An event-based adventure for 5th-level characters.
Falcon's Hollow has long been watched by the vile fey of Darkmoon Vale. They've lingered in their wood, seething with anger at the townspeople for defiling their land. When the carnival arrives, the fey finally see their chance for vengeance.
Carnival of Tears is a low-level, event-based adventure written by Nicolas Logue and Tim Hitchcock that pits the players against a band of wretched fey who have infiltrated a carnival in order to unleash their anger on Falcon's Hollow. When the heroes uncover the dark secrets within, will they act in time to prevent Falcon's Hollow from becoming the carnival's final patrons?
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Sick and demented. There is no chance for the players to succeed. Every encounter is set for them to lose. In the end it is about how large the failure is. It took us three sessions to get through it and it left me with a sick feeling. No loot, no glory, no accomplishment. No more of this please.
Carnival of Tears is like a slasher movie, a Clive Barker novel, a Stephan King novel, and a Conan the Barbarian novel all rolled into one. It is thick ghastly images, screwed-up monsters, and blood-curdling supernatural horror, all spiced with a hint of heroic fantasy.
It is however, a little shallow. The players fight horrifying fey while navigating a bleak carnival, and that's about it. There is no intrigue to speak of, and the writers turn more and more to shock value to keep the players engaged.
Overall, I would recommend it to fans of horror media and dark fairy tales, but not to players looking for a "traditional" fantasy romp.
Yes, it's gory. Yes, it's horrific. Yes, it's shocking. That's rather the point. If you've not played something by Nick Logue before, tread carefully. Same goes for Richard Pett. These two together? Recipe for horror beyond imagination. I loved it.
To summarize... the fey of Darkmoon Vale are pissed, so they take control of the carnival, to massacre the townspeople of the village. The adventure starts as a "hey, let's go to the carnival" as the player's solve some ongoing issues over there. Finally, things get sick as the fey start their revenge on the lumbers and their families. Basically, every attraction turns into a horror show slaughterhouse and the PCs have to survive them and slay the cruel fey master. Seriously, if you are into this kind of stories, it doesn't get any better than this. I think it represents everything Paizo means to me... The best d20 rules edition mixed with that great old-school feel.
Well, despite my protests, my group ran this module anyway, since my DM had already bought it and we'd done the other Falcon's Hollow adventures.
This wasn't "mature". This was pathetic. This module needlessly heaps on the gore, thinking that blood and guts and skins and eyeballs pave the path to being mature, serious gameplay. Human-face ticket booth with severed tongue tickets and eyeball lollipops isn't shocking, it's not even cartoonish, it's just... sad. It's like this module is one long, desperate cry for Daddy to pay attention to it.
I guess you're supposed to feel like the evil people of Falcon's Hollow deserve their torture and death, and if viewed in that light, it plays out like a fantasy cooked up by a emotionally disturbed 6th-grader who was tired of Falcon's Hollow bullying him in gym class. This module should have resulted in a trip to the school counselor.
The encounters aren't done very well, either. They're loaded with save-or-suck effects, and some of them don't even make any sense. What's the point of having a nymph in the peep show if the illusion means nobody actually sees her?
Our GM gave us a happy ending, but told us what the original ending as detailed in the module was -- a pointless downer that basically comes out and says "ha ha, you suck and can't do anything about it, ha ha".
Blood and guts and "you suck" endings do not make something mature. This was, in fact, one of the most immature things I've seen in gaming, and it would be right at home with the worst offerings of mid-90s White Wolf Publishing.