Azghaad

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I don't think it would be a stretch for Wizards to have more Lore skills at character creation. I may house rule something about Lore skills for all classes anyway. It seems like few characters would bother with Lore when there are more generally useful skills. Maybe something like Background skills from 1e.


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I also recommend considering some changes to loot in this adventure beyond the necklaces of air adaption. At one point, there is a wand of freedom of movement with quite a lot of charges in the treasure. This spell can trivialize many aquatic encounters, especially with so many free charges. Part of the challenge of some of the underwater encounters is the environment. Eliminating the challenge with 'free' freedom of movement might require rebalancing some encounters to make them tougher. The party can't even cast that spell yet at the level they should be when they acquire the wand.

Another change I made was the languages spoken by many of the monsters and races throughout the adventure. It made no sense that these cultures that have had little to no contact with Avistan would all speak Common. Most creatures encountered that speak Common in the Bestiary were changed to speak Aquan, Merfolk or an Azlanti dialect instead.

My party did have a challenge communicating with the Scrags in this adventure. They only speak Giant, and no one in the party spoke it. Fortunately Hags speak Giant, so at least that part made sense. The party had to rest with the cleric swapping spells to be able to understand the troll. I think the spell was Share Language or something like that. I didn't know that Comprehend Languages is a Personal only spell.


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A few more things.

Eliza escaped at the end of Part 1. She retreated to the Skum slave camp and now willingly works with the Skum and Onthooth at Onchymua's request. My party hasn't quite reached this encounter, but I know they'll be happy to finally get revenge on her. I changed her background some, making her an Aspis Consortium agent that had greedy intentions all along. I had to find a reason for her to be exploring Azlanti ruins, so making her an Aspis spy worked well.

Also, about half of the original colonists will be alive and 'well' and can be rescued. I like that idea rather than the idea of Onthooth burning through nearly 100 test subjects during their capture. His facility in Part 3 isn't really big enough to deal with that many captives over an extended period of time.

I'm looking forward to Part 3 soon...


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My group is making steady progress through this part of the adventure, so I thought I'd share some insight into what I've done to make he story work out more smoothly for my group.

1 - The Sunken Laboratory - The pit that descends into the lab is 80 feet I think. Without LOTS of rope, pitons, and/or trees (that can survive fireballs), the party can't get down without levitation or feather fall or something. Add fireballs blasting every round (unless they 'kill' the haunt for the day), and this is just too hard. My party crafted makeshift ropes ladders with sturdy vines from the forest nearby and I had some scraggly trees that could support the weight. Getting back up was impossible with a group with all low Climb skills and no magic to get out. They had to rely on Monkey Fish spell to get 1 party member out who then hoisted the others out. How did Durvin Gest get down here centuries ago? Maybe I would add some more permanent chain ladder that he left behind to get down next time.

2 - I added some details to the map that the Sahuagin had in the Reef area. The map included a scrag meetup camp near the Bleeding Forest where they transferred their prisoners to the Scrags, who then took them the rest of the way up to Nal Shakar via a hidden mountain path. I added the waterfall to this map, so the party would be motivated to check out that site as the possible site Durvin recorded.

3 - I added story detail to motivate the party to visit Bonetown. The water naga and locathah shared stories about the small Gillmen settlement that mysteriously disappeared about 2 years ago after rumors of conflict with Skum. Maybe their disappearance is related to the colonists that went missing and clues could be found at Bonetown. Ramona suggested to follow up on investigating Bonetown for clues. It's kind of a red herring, but it helps to keep the party out of the colony so the faceless stalkers can continue their takeover.

4 - I added some background of continued conflict between Onthooths Skum allies and Helekheterie's Sahuagin allies. Onthooth was winning the conflict, but with serious attrition among his Skum allies. The Hag's sahaugin forces have been rebuilding slowly and the Skum can't procreate without human hosts to breed with. Onthooth really needs breeding stock for more Skum to keep control of the region. This leads into other stuff I added....

5 - The Skum have kept nearly all the female colonists in a slave camp on the small island in the center of the map. They are keeping them in very good condition to use as breeding stock. However, Skum can only breed once a year at the summer solstice...so the women haven't been corrupted yet. This Skum slave camp is run by a Skum Druid and Alchemist. The druid uses his magic to control giant sea turtles with rafts that can be attached/pulled. This is how the colonists are easily transported from Ancorato to the other islands. I just couldn't fathom how rowing back and forth in a 4 person boat would work, so adding this druid and his giant turtles helped this part of the story make more sense. The alchemist can help brew potions for the Skum and Faceless stalkers to assist in their takeover of the new colonists.

6 - I added Monkey Goblin allies with classes levels (Rangers and Sorcerers) to the Hag's tower. This made the fight with the Hag much more interesting and challenging, since she really didn't have much offensive capability. I also modified the orrery description to include details of metal whirling rings with the planets attached that were 20 feet up. The hag used her Fly potion to fly up to the planet rings to use her spells from above on the party while the Vampiric Mist and Monkey goblin fought. This made the encounter more fun and challenging. The hag really seemed to have too few allies in the story to seem threatening to Onthooth or even able to keep control of the island. More could be added to this to make the story seem more real. I also added some river drake allies to the crater area to make it seem like the hag had more 'control' over the area.

Other things I would consider changing next time include:

Reducing the power of those necklaces of air adaption. They are too valuable for the party to have so many by the end of the story, plus I can't see the hag spending so much time constructing them when she is so obsessed with her Oracle stuff in the tower. Maybe they could be nerfed to provide air breathing in a 10 foot radius (also to bypass the tower sound burst trap in 10 foot radius) and no move speed bonus. Then the sahuagin and scrags would only need like 1 each, or at most 2.


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It means a lot to see so much love and support for our community. Thank you for everything Paizo!


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I had considered the same thing. Why wouldn't they take advantage of the defensive capabilities of Spindlelock and use it as a base going forward.

I say the biggest challenge is that it will make it hard for the party to react to threats against Talmandor's Bounty if they are so far away. I don't think there are any plot reasons for not allowing them to take the tower for their own use. I don't think it comes up again in any of the future modules at all.

But, the party is supposed to have a vested interest in the safety and prosperity of the colony, and being a days journey away (until they have access to powerful magic) may make that very hard, or impossible.

I'm going to allow my party to take the tower, if they want to and set up defenses as an outpost of sorts. However, I will make it clear to them that they can't abandon the colony without jeopardizing its safety.

I already have Ramona prioritizing blazing a few trails northward anyway toward the 2nd landing site for future development. With better trails, the journey can be reduced some or even be accessible to mounts?


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My group is about half way through Part 1 and I have some observations to share.

The monster challenges have been very hard for the party level. Most fights are near death experiences. My party is still level 2, just as the module suggests they should be in the 2nd part. Fortunately, most of the foes so far have not been smart or vicious enough to coup to grace downed party members.

There are a TON of monsters that have grab/constrict which can be brutal for a party ill equipped to deal with that challenge. Most enemies have several natural attacks. All in all, I think the CR of many encounters is a bit high for the recommended party level. Also, most of the creatures have super high stealth scores and tend to prefer ambushes. Maxed out perceptions in the party still have a hard time.

The crysmals seemed brutal for my party which is composed mostly of finesse melee and casters. Fortunately, my party rolled very well on Knowledge Planes and realized they needed blunt weapons, so they retreated to the colony to gather some before returning to confront the elementals.

The darkmantles were also very brutal with their darkness and my group that has no races with darkvision.

The chokers with their extra move actions were super hard too. Multiple attacks, free grab/constrict, high AC (especially for young ones) made this super hard too.

One item I have modified is Eliza's background. In order to integrate her more with some of the other minor subplots, I've decided to make her an agent of Aspis Consortium. She is one of the scouts/spies Aspis snuck into the first wave of colonists, just as Carver, the Pathfinder feared. I'm hoping this will add to the story, giving more reason for her to be sneaking about exploring ruins on her own. It also justifies Carver having a larger role to play in Part 2 as Aspis being major enemies of the Pathfinders.

Just wanted to share. =)


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Anyone implemented downtime rules for colony building successfully yet? My group has just got to the point where colony building might begin (part 2 of book 1).

I'm torn whether to invest any effort into this. My group seems interested in crafting and decision making for the colony, but not to the point where they want to invest much time learning the mechanics.

If I don't use these systems, I'm still wondering about a default, 'average' progression of the colony. How fast will they grow reasonably? I'm still of the opinion that Andoran will be reluctant to send more colonists until the mystery of the original colonists is solved and the area deemed safe enough to send more people. I could be persuaded otherwise, I suppose.

I have never used the downtime rules in actual play and I'm a bit overwhelmed on how to organize it all. I imagine with initial time investment and organization, it won't be such a burden later on?


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After reading the entire adventure path, I think the middle and end could use a lot of expanding. Part 4, 5 and 6 seem very fast pace, and the PCs seem like they will level very fast over a short period of in game time, especially part 5 and 6.

I'd love to expand those parts of the story to slow down the pace and explore other areas only touched on by the path. I'm sure I can find lots of reasons why the enemies in the path require more time to finalize their plans before the last book.

Does anyone have advice on Pathfinder modules, scenarios, etc. that might easily fit the theme and story that could be adapted for addition to the path?

I'm open to non-Pathfinder material, even old D&D stuff that might fit in well.


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Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
domicilius wrote:


@Eliandra Giltessan:
The characters can be compelled by Ramona or other colonists to "keep investigating the missing colonists," leading them to eventually hit areas N, O or P. They'll likely encounter the warden jack at some point even if they don't go looking for clues, which should prompt them to wonder where it came from, as its obviously constructed. The skum in area P know where the colonists are, so you can have them attack the colony if the characters still won't go investigate.

The players can be compelled to investigate because they're playing the adventure, and that demands they keep investigating. They either implicitly or explicitly agreed to buy into the adventure and keep pursuing it, its on them to continue and find area P.

The book can easily just end (well, until Book 2 if the hints are any indication) if the players and characters are content to just live in town and not investigate. They're adventurers, they need to adventure!

I get that, I'm just confused why they would go THERE in particular. I haven't read AD2 yet---waiting til I get my physical copy today or tomorrow---but from the looks of the map, they explore the rest of the island in book 2, so to finish book 1, they need to go to those specific places. Now, it's possible books 1 and 2 can easily blend into each other/overlap, in which case, great! If not, obviously I can come up with a reason that Ramona sends them there---missing scouts, searching for the origin of the skum that attacked them, etc. I was just making sure there wasn't a reason in the text that I was missing.

I believe the Skum attack party is carrying a note that says they are supposed to bring any prisoners to the tower at P. Page 21 Treasure section of encounter M - Attack on the Beach.


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I recently started running this adventure path and wanted to share some observations after my first 2 game sessions.

1 - My players have not overly min-maxed their characters. They are a fairly well balanced group (Druid, Ranger, Wizard, Investigator), with diverse abilities without being munchkiny in their optimization. The encounters in Talmandor's bounty have been pretty tough, especially considering the minimal resources the party has as fresh off the boat (literally) adventurers.

While the Grindylows were not too bad the Ankheg nymph, monkey goblins, and poltergeist have been challenging. The party feels a sense of urgency to figure out what is going on with the missing colonists and to rendezvous again with the Peregrine, so they press on beyond what their resources can deal with. I had to compensate by giving them a wand of cure light wounds (hidden in a tiny compartment carved into the Talmandor statue in the chapel).

2 - The party hasn't finished exploring the deserted colony yet. There are still the adult ankheg, more nymphs, choker and blood maize to encounter. The choker is likely the easiest of them, but the ankhegs have very high damage outputs and likely ambush the party every time with burrow speed and tremorsense. The blood maize has a very nasty bleed effect and also likely will ambush the party since it has the ability to hide/illusion among normal plants. I'm hoping the party rests before dealing with them, at least after encountering the choker.

3 - There are a lot of monsters that grab,trip, etc.

4 - The timeline of what happened to the original colonists is a bit fuzzy. It would be nice to add a very simple timeline of events. I am going to try to work on this, so my story seems consistent as the party uncovers clues.

I'll share more as I figure stuff out. Fortunately, my group isn't blazing through the story too fast, so I have time to adapt between sessions.


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Yes, I agree that additional colonists are unlikely to be sent until more word is sent to Andoran that things are going well for the colony, both in safety and resources.


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Thanks Tinalles for the awesome information. I'm looking ahead at this part of the story and foresee problems. Yours ideas are awesome and will help make this part of the story make more sense, in my mind.


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Thanks Midnight Anarch, good advice.

I think it makes sense for experienced infiltrators like that to have a few Undetectable Alignment potions available. I'm not sure who would be making them, but it is a Bard 1 spell, so maybe there is an evil Bard Faceless Stalker cranking them out. =)


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Midnight Anarch wrote:
grandpoobah wrote:
I think the biggest risk is when Thanaldu replaces Carver Hastings - if the PCs notice this key NPC has gone from not-evil to evil, that could trigger events early.

Solid overview, first off. The idea of some colonists faintly detecting as evil is a great cover.

And I'd agree that Thanaldu's discovery is the biggest risk to the plot.

I'm considering trading in some of Thanaldu's valuable gear for a small cache of Undetectable Alignment scrolls that he can use with UMD. His boots of elvenkind would be worth a supply of these scrolls that he could tap into when the PCs return from excursions and he expects to encounter them. This may let him get past the initial hurdle of evil-detecting PCs, but it won't prevent other stalkers from being discovered. PCs who somehow discover his cache of these scrolls might also form some interesting opinions.

Alternatively, Onthooth could be modified to have both the spell and the craft potions feat, thereby creating a very limited supply to aid the initial stalkers. They might purposely put themselves in a position to be "scanned" by the PCs in the day or two after taking an NPC's place in the village. This would at least delay the discovery and suspicion of the first stalkers to infiltrate the town.

These tactics seem especially relevant if stalkers have information that detecting evil is part of the PCs' routine, something they may reasonably learn from one of the early kidnap victims.

Super helpful comments, thanks!

Maybe it's not the end of the world if the party discovers the Faceless Stalker infiltration earlier than intended. I guess the next challenge would be to delay the discovery of where the kidnapped colonists went till later. If the party skips the hag and Ancorto cleanup, they will be very under-powered if they take off for the next module early.

Any advice? It seems like the spyglass and mirror are essential clues. Once they find the communication point using them, they could realize quickly that some other island is involved with the abduction. How can I delay this realization in a logical way?

Thanks again for great advice!


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I too am considering using Downtime rules and kingdom building, but I have concerns that it will be just a bunch of record keeping and not much fun. Has anyone used these systems successfully so far? What did you adapt to make them fit better? What rate of influx of new colonists did you have on incoming supply ships? It seems like this whole venture colony is very risky and doesn't merit the huge investment by Andoran and Bountiful Venture Co. to send tons of supplies and colonists very frequently.

Also, they keep mentioning lumber as a major export, like pine and such, but really, how realistic is this? Would they really make a profit shipping heavy, bulky lumber from a small island when there are plenty of forests on the mainland? I plan to make much of the lumber profit from Teak or some exotic wood, rather than common types.

I guess the challenge is balancing the urgency of figuring out what happened to the missing colonists with building a successful colony. The kingdom building rules and such kind of imply lots of downtime, but the adventuring aspects of the story seem fairly urgent.


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I'm just beginning this adventure path with a new group and one player wants to play a Paladin. I am scared to have a Paladin with Detect Evil at will during this second part of the path.

Faceless Stalkers are 5HD Chaotic evil aberrations. If a Paladin starts to get suspicious early on in the module, what is going to stop him from using Detect Evil to figure out just which colonists are now registering as evil because they are actually Faceless Stalkers?

Anyone have advice on how to work with that Detect Evil ability without it prematurely spoiling the story?

I know it only tell them whether the object/person is radiating an aura of evil, but Carver especially, will be a familiar NPC that they are regularly interacting with that may begin to act weird early off in the story.

I hate to say no to the Paladin and force him to play another class, especially if I have no good reason to say no except that Detect Evil will ruin the plot.


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Thanks everyone for the advice! I'm still doing research and reading to decide what to run. I hope to share how it turns out in the end. =)


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It seems like these APs are among the 'best' for my criteria, not necessarily ranked in order:

1 - Rise of Runelords - Pro - Well balanced, focused homebase and NPCs ; Con - May need more long term NPCs for 'out in the field' toward end
2 - Skulls and Shackles - Pro - Lots of recurring NPCs and shipmates for interaction; Con - May need work on group incentive to stick together and be 'pirates'
3 - Kingmaker - Pro and Con - Very open
4 - Jade Regent - Pro - recurring NPCs for interactions; Con - Weak middle
5 - Curse of the Crimson Throne - Pro - City based for ease of recurring NPCs, factions, interactions; Con - Needs conversion, unless I wait

I tried to summarize some of the pros and cons from the little research I've done so far.

Thanks again!


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Thanks again for the advice everyone! I really appreciate the helpfulness.

I am fairly new to these Messageboards, and I just found the Adventure Path sections. I'll look at some of those areas for more details that will help me decide.

I could spend hours just reading and researching. =)


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I just found the preorder of Curse of the Crimson Throne for Pathfinder, instead of 3.5 I might look at that one more closely past the first module. Since the first module is city based, it gives a lot of opportunities for roleplay.

I'll look more closely at Rise of Runelords, Kingmaker and Skulls & Shackles. Rise of Runelords seems like good roleplay interactions, but mostly in the first 2 modules and less later on where there is a lot of wilderness exploration. I actually played Skulls & Shackles as a player and it seemed very hack and slash, BUT the DM and group didn't really get into roleplaying. I'll try to look at it again.

I'm thinking that perhaps some minor modification by including 1 or 2 party NPCs that are integral parts of the story. They don't have to be PC classed characters or combatant types, necessarily. This could add a lot of complication and the awkward possibility to have conversations with yourself sometimes. I can maybe have PCs run them in combat, but I take over out of combat? Party NPC's can add a lot of interaction while 'out in the field'. I don't want them to outshine PCs though or to be the DM answer robot for every PC question.

I own and have read Ultimate Intrigue. I wonder if there are some elements from that book that can be added to existing paths to give them more roleplay opportunities?

Thanks for all the advice so far! Keep it coming if you have time to spare. =)


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Updated Curse of the Crimson Throne? I read the first one and thought it had great potential, despite being written for 3.5.


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I am hoping to run an Adventure Path for a new group of players soon. I need help deciding which one to choose from 'experts' who may have run a variety of Paths in the past. I am looking for an Adventure Path that:

1 - Includes many recurring NPCs and opportunities for roleplaying with them. I love dungeon crawls and such, but I prefer to have lots of opportunities to talk in character with meaningful NPCs, not just monsters that will be slain.
2 - Does not include game mechanics that can bog down play or make tailoring encounters to my party too difficult. For example, Wrath of the Righteous may be too challenging to scale properly with the Mythic Rules. Also, the 3.5 paths might take a ton of work to update to Pathfinder rules. (However, I would consider them if they are truly superb otherwise.)
3 - Will work with a varied party makeup that may not be very optimized or min/maxed. If there is an essential class/role/etc. for a path, I'd love to have that advice up front. My group will likely not include min/maxers or super-experienced Pathfinder players. They will all likely be experienced roleplayers though.
4 - Has an interesting plot that won't be hard to keep players motivated in. I'd like to avoid a story that is only interesting to read, but not interesting to play through. I expect my party will tailor their character backgrounds to have motivations for the path, but I prefer that their motivations don't have to be too contrived or corny to keep interest through all 6 modules.

I hope it doesn't sound like I'm too picky. I really just want to find that 'perfect' Adventure Path to start a new group with that will really sell them on Pathfinder and keep them coming back for more.

Thanks in advance for sharing any opinions!


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Next problem....

Abrikandilu demons. They don't show any DR at all. Even the Worldwound book doesn't list any DR. Is this a mistake? I haven't found any/many demons that DON'T have DR. Even Dretches and Quasits have DR.

I haven't had any luck finding any errata on this, so maybe they are not supposed to have DR. They are a lot weaker without it.


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I'm thinking of house ruling this and making this a Feat instead of a Trait. It just seems to good to be true as a trait.


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That's true I suppose.

Now I begin to understand why this is banned in PFS.


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The trait says you choose a class that benefits from this trait when you gain the trait....usually level 1 I presume. Does that mean you can only use the trait for the class you have at level 1?

To answer my own question, I would say yes because how can you have a background trait the helps you with a class you don't have yet? So if you start out as a Paladin with this trait, it applies to Paladin and NOT cleric if you dip into Cleric at level 2?

This is important because 2 players in my game have done this and I really think they are min/maxing and using this trait wrong.


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I am planning to run this adventure path starting probably in February. This will be my first time as GM for a Pathfinder game, so I'm kind of nervous about how things will go. I have run many, many tabletop RGPs in my life, but mostly World of Darkness games.

I made some test characters to run though some of the combats to practice, and I've found out that I just don't know the rules as well as I thought I did. I'm still learning the underground areas and already I have come up with a couple problems.

The fight with the Darkmantles nearly wiped out the party: 1 paladin, 1 cleric, 1 wizard, 1 rogue, plus the 3 NPCs. I must have been playing them wrong, but their darkness power is rough. The only light sources so far have been from Anevia's light cantrips and makeshift torches from the debris in the first encounter room. If I understand it right, these Darkmantles could cast darkness on themselves to take full advantage of their blindsight. Even with 2 characters that have darkvision, it was hard for them to kill or drive off these creatures that can fly. Maybe I didn't understand their flying ability well enough. I had them fly/charge from the darkened ceiling on intruders, so most of the party was effectively blind and had low AC and were easily hit and then grabbed/constricted for enough damage to render them unconscious. On their next round, they would fly back up to the ceiling as their move action and then charge/dive down again. Is that not possible with 'poor' flying manueverability? Or would they be able to stay near the ground and fly/charge at new enemies without having to fly up to the ceiling? Hitting these guys in the dark with ranged attacks is nearly impossible.

My second problem was I rolled 1 random encounter between the set encounters, a bat swarm. No party members had attacks that could damage the swarm except the rogue had 2 flasks of acid and one of the NPCs has Alchemist Fire flasks. They can fly faster than the party can run with injured NPCs, so what options would a group have to survive if they miss with those few alchemist fires?

Finally, I agree that having 3 NPCs with conflicting backstories can lead to too much time talking to myself as a GM. I'm considering throwing out all of the conflict and just make them all friendly to start with.

Thanks for any advice! I expect I'll be back with more questions another day.