Pathfinder Adventure Path #30: The Twice-Damned Prince (Council of Thieves 6 of 6) (PFRPG) (based on
Paizo Publishing, LLC
Chapter 6: "The Twice-Damned Prince"
by Brian Cortijo and James Jacobs
Their deception revealed and their plans waylaid, two deadly and Hell-touched siblings make a desperate final play for control of Westcrown. With the city in chaos and its leaders fled, few stand to defend the beleaguered people when the plots of fiends turn upon them. At the same time, the rulers of Cheliax launch their own ruthless plot to retake control. Can the PCs return order and shatter the Council of Thieves’ age-old stranglehold on Westcrown once and for all? Or will the former capital slide fully into the grip of a terrible new deviltry? It's up to the PCs to decide in the climax of the Council of Thieves Adventure Path!
This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path completes the Council of Thieves Adventure Path, and includes:
“The Twice-Damned Prince,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 11th-level characters, by Brian Cortijo and James Jacobs
Catastrophic new rules for running a variety of calamities, from fires to floods,
by Darrin Drader
New revelations on Mammon, the avaricious archdevil of Erebus, by F. Wesley Schneider
Pathfinder Varian Jeggare and Radovan face down devilish plots and the laws of Cheliax itself in a gut-wrenching conclusion to the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Dave Gross
Five new monsters, by Adam Daigle, F. Wesley Schneider, and Neil Spicer
A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure for characters of 11th to 13th 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.
This was a good finish, just not mind-blowing. The players get to run around the city and tie up all their loose-ends, and this freedom was refreshing after several books that were very dungeon-focused to the point of being too railroading. Still, there was nothing super memorable about the encounters, except the final showdown which was exciting and well done.
It felt like a bit of a grab-bag of disconnected challenges, some of which were interesting, but many of which were just fights with groups of monsters straight out of the Bestiary. Spice it up, and add appearances and encounters with any recurring villains or characters you've accumulated, and it will not feel like an unsatisfactory ending by any means.
Oh, and one other piece of advice for GMs running this: You may way to adjust the fame-point table at the end, because achieving a satisfying ending requires that the players have earned almost every single fame point available in the entire AP. My players were consistently thorough and successful and still barely avoided having a bad ending result.
Overall, worth doing. We had a good time finishing out the AP, despite some bumps along the way. It always feels like a journey to get through a campaign like this, and Council was no disappointment, though it definitely had some stretches that were much more fun than others.
This adventure had some definite strengths and weaknesses. One of its strong points was its non-linear flow: the GM is presented with a series of related events to run as he pleases and in no particular order. This allows for the adventure to develop in an organic manner, as opposed to forcing the PCs down a particular path. Also, the manner in which the party deals with these events usually has an impact later on, further adding to the realism. There are no dungeons per se in Twice-Damned Prince. This made me a bit leary at first, but the author pulls it off quite well.
Now for the bad. While all of the adventure's events are solid and well presented, few of them struck me as particularly interesting. With the exception of the two main antagonists and a tiefling monk, I found the NPCs bland and uninspiring. For example, many of the enemies in this adventure are, not surprisingly, rogues. Why, then, did the author decide to make the vampiric Thesing a rogue as well? Why not a bard or sorcerer? It would fit his character thematically, and make for a much more interesting fight than yet another backstabbing thief-type.
Another annoyance came in the form of the fame point system. Specifically, Twice-Damned Prince adds a new type of "points" called popularity points, which must be tracked separately from fame points despite being very similar to them. This seemed unneccesarily complicated.
The article on the archdevil Mammon was fantastic, easily as good as Sean K Reynold's best Deities of Golarion articles. You even get a ready-made 20th-level high priest of Mammon who would make an excellent villain should the GM wish to continue this campaign. The bestiary has some intriguing high CR entries, though like past CoT bestiaries, the illustrations are mediocre. The Catastrophe article presents a great set of rules for running disasters such as floods and fires.
All in all, Twice-Damned Prince is a solid adventure that falls a bit short in flavor and comes with some great supporting articles. I'd give it 3.5 stars if I were able.