Share your Campaign's Ameiko Kaijitsu Stories / Complaints

Jade Regent

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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This thread was created to be a more constructive alternative to some of the "Ameiko = Mary Sue" threads. One of which I started!

As a player and/or GM what was your experience with the four "core`NPCs (Ameiko Kaijitsu, Koya Mvashti, Sandru Vhiski, and Shalelu Andosana)?

[disclaimer] I have not yet run (or played in) this AP, but I am soon going to start it.[/disclaimer]

Liberty's Edge

You might want to check out this thread. One of my other favorite threads is here, which talks a lot about what people have done to change their version of the Jade Regent, including the presentation of some of the NPC's.

She's been fine in our game, though our GM hasn't put a whole lot of work into portraying any of the big 4 as having much personality.

My character is actually her little brother, Yoshihiro Kaijitsu, shipped off to cavalier school in Cheliax by my beloved smells-like-rice-wine-and-yells-at-me-a-lot father.

The party sorcerer is cultivating enmity with her and calls her "fat" every time he can.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

NPC Roll Call!

Ameiko gets along well with everyone. She's a little overwhelmed by the whole "heir to the empire" thing: her motivation is much more to save the people of Minkai from oni oppression than to rule them. She is constantly looking for ways to learn more about her people and trains with the NPCs so she'll be strong enough to defend them. In my game, to prevent "damsel in distress syndrome", it was Sandru who fell into a coma at Brinewall (to keep the caravan from leaving), and Ameiko ended up going on the away missions to Brinewall Keep more often than not. Despite her higher level, she didn't outshine the PCs--with her bardic music and healing abilities, she was typically making sure that the party was as awesome as possible. The sorcerer has a crush on her which she does not reciprocate, especially because he's kind of a creep about it. The newest PC is a samsaran oracle whose past lives were all servitors of the Amatatsu family, and he's a bit overwhelming for Ameiko to deal with. In my game, I've added "loyalty missions" to The Hungry Storm to give the PCs something to do between plot points: Ameiko's is to visit a silver dragon.

Koya is Team Mom, especially to the druid in the party, who has learned the secrets of the Harrow from her and helps her with item creation. Since the party's lacked a dedicated healer for much of the game, Koya has been the most frequent member of away teams, helping the party conquer Ravenscraeg. She occasionally serves as moral compass of the party, especially when it comes to dealing with captured prisoners. Koya's loyalty mission is to see the Nameless Spires at the North Pole.

Sandru is viewed as a bit of a goof by the majority of the party, and both the cavalier maintains a rivalry with him over martial prowess (at which the cavalier is decidedly superior) and trading ability (they are about even, but Ameiko's shown them both up a time or two). The sorcerer makes fun of him often as well, but their emnity is easily overcome with a flask of fine liquor. The party's had a grand old time pouring money into the caravan to make it as awesome as possible, and Sandru greatly appreciates it, despite the grumbling. Sandru's loyalty mission is to trade with some group of polar peoples who have never been traded with before.

Shalelu was something of an enigma for the longest time: quiet, competent, terse. The party interacted with her some, but failed to get her to open up until they were leaving the Land of the Linnorm Kings. Her primary priority is security and scouting, making her somewhat distant when the caravan is on the road. In my game, the events of Second Darkness are canon(ish), so her role as member of the elven military is intact. The party found her much more relateable after learning about her reluctant military leadership, which prompted discussions about the proper path for the elven people, etc. Her closest friend in the party is the cavalier, and they've lately been having rather odd conversations about transmutation magic and personal identity. Her loyalty mission is to open relations between the Snowcaster elves and the elves of Kyonin.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

First off I am a player in a JR campaign and we are most of the way through the 3rd book so I have some experience with the NPC's of this adventure. Our gaming style is a fairly even mix of role-playing and tactical combat. As far as I know our DM threw out the caravan and the relationship rule systems, the caravan rules because they are clunky and not fun, and the relationships because they are better solved via roleplaying. I vaguely remember something about boons for relationships and various mechanical benefits but those have also been thrown out. Finally (and I belive this is very important) we all created characters that for whatever reason had strong personal attachments to the various NPC's.

So far the way I view this campaign is the caravan feels like a mobile town that follows us around. The NPC's are townsfolk and the caravan is our home town. We talk to them, ask their advice, rescue them, complete requests, and build relationships with them. In our group Ameiko plays a role that might be fulfilled by the baroness of a local keep in another game. While she is in charge, we make the actual decisions in the field and because we are the ones who have the most hands on experience with the problems we are facing often times she goes with our strategic decisions as well. Our DM does a good job in making sure the NPC's never overshadow the PC's but also making them strong personalities in their own right. My guess is that he isn't running them exactly as written in the book but instead running them so that their personalities compliment the individual PC's a little better.

I am enjoying this campaign so far, it feels like an epic quest with the odds stacked against us. The caravan and its NPC's are the glue that holds this whole story together, and without them it is just a group of PC's making some really poor choices. I am pretty sure it is a strict railroad, and yet because we all created PC's who wanted to ride this train, it doesn't seem that forced.

Lastly I try to avoid JR threads as I don't really want spoilers so I probably won't read this one however with the plethora of recent posts about the JR NPC's and with most of them seeming to be very negative I just wanted to bring a different perspective. The AP is good, the NPC's in the AP are well done, but like any major figures in an adventure they have to be treated very carefully.

Our play by post has only just finished the Fires Over Brinestump (and altered it quite a bit in many respects) and what has been neat is that two of the PC's have chosen to have Ameiko as a love interest - one is a gnome bard named Jethrik and the other is a Minkai immigrant who is a paladin named Toshio. Here are some of the interactions so far from our campaign narrative/journal:

In the first one the paladin Toshio is a member of the Sandpoint watch who likes to find excuses to stop over at the Rusty Dragon and visit with Ameiko, so this excerpt is the introduction of Toshio and Ameiko to the story:

Once more Toshio Izawa finds an excuse to linger at the Rusty Dragon even though he is on duty as a member of Sandpoint’s watch. Toshio makes a habit of stopping by the Rusty Dragon on his rounds to see who has come into town, since most stop there first – at least that’s what he tells himself and anyone who asks.

Seeing that it’s just locals, he asks Ameiko, “Any travelers earlier today, or any new rumors to share?” It’s a weak excuse to start a conversation with her, but why not? I won’t spend undue time here, he tells himself. He’s told himself this enough times that this time he almost believes it.

Ameiko pauses in her never-ending task of drying mugs and polishing the bartop to give Toshio a smile. Toshio never tires of her smile. It would be too much to say they had grown up together, but both Ameiko and Toshio were grandchildren of the founding fathers of Sandpoint. In fact, both the Kaijitsus and Izawas had come from the distant land of Minkai, somewhere on the other side of Golarion to make new lives for themselves in Varisia. Consequently, Toshio was one of the few friends her father allowed her to have while growing up, though even that was curtailed when they reached adolescence for the sake of propriety. In Ameiko’s case, she is the sole remaining Kaijitsu in town, as her parents and older sibling met unfortunate ends over the past several years. Unlike Toshio, Ameiko never seemed interested in being a noble or for carrying on the family traditions of her ancestral homeland. Instead, she has always had an urge to explore, and loves hearing stories of adventures and daring deeds. She even ran away to Magnimar at the age of 13 for a few months but returned after her mother fell to her death from a cliff near her house. She ran off again at 16, but then returned a year later. Whatever happened she chose not to talk about it with anyone, though she did get a snake tattoo on her left arm and shoulder. She then bought the Rusty Dragon and has run it for the last five years or so. The last few years were particularly hard on her, as both her father and her half-brother Tsuto died during a series of violent goblin attacks on Sandpoint.

“No new travelers yet, though Sandru’s caravan is due anytime now.” Ameiko nods to the windows looking out onto the gloomy overcast day now turning into night.

Ah yes. Sandru is a nice guy. Toshio almost wishes he wasn’t. There’s something between Ameiko and him, after all. If he wasn’t nice, it’d be easier to see him as a simple rival for her attention. As it is, Toshio isn’t quite sure what to make of it.

“I hope Sandru gets in soon, too.” Toshio says. “He can take care of himself, though. And his caravan.”

Ameiko says, “They must’ve been delayed on the road, but I hope they get into town soon. I don’t need to tell you why.” Her gaze shifts over to the help wanted board on which is a newly posted “goblin bounty.”

In our campaign, there is a confrontation on the road in which Sandru's caravan is attacked and the outcome is that all the main PC's and also NPC's meet on the Lost Coast Road and not in the Rusty Dragon (except Shalelu whom I am holding in reserve for part 2 of the Brinewall Legacy). In the initial meeting I (the GM) make it clear that there is something between Ameiko and Sandru in order to point out that they have history and to make Toshio the paladin and Jethrik the gnome bard jealous. As it turns out, Jethrik is also able to make Toshio jealous:

Sandru finally gets the horses calmed down and free of the broken harness and all together they walk back to the road and head up to Sandpoint. Not too long after starting down the road, they hear the sound of many horses galloping towards them and see three or four torches among them. It appears to be Sheriff Hemlock and the Sandpoint militia, followed in the distance by Koya’s wagon. At the sheriff’s side is a young 3rd generation Tian-Min man who is a member of the watch. He is distinguished by his odd armor – a strangely ornate and segmented helmet, a kind of brigandine armor with hexagonal plates that give it a kind of tortoiseshell design, and two slightly curved swords, one long and one short. A shortbow is slung at his back as well. The sheriff seems to be letting this young man take charge of the posse. Koya, Zeyala, and the two Varisian teamsters are in Koya’s wagon. (Koya and her protege Zeyala, the blind life oracle who is one of the PCs, had been part of Sandru's caravan when it was attacked but had escaped the goblin ambush to make it to Sandpoint and bring back help)

Jethrik greets the guards from the town, “Hello, gentlemen! We are ever so glad to see you. The immediate horror has been dispelled thanks to our gargantuan rescuer,” he nods towards Keng. “Please don’t mistake him for an enemy and shoot him with arrows, that has happened all too often in the past.” (This is Jethrik being ironical for Keng the half-orc barbarian - another PC - had rescued Sandru and Jethrik from the goblin ambush but at first they thought he was another attacher and Jethrik had hit him with an arrow)

This is a relief for Toshio to hear. He had been sizing up the unknown half-orc, just in case.

“We’re glad to see you are all safe if not unscathed,” says Sheriff Hemlock. Someone had better to see to you and your horses.”

A horse gallops up the road and comes to a sudden halt beside them. Its rider, Ameiko, leaps off and flings herself into Sandru’s arms. “Oh Sandru!” She hugs him tightly and then backs off to look him in the eye. “I feared the worst.”

Sandru grins back at her and says, “So did we.”

Toshio asks, “Ameiko, how far back is Koya? I don’t think anyone here has healing skills, and they need some help.”

“Don’t worry. Koya’s wagon isn’t far behind. See, there it is coming around the bend right now.”

To the rest of the posse, Toshio, says, “Watch the surroundings, this is no time for idle talk! We’re not out of this yet.”

To Sandru, Toshio says, “Koya is coming with the wagon. If you can travel, it would be best if we rejoined her.”

Once Koya’s wagon arrives and comes to a stop, Zeyala and Koya clamber down and make their way towards the wounded.

As they approach, Toshio says to Koya, “So far, so good, neh? Sandru and Jethrik live, and they’ve found a half-orc to help them. All are hurt. If you and Zayela will heal them and their mounts, we can head back to town and hear their stories in safety.”

Zeyala says, “Koya, I can hear their voices, but I’ll need you to guide me to them. How does Sandru look? And what of Jethrik?”

“Thank you for your concern, Zeyala” Jethrik bows. “The enemy had only the power to scratch. Those we love cut us to the bone.”

What a strange thing to say… aloud anyway, muses Toshio. Though true enough in some ways, I suppose.

“Jethrik! Sweet Jethrik!” Ameiko bends down to embrace the gnome and give him a light kiss on the cheek. “I was no less worried for you.” Jethrik stands on his tiptoes and gratefully turns his cheek to receive the kiss.

Lucky little gnome! thinks Toshio. Smiling at himself as much as at Ameiko’s relief, he composes a haiku in his head.

Gnome and arrow meet

Ameiko’s kisses given

Makes all right for him

There’s a reason you’re not a poet, Toshio. You won’t win over a bard with haiku like that. Now get your mind back on your work! he chastises himself.

Since I shared those, I'll share this one too - the introduction of the PC Jharad, an elf magus, who comes upon them all on the road after having had some rather odd adventures on his own:

Walking into the torchlight appears what is very obviously an elf. It is the ears they notice first, long and pointed though shorter than most elves, peeking out through long stringy white hair. Large almond shaped eyes colored vibrant purple with pupils so large the whites surrounding them are scarcely visible. Tall and lean, yet well muscled, with a smile on his face he walks towards them nonchalantly with the grace of ages though he looks to be no older than 17. The symbol of Calistria (a circular emblem with three concentric wasp stingers) is clearly visible on his left shoulder. In his left hand he carries a goblin dogslicer and a book shaped item wrapped in a soiled cloth in the crook of his arm, and with his right he is dragging a scared and reluctant but well dressed goblin. Besides these items and the goblin, the elf is completely barefoot and naked from head to toe as he quietly walks up to the gathering. (This is actually Slorb from We Be Goblins and the fact that Slorb was kidnapped by a PC at the beginning of the adventure created quite a difference in the opening adventure of our Jade Regent campaign)

Ameiko sees him first and takes notice, tilting her head slightly and raising her brows. “So it’s not true about elves being like twigs,” she murmurs.

“Grotesquely tall though…” Jethrik mumbles.

“Well, that’s certainly not something you see every day!” says Toshio with a chuckle at Ameiko’s comment. “I mean… I didn’t mean… I… Oh, skip it! An elf and a goblin on a walk together - that’s what I was talking about. That’s all!” Toshio is grateful it’s dark so they can’t see how much he must be blushing.

Koya walks hesitantly towards the elf to see him better and then gasps. Her face turns beet red and she turns away. “Jharad! It’s good to see you again; though I must confess, I didn’t ever hope to see quite so much of you.”

Jharad chuckles, “I am sorry my sister, I forget about human modesty. I have been too long away from your company.” With the power of prestidigitation still active, he wills into existence a crude cloak and wraps it about him. “It is very good to see you again as well,” he continues and kisses her on the forehead. (Jharad's link is with Koya as he grew up a kind of adopted older brother)

“Who is it?” asks Zeyala. “Who do you see?”

“It’s Jharad, the one I told you about. The one who I consider to be my older brother but who left many years ago. Long before we met.”

And that's how the PC's and most of the major NPC's have met and been introduced in our Jade Regent campaign.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, I'll need some help with them. Koya I think I got nailed down, more or less and Ameiko should be okay, too. For some reason I cannot get much of a grasp on Sandru and Shalelu completely eludes me... I got problems portraying her stoicness in an interesting way.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sandru- a mix of Alistair from Dragon Age with a hint of Han Solo "Keep calm and I don't know... Drive casual." I think it's completely appropriate to give Sandru a fuzzy companion (I recommend a Vanara who only speaks Vudrani). The Vanara Sadrap chitters in his native language. "I don't know," replies Sandru, "You're the one who said the 12 inch axles would fit!" ... "What do you mean you eyeballed it!?"

Shalelu is trickier, but having her speak mostly in Riddles or Paradox might help. Her whole schtick seems to be getting people to recognize their own ability.
Ameiko: "Can you take out those goblins on the ridge?"
Shalelu: "All things are possible." *nocks arrows and fires*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Love that idea for Sandru. Shalelu... I don't know if I'd be up for speaking in riddles all the time. ^^

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ameiko: brash, sympathetic, insecure young lass with a great burden to bear. She needs that strong arm to help her out, I'm waiting if any of PCs will try to fill that role?

Sandru: Well, considering the amount of Roma people I meet every day where I live, there was no other choice for him than a stereotypical charming car thief crossed with Borat. Naughty naughty!

Shalelu: "Why oh why is she so hot and so cold at the same time?".

Koya: Became a PC, we'll see where that goes.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Heh, in your group, too? One guy was dead set against being forced into having any kind of friendly relationship for his PC with important NPC's, but was fine playing one which was already integrated in the group. ^^

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Something like that. I've had a late extra player, and with with no time for chargen and no idea how to integrate her, we just figured out Koya is our best bet.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

I have it easy. I started off intending to run Rise of the Runelords. One of the PCs became taken with Ameiko and I decided to move over to Jade Regent so the relationship between the two would have more time to develop. So getting folks to like and want to help Ameiko is easy for my group. It's the rest of the NPCs that I'm having a bit of trouble with, mostly because there is only so much in-game time they can have while still keeping the action going.

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Speaking as an outsider (I'll likely never run Jade Reagent, despite all the drooling I've done over the Kasgard module) I've never liked the way the campaign traits leash the PCs to Ameiko and the gang. Siblings and childhood crushes swing to mind... I'll be careful where I step here, but they just don't match up with my tastes. I'd much rather play a drunken braggart who's accompanying Ameiko on a bet to prove he's all he claims than her boyhood sweetheart. That is to say, I'd rather build up the relationship at the table than write it off beforehand.

While Jade Regent is untouched, I've run Runelords, so I'll speak a bit about the npcs. Also Dudemeister I really dig your interpretation of Shalelu.

Ameiko: Was probably the major Sandpoint NPC next to the sherrif that got a good deal of screentime, and even then, she didn't do much. I made her a VERY rough-and-tumble kind of girl. I carried myself decidedly un-ladylike when I was voicing her, putting some real elbow grease into cleaning the bar or hands on her hips as she chastises a drunk patron or sasses anyone. The sticking point for me was that she's breaking away from her noble upbringing as much as she can, both through her crazy hair and tattoos, the way she speaks, working at a bar and especially in the way she carries herself. She's not afraid to throw her unarmed strikes about (and I statted her up with the strength to back that up). It seems to me that people running this path are quick to see her as the empress-to-be, rather on focusing on where she comes from (and why that makes her the most unlikely empress imaginable).

Shalelu: Unfortunately I didn't get to run her. One of my PCs ran with a rival monster hunter he wanted to have as a big part of the AP so I ceded her role to "Sabel" instead, and had a lot of fun with it. However, the only PC willing to interact much with the NPCs already came with his love interest pre-packaged, so while there was fun had with Shayliss, I didn't get to give Sandpoint the screentime it deserved.

HOWEVER, I'd characterise her as someone that avoids crowds, preferring to keep to herself and stay away from civilization. She's very focused on her job (whether that be protecting Sandpoint or protecting Ameiko) and is most often found stringing her bow, testing the pull, checking her quiver and preparing for her next fight.

She's by no means adverse to good company, once you manage to befriend her. Rather, that takes her back to happier days, as a young elf in Crying Leaf, surrounded by songs, wine and laughter (and her deceased mother). She'll seem a whole new person, but eventually fall into a strange melancholy as the evening wears on, the nostalgia wearing on her spirits. Hopefully these help SOMEBODY. I'll be sticking around to watch this thread. My Runelords notes must constantly be fed until I get my paws on the anniversary edition.

Liberty's Edge

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In our game Kolya got killed, and Ameiko is slightly upset with us for killing most of a town...

I think most game designers have inserted their own personal characters into their works. Shensen in SCAP and Ameiko in Pathfinder are a bit more obvious as examples but I would probably do the same were I writing an adventure.

In fact in our homebrew world, we each have 1/8th of the world to develop and we all have ourselves in that world as a 20th level character (and mover/shaker of our 1/8th). So it's certainly not unusual for me =p

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Honestly, if I hadn't been told that Ameiko is a former PC I never would have suspected it.

The town, they had it coming.

The town, they were rushing right at us!

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I love the idea of treating Sandru similar to Han Solo. Sauve and almost overconfident. While I legitimately considered throwing in a monkey-thing as a new NPC to interact with him, I honestly feel that would take too much away from having opportunities for the players to interact with him. As well as the issue of having people trying to translate the Vanara because they either learn Vudran or they take the language with a point in linguistics, or even people who question things by asking how on earth the NPC understands common when Sandru speaks it, but can't speak it itself. I would just have to explain away more then is necessary when at the end of the day, it is essentially just a quirky lil gimmick I add.

I am lucky, and also in the same light kind of 'challenged'. One of my players is playing a sister to Ameiko, as an older brother myself in real life this gives me PERFECT ammo for creating and initializing roleplay opportunities. I can really ham up Ameiko being the typical bothersome overly worried sibling to the PC, even refusing to allow the PC to leave her sight when the sister will express an interest to go with the others to kill the goblins. My plans are to try my best to poke the player into sneaking out. Then getting some expected scoldings and hugs of being worried.

Maybe it is just me but Ameiko having lost her father and older brother and if she finds out her younger sister wants to go adventuring, would most likely drop that rough and tumble girl personality and let out her caring side in this case. especially when Ameiko herself lost a dear friend during her last trip as an adventurer.

The challenge for me is perfectly balancing the two facets of this personality, the caring side for her younger sister and the rough and tumble owner of a tavern. How do I get them to flow into each other just right without seeming like two wholly different people, where it becomes more like she is wearing crappy masks rather then them both being who she is.

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I try to stick to a couple or three specific character traits with each NPC, so I don't get overwhelmed trying to keep their personalities straight. Emphasize those. Then, fill in the blanks as I go.

Koya seems to be the most popular NPC for players to interact with. She knows the most about magic, and my players seem to have a constant stream of questions for her, since none of the PCs are primary casters. I play her as a motherly type with a slightly naughty sense of humor - she is a constant flirt, even though everyone is half her age (or less). She also loves to haggle, and her eyes light up when someone is looking to spend money.

My party also has a younger sibling of Ameiko. Her little sister, Kimi, thinks her sister is an overbearing tyrant whose sole purpose in life is to make Kimi miserable, and so I play on that frequently. There is also some good-natured sibling teasing going on, although Ameiko is very protective of her sister (she doesn't want to lose another person close to her). So far, her interactions with her sister have dominated her personality, but her concerns over being the heir to a throne and being responsible for the party are starting to come to the fore. Her love of stories is also a big thing.

I love the ideas with Sandru that I am reading above. So far, Ameiko's younger sister is really the only person pursuing interactions with him (she is hopelessly in love), so his personality is coming out slowly. Mostly he has faded to the background as the lead driver and purveyor. I need to work him to the front a bit more, and picturing him as Han Solo might help me out.

Shalelu has been the challenge. She is quiet and watchful, and even though one of the PCs was raised and trained by her, no one has reached out yet. One of the PCs has a crush, but he is playing it as super shy around her. The PC who is her trainee is one of our more quiet players, and so Shalelu has been solely a background fixture. I'm still trying to get a great example personality for her in my mind that meshes with what I've done so far. Come on, brain! You can do it!

BTW - I am loving this campaign!

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
fallenvash wrote:

I love the idea of treating Sandru similar to Han Solo. Sauve and almost overconfident. While I legitimately considered throwing in a monkey-thing as a new NPC to interact with him, I honestly feel that would take too much away from having opportunities for the players to interact with him. As well as the issue of having people trying to translate the Vanara because they either learn Vudran or they take the language with a point in linguistics, or even people who question things by asking how on earth the NPC understands common when Sandru speaks it, but can't speak it itself. I would just have to explain away more then is necessary when at the end of the day, it is essentially just a quirky lil gimmick I add.

I am lucky, and also in the same light kind of 'challenged'. One of my players is playing a sister to Ameiko, as an older brother myself in real life this gives me PERFECT ammo for creating and initializing roleplay opportunities. I can really ham up Ameiko being the typical bothersome overly worried sibling to the PC, even refusing to allow the PC to leave her sight when the sister will express an interest to go with the others to kill the goblins. My plans are to try my best to poke the player into sneaking out. Then getting some expected scoldings and hugs of being worried.

Maybe it is just me but Ameiko having lost her father and older brother and if she finds out her younger sister wants to go adventuring, would most likely drop that rough and tumble girl personality and let out her caring side in this case. especially when Ameiko herself lost a dear friend during her last trip as an adventurer.

The challenge for me is perfectly balancing the two facets of this personality, the caring side for her younger sister and the rough and tumble owner of a tavern. How do I get them to flow into each other just right without seeming like two wholly different people, where it becomes more like she is wearing crappy masks rather then them both being who she is.

I actually have the same exact set-up, with a player having Ameikos younger sisters as a character. Only that I personally saw Ameikos wish to go herself on a big adventure as a good reason why she should actually encourage her younger sister to try out adventuring herself... after all Ameiko herself ran away from home to become an adventurer at 13.

I only DM Shalelu and Ameiko during Rise of the Runelord .
She was a forceful character but also a loner and a survivalist.
While the PCs had their adventure, she would go have an adventure of her own taking care the homebase was free for the adventurers to come back too . She would then report and go away again.
The only time she showed sentiments was with strong innuendo toward the male elf PC (He was in fact scared by this tactic. In the mind of the player , he was supposed to be a seductor not a seductee).
I would say she would only relax if she is sure the ones she is with are competent and do not need her help

Ameiko was more difficult to portray and too be frank none of my PCs was interested in her except the above elf which saw her as just another notch to be added to his quiver. Needless to say , he was not subtle about it and Ameiko just laughed and treated his attempts as a joke whenever he would try to seduce her. Especially since he was the one with Vinder ...

Liberty's Edge

I am running a character with a small bit of elf fetish. But I am playing savvy enough to be on the right path to romancing Shalelu and loving it (especially after GMing as her for the past 5+ years). My buddy is doing the same with Ameiko and our GM is doing a great job, they are fine NPCs keeping us grounded in the story.

I'm playing in the game right now and my character is Ameiko's younger (maybe) half-sister... Apparently Lonjiku wasn't above getting it on with hot Minkain women who came to town.

My character was shipped off to Turandorok Academy young and then brought back whenever Ameiko ran off, since I human and could be the next "heir" if she didn't return.

Due to this, my character and her sister have a hate on for each other, while desperately trying to protect them as the only family either of them have.

As my sister, she is arrogant, brash, occasionally quick-witted and seethes about my character growing wings (I'm a summoner). We bicker back and forth constantly, to the point where the party thought it was better to separate us two, except when actually on an adventure.

Koya is an unoffical Mom to the caravan, though my character considers her more Grandmother than mother (If anyone was a more mother figure to her, it was probably Ilsoari Gandethus of Turandurok Academy.

Shalelu got introduced to sex that she likes and has become a bit a nympomaniac, dragging off the gentleman of her attentions whenever she gets an urge (while still desperately in love with my sister, Ameiko).

Our Sandru is currently in a funk of the highest order. I was the one the prince of Urdu Agonie wanted to marry, and that night after he met his now married love, one of the other party members convinced him to take me to bed. He was so drunk, he didn't remember it, but Koya had the biggest explosion at my character the next morning (one of the other party members is her foster child and my childhood love) about how "the Kaijitsu women like destroying her sons" the next morning. Ameiko ran in to smack around Sandru (who hadn't even woken up yet) asking what he'd told Koya and everything sort of exploded.

The flashback from that incident is still being played out.

Mind you, I loved my character and the other PC's and NPC's so much, I literally wrote a novel about Kuzunoha and her life before the adventure started... It's about 55k so far (I'm still editing it and adding in missed scenes). I may start posting it on my website... eventually.

I also wrote a 10k write-up of the scenes with her childhood sweetheart and her having feels surrounding her sleeping with Sandru. As my GM is fond of saying, "If you build it, they will come..."

In my game all 4 NPCs succumbed to 'forgotten npc syndrome' pretty much immediately. They're there, but we haven't heard word one from Koya, Sandru, or Shalelu since we left sandpoint. We've interacted with Ameiko probably five times, and each time we got a wooden 'whatever you guys want to do will be best'.

Mainly the game has been a PC centric 'Road to Singapore, Morocco, Hongkong, Minkai', starring Umbabu the barbarian as Bob Hope, Varius the rogue and Bing Crosby, Gimble the bard as Dorothy Lamour, a string of identical sorcerer triplets (he keeps dying), and guest starring Nathroc the cleric (whenever his player shows up).

Also starring Beardaxe, the worst paladin ever.

Which I'm actually fine with. Ameiko isn't the star of the show, she's more of a plot point. Hell, I'm sure our GM didn't know this at the time but given the way our group is playing it probably would have been better to make one of the PCs secretly the Ameratsu heir and forget Ameiko entirely. I feel it's better to keep the players the star of the show and miss out on a little drama than feel like a GMPC is really the star, and we're all just sidekicks.

I've had problems with that in past games.

Shadow Lodge

The NPCs, and Ameiko especially, are proving integral to my game. One character had a childhood crush on Ameiko and made it her mission to bring joy to Ameiko's life. It worked, Ameiko proposed to her and they're getting married when the group hits the Forest of Spirits. The problem is, that union won't produce an heir.

The kitsune Ameiko is going to marry picked up a dragon statue in Kalsgard (the one that is hinted at in the Kalsgard guide as always working to return to Tian Xia). Except that the dragon statue contains the spirit of an ancient forest dragon, a herald of Tsukiyo tasked with guarding the Forest of Spirits, who was imprisoned in that form. He has been training the PC, in her dreams, to be Royal Consort. Once they get to the Forest, the dragon can return to his natural form, at which point he's going to perform the marriage ceremony, strip the kitsune of her status as an Amatatsu Scion, make her (and one other PC) Princess of the Forest (assuming that they can get the blessing of the kami), change the sex of the entire party, temporarily, and grant their mythic ascension. At that point, I expect the kitsune and Ameiko will get to work on producing an heir, and when Ameiko takes the throne, her Royal Consort will be the Princess of the Forest, which will join their two kingdoms.

As a bonus, there was a PC who was Ameiko's little sister, but the player had to stop, so the PC was summoned on a secret mission by a Norn. Ameiko's relationship with the sister went from one of over-protection to great respect, so she's sure her sister will come back. If the player doesn't, though, the sister never reappears, Ameiko hears rumors of her death, falls into a depression, and starts making Very Bad Choices.

Meanwhile, the witch has gotten engaged to Sandru, the first person who ever treated her with compassion. She has tempered his bluster quite a bit, and he has worked to make her just a little less evil.

In fact...:
They are getting married in the Uqtaal Necropolis. Koya is insisting, because she wants to stay there and reconsecrate it. As part of the wedding ritual, she is going to cast an Atonement, allowing the witch to become truly good. Atonement is above her level, so in return Desna is going to bind her to the Necropolis, which is also going to become the secret passage through which Sandru's burgeoning trade empire will run, until the pass through the Wall of Heaven can be cleared, which might take a couple of years.
I expect that at least some of the stuff in Hongal and Minkai will involve helping Sandru set up his trade empire, since most of the PCs want to return to Varisia with him.

Shalelu's lover and adopted sister are PCs.

Except that...:
I don't expect much to happen with the lover. He and Shalelu are perfect for each other: neither of them says much and both are socially awkward. Most of their flirting looked like this: "Shalelu, I wanted to... um... that is... I got you... Something is trying to kill us! Thank gods! To arms!" At this point, most of their interaction seems to consist of scouting ahead of the caravan and then returning to have sex, after which they both need healing.

Meanwhile, the sister is a were-bear. When they get to the Forest of Spirits, the huldra that has been quietly traveling with them, collecting stories and trying (unsuccessfully) to bed any of the PCs will reveal her true goals, and try to take the younger sister away to the First World. I think that Shalelu might have opinions about that. Character-wise, she's been the hardest for me to get a handle on. Mostly, she's the Queen of Doing Violence. She's done a lot of violence, to a lot of people.

So, for us, the NPCs have been a huge inspiration in terms of sub-plots and character development. I think it's safe to say that much of the character development in the game wouldn't have happened without the NPCs, since the PCs aren't really interacting very deeply. In my party, the NPCs are the only thing holding the whole show together; without them, the PCs wouldn't have anything to do with one another.

As someone who suffered 'forgotten npc syndrome' in my campaign, I'm curious as to how all these NPC sub-plots occur. Are they player led or GM led? Do you finish fighting a giant polar pudding and then say, "After the battle, Ameiko approaches you and says, 'I don't know how much more of this I can take?' and you improvise from there?

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Mostly, yes. I had to do a lot of "random comment by Ameiko/Shalelu/Sandru/Koya", since my players did very seldomly engage on their own with the NPC's. My second group is better about this, but I still do most of the legwork.

I was lucky about 'forgotten npc syndrome'. Okay, we had moments (like Tide of Honor) but four main npcs and Spivey were important to my players and they often asked their opinion about things (Ameiko and Sandru being the favorite two). Ameiko was love interest to ninja whose player is really good ROLEplayer and quick-witted so he took care of Ameiko and others being part of the story if I forgot. Sadly, Koya and Shalelu were bit overshadowed by Ameiko and Sandru but also by Ulf. We almost forgot Ulf when we hit Minkai, in book three he was very important to PCs.

One crowning moment of four npcs was when in book three the Hungry Storm is after them and they had to choose between search of Uqtaal Necropolis or trying to go around the mountains. Koya and Shalelu got to real argument about this and it was funny to see how PCs reacted when important npcs argued with nasty nicknames. Also Spivey was lot of fun to me and players, I played her as hyper-active outsider with bit child like view to real world. She especially teased party's samurai but at the end Spivey got chance to show how much she cares for every member of their caravan (multiple Shield Other spells active in the final fight).

All in all I think NPCs in my campaign worked pretty well because players and their characters did care about them. They didn't mind about Ameiko being the one in spotlight, it made campaign even more interesting for them as it is really different to support someone to become something than try to make yourself something.

Shadow Lodge

I'd say it's about 50/50. Some players need a huge push to interact with NPCs in a significant way (like Shalelu's lover). I don't push those too hard, because it's clearly not what they want. That's why that relationship is purely physical, because I also didn't want him to be left out of the RP scenes completely.

On the other hand, two players have made a huge effort to interact with their NPCs, hunting for presents for them, going out of their way to get them a share of the loot, putting themselves in danger unnecessarily on the NPCs' behalf. I reward that with a little more interaction. Both of those PCs are engaged, at this point.

Most of the NPC stuff happens in e-mail or on our Obsidian Portal forum, in part because I can't be bothered to slow the game down to do it in-game. Sometimes, though, I'll say, "the entire caravan stops today to celebrate the Ritual of Stardust. Everyone breaks out an instrument and takes turns playing and dancing, except Shalelu. How do you participate?" The Ritual of Stardust is great, because it's built around declarations of friendship and love, it happens every few months, and all the NPCs would participate (Ameiko's the only non-Desnan in the group, and if you can't get a follower of Shelyn in on a love-in, you're doing something wrong.) Come to think of it, that's the last big NPC thing I did, and the PCs have been driving the relationships ever since.

Ernest Mueller wrote:

She's been fine in our game, though our GM hasn't put a whole lot of work into portraying any of the big 4 as having much personality.

My character is actually her little brother, Yoshihiro Kaijitsu, shipped off to cavalier school in Cheliax by my beloved smells-like-rice-wine-and-yells-at-me-a-lot father.

The party sorcerer is cultivating enmity with her and calls her "fat" every time he can.

Cool, making your char arguably far more central than Ameiko? Or Ameiko the backup of destiny if he dies.

Which brings up a question I wanted to ask, has anyone added any more Kaijitsus? Were they quite a bit different to Ameiko in philosophy and outlook? Would love to hear more on this.

Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

I assign rightful heir role to one of PC and Ameiko is her kagemusha.

At first, rokuro's bloodline is kegemusha's familyline. and he support his master's bloodline carefully at distance.

My PC just finished book 1, and realise their fate(especially ameiko and main PC).

I expect it make very interesting role points.

1. Ameiko is still key NPC. PC should pretend Ameiko is princess, and protect her. It make the whole adventure's many background keep going.

2. I think protagonist should be PC! in many thread, it told repeatly so I skip it.

3. Ameiko's fate is not fixed. maybe I can make her revolt to PC, after she ascend Minkai's empress. Or in book 5 and 6 somewhere?

PC's relation will be make her fate too.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

At this point I have about 17 major NPCs in the Caravan, and about 11 redshirts (who I still need to inject with personality because I am actually a crazy person).

Here's roughly how the relationships are working out as of the end of Book 2:

Ameiko - The PCs love her, she's an adventurer at heart and when the PCs get overly cautious she's the one to call for simplifying the plan to: "Why don't we kick down the door, kick everyone's butts and steal the whatever it is we need to steal this week?" Of course that impetuousness might be a flaw when it comes time to rule a kingdom and she does cover fear with bravado. My player's favorite Ameiko moment is when Omoyani of the Frozen Shadows stole suishen from the party Samurai, and it was Ameiko who caught up with Omoyani and cut her down.
"Maybe we shouldn't lose the important artifact we came here to find?" As a bard she makes everyone in my mostly martial party better at what they do, and has some healing magic to keep them doing it.

Sandru - Where Ameiko is brash, Sandru is reasonable. When the player's plans get too outlandish Sandru brings them down to earth: "Is luring them HERE the best idea? These caravans are hardly fire-proof." When he's brought along he tends to encourage stealth, but if that's unavoidable he tends to buckle swash with the best of them and often acts as a flank buddy for the party ninja (DOUBLE SNEAK ATTACK!).

Koya - The party all think of Koya as an irascible Grandmother, and they worry about her safety (rarely bringing her on any dangerous missions). They respect her opinion, especially on spiritual matters, and trust her ability to keep them hale and hearty. Two of the PCs were raised by her.

I'm seriously considering giving her a severe illness when the players start going over the Crown of the World, and a sub-theme of keeping Koya alive to see One More Sunrise might make for some fun interplay among my PCs and the old witch.

Shalelu - To be honest, Shalelu has been the hardest to give a strong characterization for. Since Ameiko has passion, Sandru has caution and Koya has wisdom it's hard to find a useful niche for Shalelu. So right now she's come across as something like Liara T'Soni from Mass Effect, alien but curious about human cultures. She's kindly disposed towards Cale (oni-blooded tiefling PC), who she redeemed after a life of banditry. Her rivalry with Zaiobe is pretty fun to play, but frankly Zaiobe's the more interesting NPC.

I'm thinking of adding a colony of Snowcaster Elves that the PCs can visit for a brief respite from the Morozkos that will get Shalelu thinking about leaving the Caravan in the capable hands of the PCs who have proven themselves protectors of Ameiko already. PCs can convince her to come along or can leave her behind happy that she has found a place in the world.



Zaiobe - Her first appearance was helping the PCs defeat the twisted ogrekin in Brinewall Castle. Even though she was evil, the party Paladin didn't immediately resort to smiting, instead offering to help Zaiobe find her voice. Over the course of the next couple of sessions Zaiobe proved a big help to the party, and the Paladin's insistence on healing her injuries where required made it hard for her to betray the party. With nothing left in Castle Brinewall she started following the party, and Cale promised he would keep her from being too evil. Recently she committed a selfless act by luring away the werebear ranger in Ravenscraeg, so the party could continue exploring the site but got grievously injured in the process. Cale, Brando and Koya healed her broken wings but when she awakened and attempted to cure herself, she found she had no access to her magic, furthermore she is no longer detecting as evil. The Party has two explanations about why this is so, one is that the demon lord Pazuzu has lost his favor with her and she lost her link to her divine source OR as an oracle her link to the divine is powered by her own confidence and self-image, that image has come under some conflict when she acted selflessly (moving her alignment one step from evil).

Kelda Oxgutter - Rescued from Brinewall Kelda is a badass mofo who likes mead, hitting things with her axe, and dudes with scars and muscles. The party ranger was immediately smitten, and after returning her safely to Kalsgard made time to visit her a couple of times and even met Kelda's terrifying mother (who can hold a pig under each arm). He's convinced her to stay on with the caravan and finish her saga.

Mogo the Goblin - While retrieving Ameiko's treasure hoard to pay for the caravan in Sandpoint our heroes rescued a goblin from the Soggy River Monster. The obviously terrified goblin was spared by the Paladin (Sarenrae is a goddess of Fire after all, you like fire don't you Mogo?), who has been trying to redeem the little beast ever since. Progress has been slow because he spends a lot of his time with:

Jenny Lightfoot - A sandpoint pick-pocket and Sandru's illegitimate niece (thanks to his no-good brother). She stowed away on the caravan because she's a kid and that's what they do. The party ninja has been acting as her ninja trainer (and she in turn has been teaching Mogo some bad habits, like pick-pocketing and fire juggling). When Darktread learned of the scale of the expedition over the crown of the world and danger involved he wanted Jenny put on a caravan back to Sandpoint. This hurt the urchin girl's feelings and she ran away. Darktread tracked her down and apologized.

Bevelek and Venkor - The Varisian brothers (only one of whom speaks common, but the other is happy to loosely "translate"), are something of the Greek Chorus of the Caravan. My players often ask them for advice about whatever town they're in because Bevelek and Venkor have been everywhere.

Sir Buzzbee - Picked up in the Grozny forest quite by accident when Cale saved the atomie knight's life. Sir Buzzbee is quite mad, and incredibly brave, and loyal and has the attention span of a puppy in a sausage factory. He brings on slightly more trouble than he solves.

Spivey - Friendly with Jenny, Koya and the party Druid Mordred, recently has become Koya's familiar so I don't have to keep track of two tiny characters (thank you Sir Buzzbee).

Garfaz Starclaw - Tengu Ronin, Caravan Guard, Ex-PC (player couldn't commit to schedule). Garfaz is relatively quiet, with a sense of personal honor, he dislikes Sir Buzzbee, and thinks of Zaiobe as a threat to the safety of the Caravan. His skill ith a blade is unquestioned.

Rorin Kaijutsu - Half-Elf Magus, Magic user, Ex-PC (player couldn't commit to schedule). Rorin is Ameiko's younger brother, and a bit nervous. He wants to keep Ameiko safe, because the alternative is that he has to take over the job of Emperoring if she doesn't make it. That idea is terrifying.

Avery Ellindir - Elf Enchanter, Magic User, Back-Up PC. This elf was picked up on the way to Brinewall, and she hopes to visit the snowcaster elves in the North.

Skygni - Winter Wolf. Cale maintains that like Sir Buzzbee, Skygni is not his fault. The party was low on resources, and he thought making a deal with the Winter Wolf would be better than another fight right after he was nearly killed by Kimandatsu mere minutes before. The wolf will travel with them for three months. After that their arrangement may need to be... renegotiated. As usual it's Mordred who's taken a fondness of the monstrous character. The druid's morality is more flexible than her Paladin ally's.

Ulf Gormangr - Human Guide (Ranger). Basically Thor. The players like Thor, so I'm playing Ulf like Thor. Glad to be free, though he knows the dangers ahead, it's better to be able to see the sky above your head than be blinded and bound in some demon's prison.


Nameless Redshirts The first people to die on all the away missions in Book 3?

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Hahahaha, sweet!

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