Fangwood Keep has changed hands innumerable times since its founding decades ago on the border between the warring nations of Molthune and Nirmathas. Over the years, both countries have sacrificed money and soldiers in an effort to control the fortress along the Marideth River valley, both for its tactical location and for its secure defenses. Recently, however, the battles around Fangwood Keep have dwindled to a trickle as Nirmathas has firmly rooted itself in the surrounding valley, allowing the tide of war to shift elsewhere and peace to settle at last over Fangwood Keep.
This respite was shattered by the arrival of a renegade Molthuni commander named Pavo Vos. Obsessed with capturing Fangwood Keep and unraveling the fortress’s mysteries, the defecting lieutenant unlawfully used his platoon to secure the castle, much to the ire of both the Molthuni and Nirmathi governments. Now the task of bringing Vos to justice and reclaiming Fangwood Keep for Nirmathas lies solely in the PCs’ able hands.
"Fangwood Keep" is an adventure of infiltration, investigation, and dungeon exploration for 4th-level characters, written for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and compatible with the 3.5 edition of the world’s oldest RPG. This volume also contains a gazetteer of the Marideth River valley and a brand-new monster from the bizarre realm of the fey, both of which can easily be integrated into any campaign setting.
Written by Alex Greenshields.
Cover Art by Alex Aparin.
Pathfinder Modules are 32-page, high-quality, full-color, adventures using the Open Game License to work with both the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set. This Pathfinder Module includes new monsters, treasure, and a fully detailed bonus location that can be used as part of the adventure or in any other game!
I ran this for a group of 4 who ranged from (mostly) 3rd to 4th level and it beat the living crap out of them. lol They hadn't run away and outright been brutalized by so many things ever in PFS, and surprisingly they loved it! lol Maybe that says something about the people who play PFS? :P
So yeah it's a great module, but be aware it was made for 4th level's and if you have a lot of 3's it can be very tough, especially if they aren't PFS optimized. I enjoyed the story, the characters, the mix of role-playing, combat, exploration and stealth. All-in-all a very fun module and would highly recommend it!
Having recently run this module for a 5 player PFS game I must say it was extremely entertaining. My players ended the session raving over the challenge of taking the castle and cringe at the sight of certain colored hats now.
I wound up with a party that was at the top end of the expected APL for this module at 5th so where able to power through some of the more difficult challenges (3rd level spells tends to make the goblinoid encounters a LOT easier to handle). Keep that in mind if you do run this and personally I would have preferred to add 1 level to all the fort NPC's to make them less 1 shot-able.
Personally I found the fort challenges reasonably well designed and straight forward to run and are likely to keep everyone entertained. The underground areas were less challenging but some were significantly more memorable (I'm looking at you the previously mentioned hat wearer).
Overall I only have 3 areas where I felt things where a bit less then perfect.
Final encounter, the bosses abilities are way to swingy, everything relies on a single target save. Honestly they were no challenge at all to a party that made it past the Barrowhound. I'd re-do it with a few less enchantments and more summoned servants.
The goblinoid opponents where entirely too easy to kill. I know they outnumber the PC's significantly but with as low of a to-hit and HP's they have they could barely touch most of my melee PC's and died after 1 good hit.
The map, as beautiful as it is the layout on the grid is pretty confusing. Most corridors are not 1 square wide and are usually some mixture of 2 half squares shoehorned together. If there had been clear lines for the major passageways instead of a off-center overlay on the grid would have really helped.
Anyway, so far this is still one of my favorite modules ever and I can't wait to see what this author does next.
At it's core, this is a classic adventure - a dungeon crawl in an area populated by savage humanoids (in this case, hobgoblins). Where Fangwood stands apart from adventures like it is in how well the fortress is detailed and how much information the writer has given the DM to allow PCs the ability to infiltrate it. That's right - for once, PCs can use stealth without a metric ton of improvisation from the DM.
The first half of the dungeon follows this vein but as the PCs clear the first couple floors (either by guile and stealth or brute force), eventually they make their way to the lower floor where the author setup some extremely rare but challenging encounters - my PCs will forever fear gnarled old men with colored hats. The adventure ultimately ends with a staple of Pathfinder RPG villainy (you'll know it when you see it).
A few additional notes:
*To make this adventure properly challenging, play this with no more than four PCs and keep them from resting.
*Make sure you read up the author's subsection on 'rasing the alarm'.
*If the PCs are proving to be especially effective at the whole stealth/murder thing, throw in some missives or other written communication between the bad guys. There's no reason the party should miss out on important story elements just because they're too sneaky.
The border between Molthune and Nirmathas is a volatile area of Golarion. The two countries have been in a state of hostility, if not all-out war, for a long time, ever since Nirmathas broke off from its parent country, Molthune. It’s an area that is ripe for adventure and the setting of Fangwood Keep by Alex Greenshields. In the adventure, the PCs must retake a border fort (the titular Fangwood Keep) from a rogue Molthuni force that has taken it without orders to do so. It’s a very straight-forward and open-ended adventure. There’s a bit of a mystery to be solved (why did the Molthuni force go rogue and what are they after?), but overall, there’s not a lot of complexity here. However, the adventure’s basic simplicity is ultimately its strength. It sets a scene with fully detailed characters and motivations and then lets the PCs take care of the details. It makes very little in the way of assumptions about the PCs—not even which side they’re working for—allowing the adventure to progress in whatever way it happens to, in the end making for a fun and exciting adventure.