While reading Kingmaker, I noticed that it (like pretty much all AP's), uses the medium advancement. Now I'm getting ready to run the AP, but I'm contemplating have 5, possibly 6, players. Now, having crunched the numbers, I've determined that a party of 6 on the fast track, with no adjustment to the actual amount of experience they get straight from the AP, they should level at about the same speed as a party of four, which the AP states it is built around.
Thoughts and comments?
If there was ever an AP to slow down and smell the roses and savor the victories, this is it. I definitely recommend taking things slower rather than faster, in particular since you want to be able to add your own GM created material into the AP. The AP itself is pretty much a bare bones infrastructure with some meat on the bones, the rest is up to you to flesh out.
I also second the idea of leveling the characters at appropriate points in the story advancement and throwing out the XP. It makes it more real for the players and you have less chance of some of them making kingdom based decisions on a metagame level chasing their next character level. IE - Better immersion :)
As a GM and a player, I still prefer using XP as nothing is quite as satisfying as when the players total it up and realize they've gone up a level. That said, I do understand the idea (some would say need) to flesh out the AP, and I fully intend to do that. I have already been reading a number of "hints and tips" here on the boards, and also have gotten some ideas from a buddy GM in my town.
I ran my 6-player party at fast-track through Book 1, as they really wanted to go after the Stag Lord, and with some discouragement by me, they did dawdle until they hit 3rd level before going after him. They still didn't explore the forest hexes.
After taking the fort, I slowed them to Medium-track advancement. As it is, they've done better than half of Book 2 and should hit L6 at the end of the next session (Big Owlbear and likely the Lonely Warrior). That should set them up nicely for the trolls when spring rolls around. All of the above took spring & summer, they're going to take autumn off. The owlbear is going to hit their town just after midwinter.
My profile has links to my Kingmaker expansions.
There are also FANTASTIC six person conversions stickied in this forum, so you don't need to change the xp track.
But the above posters are right, this is a long AP to play, and can take YEARS (in AND out of game).
For the record, I'm putting my characters back onto Fast Track, as I will be skipping Book 3. At the request of the players, they want some time (at least two sessions, I think) between levelling, so it will be more like "level when the GM says so." I want them a bit ahead of the curve after Book 2, but they will still be behind Book 4.
OTOH, given the ease with which they are slaughtering most combat opponents, even on the 6-player conversion, I'm not too worried about challenges.
As for the in-game time, we're starting to skip whole seasons between sessions, as 5/6 players don't want to deal with the bookkeeping. The one who does is my wife, so we can do a lot of the things out of game.
A clever idea that I had employed that might really help you especially if only a few players are interested in the kingdom building rules. Do the kingdom building in large increments between adventures. (Obviously It really helps if you live with the person interested in the building.) Cover the kingdom time with your wife soon after you play so you can send an email out to your group and ask them to write you a bit about what they do during the kingdom expansion time. Then award them experience, or in your case high-fives.
Some players are all about the color of the kingdom in the background and some people like the hands on approach a lot.
Yep, big chunks is pretty much what we're doing. There's about to be a 9-month (in-game time) gap between sessions, so a lot might happen. Oddly, my wife is not the ruler, so she makes a point of running her decisions by that player, as well as making broad plans with her. Other players have kicked in with occasional wish lists.