rather than live through it, the initial devastation is just described after-the-fact. To put it in literary terms, we're told, not shown, the initial attack. What's more, we don't really have a sense of what Kenabres is like prior to the adventure. (Well, the GM does, there is a nice little Gazetteer after the main module itself which is quite useful for any GM who wants to let the players explore prior to the main campaign itself.)

So I was wondering what some other GMs were planning for their own pre-campaign adventures to help introduce their players to the city itself... so that they can get to know some of the people and thus truly strike home the utter horrific nature of Kenabres' devastation at the hands of the demons. This can include minor encounters with a cultist or mundane thieves, perhaps reaching the city as part of a caravan, or something more.

I do figure one thing to avoid doing is introducing the players to the primary NPCs of the game. It helps if the players are strangers to these three, and to Irabeth as well. But it could help the players bond their characters before the main campaign starts.

One last idea is to introduce a GMPC. Have this person be fun and interesting and build a bond between the GMPC and the players. And have the players find the GMPC dead at the adventure's start.

Anyway, I hope people post some interesting side-adventure ideas for characters for before the Demons attack. :)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My initial response was "No! I like the beginning!" Generally, I prefer to skip the boring "cast Summon Player Character" and just throw them into the mix (in my current game, I required that no PCs knew each other, and the woke up in the loft of an inn, missing 4 months of memory). That said, you bring up some valid ideas.

I won't be running this till well into next year, but I'd approach it from two ways:

If the players would like to begin knowing each other, I might run some minor encounters as team-building. A patrol along the border, escorting a shipment of stone from the quarry, etc. depending on the PCs' backgrounds and alignments. The GMPC as you suggest, dying in the attack, is a nice idea (and firmly roots in the PCs' minds that they're largely on their own).

If they don't want to begin knowing each other, then it'll begin mostly as scripted, except I'll flesh out pre-discussions with players before hand, by dropping names of NPCs and places, or mini-quests during the first adventure (similar to the faction quests in PFS).

The assumption that the PCs just happen to be together in the wrong place, wrong time is a little silly, but Paizo can't predict every possible reason for being there. So that's largely left up to the GM. That's fine. WotR has taken a big step into a more personal experience, something I firmly believe in.

That said, I'll be running WotR in a homebrew setting I'm in the progress of creating, and there will be some interesting differences (Aravashnial, for one small example, will be a half-elf or some other race).


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

I suspect that was a big part of why the Player's Guide included a section on Kenabres. Of course, given the kerflufle the Traits stirred up, I'm not surprised that most people seemed to miss that.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes, well, the section on Kenabres was one map and almost a page of text. And much of that was history. It gives a brief overview of the city, but it doesn't breathe life into the city. My belief is that Runelords is such a great adventure in part because the Anniversary Edition includes bits on breathing the town to life and having the party members become a part of this community. It is this "belonging" that makes it a big deal when giants come to town... or when a massive sinkhole opens and a half dozen guards end up missing.

The horrific aspect of Kenabres' fall is just gore. There's no real impact. But if you went to the Jade Emporium for some Xian food the night before the incident and flirted with the staff there... and then return and there is a smoldering ruin where the Emporium stood and you see a slender arm under collapsed masonry... you may have flirted with that girl. You may have known her. And now she's dead because of these damned demons.

It becomes personal.

Even the death of Terendelev may mean more if the party had entered into the city a couple days earlier and caught a glimpse of a large silver form high in the air over them... giving them a glimpse of that majesty and beauty before the end. Small bits here and there... so that the party is in a community that lives and breathes. And this blow is near mortal. It becomes personal.

Heck, even such things as the dead guards

Spoiler:
and on returning bodies to gain Devotion points
may mean something if the players interacted with the guards. They may have chatted with one. They knew him. Thus they have a reason to care.


Tangent101 wrote:


One last idea is to introduce a GMPC. Have this person be fun and interesting and build a bond between the GMPC and the players. And have the players find the GMPC dead at the adventure's start.

I quite like this idea.... imma steal it :)

I was going to have the PCs be travelling to Kenabres to attend the funeral of a common friend/mentor. Do a brief introductory story for each player about how they knew the deceased, and how much she meant to them.

For the dmpc, the bereaved spouse might be an excellent choice. Give each a chance to speak to him, extend their condolences. Then have her found slaughtered in a particularly horrible fashion the next day.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Don't have the adventure yet, but if it starts with just the attack, I'll probably go the route of having some pre-adventuring time, too, to make that connection.

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

I plan on starting this campaign with a pilgrimage from the PC's Kingmaker kindom in the River Kingdoms. Kanabres is the destination, and the PCs will grab a few NPCs on the way.

I also want to start the PCs off as level 0 characters and they earn their first level in the first adventure.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I plan on starting this campaign with a pilgrimage from the PC's Kingmaker kindom in the River Kingdoms. Kanabres is the destination, and the PCs will grab a few NPCs on the way.

I also want to start the PCs off as level 0 characters and they earn their first level in the first adventure.

Okay, curiosity is peaked . . . Are there rules for 0-level in this system? I don't remember ever reading about them! Where can I find these?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't recall anything on this. He might be talking about Child PCs, who start out with a level of Expert, Warrior, Adept, or the like, and once they come "of age" they switch those levels over to regular levels. Which, to me, sounds convoluted and confusing.


HERE is a link to something I found a while back (2007) that is for apprentice characters. It is a 3.5 doc.

-- david


I don't have wrath of the rightous yet but what I would do is things similar to what you are doing. I would let the PCs see the town and learn about it. Perhaps have a loved one, or freinds. As you say talk to guards. Ground the PCs in a -normal- enviornment for the most part for the start. Let them see life here as normal.

That way when it all goes to hell, it is more tragic when you look among the corpses and you see the guard that you laughed with at the pub; the butcher that you bought food from; heck the small-time pickpocket who stole from you and other criminals.

This also shows in a much better way just how evil and chaotic demons are. By having a connection to the town. When it goes boom, the evil nature of the demons is made stronger because of your connection. It is not just a statistic but a town with people that the PCs knew.

It should also serve as a nice counter-weight for when the PCs become mythic heros.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There's arguments to be made on either side of the discussion. Me personally, I like the idea of the starting in media res.

Silver Crusade

I aint picked it up yet myself.

I am not too sure how things actually start in the path. I started this way..

A Scroll Players received a month ago real time yesterday:
"In the year 4606 AR, A massive planar portal opened up near Threshold that unleashed a horde of demons onto the lands from the abyss. Portal ws opened by demond lord deskari. The area was devistated and has been called the world wound for the past hundred and seven years. The Church of Iomedae has declaired the Mendevian Crusades to drive back the demons. Only the remote Southern town of Gundrun remains free, most because the demons have their attention focused towards Mendev.

The year is now 4713 AR. One of the magical wardstones that helped to hedge the demons into the abyss has been sabotaged. Rumors abound that the City of Kenabres, which housed the wardstone, has been attacked and devistated by the demonic hordes. Kenabres was known to be the center for a radical faction of Iomedae's fairth of witch hunters

You have been summoned by Zantos the Azure. The scroll said he was speaker for the survivers of Kenabres. He seeks a small band of heros to survive long enough to hold back the forces of chaos and evil until help arrives. If you are brave enough to answer his summons, simply hold the scroll in your hand and speak the words written upon it. You will be teleported into a sanctuary, of sorts where you will meet others of like mind and the company will depart from.

If you are a coward and are willing to let Deskari demon lord of the locust host enter into the world, just toss this scroll aside and let a better man or woman or whatever read it and come in your stead."

___________________________
Some of the players had in mind what they wanted to play, others didnt really care and said make a few and i will roll randomly for who i play.

This past few days ive gotten a little creative. The random hero choices are as follows:

A Genderless Dromite, Female Human Gardener, Male Aasimar Standard Bearer, Male Dwarven Prince.. err i mean Engineer, Male Human Huntsman, Male Ifrit Trooper, Male Leonid Trooper, Male Lizardman King, Male Oread Trooper and Male Forest Giant Chosen of Ragathie.

I also have a Male Suli-Jann halfblood, Because he has been on another plane for years, he still has bloodline of the chief of chiefs of Iz flowing in his veins. My NPC that sent the above scroll.

Every character has a cool back story and they are all tied together in strange ways. All are starting at 2nd level.

Players that made their own characters get 2500 base gold to gear up.
The ones i made got a bonus 1000gold. In addition to whatever starting gold by class/es

The reason i did that is almost all the ones i made are multiclass. You see all my players started playing in the 80s. When we started playing we thought we had to beat dnd before we could start playing advanced dnd. In every single 3.0+ or PF game they have been single class characters. Im making them branch out.

Players get 1 Trait they choose from the players guide.

Everyone has a background from the Campaign Book.
I took those traits and applied them across the board to everyone that was eligible for them. This makes for some skill heavy characters and such, but my guys dont care so much about the crunch and this will let it flow better and we can enjoy the fluff to hearts content.

Everyone committed a crime and was punished for it, and has feelings on that event.

We start adventuring next Wednesday and it probably wont be until a session or two before i get to starting with the actual path work with them.

With our past paths, we ditched XP and granted
.5(for living)
.75(for doing some of the section)
1(for doing all the section)
To the players level based on how much of the sections of a path someone was there for.
This time i am going to track XP earned for sections 1 and 2.
See how much they have at the end of section 1 and 2.
Then as a Table we will decide which way to go, and fast/normal/slow leveling.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Had a thought. Two birds, one stone.

Have the GMPC be the silver dragon in human guise.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hmm. I'm not so sure about that. Though it would explain why he goes out of his way to save the PCs.

Personally I was going to have the GMPC found dead in the collapse. So they ignite a light and as they're looking around... there's the GMPC with a crushed chest or the like. And a truly cruel GM might have the GMPC still alive... but barely. Even more crippled than the NPCs. And even urge the PCs to leave him or her behind. So the PCs are slowed even further if they keep the GMPC and abandoning him or her is a moral dilemma. I mean, leaving the dead behind is one thing. But someone who's still breathing?

If the GM does want to have a GMPC in later APs (assuming that the other NPCs don't continue running with the PCs as the adventure commences) then the infusion of Mythic Power can even affect the GMPC and restore him or her to health... and maybe even provide an ounce of mythic power that emerges when desperately needed. But personally I say killing the GMPC is a dramatic way to start things off.

Liberty's Edge

I just posted this in another thread but I will repeat it here since it is precisely what this thread is about:

Joshua Goudreau wrote:

I am thinking I am going to begin play prior to the attack. I want to let the players become familiar with Kenabres as it appears in the supplemental article before moving into the ceremony and the attack.

I think this will grant more resonance to the destruction of the city, give the opportunity to really establish the lore and villains, and set a precedent of roleplaying.

I am also thinking it might be fun to write up a We Be Goblins! type intro where the party plays Kelid characters during the fall of Sarkoris. Threshold falls, demons rise.... 100 Years Later.

Star Voter 2015

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I copied out sections of the city guide from the part 1, screened anything for spoilers and shared that with my players. I'm not sure why this wasn't in the player's guide as it is pretty innocuous.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

They probably didn't want to waste material for players on something that wasn't going to be around for the actual game. It's in the GM section because GMs who want to have pre-adventures can use this to build upon.

So... let's see. What are some potential gaming hooks?

First, we have to consider what is it that brings people to Kenabres in the first place. This would involve player backgrounds and any Traits that the GM allows. It seems likely that the players are going to join the fight against the Worldwound on some level. That's why they're there. But did they get recruited outside the city and brought there?

There's the traditional "caravan" plot point. This would allow players to make their way to the city. It could also let the GM describe part of the city as they enter the city itself... and even to specific shops if they were hired by a merchant and he'll pay their wages once he gets reimbursed by the shop owner. (Thus they also may be introduced to one of the shops in question.)

There's also the classic Warrior's Guild quest in Elder Scrolls: Killing rats. ;) It could even be a matter of being hired to clean out a sewer or protect some workers who need to clear a blockage and being provided with magic while there so they don't smell anything... and are cleaned once they emerge.

The players could be hired to track down a kidnapping (and there's some old Dungeon Magazine modules which include 1st-level adventures along this line). Actually there's a rather fun one where a noble hired the PCs to gain a potion of amnesia from an insane wizard so he can get out of a relationship that is turning more serious than he intended; that would let players go through the city... and see the various sights while having a glimpse at the seedy underbelly of Kenabres.

So... what other early adventures can you envision? These don't need to have a lot of XPs. Something that only has 100 XPs or so would work just fine. What we want is to bring Kenabres to life so that when the players emerge from the Caverns under Kenabres, the impact is that much more immediate.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Starting the adventure with some time for the PCs to explore Kenabres and come to like the city is certainly a strong idea... but it has a hidden peril.

Spoiler:
As a general rule, things like simply telling the players "Your characters are knocked out and fall into a hole and wake up in the dark!" is bad GMing. It's bad to assume player decisions, and to take the element of chance and free will out of the players' hands and force their characters to do something. It's the WORST kind of railroading.

The only time I feel that this kind of railroading is legit is BEFORE or AT THE VERY START of a campaign, when it's used to set up a dynamic and notable start to a campaign. That's why "Souls for Smuggler's Shiv" starts with the shipwrecked PCs already being shipwrecked and waking up on the beach.

Furthermore, by starting the adventure with what is essentially read-aloud text that throws the PCs into a hole, we can set up a cool, mythic start to the adventure while at the same time NOT killing the fragile 1st level PCs. If the PCs do anything other than just stand there and gawk at the initial events... they will die. If not from being too close to a collapsing building or being attacked by a demon or simply being too close to a CR 26+ fight... then SURELY from the fall that starts the adventure. The dragon has to cast feather fall on the PCs, and if you give them a chance to roleplay that scene rather than just narrate it... there's a REALLY good chance that a player will do something that prevents his character from being close enough to the others to gain the benefits of that feather fall. Or maybe even worse... prevents him from falling into the hole with his companions in the first place, leaving him above ground at ground zero where the average encounter is CR 17 or higher for a few hours.

The players assume that you, the GM, are putting them into challenges that they at least have a chance to handle, regardless of what that encounter is described as. If you turn control over to the PCs by starting the campaign too early, and the player characters are under the assumption that they can start making choices that will impact events before they fall into the caverns below... there's a good chance they'll either get killed or be disappointed that you fudged things.

One good way (if a bit experimental) to handle this, perhaps, is to play out the beginning of the adventure as presented, then as the PCs fall, have them black out for a bit. During that blackout... do a 1 or 2 hour "flashback" where the PCs get to explore Kenabres a bit and introduce each other. You can even use this time to introduce them to some of the NPCs, or to allow them to gather equipment. Then, as the PCs catch up in their flashback to the start of the adventure, they wake up in the dark.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes, I know. The problem is that I'm a storyteller... and the start of this story is passive. It's narrated rather than felt. The PCs have no reason to care about Kenabres.

Spoiler:
They don't feel the horror of seeing their guardian dragon fall to the ground or evoke a sense of sadness as her very last act was to save the PCs and a few around them just before her head was cleaved from her body.

I can railroad the PCs to an extent using terrain. The collapse of the church can make the entire region very difficult terrain, forcing the PCs to remain close together. I could even use fear effects from various demons to prevent actions. But I feel it's better to let the players LIVE this encounter and realize just how powerful the forces arrayed against them are... than to try and evoke this through a passive narration.

But that's just me as a storyteller and writer speaking.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Well... Kenabres is off-stage once the 1st adventure is done. The PCs pretty much never go back. There's another location...

Spoiler:
Drezen

...that plays the role of "a place the PCs could well grow to care about" during the course of the game, but for the most part, the focus of this AP is that the PCs grow to care about NPCs rather than places, and that it's the defeat of the Worldwound rather than the defense of one location. This is very much a "save the world" AP in that regard.

That said... you know your players better than anyone else, so you should absolutely make the changes you need to in order to give them the best experience possible!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hmm. That is a very valid point. I suppose one thing to do is ask the players, along the lines of your previous section with "flashback" adventures leading up to the start of the primary campaign. If they want to jump into the game itself rather than build atmosphere, then obviously starting in the caves is the best bet.

(Though it's definitely a good thing Golarion doesn't have a version of the Warhammer 40K Inquisition! Building on daemon-tainted land? You might want to think twice!) ;)

As for my players... it depends on which group really. Though it would be quite glorious to somehow merge the two for WotR (not too difficult as three play via Skype, and two are a part of both campaigns so I'd only have six players). Ah well. That won't be for years, sadly enough. Not with a monthly playing schedule at least.


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I haven't gotten around to reading this adventure yet, but ...

Another possibility is to have a session or two before the start of the AP during which the PCs get to know the city and people, and then end the session with them gathered for the ceremony... then start the next session as per the adventure, skipping over the ceremony.

You can even say: "then everything went to Hell..." :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

While I love the AP's opening, I agree with Tangent’s concern that the lack of interaction between the PCs and the city could blunt the impact of the opening scene.

One of the ideas I’m toying with is asking my players to provide a “day in the life” section of their character background. Which I'll then use to flesh out characters that the PC has had interactions with.

For example, let’s say a player tells me his 1st level barbarian is new to the city and has been spending his evenings gambling and carousing in the cheapest tavern he can find. I’ll then add flavor by introducing him to the sleazy, over weight Taldean owner, a particular rowdy customer whose luck is too good to be legit, and a sweet, young bar wench who seems stuck in a bad situation.

While these introductions might be written out rather than done in game, it at least allows a forum by which I can introduce more intimacy between the PCs and Kenabres, which will hopefully give the opening scene’s devastation a greater impact.

Thoughts?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Doable. I'd be tempted to reward players who did this with an extra Hero Point and perhaps one or two minor bits of treasure, rather than XPs... but part of that is I'm strongly tempted to go with "thematic leveling" (at set points in the game; the points mentioned in the introduction to the AP) rather than giving out XPs for each encounter. For one thing, it lessens my paperwork! ;)


James Jacobs wrote:

Starting the adventure with some time for the PCs to explore Kenabres and come to like the city is certainly a strong idea... but it has a hidden peril.

** spoiler omitted **...

Good point. My current plan for running the opening attack has a plan to put the PCs the "right place at the right time"...

During the opening attack, there are (narrated) displays of awesome power that are clearly out of the PCs' league (such as a demon's area attack that annihilates hundreds of onlookers at once), so that they don't feel they can take on the challenges head-on. And then a giant crack opens up in the ground that the PCs and a number of people have fallen into, which separates them from the rest of the battle. At the same time, a fissure has opened up, and people are grabbing onto the ledge.

The battle with Terendelev can be narrated, and the PCs have to do a number of skill checks to save various inhabitants. Then suddenly, a large impact on the ground (perhaps Terendelev falling?) knocks everyone down into the fissure.

The downside is that this does involve a good deal of railroading -- but I think my players would enjoy this opening more and I could give the events more emotional impact, as Tangent states very well. Also, I want to drive home that this is a MYTHIC campaign, with creatures of awesome power. And I think it is interesting to make the PCs feel they ARE unable to impact events at first because they are too weak, so that they feel more of an urge to grow more powerful and turn the tide of the war that has overrun Kenabres later on.

If there is an NPC who is important to one of the players, then Terendelev's choice to cast feather fall on the PCs and not the lost NPC gives a sense of destiny and responsibility. Also, it raises the question of why the three NPCs in the adventure were saved, and not others.

Which does make me want to ask: Why did the arrogant save the arrogant nobleman? He doesn't have many skills to contribute to the first part of the adventure. Does he turn up again later in the AP?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes.

Spoiler:
If you made him Friendly and got him home, then he shows up with a load of equipment for the Crusaders, which allows you one attack on the enemy base before an alarm is raised. This may prevent certain critical documents from being lost if the players are forced to retreat and rest.

He is one of eight key NPCs in the campaign so he'll very likely (if he survives) also play an important role in the next couple APs at the very least. And he's not an idiot. He's well-read and may very well contribute stuff and information the players don't know about... even as he pisses people off.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This may have been asked elsewhere, but how is everyone pronouncing "Kenabres"?

I'm going with "ken-ob-rah" for the time being.

-Skeld


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've gone with Ken-Ah-Braz myself.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The Rot Grub wrote:

If there is an NPC who is important to one of the players, then Terendelev's choice to cast feather fall on the PCs and not the lost NPC gives a sense of destiny and responsibility. Also, it raises the question of why the three NPCs in the adventure were saved, and not others.

Which does make me want to ask: Why did the arrogant save the arrogant nobleman? He doesn't have many skills to contribute to the first part of the adventure. Does he turn up again later in the AP?

Fate.

All 3 of the NPCs, provided the PCs make friends with them and provided the NPCs survive, become quite helpful as the adventure goes on...

Spoiler:
granting boons to downtime events, helping with armies, and aiding in the reclamation of lost cities and more.
Including Horgus, who probably has the largest amount of potential character growth of the 3 NPCs.

As for why the dragon saves him? Luck, on Horgus's part. The dragon knows it wants to save the PCs, and it also includes as many other nearby NPCs that it can. Horgus just happens to have been in the right place at the right time.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Skeld wrote:

This may have been asked elsewhere, but how is everyone pronouncing "Kenabres"?

I'm going with "ken-ob-rah" for the time being.

-Skeld

Whoa... interesting pronunciation!

I say:

keh-NAB-riss


Klokk wrote:

I aint picked it up yet myself.

I am not too sure how things actually start in the path. I started this way..

** spoiler omitted **

...

We start adventuring next Wednesday and it probably wont be until a session or two before i get to starting with the actual path work with them.

The AP begins just BEFORE the wardstone has been devastated by the demons (I know -- I assumed what you did reading some of the early publicity about this AP), and so I strongly recommend getting hands on a copy now so that you can find a way to transition into the AP...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So, I just finished reading the adventure through in its entirety. I think it is pretty important for the players to get at least a cursory connection to Kenabres, because otherwise the start seems to lack a lot of its impact. They should get introduced to some of the NPC's which they will later encounter dead. Otherwise those will just be names (if they even had that).

I guess my way of doing this will be one session of the player characters just milling around Kenabres before Armasse, meeting some NPC's at least briefly, getting a glance at Hulrun and some of the other notables. And not having contact with the four main NPC's, outside of maybe seeing Irabeth in a group of crusaders. When the time for the actual start of the AP comes, the greatest challenge would be to get all the PC's there in time. Then the players lose control for a few minutes as the introductory text is read and after that the proper AP begins.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There is also another possibility. Ask your players to write a "Day in the Life of Kenabres" while giving them information on some of the NPCs of note. Work with the players in crafting this... maybe even do some private one-on-one roleplaying over the phone or the Internet or the like. Maybe even work in how the PCs know one another; personally if I found myself alive in a cavern after a massive demon attack with six strangers... I'd be very suspicious of them all. So knowing three of them by having run into them, maybe even drunk with them or grew up with one... that gives the catalyst for an adventuring group to form.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, I don't see my players doing that. It's hard enough to get them to write a detailed character background.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Heh. Yeah, I've still not gotten detailed character sheets from some players. Mind you, I've gotten character backgrounds by talking to them about their characters and offering suggestions, and the Ultimate Campaign rules do provide a good method of crafting a background (though personally I'd rather let the players create a background and then assign background details according to what fit rather than rely on random die rolls).

One problem I actually have is that due to the length of time between games (anywhere between three and eight weeks), players tend to forget things. I'm strongly tempted to start offering Hero Points as rewards to players who create a journal, so they can review what's gone before. (I would rather have the game happen more often but it's the vagaries of being in your 30s or 40s and gaming. Then again, running a game every single Saturday when I was in my 20s and early 30s resulted in me suffering burnout so... ^^;;

The question is, of course, how to craft adventures which may be of interest to the players. Perhaps have a player or two assigned by a subordinate of Prelate Hulrun to investigate a possible witch but to be cautious in the investigation - there's too much dislike of the earlier witch trials to go without proof. Whether or not the person investigated IS a witch is up to you... but it would probably be fairly interesting to have Hulrun's suspicions be correct. It allows the players to get into an early fight while allowing Hulrun to become rather than a suspicious old man who sees conspiracies everywhere to instead be a canny Inquisitor who is forced by politics to be more cautious.

This could in fact be a way to get the group together initially. You have a cleric or Paladin assigned to investigate someone suspected of being a witch. Let's say it's a merchant. The merchant had hired another PC as a courier... and once the delivery is made, the merchant offers the PC a drink which is poisoned. That PC (or PCs) ends up in a cell to be sacrificed... the investigating PC may know someone with the abilities to break into the merchant's house (the third PC), and they go in, find the captured PC or PCs... and they go after the merchant, finding a small shrine to one of the demon lords (proof!).

So. We have the PCs meeting each other through a low-level encounter. We have them realize that the threat of cultists is real, and that Hulrun and his subordinate are in fact not just some zealots but instead knows of the very real risk to the city. You may even have the PCs meet a couple of merchants along the way while investigating the cultist merchant.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Tangent101 wrote:

Heh. Yeah, I've still not gotten detailed character sheets from some players. Mind you, I've gotten character backgrounds by talking to them about their characters and offering suggestions, and the Ultimate Campaign rules do provide a good method of crafting a background (though personally I'd rather let the players create a background and then assign background details according to what fit rather than rely on random die rolls).

One problem I actually have is that due to the length of time between games (anywhere between three and eight weeks), players tend to forget things. I'm strongly tempted to start offering Hero Points as rewards to players who create a journal, so they can review what's gone before. (I would rather have the game happen more often but it's the vagaries of being in your 30s or 40s and gaming. Then again, running a game every single Saturday when I was in my 20s and early 30s resulted in me suffering burnout so... ^^;;

Tangent101 wrote:

Well, I got players who can't remember what has happened from week to week and six of the seven of us are in the "late thirties" range. ^^

The question is, of course, how to craft adventures which may be of interest to the players. Perhaps have a player or two assigned by a subordinate of Prelate Hulrun to investigate a possible witch but to be cautious in the investigation - there's too much dislike of the earlier witch trials to go without proof. Whether or not the person investigated IS a witch is up to you... but it would probably be fairly interesting to have Hulrun's suspicions be correct. It allows the players to get into an early fight while allowing Hulrun to become rather than a suspicious old man who sees conspiracies everywhere to instead be a canny Inquisitor who is forced by politics to be more cautious.

This could in fact be a way to get the group together initially. You have a cleric or Paladin assigned to investigate someone suspected of being a witch. Let's say it's a merchant. The merchant had hired another PC as a courier... and once the delivery is made, the merchant offers the PC a drink which is poisoned. That PC (or PCs) ends up in a cell to be sacrificed... the investigating...

The danger I see in having them do too much is that it could have unforeseen circumstances. I think a more passive approach, with no combat encounters but meet-ups with some NPC's (who mostly have perished later) is the way to go. Have the Cleric of Asmodeus brush up with Hulrun, have the Paladin of Iomedae see the silver dragon pass overhead and land nearby. Maybe even have the dragon chat up the Paladin shortly. And so on.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I was considering a pre-adventure for two reasons. First, I like the idea of starting the primary Campaign with either being in the cave, or not able to do much because of terrain and the like (though personally I also like the idea of having the PCs able to save several people from rubble and the like, and end up drawn together in time for the rift to open up under them).

Second, by having the PCs run an actual game in the city itself, you can immerse them into the town on a level greater than passive roleplay.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh, I am all for letting the players do their own thing (with guidance) in Kenabres for a day or at least a few hours. I am only against having some combat encounter before the actual beginning of the AP.

Silver Crusade

I did pick up a hard copy from a local shop The Source here in MN (ok advertisement over). I just finished rewriting parts 1 and 2 to adjust for the increase in party size (actually have 6 for sure players and another 6-8 that are interested and want to play 3 watched game 1) So basically what i did was this..

Spoiler:
+1 Dc per 3 players on everything. and i wrote my encounters out like this.. Giant maggots 1 per PC + 1 per 2 PC's (200x)
-1 init, 9ac 11hp, 5f-1r-3w 10speed. Bite d6. Cmd9 (cannot be tripped)
1x day regurgitate – dc 13 fort or sickened (-2 all d20 rolls) 10 rounds.

We had our first adventure last week the day before i picked up the path book. So with a little time jumping and mega liberties things will work out exactly as planned with their first real actions being what they do after the Darkness/Featherfall. I am still debating if I will have the GMPC be the dragon, or maybe his wife.. My heros vary much liked the idea of a "lost king of Sarkoris being pulled away by divine forces to come back 107 years later to reclaim his kingdom."

This was actually the first time that I have everyone that played contact me after the game and let me know how much they enjoyed the intro to a new campaign. We even had 4 bystanders hanging out watching the game they enjoyed things so much that they said may jump in next week.

Spoiler:

Across the world of Golorian..

A small bug, a Dromite is the first to answer the Summons.

Within the Miles and miles of mines beneath Taggoret an Engineer is mining. For whatever reason his pick slips out of his hands and the scroll appears. He runs full kilt for the Throne room where he hands it to father the King. A strange ritual is performed and magical tattoo appears on the back of the Engineer, who then reads the scroll..

Riding down a road in the middle of nowhere is a small caravan of Gypsies, wandering dancers and musicians. The scroll actually appears in all of the hands and without a word spoken to each other, they all read it..

Upon the first tier of heaven the Standard Bearer of the godling Ragathe, an Aasimar, reads the scroll..

Also within Heaven an old ifrit trooper reads the scroll..

Within the Abyss, a lone Lionid stands amoungst the corpses of his fallen comrads and the demons they died destroying reads the scroll.

In Absalom, the city at the center of the world a Lizardman King is busy helping a merchant replace the tiles on the roof of his shop. As he reaches for the hammer the scroll appears in his hand and he reads it..

In Mendev, an Oread marine leaning upon his boarding pike also reads the scroll..

Upon another world, Vaecoria a strange creature that appears to be half tiefling and half Forest Giant.. Slowly lumbers across a clearing, a scroll appears in his hand as well and he reads it..

Also in Mendev a Human Crusader receives the scroll in his hand as he gets ready to dismount, after reading it, the scroll drops from his fingers with a wicked smile upon his face. Confused his squire picks it up and reads the scroll..

In a tower somewhere upon the world of Krynn a wizard wearing the white robes of the Silver moon reads the scroll..

Beneath a seedy tavern in with Vigil a fence recieves the scroll, shrugging, he reads the scroll..

Deep within the jungles of the Mwangi Expanse a halfling receives the scroll, not knowing how to read he burns the scroll..

Across the world of Goloran three score are summoned, Of those that answer.. but a single score of heros and Commoners answer the summons.

As the first of the fifth crusade arrive they are greeted by the Dromite named simply Dromite.. None are sure if it is a name or title or what.

First of them to Arrive was the Oread Trooper, then came the Huge Forest Giant "The Forest Walks", next to appear was the Ifrit "Brunt Fireeye", One of the Gypsies appeared next "Ezva", the Lizardman King appeared "Sas~Squash", Sixth to appear was the Lionid Rawr in common( Ronald in his native tongue.)

After they mill about for a good ten minutes in the town green and introduce themselves to each other. The Dromite cancels its invisibility spell and tells the Summoned.

"Greetings and welcome to Gundgun, I am Dromite. Prince Zantos has asked me to welcome you to his.. camp. He has left this plane for two reasons and asked me to welcome you in his stead. First he has gone to the world of Abeir-Toril to the continent of Faerun to speak with a mage who has traveled the hall of words more then any save Pug, to seek the advice of the archmage as to how to close the portal in the heart of what once was Sarkoris. He has also gone to the Continent of Atlan to retrieve a tome of magical power that will allow you heroes to travel between times and perhaps be able to do something to prevent the destruction of Kenbares."

The Dromite disappears and five Babau and 1 Nabasu Demon appear surrounding the heroes. Its close they almost kill one of the demons but just as the Ifrit is about to die the demons all disappear.

The Dromite reappears. "This was to teach you teamwork, do not scatter yourselves across the field of battle, you will work better together then alone. It was also to teach you that demons are much more potent enemies then the average mortal foe is, a little bit bout their resistances and lack of real vulnerabilities. "

Amongst the heroes there is ALOT of grumbling and growling and anger. "Dromite" they say.. "why do you give us an unbeatable challenge? Give us something that is a more fitting challenge for us, We beg you. And give us a few moments to prepare."

"It be on your heads, two moments i will give your before they appear. Says Dromite. They quaff some potions of aid, one of the clerics blesses the heroes, the warlord inspires the heroes, they form a real battle line."

This time they face but four Dretches, which is an easy battle for them to handle.. nobody really got hurt, except the Lizardman King who charged the Dretches instead of holding the line and got shot in the back by an unlucky miss..

The cries ring out. "Dromite that was too easy.. Give us that Nabasu.. Just it, nothing else.. " "Reset the battle!"

In their heads Dromite speaks again "on your head then"

This time though half of them are trapped with in its field of mass hold person, and almost all of them are hit by its death stealing gaze and have their life-force reduced in half. It hides within a deeper darkness and sadly fails to summon any others to its side. While it comes within a few drops of blood from slaying the Female Gypsy they are victorious.

Cheers can be heard filling the village of Gundgun as the Heroes spin about looking for another enemies only to see the villagers and other arrivals clapping and cheering for their efforts in the training bouts. 1 loss, 2 wins. A victory for the spearhead of the fifth crusade.

Next week the adventure starts with this summery

Spoiler:
You heros were summoned by Prince Zantos of the Azure Throne and met in the Courtyard of Gungdun by a small bug that spoke into your minds and told you its name was Dromite. This Dromite placed you within a three scineriao's with the powers of its minds. First you were placed against an impossible challange, One Nabasu and Five Babasu.. It was a slaughter, designed to teach you teamwork and that not all demons can be be killed even by Heros of Superheroric proportions. The second battle was against four dretches, which should have been an even challage for you but was almost too easy to handle. The third and final battle was against another Nabasu, Of which the six of you survived, though it was close for one of you. You were told that Prince Zantos would arrive soon, he had gone to Faerune to consult with The Archmage Elminster on how to close a portal to the Abyss.. With everything you all have read, you think it may have been a better idea for him to go to Anslon and speak with the Knights there about sealing portals to the Abyss. He was also stopping by a place in Atlan to aquire a Tome that would aid in the process, though Dromite wasnt exactly sure how.

You have all been here about four days now, you have seen others arrive though the portal, another two groups of a half dozen souls. They too faced same Hard lesson that you six learned. Basically it comes down to Demons are Powerfull and Teamwork is required to be successful against them.

Saddly with everyone days off and families and such Wednesday night is the only available day to play. So having 6 or 9 or 12 players is going to test my GMing skills to the max. The most i have run before is 8. I generally run either 2-3 or 6 person campaigns. But everyone from our merged tables is on board with this adventure path. Kudos to the writers of this adventure path with my quicktalking skills and your writing.. managed to hook, line and sinker 12 players that enjoy far far different things in games.. some are RPers can handle a whole month of not even picking up a dice or two, some cant go a half-hour without having to have a random encounter (even if its walking across the street to go from the blacksmith to the whitesmith they need to risk dyeing to get that tin pot repaired)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like Mr. Goudreau's idea of running a stand-alone one-shot in Kenabres for the same players, so that even though the PCs start in media res the players themselves still have a connection with the town.

Maybe some crusaders gearing up for the crusade, but dealing with witch-hunters in the process, or something.


Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
I suspect that was a big part of why the Player's Guide included a section on Kenabres. Of course, given the kerflufle the Traits stirred up, I'm not surprised that most people seemed to miss that.

What was the problem people had with the traits? Too much interference in the PC's backstory?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Too powerful. They're not Traits. They're Feats. Heck, they're more powerful than some Feats.

Dark Archive

Tangent101 wrote:
Too powerful. They're not Traits. They're Feats. Heck, they're more powerful than some Feats.

The traits seem more like a combination of feats with mythic powers. Something I can actually get behind of when looking at how ludicrous most mythic powers are.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

To be honest, I don't see most of the Mythic Powers as game-breaking. There's two easy ways to deal with a Mythic character. First, another Mythic enemy. Second? A swarm encounter - as in multiple enemies. It's the whole "action economy" thing here, and I should recall it as I used to use it against my party back when I ran AD&D games a decade ago.

Looking back at the Pre-Adventure... there is one other alternative, though I'm not sure how viable it is with the Campaign uber-Feats - er, I mean Traits. You provide the players with a bit of information about Kenabres and have them write up player backgrounds concerning how they have integrated into the city itself.

Of course, another possibility is to have some mini-adventures without XPs; if you use Hero Points, then after the mini-adventures end, award the players with another Hero Point (so they start out with two). This could be especially useful for players as having two Hero Points to start with could help them ensure 1st level characters don't die because of one unlucky critical hit.


Tangent101 wrote:
Too powerful. They're not Traits. They're Feats. Heck, they're more powerful than some Feats.

Well from what I've seen of Mythic abilities, their extra power shouldn't be an issue beyond Part 1.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You do realize that when the players get Mythic abilities, they get upgraded. I'm willing to bet they are further upgraded in either Book 2, or in Book 3 when the backgrounds behind the Traits are wrapped up. And I'd even be willing to bet they may get one or two tweaks in later books.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yep, the upgrades happen at the end of book one. Doesn't seem as if there are any more upgrades after that.


Tangent101 wrote:
You do realize that when the players get Mythic abilities, they get upgraded. I'm willing to bet they are further upgraded in either Book 2, or in Book 3 when the backgrounds behind the Traits are wrapped up. And I'd even be willing to bet they may get one or two tweaks in later books.

Yeah, but the whole point of this AP is that you become practically demigods, in that context some suped-up campaign traits make sense. Your destined for greatness and the traits reflect that.

Plus with how tied into the AP they are, it's not like you have to worry about players trying to steal them for other, non-WotR campaigns.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:
Yep, the upgrades happen at the end of book one. Doesn't seem as if there are any more upgrades after that.

Even if they are upgraded again, I don't really feel like it's going to be a problem. I want my players to feel like big damn heroes.

That said, can someone remind me what the assumption is for building characters. Is it 15 point buy or 20? I know PFS runs off 20, but I can't recall. We normally run a fairly high power level anyway, which I compensate for by throwing more challenges at them, but this time around I'm leaning towards running it standard given the massive boost they'll get at the end of The World Wound Incursion.

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