High Level Adventure Paths in the future?


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion

Liberty's Edge

I'd be very interested in some high level adventure paths that take us to 20. Seems like a waste to present rules for 1 to 20 and not have any great adventure paths explore all 20 levels.

Please :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There were many threads on this in the past, and it's not really likely to happen. Two major reasons:

1. Getting 1-20 in 6 volumes would be rather hard to fit.
2. Current rules support monsters up to CR 20 (Tarrasque excepted). In order to challenge lvl 20 parties you need CR 21-23 encounters.

Shadow Lodge

Gorbacz wrote:

1. Getting 1-20 in 6 volumes would be rather hard to fit.

2. Current rules support monsters up to CR 20 (Tarrasque excepted). In order to challenge lvl 20 parties you need CR 21-23 encounters.

1. Well, by "high level AP" I would assume that someone means an AP where the characters start out at at least medium level. A great concept could be a sequel to Rise of the Runelords. After all, there are six more, and certainly some of them would be epic-level.

2. I agree, this would need to wait until after an official epic-level rules expansion. That being said, I don't buy the concept that PCs should NEVER meet any monsters/beings that are well beyond their ability to deal with. I think a monster that even a high or epic level party can only hope to slow down, not completely defeat, is always a good thing to throw out. Especially since some players have a tendancy to become a bit cocky when they reach the higher levels. It's always good to remind the players that no matter how powerful they are, theres ALWAYS something out there that can slap them around with no more effort than a kobold infant.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I sit firmly in the "D&D gets epic around level 12" and "3-page long statblocks are meh" camp. I would love a one-shot lvl 17-20 adventure or a module miniseries, but AP sequels or "start from higher levels" would likely put off the low-level crowd, which is arguably bigger than epic/high lvl audience. James did say some time ago that in APs, first 2-3 adventures sell very well, and it goes down further on.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Malagant wrote:

I'd be very interested in some high level adventure paths that take us to 20. Seems like a waste to present rules for 1 to 20 and not have any great adventure paths explore all 20 levels.

Please :)

Although player characters might not be using the rules up to 20th level, we regularly use those rules for NPCs at end-game Adventure Path times. So it's hardly like the rules are going "unused."

They're just not being used by PCs.

Some day, though, I hope to be able to present a full 1st to 20th level adventure, but since once you get to 19th or 20th level you really need a lot of post 20th level stuff for adversaries, it can get tricky.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Gorbacz wrote:
I sit firmly in the "D&D gets epic around level 12" and "3-page long statblocks are meh" camp. I would love a one-shot lvl 17-20 adventure or a module miniseries, but AP sequels or "start from higher levels" would likely put off the low-level crowd, which is arguably bigger than epic/high lvl audience. James did say some time ago that in APs, first 2-3 adventures sell very well, and it goes down further on.

Actually... from some more recent sales figures, that trend might not be carrying over for our Pathfinder APs. It might have been something more of a situation for the Dungeon magazine days, which took an entire year to do an AP. Doing one in 6 months might have ditched the old "Later installments sell much worse" curse...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
I sit firmly in the "D&D gets epic around level 12" and "3-page long statblocks are meh" camp. I would love a one-shot lvl 17-20 adventure or a module miniseries, but AP sequels or "start from higher levels" would likely put off the low-level crowd, which is arguably bigger than epic/high lvl audience. James did say some time ago that in APs, first 2-3 adventures sell very well, and it goes down further on.
Actually... from some more recent sales figures, that trend might not be carrying over for our Pathfinder APs. It might have been something more of a situation for the Dungeon magazine days, which took an entire year to do an AP. Doing one in 6 months might have ditched the old "Later installments sell much worse" curse...

It's likely because 6 months APs take around 1 year of play, meaning that you can have rather high chance of actually hitting the end before your gaming groups succumbs to Real Life. With 1-20 APs the end was much farther ahead, and I think that many groups would fall apart/abandon the AP before they got into the final adventures.

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
Doing one in 6 months might have ditched the old "Later installments sell much worse" curse...

Or it could be that you've built one of the most loyal fan bases in *any* industry at the moment, and the results are showing.


Speaking only for myself, I wouldn't get much use out of an AP that went much higher than 12th level.

The game often slows down for my groups at high level play. To the point where it becomes boring & the players' interest (including mine)in what's happening during the game starts to wane.

I usually start to feel that slow crawling feeling around the 5th installment of each AP. I've had this experience with Age of Worms, Savage Tide, Rise of the Runelords, Second Darkness,and Curse of the Crimson Throne.

Personally, I'd be delighted (and so would most of my 21 regular players)if APs ran to level 9 or 10 instead of 15-16.


Personally I much prefer lower level adventuring and I'd even like to see a slower paced AP that only just got into the double figures levels-wise. My group never seems to maintain interest in high level play and campaigns almost always seem to fall apart around level 10.

Though if there ever was a high level AP the dungeon crawl suggestion from a thread I saw recently may be an interesting way to do it. Heading deep into some ancient city may provide good opportunites to get to high level and could be fun.

James Jacobs wrote:
Actually... from some more recent sales figures, that trend might not be carrying over for our Pathfinder APs. It might have been something more of a situation for the Dungeon magazine days, which took an entire year to do an AP. Doing one in 6 months might have ditched the old "Later installments sell much worse" curse...

I think that could be related to the format of the AP's too. There's a decent chunk of world-building information in each that is more Dragon than Dungeon. It might be that someone wouldn't intend to run the higher level adventures, but it's still interesting to read where the adventure goes and the world information is useful. I know that's part of the justification that I use! That and a full set of an AP looks nice on the shelf. :D

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
hazel monday wrote:
Personally, I'd be delighted (and so would most of my 21 regular players)if APs ran to level 9 or 10 instead of 15-16.

And I'm exactly the opposite. I'd drop all my subscriptions if that happened. Low-level APs are just plain uninteresting to some gamers, myself included. What's the point of having rules for above 12th level if you don't support them?

They've tried a low-level AP. Council of Thieves maxed out at a lower level than typical, and at least from my point of view, it suffered for it. Probably my least favorite AP overall, as an adventure path. The play and Infernal Syndrome were really cool individual pieces, but as a whole Council was just (IMO) boring.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kvantum wrote:
hazel monday wrote:
Personally, I'd be delighted (and so would most of my 21 regular players)if APs ran to level 9 or 10 instead of 15-16.

And I'm exactly the opposite. I'd drop all my subscriptions if that happened. Low-level APs are just plain uninteresting to some gamers, myself included. What's the point of having rules for above 12th level if you don't support them?

They've tried a low-level AP. Council of Thieves maxed out at a lower level than typical, and at least from my point of view, it suffered for it. Probably my least favorite AP overall, as an adventure path. The play and Infernal Syndrome were really cool individual pieces, but as a whole Council was just (IMO) boring.

Except that the problems with CoT came not from low levels but from adventure 1 being wonky and the whole premise of the AP being so-so compared to other.

LoF was low level-ish as well, and came out pretty awesome.

Dark Archive

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
LoF was low level-ish as well, and came out pretty awesome.

No it wasn't. Legacy of Fire was exactly the same level range as the other 3.5 APs, the last chapter starting off at 14th level.

I do agree it was pretty awesome, though.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Council of Thieves is the lowest level AP we've run. And it IS worth remembering that each adventure in an AP covers 2 to 3 levels; so even an adventure that starts at 14th level will probably allow characters to hit 16th or even 17th. Pretty much ALL of our adventure paths have enough material to allow PCs to reach 17th level if they do EVERYTHING (and if the GM is doing what most GMs do and adding in his/her own stuff here and there). Council of Thieves is the only one that doesn't, and the reasons WHY that is won't be repeated, I don't think.

We're pretty comfortable in the end with APs that run from 1st level to about 17th-18th level. That's what most of our APs have done, and the line's incredible success is pretty much all we need to know to keep going with that formula for at least a few more years to come before we try anything weird...

Liberty's Edge

If you are curious James, I'm very supportive of APs ending at 12th to maybe 14th level. My interest past 12th level isn't really there - and by the time that 7th level spells enter into the fray, the game devolves into Superheroes (Four color).

Just not my cuppa tea. At all.


Kthulhu wrote:
A great concept could be a sequel to Rise of the Runelords.

I read the OP immediately after it was posted but wanted to wait for James to officially comment before replying. He and other posters have touched on most of the reasons this won't happen formally.

That said, my immediate reaction was that this presents an opportunity for a 3PP to work under license to produce a series of "sequel" high-level follow-ups to the APs. I think the market for them would be so small that Paizo, under its deadline and publishing/distribution constraints, wouldn't find it worthwhile to produce such material.

However, a 3PP distributing them in PDF form without distribution costs, deadlines and so forth, might be able to satisfy the desires of the limited "AP epic-after-market" in a financially viable manner.

That's my thought, anyway. Someone else can run with it.

FWIW,

Rez

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:

Some day, though, I hope to be able to present a full 1st to 20th level adventure, but since once you get to 19th or 20th level you really need a lot of post 20th level stuff for adversaries, it can get tricky.

Are we any closer to seeing this happen? I've played/GM'd a couple of AP's now (ran RotRL, played Kingmaker, bout to run CC), and when the characters truly seem to be coming into their own, the game just. . . ends.

Yeah, I know, I could write an aftermath myself, but I'm lazy! I want Paizo to do it.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Kevin Cannell wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Some day, though, I hope to be able to present a full 1st to 20th level adventure, but since once you get to 19th or 20th level you really need a lot of post 20th level stuff for adversaries, it can get tricky.

Are we any closer to seeing this happen? I've played/GM'd a couple of AP's now (ran RotRL, played Kingmaker, bout to run CC), and when the characters truly seem to be coming into their own, the game just. . . ends.

Yeah, I know, I could write an aftermath myself, but I'm lazy! I want Paizo to do it.

Since time has passed since I wrote what you quoted of me... yes, we are closer to seeing this happen.

We've been including articles about how to continue the campaigns to aid GMs who wish to carry on the adventure after the sixth installment.

But of the Adventure Paths I have planned... they currently go through 2013, and none of them start at anything other than 1st level and go to 15th or so. That may change... but at this point, it's not looking likely.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

High Level Play and my Group
I am actually not a big fan of High Level play. When you play on a week night once a week, you only really get 3-4 hours to play. High level play, is very slow in combat (and having read the high level adventures in CotCT, Kingmaker and Serpent's Skull), high level AP adventures tend to be fairly combat heavy.

One or two combats a night would pretty much preclude any role playing possibilities.

I know there's a crowd on here that clamours for high level play, but honestly I'd prefer to end an AP at a lower level.

The problem of sequels:

When an AP is geared so heavily towards a particular BBEG/Threat once the PCs defeat that threat narratively it robs the PCs of a chance for a "Happily Ever After". I mean, they've been fighting hard for 16-17 levels, along the way they've probably lost friends and allies, and in some cases haven't seen their families months/years.

To have the credits roll on the last adventure and say: "The End?" Is not something I'm a fan of.

If an AP was to go from 1-20, I'd buy it for the reading, but I probably wouldn't run it.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

My preferred form of sequel is the unrelated module intended for high-level characters. I ran Blood of Dragonscar by telling my players that they could choose their PC from any previous AP we'd completed, and the hook (ie a wedding invitation) made it really easy to fit the group together. It was a fun time revisiting favourite characters without undoing any resolution they'd previously reached.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Going up to level 17 or 18 should be enough. The last two levels are a pain, because suddenly the authors and GM's are dealing with continual use of level nine spells.


What about an AP that starts at higher level?

Say you give the DM a few levels to run his own game where those who wanted to could level a character up to appropriate level while building a background that really fits the AP. You could still just jump in at the higher level with out doing this using background traits that would deal with appropriate wealth. In the first AP have a section on tips to for adventure that builds up to the AP in similar manner as is done with after the AP suggestions.

Imagine the AP like CoT where the players went from level 1-3 feeling the oppression, learning the city, dealing with law enforcement and nobility. The introduce a few of the NPCs they meet in the first AP. By the time the players get the AP they have real reason to jump into the AP beside a campaign trait.

Of course not everyone would want this but they could just use the campaign trait system to jump straight into the AP at level 3 instead of Level 1.

By doing this it would shift the AP from 1-17 to 3-20 level and maintain the appropriate size and pace of the current APs.

Could be interesting....


magnuskn wrote:
Going up to level 17 or 18 should be enough. The last two levels are a pain, because suddenly the authors and GM's are dealing with continual use of level nine spells.

As a GM, i'd be less challenged by what they can do in combat, than what they can do outside of combat with level 9 spells.

At the top levels, PCs should be movers and shakers in whatever region they are involved in.

I havent run Hell's vengeance, but when i read that after the campaign, the players can become "paracount" ... with their power level they can create their own kingdom !

If you take rise of the runelords, the party wizard now has access to blood money (and has a wand with it ...) so basically, he has now unlimited wealth, access to all spells, and well, he can create a new thassilonian empire, because no one is going to be able to oppose him.

Managing players this high level is allmost impossible, at least it's beyond my skills as a GM.


At that high a level, the players and GM are usually sandboxing out the remnants of thier campaign. Both should work together at that point to adjust the direction of their games. Managing the world should be cooperative and encounters are easily filled by mythic monsters and more from the later bestiaries.


*their

g r o a n

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