Pathfinder Adventure Path #61: Shards of Sin (Shattered Star 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

***½( ) (based on 13 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #61: Shards of Sin (Shattered Star 1 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Chapter 1: "Shards of Sin"
by Greg A. Vaughan

The Shattered Star Adventure Path begins with a thrilling new adventure from fan-favorite author Greg A. Vaughan! In Varisia’s bustling frontier city of Magnimar, the Pathfinder Society’s newest lodge recruits a team of rookie Pathfinders to track down rogue agent Natalya Vancaskerkin—who also happens to be one of the Varisian criminals known as the Sczarni. Yet when these heroes track down the missing woman, they find far more than a Pathfinder on the run, becoming embroiled in a swiftly expanding hunt for a fragmented artifact from the ancient empire of Thassilon—a quest that will take them to some of the most dangerous corners of Varisia.

    This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path launches the Shattered Star Adventure Path and includes:
  • “Shards of Sin,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 1st-level characters, by Greg A. Vaughan.
  • An exploration of the ancient Sihedron artifact and its ties to powerful Thassilonian magic, as well as details on the mysterious skymetals that fall to Golarion, by James Jacobs.
  • Forays into the even seedier underbelly of Riddleport in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Bill Ward.
  • Five new monsters, by Benjamin Bruck, Craig Campbell, Adam Daigle, Amanda Hamon, and James Wilbur.

Each monthly full-color softcover Pathfinder Adventure Path volume contains an in-depth adventure scenario, stats for several new monsters, and 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 world’s oldest fantasy RPG.

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-452-8

Shards of Sin 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 (512 KB zip/PDF).

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscription.

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***½( ) (based on 13 ratings)

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Surprisingly Engaging Dungeon Crawl

*****

From start to finish, Shards of Sin displays excellent pacing, a variety of encounter types, as well as plenty of social and puzzle encounters to test out your players' mental muscles. Even though the adventure is dominated by a single dungeon, it managed to keep my players' attention, and occassionally throw a few curve balls to keep them on their feet.

The support article provides useful background information about Xin, and details the artifacts your players will encounter, as well as descriptions and statistics for the seven skymetals, which were quite unique. The bestiary monsters are also interesting, especially the Bishop Agathian and Melfesh Monster.

All in all, an excellent adventure, showing that dungeon crawls don't have to be boring or repetetive.


Dungeons and Pathfinders

****( )

Shards of Sin, at its heart, is a classic dungeon crawl and it does a good job at that.

The main dungeon is expansive, with a variety of distinct areas so you're not just slogging through the "Pit of all fire enemies" for four levels. It also captures a bit of that old-school Caves of Chaos/Temple of Elemental Evil magic with competing factions and dungeons that can be taken in chunks.

Outside the dungeon, the adventure serves as a good introduction to the Pathfinder Society and has a fun trail of investigation. I'd have liked a little more detail about what the NPCs know about the MacGuffin, but I can fill that in.

Update: After running this adventure, I found I was largely right. The dungeon was cool and modular, the NPCs in and out of the dungeon were engaging, and much fun was had by all. I do feel, with the power of hindsight, that the dungeon was missing reasons to leave and mingle with the populace of Magnimar. Without those reasons, it became bit of a slog.

There's one special thing I'd like to call out: This is the only adventure I've ever seen with predominantly female NPCs. The adventure doesn't make a big deal out of it, I just think it's awesome that Paizo doesn't always default to guys.

Overall, I'd still suggest this without reservation to anyone who likes dungeon crawling, the (in-game) Pathfinder Society, or Thassilon.


Light of a Distant Star Part 1: Old Friends

****( )

First, this is not a review of the adventure. It is a review of only the Pathfinder's Journal. Now that you know that (and knowing is half the battle), let's get to it!

Bill Ward, who previously wrote (among other things), the free web fiction, The Box, returns with Pathfinder's Journal: Light of a Distant Star.

This journal begins with a lone female wandering the streets of Riddleport. Not the wisest choice, but this character is tailing a loudmouthed gnome through the streets. The opening three pages are a phenomenal introduction to the bad Wharf District of Riddleport.

The reason the journals are included in the AP's is to give GM's and players a taste of the atmosphere of the adventure path without any spoilers, this opening journal does that job beautifully! We don't find out who the main character of the story is until the 4th page, but that's okay because in the meantime we learn that Riddleport's Wharf District is dangerous; home to pickpockets, pirates, sailors, gangs and other less desirable elements. We also learn a little bit about the Cyphergate, a giant arch over (circle around?) the entrance to Riddleport harbor. Finally, we learn that our main characters are engaging in a heist of some sort. This heist appears to be the main focus of the six-part story arc (story Cypher-arc?).

Editing is top notch (as expected). The story is well written with the main characters introduced gradually with a nice mix of action and exposition about each one that locks that character in your head so that you don't confuse them. Overall, the story is excellent worthy of 4 stars!


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The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Urath DM wrote:
It is up to us to carry the effects of RotRL into CotCT and SD (best examples being located close together and published sequentially). What happens to Sandpoint in my RotRL campaign should become news in Korvosa in my CotCT campaign.. and in Riddleport in SD.

I generally agree, but the sad fact is, that I'll probably never run CotCT and/or SD, so I won't be able to do this. What I can do, though, is to use those APs' events as kinda metaplot and make it's consequences felt in my campaign when appropriate.

And for me that's what metaplot is all about. It covers those parts of a settings history and development which aren't actually used in my campaign. It doesn't disrupt my canon, it adds to it. And by giving the players a feeling that there's a whole dynamic world around their PCs, it also adds to their game experience.

Shadow Lodge

BPorter wrote:
How did I forget Dragonlance? <facepalm>

Bad BPorter,. . . ! Bad!!! <Smacks hand.>

BPorter wrote:

That aside, "That is going to be the reason things start to get ruined" is an opinion, nothing more.

I cited numerous examples of where metplot had a detrimental impact on the setting resulting (in most cases) with reboots/rewrites of the setting to "start fresh".

To be fair and realistic, the things you cited are just opinions as well, and I never stated that mine were anything but my opinion. Except for the better to please the most people, part. And this specific part, (lack of a progressive story means the setting will be ruined), I say because A.) that means the setting is stale. No matter what books come out, it has to be wedged into the existing setting, creating the Samurai/Ninja/Guns issue or B.) there will be a point when new material will literaly be a copy paste of another book, because nothing has changed. That's not good for the company, who needs to keep selling a product. Thats really only going to leave the option of discontinueing Golarion for something else, so that they can sell a new series of books.

A mysterious, ominous voice wrote:
Also, who does the metaplot serve?

"You my lord. You and the metaplot are one."

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Urath DM wrote:
Right, well, that was kind of my point.

I know it was. I wrote it specifically to agree with you. Go back and read the very first sentence of my reply. :D

Me wrote:
That's a great point.

I was referring to you, Urath DM. You.

So of course it was 'kind of your point'. I get a big grin out of BPorter thanking you for your insight as a result.

Gentlemen, we agree far more than we disagree. Even if its not 100% It would be helpful if you tried recognizing that.

Urath DM wrote:
A little, controlled advancement I do not have a big problem with. So far, it sounds like Paizo's attitude is about right.

Case in point, that is pretty much what I said.

What I did not say was: "Metaplots destroy everything!" And I'm not going to say that. It is worth talking about.

Liberty's Edge

Well I am glad to hear that Runelords, Crimson Throne, and Darkness are all in the same time line estimate. So it will be cool if when I run all these that players meet themselves as other players and such to flip their respective lids abit.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
magnuskn wrote:
But if James now goes "Hmmm, I better not send the player characters to Korvosa, because that might upset some people whose story was so-and-so..."

Actually... it's more like James going, "Hmmmmm... there's a LOT of places in Varisia we haven't visited. I'd better not send the PCs to Korvosa because I'd rather send them to (LOCATION REDACTED)."


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Beckett wrote:

To be fair and realistic, the things you cited are just opinions as well, and I never stated that mine were anything but my opinion. Except for the better to please the most people, part. And this specific part, (lack of a progressive story means the setting will be ruined), I say because A.) that means the setting is stale. No matter what books come out, it has to be wedged into the existing setting, creating the Samurai/Ninja/Guns issue or B.) there will be a point when new material will literaly be a copy paste of another book, because nothing has changed. That's not good for the company, who needs to keep selling a product. Thats really only going to leave the option of discontinueing Golarion for something else, so that they can sell a new series of books.

If you think so much of Golarion has been covered that things have to be "wedged into" it, I respectfully think that your and my defnintions of "complete" are light years apart. Golarion is huge and in Varisia alone there are plenty of places that haven't see much in the way of text.

I have found little, if any, of the "copy and paste" issue you are talking about. James is saying he'd like to do a 300+ page treatment on Varisia -- how is that possible if the setting is stagnant?

And the "guns issue" is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. Gun in Golarion are rare. I don't need a "Golarion-Shaking-Event" or metaplot retcon so that Gunslinger fans don't feel slighted and now Golarion is an Iron Kingdoms imitator...

Metaplot doesn't address source material and word count applied to an area or setting by virtue of being present in the products. If metaplot is "as the world turns" updates, you're still having to "wedge into" what's come before. And if it's a "Realms-breaker", you're just shaking things up so you can write a new spin about an old area -- and invalidating previous products in doing so.

I'm going to bow out of the metaplot tangent at this point. Folks have staked out their camps and the thread's for the AP installment, so.. peace, out.


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magnuskn wrote:
Urath DM wrote:
Amusingly, while magnuskn sees the lack of advancement as making the accomplishments of his players irrelevant (correct me if I am interpreting that incorrectly, please), I see what he asks for as doing the same thing. If the setting has a secret over-arching plot that gets revlealed slowly in successive novels and setting updates.. these are events that the PCs don't get to participate in by definition. I would prefer that my players be the ones to make those events happen, not to have them happen despite my players' actions.

This makes the mistake of assuming that PC's must do everything in a setting. That's not how it works, however. Even if the PC's do nothing, the NPC's still do their thing. The real world advances even if I stay at home all week. If NPC's wouldn't do their own thing, most plots for the PC's wouldn't happen at all.

Actually, that's NOT a mistake. That's the design choice behind a lot of Paizo's design for Golarion: that the PCs are there to do the heavy lifting and stop the villains. So, yes, it is up to the PCs to do everything (important as heroes).

NPCs still start plots, but it is up to the PCs to save the day. And that's how it should be (IMHO).


BPorter wrote:
Jim Groves wrote:
The sins of the Wizards need not be the sins of the Golem
It's hardly limited to WotC. Metaplot has ultimately had a detrimental effect on every RPG setting (that includes one) published to date.

Can't believe you didn't mention TORG. :D

Their noble attempt to have the metaplot depend on a synthesis of all game masters' After Action Reports wound up a confused mess that ended in a whole lot of railroading to try (and fail) to end the metacampaign in a satisfying manner.


WormysQueue wrote:
Urath DM wrote:
It is up to us to carry the effects of RotRL into CotCT and SD (best examples being located close together and published sequentially). What happens to Sandpoint in my RotRL campaign should become news in Korvosa in my CotCT campaign.. and in Riddleport in SD.

I generally agree, but the sad fact is, that I'll probably never run CotCT and/or SD, so I won't be able to do this. What I can do, though, is to use those APs' events as kinda metaplot and make it's consequences felt in my campaign when appropriate.

And for me that's what metaplot is all about. It covers those parts of a settings history and development which aren't actually used in my campaign. It doesn't disrupt my canon, it adds to it. And by giving the players a feeling that there's a whole dynamic world around their PCs, it also adds to their game experience.

Ok, so you will never run CotCT. NOT having "the metaplot" advanced more than it is (by, say, timeline entries) allows you to add whatever you want in its place without fear of being contradicted later. Are your players any worse off if they don't even know there WAS such an AP?


Jim Groves wrote:
Urath DM wrote:
Right, well, that was kind of my point.

I know it was. I wrote it specifically to agree with you. Go back and read the very first sentence of my reply. :D

Me wrote:
That's a great point.

I was referring to you, Urath DM. You.

:: looks confused :: But you quoted someone else at the start of the post, as if replying to them.

In that case, it does make BPorter's thanks a bit amusing. :)


In any event, I am looking forward to learning more about the Thassilonian history and so on.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Urath DM wrote:
Jim Groves wrote:
Urath DM wrote:
Right, well, that was kind of my point.

I know it was. I wrote it specifically to agree with you. Go back and read the very first sentence of my reply. :D

Me wrote:
That's a great point.

I was referring to you, Urath DM. You.

:: looks confused :: But you quoted someone else at the start of the post, as if replying to them.

In that case, it does make BPorter's thanks a bit amusing. :)

I was replying to the content of your particular post, which pretty much summed up my feelings that it's the PCs job to do the big things and the GM's job to advance the setting.

But hey, I live to serve, so grins all around. :)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Urath DM wrote:


:: looks confused :: But you quoted someone else at the start of the post, as if replying to them.

In that case, it does make BPorter's thanks a bit amusing. :)

Oops, you're right. My regrets to BPorter as well.

We still agree more than we disagree.

I'm backing out of the metaplot discussion now. I'm looking forward to learning more too.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

brent norton wrote:

Will this be allowed for Society play? You are getting a group of rookies from the lodge?

I like this AP already.Reminiscent of the Rod of the Seven Parts. Very cool.

Since the final third of the entire AP takes the PCs well beyond the level limits of Pathfinder Society... that might be a little tricky.

Furthermore... and again... the PFS factions are not going to play a role in the AP. In fact, one of the factions (the Sczarni) are one of the bad guys, which would make this being a PFS legal adventure kinda tricky.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Class Deck, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
The PFS factions are not going to play a role in the AP. In fact, one of the factions (the Sczarni) are one of the bad guys, which would make this being a PFS legal adventure kinda tricky.

Aren't there already PFS-legal scenarios where Shadow Lodge members might have an interesting time playing alongside members of other factions?

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Beckett wrote:

stuff...

A mysterious, ominous voice wrote:
Also, who does the metaplot serve?
"You my lord. You and the metaplot are one."

You are now my hero, for being able to work this quote into the topic... ;)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
But if James now goes "Hmmm, I better not send the player characters to Korvosa, because that might upset some people whose story was so-and-so..."
Actually... it's more like James going, "Hmmmmm... there's a LOT of places in Varisia we haven't visited. I'd better not send the PCs to Korvosa because I'd rather send them to (LOCATION REDACTED)."

Aw, damn. And I thought that this'd be an excellent way to update the Guide to Korvosa for you guys...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Metaplot musings aside, I am really looking forward running the Shattered Star AP!
Bring it on!
Is the discussion about advancing (time-wise,that is) Golarion via metaplot started as an independent threat somewhere else on the forums? Otherwise I suggest doing so for clarity reasons.

Ruyan.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Urath DM wrote:
Ok, so you will never run CotCT. NOT having "the metaplot" advanced more than it is (by, say, timeline entries) allows you to add whatever you want in its place without fear of being contradicted later. Are your players any worse off if they don't even know there WAS such an AP?

Well as far as this specific AP is concerned, they're naturally not.You're also right that no metaplot means that I can add whatever I want without fear of being contradicted later.

At this point, I have to add that even with metaplot I can do this as long as the Publisher advances the metaplot gradually and without big time jumps. I never particularly liked the Time of Troubles, neither did I like the Spellplague. But even world-shattering events like that and on this massive scale didn't contradict anything, I had added before. But the 100-year time jump, now that's another story because it basically kills 99% of the population of Waterdeep from 3E's sourcebook. This is what would pose heavy problems in my campaign and why we never made this jump (and thereby why we decided against playing 4E).

But back to your point. What you see as an opportunity (being able to add whatever you want), I actually see as a problem the reason being that I'm not able to do this by myself with the same quantity AND quality the designers are able to deliver (and if I was I'd most surely play in my own homebrewed setting right now). So no official metaplot at all basically means that there will be no metaplot at all in my games. Which means no developments, no consequences of the PCs' actions and ultimately that it doesn't mean anything if they're succesful or not. Because it won't change a thing.

So I'd rather live with the risk of my players' having failed against Karzoug, Karzoug having risen and taken over Varisia and I therefore having to make quite some changes to the Shattered Star-AP's backstory. It's way better than returning to Varisia with 3-4 APs not having changed anything.

Hm, I'd actually love to run this scenario, making the hunt for the artifact a possible way to beat Karzoug and thereby saving Varisia from his clutches. ^^


Beckett wrote:
Can we skip the pirate opne and go right to this?

Hell no.

Shadow Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:

One thing that Shattered Star is going to test is whether or not folks can accept the fact that it's not all about a buildup toward a big bad end guy... Most of our APs follow that model in some way or another.

While there WILL be a BBEG in the last adventure... he's not really the point of the Shattered Star AP. Although his appearance and final encounter WILL flow logically from the campaign... the focus and point of this AP is very much "gather the artifact parts," not "build up your powers to finally face the boss monster."

As such, it'll probably be the least "go go go!" feeling of all our APs.

You know, I haven't liked every AP I've seen of late. However, I like more that you are experimenting rather than resting on your laurels.


Shattered Star will likely mark the first time I begin an AP subscription (I actually considered it for Carrion Crown, but mitigating factors made it financially unfeasible at the time).

I'm happy to see elements from the early adventure paths being revisited and advanced, and canon conflicts don't frighten me as much as they used to - running a long-term Star Wars campaign broke me of the desire to see my campaign reconciled with the official take on how things should be. =]

While I've been intrigued by many of the thematic APs the last two years have yielded (and, in the case of Carrion Crown, fallen in love with how Paizo handled the horror genre), I'm really glad to see a more classic fantasy feel returning to the AP line for a bit. I'm equally excited by knowing that my players won't feel rushed through this AP because of outside influences like Guy Trying To Blow Up The World #6's constantly advancing master plot always pushing them along a timeline (assuming I've interpreted the commentary in this thread accurately).

Hmm... with Runelords returning in hardback and Shattered Star making its debut, methinks it's about time for a book dedicated to Varisia (and not just Magnimar). Say it's so, James, say it's so!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I think you will find that Korvosa is now run by a high council, led by Elberion Tehanu.

That's just how it panned out. I can't believe you guys don't know that already.

hmmm... actually, I guess what we have really found out is that metaplot gives out spoilers (big shiny ones) for old APS.

If one of my players read Jade Regent then the sense of peril when certain RotRL NPCs are in danger would definitely be diminished, and the players might also be more interested in those NPCs than seems normal.

I honestly believe that APs and metaplot advancement make for very awkward bedfellows.


Power Word Unzip wrote:
Hmm... with Runelords returning in hardback and Shattered Star making its debut, methinks it's about time for a book dedicated to Varisia (and not just Magnimar). Say it's so, James, say it's so!

Indeed it is so :D http://paizo.com/products/btpy8rcf?Pathfinder-Player-Companion-Varisia-Birt hplace-of-Legends


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Peanuts wrote:
Power Word Unzip wrote:
Hmm... with Runelords returning in hardback and Shattered Star making its debut, methinks it's about time for a book dedicated to Varisia (and not just Magnimar). Say it's so, James, say it's so!
Indeed it is so :D Varisia, Birthplace of Legends

Casts Summon Link

Grand Lodge

I would just like to say I am very pleased to see the players take on the roles of pathfinders. I have gotten to play very few PFS scenarios. Most my players even less. I look forward to this AP. I am going to run my group through RotRL when the anniversary edition hits, and plan on following up with this AP, so I do have a bit of time before we give this a go. Sigh so many good AP's so little time. :D tough problem to have.


Not since Serphent's Skull have I been excited over an Adventure Path in a while and I can't wait to get this one after S&S has ran it's course.


The Scarzni let non-Varisians into their gangs?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

wspatterson wrote:
The Scarzni let non-Varisians into their gangs?

Since becoming a Pathfinder Society Faction, they have allowed Non-Varisians in. :)


Lanx wrote:
Peanuts wrote:
Power Word Unzip wrote:
Hmm... with Runelords returning in hardback and Shattered Star making its debut, methinks it's about time for a book dedicated to Varisia (and not just Magnimar). Say it's so, James, say it's so!
Indeed it is so :D Varisia, Birthplace of Legends
Casts Summon Link

But will there be a Campaign Setting book for the GMs?


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Count me in with the people opposed to metaplot. The main problem I have with it is that it turns a setting into a subscription - unless you keep up with all the releases, you're going to get left out of what's going on. With a static* setting, you can focus on the parts that interest you and not miss anything important. You won't be buying the Cheliax book and read "Oh, in the years since we released the campaign setting the House of Thrune was ousted from power, and now the main state religion is Iomedae as the proper heir to Aroden. You can read the details over in this novel." Many settings that do have a metaplot have done things that are very similar to that (e.g. the people in charge of the Realms deciding that the true heir to Tethyr returned and made all the warlords stop fighting. Oh, and she's married to Elminster's former scribe.)

When I buy a Player Companion or a Campaign Setting book, I want it to expand on what's in the Inner Sea World Guide. I don't want it to expand on it and add X years of novels to it as well.

That said, I like the idea of a sequel AP, but I don't want the metaplot to be moved forward for the setting as a whole. I hope the Varisia Player companion mentioned earlier in the thread doesn't make the same assumptions Shattered Star does. A similarly-themed Campaign Setting product ought to have some sidebars in it regarding previous Varisia adventures, but it shouldn't assume they have happened.

* Static as in "not being advanced by the writers", not as in "nothing ever happens here." The latter would make for a very boring setting.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Color me blind, but what again, is so bad about metaplot and world advancement?

Usually, I've what? One, two games going on in a given setting. When I decide GM'ing or participating as player in a AP campaign my/the chars are advancing from lvl 1 (say "infancy") to lvl 13-16 (say "maturity"). Each one of the APs is an in itself consistent demiplane of Golarion, which is completely controlled by the GM and messed up by the erratic and unpredictable actions of the players.

Assume you've got your group all set and ready to go, they've prepared their chars, complete with background, all according to what you as the GM have given to them as information. They enter the demiplane, are happy and prosper and do all the things PCs do on their way to becoming heros. Within the progress of the AP they advance the plot. Finally, said AP is done. The heros are victorious (or utterly defeated) and retire (sooner or later). Everybody is happy.

If you continue playing APs and start a new one, the same decisions are going to be taken as previously described and new PCs enter play.
Again, the GM is the final arbiter about what is common knowledge, what has happened and how the (new) AP will be tweaked to his/her liking.
Maybe the new PCs are descendants of the PCs having played in another AP - now, who doesn't like to see his/her doings in Golarion become persistent and making a difference? So, again, plot is advanced and old APs and what has happened there is taken for granted (or ignored, if I as GM decide that's the way to go).

I don't give a penny for metaplot being advanced or not. I, as a GM, make the decisions about who, what, when and why. Sure, the guys at Paizo help me by providing a lot of fantastic details about history, background and the setting in general - and I am really happy about the outcoming! - but again: if I don't like a certain thing, I change it.
Take Gnomes or monks: they will never make it into my game as player or monster race/class. Or Summoners or Gunslingers - not gonna happen in my game. Anything amiss? I don't think so.

Now certain events are supposed to have happened, which happen to be part of past APs which some of us might have participated in as players/GMs. So what?

The old information concerning what was "true" in 4107/4108/4109/4110 is still there. Just grab it and go play!

I mean, all of us have dealt with Golarion's metaplot having been evolved to the stage, where the previous APs started off. Nobody has mouthed any complaint about it (or changed it to his/her liking and gone adventuring with the PCs).

Ruyan.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
RuyanVe wrote:
snip

Metaplot changes subvert what has happened in your campaign.

In a static setting only the GM and players of each game advances the metaplot, so it is kept consistent.

In an advancing setting the publishers/writers are also advancing the metaplot.

What happens if the published metaplot goes left and my home game goes right?
I have to juggle published information (including things in player friendly books) that conflicts with our game.

For example:
Game A has players who defeat Karzoug and take his place, conquering the world with their rune-giant army.
Game B has players who defeat Karzoug and set out to destroy all vestiges of his rune giant forces and Llamia followers.
Game C has players who fail, Karzoug takes over northern Varisia and begins plotting.
Game D has players who defeat Karzoug but allow Leng to encroach upon this world, distorting magic in the region and slowly bringing Mhar back to life.
Game F is wrapped up after book 3 with a neat ending which made someone else the BBEG because they really wanted to play Legacy of Fire.

If a book is then published in which the PCs won the day and then neatly retired to run the government in Magnimar then that book will conflict with all of those games, and if it is a player resource that your keen players snap up on release then you have no way of even managing those conflicting accounts.

Liberty's Edge

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Lack of metaplot drove me and my group back to our homebrew world, as well as made me cancel my Tales subscription. I love the APs and modules but a world where nothing ever happens cant hold long term interest.

(This wasnt the only reason we bailed, none of us were big fans of the kitchen sink aspect of Golarion and prefer a world more dedicated to a theme)


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Coridan wrote:
Lack of metaplot drove me and my group back to our homebrew world, as well as made me cancel my Tales subscription. I love the APs and modules but a world where nothing ever happens cant hold long term interest.

No disrespect intended, but if nothing ever happened in Golarion, I fear the campaigns you've played would be really dull indeed! I'd agree with getting out, but I'd change GM before I'd change the setting.

The continuity of Golarion grows for our group every time we play an AP (only two so far, but many more to come), as we incorporate the last into the game world and how it changes. I used to do that with FR too, which the players really enjoyed, but the "metaplot" thrown in by Wizards only complicated things greatly because there was too much going on that some people knew and others didn't. Plus, there were typically huge disagreements about what was common knowledge and what wasn't. The Shadow Weave was a huge monster when it came to this.

These games are designed for the PCs to be the heroes, which someone above me already stated. Let them. Paizo's policy of letting the PCs be the movers and shakers of Golarion is the perfect way to go, in my opinion. The Tales lines give us fun stories that tell of other happenings going on in Golarion that aren't necessarily world-changing, but it's life breathed into the world all the same. Good enough for me!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Elberion wrote:
T E X T

I agree to what you wrote, but again, doesn't that assume, you somehow build upon what another group with different characters has done/experienced in another go in another AP on Golarion?

Which I agree sounds cool and makes players proud/happy, but I do not experience that as the norm.

My assumption is that there's a reset at every new start of an AP (to what extent is up to me as GM), that there doesn't need to be a connection between AP A and AP B.

To me, a campaign is linked to the story arc of an AP (and whatever I prepare as prequel or what happens after the official end) and is finished, when the AP is finished.

What you wrote, to me, is like metagaming - I as a player know stuff, my char does not.

Elberion wrote:
I have to juggle published information (including things in player friendly books) that conflicts with our game.

And again, I have never experienced an AP being run/running 100% as written; some things get added, some cut, some things are handled differently etc.

Therefore, I would argue, as GM I deal with these kind of things the whole time.

Ruyan.

Liberty's Edge

If they ever revisit an area there will be continuity issues regardless. Either with an AP that assumes previous adventures havent to groups that have run those APs. A module that assumes the old King of Korvosa still lives for example.

I would much prefer a metaplot to that.


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The problem with metaplot is that it invalidates previous material. Dark Sun has one of the nastier examples - and I'm not thinking of the revised edition, because some change when a major setting revision happens is to be expected. No, I'm thinking of the very first novel out the gate, The Verdant Passage.

In the core Dark Sun boxed set, Tyr is described as until recently having been a relatively well-run city, but now the king, Kalak, seems obsessed with finishing the huge ziggurat being built in the center of the city. Slaves are even being taken out of the iron mines, which are the city's main source of wealth, to work on the ziggurat instead, which has caused other cities to issue Tyr warnings. Slaves outnumber citizens two-to-one.

Then, The Verdant Passage happens. It is released more or less simultaneously with the boxed set. And what happens? Well, the king of Tyr is deposed and killed when trying to cast a spell to drain the life from all the people of the city in order to transform himself into a dragon. All the slaves are freed, and slavery becomes illegal. The templars no longer have any magic, because their sorcerer-king is dead. Preserving-style arcane magic becomes legal. Turmoil is created in the other city-states. And every other book in the product line assumes this happened. It totally invalidates the description of the city from the boxed set, and changes a bunch of other stuff about the setting itself (like the supposed invincibility of the sorcerer-kings).

In my book, metaplot is what happens when RPG designers want to become novelists, but instead of telling their story through novels they tell it through game material. I don't want that. I don't want my games to be about their story, I want it to be about my story and the one my players are telling. Adventures, sure, they tell their own story, but they shouldn't be assumed in the description of the setting as a whole.

That said, I can see large-scale metaplot advances, especially in regard to new editions of the setting. If/when Paizo creates Pathfinder 2nd ed and releases an updated version of the setting, I would not be particularly upset if it's set 5-10 years later and changes a few things. For example, I am in the minority of Dark Sun fans who prefer the post-revision setting (because it had more variety in it), even though I dislike the path it took to get there. But any such revision has to be approached with care to make sure you don't drive off the fans.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The setting cannot stay static forever. It was fast approaching a status where I didn't really care anymore, because those huge adventures characters were having never really affected the world at large. That this AP moves beyond that point is something I really, like about it already.


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I say let the setting remain static. Individual groups can always update their own version of Golarion as they go through their own campaigns. I don't want any of my books invalidated.
Honestly, If Golarion starts heading down the FR road, I'm history.

I'm ok with the changes in an AP as long as it "resets" afterwards and forthcoming sourcebooks are still non-changed. For example if this AP destroys Magnimar totally, it's fine as long as Magnimar is untouched in the future books. If I play through the whole campaign with my group, I might leave it destroyed in my version of Golarion. If I dont play through it, then Magnimar stays around, etc.


magnuskn wrote:
The setting cannot stay static forever. It was fast approaching a status where I didn't really care anymore, because those huge adventures characters were having never really affected the world at large. That this AP moves beyond that point is something I really, like about it already.

But what outcome should happen for each adventure path? Because each group will have a final outcome and any product that moves the plot forward negates the actions of every group out there.

That's the problem. They either don't move the metaplot ahead and they get criticized that nothing the adventures do matters, or they come up with canon "results" for the paths (which would involve the Iconics) they preemptively negate anything the players do.

I'd prefer that the setting be a toolbox that lets me use adventure paths and modules to build a shared progression with my players. Each path they complete makes changes to the world and I can refer to them in later paths without worrying about too much overlap. Its easier to make a straight adjustment than trying to reverse engineer back to zero in order to make that same adjustment after all.

The other option, which requires reverse engineering of events for APs and modules depending on the timeline, and can cause major needs to change the setting to accommodate. Because the last thing we want is a setting like Dragonlance, where the PC's didn't matter since the metaplot constantly forgot that it was supposed to enable stories, not to tell you about the awesome events you get to watch from the sidelines or be bit players in.

I think the vast majority of players would rather be enabled to make changes to the world, rather than have the world negate anything they did and reduce their characters to observers.

Liberty's Edge

James Jacobs wrote:
Starglyte wrote:
What ideas are you guys planning to take the place of the gods articles you put into the other APs?

More god articles.

Once we do all the core 20, we still have dozens and dozens of other deities and demigods to play with.

Peacock Spirit? I believe there was also a LE female goddess that they worshiped. Both would make sense in an AP that explores more about the Thassilonian Empire.

Liberty's Edge

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The star wars canon has managed to incorporate every video game, including two mmos into its canon. Paizo can handle the APs/modules. Especially in the age of wiki. The poster above who wants things to ignore or reset after APs, just...yuck.

I am not saying it needs to change every AP, but it'd be nice to partake in some of the world shattering events that make Golarions history so interesting and not have it utterly ignored afterwards. Like nationscgoing to war and such.

Liberty's Edge

GeraintElberion wrote:

I think you will find that Korvosa is now run by a high council, led by Elberion Tehanu.

That's just how it panned out. I can't believe you guys don't know that already.

hmmm... actually, I guess what we have really found out is that metaplot gives out spoilers (big shiny ones) for old APS.

If one of my players read Jade Regent then the sense of peril when certain RotRL NPCs are in danger would definitely be diminished, and the players might also be more interested in those NPCs than seems normal.

I honestly believe that APs and metaplot advancement make for very awkward bedfellows.

I'm not too worried, Pazio has done a good job with their mini meta-plot movements. They've kept them vague enough so there is minimal conflict with player actions.

Take Jade Regent for example, It's assumed Ameiko survives RotRL because she's so important to Jade Regent. But... if she does die the first part of the AP talks about how you can change the story, by using one of her sisters (legitimate or not) or even using one of the GMs created NPC.

I imagine that Pazio will do something similar, when "Metaplot" might conflict with PC actions, they would have a side bar about how to change the story to fit you players past actions.

I feel that all this fearful talk of metaplot is like running around yelling "The SKY is falling!".


Coridan wrote:

The star wars canon has managed to incorporate every video game, including two mmos into its canon. Paizo can handle the APs/modules. Especially in the age of wiki. The poster above who wants things to ignore or reset after APs, just...yuck.

I am not saying it needs to change every AP, but it'd be nice to partake in some of the world shattering events that make Golarions history so interesting and not have it utterly ignored afterwards. Like nationscgoing to war and such.

Star Wars games either diverge canon, are ignored by later canon, or occur thousands and thousands of years PRIOR to the movies and other material so as to not actually have any real effect on the Canon.

Compare that to Golarion in which events that occur happen in the same period people are playing.

Then explain what the canon ending to Kingmaker should be and why players should bother with the Kingdom building when the intention of the setting would be that you should utterly ignore it after you're done that adventure path, since you built the wrong kingdom. Compare that with the current mind frame, which is that the setting changes in accordance with the results you have with the Adventure Paths, which validates the Kingdom you end up creating.

There's no point doing adventure paths like Kingmaker when you can't have players make major political movements that you can't just gloss over when moving the metaplot.

Liberty's Edge

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And if I ever though one of my players was be reckless or careless with Ameiko's life because he/she thought that Ameiko is "safe" cause "She's going to become an Empress or something like that in a later AP." I would kill Ameiko to prove that no story is set in stone, current or future. Whatever happen over 100 years ago messed with prophecy clearly tainted you opinion on certain NPC's destinies. This goes for any NPC that appears in multiple AP/Modules.

My Golarion is my players and I would change anything in any AP or Module I run my games to support their adventures.

As far as I'm concerned the AP/Modules are suggested stories... really, really, really good stories, but suggestions none the less.

Also, I support limited meta-plot. It makes the world seem more dynamic. As GM, I'm GOD, and I can choose to ignore as much of it as a wish of course.

I always feel it's easier to take away than to add, so keep adding Paizo, cause so far 95% of what you added is excellent in my book.

Liberty's Edge

Tobias wrote:
Coridan wrote:

The star wars canon has managed to incorporate every video game, including two mmos into its canon. Paizo can handle the APs/modules. Especially in the age of wiki. The poster above who wants things to ignore or reset after APs, just...yuck.

I am not saying it needs to change every AP, but it'd be nice to partake in some of the world shattering events that make Golarions history so interesting and not have it utterly ignored afterwards. Like nationscgoing to war and such.

Star Wars games either diverge canon, are ignored by later canon, or occur thousands and thousands of years PRIOR to the movies and other material so as to not actually have any real effect on the Canon.

Compare that to Golarion in which events that occur happen in the same period people are playing.

Then explain what the canon ending to Kingmaker should be and why players should bother with the Kingdom building when the intention of the setting is that you should utterly ignore it after you're done that adventure path, since you built the wrong kingdom.

I would think that Paizo wouldn't "metaplot" Kingmaker beacuse of it's sandbox nature of storytelling. Again you crying foul to something that hasn't happen. No where did Pazio say anything about coming up with a "cannon" to what happened in Kingmaker.

Let's keep this discussion on SS and the three APS it effects(RotRL, CotCT and SD).

Grand Lodge

Mike Silva wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Starglyte wrote:
What ideas are you guys planning to take the place of the gods articles you put into the other APs?

More god articles.

Once we do all the core 20, we still have dozens and dozens of other deities and demigods to play with.

Peacock Spirit? I believe there was also a LE female goddess that they worshiped. Both would make sense in an AP that explores more about the Thassilonian Empire.

Lissala, yeah. They were both worshipped widely...

Liberty's Edge

Aeshuura wrote:
Mike Silva wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Starglyte wrote:
What ideas are you guys planning to take the place of the gods articles you put into the other APs?

More god articles.

Once we do all the core 20, we still have dozens and dozens of other deities and demigods to play with.

Peacock Spirit? I believe there was also a LE female goddess that they worshiped. Both would make sense in an AP that explores more about the Thassilonian Empire.
Lissala, yeah. They were both worshipped widely...

Yes, her. Paizo will probably use one of those two and then some demigod or minor deity for the other.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

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James Jacobs wrote:
Starglyte wrote:
What ideas are you guys planning to take the place of the gods articles you put into the other APs?

More god articles.

Once we do all the core 20, we still have dozens and dozens of other deities and demigods to play with.

I find this disappointing.

The god articles were only interesting when they important setting elements (like Sarenrae in LoF or Pharasma in CC). Otherwise, they just felt like a bunch of wasted space. Nearly all the book 5 dieties felt like wasted space.

I know the AP model is supposed to look like a magazine subscription, but I don't really see value in getting a diety article once every 3 issues and having random bits of general lore scattered through my collection.

The strict adherance to diety-article placement really bothers me. Why did we have Nethys in SS5, and then Ydersius in SS6? Why do we have Besmara in S&S1, and Torag in S&S2? Looks there there were some real easy fixes that could have been made, and not fixing them gives a really forced look to the way things are written.

APs have been hurt by it. The Gorum article should have gone in KM4, where the PCs fight the holy warrior of Gorum, and should not have gone in KM5, where the two support articles should have been on Pitax and Mass Combat. Instead, Mass Combat got shoved into an Appendix because the location of the Gorum article was dictated by this weird pattern that Paizo is forcing the APs to fit into.

My customer-feedback is to ditch the rigid pattern that you are following the the god-articles. I know that once you started the list of the 20 major ones, you had to finish it, but now there is a transition point and we have an opening. Let's not go down that path again.

After you statted out all the base classes in the back of the books, you dropped the pregens. Now that we've described up all the gods, let's move on to more AP-relevant content.

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