View Poll Results: Is running Kingmaker right after Council of Thieves (at Lvl 13) a good idea?
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Thursday, 29th April, 2010, 08:28 PM #1
KINGMAKER: Crazy idea, or crazy like a fox?
Long time lurker, haven't posted in ages, if ever. Long time DM of all versions of D&D dating back to '82, now we are all in with Pathfinder.
However, as we've gotten older and less time on our hands, we only play pregenerated material. That being said, hardly anyone supports prewritten full campaigns to level 20 and beyond, and Pathfinder is no exception.
We started playing Pathfinder with the excellent Council of Thieves adventure path, but we know that it basically ends with the party making level 13.
Then Kingmaker is out, but it starts over at level 1. Who wants to keep playing characters from 1 to x level and then quit?
Here's my crazy idea. Since Pathfinder is not like 3.5E experience, where low level CRs render 0 experience, and also given that with the Leadership feat, experience for cohorts is slightly different:
WHAT IF KINGMAKER came RIGHT AFTER Council of Thieves, with zero changes, and with the same characters?
Obviously the challenges would be a bit different. Kingmaker is designed to take characters from 1st to 17th-18th (?? right??), so eventually the campaign would catch up with their level. Everyone, including the heroes, would gain xp, albeit slowly, and give an opportunity to play more with the cohorts and occasionally the followers that Council of Thieves wanted to semi-railroad you in to (the Children of Westcrown).
As of this moment, only one character has taken leadership, but it is feasible that if the campaign took a less difficult stance for a while, more may "follow."
Look at the progression of the Council of Thieves campaign. Here is the expected party level at the beginning of each book:
1: Level 1
2: Level 3
3: Level 5
4: Level 7
5: Level 9
6: Level 11
End campaign at Level 13
Now lets look at Kingmaker. Here is the expected party level at the beginning of each book:
1: Level 1
2: Level 5
3: Level 7
4: Level 10
5: Level 13
6: Level 15
End campaign at Level 17-18
Given that the experience point total for a character at the end of the Council of Thieves will be around 315,000xp (the campaign is using medium progression), then if they theoretically played through Kingmaker, here is the party level at each book:
1: Level 13
2: Level 13
3: Level 13
4: Level 13 (But they quickly level to 14th)
5: Level 15
6: Level 16
End campaign at the high end of Level 17, but most likely somewhat in to 18th level.
This way it appears that the characters would not face a notable combat challenge until the 4th book, of which they should still progress fairly smoothly. However, by book 5, they are getting close to the same levels, and may start encountering CRs of their level or slightly higher. By book 6, they are barely ahead of the curve, turning what was originally an easy campaign of heroes in the land into a real challenge.
Admittedly, I haven't read the Kingmaker campaign yet. Do you think this is feasible? Obviously the heroes would be 13th level for quite a while, and their cohorts, if any, would likely be 11th for a while, which would make the first couple or three adventures pretty easy combat-wise.
Is this a good decision? What do you think the ramifications would be? Note that my players are really power-gamers even though some of them role play a lot, and may appreciate being able to absolutely whup some things for a while. However, I am not sure if the Kingmaker style of campaign fits well with more capable characters. The party dynamic is:
Human Paladin (tank role)
Elven Mystic Theurge (cleric role) with cohort
Elven Barbarian, cohort
Half-Elven Duelist (rogue role)
Human Enchantress (wizard role)
So the party dynamic seems to lend itself well to Kingmaker, seeing that the Mystic Theurge has already been forced in to a Venture-Captain role with the Pathfinder Society and the Enchantress has a disturbingly high diplomacy score.
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Thursday, 29th April, 2010, 10:04 PM #2
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
I don't see anything particularly crazy about your idea. If it works for you and your group, go for it. The biggest problem I see is removing characters that have been established in Westcrown for 13 levels and uprooting them to the lands of Kingslayer.
I would also suggest scaling the encounters at least somewhat so you're not playing through 3 volumes of the AP as a cakewalk.
Otherwise - go for it.
Thursday, 29th April, 2010, 11:00 PM #3
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Some ideas off the top of my head
Fluff-wise, I don't know either AP, so you are on your own how you get from Council to Kingmaker. Mechanics-wise;
some random ideas
-upgrade opposition in the lower modules (lots of DM work)
-have characters take on the encounters alone (or with low level lackeys as back up)
- have the high level characters be the ones sending out lower level minions, and bring the higher level ones to be the actual rulers
- narrate the first module or 2 (as I doubt anything would truly challenge them)
Sunday, 2nd May, 2010, 04:03 AM #4
I've read the first 2 King Maker mods and I like your idea, if your PC's are game for it of course, the lack of combat challanges could be a problem just depends on your PCs (I said that already) but starting with King Maker #2 there is plenty of non-combat stuff to keep them occupied. I would not advise doing this without first reading through King Maker, if the PCs have level appropriate wealth and are willing to spend it it could upset the Kingdom rules.
Good Idea, Good Luck.
Thursday, 13th May, 2010, 06:19 PM #5
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
I know nothing of either adventure path, but if the rest of the characters got Leadership (maybe give it to them for free?) and make it to the end of the first AP, couldn't you just have them play some of their former followers (or possibly cohorts) of the first set of PCs as a new set of PCs? Maybe they could be vassals sent to rule under their former PCs' charge out on the frontier? At least, for the earlier modules
And then maybe give them the option of switching back to their initial "primary" pcs once the campaign got back up to their level?
A bird in the bush is worth two killed while stoned. - Some Barmy
You'll never know the true meaning of "The truth is out there" until you visit the Far Realms.
Thursday, 13th May, 2010, 06:32 PM #6
I would heavily suggest beefing up the encounters as otherwise the players will certainly be very, very bored, unless they love to beat up on a couple of mooks. I personally find the whole 1 enemy encounters very boring, but it's ok, I'm running it in 4e now and will tweak it for that system.
Thursday, 13th May, 2010, 08:01 PM #7
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
An alternative suggestion is to use the slow progress table for both, lowering the difficulty of CoT a bit and raising the difficulty of KM a bit.
Thursday, 13th May, 2010, 09:44 PM #8
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
I think you are borrowing trouble with this approach to be honest. The nature of Adventure Paths is that they tend to be focussed campaigns with a definite beginning, middle and end.
This is a strength -- and a weakness as well. But I think the strengths outweigh the weaknesses. Even when that weakness means there is an "end".
I also think that the tendency to "reset" to lower levels also emphasizes the strengths of 3.5 and Pathfinder play. High level campaigns are simply not the "sweet spot" of D&D. The game plays much better at lower to mid-levels -- and plays much worse at higher levels. The quality of ANY campaign under under 3.5 or Pathfinder begins to significantly degrade past 12th-13th level.
At the same time, the quality of any campaign where there is little meaningful combat or character progress also degrades -- to the point where most players will become bored and unhappy.
So who wants to reset the game after the AP ends? Me, for one. As a GM -- I most definitely want to do this. And while your players might not say they want to do this NOW -- my guess is that after your Kingmaker campaign provides them with few challenges and no level advancement -- their opinion will change then, too.
So, how best to deal with this? Especially knowing what's coming down the road?
If it is too unpalatable to simply roll up brand new characters, I think another way to achieve what amounts to the same thing is to introduce lower level retainers, allies and henchman into your Council of Thieves campaign towards the later stages of that campaign.
Have your players decide who those lower level hanchmen will be and what those low level henchman will be doing. Work out and add in some meaningful contributions they can make to the Council of Thieves campaign. Interrupt your high level play with a lower level mini "side adventure" attached ot the CoC story arc. Use that opportunity to provide a back-story for these low level henchan characters and to assist the players in forging a connection between the low level characters and their higher level CoC PCs.
Then, when the Council of Thieves arc reaches its end -- continuing on with the Kingmaker campaign using those lower level henchmen as the characters "main" PCs will seem far more natural. The characters will still be connected to the prior campaign and the higher level PC veterans from Council of Thieves can act in an advisory and patronage capacity -- until the point is later reached in the Kingmaker Campaign where the "high level" PC veterans might take a more active role. Ultimately - those CoC veterans might be called out to participate as the "main" PCs in part of the Kingmaker campaign adventure as well.
My guess is -- by that point -- your players will be more significantly emotionally attached to their Kingmaker characters than the old CoC veterans will no longer be regarded as their "main" characters, but as more fond memories of characters "they used to play".
But at least such an approach informs both campaigns and provides a better and stronger foundation for both. All while still providing your players with meaningful combat and challenges and providing them with level advancement and meaningful rewards, too.
And, perhaps above all -- making your job as GM easier and more fulfilling, too.
Last edited by Steel_Wind; Thursday, 13th May, 2010 at 09:50 PM.
Friday, 14th May, 2010, 01:32 AM #9
how about another alternative to ponder - you say 1+ of the existing PC's have the Leadership feat and thus should be attracting cohorts/followers at the end of Council, right? These NPCs came from someplace and will gain levels somehow - so why not let the PCs roll up these 1st level characters and run THEM thru Kingmaker's early stages until they reach their corresponding levels per the feat at which point they turn things over to their superiors (the Council PCs) to handle the events which are now reaching a point over their own heads/abilities? ---- in this fashion, the players/you have the fun of the early Kingmaker stages as-is while developing background for the PC's cohorts/henchmen who could either continue along or fade into the background to attend to the PCs other affairs as needed per normal.
Friday, 14th May, 2010, 01:59 AM #10
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)