That damn boat... so much problems.


Jade Regent


Ok, so I am a veteran DM of 3.5 but a bit rusty, and a somewhat new Dm of Pathfinder, which is why I started with an Adventure Path. I'm now at the point where my NPCs have entered Karlsgard. Until then everything went well, except the Brinewall dungeon was WAY too long. I had to nix some encounters and fusion others because my players were getting fed up.

But then I've hit a snag - the Aril's Hammer. So, the book says "Your players are not going to be dumb enough to sail a stolen boat into Karlsgard." The problem is - my players have no indication who those vikings are at that point of the adventure, no indication there is a whole organization of ninja wanting their death (all they know is that there are big demons far away), and no way to know this boat belongs to anybody else than viking raiders.

So, of course they took the boat. But they did not sail it mind you: they used a few days and their Profession: Carpenter to jury-rig a set of wheels to carry the boat. Not one to deny my players to use their skills in a clever way, said okay. But then they got even more clever, and removed the name of the boat - it is only a matter of changing a plank after all. So okay, the Rimerunners will probably know it is their boat, but they have no proof. Anyway, I give them the NP and all that.

Then, they try to sell the boat.So starts the haggling for the price part - but surprise, the price for a keelboat in the PFSRD is much higher than the price in the AP. So we lost half-an-hour looking for the correct price in the books, and then I twisted the situation to remove the boat from their hand - I had the guild buy it back in exchange of the PCs becoming partners in the guild (which means that the FS now have tabs on the PC). But that is a huge derivation from the AP.

Problem is, now they got this idea that they can probably look for a boat instead to go to Tian-Xia, and they started looking at the maps in the Inner Sea Guide, and where like: Hmm, why would we bother going through the fricking inhospitable North Pole (must I say I'm playing this game in Northern Quebec - my players knows what cold is) when we can just do what Christopher Columbus only dreamed of - sailing west over Arcadia and landing on the other side of the world! And the worst part is, from a geographical point of view, they are right.

So, my question is:Why should my players go over the Crown of the World instead of just doing a Chris Columbus? As for the "because Sandru will not want to leave his caravan behind", my players characters hates Sandru (mostly because they are jealous of him) and will have no trouble coercing him. So, is there something I could had that would make the Journey to the Crown of the World necessary, or must I railroad them?

Also, I took all that time posting my story to exemplifies a point: this Adventure Path is fun, but the boat is nothing but trouble.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

They can't just sail west or they really will pull a Columbus, they'll sail right into Arcadia. After sailing through the shattered and inhospitable remains of Azlant. Remember, the world map we have right now is not even remotely to scale, the oceans are much larger than they appear.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I believe that James has mentioned before somewhere that an Ocean voyage would actually be a lot longer and much more dangerous.


These are also northern waters, they might not pull a Columbus as much as an Octavius - a ship that supposedly attempted the Northwest Passage (over Alaska and Canada) and was found 13 years later with a frozen to death crew.


Vigil wrote:
They can't just sail west or they really will pull a Columbus, they'll sail right into Arcadia. After sailing through the shattered and inhospitable remains of Azlant. Remember, the world map we have right now is not even remotely to scale, the oceans are much larger than they appear.

I don't have the map with me right now, but I think that, if they leave from the Varisian Coastline, they'll sail right above Arcadia. I might be wrong. What is Aztlan again? I'm not as familiar with the setting as I could be.

Even the map in the Inner Seas Guide is not to scale?

I wish the modules would include a sidebar about why the Crown of the World is the best passage, despite the fact that it's an inhospitable frozen wasteland. Just so I could know what to reply to my players.

Dark Archive

Read the third part, and it will become more clear. Those oceans are not safe right now.

Also there is a section in part 1 that talks about why not to take a boat.

Although I guess if you/they are really adamant about it, you could rejig part 3 to work on the ocean.


thebwt wrote:

Read the third part, and it will become more clear. Those oceans are not safe right now.

Also there is a section in part 1 that talks about why not to take a boat.

Although I guess if you/they are really adamant about it, you could rejig part 3 to work on the ocean.

This is winter season. Sailing anywhere is a suicide.

Make it clear to them that someone is looking for them - maybe a friend of Sandru lets them know that there is a bounty on information related to them. Remember, the ninjas do not know about this caravan except that it teems wit aggressive adventurers. So, a few burglaries, beatings or even an attempted kidnapping by independent professionals should give them a reason to look deeper into the matters.

Regards,
Ruemere


thebwt wrote:

Read the third part, and it will become more clear. Those oceans are not safe right now.

Also there is a section in part 1 that talks about why not to take a boat.

Although I guess if you/they are really adamant about it, you could rejig part 3 to work on the ocean.

That section in part 1 was about the journey to Brinewall - it doesn't really cover the "Why the inhospitable frozen wasteland is a better option than the ocean" part.


ruemere wrote:

This is winter season. Sailing anywhere is a suicide.

Make it clear to them that someone is looking for them - maybe a friend of Sandru lets them know that there is a bounty on information related to them. Remember, the ninjas do not know about this caravan except that it teems wit aggressive adventurers. So, a few burglaries, beatings or even an attempted kidnapping by independent professionals should give them a reason to look deeper into the matters.

Regards,
Ruemere

It's winter season? I did not know that. Somehow, I missed any indication of when it is taking place exactly.

The players know all about the people looking for them. That's not a problem - I expect them to clear the second adventure with no problem. It's the third one I'm worried about. And of course the PCs are not looking for a guide, but that is okay, because the villains will still have anticipated that move, and Ushalka will come to seek the PCs help anyway, so they'll find Ulf one way or the other. I just wanna make sure they will want to use him as a guide afterwards...

Dark Archive

part 1, page 24

Spoiler:
If the PCs suggest taking a boat to
Brinewall instead, Ameiko points out that not only would
that be more expensive (considering she’s already got allies
who own a caravan), but they’re unlikely to find anyone
willing to set sail for the notorious ruin anyway.

So if Brinewall is out of the question, Tian Xia?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Collex wrote:
Vigil wrote:
They can't just sail west or they really will pull a Columbus, they'll sail right into Arcadia. After sailing through the shattered and inhospitable remains of Azlant. Remember, the world map we have right now is not even remotely to scale, the oceans are much larger than they appear.

Even the map in the Inner Seas Guide is not to scale?

I wish the modules would include a sidebar about why the Crown of the World is the best passage, despite the fact that it's an inhospitable frozen wasteland. Just so I could know what to reply to my players.

There are a lot of reasons not to sail, but you should be careful not to badger the players with them. Players are stubborn, and it's best to get them to want to go the land route instead of telling them the sea route is a bad idea.

The Inner Sea World Guide mentions two well known ways to trade with the continent of Tian Xia. One is the overland route from the Linnorm Kings into northern Tian Xia. In Part 4, this leads to the nation of Hongal, and finally to MinKai (your actual destnination).

The second route (by sea) is to sail SOUTH through the inner sea and then south-east past Jalmeray and around the continent of Casmaron (basically more of the Indian /Arabic empires). This gets you to the West Coast of Tian Xia, which is all one giant mountain range. The only known port / mountain crossing there is Goka, and from there you have a huge overland journey through a bunch of nations (you'll want the new Dragon Empires guide for that) before you eventually hit Minkai.

The proposed "Columbus Route" is utter suicide. The Linnorn/Vikings have sailed west as far as the northeast tip of Arcadia, and no further. Sailing into the ruins of Azlant is incredibly difficult. There is no sane ship captain willing to take that journey. The only way to pull it off would be to hire several ships (for safety/security/backups) much like Columbus. And the PCs dont' have that kind of money, nor do they have the experience or influence to get those ships (They need real big ship for this, not Ulfen ones). Finally, those maps aren't accurate (and possibly not to scale). They're based on thousand year old journeys by crazed explorers who might have just made the maps up (if they actually made the journey at all).

On the other hand, the overland route has existed for millenia, and while dangerous - it is a known quantity. Experienced guides can be found, and the PCs should have access to 4th and 5th level spells to help mitigate the enivronment. The northern route should not be presented as this impossible journey: it's been done every year by several huge caravans for centuries.

The other point to make is that the purpose of this journey is also to retrace the steps of Ameiko's family. Going backwards across the northern passage and into Hongal will present opportunities to potentially learn more about what happened to the Tamatsu family, any materials they left behind, and any allies they might have had. Any other route completely ignores this.

Finally, the PCs should know the "five storms" ONI are just that- storms. They're going to be much better off facing the "five storms" mystical powers over a 1-2 month land journey in the north than a 3-6 month ocean voyage. Remember that's how Ameiko's family almost got wiped out 45 years ago.


Well, now my player have suggested an alternative route - going north,around the north pole, and emerging on the eastern side of Tian Xia. Now, that I can more easily say is a bad idea (imprevisible Glacier, Iceberg) but two of my players still refuse to see the danger. (This discussion took place out of game, so nothing is set in stone here).

<i>Finally, the PCs should know the "five storms" ONI are just that- storms. They're going to be much better off facing the "five storms" mystical powers over a 1-2 month land journey in the north than a 3-6 month ocean voyage. Remember that's how Ameiko's family almost got wiped out 45 years ago.</i>

Now, THAT is interesting. Maybe I can use Suishen to give them that info? Or maybe another vision from the seal. Or from Kora. I had a vison-based Oracle I could have used, but she will be leaving next week (no time anymore).


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Unless they can build the ship and crew it themselves, I doubt going around the north pole would work (as no ship captain would risk their ship and their crew).

Playing in an adventure path means signing on to a specific story, relinquishing a bit of freedom in order to experience that story. There's still wiggle room, choices for them to make, but the overall trajectory is set. If your players are vehemently opposed to this style, then maybe a more sandboxy AP is necessary, like the Kingmaker adventure path.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I can actually do you one better in terms of trying to circumvent the polar excursion. My PCs include a wizard who specializes in crafting magical items. Currently he is (or was since I decided on the grounds that it would completely invalidate a large chunk of story)lobbying for the entire group to give up their gold in favor of him creating a flying fortress construct that would just fly them to their destination. I know being GM that if they did this the party would die..and quickly and not via a "rocks fall" or a "gazebo", though when he brought it up both were tempting, this particular player always has a strong logical argument for things like this so its difficult for me to rule against him as I can see the sense in his argument. But for the benefit of the story sometimes you just have to say no.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I also think it is important for players to realize that because an option is not available doesn't mean that the GM is trying to railroad them. Just as a GM will try to present world/story elements in the most logical way, while integrating player ideas.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Appeal to their logic for the sake of a story. Point out that a large boat, filled with trade goods, sailing out of season, is going to be a target for raiding, especially by sea predators who are trying to find food in lean times. Then ask how well they can swim.

Comic book parallel:

Spoiler:
The Secret Six drove cross country because as Catman pointed out, there were no flyers in the group, so if they got attacked in the air, it would be suicide.

If that fails, and they're adamant, let them and modify encounters as need be. (and remind them that they should spend ranks in swim, but drowning is a free action.)

Sovereign Court

They can't hire a boat for that journey: it's not about GM fiat, it's the realities (sic) of Golarion.

If they want to go by boat then they will have to sail to Absalom and find passage around to Goka.


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GeraintElberion wrote:

They can't hire a boat for that journey: it's not about GM fiat, it's the realities (sic) of Golarion.

If they want to go by boat then they will have to sail to Absalom and find passage around to Goka.

That's what I was thinking too. The map of the world is based off of old European maps of America that are like "Yeah it's about ten miles wide :)" and it's actually a very large landmass. That's Arcadia.

The paragraph on Arcadia opens up with talk of "insidious whirlpools" and "ravenous sea monsters."

To get to Arcadia, they'd have to pass through Azlant, which is described has prominently featuring "moldering wreckage[s] of countless ships dashed upon sheer cliffs".

Then sailors would have to sail back after they dropped them off.

I do not think they will want to travel for something like 6 months to turn around and just go back.

The PCs would also want 3 boats in case one is damaged permanently. No one in their right mind would rent a boat to someone who is going to take it to somewhere extremely dangerous that people are famous for not coming back from. The PCs could steal one, I guess.

So, 3 longships is 30,000gp.

Right now, let's just assume the journey will take, at minimum, 8 months. There and back.

Next, they're traveling through some of the most dangerous territory on earth. They're going to want crewmen and guards, clerics, spellcasters. For the crew, that's easy. 450sp a day, or 45gp a day. 8 months of journey means it'll cost around 11,000gp to just hire these people. But each of them want it in advance because they might not make it home. They all also want insurance for their family, so they demand 100gp up front. That's another 15,000gp just to pay off the mundane crew.

For guards, you need people trained to fight horrible beasts. So some real guards. Going by caravan prices, it'd be around 100gp to hire a hireling trained to fight (guard). So, 100gp a month is only 800gp. Score. But you need around 40 of them. 32,000gp.

You probably want 4 things: a guide, a cleric, a navigator, an arcane spellcaster. A guide is impossible-- this journey has never been made before. A cleric? Impossible-- you'd have to hire your own, so I hope your group has 3 clerics that are at least 5th level for Remove Disease. Arcane spellcasters are the same. I assume something like 3,000gp per caster is enough, so you are paying 18,000gp there. (If your PCs object, ask them how much they would ask for if they were asked to go on an adventure by a wealthy person where they will spend over a year sailing and likely die. If it's above 3,000gp, say they're getting a deal!) A navigator likely has an even more specialized skill set than an arcanist, so we'll assume each one is 3333gp.

So, you are paying:
15,000gp for insurance to hirelings
11,000gp for hiring hirelings
30,000gp for the ships
32,000gp for armed and trained guards
18,000gp for arcane and divine casters
10,000gp for navigator
= 116,000gp

So, that's 150 hirelings, 40 guards, 9 specialists, and 4 PCS for 203 people.

1sp per day for poor food makes it 20.3gp a day. 8 months is 240 days. 4872gp to buy food for these people for the entire trip.

And after outlining all of this, turn to the PCs and ask if they have between them a single rank in swim.

Scarab Sages

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It's posts like this that made me glad I decided to stop gaming with some of my old players and started this AP with some players who "get it."

Each AP is a campaign which amounts to one big "story" and if players want to play these APs they have to "follow" the "story". They need to understand that they can do anything within the "story" but not anything that will take them out of the "story". Capiche?

You know what you should do, let them take their journey and describe to them a boring ocean voayage lasting months and then dump them into Vol 4 when they rich Minkai - at 7th level, and see what happens.


Nice, Ice Titan.

But I think the best response - especially after noting Reebo's point:

"Do you *really* want to arrive in a foreign port, in a land now run by oni, on a ship where the only person who even looks local is the long-lost heir to the throne they've been searching for? Oh, and carrying the only remianing holy artifact allowing the gods to appoint a new set of heirs? Especially when said artifact has also appointed *you* heirs as well? Oh, and did you save enough skill points to aquire the local languages? Ooookay."

Liberty's Edge

If your group is insistent on making suicidal decisions, let them try to make this voyage without outside assistance. Let it take 3-5 times longer than they anticipate. Let them slowly starve. Let them be attacked by ravenous sea monsters, and ghost ships filled with undead. Let them experience the joy of scurvy, become lost at sea with no navigator or veteran sailors, become entrapped in a Sargasso sea of wreckage, become frozen in ice or have to sail through vicious storms which either disable or sink their ship. I'm sure there are many more obstacles which can be thought of. IN SHORT LET THEM EXPERIENCE THE FOLLY OF IDIOTICALLY STUBBORN DECISIONS. Kill them. I'm sure it will be memorable. Perhaps they will even learn a lesson concerning excess pride and hopeless voyages.


Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
If your group is insistent on making suicidal decisions, let them try to make this voyage without outside assistance. Let it take 3-5 times longer than they anticipate. Let them slowly starve. Let them be attacked by ravenous sea monsters, and ghost ships filled with undead. Let them experience the joy of scurvy, become lost at sea with no navigator or veteran sailors, become entrapped in a Sargasso sea of wreckage, become frozen in ice or have to sail through vicious storms which either disable or sink their ship. I'm sure there are many more obstacles which can be thought of. IN SHORT LET THEM EXPERIENCE THE FOLLY OF IDIOTICALLY STUBBORN DECISIONS. Kill them. I'm sure it will be memorable. Perhaps they will even learn a lesson concerning excess pride and hopeless voyages.

Even better (after ripping them off for everything but their undies, as per Ice Titan's calculations) the only people willing to even get this far - are the bad guys.

So, they're now on a ship at least a week out of port, no coast in sight, and the crew attacks. Or another ship catches up and the crew abandons the ship after setting it on fire or trapping it in some fashion, leaving the the PCs & friends to try to survive.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I Loved Ice Titans comment "then ask them if they have any ranks in Swim."

Spiral Ninja makes an even better point; and the crew doesn't even have to be badguys. Voyages like this are ASKING for mutiny. At some point the crew gets antsy, start figuring "if we just kill these 4-6 PC idiots, we can all go home - or we'll all die anyway."

Honestly, if your players aren't wise enough or just plain cooperative / appreciative of your work as DM to play along with the OBVIOUS campaign trope, why are you playing with these guys? It just seems like an adversarial setup.

My group is wrapping up Brinewall. I just thumbed through Part 3 -and the maps of the Path of Aganhei just got me super excited. I almost want to skip part 2 just to get to it sooner :P

Sure it will be tough/difficult. - but it's designed to be an adventure level 7-10 PCs can handle.

If your players are dying for an ocean adventure, wait for Skull and SHackles

Lantern Lodge

Ice Titan and Martin have some great ideas. Let me throw one more out there.

If your players are still dead set on traveling across the ocean, through territory that has never been explored with untold dangers, have one of the seven Linnorn Kingdoms suddenly, and unexpectedly, blockade Kalsgard. They aren't, after all, united and they're VIKINGS. Devise a story for why Kalsgard and one of the other Kingdoms would be at each other's throats. Design in such a way that it would take months for the situation to resolve.

Here's an example from my game. My players decided that they didn't want to waste their time trying to find Ulf. They went to the two named merchant guilds that travel across the Crown of the World - the Rimerunner's Guild and one other one named in the back of the book. The latter told them that they only deal with referenced clients, and both of them told the players that it would be 3-4 months before trade started up again. My players absolutely did NOT want to wait 3-4 months. I didn't make it off limits, but rather made the option less attractive.

If you go with the blockade route, you might run into the problem of your players railroading from the AP and wanting to get involved in the national turmoil. You'll have to take that into consideration and devise something that will make it less likely they'll want to do that.


Reebo Kesh wrote:

It's posts like this that made me glad I decided to stop gaming with some of my old players and started this AP with some players who "get it."

Each AP is a campaign which amounts to one big "story" and if players want to play these APs they have to "follow" the "story". They need to understand that they can do anything within the "story" but not anything that will take them out of the "story". Capiche?

You know what you should do, let them take their journey and describe to them a boring ocean voayage lasting months and then dump them into Vol 4 when they rich Minkai - at 7th level, and see what happens.

I've pondered writing a response along these lines. The thing about doing an Adventure Path is that it's ... well, a path. There's going to be some places that could seem railroady, but that's what everybody agreed to when they agreed to play it. They did agree right? ;)

A good one is designed in such a way that it's more like bumpers on a bowling alley lane: plenty of room for them to bounce around with a wide variety of outcomes but there are preventers in place to keep it from going into the gutter and falling apart. There'll still be a few places where the players might have to have their PCs do something not 100% logical, but it's easier to swallow when there's good in-game reasons for it. In this case that's the season and distance, among others. Not only will they be skipping two modules, but that also means they'll be quite a few levels behind where they're suppose to be. You'll have to come up with enough encounters and side adventure to level them. Plus, in Forest of Spirits, there's some plot info that they're going to miss.

And very importantly in my opinion, don't try to solve this in-game by springing upon them blockades, sinking their ship, or other stumbling blocks. That can quickly become construed as GM heavy-handedness along the lines of punishing a player by killing his PC. Maybe it should be brought up out of game that a sea voyage isn't exactly the point of this AP and get the players to help come up with ways of guiding their PCs in the right direction so that no one feels forced out of a decision.

And if they're that dead set to get on a ship, tell them to wait a couple months for Skulls and Shackles. :D

Scarab Sages

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Zaranorth wrote:
And if they're that dead set to get on a ship, tell them to wait a couple months for Skulls and Shackles. :D

No that won't work, they'll want to buy horses and a caravan to travel across land and avoid all those nasty scary pirates.


Let them run with it. Reskin encounters where applicable, let them take the lead, be it, sink, swim, or get stuck on Azlanti ruins, or being broke sinking their money into a foolhardy ocean voyage. There are plenty of adventures out there that can be used if you are short on time. Most of all, have fun.

Scarab Sages

I'm presonally shocked that so many groups want to get on a boat. My characters usually have to be dragged kicking and screaming by the plot. I would latch on to a land route like the literal life preserver it is. Sadly I've volentiered to run it, but I have faith my players will feel the same.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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New tactic.


  • Get Mythical Monsters Revisited.
  • Go on about how great it is.
  • Tell them you're fine with a boat
  • Mention the monsters in it, including the krakens.
  • Cackle evily
  • Release the Kraken!

:-)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Matthew Morris wrote:

New tactic.


  • Get Mythical Monsters Revisited.
  • Go on about how great it is.
  • Tell them you're fine with a boat
  • Mention the monsters in it, including the krakens.
  • Cackle evily
  • Release the Kraken!

:-)

This.


Thanks for the answer, but let me clarify one thing here : My players and me are NOT fighting. Most of the responses here seems to see a fight between players and GM. It's not the case. Everyone is like "your players are stupid, they should follow the Path, why do they play this!!!" They play this because they wanted to play an Adventure Path with a lot of roleplaying, and they wanted me to DM them, but I was very busy (and rusty) so I asked them to use a published adventure. But the players have been frustrated by the Path when they had a 4-5 sessions long dungeon (Really, who the hell designed Brinewall Castle. It's way too long) when they wanted to roleplay. Last game, after the assault on Asvig house (in which the players devised a clever plan that made us skip most of the combat, they asked me to drop the books encounters, follow the story arc but design the encounters myself because I would be better without a badly designed crutch (their words, not me).

Again,my players don't want to take a boat just to be pain in the ass - but because it seems more logical for them to pass through sea then through a frozen inhospitable wasteland. I can't really fault them - they are thinking logically with the money they have. ANd the fact that the price of the viking boat is officially triple what is written in the AP did put me in a very uncomfortable position.


I have a book recommendation for any player who thinks that looking for a Northwest Passage past Azlant would be a better idea than following the established caravan route over the Crown of the World: The Terror, by Dan Simmons. The first few chapters ought to be enough to dissuade them, if they think you're going to use it as the model for your revised, sea-voyage-based episode three of the AP.


Collex wrote:
Again,my players don't want to take a boat just to be pain in the ass - but because it seems more logical for them to pass through sea then through a frozen inhospitable wasteland. I can't really fault them - they are thinking logically with the money they have. ANd the fact that the price of the viking boat is officially triple what is written in the AP did put me in a very uncomfortable position.

The problem is, in the world of Golarion, they are not being logical. There is a dangerous but known Trade Route that is often traveled that will get them to where they need to go, and they are wanting to forge their own way on the sea. Let them know they aren't deciding between two expeditions into the unknown. They're deciding between a known, mostly reliable trade route and a completely unknown journey on the seas.

Imagine leaving Europe and having the option to get to China via a known trade route through cold but known lands, and instead deciding to head West, traveling through the North sea(with pirates and monsters) then all the way across the Atlantic(only with pirates, sea monsters, and Azlant in the way) then around the southern tip of South America and through the Pacific(and again with the sea monsters and probably some pirates) in a viking longboat. Just the logistics of packing enough supplies and extra boats and crew to make the trip and survive any emergencies would be staggering, while the caravan's cost should be much less and the dangers more manageable since the crews know of the possibilities going in.


I think I see what your player's problem is - they've read that blurb for the third adventure.

Don't be silly - of course no one's stupid enough to travel across the Crown of the World in the middle of winter. That really is ice, snow, barely any life, and the air gets kinda thin too. People have done it for the sake of saying they did, but it's not a trade route at any time of year, it's an adventure.

On the other hand, the Path of Agan-Hei is a reliable, temperate trade route passing along the coastline. It's outside the arctic circle of Golarion by a good bit, and the weather is generally fairly pleasant. During the winter nasty storms can (and do) happen, which is why large trade caravans stop - it's not overly dangerous, but the amount of food you need to stock to make the trip makes it unprofitable. This isn't a problem for a Varisian travel caravan (like the one the PCs are managing) because the goal is to try to get where you need to go.

It's the latter your PCs should be planning on taking at this point.

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