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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Which APs Have the Most Memorable NPCs?

    I知 looking for APs that have interesting, nuanced and well-developed NPCs, both allies and villains.

    All recommendations welcome, but I知 especially interested in NPCs with a plausible and engaging backstory, individuals who define themselves, rather than simply slotting into a generic story role. Can anyone recommend some standout NPCs along these lines?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Kurald Galain's Avatar

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    Default Re: Which APs Have the Most Memorable NPCs?

    Hmmm, do PFS modules count? Because they also come in story chains with recurring NPCs.

    I haven't played a lot of APs, but I would say Reign of Winter and Return of the Runelords.
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    Troll in the Playground
     
    Rynjin's Avatar

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    Default Re: Which APs Have the Most Memorable NPCs?

    I quite like the Skull and Shackles NPCs, on both the allies and enemy sides. It helps that it's one of the few APs that takes a "slow burn" approach to both, with major NPCs on both sides sticking around from the first book to the last, and many introduced in later books CONTINUING to make an impact long after their first appearance.

    Some work need be done on the GM's part to get this across, but the sheer value of repeated exposure makes many quite memorable, and I liked enough of the ones that were supposed to be one-offs I actually let them recur (the crew I'm GMing for recruited the Ghast, Arron Ivy from book...2 I think? and Gortus Svard, Hobgoblin Pirate made enough of an impression on the party by killing 4/5 party members on his own to warrant trying to make peace with as well).

    It helps that Captain Barnabus Harrigan is a uniquely hateable villain among the AP's villains. A lot of APs have very...sterile villains, or even ones that barely appear. Rise of the Runelords and Carrion Crown especially come to mind, and Adivion Adrissant's complete absence from the plot until endgame in the latter is a huge mar on what is otherwise my favorite AP.

    Harrigan though? It's ****ing PERSONAL with that guy. He is indirectly the scourge of your existence in book 1 and remains a consistent thorn in the PC's sides until book 5 or even 6. The best/worst part is, they can't brute force their way around him. He's level 16 and a BRUTAL combatant, so they need to find ways to either stay under his radar or get in the good graces of more powerful NPCs who can shelter them from his wrath throughout the campaign. The captain of my crew made the mistake of challenging the guy near the end of book 3, falling for his mockery, and was quite literally taken apart by Harrigan to the point they needed a Resurrection rather than a Raise Dead to fix him.

    The PCs are finally coming up to the point where they can face down against him directly and I hope it will be as cathartic for them as I'm imagining, since he's been making their lives miserable for literal years both in game and out.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Which APs Have the Most Memorable NPCs?

    For my players, it was the NPCs from Jade Regent and Iron Gods that left the biggest impression. Jade Regent has very developed NPCs since they're written to accompany the party for a significant chunk of the adventure, and Iron Gods has NPCs that all tend to have a very memorable quirk or two. One of the villains from the first volume of Iron Gods has become something of a recurring fixture since the party was never able to pin him down and finish him off, and he evoked so much emotion from a couple of the players that he's actually the main BBEG of a new PF2 home campaign.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Scots Dragon's Avatar

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    Default Re: Which APs Have the Most Memorable NPCs?

    For me the big one was Wrath of the Righteous. I love Anevia and Irabeth.

    I also have a lot of fondness for Reign of Winter.
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    But there's more to good worldbuilding than piling the "parts to game in" on a big pile.

    Farmland isn't there to be adventured in, primarily, but one assumes it's still there and part of the landscape -- just because adventurers don't go there often doesn't mean it doesn't or shouldn't or needn't exist.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Which APs Have the Most Memorable NPCs?

    I am seconding Skulls and Shackles. Not only is the Big Bad a very personal foe, but Sandara, Tessa, and possibly a couple other NPC's will become fast and fierce friends to the party as they are introduced. Due to the emphasis on a pirate crew, friendly crew members can remain relevant long after they stop being directly involved in the story.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: Which APs Have the Most Memorable NPCs?

    I'm currently running Jade Regent and the NPC's are what make or break the campaign. Ameiko and Sandru need some work, but Shalelu and Koya are gems. I might just like roleplaying grandmotherly old women, but Koya has been so fun to play the whole time, acting as confidant and mother to the whole caravan. She is quite old, and after the crossing of the north pole, she isn't really plot relevant anymore, so I had her die. There were almost real tears at the table.


    "I laugh at life, it's antics make for me a giddy game. Where only foolish fellows take themselves with solemn aim.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Gwynfrid's Avatar

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    Default Re: Which APs Have the Most Memorable NPCs?

    A lot of fun can be had with Muminofrah, in book 3 of Mummy's Mask. She can be an ally, she can become an enemy, but in either case she'll cause trouble for the PCs.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Which APs Have the Most Memorable NPCs?

    I will give a third nod to Skull & Shackles.
    I've just finished running it, and my players were demanding a showdown and threatening to derail the progress of the adventure by the time they were supposed to go after Harrigan to the point that everything after that was close to anti-climatic.
    And then because one player was demanding to go to even higher level, I tweaked the end of Savage Tide, refluffing the nemesis there into Harrigan sent back for revenge. The players were more than happy to hunt him down and curbstomp him again.

    And while it is not an AP, I will give a nod to the Falcon's Hollow adventures from 3.5 days.
    When I ran that, the villains were so bad that it reached a point where the players stated an interest in saving the dozen or so decent NPCs they had met, and just burning the rest of the place to the ground. This included the paladin, who was being played quite well such that I could not hold it against him for wanting to get medieval on the place.
    They decided to keep trying, and much rejoicing when the reckoning came and they finally dealt with the bad guys and cleaned the place up.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Pex's Avatar

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    Default Re: Which APs Have the Most Memorable NPCs?

    Do you mean by mechanics? Playing a game an NPC becomes memorable for me through DM roleplaying and player taste cliquing.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Which APs Have the Most Memorable NPCs?

    Originally Posted by Tiktakkat
    And while it is not an AP, I will give a nod to the Falcon's Hollow adventures from 3.5 days.
    Is this the series that starts with Hollow痴 Last Hope? Which villains in particular inspired so much fury from your players?

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Which APs Have the Most Memorable NPCs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    Do you mean by mechanics? Playing a game an NPC becomes memorable for me through DM roleplaying and player taste cliquing.
    I would assume by the role they take in the story and the backstories provided by AP's.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Which APs Have the Most Memorable NPCs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Is this the series that starts with Hollow痴 Last Hope? Which villains in particular inspired so much fury from your players?
    Yes it is.


    Thuldrin Kreed "of course", as the main bad guy. This was aggravated by the fact that the PCs built an exceptionally good relationship with his son.

    Kabran Bloodeye. They nearly derailed the campaign wanting to kill him after the first adventure or two.

    Cage Blunnde. From TC1 Into the Haunted Forest, which I used as the intro for the PCs traveling to Falcon's Hollow. While not a villain per se, in his role as the Lawful Stupid lawdog, who would back Thuldrin and the letter of the law, contrasting with Deldrin Baleson as the sheriff in desperate need of help, Cage was the focus of much PC disdain and derision.

    Payden "Pay Day" Teedum, Sharvaros Vade, and Namdrin Quinn were the second tier, with much joy at their defeat.


    It was a relatively short "side trek" within a bigger campaign I was running, the PCs who cleaned up Falcon's Hollow were the cohorts/apprentices of the main PCs, but it proved to be quite noteworthy because of the focused nature and the intense feelings toward the NPCs, both good and bad.
    I used a "traditional Western" vibe of cleaning up the frontier town as part of the background theme, and the players really got into it.

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