CULTxicycalm's page

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Great discussion. It reawakened my desire for a system where a group can have MORE than one grand adventure in their lifetimes. Like Conan, you know? I feel 2E AD&D was like that, and I miss it.

Maybe PF 3E will be like that. I predict it will be rules-lite, because that’s where TTRPGs are headed, and at that point it should be easier to accomplish what I want.

That said, I am rules-heavy guy myself, so the ultimate solution to my desires would be if all the APs were nerfed to give half the XP they give. Then one group could have several big adventures in their lifeftimes (4x trilogies basically).


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I only play APs written by goblins. My favorites are the Paizo goblins.

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My comment was deleted and then people brought it up again on their own so I reposted my opinion and it’s already been liked 3 times. Doesn’t mean we don’t love Paizo just because we have eyes. And deleting negative criticism won’t improve any covers, not now and even less in the future. Quite the opposite in fact: letting the criticism stand is how you improve in the future.

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It is the worst AP cover ever. Compare to Ironfang Invasion if you want to see the difference between peak and bottom. There’s still time to fix this, Paizo.

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This can’t really be the cover.

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Yep so I would basically love to see a 1,200-page campaign from Paizo.

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Yeah but it’s a longer one, thus closer to encompassing a character’s life. I already said that. It won’t match D&D’s concept of a campaign, but it will get closer than the current ditching of a character after 6 adventures.

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A 6-parter isn’t a real campaign anyway. It’s just one story. A 12-parter would be closer to the real D&D conception of a “campaign” that basically includes a character’s entire life. It’s silly to think a writer couldn’t think of cool things to do for 12 adventures. Whether that would be financially smart is another question. If done WELL ENOUGH I think it COULD be, but of course doing a good 12-parter is harder than a 6-parter which is harder than a standalone adventure which is harder than a one-shot which is harder than a single encounter. But if anyone could do it, it’d be Paizo.

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A “three-parter” is just an old-fashioned TSR trilogy. Paizo took 15 years to reinvent the trilogy. So that’s a fine development because though six-parters are way epicer, not everything in D&D should be about epicness. Now how about a 12-parter again, like in the days of the magazines? A 12-parter to wrap up Second Edition would be especially appreciated in half a decade’s time or so, Mr. Creative Dinorector.

Wow. The future is here. The future is Paizo. You, sirs, are gods among men.

P.S. This is exactly what I asked James Jacobs for in his thread a few months back: Questions-Here#82230

P.P.S. The next step is Owlcat-level production values.

P.P.P.S. And the next step is Cyberpunk 2077-level. Whoever does that wins the entire artform of videogames.

Why is this adventure for five characters? That’s never been done by Paizo before, right?

Narchy’s maps are inferior to the originals. Too dark, brownish, gray, with dull elements. They are depressing to me. Just buy the games on Fantasy Grounds.

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I am running this right now. Can you give us some details? I know nothing of the issue...

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That said, I believe EVERY group can benefit by adopting Ultimate Edition rules, which boils down to creating an overworld in World Anvil, placing all published material there—or at least as much as the GM has approved (I approve all of it for Pathfinder because it’s perfect)—and letting the players head towards what they want and play what they want instead of dragging them around by the nose while pretending they have a choice, as D&D has been doing since day 1.

The other groups won’t revel in the full glory of Pathfinder Season 1 happening organically all around them, but they can at least increase the interactivity and immersion of their game by an order of magnitude if they adopt my overworld rules.

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I believe that my project of running the entire Pathfinder Season 1 with Ultimate Edition rules, meaning all campaigns interacting with each other and not happening like clockwork every 6 months—which makes no sense—is the ultimate accomplishment in art, like Wagner staging a Ring cycle in Bayreuth but on steroids, and I plan to devote the next decade of my life making this happen, producing a full interactive overworld and stream of every session and summary of every session that will number thousands of pages.

It is absolutely not a project meant to be played by many groups on the planet. I would be surprised if it ever gets duplicated, though in the infinity of time, perhaps it might be. But I don’t expect it.

Sue me.

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No way we’d run your suggestion. I would rather play Pac-Man than have a party controlled by one person.

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Zaister wrote:

Just out of curiosity: how long does it take one of your groups to complete an AP on average?

I'm curious when you plan to actually play Tyrant's Grasp and your so-called "Season 2", if your players need to have player all 23 other 1E APs before…

We don’t know. We’ve only put about 150 hours into this so far, it’s a new project. These people are my videogame clan, and we only recently decided to embark on this project although I have been working on the rules framework for about two years (or if you count how long I’ve been thinking about it, since 1991).

To get to Season 2 I would imagine we’d need 5-10 years. It also depends on if I get more groups in the future.

The point though is I am not in a hurry to get anywhere. Moreover, the entire D&D universe is included in this overworld, so for example a group might decide to unlock Spelljammer and go to the Forgotten Realms, or I have rules that randomly determine when a group gets whisked to Ravenloft for a side-adventure, so if the groups spread among the stars maybe they’ll never get to Pathfinder Season 2. But they can get to Dark Sun Season 1, or Planescape Season 1, etc. It’s up to them to decide what they want to play and head for it on the overworld.

I have made it clear to them however that I believe that the Pathfinder setting is the best fictional setting of all time, the Pathfinder adventures the best adventures, and the Pathfinder rules the best rules. That’s why it’s the starting point of every group. I see all other settings as spice, and Pathfinder the main meal.

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The reason D&D is multiplayer is because it's more fun than solo. And that’s also why multigroup is more fun than singlegroup. It’s not rocket science.

Multigroup has been done before of course. My innovation is that I base everything off of Pathfinder Adventure Paths placed on a vg-style overworld, with the groups sometimes collaborating and sometimes competing to complete them, the choice always being made by them rather than by the GM.

This new element shoots freedom and therefore immersion through the roof. While your group is in Sandpoint dealing with the runelords, another group of real people is in Korvosa dealing with Queen Ileosa and you hear news about it in the taproom of the Rusty Dragon. If either group falters, then the other group will have to deal with the consequences of that failure as they engulf the region.

Games don’t get any more interactive than this. Every single one of my 17 players is hooked and I run this universe for close to 20 hours every weekend.

“But my buddy plays solo, GMing himself, and he loves it—he would never dream of playing with other human beings, since he dislikes people—ergo your theory of increased immersion is invalid!”

Okay buddy.

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There are people who still only play Pac-Man and have no interest in open-world or VR games. That doesn’t mean that open-world and VR games aren’t the future. The future doesn’t need every single homo sapiens on the planet to agree. It doesn’t even need most of them.

If three of my four groups deserted me, I would quit role-playing. I just couldn’t go back to PVE Pathfinder, it’s tepid in comparison to what we have going. With VTTs making distance irrelevant, more and more people will begin realizing this.

Of course it won’t become the number 1 style of role-playing just like classical music is not the number 1 style of music. Simplistic pop music is. But the cutting-edge has shifted, and the people who know things will start realizing this very soon.

Note that my groups rarely fight. More often they collaborate to defeat foes whom one group has failed to check. This solves the TPK problem RPGs have. A runelord wiped a group out and is threatening an entire region? A normal GM would have to make up some random stuff to plug in the hole in his campaign whereas in mine I don’t have to do anything, as the players naturally decide to join forces in an 8v1 or even a 12v1 against the runelord and his forces. We’re talking the most epic fights you’ve never dreamed and all powered by Baldur’s Gate 3-level graphics courtesy of TaleSpire, and overworld powered by World Anvil.

If this isn’t the future of epic fantasy role-playing, I don’t know what would be. Gygax and Arneson would have been all over this thread if they were alive. They started out as hardcore wargamers and they would have known what I am talking about.

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But each GM has at least one group. And two GMs can collaborate to put their groups on the same overworld and give them the option to interact, both in co-op and PVP. You can meet GMs in this very forum. It’s one of the reasons I made an account here as I want more players and groups.

Yes there is more overhead, but it can be fun, and VTTs can facilitate this interaction across cities and even countries and continents.

I think this is the future.

There are of course pitfalls and you need a robust rules framework, but that is the task I have set for myself, and the videogame-inspired overworld + tech tree which is the subject of this thread are the basis of my framework.

Good idea, to cheat. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to run the Harrow legitimately. It appears to not have been playtested at all. And how does it make sense to foreshadow the future if all the player characters might die and the future not happen? They copied the Harrow from Ravenloft but in Ravenloft it wasn’t meant to predict the future? Wasn’t it meant merely to give the location of some items?

I am running CotCC right now too, just got done with the fishery, and I am desperate for some help on how to make the Harrow playable at all. Ideally I don’t want to ditch it or rig it, I want to get it working as intended but I doubt that’s possible.

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I have four groups. And they aren’t speedrunning. They love role-playing. But they also love competing between themselves via Ultimate Edition rules in the videogame PVP manner, which D&D has never embraced, in my opinion to its detriment since fighting against people is a million times more engaging than against NPCs. Now you might say there are tournaments for that, but tournaments kill role-playing, which is the whole point of the game, as it says on the box. The ultimate in my view is PVP inside epic professional campaigns, and no one does these better than Paizo. I am just providing the rules framework to allow that to happen.

It always amazed me when GMs would say they run multiple groups but not put them in the same world. Some of them even run the same campaign at the same time with multiple groups! It always sounded crazy to me.

Put all those groups in an overworld and let them interact as if they’re playing an MMO, is what I say! And my Ultimate Edition will give them all the required mechanics.

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Oh yes, that’s what I said:

CULTxicycalm wrote:
when they unlock Kingmaker, they also unlock the "Ultimate Campaign" rulebook

An added twist is that the unlock happens only for the group in question. The other groups can only gain access to the new book by spending Epic Points (EP) which they gain by successfully completing adventures at the rate of 1 EP/page of adventure completed. So an AP book completed would give 96 EP, and the books cost their pagecount in EP to unlock. So the typical Pathfinder hardcover rulebook would cost about 250 EP.

All this comes from videogames, but instead of unlocking stupid, useless stuff, you unlock cool, genius stuff, so there is an element of competition as the groups try to complete their adventures and unlock more advanced stuff. Some APs that unlock new features and worlds, like e.g. the Iron Gods AP that unlocks Starfinder, cost a lot of EP to unlock: specifically it costs as much as 4 APs’ worth of EPs. So the groups are also competing for which one will play the coolest stuff.

Of course “coolest stuff” is subjective, and here it is the “show runner” aka me who determines what is coolest.

Deriven Firelion wrote:

I think part of the problem is Blood Lords sounds fricking awesome. Now I'm looking forward to that over everything else.

I was initially looking forward to Quest for Frozen Flame as the next one I wanted to run. It sounded interesting. But now I'm all in on Blood Lords and Quest and Outlaws just seems like they're getting in the way of Blood Lords.

Probably best not to mention some awesome AP with a great name and a concept that seems extremely new and interesting. People will want that as soon as they can get it overlooking what is in front of it.

Or you guys can get 4 groups like I have, and run everything at the same time.

Ignis Fatuus wrote:
I'd love Skull & Shackles 2E. Specially since the ship to ship combat rules were a bit lacking back then, but know we have working vehicle rules.

Where are those rules?

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I've made an interactive overworld of the Inner Sea region with all Adventure Paths placed on it (including the three upcoming ones): (takes a while to load if you're on a slow connection or cellphone etc.)

Click on each AP to get details on it, including main soundtrack theme.

I am also working on a zoomed-out Golarion one for the two APs that aren't set in the Inner Sea region. I'll be linking that here in a future post. (I am also making a Starfinder one, but that's a few weeks off.)

Sketched out in these details you will find the beginnings of an unlockable "tech tree" in the manner of Sid Meier's Civilization, if you're familiar with that game. That is to say, a group needs to complete Rise of the Runelords in order to unlock Jade Regent or Shattered Star. They need to complete Council of Thieves to unlock Hell's Rebels/Vengeance. Moreover, when they unlock Kingmaker, they also unlock the "Ultimate Campaign" rulebook; when they unlock Carrion Crown, they unlock the "Horror Adventures" rulebook; and it is only then that they unlock the new rules, classes, feats etc. in those books.

The same applies for other products and standalone adventures. E.g. when they meet Zellara in Curse of the Crimson Throne, they unlock the "Harrow Deck" accessory plus The Harrowing standalone adventure; when they try to visit the Acadamae in Korvosa they unlock the Academy of Secrets adventure.

And finally, the groups have to complete ALL 23 PF1 campaigns in order to unlock Tyrant's Grasp, and then completing that unlocks Pathfinder Season 2, and so on.

I currently have four groups unleashed on this overworld, and I am looking for more groups and players. Message me if you're interested (but note that it isn't free). It is the GROUPS here which choose where to go on the overworld and what to play, not the GM. Think of it like a videogame. The biggest videogame overworld ever, powered not by subpar programmer rules and programmer settings and programmer adventures, but by the genius of Paizo. It essentially IS a videogame because it's all run through Fantasy Grounds, Foundry and TaleSpire.

I have a whole set of rules that elaborate how this works, and I call them "Ultimate Edition". They include aspects like procreation and bloodlines, city-building and 4X powered by TaleSpire, group co-op (where two or more groups join forces to tackle a disaster that one of the groups failed to contain), and group PVP for campaigns like Hell's Rebels/Vengeance, or generally for campaigns where the group is evil and another group wants to take them on. I can provide reading materials to interested players and parties. The book will be released on DriveThruRPG later this year, and there is an interactive website coming that tracks all the campaigns and events.

But that's not what this thread is about. This thread is about the tech tree. I am asking for the community's help in order to fully develop it, as a single person can't know anywhere near enough to set that up. Note that I am also placing things like novels, comics, web fiction, Society one-shots, etc. on the overworld. All these things will be unlockable at the right time, and the goal of this thread is to decide on the trigger-event. E.g. defeating the goblin raid on Sandpoint at the start of Rise of the Runelords unlocks 1) We B4 Goblins! standalone adventure, and 2) Shalelu Be Food? web fiction.

So whoever wants to contribute, start contributing, and I'll be adding your major contributions to the overworld and setting up a Google Document for the minor ones. Which particular event in a Pathfinder product do you think should be the trigger event for unlocking another Pathfinder product out of the thousands that exist? And note that a product can have more than one trigger-event. E.g. the Dragon's Demand adventure can be unlocked by talking to Tanasha Starborne in War for the Crown, but maybe no group will talk to her, so I need more Verduran-related characters and trigger events to sprinkle throughout the overworld for players and groups to stumble on.

I can complete the whole project on my own, but it will take years, and it won't be as nuanced as if I got the backing of some knowledgeable community members. So whoever likes this project and wants to help flesh it out, jump in.

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Anything can be compared to anything else. An apple and a spaceship can be compared (I'll take the spaceship, thanks). People can and do and will compare PF2 to PF1, and even to apples and spaceships. "You can't compare this with that" is a mere symptom of intellectual weakness. Attack the comparison, if you want, not the person's ability to make comparisons at all. Besides, no matter what you say, the person will make the comparison anyway. There simply doesn't exist a way to stop them, at least not in a civilized society. So you may as well just chill.

In conclusion, if my point wasn't clear, PF1 for lyfe.

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You're right, and I will be more careful with my phrasing in the future.

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Thanks a lot for your reply. It covers everything that I wanted to know, and much more besides.

P.S. By exotic I meant to me, and to my friends at my table. I am not dropping the word because I need it, as I need many others, to express my straight white male Greek-European viewpoint ("exotic" is a Greek word, and we're extremely proud over here of our heritage). Cheers.

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There's a Paizo forum community legend that the continet of Sarusan was built by Paizo as a "GM sandbox", and that you've set it aside for that reason and hermetically sealed it from the rest of the world with appropriate lore, and that you don't plan on ever publishing anything for it. Yet in one post of yours I saw in the forum you say that your third I think it was favorite choice for continent to work on is Sarusan. That, to me, coming from the Creative Director of the world, tells me that the forum community legend is false. Is it?

I am making a West Marches campaign for Pathfinder, and I am looking for a place to put it in Golarion that won't clash with current or future Pathfinder lore, that's why I am asking this question. If there is no spot on Golarion that you plan to leave untouched, I would consider putting my campaign on one of the other planets, in which case I'd appreciate a recommendation. And even if you can't give me a single spot in the entire solar system that you plan to stay out of, maybe you can give me one that would be your LAST choice to publish something for in the foreseeable future? But I need it to be general-European flavored and not something exotic like Asian, African etc.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

You guys still haven't learned that every AP is awesome.

No exceptions.

Paizo doesn't make bad APs. I don't think they can make even mediocre ones.

I need to explain that at some point.

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Homebrew, for me, is another word for "bad". I don't mean to ruffle feathers, but you asked. I'd rather not derail the thread with that discussion. But anyway, that's why I am not "homebrewing" anything. Even my West Marches campaign I plan to take it from an expert. Just lift it from him and use it. I wish Paizo would make one. (Kingmaker isn't it btw.)

Azlant is a good idea, but I don't want a tropical climate. Same reason I am not interested in Osirion etc. I want typical European climate. So I'll take the River Kingdoms.

So now the question becomes which part(s) of the River Kingdoms have not been covered in any Paizo material. I want to stay as far away from Kingmaker as possible. My groups will one day play it, and I don't want to create any conflicts.

I am prepared to go through all six Kingmaker adventures to find the answer, but if any of you know, I'd appreciate the help.

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West Marches is a type of hexcrawl that's suitable for random groups of players collaborating to explore a wild region. It's a fascinating style of play, and you can read more about it here if you don't already know about it:

I'd like to find an area of the Inner Sea region to place a West Marches campaign in. I don't want it to overlap any APs or standalones or Pathfinder Society scenarios—or even any areas covered in sourcebooks past and upcoming, first or second editions. I want it to be an area that Paizo hasn't covered, and ideally will never cover. Obviously none of us knows the future, neither does Paizo past a certain point, but what I am looking for is an educated guess. What do you guys think?

I don't want it to be another continent, far from the action. I want it to be near the action, but undeveloped. I don't know enough about the setting to make the call, so I am turn to you for guidance.

James Jacobs wrote:
I'd say that a sailing ship trip from Sandpoint to Absalom with no dangers and good weather and minimal short stops along the way would take 3 and a half months.

But in Ruins of Azlant the ship from Andoran to Azlant is said to have taken six weeks to get there... Something doesn't add up.

The poltergeist in Ruins of Azlant 1/6: The Lost Outpost. It's in a chapel in the abandoned colony at the start of the game. Very fun encounter, with a complex chapel to investigate with many clues and ways to go about things etc.

During Gen Con, Paizo premiered this image from this AP:

Unfortunately, I can't find it in anything higher than this tiny 260x194 resolution. Any chance someone at Paizo can give us a little higher resolution? I need it because I run 4 groups on a videogame-style overworld, and I put the APs there for the groups to choose from. I know release is months away, but my players are excited to see new APs pop up on the overworld, and so am I...

Thanks for the answer James.

And let me strongly recommend you watch those two videos. They are the most amazing thing happening right now in the world of role-playing. Same goes for the thread I linked.

Hi James. I just want to say that I believe you and Bulmahn are the true continuators of Arneson and Gygax (he's Gygax's and you're Arneson's). You are my heroes. (And Paizo is the true continuator of TSR.)

Now for my questions.

Do you realize that the future of role-playing is this?

And this:

Do you want/plan to be a part of it?