Pathfinder Adventure Path #25: The Bastards of Erebus (Council of Thieves 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

***½( ) (based on 19 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #25: The Bastards of Erebus (Council of Thieves 1 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Chapter 1: "The Bastards of Erebus"
by Sean K Reynolds

The city of Westcrown is dying. Since being stripped of its station as the capital of Cheliax, the wealth and prestige of the city has gradually slipped away, leaving the desperate people to fend for themselves in a city beset by criminals, a corrupt nobility, and a shadowy curse. Can the PCs fight back against champions of both the law and the criminal world?

    This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path launches the Council of Thieves Adventure Path, and includes:
  • "The Bastards of Erebus," a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 1st-level characters, by Sean K Reynolds
  • A gazetteer of Westcrown, the shadow-haunted City of Twilight, by Steven Schend
  • An investigation into the lives of tieflings, along with hundreds of fiendish variations, by Amber Scott
  • A deadly mystery of nobility and intrigue for Pathfinder Varian Jeggare and his tiefling bodyguard Radovan in a new series of the Pathfinder's Jounal, by Dave Gross
  • Six terrifying new monsters by Mike Ferguson, Sean K Reynolds, and F. Wesley Schneider

A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure for characters of 1st to 3rd level. The Council of Thieves Adventure Path is the first to take full advantage of the new Pathfinder Roleplaying Game rules, and works with both the Pathfinder RPG and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set.

Pathfinder Adventure Path is Paizo Publishing's monthly 96-page, perfect-bound, full-color softcover book printed on high-quality paper. 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. Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes use the Open Game License and work with both the Pathfinder RPG and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set.

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-190-9

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Adventure Path 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.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

PZO9025


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***½( ) (based on 19 ratings)

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Personally very good

*****

I like its story telling.
Actually I unsatisfied from it's core-based setting (because CoT published 2009), but this is external factor.


Underrated Module

*****

Just finsihed running this mod last week and I must say I really enjoyed this module. Though it is not perfect I think it has some very enjoyable qualities/situations, interesting NPCS, and a good story.

I must admit, that as a GM I did alot of editing and work (mainly to adjust my group being 6 players instead of 4, but also fleshing out side quests etc) to make it work.

Details:

To make this module work (as a whole as well as with future volumes) I would emphasize the shadows being a huge problem (A large side quest I wrote helped with this) in Westcrown from the beginning. It also helps to throw in Ailyn Ghontsavos (The pathfinder from vol 2) in the wagon w/ Arael, establishing her as a major character from the beginning, as she does her "research".)My party also enjoyed/ understood the idea of the "children of Westcrown" and they recruited a more members into the organization. I also had them do a few side quests (Variations of suggested ones in book, plus a few I threw in) to gain some more fame in Westcrown. (as well as get a better "feel" for the theme/setting of Westcrown. I had a tiefling ambush/encounter/story(from locals) in between each side quest to build up the suspense on the final lair as well.

NPCS:

I really enjoyed the NPCs in the adventure. .From the Leaders Arael and Janiven, to Monosino (the boy everyone ended up loving to hate), to all the children of Westcrown and their individual personality's and motivations. There was alot of interesting stories and it was fun role playing the different personalities with my PCs. They enjoyed this as well. (All there stories also help set the tone of the city)

My Favorite NPC from the module was Thesing Umbero Ulvauno. I look forward to his reoccurring roles in future APs.

The Meat and the Bones:

This module has some fun encounters/situations.
-The sewers are fun and the randomness a nice twist (though I would recommend "building" sewers before game to save time)
-Rescuing Arael was a fun and well written encounter. One of my favorite things in the module
-The tiefling lair is well built. Many ins/outs makes the tieflings extremely mobile (ambushing the PCS!) , and lead to fun encounters and situations
-The two tiefling baddies at end were well written and fun to GM. (I recommend combing them for a particularity lethal and super fun encounter)

The back matter of this Module is worth the price alone.

--A great detailed article on Westcrown. Essential for the AP, and a good read on its own.
--An awesome article of Tieflings, including all kinds of great fluff , but also many racial options and alternative traits (100 of them!).It also includes a wonderful chart of Random tielfing features (100 again) to help flesh out what the tielfings look like visually.
--Part one of a Story by Dave Gross. Need I say more?
--A wonderful bestiary that is also very helpful for the module itself. (Adding some old favorites from 3.5 as well as some fun new monsters)

Overall I really enjoyed this Adventure Path Volume!


On the wrong foot …

*( )( )( )( )

This review is about the Bastards of Erebus adventure, not the AP as a whole.

Bastards of Erebus fails both as the launching of the Council of Thieves adventure path and as an adventure in its own right. While I am willing to forgive the the conversion issues; there are several MAJOR problems with the story itself.

Spoilered for those individuals who intend to run this AP (including myself).

Spoiler:

  • The first problem starts before the adventure, with the CoT Player’s Guide. The provided “campaign traits” simply suggest little to no motivation for the heroes to want to accomplish the tasks of the Bastards, let alone the AP as a whole. The adventure attempts to fix this by requiring that the heroes must have a problem with the way the Westcrown is run, but that leads to the next problem.
  • Janiven Kay’s speech, two or more battles with the Order of the Rack Hellknights, and the introduction of Ariel’s group all imply that the heroes will be part of a resistance movement against House Thrune. Unfortunately, this is not what the AP is about at all, so this sets up a “bait-n-switch” almost as bad as Second Darkness.
  • As a side note, the battles with the Hellknights in this adventure ruin the buildup that the Hellknights had received in both Rise of the Runelords and especially Curse of the Crimson Throne. This adventure sets the Hellknights up as "keystone cops." Also, fighting the Hellknights in this adventure creates a dissonance with The Twice-Damned Prince where the heroes are expected to ally with the Hellkights.
  • The titular "Bastards of Erebus" gang seem to pop out of nowhere in “part 5” of a six part adventure. As they have done nothing to the characters, nor have any of the crimes in the city even been mentioned before now, so why would the heroes want to fight them? Worse, if any of the PCs are Tieflings themselves, these PCs are – if anything – going to be sympathetic to the Bastards.
  • Beyond that, the support articles are fine, though I wish that the included monsters in the AP installment’s Bestiary were more used in the adventure itself.

    All in all, I find myself needed to re-write this entire installment.


    Dreadfully underwritten and poor structure

    **( )( )( )

    As an introduction to the Council of Thieves AP, this adventure fails to impress. The first section is "have random encounters until you get bored", and the final section is terribly short. There are good ideas here, but they are buried by horrible writing and editing. It took our group of five players about 5 hours to play through the entire thing.


    It was ok

    **( )( )( )

    I'm playing in this adventure path and it seams to really require the PCs to be the heros and do what the NPC leader wants you to do (Sorta like a Shadowrun Mr. Johnson). Its fun but it would work better with a little lead in like maybe your spys from another nation or something.I've gamed with this GM many times so I think its more of the material than the GMing. It probably is one of those adventures with a ton of GM information that never (or almost never) comes out in play.


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    Scarab Sages

    Wow. That sounds so awesome! I can only imagine what this thing will entail!

    *shivers with delight*

    EDIT: What happened to the Set Pieces?

    Sovereign Court

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    We've done drow and giants...is the Slave Lords corollary?

    Grand Lodge

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

    No mention of the set piece for this issue?

    -Skeld

    The Exchange

    Wow! I want to buy this on the title alone! Also, isn't it a bit early for them to say what the set-pieces will be? They just finished putting up the Legacy of Fire APs, and they haven't written them yet!


    Looking forward to it. I hope they cut the set pieces, I am not a big fan of them.

    The Exchange

    DitheringFool wrote:
    We've done drow and giants...is the Slave Lords corollary?

    I thinks slavery is actually going to be a theme in LoF... you know, the Carrion King, Jennis, aladin, slaves...

    this AP sounds grate, and I love seeing a new AP anounced... but frankly, don't you guys think it's time to try fighting something difrent from thives and thugs? me and my players, we are having quit enogh of that in Shadow in the Sky.


    So, given the name of the AP, can we expect a mostly urban campaign with lors of demons, devils and thieves trying to control a single city or the begining of a huge transformation in Cheliax ?

    Glad to see you're planning an official AP with PFRPG.

    Liberty's Edge

    AH yeah... this is one I'll be keeping my eye on!
    It truly sounds like an excellent adventure path!
    Now...
    You did say Erebus right! As in... oh... never mind ;)
    I'll keep that idea for later!

    RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

    Wasn't the elf in this mock-up cover already on an SD mockup?

    Sovereign Court

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Wow, the Hellknights revealed, that's exciting!

    Sovereign Court

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Will this be another [primarily] urban adventure path like CoCT?

    Liberty's Edge

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

    My wish would be for half urban & half dungeon

    I am also hoping to run this in Sept 2009, when I kick off my Fall 2009 campaign. Looking forward to getting this one!

    Dark Archive

    Is this going to be another mostly urban/city campaign like CotCT?
    Regardless it sounds wicked cool!

    edit: Didnt see those last posts in the store catalog preview asking the same question. Man I hate it when that happens!

    RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

    Callous Jack wrote:
    Will this be another [primarily] urban adventure path like CoCT?

    But if it is urban, will it be urbane?


    This sounds like awesome sauce.


    "The Council of Thieves Adventure Path is the first to take full advantage of the new Pathfinder Roleplaying Game rules, and works with both the Pathfinder RPG and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set."

    AND

    "Pathfinder uses the Open Game License and works with both the Pathfinder RPG and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set."

    Does that mean that statistics for both D&D 3.5E and for Pathfinder RPG will be presented in the product, or does it merely indicate that the Pathfinder RPG statistics in the product are mostly backward-compatible with D&D 3.5E?

    Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

    Roman wrote:

    Does that mean that statistics for both D&D 3.5E and for Pathfinder RPG will be presented in the product, or does it merely indicate that the Pathfinder RPG statistics in the product are mostly backward-compatible with D&D 3.5E?

    The latter.


    Vic Wertz wrote:
    Roman wrote:

    Does that mean that statistics for both D&D 3.5E and for Pathfinder RPG will be presented in the product, or does it merely indicate that the Pathfinder RPG statistics in the product are mostly backward-compatible with D&D 3.5E?

    The latter.

    Thanks for the clarification. It is what I suspected, but I wanted to be sure that I am understanding it correctly.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

    I'm really hoping this path has an "Ill met in Lankhmar" sort of feel, with more city adventures than the usual adventure path. Something like the old "B6: The Veiled Society" would be cool too. I'm sure whatever they do, it'll be great.

    Contributor

    Skeld wrote:

    No mention of the set piece for this issue?

    -Skeld

    Oh, they're in there, no worries. Should be doing open calls for them by then too, so keep an eye out!

    And, this one has my favorite title so far!


    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

    I hope that in this campaign arc we see an article on the church of Azmodeus. Please? Pretty please? :)

    Dark Archive

    I second the motion.

    Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

    Anonymous wrote:
    I hope that in this campaign arc we see an article on the church of Azmodeus. Please? Pretty please? :)

    James has revealed in the Tuesday night chats that Iomedae and Asmodeus will be the featured deities in PF 26 and 29 but I don't know which will appear in which issue. It seems that the good deity has been first in the other paths though.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    If they cut the Set Pieces, and I really hope they don't (I haven't played #15's yet, but it looks like a riot) I would like to see them collected in the Scenario Guide, which is published with the first adventure. This would give me incentive to actually buy the SG. I usually don't bother. I'm actually going to run "Second Darkness" in Eberron, since with a little modification, it seems like it will work.

    I really want to find out more about the Drow houses and those runes. 15's prestigue class was wonderful at expounding, but I want to know if there are any connections between Drow and demon runes and if other houses are affiliated with certain demons...

    Dark Archive

    GreatKhanArtist wrote:
    I really want to find out more about the Drow houses and those runes. 15's prestigue class was wonderful at expounding, but I want to know if there are any connections between Drow and demon runes and if other houses are affiliated with certain demons...

    You might have noticed, that there are as many house runes, as there are demon lords. So, each house is tied to a certain demon lord. James talks a little about the connections in this thread.

    Dark Archive

    Anyone know what level this AP will take the players to?

    Sczarni

    This sound so cool and can't wait.


    Looks good - but this many APs out and we still don't have one that starts at higher level so that it can take the players to 20? Very disappointing ;(


    Hiddendragon wrote:
    Looks good - but this many APs out and we still don't have one that starts at higher level so that it can take the players to 20? Very disappointing ;(

    Well this is the first AP that uses new rules, I think it wouldn't be wise to introduce new rules set with an AP that doesn't start at level one...


    Wow, man. I got this tingly feeling when I saw the cover and realized I'm hopelessly hooked on Pathfinder APs.

    Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

    Kruelaid wrote:
    Wow, man. I got this tingly feeling when I saw the cover and realized I'm hopelessly hooked on Pathfinder APs.

    Junkie...

    ;)-

    Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

    Kruelaid wrote:
    Wow, man. I got this tingly feeling when I saw the cover and realized I'm hopelessly hooked on Pathfinder APs.

    And that's just a mockup!


    I once took part in an 'all thieves' game back in 2nd edition. After the long running campaign we had been playing, it was a welcome change. This has already had me thinking of that campaign, every character had to be of a class that had thieving skills. Of course, that is when I had to convert the 1st edition Monk into 2nd edition. It was an awesome 6 month campaign.

    In the game we were low level initiates of a Thieves Guild and had to earn our keep, starting doing side-jobs to increase our street cred and to make money. All while dodging thieves from our own guild to avoid being screwed over for doing non-guild jobs and keeping all the profits.

    We broke into temples to steal relics, the palace, a wizard's tower, all kinds of goodies. It'll be very interesting to see what this AP turns out to be.

    I'm not hoping for that exactly...but a spiritual successor to that campaign would certainly be neat. And it will be awesome to see an AP in all its PFRPG glory.

    Contributor

    Hey, we need to update the author on this one. ;)

    Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

    Sean K Reynolds wrote:
    Hey, we need to update the author on this one. ;)

    Yes you do. Who is it? I'll assign Gary or Vic to change the description if you tell me who's writing it.

    Paizo Employee CEO

    yoda8myhead wrote:
    Sean K Reynolds wrote:
    Hey, we need to update the author on this one. ;)
    Yes you do. Who is it? I'll assign Gary or Vic to change the description if you tell me who's writing it.

    Look above your post!

    -Lisa


    Yasha0006 wrote:

    I once took part in an 'all thieves' game back in 2nd edition. After the long running campaign we had been playing, it was a welcome change. This has already had me thinking of that campaign, every character had to be of a class that had thieving skills. Of course, that is when I had to convert the 1st edition Monk into 2nd edition. It was an awesome 6 month campaign.

    In the game we were low level initiates of a Thieves Guild and had to earn our keep, starting doing side-jobs to increase our street cred and to make money. All while dodging thieves from our own guild to avoid being screwed over for doing non-guild jobs and keeping all the profits.

    We broke into temples to steal relics, the palace, a wizard's tower, all kinds of goodies. It'll be very interesting to see what this AP turns out to be.

    I'm not hoping for that exactly...but a spiritual successor to that campaign would certainly be neat. And it will be awesome to see an AP in all its PFRPG glory.

    Haha I too took part in an all theif game in 2e. We actually were all multi-classed with thief. The setting was a wizard in the past knew the world would become corrupt so he set up a thieves guild to train freedom fighters with an orphanage as a front and recruiting center basically. Then play proceeded from there.


    Since this will be the first AP using the final PFRPG rules and they have a swashbuckler on the cover, does this mean that we might get a new class? :D Then he could just be a duellist >_>

    Dark Archive

    While I don't know for sure I imagine considering the main goal of the PFRPG that it will just be the core rules, classes ect. Just tweaked and fixed here and there with out a lot of totally new stuff. But I might be wrong to.

    Though seeing some optional core classes would be nice, I always liked them more than PrC's myself. I would like to see a temptress or houri class done by Paizo. I like the one Mongoose did for Conan but felt it could have been a bit more. Plus with the boosts to the core classes in PFRPG other classes like that would also need a boost. I do hope the PFRGP sells well and we see some paizo splat books come out for it or 3pp ones.

    Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

    DeathCon 00 wrote:
    Since this will be the first AP using the final PFRPG rules and they have a swashbuckler on the cover, does this mean that we might get a new class? :D Then he could just be a duellist >_>

    The image to which you are referring is just placeholder art. I imagine we'll see the final cover for this between late May and the middle of June.

    Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

    Sean K Reynolds wrote:
    Hey, we need to update the author on this one. ;)

    Updated.

    Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

    Vic Wertz wrote:
    Sean K Reynolds wrote:
    Hey, we need to update the author on this one. ;)
    Updated.

    Slightly off-topic, but shouldn't product announcements be coming sometime soon?

    Liberty's Edge

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

    Question for Sean and the playtesters. What terrain are you guys using? Is that Dwarven Forge?

    Paizo Employee Creative Director

    Mr Baron wrote:
    Question for Sean and the playtesters. What terrain are you guys using? Is that Dwarven Forge?

    It is. We've got a LOT of that stuff sitting around the conference room. It's pretty handy stuff!

    Sovereign Court

    In this scenario, my curiosity asks, what conditions were the Alea color magnets used to mark? Please, if you can share?

    Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

    James Jacobs wrote:
    Mr Baron wrote:
    Question for Sean and the playtesters. What terrain are you guys using? Is that Dwarven Forge?
    It is. We've got a LOT of that stuff sitting around the conference room. It's pretty handy stuff!

    You've even got a loaf of banana bread from the recipe I suggested to Sean, from what it looks like. Glad to see you're using it. Hope everyone liked it.

    Dark Archive

    yoda8myhead wrote:
    You've even got a loaf of banana bread from the recipe I suggested to Sean, from what it looks like. Glad to see you're using it. Hope everyone liked it.

    Probobly helped make the tpk more breadable for the players.

    Contributor

    Pax Veritas wrote:
    In this scenario, my curiosity asks, what conditions were the Alea color magnets used to mark? Please, if you can share?

    Given Hank's druid's proclivity for using the entangle spell*, I'm pretty sure all of those indicate that the character is entangled.

    *So much that on the marker board his character is listed as "Nadasha the Entangler."

    Contributor

    Sean K Reynolds wrote:

    Given Hank's druid's proclivity for using the entangle spell*, I'm pretty sure all of those indicate that the character is entangled.

    *So much that on the marker board his character is listed as "Nadasha the Entangler."

    Indeed. ;) And I've decided that the verbal component of entangle is Shazaam!!! I just need to convince Jason to make it official.

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