I've unfortunately come to the decision to cancel my AP subscription.
The solitary reason being I've come to the end of my patience being hassled by the unpredictability and unreliability of my local Postal Service. Every month, I must take time out of my life and work in order to track down which Postal Station is holding my Paizo order (once I've allowed for ample delivery time, of course). This is nothing but ridiculous.
While using a different carrier is available as an option, the added cost versus the benefit gained isn't worthwhile.
Therefore, I would like my subscription cancelled, effective immediately. Should the situation improve, I will certainly reinstate my patronage.
Thanks for your time and effort...
I like the idea of mini-APs — campaigns of only three installments, rather than six. My preference would be to situate them in-between the normal APs; like Morse Code — long, short, long, short, etc.
If that isn't feasible, design the occasional AP in such a way that said AP can be run only partially, but still have a sense of closure. The best example of this would be something similar to The Second Darkness. The first three installments of Second Darkness work just fine as a campaign in their own right. However, if the group wishes to continue, there are three more installments to do so with. Otherwise, "The Armageddon Echo" serves as a great finale without feeling abruptly abbreviated.
Just some thoughts...
I just need a clarification on this order.
When I placed the pre-orders, I stipulated that each item ship with the next available subscription item (I think). However, the email I received stated that the order would not ship until all pre-orders were in stock (including my next issue of "Kingmaker).
Are all of these items on my order becoming available soon (ignoring the "June" and "July" release dates listed on site)? Or is my memory failing me?
Thanks for your time and effort... :)
I just recently bought a 7-set of the Chessex Scarab Scarlet/Gold dice. These are fantastic dice but, the set only includes a single d6. I would love to have 2 or 3 more d6s. I've searched your store and found that additional d6s in this style are only available in large blocks.
My question is, do you have a few loose Scarab Scarlet/Gold d6s lying around that you'd be willing to sell? If so, I'd be willing to purchase other products and have you add those to the order. I'd also entertain Scarabs of other colors if the Scarlet/Gold isn't available or if you only have singles.
Thanks for your time and assistance...
Her Dreaming Tree duology and the Faded Sun trilogy were major influences on two elven cultures of my gaming world when I began designing it twenty years ago.
While I enjoy her books, I can't say I've read too many more beyond those mentioned above. There are more books than spare time in this life...
Vic Wertz wrote:
I probably fall into a minority here, but I use a homebrew world rather than Golarian. So, a guide to Cheliax is less useful to me than a guide dedicated to the AP. The traits, feats, new equipment and whathaveyou are certainly worth having but, I don't see buying a guide for those elements plus 16 extra pages of material that has no bearing on the campaign I'll be running.
To put things into a context, the 16 page guides are a good tool for helping me translate the APs to my world of choice. They give me an idea of the geography and a broad sweep of the general character of the setting. I get the right amount of information I need at a reasonable price.
While I understand the need to support Golarian and cater to those customers hungry for more information about that world, I also have to consider the value I'm receiving on the money I spend. Which makes it highly unlikely that I would purchase guides in the format you describe...
I forget what installment of CotCT it is in, but there is a throw-away line about news of demonic influence in Korvosa reaching Magmimar and Magnimar reacting by building up its army. That's what inspired my idea...
I plan to use the seed from CotCT about Magnimar attacking Korvosa. My players get to choose either their RotRL or CotCT character, and get to marshall the war from the respective side. The war also provides a good explanation for why Shalelu is in Crying Leaf for the SDAP (her and choice group of Black Arrows are sent into hiding in case the war goes wrong for Magnimar; a segment of the Order can at least survive and continue rebuilding)...
These would be my "trapped on a desert island" books:
-The Long Price Quartet, Daniel Abraham
-Shadowbridge + Lord Tophet, Gregory Frost
-Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay
-The Dreaming Tree, C.J. Cherryh
-The Light Ages, Ian MacLeod
-Tales of the Otori, Lian Hearn
-The Girl in the Glass, Jeffrey Ford
-The Engineer Trilogy, K.J. Parker
I have a mixed opinion on the Set Pieces. I don't feel they've harmed the main adventure at all. They're an extra source of maps. But, none of them have been compelling enough that I'd want to run them (either as part of the AP or alone).
If the Set Piece is cut in future issues, why not replace it with a page or two of maps. Unique maps that can be used by DMs to create their own side treks or expand on existing encounters. These maps would share the same theme as that month's adventure. Like the "Map of Mystery" from Dungeon, but with more purpose. For example, I don't plan to run the "Lament" set piece but I can use the Elven Conservatory map to create a battlefield encounter of my own.
As for cutting other material, cutting the articles is non-negotiable — don't! They're the first thing I read when receiving an issue and I look forward to those most of all. I don't use Golarian as my game-world, but the articles are still the most entertaining portion of an issue.
I can't say what other peoples opinions are on the fiction segment, but I completely ignore it. If there is a vote for what should be dropped from future issues, fiction gets mine.
1) I'd love to see a good, old-fashioned war campaign.
2) The APs so far (even back to the Dungeon days) have been about stopping the powerful, ancient evil from conquering/destroying the world. I'd like to see an AP that turns this around — evil has conquered/ravaged the world and the PCs have to liberate/restore the world. The Original Trilogy of Star Wars, and more recently the Mistborn novels, do a decent job of this with minimal backstory. I'd love to see what the creative team at Paizo could do with this type story.
3) Less concretely, I'd like to see more variety in the types of campaigns each AP delivers. If the PCs stop the powerful, ancient evil in AP A, AP B should be about something different and AP C should be different from A and B. So on and so forth. While I recognize that "Save the World" is probably the easiest campaign to produce and sell, it's gotten repetitive. The Cagewrights, Kyuss, Demogorgon, Karzoug, Queen Ileosa, the Drow ... hasn't the world been pretty well saved by now?
James Jacobs wrote:
Is it just the overarching plot that's causing problems then?
In my case, no. The elves of my homebrew world have a reverence for the "Old Night," the time before the Sun and the Moons, which easily stands in for the First Darkness. What's more problematic are the basic assumptions about Elven culture and history. Second Darkness is driven by very specific assumptions about elves and dark elves — assumptions my world doesn't share. That's by no means anyone's fault or a flaw in the AP itself; its simply too specific. As opposed to Runelords and Crimson Throne, though they drew on Golarion history, weren't heavily dependent on it.
I've also found Second Darkness a little diminished for being too Golarian-specific. Although the quality of the adventures is still excellent, there are elements that either don't lend themselves to easy substitution or simply don't fit in my chosen World. While I'm not adverse to hard work, I do question if the extra effort is worthwhile. I often run pre-fab campaigns as filler while I write homebrew campaigns. Therefore, more time spent converting means less time spent working on my own material. While I understand that the APs are a vehicle for developing Golarian, I will admit that I have flirted with the idea of cancelling my Pathfinder subscription if Second Darkness is any indication of the direction for future APs. (I plan to wait until the conclusion of Legacy of Fire before making any final decision.) In short, I prefer APs like Runelords and Crimson Throne which can be converted quickly and easily, but still provide a quality experience.
I'd like to ask you the favor of checking your systems to make sure they reflect my new address at 423 Gloucester. I ask because 1) my order #966217 is late (I'm waiting until next Monday to declare it officially missing), and 2) the e-mail notification for Pathfinder 10 showed my old 15 Brandywine address as the shipping address.
I suspect that the reason why so many of my packages have gone missing since we moved is because of the Post Office's bungling attempts to forward my mail is causing my Paizo shipments to be lost. If you would make sure everything has been updated, it would be greatly appreciated...and less expensive for both of us!
Thank you for your time and effort,
I wanted to let you know that my order #930591 (Pathfinder #9) has not arrived. I did receive order #955733 (Guide to Korvosa) on the 17th of May.
If possible, could you package a replacement of Pathfinder #9 with my subscription copy of Pathfinder #10 when that ships?
Thank you for your time and effort,
Thank you for your time and effort, it is much appreciated...
Nicolas Logue wrote:
You're thinking in terms of yourself, and not in terms of being the Monarch of Korvosa. Think about it this way: assume you live in the United States, you find George Bush's wallet and want to return it. Isn't it a reasonable expectation that White House Security or the Secret Service would want to interview you to make sure you aren't a nutter or an assassin? Or that these security people would want to verify your statements to make sure those statements are truthful? Let's add that D.C. has just gone through a crisis. Isn't it another reasonable expectation that security in and around the White House would be extra tight? They aren't going to throw the gates wide open and let you stroll into the Oval Office. I could labor this to death, but do you see now where I'm going here? The events of Part 3 are completely unbelievable and incredible. I'm not attacking you; I think you're very talented. It's just that this adventure defies reason and common sense, in a negative way...
the Shifter wrote:
Foxish, if you really want you can easily make up creative ways to work around this yourself; as it is, you sound like you're just asking Nic to be creative for you.
No, I stated in an earlier post I planned on writing my own adventure centering on the riots and finding the King's murderer. If I'm asking anything of Nic, its to keep in mind the reasons why I found this offering to be a wash the next time he writes an adventure. That at least with my group, a solid, logical story is better than a series of shambolic "sick."
I think what people are missing in my posts is that I'm simply pointing out that there's a considerable amount of illogic in the sequence of events and in how the NPCs are behaving. The hunt for the regicide is at the end of the adventure, not the beginning or even the focus. The Guard places their priority on the slaughterhouse and Eels End, not quieting the city or finding the killer. No one at the palace exhibits normal curiosity and asks the party when they return the brooch, "Where did you find it?" The Queen takes several weeks to realize that the King's death isn't going to blow-over and a culprit is needed to quiet things (I'll buy this if she's an idiot, but wouldn't that make for a poor villain?). On and on and on.
If I can't make rational sense out of the adventure, my players aren't going to either. In a nutshell, the adventure derails and unravels the moment someone asks a simple, intelligent question. As I said earlier, in order for me to have an adventure I enjoy running, and one my players enjoy playing, I find it necessary to ignore "Edge of Anarchy" and write an offering of my own. Maybe my comments help Nic improve down the road, maybe not. But I would hope that in the future, he puts more energy into making sure the progression of his adventures is more sensical and natural...
Nicolas Logue wrote:
Also, if the PCs are returning the brooch, why oh why would they be branded as theives and liars. I could see this if they get caught with it on them, but not if they are voluntarily returning it. Weird.
It's weird that nobody in the palace would think to ask where the PCs found the brooch or how they got it? Or that if you boil the events of Part One down, they do come across as a bit odd? Also consider what the authorities would find if they wanted to verify the PCs story. The fortune-teller that hired them? All they find is a house that's been abandoned. A small-time crook and his goons enslaving children in an old fishery? According to the text of the adventure, the orphans scatter to the winds as soon as chance allows; all the paperwork in the office is meant to produce a veneer of legitimacy, just in case the authorities investigate; and the fishermen have no reason to suspect that the business is anything other than it appears to be. If the evidence doesn't support the PCs story, the authorities are going to come to the natural conclusion that something underhanded is going on. Killing Lamm and his henchmen only makes matters worse because without the testimony of the orphans, the authorities are going to assume that the PCs entered a business, murdered the employees and robbed the place. If you follow the natural chain of logic and human-behavior, the adventure completely falls apart. That's why once I have the whole campaign in front of me, I plan to produce an entirely different opening...
Congrats by the way on the new coordination position...
Having only given the adventure a once-through and given I don't know how these events dovetail into future installments, my thoughts on "fixes" are:
1) Drop the brooch and Part 3. Personally, I found this area to be flimsy and non-sensical. Even if the PCs tell the truth, the story of how the party came into possession of the brooch would sound off, making the police suspicious. And, if they follow-up on the PCs story, all the cops are going to find is an abandoned house and a legitimate business full of corpses. The party comes across not only as pack of liars, but the evidence points to the party having killed the employees and looted the fishery, and upon discovering that the brooch was "hot," is attempting to return the thing in order to derive some gain from their failed robbery. The PCs are charged with murder and theft, imprisoned and the Queen gets her brooch back. End of adventure.
2) While the individual episodes are fine in isolation, together the whole seems piecemeal and unfocused. There's just no story or thread at all. Honestly, I plan to rubbish everything except Part 1 and the conclusion and rebuild the adventure around hunting for the "assassin." The alternative is to repurpose Part 2 to bring the PCs to the attention of the Guard. Part 3 and Part 7 get rubbished. Parts 4, 5 and 6 are repurposed around tracking the painter and possibly learning to doubt that she could be the killer. Otherwise, I'd say use a different opening to the campaign and carve Edge up for sidetreks or filler.
Its sad to say, but whenever I see the name Logue on an adventure, I immediately expect my workload to double. We know you can do better, lad...
Personally, I don't see why it makes a difference what edition Paizo opts to go with. First, the rules-set isn't going to impact the general story or plot of an AP or module in any significant way. Ancient evil wants to rule the world works no matter what you're playing. Second, a level-range is a level-range. With a Monster Manual, some scratch-paper and a couple hours work, any DM can rework the encounters of an adventure to the appropriate ELs. The only labor intensive part would be stats for named NPCs and new monsters. Even then, an internet search a least a month after the adventure releases should yield some homebrew conversions. Based on those points, I don't see where useless or unplayable come into it...
A quick question for those who've read the book already:
How much information is offered on the history of Korvosa?
When doing the conversion into my homebrew setting, I've come across some massive holes in the city's history (Cousins' War; formation of the monarchy, etc.). I'm not searching for excruciating detail, mind. Just a general sweep to give me a sense of things.
Thanks for the answers and help...
The biggest trouble I see is only having the core classes available for the articles. I love the Scout class, but as I understand it, Paizo cannot use the classes from the Complete series and other WOTC books. Sure they can make their own base classes, but that eats up pages that could be used on other things.
Just because a variant is meant for a particular PHB class, doesn't mean you have to use it that way. If they come up alternate Ranger or Thief abilities that would work for a Scout, there's no barrier stopping you from applying them to a Scout character...
James Jacobs wrote:
The AP Player's Guides are not going to continue as separate 16-page products.
I appreciate you taking the time to educate me (and others) on this.
While I find the discontinuation of the Guides disappointing, Companion certainly has me interested. The Guides were always invaluable tools in preparing for a new campaign, and since I'm always in the market for variant classes/class abilities, having both assets in a single book is most attractive...
James Jacobs wrote:
Stuff like what you find in the Runelords and Crimson Throne player's guides will be in the Companions...
Thanks for answering my questions!
Am I to understand from the quote above that the free Players' Guides will no longer accompany the start of a new AP (beginning with Second Darkness and beyond) and instead, the content that would have been in the Guides will now be funneled into Companion?
Or will the Guides continue, and Companion serves as a more deluxe version for those looking for more depth?
Again, thanks for your time and clarifications...
I just want to make sure I understand things correctly:
Is Pathfinder going purely to an adventure format, with the articles portion being transferred to this separate line of books and the free Players' Guides ending with CotCT?
Or, is Pathfinder remaining part adventure, part articles, and Companion simply offers an expanded and more detailed version of material covered in the Pathfinder adventure and articles?
Thanks for your time and clarifications...
"Well, yea we can't go into your home and make you play our game, so we're going to stop just short of that"...It feels like WotC asserting control over a game that IMO is not theirs to assert control over.
This has been a feature of WotC's approach ever since they acquired D&D. Whether its through the way the elements of the game are designed or through comments regarding "useless" and/or "un-fun" elements, WotC has always implied that there is a right way and a wrong way to play D&D. D&D has become heavily invested with the designers' personal opinions and preferences, disregarding the diversity of styles and tastes that characterize the home game. So, yes, they very much feel that it is their place to dictate how D&D is and isn't to be played. Whether this is arrogance or a sense of ownership for being a D&D designer, its hard to say. But, it is certainly difficult to characterize them as custodians of a tradition when they are so dismissive and cynical towards anyone not on the WotC payroll...
For me, it doesn't make much difference what quality the rest of the rules are when the class system sounds like rubbish. You can be the party wizard or leader, not both? If you play a fighter, you have to be party leader, whether you want to or not? I wonder why they didn't just eliminate character creation entirely and just make us all play pre-gens instead? For all the choice they give you, I suppose creativity, imagination and personality are to be strongly discouraged...
Erik Mona wrote:
1) Do you plan to convert to the new edition of D&D?
For the foreseeable future, the answer is no. I may cherry-pick here and there, but there's no incentive for my group or I to switch editions.
Erik Mona wrote:
2) If Paizo converts its RPG products to 4.0, how will that affect your purchasing patterns for our products?
I would ignore Gamemastery completely — the modules are too short to be worth reworking. I would maintain my Pathfinder subscription so long as the overall quality is good. Since I rewrite and convert the material anyway, mechanics are less an issue than compatibility with my game world.
Erik Mona wrote:
3) If Paizo does not convert its RPG products to 4.0, how will that affect your purchasing patterns for our products?
Mary Yamato wrote:
It's much more of a problem if you run published material, especially APs but also long modules.
I've always found APs to be unplayable to begin with. That isn't a criticism of Paizo in any way. The simple truth is that the campaigns aren't written for me, my players or my world. So, I spend several months tearing each adventure down and rebuilding them from scratch. Granted, this isn't a solution available to everyone. But, to address the lack of equilibrium between PC levels and the requirements of a particular adventure, some revision is required. I would advise as you read through each adventure, make notes on what can be removed, what can be expanded and where you can insert material of your own. Do this specifically with the pace of the adventure and rate of advancement in mind. As I stated above, most combat in an adventure serves no other purpose than rewarding XP. Remove those and find other activities that are just as engaging, that slow the tempo down and offer a more comfortable rate of reward. I also talk with my players regularly for their ideas. Subplots that relate to the group but are still attached to the main story are a great way of keeping players invested while moderating the pace. Really, in short, the DM has to be the maestro and take control of the game. If the adventure conflicts with how you and your group want to play, change the adventure...
For me, artificially manipulating the mechanics really doesn't address the core issue. Slowing advancement only exchanges "Save the World" for "Save the ___." Why not service the need for variety by taking the advancement rate to heart when conceiving stories for an AP. Simply, take PCs rocketing up the levels as a given and tailor each story to that given. A War AP would be a good example. Survival in a large scale conflict almost necessitates D&D's pace of ability progression. A Mistborn-style "Overthrow the Evil Government" AP would also serve.
Obviously this doesn't address the issue of PCs constantly outgrowing abilities. And, if the above suggestion isn't done creatively, PCs against overwhelming forces, degenerates into railroading, TPKs and just plain overwhelming. But this is only one type of story. There are several stories that would fit the heroic mold that don't entail "Wack-A-Mole the Resurrected Evil" or "Take the hill, lads!"
Regardless, rapid advancement is easily addressed by the removal of gratuitous combat and some DM creativity. Replace some of the combat encounters with puzzles, skill related obstacles or roleplaying; then award XP for success at those. Just because the rules say you can't do it doesn't mean you have to play it their way...
One option no one has mentioned is changing the emphasis of the campaign. RotRL could very easily be changed into a classic revenge story — someone close to the PCs is killed during the festival and they work their way up the villain-tree to avenge the death. The "rising" is simply a MacGuffin to move the PCs from one stage to the next. This is exactly the formula used in about a zillion kung-fu movies...
I would say really try to press home the uniqueness of Rune Magic and the scale of the monuments. For the latter, think the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and how — even to this day — we have no idea how they managed to engineer and construct those monuments. Try to transmit to your players the feeling of standing at the base of the Statue of Liberty and looking up...that's the sense of awe they should have looking at the Irespan.
Like any other AP, the campaign would have to be generic enough to work in cosmologies other than Golorian's or the Great Wheel.
Personally, if the APs are going to go extra-dimensional, I'd rather see the use of "supernatural" geography. In real world myth, this includes places like Avalon, the summit of Mount Olympus and Shangra-La; places that have a physical location but exist separate from the usual sense of space and time.
I use this concept extensively in my own campaigns and think it would fit nicely with Pathfinder's committment to drawing on real world myth and folklore for inspiration...
4) The campaign isn't nearly as generic as I'd hoped from the first announcement. Rise of the Runelords depends on a setting where a now-fallen kingdom once enslaved giants, fer instance. It's too set in its own history and...
I just treated the descriptions of the Runelord civilization as mythic hyperbole; devices used by storytellers to highlight that the Runelords were powerful, but not to be taken literally...
As far as my opinion of Pathfinder, it's reverse from how I felt about Dungeon and Dragon. I couldn't wait to read Dungeon from cover to cover. Dragon, I read that one article that interested me immediately, then approached the rest as the whim took me. With Pathfinder, I read the articles immediately, read the adventure portion when the mood strikes me and indifferently skim the monster section. This is only because I'm more focused on converting Varisia into my game world than running the campaign at this time.
In that regard, I'd like to see more space dedicated to fleshing out the locales and history of Varisia. My conversion work would be so much easier if I had enough information on the region to find substitutes or integrate the material. Without adding pages and raising the price of the book, I would argue for a slimming down of the monster section or making the section a feature that appears intermittently.
Overall, I highly enjoy the series and love finding each issue in my mailbox each month. I have no complaints or criticisms regarding the articles. I felt the adventure portions of #1 and #2 were excellent. HMM, however, was very a very poor offering (being piecemeal, indecisive and juvenile); one that I will eventually cherry-pick and rewrite before I run it. FotSG was a decent, workmanlike adventure — it gets the job done, but was otherwise unremarkable. Of the campaign so far, I would have liked to have seen stronger themes and symbolisms of avarice/vice run through each adventure, but that's only a minor criticism...