1 - The Show Must Go On (GM Reference)


Extinction Curse

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Hi Zapp, I think for question 1, it's perfectly reasonable to just find bodies if the party is slow to get to the barn.

I had similar thoughts to you in question 2. I think you can either assume that the encounter takes place as described because it just so happens to occur as the party is passing by. If the party needs a rest in the hermitage, there are tons of empty rooms that probably wouldn't be checked unless the party does something like leaving the door wide open or make a bunch of noise.

You could also make the NPCs do reasonable things like wander the halls heading to the bathroom or maybe they find multiple people in the kitchen because it is dinner time. The destruction demons may have finished destroying the library and are starting to satisfy their needs destroying other rooms.

It really comes down to how you want to handle time. Typically if my players find a safe place to rest and don't do anything to give themselves away, I let them rest but allow some NPCs to move around if they have reason to and aren't a scripted event like the two hermits fighting over Harlocks room.

Rise of the Runelords has a good example of this:

End of Volume 1 for Rise of the Runelords:
Nemia has a gathering once a week in the chapel to Lamashtu. It is possible that the party arrives at the fort during one of these meetings and potentially have a TPK due to the full force of the fort being at one of these meetings out of fear of Nemia.


Thank you Z

Welp, I am not sure "potential TPK" is a feature :)

I was more asking if there isn't official guidelines for how to run the Adventure Path in as default-y official-y manner as possible.

"The party sleeps a full night after every encounter, never getting disturbed"

and

"The party does it utmost to take out the entire Hermitage before the alarm goes off"

...are two very different challenges, and yet both are technically "RAW" because of the lack of any scenario-specific advice at all.

I'm asking because the rules spend A LOT of energy making sure encounters, loot and character powers are balanced, including detailed xp budgets for encounters...

...but none of that efforts matters in either making the game run on God Mode or Nightmare Mode!

---

To that end, comparisons to previous APs are very insightful, so again thanks Z!


I believe they find out Henlock(?), the leader of the Hermitage, is being held captive in the inner sanctum. I'm sure that would motivate most groups to not spend too long completing the chapter.


https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42zck?Advice-on-pacing-specific-example

The above is a thread that might (or might not) be of interested to Show Must Go On gamesmasters.


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As a heads-up the oozes of Chapter 4 are described in a place they cannot reach.

The map clearly delineates where the oozes go. That does not include the entrance or the first guard room, G1.

Yet, here's where you find the descriptive text saying how clean everything is.

In short: Don't describe any cleanliness as they enter the structure (in G1 or G2). Only when the heroes advance south from G1 or reach G4 should you start talking about cleanliness.


Thanks for the heads up. I did a speed read through the section and wondered where the oozes should start at.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

In Chapter 3, page 35, the corrupted retainer is a CR 2 creature that has a melee attack that does 2d8+2, which actually ends up being 2d8+4 due to tainted rage (with a d10 fatal crit die as well). The creature has +11 to attack, AC 20 (counting shield and rage), and 35 hp (counting rage).

Comparing that to the creature creation rules in the Gamemastery Guide, it appears this creature is overpowered by the math of PF2.

For a CR 2 creature:

+11 attack is a High attack bonus, akin to a fighter ("Use a high attack bonus for combat creatures - fighter types - that also usually have high damage.") (GMG, p. 64)

2d8+4 damage (average 13) is above the Extreme strike damage (11), not even counting the damage that gets added on a crit due to the Fatal trait. (GMG, p. 65) On a crit, you're looking at average 31-32 damage for a CR 2 enemy.

20 AC (with shield raised and Rage active) is just below Extreme AC. Note the warning on p. 61 of the Gamemastery Guide to "reserve extreme AC for a creature that is even better defended; these values are for creatures that have defenses similar in power to those of a champion or monk."

HP 35 (including the 5 temp from rage) is above Moderate and just below High HP. "Give a creature HP in the moderate range unless its theme strongly suggests it should use another range.... Brutish creatures usually have high HP, compensating with lower AC.... As mentioned in the Armor Class section above, you don't want a creature with extreme AC to have high HP too." (GMG, p. 62)

These enemies have the attack bonus of a fighter, damage output above Extreme (i.e. above barbarian damage), the AC of a champion, and the HP of a near-barbarian. And they are used as standard enemies, not boss-type enemies, since there are many of them in this section of the module. Their only area of weakness is their saves, which likely doesn't mean much to a level 3 party with limited spell slots to expend on enemies (although a stunning fist or other similar actions might help).

It seems to me that their damage should be lowered (perhaps by removing the extra d8 from demonic strength but leaving in the d10 fatal trait - I don't mind them being extra dangerous on a crit) and their effective AC lowered to 18. They'd still be quite dangerous even with those adjustments, but at least they'd be in a reasonable range per the GMG guidance.

Am I missing something, or are these creatures in need of adjustment?


The corrupted retainers are indeed extremely powerful for their level.

I guess that's the point, though.

(Probably the easiest/laziest change? Change them into level 3 creatures! ;-)

PS. I hold a healthy dose of skepticism for what probably is the very first "real" monster fight too: the Dream Pollen Pods. At least in my game, it wiped the party without breaking a sweat. (Or would have if I hadn't suggested those still standing after round 1 block off the combat using the fallen-off door)


Zapp wrote:
(Probably the easiest/laziest change? Change them into level 3 creatures! ;-)

I'm kidding... or am I?

Actually, this means only a single number needs to change. (If you use XP, the heroes get a bit of extra XP. If you use milestones, the players just have to suck it up.)

Either way, it's a minimal solution :)


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Zapp wrote:
Zapp wrote:
(Probably the easiest/laziest change? Change them into level 3 creatures! ;-)

I'm kidding... or am I?

Actually, this means only a single number needs to change. (If you use XP, the heroes get a bit of extra XP. If you use milestones, the players just have to suck it up.)

Either way, it's a minimal solution :)

If they're level 3 creatures, the Room F3 fight becomes a Severe threat encounter, unless you remove one enemy in which case it's a Moderate encounter again. It also makes the Room F26 fight a near-Extreme encounter if not otherwise adjusted.

For a CR 3 creature:

+11 attack is a Moderate-High attack bonus.

2d8+4 damage (average 13) is slightly above High strike damage, not counting the damage that gets added on a crit due to the Fatal trait. With the Fatal trait considered, you're probably looking at Extreme strike damage.

20 AC (with shield raised and Rage active) is just above High AC.

HP 35 (including the 5 temp from rage) is Low HP.

At CR 3, this basically a higher-than-normal damage fighter/champion type. Either way, probably a reasonable CR 3 creature.


TheDivider wrote:
If they're level 3 creatures, the Room F3 fight becomes a Severe threat encounter, unless you remove one enemy in which case it's a Moderate encounter again. It also makes the Room F26 fight a near-Extreme encounter if not otherwise adjusted.

I know.

That in itself does not necessarily need to be adjusted, though.

Again allowing us to fix the issue by changing a single number (from 2 to 3 :)


Hi All,
quick question on xp rewards on chapter 1. I am currently running my party through this chapter. However the adventure says the party should hit level 2 when they start chapter 2. How does the party get enough xp through the encounters?

The party currently sits at around 650 xp after the fight with Nemmia. They did not fight the cockatrice or Bardolf and missed out on some xp from the circus performance. But even with that missed xp included they would not hit the 1.000 xp necessary for the level up.

How did you award your party the required xp? Or did you use milestone levelups? Im contemplating on just giving them the levelup as soon as they wake up in the morning after Nemmia's attack.


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I'm using milestone level ups but if you want to run xp, then you need to add random encounters. Perhaps even re-use the ones they missed.


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The hard cold truth is that the effect of using XP mostly is making your campaign vulnerable to the issue of not getting enough of them. That is, introducing a potential problem for little benefit.

Using quest-based (or milestone) levelling is much simpler, cuts out all the admin, and eliminates the risk of not levelling up at appropriate times! :-)

That is, unless your players are actively enjoying the meta-challenge of hunting down all available XP, I recommend that you simply don't award and track XP when playing Pathfinder 2.

Good luck with your game
Zapp

Radiant Oath

Anyone have any advice on what Threndel should summon in the F26 Main Temple encounter in the Hermitage? The write-up says he "casts summon elemental to conjure a water elemental to Shove heroes into the moats.", but that doesn't appear to be an actual option at the moment.


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Evilgm wrote:
Anyone have any advice on what Threndel should summon in the F26 Main Temple encounter in the Hermitage? The write-up says he "casts summon elemental to conjure a water elemental to Shove heroes into the moats.", but that doesn't appear to be an actual option at the moment.

Actually there is.

The text is talking about exactly the same water elemental a low-level player character could summon: a water mephit.

Look at the Bestiary - you will find that there are no generic creature called a "Water Elemental" (like in D&D).

Instead there are several specific sorts of Water Elementals, such as Brine Sharks and Quatoids. All these monsters are meant to be used by (high level) summoners.

For mephits, note the sidebar titled "Conjuring Mephits":

Quote:
Mephits are a favorite target for low-level spellcasters to summon

Mephits are elementals.

Given that Threndel is a Corrupted Priest, we note that the Summon Elemental is 2nd level. The only option is a 1st level critter (see Summon Animal CRB page 375) - and Mephits are the only level 1 elementals available (see Bestiary Appendix Creatures By Type page 349).

So a Water Mephit it is. Good luck with your game!


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So, uh, my party confronted an immensely frustrated Cavnakash basically saying "hey, uh, so, this orb thing doesn't seem to be working for you at all, and your employers will likely be furious for failing them, not to mention it'll likely obliterate your own kind in the hopes of killing us... Why don't you join our circus?"

Smirking, I ask for a diplomacy check, DC30 (Will DC +5 due to hostility and unreasonableness of the request, but still possible due to his current dilemma). Player has a +10 to diplomacy, so there was no real way he'd be able to convi-

Nat-20.

So, uh, The Circus of Wayward Wonders now has a drummer and a way to gain Xulgath lore. I'm genuinely in awe, but does seem to offer some information opportunities and one player commented it "turned a pretty forgettable dungeon into that time we convinced a boss to become a clown." so everyone had a blast at the situation.


Sounds like great fun!


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Zapp wrote:
Sounds like great fun!

It DEFINITELY threw me out hard when my bard critted while matching the mental DC. I had to ask the players to give me 5 minutes while I re-read Cavnakash's background and the room details to see how I could approach this. I feel like if I approached it totally faithful to the material it wouldn't have happened (especially as book 2 approaches the subject of why Xulgaths want to kill their own off just to exterminate humans), but a little twist meant that it still made sense to Cavnakash's situation but also allowed the PCs lore & a sense of feeling good about achieving a new "ally".

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Maybe quarantine is getting to me. I though I asked this here, but I guess not?

Is the assumption that you can run a show in the same place in consecutive weeks? Have others had their parties start prepping for another show right after the opening act while they're exploring Abberton?


Riobux wrote:
It DEFINITELY threw me out hard when my bard critted while matching the mental DC. I had to ask the players to give me 5 minutes while I re-read Cavnakash's background and the room details to see how I could approach this.

I salute you and your good DM:ing instincts!


Chris Marsh wrote:
Is the assumption that you can run a show in the same place in consecutive weeks? Have others had their parties start prepping for another show right after the opening act while they're exploring Abberton?

The text itself addresses this, limiting Prestige to 5 while staying in Abberton.

As for your other question, my answer is "yes" since my party did that. Of course, they got a critical success on their first show so I waived the Prestige Restriction because it didn't seem like much fun already on their second show, the first they themselves ran from start to end.


Zapp wrote:


The text itself addresses this, limiting Prestige to 5 while staying in Abberton.

As for your other question, my answer is "yes" since my party did that. Of course, they got a critical success on their first show so I waived the Prestige Restriction because it didn't seem like much fun already on their second show, the first they themselves ran from start to end.

Also you get 25% less payment after the first optional show beyond the opening show at the start of the book.

My party didn't do that, albeit because of the kidnapping situation putting things on a bit of a time limit. Unfortunately, they failed.

Edit: I would also be inclined to give less prestige or money or disallow it, as the village is definitely going to be distracted by all the events of Chapter 2 too much to really enjoy a circus at that time.


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Sounds reasonable.

In my case, I considered it a bit odd to have all those circus rules... and then not use them again until book 2 and level 5(!). After all, once the players leave for the Hermitage, there is no more circus interaction for two whole levels (though the players doesn't know that).

I thought that levelling up from level 1 to level 5 between shows would be a jarringly large change, so I made chapter 2 (Abberton Investigations) play out during the week running up to performance #2 (before they get word of the missing Mayor and heads off to Chapter 3).

I didn't find it fun to limit their earnings in cash or prestige so soon, so I waived that. (They're at Prestige 7 instead of 5 which can't make much of a difference)

PS. They're currently clearing out their campground at level 5, and so they will have their third show at the end of the week. They're looking forward to showing off their vastly greater ability to generate Excitement now at level 5 than when they were level 1&2!


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Sounds about right, Zapp! If that's the part your players truly love and look forward to, don't punish them for it. A GM always should be balancing the feel of an AP to suit their players.

I think I'm gonna start this one up after it's fully released and once the APG is available too. Love reading through and seeing how it's all working out for folks!

Developer

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Sporkedup wrote:
Sounds about right, Zapp! If that's the part your players truly love and look forward to, don't punish them for it. A GM always should be balancing the feel of an AP to suit their players.

Absolutely agreed.


A little nitpicking question that has been around my head for a while.

How the acts done by Nemmia and the rest of the druids of the Hermitage not considered anathema? They include: summoning demons, attacking and stealing other faith sacred items, manipulating animals to kill people and corrupting animals using abyssal energies to transform them into demons.

There is even a part in chapter 3 where Gozreh itself ask the party to kill all the corrupted druids left. So, why are they still able to cast primal spells?


Saqcat wrote:

A little nitpicking question that has been around my head for a while.

How the acts done by Nemmia and the rest of the druids of the Hermitage not considered anathema? They include: summoning demons, attacking and stealing other faith sacred items, manipulating animals to kill people and corrupting animals using abyssal energies to transform them into demons.

There is even a part in chapter 3 where Gozreh itself ask the party to kill all the corrupted druids left. So, why are they still able to cast primal spells?

None of those are actual druid anathema, for one.

But I think the point is they, while still mechanically working the same, are drawing on a new source of power. So they aren't drawing energy from harmony with nature but from twisting and controlling. You can reflavor them as arcane spells if that makes more sense at your table?


My 2 cents: because Balenni corrupted them. Now they draw upon corruptive demonic power, not Gozreh's power.


Thank you for very much for your answers.

Another question, what did you do for Halock's Erran Tower layout overview?

We are playing in a vt so I could just show the pdf map but I am thinking about drawing the whole map with paint in order to simulate that is Hancocks who is handrawing it while he explains and to avoid showing the Xulgath's modifications to the tower.


Sorry for the doble post, I don't know why but I can't edit my last post.

Reading chapter 4, it says that the succubus surrenders if reduced to less that 30 hp and tries to negotiate with the party to let her go. Is there something preventing her to use her 5th level dimension door to escape?

Also if she is killed, does Cavnakash's profane gift dissapear? And if it does, does Cavnakash notice?


Saqcat wrote:
Reading chapter 4, it says that the succubus surrenders if reduced to less that 30 hp and tries to negotiate with the party to let her go. Is there something preventing her to use her 5th level dimension door to escape?

There is nothing preventing that. I believe the reason was the writers didn't want to complicate the story by having a Succubi running loose, especially for newbie GMs and GMs running the scenario at cons (with stricter time limits). So they made it likely she ends up dead, just to enable the adventure to move on.

I can say that I myself had her escape precisely through her DD spell! Then she returned in the guise of various Escadarians to tempt the heroes... (You can read more about that over at ENWorld. :-)

Quote:
Also if she is killed, does Cavnakash's profane gift dissapear? And if it does, does Cavnakash notice?

I would say "yes" and "if you want him to".


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ron Lundeen wrote:
Rycke wrote:
Something that seems to be immediately obviously incorrect is the scale on the Circus Camp map. It says that each square is only 5 feet. That would mean that each of the wagons is only about 5 ft. square. The area around the fire is definitely not large enough to contain the reverie described in the faerie fire encounter and Bardolph's wagon isn't even large enough to contain a grizzly bear.

Hooray! A GM thread! Let me chime in here as I can.

Yes, that should by one square is 10 feet. That makes for more reasonable-sized everything in the camp.

Shouldn't that be 20 feet? The tent is the exact same size as the one on the Big Top map and that map has 20 foot squares. If it's the same tent, how can one be 10 feet, and the other 20 feet?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
Ron Lundeen wrote:
Rycke wrote:
Something that seems to be immediately obviously incorrect is the scale on the Circus Camp map. It says that each square is only 5 feet. That would mean that each of the wagons is only about 5 ft. square. The area around the fire is definitely not large enough to contain the reverie described in the faerie fire encounter and Bardolph's wagon isn't even large enough to contain a grizzly bear.

Hooray! A GM thread! Let me chime in here as I can.

Yes, that should by one square is 10 feet. That makes for more reasonable-sized everything in the camp.

Shouldn't that be 20 feet? The tent is the exact same size as the one on the Big Top map and that map has 20 foot squares. If it's the same tent, how can one be 10 feet, and the other 20 feet?

Because there are about twice as many squares on the second map as there are on the first (relative to the size of the tent as shown)


It was brought up that the Corrupted Retainers are a bit stronger than 2nd level creatures ought to be, particularly regarding damage (they deal Extreme damage for a 2nd level creature before Rage goes online, which combined with High attack bonus makes them hit really hard. So I figured I'd push them through the creature creation guidelines, and I came up with this, using barbarian guidelines (don't mind that not everything uses proper language):

Spoiler:
Corrupted Retainer - Creature 2
CE Medium Human Humanoid
Human Hirelings
Perception +6
Languages Common
Skills Acrobatics +7, Athletics +8, Survival +7
Str +2 Dex +2 Con +3 Int +0 Wis +2 Cha +0
Items Hide armor, gray robes, trident, wooden shield (hardness 3)

AC 19 + shield (18 + shield when raging)
Fort +11, Ref +8, Will +5
HP 33
No Escape (Reaction) Trigger A foe within reach attempts to move away. Effect Retainer gets to Stride up to their speed in order to keep pace with the fleeing foe.
Shield block (Reaction)

Speed 25 ft
Melee (Action) Trident +9 (fatal d10, thrown 20 ft) 1d8+4
Demonic Strength Any trident the corrupted retainer wields gains the fatal d10 train while the retainer is using it (included above).
Tainted Rage (Action) +5 temporary hit points, deals +2 damage with melee weapons, has -1 to AC, can't use Concentrate actions unless those have the Rage trait or is Seek.

The biggest effect is that I changed the base damage for the tridents to 1d8+4 instead of 2d8+2, which then gets pushed up to 1d8+6 when raging. So Demonic Strength only gives the tridents Fatal (though I guess you can consider the +2 above their Strength bonus as demonic damage). 1d8+6 is equivalent to 1d12+4, which is the recommended extreme damage for a level 2 creature. I also dropped the attack bonus to +9.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Totally agree about the scale of the campground, will be doubling it.

My first run of the dream pollen pods was a disaster - I let some rules differences slide because I was seriously concerned about a TPK.
I re-read it because it seemed way too overpowered, and looked under the "reset" section. It's a trap that resets in an hour. So now I'm convinced that it should only have gotten five shots and then dropped out of initiative. (I'm letting the players get back a spell and a heal.)

Nemmia has a "Spontaneous Primal Spell" list, but not how many spell slots she gets. Granted, I don't expect her to last more than three rounds, but it'd be nice to know on the off chance...


My group found the pollen trap MUCH deadlier than Nemmia.

The long and short of it is that at 1st level heroes don't have any resilience, meaning that randomness and circumstance have a big impact on difficulty. To me this isn't a bug as much as a natural consequence of how the rules work.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My group pushed the pollen wagon into the lake, and never followed the trail into the woods, so we haven't seen what the hazards of this campaign are like yet, but it is poison that is brutalizing my party. So many players wanted to be sure to have some points in Charisma that Constitution scores took a bit of a hit. My group is pretty accustom to games where low level play is dangerous and brutal. They are absolutely terrified of facing off against snakes and spiders now.

But the biggest frustration my players have been having is that I agreed to roll most combat rolls in the open, because that simulates the characters watching how the enemies move and react better than trying to overly describe the differences, but I have had a brutal hot streak as a GM, and roll a 20 almost every turn of combat for one monster or another. With fights against 3 or more monsters that shouldn't be that rare, but it seems to always happen for the most powerful monsters on their big attacks.


So 3rd session in and he players are exploring Abberton and the first stop was the church and the wrecker Demon wrecked the party and I was swinging some punches.

Had to start using the wreck ability on shields instead of claw claw players as I didn’t want them to feel like it was a hopeless fight. 70 hours is no joke.

I would definitely say that Nesslyn did damage to the creature before getting locked in the room to balance the fight.

Defo TKP worthy as you likely crit on all its attacks of 14+

Developer

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Hey, all! Nemmia's spells are listed as "Primal Spontaneous Spells" with no indication of how many spells of each level she can cast. These should be "Primal Prepared Spells" instead.


In my case it was the worm demons.

I had one do a three-action Harm. The players did not like (their characters were already half down).

(The players did pull through, and they greatly enjoy destroying these worms having levelled up :)


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I appreciate that the maps I recently downloaded are a higher resolution than a previous download, but can I request that your map makers start adding the "S" for secret doors to the Map Tag toggle?


Hey, so question regarding chapter 1 chapter 2 in book 151: the Show Must Go on.

In the end of the book, under Nemmia's campaign role, it says "If Nemmia survives her encounter with the party, compassionate and patient heroes could potentially reform her." Short version, is she did survive and the players have been very assertive about trying to rehabilitate her already. I'm looking at chapter 2, and trying to figure out how to use the content within the context of "Nemmia is trying to work *with* people instead of against them."

Obviously, she's not a *good* person, but if they go ask her for help or explanations of the boar attack and whatnot, she has intimate knowledge of the encounter content and is directly responsible for a lot of it. I don't want her to enable the party to completely bypass a bunch of the dangers, but I don't see any other reasonable way for her to respond to their requests. Help?


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Farmerbink wrote:
Help?

So the first thing to consider about Nemmia to me is she is coming from a position of her frustrations used against her to turn away from traditional druidism into a more misanthropic form. So I'd be tempted to look into a lot of interviews involving those who joined extremist groups and then left to see how their own frustrations were used against them as a recruiting tool as well as how they mentally reconciled with that upon leaving the groups. After all, a lot of this is coming from druids seeing the land slowly die but all except one have no idea why. Redemption is still possible, but it requires working through these frustration of watching your object of worship (i.e. nature) slowly fall apart for reasons you don't know. This could lead to the end of Book 1 giving her a chance to save the nature of the isles: By united the orbs with the heroes/circus. It's definitely not an easy roleplay and not an easy fix, but could lead to some real powerful roleplay.

With regards to wanting to avoid dangers: Just because they're aware of the dangers doesn't mean they should avoid them. After all, any dangers not fixed by the players are dangers the village folk could stumble upon later (e.g. the hostile boar). It also doesn't mean Nemmia has to be totally forthcoming, as she could be feeling a lot of shame for what she has done in the name of demon worship (especially if it comes to light the person who corrupted the hermitage was the succubus the players meet in chapter 4). So maybe some things like convincing the boars to attack people, she may not want to say because she feels so guilty as to want to cover it up.

Again, it's not an easy roleplay, but the redemption arc could be really powerful with research and preparation.


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Just started prepping for my first game of EC, and I wanted to give some feedback to Paizo on the NPC subject.

The whole point of buying an AP is that it makes things easier for a GM, right? So what do you think happens when you give the players a murder mystery, and ask them to investigate it? That's right, they look for clues and suspects. Naturally they are going to start asking about all the colorful characters everywhere. Circuses are full of crazy people, everyone knows that. Sure the AP gave some good reasons why the snake lady isn't a suspect... but what about everybody else? OK, nobody can control rats; how do they know that? Aren't there some animal trainers here? Do druids not exist in circuses? Oops, one of my PCs is one, so there goes that theory.

Also, there are TWO crucial skills checks during the short investigation to gain clues. (Already decided those will be freebies.) A medicine check to know it was a snake, and another check to find the rat tracks. If they fail one or both of these, they have no reason to jump to the conclusion that it "must be someone that can control snakes and rats". Or maybe they just don't connect the dots. Either way, they're almost guaranteed to ask about the NPCs, And I have nothing but a couple pictures of some tricks to draw from. So that leaves me with two choices- spend a ton of time fleshing out characters just to show the PCs they're all saints, or railroad the hell out of them. I don't like doing either of those.

I understand that you can't fit everything into a book. You need to keep costs down, etc. I get it. But give me something. A sentence like "Mordaine: Irriatable. Diva, wants to be the main star" is enough for me to build from. All of that could fit into the space one, maybe two monster stat blocks take up. Do you really need a giant flea? Just use something from the Bestiary.

Sorry that this comes across as ranty, but I'm disappointed in the amount of prep work I need to do after buying this AP.

In short- don't give my players a murder mystery, and then not provide the GM with any info to give them.


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TheCraiggers wrote:

Just started prepping for my first game of EC, and I wanted to give some feedback to Paizo on the NPC subject.

The whole point of buying an AP is that it makes things easier for a GM, right? So what do you think happens when you give the players a murder mystery, and ask them to investigate it? That's right, they look for clues and suspects. Naturally they are going to start asking about all the colorful characters everywhere. Circuses are full of crazy people, everyone knows that. Sure the AP gave some good reasons why the snake lady isn't a suspect... but what about everybody else? OK, nobody can control rats; how do they know that? Aren't there some animal trainers here? Do druids not exist in circuses? Oops, one of my PCs is one, so there goes that theory.

Also, there are TWO crucial skills checks during the short investigation to gain clues. (Already decided those will be freebies.) A medicine check to know it was a snake, and another check to find the rat tracks. If they fail one or both of these, they have no reason to jump to the conclusion that it "must be someone that can control snakes and rats". Or maybe they just don't connect the dots. Either way, they're almost guaranteed to ask about the NPCs, And I have nothing but a couple pictures of some tricks to draw from. So that leaves me with two choices- spend a ton of time fleshing out characters just to show the PCs they're all saints, or railroad the hell out of them. I don't like doing either of those.

I understand that you can't fit everything into a book. You need to keep costs down, etc. I get it. But give me something. A sentence like "Mordaine: Irriatable. Diva, wants to be the main star" is enough for me to build from. All of that could fit into the space one, maybe two monster stat blocks take up. Do you really need a giant flea? Just use something from the Bestiary.

Sorry that this comes across as ranty, but I'm disappointed in the amount of prep work I need to do after buying this AP.

In short- don't give my players a...

I didn't like the start either. I rewrote it.

I started with The Professor sending the party to check on the Ringmaster and finding his body being attacked by snakes. Then had Nemmia ambush the party while they were at full strength since they weren't going to level anyway.

I wanted to tie the enemy circus better into the adventure, so I combined the Ruffians and Gamblers and made them paid to cause trouble at the show by Lady Dusklight.

I feel both those changes made for a better narrative that tied into the early plot for the AP.


TheCraiggers wrote:
In short- don't give my players a murder mystery, and then not provide the GM with any info to give them.

As an alternative interpretation - and a much more constructive one - how about reasoning that since there aren't any network of clues perhaps it isn't a murder mystery?

So instead of ranting about all the work you need to do, how about instead downplaying the mystery, and simply state "there's an enemy hiding somewhere on the grounds, and you need to go flush them out".

This will give the players the appropriate expectations for what the adventure is really about - moving from spot to spot, fighting the monster there.

This is true for chapter 1... and chapter 2... and, in fact, chapters 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 too!

In fact, official APs consist mostly of a series of maps where the task is to fight through to the end of each map, with a thin story attached to create context.

You'll get much more satisfaction when you accept the limitations of the AP concept. Good luck with your game.


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Zapp wrote:
TheCraiggers wrote:
In short- don't give my players a murder mystery, and then not provide the GM with any info to give them.

As an alternative interpretation - and a much more constructive one - how about reasoning that since there aren't any network of clues perhaps it isn't a murder mystery?

So instead of ranting about all the work you need to do, how about instead downplaying the mystery, and simply state "there's an enemy hiding somewhere on the grounds, and you need to go flush them out".

This will give the players the appropriate expectations for what the adventure is really about - moving from spot to spot, fighting the monster there.

This is true for chapter 1... and chapter 2... and, in fact, chapters 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 too!

In fact, official APs consist mostly of a series of maps where the task is to fight through to the end of each map, with a thin story attached to create context.

You'll get much more satisfaction when you accept the limitations of the AP concept. Good luck with your game.

You definitely have to build the role-playing where you want it into an AP adventure. APs are set up for combat with RPG opportunities tossed in for a bit of story. If the DM wants more role-play, he'll have to develop the areas more themselves.

That's why I usually read an adventure first and adjust the narrative and action to fit what I prefer or feel fits better.

Even with the opposing performers in town, I made them hire The Ruffians at The Mad Mug to take out the PCs, so Mistress Dusklight could make the circus performers return to the circus. Very few APs build up central BBEGs up from book to book, which is unfortunate.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I made an intro video for anyone who is interested.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
I made an intro video for anyone who is interested.

I'm told the OneDrive link above allows for download, but not for viewing within the browser. Here's a DropBox link for the video which I'm hoping will let people watch it without the need to download it.

When I previewed it, it played in 720p HD, even though the download file is 1080p HD.

Also, Fox and YouTube upheld their copyright claim and pulled my video for good. What I don't get is why I was targeted in the first place. I literally took all of my footage from OTHER YouTube videos that weren't treated the same way. Why do they get to keep their unedited movie clips, but my game parody gets revoked? Doesn't make a lick of sense!

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