Strange Aeons Player's Guide


Strange Aeons

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Paizo Employee Developer

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Hey everyone! I'm posting this thread for two reasons. The first is to head off the questions of when this Player's Guide is going to be available. The answer to that is: Hopefully around the same time that subscribers begin getting access to the download of the first volume.

Now for the fun, second reason...

I'm putting the final touches on the guide right now, and I wanted to see what y'all would like to see in the Player's Guide. I've asked this before for other Player's Guides and while I've often covered most of what's asked for (within reason) y'all always suggest something that I didn't think about. So, whatcha wanna see? (Or feel like you need?)

One thing I'm certainly paying attention to is the unconventional start of this AP having the PCs wake up in an asylum not knowing who they are or how they got there. I'll provide some good advice on how to deal with that and likely give some advice on how to get started if a group doesn't want to use that element in their campaign. (All while walking the fine line of not spoiling anything.)


Info to help players get into the mindset, not just of their amnesiac pc, but responding to the weird stuff going on around them. This isn't quite a normal horror game I know, but the Murder Hobos kicking down doors without fear also feel thematically disonent.

Plus all the creepy flavor you can put in it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Someone casting Resurrect on Death itself? =^-^= That would be fun to see. :D

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Traits.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Rysky wrote:
Traits.

Obvs. ;)

Paizo Employee Developer

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Which (holy hell!) was a tough nut to crack when it comes to giving background flavor to folks who don't recall their full background. But, I think I found a cool way of dealing with these campaign traits. Time will tell.


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How about some optional disadvantages, such as phobias, delusions and various forms of insanity? That would be pretty cool to consider when making a character, and you can design ones that happen to really work well within the AP. If you're feeling extra generous, maybe each can grant a minor boon as well.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

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1d100 random (creepy, strange, probably useless) objects a PC might have on his/her person upon waking up.

Also, why not tie the campaign traits directly into the amnesia? "With this trait, the only thing you remember is..."


Waking up in a asylum, prison, tomb, whatever is unconventional?!


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Adam Daigle wrote:
Which (holy hell!) was a tough nut to crack when it comes to giving background flavor to folks who don't recall their full background. But, I think I found a cool way of dealing with these campaign traits. Time will tell.

Have each trait be tied to some quality they have with notes for Gm for the future reveal, such as "scar just below the hairline on the back of the head" (having been experimented upon by derro) or "you have a single memento - a locket with a picture of a woman" (the one who is responsible for the character being locked in the first place).

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

What cohorts and followers have been up to while the PCs were locked up, and how to foreshadow finding out about them.


Some cues on how players can be victims / antiheroes somehow. If a lot of players come into this strictly from a PF background, not having played Call of Cthulhu etc, do you need to set up their expectations differently?

In the same sense, what about those of us who may be expecting CoC using pathfinder rules? Can you manage our expectations too?

If sanity tracking is going to be part of the game, or optional, can you make that clear in the players guide? I'd personally LOVE to see that as an aspect of this AP.


Love the idea of random trinkets, to get people in the mood for mystery and horror. Traits could also be tied into insanities. You get this bonus, at this cost..


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What if your campaign trait is linked to a momento?

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I don't know if this might be a thing for the player's guide, but I had this idea for this AP, which might work for other Groups as well and could be entered as advice in the pg:

Everybody get's to make his own pc, roll's his stats, selects class, race, spells, skills, etc. and that's it.

After that, they hand their charactersheet over to me, the DM.

I give that sheet (in secret) to one of the other Players, who than has to come up with a background-story for this rolled-up pc. That player doesn't know yet who's pc this is.

This way, the pc's really have no idea who they are, other than knowing what they are cabable of (their pc-sheet).

During the campaign (if this works, I obviously haven't read the AP yet) I will Hand out pieces of their background-story.
This way, they really have to figure out who they are, and where they came from...

Good idea?!

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

It's probably already in there, but tips on how to run insanity CoC-Style in Pathfinder. Also, I second the idea of having a d% table of random things the characters are found with.


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Dryder wrote:

I don't know if this might be a thing for the player's guide, but I had this idea for this AP, which might work for other Groups as well and could be entered as advice in the pg:

Everybody get's to make his own pc, roll's his stats, selects class, race, spells, skills, etc. and that's it.

After that, they hand their charactersheet over to me, the DM.

I give that sheet (in secret) to one of the other Players, who than has to come up with a background-story for this rolled-up pc. That player doesn't know yet who's pc this is.

This way, the pc's really have no idea who they are, other than knowing what they are cabable of (their pc-sheet).

During the campaign (if this works, I obviously haven't read the AP yet) I will Hand out pieces of their background-story.
This way, they really have to figure out who they are, and where they came from...

Good idea?!

My DM thought of doing this too, and I'm not a fan. I'm currently playing a character who'd background I had no say in and the DM is dolling out over the campaign. It's not a lot of fun, even if I've found some ways to enjoy the character at times. I had no ground on which to build a character, nothing to inform decisions. Not to mention it turns out I don't really like the history my DM made for my character. So be careful if you do this, it could turn out as not fun for players.

Silver Crusade

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Also, at the PaizoCon panel, they said the memory loss is only for the last few years, not forever. So you still remember who you are, you just don't remember what happened in the last five years.


I believe the PCs have a period of amnesia (like a couple months) rather than Hollywood amnesia. Ninja'd! And dang, five years!? I thought it was a few months. Although, if my players think that, it'll be a pretty big reveal. Not sure how it meshes with "not knowing who they are", though.

As for stuff I'd like to see, something cool with the campaign traits, more than ever. It's great to hear that you've got something in mind, since the traits are the one part that really sticks around for the whole game. Like with Hell's Vengeance, recommending discussing limits for the game is probably a good idea. It'd be nice in the classes section to mention whether or not psychic casters will have difficulties, since fear effects are a lot ore common that areas of silence or vacuum, even if it's just a mention that Mesmerists will do well because they're good at removing fear. (Good campaign trait might interact with fear and psychic magic, I suppose.) If I were playing rather than GMing, I'd want to know if I should bother with starting equipment, and maybe what the deal is with animal companions/familiars/bonded items. Like Carrion Crown, some info on Ustalav would be very handy for setting the scene. If there's room to cover a new mechanic the game uses, that's always nice, but not necessary. Overall, though, players will probably be wondering what the last thing their character remembers is.

I know there's only so much room in the guide! My players and I eagerly await the release. Seriously, I get "Are we there yet?" texts during work.


Perhaps the Player's Guide could have a less mechanically-skewed (or better mechanically-rendered) take on role-playing "madness." The current insanity rules are pretty brute force and broadly drawn. It might be interesting to get a more nuanced take on that...

Is it August yet?

Dark Archive

The "july 2016 new release shipping thread" says that the shipping to subscribers begins on july 18th, so that's the date we can roughly expect this Players Guide. :-)

I find it very cool of you Adam, that you ask what people would like to see.
Thanx for that!

I expect the PCs have not much more on them than clothing and need to find weapons and armor somewhere in the asylum.

So this "100 things a PC has somehow on her/him" sounds good.

examples:

-hairpin (allows to pick one lock with a +1 bonus, the next with a +0 bonus and all after that with -1)

-unholy symbol of Hastur/yellow sign (what is this and how did i get it?/isn't attacked by followers until attacks first)

-a simple lock with key and a thin blessed masterwork silver chain (allows to close off a door or constrict a creature)

-a silered or viridium knife

and so on. ;-)


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

Strange Aeons ships in August, not July. Unless they changed things up, the last I heard July is only last book of Hell's Vengeance. :-)


captain yesterday wrote:
Strange Aeons ships in August, not July. Unless they changed things up, the last I heard July is only last book of Hell's Vengeance. :-)

They have to have it for the beginning of GenCon, which if I am correct is around the 4th of August.


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

They are not releasing it at Gencon this year, if you don't believe me look for the July shipping thread. :-)

Silver Crusade

QuidEst wrote:
If I were playing rather than GMing, I'd want to know if I should bother with starting equipment, and maybe what the deal is with animal companions/familiars/bonded items.

Echo this about the starting equipment. I was planning to play a relic channeler medium, so I definitely care if I have my stuff.

Paizo Employee Developer

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From the Office of Expectation Management: Maybe not for the first encounter (or two), but PCs have access to their starting gear at the start.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Some pointers on group cohesion when the characters are genuinely meant to be utterly confused, maybe?


Suggestions on what classes fit best.

I understand that ANY class can be made to fit an AP, but some don't work as well or require a bit of shoehorning (a Paladin in Skull & Shackles for example).

I'd love to hear the opinion of a developer regarding this.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It is hard for me to suggest to much, based on only having the information from the AP descriptions, but I'd like to see a few things incorporated in the guide:

- Suggestions on what kind of people would find themselves in this situation. Could it have been anyone ending up in there? Or would people with certain skills, interest or predispositions be more likely to end up there? (I know traits should cover this to some degree, but I think the regular traits aren't enough for this setup)

- What kind of people are normally locked up in the asylum, for what reasons, for how long and how are they treated? (I feel this is important to show the players how dire their situation is and make them empathic towards the other patients)

- A solid amount of information about Ustalav, because I don't think players or GMs are familiar with the region

- Reasons to stick with the adventure til the end(maybe this isn't a problem, if the players aren't meant to be just some randoms). I want to illustrate this with a example: In Iron Gods, the guide gave some good reasons to help the town out at first, but this didn't necessarily translate into the 3rd and 4th adventure. So giving the characters better reasons to stick around after escaping/recovering their memory would be great.

Quick question: Is there any additional information out there? Because writing suggestions with this vague information is quite difficult.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Gratz wrote:

It is hard for me to suggest to much, based on only having the information from the AP descriptions, but I'd like to see a few things incorporated in the guide:

- Suggestions on what kind of people would find themselves in this situation. Could it have been anyone ending up in there? Or would people with certain skills, interest or predispositions be more likely to end up there? (I know traits should cover this to some degree, but I think the regular traits aren't enough for this setup)

- What kind of people are normally locked up in the asylum, for what reasons, for how long and how are they treated? (I feel this is important to show the players how dire their situation is and make them empathic towards the other patients)

- A solid amount of information about Ustalav, because I don't think players or GMs are familiar with the region

- Reasons to stick with the adventure til the end(maybe this isn't a problem, if the players aren't meant to be just some randoms). I want to illustrate this with a example: In Iron Gods, the guide gave some good reasons to help the town out at first, but this didn't necessarily translate into the 3rd and 4th adventure. So giving the characters better reasons to stick around after escaping/recovering their memory would be great.

Quick question: Is there any additional information out there? Because writing suggestions with this vague information is quite difficult.

As I understand from listening to a podcast from Paizo Con the incentive to stay in the AP is recovering portions of lost memories as the PCs move along the AP.

Dark Archive

Sanity tracking is always a fun option. Maybe some spell/item/feat effects that play off of sanity levels? Maybe being more insane has additional benefits and drawbacks in the Dreamlands?

Similar concept: corruption. I think I recall something like that in the 3.5 sourcebook, "Heroes of Horror".

I always like to read the recommended lists of character classes and other options. Anything that can help add to the flavor and overall feel of a campaign. For Strange Aeons, I would expect that to be either stuff that makes you a better investigator and hunter of eldritch horrors, or stuff that can help you to better embrace the horrific. I've always wanted to play a corrupt synthesist summoner who has an eldritch abomination infecting his soul, and manifests through transforming into a clawed, tentacled monstrosity. So, yeah, anything that can help with that would be great. :D


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Regarding expectation management:
How the AP is similar and different from Torment (as this was mentioned in the first thread when the AP was announced) regarding regaining one's memory. But maybe that was just me...
What would be cool (and might fit): campaign traits (use different name?) which evolve along with the AP's story progressing.

Ruyan.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
derangel wrote:
Sanity tracking is always a fun option. Maybe some spell/item/feat effects that play off of sanity levels? Maybe being more insane has additional benefits and drawbacks in the Dreamlands?

Oooh, yeah! Maybe like the Insight mechanic from Bloodborne?

derangel wrote:
Similar concept: corruption. I think I recall something like that in the 3.5 sourcebook, "Heroes of Horror".

Horror Adventures has you covered there.


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Personally, I would like the "recommended classes" to be accurate to the adventure. I played a blight druid in iron gods because it was recommended in the guide and I thought it was neat. Eventually, everything about the archetype becomes worthless due to everything being immune to fortitude stuff or disease in one way or another, which also made many of the the druid spells kinda junk since everything was metal and no plants grew in those areas. It was not at all useful for players but maybe an NPC. So yeah the recommended classes should be actually recommended to be thematic and useful, not one or the other really.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Though I still hold hope for Asylums of Golarion, a description of how the asylum usually functions might be of interest for those who want to play some prequel or flashbacks

And maybe some tidbits about usual treatments for the mentally ill in the area


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The moment anyone puts dreamscape mind-battles into any campaign, I'm out.

I'm greatly worried that this campaign will attempt to harness some of the worst ideas in the game's rule-set.

Sanity is clearly going to be a feature here, but please just be aware that some players don't like additional complications to standard rule-sets, and it should by no means be mandatory.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I kind of remember seeing somewhere that Strange Aeons wouldn't include a Sanity Monitor or the like.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Tangent101 wrote:
I kind of remember seeing somewhere that Strange Aeons wouldn't include a Sanity Monitor or the like.

That was me, here.


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I know it's been said before above, but really having accurate information in the recommended classes and races section is so important.

Stuff like getting told that a fire sorcerer is going to be good for Mummy's Mask, and then waves of fire immune monsters, or that an ice sorcerer or winter witch would be good for Reign of Winter, can really cause a negative play experience for a player who took the advice they were given, and now their character is useless in a lot of fights.

I really like seeing the recommended skills section, as it lets players plan, but most of the time I don't see people using recommended feats. So unless the players need something like blind-flight in book one, I would possibly skip that section.

Also, I prefer to see less new rules in the players guide if possible, and more reminder sections of rules/ quick summaries. As an example, the three times I've run Carrion Crown, my players almost always forget the new harrow deck draw subrules, but when I ran Mummy's Mask they really liked having all the desert exploration stuff in the one page summary, or in Skulls and Shackles the all-in-one condensed ship rules booklet.


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Drejk wrote:

{. . .}

Have each trait be tied to some quality they have with notes for Gm for the future reveal, such as "scar just below the hairline on the back of the head" (having been experimented upon by derro) or "you have a single memento - a locket with a picture of a woman" (the one who is responsible for the character being locked in the first place).

Alternatively, the picture is of someone to whom you gradually find evidence pointing BOTH to their being a loved one AND being the one who put you in the asylum . . . .

* * * * * * * *

Edit: Just had another thought: When the PCs awake, some or all of them THINK they remember everything, but later they start to find that a piece of their life is missing, or worse, things that they remember aren't so . . . .

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Soilent wrote:

The moment anyone puts dreamscape mind-battles into any campaign, I'm out.

... [Snip]

This^^.

As for the player's guide:
most of the things have been said already, especially
- meaningful choices for the PC's (class, archetype, bloodline, animal companion, domain, and so on)


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

Have you tried Dreamscape mind battles as you say.


advice on how to play your 'wrong' character.

Let's say that you started out life as a paladin, heading off to battle the Worldwound. Sometime in the last 5 years, you fell, hard. Presumably when you wake up in the looney bin, you're not fallen anymore, right?

Dark Archive

Advice about which subsystems or rules from "Horror Adventures" could be incorporated.

An option about sanity/insanity tracking which is easy to handle.

Also i agree on the "we don't need flavorful character options, but functional ones first" comments.

lots of cool traits.

Info about the Starting town/region with a player friendly map and info about known NPCs.

Thx again Adam! :-)


Hello all,

Sorry for what's probably a very basic question, but this thread seems to be referring to a Strange Aeons "Player's Guide". I only see the six modules and map poster as being available for pre-order or subscription on this website. Is the "Player's Guide" term synonymous with the first adventure path book? Or is there another book also coming out that I haven't seen yet?

Thanks so much.

-Kennifus Prime


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Kennifus Prime wrote:

Hello all,

Sorry for what's probably a very basic question, but this thread seems to be referring to a Strange Aeons "Player's Guide". I only see the six modules and map poster as being available for pre-order or subscription on this website. Is the "Player's Guide" term synonymous with the first adventure path book? Or is there another book also coming out that I haven't seen yet?

Thanks so much.

-Kennifus Prime

The Player's Guide is a free PDF released at the start of each AP. It provides players with the info they need to make a character for the game without spoiling anything. Makes the GM's job easier!


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

There is a free pdf that is released around the same time as the first book.


Thank you both! One more question, do you need to subscribe to the Adventure Path for the free Player's Guide PDF? Or can you purchase them individually? I, nor my group, have ever played Pathfinder. So I don't know I want to subscribe for the Strange Aeons Adventure Path for six books to learn after a month or two it's not for us.


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

You can get the Player's Guide no matter if you're a subscriber or not. I myself have only been a subscriber for ten months. :-)


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

Also you don't have to subscribe for the whole thing, if you don't like it you can cancel it any time. :-)

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