Can Thornkeep be played in PFS 'campaign mode'?


GM Discussion


Can the Thornkeep module be played in PFS 'campaign mode'? I had got the idea that it could, probably from reading how The Dragon's Demand module can be played in campaign mode, but I think now that I may be wrong, unless it says so somewhere else.

I had really hoped to take my PFS group through it, but in a way that will allow a bit more flexibility for starting conditions, side quests, and the like.

Dark Archive 5/5

nope

5/5

Nope, so far only Dragon's Demand and the APs can be played in campaign mode. I believe the future extra-long modules will be available in campaign mode as well.

The Exchange 5/5 RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

By the nature of the adventure, though, there's nothing to keep you from running characters through a lot of the town, making allies with the Blue Basilisks, or antagonizing the Baron and his delicate plans to play one group off against another. (They found the Sword of Zog! What does that do to the goblin chief's reputation in town?)

I know it's fashionable in some quarters to ignore the town and start the adventure in Room #1, but I think that sacrifices a lot of the best parts of Thornkeep. (I don't know how you'd run "Sanctum of a Lost Age" without the party already knowing that there's a missing band of Pathfinders.

But don't underestimate what "Campaign Mode" means. It's not just adding town encounters. Let's say that the party allies with Ploog and teams up with his servants. In Campaign Mode, the GM has license to beef up the remaining encounters, to compensate for former threats now being allies.


Chris Mortika wrote:

By the nature of the adventure, though, there's nothing to keep you from running characters through a lot of the town, making allies with the Blue Basilisks, or antagonizing the Baron and his delicate plans to play one group off against another. (They found the Sword of Zog! What does that do to the goblin chief's reputation in town?)

I know it's fashionable in some quarters to ignore the town and start the adventure in Room #1, but I think that sacrifices a lot of the best parts of Thornkeep. (I don't know how you'd run "Sanctum of a Lost Age" without the party already knowing that there's a missing band of Pathfinders.

But don't underestimate what "Campaign Mode" means. It's not just adding town encounters. Let's say that the party allies with Ploog and teams up with his servants. In Campaign Mode, the GM has license to beef up the remaining encounters, to compensate for former threats now being allies.

If it can't be played in campaign mode, how do you do other parts of the scenario besides the dungeon? Do you just do the other encounters but not provide experience and other rewards for them? Can you add other encounters at all in PFS?

Liberty's Edge 4/5 5/55/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Sacramento

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You just add the Town as roleplaying. The PCs gain nothing from it other then a good time roleplaying and some knowledge that may help in the dungeon.


One problem is that I just went through it as a player, with five level 3 players attempting the 'level 3-5' third chapter of the dungeon, and we all want to give that section really poor reviews right about now. It is a game-killer in an otherwise pretty fun scenario bundle, so I was thinking that it might be fixable in campaign mode.

Spoiler:

The mi-go 'Visitant' killed one front line player the first round, taking him from full to -22 perma-dead (50 damage) and then knocked the second front line fighter - an 'unbreakable' plate mail-armored fighter - from full to -8 (48 damage) the next round. It would have been a TPK if not for a lucky spiked door (and probably a generous GM).

Going by the PRD's rating system ("Table: Encounter Design"), if I am understanding it correctly, this would be a considerably more-than-Epic level of difficulty for 3rd level players as CR+5, and 'only' Epic difficulty for 5th level players.

5/5 RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Modules aren't designed with PFS in mind. They are written for a single starting level, and figure PCs will level while progressing through them.

Unfortunately in PFS you have to wait till the end to get the rewards for the entire dungeon level. Leaving the later portions of the dungeon much harder than the early parts.

The Exchange 5/5 RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

MaizyKissed, I agree with your analysis of the difficulty of "Enigma Vaults". Generally speaking, a 3rd-level group of adventurers will get slaughtered.

But, see, again: a third-level party using the town might have found out about the map, investigated the back door, found the low-level bad guys, taken an unconscious one out of the dungeon for a thorough examination, and then returned with some idea what they were facing.

Dark Archive 4/5 5/55/5 *** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

Remember, of course, that the Enigma Vaults was designed for 4th level characters. Playing with an APL of 3 should be "hard mode".

As fir the role playing a aspect, I know that a lot of ghee fun I had was in the town, both as a GM and as a player. Since this is a module, GMs have a little more leeway, as I understand it, though it will not affect the rewards.

Example, if the players decide to go off track and investigate the forest, as I understand it you can run the random encounters. However, be careful. Added risk without added reward is not usually appreciated.

On the other hand, a GM should allow the players to tier treat, heal, re-equip in town (or even make a trek to daggerdale, I believe.). But, you should be aware that the denizens of the dungeons may be doing things, too.

The Visitant is really tough. Should be. SCARY tough.
That's the sort of encounter you remember for a LONG time!

The Exchange 4/5

yeah, I ran it with 5 level 3 characters, the Mi-go nearly slaughtered them, the rest of the dungeon was almost irrelevant.

The Exchange 5/5 RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

(Could this be moved to the PFS GM Forum? Spoilers are okay over there.)

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