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James Jacobs wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:
The 2nd one CotCT HC came after 9 years and was made because James Jacobs really wanted to do it, parts 1-3 were sold out and it was in need of an 3.5 to Pathfinder conversion.

Incorrect.

At the time, I was outlining Strange Aeons, the Lovecraft AP and one that I'd been wanting to create and develop more or less from the start of Pathfinder, and I was really looking forward to building that AP.

The decision to create a hardcover version of Curse of the Crimson Throne was not one I was part of making—it happened either above my pay grade or to the side of my pay grade (not sure which) for various reasons, but when that decision was made, I was the correct developer to take on the task of doing this project because A) I'd done it before with Runelords, and B) I was the most familiar with Crimson Throne out of all the employees, and C) since I wasn't QUITE hip-deep in the creation of another AP, taking me off of Strange Aeons before actual development was completed would impact that project's schedule very minimally.

Don't get me wrong; I think Adam did an INCREDIBLY AWESOME job developing Strange Aeons. But it was something I really wanted to do at the time—a Curse of the Crimson Throne hardcover was not really even on my radar of "things I'm eager to push for."

But that's not how things worked out.

I'm very proud of how Curse of the Crimson Throne turned out, because I did put a LOT of work into making it happen once I was assigned to the task. But Crimson Throne's hardcover did not happen because I "really wanted to do it."

The decision to not have James Jacobs develop Strange Aeons removed it from my "next up" AP list, I bypassed it for my group. Nothing against any other developer at all, it's just a preference of creators and subject areas; and for Golarion James is the creator I prefer on Lovecraftian and Runelord themes (as two examples). The Curse hardback (or any AP reprints) did not interest me.

"Return of the Runeleords" sounds awesome. It's announcement never popped up on my radar though, must have been buried under all the Starfinder press. I only found out about it by scanning James Jacobs recent forum posts.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:
Hey there, everyone! This post is partially for me (so I can keep track of the last place the thread was at when I last looked at it) and partially a PSA to let folks know that I'm going to be stepping away from this thread for various reasons mostly to do with my own mental health.

Unfortunate. This thread is one of my favorite Paizo "products" and I read it weekly. It has often led me to other -for purchase- products I was either unaware of or uninterested in until some piece of information surfaced here. For me, this thread was what kept me regularly coming back to Paizo.com as the game itself, from a rules perspective, moves further away from something I enjoy.

Im not sure what led to James exit from this discussion. I have not seen any inflammatory or offensive posts (I assume mods removed them?) but it's a shame they were able to destroy it.

In general and as a long time Paizo customer I also continue to be baffled at James Jacobs changing -shrinking- role in Paizo products. Time after time in this thread he has publicly lamented Paizo's own staff trampling or ignoring his world vision, the ongoing rules bloat and lack of world/rules cohesion, and a total lack of involvement in rules based products that dont seem to cross his desk at all. Im not sure how a Creative Director can direct anything when these kinds of things happen. It must be supremely frustrating.

I also continue to be baffled by the decision to not have James involved in the Strange Aeons AP at all and instead do the Curse reprint. I've been waiting years to hear James's take on Lovecraft in Pathfinder with a full AP and when it finally happens he has little to no involvement with it despite being the most public and knowledgeable Lovecraft fan at Paizo? Wow.

Then a new game gets announced in Starfinder that follows the model James has been unsuccessfully lobbying for Pathfinder for years: a synergy of rules and flavor in print; a limited rules set that only expands when the story requires it; and a single world vision run by the CD. Not only does Starfinder get James preferred Pathfinder model but a new Creative Director gets named to run it. Stunning.

To me James Jacobs and Erik Mona are Paizo and as they have moved further away from creating the published products I'm interested in my enthusiasm for the game has declined in parallel. I hope the ending/furloughing of this "product" isn't a sign of bigger change for James and Paizo.


Best of luck again, Im sure it will be a blast.

I have to say in all my AP GMing experience having all 6 parts of the AP published, purchased, and read is basically a requirement to GM it. I couldn't imagine starting an AP without having read the entire path first (multiple times for me).

Im curious why you jumped on this one with only 1 volume out when there are many others to choose from that are fully published and supported.

I actually think running this AP, or any AP, prematurely like this will do it a disservice and makes all the hard work the developer does to keep the story coherent and intriguing for the players irrelevant since the GM will have no or little idea where the story is going and how.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

1. I've always interpreted your title as "Creative Director [of Paizo Publishing]" but with the announcement of Starfinder it seems that it is actually "Creative Director [of Pathfinder]" and James Sutter is "Creative Director [of Starfinder]" Can you describe how the two Creative Directors will work together on direction of both properties?

2. As a follow-on to the above, and based on the responses I see you often posting here, it seems like your actual job function is "Creative Director [of Golarian]" in that you don't have direct control over the rules of the Pathfinder game (in fact you seem to disagree with many of those rules in regard to published products as they work in Golarian specifically). This does not seem like it will be the case with Starfinder since it appears James Sutter does/will have authority over both the rules and flavor of Starfinder. Can you elaborate on this distinction and if the same merging of Creative Director responsibilities will happen for Pathfinder as well?

3. Not a question: thanks for all the great work you and your team have produced over the years. The Adventure Paths are still far and away the best RPG products published today.


Part 1-2: A tour of the "home base" Abasalom Station that culminates with an AlienS like final battle in the bowels of the station.

Part 3-4: An inter-solar system travel that visits multiple planets and culminates on a planet to battle the source of the alien trouble at "home".

Part 5-6: A FTL jump to another galaxy that culminates with a confrontation with a Cosmic Threat and a revelation about the Gap (that provides more questions than answers).


--Campaign Start--
The Sunless Citadel
The Forge of Fury
The Speaker in Dreams
The Standing Stone
Heart of Nightfang Spire
Deep Horizon
Lord of the Iron Fortress
Bastion of Broken Souls
--Campaign Start--
Crucible of Freya
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil
--Campaign Start--
Red Hand of Doom
--Campaign Start--
Three Days to Kill
Tomb of Abysthor
--Campaign Start--
The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde
Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
--Campaign Start--
There Is No Honor (Savage Tide)
The Bullywug Gambit (Savage Tide)
The Sea Wyvern's Wake (Savage Tide)
Here There Be Monsters (Savage Tide)
Tides of Dread (Savage Tide)
The Lightless Depths (Savage Tide)
City of Broken Idols (Savage Tide)
Serpents of Scuttlecove (Savage Tide)
Into the Maw (Savage Tide)
Wells of Darkness (Savage Tide)
Enemies of My Enemy (Savage Tide)
Prince of Demons (Savage Tide)
--Campaign Start--
Burnt Offerings (Rise of the Runelords)
The Skinsaw Murders (Rise of the Runelords)
The Hook Mountain Massacres (Rise of the Runelords)
Fortress of the Stone Giants (Rise of the Runelords)
Sins of the Saviors (Rise of the Runelords)
Spires of Xin-Shalast (Rise of the Runelords)
--Campaign Start--
Edge of Anarchy (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Seven Days to the Grave (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Escape From Old Korvosa (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
A History of Ashes (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Skeletons of Scarwall (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Crown of Fangs (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Haunting of Harrowstone (Carrion Crown)
Trial of the Beast (Carrion Crown)
Broken Moon (Carrion Crown)
Carrion Hill (Pathfinder Module)
Wake of the Watcher (Carrion Crown)
Ashes At Dawn (Carrion Crown)
Shadows of Gallowspire (Carrion Crown)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Souls For Smugglers Shiv (Serpents Skull)
Race to Ruin (Serpents Skull)
The City of Seven Spears (Serpents Skull)
Vaults of Madness (Serpents Skull)
The Thousand Fangs Below (Serpents Skull)
Sanctum of the Serpent God (Serpents Skull)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
The Half-Dead City (Mummy's Mask)
Empty Graves (Mummy's Mask)
Shifting Sands (Mummy's Mask)
Secrets of the Sphinx (Mummy's Mask)
The Slave Trenches of Hakotep (Mummy's Mask)
Pyramid of the Sky Pharaoh (Mummy's Mask)

Mummy's Mask complete. October 2014 - June 2016!!


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In addition James Sutter is listed as Creative Director for this effort:

We hope you're as excited about Starfinder as we are, and that you'll join us as we boldly go where Paizo's never gone before!

James L. Sutter
Creative Director

Oddly James Jacobs doesn't seem to be heavily involved in this or the Strange Aeons AP. I have to say I'm disappointed to hear that. I can't imagine the Crimson Throne redo is taking all his time so I wonder what else is in store?


"If you are using wings and you fail a Fly check by 5 or more, you plummet to the ground"

Since a Ghost minimum Fly check = 10 and Hover = 15 a Ghost can fail to Hover but does not fall. If a Ghost attempts to Hover and fails it then must move some amount of distance instead of staying still. This move can be any distance since it has a Fly speed and auto-success for moving slow.

In the above ruins scenario the Ghost wouldn't fall it would just glide a little further than it wanted to.


--Campaign Start--
The Sunless Citadel
The Forge of Fury
The Speaker in Dreams
The Standing Stone
Heart of Nightfang Spire
Deep Horizon
Lord of the Iron Fortress
Bastion of Broken Souls
--Campaign Start--
Crucible of Freya
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil
--Campaign Start--
Red Hand of Doom
--Campaign Start--
Three Days to Kill
Tomb of Abysthor
--Campaign Start--
The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde
Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
--Campaign Start--
There Is No Honor (Savage Tide)
The Bullywug Gambit (Savage Tide)
The Sea Wyvern's Wake (Savage Tide)
Here There Be Monsters (Savage Tide)
Tides of Dread (Savage Tide)
The Lightless Depths (Savage Tide)
City of Broken Idols (Savage Tide)
Serpents of Scuttlecove (Savage Tide)
Into the Maw (Savage Tide)
Wells of Darkness (Savage Tide)
Enemies of My Enemy (Savage Tide)
Prince of Demons (Savage Tide)
--Campaign Start--
Burnt Offerings (Rise of the Runelords)
The Skinsaw Murders (Rise of the Runelords)
The Hook Mountain Massacres (Rise of the Runelords)
Fortress of the Stone Giants (Rise of the Runelords)
Sins of the Saviors (Rise of the Runelords)
Spires of Xin-Shalast (Rise of the Runelords)
--Campaign Start--
Edge of Anarchy (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Seven Days to the Grave (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Escape From Old Korvosa (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
A History of Ashes (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Skeletons of Scarwall (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Crown of Fangs (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Haunting of Harrowstone (Carrion Crown)
Trial of the Beast (Carrion Crown)
Broken Moon (Carrion Crown)
Carrion Hill (Pathfinder Module)
Wake of the Watcher (Carrion Crown)
Ashes At Dawn (Carrion Crown)
Shadows of Gallowspire (Carrion Crown)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Souls For Smugglers Shiv (Serpents Skull)
Race to Ruin (Serpents Skull)
The City of Seven Spears (Serpents Skull)
Vaults of Madness (Serpents Skull)
The Thousand Fangs Below (Serpents Skull)
Sanctum of the Serpent God (Serpents Skull)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
The Half-Dead City (Mummy's Mask)
Empty Graves (Mummy's Mask)
Shifting Sands (Mummy's Mask)
Secrets of the Sphinx (Mummy's Mask)
The Slave Trenches of Hakotep (Mummy's Mask)
Pyramid of the Sky Pharaoh (Mummy's Mask) --> Our current adventure


I think a crux of getting to high levels in a 6-part AP is partially due to the exponential increase in XPs to get to those high levels. I never understood why PF chose to do this. It seems like it should take less XPs to get from say 15-20 level then it does to get from 1-10 level.

Once a party is say 15th level they should essentially have one epic "event" that moves them to 16th and so on. High level PCs should abandon adding up XPs and just focus on successfully completing "events" to gain a levels. So the last book of an AP can be a series of 5 "events" that move the party to 16,17,18,19,20 levels.

These events can be things like:

- Defeating a Mythic Monster (Mythic abilities should never apply to PCs, just abandon that concept completely. Encounter a Mythic Monster, defeat it, level up. Im sure this type of battle can last for "real time" hours and "in game" days in the hands of a prepared GM as the monster retreats, recovers, hunts down the group again and so on. In fact, Mythic monsters shouldn't even have XP values they should just give a level and be very very rare and almost unstoppable.)
- Travel out of the solar system to a distant location (once at this location the PCs can have some encounters but the act of getting there means a level. The PCs could have to navigate a series of tasks and/or encounters to do this but the XPs really don't matter for these things. All that matters is setting foot on Planet X.)
- Destroy an entire evil (or good) location (this can be a city, stronghold, island, planet,demi-plane, whatever. The PCs must use their abilities to utterly remove it from existence. Once this is done: gain a level. The defenders of this location may put up a fight of course but those XPs don't matter and you probably wouldn't even do normal combat for them.)

Granted this is all a bit of a departure from the existing model but my larger point is XP calculation at high levels should be removed or drastically shortened. I don't understand why the XP gaps between higher levels is so large. It seems to deliberately discourage high level play in the game when clearly there is a demand for it IN the APs. In fact, in general, I find that almost every addition to the rules inherently makes the APs either more complicated (not more fun) or have less space (due to increased stat blocks) or gets deliberately ignored in the APs (which I appreciate). Instead I wish the rules team would publish a hardcover of rules that were were built to support the AP story structures, page count limits, and development process. A true set of "Adventure Path Campaign Rules" that support the AP publishing and storytelling process directly.


--Campaign Start--
The Sunless Citadel
The Forge of Fury
The Speaker in Dreams
The Standing Stone
Heart of Nightfang Spire
Deep Horizon
Lord of the Iron Fortress
Bastion of Broken Souls
--Campaign Start--
Crucible of Freya
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil
--Campaign Start--
Red Hand of Doom
--Campaign Start--
Three Days to Kill
Tomb of Abysthor
--Campaign Start--
The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde
Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
--Campaign Start--
There Is No Honor (Savage Tide)
The Bullywug Gambit (Savage Tide)
The Sea Wyvern's Wake (Savage Tide)
Here There Be Monsters (Savage Tide)
Tides of Dread (Savage Tide)
The Lightless Depths (Savage Tide)
City of Broken Idols (Savage Tide)
Serpents of Scuttlecove (Savage Tide)
Into the Maw (Savage Tide)
Wells of Darkness (Savage Tide)
Enemies of My Enemy (Savage Tide)
Prince of Demons (Savage Tide)
--Campaign Start--
Burnt Offerings (Rise of the Runelords)
The Skinsaw Murders (Rise of the Runelords)
The Hook Mountain Massacres (Rise of the Runelords)
Fortress of the Stone Giants (Rise of the Runelords)
Sins of the Saviors (Rise of the Runelords)
Spires of Xin-Shalast (Rise of the Runelords)
--Campaign Start--
Edge of Anarchy (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Seven Days to the Grave (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Escape From Old Korvosa (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
A History of Ashes (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Skeletons of Scarwall (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Crown of Fangs (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Haunting of Harrowstone (Carrion Crown)
Trial of the Beast (Carrion Crown)
Broken Moon (Carrion Crown)
Carrion Hill (Pathfinder Module)
Wake of the Watcher (Carrion Crown)
Ashes At Dawn (Carrion Crown)
Shadows of Gallowspire (Carrion Crown)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Souls For Smugglers Shiv (Serpents Skull)
Race to Ruin (Serpents Skull)
The City of Seven Spears (Serpents Skull)
Vaults of Madness (Serpents Skull)
The Thousand Fangs Below (Serpents Skull)
Sanctum of the Serpent God (Serpents Skull)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
The Half-Dead City (Mummy's Mask)
Empty Graves (Mummy's Mask)
Shifting Sands (Mummy's Mask)
Secrets of the Sphinx (Mummy's Mask)
The Slave Trenches of Hakotep (Mummy's Mask) --> Our current adventure


--Campaign Start--
The Sunless Citadel
The Forge of Fury
The Speaker in Dreams
The Standing Stone
Heart of Nightfang Spire
Deep Horizon
Lord of the Iron Fortress
Bastion of Broken Souls
--Campaign Start--
Crucible of Freya
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil
--Campaign Start--
Red Hand of Doom
--Campaign Start--
Three Days to Kill
Tomb of Abysthor
--Campaign Start--
The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde
Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
--Campaign Start--
There Is No Honor (Savage Tide)
The Bullywug Gambit (Savage Tide)
The Sea Wyvern's Wake (Savage Tide)
Here There Be Monsters (Savage Tide)
Tides of Dread (Savage Tide)
The Lightless Depths (Savage Tide)
City of Broken Idols (Savage Tide)
Serpents of Scuttlecove (Savage Tide)
Into the Maw (Savage Tide)
Wells of Darkness (Savage Tide)
Enemies of My Enemy (Savage Tide)
Prince of Demons (Savage Tide)
--Campaign Start--
Burnt Offerings (Rise of the Runelords)
The Skinsaw Murders (Rise of the Runelords)
The Hook Mountain Massacres (Rise of the Runelords)
Fortress of the Stone Giants (Rise of the Runelords)
Sins of the Saviors (Rise of the Runelords)
Spires of Xin-Shalast (Rise of the Runelords)
--Campaign Start--
Edge of Anarchy (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Seven Days to the Grave (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Escape From Old Korvosa (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
A History of Ashes (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Skeletons of Scarwall (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Crown of Fangs (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Haunting of Harrowstone (Carrion Crown)
Trial of the Beast (Carrion Crown)
Broken Moon (Carrion Crown)
Carrion Hill (Pathfinder Module)
Wake of the Watcher (Carrion Crown)
Ashes At Dawn (Carrion Crown)
Shadows of Gallowspire (Carrion Crown)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Souls For Smugglers Shiv (Serpents Skull)
Race to Ruin (Serpents Skull)
The City of Seven Spears (Serpents Skull)
Vaults of Madness (Serpents Skull)
The Thousand Fangs Below (Serpents Skull)
Sanctum of the Serpent God (Serpents Skull)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
The Half-Dead City (Mummy's Mask)
Empty Graves (Mummy's Mask)
Shifting Sands (Mummy's Mask)
Secrets of the Sphinx (Mummy's Mask) --> Our current adventure


Sounds like quite an effort, good luck! I hope you at least just finish the entire AP with your group regardless of the "marathon". I've followed more than a few campaign threads for APs and not a one has finished. Paizo should encourage more groups to run APs start to finish somehow (this blog post is hopefully one way). I think the AP line suffers from a huge drop off in play time after part 3 or so and I think it has a tendency to hurt the overall quality of the late adventures.

I often wonder if the AP line and player base would be better served with four 3 part APs in a year instead of two 6 part.


--Campaign Start--
The Sunless Citadel
The Forge of Fury
The Speaker in Dreams
The Standing Stone
Heart of Nightfang Spire
Deep Horizon
Lord of the Iron Fortress
Bastion of Broken Souls
--Campaign Start--
Crucible of Freya
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil
--Campaign Start--
Red Hand of Doom
--Campaign Start--
Three Days to Kill
Tomb of Abysthor
--Campaign Start--
The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde
Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
--Campaign Start--
There Is No Honor (Savage Tide)
The Bullywug Gambit (Savage Tide)
The Sea Wyvern's Wake (Savage Tide)
Here There Be Monsters (Savage Tide)
Tides of Dread (Savage Tide)
The Lightless Depths (Savage Tide)
City of Broken Idols (Savage Tide)
Serpents of Scuttlecove (Savage Tide)
Into the Maw (Savage Tide)
Wells of Darkness (Savage Tide)
Enemies of My Enemy (Savage Tide)
Prince of Demons (Savage Tide)
--Campaign Start--
Burnt Offerings (Rise of the Runelords)
The Skinsaw Murders (Rise of the Runelords)
The Hook Mountain Massacres (Rise of the Runelords)
Fortress of the Stone Giants (Rise of the Runelords)
Sins of the Saviors (Rise of the Runelords)
Spires of Xin-Shalast (Rise of the Runelords)
--Campaign Start--
Edge of Anarchy (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Seven Days to the Grave (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Escape From Old Korvosa (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
A History of Ashes (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Skeletons of Scarwall (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Crown of Fangs (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Haunting of Harrowstone (Carrion Crown)
Trial of the Beast (Carrion Crown)
Broken Moon (Carrion Crown)
Carrion Hill (Pathfinder Module)
Wake of the Watcher (Carrion Crown)
Ashes At Dawn (Carrion Crown)
Shadows of Gallowspire (Carrion Crown)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Souls For Smugglers Shiv (Serpents Skull)
Race to Ruin (Serpents Skull)
The City of Seven Spears (Serpents Skull)
Vaults of Madness (Serpents Skull)
The Thousand Fangs Below (Serpents Skull)
Sanctum of the Serpent God (Serpents Skull)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
The Half-Dead City (Mummy's Mask)
Empty Graves (Mummy's Mask)
Shifting Sands (Mummy's Mask) --> Our current adventure


I guess I'm a bit confused. If there isn't anything holding up shipping then what is holding up shipping?


Shipping soon?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

We are three sessions into Mummy's Mask to date. I have read the entire AP as well. I have significant AP GMing experience (you can see my post history to find the details) and I'm pleased to say Mummy's Mask is well written, well paced (I think Paizo refers to this as "developed"), and I'm sure will be quite enjoyable for my players.

After the *challenges* of Seprent's Skull I'm pleased to see one of the newer Paizo APs regain a high standing. I remain slightly frustrated at the amount non-core content in the AP but I've learned to deal with this.

Book 1 is a great start. Book 3 looks to be something special indeed. Book 6 is a worthy campaign cap. The story-line is cohesive throughout. Kudos to the whole team.

As a side note: the bindings on Book 1 have already cracked and the pages are completely free of it. The same happened with my Serpent's Skull volumes, but not with any other AP I own.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Serpent's Skull was the 5th consecutive AP I've GM'd start to finish. It took us a full two years. I'd like to share my thoughts on it for future GM's of the path.

- Overall, though much maligned, it was an enjoyable campaign. It requires a significant amount of GM tweaking and flat out rewriting but it still provides a good framework for adventure.

- It uses very little (maybe nothing) of non-core rule book rules. This is probably the last Paizo AP to do so. My group is still a "core rule book only" group, probably one of the last in the world, but I thought I'd mention this. It's a bit of a milestone for Paizo I think.

- That being said it basically begs to add the mass combat rules for the last chapter. Which I did to pretty good effect. The mass combat rules worked well for the 3 or 4 mass combats we had. A pretty concise rule-set overall and worth a look.

- Chapter 1 of the AP was a fine adventure but very isolated from the rest of the path. One of the first changes I made was to make the alliances they formed on the island have impact all the way through to the last chapter of the AP. It's been over two years at this point since we played part 1 so I can't recall all the details but I suggest other GMs do the same.

- The AP as written really struggles in parts 3 and 4. This is probably the section that needs the most GM modification. You have to really take a hands on approach to pull the campaign through these parts. The written adventures require more work from the GM than any other AP I've run and leave things very open for the PCs with little direction. The AP can really go off the rails here.

- To get through the AP I would suggest reading the Conan "Red Nails" story and using that as your inspiration for the Serpentfolk overall.

- If your players are Golarianphiles there is a significant amount of Golarian history buried in this AP. If your players have the interest I think there is a lot to mine. Between this AP and Second Darkness (oddly two of the most universally disliked APs) a large amount of Goalrian history and back-story are revealed.

- For my group I used any victories they achieved using mass combat to weaken the Aspect of Ydersius for the final battle. For my group Ydersius would be pretty much unbeatable without this (remember we are core rulebook only). I took away resistances or spell like abilities, etc, for each time one of there armies defeated an opposing army of Serpentfolk.

- Overall I think the AP is a good one. I don't think it can be run without GM enhancement so be prepared to do this. If all the APs were written like this one I don't think the AP line would be the success that it is today.


--Campaign Start--
The Sunless Citadel
The Forge of Fury
The Speaker in Dreams
The Standing Stone
Heart of Nightfang Spire
Deep Horizon
Lord of the Iron Fortress
Bastion of Broken Souls
--Campaign Start--
Crucible of Freya
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil
--Campaign Start--
Red Hand of Doom
--Campaign Start--
Three Days to Kill
Tomb of Abysthor
--Campaign Start--
The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde
Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
--Campaign Start--
There Is No Honor (Savage Tide)
The Bullywug Gambit (Savage Tide)
The Sea Wyvern's Wake (Savage Tide)
Here There Be Monsters (Savage Tide)
Tides of Dread (Savage Tide)
The Lightless Depths (Savage Tide)
City of Broken Idols (Savage Tide)
Serpents of Scuttlecove (Savage Tide)
Into the Maw (Savage Tide)
Wells of Darkness (Savage Tide)
Enemies of My Enemy (Savage Tide)
Prince of Demons (Savage Tide)
--Campaign Start--
Burnt Offerings (Rise of the Runelords)
The Skinsaw Murders (Rise of the Runelords)
The Hook Mountain Massacres (Rise of the Runelords)
Fortress of the Stone Giants (Rise of the Runelords)
Sins of the Saviors (Rise of the Runelords)
Spires of Xin-Shalast (Rise of the Runelords)
--Campaign Start--
Edge of Anarchy (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Seven Days to the Grave (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Escape From Old Korvosa (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
A History of Ashes (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Skeletons of Scarwall (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Crown of Fangs (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Haunting of Harrowstone (Carrion Crown)
Trial of the Beast (Carrion Crown)
Broken Moon (Carrion Crown)
Carrion Hill (Pathfinder Module)
Wake of the Watcher (Carrion Crown)
Ashes At Dawn (Carrion Crown)
Shadows of Gallowspire (Carrion Crown)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Souls For Smugglers Shiv (Serpents Skull)
Race to Ruin (Serpents Skull)
The City of Seven Spears (Serpents Skull)
Vaults of Madness (Serpents Skull)
The Thousand Fangs Below (Serpents Skull)
Sanctum of the Serpent God (Serpents Skull)

Another AP complete. October 2012 - October 2014, 2 full years. Quite a bit of time spent on one AP.

Next up: Mummies Mask.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I would agree with some of the sentiment in the OP. The Pathfinder game has exponentially expanded over the years and I must admit it is well beyond the interest level of my group.

I would like to see Paizo further refine its "experimental every other AP" philosophy to be: one AP a year is "core rulebook rules only" and the other is "anything goes". This way groups like mine that have no interest in any of the rule expansions always have an AP option. I bet it would also alleviate some of the day to day release pressure from Paizo staff.

Today it is harder and harder for me to find an AP (or even adventure) I can run without having to ignore or heavily modify way too much rules content to fit into my game.


Some interesting stuff for sure.

Giantslayer as an AP sounds promising con't wait for more info.

Pathfinder Unchained is interesting. I wonder how this will work with published APs and such. Hopefully it's a seamless integration and simplified high-level play.

Pathfinder Online still in a closed Alpha state?? Hasn't it been in development for almost 4 years? Does anyone still play MMORPGs? on PCs?


--Campaign Start--
The Sunless Citadel
The Forge of Fury
The Speaker in Dreams
The Standing Stone
Heart of Nightfang Spire
Deep Horizon
Lord of the Iron Fortress
Bastion of Broken Souls
--Campaign Start--
Crucible of Freya
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil
--Campaign Start--
Red Hand of Doom
--Campaign Start--
Three Days to Kill
Tomb of Abysthor
--Campaign Start--
The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde
Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
--Campaign Start--
There Is No Honor (Savage Tide)
The Bullywug Gambit (Savage Tide)
The Sea Wyvern's Wake (Savage Tide)
Here There Be Monsters (Savage Tide)
Tides of Dread (Savage Tide)
The Lightless Depths (Savage Tide)
City of Broken Idols (Savage Tide)
Serpents of Scuttlecove (Savage Tide)
Into the Maw (Savage Tide)
Wells of Darkness (Savage Tide)
Enemies of My Enemy (Savage Tide)
Prince of Demons (Savage Tide)
--Campaign Start--
Burnt Offerings (Rise of the Runelords)
The Skinsaw Murders (Rise of the Runelords)
The Hook Mountain Massacres (Rise of the Runelords)
Fortress of the Stone Giants (Rise of the Runelords)
Sins of the Saviors (Rise of the Runelords)
Spires of Xin-Shalast (Rise of the Runelords)
--Campaign Start--
Edge of Anarchy (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Seven Days to the Grave (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Escape From Old Korvosa (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
A History of Ashes (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Skeletons of Scarwall (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Crown of Fangs (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Haunting of Harrowstone (Carrion Crown)
Trial of the Beast (Carrion Crown)
Broken Moon (Carrion Crown)
Carrion Hill (Pathfinder Module)
Wake of the Watcher (Carrion Crown)
Ashes At Dawn (Carrion Crown)
Shadows of Gallowspire (Carrion Crown)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Souls For Smugglers Shiv (Serpents Skull)
Race to Ruin (Serpents Skull)
The City of Seven Spears (Serpents Skull)
Vaults of Madness (Serpents Skull)
The Thousand Fangs Below (Serpents Skull)
Sanctum of the Serpent God (Serpents Skull) --> Our current adventure


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Aldarionn wrote:

Just thought I would post an update here. I've been DMing Wrath of the Rigteous for some time now and we made it through book 3 and partway into book 4. The campaign started out great, with cool challenges, fun NPC's and a relatively well balanced set of encounters.

Once my players became Mythic though, everything went to hell. Power creep quickly outstripped the NPC's and basically everything came down to me asking the Wizard what he did (his initiative bonus started at +17 and only got higher) then scrapping the combat because his first action usually prevented the enemy from acting and the rest of the party did so much damage that they never got a change to retaliate.

I started using Sc8rpi8on's updated stat blocks in book 2 and this helped for a while, though my players began to feel that I was sniping them when I would knock one of them out of a fight with a well coordinated attack. By the time we got into book 3 though, the combat went back the other direction even with the updated stat blocks. Nothing lasted long enough to even act in combat, so there wasn't much point.

At that point I made the decision to completely scrap combat rules and just let players roleplay their way through everything. It was an interesting experiment but without a structured system it devolved into me describing combatants and my players telling me exactly how they demolished them before they could even act. The moment I tried to narrate a challenging fight they told me how they would completely stomp it without ever breaking a sweat.

I got tired of it, and last night I made the decision to fold the campaign and chock it up to a failed AP. I verbally told them how the AP concluded and next week we will begin Mummy's Mask with a different DM.

I'm extremely disappointed. The Mythic rules took a compelling story about Good VS Evil and turned it into an absurd game of rocket tag. The average party will walk through 80% of the stuff in this AP without batting an eye, and the enemies that do challenge the PC's will...

Pretty much what I figured would happen with "Mythic" PC rules. See my post here where I suggest Paizo should have made Mythic rules for the PC adversaries ONLY. This would have given PCs cool Mythic challenges to over come as a group instead of just super-buffing them and making combat even more fiddly and even less fun.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Robert Brookes wrote:

AP fiction is such a strange beast. I personally don't pass around the AP volume to my players, so they'll likely never read the fiction. As a GM I want anything in the AP to directly enhance the experience. Right now, while well-written, the fiction still seems extraneous.

If fiction *must* stay in the AP line, why not have it involve the major players in the adventure path itself? I'm envisioning a fiction piece for Reign of Winter where we get to see Elvanna and Rasputin plot to overthrow Baba Yaga. Make the fiction directly serve the AP's story so we (the GMs) can learn and understand the principal cast better.

Could not agree more with this sentiment. The AP is for the GM. The players never see it so why not make the fiction another tool for a GM running the AP? Tie it directly to events in the AP.


Umbriere Moonwhisper wrote:
cibet44 wrote:

Grapple.

Lions don't grapple they attack with claws and bite.

Dragons don't grapple they attack with claws and bite.

Kraken don't grapple they attack with tentacles and beak.

Humans don't grapple they attack with hands or weapons.

There is no reason for grapple to exist in the game. Combat is attacking by way of the creatures various attack forms. That's it.

what about

Disarm?

Trip?

Sunder?

Dirty Trick?

Bull Rush?

Drag?

Reposition?

Overrun?

and other manuevers a monster would be built for? the bread and butter of martial special abilities beyond attacking and dealing damage?

Just use normal attack rolls and feats.

For example..

Disarm
You force your opponents weapon from its grasp.
Benefit: Upon a confirmed critical you may elect to disarm your opponent instead of doing critical damage. Your opponent must immediately drop a wielded weapon. If the opponent is wielding more than one weapon you chose which is dropped.

Trip
You force your opponent to the ground.
Benefit: Upon a confirmed critical you may elect to force your opponent to the ground instead of doing critical damage. Your opponent gains the prone condition.

Sunder
You break your opponents wielded weapon.
Benefit: Upon a confirmed critical you may elect to break your opponents wielded weapon instead of doing critical damage. Your opponents wielded weapon gains the broken condition. If the opponent is wielding more than one weapon you chose which is broken.


Grapple.

Lions don't grapple they attack with claws and bite.

Dragons don't grapple they attack with claws and bite.

Kraken don't grapple they attack with tentacles and beak.

Humans don't grapple they attack with hands or weapons.

There is no reason for grapple to exist in the game. Combat is attacking by way of the creatures various attack forms. That's it.


No one?


"The mass combat rules often refer to aspects of the kingdom building rules, such as Loyalty checks and a kingdom's Control DC. If you aren't running a kingdom, substitute a Will save for a Loyalty check."

So what is the modifier used for this alternate mechanic? The commanders Wil modifier? Leadership score? What am I adding to the d20 when I "substitute a Will save"?


HangarFlying wrote:
Are you playing with the same players or does membership fluctuate? I'm jealous of your run!

Same players. We've been playing together for over 25 years. I refuse to do the math, but its probably closer to 30 years by now.

Serpents Skull is certainly a slog, but fun. I'm adding the PF mass combat rules and battles to it as we go as well.


--Campaign Start--
The Sunless Citadel
The Forge of Fury
The Speaker in Dreams
The Standing Stone
Heart of Nightfang Spire
Deep Horizon
Lord of the Iron Fortress
Bastion of Broken Souls
--Campaign Start--
Crucible of Freya
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil
--Campaign Start--
Red Hand of Doom
--Campaign Start--
Three Days to Kill
Tomb of Abysthor
--Campaign Start--
The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde
Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
--Campaign Start--
There Is No Honor (Savage Tide)
The Bullywug Gambit (Savage Tide)
The Sea Wyvern's Wake (Savage Tide)
Here There Be Monsters (Savage Tide)
Tides of Dread (Savage Tide)
The Lightless Depths (Savage Tide)
City of Broken Idols (Savage Tide)
Serpents of Scuttlecove (Savage Tide)
Into the Maw (Savage Tide)
Wells of Darkness (Savage Tide)
Enemies of My Enemy (Savage Tide)
Prince of Demons (Savage Tide)
--Campaign Start--
Burnt Offerings (Rise of the Runelords)
The Skinsaw Murders (Rise of the Runelords)
The Hook Mountain Massacres (Rise of the Runelords)
Fortress of the Stone Giants (Rise of the Runelords)
Sins of the Saviors (Rise of the Runelords)
Spires of Xin-Shalast (Rise of the Runelords)
--Campaign Start--
Edge of Anarchy (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Seven Days to the Grave (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Escape From Old Korvosa (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
A History of Ashes (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Skeletons of Scarwall (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Crown of Fangs (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Haunting of Harrowstone (Carrion Crown)
Trial of the Beast (Carrion Crown)
Broken Moon (Carrion Crown)
Carrion Hill (Pathfinder Module)
Wake of the Watcher (Carrion Crown)
Ashes At Dawn (Carrion Crown)
Shadows of Gallowspire (Carrion Crown)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Souls For Smugglers Shiv (Serpents Skull)
Race to Ruin (Serpents Skull)
The City of Seven Spears (Serpents Skull)
Vaults of Madness (Serpents Skull) --> Our current adventure


I like this. I think these abilities make Demon Lords suitably powerful and flavorful. I especially like the special powers while in their own realm part. Thats pretty classic when it come to Demon Lords and I'm glad to see it being embraced.

As I've said before I really wish the Mythic stuff was limited to adversaries of the PCs only since I think PC's are already Mythic (thats what makes them adventurers not farmers) and they already have too many options.

Since these are "Demon Lord Traits" will we also be seeing something like "Demi-god traits". Something that might apply to Ydersius for example?


Flyby Attack
This creature can make an attack before and after it moves while flying.
Prerequisite: Fly speed.
Benefit: When flying, the creature can take a move action and another standard action at any point during the move. The creature cannot take a second move action during a round when it makes a flyby attack.
Normal: Without this feat, the creature takes a standard action either before or after its move.

PLUS

Snatch
This creature can grab other creatures with ease.
Prerequisite: Size Huge or larger.
Benefits: The creature can start a grapple when it hits with a claw or bite attack, as though it had the grab ability. If it grapples a creature three or more sizes smaller, it squeezes each round for automatic bite or claw damage with a successful grapple check. A snatched opponent held in the creature's mouth is not allowed a Reflex save against the creature's breath weapon, if it has one.
The creature can drop a creature it has snatched as a free action or use a standard action to fling it aside. A flung creature travels 1d6 × 10 feet, and takes 1d6 points of damage per 10 feet traveled. If the creature flings a snatched opponent while flying, the opponent takes this amount or falling damage, whichever is greater.


--Campaign Start--
The Sunless Citadel
The Forge of Fury
The Speaker in Dreams
The Standing Stone
Heart of Nightfang Spire
Deep Horizon
Lord of the Iron Fortress
Bastion of Broken Souls
--Campaign Start--
Crucible of Freya
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil
--Campaign Start--
Red Hand of Doom
--Campaign Start--
Three Days to Kill
Tomb of Abysthor
--Campaign Start--
The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde
Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
--Campaign Start--
There Is No Honor (Savage Tide)
The Bullywug Gambit (Savage Tide)
The Sea Wyvern's Wake (Savage Tide)
Here There Be Monsters (Savage Tide)
Tides of Dread (Savage Tide)
The Lightless Depths (Savage Tide)
City of Broken Idols (Savage Tide)
Serpents of Scuttlecove (Savage Tide)
Into the Maw (Savage Tide)
Wells of Darkness (Savage Tide)
Enemies of My Enemy (Savage Tide)
Prince of Demons (Savage Tide)
--Campaign Start--
Burnt Offerings (Rise of the Runelords)
The Skinsaw Murders (Rise of the Runelords)
The Hook Mountain Massacres (Rise of the Runelords)
Fortress of the Stone Giants (Rise of the Runelords)
Sins of the Saviors (Rise of the Runelords)
Spires of Xin-Shalast (Rise of the Runelords)
--Campaign Start--
Edge of Anarchy (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Seven Days to the Grave (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Escape From Old Korvosa (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
A History of Ashes (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Skeletons of Scarwall (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Crown of Fangs (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Haunting of Harrowstone (Carrion Crown)
Trial of the Beast (Carrion Crown)
Broken Moon (Carrion Crown)
Carrion Hill (Pathfinder Module)
Wake of the Watcher (Carrion Crown)
Ashes At Dawn (Carrion Crown)
Shadows of Gallowspire (Carrion Crown)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Souls For Smugglers Shiv (Serpents Skull)
Race to Ruin (Serpents Skull)
The City of Seven Spears (Serpents Skull) --> Our current adventure


So I have always been under the impression that Outsiders do not age nor are they affected by age (essentially they are immortal aside from violence or other damaging circumstances), but now I can't seem to find where this is written. Anyone have a source on this or am I just making it up?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

In general I'm not a huge follower of the RPG contest but I do check in on some part of it each year out of curiosity.

As a casual observer, some of my suggestions:

- I've seen enough "Wondrous" items. I'd like to see some other aspect of the game be the focus of round 1. Personally I'd like to see novel uses of existing skills.

- A "make the game better" round. I'd like to see one of the latter rounds of the competition showcase the ability of the contestant to make the game better by suggesting a subtle or wholesale change to an existing part of it OR apply existing rules in an uncommon way. Not just a new monster or encounter but something like a new stat block format, or a diceless combat resolution system, or new overland movement and exploration rules, or resolving combat using only ability checks. Something that showcases the contestants knowledge of the rules and creativity in applying them in an innovative way.

- A "stat up a legend" round. The contestant would pick a fictional (or even non fictional) character and stat them up using Pathfinder classes and abilities. Julius Caesar, Conan, Nostradamus, Nimue, Joan of Arc? What they be to you in Pathfinder rules?


Abudufdef wrote:

I'm considering running this AP in a few months. Looking over the random encounters in these two books, I'm wondering how to frame them in a cool way and one that doesn't break verisimilitude.

What I don't want is "You see 2 wights in the middle of the street, roll for initiative," or "You see an elephant grazing on the plain, it turns and charges, roll for initiative." Why would there be wights in this place, or why is there a singular elephant (a herd animal) in the middle of nowhere? If the elephant isn't a combat encounter, how do you make it an engaging encounter?

How have you made your random encounters more interesting and more "believable".

Some of mine from R2R:

1. At first docile megafauna appear or are spotted at a distance. Allow high Survival rolls for the PCs to come upon them unnoticed. They can hunt them or leave them be. After 1 or 2 of these encounters the next group of megafauna have mega-sized parasitic infestations that attack the PCs. Giant ticks, giant ants, giant sized insects of your choice.

2. Each night, if the players have a fire, giant mosquitoes are attracted to it. At first maybe one arrives and perches on the party tent (remember these things are the size of ponies) then later 2 or 3 arrive and attack. If the players don't use a light at night then the mosquitoes stay away but they are left in the dark all night. Burning a certain weed (Survival or Knowledge(nature) to find it) on the fire through the night keeps the giant mosquitoes at bay as well.

3. During one of the giant mosquito attacks if any of the mosquitoes get engorged with blood (after draining some con) it attracts giant wasps that feed on the mosquitoes first then they move to the PCs.

4. Once the PCs get into the Screaming Jungle and have had some charu-ka and viper attacks they stumble upon a scene where constrictor snakes and vipers are battling with chimps or even charu-ka. Knowledge(religion) can tell them it seems like the jungle is at war with itself as the rising power of Ydersius is battling with the long time rule of Angazhan for control.

5. Any snakes they kill (this should happen kind of often) writhe around as if they were still alive after the killing blow. The ones that are decapitated seem to writhe around the longest and still ineffectively try to attack any nearby creatures for several rounds before finally expiring.


Laric wrote:

Those are some cool ideas Cibet. My only concern is that having all the factions controlled by evil monsters may make the PCs feel like they were screwed no matter which faction they decided to choose. Why did you decide to take out the other remaining factions?

Also, I like how you are using the IDs in a more subtle way than they did in Thousand Fangs Below, as it was pretty disappointing to me that they pretty much just became run of the mill monsters in that AP.

I had similar concerns and my plan is to circumvent those potential feelings with ones of revenge and heroic deeds on the part of the PCs. I felt, as written, the AP did not really have a good reason for the PCs to be involved with the story at all. With so many factions heading to the site someone else would surely deal with whatever was afoot so why would the PCs feel like they need to be involved in the first place? The way I have it now by the time they arrive in Saventh Yi (or shortly afterward) they will realize they are surrounded by enemies above and roiling evil below and it is up to them to do something about it. It will give them a purpose for being there in the first place.

I removed some of the factions for two reasons:

1. Too much book keeping required on my part as GM with all the factions in play.
2. I like when the choices the PCs make in part 1 of the AP to have direct impact on part 6 and that the players learn this. I think this should be a requirement for any AP. So for Serpents Skull I decided that it was up to the PCs to keep the NPCs alive on the Shiv in part 1. If they didn’t actively try to keep the NPCs safe they would perish. Any surviving NPCs would determine how many factions would be left to travel to Tazion in part 2 as the survivors would join factions of their own. In addition this would also determine the number of potential allies they would have in part 6. So in my campaign the players only managed to keep alive two NPCs on the Shiv which means two factions (plus the one the PCs join) make the journey to Tazion. In part 6 the players will need the surviving members of all the factions to form a defense against the rising evil of the Serpentfolk below (basically as written into part 6 already). So when the time comes for the final battle they realize they could have had more allies if they would have done a “better” job on the Shiv when they were 1st level or they could have been all alone if they didn’t bother to save anyone!

In order to have any allies, of course, they will still need to rescue each of the current factions from their state of infiltration during part 3 and 4. I thought this gave the PCs another goal to focus on since many of the complaints around 3 and 4 were that players felt like they had nothing to do. Obviously this would have been even more difficult with all the factions in play.


I heavily re-worked the story of the AP for my campaign. Here are brief descriptions of some of the changes I have made:

1. I reduced the number of factions from day 1. The only ones that exist are:
-Pathfinders
-Free Captains
-Sargavans

2. My players decided early on to join the Pathfinders and I made the following changes to the AP:

- Juliver and Eando are no longer part of the story. I edited them out completely. Instead, Amivor Glaur (the PF expedition leader) is the main NPC for the AP after Smugglers Shiv. Amivor is actually Isillar the serpent-folk in disguise (much like the first Serpentfolk from SS). Issilar is impersonating Amivor to use the expertise of the Pathfinders to find Saventh Yi (in my campaign he was never there) and explore it with a group of humans under his control.

- During the journey to Tazion the PCs quickly get separated from the PF expedition and spend the majority of the journey trying to find them again. They find bits and pieces of them (literally) as the in disguise Amivor is marching them without mercy to Tazion, even occasionally eating some of them. I reduced the journey to Tazion to about 25 days and made it more of a race to save the Pathfinders then a race to Tazion.

- The Intellect Devourers in Saventh Yi have already infiltrated the Free captains and are controlling them as they move toward Saventh Yi as well. The ID are using them as vessels to explore Saventh Yi to look for a way to defeat the various enemies below including the SF. They know the Azlanti defeated the SF years ago with some kind of "weapon" in Saventh Yi and are looking for it to use themselves.

- The Sargavans are infiltrated by the Aboleths and are searching for their companion in the lakes of Saventh Yi. He has been able to get word to his "homeland" about his discoveries in Saventh Yi and is eager to share what he has learned with his people.

- Since Issilar is impersonating Amivor, where is the REAL Amivor? Well he is captive in the SF city below Saventh Yi and will eventually play the role of both Juliver and Eando when he resurfaces at some point in Saventh Yi and the players will be faced with TWO Amivors. At this point Issliar will reveal himself. I also plan to have the IDs controlling the Free Captains reveal themselves around the same time. All of this will occur just as the PCs discover the vaults and the insanity spores in them. They won't know what is real, what is not, and what is the effect of the spores.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Ravingdork wrote:


Could you clarify for us what a "death spell" or "magical death effect" is exactly?

Any spell (or spell like or supernatural ability that emulates a spell) that has the "death" [Descriptor].

Ravingdork wrote:


Is fireball a death spell?

No:

FIREBALL
School evocation [fire];

No:
TRAP THE SOUL
School conjuration (summoning);

Ravingdork wrote:


What about a spell with the [death] tag?

Yes:

WAIL OF THE BANSHEE
School necromancy [death, sonic];

Yes:
SLAY LIVING
School necromancy [death];

Yes:
POWER WORD KILL
School enchantment (compulsion) [death, mind-affecting];

Ravingdork wrote:


What about a supernatural ability that says it is a death effect?

Yes:

DEVOURER
Devour Soul (Su) By making a touch attack as a standard action, a devourer can deal 12d6+18 points of damage as if using a slay living spell.
SLAY LIVING
School necromancy [death];

No:
INTELLECT DEVOURER
Body Thief (Su) As a full-round action that provokes an attack of opportunity, an intellect devourer can reduce its size, crawl into the mouth of a helpless or dead creature, and burrow into the victim's skull to devour its brain. This is a coup de grace attempt that inflicts 8d4+3d6+8 points of damage.

Yes:
BANSHEE
Wail (Su) Once per minute, a banshee may wail as a full-round action. Those that fail take 140 points of damage (as if affected by a CL 14 wail of the banshee).
WAIL OF THE BANSHEE
School necromancy [death, sonic];

Yes:
CACODAEMON
Soul Lock (Su) Once per day as a full-round action, a cacodaemon can ingest the spirit of any sentient creature that has died within the last minute. This causes a soul gem to grow inside of the cacodaemon's gut, which it can regurgitate as a standard action. A soul gem is a fine-sized object with 1 hit point and hardness 2. Destroying a soul gem frees the soul within, though it does not return the deceased creature to life. This is a death effect.

That's how I rule it anyway.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Kerian Valentine wrote:
I'd like to point out that the phrase Mythic is probably what's bothering people more than the concept of Mythic rules... the entire post

What you describe is basically what bugs me about the "mythic" stuff in a nutshell. To me, the mythic levels are redundant. Everything you describe, and what I've read about as far as "mythic" inspirations, is already modeled in the existing class hierarchy. At least in my games it always has been.

Examples (the classes and levels are arbitrary, it's the progression that matters):
- Gandalf the Grey (level x wizard)/Gandalf the White (level x+2 wizard)
- Soldier (level x fighter)/Captain (level x+5 fighter)/Lancelot (level x+15 fighter)
- Temple trainee (level x paladin)/Temple Champion (level x+5 paladin)/Temple Hero (level x+7 paladin)/Gawain (level x+10 paladin)
- Tough guy in a tavern (level x barbarian)/Toughest guy in the tavern (level x+3 barbarian)/Toughest guy in the country (level x+7 barbarian)/Hercules (level x+15 barbarian)

I just don't understand where the "mythic tiers" fit within the existing class system on a narrative level.

To a common farmer, a 12th level cleric seems mythic. A 12th level cleric can create water at will and bring people back from the dead, certainly "godlike" powers to a farmer, or even a 2nd level person. So to that same farmer, what is a 12th level cleric with 1 mythic tier?

What is a cleric 2/mythic tier 2 cleric to a 12th level cleric? Does the 12th level cleric look at the mythic guy and aspire to have his power, revere him in awe as a chosen servant? Why would he? He's 12th level! If not, then whats the point of the mythic tiers?

A 10th or 12th or 15th level paladin has certainly done many extraordinary things in his adventuring life in service of his deity and the greater good. He has the divine blessing of his deity and is directly granted powers due to this blessing. So when a level 3/mythic tier 2 paladin comes along what does that mean to him? Despite his (probably) years more dedication and service to his deity this chosen one is more favored?

I don't get how the mythic stuff works on a story level when the existing class system is already modeling "mythic" and "fledgling" beings today.

What would make more sense to me is if the "mythic" tiers were reserved for deities and monsters, NOT PCs. Now that would be interesting because it would open truly horrific and/or beautifully powerful beings for the PCs to interact with and battle and for designers to stat out so we can see the numbers on these terrible beings (I'm not above stats for stats sake!). High level PCs would have to draw upon their own "mortal" (non mythic) abilities to defeat these cosmically powerful foes by luck, planning, overwhelming numbers, perseverance, or some combination of all. It would give PLAYERS of high level characters reasons to count up and track all those little bonuses (instead of hand-waving them) for every little edge and come up with strong battlefield tactics or work as a group to defeat a mythic opponent. It would allow GMs to run high level battles with powerful BBEGs without over complicated stat blocks, tons of mooks, and reams of paper.

So "mythic monsters" work for me but "mythic PCs" seem redundant and unnecessary to both the game rules and narrative.


I have run all my PF campaigns (and 3.5 btw) at half the WBL guidelines. I consider this "low magic" but others may not.

The only adjustments I make are reducing monster hit points about 10%-30% and removing enemy consumable magic items. I ignore just about ALL the magic consumables enemies have listed in their stat blocks. This has the side effect of making my GMing job easier during combat as well. I have found that running this type of "low magic" PF game does not make it more deadly for the PCs but can make combat take longer. On occasion I do get some very long combats (12+ rounds) but I think they are rare enough as to not bog things down.

That's it. Works well for my group.


--Campaign Start--
The Sunless Citadel
The Forge of Fury
The Speaker in Dreams
The Standing Stone
Heart of Nightfang Spire
Deep Horizon
Lord of the Iron Fortress
Bastion of Broken Souls
--Campaign Start--
Crucible of Freya
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil
--Campaign Start--
Red Hand of Doom
--Campaign Start--
Three Days to Kill
Tomb of Abysthor
--Campaign Start--
The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde
Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
--Campaign Start--
There Is No Honor (Savage Tide)
The Bullywug Gambit (Savage Tide)
The Sea Wyvern's Wake (Savage Tide)
Here There Be Monsters (Savage Tide)
Tides of Dread (Savage Tide)
The Lightless Depths (Savage Tide)
City of Broken Idols (Savage Tide)
Serpents of Scuttlecove (Savage Tide)
Into the Maw (Savage Tide)
Wells of Darkness (Savage Tide)
Enemies of My Enemy (Savage Tide)
Prince of Demons (Savage Tide)
--Campaign Start--
Burnt Offerings (Rise of the Runelords)
The Skinsaw Murders (Rise of the Runelords)
The Hook Mountain Massacres (Rise of the Runelords)
Fortress of the Stone Giants (Rise of the Runelords)
Sins of the Saviors (Rise of the Runelords)
Spires of Xin-Shalast (Rise of the Runelords)
--Campaign Start--
Edge of Anarchy (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Seven Days to the Grave (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Escape From Old Korvosa (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
A History of Ashes (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Skeletons of Scarwall (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Crown of Fangs (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Haunting of Harrowstone (Carrion Crown)
Trial of the Beast (Carrion Crown)
Broken Moon (Carrion Crown)
Carrion Hill (Pathfinder Module)
Wake of the Watcher (Carrion Crown)
Ashes At Dawn (Carrion Crown)
Shadows of Gallowspire (Carrion Crown)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Souls For Smugglers Shiv (Serpents Skull)
Race to Ruin (Serpents Skull) --> Our current adventure


Ryan Dancey Quote.


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Carrion Crown was not very urban at all. Each volume had some kind of urban site to start off but the adventure almost immediately left each urban area and moved into a dungeon like setting:

Part 1: town->dungeon like prison
Part 2: city->mini dungeons in the country and big dungeon-like manor way outside the city at the end
Part 3: royal estate->wilderness and deserted town of undead
Part 4: small town->actual dungeon
Part 5: city->vampire dungeon lair
Part 6: wasteland with dungeons mixed in

Not that I'm complaining about dungeons though. As long as they are a manageable size I have no issue with them.

Regarding S&S, I remain baffled by this AP and the reaction to it. The pre-release hype was all about "OMG Pirates! I love Pirates! ARG!" Yet when it was finally released interest seemed to immediately fade into malaise. So what happened? The goal seemed pretty simple: a bunch of customers wanted a nautical pirate AP and Paizo agreed to write one. How could that have gone wrong?

Funny that the core rules were too simple to cover what S&S needed and the expanded Ultimate Combat rules were too complex so a third set of nautical rules had to be invented which caused it to get behind schedule. I don't know, seems to me it would be easier and more beneficial to write adventures that use the rules already in print instead of constantly inventing new ones that just put the adventures behind schedule and make them sub-par anyway.


Voomer wrote:
Thanks for the answers. I'll keep all that in mind. I'm impressed you all manage to play for so much time. You must have very accommodating spouses! One follow-up: What does it mean to "play low magic" and how does that help you get through the Path faster?

I play at about 1/2 the Wealth By Level suggestions for the players. So I strip out any treasure beyond this point and I eliminate magic items from opponents and re-calculate stats on the fly. My players typically do not get non-consumable magic items until around 6th level. This takes away a lot of fiddly math and bookkeeping that comes with D20 play.

Wealth by level.


Voomer wrote:
Thanks so much for this review. Lots of great points. I have four questions:

1) We are all working adults with spouses and kids as well. We've been playing D&D (now Pathfinder) together for over 25 years so we work out our schedules pretty well after all this time. We play roughly 2-4 times a month for 6-8 hours. I think the key to getting the APs done in under a year is to not add any side quests or encounters, play low magic, and use core rules only.

2) For the artifact, instead of making it a required component for the Carrion Crown elixir (as written) I made it a "nice to have" for the Whispering Way since the only way to destroy it is to use it as a component create a lich. So the WW just wanted it to destroy a holy artifact but didn't need it to complete their plan.

For the rescue of the prisoner it was a bit more complicated. Rescuing the prisoner was a primary reason for the PCs to travel to Vyrlych so I couldn't just remove the plot point. Luckily, as written, the WW gets a head start on the PCs to Vyrlych and traveling across Vyrlych for the PCs is very difficult. So in the end the heroes did all they could but just did not make it to Renchurch in time for a successful rescue. So by the time the players made it to the prisoner he was already dead, nothing more than an empty husk. This seemed to come as a result of the players choices, but behind the scenes I was going to make this happen no matter what. So it showed the players that the WW was serious and not to be messed with, and that their plan was moving forward no matter what. The "husk" that was the prisoner I described as an artifact level component thats only purpose was to be part of a ceremony to resurrect Tar-Baphon and the only way to destroy it was wish, mages disjunction, or to use it in the resurrection of Tar-Baphon, so of course the WW would stop at nothing to retrieve it from the PCs and they would be forever hunted if they kept it. Since they did not have access to the required spells and could not easily get out of VyrLych (the adventure describes why) they had no choice but to travel to Gallowspire with the "husk", let Adivions ritual complete, and then destroy him permanently once he was transformed. In the end they actually had to help complete the ritual they were trying so desperately to stop throughout the campaign.

3) I used a few of them but for the most part I omitted them. When I did use them I greatly simplified their effects by making it a one time save against some kind of debilitating spell cast at 20th level, usually antipathy. I primarily used the whispering haunt effect (and save) when the PCs would try to rest anywhere in VyrLych.

4) I guess, but I don't like the idea of randomly switching between XP tracks during the campaign. I think the fast track is too fast at low levels but the medium track is too slow at high levels. I think the XP curve in general needs to be changed to account for the real time and energy high level encounters take. Low levels are fine the way they are (on medium). High level encounters should be rare, epic kind of battles and surviving them victoriously should be a special event. It makes both story and rules based sense to me that high level PCs would fight less often but when they did the stakes would be much higher and the rewards greater (like faster levels).


Highs:

- Part 6 was quite a challenge for my group and had boatloads of atmosphere. I thought part 6 of this AP was one of the better volumes of the path. Typically I have found the part 6's to be the worst of the path. Except for Savage Tide, this part 6 was the best end-cap adventure I have GMd.

- Good variety of opponents. Even though this AP was heavily focused on undead it still managed a very good variety of opponents for the PCs to face across the level bands. I never felt anything got repetitive or grinded.

- Appropriately stingy treasure hoards. The first volume started out a little too heavy on the treasure for me but then the rest were just about perfect. I run a very low magic item game and I never felt like I had to cut back on the treasure allotments. In fact, in part 6 I had to add some treasure of my own; which was a first for me in GMing ANY AP.

- The Whispering Way certainly lived up to its reputation. Usually I have to spice up the bad guys a bit for my players to make them seem more menacing but that was not necessary with the Whispering Way. Their plots were certainly byzantine and convoluted (see below for more) but my players really did fear them with no or little embellishment from me. In part 6, Virlych (with its supernatural weather and awesome wandering monster tables) and Renchurch (with its creepy rooms and crazy inhabitants above and below the surface) and Gallowspire (with it deadly undead and desolate surroundings) really made my players, even at high level, just want to get out. They never questioned why a place like Virlych was allowed to exist in the world despite it being the known headquarters of an evil organization. Once they set foot in the area they understood and agreed that "cautions watching" was the best approach to dealing with these murderous fanatics rather than outright assault.

- Good sprinkling of knowledge and history throughout each part of the AP. Every volume had something interesting and (more importantly) useful for the players to learn with knowledge checks or research. Unfortunately almost all this information was buried in walls of text, but still, it was there and when my players found it they felt rewarded. The background information served to help the players in a variety of ways and move the plot along. That's what the background story is supposed to to in these APs and this one did it.

- The encounter sites were appropriately fleshed out and physically limited. Each encounter area had all the details I needed to run it (lighting, make up of walls, ceiling height, etc) and was limited enough in size that my players never got bored or lost. There were no sprawling 30 room dungeons and level on top of level worth of catacombs.

Lows:

- The plot lacked cohesion. The ties between the individual volumes were at times paper thin. I like my AP based campaigns to seem like one long adventure not a series of loosely linked ones. I had to do quite a bit of extra work to keep the seems from showing too much between the AP volumes. This was unfortunate because plot cohesion is one of the major reasons I use published campaigns.

- The plot has some major holes. As written, it is assumed the players successfully obtain an artifact and rescue a prisoner. If just one of these things is accomplished (let alone BOTH) the Whispering Ways plan is essentially foiled completely. By the end of part 4 the players have the artifact and at the beginning of part 6 they have rescued the prisoner. At both of these points the players can and will (correctly!) assume they have "won" and will see no reason to continue with the campaign. As GM if you don't see this coming and prepare for it ahead of time the entire campaign has the potential to grind to a halt at two separate places. I was able to work around this in advance but it could take many GMs by surprise. These seem like obvious enough plot holes to me that they should never have occurred in the finished product.

- This is probably a complaint unique to me but the rules creep for this AP seemed contrived and tacked on. I am not a fan of rules beyond the core rulebook and this AP seemed randomly sprinkled with confusing, undefined (unless you had the books in question I guess) rules and treasure that I constantly had to swap out or replace on the fly. Then it goes on to fully define and add new rules with the "Agent of the Grave" prestige class but only uses it in one part of the AP, a double whammy for busy GMs. Yuck. I did break down and buy the Bestiary 2, frankly it is a requirement for running this AP at all.

- Part 4 was misplaced. The Mythos stuff in part 4 should have been saved for the end or not used at all in this AP. It seemed out of place and did a disservice to what I know Paizo can do with Mythos. Putting it in part 4 of the AP I'm sure helped boost sales for the volume but it sacrificed the horror and gravitas of the stuff as a result. I hope someday we get the full Mythos treatment from Paizo. In addition, part 4 was aged way too forward for my tastes. Top hats and iron submarines are not part of my fanatsy game, seeing them pop up here in this volume was jarring and nonsensical.

- Part 2s court room trial was fun and interesting (again a bit too aged up for me but I overlooked it) but it clove too closely to the Frankenstein inspiration. It should have deviated more from the obvious source. I did this on my own but I'm surprised it was written the way it was in final print.

- Part 5 was boring. Not much happens in it plot-wise and aristocratic vampires living under a metropolis is cliche. Not to mention some (maybe most) of these particular vampires seemed powerful enough to stop the Whispering Way if they wanted so why would they need or want the PCs help at all? To catch a vampire serial killer who's main weapon is a wand of halt undead? Oh boy. These vampires have personally met with and betrayed Tar-Baphon himself why would they even care about a serial killer in their midst? I know this volume was to be something of a "hard choices" moment for the players but I just don't think it pulled it off.

- I won't rehash all the Adivion complaints here suffice to say I agree with them. What should have been played up more was the fact that each volume had some kind of hideous monster as it own BBEG but part 6, the climax, essentially had a pretty normal human as the ultimate BBEG illustrating the "greatest monster of them all is MAN!" type of trope. I added a dash of this on my own and my players got a kick out of it but ultimately Advion should not have been part of the WW plans at all. There are too many reasons to list here why this guy would even be allowed into the WW at all let alone lead the charge is resurrecting their greatest champion ever.

- Too many precious words wasted on the "Harrow Deck" side bars. I didn't bother with the cheesy device and I hope Paizo has gotten this thing out of their system now. After this and Crimson Throne I've seen way too much Harrow stuff. Ok, you got the Harrow Deck stuff into 2 APs now whoever you are that is such a fan of this thing, great job, lets please move on.

- Overuse of haunts, especially in part 6. They are a great low level trap with a nice story telling mechanic but when you get to mid and high levels they have too many undefined rules holes to be effective. They just bog things down and sometimes award an obscene amount of XPs for very little threat or have completely overwhelming effects. Basically they are all over the place at high level.

- This final one has nothing to do with this AP but the PF rules in general. In PF it takes about 20 CR appropriate encounters to level. This is great at low level but at high level (say 12+) encounters take so long and are so mentally draining (in a good way!) that 20 is just too many. Once you get to high level the XP curve should flatten out and allow PCs to level every 10 CR appropriate encounters. It would take the same amount of real time since the encounters can be very time consuming at high levels, but would allow the group to do more and more quickly in the game itself if they only needed 10 encounters to level.


Tonight we finished our Carrion Crown campaign. Start to finish it took 11 3/4 months. We used the PF core rule book only. The party of 4 PCs (3 players) got to 14th level by the end. We started in early October, 2011 and Finished September 17, 2012.

Thanks to Michael Kortes, Richard Pett, Tim Hitchcock, Greg A. Vaughan, Neil Spicer, and Brandon Hodge. Good times had by all.

The finale adventure and encounter went off rather well, I'm happy to say. My original intention was to have Marrowgarth be the climactic encounter however when the PCs encountered her in what was supposed to be a preliminary battle they ended up utterly killing her in 3 rounds and they were only 13th level at the time! Really surprised me. I had a dracolich mini and everything! So the actual climax was the battle with Adivion atop Gallowspire. I ended just winging all his magus stuff and running him for the most part like a beefed up sorcerer (I still have no idea what all those magus abilities were supposed to do). The group finished him off with a "wack a mole type strategy" and using an [i]antimagic field[/]. It was enjoyable and I think I managed to fill in the plot holes to the point where my players weren't distracted by them. The Nightshade were very interesting creatures. They have quite the back story. Very enjoyable. Overall it went pretty well.

Next up for us is Serpents Skull. I'm looking forward to the more free form style. I think the jungle trek/exploration theme will be a nice change for my players. I'll especially be editing out the vast majority of undead from it. After CC we've seen enough undead for a while.


--Campaign Start--
The Sunless Citadel
The Forge of Fury
The Speaker in Dreams
The Standing Stone
Heart of Nightfang Spire
Deep Horizon
Lord of the Iron Fortress
Bastion of Broken Souls
--Campaign Start--
Crucible of Freya
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil
--Campaign Start--
Red Hand of Doom
--Campaign Start--
Three Days to Kill
Tomb of Abysthor
--Campaign Start--
The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde
Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
--Campaign Start--
There Is No Honor (Savage Tide)
The Bullywug Gambit (Savage Tide)
The Sea Wyvern's Wake (Savage Tide)
Here There Be Monsters (Savage Tide)
Tides of Dread (Savage Tide)
The Lightless Depths (Savage Tide)
City of Broken Idols (Savage Tide)
Serpents of Scuttlecove (Savage Tide)
Into the Maw (Savage Tide)
Wells of Darkness (Savage Tide)
Enemies of My Enemy (Savage Tide)
Prince of Demons (Savage Tide)
--Campaign Start--
Burnt Offerings (Rise of the Runelords)
The Skinsaw Murders (Rise of the Runelords)
The Hook Mountain Massacres (Rise of the Runelords)
Fortress of the Stone Giants (Rise of the Runelords)
Sins of the Saviors (Rise of the Runelords)
Spires of Xin-Shalast (Rise of the Runelords)
--Campaign Start--
Edge of Anarchy (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Seven Days to the Grave (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Escape From Old Korvosa (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
A History of Ashes (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Skeletons of Scarwall (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
Crown of Fangs (Curse of the Crimson Throne)
--Campaign Start (Pathfinder RPG)--
Haunting of Harrowstone (Carrion Crown)
Trial of the Beast (Carrion Crown)
Broken Moon (Carrion Crown)
Carrion Hill (Pathfinder Module)
Wake of the Watcher (Carrion Crown)
Ashes At Dawn (Carrion Crown)
Shadows of Gallowspire (Carrion Crown)

Carrion Crown is finally complete! It took us 11 and 3/4 months. Next up: Serpents Skull.


It seems like being able to add "mythic" abilities to creatures of any level or CR obviates the need to have high-level characters or high CR monsters at all. If a “2nd Mythic Tier/3rd level” PC is equivalent to say a 10th level PC what’s the point of having both in the game? Is it so that players and GMs can play a high level epic game without having to bother gaining all the XPs and climbing the level ladder over the course of real time days and months?

To me, the difference between say Grey Mouser and a common pick pocket is their level. The same goes for King Arthur and a foot soldier. It is not something “mythic”, it is training and experience mixed with natural talent and fortitude; the very things that the level system abstracts for the game now. No?

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