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ecgbryt wrote:

Anyone else kinda wierded out by the mentions of death farms? Not just because they are so awful, to the point i think it will make my players defect to another country, but because they just don't make sense, humans are terrible livestock.

Take Greydirge. Population 9400, 75% undead. If only half of those undead are meat eaters and eat a pound of human a day, that's 1.75 tons of meat a day. assuming 200 lbs/human, that's 6400 people/year. since humans mature slowly, that means there are at least 6400*18, 115,000 people in these death farms in the countryside, just to feed Greydirge alone.

I think i'm just going to have them farm pigs instead. Ghouls can eat pig right? It just makes more sense than adding in millions of people as chattal to Geb, which kinda flies in the face of the Dead Laws as presented.

Honestly I totally disagree, and am somewhat disappointed the AP doesn't play up the evilness inherent in a nation ruled by Undead.

In my version of Geb, the quick are tolerated as they are seen as necessary but they are largely seens as animals by the undead and not respected. Most quick aspire to escape Gaal, or to have the honor to be risen as undead.

The campaign started with a zombie NPC who works for Berhline, they have need for "the human touch" when interacting with humans. This zombie NPC is always dismissive to the quick, and said to the PCs they would be happier on the humans farms, since many of the livestock are charmed, "you would be happy, in fields, mating with the other animals, it might be years before you were farmed for meat, wouldnt that be better for you? ". As for the efficiency of human meat, it is simple enough to say that many undead prefer human meat to animal meat (this is common in vampire lore.)

I believe in the Impossible Lands book, it specifically mentions that some undead prefer "free range" human meat, so the livestock are charmed to run the fields but not escape, rather then being locked up in pens. My pcs will definitely have a reason to visit this farm.

Of course I am running the AP more free flow, I expect the PCs will eventually consider overthrowing Geb, or escaping to Nex. I dont see how the poisoning plot would be interesting enough to keep PCs going for 20 levels, but perhaps it will. We are starting book 2 soon.

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Unicore wrote:

I will say, this second book makes me want to wait to run Bloodlords until the impossible lands LO book has come out. There is a lot of downtime, travel and location visiting that feel like they will be a little "movie set"-like, where all the depth is just painted backdrops that can't be probed too far yet.

We are midway through book one, and I think I have to totally change graveclaw because of this issue. Too much travel with no real depth anywhere. This would be fine at higher levels where travel can be waved away. But at lower levels it's essential for world building. I am thinking of having one or two witches with one based in corpselight. I can play into the farms of humans ide there too.

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I am considering a couple changes to Graveclaw, thought I'd post and ask if anyone had opinions on it. I also have only scanned it once or twice, and maybe I am missing a great part of the adventure, so if you think there is something I shouldnt "remove" I'd love to know about it.

First off I think 4 witches is way too much, my PCs would likely get bored by the third witch and begin to think of this as the witch campaign (not an undead campaign). So I am thinking I'll bring it down to 3 or less hags, as it might be a very long journey with 4 hags.

I am also feeling that the adventure doesnt really give a feel of Geb..

The first chapter with Iron Taviah in the forest, is a traditional trope haunted woods that could be anywhere.

The third chapter with Decrosia is a bit tech focused (guns, industry etc), and I get that its close to Alkenstar so that makes sense, I just feel my characters are excited about the undead not tech and gunslingers and its somewhat of a distraction.

The last chapter with Nathnelma in the necromancy school has tons of potential, I love the idea. I was somewhat disapointed to find its based outside Yeld and doesnt include quests in Yeld. I get why they did this as Yeld is a huge can of worms, but I would have preferred if the whole adventure focused on Yeld.

So one of my ideas is to move Nathnelma to corpselight so the school is outside of Farms of the living. Its close to GrayDirge, and what could be more exciting to navigate then Human/Elf farms. It seems like it might be something easy to homebrew (take a farm adventure and put humans in it). Who knows maybe my players want to free the farms, tons of potential for them to roleplay and not a ton of planning.

I might keep Iron Taviah and just play up the undead woods aspect a bit.

Anyone else feel like this adventure is a bit underwhelming for the setting, or have other ideas on how to make it feel more like an undead nation?

Edit - Having just read the synopsis of Adventure 5, I see that its in Yled. Maybe I should keep it in adventure 2 for foreshadowing.

keftiu wrote:

Zombie PCs aren't traditional mindless Zombies; the Archetype makes clear that they're instead Husk Zombies, which anyone in undead-populated Geb should be able to spot the difference between.

So lets say I was middle class, and I lived in Geb. Not connected enough to be a vampire, but I wanted if I died to be a Husk Zombie, not a zombie. How would I ensure that? Is there a way? I mean if Zombie PCs found a way, how did they accomplish that? I am thinking that this way, be it a soul bind item, a magical mixture or blessing, is something that the authorities in Geb hate and will want to destroy.

Thanks for the explanations I'll definitely use this in the campaign.

I just had another thought. One of my players will definitely want to find out if he can utilize the poison to raise and command mass undead. I'd like to pursue this a bit if he wants. Is it possible the players can find out how to make the poison and use the spells themselves? I've only read book one.

I often start these aps as wriyten and then veer a bit off script anyway. But is it feasible for a player to eventually follow through on this plan (in a different nation)

I'm thinking of adding a general item or spell every living person wants in Geb. Let's call it "soul bind". If you have it, you raise as an undead with your memories, will etc. I'm not sure if this is too far off track. But I'm thinking I need to find a way to differentiate between undead zombie thralls and zombie pcs and why not have a item or ritual help with this.

I'm thinking about starting the campaign with a Monte python homage.

Intro scene, characters all work for berline. They are pushing a kart through a poorer area, ringing a bell, saying bring out your dead. Bring out your dead. When someone brings out a body that is not quite dead yet.

I'm thinking that berline reanimates anyone who dies in the city as a mindless zombie. It also got me to thinking.

Is there some item that ensures you reanimate as a better undead? With more willpower memories etc. It would be something a living person would like to have a blessing or something. If I ever come back, I'm not going to be a mindless zombie type of thing.

Just checking about this plan in zombie feast. It presents no problem to the majority of the population in the players home city because their undead and don't eat right? Or am I missing something here.

Wondering if this came up with any tables as most of my players will likely be undead and may root for the plan. I guess they will still jump the hoops as requested by Berline but i wonder if there's a way to change this

Is there a way for the plot to effect the undead? Anyone think about changing this?

Amanda Plageman wrote:

...At this point, the thread necro-ing has just gotten funny.

Very funny lol.

I was just prepping to run Agents of Edgewatch and I thought to myself "wouldnt it be awesome if these paths I paid for were written in a way that I didn't have to prep for days? You know, I wouldnt have to remove reams of info my players will probably never see, I wouldnt have to rewrite narration with words that "break the fourth wall" when I am dictating it. Sometimes, its almost easier just to make my own adventure. ".... and it occurred to me I had thought this before.

So I googled Marzipan, and this came up. Blast from the past, that time James Jacobs 100% disagreed with me.

Funny. Happy Pathfinder'ing in a new decade and a new edition either way.

Skeld wrote:

Use pathfinder Modules.


True. I need to pay more attention to the modules. Not sure why im always buying the APs

Totally agreed. Paizo comes up with amazing themes for their APs but they also have so much attached to them that its way to much of a commitment and even the best ideas get stale after 40 sessions.

I would prefer this:

3 arcs

A level 1-6 arc
A level 7 -14 arc
and an epic level 14-20 arc. And I could pick and choose. I'd even love it if they were still related but not to much.

Right now I am prepping for Strange Aeons, its awesome but by level 8, were going to move on to something else. The idea of concentrating on one central theme for a whole campaign is a bit monotonous.

Has Paizo ever thought about making an AP where there isnt a central idea? Where the PCs meet a variety of unrelated bad people? Where the assumed motivations of the PCs change.

I usually run my own, but I have run about 4 paths and here are my thoughts:

-AP themes, are so much cooler then what I can come up with

-APs seem easier to run at first but it can be seductive where you think itll be easier but you get bogged down in so much stuff you wont use or will have to modify that it becomes more work

-Paizo loves to write about things I will never be able to communicate to my players or that they will barely pay attention too. My players, are usually interested in the here and now, the villains, the interesting traps, or motivations of the players involved, not things that happened thousands of years ago. I have lately found a way to fix this. I literally take a black marker and wipe out anything I find too detailed. My players wont pay attention if I explain the backstories of 25 npcs and cults, or the difference between Carcosa and Neruzavin. I have to keep it a little more simple then this because the PCs do not have the luxury of reading and rereading the material. THey are experiencing it in a game and it needs to be much much simpler. I used to get frustrated when players wouldnt pay attention to my convuluted backstories, but I understand now that they are playing a game and the backstories dont need to be this complex.

-Lastly the dungeons are way too big. Its odd because when im ripping and erasing backstory, I feel defensive like "oh my players arent as deep or real roleplayers as paizo thinks they should be" .... but then, I have to rip out the dungeon as well because its too much hack and slash. Seriously "In search of sanity" the asylum will take 4 sessions for us, that is way too much I have to rip out half the rooms and add a couple of interesting side treks. In search of sanity is a 5 star adventure, but as written with 4 sessions spent in the same building would be completely monotonous for most players. Seriously if I wanted that I would just buy one of those "worlds biggest dungeon" adventures.

Im quite happy with my modified version of in search of sanity, I may make a new post with my modified map that literally has about half the rooms. I love the APs but I wish they were a bit "lighter" so that I could add to the product instead of having to prune from the product.

Thanks for the podcast, it was really good at getting a sense of the future directon of the story and it's pitfalls. I've also been following a "let's read" of the ap. Having concise descriptions of the the adventure really helps.

These paths make me feel like i have a low reading level or something, because I find it impossible to read 6 of these adventures and get a sense of what is actually happening so I can foreshadow or modify . There are so many writing problems that sometimes it is just easier to write your own campaign.

Hi everyone, so I am beginning to plan the seeds of my next campaign. The campaign wont be for a few more months, and I have lots of time to plan the first couple adventures, and the BBEG. I want to foreshadow a bit in the first couple adventures. I don't want to necessarily plan and railroad the whole campaign, but I do want to have some cool ideas for foreshadowing. My players aren't really sandbox type players, the appreciate a good story, the ability to make some choices but expect to follow the planned idea generally.

The idea for my next campaign is to have Characters from a ten year old campaign affect in this one. It would be in the same area, of the same homebrew world.
So my old campaign from 10 years ago ended around 18th level with this ending story:
- A wizard turned into a lich, and took over a tower being served by undead.
- A druid battled another great druid (which used to be AD&D rules) and then took over his grove, with a unicorn and became a sort of "Tom Bombadil" Character. But the interesting part here is that his grove was next to the liches tower. They were friends and the druid thought that they could "live in peace". We've laughed as a group about this for years because the lich probably ended up killing the unicorn.
- A dwarven fighter became a king of dwarves under a mountain
- The cleric didnt really have an ending story, but I am considering he became a wandering judge and jury, bringing justice from his god.

So for my next campaign, I am considering using Strange Aeons.

Starting adventure: Players wake up within the walls of an asylum, their minds wracked and memories missing. As they work together to recover their missing time, they soon learn that the cause of their eerie amnesia is but a symptom of a much greater cosmic menace. As they struggle to retain their sanity, the heroes must ally with other asylum residents and fight against the monstrosities that have taken over the asylum and plunged it into nightmare. Some things I would add to the adventure are nightmares about unicorns and other fey chasing them.

Second adventure: The players go to their hometown to find out who they are and how they lost their memories. Following much of the same story line, except I would add fighting undead, fears of a nearby tower. Maybe even an old abandoned druid grove..

Third adventure: this may be where I depart from the path significantly or use bits and pieces. Perhaps they find out their minds were effected by some memory artifact that is effecting the whole region and the answers can be found in a dwarven mine.

This is all just my initial thoughts, and I am hoping you might be able to give me cooler ideas?

My ideas on whats happening and how it ties to the whole "Strange Aeons" campaign. Maybe the lich did kill the grove and the unicorn. Maybe the druid didn't give up on the lich though, and cast some spell trying to get him to remember the "old days" his "old self".

So if the druid was/is trying to save the Lich, maybe this memory spell or artefact was so strong it tore a whole in the "dream plane" and now people all over the world are having nightmares about unicorns dieing. Maybe the lich really is saveable? Maybe the dwarven army can help defeat him, or maybe the memory artefact is in the dwarven mine? Maybe the cleric can be the liches judge in the end? Should this be so far in the future that the old chars are dead, or is having pcs meet their prior selves cooler? I am undecided.

What do you think? I am not tied to strange aeons, but I do like cool path and it seems to fit. How would you make this cooler?

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Hi, I am hoping you can help me choose from a new(er) AP.

I haven't been back to Paizo in a while, I homebrewed my last couple campaigns after getting burnt out on kingmaker, but here I am again browsing APs that occurred after it.

I am looking for something a bit more straight forward, which doesnt take as much planning from me, I was interested in Giantslayer, but I am not sure if my players would be as interested in the same type of NPC for that long, so something varied would be great. While I like to challenge my players with some roleplaying, I find they like straight forward stuff as well, so anything overly bent towards non combat roleplaying I may have to skip or modify.

Also, I'd like an AP that is "easier to run". In the past I have purchased APs because I wanted to save on work. But with some APs they had so many NPCs, so much backstory, some much prose about the world altering plans of the BBEG, that after an hour I still wasn't sure what the adventure would be. I am wondering if there is an AP with a little less of this (but obviously not so simple that it is simply a few dungeon crawls tied togetger).

Is there an AP after kingmaker you would suggest I check out?

PS - my favourite AP pre kingmaker will always be age of worms, great starter town, standard lizard type adventure after that, then off to the free city to fight in an arena. And all pretty straight forward stuff the whole way too.

PPS - After some reading, and previewing... Strange Aeons sounds promising. Although maybe I am just a sucker for the starting hook


I am starting a new campaign and I really like the first adventure of this path. Unfortunately my players are explicitly anti tech, and I want to tread lightly. I am considering modifying parts of the adventure or path, and looking for feedback from people who have read more of the campaign.

I have a player who wants to play the typical conan barbarian. In fact, he always worships "Crom" in our campaigns, and roleplays this quite well.

I am thinking a great start to one of our new campaigns, would be for them to start in a city where the fire of Crom has dies out. And he takes it as a sign from his god to turn it back on, delving into the dungeon and figuring out how to fix it.

It might also be cool if there was a new power in the world that is weakening Crom and he looks to fix it. Low tech, but no lasers of course.

Do you think squeezing this idea into Iron Gods is compatible or should I just modify a different adventure with my ideA?

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15 deaths in the first booklet would lead me to have a discussion with my DM about being realistic in the expectations for the game, and what a fun night of rpg'ing is supposed to feel like. (That is unless this is a pro tournament or something)

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I have almost no use for the bestiary at all, mostly because I play "rules light" and wing my monsters quite a bit in session... but I personally would still place the bestiary far above the priority of the fiction, for me the bestiary serves the assumed purpose of an adventure (e.g. to help busy DMs run fantastic campaigns).

One thing I have loved about Paizo all the way back to when I was a subscriber of the magazines is that the company responds to customer feedback and I appreciate it.

Thank you for highlighting the logistical problems with a flowchart. I would agree with Warrant that if a flowchart is not feasible, perhaps more care could be taken on the "adventure synopsis" area. A step in the right direction would be if this small section focused on describing the flow of the adventure in a straight forward manner. That one change would make the product much more valuable to me. Thanks again for your responses everyone.

PS Tonight I am off to run my Skull and Shackles AP which started with "Souls for Smugglers Shiv", to "Raiders of the Fever Sea", onto "the lightless depths" (from Dungeon 144), "Tides of dread" (Dungeon 143) and tonight we are beginning "Curse of the Riven Sky". My "Skull and Shackles Campagin" managed to incorporate adventures from 3 different Paizo AP's and an module so far, as you can see I am a big fan mishmashing your excellent work :)

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Thurston Hillman wrote:


2) Each adventure has a section at the beginning listed as 'Adventure Summary' that should detail everything you're looking for in terms of preparing and knowing where the adventure goes. ...

That being said, these summaries do not describe every single encounter in the book, which IMHO is a good thing.

Warrant I hope you don't feel that my point is too much of a tangent and that I am hijacking the thread, but I take it since you agreed with one of my other threads you see how are two issues are related.

I agree that the adventure summary is useful, but in my opinion it is often not detailed enough. A dungeon master should be able to read it and know in general what happens in that adventure. I would find this particularly helpful because I often read 5-6 adventures before picking one that is suitable for my group (even when I run APs, I customize quite a bit). I imagine I am not alone. I'll use "Raiders of the Fever Sea" as an example.

Here is the summary for the first part of Raiders:

The adventure begins with the PCs in command of their new ship, the Man’s Promise. Despite their successful mutiny, they know that Captain Barnabas Harrigan is not likely to let the slight against him pass and that he will attempt to find them. To throw him off the trail, they must refit the ship to change its appearance and its name. To accomplish this, the PCs sail to a dry dock called Rickety’s Squibs, where they learn of the legend of Tidewater Rock and the good fortune that is supposedly brought by securing control of the castle there. Regardless of whether they choose to take on the Rock, the PCs know they need to increase their fame and fortune before they will be welcomed in the waters of the Shackles as Free Captains in their own right.

My problem with the way this is written, is it does not actually describe what happens in the first part of the adventure. Instead of solely summarizing the adventure. It talks about last adventure, it talks about what an NPC who is not in the adventure is likely to do, it foreshadows what the players might want and earn in future adventures.

Here's what actually happens::

The adventure begins with the players in charge of a pirate ship. The players are notified by their crew that they should "squib the ship", which means change it's appearance to throw off Captain Barnabase from finding them. The players set sail to "rickety squibs" and negotiate for this service. While they are waiting for there boat to be "squibbed", they are invited to stay and to explore the small community. A number of events happen during there stay that give the players a chance to be heroes. Some of these events include:
-a water naga creates some trouble with a local
-the town is attacked by a swarm of giant wasps and the players have a chance to be heroes
-the party is asked to journey to the location of a lookout pirate who has gone missing.
-once there ship is ready to go, Rickety tells them they should crack a fortress called "tidewater rock" for good luck.

Writing what happens and limiting on the overly descriptive prose would be a great help. Sure it might increase space a bit, but there are PLENTY of wastes of space in a typical adventure. For example, notice on page 6 there is a SECOND summary on the index page, again one that fails to tell me what actually happens however.

Another waste of space, how about the first paragraph of the adventure background

The Free Captains are the most obvious menace of that maze of hell-cursed waterways and a thousand perilous isles and knife-edged reefs called the Shackles, but they are not its only danger, nor the worst. Nearly a century ago, Free Captain Cyrus Wolfe, a black-hearted rogue with an even blacker gift for the dark arts, plied the waters off the western coast of Garund and brought fear to hundreds of ship’s captains and crews. His daring daylight raid on the fortified Thuvian port of Aspenthar directly under the nose of that city-state’s admiralty left a dozen of the principality’s warships in flames and over a hundred of its citizens carried off as captives for ransom. For that grand audacity, Wolfe was offered the Hurricane Crown by his fellow Free Captains, but it is said that he simply laughed in their faces.

How does this paragraph help me run the AP in any way? I had to read it 3-4 times just to understand it, feels like english class all over again.

So I think where I see Warren and my complaints linked, is that they are suggestions to actually HELP DMs. I don't care if it's graphical or written, but I would like a section dedicated to telling the busy DM how the adventure is going to work. Sometimes when I read a paizo adventure, it feels like I am reading a well written story. Interesting, with depth, amazing and detailed. But thats not what I need from an adventure, I just want some cool scenarios that fit my campaign so that I can entertain my friends tomorrow.

For all the "extra content" in the adventure, (e.g. a 5 page story from pg 72 - 77) no one thought that it might be helpful to instead use that space to present a better reason why exactly the players would want to attack tidewater rock, or summarize the adventure.

Don't get me wrong, solid 5 star on paizo work, especially in comparison to the competition (don't get me started on WOTC). But a lil more attention to busy DM's would certainly make me a happier customer.

Arnwyn wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Man, I don't get why Andoran is so unpopular that apparently I am the only person on the boards who'd want an AP set there.

For those of us uninterested in Golarion and who adapt the APs to fit our chosen campaign setting, "Andoran" is just some funny name - uninteresting with no hook.

Adaptable APs are the best APs. Overly niche APs entirely dependent on Golarion... are not.

Thank you. +100 on this.

Sometimes reading through the forums I wonder if I am in the complete minority or if this is just a result of a "filter bubble". I must say my players would have little to no interest in running Golarion. Nevertheless I as DM love some guidance to flesh out our world, and adaptable APs are what I would definitely pay for.

I agree completely. I also think the "adventure synopsis" area should be increased, this plot map might be a good way to do that.

I shop adventures a lot. I have almost the entire Dungeon Magazine print run, as well as most Adventure Paths in print. So often I will open one to see if it is the kind of adventure I need/would like to run. I have to say that Paizo's adventures greatest weakness is that it is really hard to get to what the adventure is really about. There is so much background and distractions that I can't scan an adventure. Unfortunately reading a couple Adventure path modules is often more work then just creating my own adventure.

I feel that in the modules there are a lot of distractions. I would love to be able to pick up an adventure, look it over and say "good I'll run this, and just change a couple things". Instead I have to spend hours reading and learning about backgrounds and history and submechanics, and motives of ancient NPCs that aren't even in the adventure, that it's too tough to get to just learn about the adventure. It often causes a headache. More then once after a couple hours of reading a Paizo module I have had to cancel the gaming session the next day because I just wasn't ready.

Don't get me wrong, so much of what Paizo creates is amazing, and above and beyond the bar of its competitors. You really make amazing products and I love the adventure paths especially. I am just starting to feel that they are a little intimidating and unfocussed to the DM who wants less work not more.

I understand that many of the things I dislike (overly complicated backgrounds, new submechanics, history lessons, short stories, discussion of NPCs who don't appear in the adventure, discussion of facts that my players probably will never learn etc) are probably liked by a lot of your customers. I just wonder if there might be a better way to separate that information to make your modules more accessible for all.

I would imagine if I was in a one shot adventure, I'd be really daring, and assume I could escape or handle the first NPCs that are aggressive to me. Unfortunately that's not the case in Wormwood Mutiny, the players really have to wait a lot and bide there time. I think this is a great adventure for a one shot, but I would do some heavy mods, and yeah, definitely get rid of a lot of the NPCs, too many distractions for players who don't need the investment in a oneshot.

I am mixed about this AP. I think it has a real good start, up until halfway about book 2, then I think it kind of tanks and never really recovers. THere are plenty of things in there that my players just wouldn't want to do. And I find a lot of it actually takes MORE prep for me as a DM then just writing an adventure from scratch by myself. I am starting to find this with a lot of Paizo APs unfortunately. Great plots, great depth, great stories, great art, but too little focus on the adventure, too little focus on how we will get pcs from one hook to another, too little focus on why they would want to do things. Not to mention the amount of submechanics and stories in the APs are a real distraction.

Theres just too many distractions, if I have a game session tomorrow, I want to pick up an adventure and say, "yep well do this sounds awesome, let me just add a couple things and change this... perfect". Instead I have to spend hours reading and not really gettin a sense of whats going to happen, learning soooo much about backgrounds and motives and history from 20 years ago that it's too tough to get to the adventure. I'm often left with a headache and a worry that I may have to cancel the gaming session. Like why am I reading about Ship to ship combat and infamy points? THis is an adventure path so I expect an adventure, not a rules expansion for a very minority of play groups who don't have enough rules to keep track of in their game.

Just my two cents, I really appreciated skull and shackles for starting off a campaign with a great idea and getting the pirate thing "started" though. I question why theres so many dungeons, I question a lot of encounters that just assume the players will want to do it "because", I question how many players will really want to be slaver/pirates, I question how the sheer amount of NPC's in some of these adventures is manageable by even the best DM.

Mirona wrote:

You shouldn't use Chelaxian Warship for now. The house of Thrune would try to corrupt before invading.

As a premise to the Chelaxian's invasion, I used the module : LB1 Tower of the Last Baron. And I used the next module : LB2 Treasure of the Chimera Cove a little later, to boost my PC fleet.

You need to make some change, but it's a great addition if done well.

Hmmm Thanks for your reply, but maybe I forgot to say that I am not using the "pathfinder" setting. I pick and use adventures here and there, and the first couple I used were from Skull and Shackles, but I have since moved quite a bit away from that story line (I stopped following the path after book 2). In my campaign, the cheliaxians are actually controlled by Aboleths, the PCs don't know this yet, but forsee the players having to recruit mythical beings to help them in their fight against the aboleths/chelaxians.

For now tho, I am just trying to make a really cool adventure where the PCs arrive in a town and find it being ravaged by warships. Anyone know of any that I could modify?

Towards the end of 3.5 I was looking for something new. I was EXCITED for 4th edition. I had read Monte Cookes Arcana Evolved, and switched my whole group over, loved it, thought it was such a great improvement on 3.5, if only it used standard races and classes. I was eager to see what ideas 4th would bring to the table.

Then WOTC decided to call some other game D&D. I didn't like that other game, though we tried to like it for a few years.

I could see a pathfinder 2.0. I might buy it, but it would have to be different enough, and similar enough, at the same time. Different enough to interest me, similar enough that it still feels like D&D.

Im looking forward to checking out the mythic book thats coming out. Maybe that will perk my interest :)

Thanks, very much everyone for your advice. My players found the spell "skeleton crew" as suggested, they then went to Rickety Squibs, who offered them a way to insert "rowing" holes. THough he kept saying the boat was to small to allow for all the rowers to sleep, the pcs said not to worry about it because they thought these particular rowers would have no need of sleeping.

My players are now roaming the high seas with two NPCs, fishguts who they have come to trust as their adviser, and a troglodyte/jar jar binks type npc they have found helpful in another adventure (used a savage tide adventure from dungeon 144) Besides these two npcs, most of the ship stuff is handled by the skeletons! Sort of a great way to not have to deal with a roamin horde of npcs, I don't think any of my players (nor I) wants to get over 4-5 NPC names to remember at any one time, and undead serve as a great way to handwave the ships mundane tasks without having to deal with pirates who may mutinee, have demands etc. This also gives my necromancer something cool to be in charge of.

Hi, I'm sort following skull and shackles but with some heavy modifications. I've incorporated a bit of savage tide as well as some other aps.

For my next adventure the pc's are traveling to a town Fishguts has advised will be a great a place to sell and trade their loot.

I am planning for that port to be under attack by cheliaxians when they arrive, and have the pc's intervene. Some encounters I am considering include:

-the pc's attacking a ship with ballista
-boarding a warship and defeating it
-chasing a fleeing ship
-attacking the advanced party of soldiers in the town
-being thanked as heroes by the town
-and most importantly finding a hook to lead them to the invaders base

I am fishing for some neat ideas to flesh this out a bit... does anyone have ideas or know of an adventure along the same line I could use for ideas? It doesnt have to be a naval adventure, as I am sure a "arrive in a town while it's being attacked" adventure would give me lots of ideas.

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For once I'd like to see an AP with a "light" amount of backstory. Adventures that go easy on the "adventure background" and increase the size and detail of the "adventure synopsis". I'd like more content about how the players might get to this adventure, what they might do during it, and less content about what some NPC did 1000 years ago or what some other NPC plotted to do in in the final adventure that my players may never see.

I could really get into an AP that promised to be about the story, plot and encounters the PLAYERS will confront. Attention to making it make sense for the DM so they can run great campaigns. More sidebars with "what if your players want to do something else" advice. More encounters of a varied nature with new and unusual challenges.

For the amount of attention paid to campaign background, npc motivation and other aspects my players rarely get to see, I always find it frustrating when an AP forgets to address how players will move from one AP plot point to another, or when they pay so little attention to the tactics monsters will display during the actual adventure. I'd like this to be a theme for an AP soon :) I also find the "new sub mechanics" and "stories" in the back of the AP's as wasted space as well, some of the AP's have incredibly complicated adventures with many monsters, npc's and there is often very little "tactical" explanation which I would find useful.

This isn't about format or quality control, this is about an AP theme.

Book 1 from serpents skull is indeed good, and simple enough to run. Sandboxy enough to let your players explore too, I like it.

My top vote however, would be "the champions belt" from the age of worms adventure path. Think you can still get it in PDF

Hi everyone,

So tomorrow my players take over a pirate ship and sail for rickety squibs and or attack some coastal villages.

One of my players is a necromancer and will certainly want to have his skeletons perform a duty. The ship will also have some NPCs that volunteer to help.

What could undead do? I was thinking that they could be underneath "rowing" but thats not common in a pirate ship is it? Maybe security/initial boarding party as well?

Also, what are the general roles in a ship that you used?

Sorry, I have to disagreeing with reading all the modules.

Reasons why:

1 - Thats a lot of reading, like a lot
2 - All that effort is taking away from what you really should be doing, making sure your next adventure is fun, engaging, varied and interesting for your players
3 - Most paths rail road a bit, and have lots of content players may never see. Your players will definitely want to change/modify things from what the paths assume. So your going to be reading things that either won't apply to your campaign, or forcing your players to do something they don't want to do "cause I read it, now you have to do it".
4 - And this one is a biggie, the back story doesnt matter as much to players as paizo generally thinks (in my experience). So for example you have these grand plots, starting 1000 years ago, with major players in history plotting and backstabbing eachother and setting your events into motion and most of it has nothing to do with the adventure they wrote. I've ran about 4 adventure paths, and try as I might, most of the background info has been a total waste for most of my players, its hard enough to even get them to know about it, let alone care about it.

My advice is read the first module, modify it until your sure your players will like it, then read the summary of the next module and consider how you will get them to link. Dont worry about the rest until you get there (if you get there)

(PS Perfect example, Im running skull and shackles, all over the background is Cheliax this, Cheliax that. The main bad guy is a traitor, allied with cheliax. But if you read the adventures theres almost no way to find this out, theres almost no encounters with cheliax and... most importantly many players won't care that the bad guy is allied with cheliax, they care about interesting encounters and cool scenarios in which they get to find and defeat the bad guy.)

Of course this is all just my and my 2 groups two cents. Other players may have totally different views of what they value

Hi my campaign is transitioning into skull and shackles from another adventure. When we last left the adventure, the players were stranded on an island, where they lit a signal fire and a ship is coming to "Rescue them". I was thinking about using this as a transition to get their on boat.

Im thinking the ship is a cheliax ship, and they are coming to take the players prisoner. The players job is to overcome the ship. They are level 4, and one of our players is a necromancer who dreams of being a piratee with undead sailors. This would lead into ap book 2, with the players going to rickety squibbs.

So the question is how do I make this believable? I want to stay away from the prisoner/mutiny storyline. Would it be cheesey if it was relatively easy to take over the ship? How would you modify the story to be more interesting and believable?

All good points. Han Solo did run afoul of other scoundrels (like Jabba) so certainly there should be time for that too. I've only read the campaign outline, and the adventuress completely till the end of book 3, but right now it seems like the majority of the AP is spent dealing with "Jabbas" and only the occasional sidequest on the empire.

I'd like to flip that ratio a bit. I find my players are fickle, have short term memories, and if the "theme" isn't clear they often lose interest.

We do exactly that. Saturday, about once a month for 5 hours. Though we play a bit of an accelerated game, I like to level them once an adventure as a group (so a level every month), and I remove a lot of the "junk" from the adventures. We usually get through an adventure per 2 sessions. If we went slower, I could see it getting boring, players want to feel they accomplished soemthing by the end of the night, so if I have to remove some minions from some rooms, or delete a side quest, thats what I generally do.

Pendagast wrote:

I DO remember something now, which irked by ALOT and seems to be a fault of ALL APS.....so much information there is no way to GET to the PCS.

It vexes me why so much material has time spent on it that has now way for the PCs to know it, sometimes I find ways to tell PCs about it (usually through a DM PC or some other narrative and other times I can't find a reasonable way and pages and pages are wasted.

Totally Agree. I remove all the information that my players have no way of finding out, and the information that has no direct relevance to the AP. This generally makes it much better, and I end up getting adventures that are 30% smaller. Still I wish I didn't have to read them to unfocus me from the actual adventure.

Some of the AP's in general can be hard for a new GM. I have found many of them to be daunting, with too much background text that had no relevance to my players and too little focus on dealing with what the players might actually want to do.

My advice would be to take it 1-2 adventures at a time, and not go too far ahead into a story your players may not want to follow. Take the first adventure of an AP and read/modify it until you think your players will love it. Only look at the next one when you have hooked them and are starting to think about transitioning, take the AP one adventure at a time.

Skull and Shackles and Shattered star seem like good candidates for new DMs. I'm running Skull and Shackles right now and am having to do signifigant work to make it fit for my players (I don't think it fits with their idea of a pirate). My personal favorite recommendation for DMs with a simple enough story, and straightforward fun and engaging adventures was Age of Worms. But that is 3.x not PF, so if that might be an issue depending how closely you adhere to the rules.

So in my last post (http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2p685?Enemy-Race-or-Empire-in-the-shackles) we discussed having the player pirates have an enemy empire that they can be pirates against. I thought a good idea was using Cheliax, and modifying the setting a bit so that they held Port Peril as well were encouraging pilgrimage in small towns on the island. I don't see my players burning towns, raiding merchant ships and so on without an "evil enemy race", Cheliax serves well for that. I have also added in that in that the players small hometown was razed by the evil Chiliaxian empire. This should serve as a sufficient back story for the AP.

Some things need to be modified in the AP to do this. For example:

The first adventure worm wood mutiny makes a little less sense in this idea, I want pirates to be good rebels, not evil slavers. So instead my players were escaping their recently razed village by overcoming a merchant ship. They had a little diversion being stranded on an island (I used Souls from Smugglers Shiv) and they are now sailing to "rickety squibs" to get the merchant ship cleaned and painted so that it does not match a chelixian stolen ship to draw attention (they also brought a helpful former pirate with them).

The second adventure (raiders of the fever sea) works quite well. I will run it mostly as is. The part where they invade a fortress will be turned into a Cheliaxian fortress, and theres even a gem of an encounter where they have to avoid a cheliaxian warship.

Adventures 3 & 4 don't really seem to fit however (I only skimmed em). I don't know why my players would want to race in a "regatta" in, and I don't like the idea of a hurricane king so much as I want the focus to be on Cheliax.

Adventures 5 & 6 seem to fit right in though. Recruiting other pirates to there cause to defend against a looming invasion.

Anyone else modifying the AP like this. Got ideas on how to modify and any possible alternative adventures that might take the place of the Regatta?

Gnomezrule wrote:
Yeah I am putting a lot more of the threat from Cheliax into things. I want a more lovable scoundrel AP ie Han Solo, Firefly, Jack Sparrow than I do killing, raping & torturing pirates. An evil enemy but a lawless and seedy setting seemed the easist way to accomplish this.

Han solo, exactly. So Cheliax is the empire then. I think I'll definetely turn Port Peril into Cheliax controlled, and have insert onto the coast a bunch of small Cheliax pilgrim towns for the pirates to raid.

Hi I am using the AP to run a sandbox style pirate campaign. I made my own first adventure, and at the end of our last session the players are on an island, and a ship is coming toward them (hopefully to rescue the players). I plan one having the ship full of an enemy race, so that the players have an encounter seize the ship and inherit their own pirate ship (they find a prisoner who will support them, show them the ways of the sea, etc). This will lead inyto Adventure 2 of Skull and shackles, they will go to port, fix their ship, and then go in search of plunder etc.

But one of the main differences I want to introduce into this AP is an enemy race or kingdom. Basically bad guys who have invaded a place the players hold dear, so that the player pirates can hunt down their ships, forts and loot them with glee.

I have read a bit of the AP and the campaign setting book and I have yet to find a likely candidate. Looking for maybe some foreign invaders who have attacked a place in the shackles and now the players can give em some revenge. Does anyone have suggestions that might fit well with the setting/campaign?

Looking over the campaign theres a few things I don't want to incorporate. I dont like the idea of the free captains, or a head pirate guy that they need to seek approval from. I'd rather them be on boats, hunting down "enemies", invading small towns, chasing great treasures (possibly in dungeons). So any advice on how to incorporate this AP into that theme would be welcome. Adventure 2 seems to fit pretty well. But the idea of racing in a "captains regatta" or setting dinner for other pirates not so much (although Im sure I can find a reason for them to do that.... maybe they need to impress other pirates to help them invade an enemy fleet?)

Anyone else got ideas like this or advice on how to modify without modifying too much?

Just updating the post. The adventure went amazing, over two sessions. I got great feedback. It was mostly the "smugglers shiv" adventure from Serpents Skull AP (only the players started in a dungeon, and escaped onto the island to confront the cannibals and explore).

Interestingly enough, once the players found a wrecked boat on the island they started trying to repair it and become pirates. Ive now decided to use the second adventure of the pirate themed Skull and Shackles AP. The players will get help to fix the boat, and be told of a place they can sail that will completely repair there boat and recieve some help on the ways of a pirate.

Thanks a lot for your reply. Love your advice about fleshing out the dungeon first, great thing to focus on, especially the senses.

Yeah, the other DM will simply be a player with a power - making powerful magic items. This is what he always did as a DM, hed make wacky items (that were either very what overpowered, or were over the top in a story way but not so over powered) and he was good at narrating what it looks like, how it works, and making the players love the item. I've been DMing for a while, and if I toot my own horn I'd say I usually run more negaging adventures then him (with the help of dungeon). So we thought maybe Ill run the adventures, and let him be a powerful artificer. The rules are less of a concern... were big fudgers, I can always give the monsters a lot more damage and HP if I need to.

Love the paper towel idea, what an awesome idea to give a signal that means - "final judgement - lets move on."

Thanks for your response, I was also wondering if anyone thought my players might think the idea of being revived by a necromancer at level 1 as a hokie idea. But Ill give it a try, has to be better then meeting in a tavern :)

Sorry for placing this in the wrong forum originally.

Has anyone tried co-dming in a manner like this? Any problems that might come from it?

Hi so, I have a weird idea for the start of a campaign and I thought the many creative people on this site could give me great some feedback.

First off, this campaign we are going to try something different, one of the players (who often dms), we all agree he makes amazing items, makes them come to life with the littlest of things, they cackle or glow or do neat things. Its what he does best. So him and I talked and I thought it would be neat if he played in my campaign but had a "power" where he could create items, like an artificer. So it would sort of be co-dming, only that would be his only area, and it would "make sense" in the story.

I also like weird starts to a campaign, heres what I was thinking.

Another high level party of adventurers is in a dungeon, they are looking for a powerful artifact that grants the wearer the ability to make magic items. Unfortunately the whole party save the necromancer named Leshrac dies in the dungeon from some poisonous monster. Leshrac revives his party, but unfortunately for some reason, it doesnt work... they are brought back to life, but they do not retain their memories, or skills, they are just level 1 adventurers who have an urge to follow Leshrac. Yep... thats my players. I know some of my players will find it cool Ill even play up how their arms were ripped apart and they have scars, one of my players will hope hes undead and be pumped to follow an undead wizard around.

Leshrac will mention that actually this is a good turn of events, more treasure for him. So he will order them to continue on, and in a couple rooms they meet a giant serpent that is protecting the artifact. They defeat the serpent but Leshrac dies at the end. The players are free, but dont know how to get out of this dungeon. After some hints from a note Leshrac has on him, they find the artifact, an arm that lets the wearer create magic items.

Im thinking of running this with the the first adventure of "serpents skull AP", smugglers shiv. The players escape the dungeon, battling low level serpent-people along the way (maybe leshrac just put them all to sleep instead of slaughtering them) only to find that the dungeon was on an island. How do they get off the island? build a boat, there is a lighthouse but it seems a cannibal tribe lives on it and they would have to be dealt with first.

This would be the story arc for the first 3-4 sessions. Revived by a necromancer, get a powerful artifact, escape the dungeon, find a way to get off the island/explore the island.

What do you think about this idea? Any ideas to flesh it out, or make it better? I know it's kind of railroady at first but I am less concerned about that as my players dont seem to mind that as long as it serves to make a good story. And of course it would only be the first bit of the first session that would be railroady.

Also one of my other players wants to be a necromancer.. so maybe he gets leshracs spell book or something. Or maybe leshrac comes back in some other form in the future, was he just using them all along? I donno :)

Just looking for some real gems in different APs.

My faves from the ones I ran

AOW - Champions Belt (or whispering cairn)
Rise of the Runelords - Sins of the saviours
Kingmaker - Varnhold Vanishing
Second Darkness - Armageddon Echo

I'm planning a campaign, and am considering stringing using adventures from different APs, so your suggestions may point me in the right direction :)