Now that copies of the hardcover edition of Curse of the Crimson Throne are shipping out and we've provided the players with a mini player's guide to help create their characters, it's time to turn the attention to the new content in this version of the classic Adventure Path. All of you who are intending to play in this campaign, be warned, there be spoilers below!
Those GMs who ran Curse of the Crimson Throne in its first incarnation will find a lot of new content in the hardcover edition, but most of this content is relatively well-integrated into the text of the adventure. In some cases, this new content is simply material that we had to cut from publication the first time around, due to space limitations. But in others, it's brand new material that I created during the project's development—new content that may have been suggested by customer feedback, or may have simply been something that I was inspired to include to make the campaign more exciting, fresh, and memorable. One such addition was revealed last week—the Betrayed campaign trait gives players an option for characters who might be a bit less reputable than the classic campaign traits assume. But of course, that's only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Here's a sampling of my favorite new additions to the first four chapters of Curse of the Crimson Throne!
Chapter 1: Edge of Anarchy
The Lamm Legacy
Folks were disappointed the first time around that the villain built up by the Campaign Traits, Gaedren Lamm, didn't have a stronger presence in the campaign overall. While the hardcover edition doesn't expand Gaedren's role significantly (he was never meant to be a recurring villain, but a convenient foil to help bring the party together in the first place), it does give him a son—Rolth, the vile necromancer the PCs first learn about later in this chapter and first encounter in Chapter 2. By making Rolth Gaedren's son, this villain has a built-in reason to hate the PCs—he may not have loved his father, but he can certainly ache for revenge against those who bring him to justice! Further increasing Rolth's role in Korovsa, I decided to make him into the notorious Key-Lock Killer, a murderer only barely mentioned in the "Guide to Korvosa" as being the city's most prolific serial killer. The PCs will be able to find clues to Rolth's connection to Gaedren, as well as to his secret life as a serial killer, among the various treasures they can loot in Gaedren's den.
Chapter 2: Seven Days to the Grave
A Chance at Redemption
In addition to expanding on Rolth's role in the campaign, in this chapter I was able to expand a bit more on the role of the crazy elf Jolistina. In the original, she wasn't much more than a lunatic for the PCs to fight, but this time around, the PCs can do much more than just fight her. If they're careful or caring, they might be able to get Jolistina on their side and perhaps even help her along a path of redemption!
Chapter 3: Escape from Old Korvosa
In the previous edition of Curse of the Crimson Throne, the rakshasa had something of a glass jaw, and as such we were able to use a large number of them in the adventure without worrying about overwhelming the PCs. But with the publication of the Pathfinder Bestiary, we updated the basic rakshasa so that it more properly filled its role as a CR 10 monster. Which was good for the rakshasa, but not so good for Arkona Palace, which had a large number of these foes spread throughout the manor. My solution wasn't to remove rakshasas, but to swap some out for less powerful but still frightening marai rakshasas. Not only does this keep the dungeon's original themes in place, but it gives it more variety in the foes your players will face.
Chapter 4: A History Of Ashes
While the additions to the previous chapters were largely in the realm of bits and pieces here and there to add flavor or clarify, we reach our first significant amount of new content in chapter 4. Not only did I rebuild the format of the original adventure to be less linear and more of a sandbox (without that distracting "Shoanti going to war" subplot that ended up going nowhere), but I added an entire new section. In large part spurred by customer feedback that players were disappointed to leave Korvosa for two whole adventures, but also because I was never satisfied with how the Gray Maiden's stronghold was handled "off camera," I added a whole new set of encounters as a third part to A History Of Ashes. Here, the PCs return to Korvosa after their allies are contacted by Boule, the guildmaster of Korvosa's thieves' guild, who has information on how the PCs can infiltrate the stronghold of the Red Mantis assassins AND the Gray Maidens. Doing so will not only allow the PCs to rescue Marcus Endrin from his fate, but explains exactly why the Gray Maidens and Red Mantis assassins mysteriously relocate their headquarters to Castle Korvosa in the campaign's climax. Of course, there's a lot more going on in Deathhead Vault, the underground complex the assassins and maidens use as their headquarters—pet catoblepases, creepy outsiders, and an undead arbiter are only a few of the dangerous foes the PCs get to face off against in this significant addition to the campaign!
And of course, I don't want to leave you without showing off some more of the new art we ordered for the hardcover edition. Check out these new interpretations of classic fights from the original adventures!
Illustrations by Bryan Sola, Richard Suwono, and Subroto Bhaumik
And that's enough for this week—tune in next week for a preview of the new content in the last two chapters and the extensive appendix for the hardcover edition of Curse of the Crimson Throne!
Wait, how will the PCs rescue Marcus a book after his death?
** spoiler omitted **
Wow, I am so glad I did the beginning of Chapter 3 exactly as written and
had the assassination attempt happen off-stage, with the PCs only hearing an eye-witness report. The fact that the witness was exaggerating Endrin's injuries and that he is in fact still alive will be a delicious twist that I am sure will totally blindside my players. Awesome!
I am very curious to see how the revamped Chapter 4 flows now. At first I thought the
final proving ritual got scrapped and made room for the Gray Maiden stronghold but the art of the bullette says otherwise.
Remember that even on fast track, Pathfinder's xp system is still slower than 3.5's. I'm guessing there was an xp shortfall, and this is a great way to address it. I believe Book 6 now starts at a higher level as well. ^_^
Huh. Making Rolth Gaedren's son is brilliant. Rolth's a g~!#&*n monster, and my PCs were really happy to kill him. Anything that makes him even worse is great.
And the serial killer bit is nice too. I did get the impression that Rolth was the Joker to Jolistina's Harley Quinn, and Rolth being a prolific serial killer on top of his other wrongdoings certainly reinforces that.
Couldn't they just make Jolistina cast 3 good aligned spells back-to-back-to-back and instead of a crazy, evil elf, she's now a crazy, good elf?
Forcing someone to commit an act is not enough; the person has to WANT to commit the act, of their own free will, for it to matter.
Merely dominating her and then having her do all the good in the world won't make her good; once the dominate effect wears off she'll still be evil and probably really eager to get revenge on whoever mind controlled her.
Raúl Juliá managed to be decent in a terrible role in Overdrawn at the Memory Bank.
His Bison was actually a piece of gold-plated cheesy brilliance.
(shrugs) It was too corny for me to enjoy. The leader of Shadaloo being reduced to cheesy acting just didn't mesh well with me. It would be like Thanos from the upcoming Avengers two-parter being reduced to cheesy lines and acting.
I wasn't going to buy this, having the originals and never having played them and all...but this makes me really want to read it!
Couple that with the fact that a pdf just doesn't feel the same and my wallet will be crying again in a month or so, I guess :-)
Will the free pdf for RPG subscribers ordering a physical copy still count in a month or so?
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