My First Adventure Path

Council of Thieves

Silver Crusade

My group just voted to do Council of Thieve as our next campaign, and we hope to start it in a couple of weeks. This is the first Paizo adventure path I will have run, so I am looking for any helpful hints or advise for running one of these. I’ve read through the first couple of adventures, and I am looking forward to running this.

It seems that a lot of the campaign is pretty flexible. Something which I do like. I guess I’m wonder how to take advantage of this.

The Children of Westcrown that the first book introduces seem like an interesting plot point. How has everyone else planned on using them? I’m thinking about making some sub-quests around them, some roleplay opportunities to build relationships, and some additional muscle when needed.

I was also wondering how much people planned things out ahead of time for these adventure paths? It would definitely seem to pay dividends to foreshadow future events, and I hope to build up a good roleplaying experience for my players.

Thanks for any help ahead of time.

Dark Archive

I am sure some others will post. The community is good about posting up a lot of things they tried that work. So much so that I just wait to run any AP until after they are all out. So i can fully take advantage of having read the whole series first and all the work people in the community do.

Mostly I am just bumping your post to draw attention to it.

Welcome to the Paizo messageboards.
Between shipping times to the UK and other factors, I'm not actually currently buying the Council of Thieves books, so the best I can do is offer some general advice.
The longer you wait before starting to run the path, the more installments you will get to read before starting (hopefully), the better overall view you will have, and the greater opportunity you may have to foreshadow, otherwise integrate the pieces together smoothly and/or anticipate where your players might go off track. Some DMs wait until an entire path is out before running it, the better to be able to prepare. However if you're fairly flexible and/or have a slow group you can run the path as it comes out.
If you have switched to the Pathfinder RPG rules, it might be an idea to run something else first simply to get everyone familiar with the rules changes and to experiment a bit with classes so that you can hit the ground running with Bastards of Erebus. Maybe run Crypt of the Everflame, or a couple of this season's Pathfinder Society scenarios.
In terms of helpful advice from others, keep an eye on the threads on this (The Council of Thieves) forum - the GM reference threads for each module (which James Jacobs and the respective writers usually keep a pretty tight eye on for questions/comments) and the obituaries thread in particular. As play proceeds, and deaths are reported you should get a good idea of where the most dangerous fights in a path are located, as a pattern of kills occuring in them emerges.
If you have a question for the community in general and post a thread to ask it don't be afraid to put something along the lines of 'help needed' in a thread title, or to make the title an outright question. (Although if you put [spoilers] in the title, or make it clear it is only for GMs you will draw less stray grumbles from players reading such a thread and discovering things they would rather not know about the path.)
Have fun!

By the way. Beware of using words featuring small blue creatures such as smurfs in posts, lest your avatar be smitten instantly (for that post anyway) by a random smurf image. (See above - or a not so random one in the case of Kobold Cleaver who has his own personalised one as a joke from the PostMonster General.)

Liberty's Edge

I would strongly encourage your players to get comfortable with the idea of roleplaying - as distinct from, say, dungeon crawling - for large parts of this AP. If your players already tend that way, then you're in for a great ride; if they don't, try to get them ready for the experience as much as possible by encouraging some detailed backstory, working with them on the characters' attitudes and goals, and so on. Substantial portions of this storyline will pass without a single initiative roll - be prepared for it, and try to find ways to really get into the possibilities it presents.

One thing I have noticed about CoT relative to the previous APs is that more care is being taken to lay out which NPCs are important now but not later, later but not now, and both now and later (so try to keep them from dying!). This seems to be a specific response to player feedback about the need to wait until the entire AP is out in order to be able to run the modules, and I for one would like to applaud Paizo for it. I have already started Bastards of Erebus - my group is roughly 2/3 of the way through it - and I have no qualms about pushing forward, even though I only have the first two mods in my hands.

Archivist wrote:

I was also wondering how much people planned things out ahead of time for these adventure paths? It would definitely seem to pay dividends to foreshadow future events, and I hope to build up a good roleplaying experience for my players.

Thanks for any help ahead of time.

I agree that a good back-story will really help the characters feel part of the city and make the city feel alive. I've asked my players to each create six to twelve 'contacts' in the city in enough detail that I can use them in the campaign. I don't promise to use them, so if (as it was inevitable) some players create a bunch of 'talking skill points' I can simply never bring them into play. But most players did a good job of creating the asked-for mix of friends, family, acquaintances, rivals, old flings and annoying hangers-on. (I like to think of it as a fantasy version of Seinfeld.)

It does two things: First, it invests the players in the city. They know people here and have a history here. So what happens here is much more important than it would be normally. It's easy to be theoretically opposed to causing a huge backlash against the population or causing a violent rebellion. But it's much more meaningful if their little sister might get swept up in the violence and killed (or worse...)

Second, it populates the city for me. And frankly with a lot more originality than I could do on my own. So now I've got over fifty fairly well fleshed out NPCs at my disposal to use in the campaign. And the cool thing is that when I do use one the player gets a bit of a thrill and has ownership in the scene.

That's a long suggestion, but an idea that I'd suggest you try. Even if you only ask for three per player, it will help get them into the city in ways you couldn't otherwise.

Silver Crusade

Thanks everyone for the advise thus far!

I hope to have at least three of the books by the time we really get the adventure going. My group goes pretty slowly (especially when we miss a week here or there like we are prone to do), and I don’t expect to start any sooner than early October. I’m pretty sure I should be able to manage given the pace of my group, and I’m pretty good at being flexible most of the time in running adventures. I plan on adding a few encounters and roleplay stuff for the Bastards of Erebus to help give me some time to get more material and see if anyone else trips upon any problems before me.

I’ve been reading through the threads here, and they have been a lot of help. This is certainly a very nice community here at Paizo! This definitely seems like the right place to take advantage of.

Promoting roleplaying has certainly been a primary objective of mine since becoming GM of my group. I don’t think my group had a ton experience or opportunity to roleplay in the past, but I have been gradually building up the roleplaying in the current campaign we are finishing up. I hope I’ve gotten to the point where they are prepared for a heavy roleplay experience like CoT.

I’ve spent a lot of time with them as you suggested Shisumo trying to get them to develop the background and personalities for their characters, and get them exited about their characters (it probably helped that I offered an Exp bonus to those who took the opportunity to build their characters’ background, personality, goals, and description). I’ve put a lot of emphasis for why their characters would want to join a resistance group, and their connection to the city of Westcrown, and they seem to be getting into it and seem to be legitamently exited by the campaign. I think the background and goals are really going to pay dividends once we get into the campaign, and I start weaving their backgrounds into the campaign. I know I personally am going to have to step up on my own roleplaying to give this adventure path the justice it deserves.

I think your idea of contacts is an excellent idea Micco. I will definitely have to bring that up with my group. It seems imperative to get the group to have a connection to the city and its people, and bring the city in general alive. Given that this is a city based campaign, it only makes sense to have the players create some of their own contacts.

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