PaizoCon Adventure Path panel: Return of the Runelords *SPOILERS*


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Return of the Runelords:

* As mentioned previously, this game will involve time travel that's being carefully shepherded to not blow everything up. I asked later on whether it would be used to make some changes to the campaign setting heading into 2e (even though there's still an AP between this and 2e), but it sounded like that was definitely NOT the plan.

* The AP will only have two back matter articles (plus the Bestiary and, though this wasn't questions, I assume the NPC Gallery) instead of three. That's simply to allow more room for this game, and the third article will return afterward. I believe it will also not have the forward as well, though they may try to use the Paizo blog to include those types of notes.

* One of the first volumes (will include a "GM's Guide" with a timeline to help keep track of timing and so the GM knows who (in terms of Runelords) is where, when, etc.

* Heroes from Rise of the Runelords and Shattered Star are "baked into" the story. Dubbed the Sihedron Heroes, they'll be part of the campaign traits (obviously done carefully as they can't know what characters everyone used to go through those adventures). The trait choices will have implications the players don't know about, as in Wrath of the Righteous.

* Players will go to the Dimension of Time, but just going there causes things to go attack you when you were less powerful! (I also have "not only hostile plane" in my notes right next to this, so that probably means players will go somewhere else too.)

* From secrets of Golarion panel: A new Vancercaskin will pop up: She's kind of a jerk but may be my favorite (sorry, didn't note if that was Mark M. or James J. who that quote should be attributed to). The character's name sounded a bit like Lullaby to me, but I didn't hear it quite clearly enough to write down for sure.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Spoiler:
Lullaby Vancaskerkin is indeed her name, and she is indeed a jerk, and she is indeed pretty awesome.

Dark Archive

Wohoo for expanded Vancaskerkin family :D So far my party has met Orik and Verik and both survived, probably because party took liking to Orik. I'll look forward to see if by time we have completed most APs Vancaskerkins survive to have a awkward family meeting about their shenanigans

Paizo Employee Creative Director

10 people marked this as a favorite.

Ha! I have a hard time imagining any Vancaskerkin family reunion starting with anything other than an Initiative check. :-P

Dark Archive

Verik looked up to Orik so those two should be fine at least :D And I don't remember Natalya being mentioned to be in bad blood with her siblings.

That said, I could see all of them ganging up on Saul :D


Why am I starting to think of this as Paizo's homage to Back to the Future? lol

"Marty! We need those spell components to fix the Delorean!"


I hope some celestials or inevitables come by to oppose the PC's time traveling shenangians. Really excited for this one!


Maybe some aeons would have an opinion on time-travel too.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Celestials don't have all that much interest in time travel. Aeons would, though, for sure... particularly bythos aeons. Not so much inevitables, really... and they've got their hands full dealing with chaos itself and the fact that they're dying out and need to conserve their resources. ;-P

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My group is batting .500 at saving/redeeming Vancaskerkins. Orik surrendered to them and ended up a guard in Sandpoint. Verik...didn't fare as well. No one tried to redeem him, and nobody spoke up for him, so he ended up with an appointment at the gallows. I guess they're harder on deserters.


Mr. Jacobs, if the heroes from RotR and S* are accounted for, what about the ones from Curse of the Crimson Throne? I mean

CotCT Spoilers:
seeing how Castle Korvosa is built right on top of the Great Mastaba, where Sorshen is said to rest, it would seem they'd have a runelord encounter of their own. I mean, even if Sorshen doesn't have any particularly malevolent plans for Varisia (something I highly doubt), surely one of the other runelords would take interest in it. It would be odd if a group of such high level adventurers did nothing in response to the runelord threat.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Inquisitive Malefactor wrote:
Mr. Jacobs, if the heroes from RotR and S* are accounted for, what about the ones from Curse of the Crimson Throne? I mean ** spoiler omitted **

Curse of the Crimson Throne, Second Darkness, and Jade Regent, while taking place partially in Varisia, are not part of the Runelords Trilogy.

That said, there are certainly events in Crimson Throne and Second Darkness (not so much at all Jade Regent) that set up specific situations in Return of the Runelords, and those who've played through these two campaigns will get a kick out of some of the developments.

But the campaign does not assume that the PCs from either are a big part of the plot of Return of the Runelords.

When your players get together to make their PCs, the Player's Guide to Return of the Runelords will have them work with the GM to each select ONE of their prior PCs from a previous campaign. It's assumed that this PC is selected from one who played in Rise of the Runelords or Shattered Star, but there's no reason a player can't choose a PC from Crimson Throne, Second Darkness, or really ANY previous game that they've played in that table's legacy. Each player gets to choose ONE of these characters, and that group of previous PCs are collectively called the Sihedron Heroes. There are thus a number of them who play a role in Return of the Runelords equal to the number of new PCs playing in Return of the Runelords.

If you've run both Rise of the Runelords and Shattered Star, that means that there'll be other prior PCs who don't play a role. This includes PCs that a player didn't pick from other campaigns, like Crimson Throne. The assumption is that these non-Sihedron Hero PCs are retired, dead, adventuring elsewhere, or otherwise not interested in being heroes.

We don't know what your previous PCs are all about, though, and so it's up to each individual GM and group of players to decide who's a Sihedron Hero and who's not. The fate of the Sihedron Heroes is baked into Return of the Runelords, but the others are not, so each player gets to decide what those others are doing.

The GM always has the option to include even more Sihedron Heroes, of course; that'll make the last few adventures more complex for the GM to run and so a GM who wants to, say, let ALL of the prior PCs group together into one party of 8 previous PCs or 12 or 20 or however many is well-advised to wait and get the whole Adventure Path of Return of the Runelords before making that decision, so they can decide if it's worth the trouble.

Now.

As for the specific questions in your spoiler...

Spoiler:
Sorshen's role in Return of the Runelords is as much informed by hints in Rise of the Runelords and Shattered Star as it is the hints from Curse of the Crimson Throne. In some cases, MORE so, since Sorshen's runewell is located deep below Castle Korvosa. Her role in Return of the Runelords is very important, but she's one of the smartest of them all and what she's up to isn't something as unimaginative as Karzoug's plan to simply take over by force. Full details will need to wait for the volumes to start getting out though... I'm not gonna say much more about them here. Yet.


James Jacobs wrote:
That said, there are certainly events in Crimson Throne and Second Darkness (not so much at all Jade Regent)

Dammit, I had hoped for the triumphant return of Empress Ameiko Amatatsu! :p

James Jacobs wrote:
When your players get together to make their PCs, the Player's Guide to Return of the Runelords will have them work with the GM to each select ONE of their prior PCs from a previous campaign.

Just asking, since you said before that the campaign traits are linked to a specific member of the Sihedron heroes, how many slots are planned for that in the players guide? I got a non-standard number of players (five at the moment, six as of this Tuesday and we are starting Shattered Star now) and it would be nice for them all to get a pick.

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
Inquisitive Malefactor wrote:
Mr. Jacobs, if the heroes from RotR and S* are accounted for, what about the ones from Curse of the Crimson Throne? I mean ** spoiler omitted **

Curse of the Crimson Throne, Second Darkness, and Jade Regent, while taking place partially in Varisia, are not part of the Runelords Trilogy.

That said, there are certainly events in Crimson Throne and Second Darkness (not so much at all Jade Regent) that set up specific situations in Return of the Runelords, and those who've played through these two campaigns will get a kick out of some of the developments.

But the campaign does not assume that the PCs from either are a big part of the plot of Return of the Runelords.

When your players get together to make their PCs, the Player's Guide to Return of the Runelords will have them work with the GM to each select ONE of their prior PCs from a previous campaign. It's assumed that this PC is selected from one who played in Rise of the Runelords or Shattered Star, but there's no reason a player can't choose a PC from Crimson Throne, Second Darkness, or really ANY previous game that they've played in that table's legacy. Each player gets to choose ONE of these characters, and that group of previous PCs are collectively called the Sihedron Heroes. There are thus a number of them who play a role in Return of the Runelords equal to the number of new PCs playing in Return of the Runelords.

If you've run both Rise of the Runelords and Shattered Star, that means that there'll be other prior PCs who don't play a role. This includes PCs that a player didn't pick from other campaigns, like Crimson Throne. The assumption is that these non-Sihedron Hero PCs are retired, dead, adventuring elsewhere, or otherwise not interested in being heroes.

We don't know what your previous PCs are all about, though, and so it's up to each individual GM and group of players to decide who's a Sihedron Hero and who's not. The fate of the Sihedron Heroes is baked into Return of the Runelords,...

Out of intresrt would it be a problem if players wanted to use characters from on e of the previous runelord campaigns as PC's in this? (Have one of my groups players wanting to use the character that ended up in Sohrhens body)


Is Alderpash going to be involved in a way that has implications for how his appearance in Wrath of the Righteous panned out ?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kevin Mack wrote:
Out of intresrt would it be a problem if players wanted to use characters from on e of the previous runelord campaigns as PC's in this? (Have one of my groups players wanting to use the character that ended up in Sohrhens body)

Welllll... the fact that prior PCs will be 17th level and thus WAY too powerful for the AP with not much room to grow would make the campaign kinda dull for most, but if you wanna, go for it.

That said, wait and see how the prior PCs work in the storyline once the adventure is out.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Is Alderpash going to be involved in a way that has implications for how his appearance in Wrath of the Righteous panned out ?

You'll have to wait and see!

Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.

All I know is that if my RotRL group played this AP (which I absolutely want to do) we might have problems as my RotRL PC had a bit of a crush on Alaznist. XD

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Todd Stewart wrote:
All I know is that if my RotRL group played this AP (which I absolutely want to do) we might have problems as my RotRL PC had a bit of a crush on Alaznist. XD

Ha.

Your GM will have extra homework to do.


Todd Stewart wrote:
All I know is that if my RotRL group played this AP (which I absolutely want to do) we might have problems as my RotRL PC had a bit of a crush on Alaznist. XD

Unrequited love on the wrong end of a meteor swarm is kinda rough, eh? ;-)

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:
All I know is that if my RotRL group played this AP (which I absolutely want to do) we might have problems as my RotRL PC had a bit of a crush on Alaznist. XD

Ha.

Your GM will have extra homework to do.

Unrequited love indeed, and it made for a side session of the game when several other players were out of town. I wrote up much of what happened then on the boards here a few years ago.

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2sybv?InCharacter-RotRL-Babbling#18

Liberty's Edge

James Jacobs wrote:
Inquisitive Malefactor wrote:
Mr. Jacobs, if the heroes from RotR and S* are accounted for, what about the ones from Curse of the Crimson Throne? I mean ** spoiler omitted **

Curse of the Crimson Throne, Second Darkness, and Jade Regent, while taking place partially in Varisia, are not part of the Runelords Trilogy.

That said, there are certainly events in Crimson Throne and Second Darkness (not so much at all Jade Regent) that set up specific situations in Return of the Runelords, and those who've played through these two campaigns will get a kick out of some of the developments.

But the campaign does not assume that the PCs from either are a big part of the plot of Return of the Runelords...

Mr. Jacobs,

What about players new to the Varisian APs, where Return is their first Adventure Path? Would it be feasible for them to select one of the prominent protagonist NPCs as their Sihderon Hero? Such as Shalelu, or one of the other Sandpoint-native NPCs? Maybe even Ameiko if her advisors would allow her to leave Minkai?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
casiel wrote:

Mr. Jacobs,

What about players new to the Varisian APs, where Return is their first Adventure Path? Would it be feasible for them to select one of the prominent protagonist NPCs as their Sihderon Hero? Such as Shalelu, or one of the other Sandpoint-native NPCs? Maybe even Ameiko if her advisors would allow her to leave Minkai?

That's up to the GM, but it could certainly work.

But another option would be to just let them select one of their previous PCs, regardless of where they adventured. It's no huge stretch of the imagination to have any PC from any AP to relocate to Varisia and help out there, regardless of the nature of the previous campaign. Wrath of the Righteous would be an exception, because mythic PCs (and by extension mythic Sihedron Heroes) aren't assumed in this AP.


Really NOT looking forward the time travel stuff

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Frederico Gomes wrote:
Really NOT looking forward the time travel stuff

Not everything is for everyone.

But elements of time travel have been something I've been planning to include in the finale of the Runelords Trilogy since "Rise of the Runelords," and hints foreshadowing this appear in that Adventure Path and in Shattered Star.

All I can ask of those who are nervous or not looking forward to these elements is to keep an open mind and check out Return of the Runelords or chat with those who have read it to make informed decisions about it.

But that said, worst-case scenario, you'll just have to wait a few months for another AP to come along. There aren't time travel shenanigans in "Tyrant's Grasp."


I will check it out. Eventually make as much adaptation as needed.

Mostly I'm letting my opinion be known for 'statistical' purposes.

Actually the only type of time travel that bothers me is sending things to the past (creating potential for paradoxes). Coming from the past to present or future is basically time stasis or getting information from the past and recreating things in the present.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Frederico Gomes wrote:

I will check it out. Eventually make as much adaptation as needed.

Mostly I'm letting my opinion be known for 'statistical' purposes.

Actually the only type of time travel that bothers me is sending things to the past (creating potential for paradoxes). Coming from the past to present or future is basically time stasis or getting information from the past and recreating things in the present.

Makes sense, and I do value feedback like that, but it's not as useful until there's an actual product to give feedback to.


Based on the blurbs for the chapters, it looks like Return will have a fairly heavy focus on defeating Runelord Alaznist? And time travel is involved in some way?

I'm going to start GMing a Rise of the Runelords campaign in the near future. (With just one PC, which should be...interesting. I have plans on how to handle that, though). I was intending to have Alaznist rise during that, at the same time as Karzoug, with a homebrewed seventh chapter about defeating her. (Whether that chapter would come before or after Spires of Xin-Shalast, I hadn't decided). It seems to make narrative sense, given that Sandpoint sits at the border of their domains, and both of them had a big role in the Thassilonian background of the campaign. And hey, it is called Rise of the Runelords.

To avoid just having a seventh chapter with a boss that's really the same power as the first, I was considering having the player emerge from battle with the first (partially awake) runelord only to discover that several years have passed because of Reasons, and the other runelord has fully awoken and conquered large parts of Varisia, including Sandpoint. The final chapter would then involve making contact with a resistance movement led, of course, by various friends from earlier in the path, and eventually bringing the fight to the runelord. (Credit where it's due, a fair amount of that is adapted from ideas I found on these boards.)

The announcement of Return of the Runelords makes things both easier and harder for me to set this up. Easier because suddenly there's going to be a whole adventure all about defeating Alaznist while time travel stuff is happening, which is weirdly close to what I was thinking about anyway. But also harder, because it would be nice to play through the whole trilogy eventually, and it rather sounds like Alaznist needs to still be alive for Return or everything falls apart. With this in mind, James, I have a number of questions.

1) How easy would it be to adapt Return of the Runelords to a world where Alaznist was already as dead as Karzoug? Could one of the other runelords easily stand in for her throughout the AP? (And if so, which one would you recommend, just out of curiosity?)
2) Would Rise of New Thassilon adapt well to being a second ending for Rise of the Runelords, in the way I described? And if so, would you put it before or after Spires? Obviously either way some encounters would need a little adjusting, but narratively would it work better to have Alaznist conquer the area and then be confronted in Rise of New Thassilon, or to have Karzoug do so and be confronted in Spires? Or would it perhaps be better to simply allow the PC to decide where to go first?
3) Time manipulation spells have traditionally been put in the transmutation school. Why is Alaznist messing with time magic? Out of character, is it just because you'd already killed off Karzoug? In my position, would it make more sense to give Karzoug the time manipulation stuff, and give Alaznist something else instead?
4) Presumably the seat of Alaznist's (former) power is now underwater. Is Rise of New Thassilon set underwater, or has she moved?
5) I was also thinking of replacing a large portion of Sins of the Saviours with something else, probably something involving Alaznist. I'm not a huge fan of how the module works. And my PC is thinking of being a summoner (build, not the class), meaning the runeforged weapons wouldn't work so well either. Would chapter 5 (or even chapter 4) of Return work well in that slot? And would that then lead to the rest of Return becoming even more unplayable?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

4 people marked this as a favorite.
pi4t wrote:

1) How easy would it be to adapt Return of the Runelords to a world where Alaznist was already as dead as Karzoug? Could one of the other runelords easily stand in for her throughout the AP? (And if so, which one would you recommend, just out of curiosity?)

2) Would Rise of New Thassilon adapt well to being a second ending for Rise of the Runelords, in the way I described? And if so, would you put it before or after Spires? Obviously either way some encounters would need a little adjusting, but narratively would it work better to have Alaznist conquer the area and then be confronted in Rise of New Thassilon, or to have Karzoug do so and be confronted in Spires? Or would it perhaps be better to simply allow the PC to decide where to go first?
3) Time manipulation spells have traditionally been put in the transmutation school. Why is Alaznist messing with time magic? Out of character, is it just because you'd already killed off Karzoug? In my position, would it make more sense to give Karzoug the time manipulation stuff, and give Alaznist something else instead?
4) Presumably the seat of Alaznist's (former) power is now underwater. Is Rise of New Thassilon set underwater, or has she moved?
5) I was also thinking of replacing a large portion of Sins of the Saviours with something else, probably something involving Alaznist. I'm not a huge fan of how the module works. And my PC is thinking of being a summoner (build, not the class), meaning the runeforged weapons wouldn't work so well either. Would chapter 5 (or even chapter 4) of Return work well in that slot? And would that then lead to the rest of Return becoming even more unplayable?

Since the first volume of this Adventure Path, and thus the campaign as a whole, isn't launching until later this month, detailed replies will have to wait. But here's what I can say for now:

Spoiler:

1) It'd be pretty much not possible. I'd suggest having Alaznist be resurrected, come back as undead, or something like that. I guess you could have Runelord Angothane escape from the Abyss to take on the role. But Alaznist is indeed the main enemy here, so without her you'll have a lot of work on your hands to rebuild.

2) No it wouldn't. Rise of New Thassilon (and indeed ALL of Return of the Runelords) depends on events in Rise of the Runelords and Shattered Star to have taken place.

3) She's not using her spells to manipulate time. And Karzoug, as indicated in Rise of the Runelords, had indeed been dabbling with time stuff. Stay tuned for more details.

4) Alaznist's seat of power is now known as Hollow Mountain, so it's above water.

5) No. For a few reasons, Chapter 5 is one of the WORST choices to play before Rise of the Runelords is played.

In short, this campaign is very much built from the grounds up as the last in a trilogy, and running it simultaneous to Rise of the Runelords and before Shattered Star would be weird. It can certainly be done, but it'd be a significant amount of work.

You should absolutely wait to make your decision till at least you have the first volume of Return of the Runelords in hand. Might be a better choice to just run it instead.


James Jacobs wrote:

Since the first volume of this Adventure Path, and thus the campaign as a whole, isn't launching until later this month, detailed replies will have to wait. But here's what I can say for now:

** spoiler omitted **...

Ah, well. Thanks for the reply. I guess I'll have to think again about how I want to handle things...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
pi4t wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Since the first volume of this Adventure Path, and thus the campaign as a whole, isn't launching until later this month, detailed replies will have to wait. But here's what I can say for now:

** spoiler omitted **...

Ah, well. Thanks for the reply. I guess I'll have to think again about how I want to handle things...

Aww... just to reiterate something that I may not have been clear on... you certainly CAN merge the two adventures together. It's just that it's going to be pretty difficult to do so, and you shouldn't make that final decision until you've got all the books in hand. That does mean that you'd not be able to start work on this consolidation of campaigns until next January when "Rise of New Thassilon" is out, alas.


Frederico Gomes wrote:


Actually the only type of time travel that bothers me is sending things to the past (creating potential for paradoxes).

For what it's worth, I love the narrative potential of paradoxes and wish more media, RPGs definitely included, was willing to engage with them.


@ James :

Angothane = Alderpash ?

(PS : very impatient to read the new AP ^^)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Islayre d'Argolh wrote:

@ James :

Angothane = Alderpash ?

(PS : very impatient to read the new AP ^^)

Those are two different runelords.

Both have roles to play. Both were runelords of wrath. Did I type the wrong one upthread? That'll happen if I post when I'm distracted I guess.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Path / General Discussion / PaizoCon Adventure Path panel: Return of the Runelords *SPOILERS* All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in General Discussion