Why Perform?


Extinction Curse


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I just finished running my first session of EC. I botched the rules for the actual performance horribly, as with all of the NPC events and combat encounters, there was just so much going on that I totally misunderstood how to run the actual Circus.

Now that I've read through it a few more times, I feel like I have a much better grasp of it, except for one thing.

Why would the PCs bother doing this?

Any money they earn can only be reinvested into the Circus, which only serves to earn more money that can only be reinvested back into the Circus.

They don't gain anything for themselves. No XP, no money, no anything. They have to spend an entire week of downtime for each Performance, which means that they can't do other downtime stuff, like retrain, or, you know, earn income.

I thought maybe some required part of the adventure would be Prestige gated or something, but I don't see anything in either of the first 2 books to indicate that.

Other than the chance that the players just really like rolling Trick Checks, I am having a hard time seeing how I am supposed to entice the players to participate in the Circus, as it costs them resources, and gains them nothing at all.

Liberty's Edge

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It's been mentioned you'll need to successfully Perform later in the AP.

That said...I think the point is to do it. It's a circus AP, if your players aren't interested in being a circus and making that circus a success, maybe they'd prefer a different AP. Or to just ignore the circus rules, of course.


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Aratorin wrote:

I just finished running my first session of EC. I botched the rules for the actual performance horribly, as with all of the NPC events and combat encounters, there was just so much going on that I totally misunderstood how to run the actual Circus.

Now that I've read through it a few more times, I feel like I have a much better grasp of it, except for one thing.

Why would the PCs bother doing this?

Any money they earn can only be reinvested into the Circus, which only serves to earn more money that can only be reinvested back into the Circus.

They don't gain anything for themselves. No XP, no money, no anything. They have to spend an entire week of downtime for each Performance, which means that they can't do other downtime stuff, like retrain, or, you know, earn income.

I thought maybe some required part of the adventure would be Prestige gated or something, but I don't see anything in either of the first 2 books to indicate that.

Other than the chance that the players just really like rolling Trick Checks, I am having a hard time seeing how I am supposed to entice the players to participate in the Circus, as it costs them resources, and gains them nothing at all.

Don't worry you're not missing anything - the only reason is to do it because its fun!

Look at the sidebar on page 67 of The Show Must Go On. There the writers detail a simpler system, but most importantly, they clearly state:

"The Extinction Curse Adventure Path
can be run entirely without the PCs’ involvement in the
Circus of Wayward Wonders."

So the answer is: run circus shows for as long as your players enjoy it, and then stop :-)

You can simply assume The Professor and the circus NPCs pull off just enough successful shows to meet any requirements asked of the heroes, allowing the heroes to focus on the non-circus parts of the adventure.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

It's been mentioned you'll need to successfully Perform later in the AP.

That said...I think the point is to do it. It's a circus AP, if your players aren't interested in being a circus and making that circus a success, maybe they'd prefer a different AP. Or to just ignore the circus rules, of course.

They like the theme, they specifically requested this AP. They just also don't want to use resources without any mechanical benefit.

I think I'm going to rule that the PCs get to use the outcome of the Show to Earn Income as well. It seems too restrictive otherwise.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Aratorin wrote:
I think I'm going to rule that the PCs get to use the outcome of the Show to Earn Income as well. It seems too restrictive otherwise.

Feel free. It's your game! We kept the circus economy a mostly sealed system on purpose so the heroes couldn't throw throw the adventuring economy out of whack by becoming circus managers. I think most groups won't swing the other way if you allow the payout to become their personal funds ("hey, why do we adventure *at all* when we could just run our circus!"), so I suspect you'll be just fine. In fact, please let us know how it goes, in case other people are considering this, too!


Ron Lundeen wrote:
Aratorin wrote:
I think I'm going to rule that the PCs get to use the outcome of the Show to Earn Income as well. It seems too restrictive otherwise.
Feel free. It's your game! We kept the circus economy a mostly sealed system on purpose so the heroes couldn't throw throw the adventuring economy out of whack by becoming circus managers. I think most groups won't swing the other way if you allow the payout to become their personal funds ("hey, why do we adventure *at all* when we could just run our circus!"), so I suspect you'll be just fine. In fact, please let us know how it goes, in case other people are considering this, too!

Thanks. I'm not planning to give them access to the payout, but rather to treat the result of the show as the result of 7 days of an appropriate level of the Earn Income action in addition to the payout, to represent the PCs "cut" of the earnings.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

That sounds good. The payout is supposed to be after paying for everything else, including the performers individual pay.


Personally, I don't have the expectation that each and every week must either give loot (while adventuring) or earned income (while not).

I'm entirely fine with the idea that everyone just says "one week passes" with no additions to the heroes' money purse. I don't see such a week as a waste. The price of items in the CRB certainly doesn't assume any downtime, there's no "this item should be costed at 50 gp, but let's put a 60 gp price tag onto it to account for a week or two of Earn Income". This is no different than any adventure where the story means that all gold you get comes from the scenarios themselves.

Just a small correction: even if you do use the circus rules as written, nothing says the heroes "have to spend an entire week of downtime for each Performance, which means that they can't do other downtime stuff".

I mean, you can use simplified circus rules or skip the circus entirely. But you can also use the rules as written which definitely allows the heroes to do downtime even though they're performing at the circus.

Sure your GM can rule that the day for the Show gets used up for that purpose. And if a PC elects to spend time promoting the circus, that downtime activity likely can't be combined with Earn Income, say. And of course, a GM can rule that you need to spend time practicing your Circus Trick, but there's no rule mandating it.

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