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


Council of Thieves

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
FatR wrote:
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?

But the regimes in power have been working for their positions as well from building their security aparatus to building the social networks that tend to rat out anti-regime conspirators like the heroes. Why should the magic number for regime-changing PC levels be fairly low rather than fairly high?

If the PCs decide they want to take on a government, they can try whenever and whereever they want. But some governments, particularly ones like Cheliax, Irrisen, or Katapesh, are going to be harder to crack than others like the governments in and around Varisia. Some tasks should be and are more epic (and no, I don't mean the character levels) than others.

It's never been a question of stopping PCs from making lasting changes. It's a question of making the challenge appropriate to the ambitions of the characters goals. Staging a coup in Magnimar is a lower ambition than toppling Cheliax and I'd be setting the relative challenges of the two appropriately.

Dark Archive

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.")

And you just sold at least one novel by saying the above. That exactly what I want to see out of novels for Pathfinder setting.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I believe the problem with Pathfinder doing a story where player's actions cause great sweeping world changes while not having an advancing canon is two, maybe threefold. One, people with a strong sense of continuity (and there are a lot of fantasy or sci fi fans like that) or people who don't know about advancing canon may get confused or dismayed about the fact that the nation is still there in later adventures and suppliments, still being bad. The approach may just rub them the wrong way. No advancing canon is easier to accept when the adventure itself isn't putting change in bold wording inside of itself. Two, unless the campaign run by the GM using the path has negative continuity, or future campaigns involve prequels or time travel, further adventures and suppliments involving Cheliax (assuming that's the wrecked place,) become harder to sell to them because of diminished useability/validity. Three, once you've offered the keys to wrecking Cheliax, what do you do with the place after that? Writers and players are probably burned out on it, and any new Chelish material may likely feel anticlimactic considering players have already shown how they can thrash the place. It's used up.

None of these problems are unsurmountable, either on a player level or a DM level or a writer level, but it doesn't mean it's a good idea to set the problem up.

... I apologize if we've moved on since then. I just wanted to add my thoughts

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The MAIN reason we are hesitant to advance timelines is that is a great way to make your setting more unapproachable every time you print a new book. If we keep the timeline static and don't advance canon, then someone who gets into Golarion on day one starts at the same baseline as someone who gets into Golarion on day 1,001, and so on. It keeps the world a friendly and approachable place to new gamers. And that's good.

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
The MAIN reason we are hesitant to advance timelines is that is a great way to make your setting more unapproachable every time you print a new book. If we keep the timeline static and don't advance canon, then someone who gets into Golarion on day one starts at the same baseline as someone who gets into Golarion on day 1,001, and so on. It keeps the world a friendly and approachable place to new gamers. And that's good.

I agree with that and the constant changes of FR was a big turn off for me. I thought FR was well done and then they go and change things I loved. Anyways I am glad you guys are taking this approach with the setting.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
The MAIN reason we are hesitant to advance timelines is that is a great way to make your setting more unapproachable every time you print a new book. If we keep the timeline static and don't advance canon, then someone who gets into Golarion on day one starts at the same baseline as someone who gets into Golarion on day 1,001, and so on. It keeps the world a friendly and approachable place to new gamers. And that's good.

+1258796548236554795

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
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.")

None of the Realms fans wanted that, and when there was a cool The End, it wasn't supported in the RPG product anyway, which cheapened the novel line.

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dark_Mistress wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
The MAIN reason we are hesitant to advance timelines is that is a great way to make your setting more unapproachable every time you print a new book. If we keep the timeline static and don't advance canon, then someone who gets into Golarion on day one starts at the same baseline as someone who gets into Golarion on day 1,001, and so on. It keeps the world a friendly and approachable place to new gamers. And that's good.
I agree with that and the constant changes of FR was a big turn off for me. I thought FR was well done and then they go and change things I loved. Anyways I am glad you guys are taking this approach with the setting.

Indeed. To me the Time of Troubles wasn't such a big deal. Some gods got shuffled around, some gods no one cared about died, and one big god died (he came back with no real backstory for 3e which was something a lot of fans were disappointed by too!) Post Time of Troubles, the Realms was pretty static from there through 3e. Yeah some stuff happened, but nothing that made books invalid. It's when 3.5 hit that the supplements were being obsoleted by the novels.. or the supplements were covering the events of the novels they were being marketed to be part of.

The biggest downfall to 4e Realms for me is the Timeline advancement. Even if you were ok with a god dying, a few npcs dying through the Spell Plague, the timeline advancement guarantees that EVERYONE ELSE has died of old age too. Political and social climates have changed and books that TSR published just can't be used anymore.

Luckily for the Eberron fans the 4e Realms backlash saved their setting. Unfortunately the 4e publishing strategy has left me feeling that 4e Eberron is Eberron-lite in that you need the 3e books to make up for all the missing material. But that's not really a problem for Eberron fans since they only got a dozen 3e supplements anyway.


James Jacobs wrote:
The MAIN reason we are hesitant to advance timelines is that is a great way to make your setting more unapproachable every time you print a new book. If we keep the timeline static and don't advance canon, then someone who gets into Golarion on day one starts at the same baseline as someone who gets into Golarion on day 1,001, and so on. It keeps the world a friendly and approachable place to new gamers. And that's good.

But it can't be completely static and unchanging because the timeline does advance for at least the Pathfinder Society. The first scenario of season two will be set two years after the first scenario of season zero, and some things had to have changed around Golarion in that time, right? I am also one of those continuity people, as I mentioned many posts ago, and I cannot play the same character in two different scenarios if they are supposed to happen on the same date in two different parts of the land.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
But it can't be completely static and unchanging because the timeline does advance for at least the Pathfinder Society. The first scenario of season two will be set two years after the first scenario of season zero, and some things had to have changed around Golarion in that time, right? I am also one of those continuity people, as I mentioned many posts ago, and I cannot play the same character in two different scenarios if they are supposed to happen on the same date in two different parts of the land.

For the Pathfinder Society campaign, yes, the timeline advances. That's just one campaign of many (although it IS the biggest campaign, I guess), and while some events or adventures in the Pathfinder Society might someday impact or influence things we'll do in the print products, that's not a guarantee. It is, in the end, one of countless campaigns that use the campaign setting as a starting point. It is not a canon generator, really, for anything other than itself.

Liberty's Edge

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.

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.

I want a major change every 5 years. Starting with open warfare between two nations (Cheliax/Andoran, Taldor/Qadira, Nex/Geb or perhaps a Mongol style invasion from Casmaron) in 2012.


Coridan wrote:

I want a major change every 5 years. Starting with open warfare between two nations (Cheliax/Andoran, Taldor/Qadira, Nex/Geb or perhaps a Mongol style invasion from Casmaron) in 2012.

I see your "major change every 5 years" and raise it to NO major change other than some minor adjustments and clarifications for a long, long time . . . ;)

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Coridan wrote:
I want a major change every 5 years. Starting with open warfare between two nations (Cheliax/Andoran, Taldor/Qadira, Nex/Geb or perhaps a Mongol style invasion from Casmaron) in 2012.

*face palm*

Paizo should just spell plague the setting now and get it over with in that case.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

SirUrza wrote:
Coridan wrote:
I want a major change every 5 years. Starting with open warfare between two nations (Cheliax/Andoran, Taldor/Qadira, Nex/Geb or perhaps a Mongol style invasion from Casmaron) in 2012.

*face palm*

Paizo should just spell plague the setting now and get it over with in that case.

4712 is, I believe, the year Baba Yaga is next supposed to come to Golarion to install a new daughter on the Irrisen throne, so there will at least be that change.

Saying the timeline doesn't advance isn't actually true, canonically speaking though, is it? The timeline advances one year at a time, just like in the real world. It's more accurate to say that, for the most part, nothing major is going to change over the course of a year, and if it does, it will be local, not global, in scope.


yoda8myhead wrote:
SirUrza wrote:
Coridan wrote:
I want a major change every 5 years. Starting with open warfare between two nations (Cheliax/Andoran, Taldor/Qadira, Nex/Geb or perhaps a Mongol style invasion from Casmaron) in 2012.

*face palm*

Paizo should just spell plague the setting now and get it over with in that case.

4712 is, I believe, the year Baba Yaga is next supposed to come to Golarion to install a new daughter on the Irrisen throne, so there will at least be that change.

Saying the timeline doesn't advance isn't actually true, canonically speaking though, is it? The timeline advances one year at a time, just like in the real world. It's more accurate to say that, for the most part, nothing major is going to change over the course of a year, and if it does, it will be local, not global, in scope.

However some adventure paths imply that they take years of game time for the events touched upon to run through; Legacy of Fire at one point specifically invites the GM to give the PCs something akin to a twelve month sabbatical before kicking on with things.

Edit:
I think I mean to say that it would be difficult to attempt to precisely pin down in canon when, relative to one another, particular events in particular paths occur, even if occasionally (as with an NPC from Korvosa who shows up in the Second Darkness path because things were getting tough back home) some rough relationships may occasionally be inferred.


James Jacobs wrote:
Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
But it can't be completely static and unchanging because the timeline does advance for at least the Pathfinder Society. The first scenario of season two will be set two years after the first scenario of season zero, and some things had to have changed around Golarion in that time, right? I am also one of those continuity people, as I mentioned many posts ago, and I cannot play the same character in two different scenarios if they are supposed to happen on the same date in two different parts of the land.
For the Pathfinder Society campaign, yes, the timeline advances. That's just one campaign of many (although it IS the biggest campaign, I guess), and while some events or adventures in the Pathfinder Society might someday impact or influence things we'll do in the print products, that's not a guarantee. It is, in the end, one of countless campaigns that use the campaign setting as a starting point. It is not a canon generator, really, for anything other than itself.

Cool. That makes me happy as this is the only one I am worried about. The AP's and other modules are good, but their results, for now, only change how Golarion looks in peoples' home games and not the official canon of how Golarion is shown in the books.

Liberty's Edge

SirUrza wrote:
Coridan wrote:
I want a major change every 5 years. Starting with open warfare between two nations (Cheliax/Andoran, Taldor/Qadira, Nex/Geb or perhaps a Mongol style invasion from Casmaron) in 2012.

*face palm*

Paizo should just spell plague the setting now and get it over with in that case.

There's a huge difference between a world-devastating change and a 'major change'. Look at some of the 'major changes' in the 2000s

Two new rulers in the US
9/11
Afghanistan War
Iraq War
Russia invaded Georgia
2006 Thailand coup d'etat
2009 Honduran coup d'etat
By January 2010, 4 new countries came to existence: Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria under Russian diplomatic or military support (Russia invaded the Republic of Georgia in August 2008 to occupy Abkhazia and South Ossetia), and Western Sahara with the pro-Marxist Polisario government-in-exile based in Algeria.

For a more 'period appropriate look' [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1260s[/url]

Static campaign settings are boring, but that doesn't mean kill Ravnos every 5 years. Wars, changes in rulers, those things SHOULD shift over time.


James Jacobs wrote:
The MAIN reason we are hesitant to advance timelines is that is a great way to make your setting more unapproachable every time you print a new book. If we keep the timeline static and don't advance canon, then someone who gets into Golarion on day one starts at the same baseline as someone who gets into Golarion on day 1,001, and so on. It keeps the world a friendly and approachable place to new gamers. And that's good.

Perfect! :) ty


Coridan wrote:
Static campaign settings are boring,

No. As a published product for sale, they are a very good thing.

Quote:
Wars, changes in rulers, those things SHOULD shift over time.

Indeed - and I'm sure the DM will do a great job making those changes (which is what he/she is supposed to do). Just don't have one published make a previous book I purchased obsolete, thanks. I don't appreciate it.

I'll make the changes in my campaign setting - not the publisher.

Dark Archive

yoda8myhead wrote:
SirUrza wrote:
Coridan wrote:
I want a major change every 5 years. Starting with open warfare between two nations (Cheliax/Andoran, Taldor/Qadira, Nex/Geb or perhaps a Mongol style invasion from Casmaron) in 2012.

*face palm*

Paizo should just spell plague the setting now and get it over with in that case.

4712 is, I believe, the year Baba Yaga is next supposed to come to Golarion to install a new daughter on the Irrisen throne, so there will at least be that change.

Saying the timeline doesn't advance isn't actually true, canonically speaking though, is it? The timeline advances one year at a time, just like in the real world. It's more accurate to say that, for the most part, nothing major is going to change over the course of a year, and if it does, it will be local, not global, in scope.

Baba Yaga returns...yeah...Kind of like that Aroden guy who turned up exactly when he said he would...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Coridan wrote:
There's a huge difference between a world-devastating change and a 'major change'. Look at some of the 'major changes' in the 2000s

I should point out: this is a span of 10 years. That's longer than Paizo's been in existence!

Golarion is only a quarter that old. In that time we've had several potentially world-changing events in our Adventure Paths, one of which is pretty major (the revelation of the drow, who until Second Darkness were not really involved in the surface and not really something anyone encountered) and many more of which are still pretty notable.

After Golarion's been around for 10 years, I suspect that we'll have at least ONE major campaign change. (Baba Yaga's return is a good nomination.) Maybe more. But those events have to happen organically, and they have to occur in a way that doesn't estrange and annoy and drive off the setting's fans.

But in the end, our main goal is to keep Golarion at the same level of approachability to a new gamer whether they come to the world in 2008 or 2018.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

What if there was a parallel world and you merged it into Golarion? That would be a great idea and chock full of win.

Oh wait. I meant "terrible idea" and "chock full of fail."

Liberty's Edge

James Jacobs wrote:
Coridan wrote:
There's a huge difference between a world-devastating change and a 'major change'. Look at some of the 'major changes' in the 2000s

I should point out: this is a span of 10 years. That's longer than Paizo's been in existence!

Golarion is only a quarter that old. In that time we've had several potentially world-changing events in our Adventure Paths, one of which is pretty major (the revelation of the drow, who until Second Darkness were not really involved in the surface and not really something anyone encountered) and many more of which are still pretty notable.

After Golarion's been around for 10 years, I suspect that we'll have at least ONE major campaign change. (Baba Yaga's return is a good nomination.) Maybe more. But those events have to happen organically, and they have to occur in a way that doesn't estrange and annoy and drive off the setting's fans.

But in the end, our main goal is to keep Golarion at the same level of approachability to a new gamer whether they come to the world in 2008 or 2018.

Hence my 'one every 5 years' attitude. Mostly I just want to see a big war, even if the canon changes are generally relegated to Pathfinder Society stuff I love metaplot, you could keep new metaplot stuff strictly limited to maybe a yearly Pathfinder Society Gazetteer and bring back the faction competition with it.

Contributor

Apologies if this has been mentioned (I get a bit cross-eyed scanning long threads) but I'm enjoying CoT so far. The only "misstep" I've noticed so far is in the Sixfold Trial, the text assumes Chammady and Ecarrdian know the PCs took out the Bastards of Erebus. As my player didn't want his identity revealed as a hero/rebel/whateveryacallit in the first adventure, he worked circumspectly. I suppose the Drovenges could use divination magic to learn his identity; it doesn't matter for my game, but could be useful to other GMs. :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Coridan wrote:
Hence my 'one every 5 years' attitude. Mostly I just want to see a big war, even if the canon changes are generally relegated to Pathfinder Society stuff I love metaplot, you could keep new metaplot stuff strictly limited to maybe a yearly Pathfinder Society Gazetteer and bring back the faction competition with it.

While you'll see some mass combat in Kingmaker... we DO have a pair of nations locked in a big war—Molthune and Nirmathas. That war got toned down in the campaign setting, unfortunately, but that's a place you can expect to see a flaring of battles in the near future... even if it's only revisions to those two nations' writeups in the 2nd edition Campaign Setting hardcover.

But the fact that the game doesn't really handle mass combat well (what we'll be doing in Kingmaker is a SUPER simplified method to handle it) means that we generally try to avoid anything that involves the PCs in big battles. It's not as much a creative choice as a logistical choice forced on us by the nature of what the rules can and can't do. If what we attempt in Kingmaker comes off well, that might change.

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
But the fact that the game doesn't really handle mass combat well (what we'll be doing in Kingmaker is a SUPER simplified method to handle it) means that we generally try to avoid anything that involves the PCs in big battles. It's not as much a creative choice as a logistical choice forced on us by the nature of what the rules can and can't do. If what we attempt in Kingmaker comes off well, that might change.

See, this is the part that really bothers me about D&D. Everyone tries to do Mass Combat "within the rules."

F@#$ the existing rules.

First off, it's mass combat. Let's say it's 25 on 25. No one wants to sit through 50 initiative rolls, 50 attack rolls. Are all 50 beings going to have their on character sheet? Certainly not! Why can't someone just make, use, or rip-off existing rules from one of the many wargames out there and stylize them to fit into a d20 game.

If the PCs are fighting together as a unit, then it's not really mass combat. Why? Well the PCs aren't commanding units, so what NPC commanders do becomes the realm of the DM and the DM should NOT be leaving such outcomes to chance. If the outcome hangs on the PCs succeeding in doing something (say killing the ogre mage general) then it's a standard encounter with essentially nameless, faceless, npcs fighting around the PCs as background elements.


SirUrza wrote:


See, this is the part that really bothers me about D&D. Everyone tries to do Mass Combat "within the rules."

F@#$ the existing rules.

First off, it's mass combat. Let's say it's 25 on 25. No one wants to sit through 50 initiative rolls, 50 attack rolls. Are all 50 beings going to have their on character sheet? Certainly not! Why can't someone just make, use, or rip-off existing rules from one of the many wargames out there and stylize them to fit into a d20 game.

If the PCs are fighting together as a unit, then it's not really mass combat. Why? Well the PCs aren't commanding units, so what NPC commanders do becomes the realm of the DM and the DM should NOT be leaving such outcomes to chance. If the outcome hangs on the PCs succeeding in doing something (say killing the ogre mage general) then it's a standard encounter with essentially nameless, faceless, npcs fighting around the PCs as background elements.

Did you ever see the "Using Organizations to Resolve Mass Combat" rules in the Force Unleashed Campaign Guide for Saga? While it does leave the fate of the overall battle "to chance," it doesn't really have much to do with initiative rolls and units so much as relative size of the participants organizations and what the heroes do in encounters relating to the battle.


Erik Mona wrote:
A Man In Black wrote:


Then I'm curious. Why has the leadership of House Thrune been written such that any AP that would involve overthrowing them would necessarily have to be so high level that it is near-impractical?

Probably because House Thrune was not invented specifically to be defeated in an Adventure Path? Cheliax is kind of the main "evil" country in the campaign setting, and as such it serves our purposes if it stays around a while. I certainly understand why taking out the leadership of Cheliax would make for an attractive home campaign, but we'd like it to stay around for a while. Queen Abrogail worked so hard to win the civil war following Aroden's death, after all. It would be a shame to take it all away from her so soon.

I realize that my statement about AP results not changing the world would mean that we could do an Adventure Path like this without worrying about the overall impact on the setting, but the truth is that we have a long list of AP ideas in the hopper, and this is not one of them. No real reason for this other than we're more excited by other ideas at the moment.

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. Sure, we don't have epic-level rules at this point, but that's more a function of there being a limited amount of time since we decided to reboot the game than anything else. And just because the APs currently end around 15-18th level does not mean that they will NEVER go higher, or that we will never publish adventures in other formats that allow for more epic-style challenges.

Smart, diplomatic and patient. Yours was a good response.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

SirUrza wrote:


See, this is the part that really bothers me about D&D. Everyone tries to do Mass Combat "within the rules."

F@#$ the existing rules.

Which is exactly what Kingmaker will be doing. We've come up with some cool new rules, I think, to handle mass combats. Before we do an AP that's all about mass combats from start to end, though, I'd rather see how they work and interact with a single adventure in an AP. In this case, "War of the River Kings" in Pathfinder Adventure Path volume #35.


Hmm. My impression of the Molthune-Nirmathas conflict was: 'Molthune trying to bring a treacherous former province to heel whilst the Nirmathas rebels mount a hit-and-run guerilla tactics campaign out of the woods' - more a constant series of small skirmishes than battles of any size or note.

Edit:
Although I do recall something about the Molthune army preparing some sort of major offensive from behind secure positions whilst the Nirmathas guerillas tried desperately to destroy aforementioned positions.


I don't really undestand why one even particularly needs mass combat in DnD once the game hits level 9 (although depending on the party composition and imagination that might kick in around level 7). Everything worth doing will be done by adventurer deathsquads that fly or, later, teleport around. They are like a modern aeromobile force in a medieval setting - while a horde of sufficiently fanatical mooks can theoretically threaten to bury them under the dead, they can avoid this by disengaging whenever they want. Armies of low-level guys are good only at bullying conquered populations; those who cannot put at least a phalanx of giants and gryphon cavalry in the field might as well don't care, whether their army is a well-trained force or rabble.

And if we do have armies of giants and so on in the settinh, why not to use the system from RHoD, where PCs win battles by running around the battlefield and doing important stuff?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Which is exactly what Kingmaker will be doing. We've come up with some cool new rules, I think, to handle mass combats. Before we do an AP that's all about mass combats from start to end, though, I'd rather see how they work and interact with a single adventure in an AP. In this case, "War of the River Kings" in Pathfinder Adventure Path volume #35.

Sounds great, I can't wait to see them. Who were the primary architects on these mass combat rules?


FatR wrote:

I don't really undestand why one even particularly needs mass combat in DnD once the game hits level 9 (although depending on the party composition and imagination that might kick in around level 7). Everything worth doing will be done by adventurer deathsquads that fly or, later, teleport around. They are like a modern aeromobile force in a medieval setting - while a horde of sufficiently fanatical mooks can theoretically threaten to bury them under the dead, they can avoid this by disengaging whenever they want. Armies of low-level guys are good only at bullying conquered populations; those who cannot put at least a phalanx of giants and gryphon cavalry in the field might as well don't care, whether their army is a well-trained force or rabble.

I'm curious, but do spells like

  • Dimensional Lock
  • False Vision
  • Forbiddance
  • Guards & Wards
  • Hallow
  • Hallucinatory Terrain
  • Mage's Private Sanctum
  • Mage's Magnificent Mansion
  • Nondetection
  • Permanent Image
  • Rope Trick
  • Screen
  • See Invisibility
  • Fly
  • Overland Flight
  • Seeming
  • Sequester
  • Symbol of X
  • Tiny Hut
  • Unhallow
  • Veil
  • Detect Scrying
  • Antimagic Shell

In addition to magical items which offer similar protections, mundane materials, or precautions like body doubles only exist for your player characters? Does it not seem likely that Scry, Buff, Teleport, Fry tactics have been tried previously in your setting by people other than the players and appropriate counter-measures devised?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Callous Jack wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Which is exactly what Kingmaker will be doing. We've come up with some cool new rules, I think, to handle mass combats. Before we do an AP that's all about mass combats from start to end, though, I'd rather see how they work and interact with a single adventure in an AP. In this case, "War of the River Kings" in Pathfinder Adventure Path volume #35.
Sounds great, I can't wait to see them. Who were the primary architects on these mass combat rules?

Me. With some helpful advice from Jason Bulmahn.


Caedwyr wrote:


I'm curious, but do spells like
  • Dimensional Lock
  • False Vision
  • Forbiddance
  • Guards & Wards
  • Hallow
  • Hallucinatory Terrain
  • Mage's Private Sanctum
  • Mage's Magnificent Mansion
  • Nondetection
  • Permanent Image
  • Rope Trick
  • Screen
  • See Invisibility
  • Fly
  • Overland Flight
  • Seeming
  • Sequester
  • Symbol of X
  • Tiny Hut
  • Unhallow
  • Veil
  • Detect Scrying
  • Antimagic Shell

In addition to magical items which offer similar protections, mundane materials, or precautions like body doubles only exist for your player characters? Does it not seem likely that Scry, Buff, Teleport, Fry tactics have been tried previously in your setting by people other than the players and appropriate counter-measures devised?

Yes. So people who have these counter-measures (and, earlier, countermeasures to, say, invisible, flying enemies, that suprise-nuke you from hundreds of feet, or uber-sneaky characters that eliminate you ninja-style, or - and the first of all - to a bunch of walking tanks that kick in the door, go on the rampage, then get away one way or another, after their buffs start to drop) get to play with the big boys. And everyone else don't get to. In other words, only people who have them actually matter whenever a conflict arises, which is precisely what I said.

By the way, neither mundane materials and precautions like body doubles don't do anything. Seriously, if adventures just demonstrated that they can torch your castle and capital with impunity, who cares that they only killed your body double. Unless you're also a high-level character and actually can retaliate, of course.

As a side note, a character who actually rules something cannot get workable countermeasures to Scry & Fry, or, really, most of the other surprise attack tactics, unless he happen to be a high-level arcane spellcaster. DnD simply favors attack over defense.


Or LOWLEVELRULER can pay for protection, have someone on hand who can provide protection/security. This really isn't any different than the real world, the technology is just different. In a world with magic, those in power are going require access to the magic and all it entails.


Caedwyr wrote:
Or LOWLEVELRULER can pay for protection, have someone on hand who can provide protection/security. This really isn't any different than the real world, the technology is just different. In a world with magic, those in power are going require access to the magic and all it entails.

This, do people think leaders of governments in the real world put beat downs on special forces? No they pay folks to do that. Getting to the man in charge then dealing with the fall out is the issue. Just because you kill the man in charge does not mean you tobbled his government

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
SirUrza wrote:


See, this is the part that really bothers me about D&D. Everyone tries to do Mass Combat "within the rules."

F@#$ the existing rules.

Which is exactly what Kingmaker will be doing. We've come up with some cool new rules, I think, to handle mass combats. Before we do an AP that's all about mass combats from start to end, though, I'd rather see how they work and interact with a single adventure in an AP. In this case, "War of the River Kings" in Pathfinder Adventure Path volume #35.

Well then this is make waving my fanboy flag once again. :)


Caedwyr wrote:
Or LOWLEVELRULER can pay for protection, have someone on hand who can provide protection/security. This really isn't any different than the real world, the technology is just different. In a world with magic, those in power are going require access to the magic and all it entails.

And then absolutely nothing can stop the dude who provides protection/security from killing or mindraping him. And this is competely different in every way from the real world. In the real world, dudes with guns are replaceable, while the equation of power generally looks like (dude with a gun and N years of training < N dudes with guns and a year of training) where N > 1. In the DnD world, a dude 4-5 levels above the upper level limit of commonly encountered NPCs* is irreplaceable and the equation of power generally looks like (a character of level N >>>>>>>>> N characters of level 1 and above). Moreover, there is absolutely nothing that a ruler can offer a high-level character in exchange for the latter's time**. Even assuming, that said character cannot exploit the system for unlimited wealth. Therefore any parallels with the real world are completely invalid.

*Whatever the limit is. If it is - for no reason I can remotely understand - is put at 20, this doesn't mean, that a band of adventurers or even a single character cannot completely rape the setting at their whim. This possibility is hardcoded in CR system and will never go away, unless the game is allowed to be broken down by 9th level spells (in which case either there are no spellcasters of level 17+ or the world is laid to ruin/subjugated to a single will already).

**Wealth? Even the simple act of magic item creation in PF serves as an infinite wealth loop. Barring this and other "infinite wealth for free" tricks, as well as simply offing the ruler on the spot and taking his treasury, high-level characters in Golarion still can earn tons of gold just by going around and clearing low-level dungeons. This is much safer (as you don't need to make a target out of yourself by hanging next to some ridiculously vulnerable loser) and less boring. Comfort? A high-level party that won't be inclined to just kill the ruler and take his stuff can hang out in Heaven after their work. Power? If the party cares, they can take more by kiling the ruler or turning him into their mind-slave.
So, basically, unless the character/party in question decides to support the ruler in question for their own personal motives, there is nothing the ruler can offer them.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Might be time to switch to Call of Cthulhu for a while then. Character level has a MUCH harder time in that game of getting in the way of things.


seekerofshadowlight wrote:


This, do people think leaders of governments in the real world put beat downs on special forces?

Not only RL-based arguments are completely irrelevant, for the reasons outlined above, but for most of the world's history that's what leaders of governments were expected to do. A medieval king was supposed to be not only an army commander, but a warrior as well; and the former role was more important only because armies were more important for kicking enemy's asses than personal combat, while in DnD they aren't.

And in DnD they certainly do. In fact, this thread is so long precisely because leaders of Cheliax' government, by design, the reasons of which still remain incomprehensible to me, can put a beatdown on anything pre-Epic.

seekerofshadowlight wrote:
No they pay folks to do that. Getting to the man in charge then dealing with the fall out is the issue. Just because you kill the man in charge does not mean you tobbled his government

What exactly makes you think that the party in question won't kill the rest of government too. Or at least enough of them to make the rest more receptive to "obey or die" message?


James Jacobs wrote:
Might be time to switch to Call of Cthulhu for a while then. Character level has a MUCH harder time in that game of getting in the way of things.

You're saying this as if characters messing with the way of things is something bad.

EDIT: And, seriously, this seems to be the main point of disagreement. In my personal opinion, a DnD campaign that does not leave the world significantly changed and PCs' names (if they succeed) remembered for centures, goes against the spirit of the genre - and makes me wonder why we're playing DnD, instead of Warhammer Fantasy, if PCs aren't allowed to actually exercise their ever-crazier power outside of plot confines.

The Exchange

You know FatR, the CR system for encounters and gaining experience isnt completely dependent on "fighting".

In fact, theoretically its entirelypossible that a political figure could purely gain levels by successfully completing negotiation type encounters, putting into play political agendas against intelligent poilitical eemies, or you know, successfully dealing with the machiavelian schemes of the devils they bargained with for power.

In fact, you could probably desisgn a political campaign where you went from level 1 to level 20 without ever having to ift a finger in combat.

Now it may not make sense that a ruler whose never levelled through combat experience could wup the butt of a group of PC's, but this is DnD and when they level, they level with all the benefits associated.

However, for the sake of argument, here's how it could be done. They could be a fighter, for instance, who took the campaign trait for Golarian that provided more skills intstead of the bonus first level feat (which includes diplomacy and sense motive as a class skill btw). This guy was a real political animal but also pretty damn handy at planning battles etc, without needing to be in the front ranks. He has the benefits of all the best training his politically gained money can buy him, and he can gain loot from a kingdoms treasury if he happens to become the ruler said kingdom. He levels trough political intigue and the occasionally planning and running of a military campaign. He gains loot through his treasury and perhaps inheirting legendary items from his family or past rulers of said kingdom.

Now that took me all of 3 minutes to come up with as a concept for a ruler of a nation. It all works via the rules of the game, and doesn't even break thematically from the game. This is how a ruler can get to be level 20 and kick the arse of your platry level 9 scry and fry team. What's more he has cousins, friends and family, all of whome are doing exactly the same thing. Leave the dungeon crawling to the sweaty adventurers, we'll level through political means thank you very much.

It's possible you need to broaden your perspective on how the system can and can't work. You seem to be fixated on a one way works for all kind of mentality.

On a side note - I find it humrous that you argue all DnD campaigns should end up with the players being legendary hero's or even demi gods, and then you use David Gemmel's books to argue this. The entire premise of his books was to illustrate how the passage of time can twist the real history of events and make heros of ordinary people.

If you want the PC's of your campaign to be legends in the same vein as David Gemmel, have them complete Rise of the Rune lords, then jump your own campaign world forwards 300 hundred years or so and have the legends of that particular kindom talk them up more than they were.

Having said all of that, James has already stated that if they decide to go back and visit some of teh same places as already used in AP's, then the world would have progressed accordingly, so you alreadyhaave your wish. It just so happens that you'll have to wait for it happen from the publishers.

Cheers


Wrath wrote:
You know FatR, the CR system for encounters and gaining experience isnt completely dependent on "fighting".

Doesn't matter even one bit*. The upper bracket of commonly encountered CRs in the world is still completely arbitrary and you still can do whatever you please with the world or the most of it if your CR is 4-5 higher than this bracket. Doubling in power every 2 levels is one of the core features of 3.X system and its derivatives.

*Well unless your players think that becoming Superman through being good at political maneuvering is just a silly excuse to keep them down and a good reason to quit.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
FatR wrote:
In the DnD world, a dude 4-5 levels above the upper level limit of commonly encountered NPCs is irreplaceable and the equation of power generally looks like (a character of level N >>>>>>>>> N characters of level 1 and above). Moreover, there is absolutely nothing that a ruler can offer a high-level character in exchange for the latter's time.
FatR wrote:
The upper bracket of commonly encountered CRs in the world is still completely arbitrary and you still can do whatever you please with the world or the most of it if your CR is 4-5 higher than this bracket. Doubling in power every 2 levels is one of the core features of 3.X system and its derivatives.

Yes, high level characters can have a drastic impact on the setting. What prevents most player characters from taking over a nation is usually alignment. DnD also presumes that an adventuring party leans toward good and helping people. A 17th level paladin is not going to conquer Absalom because he can. If you want to run an evil game where the players try to conquer the world, go ahead! It sounds like fun. Of course don't forget to create a few Robin Hood NPC "villians" to oppose the players if they turn themselves into the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Do remember that just because the average NPC is low level, doesn't mean there aren't high CR people out there. When building a game it is best to decide that the PCs will be the agents of change in your campaign, because the whole point of a campaign is to build a story around the PCs. But the adventure paths are full of high level NPCs that could have a more major impact on the world should they wish. Usually when one wants to destroy or conquer a large section of the world, they become the villians of the story arc. If your PCs want to be the ones destroying and conquering, then some NPC heroes should arise to fight them.

FatR wrote:
In fact, this thread is so long precisely because leaders of Cheliax' government, by design, the reasons of which still remain incomprehensible to me, can put a beatdown on anything pre-Epic.

After explaining how easy it is for a cadre of high level characters to conquer a nation, you have to wonder why a group of NPCs already did it?

FatR wrote:
And, seriously, this seems to be the main point of disagreement. In my personal opinion, a DnD campaign that does not leave the world significantly changed and PCs' names (if they succeed) remembered for centures, goes against the spirit of the genre - and makes me wonder why we're playing DnD, instead of Warhammer Fantasy, if PCs aren't allowed to actually exercise their ever-crazier power outside of plot confines.

I think that is a perfectly fine way to game. Just because the publishers are squeemish about altering their campaign world drastically doesn't mean the GM shouldn't go ahead. If you aren't satisfied that the end of CoT is the end of your campaign, go ahead and have them continue on. Use the allies and power they've accumulated and have them plan the undermining of House Thrune. They become the leaders of the revolution at that point. It is up to them to decide the course of action for the game. If it culminates in an epic battle against pit fiends in the throne room, that sounds awesome and you should go for it.

Just because Paizo wants to have their campaign setting be a relatively stable environment to start from, doesn't mean they don't encourage home games to drastically alter the setting. I'm sure they'd love to hear about it if you did.

Note to everyone: if you want to see more high level content speak with your wallet. Buy every 15+ level module they put out. Convince Paizo that it is worth investing in more of them!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

FatR wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Might be time to switch to Call of Cthulhu for a while then. Character level has a MUCH harder time in that game of getting in the way of things.

You're saying this as if characters messing with the way of things is something bad.

EDIT: And, seriously, this seems to be the main point of disagreement. In my personal opinion, a DnD campaign that does not leave the world significantly changed and PCs' names (if they succeed) remembered for centures, goes against the spirit of the genre - and makes me wonder why we're playing DnD, instead of Warhammer Fantasy, if PCs aren't allowed to actually exercise their ever-crazier power outside of plot confines.

Ah! And I think that's where the disconnect is coming from.

If you run a home campaign and your PCs change the face of the world and get to be super famous... that's cool! That's actually what we assume happens with our APs. But the problem is that we CAN'T foresee HOW the PCs in an AP might succeed or grow famous, beyond the scope of that single AP. So we don't assume that changes they effect on the world (such as revealing a secret the elves have guarded for thousands of years, or discovering the location of a lost city of gold in the mountains, or deposing the ruler of a city and perhaps claiming that city as their own, etc.) are implied in any other adventures or supplements we put out. (This is also why we generally avoid setting APs in locations that have already been featured in previous APs.)

BUT! If you're running an AP for your home group, and then you run a second AP for the same group, you DO know how your previous PCs changed the world. This is when you as the GM get to step in and develop your own living-and-breathing version of Golarion. After you play, say, six APs or campaigns set in your Golarion, I really do expect it to have some different features and possibly some significant changes.

But here's the thing. You're an EXPERT on those changes. They evolved organically under your watch, and you know them because you were there to see them occur and even set some of them in motion. If we start doing that to the baseline of Golarion, WE'RE the experts, but gamers who buy our products have to play a constant game of catch-up. And the newer you are to Golarion, the more onerous that game of catch-up gets. It's a terrible business model because you're effectively increasing the barrier to entry for your game world with every product you release... and not only to gamers. This effect also applies to writers and game designers too; as the world's timeline and changes and events stack up, the designers have to keep up as well, and not all of them will do so. So they start dropping out of the freelance pool, and suddenly you have to get MORE freelancers but they're faced with an overwhelming amount of changes to absorb. Unless we update the basic campaign setting EVERY TIME we print a product, the game designers will need to read an ever-increasing number of products just to write for us.

That's basically what happened to the Forgotten Realms, actually, and is a major reason why the world got reset for 4th edition. I don't want to have to get into that sort of destructive cycle of world building/destruction/rebuilding, because it turns your fans into enemies.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

James,

One of the oldest continuing RPG campaigns, GDW's Traveller, did indeed keep incrementing the timeline, month-by-month. Most of that incremental growth was along the nature of discovery and exploration, but there were also the Fourth and Fifth Frontier Wars against the Zhodani, the Darrian "star trigger" event, the political shifts, and so on.

And Traveller had a lot of fans, who picked up new issues of JTAS just to find out what had happened. It wasn't until the Rebellion and "Shattered Imperium" in MegaTraveller, which arguably broke the setting, that fans objected.

The same could be said for Greyhawk, all the updates that appreared in Dragon, and the Greyhawk Wars.

Why do you feel Golarion is different?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

James Jacobs wrote:
But here's the thing. You're an EXPERT on those changes. They evolved organically under your watch, and you know them because you were there to see them occur and even set some of them in motion. If we start doing that to the baseline of Golarion, WE'RE the experts, but gamers who buy our products have to play a constant game of catch-up. And the newer you are to Golarion, the more onerous that game of catch-up gets. It's a terrible business model because you're effectively increasing the barrier to entry for your game world with every product you release... and not only to gamers. This effect also applies to writers and game designers too; as the world's timeline and changes and events stack up, the designers have to keep up as well, and not all of them will do so. So they start dropping out of the freelance pool, and suddenly you have to get MORE freelancers but they're faced with an overwhelming amount of changes to absorb. Unless we update the basic campaign setting EVERY TIME we print a product, the game designers will need to read an ever-increasing number of products just to write for us.

I know you know about it, but thought I'd add a link to the PathfinderWiki, here, which can help to lessen the slope of the learning curve involved with keeping up with dozens of canon products a year, both for players, GMs, and freelancers.

Spoiler:
I can't resist the urge to self-promote. Maybe I was a pimp in a former life.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
yoda8myhead wrote:
I can't resist the urge to self-promote. Maybe I was a pimp in a former life.

Just the former life...?

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