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


Council of Thieves

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My experience with the first three APs is that they all have some misteps in the plot. For Runelords, giving command of that fort to the party was one. My party didn't want to continue on with the AP, they wanted to run the fort. For Crimson Throne, my party just didn't like the whole trapsing around the cinderlands adventure. And I have to say, it did all seem kind of pointless. Second Darkness? Making that city so important at the beginning was a big one. How the battle for the ruins was written up was another. The story temporarily lost its way there, if you ask me.
So, has this one lost its way yet? I only have the first two adventures and I admit, I haven't read them.
Overall, I enjoyed those first three APs, but those bumps in the road took some creative problem solving.


As for RotRL and CotCT...
I dont really see any of the examples you gave as "plot misteps". They may not have worked for your groups play style, but that doesnt qualify for the blanket "mistep" description. To each their own, I wish I had the time to play through them all. :) You are lucky.

The Second Darkness I cant say much as thats the only AP I havent fully researched or read through (though I own them all). I didnt like the casino style Ocean's Eleven beginning enough to turn me off of starting it, but thats my personal preference. I still wouldnt call it a mistep though. Some folks may like it.

As for CoT, if your players are into "heavier" roleplaying and like urban romps, you will be very happy indeed. It has something for everyone imho. Its "dungeony" (my buzz word :) ) enough to keep combat freaks happy, and yet heavy enough on the RP situations to keep the others happy too. From the first 3 modules, this AP looks great.

You missed Legacy of Fire in your post. IMHO, the AP is brilliant. I wasnt too crazy about the particular pocket dimension and im still mixed on this take of the City of Brass but all parts of it seemed to fit well enough to not have any significant plot deviations in my read through, again thats my opinion.

My group is just about finished with part one of CoT, so far they are enjoying it. 2 of us are heavy on RP, one of us I would peg as combat heavier, and the last one of us is new to PF/3.5 (having defected from a 4E game which was her first taste of the hobby).
Just giving you an idea of the kind of players rounding out our group for comparison should you need it. :)


The reason why I think the fort was a mistep is because I think it's a natural inclination for many players to want their own keep, etc, etc. Just about every player I've ever played with, all the way back to 1st edition, would have jumped at the chance to take over the keep and would have resented it then being taken away from them. Runelords really requires the characters to remain mobile and giving them a keep to be in charge of gives them a reason to stop moving. Of course, I would also say that they PCs being the only defenders of Sandpoint when giants come rolling along is also a little off. There a lot of NPCs there, and a fair number of them have character levels. Putting it all on the PC's shoulders is a bit heavy handed. In my game, even with the NPCs actively assisting, the PCs just couldn't be everywhere and certain groups of attackers never met PC resistance.
We never played Legacy of Fire.
You're right as far the Crimson Throne's jaunt through the Cinderlands is concerned. I'm sure someone liked it. My group, though, felt they were being led around by the nose in a series of pointless exercises and made to jump through hoops. It really got on their nerves.
These days, though, I'm not sure what I'll have for group. I've moved to a new state and I am currently getting a new group together. I imagine what I end up with will be completely different than the group I ran those other 3 APs with.

The Exchange

I'm not too familiar with either of the APs you specifically mentioned, but I still want to chime in and say that I've had a very different experience regarding bases and forts in general.

Groups I play with tend to not want to be tied to a single area; their characters all seem to be afflicted with wanderlust, and take every chance they get to move on and find out what's on the other side of that mountain.

I don't think I could get them to stay and man a fort for more than a single session unless it was under siege to distract them.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

I wouldn't call them plot missteps (with the exception of sending the PCs away from Korvosa in Pathfinder #10, actually... that WAS a misstep) as much as I would group conflict areas. Every gaming group is different, and since we can't tailor each AP so they appeal across the board to every group... there WILL be points when your group might come to an area where they clash with the adventure path's expected plot.

I do listen to these boards and threads like these are VERY helpful in showing me where a group conflict, or "plot misstep" happens often for multiple groups (again, the leaving Korvosa bit is one that comes up a lot, but giving the PCs control of Fort Rannick is not so much), because if LOTS of groups clash with a plot element, then there's certainly something to be learned at our end about building APs. I like to think that we get better at building APs with each one as a result.

But in the end, there WILL be instances like this with any group. It's each individual GM's job, really, to know his/her group and know where potential problem areas might arise, and to adjust the adventure as necessary before it hits play.


James Jacobs wrote:

I wouldn't call them plot missteps (with the exception of sending the PCs away from Korvosa in Pathfinder #10, actually... that WAS a misstep) as much as I would group conflict areas. Every gaming group is different, and since we can't tailor each AP so they appeal across the board to every group... there WILL be points when your group might come to an area where they clash with the adventure path's expected plot.

I do listen to these boards and threads like these are VERY helpful in showing me where a group conflict, or "plot misstep" happens often for multiple groups (again, the leaving Korvosa bit is one that comes up a lot, but giving the PCs control of Fort Rannick is not so much), because if LOTS of groups clash with a plot element, then there's certainly something to be learned at our end about building APs. I like to think that we get better at building APs with each one as a result.

But in the end, there WILL be instances like this with any group. It's each individual GM's job, really, to know his/her group and know where potential problem areas might arise, and to adjust the adventure as necessary before it hits play.

The internet ate my post. Oh well. It was a bit rambling anyway.

To be a little more concise; I had two different groups for Runelords and Darkness. I think there was one player in common. Despite this, they both had the same problem; they wanted equity. Fort Rannick and the Gold Goblin represented this opportunity, and when they were forced to abandon it, they resented it. So my thought is, if you're going to give a group motivation to stay in one place, have it be where the action is at. The Darkness group loved it when the action was in the city. It was like pulling teeth to get them to leave. At least the other group had friends and family in Sandpoint to motivate them.
As stated above, other groups are a lot more motivated to travel around and need a nailgun to keep them in one place for long. Not my groups, nope.

Liberty's Edge

I just wish Fort Rannick was closer to Sandpoint. That would have made it work better i think

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Paul Hedges wrote:
I just wish Fort Rannick was closer to Sandpoint. That would have made it work better i think

I believe the original outline DID have Fort Rannick pretty close to Sandpoint, actually, but for various reasons we ended up moving it elsewhere, the main one of which was a desire to get more of Varisia out there for folks to check out rather than spend the first 3 months stuck in the same area. Which would have probably made a better experience in the end... but at the time, when we were launching a brand new game world, it didn't make as much sense. We wanted to get out and stretch our legs a little.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

It's not too long after PCs take Fort Rannick that they'd potentially have access to teleport, at which point it's actually pretty cool to have bases throughout a region, since it accentuates the fact that you can then pop instantly from one to the next, spanning the width of whole nations.


wspatterson wrote:
So, has this one lost its way yet?

No missteps in CoT as far as I can tell... yet... but it's still fairly early in the series. Other than SD (*shudder*), most of the missteps were later on in the series.

Oh, and for the record - you are absolutely bang-on with the list of missteps (they've been mentioned enough times around here already). ;)


Arnwyn wrote:
No missteps in CoT as far as I can tell... yet... but it's still fairly early in the series. Other than SD (*shudder*), most of the missteps were later on in the series.

I think the biggest challenge in CoT thus far is getting the players and AP concept in sync. If you can do that, everything seems to flow well.

My main concern with the AP right now is the second chapter. Not because of the material, but because of my players. I can see them reject the premise and do something on their own. That's okay, but it skips 40% of the adventure. I'm still trying to figure out ways to make it more engaging for them, because I loved the material.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
FarmerBob wrote:
My main concern with the AP right now is the second chapter. Not because of the material, but because of my players. I can see them reject the premise and do something on their own. That's okay, but it skips 40% of the adventure. I'm still trying to figure out ways to make it more engaging for them, because I loved the material.

That's pretty much what happened to me. My player really enjoyed the first book, but when Sixfold rolled out any Ailyn showed up, things crashed and burned. It's probably more interpretation... my party ended up taking things into an insurgency direction as opposed to visible heroic "Children of Westcrown" direction. Of course, at 2nd level you should be invisible. But hey.

As for RotR, I'm playing it. STILL. What we did right from the start was form an adventuring company. It was assumed that while there were four PCs in the "party", there were alternates running around doing other things. We took over Fort Rannick but the active party was able to continue to be mobile because the rest of the company is assumed to be around. We still pop in from time to time, mostly to draw new PCs as the active party gets slaughtered. End result though is that as a player, I feel "grounded" and have a home base to operate out of. It's kind of cool, but if I didn't have this company gig going on, it might've felt really different. One TPK and you loose a lot.


"My experience with the first three APs is that they all have some misteps in the plot."

They are not missteps...it's really up to you as the GM to make it work. These APs are great, although I often have to cut down the amount of kobolds the players face on a particular level - sometimes they just put a little too much of the same thing in there -which has never changed since Mods were created. We never used to use mods because you felt "trapped" into the plot - but since these APs are so creative (written with the feel of oneof my old home campaigns) you generally don't get that trapped feeling. So, they are not missteps. It's up to you to sense the pulse of your group and change the plot or adjust the situations as necessary.

Liberty's Edge

I am not familiar with Rise of the Runelords, so forgive me if this seems an ignorant question (if not better suited to another forum/thread altogether), but are the players really 'forced' to abandon the fort? I know it seems a cliche thing to say, but since the GM is the ultimate arbitrator of the rules/story/so on and so forth, wouldn't it be possible -with a little GM magic wand waving- to allow them to maintain control over the place without losing an overall focus on the adventure?


Anguish wrote:
That's pretty much what happened to me. My player really enjoyed the first book, but when Sixfold rolled out any Ailyn showed up, things crashed and burned. It's probably more interpretation... my party ended up taking things into an insurgency direction as opposed to visible heroic "Children of Westcrown" direction. Of course, at 2nd level you should be invisible. But hey.

I've spent a lot of energy, in and out of game, trying to get the players on board with the AP premise. Much to my players' dismay, the Children are not in the final planning stages to:

1) overthrow House Thrune
2) eradicate Hellknights
3) replace the leadership of Westcrown

Being a "Citizen's Watch" that augments the legal authority is highly practical, but my players want to change the world. I think I've got their attention now around getting rid of the Shadowbeasts, but I need to see the rest of the AP to lay the seeds for things that will keep them on the rails in the future.

This AP is right up my alley as a player and GM, but I think it is enough of a change of pace that you may have to work overtime to keep your players onboard. I don't have the time to run a home brew campaign, so if it does permanently derail, we'll have to start a different AP.


Sheboygen wrote:
I am not familiar with Rise of the Runelords, so forgive me if this seems an ignorant question (if not better suited to another forum/thread altogether), but are the players really 'forced' to abandon the fort? I know it seems a cliche thing to say, but since the GM is the ultimate arbitrator of the rules/story/so on and so forth, wouldn't it be possible -with a little GM magic wand waving- to allow them to maintain control over the place without losing an overall focus on the adventure?

The events that follow are pretty time consuming and don't lend themselves to running a fort. If the players take steps to prepare for that and have a reliable NPC to put in charge while they're gone, then it's reasonable to expect that they'll still have a fort when it's all said and done. It just won't factor into the rest of the AP at all in all likelihood. And if your group goes and does what mine did and not take teleport first chance they get, that just adds a whole lot of extra travelling and time to things.

As for active insurgency in this AP, just remind your players where they are. Do they really want to be the Rebellion fighting the Empire? :-) That sounds good on paper until the Chellish military shows up and starts decorating the city streets with hanging bodies. Gotta love a LE, devil worshipping society.

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Paul Hedges wrote:
I just wish Fort Rannick was closer to Sandpoint. That would have made it work better i think
I believe the original outline DID have Fort Rannick pretty close to Sandpoint, actually, but for various reasons we ended up moving it elsewhere, the main one of which was a desire to get more of Varisia out there for folks to check out rather than spend the first 3 months stuck in the same area. Which would have probably made a better experience in the end... but at the time, when we were launching a brand new game world, it didn't make as much sense. We wanted to get out and stretch our legs a little.

I admit, that I loved the idea of getting and defending a fort...sounds kind of like Kingmaker - YEAH!!!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

FarmerBob wrote:

Much to my players' dismay, the Children are not in the final planning stages to:

1) overthrow House Thrune
2) eradicate Hellknights
3) replace the leadership of Westcrown

While to a certain extent the entire AP is all about #3 above, it's most certainly not about overthrowing House Thrune or eradicating the Hellknights. We've spent a lot of energy and time building up the various nations of Golarion, Cheliax included, and it's not a good idea to cause such sweeping world changes as overthrowing the leaders of one of the major countries or eradicating one of the most popular organizations. Maybe someday, but not for a while. We want to be able to play in the world we've created and let folks do the same rather than introduce some cool concepts and then yank them away by changing them a year or less later.

That said... if you want to recast "Council of Thieves" so it's about fighting House Thrune, a simple fix would be to have the Council itself be bankrolled by House Thrune and have the PCs defeat them only to find out at the end of the AP that House Thrune is now out to get them. By then the PCs will be about 13th level, and taking on House Thrune starts to become a realistic goal then. Really, destroying House Thrune and "freeing Cheliax" should be a near epic level (around 20th) level campaign anyway...


James Jacobs wrote:


While to a certain extent the entire AP is all about #3 above, it's most certainly not about overthrowing House Thrune or eradicating the Hellknights.

I actually did have Arael touch on that. He gave a speech about how his long term objective is to gradually change the leaders, or at least change their policies. He thinks it will be more successful as a grass roots effort with a people's mandate, instead of a violent revolution. My players were hoping to blow up bridges, cut supply lines, and become resistance fighters, so that was a bit disappointing for them.

I think I've got the expectations more in line, but we'll see how long they stay there.


Paul Hedges wrote:
I just wish Fort Rannick was closer to Sandpoint. That would have made it work better i think

When our group received control of the fort, we put a lot of effort into getting it repaired, manned and stocked. When we heard about the giants, we naturally thought our first battle with them would take place at the fort, not in Sandpoint. Ft. Rannick just seemed like a natural choke point to stop their forces from advancing. We even sent messages to the NPCs (the surviving rangers from the fort, and Shelaylu) to converge with us there and lend their expertise in planning a defense. So it was a bit of a swerve for us when word of the giant attack on Sandpoint came through, and we had to figure out a way to magically transport ourselves there before the town was leveled.

So in a nutshell, yes, I can see where Fort Rannick could be a distraction, though I'd hesitate to call it a misstep.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

FarmerBob wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


While to a certain extent the entire AP is all about #3 above, it's most certainly not about overthrowing House Thrune or eradicating the Hellknights.

I actually did have Arael touch on that. He gave a speech about how his long term objective is to gradually change the leaders, or at least change their policies. He thinks it will be more successful as a grass roots effort with a people's mandate, instead of a violent revolution. My players were hoping to blow up bridges, cut supply lines, and become resistance fighters, so that was a bit disappointing for them.

I think I've got the expectations more in line, but we'll see how long they stay there.

You might want to run "Curse of the Crimson Throne" then. The main reason we decided to go against having "Council of Thieves" be a more blatant "resistance vs. the corrupt government" is because we'd already done that plot in a relatively recent adventure path...

Liberty's Edge

James Jacobs wrote:
Paul Hedges wrote:
I just wish Fort Rannick was closer to Sandpoint. That would have made it work better i think
I believe the original outline DID have Fort Rannick pretty close to Sandpoint, actually, but for various reasons we ended up moving it elsewhere, the main one of which was a desire to get more of Varisia out there for folks to check out rather than spend the first 3 months stuck in the same area. Which would have probably made a better experience in the end... but at the time, when we were launching a brand new game world, it didn't make as much sense. We wanted to get out and stretch our legs a little.

it was not a dealbreaker by any means, I had a lot of fun running it. I do like to build a small area up adn I think Kingmaker sounds like it will be right up our alley. In LoF i am using the support article in episode 2, the one with the areas around the main town detailed, to create a area that has vibrancy, so please keep doing those.

Dark Archive

FarmerBob wrote:


I actually did have Arael touch on that. He gave a speech about how his long term objective is to gradually change the leaders, or at least change their policies. He thinks it will be more successful as a grass roots effort with a people's mandate, instead of a violent revolution.

>>Change the policies of Cheliax's leaders with a grassroots effort.

>>Change Cheliax with grassroots
>>Trying to chance an aristocracy-based country via popular pressure
>>Trying to alter the policies of a government that willingly allys with hell

Oh Arael, you crazy.

That always seemed like kind of a feeble plan to me, but I've been trying to think through it.

Truth is, changing cheliax seems kind of...right out. But, one thing to remember is that, as far as I can tell, individual cities in Cheliax have alot more personal soverignty than we're used to these days. I mean, we understand city-states just fine, but we assume that a city in an established nation is under direct control of the greater government. Thus, any positive change in the city would be instantly counter-manded by Thrune.

I Imagine by the end of all this, the folks at Egorian are going to be a wee bit unsettled by the wholesome, hopeful, and positive state of their second-largest city. It kind of ruins the theme they're going for.

Liberty's Edge

Arael is not trying to change all of Cheliax. Just the city of Westcrown. You also have to keep in mind how that goverment that allies with hell came into power in Cheliax. The country was in chaos for decades and they just came in and restored order.

Scarab Sages

Runelords was a little jumbled for our group.
My character was there from the beginning and was incredibly tied to Sandpoint. We've just defeated the BBEG "M" and my character really wants to get back to sandpoint.

Most of the other current players came later in the AP (we lost players, gained players). So they really liked the idea of Fort Rannick. Luckily, we had a wizard who teleported all over the place and eventually teleported us to Sandpoint so we could visit home.

However, I wouldn't call any of these plot missteps.

Particularly Riddleport and Celewynvian. My character in Second Darkness did want to go back there for quite some time, but she's gotten over it and mostly wants revenge on the drow. (we're in the mod: Return to Darkness)

I haven't played CotCT, and we will start playing LoF after one of our current games ends.

I'm DMing CoT, and I had a problem with getting one player on board (though he is in love with Cheliax and didn't like the whole premise of the campaign after the first game) It had some issues with XP in the beginning, but that is covered elsewhere.

In any case, these are adventure paths. They aren't going to be perfect for every group of gamers.


James Jacobs wrote:

You might want to run "Curse of the Crimson Throne" then. The main reason we decided to go against having "Council of Thieves" be a more blatant "resistance vs. the corrupt government" is because we'd already done that plot in a relatively recent adventure path...

Thanks for the suggestion. This group did run a CotCT hybrid campaign earlier (I wasn't GM), which might be why they were thinking the way they were.

At the pace we play, I think I'll be able to get the rest of the AP in my hands before we get too far into things. They are currently side-trekked before assaulting the Bastards.

I plan to pull some elements forward to make all of the events much more personal for them. That should keep them motivated to do the "right" thing. Eg. I can already see they will need more motivation beyond civic duty to tackle The Infernal Syndrome. Fortunately, I have plenty of game time to tie the location/events closer to things that are near and dear to them, to further encourage them to intervene...


Council of Thieves is "refined feudal" I suppose in structure.

And I agree that the most likely result of Westcrown becoming 'concerned with the welfare of the lower and lower-middle classes to the point of severely impacting the new city's fulfillment of its legal obligations to the House of Thrune' is exile of the PCs ...


I think im seeing a trend here (or Im way off) :).
Seems like alot of our players are used to playing characters that arent so selfless, they might play Good-aligned characters and RPing that way, but this is the first time my players have been in this type of role, wanting Westcrown to be a better place for whatever reason (investing into the setting), etc.

My players normally pick the mischievous whats in it for me mercenary types, the somewhat silent mysterious types, etc.

I should have better explained to them before the campaign started that this kind of story needs them to craft characters that want a change in Westcrown and would take opportunities if they presented themselves to work towards that goal. They really need to be involved with the setting this time around as well as their characters themselves.

Ive tied in their backgrounds deeper into the campaign, but it still doesnt change the way they roleplay their characters. They can still RP their characters the way they want, but they need to go an extra mile with wanting a change in Westcrown as well and somehow build that into their personas for maximum enjoyment.

CoT definately asks a tad more from players as opposed to RotRL, CotCT, etc. I need to talk to my group a little more about the mindset myself next session. It was hard enough getting them into the Children of Westcrowns affairs, next module might be a harder sell based on their archtypes. The strong silent types and the whats in it for me types might not be too interested in doing theater work or a stately political dinner for that matter. They will go because they are working with the Children of Westcrown, but id rather them try and get into the "save westcrown" mindset as well if possible.


Sunderstone wrote:

I think im seeing a trend here (or Im way off) :).

Seems like alot of our players are used to playing characters that arent so selfless, they might play Good-aligned characters and RPing that way, but this is the first time my players have been in this type of role, wanting Westcrown to be a better place for whatever reason (investing into the setting), etc.

My players normally pick the mischievous whats in it for me mercenary types, the somewhat silent mysterious types, etc.

I should have better explained to them before the campaign started that this kind of story needs them to craft characters that want a change in Westcrown and would take opportunities if they presented themselves to work towards that goal...

Sunderstone,

Yeah, I find in any Paizo AP that I need to point out that the goal and story is usually deeper than 'seeking personal wealth'.

I caution them, 'if your character wouldn't help someone out in trouble, ever, without the promise of material reward up front.. then you need to rethink your character.'

It sounds like I'm putting limits on alignment, but that's not how I intend it.. and I explain that carefully. I have no issue with a rogue who is trying to get rich.. or a hellknight trying to reorganize society. So long as they're not solely motivated by material reward to the degree that I have to beg them to be part of the plot.

If I have to beg them to get involved with the story, and continually get stymied with "what's in it for me?", or "I don't have any motivation to get involved".. then either the character is wrong for the game or the player is..


Watcher wrote:


Sunderstone,

Yeah, I find in any Paizo AP that I need to point out that the goal and story is usually deeper than 'seeking personal wealth'.

I caution them, 'if your character wouldn't help someone out in trouble, ever, without the promise of material reward up front.. then you need to rethink your character.'

It sounds like I'm putting limits on alignment, but that's not how I intend it.. and I explain that carefully. I have no issue with a rogue who is trying to get rich.. or a hellknight trying to reorganize society. So long as they're not solely motivated by material reward to the degree that I have to beg them to be part of the plot.

If I have to beg them to get involved with the story, and continually get stymied with "what's in it for me?", or "I don't have any motivation to get involved".. then either the character is wrong for the game or the player is..

Im with you on all of this.

Its easier in other APs though. In Rise of the Runelords for instance, you could play any archtype and dig right in. You got asked by someone to do something and you could go and do it (like Sandpoint officials and the growing goblin threat asking you to check out Thistletop, looking for Ameiko in the glassworks and discovering the catacombs after etc). It was easier to get into the campaign with any character mindset.

I might chat with my group about this further before I get in too deep. My main RPers are gone, one is unreliable for attendance), the other moved to the west coast. Out of my players, one is a true RP'er (lotsa experience), one is new to tabletop gaming (fresh from a 4E game, her first exp), and the last usually plays the silent moody archetype (hard to involve into RP at times). Definately not the ideal group for CoT, ill make some phone calls this week.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

We put out the Player's Guides to the APs for a reason. They're intended to help the GM encourage his/her players to create characters that will fit in to the AP in question. The traits system was developed primarily to "bribe" players to do this, in fact. By picking a Campaign Trait, the player gets a tangible benefit to his character's game stats but ties his character in to the plot of the campaign. Of course, said player can just ignore the flavor of his chosen traits, but that's sorta like cheating...

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:


That said... if you want to recast "Council of Thieves" so it's about fighting House Thrune, a simple fix would be to have the Council itself be bankrolled by House Thrune and have the PCs defeat them only to find out at the end of the AP that House Thrune is now out to get them. By then the PCs will be about 13th level, and taking on House Thrune starts to become a realistic goal then. Really, destroying House Thrune and "freeing Cheliax" should be a near epic level (around 20th) level campaign anyway...

Ya know, I was looking for a way to continue to lvl 20 with this adventure path. Thank you James so very much for that idea.

Cheers

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
wspatterson wrote:
For Runelords, giving command of that fort to the party was one. My party didn't want to continue on with the AP, they wanted to run the fort.

Sounds more like a DM mistep to me. Soldiers should have gotten tired of the PCs and kicked them out.. politely.


SirUrza wrote:
wspatterson wrote:
For Runelords, giving command of that fort to the party was one. My party didn't want to continue on with the AP, they wanted to run the fort.
Sounds more like a DM mistep to me. Soldiers should have gotten tired of the PCs and kicked them out.. politely.

How is this a DM misstep? The mayor of the town asks the party to take command of the fort. Read the adventure.


SirUrza wrote:
wspatterson wrote:
For Runelords, giving command of that fort to the party was one. My party didn't want to continue on with the AP, they wanted to run the fort.
Sounds more like a DM mistep to me. Soldiers should have gotten tired of the PCs and kicked them out.. politely.

Oh yeah, there also aren't any soldiers. Because they're all dead. Which is why the party is there in the first place.

Please, if you are not able to contribute to the conversation at hand in a meaningful way, you shouldn't post.


James Jacobs wrote:
We put out the Player's Guides to the APs for a reason. They're intended to help the GM encourage his/her players to create characters that will fit in to the AP in question. The traits system was developed primarily to "bribe" players to do this, in fact. By picking a Campaign Trait, the player gets a tangible benefit to his character's game stats but ties his character in to the plot of the campaign. Of course, said player can just ignore the flavor of his chosen traits, but that's sorta like cheating...

Two of my rather small group (4 of us with me included) didnt take any traits. :/

They are still having fun with the AP, its not like we are pulling teeth to get through any parts of it. They always ask when we are playing next (so they can arrange nights off, etc) and come back for more.
This thread does have me think about the second module though, 75% of it is some great stuff to RP through and I want to maximize their enjoyment.

Liberty's Edge

wspatterson wrote:
My experience with the first three APs is that they all have some misteps in the plot. For Runelords, giving command of that fort to the party was one.

My party loved the "Local Hero" reception that they always got in Sandpoint and I really worked hard to make sure that they connnected with the NPC's in sandpoint.

So, they loved sandpoint. When we finished the entire campaign arc, that is where most of them went back to.

When they encounted FT. Rannick, they tried to get OUT of running it. They didn't want to be tied to any place that wasn't a few hours walk to Sandpoint.

Different groups, different approaches. You will always have moments where the group wants to go off module. The Challenge is to get them back on track in a way where the players think getting back on track was their idea.


James Jacobs wrote:
Of course, said player can just ignore the flavor of his chosen traits, but that's sorta like cheating...

Sadly, I'm sure my players remember the exact benefits of the traits, but I'd be surprised if they remember the story elements behind them.

My challenge with the second chapter is to convince the players to accept the premise. My challenge with the fourth chapter is to convince their characters to accept the premise. "You want me to run in there and face a WHAT!?! Sorry Westcrown, but I think I'll just move to Egorian."

Ideally, you'd like to have PCs that are thinking like firefighters rushing into a burning building. I think all of my PCs are Neutral, so I'm not sure it will be in their nature to be altruistic here. They'll need selfish reasons to intervene. I can't even put their families in danger since almost all of them (independently) had their families die in their backstories. Grrr.

My advice to those starting CoT is to have your players be good, and have them be born and raised in Westcrown with an extended family and network of friends. That will help your cause considerably. A bunch of neutral loner orphans don't really have the same motivation to improve the city.

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FarmerBob wrote:
Sadly, I'm sure my players remember the exact benefits of the traits, but I'd be surprised if they remember the story elements behind them.

Which is really too bad.

Sovereign Court

FarmerBob wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Of course, said player can just ignore the flavor of his chosen traits, but that's sorta like cheating...

Sadly, I'm sure my players remember the exact benefits of the traits, but I'd be surprised if they remember the story elements behind them.

My challenge with the second chapter is to convince the players to accept the premise. My challenge with the fourth chapter is to convince their characters to accept the premise. "You want me to run in there and face a WHAT!?! Sorry Westcrown, but I think I'll just move to Egorian."

Ideally, you'd like to have PCs that are thinking like firefighters rushing into a burning building. I think all of my PCs are Neutral, so I'm not sure it will be in their nature to be altruistic here. They'll need selfish reasons to intervene. I can't even put their families in danger since almost all of them (independently) had their families die in their backstories. Grrr.

My advice to those starting CoT is to have your players be good, and have them be born and raised in Westcrown with an extended family and network of friends. That will help your cause considerably. A bunch of neutral loner orphans don't really have the same motivation to improve the city.

It's been about ten years since I let anyone play a non-good character in my adventures.

With the APs I have DMed (RotRL and CoT) I have told my players at character creation: "This is a heroic adventure, your PCs are going to become heroes, so create some people who will embrace that."
Nobody minded.

It should also be noted that adventurers who declare: "I'm not facing that!" Are, at this level, indulging in big-time meta-gaming.


GeraintElberion wrote:
It should also be noted that adventurers who declare: "I'm not facing that!" Are, at this level, indulging in big-time meta-gaming.

Although they will be told the name of the creature beforehand, and I don't think it would take much on a Knowledge(Planes) roll to determine its relative strength. I'd think they'd have enough in-game knowledge to have a justifiable fear here. It's probably more meta-gam'ish for them to believe they can actually defeat it at their level.

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wspatterson wrote:
SirUrza wrote:
wspatterson wrote:
For Runelords, giving command of that fort to the party was one. My party didn't want to continue on with the AP, they wanted to run the fort.
Sounds more like a DM mistep to me. Soldiers should have gotten tired of the PCs and kicked them out.. politely.

Oh yeah, there also aren't any soldiers. Because they're all dead. Which is why the party is there in the first place.

Please, if you are not able to contribute to the conversation at hand in a meaningful way, you shouldn't post.

It's been more then a year since I played the adventure I don't remember them all being dead. In the year's time I've played COTC, the first four 4e adventures, part of Scales of War, continued playing in an ongoing 3e Realms campaign, and played for roughly 4 months a Star Wars saga adventure. I don't expect myself or anyone else to remember every detail of an adventure and neither should you.

As for "meaningful" here's some meaningful and constructive contribution for you..

DMing clearly isn't for you. You're a bad DM if you're running a written adventure, which is designed for railroading and then blame the adventure for your players going off the track and can't get them back on track.

Once the crisis is over the MAYOR and TOWNSFOLK should have asked the adventurers to leave, taking over responsibility for themselves. Hence the politely kicking the party out.

But then again since you apparently couldn't figure out what I meant and took it personally, it tells me you're not clever enough to keep players on track but let them feel they can stray a bit.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Okay folks... ramp it back a bit. This thread's about plot missteps, not about getting in the last word about who's the worst GM. That's petty and abusive, so cut it out. If you can't post diplomatically, don't post at all.


James Jacobs wrote:
Okay folks... ramp it back a bit. This thread's about plot missteps, not about getting in the last word about who's the worst GM. That's petty and abusive, so cut it out. If you can't post diplomatically, don't post at all.

Heh, alrighty then.

Well, most of this thread has been pretty interesting. I like the various observations and insights on COT. Good to be forewarned of potential motivational issues.


wspatterson wrote:
Well, most of this thread has been pretty interesting. I like the various observations and insights on COT. Good to be forewarned of potential motivational issues.

Overall, I've enjoyed the CoT material. I don't have the other APs, but my understanding is they involve much more travel, so background may be less of an issue. Since CoT is based entirely in Westcrown (to date, at least), having a strong background tie to the location is much more important.

Generally it is a good idea to wait for the entire AP to be released before starting a campaign (I couldn't because our GM needed a break), but I think that might be even more true with CoT. That gives you a better chance to sculpt the PCs backgrounds into something much more personal and tangible relative to the storyline. I tried to do that based on the 1st and 2nd chapters, and would have done a few things differently after seeing the 3rd and 4th ones.


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It is interesting that a recurrent complaint about RotRL was "My players didn't want to leave Sandpoint." And a recurrent complaint about CotCT was "My players didn't want to leave Korvosa." And a recurrent complaint about SD was "My players didn't want to leave Riddleport." All of these came up in multiple threads with multiple groups; they weren't a problem for everyone, but they seem to have been problems for an awful lot of groups. (My group also had "My players didn't want to leave Cauldron"
and "My players didn't want to leave Diamond Lake", back in prehistory.)

I think in one sense it's a credit to Paizo that they can create settings worth staying in. But having done so, it would be nice to *stay* in those settings. Or at least, a significant number of play groups seem to think so. I suppose Paizo might be hearing from the wanderlust groups instead, if they wrote something that stayed put longer.

I haven't read anything past SD, so can't comment there. If CoThieves leaves Westcrown we will abandon it at that point, I am pretty sure. As a player (and it's my turn to play) I am just not willing to do that again.

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Mary Yamato wrote:


I haven't read anything past SD, so can't comment there. If CoThieves leaves Westcrown we will abandon it at that point, I am pretty sure. As a player (and it's my turn to play) I am just not willing to do that again.

It doesn't.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

With Council of Thieves, we made a conscious effort to not leave the area depicted on the map of Westcrown. There's a few instances where you leave the city, but you never go that far and never go off the map.

Same thing with Kingmaker, except in that case the "map" covers an area roughly the same area as Indiana—the adventure stays in this region and doesn't go beyond it.

It won't be until Serpent's Skull that we get back to some significant wandering... and even then, the adventure will stay in the same rough area for parts 3–6.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

I think the "wanderlust" of the first few adventure paths is also a function of launching a new campaign setting. Whether consciously or subconsciously, having PCs leave Sandpoint, Korvosa, and Riddleport in the first three APs provided more opportunities to flesh out the world on a large scale than a single city. It seems like Golarion is pretty well defined, at least in broad strokes, and there's not as much need to squeeze in an adventure in Belkzen or the Cinderlands when outlining an AP. That said, I think it totally makes sense for Serpent's Skull to involve some travel because it's an exploration adventure into uncharted jungles. If the PCs just stayed in a city on the edge of the wilderness without ever venturing into it, that'd be sort of a letdown.


James Jacobs wrote:


While to a certain extent the entire AP is all about #3 above, it's most certainly not about overthrowing House Thrune or eradicating the Hellknights. We've spent a lot of energy and time building up the various nations of Golarion, Cheliax included, and it's not a good idea to cause such sweeping world changes as overthrowing the leaders of one of the major countries or eradicating one of the most popular organizations. Maybe someday, but not for a while. We want to be able to play in the world we've created and let folks do the same rather than introduce some cool concepts and then yank them away by changing them a year or less later.

Such attitude always make me want to headesk hard enough to leave an indentation. Who gives a damn about effort put into building-up Golarion if all the best parts are non-interactive background elements, and not something that PCs can change, control or influence? As about "not changing the established world", Golarion does not even have an advancing timeline and APs are clearly not suppozed to happen in parallel even assuming that PCs win every single time (for example, any party that won RotR can and will make as much impact on Varisia as Karzoug, for example, even if they are unwilling to take over, they can eliminate BBEGs from other two Varisian APs for sport, and in case of Second Darkness have a compelling reason which can be divined as a part of their standard precautions), so how events in one of them are now supposed to be different?

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