Making a PC the Heir

Jade Regent

Good morning all! I know this AP is really old, but my RL gaming group is getting back together for the first time in a while and they want me to run this game for them. Reading back through some of the material and I got to wondering...

How essential is Ameiko, as an NPC character, to the campaign? Is it possible to have one of the PCs themselves actually be the Jade Throne's heir without messing with the story too much? I feel like the people that are gonna be in my gaming group would be a lot more invested in the story if it was one of them who was the impetus for the adventure, rather than a particular NPC.

One of the campaign traits can make a PC an heir:

Jade Regent Player's Guide, Campaign Traits, page 13 wrote:

Younger Sibling: You’ve lived your whole life in the

shadow of your older sibling, a person who seems to
have the adventure-filled lifestyle you’ve always wanted
for yourself. While your sibling always took care of
you, he or she never supported your desire to become
an adventurer—your sibling never explained why, only
saying, “Adventuring can cause a lot of pain just as
easily as it can bring success and riches.” As a younger
sibling to one of Sandpoint’s more influential citizens,
you share some of that NPC’s innate talent and skill at
adventuring. If you’re Ameiko’s younger sibling, your
ferocious independence and self-confidence give you a
+1 trait bonus on Will saving throws. If you’re Sandru’s
younger sibling, your hearty constitution gives you a
+1 trait bonus on all Fortitude saving throws. If you’re
Shalelu’s younger sibling, your quick ref lexes give you a
+1 trait bonus on all Ref lex saving throws. Note: Although
you’re a younger sibling of an established NPC, this
doesn’t necessarily lock you in to being the same race
as that NPC—if you’re a different race or ethnicity than
the NPC you choose as your older sister or brother, you
were adopted into the family by your parents. In addition,
you gain a +1 trait bonus on all attack rolls against foes
that threaten your older sibling. NPC Choices: Ameiko,
Sandru, Shalelu.

In my own game, I established that our Rise of the Runelords campaign had occurred in the same world. Thus, Ameiko Kaijitsu had gained too many very powerful friends. I kept her in Varisia and made her half-sister Amaya of Westcrown (spoilery details) the escorted heir. I recall another GM's writeup where a PC was Ameiko's younger brother and he got the Jade Throne.

Ameiko isn't necessary. There are occasional story elements along the lines of "NPC ally falls ill" or "NPC ally is kidnapped", but they really don't amount to much.

However, making a PC the sole heir runs the risk of them dying, and then what are you going to do?

Another option:

You can start with Ameiko as the heir. When the PCs find the magic seal thingy, they can become scions, which makes them valid heirs too. Then you can kill off Ameiko without breaking the story.

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