With Pathfinder 2 being released on August 1st I have a grand new experiment for my players where I’m taking all the adventures set in Varisia and merging them into a single cohesive storyline.
Pathfinder has ten years of storylines, with each year introducing new elements as part of the Pathfinder Society. There are around 78 separate books to keep in mind for this exercise, with 28 of them being part of adventure paths.
The concept will take the players from level 1 and potentially past level 20 in a ten year story going through the history of the region (slightly reworked to keep the narrative) and be part of the Pathfinder Society intrigue that also existed during this time.
Why Revisit Rise of the Runelords?
It has been almost ten years since I started running Pathfinder and it all started with this adventure path. They is an interesting aspect of the storyline having been 10,000 years since the Thassilon empire was at its height. Since that time there has been an earth shattering asteroid strike known as Earthfall (the Age of Legend), 1,000 years of darkness (Age of Darkness) followed by 800 years of the surface recovering enough to sustain life (Age of Anguish) then 3,500 years of Osirian culture before the founding of the worlds capital at Absalom (Age of Destiny). About 4,600 years later the god of humanity died at his prophesied return to their world (Age of Entronement). Now the current age was supposed to be “Age of Glory” but has instead become “Age of Lost Omens” with the characters starting 100 years after the age has started.
There are seven runelords from the ancient nation and only one was in the first adventure path. They have brought in the rest over the last ten years but I thought it might be a good story to have them all start to awaken at the start of the storyline.
This makes good use of the following adventure paths:
- Rise of the Runelords
- Curse of the Crimson Throne
- Second Darkness
- Jade Regent
- Shattered Star
- Return of the Runelords
It will also draw heavily on the Pathfinder Society adventures (mostly season 4) and will pull in quite a few modules from the region as well.
Where to start the story?
What I have in mind is a group of characters who each belong to a different settlement starting the storyline with links to their home. While they may not adventure in their home they will be expected to visit that location from time to time just to maintain what family holdings they retain.
The character starting cities are planned to be:
- Crying Leaf – Elves, Half-Elves
- Galduria – Humans
- Janderhoff – Dwarves, Humans, Halflings and Gnomes
- Kaer Maga – Humans, Halflings, Half-Elves, Half-Orcs, Gnomes, Elves, Goblins (Already have a character assigned here)
- Korvosa – Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Halflings, Half-Elves
- Magnimar – Humans, Halflings, Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, Half-Elves, Half-Orcs
- Palin’s Cove – Humans
- Riddleport – Humans, Dwarves, Half-Elves, Half-Orcs, Tieflings, Halflings, Gnomes
- Roderic’s Cove – Humans, Half-Elves, Halflings, Elves, Gnomes, Tieflings
- Sandpoint – Humans, Halflings, Elves, Gnomes, Half-Elves, Half-Orcs
- Sipplerose – Gnomes
- Urglin – Half-Orcs, Shoanti
- Others based on discussion
This also gives me the base langauges people should be able to speak as:
- Shoanti (nomadic barbarians)
- Varisian (gypsy locals)
And the starting religions for this story would also be:
- Cayden Cailean
While these religions will all be known by the players they will not all be player options. To belong to one of the religions they will need an appropriate backstory relating to the location their character is based in. So it will be story focused.
What will be the starting resource?
The big starting resource for this campaign will be you have access to a teleportation circle within your family holdings with no two characters based in the same settlement. Starting choices will not penalise the characters so there is not a need to try and game the system of where you think the story should start.
As part of this characters will be able to access these teleportation circles and gain more during the course of the campaign, making the ability to travel between settlements trivial once you have earned the right to use the circle.
Each character will also have a form of holdings associated with them where the teleportation circle is housed. This will depend on their background, family and standing in the community.
What is the planned advancement?
The idea at this stage is a character level every six months of time in the game world. So no matter what the characters choose to do they will be gaining a level regularly. The downside to this is that I intend to have windows of opportunity for all the storylines so if a group of characters fail to interact with a point of interest in that six month period (or year) then it may be resolved negatively with ongoing repercussions.
With the scope of the adventures pulled together I don’t expect any characters to be able to achieve all the storylines so I can have forces at work competing with them, assisting them, or even getting in their way.
With the inclusion of the factions of the Pathfinder Society into the playing field of the characters this will include more intrigue as not all factions will want characters to make it to the end of the storyline.
Lastly there is a special kind of magic in the setting relating to the power of the Sihedron rune and the seven virtues of rule that also related to the seven sins.
This is a positive plan going ahead for my pathfinder games allowing me to potentially have two separate nights competing for the same objectives and influencing the world and storyline. This will be a good addition to my two planned campaigns with Genesys and Star Wars and existing campaigns in Mystara. This time next year it will be interesting to see what games continued, and what systems I am will be running as I have three Mystara Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition games and three Pathfinder 1st Edition games.