Why save the survivors?


Ironfang Invasion


I'm getting ready to start book one and, knowing my group, I'm anticipating one of the questions. Once they get out of Phaendar with a bunch of survivors they are almost certain to ask why they can't just abandon the survivors. They will see them as more mouths to feed and more people to take care of.

What is keeping the PCs from just bidding the survivors farewell and striking out on their own?


If you have anyone who follows a good deity and gets power from them, that deity may have Opinions about abandoning large groups of people who need help.

If you want to be more mercenary about it, you could point out that the survivors are people who could be put to work helping them, or perhaps helping their reputation. Dangle a reward like a circumstance bonus to a future skill check (of your choice) or something, and they'll probably take care of the refugees.


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MindXing wrote:
What is keeping the PCs from just bidding the survivors farewell and striking out on their own?

Being heroes, not slime?


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It's always nice to have minions and body donors.

Grand Lodge

the party will be more reliant on gathering their own supplies, and sometimes a bad forage roll means the party goes hungry.
having inadequate shelter means they become fatigued from sleeping in the elements.

saving certain npc's and ensuring their survival nets supplies that the party wouldn't normally have.

I do like the idea of dangling a "reputation" perk/bonus in front of them.
"Congrats! You saved X people and kept them alive and self sufficient for [indeterminate] days- the npc's are grateful and reward you thusly."


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

This is one reason I encourage players to build connections with NPCs and their homes rather than all be "the man with no name".


Selvaxri wrote:

the party will be more reliant on gathering their own supplies, and sometimes a bad forage roll means the party goes hungry.

having inadequate shelter means they become fatigued from sleeping in the elements.

saving certain npc's and ensuring their survival nets supplies that the party wouldn't normally have.

I do like the idea of dangling a "reputation" perk/bonus in front of them.
"Congrats! You saved X people and kept them alive and self sufficient for [indeterminate] days- the npc's are grateful and reward you thusly."

I'll have to make the foraging and shelter building clear to them.

And you reminded me that there is something like the "reward" in the book already. I'll go check on it. I think I need to make it really clear to the PCs that the more they save, the better it is for them.

I like the idea of connections too and this made me think of an idea. Since the PCs are in Phaendar to start with and they are providing me a background, I think I'll send them a list of names and ask them each to pick several names and tell me their connections with each of them. Then as NPCs are encountered in Phaendar, I'll tell them their names and there will already be a reason to rescue them. This will also lead to more impact if the NPCs die during the rescue.


Because they will be family and long term friends.
We built a party very strongly tied to the town including a slot zero where the pcs interacted with them in the festival
The group are all human. If your party is a wierd mix of the more monstrous pc races with no ties, I could see the problem


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Because that's what this AP is about, and your players should know this beforehand. If they are not interested in doing this, then this is the wrong AP for your group. It's a "social contract" between GM and players.


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Some of the PCs will be from Phaendar - they will know these people, have known them their whole lives.

Others will be Nirmathi, and will fight for their countrymen.

The rest just don't have to be terrible people.

Heck, someone's apparently running a campaign where the party is a foursome of Gnoll mercenaries - and they stuck up for the survivors. If gnolls can do it, so can you!

Silver Crusade

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What Zaister said. If you want to run a campaign for a bunch of amoral CN's, Skulls and Shackles is a much better choice.


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MindXing wrote:

I'm getting ready to start book one and, knowing my group, I'm anticipating one of the questions. Once they get out of Phaendar with a bunch of survivors they are almost certain to ask why they can't just abandon the survivors. They will see them as more mouths to feed and more people to take care of.

What is keeping the PCs from just bidding the survivors farewell and striking out on their own?

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.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Fenrick, that is a fantastic idea. Kudos to you.


The pre mod 1 stuff worked for us. The very sad thing is that, even doing really well, the pcs only rescue about 15% of the population
That should make the pcs very concerned, worried and filled with vengeance. This makes it much easier to slaughter every goblinoid they see with righteous wrath. ( Even goblionid babies).


This adventure path is about the party becoming true heroes of the realm and actually trying to help those in need.


Fenrick Talon wrote:
MindXing wrote:
I'm getting ready to start book one and, knowing my group, I'm anticipating one of the questions. Once they get out of Phaendar with a bunch of survivors they are almost certain to ask why they can't just abandon the survivors. They will see them as more mouths to feed and more people to take care of.

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.

A very interesting approach.

Brother Fen wrote:
This adventure path is about the party becoming true heroes of the realm and actually trying to help those in need.

The AP doesn't disallow Evil PCs, but I get the point.


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KM WolfMaw wrote:

The AP doesn't disallow Evil PCs, but I get the point.

Even an evil PC might actually like their neighbors and want to save them...


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Bill Dunn wrote:
KM WolfMaw wrote:

The AP doesn't disallow Evil PCs, but I get the point.

Even an evil PC might actually like their neighbors and want to save them...

Quick reference- track down the Night Gallery story, "The Devil is Not Mocked," or the Ravenloft short story it inspired, "The Devil Looks Aftet His Own," or the American Gothic episode, "Strong Arm of the Law," or other such outings- an evil character need not even like his neighbors to see value in protecting them.


Yeah, if your group is the sort to look at their friends and neighbours in desperate need of the protection of mighty heroes during a ruinous hobgoblin invasion, shrug their shoulders and ask why they should bother, it's time to move onto a different AP. Even if you can force them to bite on the initial plot hook, you're going to have to force them repeatedly into various hooks throughout the AP.


Gorbacz wrote:
What Zaister said. If you want to run a campaign for a bunch of amoral CN's, Skulls and Shackles is a much better choice.

Alternatively, Hell's Vengeance (although in that case they would need to disguise the "C" part of their alignment when dealing with PC's with connections to the government; still, one of the Evil Iconics is Chaotic Evil -- an Antipaladin at that -- so it is certainly doable).

Bill Dunn wrote:
KM WolfMaw wrote:

The AP doesn't disallow Evil PCs, but I get the point.

Even an evil PC might actually like their neighbors and want to save them...

Especially if the neighbors are evil too in a way that is agreeable to the evil PC.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:

]

Especially if the neighbors are evil too in a way that is agreeable to the evil PC.

Evil shmevil. They may save them if they make a good casserole.


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One of the most interesting scenes in Wonder Woman is when she decides to attack across the trenches to save the villagers, not because they are good and deserve it, but because she is good.


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Bill Dunn wrote:
Evil shmevil. They may save them if they make a good casserole.

Or happen to be good casserole ingredients.

A shepherd defends his flock, even if his long-term goals for them involve eating every single one of them.

"I can't leave these people to die. I'll need them later."

Or my personal favorite "evil saves the day" approach:

"These people are mine. Nobody else gets to mangle my property."


Nobody beats up on Odie but me


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Lots of good points made already. One other legit use-- carrying stuff. This is a loot heavy campaign with few opportunities to sell things. My PCs could never haul all this stuff on their own and can't just solve the problem with a bag of holding or whatever, so having people to haul stuff around is a decent investment. Also, Aubrin's healing is a pretty significant resource to deprive themselves of, and she ain't gonna roll with the party that abandons survivors.

Beyond that, all of the APs I've read have the possibility for the PCs to refuse the call to adventure. At which point, I don't think the author of the AP or the DM is obligated to accommodate the PCs with alternative adventures. Maybe they can have some random encounters in the woods, or carve out a shelter for themselves at the Hunter's Cabin, or even escape the Fangwood and flee somewhere off the map. At which point... great, you can go farm beets somewhere while the interesting things happen back in the back.

I suppose you could run an abbreviated version of the campaign without the survivors but that's going to cost them a lot of XP and loot. I wouldn't give them the refugee XP bonus for escaping Phaender. No Edran event. No bad water. No Hemlock Banner. No weekly GP bonus. No Gashmaw. No Striking Shadow-- or perhaps worse, a Striking Shadow that starts offing PCs in their sleep rather than NPCs. Hell, it isn't inconceivable that sans having a big camp of people to stumble upon the party could never cross paths with the Children of Stone. Certainly any sort of scouting efforts would be helped by having some NPCs to assign. Keeping tabs on Camp Red Jaw will be harder. The PCs will have no one to craft weapons or armor for them.

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