Help Me Select the Next AP I May Run


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion


Hi everybody!

I'm starting to think about what I might run next for my group. So far we've played through Kingmaker and Hell's Rebels.
The group likes:
-Decent mix of roleplaying and fighting (similar to that of Hell's Rebels)
-Freedom to kill the bad guys without worrying (much) about making NPCs squeamish (brutally/unnecessarily killing bad guy in both KM and HR has had at least some noticeable affect on the general populace) Maybe the NPCs are more reliant on the PCs so are willing to put up with more or perhaps the NPCs agree with the killings as the bad guys are obviously bad guys?
-Exploration random encounters are rather boring/pointless (I simply left them out of KM, for the most part)
-Not evil characters (there's enough bad stuff in the world, why pretend to be bad people in our spare time?)
-Being able to play most any race/class without fear of judgement from the NPCs (unique/rare races stand out too much in Hell's Rebels, 'creepy' classes aren't a great fit for Kingmaker)
-Possibly something with some undead but not neccessary

My thoughts are Ironfang Invasion, Ruins of Azlant, or possibly Iron Gods.

Would you all mind sharing your thoughts on which AP I should go with? Any that you would suggest that I didn't mention?

Thanks!


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm playing Ironfang Invasion at the moment, and would say that seems to fit the bill. The bad guys are clear from the start, so you can murder your way through without the worry of upsetting the general populace (who have been mostly murdered already when you start).

I'd say any of the more "classic" APs would work: Mummy's Mask, Giantslayer, Iron Gods (OK, not classic in theme, but it mostly is in execution). Don't really know anything about Ruins of Azlant, although the premise is interesting.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

IRONFANG INVASION

You can bring your bear along.

The only restriction, really, is hobgoblins as PCs are a big no-no. Other than that, whatevs.


With Return of the Runelords coming soon - I'd be tempted to look at Shattered Star. It's pretty much fitting the bill for your group likes, with the added bonus of being a perfect lead in to the upcoming adventure path.

Depending on speed of play, you might be able to finish up Shattered Star around the time the last of the books for Return of the Runelords is out.


Thank you for your thoughts, the three of you. (Hopefully more people still respond). It's good to see that my impressions are likely right in regards to Ironfang Invasion.

Dracovar -- Maybe my impression of Shattered Star was wrong, but isn't it mostly dungeon crawls? I thought that there wasn't many influential/important NPCs throughout that particular AP.


Shattered Star goes all-in on dungeon crawling. If your group doesn't want to dungeon crawl, this is not a campaign for them. It is nowhere near to the level of NPC interactive that Hell's Rebels is.

For some this might be a breath of fresh air after a campaign heavily featuring NPCs.

Ruins of Azlant ... starts off one way, jerks another, then another, all with heavy elements of underwater adventuring (but not quite to the point of being overwhelming). It is a good campaign, one that those eager to adventure heavily underwater - especially during the middle stretch of the campaign - will hopefully enjoy. I strongly encourage perusing the pertinent section of the boards to get a better feel for it.


We are 2/3 of the way through Strange Aeons. As long as the players don’t mind horror and the idea of starting with amnesia it is a fun path. Small towns and bigger cities, some dungeons to crawl. Wide variety of monsters. I have no complaints.


Carrion Crown ticks almost all of your checkboxes, except....

Quote:
-Being able to play most any race/class without fear of judgement from the NPCs (unique/rare races stand out too much in Hell's Rebels, 'creepy' classes aren't a great fit for Kingmaker)

"Creepy races" might stand out in the small towns but Ustalav is teeming with things that go bump in the night (most natives know this) and as a result, most towns seem to distrust ALL outsiders.

This campaign welcomes good guys, has a great mix of dungeons and roleplaying scenarios, lots of undead, and I think townsfolk (even squeamish ones) would be happy to see some of these evils destroyed with whatever force necessary.

If you do run this, drop the trust mechanic in book one, it's broken as is and really isn't necessary.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
The Mad Comrade wrote:

Shattered Star goes all-in on dungeon crawling. If your group doesn't want to dungeon crawl, this is not a campaign for them. It is nowhere near to the level of NPC interactive that Hell's Rebels is.

For some this might be a breath of fresh air after a campaign heavily featuring NPCs.

That is not entirely correct. While Shattered Star is heavy on the dungeons, it was specifically built to include a very decent amount of diplomacy. Of course way less than Hell's Rebels, but I'd say that Rise of the Runelords has overall less roleplaying opportunities than Shattered Star does.


magnuskn wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:

Shattered Star goes all-in on dungeon crawling. If your group doesn't want to dungeon crawl, this is not a campaign for them. It is nowhere near to the level of NPC interactive that Hell's Rebels is.

For some this might be a breath of fresh air after a campaign heavily featuring NPCs.

That is not entirely correct. While Shattered Star is heavy on the dungeons, it was specifically built to include a very decent amount of diplomacy. Of course way less than Hell's Rebels, but I'd say that Rise of the Runelords has overall less roleplaying opportunities than Shattered Star does.

Not so sure about RotRL having less than SStar re: RP interaction. There's a bunch of nods to doing so all throughout RotRL. SStar has fewer than RotRL when in most of the dungeons, which is most of the game play time as-scripted.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That is not correct. Aside from the fact that several of the modules have long tracts of non-dungeon content, each module offers definitely the same or more roleplaying opportunities than RotRL, with the exception of module two (where RotRL has an active investigation and Shattered Star has a very themed dungeon, but fewer NPC interactions... though the web enhancement can change that).


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It's been ... oh, 4 years or so, since I ran Shattered Star. Must be that the NPC interactions therein were either glossed over or hewn into chunky salsa.

*shrugs* :)


Since I'm not a fan of RotRL it's unlikely that I'll end up to run Shattered Star as it seems to be too much of a sequel.
(I was a player in a game of RotRL that didn't turn out well at all so I have negative connotations with that particular AP. Nothing to do with the adventure itself... well.... okay, a little bit but not too much...)

I'm going to check out Carrion Crown per Sunderstone's suggestion. I've looked through the forum for that AP a little bit and keep seeing that the GM has to do a little bit of work to connect the stories better but apparently I keep missing any suggestions as to how to do this.
Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Right now the three that I'm looking into the most are:
1) Ironfang Invasion
2) Carrion Crown
3) Strange Aeons

Any thoughts on which is the better of the two horror themed ones? (I know Carrion Crown is more classic horror and Strange Aeons is full on Cthulhu horror... I've read Strange Aeons but know nothing else about Carrion Crown.)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
The Mad Comrade wrote:

It's been ... oh, 4 years or so, since I ran Shattered Star. Must be that the NPC interactions therein were either glossed over or hewn into chunky salsa.

*shrugs* :)

I'm running it right now, so I'm pretty on top of it. I'm looking forward to quite a few of those NPC's.

Also, your group played chocolate bars. :p

Warped Savant wrote:

I'm going to check out Carrion Crown per Sunderstone's suggestion. I've looked through the forum for that AP a little bit and keep seeing that the GM has to do a little bit of work to connect the stories better but apparently I keep missing any suggestions as to how to do this.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

All books but the last have an investigation and then a long combat part. The last module sadly didn't work for me, since it skips almost all roleplaying and fully goes into hack and slash mode as soon as the group arrives at the cathedral and then never stops.

The main problem the AP had for me was that the main boss of the AP never meets the group before the final showdown. It's basically a situation of the party walking up the BBEG and him going "And who are you guys again?". The writers even point that out in the foreword of the sixth module.

My solution was to introduce him at the very start of the adventure path and then periodically have him show up, even hosting the group at his house for a while. I changed things around that the daughter of the NPC who brings the group together at the start of the AP was important to the BBEG in both a way to get what he wants and on a personal level as well. Also, I rebuilt the BBEG completely in terms of class levels and how the final fight went.


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magnuskn wrote:


Warped Savant wrote:

I'm going to check out Carrion Crown per Sunderstone's suggestion. I've looked through the forum for that AP a little bit and keep seeing that the GM has to do a little bit of work to connect the stories better but apparently I keep missing any suggestions as to how to do this.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

All books but the last have an investigation and then a long combat part. The last module sadly didn't work for me, since it skips almost all roleplaying and fully goes into hack and slash mode as soon as the group arrives at the cathedral and then never stops.

The last chapter of Carrion Crown is one of the best AP endings for me (Tied with the last chapter of Kingmaker). IMHO, it epitomizes high level play, and has something of a nostalgic feel for me akin to Tomb of Horrors, Lost Cavern's of Tsojcanth, etc. Some big ticket bad guys, monsters and the like.

I do agree with Magnuskn on the foreshadowing part. I'd introduce him at the funeral as a former colleague and peer of the Professor's, etc. Maybe they meet up with him again at Lepidstadt and again in Caliphas, but I wouldn't overdo it. I might even have him with a female apprentice (this would be Hetna Dublesse from chapter 5).

Carrion Crown is my favorite AP. I'll be running an expanded version of it myself soon. Particularly with some of the ideas from other forum posters like IceTitan, Brodyz, and Raksasha. The Carrion Crown forum is a gold mine.

Dark Archive

I can confirm that Shattered Star as written has more diplomacy moments than RotR. Heck, you can optionally even redeem a tribe of evil monsters just because you felt like it :P

Thing about Paizo and dungeon crawls is that Paizo tends to actually put lot of things besides fighting in dungeons as well, especially in newer APs.


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

Iron Gods.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Warped Savant wrote:

Right now the three that I'm looking into the most are:

1) Ironfang Invasion
2) Carrion Crown
3) Strange Aeons

Any thoughts on which is the better of the two horror themed ones? (I know Carrion Crown is more classic horror and Strange Aeons is full on Cthulhu horror... I've read Strange Aeons but know nothing else about Carrion Crown.)

Strange Aeons has some problems, but those are pretty well discussed on the forums and can be improved on.

If you do run Strange Aeons, I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND listening to Table Variation's Strange Aeons review.

https://soundcloud.com/user-434906366/episode-43-review-of-strange-aeons

Carrion Crown has at least one similar problem, which is the final villain (Strange Aeons has this problem even worse) but again, there are solutions here on the forum which can help.

Either way, as DM read book 6 before you start playing, so you can start putting flavor in for these characters earlier on.

The 1st book of Strange Aeons is widely praised as among the best AP issues, as is book 4 of Carrion Crown.

Personally, I'd re-inforce my suggestion of Ironfang Invasion, as it is AWESOME.


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magnuskn wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:

It's been ... oh, 4 years or so, since I ran Shattered Star. Must be that the NPC interactions therein were either glossed over or hewn into chunky salsa.

*shrugs* :)

I'm running it right now, so I'm pretty on top of it. I'm looking forward to quite a few of those NPC's.

Also, your group played chocolate bars. :p

I was waiting for hirelings so I could have a plethora of sweets ... and to acquire edible bits to represent them on the mat (so when they were killed I could eat them, noms). ;)


Magnuskn & Sunderstone -- Thanks for the advice on Carrion Crown! I don't think I'll be running it just yet, but I'll definitely keep it in mind for after Ironfang Invasion. (Or if reading through Ironfang changes my mind about it.... or if my players would rather do a horror campaign...)

Yakman -- I read through Strange Aeons when it was first coming out and remember that there were a thing or three that didn't make sense... Especially the line that said "Make sure the PCs pick up this [REDACTED], as it will be necessary for the following adventure."
Being able to proceed in an adventure should not depend on that PCs taking something with them that doesn't really seem like something they would randomly take with them... If/when I run Strange Aeons I'll be sure to look through the forums and find fixes for things like that. And yes, the first book of Aeons reads as an amazing adventure! I've considered running it on it's own.
And don't worry, Ironfang is the one I'm most likely to run once we finish the current campaign ;)


Warped Savant wrote:

{. . .}

-Being able to play most any race/class without fear of judgement from the NPCs (unique/rare races stand out too much in Hell's Rebels, 'creepy' classes aren't a great fit for Kingmaker)
{. . .}

Iron Gods. Robot problem? Monster solution!


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

Iron Gods is my favorite adventure path.

Ironfang Invasion isn't far behind.


Good to know about Iron Gods! I'll definitely check it out as a possible campaign to run in the future.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
"Yakmam” wrote:

If you do run Strange Aeons, I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND listening to Table Variation's Strange Aeons review.

https://soundcloud.com/user-434906366/episode-43-review-of-strange-aeons.

Wow that podcast did nothing but annoy me. I’m not surprised they didn’t enjoy a lot of it, volleyball team? Hmmm. They had some very valid things to say but buried them under a really childish attitude


Ironfang is great
It is both fun and easy to run, and very easy to play

Set the party up correctly (non goblinoid freedom fighters keyed to lots of outdoor action) and your good to go

I am currently running it (book 6 about 20 pages in)


^Or even Goblinoid freedom fighters . . . .


thenovalord wrote:

Ironfang is great

It is both fun and easy to run, and very easy to play

Set the party up correctly (non goblinoid freedom fighters keyed to lots of outdoor action) and your good to go

I am currently running it (book 6 about 20 pages in)

I'm halfway through reading book 2 and loving what I'm seeing so far. Unless something suddenly really turns me off of it I'm fairly certain it's the one I'll be running next.

I've started looking at the forum for it in case there's suggestions that people have for improvements/issues with the AP as written but I haven't seen any yet. (But maybe I'm just blind and missing those threads/comments.)


I'm partway through reading book three of Ironfang Invasion and have started to worry that it's too similar to both Kingmaker and Hell's Rebels... Am I wrong? My concern is that the group has played through both of these APs recently and I don't want them to play through one that feels too similar to both of them.
I know these are very broad strokes (partially to avoid spoilers), but in Hell's Rebels a bad guy comes to town, you do some missions to gain support (rather than go directly after the bad guy), slowly gain followers, eventually take the fight to said bad guy. (It doesn't help that the Rebellion Rules in Hell's Rebels are almost the exact same as the Militia system).
Kingmaker is wilderness exploration, has a town that you have to defend (and can do some actions to increase the defenses), eventually leads to mass combat... There isn't mass combat in Ironfang, right?

I really like the idea of Ironfang Invasion so I'm going to keep reading it but I'm a little wary right now. Do any of you have any experience with Ironfang and either Hell's Rebels or Kingmaker?


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

They are somewhat similar now that you mention it.

Ironfang Invasion almost seems like a melding of the two.

That said, no mass combat in Ironfang Invasion! Though lots of troops, lots of them!


I've been talking to my players about their favourite parts so far versus the parts they liked but would rather take a break from It sounds like they'd prefer a more wilderness/moving around instead of staying in one area/not-political campaign. With wanting to take a break from the politics for an AP I feel books 3-5 of Ironfang wouldn't appeal to them right now. But they still want some role-playing rather than just a straight-up dungeon crawl. I kind of get the impression that a murder-hobo game with good character RP is what they're looking for. (Which seems like a huge contradiction to me, but I'm biased).

So now I'm thinking either Strange Aeons or Iron Gods.

I read Strange Aeons when it first came out. I don't remember the details, but I know there's a thing or two that need to be fixed with it. But I don't remember there being any politics/having to form an alliance with anyone but there's still allies along the way that you can interact with. Am I wrong?

I haven't read Iron Gods at all but it looks appealing. Can anyone let me know if there's much/any politicking in it?

Scarab Sages

I don't know Strange Aeons, but Iron Gods sounds like your ticket. I'm currently playing in it and it's fantastic. There's plenty of moving around, and a good amount of role playing. It probably tilts more toward combat than Hell's Rebels, but he sci-fi elements keep the fights very interesting.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Warped Savant wrote:

I've been talking to my players about their favourite parts so far versus the parts they liked but would rather take a break from It sounds like they'd prefer a more wilderness/moving around instead of staying in one area/not-political campaign. With wanting to take a break from the politics for an AP I feel books 3-5 of Ironfang wouldn't appeal to them right now. But they still want some role-playing rather than just a straight-up dungeon crawl. I kind of get the impression that a murder-hobo game with good character RP is what they're looking for. (Which seems like a huge contradiction to me, but I'm biased).

So now I'm thinking either Strange Aeons or Iron Gods.

I read Strange Aeons when it first came out. I don't remember the details, but I know there's a thing or two that need to be fixed with it. But I don't remember there being any politics/having to form an alliance with anyone but there's still allies along the way that you can interact with. Am I wrong?

I haven't read Iron Gods at all but it looks appealing. Can anyone let me know if there's much/any politicking in it?

Book 5 has some politicking in Iron Gods.

You gotta make some friends in Iron Gods 2, but then you fight an ORC WITH A CHAINSWORD AND AN INSANE ROBOT GOD.


Iron Gods is out as more than half don't like the idea of the super advanced technology. (Steampunk good, laser guns bad)

For a few different reasons the list comes down to: (in rough order of interest from my group as well as me)
Mummy's Mask
Strange Aeons
Carrion Crown
Serpent's Skull
Rise of the Runelords

MM and SA are about an even split as to which one it'll be. Anyone have thoughts comparing the two? Or making me look at one of the other three again instead?


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Howabout the third party AP Northlands Saga?

-Decent mix of roleplaying and fighting (similar to that of Hell's Rebels)
Absolutely
-Freedom to kill the bad guys without worrying (much) about making NPCs squeamish (brutally/unnecessarily killing bad guy in both KM and HR has had at least some noticeable affect on the general populace) Maybe the NPCs are more reliant on the PCs so are willing to put up with more or perhaps the NPCs agree with the killings as the bad guys are obviously bad guys?
Once you know who the bad guys are and can get to them you're free to kill them. There's one exception, and that's spent proving they did it.
-Exploration random encounters are rather boring/pointless (I simply left them out of KM, for the most part)
Avoidable. Only 2 modules even had room for them from what I recall
-Not evil characters (there's enough bad stuff in the world, why pretend to be bad people in our spare time?)
Not evil. Neutral with some evil tendencies is absolutely doable, but the adventures were intended for good PCs
-Possibly something with some undead but not neccessary
There's a decent amount of undead in the enemy encounters.

The only slight problem is
-Being able to play most any race/class without fear of judgement from the NPCs (unique/rare races stand out too much in Hell's Rebels, 'creepy' classes aren't a great fit for Kingmaker)
Most of the populace of the Northlands is distrustful of (non-bardic/skaldic) Arcane magic, and often only found in the hands of foreigners (No mention of occult class, but I think it predates those). The setting notes explicitly state however makes these classes (and monstrous races) driven to become heroes since the respect a hero gets overwrites this distrust.


Oh and if the PC wants to play something truly unusual, it's easy enough to make them a foreigner and give Jarl Olaf Henrikson a bit of Oda Nobunaga's love of the unusual and exotic.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Warped Savant wrote:

Iron Gods is out as more than half don't like the idea of the super advanced technology. (Steampunk good, laser guns bad)

For a few different reasons the list comes down to: (in rough order of interest from my group as well as me)
Mummy's Mask
Strange Aeons
Carrion Crown
Serpent's Skull
Rise of the Runelords

MM and SA are about an even split as to which one it'll be. Anyone have thoughts comparing the two? Or making me look at one of the other three again instead?

Some people really don't like Mummy's Mask. I haven't played it, but I think the nay-sayers are over-stating the case. I've read through it, and I really, really like the first four books, particularly 3 & 4. 5 & 6 are basically massive dungeon crawls. Book 1 has a fantastic hook for the party.

As for Strange Aeons, there's a podcast called 'Table Variation'. One of the hosts is a 5-star Paizo GM. He ran Strange Aeons for his group, and one of the podcasts is him and his players breaking down the AP. I'd suggest you listen to it if you plan to run SA, as there are some mechanical and plot points which might be problematic and can be avoided if you know what's coming. It's well worth the hour or so, even if you don't end up running it. A link is below:

https://soundcloud.com/user-434906366/episode-43-review-of-strange-aeons

Whatever you choose, have fun!

Scarab Sages

deuxhero wrote:

Howabout the third party AP Northlands Saga?

-Decent mix of roleplaying and fighting (similar to that of Hell's Rebels)
Absolutely
-Freedom to kill the bad guys without worrying (much) about making NPCs squeamish (brutally/unnecessarily killing bad guy in both KM and HR has had at least some noticeable affect on the general populace) Maybe the NPCs are more reliant on the PCs so are willing to put up with more or perhaps the NPCs agree with the killings as the bad guys are obviously bad guys?
Once you know who the bad guys are and can get to them you're free to kill them. There's one exception, and that's spent proving they did it.
-Exploration random encounters are rather boring/pointless (I simply left them out of KM, for the most part)
Avoidable. Only 2 modules even had room for them from what I recall
-Not evil characters (there's enough bad stuff in the world, why pretend to be bad people in our spare time?)
Not evil. Neutral with some evil tendencies is absolutely doable, but the adventures were intended for good PCs
-Possibly something with some undead but not neccessary
There's a decent amount of undead in the enemy encounters.

The only slight problem is
-Being able to play most any race/class without fear of judgement from the NPCs (unique/rare races stand out too much in Hell's Rebels, 'creepy' classes aren't a great fit for Kingmaker)
Most of the populace of the Northlands is distrustful of (non-bardic/skaldic) Arcane magic, and often only found in the hands of foreigners (No mention of occult class, but I think it predates those). The setting notes explicitly state however makes these classes (and monstrous races) driven to become heroes since the respect a hero gets overwrites this distrust.

Northlands is hands down the best AP I have ever read. The world is amazing and dense and beautiful. I'm running it right now, and grafting on Kingmaker to it, to play out mostly in the level gaps between the intro adventure and the later ones.


It looks like it's going to be Mummy's Mask unless I really don't like the story. (And I've warned the players it's a lot of undead/mindless creatures and that the last two books appear to be purely dungeon crawls. They're saying they're looking forward to that, especially after two very political APs.)

When I get a chance I'll likely end up to get Northlands as I've heard it's really good from a few people but the group prefers Paizo APs rather than 3rd party ones.

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