The Extremely Quickly Escilating Edge of Anarchy


Curse of the Crimson Throne


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I'm running this adventure path for my first time and have recently begun to read the AP books in preparation for a game beginning next month. After reading through book one I am left with some questions about how quickly Korvosa descends into anarchy. With the pacing of the game, I see the Old Fishery taking probably about an hour or so max game world time. By the time the adventurers get out of the Fishery, the town is in anarchy as the king has died. In an hour. Seems a bit quick, but I feel as if I can sell that. However, the next immediate encounters cite issues with food shortages, traders taking their wares elsewhere, etc. My question for past GMs is how you sell that happening so quickly? I mean, an hour barely seems like enough time for word to get around a town of 20k people. Conceivably, from Fishery to All the World's Meats takes place is less than a day, potentially. Can anyone give me advice on their experiences with this? I know things can play out differently in game, so does this do so? If the timing is a real issue, what have you done to help smooth things out? Any advice on creating foreshadowing of the coming problems without derailing the PCs pursuit of Lamm? I'm thinking of having some church bells ringing as they walk in to the Fishery to smooth it out, but not sure if that will distract them.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I agreed with you when I prepared this chapter for play. If you have a lot of time, you can read my journal to find out how I tackled this problem.


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An hour, yes. That is too fast. A day, though? Consider this: The king has no heirs. The city is without rulership, and the people doesn't know the new queen. Further, he is old and this must have been expected. The news spread like wildfire. Give it an hour or two and everybody knows. Everyone starts making plans for the immediate future. A few hours go to seeing what the city officials do, after that it is clear that things will get ugly. People are out in the streets or bunkering down at home. Shops close with the threat of looting. In a walled city, this means no access to food - so people try to scrounge up what they can. Now, not when they run out. They also have no fridges.

All in all, pretty reasonable.


Thanks for the advice, folks. MrVergee, the prelude you have written is nothing short of amazing! I'm going to take that advice and run with it, posting a couple of prelude expositions to the game Facebook group leading up to the first game. I cannot thank you enough!


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I'm padding out the content of the adventure to put it on the medium XP track instead of fast, so my plan is to have a lead from the fishery take them outside of town to a nearby village for a couple days, then they can come back to Les Miserables barricades already in progress and have it make a bit more sense.


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I made the anarchy last a lot longer. Food wasn't scarce on day one (though roving mobs kept most shops closed), but it became scarcer. My party captured Lamm, and it took most of a week for them to get from the Old Fishery to Citadel Volshyenek to turn him in.

Large roaming mobs to indicate the streets aren't safe forced them to take a circuitous route. Encounters along the way forced them to expend their resources. My anarchy lasted several weeks before things started to calm down again. The PCs were wise enough to spend most of the time closeted up in Zellara's or a shop owned by one of their father's. to play up the Anarchy, I rolled a random ecounter every time they went outside during the Anarchy, in addition to the scripted random encounters.

Heck, I still roll random encounters everytime someone goes off alone, to "foster" party unity.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ian Bell wrote:
My plan is to have a lead from the fishery take them outside of town to a nearby village for a couple days, then they can come back to Les Miserables barricades already in progress and have it make a bit more sense.

That is exactly what I did.

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