I have only just glanced through J2 PDF so am not really in a position to make a detailed comment about the module but I am a little disappointed with the concept of the product coming out under the J label. I read under a discussion about J1 that what was meant was not so much 'Journey' as a 'Destination' ie a dungeon far away from where the players start. But when paizo initially put out their labelling the ones that had me most interested were Urban, Event and Journey. Urban and Event have done the trick but I expected the Journey stuff to be more like a road trip. Like that great Dungeon adventure 'Racing the Snake' or maybe that one where the party have to heard a bunch of bugs into the underdark (name escapes me), something where the adventure is to do with travelling from point A to point B, you know a Journey.
I know I am being a bit picky but I guess it was because this stuff inspired me. I thought awesome an adventure about a sailing trip from one great port to another, or a low level adventure about guarding a merchants caravan, perhaps an aerial journey helping protect some magical geese migrating north, escorting a wanted criminal to justice (a la the movies 'Midnight Run' or 'Gauntlet'), a trip to the moon, across the Andes by frog! (Ok now I am getting silly) etc etc.
This is not a critiscism of J1 or J2, and is not a comment at all on the dungeons have been produced in this line - just a comment on the use of the descriptor Journey and the type of adventure I think it should cover. Is this style of adventure contemplated?
I received my copy in the mail yesterday, and have given it a cursory read. It does look to be up to Paizo's usual high storytelling standards, and should make for an interesting adventure.
I agree with the above posters regarding J = Destination rather than Journey, and Paizo staff have commented on this in other threads.
For me, it means that I can run this adventure as a side-trek during a Pathfinder Adventure Path if the characters are falling below the required level to run the next adventure, teleport to this new location, without having to be too concerned regarding foreign locations, adventure continuity, conflicting adventure background, or unfamiliar NPCs into the current Adventure Path.
One of the things that make GameMastery and Pathfinder work so well is the flavour and attention to detail. I initially considered incorporating D0 Hollow's Last Hope and D1 Crown of the Kobold King as preludes to Burnt Offerings in Sandpoint, but keeping Sandpoint's infamy for Goblins, and Falcon's Hollow reputation for Kobolds, gives these locations identity. Mixing them up would lessen the impact of both.
So knowing an adventure contains a mechanism for transporting characters to/from their regular location, and can be run without interfering with local affairs, is useful to know.
Though much longer in scope than a single adventure, the Pathfinder series already requires characters to journey over some distance to varied locations.
However, I too would enjoy real Journey adventures such as those you described.
Road-trip adventures are great if played as stand-alone. However, I would imagine GMs desire them to connect different adventures, a bridge for getting their characters from Adventure A to Adventure C.
To appeal to as wide an audience as possible, Road-trip adventures would have to be flexible regarding their departure and destination locations, as well as the terrain of the journey, or otherwise GMs may find them difficult to insert into their chosen adventure path.
Departure towns and destination cities need to be easily swapped out with those the GM is using, or sidebars suggesting how to insert key NPCs and necessary plot elements into the locations you're using.
Trek through a forest or across a desert; accompany a merchant caravan; embark on an ocean voyage; navigate a river barge; all good ideas, but there needs to be a forest/desert/route/ocean/river between your departure/destination points for them to work.
Even if departure/journey/destinations were all suitable, the adventure would still have to be of an appropriate level for the players. Perhaps a "random encounters" product might better suit a Road-trip to cater to a wider range of play levels - though some locations/journeys would be more dangerous than others, so specific products could be roughly aimed at low, medium or high level play.
Specific Road-trip adventures could work between already established and popular GameMastery/Pathfinder locations, eg providing a means for transporting characters between Magnimar and Korvosa, or further afield, such as Falcon's Hollow and Sandpoint.
Pathfinder#2 contains an excellent Pathfinder Journal describing Eando Kline's encounters and journey up-river between Magnimar, Wartle and Whistledown, and could easily be converted into an adventure by a GM between Pathfinder#2 and #3.
Optional stand-alone GameMastery Road-trips that provided more detail connecting locations that were only briefly described in Pathfinder might be a way of appealing to both GameMastery and Pathfinder audiences.
I'm sure we'll see Road-trip products published in the future.
|James Jacobs Creative Director|
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Why was this declared non canon anyway come to think of it?
Because that was the intent from the start. This one and Crucible of Chaos, the adventure that came out just before this one, were a very short-lived experiment by the standalone adventure team to try doing "world-neutral" adventures that were as self-contained with the lore as possible so as to make it easier for customers to fit into the setting of their choice. The experiment didn't last long, obviously, in no small part due to the fact that for any adventure if you're going to use any proper nouns, it's easier to draw upon a shared world already available rather than to make things up on the spot and then either have to contextualize them (which eats up wordcount) or just leave them unexplained (which confuses people).
While we ended up keeping much of Crucible of Chaos, and indeed that one helped us get things rolling with the Shory, the elements in Dragonfall about a dragon graveyard simply didn't really mesh with what we wanted to do with Golarion. The adventure itself was also a tough one to develop in the first place, in part because of it's attempt to be self-contained, further complicated with some last minute art issues with a mixup between using the Dungeon magazine iconics (which we helped to create but didn't own the rights to) and the Pathfinder iconics requiring some last minute scrambles that made it even more difficult to develop and helped us decide to end the experiment after only two adventures. While the art mixup didn't really have much to directly do with this adventure being set in a generic fantasy world, it did factor into our methods of quality controlling what we publish; something we were still adjusting to and figuring out for ourselves as we built a world from scratch while simultaneously not missing a beat on publishing things to a monthly subscription model.
Publishing adventures on a monthly schedule is really tough, and anything we could do to make things go more smooth is a bonus. Being able to draw upon an ever-growing and established collection of lore and proper nouns and world elements makes that process easier, AND makes it easier for us to creatively direct the setting's vision (even though back in that era we didn't actually have any creative directors) so that it felt more thematically connected and not randomized in how it treats everything from life to death and everything in between.