A classic feeling AP for Neutral Beginners?


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hey, folks! So, I'm gonna be GM'ing for a group of total beginners, and when I started, I was gonna run Rise of the Runelords for them, because why not? But as one by one they handed in their character sheets, I noticed a trend. Human witch, true neutral. Sylph rogue, chaotic neutral. Ratfolk gunslinger, chaotic neutral. Tiefling bard, chaotic neutral. And then a single Lawful Good Paladin, who's absolutely going to have the time of his g*#%#$n life in this party. Oh, and he's got the vengeance oath! Yaaaay... Either way, knowing my players rather... anarchisty personalities, there's really very little way they'll be likely to change alignments, and they're all very attatched to their characters as it stands. From what I've read about Runelords, it's a heroic feeling AP, and I'm not sure how motivated they'd be to complete it without the promise of bettering their status.

As such, I'm looking for an AP with a classic fantasy feeling so they don't need to change their characters too much that allows them to be selfish d!$@$eads. I don't know as much about other APs yet, but so far, Ironfang Invasion, Council of Thieves, Second Darkness, Giantslayer, etc, all look pretty fun. I'm not interested in running Carrion Crown, Mummy's Mask or Skulls and Shackles, because I'm running those/have run them for other groups already. Any advice is welcome!!


If you want a true classic feel, Sword of Air (by Frog God Games) offers that sense with more of a sandbox playstyle that would allow them to, ah, take "flexible" approaches to solving problems.

Shadow Lodge

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I don't think you have anything to worry about with Runelords, honestly. If that AP offers anything in spades, it's treasure.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I just finished a Runelords campaign with two neutral characters (CN and N), one LE one, and one NG one. It can definitely be done.

Runelords spoiler

Spoiler:

"Oh crap, a Runelord is coming back and is gonna take over the place I live, which won't be good for any of us" doesn't necessarily need a heroic motivation, just one of self-preservation.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Shattered Star is pretty good for non-good characters.


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If there's a paladin in the party, an adventure where you're doing good deeds with promised rewards of treasure is less likely to cause party strife than one with lots of tempting non-good options available.


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Are you committed to running a full adventure path for them?

Are they committed to playing one?

A full adventure path can require literally years to play through, particularly if your group can't meet regularly, isn't fully proficient with the system, or both.

So if you're not 100% sure your players want a commitment that long, consider trying something a bit shorter first. For example, Crypt of the Everflame is a classic dungeon crawl. If they want to continue with those PCs, that segues naturally into Masks of the Living God, and then into Realm of the Fellnight Queen. If I recall correctly, each of those is about 32 pages long, so the three together are about equivalent to a book and a half of a full adventure path, and because they're technically separate adventures you have built-in checkpoints where you have narrative closure and can say "okay, want to continue with these PCs or try something new?"

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Tinalles wrote:

Are you committed to running a full adventure path for them?

Are they committed to playing one?

A full adventure path can require literally years to play through, particularly if your group can't meet regularly, isn't fully proficient with the system, or both.

So if you're not 100% sure your players want a commitment that long, consider trying something a bit shorter first. For example, Crypt of the Everflame is a classic dungeon crawl. If they want to continue with those PCs, that segues naturally into Masks of the Living God, and then into Realm of the Fellnight Queen. If I recall correctly, each of those is about 32 pages long, so the three together are about equivalent to a book and a half of a full adventure path, and because they're technically separate adventures you have built-in checkpoints where you have narrative closure and can say "okay, want to continue with these PCs or try something new?"

We're plenty committed, and have tonnes of time set aside for it- that being said, I'm very tempted by the prospect of doing smaller adventures like this in future, but for this particular group, I think they wanna stick together and do a nice big adventure together. As far as my own commitment goes, I'm definitely on board- I'm drawing close to the end of my Carrion Crown campaign with another group, and it went like a dream!

--------------------------------

Regardless, Runelords seems to be fine for Neutral characters judging by the replies here, so I won't stress and go out to get more books and just stick with what I have! Thanks lads!


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Okay then, have fun! I've been running it for my group also.

Be sure to check out the Rise of the Runelords section of the forum. There are a TON of community-created resources for that AP: helpful handouts for the players, lots of potential changes and adjustments that people have added, maps for printing or use in a VTT, additional content ranging from festival activities to run before the first combat encounter in Book 1 to whole extra side quests, fleshed-out character details for some of the less prominent NPCs, rewrites of bits to make use of sub-systems that came out after that AP was written, and so on.

Seriously, go check it out. It will make your life as a Runelords GM much better.


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Just make sure their definition of Chaotic Neutral is not "I can do anything I want an kill anyone I want because I am Chaotic Neutral. Wildcard!"

Because that will not be much fun for you and zero fun for the Paladin

(And it frustratingly the most common interpretation of CN)


Crypt of the Everflame is good for neutral (or even mildly evil) characters with its hook: The PCs are village youths undergoing what they think will be a minor coming of age ceremony. Unfortunately Masks of the Living God doesn't really go with this and expects everyone made heroic heroes. Realm of the Fellnight Queen would work if they were greedy plotwise ("Find a city of gold and stops some bad guys from stealing it"), but there's zero in character way to realize all the gold is (effectively) fake and will get you killed, something the module repeatedly reminds the GM to do.


I've only played parts of Council of Thieves, but it seemed to offer a lot both for the Paladin to "make things right in the city!" and for the N/CN players to "yeah, make them right by setting *us* up in charge when the paladin isn't looking!"


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

Curse of the crimson throne rules and you start of baskly being paid to help, and the paldan gets to help save the city


I often feel Chaotic neutral is a cop out for alignment. Its like the "I am a orphan" or "parents were killed" background. I find that most do this to avoid a weakness of caring or to avoid building the story line. My last group, 4 out of 4 came back with these tropes, and I was forced to help them dig in deeper to have some relationships of some sort. The alignment, most players don't play right anyways.
For this reason, I try my best to assist with my players backgrounds ( just a bit, to tie them in).

In ROTRL my personal caveat was they needed to have a honest reason to care about the world enough to risk there lives to save it.


deuxhero wrote:
Crypt of the Everflame is good for neutral (or even mildly evil) characters with its hook: The PCs are village youths undergoing what they think will be a minor coming of age ceremony. Unfortunately Masks of the Living God doesn't really go with this and expects everyone made heroic heroes. Realm of the Fellnight Queen would work if they were greedy plotwise ("Find a city of gold and stops some bad guys from stealing it"), but there's zero in character way to realize all the gold is (effectively) fake and will get you killed, something the module repeatedly reminds the GM to do.

I think you meant City of Golden Death, not Realm of the Fellnight Queen.


Zebbie wrote:


In ROTRL my personal caveat was they needed to have a honest reason to care about the world enough to risk there lives to save it.

It's where they keep all their stuff ?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Isn't it mainly Varisia and the surrounding regions that are at risk if the RotR BBEG wins, as opposed to the entire world?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Zebbie wrote:

I often feel Chaotic neutral is a cop out for alignment. Its like the "I am a orphan" or "parents were killed" background. I find that most do this to avoid a weakness of caring or to avoid building the story line. My last group, 4 out of 4 came back with these tropes, and I was forced to help them dig in deeper to have some relationships of some sort. The alignment, most players don't play right anyways.

For this reason, I try my best to assist with my players backgrounds ( just a bit, to tie them in).

In ROTRL my personal caveat was they needed to have a honest reason to care about the world enough to risk there lives to save it.

CN is total junk for a PC in almost any campaign.


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Alignment has many problems, one is that it rarely tells you anything about the players motivations, only a vague philosophical world veiw and in the worst case for some, an excuse to act out childish power-fantasies and hardcore edge-lording.
But that is neither here nor there, if you want my advice for motivating the players; as long as they want adventure and getting paid the big money, they will most likely want to do merc-work for the town, use that time to make them give a damn about the people around them, foster relationships and attachments to the world.
Make small downtime scenes where the players get to drink at their favorite tavern, and getting thanked by one of the NPC´s that they have saved for example.

TL;DR Alignment does not matter, motivation and attachments do.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Card Game, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Bellona wrote:
Isn't it mainly Varisia and the surrounding regions that are at risk if the RotR BBEG wins, as opposed to the entire world?

This year.

Ten years down the line however...


Enlight_Bystand wrote:
Bellona wrote:
Isn't it mainly Varisia and the surrounding regions that are at risk if the RotR BBEG wins, as opposed to the entire world?

This year.

Ten years down the line however...

...he's been completely flattened by some subset of the much more powerful BBEGs or disasters caused by BBEGs who won the subsequent twenty APs.


RedRobe wrote:
deuxhero wrote:
Crypt of the Everflame is good for neutral (or even mildly evil) characters with its hook: The PCs are village youths undergoing what they think will be a minor coming of age ceremony. Unfortunately Masks of the Living God doesn't really go with this and expects everyone made heroic heroes. Realm of the Fellnight Queen would work if they were greedy plotwise ("Find a city of gold and stops some bad guys from stealing it"), but there's zero in character way to realize all the gold is (effectively) fake and will get you killed, something the module repeatedly reminds the GM to do.
I think you meant City of Golden Death, not Realm of the Fellnight Queen.

Yep. Sorry about that.

An alternative for following Crypt of the Everflame is find some 3-5 module (any ideas? Feast of Ravenmoor is a great module for those levels, but pretty weird to link in storywise.) then run Red Hand of Doom. The thing from the tomb being part of the ritual in RHoD is a pretty easy change, just describe the raiders as Hobgolbins in CotE. While RHoD is 3.5, there are already converted NPCs on the internet and even without them the conversion is pretty easy (the only tricky parts are those that use 3.5 prestige classes and one NPC that's just plain not built legally in the original book).

Sovereign Court

For future adventures, I would suggest choosing an AP and everyone reading the players’ guide before anyone makes a PC.

Tends to work better.

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