So in recent times I've been rereading a lot of Frog God Games material, notably their chief setting. There's already a lot of material out there: Northlands Saga for Nordic themes, deadly megadungeons such as Rappan Athuk, and epic hex crawls such as the Sword of Air.
The Sword of Air in particular intrigues me, enough that when at least one of my 4 current campaigns end I'm considering running it as the next big thing.
However, I've been wondering how I can pitch it to prospective players. I've already talked about with a few players, but not all of them. There's a lot of Pathfinder settings out there with distinctive material which can be summed up in one sentence. Lost Lands is more traditional fantasy as a whole, but whose individual parts spread throughout the products are what make it unique.
Idea #1: Gradual Ease
I definitely want to do Sword of Air, but I feel that it may be sudden to just drop new players into it and working for Kayden. Starting out with a few starter adventures, which may tie into said later decision, may be good. The Stoneheart Valley adventures Wizard's Talisman and Crucible of Freya can be good ways of presenting an immediate plot and goal and revealing some aspects of the Gulf of Akados over time. The mini-locations and sidequests in Crucible can be good for showing off 'sandbox precursors.'
I've also debated about using the Lost City of Barakus as a prequel. It has a sandbox environment and large dungeon to explore in a segment of the Lost Lands, plus it will have the benefit of letting me try out one of the books I bought. However I don't know how 'quick' it is to complete, and a central dungeon environment may be an odd thing to transition out of to Sword of Air which is a nonlinear sandbox with many locations. Not to mention Sword of Air has a different, more epic, vibe to it than the "dungeon raiders" aspect of Barakus.
Idea #2: Immediate Start
Make Sword of Air proper my first Lost Lands adventure for the party. I may still have Kayden use errands and tests before dumping the responsibility of finding the artifact blade on the PCs, as well as to make it not too jarring: "okay, some nobody adventures just got hired...by an archmage to find a legendary sword."
There's also the fact that I may need to provide an immediate hook for adventures within the Sword of Air, and given that many areas are going to be rather high level for 2nd to 5th level PCs, I was thinking that presenting a hook at one of the "safer" locations initially may be good.
From other readers and player experiences, which places in Sword of Air are the best "beginning areas?" The Howling Fortress seems a good place for lvl 4 PCs, provided they don't just go rushing in carelessly. As does the Tower of Bells. The encounter "They Come at Night, Mostly..." on page 29 may be suitable, but it's less a full adventure/dungeon and more an encounter which can lead up to more stuff.
As I see it kicks off when the players go see the wizard in the swamp whilst at bards gate. I was thinking of using wizards amulet and crucible as a start. The amulet I was going to make some sort of coded clue to decipher some of the sword references they find. You just need to make sure a someone in the party has it to start with if you don't use the pre-gens. There are references in crucible and bards gate about gnolls so you could tie that in with the howling fortress as a side quest. I was thinking of once they get to bards gate they do some of the tomb like cleanse the shrines then once they are resting in bards gate kick start the wizard quests. You could lift the level with balcoths lair and use it as one of the fetch quests. I was also thinking of adding in slumbering tsar maybe as Muir and thyr shrines and focus crops up a lot through the adventures. Would create a truly epic campaign esp if you added in level 14 and 15 of Rappan Athuk as the finale. If it's possible I don't know. So sum up use stoneheart as a start then weave in sword of air in I think is the best way to go. I'm hanging fire as bards gate complete and the campaign setting are going to be kickstarters this year and next year and there are still a few grey areas not covered in the sword of air such as bards gate to freegate which may add more detail for the game.
I agree with the above poster. I'm planning to run Sword of Air at some point, and I've always planned to use Stoneheart Valley as the intro.