Pathfinder Adventure Path #35: War of the River Kings (Kingmaker 5 of 6) (PFRPG) (based on
Paizo Publishing, LLC
Chapter 5: "War of the River Kings"
by Jason Nelson
Can two kings truly trust one another? King Irovetti, ruler of Pitax and potential rival to the leaders of the eastern Stolen Lands, opens his gates and hospitality to the lords of that realm. Within his city of shallow indulgences and crude decadence, he hosts a tournament ostensibly meant to foster friendship and peace, but fraught with dangers all its own. Is the King of Pitax’s good will sincere, or does he harbor a more sinister goal? And are the PCs fated to gain an opponent who commands not only a nation, but allies from a deadly other realm?
This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path includes:
“War of the River Kings,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 12th-level characters, by Jason Nelson.
A tour of the hollow wonders and grim shadows of the oppressed city of Pitax, by Mike Ferguson.
Merciless insights into the iron-shod doctrine of Gorum, god of battle, by Sean K Reynolds.
Pathfinder Ollix Kaddar’s adventures in the gladiator pits of Tymon in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Steven E. Schend.
Four new monsters, by Julian Neale and Sean K Reynolds.
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.
The map on page 33 was not printed correctly. The corrected map can be found this blog post.
War of the River Kings does one of my favorite things ever; it punishes hack and slash killer gamers with natural consequences. No moral judgement, just, you don't have as big an army as you could have. Check out my full review: War of the River Kings
The Good: -Main villain while a repetition can be compelling storyline wise.
-Numerian artifacts, sexy.
-Some fun plot twists and bring on big battles and warfare!
-Like kingdom building the mass combat system is flawed but workable.
The Bad: -You need to restat the main villain to make his stats match how awesome his story is.
The Ugly: -Players can throw a serious curve ball int he adventure design, this is where sandbox can be an issue
-DM labor intensive, though kingdom building was allot of work, add armies.
Overall: I know when I run this it will be more than a 3 star experience but again I have to base it off of how its written. IF you run this AP I highly encourage you to be a part of the forum community that if anything can raise all my ratings by a full star. The forum support for this AP is epic...
Overall I have enjoyed my time as a player in the Kingmaker AP. There have been a few issues, but the total arc has been good. This book didn't spoil my overall enjoyment of Kingmaker, but it was definitely the worst of the bunch (so far).
This book brings the mass-combat rules (started in the previous book) to the forefront. Unfortunately, mass combat is not very well designed and not very fun. First, it essentially devolves into the DM and a single player rolling. Second, in our campaign it didn't scale very well with how far we'd advanced our own kingdom. Third, there aren't any real strategy options that have meaningful effect. The entire system is too middle-of-the-road. I would have preferred a system that gave results based on individual PC combats, or, barring that, an actually cool (all players involved) wargame.
The second problem with this book is the plot. It's basically a repeat of the previous plot-line in terms of the end-goal. Whereas every book up until now has been pretty dynamic, with different NPC end-bosses and goals, this is almost a total copy. There's a bad ruler and you have to dig him out of an entrenched city. The ruler is even bad in the same way. It was a big let down.
The premise is fun and encourages in-character, attention-grabbing roleplaying, there's a lot of tasty foreshadowing towards the final adventure of the Kingmaker path, and the Mass Combat rules are awesome, almost worth the price of entry on their own.