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I am getting ready to start a new campaign and am looking over the APs. The group is thinking about Rise of the Runelords, but before we commit to a large AP such as this, I want to know more about its make up in terms of:

  • Combat
  • Dialog
  • Exploring
  • etc..

I like combat-focused D&D and the one AP I've tried previously (Second Darkness part 1) was very light on combat and not my cup of tea. I have done the Hollows Last Hope/Crown of Kobold King modules and they are very good on the combat.

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    \$\begingroup\$ So do you have access to the AP or not? Because if so, "read it and see" is kinda my response. Or is this an ask for a pre-purchase recommendation? \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jun 15 '14 at 19:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ The ap is quite long and I don't really want to spend hours pouring over the whole thing to get an idea of the tempo. It could be fine in episode 1 for example, and then change drastically later on. Hence asking for input from people who have already run it. \$\endgroup\$ – Kendric Jun 15 '14 at 21:10
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It is very combat heavy compared to the other APs I have run from Paizo. They get very deadly very fast. There have been a lot of character deaths in my games (running 3 different groups right now), even with Gestalt characters.

There is little in the way of exploration outdoors, though there are several traditional dungeon crawls to explore.

That said, RotRL is my favorite. The second book especially has some really fun roleplaying opportunities. The whole of the AP leaves a lot up to the players in how things work out (the overarching plot is set, of course).

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Pathfinder APs

Are pretty similar, in structural terms. Rise of the Runelords is a fairly standard example - while you can spin it out, add some investigation, conversation, etc, it pretty much segues from fight scene to fight scene without any real thinking required on the part of the PCs. You will fight a lot of things, essentially. I only got through half of it, but that was my experience. I personally added in some puzzle and investigation stuff because it was too light on that for my group.

Also, like all Pathfinder APs, it does a good job of keeping the party moving in the right direction, with time pressures and fairly obvious reasons to move on to the next location or area.

I have to say though, my all-time favourite combat based adventure path is the Age of Worms adventure path. Initially published in Dungeon, there is probably a collation of it on sale, if you haven't run through it, buy that. Epic fights, epic story, and hard as hell - you'll die, or get close to it at the very least.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi. Your comments on APs don't match my experience in Second Darkness, but perhaps that just happens to be the one AP that doesn't fit the mold. We were setup in a town and had no specific goal and did a lot of investigation along with some "management" activities at a particular place of employment. At certain key dates I would tell the players of things happening but really it was many hours of non combat. I read up on Age Of Worms and it sounds pretty interesting but probably too hard for the player group I have assembled here. Ill keep it in mind for the future however. \$\endgroup\$ – Kendric Jun 15 '14 at 21:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kendric there is no 'AP Standard'. Each is quite individual. \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Oct 8 '18 at 21:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user2754 I had actually upvoted your answer, even though I disagreed with your conclusions...right up until the last paragraph. Apart from giving some background on your personal preferences, it doesn't seem otherwise related at all to the topic at hand. \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Oct 8 '18 at 21:12

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