Pathfinder Adventure Path #62: Curse of the Lady's Light (Shattered Star 2 of 6) (PFRPG) (based on
Paizo Publishing, LLC
Chapter 2: "Curse of the Lady's Light"
by Mike Shel
Varisia’s newest heroes have stumbled across a powerful relic from the ancient empire of Thassilon—yet the artifact has been sundered into seven fragments. The third of these fragments lies in the swampy Mushfens south of the city of Magnimar, hidden within an ancient, towering lighthouse known as the Lady’s Light. With squabbling boggards, troglodytes, and other swamp monsters dwelling around the ruins, approaching the Light will require either stealth or bravado. But the threats posed by slimy and scaly humanoids pale in comparison to the exiled Gray Maidens who have claimed the interior of the Light as their new headquarters, or to the sinister curse that afflicts the powerful, ancient caretaker of the ruin.
This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path continues the Shattered Star Adventure Path and includes:
“Curse of the Lady’s Light,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 5th-level characters, by Mike Shel.
The sadistic secrets of the Gray Maidens, a militaristic order once fiercely loyal to an evil, deposed queen, by F. Wesley Schneider.
The secret ways, peerless techniques, and ancient traditions of Torag, stern god of the forge, protection, and strategy, by Sean K Reynolds.
Alchemy and housebreaking in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Bill Ward.
Four new monsters, by Levi Miles, Sean K Reynolds, and Mike Shel.
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.
I'm neither one to enjoy dungeon crawls nor write reviews, but the quality of this adventure has me putting in my 2 cents. This is an exemplary adventure: from the use of entertainingly malicious traps, puzzles for the players, and role-playing opportunities mixed throughout the combat encounters, Curse of the Lady's Light finds my dungeon crawl sweet spot and dances on it for the length of the adventure. Mike Shel has created what is, for me, the perfect synthesis of modern game adventure and old-school module. It feels like what my best friend in junior high would have written if he had been a professional game designer. Good show Paizo!
My group and I had a real blast running through the Curse of the Lady's Light. Although this chapter of the AP, just like the others, features a prominent dungeon, the story is full of opportunity for roleplay: dealing with the tribes in the marshes, the encounters with the Gray Maidens, the possibility to have to Gray Maidens' leader join the PCs, etc. The final encounter is tough and tense, but not necessarily over the top if the players are smart.
That one famous trap in the dungeon is also a wonderful opportunity for great gaming if your players tag along, and mine sure did! Its repercussions through the rest of the campaign are going to be fun to play.
Bottom line? Keep Mike Shel on the payroll, he sure knows how to invent a dungeon with a twist!
Curse of the Lady's Light follows in the steps of Shards of Sin, presenting an adventure mostly comprising of one big dungeon crawl. Like Shards of Sin, it suceeds in presenting an interesting array of characters, encounters, and tricks. If the players are paying attention, they can gradually begin to uncover the truth behind the dungeon's denizens and leader, using her real identity to their advantage in what should be a climactic and entertaining final encounter.
The NPCs have all been fun to interact with, and they all truly feel like they belong in the Lady's Light. Clever PCs can find clever ways to bypass encounters, especially if they make use of a particularly devious trap early in the dungeon.
Overall, this has been a pleasure to run, and possibly the best dungeon I've ever seen in an adventure path. I hope Mike Shell is here to stay as an AP author.
In Curse of the Lady’s Light by Mike Shel, the second instalment of the Shattered Star Adventure Path, the player characters set out to find the next piece of the titular Shattered Star, the Shard of Lust. This quest takes them to the Lady’s Light, an ancient monument to Sorshen, the Runelord of Lust. Like Shards of Sin before it and the rest of the adventure path still to come, it is primarily a dungeon-based adventure. As I mentioned in my review of Shards of Sin, I can be somewhat critical of dungeon crawls. However, when they’re good, I give them the praise they deserve. Curse of the Lady’s Light is definitely one of those good dungeon crawls. While the actual dungeon itself is somewhat linear, the events that can occur within are surprisingly non-linear, with a wide variety of options for how things might progress. Most importantly, it has a selection of interesting and compelling NPCs. In fact, its two principal villains are amongst the best villains I’ve seen in an adventure path instalment: one sympathetic and tragic, the other irredeemably evil yet uniquely insane. This adventure is definitely a step up from the competent, but not-particularly-awe-inspiring Shards of Sin and could prove a good sign for the rest of the adventure path to come.
This was a total joy to read front to back. An AP that fits perfectly well into the series but would also make an amazing one-shot.
Some dungeon crawls you begin to glaze over after a time but when each room has something new and interesting, how can you put it down? They all gel like part of a puzzle that smart players will have a field day with. This is also the type of thing needed to keep players on a crawl engaged and alert. No room after room now abandoned and empty.
Also, Mike Shel really tackles a feel I’ve missed in recent years, taking liberties stretching how some established game rules work within the spirit of creativity to really keep players on their toes. Not to mention keeping GM’s cackling with delight.
The personalities, storyline, traps, and locations are all top-notch. I literally can’t wait to run this Adventure Path, and this is the prime reason why so far. My group went all the way through RotRL and CotCT and this will reward them aplenty.
As an aside I find really funny: after my Crimson Throne game was winding down after finishing the last AP in that series, the group wanted more. I adapted a module from Dragon Magazine, one of my old favorites, as an old Sorshen redoubt. The adventure was called The Mud Sorcerer’s Tomb by Mike Shel.