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Jon Brazer Enterprises

Link

James Jacobs wrote:

If folks are seeing "exact same rooms" showing up over and over again, it's a lot more helpful if one actually mentions what room you're talking about and how it's the "same" as other rooms in other adventures. Because I suspect the likelihood of that happening is VERY high... but whether or not it's by design or on accident I don't know. Can't know, without knowing what room is being talked about.

AKA: When giving feedback, more details are ALWAYS useful than skirting the issue. Use spoiler tags if you're worried about giving something away... but I can't address or consider possible problems unless I have those details.

So I just figured I'd start a thread for giving AP feedback.

My group has a long running joke: we're more scared of doors than we are of monsters. They're like a Lovecraftian horror to us. Last night we were about to open up a door when the GM said we were not ready to see it yet. When we opened it, we found a hallway of doors. We all screamed in horror.

It was CotCT that really did it for us. Adventure 5 had orders of magnitude more doors than it did monsters. I'm sure the GM was suppose to put wandering monsters in there but I believe he only ran the pre-detailed encounters. We explored whole wings where there were not a single monster, no treasure, nothing. After a while of this, the GM glossed over it by saying, "you find nothing there," which lead to discussions about wasting space in the adventure.

Currently we're playing Carrion Crown and we're encountering the same thing. I think the real horror is the 5x5 room with 3-4 doors. We've seen that alot.

I alternate GMing, where I run Kingmaker. The group is very grateful there is a minimum of doors there. Mind you I fully plan to

Spoiler:
redesign Pitax's castle to eliminate alot of doors
but otherwise it's good on the door-horror.

Suggestion: no building, dungeon, etc should have more doors than monsters.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

2 people marked this as a favorite.

As the designer of your spoiler, I can say that I wrote it up to be a living building, complete with servants, kitchens, armories, libraries, storerooms, and even bathrooms, plus hallways and balconies designed to break up spell areas that might be cast to block sight or access through one point, allowing defenders to circumvent battlefield control effects by simply closing doors and using other ones.

Perhaps it's the Gygaxian naturalist in me, but I build fantasy buildings like buildings where people would live and work, and most Joe-average workers aren't going to be "monsters" or even encounter-worthy foes at all. By simple math, you're going to have more doors than enemy combatants of note in a living castle. If you're in a ruin or dungeon, though, all bets are off and you might be right.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would love to see your original texts. Are they available anywhere?

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Jason Nelson wrote:
As the designer of your spoiler, I can say that I wrote it up to be a living building, complete with servants, kitchens, armories, libraries, storerooms, and even bathrooms, plus hallways and balconies designed to break up spell areas that might be cast to block sight or access through one point, allowing defenders to circumvent battlefield control effects by simply closing doors and using other ones.

And that's fair. Maybe I'll run it as is because of the reasons you stated. My kneejerk reaction was to simply cut down the doors to keep my players from losing their sanity. But it just might work for these reasons. I mean if the kitchen had cook in it, even if they are not combatants, that may make a serious difference.

However the

Spoiler:
guest house in the multi-building structure we're currently going through in Carrion Crown had 1 monster and 20 doors (I counted). Well there was something else there but it was invisible I didn't have see invisibility prepared. But even if that is counted a 1:10 monster to door ratio seems a little on the pointless side to me.


There is a door on the map but it doesn't have to be closed.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:
As the designer of your spoiler, I can say that I wrote it up to be a living building, complete with servants, kitchens, armories, libraries, storerooms, and even bathrooms, plus hallways and balconies designed to break up spell areas that might be cast to block sight or access through one point, allowing defenders to circumvent battlefield control effects by simply closing doors and using other ones.

And that's fair. Maybe I'll run it as is because of the reasons you stated. My kneejerk reaction was to simply cut down the doors to keep my players from losing their sanity. But it just might work for these reasons. I mean if the kitchen had cook in it, even if they are not combatants, that may make a serious difference.

However the ** spoiler omitted **

I'm pretty sure most of the servants were removed during editing and development, in part because I had thought the hexploration part of Kingmaker would be over with by the time they got to issue #5 so I wrote zero exploration stuff in my adventure. Oops! They had to find room for it somewhere, so a number of things had to get tightened up. There was also a lot of fluidity in exactly how the mass battle stuff would end up working, so there was some reshuffling needed there as well. It happens. That's freelancing for you!

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Dale, when you're discussing monster to door ratios, are you including traps, haunts, hazards, etc in the monster category? I don't know which part of CC you're refering to exactly, but do recall that the AP was very haunt heavy.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Cormac wrote:
I would love to see your original texts. Are they available anywhere?

Not posted anywhere, no, but you can send me a private email at

Spoiler:
tjaden jason at gmail dot com

and I can hook you up.

Amusingly, I'm running War of the River Kings right now in my own home campaign, the first time I've run a Paizo AP. I'm using my original version, including running the battle scenes as "war and soldiers in the background" with small-unit tactical objective missions for the PCs to do themselves being the focal point/turning point of the battle scenes. Ironic, given that I spent a lot of time working on revising and expanding the mass combat rules, but in the end only one player really wanted to do them (well, one other did, but then he went on a trip to India for 6 weeks right when we were going to be hitting the mass battle scene time!), so in the interest of everyone having fun we skipped the mass combat stuff and focused on PC-level action. It's been fun!


I originally wrote this in response to something from the other thread, but I figured it was a better fit here.

The various subsystems are a concern for me. There are a lot of them, and they are a fun diversion. The problem is, as often as not, they don't work as written. Sometimes the base mechanics don't work, other times there are issues integrating them into the adventures. My specific examples (spoilered as much for space as content):

Jade Regent:
While I still love "The Hungry Storm," it has been admitted that the Caravan rules (which make up a major part of it) simply don't work.

The spirits of "The Forest of Spirits" are amazingly flavorful, and the possession mechanics are cool. Unfortunately, with their +0 initiative and the requirement that they spend a full-round action to possess someone, it is unlikely that anyone is going to get to experience the (awesome) flavor.

"Night of Frozen Shadows" had Notoriety Points, which were cool. The problem was that it was possible to get stuck in the middle, without enough points to trigger the next event and get more points. You could ignore the system, but then... why does the system exist in the first place?

I won't address the relationship rules, since I haven't seen many other people who found them (mechanically) problematic. I do think the idea of buying friendship with gifts and requiring high diplomacy or intimidate is bad, but not so bad that it deserves to be called "broken."

Carrion Crown:
"Haunting of Harrowstone" had that neat trust mechanic... but forgot to include enough points to keep you from getting run out of town. "Wake of the Watcher" had a sanity system that could easily leave you mad with one or two failed saves (of which there were a great many chances).

Kingmaker:
Kingmaker had the kingdom building rules that, while a nice attempt, are heavily problematic. From the magic item economy to all or nothing economics checks to wonky mass combat rules, the probably would have been even more complaints if it wasn't balanced by the "OMG! We get to build a Kingdom!" thing.

There are, of course, counterexamples. "Souls for Smugglers Shiv" and "Trial of the Beast" both had simple systems that I absolutely love, and could easily drop into another scenario. If I looked closely, I may well be able to find good subsystems are more common that ones with major issues. Unfortunately, the bad ones are more memorable simply because they can either derail an adventure, or will have to be jettisoned half way when they break down.

I've heard a few statements about some of the systems being added long after the adventures were written, and implemented with little or no testing. I don't know how common this is, or how it correlates to the specific examples I gave. I believe it was the case in "Haunting of Harrowstone" and "Hungry Storm," though I could be mistaken. Regardless, this seems like something that should be avoided. But it may be part of the issue.

I know adventures don't often get play tested before seeing print, and it would be unreasonable to expect them to be. And I'd rather keep having hit-or-miss subsystems than abandon them entirely. But, ideally, a bit more time would be given to make sure they actually function in an adventure. I really don't know enough about the inner workings of Paizo to say if writing the systems before the adventures would help, or if they could be run past a few more rules gurus or what. I'd just like to put it out there as feedback on the (wonderful, amazing, splendiforous) adventure paths.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

JoelF847 wrote:
Dale, when you're discussing monster to door ratios, are you including traps, haunts, hazards, etc in the monster category? I don't know which part of CC you're refering to exactly, but do recall that the AP was very haunt heavy.

Yes. Adventure 1 was haunt heavy and harrowstone was fine.


Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:


The various subsystems are a concern for me. There are a lot of them, and they are a fun diversion. The problem is, as often as not, they don't work as written. Sometimes the base mechanics don't work, other times there are issues integrating them into the adventures. My specific examples (spoilered as much for space as content):

my players hate sub-systems with fiery passion. I am not sure why but somehow every sub-rule breaks their suspension of disbelieve.

They fought the camp-rules in Serpent Skull so hard that the game almost grinded to stop and they don't want to play Kingmaker because the kingdom building has sub-rules

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

aeglos wrote:
Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:


The various subsystems are a concern for me. There are a lot of them, and they are a fun diversion. The problem is, as often as not, they don't work as written. Sometimes the base mechanics don't work, other times there are issues integrating them into the adventures. My specific examples (spoilered as much for space as content):

my players hate sub-systems with fiery passion. I am not sure why but somehow every sub-rule breaks their suspension of disbelieve.

They fought the camp-rules in Serpent Skull so hard that the game almost grinded to stop and they don't want to play Kingmaker because the kingdom building has sub-rules

Having them out on the table would break my suspension of disbelief as well. I'm running Haunting of Harrowstone now ...

Haunting of Harrowstone:
... but I didn't even mention the trust mechanic to the players. I use it, but the only reflection the players see of it is how the town treats them, and I reinforce that with comments like "the bartender buys you a round and compliments you on saving the town hall," or "you see someone look at you narrowly; you could swear they made a comment about the bloody monument after you walked by."


2 faults I see with the AP’s in general.

1-The no-play testing makes many of them not a readymade pick up and play product that most other RPG products are. People who frequent these boards are used to making adjustments to the product and reviewing other people’s comments and changes. If you saw it in your game store picked it up and tried to run it without knowing about all the adjustments needed it would be very hard on anyone but the most experienced gamers.

2-Starting with Carrion Crown players need more then the core rulebooks to play; which would be very expensive to people who are not already Pathfinder fans. In other words the long term sustainability of picking up players will be a serious challenge if this continues.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

We'll have some subsystems for the upcoming "Skull & Shackles" game (mostly for naval conflicts)... but after that, I suspect we'll stop doing that. The subsystems take an EXCEPTIONALLY long amount of time to get right and to integrate. The popularity of Kingmaker and its subsystems is mostly to blame for us going on to include similar subsystem elements.

Starting with Shattered Star, though... subsystem light the APs shall be.

(Prepares for backlash from those who LIKE subsystems...)


James Jacobs wrote:

We'll have some subsystems for the upcoming "Skull & Shackles" game (mostly for naval conflicts)... but after that, I suspect we'll stop doing that. The subsystems take an EXCEPTIONALLY long amount of time to get right and to integrate. The popularity of Kingmaker and its subsystems is mostly to blame for us going on to include similar subsystem elements.

Starting with Shattered Star, though... subsystem light the APs shall be.

(Prepares for backlash from those who LIKE subsystems...)

that's great!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Biobeast wrote:

2 faults I see with the AP’s in general.

1-The no-play testing makes many of them not a readymade pick up and play product that most other RPG products are. People who frequent these boards are used to making adjustments to the product and reviewing other people’s comments and changes. If you saw it in your game store picked it up and tried to run it without knowing about all the adjustments needed it would be very hard on anyone but the most experienced gamers.

2-Starting with Carrion Crown players need more then the core rulebooks to play; which would be very expensive to people who are not already Pathfinder fans. In other words the long term sustainability of picking up players will be a serious challenge if this continues.

All the rules are up free of charge on the PRD and at d20pfsrd.


I hope when you say light there are still a couple in every AP and hopfully they are smaller Sub systems that dont make or break the entire AP

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm all for small subsystems (chases, trials, theatre plays, island survival), but the bigger ones are too risky. It worked in Kingmaker, it didn't quite work in Jade Regent.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Gorbacz wrote:
Biobeast wrote:

2 faults I see with the AP’s in general.

1-The no-play testing makes many of them not a readymade pick up and play product that most other RPG products are. People who frequent these boards are used to making adjustments to the product and reviewing other people’s comments and changes. If you saw it in your game store picked it up and tried to run it without knowing about all the adjustments needed it would be very hard on anyone but the most experienced gamers.

2-Starting with Carrion Crown players need more then the core rulebooks to play; which would be very expensive to people who are not already Pathfinder fans. In other words the long term sustainability of picking up players will be a serious challenge if this continues.

All the rules are up free of charge on the PRD and at d20pfsrd.

Yep.

In the final episode of S&S I'm writing, things are included from the PFRPG rulebooks line beyond the Core Rulebook and I don't think that should be a problem for anyone, given the free availability of those rules. There are very few things in there that are from other books (e.g., Inner Sea World Guide), and all of those are fully explained in the text or stat blocks as to what they do and how to use them.


James Jacobs wrote:

We'll have some subsystems for the upcoming "Skull & Shackles" game (mostly for naval conflicts)... but after that, I suspect we'll stop doing that. The subsystems take an EXCEPTIONALLY long amount of time to get right and to integrate. The popularity of Kingmaker and its subsystems is mostly to blame for us going on to include similar subsystem elements.

Starting with Shattered Star, though... subsystem light the APs shall be.

(Prepares for backlash from those who LIKE subsystems...)

Hooray! We have a 600 page rule book already, just stick to those rules for a while, they're pretty good as is. ;)

FWIW, one of the above posters mentioned "possession mechanics" from JR. I don't know exactly what they are or how they work but from my experience no player likes to have his PC controlled by the GM for any reason (possession, insanity, confusion, lycanthropy, so on). The less this happens the better. I have noticed some form of PC possession in many AP adventures and I skip it every time. I don't want my players just sitting there while I "possess" their character and I don't want to do it as GM, I've got enough to do already.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
(Prepares for backlash from those who LIKE subsystems...)

I must admit I love the subsystems. I plan to incorporate the romance system into my upcoming Kingmaker game. Modular subsystem that I can drop into other adventures are part of why I stay subscribed even when I don't plan on running an AP for a long, long while.

(I've been subscribed since Second Darkness, and have yet to run an AP. I tried to start a Legacy of Fire game, but it fell apart due to real life scheduling conflicts. Once my current 4 year campaign ends I'm going to run Kingmaker after a break.)


Jason Nelson wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Biobeast wrote:

2 faults I see with the AP’s in general.

1-The no-play testing makes many of them not a readymade pick up and play product that most other RPG products are. People who frequent these boards are used to making adjustments to the product and reviewing other people’s comments and changes. If you saw it in your game store picked it up and tried to run it without knowing about all the adjustments needed it would be very hard on anyone but the most experienced gamers.

2-Starting with Carrion Crown players need more then the core rulebooks to play; which would be very expensive to people who are not already Pathfinder fans. In other words the long term sustainability of picking up players will be a serious challenge if this continues.

All the rules are up free of charge on the PRD and at d20pfsrd.

Yep.

In the final episode of S&S I'm writing, things are included from the PFRPG rulebooks line beyond the Core Rulebook and I don't think that should be a problem for anyone, given the free availability of those rules. There are very few things in there that are from other books (e.g., Inner Sea World Guide), and all of those are fully explained in the text or stat blocks as to what they do and how to use them.

You are making an assumptoin that people know what website to go to, I didn't see that in CC where there were a bunch of craetures from Bestiary #2 or stat blocks with withches and Magus, a lot of stuff was in the stat block but not the basics like the Magus spell combat or the Withes hexes. I'm not talking experienced Pathfinder players I'm talking brand new players. In my game group we rotate DM's. Myself and another DM are internet seach savy and found all this stuff no problem. 2 others were not, got very frustrated with varoius things they were trying to prepare until I pointed them to the needed links. And we have all the books but still 2 of 4 almost could not function as DM's due to not being very internet savy.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Biobeast wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Biobeast wrote:

2 faults I see with the AP’s in general.

1-The no-play testing makes many of them not a readymade pick up and play product that most other RPG products are. People who frequent these boards are used to making adjustments to the product and reviewing other people’s comments and changes. If you saw it in your game store picked it up and tried to run it without knowing about all the adjustments needed it would be very hard on anyone but the most experienced gamers.

2-Starting with Carrion Crown players need more then the core rulebooks to play; which would be very expensive to people who are not already Pathfinder fans. In other words the long term sustainability of picking up players will be a serious challenge if this continues.

All the rules are up free of charge on the PRD and at d20pfsrd.

Yep.

In the final episode of S&S I'm writing, things are included from the PFRPG rulebooks line beyond the Core Rulebook and I don't think that should be a problem for anyone, given the free availability of those rules. There are very few things in there that are from other books (e.g., Inner Sea World Guide), and all of those are fully explained in the text or stat blocks as to what they do and how to use them.

You are making an assumptoin that people know what website to go to, I didn't see that in CC where there were a bunch of craetures from Bestiary #2 or stat blocks with withches and Magus, a lot of stuff was in the stat block but not the basics like the Magus spell combat or the Withes hexes. I'm not talking experienced Pathfinder players I'm talking brand new players. In my game group we rotate DM's. Myself and another DM are internet seach savy and found all this stuff no problem. 2 others were not, got very frustrated with varoius things they were trying to prepare until I pointed them to the needed links. And we have all the books but still 2 of 4 almost could not function as DM's due to not being very...

Interesting. I thought there was a note right on the title page or the editor's foreword/intro of every AP pointing people to paizo.com and the PRD for further information. I'm at work at the moment so I can't check, but I thought I had seen it there.

If it's not, that would definitely be something worth adding to the title page/intro, to make sure that presumed free availability is more of a reality.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I *like* subsystems!

The Kingdom building rules needed a little tweaking, but weren't that bad. I liked the camp mechanics from Serpent's Skull, and I used the Trust mechanics so PCs could earn the respect of the centaurs in Varnhold Vanishing.

I don't always use sub-systems and often tweak or change them, but when I do use them my players love them!

So please don't completely abandon subsystems. Make use of smaller ones that represent stuff that the core game doesn't really cover. Naval battles are a good example. Others include Research, defense building and even growing up from childhood. I'm sure there's lots more out there, not every system needs to span an AP, and expanded: Kingdom/Caravan/Camp in the background sidebars can allay the fears of those who don't use such systems.


Quote "Interesting. I thought there was a note right on the title page or the editor's foreword/intro of every AP pointing people to paizo.com and the PRD for further information. I'm at work at the moment so I can't check, but I thought I had seen it there.

If it's not, that would definitely be something worth adding to the title page/intro, to make sure that presumed free availability is more of a reality."

I've seen it but when you go to the Paizo page you have to do some digging to find forums and I don't think there is anything that mentions free rules are avalialble.

I think its a mindset with my group they just don't even think of needing to go onto the internet for help, they are so 20th century.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

I like subsystems, but would not be averse to them being in a more permanent form. For example, The Warlord's Guide to Building a Kingdom would be an ideal place for the stuff in Kingmaker (and perhaps even the Trust mechanic; gotta start somewhere).

But that way they're in a rulebook rather than one of the 50+ adventure path volumes.


I really like subsytems if they work, they give the players something else to think about. Maybe only playtested subsytems, put them in a rulebook somewhere, and then down the road integrate them into a AP.


I'm with Gorbacz on this.

Small-scale subsystems are great, such as the Relationships mechanics from Jade Regent. I'd love to see them retro-fitted to other APs where potential relationships were suggested, but the mechanics left to the GM.

Larger-scale subsystems don't need to be as frequent, and I'd like to see them re-used (or at least be compatible) when they work well. Kingmaker worked well with the exploration rules, for example, and similar rules (or extensions of the Kingmaker rules) could have worked well for the "exploration" phase of Serpent's Skull. The focus shifted more to "Expedition Management", I realize, but I think the rules could have been more similar.

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder

cibet44 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

We'll have some subsystems for the upcoming "Skull & Shackles" game (mostly for naval conflicts)... but after that, I suspect we'll stop doing that. The subsystems take an EXCEPTIONALLY long amount of time to get right and to integrate. The popularity of Kingmaker and its subsystems is mostly to blame for us going on to include similar subsystem elements.

Starting with Shattered Star, though... subsystem light the APs shall be.

(Prepares for backlash from those who LIKE subsystems...)

Hooray! We have a 600 page rule book already, just stick to those rules for a while, they're pretty good as is. ;)

FWIW, one of the above posters mentioned "possession mechanics" from JR. I don't know exactly what they are or how they work but from my experience no player likes to have his PC controlled by the GM for any reason (possession, insanity, confusion, lycanthropy, so on). The less this happens the better. I have noticed some form of PC possession in many AP adventures and I skip it every time. I don't want my players just sitting there while I "possess" their character and I don't want to do it as GM, I've got enough to do already.

The specific "possession" rules in Pathfinder #52 are a unique new mechanic (I'm not sure I'd call them a subsystem) that does not take away control of a PC from a player. While I do think there is a place for GM control of a PC (such as if that PC is dominated by a foe), I'd prefer not to hard-code that into an adventure. It's something that's happened to several of my PCs recently (in different games, no less!) and I've had my fill of it.

In any case, in Jade Regent, the possession is more like an extra "passenger" in the PC's mind, rather than taking control of the PC away from the player.

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder

Biobeast wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Biobeast wrote:

2 faults I see with the AP’s in general.

1-The no-play testing makes many of them not a readymade pick up and play product that most other RPG products are. People who frequent these boards are used to making adjustments to the product and reviewing other people’s comments and changes. If you saw it in your game store picked it up and tried to run it without knowing about all the adjustments needed it would be very hard on anyone but the most experienced gamers.

2-Starting with Carrion Crown players need more then the core rulebooks to play; which would be very expensive to people who are not already Pathfinder fans. In other words the long term sustainability of picking up players will be a serious challenge if this continues.

All the rules are up free of charge on the PRD and at d20pfsrd.

Yep.

In the final episode of S&S I'm writing, things are included from the PFRPG rulebooks line beyond the Core Rulebook and I don't think that should be a problem for anyone, given the free availability of those rules. There are very few things in there that are from other books (e.g., Inner Sea World Guide), and all of those are fully explained in the text or stat blocks as to what they do and how to use them.

You are making an assumptoin that people know what website to go to, I didn't see that in CC where there were a bunch of craetures from Bestiary #2 or stat blocks with withches and Magus, a lot of stuff was in the stat block but not the basics like the Magus spell combat or the Withes hexes. I'm not talking experienced Pathfinder players I'm talking brand new players. In my game group we rotate DM's. Myself and another DM are internet seach savy and found all this stuff no problem. 2 others were not, got very frustrated with varoius things they were trying to prepare until I pointed them to the needed links. And we have all the books but still 2 of 4 almost could not function as DM's due to not being very...

All of the volumes in the Carrion Crown Adventure Path include text on the credits page detailing which Pathfinder RPG books are used in the adventure, and where the rules can be found online (in the PRD).

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jason Nelson wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Biobeast wrote:

2 faults I see with the AP’s in general.

1-The no-play testing makes many of them not a readymade pick up and play product that most other RPG products are. People who frequent these boards are used to making adjustments to the product and reviewing other people’s comments and changes. If you saw it in your game store picked it up and tried to run it without knowing about all the adjustments needed it would be very hard on anyone but the most experienced gamers.

2-Starting with Carrion Crown players need more then the core rulebooks to play; which would be very expensive to people who are not already Pathfinder fans. In other words the long term sustainability of picking up players will be a serious challenge if this continues.

All the rules are up free of charge on the PRD and at d20pfsrd.

Yep.

In the final episode of S&S I'm writing, things are included from the PFRPG rulebooks line beyond the Core Rulebook and I don't think that should be a problem for anyone, given the free availability of those rules. There are very few things in there that are from other books (e.g., Inner Sea World Guide), and all of those are fully explained in the text or stat blocks as to what they do and how to use them.

I admit to being one of the people that was initally weary of the change in rulebooks requiremnt although I have changed my view on the thing mostly. I say mostly because I feel that they went a bit overboard with adding extra books for the last part of Carrion crown especially the last boss of the book who uses things from various chapters of 3 diffrent books (5 if you include the stuff from the final volume of Carrion crown and decide to throw in the extra critters it suggests to)

Grand Lodge

In our Carrion Crown game the DM is running his first ever game -- he's only been playing for (I think) 3 years and it's his first time in the big chair.

I mention that because as a Palyer in CC I haven't seen the subsystem at all. We have completed volume 1.

I don't know if he used the town trust "whatever" subsystem and didn't tell us (very cool -- like what G Bonehead was saying) but all was good in our first few sessions.

However it worked out, DM-keeping-track or not, the town loves us. I and another experienced Player played all the right diplomatic angles, went out of our way, even. Perhaps the DM was tracking it and our party just scored off the charts so he didn't have to keep track.

(There was a super fun moment, though: our Urban Ranger with a negative Diplomacy modifier heard the kids singing the nursery rhyme. He approached to get the lyrics and, with his -2 Diplomacy, rolled a nat 1 on the d20, for a -1 Diplomacy total -- talking to little girls. So apparently we have a pedophile PC; at least, that's what the town kids (and their parents) think of our Urban Ranger.


W E Ray wrote:
However it worked out, DM-keeping-track or not, the town loves us. I and another experienced Player played all the right diplomatic angles, went out of our way, even. Perhaps the DM was tracking it and our party just scored off the charts so he didn't have to keep track.

He didn't track it, or altered the system himself.

Spoiler:
You can only get 3 trust points, max, for being diplomatic. One of those is from the kids your Ranger scared off. There are, total, only 12 points available to be earned (including 4 from a super obscure, unlikely interaction), and you lose points every day and whenever anyone in Ravengro dies (as well as potentially huge losses if you actually do anything bad). If you are very quick and super successful, you will be lucky to hit the "Liked" level. "Trusted" is only an option if the GM throws everything at you on day 1 and you maximally succeed at it, and "Admired" is completely impossible.

If a group is slow or messes up one of the big scoring events, they slip to "Disliked" and possibly "Loathed" very fast. While being attacked by an angry mob is unlikely except for the slowest or must destructive of parties, I've seen lots of people complain how their deteriorating treatment by the townsfolk (as dictated by the system) makes them consider just leaving them to their fate.

Anyway, I am also sad to see subsystem go completely. They can be interesting, even when they don't work. But, they are already eating up too many resources, it is probably for the best.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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I think that if the various sub-systems were updated, mechanically fixed, expanded, and playtested, that they'd make a great start to a hardcover rule book. Then when they're fine tuned to work well, they could be much more easily used in future APs, without having to invent them in an already rushed development timeline.


Kevin Mack wrote:
I say mostly because I feel that they went a bit overboard with adding extra books for the last part of Carrion crown especially the last boss of the book who uses things from various chapters of 3 diffrent books (5 if you include the stuff from the final volume of Carrion crown and decide to throw in the extra critters it suggests to)

Yes. +1 to this.

Not to mention ignoring the "Agent of the Grave" PrC that was already printed in part 3.


JoelF847 wrote:
I think that if the various sub-systems were updated, mechanically fixed, expanded, and playtested, that they'd make a great start to a hardcover rule book. Then when they're fine tuned to work well, they could be much more easily used in future APs, without having to invent them in an already rushed development timeline.

Pretty much this. The subsystems aren't a bad idea inherently, but (As the issues with CC1 and all of JR prove) they can't just be tossed in there and assumed to work. By having occasional 'subsystem' books in the Rules line you can (potentially) leverage the two together to get more done in the same production time.


James Jacobs wrote:
We'll have some subsystems for the upcoming "Skull & Shackles" game (mostly for naval conflicts)... but after that, I suspect we'll stop doing that. The subsystems take an EXCEPTIONALLY long amount of time to get right and to integrate. The popularity of Kingmaker and its subsystems is mostly to blame for us going on to include similar subsystem elements.

I feel that the big problem with the kingdom building system from Kingmaker was that it was too easy to break the economy part of the system and get "infinite" income (or more income than you could possibly use). If you incorporate an economy system in Skull & Shackles I hope that's something you will address.


My gripe is with overly lengthy write ups of npc's. I admit I am way behind so things may have changed but I have recently run CoCT History of Ashes and there are some write ups of NPC's who will meet the PC's and try and kill them in the final encounter. The write up takes up several pages. The NPC's lasted a few rounds.

It isnt the stat block that takes space it is the bit about the NPc's secret motivation (that the PC's will never know).

I love memorable NPC's who will encounter the PC's several times or in a non combat encounter but if they are the leader of a Red Mantis death squad just give me the stats and two sentences please.

Shadow Lodge

See, I rather like having the "secret motivations"...because what happens when the players actually to discover what makes the NPC they're fighting tic? As a player too it's a treat when a GM has a ready answer to questions like "why" and "wherefor", and can work with payers on developing an NPC into something more than a single encounter should they survive, or should the players take them alive. Plus they make the AP decent reading material as well as a game-preparation aid. The NPCs are one of the best things about the APs, and should they get less attention overall the APs as a whole will suffer.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I will say that Carrion Crown has turned out to be an excellent AP, with just the right mix of roleplaying and monster fighting. The roleplaying heavy aspect of it came in just the right amount to keep my players interested in the more hack'n slashy parts afterwards. I hope future AP's emulate this more like Jade Regent did, which was supposed to be roleplaying heavy, but turned out not to be even nearly as much so than Carrion Crown.

If there is any big criticism to the Carrion Crown approach, more memorable recurring NPC's should be added, so that the different modules don't feel so much like unrelated isolated adventures. And maybe the roleplaying heavy parts shouldn't be so neatly segregated from the dungeon delves.

And if I am already criticising the AP's, I'll repeat my mantra of the last weeks: We need more recurring memorable NPC's, who are shared between AP's, so that Golarion doesn't feel so static. I am very much looking forward to seeing Ramoska Arkminos again, but he is one of a very small number of "well remembered" Pathfinder characters. There should be more of those.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The problem with "shared NPCs" approach is that it generates people who feel pigeon-holed into buying another AP so that they know the NPCs entire story. I've had folks moan about Jade Regent "forcing" them to buy the OOP Burnt Offerings for a full writeup on Sandpoint and Kaijitsu family.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
The problem with "shared NPCs" approach is that it generates people who feel pigeon-holed into buying another AP so that they know the NPCs entire story. I've had folks moan about Jade Regent "forcing" them to buy the OOP Burnt Offerings for a full writeup on Sandpoint and Kaijitsu family.

My sympathy for people who moan excessively about having to buy Pathfinder products is near nil.

Silver Crusade

Great, this is just the thread I was looking for! As a long time D&Der, I picked up Pathfinder to start a new group of grognards on the new hotness with the Carrion Crown AP. Being all busy adults, we want to maximize play time and awesomeness. To that end, the following feedback has come to mind:

Sub-systems: Glad to hear they will be light! Not that they are bad, but I would prefer time/space spent on other things that would make it easier to get right into gaming with less DM prep time, such as:

Increased NPC Bio Info: It's really quite light in the first two books of the path, and there aren't even stat blocks for characters like the town sherriff, chief judge, leaving the DM to invent something on the fly when a PC tries to bluff or some such.

Accurate Maps: Both modules so far have had strange mapping errors. I spent the longest time looking for the 'x's mentioned on the town hall map in CC1, and it was only after completely battle-mapping the courthouse in CC2 that my characters asked "How the heck are they getting the Large Beast through these 5' stairs?"

Fiction Pieces: Honestly, I wish that the pages were taken up with additional background for the module. Case in point, CC2: Trial of the Beast has the PCs enter an awesome city ruled by a bickering, academically inclined council with a college that has it's own dueling society and a mysterious standing circle outside the town walls. If the PCs try to interact with any of the most obviously interesting features of the town, it's up to the DM to either write it all up ahead of time or invent it on the fly.

Bestiaries: Fantastic resources! Love them.

Articles: Again, fantastic resources with great in-game use. If CC2 had an article on Lepidstadt comparable in quality to the one on the church of Pharasma, I'd be a happy boy.

Sorry to be so long-winded!

*edit* Agree with Magnuskn - please some more backstory, motivation, and possibilities for NPCs. While the Gamemastery guide is great for expanding on the sketches in the AP, it doesn't really help at the table.


<------- jumps on the little to no subsystem bandwagon.

While "running in the background" usually works, there are entire volumes of APs which would require a significant overhaul on the part of the GM. For instance KM #5 and JR #3.
There's Alot of hexes in KM5 that are mass combat hexes, I'd probably have to insert a mini dungeon in another hex to make up the xp difference. Same with caravaning in JR3 that huge journey is almost all using the caravan rules.

Kingmaker is still my favorite along with Runelords, but if I ever ran it book 5 would take Alot of work in my part.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Sunderstone wrote:

<------- jumps on the little to no subsystem bandwagon.

While "running in the background" usually works, there are entire volumes of APs which would require a significant overhaul on the part of the GM. For instance KM #5 and JR #3.
There's Alot of hexes in KM5 that are mass combat hexes, I'd probably have to insert a mini dungeon in another hex to make up the xp difference. Same with caravaning in JR3 that huge journey is almost all using the caravan rules.

Kingmaker is still my favorite along with Runelords, but if I ever ran it book 5 would take Alot of work in my part.

Ironic that I wrote both of those. Maybe I should've included more crazy subsystem stuff in End of Eternity or the as-yet-unnamed future project so I could go for the trifecta (or both for the superfecta!). :)


Lol!
You are still one of my Dave's here at Paizo, Jason!
River Kings is still awesome for me, Whiterose Abbey, The Tourney and Irovetti's place ate still memorable. The abbey is one of my favorite locales in this AP. A legendary weapon and a Ghost, classic RPG goodness. Another mini dungeon should fix the XP issue along with a fitting plot hook.

I like the JR path but the Caravaning is a much bigger part of it. More work.


Quote:
I've had folks moan about Jade Regent "forcing" them to buy the OOP Burnt Offerings for a full writeup on Sandpoint and Kaijitsu family.

There is always the option of buying PDFs.


Dave's = faves .
Damn iPhone autocorrect.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Sunderstone wrote:

Dave's = faves .

Damn iPhone autocorrect.

In the immortal words of Cheech & Chong: "Dave's not here, man!" :)


Nathonicus wrote:


Increased NPC Bio Info: It's really quite light in the first two books of the path, and there aren't even stat blocks for characters like the town sherriff, chief judge, leaving the DM to invent something on the fly when a PC tries to bluff or some such.

Accurate Maps: Both modules so far have had strange mapping errors. I spent the longest time looking for the 'x's mentioned on the town hall map in CC1, and it was only after completely battle-mapping the courthouse in CC2 that my characters asked "How the heck are they getting the Large Beast through these 5' stairs?"

Fiction Pieces: Honestly, I wish that the pages were taken up with additional background for the module. Case in point, CC2: Trial of the Beast has the PCs enter an awesome city ruled by a bickering, academically inclined council with a college that has it's own dueling society and a mysterious standing circle outside the town walls. If the PCs try to interact with any of the most obviously interesting features of the town, it's up to the DM to either write it all up ahead of time or invent it on the fly.

Bestiaries: Fantastic resources! Love them.

Articles: Again, fantastic resources with great in-game use. If CC2 had an article on Lepidstadt comparable in quality to the one on the church of Pharasma, I'd be a happy boy.

I'm in the same situation, making my first real Pathfinder experiences with Carrion Crown, and I have to agree. Especially about the fiction. It's not about its quality, but the overall usefulness.

I'd like to add that I found the placement of the bestiaries and articles odd. The one on Pharasma would have been better in the first module, where it's much more likely the characters will have considerable interaction with her priests. Likewise, the Alchemical Ooze Swarms bestiary pages would have made more sense to me in the second module. On the whole though, I would prefer fewer bestiary pages. It's okay if the monsters appear in the module, but if I don't want to create my own side-trek focusing on the Spring-Heeled Jack, these pages are pretty much wasted. If I'm running an AP chances are my time and resources are limited enough I won't run side-treks, but if I do, I can use something from the bestiary books.

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