Some advice on high-level Pathfinder campaign.


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


Hello everyone. This is my farst time posting on these 'ere official forums, although I've been playing Pathfinder many, many times before. I've created an accounted with one specifics reason- I need some major advise concerning the logistics of a campaign I'm planning to run.

So here's the thing- these are my major assumptions:

1. I want my players to be on 20th levels.

2. I want them to have a fully functioning HQ. The kind of stupid large base that is also appropriate for their levels (I fully expect them creating a demi-plane for this purpose among others).

3. I want them to design a cast of support characters, from monsters to regular servants that would assist them. I'm gonna help with that of course and attempt to do the mechanical legwork myself.

I want them to have as much creative freedom in designing these things as possible. I want it to feel like it's THEIR effort. But I also want them to work within some kind of constrains to feel like they have to make some serious choices.

Now given all that I have some questions, how much money should I give them to build this base, is there a rulebook specifically for something like this or other resources I could look into for tables and guidelines and about the NPCs how should I go about that? Should I give them a pool of points and levels to build these NPCs? Should I tie it into their base and use the same monetary resource in some kind of an abstraction? Again, is there a good resource for this?


I'd stick to wealth by level. at 20 it's pretty ridiculous.
However, you could also just hand waive the cost of the base effectively giving them limitless resources for it. It's not going to much matter either way. At 20th level there are a TON of ways to get effectively free base enhancements and/or wealth.

If you make this a Play by post then I'll play a wizard and show them how it's done. ;)


I'm not making this play-by-post. And I don't want to give them unlimited resources, because as I said, I want them to feel constrained, I want my players to make meaningful choices in the kind of base they are building and the kind of NPCs that will inhabit their little kingdom.

If I don't do that, they could effectively render it impervious to any kind of assault or infiltration, and that's just not fun. I want them to feel like there actually are weaknesses that could be exploited and when and if that happens I don't want it to just be "crap, we didn't think of THAT" but something that they are aware of.


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There are always weaknesses to be exploited. There's no way for mere mortals, powerful or otherwise, to be completely unassailable.

At 20th level lots of resources and effectively unlimited resources aren't that significantly different.

If I were DM and I really wanted to give them a number i'd say that combined they have the wealth of an additional 20th level character with which to build there fortress. That's 880,000. It puts the desired cap, but it's still a lot.


If you haven't, read Ultimate Campaign. It has rules for designing both "buildings and organizations" and "Kingdoms". See if you want to use those rules or not. If you do like them, get the players to decide if they are going for a Kingdom or a Building. It makes a difference.

If they are going to make a demiplane, they should be able to just create the buildings as part of the demiplane's creation. No cost, no materials, it just all comes into existance when the plane is first formed.

And at the same time, such buildings shouldn't generate any kind of revenue without appropriate staff. The rules presented in UC assume you hire appropriate staff when you build a room. Demiplane doesn't create staff. But you could do everything at reduced cost to get the rooms working (say half cost for staff + tools and 1/4th the construction time to gather them?).

Notable NPCs to staff the fortress would be a problem. As the GM you shouldn't just have beings volunteering to be slaves for the PCs. The PCs have to do some work and interact with beings to convince them to work for them, somehow. Make deals, don't have the NPCs be stupid. Its find for them to be grateful for what the PCs have already done for them, but even that has limits.

Some players might consider using various mind control, created undead, summoned beings forced to serve with binding, ect. Maybe even a clone army. Followers and cohorts as well. There are rules for all of that. Beyond that, social skills, gold, and favors should be tradeable to get what they want as long as they aren't too picky.

As for 'giving' them money...why? Are they going to start as level 20 characters? Or are they going to work their way up to 20? If they work their way up, things will take care of themselves. If they are being simply created at 20th level...see what they come up with without you 'giving' them anything. They can throw around 9th level spells, they should be able to come up with something. Don't let them cast free wishes. If they complain about money...have them run a few encounters to raise money. Maybe make some enemies, or some friends. Why not both?


Meirril wrote:


As for 'giving' them money...why? Are they going to start as level 20 characters? Or are they going to work their way up to 20?

Which part of point 1 is so unclear that you ask this question?


There's a few easy solution to staffing a demiplane.

The easiest being a timeless demiplane. The specifics will depend on how you interpret certain effects on spells that are not normally permanent.

Sadly, Unseen servants only exist while within range, but as long as the caster is around you're good to go. You can have real casters or simulacra (effectively immortal/permanent as long as they stay in the demiplane) as servants. Even caster level 1 is sufficient for this purpose. Over time they could each have a swarm of unseen servants at their command. Smart money is on using low level simulacra of yourself. It cuts down on the possibility of having them turn against you. Plus at 1HD they're cost is negligible and you can use them as body doubles.

You could also have non-magic servants with minor magic items. Unseen servant + prestidigitation at will broaches are probably very popular among the absurdly wealthy magical gentry. One maid with such a broach could take care of the work of a small army of maids.

Alternately you can make a wondrous item/trap of unseen servant to handle specific repetitive tasks. An enchanted floor tile that keeps the X feet around it dusted.

Twine double: similar to simulacra, but I dont believe they get spells. However, it does have the added bonus of throwing off scrying if that's a concern for you and you decided not to block that from your demiplane.

Summon monster (all levels): permanent planar servants. There's some interpretation here, but it works on paper. Hypothetically someone in some planar hierarchy will take notice if you trap a bunch of their powerful entities, but as that's up to the DM. On paper it works.

There are more, but you get the gist.


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Arrakiz wrote:
Meirril wrote:


As for 'giving' them money...why? Are they going to start as level 20 characters? Or are they going to work their way up to 20?
Which part of point 1 is so unclear that you ask this question?

The preposition "on" in "I want my players to be on 20th levels."

The common phrasing would be "I want my players to go to 20th level" or "I want my players to start at 20th level." Your phrasing is uncommon so Meirril asked for a clarification.


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:

There are always weaknesses to be exploited. There's no way for mere mortals, powerful or otherwise, to be completely unassailable.

At 20th level lots of resources and effectively unlimited resources aren't that significantly different.

If I were DM and I really wanted to give them a number i'd say that combined they have the wealth of an additional 20th level character with which to build there fortress. That's 880,000. It puts the desired cap, but it's still a lot.

A very good starting point. How many PCs are we talking about? Another idea would be to assume each character can use as much as 1/2 his WBL to help build/craft the stronghold in question (similar to being able to use no more than half your WBL on a single magic item). If the group can come up with ways to use their spells and or items to assist in the construction apply discounts (or free stuff) as appropriate. Gives them some ability to personalize their own areas of the stronghold with their own funds as well since some might spend more than other party members. They'd also have to decide how much to use as a "group" fund for general construction/crafting.

And in my experience allow some freedom to adjust things for the first few sessions/adventures as in general unless the players are very familiar with game play at that level things get forgotten or overlooked that would get dealt with if the group had leveled up over the course of a campaign.

There was a Stronghold Builders Guide that came out years back ... not quite sure if it was late 2E or 3.0/3.5 though.


I understand that this has been hinted at in previous posts, but I'm going to kinda put it out there in so many words:

A 20th level Wizard/Arcanist/Sorceror (and maybe other full casters) will, for all intents and purposes, have unlimited resources for the purposes of building mundane things. fabricate + moment of prescience (plus, perhaps, crafter's fortune and greater heroism) means that they can construct all kinds of crazy stuff all kinds of crazy quickly, for only the material costs. They have an unlimited supply of stone wherever they want it (wall of stone and/or clashing rocks). They can turn one material into another, usually permanently (careful application of polymoph any object). There are similar tricks with wood/trees. Some/all of this can be done instantly with just creating their demiplane carefully.

So, sentient resources is where it's at. For that, they can get a huge head start with the Leadership feat. Not only do they get plenty of plebs to run all the little things, they also (each who takes the feat) get one ghigher level guy to fill in any gaps.

Mostly the money is about things like magic items, and, to an extent, permanencied spells (including that demiplane I mentioned). How much money? Well, I think the suggestion of 1 (extra) character's worth of WBL for the party to use together probably would be sufficient. I'm not sure what kind of choices it would force, though. If everyone had to build only with their own WBL, that would force players to make a choice between personal power and their contribution to the stronghold.


Mathmuse wrote:
Arrakiz wrote:
Meirril wrote:


As for 'giving' them money...why? Are they going to start as level 20 characters? Or are they going to work their way up to 20?
Which part of point 1 is so unclear that you ask this question?

The preposition "on" in "I want my players to be on 20th levels."

The common phrasing would be "I want my players to go to 20th level" or "I want my players to start at 20th level." Your phrasing is uncommon so Meirril asked for a clarification.

Indeed, I was about to ask whether OP meant "start at 20th level" or "reach 20th level". I guess that's cleared up now.

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