A question for all GMs who run Adventure Paths


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion

Paizo Employee Creative Director

With 2nd edition, our Adventure Paths are going to hit 20th level each time as the norm. As such, the concept for a "Continuing the Campaign" article at the end of a volume makes little sense, because at this time, 20th level is the capstone of the game and there's not much else to go on to accumulate for PCs beyond that point.

Currently, the plan is to close out each Adventure Path with information similar to what we've done in prior APs that hit 20th, like Wrath of the Righteous or Return of the Runelords, in the "Beyond the Campaign" articles. These articles would discuss ramifications of the adventure path on the world at large and could present stat blocks for future foes that you could use in your game that we'll be unlikely to follow up on in future publications.

But I'm not sure how useful that would be.

Which brings me to this question—what sort of information would you like to see in the very last volume of an Adventure Path, in place of the "Continuing the Campaign"? I'm about to work on the first one of these for Age of Ashes in a few days and I have my own ideas (as indicated above) but would love to hear some more from you all in the meantime.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Reading about ramifications of the adventure path on the world at large is one of my favorite parts of the entire AP. I would love it if you guys continued to do something similar. For those of us that play all of the APs in our own campaign worlds, it's fun when the backgrounds for the next set of characters are influenced by those of a previous AP. Just my 2 cp.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Ooooh...

Backgrounds that you can unlock for your next character after completing a prior Adventure Path is a REALLY cool idea.

Well done!


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I like the ramifications for the world, including if the PCs happen to fail. When I read the "What if Ileosa Wins" section of Curse of the Crimson Throne, I was suddenly inspired with all kinds of adventure ideas to deal with the heroes' failure. Of course, that's only for enterprising GMs who don't mind making up a new storyline. Different GMs read these APs for different reasons, not solely to run them. One reason is to gather ideas to create their own adventures and dealing with the failures of past heroes is aways an interesting launch for a different kind of adventure.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

yes, the 'what if the villain wins' articles are lots of fun.

ramifications for the world at large are also good fun - there was an excellent article in Hell's Vengeance on the implications of either side winning the war; similarly there was the 'aftermath' mechanic in War for the Crown

BUT what I'd really like is a quick paragraph or two to help a GM either develop a new campaign/adventure from material in the AP (a loose hook for instance, or an unexplored lower level of some dungeon, or a fresh evil awakened/introduced)


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Slightly different than "continuing the campaign" but some sort of epilogue of what the characters might get up to after the campaign and what the ramifications of their winning are. I don't mean in terms of more adventures for them, but maybe what role the heroes of that AP are expected to play in the larger world afterwards. Kind of like the end of Baldur's Gate Throne of Bhaal where it'd give a coda for each character depending on the path the player took.

At the end of each AP for a group there's this high level group of adventurers that just kind of canonically disappears once the adventure is over. So something like the way Return of the Runelords let you know in retrospect what the Heroes of the Sidheron were up to, except at the end of each AP instead.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Phaedre wrote:
At the end of each AP for a group there's this high level group of adventurers that just kind of canonically disappears once the adventure is over. So something like the way Return of the Runelords let you know in retrospect what the Heroes of the Sidheron were up to, except at the end of each AP instead.

That's something we kind of have to leave in limbo, since the nature of those heroes is the one part of the game we can't code—they're YOUR characters, after all. Return of the Runelords was a special case in that this AP specifically took place in the shadow of a prior group (or 2 groups, in this case).

Without that framework, I'm really stumped as to how to present a "How do your PCs continue to play roles in the game" other than to just talk about general ramifications. I don't want to set things up so that the more Adventure Paths you play at your table, the less of a reason there is for you to play them since you'll have more and more high-level PCs out there to do the job for you, after all.

It's probably best to either assume prior PCs go into retirement, head off into the Great Beyond for off-world adventures, or maybe just "reset" the world after each Adventure Path so that the prior AP you ran never took place—in this way, you would have numerous side-by-side stories with their own continuities, in much the same way you can have multiple stories like "Pet Semetary" and "Crimson Tide" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Jurassic Park" and "Catch 22" and "Insert Novel Here" all take place on Earth but not have to interact with each other.


Personally, I love seeing the impact that the characters have, for good or for bad, so I really hope that there's at least some mention of what kinds of ripple effects the campaign has on the world, and how some of the interested parties might react. Also, I do like the 'what if the villain wins' explanations, as either way, you get a ton of new ideas for potential future campaigns.

The idea of including new backgrounds (even just 1 or 2) based on the campaign is absolutely brilliant, and is now something I'm really hoping actually comes up (speaking, admittedly, as someone who will be sticking with 1e for a while). That would be a stunning way to really bring the world into a cohesive whole. (Do various backgrounds have Rarities? I haven't been keeping up with that.)

In a similar vein to new backgrounds based on the AP, having new Capstones (or just class feats) might be really cool as well, based on the major themes of the campaign. So, for example, there might be a special level 20 Wizard feat for Return of the Runelords, or Paladin for Wrath of the Righteous. Or even a lower level ability. Basically, something that GMs could use to say, "So, thanks to all this ancient Thassilonian research you uncovered, as a level 20 ability, you have the option to take this instead." Or, even better, "Thanks to your successful defeat of the Ironfang Legion, their military techniques have become more widespread- in any future campaign in the area, this is a new level 5 Fighter feat that you can select."

Basically, showing how the PCs have made an impact is awesome. Giving that impact some mechanical significance in the current or future campaigns is beyond amazing.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Using Mummy's Mask as an example, the "Demonic Civil War", "Other Flying Pyramids" and "Shory Interest" all give some good plot affected hooks that propel the story in the region forward, without really requiring Top-Tier PC's to handle. Giving them a bit more meat, perhaps a few sentences about where a campaign in that theme could go, is a substantial improvement over the "This is the situation, here is where its at, and here are some vague motivations" that we get with limited word and page count. Turn the adventure hooks into adventure trot-lines.

Expanding on Daedalus, perhaps some of the interesting unique powers showing up on enemies could be codified into class feats, so that your players can then (with new PC's) pull out a trick one of their former PC's had been a victim of.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

Ooooh...

Backgrounds that you can unlock for your next character after completing a prior Adventure Path is a REALLY cool idea.

Well done!

One thing that worries me about Backgrounds as a reward for an AP is that if you only play APs, you either can't use it (because you want one of the new AP's backgrounds for the more relevant benefit) or don't get the useful Lore and hook of the new backgrounds.

Mind you, that's already a slight concern of mine with just the CRB backgrounds and don't have a good solution for either problem

Grand Lodge Contributor

Dαedαlus wrote:

Personally, I love seeing the impact that the characters have, for good or for bad, so I really hope that there's at least some mention of what kinds of ripple effects the campaign has on the world, and how some of the interested parties might react. Also, I do like the 'what if the villain wins' explanations, as either way, you get a ton of new ideas for potential future campaigns.

Very much ^this. When wrapping up an AP, it's always great if the GM has some assistance filling in the epilogue and 'post-credits scene' to let the players understand the ramifications of their actions. I'd like to see at least three such conclusions - if their actions result in complete success, if they are partially successful, and if they fail. They don't need to be long, but just a paragraph each that clearly spells out the effect on the status quo in each instance would be a big help.

AND/OR

I enjoy being given new tools and toys, so you could use some of the space to provide new rules/NPCs/monsters with suggestions of where they might crop up in the Adventure Path. I realise this will only be useful to GMs who wait until all the chapters are released, but I really liked the extra material we got in Midwives to Death and A Song of Silver. Just more stuff all the time. More more more! :p

Dark Archive

I'd be curious for some alternate ideas, side quests or material for earlier in the adventure path. The last volume isn't the natural place for that exactly, but even if you start playing as it is released you might barely be through book 2 by time book 6 is released.


3Doubloons wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Ooooh...

Backgrounds that you can unlock for your next character after completing a prior Adventure Path is a REALLY cool idea.

Well done!

One thing that worries me about Backgrounds as a reward for an AP is that if you only play APs, you either can't use it (because you want one of the new AP's backgrounds for the more relevant benefit) or don't get the useful Lore and hook of the new backgrounds.

Mind you, that's already a slight concern of mine with just the CRB backgrounds and don't have a good solution for either problem

As with everything, it would just be a GM tool, I'd imagine. If there's a similar campaign you've run in the past, just swap out a few proper nouns in the flavor, and you're good to go, I'd imagine.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Dαedαlus wrote:
In a similar vein to new backgrounds based on the AP, having new Capstones (or just class feats) ...

Way ahead of you there. That's something I planned to do from the very start, but now it won't be a surprise! :-P

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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3Doubloons wrote:

One thing that worries me about Backgrounds as a reward for an AP is that if you only play APs, you either can't use it (because you want one of the new AP's backgrounds for the more relevant benefit) or don't get the useful Lore and hook of the new backgrounds.

Mind you, that's already a slight concern of mine with just the CRB backgrounds and don't have a good solution for either problem

I'd set these up as rare backgrounds. Which would do two things:

1) It'd mean that in order to earn them, you would have to play through the adventure path, and they probably wouldn't make sense to players who didn't know how that AP played out and might even be spoilers for players who havent. (For example, a post-Rise of the Runelords background might be "Looter of Xin-Shalast" or "Legacy of Slain Karzoug" or the like.)

2) But as with ALL rules elements, a GM can always simply decide to give out anything that they think is a good fit for their game. So any GM who sees these backgrounds can take any of them and make them common for their game as they see fit.

THAT SAID... coming up with a way that these backgrounds could work as "templates" on existing backgrounds is an interesting idea, so that you could play a new AP with that AP's specialized backgrounds, but adjust them for the prior game's results.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Davor Firetusk wrote:
I'd be curious for some alternate ideas, side quests or material for earlier in the adventure path. The last volume isn't the natural place for that exactly, but even if you start playing as it is released you might barely be through book 2 by time book 6 is released.

I don't think this is the right place to add in "cutting room floor" or "developer's addition" type content. That stuff is more useful during play, not after the campaign is over.

That said, we ARE looking for ways to get more stuff like web enhancements or bonus material out there via other routes, so hopefully some day we'll be able to do web enhancement type things more easily and quickly and efficiently.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
THAT SAID... coming up with a way that these backgrounds could work as "templates" on existing backgrounds is an interesting idea, so that you could play a new AP with that AP's specialized backgrounds, but adjust them for the prior game's results.

That kind of template is what I was hoping for out of that comment ^_^

That's the best of both worlds in my opinion: You get a nice reward for completing your previous AP, but still start your next character in a way that fits the new adventures. Although if I had a time machine, I'd go back to suggest you include background templates in the Core rules and make the AP backgrounds templates that can be applied to any background

Dark Archive

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As someone who runs(and has run) multiple aps in same setting, info on ramifications on larger setting is definitely something I love :D


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Suggestions on how to port new AP into the old system.

That aside;

Ramifications on the larger setting could be good, as I think most of us who have run more than one AP like to reference that. I did Iron Gods and Wrath of the Rightous afterward and made a new order of knights/paladins to go with the PCs based off Tech found in Iron Gods.

Or maybe find ways to link the AP from one book to another. Now of course this would be a giant task if you do it for all the APs but maybe link them based on Region or style? It doesn't even need to be the same characters, maybe the retainers of the PCs are sent to deal with an issue near by, but if you're going to link them based of PCs(And their levels) maybe give a broad suggested stat bonus to give monsters? I don't know.

Like if you completed Skull and Shackles, your next character for say, Serpent's Skull or Ruins of Azlant was a retainer/helper of your old PC and gets a small Pirate bonus?

Something to help flesh out where they're from or at least what "Completed" AP they are from. You don't even need to beat the AP but can now go "Okay this AP was completed and here's the fallout" in an easier way.

I think Reign of Winter mentioned a Module that might have been played before the AP and goes "So here's what's up if that happened" or something. More of that be interesting to see.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

MerlinCross wrote:

Suggestions on how to port new AP into the old system.

I get it that folks are eager to be able to play 1st edition still. If in the future the customer base decides that 1st edition Pathfinder is the better one, who can say what we might do.

But now is not that time. I hope that folks accept and embrace 2nd edition overall, and that we will be able to continue producing products for the game we want to write for and the game we're the most proud of having created.

Converting 2nd edition content to play in 1st edition (or vice-versa, converting 1st edition stuff to use in 2nd edition) is going to be something that anyone can do once they're used to the new rules. In the same way you can run a 1st edition D&D adventure in Pathfinder 1st edition. I know. I've done that a LOT. It's actually kind of fun revisiting older adventures and converting... and when you get adroit enough in both systems you can do the bulk of the conversion during play. Because the types of adventures and stories that they wanted to tell in 1st edition D&D are the same as the ones we wanted to tell in 1st edition Pathfinder. And likewise, the stories we told in 1st edition Pathfinder are ones we want to keep telling in 2nd edition.

If 2nd edition Pathfinder won't let us tell a story like Rise of the Runelords... or if 1st edition Pathfinder won't let us tell a story like Age of Ashes... then we failed.

I don't think we failed. Please give the new rules a chance.


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Yeah no I wasn't expecting instant rules on how to revert back in the first couple APs. Unless said APs are retreads/repeats, like Rise of the Runelords 2.0. Just a little "Hey here's what to do to update it" or something like that.

But again unless it's retreads I don't expect to see rules on how to convert back till later.

I get that you guys want to keep working. I even get you guys want to move on. And I wish you luck.

I just hope your new game doesn't get broken and answered in a year or two.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
3Doubloons wrote:

One thing that worries me about Backgrounds as a reward for an AP is that if you only play APs, you either can't use it (because you want one of the new AP's backgrounds for the more relevant benefit) or don't get the useful Lore and hook of the new backgrounds.

Mind you, that's already a slight concern of mine with just the CRB backgrounds and don't have a good solution for either problem

I'd set these up as rare backgrounds. Which would do two things:

1) It'd mean that in order to earn them, you would have to play through the adventure path, and they probably wouldn't make sense to players who didn't know how that AP played out and might even be spoilers for players who havent. (For example, a post-Rise of the Runelords background might be "Looter of Xin-Shalast" or "Legacy of Slain Karzoug" or the like.)

2) But as with ALL rules elements, a GM can always simply decide to give out anything that they think is a good fit for their game. So any GM who sees these backgrounds can take any of them and make them common for their game as they see fit.

THAT SAID... coming up with a way that these backgrounds could work as "templates" on existing backgrounds is an interesting idea, so that you could play a new AP with that AP's specialized backgrounds, but adjust them for the prior game's results.

i think that's pretty cool.

it's sort of like Society boons as well. You don't need them, but you can show up with one and it's pretty cool.


Backgrounds are probably the one good thing in PF2, so backrounds earned by playing an AP is an awesome idea. I just hope those Backgrounds can easily be adapted into PF1 traits (and it also would be nice if you go down that path, that the old APs are not forgotten when it comes to those Backgrounds)

James Jacobs wrote:


I get it that folks are eager to be able to play 1st edition still. If in the future the customer base decides that 1st edition Pathfinder is the better one, who can say what we might do.

^THIS might be the best thing I read on this boards for almost a year

James Jacobs wrote:


But now is not that time.

well, PF2 is still young, I can accept that. Maybe in a month or two?

James Jacobs wrote:
In the same way you can run a 1st edition D&D adventure in Pathfinder 1st edition. I know. I've done that a LOT. It's actually kind of fun revisiting older adventures and converting...

Yeah, I've done that too, back when I had way more time on my hands and were not forced by society to work. Maybe I'll do it again when I'm retired in a couple of decades. In the meantime, I'm happy about any short cut I get.

James Jacobs wrote:
Please give the new rules a chance.

As I said, the Backgrounds look fun.

But seriously, I might give the new CRB a chance if I stumble across a free copy of it and maybe the Dwarves feel even dwarfier as was promised, but I just have that feeling it still resembles the playtest version of it and that system just was not fun enough to consider changing from PF1 to a new system.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber
Hythlodeus wrote:
But seriously, I might give the new CRB a chance if I stumble across a free copy of it

Ta-da! :D


Joana wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:
But seriously, I might give the new CRB a chance if I stumble across a free copy of it
Ta-da! :D

As much as I love AoN, it's not as easy to read as a book ;p


James Jacobs wrote:
3Doubloons wrote:

One thing that worries me about Backgrounds as a reward for an AP is that if you only play APs, you either can't use it (because you want one of the new AP's backgrounds for the more relevant benefit) or don't get the useful Lore and hook of the new backgrounds.

Mind you, that's already a slight concern of mine with just the CRB backgrounds and don't have a good solution for either problem

I'd set these up as rare backgrounds. Which would do two things:

1) It'd mean that in order to earn them, you would have to play through the adventure path, and they probably wouldn't make sense to players who didn't know how that AP played out and might even be spoilers for players who havent. (For example, a post-Rise of the Runelords background might be "Looter of Xin-Shalast" or "Legacy of Slain Karzoug" or the like.)

2) But as with ALL rules elements, a GM can always simply decide to give out anything that they think is a good fit for their game. So any GM who sees these backgrounds can take any of them and make them common for their game as they see fit.

THAT SAID... coming up with a way that these backgrounds could work as "templates" on existing backgrounds is an interesting idea, so that you could play a new AP with that AP's specialized backgrounds, but adjust them for the prior game's results.

I don’t mind the possible spoilers, especially given the idea of a living world, and would be perfectly happy allowing them even for people who hadn’t played the requisite AP just to better hook them into the world.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Its definitely an interesting question. I've GM'd multiple 1e APs and setting up to GM Age of Ashes. But its typically been with new groups of players or minor overlap and we've been 'resetting' to canon Golarian before each one so ramifications from one don't really carry over. As a result the story telling hooks in the continuing/beyond haven't been particularly useful, inspire of being very interesting.

Part of me loves the idea of custom/templatable backgrounds as carry over rewards, but another part worries that it encourages players to read the last book searching for cool things to pickup. Same would apply to alternate capstone feat style things. I'd rather see rewards of that nature show up in the players guide (even if you need to be a little vague/abstract in the name/descirption to avoid spoilers), but I know that's a major change from what typically enters the players guide.

I would love to see a 'troubleshooting the campaign' section. Assuming there's time to get enough feedback from the field (all of us) on chapters 1 & 2 at least to give some advice before book 6 gets locked down for publication.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Davor Firetusk wrote:
I'd be curious for some alternate ideas, side quests or material for earlier in the adventure path. The last volume isn't the natural place for that exactly, but even if you start playing as it is released you might barely be through book 2 by time book 6 is released.

I don't think this is the right place to add in "cutting room floor" or "developer's addition" type content. That stuff is more useful during play, not after the campaign is over.

That said, we ARE looking for ways to get more stuff like web enhancements or bonus material out there via other routes, so hopefully some day we'll be able to do web enhancement type things more easily and quickly and efficiently.

I know that you already answered this but I still feel I want to second the "cutting room floor/developer's addition" content idea. Many GMs don't run APs as they come out for various reasons and I think this is an opportunity to further link the individual adventures tighter together. I've read enough anecdotes about published adventures that sometimes things get missed, forgotten, or not entirely lined up with the overall story that this provides an opportunity to resolve some of this at the very end.

I completely understand that this could lead to a lot of work and that perhaps producing this in the final volume is still too soon to notice these sorts of errors/omissions but I think it would be great if you tried the concept at least once in the future to gauge community feedback. I think this sort of thing can only enhance the overall AP in my opinion.

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