Tonight my players completed the last segment of the Jade Regent AP, defeating the Jade Regent and placing Ameiko on the throne of Minkai.
Took us 33 sessions over 19th months.
I thought I'd write up a summary review, thoughts, and changes I ended up making for those interested in running the AP.
TLDR: Great campaign overall. Had some issues with each of the book but the overall campaign they loved.
First our characters were:
I will say while this wasn't my first rpg campaign, it was my first pathfinder campaign.
Wall of Text going through each book:
Book 1 - Brinewall Legacy
The characters began their journey with Ameiko and the other NPCs to discover their fate.
The players very quickly built relationships with the primary NPCs, and I kept the whole major plot arc a secret for the players. They knew it was going to be a journey to the east, but the whole reveal about Ameiko and their role as Scions took them by surprise.
Overall this book ran as normal, but very quickly we discovered that
I ended up scraping the combat system and instead running caravan encounters as normal party encounters just rescaled.
2 - They did not prefer the relationship system, feeling it got in the way of real RP with the character, and instead focused more on finding them gifts and rolling dice.
Book 2 - Night of Frozen Shadows
The characters enjoyed exploring Karlsgard, but I had to come up with ways to explain why the Frozen Shadows didn't just attack them outright. I ended up saying that the frozen shadows was not sure exactly which caravan arriving in town was the Scions so were playing cool.
The only other major change I made in this one was to remove the archon. I instead used a combination of the Varisian mafia to give them a data dump about the public face of the frozen shadows, and used Suishen to convey the rest of the information.
This was the beginning though of the running gag of the campaign. That the party wished the bad guys would leave a journal so they know how exactly they were tied into the Oni.
Book 3 - Hungry Storm
I will admit to being wary about this book. I was planning on either fast forward past it, or do the highlights. After reading the authors discussion on it though here on the forms I gave it a shot.
I am happy I did as my players loved this book. I ended up using the random encounter tables and slowing down the caravan to make them spend more time over the crown. This gave the players the feeling of trudging along this inhospitable and dangerous landscape.
The only complaint they had was the plot wasn't tied to the overall campaign. This cause confusion until they realized it, continually assuming that the black towers were tied to an oni plan.
I did end up changing around the Yeti cave scene. The players at this point were getting a little tired of 'home invasions', and that really was what the yeti did. I ended up reworking it where the encounter was saving the yetis rather than slaughtering them.
Book 4 - Forest of Spirits
This book had some highs and lows. The party enjoyed the time with Prince Balthasar, but the Forest of spirits was kind of a low. The reveal scene with the Kami was good but beyond that it wasn't as interesting to them.
Not wanting to do another very long dungeon crawl I ended up swapping out the Ruby Phoenix tournament with the House of Withered blossoms. The NPCs delved the dungeon while the PCs went to recover a weapon from the tournament.
This worked out well as the party loved the tournament and enjoyed it as a change.
In retrospect though this book was odd. For dealing with the Golarian equivalent of the Mongols their was no interaction with the horse lords. And the forest of spirits, was just another dungeon crawl.
If I were to rerun the campaign I'd probably rework this book and do part one as dealing with the nomadic horse lords one on one, and the second as an adventure in the forest itself dealing with Kami.
Book 5 - Tide of Honor
Getting to this book the party was overjoyed they had finally reached Minkai.
The players enjoyed wheeling and dealing and taking care of problems, and building an army to go after the Jade Regent.
This book ran as written except for minor flavor here and there.
Book 6 - The Empty Throne
Ready to take back the throne the party headed into Kasai. Most of this book ran as written except for the party's crazy plans.
The only issue I really had was the rebellion point system. While overall it worked I had to remove the penalty of a point per day. The party was much more interested in inciting rebellion, spreading propaganda, than doing a rush on the imperial palace itself. Such plans took in game weeks to plan and execute, meaning they could never catch up due to the loss in rebellion points. Removing the penalty gave them time to plan and work.
I will comment that my players came up with an an insane plan that worked. Using teleport spells and gathering detailed descriptions of the throne room through their contact network, they teleported into the throne room, and stole the jade throne. They took the throne to a public park where citizens were gathered and defeated the jade regent and his companions in public. While I could have just said the throne couldn't be teleported the plan was interesting and fits their style. This did let them circumvent the entire palace dungeon crawl, but this felt more in their style.
In summary through the AP was great.
The only big complaints I had running it.
Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Okay I think you are approaching the point where you and the other players need to have a conversation with the GM.
The big question is why does he feel this is important?
Find out why he's doing this first and then it will be easier for all of you to figure out what you want to do.
Yep that may involve walking away from the game, but it is also possible he is feeling like he's trying to run a run away freight train of gold.
Being reasonable and rational and having a conversation is a good first step.
So it looks like I'm going to be helping some new players into PFS at a home game.
I could run First Steps, but was looking for other options for those first 3 scenarios.
Was thinking Crypt of the Eternal Flame but have seen some posts on the forums that it is a very tough module for 1st level characters.
Any suggestions from the experienced GMs would be appreciated.