Starting a solo Jade Regent and could use some feedback on my changes [SPOILERS]

Jade Regent

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So, this pandemic doesn't seem to be easing up fast enough and vaccines arriving at snails pace in my country. Me and my girlfriend are social distancing pretty hard and all our usual games are on indefinite hiatus, so I kind of decided to start a solo campaign for Pathfinder.

I know this campaign is kind of old news at this point, but I would appreciate if anyone has the time look at my initial ideas, after skimming through the material. All feedback, criticisms and suggestions are welcome.

Spoilers for the campaign ahead!

Player heir
Why Jade Regent, you might ask. Well, because I feel it's the best campaign for solo player. It's not a unique observation that Jade Regent has kind of a problem with players being a sidekick to Ameiko's hero's journey and that's kind of lame for the players.
Well, in solo game I can flip it upside down. My player is going to play "Ameiko" (I'm letting her make her own character, obviously, just making sure few key background stuff is lined up to make things work). So now the game is centered around my player and few supporting NPC are the sidekicks.

Caravan and relationship rules
Gone. Bye. Absolutely unnecessary. We'll just roleplay that stuff.

Supporting NPC
Even though she is a solo player, my "Ameiko" doesn't have to go alone. I'm initially going to give her a few NPC friends who will accompany her, to make balancing easier.
I'm probably going to pick some good supporting classes, which are not too difficult mechanically, so they don't become too much of a burden to us during game.
Also I'm going to let "Ameiko's" character be made with probably 25 point buy stats, while giving the NPC 15 or 20. Also when designing loot, I'm going to prioritize her needs over NPC. I don't want them to overshadow our heroine, so they are going to be slightly weaker in comparison.

I'm going to initially make 3 supporting NPC and depending how many characters I think we can juggle, I might give more along the way. Just to give her options for group composition, kind of like in many DnD based CRPG. With caravan it's kind of easy to justify why some people have to stay behind to safeguard it or maybe they have some other errands to run, so we can keep some balanced sized group on ventures.

Story and villains
So now we're getting to the part I would most like to get some feedback on. Because I have some thoughts on the Jade Regent and the Five Storms as villains. I'm quite underwhelmed by them as written. And to be fair, I've only skimmed through the latter books, so there might be some nuances I'm missing. But it seems to me that the villains boil down to them being just despotic and power hungry would-be tyrants.
Don't get me wrong, it's not a *bad* motivation for villains, but I kind of expected more grand endgame from a shadowy coup by a cabal of fiends spanning hundreds of years.

So... Here's what I was thinking: Thousands of years ago, goddess Shizuru casted a exceptionally powerful Oni Daimyo down to the Well of Demons and sealed him with six magical seals.
Shizuru then gave her divine blessing to the five Imperial families of Minkai and bestowed each of them with a artifact that bind the Oni demigod to his prison. Sixth artifact of binding is the Jade Throne of Minkai. Shizuru made Laws of Golden Perfection to prevent oni from ever claiming the throne, thus preventing them from releasing their master.
Only way to open the prison of the Oni Daimyo is in collaboration with all five Imperial seals and the lawful Emperor of the Jade Throne.

So, I was thinking that the Five Storms are the army of the imprisoned Oni Daimyo and this whole scheme to claim the control of Minkai and placing Soto Takahiro at the throne is all done to free their master.

Also, I'm not sure if I'm making things unnecessarily convoluted, but I also wanted to make Jade Regent himself more interesting and not just a puppet ruler. So I was thinking that Soto Takahiro having already learned how his mother died and growing disillusioned by his grandfather, he secretly plots against the Five Storms. He has secretly amassed a number of wizards, diabolists and genie binders to work on a powerful spell to bind the Oni demigod to his will so he can rule Minkai as a truly sovereign, having defied both Shizuru's laws and the plans of Anamurumon.

I guess that's the gist of it. Thanks for anyone who actually read this rambling through.

Dark Archive

I mean it was fun rambling to read through :D (oliko ryökäle englanniksi muuten scoundrel? Kept thinking too long about that random tangent)

Anyway, might be good idea yeah to read through whole ap in case there is something ye, missed, but for solo campaign that addition sounds fun especially if you plan to go for level 20

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CorvusMask wrote:

I mean it was fun rambling to read through :D (oliko ryökäle englanniksi muuten scoundrel? Kept thinking too long about that random tangent)

Anyway, might be good idea yeah to read through whole ap in case there is something ye, missed, but for solo campaign that addition sounds fun especially if you plan to go for level 20

Thanks! :D

Scoundrel is pretty usual translation, yeah, but I feel it's tonally a bit more lighthearted than scoundrel. It's somewhere between scoundrel and rascal, I'd say.

Level 20 is pretty high, we'll see. Maybe, if I go with my chances, it might drag the Minkai story arc into quite long.

Yeah, I probably should read the latter books with greater detail, for sure. Luckily it doesn't prevent me from starting book one, anyway. We don't get to any significant details about Minkai situation in the Brinestump Marsh and even after Brinewall I can skimp out many details.
Book one is pretty solid overall, so I'll probably play it as is.

I cannot see anything you proposed causing any problems

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I have, in fact, run a solo Jade Regent for one player from start to finish, and have several thoughts.

Yes, quite definitely make the PC the lost heir to the throne, replacing Ameiko entirely. (We didn't, and regretted it).

Caravan and relationship rules: Actually, we quite enjoyed these. The Caravan 'character' gave the solo player something else to play around with, and they enjoyed the feeling of being a merchant trader making their way across the world (keep in mind you spend a lot of time in this AP NOT in Minkai but merely travelling, so it's good to have something do that's fun and plot-driving for the PC during that time). We did change the caravan rules a bit and add some trading rules, however. Keep in mind that if you don't have the Caravan and don't have Sandru who wants the Caravan, there's no real reason not to teleport, particularly across the Crown of the World. (I can't remember if the Amatatsu Seal can't be teleported by default, or if that was something I added in).

Other characters: Sandru, Shaelelu, and Koya (and Ameiko herself) make excellent PCs, with good motivations to join the adventure themselves rather than hang around in the caravan. If you want to lower your workload as a GM you could just use them, or rebuilt versions of them, or replace them with other support companions entirely (they are written in, though, and the relationship bonuses give them personal minor hooks in each adventure book).

Story and villains: At it's core, I think Jade Regent is a tale of loyalty and tradition vs betrayal and chaos, and the end shows this off and plays it up well.
All four of the end villains - the Jade Regent, Anamuramon, Renshii Meida, and the Raven Prince can be scheming against each other.

We went with the Jade Throne as a major artifact that allows the Imperial Seals to be redistributed to other families (the Gods, after all, have anticipated the possibility of -a- family line dying out, betraying Minkai, or similar). Such a thing requires the consent of all the remaining family heads, and the reigning ruler of Minkai. It's intended so four of the families can replace the 5th if needed. In this case, only the lifeforce of the lost heir prevents it from happening.

The Five Storms intend to name themselves as the new families once the Amatatsu line is dead, setting up a dynasty of chaos and oni betrayal. Amamuramon plans to screw them over and only name himself.

The Jade Regent intends revenge against Amamuramon for murdering his mother. Gaining power over the Throne will enable it to use it's other ability, to banish all extraplanar beings like the oni who oppose the Emperor's will.

Renshii Meida, only able to advance so far without a noble lineage, wants to see her child with the Regent gain power in Minkai and become the ruler, but would settle for being the power behind the throne with any of them, even Anamuramon. Alternatively, she's the brains behind the Geisha in Book 5, with strings on all the powerful nobles.

The Raven Prince could seek several things. One might be the Shinobi Fuhonsen Artifact coin from Book 5, a goal could be to become Minkai's most infamous ninja by murdering the heir, regent, concubine and advisor Anamuramon all in the same day, or the Prince could be a servant of a chaotic deity like Gyronna or Rovagug.

This turns bits of Book 5 and 6 into a complex set of political machinations to see what deals and betrayals the PC might make to set up their reign, or allows them to simply stand tall with their loyal friends as Team Evil dissolves into an orgy of backstabbing as all their plans fall apart.

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