Adventure writer, in a pickle.


Second Edition


Disclaimer: My post will reference different editions of Pathfinder and other RPG systems entirely. Feel free discuss the *positives* of any particular system, even ones not mentioned. This is not an invitation to edition war or debate Paizo's decisions on 2e. Please be civil and don't engage anyone who tries to pull this thread off track. Be the awesome, insightful community I know you are.

And no, I am not literally in a pickle. A pickle large enough to encompass my entire body would be absurd.

But to the point: I'm writing a five part adventure for evil characters, originally for the PF1e system. I do not have any intent to make money on this, plan to pay the artists out of pocket, and will give the PDF away for free. This is a longterm project that I'm doing for fun, and to contribute to the community.

I know that other evil AP's exist (Way of the Wicked, Hell's Vengeance, Kingslayer) but if people want to discuss how my adventure is different I'd prefer to do so on another thread as to keep this one on topic.

My question is: what system should I use? Originally I planned for PF1e, a system with many faults but one I've grown to love. I'll admit I haven't had the same feelings for PF2e yet, but I'd rather support Paizo than WotC. Unfortunately, there basically isn't enough GM support to even try to get started. That's not a huge downside as this is an admittedly huge project that has already been in the works for two years. 5e has the largest player base and simplest ruleset, but it doesn't scale in power the way I need. Plus the whole supporting Paizo thing. I'm currently thinking of hacking my own unpublished system, but that would make it even more niche.

I want to justify using PF2e, particularly to support Paizo as a company, but right now I just can't. So does anyone have any advice? Suggestions of other systems are welcome, as are questions.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I suggest waiting until PF2e actually comes out before making the decision either way. If you aren't in a rush, maybe even wait for the end of the year? It sounds like PF2e is going to get a lot of support in the first six months, what with the first two world guides, monster creation rules, etc.

We'll be in a much better place to say anything about what kind of system PF2e is going to be long term at the end of the year than we are now.

From all indications, though, PF2e is going to be a really clean system to homebrew for. Much like Starfinder, the tight math means that creating monsters and NPCs is likely to be fast, and it feels like the system has a lot of open design space.

The main consideration for me, which you already sorta mentioned, would be the power scaling thing. 5e is a system where two dozen 5th level characters are a serious threat to a 15th level character; PF2e is a system where two dozen 5th level characters aren't even a speedbump to a 15th level character. And PF1e is a system where absolutely nothing is a threat to an optimized 15th level character. :P So "what kind of story do I want to tell about my PCs?" is probably the deciding factor there.


Both, probably! But not simultaneously. Once 1 is 100% finished it shouldn't be the worst to convert, givne how simple PF2 is supposed to be.
Granted, core-only might limit some choices.


ChibiNyan wrote:

Both, probably! But not simultaneously. Once 1 is 100% finished it shouldn't be the worst to convert, givne how simple PF2 is supposed to be.

Granted, core-only might limit some choices.

Since I'm basically doing this project solo, I think I'll limit myself to just one system at first.

Also I haven't found PF2e either simple or easy to convert to 1e, plus 1e is an increasingly shrinking audience. Or did you mean a different combo of systems? I don't think PF1e or PF2e to 5e would be any easier from design standpoint.


Artofregicide wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:

Both, probably! But not simultaneously. Once 1 is 100% finished it shouldn't be the worst to convert, givne how simple PF2 is supposed to be.

Granted, core-only might limit some choices.

Since I'm basically doing this project solo, I think I'll limit myself to just one system at first.

Also I haven't found PF2e either simple or easy to convert to 1e, plus 1e is an increasingly shrinking audience. Or did you mean a different combo of systems? I don't think PF1e or PF2e to 5e would be any easier from design standpoint.

Meant things like Treasure distribution guidelines, monster power level and flexibility in their design, easier to figure out skill DCs to challenge players, etc. A lot of the PF2 innovations are quality of life improvements for adventure writers rather than player-centric.

Also I thought you were already deep into the project using PF1 and didn't want it to go to waste, sorry.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
ChibiNyan wrote:
A lot of the PF2 innovations are quality of life improvements for adventure writers rather than player-centric.

Wanted to emphasize this. PF2e seems to be built from the ground up to be fun and easy to write for, as much as it is to run or play. Assuming Paizo nails that, that's going to be a really big mark in its favor.


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From my perspective, you're writing this for a group of people you know and you just plan to distribute to the rest of the world out of generosity.

I would suggest making the system the one your group prefers to use the most. This is for you and your group, not for us.

If you asked me specifically, if I was a member of your group, I would tell you I'd much prefer PF1 over PF2. The math behind the play test version of PF2...just didn't lead to the kind of game play I wanted. Maybe that's been changed, but we wont know until the official release.

PF1 has a lot of rules to draw from to help you come up with custom rules. You know how to house rule things in that system to get the effects you want.

You can look at certain campaign settings that make up rules like:
Teleportation magic is disrupted by gold rings.
Flight magic only lasts rounds per level.

Both of those are rules from a Zeitgeist campaign I'm playing. They would work pretty much regardless of what system you use.

But you can make much more specific rules if you are aware of how the system works more intimately. Like giving an NPC a wand key to let them use a wand of a certain kind, that they normally couldn't use, to accomplish something story specific that you want that NPC to do without being a caster.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

@Claxon Oh man, as someone planning to run Zeitgeist later, I am torn between not wanting to derail this thread and wanting to know what you think of it. Any chance you'd be willing to share your opinions over in off topic?

-----

On topic, I agree with Claxon that choosing a system your players are excited about sounds like the most important consideration.


ChibiNyan wrote:


Meant things like Treasure distribution guidelines, monster power level and flexibility in their design, easier to figure out skill DCs to challenge players, etc. A lot of the PF2 innovations are quality of life improvements for adventure writers rather than player-centric.

Also I thought you were already deep into the project using PF1 and didn't want it to go to waste, sorry.

No apologies necessary! I appreciate your enthusiasm.

I've got the skeleton of the campaign worked out, plus setting, subsystems, lore, etc. I've got a draft for 1.5 books but in all honesty I may have to start over anyway.

To clarify, this campaign is very much meant to give the experience of leveling from 1st to 20th, or more specifically, the experience of starting as a mere mortal and ending in godlike power.

The fact that PF2e allegedly handles higher levels better is a point in it's favor, but I also want to avoid the whole banded accuracy thing in 5e where a 5th and 15th level character doesn't feel all that different power wise.


Claxon wrote:
From my perspective, you're writing this for a group of people you know and you just plan to distribute to the rest of the world out of generosity...

Actually, I'm not. I don't have specific players in mind, I mean, sure, I'll have my friends playtest but this is sincerely meant for a broader audience, hence me asking.

Whatever system I use, I probably won't go too crazy on houserules and homebrew content. I'm designing this adventure in the general style of a PF AP. So many groups could potentially play and enjoy the adventure with diverse playstyles. That's kind of the point of the adventure, really.

Plus I've got enough on my plate before having to tinker with the core game system. The stuff I'm adding on is like dungeon management, mass combat, political intrigue, etc.


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Artofregicide wrote:
And no, I am not literally in a pickle. A pickle large enough to encompass my entire body would be absurd.

LOL I just had to leave this here... ;)

Pickle

As to the actual thread, I agree with Claxon's entire post. With enough on your plate, go for what you know.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'd say use the system you're most passionate about, as this will yield the best result. Conversion to another game system can always be done later. For 2E, I'd think waiting for all the creation rules in the Gamemastery Guide (spells, items, monsters) will make building an adventure for that system much easier.


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Artofregicide wrote:
1e is an increasingly shrinking audience.

But it's an increasingly unsupported audience too. If Paizo (and others) want to write APs for PF2 instead, maybe that leaves a space for you to fill?


I would advise to write it for P1 for now, and eventually do the crunch in P2 after the release.
I have been converting an AP from P1 and P2, and it takes roughly as much time to do the conversion as it does the prep for the P1 version. GM support is great in that, and the flexibility is a great help, but as you said we just don't have the final numbers yet. Give it time and work with what you have.

edit: more than willing to give some tips on how to do conversion if you think you need it. I've had enough practice.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Suggestion...

Write the first three encounters for PF1. If you're still alive by the time you're done, consider how the process felt. Do you still feel like finishing the product? Are you finding the rules giving you the flexibility you want as a creator? Are the rules holding you back?

It's fine to framework a full AP. It's fine to have a draft for 1.5 books. But you're talking about a scale of work that a whole team of people take months to assemble. Sure, Monte Cook can sit down and write Ptolus. And sure, Greg Vaughan spent a billion years and slammed out Slumbering Tsar. But massive works aren't usually one person jobs. I strongly suggest you take a manageable portion of the whole and actually do it from start to finish, all the way through playtesting, proofreading, and layout.

PF1 is suitable for that because the rules already exist, and there's tonnes of support for it. Once you've done your proof-of-concept, then you're in a position to actually consider if you want to stick with it, and the PF2 rules will be out. And likely much more than just Core.

Good luck.


Yo, are the PCs for the adventure regular humanoids or is this the type of evil campaigns with monstrous PCs and exploring this contrast?


Artofregicide wrote:

My question is: what system should I use? Originally I planned for PF1e, a system with many faults but one I've grown to love. I'll admit I haven't had the same feelings for PF2e yet, but I'd rather support Paizo than WotC. Unfortunately, there basically isn't enough GM support to even try to get started. That's not a huge downside as this is an admittedly huge project that has already been in the works for two years. 5e has the largest player base and simplest ruleset, but it doesn't scale in power the way I need. Plus the whole supporting Paizo thing. I'm currently thinking of hacking my own unpublished system, but that would make it even more niche.

I want to justify using PF2e, particularly to support Paizo as a company, but right now I just can't. So does anyone have any advice? Suggestions of other systems are welcome, as are questions.

I plan to do something similar, writing a Mendev sourcebook and a companion adventure (strictly fan material), and my idea is to go with Pathfinder 2nd Edition. It'll be interesting to learn the system both by playing it and by writing material for it. Two different experiences, I reckon, which will both let me tinker with the game engine in their own way.

So, write to learn?

(I'll be kicking off this project of mine once I get my hands on the Gamemastery Guide for Pathfinder 2nd Edition)


Heine Stick wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:

My question is: what system should I use? Originally I planned for PF1e, a system with many faults but one I've grown to love. I'll admit I haven't had the same feelings for PF2e yet, but I'd rather support Paizo than WotC. Unfortunately, there basically isn't enough GM support to even try to get started. That's not a huge downside as this is an admittedly huge project that has already been in the works for two years. 5e has the largest player base and simplest ruleset, but it doesn't scale in power the way I need. Plus the whole supporting Paizo thing. I'm currently thinking of hacking my own unpublished system, but that would make it even more niche.

I want to justify using PF2e, particularly to support Paizo as a company, but right now I just can't. So does anyone have any advice? Suggestions of other systems are welcome, as are questions.

I plan to do something similar, writing a Mendev sourcebook and a companion adventure (strictly fan material), and my idea is to go with Pathfinder 2nd Edition. It'll be interesting to learn the system both by playing it and by writing material for it. Two different experiences, I reckon, which will both let me tinker with the game engine in their own way.

So, write to learn?

(I'll be kicking off this project of mine once I get my hands on the Gamemastery Guide for Pathfinder 2nd Edition)

Sarkoris cleanup gonna take a while, indeed.


graystone wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:
And no, I am not literally in a pickle. A pickle large enough to encompass my entire body would be absurd.

LOL I just had to leave this here... ;)

Pickle

As to the actual thread, I agree with Claxon's entire post. With enough on your plate, go for what you know.

Curse you graystone... *shakes fist*


Anguish wrote:
... It's fine to framework a full AP. It's fine to have a draft for 1.5 books. But you're talking about a scale of work that a whole team of people take months to assemble...

You do have a point here, by the time I'm done with this project we may be on to PF3e.


ChibiNyan wrote:
Yo, are the PCs for the adventure regular humanoids or is this the type of evil campaigns with monstrous PCs and exploring this contrast?

The original plan is regular humanoids, this isn't really meant to be a monster campaign though depending on the system I might include optional rules for playing as monsters.

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