Pathfinder #11—Curse of the Crimson Throne Chapter 5: "Skeletons of Scarwall" (OGL) (based on
Paizo Publishing, LLC
Chapter 11: "Skeletons of Scarwall"
by Greg A. Vaughan
The heroes have learned the identity of the evil that plagues Korvosa—the vile remnants of an evil dragon who once ruled much of Belkzen as a sadistic warlord. In order to defeat him again and save both Korvosa and the queen, the PCs must journey deep into the orc-held lands of Belkzen and brave the haunted reaches of Castle Scarwall, once the dragon's seat of power. Somewhere deep inside waits the holy weapon Serithtial, the sword responsible for his defeat hundreds of years ago. Only on its edge can the dragon be driven from the world.
This volume of Pathfinder also features a gazetteer of the brutal lands known as the Hold of Belkzen, a presentation on Zon-Kuthon (god of darkness and pain), and several new monsters native to Belkzen and the haunted depths of Castle Scarwall.
For characters of 12th to 14th 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.
I'm not fond of dungeon crawling in general and I trully dislike huge dungeons. When there are 3 fights in a 5-6h hours game session, for me as a DM there are too many fights.
This AP volume "only" describe one huge dungeon with many fights, so at first it seems that it is definitally not my cup of tea. The book is quite boring to read with the detailed descriptions of all the rooms.
But I have to be fair : for groups who love dungeon crawls, Skeletons of Scarwall must be a masterpiece. The design level is far far better than Jorgenfist in AP4 or the Runeforge in AP5. A real ambiance radiates from this place, a dark and breathtaking ambiance with creepy haunts everywhere. If the DM removes most of the minor figths and if the players like this play style, it can be a blast to run.
Still, I prefer the way the Skinsaw Murders bring mystery and horror to the game than that "every undead bosses must be destroy" approach.
The Belkzen article is useful and give some ideas. The Zon Kuthon article is amazing... creepy and disgusting indeed, but amazing.
I give 3/5 for the adventure itself and +1 for the support articles. So 4/5.
De todas as aventuras de Curse of the Crimson Thone, está é a que mais funciona bem sozinha (alias, de todas as aventuras que eu li das Adventure Paths, ele é a melhor nesse aspecto). Como fã de Castlevania e dungeons complexas, eu gostei muito da aventura. Os encontros são variados, a mecanica de assombrações dá uma nova dimensão as armadilhas e a sensação de algo epico permeia toda a aventura até seu final. Se não fosse uma aventura para um nivel tão alto eu recomendaria como sendo a aventura que vale se ter se só fosse escolher uma porque eu considero que reune bem todos os elementos que fazem a Paizo minha editora preferida.
This adventure breaks the line of CotCT style in an excellent way.
The adventure is a huge creepy "dungeon" that if the DM finds a way to expose the backgrupnd to the PCs, he can keep the PCs a the tip of their toes on every turn. This adventure was plenty of hack and slash yet if the DM sets the mood right, the combat feeling gets entirely different. The dungeon has such a great background that if you develop it nicely you can forget that you have beed dwelling in the same site for the past several encounters. The partition of the castle in wings makes a great way to imprint different feelings on each area and braking the phase of the castle giving the players a break on the "same place" feeling.
If you don't play CotCT I greatly recommend this module since its totally isolated, you can place it almost anywhere in most homebrew campaigns. A bit of a backgruod twist can fit it nicely into any home campaign.
As far as dungeon crawls go it doesn't get much better than this. Scarwall ranks up with Ravenloft as a classic haunted castle adventure.
Lots of great encounters/scenes. The danse macabre is particularly memorable and the Hellraiser touches are quite delightful. The spirit anchors give some focus and purpose to the crawl rather then it be an aimless wandering down (well the monsters get tougher going down so we must be going the right way...)
The Zon-Kuthon article is a great addition and fleshes out the creepiness.