Informal Poll: The Long Road?

Hey, everyone, just curious:

In both games I’ve played, the players have taken one look at the fact that the Northern route has 1 more waypoint than BOTH Southern routes, and immediately rejected it out of hand. Like, without even looking at any of the details about what was available there.

Has this been others’ experience?

@stras what’s your take? I know you well enough to know your design choices are all quite deliberate, so curious about your thoughts and what went into that calculation if you care to share.

Hey Jim,
The first time I ran this (back in beta playset) the Legion took the road to the Lake, but in my current campaign they’ve gone north along the Long Road.
I think one of the issues is that it looks considerably longer on the map than just 1 waypoint? So when/if they count the waypoints that will confirm their initial judgement.

Some differences this time is that I read up on the missions/locations and sold it as an worthwhile option, despite the extra distance, but also they have Zora, and took Star of the Dawn - which has definitely helped with the time passing, and helped make their decision to take the Long Road.

The Commander in my campaign carefully weighed all the routes and even excel sheet’ed it.

He went with northern route through the mountains as he saw it as a more high risk/high reward route. Their first three missions had gone REALLY well so he thought they were in an ideal situation to win big.

We took the long road, in part because our Lorekeeper knew about the Flames of Kavala. Worth it!

@Sean was this in your first playthrough?

Yep. Stras was running it, so he gave us a few hints and Kevala just sounded so cool. Plus I was the Quartermaster and really wanted to go to Barack Mines to get Alchemists!

That’s cool, thanks. I am learning this run-through to be free-flowing with the general info about areas to come. If I had let them maybe read the descriptions of each area, it might not have been so mechanized a decision. Good to know!

I am of two minds on letting Zora have an opinion on the matter. Like, she’d totally prefer to stay South in civilized lands and avoid the forest, but I also don’t want the players to feel like I am putting a thumb on the scale (because like, I am, but it makes sense).

The last group I played with, we took the Long Road. I recall it was in order to pick up another alchemist, and especially to look for sacred artifacts in the mountains.

Hahaha, it IS just me! Thanks, everyone, looks like transparency about what’s ahead is the answer. I have imported the location descriptions and special rules into Handouts so they can look ahead now.

Our group didn’t take the long road, but that is more to do with the fact that we decided to lean into following the Horned One and taking them through the forests as much as possible.

My initial reaction was to note that the long road path took an extra advance and to assume that there must be something good up there, and guess that it is most likely related to those temples in the Gallows Pass that is mentioned in the Commander’s descriptions of the locations.

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@JimLikesGames I’ve read the reports on dozens of games at this point and the northern route is largely preferred. Statistically it’s not even close (something like 3/4 go that way). I suspect that SOME of this may also have to do with a number of the GMs having watched our AP actual play but all the info should be encoded in the book.

Most games I’ve watched or read about the split in the road isn’t much discussed till game 3. And often the discussion goes like this:
“Well it looks worse, why would anyone take it?”
Commander: “Ok I’ll bite, let me spend one of these FREE intel questions: why do we take it.”
GM: “Let me tell you about the temple at Kevala” or “QM, you’ve heard that massive supplies of black shot are available at” etc.

The group in the game I’m running is about to get to Skydagger and took the long route. I pointed the Commander toward the location descriptions and the bit of text that describes the rewards and challenges of the three routes, and after a pretty long conversation with the QM about whether they’d be able to pull it off, they chose to go north.

The Commander was so cautious about time and pressure after picking the long route that they go to Calisco before the second time clock had filled. Of course, then they blew up the forge where Render’s cinder acolytes were attempting to create Shredders to launch over the walls of Calisco, so he got angry and Force Marched his army, eating up that extra time.

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