A horror and investigation adventure for 4th-level characters
The sleepy town of Karpad in shadow-haunted Nidal has long been overseen by the Boroi family, and until a few weeks ago, the citizens under Baron Stepan Boroi's rule have lived uneventful lives of relative peace. Recently, however, the outbreak of a virulent and fatal disease and a number of mysterious disappearances have left the people of Karpad paranoid and fearful. Even Baron Stepan has been acting strangely, and now the tenuous balance of racial tensions between Karpad's human and fetchling populations stands on the verge of collapsing into total anarchy. Can the PCs uncover the root of Karpad's problems and put an end to the deadly virus, the terrifying disappearances, and the miasma of fear and distrust that threatens to overwhelm the region?
Written by Sam Zeitlin, 2011's winner of Paizo Publishing's annual RPG Superstar contest—in which unpublished authors compete before a panel of celebrity game designers and legions of their peers for the chance to write a Pathfinder Module—The Midnight Mirror takes players from a mysterious investigation into a shadowy demiplane prison and pits them against the evil forces of both darkness and light.
The Midnight Mirror is an investigation and horror adventure for 4th-level characters. This volume also contains a fully-detailed gazetteer of the town of Karpad and a new magic item that are sure to add depth and flavor to any campaign.
Pathfinder Modules are 32-page, high-quality, full-color, adventures written for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and compatible with the 3.5 edition of the world’s oldest RPG.
This is a great module, full of intrigue and dark Nidal flavor. I hadn't read the Pathfinder novel Nightglass yet but this module inspired me to read it. The characters and situations are compelling and feel real. I could definitely imagine myself in Nidal trying to help an ancient but corrupt noble house. There is one character in particular who was very entertaining to talk to, though I won't say more because I don't like to give spoilers. The Midnight Mirror allows PCs to roleplay, think critically, and engage in some (potentially deadly) fights. Alas, my party experienced a TPK during this module. I really wish we had been able to finish it. I still recommend this module, just be prepared and realize that anything involving Nidal is not for the faint of heart!
Most of the complaints I have about Pathfinder modules and PFS scenarios is how generic they are. The Pathfinder campaign setting is expansive and ever-improving. It is a shame not to put this tool to use. Many times the players have no idea what nation or region they are in because that’s how the author intended it. In The Midnight Mirror the location matters for a change. Placing the adventure in Nidal was a bold move. I just wish there were greater details about Nidal in the module, such as the reaction of commoners and authority-types to faiths opposed to Zon-Kuthon. Having the threat of arrest and torture hanging over the PCs is something the GM has to add to the experience, but it heightens the tension.
The module is split into two sections. The first allows for mood development, investigation and role-play. It’s very ‘sandbox’. The timetable is fuzzy and the GM must improvise more than they should need to. However the players shouldn’t know the difference. There are enough clues to keep them moving. There’s a great deal of exposition to cover, but I enjoy the differing POVs the players get. Part 2 is a combination of combat and role-play, giving the PCs more insight into the backstory and a feeling they've been had.
The best part of the adventure is the aftermath. PCs are forced to choose a side or witness acts of vengeance on the innocent. It doesn't matter what they pick, they are going to have blood on their hands. I like it.
I have run this module twice. I've enjoyed it, but I have some concerns about felt the climactic encounter was going to be overwhelming for 4th level PCs. Thus far I have been wrong. It’s extremely challenging but so far only 1 PC has died.
I can't point to any single thing that prevented me from giving this 5-Stars. It just seemed lacking in small ways. Like
casters using blindness in two encounters, which hoses PCs with a permanent condition. And giving a sorceress with darkvision darkvision as a 2nd level spell slot.
The Midnight Mirror is a very intelligently crafted module in which the team of adventurers are embedded in a remote town named Karpad with little to no ideas on what to expect. Early in their trip they find an extremely disturbing disease ravaging the populace, inexplicable disappearances, racism, social intrigue and the cloying sense of dread that comes with everyday living in Nidal.
Roleplayers will delight in the first half of the module, which involves investigation into the town of Karpad and its memorable inhabitants. There’s plenty of plots going on and in the first two to three hours of play, you’ll be constantly revising your theories on ‘Just what the hell is going on in Karpad?!’
When you do come to discover the true extent of the problems, it’s time to ready your spells, pull out the enchanted weaponry, don the armour and embark on a highly dangerous operation — an operation that cannot be taken lightly by 3rd level adventurers or an uncooperative team. It is deadly.
We had two deaths out of a team of five, we got cocky and we got served. The boss battles in particular are horrifying. This is a tough scenario to complete with good results. If you have a mishmash of a party, if you have team members that can’t contribute in combat, you are going to have blood on your hands. I do think the boss fights are too hard. We had many, many things go wrong for us on the battlefield, but despite this, the power of the two greater evils in the final operation seemed overwhelming. That’s the only flaw I could draw out of this dark, gothic investigation.
I highly recommend this module for experienced players.
There are some delightful moments in "The Midnight Mirror", but the ordering of the investigation material and the decision to leave out the statblock of a custom creature (especially from non-core material) baffle me. In addition, the adventure requires a DC 25 Knowledge check to defeat the final encounter, otherwise all has been in vain. For such key knowledge, why not make sure the PCs have it?
The best part of the adventure are the NPCs found in the final section, who can provide the PCs with a real moral dilemma as to what to do. A good GM can correct the problems with this adventure ahead of time, but they shouldn't have to.