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How to get to "Open Sesame" Street?


Legacy of Fire


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So my players are currently in Sandpoint, and I want to get them to Katapesh to run Legacy of Fire.

I'm a new GM (started my first game five months ago out of the Beginner Box) and my players are 4th level. I've been running them through local adventures in the Sandpoint Hinterlands but don't want to run Rise of the Runelords for [reasons].

As far as I understand it, my main options are:

A. Simplest but Sketchiest:
Players to to Magnimar and get on a big ship for a very long voyage, most likely to Azir, and then a long journey overland to Katapesh.
I really don't like this option.

B. Complicated and Meandering:
From Sandpoint to Janderhoff on some pretext, then with a dwarf caravan over the Mindspin Mountains (THAT should be fun, hah) to Nirmathas, then from the port of Tamran across Lake Encarthan to Kerse, then southwards through Druma to Andoran, then a ship to Absalom, then another ship from Absalom to Katapesh.
(My players are using pre-gen iconic characters, one is from Andoran, one is from Absalom, so I figured we could use that as a pretext for going that way.)

C. Dark and Creepy and Still Meandering:
Sandpoint to Korvosa, then though Nidal, through Cheliax, then across the Inner Sea from [port]. Because let's see how much evil we can face before we even get where we're going.

I figure even if we use horses as much as we can, it's still going to take a good three months to get from one end to the other, and that's if everything goes well.

So, what am I missing? Is Plan B actually the best course of action? Is there a better plan?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Dot.


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Do you need to actually play all of this out?

Your PCs are already massively overleveled for the first module of Legacy of Fire. The more adventures you add in between now and then, the worse the problem will get.

Three solutions spring to mind for me:
1) Reroll new characters. This might give the players the opportunity to make their own characters rather than pregens, which they might be about ready for now. AND it provides them with a good link into Katapesh by making locals.

2) If you must keep the same PCs, just "red-line" the travel. If you're not familiar with the term, it's like the Indiana Jones movies - the map appears, a red line moves, and when the camera zooms back in, the PCs are in Katapesh. Just narrate "You take ship voyage, then a trek over the desert, and arrive in Kelmarane".

3) My problem would be why the PCs are doing this - surely not for the relative pittance of gold Garavel is offering them. Do they have a wizard buddy anywhere? One who could recieve word of the expedition, but, unable to attend himself, uses teleport to send the PCs there?


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Good question. I guess, (a) because I'm more or less Lawful Good, and it feels like cheating to red-line. and (b) because two of my players are new to this, and also just kids, I thought it would be educational to do the nuts and bolts of how to get from place to place and manage logistics, meet npc's from different parts of Golarion, see what appeals to them and what doesn't.
But rolling up new characters is not a bad idea. Except the kids are kind of attached to Valeros and Kyra, and I just bought them a set of minis for their characters on Ebay.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I have just one word for you, just one: irminsul.

Actually, no, let me go with extended shadowalk!

Looking up movement speeds, that's pretty solid overland movement, and at 40 hours (CL 20, extend spell; easily doable for modified bard *cough, reusing a clearly-awesome idea, cough*), that's 2,000 miles; based on my super accurate method* of mile accounting, that would plop them on the southern border of Osirion and the northern border of Katapesh, just south of the Brazen Peaks.

The question, of course, is why the above-mentioned bard would bring them there, and why they would go into Katapesh instead of north to Osirion (and, presumably, Andoran and Absalom from there, their suggested goals).

Simple!

That bard is part of the cult that they defeated and, due to misunderstandings, or perhaps fiendish pacts (that prevent his deadly interference in <obtuse thing that would never happen... but then it did, via PCs> his soul is instantly forfeit; but he still needs revenge), or some other nonsensical-but-really-reasonable concept, he either grossly over-estimates (or correctly guesstimates) their abilities at thwarting his over-all goal, if they remain in Varisia.

So! Hearing that the need or want a trip "home" he offers his services, as he was "heading down south on his own." A bit of column A, a snack (or potion) from column B, and some creative reasoning, and Shadowfiredeathbard, the Jerk (tm) should be more than effectively invincible to any attempts at probing his motives (remember that natural 1s are not auto-failures on skills, and natural 20s are not automatic successes on skills).

One "quick" (well, really long, but nowhere near as long as weeks, and in no way allowing XP Grinding evil-thwarting along the way) trip south, and you've suddenly dumped the heroes where they could "never thwart my evil schemes" (but you should totally throw in a link to the fiery bad guy in that AP, and something about how they'll never be able to stop him as they so casually stopped him, or some-such - sure, he's selling out his ally, but he's a jerk - it's even in his trademarked name! - and, much more importantly, he's genuinely confident that they really can't thwart the evil schemes of his buddy**.

... because when he dumps them in the shadow-wall of the desert, he does so in an area that he immediately exits (though only far enough to taunt them from on high) as it is surrounded by his gnoll slaver allies, looking to give the PCs their campaign traits, er, I mean, their "welcome" to Katapesh. Drop them in the middle of "enough" of these*** to make sure that it's basically a hand-waived story moment (if they insist on rules, here are some that should make this very easy to adjucate - four fine level 3/ACR [1/6!] armies are no match for a large CR2/ACR 4 army) that grant them their campaign traits, introduces them to the AP, and establishes them as (effectively) long-term.

Voila - instantly puts them into the campaign, gives them a reason to hate gnolls, and places them in perfect positions for getting their campaign traits (if you use that system).

Even if you don't use this thing itself, it could be useful as a template (I know your kids are small). You could use hyenas from Lion King or similar animated things to show how they're actually really silly/funny with their antics, but a whole lot of them can't be easily beaten... or not.

Choose and discard what you think is best!

Hope that helps a little...

* I found the "420 miles" line down in the bottom, used two fingers to measure it, and then "walked" those two fingers to notable points on the map in an almost, sort-of-kind-of straight line. Please feel free to check my work: from the word "Varisia" I got to the word "Nidal" and from there to that little batch of rivers that meets in Whisperwood (in Cheliax, at the point labeled "Senara") to somewhere rather ambiguous juuuusssst below the words "Inner Sea" and juuuussst above the Thuvia/Osirion border, and finally to that slightly green/hilly brown part above the word Katapesh. Super-accurate, like I said. No one could ever come up with wildly varying results. >.>

** Also important: he has (or claims he has) no more evil schemes. Those schemes were thwarted by the PCs. He's doing this just to watch them "hero" themselves to their own doom, as he's an arrogant villain. This helps the PCs know they don't have to go after him. Also, using him as a pathetic wretch later in the campaign - possibly doped up, or weakened or killed by someone else for some reason - could be a useful way of tying up that loose end (even if you secretly use it for some other purpose). Also, the reason you use this bard, instead of a wizard or sorcerer, is the bard is basically made to be useless, on purpose - he could never be killed by the heroes at 20th level, but he couldn't really do much to them, either, because his skill set was optimized around ignoring the living (save for some fire stuff that he can't use for reasons mentioned above), but he doesn't have convenient "wizard spells" to simply take care of them at some point without a fuss - hence his overly elaborate revenge.

*** "Enough" being defined, here, as "a tribe sized 200 plus 10 sergeants of 3rd level, 2 lieutenants of 5th level, 1 leader of 8th level, 12 hyenas, and 7 hyaenodons)" as that's more than enough to handle 3rd level characters...

EDIT: coding!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Man, was I ninja'd!

Reverse wrote:

Do you need to actually play all of this out?

Your PCs are already massively overleveled for the first module of Legacy of Fire. The more adventures you add in between now and then, the worse the problem will get.

I will mention that them being over-leveled quasi-corrects itself as you continue to level up/progress, though it never fully goes away. And, yes, the more adventures between then and now the more of a "thing" it becomes.

Reverse wrote:

Three solutions spring to mind for me:

1) Reroll new characters. This might give the players the opportunity to make their own characters rather than pregens, which they might be about ready for now. AND it provides them with a good link into Katapesh by making locals.

This is a solid idea!

Reverse wrote:
2) If you must keep the same PCs, just "red-line" the travel. If you're not familiar with the term, it's like the Indiana Jones movies - the map appears, a red line moves, and when the camera zooms back in, the PCs are in Katapesh. Just narrate "You take ship voyage, then a trek over the desert, and arrive in Kelmarane".

Hey! My suggestion above is pretty much exactly like that!

Reverse wrote:
3) My problem would be why the PCs are doing this - surely not for the relative pittance of gold Garavel is offering them. Do they have a wizard buddy anywhere? One who could recieve word of the expedition, but, unable to attend himself, uses teleport to send the PCs there?

Ooh! This would also be covered by my suggestion! XD


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Okay, Reverse and Tac, you've got me.

Although I'm a bit skeptical of the Tardis-in-a-Tree, I'm going to go with the Irminsul, put one end in the forest outside the Twilight Academy in Galduria and the other end in the Arthfell Forest in Andoran.

Since Teensy Valeros understands all about hiding from people who are mad at you, he will be able to role-play being that close to "home", not wanting to run into family, former employers, former girlfriends, etc., and will want to go to the nearest port and jump on a ship asap.

The party gets on the ship, which just happens to be heading for Absalom, which makes Ezren profoundly uncomfortable, so as soon as they get there, he's wanting to go away again. And the next ship is leaving for Katapesh.

So the travelers are quickly (or as quickly as possible) getting from point a to point q without really doing it on purpose or any idea what they are going to do when they get there. And when they land in Katapesh, they're running out of money, don't have a plan, and are ready to accept just about any reasonable offer just to get some coin and have a purpose again, so when they happen to meet Garavel just as Garavel is looking to hire adventurers to start book one of the campaign, well...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And once again the bard is rejected... this time for a tree...

XD

Sounds like a fun game! Hope you all enjoy it!

(Also, I do hope you know that I over-exaggerate and lament things for amusement at times, instead of being super-serious. I... I think I'm that transparent, but, uh, what with text-only communication...)


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Only because there's already a bard in play, but the party hasn't met him yet. More later.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I WANNA KNNNNOOOOOOWWWWWWWW~!

*ahem*

...

...

... please.

:)


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In a minute. It's not even six yet here and I need my coffee.


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In their current mini-adventure in the Hinterlands, they were approached in a tavern by a pair of wandering Varisians (bard and dancer) who told them of a thing that came in the night and took three of their horses and a random halfling bard who was visiting their camp, and they had traced them as far as the Tors, and then they came to Sandpoint to find adventurers to go into the Tors and rescue them.

When the party defeated the Manticore (he's not the one who raided the camp; he had henchmen, also now dead) and searched his lair, they discovered that the random halfling bard was none other than their old friend Lem.

I figure, if you're running iconic characters, it's totally fair. The kids were getting waaaaay too attached to staying in Sandpoint and running errands for the Mayor and the Watch, I figured that this would be a good plot device to get them away.

So he gets the band of Varisian nomads to give them a sleeping draft in their ale around the campfire, put them to bed in the caravan, and then set off, so they're already on the road for hours before they wake up somewhere else, and since Lem readily admits it was his idea, even Ezren can't get too worked up about it.

So they end up in a little town that just happens to be the site of an arcane academy known for its unorthodox experimentation, which is as perfect a place to put a tree portal as I'm going to attempt to find.

Lantern Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So, let me ask, why Legacy of Fire? Even without using Rise of the Runelords, you are in the perfect location for a number of other Adventure Paths and probably loads of Modules already. Also, if your aversion to Runelords is content-based, due to kids, just change up the stuff you don't like (I have that same situation, which is why I mention it).

Another thought is that you can introduce them to the Pathfinders and just send them on loads of never ending quests from the Pathfinder Society all around Golarion, or just localized to your desires.

Or, plan on picking up Legacy of Fire with Book 3 and string them along on a series of adventures to get them to Katapesh.

As for a route, if I were trying to get to Katapesh from Sandpoint, I would utilize as much ship-based travel as possible. Staying on ships also gives more realism to fast forwarded to key events along the journey, because long ship voyages are probably largely uneventful You can throw a pirate encounter and some water monster encounters together and mix in a weird sea sickness investigation ship-board to solve, etc. just to keep things from being a simple red-line.


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justaworm wrote:

So, let me ask, why Legacy of Fire? Even without using Rise of the Runelords, you are in the perfect location for a number of other Adventure Paths and probably loads of Modules already. Also, if your aversion to Runelords is content-based, due to kids, just change up the stuff you don't like (I have that same situation, which is why I mention it).

Huh. RotR and LoF are the only two that have been suggested, frequently.

What else would you recommend?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh! There are actually a ton of pretty good ones.

It really depends on how you want to handle things for your kids.

Many have sort of fiddly problems, and there is often a scene or three you'd probably want to skip (though RotR has, like, three).

Legacy of Fire is pretty okay for kids, in my memory.

APs!

Council of Thieves (though you'll want to skip a bit in one of the acts of the play), Kingmaker (though you'll want to slightly rewrite a the deity/location of a few folks in the town-infiltration entry), Jade Regent (probably relatively clean and pleasant, if you ignore the romance or caravan rules), and maybe Mummy's Mask (though I'm not super-certain, as I don't recall all the parts of this AP).

But Legacy of Fire is pretty awesome, and I think you'll enjoy it!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
lisamarlene wrote:

In their current mini-adventure in the Hinterlands, they were approached in a tavern by a pair of wandering Varisians (bard and dancer) who told them of a thing that came in the night and took three of their horses and a random halfling bard who was visiting their camp, and they had traced them as far as the Tors, and then they came to Sandpoint to find adventurers to go into the Tors and rescue them.

When the party defeated the Manticore (he's not the one who raided the camp; he had henchmen, also now dead) and searched his lair, they discovered that the random halfling bard was none other than their old friend Lem.

I figure, if you're running iconic characters, it's totally fair. The kids were getting waaaaay too attached to staying in Sandpoint and running errands for the Mayor and the Watch, I figured that this would be a good plot device to get them away.

So he gets the band of Varisian nomads to give them a sleeping draft in their ale around the campfire, put them to bed in the caravan, and then set off, so they're already on the road for hours before they wake up somewhere else, and since Lem readily admits it was his idea, even Ezren can't get too worked up about it.

So they end up in a little town that just happens to be the site of an arcane academy known for its unorthodox experimentation, which is as perfect a place to put a tree portal as I'm going to attempt to find.

Awesome~!


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Have you looked at any of the PFS material?

While they have their own special rules about character creation and requiring everyone to belong to the Pathfinder society, the story arcs and module content are usually readily adaptable to other parties.

I am sure they might frown on ordering the module and then not running it inside a PFS environment, but I would think the readily digestible 4 hour module structure and PG, PG-13 content would be a good fit.


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Nylarthotep wrote:

Have you looked at any of the PFS material?

While they have their own special rules about character creation and requiring everyone to belong to the Pathfinder society, the story arcs and module content are usually readily adaptable to other parties.

I am sure they might frown on ordering the module and then not running it inside a PFS environment, but I would think the readily digestible 4 hour module structure and PG, PG-13 content would be a good fit.

Okay, here's how my brain works:

I've been ignoring PFS because the name evokes a sort of SCA-level of cliquishness... I've only been playing Pathfinder games for about 5 years, just starting to GM, and assumed it was only for more experienced folks.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Nope!

It makes sense that it'd feel that way, though - it does tend to give off that vibe, at times.

But really, they're just modules that anyone can play.

You can certainly choose to do the whole "elite" thing, if you want, in order to get "official credit" of some kind or another (basically you and your players follow along the current series, log it, and you and they get credit and points; it goes by seasons), but it's certainly unnecessary.

I've highly enjoyed some of them, and as two quick examples:

- I incorporated one of them as GM into an entirely different "quasi-AP" I built out of three modules (plus some homemade quasi-modules) set in Golarion.

- I played another as a fetchling ninja assassin going through a spooooooooooky haunted court house.

Neither my ninja nor my wife's character (she was a paladin) were written to spec for PFS, and there were no real issues - it went as smooth as it could be.

I haven't gotten into PFS both because it seems like a lot of work in my play, but also because I have neither the money (which may not actually be a thing? I don't know) nor time to commit to such.

But! I do have a penchant for grabbing a few adventures here and there and putting them together with others and having a blast as a result! :D


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Essentially what TL said.

If you want to be 'official' and such, then yes, there are groups of PFS folks who can make you feel like the completely unwelcome n00b.

But...

If you are just looking for story arcs, a few monster stat blocks, and a nice remade 4 hour adventure, they have a lot of value.

You download the module (and this may be where you have to jump through some hoops), read it, see if it is appropriate for your group or if you can easily adapt it...then throw out the hook to your group, run it, wash, rinse, repeat.

You may not be able to take Valeros to an official table and let him play, but this is not about being 'official' and abiding by all the PFS rules....this is about getting a decent story and set of stat blocks to use without having to create everything from scratch.

It will also expose you to some splat books and maybe encourage you to buy splat book x, supplement y, miniature set z, or laminated map sheet q...in which case, Paizo still makes money, which they can reinvest in making more crunchy good product.

Or something.

If you don't mind doing more work, there is a wealth of open source material for 3.0 D&D and 3.5 D&D which can be adapted to PF and Golarion. But that is more work, and I am not sure how much I am allowed to pimp such third party publishers here.


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What's the weather like? Is it a sunny day?

Lantern Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

2nd Darkness starts off not too far from Sandpoint, in my recollection. You'll have to deal with the sandbox of evil that is visiting a drow city, with little direction, but that module can be completely replaced if desired.

I haven't seen it, but I believe Jade Regent has ties back to Sandpoint as well.

I really like LoF, don't get me wrong. I am running it right now in Play by Post. You just seem hung up on getting their without hand waving travel, and not hand waving travel will propagate the issue of already being over-leveled. I would just recommend hand waving *most* of the travel. I would go by ship from Magnimar straight to Katapesh, then kick the thing off with them being asked to help guard a caravan (for book 1), or something like finding out what is going wrong in Kelmernae (for Book 2). You can just start with Book 3 also, in which case a long, encounter-filled travel would make sense.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Jade Regent starts in Sandpoint. Your characters should have good relationships with some NPCs, though, or it gets weird.

(I'm given to understanding that this latter thing may be difficult?)

As to Second Darnkess:

Having characters from outside of Riddleport greatly weakens the opening of Second Darkness, which is more or less about heroes arising out of a hive of scum and villainy and descending into worse places... but it might be able to be edited; I've not explored it enough to know. I know one of the Sandpoint NPCs appears in that AP, so you might be able to skip ahead and link them in that way... but again, I don't know, as I've not prepped to GM it.

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