Which campaign path to start with?


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion


My friends and I haven't played D&D since about halfway between 3,5 and 4E but no we're starting up a new campaign (using Pathfinder obviously).

I really like what I've seen of the various campaign adventure paths and I thought one of those would be a good place to start but I'm not sure which one to pick (I wish I had the money to buy all of them but, alas...).

We're all a bunch of old grognards (the youngest of us is 38) and I was wondering which set of adventures is the most "old school" (e.g. lots of action, exploration, dungeon crawly good ness, that sort of thing).

What would you guys recommend?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think Rise of the Runelords fits your bill very well. It's an action-packed balls-to-walls OMFG are there really 20 Storm Giants charging us Adventure Path.

The only slight flipside is that it was printed in the 3.5 times, but Paizo forums have conversions for virtually every statblock.

If you prefer a more recent, PFRPG-ready AP, Kingmaker is good (however, kingdom building and management is a big part there, dunno how it sits with your group). The recent Carrion Crown looks great too, a classic horror AP with some great adventures so far.


I just started Kingmaker and I must say as a fellow Grognard, I love the feel.

Group out exploring, starting a fledgling kingdom, fighting the bad guys and some politics are just coming into it.

It's a Sandbox lay out which means the PCs basically set the tone, speed and flavor of the game for alot of it. Lots of stuff to get familiar with as a GM, there are a lot of places and things that the PCs can go and do so I have to keep a good amount of stuff ready. Love it!!

My group is right now doing trade negotiations with some groups in the area and still battling some of the beginning bad guys and looking forward to playing. They love the mix of Roleplaying, Combat and Tradeskilling. So far, all is good.

I recommend you give it a look see and show your players!!

Have Fun out there!!!

~ W ~

Grand Lodge

I second the votes for both Rise of the Runelords and Kingmaker.

Im running RotR in my homegame. We are half way through with the 2nd book, and so far everyone seems to be having a great time of it.

Im playing in a Kingmaker play-by-post game on these boards and while we are still very early in the first book, Im enjoying it alot, and from the reviews Ive heard, its a great AP.


I have been running Kingmaker for my group, and we are about half way through. All of us have played Dnd in some form or another for a good long while.

My group is really enjoying kingmaker. You can always run kingdom in the background if you or your group doesn't want to really do the kingdom building.

Kingmaker taps into one of the biggest loves of playing a roleplaying game. Being the awesome heroes.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If you want a straight pathfinder adventure, go with kingmaker. It has been a ton of fun so far and we are only getting started. And let me tell you if you want exploration, you are going to get it in kingmaker. You are literally drawing the map of this land, so keep your graphpaper handy.


Definitely start with Runelords. It lays the foundation for Golarian by setting up world elements that will carry over in some form to almost every other AP. I don't want to post spoilers or too many details here but I can think of 3 or 4 things in Runelords that are referenced in several other APs. In fact an AP that isn't even out yet is inspired by an NPC that only appears in Runelords.


I agree with others on their suggestions. I havn't read through all the APs, but more recent ones are best if you don't want to look through and convert stats that much (though there is the occassional hiccup here and there as my friend pointed out with a kingmaker npc) and there are loads of conversions online for older APs. As I'm taking a look at RotRL I have to agree that it is very interesting, especially since the Runelords are based on the old Golarian history where their power corrupted them and made them incredibly powerful.

If I were you I'd take a read of them and see what you like. So far I've found quite a few dungeons appearing in Curse of the Crimson Throne, but Runelords appears to have a lot more action and classic dungeon crawling too.

Dark Archive

I too must agree that runelords is still the best opening AP. it has a huge amount of fan-created material for it as well, offers lots of opportunity for cool handouts and long-term npc relationships.

However, it does have some plot problems. The PCs are given a fort to run in #3, but nothing ever comes of it, because then it's off to sandpoint for an Against The Giants smashfest. Sandpoint does still continue to be important several times throughout the ap, though.

it features in #1, 2, part of 4, and part of 5, and it's where all your PCs friends and family will be.

It offers rich opportunity for side-treks and for a creative DM to flesh out each location and character.


I would say go with Rise of the Runelords and mash the kingdom building and hexploration rules from Kingmaker in between the the third and fourth modules for epic awesome. John Brazer Enterprizes stripped out these rules and you can find them at RPGNow or DriveThruRPG to avoid purchasing the first two kingmaker adventure modules. Look at me pimping 3PP's!...I feel like I need a fur coat.

Even though Rise was written for 3.5, it really isn't that painful to convert on the fly. Just remember that PC's are tougher and that spells and feats are reworded here or there (or overhauled completely..Power Attack..cough cough). There are also a good deal of changes in how certain effects, statuses, etc are resolved in combat (combat maneuver system rocks). There are also fanmade conversions available to make things easy on you.

Dark Archive

However, I'd just like to chime in in defense of Curse of the Crimson Throne. For a certain type of group, it's very, very good.

It contains a lot of very cool strongly-themed mini-dungeons that may be your party's speed. The opening hook is pretty cool, too.

The city of Korvosa, where 70% of the AP takes place, is incredibly detailed and compelling. And the actual plot events of the path are full of drama and twists and turns and dark happenings and such. The problem is, the PCs are often not a direct part of them.

It's also a little rail-roady, almost like the PCs are agents/contractors in the employ of the city watch. The main hooks for a lot of the adventures are "NPC tells you to go here and do this."

but, the real strength of the AP is the NPCs. There's a big cast of recurring, likable, and just plain awesome NPCs, several of which are meant to be allies that join the party for a time. Even the villainous NPCs are cool.

But if you're dead-set on something more recent, and if Kingmaker's sandboxy kingdom-building doesnt appeal to you (understandable. not everyone loves Civ), then Carrion Crown is probably your best bet

Contributor

Moved thread.


My vote is for Shackled City if you haven't run it already.
We just started it and so far were haveing a blast. My group still does 3.5.

Grand Lodge

Herbo wrote:
I would say go with Rise of the Runelords and mash the kingdom building and hexploration rules from Kingmaker in between the the third and fourth modules for epic awesome. John Brazer Enterprizes stripped out these rules and you can find them at RPGNow or DriveThruRPG to avoid purchasing the first two kingmaker adventure modules. Look at me pimping 3PP's!...I feel like I need a fur coat.

This thread is a campaign log of a GM doing almost exactly that. Ive been following since it started, and I find it very enjoyable. Ive taken several ideas for my own Runelords game. Contains lots of spoilers though, so beware.

Also, if your players want something more urban, I'll second Cure of the Crimson Throne. It's also very good.


Heh, and to think I was worried about lack of consensus :)

1. Rise of the Runelords: There's a hole-in-the-wall gaming store near me that has all of these modules except the first one. I looked on Amazon and the cheapest one was over $50 with some wanting over $100; why so expensive?

2. Kingmaker: My players won't mind some Civ like stuff as long as it isn't session after session after session (and I can always throw some random stuff in to mix it up) so I'll definitely take a look at that.

3. Carrion Crown: I find that a lot of "horror" modules usually just mean lots of undead (not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that). Does this one do anything to evoke a sense of dread or is it just lots of undead?

4. Curse of the Crimson Throne: Seems like it's worth taking a look at the very least.

Thanks for the advice! Look forward to hearing more!

Dark Archive

Dread:
Unless the module itself comes complete with a CD of spookey music, a jason-mask for the DM to wear, mood lighting, and an artifical lightning-flash device, no, no module can itself be considered scary. However, they can be creepy, especially with GM effort.

So far, carrion crown is super-spooky, full of gothic horror and whatnot. The haunts are scary, but in a "OH S*~$, ITS THE HEADLESS, BURNING CORPSE OF THE CRUELEST GUARD IN THE PRISON!" way. Said dude is blind, but a High-CR monster, so he's scary from an in-game perspective, since he can really hurt you, but only if he can find you.

The second adventure has a tragic frankenstien monster, a dude that steals people's skin, and the ghost of a serial-killer and his ghost child victims.

But the truth is, none of that gets under my skin the way Rise of the Runelords did. the first three adventures are full of skin-crawly, messed-up s%&$. Skinsaw Murders is really messed up, and Hook Mountain...well, read the threads. It's Deliverance+The Hills Have Eyes.

Even burnt offerings has deformed, stillborn babies in it's backstory, an abused little girl that went b$~##$%-insane evil because of it, at least two really grisly deaths, and random little touches of messed-up stuff.

Burnt Offerings is probably expensive because it's rare at this point; you may have to buy the PDF off of paizo, and then print out a hardcopy for yourself. but since you'll have to convert it to 3.P anyways...


Sir Jolt wrote:

1. Rise of the Runelords: There's a hole-in-the-wall gaming store near me that has all of these modules except the first one. I looked on Amazon and the cheapest one was over $50 with some wanting over $100; why so expensive?

It's out of print. Just buy the PDF and print it yourself.

If you are a Greyhawk based group you should definitely run Savage Tide before migrating to Golarian. I thought it was a great way for my group to leave Greyhawk behind. It might be hard to find but it's worth it if you are into Greyhawk.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

Sir Jolt wrote:
We're all a bunch of old grognards (the youngest of us is 38) and I was wondering which set of adventures is the most "old school" (e.g. lots of action, exploration, dungeon crawly good ness, that sort of thing).

I'm surprised no-one's thrown this out there, but I'll toss into the ring: consider Legacy of Fire. It's arabian-themed (deserts and genies oh my!), and that might be a non-starter for you. However, according to your criterea, it's got some of the best "action" out there, and it has two full-length dungeons (every other AP only has one), and it has some of the coolest exploration elements of any AP (book 4, I'm looking at you). And it's the only AP where you'll actually get to visit a familiar location from grognardia: The City of Brass.

Dark Archive

Curse of the Crimson Throne is an urban AP. It's designed around Mini-dungeons. Instead of large, lengthy crawls, a given encounter is likely to be a mission to a single building/small complex. Said encounters are presented in the form of hooks that tell the PCs to go here or there and investigate things within the city.

Spoiler:

The basic plot is that the king dies and his trophy-wife takes the throne in a period of massive turmoil. after the rioting in the streets dies down, there's an attempted sham execution of a scapegoat.

Then a Plague hits the city. a terrible, black-death tier, Bring Out Your Dead type one, with plague doctors with their creepy masks and suchlike.

Big surprise, the queen is evil, and the PCs have to take her down.

Random examples:
Rooftop Chase

Masque of the Red Death-inspired encounter

Red Mantis Assassins (they're mantis-themed batman villains, but scarily effective)

A cool old mentor guy who turns out to be batman/zorro, and a PC can take up the mantle of batman/zorro

Plague Doctors that turn out to actually be spreading the plague

uncovering a conspiracy of super-evil Rakshasas masquerading as a noble house, with a crazy moving gear-lock torture dungeon under the city.

Giant gothic haunted castle full of undead

an evil, chain-wielding genki-girl cleric of the hellraiser-esque god of pain, darkness, and loss. And she's an ally.

Pretty much the weakest adventure is the 4th one, since it's a "do this for this guy so he'll do this for this guy so you can..." type thing. also, I dont remember #6 having any particularly memorable, awesome stuff in it. But it did have a La Resistance vibe.


I don't know about grognard-friendly (Carrion Crown is all about old, rotting things ;-P!!!), but Wolfgang Baur, the guy who wrote part 4 of Rise of the Runelords - Fortress of the Stone Giants - was baited to write this by being told that it's supposed to be Against the Giants with Stone Giants.

Since I'm still young and know nothing of the times where RPGs were black and white only, without sound, you had to turn the handle yourself and it cost thousands of dollars, I can't give you my personal take, but my sources tell me that is about as old-school as it gets without a time machine.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I added a spoiler tag.

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