Roleplaying scenarios and APs: A discussion


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And you are telling them to go away from their strengths of dice, skills and charts, the core of Pathfinder, and have encounters that are freeform and entirely up to the GMs whim? Also not their strong point and not something they are likely to try.


Freeform / GM whim encounters use no game rules at all; the system you're playing is irrelevant. In theory Pathfinder should be able to do this as well as anything else. (Although the combat rules, by being complex and tactically interesting, seem to encourage adventures where combats take up 70% of game time.)


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Seannoss, I have had fairly simple (on paper) encounters last three hours. For instance, an encounter in RoW with the PCs facing faeries and then going to a barn to finish the faeries. This was a dice-rolling encounter, I was down two players so only four characters were on the board (one of the PCs being run as an NPC, and the other character remaining back with the dogsleds) and a maximum of three faeries in both encounters... and it lasted three hours.

Excessive rules bogs down the game, slows things down, and makes things take a heck of a lot longer. And I'm willing to bet that when my players think about RoW in the future, they won't recall the fight against the faeries that took three hours. They'll remember times when they got to roleplay and have fun interacting.

So yes. I think Paizo should de-emphasize dice-rolling and rules and strongly encourage roleplay and alternative methods of dealing with encounters than just killing things.


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I do agree with that concept, no single fights should take that long. (not to bash much) But it was one of the big things I disliked about 4 Ed, that fights lasted too long.

But Pathfinder is a dice rolling based game. Even if, or more likely when, Paizo includes a major social challenge I bet that there will be a system involves that requires skills and dice rolling. It is the core of the game.

Unless as Matthew states a GM can always wave die rolls and change it.

I play in one campaign like that where it is mostly RP with very little rolling. Then I have another game where that would never work.


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No no, feel free to bash 4E. I never even picked it up. I heard things down the grapevine and was so put off by what they did that I refused to ever have anything to do with it. I have my doubts I'll pick up 5E because I doubt WotC will be able to fix the damage. And Pathfinder, for all its flaws, is still a fun and enjoyable system.

I just want an AP that is designed that does not presume the players are "murder-hobos" and are crafted in such a way to encourage roleplaying and innovative methods of overcoming encounters. That de-emphasizes die-rolling when it's not needed. And I believe such an AP would be good for Paizo. Because despite what was said by Paizo employees, an AP is ultimately a Campaign. You start playing it, you run the game for months if not years... what is this if it's not a campaign? An extra-long module?

No. APs are campaigns. They are used as campaigns by GMs who doesn't want to try to hobble together a campaign... and you have players running the same characters through the entire game until they either wipe out, grow disinterested, or prevail. And if Paizo doesn't realize this and take advantage of this, someone else will, and that will be money Paizo loses out on.

Let's encourage Paizo to keep their competitive advantage, shall we?


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Tangent101 wrote:
Also, this assertion basically says "if you want to roleplay, Pathfinder isn't for you so go find a different gaming system." In short you're telling Paizo customers that they are choosing the wrong product and they should leave and go to their competitors. In the long run this will drive Paizo out of business.

Is this to me? Which "assertion"?


Tangent101 wrote:

I just want an AP that is designed that does not presume the players are "murder-hobos" and are crafted in such a way to encourage roleplaying and innovative methods of overcoming encounters. That de-emphasizes die-rolling when it's not needed. And I believe such an AP would be good for Paizo. Because despite what was said by Paizo employees, an AP is ultimately a Campaign. You start playing it, you run the game for months if not years... what is this if it's not a campaign? An extra-long module?

No. APs are campaigns. They are used as campaigns by GMs who doesn't want to try to hobble together a campaign... and you have players running the same characters through the entire game until they either wipe out, grow disinterested, or prevail. And if Paizo doesn't realize this and take advantage of this, someone else will, and that will be money Paizo loses out on.

Let's encourage Paizo to keep their competitive advantage, shall we?

I'm not sure what it being a Campaign has to do with not presuming "murder-hobos" or encouraging roleplaying and innovative methods of overcoming encounters. Or de-emphasizes die-rolling when it's not needed.

Those seem to be completely orthogonal to me.

It's also not entirely clear to me that Paizo would lose its competitive advantge by sticking to its current AP design. That's a large part of what brought it to where it is now. There are a lot of gamers who like the heavy focus on combat and die-rolling and think that the roleplaying is sufficient as is or can be expanded as desired by GMs. A lot of gamers like the current product. Changing the AP line in the direction you suggest might pick up enough new players to counter the loss of those who like the current version. Or it might not.

My suspicion is that it wouldn't. Pathfinder is a combat/mechanics heavy game, by design, as was 3.x. It stands to reason that those that play it over more rules light or narrative focused game do so because they prefer that style. An AP that plays against the strengths of the system might not interest them so much, while the system will continue to discourage others who might like the adventure, but not the heavy system it's based on.

Mind you, my sympathies are in your direction. I'd love to see a less combat heavy AP with more roleplay challenges. It might get me to start buying APs again. The homebrew games I usually run or play in almost always have a much higher talking to fighting ratio than anything I've seen in mainstream published modules. AP or otherwise.

So as an experimental AP, I think it would be great. Even as a module, which is much less of a risk, that kind of approach would be very cool.


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There quite a few APs out there with tons of RP potential and ways around combat, RotRl, CotCT, Kingmaker, Serpent's Skull, Jade Regent, Council of Thieves, Shattered Star, Carrion Crown, Reign of Winter, Mummy's Mask and especially my favorite Skull & Shackles, seems like they aren't doing too bad:)

another thing to consider, how many levels are you willing to give up for it?
Council of Thieves tops out at 13th level and to this day they still get crap for it, a lot of people won't be happy their characters only get up to 12-13th level after a long ass campaign, if you do that too much you will lose your customer base


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You can always convert Adventure Path to run using a system that facilitates a greater emphasis on role playing. I have converted multiple adventure paths to Savage Worlds and these have been quite narratively driven campaigns, mostly because I can chop/change the bits I like/dislike to focus on what I feel the players will enjoy.

These conversions take time, but the end result is generally worthwhile.


captain yesterday wrote:

There quite a few APs out there with tons of RP potential and ways around combat, RotRl, CotCT, Kingmaker, Serpent's Skull, Jade Regent, Council of Thieves, Shattered Star, Carrion Crown, Reign of Winter, Mummy's Mask and especially my favorite Skull & Shackles, seems like they aren't doing too bad:)

another thing to consider, how many levels are you willing to give up for it?
Council of Thieves tops out at 13th level and to this day they still get crap for it, a lot of people won't be happy their characters only get up to 12-13th level after a long ass campaign, if you do that too much you will lose your customer base

By my standards, all of those that I've looked at, (RoRL, KM, S'sS, S&S, SS, RoW) are far more combat heavy than I'd like. Full of somewhat pointless dungeon grinds, admittedly with some very cool sections.

As for XP, roleplaying and story experience awards are a thing.


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If the "same old same old" was all it took for Paizo to keep their competitive advantage, why would we have such things as Mythic Adventures, The Advanced Class book, Ultimate Combat/Magic, and so forth? Why would we have alternating "experimental" and "traditional" APs? Paizo is seeking to find ways of improving their APs by finding out what works and what doesn't.

This resistance toward a more roleplaying-oriented AP is puzzling in this light. But then, it's the same resistance against Iron Gods and other "non-traditional" APs.


I like PF because of the dice rolling, and how it works. If I want to stop using dice I don't need an AP to tell me to do that. I can just give modiers or decide the outcome by what the player is trying to say. Many GM's that give bonuses for speeches do so anyway. Making it mandatory is a bad idea. Because of rule 0 a GM can already do that. And the skills section also makes note of GM's being able to add bonuses or penalties on their own.

What we need to think about when we suggest things is what is good for the game, not what is good for us.

As an example I tend to allow a lot of things, I traditionally use effects that are SoD/SoS. So for me, more of those would be nice, but I don't think most people like seeing their characters die from a single roll, so it might not be good for the game as a whole.

PS: I have stopped using them as much<---In before I am accused of being a killer GM.


Tangent101 wrote:

If the "same old same old" was all it took for Paizo to keep their competitive advantage, why would we have such things as Mythic Adventures, The Advanced Class book, Ultimate Combat/Magic, and so forth? Why would we have alternating "experimental" and "traditional" APs? Paizo is seeking to find ways of improving their APs by finding out what works and what doesn't.

This resistance toward a more roleplaying-oriented AP is puzzling in this light. But then, it's the same resistance against Iron Gods and other "non-traditional" APs.

Hey, I'm all for it. I just don't think the lack of this particular shift is going to kill Paizo. Which you implied in the earlier post.

Experimentation is good. That said, this is changing the nature of the adventure, while the other experiments have been more with the setting. This is harder. And the steps they have taken in this direction haven't been too well-recieved. The NPCs in S'sS and WotR. The Romance mechanics in JR. These aren't really what you're talking about or what I'd prefer, but I think they're a clue to where Paizo would go with a roleplay heavy AP. They'd want to add mechanics to handle it.

Honestly, people will complain and have complained about every AP, even the traditional ones. This is the internet. I don't think it's any special resistance to non-traditional APs. Different subsets of people for each of course.


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i wasn't expressing resistance to having more RP based story lines just putting forth a counter argument that they already include quite alot of it already. Paizo is a smart innovative company run by smart people that have consistently found ways to evolve their products without breaking their system or Campaign setting, i have no doubt they will be able to continue to do so, and yes threads like this are absolutely important to that evolution:)


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With the exception of Mythic. Though GMs can fix that by disallowing certain things.


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:) i was actually going to include a disclaimer regarding Mythic but then decided to see how long until someone mentioned it, turns out 18 minutes is the answer:D

i will say they have gotten better at streamlining the subsystems, the research mechanic in Shifting Sands is awesome! i'm currently converting all the researching in Carrion Crown into KP should make the investigative parts more immersive and less the chore


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I'd expect a really RP-heavy AP to be something like book 5 of Carrion Crown, where the first half of book 5 is written with two routes -

Book 5 Carrion Crown:
one where the PCs negotiate their way through the Vampire Underground, and one where the PCs fight the vampires.

I.e., about the half the page space would be going to diplomatic encounters/solutions, and about half the page space would be going to what happens if things go south (or the PCs simply decide they're through talking).

With the page space functionally cut in half, the AP would either end at a lower than normal level or have to be on fast progression.

My very limited understanding is that this already sort of happened with Council of Thieves, which (as Captain Yesterday already noted) Paizo still hasn't been forgiven for. =P

A final encounter that can solved through diplomacy ultimately requires that the opposition be a reasonable person.

I have a hunch that very, very few AP BBEGs qualify as "reasonable people" by any normal stretch of the imagination.

Oddly enough, a war between Taldor & Qadira AP (possibly addressing the Dawnflower cult - the N "extremist" worshipers of a NG goddess) would probably be a best fit for a diplomatic campaign, because no one on either side are actually bad people. They just have mutually exclusive competing interests.

(As for roleplay vs. rollplay, I'm in Ordraude's boat - I'm not a good talker at all, but my PCs' diplomacy check is a nice little shorthand to bypass my own social ineptitude. It's also kind of weird when a PC with a 8 Cha and no ranks in diplomacy dominates most social interaction because the player has a silver tongue and can't help himself =P)


Tangent101 wrote:

If the "same old same old" was all it took for Paizo to keep their competitive advantage, why would we have such things as Mythic Adventures, The Advanced Class book, Ultimate Combat/Magic, and so forth? Why would we have alternating "experimental" and "traditional" APs? Paizo is seeking to find ways of improving their APs by finding out what works and what doesn't.

This resistance toward a more roleplaying-oriented AP is puzzling in this light. But then, it's the same resistance against Iron Gods and other "non-traditional" APs.

Which is funny, because several posts down you cite Mythic as "breaking the system"

I don't really consider The ACG, UC, and UM that ground breaking. Books with new character options are probably the safest possible route you can take with a hardcover.

As for why there is more combat versus roleplay, personally roleplay is easier to add in than combat. Which is why I think the devs lean toward the latter. the latter involves statblocks, often for NPCs with class levels. The former just requires a paragraph of X will do Y if PCs talk about Z. Given the choice, I know which one I would rather have to add into a game.


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Mythic breaking the system is not an excuse to say Paizo shouldn't create a roleplay-intensive AP. It states that Paizo should either start creating a product a year sooner so that it can have a more effective playtest period (ie, not 1.5 months) where fixes can be implemented, or that they should initially publish rulebooks as PDFs and after a year has gone by, put out the print edition (and thus update the PDF several times if there are broken elements in it).

I both look forward to and dread the Advanced Class Guide. I feel the playtest was rushed.


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the play test was a bit rushed, however, i'm not too worried Classes are Jason Buhlman's strength, except Summoner (which i havent palyed or allow) i've had fun with every class, i have high hopes for the Investigator, Swashbuckler and Slayer:)

i dont personally feel any of the classes are needed per se but they do look fun:)

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To a certain extent, the point of Mythic was to "break" the system and to allow mythic characters to do things that non-mythic characters cannot do. It does certainly change the game and how it's played... certainly more so than I'd anticipated with Wrath of the Righteous. But it sounds like there's plenty of folks who are enjoying how those changes work... so it's not a bad thing for everyone.

THAT SAID... an AP that has more roleplaying elements in it is something I've always wanted, and I always punch up the roleplay elements in APs I develop. I'm certainly intrigued in pushing it further... but as someone upthread mentioned... the game's core design is a combat simulator, and the further we drift from that, the further we drift into new areas that, like Mythic, will change the game and how it's played. Perhaps in ways you or I can't predict.

So... it's a tricky thing to do.


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James Jacobs wrote:

To a certain extent, the point of Mythic was to "break" the system and to allow mythic characters to do things that non-mythic characters cannot do. It does certainly change the game and how it's played... certainly more so than I'd anticipated with Wrath of the Righteous. But it sounds like there's plenty of folks who are enjoying how those changes work... so it's not a bad thing for everyone.

THAT SAID... an AP that has more roleplaying elements in it is something I've always wanted, and I always punch up the roleplay elements in APs I develop. I'm certainly intrigued in pushing it further... but as someone upthread mentioned... the game's core design is a combat simulator, and the further we drift from that, the further we drift into new areas that, like Mythic, will change the game and how it's played. Perhaps in ways you or I can't predict.

So... it's a tricky thing to do.

On the other hand, if it's done as more of an adventure design push, rather than a rules push, you don't have to drift the rest of the game.

If not an AP, maybe a module? Less risk, more room to explore?

Good to know you're thinking along those lines.


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I do think a sandbox AP similar to Kingmaker but centred around court intrigue, espionage and diplomacy would be a good framework to punch up the RP but still leave the field open for groups that want to get their hands dirty (though they might have to put some thought into how to cover their tracks).

Absalom, Brevoy and Taldor or Cheliax come to mind as potential settings.

Though I'd be happy with a module along these lines as well (especially given the new format).


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James Jacobs wrote:

To a certain extent, the point of Mythic was to "break" the system and to allow mythic characters to do things that non-mythic characters cannot do. It does certainly change the game and how it's played... certainly more so than I'd anticipated with Wrath of the Righteous. But it sounds like there's plenty of folks who are enjoying how those changes work... so it's not a bad thing for everyone.

THAT SAID... an AP that has more roleplaying elements in it is something I've always wanted, and I always punch up the roleplay elements in APs I develop. I'm certainly intrigued in pushing it further... but as someone upthread mentioned... the game's core design is a combat simulator, and the further we drift from that, the further we drift into new areas that, like Mythic, will change the game and how it's played. Perhaps in ways you or I can't predict.

So... it's a tricky thing to do.

Would it be possible (and less risky) to push the boundaries in this direction in the module line, perhaps? Hangman's noose was one of my favourite early pathfinder modules and that seems perhaps similar to what's being asked for.

Maybe one of the new larger modules would be a good "testing ground" to see how it was received.

Edit: like the other two just suggested too. Serves me right for replying without reading the thread.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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thejeff wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

To a certain extent, the point of Mythic was to "break" the system and to allow mythic characters to do things that non-mythic characters cannot do. It does certainly change the game and how it's played... certainly more so than I'd anticipated with Wrath of the Righteous. But it sounds like there's plenty of folks who are enjoying how those changes work... so it's not a bad thing for everyone.

THAT SAID... an AP that has more roleplaying elements in it is something I've always wanted, and I always punch up the roleplay elements in APs I develop. I'm certainly intrigued in pushing it further... but as someone upthread mentioned... the game's core design is a combat simulator, and the further we drift from that, the further we drift into new areas that, like Mythic, will change the game and how it's played. Perhaps in ways you or I can't predict.

So... it's a tricky thing to do.

On the other hand, if it's done as more of an adventure design push, rather than a rules push, you don't have to drift the rest of the game.

If not an AP, maybe a module? Less risk, more room to explore?

Good to know you're thinking along those lines.

I'm VERY interested in exploring a more roleplay-heavy adventure. And I work most on the Adventure Paths, not the modules. Make of that what you will. ;-)


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Seannoss wrote:

I do agree with that concept, no single fights should take that long. (not to bash much) But it was one of the big things I disliked about 4 Ed, that fights lasted too long.

But Pathfinder is a dice rolling based game. Even if, or more likely when, Paizo includes a major social challenge I bet that there will be a system involves that requires skills and dice rolling. It is the core of the game.

There already are systems to do that. Some of them we all know (social skills like Diplomacy, Sense Motive), some of them which are bad (relationship system from Jade Regent), some of them which are new (there is some sort of research system in Mummy's Mask), some of them which have not been used in an AP before (honor system from Ultimate Campaign, fame system from the Faction Guide).

If Paizo were to write a more RP-heavy AP, they easily could integrate some of them into it.


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captain yesterday wrote:

another thing to consider, how many levels are you willing to give up for it?

Council of Thieves tops out at 13th level and to this day they still get crap for it, a lot of people won't be happy their characters only get up to 12-13th level after a long ass campaign, if you do that too much you will lose your customer base

Fallacy argueing 101.

You can give XP for roleplaying scenarios just as well as for combat scenarios.


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James Jacobs wrote:
I'm VERY interested in exploring a more roleplay-heavy adventure. And I work most on the Adventure Paths, not the modules. Make of that what you will. ;-)

See, that it what makes me hopeful that good feedback will lead to good results.

And just to make it clear, I think you have already integrated a lot of the feedback we've given over the years into the new AP's. So thank you for that.


As an experiment A RP heavy 64 page adventure may not be too much of a gamble......


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magnuskn wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:

another thing to consider, how many levels are you willing to give up for it?

Council of Thieves tops out at 13th level and to this day they still get crap for it, a lot of people won't be happy their characters only get up to 12-13th level after a long ass campaign, if you do that too much you will lose your customer base

Fallacy argueing 101.

You can give XP for roleplaying scenarios just as well as for combat scenarios.

go check the message boards for Dragon's Demand in the modules line, they got tons of grief for handing out those in huge chunks, i like story awards as much as the next guy, just presenting a counter argument:)

also not i'm not sure if you say James' response above, but you seem to have won your argument :)

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captain yesterday wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:

another thing to consider, how many levels are you willing to give up for it?

Council of Thieves tops out at 13th level and to this day they still get crap for it, a lot of people won't be happy their characters only get up to 12-13th level after a long ass campaign, if you do that too much you will lose your customer base

Fallacy argueing 101.

You can give XP for roleplaying scenarios just as well as for combat scenarios.

go check the message boards for Dragon's Demand in the modules line, they got tons of grief for handing out those in huge chunks, i like story awards as much as the next guy, just presenting a counter argument:)

A real shame that one, but maybe if they allow fighting as an alternative to RP... well I own the module, maybe this one needs a review.


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As a GM I want to add my observation - 2/3 classes don't have proper social skills trained ( Intimitade as RP skill is very dependent, usually provokes fight ). Why bother to heavy RP if this give +2/+4 to roll and we have +1 oraz +2 in skill?
Second observation- everyone want to have their 5 minutes. More sociable players are quick to dominate this kind of scenes. In some groups there will be issue about spotlight
Third observation - RP scenes tends to bog down pace of session, especially when there are players with "secret missions".

Really, this kind of game depends in 90% percent on proper group of players. I think that this module will be hard to handle in typical PFS session with group of unaquainted players.


Herbatnik wrote:

As a GM I want to add my observation - 2/3 classes don't have proper social skills trained ( Intimitade as RP skill is very dependent, usually provokes fight ). Why bother to heavy RP if this give +2/+4 to roll and we have +1 oraz +2 in skill?

Second observation- everyone want to have their 5 minutes. More sociable players are quick to dominate this kind of scenes. In some groups there will be issue about spotlight
Third observation - RP scenes tends to bog down pace of session, especially when there are players with "secret missions".

Really, this kind of game depends in 90% percent on proper group of players. I think that this module will be hard to handle in typical PFS session with group of unaquainted players.

Then perhaps it wouldn't be for PFS. Not everything has to work for the typical PFS session. Not that it couldn't be run for PFS.

I have no idea what you're saying in your first point.
There are always issues with spotlight. It's a GM's job to manage them.
I find that combat tends to bog down the pace far more than role-playing.


captain yesterday wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:

another thing to consider, how many levels are you willing to give up for it?

Council of Thieves tops out at 13th level and to this day they still get crap for it, a lot of people won't be happy their characters only get up to 12-13th level after a long ass campaign, if you do that too much you will lose your customer base

Fallacy argueing 101.

You can give XP for roleplaying scenarios just as well as for combat scenarios.

go check the message boards for Dragon's Demand in the modules line, they got tons of grief for handing out those in huge chunks, i like story awards as much as the next guy, just presenting a counter argument:)

also not i'm not sure if you say James' response above, but you seem to have won your argument :)

Disclaimer: I don't own Dragon's Demand and haven't looked through it.

A lot of the criticism that I remember from Dragon's Demand was due making the story awards very large for what the criticizers interpreted as fairly easy events.

The Dragon's Demand:
IIRC, one argument I remember was about the XP award for climbing the ruins, which some thought was incredibly easy while others had tales of their characters almost dying in the attempt.

The module does go from level 1 to 7 in 64-pages, which fueled some of the criticism about the amount of "free" XP.


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captain yesterday wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:

another thing to consider, how many levels are you willing to give up for it?

Council of Thieves tops out at 13th level and to this day they still get crap for it, a lot of people won't be happy their characters only get up to 12-13th level after a long ass campaign, if you do that too much you will lose your customer base

Fallacy argueing 101.

You can give XP for roleplaying scenarios just as well as for combat scenarios.

go check the message boards for Dragon's Demand in the modules line, they got tons of grief for handing out those in huge chunks, i like story awards as much as the next guy, just presenting a counter argument:)

also not i'm not sure if you say James' response above, but you seem to have won your argument :)

Well, I'll register my countercomplaint here, then, that there should be more XP for roleplaying scenarios and that they are just as valid as combat scenarios. ^^

And I noticed that James seems favorable to the idea of a more roleplaying heavy AP. I hope my arguments had something to do with it, but even if not, I am not complaining. :D


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Herbatnik wrote:
As a GM I want to add my observation - 2/3 classes don't have proper social skills trained ( Intimitade as RP skill is very dependent, usually provokes fight ). Why bother to heavy RP if this give +2/+4 to roll and we have +1 oraz +2 in skill?

AP's always make some classes less desirable than others, so that argument really doesn't hold much merit.

Herbatnik wrote:
Second observation- everyone want to have their 5 minutes. More sociable players are quick to dominate this kind of scenes. In some groups there will be issue about spotlight

Nobody says that you can't resolve encounters with some diplomacy rolls, if one or more members of the group are tongue tied. That is how it has always been in D&D/PF.

Herbatnik wrote:
Third observation - RP scenes tends to bog down pace of session, especially when there are players with "secret missions".

So does a combat, not to mention several ones.

Herbatnik wrote:
Really, this kind of game depends in 90% percent on proper group of players. I think that this module will be hard to handle in typical PFS session with group of unaquainted players.

Are all AP's now PFS legal scenarios? I thought only a number of them were.


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Wyntr wrote:
The module does go from level 1 to 7 in 64-pages, which fueled some of the criticism about the amount of "free" XP.

I think we got the culprit for those "free XP" right here.


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Like i said i was just putting forth a counter argument:) a discussion doesn't truly begin until all sides are heard, and since Lord Snow and his great walls of text aren't around i figured it might as well be me:)


I re-read the Dragon Demand - Why the Padding? thread. Anyone interested in this discussion and how it might relate to roleplaying in future adventures should probably reread that thread for the context. Here are some quick observations:

Dragon's Demand Spoilers:
The original complaint didn't realize that the story awards were supposed to be divided by the number of PCs (which was assumed to be 4), so it was based on the story awards being four times larger than it was.

James Jacobs clarified that the result of all of the story awards in the module were 1 level - without them, the party would end up at level 6 instead of level 7.

Some of the complaint was also based on the module going from levels 1 to 7; this was the first 64-page module and was designed to do so to be able to have the party fight a Huge dragon (instead of a Large dragon) and to have the party start at 1st-level since those modules sell better and they wanted one available at the upcoming convention. The OP was expecting something covering 3-4 levels, more akin to a single-issue of an AP, to be better able to fit into buying modules to fit together into a campaign.

Most of the complaint wasn't about story awards, but was about whether the story awards required the party to take an actual risk. In his words:

Ernest Mueller wrote:
Also like I say, I believe in the idea of story awards - but for story things, not "because this room didn't have XP in it" which is how the first part comes off. I think the later awards of "1200 for turning over all the stuff out of honesty" and "get dude on your side, get XP as if you'd defeated him in combat" are totally legit. There were just a lot of story awards for IMO questionable reasons.


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The problem is when people say they want more RP opportunities, when they are offered and set up properly....

The poor PC's are so confused they do not know which way is up. And suddenly all one can hear is a swarm of crickets!

The old adage is to make sure that the players have more than one out to the situation.....

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

What does a roleplay scenario in an AP look like? What is needed for a roleplay scenario that isn't currently included?

Wyntr wrote:
A lot of the criticism that I remember from Dragon's Demand was due making the story awards very large for what the criticizers interpreted as fairly easy events.

Spoiler:
I was active in that thread. The rubble pile nearly killed my party's Druid.

-Skeld

The Exchange

Good question Skeld.

I like the balance as is, however the ones that I found memorable with little work from my end were

Carrion crown books one and two - both had investigations early in that let the players unravel mysteries through roleplay as much as fighting. It was all very Shirlock Holmes/Penny Dreadful. We haven't gotten into the later ones yet.

Legacy of fire book 3 has a big section where the players investigate the scroll in a town where slavery is legal and is ruled by the pact masters. For my players with the background traits, the roleplay in ther was epic.

Legacy of fire book 4 has a number of different factions the players have to get on board in order to achieve the aim of the scenario. Lots of roleplay options in there as well as chances to just conquer if necessary.

Kingmaker - huge sections of this AP involve roleplay and diplomacy.

For my players, the balance has been perfect. If I personally want more, I just add it in using background stuff. However, the ones I listed above are the type of thing I believe Magnuskn is looking for.

Cheers


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Skeld wrote:
What does a roleplay scenario in an AP look like? What is needed for a roleplay scenario that isn't currently included?

IMO, the ratio of roleplaying opportunities with guidance by Paizo to combat scenarios needs to be adjusted in favor of roleplaying scenarios. AP's are way too combat focused and since combat encounters take a ton of time (and often are not even threatening to the party) that alone tends to skew the total time spent in an AP heavily towards the combat part.

While you can't easily categorize all sorts roleplaying scenarios, I liked the ones at the beginning of module four of Jade Regent very much, since they were short, succint, but yet gave the GM all the tools needed to fill several evenings with them.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:
Skeld wrote:
What does a roleplay scenario in an AP look like? What is needed for a roleplay scenario that isn't currently included?
IMO, the ratio of roleplaying opportunities with guidance by Paizo to combat scenarios needs to be adjusted in favor of roleplaying scenarios. AP's are way too combat focused and since combat encounters take a ton of time (and often are not even threatening to the party) that alone tends to skew the total time spent in an AP heavily towards the combat part.

That doesn't really answer my question. For example, we know what comprises a combat scenario: a description of the encounter area, environmental hazards, stat blocks or pointers to stat blocks, tactics, morale, and development descriptions. Given that, what are the components of a role play scenario? NPC descriptions, backstory, expected questions or interactions, etc.?

magnuskn wrote:
While you can't easily categorize all sorts roleplaying scenarios, I liked the ones at the beginning of module four of Jade Regent very much, since they were short, succint, but yet gave the GM all the tools needed to fill several evenings with them.

I'll have to look at Jade Regent to get a better idea of what you're referencing.

-Skeld


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Skeld wrote:
That doesn't really answer my question. For example, we know what comprises a combat scenario: a description of the encounter area, environmental hazards, stat blocks or pointers to stat blocks, tactics, morale, and development descriptions. Given that, what are the components of a role play scenario? NPC descriptions, backstory, expected questions or interactions, etc.?

I was setting up the second part of my post.

Skeld wrote:

I'll have to look at Jade Regent to get a better idea of what you're referencing.

-Skeld

You do that.


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Book four in JR is one example. The hunting lodge in Book three of CC is another good one (it covers the setting of the lodge, the host of characters visiting complete with brief backstory, personality and secrets (including a memorable red herring at least for my group). It also contained some other information re clues that would help their investigation. Lastly, there were a few trigger events included that provided some response to the party's actions as they snooped about.
While I ended up going through that material relatively quickly depending on the group that easily could have provided 2 sessions worth of material.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It most certainly did for my group.

The Exchange

Magnuskn, has your group tried Dark Hersy roleplay from fantasy flight games? It's set in the warhammer 40k universe, so may not be your cup of tea. However, the campaigns released for that are very much what your looking for. The whole premise if the game is investigation/roleplay. In fact combat is so deadly that avoiding it is absolutely preferable.

If you heve a chance to, have a read through and see if that's the sort of blance you're after. If so, it then gives us a good ballpark to understanding how much you think is necessary or at least desirable in the Pathfinder APs for you and others.

Cheers


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I got no money to buy modules for an RPG which I am not going to use, sorry.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:
Skeld wrote:

I'll have to look at Jade Regent to get a better idea of what you're referencing.

-Skeld

You do that.

Ha. Yeah, I did that, because I'm genuinely curious what type of role play scenarios you're talking about. It's interesting that you're asking for role play scenarios like that to be added in as standard fair. I always assumed that's the kind of thing GMs added to campaigns as they saw fit (at least that's been standard for my group since before 3e came out). I didn't realize anyone that's an experienced GM/roleplayer would need that level of hand-holding to make their campaign interesting from a role playing standpoint. On the other hand, APs are created with the intent to appeal to a wide audience , so I shouldn't be surprised.

-Skeld

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