Hey guys, new to the site, new GM. I'm currently running Rise of the Runelords, and we're about to go in to Thistletop, level one. I'm reading ahead, and I honestly can't see the party reaching level 4 when it says they should, so....
Which XP rate should I be using? Medium or fast?! Feel free to make fun! ~Thanks in advance.
If you're running Pathfinder RPG rules, you should use Fast progression in all 3.5 modules/APs.
Heh, I am running the same campaign, and ran into the same problem. They ran into a big baddie... if I am more specific it may ruin it for others... when they were too low in level and nearly got a TPK. Nearly.
Summing up things told in similar threads and extending on what Gorbacz said: Pathfinder fast progression is closest to 3.5 XP progression and is appropriate for 3.5 APs (Rise Of The Runelords, Curse Of The Crimson Throne, Second Darkness and Legacy Of Fire). From Council Of Thieves AP are made with Pathfinder rules and were designed with Medium progression in mind.
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Just make them whatever level they should be at whatever stage.
Our group started this a few years ago and it works great, especially for AP where the rewards can be challenging to match up with the leveling needs. We use the CR/ECL concepts in an abstract way to estimate when characters should level. No mind-numbing tracking of individual XP's has made our GM's a happier crew. As long as the leveling is allowed to occur at a reasonable rate, the players don't have an issue. Sometimes, there is a need for us to accelerate/retard the curve for storyline purposes and not being tied to a finite XP system allows more freedom. If the group skips an encounter (or even group of them), you can still "speed" level them so they can avoid a TPK vs. the next BBEG. Also, if they are really into the storyline and run off on a bunch of free-form tangents that would normally reward them too quickly in regards to the next BBEG, you can just hold them back a bit and use defeating the BBEG as the leveling reward.
I was meaning to ask something similar myself, we are going to start curse of the crimson throne AP, do we need to use the fast xp progression? From what Drejk said, it seems that we should.
As far as I know APs were balanced to work with PCs advancing at certain rate. With fast progression Pathfinder PCs playing in one of those older APs should reach levels fast enough to keep with CR of encounters they meet. With medium progression their ability to fight opponents would decline with higher level parts of AP. This could be probably resolved with GM adding extra events, encounters and challenges (or just inserting other modules in between) to provide party with bonus XP or with toning down existing opponents but it would require extra work from him. If he has enough time and is willing to adjust AP accordingly you can use medium or even slow progression. Another option is get rid of XP accounting and just let the party level at appropriate moments (which requires less judgement from GM than extra encounters/reqorking encounter but not everyone likes that option).