AP suggestions


Advice


Hi all

I'm looking at running a 4 man AP with experienced PCs, I have read some reviews but I wanted to get some more GM/player feedback. Here's what I'm looking for:

1) Good RP/combat balance
2) Hard to complete - I don't have any probs with PC deaths!
3) Goes up to at least 14th level
4) Not too much book keeping
5) Interesting theme
6) Puzzles and trap type stuff

I was initially thinking about Strange Aoens, Age of Worms or Mummy's Mask...

Any ideas or thoughts greatly appreciated!


How about Kingmaker? It fulfills all your points except the 4th (the GM needs to read quite a bit beforehand)

Silver Crusade

Kingmaker is extremely bookkeeping heavy.

For the best experience, you honestly need to have a hex-grid map for exploration, you don't have to do it, but having one made is nice, and sets a good mood. You will have to keep track of a plethora of desicions and keep track of how the kingdom is doing, set up battles, intrigue etc.

Giantslayer- generic, good old fashioned dungeon crawl like AP. Its straightforward, requires little bookeeping, theme is interesting. However it likely leans more towards combat heavy, and is not known for its puzzles/traps. Potential good flavor for a dwarven party

Skull and shackles- one of the closest to evil APs you'll get. The PCs are pirates on the high seas, great flavor/fun (particularly if you enjoyed pirates of the Caribbean) minimal bookkeeping, though more than some other APs. Its good fun.

Carrion crown- really good victorian/gothic horror theme. Super minimal bookkeeping, some great RP moments and great combats (though some are meh) first book can be SUPER challenging depending on party composition and how they tackle it. One of my favorites.

Mummies mask- I haven't had the pleasure to play much of this, but I've heard the themes kinda get bogged down in later books. Plenty of puzzled and traps though, and early on its quite deadly.

Strange aeons- can't comment
Age of worms- can't comment

Now... if you aren't against 3pp content,
way of the wicked is a fantastic 1-20 campaign where the players basically get to make and play their own BBEG and tell the story of how he rose to his power. Theme and lore are amazing, you can find the books fairly easily. Its great fun, and I recommend it highly. Bonus points if you incorporate elements of kingmaker into it.


Hell's Rebels would be good, but you'd need to remove or automate the rebellion management, if you don't like a lot of book keeping.

Or you could just give the management to one player alone to handle, if one of your players is more into it. When we played Hell's Rebels, the adventure was a lot of fun, but the rebellion management lead to a lot of arguments about how best to spend our actions for a given week. In the end, we just let one guy do all of the management and it went super fast, letting us get back to the adventure and RP.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Strange Aeons seems to fit each of your points exactly. If you were already leaning towards it, I can definitely recommend it given the priorities you've stated. It has good combat/RP balance, it's notoriously deadly at least as far as Paizo AP's go, you'll reach 14th level some time in book 5, it's fairly straightforward to run, and has a very unique theme. I can't remember exactly what it has for puzzles, but there are plenty of places where you could easily insert them and they'd fit very naturally. Traps are plentiful.


Way of the Wicked seconded! First two books are light on puzzles. Second book shifts some book keeping to the PCs, Dungeon Keeper style. You can run it just beautifully as written but it gets even better if you invest some time on customization.


Thanks for the suggestions all...

Am I right in thinking from looking at the players guide for Strange Aeons that the 'Fugue State' starting point means that they can't recall the last 2-3 years of their lives but memories before that are OK?

I'm trying to get an idea of how the PCs should be writing out their background stories.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
doc roc wrote:
Am I right in thinking from looking at the players guide for Strange Aeons that the 'Fugue State' starting point means that they can't recall the last 2-3 years of their lives but memories before that are OK?

How much or how little they can remember is up to you and how you want to run it as a GM. Personally I'd stick as close to blank slate as possible, and be open with my players about this from the outset. In particular, there's one important thing to keep in mind:

Spoiler:

The PC's were evil prior to being murdered in the dimension of dreams and falling into a fugue state. Not mustache-twirling villain evil, but more of your mundane "break your leg" street thug evil. A big part of the first half of the campaign is coming to terms with the fact that they may not actually like the person they used to be.


Ahhh so...

SPOILER:
Do you mean its actually upto the GM to have some backstories lined up for the PCs that are drip fed to them, or that as the AP develops the backstories gradually emerge? I have only just finished reading the first book.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That is one way to do it. The campaign leaves a lot of room for you to adjust this aspect to taste.

Spoiler:

The only thing that is necessary plot-wise is that the PC's spent the last few years in the service of Count Haserton Lowls. The people of Versex county remember them as the underlings of their evil Count, doing his dirty work. Ultimately they were betrayed by their boss, their minds sacrificed to a powerful entity in the dimension of dreams, leaving their bodies in the fugue state.

The default presumption is that 3-4 years ago the PC's had been captured by slavers and put up for auction in the flesh markets of Okeno. They were purchased by Count Haserton Lowls, who took them back to his home in Versex county and freed them. It was understood that they owed him a debt of service, but otherwise they were free retainers. In this time the PC's gradually drifted towards evil, under the influence of their morally bankrupt boss.

iirc there's some implication in book 6 that the player characters may in fact be entirely new souls that inherited the mind and bodies of the individuals who died in the dimension of dreams. Thematically it makes sense; Strange Aeons is really the story of fantasy adventure heroes waking up in the middle of a cosmic horror story. A proper cosmic horror story shouldn't have heroes who show up in the final act to confront the cosmic horrors and set things right, and the player characters are anomalies who don't really belong. I thought it was a clever way of bridging the genres, and having a literal demigod be confused by their existence in the final chapter was a nice touch.


Dasrak wrote:

That is one way to do it. The campaign leaves a lot of room for you to adjust this aspect to taste.

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks for this, it summarises things nicely.

Did you use the fear & sanity rules?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've never used the Horror Adventure Fear or Sanity rules, so I can't comment on those.

Grand Lodge

I have used them. They seem to be designed for a call of cathulu style game where PCs are dying a lot. For this reason they don't work well with the story of strange aeons or heroic games in general. That said a modified less harsh version would work really well. Don't go past the first stage, increase the threshold, decrease the sanity damage, and a make the damage more easily cured.

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