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[Major spoilers]
There's no issues with the timeline as such if you just move it a couple of years. Pathfinder 2nd ed assumes the AP happened at a certain time, but that doesn't seem to matter much either, as long as you keep it in mind for future APs that might touch the region.

However, you will need to explain why Cheliax - as soon as the queen learns the PCs murdered her appointed Lord Mayor (and her cousin to boot) - does not just send the fleet to Kintargo (assuming the PCs stopped the Menador route) and just level the place. Like they did to Pezzack.

If you don't plan to play further than book four that won't be as much of a problem, since Barzillai has reasons to play things close to the vest and might whitewash the goings-on in his duchy to the queen. But after he's killed there's no reason for Abrogail II to not stomp down hard and crush the rebellion before it spreads even further. In the AP she can't, because when Barzillai is offed a major city close to her capital is occupied by paladins and even nastier critters (nasty from a Thrune perspective, that is).

In the same vein, if you don't use the looming threat of Chelish retribution and regaining of control, there's no incentive for the players to deal with the Kintargo contract and most of book five. You would then have to skip book most of five and go directly into book six.

Or you could invent another national crisis on the same level as the Glorious Reclamation to explain why Cheliax doesn't hit back and give a sense of urgency and momentum. But that seems like extra work for no benefit since there's already a reason given in the AP.

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For our group, PF2 is a better game in every way. The systems are easier to use and more fun as well (we love the crit/fumble system for example), and they finally got rid of lots of stupid old AD&D baggage. Since we play APs we also really appreciate that high level play now just plain works, where before it started to bog down at around level 12-13.

We mostly play core classes/races so the huge difference in material does not bother us, but if you/your players love cooking up combos out of the gazillion of ingredients Paizo has pumped out for the last ten years, PF2 might just be too sparse - at least for now. So then my advice my advice would be to try it, then go back to PF1 for a year, until the Advanced Player's Guide has been released for PF2 along with all the other new material along the way.

We haven't gotten that far yet, but why not. The more you tie the adventure around the PCs the better, in my opinion. The only problem I can see is that the NPCs that are supposed to be in the board (so Laria in the case of the Urvises) can be given plot armour by the DM, a PC not so much. Then again rezzes are easy to come by at that level, and you can always keep Laria as a backup unknown inheritor if the PC somehow becomes unavailable.

roguerouge wrote:
How many people died in your Ruby Masquerade?

Checking the spreadsheet I used (where I had devils killing x number of guests per round), 125. Cocatrices had been taken out pre-fight. I had more devils than the book; two erinyes and one extra bone devil. The players concentrated on Barzillai and his gang of Thrune agents (the evil iconics fron Hell's Vengeance).

Latrecis wrote:
Perhaps "strategically" is not the right word? Tactically? It doesn't make sense for the pc's to walk into Barzillai's obvious trap and get into a fight with him on terrain, timing and terms of his chosing. That's how you lose battles and wars. Especially when they can forestall the entire event and foil the trap by hitting the Opera House with surprise. Not to mention keep innocent bystanders out of harm's way.

My players discussed this at length. They (of course) knew Barzillai had something fishy planned, and expected some sort of trap or other evil business. They talked about not going, or about trying to cancel the whole thing.

There were several factors (some which I had put in myself, or emphasized) that in the end swayed them to go to the masquerade as the book expects:

1. They had gotten the information that Barzillai had already moved out of the opera house, and that it was essentially empty except for people prepping for the masquerade and people guarding the premises. So in their mind, a preemptive strike wouldn't necessarily make Barzillai cancel the masquerade just because the party scared away some guards, caterers, and decorators.

2. People were excited about the masquerade. There was lots of talk about it, about who was invited or not, etc., which rubbed off on my players. I had made handouts in the form of flyers saying what dances would be performed, the schedule for the night, etc.

3. I made it easy for the PCs to acquire invites.

4. I made a fun RP thing about the costumes, so the players engaged themselves in what costume would fit their character.

5. I made it clear that many of Thrunes' allies would attend, such as the noble families on his side, which made them think it couldn't be that dangerous. He wouldn't risk his allies, would he?

6. Many of the PCs family members, friends and allies were going, and many were excited and glad that they were invited. The players wanted to be there to protected them, and didn't want to spoil the whole thing either.

7. I made the players curious about what would happen. What was he to reveal? What would Barzillai do? What was his plan? At that point in the campaign, that was really something the players wanted to know, since it had become clear to them that he wasn't in Kintargo to be the mayor, but had some other, deeper goal. Would that be revealed?

8. They had been very cautious with their identities and thought Barzillai didn't know who they were, regardless of it being a masquerade. That made them confident that they could remain unnoticed and have an advantage, even if they were on his home turf.

In the end they prepared meticulously, used their teams to smuggle in weapons and equipment into the opera house, talked tactics with allies if things would turn bad, but they did go. And it was a blast, the high point of the campaign so far.

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Porridge wrote:

And I definitely agree that a proposal using a flat number of attunement slots (like Cha+8) does little to incentivize investing in Charisma. So that's no good.

The hope was that a level-adjusted proposal (like Cha+lvl/3) would get around this issue by imposing non-trivial limits on the number of items one can equip at lower levels. So Charisma would still be desirable.

I like the Cha+lvl/3 (1 minimum) magic item formula very much. I also like the flavour of a sorcerer decked out in all kinds of minor magic items ("magic just loves me...."), as well as a bard with a lots of minor magic bling ("I looove magic!"), so even at the far end of the scale it works for me. I need to mind this is a GM though, and not be stingy with the small magic trinkets in the loot. I'm not that bothered by the high Cha characters, I'm more interested in removing the easy choices for my players. Cha = dump stat (unless x) is just bad design in my book.

I made a spreadsheet for the formula and it looks good. The only downside I can see to the Cha+lvl/3 is that it's a bit fiddly. I prefer simple and elegant systems, but this just might be worth it anyway.

So I'll think i'll go for this, along with the wand bonus and the bonus to Hero Point rerolls, unless the great collective here (or maybe even I) comes up with something even better.

I'm not very fond of the Cha for Will saves idea. It just does not sit that well with me flavour wise, even though I understand why Wis could do with a nerf in PF2. And also, as a minor quibble, it might become a bother to use this in Hero Lab (which my players use) and Combat Manager (which I use - If there'll be an update to PF2, that is).

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graystone wrote:
How does anyone SEE a "murderous, erratic and bloodthirsty thug" from the sole action of not talking... Are all mute people are "murderous, erratic and bloodthirsty thugs"? As far as "big and dangerous weapons"... Were in a game with flying dragons, demons and wandering monsters: I'd look strange at the person WITHOUT any weapon. IMO, you'd get a bigger reaction with noble vs common folk or differing nationalities. I don't think being 'adventuring folk' in and of itself is a major factor.

I see you haven't met my players.


Meophist wrote:
In general, how would one rate the usefulness of each ability score? Just generally speaking.

Con, Dex, Wis, Int, Str, Nothing, Nothing, Cha.

One more thing about the 'party face = diplomat ∴ suspension of disbelief kept'-angle. Ponder a North Korean diplomat asking their South Korean equivalent a personal favor. If presented properly they might go for it, as long as they can be sure it really is personal. But if the favor's for what's behind the diplomat - a murderous, erratic and bloodthirsty thug with big and dangerous weapons, a.k.a your run- of-the-mill PC party, they might treat the request very differently. It's not just about the sole diplomat's skill and abilities, but who's standing behind them.

Deadmanwalking wrote:

I actually disagree with this, as it's equating two separate things that do not necessarily go together. It's if accomplishing specific social goals is seen as similar to a strength or skill check that a face character works fine. The amount of roleplaying and actual interaction the PCs have with NPCs is an almost entirely separate factor from the degree to which 'we need to convince this guy to do X' is a major part of the game and plot.

Sorry, I edited my post after you started answering it - I'm unfortunately a compulsive redactor.

You're sure right as far as the rules go - there's nothing said in the PF1 social skill rules pertaining roleplay (afaik). You can have a high Cha PC with social skills up the wazoo steamrolling every social encounter system wise, and never say a word in character. And yes, players that want to roleplay will, regardless if their character's any good at social interaction or not - which is great in my opinion. But still, there's a connection there, at least for me, between the social game systems and what the players say (or dont say) through their PCs. It trounces immersion for me if Ungrth the Uncouth's player roleplays extensively with an NPC, and then Brice the Nice's player steps in and smashes the influence check without having said a word. It just doesn't sit well. That's why I try to treat the party as individuals in these kind of situations. Ungrth gets to sleep in the pig sty, Brice gets the innkeeper's room, sure. But Ungrth's player might get a Hero Point for great roleplay.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Something like that, adding Cha to overcharge checks on magic items, and adding it to Hero Point (or even all Fortune) rerolls is where you start to actually make Charisma look a bit more attractive, and I'm not convinced even that is enough.

Yes I would use that as well. So number of max magic items, Hero Point reroll modifier and the wand thingy. At least that's three more uses than before.

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graystone wrote:
Between Follow the Expert and Aid, no party member that wants to talk should have any reason NOT to. As to "power gaming", I don't really see it. It's not power gaming to let the person with high dex and trained disable device to deal with the traps, let the person with a high strength and trained athletics to break open something or ask the high int person trained in arcana to answer a question. It doesn't seem odd in the least to have a representative speak instead of having a free for all, everyone talking at once situation. Diplomats are a thing for a reason.

I see what you mean, and 'power gaming' was a poor choice of words by me, since the word can be seen as slight. I think it boils down to how much emphasis you put on roleplaying and especially PC vs. NPC interaction at your table.

One wouldn 't say "It's OK to have one character in the party take care of combat. Bob's our combat solver.", right? If you don't, that's because you (and the game!) puts lots of focus on combat. If one sees roleplaying interactions as the same kind of gameified obstacle as a strength or skill check, then the party face makes sense. Just put the right peg (party face) in the right hole (NPC) and move on. If you're aiming for a more "mind's eye"-type of play you might want to put more weight on how all characters are percieved and how all of them interact with other beings, as opposed to how they interact with heavy rocks or locked doors. And there charisma becomes an important stat. N.B. I don't mean all PCs should have a high Cha - often low stats create funnier situations than high ones. Just that the ability score should have an effect on the game, regardless of play style. If not, get rid of it.

As for the OP, I just listened to the "The future of Pathfinder"-seminar from PaizoCon where one of the devs said they replaced the resonance system with not only 1/day wands, but also that max 10 magic items can be carried by a character (regardless of slots). I was thinking to let this number be affected by the Charisma mod. Set it to maybe 8 or 9 items per character and then let Cha modify that up or down. Too much?

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Matthew Downie wrote:
Gloom wrote:
Charisma should very much influence the social abilities of your character and should result in more difficult social encounters when it's low and easier social encounters when it's high.

The effect of that tends to be:

(1) "Who's got the best charisma? The Cleric? Right: You're the 'party face'."
(2) Whenever there is an NPC to be interacted with in any way other than murder, the party face does all the talking.
(3) Nobody else in the party ever talks to anyone.

I have a standard response for this classic "party face" power gaming tactic. After the NPC has been successfully persuaded by the party face, the NPC will look behind the well articulated and charming fellow who has just been talking to them. To see a pack of unkempt, glowering and generally unpleasant figures staring at them with dead fish eyes. "What's going on here? Is this some kind of kidnapping situation? Are these people forcing you do to this? Do you want me to call the guards? No? All right, I'll help you, but you others, shoo!". Just because you have dumped your Charisma doesn't mean you're invisible. Quite the opposite, actually.

As for the mechanical effects, I'm a bit sad the resonance system wasn't kept in some form or another. The playtest version wasn't good, I admit, but they could have improved it instead of totally scrapping it, again leaving Charisma as a dump stat for many. There's some good stuff in this thread though, thanks people. I will use the hero point reroll modifier for sure, as well as the wand modifier, and maybe something else.

roguerouge wrote:
I have not had any significant issues with ABP. You just eliminate any treasure that's in the XMas tree of magic items: weapons, armor, rings of protection, etc. And, yes, I simply retain the bonuses on the monsters that they got from their now-deleted loot.

This is how I've also have done it while using ABP from start, and it has worked out fine.

The only possible downside has been that quite many enemies' loot have only been items which ABP removes, making for some dull cadaver shakedowns for my players. Not that I feel sorry for them...
As for Vyre, I just let them shop for what they wanted (with the 75% chance on the 14,400 base value), even though I usually detest the magic-shop prevalence in Pathfinder. It was a nice change of scenery for the PCs and reminded them how freedom tastes (at least for rich adventurers).

Skya wrote:

I'm about to run the Ruby Masquerade next week, and i have a question for other GMs.

How did you handle masque points? Did you reveal to your players that they had 10 and how each actions affect the total? Did you keep them totaly secret? Or did you told them how the system work, without revealing the exact point they had and the result of the actions?

Thank you for your output!

I have a quite rp-oriented group but I presented the mini-game of masque points to them anyway. I gave them the menu of actions they could take for each 30-minute period of the evening, and the cost of the actions, but not the possible results (until they tried them, of course). I also made them aware of their current masque point total by keeping a running tally on our battle map.

It did impose some artificial limits on their actions (such as not being able to explore as much of the off-limits areas as they would have liked) but did a good job of making the masquerade more manageable and contained it somewhat. Limits can be liberating. I had also added some additional events during the evening for a few more set pieces (a play and a costume competition). They enjoyed trying the different activities offered and mixing the masque point system with their own ideas and rp. The system also served to build up tension towards the unmasking (which they rightly suspected would result in shenanigans from Barzillai and his goons).

All in all it was a great finale to book three, tying lots of stuff together while really advancing the plot, and one of the best experiences we've had in Hell's Rebels so far (we're in book four now).

Warped Savant wrote:

If Barzillai was willing to live out the rest of his life pretending to be someone else while under the rule of the Silver Ravens (or, more precisely, whoever ends up being elected to be in charge of Ravounel), then the entire AP wouldn't have happened in the first place.

He's an egomaniac. If he wasn't then he wouldn't have taken control of Kintargo and he simply would've moved there and lived out his life in quiet solitude until he died and became a genius loci.

Yes of course, If villains in our good vs. evil stories had their acts all together they would (usually) succeed. Instead the heroes put up enough of an opposition (or in some, like Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark, not much at all really) to let the villains fail themselves, due to their lack of whatever morality/ability the story wants to teach us is good to have.

I buy that and enjoy those kind of stories. But that doesn't mean you can't change up these hollywoodisms a bit (especially when we're in a form where we're not just readers of the story, but we are an actual part of it, as it were). Have the PCs succeed due to their own strengths rather than just having Barzillais' megalomania/egomania and (literal) impotence sink his boat. I don't want to change him, since he's a great villain, just make him a little smarter, a little stronger, or at least not make the PCs win only because his flaws made him stupid, and the story might at least become better suited to my table's particular tastes.

So his plan A is to take over Ravounel and have some fun (read indulge in his sociopathy while imposing his rule) until he can become ingrained into the land itself for eternity, and thus never be forgotten. His plan B should really be removing that first part, since the last part is much more important to him. Otherwise, in my opinion, he just becomes too weak and yielding. I don’t want my players to feel like they were just spectators to the rise and fall of Barzillai Thrune, both by his own making.

Amyway, what Zipding points at here (which I have missed in my readings of the books, I thought the loci-mation was a done deal. Maybe I should spend more time reading the actual story than thinking of how I can change it!) does show that the AP explains his desperation, along with why he just doesn’t slack away until genius loci day:

Zipding wrote:
The main reason he begins to change into a genius loci in the last book is because there is a clause in his contract with Mephistopheles which kicks off that apotheosis if Cheliax cedes control of Ravounel, something he cannot guarantee anyone who kills him will do.

But if you have think about Asmodeus' perspective, as he's the one really behind it all, this can, in my opinion, be fine-tuned a bit. Asmodeus wants to show the Thrunes who's da boss. This he can accomplish in two ways, either Barzi turns Ravounel into hell-on-Golarion, which is nice, or the Silver Ravens turns Ravounel into a CG happy hippie-land, which would probably vex Abrogail even more and (hopefully) be even a better lesson. Asmodeus wants Barzillai to become so powerful that Abrogail can't do anything but eat humble pie, or foster the PCs into becoming similar forces.

So I think I’ll take this clause away, and to explain why B just doesn't live out his days pruning petunias in Villegre, I will change the genius loci ritual to require the caster to have left as big a mark in the region as possible, to be talked about, to be as in/famous and as much in the minds and on the tongues of the populace as possible. The more famous he becomes, the shorter the time he would have spend in hell. This was what I intended to add before Zipding educated me anyway, since I wanted a better explanation for B not just waiting than him just being totally bonkers. This addition/change is also due to me wanting to kill two birds with one stone, as my players are really obsessed with his crazy proclamations (they keep coming back to "but how does this explain the MINT BAN?") and I feel the proclamations need a larger and (IMO) better payoff than Barzi's lack of theraphy for his childhood traumas, seeing how much my players fret over it.

Warped Savant wrote:

Personally, I wouldn't have a villain teleport away only to show up shortly after to be defeated. (Nox is different as her doing it leads to further story. Barzillai doing it just leads to "Okay, a week later there's a huge celebration, Bazzy crashes the party and, oh look, he's dead now.")

As a player it seems like a let-down, as a GM it seems like a waste of time.

That's my reasoning too. I'd rather save the "recurring villain through teleport"-schtick to where it furthers the story. And seeing as he knows getting killed right there in the temple would still let his plans come into fruition, albeit at an additional, unpleasant, price, he might as well fight until he drops. Him NOT teleporting away, even though he had the means to, would actually serve the story better; as it could make the characters really suspicious... as opposed to how meta-suspicous the players will get by offing the BBEG in book four.

(And if he would teleport away, he shouldn't be returning for another spanking by the PCs. They've defeated him once, they could do it again, especially with all their friends with them. Instead his plan B should consist of scrounging up another polymorph any object, apply it to himself, set up a nice little trust fund and move into a comfortable house in Kintrago. There he could live out the rest of his days in anonymity under Silver Raven protection, until it was time to Genius Loci-up the place. Then again, villains and logic rarely mix in any medium, including APs...)

Looking forward reading about your groups experiences DM Livgin! Down with Thrune!

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Marqel wrote a satirical opera called “The Rotten Ghoon” in our campaign, which the PCs were to stage (hire actors, find a venue, prepare for the one-time performance without the government finding out, etc). We didn't play it though, since we felt we had added more than enough of our own material and wanted to get on with the finale of book three (and we had included and ran the Six trails of Larazod from Council of Thieves so we had done the theater thing already).

It was an opera buffa (e.g. a comedic opera like Cosi fan tutte) about the conflicts between the ruling dogs and their bird subjects in a "fictitious" city. The opera became more and more silly as my players brainstormed it, which may come as no surprise to fellow GMs... but maybe you can get a title or an idea from my players juvenile ramblings :-)

Here it is in a nutshell (I blame my players for the bad puns): A city populated by birds, Titago, has been invaded by the Ghoon dog pack from Fleagorian. Their leader Barkzillion Ghoon now rules with an iron paw with the help of the prelate of the dog god Assniffious; bishop Drewlsteiner and his "friend" Madame Zhuck. A sparrow, Yilli, one day finally has had enough when she is forced by to pick up all the bird seed she has accidentally spilled in the street. She gets the help of a trickster figure, the White Crow, to take the fight to the mean canines and with the the help of the initially reluctant sea eagle Octo, she and her friends free the city.

It's good to be top dog - Barkzillion, Pox, Octo, Drewlsteiner
Birds just want to be free - Yilli
Something shiny - the White Crow
Love that burns - Drewlsteiner, Madame Zhuck
Liberty, justice, birdiehood - the Crow & Yilli
I've been so blind - Octo
Beaks and fangs - All
I’m itching for Fleagorian - Barkzillion, Pox, Drewlsteiner
Free to fly the silver sky - Yilli, the Crow, Octo

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Warped Savant wrote:
Razcar -- Do you have any samples of the types of things the newsletters would contain?

Oh, they were mainly commenting on the things happening in the campaign, either through interviews with different officials, and offering exposition, rumors and introducing NPCs/villains. I made up a durotas (head constable) for each district, based on the system in Westcrown. So the newsletter interviewed them a lot.

An example: "A protest at the Aria park the 12th of Abadius exploded into vandalism, violence and chaos, claims the dottari of Jarvis End. We got a comment from our new Duxotar, Vanesses Trex: "Is this the way Kintargo welcomes their new leader? The lord-mayor himself tried to calm the rabid masses but to no avail. We had to charge the rabble with horse to disperse them. My own noble steed, Thunderscar, even got hit with a rotten tomato! The nerve. And had it not been for the calm and firm people-handling skills shown by the fine youngsters in the Chelish Citizen's Group, things could had gone much worse."
There are no official reports of injured protesters, although at least a dozen got arrested. As for the Dottari's report, one mount lost a horse-shoe trampling fleeing Kintargans, and a crossbow was accidently dropped and damaged when firing into the crowd. There was a rumor about the Lord-Mayor's assistant Nox getting seriously wounded, but this reporter saw her kicking in doors in Redroof this very morning and she perfectly seemed fine. And then of course we have the tomato incident with Trex's Thunderscar. We at the Silver Leaf send our regards, and hope 'Thundie' recovers swiftly."

The leaflet started to comment on the action of the Silver Ravens as they began to make an impact, and the tone turned more and more cheeky and sarcastic as Barzillai tightened the thumb-screws on the city. The PCs confronted the writer in book two and she later went underground and became an ally (and started the quest which led to freeing Jackdaw). It's been a fun addition to the campaign. I've made about one for each third session, and I post them in our game groups Facebook group page between sessions.

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Lanathar wrote:

"Made a newsletter" - that is hardcore GM input right there

Thanks. Here's the template I used, if you're interested - I just overwrote a copy each time for "new issues", easy enough to do in any graphics software:

I made a daughter of Aulamaxa who ran the leaflet, Corinne Aulamaxa. Since she is a noble she had some leeway and access. Now we're in book four and her and the newsletter have joined the Silver Ravens and gone underground.

Good one there with the Gardener RogueRouge, bummer I didn't think of that (one of my PCs is a mycology student at the Academy so that would had fit great - too late now as we are in book 4).

Like others, I had Trex (and Ekodyre) squash protesters at the Aria park.

I had Barzillai send Zella Zidili as a secret emissary to Vyr, and she attended the dinner party along with the PCs. The characters knew there was a diplomat there from Barzillai's retinue, but they didn't know who (I made more guests foreigners than is in the AP). So they had a bit of a Agatha Christie-mystery to solve along with balancing the dinner itself. Resulted in some fun roleplay when the PCs tried to suss her out.

I had Tombus Regegius be the master of a fencing school opposed to the one where a PC duelist trained.

I had Tiarize be the instigator behind the Vex murders (and the one who gave him the kukri).

I had most of the lieutenants appear in some capacity in text, news or rumors. I made a regular newsletter where many of the dignitaries were interviewed about the going-ons in the city , which was a good way to introduce Barzillais gang without the players attacking them (the old meta-gaming problem where players think that NPCs that pop up are beatable because they pop up).

Lanathar wrote:

So in this had the elves deciphered enough to find the hidden secrets within? Because it seems like a very tough check and the assumption seems to be to go the contract devil for him to explain

Exactly how much did she know and tell the PCs? And did that / will that remove the incentive for the devil visit ?

No, they had not. Jackdaw was too impulsive and reckless, and didn't take the time and effort to really investigate the contract's secrets (the way the PCs hopefully will do) before it all went south for them. And Mailari was mainly interested in protecting her niece from her wild and imprudent mother - she didn't care about some human civil war except how it would affect her loved ones (mainly Amyreid at that time). Jackdaw mainly showed her older sister the contract as a trophy, as a way of saying that all the berating she'd received from Mailari for risking hers and Amyreids lives for Kintargo, against an impossible foe, actually wasn't in vain at all. "Look here, you were wrong."

So, Jackdaw knew that there was something in there which could turn the tide for Kintargo but not how and why. Just where. This maintains the mystery and gives more of a hint to the PCs that there's a chance out there. But as far as the PCs know at that time, Mailari (or Jackdaw) could be wrong.

About Jackdaw and the contract, the way I reasoned the true instigator behind the contract and surrounding shenanigans was the same entity as the one the PCs finally confront in Hell's Rebels. So the reason Jackdaw got hold of it in the first place was because Asmodeus planted it. Asmodeus wanted to teach Abrogail I a lesson in humility early on, just like he now wants to do with Abby II (but has delegated it to Mephistopheles in the AP. "Hey Meph, you mind taking over the Golarion/Cheliax/Contract-project? I'm swamped this decade with getting out the tender for new bars for Rovagug's cage." "NP boss, I'll cram it in. Racquetball still on for tonight?").

So Asmodeus sent a dream to Jackdaw (disguised as a message from Milani - he's a master of lies after all) about where to find a copy of the contract, and that it could be used in the Silver Ravens' favor. They retrieved it, Amyreid cast a Commune to verify its authenticity and power, and that was about as far as they got (with Jackdaw taking the time to gloat before her sceptical sister and wave her prize around, of course). Kintargo (and Asmodeus) had bet on the wrong horse (Raven?), cue 75 years of being prodded with hot pokers by nasty Thrunies.

(This also touches one of my pet DM peeves - DM Mary Sues. While the original Silver Ravens can be portrayed as powerful and really cool when they're introduced, I don't want the PCs to walk around in their shadow. I want it to become clear that the originals were not the heroes of this story - the PCs are - and that they were actually quite flawed, and because of that ultimately failed. Which, hopefully, the PCs won't - barring a TPK :-D And this is something that Jackdaw will tell my PCs after she's been freed (and gotten back her sanity) - you guys are better than we were, better organized, more knowledgeable, better prepared. Go forth and succeed were we did not.)

I also wanted the let my players know about the contract early, to give them a focus and a concrete goal earlier than the AP does. But I wanted to save their (first) trip to Hell for later. (I also hinted at the Soul Anchor earlier than the AP does, mainly through the aboleth encounter and different Mangvhune connection).

So I had Mailari tell the PCs about the contract after she got a seat on the Silver Council, At the start of book three she invited the PCs to a secret dinner at her school and told them the basics about the Kintargo contract, and that she had actually seen it once, This way my players got to know about the contract's existence from a first-hand witness, but without having the PCs getting their hands on it prematurely, and also not yet finding out about the contract devil Odexidie (sp?). They could then fuel the rebellion with the knowledge and hope of a possible "way out", and it gave the PCs a strong incentive to find the actual contract themselves... maybe Barzillai had it?

Please see below for my background and the reason for Mailari's knowledge about the Kintargo contract.

Mailari is an elf and in my HR she's been around Kintargo for about 100 years. She left for a few years during the worst of the civil war but came back just before the end.
She is actually the older sister of Jackdaw (a fact that she keeps secret) and Amyreid Juliac (one of the O.G. Silver Ravens) was Jackdaw's half elf daughter, who Mailari raised and tutored (which was the main reason Mailari bought and took over the school).
There was bad blood between Mailari and Jackdaw, since Jackdaw in Mailari's eyes was much more interested in adventuring than in her family (except for recruiting her daughter - whom Mailari had gotten married in to a fine Kintargo noble house - to an endeavour who ultimately got her killed). But just before Jackdaw got captured she had retrieved a copy of the Kintargo contract, and showed it to Mailari in triumph.
She unfortunately disappeared with the contract on her, and in my HR this is the copy Barzillai now carries in his Chelish crux.

During the dinner Mailari told the PCs that Jackdaw did show her the contract and said it contained a hidden possibility to "free" Ravounel, but omitted their kinship. This was due to another subplot I have cooking, but if you would use Mailari for the contract exposition the way I did, I guess there's no reason for her not telling the PCs that Jackdaw was (is!) her sister.

Not closely at all, and we're on book 4 now. Then again, I don't care much for random encounters in general. I prefer all my encounters to be prepared and somewhat connected to the story/setting/PCs. What I have used are some of the typed out encounters, such as The Sewer Sage, but I would not roll on a table when prep or a selection is better. But that's just our group's play style.

The logic you can use for the increase in encounter power is that as the stakes get higher and higher, the big players get into the game. You don't use your elite guys/gals for the rabble.

A Google sheet works great for this. We play in person and my players keep their own notes, but they enjoy doing that. Whenever someone connects the dots I reward the player in question a Hero point (i.e. "this must be the items taken from the monastery!"), so it's become sort of a mini-game for them to keep good records.
I myself have a Google sheet with NPCs, factions and clues, and if they wouldn't be doing it themselves I would had copied and pasted info to a shared sheet whenever they find out stuff. Then again I'm the type of GM who likes my players to eventually find out most of the backstory, you might play differently.

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The illustrations of the Runelords are absolutely fantastic. Ekaterina Burmak is my favourite among your excellent stable of artists - tied with Wayne Reynolds, of course! I really love her realistic and incredibly detailed style. The characters come to life, in a way a more 'comic booky/anime' (as per Reynolds et. al.) style can't achieve, and their personalities just leap out at you.

It would work very well with only vigilantes, in my opinion. In fact, it might work better with the story than other party compositions, since it would remove some inconsistencies and plot holes in the AP that you then wouldn't need to solve in other ways.
As for the PCs all being nobility, that might work as well, but bear in mind that the AP supposes that you gather the support of the lower classes well before you try to enlist the higher ones. But there's several NPCs at hand to help the party understand the way this sandbox AP should be best approached.

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So far, this is the thing I like the least in P2 (but there's many things I like a lot). When it comes to skills, I think P2 relies too much on level and dice rolls as compared to build choices. 5 points has too little effect when compared to a 1-20 dice range and level range (and Item and Ability, but anyone can have that regardless of specialising). And for many skills, I find that the Skill feats don't do enough to make a difference.

I'm GMing Hell's Rebels, an urban AP where skills are important, especially knowledge and social skills. So my players have specialised their characters in different areas - and this has added to their personalities. The guy excelling in Sense Motive is a bit suspicious and the one with a high Knowledge: History is always going on about historic landmarks, and so on.

I can't see that happening in P2 anymore, where the difference between "untrained" and "expert" is that the expert has a +3 on a d20 roll, with 1-20 levels added. I don't care as much how this focus on level affects characters of different levels, but more how this will affect the party dynamics and character uniqueness (since they are usually at the same level.)

We make a lot of what is now called Recall Knowledge rolls in Hell's Rebels. In P2, anyone can Recall Knowledge for any Lore skill they might think about, untrained (p.151). Putting skill feats into Lore skills will give a poor return of investment, as it stands now.
Instead, I foresee that players in P2 will use their skill feats for "action" skills only, and as soon as there is a Lore-based skill check everyone in the party will roll, with about the same chance of success as if they would have had spent skill feats.

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Dean HS Jones wrote:

Mark Seifter gave a really good and expansive introduction to this philosophy on Know Direction and the bard makes TOTAL sense as an Occult caster.

Thanks for the tip! I'll listen to it pronto since the Occult + bard connection is very unclear to me. Feels like Occult should instead be connected to witches and sorcerers, and bards to enchantment magic and illusions.

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graystone wrote:

]LOL Well you got your wish in one part of the game. You can always use bulk!!! It conforms to NO standard so you're making it all up as you go! ;)

Just use distance bulk, size bulk, ect... The game doesn't care if you're off by 100%.

GM: You've traveled for many bulk and have finally reached the dungeon. The cave entrance is 2 by 3 bulk and gapes ominously at you. After maybe 5 bulk you hear a 3 bulk loud rumble emit from it, lasting only for a bulk. Then, a freezing wind seeps out, like a slow breath of death, surely at least 5 icy, remorseless bulk cold.

Paladin: Never fear, compatriots! I charge my trusty steed into this den of evil, sword drawn!
GM: Your horse runs straight into the cliff face. How did you think it would fit into 2 x 3 bulk? You take 10 bulk of bulk.
Paladin: Bulk it!

On topic, I'm a metric user and I don't mind the archaic measurement system used in this game at all. In fact, for Pathfinder, I prefer it. I just translate the measurements directly to an equivalent out of our own old historic language and get some nice medieval flavour for free. (For any Scandinavians, I use inch=tum, foot = fot, yard = aln, pound = skålpund, gallon = kanna.)

In combat, which is almost the only place where exact range really matters, we talk about squares. Our movement rate isn't e.g. 30', it's 6 squares. Since we use a combat mat this works great. For spells and such, we move the decimal one step to the left on the foot measurement (i.e. 25 becomes 2.5), double the remaining, and there's the amount of squares. As easy, but less painful. as putting your foot in a brodequin!

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I used the fishery from Crimson Throne as the headquarters of a honey trap rebellious organisation set up by two Thrune agents.

I used the Mayor's manor from Council of Thieves as Sarini's estate.

I incorporated parts of The Midnight Mirror in book 3. I added a major arc in this book where Kintargo's food supply was threatened (in part because Barzillai has called in most of the countryside guards to the city), and the Silver Ravens could now prove themselves to be real saviours of the people, not just enemies of the state. (I also felt they needed to do some large scale heroics, since they had been really low key up to that point.) One part of the food crisis was the fishing, which was disturbed be the Acizasi problems (which I expanded with From Shore to Sea), the other part was the grain trade, which was where The Midnight Mirror came in.

I placed the town of Karpad from the adventure in northern Ravounel, and changed the villain to be an umbral agent wanting to increase the influence of Nidal in Ravounel.
The village was in the domain of Delronge and the region and the town served as the main producer of grains for Kintargo. This gave me a chance to introduce Melodia earlier. The villain Nicasor and the Kuthite priestess in Kintrago, Aluceda Zhol, had cooked up a plan were they would create problems in the region, hampering the food supply to Kintargo, and then offer to solve the disturbances for the price of replacing Karpad's Asmodean temple with a Kuthite one, and placing a permanent garrison of Nidalese soldiers in the town.
I changed the mirror itself from a prison to a shadow portal that the agent Nicasor could use to get between Nidal and the village.
The main treasure was a letter the PC found among Nicasor's belongings which indicates that High Priest Grivenner is influenced by Zhol.

As mentioned, I used From Shore to Sea with the Acizasi parts, but all the changesI did there would take a long post to go through. The short of it is that it worked out well, both the Midnight Mirror and the Shore to Sea inclusions, and the players thought it was fun, not least to take their city-built characters out into the great unknown, a.k.a. the WILDERNESS :-)

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I had them start losing 1d4 supporters every night, without telling them why. In the end they started to investigate, and found people humming some merry tunes with anti-Silver Raven lyrics. They found out that a bard named Ambrosio Barca (hired by the thrunies, of course) was going around town defaming them, in song, poetry and speech (and a silly dance or two). They managed to find our the name of one of Barca's regular watering holes, a dance palace in Jarvis' End, and went there. Hiding in the crowd, they heard Ambrosio give a spirited speech about chaos, uncertainty, terrorism and the dangers of vigilantism, rousing the audience including the party's Wisdom-dumped fighter ("He's got a point guys!").

I had prepared a Verbal Duel but my cowardly, sorry, cautious players didn't take that bait, preferring to follow him instead. However, Barca was followed by four 7th level Asmodean slayers (who could call in two bearded devils) in the event the Silver Ravens would go after him, and it ended up with in a fun and tough fight in the streets.

It was all inspired by Book 2 in Kingmaker, and if you haven't run that it might work for you as well. For the bard I used a toned down (level 10) Celebrity Bard (

BornofHate wrote:

That's something I will be doing for our masquerade game.

I plan to make a randomizer similar to this.

Thanks so much BornOfHate, that worked really well. For my named NPCs I decided masks based on their personalities, but used your lists for random people.

I moved things around a bit, changed the roll to a d12 and adjusted +2 for expensive masks/outfits and -2 for inexpensive ones.

Lists I used:

D12 Roll 1 GENERAL ADJECTIVES (+2 for expensive mask, -2 for cheap)
1: Dull
2: Hastily Made
3: Broken (Perhaps intentionally)
4: Colorful
5: Pure Black
6: Pure Red
7: Antique
8. Silver (al least looking like it
9: Translucent
10: Extravagant
11. Magically glowing
12: Pure Gold

D12 Roll 2: KEY DETAIL DESCRIPTORS (+2 for expensive mask, -2 for cheap)
1: Roughly Textured
2: Metal fasteners (Rivets, Buckles, Bolts, etc.)
3: Scaled
4: Eye-Less
5: Jaw-Less
6: Crying
7: Laughing
9. Filigreed
10: Gem Encrusted (Could be real or fake)
11: Gold Leaf
12: Magically changing expressions

D12 Roll 3: NOUNS
1: Hound/Wolf
2: Devil
3: God/Goddess (refined based on character)
4: Porcelain Doll
5: Butterfly/Moth
6: Rare Magical Beast (Manticore, Chimera, etc.)
7: Troll/Ogre
8: Raven
9: Hero of Legend (PC from a past AP?)
10: Celestial (Moon, stars, sun, clouds)
11: Botanical (flowers, trees, vines)
12: Dragon

D12 Roll 4: MATERIAL (+2 for expensive mask, -2 for cheap)
1: Wood
2: Leather
3: Paper Mache
4: Feathers
5: Polished Stone
6: Leaves and Twigs
7: Clay
8: Textile
9: Unknown (But it looks a LOT like flesh/bone)
10: Rare Metal
11: Gemstones
12: Magic (glowing illusion)

Did anyone make a list for the masquerade with guest and what masks they are wearing, and wouldn't mind sharing it? We're running it tomorrow and my imagination has dried up...

@Zimmerwald Ah I'm sure you're right, even if I've haven't checked myself either. It was so long ago (this campaign has taken forever, due to several longer breaks) so my recollection is becoming increasingly vague... no need for any Thrune redactors here, I'm doing that job quite well myself! :-)

@Bellona Such a fun game. Especially for the GM >:-)

There's gonna be an open bar! That was good enough reason for the cleric of Cayden in my group. The others thought that it would be better to be there than not to, in best case just to keep an eye on things, especially since many of their friends and relatives are going. (One PC's actress sister (an NPC) is even going to play Jilia Banilius in a little performance called "Passing the Torch" that will be shown at the party. That addition's just in our campaign, so not a spoiler.) They're also quite curious, and want to see their enemy Barzillai in the flesh, since he's been so reclusive personally. So they're going to go in disguise (well, it is a masquerade, so hard not to).

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Jurassic Pratt wrote:

See, the issue is you're using real world opinions on poisons to justify them being dishonorable in a fantasy game world.

Our world doesn't have magic, so we have absolutely no clue if we wouldn't view magical items in exactly the same light. Also, I could very easily see someone considering using a Corrosive weapon dirty and calling you a Black Dragon or something as an insult on par with Slinking Viper.

If poisons are dishonorable because they were seen that way IRL, I suppose paladins going on genocidal crusades against innocent people of different faiths should be fine for paladins since that's what they did historically.

I wrote a long post but this says it better than I could.

All these RL comparisons that appear on these forums... not only is Golarion a fantasy world, but it’s a *game* fantasy world, with even less logic than a world made for a novel, film, or comic book (usually) has. Nothing makes sense in Pathfinder/Golarion if you look at it longer than two seconds. Morals & ethics, physics, economy, geography, biology, what have you. And that's fine, because it works great as a fantasy setting for a group of RL people to play in.

If Paizo says that for a paladin, using poison on a sword is morally the same as using e.g. fire on it, then that’s how it is in Golarion. RL has nothing to do with it.

Gorbacz wrote:
Wayne's Facebook page seems to confirm that these are, indeed, orcs.

Meh, I was hoping for trolls. Never cared much for Paizo's crocodile look for their trolls.

So Barzillai and Tiarise had a child, and Tiarise, being nifty with dimensions and such sent the kid to Earth? Hmmm... seems there might be a case for a seventh book in this AP - Netta's Revenge!

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Savant, I had introduced the Poison Pen previously through rumours, but also through this grafitti handout I made (poem's nicked from Paizo's Towns of the Inner Sea book): . So they knew about his alias, and during the escape from the Aulorian estate Marquel accidently drop the chest containing all his writings onto the street, blowing his cover in front of the PCs.

The way I made Marquel contact the PCs was rather convoluted, I'm afraid. During book two of HR I inserted a modified play and party from The Sixfold Trail (from Council of Thieves), but in our game both the play and the party were sponsored an hosted by house Sarini. The PCs were present at the party, were their mission was to retrieve some loot and clues belonging originally to the old Silver Ravens. Since it was such an important social event the Aulorians "had" to bring Marquel with them. The nobleman saw the PCs as mercenaries for hire and managed to approach them when his parents weren't looking. He gave them a proposal - "Free me, make it look like a kidnapping, and you will be richly rewarded". My players were more interested to get a contact inside the nobility than getting paid, but they took the bait.

So, not very helpful I'm afraid, unless you intend to throw some social event in book two that Marquel would also frequent. Another option could be that Marquel is sometimes let out of the mansion, but guarded, maybe to get some new clothes or for a walk. He manages to get free from his guards for a second, looks around for someone that looks remotely handy with a sword/spell, and slips a note or a message to them (a PC then, of course).

I skipped Nones entirely. There was nothing about that hook that I liked: her being all-knowing about the Raven's whereabouts, being a Chelish officer, her introduction, her attitude, and to add to that being a gunslinger (which doesn't exist in our Golarion). Also I ddin't like how passive he is, especially since I wanted him to later become an active ally of the Silver Ravens, so I had Marquel himself orchestrate his jail break by getting a message to the PCs.

I think a lot of good options are mentioned above, using Laria or Rexus as suggested. Another option is using Hetamon. I had him be the one printing and distributing Marquel's texts, so if you introduce him before the Marquel storyline you could have him deliver a message to the PCs from the poet. Frankly, anything is better than having this omnipotent cowgirl kick open the saloon doors of whatever bar the PCs happen to hide in and try to insult them into helping her boss.

I thought the same as you do. So in our campaign I had the Trashing Badger be a meeting place for a large group of professors and students at the Academy who were in (secret, of course) opposition against Thrune. But Barzillai had done his homework pre-AP and the burning of the inn took care of most of the city's malcontent intelligentsia for him. We played out the Night of Ashes and had a scene at the Badger, were the PCs could save a professor who jumped out of a window. So that explained the continued undisturbed existence of the Academy since Barzillai had effectively defanged it. I had some ads appear for new teachers in the local newspaper handout I give to my players, where the candidates were said to become "thoroughly vetted by the Inquisition this time around". None of the PCs applied :-)

FaerieGodfather wrote:

People who believe that critical fumble rules are somehow "realistic" should really avoid getting into knife fights.

I've actually stabbed myself - deep - in the thigh with a knife once. Then again, I'm a 1st level Commoner.

Warped Savant wrote:
Seems wrote:
I prefer to use the "Save Encounter" option (the disk icon) on the Monsters window, which saves a .cmpt file just for the monsters.

I didn't know that option existed either!

(Apparently I don't know the program that well...)

I use it this way: I have a Google Drive folder for the AP (we only play APs nowadays), with subfolders for each AP book. In each book folder I create other subfolders for each scene (i.e. "Jailbreak", "Highway robbery" etc.). Then I open Combat Manager, and search all the monsters for each scene and put them in the monsters combat list. I edit the monsters as needed, adding or subtracting minions etc. Then I save a CM Encounter file for the encounter in the correct subfolder. If it is a dungeon I name the encounter file after the room number, otherwise I just give it a descriptive name.

Then when we play I can easily open up each list of opponents as the players prod along. If they manage to engage several groups/rooms of opponents I can add these by opening those encounter files as well. I save the encounter files if they leave so I know how many monsters survived.

The players use HeroLab so when they level up I have them send me a .por file. I import this into Combat Manager and save it as a CM encounter file as well, so I always have copies of the PC's. and when rolling initiative in CM they're always there.

gustavo iglesias wrote:
TwoWolves wrote:

Most people have all of their modifiers pre-calculated, so getting an actual total shouldn't be hard. I would assume that part of the streamlining effort going into PF2 would be cutting down on the minute modifier details.

Adding/subtracting 10 is just moving the 10's place digit up or down by one. Not really enough to consider actual "math".

Circumstantial modifiers can't be pre-calculated, tho. The OP has a valid point. Normally if you roll a 3, or roll a 18, you don't even need to add the modifiers. You know your 3 missed, and your 18 hit. But know you have to check if 3 missed by 10, and if 18 hit by 10. Regardless of how fast you can add or substract numbers, making a calculation is always slower than not making it, so having to make more calculation certainly will slow the game. How much, we will see on August, probably.

This is the thing. Not that you have to calculate, but that you have to calculate for all rolls.

When we play it usually goes like this:
Me (the GM)- "You really want to know the mating habits of the Chuul? All right, give me a Knowledge Dungoneering check."
The player rolls the die, without looking up their skill bonus for the skill
Me - "What did you get?"
Player - Dunno, but I rolled an 18, and I have a good skill bonus, so a lot.
Me - "OK, feast you ears on this..."

If the player had rolled a say a 10 or 11, then they would have checked their skill bonus and added it to the roll , but for high (or really low) rolls we often don't, since it's binary. Instead - by having four different outcomes - having to pick up the character sheet, find the value, and add it to the roll every time will likely slow things down. At least for skill checks we will probably house rule this out.

CorvusMask wrote:
The whole campaign and goal of it isn't just to have true gender equality, its to reform Taldor in general <_<

No, but it is one of the possible conflicts, and more importantly, it's what this thread is about.

To be clear, I think this theme is a good one to use in an AP, but it needs a solid foundation. Rather than the AP being "wrong" here, as the OP seems to suggest, I think the previous Taldor books were, since they make this good theme a little weaker.

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Steve Geddes wrote:
I think this assumption that a misogynistic society -> no women in positions of power is an unnecessary simplification. By excising women from positions of power you risk an excellent chance of displaying this aspect of the stagnant Taldor the players are working to change - namely in the differences with which women exercising authority are viewed by the conservative members of Taldan society. As mentioned a number of times above, the real world is replete with sexist countries with women in positions of power. The implication that "sexism means there's no women nobility" is a pretty simplistic view (granted it will make the main thrust of the AP abundantly clear, nonetheless in a political machination campaign, perhaps there's room for some nuance?)

Well, I wouldn't present women as slaves skulking in the background in this retcon, but rather cut down on the number of female leaders the Taldor books describe. But that's a great angle you suggest that the GM can use to establish this conflict. It can however be done with Eutropia herself. While nuance and subtlety is great, I think my players would end up asking "Hey, where's the problem here really?" after I paraded the umpteenth female general in front of them bemoaning the state of equality. I think this injustice, if used, needs to be made quite stark. I fear nuance here would fall flat for us - Golarion is a world with absolute evil around every corner after all, so there's a lot of battles to be fought, and killing in the name of subtle workplace inequality might not cut it for my group. But all groups are of course different.

jscott991 wrote:

They created numerous, interesting female NPCs in First Empire that held positions of extreme power in Taldor (grand duchesses and generals in particular), and then focused their Adventure Path on the fact that women in Taldor are denied political power.

It may be as simple as this. Paizo, as a company, has a guideline (stated on these forums by James Jacobs and others) to try to include groups of people in their products that they see as minorities in the real life gaming community and/or have not traditionally been included as important characters in gaming previously. So their products include women, people of color, non-heterosexual people, trans-gender, and others, as important characters that the PC will interact with.

Now they have made an AP that makes sexist Taldor one of the themes of the AP and this sexism one of the things to fight against. But the previous lore depicted many powerful people in the nation as women, as Paizo does as part of the above mentioned guideline, and this lore would then have to be retconned to describe a truly misogynistic nation. Which I agree creates a bit of a conundrum. The explanation of the Taldorian female leaders being exceptions to the rule, as proposed in this thread, halts a bit IMO. If I'll run this AP and decide to go for this theme I will instead retcon the old books and scratch the female power figures in Taldor. It's a misogynist country, ergo there are no women holding power, and that is one of the things the players can potentially change.

Angry Adventurer wrote:
And in regards to the more snobby posts. I have played 4E, Warhammer, LOTRSBG, Hail Caesar, Lion Rampant, Dark Souls, and more tabletop games. Believe me, this s!@& is unique when it comes to learning it.

There's a reason the Core book is this obtuse. It wasn't written to help and guide newcomers to this game - it was made to appeal to disgruntled players of version 3.5 of Dungeons & Dragons, which was being superseded by (a much different) version 4. New players were not the Core rule book's main audience at all.

Paizo succeeded spectacularly with Pathfinder, but unfortunately this meant that their main entry point to the now very successful game was made with D&D veterans in mind. And this has been the state since 2009, with various band-aids being applied to this problem such as the Beginner's Box or the Strategy Guide.

I know this won't help you make heads or tails of the Core book, but sometimes it can make an experience less frustrating if you understand why it is like it is. And, as you can see above, the Pathfinder community is mostly a great and very helpful bunch of people indeed. Disregarding the (quite few, IMO) snobby posts :-)

I added it in . We played basically the whole stage play part (and Barzillai was in the audience at the grand performance, looking very haggard and leaving before the end), and then the Westcrown Mayor's party afterwards.

I included the Sixfold Trail as a way to get into the Sarini mansion. The Sarinis are more involved in our game than in the published AP. In our version, the Sarini mansion hosted the underground Asmodean temple before Thrune won (and they Asmodeans subsequently acquired their current digs). It's still there, but closed down. And it was there that the Pit Fiend Oughorthan had set up his trap for the original Silver Ravens after the end of the civil war.

The PCs found a Silver Raven figurine at the Newt market, being sold by proxy. They shadowed the seller and confronted him. It turned out that he was a former Sarini house guard who had stolen the figurine from the Sarini leader's office (teh guard couldn't longer stomach the atrocities going on in the mansion, and had bailed). He had heard the head of the family boasting to Barzillai himself during a visit that the Silver Raven figurine in his office came from the "old temple below our mansion" and was "given to my father by Oughorthan, from the bloody hand of Jackdaw herself".

This of course made the the PCs very interested to explore the old Sarini basement temple themselves. Now, I wanted to use the Westcrown Mayor's from the Sixfold trail mansion as the Sarini estate, and wanted the PCs to use the play as the way to enter the after-show party, to then be able to sneak into the basement.

The way I railroaded them into the play instead of just breaking in or trying to get jobs as e.g. gardeners, was that firstly, the major domo, Nodo, of house Sarini was a quite powerful Accomplice Devil in service to the family (information they got from the very afraid ex house guard). He interviewed all contractors and employees "thoroughly". Also, the estate had a version of a permanent Forbiddance cast on it, but instead acting on alignment it affected everyone not of the Sarini bloodline. It could be alleviated for non-family by a ritual using blood smeared on a personal object, which was then then worn, something the Sarinis did for personel and guests. And the after-play party was the best way for someone like the PCs to get invited to the mansion.

I had shortened the play and the party from the Sixfold Trail to be able to better fit it in, but the addition worked out quite well.

Unfortunately I played it as written, and it did not go down well with my players. If I would run this again I would replace it.

Zardnaar wrote:

Gygx was not a fan of 3E and there were very few Gygaxisms left in the game by the time PF landed. A few alignment restrictions perhaps.

You're correct. I should have written TSRisms instead, or maybe williamisms... (j/k on the last one)

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