Questions Before Buying

Rise of the Runelords

Small group wants me to run a game for them on Roll20. No problem, love to. However, I have limited bandwidth in RL. I'm already DM'ing another group and a player in 3 others. So I don't have the time right now to make up my own campaign whole hog (even though I would like to and have a concept that I've been wanting to try). Roll20 has RoTRLAE all prepped for me for really a pretty decent price. So that is where I'm leaning.

My group has only 4 players, but they are experienced and decent character builders. I've usually found that purchased materials mean I have to really crank up the difficulty to challenge the players. I'm guessing only 4 will mean I don't have to do that too much. Seem reasonable or will they still curb stomp it as written?

The players in this group are actually pretty different from each other. So I need some fighting, some social, some intrigue, etc... A little bit of everything. They don't do well with a campaign that just focuses on one thing. Does this have a good variety for several different types of players?

I don't like running a game that is too much of a railroad, but this group tends to have trouble if it is too much of a sand box. They tend to just dither around not knowing what to do. For example, I would not expect them to enjoy Kingmaker. What is the railroad to sandbox ratio like in this AP? Do players have very much trouble figuring out what to next?

All APs are railroads to some extent.

Rise of the Runelords is an early work by Paizo. As such it is more combat-oriented than say "Hell's Rebels." It's still a lot of fun.

If you want to make it a challenge, run it on the Medium XP track. The PCs will reach a maximum of level 15. That said, running it as-suggested, with 15-point builds (and maybe limit them to the Core Classes and Races) would probably work well.

The fact that Roll20 has the entire thing available for I think $60 makes it definitely worth going with. There are only a couple APs for 1st edition Pathfinder available. Otherwise you'll have to do the work yourself.

Grand Lodge

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I would say Rise of the Runelords is pretty heavily combat focused, but there are plenty of opportunities to bring roleplay to the forefront of you'd like. Roleplay has taken up substantially more time in my game than combat from Book 3 onward, but I admit this is not the campaign-as-presented experience.

I'll also say it's a pretty poor campaign for intrigue if your players aren't interested in gravitating towards evil, as most of the NPCs they'll encounter starting as soon as Book 2 (I'd say) are evil, with most of those being CE.

I'd say to give the campaign a read and see if you'd like it. If you need help cranking up the difficulty, Joey Virtue's guide is a great resource, and I've got tens of stat blocks for additional monster variety and increased toughness.

Overall, I'd say it's a good campaign, but it may be better for a group who is either less experienced or diverse in its interests than yours. If you decide to run it anyway, there's a lot of resources to be found here to flesh it out and increase its difficulty.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Runelords is still around and being played almost 15 years after it came out. It's been published in 2 versions of the game, and is being played all over right now in Pathfinder 2nd edition. This campaign is a classic. You can't go wrong running this one for a dedicated group.

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