Pathfinder Adventure Path #32: Rivers Run Red (Kingmaker 2 of 6) (PFRPG) (based on
Paizo Publishing, LLC
Chapter 2: "Rivers Run Red"
by Rob McCreary
With the heart of the Stolen Lands explored and the bandits who ruled there scattered, the long-contested realm finally lies open for pioneers and settlers to stake their claims. Amid the rush of opportunistic travelers, the PCs find themselves stewards over a new domain, tasked with the responsibility of guiding and guarding a fledgling nation struggling to grow upon a treacherous borderland. Yet the threats to this new nation quickly prove themselves greater than mere bandits and wild beasts, as the monstrous natives of the hills and forests rampage forth to slaughter all who have trespassed upon their territory. Can the PCs hold the land they’ve fought so hard to explore and tame? Or will their legend be just one more lost to the fangs of the Stolen Lands?
This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path includes:
“Rivers Run Red,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 5th-level characters,
by Rob McCreary.
Expansive new rules for running your own cities and nations, by James Jacobs.
Insights into the rugged faith of Erastil, god of the hunt, by Sean K Reynolds.
Pathfinder Ollix Kaddar and Phargas get themselves to a nunnery in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Richard Pett.
Five new monsters, by Adam Daigle, Rob McCreary, Sean K Reynolds,
and James L. Sutter.
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.
My review format is bullet points if you want to read a book, well read the book :)
The Good: -I feel like I've been waiting for good kingdom building rules my entire gaming career, this will also be under ugly its a love hate system.
-End villain is amazing if you steal ideas from DM_Dudemeister's thread, if not so so.
-Sandbox style which I still approve of.
-NPCs become way more interesting and critical as the PCs need them for the kingdom building rules which is a great story building tool.
-At the end of the day I had a blast running this despite its flaws
The Bad: -Hexploration gets really old and there's 3 more books of it.
-Candlemere is a waste of location opportunity, lose the story about the annoying kid and his priest friend and make this a real location.
-I end up disliking Erastil.
The Ugly: -Not for novice DMs, this book broke a GM I took over.
-The kingdom building system provided the base of the system I've been looking for without knowing it all my life a a DM, that said I have reworked it extensively as it wasn't nearly comprehensive or balanced enough. Maybe get the John brazier product if you're too lazy or use the system I posted....
-Unless you mod the Owlbear at the end is redundant as an enemy and king H makes no sense as written.
Overall: The kingdom building will divide most groups as some will love some will hate. Again you get out what you put in have to think of this AP as an outline, use the forums Luke...
As thrilled as I was to play in the first module, I was equally thrilled to turn our exploration into the background for our new nation. The interesting themes and threats continued, the fun of the explorations continued and bold new foreshadowing introduced lots of things to worry about for the future.
This book suffered from a couple of balance issues. While I mostly love the kingdom building, I agree with several other reviews that it quickly became too easy and yet was still a chore to micromanage appropriately. Nevertheless, I personally had a grand old time of it, making maps and plotting out cities multi-year development. Unfortunately, not all of our players enjoyed the system.
The second balance issue revolved around encounters. Many of the encounters were simply too easy, but then, out of nowhere, you'd encounter something mind-boggling difficult (TPK level) that just wasn't that well conceived. I'm specifically thinking of the evil fey (Dancing Lady) encounter.
Finally, this book continued the tradition of mostly silly or useless female NPCs rather than writing in any strong female characters.
Overall though, still well worth the play through.
The second installment of Kingmaker fell a bit short. This adventure proved to be almost as good as the first. The one missing piece in this adventure is a clearly defined BBEG. I created several more "big baddies" in my campaign and some encounters that gave the PCs the idea that there is something out in the wilderness that is is encroaching on their civilization.
The kingdom building rules are very interesting and fun but they have too many holes in them and because of that they don't effect the outcome of this review either way. There is a really good kingdom building add on to this adventure by Jon Brazer Enterprises. If you can afford it I highly recommend it. If you can't afford it, I would recommend adjusting some of the rules.
As a whole this adventure was good and provided several months of out of game play for my group.
This is a great adventure. I can't speak for everyone when I say some of the final encounters are tough since we lost a player during this AP (bringing us down to 3). The city creation rules were great! At first, some of the events that can occur are devastating, but we managed to outlast them and build up our kingdom so that we could shrug off the bigger hits like earthquakes and hurricanes and whatnot. Aso worth noting, this may be the first and only time the age rules for characters could come up; we spent months and years making kingdom checks and building up our city. It was a lot of fun until the resident paladin had to start worrying about reaching middle age sooner than he expected!
The adventure portion of this mod is top notch. Wel laid out and easy to run for the DM while suitably challenging for the group.
Unfortunately I feel that the city building rules could have used some extra attention. Its almost trivially easy to get to the point where you only fail a city roll on a 1. Also only about three of my five players we interested in the city building so several players spent many hours bored.