Pathfinder Adventure Path #63: The Asylum Stone (Shattered Star 3 of 6)

***½( ) (based on 6 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #63: The Asylum Stone (Shattered Star 3 of 6)
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Chapter 3: "The Asylum Stone"
by James L. Sutter

The search for the Shattered Star leads the PCs to Kaer Maga, the legendary cliff-top city of criminals, refugees, and anyone else seeking to vanish into its cluttered streets. Enlisted to rescue a troll prophet from a mad artificer’s hanging mansion, the PCs soon find themselves delving into the notorious Undercity. Here they must battle their way through a lost runelord laboratory before finally entering the mysterious cavern realm of the Dark Forest, where an ancient evil has guarded a lost shard for millennia. Can the PCs recover the shard from its unholy guardians and continue their quest, or will they simply be the latest souls lost to the City of Strangers?

    This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path continues the Shattered Star Adventure Path and includes:
  • “The Asylum Stone,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 8th-level characters, by James L. Sutter
  • An overview of several prominent gangs in Kaer Maga, and how they can expand the adventure, by James L. Sutter
  • New missions and adventure hooks for PCs spending time in Magnimar, by Jim Groves
  • Pirates and wererats in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Bill Ward
  • Four new monsters, by Shaun Hocking, Jason Klimchok, and James L. Sutter

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.

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-469-6

The Asylum Stone is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The rules for running this Adventure Path and Chronicle sheet are available as a free download (512 KB zip/PDF).

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

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Product Reviews (6)
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***½( ) (based on 6 ratings)

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One of the Most Creative, Challenging and Enjoyable Adventures Ever Written!


I ran The Asylum Stone for my ongoing mythic campaign. Instead of running it as part of the Shattered Star adventure path, I added several Kaer Maga based modules (Godsmouth Heresy & Seven Swords of Sin) early on to build the setting and give the players familiarity. As my players are mythic, I gave them early visions of the Dark Rider and this helped build the tension in a fantastic way. My headline pretty much says it all. I've played or run classic modules from the days of the Temple of Elemental Evil and Tomb of Horrors all the way to the Pathfinder era and what James L. Sutter has created will stand alongside the best of them all.

If you're interested in running this for a mythic campaign, I am posting my mythic adjustments in the GM's thread on the Paizo forum.

Ignore the negative reviews. This module has it all. It is filled with factions and flavor to give great roleplay. The action is varied and the monsters are imaginative and awe inspiring. The Dark Rider should become an iconic villain that your players will talk about for years to come. I know that mine do.

Pick up this book and the supplement City of Strangers to bring this to life in a way that you never imagined before. Buy it and run it today!

Better than its reviews

****( )

I ran this chapter as written for a group of 4 PCs as part of my ongoing Shattered Star campaign.

At last, Kaer Maga! The Asylum Stone! The City of Strangers!

And strange things you shall encounter, indeed... This adventure is a ride from one weird and strange set-piece to another.

If you want something that sticks more to a single theme or moves more gently from one site to another, look elsewhere.

If you are interested in a sample platter of what Kaer Maga has to offer, this is exactly your thing!

We fell into the second category and greatly enjoyed playing through this chapter.

The only downside is that the main villain is not introduced early enough in the adventure to make him and his lair feel truly legendary. It may work as written for some groups, as long as the GM stresses his importance in Varisian folklore, but for other groups you might want to seed rumors and superstition regarding him from day 1 of your campaign.

Like I said, this adventure is definitely not for everybody so think about your and your players' taste before picking this up.

We definitely had a blast, even though it was missing that little something extra that would have made it a 5 star experience.

Sadly not to my taste

**( )( )( )

I loved City of Strangers and, in general, all of what James Sutter writes but, sadly, this AP chapter didn't work for me and I don't think my group would have appreciated it. Without being my favorite part of Varisia, Kerr Maga is still fun and I was looking forward to The Asylum Stone. But even though some parts of it would probably be fun to play through (the Ardoc villa, the Troll Augurs, the Caulborns), most of the two main dungeons seem filled with somewhat random creatures that have little in common. Some of these encounters are really good, but I find the randomness undermines them. One or two odd creatures would have been fine, but many strange creatures in adjacent rooms would have broken my group's sense of verisimilitude.

Maybe Kerr Maga is just not for me/us?

I'm still looking forward to James's next AP chapter, when he can find the time to cram one in his busy schedule! And why not on another planet than Golarion. ;)

Interesting dungeon, but could use some more glue

****( )

The Asylum Stone contains three different dungeons, each one with its own unique theme. All three of these are paced well, and the last two have a good mixture of mysterious and magical. The creatures found within the dungeons are varied, and quite a few of them can find themselves in rooms other than their starting locations, really giving the DM a number of options for challenging their PCs. Since the actual encounters are the majority of the adventure (and were done superbly), the flaws I'm about to list only took off a star from my overall rating

So the dungeons and enemies are all great, but the problem in this adventure comes with the number of assumptions it makes about what the PCs will do. It included two largely unnecesary encounters on the way to Kaer-Maga (If there's only going to be one encounter in a day, it isn't worth unless sufficiently challenging/epic), and assumes that the players are going to get a guide (isn't their mission kind of private?) and that it's going to be Gav, and that they'll tell him exactly what they're looking for. The only two ways to advance the story is to either inquire with the Augers, or check out the Therassic spare, and if the PCs do the latter first, they skip around the first third of the adventure.

The support articles aren't fantastic either. I was really hoping the Gangs of Kaer Maga article would talk about the groups that weren't already talked about in the adventure, and the Missions in Magnimar article didn't really add anything to the world, which is what I normally look for in the support articles. The bestiary, at least, was interesting, though there were only four monsters.

Sutter also makes a lot references to his own works, including City of Strangers (duh), Distant Worlds, and oddly enough his fiction in AP #3. The latter was extremely unnecesary, but I suppose it didn't really take anything away from the adventure.

So overall the adventure itself was fun and enjoyable, though I had a bit of problem with the details. My group enjoyed playing through it, but I had to adapt a bit to get them to actually go into the dungeons.

Disappointing adventure, but good support articles

**( )( )( )

Read my full review on my blog.

Unfortunately, The Asylum Stone just doesn’t live up to the possibilities, primarily because it tries to present too many possibilities all in one go. Just as Kaer Maga itself is a hodgepodge of numerous races and organizations, the adventure is like a hodgepodge of disconnected set-pieces with only the thinnest thread linking them together. But while the city of Kaer Maga brilliantly ties all its disparate parts together into one working whole, The Asylum Stone unfortunately doesn’t. There’s simply too much in Kaer Maga to include in one adventure, especially one where the PCs are just passing through. What would work much better is to focus on one aspect of Kaer Maga (much like The Godsmouth Heresy does) with only hints of the rest. What we get instead is an adventure which takes the PCs from one Kaer Magan “gang” to the next with little to no opportunity to interact with each one, only to throw the PCs up against one of the setting’s major villains at the end without ever developing the threat of that villain or its impact on the setting. The adventure ends up feeling like a succession of random encounters and completely loses the magic of Kaer Maga.

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