Pathfinder Adventure Path #53: Tide of Honor (Jade Regent 5 of 6) (PFRPG) (based on
Paizo Publishing, LLC
Chapter 5: "Tide of Honor"
by Tito Leati
The heroes arrive in Minkai only to discover an empire on its knees. The
Jade Regent has twisted the ruling government to cater to his despotic
whims, and throughout the realm the people suffer. Before the PCs
can attempt to stand against the tyrant and liberate Minkai, they must
first earn the trust of its people and recruit aid from across the beleaguered
empire—all the while dodging murderous oni and deadly ninjas controlled
by the Five Storms. Defeating bandits who ride forth from a hidden fortress,
rescuing a famous geisha from a deadly island prison, and standing tall
before a corrupt daimyo’s army of samurai are all in a day’s work for the
hopeful liberators of the empire.
This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path includes:
“Tide of Honor,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 12th-level characters,
by Tito Leati.
An overview of the mysterious nation of Minkai, a mystical jewel of
the Dragon Empires, by Tito Leati.
Revelations on the ways of Irori, god of history, knowledge, and selfperfection,
by Sean K Reynolds.
Revelations and severed limbs in the Pathfinder’s Journal,
by Dave Gross.
Five new monsters by Tito Leati, Sean K Reynolds, and Mike Welham.
Each monthly full-color softcover Pathfinder Adventure Path volume contains an in-depth adventure scenario, stats for several new monsters, and 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 world’s oldest fantasy RPG.
In Tide of Honor by Tito Leati, the fifth instalment of the Jade Regent Adventure Path, the PCs finally arrive in Minkai, the country of their destination. There they need to begin gathering allies to help them overthrow the Jade Regent and place the rightful heir, Ameiko, on the Jade Throne. Tide of Honor is something of a change in style for the adventure path. What has been primarily a journey from one point to another now starts to set up a home base. Instead of fighting clearly defined enemies blocking their way, the PCs must now engage in a significant amount of diplomacy to win the trust and assistance of people who might be willing to help them, or might not. There are still obvious enemies to fight, but there are also a number of people who could go either way or just remain neutral. There’s a great deal of roleplaying potential in the adventure, more so than any of the previous instalments (with the possible exception of Night of Frozen Shadows), and for groups who prefer that sort of thing, I think this adventure has the potential to be one of the most enjoyable and memorable of the entire adventure path. However, for groups who prefer a more combat-oriented approach, there’s still lots to keep them happy, and GMs can easily gloss over the diplomacy stuff in such cases.
The number one thing to say about Tide of Honor is that it is one of the best classic modules that Paizo has done in a long time, dressed up and made as Japanese as possible. Does it cover new ground? Not at all. Is it fun to read, well-written and engaging? Absolutely.
My definition of a classic module includes puzzles, riddles, fighting evil sorcerers, dungeon crawling, fighting bandits, and saving princesses. This book has all of that.
One of the only Paizo books to have a riddle, a 3-D item puzzle AND an honest to God maze that works even if you play Pathfinder 100% on-the-grid, Tide of Honor has a lot of good non-combat content for the downtrodden roleplay-lovers who spent the majority of Hungry Storm rolling up random encounter after random encounter. There's diplomacy, investigation, and "scenario dungeons"-- a phrase I'll use here to describe a collection of encounters your middle-high level PCs can hit any way they like, instead of the more formulaic dungeons where the PCs are expected to go through room A1 to get to A2, and A3 to get to A4. Oh, and there are formulaic dungeons too. Something for everyone (except for people who hate table-top games).
Encounter variation is extremely good. The module runs the gamut from martial to mystical encounters and even includes a puzzle encounter, something I thought was interesting. I especially enjoyed one encounter which the DM can employ against the PCs any way he would like, and the advice presented in executing this encounter stashed away in the Appendix.
The art in the book is very well done. No pieces seem lackluster, and all of them pop and depict their subjects very well. I am slowly falling in love with whomever does the pastel artwork for Paizo-- not in love enough to look up their name right now, but, seriously, they're amazing.
As far as what to look for, if your PCs enjoyed A History of Ashes, Tide of Honor has similar subject material-- Do all of these things so that you can gain enough pull to begin doing this thing, and also you are in a completely new culture that is foreign to you. If you're looking for a completely classic adventure module, Tide of Honor is the closest you're getting until Shattered Star.