Pathfinder Adventure Path #75: Demon's Heresy (Wrath of the Righteous 3 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Adventure Path #75: Demon's Heresy (Wrath of the Righteous 3 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Chapter 3: "Demon's Heresy"
by Jim Groves

The Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path continues with “Demon's Heresy,” by Jim Groves. After reclaiming the city of Drezen and recovering the lost sacred banner known as the Sword of Valor, the heroes have established a significant foothold behind enemy lines. With the demon armies still concentrating their attacks to the south, the heroes must now set off into the heart of the Worldwound to seek out powerful new allies and strike a mortal blow against the Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth—but in doing so, they discover a disturbing truth about the crystalline source of mythic power the demons have been using against the crusaders. Will the heroes survive the terrors of the Worldwound long enough to end the demons’ increasing attacks?

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path continues the Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path and includes:

  • “Demon’s Heresy,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 9th-level characters with 3 mythic tiers, by Jim Groves.
  • A study of the Green Faith, an ancient philosophy revolving around nature, by Sean K Reynolds.
  • A look at the unnatural horrors known as worms that walk, by Amanda Hamon.
  • A journey to a crusader outpost inside the Worldwound in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Robin D. Laws.
  • Four new monsters, by Jim Groves, Amanda Hamon, and James Jacobs.

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: 978-1-60125-577-8

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

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A fun, if unchallenging, third leg

3/5

Just to get this out of the way, let me start with the following obligatory advice:

Advice on adjusting the difficulty level of this AP:
Before running this AP, I was warned that the power of mythic PCs quickly outpaced the difficulty of the encounters the AP provides. Despite taking a number of precautions to mitigate this (having players use a 10 point-buy, applying advanced templates to every mythic creature, etc), I found this to be true.

In light of our experiences, and those reported on the boards, the consensus seems to be that there are two generally viable ways to deal with these problems:

Option 1: Power-down the PCs.

(a) Don't give the PCs mythic ranks.

(b) [Optional:] Use the Hero Point system introduced in the APG, and give the PCs a number of Hero Points per day equal to the number of mythic ranks they're supposed to have. (This makes players a bit more robust.)

(c) More or less play the AP as is. (Though there are a couple of encounters in book 6 that will probably need to be made a bit easier).

Option 2: Power-up the encounters.

(a) Give the PCs mythic ranks as the AP suggests (possibly with the nerfs suggested in Mythic Solutions).

(b) Use the (vastly) upgraded stat blocks presented in Sc8rpi8n_mjd's modified stat blocks document to upgrade encounters, and then further multiply the HPs given in the stat blocks by something like (creature's mythic rank+3)/3. (For more optimized players you may need to multiply HPs even more.)

Our experience, FWIW: We played books 1-4 more or less as is, and (despite my efforts to boost and combine encounters) found books 3 and 4 to be far too easy to be fun. We then adopted something like option 2 for books 5 and 6, and found that to be much more challenging and enjoyable. But we also found that combat can take forever -- don't be surprised if you find yourself needing to spend more than one session to get through a fight.

The story of this AP was pretty good -- with a sandbox exploration of a demonic landscape, and a very memorable NPC who can join the party -- but it didn't have as epic a feel as the second leg of this AP.

We found the encounters in this AP to be far too easy for mythic PCs, especially given the 1/day encounter-rate that hexploration lends itself to. (I combined all of the encounters at Arueshalae's Redoubt into one encounter, and combined the Ivory Sanctum encounters in 3 big encounters, and the PCs still had little difficult plowing through them.)

--Fun of playing this leg of the AP, as written: 2/5
--Fun of the story of this leg of the AP: 4.5/5
--Total score: 3.25/5


Character's Backstories Come Alive

5/5

Wrath of the Righteous continues to be a fantastic story. Demon’s Heresy isn’t as intense or as high stakes as the two previous chapters in the campaign, but it is still equally engaging and offers big opportunities for story and character development.

Wrath of the Righteous character traits pay off in big ways I never expected. I was playing a PC with the Touched By Divinity trait who was shocked and delighted to learn the news of her heritage. What a wonderful twist that was! Other characters also had interesting revelations about themselves depending on which traits they’d chosen. I was really impressed by the way each PC was given a personal story arc in this chapter that fit in so well to the overall adventure path. It was so enjoyable to play through.

This chapter also introduced Arueshalae, my favorite NPC of the entire campaign. What a strong, complex, loveable character she is! Her heartfelt desire to redeem herself is truly inspirational, and the love she shares with her chosen PC is really sweet.

Once again the artwork through the book is fantastic. There are interesting and challenging villains who are a pleasure to defeat. Lots of unique and pretty magical items, too.

Highly recommended!


a Hexceptional adventure!

3/5

Well, we get to the third part of the campaign. The PCs already saved a city and conquered a fortress, they blasted wardstones in the face of thousands of demons and retrieved a long lost artifact.

And now, they are reduced to roaming the worldwound and hoping something interesting would pop up in front of them.

I have now read 5 out of the 6 adventures in the campaign, and I feel like I have a good picture of it's general shape in mind. And I must say that this is the adventure where I feel the story maybe lost it's direction a bit.

The two previous adventures were about starting things off, and they did a really good job of it. By the end of the first adventure the scene was set for a new crusade, with the PCs standing firm in the front lines. By the second adventure the PCs already took an active part in the new war. But now? now nothing much is happening. Even though a war is supposedly raging in the near vicinity, the environment around the PCs does not really seem to react to it. This adventure is really kind of just a tour of the worldwound, more than it really is part of the campaign.
By the end of the adventure, the PCs spent their time walking around and bumping into numerous little encounters without getting anything important accomplished. Eventually they just happen to run into an encounter that is important, but really all the intermediate little stories could have been skipped. In later adventures the PCs will run around doing very important things, but the larger picture is missing. So much story momentum is lost here that I feel the entire campaign is a bit awkward after it.

Maybe it's my personal dislike of sandbox adventures, maybe not, I just feel that the players are going to spend so much time touring and sightseeing in this third part of the AP that by the time the actual story of the campaign kicks back in they might be a bit cold for it.

All in all, the weakest part of the AP, if for no other reason than it's non-significance from a story telling point of view. For those who like a sandbox, though, this one is as good as any Iv'e ever seen.


4/5

Read my full review on Of Dice and Pen.

Demon’s Heresy is a welcome change of pace for the Wrath of the Righteous adventure path. After the urgency of the first two volumes, it allows the PCs to breathe a little (just a little) as they secure their hold on Drezen and the surrounding lands. While they do this, the PCs also have the opportunity to make a powerful new ally and score a major blow against the demon forces. All things considered, Wrath of the Righteous continues to surprise me with just how good it is.


Great book, great adventure

5/5

This is a great addition to the adventure which is fantastic. I'm having a problem with the interactive maps in the PDF though, since they won't print with the grids, and stangely this one for once has a map with a hex grid rather than the standard squares. I have to say it does have by far my favorite NPC, I just have to make sure I lay the proper ground work for her introduction.


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I think I was expecting something different from a story perspective before I read it, but honestly its a solid adventure. I particularly liked the Ivory Sanctum and its layout. We are told in the first adventure that the templars stole a lot of magical gear from Kenabes, so it was nice to see a cool array of magical items in the sanctum.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Drock11 wrote:

I thought that Irabeth being put in charge over the players was a weird thing also, but it's something that's easily enough remedied by changing to to the queen offering up Irabeth's services as a stand in commander of Drezen when the players are otherwise preoccupied or it's inconvenient for them to run the day to day operations of the city as hero's of the war when they are needed other places.

Still it would have been nice if the it was created that way or at least stated more clearly if that's the way it was supposed to be.

That was the intent. Irabeth was intended to take this responsibility off their shoulder. Ultimately the PCs can do things that Irabeth cannot do. Irabeth can't stand toe-to-toe with mythic threats like they can. However we didn't want the PCs to feel guilty, actually, for having left Drezen. We wanted them to be free to pursue bigger and greater goals, without worrying about those that were left behind. So that they would know their good works were being entrusted in the good hands of a loyal friend. Not to rob them of their glory. Frankly, Queen Galfrey, Irabeth, and everyone else knows that they're the heroes of the hour and honestly.. of the age.

Drock11 wrote:
When I get around to running this part I won't have Irabeth making the decisions about the city when the characters are there and it's reasonable for them to do so themselves.

Completely reasonable and honestly how I would handle it myself.

There was never any intent to take the PCs accomplishments or achievements away from them.


Jim Groves wrote:
P Tigras wrote:
In Kingmaker, which this AP has misguidedly been compared to, rulership was by no means a "desk job". So the precedent of rulers who adventure has already been set, and it's a precedent that is much loved by my players.

For the most part, I am going to step back and let James respond to this critique, if he wants to.

However, may I ask where exactly this "Kingmaker" comparison came from which has created an expectation which led to you being disappointed? This is a genuine question, I'm not trying for a "gotchya". I have seen the fan-base community make this comparison, but I have never seen it promoted as such from the "in-house" side of things.

If it has been promoted as such, could you give me a pointer? I promise not quibble about this either way. I'm just honestly curious.

An honest question deserves an honest answer. As you've noted, this comparison has appeared in the "fan-base community". One has only to look in the GM reference thread here to see quite a few such comparisons, and perhaps I should have posted my comments in that thread instead.

I don't think anyone "in-house" at Paizo explicitly promised that this book would be in the spirit of Kingmaker, and this is the reason why I haven't written a bad review and confined my comments to some posts here. I do however think that for those desiring another adventure in the same spirit, the previous volume in this series is capable of fostering an expectation that they'd be running Drezen, right down to the management of city resources. While it didn't explicitly promise it, it certainly seemed to strongly imply it. I can go into more detail about why it gave that impression if you like.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

P Tigras wrote:
I can go into more detail about why it gave that impression if you like.

No thank you, but I appreciate the feedback. I understand what you're saying. You don't get good feedback by arguing with that feedback. I also don't want to spam the thread before the Creative Director has a chance to give his thoughts on the matter.


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P Tigras wrote:

I recognize that there is a significant slice of the player audience that will happily delegate command of the expeditionary force of knights to Irabeth in Sword of Valor, because they don't want that responsibility. All they want to do is kill monsters and collect l00t. And they'll have no reason to be disappointed with Demon's Heresy when Irabeth is given command of the city. They're not my group however.

In Kingmaker, which this AP has misguidedly been compared to, rulership was by no means a "desk job". So the precedent of rulers who adventure has already been set, and it's a precedent that is much loved by my players.

This precedent is built upon in the Ultimate Campaign book, which the preceding volume in this series, Sword of Valor, integrates heavily, creating expectations. Demon's Heresy however drops the ball, stripping the players of both command and rulership without giving them anything meaningful in return. And it's that dropping of the ball that is the problem.

Furthermore there is no plan to close the Worldwound presented in DH, not even a search for a way to push it out of the newly reclaimed land. It's just a lot of scouting until you finally are high enough level to free Ash. And rulership is no more petty than looting dead enemies, and quite a bit less morally less questionable. Both provide resources that can be intelligently allocated in the demon war.

I like how he assumes that players that don't want to rule a city only play for the "mad lootz". Like, someone can't possibly be a good roleplayer if they turn down being a ruler. Very adorable.

The Exchange

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Well, I finally had the time to finish reading the adventure (though I didn't get around to reading the support articles yet, so the actual review will wait a couple of days I suppose).

Let me start by saying that Kingmaker was my least favorite AP of all time, because I felt like the story lacked direction and each individual adventure was spent by wasting time doing side quests in the wilderness and waiting for the next adventure to start. So I approached demon Heresy with no small amount of trepidation.

And at first sight, my worst fears seemed justified. The outline of the adventure was "PCs stumble from encounter to encounter in the worldwound, and eventually they encounter a larger than usual encounter area, which has a BBEG in it, and for some reason finishing up that area is considered important enough to end the adventure there."

This is not criticism, just a serious personal problem I have with this type of adventure.I also believe that this type of adventure has an added problem with Mythic PCs, who can "go nova" much more efficiently than regular PCs, thus making the "5 minutes long" adventuring day into even more of a pointless waste of time rolling dice - the encounters in the book mostly seem like they won't even exert the PCs a little bit (except for some of the really nasty ones, like the woundwyrm and the flock of vrocks). The PCs are just working with far too many resources for this to work properly, and I expect to see people complaining about it when they report on the experience they had with the adventure.

However, a bit of time passed and I got into think about the story of the campaign as a whole. So the PCs already got to play "normal people turned heroes" in part 2 of the adventure. In part 2 they experienced playing a major role in a part of the crusade, leading a force into the worldwound and conquering a fortress. In part 4 and onwards, I know they have to brave the Abyss itself.
Which leaves us with part 3. What should it be about? as the middle adventure, it should be the glue that connects the early AP to the late AP.

The answer is simple - part 3 should be about the PCs getting some real fame as central figures in the crusade, roaming the worldwound and accomplishing incredible things, doing great deeds in the name of good, and smiting evil with no remorse.
And... that's *nearly* what the PCs are doing in DH. There's a lot of going around and doing real impressive stuff, sure, but my problem is that no one is there with them to know about it.

So my recommendation to make the PCs still feel important? give them a retinue of low level soldiers to stand in the sidelines and "ooh" and "ahh" over everything the PCs do (while not doing much themselves besides being an honor guard because, y'know, they're like 3rd level or something). Also, add a bard to the force. Make the PCs' "scouting" into a full expedition into the worldwound, with the PCs in the role of the pompous knights who want everything they do to be recorded as part of their legend. Instead of sulking like normal adventurers, let them ride ahead of a double line of knights in shining armor, colorful banners flapping in the hot, nasty air of the worldwound.

This way the story has a theme to follow ("building your legend"), there will be more constant PC-NPC interaction, and the PCs will feel less like they have been demoted. It will feel like a more natural continuation of Sword of Valor.

Also, foreshadowing the final part of the adventure a bit more could make it feel like an actual ending. For example, the queen might mention the hidden base in her missive to the PCs at the beginning, giving them an actual feeling of purpose to their wondering - they are looking for the base and are intending to shut it down!

The Exchange

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Odraude wrote:
P Tigras wrote:

I recognize that there is a significant slice of the player audience that will happily delegate command of the expeditionary force of knights to Irabeth in Sword of Valor, because they don't want that responsibility. All they want to do is kill monsters and collect l00t. And they'll have no reason to be disappointed with Demon's Heresy when Irabeth is given command of the city. They're not my group however.

In Kingmaker, which this AP has misguidedly been compared to, rulership was by no means a "desk job". So the precedent of rulers who adventure has already been set, and it's a precedent that is much loved by my players.

This precedent is built upon in the Ultimate Campaign book, which the preceding volume in this series, Sword of Valor, integrates heavily, creating expectations. Demon's Heresy however drops the ball, stripping the players of both command and rulership without giving them anything meaningful in return. And it's that dropping of the ball that is the problem.

Furthermore there is no plan to close the Worldwound presented in DH, not even a search for a way to push it out of the newly reclaimed land. It's just a lot of scouting until you finally are high enough level to free Ash. And rulership is no more petty than looting dead enemies, and quite a bit less morally less questionable. Both provide resources that can be intelligently allocated in the demon war.

I like how he assumes that players that don't want to rule a city only play for the "mad lootz". Like, someone can't possibly be a good roleplayer if they turn down being a ruler. Very adorable.

Yeah. "most people, they only care about the loot and the killing. My players are special though, they also want to be on a power trip. They are so special that if they feel like the NPCs are not grateful enough, they will just pack their bags and leave their allies alone, which really fits the roleplay of good aligned crusaders granted divine power to fight evil!".


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Lord Snow wrote:
Odraude wrote:
P Tigras wrote:

I recognize that there is a significant slice of the player audience that will happily delegate command of the expeditionary force of knights to Irabeth in Sword of Valor, because they don't want that responsibility. All they want to do is kill monsters and collect l00t. And they'll have no reason to be disappointed with Demon's Heresy when Irabeth is given command of the city. They're not my group however.

In Kingmaker, which this AP has misguidedly been compared to, rulership was by no means a "desk job". So the precedent of rulers who adventure has already been set, and it's a precedent that is much loved by my players.

This precedent is built upon in the Ultimate Campaign book, which the preceding volume in this series, Sword of Valor, integrates heavily, creating expectations. Demon's Heresy however drops the ball, stripping the players of both command and rulership without giving them anything meaningful in return. And it's that dropping of the ball that is the problem.

Furthermore there is no plan to close the Worldwound presented in DH, not even a search for a way to push it out of the newly reclaimed land. It's just a lot of scouting until you finally are high enough level to free Ash. And rulership is no more petty than looting dead enemies, and quite a bit less morally less questionable. Both provide resources that can be intelligently allocated in the demon war.

I like how he assumes that players that don't want to rule a city only play for the "mad lootz". Like, someone can't possibly be a good roleplayer if they turn down being a ruler. Very adorable.
Yeah. "most people, they only care about the loot and the killing. My players are special though, they also want to be on a power trip. They are so special that if they feel like the NPCs are not grateful enough, they will just pack their bags and leave their allies alone, which really fits the roleplay of good aligned crusaders granted divine power to fight evil!".

Pretty much this. I can imagine it going like this...

Queen Godfrey: "Thank you ever so much for taking back our old fortress-city. Your exploits shall ring across every cathedral throughout the Worldwound and beyond! I'll have Irabeth deal with the issues of rebuilding the city while you all are out claim glory and fighting demons to save the world from becoming just like the Worldwound!"

PC: "Whoa wait, we want to be kings!! If we can't be kings, then f@*+ this place!!"

Queen: "But but, the people of Avistan, no, the world need you! Please, reconsider!"

PC: "Sorry lady, but if I'm not the center of attention, then to hell with everyone and the Worldwound!"

And indeed, to Hell the Worldwound went...

...well, the Abyss really...semantics :)


No, my group while generally good, isn't particularly lawful, and has a cynical view of authority. They're also acclimated with how situations like this are handled in the real world, and to them this particular event will come across more like this:

Queen Godfrey: "Thank you ever so much for taking back our old fortress-city. In gratitude I'm stripping you of your command of the army and appointing you scouts, a position to which you grunts are much better suited. I've also decided to appoint your former sidekick Irabeth Lord of the city you liberated, a position to which her leadership skills are ideally suited. This will enable you to claim more glory fighting demons, and if you survive, I'll gladly reward you with some more medals.

PC: "Whoa, wait, why are we being demoted from commanders to mere scouts? Why is Irabeth being promoted over us?

Queen: "I don't trust you with the city, or even an army any more, but I didn't really want to admit that to you openly because we still need you to kill demons for us."

PC: "We're not just stupid grunts. f~!% this place!!

Queen: "But, but, the people of Avistan, no, the world needs! Please, reconsider!"

PC: "You're right about one thing lady, there are plenty of other places in the world where great earth-shattering evil is happening, places where we can make a difference and our allies won't treat us like chumps. Good luck with the demons, and please stop turning a blind eye while the other lords and ladies under your command burn innocents at the stake. It makes you look almost as bad as the demons."


Drock11 wrote:

I thought that Irabeth being put in charge over the players was a weird thing also, but it's something that's easily enough remedied by changing to to the queen offering up Irabeth's services as a stand in commander of Drezen when the players are otherwise preoccupied or it's inconvenient for them to run the day to day operations of the city as hero's of the war when they are needed other places.

Still it would have been nice if the it was created that way or at least stated more clearly if that's the way it was supposed to be.

Agreed.

Quote:


When I get around to running this part I won't have Irabeth making the decisions about the city when the characters are there and it's reasonable for them to do so themselves.

Yep, this is likely how I will handle it too.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lord Snow wrote:
This is not criticism, just a serious personal problem I have with this type of adventure.I also believe that this type of adventure has an added problem with Mythic PCs, who can "go nova" much more efficiently than regular PCs, thus making the "5 minutes long" adventuring day into even more of a pointless waste of time rolling dice - the encounters in the book mostly seem like they won't even exert the PCs a little bit (except for some of the really nasty ones, like the woundwyrm and the flock of vrocks). The PCs are just working with far too many resources for this to work properly, and I expect to see people complaining about it when they report on the experience they had with the adventure.

I see you are learning the stakes of high-level gaming, young padawan. :p

Lord Snow wrote:
Also, add a bard to the force.

Then again, maybe not yet. My recommendation: NEVER GIVE THEM A BARD COHORT. If a player wants to play bard, fine. He is taking up a "party slot" and that works out well enough (unless you go over four players, yadda yadda, we know the drill). But a "free" bard cohort will heavily influence how easy the campaign will be for the party. Don't do it. I did in Curse of the Crimson Throne and we had a bard in the six-player group in Jade Regent and they were a big factor in making things way too easy.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Drock11 wrote:

I thought that Irabeth being put in charge over the players was a weird thing also, but it's something that's easily enough remedied by changing to to the queen offering up Irabeth's services as a stand in commander of Drezen when the players are otherwise preoccupied or it's inconvenient for them to run the day to day operations of the city as hero's of the war when they are needed other places.

Still it would have been nice if the it was created that way or at least stated more clearly if that's the way it was supposed to be.

When I get around to running this part I won't have Irabeth making the decisions about the city when the characters are there and it's reasonable for them to do so themselves.

There's two pretty simple reasons why Irabeth is put "in charge."

1) It gives her an important job that's worthy of the character and thus keeps her on stage in the background. Put another way... the PCs' jobs are more important than staying at home and ruling a city.

2) This is not "Kingmaker 2." The PCs aren't supposed to stay home and help run and protect Drezen—that's the job of the Sword of Valor and the significant NPCs. This third adventure is sort of a transition point where the PCs go from the last of their "non-mythic" adventures on the Material Plane and move on to much bigger things elsewhere, and we didn't want to repeat the error of Second Darkness and set things up with the expectation that the PCs SHOULD stay at "home" when the adventure path itself needs them to go quite far away from Drezen in order to save much more than Drezen.

As for the idea of the PCs being sent on quests... that's something that's included for parties who don't have player characters who self motivate well to go get their own things done... which is a fair amount of parties (if I'm only using my own groups as examples). If your group is good at going out to take care of problems on their own, you can probably avoid having NPCs send them on missions entirely... or even better, let those missions arise naturally from roleplaying so that it seems like the PCs made the missions up themselves.

And if you want to use the kingdom rules and help the PCs build up Drezen... you can—but that means you'll be drifting away from the Adventure Path's theme and storyline and in the next two adventures, where the PCs spend the entire time away from Drezen, you might have disappointed players. Best bet here is to wait for the entire AP to be in your hands so you can plan things appropriately.


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P Tigras wrote:

No, my group while generally good, isn't particularly lawful, and has a cynical view of authority. They're also acclimated with how situations like this are handled in the real world, and to them this particular event will come across more like this:

Queen Godfrey: "Thank you ever so much for taking back our old fortress-city. In gratitude I'm stripping you of your command of the army and appointing you scouts, a position to which you grunts are much better suited. I've also decided to appoint your former sidekick Irabeth Lord of the city you liberated, a position to which her leadership skills are ideally suited. This will enable you to claim more glory fighting demons, and if you survive, I'll gladly reward you with some more medals.

PC: "Whoa, wait, why are we being demoted from commanders to mere scouts? Why is Irabeth being promoted over us?

Queen: "I don't trust you with the city, or even an army any more, but I didn't really want to admit that to you openly because we still need you to kill demons for us."

PC: "We're not just stupid grunts. f~!% this place!!

Queen: "But, but, the people of Avistan, no, the world needs! Please, reconsider!"

PC: "You're right about one thing lady, there are plenty of other places in the world where great earth-shattering evil is happening, places where we can make a difference and our allies won't treat us like chumps. Good luck with the demons, and please stop turning a blind eye while the other lords and ladies under your command burn innocents at the stake. It makes you look almost as bad as the demons."

Adorable. Abandoning a group of people to their doom because the players are petty and need to be the center of attention is neither lawful nor good.


Odraude wrote:
P Tigras wrote:

No, my group while generally good, isn't particularly lawful, and has a cynical view of authority. They're also acclimated with how situations like this are handled in the real world, and to them this particular event will come across more like this:

Queen Godfrey: "Thank you ever so much for taking back our old fortress-city. In gratitude I'm stripping you of your command of the army and appointing you scouts, a position to which you grunts are much better suited. I've also decided to appoint your former sidekick Irabeth Lord of the city you liberated, a position to which her leadership skills are ideally suited. This will enable you to claim more glory fighting demons, and if you survive, I'll gladly reward you with some more medals.

PC: "Whoa, wait, why are we being demoted from commanders to mere scouts? Why is Irabeth being promoted over us?

Queen: "I don't trust you with the city, or even an army any more, but I didn't really want to admit that to you openly because we still need you to kill demons for us."

PC: "We're not just stupid grunts. f~!% this place!!

Queen: "But, but, the people of Avistan, no, the world needs! Please, reconsider!"

PC: "You're right about one thing lady, there are plenty of other places in the world where great earth-shattering evil is happening, places where we can make a difference and our allies won't treat us like chumps. Good luck with the demons, and please stop turning a blind eye while the other lords and ladies under your command burn innocents at the stake. It makes you look almost as bad as the demons."

Adorable. Abandoning a group of people to their doom because the players are petty and need to be the center of attention is neither lawful nor good.

*rolls eyes* Melodramatic hyperbole. You're forgetting the Sword of Valor. My group is way too savvy for that approach to work.

Shadow Lodge

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>>>---The Point--->

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( Your Head )


I have only had time to read the first part...but having Irabeth being put in charge doesn't seem that big an issue to work around. Just have Galifrey put the PCs in charge, but have her assign stewardship of Drezen to Irabeth should the PC's need to leave.


James Jacobs wrote:
Drock11 wrote:

I thought that Irabeth being put in charge over the players was a weird thing also, but it's something that's easily enough remedied by changing to to the queen offering up Irabeth's services as a stand in commander of Drezen when the players are otherwise preoccupied or it's inconvenient for them to run the day to day operations of the city as hero's of the war when they are needed other places.

Still it would have been nice if the it was created that way or at least stated more clearly if that's the way it was supposed to be.

When I get around to running this part I won't have Irabeth making the decisions about the city when the characters are there and it's reasonable for them to do so themselves.

There's two pretty simple reasons why Irabeth is put "in charge."

1) It gives her an important job that's worthy of the character and thus keeps her on stage in the background. Put another way... the PCs' jobs are more important than staying at home and ruling a city.

2) This is not "Kingmaker 2." The PCs aren't supposed to stay home and help run and protect Drezen—that's the job of the Sword of Valor and the significant NPCs. This third adventure is sort of a transition point where the PCs go from the last of their "non-mythic" adventures on the Material Plane and move on to much bigger things elsewhere, and we didn't want to repeat the error of Second Darkness and set things up with the expectation that the PCs SHOULD stay at "home" when the adventure path itself needs them to go quite far away from Drezen in order to save much more than Drezen.

As for the idea of the PCs being sent on quests... that's something that's included for parties who don't have player characters who self motivate well to go get their own things done... which is a fair amount of parties (if I'm only using my own groups as examples). If your group is good at going out to take care of problems on their own, you can probably avoid having NPCs send them on missions entirely... or even better,...

I do believe that you and I can both agree that this AP isn't Kingmaker 2. My group however keeps badgering me to find them another adventure like Kingmaker. Now correct me if I'm mistaken, but to my knowledge, Paizo hasn't put out anything else in the spirit of Kingmaker. Why is that? Kingmaker seems to win all of the online polls I've seen when people get asked their favorite AP. So it can't have done that badly.


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It's my impression that your theory about Kingmaker's popularity is correct. However, I think there's more to it than just popularity. Since day 1, Paizo has given me the impression that they're all about telling the story they want to tell, and, while Kingmaker is very popular, there are a LOT of stories to tell. Some of those stories do not mesh well with the sandboxy nature of Kimgmaker at all, others (such as Wrath of the Righteous) might fit somewhat, and yet others are tailormade for the concepts that Kingmaker introduces.

So, Paizo will get around to another Kingmakeresque adventure path if/when the story they want to tell is perfect for the concept. They undoubtedly know it's a popular form of storytelling. In the meantime, there are many other play styles and preferences out there to cater to and tell stories for.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also, Kingmaker wasn't universally beloved, either. I couldn't continue after module two, because I couldn't stand the city building system and one-encounter-per-day schedule anymore and wanted a meatier story.

Shadow Lodge

Quote:
My group however keeps badgering me to find them another adventure like Kingmaker.

Then you can do one of three things.

1.) Homebrew changes into Wrath to make it more like Kingmaker. Focus a bit on this subplot with Drezen, turning it into a worthwhile fort, outpost, and city, and expanding it into a strong foothold, taking time away from the as-written story.

2.) Homebrew up a completely new campaign, perhaps taking inspiration or ideas from other APs, maybe stealing one adventure here, another there, stringing together your own plot, and using Ultimate Campaign's various supportive rules to relive the kingdom-building experience.

3.) Re-Run Kingmaker with some homebrewed changes.

KM Spoilers:
Focus more on the conflicts in Brevoy, the River Kingdoms, Pitax, or other countries/colonies/communities, and lose or reduce the fey overplot with Nyrissa. This option is really popular among people who want more of a gritty politics game, Game Of Thrones style, rather than a fey-focused bizarro-plot with some politics mixed in. (Not my cup of tea, I hate SoIaF and I picked KM FOR the fey, but to each their own.)

Craft a new villain, or turn one of the other enemies into a more formidable final foe. Maybe instead of a fey takeover, it's a zombie apocalypse headed by Vordakai. Or maybe Hargulka is more than some simple troll. Or turn it into a draconic war, bringing Ilthuliak as the main opponent. Or play up the Gyronna hints, with the mastermind behind everything being the Knurly Witch the night hag.

Or one of the many other plot hints dropped that were not pursued heavily, that you could homebrew up into a new direction for the plot to take.

Regardless what decision you make, as of yet there's no pre-written AP or other campaign that would serve as "another kingdom-building-focused adventure plot". Homebrewing something, either in whole or in part, is going to be required if that's what your players demand and what you want to give them.


Heine Stick wrote:

It's my impression that your theory about Kingmaker's popularity is correct. However, I think there's more to it than just popularity. Since day 1, Paizo has given me the impression that they're all about telling the story they want to tell, and, while Kingmaker is very popular, there are a LOT of stories to tell. Some of those stories do not mesh well with the sandboxy nature of Kimgmaker at all, others (such as Wrath of the Righteous) might fit somewhat, and yet others are tailormade for the concepts that Kingmaker introduces.

So, Paizo will get around to another Kingmakeresque adventure path if/when the story they want to tell is perfect for the concept. They undoubtedly know it's a popular form of storytelling. In the meantime, there are many other play styles and preferences out there to cater to and tell stories for.

You make several interesting points. First, I think it's pretty clear that Wrath of the Righteous #3 -could- have been a mini-Kingmaker. The elements to set it up were all there, but the design team chose to take it in a different direction, as is their prerogative. Yes I was disappointed, but I'll live. And clearly there are plenty of people who are happy with the direction that was taken.

Secondly, Kingmaker was a giant sandbox because so much of it was focused on exploration. A Kingmaker variant taking place in a more settled area that is well mapped would easily lend itself to a much different sort of story.

magnuskn wrote:
Also, Kingmaker wasn't universally beloved, either. I couldn't continue after module two, because I couldn't stand the city building system and one-encounter-per-day schedule anymore and wanted a meatier story.

I grant that the new rules Kingmaker introduced weren't without some flaws that required massaging by the GM. As far as the desire for a more meaty story is concerned, a Kingmaker variant that is less sandboxy would create more room for a richer story arc.

I'm reminded of TSR's old Bloodstone series which starting with the barony of Bloodstone set the PC's up to be the rulers of the Kingdom of Damara, if they chose, once they finally triumphed over Orcus in the Abyss. That was by no means a sandbox, and the story was very meaty.


P Tigras - you may want to look at Throne of Night if you want a Kingdom building experience.

Throne of Night


Curmudgeonly wrote:

P Tigras - you may want to look at Throne of the Night if you want a Kingdom build experience.

http://paizo.com/products/btpy92m8?Throne-of-Night-Book-1-Dark-Frontier

You read my mind Curmudgeonly. :) I'm planning on looking at Throne of Night next.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

P Tigras wrote:
I do believe that you and I can both agree that this AP isn't Kingmaker 2. My group however keeps badgering me to find them another adventure like Kingmaker. Now correct me if I'm mistaken, but to my knowledge, Paizo hasn't put out anything else in the spirit of Kingmaker. Why is that? Kingmaker seems to win all of the online polls I've seen when people get asked their favorite AP. So it can't have done that badly.

Because doing so before we got the kingdom building rules into a hardcover (and thus onto the PRD) wasn't really something we wanted to do. And also because we wanted to try other ideas.

Furthermore, there was a lot more to Kingmaker than kingdom building... from what I've seen, it was the sandbox nature of the campaign that folks enjoyed the most, and so that's been one of the elements we've been exploring more in the years that followed.

We'll likely do another kingdom building AP some day... but the timing and our resources have to be in the right place first.

The Exchange

magnuskn wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
This is not criticism, just a serious personal problem I have with this type of adventure.I also believe that this type of adventure has an added problem with Mythic PCs, who can "go nova" much more efficiently than regular PCs, thus making the "5 minutes long" adventuring day into even more of a pointless waste of time rolling dice - the encounters in the book mostly seem like they won't even exert the PCs a little bit (except for some of the really nasty ones, like the woundwyrm and the flock of vrocks). The PCs are just working with far too many resources for this to work properly, and I expect to see people complaining about it when they report on the experience they had with the adventure.

I see you are learning the stakes of high-level gaming, young padawan. :p

Lord Snow wrote:
Also, add a bard to the force.
Then again, maybe not yet. My recommendation: NEVER GIVE THEM A BARD COHORT. If a player wants to play bard, fine. He is taking up a "party slot" and that works out well enough (unless you go over four players, yadda yadda, we know the drill). But a "free" bard cohort will heavily influence how easy the campaign will be for the party. Don't do it. I did in Curse of the Crimson Throne and we had a bard in the six-player group in Jade Regent and they were a big factor in making things way too easy.

I meant, like, a 3rd level bard cohort. Doesn't even have to be an actual bard, just a chronicler of tales, there to record all the awesome things they do for their legend. I mean, they can take the bard into battle for the buff. Just have it killed by getting caught in an aoe or something.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lord Snow wrote:
I meant, like, a 3rd level bard cohort. Doesn't even have to be an actual bard, just a chronicler of tales, there to record all the awesome things they do for their legend. I mean, they can take the bard into battle for the buff. Just have it killed by getting caught in an aoe or something.

That is a viable solution. ^^

Webstore Gninja Minion

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Momentarily off topic, but going to Arcadia sounds like a perfect setup for "Kingmaker 2." Please continue with the discussion of "Demon's Heresy!"


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Liz Courts wrote:
Momentarily off topic, but going to Arcadia sounds like a perfect setup for "Kingmaker 2." Please continue with the discussion of "Demon's Heresy!"

You teasing shinobi ;)


I have only read parts of Skull and Shackles, but my impression is that it has strong Sandbox/"Kingmaker" elements. You could try that?

And as others have said, People have widely varying tastes in stories. I actually am not a huge fan of sandboxes, and enjoy more linear storylines. They have to appease both crowds

Also +1 to the Arcadia Colony idea

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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I've long wanted to do an Adventure Path linked to Arcadia... but frankly, I'm not sure how interested I am in treating Arcadia as an untamed wilderness that Avistan has to rescue with civilization. I'm far more interested in the civilizations that already exist on Arcadia.

I do have plans for more kingdom-building type APs... but they go different places than to Arcadia, whose plans are relatively different.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My players found Irabeth to be such an interesting and enjoyable companion that they really appreciated having her with them in the first module. So much so that they insisted on having her wield Radiance and lead the charge on the Gray Garrison. They were eager to have her continue leading them through the entirety of Sword of Valor and by the time they were ready to assault Drezen I couldn't justify her NOT having the same mythic powers. Now, granted, my group is a bunch of low-key spellcasters who flee from positions of responsibility like rats from a sinking ship so there was an additional impetus to appoint her as commander of the garrison instead, but I don't see anything wrong with her getting appointed in the first place save for one (minor) flaw: the PCs were the ones "leading" the army into Drezen in the first place. I didn't like that idea in Sword of Valor, as none of the PCs had a suitable commander class (much less their lack of interest in the role), so since she was more or less elected as the leader anyways the transition was smooth and without issue. I only mention this as a flaw because I think it could have been much better presented as a viable option in the book itself, where Irabeth actually has her own actions and agenda (however basic those might be). It would have been appreciated.

Personally, I love everything I've seen of this arc so far. I've browsed through Pathfinder modules in the past and I've never seen anything that held my attention or really drew me in. It was either too dark or too generic, or (too often) both. Some of those Pathfinder modules just ended on such a black note that I had been adverse to exploring more, but after getting my curiosity piqued about the Worldwound, I actually went and bought the first one and subscribed for the rest just to show my support. These are the first Adventure Path modules I've seen with richly detailed NPCs, captivating ways to tie those NPCs to the PCs and integrate both their stories, and then a little bit of everything for everyone, be it sieging, stealth, city-building, or whatever!

And then on top of all that, it has a number of prominent GLBT characters, and as a B person of that acronym, I cannot stress how wonderful it is to feel accepted by the gaming community that I love so much. That is probably a tiny thing to a lot of people, but I still feel the need to say that it's hugely important to me on an emotional level. My group has found this to be an awesome set of richly detailed, enthralling modules so far and I'm looking forward to seeing what's next.

The Exchange

xeose4 wrote:


And then on top of all that, it has a number of prominent GLBT characters, and as a B person of that acronym, I cannot stress how wonderful it is to feel accepted by the gaming community that I love so much. That is probably a tiny thing to a lot of people, but I still feel the need to say that it's hugely important to me on an emotional level. My group has found this to be an awesome set of richly detailed, enthralling modules so far and I'm looking forward to seeing what's next.

Sadly, it was not a tiny thing for many people, and quite an argument broke over it here in the massage boards. It seems like for every person who enjoyed that aspect of the campaign, there was a person who felt it was "forced" or "paizo pushing an agenda". Some went as far as threatening to sue Paizo over the "abuse" they received here in the boards when others weren't agreeing with them about the matter.

I wish those people would see your post. If that wouldn't cause them to change their minds I don't know what will.


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James Jacobs wrote:

I've long wanted to do an Adventure Path linked to Arcadia... but frankly, I'm not sure how interested I am in treating Arcadia as an untamed wilderness that Avistan has to rescue with civilization. I'm far more interested in the civilizations that already exist on Arcadia.

I do have plans for more kingdom-building type APs... but they go different places than to Arcadia, whose plans are relatively different.

I'd really like your way the best honestly.

Lord Snow wrote:
xeose4 wrote:


And then on top of all that, it has a number of prominent GLBT characters, and as a B person of that acronym, I cannot stress how wonderful it is to feel accepted by the gaming community that I love so much. That is probably a tiny thing to a lot of people, but I still feel the need to say that it's hugely important to me on an emotional level. My group has found this to be an awesome set of richly detailed, enthralling modules so far and I'm looking forward to seeing what's next.

Sadly, it was not a tiny thing for many people, and quite an argument broke over it here in the massage boards. It seems like for every person who enjoyed that aspect of the campaign, there was a person who felt it was "forced" or "paizo pushing an agenda". Some went as far as threatening to sue Paizo over the "abuse" they received here in the boards when others weren't agreeing with them about the matter.

I wish those people would see your post. If that wouldn't cause them to change their minds I don't know what will.

There are many posts that make me mad on these forums, and very few that make me happy. This is one of those rare few that make me happy :)


James Jacobs wrote:
I've long wanted to do an Adventure Path linked to Arcadia... but frankly, I'm not sure how interested I am in treating Arcadia as an untamed wilderness that Avistan has to rescue with civilization. I'm far more interested in the civilizations that already exist on Arcadia.

That's why it could also be your first Evil AP. >)

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Cthulhudrew wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
I've long wanted to do an Adventure Path linked to Arcadia... but frankly, I'm not sure how interested I am in treating Arcadia as an untamed wilderness that Avistan has to rescue with civilization. I'm far more interested in the civilizations that already exist on Arcadia.
That's why it could also be your first Evil AP. >)

I'd rather be playing a native kicking Golarion Columbus in the jewels :3

The Exchange

Rysky wrote:
Cthulhudrew wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
I've long wanted to do an Adventure Path linked to Arcadia... but frankly, I'm not sure how interested I am in treating Arcadia as an untamed wilderness that Avistan has to rescue with civilization. I'm far more interested in the civilizations that already exist on Arcadia.
That's why it could also be your first Evil AP. >)
I'd rather be playing a native kicking Golarion Columbus in the jewels :3

In past occasions where an Adventure Path took place in an exotic location (Jade Regent, Reign of Winter) the AP assumed PCs originate in the more regular parts of Golarion and they are experiencing the setting as something new - this usually works well since the players are not familiar enough with the exotic culture to roleplay someone belonging to it. So chanced of playing an Arcadian in an Arcadia AP are probably slim.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lord Snow wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Cthulhudrew wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
I've long wanted to do an Adventure Path linked to Arcadia... but frankly, I'm not sure how interested I am in treating Arcadia as an untamed wilderness that Avistan has to rescue with civilization. I'm far more interested in the civilizations that already exist on Arcadia.
That's why it could also be your first Evil AP. >)
I'd rather be playing a native kicking Golarion Columbus in the jewels :3
In past occasions where an Adventure Path took place in an exotic location (Jade Regent, Reign of Winter) the AP assumed PCs originate in the more regular parts of Golarion and they are experiencing the setting as something new - this usually works well since the players are not familiar enough with the exotic culture to roleplay someone belonging to it. So chanced of playing an Arcadian in an Arcadia AP are probably slim.

The second part still stands.


Sifkesh....

She reminds me of one of Marshal Vazrael's generals in Mayfair's Role Aids Denizens of Vecheron. He is chopped in pieces and yet like Sifkesh, his body parts floats close to each other and yet apart.

Thinking about converting him to be either a nascent demon lord or unique under her command (her consort or general).

In fact, a fair amount of fiends in the Demons line from Role Aids can be converted and bring over. The bull-headed lantern wielding Zelar from Denizens of Og can be one of Baphomet's consorts.


Lord Snow wrote:
Also, add a bard to the force.

Hey, thank you. If we actually pick up this AP (which I kinda hope) I'll play a Bard! Cheers.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I'm loving this AP so far. I read this part once and was a little underwhelmed, then I retread with more attention to detail and think its a good mid AP adventure. I will foreshadow the ivory sanctum and a certain redeemed fiend more so these feel like more significant or key events. To me the AP has developed well

Start as average adventurers and attain mythic power by averting a demonic catastrophe.

As celebrated heroes to some (and those responsible for the fall of the ward stones to others) get sent on a mission of hope to cement a foothold for the last crusade, who better than heroes of mythic power (plus politically expedient since they broke the ward stones).

Now secure the foothold in the area by removing the demon infestation, adding the destruction of the power base in the area- the insidious brotherhood while uncovering a secret of immense importance. Awesome start. I never thought the adventure was a kingmaker- I just thought it was set up as a sandbox

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Cat-thulhu wrote:
Now secure the foothold in the area by removing the demon infestation, adding the destruction of the power base in the area-

I'm glad you're enjoying it!

You've really touched upon a theme/intent behind this specific chapter. To explore the Worldwound.

The way I see it, the Worldwound is a symptom or product of the powerful forces driving this assault upon Golarion (and to an extent the Material Plane). However, James felt it was important for the developing characters to have an experience of the Worldwound itself. After all, they built a cool location, why shouldn't we have some fun inside of it? Otherwise if you just attacked the "movers and the shakers" (not taking account the fact that they characters have to level somehow) you're not getting the full impact of the Worldwound.

This was a little like Reign of Winter and the Shackled Hut (which I wrote). That was a dedicated look at Irrisen. They story revolved around a lot of travel to unique and special locations, but Rob wanted the players to have a good taste of that part of the Inner Sea.

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