Pathfinder Adventure Path #40: Vaults of Madness (Serpent's Skull 4 of 6) (PFRPG)

**½( )( ) (based on 3 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #40: Vaults of Madness (Serpent's Skull 4 of 6) (PFRPG)

Add PDF $13.99

Print Edition Unavailable

Facebook Twitter Email

Chapter 4: "Vaults of Madness"
by Greg A. Vaughan

The PCs are now the masters of the lost city of Saventh-Yhi—or are they? For no sooner is the city won than the mighty Gorilla King and his simian followers come to take it for their own. At the same time, the PCs learn of a missing Pathfinder imprisoned in a subterranean city beneath their new holding. Before they can rescue him, however, the PCs must venture into seven ancient vaults to find the entrance to the hidden city. Can they survive the dangers of these strange constructions, or will they succumb to madness first?

    This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path includes:
  • “Vaults of Madness,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 10th-level characters, by Greg A. Vaughan.
  • A dozen deadly new traps, by Gareth Hanrahan.
  • An ecology of the terrifying ape-men known as the charau-ka, by Gareth Hanrahan.
  • Demon birds and enraged apes in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Robin D. Laws.
  • Five new monsters of the jungle, by Jesse Benner and Jason Nelson.

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: 978-1-60125-275-3

Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Sanctioned Content
Vaults of Madness is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild.

Download the rules for running this Adventure Path and Chronicle sheets — (495 kb zip/PDF)

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

Product Availability

PDF: Will be added to your My Downloads Page immediately upon purchase of PDF.

Print Edition: Unavailable

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

PZO9040


See Also:

Average product rating:

**½( )( ) (based on 3 ratings)

Sign in to create or edit a product review.

The Gorilla King says...

*( )( )( )( )

So I was thinking of running this adventure path as an extension of my Sargavan game. the first two seemed interesting, but then I got to three and four. Three has been strongly criticised and does have its serious weaknesses, but four takes the failure cake for me. I will explain why.

In this book, the players have secured a bit of space for themselves, battling many of the factions of the hidden city and emerging victorious. A king of the gorillas arrives before you can venture below the city and things start to go pear-shaped if you accept his forceful hospitality. There is awful food which can sicken the party and he imposes challenges which the players must complete before he will allow them to venture forth. Yes, this outsider will come in, block the adventure proceeding, impose tests and if the players win, he will move on and accept their authority (how quaint).

To the tests, a DC 25 strength check, which many players in games I've run or been in, would fail. Even a barb may not be able to pull it off if he isn't a typical massive strength build.

Next an oratory or similar check of DC 35. You are meant to impress the court, that is nice, but 35 isn't impressive, it is magnificent. Also many parties I know couldn't get 35 at around 11th level. Even a bard would fail on a low roll.

The last is combat. One party member against the king. He is a fourteenth level fighter and dire ape. He could be taken, but it would be rather hard.

If you fail two, you lose, the king blocks the tunnels that go deeper. If you win, he threatens the party and implies he will murder them in the jungle. Well that is just swell and honourable isn't it?

So I told a friend and dnd player why I wouldn't be running this adventure path and told him of the above scene. He said, the players should say fine, leave the ridiculous tests and tell the dm well the adventure path is a failure since we now can't proceed. If you refuse the very hard quests then the gorilla king becomes angry, offers them one more time (oh how generous) and may attack with his small army. A mid level party would have very little chance against this small army of ape-variants and nasty combatants.

There are some good monsters, but the necromancer hunt was stale years ago and the gorilla king encounter begins the book. It is worse than the imposed Shoanti quests in The Crimson throne, and they seemed out of place and very demanding then.


Interesting, but quickly becomes templated

***( )( )

This module has the adventurers going into Saventh-Yhi's Vaults of Madness, seeking out a way to follow up on plot hooks discovered at the climax of the last book.

This book is definitely a step up in content from the last, with each mini-dungeon containing a number of interesting encounters. The problem comes when you finally have the hindsight to realize that each dungeon has about three encounters in it, and many of them aren't really hyped up a lot with story. The ecology also feels strange. You kind of go from one encounter to the next, hitting themed streaks, but a lot of the monsters don't feel like they really live in, or have a reason to live in, the vaults they're encountered in.

It's strongly written, the roleplaying is solid, and the trademark Paizo "information the party will never learn" is fascinating. If you're coming out of City of Seven Spears, this will be a breath of fresh air.


Fine crawling to be found


This module is filled with several solid, short crawls. I did not like modules 3 and 5 of this AP (6 is not out yet by the time this is written), but this one is a great addition to 1 and 2. It's not one of those "Man, I want to run this NOW and see the expression on my player's faces" adventures that Paizo so often comes up with... but it's obvious from reading this that there is lots of fun to this one.


Preliminary review on only a couple points - Grimtooth's traps & Mwangi

****( )

This is *only* a review on a couple points - things for which I was searching or which I just sort of noticed.

Overall, looks like a really interesting module with lots of action. Not much contact with Mwangi culture (for which I was looking) but a little bit. Huge pulp feel.


1 to 50 of 84 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Alas, the tradition is upheld, Master of Dungeon Disaster mr. Greg A. Vaughn sneaks into yet another Paizo AP. Well played sir, well played ...

Frog God Games

I am like a stubborn bacterial infection. I just won't go away.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

I'm following in your footsteps, Vaughan! Watch out!

Contributor

Greg A. Vaughan wrote:
I am like a stubborn bacterial infection. I just won't go away.

Wierd, that's exactly how I think of you too.

Contributor

M'naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar

Contributor

And if vaughn was a bacterial infection, exactly what kind of infection might he be?

Hmmm, thinks...

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Greg A. Vaughan wrote:
I am like a stubborn bacterial infection. I just won't go away.

Ahem! [radiovoice]Do you have troublesome Vaughan infection? Try NEW "Vaughanastat"! Guaranteed to rid you of even the toughest infection![/radiovoice]

Contributor

Vaughnmonia - long term illness brought about by loosing bets placed on the quality of adventures appearing in the same edition of maghazines.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Dear Sir Pett, does your increased posting activity point to the possibility of you writing the 6th part of Serpent Skull ? We need somebody with VR (Vaughan Resistance) writing a part of SS, surely !

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Gorbacz wrote:
Dear Sir Pett, does your increased posting activity point to the possibility of you writing the 6th part of Serpent Skull ? We need somebody with VR (Vaughan Resistance) writing a part of SS, surely !

I'm your man!

Contributor

Gorbacz wrote:
Dear Sir Pett, does your increased posting activity point to the possibility of you writing the 6th part of Serpent Skull ? We need somebody with VR (Vaughan Resistance) writing a part of SS, surely !

Now there's a fine thought Gorbacz, and I'm so glad you recall VR so clearly. However, I do have the honour of concluding Kingmaker so one mustn't be greedy.

Those fine fellows know I'll do any task for them at the drop of a hat.

Huzzah!

Contributor

NSpicer wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Dear Sir Pett, does your increased posting activity point to the possibility of you writing the 6th part of Serpent Skull ? We need somebody with VR (Vaughan Resistance) writing a part of SS, surely !
I'm your man!

I can see there's only one way to sort things out between us Spicer - blades or pistols sir - blades or pistols I say!

The fact that you'll do a fine job is irrelevant, to arms sir, come come!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Richard Pett wrote:
I can see there's only one way to sort things out between us Spicer - blades or pistols sir - blades or pistols I say!

Okay, fine. You bring a blade and I'll bring a pistol. ;-)

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

This is the installment I'm looking forward to the most. I can't wait to see what the serpent folk city looks like!

Contributor

NSpicer wrote:
Richard Pett wrote:
I can see there's only one way to sort things out between us Spicer - blades or pistols sir - blades or pistols I say!
Okay, fine. You bring a blade and I'll bring a pistol. ;-)

Tcha! Done by her majesty!

Erm...

Frog God Games

Tom Qadim wrote:
This is the installment I'm looking forward to the most. I can't wait to see what the serpent folk city looks like!

Hi Tom,

While I'd love to take credit for the look and feel of Ilmurea, I can't actually do either. Vaults of Madness is all about finding the entrance to Ilmurea. The actual city appears in the following installment. Plus as far as I know, our own Hugo "Butterfrog" Solis is designing the city maps. I've only seen the rough of Saventh Yhi, and it is spectacular, so I can't imagine that Ilmurea will be anything less.

Greg

Frog God Games

Richard Pett wrote:
NSpicer wrote:
Richard Pett wrote:
I can see there's only one way to sort things out between us Spicer - blades or pistols sir - blades or pistols I say!
Okay, fine. You bring a blade and I'll bring a pistol. ;-)

Tcha! Done by her majesty!

Erm...

Heh, heh...Bubonic vaughan strikes again. Add a little ekaj* poison to Pett's blade and I've taken care of both him and Spicer. Now if only the Logue were somehow to become involved...("Why that's a nasty cough you have there, Mr. Logue")

*Developed by the mysterious and elusive ekaj (somebody want to link that up for me?), this deadly poison does not allow a Fort save and bypasses all poison immunities.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

EKAJ, THE TRUE STROY

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Greg A. Vaughan wrote:


While I'd love to take credit for the look and feel of Ilmurea, I can't actually do either. Vaults of Madness is all about finding the entrance to Ilmurea.

Thanks for clarifying, Greg!

At any rate, I'm just as anxious to see what sort of serpentine horrors you've devised for the Vaults of Madness. I'm also dying to see your take on an ancient Azlanti city (Saventh Yhi). Good stuff!

Contributor

Greg A. Vaughan wrote:
Richard Pett wrote:
NSpicer wrote:
Richard Pett wrote:
I can see there's only one way to sort things out between us Spicer - blades or pistols sir - blades or pistols I say!
Okay, fine. You bring a blade and I'll bring a pistol. ;-)

Tcha! Done by her majesty!

Erm...

Heh, heh...Bubonic vaughan strikes again. Add a little ekaj* poison to Pett's blade and I've taken care of both him and Spicer. Now if only the Logue were somehow to become involved...("Why that's a nasty cough you have there, Mr. Logue")

*Developed by the mysterious and elusive ekaj (somebody want to link that up for me?), this deadly poison does not allow a Fort save and bypasses all poison immunities.

You don't think death will stop me and Spicer do you Vaughn?

Expires

Contributor

I never did like Tammeraut's Fate.

Dark Archive

Who let the Pett out? I thought he/it had been imprisoned by a Finnish winter witch...

Contributor

Asgetrion wrote:
Who let the Pett out? I thought he/it had been imprisoned by a Finnish winter witch...

I've escaped to watch the wrong Manchester loose to stoke in the fa cup. Anyway, that was just Hitchcock in drag.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

Gorbacz wrote:
Alas, the tradition is upheld, Master of Dungeon Disaster mr. Greg A. Vaughn sneaks into yet another Paizo AP. Well played sir, well played ...

At least it's the fourth installment this time. Always on issue five, that Vaughn.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

That's because Greg likes killing off PCs after their players have gotten attached to them and invested so much in their advancement. ;-)

Dark Archive

Richard Pett wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
Who let the Pett out? I thought he/it had been imprisoned by a Finnish winter witch...
I've escaped to watch the wrong Manchester loose to stoke in the fa cup. Anyway, that was just Hitchcock in drag.

Tim is Finnish? And he's a witch? No matter; since you have escaped, why don't you slither to a cozy attic to write some Pathfinder stuff, hey? *Crack crack* out come the whips...

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

In this campaign, I'd expect most groups to include somebody with at least a couple of rogue levels to handle the traps. So if this NPC tagalong has rogue levels, that might not be best.

I'm also looking forward to the clever deathtraps, and I hope most of them offer multiple ways to bypass them. That way, the NPC ally could be helpful, without being mandatory. It would also be neat if she ends up having levels in classes that aren't traditionally backup singers or which are often villains. I realize she needs to be versatile enough to explain how she was able to get where she is partly alone, though. So maybe oracle or shadowdancer, and not a bard. In case the players end up liking her, maybe she could also be useful later on down below, like an aberrant sorceress or an earth druid.

Frog God Games

Gorbacz wrote:
EKAJ, THE TRUE STROY

Thank you you, Gorbacz. :)

Frog God Games

Demiurge 1138 wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Alas, the tradition is upheld, Master of Dungeon Disaster mr. Greg A. Vaughn sneaks into yet another Paizo AP. Well played sir, well played ...
At least it's the fourth installment this time. Always on issue five, that Vaughn.

Actually just on the last few. After this one, I think the only installment I haven't done will be the second installment. And everybody knows that is the accursed Pett chapter, known to provoke fits of incomprehensible sentences, (see his last post above), and overuse of the letters u and c). ::Shudders:: No thanks!

Contributor

Greg A. Vaughan wrote:
And everybody knows that is the accursed Pett chapter, known to provoke fits of incomprehensible sentences,

Ah, only incomprehensible to some of us...


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Greg A. Vaughan wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
EKAJ, THE TRUE STROY
Thank you you, Gorbacz. :)

Awsum!

Dark Archive

Not to sidetrack this thread Greg but assuming you are the same guy over at necro (and boy would I feel dumb if your not) I replied to your post over there.


Richard Pett wrote:

And if vaughn was a bacterial infection, exactly what kind of infection might he be?

Hmmm, thinks...

Amoebas ... definitely amoebas ...

Contributor

Brother Faust the Elder wrote:
Richard Pett wrote:

And if vaughn was a bacterial infection, exactly what kind of infection might he be?

Hmmm, thinks...

Amoebas ... definitely amoebas ...

NICE!

I still see him as some sort of foetid pond of rancid polypore, but then I've always had a soft spot for him.

Fat snakes vaughan, fat snakes!

I don't know why I'm taunting you, I don't seem to be in this one...sniffs

Frog God Games

See what I mean...the Pett chapter. Or should I say the Poeitt Chcaptore

Dark Archive

For those that are big fans of Greg A. Vaughan might want to check out my review of The Slumber Tsar.

Forum review here.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I don't recognize the weird frog-looking guy on the mockup cover. Does anyone know where he's from? Looks like a skum...

Contributor

Dark_Mistress wrote:

For those that are big fans of Greg A. Vaughan might want to check out my review of The Slumber Tsar.

Forum review here.

Ah, but Dark Mistress - what about those many people out here who aren't his fans - what about us eh?

Where's the vaughn-hate-love? erm, something.

Moist moors out.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Generic Villain wrote:
I don't recognize the weird frog-looking guy on the mockup cover. Does anyone know where he's from? Looks like a skum...

It's one of the seasworn from "Chimera Cove." He's a long way from the ocean!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Generic Villain wrote:
I don't recognize the weird frog-looking guy on the mockup cover. Does anyone know where he's from? Looks like a skum...
It's one of the seasworn from "Chimera Cove." He's a long way from the ocean!

Ah thanks, that explains why I don't recognize. I'll eventually get me a PF Module subscription...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A question from a new guy (well, old/new, I let my sub lapse for financial reasons at AP#6 and just re-joined): it looks like the schedule is for one book in late October, then this one in late December. Is this a slip, an error on the subscription status page, or are the books now bi-monthly? Either way, it's not a big deal to me, but I was wondering what I should expect.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Cards, Companion Subscriber
NSpicer wrote:
Richard Pett wrote:
I can see there's only one way to sort things out between us Spicer - blades or pistols sir - blades or pistols I say!
Okay, fine. You bring a blade and I'll bring a pistol. ;-)

Look at what happened in V for Vendetta when someone brought a knife to a gun fight. ^_~

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Geistlinger wrote:
NSpicer wrote:
Richard Pett wrote:
I can see there's only one way to sort things out between us Spicer - blades or pistols sir - blades or pistols I say!
Okay, fine. You bring a blade and I'll bring a pistol. ;-)
Look at what happened in V for Vendetta when someone brought a knife to a gun fight. ^_~

And I guess those super-human reflexes to avoid bullets and hurl knives so quickly played no part in the anti-hero's success? I'm fairly certain Rich won't benefit from such a pairing. ;-P

Paizo Employee Creative Director

ajs wrote:

A question from a new guy (well, old/new, I let my sub lapse for financial reasons at AP#6 and just re-joined): it looks like the schedule is for one book in late October, then this one in late December. Is this a slip, an error on the subscription status page, or are the books now bi-monthly? Either way, it's not a big deal to me, but I was wondering what I should expect.

The Pathfinder Adventure Path is still a monthly product. We just got hit with a couple of particularly tough to develop/edit adventures in this particular AP, which when combined with some other elements (Bestiary 2, Save Dr. Lucky) taking a significant amount of resources away from the AP line, caused the AP schedule to slip a bit.

We're hoping to get the APs back on schedule by the end of Serpent's Skull. Hiring a few new folks to help has already started to help here. But that does mean that what you're seeing in the AP's schedule is a reflection of some scheduling snafus a few months ago.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Richard Pett wrote:


... - blades or pistols sir - blades or pistols I say!

The fact that you'll do a fine job is irrelevant, to arms sir, come come!

Only *girls* fight with swords. Real men duel with cannons! Mnarrrrr!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
The Pathfinder Adventure Path is still a monthly product. We just got hit with a couple of particularly tough to develop/edit adventures in this particular AP, which when combined with some other elements (Bestiary 2, Save Dr. Lucky) taking a significant amount of resources away from the AP line, caused the AP schedule to slip a bit.

No worries at all. I really enjoy your AP line, and am glad to hear that it will continue to be a monthly product.

One suggestion: for the month of November, you might consider offering new subscribers who sign up the option of going back TWO issues for their first delivery to the first AP of the current series with the usual book+PDF deal. That gives them something to chew through while waiting for December. Giving people the option to spend a little extra never hurt the bottom line, either. ;)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've updated the product image and description to match the finished product.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Nice. I see the intrepid heroes have gotten themselves into another bit of trouble. They should know better than to go disturbing things best left alone. :->

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

This artist is amazing and needs to be kept around for a long time.

Also, the way the 7 vaults are described makes me hopeful that this can be interlaced with the previous installment for a 2-book-combo uber-sandbox. Probably not, but that's where my dreams are at right now.

Frog God Games

Erik Freund wrote:

This artist is amazing and needs to be kept around for a long time.

Also, the way the 7 vaults are described makes me hopeful that this can be interlaced with the previous installment for a 2-book-combo uber-sandbox. Probably not, but that's where my dreams are at right now.

I have not seen the finished previous volume, but I actually think what you are describing might work quite well.

1 to 50 of 84 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Paizo / Product Discussion / Pathfinder Adventure Path #40: Vaults of Madness (Serpent's Skull 4 of 6) (PFRPG) All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.