Experimental APs - why not one going to Level 20?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I've been around. I started this thread after all. ;)


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@Mythic APs: I think it would be better for Paizo to pretend that Mythic was a bad dream, and in 20 years or so when they get around to doing Wrath of the Righteous Anniversary Edition, they rebuild it as a non-Mythic Epic AP.

Shadow Lodge

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UnArcaneElection wrote:

@Mythic APs: I think it would be better for Paizo to pretend that Mythic was a bad dream, and in 20 years or so when they get around to doing Wrath of the Righteous Anniversary Edition, they rebuild it as a non-Mythic Epic AP.

Except Paizo has repeatedly stated that they do not want to do Epic. That's why they created Mythic in the first place.

Paizo has ZERO interest in doing post-level 20 content, except as higher-CR monsters. There will never be a Pathfinder epic book for PC classes, etc. That's what Mythic was created for.


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

Mythic is great for GMs to toughen up opponents, it's also fun for PCs in small doses.

As Tangent said they should've kept WotR at 5 tiers max, but what's done is done, lesson learned and all.


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The knock on Mythic rules is really silly. There's an entire third party publishing industry built up around it by companies like Legendary Games that have been putting out further rules and supplements for it. Their supplement on Mythic Solutions offers a lot of clarifications and houserule suggestions for making mythic more manageable in your home campaign.

In my opinion, mythic rules are only bad in the hands of poor GMs. We've been having a blast running it in my home campaign. Not saying that I'm a good GM - but I'm definitely not a bad one.

After thirty years of playing regular D&D, we never had the opportunity to get to truly epic levels and Paizo's Mythic Adventures rules are the best way to implement that epic feel.

My opinion of course and you will all disagree.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

With the caveat that we're wandering far afield of the OP:

I'll disagree, but politely--you clearly have excellent taste in avatars, and I respect that :-).

IMNSHO, the concept behind Mythic was excellent--rather than coming up with something to bolt onto the rules after L20, making a punch-up that could apply at lower levels (and in smaller doses) is brilliant, and also makes good business sense. The fact that Legendary Games, et al, have been continuing to develop the concept--and succeeding at it--attests to that.

But.

It's clear that the initial execution of the Mythic rules set left something to be desired, as witness the fact that part of what Legendary Games is able to sell, AIUI, is guidance on how to correct the more glaring issues with Mythic. That's not a good sign.


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

Ah!!

i can't tell who is who:-D

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm the better-looking one ;-).

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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To be clear... It's not Paizo that is not all that interested in doing another full Mythic AP from 1st to 20th level and 1st to 10th mythic tier. It's me. Of course, since I'm the Creative Director and in charge of the AP content at the end of the day, that's sorta the same thing.

And it's not so much the fact that Mythic is "broken." I think that now that I've had a few years to get used to how Mythic works and how it changes the game, we COULD do another one that would be more successful, but frankly, I'm not all that eager to engage the negativity that certain folks on the boards are carrying for such a project anytime soon. I'd rather let it lie fallow for a while, use Mythic content to bolster monsters now and then, and then MAYBE look into tentatively engaging mythic content for PCs from a more informed and more experienced viewpoint somewhere down the road.

But the community needs to get a little less toxic about the topic first before I'm comfortable trying that. In the meantime, of course, we have PLENTY of cool and exciting adventure paths and other products in the works. In fact, I'm relatively sure that some parties are gonna be able to make it to 17th level in Hell's Rebels before the end of the last adventure, so that's pretty cool.


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James Jacobs wrote:
I do believe that some folks are tired of 1st level adventures, but given customer feedback and looking at sales and play data from our products and the PFS program... well, that data tells a very different story.

As an AP and modules subscriber and someone who is a store coordinator for PFS this statement worries me. It insinuates that my participating in PFS (which I joined only after finding out that there were plans for post-11 play, which have been sadly lacking) and willingness to support Paizo by subscribing to the APs (which I feel almost never go high enough level) is supporting a bias against the higher level content which I actually enjoy. It makes me wonder if my willingness to put up with lower level content to support a gaming community is being misconstrued as wanting to stay out of what I consider the fun parts of DD/PF gaming (17+level play with actual opportunity to use 20th level capstone abilities for more than a part of a single adventure).

I don't want to come across as "toxic", but I do wonder if this is an indication that unsubscribing from AP's and modules and ceasing coordinating game days for PFS wouldn't go further to communicating my preferences to Paizo about higher level content. Especially as I can't see how one can generate information about high level content preferences from a campaign that effectively stops at 11 unless you are somehow interpreting participation in that campaign as "I prefer low level content" rather than "this is the lowest barrier of entry to this hobby and we use this as marketing to attract new players".

-TimD


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

James, part of the reason for the increasing toxicity of comments on Mythic is the fact Paizo hasn't addressed any of the concerns officially. We've not seen an official fix (not sure on the proper terminology for those PDFs) that deals with rules issues. In time, even those of us who like Mythic have admitted it has... some significant problems.

That said, Mythic is very handy for turning enemies into something memorable. I gave the Scribblers the Mythic Agile template and he's proving to be quite the nemesis rather than a punching bag (thanks to acting twice a round). And no doubt a number of solo Big Bads could benefit from having two full actions a round. ;)

As for level 20 play... there are two courses available that would make it doable. One is to have a 7-issue AP (perhaps instead of an extra hardcover book). The second is an after-the-adventure AP dealing with the Big Bad having a contingency plan (like Clone) just in case the players won. If a GM doesn't want to run it, he doesn't have to. The AP ended when it did... so ignore the extra content. It's just for those GMs who want to go to level 20 and have one last hurrah for their players.

I will admit that I'd have forgone the latest hardcover for one last AP/Module bit leading to level 20. But that's just me. ;)

Dark Archive

I think one huge risk about using mythic rules is that almost everyone(at least everyone who is vocal) seems to think they are inherently broken <_<; Best way to make them think otherwise would be to create adventure were they don't break the game, but I feel like quite many people aren't willing to give it a try right now.


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The mythic rules are high powered, which isn't the same thing as broken. Much like the regular game, there's a handful of things that are too good and need to be scaled back, but it's mostly fine to run as-is.

The main thing to keep in mind for a mythic game is that mythic characters can face much stronger opponents than normal PCs, and can face them more often - meaning that if you're actually challenging your mythic PCs they are going to level pretty damn quickly.

For example, I ran Reign of Winter as a mythic campaign. In the normal campaign, the PCs on normal progression should end it at about 17th level. I ran my game on slow XP progression, and my PCs finished the AP at 20th level (and tier 7). (I've had to put the after-campaign on hiatus - one of my players is off to pharmacy school, so I don't expect to be running the after-campaign).

Tiers 3 (where recuperate and a lot of the stronger path abilities come online) and 5 (mythic saves, making nonmythic foes significantly less dangerous to mythic characters) are pretty big deals.

Mythic monsters -- the monsters get less passive stuff than characters do, but it's always worth keeping in mind that they can buy anything as mythic abilities. Want to give the mythic dragon fast swallow? Go right ahead. Want your guy to have amazing initiative? Go right ahead. Want domains or blessings? Go right ahead. Want wildshape? Go right ahead.

Anything goes as long as you're comfortable with doing it to your PCs =P

Now, one thing from Mythic Adeventures that's just wrong:

PRD wrote:

Encounters for Mythic PCs: Mythic adventurers are ready for challenges beyond those normally expected for characters of their level. (See the Adjusting CR and Level sidebar.) When designing encounters to challenge these characters, roughly one-third of the encounters should use their adjusted APL, one-third should use the characters' original APL, and the remaining should fall somewhere between those two values.

Of course, individual encounters can vary from these numbers as normal (such as a challenging encounter versus an easy encounter). When facing a mythic foe, add half its mythic rank to its original CR to determine the foe's adjusted CR (as above).

For example, when designing challenges for a group of four 12th-level, 6th-tier mythic PCs, approximately one-third of the encounters they face should be CR 12, one-third should be CR 15, and the remaining encounters should be CR 13 or 14. That means some of their encounters are rather easy (allowing them to dominate foes using their mythic power), some are of average difficulty, and some truly push them to their limits. The challenging encounters should be against other mythic foes, forcing the PCs to confront enemies with similar power.

I suspect Wrath of the Righteous follows that outline, and that's part of the problem with it.

Because if you follow that advice, it means you should avoid encounters above the party's ECL, which I find to be really weird advice. (Oddly enough, I found the level + half-tier to determine ECL to work pretty well).

For that example, with the ECL 15 party, they should be facing CR 18+ opponents/encounters, because that's in the weight class that's actually dangerous to them.

(Aside: The XP budget for a CR 26 encounter that doesn't have a CR 26 critter in it is pretty amazing. My final fight for RoW involved a CR 25 Elvanna, a CR 24 "special guest", and a dozen or so CR 18-22 fey (with more adding in every round) vs. an ECL 22 (L19, tier 6) party.)

Mythic allows for getting gleefully crazy.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Paizo doesn't change anything unless a book is reprinted. Even then they rarely change things drastically. So I'm not certain what kind of "official response" people expect for Mythic. It's an optional toolkit for people to use. Paizo underestimating the power level at high level, high mythic, for the later parts of Wrath just means GMs need to use even more potent foes for proper mythic feel.

I'm unconvinced that Mythic has any "problems" that don't already exist in high level pathfinder. I'm also less convinced that high level pathfinder has problems, as much as it is different than the way some people think it should be. I've run a game from 1-20. High levels get very potent. So crank it to 11 and enjoy the ride.

TimD - I suspect what James is saying is that the reporting and sales for PFS show that people play way more 1-6th level content than the 7-11th level content. It's just a fact. AP sales are similar. People might buy books 1-3 and then the campaign collapses so they never bother to buy books 5-6. (I can say I haven't ever seen the end of an AP. Furthest I've gotten so far is book 5 of Kingmaker.)

Anyway, I make a point of buying all the high level stuff I can get. Because I know sales is the only way to really show demand. Too bad I'm in the minority.


To reply more on topic - Paizo would be fools to put out a 7th AP book or a module serving the same purpose, because high level stuff doesn't sell well.

The investment in making such a product would amount to setting a pile of money on fire - sadly, high level play is a niche market in a niche market.

That being said, I'd love for the "continuing the campaign" articles at the end of APs to be bigger.

Though I suppose that would require cutting something else of value. Hmmm.


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

Loved your posts Zhangar!

Super insightful :-)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Zhangar wrote:

To reply more on topic - Paizo would be fools to put out a 7th AP book or a module serving the same purpose, because high level stuff doesn't sell well.

The investment in making such a product would amount to setting a pile of money on fire - sadly, high level play is a niche market in a niche market.

That being said, I'd love for the "continuing the campaign" articles at the end of APs to be bigger.

Though I suppose that would require cutting something else of value. Hmmm.

One of the trickiest things about the Continuing the Campaign articles is that they generally can't be written ahead of time or by someone outside of Paizo or who worked on an adventure, so getting them done is kinda tough and usually a last-minute thing. They COULD be longer, and if we did do longer ones we'd end up cutting the 2nd support article (which would be a shame), but I'd be nervous that making them longer would lower their quality.


Fair enough. Thank you for the response.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

OK, the business case for Paizo to do a Book 7 or other high-level addendum to an existing AP is weak at best. However, that wouldn't preclude some enterprising and talented amateur (who has the time, which is to say not me) from fleshing out one of the Continuing the Campaign options and publishing it in Wayfinder. I don't think there's the space for a full-blown Book 7/postscript, but there'd be room for more details, at least.

Another potential possibility (i.e., I don't know if this is even possible) is for a 3PP to do a Book 7. Their price points are going to be rather different from Paizo's, so the business case might be a little stronger. However, I don't know how much filing of serial numbers Paizo would require for something like this, and I see that as the real show stopper.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

John Woodford wrote:

OK, the business case for Paizo to do a Book 7 or other high-level addendum to an existing AP is weak at best. However, that wouldn't preclude some enterprising and talented amateur (who has the time, which is to say not me) from fleshing out one of the Continuing the Campaign options and publishing it in Wayfinder. I don't think there's the space for a full-blown Book 7/postscript, but there'd be room for more details, at least.

Another potential possibility (i.e., I don't know if this is even possible) is for a 3PP to do a Book 7. Their price points are going to be rather different from Paizo's, so the business case might be a little stronger. However, I don't know how much filing of serial numbers Paizo would require for something like this, and I see that as the real show stopper.

We would pretty much require ALL the serial numbers to be filed off.

Dark Archive

On the continuing the campaign thing, from what I understand Lost Cities has that Xin Shalast info and Dungeons of Golarion has Gallowspire info and both can be used to continue the campaign?(or at least make a sequel to them)

I think more of that type of thing in future would be nice, material that can be used standalone(whether a sequel to old campaign or not) or used to expand the campaign by continuing from what happens after campaign is finished if players decide to do so


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James Jacobs wrote:
John Woodford wrote:

OK, the business case for Paizo to do a Book 7 or other high-level addendum to an existing AP is weak at best. However, that wouldn't preclude some enterprising and talented amateur (who has the time, which is to say not me) from fleshing out one of the Continuing the Campaign options and publishing it in Wayfinder. I don't think there's the space for a full-blown Book 7/postscript, but there'd be room for more details, at least.

Another potential possibility (i.e., I don't know if this is even possible) is for a 3PP to do a Book 7. Their price points are going to be rather different from Paizo's, so the business case might be a little stronger. However, I don't know how much filing of serial numbers Paizo would require for something like this, and I see that as the real show stopper.

We would pretty much require ALL the serial numbers to be filed off.

You can browse Legendary Games' AP plug-ins, such as the Far East set (a.k.a., Jade Regent) for example of this.

It's doable, but whether it'd be worth it for a high level adventure is unknown. I think the 3PP'd basically have to avoid using anything from the "Continuing the Campaign" section, and come up with all-new stuff.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
John Woodford wrote:

OK, the business case for Paizo to do a Book 7 or other high-level addendum to an existing AP is weak at best. However, that wouldn't preclude some enterprising and talented amateur (who has the time, which is to say not me) from fleshing out one of the Continuing the Campaign options and publishing it in Wayfinder. I don't think there's the space for a full-blown Book 7/postscript, but there'd be room for more details, at least.

Another potential possibility (i.e., I don't know if this is even possible) is for a 3PP to do a Book 7. Their price points are going to be rather different from Paizo's, so the business case might be a little stronger. However, I don't know how much filing of serial numbers Paizo would require for something like this, and I see that as the real show stopper.

We would pretty much require ALL the serial numbers to be filed off.

Yeah, I kind of figured that.


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deinol wrote:
TimD - I suspect what James is saying is that the reporting and sales for PFS show that people play way more 1-6th level content than the 7-11th level content. It's just a fact. AP sales are similar. People might buy books 1-3 and then the campaign collapses so they never bother to buy books 5-6. (I can say I haven't ever seen the end of an AP. Furthest I've gotten so far is book 5 of Kingmaker.)

Not arguing that part. People play more low level games because people tend to start their games at low level and games tend to fall apart. The longer you play, the more of a chance that real life will drive your gaming group apart. That said, part of the drive to keep playing a campaign and a single character is to try to advance and continue playing the same character into the higher levels where a player will have the system mastery to play that character at higher levels and the character will gain the benefit of the choices they've made to reach that level.

PFS is (well) designed as a marketing tool to get folks playing Pathfinder. Lower level content is sent out regularly so that people who have already played other scenarios can also play with and assist newer players as well as advancing their own low level characters. I'm a poster child for how well PFS marketing works as I owned maybe a half dozen Paizo core books and maybe two or three of their modules before I started PFS and now have a much shorter list of things I don't own than those I do. That my willingness to support what I consider to be a campaign that cuts off once things are starting to get high enough level to be interesting in order to support one of my gaming communities may be counted as a vote for against higher-level content is what I find disturbing.

deinol wrote:
Anyway, I make a point of buying all the high level stuff I can get. Because I know sales is the only way to really show demand. Too bad I'm in the minority.

I'm with you in that. I've purchased a copy of every high level module Paizo has made. (I think I even bought two copies of Witchwar on accident as I picked one up when I first started Pathfinder as something to convert to a non-Golarion campaign.)

-TimD

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I really would like to see a book in the 64 page Modules line designed for characters of 17th level that would take them to level 20. That could function as a retirement module, perhaps even expanding it to 90+ pages for that particular module.

If I had my druthers it would be the Quest of the Starstone so players could immortalise their PCs as Gods.

But there's plenty of High Level concepts:

Defeat Razmir.
Destroy Tar Baphon once and for all.
The Return of Choral the Conqueror.
Shut down the Eye of Abendego.
Adventure Path Winners and the Fate of Azlanti.
Dark Tapestry Invasion.

If a GM plans to run the module as the capstone adventure they can seed the plot in throughout the campaign so when the final boss is defeated they know they have to finish one last job before retirement.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I really would like to see a book in the 64 page Modules line designed for characters of 17th level that would take them to level 20. That could function as a retirement module, perhaps even expanding it to 90+ pages for that particular module.

If I had my druthers it would be the Quest of the Starstone so players could immortalise their PCs as Gods.

But there's plenty of High Level concepts:

Defeat Razmir.
Destroy Tar Baphon once and for all.
The Return of Choral the Conqueror.
Shut down the Eye of Abendego.
Adventure Path Winners and the Fate of Azlanti.
Dark Tapestry Invasion.

If a GM plans to run the module as the capstone adventure they can seed the plot in throughout the campaign so when the final boss is defeated they know they have to finish one last job before retirement.

Or for an even cooler concept: an All-Stars adventure where if a group has finished multiple APs, they can mix and match the characters from the various groups Avengers + X-Men style.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I really would like to see a book in the 64 page Modules line designed for characters of 17th level that would take them to level 20. That could function as a retirement module, perhaps even expanding it to 90+ pages for that particular module.

If I had my druthers it would be the Quest of the Starstone so players could immortalise their PCs as Gods.

But there's plenty of High Level concepts:

Defeat Razmir.
Destroy Tar Baphon once and for all.
The Return of Choral the Conqueror.
Shut down the Eye of Abendego.
Adventure Path Winners and the Fate of Azlanti.
Dark Tapestry Invasion.

If a GM plans to run the module as the capstone adventure they can seed the plot in throughout the campaign so when the final boss is defeated they know they have to finish one last job before retirement.

Or for an even cooler concept: an All-Stars adventure where if a group has finished multiple APs, they can mix and match the characters from the various groups Avengers + X-Men style.

Given the larger 'page footprint' of most high CR stat blocks, it seems that even a 64-page module would not be of sufficient size.


Zhangar wrote:

To reply more on topic - Paizo would be fools to put out a 7th AP book or a module serving the same purpose, because high level stuff doesn't sell well.

{. . .}

Not so huge a risk if instead of releasing 2 APs of 6 books in 1 year, they released 1 AP of 5 books and 1 AP of 7 books(*). That would be just an incremental change -- it doesn't get you Epic, but it gets you enough closer to make a noticeable difference (in BOTH directions -- you get to test an AP that ends 2 or 3 levels higher than average AND an AP that ends 2 or 3 levels lower than average(**)).

(*)Not a post-AP module, but a real, regular 7th book, released 6 months after the 1st book.

(**)Can sort of fit in with Council of Thieves for comparison purposes, since Council of Thieves ended at lower level than average, even though that was by accident, and didn't involve having fewer books than usual.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Zhangar wrote:

To reply more on topic - Paizo would be fools to put out a 7th AP book or a module serving the same purpose, because high level stuff doesn't sell well.

{. . .}

Not so huge a risk if instead of releasing 2 APs of 6 books in 1 year, they released 1 AP of 5 books and 1 AP of 7 books(*). That would be just an incremental change -- it doesn't get you Epic, but it gets you enough closer to make a noticeable difference (in BOTH directions -- you get to test an AP that ends 2 or 3 levels higher than average AND an AP that ends 2 or 3 levels lower than average(**)).

(*)Not a post-AP module, but a real, regular 7th book, released 6 months after the 1st book.

(**)Can sort of fit in with Council of Thieves for comparison purposes, since Council of Thieves ended at lower level than average, even though that was by accident, and didn't involve having fewer books than usual.

Beyond any sales drop off argument, Development I suspect would be a real problem. There are two main AP developers, who also (my understanding anyway) do a lot of other Paizo. Each developer basically does most of the work editing, outlining, fleshing out, etc an AP, with each developer by themselves concentrating on one 6 issue AP a year.

Basically it's add an entire book extra to whoever developer gets stuck with the 7 AP plan. While I get a sense that things are improving over the last year, that would be a lot of extra work to stick a single developer with, and I just don't get any sense its feasible.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

From January 2012:

Vic Wertz wrote:
W E Ray wrote:
For 4 years now Jacobs has been saying that APs can't be anything but 6 volumes and for 4 years now I've felt that every "reason" he gives is silly. Harder work on the designers, no doubt. But not undoable (You guys are working your dream-careers, yes?) Not impossible to make sure a new AP begins every GenCon. You got 12 months: One 7 and one 5. Or a 6 and two 3s. Or a 4 a 6 and a 2. Harder work but doable . . . . And you don't have to start every one at 1st level. Starting a 3 volume AP at level 9 would not lose customers. Finishing an 8 volume AP at level 21 would not lose customers. (in theory)

You're treating AP volumes like interchangeable widgets, and that's not so.

First off, you should realize that doing 12 installments in the AP line per year currently uses our full capacity. (Actually, you might note that historically, it takes about 13 months of development time to do 12 AP volumes, so we're technically *over* capacity, and end up nearly killing ourselves to get caught up each Gen Con.) And this is not a problem that can be solved by throwing more people at it—it doesn't work that way. So any change we would consider needs to be something that won't increase the workload *at all*.

If we went to, say, three 4-volume APs in a year, it would take more person-hours, because creating and outlining an AP is a big job, and the amount of effort to do that is only partly related to the number of pages of content needed. So "more (but shorter) APs per year" is not feasable.

Also, higher-level adventures are harder to develop, and take longer than low- and mid-level advantures, so stretching APs further into high-level territory would increases the amount of time it takes to do one. So longer APs are not feasible; even doing an 8-volume and a 4-volume would probably take more time than two 6-volume ones. (Maybe we could fit in a 5 and a 7, but A) the 7 would be pushing it, and B) that's just weird, and I don't think it would particularly improve anything.)

And yes, we *do* have to start every one at 1st level. Low level adventures sell better. Always have, always will. There are some really good posts on the boards on that topic already, so I won't repeat them.

Bottom line here is that we have a formula that works really well, and I fail to see any real reason to screw with it.

Things change in 3-1/2 years, so it might be something they'd be willing to consider now, but Vic was pretty against it then.


Or, instead of a 7th book as part of an AP, release some high level modules now and then. Let people a la carte what they want.


@Joana -- sounds like doing a 5 book AP and then a 7 book AP (or the other way around) was on the border of possibility. This is the least different from the standard 6 book and 6 book, so it seems like a reasonable expeirment. Like I said before, this also allows exploration of AP ideas that are a bit too short or a bit too long for a normal AP -- such things could be shoehorned into a standard length AP, but could be done more optimally at a slightly different length.


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Maybe we can create a thread in each adventure path forum with a discussion of "How did you continued the campaing" or something like it.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

deinol wrote:


TimD - I suspect what James is saying is that the reporting and sales for PFS show that people play way more 1-6th level content than the 7-11th level content. It's just a fact. AP sales are similar. People might buy books 1-3 and then the campaign collapses so they never bother to buy books 5-6. (I can say I haven't ever seen the end of an AP. Furthest I've gotten so far is book 5 of Kingmaker.)

Anyway, I make a point of buying all the high level stuff I can get. Because I know sales is the only way to really show demand. Too bad I'm in the minority.

Heck, all my PFS play has been at levels 1-2. By the time I get a character to 3rd level, we have new players and only tier 1-2 adventures are being run. That doesn't mean I prefer those levels, it's just the only thing available.

One problem with high level prewritten adventure is that a good high level adventure is very adapted to the specific party and their capabilities. Skill, optimization, and power levels vary even more in a 15+ game than in a lower level environment, and it's quite difficult to make a "one size fits all" experience that's any good.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I really would like to see a book in the 64 page Modules line designed for characters of 17th level that would take them to level 20. That could function as a retirement module, perhaps even expanding it to 90+ pages for that particular module.

If I had my druthers it would be the Quest of the Starstone so players could immortalise their PCs as Gods.

I've stated before that I'm not a fan of high-level adventures and I'm one of the people who has no need to see AP go any higher, but creating a high-level adventure in the modules line seems like the best answer to some people's needs for high-level content.

If Paizo was to do such a thing, I would advise them to try and tie the adventure in to as many APs as possible (i.e. create possible links to continue the AP with this adventure).

I'll give an example. The Test of the Starstone would make a perfect stand-alone high level adventure, but it could also be a possible follow-up for Curse of the Crimson Throne (I'm using this AP as an example because I'm familiar with it).

How to tie it in:
At the end of Curse of the Crimson Throne the PCs are left with the Crown of Fangs, which can only be destroyed by "a holy sword forged by a once-mortal god" (see Crown of Fangs p. 64). The Starstone might be the perfect place to locate such a blade, if the DM decides that Serithiel does not do the trick (the blade from Skeletons of Scarwallis rumored to have been made by Iomedae, but rumors are not always true ...).


Something that may come into play outside PFS is that people simply don't want to play up to high level. AS stated previously (but I think in regards to PFS), many people start at level 1 with their parties, but the party breaks up before they reach the higher levels.

Another major reason some people play low level games is because they want a simpler game. The BB was immensely popular in my part of the wood. Due to this, many don't really want to go that far beyond those levels presented in that box. They play PF, some even have the CRB...but they really don't stray too far beyond the BB levels because they want the simpler rules.

Yes, I know many of them would jump at a chance to have something level 7-10 (BB with the transitions book already covers 1-6...which surprisingly corresponds to what it appears people like to play level wise elsewhere) with BB rules (but I'm NOT so sure how well it would sell in all honesty). The strategy guide, though it was hoped would fill this niche...absolutely DID NOT fill the niche. Many already have the CRB...the LAST thing they wanted was a book that basically said...here's a suggestion, now go look it up in that massive tome that you already have instead of seeing it here or having the real choice presented here.

When I first got into PF game (I had been getting the APs via the FLGS for a while prior to that already, but for 3.5 games) it was via the BB. All I was really interested in were the low level adventures to play PF with (including AP portions...normally part 1 and maybe part 2). I still play with mostly the BB rules, with a simplified ruleset on what is in the CRB, and utilizing what I like out of the APG, ACG, and other books. I'm willing to have my group do this and play higher level content, but I know many who don't. Instead, they may use the CRB occasionally, but they prefer using the BB rules and hence stay at the lower levels.

In essense, what I think it says, whether people are doing it because of the BB or not, is that many who play the lower levels are doing it because they prefer the simpler rules in play at that time.


James Jacobs wrote:
John Woodford wrote:

OK, the business case for Paizo to do a Book 7 or other high-level addendum to an existing AP is weak at best. However, that wouldn't preclude some enterprising and talented amateur (who has the time, which is to say not me) from fleshing out one of the Continuing the Campaign options and publishing it in Wayfinder. I don't think there's the space for a full-blown Book 7/postscript, but there'd be room for more details, at least.

Another potential possibility (i.e., I don't know if this is even possible) is for a 3PP to do a Book 7. Their price points are going to be rather different from Paizo's, so the business case might be a little stronger. However, I don't know how much filing of serial numbers Paizo would require for something like this, and I see that as the real show stopper.

We would pretty much require ALL the serial numbers to be filed off.

Paizo's IP is their bread and butter. Letting somebody use it without a licensing deal (which costs both sides time and money) is not something that any smart company would allow. And Paizo is one of the best-run companies in the field.

A 3P high level adventure that has the serial numbers filed off would be hard to advertise. You have a perfect market, but you'd pretty much be resigned to getting people to post on the message boards about how they used this as a sequel to X AP.

And even with filing off the serial numbers, something too similar will probably get a cease-and-desist. "Now that you've become the Typhoon Emperor of the pirates of the Chained-up archipelago, the problems are gust beginning. You may have defeated the fleet of the devil-worshipping Chexmixians, but they have a new plan to conquer the pirate scum. Are you pirate enough to stop them?"

GreyWolfLord wrote:
Something that may come into play outside PFS is that people simply don't want to play up to high level.

Yes, we do get that. Some people like low level play, some people like mid-level play, some people like high level play, and some people like all play.

What we're saying is that there's tons of high-Quality Paizo support for low and mid-level play. We'd like a little more support for high-level play. We're certainly not expecting the majority of stuff to go high level, just a little bit now and then.

AP's are their own campaigns. Setting one at fast XP should allow a 6 part AP to cover it.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Philo Pharynx wrote:

AP's are their own campaigns. Setting one at fast XP should allow a 6 part AP to cover it.

Actually, it wouldn't. I've run the numbers, and while a fast track XP adventure would probably see you hitting 6th level in the first adventure... it slows down once the XP requirements get so huge at higher level. In the end, over the coures of a full length AP, fast track ends up letting you go 1 or MAYBE 2 additional levels. Still not enough to do 20 levels, really, in a 6 part AP.

The Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition is a good example of this; that book uses the fast track (which is still slower than 3.5's XP advancement rate), but PCs still won't hit 20th level in that one. Despite it containing more adventure material than the original AP did.

I'm aware that folks DO want a full 20 level AP, and I've been trying to get one done for years, actually, doing various tricks and stunts that won't cripple the AP's viability (which starting at higher level would, I fear) and won't result in more complaints than accolades (which is what handing out huge piles of XP for no real challenge would do).

One solution would be to reduce the amount of XP it would take at higher levels to advance, but that's not something we can do at this time. It's certainly something YOU could do in your home game, though. You'll need to also bolster the opposition of course.

Another option would be to run an AP for 3 players or even 2... or run it for 4 or 5 or whatever but divide XP among them by 3 or 2 instead of by the total number of players. ALSO something we can't hard code into an AP, alas.

I'll keep tinkering and working on it, but don't expect a magic bullet anytime soon; sorry.


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

With fast track experience tho you still only get an extra level or level and a half.

Don't fix what's broken I say. And they're as fresh and cohesive as ever, if anything they're just hitting their stride, living up to their potential, got the ball rolling, [insert other cliche metaphor here].

Ninja'd by the T-Rex himself :-)


One other thing that people could do themselves instead of tacking modules onto the end would be to insert modules into the middle. People have already posted on these boards about doing this, although as far as I have seen for different reasons (often to replace a piece of the AP). Then boost the later chapters of the AP to compensate for the party being higher level.

Paizo could even release modules and/or Pathfinder scenarious tailored to make this easier (still standalone but with more obvious tie-ins to one or more APs) -- it has to have a good chance to work, since people have already been doing this without direction. Adding difficulty adjustment sidebars would help with this, of course, and would be a good idea even without the desire to go to higher levels.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Draco Bahamut wrote:
Maybe we can create a thread in each adventure path forum with a discussion of "How did you continued the campaign" or something like it.

I'd personally like to see a thread like that.

I've been responsible for each of those articles since Skull & Shackles—with huge support from James and Rob of course (and with Jim writing the one for Giantslayer because I couldn't tackle it)—and I'm always curious if people actually use those to expand their campaign. So far it seems like the thing people respond to the most is the "What if the PCs lose?" portions of those articles.

Dark Archive

Adam Daigle wrote:
Draco Bahamut wrote:
Maybe we can create a thread in each adventure path forum with a discussion of "How did you continued the campaign" or something like it.

I'd personally like to see a thread like that.

I've been responsible for each of those articles since Skull & Shackles—with huge support from James and Rob of course (and with Jim writing the one for Giantslayer because I couldn't tackle it)—and I'm always curious if people actually use those to expand their campaign. So far it seems like the thing people respond to the most is the "What if the PCs lose?" portions of those articles.

I guess it doesn't help that in order to continue the campaign, you have to first finish the campaign while you can lose the campaign as early as in the first book xD

Anyway, its also fun to imagine "What if" scenarios where villains win and shake the status quo of the world

Paizo Employee Developer

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CorvusMask wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
Draco Bahamut wrote:
Maybe we can create a thread in each adventure path forum with a discussion of "How did you continued the campaign" or something like it.

I'd personally like to see a thread like that.

I've been responsible for each of those articles since Skull & Shackles—with huge support from James and Rob of course (and with Jim writing the one for Giantslayer because I couldn't tackle it)—and I'm always curious if people actually use those to expand their campaign. So far it seems like the thing people respond to the most is the "What if the PCs lose?" portions of those articles.

I guess it doesn't help that in order to continue the campaign, you have to first finish the campaign while you can lose the campaign as early as in the first book xD

Anyway, its also fun to imagine "What if" scenarios where villains win and shake the status quo of the world

I agree on both counts. I've had a PC die in the second volume of Skull & Shackles and the second volume of Mummy's Mask. The "What Ifs" are my favorite part of the those articles. I like to explore possibilities without them actually being canon.


Well, in RotR the characters did something slightly different. After taking down Karzoug they used the wealth of the city and rebuilt much of it, creating in roads to it and becoming the New Runelords themselves. They tried to focus on the virtues rather then the sins...

Would have been great if they had to deal with the REAL Runelords coming back though...

thoughts on the campaign extending with RoW, would be pretty cool if they tracked down Baba Yaga and it turned into a Mythic Campaign after that.

Those are the only two I've really looked at with any depth thus far...so couldn't say about any of the other continuing campaigns.


Adam Daigle wrote:
Draco Bahamut wrote:
Maybe we can create a thread in each adventure path forum with a discussion of "How did you continued the campaign" or something like it.

I'd personally like to see a thread like that.

I've been responsible for each of those articles since Skull & Shackles—with huge support from James and Rob of course (and with Jim writing the one for Giantslayer because I couldn't tackle it)—and I'm always curious if people actually use those to expand their campaign. So far it seems like the thing people respond to the most is the "What if the PCs lose?" portions of those articles.

I´ve never finished any Paizo Adventure Path yet. But after the Return to the temple of elemental evil, my players gone to all others elemental planes and killed the others elemental princes. After that, the grand finale was a final battle in the negative energy plane with the soul of Lareth the Beatiful possessing the Tarrasque and trying to free Tharzidun. They saved the Tarrasque and obliterated Lareth´s soul, but the Tarrasque Swalled Whole both the cleric and the monk. They couldn´t get out and they wouldn´t die inside there, so the campaing ended with half the group becoming Tarrasque´s Parasites.


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captain yesterday wrote:
Also good tactics overcome even the most daunting challenge,

Thanks! I appreciate the faith! :D


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

I'm aware that folks DO want a full 20 level AP, and I've been trying to get one done for years, actually, doing various tricks and stunts that won't cripple the AP's viability (which starting at higher level would, I fear) and won't result in more complaints than accolades (which is what handing out huge piles of XP for no real challenge would do).

One solution would be to reduce the amount of XP it would take at higher levels to advance, but that's not something we can do at this time. It's certainly something YOU could do in your home game, though. You'll need to also bolster the opposition of course.

Another option would be to run an AP for 3 players or even 2... or run it for 4 or 5 or whatever but divide XP among them by 3 or 2 instead of by the total number of players. ALSO something we can't hard code into an AP, alas.

I'll keep tinkering and working on it, but don't expect a magic bullet anytime soon; sorry.

One possibility is eliminating the less difficult encounters. Have everything be +1 CR or higher. However, the players should in turn have a place to retreat to and heal up. Also providing some mechanism for bringing back the characters if they die, or perhaps an artifact that lets them auto-stabilize (or provides an extra dozen hit points or the like) could help them with multiple tougher encounters, instead of the current situation with encounters that often end up cakewalks.

If the players are constantly fighting foes that force them to use as many resources as possible to prevail (ie, if they are forced to play on Hard Mode) then they will gain XPs faster, and this will allow the players to level up more rapidly. Providing alternative methods of getting XPs also is handy (for instance, the use of Diplomacy or trickery to defuse fights in the second Hell's Rebels).

And you can always use generic high-CR monsters. Some of those monsters may only have a single magic item - say one staff or one high-powered item instead of a half dozen items that inevitably are sold off. This will save space and allow for more encounters.

Finally, you could try a multi-part module that is along the lines of an AP... but is spread out through several years. Each can be run on their own, but has hooks connecting them and allows for the characters eventually to reach level 20. No doubt sales of the entire module series will increase when it is complete, so that may be a strike against such an idea.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Tangent101 wrote:

One possibility is eliminating the less difficult encounters. Have everything be +1 CR or higher. However, the players should in turn have a place to retreat to and heal up. Also providing some mechanism for bringing back the characters if they die, or perhaps an artifact that lets them auto-stabilize (or provides an extra dozen hit points or the like) could help them with multiple tougher encounters, instead of the current situation with encounters that often end up cakewalks.

If the players are constantly fighting foes that force them to use as many resources as possible to prevail (ie, if they are forced to play on Hard Mode) then they will gain XPs faster, and this will allow the players to level up more rapidly. Providing alternative methods of getting XPs also is handy (for instance, the use of Diplomacy or trickery to defuse fights in the second Hell's Rebels).

And you can always use generic high-CR monsters. Some of those monsters may only have a single magic item - say one staff or one high-powered item instead of a half dozen items that inevitably are sold off. This will save space and allow for more encounters.

Finally, you could try a multi-part module that is along the lines of an AP... but is spread out through several years. Each can be run on their own, but has hooks connecting them and allows for the characters eventually to reach level 20. No doubt sales of the entire module series will increase when it is complete, so that may be a strike against such an idea.

That might work for a few groups, but it would estrange casual and newer groups. One of our philosophies for the APs is that we adopt a "middle of the road" design for them, so that they're average. New groups and experienced groups therefore have roughly equal amounts of work for the GM to adapt things to his/her style of play, since we assume a midline baseline. That's why we assume Medium XP and the standard 15 point buy, and it's also why we follow the core assumption of encounter difficulty spread.

Again... we (and in particular I) have been doing these for over a decade now. There are no "magic" or "easy" solutions. I have a few in mind, but they're hardly simple. In the meantime, the show must go on, and that means tinkering with the formula with baby steps. Using only tough encounters for an entire AP is not a "baby step." ALTHOUGH I'm already adopting a little bit of that philosophy for the latter half of Hell's Rebels. The difficulty in this AP is a bit higher than normal, but that's partially because the PCs have more resources than normal.

We DO use generic high CR monsters, but the simple fact is that the rate at which we produce APs outdoes our ability to produce high CR monsters in bestiaries. Furthermore, these roles have classically been both limited to specific types—outsiders and dragons, and even beyond that, a LOT of the tougher CR monsters simply don't work well for standard encounters. They're masterminds and movers and shakers, and as such they don't always fit well into build-up encounters. And finally, a LOT of them are awkwardly enormous and difficult to fit into encounters for a sheer size factor. I've been pushing the Design Team to address these issues by giving us more variance in monsters at high CRs, and there's been SOME help in the bestiaries, but without sacrificing a good spread of monster type and CR in a Bestiary, the high CR monsters (since they take up so much room) are ALWAYS going to be in shorter supply in a Bestiary until the day I or someone else can convince them and management that it's a good idea to do a Bestiary that's heavily weighted to high CR foes and doesn't really bother supporting low CR foes. Traditional design would suggest that such a plot would make a Bestiary unbalanced and less usable since fewer people play at higher CR, so it's a tough sell.

And again, tying multi-part modules into the situation is not a great idea either, for a lot of reasons. Not the least is that the slow pace of our module releases would make it frustrating for folks to wait, but also because the module line has to serve several masters already (RPG superstar and keeping a low level intro adventure in print and support of other books in the lines), so getting several to serve in a multi-part high-level arc is difficult at best. And requiring someone to have played a whole AP before playing a module makes it kind of a non-starter, alas.


I think a crux of getting to high levels in a 6-part AP is partially due to the exponential increase in XPs to get to those high levels. I never understood why PF chose to do this. It seems like it should take less XPs to get from say 15-20 level then it does to get from 1-10 level.

Once a party is say 15th level they should essentially have one epic "event" that moves them to 16th and so on. High level PCs should abandon adding up XPs and just focus on successfully completing "events" to gain a levels. So the last book of an AP can be a series of 5 "events" that move the party to 16,17,18,19,20 levels.

These events can be things like:

- Defeating a Mythic Monster (Mythic abilities should never apply to PCs, just abandon that concept completely. Encounter a Mythic Monster, defeat it, level up. Im sure this type of battle can last for "real time" hours and "in game" days in the hands of a prepared GM as the monster retreats, recovers, hunts down the group again and so on. In fact, Mythic monsters shouldn't even have XP values they should just give a level and be very very rare and almost unstoppable.)
- Travel out of the solar system to a distant location (once at this location the PCs can have some encounters but the act of getting there means a level. The PCs could have to navigate a series of tasks and/or encounters to do this but the XPs really don't matter for these things. All that matters is setting foot on Planet X.)
- Destroy an entire evil (or good) location (this can be a city, stronghold, island, planet,demi-plane, whatever. The PCs must use their abilities to utterly remove it from existence. Once this is done: gain a level. The defenders of this location may put up a fight of course but those XPs don't matter and you probably wouldn't even do normal combat for them.)

Granted this is all a bit of a departure from the existing model but my larger point is XP calculation at high levels should be removed or drastically shortened. I don't understand why the XP gaps between higher levels is so large. It seems to deliberately discourage high level play in the game when clearly there is a demand for it IN the APs. In fact, in general, I find that almost every addition to the rules inherently makes the APs either more complicated (not more fun) or have less space (due to increased stat blocks) or gets deliberately ignored in the APs (which I appreciate). Instead I wish the rules team would publish a hardcover of rules that were were built to support the AP story structures, page count limits, and development process. A true set of "Adventure Path Campaign Rules" that support the AP publishing and storytelling process directly.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The problem with that is that players seem to prefer XPs for killing things, not just leveling up at X point. There are exceptions, true. But most of us are here from D&D 3.5 and some from all the way back to 1st edition AD&D. So we're used to XPs for killing things, not just giving us levels because the story calls for it.

That said, Mythic does provide some handy tools for monsters. Mythic Agile allows solo bosses to actually stand a chance, for one. But regular Mythic also can work, if handled carefully. Heck, I integrated Mythic into my Reign of Winter game, and the players had trouble with encounters. The Runelords game also has Mythic now and while I don't consider it to be hard for the players, they consider the fights tough, and ultimately that's what matters.

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