Worth Getting / Running Ironfang?


Ironfang Invasion


I've read through the first Ironfang Invasion book, but I've been hesitant to buy more until I know whether or not I'm gonna run it. Now that we're (almost) at the end, what's the overall impression people have of the adventure? Any weak sections/books? How does it compare to other adventure paths?

The Exchange

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To me it felt really solid from first to last. There weren't any plot threads that were picked up and dropped - everything is nicely foreshadowed and none of the books were really weak, although I've only read through it and not played it yet.


Well into book 2
From my read throughs this may become my 2nd fav AP


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

It's in my top three or four. :-)

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I should have waited and ran this one instead of Strange Aeons ;-)


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Every single book has an average rating of 4 or better, that's absolutely not a given for APs. Personally, I am reading book 4 now, and so far it's all solid to excellent.

You could see Giantslayer as a related AP - a classic, combat heavy AP, focussing on a certain type of enemies. However, Ironfang is executed in a better way: More consistent style, no quality fluctuation, more variation at encounters.


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Yep. There appear to be no weak link. Even book three looks great, and IME they are normally not great

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, the consistence of quality between adventures is right up there with Hell's Rebels or CotCT.


One of the better APs in my opinion. I like it better than Kingmaker so far.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm in the same boat, wondering if I should run this one after we finish Giantslayer. Unfortunately, the other option is CoCT, which makes the decision tough. I'm leaning toward CoCT myself (I'm in the second book of both), but only because two of my players are new and I'd like to switch things up for them. Complicating things further is the fact that I may actually be running Hell's Rebels with another group of players, one of which is in the IF/CoCT campaign as well. He may balk at two simultaneous urban campaigns. Granted, my players ultimately get to decide, and I'll work with either quite happily. I'll only offer my opinions based on what I read and know about the respective stories...


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I haven't run it yet, but I've really liked what I've read so far. (I'm about to start reading Book 5.)


I've only been able to skim it since my GF really likes wilderness games and has demanded to run it herself. What I see and what I hear is that it's pretty good though. Haven't really heard anyone have a low opinion of it.


I recommend adding the Militia rules from Lands of Conflict as well.


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I have not run it yet but i have read most of it and it is most likely my favorite pathfinder adventure.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've run book 1-3 (just started 4), no militia system. Lots of good things. Really liked the scavenging/survival aspect of book 1+2. Book 4-6 seems to be very different (PCs one their own, not really protecting the NPCs as much) - so difficult to give an assessment.

So far liking the AP. Better than GiantSlayer. Almost as good as Kingmaker :)

those are probably the closest comparisons (IMHO).


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I really liked Giantslayer through book 4. We're in the first part of book 5, and paused for a few weeks. Book 5 could have been much better if the environment was better, though I fully understand why it is the way it is. I expect to be done with the whole thing some time this fall, which gives me several months to formulate my opinion. My biggest concern is back-back "wilderness" adventures...


grandpoobah wrote:

I've run book 1-3 (just started 4), no militia system. Almost as good as Kingmaker :)

those are probably the closest comparisons (IMHO).

Speedy

And Yes!!!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
thenovalord wrote:
grandpoobah wrote:

I've run book 1-3 (just started 4), no militia system. Almost as good as Kingmaker :)

those are probably the closest comparisons (IMHO).

Speedy

And Yes!!!

That's fast! It usually takes my group 6-8 months (real time) to complete one book of an AP.


Yeah. Wow. I'm working my way through book three and it will probably take a couple more months. We only get to play once a week.


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Brother Fen wrote:
We ONLY get to play once a week.

Bold mine, obviously.

*** ONLY ***!!!? Sheesh...

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Haladir wrote:
thenovalord wrote:
grandpoobah wrote:

I've run book 1-3 (just started 4), no militia system. Almost as good as Kingmaker :)

those are probably the closest comparisons (IMHO).

Speedy

And Yes!!!
That's fast! It usually takes my group 6-8 months (real time) to complete one book of an AP.

I'll clarify I'm doing a simulated run (no actual players - just me running a digital group through to see how things shake out). So it goes faster, as no schedule coordination issues. It also doesn't highlight as many player confusion issues (since I have to balance my head-space between player knowledge and GM knowledge - but having run so many GM PCs in campaigns before, its' not hard).

This is my method of sounding out a campaign for actual use.

I've legit run Kingmaker, Shattered Star, Wrath of the Righteous, and Jade regent for 4-5 players each.

I've done simulations of most of them (those I ran + RotR, Council of Thieves, Carrion Crown, Giantslayer, Reign of Winter, Hell's Rebels, Hell's Vengeance).

In simulation I look for obvious plot and rules holes, things getting too repetitive and boring, things my players are likely to flag as good/bad, etc.

It's also a great way for me to play-test certain builds through high level :)

I'm using only Core rules for the PCs on IronFang, and some of the least optimized PFS pregens as the PCs (Harsk the ranger, Sajan the monk, Lini the druid, and Seoni the sorceress)


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I'm a bit sceptical about this one. I've been trying to read part 1 so far but somehow I can't really motivate myself to continue. The first chapter in the villiage doesn't really grip me at all and the second chapter in the forest seems disjointed and there isn't really anything connecting the various locations in the forest that makes the PCs even go to all of them. I kind of got lost there.


It's sandboxy at times. That's the point.


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

I don't mind sandboxy, but it feels disjointed. Like "Here are some encounters so your PCs can collect the XPs they need for the next part of the adventure." However, no motivation or connection is provided that could even get the PCs to these encounters. The encounters are just simply "somewhere in the forest", not even reachable by any roads or even tracks. Unlike a sandboxy game like Kingmaker, there's no mechanism or motivation to comb through the entire forest. It's just assumed the PCs come upon them randomly, even though they are assigned specific locations, and that feels sloppy to me.


Been enjoying the read through, an excellent beginning chapter to an AP. The only thing I'm not thrilled with is all the provision/camp maintenance checks needed in chapter two . Sometimes I wish Paizo would stop with the subsystems.
Not only are some of these subsystems very tedious like this one, some of them are downright broken or half-arsed (like the original kingdom building, mass combat,etc).


Think of it more as planned random encounters. Motivation is survival. The PCs have a group of refugees to protect and these are some of the complications they will face.

Different strokes and all. If it doesn't float your boat, you'll just miss out on a great adventure.

*Shrug*

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

@Sunderstone

Best way to deal with this is to ditch the subsystem mechanics. Set the stage of what needs to be done (shelter, food, exploration, etc.) - then have the PCs describe what they want to do and how they want to organize the refugees. Have the PCs make skill checks (and maybe you roll % in the background for NPCs) to describe progress. You are right that it doesn't need to be complicated.

Realistically, these mechanics aren't important beyond Book 1. The refugees need to get to the caves about 2/3 of the way through Book 1. Once there, you can assume they're reasonably self sufficient (at that point, "shelter" and "food" are taken care of - the next priorities are regional security and maybe preparing for the winter, or crafting useful gear for the PCs and NPCs)

By making it more fluid (and not tying down to mechanics), you can also give your players more opportunity to free-form solutions and do other things. If your players like crunch rules, you can give them, but I agree the refugee mechanics can turn into a distracting mini-game.

@Zaister:
It can be hard to see how everything is connected. I think of the first part of Book1 as the opening chapter in an apocolpyse movie - the heroes are trying to escape certain doom, and rescue as many people as possible. From there, they need to figure out how to survive in the forest.

The encounters should align to what the PCs are doing. If they want to check out the road to Tamran, they should run into dead rangers and hobgoblin patrols. If they want to look for food, random encounters or an abandoned homestead is what they find.

Think of it as there is an array of possible encounters that should be matched up to what the PCs are actually doing and focusing on. If they are looking for better shelter, give them encounters that lead them to the troglodyte lair. If they want to find out what the IronFang Legion is up to, give them those encounters.

In addition, many of the encounters are on a timer (like the sickness). The PCs should have to deal with problems from the refugees that are time-based (running out of food, shelter, morale, etc.)

You may find that this is just not the AP for you, and that's OK. There's lots of great ones out there. Myself, I can never get into occult/cthulu stuff, so Strange Aeons was one I never even opened up.


The subsystems are there for players that have been through a thousand games of D&D and Pathfinder and enjoy the challenge of new rules. When I run games for n00b, I often drop the subsets but my mythic players love them.

My newbie players are very much enjoying the Militia rules in Ironfang.


grandpoobah wrote:

@Sunderstone

Best way to deal with this is to ditch the subsystem mechanics. Set the stage of what needs to be done (shelter, food, exploration, etc.) - then have the PCs describe what they want to do and how they want to organize the refugees. Have the PCs make skill checks (and maybe you roll % in the background for NPCs) to describe progress. You are right that it doesn't need to be complicated.

Realistically, these mechanics aren't important beyond Book 1. The refugees need to get to the caves about 2/3 of the way through Book 1. Once there, you can assume they're reasonably self sufficient (at that point, "shelter" and "food" are taken care of - the next priorities are regional security and maybe preparing for the winter, or crafting useful gear for the PCs and NPCs)

By making it more fluid (and not tying down to mechanics), you can also give your players more opportunity to free-form solutions and do other things. If your players like crunch rules, you can give them, but I agree the refugee mechanics can turn into a distracting mini-game.

That's what I do for the most part. I'm in the deciding/planning phases of running an AP again. ATM I'm deciding between RotR, Carrion or Kingmaker. For Carrion, i' ll be ditching the trust subsystem, it's a little easier to RP gaining trust ala Ravenloft style. For Kingmaker, I'll be running Kingdom building and Mass Combat in the background with the latter causing some reworking in Book 5 as there is a decent amount of Mass Combat encounters there.

Skull and Shackles pirate reputation-based subsystem (for example) is a little harder to ditch/run in the background IMHO. It has a significant impact on the AP but at least it's one of the easier subsystems to track. The ship to ship can be in the background.
YMMV, the older I get, the more tired I get of the subsytems ;)

Liberty's Edge

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OmegaZ wrote:
I've read through the first Ironfang Invasion book, but I've been hesitant to buy more until I know whether or not I'm gonna run it. Now that we're (almost) at the end, what's the overall impression people have of the adventure? Any weak sections/books? How does it compare to other adventure paths?

Since I am preparing to run the Ironfang Invasion as my main campaign in the next few months, my overall impression of it is extremely favorable and I would recommend it. One's mileage may vary, of course, but most of the Adventure Paths written by Paizo that I have truly enjoyed generally have one or two books that feel "out of place" or just do not match the tone set up by the prior books (or just plain do not work for me). For example, becoming the Kwizatz Haderach for the Shoanti Tribes in Book 4 of Curse of the Crimson Throne springs to mind as a massive departure from the general tone of a dark urban Gothic Horror adventure that I simply found jarring (it felt more like it belonged in Rise of the Runelords if anything, but that is neither here nor there). The Ironfang Invasion is the first Adventure Path where I do not feel that anything feels out of place. Everything seems to connect. And I love it.

As far as the adventure itself, and whether you would want to run it, it depends on what you enjoy. Here are some of the adventure's selling points:

1. It has a very classic Dungeons & Dragons feel, in that it takes place away from major civilization; Large portions involve wilderness exploration and survival; There are several dungeons to explore and delve into; and, of course, the adversaries are classic creatures of D&D, including an army of evil goblins, dragons, and a wicked fairy queen to defeat.

2. There is a wide array of environments too keep things interesting, but they are much more grounded in classic fantasy adventure. It involves forests, hills and plains, mountains and valleys, and the Darklands/Underdark, and later, extraplanar locations such as the Fey Wild and the Elemental Plane of Earth.

3. This is a game that involves careful resource management, and I do not just mean the new survival points subsystem, but that the characters must learn to use limited supplies, weaponry and items wisely. In the first two books, the players will not have the luxury of buying or selling much in the way of magic items, with the exception of the svirfneblin merchant if they find her. Even then, they can only buy and sell a limited number of things once per week. This changes of course when the players get to Longshadow and later to Kraggodan (or other locations in Nirmathas/Molthune if the GM allows). Speaking as a player, I love being able to survive by the skin of my teeth for the first several levels with limited resources before I get access to being able to purchase the fun toys that are higher level magic items.

4. The AP overall as others have mentioned is very sandboxy, so the world is both yours and your players' oyster. Because the campaign area is mainly open wilderness and frontier, this gives the GM many opportunities to put in encounters and dungeon locations in such a way as they do not feel forced or arbitrary. Nirmathas already has ancient Elven locations (such as Fangwood Keep), as well Dwarven ruins, not to mention Vault Builders. I plan on running Crypt of the Everflame, and having locations from Hollow's Last Hope/Crown of the Kobold King, and, of course, Fangwood Keep for my players to run across.

However, what are selling points for me may not be selling points for you, or, just as important, for many of your players. If you are gaming with players who have gotten used to being able to immediately go back to town to rest, recuperate and sell their loot and commission new custom weapons, armor, equipment and/or magic items, and they expect that from the early game onwards that is definitely going to be a problem. If your group wants to run an adventure that is much more heavily urban-based, or WAY more dungeon crawls, this is not for them (look to CoCT or Shattered Star). And if your players do not enjoy the sandbox, and prefer an adventure with much more clearly mapped-out goals to start off with (other than mere survival), then that might be a problem too for the first couple of books. Additionally, the classic feel itself, despite being polished to a mirror shine (whether the environment, the plot, the characters, the adversaries, etc.), may feel stale to some players who prefer to eschew the familiar and focus on novel or perhaps even outlandish adventures (I'm looking at you, Iron Gods).

So in the end, it is up to you as to whether you would wish to spend the money, time and effort purchasing the books or pdfs and running this adventure. I certainly did, and I think this is a phenomenal AP. But only you know what you enjoy, and, just as importantly, what your players enjoy. Take that into consideration above all else.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I definitely plan to run it and it was worth the subscription to it. Why I like it is because:
1. It deals with large army tactics at points and a siege. I like it for that.
2. I love that there is a warped fey section just for that.
3. I love the leader monsters used in the AP and how they are presented to the party through out. Everything is "neat" and a tidy army aspect. It shows even a well planned invasion has "hiccups."
4. I love that the Hobgoblins are finally portrayed in a D20 style module the way they should be:
A. Military organized and disciplined
B. Brutal and unforgiving
C. Ambitious and at times heartless
D. Conquest oriented and confident
5. I love the aspect of the party being part of the resistance and having to conduct the campaign in that way to survive and try and salvage not just one, but more lands later on.

It is a great snap shot into Nirmathis and Molthune. I definitely think it is worth owning, more-so I dare say than:
1. Shattered Star
2. Giantslayer (even though I like orcs and giants)
3. Council of Thieves
4. Kingmaker
5. Wraith of the Righteous. Even though I love a Mythic Level Campaign, I think this would have made a better one in my opinion.

The Exchange

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Louis Lyons wrote:
OmegaZ wrote:
I've read through the first Ironfang Invasion book, but I've been hesitant to buy more until I know whether or not I'm gonna run it. Now that we're (almost) at the end, what's the overall impression people have of the adventure? Any weak sections/books? How does it compare to other adventure paths?

Since I am preparing to run the Ironfang Invasion as my main campaign in the next few months, my overall impression of it is extremely favorable and I would recommend it. One's mileage may vary, of course, but most of the Adventure Paths written by Paizo that I have truly enjoyed generally have one or two books that feel "out of place" or just do not match the tone set up by the prior books (or just plain do not work for me). For example, becoming the Kwizatz Haderach for the Shoanti Tribes in Book 4 of Curse of the Crimson Throne springs to mind as a massive departure from the general tone of a dark urban Gothic Horror adventure that I simply found jarring (it felt more like it belonged in Rise of the Runelords if anything, but that is neither here nor there). The Ironfang Invasion is the first Adventure Path where I do not feel that anything feels out of place. Everything seems to connect. And I love it.

As far as the adventure itself, and whether you would want to run it, it depends on what you enjoy. Here are some of the adventure's selling points:

1. It has a very classic Dungeons & Dragons feel, in that it takes place away from major civilization; Large portions involve wilderness exploration and survival; There are several dungeons to explore and delve into; and, of course, the adversaries are classic creatures of D&D, including an army of evil goblins, dragons, and a wicked fairy queen to defeat.

2. There is a wide array of environments too keep things interesting, but they are much more grounded in classic fantasy adventure. It involves forests, hills and plains, mountains and valleys, and the Darklands/Underdark, and later, extraplanar locations such as the...

Well said Louis. It hits some of the points that I hit and more.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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thenovalord wrote:
Yep. There appear to be no weak link. Even book three looks great, and IME they are normally not great

I wasn't really expecting to be that interested in this AP, but reading Book 3 completely changed my mind. I was enjoying it for the first two books, but still not blown away, but I just loved so much of Book 3 that I'm planning to run the whole campaign as soon as I get a chance (the following books were also good, though I can see where the criticism comes about them feeling disjointed).


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After completing all books I have to admit that I love this adventure path. It has a lot of strengths, and is very neat to play a ranger in. We had one that took his favored enemy towards goblinoids and it has benefited him greatly. Every time he took favored enemy it was based on one creature he encountered. The player's guide was very influential as well. I recommend this for any new player as well, as this will help gauge how much your players can handle.


Well done for finishing. Party are now 9th and having a tremendous romp

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