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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber. 1,368 posts. 9 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.



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Easily some of Paizo's best work

*****

People tend to have a love/hate relationship with prestige classes, and Paizo has been hit-or-miss with them in the past. I can honestly say though, that of the 30 prestige classes presented here, there's not one I would consider a "miss."

Each class begins with a short flavorful writeup, but for the most part this book is all crunch. None of the classes struck me as under- or overpowered, and the abilities gained really help highlight each class's theme. If you take levels in Daggermark Poisoner, you can be sure that your character is going to be a master of everything toxic. Want to take your illusionist to the next level? Than look no further than the Veiled Illusionist class, whose spells will keep the enemy guessing until it's far too late.

If you don't play in Pathfinder's default setting of Golarion, I'll say that some of the classes are thematically tied to that world. At the same time, it would take very little effort to customize these for your own campaign. For example the Hellknight Signifier is, at its core, an armored spellcaster with some creepy Hell-themed powers. I can't think of a setting where that wouldn't be neat. Also, many of the classes are quite generic (though by no means boring!). The Noble Scion is perfect for any royal court, the Sleepless Detective would work beautifully in a gothic horror or steam punk setting, and if there are drow in your world, you can bet there's a Lantern Bearer hunting them somewhere.

In conclusion, I could really feel the authors' attention to detail in each class. Nothing feels like a throwaway, with even potentially mundane themes like Pit Fighter gaining all kinds of creative, unique powers. Whether you're a GM or a player, you can bet there's something in here for you.


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An awesome toolbox for any GM

*****

As a GM it can be a struggle coming up with interesting, unique NPCs on the fly. Fortunately, help has arrived. "Rival Guide" offers a total of 40 NPCs, each fully developed with a background, unique personality, illustration, and stat block. A few of the NPCs are low-level, but for the most part they skew towards the mid- and high-level range. Each of the ten parties is well conceived, and as a GM I can easily see uses for every one of them - to put it another way, there are no flops here. So whether you want to throw a group of unique baddies at your PC, or just need stats for, say, a high-level Hellknight, you'll find what you need within.

And while the NPCs are the book's focus, there's a lot more here than just 40 stat blocks. Inside you'll find 8 new spells, 10 feats, and 19 new magical and alchemical items, poisons, and drugs. These new rule elements help make each of the "rivals" unique and interesting, but are also useful by themselves. Need a cool spell for your jungle druid? Try sheet lightning. Want to really baffle your PCs? Let them find Chomper, an intelligent bag of devouring.

There are also 2 new templates, but unfortunately neither really impressed me. I don't like how the Alchemically Invisible template functions, and the Haunted One template strikes me as unneccessary, as it could easily be accomplished through roleplaying alone. Ironically, the two NPCs afflicted with these templates are among my favorites. Oh well.

This is one of those resources that a GM will keep coming back to, time and again. It's an incredibly versatile product, and for that, easily earns five stars.


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An excellent debut from Graeme Davis

*****

This adventure focuses on the PCs exploring an ancient, ruined city. Which is precisely what they were doing two adventures ago in "City of Seven Spears." Thankfully, the underground city of Ilmurea feels far different than its counterpart in the world above, which means there's little chance players will be feeling much deja-vu.

The primary adversaries in "Thousand Fangs Below" are serpent people, and the PCs will be slogging through a small army of them. Fortunately there are a variety of other enemies such as morlocks, gugs, drow, intellect devourers, and daemon-spawned urdefhan to keep things feeling fresh. There are also several opportunities for diplomacy, intrigue, and shady alliances here, leaving sneaky or socially inclined characters with plenty of chances to shine.

I would also like to compliment the maps in "Thousand Fangs." The cartographer did an excellent job with Ilmurea, and the serpent people's fortress (the titular Fortress of Thousand Fangs) is well done. It's essentially an enormous, coiled, hollow stone snake - really cool in other words.

There are four new high-CR monsters in the bestiary. Three of the beasties come from African mythology, while the fourth is the mysterious herald of the magic god Nethys. All four monsters were unique and interesting.

Speaking of Nethys, he gets a full write-up in "Thousand Fangs" as well. The author, Sean K Reynolds, is known for his excellent treatment of deities, but I found this article to be among his weaker pieces. Nethys came across as a bit bland. Yes, I understand that he encourages his followers to learn/create/use magic, but to what end? I thought the previous look at nature deity Gozreh, back in "Race to Ruin", was a much more intriguing piece. Oh well.

To round out "Thousand Fangs," we have a gazeteer of Ilmurea - the city in which this adventure takes place. There are some great adventure hooks to be found here, and a creative GM could keep his players occupied for many hours exploring this nifty set piece.

All in all, this is a well done penultimate adventure.


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Good but not great

***( )( )

This adventure had some definite strengths and weaknesses. One of its strong points was its non-linear flow: the GM is presented with a series of related events to run as he pleases and in no particular order. This allows for the adventure to develop in an organic manner, as opposed to forcing the PCs down a particular path. Also, the manner in which the party deals with these events usually has an impact later on, further adding to the realism. There are no dungeons per se in Twice-Damned Prince. This made me a bit leary at first, but the author pulls it off quite well.

Now for the bad. While all of the adventure's events are solid and well presented, few of them struck me as particularly interesting. With the exception of the two main antagonists and a tiefling monk, I found the NPCs bland and uninspiring. For example, many of the enemies in this adventure are, not surprisingly, rogues. Why, then, did the author decide to make the vampiric Thesing a rogue as well? Why not a bard or sorcerer? It would fit his character thematically, and make for a much more interesting fight than yet another backstabbing thief-type.

Another annoyance came in the form of the fame point system. Specifically, Twice-Damned Prince adds a new type of "points" called popularity points, which must be tracked separately from fame points despite being very similar to them. This seemed unneccesarily complicated.

The article on the archdevil Mammon was fantastic, easily as good as Sean K Reynold's best Deities of Golarion articles. You even get a ready-made 20th-level high priest of Mammon who would make an excellent villain should the GM wish to continue this campaign. The bestiary has some intriguing high CR entries, though like past CoT bestiaries, the illustrations are mediocre. The Catastrophe article presents a great set of rules for running disasters such as floods and fires.

All in all, Twice-Damned Prince is a solid adventure that falls a bit short in flavor and comes with some great supporting articles. I'd give it 3.5 stars if I were able.


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I don't like the theater...

*****

But I really enjoyed this adventure. The theater aspect is presented as most social encounters are: a series of skill checks. The level to which the DM and players wish to ham things up is entirely up to them, and while roleplaying is certainly encouraged, it isn't necessary. And of course, the "Sixfold Trial" isn't just any old play... it's a murderplay. Which is to say, when actors die on stage, sometimes it's for real. For parties who absolutely refuse to participate in the play, an alternative option is provided.

Richard Pett gives us an intrigue-laden dinner party for the second part of this adventure, and ends with a great dungeon. The dungeon is spooky and filled with numerous cool effects that will keep a party guessing. It also continues CoT's "shadow" theme nicely.

The Sixfold Trial gives plenty of chances to foreshadow future events for the PCs. For example, numerous NPCs introduced in these pages will be reappearing later in the adventure path, granting PCs a great opportunity to form relationships with these individuals early on.

DMs will appreciate the effort made to keep them informed and in the loop. Lots of background information is provided, and perhaps more importantly, the author makes sure to note which NPCs are expendable and which have future roles in the adventure path. The DM is also given an ample head's up on what's coming in future CoT installments.

The article on the goddess Iomedae is solid, and the bestiary has some interesting beasties. I particularly liked Paizo's answer to the death knight, the graveknight. While clearly inspired by the death knight, this undead warlord manages to be a unique and interesting monster.

All in all this is a great adventure, and proof that Paizo is listening to its fans.


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