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Mor Aldenn: A Trail of Poison (PFRPG) PDF

**½( )( ) (based on 2 ratings)

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The animals of Ossindrillon are slowly being poisoned. A local druid has found some of the poisoned beasts, but cannot find the source of the poison. Who would want to destroy this beautiful place and its magical inhabitants? Is the poison merely a natural occurance or is this some foul ploy of the Night Hag's?

A Trail of Poison is the very first adventure written for the Mor Aldenn, City of Mages setting. The adventure is designed for four 2nd-level characters, but could easily be used with characters of 3rd and 4th level.

Author: K. Axel Carlsson
Cartography: Jonathan Roberts
Artwork: Mario Zuccarello, Daniel Lorentsen and Gary Dupuis

If you liked this adventure, you may also want to check out the Forgotten Tower Cartography, which presents you with battlemaps!

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Product Reviews (2)

Average product rating:

**½( )( ) (based on 2 ratings)

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Makes no sense.

*( )( )( )( )

This adventure is 29 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page dedication, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages advertisements, leaving 23 pages for the adventure, so let's check it out!

The first thing you'll notice when reading this book is the beautiful layout: Headless Hydra's layout is nice, concise and features the two-column standard. the mostly b/w-artwork is cool and offers some nice pictures to show off to your players.

This being an adventure-review, it contains
SPOILERS,
so potential players please beware and jump to the conclusion.

Still here?
All right:

The basic plot line is rather simple: Animals and even magical beasts have been poisoned and the PCs are hired by a local druid to investigate a dark, spider-infested forest, unearthing the truth: One member of the coven of the Night Hag ( the grand villain of the Mor Aldenn setting) has unearthed an artifact of an archmage of old and uses the artifact to force animals and even magical beasts like unicorns to drink from a poisoned lake, thus killing them. The PCs follow the trail of dead creatures and marauding lizardfolk (strange choices as enemies - they usually are rather depicted as the noble savages instead of brutish goons that don't care about nature) to a dying unicorn at the edge of a sanctuary (which is not detailed). While the riddle and exposition provided are nice, the unicorn nevertheless just feels like it's there for shock value. After that, the PCs venture towards the tower of a curiously absent archmage (that gets a professionally done map) and battle through the enemies (mostly lizardfolk) and finally kill the perpetrator, a green hag and her right-hand maiden, an insane harpy. The adventure concludes with the PCs looting the as of yet untouched upper level of the tower and defeating the final guardian the archmage left.

While the adventure, as per the summary, seems straight-forward enough, I've encountered several problems with this one you ought to know about: First of all, this adventure is a railroad. Yes, it's a wilderness adventure, but there is ONE way to the goal and only one. PCs are penalized by wasted time IRL and random encounters when not succeeding in a tracking check, while the timeline is actually inconsequential for the adventure. There's no need to hurry. The adventure also hits a pet peeve of mine and provides a LOT of easily gained treasure in the tower. E.g. some standard lizardfolk fighting over a flaming shortspear. I'm against magic item inflation and very much for rather unique ones, but oh well - that's a personal preference and will not influence my final verdict. What will influence it, however, is the fact that the villain's "masterplan" is flat-out STUPID. DUMB. MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. Want me to elaborate? There you go!

The plot-device (TM) artifact is an orb that lets you, once per hour, put a geas on an animal or magical beast within 10 miles. Yep, that means the PCs actually get this artifact [!!! At 2nd to 4th level!!!] in the adventure. Oh, and no hard rules for the will-save are given (or any negative side-effects for owning the artifact), rendering it hard to judge/use. But back to the plan: The green hag has this extremely powerful artifact and uses it to force the animals to drink from the poison lake that can poison almost everything. Ok.

No reason is given for the lake to be poisonous and no stats are given for the undiluted poison that PCs almost definitely will bottle in large quantities. The diluted version of the poison is ridiculously weak for the levels, by the way. Why does the hag use the orb to poison the animals? Grab your seats: Because mages draw power from the land and even the animals. Mages. You know. Wizards & Sorcerors.

Come again? This makes no sense. If they went after druids, I'd be fine with the approach, but against arcane casters? Where does this assumption come from? As far as I'm concerned and after re-reading the PFRPG core rules, that's not how arcane magic works. Even better: The orb can geas animals and magical beasts at a rate of one per hour. Why don't they gather an army and attack en masse? Or send individual, good magical beasts like the unicorn out there to e.g. kill paladins etc.? That would, at least in my opinion, make for a MUCH more interesting adventure that would also pose moral conundrums: Do the PCs attack the unicorns/blink dogs/etc. or try to capture them?

Are the attacked persons perhaps corrupt? Have I mentioned the arcane library and the items the PCs are supposed to get in the end IN ADDITION to an effin' ARTIFACT that enables them to control an UNLIMITED AMOUNT of magical beasts? Why is there no information for the hag to use the artifact against animal companions? Why is there no information for an alarm in the tower and a coordinated defense by the inhabitants? On another note: There are no stat-blocks, no ToC and no bookmarks in this book, making it harder to use than it ought to be.

Conclusion:
Editing is mediocre, I noticed several punctuation errors and 2 grammatical constructions that felt strange to me. Layout is beautiful and formatting is also nice. The b/w-artworks rock and I didn't expect to get that many at this price-point. And yes, I can hear you with regards to the very low price. The price, though, does not change the fact that I can improvise better adventures than that on the fly, that there are several GLARING logic bugs in the villain's plans and that the potential loot is FAR too powerful at this level. While the production values are ok, especially for this low price, I'll just have to warn you that content-wise there is not much going for this adventure: It's railroady to the extreme, makes you look for the stats and is thus not easy on the DM and feels just BAD. Basic assumptions of the plot don't match the rules and I'll direct you to the VASTLY superior "Haunting of Soldragon Academy" - it's a bit more expensive, but there you get one extremely well-crafted adventure. "A Trail of Poison", though...not so. My final verdict, in spite of the very low price, will be 1.5 stars, rounded down to 1.


A simple fun little low level adventure.

****( )

A Trail of Poison by Headless Hydra

This product is 29 pages long. It starts with a cover, dedication and credits. (3 pages)

Chapter 0 – Intro to the adventure. (3 pages)
This is a adventure for 2nd level characters investigating animals being poisoned. This adventure is suppose to take place in Mor Alden: City of Mages campaign setting but could with little trouble be used in any setting with a small city near a large dark forest.

Chapter 1 – Entering the Spindlewood (6 pages)
Spindlewood is the name of the forest in the adventure. This part is where the PC's get contacted to help try and find out what is poisoning the local animals. There is 3 encounters in this section, with a neat reward that the PC's may or may not find at this time.

Chapter 2 – The Tower by the Shadow Lake (14 pages)
This is the bulk of the adventure. In this section is when the PC's learn what is really going on, why and who is behind it. Which of course like any good PC's will go off to put a end to their evil ways. There is 8 total encounters in a mini dungeon crawl of sorts. Two of them could prove very dangerous to a low level party.

It finished with a OGL, ad and back cover. (3 pages)

Closing thoughts. This is a simple pretty straight forward low level adventure. It has a solid pretty easy to use plot hook. The adventure has a little investigation in the wilderness followed by a pretty standard dungeon crawl. The artwork is all black and white and I have never seen it before, so I believe it is all original. The artwork all and all is pretty good.

Now the book does have a few flaws. Two fairly minor and one kinda annoying one. The two minor ones are. No bookmarks and no ToC. For a book this size not a big deal but they would have been nice. The bigger flaw is no stats for the monsters anywhere in the book. It list hp and what each one is but that’s about it. So to run the adventure you need the bestiary or Monster Manual. The reason it was done I believe is so the adventure could be use with either 3.5 OGL or Pathfinder as is. Still would have been nice to have two stat block sections or even as free DL's one for each.

While the flaw is annoying it doesn't kill by any means the value of the adventure. So if you are looking for a simple easy to run low level adventure this is worth the money. With a little work you could fairly easily adjust the level up a couple if need be. So whats my rating? For the price* and taking the flaws into account I am giving it a 4 star review.

*Note: I am not sure why but the adventure is listed as 3.50 on Drivethru but only 2.00 on Paizo. My review is based on the Paizo price.



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