Of Structuring and Encounters: A discussion on APs and how combat encounters in this edition impacts them.


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

101 to 147 of 147 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

thejeff wrote:

Do most people actually give out XP each session? (Or even after each fight?_ Is that immediate feedback part of why you like it? Or does it just feed into problems like the "We got that much of a story award? Makes no sense."

We still play using XP, but we ignore it most of the time. Every once in a while, the GM tells us we've got enough to level up.

Even back in the AD&D days when everyone leveled at different rates (or into 3.x, where there ways to spend xp, so you could be at different amounts), we'd generally get a lump sum after every few sessions, rather than detailed accounting of how much for each fight or other encounter.

When using XP, I give it per session. Per fight leads to more dropped numbers, but it does give players something to do while the loot player adds loot to the spreadsheet. My next campaign I'll start giving every fight and see how people like it.

That opens up another discussion about leveling mid session. I always avoid it, even in Milestone. When we only play for 2 hours a week, taking thirty minutes to an hour for four to six people to level up effectively ends the session anyway and most people need to research stuff during the time between games. (And there's the guy who just forgets to level up for two levels. Had a guy not spend skill points for almost 3. I used to verify character sheets, but now I figure if they die because they didn't level up, that's a them problem.)

A solution to that is when the PCs get close is tell them to prepare a leveled character sheet so you can hot swap them, but since I play mostly over Roll20, I don't like cluttering up the game with many redundant character sheets. (Lord only knows players would be rolling off the wrong one constantly.)


Yea, I prefer systems where loot is secondary or disconnected from power.

Had a loot-driven RPG where the campaign would have the PCs interacting with lots of funds so I had to separate the two. I had to alter the system so their equipment became part of their powers, which in turn gave the players/PCs the freedom to be heroic, not loot-driven.
It's awfully nice when heroes don't have to scrounge or do accounting.

I worked out a similar system for 3.X/PF that I never used. It's much like automatic progression in PF2 though based on Wealth By Level. The PCs can have their WBL in "powers" (as in they innately had the bonuses/charges/etc. rather than through items) while their gold could go to RPing instead.
There was more tweaking involved, so I'd like to see what PF2 devs could make of such a paradigm. Arguably far more is tied to PC level progression anyway that equipment's moved down a notch so automatic progression may cover it all well enough already.


Castilliano wrote:

Yea, I prefer systems where loot is secondary or disconnected from power.

Had a loot-driven RPG where the campaign would have the PCs interacting with lots of funds so I had to separate the two. I had to alter the system so their equipment became part of their powers, which in turn gave the players/PCs the freedom to be heroic, not loot-driven.
It's awfully nice when heroes don't have to scrounge or do accounting.

I worked out a similar system for 3.X/PF that I never used. It's much like automatic progression in PF2 though based on Wealth By Level. The PCs can have their WBL in "powers" (as in they innately had the bonuses/charges/etc. rather than through items) while their gold could go to RPing instead.
There was more tweaking involved, so I'd like to see what PF2 devs could make of such a paradigm. Arguably far more is tied to PC level progression anyway that equipment's moved down a notch so automatic progression may cover it all well enough already.

I've see a couple of rules light systems where gold gave you xp, but only when spent on non-mechanics things. Whether you blow it all on an epic pub-crawl or send it back home to your sick mother-in-law, you get xp for it. Buy new gear with it and you don't.

I don't think loot and xp scale the same way in PF, so it couldn't be direct 1gp=1xp, but it might be possible to tweak that into something interesting. More gear or more personal power might be an interesting choice to play with.


RPGnoremac wrote:
Out of curiosity how come the group didn't do 2 3 person games rather than 1 7 player game? I admit I haven't ever played a long campaign with 6+ players so I have no idea what it is like. It would be interesting to calculate how long between each characters turn. If I had 7 friends/family that wanted to play once a week I admit I would be happy :)

It started as a 4-player game. One player dropped out due to cancer (died February 2020) and another player I had invited belated accepted, so it continued as 4-player. In March 2020 we moved online and my elder daughter in Bellevue, WA, joined when distance no longer mattered. In October, a player invited a friend from Elder Scrolls Online with my permission. Also in October my younger daughter moved from South Dakota to New York for a potential job in Ithaca, NY, and quarantined in a tent in our yard. At end of quarantine, she joined the game, too. (She also plays a PF1 game on Sundays online with a group in Seattle, WA.)

My players are largely family: wife, two daughters, and two housemates. The other two are a church friend, and an ESO friend.

RPGnoremac wrote:

I have played table top RPGs with 3, 4, 5 and 6 players. 6 players in PFS because... well there isn't enough GMs basically.

3 player game: It is quite fun, only issue is it is way too hard to cover all the basis in a group like this.

4 players: I feel is the "sweet spot". Where every player doesn't get "bored" in between turns.

5 players: It isn't horrible but it starts to feel like too many people.

6 players (PFS): Main issue I have is that it takes like 10-20+ minutes before it is my turn. This can be a little rough. Also for social encounters it is REALLY hard to put my input in sometimes. Maybe you are just much better at handling multiple players since they are a usual group.

I ran an 8-player game for one module. My wife, a player, had to serve as assistant GM to help manage the group.

My players use teamwork, which does keep more players involved in other player's turns. But yes, a player takes 2 minutes per turn, so with 6 other players in my current game, that is a 12-minute wait between turns. Four rounds of combat takes an hour.

thejeff wrote:
Do most people actually give out XP each session? (Or even after each fight?_ Is that immediate feedback part of why you like it? Or does it just feed into problems like the "We got that much of a story award? Makes no sense."

I give out XP at the end of every game session, except the sessions where we end in the middle of a fight. And I itemize it in our Discord "loot" channel, saying where the xp came from.

My players like the information on how hard that combat encounter was supposed to be. When they receive severe-threat xp for an encounter that didn't feel hard, they know that their tactics are effective. Other times, they sweat against a moderate-threat encounter, so afterwards they talk over better tactics for the next encounter against similar creatures.

The story award in Trail of the Hunted of 15 xp for each villager they rescued from the Ironfang Invasion felt right, because that was the mission Aubrin the Green gave them. However, gaining xp for intelligence they wanted anyway in order to save Radya's Hollow feels like a reward piled on top of another reward. A story award for saving Radya's Hollow would be more appropriate. Their real reward is defying expectations to tell their own story.


That point about the intelligence gathered raises an interesting metaquestion: When an in-game success comes with an intrinsic reward (often strategic and for the PCs themselves), would an XP reward be expected/altered?

Original D&D would have excellent play (which was both tactical & RPing) rewarded with briefer training times for leveling (which could have a significant impact on wealth & adventuring time). Sometimes a stand-out player would get more XP. :O
So that seems a no-go in modern play where parties expect (and in PF2 arguably require due to mechanics) more parity among members.
And for them to be on the same timelines! (Boy, old campaigns were wonky.)

Personally I shied away from rewarding achievements which already rewarded the PCs (for if they had a worthwhile impact on play, yet weren't story landmarks). You've just made your PCs life easier, enjoy it. Though I could see rewarding such things in accelerated play. Since I prefer milestone nowadays it doesn't matter much to me specifically. Just a thought to mull over.

------
Separately, maybe "accelerated play" should be a category? Then APs could have notations like "For accelerated play do this, skip this, reward this, move treasure X here, etc." Not that it requires designer input. People could start posting their own Accelerated Play versions, AP-APs. The Quick XP route is similar, but that doesn't make published materials any thinner. :)
I doubt I'd GM in such a style, yet on the other hand there are so many APs & new characters I've yet to play!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
RPGnoremac wrote:
6 players (PFS): Main issue I have is that it takes like 10-20+ minutes before it is my turn. This can be a little rough. Also for social encounters it is REALLY hard to put my input in sometimes. Maybe you are just much better at handling multiple players since they are a usual group.

I played in a 5e boss fight where my turn came around every ninety minutes. There were four PCs.

Developer

18 people marked this as a favorite.

I just wanted to say that I'm watching this thread with a lot of interest. I'm not only paying attention to what people feel about XP vs. milestone and roleplaying vs. dungeons, but specific things about Extinction Curse, which I developed.

I've got the advantage of a little more experience, having developed Abomination Vaults after Extinction Curse, and being deep into Strength of Thousands. They are all very different, in terms of the things people are talking about in this thread, and I consider that a strength of our AP offerings.

Extinction Curse had XP, but it was really about milestone leveling; each chapter is its own level and its own set of events, so once you've handled the "thing" for that chapter (often, but not always, vanquishing a villain), you should level up regardless of XP. But I know people like XP, so each chapter had the right amount of XP for those people, too.

I wanted to lean into milestone leveling in Abomination Vaults, so much so that I specifically listed the milestones in the adventure introductions (we'll see what people think about that!). But it's not really an easy campaign for milestone leveling, because the mega-dungeon has SO MUCH freedom of player movement that they can jump between dungeon levels (and thus, between chapters) with ease. I included some guidance on this point to support GMs of both kinds.

Strength of Thousands is very much about roleplaying and problem-solving, and has significantly fewer "dungeons" than the others (although it has some very dangerous sites!). XP for solving problems, rather than overcoming enemies, is much more typical in this AP. Although I don't foresee giving anyone XP just for climbing up something (I, too, read the Dragon's Demand feedback), there are places where you'll get XP for helping someone, even if you don't ever make a single skill check in doing so.

Please carry on with this discussion, I find it exceedingly relevant to my day-to-day work, and I'm listening!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ron Lundeen wrote:
I just wanted to say that I'm watching this thread with a lot of interest. I'm not only paying attention to what people feel about XP vs. milestone and roleplaying vs. dungeons, but specific things about Extinction Curse, which I developed...

I've been meaning to chip in, in either this thread or the "A lot of monsters in Paizo APs sit in their room waiting to die" thread, that several books in the Agents of Edgewatch, and especially your volume, "Assault on Hunting Lodge Seven", seem structured to address a lot of the concerns/complaints raised in these two threads.

In the first leg of the "Assault of Hunting Lodge Seven", the first "level" of the dungeon is pretty much entirely social encounters. And the second level includes helpful information on how the denizens will react to intruders (p21), a "wandering monster"-style encounter to spring on the party as they proceed (p21-22), and several opponents who will flee/surrender when reduced to low HP (instead of fighting to the death).

Likewise, the second leg of the book has a nice description of why the enemies will come in waves instead of coming en masse (p36), and distinctive tactics and behavior for the different waves.

More generally, I really enjoyed the different feel of this book relative to standard dungeon crawls, with the first leg consisting of about 50/50 social and combat encounters, and the second leg focused on the players playing defense for several days against invaders into the player's dungeon.

Anyway, this was a really nicely written book, and it looks like it'll be a blast to play!

Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Porridge wrote:
Anyway, this was a really nicely written book, and it looks like it'll be a blast to play!

Thank you! This is wonderful to hear, and I'd appreciate you leaving a review to this effect!

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

From my perspective, I'm a big fan of milestone levelling. I tend to run APs, and so I don't often have the issue a more sandbox campaign would have with milestones. I rigorously tracked XP in my first AP (as a first-time GM, outside of a pair of PFS scenarios), at the players' request, and found it impacted the game in ways I didn't expect at the time. I tend to modify the AP I'm running based on what the players are expressing interest in, and in this particular campaign, the party was interested in stoking revolution in an unstable nation in addition to the main plot. Because of that, much of the second book - the only one set in the nation - was altered to facilitate this. They worked with local criminal elements to make space for their own training camps and aided those willing to work with them. This process was considerably less combat-focused than the normal route, and so when it came time for them to move on, I realised they were about a full level behind the expected spot. As a new GM, I was unfamiliar with the particulars of Story XP, so I scaled down the next few levels of the AP as they caught up, until Book 4 had a tangent of theirs that was very combat-focused, and they ended up a level ahead of the expected level for the start of Book 5. This whole process was obviously more challenging for a first-time GM than milestone levelling - and certainly encouraged me to use milestone levelling after that AP. I think it makes things considerably easier for GMs wishing to make minor-to-moderate tweaks to the AP to fit their players, though I don't know how common that level of modification is amongst those running an AP.

That being said, there are also a few things to be aware of with milestone levelling and altering the AP, in my experience. The main one is that, because you're not using XP, you do need to be pretty careful about considering what content you cut to add in your new content. Using XP, you could technically just run your new content and the existing AP content, and then scale up later enemies to fit the higher-level party. With milestone levelling, if you add in ~50% more content to a book of an AP, the levels will feel like they take forever, and that can really put off a group of players, in my experience. I find it leads to a better experience to say 'OK, the players are focused on developing a connection with the rural areas of this part of the world, so I'll add in some content about that. To make up for that, I'm going to ... shorten this dungeon that would normally be being run here, or maybe cut it out entirely and fit that plot point into my own content'- that way you don't have these long stretches at a level simply because you added content.

I'm not entirely certain what the thesis statement of my post is, mostly just adding my own two cents. I like milestone levelling substantially more than XP, but it can obfuscate the speed of levelling if not considered, I guess! :)


Castilliano wrote:
That point about the intelligence gathered raises an interesting metaquestion: When an in-game success comes with an intrinsic reward (often strategic and for the PCs themselves), would an XP reward be expected/altered?

To answer the question, let's delve back to a more fundamental question: What is leveling for? And why did leveling rely on gradually accumulating experience points?

In most cooperative games, the players win and quit. In most tabletop roleplaying games, the players find a new quest and keep on going. Sometimes, they follow a multi-year story arc, so the quest does not end; instead, only pieces of the quest are completed, stepping stones on the long path to victory.

This is the foundation for the two reasons for leveling up and for xp.

(1) Players like a sign of victory. Experience points are trophies for winning the pieces of the quest.

(2) Leveling up is an extension of character creation. We partially re-create our characters every level-up to handle new challenges. The unending roleplaying game would be too repetitive if the player characters were stuck with the same abilities throughout the entire campaign. The players could refine their tactics and gain better gear without level-ups, but learning and improving personally is more satisfying.

The best place to mark a victory is at the end of a quest or mission. The best place to re-create a character is when the character pauses for introspection, re-evaluation, and training. That pause fits into the breathing space after a hard mission.

Therefore, the best place to give a story award that might trigger a level-up is at the end of a mission. Missions are defined by completing a step in a quest or by helping other people. Helping oneself is just life.

Milestone leveling is the other side of the coin. The best place for milestone leveling is right before a tougher challenge, often defined as a new mission. The character must become ready for a new level of difficulty. Milestone leveling is essentially, "You must be at least this high in level in order to enter this quest." Fortunately, the beginning of one mission is typically right after the end of another mission, so story awards and milestones often coincide.

I will move the story award for defeating the army a little later. It can wait until the party returns to Radya's Hollow and talks with its leaders. Once the intelligence about the hobgoblin armies assures them that the invasion force won't attack Radya's Hollow in the near future, everyone can breath a sigh of relief that mission to rescue Radya's Hollow was successful.

The story award in Assault on Longshadow was in an earlier place than my choice because the the module as written had given the party a different mission.

Radya's Hollow spoiler in Assault on Longshadow:
Radya's Hollow was destroyed weeks before Assault in Longshadow. The survivors of the conquest were sent to work in its mine, closed 10 years beforehand because it was too dangerous. The mine killed them and their guards, except for two surviving villagers trapped in the mine. The module gave a 3,200 PF1 xp (200 xp in PF2) story award for rescuing the villagers, which seems an appropriate place for a story award. But the players could not save Rady'a Hollow, because it was already too late.

Attacking the Ridgeline Camp army after Radya's Hollow is revenge on the army that destroyed Radya's Hollow and the end of PART 2: SCOUTING THE HOLLOW HILLS. The blurb of that section says, "The heroes venture into the Hollow Hills to learn about the Ironfang Legion’s plans, scouting the area and striking several hobgoblin encampments." Their mission was to learn the Ironfang Legion's plans. The intelligence information finished that mission. Their allies from the previous module gave them this mission.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Porridge wrote:
Ron Lundeen wrote:
I just wanted to say that I'm watching this thread with a lot of interest. I'm not only paying attention to what people feel about XP vs. milestone and roleplaying vs. dungeons, but specific things about Extinction Curse, which I developed...

I've been meaning to chip in, in either this thread or the "A lot of monsters in Paizo APs sit in their room waiting to die" thread, that several books in the Agents of Edgewatch, and especially your volume, "Assault on Hunting Lodge Seven", seem structured to address a lot of the concerns/complaints raised in these two threads.

In the first leg of the "Assault of Hunting Lodge Seven", the first "level" of the dungeon is pretty much entirely social encounters. And the second level includes helpful information on how the denizens will react to intruders (p21), a "wandering monster"-style encounter to spring on the party as they proceed (p21-22), and several opponents who will flee/surrender when reduced to low HP (instead of fighting to the death).

Likewise, the second leg of the book has a nice description of why the enemies will come in waves instead of coming en masse (p36), and distinctive tactics and behavior for the different waves.

More generally, I really enjoyed the different feel of this book relative to standard dungeon crawls, with the first leg consisting of about 50/50 social and combat encounters, and the second leg focused on the players playing defense for several days against invaders into the player's dungeon.

Anyway, this was a really nicely written book, and it looks like it'll be a blast to play!

Agents of Edgewatch is actually fun. I was a bit put off by the whole non-lethal damage, freaking out like fantasy games are a reflection of real life. But the whole cop schtick is fun. You get to draw from all those police shows you've watched and sort of wing it in a fantasy motif. It's a different mode of role-playing to have your players reacting like law-enforcement rather than murder hobos.

I did have to modify compensation as I didn't think taking what the criminals had such a great idea. Once that was done, it runs fairly smooth and requires the players to consider their actions, especially in public, more than any other AP I've played.

The NPCs at the station are fun to play. The always stressed and angry lieutenant. The world weary sergeant who runs the rank and file.

It should be fun for those who like the cop action movie schtick or detective work. There is a nice trail of clues throughout the modules.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Mathmuse,
That's interesting that you see milestone leveling as preparation for the next quest. I suppose in APs it does represent a minimum entry level, things are about to get tough so you'd better too. A warning almost.
I've take milestones as the achievements worthy of a level for accomplishing.
Blow up the Death Star? Gain a level, stop at Dagobah for training.
While your version seems more, going to Cloud City (where Darth has infiltrated, bwah hah hah), level up to get ready.
While there's a practicality to that (and as you mention, the approaches are functionally the same) I prefer leveling more as reward, now go fight harder things since we expect more of you (and won't reward lesser deeds so much any more!) rather than as you're going to fight harder things, let's boost you up because you're all main characters. That feels a bit like proactive coddling.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ron Lundeen wrote:
Strength of Thousands is very much about roleplaying and problem-solving, and has significantly fewer "dungeons" than the others (although it has some very dangerous sites!).

If I can give my opinion, this should be made clear right on the backcover of APs/adventures. The balance between combat, roleplay, problem-solving, etc... And even an information about the overall difficulty. So when you buy the AP you can take the one corresponding to your playstyle. For example, I've bought Extinction Curse because of the circus and I was expecting less combat and more circus (I must admit I've been a bit disappointed, especially when I've read part 3 and 4 of the first volume and realized it was so combat heavy). With proper information, I may have chosen another AP.

I think every AP should have a strong description of what you can expect inside. Because you often buy the first volume before everything is released, you are a bit in the fog as a GM. Realizing once you have gathered a group and launched a few games that the AP is not corresponding to what you were expecting is really tough.

So, I don't know if it's really possible, but if you could release, maybe in the player guide to the AP, a description of what you could expect inside the AP, it would really help choosing if you go for this one or the next one. And, as a side note, it can also help players creating their characters (my Extinction Curse party is skill heavy, because they were expecting more circus, and considering the amount of combats they are not really optimized for the task).


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Thanks for the look in on the process, Ron! Also it's always good to directly have our feedback acknowledged.

I know it's not necessarily something you can answer, but have the AP devs discussed not frontloading the bulk of the leveling in the first two books? I think largely people are happy with APs going from 1-20, but it does mean that books 1 and 2 always have an extra level they need to cover with no additional space to do it. Anecdotally, that's been a big pain point with groups, as these early books seem to lack nuance and plot but rather spend a lot of time fighting when combat is the least tactically interesting and also most deadly.

Is there any particular data or anecdotes your group might need from us as GMs or from our players?


SuperBidi wrote:
Ron Lundeen wrote:
Strength of Thousands is very much about roleplaying and problem-solving, and has significantly fewer "dungeons" than the others (although it has some very dangerous sites!).

If I can give my opinion, this should be made clear right on the backcover of APs/adventures. The balance between combat, roleplay, problem-solving, etc... And even an information about the overall difficulty. So when you buy the AP you can take the one corresponding to your playstyle. For example, I've bought Extinction Curse because of the circus and I was expecting less combat and more circus (I must admit I've been a bit disappointed, especially when I've read part 3 and 4 of the first volume and realized it was so combat heavy). With proper information, I may have chosen another AP.

I think every AP should have a strong description of what you can expect inside. Because you often buy the first volume before everything is released, you are a bit in the fog as a GM. Realizing once you have gathered a group and launched a few games that the AP is not corresponding to what you were expecting is really tough.

So, I don't know if it's really possible, but if you could release, maybe in the player guide to the AP, a description of what you could expect inside the AP, it would really help choosing if you go for this one or the next one. And, as a side note, it can also help players creating their characters (my Extinction Curse party is skill heavy, because they were expecting more circus, and considering the amount of combats they are not really optimized for the task).

Yeah I really think this would be super helpful. We started PF2 with Extinction Curse thinking it would be a fun Circus adventure. I guess in retrospect I could have found online more info about it but was trying to be spoiler, also from what I gathered was most people though Extinction Curse was better than Age of Ashes.

Our GM is very "by the book" especially since it is our first adventure in PF2 and we are all learning. We kind of expected the adventure to be more of a combination of circus+combat

To be fair if they said on the back of the book Extinction Curse is about a small adventure group who originally joined the circus but ends up on a mysterious quest to save the world with "90% combat" "10% roleplay". I am pretty sure that would have hurt sales a lot.

Maybe once we get enough adventures someone will make a website with an "Adventure Buyer's Guide" that will list what the Adventure Paths are about without giving spoilers and state pro and cons of each adventure.

I do see how Extinction Curse can be more RP focused with an experienced GM but admit as a group we are a little disappointed with the crazy amount of combat by the book.


I think frontloading leveling takes finesse to balance against all the other needs of a 1st AP installment.
On the one had, stats & combats are simpler and run faster. Yay. (I've often leveled up PCs after 1-2 sessions through the early stages of my homebrew campaigns.)
On the other, the limited page space vies w/ developing a strong RP launch of the campaign, especially if there's a major setting to develop concurrently.
Which is to say, maybe trying to launch an AP & build up player investment while also stacking leveling may be too much.
And it may not be... because I'm unsure I've had any difficulties with this. Until now, I don't think I've heard this complaint before.
Hmm...
Something to keep in mind while developing definitely.

Extinction Curse may be an exception because it does sound like circus adventure, maybe even high jinks & buffoonery, more than an adventure for heroes saving the region. The latter's implied by it being an AP and high-level (even mid-level) circus adventures sounding wonky.* But it could be made more explicit perhaps, that while doing circus things will be important (albeit temporarily), the standard growth into a fantasy adventurer is expected too.
The pirate AP, thieves' guild AP, and so forth generally let you grow from your original theme, yet the circus arc fizzles out (so I've heard secondhand.)

* I would enjoy the concept of a comic AP, though that'd take such skill and go so much against the grain of Golarion I accept never seeing one.
A goofy module tied to chaos & fey on the other hand could make for a good side product. :) Or a segment of a fey AP where things go haywire. Be kind of neat to see resolute heroes out of their comfort zones, and not merely because of danger.


It might be a product of PF1 thinking, but I believe it was easier to cram more stuff into lower level installments, since stat blocks and the like are smaller at low levels. Encounters for the same amount of advancement take less page space.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

3-3-4-4-3-3 seams like good pacing.

Less early wonky levels. More space for the story in the first 2 volumes to better introduce and engage the players. More meat for the mid levels which traditonally have been best levels throughout many editions (characters do not feel like newbies anymore, but also don't feel like superheroes either).

Dark Archive

I am confused about the assertions that all the encounters are combat. Sure, each encounter has stat blocks for the creatures in them; however, I think that is just a measure put into place by the AP writers to prevent complaints about them not being in place when players decide to attack. In my experience, mirroring what Michael Sayre wrote, each encounter has multiple avenues to solve them, and experience should be rewarded for those non-combat solutions as well. As far as I know, the APs do not say that the players must fight the creatures in the encounters; that just might be the simplest, most straight-forward solution. In Age of Ashes, I recruited or attempted to recruit anything that was not a slaver, and it worked out pretty well, making a group stationed out of Fort Alterian composed of a dragon, elves, kobolds, goblins, wargs, orcs, dwarves, townsfolk, and a lava monster. Its a roleplaying game; if players or GMs do not try to play into roles, it is not the AP's or writer's fault. And giving every single possible iteration for the game is nigh impossible and would hamper creativity, making the APs more linear and videogame like.

I guess I am a little odd in my preference for adventure rewards. I prefer when the great majority of wealth comes from social interactions, experience from combat, and hero points from both. Of course, I do like when there is a reasonable explanation for wealth in combat, such as an enemy using a shiny new sword or raiding a dragon's lair. Right now, I am probably in the worst reward system, in which wealth and hero points are rewarded for combat (really, why would a ghost have a set of chainmail inside it?) and leveling is milestone; we had been fighting severe and extreme single creature encounters (really not that fun or epic when every fight is a leveled down 13-15 creature) for three sessions, leaving dungeons to get equipment (the DM took away all of our equipment at the start). We then entered another dungeon and cleared it, resulting in us leveling up. When we went back and cleared the other, we leveled up again. All of this just kind of ruined the immersion of the game.

As for the structure of the APs, I agree they can result in disconnect between expectation and what is available. For example, when playing Age of Ashes, I expected Citadel Alterian to be a central hub of great importance to the game; however, it just became the travel station. I see no reason why we were told to spend gold fixing it up since it wasn't central after the first book. In a similar manner, Extinction Curse proves disappointing (partially from my group), as I went fully into the carny spectacle, while the other players do not contribute to the circus' performance whatsoever (in fact only one other player has performance). It kind of bummed me out how the circus mechanic has been introduced, but it really hasn't done anything for the story. I do not mind the different encounters; I just wish they were better integrated into the big selling point of the AP.

Developer

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Sporkedup wrote:
I know it's not necessarily something you can answer, but have the AP devs discussed not frontloading the bulk of the leveling in the first two books?

Yes, but to give specifics right now would technically be spoilers. Expect this 4-4-3-3-3-3 model to change up in the near future.

Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Narxiso wrote:
I am confused about the assertions that all the encounters are combat. Sure, each encounter has stat blocks for the creatures in them; however, I think that is just a measure put into place by the AP writers to prevent complaints about them not being in place when players decide to attack. In my experience, mirroring what Michael Sayre wrote, each encounter has multiple avenues to solve them, and experience should be rewarded for those non-combat solutions as well.

This is absolutely the case. There need not be blood on the floor for an encounter to grant its XP. Some encounters are all but certain to result in combat--a hungry owlbear waiting to ambush the heroes, for example--but we're not coming to your house to tell you when and how to grant XP for encounters, even if we provided those encounters to you between the covers of an adventure.

* Did the heroes sneak past a combat? Sure, give XP.
* Did the heroes talk their way past? Sure, give XP. You want to give double XP because they made an active enemy into an ally with great roleplaying? Sure, I'm not stopping you if you do.
* Did the rogue spot and disable the trap so quickly no one even had to roll a saving throw? Sure, give XP.
* Did the party find a secret tunnel to bypass an encounter entirely and don't even know it's there? Hmm. I probably wouldn't give XP for it, but I'm not stopping you if you do.
* Did the party kill the diplomat they were intended to negotiate with? Again, I probably wouldn't give XP, but I'm not stopping you if you do.

Scarab Sages

I think the 4-4-3-3-3-3 model isn't wrong, but the problem is that players are too frequently challenged by combat before their PCs are as capable as they will be.

How would people feel if more XP in lower-level APs were earned in non-combat encounters?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

14 people marked this as a favorite.

The 4-4-3-3-3-3 model is largely a remnant of spending a decade with 1st edition Pathfinder, where leveling and advancement were less favorable to fitting an entire 1st to 20th level adventure path in six volumes. It's certainly something that we're looking at behind the scenes, but keep in mind that for the first few Adventure Paths in 2nd edition we were still learning the subtleties of the new edition ourselves.

That said, feedback like in this thread is SUPER helpful and fascinating and enlightening. Thanks all, and keep it coming! :-)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for taking notice of our feedback. I definitely have been noticing a possitive trend with Agents of Edgewatch and some splendour within Age of Ashes that have rekindled my interest in APs. I am looking forward to seeing what you do!

In short what I look in an AP is the mayority of the workload lifted from me whilst allowing room for changes on the fly. Straight forward but overly detailed dungeons with grindy combat is not the best tool for this, and could instead explore some modularity and giving space to more inspired encounters and challenges which Paizo is so great at. I write about it at length at the beginning of the thread so wont repeat all that.

I wanted to give an example of what could be yet another alternative to the dungeons we have now. A structure of encounters like Raiders of the Fever Seas gives a lot of hooks and variety. It isnt perfect, but some dungeons could be substituted with this sort of sandboxy tool.


Age of Ashes is not the first adventure path that squeezed 4 levels of advancement into the first module. Ironfang Invasion did it, too, in 2017. Wrath of the Righteous was even more extreme back in 2013, squeezing 5 level advancements into its first module. Return of the Runelords in 2018 and Tyrant's Grasp in 2019 also had 4 level advancements in their first modules. Paizo was apparently practicing for going for full 20-level adventure paths for Pathfinder 2nd Edition.

The starting levels for each Ironfang Invasion module are:
1st Trail of the Hunted
5th Fangs of War
8th Assault on Longshadow
11th Siege of Stone
14th Prisoners of the Blight
16th Vault of the Onyx Citadel
Page 65 of Vault of the Onyx Citadel under Concluding the Campaign said, "The PCs conclude Vault of the Onyx Citadel at 18th level." That means that the number of level up in each module are 4-3-3-3-2-2.

Return of the Runelords' starting levels are 1st, 5th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th. Tyrant's Grasp's starting levels are 1st, 5th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 16th. I don't own the last modules to read the concluding levels.

I ran Trail of the Hunted, 1st module of Ironfang Invasion, under PF2 rules and it did not feel crowded with combat. My players and I did our standard narrative-changing manipulation of the adventure, so my assessment is not especially accurate. They took time for roleplaying, such as sitting down with the other refugees from Phaendar and talking over their course for the future. According to my notes, the party finished the module on July 31, 2020. I added a story award of 54 xp to reach the 1,000 xp for 5th level. They had skipped a lot of forest encounters at 2nd level, such as deciding to not fight a giant boar. I could have waited until the next module for the level-up to 5th, because Fangs of War started with some softball encounters, including a rescue of a trapped logger that the dice turned into comedy.

The plot of Trail of the Hunted divided nicely into 4 parts, so it could easily incorporate 4 milestones. For that matter, the next module, Fangs of War, naturally had 4 parts, too: the three forts and the untamed forest between them. But creating a milestone for the forest, experienced in small pieces on the way to each fort, would be awkward.

My younger daughter is in a PF1 Return of the Runelords campaign. She did not feel overcrowded by combat either, taking plenty of time for roleplaying and walking. Her character reached 2nd level after just 7 hours of gaming. The GM asked her to keep detailed records, so I could ask her for the xp for every game session.

Most PF1 adventure paths have a 3-3-3-3-2-2 pattern. I think that this is because combat slows down as the level increases in PF1, so the modules cut back. The martial characters have more attacks, the mages have a backlog of low-level spells to cast throughout combat, and everyone has a way to exploit a swift or immediate action. In PF2, I have run combat up through 7th level and I have not noticed a slowdown yet.

In Iron Gods, my players made their own narrative for the 5th and 6th modules, Palace of Fallen Stars and The Divinity Drive, in ways that reduced combat. For example, in The Divinity Drive they got themselves hired by the final villain Unity as repair crew. In their off-work time (Unity followed strict union rules about the workday) they were secretly sneaking through maintenance tunnels, guided by Casandalee, to scout out Unity's secret plans. They could not attack any of Unity's minions because that would reveal their hidden activities. Their only combat was against non-minions, such as shadows and wraiths haunting the Divinity. However, we took 6 months to get through that module. My players loved high-tech repair tasks but those paid poorly in xp. Likewise, sneaking into old physics labs to make better gear also delayed the final confrontation with Unity.

Liberty's Edge

Castilliano wrote:

Mathmuse,

That's interesting that you see milestone leveling as preparation for the next quest. I suppose in APs it does represent a minimum entry level, things are about to get tough so you'd better too. A warning almost.
I've take milestones as the achievements worthy of a level for accomplishing.
Blow up the Death Star? Gain a level, stop at Dagobah for training.
While your version seems more, going to Cloud City (where Darth has infiltrated, bwah hah hah), level up to get ready.
While there's a practicality to that (and as you mention, the approaches are functionally the same) I prefer leveling more as reward, now go fight harder things since we expect more of you (and won't reward lesser deeds so much any more!) rather than as you're going to fight harder things, let's boost you up because you're all main characters. That feels a bit like proactive coddling.

I definitely agree with your experience here - I always think of milestone levelling as a reward for getting past a particularly important part of the story. When I'm playing with milestone levelling, I find myself expecting the level up when we've done something big, and that's when my players expect it too. It's essentially the same thing, but it does feel anticlimactic to view it as 'oh, gotta level up before the next session', and getting appropriately rewarded for the climactic event is one of the big advantages of milestone levelling to me. With XP, it's rather easy to level up just before the boss, or end up levelling up a single fight after you've resolved that arc and have just set out on the next adventure.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So after reading this thread for awhile, I wanted to toss in my own feelings, especially after speaking with my groups.

When it comes to combat and encounters in any edition (of any game), as a GM, I feel like a lot of what I do is reading the room. Combat fatigue can set in suddenly, just as often as the feeling of, "Yes, that was awesome, let's push on!" During the 1e days, I ran two groups through Hell's Vengeance and watched one group work their hardest to bypass combat while the other happily threw themselves into it. Both groups enjoyed the game and, to me, the tools were available in the APs to accommodate both.

Currently running The Slithering and AoE right now and there are honestly some difficult fights present. I'm doing this over Play-By-Post as well, making even short encounters potentially take a few days. After asking my players if they were feeling burnt out by combat, the answers seemed to be that they've been enjoying them, and are fine with not cutting any encounters. Again, my experiences aren't universal, and the AoE team has been bypassing encounters through Diplomacy and... I'm gonna call it pluck.

Quick note about the Extinction Curse AP. I was so excited for this line when it was announced. Circus performers thrust into the roles of heroes? Great! But as I read the books, my interest waned. I suppose that I was expecting fighting harpies while balancing on a highwire, having to perform for celestials to gain access to a keep, or entice an oni to the show so we could pilfer his lair. While the AP is still solid, I'm not sure that the encounters meshed with what the stated theme was?

Dark Archive

Narxiso wrote:


I guess I am a little odd in my preference for adventure rewards. I prefer when the great majority of wealth comes from social interactions, experience from combat, and hero points from both.

I probably should clear this up. By combat, I mean overcoming encounters by any method: whether that is combat, stealth, or talking through it with social or other rolls.

By social interactions, I meant bargaining, talking to the vendors and important NPCs, and trading.

For example, PCs get a job to clear out some wolves. Fighting the wolves, scaring them off, or capturing and releasing them far away would all be ways of gaining experience. Talking to the quest giver and receiving gold would be gaining wealth as well as selling wolf skins or teeth (if combat was the route). And hero points would be rewarded for roleplaying the characters: the slimey character trying to get more gold for clearing out the wolves, the tactician instructing everyone on how to get rid of the wolves, the hurt character complaining (or pretending to suck it up) about the pain, or someone trying something fun and interesting.

Sovereign Court

14 people marked this as a favorite.

One of the themes I'm seeing in these discussions is that GM experience matters a lot.

Some of us have been GMing for a long time, pick up a new game, read an AP volume, and get out their cutting tools to make it their own.

Others are maybe new to RPGs in general, or just to PF2 specifically. Unsure of exactly how this game works, how it's balanced, how you should pace things, what are you supposed to do with exploration mode, how much healing should people get between encounters, how to subdivide dungeons, do you have to fight all these monsters that are written primarily as combat obstacles? A noticeable group of these GMs decides that "for our first campaign we're going to do it by the book". So they take the AP at face value: everything that's there should be done.

A lot of the arguments I read here why things aren't so back come down to "I don't take the book at face value, I make it my own". But that's not very helpful for people reading the AP as their first adventure. If you read into the AP, say the introduction to book 1, how much does it explain to the GM about how to make it your own? About the underlying assumptions on pacing (or rather, the idea that there is NOT a canonical pacing but that the GM should adapt it to their group)? Not a whole lot.

This stuff isn't so needed for experienced GMs, but new ones don't really know what they don't know.

Basically what I think is needed is a bit of a GM's guide to reading the AP, as a mirror to the players' guide to the AP. I'm not suggesting a huge tome here - more like about 5 pages at the start of book 1 of the AP.

You might say, shouldn't that stuff be in the GMG? Well maybe, but I don't think the GMG really has a "how to deep-read an AP" section.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well said @Ascalaphus!

On top of your reasons however I feel there is also another reason to take an AP at face value, and this is time.

Our GM for AoA is by no means an inexperienced GM having run many adventures in many systems before deciding to try PF2. However he has to juggle work, family and hobby and thus expects to run any bought adventure without need for extensive adjustments. So it is not that he could not do such adjustments - given enough spare time he could probably do his own AP - he simply does not want to spare the time to do it.

Also it seems like rules ambiguity is not for everyone. Our GM (not the players, the GM) has complained multiple times now that for a major system he simply has to make too many rules calls by himself.

A typical scenario goes like this:

Other Player: "I want to do X but I am not sure if/how this works."
GM: "According to RAW I think this interpretation may be correct."
*GM looks at me for confirmation (because I am the one who regularily browses this formum for extra info / FAQ / and other answers)*
Me: "Sorry, this topic is ambiguous and hotly debated within the forum, you have to adjucate the issue yourself..."
*GM sighs*

And that there are a couple of "bugs" within the early AP's does not help either.

Sovereign Court

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't think most of the rules ambiguities are really within the scope of AP-writing to solve. "How many hands for battle medicine" for example doesn't really have that much effect on whether Age of Ashes can be run straight out of the box.

But yeah, the busy GM who wants to buy an AP because they don't have time to write a campaign themselves - for them it's also not so helpful to be told that it was always gonna be their job to do (major) rewrites. Because if there was a product that would require fewer rewrites, or that perhaps had more defined toggles, they would have bought that.

For example, suppose the "GM guide to Age of Ashes" explicitly told you the option to use milestone leveling (as opposed to having to hear about it through the grapevine), and had a list of "main" vs. "extended" encounters? That would take at most a page per book, but make a big difference for the GM.


While anyone can of course modify adventures to suit their group, I think the intent of the APs is for them to be ready to play as is, not to be rewritten wholesale. A bit more guidance for how to change things up might be nice, but the expectation is that it's ready to play, not that most GMs will get out their cutting tools.


I would absolutely love a page or two telling me which encounters can be removed without consequence to the plot, would help with my prep so much.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Maybe just a symbol or a scale marking plot relevance? It wouldn't have to be much at all. Maybe a scale of A-E or something that denotes exactly how vital an encounter would be? A being key plot, E being totally optional, and then scale it in between in case people are pulling varying degrees of modification?

Low 6 D
Severe 13 A

That kind of thing. Short of maybe a paragraph blurb at the start of each AP volume, it would take up literally two characters per encounter.

I dunno. Thursday morning spitball here.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Since this conversation seems to be a goldmine for the developers, I'd like to add my experience as a veteran GM who now uses APs (& other prewritten modules) almost exclusively - exactly for reasons of minimal available prep time & high basic quality of the material (both variety & interest of encounters, and an interesting & well-put together overall storyline). Sure, some chapters/sections (or even whole APs) don't suit me as well as others, but so far there's been enough overall content available that I've been able to pick & choose ones that overall work for my play groups without too many problems, and we've just driven through "weaker" (less to our style) sections.

While I'm pretty comfortable deviating in detail from what's written as the players engage, a general expectation that I don't need to do that just to make the game work is extraordinarily valuable to me - it would be a major loss of value if I *had* to significantly develop the material before I could run it, so some of the more "outline" suggestions above wouldn't work well for me. (I have enough trouble with sandbox-y areas which - in a prewritten adventure - I find don't always flow that easily without more prep work than I really have time to do. Zirnakaynin in Second Darkness would be a classic example of a really great setting that I didn't feel I did any sort of justice to.) For context, I run three games/week with different groups, and work full-time. I try not to take "time off" between chapters/modules so more-or-less prep as I go, and the time's almost all taken up by VTT stuff (maps, tokens, NPC stat input etc.).

Of course, as a result the "social contract" with my play groups is very much to go with the adventure storyline; that works for us & has rarely felt forced. Maybe once every 2 chapters or so, someone refers to the meta to justify the party's direction of travel, and maybe one in 3 of those generates a bit of chat about how that's a bit silly/feels odd/the group might have pursued something else - we invariably just shrug and go with it. I recognise this wouldn't necessarily suit everyone!

I think I agree with the sense through this thread about the combat-heavy feel of some chapters - though I can't speak to the PF2 APs yet as I haven't run any yet. It definitely felt a feature of several PF1 APs, especially in later levels. I'm in several minds about what the "right" answer is - I *think* my groups would prefer a smaller level range across a 6-chapter AP, to allow a bit more expansiveness (& time-in-level) than the classic AP experience [maybe 3-2-2-2-2-1, say]. I understand that this isn't necessarily a great answer for Paizo though because L1 adventures sell so much better (so starting above L1 is no good); 6 chapters is such a sweet spot for the publishing schedule; and an understandable desire to explore the full level range!

By the way, we mostly don't use milestone leveling as all my groups like to see their XP hopper filling session by session as a way of tracking progress - they all love the anticipation & payoff of the leveling up! We're cool with story awards, even quite big ones, but they need to feel proportionate to play time experienced. I think we'd like bigger story awards for extensive RP sections, and a general trend to increase story award (with appropriate content to generate it) in place of some dungeon combat XP.


Pathfinder LO Special Edition, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I've been slowing writing a campaign for years; and I've definitely been building in "primary plot", "supporting plot", "side quests chains". Often the side quest chains are tailored towards the campaign backgrounds, and may include a mcguffin of some kind that feeds back in, but there's a side bar, about if you're adding in your own character driven story arcs, these side quests can easily be swapped out, just move this clue to wherever it fits for your version. The supporting arcs are generally slightly combat heavy for groups that want that and/or want to have xp exactly match the milestone (when combined with 2-3 side quest arcs).

The resulting structure might end up feeling a little too MMO-y, but I like it, at least for my planning/encounter budgeting.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Salamileg wrote:
I would absolutely love a page or two telling me which encounters can be removed without consequence to the plot, would help with my prep so much.
Sporkedup wrote:

Maybe just a symbol or a scale marking plot relevance? It wouldn't have to be much at all. Maybe a scale of A-E or something that denotes exactly how vital an encounter would be? A being key plot, E being totally optional, and then scale it in between in case people are pulling varying degrees of modification?

Low 6 D
Severe 13 A

That kind of thing. Short of maybe a paragraph blurb at the start of each AP volume, it would take up literally two characters per encounter.

After reading Salamileg's comment, I was thinking the same thing as Sporkedup. I view single letters or symbols to be too abstract. Abbreviated notation, such as D3, is fine for maps where each letter covers up details, but for mental tracking a name is better.

I just purchased the PDF of The Show Must Go On to generate examples, but I haven't had time to read through it. It does show me why Sporkedup wanted symbols: the headings of sections are crowded. A2. THE RINGMASTER’S WAGON MODERATE 1 has room for only more 4 letters and 2 spaces between WAGON and MODERATE. Though if we drop THE, then we could fit in A2. RINGMASTER'S WAGON (CLUE) MODERATE 1.

Or we could give a names to pictograms.

The beginning of each part, such as Chapter 1: Murder in the Center Ring, could list the story threads with a brief description.
Circus (circus tent pictogram)- these sections let the players experience circus life.
Clue (magnifying glass pictogram) - these sections contain clues for the murder mystery, and might also relate to circus life.
Path (footsteps pictogram) - these sections track the murderer but could be bypassed.

The other matter about Structuring and Encounters is setting up non-combat stories. Travelling Sasha in the spoiler section of her original post said, "At some point people started to call it [Extinction Curse] "the circus AP", and then people obviously started to expect a focus on circus stuff. But the first book itself is a pure hack'n'slash, with fight after fight, and from there the circus just... Isn't too important again." The first and second chapters of The Show Must Go On have lots of colorful characters in the circus. I could plant seeds for relationships that the players turn into social roleplaying about circus life.

I have set up similar relationships in other APs I have run. For me that is routine. Which means it is not particular to any AP; instead, it is a GM skill that should be covered in a book like the Gamemastery Guide. That book does have a few sections on that matter, such as Social Encounters on page 16.

Gamemastery Guide, Gamemastery Basics chapter, page 16 wrote:

SOCIAL ENCOUNTERS

Sometimes you’ll want to run a social conflict in encounter mode. The basic guidelines on how to do so appear on page 494 of the Core Rulebook, and this section expands on them with additional advice and examples. Social encounters still require opposition—typically an adversary arguing against you, but sometimes institutional opposition or strongly held beliefs.

This appears to be an adversarial social encounter, the kind that earn xp. However, creating a sense of living in a village or working in a circus requires friendly social encounters, the kind that earn allies.

Because friendly social encounters don't have risk and don't earn xp, they do not require strict rules. Instead, this is about advising GMs about the potential for another dimension of fun in the game. It sounds like a good reason to publish another book. I like the NPC Gallery in the Gamemastery Guide and would love to see it expanded in another book that has even more NPCs and maybe some roleplaying stories about the iconic characters interacting with them. Advice on friendly social encounters would be a good chapter in that book.

Hm, friendly social encounters do have one effect on risk and xp. They can recruit allies who follow the party on their adventures, including allies as powerful as PCs. After the party rescued Cirieo Thassaddin in Fangs of War they had a chance to recruit him as a guide for the remaining two-thirds of the module. He was a ranger 5 in a 6th-level party, which would boost the power of a 4-member party by 17%. Likewise, in my side quest to Radya's Hollow, the party recruited Tromaki, a maenad creature 8. She was an unreliable ally, but was also significant power when she wanted to help. I did not count this additional help against their xp awards, since they had earned the help through roleplaying.


NECR0G1ANT wrote:

I think the 4-4-3-3-3-3 model isn't wrong, but the problem is that players are too frequently challenged by combat before their PCs are as capable as they will be.

How would people feel if more XP in lower-level APs were earned in non-combat encounters?

I certainly wouldn't mind it, but I think it would be hard with the 4-4-3-3-3-3 structure. As I said, I believe that the prevalence of dungeons/encounters in low-level adventures is at least partially because of the greater XP density per page of such fare. Moving the 4-level adventures to later in the series would open up things a little more for "special" XP rewards at lower levels.


There's another thing that Paizo used to do, but which I haven't seen much in PF2 yet. This might be because developers are busy working on the more structural books still, and I'm seeing hints that they may be returning to form here, but I'll bring it up anyway: timing accessories with adventures.

What I mean is that a few years back, it was pretty common for various sourcebooks to be released at more or less the same time as adventure paths where they would fit in. For example, Serpent's Skull was released in late 2010, along with Heart of the Jungle (sourcebook about jungle adventuring, particularly Mwangi jungles) and Sargava, the Lost Colony (about the Sargava colony, now known as Vidrian). Late 2011 had Land of the Linnorm Kings and Dragon Empires Gazetteer released alongslide the Jade Regent path, and so on. This allows those who wish to expand on the stuff mentioned in the AP to easily do so, while those who are content to stay on the trodden path can do so.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Staffan Johansson wrote:

There's another thing that Paizo used to do, but which I haven't seen much in PF2 yet. This might be because developers are busy working on the more structural books still, and I'm seeing hints that they may be returning to form here, but I'll bring it up anyway: timing accessories with adventures.

What I mean is that a few years back, it was pretty common for various sourcebooks to be released at more or less the same time as adventure paths where they would fit in. For example, Serpent's Skull was released in late 2010, along with Heart of the Jungle (sourcebook about jungle adventuring, particularly Mwangi jungles) and Sargava, the Lost Colony (about the Sargava colony, now known as Vidrian). Late 2011 had Land of the Linnorm Kings and Dragon Empires Gazetteer released alongslide the Jade Regent path, and so on. This allows those who wish to expand on the stuff mentioned in the AP to easily do so, while those who are content to stay on the trodden path can do so.

They do do that. It would have been more obvious if the Absalom book hadn't been delayed past the release of Agents of Edgewatch. Notably, there is a Mwangi supplement coming out shortly before a Magaambyan AP next year.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

To a lesser degree, from what I remember Agents of Edgewatch was a big reason Investigator was an APG class.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Now that you mention it, I recall that as well.

To an even lesser degree, the beginners box has setting tie-ins to both Troubles in Otari and Abomination Vaults. I'm curious if there will be player's guide or DM's side guidance on integrating all three of those into each other. You end Troubles around level 4, perfect to start right into book 2 (or absolutely steamroll book 1).


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Mathmuse wrote:
Or we could give a names to pictograms.

There were pictograms in the playtest. People didn't like them (but I did).

Paizo Employee Creative Director

4 people marked this as a favorite.
AnimatedPaper wrote:

Now that you mention it, I recall that as well.

To an even lesser degree, the beginners box has setting tie-ins to both Troubles in Otari and Abomination Vaults. I'm curious if there will be player's guide or DM's side guidance on integrating all three of those into each other. You end Troubles around level 4, perfect to start right into book 2 (or absolutely steamroll book 1).

We tossed around ideas on how to handle the transition from the Beginner's Box to the Abomination Vaults, and for a hot second even considered starting that Adventure Path at 4th level...

...but in the end, we wanted Abomination Vaults to stand on its own. It's very much intended to be the "first campaign" you play after learning the game from the Beginner Box, but also expected to be the point where you move on from that box to the Core Rulebook. This way, starting the game at 1st level as normal lets those who got their first taste of Pathifnder in the Beginner Box a chance to either remake the PC they played before (but with vastly more options for leveling up), or to try out one of the many ancestries or classes that WEREN'T in the Beginner Box. That's a lot harder to do if we set the expectation that everyone playing Abomination Vaults had to carry over their limited-option Beginner Box PCs.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I more or less assumed that would be the case in general, but did wonder if there would be optional ties.

When we get the first volume next month, I personally will be looking at it with an eye towards trimming out the not fully necessary encounters to create a "speed run" for characters that are already level 4, so that the story is retained, just compressed. I assume much of what has been discussed in this thread will go into that evaluation, which was what caused my comment in the first place.

I of course won't be rating it off that view, as it wouldn't be fair to judge a product because it is or isn't accommodating to a playstyle it wasn't intended to accommodate in the first place, just looking at it as a thought exercise.


James Jacobs wrote:

We tossed around ideas on how to handle the transition from the Beginner's Box to the Abomination Vaults, and for a hot second even considered starting that Adventure Path at 4th level...

...but in the end, we wanted Abomination Vaults to stand on its own. It's very much intended to be the "first campaign" you play after learning the game from the Beginner Box, but also expected to be the point where you move on from that box to the Core Rulebook. This way, starting the game at 1st level as normal lets those who got their first taste of Pathifnder in the Beginner Box a chance to either remake the PC they played before (but with vastly more options for leveling up), or to try out one of the many ancestries or classes that WEREN'T in the Beginner Box. That's a lot harder to do if we set the expectation that everyone playing Abomination Vaults had to carry over their limited-option Beginner Box PCs.

I'm guessing it's way too late to do anything about that, but I think the obvious solution would have been to have Abomination Vaults 1 and the Beginner Box both end with PCs hitting level 4, which would be the starting level for Abomination Vaults 2. Then write the stuff so both can be valid introductions to AV 2 and 3.

Perhaps something to consider when you do a beginner box for Pathfinder 3e...

101 to 147 of 147 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / General Discussion / Of Structuring and Encounters: A discussion on APs and how combat encounters in this edition impacts them. All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.