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I've talked about this previously, but I don't think the visibility was that high inside other threads, so in the hopes of garnering more discussion, here it is again, in a thread of its own.
As you might be aware, there's been discussion re: the fact that the circus can't pay for its own expenses regarding purchasing advertisements to raise Anticipation (each Anticipation point yields 1 gp while costing potentially dozens of gp in adverts), and that there aren't yet any reason for heroes to jack up the Anticipation. (though Paizo has promised there will be)
Now it's clear installment #4, Siege of the Dinosaurs, does not feature any story-based reasons to increase Anticipation either. This means that any such story mechanics won't show up until level 15 at the earliest. For many of you this might come off as too little too late, essentially meaning there's no point in striving for ever-higher Anticipation. And at double-digits, it feels... off... to have the heroes' circus still putter about with Anticipation 20 or thereabouts.
If you're concerned about heroes minmaxing their circus income by sticking to zero advertisements as long as they can, you might want to add minimum Anticipation requirements to the AP where none exist.
If the heroes fail to meet the minimum requirement when the Show is about to begin (I would guess most shows start in the late afternoon), the Show is simply cancelled, counting as a failure. Not enough people show up, so the spectators that do simply leave or even demand their money back. Purchasing "Beer" (the temporary upgrade) should be allowed, as a last desperate resort to fill the tent.
Essentially, the heroes need to put money up front with no assurance of ever getting it back. They do get (some of it) back, but don't tell them that. In order for this not to bleed heroes dry, you need to insert additional loot to the adventure.
Do be aware that adding Anticipation demands does offer a way for Charismatic characters skilled in Society to save a nice chunk of cash through the Promote the Circus activity.
In part 2, the circus is still new enough that minimum anticipation requirements doesn't feel warranted. And part 4 only features a single circus performance (that gets interrupted to boot). So the best place, in my mind, to add these are in part 3, the Swardlands.
The heroes need to visit four towns, so stipulate they need to pull off a successful show in each town. Then say that these towns aren't easily impressed, and so, there is a minimum Anticipation requirement for a show to count as a success.
It starts at Anticipation 25, and increases by 5 for each successful Show. (If you fail, you basically have to try again. This might even force adventurers to do some adventuring just to cover the advertisement costs)
First performance: Anticipation 25 (+250 gp loot; level ~8)
Second performance: Anticipation 30 (+500 gp loot; level ~9)
Third performance: Anticipation 35 (+800 gp loot; level ~10)
Fourth performance: Anticipation 40 (+1,200 gp loot; level ~11)
As you can see, I've indicated the amount of extra loot/cash I think appropriate to insert into each chapter.
At least this way, the circus rules (and advertisement costs) makes more sense to me. It remains to be seen what, if any, Anticipation requirements installment #5 will impose on the heroes.
Hope to hear your thoughts on this. Do my numbers make sense to you?
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Just got confirmation the heroes are without their Circus in installment #5, making my choice of adding Anticipation requirements to installment #3 even more natural.
It basically means that the official adventure path will only require Anticipation once, in the final installment, when the heroes and their Circus is already level 18 (or higher).