1e vs 2e APs - My own experience


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion

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In another thread, Saedar suggested providing specific things from 1e adventure paths that I enjoyed, vs what I was experiencing with 2e APs. As the other thread went way off the rails, I'm starting a fresh one! :)

And beware, there will most certainly be spoilers!

My own experience (and yes, YMMV): I purchased the 2e system to run the 2e APs and I've run some of Age of Ashes. We are wrapping up Book 2 "Cult of Cinders" and concluding the AP at that point. This is, in part, because my group has voiced their feelings that the AP is very erratic and the story is hard to follow.

Numerous things contributed to this:
- morally unexpected characters ("Wait, he's a Hellknight, but he's good?" "Goblins are good now?" and they are just about to encounter a good red dragon)
- a large dungeon with every room packed full of different monsters (just on the first floor of Hellknight Hill: imps, bugbear, rats, spikey turtle monsters, wargs, goblin dogs, spider swarms, grauladon, giant bats, skeleton guards.. that's 10, if you were counting!)
- The idea of hopping from locations was cool, but didn't turn out that way. All the effort to make Breachill feel alive, to get them excited to now have the deed to Hellknight Hill (just to whisk them away to some far off jungle), to make Akrivel feel alive, but they never need to revisit. This led to, "Wait, where are we now and why are we here?"
- lots of bizarre and wacky creatures where every room seemed to be "Wait, what is this thing??". Normally, I'm all for exciting and unique creatures, but there were TOO MANY of them. We were all learning a new system that is, undeniably, pretty crunchy and combat takes a while (especially for new players) and I felt like we spent way too much time trying to help the players understand what they were fighting. It made every encounter feel too cumbersome. (Don't get me wrong, I LOVED some of them! Like their first encounter with the ooze? The archeologist's twin? Yes please!)
- Lots of really neat ideas, but so many of them just created noise rather than amazing moments.
- as the DM, I'm sure there were plenty of things I could have done differently, but it really felt like it slowed things down unnecessarily. It was too much for new folks to absorb, myself included.

So, we all agreed that with COVID restrictions lifting in my area, we'd return to playing live, and use it as an opportunity to start fresh with a new adventure. I own all the 2e APs and although I haven't read them fully from beginning to end, I have skimmed all of them and am at least familiar with them. I was surprised going through them, and in an dissatisfied way.

Some of the reasons I chose NOT to run another 2e AP, despite having purchased nearly the entire 2e library to run them:
- the themes seem too exotic and too niche. I was hoping for a more classical fantasy trope, something that wouldn't take so much time and energy just to understand.
- I was super excited for the wizard school AP... but then it just got weird and exotic. It felt like too many good ideas were being mashed up, just creating noise.
- I LOVED some of the Extinction Curse story, but the circus was too much.
- Abomination Vault seemed cool, but I was hoping to avoid a mega dungeon. This would have been my top pick though, if I had to stick with a 2e AP.

Instead, I am going with Rise of the Runelords, and I'm also running Curse of the Crimson Throne (converted to 2e and heavily modified to fit a different setting).

There are a few things I love about these early, classical 1e APs:
- The stories are full of dramatic moments that don't just rely on exotic monsters
- because the monsters are more classical, it allows the players to focus on the story and the drama, rather than whatever oddity they are facing
- When they do face something exotic (Hello, Cabbagehead! Hello, Dero!) they stand out as memorable

Undeniably, I'm feeling frustrated that I spent so much on the new system, hoping to just pick up an AP and play so I didn't have to put the time and energy into creating my own adventures, but now I'm spending a ton of time converting 1e adventures. True, there are plenty of awesome resources already available and it's still less work than creating an entirely new adventure, but it's still more work than I had intended.

My hope is that we see a more frequent return to the classical fantasy adventures. That doesn't mean we should only be fighting goblins and ogres (but there's also nothing wrong with fighting goblins and ogres), but an exotic or wacky theme doesn't always make for an enjoyable adventure. I feel like the 2e APs would benefit from a good edit to create a more enjoyable pace and tempo. "You know what, those ARE really cool and fun ideas, but let's maybe save it for the next adventure!"

When everything is permanently dialed up to 11, it just becomes one note and exhausting.

Please note: Please don't derail this with posts that: I hate 2e (I don't), I'm just bitter I spent money on a product I'm not satisfied with (I am), 1e also has exotic adventures (I'm clearly not referring to those), that I'm a fake account just meant to troll (go away), etc. Let's stick to discussing what we like/don't like about 1e & 2e APs :)

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder 1st had good Hellknights and Goblins, that’s not new for P2.

Beyond that, I’m not really grasping your use of classical/exotic in regards to everything.

Silver Crusade

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Age of Ashes was my first experience with PF2 (well, parallel with PFS) so I get where the OP is coming from

Rysky wrote:

Pathfinder 1st had good Hellknights and Goblins, that’s not new for P2.

Where they were very much the exception. But in Age of Ashes the only ones you encounter are the good ones

Golarion DID change a fair bit between PF1 and PF2. In tone, in details, in all sorts of ways.

Quote:


Beyond that, I’m not really grasping your use of classical/exotic in regards to everything.

I think that I am. As the first AP for a new edition, it could have been a fairly normal AP. You fight goblins, orcs, giants, dragons. A reasonably normal quest story spread over 6 volumes. Where the emphasis of the AP was on being a fairly simple story where the players could concentrate more on the mechanics of PF2 (either coming from PF1 or new players entirely).

You get to see all the classics done in PF2 with a decent story around that.

Instead, you do get a rather weird convoluted story taking you to all sorts of thematically totally unrelated places. The whole reason you're doing so is kinda sketchy and railroady.

On more than one occassion, my players also had the "What are we doing here again?" question.

And, like the OP, I failed to get the players to care about Breechhill when almost all of the action was elsewhere.


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Quote:
Quote:


Beyond that, I’m not really grasping your use of classical/exotic in regards to everything.

I think that I am. As the first AP for a new edition, it could have been a fairly normal AP. You fight goblins, orcs, giants, dragons. A reasonably normal quest story spread over 6 volumes. Where the emphasis of the AP was on being a fairly simple story where the players could concentrate more on the mechanics of PF2 (either coming from PF1 or new players entirely).

You get to see all the classics done in PF2 with a decent story around that.

Instead, you do get a rather weird convoluted story taking you to all sorts of thematically totally unrelated places. The whole reason you're doing so is kinda sketchy and railroady.

On more than one occassion, my players also had the "What are we doing here again?" question.

And, like the OP, I failed to get the players to care about Breechhill when almost all of the action was elsewhere.

Well said!


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I've only read a few APs and a stand-alone adventure, and I do see a lot of the same things as the OP has mentioned.

On encounter types being very all over the place: Paizo really seems like they don't ever want you fighting the same enemy type back to back and really tries to jam in a little bit of everything. Add to this with small maps (to save page space) and that combining encounters, even when it would make logical sense, leading to very dangerous fights and a lot of dungeon-type locations feel unnatural.

The one AP I ran had the following creature types for its encounters:
-Plague Wolves
-Drunken Peasants
-Bees
-A Bear
-Guard Dogs
-An Electric Snake
-A Human Rogue
-Angry Bushes
-Plague Wolves (First repeated type)
-Angry Vines
-Orcs + A Menagerie of Mutants
-A Fire Leopard (Not really a fight)
-Orcs + Random Potion Thrower
-Orc Alchemist
-Ooze
-Orcs
-Unique Orc Leader + Minions
-Maybe More Orcs
-Orc Guard Post
-A terrible cook
-Brine Sharks
-Amalgam
-Small Bats + Big Bat
-Jackass Elf + Frakenstein

That makes 18 of 24 encounters that either involve a unique creature type or that are designed around a unique gimmick. It feels like a lot especially as this is an adventure designed for low-level characters and thus an adventure for new players. Toss in early system over-tuned encounter difficulty and it can be a slog.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Whether or not someone enjoys Age of Ashes or any other adventure path isn't up to me to say, but I CAN say that all feedback is welcome.

The reason for Age of Ashes to go all over the place the way it did was a mandate that, as the first 2nd Edition Adventure Path, it was a perfect time to do a whirlwind tour of the Inner Sea region so that newcomers to the game would be able to see as much of the setting as possible. Might mean that it wasn't the best choice of plot for established customers, but that's a big part of why we do multiple adventure paths a year—if one doesn't appeal, hopefully the next one will.

Anyway... let's be kind to each other, all! There's enough awfulness going on without attacking each other for liking or disliking an Adventure Path.

Again, all feedback is welcome!*

*NOTE: That's not quite true—insulting feedback is not welcome, so if you don't like something, please try to avoid personal attacks on the developers or authors or editors. That's the BEST way to ensure that we as the content creators will not only not take your criticism to heart in a productive way, but it more than anything else will erode our passion for content creation.


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James Jacobs wrote:

Whether or not someone enjoys Age of Ashes or any other adventure path isn't up to me to say, but I CAN say that all feedback is welcome.

The reason for Age of Ashes to go all over the place the way it did was a mandate that, as the first 2nd Edition Adventure Path, it was a perfect time to do a whirlwind tour of the Inner Sea region so that newcomers to the game would be able to see as much of the setting as possible. Might mean that it wasn't the best choice of plot for established customers, but that's a big part of why we do multiple adventure paths a year—if one doesn't appeal, hopefully the next one will.

Anyway... let's be kind to each other, all! There's enough awfulness going on without attacking each other for liking or disliking an Adventure Path.

Again, all feedback is welcome!*

*NOTE: That's not quite true—insulting feedback is not welcome, so if you don't like something, please try to avoid personal attacks on the developers or authors or editors. That's the BEST way to ensure that we as the content creators will not only not take your criticism to heart in a productive way, but it more than anything else will erode our passion for content creation.

I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we always appreciate your insights. While I haven't yet found the PF2 AP that speaks to me, I have seen a lot of early edition weirdness smoothed out and have faith that the best APs have yet to be published.


(Pinged this thread to be moved into the AP forum).

Paizo Employee Designer

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Rysky wrote:

Pathfinder 1st had good Hellknights and Goblins, that’s not new for P2.

In fact, the first AP ever made for the PF1 rules system had both good Hellknights and a non-evil goblin who was also an honorary Hellknight!


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James Jacobs wrote:

Again, all feedback is welcome!*

*NOTE: That's not quite true—insulting feedback is not welcome, so if you don't like something, please try to avoid personal attacks on the developers or authors or editors. That's the BEST way to ensure that we as the content creators will not only not take your criticism to heart in a productive way, but it more than anything else will erode our passion for content creation.

I've seen you post or reply in virtually every forum I've read over the years, and that's the reason I took the time to write such a lengthy post after just lurking for over a decade. It demonstrates a degree of customer centricity and I think it means a lot to a lot of your customer base.

And the footnote is also valid. It's why I started a second thread when the first started off on the wrong note and went way off track ;)


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James Jacobs wrote:

Whether or not someone enjoys Age of Ashes or any other adventure path isn't up to me to say, but I CAN say that all feedback is welcome.

The reason for Age of Ashes to go all over the place the way it did was a mandate that, as the first 2nd Edition Adventure Path, it was a perfect time to do a whirlwind tour of the Inner Sea region so that newcomers to the game would be able to see as much of the setting as possible. Might mean that it wasn't the best choice of plot for established customers, but that's a big part of why we do multiple adventure paths a year—if one doesn't appeal, hopefully the next one will.

Anyway... let's be kind to each other, all! There's enough awfulness going on without attacking each other for liking or disliking an Adventure Path.

Again, all feedback is welcome!*

*NOTE: That's not quite true—insulting feedback is not welcome, so if you don't like something, please try to avoid personal attacks on the developers or authors or editors. That's the BEST way to ensure that we as the content creators will not only not take your criticism to heart in a productive way, but it more than anything else will erode our passion for content creation.

Never forget that criticism is always more forthcoming than praise. People are more motivated to reach out about something if they're dissatisfied than if things are good or great. That's why a good portion of most media forums are people complaining or debating bc aforementioned complaining sparked negative emotion motivating rebuttal. Don't let strangers touch your passion, Paizo. If I were to live off the good will of the internet I'd shrivel up in seconds..... despite all the great people on Earth.


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

I ran AoA through to the penultimate encounter which ended in a TPK and we didn't want to have a final session with new characters to fight the final boss; and I'm in book 4 of Extinction curse as GM, and book two of AV as a player.

I feel some of the OPs concerns with how AoA was structured -- in some ways we have 3-4 different layers/goals overlapping
1) The Scarlet triad's plans
2) The tour of the inner sea regions, guided by 'ancestries'
3) Intro to 2e AP
4) Elven History/Dahek History

plus the oft-mentioned 'being written while the rules were still being refined' challenge. Aspects of 2 & 4 felt like that got jammed together a bit too forcefully, without enough extra page count in adventure and supporting matter at times to help make it all fit. (This is often a challenge in any 'weaving together an ancient history and a modern plot' style story.)

Book 1 especially leans hard, IMO, on item 3, and is probably overly reliant on different creatures to show how effective three-actions/reactions and degree of success work in making unique combats. Book 2 has a bit less of that problem (and is more understandable while its hexploration which allows for more variety). Books 3-6 I felt were more strongly themed -- often even too much for my liking -- encounters felt very repetitive at times -- I remember book 4 feeling the worst on that front with a large number of encounters I chose to just skip to avoid using up game session time with what would have felt like a repeat of the previous session.

Like many 'slow reveal of the big bad' APs (similar to Kingmaker in some ways), its an AP that places a lot of extra work on the GM to pull content/hints forward enough to make some (most?) groups happy with being able to put the plot together and feel like the railroad aspects disappear. It feels like the aspects in category (4) aren't presented strongly enough early on to get the players (and characters) to buy in. Book two starts to ramp up that aspect in a good way, but then it kinda disappears until book 5, unless the GM is doing a lot of extra work.

Breachill and owning the citadel feels like it should be more important than it ends up being (aside from one set piece).

On to Extinction Curse. I felt its a strong AP, but the Circus theming doesn't really help. I was very excited for a circus themed AP -- I spent many years doing various aerial/circus activities as a hobby. However the two stories/aspects don't weave together very well. Its most useful as a framing device for moving the party around on a somewhat flexible, but not infinite time, schedule. You could do a bit of surgery on book 1 (generally starting at second level, with the events after the initial circus/investigation) and basically run it circus-less, and I think you'd have a good time. I think you still want 'free-spirits', 'generally non-lawful leaning', characters which the player's guide suggests. The creature mix has felt good to me (maybe outside the particular dungeon type thing I'm running right now which is feeling a little too 'flavor of the room'

AV has been a lot of fun; I can understand not wanting a mega dungeon, but it does seem to be a mega dungeon, done very well.

Strength of Thousands, I've been prepping, but haven't started running. I think also looks very strong, though I do feel its going to take a significantly higher amount of GM prep to do it justice. Probably even more than AoA. The number of recurring/important NPCs to bring to life and then keep important across volumes -- since the AP doesn't like to assume any particular NPC survives you keep having more appear, while at times it feels more natural to re-use someone they built up a relationship with, etc.

I would like to see a "simpler" AP -- one that doesn't rely on an extra subsystem introduced in the first book (citadel rebuilding, circus, research/promotion at school, etc). I do think AV is a pretty good stand in for that, though I know the megadungeon aspect is a problem for some; and I personally don't enjoy the occult-theming as much as other choices. I feel these subsystems often don't pull their own weight in the APs without a tremendous amount of extra work from the GM AND buy in-on from the players. I'll have to look, the Mammoth one might fit my desires very well.


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I can definitely agree that early Paizo adventures and APs have far too many of what I call "spiders in the cupboard" encounters, named after an encounter from Hellknight Hill. I basically use this term for any encounter that isn't:

- Relevant to the overarching plot
- Mechanically interesting
- Capable of being spoken to outside of niche abilities

Those encounters basically only existed to meet an experience quota or have something guarding treasure. Any encounter that lacked all of those traits I removed from Age of Ashes and my group had a much much more enjoyable experience.

It's interesting to me that you stopped after book 2 though, because that was by far my group's favorite book in the AP that they still talk about a year later.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I feel like this is a much more honest and constructive thread. I, myself, have never liked any prewritten adventures as I find them stifling, too full of tired tropes like X number of combats spread throughout barely sensical rooms, and poorly designed to transfer key info to the GM efficiently and instead acting more like a weirdly formatted novel you try to squeeze a party through. Strength of Thousands is the first I've dedicated myself to get through, and am slowly finding out how to mesh with the format in a way that isn't obviously strained and lurching to my players.

That being said, let's look at some of your experiences:

1. "Morally unexpected characters." These are far from unexpected, and even if they were, flipping the script on what creature behaves how is a time-honored tradition. I don't see how this is a problem AT ALL.

2. "Large dungeon with every room packed full of different monsters." Sometimes a dungeon crawl is put in explicitly to be a game-y dungeon crawl. I steer clear of them for the most part, but there are plenty of people who just want to mash through some random mobs.

3. "Wait, where are we now and why are we here?" Sounds like a bad GM transition. Your fault, honestly.

4. "Lots of bizarre and wacky creatures..." I for one like fighting lots of different kinds of enemies, and its fun to introduce things like that. Strength of Thousands doesn't seem to throw any enemies that don't make sense, at least. It sounds like a lack of imagination on your and your players' parts if you can't face new enemies without stopping to explain them in detail.

5. "Lots of really neat ideas, but... created noise rather than amazing moments." Vague and unhelpful, also sounds like a problem with the GM not selling the story ideas well.

6. "... too much for new folks to absorb" It sounds like you're looking for some highly specific, well-trodden adventure. Most other people like having new and interesting concepts, ideas, enemies, and threats.

7. "I was surprised going through [all the 2e APs], and in a dissatisfied way." Sounds like you fell into the trap of finding something that stuck in your craw, then went hunting for more examples to fuss about. I'd be willing to bet you wouldn't feel so dissatisfied if you read through the APs without a bee in your bonnet.

8. "Too exotic and too niche". Vague and unhelpful. Are you sure you don't want to just grab some OSR game and run old orc-filled dungeons some more?

9. "Wizard school AP... but then it just got weird and exotic." Honestly sounds pretty racist here. It's neither weird nor exotic, it's badass.

10. "Circus was too much." I'm starting to think you might not enjoy fun.

11. "Abomination vaults ... would have been my top pick" Sounds like you should give it a shot.

12. "Stories full of dramatic moments that don't just rely on exotic monsters." The fact that you keep going back to this complaint about 'exotic' monsters makes me question if you even know where you're coming from with that complaint. It sounds hollow and vague. Also, these new APs are certainly full of dramatic moments from what I can tell.

13. "Monsters were more classical" Yeah, so it's pretty much confirmed here that you just want some old school orcs, goblins, and maybe a dragon to fight like the good ole days. That's fine, not everyone wants to rehash that stuff yet again though.

14. "Feeling frustrated that I spent so much on the new system" You bought all the APs without checking them out first, got a bee in your bonnet about some nebulous design changes, and had buyer's remorse. At this point, I suggest asking Paizo for a refund rather than trying to spin a tale about how they're bad at writing APs now.

15. "Return to the classical fantasy adventures." Fair, you are more than welcome to want to do that sort of thing. Paizo has to look at what will sell, though, and rehashing old orc and goblin adventures from days of yore (many of which are easy to transfer forward thanks to PF2's great and flexible ruleset) might not be a good money making strategy.

16. "When everything is permanently dialed up to 11..." I disagree that this is what has happened, and I disagree that Paizo has an AP content problem. To each their own, however.

Scarab Sages

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I think the problem is that what you (fyrekrest) want (classic D&D monsters and classic fantasy adventures) isn't what Paizo focuses on much. New monsters are Paizo's chance to show how their setting and gameplay differ from its competition. They want to put their own spin on things (playable goblins, dragons of unexpected alignments) and avoid unfair accusations of being derivative of D&D.

The same is true of adventure design. Paizo has already returned to the "fight orcs and ogres" well with Giantslayer, which isn't as highly-regarded as Rise of the Runelords. There's not much point in them retreading old ground instead of exploring new locations and ideas. Conversions should be left to the fans on the Series of Dice-Based Events or Pathfinder Infinite.

I do agree that Age of Ashes is "the globetrotting AP" more than anything and it would have benefited from a smaller number of antagonists. Although I enjoyed it and prefer it over Extinction Curse, which I'm also playing. (BTW, AoA features a non-evil Hellknight and a non-Evil red dragon, but no Good ones)

fyrekrest wrote:

Some of the reasons I chose NOT to run another 2e AP, despite having purchased nearly the entire 2e library to run them:

- the themes seem too exotic and too niche. I was hoping for a more classical fantasy trope, something that wouldn't take so much time and energy just to understand.

Yeah, you would have loved Extinction Curse without the circus elements. Classic D&D monsters threaten a limited geographic area, but no megadungeon.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Interestingly enough Tarondor who does a lot of pathfinder guides and has previously reviewed the APs posted a comprehensive review of them all. There was also a poll for players to rank them. The outcome of his rankings and the poll put all the 2e APs (except 1) in the top half of the rankings. For him Extinction Curse was on the lower end and in the player poll it was actually Fists of the Ruby Phoenix. Funnily enough Age of Ashes was ranked #3 by him and #4 by the players. Here's a link to his AP Guide.


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WatersLethe wrote:
That being said, let's look at some of your experiences:

Lots and lots of assumptions bordering on personal jabs about me and my players that I won't bother with. I was trying to provide constructive feedback. I even stated that my group and I were new. So thanks, but no thanks, not interested in engaging.

Although this one...

WatersLethe wrote:
9. "Wizard school AP... but then it just got weird and exotic." Honestly sounds pretty racist here.

Did you miss the part where they go to the Golarion equivalent of Mars? Or were you just sticking up for the Martians?

nephandys wrote:
Funnily enough Age of Ashes was ranked #3 by him and #4 by the players. Here's a link to his AP Guide

That's a great resoruce, and one that I've actually used. I think it's interesting that he rates RIse of the Runelords much lower than the player poll, but this goes to show how subjective it can be. The player poll scores Rise of the Runelords and Curse of the Crimson Throne as #1 and #3, respectively. And, both had successful anniversary editions launched. I also said I liked a lot of the ideas in Age of Ashes and Abomination Vault, but felt Age of Ashes was too overloaded to make it newbie-friendly, and Abomination Vault seemed too much of a mega dungeon.

I think that goes to show that a lot of people, like me, appreciate the amazing stories, despite the "classical" (at least many of them) enemies. And, the point of my original post, was to highlight specifically some of the things I like in them, versus some of the things I found challenging in the 2e APs.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Honestly, both AoA and EC (outside some of book 1) did feel really classical to me. They're both fairly straight forward adventures, even if AoA hops around a bit.

I'd go as far as to call them probably the most 'vanilla' APs Paizo has ever published (outside maybe ROTRL)

We had players even complaining that AoA felt too basic and classical and like it was missing some of that spark of weird that PF1 APs tended to have... but ended up rolling with it as best we could because it kind of made sense for the first PF2 AP to be more basic. It's honestly a little bit shocking to see someone calling it wacky.


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I'm with Squiggit here in that I always introduce AoA as the "classic" AP in terms of traveling the world, collecting artifacts, defending communities from harm, all while delving through dungeons and fighting dragons.

I'm not sure what the OP is looking for in an AP. Everything is going to have the Golarion touch which has added a lot of depth to my games. Even pre-Golarion, Paizo APs would be considered fairly "out there" with the old Dungeon magazines.

Also, a note on using "exotic" as a word to be "different from my expected norm" and why people may not be reacting to it well. You seem to have a very definied norm, which is fine. However, there's been a push not only in games, but in general, to amplify marginalized voices and put a spotlight on cultures that aren't centered on the western image that is everywhere in pop culture. We've gotten to see a lot of this in the newer APs, so I can see how your word choice can be drawing you some ire.

Silver Crusade

Also every single adventure has had new monsters in them, every one has a bestiary in the back, going all the way back to the 3.5 adventures even.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
fyrekrest wrote:

That's a great resoruce, and one that I've actually used. I think it's interesting that he rates RIse of the Runelords much lower than the player poll, but this goes to show how subjective it can be. The player poll scores Rise of the Runelords and Curse of the Crimson Throne as #1 and #3, respectively. And, both had successful anniversary editions launched. I also said I liked a lot of the ideas in Age of Ashes and Abomination Vault, but felt Age of Ashes was too overloaded to make it newbie-friendly, and Abomination Vault seemed too much of a mega dungeon.

I think that goes to show that a lot of people, like me, appreciate the amazing stories, despite the "classical" (at least many of them) enemies. And, the point of my original post, was to highlight specifically some of the things I like in them, versus some of the things I found challenging in the 2e APs.

I wasn't calling out your post, in particular, merely adding to the conversation. I would push back on your assertion the first floor of the citadel in book 1 is a menagerie of creatures. It is a menagerie but that's because it's an abandoned building the local fauna have moved into. Worth pointing out three of the creatures you've listed are rats, bats, and spiders in an abandoned building. Separately there's further explanation for some of the other creatures built into the plot.

As far as the locations and their use I think that really depends on the players and the campaign. If you're playing it strictly as written without deviation then sure you won't revisit. However, I've seen a lot of playgroups where they have returned to Akrivel or have done significantly more with the citadel than what's featured in the first book and the later set piece. There's even information in the books about characters coming from their respective locations to visit or stay in Breachill for example.


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The idea that Strength of Thousands is emblematic of 2e being “too exotic” for going to space in a single volume when Reign of Winter did it twice in 1e does make me giggle some. Why is 1e allowed to be gonzo, but it’s a strike against the new edition? You want a return to the “classics,” but those gave us everything from Iron Gods (destroy a nascent AI god and help another ascend) and Strange Aeons (amnesiacs delving deep into Cthulhu Mythos stuff), among plenty of other examples.

Pathfinder has always been pretty out there. I don’t get holding it against 2e.


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Ruzza wrote:

I'm with Squiggit here in that I always introduce AoA as the "classic" AP in terms of traveling the world, collecting artifacts, defending communities from harm, all while delving through dungeons and fighting dragons.

I'm not sure what the OP is looking for in an AP. Everything is going to have the Golarion touch which has added a lot of depth to my games. Even pre-Golarion, Paizo APs would be considered fairly "out there" with the old Dungeon magazines.

Also, a note on using "exotic" as a word to be "different from my expected norm" and why people may not be reacting to it well. You seem to have a very definied norm, which is fine. However, there's been a push not only in games, but in general, to amplify marginalized voices and put a spotlight on cultures that aren't centered on the western image that is everywhere in pop culture. We've gotten to see a lot of this in the newer APs, so I can see how your word choice can be drawing you some ire.

I agree with some of this. Rise of the Runelords has Paizo's creative touch spin all over it, and it's amazing. Same with Curse of the Crimson Throne. But, for the most part, it all added to the overall quality of the story without becoming too much. Age of Ashes has Paizo's creativity as well... but, I found it to be TOO many ideas. Every room and every encounter seemed to be a new idea, so much so that it detracted from the overall story. I regret that I won't get to run both Tomorrow Must Burn and Fires of the Haunted City because both look awesome. Unfortunately, I won't get to run them, at least not with my current group.

And I have not used "exotic" to refer to a non-western culture, or any culture for that matter. I've used it to refer to rarely used fictional monsters, including specific examples of Cabbagehead and Dero dwarves. In fact, I used it five times, and each time was specifically in reference to a monster or theme, not a culture. If people get upset because they think I'm referring to a culture rather than a monster, that's on them for making that assumption and rallying to defend a social cause that I'm not attacking.

For a similar suggestion to the one I'm trying to make with my original post, watch Ru Paul's Drag Race and listen to Michelle Visage tell a girl to edit their outfit. Sometimes too much of a good thing is just too much, and sometimes less is more.

Regardless of how people may want to read into it, I purchased a product (in fact, several of them and spent quite a bit of money on them) and it didn't deliver what I was expecting. I've tried to articulate the things I thought didn't work and some of the underlying issues. I wouldn't have spent that money on a company I didn't believe in, but I still have a right to be disappointed and seeing that members of the Paizo team frequently interact on the forums, it's my hope that my feedback might influence the next generation of APs. I'm obviously not alone in those sentiments, as shown by those that have agreed with various points and even the player polls. The "classic" APs seem to have been the most well received.


If I had to guess PF1 had so much MORE stuff that people could readily find the APs that spoke to them. For everybody who loves Iron Gods, there's another who likes Skulls and Shackles better.


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keftiu wrote:

The idea that Strength of Thousands is emblematic of 2e being “too exotic” for going to space in a single volume when Reign of Winter did it twice in 1e does make me giggle some. Why is 1e allowed to be gonzo, but it’s a strike against the new edition? You want a return to the “classics,” but those gave us everything from Iron Gods (destroy a nascent AI god and help another ascend) and Strange Aeons (amnesiacs delving deep into Cthulhu Mythos stuff), among plenty of other examples.

Pathfinder has always been pretty out there. I don’t get holding it against 2e.

See my last point: "Please note: Please don't derail this with posts that: I hate 2e (I don't), I'm just bitter I spent money on a product I'm not satisfied with (I am), 1e also has exotic adventures (I'm clearly not referring to those), that I'm a fake account just meant to troll (go away), etc. Let's stick to discussing what we like/don't like about 1e & 2e APs :)"

Also, I haven't read or played Iron Gods and/or Strange Aeons. And, I specifically referred to "these early, classical 1e APs".


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fyrekrest wrote:
watch Ru Paul's Drag Race

*withholds rant*


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Reign of Winter and Iron Gods are pretty beloved by the fanbase, is the point I’m trying to make. I’m not derailing - a good chunk of this fanbase points to the weirder output from 1e as a major flag for why they like the AP line, and both made the top ten of the fan poll for Tarondor’s guide.

Speaking as someone who got into 2e /because/ it’s not focused exclusively on not!Europe and fantasy tropes that have been overdone for half a century of roleplaying: Pathfinder being Weird is the reason I’m here. Strength of Thousands centering the Mwangi and taking a detour to space made me giddy. Us getting an AP about steampunk gunslinging bank-robbers next year has a similar effect. My fingers are as tightly crossed as possible that we get a full AP in Arcadia.

I’m exhausted of the traditional “classics.” That mold has been explored ad nauseum, and continues to be pushed further by other folks, especially in the OSR scene. But Paizo? Paizo I come to because their game has playable androids, weird plotlines, and large swathes of their setting that don’t look like Everything Else d20 fantasy has been doing for twice as long as I’ve been alive.


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
fyrekrest wrote:
watch Ru Paul's Drag Race
*withholds rant*

Types and deleted the exact same one, KC.

(RuPaul has a pretty deeply checkered history with the trans community. A lot of us really, really don’t like him, and resent that he’s the “face” of queerness to a lot of cishet society.)


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keftiu wrote:
Reign of Winter and Iron Gods are pretty beloved by the fanbase,

Now I'm interested in reading them!

keftiu wrote:
Speaking as someone who got into 2e /because/ it’s not focused exclusively on not!Europe and fantasy tropes that have been overdone for half a century of roleplaying: Pathfinder being Weird is the reason I’m here. Strength of Thousands centering the Mwangi and taking a detour to space made me giddy. Us getting an AP about steampunk gunslinging bank-robbers next year has a similar effect. My fingers are as tightly crossed as possible that we get a full AP in Arcadia.

And that's entirely valid and I love that for you. For me, though, it's not my cup of tea. I prefer fantasy and less sci-fi, magic and not robots, planes and not planets. I guess part of the frustration is that the gonzo stuff seems to be everywhere and it's very hard to avoid it.

And don't get me wrong, even with my gripes, I still feel Paizo puts out MUCH better content than WOTC. There is no other role playing company on par with Paizo, in my opinion. But, over the years, it seems like Paizo keeps reaching for the next big thing that's never been done, and it permeates everything so deeply and becomes so over the top that I find it difficult to enjoy.

Sure, I could have edited Age of Ashes and made it my own and tweaked it so that my players enjoyed it.. but that's not why I bought it. I bought it to pick up and play. When I realized I had to invest my own time and energy into rewriting stuff to make it enjoyable for my group, I also realized that I could invest that time into another AP that I felt would be even better (ie, Rise of the Runelords).

I have no doubt that there are a lot of players who love the really niche things. In fact, I'm really looking forward to the mammoth AP myself. But there are also a lot of players who want something more traditional, especially if they are new not just to Pathfinder but to role playing as a whole.

And, for me and my group, and for some of those newer players or more traditional players, I'd love to see something more vanilla and less exotic (referring to monsters/creatures, not cultures).


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You’re welcome to not like the gonzo stuff; all I’m saying is that it isn’t new to 2e, and was pretty well-liked in 1e. The claim has been made a few times - in this thread and others - that 2e keeps trying to do weird stuff, and I wanna set the record straight that it isn’t a 2e thing, that’s just Paizo.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Having run Age of Ashes all the way through I will say it definitely suffered from being the first AP; it has pacing problems, difficulty problems, the semi-forced whirlwind tour of Golarion... My players loved it, but I had to put in a lot of work patching it up.

I will also say that the "year of Absalom" where both APs and most every book release were Absalom-focused left me completely burnt out on Absalom as a setting.

However, Abomination Vaults and Fist of the Ruby Phoenix are two of the most fun APs I've ever run. It seems like 2e is really hitting its stride with the APs now.

Haven't looked at Strength of Thousands much yet; was going to run it but it looks like my chance to run it is going to coincide with Kingmaker releasing and, well. Kingmaker. :)

Liberty's Edge

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Echoing what was said earlier, I think Extinction Curse without the circus framing (either dropping it after the first while, or a substantial tweak to the beginning) would fit the sort of story you're looking for well, Fyrekrest. I'm less familiar with the details of Age of Ashes, but those two do seem the most 'traditional fantasy' of the APs published for pf2 to this point. I think part of the pushback that the thread is generating is also due to the title - framing it as '1e vs 2e APs' naturally is going to make people come in here to point out that the 'traditional fantasy' APs were a rarity in PF1 as well, I think. More than just 'it happens in PF1 as well', I think it's worth looking at when the APs were released - if you look at the second half of PF1 onwards (2015 on), the only 'traditional fantasy' sort of AP was Giantslayer. Some others fit that bill to begin with, but in the second half of the AP things got well outside the bounds of being on the planet Golarion. Giantslayer is also well and away the least popular of those APs in both my experience and the poll linked upthread - it might be due to particular design decisions of that AP (I haven't touched it), but it certainly seems like the takeaway has been the sort of thing you're looking for was put on the backburner for a while.

I think the other part of this is that people do tend to look back on previous APs with a degree of nostalgia, and/or forgetting the tweaks that ended up applied to an AP at their table (depending on the GM's style, of course). That isn't to bash these APs - I've loved running many of them! But at this point I've run parts or all of Rise of the Runelords, Serpent's Skull, Jade Regent, Wrath of the Righteous, Mummy's Mask, Hell's Rebels, and Ironfang Invasion. Some of those are excellent APs, but in each and every one of them I've made (or planned to make, if things didn't get too far in) fairly substantial changes to make them more closely fit the sort of game I'd want to run. Something like removing the circus from EC is bigger than I've done for most of those APs, but in both Serpent's Skull and Hell's Rebels (the former because it has some major issues, the latter because of the way the AP has gone) I've made more significant changes. In an ideal world, there'd be nigh-on infinite APs, and everyone would be able to pick up precisely the one they want, but clearly that's not the case. Your choice to convert a PF1 AP is, I think, a good one if there's something that fits exactly what you want - I'm currently running a converted Ironfang Invasion, and greatly enjoying the process! - but I do think it sounds like there are PF2 APs that are a (fairly substantial) tweak away from fitting your sort of desired play experience.

[I'll also agree with the previous comments on using 'exotic' - it'd be very easy for that to be interpreted as "I don't like Strength of Thousands because it's not in the Europe-analogue location", instead of your actual complaint being that it goes to significantly more outlandish locations than one may expect from the initial premise]


Arcaian wrote:
I think it's worth looking at when the APs were released - if you look at the second half of PF1 onwards (2015 on).

"I specifically referred to "these early, classical 1e APs"."

-fyrekrest


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The last time trads were grumpy that we're not getting a "classic, proper, like God Jesus wanted it to be" APs but instead we're having Rasputin with machinegun or robotz with lasors we got Giantslayer, which was one of the worst Paizo APs ever, so I'd be really careful what you wish for here.


Should be in the adventure paths forum.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
Should be in the adventure paths forum.

It's already tagged to get moved so why bother popping in to add nothing?

Paizo Employee Director of Community

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Moved from Pathfinder Second Edition-General Discussion to Pathfinder Adventure Paths-General Discussion.

Scarab Sages

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Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:
The last time trads were grumpy that we're not getting a "classic, proper, like God Jesus wanted it to be" APs but instead we're having Rasputin with machinegun or robotz with lasors we got Giantslayer, which was one of the worst Paizo APs ever, so I'd be really careful what you wish for here.

I brought that up before, but what was wrong with Giantslayer, exactly?

Liberty's Edge

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Norade wrote:
Arcaian wrote:
I think it's worth looking at when the APs were released - if you look at the second half of PF1 onwards (2015 on).

"I specifically referred to "these early, classical 1e APs"."

-fyrekrest

Yeah, and? I'm a little confused here. The point I was making there is that Paizo has been consistently making these sorts of 'non-classic' APs for over half of PF1's lifetime as well. It's not a PF1 vs PF2 thing, it's a 'modern Paizo vs old Paizo' thing, and PF2's attempts with Age of Ashes, Extinction Curse, and Abomination Vaults are the best received APs in the vein of those more down-to-earth APs we've had in a very long while. The last truly well-received AP like that in PF1, at least in my opinion, was Skulls and Shackles - Mummy's Mask and Giantslayer aren't normally at the top of people's lists for favourite APs.

The reason I'm emphasising the AoA, EC, and AV are some of the most classical APs in a while and that they have mostly been well-received (AoA and AV more than EC) is that the OP talks about how we should return to classical fantasy adventures. And we did, and they've done well both with reception, and clearly in some cases financially (AV is getting a hardcover)! It's just that many of your complaints depend on one's personal boundaries as to whether an AP is 'classical' or not. As others have mentioned, most of your complaints have been true since Rise of the Runelords to some degree, and it's just personal preference on whether or not it hits the mark or has gone too far, but I definitely think all 3 of the APs I've mentioned here are more classical than most of Paizo's recent works. It makes it strange to me to be complaining about everything being dialed up to 11 and having gone away from grounded stories being the source of the drama to just have bizarre creatures cheaply distract from the drama when it feels like this is the furthest away from that we've been (that has been done well at least) in nearly a decade.

I wrote a bunch more, which I think is fairly on-topic but got more into where that boundary is drawn between classical and not-classical, but I don't think it's going to be everyone's cup of tea so I'll put it in a spoiler.

Spoiler:
There have been 'morally unexpected' characters since RotRL, there have been strange and unique creatures in the backmatter of basically all the APs. Runelords had sentient piles of indigestible body parts, had the embodiment of sin in the flesh, had 30ft tall avalanches of teeth and tentacles, sentient undead made of fire, skeletons that would shape the flesh of others into a shape they preferred, small children-looking creatures shining so brightly that you can't look at them while they roar telepathically, hag-fire-ghosts, and Huge centaurs where the bottom half is from a hunting cat. I'm sure for some, some of those will be wacky and bizarre that take away from learning the system and distract from the story. There's not an objective rating of how classical something is - why is it that Age of Ashes' giant spider abberation goes too far, but Abominaiton Vault's will-o-wisp with hands doesn't? I don't know if those are the specific monsters that would push things over the edge for you, but the point is that the term classic means a lot of different things to different people.

Maybe you think Skulls and Shackles relied on exotic monsters for drama and shouldn't be counted as classical? You do seem to think that Extinction Curse's framing counteracts the highly classical monsters that it uses. But there's been a set of APs that are more down-to-earth, with little in the way of extra-planar or extra-planetary travel, have a lot of monsters that are mostly either classical or grounded and unlikely to 'dial things up to 11' and aren't just relying on exotic monsters. I guess you could say the grounded creatures in the Mwangi Expanse in AoA are less classical than old-school monsters, but that's just because ttRPGs have historically neglected African mythology as a source of inspiration. The actual complaint here - that they distract from drama and prevent you from focusing on the story, just being used for cheap excitement - doesn't apply to many of these creatures.

Liberty's Edge

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NECR0G1ANT wrote:
Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:
The last time trads were grumpy that we're not getting a "classic, proper, like God Jesus wanted it to be" APs but instead we're having Rasputin with machinegun or robotz with lasors we got Giantslayer, which was one of the worst Paizo APs ever, so I'd be really careful what you wish for here.
I brought that up before, but what was wrong with Giantslayer, exactly?

I think the common critique of Giantslayer is just that it is boring. It does exactly what it says on the tin, isn't executed badly or anything, but it's just an endless stream of fighting giants with very little else, and with roleplaying dying off in the second half of the AP it ends up feeling stale and uninteresting. I've not played it myself, but I like the sound of the more sandbox-y book in it, at least!


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Arcaian wrote:
(see multiple well thought out posts above)

You've got plenty of good points in several of your points, and I appreciate the conversation. I don't know enough about all of the APs you're referencing, so I can't comment on everything.

But, I think it's important to reiterate my main sentiment: there seems to be TOO MANY ideas stuffed into even the the most "vanilla / classical / traditional", so many that it becomes distracting. A lot of them are cool ideas, I don't deny that. But when it seems every encounter of every chapter of every book is filled with something equally as exotic or rare, I personally don't feel that it adds value. It all just becomes overwhelming noise.

And while plenty of folks disagree with me (and they have every right to, it's all a subjective matter of opinion), there are also lots of folks who agree with me. Once upon a time, Paizo was whooping WOTC's butt with customers. That clearly isn't the case now (which is not saying they have less customers than they had before which I obviously have no idea about, but there are obviously MANY D&D customers that I'm sure Paizo would LOVE to win over). And a lot of those players are new to TTRPGs and likely would find the more traditional fantasy adventures an easier place to start. There is clearly an opportunity that is being missed, because multiple people have voiced similar opinions.

On a side note, I also appreciate your mini history lesson on the old vs modern Paizo. I never thought of it that way, but I agree. And I think that actually further illustrates my point. My point being, things seem to be going more extreme as time goes on.


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I'm not actually sure what "traditional" means here. I get what you mean by "exotic", and I, too, don't really care for planet-hopping/world-spanning stories and would be quite content to see an AP pick a theme and stick with it, but a lot of what you cite as "traditional" seems to not fit that framework too well. What is an example of what you'd like to see them do more of?


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Can I ask - how does Abomination Vaults not scratch this itch? It’s a dungeon, beneath a pretty classic Western high fantasy town, and it sold well enough to get a compilation hardcover.


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
I'm not actually sure what "traditional" means here. I get what you mean by "exotic", and I, too, don't really care for planet-hopping/world-spanning stories and would be quite content to see an AP pick a theme and stick with it, but a lot of what you cite as "traditional" seems to not fit that framework too well. What is an example of what you'd like to see them do more of?

Hmmm, perhaps "consistent" would be a better way to say it. Like you said, pick a theme and stick with it. Not a new theme, a new idea every page, with so many stitched together that the main idea gets lost easily.

Age of Ashes, I feel, would have been improved by less globe trotting. Seeing Golarion is cool, or at least I think so, but the execution didn't seem to work well. They asked "Wait, what about that castle?" and "Why are we here again? For the kobolds? Or the elephant people? Or the elves?" In fact, I think any of the Age of Ashes books (or at least the first four, and possibly the fifth and sixth though I haven't read them as thoroughly) would have made an amazing AP their own. Breachhill was fun and interesting, as was the idea of rebuilding Hellknight Hill. Akrivel was amazing, my players loved it. I'm certain they would have really enjoyed Ravounel, and the dwarven fortress. But everything together was too much, it was a case of the whole being less than the sum of it's parts.

Simiarily, Extinction Curse seemed cool, there didn't seem to be a need to tie it into a circus. I felt it just devalued the entire AP.

Strength of Thousands would have been awesome... except we were going to Mars.

I would just love to see some of the ideas get edited down, remove some of the unnecessary additions. Paizo clearly has talented writers, but a lot of it gets lost in the noise.


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keftiu wrote:
Can I ask - how does Abomination Vaults not scratch this itch? It’s a dungeon, beneath a pretty classic Western high fantasy town, and it sold well enough to get a compilation hardcover.

"- Abomination Vault seemed cool, but I was hoping to avoid a mega dungeon. This would have been my top pick though, if I had to stick with a 2e AP."

The only issue I had with Abomination Vault is that it was a mega dungeon, and I don't think my group would have enjoyed that. Otherwise, it seemed cool.

And goes to prove my point: lots of people respond really well to the classic stuff. :)


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

Framing it as looking for a consistent/obvious to players theme is a good way to look at it.

As already stated, AoA has multiple ribbons of theme that are mostly woven together in front matter or back matter that only the GM sees, and not in-camera to the characters, without the GM doing some heavy lifting.

EC's theme can be very strong especially if you do some extra work to pull out the circus, IMO. Sure there's a side-story or two, but they don't feel random. They feel motivated and the backstories are well integrated; and they do provide a nice touch of contrast.

AV stays consistent.

I haven't looked into Agents of Edgewatch enough to know if it has the 'odd book' (which many APs have)

SoT's Akiton trip doesn't feel out of place in their story, its well motivated. Plane hopping (more so than planet hopping) to me feels fairly 'classic fantasy trope' so if you had to reframe it as a planar jaunt rather than planet, I think that's a fairly easy tweak. The scope of the PCs adventures, and the scale of the threats as the AP evolves feels to merge very effectively.

Almost all APs need some degree of being tailored to the group/GM running them. I often feel I run too-true to the book (because I value not having to retrofit changes thoughout, given my available prep time), but almost all of them can be greatly enhanced by making it your own and being willing to tweak things to your sensibilities.


Honestly, in my opinion, the Pathfinder APs have always had a problem with consistency. Reign of Winter, Serpent's Skull, Second Darkness and RotR have a ton of needless globetrotting/globehopping/red herring environments in them, and that's just the APs I've dipped my toe into!

I have no issue with an AP going with a new genre if it feels consistent, but it's a little frustrating to be expected to hop tone and genre without warning. If I built my PC for a noir, let me stay in a noir. If I built my PC for a Martian opera, let me stay in a Martial opera.*

That being said, this really isn't anything new. And in its defense, I think it's probably a symptom of game development being, well... creative.

The AP devs are here because they like designing adventures. It's not surprising that they like to have ample opportunity to spread their wings and fly. Being told, "okay, this next AP is going to be Normal" seems like it would be pretty uncomfortable for an adventure developer. Like, if someone told me my next writing commission had to be [a very mundane and generic story, the genre of which I should not elaborate on on an all-ages messageboard], I'd struggle a lot to feel motivated to work on it, because I've already written that kind of story many times over. I think to some extent, allowing for every AP to have that goofy "and now we're gonna go fight werewolves on the Moon" sidetrek may just be a necessary compromise in allowing the devs to flex their creative muscles a little bit and have fun. And sometimes we get really cool content out of it! The first three installments of RotR are basically sidetreks, but they're each riveting in their own way. And Rasputin Must Die! is what made me want to try running Reign of Winter!

So, yeah, I guess I agree with you, if that really is all you're saying, but I feel like it's complicated by the way creative artistic expression tends to work.

Oh, and, like, as time goes on, I think it gets harder to "keep doing normal adventures". They've already done a lot of them.

*(Aside from the slight red herring setting at the start, Age of Worms manages this pretty well--we know it's about dungeon delving adventurers preventing an undead doomsday, and almost every adventure fits this theme, with only a couple questionable choices here and there.)


Switching "planet hopping" to "plane hopping" is smart. I might borrow that. I really don't want to do science fantasy, Paizo, sci-fan is a sometimes food for me. :P


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fyrekrest wrote:
Once upon a time, Paizo was whooping WOTC's butt with customers. That clearly isn't the case now (which is not saying they have less customers than they had before which I obviously have no idea about, but there are obviously MANY D&D customers that I'm sure Paizo would LOVE to win over).

One of those was during D&D's practical lowest point, and even then they were still making bank - just not as much as they could have been making. As in, at their lowest point in existence, D&D was still the #2 on the market.

And it's not that Paizo APs were meaningfully better1 (or "more traditional" - they were never really that) at the time, it's that people hated 4e just that much. And again, even with that, they still blew the vast majority of the TTRPG sphere out of the water.

So when WOTC comes out with an accessible and popular game, backed by a certain very popular series, of course they're going to be significantly higher in terms of customers. The D&D brand is incredibly strong, to the point where even when Paizo was at its height, people still used D&D to refer to Pathfinder for understanding purposes.

1 - Second Darkness, Legacy of Fire, and Council of Thieves have never been terribly well received, and those are three of the first five APs. One could also say they're some of the more "traditional" APs.

Liberty's Edge

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Cyouni wrote:
fyrekrest wrote:
Once upon a time, Paizo was whooping WOTC's butt with customers. That clearly isn't the case now (which is not saying they have less customers than they had before which I obviously have no idea about, but there are obviously MANY D&D customers that I'm sure Paizo would LOVE to win over).

One of those was during D&D's practical lowest point, and even then they were still making bank - just not as much as they could have been making. As in, at their lowest point in existence, D&D was still the #2 on the market.

And it's not that Paizo APs were meaningfully better1 (or "more traditional" - they were never really that) at the time, it's that people hated 4e just that much. And again, even with that, they still blew the vast majority of the TTRPG sphere out of the water.

So when WOTC comes out with an accessible and popular game, backed by a certain very popular series, of course they're going to be significantly higher in terms of customers. The D&D brand is incredibly strong, to the point where even when Paizo was at its height, people still used D&D to refer to Pathfinder for understanding purposes.

1 - Second Darkness, Legacy of Fire, and Council of Thieves have never been terribly well received, and those are three of the first five APs. One could also say they're some of the more "traditional" APs.

And even then, my understanding of the source of most of the claims about beating D&D was from ICv2, which is often the best public-facing source but isn't going to be perfectly accurate, and was primarily true during quarters in which 4e was winding down and didn't have any major releases. It's likely that there were a few quarters from ~2010-2012 or so where PF1 was the best-selling tRPG on the market, but I fully agree that it was primarily driven by discontent with 4e and people growing bored with 4e, rather than any action Paizo could've taken. Not to say Paizo wasn't doing good work at the time! Just that D&D is such a cultural juggernaut that you only overtake it when they make a significant mistake.

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