Your Very Own Adventure Path
***Warning*** This is a slight rehash of an ‘article’ that had been on here earlier.
Tonight marks the beginning of my new Pathfinder RPG game; I am running Curse of the Crimson Throne. Running an AP is very new to me. I’ve always reveled in the creation of dungeons, baddies, story arcs, etc, and though I never looked down on APs, I never used them either – I always wanted to the work to be mine.
Well, as I grow busier and busier with no end in sight, I decided I’d tackle an AP. I’d long been a fan of Paizo’s work, and it made sense. And so far it is living up to the expectations; CotCT is a great, intriguing campaign arc. However, above and beyond the fact that most of the work’s been done for me (I am converting to PFRPG), I’ve found another benefit that cannot be overstated – The act of making a published adventure your own is just as thrilling as, and fills that same niche, as crafting a campaign whole cloth.
With CotCT I’m given a solid story, compelling NPCs, and exciting encounter locales. . . along with a lot of fluff. I could run the AP as is, no sweat. However, reading through the modules, my mind is kicked into creative overdrive, and in turn this is manifesting in a variety of ways. Here are a few examples:
1) Without having to craft the NPCs, and with the NPCs being given a lot of detail, I am finding it easier to get into character. I’ve already started creating character cards . . . little notecards I can pull out when I am playing as the NPC. These cards are organized with info on the NPCs sayings, movements, and overall attitude. Without having to craft the NPC, I find myself using that time to realize the NPC.
2) I am exploring minor details. Early on in CotCT, the PCs likely run into a nasty cur of an alchemist named Yargin Balgo. In his stat block we discover he has a light crossbow. Yet, in his combat tactics it is never mentioned that he uses it, as he instead prefers his wand and some acid flasks. Well, as I read more about the character, looked at his office layout, I realized that the crossbow would be perfect if it was attached to the underside of his desk with just one bolt (poisoned?) loaded there. Essentially, this allows him the drop on any angry business partner or unexpected guest, and hopefully gives the coward a chance to run.
3) Playing to my players. The one ‘weakness’ with any published adventure is the fact that it cannot fully predict what your group’s preferences/choices will be. You, as the DM, can (to some extent). In the same set of encounters that deal with Yargin above, the PCs eventually gain an old crown as part of a treasure hoard. One of my player’s favorite PCs had an old 2e character who became a dwarven king . . . that crown now has that dwarf’s name etched in it.
I don’t think I am breaking any new ground here, but I thought it was worth discussing. If your only reason for avoiding a published adventure is because you feel it may rob you of your creativity, you might want to reconsider. Even within the boundaries of another’s’ work, room abounds for mischief.
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Tags: Campaign Planning, Pathfinder