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Pathfinder Online: Thornkeep (PFRPG)

****( ) (based on 10 ratings)
Pathfinder Online: Thornkeep (PFRPG)
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The Pathfinder Online MMO will put YOU in command of your very own kingdom in the treacherous River Kingdoms of the Pathfinder world. Get an early start on conquest with Pathfinder Online: Thornkeep, a complete gazetteer of one of the upcoming game’s starting towns and the deadly dungeons that sprawl beneath it!

A co-production of video game developers Goblinworks and Paizo Publishing, this fully illustrated adventure sourcebook slots easily into any Pathfinder RPG campaign, and provides a tantalizing glimpse at the early production of the Pathfinder Online MMO, with behind-the-scenes accounts, sneak peeks at characters and environment images, and new details about the upcoming game.

This 96-page book also includes complete original dungeon levels designed by a who’s-who of adventure design: Richard Baker, Jason Bulmahn, Ed Greenwood, James Jacobs, and Erik Mona! With enough gaming material to advance a character from 1st to 8th level, Thornkeep brings the action and excitement of the Pathfinder Online MMO to your tabletop!

    Thornkeep contains the following complete dungeon levels:
  • The Accursed Halls (by veteran RPG designer Richard Baker): Buried beneath the castle of Thornkeep lie strange passages and chambers that once belonged to a cruel Azlanti wizard of eons past. Goblins have begun excavating the so-called Accursed Halls in hopes of finding a lost goblin artifact, though their constant battles with the undead that haunt these corridors has left them blind to the dungeon’s other myriad wonders.
  • The Forgotten Laboratory (by Pathfinder RPG Lead Designer Jason Bulmahn): The goblins of the dungeon's upper level took more than one trinket from the ancient laboratory that dwells beneath them. The wizard that created these items also performed dangerous experiments, many of which have gone out of control over the years. Stranger still, someone appears to be using the ancient equipment with sinister results.
  • The Enigma Vaults (by Paizo Creative Director James Jacobs): In ages past, the mad wizard who dwelt in these halls collected many strange items in his travels—and the strangest of those he put on display here, in a museum-like complex he called the Enigma Vaults. When a group of thieves made their way into the vaults in hopes of a huge payday, they released something far beyond their capacity to control, and now they serve as the thralls of a sinister influence from a dark and distant world.
  • Sanctum of a Lost Age (by Paizo Publisher Erik Mona): Scholars claim the dungeons below Thornkeep were built by the Ancient Azlanti, but how do they know, really? If Rozimus of Tymon speaks true, one level of Thornkeep’s dungeon holds survivors of that long-dead empire eager to return to the world and share the lore of their glorious age. They’re not undead, Rozimus claims, or illusory phantoms, but true living and breathing High Azlanti! But why does Rozimus know so much about them, and why is he so eager to return to the dungeon he claims almost killed him 5 years ago?
  • Dark Menagerie (by RPG legend Ed Greenwood): In life, the wizard who ruled this realm kept many trophies, mementos, and even captured pets from his journeys, both to entertain his dark sensibilities and to cow his business associates and coerced allies. Now, kept alive all these years via stasis-inducing magic that's recently failed, the unfettered beasts of his magical menagerie run amok.

Don't miss the Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Thornkeep Dungeons 2-Pack, which contains minis-scale battle maps of the four lower dungeon levels!

By Richard Baker, Jason Bulmahn, Ed Greenwood, James Jacobs, Erik Mona, and the Goblinworks Staff

ISBN: 978-1-60125-519-8

Thornkeep is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle Sheet and additional rules for running this module are a free download (147 KB zip/PDF).

Product Availability

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PDF: Will be added to your My Downloads Page immediately upon purchase of PDF.

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.

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Product Reviews (10)
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Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 10 ratings)

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Dungeon Crawl

****( )

Played this under PFS.

Thornkeep is simply a large dungeon crawl. If you like that sort of thing where it is more combat and trap searching then you'll probably really enjoy this. If you want role play then best to avoid as there isn't much interaction down here.

I rather enjoyed the whole experience apart from one character death (he was restored to the living thankfully). The problem with this adventure is that some of the encounters are far too powerful for the levels of adventurers delving those levels. Once again Paizo authors need to consider appropriate encounter levels and challenges.

But even with that, I fully enjoyed playing this module.

Some of the best play I've experienced in PFS


I've played all these scenarios as a player, and I own the paper for GM purposes. This is a perfect mini-campaign, just the sort of length I prefer and I wish they would make more of this size. I find full adventure paths to be on the long side, often taking more than a year to complete, and modules to be on the short side. Thornkeep is perfect. You can wade through these short, varied adventures and take a group through several levels in a month or two.

The adventures themselves were interesting and difficult; combat-oriented for the most part. You'll never be forced to endure two-hour session of listening to the bard describe how he's romancing some noble woman before he rolls his D20 at last.

I will say on the downside that the last scenario was weak. GMs should take license with a few of the details to make it play coherently. Also, the dungeons are cramped with larger groups (probably so they could fit it all on a flip-map). I had to declare a pet moratorium to fit people into rooms.

Do not buy or play

*( )( )( )( )

Poorly designed. Makes me really think hard about buy anything written by the so called "Allstars of game industry" ever again . The play experience is bad, nothing but TPK . To many over powered CR monster for the level.

Keep the setting; nuke the rest from orbit

***( )( )

This review is based on reading the entire book, playing one level of the dungeon (The Accursed Halls), and running two others (The Forgotten Library and the Engima Vaults)

The layout, art, and cartography in this product are excellent. The material on town of Thornkeep and environs is useful and well-done. Points of interest in the surrounding countryside, NPCs, town locations, etc. -- it's all here. There is even a full-page rumors table. Overall, things are very reminiscent of the better classic D&D products.

Once we head into the dungeons below town, however, things begin to unravel quickly. The whole dungeon feels like a series of disjointed encounters strung together with little pretense of a coherent story. Admittedly, this is to be expected to a certain degree in a project of this nature, but much of the material simply defies logic.

The last chapter is a behind-the-scenes of the upcoming Pathfinder MMO. I personally couldn't care less, and largely ignored this section, but if you're following the development of that the game, this chapter will likely be of great interest to you.

Overall, Thornkeep provides an excellent base of operations, then squanders it on a disjointed, sub-par dungeon crawl. Only the sheer excellence of the first half of the book saves the product from a lower rating.


mixed bag

****( )

This is all from a PFS perspective. YMMV.

Accursed Halls: Good stuff. Deadly as hell, though.
Forgotten Laboratory: Quite fun, given the right group of people.
Enigma Vaults: Brutal, but interesting.
Sanctum of a Lost Age: Fascinating, awesome, quality.

But then ...
Dark Menagerie: Ed Greenwood is kind of a big name, so it was a bit of a coup for Paizo to get him in on this Kickstarter event. Unfortunately, Mr. Greenwood's writing style seems to come down to this: He dropped his Bestiary on the ground and used whatever monster it opened to, repeated a few times, and called it a dungeon. The fact that it's a wizard's menagerie is the only thing that gives this a theme at all, and it's a tacked-on excuse to fight a bunch of different monsters with no storyline whatsoever. At one point there are four large creatures in a 4x10 room, which means they can move not at all. At another there are six creatures whose tactics are to use strength checks to knock over scenery but they all have strength scores of six. Even the box text is crap--I realized as I ran this the other day that he recycled lines, not just in style, but in the cut-and-paste sense. I was embarrassed on Mr. Greenwood's behalf.

So, overall, good stuff. Four out of five stars for four out of five dungeons. PFS players, go for it! Just skip Dark Menagerie.

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