Revealing Secrets

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


Illustration by Valeria Lutfullina

This month, Pathfinder fans can get their hands on the adventure that kicks off the Return of the Runelords Adventure PathSecrets of Roderic's Cove! I asked on Twitter what folks would like to see in a blog about this adventure, and a number of people wanted to know more about the writing process and more behind the scenes things. So, here y'all go!

After working on various parts of the Adventure Path line for over 6 years, I finally got my name on the front cover! I'd been given the option before, but it seemed like every time the opportunity came up the timing just wasn't right. I didn't want to take on a big project and not be able to deliver on time. I still had plenty on my plate, but kicking off an Adventure Path was too tempting to refuse. I also enjoy writing low-level adventures, so that was another factor that led me to jump on this.

James had some basic ideas of what he wanted this adventure to accomplish, and rather than us using the usual outlining process, we pretty much just talked things through, and I kept him updated on where the story was going, getting feedback and bouncing ideas off of him.

Writing Adventure Path adventures is tough. While I've written plenty of things since I first started freelancing, this adventure is the longest single project I've ever written. I stressed trying to pull it all together and hit my deadline (which I didn't), and at the end of it all I had overwritten by more than 7,000 words. Trimming it down was easier than I expected, though. I had another level in a dungeon that was a little more than 5,000 words by itself and it wasn't 100% necessary to the plot, so... yoink! To the floor with you! The rest was just cleaning up some things, connecting the dots, and trimming down a few encounters.


Illustration by Ekaterina Burmak

Illustration by Nikolai Ostertag

I enjoyed getting to flesh out the town of Roderic's Cove, as well. There were only a few sentences on the place, so I got to really breathe some life into it. I like making small towns and their inhabitants, and really enjoy linking everyone together to make a place seem realistic and dynamic all while giving PCs fun characters to interact with.

This adventure is somewhat of a sandbox, and it provides a wide range of encounters and places to explore. Not every challenge is best dealt with through violence, so the PCs can find different solutions to their problems. While the adventure kicks off the bigger plot of the campaign, it is also self-contained and could easily serve as a standalone adventure with minimal work on the GM's part.

I hope that everyone who reads or plays Secrets of Roderic's Cove enjoys themselves. Get ready to take down those runelords!

Adam Daigle
Managing Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Ekaterina Burmak Nikolai Ostertag Pathfinder Adventure Path Return of the Runelords Valeria Lutfullina

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Huzzah!

Congratulations on finally aligning the stars. :)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Great write up! Thanks, Adam.

Any chance we could get that cutting-room-floor dungeon reskinned and out in another format? :)

Order of the Amber Die

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So great to see your name on the cover, Adam. This sounds like an awesome low-level jaunt with lots of variety, and whether as a standalone or the beginning of a new campaign, Roderic's Cove will be added to my list of places to visit in Varisia!

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Jason Lillis wrote:

Great write up! Thanks, Adam.

Any chance we could get that cutting-room-floor dungeon reskinned and out in another format? :)

I keep everything I cut (that has value), so there's a chance I can rejigger a few things and find another place for it. No plans at the moment, though.

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Adam Smith wrote:
So great to see your name on the cover, Adam. This sounds like an awesome low-level jaunt with lots of variety, and whether as a standalone or the beginning of a new campaign, Roderic's Cove will be added to my list of places to visit in Varisia!

Thanks, fellow Adam!

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just played the very first session tonight, and it's been great fun! :)

Spoiler:
A weapon-immune swarm at 1st level, though? Tough! We had no offensive casters in the group, either... had to improvise some torches and whittle it down with fire damage. :Þ


Man, I wish I had my regular gaming group together. Being a teenager makes it really hard to play games when you can't really call your hours and only a couple of you know how to drive. This looks like a huge amount of fun, and since the RotR was the first RPG I ever played in (I was 9), this brings back a lot of great Fall memories. Wish the rest of the guys were as interested as me. :(


Is there really a reefclaw encounter in this? That art has me jumping. I don't know why, but they are my all time favorite low level aquatic monster. I just love em. Looking forward to this.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Joyous!


Cole Deschain wrote:
Joyous!

Can't have that!


I hope no Flumph were harmed in the making of this product.

Adam Smith wrote:
***

Are you the Adam Smith that hate players/PCs guts? (number 183)

Captain Killjoy wrote:
Cole Deschain wrote:
Joyous!
Can't have that!

You can't kill joy if there is none.

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
Catharsis wrote:

Just played the very first session tonight, and it's been great fun! :)

** spoiler omitted **

Oouuch - really? Still no pdf here (waiting for shipment), but this sounds tough. Well, so the PCs learn that running from things sometimes saves the day - hopefully...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I do want to give some thanks to Adam for creating morally ambiguous "enemies" in the adventure. Along with the inclusion of NPCs like Kynae and his ...situation. This book really is a standout to the typical "Part 1" adventure path. Hats off!

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Thanks for the kind words!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I downloaded the pdf the same day that it hit my inbox, and reveled in your story the rest of that evening. It was glorious. You should seriously author more adventures.
I finally have something to take to Paizocon next year for you to sign!
Keep up the great work!

Paizo Employee

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I got to read this adventure in the editing process, before it even went to layout, and I immediately wanted to run it for my home group. It's well designed, evocative, and fun. Well done, Adam!


We had our first session last week. Enjoyed the heck out of it! I love the things being set up.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I added a Riddleport prelude to my game where 4 of the PCs were lifelong friends of the gladiator PC. Said gladiator fought in Clegg Zincher's arena during the "Freshmeat Fireday" tournament that opens each week for aspiring new gladiators.

In order to make the session more fun for the other players, I let each of 4 others play a 1st level pre-gen with PFS stats (barbarian, bloodrager, fighter, slayer). The final player (my fiancée) played a 5-headed hydra. Each of the gladiatorial contestants were given betting odds and the PCs were allowed to bet on them (or the monster) if they wished. The hydra had 2:1 odds. Amiri had 3:1 odds. Valeros had 4:1 odds, Crowe had 5:1 odds, and Zadim had 10:1 odds. The gladiator PC was given 3:1 odds.

The gladiators teamed up on the hydra and then turned on each other after it was dead. Valeros fell first (to a hydra pounce), then Amiri, followed by the gladiator PC, and finally Zadim. Crowe was the overall winner and earned the PC playing him 250 gp.

Cleric acolytes ran out at the end of the match and stabilized each of the dying contestants who had not already made the final trip to Pharasma's boneyard.

I started the PCs at 2nd level to allow for multi-classing from the start, if desired. Each started with 1,000 gp for wealth.

Clegg Zincher invited all of the PCs to sit with him (excluding the gladiator, of course) in his VIP box seats to enjoy the fights with all the free food and booze they wanted. He did so out of a favor to the gladiator PC, whom he fancied as a rising star of the arena. After all three of the matches were done (the other two were glossed over via brief narrative), Clegg invited them to a dinner celebrating the two winners of the three matches: Crowe and Maximus Adronicus (level 10 fighter/gladiator) afterwards. He introduced them to the elf treesinger PC who had graciously guided a caravan carrying arms and armor to Riddleport through the Churlwood.

Spoiler:

Then he presented them with an opportunity to make 100-300 more gold apiece. He wanted them to deliver a scrollcase bearing a letter to the daughter of his former employee, Jess Gildersleeves. The daughter's name was Jana and according to Clegg, she had taken some of his property that formerly was in the possession of her mother.

According to Clegg's informants, Jana was now in Rodric's Cove and he needed the PCs to deliver this message to her and report back to him in two weeks. They would receive 100 gp for delivering the letter and reporting on how Jana reacted. If the PCs returned Clegg's property, he would give them each another 200 gp for their trouble.

And so, that is what brings the characters to Rodric's Cove where we continue later tonight for week 2's session.

P.S. Those familiar with Clegg Zincher might be surprised that he is still alive. I changed the story so that he had a twin named Cliff who perished in the Second Darkness AP a year ago (in-character) along with his lover, Jess Gildersleeves. The PCs notice a well-sculpted bust of what looks to be Clegg standing in the corner of the VIP booth overlooking the arena, but it was actually commissioned by Clegg in Cliff's memory. The two-headed roc that served as the Zincher Brothers' crest represented each of them.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.

As a quick spoiler/preview...

Spoiler:
Clegg Zincher plays a relatively significant role in part 3 of Return of the Runelords. So having a prior relationship with the PCs should be interesting!

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:

As a quick spoiler/preview...

** spoiler omitted **

That's awesome and will make my campaign truly epic!

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Path / Return of the Runelords / Paizo Blog: Revealing Secrets All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Return of the Runelords
Player's Guide
No Foreword?