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


Council of Thieves

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RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Dissinger wrote:
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.

Nowhere. The gods and archfiends are going to depend on whether they are concepts or personifications, but it's a little silly to say that the gods should never be defeated or killed by mortals in a game that calls out the Odyssey and Amber as two of its explicit inspirations, no? There are lots of right answers to your question, and it really comes down to what you want the gods/archfiends to be. Should they be opposed in the way you oppose erosion, or should they be opposed in the way you oppose Darth Vader? That said, if you're going to have the PCs confront the immortals, then there should be some reasonable way for the PCs to defeat the immortals in the levels of play which you intend to support.

You've made a setting that unnecessarily and obnoxiously cuts off otherwise-perfectly-reasonable plots if Evil Elminster is going to hit you with a hammer for affecting the setting, regardless of whether Evil Elminster is a devil, necromancer, or Asmodeus himself. Your example of Asmodeus coming in and stomping the PCs for daring to try to do heroic stuff is painfully dumb, not least because if he could do that, then he would jumped in and taken over the world already. It's a fantastic example of why to not leave all of these Much-Cooler-Than-The-PCs-Can-Ever-Be NPCs laying around because bad GMs will hit the PCs with them.

"You can't affect the setting because rocks will fall and everyone will die" is horrible setting design.

Quote:
To be brutally honest, this all boils down to "I don't want to do any work".

I'd kind of like Paizo to sell me the work, yeah. What kind of lazy GM buys adventures anyway! :P

Dark Archive

A Man In Black wrote:
Dissinger wrote:
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.
Nowhere. The gods and archfiends are going to depend on whether they are concepts or personifications, but it's a little silly to say that the gods should never be defeated or killed by mortals in a game that calls out the Odyssey and Amber as two of its explicit inspirations, no? There are lots of right answers to your question, and it really comes down to what you want the gods/archfiends to be. Should they be opposed in the way you oppose erosion, or should they be opposed in the way you oppose Darth Vader? That said, if you're going to have the PCs confront the immortals, then there should be some reasonable way for the PCs to defeat the immortals in the levels of play which you intend to support.

And again they plan on giving such things support. They've already come out and said what their first module for Epic would be. The support is there, they're just taking their time with the rules to get them right. Even then, the PHB for Pathfinder has built in suggestions on how to run epic, and they're actually alright.

A Man In Black wrote:
You've made a setting that unnecessarily and obnoxiously cuts off otherwise-perfectly-reasonable plots if Evil Elminster is going to hit you with a hammer for affecting the setting, regardless of whether Evil Elminster is a devil, necromancer, or Asmodeus himself. Your example of Asmodeus coming in and stomping the PCs for daring to try to do heroic stuff is painfully dumb, not least because if he could do that, then he would jumped in and taken over the world already.

WHOA there bucko, don't go around making blanket statements. Firstly that's an opinion, don't go around lauding it as universal truth. Don't forget we're talking a massive amount of followers. A cult can be replaced, what do you do when your nation goes down? If you're me, and you're a rather vengeful god, you're going to get even, and you might personally involve yourself at that point.

I see Cheliax as a cancer, you might be able to do something about it, but you can't guarantee its going to be completely gone. You'll get your victories, but they will be costly and chances are you will be locked in the battle the rest of your life.

Quote:

It's a fantastic example of why to not leave all of these Much-Cooler-Than-The-PCs-Can-Ever-Be NPCs laying around because bad GMs will hit the PCs with them.

"You can't affect the setting because rocks will fall and everyone will die" is horrible setting design.

No, its actually good campaign setting to have it set up where if you do something epic like turn a continent upside down there is going to be consequences. To simply say you don't want to comprehend, or that you don't care for those consequences is your beef. But the Consequences are there, and anyone willing to go out and do this task should be ready to accept those consequences.

Asmodeus himself showing up was one. Taldor, Andoran, and everyone else Cheliax pissed off coming to pummel their gigantic butt and seize territory is the other perfectly logical standpoint. Its the Russian and British empires. Hell even Rome works, people are going to try to pick you apart, and when you collapse, they will be all over you like flies on a corpse.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Dissinger wrote:
WHOA there bucko, don't go around making blanket statements. Firstly that's an opinion, don't go around lauding it as universal truth. Don't forget we're talking a massive amount of followers. A cult can be replaced, what do you do when your nation goes down? If you're me, and you're a rather vengeful god, you're going to get even, and you might personally involve yourself at that point.

"Asmodeus comes in and curbstomps the PCs" is a dumb plot. It is a dumb plot in the same way that "Rocks fall, everyone dies" is a dumb plot. If you make invincible NPC hammers, you can't hit the PCs with that hammer or you have no game. "Evil Elminster kills you" is not a consequence that allows for allows for fun games.

You've described Cheliax as an opponent that's opposed in the same way you oppose erosion. That's what FatR was complaining about; an evil empire that can't be reacted to save in that it can be foiled in small ways, even up to high levels. They're invincible. And Pathfinder and Golarion both are full of invincible villains. Invincible villains aren't much fun because you need plot devices in order to be able to play with them at all.

Consequences that do not allow for good games are dumb ones for RPG settings. You can call that an opinion if you like, but "That's just your opinion, maaaaaan!" doesn't make for much of a discussion.

I put it to you. You've said several variations on "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." What's wrong with plots that turns the setting upside down? What's wrong with the PCs getting to turn the setting upside down? Why is it that only villains and historical NPCs get to do that?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

A Man In Black wrote:
What's wrong with plots that turns the setting upside down?

They make books published before that point obsolete, which means that Paizo's whole Pathfinder back catalog becomes less appealing to people who want to run the world as written without deviating from canon (which seems to be the way you like to run games).

A Man In Black wrote:
What's wrong with the PCs getting to turn the setting upside down?

Nothing, but don't expect Paizo to release an adventure which hinges on them doing so.

A Man In Black wrote:
Why is it that only villains and historical NPCs get to do that?

Because Paizo doesn't write what the PCs do. Your players do. Paizo only provides the setting. That means the only people they can ever have do anything in an official capacity are not PCs. So again, if your players want to unseat House Thrune, let them. Put on your GM cap and do it. Paizo can't run your game for you.

Dark Archive

A Man In Black wrote:
I put it to you. You've said several variations on "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." What's wrong with plots that turns the setting upside down? What's wrong with the PCs getting to turn the setting upside down? Why is it that only villains and historical NPCs get to do that?

Now that we're getting to the nitty gritty....

What's wrong with plots that do so?

They work best when you plan on a relaunch. You look at what happened in the Worlds of Darkness? That is an example of when its fine to turn everything upside down canonically. You plan on restarting, and the first thing you gotta do, is clear out the house to make room for the new furniture. If you do too many such plots it turns into the failure that was Darksun, where there is no universal evil, and suddenly you're looking at reactive plots, instead of active plots.

BTW I see council of thieves as an active plot more than reactive plot. Someone has seen his town is going south fast, and he is going to do something about it to change the status quo.

Just like you don't like invincible villain, I don't like a setting where villains have to fail and always get foiled by those meddling adventurers. Cheliax is an example of the villains winning, it should be seen as an example of what to avoid.

What's wrong with PC's upsetting the campaign setting?

Nothing, if you have support for it. But when Anthony Anarchist runs about town lighting the town guard on fire and destroying stuff merely to mess with a campaign setting, you gotta wonder what the hell is up. The arguement that the PC's should always be able to overturn the campaign setting goes into Sandbox vs. Plot Based campaigns, and that debate is for another thread. Should the PC's at any given time have the power to turn around and destroy the campaign setting? Each and every time?

Why is it historical and NPC villains only get to? (paraphrased similar if not same meaning.)

Well, it would hardly be a fun campaign setting if the world had no conflict. Its all back story and fluff. The NPC's doing so is the antagonists of your campaign. That doesn't mean drastic things don't happen because of the PCs, merely that they have consequences. Sometimes the consequences are good, I mean the word while often given a negative connotation is neutral in actuality, most times they are bad. To not have consequences is to live in a Vaccuum Jar setting.

And I just don't have a care for such things. The NPC's often dealt with the consequences and same with Historical villains. What you're suggesting is no consequences to major campaign redefining actions.

That, I refuse to get behind in any way shape or form.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Dissinger wrote:
They work best when you plan on a relaunch. You look at what happened in the Worlds of Darkness? That is an example of when its fine to turn everything upside down canonically. You plan on restarting, and the first thing you gotta do, is clear out the house to make room for the new furniture. If you do too many such plots it turns into the failure that was Darksun, where there is no universal evil, and suddenly you're looking at reactive plots, instead of active plots.

But APs aren't canon. That's the whole point. You can have an AP where the players kill Asmodeus permanently and then next AP some Asmodeus cultists are still worshipping their still-active god and still setting things on fire (or whatever it is that Asmodeus cultists do for a good time). PCs in Savage Tide can kill Demogorgon. Oddly enough, Demogorgon is still active in later 3e and 4e products.

It's okay to give PCs major campaign-redefining actions in a published setting as long as you're not expecting published adventures to be canon.

Quote:

What's wrong with PC's upsetting the campaign setting?

Nothing, if you have support for it. But when Anthony Anarchist runs about town lighting the town guard on fire and destroying stuff merely to mess with a campaign setting, you gotta wonder what the hell is up. The arguement that the PC's should always be able to overturn the campaign setting goes into Sandbox vs. Plot Based campaigns, and that debate is for another thread. Should the PC's at any given time have the power to turn around and destroy the campaign setting? Each and every time?

what

Nobody's talking about PCs wrecking things to wreck things. Presumably, people who are Chaotic Sociopath aren't player characters, and aren't supportable by published adventures. If someone goes completely crazy and starts blowing things up, then both Team Evil and Team Good get together to destroy the threat to whatever.

Who said anything about destroying the campaign setting?

Quote:

Well, it would hardly be a fun campaign setting if the world had no conflict. Its all back story and fluff. The NPC's doing so is the antagonists of your campaign. That doesn't mean drastic things don't happen because of the PCs, merely that they have consequences. Sometimes the consequences are good, I mean the word while often given a negative connotation is neutral in actuality, most times they are bad. To not have consequences is to live in a Vaccuum Jar setting.

And I just don't have a care for such things. The NPC's often dealt with the consequences and same with Historical villains. What you're suggesting is no consequences to major campaign redefining actions.

Consequences such as?

Consequences are good. Consequences are stories. Consequences make games fun. Consequences like "CR 39 Asmodeus shows up and wrecks the PCs" are not fun. The problem is, "Asmodeus shows up for a final reckoning" would be a fun plot if Asmodeus wasn't CR Much More Than You Can Handle Ever.

Here, let's say the Cheliax leadership was teen-ish level, possibly high teens, and Asmodeus (on the prime) was low 20s. Power Behind The Thrunes, go.

PT1 - Hell's Riders (or some less lame name). Heroes, recruited by Neighboring Nation (and allies, with your standard adventure starter hook stuff) and foil Cheliax's invasion plot. There are heavy hints that this invasion is more than your standard sociopolitical land grab. This probably takes more than one issue but whatever.
PT2 - Something is Rotten in the State of Cheliax. The party ends up entangled with an opposing house, possibly a less-than-savory one, and is offered an opportunity to overthrow the Thrunes to replace them with a less-unsavory option, if they can remove the Thrunes' trump card over the other families: specifically, the (suddenly revealed) devilish strain running through the family, all the way up to the top. Do something with high-level French resistance tropes against badguys who really are fiends. BBEG for this is the devil regent, with the queen helping. PCs kill or spare the queen, whatever; it affects but doesn't change the next ish.
PT3 - The Immortal Game. (A queen sacrifice was one of that game's final moves.) The party has played into Asmodeus's hands, since the whole point of the war and the Cheliax revolution was to fulfill an ancient prophecy of bloodshed leading to the death of royalty heralding the coming of Asmodeus. The party has to confront the vanguard of the armies of Hell and defeat Asmodeus on the prime to stop the real invasion.

Exactly the consequences you predicted, only the PCs get to be heroes instead of just getting murdered by invincible NPCs. Plus, it leaves Cheliax recognizable for people who still want it to be Team Evil, or allows further stories dealing with the politics and reform and rooting out the evil elements. It's also a story completely snuffed out before level 20+ because Team Evil's been dialed up to Invincible.

I only toss examples off like this because I'm not that great an adventure designer or writer. Paizo can and has done better than this, both in the individual work of the people who work for Paizo and as a collective. The problem is that the house standards aim way too low to excite me or the group I play with. Epic doesn't need to mean epic level, and when you've already made the good step of not making adventures canon there's no reason not to take the next step of allowing adventures to be more than side-stories.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

If we ever wish to advance the timeline, the APs DO become canon. If we ever want to do a sequel to an AP, the events DO become canon.

As for Cheliax... we LIKE having a nation of devil worshipers. It's pretty fun to explore the connotations of a thriving nation where the leaders are actively evil but not warlike. Cheliax is also one of the nations that very much feels uniquely Golarion, rather than a version of a real world location like Osirion or the same-old knights and kings medieval setting. We've put a lot of work into Cheliax, and we're proud of it. It's also one of the five factions for our Org Play department.

All good reasons to not publish a "Let's transform Cheliax into something else entirely" product.

You might want to check out the Kingmaker Adventure Path, though; it's a very sandboxy style AP and it DOES end up changing things pretty drastically... by giving the PCs a chance to found and create a brand new kingdom on the border between the River Kingdoms and Brevoy. It's also an AP that's looking like it's gonna have built into its very nature a LONG span of game time... I wouldn't be surprised to see years, or even decades pass during this AP for some groups.

Not every story has to create massive changes to a world to be good. In fact, massive changes to the established world more often than not get customers riled up, in my experience.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

James Jacobs wrote:
If we ever wish to advance the timeline, the APs DO become canon. If we ever want to do a sequel to an AP, the events DO become canon.

I was operating under the assumption that the APs didn't change Golarion any more than Dungeon adventures affected Greyhawk or [WotC Flagship Setting]. If they are canon and the camera is shuffled around to keep from having to worry about a metaplot, then that negates a lot of my criticism. It also explains why all the adventures have the small-fry feeling I've gotten, but now it makes sense.


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.

Based on the number of complaints just here on the messageboards that duplicate your particular issue, no it definitely does not seem to just be 'group taste'. It was a misstep. A bad one.

SD was particularly bad in that the first book of the AP had virtually nothing to do with the actual main story of the AP itself (and heck, even the second book had tenuous ties to the AP). In the end, the first book should have everything to do with the AP's main story, not almost nothing to do with it.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
If we ever wish to advance the timeline, the APs DO become canon. If we ever want to do a sequel to an AP, the events DO become canon.

Well this is good to hear. :)

James Jacobs wrote:
As for Cheliax... we LIKE having a nation of devil worshipers. It's pretty fun to explore the connotations of a thriving nation where the leaders are actively evil but not warlike. Cheliax is also one of the nations that very much feels uniquely Golarion, rather than a version of a real world location like Osirion or the same-old knights and kings medieval setting. We've put a lot of work into Cheliax, and we're proud of it. It's also one of the five factions for our Org Play department.

I like it too.

James Jacobs wrote:
Not every story has to create massive changes to a world to be good. In fact, massive changes to the established world more often than not get customers riled up, in my experience.

Please no world changing stories of the month. Wizards tried doing that to the Realms through the entire 3.5 run, but ultimately their "Realms shaking events" only effected the area whatever novel trilogy covering those events was set it.

How silly is to say that ALL the dragons of a campaign setting go insane with Rage and go on a rampage.. and then none of the following roleplaying supplements even mention dragon devastation to the region.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

Thanks for the clarifications James. It's good to see that Paizo is trying to cater to various styles of gaming (i.e. those that I like, where the PCs are not the instigators of Realm Shaking Events (RSEs) and have no impact on the canon whatsoever, and those that MiB likes, such as the upcoming Kingmaker, where the PCs can directly shape the world.)


SirUrza wrote:
How silly is to say that ALL the dragons of a campaign setting go insane with Rage and go on a rampage.. and then none of the following roleplaying supplements even mention dragon devastation to the region.

Silly? I disagree. It's a very good thing. The novels sucked, and when the novels did intrude onto the game setting, it made the game setting suck too. The novels caused a tremendous amount of damage to the (superior) campaign setting.

It's the one of the few things they did right with 3e FR. My players and I will make the changes to the campaign setting, thanks.

Paizo - take notes. Don't let (any possible future) novels botch up Golarion.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Arnwyn wrote:
Paizo - take notes. Don't let (any possible future) novels botch up Golarion.

Don't worry. We are taking notes. Including notes that point out that novels... even bad ones... are easier to produce and make more money and have a wider reach publicly than RPG books.

We're going to likely be keeping to similarly small stories with our novel line, though, so that we'll avoid the need to constantly shift and change Golarion just to fit one line of novels.


On the novel tangent....
I would definately buy some PF novels, even ones that have RSEs. They make for good stories. Id still like the Campaign Setting for my games to remain unchanged though.

On a super tangent....
any chance for Doug Niles to write some PF stuff? Loved his Moonshae Trilogy way back when FR was still shiny.


Arnwyn wrote:


Silly? I disagree. It's a very good thing. The novels sucked, and when the novels did intrude onto the game setting, it made the game setting suck too. The novels caused a tremendous amount of damage to the (superior) campaign setting.

It's the one of the few things they did right with 3e FR. My players and I will make the changes to the campaign setting, thanks.

Actually, the problem was that it wasn't that the novels weren't canon, its that the canon ended up being that the dragons, all of the dragons, managed to do a handful of isolated things that were indeed detailed in Dragons of Faerun, and it also did one other thing, that had the setting not been changed dramatically further to dwarf this change, would have been a big problem for me.

Specifically, it took a bit of interesting, Forgotten Realms specific dragon lore, that being that there are Flights and Rages over the years, and ended that story hook. Hooray, now all of your dragons are generic D&D dragons, having been divorced of a cool setting specific detail.


KnightErrantJR wrote:
Specifically, it took a bit of interesting, Forgotten Realms specific dragon lore, that being that there are Flights and Rages over the years, and ended that story hook. Hooray, now all of your dragons are generic D&D dragons, having been divorced of a cool setting specific detail.

+1

Totally with you there. (That's actually been another significant issue with FR novels - we'll solve all the nifty story hooks for you!)

James Jacobs wrote:
Including notes that point out that novels... even bad ones... are easier to produce and make more money and have a wider reach publicly than RPG books.

Agree (FR indeed proved that). Doesn't stop 'em from stinking up the setting, though.

(Just let us know a bit beforehand if you're going to become a novel company instead of a game setting company 'cause they make more money for you, 'mkay?) :D :D

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Arnwyn wrote:
SirUrza wrote:
How silly is to say that ALL the dragons of a campaign setting go insane with Rage and go on a rampage.. and then none of the following roleplaying supplements even mention dragon devastation to the region.
Silly? I disagree. It's a very good thing.

It's a good thing that this major event was built up to be something it wasn't? I don't think it is a good thing, I think it's a bad thing. It's a breakdown in quality, in continuity, and in effort. It's why the Realms, Eberron, and every other setting put out under 4e isn't supported after 2 books.

My example was of WOTC making something to be a hurricane and then supporting it like it's a little drizzle. It's false marketing and bad game design. It took 3 years for the trilogy to concluded, in that time supporting products could have come out giving the players and DM the ability to play through those events. When the dragons rage ended, reconstruction would have begun and status quo would have been restored. No minor or major NPCs had to die, no political alliances needed to change, nothing.

Instead we got 1 supplement that barely covered the events of the novels, because it came out too early, and didn't give us anything we didn't already have in the Monster Manual to bring the dragon rage to our table.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
SirUrza wrote:
Arnwyn wrote:
SirUrza wrote:
How silly is to say that ALL the dragons of a campaign setting go insane with Rage and go on a rampage.. and then none of the following roleplaying supplements even mention dragon devastation to the region.
Silly? I disagree. It's a very good thing.

It's a good thing that this major event was built up to be something it wasn't? I don't think it is a good thing, I think it's a bad thing. It's a breakdown in quality, in continuity, and in effort. It's why the Realms, Eberron, and every other setting put out under 4e isn't supported after 2 books.

My example was of WOTC making something to be a hurricane and then supporting it like it's a little drizzle. It's false marketing and bad game design. It took 3 years for the trilogy to concluded, in that time supporting products could have come out giving the players and DM the ability to play through those events. When the dragons rage ended, reconstruction would have begun and status quo would have been restored. No minor or major NPCs had to die, no political alliances needed to change, nothing.

Instead we got 1 supplement that barely covered the events of the novels, because it came out too early, and didn't give us anything we didn't already have in the Monster Manual to bring the dragon rage to our table.

+45021544


Erik Mona wrote:


And, really, knocking off the rulership of one of the most powerful nations in the entire campaign setting--one lousy with powerful devils and thousands (if not tens of thousands) of agents DOES sound like an appropriate epic-level challenge to me.

As a belated question, what's epic about this? Seriously, fantasy characters do this all the damn time. Conan took over the most powerful nation in the setting, then retook it after being deposed by an evil sorcerer despite being about level 5-6.

Resealing the ultimate evil of your setting that can erase space-time and, while you're at it, rewrting the laws of reality is Epic.

Defeating a BBEG who intends to personally wipe out the entire planet (at least) and already has power to do so at its fingertips, then resurrecting all the good guys who were killed previously is Epic.

Bringing downfall of an alien being that for all intents and purposes is a reality-warping god, capable of rewriting the timeline at will, after noticing changes it does not like, is Epic.

Eliminating a half-dozen of world-ruling gods over the course of your adventures, even if by using McGuffins and exploiting cosmic loopholes, is probably Epic.

Defeating a creature that was forged into the ultimate, toughest killing machine in the whole Universe or something as close to it as theoretically possible, shrugs off everything, swiftly adapts to the forms of attacks it cannot shrug off, and just plowed through the best-known group of badasses in the world with little visible effort is Epic.

Dueling a divine being at the outer edges of the Solar System, then punching it into the Sun is Epic.

Ovethrowing a ruler the scale of whose empire literally boggles the mind, and who is also either the most personally powerful superhuman in history, or in the top three, is Epic.

Fighting a vessel for all of the fundamental incarnations of evil and corruption in your setting hand-to-hand, while the galaxy burns around you, is Epic.

Overthrowing an evil empire, that is quite small and toothless as far as evil empires go, as it cannot even aspire to conquering a continent or two, is neither Epic, nor is anywhere close to it. It is standard fantasy fare. It does not even start to approach the examples from above, none of which I invented and which don't even touch the extreme upper end of power scale we can see in various media (a cookie for anyone who correctly guesses the sources).


Wolfboy wrote:
What's really blowing my mind is that people think that because Paizo wrote it this way, they have to do it that way in their home campaigns.

What's really blowing my mind is that people think that other people would want to even use Paizo products at all, if they have fundamental disagreements with the direction these products take, when there are over 9000 adventures and lots of settings for DnD already.


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? I like the idea that PCs need to be among the most powerful people in the world in order to influence global events on that scale. Because there are already a lot of NPCs of 15th level and why aren't they overthrowing Cheliax or taking out the Whispering Tyrant or fixing the Eye of Abendego, or closing the Worldwound, etc. Because they're not high enough level. But eventually a party of PCs will surpass them in level and then these are challenges worth taking on. Until then, there are thousands of plot hooks within the setting for PCs of any level. So why is this one such a deal breaker? As this thread passes the 200 post mark, I'm still struggling to grok the core logic at the center of the present argument.

Why? Because the setting is written in a way, that makes emulating heroic fantasy tropes frankly impossible (or at least so mechanically ardous, that it is not worth the effor the players must put in). And I don't like when a game world supposedly set in genre X craps all over the conventions of genre X. And reshaping the world in drastic ways in the end of every story is a genre convention of heroic fantasy.

For example, let's look at a low-powered hero in a gritty setting, namely Waylander. The dude shapes the fate of major countries and changes the course of his world's history for millenia to come in every one of his adventures. Let's then look at his PF expy, Cinderlander (from CoCT), who is way more powerful, relatively to normal humans. His infamy is limited to butt****nowhere, and he participates in AP as a petty mercenary. Why it is so? Can anyone give me an answer, why the power level of Golarion is so extreme, that does not boil down to "it is so, because it is so"?


Wrath wrote:


Legacy of Fire

Wrong. BBEG is explicitly stated as not being able to wreck a single country. In fact, the wrath of rulers of Catapesh is stated as a stick for not beating him.

Wrath wrote:


- 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.

You clearly haven't seen the writeups for quori, or much better, g!@*!#n Lords of Dust. The latter can wreck Forgotten Realms, easily, because there are dozens of them, all CR 21+.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
FatR wrote:
Can anyone give me an answer, why the power level of Golarion is so extreme, that does not boil down to "it is so, because it is so"?

I'm not at all that certain it is. There seems to be quite a bit of variation around, even in strategically important areas if Cities of Golarion is any indication. But ultimately, taking on a major state should be an epic undertaking, and not necessarily in the way D&D defines epic levels. You've got multple levels of opposition to deal with (including powerful court wizards capable of neutralizing the buff-scry-teleport-assassinate tactic or no state would ever remain stable) in some way shape or form, resources to marshall, allies to win over, all of which should take time, consideration, and real work. And probably nets enough XPs to be fairly high level by the time all is said and done anyway.


Bill Dunn wrote:


I'm not at all that certain it is. There seems to be quite a bit of variation around, even in strategically important areas if Cities of Golarion is any indication. But ultimately, taking on a major state should be an epic undertaking, and not necessarily in the way D&D defines epic levels. You've got multple levels of opposition to deal with (including powerful court wizards capable of neutralizing the buff-scry-teleport-assassinate tactic or no state would ever remain stable) in some way shape or form, resources to marshall, allies to win over, all of which should take time, consideration, and real work. And probably nets enough XPs to be fairly high level by the time all is said and done anyway.

So, "it is so, because it is so"? I hate to repeat himself, but I'm, in fact asking, why any major state should have court wizards who is capable of neutralizing scry & fry, which, by the way, is much harder than regularly doing scry & fry themselves, thus leaving low-level PCs either with nothing to do or dead. How exactly this benefits the game? How exactly being a FR-style crazytown benefits the setting?

As a side note, no, you don't really need allies, resources and armies to take over countries in DnD. You only need them if you want to keep the conquered country stable afterwards.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
FatR wrote:


So, "it is so, because it is so"? I hate to repeat himself, but I'm, in fact asking, why any major state should have court wizards who is capable of neutralizing scry & fry, which, by the way, is much harder than regularly doing scry & fry themselves, thus leaving low-level PCs either with nothing to do or dead. How exactly this benefits the game? How exactly being a FR-style crazytown benefits the setting?

As a side note, no, you don't really need allies, resources and armies to take over countries in DnD. You only need them if you want to keep the conquered country stable afterwards.

Why would a major state have such a court wizard (or other defender)? Because people running states want to stay in power and, frankly, D&D magic allows buff-scry-teleport-assassinate to be a real serious ability that needs to be countered if a head of state wants to stay in power. It's the price of certain systemic elements in D&D. You either have to cap level advancement before teleport arrives, strip it from the game, or despots have to find ways to counter it and that brings up opposition to PC-revolutionaries that they have to find some way to neutralize on their own. Like having allies, resources, powerful quest items, etc.

That said, not every place can probably afford such premium defenses. Major states will almost certain invest in them. Not so major ones, backwaters, far flung colonies, fanatic theocracies in which the next member of the religious hierarchy will simply step in if the current head cacks it, probably not so much.


Bill Dunn wrote:


Why would a major state have such a court wizard (or other defender)? Because people running states want to stay in power and, frankly, D&D magic allows buff-scry-teleport-assassinate to be a real serious ability that needs to be countered if a head of state wants to stay in power. It's the price of certain systemic elements in D&D. You either have to cap level advancement before teleport arrives, strip it from the game, or despots have to find ways to counter it and that brings up opposition to PC-revolutionaries that they have to find some way to neutralize on their own. Like having allies, resources, powerful quest items, etc.

That said, not every place can probably afford such premium defenses. Major states will almost certain invest in them. Not so major ones, backwaters, far flung colonies, fanatic theocracies in which the next member of the religious hierarchy will simply step in if the current head cacks it, probably not so much.

You understand, that your answer still boils down entirely to "it is so, because it is so" with the reasoning being "no, you can't ever change the setting!"?

To elaborate, there are no ingrained mechanical or setting reasons whatsoever to assume, that people running an average state aren't vulnerable to buff-scry-teleport-assassinate and therefore a level 9 party cannot stage a coup in an average state. Or that they cannot walk up to a king and stabbinate him, unless stopped by reasons that aren't directly tied to their relative power level. Hey, that's seriously worked out for Conan, and to a level 9 PC Conan is a mook.

There, however, are many good reasons to assume that a level 9 party can, in fact do so, power-wise. Off the top of my head:

- PCs can actually aim to enact major setting changes within the sweet spot of levels, without running into a stone wall of overpowered NPCs. Therefore you can actually play out average fantasy plots at this sweet spot, without having them rely entirely on McGuffins.

- Major NPCs are not assigned a lot of levels, abilities from which they use exclusively for smacking down PCs, therefore the setting is not a hard-to-imagine crazytown and in fact somewhat resebles normal fantasy, even though NPCs are allowed to act like PCs, i.e. to use their abilities in their everyday life.

- GM does not need to bend over backwards to explain why all the crazily powerful NPCs haven't killed PCs/left them without a job when PCs were low-level.

- You can actually graduate from changing the fate of countries to changing the fate of world(s) within the game's supported level range. And, no less importantly, within a lifetime of an average campaign (few are campaigns that last more than one year, and when they do, that's usually with the help of player turnover).

As a side note, no, you can't just replace an assasinated ruler with another one in a D&D world, not in an evil country. Once the top guy is gone, what stops PCs from methodically wiping out his weaker (as they haven't deposed him yet) underlings? Yes, nothing.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
FatR wrote:


To elaborate, there are no ingrained mechanical or setting reasons whatsoever to assume, that people running an average state aren't vulnerable to buff-scry-teleport-assassinate and therefore a level 9 party cannot stage a coup in an average state. Or that they cannot walk up to a king and stabbinate him, unless stopped by reasons that aren't directly tied to their relative power level. Hey, that's seriously worked out for Conan, and to a level 9 PC Conan is a mook.

The fact that the regime hasn't already fallen to some other 9th level party suggests that it's not as simple as just buffing-scrying-teleporting-and murdering the SOB. The question is: why?

Are these PCs the very first characters to breach the 9th level with the ability to teleport? Are they the first ones with a heroic bent and desire to topple the oppressive regime? Are their spell combinations completely unprecedented, nobody having ever thought off buff-scry-teleport-kill before?
If the answers to these questions are negative, then it's perfectly reasonable to assume it's not so easy a task or that the the b-s-t-a tactic has been neutralized in some manner. The PCs will have to do a bit more legwork to overthrow the regime - sparking a campaign arc of potentially epic proportions...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Explain again why Paizo should drastically change the setting after only existing for a couple years?


FatR wrote:
So, "it is so, because it is so"? I hate to repeat himself, but I'm, in fact asking, why any major state should have court wizards who is capable of neutralizing scry & fry

Because they haven't been ganked by a lower-level group of adventurers already?

I'm still not sure I understand your complaints, especially in the context of a level-based system. If toppling governments could be done by lower-level adventurers (who only need approx 13-14 encounters of a CR equal to their average level to go up a level in power) so easily, then a setting that uses such a level-based system would consequently be just a mish-mash of failed states and anarchy with lower-level adventurers moving from one "kingdom" to another easily toppling it and leaving more anarchy in its wake.

I don't get it. I would certainly never buy a setting with that as its background. I want relatively stable kingdoms - and I expect relatively-stable kingdoms in a setting that uses D&D-like levels to have quite powerful rulers... anything less is unacceptable (and weird) AFAIC.

Now, if you just hate high-level gaming (since you use weird and inexplicable terms like "frankly impossible"), then that's something else altogether. But I predict yet more disappointment from you there, as well, in a system that goes up to Level 20 with some support for playing even beyond that.

FatR wrote:
What's really blowing my mind is that people think that other people would want to even use Paizo products at all, if they have fundamental disagreements with the direction these products take, when there are over 9000 adventures and lots of settings for DnD already.

Indeed. Based on the pretty clear preferences given throughout the Paizo boards, I think that's something closer to what you should be thinking about...


Bill Dunn wrote:


The fact that the regime hasn't already fallen to some other 9th level party suggests that it's not as simple as just buffing-scrying-teleporting-and murdering the SOB. The question is: why?

And the answer is easy as pie: because 9th-level parties actually aren't remotely common. This has added benefit of making PCs feel themselves important, and unique, and the main characters and stuff, while the still being within the sweet spot of levels and close enough to start, that the campaign is likely to reach there from level 1.

So, can you please stop endlessly repeating "this is so, because this is so"? Using features of the setting-as-it-is to defend features of the setting-as-it-is, while features of the setting-as-it-is are, in fact being questioned is a circular logic.

Unfortunately, as squeezing the gold from the population can be incredibly lucrative in DnDLand, and wealth=power from 3.0 onwards, you have to find some way of decoupling or at least partially decoupling magic items from GP to make other answers (like "who cares about running Dirtfarmertania, when we can literally go to Heaven and woo beatiful angels on our free time instead?") work. I use the combination of scrapping the default wealth/population model and requiring favors from major (and by this I mean at least continent-spanning) organizations to buy significant magic items.

Bill Dunn wrote:


Are these PCs the very first characters to breach the 9th level with the ability to teleport?

For the generation and the region in question the default answer should be "yes", as far as I'm concerned. Even if other 9th+ level characters do exist somewhere in the relative vicinity, they are separate individuals and therefore don't have nearly as much power, or are too busy with their pet projects. As about 9th+ level parties in other parts of the world, they already have their hands full ruling or guarding other countries, and, as our adventure is supposedly set in a place that faciliates adventuring, they are simply not here (PCs can clash with them later, in their new role as rulers/powers behind the thronw, of course). Can you actually give a reason why the answer for your question should be "no", within the given confines? I mean, a real answer, outlining how such answer can improve a game (that's probably enters its final arc, by this point), not "this should be so, because this should be so" or "this should be so, because it this is traditionally so"?

Also, can you explain your fixation on teleport as a mean of takinf over a country? It is seriously weird. As if PCs didn't have other means of killing people.


Callous Jack wrote:
Explain again why Paizo should drastically change the setting after only existing for a couple years?

To make good on their promises to tone down crazyness, the rampant level escalation, and the uber-NPCs syndrome, endemic to FR and similar settings? Or to make the setting less of FR clone in general, for that matter? Can you seriously explain why should I switch to Golarion from FR, if I already have quite a bit of books for the latter (which I do)? No, APs are not a decisive argument, FR is vast enough to cram them somewhere on the map with little problems.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
FatR wrote:


Can you seriously explain why should I switch to Golarion from FR, if I already have quite a bit of books for the latter (which I do)?

Simple answer is don't if you don't like the system don't use it. As Jason and the others have already said you can not please everyone and the amount of complaining you have done on this forum (as well as others) indicates that maybe Pathfinder or Golarion is not for you.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
FatR wrote:
To make good on their promises to tone down crazyness, the rampant level escalation, and the uber-NPCs syndrome, endemic to FR and similar settings? Or to make the setting less of FR clone in general, for that matter? Can you seriously explain why should I switch to Golarion from FR, if I already have quite a bit of books for the latter (which I do)? No, APs are not a decisive argument, FR is vast enough to cram them somewhere on the map with little problems.

Like it or not, FR is a successful franchise (And if you don't like the world so much, why do you own so many books then?). As for Paizo, I don't see the bad business sense in doing what seems to make the majority of their paying customers happy. They seem to have tapped into the same vein that FR enjoys with it's following. I'm sure they would love to have that sort of support for 20+ years.

As for you personally switching, why do you have to? Why not take your own idea of plugging the APs into FR (or your homebrew) and run with that? I don't use Golarion as my world either but the adventure ideas, mechanics and inspiration I get out of the products are well worth the price.


Arnwyn wrote:


I'm still not sure I understand your complaints, especially in the context of a level-based system. If toppling governments could be done by lower-level adventurers (who only need approx 13-14 encounters of a CR equal to their average level to go up a level in power) so easily,

Going to level 9 with 13-14 encounters per level - assuming GM even uses 3.X/PF XP system as written, even though it sucks, and assuming that PCs and NPCs are treated equally in this - means that you need to meet and defeat enemies in personal mortal combat more times, than anyone in RL, except for a handful of fighter aces, and maybe some legendary warriors, ever did. This is absolutely not reasonable to expect from commonly encountered NPCs. If PCs achieve this exalted status, moreover, as a group, that's because they are special (or crazy and crazily lucky). And they should have a right to enjoy it, because, once again, they are already approaching the top bracket of the sweet level spot.

Arnwyn wrote:


then a setting that uses such a level-based system would consequently be just a mish-mash of failed states and anarchy with lower-level adventurers moving from one "kingdom" to another easily toppling it and leaving more anarchy in its wake.

Answered already.

Arnwyn wrote:


Now, if you just hate high-level gaming (since you use weird and inexplicable terms like "frankly impossible"), then that's something else altogether. But I predict yet more disappointment from you there, as well, in a system that goes up to Level 20 with some support for playing even beyond that.

Oh I like high-level gaming. But I want my high-level gaming be high-level gaming, not low-level gaming in disguise, where the only difference lies in fighting giants, instead of gnolls.

And yes, recreating standard fantasy tropes on Golarion and with PF rules is frankly impossible, as evidenced by authors dropping by and saying directly that no, you cannot run a game about overthrowing their evil empire until Epic. Which, for all intents and purposes, means that you cannot run it ever. Seriously, how many campaigns go even to level 20, 2%? How many actually go beyond that? Add the fact that the Epic rules are either screwed up or do not exist, depending on what system we're talking about, and you'll see why "impossible until epic" pretty much means just "impossible".

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
FatR wrote:
Callous Jack wrote:
Explain again why Paizo should drastically change the setting after only existing for a couple years?
To make good on their promises to tone down crazyness, the rampant level escalation, and the uber-NPCs syndrome, endemic to FR and similar settings? Or to make the setting less of FR clone in general, for that matter? Can you seriously explain why should I switch to Golarion from FR, if I already have quite a bit of books for the latter (which I do)? No, APs are not a decisive argument, FR is vast enough to cram them somewhere on the map with little problems.

And wasn't the downfall of the Realms not the uber-NPCs, but the continuous Realm Shaking Events that culminated into a super event?

Sorry, but wiping whole Nations off the map just seems too "Death of the Realms" to me.

The Realms might have it's flaws, the Realms might have reasons to criticize it, but it was VERY successful. Simple fact is, Ed Greenwood's novels about Elminster sold better then 90% (or more) of the other Realms novels. So some how Elminster didn't push that many people away from the Realms even if "uber-NPCs syndrome" was a problem.


FatR wrote:

As a belated question, what's epic about this? Seriously, fantasy characters do this all the damn time. Conan took over the most powerful nation in the setting, then retook it after being deposed by an evil sorcerer despite being about level 5-6.

You really didn't go there, did you? Seriously? I don't think one should apply Pathfinder or D&D stats to fictional characters who are not a part of the game and use that as a part of their argument.

That said, I am inclined to agree that overthrowing Cheliax isn't necessarily Epic. Difficult and dangerous, but not Epic.


wspatterson wrote:


You really didn't go there, did you? Seriously? I don't think one should apply Pathfinder or D&D stats to fictional characters who are not a part of the game and use that as a part of their argument.
That said, I am inclined to agree that overthrowing Cheliax isn't necessarily Epic. Difficult and dangerous, but not Epic.

Why not? Actually, we should, and the authors should as well, because running the fictional characters is sort of the point, so it helps to know, to whom characters of certain level can be compared, to gauge appropriate stories for them.

As about Conan being level 5-6, the reason I placed Conan ranks this highly, even though a nine-feet-tall giant, who is actually faster and much, much stronger and tougher than an average human, has armor-like hide, and also can heal most wounds in half a minute (i.e. a DnD troll) probably would have been unkillable to him in a straight-up fight (at least he never managed to actually outfight something as threatening in original R.Howard stories) - even despite his quite exceptional physical stats - is his wide assortment of skills. He clearly took some rogue levels.

Dark Archive

FatR I don't think you'll be happy with Golarion. SO why are you sitting here yelling at us that our opinion is wrong and we need to "convince" you. You seem to have made up your mind already. At this point I think its safe to say you're trolling for replies simply so you can be even MORE argumentative. If you are honestly yelling at anyone who comes up with an counter argument like you have, then don't play in golarion.

You already made your choice, and its not Golarion.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
FatR wrote:


So, can you please stop endlessly repeating "this is so, because this is so"? Using features of the setting-as-it-is to defend features of the setting-as-it-is, while features of the setting-as-it-is are, in fact being questioned is a circular logic.

But I haven't been. In fact, I haven't mentioned hardly anything about the Golarion setting other than the fact that in Cities of Golarion there are examples of politically powerful people who aren't particularly high level.

If you're taking issue with me using the continued survival of certain regimes as evidence that they're probably well-defended against random assault, then your protest will simply fall on deaf ears. Regimes survive because they take measures to promote their own security. It's how they survive peasant uprising, noble intrigues, and palace coups. That's a fact of life and unless the PCs are using a particularly inventive strategy, my assumption would be that the strategy has been attempted before unless the regime was particularly new and inexperienced or particularly poor or recently damaged by other events.

FatR wrote:


For the generation and the region in question the default answer should be "yes", as far as I'm concerned. Even if other 9th+ level characters do exist somewhere in the relative vicinity, they are separate individuals and therefore don't have nearly as much power, or are too busy with their pet projects. As about 9th+ level parties in other parts of the world, they already have their hands full ruling or guarding other countries, and, as our adventure is supposedly set in a place that faciliates adventuring, they are simply not here (PCs can clash with them later, in their new role as rulers/powers behind the thronw, of course). Can you actually give a reason why the answer for your question should be "no", within the given confines? I mean, a real answer, outlining how such answer can improve a game (that's probably enters its final arc, by this point), not "this should be so, because this should be so" or "this should be so, because it this is traditionally so"?

That may be your campaign style. It's certainly not mine. The PCs are, when I run games, not necessarily the only group in town. To have ready access to the powerful magic they want to buy, add to their spellbooks, and so on, they're making use of networks of resources already out there, who have forged similar paths ahead of them, lived the inspiring ballads that set the PCs on their own paths of adventure.

FatR wrote:
Also, can you explain your fixation on teleport as a mean of takinf over a country? It is seriously weird. As if PCs didn't have other means of killing people.

Oh, the PCs certainly would have a variety of means of killing people. The buff-scry-teleport is just an example of one available to mid to high level PCs that tends to come up in D&D. It could be a sniper's arrow for all I care. But there are a variety of ways to defend against these methods that have appeared many times in history from food tasters and bodyguards to social isolation and body armor. But that still doesn't answer the question why should we expect the regime to be particularly vulnerable to player characters without really making them work for it.


SirUrza wrote:


And wasn't the downfall of the Realms not the uber-NPCs, but the continuous Realm Shaking Events that culminated into a super event?

No, by the time of the last super event, the Realms, as an RPG product, already were on life support for a long time, and with novels, AFAIK, outselling RPG supplements by a huge margin, it seems that continuous Realm Shaking Events were pretty much inevitable. Translation to 4E indeed looks like a coup-de-grace, though.

This is also the reason why Golarion cannot be compared with the Realms' model - in the Realms, people actually liked seeing uber-NPCs as the main characters, because, well, that's what they were in novels. But Golarion does not have a flourishing novel line.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Bill Dunn wrote:
That may be your campaign style. It's certainly not mine. The PCs are, when I run games, not necessarily the only group in town. To have ready access to the powerful magic they want to buy, add to their spellbooks, and so on, they're making use of networks of resources already out there, who have forged similar paths ahead of them, lived the inspiring ballads that set the PCs on their own paths of adventure.

Then the last group who really cared about the region set up Cheliax, whatever. Note that 9th level is also when you start getting to go to other planes with less effort than it takes to go to the next town over, so you don't really need the creators of 5th and higher spells to be chilling out on Golarion.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

FatR wrote:
But Golarion does not have a flourishing novel line.

...Yet.

Waits eagerly for Q3 product announcements

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The reason we aren't doing adventures where PCs come in and destroy nations or change the face of Golarion has NOTHING TO DO with power levels. It has everything to do do with the fact that we don't want to break the toy we built when that toy's only been around for a couple of years, as opposed to, say, the Forgotten Realms, which are decades old.

If folks really want us to produce adventures wherein the face of Golarion changes, and wherein the PCs get to actively take part in the destruction or reshaping of nations... let us know! All evidence so far, though, points to the fact that this is not a very popular route to take with world design and development for RPG settings. Especially when they're still in their infancy.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

FatR wrote:
This is also the reason why Golarion cannot be compared with the Realms' model - in the Realms, people actually liked seeing uber-NPCs as the main characters, because, well, that's what they were in novels. But Golarion does not have a flourishing novel line.

This is a gross overgeneralization. Especially since one of the GREATEST and MOST COMMON complaints I've heard about the Realms is the fact that a lot of folks are sick and tired of, say, Driz'zt or Elminster. I suspect that those who read the novels liked seeing them in products and even adventures, but a LOT of folks who were gamers who didn't read the novels got frustrated with the fact that their characters were often delegated to second-class-citizens while pet NPCs ran the show.

And as for a novel line... there'll be one VERY soon. As to whether or not it will flourish, only time will tell. I certainly hope it will!

(AND: The Pathfinder Novel Line will NOT be delving into vast, world-changing events. It's going to focus on smaller stories. It's probably better to compare what we're going for to the writing of authors like Robert E. Howard or Fritz Leiber, actually, than to the Forgotten Realms novels. There are some huge, epic stories about Conan, but the vast majority of them are pretty small scale that don't reshape the world after every "The End.")


Bill Dunn wrote:


But I haven't been. In fact, I haven't mentioned hardly anything about the Golarion setting other than the fact that in Cities of Golarion there are examples of politically powerful people who aren't particularly high level.

I didn't even skimmed Cities of Golarion, but I'm willing to bet, that if any of these locations will be ever but in AP's focus, we'll learn that these people are backed/used as puppets by entities of some serious CR.

Bill Dunn wrote:
If you're taking issue with me using the continued survival of certain regimes as evidence that they're probably well-defended against random assault, then your protest will simply fall on deaf ears.

And once again, you're using "this is so, because this is so" circular argument. Namely, arguing that if certain regimes weren't taken out by random assaults by NPCs of level X, they must be well-defended by random assaults by level X, and therefore NPCs of level X must be common, to provide this defense, and due to this certain regimes must be well-defended against random assaults by NPCs of level X, as NPCs of level X are a common threat. But this does not even remotely adress my point - namely, that nothing prevent the setting from establishing, that instead of of level X, the realm of commonly encountered NPCs ends at level Y.

Bill Dunn wrote:
Regimes survive because they take measures to promote their own security.

And yet in a setting, that pays at least a lip service to verissimilitude, all of them will fall, sooner or later. Can you articulate a reason why a time when a party of 9th level PCs decides they don't like the current regime is the bad time for this? I mean, besides "I don't want PCs to be cool and actually create a lasting change"?

Bill Dunn wrote:
It's how they survive peasant uprising, noble intrigues, and palace coups.

But how security measures relevant to this are of any use against a band of army-killing superhumans?

Bill Dunn wrote:
That's a fact of life and unless the PCs are using a particularly inventive strategy, my assumption would be that the strategy has been attempted before unless the regime was particularly new and inexperienced or particularly poor or recently damaged by other events.

I.e, your argument is "I don't want PCs to be cool and actually create a lasting change" after all. Sad. Sorry, but this is so utterly antithematic for heroic fantasy (even for most of the fantasy directly inspired by DnD, where characters regularly thwart gods, stop apocalyptic plans, and decide the outcome of world-shaking events), that it is honestly hard to imagine for me, how anyone can play under such assumptions, except if they are interested in pure tactical simulator. When Greyhawk or FR effectively ask my character to be a NPC, because PCs niches are already occupied by characters from novels, or authors' old games, or whatever, I can at least understand the underlying reasoning...

Bill Dunn wrote:
But that still doesn't answer the question why should we expect the regime to be particularly vulnerable to player characters without really making them work for it.

We shouldn't! In fact, I don't! But, thing is, PCs already have really, really worked for it by getting to 9th level. Which, by the way, means up to a half-year of regular gaming sessions in the real life. Don't you think, that after that we can finally let them graduate from zeroes to heroes?


James Jacobs wrote:
(AND: The Pathfinder Novel Line will NOT be delving into vast, world-changing events. It's going to focus on smaller stories. It's probably better to compare what we're going for to the writing of authors like Robert E. Howard or Fritz Leiber, actually, than to the Forgotten Realms novels. There are some huge, epic stories about Conan, but the vast majority of them are pretty small scale that don't reshape the world after every "The End.")

Good... I am a little tired of the idea that every story (and adventure path) has to involve the hero saving the world.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Furthermore... there's nothing AT ALL preventing home games from having big effects on nations. If you want your players to be able to take control of a nation... by all means, do it! We just don't want to hard-code that type of event into the game so that EVERYONE has to play the same game. One of the GREATEST advantages that pen-and-paper RPGs have over computer RPGs still (and this advantage won't last forever) is the simple fact that a GM can make any setting his/her own and change things however he/she wants.

In any event... you might want to check out the Kingmaker Adventure Path when it launches in a month or two; this is an AP that takes PCs up to about 18th level and gives them a new kingdom to build and control. If all goes well for those PCs, they'll be able to build one of the largest kingdoms in the River Kingdoms, and might even absorb/conquer established River Kingdoms or even challenge Brevoy to the north.

And more immediately, with Council of Thieves' climax...

Spoiler:
...the final adventure sees the city of Westcrown having no mayor, an aristocracy in turmoil, and a city that's seen a LOT of mayhem and battle. This is a PERFECT segue into having the PCs take up positions of power in Westcrown as its new rulers, in fact... and from there, a high level campaign in which the PCs start to directly oppose Cheliax is an obvious choice for a new campaign. It's just not one that we'll be creating for you.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Dennis da Ogre wrote:
Good... I am a little tired of the idea that every story (and adventure path) has to involve the hero saving the world.

So are we. Which is why, of the six Adventure Paths we've done or are working on for Pathifnder so far, only one (Second Darkness) has been a "save the world" campaign. The others have all been "save the nation" or "save the city" adventures. And with the upcoming Kingmaker AP, that's not really as much of a "save anything" AP but a "build a kingdom" AP. (Although you can be assured that there'll be bad guys trying to ruin said kingdom!)


I can say, that I hold high hopes for Kingmaker. This premise can produce the best AP since RotRL and one I'll be interested in collecting. While I'm almost sure that the scale of events will be smaller than I like, "upscaling" APs with the satisfying overall structure is fairly easy. For example by the end of AoW, you can easily make characters into the owners of their own continent or about so, with the whole pantheon owing them favors, simply by making the descriptions of locations they visit more grandiose, the legends of NPCs they met more impressive and their current positions more prominent. I also believe that the only reason PCs might fail to end up as the unifiers of four local kingdoms into a new empire and its rulers in our RotRL game, if we'll ever manage to overcome our RL schedule problems and finish it, is the lack of desire on their part.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
The reason we aren't doing adventures where PCs come in and destroy nations or change the face of Golarion has NOTHING TO DO with power levels. It has everything to do do with the fact that we don't want to break the toy we built when that toy's only been around for a couple of years, as opposed to, say, the Forgotten Realms, which are decades old.

The best example of novels breaking campaign settings is Dark Sun. The campaign setting and the novels came out near (my memory is fuzzy, that could be wrong) the same time. In the campaign setting boxed set there is a lot of information about the city states being ruled by dragon kings. Then the first novel comes out and at the end the city of Tyr is freed. The story itself is fine, but it invalidated everything in the original boxed set about Tyr.

A better way would be to have planned that Tyr was a free city, and written the novel showing how it was freed. Then the setting and novels match up, with only mild spoilers to the novel in the campaign setting box (which is what the revised boxed set looked like, if I recall correctly.)

Paizo doesn't want to do that with Golarion.

I do hope that someday they decide to set some novels in Golarion's past, to show the tales that are now apart of history. The Quest for the Sky, the rise of house Thrune in Cheliax, etc. I understand that they will want to stick to "modern" tales for the start of the line, but exploring some of Golarion's past would be fun too.

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