Is this adventure path a dud?


Reign of Winter

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A friend of mine is running his first full-fledged campaign using this path and I got to say a lot that's happening in it seems pretty, well, stupid

First of all, you're pretty much railroaded into the plot because the Black rider gives you a geas/quest? Then the adventures seem extremely linear. Then the first adventure will freaking murder you because of all the BS fey that can hide in the snow.

I don't know, is the overall pacing and development of this adventure sub-par, or is it justmy GM's general new-ness? Sometimes I feel like I'm forced to play into some amusement park of fail because some witch forced me to do it.


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Mavrickindigo wrote:

A friend of mine is running his first full-fledged campaign using this path and I got to say a lot that's happening in it seems pretty, well, stupid

First of all, you're pretty much railroaded into the plot because the Black rider gives you a geas/quest? Then the adventures seem extremely linear. Then the first adventure will freaking murder you because of all the BS fey that can hide in the snow.

I don't know, is the overall pacing and development of this adventure sub-par, or is it justmy GM's general new-ness? Sometimes I feel like I'm forced to play into some amusement park of fail because some witch forced me to do it.

This is my favorite adventure path to date. I am running it.

Its also what my party has deemed "[Pathfinder] Hardmode" if you can't stand a challenge, don't play it. This campaign is hard, and only gets HARDER.

And in regards to the quest, Witch Queen Baba Yaga is as powerful as Asmodeus. Sure, this AP railroads, any good GM can disguise a railroad, or make a railroad interesting, so that can be attributed to your new GM. My player's don't realize they are fully railroaded. I disguised many elements or gave them proper plot hooks to get the characters involved in the story.

TLDR: Don't like a challenge? Don't play RoW.
Don't like railroading? Blame new GM, not the writers. AP's don't have a whole lot to work with, you... kinda have to railroad.


I was enchanted with it right away. I am also GMing it, and I personally love it. It might be railroady, but all Adventure Paths are kinda going to be that way. You want the PCs to be interested in particular things, or the path just doesn't work.

I don't think it's a dud, and difficulty is always what people make of it.


Will be running in this AP soon enough, with a group of players with mixed experience levels. Any helpful tips on group composition? Five or Six person group, with most experienced playing a Druid and a Witch at the moment. Hard mode sound great too me.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Any game is only as good as the GM. A new GM running this may run into problems. I say this as an experienced GM who ran into some problems with this.

Mind you, an experienced player should do his or her best to help a new GM when possible so to ensure the game is as fun as possible for both players AND GM. It's not you vs. the GM. It's the GM as storyteller and you and your companions as actors playing the part as protagonist.

-------------

As for possible group composition?

A Ranger would be a damn fine choice for a player. Gunslingers also have a chance at some loving once Book 5 comes around. As you've five players minimum, you could consider someone running a Bard to buff the rest of the group. Otherwise, having a Divine Caster and an Arcane Caster, along with a skill-based character and a front-line fighter is often a good choice. If you've six players, you could even go for a front-line fighter and an artillery/bow specialist (or gunslinger) to target them both up close and further away.


Pretty much all APs are railroads - there's only so much material in X pages of adventure for going off the rails. Even Kingmaker has invisible rails in the form of areas that will kill you dead if you stray from the current volume before you've finished. Some are better/worse than others, but that's the nature of the beast.

Now, I will agree with the above posters that a decent GM can hide the rails in a pretty ride, but there's only so far you can push before you'll find them no matter how good the GM is.


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

i have included elements to make it more personal.
a example, two of our members are brother and sister (in real life and the game, my 2 kids in fact:) they came to Heldren tracking a Witch that had abducted their younger sister. so in our campaign their younger sisters pure spirit was used as a component for imprisoning Baba Yaga, and the only way to bring her back is to free Baba Yaga.

the other two i thought would be harder to motivate, one a Dwarven Stargazer Oracle of Heavens with all sorts of crack pot theories about Elves originally being Aliens (SPOILER ALERT! he's right). so all i had to do was put various hints about things that happen later;)

the last is my wife's Magus, turns out she is just in it for the Dancing Hut:) so as soon as the Black Rider mentioned the Hut she was hooked, no geas needed.

suggest to your GM that making it personal would make it more fun for you.

i won't criticize your GM as i am a beginner GM also and know how difficult it can be some times:)

lastly it isn't a RailRoad, it is an ADVENTURE PATH, and the general rule of following paths (adventure, forest or desert or mountainous) is if you leave the path you WILL get lost, if you dont want to follow a path then play in the BackYard SandBox (i.e. Homebrew adventures, Skull & Shackles or KingMaker)

just my opinion, take it how you want:)

Silver Crusade

0) My vote: not a dud. I am GM'ing RoW. We're into book 3 and so far, my players are having a hell of a lot of fun. No complaints.

1) Railroads are there in any AP. Good players will go along for the ride enough to support you, while waving their arms out of the coach to keep it entertaining for themselves.

2) It's up to any good GM to HELP personalize and drive the AP together. Sometimes details are lacking given Paizo's publishing cycle; in RoW, I don't think enough is done to explain Elvanna's motivations, or reveals about Baba Yaga.

So, I've made my own metaplot; the Black Rider is affecting characters with ... very different results. Not all of them are good. Different characters have roles to play in the future of Irrisen, etc.

This should be part of any narrative AP, though. Gear it to your players, use the book as a base and go from there.

3) In terms of difficulty level, you have to significantly increase some of the encounter levels in The Shackled Hut. I thought Snows of Summer was well balanced enough. But, 85-90% of the encounters were entertaining and interesting enough.

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo)

Starfinder Superscriber

Everything being mentioned here is totally true. We're most of the way through book 2 now, and it is much easier than book 1. Shackled Hut has so far been much easier than Snows of Summer, but I'm looking ahead at 3-5 and those appear to be Hard Mode.

Book 1 is on pretty hard rails, but it's an AP. That's what most APs do, so the GM really has to get the party personally involved. For that mater, the players have to want to be there. In my campaign, we've got an Order of the Staff cavalier that is super excited to be working for the Queen of Witches, the Spellbreaker inquisitor that HATES witches and loves that they get to hunt down the biggest witch in Irrisen, a bounty hunter who chased a former PC through the Winter Portal, and a pair of bumbling old mages that want to rescue Baba Yaga so she can teach them Real Ultimate Power(tm).

Also, I think a lot of people who have problems with this AP are running into the fact that Snows of Summer is one of the weaker books in the AP. Unlike most APs that start out ok and get worse as they go, this one has a weak start, but ramps up quite a bit. Maiden, Mother, Crone doesn't have a great reputation on these boards, but I like it. Frozen Stars has great RP opportunities. Rasputin Must Die! is easily the best part of the AP, but that might be my Rasputin fanboy showing. Witch Queen's Revenge isn't quite as good as the previous two, but the right GM could really make it pop.

TLDR: If you're playing, make yourself care about the Witch Queen, one way or another. The books get better after 1.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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This AP has received some of the most positive feedback of any AP in recent years. Personal taste is a matter of... well, personal taste... but "dud?" Not by a long shot.

Grand Lodge

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

hmmm we are having a great time with this AP! It is a mixture for twisted fairy tail and cold block soviet fun. As for the "geas" thing it is suppose to be the hook but I know players were more excited about the bonuses it granted and the chance to get into the "Dancing Hut". I had not even worried about enforcing it and most likely will not.

I am thinking maybe the new GMs is still trying to figure it out, basically goals are set by the AP but how the players achieve them is determined by them. My group has been all over the board, making decisions and plans...some work out better then others.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Books 1, 2 & 5: Awesome! :D

Books 3, 4 & 6: Not so hot. :s


This is my favorite AP so far. In fact, I'm running two different groups through it, and they are telling very different stories. The core encounters are the same, but it feels like two very different campaigns.

As a player, you have a role to play (tip your waiter - try the veal!) in making the story engaging, too.


If I'd run this, I'm pretty sure my player's would have crucified me at the end. Fortunately, we all agreed the premise sucked.
Railroading, however, is pretty much goung to happen in any of Paizo's APs.


NikTheAvatar wrote:
So, I've made my own metaplot; the Black Rider is affecting characters with ... very different results. Not all of them are good. Different characters have roles to play in the future of Irrisen, etc.

Can you expand on this? It sounds like something that helps a "railroady" type game be much more interesting.

As far as the game being a dud I don't agree, but I'm also running it. I think my players are having a good time so far, but we're only one game in so time will tell.

However, the last two campaigns that I ran that I was really this excited about were Shackled City and Carrion Crown. And like those campaigns I've spent a lot of prep time integrating the player characters into the story.

I didn't like the traits in the Players Guide so I made up backgrounds for all the players (I have seven!) that tied them into the story. So they all have a stake in A) closing the portal to save their home and B) feeling they have a greater destiny, without it feeling like anything is forcing them into it. They all want to be "Big Damn Heroes" some day.:)


wspatterson wrote:
If I'd run this, I'm pretty sure my player's would have crucified me at the end. Fortunately, we all agreed the premise sucked.

Why and how so, if I may ask?

Silver Crusade

Sean C. Macdonald wrote:
NikTheAvatar wrote:
So, I've made my own metaplot; the Black Rider is affecting characters with ... very different results. Not all of them are good. Different characters have roles to play in the future of Irrisen, etc.

Can you expand on this? It sounds like something that helps a "railroady" type game be much more interesting.

He probably can't expand much since at least one of his players reads these boards :-)

Every character is getting links into the story. Some seriously strange stuff is happening with at least 2 PCs. I can't really be clearer than that since its not at all clear to either the player or character what is going on. Its pretty clear that the players knew more than do I but it very much clear that they don't know everything. The changes are both mechanical and story related.

So far at least my character hasn't been affected mechanically. But she ( a Jadwega winter witch born in Irrisen but raised in Taldor) is central to a prophecy involving the Queens of Irrisen. Which has either affected the story or at least changed how we view it.

We're still basically on a railroad but none of us care :-)


I've been enjoying it so far, but not as much as I would have hoped. It's the GM's first time running Pathfinder (I normally run all our games, but I was desperate for a chance to play), and we've ended up with it being run with lots of guild wars jokes and extremely obvious railroading. Rather than giving us the illusion of a choice, we get an exclamation of "All aboard the train! WOOWOO!" and then seemingly get rushed to the next encounter... that's not a joke. That actually happens a few times a session. That said, I am enjoying the story itself.


Madness, I say, MADNESS!!! This AP is sooooooooooooo cool! Would anyone like a dead otter on a stick? No? I don't either, just thought you were hungry! Who cares about railroading? Unless you're laying across the tracks when the train comes by, of course, that could be messy! Stick with it, like gold coins on a mimic, and you will love it! Unless you hate it, then you'll love to hate it! Good GM's can make an Otyugh dung smell like a fair elven princess who just took a bath in rose oil and pixie dust! And this AP already smells like a Qadiran perfume house! You should enjoy it, despite the 'rail-roading'. All APs have 'rails' to some extent.


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Chris Kenney wrote:
Pretty much all APs are railroads - there's only so much material in X pages of adventure for going off the rails.

Agreed. If you want to play sandbox, you want a campaign setting, not an adventure path. That, and a really experienced GM who can ad lib and ad hoc with expertise.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

With any pre-boxed adventure (APs in particular, since it's an entire campaign), there's kind of
an unspoken player contract to "play along". The funny thing is if the GM ran the whole thing out of his head and no one knew it was pre-made, everyone would say what an awesome game it was. People only have this preconceived notion of being boxed-in when they glance over and see something pre-printed. No one complains when Mario or Zelda is pre-arranged! It's a game. Everyone knows the deal. Have fun with it.

The Exchange

mikeawmids wrote:

Books 1, 2 & 5: Awesome! :D

Books 3, 4 & 6: Not so hot. :s

You saying this from experience? because part 4 seems like a huge amount of fun for me. In any AP other than this one, an adventure like Frozen Star would be the one everyone recognized as the awesomest in the campaign. It's first half in particular looks very exciting.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lord Snow wrote:
mikeawmids wrote:

Books 1, 2 & 5: Awesome! :D

Books 3, 4 & 6: Not so hot. :s

You saying this from experience? because part 4 seems like a huge amount of fun for me. In any AP other than this one, an adventure like Frozen Star would be the one everyone recognized as the awesomest in the campaign. It's first half in particular looks very exciting.

I've not played RoW, so my observations are based on having just read the books.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Speaking as an experienced GM (who went through burnout so is not on top of his game anymore sadly enough) it is entirely possible to go sandboxy with an established railroady AP. I did so with Night Below by merging in numerous adventures from the old Dungeon Magazine so the end result was an adventure that had three or four adventures in Ravenloft, a couple other adventures that were also linked, and homemade elements as well.

If an AP feels railroady, the solution is side adventures. A good GM who feels up to it will add in other adventures, either homemade or from sources such as Paizo's modules and old Dungeon magazines, to fill holes or create a sense of diversity.

That said, if the group is on a quest to find Baba Yaga's Dancing Hut and use it to rescue her from a dark and powerful queen (who's her daughter) and in doing so save the world? A railroad may be called for. That said, the occasional bridge being cast down by a huge demon while the PCs jump at the last second to avert their doom could be just what the players are clamouring for. ;)


Rhaleroad wrote:

Will be running in this AP soon enough, with a group of players with mixed experience levels. Any helpful tips on group composition? Five or Six person group, with most experienced playing a Druid and a Witch at the moment. Hard mode sound great too me.

In this particular AP (similar to carrion crown IMO) it's no harm to add extra PCs ESPECIALLY in the beginning (both APs have early encounters that have plenty of pain that could be spread out)

as long as the PCs arent min maxed munchkin powerhouses with 25 point builds, you can play the AP as written with 5-6 15 or 20 point builds. Personally, I think 6 characters with 15 points builds would be the best.

RP wise there is enough going on for 6 PCs and early encounters with things like weather could kill 100 PCs or 1 PC... so it doesnt really matter.

If certain fights seem too easy, you can add one or two zombies, or max the HP of a certain Fey and poof. you're good...no need to rewrite stat blocks or add advanced templates.

Then again, if it's 25 point builds and minmax, stick to 4 or it will be too easy.


Tangent101 wrote:

Speaking as an experienced GM (who went through burnout so is not on top of his game anymore sadly enough) it is entirely possible to go sandboxy with an established railroady AP. I did so with Night Below by merging in numerous adventures from the old Dungeon Magazine so the end result was an adventure that had three or four adventures in Ravenloft, a couple other adventures that were also linked, and homemade elements as well.

If an AP feels railroady, the solution is side adventures. A good GM who feels up to it will add in other adventures, either homemade or from sources such as Paizo's modules and old Dungeon magazines, to fill holes or create a sense of diversity.

That said, if the group is on a quest to find Baba Yaga's Dancing Hut and use it to rescue her from a dark and powerful queen (who's her daughter) and in doing so save the world? A railroad may be called for. That said, the occasional bridge being cast down by a huge demon while the PCs jump at the last second to avert their doom could be just what the players are clamouring for. ;)

the whole "how is queen elevanna powerful enough to trick/trap baba yaga"? is the part that's lacking for me.

there needed to be more players, people to help, something... it just doesn't make sense.


Pendagast wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:

Speaking as an experienced GM (who went through burnout so is not on top of his game anymore sadly enough) it is entirely possible to go sandboxy with an established railroady AP. I did so with Night Below by merging in numerous adventures from the old Dungeon Magazine so the end result was an adventure that had three or four adventures in Ravenloft, a couple other adventures that were also linked, and homemade elements as well.

If an AP feels railroady, the solution is side adventures. A good GM who feels up to it will add in other adventures, either homemade or from sources such as Paizo's modules and old Dungeon magazines, to fill holes or create a sense of diversity.

That said, if the group is on a quest to find Baba Yaga's Dancing Hut and use it to rescue her from a dark and powerful queen (who's her daughter) and in doing so save the world? A railroad may be called for. That said, the occasional bridge being cast down by a huge demon while the PCs jump at the last second to avert their doom could be just what the players are clamouring for. ;)

the whole "how is queen elevanna powerful enough to trick/trap baba yaga"? is the part that's lacking for me.

there needed to be more players, people to help, something... it just doesn't make sense.

If this is a real concern for you might I suggest adding Tashanna as the guiding hand behind all of this behind the scenes? Leave everything else the same, but have Elvanna motivated / assisted in her initial capture by her older sister (Iggwilv if you please). Seems like it could dovetail into a part seven if you wanted it to in taking revenge for Baba Yaga.


Of course the other response could be, "If it just doesn't make sense that a wizard queen, with assistance from Rasputin (not to mention other Irrisen witches) could trick and trap Baba Yaga, how does it make any sense that the even weaker PCs could do anything about it?"

Silver Crusade

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Honestly I share some of the disappointment in this AP.

I have run Kingmaker, Carrion Crown, Curse of the Crimson Throne, Jade Regent and Legacy of Fire through to completion. I have also played Second Darkness and Shackled City through to completion and I am most of the way through Rise of The Runelords and Age of Worms as a GM and Skull and Shackles as a player.

This AP is the first one I haven't got any enthusiasm for running.

My problem is that the AP is one long series of fetch quests that you are forced to do on literal pain of death on behalf of a legendary evil. The nature of the AP leads it to be incoherant and episodic and at no point do the players choose to do anything, they are pretty much told to find each magic football in order with no player input at all.

Linear plots are fine, I like linear plots. This one though grabs the PC's and forces them down a set course. The places you go are interesting but really who cares if you have no reason to be there other than to find the Magic Football of Bob?

The worst thing though is the fact that you are racing to save a legendary evil to stop a lesser evil. All you are is the errand boys for the real big bad. No big damn heroes, just a witches b@&@&es.

This one's sitting on my shelf, I doubt it will do anything other than gather dust.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

You're racing to save a figure from over a thousand years in Golarion's past and who since has only acted in one part of the world to stop her daughter who is intent on locking the world in ice. But really, what evil has Baba Yaga done in Golarion that makes her such a huge threat? Take over one country over a thousand years ago and remove her daughter from power every 100 years? That is not exactly the thing that Legendary Evil is renown for. There are far greater threats to Golarion than Baba Yaga in this case.

If you consider the Earth mythology of Baba Yaga, then you're racing to save a figure who has done evil but who has also done good. Her daughter is still intent on covering the world with ice. She is still not this Legendary Evil. She is legendary, yes. But she has done evil, and she has done good.

Ultimately, Baba Yaga acts for her own benefit. But she does not go out of her way to harm others or rule over them. She doesn't CARE about others and doesn't care to rule them.


Besides the fact that covering the world with ice is just stupid, Golarion has quite a few very powerful spellcasters, both good & evil, that wouldn't be too keen on having their playground wrecked. I suppose the PCs getting involved might keep the death toll down, but at the end of the day this whole freezing the world thing would just lead to a significant smackdown of Elvanna.
I'm guessing Elvanna is presented as being unhinged? Otherwise, why would she want to rule a world of frozen corpses & starving servants?


This is my first AP as a new gm and so far my group and I are liking it a LOT!
You do have to come up with some cleaver hooks to keep your players on the right track with out the need for the black riders geas.
I also threw in some side quests.
Reading this AP did seem very railroady at first but so far both my players and i have really enjoyed it... We are only about half way thru book one but so far its been great!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Because it's a stepping stone to take over other worlds. She wants to REPLACE Baba Yaga. Think of Golarion... as a huge sacrifice. When it dies, she ascends and replaces her mother.


Tangent101 wrote:
Because it's a stepping stone to take over other worlds. She wants to REPLACE Baba Yaga. Think of Golarion... as a huge sacrifice. When it dies, she ascends and replaces her mother.

I was assuming she was going for Irrisen levels of winter: harsh but survivable with all sorts of advantages for Winter Witches and their allies, not Snowball Earth levels of winter.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Irrisen is survivable for people from Irrisen or the Northlands. But if Irrisen-type winter spread everywhere? Lots of animals would die off quickly because they can't survive cold weather. A lot of plantlife would as well. And crops would freeze before the harvest. So a lot of people would die as well.

Trust me. It is still a huge sacrifice. Well over 90% of the life on Golarion would die.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It's certainly heavily implied that Irrisen only survives through the importation of foodstuffs, in the sourcebook anyway. If there's nowhere out there to import from...

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Not as huge a problem when the big bad can just get things from other worlds.

Liberty's Edge

My initial reaction is: no way is it a dud. My girl’s group is running through the very final part of book 1 tonight, it’s been 6 sessions to complete, and they’re loving it. I think Snows of Summer is a great start.

That being the case, there’s two important things to keep in mind. I’ve got 33 years of GMing experience and I hide railroad tracks very well, and these girls haven’t played so long as to have bee jarred by such things as going on quests to get items, it all makes sense to them and every new encounter, landscape, and cool visual in general is met with great excitement (and this whole AP has that in spades).

So yes to each his own but I’ve run at least two other APs that were nowhere near as much fun as this has turned out to be so far. This also comes from someone who when I first heard the PCs were going to earth swore I’d never run it!

Sczarni

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About linearity and "railroading":

Ask yourself exactly what is bothering you about the game. Is it the feeling that your PCs don't have any important decisions to make? Is it a feeling that the adventure is only one encounter after another, like a long hallway with monsters lined up in it? :) That's what you should talk to your GM about. There are very good ways to avoid those feelings even in a very linear campaign.

Experienced GMs will tell you that "railroading" isn't actually a problem of adventure design. Nearly all adventures are going to be linear to some extent. They have to be, if they're going to present a coherent story.

"Railroading" is actually a mindset of player perception, caused by clumsy GM behavior. It's the players feeling like they don't have meaningful choices. A good GM can make sure the players never feel this way, no matter how rigorously he structures the plot.

The best way to solve it, of course, is to actually give the players meaningful choices that affect the plot. But sometimes, honestly, this just isn't possible. This is especially true when you're using a published adventure designed by someone else, and it's only going to work if the PCs follow the main plot and do what they're supposed to do.

In that situation, the important thing is to give them choices that *seem* meaningful: choices that affect their experience of the plot, even if they don't actually affect the course of the plot.

For example, the GM could present the PCs with a variety of tasks to pursue in any order they choose. But the order doesn't really matter much; the main plot doesn't move on until they accomplish all the tasks. This can defuse the feeling of "railroading" without messing up a linear plot. Or they can choose between different ways to solve a problem: negotiate with an NPC, sneak into his base and assassinate him, frontally assault it, trick him into coming out, whatever. But no matter what they choose, so long as they neutralize him somehow, the plot can move forward afterward.

A third technique, also very important, is to present the plot in ways that specifically appeal to the characters. Give them motivations to pursue the line of the plot that fit with their characters. Then they'll be happy to pursue the linear plot, since it fits with their role-playing. I like captain yesterday's example, of having siblings trying to rescue their sister.

As a player, you can help your GM out by developing a character with interesting motivations that he can use to hook you in. You can also look for ways to personalize your experience without messing up the expectations of the linear plot. Look for ways to solve problems creatively, but respect the fact that you are going to have to achieve certain specific objectives to move the plot forward.

Hope this helps, and you can start enjoying this (in my opinion) wonderful AP!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The AP itself is not a dud.

My running of it is. But that's not the fault of the AP. It's having two players who seem to only be able to have a game once every other month. I'm now strongly considering taking the Runelords game and when they finish Runelords in a year (and if they're interested), reducing them to level 10 and continuing them in RoW (with significant reworking of the AP, naturally enough, to make it challenging).

Silver Crusade

Trinite wrote:
Advice

Yup I'm aware of all that. The linearity of the plot isn't my issue, I like linear plots and so do my players. CotCT is linear and fantastic.

My problem is one of motivation. It's not a heroic plot at all it just isn't. You are forced into following the plot after which it's a quest for MacGuffins with rotating wallpaper. I don't care if the wallpaper is pretty.

This could have been good if the quest had been for information on how to release you-know-who rather than bits of random magical tat.

I want some investigation and discovery in my AP's not a series of fetch quests.

I'll play Way of the Wicked instead.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

You forgot one thing, however: this is a fairy tale adventure. Back when the girl gets eaten by the wolf, the mermaid is turned into sea foam, or the stepsisters hack the heels and toes off their feet to fit in the glass slipper.

Fairy tales often are about hunting down the plot coupon so the protagonist can find the next plot coupon and then on down the line. You complain about motivation and the like... but this is a CLASSIC adventure - harking back to the stories that the Tropes are built from.

Indeed, Book 5 is all about those classic fairy tales and Baba Yaga's wickedness. It's to drive home the fact that this woman you're going to save? Isn't worth it. You are being Big Bad Heroes for a single reason: to save the world.

And ultimately, there is an alternative end. The players kill Elvanna and then don't free Baba Yaga. Golarion is swept into a new ice age... and the players have to track down the Winter Collectors and shut them down one by one. Finally they head into the chaos that is Irrisen (what with Elvanna's death causing a power vacuum) and her Mythic children and grandchildren to break the final element holding winter in Golarion.

It's just that adventure isn't included in the AP. ;)


Frankly, if your players don't appreciate that an AP is going to be railroady, you've got stupid players. How do they expect you to move through 6 pre-writen books without railroading?
Do they want to play the game or not? The fact that you're running an AP rather than a homebrew campaign means that you don't have the time to create one.

My players appreciate that I run games for them and understand that I have a life, mortgage, 2 kids and partner!

Going by the content of this AP, it's not the most exciting one I've been involved in but it's definitely not a dud.

Sovereign Court

I'm 3/4 through book 3 and it is a big stumbling block IMHO. books 1 & 2 were great and was a solid, coherent story. Now the PCs are in a dungeon with no perceivable purpose but to gather 2 keys so they can go somewhere else and probably do the exact same thing. The AP does have some spots where it poses some challenge to navigate, but I've enjoyed it up to this point.


FallofCamelot wrote:

Honestly I share some of the disappointment in this AP.

I have run Kingmaker, Carrion Crown, Curse of the Crimson Throne, Jade Regent and Legacy of Fire through to completion. I have also played Second Darkness and Shackled City through to completion and I am most of the way through Rise of The Runelords and Age of Worms as a GM and Skull and Shackles as a player.

This AP is the first one I haven't got any enthusiasm for running.

My problem is that the AP is one long series of fetch quests that you are forced to do on literal pain of death on behalf of a legendary evil. The nature of the AP leads it to be incoherant and episodic and at no point do the players choose to do anything, they are pretty much told to find each magic football in order with no player input at all.

Linear plots are fine, I like linear plots. This one though grabs the PC's and forces them down a set course. The places you go are interesting but really who cares if you have no reason to be there other than to find the Magic Football of Bob?

The worst thing though is the fact that you are racing to save a legendary evil to stop a lesser evil. All you are is the errand boys for the real big bad. No big damn heroes, just a witches b&%~@es.

This one's sitting on my shelf, I doubt it will do anything other than gather dust.

You know, I've been playing in an online RoW campaign for some months now. Our party is 9th level. I've been enjoying the game because our GM is great. That said, I agree with you 100%.

By 9th level literally none of our party members even want to keep going with the plot as it is. None of us or our characters are actually motivated at all to continue on with our mission. We're pretty much just going through the motions because we're supposed to, but my PC has already decided to break the stupid geas herself (she's going to craft a magic item that she will use in a ritual to break the spell) as we are further and further disenchanted with the story and its progression.

We're just kind of whisked around. We were kind of digging it while we were still in Irrisen and fighting with the fey and stuff but for the most part it's felt pretty forced lately, and not because of our GM either. Our GM's great with the rules and is pretty good at improvising dialog and even reacts to a bit of rail-skidding pretty well (he was the one who suggested that a reality revision or wish would be appropriately strong to break the spell for example to let our party be our own party again).

But the legendary evil for the lesser evil? Yeah, honestly that's the big one. To this point I can't actually come up with a legitimate reason other than because we were asked to (by a guy we probably should have murdered ourselves) go along with everything. I can't for the life of me come up with some sort of reason to even want Baba Yaga back. I mean - and it may be due to being a player instead of a GM - I feel like we'd be having more fun if we were giving Baba Yaga the finger and waging a war against the big bad of the campaign ourselves (which could include acquiring assistance from other NPC factions, weakening her power structure, convincing her allies to abandon her, and maybe even doing a side quest for a helpful but option McGuffen or something).

We're 9th level and we have no idea why we're even bothering. The saving grace for the campaign thus far has in fact been our GM and the fact we really like these characters we're playing (though we haven't really gotten to RP with them in interesting ways for quite a while since we've just been acting out the fetch and carry missions, fighting our way through the enemies who are trying to kill us, and desperately trying to socialize with the other enemies who are also trying to kill us because we can).


Nezthalak wrote:
I'm 3/4 through book 3 and it is a big stumbling block IMHO. books 1 & 2 were great and was a solid, coherent story. Now the PCs are in a dungeon with no perceivable purpose but to gather 2 keys so they can go somewhere else and probably do the exact same thing. The AP does have some spots where it poses some challenge to navigate, but I've enjoyed it up to this point.

You know, I think you're describing the exact point our party is in right now. I want to find those keys so I can flush them down a toilet.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

if you can do that while breaking the mantle of the black rider, I think that would be utterly cool.

Then, of course, you're going mythic as you attempt to break Irrisen's eternal winter the hard way, but that's all part of the deal!

==Aelryinth

Sovereign Court

Ashiel wrote:
Nezthalak wrote:
I'm 3/4 through book 3 and it is a big stumbling block IMHO. books 1 & 2 were great and was a solid, coherent story. Now the PCs are in a dungeon with no perceivable purpose but to gather 2 keys so they can go somewhere else and probably do the exact same thing. The AP does have some spots where it poses some challenge to navigate, but I've enjoyed it up to this point.
You know, I think you're describing the exact point our party is in right now. I want to find those keys so I can flush them down a toilet.

Yes, the PCs are 9th level now and every room is combat, whether by design or bad diplomacy. They just don't understand the whys of what they are doing. I'm trying to follow the book as written. There is an NPC that may shed some light for them, but avenging one evil to put another in its place is a tough chore for neutral aligned PCs I think, and unconscionable for Good characters.

I'm going to use as much GM discretion as I can to get them through the story, because I would like to finish the AP. I haven't read ahead to book 4 yet, but it will probably need tailoring too. the party doesn't catch up to Elvanna and Baba Yaga until book 6 i think, and I'd really like them to get there.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, I've decided that I want to run a homebrewn campaign after WotR, but I still want to include module five, because it's awesome. I share the same concerns the others here have about modules three, four and six, though, which is (aside from other issues) a big reason why I'm going homebrewn for my next campaign.


Aelryinth wrote:

if you can do that while breaking the mantle of the black rider, I think that would be utterly cool.

Then, of course, you're going mythic as you attempt to break Irrisen's eternal winter the hard way, but that's all part of the deal!

==Aelryinth

Personally I wish we could actually be searching for a way to overcome Elvanna ourselves (possibly with some alliances with some people we actually liked) and then perhaps end the campaign with Baba Yaga returning and having an epic fight with the party of 17th+ level PCs.

Mind you that my GM agrees that "CR 30" Baba Yaga is incredibly stupid so he'd rebuild her, so please note that this wouldn't be the same as the Paizo statblock.

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