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Dancing Wind wrote:
Jhamin wrote:
I don't want anyone to work for free, but I also don't want people to sell bread for more than the bakery does and get upset when I tell them it costs too much.

Fortunately, this isn't bread. It's fancy pastry with gold leaf on top.

We can all still get bread for free.

To extend the metaphor, I can get a fancy pastry with no gold leaf for $5 via Pathbuilder and Archives of Nethys. Nexus wants to sell me a fancy pastry *with* gold leaf on top for $1000. (that is actually less than is being pitched to me in my account on Nexus right now).

I'm responding to that $1000 price tag with incredulity.

Clearly I'm not the customer they want!


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Dancing Wind wrote:
Jhamin wrote:
I just don't see why I should drop that kind of money?

complaining that someone won't donate their time and skills to you is all kinds of negative attitude.

There are very few of us on these forums who can afford to purchase every single Pathfinder thing made by Paizo and 3rd-party developers. All of us have to decide whether we have the discretionary income that we can spend on a hobby. All of us have to decide which products to purchase with those discretionary dollars.

I never said that any of this should be free. I'm happy to pay for value.

As it is, I've been a fairly faithful customer of Paizo. I've been an AP subscriber since the 3.5 days, I have about 80% of the rules and about 50% of the lost omens line. I'm pretty deep in at this point.
It feels weird that this makes it *harder* for me to get onboard with the same level of content I'm already used too. It feels really weird that the price to get in on Demiplane is HIGHER than the price was to own all the PDFs legally from Paizo? (I know the retail on a book from Demiplane is "only" 175% or of the cost of the PDFs alone, but there have been *so many* sales over the years)

I don't think I deserve free stuff, but If there was some kind of flat "catch-up price" I'd likely be all in.

Telling me that I need to not complain about the price and buy it or don't isn't a really productive conversation. I *don't* want this to be free. I want to pay less for it than I paid for all the content I've bought up to this point. It is weird that I can pay $35 for a humble bundle *organized by Paizo* and I can get 20 PDFs, but if I want to use them here I need to pay $300. Its a character builder and a gussied up Archives of Nethys I need to pay for.

I don't want anyone to work for free, but I also don't want people to sell bread for more than the bakery does and get upset when I tell them it costs too much.


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VestOfHolding wrote:


We cannot let ourselves be spoiled by the incredible free work done by Pathbuilder and the Foundry PF2e module folks.

I think this is a fair statement. But it creates a market value problem. There is clearly a ton of work that has been done here, but there was also a ton of work done by the folks behind Archives of Nethys and Pathfuilder.

If I'm to spend my limited $$$ I need to decide if there is more value unlocking a couple books on this tool or to donate that money to Nethys and keep it running for everyone. They *have* spoiled us and this product needs to live in that environment.

VestOfHolding wrote:


* Every content pack of a rulebook and Lost Omens book I've bought from Paizo is discounted down to $20, no matter if their starting price was $35 or $40.
* Every content pack for the standalone adventures I've bought from Paizo is discounted either down to $3 if they're a smaller adventure that started at $7, or down to $10 for all others. Except for Crown of the Kobold King which is $20.

The problem is how much some of us have already & how unwilling we are to either have partial access to it here or have to pay a ton for it to "catch up" to the libraries we already have built.

Where I starting Pathfinder 2e fresh, I would debate whether this was a good value to me or not. However, We are almost 4 years and dozens and dozens of books into 2e. It will take me $1000 or so to unlock the PDFs I own on Paizo.com in Demiplane. That is a *lot* of money for a new way to view the content in a new way and get a character builder.

I bought a lot of my rules and lost omens books as PDFs direct from Paizo or from Humble Bundles, and it looks like it will be hundreds of dollars more to unlock them. I'm a subscriber to the APs and it looks like it will cost $350 or so to unlock that content here, and I already own a PDF and physical copies of all of it. I just don't see why I should drop that kind of money?

I get that the devs did a lot of work here, but I just don't see the economic value of it *TO ME*. If there was some kind of inexpensive way to "catch up" or maybe if this really is official an Paizo starts including Demiplane content in it's subscriptions.


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With all the drama I haven't had a chance to look at my PDF until now.

Does anyone else's Interactive map say "Part 6 of 6"? Or is that a typo?

I thought this was just a 3 part ap?


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keftiu wrote:
The trouble with that is that I would bet money the “overthrow Walkena” plotline is one we’ll see the Bright Lions do sometime down the line, likely in their own AP - and empowered by what the Magaambya does here.

My concern is that specifically what is accomplished is that non-Mwangi visitors are no longer being summarily executed and maybe the allowed visitor list is expanded. I actually hope this *isn't* what brings down Walkena down the road. (I REALLY don't want a foerign group of heroes to slip in & kill the guy the citizens of the Mwangi Expanse didn't or couldn't)

Empowering his rival God is much better, but that happens before the heroes leave Mzali and doesn't really have to impact the final battle. (She can still help them out as a "thank you" regardless of the opposition)

keftiu wrote:
This was never going to be the book that liberated Mzali.

I agree. "Overthrow Walkena" is a pretty great plot and I'm sure we will see that down the road.

I'm not upset that he is still on the throne at the end of the AP, I'm upset about the mix of diplomacy, attacks on the innocent, and violence and their apparent disconnect. I think in my ideal scenario the PCs take the win after meeting Walkena and then go to the Golden City with the info they have unearthed.

IMHO The threat in the 3rd act should be disconnected from Walkena entirely. The part where the PCs discovery of the Map leads others to the Golden City should probably be kept. Responsibility of action and the repercussions of knowledge seems like a great subplot


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keftiu wrote:

the two (the diplomatic efforts in Mzali and the battle over Osibu) don't have much of anything to do with one another, so I don't see the latter as any kind of failure or betrayal of the former.

The idea that as written they don't have anything to do with each other is my problem.

What is the point then? (I get the long term idealistic "change takes time at patience" thing, but tell that to the families of the dead in Osibu if anyone asks what the PCs did before they came).

I think we are talking past each other. As I understand it, You are fine with the idea that everything in the first half of the adventure is disconnected with the final battle.

I am *not*.

In my mind the PCs spend weeks getting a meeting with Sauron and acomplish the impossible and actually get him to treat the Elven merchants with a bit of respect.. then they go back to watch him assault the white city and then they personally pitch in to kill some Ring Wraiths. I just don't think anything about that feels good and I strongly feel the two halves of the narrative are at odds.


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keftiu wrote:
This AP wants players to be deliberate about violence, but I don't think it's asking them to shun it entirely. Sometimes the fash have gotta be bashed, y'know?

I don't know that I agree. Your only choices in the final battle are to fight or to let the worst happen. All the early warning systems and outer defenses are bypassed before you even know the army is there and it is fight or die.

I agree that we don't want someone new dropping in for a fight at the end.
Any new invader added at the end should be setup ahead of time. Perhaps as a rival group of diplomats in Mzali or as uncouth interlopers in the School. I just really hate negotiations that are treated as a victory but don't prevent the war. It makes PCs feel like they should have just gone to violence in the firstplace if they are going to get railroaded into it anyway.

But this is the internet and I don't think either of us is going to convince the other. The finale of this volume of the AP just doesn't work for me. I feel it undermines everything else you have done to get there.

You clearly disagree.


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keftiu wrote:


I mean, Mzali's leadership is evil. You are dealing with people at every turn who are complicit in a state that is fond of public executions essentially on a whim, with myriad instances of oppression and violence. Those people being willing to play nice when the Magaambya when it suits...

Right. And the stated goal of the first half of the adventure is that no matter how evil the leadership is, diplomacy can engage with it and moderate it. Which is good, and very in-theme for this adventure path.

Then they try to kill all your friends in the Golden City and you end up having to massacre the armies of the city you just negotiated with out of a sense of constructive engagement.

The problem isn't that the leadership of Mzali is evil (It's not great, but it isn't the main problem) the problem is that they are *expansionist*, at least in this AP if not generally. They are actively trying to conquer and/or destroy another city. Long term gradual diplomacy doesn't work when they are actively plundering and murdering.

As a PC I think you are right to ask "what was the point of all those weeks of politics if we just had to kill their army anyway?" I think as written a few of my players are going to start making Neville Chamberlain allusions.

I'm a big believer in encouraging PCs to not use violence as a first resort and everything about this chapter of the AP is all about that... until the finale fight where you kill the army and avatar of all the NPCs you were being nonviolent about for the first half of the book. The AP give you no choice but to wage war against the people you just negotiated with or stand by while they murder the Golden City.

I just don't think you can have it both ways without giving the impression that negotiation just delays violence it doesn't prevent it. That *really* seems to miss the point of the Adventure Path

keftiu wrote:
Just my two cents, but I'm really smitten with this volume, and see my group enjoying it.

I'm enjoying it as well, but as this is supposed to be a GM advice thread rather than a debate about general story structure... my thought would be to NOT have the invading army at the end of the book be from Mzali. It creates too much conflict in a place where the PCs just spend a ton of time reducing conflict. The Expanse has a long history of invaders and plenty of other groups could find the location of the Golden city and try to invade it. Perhaps the "map" the PCs found is seen by the wrong diplomat from another power in Mzali, or let a porter or researcher back at the school find out about the expedition and carry that knowledge to the wrong ears.


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I'm struggling a bit with tone and theme on this one.....

The opening of the book tells us under the "Dealing with Evil" section:
"This isn’t an adventure where the heroes cast down these leaders and return righteousness and justice to Mzali. This is the adventure where trusted diplomats and hard-working heroes make Mzali a bit more open, a bit more trusting, and a bit more susceptible to bigger changes in its future."

We spend the first half of "Secrets of the Temple City" with the PCs as diplomats to Mzali, climaxing in actually meeting the God-King and negotiating better treatment for non Mwangi people in a triumph of diplomacy over violence.

No need to fight the God-King. Negotiation and cool heads will prevail. So far so good.

.. and then we go to the Golden City where we find out it really is as great as we thought and now we *do* have to fight the God King or his armies will kill all these nice people we have made friends with. No point in negotiating, his army is here and his Avatar will show up at the climax of the big brawl for the PCs to stick spears into. Start killing the solders we were negotiating with a few sessions ago.

This seems like a really cool combat encounter and all.. but I feel like PCs who feel really good about what they accomplished in the first half of the adventure are going to feel jerked around that they end up having to fight the guy they weren't supposed to fight earlier and PCs who spent the whole time in Mzali thinking they should just kill all these evil people will feel vindicated by the throwdown and might decide that all that negotiation was a waste of time.

I'm feeling like my players are going to feel really betrayed by the swerve.


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Anguish wrote:


A 100x expected peak demand isn't something any IT group scales for. We'd never get the budget for that kind of overkill. It'd be like a grocery store having 700 cash registers, just in case.

As a fellow IT guy I sort of agree with you. It isn't reasonable to budget for this *yourself*. This is the sort of event that you setup cloud scaling for. It is possible to run your own servers on your own hardware but to have a contract in place with a could provider like Amazon or Microsoft. In the event of a huge peak like this scripted triggers fire up additional cloud resources and distribute the load.

It takes work to get it setup, but it can take the misery out of unexpected successes like these.

Not to throw stones. I learned about scalablity the hard way.

Good luck to the IT team. Many of us feel your pain.