So, has this AP's plot mistep appeared yet?


Council of Thieves

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A Man In Black wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
The opponent is actually hell itself from my PoV, so it hardly matters who they have on the material plane to represent them.

Hell has been statted up as completely unopposable, since they have level 20 generals, level 26 leadership, and level more-than-26 rulership. It's like trying to oppose an orc horde led by a level 10 king with a level 8 aristocracy in a game where the PCs are capped at level 3.

That was from a realistic PoV.

From a "fun" PoV I am sure there is probably a way to make Cheliax more trouble than it is worth. Paizo, or the DM who decides to ignore cannon and overthrow it will most likely have to(should, IMHO)use that approach when doing so.

Liberty's Edge

Well, frankly, this thread is losing its amusement factor.

I enjoy watching folks take parts of arguments and responses, incompletely, simply to perpetuate an argument.

It's amusing. But, it gets old.

I said it before: If you don't like Golarion, re-write it. Use what you want, throw out the rest.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

A Man In Black wrote:
yoda8myhead wrote:
Having world elements that aren't geared 100% to your game is just what happens when you're not writing everything yourself.

A CR 26 or higher opponent is essentially invincible.

For whose game is this a good idea?

For a game in which PCs are level 20+. Not everyone plays at the power level you play at. Some people like high level play. A CR 26 opponent is nigh on invincible to a party that's the wrong level, but a GM of that game should know that and not put them up against one. If the PCs really want to take out Cheliax and there's no intention for the game to go above 15th level, then the GM should change things as needed. Same way they should increase the challenge if a level 30 party wants to do the same thing.

A Man In Black wrote:
yoda8myhead wrote:
Additionally, the right power level for given campaign is obviously a matter of subjectivity. If you can overthrow one of the most powerful nations in the world at level 12 or even 15, what then?

60 seconds of ideas, go.

  • The game ends.
  • Die Asmodeus Die/A Paladin In Hell
  • Prevent armageddon/The same old defend-the-world-from-something-horrible
  • Kingmaker

    I'm not much of a game designer. I'm definitely not a professional. But even assuming that I were a game designer whose time is worth six figures a year, there's a buck's worth of ideas.

    Incidentally? The guy who wrote A Paladin In Hell (an adventure where, among other things, you seriously do get to punch archdevils in the face) wrote the foreword to the PFGCR. You don't get to have adventures where you punch archdevils in the face (without publishing extra rules in a supplement) if the archdevils are CR Invincible.

  • Check out The Infernal Syndrome, pp 52-53. In this encounter, PCs take on a pit fiend. His backstory indicates that he's one of the Infernal Dukes, which isn't an Archdevil but is more than just your average devil. PCs do this at 9th level. As I said upthread, we haven't yet seen a statblock or class/level designations for Her Infernal Majestrix, General Gorthoklek, the Whispering Tyrant, Geb, Alaznist, Grask Uldeth of the Open Hand, Lord Gyr, Kevoth Kul, White Estid, the Pactmasters, and thousands of other elements of the Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting. When we do, then there will be a conon power level for those NPCs. Until then, they're whatever you want them to be. And after? They're still whatever you want them to be.

    You keep saying you're "voting with your wallet." That's great. There are thousands of people who are voting in support of Paizo's design decisions. We each get the game we want. I get Pathfinder, and you get something else. Win-win.

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

    yoda8myhead wrote:

    For a game in which PCs are level 20+. Not everyone plays at the power level you play at. Some people like high level play. A CR 26 opponent is nigh on invincible to a party that's the wrong level, but a GM of that game should know that and put them up against one. If the PCs really want to take out Cheliax and there's no intention for the game to go above 15th level, then the GM should change things as needed. Same way they should increase the challenge if a level 30 party wants to do the same thing.

    There are no level 30 parties, or parties of PCs of level higher than 20. Perhaps Paizo will someday release rules for that game, but not any time soon. In the meantime, enemies up to CR 25 are useful, and above that is invincible barring plot devices.

    Quote:
    Check out The Infernal Syndrome, pp 52-53. In this encounter, PCs take on a pit fiend. His backstory indicates that he's one of the Infernal Dukes, which isn't an Archdevil but is more than just your average devil. PCs do this at 9th level.

    Without any details, I can't comment, only speculate. How are level 9 characters able to defeat him? Are you going to be using the words "former," "deposed," "weakened," or "with the aid of NPCs"?

    I can comment on what you mentioned, though, although it's tangential to my main point (again). How many tiers of "more special" do we need? As recently as the 3.5 Monster Manual, pit fiends are the "undisputed lords of the baatezu." Now, pit fiends are the lieutenants to the dukes (who are more-special pit fiends), who are subordinate to the archdevils (who are even more special than dukes).

    Quote:
    You keep saying you're "voting with your wallet."

    I stopped doing that when I stopped talking about what I wanted and why. I understand that you like it better; I'm interested in why.

    Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

    A Man In Black wrote:
    There are no level 30 parties, or parties of PCs of level higher than 20. Perhaps Paizo will someday release rules for that game, but not any time soon. In the meantime, enemies up to CR 25 are useful, and above that is invincible barring plot devices.

    Your assuming an awful lot about how everyone else plays their game. Epic rules exist (for free on the SRD even) and with minor tweaking they can be adapted for use with the PFRPG. Some people might not even have converted to Pathfinder rules but continue 3.5 games set in Golarion. I know people who are playing True20 Rise of the Runelords. You might not be playing above 20th level, but someone somewhere is. And Paizo supports their game as best they can until they do with epic content what they did for core. Until then, that means they have monsters with high CRs.

    A Man In Black wrote:
    Without any details, I can't comment, only speculate. How are level 9 characters able to defeat him? Are you going to be using the words "former," "deposed," "weakened," or "with the aid of NPCs"?

    Yes, he is weakened, assuming the PCs take the right steps leading up to their fight with him. The specifics of this encounter aren't the point any more than they serve to illustrate that the game is adaptable and you can alter any villain to accommodate the needs of the story you want to tell. If you need General Gorthoklek to be beatable by an APL 16 party, make him such.

    A Man In Black wrote:
    I can comment on what you mentioned, though, although it's tangential to my main point (again). How many tiers of "more special" do we need? As recently as the 3.5 Monster Manual, pit fiends are the "undisputed lords of the baatezu." Now, pit fiends are the lieutenants to the dukes (who are more-special pit fiends), who are subordinate to the archdevils (who are even more special than dukes).

    In a lawful evil hierarchy such as the Nine Hells, I'd expect there to be countless tiers of power and influence. Giving those unique devils names and individual motivations brings the setting to life instead of just having an unnamed, generic pit fiend serving as the right hands of Asmodeus. There's a whole 64 page book about the ecology of Hell and how devils work within the confines of the Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting. Each page contained the spark of an idea that could act as the centerpiece of a whole story or campaign. It would have been hard to write that much and inspire so many different plot hooks if Hell were simply inhabited by a bunch of generic pit fiends. Ho hum.

    A Man In Black wrote:
    I stopped doing that when I stopped talking about what I wanted and why. I understand that you like it better; I'm interested in why.

    Why do I like the setting as it is? Because it's full of great stories. The whole concept of Cheliax is one of the best. I love the moral ambiguity it represents. Do the ends (a stable and prosperous nation) really justify the means (allying with the ranks of Hell)? I like that House Thrune is set at "CR Invincible" because it keeps PCs from willy-nilly tilting the whole campaign setting on its head. I like that there's always something higher to strive for for a PC, whether they're level 2 or 20. I'm a canon-whore who loves specific details about a setting because it makes it feel like more real of a place to me than you get with just rules and minimal, vanilla flavor. I like the setting's numerous pulp inspirations, its dark, mature tone, and the fact that it's stable enough that I can invest in it without worrying that my time and energy is going to be wasted. There's a reason I never jumped this fully on the FR ship: I didn't want to learn that the nation that inspired me or the deity that tied the setting together had changed because of some incidental adventure or novel. I also like the fact that the Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting is generic enough that I can apply my own changes to it without it being a different setting and I'll still have a point of reference when using other supplements or discussing it online (which you can't do as well when the whole setting is homebrewed as you need to explain more of it). If I want to have had all the Runelords return and make Varisia their playground as they attempt to spread their influence over the rest of the world, I can do that. If I want to have Nex and Geb return and resume their centuries long war, I can. If invaders from Arcadia suddenly show up off the coast of Sargava in great birchbark longboats, that's doable. And yes, if my players wanted to overthrow any one of the established nations and set their own monarch on the throne, I can do that, too. The campaign setting provides me with all the tools I need and more than enough inspiration to make my game the game I want it to be.

    Liberty's Edge

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    yoda8myhead wrote:
    A Man In Black wrote:
    What's the appeal of that? Why clutter otherwise-useful books with villains who are so strong that you can't actually use them in your game?
    Even if everything were CR5, I still wouldn't have the chance to use most of it in my games.

    It's funny because back in the day when D&D's level progression was spread out over multiple products.. there were low level dragons so that even the lowest level characters get to do stuff.

    Topple a big bad evil government.. oh yeah.. Curse of the Crimson Throne. Want an epic battle.. DIY against Cheliax.

    Liberty's Edge

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    yoda8myhead wrote:
    A Man In Black wrote:
    What's the appeal of that? Why clutter otherwise-useful books with villains who are so strong that you can't actually use them in your game?
    Even if everything were CR5, I still wouldn't have the chance to use most of it in my games. I'd rather they include stuff at all levels, because not everyone plays at the same level.

    It's funny because back in the day when D&D's level progression was spread out over multiple products.. there were low level dragons so that even the lowest level characters get to do the cool stuff.

    Sadly this isn't 1e anymore and we get all of our core level progression on day 1.

    But wait.. why have the Tarrasque in the Monster manual if MOST characters are never going to fight it and developers are never going to use it. Oh yeah... so DMs can. I think people tend to forget that today's MM is full of monster that never see much use.

    Dark Archive

    A Man In Black wrote:
    I stopped doing that when I stopped talking about what I wanted and why. I understand that you like it better; I'm interested in why.

    Because you're looking at the glass half empty. I'm looking at it half full.

    I like the idea of a villain that takes time and effort to defeat. I don't feel your complaint that "A spell that does practically anything" being at 9th level suddenly makes continuing the game horrible, because as a GM you get to corrupt that wish, or tell the cleric his miracle was denied because the god didn't agree to it.

    Also, the second you decide to take out House Thrune, you've created GM fiat. So don't give me the argument that needing GM fiat is necessary to take it out, and that's unacceptable. The second you decide to change ANYTHING about the setting, GM fiat has occurred. You have said, "This setting now differs from the books in this manner, and will for this campaign."

    I don't get your argument that having a strong villain that the PC's would need to work hard and long at to overthrow is a bad thing(tm).

    And that's a fundamental disagreement. You aren't going to get our argument, because you believe that if it exists it should be kill-able in levels 1-20.

    I don't agree with that argument, and I believe that some things shouldn't be attainable in that level range. If you suddenly at level 20 had the power to do anything, that is boring. What wonder is there to behold anymore? You're king of the mountain, and do whatever you want.

    The game ceases to be fun when there is no near insurmountable challenges anymore. When you break down the game into fundamental statistics the campaign ceases to be a story and becomes a walking math problem, and I don't know about you, but math is boring.

    I don't have a degree in math, nor am I inclined to get one.

    What I find fun, is exploring the world and the story presented to me. That is fun. I don't care if GM fiat is involved, when I tell my friends about how the elder black dragon was destroyed by our party, who barely lived to tell the tale, that is where the fun continues. Its about the stories you get to tell. Its about going through the world and accomplishing something epic, and who cares if the CR was 26 or a billion, we encountered it, and lived to tell the tale!


    A Man In Black wrote:
    For whose game is this a good idea?

    Mine. Thanks for coming out.

    Liberty's Edge

    Arnwyn wrote:
    A Man In Black wrote:
    For whose game is this a good idea?
    Mine. Thanks for coming out.

    +1

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

    Quote:
    I like that House Thrune is set at "CR Invincible" because it keeps PCs from willy-nilly tilting the whole campaign setting on its head.
    Quote:
    I don't feel your complaint that "A spell that does practically anything" being at 9th level suddenly makes continuing the game horrible, because as a GM you get to corrupt that wish, or tell the cleric his miracle was denied because the god didn't agree to it.

    And here we are back at "The PCs don't get to affect the setting."

    Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

    A Man In Black wrote:
    And here we are back at "The PCs don't get to affect the setting."

    Affecting the setting and redefining it are two different things.

    The Exchange

    Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber

    ...aaaaaand that's a wrap!

    The Exchange

    A Man In Black wrote:


    And here we are back at "The PCs don't get to affect the setting."

    I haven't been to these boards in nearly a month, and not looking like getting much time after this unfortunately. However this argument was interesting to read in my spare time.

    A man in black, every AP has the PC's affecting the game world. They prevent really bad things from occuring, in everyone of them (That i've read at least). They are keeping the status quo by actively preventing very drastic changes to an otherwise stable world.

    Spoilers for those who havn't read the campaigns

    Runelords

    Spoiler:

    The PCs prevent the rise to power of one of the original runelords. A creature fully intent on conquiering its old lands again. They got to affect the world by preventing this from occuring, and bringing to lite this potential threat to the rulers of that part of Korvosa

    Crimson throne

    Spoiler:

    They aid in the overthrowing of a possessed and very evil queen. How is that not changing the setting?

    Legacy of Fire

    Spoiler:

    The PC's prevent the rise of a genie army and teh re embodyment of one of Rovagugs original pets. If they didn't do that, all of Osirion would most likely have been destroyed.

    They're the only campiagns I have read. Paizo has to assume that PC's succeed in their AP's, which is the point after all. If they assume the PC's don't then you get entire groups of people unhappy because their group "Won" but the world changed anyway.

    If a particular GM's group fails at a quest, its the GM's job to make those changes to their world, not Paizo's. Heck, even if the group "wins" and you want to keep teh world continous when you play the other AP's, you have to put in some legwork as DM.

    A few more things you asked after.

    - Eberron is a campaign setting without epic evil bad guys. I don't believe Lady Vol was more than level 17, and she was the main baddy in that campaign world.

    - My group played Age of Worms all the way through to level 20. The last few game sessions had them taking on CR 24, 25 and I think a 26 creature. (not sure on that last CR). They won. Something people should keep in mind is the CR system is very wonky at high levels, not necessarily the critters, but the PC's represent a seriously higher level of danger than "CR 20". You need epic level critters in a world to cater to those groups playing at epic level. CR 26 is not unbeatable. It's just unbeatable for players of level 15 or lower.

    - You want an example of a company that did just what you are asking? FASA had a game called Earthdawn (recently re released by another company I believe). They constantly released "World changing content" that players could run through. The problem is, after two or so years of doing this, they couldn't garner new players to the game without re-releasing entire sets of books, most notably the campaign setting, as it had to be current for the scenarios and background material they were releasing. It destroyed that particular game system for the company. It made all their older books obsolete. Not something you'd want to do as a growing company in a competative market I believe. It's waht the release of 4th edition did in essence, and look at eh trouble that casued int eh community.

    Sorry to jump into the thread like this, but felt it important to respond. There was lots of this type of talk popping up during the Beta for the main rules too. Some people just aren't happy unless things are done exactly their way. If that's what you want, rewrite the material yourself (which some of those folk are actually doing in the homebrew sections I believe.)

    Cheers


    A Man In Black wrote:
    Quote:
    I like that House Thrune is set at "CR Invincible" because it keeps PCs from willy-nilly tilting the whole campaign setting on its head.
    Quote:
    I don't feel your complaint that "A spell that does practically anything" being at 9th level suddenly makes continuing the game horrible, because as a GM you get to corrupt that wish, or tell the cleric his miracle was denied because the god didn't agree to it.
    And here we are back at "The PCs don't get to affect the setting."

    The PCs get to affect the setting if you let them. If you want them to overthrow House Thrune, hey, look at that! They overthrew House Thrune.

    I'm not really sure what you think Paizo should do. They've provided a nice framework to play with, now it's up to you and your players to go make it yours.


    Wolfboy wrote:

    Sheesh. This topic was interesting for about 15 minutes of reading, then it got positively petulant.

    Thay. Iuz. The Great Kingdom. Zhentil Keep. All powerful evil faction in their own rights. I spent 4 REAL years (almost 30 in-game years) in an FR campaign fighting the Zhents.

    ...Snip...

    Sure, you could probably kill the Empress. That'd create the biggest power vacuum on Golarion since Aroden died. He was a god. Look what happened. Can a group of PCs prevent the sort of world-wide repercussions overthrowing a government, one of the biggest governments to boot?

    That's the game side of things.

    From the...

    Fantastic post! Kudos for succinctly & demonstrably putting into words what many were trying to convey.

    As for whether you'll be any more successful in illustrating the opposing viewpoint... Since I thought some of the earlier posts did a good job of addressing the "why nots", I suspect your chances of success are greater but not by a whole hell of a lot.

    Dark Archive

    A Man In Black wrote:
    Quote:
    I like that House Thrune is set at "CR Invincible" because it keeps PCs from willy-nilly tilting the whole campaign setting on its head.
    Quote:
    I don't feel your complaint that "A spell that does practically anything" being at 9th level suddenly makes continuing the game horrible, because as a GM you get to corrupt that wish, or tell the cleric his miracle was denied because the god didn't agree to it.
    And here we are back at "The PCs don't get to affect the setting."

    That's a rather large straw man you've built there.

    When is the burning man?

    Seriously MiB, you are arguing that because you can't take Cheliax out, anything else is pointless? Is that the argument you're making? Because if not, then you better delete that post. We never said it shouldn't be possible, we are saying we agree, that should be an epic undertaking, and not something in the vein of a normal adventure path.

    Hell, I could see there being something along the lines of three or four adventure paths to get that particular task accomplished. The point I'm making though, is that it shouldn't be something you can do within the first twenty levels of play. You're a big player, but world redefining actions should be left for epic play.

    And no matter how you slice it, deposing the Infernal Government of Cheliax, is a world redefining action.

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

    Wrath, your examples are "The PCs prevent...", the PCs respond to a recent evil plot, and "The PCs prevent..." The PCs aren't affecting the setting; they're preventing it from being affected.

    Quote:
    Seriously MiB, you are arguing that because you can't take Cheliax out, anything else is pointless?

    No, I'm arguing that the reigning philosophy is that the PCs are not empowered to affect the setting in any meaningful way, and used the high power level of Cheliax (an example I was familiar with) to illustrate that. This philosophy reaches even as far as the Pathfinder Bestiary, which has three separate examples of You Are Not Cool Enough To Affect This Without A Plot Device.

    I've been trying to sort through "Damn right the PCs shouldn't be able to affect Cheliax!" (which I only used because I'm familiar with it offhand and FatR was complaining about it) in order to find things that they can affect, or to find some argument why not being able to affect the setting is a good thing.


    A Man In Black wrote:

    Wrath, your examples are "The PCs prevent...", the PCs respond to a recent evil plot, and "The PCs prevent..." The PCs aren't affecting the setting; they're preventing it from being affected.

    So their actions of preventing a powerful being from returning don't have an affect on the setting? I disagree. You don't have to change something to have an affect on it.

    Now if you want the PC's to actually go about changing things that may be an entirely different argument altogether.

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

    wraithstrike wrote:

    So their actions of preventing a powerful being from returning don't have an affect on the setting? I disagree. You don't have to change something to have an affect on it.

    Now if you want the PC's to actually go about changing things that may be an entirely different argument altogether.

    I do want the PCs to be able to change things. The heroes as proud champions of the status quo (however much it sucks) is a trope so crusty that even comic books were criticizing it thirty years ago. It's grossly inappropriate (or at least incongruous) in a game that gives the PCs explicit world-changing powers.

    What is the appeal of this trope?

    Is it a reasoned part of Golarion? If so, why? If not, how did it come about?


    This conversation seems to be pretty much going in circles now.


    A Man In Black wrote:
    wraithstrike wrote:

    So their actions of preventing a powerful being from returning don't have an affect on the setting? I disagree. You don't have to change something to have an affect on it.

    Now if you want the PC's to actually go about changing things that may be an entirely different argument altogether.

    I do want the PCs to be able to change things. The heroes as proud champions of the status quo (however much it sucks) is a trope so crusty that even comic books were criticizing it thirty years ago. It's grossly inappropriate (or at least incongruous) in a game that gives the PCs explicit world-changing powers.

    What is the appeal of this trope?

    Is it a reasoned part of Golarion? If so, why? If not, how did it come about?

    Ok. Do you want the changes to come from Paizo or will these be house changes?

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

    wraithstrike wrote:
    Ok. Do you want the changes to come from Paizo or will these be house changes?

    Actually, since so many people were willing to argue in favor of them, I was looking for an explanation of their appeal.


    A Man In Black,

    There is another thread about Tar-Baphon up in the Pathfinder General Discussion forum and this is a post that might interest you about how some at Paizo think about power levels:

    James Jacobs wrote:

    I've always seen Tar-Baphon as a human lich wizard specialized in necromancy. He'd probably be pretty high level; he's one of the few but actual epic-level threats in Golarion, which is why we haven't come out and nailed down his class and level yet; we're waiting to see how our epic level rules work. But were I statting him up in 3rd edition, he'd be a 30th or 36th level wizard lich.

    For a home game with him as the big bad end guy, you should aim for a CR of 4 above the final party level, I guess. So for a 20th level party, he'd probably be a wizard 20/loremaster 3 lich or something like that.

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

    Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
    There is another thread about Tar-Baphon up in the Pathfinder General Discussion forum and this is a post that might interest you about how some at Paizo think about power levels:

    I don't think I can come up with a rational response to that thread but thanks for the heads up!


    A Man In Black wrote:
    Actually, since so many people were willing to argue in favor of them, I was looking for an explanation of their appeal.

    You'll never get one (not to your satisfaction, anyways).

    This is one of those really creepy internet "justify your preferences" ('explain', 'rationalize', 'clarify', whatever - it all works out to "justify" in the end) moments - and that's so 5 years ago.

    Haven't people moved on from that yet?

    (Besides - no published setting has ever supported 'change beyond the status quo' - that has always been left to DMs. The same goes with Golarion... if the DM wants to change it, then they must do the work to change it. And that's a good thing in the world of published campaign settings.) So it's only a problem if you want to make it one - and that would make it solely your problem.


    Arnwyn wrote:
    A Man In Black wrote:
    Actually, since so many people were willing to argue in favor of them, I was looking for an explanation of their appeal.

    You'll never get one (not to your satisfaction, anyways).

    This is one of those really creepy internet "justify your preferences" ('explain', 'rationalize', 'clarify', whatever - it all works out to "justify" in the end) moments - and that's so 5 years ago.

    Haven't people moved on from that yet?

    (Besides - no published setting has ever supported 'change beyond the status quo' - that has always been left to DMs. The same goes with Golarion... if the DM wants to change it, then they must do the work to change it. And that's a good thing in the world of published campaign settings.) So it's only a problem if you want to make it one - and that would make it solely your problem.

    I agree with this post on all points.

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

    Arnwyn wrote:
    (Besides - no published setting has ever supported 'change beyond the status quo' - that has always been left to DMs. The same goes with Golarion... if the DM wants to change it, then they must do the work to change it. And that's a good thing in the world of published campaign settings.) So it's only a problem if you want to make it one - and that would make it solely your problem.

    Ravenloft does; one of the main goals of the setting is to either become a lord or kill one and escape, plus there's almost nothing to save so the PCs are constantly either defending themselves or trying to fix things. Eberron does; major chunks of the setting are canonically uncertain or obvious problems for the PCs to go and mess with, and there's a lot of discussion even in the published books on what happens if you start messing with the setting. That's two off the top of my head.

    But hey, superkeen thanks for calling my questions "creepy" instead of answering them.


    We shall not, I mean not! talk of die vecna die. Do you hear me! We will not ever speak of it again.

    On a note: Darksun did what your asking for, yeah that worked out well

    The Exchange

    A Man In Black wrote:
    Arnwyn wrote:
    (Besides - no published setting has ever supported 'change beyond the status quo' - that has always been left to DMs. The same goes with Golarion... if the DM wants to change it, then they must do the work to change it. And that's a good thing in the world of published campaign settings.) So it's only a problem if you want to make it one - and that would make it solely your problem.

    Ravenloft does; one of the main goals of the setting is to either become a lord or kill one and escape, plus there's almost nothing to save so the PCs are constantly either defending themselves or trying to fix things. Eberron does; major chunks of the setting are canonically uncertain or obvious problems for the PCs to go and mess with, and there's a lot of discussion even in the published books on what happens if you start messing with the setting. That's two off the top of my head.

    But hey, superkeen thanks for calling my questions "creepy" instead of answering them.

    Don't know much about Ravenloft, but as far as I was aware the whole point of it was simply to get away. I don't agree with your comments on Eberron, and the big changes you talk of are not really supported, other than mentioning you can do it. There are no adventures which disrupt the standard setting, they are simply saying you can change it if you want (which is more or less stating the obvious, albeit then give a few ideas). Given that the Paizo staff have been saying that too, I don't really see what the actual big fuss is about.

    Liberty's Edge

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    seekerofshadowlight wrote:
    On a note: Darksun did what your asking for, yeah that worked out well

    I tried to remind people of that, they ignored me. :)

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

    Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
    There are no adventures which disrupt the standard setting, they are simply saying you can change it if you want (which is more or less stating the obvious, albeit then give a few ideas). Given that the Paizo staff have been saying that too, I don't really see what the actual big fuss is about.

    The Eberron published adventures don't fool with the setting, you're right, but that's as much a demand of canon as anything. Eberron adventures can't fool with the setting much because they're all canon. That's lame, but Golarion doesn't have to suffer under those restrictions because adventures aren't canon.

    Contrast Cheliax with Karrnath. Cheliax has big hitters devoted to protecting the status quo from you, Karrnath has a vulnerable leader with a Big Secret and a number of plot hooks devoted to different groups wanting to bring him down for various reasons. Even the core book gives some ink to this idea, and Five Nations goes into more detail. Thrune can only be opposed the same way you oppose erosion. If you really want to wreck Kaius III's reign, then there are obvious and entertaining hooks for you to do so.

    Now, if someone wants to come out and say, "Well, Cheliax doesn't have that, but [foo] and [bar] toss out a bunch of really neat campaign hooks where the PCs are doing something other than defending the status quo," feel free to prove me wrong, here.


    I don't know why I keep feeling compelled to read this thread at this point. It certainly isn't the thread I started anymore. It's just the same posts over and over. One guy goes "Paizo owes me something!" And then it's a bunch of people who post "Paizo doesn't owe you anymore than they've given you, make it your own." And then we get more of "Paizo owes me something!"
    Yeesh.

    Dark Archive

    wspatterson wrote:

    I don't know why I keep feeling compelled to read this thread at this point. It certainly isn't the thread I started anymore. It's just the same posts over and over. One guy goes "Paizo owes me something!" And then it's a bunch of people who post "Paizo doesn't owe you anymore than they've given you, make it your own." And then we get more of "Paizo owes me something!"

    Yeesh.

    I keep reading it just to see how many circles they are going to make. :)


    I think, in all honesty, this discussion probably belongs in its own thread about the general direction of adventure paths and the campaign setting, instead of a thread that was specifically discussing if there would be any speed bumps for a campaign utilizing the Council of Thieves adventure path.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is, perhaps if the conversation is to go on, it should have its own home with a more appropriate billing on the thread title, but maybe that's just me.

    Dark Archive

    A Man In Black wrote:

    Wrath, your examples are "The PCs prevent...", the PCs respond to a recent evil plot, and "The PCs prevent..." The PCs aren't affecting the setting; they're preventing it from being affected.

    Quote:
    Seriously MiB, you are arguing that because you can't take Cheliax out, anything else is pointless?
    No, I'm arguing that the reigning philosophy is that the PCs are not empowered to affect the setting in any meaningful way, and used the high power level of Cheliax (an example I was familiar with) to illustrate that. This philosophy reaches even as far as the Pathfinder Bestiary, which has three separate examples of You Are Not Cool Enough To Affect This Without A Plot Device.

    Or you could wait for the epic rules. You seem to purposefully put yourself in the box of "Levels 1-20 are the only levels that matter, taking characters beyond that is impossible!" We're telling you to think out of the box, and you either ignore it, or dismiss it rudely. You seem dead set on making everything in a campaign world doable in the normal level range, which I believe is rather laughable. Not everything should be doable by the time you hit twenty, that's boring.

    Quote:
    I've been trying to sort through "Damn right the PCs shouldn't be able to affect Cheliax!" (which I only used because I'm familiar with it offhand and FatR was complaining about it) in order to find things that they can affect, or to find some argument why not being able to affect the setting is a good thing.

    Its a good thing not because they don't have the power to affect the setting, but they don't have the power to turn the setting upside down. No PC should have that ability without a concerted effort that falls well outside the range of level 20. To suddenly turn around and have your level 15 PC's march from Westcrown all the way to the Palace of Thrune and be able to take out the throne and the power behind it is ridiculous. That's assuming something like that hasn't happened before, when it obviously has.

    All kinds of Paladins have died trying to do what your entailing, whats the difference between them and the PC's? Does being a PC magically make them better than these NPC paladins? I would argue quite the other way. If you want Paladin in hell shenanigans you can get it far more effectively by having the paladin you know, go to hell, for other reasons.

    The Pact Primeval comes to mind, then again you'd be facing down a GOD to deal with that one.

    Where do you draw the line MiB? Should the Gods be kill-able? Should they be kill-able at levels 1-20? Because that seems to be what you're implying. A powerful nation should be able to be turned upside down, why not the pantheon? I mean one is only the basis of religion for the entire known world, the other is just the stability of an entire continent in the world.

    That's small potatoes right?


    I don't think the AP's had a misstep yet but this thread sure as hell has.

    Happy New Year everyone. Good gaming to all in 2010!


    BPorter wrote:

    I don't think the AP's had a misstep yet but this thread sure as hell has.

    Happy New Year everyone. Good gaming to all in 2010!

    It may not have had one so far, but the AP is not all out yet either. For all we know, the misstep will be when you get to part six and your PC's want to go and take down House Thrune but the AP does not let them. I have known a lot of gamers in my 25+ years of experience and there have been a few who would not be happy with any other ending than taking down Cheliax, whether the leaders are written as beatable or not.

    Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

    A Man In Black wrote:
    Now, if someone wants to come out and say, "Well, Cheliax doesn't have that, but [foo] and [bar] toss out a bunch of really neat campaign hooks where the PCs are doing something other than defending the status quo," feel free to prove me wrong, here.

    I guess it depends on what your definition of "status quo" is. If you don't consider the world prior to Aroden's death the status quo, then there are a lot of opportunities to affect the setting in restoring things to how they were before reality was torn asunder. You could go to the Worldwound, where demons spew from a rift created by Pazuzu. If you could vanquish the ranks of the Abyss, you could forge a new nation there or restore one of the cities lost to their onslaught.

    Sargava presents the opportunity to oust Cheliax from their colonial stronghold, and set up a new nation free from their tyrannical rule. Since the Mwangi natives haven't ruled the region in centuries (and it was much less developed before colonization) you aren't setting up the status quo, here, but founding a new nation and society on your own terms.

    Brevoy had all their ruling class disappear around a decade ago, leaving a vacuum in leadership. It's been filled, but by a somewhat shifty character who uses political machinations and trickery to maintain his hold. The Aldori Swordlords would be an excellent vehicle through which to wrest control from Surtova and redefine the nation.

    In any number of nations, especially those with more localized governments like Varisia, the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, Ustalav, or the River Kingdoms could easily have a leader die or be overthrown and the new leader (maybe even your party) attempt to then consolidate power nationwide.

    In each of these instances, though, you will need to design the adventures yourself and might need to tweak things to make them work for your campaign. It seems to me that you want Paizo or others on the community to define your campaign for you. I suggest you read the Campaign Setting more thoroughly and not through a pessimistic lens. If you're only looking for instances where you can't set the kind of adventure you want to run, then that's all you're going to find. And focusing just on one of the setting's largest pillars is probably not the way to go. Though as I've said many times up thread, in your game, Cheliax can be whatever you want it to be. Take the elements from the CS that work for you and use them, and implement the changes you want. Your players won't know the difference.

    Liberty's Edge

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    KnightErrantJR wrote:
    So, I guess what I'm saying is, perhaps if the conversation is to go on, it should have its own home with a more appropriate billing on the thread title, but maybe that's just me.

    KEJ I love you but you spend too much time on your livejournal and not enough time here. The offtopic, threadjack army is strong in the force here. :)


    SirUrza wrote:


    KEJ I love you but you spend too much time on your livejournal and not enough time here. The offtopic, threadjack army is strong in the force here. :)

    Yeah, once I built my own fortress, I have a harder time on my diplomatic forays . . . ;)


    KnightErrantJR wrote:
    SirUrza wrote:


    KEJ I love you but you spend too much time on your livejournal and not enough time here. The offtopic, threadjack army is strong in the force here. :)
    Yeah, once I built my own fortress, I have a harder time on my diplomatic forays . . . ;)

    This thread has really reached the point where it can die now. It's just become an endlessly circular thing now.

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

    wspatterson wrote:
    I don't know why I keep feeling compelled to read this thread at this point.

    Then stop.

    seekerofshadowlight wrote:
    We shall not, I mean not! talk of die vecna die. Do you hear me! We will not ever speak of it again.

    Die Vecna Die did suck for a lot of reasons.

    Dissinger wrote:
    Or you could wait for the epic rules. You seem to purposefully put yourself in the box of "Levels 1-20 are the only levels that matter, taking characters beyond that is impossible!" We're telling you to think out of the box, and you either ignore it, or dismiss it rudely. You seem dead set on making everything in a campaign world doable in the normal level range, which I believe is rather laughable. Not everything should be doable by the time you hit twenty, that's boring.

    Setting aside how completely awful the existing epic rules are and how non-existent the PF epic rules are, how is not being able to do something more exciting than being able to do something?

    And also, keep in mind that the Pathfinder Bestiary is the companion book to Pathfinder core, which only has 20 levels worth of rules.

    Quote:
    Its a good thing not because they don't have the power to affect the setting, but they don't have the power to turn the setting upside down. No PC should have that ability without a concerted effort that falls well outside the range of level 20. To suddenly turn around and have your level 15 PC's march from Westcrown all the way to the Palace of Thrune and be able to take out the throne and the power behind it is ridiculous. That's assuming something like that hasn't happened before, when it obviously has.

    Why is it completely ridiculous? The only reason it's inappropriate to the setting would be if you have a bunch of high-level characters in the setting who aren't using their abilities to affect the status quo. The solution to that is not to make a bunch of inactive even-higher-level NPCs to smack down anyone to makes waves, but instead to stop making high-level NPCs who sit on their duffs. If the leadership of Cheliax can crush the PCs with two minutes of effort, how is Council of Thieves happening at all? Pit fiends have scry-and-die built into their spell-like ability suites.

    Quote:
    All kinds of Paladins have died trying to do what your entailing, whats the difference between them and the PC's?

    The NPCs aren't the protagonists, and the PCs are. "The PCs can't affect the setting, because if it were possible, the much-higher-level NPCs wandering around the setting would have done it already" is not an argument for stasis, but instead an argument for not burdening the setting with Team Elminster.

    y8mh wrote:
    It seems to me that you want Paizo or others on the community to define your campaign for you.

    Your post has lots of good ideas; I don't have the Golarion CS to get most of them.

    But yes, I do want Paizo to sell me some entertaining campaign ideas. I am a consumer of pre-made adventures. Is that not the business they are in? These are the forums they set up to get feedback from customers and potential customers about those products, and this small-fry defending-the-status-quo-only sort of stuff is a waste of a perfectly good decision to not have canon.

    Liberty's Edge

    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    I would like to make a couple points here that probably have already been made. Hey I'm a glutton for punishment.

    I have been in several games where we made it to level 20. At level 20 the DM was either not creative enough, or didn't have enough material to test us with any meaningful encounters. The game got boring and stagnant, and we as players began to topple governments/nations for fun. So yes there is a point to having creature/monsters/BBEG with a CR in the 26 range. When compared to PCs in the high teens or level 20, you can pretty much throw the CRs out the window.

    I know for a fact that one of my groups could have taken down a CR 26 creature without breaking a sweat. They were amazing with tactics, and built characters specifically to work together. It was a beautiful sight to behold.

    My other point to make is that often times the reason a high level npc/PC doesn't just walk in to the throne room of said evil country and kill its leader is not because they can't. It's because they know better. They know that killing off the leader will destabilize the whole government, and possibly allow a worse leader to move into the throne.

    The most important thing to understand is that Paizo may come out and say that Cheliax's leaders are CR 26, and that deposing them is a epic level campaign. But you know what...Paizo is not my GM! They created a wonderful setting and said "Here you go fans!" It's your setting now! I don't recall anyone from the Paizo staff ever saying, "You cannot change our setting for your home campaign! If you do Erik Mona will hit you with James Jacobs!"

    Happy New Years everyone!!!!

    Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

    A Man In Black wrote:

    Your post has lots of good ideas; I don't have the Golarion CS to get most of them.

    But yes, I do want Paizo to sell me some entertaining campaign ideas. I am a consumer of pre-made adventures. Is that not the business they are in? These are the forums they set up to get feedback from customers and potential customers about those products, and this small-fry defending-the-status-quo-only sort of stuff is a waste of a perfectly good decision to not have canon.

    If you think my post has some good ideas in it, I strongly suggest you check out the Campaign Setting, as every page has dozens of potential plot hooks and I get ideas for new campaigns or fan fiction every time I pick it up.

    I don't know what you mean about the setting not having canon, though, as there is continuity in the world from year to year. They just have such a large world that they haven't revisited many of the same locations again to show that changes have taken effect, in part to allow GMs to run the adventures in any order they want. (This makes it easier for people using their premade adventures to plug them into their existing campaigns.) But the ruler of Korvosa has changed, for example, since the setting began in 4707 AR, the city of Kelmarane was reestablished in 4709 AR, and now the nature of one of Cheliax's most populous cities is in flux in 4710 AR. While print products don't take for granted that players have played previous APs, world continuity and canon assume the players succeed in adventures as written, and any associated changes are reflected in subsequent adventures.

    Dark Archive

    A Man In Black wrote:
    Dissinger wrote:
    Or you could wait for the epic rules. You seem to purposefully put yourself in the box of "Levels 1-20 are the only levels that matter, taking characters beyond that is impossible!" We're telling you to think out of the box, and you either ignore it, or dismiss it rudely. You seem dead set on making everything in a campaign world doable in the normal level range, which I believe is rather laughable. Not everything should be doable by the time you hit twenty, that's boring.

    Setting aside how completely awful the existing epic rules are and how non-existent the PF epic rules are, how is not being able to do something more exciting than being able to do something?

    And also, keep in mind that the Pathfinder Bestiary is the companion book to Pathfinder core, which only has 20 levels worth of rules.

    Maybe, just maybe they're waiting to do stuff, until they get rules to be able to make that stuff happen. You know, kinda like not putting out the game guide to a video game until after the game is in post production and less than a week to launch? There is also a listing of a rules basis for the epic progression in the back of the book. Its by no means at all all inclusive and complete, but it does give you a baseline to begin playing epic. So yes, Epic is supported in the core rules. Its just an optional rule in the back of the book right now.

    Quote:
    Quote:
    Its a good thing not because they don't have the power to affect the setting, but they don't have the power to turn the setting upside down. No PC should have that ability without a concerted effort that falls well outside the range of level 20. To suddenly turn around and have your level 15 PC's march from Westcrown all the way to the Palace of Thrune and be able to take out the throne and the power behind it is ridiculous. That's assuming something like that hasn't happened before, when it obviously has.
    Why is it completely ridiculous? The only reason it's inappropriate to the setting would be if you have a bunch of high-level characters in the setting who aren't using their abilities to affect the status quo. The solution to that is not to make a bunch of inactive even-higher-level NPCs to smack down anyone to makes waves, but instead to [i]stop making high-level NPCs[i] who sit on their duffs. If the leadership of Cheliax can crush the PCs with two minutes of effort, how is Council of Thieves happening at all? Pit fiends have scry-and-die built into their spell-like ability suites.

    Perhaps you haven't read Council of thieves, but it's ultimately come down to this...

    Spoiler:
    They don't care, and only if Westcrown gets to a point that they're forced to care, will they step in and do something about it. In effect what the PC's are trying to do, is prevent the Majistrex (empress) from being forced to do something about Westcrown, and make the lives of the people there absolutely miserable.

    Quote:
    The NPCs aren't the protagonists, and the PCs are. "The PCs can't affect the setting, because if it were possible, the much-higher-level NPCs wandering around the setting would have done it already" is not an argument for stasis, but instead an argument for not burdening the setting with Team Elminster.

    Once again, you're hiding. I asked you directly two questions. If by level 20 the PC's should be able to throw an entire continent into chaos where do you draw the line? You want gods killed as well? How about Demon lords and Arch Devils? You seem to think that making stuff harder to kill (not impossible, just requiring a higher level) is automatically a bad thing(tm). If you're going to shake a foundation by its roots, you can't stop and pick which roots get shaken. One root getting shaken will in turn create a chain effect that ripples.

    For example;

    Taking out Cheliax would dramatically lower the number of worshipers of Asmodeus. Suddenly this Deity is going to wonder whats up and show up in the real world to assault whatever the hell took his worshipers en masse. I mean, when you think about it a cult of 100 or some odd people isn't much.

    A nation, on the lines of millions, is a much more substantial base of worship.

    To tear that away immediately, you're now dealing with an angry deity, and his deific vengeance will be mighty indeed.

    All because you shook one of the campaign settings roots.

    So, now we have Asmodeus in the picture. He's now there in a perfectly valid and logical reason, and he's taking care of business personally because his stuff got messed up. Suddenly being level 20 doesn't seem so hot, especially when the 3.5 setting gives him an Aura of Tyranny that dominates anyone within 50 feet that fail a DC 50 Will save.

    I don't think a 5% chance of survival is going to help you much either.

    This is why I'm fine with Cheliax being stable. Its not that I don't want to see something like that. I just want it to be the Epic Undertaking that can feasibly handle all the ramifications of doing so. By the numbers, what you propose just can't do it, not even by the level 20 standards. Asmodeus wouldn't stop, even if you offed his aspect, he'd come personally to get the people who stole his worshipers en masse, because millions of people suddenly not worshiping you anymore, is a huge blow to your deific countenance.

    The Exchange

    A Man In Black wrote:
    wspatterson wrote:
    I don't know why I keep feeling compelled to read this thread at this point.
    Then stop.

    To be brutally honest, this all boils down to "I don't want to do any work". There may be good reasons for that (sorry if this is as offensive to you as the other guy I said this too, it isn't intended to be, but I honestly can't see any other reason for this extended thread). It all boils down to play style and the levels you prefer to play at, and because the leadership of Cheliax seems to fall outside of the that sweet spot you are annoyed. You are trying to convince us that this is a big failing because you cannot play at the levels you want and take down Cheliax. But then again, you also say you don't want to write anything along those lines anyway - you want Paizo to do it. Since they have already said they aren't going to, the issue is moot - you don't want to write it, and neither do they, so it isn't going to happen. The level of the Cheliax leadership is therefore beside the point, assuming it was actually defined anywhere (which it isn't). The only other advice, which has been proffered several times, is that you can change it if you want (which should be easy, since you don't own the campaign sourcebook you can hardly be confined by canon anyway). But you don't want to do that either.

    I'm slightly at a loss as to what you want. Sure, the forums are a good way of communicating directly with Paizo High Command. But I don't expect them to write adventures just for me, and in any case the forums are only a part of the information that Paizo has on what people like or want (sales being another obvious one). We are going round in circles but basically, you are (very) unlikely to get what you want. There is not really a logical reason for your views, but instead personal preference (which is something you also seem to have problems accepting). That is fine, you are entitled, but then so are we. I like Cheliax they way it is. That's my preference, and Paizo can take that into account too.


    The only one of the Aps I have felt sad about leaving the starting area has been SD. In fact, after running it, my players and I made a similiar observation. While a fun campaign, we all felt that Riddleport and the goings on there were so much more awesome than the anything after the 2nd book. In hindsight we all wished I would have just ran the first 2 and then homebrewed a Riddleport game, which I would if I ever run it again. But I think that is more group taste than a misstep.


    Stewart Perkins wrote:
    The only one of the Aps I have felt sad about leaving the starting area has been SD. In fact, after running it, my players and I made a similiar observation. While a fun campaign, we all felt that Riddleport and the goings on there were so much more awesome than the anything after the 2nd book. In hindsight we all wished I would have just ran the first 2 and then homebrewed a Riddleport game, which I would if I ever run it again. But I think that is more group taste than a misstep.

    My group was pretty appalled at leaving Riddleport. And none of them really liked Armageddon Echo. One player commented that it really didn't communicate a battle to claim the city very well.

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