I understand why I do not have long lasting campaigns. I am to anal about the rules for most people to enjoy the game. What surprises me is how often I hear other groups do not finish their campaign. This makes me curious as to how often an adventure path does play through to completion. Sometimes I wonder if they are too long.
Do any of them have reputations for groups sticking through to the end or breaking apart before the end?
I suspect the vast majority campaigns among adults break up thanks to real life getting in the way. No need to point that out.
My regular group finished Runelords (I was the DM) after a couple of years of off-and-on play. Another group I played in for a long time made it through about three-quarters of Age of Worms but we stopped early...mostly because changes to the player roster created some incompatibilities that couldn't be resolved.
My regular group will, someday soon, start another AP (probably Skull & Shackles) and I expect we'll make it through that too...though it'll take a while.
Getting through an AP is hard, especially if you try to do it straight through with no breaks for anything else, so it would be no surprise to me if well fewer than half of the campaigns that start one make it through. Gamers often have ADD-like tendancies! :)
for PF we havent finished one yet....though we only started playing them 3 years ago
if you play weekly it is a lot of committment, and sometimes effort, to keep the same party going
if you play monthly thats a lot of months to do an AP
people wanna play new stuff, move away, homelife changes etc
we play 1/week and at the moment are at the start off:
we will finish
KM is 4-5 weeks
then SS to 4
that takes us to say christmas
that is a lot of time committment
My groups play monthly.
We have finished RotR, CotCT. Both of those took like a year and a half because we only play once a month for a long Saturday.
Currently I am running Serpent Skull (been playing a year a a half and we are in Chapter 3). And Carrion Crown (been playing over a year and we are also in Chapter 4 but likely to be in Chapter 4 soon). And I expect to finish both of these.
I am also playing in a Legacy of Fire game and we are just moving into Chapter 4. This game has been running a long time because we have had interruptions where we did not play for a long periods. As long as we can keep enough players we will finish this one also. We have had a few people move away during this run.
The only one we did not finish was Second Darkness and that was really due to the group self-destructing. That experience led me to know include one player in any of my future games.
On approximately june 4th 2010 our Rise of the Runelords game kicked off in good ole Sandpoint.
We're near the end of book 5 now and moseying on up to book 6. Hoping to maybe be done by Christmas and will begin Skull and Shackles at that time.
Prior to that I've done a small chunk of one that one on the Isle of Dread back in 3.5 days, but wasn't there for either the beginning or the end, so not sure how that turned out.
Our group plays each Sunday 8 hour sessions.
We have finished CC & KM,
We stopped after book 4 for RotL, (DM quit)
We stopped during book 6 of SS (DM quit but module was not to our taste)
We are starting Curse of the Crimson Throne today
We also have a group that meets every other Tuesday with some cross over players from our Sunday session and that group is playing Skulls and Shackles, we are in book 1.
We play mostly at random intervals depending upon the availability of players.
We have more or less given up on the following AP's:
Curse of the crimson throne reached part 3
Serpent skull reached part 4
We are currently playing:
Kingmaker, halfway through part 6
Jade regent just started part 3
With any luck we will be able to finish Kingmaker in a few weeks, and hopefully Jade regent within the year.
I exclusively PBEM, so I never finish anything. :)
There's a lot of realtime lag in getting stuff done. My usual players are ceasing to be young people getting married, moving to new cities for jobs, having kids, and the like so things are settling down.
I haven't had as much player turnover in the last five years, which is a big help. I'm also a lot more likely to be merciful with PC death than I was back in the day, so roster changes are rarer. That's helped keep some games going and facilitate others moving faster, but there are still delays. Back in 2009 I was hit up with horrific allergies that had me blowing blood every day for months and I probably cost the games about a quarter worth of play time there.
My current oldest (started late 2007) PBEM running Age of Worms in FR (but down in pseudo-Egypt, not where the conversion notes suggest) and they're about 2/3 of the way through the fourth installment. Heavy PC death early on and some substantial player turnover hurt the pacing a bit. The party's 8th level.
Number two (started about the time the first book came out, so August 2008) is Second Darkness, which is about 3/4 to 5/6 of the way through the third installment. Moderate levels of PC death (two or three, but two original PCs still in the party) and player turnover (one guy, but that left us down to three warm bodies for a while) slowed things a little but generally pace has been consistent. As soon as they get some time to rest, these guys will be 9th level.
Number three (spring 2009) is Legacy of Fire, which just started the second due to having a lot more problems with players vanishing, ladders and pugwampi unluck, and being especially hard-hit by the allergies. Slowest of the slow, they've just barely started the second adventure but things seem to be picking up. The party's 5th level.
Number four (spring 2011) is Carrion Crown, where my players are an embarrassment of riches. Snagged one of 'em right off these boards. Great group that likes to keep moving. They've managed to add some fairly hefty RP scenes that are at most implied in the text and still blazed room-by-room through a relatively hefty dungeon crawl over the past year, to the point where they're literally a few hit points away from starting the final encounter of the first adventure. The party's 3rd level.
I've gotten as high as about 13th before, but there was really bad meat grinder action in that game and the ramp up for the third major climax turned into a bitter war of attrition so when that guy dropped everyone felt like we were done. PBEMing high-level 3.5 was also showing its strain.
My group has finished Curse of the Crimson Throne. We were on book 5 of Runelords when our DM had his car broken into and his game bag, with all his books (and most of our characters) stolen.
We have Second Darkness, Carrion Crown, and Legacy of Fire campaigns running with different people at the helm. The latter two are halfway through, and I've got the group headed into the climax of book five for Second Darkness.
Eventually I'll get them back to the Crimson Throne group with a homemade sequel that should take them all the way through to 20th level.
I've never finished a full AP (though I did finish the Shards of Eberron arc from dungeon magazine in 6 weeks).
As a GM:
I am up to book 4 in Kingmaker, we started in 2010, I keep adding things because it's a sandbox and I'm a tinkerer by nature. We play 3-5 hours a week, trading off with Legacy of Fire every time we finish a book.
Started Skull and Shackles on an online tabletop (first session was live). Played 3 sessions so far and we're up to Day 4 as written.
As a Player:
Legacy of Fire, up to the end of book 3. This one is going pretty quick (been playing since 2011). :-)
I DM with a fairly regular group. We have completed Shackled City and Age of Worms over the last five to seven years. We are very close to finishing Savage Tide. Then, we will move to a homebrew campaign I am putting together with my favorite modules from each of the Pathfinder APs.
We finished Rise of the Runelords although I made some cuts to Books 2 and 3. We played all of Second Darkness and my players loved it! We abandoned Legacy of Fire in Book 4. And we are now in Book 4 of Kingmaker with bits of the Margreve Forest thrown in. We will definitely finish Kingmaker.
I've been the GM throughout, and I'm the one who just couldn't deal with Legacy of Fire any longer. They loved Kakishon but couldn't fully embrace the story.
Thanks all for the replies. An ap is an expensive investment, both money wise and so much more time wise. It is good to see so many project that getting through them is not easy but can be done so often. Makes me feel a little more open to making the monetary investment. So far I have only read rise of the rune lords but I remember it was a really nice experience just reading it alone. I still hope to run it for some people one day. Began it once but had to stop when the players could not handle my GM style.
Hope to hear some more people contribute to the thread. Come back and update when you finish or have to put it down.
|Richard D Bennett|
My Rise of the Runelords party made it about halfway through book four before they were wiped from the face of the earth by a Succubus and her Stone Giants. The TPK was final enough to bring the campaign to a close. The resulting mourning period led me to taking the rest of this year off from campaign DM-ing.
My wife is running a Kingmaker campaign that has finished its first year of real time and the first two books. It's been a grind to get everyone together, but we continue to drive forward.
In January, I'm starting Fire Mountain Games's Way of the Wicked campaign. I have solicited oaths from the players to make themselves available one weekend a month for an 8-hour session. These oaths are, of course, unenforceable, but I hope to see that one make regular progress.
It is certainly not easy to keep a campaign on its feet over the long term, especially among adults with jobs/lives/etc. It is, however, definitely a worthwhile investment.
I have DM to completion
Shackled City - 3yrs meeting more or less once a week for 4hr sessions
Curse of the Crimson Throne - 1yr meeting once a week for 4 - 6hr sessions.
I have DM partial
Age of worms - ended when two players deployed to AF
Rise of the Rune Lords - ended with deployments again
I have played and completed
Second Darkness - 1yr meeting once a week for 4 - 6hr sessions.
Savage Tide - 3 years, with an 18 month hiatus due to DM deploying.
All the completeion where with my current group except SCAP. Gaming with military gamers is difficult, and faces can change. Overall, the 6 installment AP seems to work well for my group and we are doing Carrion Crown and Jade Regent now simultaneously, alternating gaming sessions.
When I think about it, having completed two 3.5 AP and two PFRPG AP is quite an accomplishment for any gamer. When I finished SCAP 3 of my group each with more than a decade of gaming had never played a PC from 1st to 20th level before. Having been a gamer since the late 70's that really surprised me.
Our campaigns alternate every 2 AP volumes so currently:
CotCT - book 5
CC - book 5
SS - book 4 (currently playing)
RotRL - will start when GM receives Anniversary edition
We play every Sunday for 7 hours.
The only AP we abandoned was Kingmaker and that was because GM had too many real life obligations to be able to fully flesh out the AP so we got bored.
My Friday group finishes APs all the time. We finished Curse of the Crimson Throne and decided that the GM needed to make a sequel to to unfinished business at the end; that we had to put on hold for a while, but I have been promised that will be a full campaign with a real finish. We finished Kingmaker and we finished Runelords (well, most of us did--I had to drop for a few months due to work) and we finish pretty much anything we get our hands on.
But we play weekly. We used to play on Mondays and then on Wednesdays then we switched to Fridays, and that seems to be working out. We play every Friday from about 6:30pm to about 10:30pm. Sometimes the magic happens and we don't notice it's late until around midnight.
Right now we're in book one of Jade Regent, but we'll finish that. :) (I just wish I hadn't died and that didn't scare off Sandru. Darn that lost bonus for being in a relationship with one of the NPCs!! Oh, well.)
I'm running Crimson Throne for my Saturday group, who meets twice per month if we're extra lucky. Unfortunately they are new to Pathfinder APs and don't quite get the feel for it yet, so we'll see whether they finish that campaign. Of course, I'm going on a pretty nasty on-call schedule soon, so I might have to quit Saturdays altogether.
Fearing just such a situation, I have hand-chosen only stable, dedicated players who want to see a campaign through as much as I. And so over the past 5 years we've started, and finished, Rise of the Runelords, Curse of the Crimson Throne, Council of Theives, Kingmaker, and Carrion Crown.
We just started Jade Regent last week run by one of my players to give me a break!
I will note that the playing times can very greatly, however. Carrion Crown took us 5 months to finish while Kingmaker lasted a year and a half. Most hover around 10 or 11 months with us playing weekly for about 5 hours each session.
My group plays monthly (on average), so it takes us a long time. We've been finding that we tire of the games, or the characters (rarely), or we've had enough of high-level playing.
Almost 6 years for Shackled City, and we played only to where we'd run the bad guys out of the city.
Over 3 years for Savage Tide, we're nearing our mutually-agreed endpoint, before we're supposed to leave the Isle of Dread for Scuttlecove.
Kingmaker is designated as "on-deck", and I'm torn between cutting it off after the 4th book, or playing through.
My group meets intermittently on Saturdays and has finished RoTL, Serpent's Skull and Kingmaker, and is currently in Legacy of Fire, but only on book one. Things look a little rocky in LoF as we changed GM's but with a little perseverance we'll make it through.
Looking forward to running CotCT and Shattered Star for sure.
As far as the others, Council of Thieves we tried but the GM had conflicts after the first session. Jade Regent looks like a cool adventure because it's so exotic but my group doesn't like the focus being on an NPC, so without major overhaul to kind of nix the NPC focus we may not run it ever sadly.
As a GM, I have run completely through Age of Worms (we had 6 players in the group). We have another GM who made it completely through AoW as well with the other half of our bigger gaming group (5 players). We had around 13 players in our available pool, so we have been splitting things up a bit so everyone gets a chance to play.
I am currently running Jade Regent (5 players) - we just entered book 2.
We have two other GMs running Curse of the Crimson Throne (3 players) and Serpent's Skull (3 players), respectively. We are in book 4 of CT and book 5 of SS.
We have abandoned three APs - Shackled City (5 players), Rise of the Runelords (4 players), and Council of Thieves (6 players), all due to the same couple of players moving away. We attempted to continue CoT via webcast, but it just didn't have the same feel as us all being in the same room. We are restarting Runelords this fall with a different GM and player group, using the new Anniversary edition materials.
We have some home brew games going on as well, but that is not relevant to this thread.
PS - we try and play once a week, and switch off APs every couple of books.
I started running and playing Paizo APs at summer 2009. We started Rise of the Runelords which run June 2009 to January 2010. After that we played Second Darkness, January 2010 to May 2010. SD didn't take long as GM was new and we kind of rushed it through.
I started another RotRL campaign October 2009 which run to December 2010 at once with other campaigns. This was really fun as we didn't hurry it through.
August 2010 we started Council of Thieves and finished it in three months. Nice campaign but ended too quickly.
December 2010 (after ending the RotRL2) I started running Curse of Crimson Throne that ended June 2011.
October 2011 I started running my modified version of Second Darkness which is still running, we are in book 6 now. This June I also started Jade Regent campaign, now were are at the end of book 2.
I have only played in two AP campaigns but acted as GM in five. Often we try to play once or twice a week but with my SD2 campaign we only play bi-weekly which is nice pace as we live apart from each other.
All in all I can say we finish all APs we start.
I have never been through a whole AP.
Played the last 4 of LoF with Vitual Table Top group of college buddies.
Been DMing RotRL since 2010. We are on Book 5. The group is a sub-group of my core gamers. Game started when my wife was injured and was in need of a diversion. Now that she is doing better, we play this game occasionally but have put it aside until the RotRL Anniversary Edition makes it to the house (any day now...)
I DM Serpent Skull for my core group. We are on book two, just about to Tarizon. Currently every other Friday 7:30PM - 11PM.
One of my players took up the DM gauntlet and is running an excellent CC game opposite my SS. Currently we are in Book 2 meeting every other Friday 7:30PM - 11PM.
My wife is considering running Skull and Shackles for the group, but lacks confidence. So she has been testing the waters with the RotRL sub group in what we call a "Kick in the Door" using World’s Largest Dungeon as a back drop. No regular schedule.
I have plans to play them all; I have even gone out of my way to try and weave the ones together that we are playing into a cohesive story. Placing NPCs from one AP in others (Serpent Skull/RotRL), having PCs appear in RotRL before they showed up in LoF. We even have twin brother PCs (RotRL/CC).
Lesse... our first "epic campaign" was the Cormyr/Shadowdale/Anauroch 3.5 FR adventure path that our GM began with a a few stand alone adventures. We went from 1-20 here (except for my character, who was transformed into a variant shade and was FOREVER 16).
The next one was Savage Tide, which we ran until Into the Maw and it had been adapted to Eberron. So no go there.
At the same time I was running the Age of Worms which was also converted to Eberron, but we only made it to the Prince of Redhand before my work schedule became so insane that it had to be put on haitus. Hmm, there's another one.
Followed by Curse of the Crimson Throne, which we went from start to finish and I played the only character in my PnP RPG life that I've managed to take from levels 1 to 16 AND didn't die once. That was awesome.
There was a campaign set in FR post-spellplague that revolved around the descendants of the characters who did the aforementioned FR adventures. That one didn't last long. Then we started "Council of Thieves". Another short lived AP.
Currently we have three game days comprised of Carrion Crown (book 3), Jade Regent (book 1) and Kingmaker (book 2). My girlfriend just recently bought the RotRL hardcover edition so we have that in the wings as well.
All and all, not a very good track record for finishing APs in general.
Adventure paths I've started at different times...
Shackled City (play-by-email): Ended at level 3; I was the GM.
Rise of the Runelords (play-by-post): Ended at level 1.
Curse of the Crimson Throne (PbP): Ended at level 3.
Second Darkness (PbP): Ended at level 1.
Shackled City (PbP): Ended at level 3.
Shackled City (PbP): Ended at level 2; I was the GM again.
War of the Burning Sky (PbP): Ended at level 2.
Depressing, huh? But on the bright side...
Savage Tide (PbP): Ongoing at level 9.
Age of Worms (PbP): Ongoing at level 8 (almost 9).
Serpent's Skull (PbP): Ongoing at level 2.
Council of Thieves (PbP): Ongoing at level 5.
Kingmaker (PbP): Ongoing at level 2 (almost 3).
Legacy of Fire (PbP): Ongoing at level 5.
Carrion Crown (tabletop): Ongoing at level 5.
I have NO IDEA how many people start to play an AP that they own. My guess is that Paizo doesn't really know either, though I am sure they do have some informed speculation on the subject, especially from the days of the Dungeon APs.
I have no idea how many purchase only the first one or two books of an AP and then wait and see about purchasing books 3-6.
I am certain, however, that Paizo has a very good idea of how many people buy the first one or two books of an AP, and then don't purchase books 3-6. Paizo is well aware of their sales numbers, after all. It is no accident that the earlier parts of an AP tend to sell out LONG before the later books of an AP. This is the "toe in the water" effect. So I'm damned certain that Paizo is well aware of higher sales numbers for the earliest parts of an AP and what basic pattern of contraction those sales figures demonstrate throughout the six volume run of an Adventure Path.
Of those who actually own an AP, and actually start to play it, the percentage of those who actually finish it to conclusion is doubtless very low. The reasons are many. Chief amon them is that these AP campaigns take quite a while to play. While every group is different, in most cases the minimum time to play an AP to conclusion is at least six months -- and in many cases, 12-18 months seems the far more typical length of time reported on the Message Boards. Many groups will take two, three and even four years to finish an AP. The result varies greatly depending on a host of factors -- some of which are game related and many of which are not.
Whatever the case, the more players there are, multiplied by the longer the campaign takes to play will inevitably increase the chances that "something happens" to derail the campaign during its run.
People move to a new town/City every day, get a new GF/spouse every day, have children every day, get a promotion or new job every day, divorce every day, and yes, people die every day, too. And those highlights do not even get to the ever-present campaign specific issues of deciding they don't like the campaign, hate the character, don't like another player, don't like the GM, got bored with it, got distracted with another game system or campaign, etc..
By the time you get right down to it, of those people who own an AP, the percentage of people who play it through to conclusion has to be quite small. My guess is less than 20% and probably less than 10%. (That's just speculation on my part, mind you).
Does that mean that Paizo'' APs are too damn long? No, it doesn't mean that.
Some are clearly longer than others of course and I would personally prefer that Paizo alternates their AP campaign length with a short(er) AP (end at level 13) with those that end at higher level (level 16-18). That certainly would allow me to play more APs and finish them more quickly, too.
But I also think the reality is that I play/run in WAY MORE APs at the same time than almost any other customer they have (I play/run in five different APs currently). I know that I am atypical and my request for some alternating shorter APs is born out of a concern that most other customers simply don't share.
That said, the shortest AP also had some of the poorer sales numbers, too (that would be Council of Thieves, btw). While there are a number of explantions as to why Council of Thieves may have underperformed in terms of overall sales, it certianly doesn't help that one of the underperforming APs in terms of sale was conspicuously shorter.
How often do we finish? ... Once. One time since 2005(ish)
DM'd Age of Worms to Part 10 (of 12) - ended due to military deployment
Played RotRL to Book 2 - ended due to military deployment
Played CotCT - FINISHED! (with PF Beta rules)
Played SD to Book 5 - called it quits at the infamous Memory of Darkness
Played CoT to Book 5 - called it quits after a TPK (and some players leaving)
DM'ing SS in Book 4
Playing KM in Book 4
|Mirrel the Marvelous|
I've GM'ed Shackled City all the way to the end.
I'm a player in a Second Darkness campaign that's finished all the way through #5 (which we'll get back to and finish soon).
I'm currently GMing the Legacy of Fire AP. We're 1/2 way through the third adventure.
We started Rise of the Runelords under 3.5, played through book two. Some months later our DM converted book 3 to pathfinder and we finished that, but the rest is still out there. With the new conversion I have hope we'll finish that. currently on Hiatus.
I also play in a game of Kingmaker currently about half through book 4 I think. That's played weekly but even then that game is over a year in length now.
I'm running a game of Jade Regent, pretty steady bi-weekly on friday nights, nearing the end of book 2. Looks to be about a two year duration to finish at the current pace.
WFRP2 - ran the Paths of the Damned (Ashes of Middenheim, Spires of Altdorf, then took a side trek into Karak Azgal book that ended the campaign. players moved away or became unavailable from work)
Space 1889 Savage Worlds - Red Sands - currently playing in that, should finish in a couple months I think.
Started a Dark Heresy game, didn't finish the first book after the intro.
I've retired two PFS characters...(a F13/Barb2 and a Cleric 12)
So far I have finished Runelords, Crimson Throne, and about halfway through part 5 in Carrion Crown on my Monday night 4 hour weekly game I run. I tend to add extras in to prolong the campaign.
I also run an Age of Worms game for friends from high school that we do once every couple months for a 10 hour game when we can align our schedules and we are about halfway through #7 of that.
I also play in one AP that is monthly and we are part of the way through book 4 of Kingmaker.
Finished Council of Thieves in about 7 months. The players had fun, despite a few bumps along the way.
Got two books into Kingmaker before shelving it. Will probably return to it, as we had few complaints. We just got distracted and never finished.
We're working on Skull & Shackles now and enjoying it immensely (on book 2).
With my weekly Saturday group:
Completed Age of Worms.
Completed Rise of the Runelords.
(Ran an interlude campaign that was a self-designed prelude, then the original Ravenloft adventure.)
Currently running Kingmaker (we're in Chapter 2, although they're in the middle of a Fellnight Queen/Castle Amber mashup that I've added.)
I've also tried running a couple of different paths for just my husband and me. We got about 8 chapters into Savage Tide a while back before giving it up. We stopped in the middle of chapter 2 of Curse of the Crimson Throne but we keep saying we mean to go back to it. I guess having the obligation to the bigger group makes it easier to stick with these things...
I'm currently running my first AP with my group. We're on book 4 of Serpent's Skull, though the going is slow because we play twice a month for only about 3 or 4 hours at most. I think this one has been going for about a year so far.
We had some bumps in the road because of player turnover. Plus, book three was kind of boring, so I had to kind of rush through that one. Luckily, book four has been a lot of fun so far, and it seems like two of the original four players will be able to stick with the game. Now we also have enough players (5) that I don't have to cancel just because one or two people can't make it, so maybe we'll be able to finish before next year.
Played in RotRL through to the beginning of book 5 (then moved away, unfortunately)
DM'd Kingmaker through to the middle of book 5 (then moved away, *sigh* - I was really looking forward to book 6)
Now DMing Skull and Shackles (just started) as an online game - although it'll take longer, I'm hoping we can actually finish this one, even if I need to move again!
We play sporadically and randomly.
We've successfully finished Rise of the Runelords, Curse of the Crimson Throne, and Carrion Crown.
We've started then stopped Second Darkness (end of book 1) and Serpent's Skull (beginning of book 2).
We're currently playing SD again (began with book 2). I consider this an 'again' rather than a 'continue' because it's been, what, four years since we dropped SD the first time? It's required some rewriting and, shall we say, less player drama.
After SD I want to run Shattered Star. But I learned from SS; don't start an AP until the third or fourth adventure comes out so I know I'm not trying to run a plotless lemon.
So we have a greater than 50% success rate.
We started playing Pathfinder in July 2010. We started with RotRL, but we only play that one about once a month at most for roughly 4-6 hour sessions. We're currently in Book 3, but I've added some of my own stuff, as well, since we're playing at the Medium XP Progression.
In October of 2010, we began SS on our weekly Tuesday night meetings, which also range about 4-6 hours. We've got 1-2 sessions left to play on that one before we complete the AP.
Our plans are to start Kingmaker for our Tuesday nights after SS is finished, and once our bi-weekly Saturday Forgotten Realms 2E campaign comes to a close (I'll estimate about 9-12 months from now), we intend to start Jade Regent.
I'm the GM for the two currently running, and will also be the GM for Kingmaker. A friend will be running Jade Regent. We do a ton of roleplaying, so our campaigns tend to take longer, as there's no breezing through our games!
The group i play in consists of 4 people. We play almost every saturday, for about 6-7 hrs of game time. Three of us have DM'ed on and off, usually playing a DM-PC to make up the numbers (especially for the AP's). We have played Savage Tide, Rise of the Runelords, Curse of the Crimson Throne, all to completion. This comming weekend will see the last section of Kingmaker done, character stories wrapped up, final gold spent, the kingdom squared away, just in time for a bunch of 1st levellers to step abord the Jenivere for my Serpent's Skull campaign. RotR took about 18 months, but the others were about 6-8 months i think.