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Hell Ain't a Bad Place

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Illustration by Bryan Sola

"The Hellfire Compact" kicks off the new Hell's Vengeance Adventure Path, Paizo's first Adventure Path for evil Player Characters! I had the honor (and deep cathartic pleasure) to write the first in the new series, wherein the forces of devil-influenced Cheliax strike back against a legion of noble invaders.

But lest you assume that this be six volumes of mustache-twirling, here's seven things you might not know about (or can look forward to in) "The Hellfire Compact!"


Illustration by Ekaterina Burmak

1. Small Evils So you're evil! But you're first level. That means you're probably the meanest fighter around... with a short sword, or the baddest wizard in town... with magic missile. Sure, you can still mess a few goody two-shoes up, but you're a ways off from indoctrination into the Hellknights or raising that army of the undead. So, part of my challenge with "The Hellfire Compact" was to highlight "small evils." While you'll find true devils and murderous monsters aplenty in the adventure, you'll also engage with wickedness rooted in simple greed, enviousness, resentment, alcoholism, bad parenting, and other all too familiar evils. You'll also be asked to commit evil acts, but slaying angels and good dragons aren't for you yet. Can you execute an innocent? Crush a town's faith? Murder a protective house spirit? Put an end to a pair of heroes' perfect retirement? Fight a puppy? Oh, there's still arrogant paladins and obnoxiously good outsiders to punish, but evil starts small and, as is often the case, might even be a little too familiar. If you're going to do this, you better think long and hard about why your character is hard as nails, because no one's Sauron at level one. So... do you have the stomach for evil?

2. Faux Western I was halfway through writing this adventure before I realized, "Whoa! This is a western!" And it sort of is! While it's not set in a dusty, one-horse town, it's got pretty much everything else. Sheriff? Check. Ranchers? Check. Evil landowner? Check. Hanging? Check. Mounted combat? Check. Mysterious, masked good guy? Check. Gang of baddies terrifying innocent locals? That's you! It wasn't entirely intentional, but once I realized it, I sort of embraced it for the first and second acts. For the third act, well... there aren't a lot of tree forts in westerns, but two out of three ain't bad.

3. Final Countdown There's revolution brewing in Longacre and you're in charge of stopping it. Your not being villains just to be villains, you're being villains to keep nastier villains in control. You have three weeks to bring the boot down on the burgeoning revolution and crush its sympathizers. You'll have to measure your deeds, making sure you're quelling the uprising and not driving more people to the rebel cause. If you do nothing, Longacre will be a revolutionary bastion in three weeks. If you act rashly, it might happen sooner. But if you measure ferocity and intimidation in the proper proportions, no one will ever step out of line in Longacre again.

4. Your Own Creepy Dream Home! You're going to be in Longacre for a while, so you better have a place to stay—and, trust me, the local innkeeper doesn't want you. Fortunately there's a whole, unused, slightly dilapidated, probably not haunted house right on the outskirts of town just waiting for new owners. So, if you've always dreamed of owning your own personal Crimson Peak, now you can!

5. Boy Dryads The number of boy dryads in official Pathfinder products rises to two—and this one wants to teach you all about clonal colonies. (For Pathfinder's first "guyad," check out the Pathfinder: Origins #5 comic.

6. @#$%-Up Some Leshys Take that, adorable plant-people!

7. Strange Aeons Foreshadow Six months from now, the Strange Aeons Adventure Path is going to start. I also wrote the first adventure for that AP. There's a single line in "The Hellfire Compact" that suggests a tragic event unfolding in Ustalav. Think you can guess what it is?

There's plenty more (and plenty worse) to come, but I'll let you read about it or play it yourself.

"The Hellfire Compact" comes out this month. And to help you prepare for the campaign, keep an eye out for the Hell's Vengeance Player's Guide later this month. Also, you might want to consider preordering Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Path of the Hellknight, another book I wrote all about playing characters who could fit perfectly into this campaign: Hellknights! (More details on that soon.)

So, if you've got the stomach for evil and more than just a thing for black armor, start your Hell's Vengeance campaign with "The Hellfire Compact." The road to Hell starts here and it surely is paved with good intentions...

...Those of the paladins and cherubs you're about to crush.

Good luck, villains!

F. Wesley Schneider
Editor-in-Chief

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Bryan Sola Ekaterina Burmak Hell's Vengeance Pathfinder Adventure Path

is it the 24th yet?

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Subscribers have it, it's pretty great.


I'm all in!

The only thing that is very unfortunate (but can't be helped) is that the Players Guide is so late for this, as it always helps to wet the appetites for an AP.

And lots of people say they don't start an AP until they have all 6 parts (and the pawns) and i believe them but i know many who start right away (me too).

Looking forward to the 24th and to Strange Aeons (because Lovecraft rocks)!

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

And now I have to reread The Hellfire Compact, going through it with a fine-toothed comb, to find this nugget of the Strange Aeons to come.

Thanks, Wesley. Thanks a lot.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Nooooo!!!!! Not Leshies! Not the little plant people! How could you, you monsters!

Paizo Employee Developer

Misroi wrote:

And now I have to reread The Hellfire Compact, going through it with a fine-toothed comb, to find this nugget of the Strange Aeons to come.

Thanks, Wesley. Thanks a lot.

I'll save you some time and let you know that there is no way you can identify the line in question until you read Strange Aeons (unless you hacked my desktop, of course).


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Adam Daigle wrote:
(unless you hacked my desktop, of course).

don't tempt us


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Blackvial wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
(unless you hacked my desktop, of course).
don't tempt us

Is your password "god" or "12345?"


9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game Subscriber
Duncan7291 wrote:
Blackvial wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
(unless you hacked my desktop, of course).
don't tempt us
"12345?"

That's amazing. I've got the same combination on my luggage.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
tro1984 wrote:
Subscribers have it, it's pretty great.

Some of us don't, and the wait is killing me!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Mogloth wrote:
Duncan7291 wrote:
Blackvial wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
(unless you hacked my desktop, of course).
don't tempt us
"12345?"
That's amazing. I've got the same combination on my luggage.

you should probably go change that now


I wonder how they will deal with the powercreep that you get with doubling down on your evil. A problem with pathfinder ever since they've started to support evil again. But its still a concern. How am i as a Aspis Consortium agent going to compare to devilbound petitoners and elf to drow to half-fiend demon worshippers?

I mean, If we are playing this campaign, redemption is probably not high on the priority list. So why not dam ourselves utterly if we can get a shot at ultimate power out of it? Ending up as a larva in the abyss is going to suck anyway. why not try to become a half-fiend? Are the Deamons going to eat my soul harder if i dont become a lich as soon as i can?

Aspis Consortium agents will have it hard.....

Also:
6. @#$%-Up Some Leshys Take that, adorable plant-people!

Hell yes lets do this!


Tammy's in it for the Eternal Apotheosis.


Adam Daigle wrote:
Misroi wrote:

And now I have to reread The Hellfire Compact, going through it with a fine-toothed comb, to find this nugget of the Strange Aeons to come.

Thanks, Wesley. Thanks a lot.

I'll save you some time and let you know that there is no way you can identify the line in question until you read Strange Aeons (unless you hacked my desktop, of course).

Dammit! I was hoping it told me Prince Aduard Ordranti III had finally died. Or something.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Captain collateral damage wrote:
Nooooo!!!!! Not Leshies! Not the little plant people! How could you, you monsters!

It was all Linda Zayas-Palmer's idea.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Adam Daigle wrote:
Misroi wrote:

And now I have to reread The Hellfire Compact, going through it with a fine-toothed comb, to find this nugget of the Strange Aeons to come.

Thanks, Wesley. Thanks a lot.

I'll save you some time and let you know that there is no way you can identify the line in question until you read Strange Aeons (unless you hacked my desktop, of course).

Shhh!, Adam!

I mean... Dance, puppets! Dance!

I mean...

SHHH!

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Dammit! I was hoping it told me Prince Aduard Ordranti III had finally died. Or something.

Treason, huh.

Noted.

Assistant Developer

6 people marked this as a favorite.
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Captain collateral damage wrote:
Nooooo!!!!! Not Leshies! Not the little plant people! How could you, you monsters!
It was all Linda Zayas-Palmer's idea.

You sure are full of something, Wes. I'm not quite sure what that something is yet.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Captain collateral damage wrote:
Nooooo!!!!! Not Leshies! Not the little plant people! How could you, you monsters!
It was all Linda Zayas-Palmer's idea.
You sure are full of something, Wes. I'm not quite sure what that something is yet.

Knives! Is it knives?

Why do I get the distinct, perhaps precognitive, impression it's knives?

Assistant Developer

15 people marked this as a favorite.
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Captain collateral damage wrote:
Nooooo!!!!! Not Leshies! Not the little plant people! How could you, you monsters!
It was all Linda Zayas-Palmer's idea.
You sure are full of something, Wes. I'm not quite sure what that something is yet.

Knives! Is it knives?

Why do I get the distinct, perhaps precognitive, impression it's knives?

Because gourd leshys may not understand that carving a new face into someone isn't a nice thing to do?

Paizo Employee Developer

8 people marked this as a favorite.
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Captain collateral damage wrote:
Nooooo!!!!! Not Leshies! Not the little plant people! How could you, you monsters!
It was all Linda Zayas-Palmer's idea.
You sure are full of something, Wes. I'm not quite sure what that something is yet.

Knives! Is it knives?

Why do I get the distinct, perhaps precognitive, impression it's knives?

Ooooh. I like knives.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Queen of Leshys wrote:
Because gourd leshys may not understand that carving a new face into someone isn't a nice thing to do?

Wow... that's kinda DARK Linda. O_O

Remember, everybody: Linda only LOOKS like the innocent one.

(sendhelp.)


13 people marked this as a favorite.

You're on your own.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sure! I'll help you, Linda. =^-^=


Boy dryads? Tell me more...

On a related note: dat trunk tho


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Quote:
There's a single line in "The Hellfire Compact" that suggests a tragic event unfolding in Ustalav. Think you can guess what it is?

*slowly rises up* Ooooh? :>

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Queen of Leshys wrote:
Because gourd leshys may not understand that carving a new face into someone isn't a nice thing to do?

Wow... that's kinda DARK Linda. O_O

Remember, everybody: Linda only LOOKS like the innocent one.

(sendhelp.)

That IS DARK.

I love it.

I must use it.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Queen of Leshys wrote:
Because gourd leshys may not understand that carving a new face into someone isn't a nice thing to do?

Wow... that's kinda DARK Linda. O_O

Remember, everybody: Linda only LOOKS like the innocent one.

(sendhelp.)

Send help?

Sorry, but... just look at my face! Pre-marked 'carving lines' all over!

No sireee... I'm gonna go with backing away slowly and hoping her attention remains fixed on you. Poor bastard(hall).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wes, you called? (Referring to one of the points in your blog...)

I would not mind helping the Leshies do some carving myself! I do not care for evil at all, thank you! :P


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I just like the fact this blog is either intentionally or unintentionally referencing one of my favorite Iron Maiden songs with the line of "Hell ain't a bad place".

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Grond wrote:
I just like the fact this blog is either intentionally or unintentionally referencing one of my favorite Iron Maiden songs with the line of "Hell ain't a bad place".

Intentional. Wes wrote the blog, but I titled it.

Paizo Employee Community Manager

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Grond wrote:
I just like the fact this blog is either intentionally or unintentionally referencing one of my favorite Iron Maiden songs with the line of "Hell ain't a bad place".

Any references to pop culture, music lyrics, and science fiction and fantasy literature and movies in Paizo Blog titles are 99.9% intentional, I assure you.

Paizo Employee Software Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Or course Hell ain't a bad place. All my friends will be there.

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Hell ain't a bad place. Hell is from here to Eternity.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rob McCreary wrote:
Grond wrote:
I just like the fact this blog is either intentionally or unintentionally referencing one of my favorite Iron Maiden songs with the line of "Hell ain't a bad place".
Intentional. Wes wrote the blog, but I titled it.

I had to listen to the Fear of the Dark album on my ipod after reading it. Always worth a listen.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

My late uncle was a semi-professional jazz pianist.

At his funeral, my cousin (his daughter) asked me, "Do you think he's jamming in heaven with all the jazz greats?"

I replied, "Actually, I think the jazz might be better somewhere else..."

That was the first time I'd seen her smile that day.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

"Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company." - Mark Twain


7 people marked this as a favorite.

From the tiny female minority, god bless you for the male dryads. ;)

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Ah yes, of course there must be male dryads. Where else would nuts come from?

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Ceirwyn wrote:
From the tiny female minority, god bless you for the male dryads. ;)

Ha, nice. If you're interested in a bit of my thinking on this, I talked about it a bit on my personal blog last year. And Mark Moreland coined a word.

Kadasbrass Loreweaver wrote:
Ah yes, of course there must be male dryads. Where else would nuts come from?

::crickets::

-_-

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Adam Daigle wrote:
Misroi wrote:

And now I have to reread The Hellfire Compact, going through it with a fine-toothed comb, to find this nugget of the Strange Aeons to come.

Thanks, Wesley. Thanks a lot.

I'll save you some time and let you know that there is no way you can identify the line in question until you read Strange Aeons.

That sounds like a challenge*... ^_^

*one at which I will no doubt fail

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Hell wasn't a bad place until the developers took over. Now the Lake of Fire is surrounded by condos, timeshares, retirement communities and six lanes of traffic that combines the worst parts of South Beach with the Kissimmee stretch of 192. The other side of the road is all rundown stripmalls and tourist traps with a 1000% mark-up on EVERYTHING!!

SM

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