"Shared GM responsibilites" assistance

Rise of the Runelords

Hello all

I've been my groups perma DM for the last 5 years and I've been wanting to play in an AP pretty much since I started. No one in my group is really able to commit to full time DMing but we have reached a compromise where we "take turns" in the GM chair. We chose rise of the runelords as the campaign to run for this.

Something we're having trouble with is trying to split the book up into roughly self contained chunks so that it isn't too much of a chaotic mess (for burnt offerings we've just run one part each). Will we be able to maintain this later on or will it become impossible to segment the campaign in the same way?

If anyone had any tips / could offer necessary changes (without posting spoilers) to enable us to maintain this playstyle into the rest of the AP without it completly breaking down (some contrivance is fine we're an experienced group and can deal with it) then that would be greatly appreciated!

For more specific assistance it would be good to know what the best way to split skinsaw murders between 4 people might look like (Again no spoilers please).

I would ask people to avoid just saying "don't do this it will be clunky", we know, my players are doing this as a treat for me GMing for them so consistently with me not really having access to anyone other friends who play pathfinder 1e

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I guess the first thing that comes to mind would be just allocating each Part of a chapter to a different person to run. For example, Chapter Two is split (in the hardcover) into seven parts, so Bob could be assigned Parts 1 & 2, Jan could be assigned Parts 3 & 4, etc. It's not a perfect solution as some parts might be longer or shorter, and of course actual play doesn't always proceed in sequence, but it's the most natural division I can think of.

Jhaeman wrote:
I guess the first thing that comes to mind would be just allocating each Part of a chapter to a different person to run. For example, Chapter Two is split (in the hardcover) into seven parts, so Bob could be assigned Parts 1 & 2, Jan could be assigned Parts 3 & 4, etc. It's not a perfect solution as some parts might be longer or shorter, and of course actual play doesn't always proceed in sequence, but it's the most natural division I can think of.

More specifically I wanted to know to what extent each part is self contained. Are there entire book mysteries where the person who ran part 1 will be spoiled on the rest of it? Some spoilers are fine I guess the trouble is if the spoiler is so big and game defining that everyones constantly trying to not metagame and second guess themself.

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I guess if you're playing, all I can say without spoilers is that Chapter Two is a big mystery chapter, and it's going to be pretty hard to run chunks of it without getting spoiled on the whodunnit. Instead of splitting up chunks of each chapter, could you just have one person commit to Chapter 2, someone else commit to Chapter 3, etc.? That'd provide a much smoother experience.

Thanks this was the necessary information to realise that I do basically just need to run book 2 myself (I'm the groups main GM and no one else felt comfortable comitting to a full module book of murder mystery content). Any spoilers in book 2 are now fine!

It turns out it was MY character that was the one foxglove took interest in for book 1. I'm thinking for getting my character out the way that we go with "envy" and the parties personal stake becomes that my character is now exiled and on the run after being accused of doing the murders since my character is

1. Pretending to be a pharasma priest
2. Is actually a necromancer

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(There are no actual RotR spoilers in this post, it's just broad generalisations and made-up examples.)

Spoilers for whoever is GMing any part are going to inevitable.

The AP books tend to start with an overview in each book that says "In this book, PCs will discover that Lord Phileus is murdering children to offer their blood to the Sacred Circle (see Book 3). After finding a series of clues at the old lumbermill, the PCs will confront Lord Phileus in the haunted tower of Doom. Phileus is taking orders from Archmage Clarke, the main antagonist of the campaign."

And that's on a good one. If you're unlucky, it might read "Phileus is taking orders from Archmage Clarke, who seeks to use the children's blood to open a portal to the plane of Dis to retrieve his lost love's soul, which the PCs will discover in Book 5 when they enter Dis themselves".

If you had to do it, I'd do it book by book. You GM book 1, they GM book 2, player 3 GMs book 3, etc, etc. Even within each individual book, you'll find in Part 1 notes that read "The PCs find a note covered in blood. While they can't discover it now, they'll learn in Part 3 that it was written by Lord Phileus when they compare his handwriting", or "Lord Phileus casts Glitterdust. If reduced to half his hit points, he'll attempt to flee via Teleport to the secret Circle room, hidden in Room D14 of Part 7". The APs are just not designed to be read and run by multiple people. These sorts of spoilers are pretty routine.

I'd also change APs and use something where each part is very self-contained. Shattered Star's whole presume is "Get the six magical MacGuffins, which are in 6 largely unrelated dungeons", making each one a much more self contained module with links between them.

Are the spoilers mostly in the category of

1. Name drops some event you have no context on in thats due in 3 books time.

2. Extremely specific reminder text (In room b5 of dungeon 7 on page 453) that you can just forget

Because those kind of spoilers are fine I think? The only kind of spoilers that are an issue are spoilers where when they start playing again (after trying to find a natural end point to hand the DM chair over) they basically have to be in constant self doubt to "avoid metagaming" for the entire AP.

I was thinking of modifying events a bit to make the metaplot more explicit and just keep the party informed about it in character through some homebrew content. I'm running everything foxglove related in book 2 as my next GM period (someone else will run the "go to magnimar" bit) and I was considering giving them dreams of what those parts have told me about the runelord BBEG.

It doesn't seem like Karzoug being some sauron-esque presence the party is aware of would ruin things?

Well, you've presumably at this point read Book 1: Burnt Offerings. That Book already tells you several things that spoil both itself and the upcoming adventure.

Burnt Offerings Spoilers:

- That Karzoug and Mokurian are the bad guys, a wizard and a stone giant.
- Sandpoint will be attacked by goblins.
- Aldern Foxglove will 'play an important role' in the second adventure, that he is obsessive and dangerous.
- Shayless Vinder leads to trouble and little reward for the PCs.
- There's a spare goblin hiding in the closet.
- There are five major goblin tribes who could be responsible for the attack... but of course, the book tells you exactly which one it is, right in the section before where you're investigating them.
- The goblins are secretly led by Nualia and a surprise barghest.
- The Sihedron medallion is not the nice treasure it appears to be, but a bad idea, something PCs likely won't discover on their own for several books.

All this in a Book that expressly calls out that it has little to do with the overarching metaplot, so this should be considered a relatively low level of spoilers for each book. That's assuming you deliberately don't read the Adventure Outlines and Upcomings, because those tell you who the bad guy is, what he's doing, why, and how he'll do it, where the PCs go, and what they'll need to do to foil him.

So it's not 'some event you have no context for', it's often (fake, made-up non spoilers) "Phileus spent his life secretly worshipping Norgobor as a cleric, but is now in the thrall of Karzoug, and will do everything in his power to stop the PCs reaching the Cap of Eternity hidden beneath Magnimar in Book 4". So I know who the bad guy is, why he's acting, what he'll do, and a bit about his class levels. The second my PC meets Phileus in Book 2, he already knows all these things.

I mean, if you don't care and that works for your group, it'll probably work fine. If you just skip through any mystery, discovery or investigations phases it'll work fine, although I think Shattered Star would work better as unrelated dungeon crawls.

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I don't want to speak for Reverse, but I think the reason your plans seem hard to conceptualise is that spoilers are laced throughout the APs on the assumption that a single GM is running the whole thing and needs to be able to plan ahead. I completely understand that you deserve a break from GMing, and it's disappointing that someone else can't step up and give you that. I also understand you don't want a general "don't do it" response.

My only suggestion, and then I'll just let it lie, is that it might be better for everyone concerned in your group not to do an AP at all. Have everyone take turns, round-robin style, running a short module or PFS Scenario, with part of the fun and challenge being how a new GM ties together what's happened previously into an ongoing narrative--the "chain novel" idea: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chain_novel

That way, no one's spoiled, everyone gets a chance to play and to GM, and you have a truly unique overall story that will be lots of fun to construct even if it doesn't hold together as perfectly as an AP. Just an idea!

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