James Jacobs wrote:
We did remove this sidebar from the hardcover edition, which might have been an error, I suppose, but still—that's why we include CR indications for monsters, so GMs will know at a glance how tough an encounter is and to keep that in mind for the PCs.
I also tried to emphasize to my group through story cues that a creature captured by whomever had originally built the complex and still alive was probably immensely powerful (in comparison to their current level).
It fell on deaf ears. The party had some hard fights up to this point, but operated under the expectation that everything in the story would be scaled to their level. The mauling they received before dashing out of the room was a nice moment that reset expectations. This was not a dynamically scaled experience that a video game provides.
I don't view that as a failing of the AP though, just in the party's approach. They finally grasped that an enemy could be significantly more powerful than the party could handle... and that killing everything you encounter is not always the solution.
Madokar Valortouched wrote:
Hmm, that's a fair point. I took blessing crops as reciting prayers to Sarenrae over the crops, asking for her favor, rather than an actual literal magical blessing.
The healing angle is a great thought, he could be sent out to offer aid to those settlements that are generally too far from a temple but would welcome the chance to be healed.
It would fit well with a Tempered Champion - the temple is not naive, they know sending him out alone will expose him to the perils of the world. The resulting combats will temper his faith and his skill.
Sarenrae's priests are known for blessing crops, so it could be that he was sent from the temple in Korvosa to travel and bless the work of the farmers as well as spread the message of Sarenrae. He is a junior member so he is sent to a series of small towns instead of larger settlements, but he will obviously pass through places like Sandpoint. Once there, it would make sense that he would attend the festival to support the new cathedral as Sarenrae has a shrine.
That has it fall somewhere between a task and a pilgrimage, more in line with the temple giving him training to prepare him for greater works.
I think it sounds stellar, excellent work on taking the time to alter the story so well. I always enjoy reading when someone has actually analyzed how the PC actions have impacted the events behind the scenes as well as made it personal for the players (the ordered magic item was a clever touch).
I know it will be a long time coming over the course of the whole campaign, but I really want to know how the Revenant Nualia plays out. Even if it might not always be interacting with her, there are a few points they could come across traces that she has been in an area recently.
Kudos for your hard work!
The PCs in my game are nearly entirely martial and while they've managed to make it to the Runeforge, they're totally missing a lot of the cool lore that informs the decisions that Karzoug and the other Runelords are making because the characters don't really care. I've had to have a number of NPCs step in to provide "Magic 101" context lectures and prod the party into gathering information because ultimately, if there's not a monetary reward, they're not inclined to bother.
I appreciate your feedback, every little bit I read about those further along is helpful. My PCs are nowhere close to that point, but, after reading through all of the challenges faced by other GMs, my group had to have a sit down about skills.
Zero spoilers were exposed but I stressed that their knowledge and discovery skills were lacking to make the most of the adventure path. They are truly enjoying the story/want to enjoy the story as much as possible so I gave them a one time complete skill reset.
I don't mind the use of NPCs to poke and prod, but I worried our game would devolve to combat, combat, combat, helpful NPC stepping in to narrate the story for them, back to exploring...
So true, I had to be intentional about laying out the house in a manner that let all four PCs engage Gresgurt at once. They found the story element behind Gresgurt compelling, disgusted and angry in turns, but they are all brand new to RPGs and a death so early would have murdered their budding joy.
My group has finally made it to Thistletop, working their way through the thistles towards the bridge. They ascribe to the continual right turn policy in exploring, so their first encounter ended up being Gogmurt and Tangletooth. They kill Tangletooth and cause Gogmurt to flee through the wall and this ensues:
Paladin: "What? He can just walk through walls? Okay, sure, and the next goblin will fly."
The druid is a halfling with a 20 ft. movement speed against Gogmurt with a 30 ft. movement speed. It takes two rounds for the math to click...
Druid "How is he so fast? He's little, I'm little, come on!"
I suspect it'll either be a total stomp (due to having six 2nd-level party members, five of which are martially focused) or a total rout (due to the party having difficulty dealing with enemies at range and having no experience fighting flyers or invisible foes).
What is your party make-up? I would love to hear how it ends up going for you. My group is comfortable dealing with enemies at range, but her AC of 19 meant that they struggled to connect with her when she was visible.
One advantage the sorcerer had was the use of AoE spells like Burning Hands. He managed to figure out her general location and then set her on fire. I removed her resistances to give them a chance, otherwise he would have been completely useless (hard for him to get more than 10 points of damage rolling 2d4 + 1...).
Not to necro an old thread, but as it fits best in this one, my party dealt with Elyrium last night and it was painful. To echo the sentiments of so many others, it not only consumed most of a 3-hour session, but it also reached the tipping point from fun into frustrating.
The group consists of a barbarian, paladin, druid and sorcerer.
Her flight+invisibility+DR+fast healing meant they could not deal enough consistent damage to kill her, but she had no direct damage spells and a 1d2 dagger wasn't going to get it done.
I could not agree with this more. When they could see her, she was immune to the damage-dealing spells of the sorcerer and hard to hit with ranged weapons. When they did deal damage, her fast healing/DR meant she avoided almost all of it. Most of the party ran away in fear at the beginning or spent a chunk of the battle held in place.
The finally managed to whittle her down and kill her through a very lucky and powerful crit, but at this point they were all clearly over the encounter. The session was salvaged as they were able to explore more of the Catacombs and battle more Sinspawn, ending as they entered the room with Koruvus.
If I had to run this again, I would dial her back even more in order to make it more engaging for the party or at least limit her invisibility.
I was originally going to run Runelords myself for a group of returning to tabletop players (and one totally new player) due to the classic/traditional feeling of the AP. I didn't want to run a campaign with any specific flavor and/or heavier roleplaying.
I think this was a great point that led to my selection of the AP. All of my players were new, not just to PF but to roleplaying as a whole, and they have absolutely loved RotRL as an entry point. I think it has a lot to do with your points - it resonates with a classic feel of RPG video games that they know as well as letting them occasionally be lighter on the roleplaying as they get more comfortable.
Also what was helpful was reading the whole thing several times at the start and making sure in general that the foreshadowing around Karzoug and the Sihedron was ever present but not overly obvious. The book suggests doing so, but doesn't go into specifics. So again the work is for the GM to do.
I could not agree with this more. It has not only allowed me to drop hints earlier on in the AP at times of my choosing, I can be more dynamic in leading the PCs because I know what is important for them to focus on in perspective of the overall story.
Matias Torino wrote:
I hope my experience is useful to other people, being them GMs looking to run this AP or designers looking to write more adventures like it.
Thank you Matias for your thoughts! I love the detail on both good and bad, it gives me even more ideas on what to change in the last two books.
There's a lot of overland travel with different terrain in the AP. I'd drop in a Druid. Great healing ability as well as support spells.
My group going through are all new players and ended up as Barbarian, Paladin, Sorcerer and Druid. Healing aside, they love the Druid for his companion, a camel.
Why? Ironically enough, the camel has the most kills of the party so far.