Best AP for New Players?


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion

Sovereign Court

Hey everyone!

So here's the deal: I am a relatively experienced GM who is hoping to start up a game featuring all new players. None of them have ever played a tabletop RPG before to my knowledge, and at least two of my players have never played an RPG in any form before. I want to run one of the Paizo APs, but before I go out and buy all the issues, I'm wondering which might be best to run with a new group.

As it stands, the three that I'm looking at are the three most recent APs, namely, Kingmaker, Serpent's Skull, and Carrion Crown. Now, judging by the two issues I have of Kingmaker, it's likely not the best AP to run for a group of brand-new players. I do, however, like the first chapter of Serpent's Skull, but I've heard it opens up a bit later on, which might be problematic. Carrion Crown sounds interesting, but I haven't even had a chance to flip through any of the chapters yet.

So my question is: Of the three most recent APs, which might be most appropriate for a new group of players with absolutely no real RPG experience?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd take a second look at Kingmaker. Due to the open-ended nature, it is somewhat less grindy and easier on new players than "classic" APs.

Apart from KM, Carrion Crown looks good so far, however I would wait until it's fully released before running it, because if you start running an AP before you have a chance to read it all...

...you might make a mistake like I did with Serpent's Skull, which kicks off great and takes a nose dive at adventure 3. Not recommended.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Nameless wrote:

Hey everyone!

So here's the deal: I am a relatively experienced GM who is hoping to start up a game featuring all new players. None of them have ever played a tabletop RPG before to my knowledge, and at least two of my players have never played an RPG in any form before. I want to run one of the Paizo APs, but before I go out and buy all the issues, I'm wondering which might be best to run with a new group.

As it stands, the three that I'm looking at are the three most recent APs, namely, Kingmaker, Serpent's Skull, and Carrion Crown. Now, judging by the two issues I have of Kingmaker, it's likely not the best AP to run for a group of brand-new players. I do, however, like the first chapter of Serpent's Skull, but I've heard it opens up a bit later on, which might be problematic. Carrion Crown sounds interesting, but I haven't even had a chance to flip through any of the chapters yet.

So my question is: Of the three most recent APs, which might be most appropriate for a new group of players with absolutely no real RPG experience?

I'll give my standard response when people ask this: Consider the triad of adventures that is Crypt o the Everflame, Mask ofthe Mad God and City of Golden Death. They're far shorter than an Ap, cheaper, and specifically designed to dhowcase Pathfinder. Seiously, APs are a big commitment, especially if you're teaching people.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

Paul Watson wrote:
Seiously, APs are a big commitment, especially if you're teaching people.

+1

New players will often want to keep trying new things. They tend to want to switch up PCs/plots somewhat often while it's still all new and different. Do short, unrelated stuff.

If you must do an AP, I'd actually recommend none of the above. Kingmaker because it's too player-driven, Carrion Crown because it requires a lot of forethought and investigation, and Serpent's Skull because it sucks once you get to book 3. Instead, go for Curse of the Crimson Throne or Legacy of Fire. Or, even better, do just the first two books of Second Darkness.

Sovereign Court

The main reason I want to get APs is that I know they always start at 1st level, and they have a lot of detail so that I can expand/contract/adjust as necessary. I'm only looking at those three APs since I don't want to worry about conversion as I play; I did that with Legacy of Fire and got really frustrated throughout. I also played Council of Thieves before, which is why that one's not on the list.

I took a look at Crypt of the Everflame, and I was actually not that big a fan of the adventure; while the rules are simplified, the idea behind the adventure is fairly basic, and I really want to encourage my players to think in terms of more complex plots early on. I'm going to try to have a very in-depth character generation session with them.

Thus, right now I'm leaning towards Carrion Crown. Erik mentioned that it requires a lot of forethought and investigation; would this be insurmountable for a new group, or is this the sort of thing I might be able to get through by telling them beforehand that this is important?


I dont recommend Carrion Crown for new people to the hobby. You will get more out of it with experienced roleplayers.

My suggestion is Kingmaker "simplified". Meaning use the Kingdom in the background sidebars. They can view a blank hex map and tell you which hex they will explore in whatever order, and you can add any dungeon from any module easily. Just drop it on any hex you want.

There are roleplaying opportunities everywhere, but you can solve almost all of them with a sword just the same. You can let the group choose how to handle each situations.

Good Luck, all the APs are good.

Liberty's Edge

Nobody's mentioned Rise of the Runelords?

I've run it a couple of times with several new or newer players with great success. It's got lots of story, classic bad guys (goblins!), and has a more "classic high fantasy" feel than many of the newer APs.

Plus it gives "previews" of some things that are explored in later APs. Your group really like the Misgivings? Then they might love playing Carrion Crown next.

Most of the books are now out of print, but you can grab the PDFs and the content's been converted to PRGP.

Liberty's Edge

Count Buggula wrote:

Nobody's mentioned Rise of the Runelords?

I've run it a couple of times with several new or newer players with great success. It's got lots of story, classic bad guys (goblins!), and has a more "classic high fantasy" feel than many of the newer APs.

Plus it gives "previews" of some things that are explored in later APs. Your group really like the Misgivings? Then they might love playing Carrion Crown next.

Most of the books are now out of print, but you can grab the PDFs and the content's been converted to PRGP.

I agree, Rise of the Runelords is great for new players for a couple of reasons.

1. It's built for 3.5 so if you run it as is it will be "easy" for new players relative to one built for pathfinder.

2. Burnt Offerings is really a perfect starter campaign. It is all about learning about a new place, new setting, with very classic basic enemies (goblins) at the core.

Looking at the first episode of the others.

2. CoTCT starts off with a lot of usual mechanical set-ups.
3. Second Darkness has a casino thing that may throw off newbs.
4. Legacy of Fire is very good, but it is a non-traditional setting.
5. Council of Theives...well it isn't going to ever be listed as a favorite, it was put out while they were figuring out the rules and it kind of shows.
6. Kingmaker is fine, but the modular nature is going to teach new players the 15 minute day is normal.
7. I really personally liked Serpents Skull, but I don't think it is a great beginner AP given how the first module is a TPK maker.
8. There are a lot of odd mechanics in Carrion crown that may confuse new players (haunts, trust points, etc...)

Go with the classic. RoTRL.


Paul Watson wrote:


I'll give my standard response when people ask this: Consider the triad of adventures that is Crypt o the Everflame, Mask ofthe Mad God and City of Golden Death. They're far shorter than an Ap, cheaper, and specifically designed to dhowcase Pathfinder. Seiously, APs are a big commitment, especially if you're teaching people.

I agree. These make a great tool to jump into the game


Nameless wrote:

The main reason I want to get APs is that I know they always start at 1st level, and they have a lot of detail so that I can expand/contract/adjust as necessary. I'm only looking at those three APs since I don't want to worry about conversion as I play; I did that with Legacy of Fire and got really frustrated throughout. I also played Council of Thieves before, which is why that one's not on the list.

I took a look at Crypt of the Everflame, and I was actually not that big a fan of the adventure; while the rules are simplified, the idea behind the adventure is fairly basic, and I really want to encourage my players to think in terms of more complex plots early on. I'm going to try to have a very in-depth character generation session with them.

Thus, right now I'm leaning towards Carrion Crown. Erik mentioned that it requires a lot of forethought and investigation; would this be insurmountable for a new group, or is this the sort of thing I might be able to get through by telling them beforehand that this is important?

I actually like Crypt of the Everflame. I plan on using it as a way to get the party together before starting Rise of the Runelords.


I used rise of the runelords as a first for myself(to the APs) and for 2 new players in my group. it turned out great. those 2 are more into the game than any other 2 people i have ever seen that early on. There is so much going on with changing locations, high adventure and a few location returns that new players will eat it up. plus, as your first AP this one requires little work on behalf of the gm, which is nice for the first one you run. i am now 4 paths into it, about to start 5, and this one still holds up as one of my favorites. and one we have gone back to so we could continue on with it.

Dark Archive

Dubiousnessocity wrote:
I used rise of the runelords as a first for myself(to the APs) and for 2 new players in my group. it turned out great. those 2 are more into the game than any other 2 people i have ever seen that early on. There is so much going on with changing locations, high adventure and a few location returns that new players will eat it up. plus, as your first AP this one requires little work on behalf of the gm, which is nice for the first one you run. i am now 4 paths into it, about to start 5, and this one still holds up as one of my favorites. and one we have gone back to so we could continue on with it.

+1 to this as well, RotRL is still my favorite AP and has so much going on to get your players involved in the setting while being basic enough to let anyone get the hang of the rules.

Also yes it is still written for 3.5 but all the conversion work for this has been done and is available on the d20pfrd website so you don't have to worry about that and just play.

Plus how can you not play an AP that has the Graul clan in it? My players STILL tell me every time they hear banjo music they feel the need to go take a shower.


TOTALLY! that whole chapter makes that entire group shiver, plus any time they see a 7 pointed star in the following APs and modules the range of emotion about it is sweet.

Sovereign Court

Alright, you guys have succeeded on your Diplomacy rolls and I will now be running Rise of the Runelords for my new players. I hope you're happy with yourselves! ;)

On the plus side, since I'm going through and converting most of the creatures up to Pathfinder RPG, I might even find a couple of instances where I can switch some of the major NPCs into classes that are from the Advanced Player's Guide! I might turn the giant half-ogre mother into a Witch, for example! I think it'll be a fun way to test out the new rules.

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