Which AP for annual gaming weekend?


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion


(I posted this in "Advice" last week - hoping for more feedback in here!)

Once a year, 8 college buddies and I get together for a long weekend to roll dice. I DM this group, and after 4 years, we're finally finishing up Red Hand of Doom (3.5E) this year. Next year we're planning to switch to Pathfinder and play one of the adventure paths - but which one?

Factors:
- The party will be 8 PCs (with a DM PC as needed), but figure we have 0-3 people unable to attend any given year. I know I'll have to put in some serious work scaling the AP as written.
- We all have 20+ years RPG experience. 5 of us play an online Pathfinder game regularly (Rise of the Runelords), but the others will be completely new to Pathfinder, and this may be the only time they roll dice all year.
- I'd prefer to limit to Core and APG, just to keep the options from overwhelming for the new folks, and to help keep the PF regulars from dominating the game with optimized builds.
- I'm inclined to start in the second book of whichever AP we choose, simply because spending a year or more at levels 1-3 will be frustrating for everybody. An option is to run L1-3 with the existing online group, then have the others join in starting in the second book.

RotR is out because many of us are already playing it. Kingmaker would be a blast with this large of a group, but I don't think it works when we're playing so infrequently. I've read through most of Serpent's Skull, but I'm not very familiar with the remaining APs.

Looking for some collective experience and wisdom here - thanks!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Dingleberry wrote:

(I posted this in "Advice" last week - hoping for more feedback in here!)

Once a year, 8 college buddies and I get together for a long weekend to roll dice. I DM this group, and after 4 years, we're finally finishing up Red Hand of Doom (3.5E) this year. Next year we're planning to switch to Pathfinder and play one of the adventure paths - but which one?

Factors:
- The party will be 8 PCs (with a DM PC as needed), but figure we have 0-3 people unable to attend any given year. I know I'll have to put in some serious work scaling the AP as written.
- We all have 20+ years RPG experience. 5 of us play an online Pathfinder game regularly (Rise of the Runelords), but the others will be completely new to Pathfinder, and this may be the only time they roll dice all year.
- I'd prefer to limit to Core and APG, just to keep the options from overwhelming for the new folks, and to help keep the PF regulars from dominating the game with optimized builds.
- I'm inclined to start in the second book of whichever AP we choose, simply because spending a year or more at levels 1-3 will be frustrating for everybody. An option is to run L1-3 with the existing online group, then have the others join in starting in the second book.

RotR is out because many of us are already playing it. Kingmaker would be a blast with this large of a group, but I don't think it works when we're playing so infrequently. I've read through most of Serpent's Skull, but I'm not very familiar with the remaining APs.

Looking for some collective experience and wisdom here - thanks!

Since you are willing to play over a period of years ... I might suggest the Shattered Star. This appears to be sufficiently modular that you should not have serious issues of forgetting details between sessions.


From reading the summaries, I'm worried that Shattered Star might include some spoilers for our current RotR campaign (we're just wrapping up the second book after a little over a year). Of course, we may be done with that one before we get around to starting the new annual game!


Kingmaker would work like your group does. There's meant to be a significant break between each of the books. Assuming you could finish a book each weekend, that would work well - adventuring, deal with a threat, and then the PCs retire happily to their kingdom. A year later they have to gear up to deal with another threat.


I haven't read Kingmaker, but my impression was that it's very sandbox-y and would require a pretty deep knowledge/investment to really appreciate the kingdom-building elements, which seems to be the unique element of that AP. Since some these guys only play once a year and don't think about it much otherwise, I thought that aspect of it would be a waste. Not the case?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Dingleberry wrote:
I haven't read Kingmaker, but my impression was that it's very sandbox-y and would require a pretty deep knowledge/investment to really appreciate the kingdom-building elements, which seems to be the unique element of that AP. Since some these guys only play once a year and don't think about it much otherwise, I thought that aspect of it would be a waste. Not the case?

The events in each of the books tended to be tied to a comparatively tight timeline, but with months and years of kingdom development (which can be easily dealt with on email) in between. It might actually help to keep contact between your players up in between your sessions!


That sounds great, though it's pulling teeth to keep a few of the players engaged over email during the year (focused on kids, jobs, etc.). Are the kingdom-building elements something that part of the group could drive, or does it really need buy-in from everybody?

My impression is also that Kingmaker would scale pretty well for a large group - true?


Dingleberry wrote:

That sounds great, though it's pulling teeth to keep a few of the players engaged over email during the year (focused on kids, jobs, etc.). Are the kingdom-building elements something that part of the group could drive, or does it really need buy-in from everybody?

My impression is also that Kingmaker would scale pretty well for a large group - true?

1. The kingdom-building elements are *definitely* something part of the group could drive, in between annual "live" weekends as you describe, as long as the whole group knows it's happening and people aren't feeling left out because they weren't invited to that part. (Each book of the AP contains a little "kingdom in the background" sidebar for GMs whose groups don't care for the kingdom-building -- you'd basically have it both ways!)

2. The various encounters would require work to scale to 6-8 characters, yes. From a plot-arc perspective, though, I think KM is probably one of the *best* options for the style of play you mention, where you might have a different set of characters for each weekend -- it's totally plausible that "the other ones" are staying home to take care of kingdom-y stuff, or off on diplomatic missions, or whathaveyou, while the folks who were able to attend go out on the adventure.


Great - thanks for the feedback!

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