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Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Module: City of Golden Death (PFRPG)

***½( ) (based on 14 ratings)
Pathfinder Module: City of Golden Death (PFRPG)
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An adventure for 5th-level Pathfinder Roleplaying Game characters.

The Price of Greed

In the center of Lake Encarthan looms the dreaded Isle of Terror, accursed land of mystery and treachery. Hidden within the island's negative energy storms, the secret treasure city of the wizard-king Tar-Baphon has lain sealed for centuries. Now masked cultists have opened the golden city of Xin-Grafar to claim the wealth of the legendary city for the Living God Razmir. Can the PCs track the cultists through the poisoned swamps and blasted wastelands of the Isle of Terror to the City of Golden Death itself? And what forgotten dangers will oppose them as they struggle to prevent a dark faith from spreading across the world?

City of Golden Death is an adventure for 5th-level characters; it is written for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is compatible with the 3.5 edition of the world's oldest RPG. The adventure features a mix of wilderness and dungeon sites and includes a race through a ruined, golden city to stop evil cultists before the city floods with molten gold!

This adventure is set on the legendary Isle of Terror in the Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting, but it can be easily adapted for any game world. It can be used as a stand-alone adventure or as the final chapter of the Price of Immortality trilogy, following the adventures Crypt of the Everflame and Masks of the Living God.

Written by Joshua J. Frost

Pathfinder Modules are 32-page, high-quality, full-color, adventures using the Open Game License to work with both the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set. This Pathfinder Module includes four pre-made characters so players can jump right into the action, and full-color maps to enhance play.

ISBN 13: 978-1-60125-225-8

City of Golden Death is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle Sheet and additional rules for running this module are a free download (213 KB zip/PDF).

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Modules Subscription.

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Non-Mint: Unavailable This product is non-mint. Refunds are not available for non-mint products. The standard version of this product can be found here.

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Product Reviews (14)
1 to 5 of 14 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 14 ratings)

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Tough and epic slog

****( )

I played this adventure as the conclusion to the trilogy, and I think it's best enjoyed that way. It gives you real investment in finally beating your nemesis.

We played with a party of 4: Barbarian 6, Alchemist 4/Barbarian 1, Zen Archer 5 and Inquisitor 5. We soon started to feel the burn of not having an actual level 5 cleric as two PCs got hit by a very nasty curse during a random encounter.

The random encounters here are the special Josh Frost nasty sauce. Several of them can easily cause a TPK. We managed to run from the scariest of them. I don't think monsters early in the adventure should stand a better than even chance of causing a TPK, particularly if they're random encounters, not a storied villain. I'm docking a star for that.

The random encounters do serve a purpose in the module though: they make it clear that you're deep into territory where you weren't meant to go. The Isle of Terror is not safe territory for an APL 5 party and there's nobody to rescue you if you fail. There's no restocking CLW wands so you might want to bring a few to spare; we burnt through about three wands and half a CMW wand, and all the potions we looted. We really felt like we were operating without a safety net here; depending on how you die, Raise Dead might not cut it.

The module is very good about sticking to theme in its monsters. All the monster were clearly picked out to add something to the flavour (and body count). Some encounters were easy, but all the bosses were tough. That works well to make them stand out. That thing you see on the cover of the book is really cool hot. You don't often face dragons but this one is scary, it can kill PCs with a standard action if you make a bad move. Or kill you twice over with a good full attack routine. And it's not the only scary thing you face that day.

The module is mostly about the scary combats, in an absolutely epic setting. I know my character will never look at gold the same way again. But he really feels like a badass hero now.

Well, I was certainly terrified!

**( )( )( )

The next time my Venture Captain tries to send me to somewhere with a name that includes 'Terror', 'Death', or both, I'm going back to bed.

I would say this is definitely the weakest of the trilogy of modules.

Keep in mind that I played this as part of a four-person party, all level 5. Perhaps it would have felt more balanced with more people. But even though we were quite combat-optimized, we found this to be a very, very difficult module, with a lot of potential for TPK.

There was no roleplay to speak of, which is always a bit of a disappointment to me. The random encounters ranged from trivial, to challenging, to brutal. (The only reason we made it to the city itself was due to the kindness of our GM, I think.)

Inside the city there are many dangers, as one would expect. The creature pictured on the cover appears to be built to kill one PC per round, every round after the first round of combat. Ouch!

After that, the rest of the combats were fairly straightforward, and a bit of a let-down, especially after the fantastic build-up from 'Crypt of the Everflame' and 'Masks of the Living God'.

***( )( )

I've reviewed this book over on



I ran this one as a player, the main tank. I still think of this dungeon a year later. I felt a real challenge here. Very grim and tactical. Several situations that can kill players, possibly this is giving it a lower rating. The only piece of advice I have is: take a tiefling!

Weakest of the Trilogy

***( )( )

For my group, this adventure was the weakest of the trilogy. The shortage of roleplaying encounters, the repetition with combat encounters and some illogical aspects of the storyline left a lot of work for the GM (me) to do before we could actually play. That’s not to say it was all bad, in fact parts were quite good and if your players are strictly hack-n-slash then you may not have as much rewrite time as I did.

For the details read on, but beware of spoilers. Do not read further if you plan to play in this adventure!

The Problems:

* Logic Errors

Iramine and her priests are several days (perhaps a week) ahead of the PCs, yet the PC’s are instructed to follow the same route she took. Instead the PCs should trek across the lake rather than around it. Unfortunately only random encounters are given for the long voyage, so the GM will need to flesh this out. I changed the described boat entirely, making it a fishing vessel.

* Deja Vous

Some of the encounters in this module closely resemble encounters in the first module of the trilogy, for example; wolves, skeletons and a crazy stranded NPC paralleled the first module too closely. If your group plays regularly, consider changing this up.

* Almost No Roleplaying

The semi-insane Dusan is the only hope of non-combat interaction (well maybe you could start something on the boat ride, but that feels forced). To rectify this, I made Dusan friends with the lizardfolk; had Aglanda’s group join with the PC’s and had Tar-Baphon’s Dragon ask riddles rather than attack. Dusan has a lot of island knowledge, so I had him give crazy-sounding advice that would actually help. For example, rolling around in dung was one recommendation. Any PC that did so gained concealment from the Bullette later on.

* Encounter Repetition

Too many of the same creatures are used (e.g. wolves, undead, fire elementals, etc.) As the GM you may want to switch these up. I used an Ettin for the wolves and Salamanders for the undead. I removed half of the fire elementals.

* Odd Pacing

The adventure starts off with sparse combat at the beginning but ends with one killer encounter after another. I couldn’t envision my PC’s completing the 3rd ring of the city, so I spaced it out a bit more. As mentioned, Aglanda’s group decided to side with the PC’s as long as they were allowed to get out alive. The Dragon delivered riddles rather than straight combat and I removed Naramoc and his two priests entirely. This gave the PC’s a fighting chance against Iramine in the final battle.

* No Big Ending

While the fight with Iramine was difficult, the end of this module came prematurely and without the big climatic ending I crave. Here are the PC’s, at the center of a flooding golden city, and they just have to saunter out? Instead I added a chase out of Xin-Grafar as it flooded and collapsed around them.

Here’s the chase I used for the escape (it gave the tension filled, dice rolling climax I was hoping for). Have each player roll once for each challenge and keep a running total of the results:

Escape Xin-Grafar
The ancient underground city begins to rumble and shake as cracks appear in nearby floors and walls. Bits of the ceiling rain down, threatening to crush you, or worse, bury you alive. Time suddenly feels short and the city exit is dangerously distant; making a run for it seems to be your only hope of escaping alive.

1. The Naga's Pit
Jump Across, Acrobatics [long jump] DC15 (+1/-1 & 1d6 fall)
Drop down and Climb Up, Climb DC15 (0/-1)

2. Crumbling Bridge
Pick your way across, Knowledge [engineering] DC10 or [dungeoneering] DC20 (0/-1)
React as you go, Reflex DC18 (+1/-1 & 1d6 fire)

3. Closed Gate
Jimmy the lock, Disable Device DC20 (0/-1)
Burst through the gate, Bull Rush DC25 (+1/-1)
Disassemble the hinges, Craft DC15 (-2/-4)

4. Toppling Buildings
Risk it and dash under, Willpower DC15 (+1/-1 & 1d6 bludgeoning)
Wait and squeeze through, Escape Artist DC20 (0/-1)
Hold the heavy stones up, Strength DC25 (0/-2)

5. Iron Cobra Swarm
Tumble through, Acrobatics DC18 (+1/-1)
Fight your way through, Automatic success (-2 & 1d12 bite)
Sneak past, Stealth DC15 (0/-1)

6. Steam Geyser
Study the area to avoid geysers, Knowledge [nature] DC15 (0/-1)
Cross your fingers and go, Luck DC12 (+1/-1 & 1d6 scald)

7. Noxious Fumes
Don't breathe, Fortitude DC18 (+1/-1 & sickened)
Find another route, Perception DC20 (0/-1)

A deep rumble ripples through the massive chamber as the jagged cavern ceiling plummets directly towards you. Only quick action will save your life...

The last PC (the one with the lowest final total) takes 8d6 points of damage (half, DC15 Reflex) and is buried. Characters in the slide zone take 3d6 points of damage (no damage, DC15 Reflex). Characters in the slide zone who fail their saves are buried. Characters take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage per minute while buried. If such a character falls unconscious, he must make a DC 15 Constitution check each minute. If it fails, he takes 1d6 points of lethal damage each minute until freed or dead.

Characters who aren't buried can dig out their friends. In 1 minute, using only her hands, a character can clear rocks and debris equal to five times her heavy load limit. The amount of loose stone that fills a 5-foot-by-5-foot area weighs 1 ton (2,000 pounds). Armed with an appropriate tool, such as a pick, crowbar, or shovel, a digger can clear loose stone twice as quickly as by hand. A buried character can attempt to free himself with a DC 25 Strength check.

The Good Parts:

* Island Hazards

Hazards make for interesting encounters and the island has plenty of them, quicksand, poisoned rivers, negative energy storms and molten gold all make for tricky conditions that will keep players thinking.

* Tension Building

The looming storms and flooding canals kept my players moving. No stopping in a safe location to prepare spells or heal to 100%. The players felt like they had to keep moving or they would fail. This sense of urgency can be difficult to come by in other adventures.

* Cool New Baddies

The Golden Guardian was a favorite of the players. It was tough and memorable, and it felt unique. The terror template was also useful, adding a creepy twist to otherwise typical creatures. While not new, the summoned Babau demon was intelligently placed and had the players quite worried.

In the end, the adventure was a success, but I did have to make a lot of adjustments for my players. You may not experience the same issues we did, but if you do, the problems are not insurmountable. All the same, I had to give this module an average rating of 3 stars.

I have to wonder if maybe too much was squeezed into the 36 pages. Trying to describe a giant lake, a whole island and a huge underground city (with a complex history) is a lot in such a small space. Paring the scope down might have improved the final product.

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