Continuing the Campaign Articles

Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion

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Paizo Employee Managing Developer

A Saturday evening probably isn’t the best time to ask, but I have a question for all the fine folks that buy, read, play, and run the Pathfinder Adventure Paths.

I was curious how helpful or useful the Continuing the Campaign articles are? Do you guys and gals use them for your campaigns? If so, let me know which ones you used and how they played out (using spoiler tags to save the people who haven’t played that particular Adventure Path, please).

If not, why not? I have a few hunches, but I’m not sure.

It seems that people don’t comment on things they like as much as people comment on things they don’t like, but since I haven’t seen much chatter one way or another I was curious.

So, intrepid readers of Adventure Paths, what do You think?

Shadow Lodge

I definitely have for my Kingmaker game. I'm not sure if I plan to continue past the end of the story, but I do plan on adapting one of the "continuing" sections for earlier in the plot. I like them being there, as an option, or as a place to mine ideas from.

I would love to chime in and say, yes, I absolutely love these articles. I actually look forward to them every AP. I'm also a huge fan of high-level play (and massively looking forward to Mythic rules) so I'm the target demo for these articles. Depending on what exactly you're looking for this might make my opinion more or less useful.

First, I'd like to say I've enjoyed them all and I've only been (mildly) disappointed with one of them to date.

Rise of the Runelords:
Obviously, this refers to the Anniversary Edition. The one thing that would have made it even more awesome for me was if Appendix One could have been a little more expanded or in keeping with the current format (I was hoping for a bonus high-level villain to be detailed, maybe something to do with Leng). Still, it's a minor quibble and I love my copy of the AE.

I really enjoy the current format but if you're looking to improve it I have a couple of suggestions. . . actually I wrote my suggestions down and almost submitted the post several times but I kept going back and reworking them. Eventually I realized all my suggestions basically boiled down to needing one thing: more page count. There's all kinds of things I'd love to see in these articles but I understand the issue of having limited space. As it stands that space is fairly and effectively utilized. In the end, I've only two major comments.

1) Perhaps tie the Bestiary article for Part Six of each AP directly to the Continuing the Campaign article. This could boost (free up) your page count for the latter while still providing excellent creatures for the former.

2) To date (still haven't seen the article for Skull and Shackles yet), my favorite one of these has been the one for Carrion Crown. Something about it felt more focused. Not sure exactly why - I'll have to go back over all of them and compare. Perhaps tomorrow.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I don't really plan to run any of my APs beyond the 6th book. I've been running Kingmaker pretty much since its release and we're only just at book 4. I tend to put my expansions and additional plots in between books rather than tacking on to the end. I'm not a big fan of high level play at all.

BUT! I like the expanding the AP articles. Not every article is aimed at me and I like reading them.

The other problem is that when you spend an entire campaign gearing the PCs to deal with a specific problem (usually the BBEG), gearing up a new BBEG just has escalation issues. At a certain point scales of power become meaningless.

I love those articles, whether I run the AP or not. They're great to read, and encourage developping the campaign. I was a bit surprised when I read the first one (I think it was CC at the time) and started imagining what I would do, whereas I probably won't run the AP.

Those ideas can also be used in other contexts, homebrew campaigns, etc.

That being said, I really love The Block Knight's suggestion to focus the bestiary article of volume 6 on those, thus leaving more room for the story in the "Continuing the AP" article itself.

they are one of the best types of articles

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

They dont hold any interest for me and my group on a practical level. We're very unlikely to play an AP to its conclusion and we're definitely not going to play beyond that.

As an "I mainly buy APs to read, not play" customer, they also have very little interest, since they're by nature much less loosely defined than the actual AP. I tend to skimread them, but wouldnt really notice their disappearance.

Dark Archive

I think they are well written but honestly don't really find them all that useful. If I will run to higher play I will make up my own stuff. By the time the AP is finished the players are ready for something new anyways, either a new AP or something new to do with their PC's.

With that said it doesn't bother me if they are there and if others find them useful that's fine by me.

i have only read the KM ones and there are good

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

I've only read Kingkmaker AP, but I definitely like the idea. That said, I do wonder whether my players will be ready to move on to the next thing by the time they finish the AP. I guess I'd probably play it by ear, but I'm definitely in favor of such a concept.

Dark Archive

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

For me personally the Continuing the Campaign articles don't really do much. I can't imagine myself continuing past the 6 books that comprise an adventure path. Finishing an adventure path takes quite a while for my group and once it's done, we prefer moving on to other campaigns (such as other adventure paths), trying something different.

Love these things, do not take them away from me xD

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I like reading them, but in most cases they don't feel like a natural continuation of the campaign. It's more like an extra season of a TV show that should already have ended.

APs usually take a LONG time to finish. In my experience, by the end, the players would be more excited about starting a next AP with new PCs than play further with PCs they've played for the past year or two.

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Toadkiller Dog wrote:
I like reading them, but in most cases they don't feel like a natural continuation of the campaign. It's more like an extra season of a TV show that should already have ended.

Well said.

Like many of the posters here, I couldn't imagine actually using one of these articles. By the time we were finished playing through Legacy of Fire, we were ready for something different.

Most of the APs take a year or more to play through, and having to design my own high level adventures for the end is a lot less enticing to me as a GM than getting a fresh start on a new game.

That said, I do enjoy the optional "what happens next" aspect of the articles, so I'm not sure I'd like to see them go. I guess it depends on what they get replaced with- a sort of "Reprecussions in Golarion" summing up all the big changes from the AP might be neat. Ideas for what some of the key NPCs would do (if they survive) old be neat, for example. I also really like the "what if we lose" ideas from the end articles.

Dark Archive

I like them a lot. While I don't actually use them for high-level play, as a DM I find them highly useful for a "greater picture" of the campaign, its aftershocks, possible complications an so on.
One or two or even more of the tips and hints presented in such articles probably show up during the same campaign as an underlying theme, and then in the following campaigns as rumors of things happening in distant lands.

Highly appreciated element of the AP.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I like the articles and find them an enjoyable read on how you COULD expand the campaign, but their practical usage is almost zero in my group for several reasons.

1. Not a fan of really high level play. Just find it too slow.
2. Odds are against us finishing an entire AP, let alone making it into post-AP play.
3. By the time the AP is done, we're ready to move onto another story. Not a whole lot of push from my players to continue with their current characters into post-AP play.

All that being said, I'd hate to lose the articles. I enjoy the thought exercise on what could be done to continue with the AP.

Just my 2 cp.

I like the idea of them, but I will say that not all "Continuing the Campaign" blurbs are created equal. Some of them don't give a lot of useful suggestions, or offer up followup themes that don't really add much to what has gone before (I'm thinking specifically of the Second Darkness CtC blurbs, at least one, possibly two, of which- IIRC- were basically rehashes of the prior AP plot in some respect.)

One thing that occurs to me, especially in the post-Demon Blight era; with the advent of the Mythic rules that come alongside that AP, perhaps the Continuing the Campaign articles could make some more Mythic style suggestions in that vein (or, also, depending on what comes in the Ultimate Campaigns book, some things that might make use of systems and concepts introduced therein.)

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Thanks everyone for your responses! I admit that many of the responses are pretty much what I anticipated, but there have also been a few I didn't expect. I appreciate y'all taking the time to let me know your opinions.

Keep 'em coming!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I love these articles and I wish they had been written for all the APs. At the end of Crimson Throne I probably should have gone into tying up loose ends (which would have been the kind of thing the article would have had) but was anxious to play Serpent Skull so I did not do it. Then I planned to go back when we finished Serpent Skull (which we haven't finished yet) and now I have so many other things I want to run.

I still feel like I have loose ends hanging out there from Crimson Throne but now I think I will not get a chance to do another campaign to clean them up.

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

I enjoy the Continuing the Campaign articles. I usually read more than play them, but I feel it adds to that story. Additionally, My group sometimes revisits previous campaigns to to say hello to some old PCs. I plan to extend Kingmaker using Birthright rules (we've never gotten to use them before), so those help especially help.

Rarely have any of my groups finished an AP, but Kingmaker's continuation article was the most useful, by far. I really wish Kingmaker was written at slow advancement and spread across ten books. As far as the others go, I think the text could easily be included into a "concluding the adventure" section in lieu of an entire chapter.

Couple of new things to add. First, regarding my statement above about using the bestiary from issue 6 to supplement the CtC article, I realize that you also need to use the bestiary for some of the new creatures included in the actual adventure for the issue. But if you find that you have 5 spots open, for example, and you're only filling three of them with new creatures from the adventure then perhaps you could tie the last two directly to the Continuing the Campaign article. Just a thought.

Second, I know a lot of people say that they don't need them because once they finish the standard AP the players are ready to move on to a new one since it can take so long just to play through the actual campaign. For me and many gamers I personally know (but who do not participate in the forums) the length of the APs have the opposite effect. The fact that these campaigns can take so long is exactly why we WANT these articles. If I've spent an entire year on a PC and the campaign ends at Level 17 I'd be frustrated. I want to see my character get to Level 20 and get that capstone. These articles help with that.

I like to read them, especially the ones with actual stats. But I have yet to put them into use. Of the APs that I've finished.

Rise of the Runelords = There's a rumor that Runelords may surface again, so those PCs are on hold. The players definately want to continue that story.

Legacy of Fire - Pretty much ended in a glorious TPK, and the two surviving players weren't as excited about continuing.

I'm currently running Serpent's Skull and Jade Regent. I'd like to use some of the information at the end of Serpent's Skull. However, a brand new mega adventure or something different for levels 16 and up would be more appealing. I used to love to make my own stuff, but I'd rather run something Paizo has put together lately.

I personally love them. I look forward to them after ever AP I read to be honest. If nothing else I find them to be overly inspiring for other campaigns or to add intermittently into the AP itself more then a continuation of the AP, but I find them rather useful regardless.

On a sort of related note, I am curious which articles the people actually do use. A lot of people say they like them but do not use them, but to be honest I find that to be the case with most of the articles. Most of the complaints I have seen also apply to all the articles. The deity articles are nice reads, but how much do people actually incorporate into the AP from them? Same thing with most articles, the one on Oceans for example was interesting, but I have no idea what I would do with that info in the context of the AP.

They're critical articles, AFAIC.

They APs don't use the entire level spread of 3.x/PF, so adding a continuation article of (good, relatively detailed) ideas is incredibly helpful to continue on into those levels. Sure, we may not use them a lot of the time (due to the number of APs and other published adventures that give us a cornucopia of stuff to play), but having the option is almost necessary, IMO. If we have a campaign in which the players really love their characters and everything just 'clicked', the continuation article is really helpful.

The best continuation articles are those with details, and - most importantly - stats. Man, those are good.

Silver Crusade

I'll chip in and say they are worthless to me. Once the campaign is over it's over and if I am going to continue it I don't need an article to do it.

I enjoy them had plans to use the stuff at the end of Second Darkness but we stoped playing half way through book 6
I think they are great the longer the better
I miss the APs that go through 21st 22nd level from the dungeon days

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

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I enjoy them because they stimulate my imagination, and I get a better sense of what is at risk depending on how things play out in the AP.

If we didn't have the articles, I would still like a few paragraphs about the positive AND the negative repercussions.

I enjoy them, but I've never actively continued a Pathfinder campaign beyond book 6. Having said that, I did place some foreshadowing in the Kingmaker campaign I ran based on stuff from the 'Continuing the Campaign' article, and described those foreshadowed events coming to fruition in the 'epilogue' section of the campaign.

By book 6, I've usually had enough of a particular campaign and there are so many other shiny options to force my players to endure by the time we've finished a whole AP.

My AP ADHD is too strong to really make use of them, I fear. But I do like them. Really I do!

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Given that I have at least two new APs on tap when I finish the last one, I don't really use those articles.

However, since some of my players are always clamoring to go over level 16/17 and until the finish line of level 20, I may in the future. And they give us GMs some ideas on how to finish the campaign. APs a lot of times finish very abruptly.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:
APs a lot of times finish very abruptly.

This a hundred times over. I would actually rather see some more space dedicated to the "Concluding the Adventure" section in book 6 than the Continuing the Campaign article.

I think this section has been getting MUCH better in the more recent APs, but the earlier APs really felt like they just... ended.

Jenner2057 wrote:
I think this section has been getting MUCH better in the more recent APs, but the earlier APs really felt like they just... ended.

This is very true for me too. While I've never used them in the past, they've improved quite a bit lately. I hope to use some of those ideas (and stats) once I can get to them.

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I'm a fan of them, though I do like those that give me a stat block or two included. These give me plenty of ideas for continuation or incorporation of additional story lines into the AP as I run it. Typically, they're well written and include some fantastic ideas. I'd hate to see them go away, honestly.

Considering my players are very unlikely to survive long enough to actually finish an AP, and considering how frequently they get sidetracked and want to head off and do something other than whatever the AP railroads them towards; rather than reading articles about continuing the adventure, I would prefer to see articles about sidetracking the adventure. Perhaps suggestions for what could be just outside the mapped areas of the game, or consequences for what could happen to the area should the BBEG be left to his/her own devices. In short, basically what I'd rather read is the bad ending, not a post script to the good ending that most players are too incompetent or distracted to ever see.

You could call it 'When The Bad Guy Wins'.

Silver Crusade

I really like having them, even if it's unlikely most of them will ever see use as intended.

They're not just useful for continuing campaigns past the AP, but for helping to shape or inspire whatever carries over into future campaigns set in the same world. (like CotCT to Shattered Star) Any extra inspiration is welcome, really. There were a few in CotCT that I didn't use as written, but they definitely inspired some long-term effects and consequences that will carry on into future campaigns following it.

They can also inspire GMs to shape what comes before, with foreshadowing and plot-tweaking to make any further continuation feel like it flows naturally past the end of the AP.

I may not be so fond of possibilities put forth that feel like non-sequitors in the context of what came before(like having Sam and Frodo go all the way through LotR and back to the Shire only to fight cyborg ninja drug dealers that have moved into the place...okay wait, that might be fun), but that's going to be a very subjective matter between groups.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I like them. They definitely aid in my understanding of how the adventure fits into the world at large. And while I may not use them as an extension to an adventure path, I have sometimes gleaned ideas that I have used as side adventures.

There are a lot of features in paizo adventure paths that I don't use, yet they make the book a lot more fun to read. In ROTRL and SD, there were whole paragraphs of backstory for NPCs and villians that I knew the players would never know, but having it there colored my view of the adventure and therefore affected my performance as GM. I think of these as an actor's subtext.

In short, I'm for any feature that awakens and engages my own creativity.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh, just to make sure I was understood correctly, I am all for them.

I like having the articles, even if when running the AP we don't make it to the end, I like having the option to continue the AP.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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Shiftybob wrote:
Considering my players are very unlikely to survive long enough to actually finish an AP...

Yikes. Either your APs take a really long time or you've had a serious set of unfortunate circumstances if your players aren't living to see the end. : )

Mikaze wrote:
They can also inspire GMs to shape what comes before, with foreshadowing and plot-tweaking to make any further continuation feel like it flows naturally past the end of the AP.

Yes, precisely.

We're used to playing longer campaigns. Just finishing the final (I think?) encounter of Shackled City, playing level 20 characters. Prior to that I ran a home brew to level 19. (They leveled up to 20 at the very very end but did not actually play at that level.)

I'll be running Skull & Shackles next. That only covers to level 14. So I fully expect to go beyond. So yes, I like the paragraphs of hooks provided. Case in point: Our group is also currently playing Serpent Skull. The GM has hammered home the political bind Sargava finds itself in vis-à-vis the Shackles and Cheliax. I fully expect to explore that angle for dramatic irony should the players be so bold as to claim the Shackles.

I'm not sure about the articles in general, though. I can only refer to S&S. I was somewhat put off by the disconnect between some of the articles and the actual AP. Extra monsters are fun but I don't care for them if they're not actually included in the AP.

I know/suppose that the APs are a synthesis of Dragon and Dungeon magazines. As such, they are super. For my mileage, I must admit I would prefer going the purely super adventure route and have everything directly (rather than just thematically) related to the adventure. It would definitely be fair game to present information/articles as potential spin-off opportunites. "Maybe your players will insist on pursuing this line of thought/objective. Here are some things to consider..." I'd sooner see more tangible player hand-outs than superfluous articles.

(Somewhat related: I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed the fiction. I did not expect to and was prepared to begrudge the page count devoted to it. Au contraire, the fiction imho injected inspiring setting-appropriate scenarios and language throughout the AP. Definitely a keeper for me.)

Thanks for the chance for input. :D

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

I really appreciate everyone’s comments to this thread. I brought this up last week at the office when we were talking about some of the current and future APs, because I questioned whether this was something we were doing because we always did it or if it was something we were doing because it was a useful part of the Adventure Path line. We were all interested in seeing what y’all thought, but felt that since we never had any backlash about including those articles in the last chapter of an Adventure Path (’cause, yeah… we would have heard it) then there wasn’t likely a problem with them.

From my own experience playing/running the APs, by the time our group finished the campaign, we were all ready to move on to something new. Sure, we’d talk about what we’d do if we kept going, even bringing stuff like that up months later, but we enjoyed the climax, sealed the story and moved on. So I get that people don’t actively use the material.

However, it’s greatly satisfying that people are reading it and liking it—even as a thought exercise. I read adventures I either don’t plan on running or don’t have the time for and still consider that well worth my time and money, so… thanks for reading and enjoying these articles.

I also really like the suggestions a few of y’all have had about talking more about what happens if the PCs lose. (Even though that’s more in the realm of “prematurely ending the campaign”). :) I also like the idea of having the Pathfinder Bestiary serve the Continuing the Campaign article in some way.

Again, thank you to everyone who responded with an insight to your experiences.

I like those articles a lot eventhough we hardly ever continue our AP campaigns beyond book 6. The reason why I like them is "story epilogue" as for example in Dragon Age Origins. I can narrate something that happens after ending the main story that might or might not be played in future. I like the idea that story is never truly over and there is still interesting stuff happening to characters.

There might be change coming to our normal "campaign doesn't continue after book 6". CotCT spoilers:

In the final battle my PCs did win Ileosa BUT in the same time they didn't stop Kazavon's reborn. So there is great chance for second story arc as they might want to slay Kazavon.

Adam Daigle wrote:

However, it’s greatly satisfying that people are reading it and liking it—even as a thought exercise. I read adventures I either don’t plan on running or don’t have the time for and still consider that well worth my time and money, so… thanks for reading and enjoying these articles.

They are great articles and well worth reading even if just for fun. After all, if Paizo only published material that would be used 100% of the time, I'm pretty sure the company's output would be halved. That's what makes Paizo products so great (well, one of many reasons, IMO) - they're fun to read even if that's all you get to do sometimes.

Keep 'em up. I think they're great.

Adam Daigle wrote:

Again, thank you to everyone who responded with an insight to your experiences.

You're welcome. Thanks for asking.

Adam Daigle wrote:
I also really like the suggestions a few of y’all have had about talking more about what happens if the PCs lose. (Even though that’s more in the realm of “prematurely ending the campaign”). :)

My group has never been satisfied with a simple "Game Over" description of a character's death or capture; every one of them expects a graphic epilogue of the PC (or group)'s failure. I blame these durn vidya games.

[tangent]We got an early start on Rappan Athuk this morning and it is taking forever due to the number of PC deaths/captures/etc.[/tangent]

A "what if they lose" section in each book would go a long way at my table. The brief description in The Haunting of Harrowstone regarding the party's failure to prevent event-X is exactly what I'm talking about; a few lines or a paragraph is all I need.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

We're years away from completion, but my players have expressed an interest in continuing Legacy of Fire past its conclusion. Would have loved a Continuing the Campaign article for that one; as it is I've been slowly cooking up extension ideas for at least a year now. The inclusion of Xotani's stats in the Bestiary sort of serves that goal, and was much appreciated.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

i personally love the continuing the campaign articles and find them indispensable. if i ever finish an adventure path i plan on using some of the ideas therin (i'm only on my 3rd try, two broke up because of economic attrition, still playing the third)
my personal favorites are "Fury of the First World" in kingmaker, "Heirs to the Tyrant" in Carrion Crown (especially the entry on dissayn) and "Flames from Within" in Jade Regent (the adventure path i'll finish, mostly because its with my wife and kids:).

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

While I do enjoy them, in a big way they're incredibly depressing. You point to ways of continuing the adventure on one hand, but don't really provide any rules for high level play which most of these would lead to. Kind of like throwing a stick for a dog, he goes running full bore to grab it but hits a wall force just before the pick-up...

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I definitely enjoy reading them, but given the play style of my group, it will likely take us more than two years of real-world time to finish an AP. (We're about 15 months into Rise of the Runelords, and are are not-quite halfway through it-- we're about halfway through Hook Mountain Massacre). By the time we finish RotRL, I'm quite certain that everyone will be more excited to play something else than to continue high-level play.

Additionally, my group seems to prefer low-to-mid-level play over high-level.

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