Won't someone think of the children?


Ironfang Invasion


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm planning to run this AP in the near future, so I'm reading up and noticed that there's a startling lack of infants and children among the refugees of Phaendar. It seems like the AP expects a number of refugees of around 10 to 20 to be rescued from the town, but all are adults. That's either tragic, or a result of a deliberate attempt to avoid the complexity of dealing with the very young. However, I find that to be rather unrealistic.

I plan to make it so that every group of refugees include at least half as many infants and children. I think it will intensify the desire of the PCs to continue to protect the group, but also give additional complications.

I post this to ask if anyone else has noticed this, plans to do this, and if they have any ideas on how this may impact the AP going forward?

Silver Crusade

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

I'd check with your group first and see if they'd be comfortable with now dealing with dozens of children and infants in very real danger.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

My guess would be the complexity aspect. You can't really argue the moral dilemma as their reasoning when you consider the beginning of Giantslayer and the reasoning behind the Hopeknife. Ugh.

Edit: argh, I'll get dilemma right eventually.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm not convinced that most groups of gamers would know what to do with so many infants/children and could be a sore spot for some groups.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

It would get hand-waived, I bet.


I agree with you. I will have kids in the survivor group when I run this because it adds that element of desperation and realism to this AP that I felt like it needed. Now that doesn't mean I will be overtly cruel by having kids there but I think it is an element that helps sell the need for the party to help these people survive more than it would if it were a bunch of adults at the camp. It's a survival story at first and this adds a great little shot of extra tension to the mix.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh, I don't plan on having graphic depictions of mangled bodies (young or old) or anything like that. But it bugs me when cities and towns descriptions don't factor in children. If it's a viable community, it should have at least three generations populating it.

I think the addition of children will not only add to the realism of the first book, but will also explain why the PCs can't call upon the NPCs to throw at problems like fodder.

That being said, I'm also planning on not making them unduly burdensome. The rest of the nameless NPCs are going to be babysitting so the PCs can do the fun stuff.

Silver Crusade

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Stalwart wrote:

Oh, I don't plan on having graphic depictions of mangled bodies (young or old) or anything like that. But it bugs me when cities and towns descriptions don't factor in children. If it's a viable community, it should have at least three generations populating it.

I think the addition of children will not only add to the realism of the first book, but will also explain why the PCs can't call upon the NPCs to throw at problems like fodder.

That being said, I'm also planning on not making them unduly burdensome. The rest of the nameless NPCs are going to be babysitting so the PCs can do the fun stuff.

The only thing you gain from hitting the "children in peril" trope in your product - even by implying that there actually are any children around when the peril happens - is Coalition of Concerned Christian Parents blocking your customer service line.

That, or somebody melting down on this forum about your 3PP product so much that you end up having to self-censor it.

Long story short, there are two thing that don't go down with Americans - kids in danger and nipples. Feature either (or both, if you're unlucky) and you're in for a world of hurt.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Did Reign of Winter cause problems for Paizo? It certain had children in peril - albeit in a grimdark fairy tale way.


Stalwart wrote:

I'm planning to run this AP in the near future, so I'm reading up and noticed that there's a startling lack of infants and children among the refugees of Phaendar. It seems like the AP expects a number of refugees of around 10 to 20 to be rescued from the town, but all are adults. That's either tragic, or a result of a deliberate attempt to avoid the complexity of dealing with the very young. However, I find that to be rather unrealistic.

I plan to make it so that every group of refugees include at least half as many infants and children. I think it will intensify the desire of the PCs to continue to protect the group, but also give additional complications.

If you wish, but be aware these youngs will be burning a lot of resources, will mean the group will be bigger, so easier to spot/search for, and might make the group nosier. Also, the NPCs taking care of them won't be available to help elsewhere.


Bellona wrote:
Did Reign of Winter cause problems for Paizo? It certain had children in peril - albeit in a grimdark fairy tale way.

Most AP have children in peril, but not to the level we are talking here.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I have not read the AP. Is it plausible that the really defenceless people including kids are being evacuated by higher level NPCs and that the PC's band of refugees are the lure to get the threat away from that other group ?

Which would nicely explain the adults-only group

Lantern Lodge

The Raven Black wrote:

I have not read the AP. Is it plausible that the really defenceless people including kids are being evacuated by higher level NPCs and that the PC's band of refugees are the lure to get the threat away from that other group ?

Which would nicely explain the adults-only group

As written no, the group are the only ones to escape Phaendar, everyone else from the village is either dead or slave labour for the Hobgoblins.


Bellona wrote:
Did Reign of Winter cause problems for Paizo? It certain had children in peril - albeit in a grimdark fairy tale way.

I'm including a lot more nipples in all my future games!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:

I have not read the AP. Is it plausible that the really defenceless people including kids are being evacuated by higher level NPCs and that the PC's band of refugees are the lure to get the threat away from that other group ?

Which would nicely explain the adults-only group

no. one of the fun bits in the first adventure is that you are the only guys with any skills worth noting in the town. so when the bad guys show up, you gotta do something real heroic, b/c a couple of hobgoblins can kill you pretty quick too.

it's a real panic to get out of town. nothing is going to save it from the Ironfang Invasion, so you just grab whoever you can and make a break for it before they catch you.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There are "1st level commoners" to be rescued in every section of the town in chapter one, these could easily include children.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
Long story short, there are two thing that don't go down with Americans - kids in danger and nipples. Feature either (or both, if you're unlucky) and you're in for a world of hurt.

In Germany, depicting kids in danger is illegal.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
James Goodman 960 wrote:
Bellona wrote:
Did Reign of Winter cause problems for Paizo? It certain had children in peril - albeit in a grimdark fairy tale way.
I'm including a lot more nipples in all my future games!

Do you see how quickly things devolve? :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
taks wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Long story short, there are two thing that don't go down with Americans - kids in danger and nipples. Feature either (or both, if you're unlucky) and you're in for a world of hurt.
In Germany, depicting kids in danger is illegal.

I am guessing this cause issues with many comic books, cartoon, manga, anime, etc...


Mine rescued 19 npcs
We have assumed that includes very young and very old
They did very well but this still assumes massive losses
Filled the pcs with ire and vengeance

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
taks wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Long story short, there are two thing that don't go down with Americans - kids in danger and nipples. Feature either (or both, if you're unlucky) and you're in for a world of hurt.
In Germany, depicting kids in danger is illegal.

Really? That is odd.


taks wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Long story short, there are two thing that don't go down with Americans - kids in danger and nipples. Feature either (or both, if you're unlucky) and you're in for a world of hurt.
In Germany, depicting kids in danger is illegal.

I'm a prosecutor in Germany and I've never heard of such a thing. Possibly a misunderstanding?

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I have included children in various ways (In PFS, my herold and squire vanities are the twin daughters of my Summoner/Eidolon married couple and their rational for adventuring is "have you seen the cost of Taldan private academies").

As for including kids, it might be a good idea to include an "extra" five kids among the survivors. Some tropes--

A somewhat older (say 12) leader/foster parent who keeps the kids together.

A young adventuer who puts himself at risk , does a bit of the stupid things kids do. Better yet, the kid who gets all the kids in trouble.

An outsider, perhaps a half raced character. Find a way to make this palatable. For example, the half elf who is also the "responsible one" can approach some of the younger adults because they were once her playmates and peers who "outgrew her".

Include siblings and perhaps kids who lost siblings. Have about half of them be orphans.

Perhaps have a kid become the team mascot.

Recommended reading: The walking dead does a very good job of dealing with kids in survival situations.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Krathanos wrote:
taks wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Long story short, there are two thing that don't go down with Americans - kids in danger and nipples. Feature either (or both, if you're unlucky) and you're in for a world of hurt.
In Germany, depicting kids in danger is illegal.
I'm a prosecutor in Germany and I've never heard of such a thing. Possibly a misunderstanding?

It could (or must) be.


Kerney wrote:

1) I have included children in various ways (In PFS, my herold and squire vanities are the twin daughters of my Summoner/Eidolon married couple and their rational for adventuring is "have you seen the cost of Taldan private academies").

2) As for including kids, it might be a good idea to include an "extra" five kids among the survivors. Some tropes--

A somewhat older (say 12) leader/foster parent who keeps the kids together.

A young adventuer who puts himself at risk , does a bit of the stupid things kids do. Better yet, the kid who gets all the kids in trouble.

An outsider, perhaps a half raced character. Find a way to make this palatable. For example, the half elf who is also the "responsible one" can approach some of the younger adults because they were once her playmates and peers who "outgrew her".

Include siblings and perhaps kids who lost siblings. Have about half of them be orphans.

Perhaps have a kid become the team mascot.

3) Recommended reading: The walking dead does a very good job of dealing with kids in survival situations.

1) I LOL'ed, school are very pricey, so are "babysitters".

2) Yeah. And at least you know there are some clichés.

3) Recommended Reading: A Song of Ice and Fire.
3.a) Avoid: many manga and anime...

Paizo Employee Designer

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Removed a post. Pathfinder is a game with fans from all across the world. Even if it wasn't, please don't make comments disparaging a country and the people who live there.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I posted part of this to the Survivors thread. What I didn't specify there, and I'll mention here is that at least ten of the NPC's that I fleshed out are children under 12 including 1 infant. I'm perfectly fine with having children in the mix; I think it does make it more realistic and interesting.

My approach was to NOT have any nameless NPC's. I stressed to all of my players to have a tie to the town and to provide me with their friends and family members.

I then detailed about 60 named NPC's, many whom the player's helped create. I printed them all out like trading cards, and in the prequels they have had the opportunity to interact with many of them. During the invasion, I have replaced all the instances of NPC's at the event locations with these trading cards, and as the players make their way through the town they will have options to rescue people and collect their cards. I have several staged encounters where the party will have to make choices on who to save, along with some dramatic moments with their various mentors. This way by the time they make it out, they can hang all the people they save on a whiteboard I have by the table to SEE the good they did.


I added a batch of children to the refugees from Kassen's Hold - mainly because I have a sweet set of children minis. It's always fun to have the party interact with kids because they can get away with saying the funniest things to a group of battle hardened warriors, such as pointing out how badly the barbarian smells.


There's a couple of potential ways to handle it. One is that most of the survivors came from people that were still out partying at the central hubs where booze might be flowing. It's entirely possible the extremely young or extremely old were in their own homes with family when the Legion arrives, and thus either slain or enslaved.

Also, given how abstracted out the refugees are, and that this is a midieval (ish) society, many of them could be young enough to be children by our understanding but old enough to work by their upbringing. Could be they've taken on apprenticeships, or just been working on the family farm. Plenty of skill checks that a 13 year old could do. Kids are also small and could potentially be sneakier than your average commoner for scouting purposes.

Infants, especially those who haven't been weaned, probably don't consume enough food to meaningfully impact your rations, or need enough space to need additional shelter. One assumes the parents can carry an infant while they craft, herd, or build a shelter. There's a pretty narrow age range between "small enough to be negligible" and "too small to be put to work" at this level of abstraction. And a grim reality is parents being slowed down by such children probably didn't escape the Ironfang Legion. :(


I've already added one child NPC, Vane Oreld's daughter, and I've established that many children live in town and will be including several of them amongst the refugees. Much like Fenrick I plan to have every NPC survivor be fully fleshed out characters, so it'll be interesting.


The reason for no children specifically mentioned could simply be because It is harder to make a quick escape with children in tow.

I intend to specifically intend to include children and even one infant to the possible refugee list. I have a scenario in the escape from Phaendar where the PCs observe a town road where 4 children can be observed sprinting down an alley followed shortly by hungry war hounds. Depending on how quickly the PCs act if at all 0-4 kids will be torn to lifeless shreds by the fearsome animals.

I prefer my fantasy role-playing adventures to include elements of realistic brutality. It keeps the role-playing, mental state, and decisions of the players honest. (I also have players who feel similarly and can handle this).

Saving the children also comes with all sorts of additional obstacles, they are smaller, weaker, slower, not able to perceive the gravity of such situations, have difficulty in following complex instructions, and can blow stealthy tactics with fearful wailing.

They also consume provisions without the opportunity to contribute much.. just like the elderly that I've included as well.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Path / Ironfang Invasion / Won't someone think of the children? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Ironfang Invasion