Pathfinder Adventure Path #33: The Varnhold Vanishing (Kingmaker 3 of 6) (PFRPG)

***½( ) (based on 12 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #33: The Varnhold Vanishing (Kingmaker 3 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Chapter 3: "The Varnhold Vanishing"
by Greg A. Vaughan

The Stolen Lands consume many wanderers—the perils of its rugged wildernesses and hidden mysteries prey upon even the wariest of travelers. Founded upon one of the most savage frontiers, the colony of Varnhold defied the many dangers of this harsh region. At least, it did until all the residents of the fledgling community completely disappeared. Now it falls to the PCs to discover what became of their eastern neighbor, a secret steeped in generations-old hatreds and the mysteries of an empire long crumbled to dust. Can they uncover the terrible secret behind this shocking disappearance before the same calamity befalls their own land?

    This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path includes:
  • “The Varnhold Vanishing,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 7th-level characters, by Greg A. Vaughan.
  • A gazetteer of Iobaria, frigid land of savagery and fallen empires, by Steven Schend.
  • Six new sites of adventure and mystery to expand your Kingmaker campaign, by Ed Greenwood.
  • A new Pathfinder’s Journal in which Pathfinder Ollix Kaddar and Phargas discover the price of gallantry, by J. C. Hay.
  • Five new monsters, by Ed Greenwood, Colin McComb, F. Wesley Schneider, and Neil Spicer.

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.

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-234-0

A free web enhancement including a map and timeline of Iobaria was feature on the Paizo Blog.

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscription.

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Product Reviews (13)
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***½( ) (based on 12 ratings)

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Dungeon got my players back into dungeon crawls


I ran this adventure with moderate modification for a group of 5 players (4 experienced, 1 novice). We used the fast experience track, and I cut most of the random encounters and some of the hex-ploring. The adventure took about 7 sessions of 3 hours each, for at total of ~21 hours, but by this point kingdom turns and following up with other side plots makes an exact hour total difficult.

My players have disliked dungeon crawls for years. Some of this is the result of my badly designed dungeons, but they also disliked Jzadirune, City of the Spider Queen, and even the famous Maure Castle. However, they absolutely loved Vordekai's tomb. The villains were cool and creepy. The terrain was interesting and flavorful without being too complicated to run. Even having multiple encounters with exactly the same minions didn't feel repetitive, and the challenge level and size were perfect.

The rest of the adventure was a blast, too. Varnhold is a tantalizing mystery and the smaller encounter sites still have many nice little flavorful touches. These encounters can become boring if the players do things out of order, but it's easy enough to cut them if they become a drag.

The back material on Iobarria is interesting and a great resource if you later want to run Reign of Winter or other adventures there. Ed Greenwood's article on small encounter locations fell flat for me and didn't match the flavor I wanted from Kingmaker, but I'm not going to let one back article pull down the rating of a stellar adventure. The fiction is particularly funny. Among the monsters, the blodeuwedd and stygira saw use in my Kingmaker and made for interesting encounters. All around, a solid issue and a good purchase for the adventure itself, even if you don't want to run the entire Kingmaker campaign.

The challenge was delightfully creepy


I don't read spoilers, which is a good thing. My DM ran this module and I was blissfully happy that I had no idea what was in store.

The good? Some of the traps were cliffhangers that kept our group on the edge of our seats. I was particularly happy for quick thinking--my cleric cast silence on one of the front line combat characters in combat with the lich. It was still a rough module, but could have been a TPK several times over.

The bad? The module didn't have enough to do with the plot. We still have many unanswered questions about how any of it ties in. Ah well.

It made for a memorable experience, nevertheless.

Is that a F'ing Lich!!!!


CLASSIC! Great story. Amazing npc's (possibly my DM's doing) great villians and what I final showdown! Lich + instant fortress= Classic! Personally my favorite of the first 4 books for sure.

Free Town, If You Can Keep It! Varnhold Vanishing

This was one of my player's favorite arches; I can see why...there is a great mix of diplomacy and dungeon crawl, and the big bad...*shudder.* See my full review: The Varnhold Vanishing

Running this and its recession review changed my opinon see link at end.

***( )( )

My format is bullet points, just how I roll.

The Good: -Awesome villain, sells it for me.
-Ok this is based of what is perhaps the most interesting mystery in US history.
-If you use Varn right he adds an amazing element to the story (intro him by book 2 invests your PCs.)
-Some great traps and pitfalls.
-Noman Centaurs are awesome despite the terrible name.

The Bad: -Hexploration, again, can't we just hire surveyors?

Flying Pincusion Recession Review.

The Ugly: -While awesome this villain has no connection to the meta-plot

Overall: Haven't run it yet but I'm psyched to do so, the best reads always translates to teh best adventures.

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