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What about just living?


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion


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

Something I have noticed in all of the APs out there is that they all seem to involve some world ending evil. An evil that must be fought or the world as we know it will end. What about an AP where the stakes aren't as high. What about an AP where you are actually connected to the circumstances of your success or your failure? In the Ultimate Campaigns book there are a lot of options for relationships, creating businesses, creating kingdoms; but seldom do we see these options used except for the Kingmaker campaign. What about an AP that keeps things local? What about a campaign that makes you care about the people you are saving aside from being Xp or gold rewards?

This is just a few random thoughts. Maybe the idea of the Adventure Path needs an overhaul.


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I'm GMing Skull and Shackles, and I've always seen it more a story of personal growth than a world shattering campaign.
Sure, there is a threat to fight, but everything remains local. It's more about the pirates being able to keep living the lifestyle they enjoy than saving the world.
If you like this kind of stories you might like S&S. It's more fun to play than to read as it is very sandboxy and it has a lot of roleplaying and social events.


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I get the impression that a lot of APs don't actually have a world-ending evil -- despite the fondest wishes of said world-ending evil, at most they can create regional devastation.

For instance, Rise of the Runelords: The Runelords couldn't ruin the whole world before (although they made a large region very unpleasant to live in), and one of them won't be able to do it now, either.

Also see this thread (and it turns out that this thread is even being kept up to date, with the latest update being Strange Aeons).


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'd say there are a few AP's that don't involve stopping world-ending threats. Skulls and Shackles for sure. I think Council of Thieves (never played), which fits in there. Strange Aeons really.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hell's Vengeance.

Hell's Rebels for that matter.

Kingmaker, Jade Regent, and Curse Of The Crimson Throne to the list as well.

Dark Archive

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The thing is that your hero is capable of achieving olympic level of greatness at level 6. The same goes for your enemies and so the stakes are raised as well.


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the David wrote:
The thing is that your hero is capable of achieving olympic level of greatness at level 6. The same goes for your enemies and so the stakes are raised as well.

Yea, if you can teleport yourself and 5 of your closest friends anywhere in the world without fail or bring someone who's been dead for 1000 years back to life, you're going to need commensurate challenges.

Not to get too real worldy but Paizo is running a business. They produce AP's that appeal to the broadest range of customers because those will sell the most. I'm sure there is a subset of Pathfinder players out there that would love The Beer Chronicles, where you and your friends start a brewery in Absalom dealing with all the incumbent challenges - securing hopps, finding a building, dealing with cutthroat competitors trying to steal your recipe and having a not so friendly rivalry with the local winemakers guild. But I suspect that market is pretty small.

And that some (many?) players care more about xp and gp than the people they're saving isn't the fault of any AP - it's the preference of the players.


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^This awesome Council of Thieves PbP (which by the way is the only PbP I have seen complete) has elements of that, only set (of course) in Westcrown, has elements of this (even including the pub) interspersed in with the rest of the AP events.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If the events of an AP unfold without interference from the PCs...

Serious spoilers for all APs:
Runelords Not world-ending: A Runelord rises and takes over all of Varisia.

Crimson Throne Not world-ending. An immortal tyrant queen rules the city of Korvosa with an iron fist in a velvet glove.

Second Darkness World-ending. The aboleths summon another asteroid-impact cataclysm, causing a second Age of Darkness.

Legacy of Fire Not world-ending, but bad. A powerful evil genie transforms into a Spawn of Rovagug and wreaks his vengeance upon a world that had tried to destroy him.

Council of Thieves Not sure. (One of two APs I don't own)

Kingmaker Also not sure (The other one I don't own)

Serpent's Skull Not world-ending, but bad. The serpent-god Ysderuis rises, heralding a new age of the serpentfolk.

Carrion Crown World-ending. A lich-king steals the mantle and the power of the Whispering Tyrant and subjugates that world.

Jade Regent Not world-ending. A bad guy takes the throne of Minkai.

Skull and Shackles Not world-ending. The Chelish navy invades the Shackles, putting an end to the Land of Pirates.

Shattered Star Nothing happens. The Sihedron is never assembled.

Reign of Winter World-ending. All of Golarion falls under an eternal winter, and the Winter Witch rules all by her icy and merciless hand.

Wrath of the Righteous World-ending. No longer bounded or warded, the Worldwound expands, belching vast demonic armies of the Abyss into Golarion, destroying any mortals who dare stand against them.

Mummy's Mask Not world-ending, but bad. The Sky-Pharaoh Hakotep seizes control of Osirion, then sets his sights on expansion, in an attempt to re-create Ancient Osirion.

Iron Gods World-ending. The Iron God Unity breaks free of its prison on Silver Mount and launches into orbit. From there, its "faith" infects all sentient beings on Golarion, destroying free will and forcing all into worship.

Giantslayer Not world-ending, but bad. The Storm Tyrant unites a vast nation of giants and subjugates all of Avistan under his banner.

Hell's Rebels Not world-ending. The city of Kintargo returns to full Chelish rule, and Brazalai Thrune successfully becomes a powerful being that's suffused within the land itself.

Hell's Vengeance Not world-ending. The Golrious Reclamation's capture and consolidation of rule in Westcrown sparks a full-scale civil war in Cheliax.

Strange Aeons Not world-ending...yet. The city of Thrushmoor is transported from Golarion to the parasite-world of Carcosa... and Hastur the Unspeakable transcends from a Great Old One to an Outer God, gaining immeasurable power.


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Haladir wrote:
Kingmaker Also not sure (The other one I don't own)

Spoiler:

The repercussions are more regional. A First World incursion into the River Kingdoms region. I never got the impression it would expand much beyond that, but it would certainly be trouble for the River Kingdoms and perhaps Brevoy.

I should be able to talk about City of Thieves as well, having run it, but I honestly can't remember how it ended. I enjoyed running it at the time, but it certainly didn't leave much of an impression on me long term.


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Haladir wrote:

If the events of an AP unfold without interference from the PCs...

{. . .}

Spoilers for some APs:

Haladir wrote:

{. . .}

Second Darkness World-ending. The aboleths summon another asteroid-impact cataclysm, causing a second Age of Darkness.
{. . .}

Wait . . . you mean the Aboleths DON'T learn from their previous mistake?

Haladir wrote:

{. . .}

Council of Thieves Not sure. (One of two APs I don't own)
{. . .}

I don't have it either, but the very strong impression I got from the completed PbP that I linked above is that it would be very bad for the city of Westcrown, but the rest of Avistan and even most of Cheliax would not be much worse off.

Haladir wrote:

{. . .}

Carrion Crown World-ending. A lich-king steals the mantle and the power of the Whispering Tyrant and subjugates that world.
{. . .}

I don't have this AP, but the world survived the Whispering Tyrant himself, and he couldn't even get all of Avistan under his control, so doesn't this qualify as "Not world-ending, but bad"?


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UnArcaneElection wrote:

Spoiler:
I don't have this AP, but the world survived the Whispering Tyrant himself, and he couldn't even get all of Avistan under his control, so doesn't this qualify as "Not world-ending, but bad"?

Spoiler:
True, but available resistance was greater then. There's less available power to resist him now- no Aroden, for starters.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Haladir wrote:
Spoiler:
Carrion Crown World-ending. A lich-king steals the mantle and the power of the Whispering Tyrant and subjugates that world.
Spoiler:
I don't have this AP, but the world survived the Whispering Tyrant himself, and he couldn't even get all of Avistan under his control, so doesn't this qualify as "Not world-ending, but bad"?

Spoiler:
By "subjugate the world" I meant, "raise an unstoppable army of undead to destroy all of the living." Which is world-ending in my estimation. That's pretty much what the Whispering Tyrant would have done the first time around if Aroden and the Knights of Ozem hadn't stopped him.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I can do this, too!:
... and yet they did. I would say that doesn't quite count.

Regardless, as a GM, I don't recall that being the ending...

... ah! I know why (I just looked it up): I was thinking of the main bad guy who ruins himself as a kind of "temporary lich" as it were.

But Tar would not really want to destroy the world, so much as conquer it, and, by that point, he's really not going to do much more than take over a region, at least not for a long while, and it's probable that he won't ever get much further than he did last time, due to the other forces waiting to battle him.

This is about on par with (though may be slightly less than) the return of the Serpentfolk.

And Aroden himself really wasn't necessary to stop the Whispering Tyrant. Point in fact, Aroden's interference was all part of Tar's plan, last time, so...

Also, Council of Thieves is confirmed as "definitely not-world ending" from a GM:

Major Spoiler!:
It's just that Westcrown falls into the grip-and-worship of Mammon. He gains a bit of influence in the world as a result, but that's exceptionally minor, compared to pretty much every other AP that exists.

In any event, that looks about like four of the last twenty are world-ending.

... and about four (or five) more that afflict all of Golarion with "a badness" happening.


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At some point we may get an adventure path where everyone would be better off if they just stayed home ^^


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Haladir wrote:

If the events of an AP unfold without interference from the PCs...

** spoiler omitted **...

Strange Aeons:
Xhamen-Dor is also in the process of awakening and it is likely to eat the world if not stopped by the PCs before it really gets going.

Amusing that the consequences of failure at the lessor threat stage may actually be worse than the main threat.


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Davia D wrote:
At some point we may get an adventure path where everyone would be better off if they just stayed home ^^

Spoiler:
Shattered Star might be that one. It's the quest for the shards and their reassembly that leads to the menace being unleashed in the last book.

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More generally: AP Threats tend to be serious, even if not always world-ending, because it's serious threats that generate serious heroes and APs are written to bring characters up to high levels. Anything that needs a band of 15+ level characters to deal with is going to cause some serious problems.


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Also:

Pathfinder mechanics are biased towards combat. Combat mechanics are more fleshed out than non combat encounters (BAB, saves, weapons, armor, etc vs rolling skill checks and the occasional spell), and most of what the player defines on their character sheet refers to combat situations. Even skills often have significant combat uses.

As such, there's a bias towards combat, people expect combat to happen unless told otherwise, so adventures get made with a heavy emphasis on combat. Because combat is going to happen often, there is a need to have a purpose. Otherwise combat will get dull or even depressing if there isn't a purpose to it. A Big Bad Evil Guy makes for a great purpose. At least for Good aligned characters.

Systems with less emphasis on combat will have less emphasis on saving the world (or at least stopping BBEGs who wish they could destroy the world).


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PK the Dragon wrote:
Systems with less emphasis on combat will have less emphasis on saving the world (or at least stopping BBEGs who wish they could destroy the world).

I'm not sure that's true. It's just that systems with less emphasis on combat will have less emphasis on stopping the BBEG through combat.

From a narrative perspective, though.... if you want a story, you need conflict. If you want conflict, you need an antagonist. If you want suspense, you need an antagonist of appropriate capacity.

The Lord of the RIngs, for example, was not really a story with emphasis on combat, but the BBEG was nearly infinitely powerful, precisely because if he had just been some lunatic sorcerer in a tower somewhere, Elrond, Gandalf, and Aragorn could simply have kicked in his door and beaten him like a cheap carpet. In The Hobbit, the antagonist was a dragon demonstrably capable of destroying cities; if he had just been some dude in a rubber suit, Thorin and Company could have just marched in and punched his lights out.

If you're running a high-level Pathfinder adventure, you need high-level adversaries (or their equivalent, like a pit fiend). And if you have an antagonist with the capacity of a pit fiend running around causing problems,... well, what type of problems will he cause? I find it difficult to imagine a Field Marshal of the Armies of Hell is simply running around Korvosa stealing pizzas from the local delivery drivers.

Now, there are definitely ways to spin the basic formula. For example, the antagonist need not be evil, but that requires a very deft hand at writing. The threat might not be global, but personal -- but that (again) requires a very deft hand at writing and also a very specific understanding of the protagonists as well, something that the author of a published module can't expect to have. The antagonist might even be one of your fellow party members (does this count as a spoiler?)

See the pretty picture:

... but again, you need tight control of the party to pull off the "Rosebud is secretly Luke's father" trick.

If you're a writer on a tight deadline, it's much easier to create an antagonist who's actually a villain, and make sure that the villain poses a general enough threat that anyone in the area spanned by the AP will want to shut him down.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:

{. . .}

If you're running a high-level Pathfinder adventure, you need high-level adversaries (or their equivalent, like a pit fiend). And if you have an antagonist with the capacity of a pit fiend running around causing problems,... well, what type of problems will he cause? I find it difficult to imagine a Field Marshal of the Armies of Hell is simply running around Korvosa stealing pizzas from the local delivery drivers.
{. . .}

Now I've got this vision in which Hell has a colossal breakdown in damned soul preparation and Infernal Hierarchy enforcement, and accidentally commissions Garfield as a Pit Fiend . . . .


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Soluzar wrote:

Something I have noticed in all of the APs out there is that they all seem to involve some world ending evil. An evil that must be fought or the world as we know it will end. What about an AP where the stakes aren't as high. What about an AP where you are actually connected to the circumstances of your success or your failure? In the Ultimate Campaigns book there are a lot of options for relationships, creating businesses, creating kingdoms; but seldom do we see these options used except for the Kingmaker campaign. What about an AP that keeps things local? What about a campaign that makes you care about the people you are saving aside from being Xp or gold rewards?

This is just a few random thoughts. Maybe the idea of the Adventure Path needs an overhaul.

I would recommend focusing more on Modules at that point. APs kind of need that epic threat level to keep the momentum through 6 books. it's the difference between a campaign and an Adventure. Finding a lower key adventure where the sole goal is to end the haunting of house or stop a wizard enslaving a small village would work for a single module... but if you're goal is to take the character from 1-18+ then the threats will need to be bigger.


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Davia D wrote:
At some point we may get an adventure path where everyone would be better off if they just stayed home ^^

Jade Regent

Jade Regent:
That one's goal is to put a new queen on the throne across the world. If the party never left town, nothing would have happened. The current king would rule as he always has... No better, no worse.


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If you want to run simple day time adventures that end with the PCs propping their feet up at home, then just run random encounters or go with a simple module. Adventure Paths are supposed to be just that - grand adventures.

You sound like a guy walking into a mini-van dealership asking why they don't just have one seat and two wheels, yet you ignore the motorcycle dealership next door. You seem to be missing the point of the adventure path.

Have fun with random encounter tables. That's what they're for.


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phantom1592 wrote:

Jade Regent

** spoiler omitted **

Um...

Jade Regent:
If the party never leaves town, no legitimate challenge emerges against the Jade Regent. From Book 6: "Without the divine mandate to rule granted to the five imperial families by Shizuru, the Jade Regent can never become the legitimate emperor of Minkai. But over time, with no true heirs to claim the throne, the Jade Regent will become the de facto emperor, and Minkai will pass irrevocably into the hands of the oni, ushering in a new dark age of terror, blood, and excess."


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When I ran Wrath of the Righteous, I just assumed that if the players failed then what would happen is that the Imperium of Man would declare exterminatus upon an unchecked warp incursion. Does that count as world-ending?


Yes, but it woul have been for the better.
Praise the God Emperor!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Uqbarian wrote:
phantom1592 wrote:

Jade Regent

** spoiler omitted **

Um...

Yeah, but that's over there...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
phantom1592 wrote:
Davia D wrote:
At some point we may get an adventure path where everyone would be better off if they just stayed home ^^

Jade Regent

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
Aside from said land getting corrupted into vile depravity of the very evil kind, y'know. With thousands upon thousands of innocents being tortured and murdered for the amusement of the Oni.

Uqbarian wrote:
phantom1592 wrote:

Jade Regent

** spoiler omitted **

Um...

** spoiler omitted **

Jade Regent:

Meh... that was an asterisk that didn't really get fully portrayed to our group. And not till book 6. There's 5 books of adventure before that ;)

There is this grand assumption that putting Ameiko on the throne is better because it's her birthright... but we had MANY in-game conversations about what makes her even remotely qualified for that position. She was raised in Sandpoint had little to no knowledge of the royal court over there... but the plot said go... so we went. Never felt right to my oracle.

But yeah... saying 'things will get worse for them under an unjust king' isn't a huge story hook that can applied to a ton of adventures. We have that in Cheliax... Point is, we werent' trying to stop him from getting the throne.. he already had it. The land was already full of Oni we had to kill... If we hadn't found the story hook connecting Ameiko to it, and she had decided she wanted to stay an inn owner and not be queen, the adventure wouldn't have happened. Everything that wasn't already happening... was because they decided to go after a throne. And frankly nobody on this side of the world would have ever been the wiser.


Iron Gods!

If you stay home,

Spoiler:
everyone gets to experience the joy of worshipping our new god Unity, united in purpose and goal!
There's nothing bad about that, is there?


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Someone once posted an idea for a halfling themed Ap/mini-AP where you focus on setting up a Bellflower network/free slaves. So helping some slaves escape is a good local thing to accomplish.


^When the next Cheliax AP rolls around in a few years, it should be about this. Bonus points if the PCs are setting up a new Bellflower Network after Cheliax decimated the old one, and they have to find a way around the new security measures that Cheliax put into effect to prevent exactly this kind of thing from happening again.


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

I'll admit. The title of this thread is a little off but I couldn't think of anything better at the time. There seems to be a lot of negativity here around the idea. Despite what some of you may be thinking, I am not suggesting an AP where the PCs sit around and play house. It seems a lot of people just want to play murderhobos, in such a case you might as well be playing WoW.

One pattern I have noticed in the APs is that at the low levels there is a lot more roleplaying and the pace seems to be a lot slower. As time goes on, the RP declines and the pace quickens. I can understand the quickening a bit as the plot is reaching it's climax. There is no excuse for the decline in RP.

What I am suggestion is some awareness of exactly where the PCs live and what is going on there. In general there needs to be a bit of a tighter focus on RP at the high end, all of the high level APs I've played were all combat and dungeon crawls. Sure, it feels good to beat the bad guy, but why even bother if you have no connection to the world you're saving.

Kingmaker was the only AP to really come close to touching this idea. Maybe it's time for another sandbox AP. Here's an idea, how about actually using the rules in Ultimate Campaigns for something other than a new source for traits. There are ideas for building homes and businesses that I really haven't seen being used anywhere. This isn't the main focus for the AP but it something that runs in the background that ties the characters to the setting.


Soluzar wrote:

I'll admit. The title of this thread is a little off but I couldn't think of anything better at the time. There seems to be a lot of negativity here around the idea. Despite what some of you may be thinking, I am not suggesting an AP where the PCs sit around and play house. It seems a lot of people just want to play murderhobos, in such a case you might as well be playing WoW.

One pattern I have noticed in the APs is that at the low levels there is a lot more roleplaying and the pace seems to be a lot slower. As time goes on, the RP declines and the pace quickens. I can understand the quickening a bit as the plot is reaching it's climax. There is no excuse for the decline in RP.

What I am suggestion is some awareness of exactly where the PCs live and what is going on there. In general there needs to be a bit of a tighter focus on RP at the high end, all of the high level APs I've played were all combat and dungeon crawls. Sure, it feels good to beat the bad guy, but why even bother if you have no connection to the world you're saving.

Kingmaker was the only AP to really come close to touching this idea. Maybe it's time for another sandbox AP. Here's an idea, how about actually using the rules in Ultimate Campaigns for something other than a new source for traits. There are ideas for building homes and businesses that I really haven't seen being used anywhere. This isn't the main focus for the AP but it something that runs in the background that ties the characters to the setting.

I'll admit I love games with a 'home base' that your protecting. We've done it a few times and I always like it better then the world traveling games.

As for RP at higher levels? I'm not sure exactly how to work that into an AP for 4-6 characters of any class and alignment... By that point I think the authors would have trouble writing for the infinite possibilities that come up. Usually best to focus on smiting the enemy and just dealing with CRs and XP...

I really think the RP aspect would have to be maintained by the PCs themselves and not the authors. I mean, at lower levels you sometimes HAVE to talk your way out of the fight... but at 15-18th level... You pretty much can fight your way out of anything.

I was going to suggest an intrigue style game using UI... but honestly even a good James Bond movie has the infiltration and spy stuff early on and ends with explosions and car chases...


I've had the same thoughts before. As both a GM and player, I love stories that involve some roleplaying, not just at the first parts.
Skull and Shackles is the one that I've found more surprising because, at higher levels, the 4th book ends with a mostly roleplaying event and the 5th, that I am GMing now, starts with another one.
I guess it's easier to set a roleplaying encounter at lower levels, when it's harder to bypass by another ways and it's more balanced, than setting it at high level, when the PCs might not even get involved and there is an abyss between a highly social character and one who is not. An encounter that might be trivial to a group with a bard might be nearly impossible for other groups, so it's difficult to balance.
Difficult, not impossible. The easy solution to me would be setting encounters that could be bypassed by roleplaying or sheer force, so it wouldn't penalize groups who don't want to roleplay as much but would add some variety to groups who enjoy it.
I always try to make some changes in my stories so I can add some relevant RP elements at late levels. As you are the one who best knows your group, it's the best way of making it significative for the PCs, even better if you go by the main events of the AP.


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Soluzar wrote:

I'll admit. The title of this thread is a little off but I couldn't think of anything better at the time. There seems to be a lot of negativity here around the idea. Despite what some of you may be thinking, I am not suggesting an AP where the PCs sit around and play house. It seems a lot of people just want to play murderhobos, in such a case you might as well be playing WoW.

One pattern I have noticed in the APs is that at the low levels there is a lot more roleplaying and the pace seems to be a lot slower. As time goes on, the RP declines and the pace quickens. I can understand the quickening a bit as the plot is reaching it's climax. There is no excuse for the decline in RP.

What I am suggestion is some awareness of exactly where the PCs live and what is going on there. In general there needs to be a bit of a tighter focus on RP at the high end, all of the high level APs I've played were all combat and dungeon crawls. Sure, it feels good to beat the bad guy, but why even bother if you have no connection to the world you're saving.

Kingmaker was the only AP to really come close to touching this idea. Maybe it's time for another sandbox AP. Here's an idea, how about actually using the rules in Ultimate Campaigns for something other than a new source for traits. There are ideas for building homes and businesses that I really haven't seen being used anywhere. This isn't the main focus for the AP but it something that runs in the background that ties the characters to the setting.

I'd say Hell's Rebels is one where you end up with high awareness of your home, and there's a lot of RP in the second half of the path too.


Now I'm even more excited about GMing/playing Hell's Rebels.


Soluzar wrote:

I'll admit. The title of this thread is a little off but I couldn't think of anything better at the time. There seems to be a lot of negativity here around the idea. Despite what some of you may be thinking, I am not suggesting an AP where the PCs sit around and play house. It seems a lot of people just want to play murderhobos, in such a case you might as well be playing WoW.

One pattern I have noticed in the APs is that at the low levels there is a lot more roleplaying and the pace seems to be a lot slower. As time goes on, the RP declines and the pace quickens. I can understand the quickening a bit as the plot is reaching it's climax. There is no excuse for the decline in RP.

What I am suggestion is some awareness of exactly where the PCs live and what is going on there. In general there needs to be a bit of a tighter focus on RP at the high end, all of the high level APs I've played were all combat and dungeon crawls. Sure, it feels good to beat the bad guy, but why even bother if you have no connection to the world you're saving.

Kingmaker was the only AP to really come close to touching this idea. Maybe it's time for another sandbox AP. Here's an idea, how about actually using the rules in Ultimate Campaigns for something other than a new source for traits. There are ideas for building homes and businesses that I really haven't seen being used anywhere. This isn't the main focus for the AP but it something that runs in the background that ties the characters to the setting.

It may depend on what you're looking for in RP and how your group approaches it. A high level optimized group can often just bash their way through things that would benefit from a subtler approach. That doesn't mean the RP isn't there.

The latest AP, for example, certainly doesn't have the homes and businesses or ties to the setting, but even off in lost Carcosa, there are whole sections designed for roleplaying.
Strange Aeons:
A ball held by vampires who are cursed not to know they're vampires - except for an hour at midnight this night. You need to get a newly turned one out before then, before she first feeds.


Soluzar wrote:

I'll admit. The title of this thread is a little off but I couldn't think of anything better at the time. {. . .}

One pattern I have noticed in the APs is that at the low levels there is a lot more roleplaying and the pace seems to be a lot slower. As time goes on, the RP declines and the pace quickens. I can understand the quickening a bit as the plot is reaching it's climax. There is no excuse for the decline in RP.
{. . .}

This awesome Council of Thieves PbP (same one I linked above) maintains its roleplaying until a short time before the end, and at that point the decline was mainly due to loss of the GM (had to get another GM, after a LONG delay, just to be able to finish the last little bit).

Sovereign Court

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Soluzar wrote:
I'll admit. The title of this thread is a little off but I couldn't think of anything better at the time. There seems to be a lot of negativity here around the idea. Despite what some of you may be thinking, I am not suggesting an AP where the PCs sit around and play house. It seems a lot of people just want to play murderhobos, in such a case you might as well be playing WoW.

I dont see a lot of negativity so much as disagreement with your premise. Playstyles vary as well as how GMs run their campaigns, despite how an AP is written.

Soluzar wrote:
One pattern I have noticed in the APs is that at the low levels there is a lot more roleplaying and the pace seems to be a lot slower. As time goes on, the RP declines and the pace quickens. I can understand the quickening a bit as the plot is reaching it's climax. There is no excuse for the decline in RP.

That's an unfortunate side effect of the 3.5/PF system. PCs power up and need bigger challenges, which then eats page count. As a GM, I often add RP encounters and opportunities that the earlier chapters provide more heavily. I understand this is a sort of oberoni response to your request but RP isn't completely AP content driven IMHO.

Soluzar wrote:
What I am suggestion is some awareness of exactly where the PCs live and what is going on there. In general there needs to be a bit of a tighter focus on RP at the high end, all of the high level APs I've played were all combat and dungeon crawls. Sure, it feels good to beat the bad guy, but why even bother if you have no connection to the world you're saving.

I've noticed this too. I think the above mentioned problem is still a culprit here, but often APs start with a home or base and end far from it. Something that would be nice for the designers to take note of.

Soluzar wrote:

Kingmaker was the only AP to really come close to touching this idea. Maybe it's time for another sandbox AP. Here's an idea, how about actually using the rules in Ultimate Campaigns for something other than a new source for traits. There are ideas for building homes and businesses that I really haven't seen being used anywhere. This isn't the main focus for the AP but it something that runs in the background that ties the characters to the setting.

Yes, it is time for another sandbox. Excellent suggestions for the design team too.


E6/L6 which I have seen around here(Characters stop at level 6 but can get other options) might be a good ideas. Level 6 allows them to get out of the 1 Hit kill zone and take some risks but not so much they can let the spellcasters take care of everything.

Scarab Sages

Adventure paths that start with a home base for the characters but end elsewhere are another symptom of the steep power curve across an AP. A place that contains threats to a Level 2 party is likely to be a cake walk for a Level 16 party. Partitioning the area can help to keep characters in appropriate surroundings without abandoning the starting zone altogether (for example: streets of Absalom at low levels, nearby siege towers at mid levels, then the Test of the Starstone at the climax).

Skull & Shackles provides a series of potential home bases as the characters progress, so they don't have to be wanderers all the time. As a GM, it's not too hard to add some local flavor to each of the bases, so the characters care about the places where they dock up between voyages.


KarlBob wrote:

Adventure paths that start with a home base for the characters but end elsewhere are another symptom of the steep power curve across an AP. A place that contains threats to a Level 2 party is likely to be a cake walk for a Level 16 party. Partitioning the area can help to keep characters in appropriate surroundings without abandoning the starting zone altogether (for example: streets of Absalom at low levels, nearby siege towers at mid levels, then the Test of the Starstone at the climax).

Skull & Shackles provides a series of potential home bases as the characters progress, so they don't have to be wanderers all the time. As a GM, it's not too hard to add some local flavor to each of the bases, so the characters care about the places where they dock up between voyages.

Hell's Rebels does a pretty good job of bringing threats to the city or it's areas- you gotta travel out a little, but it's just early on, you're dealing with small stuff around the edges, with the big threat above you. Later on, you gotta deal with the stuff you could only look at before, plus more coming in range as a response to that and your actions.


Soluzar wrote:

Something I have noticed in all of the APs out there is that they all seem to involve some world ending evil. An evil that must be fought or the world as we know it will end. What about an AP where the stakes aren't as high. What about an AP where you are actually connected to the circumstances of your success or your failure? In the Ultimate Campaigns book there are a lot of options for relationships, creating businesses, creating kingdoms; but seldom do we see these options used except for the Kingmaker campaign. What about an AP that keeps things local? What about a campaign that makes you care about the people you are saving aside from being Xp or gold rewards?

This is just a few random thoughts. Maybe the idea of the Adventure Path needs an overhaul.

The problem with that is adventure paths from level 1 to 6 sell fewer books.

Stakes are high becaue in book 6 you are about lvl 16, and the average Pit Fiend does not steal the local cattle


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The thing about the "save the world" sort of thing is that PF does epic fantasy (with all the tropes that accompanies that, like big friggin' heroes, high magic, and set peace missions) a lot better than self-driven, more selfish protagonist, sword-and-sorcery type stories. As such, save-the-world benefits their rapid-fire push of adventure paths. This is because save-the-world is:
a) basically formulaic, allowing for a common template to go after
b) hard to ignore, since if the world dies so does you. APs are by nature railroads, so this type of schtick is necessary.
c) need to target a wide net. As created, APs aren't really about telling individual characters' stories so much as following the set plot of the Path in question.

It would be just as epic (perhaps even more so) to have a game where the motivation was primarily inward like Planescape: Torment, but I'd imagine it would be harder to develop and may appeal to less wide an audience. (

Spoiler:
Strange Aeons
is kinda like this, but ultimately turns back to saving the world.

That's not so say that APs can't be run such that self-motivation is a primary drive. Beyond Kingmaker, Skull and Shackles has already been mentioned numerous times, so I'll focus on some others.

Jade Regent: A big focus of this adventure path is personal relationships and helping friends out.

Shattered Star: In this one, the threat is not as immediate, but instead focuses on proactive efforts by the Pathfinder Society organization to prepare for the future. As such, it would seem fairly easy to bill this as opportunistic Pathfinders going on missions for fame, glory, and other self-motivated goals. The inclusion of various Pathfinder Society cliques and politics could enhance this personal feel a bit.

Reign of Winter:

Spoiler:
This adventure path is normally pure railroad because of the geas, but most of the missions are basically fetch quests for keys that lead from one strange location to another. There's no reason why you couldn't replace these arbitrary keys for something actually significant.

Iron Gods: As I recall, many times during this AP, it almost requires the characters to be self-driven and have their own goals to move forward, as there's not an extreme amount of pressure from external sources.

Strange Aeons: A big part of this is a voyage of self (re)discovery amid all the horror.

Spoiler:
It could also be played as a fantasy of personal revenge

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