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Although it wasn't the intent, the ol' Age of Worms AP in Dragon Magazine was actually a pretty good dragon-slaying AP. They weren't in every adventure, but where they were peppered in, they were each different from the others but still a dragon battle.

In a lower-level adventure, there was a nest of dragon eggs that could get possessed by zombie worms, so if the eggs hatched you'd have a little swarm of zombie baby dragons.

The next adventure was a battle against a single adult dragon.

A couple adventures later, you find that dragon's lair and battle it's three children. In play, a fight against a single adult dragons is a lot different than a fight against a trio of younger ones.

At one point, there's an invasion of dragons. There's some dragonswarm business going on in the background and a number of one-on-one fights with individual dragon "officers."

Finally, in the penultimate adventure, you battle a vampiric silver dragon (who you might have believed was helping you) and *the* dracolich.

Like I said, it wasn't even the point of the AP, but the number and variety of dragon encounters, from fingerling swarms to roleplay and betrayal to epic lichiness, was great.

Could you elaborate? I'd love to hear how these APS were referenced.

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While I personally prefer reduced magic in my games, I fear that genie's long out of the bottle, and I would never call for a reduction in caster powers. However, I really don't want to see mundane classes elevated to mythical levels. I'd say absurd action hero movie is the most I'd want, with a heavy emphasis on survivability. Fighters who are made of hit points and rogues near impossible to hit. That ail sounds very passive, so maybe something like extra actions per round that allow them to do more per turn, especially when compared to the 1 spell per turn casters.

Essentially, a mundane character wouldn't be able to run on water or punch through mountains, but they could shrug off dragon fire and stab everyone in a 20' radius.

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UnArcaneElection wrote:

Here you go. Needs a bit of an update for the last few APs.

Well, guess that takes care of that.

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I just had a chance to flip through a random copy of 'D20 Past' and was a bit inspired by the sections on the Age of Exploration and Pulp Adventures. They got me wondering how 'Skull & Shackles' might play in the Caribbean Islands of 18th century Earth, fer instance, or playing 'Mummy's Mask' in a 1930s Egypt.

Any thoughts on how you would change these APs (if at all) for a more Earth-y setting or other APs that could fit into an Age of Sail, Steampunk Victorian, or pulp '30s Earth?

This has eluded me for years, and I figure it's finally time to ask.

Why is Mokmurian trying to get to Runeforge?

The whole raid on Sandpoint is just so he can find the guy who can tell him how to get in, right? But ultimately it just shows the PCs where they can find weapons to kill his master. What did Mok hope to gain that so disastrously backfired on him?

It's probably in the text somewhere, but I'm being pretty thick about it. You may have to explain it to me like I'm 5.

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While I'm not a big fan of Magic Mart, I do get that sometimes a player wants something particular for his character. In those cases, I encourage a search for a quest that will uncover such an item or at least commissioning it from a wizard who needs them to go get ingredients or complete some tasks while he makes it. They still get to select their items, but have to work for them rather than just picking them off a rack.

I've even found for simpler items that roleplaying the shopping, such as forging a good relationship with the temple for healing potions or having to put up with the insulting gnome enchanter for your wands, makes disposable items a bit more memorable.

RealAlchemy wrote:
Suppose you include a way in your game to transfer the enchantment on a found weapon or piece of armor to a different item? A spell or crafting feat might be able to accomplish that.

That's a pretty good idea. I'm totally adding this idea to the idea pool. Perhaps there's legend of an old, Dwarven forge that can transfer enchantments into a newly-made weapon.

Rysky wrote:
-where did you read that you don't?

I...don't know.

I'd seen some product announcement or description that said something about fixing the problem for players who didn't like leaving the city. I'd thought it meant they'd changed it to not leave the city, but now I can't find the original article.

I must've dreamed it.

Something I've been curious about that maybe one of you can answer for me, when the product summary says the Path has been changed so that PCs don't leave the city, what does that mean for History of Ash and Scarwall? Do those volumes now take place, somehow, within Korvosa?

Wow, that's a memory.

I'm not super-familiar with either of the APs you mentioned, but I usually get the first volume of each AP just to get a feel for what they are (and get the handy summary at the end of each). Based on those, I can offer some broad ideas for Mummy's Mask and Iron Gods, but details will be minimal.

Still, figure I'll use some spoiler tags just out of courtesy:

Mummy's Mask:

Based on that 3-page synopis, I wonder if Mummy's Mask could be re-imagined to take place on Sarlona. The Inspired have opened up one of their grave districts to exploration (which should raise some eyebrows across the globe). Ultimately the flying pyramid could be represented as akin to one of those crystal egg structures they're building on Xendrik.

Iron Gods:

I'd initially thought IG not worth doing in Eberron (either losing too much of the Eberron flavor or too much of the Iron Gods flavor), but as I thought about it, I thought the story arc could be used to great effect if placed in the Mournlands.

It might require a lot more rewriting than is worth it when choosing a pre-published adventure, but perhaps the crashed starship could be replaced with a lost Cannith research facility which houses the original "soul" that they used to birth the warforged. By the end, you can have a guest appearance by the Lord of Blades himself (as one of the "androids" working to elevate the AI spirit) and perhaps even give an answer to what caused the Mourning.

Just a couple off-the-cuff ideas to spark discussion. In the meantime, I think I'll re-read those AP summaries and see if anything else comes to mind.

Unfortunately, that's about where my Pathfinder knowledge ends. My interest in APs faded a bit until recently when a growing interest in Ironfang Invasion brought me back to these forums just in time to catch your post. Interesting coincidence, really.

Y'know, I'd always felt that the king dying in the first chapter wasn't as impactful as it could be since the players didn't have any time to get used to the city before the chaos erupts.

If I were laying groundwork in RotRL for a future romp through CotCT, I'd at least have some news reports of the king's marriage and let the rumors spread about the vapid arm candy he hooked up with (the lucky codger). I wouldn't gloss over his death, though, because the chaos that comes from it is kind of the foundation for the AP.

Also, you have time in Runelords to have some Magnimarians voice their disgust with Korvosa and talk about how they'd like to wipe them off the map as a sort of tie in to the mention in Throne vol 6 about Magnimar marching on the devil-tainted Korvosa.

I've only run into two real show-stoppers in the APs I've dabbled in.

Volume 2 of Serpent's Skull, "Racing to Ruin," did not at all live up to the expectation of racing to the ruins. I would love to see more options in allowing the PCs to choose their route, but at the very least there needed to be more encounters with the competing factions as each group f'd with the other to try to slow them down. Because I'm one of the eight people who absolutely loves the whole rest of the AP, this speedbump so early on is very disheartening.

But the worst in my book is volume 3 of Skull & Shackles, "Tempest Rising." This is the book that made me stop buying APs entirely. It's so contrived, with pointless, empty challenges that the PCs aren't allowed to fail, and convoluted quest chains that string them along from point to point just seemingly to get them to go from point to point. It's terrible.

Y'know, I haven't really pinged on any volume of Kingmaker as a standout chapter, but looking at Varnhold on its own merits, it really is a nice adventure. I haven't had a chance to run it yet, but for those of you who have played it, I have a spoiler-y question about it.

It had seemed to me, on paper, that when the PCs show up in an abandoned town now populated by Spriggans, those PCs would assume the Spriggans were the ones who killed or drove off the townsfolk. Did your players make that same assumption, or does it play out differently when they're actually in the abandoned town?

I'm honestly surprised at all the love for Skull & Shackles, but I'll defer to actual play experience over my very disappointed half-read (I cancelled after vol 3).

Savage Tide remains my all-time favorite Paizo AP mostly for the way it incorporates so many different styles of adventures into a party's career (dungeons, sea travel, wilderness exploration, city-building, planar travel, etc. etc.) Pathfinder APs since then mostly stick to a single theme. A justifiable choice, but still kind of a narrow path compared to Savage Tide.

If I had to pick a current Pathfinder AP to be my top pick, I'd probably go with Kingmaker because I'm a sucker for a good hexploration adventure which also has a good through storyline, and the addition of kingdom building and mass combat just makes this one stand out.

Jericho Graves wrote:
Honestly? My favorite part of Carrion Crown was the first book.

Oh yeah. Harrowstone is also in my 'Best Of' library. I wasn't into the idea of an entire AP based around Universal Movie monsters, but the first chapter sounded really good and I wasn't disappointed.

I haven't played it, though. How did the 'earning the town's trust' mini-game work for you?

Duiker wrote:
Iron Gods Book 3, sort of a hidden gem. The town of Iadenveigh seems like a normal sort of six page listing of all the places in town, but every single place has some sort of really interesting hook left hanging there.

That's exactly the stuff I love. Those little elements that remind you to stop the train for a bit and let the players take their lead. Like Carrion Crown, I wasn't on board for a sci-fi AP, but I'll have to go looking for Iadenveigh.

yaloc wrote:
Curse of The Crimison Throne [snip] I'm not 100% sold on the urban setting, It always seemed a little "sterile" to me.

Part of the reason I love CotCT is that, despite selling itself as an urban campaign, actually has a significant portion spent traveling outside the city.

It's also possible to detour a bit between volumes 2 and 3 if you want to insert the excellent Pathfinder module Conquest of Bloodsworn Vale.

Story-wise, the big bad could be trying to get rid of heroes who could interfere with her plans, but all the PCs know is they're being offered a chance at noble titles by helping clear the Vale. When they return successfully, though, they find the city gone horribly wrong and need to uncover the truth in Old Korvosa...

That would get your players into some story-appropriate wilderness adventures between episodes 2 and 3 if you want to break of the urban-ish-ness.

Looking at Paizo's APs in a more piecemeal approach, what parts of AP volumes stand out to you as being the high points of the line?

Fer instance, my Second Darkness library consists solely of Volume 2 because that tower collapse scene sounded so awesome in reviews that I just had to have it. Likewise, Sixfold Trial is the only part of Council of Thieves I have just for Pett's murder play.

But I've really fallen behind in my AP awareness, so I'm wondering what scenes, dungeons, mini-games or other elements appeared in some of the later APs which really stand out as being worth getting on their own.

justaworm wrote:
General position on this type of thing is that if you think your players will think it is fun to break out a spreadsheet to track things down to a detailed level, then great!

I don't know that it would call for a spreadsheet, just a "day 2, subtract a pound of food."

It seems to me like any expedition intended to last 2 months should have some aspect of survival to it. I'm mostly inspired by 'Jade Regent' which embraced the nature of a cross-country trek.

I'm interested in adding a little survival management to 'Racing to Ruin,' and crunched a few numbers on what was required in the food/water department.

Skipping the math, it comes out to about 300 pounds of food and water just to get to Kalabuto where they can presumably resupply for the second leg.

When you ran 'Racing to Ruin,' did you enforce any kind of consumables tracking? Did you assume water was freely available on the overland trip (which drops the burden down to 18 pounds of food)?

Overthinking Portion:
The Survival skill allows a character to feed the party with a DC 18(-ish) check if they cut their travel speed by half. I'm assuming this won't be on the table considering the "race" portion of the adventure.

Eberron came along right at the perfect time. I was just starting to realize that the magic-rich and edgingly-Renaissance feel of 3rd edition didn't align well with the assumed Middle Ages feel I'd always ascribed to D&D.

And lo there came a setting that recognized this shift in tone and built upon it. The world felt like D&D3e played.

Now, I have rewritten parts of Eberron to match my tastes, but I assume everyone does that to some level and don't count that as a mark against. However, I think it does have a bit of a hurdle in how everything is so compartmentalized.

Fer instance, giants have an awesome history, culture and role in gaming, but in order to properly experience it, you need to be in Xen'drik. The flavor of Eberron is such that it's very difficult to incorporate other gaming products into it, such as published adventures which assume things like feral goblins or manifesting gods.

I'm so glad to hear this, because Serpent's Skull was one of my favorite APs to read and the one I hoped the most would be fun to play.

Interesting comment on the disassociation of Chapter 1, though, since I felt the impact of how the PCs treat their fellow castaways already impacts future developments, while the discovery of the existence of Savinth Yhi (and how to find it) kicks off the whole thing in a self-motivating, let's-get-rich way that I really appreciate.

For me, it was Chapter 2 which seemed the most divorced from the campaign, with the weird lack of a "race," minimal interaction with their faction, and the eins-zwei, hopscotch encounters as they walked casually across the savannah.

Cassandra_e wrote:

That information is on page 12 of "Raiders of the Fever Sea," the second part of the AP.

Well lookee there. A late add to the plunder rules, it seems. Thanks.

Janderhoff remains the only city in Varisia not to have a sourcebook or article (unless you count Urglin).

Aside from the 1-page description in Varisia-Birthplace of Legend, what city sourcebook would you recommend I use for Janderhoff in a Varisia sandbox?

I've done a little number juggling and discovered an interesting lack of variance.

Using the mass combat army rules as-is, a sailing ship with 25 crewmembers (warrior 2, based on Wormwood Mutiny) has an ACR of 1/8. If you pack the ship to capacity, you can have 140 pirates which makes it an ACR of 1/2.

The largest ship listed, the galley, can carry 450 people, making it an ACR 2 unit.

Here's where it gets bland. The weekly consumption cost of an army is 1/2 the unit's ACR in Build Points (or, in this case, Disrepute Points) with a minimum of 1. So our ACR1/8 crew costs 1 per week ('cause that's the minimum) and the fully-stocked galley also costs 1 per week. That's not at all the effect I was going for.

I wanted my nautical rules to be fully compatible with the land-bound mass combat rules, but I think I'm going to have to scale it a bit to get the cost spread I was looking for (where it becomes more expensive in DPs to field larger crews). Instead of 1/2 ACR per week, I'm thinking of 2x ACR per month. So our minimally-crewed sailing ship would cost 1 DP (again, because that's the minimum) while the fully-stocked galley is now 4/month.

Because a single port visit can grant the crew up to 5 disrepute and infamy points, I think that 4 DPs/month is pretty reasonable. And worst case scenario, being unable to afford the DPs just means the crew is operating at a -2 morale. Something to be avoided, but not necessarily the disbandment of the ship.

It is a sort of "pay the crew" idea I was looking for. I understand the concept behind plunder (as an abstract form of currency similar to the Kingmaker's 'build points'), but I can't find the reference to using it to pay for the crew.

Basically I'm looking for a system which scales up the cost based on the size of the crew, so a ship sailing with 25 pirates only costs 1 point per month (or whatever), but a 150-man crew costs 3.

The reason I'm leaning toward Disrepute is that A) I don't want to punish my players with a houserule which drains away their money, and 2) I don't see pirates working for a steady paycheck anyways, staying loyal because of their captain's reputation seems more appropriate.

Mind you, I have no experience with the Disrepute system in actual play, but I kind of hate the Impositions system (where a really nasty pirate captain can somehow teleport his ship), and using those points to offset the cost of the crew seems like a good alternate use for them.

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I'm in a pirate-y mood again and am casting my eye back over Skull & Shackles. One of the things I'm looking at is to apply some granularity to the crew and ship roles rather than just handwaving their impact.

I have some familiarity with kindgom building and mass combat from Kingmaker (and the more recent Ultimate Campaign Guide), and I'm looking to lightly adapt those rules to the running of a pirate ship.

The ideas are still vague, but I wanted to sound them off the boards in hopes of getting some feedback from those of you with more experience than eye, or with just a different perspective. Or in some cases maybe just a point in the right direction if a rule already exists which I missed.

Here are some key points I'm aiming for (spoiler tagged to manage space):

Cost of Sailing:

Create a "cost" of sailing such that maintaining the ship in and of itself isn't assumed. I'm not looking for something with extensive bookkeeping, though, so I'm considering using Disrepute Points to represent it.

The idea is that a pirate captain will keep his crew's morale up by engaging in all the acts which are rewarded by earning Infamy and Disrepute, so Disrepute can be used as the currency to "pay" for a pirate crew. If a captain starts sloughing off on his pirating, he won't be able to "afford" his crew, but a captain who goes above and beyond will have the ability to draw and keep a larger crew.

Basically, I'm looking at the size of a crew compared to the size of an army as depicted in UCG and declaring that a captain must expend Disrepute Points rather than Build Points in order to meet his army's upkeep.

I haven't worked the numbers to see what's actually sustainable, so don't know if it'll be charged monthly or weekly (as armies are).

Crew Combat:

Since the crew counts as an army, there's a game mechanic for establishing the effectiveness of the crew versus another crew, and the crew's morale comes into play (as it should) dependent on how well the captain has maintained his reputation by spending Disrepute. Clearly not all tactics and upgrades are available (or appropriate) to pirate crews, but the mechanics are there.

In this scenario, rather than having the results of a shipboard battle be a ghostly mirror of the PC's combats, a savvy command staff could find that their crew saves their bacon even if they can't win a fight (or alternately a PC staff could win a fight only to turn around and find themselves surrounded by a victorious enemy crew).

Command Roles:

In Kingmaker, only one player can be king, but the other players are kept involved by giving them government roles which effect the kingdom. I'd like to see similar roles aboard a pirate ship for the PCs to fill. An old post by sabedoriaclark (which inspired the post quite a bit) has some great ideas for PC roles, and I'm especially interested in establishing roles for a pilot, siege officer and assault leader.

NPCs can be put in these roles if the players would rather just mob the enemy captain (as the AP assumes), but there's the option for characters to be able to apply their skills and bonuses to ship-based actions like maneuvers, siege engine attacks, and deck-to-deck assaults.

City Building:

In my slight rebuild of some of the AP, I'd like to see the development of a town be a condition of becoming a member of the Pirate Council, and using a simplified version of the UCG's kingdom building rules should work. Any island the PCs claim will likely be only a single hex big, so I'll have to run some tests to see if a single hex can even support itself. The UCG has a handy rule about reducing the value of build points-to-gold for smaller kingdoms which their harbortown will certainly be.

I intend to combine many of the government roles (or ignore many of them) because I don't want to punish the players when they decide to go a-piratin' rather than governing, but like shipboard roles, there will be a definite advantage to filling in a position to help the colony thrive and earn a seat on the council.

Those are the areas where I wish to add some complexity. Any insights, counter-arguments, or suggestions?

I'll admit, I'm more familiar with kingdom building and mass combat than with the pirating rules (I've never used the latter in play), so if there are already rules addressing some of these points, or I've misunderstood what the rules say, please point me in the right direction.

Thanks, all.

Would it be conceivable to retcon the region to say the Shackles are NOT on Sargava's payroll? I guess it's a key element of Sargava's growing economic troubles, but if it creates an illogical situation, I say handwave it away.

I'm willing to say the Sargavans tricked the Shackles pirates into sinking the Chelaxian invasion fleet, say by "leaking" information that the fleet was coming to clear the region of pirates once and for all. This gave the former colony's shipbuilding industry a leg up in expanding their sea trade.

So now Sargava is a major exporter of exotic goods and mineral wealth, and importer of manufactured goods from Avistan. Ripe plunder for the pirates who have an additional hate-on for the tricksy Sargavans.

While I don't hate the idea of expanding Garund, I'm lazy, and erasing a few lines of canon is sooo much easier.

Cthulhudrew wrote:
It might be kind of cool to see some kind of optional "what if...?" product that showcased a post-AP Golarion.

I would love such a book in ways that weren't natural. With Pathfinder Unchained toeing the line of "unofficial options," maybe the follow-on could be Golarion Unchained and provide visions of possible futures for various potential AP outcomes.

Buuut, to address the actual thread here, I'm haltingly interested in the AP announcement. I have zero interest in Mummy's Mask or Iron Gods, and the Giant-themed one didn't pique my curiosity enough to even remember the name.

Leading a rebellion in Cheliax, however, sounds kind of persuasive. I look forward to seeing how it develops.

Personally, I like rules in my games and don't go too much for "storyteller" systems, but I completely see the OP's point about the breadth of rules in Pathfinder. I know I can never learn all of them and am daunted by the idea of my players picking unfamiliar spells or whatevers.

My happy solution was to start with the Pathfinder Basic Box and then add rules as I felt they were needed. The five classes, three races, and very limited (comparatively) spell lists make it super-easy to set ground rules for your campaign.

From there, it's not too hard to say "you know what? I DO want encumbrance rules." Or halflings, or attacks of opportunity, or whatever, and expand your game from a foundation rather than restrict the full version.

But having said that, it's worth listening to what your players want and compromising. If someone really wants to play a sorcerer, maybe offer a slimmed down list of bloodlines you think are appropriate to your campaign/AP.

So yeah. The PFBB is MY Pathfinder 2.0, and all the other rulebooks are just options I can add to it as I see the desire.

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I'm also thinking of somewhere around the border of Aundair and the Eldeen Reaches. There's something about being a rustic border town linked up with a Xoriat observatory that makes me think of this area.

The PCs actually get a very early peek at Karzoug as a looping, programmed illusion at Thistletop. Canny players might connect this ghostly figure with the recurring image of the sihedron star, so that even if they don't know who he is, they'll at least have "encountered" him before the face-to-face after Jorgenfist.

In Pathfinder mass combat rules, is it assumed that one army will have a variety of different units in it, or that separate armies work together to create a battalion?

Fer instance, when I think of a medieval battle, I imagine rows of archers firing into the enemy while the infantry surges forth, and a well-timed cavalry charge coming in from the sides.

Now, in PF terms, is this A) one, 200-person army with the the 'mount' and 'ranged weapon' resources? or B) is this better represented by maybe a 100-man army, a 50-man army with 'ranged weapons', and another 50-man army with 'mounts'?

One thing an abundance of base classes allows is for the DM to customize his regions/campaigns by pinning certain classes to certain regions.

Fer instance, one of my biggest derails with Skull & Shackles was that I couldn't match up sword & sorcery tropes with 17th century piracy tropes. But when I straight up banned the core classes and replaced them with the APG/UC/UM classes, suddenly the AP clicked for me. Alchemists, gunslingers and oracles fit the genre a lot better than wizards, fighters and clerics.

With so many classes to choose from (and more apparently on the way), a DM can pick and choose which classes his players can pick from to enforce whatever setting or genre he's aiming for.

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I do find it interesting how setting expectations have progressed through the editions of D&D. It's almost like campaign worlds passed from Middle Ages through Renaissance and are now breaking into a sort of Victorian era.

And I'm not saying I regret that evolution, just that I'm feeling nostalgic enough that a less magic-prevalent, lords & ladies style setting might be my current ideal.

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Frankly, I miss the "Middle Ages" premise of early D&D.

I'd like a rock-solid setting with kings and knights, the occasional court or village wizard, and a whole heap of the unknown both within your own borders and in vague realms off the map.

My only gripe with the increasing number of classes is that it's continuing to exaggerate the number of spellcasting classes vs. non-casting classes.

Of the 11 core classes, seven have sellcasting abilities. With the new base classes, that jumps to an additional six casters and only two additional non-casters.

As a DM, spell proliferation is a problem area*. So while I approve of more base classes to choose from (I like it better than multi-classing), I'm not super-thrilled with the way it ups the number and variety of spellcasters in my game.

So yeah, I'd love to see a swashbuckler class, or a non-casting ranger scout class. I've just no interest in an elementalist mage class or a combined arcane/divine thaumaturge class.

* In my own experience, too many casters slows down gameplay by dragging out individual combat turns while at the same time promoting the 15-minute adventuring day.

I think the easy answer is Varisia. It was the first region introduced with Pathfinder and doesn't deviate too far from Greyhawk.

For your character purposes, northern Varisia was the setting for Paizo's drow-centric adventure path, so you know they're active in the region; and Riddleport and Magnimar are two human cities nearby where your PC could have grown up.

Extra points for DMs who actually bring in someone with it drawn on her back.

Based on some good, past experiences with hexploration in Karameikos' 8-mile hex map, I started wondering if maybe Kingmaker's 12-mile hexes were a little too big.

And because 6 divides into 12 easier, I Photoshopped a 6-mile hex overlay onto the Stolen Lands to create a more granular hexploration experience. Ultimately, this would make for more decision making, slightly more than one encounter per day to keep tension up, and more opportunities for PCs to get lost in the trackless wilderness.

The basic math was easy. It now takes half the time to cross a hex, and 1/4 the time to explore one. The party now gets 25xp per fully explored hex, and so on.

But now my mental exercise is to the "What else will it screw up?" part. Kingdom building hinges on the 12-mile hex. I could just say "it's 6 instead of 12" and let everything run as charted, only with smaller kingdoms (or slower growth).

Or I could prorate things proportionately. It'd take 2 weeks to prep a forest hex rather than 2 months. PCs could then prep two of them per month-long kingdom turn. Or four hills hexes per turn. But then would farm hexes only decrease consumption by 1/2 a BP?

Or maybe I just return to the 12-mile hex for kingdom building, so that the 6-mile map only comes into play when exploring and clearing.

As mental exercises go, what are y'all's thoughts?

The Dark Watch could send the PCs after something else entirely which turns out to be in the hold of a crashed prototype airship. The Watch get's their McGuffin, and the PCs refit their airship.

Plus, not to talk you out of a homebrew adventure, but wasn't there a "find the crashed airship" adventure published in Dungeon Magazine?

Here it is. Tensions Rising, issue 136.

Rynjin wrote:

Oh dear lord that's terrible.

Locking all combat maneuvers behind Feats so you can't even ATTEMPT them without said Feat HURTS martials, not helps them.

I hear you. It's worth making them a class feature for some of the swordsy classes, I suppose.

In my case, though, I'm using a build-on version of the Beginner's Box rules. I'm starting with that stripped down version of the game and adding things as we want/need them. Simplified encumbrance, fer instance, or spell research.

In effect, the PFBB doesn't even have combat maneuvers so it's a lot more palatable to introduce them as feats than to add new class features.

Also in the realm of hobbling other classes rather than boosting fighters, I've turned trip, over run, and other special attacks into feats. You can't even attempt to disarm without having taken the disarm feat and, since fighters get bonus feats as a class feature, it's easier for them to take such non-magic battlefield control abilities.

My opinions on martial-vs-caster are grounded in my early gaming with AD&D. My experience then was that no class was inherently better than the other, they each just had specific roles and playstyles. Thieves, fer instance, weren't considered inferior to fighters in killing things, because thieves weren't *intended* for that, they were so you could not get killed by traps or get stuck behind locked doors.

Meanwhile, magic-users' spells *could* be more effective at killing things or unlocking doors, but that edition of the game enforced a very limited number of potential spells so the M-U player really had to decide what was important. Do I use up one of my 7 knowable spells with knock, or do I just trust that the thief will handle that and take something more useful?

My personal choice is to reign in spellcasters rather than boosting martials, so these are the houserules I've enacted:

* No casting defensively - casters are at-risk if they try to cast their spells in melee.

* Seriously limit the amount of accessible spells available such that they can't assume that anything's free. Spellcasters will have to either quest for or research (per spell research rules) spells not readily available.

Houserules I've considered but haven't seen the need to enact yet:

* casters are flat-footed while spellcasting - to really play up the precariousness of casting spells in combat (plus rogues become usefull as wizard-stoppers)

* put a limit to the number of spells a caster can ever know (a la AD&D) to make spell selection more of a critical decision.

* allow spell effects to scale up only if memorized in a higher spell slot (I confess, I like how this is done in D&DNext)

Those last three feel kind of heavy handed for a problem I'm not really having, so they've remained in theory rather than practice.

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Speaking as a frugal gamer who can only afford select pdfs, I'd sell plasma to raise the money to buy a product like this.

I'd even sell my own plasma if Threeshades' Kaer Maga hexploration box set were also on the market.

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Odraude wrote:
According to JJ, no Dominion of Black or countdown clocks. :(

In a page-and-a-half of posts, my interest in this AP went from "never heard of" to "must have" to "zero interest."

I hadn't realized how much I wanted a Dominion/Aucturn AP until it was teased in front of me and then taken away.

I'm personally not a fan of gothic horror adventuring, so I only bought volume 1 of Carrion Crown. However, that one book is awesome and has me reeeallly tempted to see how the rest of the series shapes up.

Skull & Shackles, on the other hand, I hate. Well, I at least hate the first three volumes I bought before giving up on it. I guess it can be made good by the right DM, though, but it's a gamble.

That aside, I think the big distinction between these two APs is that Carrion Crown is reputedly very on-the-rails while Skull & Shackles is more sandbox. That should be taken into consideration when you decide.

But since you mentioned Age of Worms and Savage Tide, I'll take this opportunity to say again that Savage Tide is the best AP Paizo has ever done. If you do have a chance to play it, jump at it.

youvnor wrote:
I'm speaking about that feeling of terror, the idea that each step may be the last, the riddles to solve or die...

I've noticed this in my gaming group too. My players don't approach 3e play with anywhere near the same level of caution they did in 2nd ed. Mechanically, 3e is more forgiving, so they're comfortable just barging around and assuming each challenge is balanced to be beatable.

Ironically, this makes it just as likely for their characters to be killed as in 2nd Ed. Weird.

Alice Margatroid wrote:
Plus I guess my big problem with Skulls & Shackles is that I really like the idea of a group of pirates/sailors/whatever, I really hate the execution of S&S. I like heroism. :P

My grief with S&S (aside from vol. 3 being a truly awful module) is that 3.5/Pathfinder rules don't model well the 16th century Caribbean pirate world the AP's trying to emulate. No rules for armorless defense, fer instance, leaves your fighter-types either weakened or drowning, and casual spellcasting is a far cry from spooky voodoo mysticism.

For some reason, though, Eberron seems more appropriate for a pirate campaign. I wish I could explain why, but despite using the same rules, Eberron as a setting gives a better meshing of pseudo-Renaissance with magic. I dunno. Precedent, I guess.

Alice Margatroid wrote:

One of the challenges of running pre-published modules in Eberron is how high-level the NPCs can get versus the assumed low-level population of Khorvaire. Converting to high-power native Eberron threats like Rakshasas and such is a really slick conversion.

On the other hand, after you've turned the whole thing into a skyship dragon war vs. demons, are you really even playing Skull & Shackles any more? It sounds like so much work converting everything, it defeats the purpose of buying a pre-made module.

No argument that it sounds really epic and Eberron-y, but that level of dungeoncraft is completely beyond me. If I could do half of what you have planned, I wouldn't need to buy modules...

The reason I only picked one was mostly to avoid the vaguely duplicating plot of searching for the lost city of Xin-Shalast followed by searching for the lost city of Saventh-Yhi. Since Crimson Throne also touches on Runelord history/ruins, I figured it was safe to exclude RotRL.

mcbobbo *does* inspire an interesting side-quest idea I'd never considered. Heroes of Korvoso could be directed to travel west and explore Vorel's mansion to find the origin (and a cure?) for the plague striking the city.

I also love Joshua's continuation in to Reign of Winter, if nothing else to extend the globe-trotting MEGA-AP off-planet.

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