Pathfinder Adventure Path #34: Blood for Blood (Kingmaker 4 of 6) (PFRPG) (based on
Paizo Publishing, LLC
Chapter 4: "Blood for Blood"
by Neil Spicer
Even with the PCs’ kingdom growing at their heart, the Stolen Lands are far from tame. An incursion by merciless barbarians spills blood on the PCs’ lands and begins a search for a legendary artifact in the depths of the region’s most infamous wilderness. Amid the perpetual shadows and bottomless bogs of the Hooktongue Slough lie long-mired secrets and terrors eager to consume any who intrude upon their fetid realm. Yet what powers that lurk beyond the swamp seek to end the PCs’ reign? And how might a single, bloodthirsty blade mean the difference between their kingdom’s ruin and its survival?
This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path includes:
“Blood for Blood,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 10th-level characters,
by Neil Spicer.
Information on the cruel society and blood-curdling superstitions of boggards, Golarion’s sinister frogmen, by Todd Stewart.
Details on some of the most famous hidden treasures and lost relics of the Stolen Lands, by Brian Cortijo.
Ollix and Phargas learn the perils of gambling with a leucrotta in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Kevin Andrew Murphy.
Five new monsters, by Julian Neale, 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.
This adventure was tragically under CRed. Even adding additional monsters to random encounters didn't make it much more challenging. The three times my group had a real challenge were once when I rolled a 100 on the random encounter in the Slough (and a 4 for the quantity), once when the group was so overconfident with their abilities they stormed the keep (I had incorporated a mercenary NPC archer to discourage such brazen actions. Without doing this I am sure that the mage-less group could have easily strong-armed the entire keep.) and finally when the barbarian tribes were united under Armag and marched on the PCs kingdom. I don't like to encourage the 'kick in the door' tactic for every encounter. It's fun to really mop up some baddies sometimes, but 2 or 3 levels of it just gets boring.
Overall I highly recommend this adventure as a stand alone for 9th level characters OR enhancing some of the encounters as part of the Kingmaker AP. Although thematically this adventure was SUPERB and worthy of 5 stars, it just needed a bit of work to make it truly fun for the group. The amount of work needed to make this adventure cohesive, plot advancing, and challenging (not to mention the useless sword) knocks the book down a couple notches.
The Good: -Barbarian villain seems pretty tough.
-Good storyline, overall one of the better stories.
-Rewards for the PCs are really strong, this is important.
The Bad: -1st of 2 main villains is going to go down like a chump.
-Suffers for wanting mass combat but not having rules for it yet.
The Ugly: -OK we see gay characters but big surprise they are pretty lesbians with fan service art, bad form.
-The big bad's sword is effectively a cursed reward.
-The mid level boss is the chump little brother of book 5's boss.
-Its a little too apparent that these adventures were developed by seperate people who were only very basically collaborating. Paizo has gotten better at this but Neil is an excellent author this was not his best IMHO
Overall: The rewards are great, the villain would be better if not sandwiched between an awesome villain (book 3) and a better version of the mid level villain (book 5.) Can't give a 4th star for it...
This module is a blast. Unfortunately most of the villans will roll over and die a bit easy for my taste. All the swamp encounters are CRed for a group of about 7th level, which seems odd for a 10th level adventure.
Fortunately my group had so much fun wading through the much, charging the castle, and exploring an ancient tomb that we didn't mind face-rolling the actual encounters.
Again I would have liked more of the scripted kingdom events (though the invasion of Tatzleford was a step in the right direction).
I just finished Blood for Blood. (A measure of how busy life has been that I'm a month behind on Pathfinder.) I thought it was brilliant. Giant sentient waterbugs! The free Fort Drelev minigame. Villains (the sisters at the temple) who are in it for the retirement plan! The whole Armag temple, actually.
The adventure continues the sand-box nature of the Kingmaker campaign. There's a tramp through swampy Hooktongue Slough which could become a side-quest. The PCs run a small insurrection against their rival Baron Drelev. (Rules for the insurrection could be adapted to almost any revolution-themed homebrew.) And it's capped with a dungeon crawl at Armag's tomb. Look for well-drawn NPCs and an interesting new monster, the bog-strider.