Anyone Else A Little Disappointed in Mummy's Mask So Far?


Mummy's Mask

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

Oh! Oh! pick me! pick me! an idea for peter and Lord Snow

:
what if The Scorched Hand are just tools for the order of whatever the clergy is thats trying to keep what they did to who's-its-face under wraps

did you like the Mummy joke at the end there:D

The Exchange

Orthos wrote:
Quote:
Actually, the end of the first book of Runelords doesn't have a grand adventure laid out or a motivation to follow up on the story.

I dunno, having just played through that part of Runelords not long ago, I'd have to disagree. We ended that chapter with a great deal of mysteries involved - all the Thassilonian ruins in the area, the Runewells being active, and a handful of other things I can't recall at the moment that definitely got my character at the least interested in a more full-scale investigation of the local ruins (which admittedly was her entire reason for being in Sandpoint anyway) and was barely enough to keep another party member - who has gained an ever-increasing dislike of Sandpoint and everyone in it except for Ameiko and most of the other PCs - from catching the next ship back home.

There was definitely without a doubt an impression that there was more going on here above and beyond the immediate mastermind behind the goblin attacks - someone or something higher on the food chain.

I believe there's a difference between the AE and the original Runelords in that regards. IIRC the original AP was somewhat criticized for lacking any hint of a plot during it's earlier half, so in the AE some very strong clues were added to make sure the PCs know something big is going on-

Spoiler:

There's a treasure chamber with a wall painting of Xin Shalast or something, and I think Karzoug makes a brief, cut scene appearance.

I think the AE is a big improvement over the original in that way.


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I find it really hard to take seriously criticism of an AP volume's adventure from those who mostly just read adventures, especially those who rarely run a table.

If I'm sitting down to read an AP in previous versions, the first volume is usually a pretty interesting read. I don't buy an AP for a very interesting read. I buy an AP for an interesting adventure to run as a GM. I don't need a bunch of word count spent on information that the players in my game will NEVER know or have a way of finding out.

Half-Dead City is expertly put together. If people are running 4 PCs with 15 point build through it, they are in for a VERY tough AP volume. As it should be. The traditional 1980s classic Egyptian modules were known to have a reputation of keeping players on their toes at all times. There is not a wasted word in the first volume. There is no waste of space saying why the PCs are together for a thankful change. But there I go talking about actually RUNNING this as an adventure instead of whether I enjoyed reading it.

Now based on a lot of people who comment here, apparently Paizo sells a LOT of APs based on what people read instead of what people actually run. I'm not buying an AP unless I will run it or I know someone else will. My party had a TPK in the last chapter of the book, because they forgot they were in an Egyptian themed AP apparently. Not a single player blamed the AP or the GM. Every last one of them knew at the end of the day, they screwed up just about every way imaginable. We "aw, shucks" it off and start again. I say that to say this, I haven't even read an entire paragraph of the second volume of the Second Volume of this AP.

Why? Because I don't want to know what's coming three months ahead of time as the GM. I get too excited when I imagine how my players will react when they get there, that by the time they get there I'm over it already if I've had to wait more than a few weeks.

So yes, I can see why those reading APs for their own enjoyment might not be a fan of Jim Grove's product. For those who buy APs for running real live players though adventures around a table, Grove's volume is exactly what I want.

Shadow Lodge

Lord Snow wrote:
Orthos wrote:
Quote:
Actually, the end of the first book of Runelords doesn't have a grand adventure laid out or a motivation to follow up on the story.

I dunno, having just played through that part of Runelords not long ago, I'd have to disagree. We ended that chapter with a great deal of mysteries involved - all the Thassilonian ruins in the area, the Runewells being active, and a handful of other things I can't recall at the moment that definitely got my character at the least interested in a more full-scale investigation of the local ruins (which admittedly was her entire reason for being in Sandpoint anyway) and was barely enough to keep another party member - who has gained an ever-increasing dislike of Sandpoint and everyone in it except for Ameiko and most of the other PCs - from catching the next ship back home.

There was definitely without a doubt an impression that there was more going on here above and beyond the immediate mastermind behind the goblin attacks - someone or something higher on the food chain.

I believe there's a difference between the AE and the original Runelords in that regards. IIRC the original AP was somewhat criticized for lacking any hint of a plot during it's earlier half, so in the AE some very strong clues were added to make sure the PCs know something big is going on-

** spoiler omitted **

I think the AE is a big improvement over the original in that way.

We aren't playing the AE >_>


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Why buy the APs if you're not running them? Because pieces of those APs may be of use elsewhere. And because I'm only 44 years old. In twenty years, I might still be playing the original Pathfinder if I've decided the revisions and the newer D&D editions suck, and I'll be able to use these old APs for games at that point.

And who knows. I might even find people interested in being in a third group and start running a new campaign... having a selection of APs to choose from for a campaign is handy.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Tangent101 wrote:

Why buy the APs if you're not running them? Because pieces of those APs may be of use elsewhere. And because I'm only 44 years old. In twenty years, I might still be playing the original Pathfinder if I've decided the revisions and the newer D&D editions suck, and I'll be able to use these old APs for games at that point.

And who knows. I might even find people interested in being in a third group and start running a new campaign... having a selection of APs to choose from for a campaign is handy.

the problem im having is no matter who i get to try and start a new group, everyone wants to play RoW! Nothing else:)

it always starts like so Me (to family member/friend/co-worker): hey, i'm trying to get a group to play Mummy's Mask, you in?

family member/friend/co-worker: is that the Baba Yaga Adventures?

Me: no, its about........

by that time i can already tell they don't care

Me: *sigh* what about Reign of Winter, the Baba Yaga AP

Family member/friend/co-worker: hell yeah!

now i don't even mention i have it anymore:)


Riggler wrote:

I find it really hard to take seriously criticism of an AP volume's adventure from those who mostly just read adventures, especially those who rarely run a table.

Riggler,

I know that your comment was not targeting anyone specific but I feel compelled to reply.

I've run Kingmaker in the past, currently running Curse of the Crimson Throne. I've played in Rise of the Runelords and Legacy of Fire. I've also read about half the APs that Paizo has put out so far.

I think it is absurd to suggest that you have to run an adventure in order to decide whether you like it or not. Yes, some adventures play better than they read, but there's a ton of adventures out there that I'm not excited about running, should I have to play through them in order to be allowed to say that I don't like them? Should my players be forced through such a useless exercise?

When I post or write a review I'm trying to provide Paizo with feedback on what I liked and didn't like about one of their product so that they can take that into account along with all the other feedback, including yours, for their future products.

I did not like The Half-Dead City. You did like it and it sounds like you are having fun running it. Good for you!

One experience does not invalidate the other.

The Exchange

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Riggler wrote:

I find it really hard to take seriously criticism of an AP volume's adventure from those who mostly just read adventures, especially those who rarely run a table.

I have two things to say to that.

1) I don't think "find it hard to take seriously" is the phrase that fits there - I think what you mean to say is that you only take into consideration criticism of people with similar interest in the APs as you. That's just common sense, though. When I'm reading a review of a computer game by someone who mostly cares about multiplayer, I don't factor it into consideration because I only care about single player. That doesn't mean I don't take them seriously, it means that their criticism is not relevant for me. That's different. By the way, there's a not negligible number of people who mostly read APs, so while their criticism might not be important to *you*, it should be to Paizo. It's simply a section of the customer base you do not belong to.

2) Even for those running adventures, an AP that's less fun to read is inferior to one that is a great fun to read. You said it well yourself -

Quote:
I get too excited when I imagine how my players will react when they get there...

That's very true for me. When I read an adventure that I want to run, I get really excited about it. For me, it's a story I want to share with my friends by playing Pathfinder with them. However, if I'm reading the adventure and it just doesn't get me excited, I would lack the enthusiasm I need to make the game fun for me and my players. If I get invested in the story of the AP I'll spend my time coming up with ways to make it better - better flash out an important NPC, foreshadow some plot elements. When we'll play I'll greatly enjoy finally getting to that awesome encounter or revealing that sweet plot twist. In Mummy's Mask there was not much so far which got me excited, thus I won't run it. So even for a GM looking for adventures to play, not just read, it's important that the reading experience will be cool and inspirational and get the creative juices going. I just don't have that with mummy's mask.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Here's the problem. You have one group of people who enjoy "traditional" modules and APs. You have another group that loves "esoteric" games instead that push the boundaries. You do have a third who just enjoys the games, whether they're pushing boundaries or not, fortunately, so while you get fewer people subscribing to the APs when they're esoteric or traditional, you still have that core that enjoys the games anyway.

Paizo will never satisfy all of its fans all of the time. Or even some of the time. What they seek is to satisfy all of their fans over a period of time so that they retain that market share.

The Exchange

Tangent, I don't think most people who had issues with the AP were talking about it being too traditional. The OP mentioned the traditional aspects as part of the issue, but also mentioned other things. Others did, as well. I know for me personally it's more a problem of bad pacing and a lack of direction for the story.

Sovereign Court

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Riggler wrote:
Why? Because I don't want to know what's coming three months ahead of time as the GM. I get too excited when I imagine how my players will react when they get there, that by the time they get there I'm over it already if I've had to wait more than a few weeks.

Hmm thats interesting I cant imagine running an AP without having the adventure in total. I refuse to run an AP until I have all 6 volumes so I can make my directors cuts to the campaign. Threads like this are very usfeul to folks like me because I see where the early adopters run into walls and avoid those pitfalls. I can see what you are talking about with the excitment and reaching that with your players at the same time. I guess i'm far more paitent and willing to wait for them to reach that point so I can unleash my version.

That said ive been a bit disapointed myself as written by a few of the early volumes. I like to have strong ties to the campaign in total and this AP doesnt start with strong ties. These things are pretty easy to overcome though with a little re-write by game master pan. Though I cant help but think this ones a little too tight in the railroady or episodic department. I wonder how much PFS sanctioned has to do with that?


@Laric -- I read this whole thread up to that post at once and my reaction was just what I wrote. I didn't say you had to run an adventure to decide if you like it. I simply said reading an AP for enjoyment versus reading one to run is reading an AP it two totally different ways.

@Lord Snow -- Your first point, I agree with. You are correct. Your second, ehhh, kinda. I was excited by the setting of Mummy's Mask and had high expectations. The first volume met exactly my expectations. I would gladly forgo a reading experience that would take me a week of reading for a full AP with my schedule versus a fun play experience that I will use for far many more hours.

@Tangent -- I agree. Hence, while I respect James Jacobs as a game designer, I've learned its best I just stay away from his APs.

@Pan -- Yep, I used to feel the same way. Heck, I did read all of Legacy of Fire before running it. By the time we got to Book 5 I was totally burned out. I had known how it ended 14 months early by that point and it went on for another 6 grueling months. I learned that for myself, I just couldn't do that anymore. No matter what advantages there may have been for me to read the whole AP first was not worth the trade off of getting increasingly bored the longer the AP went on because I knew how it ended. Hence I would totally suck as a film director.

The Exchange

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Riggler wrote:


@Lord Snow -- Your first point, I agree with. You are correct. Your second, ehhh, kinda. I was excited by the setting of Mummy's Mask and had high expectations. The first volume met exactly my expectations. I would gladly forgo a reading experience that would take me a week of reading for a full AP with my schedule versus a fun play experience that I will use for far many more hours.

My point is that you can have both, and with most APs that's the case.

Silver Crusade

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I modded it to add downtime activities such as exploring the city to reach those extra locations as well as using the notable NPCs and their motivations (such as Sebeti and Neb-at).

So far my players are enjoying the extra activities so it's not a rail road. I even put a catacomb at the bottom of the Ubracene Well and adding hooks for Divs rising from the darklands.

I'm still in the Half-Dead City, I've yet to prep for the Empty Graves, but I do think it's similar to RotRL in it takes awhile for the central plot to rise, perhaps even longer as you don't have any solid hooks until the second book and a bit at the end in the Euridite Eye with the foreshadowing.

RotW hits you with plot like a ton of bricks, RoW has a wind up but it's very fore-shadowy till 3/4ths of the book.

I actually like MM's way of doing it allows some exploration within the main arc as there's nothing pressuring to visit all the sites right away in the beginning. After the plague outbreak in book 2, it's mainly investigation which also isn't as time pressing as the other 2 APs.

I'm used to the "I'd love to .. but... gotta save the world here" So seeing an AP that allows some downtime rules to take affect almost anywhere in the first 2 books is a welcome interlude.


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I'm sorry but I don't understand the wining.

yes I understand that ppl have issues about a coherent vilian or thread from the start, I understand the objection that the AP is shifting gear a lot and that that the first AD is a dungeon crawl.

for me (and my players) the motivation is to get rich (PC) and have a good time (Player). This is all catered for.

I like this AP a lot as it gives me and my players a lot of freedom in the beginning to explore and define their characters and that's what roleplay is for me in the first place.

Having GMed CC before I enjoy the pace as CC didn't left much time for the PCs to domuch else then go on with it to catch up with the WW. Here the PC have (and enjoy) the ability to go after a dungeon to as bar, have a nice time...whatever

I read a lot of complains about structure and threads and motivation...and my answer is that you either motivate yourself (this AP) or you want to be motivated (other AP). however its the GM that makes the game not nesserly the AP.

without diving to deep into it, I find that a lot of ppl nowadays make them self to dependent on outside influences insted of using their own imagination, resources..etc.

have a look at some classic adventures from the 80ies...they clearly had the caption "does not include motivation"


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I just received in the mail the fourth part of this AP yesterday. It was in my car when I picked up a friend after work to give her a ride home; she's part of both of my gaming groups. She lit up when she saw the AP, looked at some of the pictures in the book, and expressed considerable interest in the adventure.

I've another friend who loves the remake of The Mummy, and am willing to bet his wife has probably been inducted into that love as well - or at the very least will participate out of wanting to be a part of something her husband is very enthusiastic about.

It'll take a couple years before we finish Reign of Winter. I may be optimistic about that, btw. It might take a decade, seeing how often we meet. ^^;; But at least half of my gaming group would love to be in this game. This enthusiasm would hopefully ensure the players are engaged and looking for a good time. And having fun is the point of the game.

So am I disappointed in Mummy's Mask? My only disappointment is that there's not enough time in our days for us to get together more often so we can play this AP as well right now.

Sovereign Court

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Windspirit wrote:
I'm sorry but I don't understand the wining.

You dont understand so it must just be "wining". That was real nice of you.

windspirit wrote:

yes I understand that ppl have issues about a coherent vilian or thread from the start, I understand the objection that the AP is shifting gear a lot and that that the first AD is a dungeon crawl.

for me (and my players) the motivation is to get rich (PC) and have a good time (Player). This is all catered for.

I like this AP a lot as it gives me and my players a lot of freedom in the beginning to explore and define their characters and that's what roleplay is for me in the first place.

Having GMed CC before I enjoy the pace as CC didn't left much time for the PCs to domuch else then go on with it to catch up with the WW. Here the PC have (and enjoy) the ability to go after a dungeon to as bar, have a nice time...whatever

I read a lot of complains about structure and threads and motivation...and my answer is that you either motivate yourself (this AP) or you want to be motivated (other AP). however its the GM that makes the game not nesserly the AP.

Not everyone plays with a simplistic view of dungeon exists therefore characters have purpose. There are myriad ways to get rich and have fun in Golarion. What I as a player and GM expect from the AP is a variation on the typical module including an overall arching plot. Its nice when that is provided consistently so I dont have to do massive re-writes to make it happen.

windspirit wrote:
without diving to deep into it, I find that a lot of ppl nowadays make them self to dependent on outside influences insted of using their own imagination, resources..etc

There you go again dismissing people different then yourself. Why purchase an AP at all if all you need is imagination?

windspirit wrote:
have a look at some classic adventures from the 80ies...they clearly had the caption "does not include motivation"

I would argue the adventure path is an evolution of module design. With an AP you are getting a campaign and not just a town and a dungeon. Some players and GMs would like more then a loose thread of plot patchworking dungeon crawls together. Thats one viewpoint and when its not met people like to mention that to the writers letting them know their preference. Thats doesnt make them "winers" or people who lack imagination. It's just stating a preference and this is the only place available to possibly have that dialouge with the writers.


Right...
I'm sorry that I came across like this, I did not intent to attack you. I'm happy to discuss but I object to hostilities.
regards

Silver Crusade

So in my groups game, I added in a small temple to Sarenrae. I gave some details on its clergy (about 5 people, various classes and personalities, level 3 or less), and the party ate it up. They have explored districts of the city, as the clergy is more of a flock that meets 1 time a week and lead lives outside of the church. This has personalized the campaign quite a bit.

The party has gotten to know these people and the city quite a bit, as they have spent days healing up from poison or other ailments. I have used the random encounter table in the osirion source book, and play a style that offers player by player action during these down times. I implemented an NPC party member that is a great fighter, but also a greedy jerk that is an x factor in given situations such as splitting loot and tactics.

All told, Wait is alive and breathing. They just headed for the sanctum and discovered that that taldane woman and her band are jumping their claim. There is an angry doru div sworn to vengeance against them. I guess you can't make everyone happy,but we are having a pretty good time.


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'm probably 3 to 5 sessions away from finishing running Kingmaker, and trying to decide what to run next. I've narrowed it down to either Carrion Crown or Mummy's Mask - which is weird for me, since normally I wouldn't consider running an AP if I don't have all the volumes yet. And actually, I've only read through the first chapter completely, because the theme didn't initially interest me. So obviously, I found the first chapter compelling enough to make me want to run it.

The good:
1) The initial adventuring site is top-notch. During the first session of the campaign, the PCs get to investigate an amazingly cool, thematic tomb. I particularly love the broken-rope-and-victim, and the water trap. These are the sorts of things that can really create paranoia (the good kind!) in my players.

2) The differences in the three "dungeons" - perfect! Anyone who thinks there's too much the same going on here, really isn't thinking about what these three locations are going to feel like. One is a tomb with traps and dangers. The second is a house, telling the story of the fall of Wati. The third is a temple, with cool and thematic features, a mystery to make the players curious, and some NPCs to interact with.

3) I'm extremely impressed by the amount of thought that went into how to make this all make sense. The text tells us the politics behind the opening of Wati's necropolis. The adventure thinks about how the economy reacts to this activity - actually, it makes that part of the whole impetus for the adventure. I love the variety of people shown in the adventure, and I really think the adventure does a great job of creating the proper mood, and conveying to the GM and players what this setting is all about.

4) The stuff that needs work in the adventure is all stuff I like to spend my time on. Hard to quantify this one, but it's true.

I do have three bits of constructive criticism for Jim Groves (and probably for the Paizo editing team as well) - these are three things that seemed wrong to me as I was reading chapter 1. I'll admit the first two are fairly nit-picky.

1) As I read, I was disappointed that other adventuring groups participating in the lottery weren't described during the opening scene. It seemed like there should have been a sidebar, at least. Then, boom! after the first site exploration, we have a scene to interact with the other groups, and there's a section with some great detail! I totally understand why that takes place where it does in the adventure - but in the scene about the lottery, I really wish there'd been a statement along the lines of, "Later in the adventure, the PCs will have an opportunity to interact with some of the other teams - you can find details about them on page __."

2) Particularly in the second adventuring site, there are several different encounters where the "monster(s)" at first can be mistaken for scene dressing. Paizo's standard "descriptive text" leaves out any mention of the creatures in a scene, for reasons that have been discussed many a time. But in cases where the monsters might be mistaken for mere objects, they really need to be in the descriptive text, because if not (and if the GM isn't really on their toes) it's a big red flag to the players. read assorted well-written descriptive text, then say... oh, and there is a statue that looks like, um....

This particular issue is exacerbated when after several rooms like this, you find a room that has a skeleton in it. Just a normal, non-undead, unmoving skeleton. So of course it's in the descriptive text. And the exits to the room are described after that, so for any player well-used to Paizo standard room description policy, it obviously can't be anything but window dressing.

3) Okay, my only serious issue. I read through the adventure, then read the section with the important NPCs. The NPC write-ups seem to assume that the PCs are going to try to befriend/recruit some of those NPCs. On my first read-through, the adventure itself didn't do much of anything to indicate that this was important or desirable. I really found myself wondering if someone other than Jim wrote the NPCs - and if so, Jim, did you have access to the way they were written up when you wrote your chapter? Because it really felt like someone added all that afterward, and if so, they should have gone back to edit the scene where you first meet the NPCs to help encourage interaction with others besides their leader.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Cintra,

Thank you for your feedback.

Although you dismiss #2 as a nitpick—I think that is a pretty good point.

I want to claim my work, so to answer your question, the Scorched Hand was written by me but inspired by Rob. I was given names, class levels, race and/or ethnicity, genders, and a general idea of their group agenda. From that I fleshed out what you saw in the final book, and the characters were not changed significantly.

And let me emphasize, an AP is really a team effort. It may not seem that way, but because of the scheduling and the process does not allow me to work simultaneously with Rob, James, or Adam. I have to go first and then they have their turn. I still think of it as teamwork.

As for your third point, I have to say: "I hear you" and I am sure the rest of the team does as well. Mistakes and miscalculations happen, and discussing some parts of the process is not productive without a time machine. Nevertheless, hearing what was your most serious concern is vitally important—because we're writing new adventures all the time and we need to hear this stuff.

I will venture to say that we wanted to establish a paradigm of dungeon exploration early on, because we knew the players would be doing a lot of it throughout the AP. Tombs and ruins are fundamentally archetypal to this particular theme. That said, I feel your critique has merit and I appreciate that you told us both the good stuff and the bad.

Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I will say I feel a lot of the misgivings of the op with the line not feeling as ambitious by book 3 in a lot of ways (especially the bestiaries) but that being said I do think the "research combat" thing is cool. Call me a sucker for new systems that take new looks at old problems (I'm still in love with the caravan system as an excellent work around for giving the party a home town with long running allies and allowing them to trot around the world) but I think that system is the start of something cool and an interesting option to make those research classes shine.

I really want to see this idea addressed outside of an ap (like the hex and kingmaking rules) and given a closer inspection. Trust me I cannot wait to mess with this and let my alchemist player face off against the library stacks FOR SCIENCE!


I do not agree. I am finding Mummy's Mask an excellent AP, better even than Serpent's Skull, because it gives me all the tools I need as GM to build an actual world for my players. Admittedly, I am not running it exactly as written, but that is because I am allowing the decisions made by my players to influence the outcome.

This has led to two major differences which will impact on play.

- Due to a PC offhand comment, Velriana Hypaxes and Black Kiss are allied, both intending to betray the other at the first opportunity.
- Ydorii, seduced and then treated very well by one of the PCs, reconsidered her association with people who treat her poorly.

There are also numerous minor changes I am keeping track of. All six of the players seem very interested in the game and what will happen next, to the point where apparently they talk about it while I am not there. :)

The Exchange

King.Ozymandius wrote:

I do not agree. I am finding Mummy's Mask an excellent AP, better even than Serpent's Skull, because it gives me all the tools I need as GM to build an actual world for my players. Admittedly, I am not running it exactly as written, but that is because I am allowing the decisions made by my players to influence the outcome.

This has led to two major differences which will impact on play.

- Due to a PC offhand comment, Velriana Hypaxes and Black Kiss are allied, both intending to betray the other at the first opportunity.
- Ydorii, seduced and then treated very well by one of the PCs, reconsidered her association with people who treat her poorly.

There are also numerous minor changes I am keeping track of. All six of the players seem very interested in the game and what will happen next, to the point where apparently they talk about it while I am not there. :)

Isn't this just an example of good GMing, though? I mean, which AP would not give you the tools to build an actual world for your players? (among the Paizo APs, that is).

I'm asking, because Serpent's Skull is universally considered to be one of the most problematic APs Paizo has ever done, because it requires a ton of GM work to make it playable, and even then the potential is not all that high, if you just stick to the books (the latter half of the campaign is mostly unexciting dungeon crawls).

Compared to the other Paizo APs, would you still say Mummy's Mask is excellent? if you had to rank the APs, how highly would Mummy's Mask rank?


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

Oh, so now we're ranking things! yay!
1. Skull & Shackles (tied)
2. Kingmaker (tied)
3. Shattered Star
4. Rise of the Runelords
5. Mummy's Mask
6. Carrrion Crown
7. Jade Regent
8. Reign of Winter
9. Council of Thieves
10. Wrath of the Righteous

two notes 1) i have RoW fatigue, as thats the popular campaign right now, im sick of it myself, 2) i only have one book of Curse of the Crimson Throne (days of anarchy) however that is one of the best opening adventures out there

Silver Crusade

I am running the first one PbP and have been heavily rewriting chunks of it. The Hand members I swapped out with characters I liked and were more of a threat to the players, and just more quirky cuz I like quirky. that isn't a strike against the module I just didn't want them killed instantly. Plus I made the head of the Hand able to fight with a sword so she's ready for the second module. I read ahead to the second module and absolutely hate what happens to her, If she's going to be a villain then I'm making her a villain. Not to replace the main bad guy but to be local BBEG there at the scene that they already hate. I am still working on how to make the players really hate the mummy by the end of the second module.

Characters were added to the background involved with getting the mask who try to bribe the players to find it for them. And otherwise give the main BBEG henchmen. All BBEGs need henchmen.

I've already had the party have a run in with the gang so it will mean something more when they get hired later on in the adventure.

I also worked out the personalities of the other teams, they all got changed; some because I didn't like the names and others because I described them wrong so I stuck with the description I told the players. Again this is nothing against the module just personal preference.

There are many more ghosts in the necropolis. I used them whenever the players lingered to long in a location. And to share more of the history of the madness that descended on the city.

You would think with all of the changes I really hated the First Adventure but there is a ton of information and richness in it that inspires lots of ideas. And that's one of the things I liked about it. Lots of rich detail to build off of. It makes my job really easy.

All the dungeons are different. They feel repetitive when reading them. Until I run the party through them I won't know for sure.


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Lord Snow wrote:
King.Ozymandius wrote:

I do not agree. I am finding Mummy's Mask an excellent AP, better even than Serpent's Skull, because it gives me all the tools I need as GM to build an actual world for my players. Admittedly, I am not running it exactly as written, but that is because I am allowing the decisions made by my players to influence the outcome.

This has led to two major differences which will impact on play.

- Due to a PC offhand comment, Velriana Hypaxes and Black Kiss are allied, both intending to betray the other at the first opportunity.
- Ydorii, seduced and then treated very well by one of the PCs, reconsidered her association with people who treat her poorly.

There are also numerous minor changes I am keeping track of. All six of the players seem very interested in the game and what will happen next, to the point where apparently they talk about it while I am not there. :)

Isn't this just an example of good GMing, though? I mean, which AP would not give you the tools to build an actual world for your players? (among the Paizo APs, that is).

I'm asking, because Serpent's Skull is universally considered to be one of the most problematic APs Paizo has ever done, because it requires a ton of GM work to make it playable, and even then the potential is not all that high, if you just stick to the books (the latter half of the campaign is mostly unexciting dungeon crawls).

Compared to the other Paizo APs, would you still say Mummy's Mask is excellent? if you had to rank the APs, how highly would Mummy's Mask rank?

Well. I must admit that I rarely stick to the 'AP as written' viewpoint, I take what is given and make it fly. So you may have a point there, Lord Snow. :)

My personal opinion is that there is a definite improvement in quality over time for the Adventure Paths.

The latest ones are simply better than the older ones, though there is still room for improvement in places.

I presume this is because of experience.

My evidence for this is simple: I needed to do far less work as GM to get Mummy's Mask off the ground than I needed to do for any of the others that I have run as GM.

The Exchange

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Ah, I see, then - you use a different metric than me. For me the APs are measured by:

1) How exciting the overall story and feel of the campaign are
2) How engaging are the NPCs and environments
3) How many exciting specific moments/encounters are there in the AP

Or, in short, how much the AP inspires me to tell it's story to the players. I don't really adhere to the "AP as written" view point either - I always change a ton of stuff. What I care about, though, is that the AP as written be a story I wish to share with my friends. So for me, Curse of the Crimson Throne is much much better than Mummy's Mask, despite a lot of design flaws in it.

Liberty's Edge

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For what it's worth, I do think that the first volume could have been more closely connected in terms of plot motivation to the balance of the Adventure Path's metaplot for my tastes. To a lesser extent, the same applies to Book 2.

All of this is pretty easily fixed with some minor tinkering, so it's not that a big a deal. While the lack of a central "plot villain" in Book 1 is a real weakness - or at least a change of pace -- from most APs, it's not a disaster by any means.

These are not difficult things to elegantly fix. The core of the AP is solid adventure material.


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Lord Snow wrote:

Ah, I see, then - you use a different metric than me. For me the APs are measured by:

1) How exciting the overall story and feel of the campaign are
2) How engaging are the NPCs and environments
3) How many exciting specific moments/encounters are there in the AP

Or, in short, how much the AP inspires me to tell it's story to the players. I don't really adhere to the "AP as written" view point either - I always change a ton of stuff. What I care about, though, is that the AP as written be a story I wish to share with my friends. So for me, Curse of the Crimson Throne is much much better than Mummy's Mask, despite a lot of design flaws in it.

Oh! I see. Yes, those three criteria are also vital, but I usually spruce things up as necessary, adding NPCs as required for my story.

For example, when I began Serpent's Skull, I included three extra NPCs over and above the ones in the AP.

I also allowed the PCs to rescue and heal Alton Devers so that he could tell them about the backstory.

I have done something very similar with Mummy's Mask as below (campaign synopsis written for my players).

THE MUMMY’S MASK – THE STORM RIDERS
Date/Time: 13/06/4714, 8:00pm
Current Party Location: The Whispering Stone

While the party rests at the Whispering Stone on the night of 13th 4714 AR, the following things occur.

• Amestri is openly approached by Teht Blackblossom and invited to participate in the rites of Calistria downstairs.
• Nathan Alabaster reads the spellbooks looted from the Sand Scorpions and the Scorched Hand for research purposes.
• Reis Kho discovers that he has indeed been accepted as a Pathfinder when he is asked to write full reports for the Society.
• Shahazadei contemplates seeking training in how to fight, after feeling completely useless in the battle with the Agash Div.
• Suhad Sawalha has absented herself from the Storm Riders for currently unknown reasons.
• Tsuki Takahashi remains mysterious. That night, however, she sees familiar faces in the crowd at the Whispering Stone.
• Vagna ‘Troubled’ Hammertime continues his annoyance with rest of the Storm Riders over the whole Scythe trap incident.

The following things also become apparent from overheard rumours.

• An auction is announced that will be held in three days time for all of the artefacts recovered from the Necropolis.
• The lottery of Pharasma has been placed on hold pending review. Sites already assigned remain available, though.
• Angus, Groknar, Patricia, and Simon have decided to register as their own adventuring company, the ‘Brave Raiders’.
• Azaz Arafe is working 100 hours of community service at the Grand Mausoleum of Wati. He is not speaking to Khelru.
• Khelru, after being freed from magical compulsions, voluntarily chooses to serve penance at the Insula Mater Hospital.
• Farhaan, friendly owner of the Tooth and Hookah Inn, has closed his establishment while renovations occur after the fire.
• Black Kiss is found dead in her cell, having written in her own blood on the walls, threats of vengeance eternal on everyone.
• The other members of the Sand Scorpions are also deceased, having died attempting to betray and murder the Scorched Hand.
• Velriana Hypaxes is ransomed by her mysterious and wealthy patron, released from prison, and her whereabouts are unknown.

I am primarily running Mummy's Mask because I am a massive fan of the Mummy movies with Brendan Frazer, which is the kind of story I am going for. :) Now I will have to check out Crimson Throne more closely, have never run that one.

The Exchange

Seems like you're the kind of person who can take what was given to them and run with it. I think I can, too, but I also need a metric to determine which AP to run with my extremely limited Pathfinder playing time. And while "I like Egyptian themed adventures" is as good a tiebreaker as any, I always go for the AP that has me more excited about the plot/execution than the premise.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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Lord Snow wrote:
Seems like you're the kind of person who can take what was given to them and run with it. I think I can, too, but I also need a metric to determine which AP to run with my extremely limited Pathfinder playing time. And while "I like Egyptian themed adventures" is as good a tiebreaker as any, I always go for the AP that has me more excited about the plot/execution than the premise.

I think it's hard to boil any AP down to a single metric, and for me, as a GM, ease of running is HUGE and way more important than it being a good read as GM.

For example, Kingmaker was easy to run and fun, after making one small edit ...squishing the content of multiple hexes into a single adventuring day to reduce Nova-ing.

Skull and Shackles required more work because major NPCs were pushovers or (for my purposes) really badly built.

So, for ease of running, Kingmaker comes out ahead.

I also think that giving GMs space to make stories by giving them tools to use rather than plots to use may not be interesting to *you* to read, but I enjoy it. I enjoy the little interpersonal puzzle of fitting things together - players and NPCs. Certainly less compelling on my first read through, but also frequently better in play.

In my view, books that give those sorts of tools to the GM tend to emphasize GM talent. Bad GMing is made worse and good GMing is made better. (Like paint by numbers helps very poor artists paint better, but certainly wouldn't improve the work of the great masters). I am ok with that design because I usually play with talented GMs. Other people's mileage may vary.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I was disappointed with The Half Dead City when I read it, but I will still be running the AP (in October). I will be making some changes to the first book;
1: While the Scorched Hand will appear as a rival group, the main villains will be a group of gold masked cultists entering the lottery to gain access to the Necropolis. On day one, they head straight the temple of the erudite eye and begin tearing it apart, looking for the mask.
2: the PCs sponsor in contest with rival to sponsor group that collects the most treasure. His rival hires the Scorched Hand.
3: the tomb of ahkentepi unfolds as written, Scorched Hand try to strand the group, leaving provisions to keep them going untl their group win the contest.
4: Scorched Hand assigned the House of Pentheru, but are captured by a coven of agash div witches. Only Azaz escapes, he comes to the PCs for help.
5: when the PCs are sent to the temple of the erudite eye, they witness confrontation between cultists and Nebta Khufre, who escapes with the mask.

Any glaring issues with these amendments to the book as written?


mikeawmids wrote:
5: when the PCs are sent to the temple of the erudite eye, they witness confrontation between cultists and Nebta Khufre, who escapes with the mask.

This is the only one that would raise my warning meter big time. I know that if it was my group, they'd undoubtedly figure out a way to involved themselves in said confrontation, defeat Nebta Khufre, and take hold of the mask. Naturally, this makes for a bit of a situation for the continuing campaign as written. As well if the cultists were the ones to get away with the mask!

Not allowing the PCs to do anything about what they're witnessing shackles them pretty badly, and it requires a lot of railroading. Now, I have no problem with railroads, but I specifically construct railroads so that it feels much more natural with my players. I also tend to allow them to do what they wish and throw consequences at them, which helps to eliminate railroad feel. I would be concerned about any situation that intentionally forces my players not to act, or to absolutely act in a certain fashion.

But that's just me. You know your players better than I do, and what their preferences are. If it works for you and them, I say have fun with it! =)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The way I envisioned it was;
1: PCs enter secret area beneath temple around the time the cultists of Hakotep bump into Nebta Khufre.
2: Nebta Khufre dons mask, triggering a minor ka pulse that animates all the undead guardians in the area and causes part of the temple to collapse, allowing the necromancer to escape (until the party enounter him again as written in book 2).
3: the PCs and cultists find themselves swamped by undead nd could work together to get out alive, at this time, they have no idea that they will soon become enemies.
4: Nebta Khufre goes to ground and the events of Empty Graves unfold as written.

Of course, no plan survives contact with the player characters, but a degree of railroading is sometimes necessary to keep the story moving.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The dead for 20 years body in mine will actually be an archaeologist hired by the Forgotton Pharoah's cronies who subsequently hired Nebta as a guide to the still closed Necropolis. His journal will have extensive mention of the priceless artifact that they had researched and were trying to find, as well as how Nebta fled when the Div showed up on the top floor, forcing him to flee downward, and getting tangled in with the Guardian, and subsequently crawling off to die alone and injured, with just enough holy water to anoint himself before he died. Should provide the motivation my party needs to try to hunt down Nebta, as well as foreshadowing the FP's cult presence.


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The strangest thing I have read in this thread so far is someone who noted they avoid using James Jacobs adventures, for me Smuggler's Shiv is the only really good aventure in the Serpents skull AP. To each his own I guess.

For Mummy's Mask, I do agree the the OP. I forsee my group wanting to be foreign Treasure seekers..Adventure 1 setps that up great..but why the blazes would they go risking their life by going into the desert to stop a cult from raising an ancient Pharoah. They would be more likely to get on the first boat back to Absolom.

In that respect, I still like the setup from the Desert of Desolation series..you are ordered on pain of death to go into the desert to stop some raiders. If you succed or fail is irrelevant. You are foreigners and are expendable and are just proof the khan is doing something about the raiders.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Why risk their lives?

Because they're adventurers, not greengrocers.

If they are too scared to "risk their lives" in a desert to stop a threat then they have no purpose in calling themselves adventurers and shouldn't be in the game. If your players need a greater reason for their adventuring than stopping a threat and finding treasure while doing so, then play Wrath of the Righteous or the like instead.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Also, as previously stated, the group needs to want to get on board with the hooks (whether they're strong or not) if they're wanting to play an "Adventure Path." Group decisions (Players + GM) should be made whether to bite the weak hooks to keep going, or to start doing an open campaign, or just start something else entirely.


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archmagi1 wrote:
Also, as previously stated, the group needs to want to get on board with the hooks (whether they're strong or not) if they're wanting to play an "Adventure Path." Group decisions (Players + GM) should be made whether to bite the weak hooks to keep going, or to start doing an open campaign, or just start something else entirely.

Well, here's my issue. Every AP has hooks the party has to follow, but the degree to which they are encouraged to follow those hooks varies greatly. Compare Carrion Crown for instance (because it's a bit older, less likely to be spoilery, and because I just reread it almost in its entirety).

Spoilers to follow for Carrion Crown

Spoiler:
Chapter One of Carrion Crown has a party with relationships to a character murdered by the Whispering Way. They save the town which, it becomes pretty clear, was endangered by the Whispering Way. They then have hooks they can follow to track down the Whispering Way and knowledge that these are evil sons of mothers. All of this in Chapter One.

In Mummy's Mask, in comparison, you have a party that spends literally the entire first chapter without any connection at all to the main plot. Their villain is another adventuring party that never has a meaningful interaction again. You end the chapter with literally no direct hooks and only the most mild interest in discovering what was stolen before you got there.

It isn't until halfway through Chapter 2 that you get any introduction at all to the Cult of the Forgotten Pharaoh, and even then they don't appear as primary antagonists. You end Chapter 2 with a faint interest in pursuing the cult, but no real personal stake in it. They haven't really been villains. Though they opposed the PC, they didn't result in the Ka Pulse. They seem, as with the opposition in Chapter One, to primarily be a competing faction more than anything. The party can track them down - and indeed have to follow the hooks provided - but the hooks here are incredibly weak even in Chapter Two, and are non-existent in Chapter One.

The thing is, this really doesn't have to be the case with this AP, or an AP with functionally the same story. There is no reason that your first foes couldn't have been employed by the Cult, and that a member of the Cult couldn't have set off the Ka Pulse instead of some random foe who you kill and who is never mentioned again. You could have them accidentally awaken the Pharaoh, and thus have to follow him / find information to put him down. Any of these changes would give the adventure a better narrative flow to it.

Alternatively, you could have the party keep on with what seems to be the themes from Half-Dead City, and have them grave robbing / tomb diving across the region in a more mercenary way. Perhaps the party accidentally sets off the Ka Pulse in their first delve of Chapter 2, and spend it putting their mess right. They pick up Chapter 3 chasing tales of a buried Pharaoh with all his wealth and magic items, and go off to do their research towards those ends. You could cast the Cult as a group dedicated to protecting the Pharaoh's tomb - perhaps along the lines of the Medjay from the Mummy films. That would give you a great possibility for them to later have to work with this group they opposed early in the story to put down the Pharaoh if they release him later on.

Any of these are changes a GM can make, with varying degrees of effort, and I'm not saying they were ideas that should have been used. But right now the AP, as several people have noted, lacks narrative coherence. The first chapter seems sharply at odds with the second chapter: in one the party is a group of tomb raiders, in the second they are apparently saviors of the city. They pick up at the end of Chapter 2, moving into Chapter 3, without any strong motives to move forward. Are they chasing wealth? No. They're chasing leads on this Cult of.... not nice people?

I don't know. The entire thing just feels like it is barely on the rails, and like it is stretching the story out across six issues when maybe it would have been better told as something shorter. It comes up feeling like butter spread across too much bread. Still enjoyable, and you get bites that you enjoy, but on the whole I felt like it could have been a lot better. Thus far it's a huge disappointment for me as a whole compared to most of the AP.

I don't want to say that it is any one adventure's fault, because I actually really enjoyed Half-Dead City as sort of an old school dungeon delving adventure, with other adventurers as the foe. similarly, there were bits of Shifting Sands I thought were really cool. It is, as I said, more an issue of the pieces not fitting together.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Your complaint is basically saying "I don't like this book because it builds before introducing the villain instead of starting with the villain blowing up the building and revealing his presence. It's like saying "The start of "The Lord of the Rings" is boring because Tolkien didn't start with Galadriel narrating to everyone about the Last Alliance of Men and Elves and the Ring of Power." Both methods of storytelling are equally valid.

What Mummy's Mask does is set the stage. You are introduced to a living city and have a valid reason to remain in that city (the lottery and investigating tombs despite the misgivings of the Church of Pharasma). Likewise it makes SENSE for the first two tombs to NOT be directly related to the final plot because first you have 1st level adventurers who could die quite easily and thus negate any reason for the players to be involved, second you allow the players to build up treasure in preparation for future levels, and third the real world doesn't work like stories.

Sometimes the cop who gets involved in stopping the conspiracy is working the beat and stopping shoplifters or pickpockets rather than the assassin who tries to kill the courier and prevent delivery of the plot coupon. When this happens often the protagonist in this situation is allowed to have his character develop and grow.

The first chapter of Mummy's Mask is meant to build the personalities of the PCs and let them become comfortable in their shoes, while providing plot hooks to continue in the adventure. At the end of the first book we have been introduced to elements that lead directly to the second book... and the actual threat. Further, you don't have the Big Bad (or in this case more of that Bad's Dragon) sending weak enemies to "stop" PCs (who, let's face it, are nobodies at the early point of the module) and give them a chance to grow.

By the time we're introduced to the antagonist and said antagonist's forces, the players are high enough level for minions who aren't cannon fodder and are a logical threat who could be considered a valid force to face the PCs without overwhelming them immediately.

In short, you appear to be complaining about the build-up to the main villain, but it is the very build-up that allows that antagonist to be an actual threat.

Grand Lodge

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I haven't really read the path beyond the first few chapters of the 1st book but I think I have a grasp on how I would answer the problem of connectivity between books.

The challenge lies primarily in character creation and motivation. The players have to be motivated to create a group of characters who are (primarily) interested in either acquiring ancient artifacts or studying Osirian history not just adventure for adventure sake.

That's how all the older media that the path is supposed to evoke the path (The Mummy, Indiana Jones etc..) begins. It's only later when they find out that the relics they are after could be used for evil that their motivations shift.

I don't know if this is already the case but maybe even make the PC's turn out to be the pseudo enemies of the campaign. They are being bankrolled by a seemingly benevolent organization or investor (a la The Last Crusade)to find all these artifacts and they keep fighting cultists but ultimately the cult turns out to predominately of good alignment and trying to stop the rise of the BBEG.

It just seems like there is a lot to work with to build a personalized experience as long as you try to stray away from the murder hobo motivation.


Tangent101 wrote:
Your complaint is basically saying "I don't like this book because it builds before introducing the villain instead of starting with the villain blowing up the building and revealing his presence. It's like saying "The start of "The Lord of the Rings" is boring because Tolkien didn't start with Galadriel narrating to everyone about the Last Alliance of Men and Elves and the Ring of Power."

Not really.

In any case, there is absolutely no question whatsoever that some APs/adventures provide better motivations than others. (And, IMO, the best APs are the ones that do this better than the others. The worst are the bait-and-switch adventures; i.e. the extreme end of providing poor motivation. See Second Darkness.)

AFAIC, Peter Stewart analyzed this AP (so far) perfectly. The motivation is poor and it didn't have to be.

Quote:
Likewise it makes SENSE for the first two tombs to NOT be directly related to the final plot because first you have 1st level adventurers who could die quite easily and thus negate any reason for the players to be involved, second you allow the players to build up treasure in preparation for future levels, and third the real world doesn't work like stories.

I reject these as nothing more than invalid excuses that the better APs avoid anyways. I understand YMMV.


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

i cant wait for Iron Gods and someone starts a thread there about how it doesnt meet expectations/isn't what they hoped it would be and then we can start this whole thing over:)

not that theres anything wrong with it, no everyone is going to be happy and everyone is more then welcome to stating their opinion, jsut noticing a pattern is all:)


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Tangent101 wrote:
Your complaint is basically saying "I don't like this book because it builds before introducing the villain instead of starting with the villain blowing up the building and revealing his presence. It's like saying "The start of "The Lord of the Rings" is boring because Tolkien didn't start with Galadriel narrating to everyone about the Last Alliance of Men and Elves and the Ring of Power." Both methods of storytelling are equally valid.

No, I'm complaining about the lack of narrative coherence, which is brought on by the combination of two problems:

1) The lack of clear motivation for the party and shifting nature of their required motivation across the first three chapters.

and

2) The lack of a clear antagonist across the AP, but especially within the first two chapters.

If you want a mercenary AP where the party doesn't have a villain, that's fine. I'd be completely down with them tomb raiding across the region. Similarly, if you want an adventure where they are very clearly fighting against some evil, that's also fine. But when you jump back and forth you create a story where the only reason the party is on the trail at all is because they don't want to make a headache for the GM.

The problem isn't that they don't fight the villain in the first chapter. The same is true of other APs (See my reference above to CC), but those APs still managed to convey a sense of purpose for the party and establish a tone (horror, evil, monsters, ect). In Mummy's Mask the tone at the end of Chapter 1 is tomb raiding, the tone at the end of chapter 2 is fighting undead, the tone in chapter 3 is seeking ancient secrets, and the tone in chapter 4 is... hunting down the Cult? Sort of? I mean you hunt them down and basically end the threat, so they aren't even really a meaningful antagonist in that sense.

The party follows a roller-coaster of motivations across four separate chapters with very little leading them along between them other than wanting to make life easier for the GM.

And it didn't have to be that way. I can think of a dozen tweaks, any one of which could have created a much more coherent story arc. Frankly, that's what is disappointing to me. I've come to expect great storytelling out of Paizo. I could pick up and read the adventures of a party like a novel. I don't feel that is the case here. Rather than feeling like one adventure path, this feels like six different adventures written by six different people, which hasn't been an issue in the past.


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Peter Stewart wrote:


The problem isn't that they don't fight the villain in the first chapter. The same is true of other APs (See my reference above to CC), but those APs still managed to convey a sense of purpose for the party and establish a tone (horror, evil, monsters, ect). In Mummy's Mask the tone at the end of Chapter 1 is tomb raiding, the tone at the end of chapter 2 is fighting undead, the tone in chapter 3 is seeking ancient secrets, and the tone in chapter 4 is... hunting down the Cult? Sort of? I mean you hunt them down and basically end the threat, so they aren't even really a meaningful antagonist in that sense.

The party follows a roller-coaster of motivations across four separate chapters with very little leading them along between them other than wanting to make life easier for...

I think this design was somewhat intentional and is supposed to evoke the feel of early AD&D dungeon crawls that were only loosely tied together by some theme. This entire AP really took me back to playing through I3-5, Desert of Desolation series, for AD&D. Loved that series and love this adventure path.


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It sounds like the AP is very reactive rather than proactive - the PCs are reacting to events at the start of each volume of the AP rather than having any overriding goal of their own. They are mercenary treasure-hunters who become accidental heroes.
I suppose that's in line with the Indiana Jones type adventure theme though.


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The adventure has captured my attention but I'm loving the extras with the book.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

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Jeven wrote:

It sounds like the AP is very reactive rather than proactive - the PCs are reacting to events at the start of each volume of the AP rather than having any overriding goal of their own. They are mercenary treasure-hunters who become accidental heroes.

I suppose that's in line with the Indiana Jones type adventure theme though.

Hmmmm.

I'm not sure about the other chapters, but that is not the feedback I am receiving about Chapter One. Unless I am misunderstanding some folks, GMs seem to think that Chapter One relies too much on Players/PCs being self-starters.

****************

(The following is not a reply to the quote)

Though that sparks an interesting though (to me). I wish we had a metric to just evaluate player/PC reaction without input from the GM.

Some of the comments make me wonder two things:
1.) How much the "Reader/GM" who ponders running the Campaign telegraphs the plot in advance to the players, and then draws a conclusion on either their reaction or their anticipated reaction.
2.) How much the "Reader/GM" feels they MUST telegraph the plot in advance in order to get the groups interest.

This is based on comments like, "Chapter One feels disconnected from the plot." I'm being completely serious when I suggest that the only plot that the players should concern themselves is the one described in the Players Guide. The rest of the worries seems like a "meta-concern" that Reader/GM is projecting on to the campaign without actually knowing one way or another how the players would react. Plus, if the Reader/Gm conveys that concern, either vocally or just in their attitude, how do they really know how well it works? If one determines in advance that the campaign is flawed and undermine it from the beginning, a disappointing outcome shouldn't be surprising. That's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When Reign of Winter was coming out, I thought one of the coolest things would be to start the campaign (in Taldor) with ZERO advance knowledge. No thoughts of Baba Yaga, Dancing Huts, Cold Monsters, or Rasputin. Taking the story in, as it unfolds. Likewise, I think the Half-Dead City works best with the same premise, excepting of course what is in the Players Guide.

Simply put. Chapter One is a long set-up, but without a preconceived notion of the story or expectation, that set-up goes rather quickly. I'm running right now while telegraphing as little as I can. It's working quite well.

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