What are the best changes to the AP you've ever seen?

Curse of the Crimson Throne

I posted this originally in the RotRL thread, but I'm curious about it for this AP as well.

I am curious: for all those who have played this adventure path, at a table or on a pbp, as a player or as a DM, WHAT WERE THE BEST CHANGES FROM THE ADVENTURE AS WRITTEN?

(Please spoiler anything beyond the first adventure, in case anyone is currently playing.)

I have a couple of types of improvements, and an example for each.

- What were the best new encounters? (The Sandpoint Devil in the field of scarecrows in 2.)
- What were the best new plot twists? (Justice Ironbriar bailing the players out of jail during the Swallowtail Festival, before you "meet" him in 2.)
- What were the best plot changes? (Making Nualia continue after the first adventure, and how was it done.)
- What were the best improvements on a scene as written? (The death of the ghoul/lich house in 2 going up in flames seen for miles.)
- What were the best changes to maps? (Making Thistletops lower levels bigger, so you could actually fight.)
- Best unique, properly balanced, weapon or magic item or spell. (Horsechopper of bane vs. animals. Called NeighNeigh in the goblin tongue.)
- Best bit of dialogue that just felt so right. (Yeah, I don't have a simple example, lol.)
- What were the best moments with NPC's, that made them even better than written? (Tying the Black arrows into Shalelu.)
- What was the best meaningful death? (The barbarian tackling a giant, and they both fall off a cliff in 6, to save a character at deaths door, about to be smashed to jam by the giant.)
- The single npc group switch that was awesome? (Switching out all half-ogres for half-Giants, and all goblins for feral halflings.)
- What were the best tie-ins to other AP's? (Seeing the comet fall over Riddleport during the siege of Sandpoint by the Giants.)
- What were the best guest appearances by iconics? (Meeting Merisiel in the jail cell next to you in Magnimar.)
- What were the best battles made more...cinematic? (The goblin invasion in Burnt Offernings ending in a runaway burning cart chase that lights a building by the docks on fire, before ending in the bay.)
- What were the best times you were forced to separate your party? (We have to stop the giant invasion! Well, if we don't get this magic wand to Magnimar, 10,000 undead Giants will roll over Varisia. Crap. We have to separate to do both.)
- What was the best stat change? (Making Nualia a magus.)
- What was the crazy thing the players forced a DM into, that she rolled with, and it ended up being awesome? (Making the thing at the bottom of Thistletop your pet, and feeding it refularly. And naming it. I'm looking at you, Nobody'sHome.)
- The single House Rule you felt improved the adventure? (Hero points, etc.)
- The best setting adaptation? (Takhisis coming back, and you're from Abanasia; a dead hero of Rhajaat, an undead Sorcerer-King, is leading the Giants out of the obsidian dessert south of Raam; growing up human in Darguun was hard. Leaving it to travel to Argonessen to fight a greedy Rhakshasa? That was harder.)
- Best class combinations that just felt unique and cool? (Not half-vampire kobold 3pp classes crap.) (Tian orphan raised by the Shoanti who became a Barbarian ninja. The invisible rage.)
- Any hero moments created by the DM? (Tends to focus on one character.) (The Dragonborn escaping Helgen, Nathan Drake getting off the sinking ship, the building collapsing in Battlefield 4, Cloud and Sephiroth.)
- Greatest escapes? (Leaping from the top floor of the lich house to the ocean, as the house explodes with necromantic energy.)
- Anything else not from the adventures, but CHANGED from them that stood out to you.

Scarab Sages

Wrong AP, mittean. You want Rise of the Runelords.

I'm aware. My first line addressed that I posted this there as well. I'm curious about this adventure as well, and what changes people made to it that worked, and improved the story.

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Well, I am just running the 1st module for the 1st time, but I have a couple of variations in mind, to link events of the plots.

I have made Trinia fake a Shoanti heritage to get popular with her art. This will help introduce the mood for the Gaeken beating.

All the Urgathoa thing looks forced to me, so I have introduced a loan from rich ratfolks in 1st adventure in exchange for free comerce and protection on the surface of the city. Then the Queen will make sure that the plague is related to the ratfolks by hiring evil ratkin alchemists so she can skip returning the gold.

I just read another twist that compliment mine and is that Urgathoan clerics designed the poison in exchange for a plague that should not affect Cheliaxans, but they lied to the Queen. So once the PCs are close to investigate the temple, she can tell the PCs that Dr.Davalus has lied to her (he is a ratfolk using hat of disguise of course).

Good stuff, LoBandolerPi. :) Thanks!

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It's been a while, but:

-- Made Laori Vaus a fellow escapee from Lamm. (Specifically, she and one of the PCs had managed to escape together. This made that PC really soft on her, even though it was very clear from the start that she was capital-E Evil.)

-- Made Pilts the son of Lamm. The PCs remembered him as Lamm's fat son who would come around asking for money to support various artistic pursuits. He didn't seem evil, but was in no way helpful or interested in the abused kids either.

-- Made the rakshasas more deeply involved in the city, and made them enemies of the Queen, so that the PCs got support from the Queen in wiping them out. Also, added a lawful good duellist niece, who had no idea what the rest of her family really were (no ranks in Sense Motive); she started off as an ally of the PCs, but of course ended up as a bitter enemy.

-- Added an early trip to the Cinderlands between modules 1 and 2. The PCs at this point were 3rd level, much too low to handle the Cinderlands, so they spent much of the time running and hiding, except for the bit where they got captured by a bunch of Shoanti.

Doug M.

Oh, and had Zellara hang around -- she's haunting the Harrow deck. Shows up randomly, can't be called, but can sometimes give the PCs good advice.

Doug M.

See this whole campaign journal -- Paizo should hire Inspectre to do Curse of the Crimson Throne Anniversary Edition.

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

Oh, and had Zellara hang around -- she's haunting the Harrow deck. Shows up randomly, can't be called, but can sometimes give the PCs good advice.

Just noticed that her name is just 1 letter off (and the difference is one that is often not very prominent, especially for Spanish speakers) from that of the most recently introduced Iconic Villain (of the set being introduced with Hell's Vengeance). And

A Zon-Kuthon worshipper that the PCs need to ally with (at least temporarily) does show up in Old Korvosa shortly after the time of the plague.

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Wow, this brings back memories... I have DM'd six AP's and this is the only one that I've played to the end, so I have a bunch of memorable additions I made.


[-- During pt 4 in the Cinderlands, I had Cinnabar and the Cinderlander part of a group that was hunting them which also included Roth (who had escaped death twice from them) and a crazed fighter who was the vengeful brother-in-law of one of the PC's who he blamed for his sisters death. I read cut scenes throughout the adventure of that group hunting for them and actually had them play as them for a couple of encounters where they questioned and tortured townspeople in Harse, and combat encounters with the Shoanti in the Cinderlands. When they showed up at the Shoanti camp at the end for the showdown, it was a huge climactic battle against these characters who the players ended up being very familiar with.

-- Throughout their time out of Korvosa (adventures 4 & 5), I did short scenarios where they played as NPC's in Korvosa (Vencarlo, Grau, Ishani, and another NPC guard I created) so they would still feel connected to the city and know what's going on there in their absence. They had the help of a mysterious inside informant throughout these scenarios who they find out in adventure 6 when the PC's return to Korvosa is Sabina. Made that reveal a lot more meaningful than the AP makes it out to be.

-- One of the PC's becomes romantically involved with Laori Vauss. Throughout the AP, that PC starts to slowly shift alignment and is seduced by Zon Kuthon. Laori leaves the party when they return to Korvosa, but returns for the final encounter with Ileossa and tries to convince the PC to turn on the party and return to Nidal with her with the Crown of Fangs. I had no idea which way the PC would decide and kind of secretly hoped she would side with Laori, but alas, she chose to remain on the light side and stay with the party and kill Laori in the end.

-- I also made the ending battle within Korvosa a lot more dramatic than it was in the book, with the PC's returning to Korvosa and uniting the resistance for a climactic attack against Castle Korvosa, and had them switching back and forth between the PC's infiltrating the castle while the NPC's they were playing battled the Gray Maidens and summoned Devils outside. Vencarlo ends up perishing in that battle and I kept the part where Ishani is found dead in the Castle which was also a hard hit for the group as he was part of the group for those side scenarios.

All in all, I LOVED this AP. Out of all the AP's I've dm'd if I could only have chosen one to complete, I would have picked this one. I'm so glad that I actually did, and it's probably my greatest achievement as a DM!

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