Pathfinder Adventure Path #28: The Infernal Syndrome (Council of Thieves 4 of 6) (PFRPG) (based on
Paizo Publishing, LLC
Chapter 4: "The Infernal Syndrome"
by Clinton Boomer and James Jacobs
All Hell Breaks Loose
In the bowels of one of Westcrown’s most esteemed halls of power lies
an unfathomable evil, a terror beyond all reason and sanity, shackled
and broken by the magic of a lost archmage. For years this menace
has laid fuming, endlessly testing the bars of its prison, gathering its
hatred and planning its revenge. Now the machinations of a deadly
conspiracy have weakened the chains of this nightmare’s bonds,
and in their growing cracks rise the flames of the
damned and the promise of Westcrown consumed in hellfire. Can
the PCs infiltrate the labyrinth of a madman to put an end to an
evil beyond even the heroes of legend? And what foulness would
seek to ruin all of Westcrown by gambling with its very soul?
This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path continues the Council of
Thieves Adventure Path, and includes:
“The Infernal Syndrome,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 7th-level
characters, by Clinton Boomer and James Jacobs
The citadels and secrets of the Hellknights, Cheliax’s iron-shod
inquisitors, by F. Wesley Schneider
Insights into the soul-shaking world of fiendish possessions, by Adam Daigle
Murder and mystery for Pathfinder Varian Jeggare in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Dave Gross
Five new monsters, by F. Wesley Schneider and Hank Woon
A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure for characters of 7th to 9th 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.
Not a well-rounded adventure. Admittedly, it was an epic dungeon with some very fun elements, but the flow of the book was a little awkward and there wasn't much room for decision-making. Also, there is no way to do the whole thing without resting, and given that the whole point of the adventure is the ticking-clock, it was awkward for the players to have to sit and wait 8-hours or leave mid-action to replenish their resources and continue.
That having been said, it was fun because the encounters were memorable. The cinematic beginning to the book was also one of my favorite Council moments. Play it up for drama, because it's worth it!
This adventure path proved quite all right and I had a fun time GMing it, and my players also liked it. We did however find some areas of the path that was annoying.
1) The side quests are lacking. They are presented as something that happens after the main plot starts, but my players went straight to the dungeon so the side quests seemed quite strange to include as no one presented them with these quests. This could be done much better than I did it, and I find that a way should have been included in the adventure path.
2) The entire adventure is based on one place, so it feels like one long dungeon, something that can be good if done right. You need some exploration, some social encounters and some awesome fights along with some good resting opportunities. While it is not without these, there is little exploring and far too many of the encounters cannot be avoided, and those that can are a shame to waste. The dungeons is build much like: encounter -> encounter -> encounter -> encounter which makes some of the encounters seem quite dull and repetitive. I especially think of some of the later encounters where it feels like each room have a guardian you need to defeat and there is no other way to get to the end goal without going that way. All the optional encounters are hidden with an extremely high DC on the search check and doing those encounters only award xp and loot (I would have liked shortcuts to ignore encounters). The dungeon has a “long” rather than “big” feel to it, as there is little chance of getting lost and taking encounters in a random order.
3) There was a problem with the expected level progression as it was expected that the players would be level 8 before entering the dungeon. This was however not the case in my run, but it sorted itself out in the end. It might have resulted in some of the 4 deaths and two almost worse than death for the party, but that was alright.
4) I would however have enjoyed that the adventure path had included some more optional stuff, like the side quests from bastards 1 of 6 CoT where they included some random do it yourself side quests as those they did where poorly implemented.
5) Some of the encounters seemed almost too lethal and was placed poorly at a point of no return. In one of the late encounters two players were taken out without any options to come back unless the players left the dungeon. Luckily we found a solution, but having to leave the dungeon for the 4th time right before the big climax robbed it of some of its urgency and awesomeness.
6) Might not feel like the logical step from finding an item that can end the threat of shadow beasts. A little Monty Python with “and now for something completely different”
Now for the good things, because naturally there where good as well.
1) The social encounters -> awesome. In one encounter the players where all scared enough that our good cleric toasted with devils, and the “human female” dragon disciple ate a virgins hart just to please them. In another, they all ended up feeling abused (in the good way) by a powerful being they did not dear attack but had to deal with.
2) The reoccurring villains - > awesome. One of these, they ended up fighting twice, but being attacked by 8ish times, and they see him as a constant treat. They have yet to kill him and now fear going out at night (to some extend).
3) Some of the fights where memorable like when the dragon disciple where kicked into a pool of boiling gold. The one where the two of the players are now forced to use a new favorite awful improvised weapon instead of the awesome weapons they used feats to maximize. Sadly the crossbowman did not get this awesome item. The final encounter was memorable to but might have been a little too easy for a group of 8th level guys, and mine are far from optimized.
4) Cool settings – the dungeon had some memorable places such as the hall of mirrors and some of the environmental traps where loads of fun. Everyone thought it was awesome when they tried to run down a flaming hall and I pulled out the dice to determine where explosions happened. Another was when the first fire resistance guy walked through a room that looked suspiciously explosive, nothing happened and he yelled back, Don’t worry, its safe. Two of the players then walk into the room and then imidiatly the whole room blew up. Good fun was had.
To finish it up, worth a run, but so far the worst of the CoT adventure path, and after this long dungeon, we are looking forward to some wilderness fun in the next one.