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Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Lots of good Questions Archpaladin. I'll answer what I can.

I played the main game through 6-7 times with different builds and alignments, with different consequences. I have not done a playthrough on the new Enhanced Edition, so I cannot tell you how the DLCs interact with the main game.

Also, there have been changes to the main game with the Enhanced Edition that might make any guides or advice obsolete (such as item rarity).

That Said, here are some pointers:

1. Any polarized (not True Neutral) alignment will have consequences to options, both in terms of Kingdom options and NPC interactions. The playable NPCs are all accessible for all alignments, though later in the game alignment differences will come into play with consequences.

2. There are no critical items in the game. There are lots of +X stat items, weapons and armor. It is hard to find EXACTLY the weapon and armor you want, but there are a lot of options - and the new EE is supposed to have better shopping selection.

3. The only must-have skill for the main PC (IMHO) is Persuasion. I also take Skill Focus Persuasion at First level for this reason. The #2 skill is Perception/Trickery for Traps, hidden doors/items and locks. I always have a "Spotty McRogue" Mercenary in my group with these two maxed out. From there, make sure your party has all skills covered - as they come up in game. The only skill I have NEVER seen needed is Use Magic Device.

4. Timers and quests are odd. The only way you run into trouble for this is if you do a kingdom thing that fast-forwards the clock 14-28 days, especially when close to the Season of Bloom Event that happens every chapter. The new EE is supposed to have a better documentation of when quests expire.

5. There are a handful of times when you will choose one NPC over another (their goals or urgent need of help are in direct conflict). No way around that.

6. There are some side-quests that you may find unsatisfying, (the Hellknight Quest and Val's Redemption come to mind) as they don't (IMHO) give you the options you should have. But that's a writing choice.

7. the game follows a strict timer of when events happen relative to each chapter, and you can plan for it. I usually quickly solve the main-quest of a chapter, then finish exploring/doing sidequests and doing kingdom setup/management last. This is because some Kingdom events force the clock forward, which can auto-fail quests. In addition, you'll want kingdom features that facilitate fast-travel, and plan your "quests" to minimize travel time.

In Summary, I've generally beaten the game and gotten the "best" ending (you have to do all the Curse Researches for this to work) multiple times, with multiple alignment/choices, so don't fret your Lawful tendencies.

Playing through the game 2-3 times honestly made it better for me, not sure if that is meaningful advice (you may not have the time or patience for that). It would take a thorough guide/walkthrough to explain all the details of the game and how best to manage your Kingdom/Adventuring time.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks for asking, W E Ray.

In general, the game has a difficulty section you can select at any time and make certain changes. The combat part of the game is "real time", and if you're not familiar with video games, that reaction time may be an issue. You can hit "pause" at any time with the space bar while you figure out what you want your character(s) to do.

Question 1:
The various editions are mostly cosmetic (more portraits, other non-critical digital goodies, and some physical goodies). I would recommend buying the normal (cheapest) $40 version.

If you really like the game, buy the "season pass", as that includes additional story and quest options.

Question 2:
If your PC dies, the game ends. You can then re-load a previous save game (prior to your death) and resume from that point. A common tactic is to "save" before entering a dungeon or approaching a major battle just for that reason. Another common tactic is to save before a major dialogue, sometimes to go back and see what happens if you choose another path.

You can have multiple games (different characters). They'll be grouped separately. You might play once as a Lawful Good Paldin, and a second time as a Chaotic Neutral Rogue, or even as an Evil Cleric.

Since the games are grouped and saved separately, you can have many running in parallel (just pay attention to which one you select when loading).

Question 3:
Most people that struggled with this game, struggled with the Pen and Paper part of the rules (i.e. what is power attack and why should I take it?).

However, you're kind of starting from zero, so it's hard to assess. I think this game does a good job of introducing itself. When you start, hit "escape" key and check the options and settings, turn on anything that says "tutorial" or "help" and that will constantly give you guides on how the computer part of the game works.

There ARE differences between this game and the Pen and Paper version, mostly minor. The biggest ones I noticed is that there are a lot less skills to choose from (and you get less skills per level). There are no favored class bonuses or Traits.

Question 4:
I played from the beginning and the bugs never bothered me until the end of the game, where things got wonky. As of now, I don't see any bugs with the game. Load times can be annoying (especially late game, and especially when switching between kingdom mode and adventure mode), but that's more about patience than anything else.

I think the game is about as good as it will get at this point, and the developers are working on $-generating expansions to add on to the core game (more levels, more character options, more quests and adventures).

Question 5:
Your main character (you) is with 25 point buy. You will encounter pre-made named NPCs that have their own story, including Amiri the Barbarian. You can level these NPCs how you choose, but you're stuck with their initial choices. You can also hire "mercenary" NPCs by spending gold, and they are on 20 point buy - but you control their build from the start.

All the core classes and races are represented, with four archetypes for each class (you cannot mix archetypes at this time). There's a few extra races/classes/feats/spells over and above the Core rulebook, but not much. otherwise, PC creation and leveling follows standard PFS rules 99% closely (no traits or favored class bonus as mentioned above, and the skill system is "tighter").

Multi-Classing is super easy. When you level up, you just pick what class you want (and the game will "recommend" things based on your current build). The game does a good job of sorting "recommended" feats and "unavailable" feats (so you can hide or sort them to make building a PC easier).

Key Non-Core options: Tiefling, Alchemist, Inquisitor, Magus, (the rogue, monk, and barbarian default to the "unchained" versions),

summary

I really loved the game. I've done about 7 playthroughs with tons of different builds and role-playing choices. Each playthrough i found some new nugget of something that was cool.

The game starts with you in a big meeting hall being given the start quest, and you meet many of your potential allies and compatriots.

Right at the beginning, Amiri (Iconic Barbarian), Linzi (An NPC Bard) and Tartuccio (an NPC Sorceror) really jumped out at me as awesome and great characters. I also found Harrim (Dwarven Cleric of Groetus) to be hillarious.

When you camp for the night, your companions will have dialogue that feeds off each other. With so many companions to choose from (I think you meet over a ten of them), that means tons of role-playing options.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

@Trinam - I'm on my Chaotic Playthrough with an AM BARBARIAN component. So I'll see how that shakes out. Dance Halls are the town option (plus orphanages for Good). I'll look out for this Cayden option.

I also have 6 animal companions, so the fights are a hilarious drunken traffic jam.

@Quandary - I can say there is no Shelyn option, my first playthrough was as a male cleric of Shelyn and I couldn't seem to romance Valerie (or get any unique results).

I need to pay more attention to the Religeon options for the kingdom, as this drunken Cayden Cailean option sounds like a hoot for Team Chaos.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think most of the costs for projects (especially the feast) is too high. Unless the game just assumes that 90% of your cash goes to BP (and the other 10% to consumables, apparently).

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As far as I can tell, I did not alienate any advsisors with my evil action. Octavia (CG), Kesten Geress (NPC?), Ekundaya (LG) and Linzi (CG) all hung around until the end. The rest are either neutral or evil: Harrim (CN), Jubilost (CN), Amiri (CN), Valerie (LN). I don't include Tristian, as he seems to be easily manipulated....

My "evil" behavior gave me different results for many NPC questlines, but they still made it as "loyal/complete"

Octavia:

(i.e. Evil mode Octavia burned down her mom's house, Good mode Octavia reconciled with her mom)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've been playing Kingdom on Easy mode through the last two playthroughs without too much trouble, but I still need to turn cash into BP all the time (I've probably bought about 4,000 BP overall). That BP was not used for Feasts - just general projects and activities. I think the game does not give anywhere near enough BP to do all the things you need to do to make the Kingdom work.

Claiming the 8 regions takes up 200-400BP each.
Upgrading regions is same (200-400 BP each)
Building up village/town/cities is 200-500 BP each
Projects to improve your kingdom or solve curses are also 50-200 BP each

I never bothered with any of the Trade Agreements, as most of them would never pay for themselves. The kingdom only lasts for about 4 years (only 3.5 of them are meaningful for the adventure) so that's 150-175 weeks of revenue.

Oddly enough, being Evil is more profitable; you can sell those Soul Jars from Vordakai's tomb for 250 BP as a "project" (that can be done multiple times). The only other BP income is late game there is a dragon you kill, and its Hoard has 1000 BP in it.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

@Quandary:

You have to do either the Flintlock Grassland or the Candlemere quest first, which prioritizes Tristan over The Aldori (+Amiri quest).

The "permanently lose advisor" isn't really relevant, as Tristian (as well as other main NPCs) will/can die in the final dungeon. From there on, there is no Kingdom Management in the game, so their absence isn't relevant to Kingdom Management (it will be relevant to other aspects of the end-game).

Not sure if it is a bug or feature. Some NPCs actions seem mutually exclusive (i.e. Good vs Evil), others can just be the hard choices a ruler has to make. Sometime you have to abandon one cause/person to help another, and that choice has consequences.

Again, not sure if this is a Sophie's Choice situation or a Bug.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Cool DLCs. The Endless dungeon is a great way to get more out of the engine they've built, until they can release a new AP (which I'm super hoping for).

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would offer a different opinion. I find the game to be amazingly fun. I didn't experience any bugs or game breaking issues until the very end, which is better than Pathfinder Society (Pathfinder play generally "falls apart" at high levels >9, so a computer game that holds up until level 14-15 is pretty fantastic for me)

I'm on a 4th playthrough, planning on going up to about level 14-15 before starting over.

I hope they license MORE AP's using this engine. The core engine seems sounds, the bugs seem to be with high level monsters (which again, is basically a feature of the PnP game), and the complexity of the story at the end.

@ Terraneaux I'm sorry your play experience was not up to your expectations, but I am enjoying this a lot.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Freedom of Movement (which is on most spell lists and lasts long)
Echolocation (there's a wand at one point, and if you have an Alchemist, such as Jubilost, with the Infusion ability, they can cast it on others) - this counters the constant blindness.

Most of their attacks are force (crystal) vs Touch AC that does force damage, so there's not much to stop it. Having a cleric that channels can keep some of the damage off. I also use Communal StoneSkin to at least stop the arrow damage.

Mostly, I think being 17th+ level helps, as you'll have the resources (saves, hit points, gear/AC) to reduce the impact and kill them back faster. I am fond of casting Haste right before the fight (it will last long at this level) and then a Heightened Slow on the Wild Hunt (most of them will save, but enough will fail it will have an impact).

When I was in the House at Edge of Time, I was 17th level with mostly +5 gear (weapons/armor/amulet/rings/cloaks) and it was still rough.

I imagine Monk/Dex based characters will do better at dodging those crystal attacks.

I hope this helps.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

For a fun Bug... cast enlarge person then open up the character inventory (with PC full body portrait... you'll only see your PC's feet.....)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I haven't done any complex builds yet. I've built the following mercs for regular use:

first playthrough:
Main PC: cleric of shelyn with a glaive (I found a +5 holy glaive that does +2d6 sonic and casts heroic invocation 1/day, sweet Shelyn it is awesome)

fighter 16 (sword and board)
Wizard 16 - conjuration specialty
... along with Amiri, Linzi, and Jubilost;
.... when I lost Amiri and Linzi I replaced them with Valerie and Ekundaya respectively.

My 2nd team is all Merc:

-Me (Paladin2/Alchemist-vivisector8)
-Paladin 10 - sword and board
-Cleric (Crusader) 10 of Sarenrae (healing); but she's using a +3 cold iron sickle i found
-alchemist 10 (built better than jubilost)
-bard 10 (built better than linzi)
-sorceror 10 (gold dragon blood)

Not very original, but effective. I have a bunch of PCs I bought at Level 1 from the Merc Shop for 100gp each, and I could level them up at any time (thanks to shared XP). I might try them out if I get bored. It's actually an interesting mechanic for complex builds that need X level to mature (i.e. Octavia the Arcane Trickster). Having a bunch of Agile weapons makes some other options viable as well (I've found an Agile Amulet of Mighty Fist, Agile Shortsword, Agile Light Pick, and Agile Rapier)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I was about 95% done (level 16 and in the house at the edge of time) when I had to quit. That was the only time I had a noticeable bug.

I have started a second playthrough - there were other bugs I didn't notice (mostly from failed/incomplete quests that were not important), plus now I know how not to drive a kingdom into the ground.

I'm hopeful that by the time I reach the end, either the issues I encountered will be fixed, I'll be too bored to care, or I'll start a 3rd playthrough anyway.

Mostly likely I'll go for a 3rd playthrough. I have yet to play a monk or druid, and there's all these amulet of mighty fists I keep finding.....

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

regarding the little boy....

you need to go back to the capital in the Inn and talk to his mom again. She'll tell you he hangs around candlemere. This opens up a dialogue option when you talk to the boy/willowisp to say something like "i know you're in there, just fight it little guy".

order of events:

(1) talk to mom in inn
(2) talk to possessed boy (or at least talk to him again), promise to get the shaman
(3) talk to shaman, tell him to join you inside
(xx) shaman will then exorcise the boy, and he won't die when the willowisp shoots out a lightning bolt.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

@ MisterSlanky to each his own. Looks like you've found a way to use Val very effectively. I ended up building a Half Orc sword and board fighter that I am very happy with as my lead fighter (she draws aggro from Amiri).

Mostly I like the idea of leaving Valerie at the Capital as my Regent...storywise there is no one I trust more than her to run the kingdom.....

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The game is fantastic. I hope they port many more adventure paths. The key challenge is that there is no real guide for the game. So for those of us that know PFS well, that's no big deal, but the Kingdom management is really hard (there's no guide or tips or explanation of how things really "work"). In a few months, gaming community will have well built guides we can all read.

Best advice for Kingdom is to either put it on auto, or to save right before a kingdom check so you can save-scum if a roll goes poorly. I've had to do that several times as my kingdom teeters on collapse.

Kingdoms reach a death spiral easily, as all it takes to get a kingdom penalty is fail a roll (which is 20% to 60% likely on any given roll) or not be able to do an event (which can happen when you are away or if your advisers are locked into other 10-30 day jobs). Whereas IMPROVING the kingdoms stability takes a 1000BP event (which means spending 80,000gp) or some other very rare event. It's kind of like playing Pathfinder if there's no magical healing.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm playing a Cleric of Shelyn and it has no impact on my discussions with Valerie or her NPC quests. It should be WAY more awkward than it is.

It's more relevant that I'm Neutral Good, or take NG/CG/LN/LG dialogue options.

It's probably too much work for too little return (odds of being used) to put that in... the only religion that should ping would be Erastil, since it plays such a role in the region and story (when I ran this for my group, they had an INQ and CLR of Erastil, which made sense).

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm having trouble understanding how part 3 works (the social combat). These have always felt "odd" in this series, in that the rules seem modified from Ultimate Intrigue.

Here are my questions:

1. Is this happening in Oppara or elsewhere? Can the PCs or their agents "influence" outside Oppara? Given that the "damage" is doubled in Oppara at the start, why go to Oppara at all?

2. Do the PCs have to use their Operatives? If so, they really only get 7 unique turns, since the Operatives are committed to a single action (that they can do 3 times) for a given day.

3. Can the PCs have Operatives do multiple tasks? The PCs should have 30-50 Operatives by now, so they could have two groups of Operatives splitting that single +30 to +50 into two +15 to +25 rolls per Social Combat Phase

4. Can the PCs act in parallel to their Operatives (this assumes the PCs can act directly)? Could a PC send 20 Operative to do Discovery on the Royal Guard, 20 Operatives to do Discovery on the Ulfen Guard, and personally do Influence on the Imperial Arcanist Guild? That would let them multi-task.

PCs at Level 17 are typically +25 to +40 for key skills, so the DCs presented (ranging from DC 23 to DC 30 for most checks) are auto-success for a PC; and auto success for a PC that sends all their Operatives at the problem.

Looking at the Math for Discovery, the PCs will need to succeed at at least two Discoveries on six groups (assume the PCs choose to not even try one of the seven, likely the Royal Guard, because obviously). That means they need 12 successful Discovery Checks.

Looking at the Math for Influence, it takes 4-8 successes to Influence a group (Average of 5), with starting attitude of Indifferent to Hostile (average Unfriendly). Success requires getting one to Friendly and three to Indifferent. On average they need to move four groups a total of five steps, which takes 5 Successes each.

So the PCs need a total of 12 Successful Discovery and 25 Successful Influence checks to meet the bare minimum of success. If they have a 50% success rate on checks, that is 2*(12+25) = 74 checks.

The PCs have 7 days * 3 checks per day * 4 PCs = 84 opportunities.

That means they are unlikely to succeed if my assumptions about how many actions (and how they can be spent) is accurate, there is not a lot of margin for error if the PCs waste actions on the wrong Discovery/Influence/Group, or cannot adjust their Operatives instructions mid-day.

The smartest scenario is for the PCs to enter the city directly and act, as they can choose their action each social round (instead of each day of three rounds). that assumes the PCs skills are comparable to the Operative bonus (and in this Social AP, that seems like a reasonable assumption).

For example:
My PCs have Knowledges of +25 to +30
Diplo of +30 to +40
Sense Motive of +20 to +35
(and they could keep Heroism up all day with Extend Spell Rods for another +2 to all skills)
And 38-46 Operatives each

Thoughts?
Comments?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Darrell Impey UK wrote:
My players finally got out from beneath the Senate yesterday, battling the three halflings including Imistos. One of the three nobles comments something along the lines of, "halflings, you can never trust them." To which a player responds, "oh most of them are fine, the clown that was on the balcony was really nice." Oops. :)

LOL. That is Awesome. I had a similar incident in Wrath of the Righteous. The payout on that is always great. Especially if it takes a few sessions.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Darrell Impey UK wrote:
If I am running this for three players/characters they will effectively have 25% fewer social round actions to influence this in the senate (and anywhere else social rounds are used in the AP). Is this likely to cause a problem? Would I be better off adding enough extra rounds to account for the missing actions of the fourth character, or is there a "better" way?

If you have skillsy characters, I would make sure to use the rule that if they beat a Social check by 5 or more they get an extra piece of information, or an extra influence. Maybe go so far as to grand a 2nd or 3rd if they beat it by 10 or 15 (that might not be relevant in Book1, but it could in future books). That would help off-set it.

other wise, you would need to add an extra social round or two (remember, the PCs are losing 1 action per round, but gain 3 actions per round you add, so you only need to bonus in a few rounds).

Make sure to spread out any bonus rounds throughout the event, as certain NPCs cannot be approached at various points.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm trying to figure out how the PCs pay for things in this adventure.

When they arrive in Merrit County, they (likely) have less than 400gp between them from Book 1. There are a few opportunities to "win" some fancy jewelry during the Jubileee, but not much.

The Manor and especially the town of Stachys require thousands of GP to fix, something level 4-5 PCs don't have. Am I missing something?

It feels weird the PCs are expected to take over a run-down manor house, and turn things around with zero funding. Do the PCs have an income source from the land? Although I can't imagine local peasants contributing more than a few silver pieces a month.

Also, how do they sell things? If they do find some 3000gp item, where would they sell it? They'd have to head back to Oppara. Lotheedar has a purchase limit of 5000gp, but even that seems weird (the Count sees the PCs constantly pawning random treasures, maybe even gifts from him, in his backyard)

Any thoughts?

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:

^I want to play in one of these, or failing that, at least see one (anyone know of a PbP on these boards that has one, including yours)?

Hell's Rebels and Council of Thieves would also be great for this.

PC1: Halfling Dawnflower Dervish Bard (melee damage/AC focus)

PC2: Human Soundstriker/Arcane Healer Bard (STR, reach weapon with disarm, some healing ability and standard bard song - only PC with normal bard song and bardic knowledge)
PC3: half Orc Archaelogist Archer bard (range focus)
PC4: human magician bard (arcane / magic focus, with greater spell focus enchantment at level 1)

Everyone has Cure Light Wounds as a level 1 spell. Greatest weakness (especially early game) is Armor Class. They have some healing/staying power, but cannot go multiple fights until level 3-4 with useful gear.

They rocked book1-part1 skills section (obviously).

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

All Bard Party!!!!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A lot of players (myself included) loved Kingmaker. You get to build a kingdom and explore the wild. There's lots of downtime between each chapters, and each chapter has a different feel. I felt it was "easy" as written, but you can spice it up by adding (lots) more random encounters and beefing up opponents.

I liked Ironfang Invasion, but it has its own style/challenge (constantly on the run, low on supplies).

I think you'll hear lots of people on the boards give their own favorites, best to read why they like a specific AP and see if that fits your players and your GM style. With so many APs out there, you should be able to find a nice entry point.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Zenori wrote:


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,...

I would say that it's OK to deal with the Faceless Stalker threat early. In this case, the urgency presented at the start of Book3 goes away (or is delayed or transformed).

If the PCs find out Thanaldhu and his Faceless Stalkers early, then it simply changes the order of events in Book2. Now the PCs have solved this threat and prevented the abduction of dozens of colonists (one or two may be missing). Now the purpose of Book2 is to thoroughly explore the island.

This leads into Book3 territory, where lots of clues are gathered at the beginning to lead to the island where Onthooth is. You'll need to change the clues, and change the priorities of the colony to keep the PCs in Book2.

The best way to do this is to remind the PCs that only a few colonists are missing, and the best course of action is to thoroughly scout the island of Ancorotto first (in case the prisoners are still on the island). Once this is complete (the PCs are level 7 and all of Book 2 content explored), then present clues that the 1-2 missing colonists must have been taken elsewhere. You can also present clues that there may be prisoners from the original colony still alive.

Maybe someone escapes the prison, or a Strix spots something - this triggers Book3, and possibly triggers the 6-day countdown that Ramona presents at the beginning of book3. you may be hard-pressed to justify this time-constraint in this case. The easiest justification would be a prisoner escape of some sort - now the PCs know there are prisoners on that island, and the captors are likely to react to the escape (move the prisoners, or dispose of them) - so there is a real need for urgency.

Hope that helps.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Speaking Aboleth or being a Gillman does not give any mechanical benefit unless you want it to.

Aboleth's are a known creature in the Bestiary1, so per Core rules it's a DC 17 Knowledge_Dungeoneering check to know what they are (a large evil, aquatic aberration) and one useful fact (most important and obvious fact is that they dominate people).

Gillman that make that check (or a History check) might know some lore about them. The Dungeoneering (monster knowledge) check is about mechanics.

Where you have discretion as a GM is in how you parcel out information on the Lore of Aboleth history and their culture and organization. That could be any knowledge check (Arcana for their magic abilities, History, Local or Geography for the impact on the area, and Dungeoneering for more detailed information).

It's best to start vague: Aboleth are the bogeymen of the Sea. They've been around for as long as anyone can remember, but have never been a "serious threat" (I doubt anyone knows they caused EarthFall).

Yakman's comment above is the best - Gillmen tell their children "behave or the Aboleth will get you"

Give the PCs opportunities to do research or learn. If they really want additional knowledge on their character, make them work for it (take a trait, spend skill points, flesh out their backstory).

Hope that helps.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Since the Faceless Stalkers are just 5HD evil creatures, they read the same as any 5HD evil Aristocrat.

By the time Book2 starts, you should have a second wave of colonists arrive (50-100 more people). Make sure that 1-5 of them show up on the evil-radar. If you've got one legitimately Lawful Evil businessperson or two in the mix, it will throw off the paladin.

Evil does not equal kill on sight. If you've got legit evil people in your colony, your paladin won't be able to trust their radar. They might distrust that individual, but have no cause to detain or interrogate them. Now, once people start "turning" into evil (as they are replaced by faceless stalkers) that could get interesting.

The Paladin in my game had a similar dilemma. Coming out of Book1, knowing Eliza was evil and Rayland was not, the group started to think there was some corrupting influence on the island. Early in book2, they encountered (it got away) the Wihsaak at area I, and were tipped off to the Hag by the replaced Venture Captain Carver Hastings. These two items sent my party down the path of looking for some force dominating or corrupting people. They did not suspect people were being replaced.

At one point, they did note someone (the missing fisherman) had been "turned" and detained him with Ramona's permission. However, not knowing he was a Faceless Stalker, the creature escaped using its abilities (waiting until middle of the night and escaped its bonds).

There is a section on Page 8 of Book2 that gives additional hints as well.

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. In any case, even if the PCs confront him at the beginning of the adventure, they still will need to rescue Carver and 1-2 other colonists - as well as deal with the legitimate threats and issues in Book2 (the Hag and Sahuagin are still out there).

Either Way, the overall flow of the AP continues as planned. The PCs are rewarded in this instance with not having infiltrators attack the supply ship at the end of Book2, and are probably better prepared to find and thwart infiltrators during Book2. If you feel the PCs are missing out on XP (by cancelling some of the Events or final encounters) you can make the Hag more dangerous, or have more random encounters on the island to make up the difference.

Hope this helps you out.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mikko Kallio wrote:

I checked the crafting rules, and it should be possible for the PCs to do some crafting between traveling and resting, such as when they're exploring the island (or cathedral):

"The creator also needs a fairly quiet, comfortable, and well-lit place in which to work. Any place suitable for preparing spells is suitable for making items. Creating an item requires 8 hours of work per 1,000 gp in the item’s base price (or fraction thereof), with a minimum of at least 8 hours. Potions and scrolls are an exception to this rule; they can take as little as 2 hours to create (if their base price is 250 gp or less). Scrolls and potions whose base price is more than 250 gp, but less than 1,000 gp, take 8 hours to create, just like any other magic item."

Thanks Mikko.

I think in this case, I'd be more likely to be flexible with the crafting rules as you suggested - and maintain the dramatic tension of the kidnapped colonists.

My group has traditionally ruled that you either adventure or craft on a given day (no partial of both). Realistically, we've had sessions where the party "adventures" for 1-3 hours and then needs to rest due to spells/hp/powers exhausted, so your idea of spending 2-8 more hours crafting could work. Especially for potions and scrolls (possibly even slowly working on a belt or headband...)

The party can easily sell all their stuff to the Locathah for crafting supplies and then hop on their boat for the Island on the first day.

I appreciate the feedback!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The time constraint seems arbitrary. Why 6 days to rescue them? The PCs would know or suspect that the missing colonists have already been prisoners for days or weeks (and the original colonists, if still alive have been prisoners for months) - so a few more days shouldn't matter.

The only consequence seems to be an XP penalty at the end of book3.

I would think the PCs would not want to rush foolishly into the rescue, especially given that they have not had any downtime in quite a while (the final events of Book2 happen immediately after they come back from dealing with the Hag - so no time to get new gear from the Locathah traders or to craft items - possibly two levels of adventuring).

Seems unnecessarily punitive to the players to deny them any time to do some crafting (even something simple like potions or scrolls) or trade with the Locathah. I'm generally down on this in the APs, especially since this AP mentioned that PCs would benefit from crafting feats.

The only obvious downside is the morale of the colonists - but the PCs have on numerous occasions had opportunities to build a lot of influence with them (this seems like another opportunity to make a hard Diplomacy check with modifiers based on previous encounters to increase the Time window beyond 6 days).

Just my thoughts.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Questions of my own, regarding area J (the reliquary).

If the PCs are working for the dwarves, why would they loot the reliquary? Specifically - the treasure at J17 and J18 (as well as first throne at J13). These items all seem like things a good party would leave untouched, unless the dwarves specifically say they can bring loot out and use it and/or at least let the dwarves look at it.

How would the PCs figure out how to put the ghost to rest (or even find out there is a ghost)? The PCs are likely to kill the "ghost" when it manifests as a Gug at area J12 - in which case she can't come back for 2d4 days. The PCs could easily finish the dungeon before she re-manifests, never knowing she was actually a medusa ghost. The idea of a "master of disguise" ghost is pretty far-fetched for the PCs to come up with on their own. They might just assume "lots of ghosts and haunts in this place... hope the dwarves can afford to hire official ghostbusters"

Without a lot of divination magic, the PCs might never know there is a ghost, or how to put her (and the haunt at J16) to rest.

Any thoughts on this?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
GM 8574 - SFS wrote:

Thanks, Rob, for including Docking Bay 94. :)

I'm getting some notes together now for a PBP run at this. Looking forward to it!

Made me so happy.

This is why we love Starfinder.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The PCs also may not have a good description of the destination, making teleportation risky. They're unlikely to have been there before (since the city has been under siege since the start of the AP).

One option you could use is to have a teleport spell simply take the PCs directly to area H, not far from the entrance. This bypasses the random (and planned) encounters along the way, which could be replaced with other encounters later - perhaps some quests from the dwarves prior to entering the reliquary.

In addition, walking to the "front door" has the issue of walking up to a massive army trying to repel a siege. The "back door" likely has only a few guardians. It's much easier to talk to a few guardians than 500 angry dwarves with siege repelling equipment.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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I had fun running this last week.

A bit of ad-libbing on the dataphiles quest, created some hilarity. Once Granny Ceren realized she had "accidentally" done some hacking she all nonchalantly opened up a chest and pulled out a "go-bag" and started pouring gasoline on her house and told the PCs to help her work on getting a new identify for her and her son.

The 180-degree pivot in her language (but no change in her granny demeanor) was well received.

Everyone wanted to help out with "granny's go-bag"

Poor little Jubair was a little overwhelmed by it all though...

Scarab Sages

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I have just started Watching Star Wars Rebels... and it really is the perfect Starfinder allegory:

They have their own ship and get missions
Space Battles
Check.

Vehicle Chases
Check.

5-6 characters with various abilities:

Hera - Female Twilek Captain/Pilot (Envoy/Operative?)
Kana - human male "jedi" (mystic/solarion)
Ezra - human male solarion/operative (jedi trainee)
Sabine - human female (mandalorian) - Soldier/operative
Zeb - alien (??) Soldier
Chopper - droid (android) technomancer

Check.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

HWalsh (the OP) has done great work. Thanks HWalsh for the effort, and for posting your assumptions and thinking. It's helping me (and hopefully others) think better about our own theory-crafting and simulations.

We're all just guessing right now - but it's good to share the basis for our guesses. Actual Gameplay is still a ways away, so we're all doing our best to plan ahead :)

I am super excited to play - especially after watching Star Wars Rebels! A must watch for anyone preparing to run/write a Starfinder Campaign!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You can do both.... I think Defy Gravity is useful when it is first available (level 6);

The jet pack is a level 5 armor upgrade - so not sure when it is "reasonable" to purchase it. The Defy Gravity ability is great for getting from Point A to Point B - especially if your speed is >>30 (which light armor builds likely will be).

The main issue is the ability to hover (a move action with a jet pack); You won't have that with Defy Gravity to deal with a badguy that is also hovering. But I am not sure how realistic that situation is.... a hovering enemy sounds like an easy target for all the other ranged characters. I think if the melee character is forcing the bad guy to spend lots of move actions to evade melee combat (and forcing them out of cover) then they (the melee character) is still contributing a lot to combat.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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Sounds like the consensus is to bump it up the chain and flag for FAQ.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
oldskool wrote:

"It is important to note that in Starfinder Con Bonuses have been effectively reduced by a tremendous amount.

In Pathfinder a d10 hp character with Con +3 at level 3 could take an average of (assuming 7 on the die rolls) 10+14+9 for 33 damage before dropping.

In Starfinder a fighter type with a 4 base from race and a +0 con has: (4+21) HP and 21 SP for a total of 46.

The +3 Con in Pathfinder comes to be nearly 1/3 of the total durability of the character, in Starfinder it is less than 20%"

What? Constitution applies to Stamina at every level and it is retroactive. A level 20 Solarian with 10 Con has 140 HP (7x20). A level 20 Solarian with 16 Con has 200 HP (7+3 x 20). 20% of 200 is 40, but the Constitution is granting +60 Stamina or 30% of 200. **edited for brain fart

If you wanted to start the game with a 16 Con you'd have 10 Stamina at level vs base 7 assuming no Con modifier. That is also a significant boost in starting durability with significant opportunity costs in other stats.

Not sure if I misunderstand your math, or I'm just looking at it from another angle. Here is how I see CON (for durability). Since in SF you have Stamina AND Hit Points, and CON only adds to Stamina, here's my equation:

For each level of Solarion, you get 7 hp + 7 Stamina. CON only adds to Stamina.

So the marginal difference between a 10 and a 12 CON (or 12 and 14) is 1/15 = 6%

That is, a Solarion with 12 CON gets 15 Stam+HP per level, and a Solarion with a 14 CON gets 16 SP+HP. That is not as big of a difference as shown above.

In Pathfinder, a Fighter with d10 (that gets 6 per level in Pathfinder Society) see a delta between 14 and 16 con of 8 vs 9 HP, or 12%

So CON isn't that big of a deal for durability, IMHO. It's still important for FORT saves, but you can always patch that with the Great Fort feat tree.

That's my viewpoint.

Regarding hit probability, designers have indicated that monsters are supposed to hit, and when I look at Level 1-4 encounters, Monsters seem to be hitting >75% of the time (especially in melee, where there's less chance for cover). So (unlike Pathfinder, where it is possible to get a super high AC and be un-hittable in melee), in Starfinder, you are GOING to get hit in melee.

The difference between a high AC solarion (heavy armor, good dex) and a lower AC solarion (low-med dex, light armor, "solarion armor" bonus) is usually 2-3 points. The bad guys still hit most of the time. Maybe the difference is bad guys hit more on a full attack (or with deadly aim).

My thought in that situation is to get DR 5/-- as soon as possible (deflective armor augmentation, level 7). Or get the Enhanced Resistance Feat (at least until it gets nerfed). My thought is the goal in melee is to focus on DR and miss chance, not AC.

(The Star Shaman mystic level 3 power is one that comes to mind - but I'm hoping someone else can come up with a generic miss chance option for all melee characters).

My tactic is to have high speed (Blitz Soldier Dip, Fleet Feat, Cyernetic Augment 1900 credits), and use a move-total defense/cover to keep defense up while moving into position. And of course the Tactical Pike for Reach at level 1-7 to mess with ranged PCs.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It seems from reading the posts, the single biggest argument (IMHO) for Solarion Weapon > Armor is the risk of getting maimed by a wounding crit.

What's not clear to me, is not having seen monsters in this game, I'm really not sure how common those Wounding-Crit weapons actually are. The OP's simulations had to make assumptions - we don't know what actual gameplay at level 5+ will look like, since we don't have a bestiary or a reasonable sample of Starfinder Society or Starfinder AP encounters to look at.

I'm taking the OP's word for it now - and just planning on having a medical or cybernetic repair options on-deck for most play (especially beyond level 5, when those crit effects are more common).

All the other arguments seem to be preference (and pushing for slightly better optimization). I personally plan on building a Solarion Armor build for Starfinder Society - which many have said is fine, as SFS will be a specific gaming environment, and one with a capped level environment (that also allows you to fully repair yourself after 3-4 encounters, as that is the duration of each canned adventure).

Just my 2 credits

Scarab Sages 4/5

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As if we needed another reason to buy a Space Goblin T-Shirt!

Can't wait to wear mine...

Thanks for the updated perks!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm also critical of the Envoy, having seen the full version. The main issue I have with it, is everything it does is done better by someone else. It feels like the "bard" equivalent, with all the "bard" abilities removed or nerfed.

Get Em and Inspiring Boost (to me) are the most useful abilities in combat - not a lot of other ways to grant bonuses to allies, and not a lot of ways to restore Stamina inside combat. So they should spend their first few rounds doing that. At higher levels, Hustle (and maybe don't quit) are good.

Envoy grenade proficiency is helpful; i see opening combat actions of toss smoke grenade for concealment, get'em bonuses to hit, hustle to grant actions, etc.

You really like to have to play a tactical support character - and have to be OK with dealing basically no damage in combat to like the Envoy. Even with all that, you're still not great(er) outside of combat.

The best at any skills is a Lashunta (not a specific class) since Lashunta have an untyped +2 to two skills of your choice. Most classes grant insight bonuses to skills (which don't stack with skill focus/skill synergy). The Operative is arguably better outside combat than the Envoy, since they get the same number of skill points (plus an extra one based on their skill specialty - with free skill focus).

The envoy skill powers are (IMHO) not as good as the operative skill powers.

TL;DR: Operative > Envoy, until we see a splatbook. Best reason to play an Envoy (instead of Operative) is being combat support.

Scarab Sages

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Perhaps Rick got black-out drunk and tried to "fix" the pathfinder rules system. the only way to put it back was to switch dimension to C-137 and start over with slightly altered game mechanics.

Vindicators 4!!!!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Grenades just feel like emergency use items. In Pathfinder, they'd be a necklace of fireballs or first aid gloves equivalent. You don't use them regularly; only when absolutely necessary (outside of level 1-3).

I think that FOUND grenades are great to use - they're worthless to sell back anyway, so why not toss them around? Especially since they're a rapidly depreciating asset (find a level 5 grenade at level 6, no sense in keeping it around until level 10 when it is out-classed by a found level 9 grenade).

I'm OK with that, it seems that grenades are not intended to be a primary use item. And at higher levels, your spells and weapons will have area attack abilities also (especially if you tack on certain class features or other fusion/gear to them).

I think smoke grenades are the best: they buy you concealment, which is the best AC in the game, since monsters seem designed to hit you on a 3 or better on a d20 anyway. (might as well make them roll twice to hit you on a 6 or better...)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm sure the Pathfinder Society was involved....

Scarab Sages 4/5

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Fitch. He's just hilarious. Hope to see more of (him?) in future scenarios.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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is there seriously a space museum?

How could the Blakros have survived that long? that must be one of the greatest mysteries (or perhaps the actual cause of) the GAP.

I figure there must be an entire faction of the Pathfinder->Starfinder Society who's only job is keeping the Blakros Museum from destroying itself and/or the Multiverse.

But Yeah, Definitely cannot wait to explore it!!!!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

@Sunderstone

Best way to deal with this is to ditch the subsystem mechanics. Set the stage of what needs to be done (shelter, food, exploration, etc.) - then have the PCs describe what they want to do and how they want to organize the refugees. Have the PCs make skill checks (and maybe you roll % in the background for NPCs) to describe progress. You are right that it doesn't need to be complicated.

Realistically, these mechanics aren't important beyond Book 1. The refugees need to get to the caves about 2/3 of the way through Book 1. Once there, you can assume they're reasonably self sufficient (at that point, "shelter" and "food" are taken care of - the next priorities are regional security and maybe preparing for the winter, or crafting useful gear for the PCs and NPCs)

By making it more fluid (and not tying down to mechanics), you can also give your players more opportunity to free-form solutions and do other things. If your players like crunch rules, you can give them, but I agree the refugee mechanics can turn into a distracting mini-game.

@Zaister:
It can be hard to see how everything is connected. I think of the first part of Book1 as the opening chapter in an apocolpyse movie - the heroes are trying to escape certain doom, and rescue as many people as possible. From there, they need to figure out how to survive in the forest.

The encounters should align to what the PCs are doing. If they want to check out the road to Tamran, they should run into dead rangers and hobgoblin patrols. If they want to look for food, random encounters or an abandoned homestead is what they find.

Think of it as there is an array of possible encounters that should be matched up to what the PCs are actually doing and focusing on. If they are looking for better shelter, give them encounters that lead them to the troglodyte lair. If they want to find out what the IronFang Legion is up to, give them those encounters.

In addition, many of the encounters are on a timer (like the sickness). The PCs should have to deal with problems from the refugees that are time-based (running out of food, shelter, morale, etc.)

You may find that this is just not the AP for you, and that's OK. There's lots of great ones out there. Myself, I can never get into occult/cthulu stuff, so Strange Aeons was one I never even opened up.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Haladir wrote:
thenovalord wrote:
grandpoobah wrote:

I've run book 1-3 (just started 4), no militia system. Almost as good as Kingmaker :)

those are probably the closest comparisons (IMHO).

Speedy

And Yes!!!
That's fast! It usually takes my group 6-8 months (real time) to complete one book of an AP.

I'll clarify I'm doing a simulated run (no actual players - just me running a digital group through to see how things shake out). So it goes faster, as no schedule coordination issues. It also doesn't highlight as many player confusion issues (since I have to balance my head-space between player knowledge and GM knowledge - but having run so many GM PCs in campaigns before, its' not hard).

This is my method of sounding out a campaign for actual use.

I've legit run Kingmaker, Shattered Star, Wrath of the Righteous, and Jade regent for 4-5 players each.

I've done simulations of most of them (those I ran + RotR, Council of Thieves, Carrion Crown, Giantslayer, Reign of Winter, Hell's Rebels, Hell's Vengeance).

In simulation I look for obvious plot and rules holes, things getting too repetitive and boring, things my players are likely to flag as good/bad, etc.

It's also a great way for me to play-test certain builds through high level :)

I'm using only Core rules for the PCs on IronFang, and some of the least optimized PFS pregens as the PCs (Harsk the ranger, Sajan the monk, Lini the druid, and Seoni the sorceress)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've run book 1-3 (just started 4), no militia system. Lots of good things. Really liked the scavenging/survival aspect of book 1+2. Book 4-6 seems to be very different (PCs one their own, not really protecting the NPCs as much) - so difficult to give an assessment.

So far liking the AP. Better than GiantSlayer. Almost as good as Kingmaker :)

those are probably the closest comparisons (IMHO).

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Not sure what large city up north you are referring to, Kelvorn.

The nearest decent city is LongShadow - and getting there is essentially the plot of Book 3.

As the refugees flee into the southern Fangwood, there are only a handful of directions they could march on to:

- East along the road/river towards Tamran. We know this road is heavily patrolled (think CR 8 CR 10 Troops) and intentionally blocked at some point. The patrols near Phaendar should hint at this.

- West along the road/river towards LongShadow (the fastest way to Longshadow) - same problem as above

- NorthWest, cutting through the forest and then the hills towards LongShadow. Again, this is the plot of the first half of Book3. Heading in this direction puts the PCs in the path of Scarvinious' camp (end of Book 1) and the conquered CHernasardo Ranger forts (Book 2) - so they're really just speed-running through the AP at that point.

-Directly north (through the Fangwood). This runs through the entirety of Book 2, and probably Book 5. The heart of the Fangwood is SUPER SCARY, and the NPCs should refuse to go farther, knowing it means certain death.

In addition, during Book1 the refugees are poorly supplied. Their first thought will be to hide in the woods and ride the invasion out (which is typical Nirmathian tactics), until scouts/army/saboteurs from the Chernasardo Rangers or Tamran (capital city) begin a guerilla war to drive the invaders out. The PCs won't know this isn't going to work until Book3, but it makes the campaign arc of Book1 and Book2 make more sense (basically hiding out in the woods, looking for the Rangers and finding a better base to spend the winter in).

Most of Book 1 and Book2 should be building up the resources (supplies, scouting, clearing out nearby threats) to make the journey to Longshadow. During the course of those events - the PCs will learn that heading to Longshadow is not that easy, and most paths of "escape" aren't open.

Point out to the PCs that most of the refugees are level 1-3 NPC classes. That means 5-10 hit points. They cannot survive an encounter with a Hobgoblin Troops (see the section in Book 1) - one of those "lines" of arrows would kill dozens of refugees.

Hope that helps provide some points to stay and build a base in the woods (and maybe train up a militia, if you have the rules for it).

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