New to the Boards GM looking to run a PF1 AP


Recruitment


Hello, I am Trevor. After much cajoling by some friends, I have finally decided to try out GMing a PbP adventure. I have played and run PF1 games for years and really enjoy the system. However, I have very limited PbP experience. My main worry about this format is actually completing an AP.

My two favorites are Kingmaker and Skull & Shackles. I am leaning towards S&S as Kingmaker's background game of kingdom management might be a bit tedious in PbP. Also, I have already fully modified the NPCs and monsters of S&S to adjust for the home rules I use for character creation and such.

I am told that I will find no lack of interest for these APs, so here are the Character creation rules I plan to use:
25pt. buy
Background skills
World is Square (Elephant in the Room) feat tax rules
2 traits + 1 campaign trait (1 Drawback is allowed for an additional trait).
Max starting gold
HPs - max at 1st and 2nd level. After that you can opt for average rounded up or roll. If you roll low you can take average rounded down instead (essentially you take a 1 hp hit for the chance to get a high roll).

Game Rules:
Emerging guns
NO Synthesis Summoner
For Kingmaker, no evil characters. For S&S this is waived, but you must be able to be semi loyal to the player group. Also, beware that I will be forced to either exclude the paladin builds or the evil builds as this is a long term adventure and they can't coexist as teammates.
Monk and Barbarian use the Unchained versions. (Note: there is a supplement out there that gives the modifications for Monk archetypes so they can be used with the Unchained version. I will post it later, but the name evades me at the moment).
No psionics
Any race less than 20rp, but strange races will be less likely to make it without a very good reason for them to be there.

If interested, post which AP you prefer. In either case, I will be selecting a six member Party.


I should also give people an idea of what I look for. I like good mechanical builds, but also really like flavor additions. Like taking a skill that isn't necessarily optimal for your class or build, but is thematic to your character's personality (especially for characters with very limited skill points). Things like that get you higher consideration. Optimization does not bother me as I have optimized many of the AP's NPCs and monsters.

For campaigns that start at higher levels, I usually expect a detailed backstory that explains your build and reasons for being here. For 1st level characters this doesn't make as much sense because you are inexperienced. So a simple backstory that explains why you are in the Shackles or Brevoy (depending on the AP) is sufficient.

I like good humored games, talking smack is just fine, as is competitiveness, just try not to be deliberately offensive. And in that vein, I also frown upon over sensitivity. Nothing spoils a game like a person that finds offense in everything. Also, since we can't actually know the ages of the players, I keep the sexually explicit stuff out and go with the 1950s "fade to black" approach to romantic encounters.

Feel free to ask any questions about my GMing style.


Welcome to the boards. New GMs are always appreciated by us lower folks that simply don't have the time.

I agree with, your Kingmaker assessment and would love to get into a S&S game.
I have a backstory for a pirate character that is much longer than necessary for a level 1. The simple summary is that he used to be a well-known and successful pirate, but isn't anymore. He's back to square one and level 1.

I'm sure you've skimmed over some ongoing PbP games and have a good feeling about gow to run it. Otherwise you wouldn't offer it.


Welcome to the boards

I have this Undine Sea Witch I played in a Skulls and Shackles AP with that unfortunately folded.
And there's a question: She's planned/built with Variant Multiclass(Bard) - is VMC allowed?

It would be easy enough to 'reset/rebuild' her to Level 1 and re-submit her.
I would do so if you decide on the S&S adventure path - I'm already in a long-running Kingmaker game so only one of your options really works for me.

(Edit: Nevermind that last sentence, I already started rebuilding her regardless-)


@ Ellioti: Yes, I've looked at a few, plus I've played some.

@ Nivian: No, I don't use VMC. And that's been my experience as well on PbP, they fold quite often.


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It has been my experience that there is USUALLY one or two people interested in doing the side paperwork behind Kingmaker so the others can ignore it.

I have not been one of them.

As near as I can tell, more Kingmaker games get past book 1 than Skull and Shackles, but after that, more Skull and Shackles make it out of book 2 than Kingmaker. <shrug> I've heard it blamed on Kingmaker going too unstructured, but I won't claim to know.

There has been a recent resurgence in Skull and Shackles offerings, with 3 starting very recently. Still quite a few applicants who weren't selected should be ready to drop characters with little hesitation.

I don't think I've noticed a Kingmaker offering in a while.

Speaking only for myself, I like to have an idea what the game is before I apply. I know different people play the game differently, and I do not begrudge people the opportunity to play the game they want to play, but I don't enjoy participating in all kinds of games, either. I grossly prefer heroic play, and actively avoid groups with an evil bent. Personal preference.

Your extremely generous build rules should get you a pretty strong suite of applicants.

That said, I have a Musetouched Aasimar (Scion of Humanity) Bard (Sea Singer) build for S&S that I came up with during the recent suite of S&S opportunities that I would need to update for your mechanics. Need to be getting to work this morning, and I have class tonight, so that won't happen until the weekend.


I'm interested in either AP, but predominantly S&S if I'm honest.

I'd be interested in that unchained monk archetype adaptation info you mentioned.

I'm going to be one of those -something weird but with (hopefully) good reasoning- submissions I'm afraid. I'd like to play a Vanara, a ship's monkey. Either awoken and ready for adventure, or an adventurer cursed into the shape of a 'monkey.' not decided yet. Probably looking for some variation on unchained monk.


Welcome to the boards! Both Kingmaker and S&S are awesome and I’m sure you’ll have interest, so choose your own preference! :) if I was to pick, I’d say Kingmaker. Would love to build a “would-be-king” and help you with the sheets and kingdom management stuff.

Radiant Oath

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'm intrigued...Personally I'd prefer S&S as I'm playing the Kingmaker PC game and would feel kind of awkward regarding the potential spoilers (though not so much for knowing what's coming as much as the cognitive dissonance between the original text and the changes Owlcat made, along with the absence of the PC game companions).

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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Welcome to the boards!

While I'm kind of interested, I'm mostly posting here to offer a bit of unsolicited advice, for you to take or leave:

Short version: if I were you, I'd pick a module first rather than an AP. And Skull and Shackles is a lot harder to run PBP than you possibly think it is.

Long version:

I ran Skull and Shackles here for several years, up to the end of the second chapter of book 3. The campaign is still ongoing, but I burned out and passed GMing to a former player and I rejoined as a player. It is successful... but it is a LOT of work. I did choose out of the gate to run an AP rather than a module. I wish I had run a module. I would have been done in a year or less and still gotten a lot of experience and fun out of it and gotten a better sense of what works for me best as a GM in PBP format. Caveat: I had a small group of players for most of the run which made some things go slower.

I want to point out the "several years" part. Some people do get through whole APs quicker. But combat in particular in PBPs are slow and can take days to weeks depending on how frequently people post (and in every PBP I've played, even if posting is rapid at first, it always slows down sooner or later). So note if you're planning to run an AP, all five books each of which with three detailed chapters, you're committing potentially to a long haul.

Regarding Skull and Shackles specifically: while it is a popular game to run here on the boards, it poses some unique challenges:
1. There are a LOT of NPCs to track (the PCs' entire crew), and if you are running the game in the most ideal way (in my opinion) those NPCs need to have enough personality and goals for the PCs to earn and keep their loyalty. Further, the first book talks about the importance of gaining the NPCs loyalty but leaves it up to the GM how to do that outside of detailing some specific events that might earn a few of the NPCs' trust. Different GMs have handled this in different ways and in general I wish I had started off with a more codified plan than I did for earning NPC loyalty--and maintaining it--over the course of the game. Note the vast number of NPCs in the game also means keeping track of them on any battle maps you might be using; I generally just ran on-ship fights as "here are the critters attacking the PCs and the PCs, you focus on that, and the NPCs are having their sort of off screen, no rolling fight over on this side of the ship." But it is a potential added factor of tracking.

2. Ship to ship combat is royally complicated as written. You can simplify it or skip it, but combined with the slowness of collecting player actions in PBP it can be a chore.

3. There are sandboxy elements of Skull and Shackles that you might choose to play up or ignore, but they create an element of needing to stay on your toes and change plans which isn't always easy in PBP format.

4. Many scenarios in Skull and Shackles are really intended for rapid player response and back and forth that only table-based combat fully allows. For example, a lot of the "mini-games," e.g., drinking contests, gambling, etc. work more easily and quickly in person (or in a realtime interface) than PBP. The GM who took over my game recently also commented the race at the end of book 3 does not translate well to PBP interaction.

None of this is to say that you shouldn't run S&S and again, it is a very popular game to run here on the boards, but since I happened to catch your post and your mentioning you are new to PBP in general, this is all just FYI. It's largely a lot of stuff I wish someone told me before I launched into running S&S. I'm not the best GM and you might handle things better so again, just FYI.

Kingmaker I think too has its challenges, and also has a lot of NPCs eventually to track, I think, but some of the tracking challenges can be handled by the players (I remember being the party mapper in a short-lived Kingmaker game I played in years ago).

As for recruitment and playing goes I am interested in Kingmaker more than S&S but that's because I'm already playing in an S&S game (the one that used to be mine).

Good luck.


Welcome to the boards Trevor0828!

I've been reading peoples posts; you've got a lot of good comments. My personal preference would be 'Kingmaker' Only because, like many, I'm already in the other game...

Though I would prefer the 'kingdom building' simplified or left out.


Hi! I'm more interested in S&S than KM - I ran KM irl many years ago.

I wrote up an antipaladin for one of the recent S&S recruitments (here) - I was going to make another character that could be adapted to a party of any alignment, but I ran out of time - if you end up going with S&S I'll flesh it out.

Scarab Sages

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Welcome Trevor! It's great to see new GMs around here! GMs are always in short supply.

I would be up for a shot at S&S if it is the one that runs. I'd probably submit a Grenadier Alchemist or an Okayo Corsair Swashbuckler.

That said, in my experience it is true that both KM and S&S have proven to be difficult to keep going as PbP games. It's true of any of the APs that have involved mini-game systems in them. PbP games are slow no matter what. Having to stop and spend time managing things like crews, ships, and kingdoms just sucks the life out of the game. I've never seen a game with those kinds of management systems where more than maybe two of the players are willing to pay attention to it.

As a first run as a GM it would be a tall order to keep things on track and moving. I'm not saying you can't, just that the two APs you've selected have notorious failure rates.

There is an option in between standard modules and APs that you might want to consider. There are some 1 book length modules that advance characters by around 3 levels over their course. A couple of them are even set in the same region as S&S. Plunder and Peril is set in the Shackles and runs character levels 4 - 6. Seers of the Drowned City is set in the Sodden Lands and runs character levels 6 - 8. It would reduce your workload as GM immensely.

One of those would last perhaps a year. If you wanted you could even extend the length by running both in sequence.

Just my two cents as a failed GM who thought starting big would be more awesome.


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rdknight wrote:
Just my two cents as a failed GM who thought starting big would be more awesome.

I still believe in you. Someday...someday...

That aside: In most AP's it's moderately easy to appoint an agreeable NPC to the role that has to do all that micro-management and have the GM handwaive it. In some cases that may even be the best way to handle things.(e.g. in Kingmaker, the span between woefully underprepared and over-optimized kingdoms is...impressive. And to be honest, nobody wants to play a game for 5 years, then find that a building decision they made 3 years ago caused them to soft-lock them into a situation unwinnable without GM intervention.)

Regardless, while I would prefer a full AP, I would understand if you want to start smaller. Alas! You could probably run something like Plunder and Peril and then transition into the S&S AP with some minor adaptation, if you decide to move forward from there.


Honestly, if the gaming is good and the GM and players know how to handle it, anything goes.


Welcome to the board. Pass on Kingmaker myself. Always seems like the kingdom building is its own game that distracts from the rest of the game.

I'd love to get in a S&S game, as long as I don't have to play evil. Neutral is fine and I'd like to try a sorcerer. Haven't played one in years and I think it could be fun.


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Welcome to the boards! Great to see more folk interested in GMing.

If you want to run an AP in a reasonable time frame in PbP you need to be prepared to ruthlessly cut content. APs are built assuming you track XP for encounters and as such as written there's usually a bunch of encounters that exist to provide XP rather than to further the plot. I recommend dropping the fluff and using milestone leveling.

Paizo APs tend to have a gimmick mechanic
(e.g. the rebellion system in Hell's Rebels, the Caravan system in Jade Regent, kingdom building rules in Kingmaker Etc) that usually doesn't work well in PbP games and can be ignored.

I recommend rolling as many dice for players as you think you can get away with. E.g. initiative, saving throws etc...

Another sore spot is loot, let's face it most of us have no interest in running a loot spreadsheet and the task of working out who wants what and how much it's worth when sold is a thankless one. Worse APs have enough loot for four players but most PbP games have 5-6 players (for faster posting and on the assumption some of the players will flake out). You might want to consider ABP to lessen the impact of loot, or even go for virtual WBL to completely eliminate it.

Virtual WBL:
The idea is every time players level up they can select items up to the value of their expected WBL with the caveat that no item can cost more than 1/3 WBL.

Pro: Much less day to day tracking, nobody left behind.
Con: Miss out on that special moment when something neat drops.

Also be aware that some of us play in a lot of games and may tend to forget the details of stuff that happened six months earlier, so occasional summary posts can be helpful.

Good luck!


I usually adust loot for the number of players. I also advise players to do loot splits by taking the total value of the loot acquired (gold and such, and then add the sale price of ALL acquired items), then allow players to pick items and have their sale price deducted from their cut. This means each PC gets an equal amount of loot and the players that choose to take items benefit from getting them at the selling price, not the purchase price.


For those interested, here are the two books that convert Monk archetypes to Unchained Monk. Together the PDFs cost only about $3. This is the only 3PP material I'm allowing unless convinced otherwise. There is also a download for these for Hero Lab.

*EDIT* Hmmm, the link wouldn't work from here? So I will just type in the links.

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/148239/Everyman-Unchained-Monk-Archety pes?term=everyman+un&affiliate_id=189525

and

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/151056/Everyman-Unchained-Monk-Archety pes-II?term=everyman+unchain&affiliate_id=189525


You need a [URL= tag for those.


Welcome. I'd be okay with either Kingmaker or Skull & Shackles.


I'd love to play Kingmaker. I do have an "evil" character that could just as easily be written in her future neutral self that I'd love to pitch. I designed her to be viable with the party as evil, but can do either way.


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Tik Tik votes for Skulls and Shackles, and heartily agrees that GMs should handwave a lot of the "not on camera" stuff to keep PbP moving along. I find that most players are perfectly happy not to sweat the details in favor of a good story.


FangDragon wrote:
You need a [URL= tag for those.

I did that, but then it would just go to the Paizo page


So I have the pf1e books but have only played one game with an offical Pf1e DM the others were free rpg day our group ran it but we are 5e dm's so we definitely didn't understood all the rules. It seems close to 3.5 D&D though so I'm willing to try if you don't mind a newbie. I can play any weekday after 6pm Eastern except Wednesday and 11am to 4pm Sunday.

Thank You For Your consideration. I've been gaming for 15 years just new to pathfinder and online play.

Grand Lodge

Quick question, is the Occult Adventures book available for character creation? If not, no worries, just narrows down some ideas.


Trevor0828 wrote:

I should also give people an idea of what I look for. I like good mechanical builds, but also really like flavor additions. Like taking a skill that isn't necessarily optimal for your class or build, but is thematic to your character's personality (especially for characters with very limited skill points). Things like that get you higher consideration. Optimization does not bother me as I have optimized many of the AP's NPCs and monsters.

For campaigns that start at higher levels, I usually expect a detailed backstory that explains your build and reasons for being here. For 1st level characters this doesn't make as much sense because you are inexperienced. So a simple backstory that explains why you are in the Shackles or Brevoy (depending on the AP) is sufficient.

I like good humored games, talking smack is just fine, as is competitiveness, just try not to be deliberately offensive. And in that vein, I also frown upon over sensitivity. Nothing spoils a game like a person that finds offense in everything. Also, since we can't actually know the ages of the players, I keep the sexually explicit stuff out and go with the 1950s "fade to black" approach to romantic encounters.

Feel free to ask any questions about my GMing style.

This is the only way I build characters I don't care if I'm the most optimal best version of the class I only care if my choices make sense for my character. I also like to build characters that are unique though being new may impact this some. I am a story based Player/DM so this sounds right up my alley.


Welcome to the boards!

I'm interested in S&S; would likely go for either a duettist bard or cleric of Besmara.


Hmm, as a player, my most favorite posts I made are:

Using Silent Image to befriend a Giant Badger via Tummy Rubs

One day you a delivering mythic Apsu-weed to the Abyss, and then you are suddenly poofed elsewhere, just a hard days work for dual wielding earthbreaker paladin kobold

as well as very very tragic backstory yesyes

Cunning ideas for both modules:

--Extremely pragmatic Sarkorian Merc who figured that "bugger fighting demons, lets move to greener pastures"

--Gunslinger/Magus using spell cartridges

--Oracle of shadows/mysterious stranger (stealthy sniper with a lot of utility)

--"I dont have a substance abuse problem!" Mutagenic Mauler/fighter/Bloodrager


Regarding URL:

Unchained Monk Archetypes

Unchained Monk Archetypes II

Press "reply" on this post and you should see the proper syntax.
All [ tag ] tags on the board need to be closed with [ /tag ], same for url - the stuff between is what is written as link.


I am very interested. Either of those AP's are fine by me. Though if I had to chose I would like the Kingmaker. Some thing about being the voice behind the king intrigues me.

I would likely play a druid in either of those. I would also keep track of the paperwork in Kingmaker. I usually do that in RL games.


Dotting for kingmanker

I will echo FangDragon's suggestion on cutting content from APs. Roughly one third of APs are filler, that is content that is only included to provide PCs with exp and loot.

I took over a Strange Aeons game that lost their GM. It took 5 years to get through 5 and a half books. The players all posted promtly I posted every day, sometimes more. If the encounter wasn't interesting and didn't forward the plot it got cut. So many monster closets.

Radiant Oath

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I do have an idea for a Neutral Good Gray Paladin from Ultimate Intrigue with the Ship Surgeon background trait for Skull and Shackles, playing up the "the Code's more like guidelines than actual rules," aspect and emphasizing loyalty to captain and crew to avoid being too disruptive for the party, just to give an idea of what I'd actually submit.


Nivian Mazu wrote:

Regarding URL:

Press "reply" on this post and you should see the proper syntax.
All [ tag ] tags on the board need to be closed with [ /tag ], same for url - the stuff between is what is written as link.

Ahhh> I see what I did wrong, I put the name after the = sign instead of the url and put the url in between the two internal brackets. Thank you very much.


Welcome to the boards! I'm new too (Kinda. Been lurking for going on seven years now).

Having ran a live game of S&S a few years back, my vote would be for Kingmaker, although I'm cool with either.

For kingmaker, I'd probably go a dwarf alchemist I made and played many a moon ago.

For S&S, probably a halfling sharptooth barbarian.


OK, it's official then, I'm going ahead with Skull & Shackles. Lots of great advice from everyone, thanks a lot. I was planning to use the advancement by the stages in the books rather than track xp as it was, but the idea of deleting the filler fights hadn't occurred to me, that's a great idea. Even in table top, someof those fights seemed to be a waste of time.


Michael_Hopkins wrote:
Quick question, is the Occult Adventures book available for character creation? If not, no worries, just narrows down some ideas.

Yes, it is allowed.


Good news then! Will you span a new topic to recruit, or do you want to recruit here?

Another thing, if I may suggest, is to consider advanced bonus progression instead of regular wealth, especially at this module (loot becomes very fuzzy and weird when the ships and plunder enter into the equation).

Finally - I'd recommend re-thinking or re-writing the ship combat rules. When I GM'd in person, this was the single part that didn't work well at all. I ended up writing my own system, which I'd be happy to share if it interests you.


I added a new thread as the recruitment thread. And yes, I would be interested in those rules as I had already planned on ditching the rules the AP has for ship combat.

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