Pathfinder Module: The Midnight Mirror (PFRPG)

****½ (based on 19 ratings)
Pathfinder Module: The Midnight Mirror (PFRPG)
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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Written by Sam Zeitlin, 2011's winner of Paizo Publishing's annual RPG Superstar contest—in which unpublished authors compete before a panel of celebrity game designers and legions of their peers for the chance to write a Pathfinder Module—The Midnight Mirror takes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.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-401-6

The Midnight Mirror is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle Sheet and additional rules for running this module are a free download (119 KB zip/PDF).

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Modules Subscription.

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Non-Mint: Unavailable This product is non-mint. Refunds are not available for non-mint products. The standard version of this product can be found here.

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

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****½ (based on 19 ratings)

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TPK sauce.

****( )

Without spoiling anything besides confirmation that, guess what, there are fights in this module:

The fights vary from aggravating time fillers (there's more than enough content to make this last two 4-5+ hour sessions even if you drop a bunch of the pointless fights) to absolutely brutal.

My party of five players (Pregen cleric, sword & board fighter, party buff spellcasty/secondary melee type, reach fighter and zen archer) actually did fairly well against the "main" encounter (took some heavy damage but at no point was I concerned for their survival) but were absolutely BRUTALIZED by the other hard encounter.

By brutalized I mean even GM rolling damage to pull punches at the end of the fight one was dead, three were unconscious and the last one standing surrendered. Had I not pulled punches at least three of them would have been dead.

HOWEVER as a GM I thoroughly enjoyed running encounters that players were not able to breeze through and the scenario is top notch in all other aspects. Mood is suitably drippy and sour. Backstory is great although it may take some GM thought to expose the cooler bits to players. Ending is satisfying.


There's a reason Nidal isn't a tourist hotspot...

*****

I played this mod with Quentin as GM, and later GM'ed it myself. I had a great time in both cases.

The module has a solid story, tied in to Golarion lore and making sense; and pretty much all of it will be discovered by the players during the module sooner or later. If it happens sooner, the tone will be quite different. There's the potential for serious pathos here.

When I ran it, even the non-main fights had my players nervous. Some of them came fast and furious. And the bosses are really quite scary. The final boss is IMO way over the top, but GMs should pay close attention to his tactics, as those give the players a chance to get at him without too many PCs dying.

However what I like best about this module isn't the fights (although those are mostly well-chosen), but the attention paid to description and NPC background. Even the rooms where nothing actually happens are interesting to describe to your players because they help establish the situation the PCs find themselves in. And because every NPC has enough description, it's easy to improvise when players try to talk their way through things (which is possible and even advisable in many places).

Also, auntie dear is an amazing NPC.

One final piece of advice to GMs: the mission hook in modules tends to be a bit vague. In this case, think carefully what hook will best draw in your players and keep them going after their initial findings. The default hook in the module works fine with heroic/do-gooder PCs but for the more mercenary ones you might want to pick something different.


Great Gothic Horror

*****

One of the very few modules of Nidle, really love the great setting of an isolated town and people.

The first part is full of investigation and roleplaying, followed by a planar trip (also with much diplomacy).

However, there are two very difficult encounters, a well-balanced party is needed (especially a divine caster). And beware of getting a bad end :) (although no real influence with PFS play)


Great Setting, Great Story

*****

I've run and played this, my biggest suggestion would be to read Nightglass before running it if you happen to like the novels. This is the dark and twisted depths of Nidal and making the setting speak for itself is crucial. I think this had more of a feeling for me because I had the background on the setting and why things are so wrong because what your seeing is contrary to what it should be.
As a GM I would strongly stress on the trip in what the settings and customs of the country is. I would also suggest be highly flexible, when we played it, our group ran it 'backwards' and thought our contact was the bbeg (oops) it still worked out as we put together pieces from exploring the town and finding out what was going on.
If your players like exploring locations and not just looking for an issue and fixing it this is a very good module for your group.


Clunky start, but great payoff.

****( )

(I GMed this.)

This is a great module, but there are some niggling problems. The investigation part is kinda clunky at times, and there seem to be some discrepancies between room box text and the maps. In fact, the maps are incredibly bare-bones, with no furniture in any of the rooms. The maps aren't really appealing to look at, and clashes with the picture in your mind when the description states that the room is absolutely cluttered with items and you see absolutely nothing.
There are some combats that are easily breezed through, and one combat that actually neuters itself, which left my party sort of underwhelmed. Yet the sub-boss and boss themselves are suddenly a spike into the other direction that even had my over-prepared party was having trouble with it.

But, apart from that, I adore the atmosphere. The setting is great and some of the NPCs are really interesting to interact with. And I love how all of the enemies actually have a backstory and most of them can be reasoned with. It's a nice change of pace from the regular dungeon crawl where people stay locked in their rooms and have nothing useful to say.

In the end, still a great module to play/run. While the adventure could benefit from some polishing, what's here is still very enjoyable and while not always very challenging, still tells a good story with lots of shades of grey (though not 50; that's way too many).


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RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Congrats, Sam! Do us proud!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

Oo, a new title already. Make us proud Sam. You represent our hopes and dreams. Give 'em a good dark romp through the two manors!

You deserve the big prize. Way to go!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Yeah, I like the new name. Some of the voters and I were tossing around the idea of calling it "The Black Mirror" on the entrie's thread but "The Midnight Mirror" distinguishes it from Sam's R4 entry. Also, it has a nice alliterative ring to it. And I see they've already decided to move it to Nidal!

Dark Archive

very cool.


Congratulations Sam!

Grand Lodge

Well done Sam! Moving the action to Nidal should be interesting.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

Congrats and well earned. I look forward to another superstar module.


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

Congrats!

Contributor

Congrats Sam! :)


Wow! Less than 6 hours into winning and they've already changed the name and location of the module. Makes me wary of how much else they plan on changing and if the final product will even resemble the winning proposal at all. I guess only time will tell.

Congrats on winning.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
james knowles wrote:

Wow! Less than 6 hours into winning and they've already changed the name and location of the module. Makes me wary of how much else they plan on changing and if the final product will even resemble the winning proposal at all. I guess only time will tell.

Congrats on winning.

To be fair, the changes that have been made so far (location and title) were items that were specifically called out in the judges' comments as changes that would need to be made if this were the winning proposal. So, the voters shouldn't exactly be surprised at this.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Yup; there's also going to be some other plot changes as well so that this adventure doesn't so closely resemble the Pathfinder Society scenario "The Penumbral Accord." We'll be letting the author come up with alternate plot elements, though, so even though it'll change, it'll still remain his work.

And such changes really aren't a big deal, honestly. Happens to every product, more or less, when we don't give the author a super strict outline.


I'm very excited to see this. The new name (and locale (Nidal, at last!)) is great-- and the scenario sounds perfect for the ghastly plans I have for my campaign.


Well if it does end up in Nidal, it will be a rather interesting peek at how Nidal operates, which hasn`t really be detailed all that much to my knowledge...

The Shadow Plane stuff will not be a surprise as a whole to any PCs, though the Lurker in the Light will likely be. But I imagine how Nidal`s government, ruling class, and sociey at large are portrayed here will do alot to establish the canon on that subject.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

I noticed that the Paizo people moved really fast on getting a mock-up on the site once the announcement of the winner was "offical." ;)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Lord Fyre wrote:
I noticed that the Paizo people moved really fast on getting a mock-up on the site once the announcement of the winner was "offical." ;)

We do that every year... it's one of the reasons why the results are announced the day *after* voting closes—we have to make a mockup cover, create a product listing, write a press release and a Paizo blog, and rework some web pages.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

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Quandary wrote:

Well if it does end up in Nidal, it will be a rather interesting peek at how Nidal operates, which hasn`t really be detailed all that much to my knowledge...

The Shadow Plane stuff will not be a surprise as a whole to any PCs, though the Lurker in the Light will likely be. But I imagine how Nidal`s government, ruling class, and sociey at large are portrayed here will do alot to establish the canon on that subject.

That's part of why we decided to move it from Ustalav, as proposed. The actual events that play out within the adventure shouldn't be affected by the move, but it does allow us (and Sam) to detail a largely undeveloped nation that I know a lot of people are interested in. Fans of Ustalav are getting tons of goodies between Carrion Crown and Rule of Fear. Sam should have more room to stretch his legs in Nidal where there are less canon toes to step on.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
canon toes

Those sound dangerous, and hard to walk on.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Justin Franklin wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
canon toes
Those sound dangerous, and hard to walk on.

They're actually frighteningly easy to walk on, which is what makes them so dangerous. Best to avoid them when possible, especially when it also means we can grow new toes somewhere that currently features very few.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Justin Franklin wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
canon toes
Those sound dangerous, and hard to walk on.

You probably are thinking of the legendary cannon toads that live buried in the rough sands of the far corners of Golarion.

Canon toes are very easy to walk on, but the canon is a foul-tempered beast with many followers and a vicious streak a mile wide.

(Just ask any Star Wars fan about The Crystal Star and you'll know what I mean :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Quandary wrote:

Well if it does end up in Nidal, it will be a rather interesting peek at how Nidal operates, which hasn`t really be detailed all that much to my knowledge...

The Shadow Plane stuff will not be a surprise as a whole to any PCs, though the Lurker in the Light will likely be. But I imagine how Nidal`s government, ruling class, and sociey at large are portrayed here will do alot to establish the canon on that subject.

We haven't done much with Nidal yet at all, so setting this adventure there is a GREAT chance to start looking at that nation, similarly to how last year's RPG Superstar winner was set on the Isle of Jalmeray.


Nice one Sam!


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

...and yes I will buy this one as well.


Ooh! This sounds fantastic!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I know it's a bit early, but will this module be approved for Pathfinder Society Organized gaming, like "Cult of the Ebon Destroyers" or "The Godsmouth Heresy"?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Unless our plans change significantly in the next nine months, we plan to sanction all Pathfinder Modules for Pathfinder Society Organized Play from hereon out.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've added the ISBN to the product listing.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hopefully we get to fight some fetchlings and other not so common creatures from and/or related to the plane of shadow like shadows and shadow mastifs.

Sczarni

I'm excited to finally get something set in Nidal!

In its current vague definition, it has always seemed to me to be the sort of country that's so evil and dangerous that most PCs would simply avoid ever going there unless they really needed to. Not a popular vacation spot, and geographically not really on the way to anywhere important.

I hope there's a good plot hook to get foreign adventurers to go into Nidal in the first place.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Product image and description updated to reflect the finished product.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So what Iconics besides Kyra were used in this one?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Lem, Balazar, Amiri

But keep in mind that we don't do pregens anymore, so we typically order art based on who would look cool in different situations rather than any other reason, especially for Modules, where there are generally only the cover and two half-page illustrations with iconics on them anyway.

Dark Archive

Wicked looking cover.

Liberty's Edge

I started a modules subscription just because of this. I can't wait to read it, Sam.

Sczarni

Sweet cover.

I'm definitely interested in buying this one.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Nice new cover.

Silver Crusade

Congrats Sam on getting your adventure published!

Just curious is that Jeff Easley for the cover artist?


Overpriced for the page count.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kolyana wrote:
Overpriced for the page count.

Same price it's been for the last three years. Personally, for the quality product that these modules are, I've always felt that I got more than my money's worth.

Silver Crusade

Tallowthroat is the squickiest disease I've seen in the game for a long time.

Still reading over the adventure. Love that we're getting a look at Nidal's common folk here.

edit-wrote "throat" instead of "folk". Gah, that image isn't going to leave my mind any time soon.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Don't drink the water!


Fantastic cover art! I hope to see more art in the future with this style. I always love the announcement of new modules, it makes things much more exciting!

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

Definitely looking forward to this. Congrats, Sam!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

I'll confess I chuckled when I read your round 1 entry in there as well. :-)


Anyone else having trouble printing the pdf? It's the same "no pages selected to print" issue I had with the last two Adventure Path Player's Guides.

Other than that, it looks fantabulous!

Paizo Employee Web Product Manager

Antimony wrote:

Anyone else having trouble printing the pdf? It's the same "no pages selected to print" issue I had with the last two Adventure Path Player's Guides.

Other than that, it looks fantabulous!

This is the first I've heard of this happening with one of the modules. There's something really screwy going on that I really can't pinpoint that causes the problem. Once it's been fixed there will be an email letting you know.


Thanks for the quick response--you guys really are the best at the whole "customer service" thing.

And I'd like to reiterate that the inability to print the thing is in no way detracting from the sheer awesomeness of reading it.

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