Thoughts on campaign starting hook


Kingmaker


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

Gearing up to start GMing Kingmaker in a little over a week. I've done most of my 'homework' and am very excited. Still waiting on some character build/backstory from some of the players. I was wondering however what people have found to be the most successful kick-off type event. Are you still in Restov? Are you en-route to Oleg's (perhaps with a flashback, if needed, to receiving the charter)

I'd like some amount of scene setting/foreshadowing with the other three charter groups, but don't want to necessarily dwell overmuch on it/make the PCs think those groups are someone on their immediate quest/to-do list. I definitely want some RP for why this party has formed (and by extension why they were chosen/endorsed/tasked/"encouraged"/whatever fits this backstory best to receive the charter ).

I'm afraid I've been studying too many of the PbPs for Kingmaker out there, which are able to take a a nice relaxed "journey from Restov to Olegs" getting to the know the party, but I'm not sure how well it will translate to a in-person campaign.


I don't think the opinion I'm about to share is very popular, but personally, the AP already takes too long to get to the nation building aspect of the game, so delaying it further isn't the right way to go. The as-is start of the AP, where the party is en route to Oleg's, provides all the motivation a PC will need to be in the group (they accepted a charter to do a dangerous thing for money), and they can enhance that motivation however best suits their character. It's a sandbox campaign; take whatever opportunities you see to move the PCs forward because there will be plenty of opportunities for them to slow things down for RP-related things.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
NielsenE wrote:

Gearing up to start GMing Kingmaker in a little over a week. I've done most of my 'homework' and am very excited. Still waiting on some character build/backstory from some of the players. I was wondering however what people have found to be the most successful kick-off type event. Are you still in Restov? Are you en-route to Oleg's (perhaps with a flashback, if needed, to receiving the charter)

I'd like some amount of scene setting/foreshadowing with the other three charter groups, but don't want to necessarily dwell overmuch on it/make the PCs think those groups are someone on their immediate quest/to-do list. I definitely want some RP for why this party has formed (and by extension why they were chosen/endorsed/tasked/"encouraged"/whatever fits this backstory best to receive the charter ).

I'm afraid I've been studying too many of the PbPs for Kingmaker out there, which are able to take a a nice relaxed "journey from Restov to Olegs" getting to the know the party, but I'm not sure how well it will translate to a in-person campaign.

You're about to enter a spectacular campaign.

Here are 7 prequel encounters you can use to bring your party together.

Just figure out their average alignment and start from there :)


I would just start at everyone arriving at Oleg's, or just beforehand if you want them to interact with one another first. They have charters to explore & map the area and deal with bandits, here's a home base - that's really all that's needed. You can mention that there are other groups with other charters in other areas, but who they are isn't really important at this stage, unless you're diverging heavily from the published adventure.

I skipped over the "why they have the charters" myself, though some players came up with reasons of their own (the rogue took his from a dead man he stumbled across). Once they killed the Stag Lord, I had them go to Restov to receive their reward and the new charter, and to meet with reps from various factions to secure funding. There they also met Varn's daughter, Drelev's wife, and heard about the missing Iron Wraiths. It's not until they have the kingdom that their neighbors are relevant or of any particular interest, IMO.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

There are a few things things I suggest to have in your "opening scenes" for Kingmaker:

1- It should give the players an indication of the level of Brevoy politics you plan on using in your game, ie- how much Brevoy messes with their kingdom. If you plan on lots of involvement, this is a good time to introduce a couple of adversaries and maybe a possible ally or two. Also, many of the adventures from the Song of Ice and Fire RPG convert well to handle political roleplay scenes- I used one for our group's intro to Kingmaker.

2- It should give them some future plot hooks, introduce them to NPCs that may be important later on, and give them some resources in the way of personnel, contacts, or factions for a later time when they found their kingdom.

For instance, in our game, when a party member went into town early on in the game for better armor, I had them encounter the smith's helper. He was the one the party dealt with since the main smith was busy schmoozing with a wealthy merchant. The assistant mentioned offhand that "when he owns his own smithy one day, he will treat everyone equally". This gives the PCs some easy options when they decide to start filling in blanks later on for kingdom roles or important followers in their kingdom.

3- I also encourage making changes to Oleg and Svetlana's story to ensure they mesh well with the party instead of possibly not getting along. I think the early connection between the party and this couple is important for the storyline. You might consider having them come from the same home town, and the party remembers seeing them head off into the wild frontier of the Stolen Lands.

Welcome to the greatest Adventure Path ever! :)


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It's useful to foreshadow the other adventuring parties -- it means more when the PCs encounter them later, particularly if they've formed friendships or enmities with them early on.

I'm still not sure what the best way to do it would be, though...

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
tonyz wrote:
It's useful to foreshadow the other adventuring parties -- it means more when the PCs encounter them later, particularly if they've formed friendships or enmities with them early on.

If I were going to run Kingmaker again, I would start off with a party in Brevoy where the Swordlords celebrate all 4 parties and give them a send off. This would give the opportunity for lots of (backstory providing) speeches and allow the PCs to form opinions of the other parties. The PCs could be the main guys in one of the parties, or - better - they could be low-level hirelings for one of the parties. On the way to their area, the leader of the PCs party dies, and the PCs decide to take on the charter and continue on without him. Helps explain why a bunch of unknowns gets such an important mission. Also allows PCs to form bonds or rivalries with other parties and actually care about what happens to them later.

The more foreshadowing you can do, the better. Maybe even have a crazy old lady who interrupts the send-off party and recites Zudiger's Picnic.


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I think it depends how much foreshadowing you want to do. We had a meeting in Brevoy of all the expedition groups, to explain who they are, where they're going, and what they're doing - precisely so that when you meet them later, it means something.

We had an off-screen set of tests the party had already passed, proving their martial competence, diplomacy skills, etc, to justify Brevoy choosing them.

The party was "supposed" to have a band of Brevoy-paid mercenaries along with them (since Varn and Drelev have), but Drelev's political maneuvering and explanations that he needed them more for the higher CR boggards of Hooktongue Slough meant he left them having to sort out the Greenbelt by themselves. Instant hate for Hannis Drelev.

If you just want to get to the nation building as fast as possible, just start straight at Olegs with "Brevoy offered this charter to anyone, you took it."


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

Thanks, all. I think I'm going to run with a fast start, ie arriving at Oleg's, but have a flashback scene after dealing with the bandits to the send-off from Restov, allowing a bit of a chance to learn about the other groups. Sorta of a "one day in this land and we're already in pitched battled, how did we get ourselves into this" campfire talk.

What's shocking me, is I have 5 players and all of them are core rule book only on their character. I know some of them, at least, have more source books, so it was a choice.... Fighter, Paladin, Ranger, Bard, Wizard (aiming Mystic Theurge). Two humans, one elf, one half-elf, one halfling. This seems so refreshingly simple.


If you want the flashback closer to when you actually deal with the other nation states, putting it at the end of Book 1 (when you actually start nation building) could work as well.

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