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Mammoth

Lord Snow's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 1,829 posts (1,830 including aliases). 44 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 1 alias.



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Lacks shine, and isn't epic

***( )( )

So, here we are the last adventure of the Wrath of the Righteous adventure path. Our heroes are now as powerful as a PC could ever get in the game, boasting 20 character levels, 10 mythic tiers, several artifacts and a way higher wealth than any normal 20th level PC should have. They already bargained with a demon lord, spoke with a goddess and delved very deep into the Ivory Labyrinth. They single handily turned the tide of the current crusade on their own (by blowing up the warpstones), conquered their own fortress... that is quite the long lit of achievements. Having done all those things already, one can expect the last adventure in the path to be absolutely insane, epic and huge in scope.

It's not.

While the previous adventure ended with a rescue of a corrupted herald from the Ineluctable Prison, this one has the heroes going to... a brothel? a smithy? the entire first half of the adventure feels like a low-mid level romp with higher CRs tacked on. The second half of the adventure fairs slightly better, as the PCs DO journey to the heart of the worldwound. However, it still feels like just a dungeon crawl with bigger monsters.

I mean, where is the crusade in all of this? where are the howling hordes of demons clashing against the raised spears of row upon row of knights in shining armor? where do the PCs get to show the world just how awesome they are?

This adventure is a serious miss, as far as I'm concerned. It is so small in scope (or at least feels that way) that it cannot possibly convey the epic feeling of the events taking place. Worse, the adventure is composed as a string of encounter areas, with VERY little in the way of describing the larger picture. It seems like everyone is dormant, nonreactive, waiting to see if the PCs will do anything.

Much like the 6th adventure of Curse of the Crimson Throne, this one is too constrained to do justice to the story being told. It has a rather unique opportunity to tell a story only such powerful PCs can participate in, but chooses to tell it like a much more tame story, holding back from unleashing any sort of real craziness. The craziness is entirely on the crunch side - very tough high level opponents. The fluff, however, is severely lacking.


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A very cool abyss adventure

*****

In "Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth", the PCs are caught in what my be one of the biggest stories ever told in an AP - the demon lord Baphomet lured Iomedae's herald into a trap, kidnapped him and corrupted him, and is no holding him prisoner. Iomedae herself addresses the PCs and requests that they help free her herald.

As an individual adventure, this is really, really cool. And the adventure is written in a way that capitalizes on the kind of high level adventuring it requires. We get an excellent description of Bephomet's realm, and the long dungeon crawl the adventure culminates in, The Ineluctable Prison, is the coolest yet in the AP. There's something awesome about seeing all those CR20 or more encounters, and I imagine playing through them will feel appropriately mythic.

Having said all those good things and given the adventure the high 5 starts rating it deserves, I do have a caveat or three. Firstly, as was hotly debated in the product description forum, I feel the section of the adventure that handles talking with Iomedae was a major spoof. Another small issue that I have is that the story doesn't really make sense - Baphomet is insanely angry at the PCs, but fears to confront them because of his vulnerable state - however, he knows full well that the PCs will be trying to free the herald from his Ineluctable Prison. Yet for some reason, instead of summoning a screaming horde of a million fiends to defend it for him, he... does nothing? seriously, he is inactive during the entire adventure, even though it is said many times that he is angry and looking for a way to get revenge at the PCs for all the trouble they caused him.

The greatest issue I have with this adventure is that it feels like the side quest - the main story of the campaign is forgotten and pushed to the background, and the PCs run off to do a mission that, while certainly accomplishes something great and important, also has nothing to do with the larger plot of the campaign. After the 3rd adventure, that was just a huge waste of time, and the fourth adventure, that also put the PCs far away from the action, I feel that a large oppertunity to play up the crusade aspect of the story was missed. Hopefully the last adventure will compensate for that, but for now it kind of feels like the PCs are away from the action running errands for most of the campaign. Compare to, say, Curse of the Crimson Thrones, where the PCs carry the torch of the plot from the second adventure all the way to the 6th, and what they are doing is always the crucial, necessary next step. That was a much better constructed story, in my opinion.

But, still, despite some problems that I have with the structure of the campaign as a whole, Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth is one of the coolest adventures Iv'e seen in a long while, and it makes me hope that the next one would be even more awesome.


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Into the abyss

****( )

In this fourth part of the campaign, the PCs finally leave the material plane behind and hop head first into the abyss - one of the most horrible realms in all of existence.

Of course, the PCs are not yet high enough in level to survive the more hostile locations in the abyss, but luckily for them, their mission sends them into the Nightmare Isles, realm of the Demon Lord of Juvenile Fantasies, Nocticula. In their quest to stop the production of a special kind of crystals that make demons into mythic versions of themselves, the new heroes of the crusade must brave infernal jungles, a beautiful city that hides it's terrible nature behind a fanciful yet dangerous facade, and even a meeting with the Demon Lord herself!

The mid part of the adventure is certainly the strongest. The possibilities for unique adventures in the capital city of the Midnight Isles are endless, and the players will be responsible for taking the initiative and getting things done by themselves. The later part and the early part, though, are standard dungeon crawls, albeit truly high powered ones - the PCs are quit the little menaces by this point.

All in all despite the unique setting the adventure feels rather bland, and no particular thing about it really stands up above the rest. I suspect that the fact that it was written by two different people had to do with it. It still looks like a ton of fun to play, and is perfectly serviceable as a part 4 of a campaign.

It is a bit annoying how unimportant the PCs mission turns out to be, though. They stop the production of the super crystals, and process to meet, like, 70 mythic demons in the next adventure. If there are so many, surely preventing the creation of the crystals barely matters.


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a Hexceptional adventure!

***( )( )

Well, we get to the third part of the campaign. The PCs already saved a city and conquered a fortress, they blasted wardstones in the face of thousands of demons and retrieved a long lost artifact.

And now, they are reduced to roaming the worldwound and hoping something interesting would pop up in front of them.

I have now read 5 out of the 6 adventures in the campaign, and I feel like I have a good picture of it's general shape in mind. And I must say that this is the adventure where I feel the story maybe lost it's direction a bit.

The two previous adventures were about starting things off, and they did a really good job of it. By the end of the first adventure the scene was set for a new crusade, with the PCs standing firm in the front lines. By the second adventure the PCs already took an active part in the new war. But now? now nothing much is happening. Even though a war is supposedly raging in the near vicinity, the environment around the PCs does not really seem to react to it. This adventure is really kind of just a tour of the worldwound, more than it really is part of the campaign.
By the end of the adventure, the PCs spent their time walking around and bumping into numerous little encounters without getting anything important accomplished. Eventually they just happen to run into an encounter that is important, but really all the intermediate little stories could have been skipped. In later adventures the PCs will run around doing very important things, but the larger picture is missing. So much story momentum is lost here that I feel the entire campaign is a bit awkward after it.

Maybe it's my personal dislike of sandbox adventures, maybe not, I just feel that the players are going to spend so much time touring and sightseeing in this third part of the AP that by the time the actual story of the campaign kicks back in they might be a bit cold for it.

All in all, the weakest part of the AP, if for no other reason than it's non-significance from a story telling point of view. For those who like a sandbox, though, this one is as good as any Iv'e ever seen.


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Once more into the breach

****( )

This is the second adventure in the adventure path, and it offers a unique and refreshing experience for the heroes of the newest crusade -to lead their own small army of paladins into the worldwound, in an attempt to conquer a fortress and retrieve a powerful artifact.

The adventure is essentially two different parts. In the first, the awesome part, the PCs lead their army, and have to tackle not only the usual assortment of monsters and villains that every PC does, but also the responsibilities of leading a hundred soldiers. In addition, a possible traitor in their ranks makes things even more interesting. This part does a great job of telling a story of the PCs rising in significence, from the almost incidental saviors of Kenabres to mighty heroes who's deeds will be written in the books of history.

The second part of the adventure is a dungeon crawl. Though it's most certainly a solid one, it feels like a step down after the mass combats involving hundreds that the adventure started with.Most of the dungeon is, I feel, not really necessary. Once the PCs go down into the basement level, though, things become much more fun and unique.

The bottom line is that this adventure reads fun and looks fun to play. It's doing something that was never quite done before in an AP, and it pulls it off very well. An excellent adventure that is maybe a bit weakened by a bit too long of a dungeon crawl in the end.


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