Pathfinder Adventure Path #25: The Bastards of Erebus (Council of Thieves 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Adventure Path #25: The Bastards of Erebus (Council of Thieves 1 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Chapter 1: "The Bastards of Erebus"
by Sean K Reynolds

The city of Westcrown is dying. Since being stripped of its station as the capital of Cheliax, the wealth and prestige of the city has gradually slipped away, leaving the desperate people to fend for themselves in a city beset by criminals, a corrupt nobility, and a shadowy curse. Can the PCs fight back against champions of both the law and the criminal world?

    This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path launches the Council of Thieves Adventure Path, and includes:
  • "The Bastards of Erebus," a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 1st-level characters, by Sean K Reynolds
  • A gazetteer of Westcrown, the shadow-haunted City of Twilight, by Steven Schend
  • An investigation into the lives of tieflings, along with hundreds of fiendish variations, by Amber Scott
  • A deadly mystery of nobility and intrigue for Pathfinder Varian Jeggare and his tiefling bodyguard Radovan in a new series of the Pathfinder's Jounal, by Dave Gross
  • Six terrifying new monsters by Mike Ferguson, Sean K Reynolds, and F. Wesley Schneider

A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure for characters of 1st to 3rd level. The Council of Thieves Adventure Path is the first to take full advantage of the new Pathfinder Roleplaying Game rules, and works with both the Pathfinder RPG and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set.

Pathfinder Adventure Path is Paizo Publishing's monthly 96-page, perfect-bound, full-color softcover book printed on high-quality paper. It contains an in-depth Adventure Path scenario, stats for about a half-dozen new monsters, and several support articles meant to give Game Masters additional material to expand their campaign. Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes use the Open Game License and work with both the Pathfinder RPG and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set.

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-190-9

The Bastards of Erebus is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The rules for running this Adventure Path and Chronicle sheet are available as a free download.

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Personally very good

5/5

I like its story telling.
Actually I unsatisfied from it's core-based setting (because CoT published 2009), but this is external factor.


Underrated Module

5/5

Just finsihed running this mod last week and I must say I really enjoyed this module. Though it is not perfect I think it has some very enjoyable qualities/situations, interesting NPCS, and a good story.

I must admit, that as a GM I did alot of editing and work (mainly to adjust my group being 6 players instead of 4, but also fleshing out side quests etc) to make it work.

Details:

To make this module work (as a whole as well as with future volumes) I would emphasize the shadows being a huge problem (A large side quest I wrote helped with this) in Westcrown from the beginning. It also helps to throw in Ailyn Ghontsavos (The pathfinder from vol 2) in the wagon w/ Arael, establishing her as a major character from the beginning, as she does her "research".)My party also enjoyed/ understood the idea of the "children of Westcrown" and they recruited a more members into the organization. I also had them do a few side quests (Variations of suggested ones in book, plus a few I threw in) to gain some more fame in Westcrown. (as well as get a better "feel" for the theme/setting of Westcrown. I had a tiefling ambush/encounter/story(from locals) in between each side quest to build up the suspense on the final lair as well.

NPCS:

I really enjoyed the NPCs in the adventure. .From the Leaders Arael and Janiven, to Monosino (the boy everyone ended up loving to hate), to all the children of Westcrown and their individual personality's and motivations. There was alot of interesting stories and it was fun role playing the different personalities with my PCs. They enjoyed this as well. (All there stories also help set the tone of the city)

My Favorite NPC from the module was Thesing Umbero Ulvauno. I look forward to his reoccurring roles in future APs.

The Meat and the Bones:

This module has some fun encounters/situations.
-The sewers are fun and the randomness a nice twist (though I would recommend "building" sewers before game to save time)
-Rescuing Arael was a fun and well written encounter. One of my favorite things in the module
-The tiefling lair is well built. Many ins/outs makes the tieflings extremely mobile (ambushing the PCS!) , and lead to fun encounters and situations
-The two tiefling baddies at end were well written and fun to GM. (I recommend combing them for a particularity lethal and super fun encounter)

The back matter of this Module is worth the price alone.

--A great detailed article on Westcrown. Essential for the AP, and a good read on its own.
--An awesome article of Tieflings, including all kinds of great fluff , but also many racial options and alternative traits (100 of them!).It also includes a wonderful chart of Random tielfing features (100 again) to help flesh out what the tielfings look like visually.
--Part one of a Story by Dave Gross. Need I say more?
--A wonderful bestiary that is also very helpful for the module itself. (Adding some old favorites from 3.5 as well as some fun new monsters)

Overall I really enjoyed this Adventure Path Volume!


On the wrong foot …

1/5

This review is about the Bastards of Erebus adventure, not the AP as a whole.

Bastards of Erebus fails both as the launching of the Council of Thieves adventure path and as an adventure in its own right. While I am willing to forgive the the conversion issues; there are several MAJOR problems with the story itself.

Spoilered for those individuals who intend to run this AP (including myself).

Spoiler:

  • The first problem starts before the adventure, with the CoT Player’s Guide. The provided “campaign traits” simply suggest little to no motivation for the heroes to want to accomplish the tasks of the Bastards, let alone the AP as a whole. The adventure attempts to fix this by requiring that the heroes must have a problem with the way the Westcrown is run, but that leads to the next problem.
  • Janiven Kay’s speech, two or more battles with the Order of the Rack Hellknights, and the introduction of Ariel’s group all imply that the heroes will be part of a resistance movement against House Thrune. Unfortunately, this is not what the AP is about at all, so this sets up a “bait-n-switch” almost as bad as Second Darkness.
  • As a side note, the battles with the Hellknights in this adventure ruin the buildup that the Hellknights had received in both Rise of the Runelords and especially Curse of the Crimson Throne. This adventure sets the Hellknights up as "keystone cops." Also, fighting the Hellknights in this adventure creates a dissonance with The Twice-Damned Prince where the heroes are expected to ally with the Hellkights.
  • The titular "Bastards of Erebus" gang seem to pop out of nowhere in “part 5” of a six part adventure. As they have done nothing to the characters, nor have any of the crimes in the city even been mentioned before now, so why would the heroes want to fight them? Worse, if any of the PCs are Tieflings themselves, these PCs are – if anything – going to be sympathetic to the Bastards.
  • Beyond that, the support articles are fine, though I wish that the included monsters in the AP installment’s Bestiary were more used in the adventure itself.

    All in all, I find myself needed to re-write this entire installment.


    Dreadfully underwritten and poor structure

    2/5

    As an introduction to the Council of Thieves AP, this adventure fails to impress. The first section is "have random encounters until you get bored", and the final section is terribly short. There are good ideas here, but they are buried by horrible writing and editing. It took our group of five players about 5 hours to play through the entire thing.


    It was ok

    2/5

    I'm playing in this adventure path and it seams to really require the PCs to be the heros and do what the NPC leader wants you to do (Sorta like a Shadowrun Mr. Johnson). Its fun but it would work better with a little lead in like maybe your spys from another nation or something.I've gamed with this GM many times so I think its more of the material than the GMing. It probably is one of those adventures with a ton of GM information that never (or almost never) comes out in play.


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    Paizo Employee Creative Director

    Robert Jordan wrote:
    There was only one thing that really confused me in the Tiefling abilities section. The ability where your Fiendish Sorcery ability treats your charisma as 3 points higher. Is this a new ability Tieflings are getting? Or is it in regards to say a Tiefling who is a sorcerer with the Infernal bloodline?

    That is a tiefling ability for the tiefling race. It's to offset the fact that we like tiefling sorcerers and we think that now that we have a fiendish and infernal bloodline we should SUPPORT the option, even though tieflings have a Charisma penalty.

    So! Think of this as a tiny preview for the Pathfinder Bestiary! :-)

    Liberty's Edge

    James Jacobs wrote:


    Stuff about the map ...

    Actually a big fan of the map just like I was a fan of the map of Absalom. I prefer that it remain sort of vague as far as listing/detailing every little thing. Makes it a thousand times easier to just drop something into the city as we see fit without having to worry about "Oh crap, did I just demolish Steve's Devil's Dozen Doughnut Shop?"

    I also dig the look of it as well, the older worn look. Appropriate I would say.

    Dark Archive

    Well as for the map, don't get me wrong. I don't think it is bad. It is fairly artistic looking. I think it would have been better if almost all the roofs where not red and orange.

    I just found it from a GM point of view to be harder to tell where all the streets and stuff was. For a player map I would have liked it, if there would have been more colors for the roofs. I just found it less useful for a GM map. WHich i like to be a lot more clear.

    The Exchange

    James Jacobs wrote:
    Dark_Mistress wrote:
    My only real complaint about the book... I wasn't a big fan of the style of the map of the city.
    We're certainly trying a new style with the city map here. I kind of like it; it gets the idea of the city's shape across well but doesn't make it look like we're trying to show EVERY separate building on the map, which at a scale to do that, we would have had to print the map of Westcrown on a sleeping bag sized piece of paper. Also, the map itself looks like it's "in world" and thus, you can show it to...

    Just cause you guys keep saying that you'd like to hear when we like something... I absolutely love the artistic look of the map of Westcrown in CoT. I think it complements the feel of the entire Path, just as CotCT, LoF, and SD did.

    So... kudos on the map and a great start to the fifth (!!) AP.

    Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

    James Jacobs wrote:

    We're certainly trying a new style with the city map here. I kind of like it; it gets the idea of the city's shape across well but doesn't make it look like we're trying to show EVERY separate building on the map, which at a scale to do that, we would have had to print the map of Westcrown on a sleeping bag sized piece of paper. Also, the map itself looks like it's "in world" and thus, you can show it to the PCs and it'll feel more authentic.

    I'd love to hear more about what folks think of the map!

    Just "Sleeping bag sized"? I've the old city system map of Waterdeep, just waiting for some extra cash to laminate them and then hang them on my wall (I love having a condo instead of an apartment!)

    I'd love to tell you what I think of the map, but I don't have my PDF yet :-(

    Sovereign Court

    In the foreword it refers to extra information by Steven Schend on Westcrown being available at Paizo.com.

    Is that available yet?

    Dark Archive

    I never did like Charisma penalty for Tieflings. Wisdom penalty would be more logical and consistent with flavor and Planescape tradition.

    Sovereign Court

    Take a
    quick jaunt over to paizo.com and you’ll find not just our
    free Council of Thieves Player’s Guide, but also a wealth of
    additional details about Westcrown and its environs from
    the city’s foremost architect, Steven Schend.

    This is from Pathfinder #25, where can I find this info?

    An all city game sounds great, I tried it in the past on my own with mixed success.

    Thanks

    Dark Archive

    Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

    As they keep saying, even in this very thread, the player's guide will be out on August 13th, as a free PDF.

    Assuming all the people downloading the 70 MB PDF of the Pathfinder Core RPG don't melt the servers.

    Paizo Employee Creative Director

    Dark_Mistress wrote:
    I just found it from a GM point of view to be harder to tell where all the streets and stuff was. For a player map I would have liked it, if there would have been more colors for the roofs. I just found it less useful for a GM map. WHich i like to be a lot more clear.

    The question is, then... do you as the GM need to know where all the streets and stuff are? We do indicate locations for all of the important sites and adventure locations... but unless we name every single street, do we really need to show them all? We don't show every tree in a forest map, after all. Note: I'm not trying to be difficult here... I'm honestly curious if folks miss exact city maps and how knowing exact street layouts and building shapes help...

    (Personally, my preference IS for maps that show every street and every alley and every building... but those are fantastically difficult to create and produce, alas. Maps in the style we used for Westcrown are, I think and hope, a nice way to make a map look cool without doing a half-assed job at looking exact.)

    Paizo Employee Creative Director

    GeraintElberion wrote:

    In the foreword it refers to extra information by Steven Schend on Westcrown being available at Paizo.com.

    Is that available yet?

    No; that's going to be part of the Player's Guide, which will be available (hopefully) in exactly 1 week when Gen Con starts. This was always the intent, to have the Player's Guide out on the official release date... it does mean that subscribers who get earlier access to PDFs get to test their patience a little though, alas. :-(


    James Jacobs wrote:

    I'm honestly curious if folks miss exact city maps and how knowing exact street layouts and building shapes help...

    (Personally, my preference IS for maps that show every street and every alley and every building... but those are fantastically difficult to create and produce, alas. Maps in the style we used for Westcrown are, I think and hope, a nice way to make a map look cool without doing a half-assed job at looking exact.)

    Yeah...but I wouldn't want half-assed looking maps either.


    James Jacobs wrote:


    The question is, then... do you as the GM need to know where all the streets and stuff are? We do indicate locations for all of the important sites and adventure locations... but unless we name every single street, do we really need to show them all? We don't show every tree in a forest map, after all. Note: I'm not trying to be difficult here... I'm honestly curious if folks miss exact city maps and how knowing exact street layouts and building shapes help...

    I don't mind if not every street is named, but I really like the style of mapping used (for example) to make the Sasserine map from Savage Tide. When I ran the first adventure, there was a lot of alley fighting with members of the Lotus Dragons in different parts of town. Having a map that showed individual buildings allowed me to make a battlemap of essentially any place in town on short notice, and I really liked having that ability.

    I know there are other ways of getting a similar effect, it's just that I really like this method.

    Dark Archive

    James Jacobs wrote:
    Dark_Mistress wrote:
    I just found it from a GM point of view to be harder to tell where all the streets and stuff was. For a player map I would have liked it, if there would have been more colors for the roofs. I just found it less useful for a GM map. WHich i like to be a lot more clear.

    The question is, then... do you as the GM need to know where all the streets and stuff are? We do indicate locations for all of the important sites and adventure locations... but unless we name every single street, do we really need to show them all? We don't show every tree in a forest map, after all. Note: I'm not trying to be difficult here... I'm honestly curious if folks miss exact city maps and how knowing exact street layouts and building shapes help...

    (Personally, my preference IS for maps that show every street and every alley and every building... but those are fantastically difficult to create and produce, alas. Maps in the style we used for Westcrown are, I think and hope, a nice way to make a map look cool without doing a half-assed job at looking exact.)

    Need? Well no. Since the adventure can be run as is with the map in the book. But i find the detailed maps help a lot. Especially long term to give a better sense of the place. If the players are to be in a city a long time it makes sense they could come to know street names. And as a GM with a more detailed map I can also always make sure everything is the same.

    With the less detailed work it takes more prep work and makes things harder on the fly. Especially if you add in side quests of your own making and stuff.

    So no a more detailed map is not needed but it sure helps IMHO. My only point is the more detailed the map the less work I have to do, which of course is the whole point in buying ready made adventures.

    Just as a note the map is far from a deal breaker for me, I just thought I would mention it cause it is a obvious change. For a player only map i would like it, I just wished the GM had a more detailed map as well.

    Edit: Doppelgangers post is another good example of why I like the GM map to be more detailed. While I don't need everything layed out the more the better for a variety of reasons.

    Sovereign Court

    James Jacobs wrote:
    No; that's going to be part of the Player's Guide, which will be available (hopefully) in exactly 1 week when Gen Con starts. This was always the intent, to have the Player's Guide out on the official release date... it does mean that subscribers who get earlier access to PDFs get to test their patience a little though, alas. :-(

    I apologize if I missed this upthread, but the adventure also mentions a Council of Thieves Gamemaster's Guide, and I was curious if that will also be released next week, or if there's an extra bit of wait time on that?

    Also, I should mention that I am really loving this adventure so far. I really, really enjoy the free-flowing nature of the encounters, and the whole sewer maze section was brilliant. It looks like another AP kickoff knocked out of the park by Paizo. :)

    Liberty's Edge

    Vic Wertz wrote:
    Kevida wrote:
    I am so looking forward to this! That being said, Legacy of Fire has things like Paper minatures and 3-D Terrain (I give thanks to the respective companies) so will this follow suit or is this "putting the cart before the ox"? No problem if it's not! Just wondering.
    I'm sure these things will eventually appear. When that happens is largely up to the respective publishers.

    Okay thank you. Again, not complaining about anything because Paizo puts out some really good stuff (that is an understatement, of course).


    James Jacobs wrote:
    The question is, then... do you as the GM need to know where all the streets and stuff are? We do indicate locations for all of the important sites and adventure locations... but unless we name every single street, do we really need to show them all? We don't show every tree in a forest map, after all. Note: I'm not trying to be difficult here... I'm honestly curious if folks miss exact city maps and how knowing exact street layouts and building shapes help...

    As a GM - yes. Absolutely frootin tootinly. Yes again. (The streets don't need to all be named, of course, but seen? Heck yes.)

    Good maps: Think Cauldron, Sasserine, Sandpoint, Magnimar, Khatapesh, Riddleport.

    I haven't seen Westcrown yet [gah! still waiting!] so I can't comment on that map, but already I'm worried and apprehensive if the above question even had to be asked (especially for an almost entirely city-based campaign - I expect to have an extremely detailed city map in such circumstances).


    As the person who will be DMing this module, I could care less about seeing every single street. The less you detail beyond that which is necessary for the module, the more s$*&e I can make up.

    Scarab Sages

    I LOVE the Tiefling section!
    I would really like to play one some day... too bad I'm the GM. :)


    /sings

    happy happy joy joy, happy happy, joy joy!


    Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

    Quick question: if I am to play in this AP, which articles can I read without being spoiled?

    Contributor

    Zaister wrote:
    Quick question: if I am to play in this AP, which articles can I read without being spoiled?

    Wes says that the most spoiler-friendly article is the Tieflings article. The Westcrown writeup in #25 has some spoilers, so I'd avoid it.

    However, the entirety of Cheliax, Empire of Devils is player-friendly, and includes a condensed, spoiler-free two-page version of Mr. Schend's Westcrown article from #25.


    Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

    Thanks for the info, Sean!

    Dark Archive

    "A deadly mystery of nobility and intrigue for Pathfinder Varian Jeggare and his tiefling bodyguard Radovan"

    Bwaahhahahaha! I've just seen this! You do realize that Radovan is Serbian name, right?


    James Jacobs wrote:
    Gray wrote:
    This looks nice, but I do miss the stories on the inside covers.

    We try to do something different with each AP's inside covers. The stories seemed to go over well... but that's also because there's a strong element of genies telling stories in that AP.

    For Council of Thieves, since the whole AP takes place on the same map, it made more sense to put that map on one inside cover. And since there's a LOT of NPCs in the AP, and since the theater and acting and lies and all that are such a big part of the AP, it made sense to use the other cover to present each adventure's NPCs in this way.

    We'll be doing something else for Kingmaker, of course. Not sure what yet...

    Thanks for the reply. I actually meant that as a compliment to Legacy of Fire. It is one of those instances, where I realized how much I liked something after it is gone.

    However, I appreciate the need to go in other directions depending on the needs of the AP.

    Paizo Employee Creative Director

    nightflier wrote:

    "A deadly mystery of nobility and intrigue for Pathfinder Varian Jeggare and his tiefling bodyguard Radovan"

    Bwaahhahahaha! I've just seen this! You do realize that Radovan is Serbian name, right?

    I'm not sure where the joke is there... we've used names from all manner of cultures for our NPCs.

    Dark Archive

    Well, it may be insensitive to explain it openly. Google "Radovan" up and see for yourself why is that a (kinda) funny name for a devil-tainted person. :)I'm a Serb myself (half, anyway), so it's funny to me. But to some others in Balkans...


    nightflier wrote:
    Well, it may be insensitive to explain it openly. Google "Radovan" up and see for yourself why is that a (kinda) funny name for a devil-tainted person. :)I'm a Serb myself (half, anyway), so it's funny to me. But to some others in Balkans...

    Oooooh, yeah, I can see where you're coming from on that one.

    Still, it is an excellent name! ^_^ And it may have been deliberate...


    Ah...ah.

    Dark Archive

    Yeah, it's a great name. It means "joyful". :)


    nightflier wrote:
    Yeah, it's a great name. It means "joyful". :)

    ^_^ That wasn't what I found using my Google-fu ...

    Dark Archive

    Turin the Mad wrote:
    nightflier wrote:
    Yeah, it's a great name. It means "joyful". :)
    ^_^ That wasn't what I found using my Google-fu ...

    Well, this guy probably was joyful. Others... not so much. But let's stop with this, ok. Real world should not be allowed here.


    nightflier wrote:
    Turin the Mad wrote:
    nightflier wrote:
    Yeah, it's a great name. It means "joyful". :)
    ^_^ That wasn't what I found using my Google-fu ...
    Well, this guy probably was joyful. Others... not so much. But let's stop with this, ok. Real world should not be allowed here.

    *Chuckling* I have no problem with that good sir. :)

    Shadow Lodge

    Starfinder Charter Superscriber

    [edit] I first posted...

    Okay, so I'm jaunting. Where's my booty? Donde es mi "Council of Thieves Player's Guide"?

    ...because somehow I missed posts that already addressed the answer. Others might be similarly confused, so be patient with them. I did look for the answer before posting, but did not find the answer at first.

    Dark Archive

    kwixson wrote:

    The PDF says, "we’ve got a ton of details on the former capital of Cheliax—so much, in fact, that we couldn’t fit it all into this one volume. Take a quick jaunt over to paizo.com and you’ll find not just our free Council of Thieves Player’s Guide..."

    Okay, so I'm jaunting. Where's my booty? Donde es mi "Council of Thieves Player's Guide"?

    James answer this a bit up the thread. Looks like the 13th is the day you will be able to download it.

    Grand Lodge

    I prefer my city maps to be street level in detail. A poster map is a huge huge plus, but not a necessity. I also prefer the larger cities to have more than 63 pages worth of detail (that's right, I'm looking at you Guide To Absalom)...

    But oh well...

    -That One Digitalelf Fellow-

    Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

    nightflier wrote:
    Well, it may be insensitive to explain it openly. Google "Radovan" up and see for yourself why is that a (kinda) funny name for a devil-tainted person. :)I'm a Serb myself (half, anyway), so it's funny to me. But to some others in Balkans...

    Funny enough, knew it w/o the google fu. And yes, it was amusing.

    Dark Archive

    Btw, this is not Serbia's first D&D appearance. Pool of Radiance was filled with the names of towns from Western Serbia. Like someone took the map and just transcribed it, looking for names that would sound exotic to the American reader.

    Liberty's Edge

    Just wanted to say the bestiary icon are interesting and I'm sure once I've got them memorized I'll be able to tell at a glance about the creature.

    Good idea looking forward to see how it works out.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
    Wildfire142 wrote:

    Just wanted to say the bestiary icon are interesting and I'm sure once I've got them memorized I'll be able to tell at a glance about the creature.

    Good idea looking forward to see how it works out.

    Im just hoping there arent too many. That and the new warmachine symbols aren't too close. :)

    Liberty's Edge

    Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

    I would like to add my disappointment in the Map of Westcrown. Please don't ever, ever use that style again in your city Maps.


    Agree. Now that I've seen it, I'm very unhappy. This makes a great map for the players, but is unacceptable for GM use, IMO.


    Concerning the tiefling variations chapter, is this designed to expand upon the race as defined in the 3.5 planar handbook, or will the upcoming Pathfinder bestiary provide these base racial traits for player characters as well?
    It would be nice to have a source that doesn't include a level adjustment component and favored class for playable monster races.

    Paizo Employee Creative Director

    Arnwyn wrote:
    Agree. Now that I've seen it, I'm very unhappy. This makes a great map for the players, but is unacceptable for GM use, IMO.

    While this is good feedback... more details are always nice. Why is it a great map for players but unacceptable for GMs? I'm not trying to be obtuse here, just trying to find the best way to represent cities of Westcrown's size on a piece of paper. Has there been a style of a city map we did in Pathfinder (or some other publisher did elsewhere) that works better for you as a GM? Why?

    I'm honestly curios to hear what sorts of things this map won't let you do, when other maps of similarly sized cities we've done (say, for Katapesh or Absalom) might LOOK more detailed but really aren't.

    Paizo Employee Creative Director

    FBW wrote:

    Concerning the tiefling variations chapter, is this designed to expand upon the race as defined in the 3.5 planar handbook, or will the upcoming Pathfinder bestiary provide these base racial traits for player characters as well?

    It would be nice to have a source that doesn't include a level adjustment component and favored class for playable monster races.

    The tiefling variations can expand on both versions of the race: 3.5 and PFRPG. They can really expand on ANY version of the race, though. Furthermore, since tieflings are as much a monster race as they area PC race, some of these new racial abilities might not work well or might be overpowered for a tiefling PC. That's something, honestly, that each GM might have to decide for himself/herself though.

    In any event, since tieflings are a pretty common race in Cheliax, we do take this into account in the Council of Thieves Player's Guide (due out this Thursday); there's a lot of options in there to help GMs and players work tiefling PCs into the game.

    Dark Archive

    Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
    James Jacobs wrote:
    While this is good feedback... more details are always nice. Why is it a great map for players but unacceptable for GMs? I'm not trying to be obtuse here, just trying to find the best way to represent cities of Westcrown's size on a piece of paper. Has there been a style of a city map we did in Pathfinder (or some other publisher did elsewhere) that works better for you as a GM? Why?

    I'm not Arnwyn, but I have much the same complaints about Westcrown's map. It's so inexact. It's little more than a few blobs of color with some dots to show where things might be. Now, for a PC map that's great, that's perfectly all well and good, but compare it with Magnimar's map. That one (once errata'd) had clear, distinct street layouts. You as a GM knew where things were. An NPC could give someone directions based on it. With Magnimar, you have an idea of really what navigating the city is like. Westcrown's map is so pointless the best a GM could do is a series of NPCs saying "Oh, just head down that way till... uh, I dunno. If you get lost ask around."

    Precision is what I've always felt is key for GM maps. Save the navigationally useless artistic abstractions for players' maps.

    Edit: I mean, as a creative choice, if near-anarchy is what you want navigating the city to feel like, then a map like this one is ok, but especially as a GM's map, what we have for Westcrown thus far is just not up to par.

    Dark Archive

    James Jacobs wrote:
    Arnwyn wrote:
    Agree. Now that I've seen it, I'm very unhappy. This makes a great map for the players, but is unacceptable for GM use, IMO.

    While this is good feedback... more details are always nice. Why is it a great map for players but unacceptable for GMs? I'm not trying to be obtuse here, just trying to find the best way to represent cities of Westcrown's size on a piece of paper. Has there been a style of a city map we did in Pathfinder (or some other publisher did elsewhere) that works better for you as a GM? Why?

    I'm honestly curios to hear what sorts of things this map won't let you do, when other maps of similarly sized cities we've done (say, for Katapesh or Absalom) might LOOK more detailed but really aren't.

    It is not so much that the map won't let us do stuff, just the map is less clear so more work to fill it out. Now for a general map of a city it is not bad but I still much prefer Absalom style map for example. If nothing else it is more clear where things are even if not more detailed. Which is why i think it is a fine PC map, just for a GM map I like things to be as clear and detailed as possible. ((with in reason of what is cost effective for you guys to do of course))

    But for a map for a AP that will all take place in a single city I was hoping for something along the lines of the fold out map of Korvosa or better for a GM map. Something very clear and easy to read, with main streets named etc.

    Then if one of the AP's focus heavy on are area of the city it would have been nice to see a map the detail level of Sandpoint for that block or what have you. I know that wouldn't cover the whole city, that would be a crazy big map. But for select area's that see a lot of action in it would be helpful. ((assuming there is any in the AP))

    So basically just speaking for me, for a AP all set in a single city i was hoping for the mim of a map like the Korvosa one or better.

    Liberty's Edge

    James Jacobs wrote:
    Arnwyn wrote:
    Agree. Now that I've seen it, I'm very unhappy. This makes a great map for the players, but is unacceptable for GM use, IMO.

    While this is good feedback... more details are always nice. Why is it a great map for players but unacceptable for GMs? I'm not trying to be obtuse here, just trying to find the best way to represent cities of Westcrown's size on a piece of paper. Has there been a style of a city map we did in Pathfinder (or some other publisher did elsewhere) that works better for you as a GM? Why?

    I'm honestly curios to hear what sorts of things this map won't let you do, when other maps of similarly sized cities we've done (say, for Katapesh or Absalom) might LOOK more detailed but really aren't.

    Best map I've seen of a city from Paizo is Cauldron's. Korvosa in a close second.

    I'm also pretty fond of the map of Freeport from Everquest d20 Realms of Norrath: Freeport.


    Dark Mistress spoke very well, it comes close to summing up my feelings. To add to it....

    James,

    I think what you're seeing is some tension between GMing styles. If you're a real narrative GM who glosses over some minor details and cuts to significant 'cut scenes' in the story- the map is not going to bother you. It tells the players that it's a big city and "You Are Here".

    A more simulationist Gm.. OR a Gm who wants a resource to go beyond the scope of just the Adventure Path is going to want more details. Such a GM is going to not only say "You Are Here", but also "This is how you got here", and "Ths is what happened along the way".


    My biggest problem with the map isn't so much the information contained in the map, as it is style (not that I have anything against very maps with lots of information, quite the contrary).
    To me, it just looks sloppy. Or more precisely, the buildings look sloppy. The water and surrounding area (forests etc.) look just fine (although I also agree that it looks more like a player/in-game map than a DM map). The buildings, however, have weird angles, look very jumbled together and just gives the whole map a sloppy, non-professional look (sorry Mr. Blando) with no discernible city structure/roads/alleys etc.

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