Pathfinder #7—Curse of the Crimson Throne Chapter 1: "Edge of Anarchy" (OGL) (based on
Paizo Publishing, LLC
Chapter 1: "Edge of Anarchy"
by Nicolas Logue
The King has died, and the city of Korvosa is in chaos! Riots, banditry, monsters, and mayhem are turning the normally safe streets of the city into a war zone. Desperate to regain control of her city, Queen Ileosa seeks heroes to aid her in reclaiming control before the largest city in all Varisia consumes itself from within, as Pathfinder’s second Adventure Path, Curse of the Crimson Throne, begins with a bang!
This volume of Pathfinder includes a GM’s gazetteer of the city of Korvosa, designed to supplement the player-oriented Pathfinder Chronicles Guide to Korvosa, along with a presentation on the mystical culture of the land’s indigenous Varisians and several new monsters designed for use in urban environs. Your new campaign starts right here!
For characters of 1st to 4th level.
Pathfinder is Paizo Publishing's 96-page, perfect-bound, full-color softcover Adventure Path book printed on high-quality paper that releases in a monthly volume. Each volume is brought to you by the same staff which brought you Dragon and Dungeon magazines for over five years. It contains an in-depth Adventure Path scenario, stats for about a half-dozen new monsters, and several support articles meant to give Game Masters additional material to expand their campaign. Because Pathfinder uses the Open Game License, it is 100% compatible with the world's most popular fantasy roleplaying game.
The first part greatly succeeds in unifying the PC's group, but keep in mind that for the rest of the volume (and AP), PCs have to like their city and want to help the guards of Korvosa.
The whole Harrow deck/Zeralla thing is a great addition of the AP, very flavorful, with rules and hints to use the cards in all volume of this AP. The NPCs are great and may be the best NPCs ever made in an AP from Paizo.
The different parts of this AP are nothing but a linear succession of missions from Marechal Cressida Kroft. However, each of these missions is important for the sequel of the AP's story (it prepares the way for the other volumes) and allow the PC to tackle a different aspect of the city.
I also like the Varisian article, especially the fact that it describes how varisians remember about Thassilon and the runelords without using none of this two words : very subtle.
I liked the overall tone of city riots. On the other hand, I expected more events to fully exploit it. For instance, a mob attack on the castle (obvious target...) or the guard citadel seemed impossible to miss. Yet I found none of those, and had to design them myself.
I also added an event with goblins taking their share of the fun by attacking an alchemy shop to steal bombs and wreck havock through the sewers. Thus driving otyughs mad and giving a reason why one would break loose in the streets.
The fishery and the butchery were nice. I loved the extended descriptions of the characters and their motivations. I regretted there were so few hints for the players to figure them out for themselves.
Unfortunately, the part five was quite redundant with the previous two.
The shingle chase was a good idea, however. Liked that part very much. But completely skipped the dead warrens. I just couldn't see the point, except as a fill up, maybe.
The conclusion of the adventure is very easily expected. It's too much of a happy ending, and I had the scapegoat executed to add to the despotism feeling. Blackjack still messed up with the queen, but had poor success.
Edge of Anarchy is a good start for a urban campaign, although some more thinking would have made it better.
A very railroady outing, with huge plot holes.
The characters are driven through several episodes that are hardly related to each other, with the only connecting line is the riot backdrop (which is handled very poorly), and some recurring characters. It is not always clear why these recurring characters are there, though.
Sometimes whole weeks pass between the separate scenes, but the PCs are expected to just sit idly and do nothing in the meantime.
Also, the riots supposedly begin while the PCs are busy investigating some criminal's den. With all the noise outside, wouldn't you expect them to hear it? And finally, the chase mechanics are plain awful.
A superbly crafted adventure that can be played as a stand-alone module, or as an excellent introduction to the Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure path. Also, a vivid, highly enjoyable read in the literary prose of a classic dickensian tale.
The players' guide contains an informative article on the background of the city of Korvosa, and the adventure along with a supportive article, allows for the players to augment their character's stats via harrow readings.
A must have adventure, likely to please all, and about as good as they get! So why only 4-stars? Well, the scripted ending (Zorro to the rescue!) is rather contrived and some what ludicrous, but the saving grace here is that the players are free to determine how the final event unfolds, and its conclusion. The players enjoyed the adventure as much as I did running it.
I enjoyed reading the AP and this is a good start to the Adventure Path. However, BE WARNED, if your group is a hack/slash this may not be the AP for you. The first one isn't so bad, it a little of a slow burn, but has quite a bit of action as well. The 2nd AP,however, totally grinds the action to a halt. It really is building up intrigue into the plot, but it was totally lost on my group. If you have a group that enjoys getting into the plots and developments this AP is something you should look at, but if you have a group like mine, I'd steer clear.
**Note - If you are using a Virtual Table Top, http://rpgmapshare.com has a complete set of maps for this AP. Search CotCT and you'll find them all by a user named angelroble, he has done a really good job and saved me a lot of time. **