How to scale the difficulty of Wrath to more like Rise?

Homebrew and House Rules

My gaming group loved Rise of the Runelords. We would rate it 10 out of 10. Skulls has been more hit or miss for us. We are in adventure deck 5 and rate our overall experience with Skulls a 7 out of 10. The reason? We didn't enjoy the bump in the difficulty level. From what I am reading, Wrath is even more difficult than Skulls and I know that my gaming group will NOT like it. So in order to try keep up our enjoyment level, I was trying to figure out a way to nudge down the difficulty a notch but not to nudge it down too much. To that end, we had the following ideas:
1) we could increase the blessing deck to 32 (and since there are 4 of us, it would even up the number of turns).

2) We could check a card feat before starting the base game

3) we could do a skill feat before starting the base game.

We are strongly considering maybe doing all three of these and then if we find we made the game too easy, we would skip one of the above achievements when they first come up in the game.

I am looking for any feedback and/or suggestions as to what people think of our ideas and/or if other people had alternative suggestions.

thank you.

Pathfinder ACG Developer

Sounds like you are pondering reasonable precautions for your group's preferences. None of your steps seem like they'll make a big difference, especially not over the long haul, so there's really no harm in trying them.

One of the biggest upticks in difficulty in Wrath is that it puts card pressure on the whole group, with banes that summon combatants for each character or require each character to succeed at a difficult check. 4 is actually a pretty good number for this (while 6 sees it at its most difficult), so that might help.

It is perhaps worth note that the default forum suggestion for Wrath difficulty has been to tackle AD1 before the B scenarios. That would probably work well for you as well, since it would let you get better cards, more feats, and a Mythic path earlier, rather than needing to live through the uphill near-impossible struggle the initial scenarios try to convey.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The difficulty curves differently between Runelords and Wrath, see this blog for more info.

There are a lot of things you can do to make Wrath easier without changing a thing rules-wise:

  • Use top-tier characters. One of your players playing Andowyn is almost a must due to her evasion abilities (first power feat should go towards letting her discard cards to let others evade). Party makeup can vary, but make sure you have a healer, arcane caster, melee fighter, and ranged fighter to not only cover all the bases but to make sure that people aren't fighting each other over boons.
  • Don't go above 4 players. Difficulty in Wrath is exponential with the number of players in quite a few cases.
  • Play with open hands. This lets the other people in your group see what you have and can help you remember to play/use things that you may have otherwise forgotten about.

If you do all of that and you still find it too tough, adding 2 blessings to the clock or an extra feat isn't going to change anything at all, for the most part. It'll help reduce the edge of the starting scenarios but in the long run won't play out to be that large of an impact. If that's all you're looking for, then go for it.

The main thing you can do to reduce difficulty is to reduce check difficulty on banes: reduce combat checks against banes by the card's adventure deck number and reduce noncombat checks against banes by half the card's adventure deck number, rounded down. That should bring bane difficulty down to a level where you should be passing the majority of your checks against them (possibly with a blessing or two), but still have a chance of failure. It should also free up blessings and other support cards for things like exploring again or acquiring boons.

Another thing you can try, if reducing difficulties isn't your thing, is to automatically give your characters one mythic charge at the beginning of their turn. This doesn't increase their max amount so it's generally use-it-or-lose-it, but it makes expending mythic charges during gameplay to get d20s much less punishing. The extra bump from the d20 could help smooth out the difficulty of things. Note that I'd do either this OR reducing the difficulty as described above, not both.

excellent ideas. Please keep the ideas coming if anyone else has any thoughts. My gaming group doesn't mind a challenge we just don't want to feel that it is a chore. I am going to discuss these ideas with my group to see what they feel works best us.

Can share a few 'rules' my group worked out after the basic adventure (which I realize isn't really on topic) :

1. Don't blow through explorations with blessings. Use allies preferably. Save blessings to help each other when really needed. One exploration per char is minimum (don't waste turn), two is optimal (if free - like with imrijka), count adowyn examine ability as equivalent to an explore as it reveals who can best deal with the card.

2. *Always* have an armor and weapon/spell ready. Spell casters must have some form of evasion. Even if it's not your turn.

3. Go to locations you can *close*!

4. Don't be greedy for every blessing/item/etc.. if it's a unique weapon/item or has scaling ability, universally useful.. (i.e. Marksman bow, shelyn/abadar, spirit blade... etc) then help each other out to get it.

5. Take calculated risks. Count the cards. Only one barrier in location? Hmm.. there's only 2 arboreal and 2 demon horde... If most conditions 1-4 met.. push ahead with another explore? You can't play too cautious.. count your cards.. will a barrier of righteousness kill you? Always count your cards & heal anyone below their hand size (+3 for mage)

6. Early stages a mage can (and will) die in one round to a carrion golem. The scout should always look ahead for mages. Keep 'em alive until get to AD4 then they get rapidly more powerful.

7. Scaling weapons (marksman bow, holy radience, etc... ) are absolutely essential.


I understand the desire to adhere to the story; in the RPG, the PCs don't start out as mythic, but they get "mythicated" at the end of adventure 1. The PACG WotR retains that.

I'm wondering whether it doesn't make sense to introduce that mythic element earlier in PACG WotR. Perhaps at the very beginning, each PC gains a mythic path card (and B scenarios allow you to keep 1 mythic charge instead of zero, because that would defeat the purpose).

I see some advantages:

* It helps to mitigate some of the too-high difficulty of the B scenarios by adding an extra resource.
* It showcases the neat element of the set earlier (after all, you get a ship right away in PACG Skull and Shackles).
* It makes Blessings of Ascension more useful in the early games, when Blessings of Ascension are all you've got.
* It has some precedent; you get a mythic charge in the "example" WotR card guild scenario.

Unfortunately, the B scenarios were so un-fun for us that if I suggest to my group "hey, let's replay the B and 1 scenarios where we get a mythic path card and one charge each game!" I'm likely to get booed out of the room. I may have to try this solo.


Pathfinder ACG Developer

I think if the players are experienced with PACG that giving out mythic paths from the very beginning is a great way to showcase the set better. Good call.

The B scenarios are a lot less scary if you remove the Carrion Golems, Arboreal Blights and Demonic Hordes until you start AP 1.
Adding a couple of blessings to the blessings deck is a good idea for 4 players too.

Adventure Card Game Designer

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We put an optional set of adjustments for this very thing in this FAQ entry. Also make sure you're using the Vinst errata right below that.

Pssst. about those armies for six player ;)

Ha! I just posted the same question in the "When to Errata a Card" thread!

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