Seeking semi-advanced GMing advice

Carrion Crown

Hello everybody,

Later this year I'm planning on running this adventure path with carrion hill and the plugins from gothic campaign compendium and I'm seeking helpful advice to add a steampunk flavor without distracting from its gothic horror theme. Some of the optional rules I want to use are;

25 point ability buy
Background skills
Commonplace guns
Harrow points
Limited magic
Slow experience
Stamina pool (free for everyone)
Unchained classes

I'll be allowing my players to use Paizo and Pure Steam books and a relatively limited group of races; including the core, changelings, dhampirs, skinwalkers, a homebrew flesh golem race, and a homebrew haunted race.

Are there any special considerations I should be concerned about and what are some easy ways to explain the lowered power caps on spells?

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I just finished running this AP a few weeks ago, and we certainly added a few steampunk-ish touches throughout. Re your adjustments,

1. 25 point buy is too high even for a low magic approach. I wouldn't suggest going any higher than 20.

2. Commonplace guns - if you're sticking to muzzle loaders should be just fine (thats what we did). Once you get into revolvers things can get out of hand pretty quick.

Re low/limited magic, it all really depends on your approach. As your using the slow XP progression the campaign could well end before any high level hijinks begin, that would be the simplest. As for explaining it, the campaign doesn't need to be set in Golarian just Ustalav. Hell Ustalav could be in Ravenloft if you wanted.

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There are a number of consideration in this AP. (I'm just starting Book 6)

#1 - there are many point where the characters simply can't convert their found treasure into anything else (towni too far away to sell oneitem & buy another)

#2 - slow advancement will by the middle of the AP leave them unable to deal appropriately with their adversaries - if you slow their rate of advancement AND limit thier magic/cap there spells they will be very much outclassed by their opponents.

#3 You may be planning to cap the NPC's magic as well - in that case you have a LOT of work to do to balance the last 2 adventures.

The following choice make the AP MUCH more difficult to run:
25 point ability buy
Limited magic
Slow experience
Just remove these from consideration unless you want to go through the last 5 books and start major conversions of almost all the encounters.

#4) If you include the following:
- Stamina pool (free for everyone)
- Unchained classes
Then convert any NPC classes/mosters to use these options as well.

#5 the AP was designed with 15 point build. They ALL are.
If you're going point buy I STRONGLY recommend you stick with 15, 20 max. In the first book you won't notice a difference with a high point buy- by the 3rd it will be obvious your PC are overpowering everything with ease.

Your combo above, by the way, will make your caster too weak for the AP's end books by limiting their magic when the Ap is designed for them to NEED those high level spells to help everyone survive, and you martials will simply plow through everything you come across.

#6) Your "flesh golem" race concept could have a serious impact on the whole second book in the AP - which is built around the horror of the existence of Frankenstein monster. Frankly I'd drop that idea or drop the whole second act of the AP as your "race' dilutes the whole idea of "Trail of the beast".

If you're looking to "tweak" problem spells simply add a house-rule that spellcaster have to "learn" even their free spells - meaning they need to find them in a book/scroll or have them taught to them by someone else - then leave the "problem" spells off that persons list.
Hand clerics a list of "church approved" spells.

Free advice - you don't want an Black Tentacles spell used by a 25 Point buy spell-caster in an unconverted AP almost nothing can escape it, and it turns into a very very slow, very boring fireball.

Good luck - It's a great AP with a lot of interesting encounters and locales.

First I should admit I've only read the first two books, rule of fear, carrion hill, and the compendium.

I was gonna use the 25 point buy and stamina for all to give casters an assist because of the limited magic caps, but for some reason I completely disregarded that 25 points for non-handicap melee classes would further anti-handicap them and I forgot I'd have to give the mobs stamina. I've still got several months to rewrite things and prepare for running this AP, so it's ok.

I wanted to use the slow experience progression to make my players feel out classed and instill the fear of their character's death and again the invention was to have the higher point buy compensate for their lack of power.

My reason for limited magic is with the rise of technology and the superstitious population people used magic less and those that taught it and used it started getting kinda lazy with. I was going to include the use of overclocking spells without the chance for spell failure. I was also going to exclude alchemists from the restrictions because it's science not magic.

More than likely it won't matter what races I'm allowing because my players will all make humans, but My flesh golems are slow androids with negative-energy affinity and die hard instead nanite-surge. I was going to explain them as an advanced black market model and very very secretive race some even in complete denial about their own existence And they were going to either hold the beast on trial in awe of being one of the first of their kind or just the opposite and see him as a failed prototype. By no means did I intend to make them a common race maybe only about a dozen exist. Kinda depressing really because I've put several years into building my homebrew races converting the basics of World of Darkness races into D20 versions.

By time I plan to run this AP Occult Adventures and The Pure Steam, Westbound expansion will be out.

Now, that I've defended my rules. I'll go and contemplate why you're right. I do appreciate all the feedback.

Grand Lodge

I'll throw my 2 cents in. I am running this with 5 players at 15pt builds and they are doing fine though they too have had a few tight spots that they thought they'd die in.

25 pt builds will just make them feel uber - even with slow progression.

The worst thing about message boards is that it's hard to comment without coming across as critical.

The biggest takaway from my above post should be "If you have time to adjust the AP to compensate then go ahead - but it will be a LOT of work for you."

That and I've really found that high stats really mess with base Pathfinder monster CR values. If you go with 25 point buy really consider giving every monster in the books and advanced template - just to start.

All in all - the steampunk tech ideas are very cool - and you can do some interesting thigs with that once you get to Wake of the Watcher.

Have fun with whatever you do - I've had great fun with it so far.

lol I actually thought you guys came across in a friendly manner. I think in my second post with trying to justify my actions made me come across unintentionally as a phallic appendage.

I'll probably have 3-4 players. two are experienced players and know how to optimize, one is pretty new to the game and thinks weapon focus needs to be called out, and the fourth seems to be a competent player. More than likely I'll end up with an oracle/necromancer, an sanctified slayer inquisitor MCV rogue, a barbarian, and something stealth and ranged.

I'm planning for this to be an epic campaign. I've been reading through each book multiple times, even listening to each book while at work. I've also been reading through these forums and taking notes on each section. I've seriously put more work into this than I did for any paper in high school. Lol

I plan on keeping the campaign on Golarian in Ustalav. Depending on how things go i want to further personalize the country though and incorporate elements from the Obsidian Apocalypse books, but that's for a different forum at a different time. Lol

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