Ultimate Ranking of PFRPG Adventure Paths: Carrion Crown


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion

Sczarni

The goal of this thread is to establish a consensus rating of the Paizo PFRPG Adventure Paths that may be ultimately compiled into a chart for reference by GM’s trying to figure out what adventure path to play.

Did you GM or play Carrion Crown in its entirety? If so, please post your ratings here so they may be tallied for in a final posting that will show the results for all the adventure paths.

Please rank Carrion Crown on a scale of 1-10 for each of the following categories (half points allowed):

1) GM Ease of Play: This category relates to how ready to play “out of the box” an adventure path is. Are there enough maps? Are the encounters properly detailed? Is a great deal of work required to play the modules? Readily scale-able? (1-10)

2) Synthesis of the Story: Does the story-line flow through all the modules in a way that leads the players along the path while not being so obvious as to knock them over the head rail-road style? (1-10)

3) Role-play Friendly: Are there enough opportunities for role-players to delve into the soft side of the game? Are there opportunities for well executed role-play to have a positive impact on the story line? (1-10)

4) Combat Design: Is the adventure appropriately powered for four well designed 15 point buy characters? Are there TPK-prone encounters that will probably disrupt the campaign? Will the players cruise through to the point of boredom? (1-10)

5) Fun factor: Did you have fun GMing the campaign? Did your party have fun playing the campaign? (1-10)

Links to other rankings:

Council of Thieves

Kingmaker

Serpent's Skull

Sovereign Court

Nice I have run this one so I can comment.

1. 7/10 I found there to be some problems that requied a bit of reworking with a few of the encounters. The maps are great though no complaints there.

2. 3/10 This was the biggest weakness of an otherwise fantastic AP. The thread that binds this AP together is awfully thin and I did a ton of custom work to make sure it flowed together.

3. 8/10 I am not sure if this is just a regular thing with the APs but I found the RP potential to be great for about 2/3 of the AP. As higher level approaches the RP potential goes down and the dungeon crawl/encoutners volume goes through the roof.

4. 8/10 I felt most encoutners are fair and challenging. There are a few points in the AP where a "kick in the door ask questions later" style group is probably going to die a quick death. My plyers tend to play cautiously though so these obstacles served as good challeneges as opposed to death traps.

5. 10/10 The issues this AP have are not enough to deter from the fun potential. Now I did do a ton of work at times to make this adventure mine/better, but I feel the authors have provided an excellent set of adventures here. I would reccomend this AP.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

This one I've played through twice. Spoilers!

1) GM Ease of Play: Hard to tell from the players' side. The second playthrough was with a relatively inexperienced GM. He seemed to manage pretty well, although I got the sense he was a bit disappointed with the presented tactics at times. I'll touch on that again in Combat. 7/10

2) Synthesis of the Story: This is a bit of a weakness in CC. The story starts strong, and there is a common thread, but the path feels a little bit like a tour of "monsters of the week." 5/10

3) Role-play Friendly: There are lots of opportunities for roleplaying. Books 4 and 6 are the least roleplay friendly, but there are still many NPCs to deal with. 8/10

4) Combat Design: Our group are no optimizers, and we did the first half with three characters with little issue. Fights are pretty easy in general. My other group had the GM actively beef up encounters. The newbie GM complained that he had a hard time challenging us on occasion. 4/10

5) Fun factor: The campaign was a lot of fun. 7/10


How do you want to get a real consensus if only those who liked the AP well enough to play it to the end are allowed to vote?

I for my part was a player in CC and left the group because, for me, the AP sucked. so for me the fun factor was 1/10.

Spoilers!

2) until I left in book 3 there was no central theme apparent. First you hunt the whispering way, then you suddenly forget that to help the beast...

4)the hardest part of book 1 was sitting around several fights because of multiple incorporeals and only one magic weapon for the party.


I'm running this and on the last book so here's my take:

1) GM Ease of Play - The books, encounters, and maps require little change. I had to beef things up due to a larger party but as written I'd say 8/10

2) Story - 5/10 - The connection b/w modules is thin in most places and necessitate GMs to make changes. The msg boards here provide a trove of material for this. The individual modules often had quite strong stories especially the first three. It is vital that the GM weave in a way to make

Spoiler:
Adivion a strong presence throughout much of the AP.

3) RP - 8/10 Strong RP possibilities in this AP that my group responded to. This has been one of the more enjoyable APs for that. Wake of the Watcher and the last book are the notable exceptions as they devolve into grinding crawls (WoW starts with a lot of promise, eerieness but after the party does some preliminary investigation they essentially are charged with exterminating the town)

4) Combats - Due to my party's size I modded a lot of encounters. I would give the combats 6/10 as I suspect I would change things even if i had the party of 4.

5) Fun - 9/10 I would strongly recommend this AP (with the caveat re the story issues)

Grand Lodge

Currently GMing
1) GM Ease of Play (8 out of 10)
The maps are good. The only one that I had to do a double take and serious thinking on was an old temple in book 3 and a shop with an indoor balcony in book 5. No problems with the encounters that I can remember. There does seem to be a lack of detail about monsters/encounters in other parts of dungeons spilling over into ongoing combats. Easily reasoned out with perception checks.

2) Synthesis of the Story (4 out of 10)
It is primarily up to the GM to insert elements to make the main villainous cult remain in the minds of the players. The campaign is essentially a chase through various situations that just happen to require dealing with classic monsters. No fault to the writers. Each individual chapter is interesting and fun. I would also suggest changing the dynamic of the monstrous groups the party encounters.

Make the werewolves less attack on sight and give the group at least one werewolf leader outside the prince's wolves who at least tolerates them.

The same for the vamps. Can't make them good? Make them super lawful. Change their religion to Asmodeus. Make it illegal for them to wantonly kill humans for no reason. Make them seem like creatures that can be reasoned with.

3) Role-play Friendly (6 out of 10)
I would say so. Generally the first half of each individual book is geared toward diplomatic interaction. There is even the possibility of (with some GM retooling) using role play to overcome haunts which are a hefty part of the campaign.

There are, however, no NPC interactions that carry over through the entire path. It is up to the DM to create or insert those. It's also up to the DM to create tension or familiarity of the final villain otherwise they will not even know his name until the end of book 5.

4) Combat Design: (8 out of 10)
I mentioned this above but a lot of dungeons in this path have encounters that have a high likelihood of spilling together. An unprepared party without a high knowledge religion player is going to have trouble.

On the part of ease of encounters there are a number of encounters (mostly in books 1 , 2, and 3) that are TPK viable. I would say the last in book 3 is the worst offender. All of the paths seem to have those however.

On the other hand a paladin or any other character capable of doing more than usual damage to undead or even just evil NPC's in general is going to chop through the path and be in little danger of death.

5) Fun factor (9 out of 10)
This is the first path I have run but up until now (end of book 5) we have all seemed to be having a lot of fun. Next in line.. Second Darkness.


Umbranus wrote:


How do you want to get a real consensus if only those who liked the AP well enough to play it to the end are allowed to vote?

I for my part was a player in CC and left the group because, for me, the AP sucked. so for me the fun factor was 1/10.

Spoilers!

2) until I left in book 3 there was no central theme apparent. First you hunt the whispering way, then you suddenly forget that to help the beast...

4)the hardest part of book 1 was sitting around several fights because of multiple incorporeals and only one magic weapon for the party.

Umbranus has a point, and his post shows that things vary by GM. One thing I noticed about AP's is that a GM will think the story is really good because he has all of the information, but an AP won't have a way to pass all of this on to players. What I have learned to do is to pass that knowledge on to the players via NPC's. It helps get them into the story more. Otherwise players can feel lost.

Sczarni

wraithstrike wrote:
Umbranus wrote:


How do you want to get a real consensus if only those who liked the AP well enough to play it to the end are allowed to vote?

I for my part was a player in CC and left the group because, for me, the AP sucked. so for me the fun factor was 1/10.

Spoilers!

2) until I left in book 3 there was no central theme apparent. First you hunt the whispering way, then you suddenly forget that to help the beast...

4)the hardest part of book 1 was sitting around several fights because of multiple incorporeals and only one magic weapon for the party.

Umbranus has a point, and his post shows that things vary by GM. One thing I noticed about AP's is that a GM will think the story is really good because he has all of the information, but an AP won't have a way to pass all of this on to players. What I have learned to do is to pass that knowledge on to the players via NPC's. It helps get them into the story more. Otherwise players can feel lost.

The danger is that one of the early modules was bad, so you didn't continue and failed to discover the greatness of later modules. There is no perfect system. I prefer to have someone who experience the whole path, but full evaluations of part of the path are fine as well.


Crellan wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Umbranus wrote:


How do you want to get a real consensus if only those who liked the AP well enough to play it to the end are allowed to vote?

I for my part was a player in CC and left the group because, for me, the AP sucked. so for me the fun factor was 1/10.

Spoilers!

2) until I left in book 3 there was no central theme apparent. First you hunt the whispering way, then you suddenly forget that to help the beast...

4)the hardest part of book 1 was sitting around several fights because of multiple incorporeals and only one magic weapon for the party.

Umbranus has a point, and his post shows that things vary by GM. One thing I noticed about AP's is that a GM will think the story is really good because he has all of the information, but an AP won't have a way to pass all of this on to players. What I have learned to do is to pass that knowledge on to the players via NPC's. It helps get them into the story more. Otherwise players can feel lost.
The danger is that one of the early modules was bad, so you didn't continue and failed to discover the greatness of later modules. There is no perfect system. I prefer to have someone who experience the whole path, but full evaluations of part of the path are fine as well.

If Umbranus had played in my game he would have gotten more background information, but under his current GM that info may have never been received. I doubt there will ever be a consensus. All you can do is read the other threads on the AP to see the varying opinions because that is what this will turn into anyway. Personally I did not like book 4. It felt forced to me. I was actually going to remove the entire book and replace it with something else, but at the end of book 3 people moved away so the AP was not finished. Up until that point they were loving it though.


Being a little more clear:

About the genre:
CC is called gothic horror but I much more found it to be splatter mystery. A little bit like scoobydoo meets doom.
For me gothic horrow would require the undead/monsters to be fewer and more dangerous, not wading through destroyed skeletons and zombies.

Part 1: I liked this part except for tha fact that there were too few magical weapons and too many incorporeal foes. I could see myself GMing this first part as a standalone. But then I'd either replace the incorporeals with foes more sensible for a low level module or use other ways to make sure every player has a chance to contribute.

Part 2: I did not like that fact that the group was forced to abandon the search for the whispering way to help some construct. We got no roleplaying incentive to help except being offered money and the fact that he/it might be innocent. Very much NOT reason enough to stop persuing an undead cult that endangers more than a single life/soul.

Part 3: Again no reason given to go to the castle except for the beast having invited us. The search for the whispering way seemed altogether forgoten. The party was very much too low on cash and equipment, about WBL for level 2-3 at level 6, when we had to fight stuff like rust monsters that destroyed the only magic armor our party had.
As the castle belonged to someone we had no reason to plunder it and because of that we had no chance whatever to gain any loot. No reason to clear the castle of monsters we were just endangering our lifes and spending the little ressources we had for nothing while still ignoring the whispering way.
I guess it was about mid-way through part 3 when our mage (the only PC my stonelord liked) was killed. He then took the corpse, brought it to the next temple and went of his way to really fight evil in a meaningful way.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Umbranus wrote:

Being a little more clear:

About the genre:
CC is called gothic horror but I much more found it to be splatter mystery. A little bit like scoobydoo meets doom.
For me gothic horrow would require the undead/monsters to be fewer and more dangerous, not wading through destroyed skeletons and zombies.

Part 1: I liked this part except for tha fact that there were too few magical weapons and too many incorporeal foes. I could see myself GMing this first part as a standalone. But then I'd either replace the incorporeals with foes more sensible for a low level module or use other ways to make sure every player has a chance to contribute.

Part 2: I did not like that fact that the group was forced to abandon the search for the whispering way to help some construct. We got no roleplaying incentive to help except being offered money and the fact that he/it might be innocent. Very much NOT reason enough to stop persuing an undead cult that endangers more than a single life/soul.

Part 3: Again no reason given to go to the castle except for the beast having invited us. The search for the whispering way seemed altogether forgoten. The party was very much too low on cash and equipment, about WBL for level 2-3 at level 6, when we had to fight stuff like rust monsters that destroyed the only magic armor our party had.
As the castle belonged to someone we had no reason to plunder it and because of that we had no chance whatever to gain any loot. No reason to clear the castle of monsters we were just endangering our lifes and spending the little ressources we had for nothing while still ignoring the whispering way.
I guess it was about mid-way through part 3 when our mage (the only PC my stonelord liked) was killed. He then took the corpse, brought it to the next temple and went of his way to really fight evil in a meaningful way.

I think this is a good example of the sort of thing wraithstrike is talking about. I've played the AP twice, under two different GMs, and did not have most of the problems you discuss, mostly due to having better information. This is not to judge your GM, merely to point out that several of your problems have background elements to them.

1. I don't recall if there actually were any true incorporeal creatures in adventure 1. What there are a lot of is haunts, which can seem very like an incorporeal creature but actually work more like traps. Most of the major encounters have a story-based weakness that you can exploit to make them much more beatable - but if you didn't get that info, I can see how frustration would result.

The biggest problem both my groups had with adventure 1 was actually rushing through it - time pressure was so much that we finished everything within one game week, which meant we missed a lot of interactions with the town.

2. It's been a while but doesn't your search for the cult lead into helping the Beast? I recall at least one of the things he's accused of actually being committed by the Whispering Way. This might be somewhat a matter of party makeup - we had no other leads, so as good people why not try to prevent an innocent life from being lost?

3. The castle is technically part of adventure 2. I agree entirely on the treasure angle - I think it's intended for the PCs to loot the place but both groups of mine were thinking, "We're guests here, let's not steal everything." Doesn't the castle owner know a bunch about the cult and that's why you're there? I remember it as getting there and then searching for the guy.

One of the GMs I played under actually had the master of the castle make us each a custom magic item as a reward for saving him and not looting the place. Seemed like a decent compromise on the treasure issue.


1: The splatterman is a ghost, the lopper is, as far as I know, a wraith. The third, I could remember/find online.

2: We came upon the trial of the beast because we had the task to bring some books to Leppidstat. The woman we had to give the books to told us that she needs us to find out the truth about the beast and sh would pay us double she owed us if we were successful or nothing if we declinds. Not even what she owed us already for the books. No leads, just need for money have been our reason to help.


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

boy you've been waiting to get this out for awhile haven't you Umbranus? its all good Carrion Crown isn't for everyone.
alas it would seem your GM did not do the best job conveying the Gothic Horror that is Carrion Crown.

while player experiences are relevant and dissenting opinions are extremely important it sounds like the issues you ran into were not the fault of the material, but rather the execution of the GM, which is why its important to add more value to those that have gotten the full picture, whether its GMs that have run it and palyers that went the full way.

maybe an addendum added to the periodic scoring on how many say they did not enjoy enough to finish would be the best compromise?


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Re Umbranus:

1. I do agree with you re the gothic horror themes though that is more of an aspect of being a pathfinder game. The REH Solomon Kane stories or the old universal monster movies are probably a better analog - pulpy gothic horror.

2. The lead to help the beast should be grounded in the notion that the museum was broken into and a relic stolen. The adventure as written doesn't necessarily tell the GM to play up the possibility of the Way's involvement which I think is where your disconnect comes from (and truthfully this is an issue for the next two adventures). What got my players interested in this was I gave enough hooks to make them believe that the Way was behind the robbery and that either the beast (or his creator) was in league with the way or a patsy but either way investigating the crime would lead them to the Way.


Caveat: I was a player, so some of these are guesses.

1) GM Ease of Play: While our GM had little trouble prepping and did not spend a lot of time searching through maps or books, the out-and-out apology in Book 6 saying, "Oh, sorry. We should have introduced the BBEG before now," indicates this is one AP where the GM MUST read all 6 books before even starting, and then adjust things so that the story line is coherent.
Score: 6/10, but that's as a player.

2) Synthesis of the Story: This was awful. A stitched-together hodgepodge of, "Now you're in this horror genre" held together by a constant chase scene of dubious motivation. I've got to give this
Score: 1/10.

3) Role-play Friendly: This was absolutely a strong point of the AP. If it weren't for the fact that RotRL and CotCL did it better I'd give it a 9 or a 10. Because I've seen better, I'm giving it
Score: 8/10, though this was definitely a strong point

4) Combat Design: While *MOST* of the books had excellent, well-balanced combat, there were too many, "Oops. You made a mistake. You're dead," moments (Castle Schloss Carouac, anyone? Or the stables in the city you've never heard of? Or the surprise, "Combat's started, half the party's dead," waiting for you in another module?) We only had one player death to a "real" encounter. We had over half a dozen to utterly stupid, "You couldn't have predicted this and now one of you is dead" moments. "Rocks fall, you're dead," is not fun.
Score: 4/10. Probably should be lower, but most of the fights were good.

5) Fun factor: In spite of two players rage quitting (yeah, some of the deaths are THAT bad), the rest of us enjoyed it.
Score: 7/10.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Since I GM'ed this one, I should give my opinion, too, although I already did a review of it on its very board a few years ago.

1) GM Ease of Play: 8/10 I did not have to change up too much, aside from the problem with story cohesion between modules. I actually had to prune encounters a lot in the last module, because it was just too many combat encounters strung together.

2) Synthesis of the Story: 2/10 Yeah, it was bad. Not the story of the individual modules, but the overall story really didn't gel together. I somewhat managed to salvage it by introducing Adivion in module one and keeping him a presence throughout the entire AP.

3) Role-play Friendly: 8/10 Five out of six modules gave interesting roleplaying scenarios which filled half the module. Sadly, module six dispensed almost entirely with that and just strung together combat after combat.

4) Combat Design: 6/10 All the usual problems Pathfinder AP's often have. Single boss encounters, weak MMO trash encounters which can't even really touch the party and at the campaign mid-point, I just had to buff and combine encounters all the way to keep them interesting. Then again, it also had some of those "OMG, WTH?" difficult encounters until part three which pop up randomly, like on the bridge in Schloss Caromarc.

5) Fun factor: 8/10 Until module six rolled in, things were really fun. Module six wanted me to get it over with as fast as possible. Nonetheless, overall a good AP.

Dark Archive

Crellan wrote:

The goal of this thread is to establish a consensus rating of the Paizo PFRPG Adventure Paths that may be ultimately compiled into a chart for reference by GM’s trying to figure out what adventure path to play.

Did you GM or play Carrion Crown in its entirety? If so, please post your ratings here so they may be tallied for in a final posting that will show the results for all the adventure paths.

Please rank Carrion Crown on a scale of 1-10 for each of the following categories (half points allowed):

1) GM Ease of Play: This category relates to how ready to play “out of the box” an adventure path is. Are there enough maps? Are the encounters properly detailed? Is a great deal of work required to play the modules? Readily scale-able? (1-10)

2) Synthesis of the Story: Does the story-line flow through all the modules in a way that leads the players along the path while not being so obvious as to knock them over the head rail-road style? (1-10)

3) Role-play Friendly: Are there enough opportunities for role-players to delve into the soft side of the game? Are there opportunities for well executed role-play to have a positive impact on the story line? (1-10)

4) Combat Design: Is the adventure appropriately powered for four well designed 15 point buy characters? Are there TPK-prone encounters that will probably disrupt the campaign? Will the players cruise through to the point of boredom? (1-10)

5) Fun factor: Did you have fun GMing the campaign? Did your party have fun playing the campaign? (1-10)

Links to other rankings:

Council of Thieves

Kingmaker

Serpent's Skull

I havent played ALL of the paths. Only like 4 of them. Of the four I played I rank them like this.....

Reign of Winter
2. Rise of the Runelords
3. Carrion Crown
4. Curse of the crimson Throne.
Sidenote: i OWN and have readthrough all of the AP's Paizo has put out so far up to Mummys mask....
And these 4 ( for me) semed like the fourbest :)

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