Please replace Adventure Path fiction with better maps!


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion

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Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Damon Griffin wrote:
Can you give me an example of how reading the fiction contributes to the DM's understanding of or preparation for the story the players will be playing out?

I'll add a few more:

Before and after Orcs of Golarion the AP fiction where Eando Kline finds himself in the middle of a 5 tribe war zone has been my go-to for how orcs act. I reread that fiction before running anything that includes orcs. (I also sometimes skim the later ones where he is in the hold)

Multiple NPCs have snuck in as villains so my players could have easter eggs is they read the fiction related to the same area, I also encourage this of new GMs, as they have better reference material for how someone would act in a given situation.

Eando Kline shows up in the AP fiction and as an NPC in a later AP (see above point)

Sovereign Court

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Fubbles the Baby Cow wrote:

[snip] but I really love the idea of having an article consisting of fan-generated modifications/alterations/expansions of previously-published AP's.

I'm running Carrion Crown presently. While it is a really good AP, I have been able to improve it significantly by adopting modifications suggested by the kind folks on the Paizo boards. What would have been even better would have been a follow-up article featuring a few of the mods that the Paizo community have suggested to make the installment of the AP more enjoyable/interesting/cohesive. In order to get the ideas, I had to spend a lot of time reading through the various posts and threads. Having the ideas distilled, and centralized in a single location would be an amazing aid to a GM looking to run an AP, and would also likely increase sales, as has been previously mentioned.[/snip]

The problem is that while there is some great stuff on these boards there is also plenty of dross.

If it stood a chance of getting in an AP then I imagine that more people would noisily post their AP modifications.

Some Paizonians would then have to spend days reading through the forums to find the gems, then write them up, make sure they had attributed sources correctly and make sure that nothing overlapped poorly with other rules or depended on a houserule...

It would be a lot of work and, as you pointed out, we can already get that information from the forums.

I actually think that kind of thing is better served by being on a forum because there can be dialogue and debate about how it works with different playstyles and expectations.


Captain Marsh wrote:

I love the Adventure Path series and generally like the slow, evolutionary tweaks that have happened over time since the first ROTRL series.

I never read the fiction, ever. If I wanted to read gaming fiction I would pick up the books. It won't allow me to run my adventure better.

As James Sutter has stated that removal of the AP wouldn't allow inclusion of more adventure then I have edited my post and would like to see something else (suggestions below):

GM advise (Rule clarifications, charts, etc)
Side Quest Ideas
Unique Golarion Flavor text (racial alcoholic beverages, royal dress, cultural phenomena)
Magic: Items, spells, etc
Short write ups of festivals
Random tavern generators for the region the AP is set in
An exploration of the culture that inspired the AP or random region

I am sure there are many more ideas...It doesn't have to be more adventure or more maps, but it could be more flavor or crunch to aid in presenting the adventure path. Perhaps just including the Player's Guide in the first adventure..

=Dan

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I myself enjoy much of the fiction in the Ap's and would be very sad to see it go. For some reason I can read the Ap fiction better than I can any of the novels that have been released so far (possibly due to it's more bitsize nature, the way it is done in a more journal like format and that it comes with art as well.)


As I have been extremely frustrated lately with the lack of AP specific battle maps I would definitely vote for better maps over the AP fiction. The fiction with Eando Kline has really been the only AP fiction stories I have cared for.

Since there are currently no AP specific battle maps to speak of, I bought CC3 and DD3 and have had so much trouble getting it to work it has kind of soured me on running anything. Please, Please Paizo, put out better maps that correlate with the AP's!

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'll add another vote in favor of keeping the fiction.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

We can't cover every map in an Adventure Path with battle map support. We would barely be able to cover a single map in many Adventure Paths in fact. Some installments would have maps that take up enough space to carpet several living rooms, for example (someone once did a battle map scale printout of one floor of Scarwall and it was the size of a large rug that took over a living room... and Scarwall had 4 or 5 levels...).

It's just not possible, alas. Not without having a several hundred page long battle map product that costs over a hundred bucks every month.

Liberty's Edge

James Jacobs wrote:

We can't cover every map in an Adventure Path with battle map support. We would barely be able to cover a single map in many Adventure Paths in fact. Some installments would have maps that take up enough space to carpet several living rooms, for example (someone once did a battle map scale printout of one floor of Scarwall and it was the size of a large rug that took over a living room... and Scarwall had 4 or 5 levels...).

It's just not possible, alas. Not without having a several hundred page long battle map product that costs over a hundred bucks every month.

James what do you think of more in-universe material (such as a plutarxh/tacitus style work on the rise of house thrune spread across the council of thieves AP) instead of the short stories?


You might not be able to cover every map in an AP, but you could put some of the main ones in the map folios for the AP instead of regional maps that are not that useful IMO.

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

We can't cover every map in an Adventure Path with battle map support. We would barely be able to cover a single map in many Adventure Paths in fact. Some installments would have maps that take up enough space to carpet several living rooms, for example (someone once did a battle map scale printout of one floor of Scarwall and it was the size of a large rug that took over a living room... and Scarwall had 4 or 5 levels...).

It's just not possible, alas. Not without having a several hundred page long battle map product that costs over a hundred bucks every month.

That was us... I think it measured almost 5 feet per side per floor


I, for one, would like to keep the fiction, but change it so it is more tied to the AP. As others have said, a short story on Ameiko, or Nualia, would have been perfect in RotRL. Or what have been done in AP #18.

Either way would be fine with me.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A nice discussion. I'll add my thoughts on the topic.

Do I like the fiction? I haven't read it all, but I liked what I read. So I'm not sad to see the fiction in there.

Do I think the fiction should stay? Though I wouldn't mind it staying, I have to agree that Paizo has developed better platforms for its fiction, so the precious space in the AP volumes could be spent on more relevant material.

What would I like to see instead of the fiction as it is now?

More support articles:
- Zooming in on the local community: describe one location in great detail that the PCs would likely visit, a local inn, magic shop, temple, theater ... This would certainly aid in the 'off-story' roleplaying.
- Local history: what are the local legends, ballads, prayers ...? This information could even be handed out to players with the appropriate knowledge skills.
- Hand-outs: it might be a good idea to collect all the hand-outs in a separate section. I think hand-outs enhance story immersion, so they are definitely a plus. Having a separate hand-out section could possibly have a positive effect on the number of hand-outs created for the adventure. The downside is that it is impossible to create a hand-out section without greatly involving the author of the AP, and we all know that writing the adventure already soaks up all of their time.
- Quick-to-use stats: statting out some NPCs that are not vital to the AP (or to the combats) would also be a nice idea. What are the stats of the city guard, the highpriest, the herbalist or the mayor? The DM might not need their stats, but if he does, it would be quite handy to have them available.
- Side-quest suggestions: I really liked the adventure seeds on the inside cover of Shattered Star. A small section with some sidetrek ideas might be nice. They could be made up in the 'continuing the campaign' format, so not written out in detail but rather in generalist terms with maybe a statblock of the main opponent.

Fiction that is tied in more closely to the AP:
- Fiction based on NPCs or local legends, as several posters have suggested. This is actually a way to develop the 'local history' idea (see above).
- Fiction based on the AP's background: all of the APs come with extensive background stories. These stories usually summarize what happened in the past. I wouldn't mind it if they were written out in a longer 'fiction' section. Sadly, this idea also has the downside that the author of the adventure would have to be involved to some extent.

Dark Archive

I have never read the fiction in any of the APs. I would love that area to be used for something else, much of which has been stated by many posters in this thread. I would love to have a section giving specific advice as to what various evil NPCs in that particular volume do if they get away (who knows maybe even statted up at higher levels for their return in later volumes).

Scarab Sages

I haven't generally been a fan of fiction in gaming products. I don't think I ever read any of the fiction in issues of Dragon I got.

I have read a few of the Pathfinder AP fictions, but only after having gotten all the installments, so I could read it all together. I have enjoyed what I have read, though.

If the fiction were removed, it wouldn't affect my decision to buy the AP line. I certainly wouldn't mind having more pages devoted to support articles, even if, as was mentioned, they simply expanded the current articles. But leaving it in wouldn't bother me either.

(Yeah, I know, not really a vote either way, but... 8^)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Pitching in here with my tuppence ha'penny worth (that's 2 cents I guess for you US folks); I say lose the fiction. I've been a subscriber since Serpent's Skull, never read it, never will. Nothing against it, but it's not what I buy gaming product for. I have NEVER wanted fiction in a gaming product, and that goes back to 1st Edition. Nothing against fiction at all. Everything has its place, but an adventure game product isn't it. I'm a published writer, I can do my own, thanks. What I'm not is an adventure designer. I've read tons of fantasy, I've got tons that I haven't read queued up, and tons more on my Amazon wishlist. I don't care what fills the space; I understand maps / adventure expansions aren't practical, but to be honest I'm happy for any kind of crunch - more monsters, more ideas, perhaps extra info on locations in the adventure, more anything. I must admit, when I first bought Serpent's Skull I assumed the fiction was going to be that - the storyline of the AP fictionalised, which I thought might at least give me a couple of ideas. When I realised it wasn't it seemed to have even less point, and I was baffled at its inclusion other than a fairly cheap way of filling the page count.

In a way the Adventure Paths are an amalgam of what Dungeon and Dragon used to be, but to my mind I'd rather it was more of the Dungeon plus crunchier articles from Dragon, than the fluff. I've no time for it - to my mind it's plagued gaming products for years. I realise I'm an extreme case - I don't even like flavour text in rulebooks - but I'd rather get at something that helped me at the gaming table. I play rpgs because I have an imagination; I can visualise adventures, create characters and immerse myself in an ongoing, complex storyline. The help I need for that is for someone to provide the skeleton, not flesh, bones and formal attire as well.

I'm aware James Sutter has said up thread that it's a risk to drop it, and for commercial reasons Paizo have to balance the folks (like me) who keep buying even *though* the APs have fiction, against the folks who'd cancel if they didn't, but seriously? How many people on here buy the APs for 6 pages of fiction, and would cancel their sub if it went? Has anyone in this thread so far - even those who really, really like the fiction - said they'd stop buying if the fiction was dropped? Where's the sense in that? That must be the most expensive six pages of fiction on the market.

The Adventure Paths are to my mind just about the best ongoing gaming product out there right now, and I've got no doubt at all that when D&D reappears in its new guise there'll be a monthly adventure sub built in. I suspect there will be a fiction component there too, but I'd like to see Paizo having evolved to the next stage before then.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In case anyone's still counting, I like the fiction. I wouldn't cancel my subscription if it went away, but I would be sad to see it go.

My favorites have been the stories in Council of Thieves, Kingmaker, Jade Regent, and Skull & Shackles, and I'm quite enjoying the one in Reign of Winter so far. I like when the fiction is thematically and/or geographically linked to the adventure, although I don't like the idea of making the fiction directly related to the adventure (e.g., a "prequel" addressing Nualia's upbringing prior to Rise of the Runelords, or similar suggestions).

I like the variety it adds: a small, bite-sized break in between more rules-heavy sections. I like the way it makes each issue of an AP feel more like a magazine rather than just a series of longer-than-usual adventure modules. In fact, I really enjoy the fact that the AP has always been intended to be broadly useful beyond just the adventure content, and I think the fiction vitally contributes to that.

Liberty's Edge

Michael Gentry wrote:

although I don't like the idea of making the fiction directly related to the adventure (e.g., a "prequel" addressing Nualia's upbringing prior to Rise of the Runelords, or similar suggestions).

Wait, you don't like that? Why not?

Shadow Lodge

Coridan wrote:
Michael Gentry wrote:
although I don't like the idea of making the fiction directly related to the adventure (e.g., a "prequel" addressing Nualia's upbringing prior to Rise of the Runelords, or similar suggestions).
Wait, you don't like that? Why not?

Seconded. That would be the only thing that would get me to be interested in the fiction in the first place.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Coridan wrote:
Michael Gentry wrote:

although I don't like the idea of making the fiction directly related to the adventure (e.g., a "prequel" addressing Nualia's upbringing prior to Rise of the Runelords, or similar suggestions).

Wait, you don't like that? Why not?

Because of the reasons I give in the third paragraph of my post, basically. I enjoy the fact that the AP contains more than just the adventure, and the fiction contributes to that. I like the variety it provides.

I'm pretty satisfied with the amount of background provided in APs already, and what is there I would rather have in a summarized, informative format, rather than as a decompressed narrative.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

I'm one of those people who like the *idea* of fiction in my AP, but so far have been turned off by the implementation of it. So long as they are "just stories", then I'm not going to get excited about them.

Part of the problem with the fiction for me is that we're stuck with the same story in all six parts. Sometimes the protagonist clicks with me, and I want to read more about him/her. Sometimes, I find that the protagonist either bores or annoys me, and then I'm uninterested in hearing more about him/her. Problem is, I'm locked in at the first volume of a given arc. If I decide to skip over the first issue, then I have no reason to take a look at the other 5 that come after it.

However, sometimes fiction is more than just a story. Inside the covers of Legacy of Fire, there were great vignettes concerning the world, written in the style of ancient Arabic Myth. I loved those, and would have been happy to see a collection of more such myths instead of the fiction section.

Looking at your competitors, I love what White Wolf does/did with its hardcover lines: the stories at the start of the book and the short stories between chapters are vignettes that draw you in to the setting and the world, and give you the texture of the rest of the product. They aren't just a tale "about some guy doing some stuff", but each story had a very focused purpose in highlighting a specific aspect about the setting. I think there's a lot to learn from that.

I'm in favor of a massive re-engineering and re-purposing of the fiction, rather than cannibalizing the space to expand existing content.


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I don't subscribe, but I've bought five of the APs so far that I liked. I would go so far as to say that I could not care less if the fiction were just removed and the page count reduced. The fiction is dead space for me. I've tried reading a few of them, and they weren't all that bad, but they didn't hold my interest for more than a couple paragraphs.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

I certainly like the AP fiction, but as the issues rolled on, I found i tend to collect all 6 parts of a series, and then read them in one sitting - which is leaves me with a part of each volume that "investment only" until the AP is completed.

Maybe you could either tie the fiction more closely to each issue (so it is interesting to read after the adventure?) Sure, it would make it more bite-sized, BUT it would make each issue more enjoyable on its own.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I haven't read a single piece of the fiction in the any of the 40 APs I have and I don't see myself doing so any time in the future. However, I do appreciate it for giving exposure (and a paycheck) to a writer. If it were to be dropped I would not mourn its loss, but I don't mind skipping a few pages so a fantasy writer can get some exposure and a decent meal.

If it were replaced my wish list would be:
-More player handouts.
-Details of a specific location, like a tavern or magic item shop.
-Details on random Holidays, local, national, religious, whatever, but they add flavor that I often think goes over looked.
-Golarion flavor stuff in general, local cuisine, sports, sayings.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And I agree with who ever said that it might be a good idea to do the fiction as an in-universe history, like Plutarch doing the rise of House Thrune. Whoever said that had a good idea.

Or perhaps a sort of book-as-artifact style, like Jeff VanderMeer's City of Saints and Madmen, where the story is something actually published (and not just a diary entry) somewhere on Golarion.

I would be more likely to read something like that.


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

Yeah, that might make a nice change of pace. Perhaps one of the APs could include some edition of the Pathfinder Chronicles (or excerpts from six famous ones or something?)

Grand Lodge

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No No.. do NOT remove the fiction. I find that the fiction directly contributes to the feel of the setting for the AP it is in. If a GM were to read it (which is why it is there) they can actually get a feel for how the natives might speak and how people might react to certain things and the like.

It is a very helpful tool!!

I would rather have more maps and the like OUTSIDE of the AP rather then remove something from it.

Sczarni

Paizo folks, have you thought of maybe sending out a survey with the monthly order email to all AP subscribers? That would give you a bigger population base than just the few of us who have found this thread. ;)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'm a charter subscriber. I've been getting the AP's since the beginning. In fact between the RPG line and the AP line I'm starting to run out of space on my bookshelf.

Anyway I've never read the fiction in them until recently and the fiction while not pertaining directly to the AP's DO help flesh out Golarion in MANAGABLE portions for those of who dont want to read full on 200+ page fiction in a book form.

I've always kinda hated the impact that fiction books have had on certain RPG lines (*looks at Forgotten Realms*) I hate the fact that players often looked to their knowledge of those books to bludgeon thier DM's into doing things "like in the books".

The fiction in the AP's help me visualize and get a decent idea of what certain things look and feel like from the perspective of someone else and that's a very different viewpoint than just reading a bunch of facts in what might as well be a text book at times.

Eando Kline's travels through the Hold of Belkzen is a prime example of what I'm talking about. The map is not the territory. From his point of view I got a better understanding of how rought travelling through an orc encampment out there really is. And ultimately that helps me visualize better.

So yeah, I'm for keeping the fiction.

Contributor

ShinHakkaider wrote:
I've always kinda hated the impact that fiction books have had on certain RPG lines (*looks at Forgotten Realms*)...

Ouch! ;)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Trinite wrote:
Paizo folks, have you thought of maybe sending out a survey with the monthly order email to all AP subscribers? That would give you a bigger population base than just the few of us who have found this thread. ;)

Getting a survey out there is something I've wanted us to do for years. Always seems like there's more important/bigger things taking up the time folks would need to build a survey, alas...


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

Surveymonkey.com has some decent support/analytical tooks provided for a reasonable price (especially if you have someone on staff familiar with SPSS or something similar).


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If I wanted fiction I'd go buy the fiction - pull it out, make it its own subscription and see how many people are actually willing to pay for it. I'd guess almost none.

When I buy a cookbook, I don't want it filled with stories about a person's grandmother. When I buy a technical manual for a piece of software, I don't want it filled with anecdotes on how the software came into being. When I buy an AP path, I don't want it filled with something that is of no use to me whatsoever. I can think of a dozen better uses for those pages.

Grand Lodge

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Damocles Guile wrote:

If I wanted fiction I'd go buy the fiction - pull it out, make it its own subscription and see how many people are actually willing to pay for it. I'd guess almost none.

When I buy a cookbook, I don't want it filled with stories about a person's grandmother. When I buy a technical manual for a piece of software, I don't want it filled with anecdotes on how the software came into being. When I buy an AP path, I don't want it filled with something that is of no use to me whatsoever. I can think of a dozen better uses for those pages.

When I buy an Adventure Path I do WANT flavor text and yes Fiction IS very very much a part of that. While your anecdotes are all well and good. the Fiction being included in the AP gives us a feel for the setting, the city and the AP in general. It does not detract from the AP at all by including it. If you would rather not read it, then by all means please do not. But do not assume that others would not just because it might not sell separately if pulled out on it's own. If on it's own it would not make as much sense because it is NOT tied in to the AP then.

So KEEP the fiction in please!

Liberty's Edge

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Time for the fiction to go. Expanded adventure or articles would be
added value.

Sovereign Court

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Damocles Guile wrote:
If I wanted fiction I'd go buy the fiction - pull it out, make it its own subscription and see how many people are actually willing to pay for it. I'd guess almost none.

There are plenty of Pathfinder Tales subscribers. So, yes, people will and do subscribe to PF fiction.

Damocles Guile wrote:
When I buy a cookbook, I don't want it filled with stories about a person's grandmother. When I buy a technical manual for a piece of software, I don't want it filled with anecdotes on how the software came into being. When I buy an AP path, I don't want it filled with something that is of no use to me whatsoever.

Well, that may be your point of view but lots of people actually prefer cookbooks which are full of stories and anecdotes.

link

Damocles Guile wrote:
I can think of a dozen better uses for those pages.

Well, don't keep us in suspense! Let's see that dozen written down.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Very interesting thread. Makes sense why more maps are impossible in the AP's.

Feedback was asked for and so here's my two cents.
I love the AP's, look forward to getting my new book every month, and I'm slowly filling in back issues.
But I don't read the fiction at all, and never have. To me, like others who've posted here, it's just dead space. Not trying to rag on the fiction you guys write, but I just don't find it relevant to my purchase.

To me the adventure paths are there to take the load off me when I need to run a campaign, so the most important parts are the adventure, bestiary, and any articles that expand on NPC's, locations, etc.

Now, it can be argued that the fiction does expand on those things, but it's a lot less concise than reading a character entry or article on one of the gods or a town. I only have so much time, and I don't feel the fiction section to be useful in that way for me.

Personally, what I would rather see in each AP is expanded articles on NPC's included in each AP, or notable NPC's around town or locations, even without maps.
I'm a big fan of the map products you publish, so having the exact maps is often less important if I can just bring out a flip mat or tiles and scribble in some minor changes.

For instance, I've run games in Korvosa extensively, starting with a homebrew with an evil party set just before Curse of the Crimson throne and then continuing that AP afterwards with heroic characters. At one point the evil party hid out with Gaedren Lamm, so NPC's and info from the guide to Korvosa and CotCT books were a huge help.

But there's a few things and people that it would have really helped to have fleshed out in Korvosa, more NPC's, or other churches in the area etc.

tl;dr: No fiction, more NPC's, beasts, and locations (maps not neccesary.)


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Christopher Rowe wrote:
ShinHakkaider wrote:
I've always kinda hated the impact that fiction books have had on certain RPG lines (*looks at Forgotten Realms*)...
Ouch! ;)

D00d I had no idea who you were until something told me to google your name.

I still stand by my statement though and hope you honestly dont take offense. I havent paid much attention to FR since 2008 and honestly probably before that as well.

I have fond, FOND memories of that first Grey Box though. In fact I still have the books and maps and clear hexgrid overlays from that first boxed set...


Steve Geddes wrote:
Surveymonkey.com has some decent support/analytical tooks provided for a reasonable price (especially if you have someone on staff familiar with SPSS or something similar).

Seen survey monkey's stuff used extensively, it's very similar to the stuff Paizo itself uses from time to time. Given the penny pinchin' nature of the 2nd employer, I would be surprised if it was not pretty affordable.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Trinite wrote:
Paizo folks, have you thought of maybe sending out a survey with the monthly order email to all AP subscribers? That would give you a bigger population base than just the few of us who have found this thread. ;)
Getting a survey out there is something I've wanted us to do for years. Always seems like there's more important/bigger things taking up the time folks would need to build a survey, alas...

Well, hopefully it can be managed at some point. A survey would not only reach more people (as has been pointed out) but could also list specific and attainable options for responders to rank/prioritze. An open-ended "what would you like to see instead?" will just get you many more requests for more maps, expanded adventures and other stuff you've already explained cannot realistically happen.

Scarab Sages

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I am a little late to the discussion.

Personally, I do not read the AP Fiction and would rather see the space used for something else {Support Articles, Map Support, Etc..}.

When I want to read fiction, I resort to the pathfinder Fiction line.

The reason I buy the Adventure paths is for two reasons:
1) Quality of the Adventure Path writing
2) Support Articles {usually they interest me}

Cheers!

Ryan B


I just wanted to throw in my two cents: I love the fiction and always look forward it. I think it conveys the flavor and atmosphere of the AP in a way that module text doesn't necessarily. Also, I just like the variety of stuff that the AP modules come with -- bestiary entries, setting/deity lore, "ecology of" articles, new treasure/equipment, and fiction -- it's a little bit like what my beloved Dragon magazine used to be. Maybe you guys should add a comic :)

I thought the Serpent's Skull story was particularly good.

Lantern Lodge

I kinda wish there was a significantly cheaper black and white Adventure only option in pdf form without the Bestiary, fiction, magic items, etc. I love and use the stuff, and I'm a subscriber, but sometimes I wish I had a budget and easy to print option available.

Liberty's Edge

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I haven’t chimed in on this before too much, but it seems Paizo’s stance on this has become more fluid, so I shall reiterate that I think the AP’s would be better off without the fiction.

• My wife reads the novels, but not the AP fiction. Why? She just says they’re too short for her to get fully into.

• Episodic, sometimes by different authors. I won’t even start reading them until I have all six issues in a set. And the AP’s I don’t plan to run I don’t read the fiction at all.

• Hit or Miss. A few I’ve tried starting but after the first one or two lose interest because I see I’m not getting anything out of it to help me run the AP. As GM I’m interested in them as part of the AP I’m running. If it seems to be just set ‘somewhere in the area’ or for flavor it’s not as important to me as if it was more, I don’t know, “targeted” toward the AP?

CASE IN POINT: if the fiction for Shattered Star was all set in Magnimar dealing with different locations in the city, describing them, the mannerisms of the people or giving me GM fuel to use, that’s one thing. The story starts in Riddleport, which is neat, but the AP doesn’t even go there (uh, spoiler?)!

So what’s become of it? After Kingmaker’s fiction (which had a really funny part dealing with nuns) I haven’t read any installments since, and only a handful before that. In prepping for my games it hasn’t added value to the adventure, the core reason I subscribe.

1) If the 6 pages were GM fodder I would even be more interested in “fiction”. Get this: I would be more inclined to read the fiction if in Shattered Star there was an adventure set in and around the city watch of the Arvensoar. Meeting some characters (not even in the AP!) getting the ins and outs, the architecture, splendor across to help my own descriptions. Heck, even if each chapter explored a mini transaction in 6 different Magnimar locations, like “a day in the life” would be better. And they wouldn’t have to be in the AP, just something extra for me to use.

2) A couple of more monsters that would be in the area but do not necessarily show up in the AP would be better suited to this, my tool as a GM, than the fiction.

3) GM advice. Sometimes this gets a paragraph or two in the foreword and I relish it! Anything regarding liner notes, things to watch for, alternate workarounds, etc.

4) And finally, if in general the editor’s have a conundrum where they have to cut something the author wrote for the adventure due to space, I would sure appreciate that in the AP than the fiction.

To summarize, I don’t think the fiction is not quality work, it just doesn’t suit any purpose the way every other page in the AP does (directly supporting me, the GM, to the adventure).

Thanks Paizo for listening.


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I love the Paizo fiction, but I like it when I want it. When I pick up an adventure path I'm typically looking for things that can better help me run the game. Additional articles about religions, races, or cultures encountered (or even ecologies of new monsters introduced in the AP) would be better uses of this space, from a GM's perspective.

With weekly fiction on the blog and also the novels, I feel that I can already get plenty of in-world fiction whenever I want.


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119kudou wrote:

Very interesting thread. Makes sense why more maps are impossible in the AP's.

Feedback was asked for and so here's my two cents.
I love the AP's, look forward to getting my new book every month, and I'm slowly filling in back issues.
But I don't read the fiction at all, and never have. To me, like others who've posted here, it's just dead space. Not trying to rag on the fiction you guys write, but I just don't find it relevant to my purchase.

To me the adventure paths are there to take the load off me when I need to run a campaign, so the most important parts are the adventure, bestiary, and any articles that expand on NPC's, locations, etc.

Now, it can be argued that the fiction does expand on those things, but it's a lot less concise than reading a character entry or article on one of the gods or a town. I only have so much time, and I don't feel the fiction section to be useful in that way for me.

Personally, what I would rather see in each AP is expanded articles on NPC's included in each AP, or notable NPC's around town or locations, even without maps.
I'm a big fan of the map products you publish, so having the exact maps is often less important if I can just bring out a flip mat or tiles and scribble in some minor changes.

For instance, I've run games in Korvosa extensively, starting with a homebrew with an evil party set just before Curse of the Crimson throne and then continuing that AP afterwards with heroic characters. At one point the evil party hid out with Gaedren Lamm, so NPC's and info from the guide to Korvosa and CotCT books were a huge help.

But there's a few things and people that it would have really helped to have fleshed out in Korvosa, more NPC's, or other churches in the area etc.

tl;dr: No fiction, more NPC's, beasts, and locations (maps not neccesary.)

I'll tell you one thing I really liked - I don't have all the AP's, but like you I'm trying to fill them in as I can afford them... I got Legacy of Fire in its entirety when it was on sale and they had small mini-adventures they called 'set pieces' which could be inserted into any number of places in the AP, between books or not at all depending on the need of the group. I really thought that was added value and would love to see a continuation of that over the fiction that's included.


Kajehase wrote:
Maps are art. Art is more expensive than text.

Yep. The OP may not be too sure that art costs more, but it does. And as to there being various cheap cartography software out there, yes there is, but it is proprietary in most (if not all) cases, and for home use. Pros do not use other guys' software. They tweak professional versions of Illustrator and other aps to build their own custom desktops.

Remember: writing is paid by the word. Pennies on the word. Art is paid by the hour or commissioned by the piece. Totally different.


Trinite wrote:
Paizo folks, have you thought of maybe sending out a survey with the monthly order email to all AP subscribers? That would give you a bigger population base than just the few of us who have found this thread. ;)

Greg Costikyan stated in A Farewell to Hexes that SPI's not very secret weapon was the questionnaire they included with their newsletter. Although SPI did eventually sink beneath the waves, the survey idea seems to me as if it has some merit.

Liberty's Edge

I like the fiction. It is a part of the AP's that I have looked forward to for almost the entire run of Pathfinder, one APs fiction didn't really grab me but that is no big. I think the APs would be diminished as a product with the removal of the fiction.

IMHO, the APs are more that just adventures plus support material. To remove anything whole cloth from them would be a mistake.


I like the fiction when it's folded back into the AP line.

Like the Eando Kline stuff. A prelude and prologue to Serpent's Skull. Which suffered it's own can-o-worms issues but point aside.

Liberty's Edge

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I’m returning after my post above because I remembered something. Carrion Crown - and filling in the blanks between books in an otherwise really great campaign.

Between each book, which took part in vastly different locales, there were days of travel with no real support. You just "Indiana Jones’ red-lined" it across the landscape. This may have been by design, but what it made for was more GM work than I’m used to. Before the game began I needed to put a map of Ustalav in a drawing program, map out the different locales noting which book they were in, then individually research what was between them so I could run a satisfactory game (my players like to stop and smell the roses at times).

If each book in Carrion Crown had taken the map (no new cartography required), just blown up the section between that book and the next, then included some ideas for interesting encounters that were not necessarily monster or combat related, this would have saved me a ton of time. Instead between each book I combed Rule of Fear (an awesome book), but even it wasn’t able to go “close up” regarding some of the travel assumed.

Someone else on these boards kept asking about a campaign “road map” and this was the first AP where I really felt like those 6 pages per book could have been used to help a GM connect the books together a little more.

I certainly don’t expect pity, I am a hard working GM who doesn’t mind the research put into my games, it just seemed for some reason that my time should have been better spent than connecting the adventures. Certainly, even if a GM is just running the one adventure a few extra incedental encounter or bare-bones town ideas wouldn't hurt!

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