My local gaming group has been playing Rise of the Runelords. However, the DM has been growing tired of running, the players have grown tired of how he DMs, and he might be forced out of the group due to outside circumstances I wouldn't share if I was confident I understood them. (It's just one of those things.) The current plan is to rotate DMing between the remaining players, and I've chosen to go first. Speaking of which, in case by some chance this is sounding familiar...one way or another I'm going to be mentioning spoilers for Rise of the Runelords, so be warned.
I hadn't been paying as much attention as I probably should; for a while it was because I was at school most of the time and only dropped in for a session or a few at a time, but I've kept it up after graduation due to not being terribly invested in the adventure. As such, I have a hazy recollection of what went on, which comes at least as much from previously playing through part of the 3.5 version of the adventure path. I'm patching that up by reading the book, but there's enough information there that I'm not sure I'll be able to find the relevant bits.
A second issue revealed itself recently during my first pass on the second chapter, which I thought we had completed. Nope. We defeated the Skinsaw Man after struggling through the Foxglove Manor, and were dumped out a few months later, but that's only the halfway point; there's apparently a whole other cult of skinsaw murderers in Magnimar. I don't believe this was particularly foreshadowed, so I'll probably have to drag the players there myself (possibly just "You say you stopped the Skinsaw Man? Well, he's killing people in Magnimar" or something like that). Still, this should give you an idea of where I'm at.
So. First off, is there somewhere I can get a good summary of the adventure path and the individual adventures? (Or at least what was supposed to have happened? The DM was not exactly reading the books well enough to follow them well.) I'm picking up some of that from the introduction and conclusion of each adventure, but there seem to be a good number of details buried in the middle. Related, is there a good list of characters for the campaign? The best I've found are something from one group's campaign (a few sentences each, a fair chunk of that being stuff the party did about them) and the TV Tropes page (which is rather barren).
Second, how much of the second half of the adventure path do I need to know about to properly run the adventure and foreshadow the future? I'm going to be playing it, so I don't want to know everything, but it's hard to act as the primary author of a story with a predetermined ending that I don't know about. Or should I just try to run the whole thing?
Finally, does anyone have any advice on running the next bit of the adventure path? I'll probably be closing out the Skinsaw stuff and doing the Hook Mountain Massacre, at least. (It's probably also worth noting that I haven't DMed in a while, and that when I did I almost never ran premade adventures.)
Caution: I'm something of a dinosaur, stuck in my ways kind of GM so I don't think rotating GM's for the same campaign is a good idea. Hey! You kids get off my lawn!
I'm not aware of a "Cliff Notes" write-up of the AP but who knows there may be one out there. Note: most people that would be inclined to write one would be GM's themselves and they would probably just read the AP cover to cover, since they "have" to do that to run it anyway.
Where is your group? Are you in Book 2? The group seems to have defeated the Skinsaw Man but you mention having to bring them back to Magnimar? Where are they? What do they thing they're doing now?
As for how to break it up by GM...
Books 1-4 are more interconnected than the last two, telling the story of Karzoug's agents in Varisia and the pc's efforts to stop them. The adventures involve key npc's from Sandpoint (and to a lesser extent, Magnimar) and how the pc's relate and interact with those NPC's is an important feature of how the adventures proceed. I'd suggest 1 GM for those 4 books because the connective links between them need to be effectively managed to keep the pc's focused on the task at hand.
Book 5: Go to bizarre, ancient, magical ruin and make weapons good for killing Karzoug. While it starts in Sandpoint, the NPC's in Sandpoint aren't all that important. This could be run by a separate GM.
Book 6: Go to Karzoug's long lost hometown and kill him. This is tied to the previous books simply by the derived impetus: Karzoug is really awful and if someone doesn't do something, Varisia is screwed. This could be run by a separate GM. Though the pc's do get an important clue from a resident of Sandpoint.
Note: Books 5 and 6 are high level adventures and the GM should have pretty solid system mastery to play the high powered NPC's effectively.
Sorry for not getting back sooner.
According to our current DM, the Foxglove Manor is in Sandpoint. (I'm not sure if that's how it's supposed to be. He has a habit of not reading the book until the day we're gaming, if at all. Which is one of the reasons he's not DMing the rest of the path) We just dealt with that, got sent two months ahead of when we came in by some magic thing or another, and don't really know what's supposed to come next. And yeah, we're in book 2.
I'm a little lost - are you suggesting your group time traveled or lost months of time while in Foxglove Manor? That's not in the AP.
You did provide a warning the thread has spoilers but I'm overly cautious...
The pc's are supposed to find evidence that the Skinsaw Man was working for some nefarious elements in Magnimar including a few clues to check out - the origin of rat cages in Vorel's workshop or the letter from Xanesha. Your DM appears to have had a very different interpretation of what was supposed to happen next.
Foxglove Manor is not technically in Sandpoint though it isn't far away from Sandpoint either.
The pc's go to Magnimar, find clues to the Skinsaw cult in the townhouse, discover a corrupt government official and a lamia matriarch pulling the strings on the entire affair. She's sacrificing greedy people for some dark purpose - though the pc's don't know what yet. Putting an end to it brings the pc's to the attention of the Mayor - who was on the target list. He rewards them generously and then sends them on to the next adventure, which the pc's should be encouraged to follow because of a note from the lamia's sister they find after defeating her.
If you're going to run it, I'd suggest reading it thoroughly. Perhaps Book 1 as well so you can get an idea how they fit together.