In contrast to the loyal and helpful Kestren, my players have had the delightful acquaintance of a singular Mr. Teedum. This fellow is directly inspired by the Module Carnival of Tears which I will be running in my game. Mr. Teedum is through and through a bully. He masochistically pokes and prods and forces his way on anyone and everyone just because he can. He hails from a small settlement in the Rogarvian region of Southern Brevoy. Staunchly Brevoian, Mr. Teedum sees himself moving his boss into a dangerous but perhaps profitable part of the world. He has no love of the Swordlords, but doesn’t have any idea of their involvement in the Greenbelt.
Mr. Teedum’s boss is another class act. Speaking with a nasal voice if at all, Mr. Kreed is an unscrupulous business man. Skilled in the art of making people work for him, Mr. Kreed has developed a method of indenturing his workers by paying them in arrears but keeping the food coming and the beer flowing thereby keeping his workers in debt to the ‘company store’. He has so far indentured nearly 40 men in the service of his lumber consortium using this method. This includes several of the bandits that surrendered to the PCs. Mr. Kreed’s first goal here in Kingsford has been to establish his own company tavern and games room. Of course, each of his workers will be able to keep ample tabs open at this fine establishment.
This pair of unwelcome newcomers to the fledgling town of Kingsford (Oleg’s) has galvanized the PC’s relationship with Kestren. The PCs have made it a clear goal to keep the burgeoning power of the logging cartel in check. Fearing a possible organized crime organization taking shape the group has begun moving against the pair every chance they can. There have been many opportunities for the group to wage PR battles in the town commons to swing public opinion. The possibility of a significant influence in Kingsford beyond the swordlords his has even made Kestren accept the newly captured Akiros. The former bandit lieutenant will begin training with several of the surrendered bandits from the Stag Lord’s fort and will form a sort of independent militia.
So how do these personalities tie back into the broader political landscape that this campaign is tied to?
Mr. Kreed sees the Greenbelt as a legitimate investment. He hopes to make a killing in this lawless backwater. This dovetails nicely with a Rogarvian Noble house’s attempt to recover some of their lost sway in the capital New Stetven. The Harte family has been faltering of late. Gerrard Harte had 4 children, but his two beloved sons have both been taken from him. Leaving him with two daughters to marry. He has little to use as leverage for a better fate for them than he had himself and so Gerrard has pegged his hopes on Mr. Kreed’s venture to the south.
This particular venture can play in the favour of House Harte. There is money to be made in the lumber trade and having a direct line to the ancient woods of the Narmarches would provide Gerrard’s family a favourable position to attract better suitors for his family and more wealth to use in the struggle with local swordlords.
This one minor house’s interests in keeping their options open in a seemingly benign way is complicated by the fact that trade directed through the greenbelt and into Restov is very politically dangerous for all involved. Since the normal flow of goods through the Hooktongue has been staunched by boggards and a neglectful ruler at Fort Drelev, the Greenbelt seems a lesser evil to the merchants of Mivon eager to access the northern markets. Traders have been trickling through in past years, some even untouched by the Stag's men.
This mercantile interest in the greenbelt will lead to an increased political presence by the Rogarvian noble houses intent on curbing the influence of the Swordlords. Depending on how this tension is resolved by the PCs, this could play right into Vassari's hand and war could result, or a more diplomatic resolution could be possible.
Really, I hope that my PCs will come up with an ingenious solution that I haven't considered and make these factions come alive. We shall see.
My players all like politics in their game. They dislike too many factions. For my group keeping the seven noble houses of Brevoy straight would be an unpleasant task. Not fun. That said, they all love good characters whether that’s Game of Thrones or Conan. Keeping the balance between politics and people is key for me and my group.
Names are easy to forget, but a person can be memorable. I want to give NPCs characteristics that my players find interesting and seek to know more about. This can in turn lead them towards understanding that person’s goals, connections and political aspirations. I can use this one person to introduce a ‘faction’, without having to say, “This guy is a Garess noble.”
Perhaps an example.
Kestren has drawn quite a bit of the PCs attentions. I decided to run him as an arrogant seeming jerk. He was shamed by the exile forced upon him and while he sold his sword he never gave up an ingrained sense of superiority his noble birth afforded him.
I wasn’t sure how my group would take him, but the party face Cordimir has taken to keeping Kestren in the loop. Steadily, the group has taken to reporting their findings to Kestren. They keep him in the loop and see that they can trust him. They bring him bandits that have surrendered and sworn oaths to make an honest living in Kingsford (the small town starting around Oleg’s). They have claimed rewards from him for the heads of bandits. They have begun to trust him so much that when they found Falgrim near the bandit camp the group just handed him over to Kestren. No questions. This trust has paid off with some discussion of who was paying to station him in the Greenbelt. Introductions may follow.
This is how I plan to use this trust.
In my campaign, the Swordords are divided about what to do about the minor noble houses that owed their loyalty to house Rogarvia. There is a spectrum of ideas about how to proceed. There are some that would provoke outright war (by colonizing an area to the south of Brevoy in the Greenbelt for example). Some would simply forgive past transgressions and move towards reconciliation by taking advantage of the weakened position of these minor houses and move to empower themselves with other noble house (though not likely Surtova).
The problem I have always faced in running a game is bridging these two worlds. Keeping the political intrigue interesting and grand, and at the same time keeping the story personal.
This is where I bring Kestren into play. He is hired by a Swordlord named Vassari. The oldest member of the council of blades, Vassari has grand plans to avenge himself on the Issian dogs that have taken far too much from the Rostland plain. He is spearheading the initiative to colonize the Greenbelt in the name of the swordlords in the hopes that it will provoke the Issians into making a faulty first step or even better provide a new loyal ally that will further strengthen their position in southern Brevoy.
Kestren will bring the news from Restov that grants the PCs their new Barony. He will bring more support from Restov both in the form of settlers and soldiers. This involvement does not go unnoticed by those that move against the swordlords.
Thanks for reading and thanks to those whose ideas I have stolen from these boards.
38) Start the game as a travelling circus troop that stole the original charter from an unsuspecting audience member in Restov. Get chased out of town on ‘trumped up’ charges and seek the refuge of the wilds.
39) Buy all of the beer. Pretend to be beer merchants. Get captured by the bandits. Get them all really hammered. Win.
40) Use ink offered as a gift by Tig and Pev to scribe scrolls. Spells cast will randomly include ‘special’ effects. So far this has included a fairy dust enhanced sleep spell (was supposed to be cast on the DL) and a glitter bomb infused glitterdust (that’s a lot of glitter).
These boards have been a great source of inspiration for me. Browse!
Besides the boards I have a couple of suggestions to add.
I am looking at incorporating book 4 of the Carrion Crown AP in and around the island of Candlemere. This will greatly depend on where my players are focused at the time (9th+ level).
I have also situated the Raging Swann Press adventure Road of the Dead in the hex with the gnomish expedition.
If you are interested in getting ideas from outside the Pathfinder brand then I would start with Green Ronin’s Wedding Knight. It uses rules from their Song of Ice and Fire RPG, but you really don’t need to convert it as the drama is mostly social. I am weaving the families mentioned in this adventure into Book 2 to drive home some of the political issues in Brevoy. I must give credit to redcelt32 for the idea to including this adventure.
Hero lab works wonders. Half of my players use an iPad to run their characters with the HL app. Speedy, accurate enough, and easy.
Now you can update and save your character to dropbox without the hassle of moving your character sheet around.
HL seems expensive, but if you only buy what you need then you can get away with a fair price.
I am running and will run Pathfinder for the foreseeable future. My groups have not been focused on the 'necessary' equipment. Typically they just divide what they get and move on.
For me and my groups, Pathfinder as a system will continue to work for us and not against. I have been running Rise of the Runelords for the last year (in book 4) and have just started a promising Kingmaker Campaign. One is focused on combat and tends towards tactically analyzing battlefields. The other group just spent 2 sessions organizing trade agreements with kobolds and negotiating a reduced tax debt for an NPC (no combat at all).
Pathfinder has worked well for both styles as well as for new players and experienced. I know for sure that 3 of the players starting out in my games have gone on to GM their own. For me and mine, it works. So far I am happy with my switch from Rolemaster.
And here my guys knife though it super fast... 2nd session and they are thinking about going after the stag lord, though they didn't encounter neither the mites or kobolds yet (they saw a few, know where they live, are spit on what to do about them)...
If they are just thinking about it, give them a reason to deal with something closer to home. IMC I had Jhod searching for the temple to Erastil. He found it but was bloody and bruised returning to Oleg's and was unsure how to get back. This prompted more exploration of the Narlmarches to deal with the temple guardian.
Here is the link to the spreadsheet for all the lesser houses of Brevoy and their mottoes. Note that the family names and mottoes are a mishmash borrowed from books, movies, etc, with a few originals thrown in, though most were borrowed from GoT or inspired by it. Enjoy!
This looks great! This will work wonders for me as names are nearly always a challenge for me to come up with.
I have been really enjoying reading through this thread. The bits about tensions in Brevoy politics are great. I run a game for players with a great interest in politics and am hoping to leverage a ton of your material.
One question, have you posted a list of the minor houses you have in play in your version of Brevoy? I saw the names from the GoT module you used to start off your campaign, but something similar to the table you created for Mivon would be amazing.
Kudos and thanks for the great ideas Redcelt32!
I regularly do this. I buy a gift card when I have cash and use it for my subs.
The last few times I have done this there have been issues redeeming the card. I have had to contact customer service in order to have the amount of the card applied.
So don't panic if you don't see the gift card code show up on your account page. Just send customer service an email and they will help you out!
Hello Paizo Customer Service people.
I seem to have caused some grief with my shenanigans, adding to and holding my May order. I have had several emails regarding the proposed contents of this order, but no shipping confirmation yet. I have gotten a shipping notice for my Flip Mat pack (order 3091476). I was thinking this was supposed to ship with my June Sub. Did I not complete the order appropriately?
I would like to ensure that all of my pre-orders are set to ship with subs rather than on their own.
I also hope that my May/June/Battles package will ship today. It may not be possible, but I will hope.
Thanks for your kind attention!
My players have just started on the first book. That said, I can see them using their troop's logo as a flag at some point.
They are a travelling carnival collective that left Restov in a hurry with a charter they lifted off of a poor sap that attended their latest show. Self described as an event of 'wonder, excitement and mystery,' the Phoenix Eye Phantasmagoria have an eye painted in red on the side of their wagon. At the moment this is not extensively detailed, but I see this being a good source for a flag in the future.
Here would be my plan:
1. Giant book on Absalom (inspired by Ptolus) including factions, organizations, politics, street level intrigue, plot hooks all over the place, and lots of nice art.
An alternate plan
A Vudra themed campaign where the PCs face off against other Mahajanapada ruled by their relatives. I see themes of moral struggle being tapped on this one (like Arjuna faced with killing his relations).
Maybe a 'lord of the realms' companion. Designed to support the various roles a PC can take in a Kingdom (from Ultimate Campaign). The support could include setting specific support inspired by various locales. I'm thinking the book could flesh out ways to differentiate between a spymaster in Galt and Cheliax (for example). Maybe a better name could be 'Lords of Golarion'?
I would also like to see 'Rulers of the Inner Sea' giving setting specific details about these roles for various countries around Avistan, but that may belong in another thread.
I have found the same problem with products being out of print. Maps are the most annoying as they work best for me as a physical product. The PDF is mainly gravy for my sub. I have yet to figure a good way of getting a PDF of a map printed. I'm sure it's possible, but I don't see how it's economical.
I started to GM for Pathfinder in 2012. There were many maps out of print at the time so I started buying all the maps (Much like Degoon Squad is). One things I noted was the periodic blog post here talking about the number of products available. I would prioritize items on this list.
I also check back now and again as there might be scratch'n'dent copies of older maps available. I lucked out and grabbed a copy of the Cheliax companion a while back (and they were on for $75 on some auction sites).
All three modules have presented a problem with the map. To varying degrees the glue has been too strong and has resulted in a slightly torn map or back page of the book.
That said, I have found that ensuring the book is warm (on a heat register for 10 minutes) softens the glue. Unfortunately my Tears at Bitter Manor map still had a small tear.
If I had to choose, I would go for slight discoloration over the colour being torn off of the maps.
Certainly not a deal breaker, but the glue should be improved.
The new check out wizard is a nice addition.
I just placed 2 orders to take advantage of the GM day sale. The second order processed, but there has been no email confirmation.
The first order didn't process and is showing pending. That and my store credit seems to be a bit wonky now.
I have emailed C/S, but wanted to make the issue known here as well.
I like the idea of reworking an AP into a hardcover compilation. It would be an excuse for so much goodness like new art, updates the 3.5 rules, and other tie in products (like pawns).
The prospect of a hardcover compilation is up there with a Sandpoint box set...
I'd buy either, but probably won't have the chance.
This looks like a good idea. One of my groups has gotten use to having the buff deck cards with their characters. This deck could prove just as useful.
I would love to see a card for every spell, but that may not ever happen.
Will the subjects of spell resistance, caster level checks, and spell save DC calculation be outlined in these cards? These are often forgotten/confused.
James Jacobs wrote:
Is that the only flaw? There needed to be more words?
I would recommend the addition of words with these topics in mind:
- Organizations and their operatives in the city. For example, Lord Mayor Grobaras will have many organizations under his control. I would be interested in his web of power. How are the various factions arrayed against each other? What players owe their allegiance to which team? This might best be done with a diagram linking each faction.
- Example encounters at various locations. For example, area D9 the Impound Yard for ships that have been abandoned for more than 90 days. Maybe an example encounter here? Details of a particular ship for example. I liked the plots and perils chapter, but more encounter ideas, the better.
- Art. I would love more art from the point of view of the street. For example, I used the picture of the shadow clock for a recent adventure. I find sometimes when the art is good, it really is worth 1000 words. So having art that depicts the flavour of each district would be good.
- GM advice sidebars. Ideas could include, suggested uses of NPCs on a given page, plot hooks and how they connect to other areas in the book, helpful examples from the author's games (or other authors games) that were set in Magnimar.
- Maps! I really like the district maps and the main map on the inside cover. They can be used to show players where they are, but a dedicated player friendly map would be great.
Boxed sets are awesome. That is a fact.
Absalom would make a great candidate for this sort of treatment. A box filled with maps, player handouts, several adventure ideas that could be linked into a campaign, and lots of great art.
That said, another model for this was the Ptolus book. This singular tome offered a complete campaign along with detailed maps and location information.
Translated into Paizo's product lines, I think the following:
1) AP set in Absalom.
With the current subscription model, wrapping all of the above into a fancy box set for $150 would be difficult. It would mean devoting a whole lot of development to a single large product that would break the mold. Would it mean a third AP in a year? I would buy it, but it would be a significant expansion to the current product lines.
Maybe all we need is just boxes for the AP related material already released each year. I would buy that.
I have mine pre-ordered (in full colour). I would also pick up a hero lab file set if this were made available. Looking forward to having this on the shelf.
I imagine those that have pre-ordered will be charged the full price once the PDF is released, correct? The print copy will then follow the PDF by some months as printing happens?