Runelords aren't doing a whole lot of rising


Rise of the Runelords

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James Jacobs wrote:
As for who the Iuz, Sauron, and Zhentarim are of Golarion... ask again in half a year. Hopefuly, by then, that question won't HAVE to be asked, of course, 'cause the gazetteer should be out.

While it's cool to have these uber bosses and organizations, will we ever be able to kill them and take their stuff? It would be really nice, since you're starting out with a new game world, to make an Adventure Path where one of these "Big Bag Guys" is taken down by the party at the end game.

Another question. If you're coming out with the gazetteer for Golarion, are you guys going to be afraid to make things in the gazetteer obsolete or are you bold enough to introduce adventures that rock the world? My players still think back fondly on...

Spoiler:
...taking over the nation of Redhand in Age of Worms. However, they felt like it was a little too late in the AP before they became familiar with the nation, and while annoying and obviously evil, Zeech really hadn't done anything to impact the adventurers earlier in their careers.

You could even have a nice marketing strategy behind the gazetteer. Picture a lineup of uber-villains with the tagline: Tyranny. Slavery. Genocide. Each of these rulers is feared and loathed by thousands, but one just picked the wrong group of adventurers to mess with. Which one will fall at the hands of a small band of heroes?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Takasi wrote:

While it's cool to have these uber bosses and organizations, will we ever be able to kill them and take their stuff? It would be really nice, since you're starting out with a new game world, to make an Adventure Path where one of these "Big Bag Guys" is taken down by the party at the end game.

Another question. If you're coming out with the gazetteer for Golarion, are you guys going to be afraid to make things in the gazetteer obsolete or are you bold enough to introduce adventures that rock the world?

Keep in mind too that when we did Age of Worms and Savage Tide and Shackled City, we had decades of history and tradition to draw from and build upon. Wiht Golarion, we're starting from ground zero. Had Pathfinder chosen a different plot for its first Adventure Path, the Runelords would still be a part of our world. Yet no one would really know about them yet, since until the gazetteer is out... no one CAN know about them

As it turns out... Rise of the Runelords is doing pretty much exactly what you recommend. It's an Adventure Path where one of the Big Bad Guys gets taken down by the party and then they get to take his stuff. His robe and glaive and book and a few other pieces of his gear show up on some item cards in the Rise of the Runelords Item Card set, is what I'm saying.

Golarion will be, to some extent, a fluid setting. There's no point in introducing a bad guy or a nation or anything like that if you don't ever shake things up. That said... we don't want to shake things up SO MUCH that we invalidate products. Putting out a book called "GUIDE TO VARISIA" and then one year later blowing Varisia up is kind of bait-and-switch, don't you think?

But yeah... there will be world-shaking events in Golarion now and then.


James Jacobs wrote:
Keep in mind too that when we did Age of Worms and Savage Tide and Shackled City, we had decades of history and tradition to draw from and build upon. Wiht Golarion, we're starting from ground zero. Had Pathfinder chosen a different plot for its first Adventure Path, the Runelords would still be a part of our world. Yet no one would really know about them yet, since until the gazetteer is out... no one CAN know about them

We're confusing player knowledge and character knowledge. I'm talking about the latter and you're talking about the former. I like introducing information to my players in character through the use of NPCs. I know people have suggestions for how to run things, but if ran as written, no one in Burnt Offerings knows anything about Karzoug. The closest is Brodert Quink, and one of my players (who's background and appearance is almost identical to Ezren (yet built a few weeks before the blog post) talked with him at length for the first two sessions about all things Thesselonian.

I'm trying to follow the theme and flow of the APs as written, because the primary draw, to our group at least, for running an AP is the shared experience. My players want to be able to talk with other players later and share their experiences. If I stray too far then it doesn't feel like the AP at all. I could make a big production about Karzoug, or as someone else mentioned before I could have replaced Demogorgon with Iuz, but I don't want to do that. I would rather have something cool that's shared with other gamers rather than having to introduce something new and cool that's unique to my campaign (I do enough of that as it is).

James Jacobs wrote:
As it turns out... Rise of the Runelords is doing pretty much exactly what you recommend. It's an Adventure Path where one of the Big Bad Guys gets taken down by the party and then they get to take his stuff. His robe and glaive and book and a few other pieces of his gear show up on some item cards in the Rise of the Runelords Item Card set, is what I'm saying.

And that's cool, and I'm sure that if players had read the gazetteer before running RotRL (acronym always reminds me of ROTFL) they would all get goosebumps the first time they hear the words Karzoug in play. But again I'm not talking about player knowledge from reading a gazetteer. I'm talking about DMs running NPCs and a setting where these enemies have gravitas. Where the mere mention of their name is taboo and their tales give nightmares to children (and their parents).

James Jacobs wrote:
Putting out a book called "GUIDE TO VARISIA" and then one year later blowing Varisia up is kind of bait-and-switch, don't you think?

This is definately something to ask for feedback on. I personally don't care, because I plan on buying the player's guide hoping that the shared campaign world will be progressive. I'm hoping that at the very least the APs will be canon.

What do the fans think? If you bought a Guide to Varisia and it said the Runelords were mysterious and had not risen, and then an AP came out that said a Runelord was now a presence known in the world, would you call shenanigans and feel the victim of a bait and switch? If not, what is your threshold? Are you willing to see nations crumble, ala...

Spoiler:
Prince of Redhand

The foundation and destruction of cities...

Spoiler:
Cauldron, Farshore

Death of demon lords or demigods...

Spoiler:
Demogorgon

How much shaking can you tolerate?

Personally, I will continue to purchase your products, including a gazetteer that's "outdated" (i.e. it says 4707, but if you follow the other APs the current time is 4727 and things have changed) as long as the quality is worth the price.


Snorter wrote:

Just downloaded chapter 3; I'm tempted to run this after we finish playing SCAP, JUST so my buddy Matt can have a flashback to our first ever session together...15 years, on & off? How time flies...

** spoiler omitted **

<note: I was NOT the DM...>

Hmm... I don't get the reference. Fifteen years ago means I was... that old. Which means we were playing at... Thrum Hall. So the adventure must be... dunno. Did Gaz have something to do with it? If so, I don't wanna play it if it reminds me of THAT.

*shudder*

Snorter wrote:
I know you're out there, Matt, readin' my posts...since you slapped a SCAP spoiler in the middle of an AOW thread...to the bemusement of Turin! ;-)

I try my best. Plus you mentioned the temple first. A name from a 3 year old adventure isn't much of a spoiler though...

Anyway, got to overcook my cohort. See you Thursday!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Hiddendragon wrote:

Hey Folks -

So far, I've been very impressed with the Rise of the Runelords adventures, individually. I've read all of Burnt Offerings, most of Skinsaw, and just started skimming through Hook Mountain a half hour ago or so. Each adventure is cool and fun, on its own.

As a campaign arc though, I have been consistently disappointed with this Adventure path. The titular Runelords seem to be MIA, and each adventure includes vast swaths of events that just seem so detached from the theme of an ancient wizard lord rising from death to rule once more that I am often left thinking that these adventures really have pretty thin pretenses linking them together, and could just be run absolutely seperately with no one being at all the wiser that they where once linked to an adventure path.

So far, this is not at all like the impression I got from Age of Worms or Savage Tide, where every single adventure was right there in the thick of the overall plot. Am I the only one who is feeling this way about the RotRL Adventure Path so far?

My questions is why do they even need to know it is an adventure path and there is most likely something big coming along? When you do a homegrown campaign do you have the whole thing worked out when you start of just an overarching idea that develops as the PCs react to the world?

I love the way RotR is doing the slow build up. I would not change a thing. I really enjoy that they are dealing with goblins that are being led by a "longshanks" (that my players have had one run in with) and they think that is all that is going on - later they find out more is going on then they originally thought. This I love rather than springing on them at the beginning that a very big bad guy is the end goal.


Shem wrote:
My questions is why do they even need to know it is an adventure path and there is most likely something big coming along?

Yes, for at least five reasons. The first and foremost is to prevent people from reading the adventure modules. The second is to give people access to the Pathfinder player's guide, the gazetteer, etc. The third is to lay out an expectation of what type of playstyle you're going for (and yes, an adventure path does have a distinct style, unlike freeform exploration, deep immersion character driven, dungeon crawl, etc). Fourth, it helps players have a shared gaming experience with other tables around the world. Finally, you want to give props to Paizo and help them build a fanbase, right?

Shem wrote:
I love the way RotR is doing the slow build up. I would not change a thing.

So if Paizo DID try this with another AP, are you saying it would be inferior by this fact alone?


James Jacobs wrote:
Jebadiah Utecht wrote:
James, I thought GameMastery is the part of your line meant to act as standalone adventures, and Pathfinder the part meant to act as adventure paths? Isn't it best that Pathfinder work as part of a whole, and let GameMastery work on its own? In other words, shouldn't Pathfinder be the place I can be guaranteed to find a tightly-plotted AP, if that's what I'm in the market for?
Correct. I personally think that the Rise of the Runelords adventures DO work better as a whole. It's very tightly plotted. This thread actually makes me think it's TOO tightly plotted in some ways, in fact, and that Curse of the Crimson Throne could do with more obvious links between adventures.

Thanks, James. The point I was trying to convey is that I'm not of the opinion that each chapter in Pathfinder has to work as a standalone adventure for people not playing the path. If those people want a standalone, they can go to GameMastery. (So far I've bought Seven Swords of Sin and Gallery of Evil and have enjoyed both.) Pathfinder, however, needs to work best for those running the whole path, and each chapter should feel like a vital part of a larger whole. As always, thanks for listening to our input.

Liberty's Edge

Takasi wrote:
And all that's cool, but if you guys do another AP it would be nice if you laid off the slowly unfolding mystery climax.

I dunno, I dig that sort of thing. I think a slow unfold before the big reveal draws the players in more deeply. But then, I'm used to running games with conspiracies, plot twists and misdirections.

Sovereign Court

Takasi wrote:
Shem wrote:
I love the way RotR is doing the slow build up. I would not change a thing.
So if Paizo DID try this with another AP, are you saying it would be inferior by this fact alone?

If you ask a yes/no question and there's not a cat in hell's chance that the reply will be yes, why ask the question?

If you've a point to make why not do it in a positive, unambiguous way - especially as rehtorical questions look quite passive-agressive written down, even though I'm sure you didn't mean it like that.

Shem: sorry if I responded on your behalf - tried not to...

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

GeraintElberion wrote:


If you've a point to make why not do it in a positive, unambiguous way - especially as rehtorical questions look quite passive-agressive written down, even though I'm sure you didn't mean it like that.

The vast majority of takasi's posts are passive aggressive attacks. If he doesn't mean to do it, he has a significant lack of self awareness. I wouldn't be surprised one way or the other.


Jebadiah Utecht wrote:
The point I was trying to convey is that I'm not of the opinion that each chapter in Pathfinder has to work as a standalone adventure for people not playing the path. If those people want a standalone, they can go to GameMastery. (So far I've bought Seven Swords of Sin and Gallery of Evil and have enjoyed both.) Pathfinder, however, needs to work best for those running the whole path, and each chapter should feel like a vital part of a larger whole. As always, thanks for listening to our input.

I want to echo Jebadiah's point as well. I'm not sure many people actually ARE planning on using Pathfinder in a piecemeal approach. I'm even less sure that any one would buy it if they were just looking for stand alone adventures. They would buy Gamemastery modules.

I would think you would be better off catering Pathfinder to those DMs who do want a tight, integrated Adventure Path to run. And if that means some parts are able to be stripped out and used "piecemeal" then great, but if not, then so be it.

Like most things, if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. Is it worth reducing it's usefulness (assuming of course it actually is) for DMs running the entire path (most of them), for the very small number who aren't interested in this aspect?

Contributor

Mevers and anyone else concerned about the focus of Rise of the Runelords and the possibility that it may not be what they want, let it be known that this is first and foremost a series of 6 tightly woven adventures (i.e., an Adventure Path). The adventures were designed in such a way that they are easier than previous APs for DMs to jump in or jump out of them if they want. That doesn't mean that each chapter and section was intended to be stand alones with only light connections to the sections before and after them. It only means that we've provided more options for DMs that like to run these things piecemeal or mine published adventures for things to use in their games to do so. This was, afterall, what people were asking for. DMs that take this approach will find a lot more utility with Pathfinder and others that enjoy the good flow of story and connected events that tie an AP together will be happy with the series as well.

I'm not sure where we got off on the tangent that Rise of the Runelords was intended to be broken up like a Hershey's chocolate bar (mmmmmmm, chocolate!), but that's not correct. If I said it, I apologize. Like I said above, the design process of each adventure allows for more utility, but not to the extent that the series is diluted of its focus. It remains an Adventure Path when it comes down to it. But RotRL should be the most useful Adventure Path that has been written so far for anyone that likes to run D&D adventures, whether they are one-shots, short arcs, or long immersive campaigns. Everyone should find something to like about RotRL.

Hope that helps.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

mevers wrote:


Like most things, if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. Is it worth reducing it's usefulness (assuming of course it actually is) for DMs running the entire path (most of them), for the very small number who aren't interested in this aspect?

I don't think this is measurable on a binary scale. I plan on running the adventure path in its entirety and I am pretty satisfied with the current set-up. I found ST to be too tightly scripted and really like the many min-Dungeons in RotRL. Though I wouldn't mind an adventure path with the BBEG being revealed ealier, I certainly don't want all adventure paths to be the same in that regard.


Thanks Steve, that is exactly what I wanted to hear. I suppose I should have given it a bit more thought. If I had, I would have realised that Paizo (and their talented writers) would take a "both/and" approach, rather than an "either/or" when it comes to a tightly woven Adventure path that contains elements that can be stripped out and dropped into other campaigns "piecemeal."


Steve Greer wrote:
That doesn't mean that each chapter and section was intended to be stand alones with only light connections to the sections before and after them.

In my opinion, so far the series is not as cohesive as Savage Tide was.

Steve Greer wrote:
I'm not sure where we got off on the tangent...

It's not a tangent at all. It's the main point of the OP that is the topic of this thread:

"The titular Runelords seem to be MIA, and each adventure includes vast swaths of events that just seem so detached from the theme of an ancient wizard lord rising from death to rule once more that I am often left thinking that these adventures really have pretty thin pretenses linking them together, and could just be run absolutely seperately with no one being at all the wiser that they where once linked to an adventure path."

If anyone added a tangent it was me when I suggested that the sources for the disjointed feel include the secret villains and the snail's pace in unveiling the goals of the end game (which people then began arguing over which style they like best).

Contributor

Takasi, please stop! You're devouring my intellect!


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

LOL...

Spoiler:
I mean, Smurf


Steve Greer wrote:
Takasi, please stop! You're devouring my intellect!

Zing!

Sovereign Court

Getting back to the OP then.

I worked up the sin angle with a raving priest but was looking to boost the runelord theme.

So far I've just managed to creep it in by littering the runewell area with the Wrath Rune (plucked from the Paizo blog). If the PCs try to find out more I'll give them all 7 - they can make the connection with the Sihedron themselves, but it plays up the SIN/RUNE angle a bit more.


Let me start off by saying I don't have a real problem with the way the storyline is developing. But then again, I am not running the Adventure Path at this time, but using things I find interesting in it (the haunted house for Halloween game was the biggest, but I've also used creatures). Would my players prefer a more exposed theme, though not exposed storyline, right from the get go? Maybe, but the way I run my games now, which are homebrewed, is that I have a general storyline idea, but all of the details develop as we go (mostly to better fit the actions and ideas of the PCs).

I've only read Burnt Offerings and most of the Skinsaw Murders (waiting on book 3 to arrive, and still need to finish book 2), book 2 seems to do a much better job connecting to the overall storyline to me. Book 1 seemed, irrelevant? It seemed you could do it or not and the only thing it would mess up would be the relationship for Aldren, which could be fixed fairly easily. That doesn't mean that a DM could make Book 1 integral to the story, it just didn't come across that way to me when I read it. Heck I found it confusing, chick worships some evil deity but there are these ancient stories of powerful mages, but she is not worshipping them but she has symbols dealing with them, but ... Arrggghhh! And the worst part is, I believe that was intentional.

Anyway, I think the best answer is to continue to give DMs suggestions on how a certain idea could be used or not. For example:

Spoiler:
A PC with an appropriate knowledge check or an NPC with the same, could partially identify the Rune Well in Burnt Offerings. The PCs could get some information such as, "These have been found before, but never functional. Something must have happened or is happening in order to make it start working."

This give the hint that there is more than just the immediate issues at hand, but without necessarily killing the suspense. I have often found a partial explanation is much more satisfying than no explanation just a mysterious object.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

pres man wrote:
I've only read Burnt Offerings and most of the Skinsaw Murders (waiting on book 3 to arrive, and still need to finish book 2), book 2 seems to do a much better job connecting to the overall storyline to me. Book 1 seemed, irrelevant? It seemed you could do it or not and the only thing it would mess up would be the relationship for Aldren, which could be fixed fairly easily. That doesn't mean that a DM could make Book 1 integral to the story, it just didn't come across that way to me when I read it. Heck I found it confusing, chick worships some evil deity but there are these ancient stories of powerful mages, but she is not worshipping them but she has symbols dealing with them, but ... Arrggghhh! And the worst part is, I believe that was intentional.

Actually... there's more going on in Burnt Offerings that ties into the rest of the campaign than that...

Spoiler:
In the fifth adventure, the PCs return to the Catacombs of Wrath and find that there's another dungeon below it, one inhabited by someone who holds the key to Karzoug's defeat. And at Thistletop, we actually introduce the BBEG in several ways; they're SUBTLE, but they're there. Aside from having Thistletop built on a giant statue head of Karzoug, on the bottom floor the PCs actually see him and hear him speak and get their first introduction to the Sihedron rune, which is the symbol of Thassilon and a strong recurring theme for the entire campaign. And Lamashtu ALSO has ties throughout the campaign. She's one of the more important secondary themes to the campaign, and her minions are a recurring theme all the way through to the end of the adventure path. And the helmet the helmet crab is wearing foreshadows one of the main bad guys in the last adventure. And several NPCs (Shalelu, Hemlock, Zantus, Brodert) introduced in the adventure have important tasks and roles in the adventures to come as well.

But "Burnt Offerings" had a more important job than introducing the Rise of the Runelords adventure path, remember. It also had to introduce the world of Golarion. It needed to give the PCs Sandpoint and get them acclimated to the world, so that by the time the Runelord stuff started to get more important, they're no longer running to keep up with things like 20 new deities, new equipment, and a world of new proper nouns.


Anyone who wants to reveal more about the overall plot can use Malfeshnekor to spill the beans, because he knows all about the Rune Lords and stuff. If you have him charm the PCs and get them to work for him, it makes sense that he would explain a bunch of stuff to them. Or the PCs might manage to gain enough of an upper hand to question him.

Another poster (Mary Yamamoto) mentioned that Malfeshnekor did this to one of her players. The party is working for him and trying to get the Barghest out, and he has at least revealed the existance and idenity of the Rune Lords.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Michael F wrote:

Anyone who wants to reveal more about the overall plot can use Malfeshnekor to spill the beans, because he knows all about the Rune Lords and stuff. If you have him charm the PCs and get them to work for him, it makes sense that he would explain a bunch of stuff to them. Or the PCs might manage to gain enough of an upper hand to question him.

Another poster (Mary Yamamoto) mentioned that Malfeshnekor did this to one of her players. The party is working for him and trying to get the Barghest out, and he has at least revealed the existance and idenity of the Rune Lords.

He's actually told them very little (he hasn't needed to). They are Thassalonian scholars by avocation, though, so it didn't take much for them to start putting things together. I have the kind of player who will look very carefully at statues, take notes, make sketches, translate every single inscription in the dungeon....

All he knows about the current situation, though, is what he got from Nualia. So he can't spill too many current beans, which is probably a good thing.

They had worked out Wrath and Alaznist==Wrath by themselves, mostly from the Catacombs of Wrath, and Karzoug==Greed is not all that hard given the gold-coins motif in Thistletop.

(Of course the player is probably expecting the rise of the Runelords, given the series title, but he's good at keeping that sort of OOC knowledge off the table.)

I will say, though, that I would never run the encounter with Malfeshnekor *expecting* this to happen. It was a fluke. He has Charm Monster only 1/day, and even if he gets someone I'd normally expect the rest of the party to nuke him. In my game he happened to be in the right place at the right time to exploit the PCs' particular doubts and weaknesses. I wouldn't have tried to make it happen; I'd have had to be unbearably heavy-handed. So I can't really recommend it as a general strategy. Having M. try to bargain sounds like it has better chances, though many parties will still nuke him on sight. (Invisibility helps, though.)

Mary


Cpt_kirstov wrote:
Depending on your players, AoW does have this - my players (out of character) had figured out ** spoiler omitted **how is this not putting the information upfront?

My players start putting things together in character fairly quickly. One of the players is running a savant/archivist. The vast array of knowledge skills and academic lore has allowed the party to recognize quite a few things quickly. They group realized what the worms were and figured the cult of Kyuss would be involved somehow. By the time they found the dragon egg, they were sure something big was going on and were starting to cultivate friendships in case they needed help later on. They may not have had names, but they knew who the enemy was.

I have yet to get around to running ROTRL, but I would not be surprised if something similar happens.

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
And for players who want a faster reveal of a campaign's plot, hang on for "Curse of the Crimson Throne." It's pretty blatantly obvious who the bad girl of that one is by Adventure 2. :)

Sweet.

I actually prefer the slow reveal method, but a change from the other APs will be greatly appreciated.

Grand Lodge

So far I have been very impressed with the quality of the AP. I have picked up on the theme of sin that runs so heavily throughout, and the ancient powers. It seems to me that the AP ties things together quite well. At the same time it is also presented in a fashion that I can cannibalize it like crazy to fit anything else I may want to run.

I think that the biggest complaint is that the slow reveal has been done several times and it's time for something different.

The current AP relies upon the slow reveal to climax. And I think the equally good method of present the BBEG early so the PCs can anticipate and dread the ending is equally good.

From the sounds of things that method is planned. The good folks at Paizo just needed a tried and true method to introduce their new product and new world. I have no problems at all.

Well almost... the quality so far is too good. You're spoiling us.


Hi folks. Hopefully Takasi's exuberance has not turned any of you off to War of the Burning Sky, of which I am the lead designer.

I'm definitely a fan of Paizo's work, and Rise of the Runelords is good stuff, though I pick up Paizo's adventures not to run them, but to learn from them -- to see what sorts of clever ideas I can learn from, what plot styles I should avoid so I don't look like I'm directly copying them. Even when I might have gone a different way, it's great to see how such excellent designers tackled the challenge of keeping a campaign fresh yet consistent over the course of a half-dozen or more adventures.

When we at E.N. Publishing were first designing the WotBS campaign saga, we had two goals. First was to do something Paizo hadn't. Second was to capture the same grandeur as the classic Dragonlance adventures.

Different doesn't necessarily mean better (though I do think we're damned spiffy), and there are a lot of ways to make a great campaign. Runelords has that nice 'ancient evil returning to corrupt the world' vibe going on, which lets the ambience of the setting soak in instead of slapping the players in the face as if with a wet mackerel. It's a little creepy, with a rising sense of 'wrongness' that starts with giggling at how cute the goblins are as they hack the townsfolk to pieces, and ends with having your mind warped to violence and madness by the unfathomable power of a master of sin.

It's a bit less classic than "overthrow the evil warlord," but it's damned original. However, if Paizo does go for a more mackerel-smacking style in a future AP, I'd love to see it.

And I'd love to write for it too.

*looks at James Jacobs, mimes putting a phone to ear, and mouths 'Call me'*


James Jacobs wrote:

Actually... there's more going on in Burnt Offerings that ties into the rest of the campaign than that...

Spoiler:
In the fifth adventure, the PCs return to the Catacombs of Wrath and find that there's another dungeon below it, one inhabited by someone who holds the key to Karzoug's defeat. And at Thistletop, we actually introduce the BBEG in several ways; they're SUBTLE, but they're there. Aside from having Thistletop built on a giant statue head of Karzoug, on the bottom floor the PCs actually see him and hear him speak and get their first introduction to the Sihedron rune, which is the symbol of Thassilon and a strong recurring theme for the entire campaign. And Lamashtu ALSO has ties throughout the campaign. She's one of the more important secondary themes to the campaign, and her minions are a recurring theme all the way through to the end of the adventure path. And the helmet the helmet crab is wearing foreshadows one of the main bad guys in the last adventure. And several NPCs (Shalelu, Hemlock, Zantus, Brodert) introduced in the adventure have important tasks and roles in the adventures to come as well.

But "Burnt Offerings" had a more important job than introducing the Rise of the Runelords adventure path, remember. It also had to introduce the world of Golarion. It needed to give the PCs Sandpoint and get them acclimated to the world, so that by the time the Runelord stuff started to get more important, they're no longer running to keep up with things like 20 new deities, new equipment, and a world of new proper nouns.


Yeah, I see that, but I see maybe I didn't make my point clear. None of the conflict in Burnt Offerings has any attachment to the overall story. Nobody is going to show up and say, "Hey you killed (character from Burnt Offerings), you have interfered with my plan for the last time." Nobody in the big arch cares about anything that happened in Burnt Offerings. Sure for the players to get familiar with the setting and get a few hints about stuff from the geography and various items of interest, but the foes have no connection with the greater story, and that was all I meant by saying it seemed, "irrelevant".


pres man wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Actually... there's more going on in Burnt Offerings that ties into the rest of the campaign than that...

** spoiler omitted **

Yeah, I see that, but I see maybe I didn't make my point clear. None of the conflict in Burnt Offerings has any attachment to the overall story. Nobody is going to show up and say, "Hey you killed (character from Burnt Offerings), you have interfered with my plan for the last time." Nobody in the big arch cares about anything that happened in Burnt Offerings. Sure for the players to get familiar with the setting and get a few hints...

What about in page 10, where Nualia is befriended by the mysterious leader of the Skinsaw Men, given a Sihedron Medallion, and telling her she has a "bigger part to play?" Nualia's plans were to raze Sandpoint to the ground. I'm sure the mysterious leader became aware that something must have happened after months pass and Sandpoint remains standing. In tSM, I'm sure someone notices that the murders stop and Xanesha has gone silent. In HMM, I'm sure someone will notice that Lucrecia goes missing, and that the promise of hundreds of souls never arrive, and Turtleback Ferry still stands. There's a hint to keep track of any player(s) that keep and wear the Sihedron Medallions as they collect more.

As the players complete BO and subsequent issues, astute ones should get the feeling that they defeated something supplied and directed by a bigger foe on the chessboard. They should wonder how someone would have a sihedron medallion from a type of magic now thousands of years neglected. If no one knows why, then how would Nualia know about it? Perhaps someone is taking great pains at obfuscation because this entity might be vulnerable at the moment and is attempted to amass enough power to shed the obfuscation at a more strategic time.

True, Karzoug doesn't show up at the end of BO, specifically, to say, "Hey, you killed Nualia." I'd take that to imply that, although Nualia was an asset, she was still a minor one, and Karzoug is in no position to do anything until much later. As the party defeats more minions of Karzoug, I'm sure he won't pull a Montgomery Burns and go senile when they grace his presence at last.


You killed Nualia! You bastards!

In the "slowly unfolding mystery" vs "those are the bad guys, you just can't go fight them yet", I just have to say that both approaches have problems. Mystery campaigns can have a hard time holding players' interest, but this should depend on the quality of the adventures. I am not worried on this point for RotRL. The other style, IMO, faces a worse problem. Sure, at level 1, characters are pretty weak. But at, say, level 6-7 or so, they really have quite amazing resources if they know what they are supposed to be doing. So, take the Tarrasque as an example, then. The heroes find out that Big T is a focus of the campaign. They think a bit, and decide that it really is quite vulnerable to touch attacks and flying opponents. So, they start making scrolls of low-level spells such as ray of frost and levitate etc, and outfit every cleric, wizard and other spellcaster they can find with these, in the "city threatened by T rampage" adventure... and kill it (this might not be a workable strategy for real, but you get the idea), keeping a few dozen people on corpse-chopping duty afterwards. What then?

Consider a RotRL situation. Nualia has a brooch from Karzoug saying "Keep up the good job, employee of the week! /Runelord Karzoug of ancient Thassilon. Rising happens in a few months, new empire to be founded at midsummer at the latest." What would your players do? Mine would start obsessing about it, putting in an enormous effort to figure out each word in turn about this. They would start asking people in Sandpoint. "Uh... Thassilon, you say? I heard there was a tavern in Korvosa they called Tassy games...?" Then up comes Magnimar. "Rune what? Karzoug... Thassilon? There was a tavern...?" Okay, they will find the investigation stumped. Then they will go talk to people in power about this, and face "Runelord? I am sure it will be no problem. We have lots of soldiers to protect you, citizens." And... at that point, they will feel frustrated and angry with the stupid adventure path. So... I am all for breaking the news a little at a time.


Oh...I think they're rising just fine.

It's already been said, but I'd like to add my voice to the gallery stating the "slow-build" is going well, and I'd not prefer to have it any other way.

I have no problem seeing the meta-plot, even though the specifics are yet to surface fully. My players are intrigued OOC and want to see where it's all going, and how it comes together. They're enjoying Sandpoint, and like the intimacy of slowly learning about the setting as their characters do(as opposed to rifling through a sourcebook, and having loads of OOC knowledge that skews their in-game perceptions, and robs them of the wonder of the exploration).

This is the first campaign my friends and I have actually played in several years. We grew up gaming together, but having become adults, it's nearly impossible for any of us to GM a game and give it the development time needed to create a worthwhile experience. I ran across Pathfinder around a week ago, and was nothing but impressed with the quality and depth given to the material. It saves me hours of time dealing with world-crafting and allows me to quickly setup the adventure for the evening. (The only work, aside from the fun job of storytelling, I have to attend to is conversion from D20 material to DP9's SilCore. We're just not huge D20 fans). We're having a blast and really appreciate it.

Keep up with the top-notch development so I can game and still have a RL. ;)

Thanks.


Mosaic wrote:
I think an AP where low-level characters found something WAY out of their league in part 1 and had to spend the next few adventures defending it, researching it, and trying to figure out what to do with it would be fun. They might be overpowered in certain situations (and why not give them a few, just for fun - a staff that lays waste to whole tribes of goblins, for example) but at a terrible price (all the water withing 10 miles boils, injuring people, killing fish and ruining farms).

Sorry, I know it's OT, but thinking of my former game group (Nerd City All-Stars, if any of you are out there!) and a staff that blows away monsters AND boils people, fish and farms in a 10 mile radius... let's just say that destroying it would be the last thing on their todo list.

"Who remembers the way to Hommlet? It's payback time!"


Steve Greer wrote:

The adventures were designed in such a way that they are easier than previous APs for DMs to jump in or jump out of them if they want. That doesn't mean that each chapter and section was intended to be stand alones with only light connections to the sections before and after them. It only means that we've provided more options for DMs that like to run these things piecemeal or mine published adventures for things to use in their games to do so. This was, afterall, what people were asking for. DMs that take this approach will find a lot more utility with Pathfinder and others that enjoy the good flow of story and connected events that tie an AP together will be happy with the series as well.

You guys did good. I definitely thought some of the past APs were almost too tight to squeeze in some of the other great adventures you published. I ran AoW and really enjoyed throwing in a little random adventure here and there, but really had to skimp on xp to fit everything in.

I originally wasn't going to get ROtRL as i'm not all that interested in 7 deadly sins/book o'vile darkness type stuff BUT first i heard about psychotic goblins in book I, then there was the awesome mechanic for Haunts and that fantastic creepy farm in book II, and now i'm kinda curious about the skull dam in III. so i'll prob buy the whole durn series anyway, just for spare parts :P

I have to say i like the onion peel approach to story arc (peel back the Hill Giants to find Frost Giants to find Fire Giants to find Drow) it's classic DnD, but i totally understand the interest in the direct approach as well. I got a little lost in SCAP with all the incidental characters and the almost out of nowhere BBEG at the end. that one really felt disjointed to me, but most folks in my group are really not into mysteries anyway- just tell them who to kill next- even with that, i think it would be difficult to maintain interest in one villian for 15+ levels, but at least it sounds like Crimson Throne is pretty direct so i'm very much looking forward to it as well!

p.s. even Lord of the Rings just started out with Bilbo getting lost in Orc caves and finding a random magic ring that allowed him to sneak out. neither he nor even Tolkien were gunning for Sauron at that point...

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