Keeping PCs from getting themselves keel-hauled... Spoilers


Skull & Shackles

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DON'T READ IF YOU WANT TO PLAY THIS AP WITHOUT PRECONCEPTIONS...

I have just finished a quick pass through the first installment of this adventure path and I just want to give major credit to everyone involved for a great integration of some of the less savory aspects of piracy with a fantasy world without going beyond at PG-13 rating... all the while capturing what life as a pirate might be like.

Spoiler:
In particular, being press-ganged, starting off less than nothing (a swab), and the treachery, harshness, greed and violence of daily life. I also enjoyed the descriptions of pirate "entertainment"... the result of a game of "heave" going wrong, i.e. the Drunken Ghost Ship, made my day.

But I have a meta-game issue I would like to hear other GMs thoughts on if they are planning on running this AP. It is pointed out, several times, that the harshness, cruelty, and degradation the PCs will be handed will make them want to attack right away instead of following the basic plot along until they are given a more advantageous moment to act. Premature moves on the players' part could result in keel-hauling and/or death.

How can we, as GMs, keep the players from getting themselves killed? Many times players have a hard time recognizing "un-winnable" situations or even simple withdraws from combats when it is tactically correct to do so... even what the GM considers obvious warnings often go un-noticed by players. Presented with the situation in the AP, PCs will (understandably so) be wanting to get back into a position of free-will and control as soon as possible.

Spoiler:
Even the graphic example presented to them on day two- the keel-hauling of an NPC pirate, may not be enough to deter them.

Thoughts?

WJ


Whiskey Jack wrote:

DON'T READ IF YOU WANT TO PLAY THIS AP WITHOUT PRECONCEPTIONS...

I have just finished a quick pass through the first installment of this adventure path and I just want to give major credit to everyone involved for a great integration of some of the less savory aspects of piracy with a fantasy world without going beyond at PG-13 rating... all the while capturing what life as a pirate might be like.

** spoiler omitted **

But I have a meta-game issue I would like to hear other GMs thoughts on if they are planning on running this AP. It is pointed out, several times, that the harshness, cruelty, and degradation the PCs will be handed will make them want to attack right away instead of following the basic plot along until they are given a more advantageous moment to act. Premature moves on the players' part could result in keel-hauling and/or death.

How can we, as GMs, keep the players from getting themselves killed? Many times players have a hard time recognizing "un-winnable" situations or even simple withdraws from combats when it is tactically correct to do so... even what the GM considers obvious warnings often go un-noticed by players. Presented with the situation in the AP, PCs will (understandably so) be wanting to get back into a position of free-will and control as soon as possible.

** spoiler omitted **

Thoughts?

WJ

Why not just throw the pirate guards at the hard-headed pc's, but just do non-lethal damage to them or make them miss out on a couple of meals as a pc. Just something simple can show pc's that this is a no win deal.


I had similar feelings on the game after looking it through, and I could honestly see a TPK on day one if I were to play the module as intended. Either that or team aqua boy punches a big hole in the bottom of the ship and then laugh at the pirates as they sink, preferably from beneath the waves.
Anyway, sometimes a little metagaming doesn't hurt. Letting the player's know ahead of time that a way out of this will be coming up in the adventure could help. Plus, it isn't a spoiler to tell the players they are going to get press-ganged into a pirate crew, because that fact is revealed to them in the player handout. You could add it is common knowledge that those who are press ganged into a pirate crew have to work up from the lowest rank, regardless of background.


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Jabborwacky wrote:

I had similar feelings on the game after looking it through, and I could honestly see a TPK on day one if I were to play the module as intended. Either that or team aqua boy punches a big hole in the bottom of the ship and then laugh at the pirates as they sink, preferably from beneath the waves.

Anyway, sometimes a little metagaming doesn't hurt. Letting the player's know ahead of time that a way out of this will be coming up in the adventure could help. Plus, it isn't a spoiler to tell the players they are going to get press-ganged into a pirate crew, because that fact is revealed to them in the player handout. You could add it is common knowledge that those who are press ganged into a pirate crew have to work up from the lowest rank, regardless of background.

Just adding to my last post, I'm not saying that I think every party is going to wipe itself out from playing S&S, but I do think that additional information needs to be given to the players before beginning the adventure. The players will act based on their presumptions of what their characters are capable of doing in a given situation. If they start out knowing the following 3 things, most games should start out just fine.

1) That they are being press-ganged into a pirate crew as part of the beginning of the campaign.
2) That it is "common knowledge" in-game that people who are press ganged into pirate crews must work their way up from the bottom rungs and won't be immediately trusted.
3) Pirates are not bumbling buffoons. The people they send out to press gang others into their crew know how to judge a target's capabilities, and they wouldn't have captured the PCs if they were not close to 100% confident that they could defeat them in a fight. More accurately, the pirates are absolutely certain that it would take a massive stroke of luck for the PCs to have any hope of defeating the crew aboard the ship.

With those three things, the players will know that the immediate objective is to survive and learn what they can about the ship and its crew before deciding on any further course of action.

Sovereign Court

I would make the captain well-known to the players as an absolute bad-ass, then drop something in 'by mistake' about him being ten levels higher than them.
I would also consider letting them see a fellow pirate being toasted by a trap.


#3 is definitely important, especially considering the captain.

Spoiler:
I love that the PCs get to meet the ultimate BBEG in the first few minutes of the game.

One piece of metagame knowledge that can easily be pointed out to the players without disrupting the plot is the module's title. It's "The Wormwood Mutiny" not "Immediately Kill the Pirate Captain and Get Yourself a Ship" - that should drop a big hint that they need to bide their time.

Contributor

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Ahaaaaaaar!

Spoiler

:

This was a very interesting adventure to write from a number points, not least of which introducing such high level future enemies in such close quarters to the PCs.

It certainly will be a challenge for some groups to get their heads around this proximity and one thing I've tried to stress is the nature of just how tough the bad guys are on board the vessel. You're the expert at pitching this to your players, what Wormwood does is give you a number of options for you to build upon.

The obvious way here is the NPCs, and there are some immediate potental allies to warn the PCs, but again if this isn't enough you can go with big fights between the tougher NPCs; and wounds that would down the toughest PC in a single go etc.

One thing I was very very mindful of is that the PCs are vulnerable to start with, and the GM needs to play this carefully, their relationship with Plugg is a tricky one - if he hates them it would be easy for him to have them keelhauled, which is why initially he falls into the background as the main villain behind Scourge. The possibilities of bullying the PCs must be carefully avoided too, give them victories along the way

The other issue I thought long about was controlling the PCs action's somehow - it could be too easy for one player to take over a session, which is why I've brought in the actions - to try to make sure that everyone gets a fair crack of the whip (or cat).

Absolutely, the day to day life will work for some, and less so for others, if you like more action pitch in a few more fights or side quests along the way, or skip some of the checks as has already been suggested - the important thing is for the PCs to realise what being a pirate is like for their future careers and most important have fun.

I'm really looking forward also to how GMs will approach this adventure and share their ideas - the suggestion here are not only great for fellow GMs but for freelancers looking at approaches in the future.

Hoorah and ahaar!
Rich


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

One possible idea is to keelhaul a PC, preferably the brash one, and have them die.

Then look at the players and say that they are not in a good position right now, that they may want to bide their time a bit.

And then look at the player with the dead PC, and let them know that the individual who just died is now a nameless NPC, that their character is still amongst the newly pressganged crew.


I'm not a nice GM so if they don't work it out that they need to not be mouthy and keep their heads down at first I have no issue killing them.


When I eventually run this I plan on having a set down heart to heart with the group, and let them know some of the particulars (traps that can kill them outright, NPCs who are significantly higher), letting them know that they need to play smart and careful for their characters to survive. If that sounds like something they want to play, then they need to know that they get the one warning, and that's it. Characters can die, things can look unfair, if that doesn't sound good for everyone then we can find something else to run.

Similar to the heart to heart I had with people when I started Carion Crown...I'll let you play what you want, but if you agree to this campaign, and you play a chaotic evil child molesting tengu, I'm not going to listen to any whining when that bird gets plucked.


Thanks everyone for the feedback on this topic. And special thanks to Mr. Pett for the insight. I have several ideas now about how to handle it and feel a bit better.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

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I got myself keelhauled in Rob's S&S game. With orc ferocity, I was fine! I still claim that guy died when he fell, though, and not cause I killed him outright at the top of the mast...

Contributor

Whiskey Jack wrote:
Thanks everyone for the feedback on this topic. And special thanks to Mr. Pett for the insight. I have several ideas now about how to handle it and feel a bit better.

You're very welcome Whiskey Jack, keep us posted on how it goes.

Rich

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

I'm more worried about "Risky Games in the Bilges" on Day 19.

It's statted up as a CR 2 encounter, but with the inherent advantages the NPCs have in the situation, I would eyeball it as much higher. It also seems like it's a case of a "failed initiative = dead PC".

When I run this, I might have to make the Perception/Sense Motive checks an auto-success, so as to communicate the same RP message, while not actually removing a PC from play right before the cool seige.

Oh, and I'm loving this book so far

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

I should probably clarify that I knew I could very well die if I were keelhauled. Rob just rolled low on damage and I barely eked by. I think the honest approach suggested of letting the players know there are dire consequences for certain actions is the best, as that's what Rob did and it seems to have worked for the other players. I'm just stubborn and foolhardy.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
Fraust wrote:
..., but if you agree to this campaign, and you play a chaotic evil child molesting tengu, I'm not going to listen to any whining when that bird gets plucked.

I think we could start a whole thread on reasonable ground rules, I figure the heart to heart I would have would go something like this:

No sociopaths, no children.

You want to be a CE pirate who rapes and pillages with callous disregard for others, that is one thing, but I'm not going to run a fantasy simulator for cruelty.

As I write that I feel like I'm down playing the morality of rape as being less bad. Which in itself gives me the willies, but I think S&S sits on a daggers edge of peoples comfort zone. Being pirates sounds fun and all, but there is a lot of historical negatives in there as well.

Actually this is all very reminiscent of all the disclaimers on the ITLAPD website.


Personally, I think that if one of the PC's decides to be stupid then he or she deserves to be keelhauled, with the attending consequences. Better one should die than the whole party.

However, I echo Erik's concern about "Risky Games in the Bilges." When I first read that encounter I cringed inside. Two NPCs against a single, unarmed PC? And the PC is at best level 2, and possibly still level 1? How do you decide who goes down there? The wrong class down there and you have a dead PC who feels like they were set up to die. I don't see a whole lot of TPKs here in book 1 outside Riptide Cove, but I sure do see a lot of PC deaths.


Maybe make the encounter with just one NPC or be prepared to fluff a lot of rolls!

Dark Archive

I pride myself in being able to make villains that everyone REALLY hates. So, anytime one of the PCs cuts up or gets mouthy with someone they shouldn't, a little humiliation can go a long way. I remember our bard was running a message up to the a pirate in the crow's nest. The PC gave him the cloth with the message on it and guy unrolled it, looked at it, looked down at the PC, laughed, then spat in his face and said "message delivered". A bunch of pirates laughed on his way down, including some of the PCs.

Lantern Lodge

I'm going to do the pirate crew sent to delay earlier than written. I 'want' one of my pcs to kill one of those guys.

Grand Lodge

The thief of the group wanted to steal from the store, I placed an harpoon trap on the door, the harpoon passed trough his chest like it was butter, I let him live with 1hp, luckily nobody but the group gunslinger (that was crafting bullets) hear him, he ran up to him, stabilized the bleeding and they had to make a lot of stealth ceck to come back to sleep, it was quite fun to stage and I'm sure that's the rouge will avoid all the locks on the boat 'till the next level up.

Liberty's Edge

David Hopper wrote:
I'm going to do the pirate crew sent to delay earlier than written. I 'want' one of my pcs to kill one of those guys.

Isn't that written as happening on Day 2?!

Tim


i think the rum rations are a little harsh too. maybe the fatigued penalty on it's own is fine, but the 1d3 con damage per drink is a little excessive.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
i think the rum rations are a little harsh too. maybe the fatigued penalty on it's own is fine, but the 1d3 con damage per drink is a little excessive.

Don't forget you heal 1 point of ability damage (per level I think) per night

So you may take a damage but it is gone the next morning.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I was discussing this very issue with a GM friend of mine, with a particular pair of players in mind. We were both convinced that at least one of them would attempt to attack the captain of the ship on sight, despite in-game and metagame warnings.

My friend suggested that one way would be to run the combat for a couple of rounds, until the PC is dead (or wishes that he's dead), and then pull a trick out of the movies: cut back to the PC before he takes his move; the fight scene we just played only occurred in the PCs imagination!


Galnörag wrote:
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
i think the rum rations are a little harsh too. maybe the fatigued penalty on it's own is fine, but the 1d3 con damage per drink is a little excessive.

Don't forget you heal 1 point of ability damage (per level I think) per night

So you may take a damage but it is gone the next morning.

No. You heal 1 pt per night. Not per level. (Not to mention you're 1st level for a good chunk of it, so it wouldn't make any difference.)

Average of 2pts/drink, you'll accumulate 1 pt of Con damage a day. You'll have to avoid drinking it most of the time to survive for 20 days.

Which is fine, I guess, and seems to be the intent. If you Take 10 anyone should be able to pass the DC 10 check, maybe with someone's Aid if they dumped Dex.

How are people handling this for the NPCs? Just ignoring it? Assuming they're also dumping the rum most of the time? Tracking their death by Con loss?

Sczarni

I'm thinking that for the rum ration, I'll go with a 50% chance of 1d3 Con damage. Statistically, that should eliminate the likelihood of death long-term, while still making it seem dangerous to the PCs.


thejeff wrote:
Galnörag wrote:
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
i think the rum rations are a little harsh too. maybe the fatigued penalty on it's own is fine, but the 1d3 con damage per drink is a little excessive.

Don't forget you heal 1 point of ability damage (per level I think) per night

So you may take a damage but it is gone the next morning.

No. You heal 1 pt per night. Not per level. (Not to mention you're 1st level for a good chunk of it, so it wouldn't make any difference.)

Average of 2pts/drink, you'll accumulate 1 pt of Con damage a day. You'll have to avoid drinking it most of the time to survive for 20 days.

Which is fine, I guess, and seems to be the intent. If you Take 10 anyone should be able to pass the DC 10 check, maybe with someone's Aid if they dumped Dex.

How are people handling this for the NPCs? Just ignoring it? Assuming they're also dumping the rum most of the time? Tracking their death by Con loss?

I'm tracking lots of different things in the background for the NPCs (even success/failure of their daily tasks to organically have more 'bloody hours' to get a few NPCs whipped) but I am not going to be tracking the grog consumption for most of them (the NPCs).

I'm might track grog-consumption for the other 'new' 4 NPCs... maybe have one of them be very sick from it and the PCs have the help them as a side task (gaining affection and maybe further disdain from Scourge). Otherwise, I think that I am going to be presuming that any of the long term pirates have developed a special immunity to the negative effects.

For other punishments: I fully expect 2 of my 6-7 PCs (yes, large game) will die due to punishment. I've been straight forward with my players that people WILL die early and often. For any group-combat encounters I'm strengthening the monsters by maxing hp of everything and maybe adding an extra fodder or two depending on the fight.

EDIT - Oh, I forgot to mention, also, I disallow Take10/20 unless a rule specifically allows it. (this is doubly true for the first few weeks on the pirate ship - failure means punishment so successive attempts doesn't help)


I have very similar concerns as many do here. This being my first PF Adventure path, I'm going to ease my gaming group into it. They tend not to take well to captivity and their characters can be a bit loudmouthed when they should otherwise play it cool.
I think the opening days and suggested punishments that are written are very well done, indeed. This being the case, I'm looking for any tricks or techniques possible to ensure that my players take advantage of all the roleplaying and exploration opportunities aboard the Wormwood.
If any of you GMS find something that keep the players focused on the exploration of the ship, I'd be much obliged!


I plan on not letting the players discuss their characters before the game starts. That way they'll be less confident as they won't have a party to back them up right from the start.


Troubled_child wrote:
I plan on not letting the players discuss their characters before the game starts. That way they'll be less confident as they won't have a party to back them up right from the start.

This would be a fun module to play online anonymously. All posts in character including all the pirate NPCs. At least at first the players would have no idea who was another PC and who an NPC.


Now that...is an interesting notion.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Since I don't want to start a new thread about this, I'm going to post this here:

There is a scene at the beginning of part two which greatly concerns me in regards to how truly good PC's are going to be able to handle it, without having to fight the entire pirate crew.

Spoiler:
It's after the Man's Promise has been captured and the captain of the Wormwood throws one of the female Rahadoumi soldiers to her watery death. It is made implicit ( "many" Rahadoumi soldiers rush to join the Wormwood crew ) that at least a few more of the helpless Rahadoumi women are going to be thrown overboard to drown.

How exactly is a Paladin or someone with firm morals to stand by at this? I don't see it going well to mutiny at that point.

I am quite at a loss how a good-aligned party is going to get past that point, without invalidating a whole lot of the plot which comes afterwards.


One possibility if it comes to blows:

Spoiler:
The captain is needing enough experienced hands to man both ships. Killing the Rahadoumi serves the purpose of cowing the others into submission but killing the PCs doesn't. He could incapacitate them either via non-lethal combat, or having Peppery use a spell on them; or both.

They then wake up, or regain mobility, after being transferred to the prize.

One upshot is that it would serve to further make Harrigan hated by them.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

This is perhaps why the Player's Guide said not to play a Paladin.

But, it's your game. If the bad guy killing innocents is too much for your group to handle, cut it out.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:
There is a scene at the beginning of part two which greatly concerns me in regards to how truly good PC's are going to be able to handle it, without having to fight the entire pirate crew.

The whole AP is predicated upon PCs that want to be pirates and embrace a life of piracy. The AP isn't intended for the PCs to be saving the world... they want to be pirates!

From Page 3 of the Skull & Shackles Player's Guide:

Quote:
In the Skull & Shackles Adventure Path, the PCs take on the role of pirates, but they must make a name for themselves in piracy, plunder, and disrepute to truly become infamous Free Captains of the Shackles. The most important thing to keep in mind when creating your character is that piracy plays a significant role in this Adventure Path—your character should want to become a pirate, or at least not be opposed to the idea... In fact, the only class that is probably not a good fit for the Skull & Shackles Adventure Path is the paladin, whose alignment restriction and code of conduct are in direct opposition to the themes of piracy and plunder in this campaign.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Alas, when I read threads like "Hey, do four Paladins fit?" where James Jacobs says "Sure!", then I assume that the authors will also write the modules in a way which will not force the PC's into fights they absolutely cannot win or be stripped of their alignment and powers ( different from forcing them into fights which they cannot win but which do not impact their Paladin status, just in case anyone wants to bring that up ).

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

The point James was making is around the sort of Paladins that people play. At his table, Paladins are extremely pragmatic types. Apparently, at your table, they are more of an idealistic bent. Your flavor of Paladins would not work in S&S. His would.

Food for thought: do you force all Paladin characters to immeadiately join the Mendev crusade and sacrifice themselves upon the hordes of the Worldwound, as soon as they hit level 1? If not, they why do they also have to attack Harrigan when he pushes the blasphemous* sailors into the water?

*you know what the Rahadoumi stand for, right?

Sczarni

Or maybe if you're good and just have to do something, there's a way to save her without attacking Harrigan.

The boats will be basically staying in one place while they divide up the two crews, right? So they're not going to sail off without her.

A little stealth, dive over the edge with a rope, or cast a spell...then sneak her back on board, maybe disguised. I doubt the headcount will be precise enough for them to notice.

Or maybe it's time to make some diplomacy checks to convince another officer that she's valuable -- or bluff:

"Captain! Don't you know who that is?? It's Princess Abrama of Azir! I'd know her anywhere -- my father was her father's coachman. You just threw 20,000 gold in ransom money overboard!!"


You're playing characters who want to be pirates. That's part of the concept, part of the contract for the game.
Pirates attack merchant ships, kill people and take their stuff. That's what they do. Despite all the glamor about them, they're robbers and murderers.
If you're not on board with that, perhaps you should play a different AP.

If you're particularly offended by that scene, consider the battle you just participated in: You just attacked a peaceful ship and helped kill the guards on board who were just defending themselves. How is that different from the standard D&D scenario of protecting the village from bandits? Just from the other side.
If a paladin took part in that fight, he fell right then and there. If he stood aside without at least trying to find a way to stop the pirates, he should get a stern warning from his god.

I'll be interested in seeing how the next module is set up, when you're on your own and not being forced to attack. Will there be non-piratey options, set-ups where the attacks are justified, or will the game fall apart if you're not willing be pirates?


magnuskn wrote:

Alas, when I read threads like "Hey, do four Paladins fit?" where James Jacobs says "Sure!", then I assume that the authors will also write the modules in a way which will not force the PC's into fights they absolutely cannot win or be stripped of their alignment and powers ( different from forcing them into fights which they cannot win but which do not impact their Paladin status, just in case anyone wants to bring that up ).

Did he say that of this AP? Cause the Player's Guide is pretty clear.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Erik Freund wrote:

The point James was making is around the sort of Paladins that people play. At his table, Paladins are extremely pragmatic types. Apparently, at your table, they are more of an idealistic bent. Your flavor of Paladins would not work in S&S. His would.

Food for thought: do you force all Paladin characters to immeadiately join the Mendev crusade and sacrifice themselves upon the hordes of the Worldwound, as soon as they hit level 1? If not, they why do they also have to attack Harrigan when he pushes the blasphemous* sailors into the water?

Really? Is that how it's going to be? This kind of insulting people through the rose should be beneath you.

Erik Freund wrote:
*you know what the Rahadoumi stand for, right?

Not really, but their alignment is not evil, so I think they will have pretty okay reasons. Still, they are helpless prisoners, so I don't think "what they stand for" applies here, anyway.

thejeff wrote:
Did he say that of this AP? Cause the Player's Guide is pretty clear.

The thread in question.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

magnuskn wrote:
Really? Is that how it's going to be? This kind of insulting people through the rose should be beneath you.

I consider myself called out and rebuked.

I was trying to make an argument reducto ad absurdum, but it ended up as a reducto ad ridiculum, which is unfair.

Please accept my apologies, Magnuskn, you do deserve better from me.

and, just curious, what does "through the rose" mean? I cannot manage to Google the phrase

To the topic: Rahadoumi are defined by the way they deny and defy the gods (to the point of hunting down and killing Clerics). They instead believe in the Rule of Man. Likely this is where the name "Man's Promise" comes from. Rahadoumi would kill a Paladin, just for being able to cast divine magic, even if he did not follow a particular diety (see the backstory of the iconic Oracle for an example of this). Thus, I doubt there would be much sympathy to seeing some of them die.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Erik Freund wrote:

I consider myself called out and rebuked.

I was trying to make an argument reducto ad absurdum, but it ended up as a reducto ad ridiculum, which is unfair.

Please accept my apologies, Magnuskn, you do deserve better from me.

Apology accepted. I figured you wouldn't resort to petty insults on purpose.

Erik Freund wrote:
and, just curious, what does "through the rose" mean? I cannot manage to Google the phrase

Well, it was an aliteral translation of a German turn of phrase, which would be better translated into "through the flower", which means that you are insulting someone while couching your words as something which, on the surface, is not an insult. Like insulting through backhanded compliments or by making the legitimate point of your conversation partner seem absurd and ridiculous.

Erik Freund wrote:
To the topic: Rahadoumi are defined by the way they deny and defy the gods (to the point of hunting down and killing Clerics). They instead believe in the Rule of Man. Likely this is where the name "Man's Promise" comes from. Rahadoumi would kill a Paladin, just for being able to cast divine magic, even if he did not follow a particular diety (see the backstory of the iconic Oracle for an example of this). Thus, I doubt there would be much sympathy to seeing some of them die.

A Paladin is an extreme example of someone who would be adversely affected by seeing helpless people being butchered. There are lots of players who would play "good" to mean that they couldn't idly stand by either, without the necessity of being Paladins.


magnuskn wrote:

thejeff wrote:
Did he say that of this AP? Cause the Player's Guide is pretty clear.
The thread in question.
James Jacob wrote:
Honestly... a party of all paladins will probably have a MUCH easier time of it than a party consisting of only one or a couple of paladins.

That's hardly the same as "Sure! Four paladins will fit."

Once they're on their own, a full party of paladins would probably have less trouble than a single one, since there'll be no party conflict. The first module will be hard, since they're under a more traditional pirate command and will get killed if they go too far.
As I said, I wouldn't make a paladin fall if he didn't interfere in the
killing of the prisoners, though his god will be displeased. He's under duress and any overt action will not save the victims and just get him killed as well.
Participating in the attack on the Man's Promise would be sufficient, without some very creative rationalization.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Can we not make all about Paladins? That was just the "extreme of good" example I was using.

Sczarni

Yeah, let's put aside the whole "paladin" thing. It's really a question about any good characters.

I think you're bringing up a really valid point, magnuskn. Participating in the attack on the Man's Promise seems pretty evil in its own right.

As a GM, I think maybe a good way to adapt this sort of thing for good-aligned characters is to make sure that whoever's getting attacked seems like they deserve it. Play it as "gray and gray morality," as they say.

So in this particular instance, maybe have the Rahadoumi crew do something bad to Sandara because she's a cleric. Maybe they could boast about all the clerics they've drowned. Suddenly, the players might not see them as quite so sympathetic. Or maybe they've got some kind of evil cargo aboard. Or if you really need to make them bad guys, just transform them into pirates themselves.

When the party is out on the sea picking their own targets, make sure there are plenty of thieves, slave traders, drug smugglers, worshippers of evil gods, and other evil-type targets for them to hit.

If they do end up attacking an innocent merchant vessel, give them some kind of option to resolve things nonviolently. In real life, pirates would prefer to capture ships without a fight, since it meant all the reward with none of the risks. There's a solid practical advantage to cultivating a reputation as merciful to folks who surrender.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Those are some pretty good ideas. Modifying the encounter always is an option, but I would have loved some alternate way to do things from the developers, like in Ashes at Dawn over in Carrion Crown.


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magnuskn wrote:
Those are some pretty good ideas. Modifying the encounter always is an option, but I would have loved some alternate way to do things from the developers, like in Ashes at Dawn over in Carrion Crown.

It seems to me that taking Good aligned PC's into this campaign is kinda asking for trouble. There are sooo many campaigns where it's impractical to allow evil character why not just suggest to the players that this campaign is better suited to N or E alignments.

When I told my player's that the campaign I was going to run was "Piratey" none of them thought "Ooow, I'll play a Paladin then", they all went with N or E.

Why should the developers solve your own created problem? Choose a different AP.


I consider the underlying alignment problem in a new party to be more about Lawfulness than Goodness in the alignment axis. A good character can bide their time, working toward the greater good. The inherent lawlessness of this campaign itself, though, will most likely shift any character to neutral or chaotic as they progress through encounters and levels. I would want my characters to understand that going into it. Sure, the society of the Shackles has a "code," but beneath the surface of all that is raiding and plunder, which is, in essence, chaotic.
This being the case, I can see a Ranger maintaining a Good alignment, but any character trying to hold a Lawful alignment will be facing a steep challenge.

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