Rune vs. Reign: Help me pick?


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion


Folks:

My friends have asked me to run a Pathfinder campaign, and while it's not my absolute favorite system (the forum name should clue you in on what that is), I've assented.

That said, I do collect items for the game and so have access to a wide variety of adventure paths. After talking it over with my players (and eliminating Sword and Shackles because I have the card game version), two seem to emerge as potential victors: Rise of the Runelords and Reign of Winter.

To make my players happy, I'm going to need something with a strong story that balances combat with NPC interaction. I know Runelords is venerated, and from a bowshot's length appears to be very much a standard D&Desque romp. Maybe it's far deeper than that. Reign of Winter appeals because of its unique antagonists, its wide-ranging settings, and the fact that you get to fight a certain dude. Just like Hellboy.

Anyway, I'd appreciate the advice of the good ladies and gentlemen of the forum. Which wins as far as fun factor, storyline and NPCs? I will say I have access to the Pawn sets for each, so that's one thing in both of their favors. I also have the Irresen sourcebook, though I've not thumbed through it other than to look at the pretty pictures.

Your aid is appreciated, Lords and Ladies.


I'll add that the version of Runelords I plan to use is the Anniversary Edition, if that makes any difference.

Thanks!

B


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

If you have both what about letting the players decide, they're both incredible in their own way, Reign of Winter tends to railroad more and is predominantly fairytale tropes and creatures. Runelords is all about being the classic campaign with a more adult theme with Giants and Hills with eyes.


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Because they've narrowed it down to those two and told me to pick. Both received an equal number of votes/interest.


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

Well then my choice would be Reign of Winter :-)


I have found, "railroad" aside, Reign of Winter has a much more immersion for interaction with NPC's, if that is what the group is looking for. Rise of the Runelords is fun, but more of an old style hack and slash AP in my opinion.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

My honest to God personal opinion?

Reign, you eventually fight Russians and living tanks. 'Nuff said.


Thanks so much to all who have replied thus far. Would love to hear from others if so inclined, but I'm definitely getting a consensus already, I believe. :) Anyone want to advocate for Runelords?

B


I personally rather like Runelords, but I've heard that the bit involving ogres is straight out of a horror movie. You might not like that in a standard romp, as you put it.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Honestly, I like both APs, but since everybody is giving you Reign of Winter recommendations, I'll boost Runelords.

Rise of the Runelords is a terrific AP, and the first book has a lot of fun NPC interactions in it that you can use to develop recurring characters throughout the AP.

The second book has a haunted house in it that is one of my all-time favorite adventures.

Runelords also has some Lovecraftian stuff (which, based on your name, seems to be up your alley), especially toward the end of the AP when the PCs end up on the borderlands between the Material Plane and the nightmare realm of Leng.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I agree with Benchak.
Plus, the community created stuff is so rich and varied with ideas you'll have no problem adding/tweaking/"improving" your campaign if needed.

Ruyan.


Oh my, the L word. The lovely, lovely L word.

It would appear this decision will not be straightforward after all.


Actually, Carrion Crown has more Lovecraft than Runelords.


I say Rise of the Runelords, it's a classic and it's easier for the DM on the rules side and it has no subsystems.

Piccolo wrote:
Actually, Carrion Crown has more Lovecraft than Runelords.

Shattered Star has more Lovecraft than RotRL.


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

Strange Aeons will have the most Lovecraft I bet :-)


I've run Rise and am finishing up the second book of Reign.

There's a lot to speak for both, but I think it mostly comes down to tone. Both have a few digressions, but Reign's general tone is dark fairy tale and Rise's general tone is classic D&D romp.

Reign touches on war in books 4 and 5. Rise touches on horror in books 2, 3, and slightly in 6.

As a fellow Lovecraft fan, there's some good stuff at the very end of Rise, but I wouldn't let that sway your decision. It's a long way in before you start seeing the shadow of Leng. Although the horror elements in book 2 are super well done, they're more traditional ghost and murder style horror.

Reign comes from a later age of AP design with a lot more NPCs that are presented as friends, love interests, and conversation options. It's entirely possible to bring well-loved NPCs with the party the entire path, if they desire. Rise has a few awesome friendly NPCs, but you're mostly on your own after Burnt Offerings.

The only real dealbreaker nobody's mentioned is that the early part of Reign involves a lot of kids getting murdered and/or eaten. It's handled very well, but some players may not want to handle it at all.

On the flip side, issue 3 of Rise is basically a gore house slasher flick, but that's easier to tone town.

Overall, I'd say that Rise is a better introduction to running Pathfinder but Reign is probably a better fit for your needs.

Cheers!
Landon


If you honestly want lots of Lovecraft and horror, go for Carrion Crown. Wake of the Watcher is very HP Lovecraft, and so is the adventure module Carrion Hill (it's for 5th level PC's, so I'm running it right after Haunting of Harrowstone).


A good number of my friends have indicated, though, that they're really interested in something "traditional" in feel. We just finished a campaign filled with, as one player put it, "a dozen empty dungeons and nothing to fight." Wasn't my game (I was a player), and admittedly there were some puzzles and opportunities for social combat (long story).

But I'm getting the impression that while a few still want the heavy NPC interaction from time to time, the majority are itching for a fight.

I want the balance, ideally, to satisfy everyone, and these are the three campaigns -- Runelords, Shackles (eliminated) and Reign -- that sort of won in out in discussion and in comparison of review numbers. I strongly considered Carrion Crown, but its reviews seem to indicate it's got some issues.

Thanks for the input, all. More is welcomed, of course.


I'll also note that this is going to be my first time running a long-term Pathfinder campaign. I've ran some individual sessions, but nothing campaign-length.

Brian


Interesting. What issues does Carrion Crown have?

The only issue I know of is that Trust in the first adventure doesn't work properly since you need more ways to gain it. Oh, and the last module is a fight fest, but that doesn't seem to be a problem where your group is concerned.


Runelords is definitely traditional, and has horror and Lovecraftian elements. (In short, Norgorbor cultists are horrible, ogres are horrible, and the Runelords have strange, strange allies.)

Reign of Winter definitely has horror elements, though it's light on the Lovecraftian stuff. (No sanitized fairy tales here!)

I had way more fun running Reign of Winter than I did Runelords, but both are solid.

I'd vote for RoW.

(Though if it's on the table, then Carrion Crown is what got me into running Pathfinder, and I'll cheerfully vote for that. As to addresing the plot issues with CC, I cherrfully refer you to the dedicated thread discussing the main villain.

As a bonus, Carrion Crown's a real contender for hardest Paizo AP for Pathfinder. Carrion Crown is mean, and gleefully so.)


Exactly. And I happen to LIKE mean campaigns. Just wish there was another like CC. Closest I've heard of is Mummy's Mask.


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

All the APs have adult material, and most have shades of Lovecraft, some more then others.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Landon Winkler wrote:
As a fellow Lovecraft fan, there's some good stuff at the very end of Rise, but I wouldn't let that sway your decision. It's a long way in before you start seeing the shadow of Leng.

I agree, but that's also true of Rasputin and Russia in RoW, so I figured it was worth mentioning :)


I know where you can get Carrion Crown 1-6 for $100, if you're interested. Just saw it in my facebook group.

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