1 - The Show Must Go On (GM Reference)


Extinction Curse

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Silver Crusade

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Correct.


StephenOfOlde wrote:
learn the new spells in the volume. Is the unlock requirement just that they're playing this adventure?

Most of the spells can be found on scrolls throughout the adventure- for example Harlock's desk has Personal Rain Cloud, Sea Surge and Sudden Bolt.


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StephenOfOlde wrote:
Super excited to run this AP (my first time running an AP), but I had one thing I was confused by. It was my understanding things tagged "Uncommon" had specific unlock requirements, but I couldn't find anything that said how Players could unlock being able to use the Juggler or Staff Acrobat archetype, or learn the new spells in the volume. Is the unlock requirement just that they're playing this adventure?

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42x8q?Circus-Weapons

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With Flamboni sisters we at least know there are two of them, but with Dwarven Throwers we don't even know names or how many there are ._. Like they apparently form ballista shape and throw each other so there has to be at least three dwarves as part of the trick?

I do get feeling there really should have been at least short write up on each act/member/team of the circus


Since we're in the GM thread, can I ask if there's more content upcoming for the Professor and the rest of the Sideshow of Everyday Marvels?

That is, will there be pictures of The Bearded Man, The Tattooed Woman and The Unjoined Twins? Will they feature in parts 2 and beyond of the AP?

In short: can a GM tweak or change their backgrounds, appearance without trouble, or would that be... complicated?

Thank you,
Zapp

PS. Can I also give the feedback that this sideshow should probably have been introduced already in Chapter 1?


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Chapter 1 is going to have a ton of new characters being introduced already. Adding another group of people to remember would just muddy the waters further, and make the whole circus a mushy mess in a lot of people's mind. It'd also balloon the number of suspects, slowing down the pacing of the adventure.

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I'm planning on having a Chapter 0 where the PCs meet all the NPCs the night before the performance en route to Abberton, and they get to know all of them before things get rolling. It also helps give weight to the murder - now the ringmaster isn't just a dead man, it's the guy that gave them a shot in his circus.

Liberty's Edge

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StephenOfOlde wrote:
Super excited to run this AP (my first time running an AP), but I had one thing I was confused by. It was my understanding things tagged "Uncommon" had specific unlock requirements, but I couldn't find anything that said how Players could unlock being able to use the Juggler or Staff Acrobat archetype, or learn the new spells in the volume. Is the unlock requirement just that they're playing this adventure?

I believe some of the spells can be found as scrolls in this AP.

From the top of my head I don't remember the rarity rules all too well but generally speaking anything that is uncommon can be access by a PC should the GM permit it. Essentially, if my memory is correct, common is under the assumption that PCs can access that resource at anytime. Uncommon is not obtainable unless it is found or the GM give's the green light for the player to take it.

I know in my case, my players all have access to the new player options for this AP and one of them has chosen to be a Juggler.

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StephenOfOlde wrote:
Super excited to run this AP (my first time running an AP), but I had one thing I was confused by. It was my understanding things tagged "Uncommon" had specific unlock requirements, but I couldn't find anything that said how Players could unlock being able to use the Juggler or Staff Acrobat archetype, or learn the new spells in the volume. Is the unlock requirement just that they're playing this adventure?

Yes, they have to learn it somewhere in the adventure. Sometimes we're very clear about how you'd get an Uncommon rules item (this NPC has this particular item, or this book contains instructions for this particular feat), but sometimes we want to leave it up to the GM. For example, this adventure presents a bunch of new Uncommon snares. Where might the heroes learn these? Perhaps in the materials left by Lakkai in the aeon tower, or perhaps at Nemmia's camp. Maybe the heroes even seek out a hunter or trapper in town who isn't even listed in the adventure.

For the archetypes, the heroes' experience with the circus might be enough on its own to open up these archetypes, or the GM might decide the heroes have to do something in-game. That's why it's in a "toolbox;" it's a tool for the GM to use in the adventure however she sees fit.

The "Uncommon" tag serves a general game marker for "isn't the core assumption for every game." So you can't just hand your copy of The Show Must Go On to your GM in any home game and say "I'm a staff acrobat." But in the Extinction Curse campaign, it's as common as the GM wants to make it and we assume, somehow, the characters can get at it. (Similarly, we put the Uncommon tag on monster, in part, to say "you can't summon these by default.")


I just wanted to put this out there for commentary.

We are still in the middle of Age of Ashes, but our group is already looking forward to Extinction Curse after I described the basic idea of the party being party of a circus.

Now, the group is kicking around the idea of fashioning the party and circus after the Carnival of Chaos from the old GW game Mordheim.

The worst thing about this is that I'd really like to play in that....


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Ron Lundeen wrote:
StephenOfOlde wrote:
Super excited to run this AP (my first time running an AP), but I had one thing I was confused by. It was my understanding things tagged "Uncommon" had specific unlock requirements, but I couldn't find anything that said how Players could unlock being able to use the Juggler or Staff Acrobat archetype, or learn the new spells in the volume. Is the unlock requirement just that they're playing this adventure?

Yes, they have to learn it somewhere in the adventure. Sometimes we're very clear about how you'd get an Uncommon rules item (this NPC has this particular item, or this book contains instructions for this particular feat), but sometimes we want to leave it up to the GM. For example, this adventure presents a bunch of new Uncommon snares. Where might the heroes learn these? Perhaps in the materials left by Lakkai in the aeon tower, or perhaps at Nemmia's camp. Maybe the heroes even seek out a hunter or trapper in town who isn't even listed in the adventure.

For the archetypes, the heroes' experience with the circus might be enough on its own to open up these archetypes, or the GM might decide the heroes have to do something in-game. That's why it's in a "toolbox;" it's a tool for the GM to use in the adventure however she sees fit.

The "Uncommon" tag serves a general game marker for "isn't the core assumption for every game." So you can't just hand your copy of The Show Must Go On to your GM in any home game and say "I'm a staff acrobat." But in the Extinction Curse campaign, it's as common as the GM wants to make it and we assume, somehow, the characters can get at it. (Similarly, we put the Uncommon tag on monster, in part, to say "you can't summon these by default.")

Awesome! Thanks for clarifying! Can't wait to get started :)


Can someone clarify for me why the Circus Rule a Player can have more than one type of Trick Roll? Why shouldn't he just roll always the better one?

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CorvusMask wrote:
With Flamboni sisters we at least know there are two of them, but with Dwarven Throwers we don't even know names or how many there are ._. Like they apparently form ballista shape and throw each other so there has to be at least three dwarves as part of the trick?

There wasn't room enough on the inside cover to give all the details, so this is unofficial, but if you want to do what I did: there are four dwarves in the Dwarven Throwers act. Three of them form the living ballista while the fourth gets hurled through the air. They claim to be brothers, but in fact are not, and they use the names Nuthri, Suthri, Estri and Vestri. However, these names belong to the characters in the act, so if one of the dwarves drops out, gets injured, or otherwise replaced, the replacement would adopt the unused name.

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Jason Tondro wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
With Flamboni sisters we at least know there are two of them, but with Dwarven Throwers we don't even know names or how many there are ._. Like they apparently form ballista shape and throw each other so there has to be at least three dwarves as part of the trick?
There wasn't room enough on the inside cover to give all the details, so this is unofficial, but if you want to do what I did: there are four dwarves in the Dwarven Throwers act. Three of them form the living ballista while the fourth gets hurled through the air. They claim to be brothers, but in fact are not, and they use the names Nuthri, Suthri, Estri and Vestri. However, these names belong to the characters in the act, so if one of the dwarves drops out, gets injured, or otherwise replaced, the replacement would adopt the unused name.

Thank you :D That is seriously very helpful!


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Dante Doom wrote:
Can someone clarify for me why the Circus Rule a Player can have more than one type of Trick Roll? Why shouldn't he just roll always the better one?

Probably because which Trick Roll is used depends on how the performance is described. For example, the Dwarven Throwers could use either Athletics to impress the crowd with the height/distance of the throws or Acrobatics to perform flashy flips and tumbles with the throws.

I also wonder if the Advanced Circus Trick feat (mentioned on page 64, but it seems to have been omitted from the Extinction Curse Player's Guide) had some other benefit than just adding a trait to the performance, such as making the second Perform a Trick check during the same act at no penalty when using a different Trick Roll.


Dante Doom wrote:
Can someone clarify for me why the Circus Rule a Player can have more than one type of Trick Roll? Why shouldn't he just roll always the better one?

There is no reason.

Look at this for a possible rules-tweak to add a reason why a performer might want to use both skills during an Act:

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42x9c?Circus-Show-analysis#4


Dragonchess Player wrote:
I also wonder if the Advanced Circus Trick feat (mentioned on page 64, but it seems to have been omitted from the Extinction Curse Player's Guide) had some other benefit than just adding a trait to the performance, such as making the second Perform a Trick check during the same act at no penalty when using a different Trick Roll.

The feat is detailed on the blog and it does indeed have such a provision. As its example suggests, it lets you avoid the -10 penalty for taking the Perform a Trick action a third time.

Of course, the additional trick checks you gain as you level up normally (level 4 and 16) does not provide such a boon. Assuming most PCs won't take the feat, they still have no reason to use more than their best skill.


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Cyprion wrote:
Dire Ursus wrote:
Did you take into account that performers can help each other, and also all the background roles that a PC could take over?

Yeah, the last scenario I ran with +8 skill checks and +1 circ bonus modeled that generously, as if every single check was helped by assistance and agile tricks. My model circus failed all 100 tries even so.

If you want the players to have a shot (and maybe you don't, idk) you really need to make sure they net that +4 excitement from outside events, or start with 10-11 anticipation.

I believe one of the "optimal" solutions for generating 15 Excitement with the first show includes the following:

1) Three PCs taking the Animal Handler (+2 on all trick checks with the animal trait, such as Axel and Eliza; note that this is in addition to the bonus for Costar), Backup Clown (can Send in the Clowns twice per act), and Pyrotechnic (tricks with the fire trait, such as the Flamboni Sisters, generate double Excitement) non-performer roles.

2) At least one of the PC tricks having the fire trait to also benefit from the Pyrotechnic non-performer role.

3) The Dwarven Throwers should probably be the big number, as they have the highest trick check (Athletics +10).

4) Convincing Axel to perform.

5) Persuading the Kanbali family to perform without a net. You may also want to allow a PC that can cast feather fall substitute the spell for an injury check (automatic success) on a failure (this may be in place of the Costar reaction).

6) Convincing Mordaine to perform other than as the big number (or letting her perform as the big number).

7) Dealing with the Troublesome Gamblers and Drunken Brawlers challenges without resorting to lethal damage.

8) Dealing with the Snakes in the Stands challenge swiftly.

9) Each performance (except for one of the three in the finale) takes two checks and Send in the Clowns on a second check failure (or for both failures in the opener and big number). The Backup Clown is probably the most important non-performer role!

Maximum possible Excitement (assuming the Flamboni Sisters and the PC trick with the fire trait fail the second check and need to Send in The Clowns for 1 Excitement instead of 2, plus gaining the +3 from the Kanbali and snake challenges) = 18. Tough, but doable.


In our campaign, random event #11 "the Tent breaks" saved their bacon and made a Critical Success possible.


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Run my first session on previous week.

My party consist of:
Andre - half-naked human barbarian, who loves burn himself
Valda - leshy, acrobat, wizard
Moonshaez - goblin dog rider ranger with trained goblin dog
Selvin - gnome wizard with parrot
Veles - half elf alchemist (who take role of circus doctor)
Kithum - human rogue clown

First part - the show go smoothly. Mainly Beacuse they have pyrotechnic role and two shows with fire trait. Also they pursued feather fall five to perform without net. At end they have 18 Exitement vs 17 anticipation.

Second part - the investigation becomes hell for them, after a really fun show, they relaxed and separete from each other, group of 4 goes to investigate forest (mainly because one of the players run to forest and not all party followed her) and other two go to investigate ringleader wagon.

In forest party find snakes and kill them, but the fight was extreemly difficult, Valda and trained goblin dog died, 1 charater was unconscious, and Ande have only 1 hit point left.

Meanwhile plants in ringleader wagon eat clown Kithum. When party alltogether again, they healed and go investigate further (two players whoes characters died reroll to circus guards).

With Barnolf the all survived only because of lucky roll of charachter who have dying 3 and that bear fights only 2 rounds).

After that they gather all circus around the fire and try to rest and recover, but fairys come to have fun with them. After having pain with dancing and persuding fairys to leave them alone, they just sit near fire cowering in horror.

This time i think Nemia become impatient of hours of seating in wagon and she show herself to make a speach to PCs and atack. Terrified players have accepted combat and survive.

Now they do some gravedigging and furneal... Selvin got some mental damage and thinking of going to forest and hang some squirells on trees, other characters feel pain and anger for fallen comrades.

Don't know where it leads, but players don't expect such difficult battles and such brutality). Anyway players want to continue)


Heh.


The pollen pods complex hazard... How did other people run it? I made it so that each pod had one-quarter the entire hazard's HP, since it has rules for number of pods. But where does that leave what to do with the Broken Threshold?

I ran it so that the entire hazard wasn't disabled until every pod was defeated. The entire encounter was a big drain on the party's resources. What was the intended way to run this encounter?

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The Rot Grub wrote:

The pollen pods complex hazard... How did other people run it? I made it so that each pod had one-quarter the entire hazard's HP, since it has rules for number of pods. But where does that leave what to do with the Broken Threshold?

I ran it so that the entire hazard wasn't disabled until every pod was defeated. The entire encounter was a bug drain on the party's resources. What was the intended way to run this encounter?

Yes, because if they're clever they can back away from it and damage it from a distance (remember, the door falls right off). To the extent any 1st-level adventure is a bit of a teaching tool, this encounter is teaching, "sometimes it's better to back away."


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I was pretty confused on how to run it too. I ended up running it a bit like 4 separate enemies that had no move speed. Each had 20 hp (was going to do 32, but quickly realized that would have been insane, so I dropped it behind the scenes). Still not sure how it was intended to work, but your 1/4 idea is how I'd probably run it in a future play through.

They succeeded, but it was tricky. One of my players was a Sensate Gnome, and she rolled perception at the door. I ruled that she could smell a strange floral scent. She rolled nature, and ID'd it as something she hadn't smelled in his wagon before. They started to look around the cart, so I let them find a small window towards the front. The Iruxi lifted her up to get a look, and she was able to ID the plant. The Monkey Goblin monk with thievery decided to break the window and sneak in to remove the pods. He removed one no problem, but failed on the second one. Got blasted with 3 bursts, fell against the door, and was dragged out by the rest of the party. After that they managed to take care of the pods without too many major issues.


The Rot Grub wrote:
The pollen pods complex hazard... How did other people run it?

I pretty much followed the instructions.

They opened the door (having failed on their Perception check to peer into the windows), which triggered the reaction, and everybody rolled Initiative. The pods rolled a 19 and easily went first.

Despite missing two out of the five attacks (four plus reaction), all three PCs hit became confused (missing the rather hard save).

They all attacked each other (I fudged one random roll to prevent a PC from entering the wagon to charge a pod, which would have been a surefire way to die).

The two remaining PCs tried one attack to learn the pod's impressive AC, and then decided (with a hint from me) it was time to use the fallen-off door to block the pods, in order to save the lives of their comrades.

Then it was combat round #2, and the fight was already over. The pods easily downed the one or maybe two characters (out of the three melee combatants) still standing.

Then I let the two remaining heroes auto-succeed in propping up the door in the door frame, and the encounter was done. The pods didn't take even a single point of damage, and without my leeway would easily have caused a TPK. I did not boost the hazard even though running the AP for five, not four, players.

Not sure what the lesson is here, other than "PF2 is not easy like 5E" :-)

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