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[New Audio] Kingmaker, a Pathfinder Adventure Path


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#1 Reverse

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 07:54 PM

For those out there whose are feeling audio file deprived while RPGMP3 sits in development limbo, we have new audio for you (courtesy of Google Drive as downloadable MP3 files).
 
Sugar Fuelled Gamers presents Kingmaker, a Pathfinder Adventure Path (run in 3.5 DnD). As of this posting, it sits at 34 episodes, and we intend to play the campaign to the finish. Until RPGMP3 rises from it's grave like the altered beast of yore, this thread is to serve as the new episode update, and general discussion thread for anyone who wants to comment! Enjoy!
 
The River Kingdoms are a constantly shifting group of city-states, kingdoms, and fiefdoms, rising and falling through the machinations of would-be conquerors, wars, assassinations, games of politics, and dangerous monsters. South of Brevoy sit the Stolen Lands – stolen from what and when are a matter of debate – currently overrun by bandits and monsters. Brevoy seeks to aid in the establishment of new kingdoms, buffer states, run by anyone strong and clever enough to carve a kingdom out of the wilderness. Kaylen Thorne, the mercenary who would be king, believes he is that man. Herein lies his tale - of wilderness exploration, monsters, politics, romantic entanglements, ancient gods, and war. Heavy is the head that wears the crown…
 
Link to Audio Downloads
 
Starring: Helen as Kaylen Thorne, half-orc Fighter; Jared as GM / Tristain Thorne (human bard) / Korwin Steelriver (dwarf cleric of Pharasma) / Bryn (half-elf monk) / Michaela Morag (Mysterious Rogue/Cleric)
System: A pre-written Adventure Path written for 3.5, backwards converted and run in 3.5 with a few Pathfinder options thrown in.
Special Notes: This is a solo game – one GM, one player (husband and wife). To help our lead character Kaylen out, he gets a rotating cast of four main NPCs as his party. To save us a lot of headaches, only one of them goes adventuring with him at a time, run by the GM. We have previously run through the Jade Regent adventure path – alas, unrecorded – like this previously. We began recording a few sessions into Book 2, and Session Zero is a short recap of what came previously.
Subsystems: A homebrewed version of the relationship mechanics from Jade Regent, where Kaylen gains Relationship Points and bonus abilities with his fellow NPCs, and Harrow cards used as Hero Points.
Frequency of sessions: Varies, but usually once every two weeks or so.
Length of sessions: Usually sits around the 2.5-3 hr mark, but these can vary wildly. We play in and around schedules whenever we have free uninterrupted time, so our game lengths are pretty swingy.
Special Thanks To:

  • Paizo, for an excellent Adventure Path, and the Paizo forums for several variations to improve it further.
  • Intro music "The Hunt" by BrunuhVille https://www.youtube....h?v=sonvlSvpH2w used with permission under Creative Commons License.
  • RPGMP3, but particularly Lockhart and the Yorkton Gamer's Guild, whose Jade Regent podcast inspired us to take a crack at running it as a solo adventure. This has led us to literally hundreds of hours of happy roleplaying (and Lockhart's Sandru Vhiski, who leaped in one form or another into several campaigns) - thanks guys!

Who are the Sugar Fuelled Gamers?

Spoiler

 
Episode Synopses
For those of you who like episode synopses, here they are (spoiler tagged for those who prefer to listen blind!)
Spoiler


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#2 Reverse

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 05:46 PM

Episode 35 uploaded.

 

Synopsis:

Spoiler


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#3 kendoyle659

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Posted 27 August 2017 - 07:06 AM

Thank you kindly


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#4 Reverse

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 10:08 PM

Episode 36 uploaded.

 

Synopsis:

Spoiler


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#5 Reverse

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 04:27 PM

Episode 37 uploaded.

Synopsis:
Spoiler

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#6 Reverse

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 06:10 PM

Episode 38 uploaded.

Synopsis:
Spoiler

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#7 Lockhart

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 08:37 PM

Woo! I mean, I'm only on session 9 but I've been enjoying this quite a lot and excited for more. Is inspiring me to try and run solo games for the wife.


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#8 Reverse

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 03:47 PM

That's ironic, given that the YGG's Jade Regent was what convinced me it could be run as a good solo game for my wife, which lead directly to Kingmaker... Alas, we ran out of Jade Regent podcasts halfway through Book 3 and had to improvise the rest of it ourselves instead of just blatantly stealing!

It's the circle of Actual Plays... and it moves us all...

 

If you want more on the method of actual tweaks I'm making to play DnD in solo mode, the relationship rules, that sort of thing, sing out.


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#9 Lockhart

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 05:37 PM

I wish

Currently me and Heather are looking at (in addition to Jade Regent and Kingmaker), Carrion crown, rise of the Runelords, strange Aeons, mummy's mask. Basically anything that I can pitch the plot and the wife instantly begins thinking of characters and I think of npcs.

I am interested in how exactly your hero point system works, it sounded like you were letting 1 point save off death and I can't quite tell where the harrow card drawing comes in.

Also, you evil, evil GM for letting Goody Niska to get into the council and just...running her too good. I know her initial writing. I'm practically cackling listening to the plot unfold and wondering how its going to turn into a wreck.
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#10 Reverse

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 06:23 PM

If you're using my "two characters adventuring at a time", any Adventure Path which provides a built-in excuse for the others to be doing something is ideal. We deliberately picked Kingmaker and Jade Regent for this (and the next one we're looking at is Skull and Shackles for a similar reason), because anyone off-screen is easily explained away as guarding the caravan / filling kingdom duties / minding the ship.

 

As for Hero Points, these are primarily a death-saver, and a chance for rerolls. We generally prefer to have death harder to come by in a DnD game, and the Hero Points allow me to throw around save-or-die effects without worrying about it. Particularly in a one-player game - without Kaylen, it's not as if we could just slot another 8th level adventurer in there and keep going with the campaign. Without a party to carry on the plot, it's all on Kaylen's shoulders.

 

The 'Harrow Cards' are mostly a bit of extra descriptor - we starting using these mid-way through Legacy of Fire to make the players pay attention to the situation they're in. Everybody picks one that best represents their character (a bit stolen from Curse of the Crimson Throne), and then bonuses are given if you use that, one of the same attribute as your card, your enemies character card (which means it's in the players interests to pay attention to what's motivating the Big Bad Guy), or one appropriate to the situation.But that's relatively minor - you could trivially drop it and use simple poker chips as markers instead.

 

Each character gets an appropriate number of Hero Points per level - we're using 4 for the solo game, with a feat available to gain an extra one every time you level (Korwin Steelriver, being a character of strong destiny and nothing better to do with his feats, has taken this over and over again), and the ability to use them on behalf of other PCs. At the start of each session, you re-draw your hand, getting new cards each time (although only the number you have left).

 

For all their uses (spoiler blocked for length):

Spoiler

 


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#11 Lockhart

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 07:42 PM

I'm uncertain exactly what format we'll take. I do like the concept of keeping it simple with two characters, one protagonist for the player and an NPC companion. There are some thoughts to try and just have one of each instead of an NPC roster, provided the two are still reasonably balanced (the combo being thrown about is an Occultist and Gunslinger, the occultist being just extraordinarily flexible in its spells and the Gunslinger being a good assist for combat and ranged attacking). With a roster, I'm worried I will be overly generous in allowing more than one NPC to join on quests if requested or in character. But obviously a certain amount of meta comes towards fixing that. 

 

I'm somewhat making a "Heroic" template for the Protagonist so that they'll be extra buffered and capable. 30-Pathfinder Point Buy and a bonus to HP equal to Con score. Though i intend the NPCs to be of regular squishiness so retreat actions will depend upon the Hero calling things if their friends are in danger. 

 

If I didn't think it might overwhelm and over complicate characters, I might look into gestalt rules, but Heather is still fairly new in the mechanics of D&D and I don't want to overwhelm and make the grindy bits too heavy and the game unfun for her. 

 

But we'll have to see when I'm actually able to run and record such a venture. You seem to be doing some not insignificant prep, changes, and foreshadowing in kingmaker, and I'm trying to fully prepare whatever we choose as an AP to really tie all six books into something special though sometimes I can take too much time there. But, the lovely thing about a good prep is that it leaves notes to run for another group later :D

 

It's a shame the Jade Regent sessions weren't recorded, I would be tickled Pink to hear how a game inspired by my running turned out. i can't think of all that I did differently to be honest. 

 

Regarding the Hero points, do you have any cap for unused points? 4 per level is quite generous. 


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#12 Reverse

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 09:03 PM

I'm uncertain exactly what format we'll take. I do like the concept of keeping it simple with two characters, one protagonist for the player and an NPC companion. There are some thoughts to try and just have one of each instead of an NPC roster, provided the two are still reasonably balanced (the combo being thrown about is an Occultist and Gunslinger, the occultist being just extraordinarily flexible in its spells and the Gunslinger being a good assist for combat and ranged attacking). With a roster, I'm worried I will be overly generous in allowing more than one NPC to join on quests if requested or in character. But obviously a certain amount of meta comes towards fixing that. 
 
I'm somewhat making a "Heroic" template for the Protagonist so that they'll be extra buffered and capable. 30-Pathfinder Point Buy and a bonus to HP equal to Con score. Though i intend the NPCs to be of regular squishiness so retreat actions will depend upon the Hero calling things if their friends are in danger. 
 
If I didn't think it might overwhelm and over complicate characters, I might look into gestalt rules, but Heather is still fairly new in the mechanics of D&D and I don't want to overwhelm and make the grindy bits too heavy and the game unfun for her.

 
My first thought was Gestalt, too, and alas, Helen rejected it for the exact same reason - too many mechanics to keep track of running two classes simultaneously. We found the killer problems for a solo AP were:

  • Action economy. Having less actions that the bad guys can be a real problem. Simple spells like Hold Person and Hideous Laughter go from being an inconvenience to the party to a murderous TPK-to-be, because they suddenly remove 50% of your available resource (we learned this, memorably, fighting an "easy" encounter against some ghouls). Dominate Person abruptly ends encounters.
  • Options loss. No matter how well-build your character is, there's a lot of normal options you don't have on the table. If your character doesn't have Sense Motive in a regular party, no big deal. If they don't in a solo game, suddenly nobody can make the Sense Motive check. Or see the Invisible person. Or be proficient with that amazing +3 Keen Falchion found in the treasure. Or cast Dispel Magic. If you're a skill-monkey, there's no meatshield. If you're a meatshield, there's no healing. If you're a wizard, you don't have a longbow when you need one. Even with a swappable full party, there's always the moment of "Dammit, if only we'd bought the Rogue!". In a game with only a single companion, I think it'd be worse.

Through trial and error through Jade Regent, we ended up with the Extraordinary Heroes rule. In our set-up:

  • Extraordinary Heroes receive 1 extra HP and 1 extra skill point per level, which helps round them out a lot.
  • Extraordinary Heroes are allowed saves every round against party killing effects like Dominate (and because it's a rule applied to the PC, the story still works when the Succubus needs to Dominate the NPC king).
  • Extraordinary Heroes receive extra assistance in the form of special bonus abilities as the game goes on. The Kami spirits of the Amatatsu seal gave our Jade Regent protagonists a list of special abilities they could have (Helen's druid recieved the ability to cast her line of Cure spells spontaneously, Ameiko got the Healing domain added to her bardic spellcasting, Shalelu got a kami-infused bow that dealt extra damage, etc). The fun part of this is that it doesn't have to be terribly mechanically complex to start with, as the extra mechanics get added in as you go on. On top of that, the main PC got relationship abilities based on their relationship points with the other GMPCs (the druid could be inspired by Bardic Music without having Amieko with her for X rounds per day, gained a free once daily reroll based off Koya's fortune telling, etc). You'll see the same system applied to Kaylen in Kingmaker, starting with the fact that his Knight of Thorns prestige class is something I'd consider a touch OP for a regular party game.

You seem to be doing some not insignificant prep, changes, and foreshadowing in kingmaker, and I'm trying to fully prepare whatever we choose as an AP to really tie all six books into something special though sometimes I can take too much time there.

 
Foreshadowing is what we do best! I don't consider the game a success unless I get that moment at some point when all the players slap their heads, curse, and agree they should have seen this coming - in retrospect, the clues were all right there. That's the best part of being the GM. As for prep for Kingmaker... not significantly, really? There was a moderate amount at the start, writing the GMPCs into the adventure (but that's the fun bit, like building a character is), and several chunks borrowed from the Paizo forums, but I barely do a thing in terms of individual session prep. The AP is so heavily based around what your players do - your kingdom is forged by the personalities on the Council, whom the GM has no control over - that I often feel more reactive than proactive GMing this particular one.
 

Regarding the Hero points, do you have any cap for unused points? 4 per level is quite generous.

Ah, I think I'm not quite clear - you refresh back up to 4 at each level, not gain an additional 4 each level. If a player earned one in play, had 5, and leveled, they'd recieve none. If they had 1 left, they'd receive 3. It's incentive to spend them. We started by using 2 a level in Jade Regent, the Kami spirits gifted Helen an extra one, and adjusting to taste we defaulted to 4 for the main protagonist in Kingmaker, 3 for the support GMPCs.


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#13 Reverse

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 03:34 PM

Episode 39 uploaded.

Synopsis:

Spoiler


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#14 Reverse

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 06:27 PM

Episodes 40 and 41 now uploaded.

Synopsis:

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