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PaizoCon 2014!

Way of the Wicked—Book #1: Knot of Thorns (PFRPG)

***** (based on 15 ratings)
FRM1001E

Add PDF: $10.00

Print/PDF Bundle: Unavailable

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BE THE BAD GUY!

The Kingdom of Talingarde is the most noble, virtuous, peaceful nation in the known world. Herein is the story of how you burned this insipid paradise to the ground.

It's only fair. They burned you first.

They condemned you for your wicked deeds. They branded you. They shipped you to the worst prison in the kingdom. In three days, you die. In three days, the do-gooders pray they'll be rid of you.

They've given you three days. The fools, that's more than you need to break out. And then, it will be their turn to face the fire.

Welcome to the first chapter of the "Way of the Wicked" adventure path! Inside you'll find:

  • "Knot of Thorns," an adventure for 1st level villains compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game by Gary McBride.
  • Full color art and maps by Michael Clarke
  • A gazetteer of brave, noble, doomed Talingarde
  • Advice for running a successful villainous campaign
  • Rules for creating wicked PCs
  • A 100-page full color PDF (including printer friendly version) full of vice and villainy.
  • And more!

You've saved the world plenty.

This time, the world needs saving from you.

Product Availability


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

Print/PDF Bundle: Unavailable

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

FRM1001


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Product Discussion (1,377)
1 to 50 of 1,377 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>

Can you tell me any information about this product? page count? Amount of crunch vs fluff? This looks interesting but with very little information I have a hard time dropping $10 on this.

Cheliax

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

Can you tell me any information about this product? page count? Amount of crunch vs fluff? This looks interesting but with very little information I have a hard time dropping $10 on this.

They have a free 32 page preview you can DL. I am DLing it now to take a look at it.


Leopold wrote:

Can you tell me any information about this product? page count? Amount of crunch vs fluff? This looks interesting but with very little information I have a hard time dropping $10 on this.

Greetings!

Thanks for your interest! I am happy to answer any and all questions.

"Knot of Thorns" is a 100-page full-color adventure in a format that should be familiar to anyone subscribed to Paizo's adventure paths.

It takes a group of four wicked PC villains from level 1 to level 6 and kicks off a brand new adventure path for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game for evil characters.

No paladins allowed.

Any questions you may have are probably answered in the 32-page preview available for free here at Paizo.com.

This is first and foremost an adventure. There is some new crunch (mostly optional) -- a new method of rolling up characters, a new trait system based on your wicked past, a new monster, and a couple of new magic items.

But mostly, this is RAW Pathfinder.

The adventure itself is generic set on an island about the size of England. The entire adventure path takes place there, so it is easy to insert this campaign in Golarion or the fantasy world of your choice.

Of course, being a Pathfinder Role-playing Game compatible product it does not at all mention Golarion or any of Paizo's protected intellectual property. A public domain version of Asmodeus is all over this adventure, though.

Hope that helps!

Gary McBride
www.firemountaingames.com


Interesting. I looked at the preview and it suggested to me that it could be converted into a "Rise of the House of Thrune" campaign set in Cheliax's past.

Cheliax

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

I looked over the free preview and I am interested but... just not sure for 10 bucks that is more than a impulse buy price. Not saying it is not worth it, just saying.


Jeff de luna wrote:
Interesting. I looked at the preview and it suggested to me that it could be converted into a "Rise of the House of Thrune" campaign set in Cheliax's past.

Since this campaign is all about taking out a "good guy" nation and replacing it with one subservient to Asmodeus, yes, I think that could be accomplished with relatively little effort.

You would have to change the geography of course, but otherwise...

Gary McBride
www.firemountaingames.com


Dark_Mistress wrote:
I looked over the free preview and I am interested but... just not sure for 10 bucks that is more than a impulse buy price. Not saying it is not worth it, just saying.

Hey, we completely understand. We are a small little publishing house trying to make products that rival the superb quality we see from Paizo. And to keep doing this, this is what we need to charge.

Regardless, we appreciate you taking a look at the preview and giving the book a chance!

Gary McBride
www.firemountaingames.com

Cheliax

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

I am curious about the manor house it mentions near the end of the preview. Is there a map for it? I am always looking for maps of large manor houses. The maps and art looked good and I only skimmed the writing so far but it seemed pretty good.


Dark_Mistress wrote:
I am curious about the manor house it mentions near the end of the preview. Is there a map for it? I am always looking for maps of large manor houses. The maps and art looked good and I only skimmed the writing so far but it seemed pretty good.

The manor house mentioned plays only a small role in the adventure so only a few areas (the training area in the basement) are fully mapped.

However, later in the adventure is set in the watchtower Balentyne. It is a large multi-level walled keep with basement and chapel overlooking a river that could be easily adapted into a noble's fortified manor.

Mike Clarke, the artist and cartographer, really knocked me out with the map he drew on that one.

Gary McBride
www.firemountaingames.com

Cheliax

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

darn and ok cool. I am always looking for castles(built for people to live in not just troops) and large manor houses. There tends not to be a lot of them.


Once I have a budget again, I'm going to check this out and review it. Looks intriguing!


Endzeitgeist wrote:
Once I have a budget again, I'm going to check this out and review it. Looks intriguing!

Great to hear! We welcome all reviews.

Even without a budget, you can check out our free 32-page preview here!

Gary McBride
www.firemountaingames.com


Oh, and by the way, there is new preview art up on our website.

And thanks to Paizo for putting us in their weekly newsletter!

Gary McBride
www.firemountaingames.com


Read the review product. I am interested. Quality art. Good writing. Few nitpicky holes in the veil item and how itbrelates to casters. More good than bad. Lets see how it goes.


Leopold wrote:
Read the review product. I am interested. Quality art. Good writing. Few nitpicky holes in the veil item and how itbrelates to casters. More good than bad. Lets see how it goes.

Thanks for the feedback and the kind words!

We are deep in work on chapter two and three. Chapter two will ship in February and then the other four will ship every two months thereafter.

Gary
www.firemountaingames.com


Fire Mountain Games wrote:
Leopold wrote:
Read the review product. I am interested. Quality art. Good writing. Few nitpicky holes in the veil item and how itbrelates to casters. More good than bad. Lets see how it goes.

Thanks for the feedback and the kind words!

I implore you to go back and do something about that veil item. It's a nice aid to the PCs but casters of any sort be they divine or arcane are simply SOL till they get access to some basic material components. I know this is stated later for the dM to add as a optional item but how hard is to to say: "Includes basic spell components under 1G in price for first level spells". Saves tons of headache and really is a one use thing.

Quote:


We are deep in work on chapter two and three. Chapter two will ship in February and then the other four will ship every two months thereafter.

Gary
www.firemountaingames.com

Have you thought about subscriptions or people who want to buy ahead of time? I wouldn't mind plunking down some cash to get a discount up front.

Sczarni

I am about half way through the full product PDF and love it thus far. Great campaign idea! The writing is good, and well thought out!

Fire Mountain Games, you'll have a return customer here :)

~ Flynn


Leopold wrote:
I implore you to go back and do something about that veil item. It's a nice aid to the PCs but casters of any sort be they divine or arcane are simply SOL till they get access to some basic material components. I know this is stated later for the dM to add as a optional item but how hard is to to say: "Includes basic spell components under 1G in price for first level spells". Saves tons of headache and really is a one use thing.

I appreciate the feedback. The change is not unreasonable though for parties without such a spellcaster, the inclusion of such a spell component pouch might be a little mystifying.

As you already note, we have a sidebar that says exactly what you are suggesting. To quote from page 20: "Inside the sack of clothing in the veil of useful items could also be a spell component pouch."

I've made a note of it. We plan to roll out an errata upgrade once a month so I'll include it. Thanks!

Leopold wrote:


Have you thought about subscriptions or people who want to buy ahead of time? I wouldn't mind plunking down some cash to get a discount up front.

We do in fact have plans for subscriptions. It's coming soon!

Gary McBride
www.firemountaingames.com


FlynnK wrote:

I am about half way through the full product PDF and love it thus far. Great campaign idea! The writing is good, and well thought out!

Fire Mountain Games, you'll have a return customer here :)

~ Flynn

Thanks Flynn! I am greatly pleased that you are enjoying "Way of the Wicked". More is on the way!

Gary McBride
www.firemountaingames.com


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Dotting this for further consideration.

Friends of mine have been BEGGING me to GM "an evil campaign". This might be the ticket. :)

~Dean


pulled down the sample, am hooked...Am just waiting to get paid, and this will be my next purchase. I've been listening to my players tell me they want a true evil campaign forever, looks like they are finally going to get it. Any plans of doing printed copies?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
KTFish7 wrote:
Any plans of doing printed copies?

Thanks for the kind words! They are definitely appreciated.

Immediately, we are definitely focused on the PDF.

I will not say that there will never be a print version. But at this time, a print edition has no definite date.

So, if you want "Way of the Wicked" for right now the PDF is your route.

If the situation changes, we will post notice on paizo.com and on our website: www.firemountaingames.com

Gary McBride
www.firemountaingames.com


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I bought it last night and printed it out. You may want to add a version that does not have the brown background on the pages. It uses a lot of ink when you print it out. I have not read it yet but from what I have seen it looks very professional. Glad to see a product like this offered.


PathfinderFan64 wrote:
I bought it last night and printed it out. You may want to add a version that does not have the brown background on the pages. It uses a lot of ink when you print it out. I have not read it yet but from what I have seen it looks very professional. Glad to see a product like this offered.

A printer-friendly version is definitely something we will look into.

Glad you are enjoying the product. After you read it, I'd love to hear what you think!

Gary McBride
www.firemountaingames.com


The_Minstrel_Wyrm wrote:

Dotting this for further consideration.

Friends of mine have been BEGGING me to GM "an evil campaign". This might be the ticket. :)

~Dean

Thanks for the interest.

It is our intent before this adventure path is through to write the definitive 20-level evil campaign.

An ambitious goal, I know...

Keep up with us to see how we do.

Gary McBride
www.firemountaingames.com


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I downloaded the free preview and I've got to say...this looks really good. My players are always resisting the urge to maim and pillage anyway. Time to take the gloves off and see how black their hearts really are.

I'll be buying this once I recover from the holidays. Keep up the good work, guys.


DystopianDream wrote:

I downloaded the free preview and I've got to say...this looks really good. My players are always resisting the urge to maim and pillage anyway. Time to take the gloves off and see how black their hearts really are.

I'll be buying this once I recover from the holidays. Keep up the good work, guys.

Glad you like "Way of the Wicked"! More is definitely coming.

Gary McBride
www.firemountaingames.com

Osirion Reaper Miniatures

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just read the freeview PDF.

I will getting the full version after the holiday gift cards come in!

VERY EXCITING!

I can't wait to run this for our Kingmaker group after that game, except set it in the Kingdom we made in Kingmaker 100 years in the future (form our current player's perspective!)


Bryan Stiltz wrote:
I can't wait to run this for our Kingmaker group after that game, except set it in the Kingdom we made in Kingmaker 100 years in the future (form our current player's perspective!)

Bryan,

Great idea! And very compatible with the campaign as written.

Spend Kingmaker building up a virtuous, noble, heroic kingdom -- your very own "Talingarde" as it were.

The next campaign -- the story of evil cultists burning it all down.

*head slap* I can't believe I didn't come up with that idea on my own.

Bravo, sir. Bravo!

If you do carry this out, please post about it on Paizo.com. I would love to hear about how this campaign progresses.

Gary McBride
www.firemountaingames.com


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Review is up here and over on RPGNow (and, in a few days, at RPG.net as well).

Cheliax

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

Interesting review Alz, I have a question. How big is the fort at the end the PC's have to slaughter and or is their a full map of it?

Cheliax

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

Just noticed your review on here Alz got cut in half. You might need to finish it with a forum post.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Dark_Mistress wrote:
Just noticed your review on here Alz got cut in half. You might need to finish it with a forum post.

D'oh! I counted the number of characters used, and thought I came in under Paizo's limit. I guess that's what I get for not double-checking after posting.

Full review is as follows:

I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited for this.

I think that at some point, every GM (and quite possibly every player too) has entertained the thought of running an evil campaign, or at least playing an evil character. After all, who could resist the temptation of being the uber-cool arch-villain, unbound by moral codes and social niceties, doing what you please and may the gods have mercy on those who cross you? Of course, this flight of fancy tends to run headfirst into some very real problems when put into practice, and so no one’s every really marketed an adventure – let alone an adventure path – for Pathinder (or its ancestor game).

That’s all changed with Fire Mountain Games’ new adventure path, Way of the Wicked. It all begins here with book one, Knot of Thorns.

Let’s cover some of the technical aspects of the book first. The single PDF file is exactly one hundred pages long, making it a fairly substantial work. Bookmarks are present, but only to each of the book’s major sections; you won’t find nested bookmarks to more specific parts of each section, so you may need to do a bit of scrolling.

The artwork in the book is notable for its quality; something all the more impressive for the book having had but a single artist. Each piece is a full-color illustration that is clearly professional in its detail; this is especially true for the maps, which I found to be quite pretty (and wished that there was a map pack available as well). My only complaint about the maps was that they use a scale of having one square equal 10 feet, which I always find slightly off-putting, since Pathfinder uses a default 5-foot square assumption. If you’re redrawing these, make sure to scale the locations appropriately.

The pages themselves are nicely decorated, being set against a dark background and having page borders on three sides. Having said that, there is no printer-friendly version of the book available (nor, for that matter, an epublishing version), so this may be a strain on your printer.

Following a single-page introduction where the author exhorts conquering the world rather than saving it, the adventure opens with a background for the course of the campaign. Set in the island nation of Talingarde, where the faith of the sun-god Mitra has become the state religion, a deposed prince turned worshipper of Asmodeus seeks to subvert the current order and have the Devil God’s faith ascend to become the religion of the kingdom, complete with a new king on the throne. For this, he has crafted a diabolical plan utilizing nine teams to create unrest and thwart attempts to solve the problems he’ll create. It’s with these teams in mind that he turns to your PCs.

The adventure starts out with your characters already being the bad guys. You’ve been found guilty of committing major crimes (not wrongly, either; your PCs being criminals is a major part of the backstory; see below) and sentenced to prison to be executed or sent to a life of hard labor. However, thanks to a mysterious benefactor, and a lax administration, you have a chance to escape.

This first part of the adventure is a fun prison break, not only for the heightened tension in that you’re working from a disadvantage (you don’t get to keep your gear in prison), but also due to the different angles from which this scenario can be run. Are you just trying to make for the exit as fast as you can, or do you take bloody revenge on everyone around you and arm yourself with their equipment?

Following their escape, the PCs make their way to their patron and are given the choice to swear themselves to Asmodeus (which, perhaps appropriately for a devil god, isn’t much of a choice at all) and begin their training. This part of the adventure is heavier on the role-playing, as this part introduces a lot of key NPCs and the chance to build relationships with them, along with internalizing the fact that they’re now serving the forces of Hell.

The adventure’s third act consists of a journey to their first assignment. A long sea voyage, this scenario is broken up by a number of encounters, which are broken up into three groups of making the voyage, completing their task, and after the trip. This is also the most open part of the adventure, as not only can the order of events be shuffled quite a bit, but new encounters can be added or deleted as necessary; this is where a lot of the restrictions on the PCs come off.

The fourth and final part of the adventure is a mission of infiltration and destruction. Outmatched and outnumbered, the PCs have to bring down a fortress filled with soldiers of the forces of goodness. Very cogently, the adventure adopts a method of granting “Victory Points” for various actions, with the end results of their mayhem being tabulated by how many points they’ve achieved via their acts of disruption.

That’s the end of the adventure, and if it sounds short, then it’s only because I’m doing it a disservice. There’s a lot that happens throughout Knot of Thorns, so much so that your characters are supposed to end the adventure when they’ve just reached 6th level. Interestingly, while there’s plenty of bloodshed going on throughout the book, a great deal of the XP the PCs are supposed to gain comes from story-based XP awards for accomplishing various tasks. I’d go so far as to say that I’ve never seen an adventure that relied so much on story awards. This is comforting, as it makes it easy to arbitrarily increase or decrease the XP the PCs are given as they move through the series of unfortunate events they’re causing.

The book doesn’t end with the adventure, however. The last twenty pages or so are devoted to what’s essentially a player’s primer. We’re given an overview of Talingarde’s history, some of its more notable locales, and a quick overview of some of its major organizations. It’s in this last section that I think we come to the book’s single biggest oversight – there’s no information on the sun god Mitra. To be fair, the church of Mitra is covered (albeit briefly), but that’s not enough. What are Mitra’s domains and sub-domains? What is his holy symbol and favored weapon? We don’t know, because the book doesn’t tell us. True, none of that information is directly pertinent, but if GMs want to deviate from the material here and make up their own Mitran clerics (or inquisitors or similar divine spellcasters), the missing information becomes more pertinent. Hopefully we’ll see something on this from Fire Mountain Games soon.

The author then includes a section on how to run a villainous campaign. Specifically, he outlines five problem areas, and how this campaign attempts to avoid them (where possible; otherwise he includes advice for making things go smoothly). This section was, to my mind, very cogent in its reasoning. I’d always held that the major problems of an evil game were PvP conflicts, and someone being so evil that it squicked out the other players. All of these, as well as other problems (“why can’t we just send minions to do our evil for us?”) are covered, with sound reasoning given for why and how to handle them.

Subsequently there’s a short guide on PCs in a Way of the Wicked campaign. Interestingly, goes through the character creation guidelines and recommends specific changes, the sum total of which are to make the PCs more powerful, since they’re evil outcasts in a good nation. I’m not sure that this is necessary, but then I’m slightly biased against increasing the level power the PCs have, since my group includes a couple power-gamers.

What’s most interesting here are the new campaign traits. Remember how the game starts with your PCs being condemned criminals? There are twenty campaign traits here, each of which is a crime – which trait you pick is the crime that you performed, and were caught and lawfully sentenced for. I was really impressed with this simple yet elegant way of bringing the characters background, and evil nature, into the spotlight. This serves as a brilliant method for highlighting what the PCs did to start them on the road to villainy, and why they throw in with the powers of darkness.

The book closes out with a two-page synopsis of the entire adventure path, outlining what happens in each of the six adventures.

Overall, I found myself very impressed with the opening act for Way of the Wicked; this promises to be an adventure path as epic as anything by Paizo. The campaign’s themes are tightly focused, and the tenor of the adventure steers away from the problems that usually come from having a group of evil characters. The challenges are diverse, from infiltration to puzzles to deception to combat. You’ve never seen such a good job of being the bad guy.

Of course, the book isn’t without its flaws. The CR for the triton oracle seems to be off, for example, and the tactics section of Father Donnagan’s stat block seems to be an incorrect cut-and-paste. But the major problem that I think people might have with this campaign is that, even more than other adventure paths, this one is an exercise in railroading.

The first two acts of the adventure basically force the PCs to go in the specified directions, and while the third act – as mentioned above – starts to loosen the tight grip around the characters, it’s never truly removed (though in many cases it’s less visible). The PCs are bound by the goals that are set for them; their only freedoms lie in how to accomplish them – to put it another way, they’re free to do what they want, so long as they want to do what their patron says. In theory they can go their own way, but the adventure talks about what to do if the PCs go off the rails at various points, and its never good (in some cases, it flat-out says that they get slaughtered).

Of course, that may very well be a necessary evil (pun intended) for an evil game, as it’s much easier for an evil game to fall apart. I certainly don’t think it’s a deal-breaker, as the adventure offers a great “us against the world” scenario that’s a great inversion of the usual “points of light” backdrop. Follow the Way of the Wicked, and be the darkness that snuffs out the light.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Dark_Mistress wrote:
Interesting review Alz, I have a question. How big is the fort at the end the PC's have to slaughter and or is their a full map of it?

The fortress of Balentyne is fully mapped, D_M, and it's a big place, holding one hundred soldiers plus some notable NPCs.


Thanks for the review! And thanks for the kind words. They are very much appreciated.

I agree that the book isn't without its flaws (and we'll be fixing some of them in errata) but I'm glad over all that you liked it.

Onwards to Book Two: Call Forth Darkness! It'll be out in February.

Gary McBride
www.firemountaingames.com


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I didn't mention it in my review, but I think it's pretty impressive that your entire undertaking is the product of just two individuals (notwithstanding your play-testers). The fact that you're producing something this grand in scope - as well as so different from what we usually see - with one guy doing the writing and another the artwork is damn impressive!

I also had a few quick questions for you guys: is there any particular reason you refer to skill checks as "tests" in the text? (e.g. a "Perception test," etc.)

Secondly, what inspired your company name? I'm guessing it was the old Fighting Fantasy book "Warlock of Firetop Mountain."

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Alzrius wrote:
I didn't mention it in my review, but I think it's pretty impressive that your entire undertaking is the product of just two individuals (notwithstanding your play-testers). The fact that you're producing something this grand in scope - as well as so different from what we usually see - with one guy doing the writing and another the artwork is damn impressive!

Just because they're basically just two people doesn't mean they can't turn out great products. Dreamscarred Press is basically just two guys. Necromancer Games was, at least at its core, basically just two guys. I'm watching this project eagerly. Never been a big fan of evil PCs, myself, either as a player or GM, but it's definitely caught my attention.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Kvantum wrote:
Just because they're basically just two people doesn't mean they can't turn out great products. Dreamscarred Press is basically just two guys. Necromancer Games was, at least at its core, basically just two guys.

I'm not sure why you said that, as I was pointing out that they are two people making a great product. I simply said it was all the more impressive because there are only two of them (as opposed to a larger team).

It's also not correct to say that DSP is "basically just" two guys. It has two lead designers, but they get a lot of help from freelancers for various aspects of what they do (e.g. artwork, layout, additional design, editing, etc.) that Fire Mountain Games didn't for this particular book.

Osirion Reaper Miniatures

I let my Kingmaker players read the player section of the preview document, and they eagerly poured over the crimes sheet, several of them asking if they can be guilty of more than one!

I told them of course, but they had to choose ONE signature crime to get the trait from, the others were just tagged on for fun - The fellow who is currently our Paladin King of Iomedae wanted to have his rap sheet say 'rape, murder, arson, and rape'. (Cue 'Blazing Saddles' music)

In all, they're more excited by this than they were about Kingmaker, and that's actually saying something, as I was turning people away from the Kingmaker game.


Alzrius wrote:

I didn't mention it in my review, but I think it's pretty impressive that your entire undertaking is the product of just two individuals (notwithstanding your play-testers). The fact that you're producing something this grand in scope - as well as so different from what we usually see - with one guy doing the writing and another the artwork is damn impressive!

I also had a few quick questions for you guys: is there any particular reason you refer to skill checks as "tests" in the text? (e.g. a "Perception test," etc.)

Secondly, what inspired your company name? I'm guessing it was the old Fighting Fantasy book "Warlock of Firetop Mountain."

Thanks for more kind words. Mike and I are a natural partnership. I write and produce game mechanics like a mad over-caffeinated monkey. He makes it look presentable to the public at large.

Pathfinder was a natural system choice. We actually met during my "Curse of the Crimson Throne" campaign.

Why tests... umm, because otherwise there would be nothing to put in the errata. This will be fixed in the now imminent errata update.

Our name comes from the fact that our gaming company has its office (i.e. my home) atop a hopefully extinct volcanic cone. That and the website address was available. :)

Gary McBride
www.firemountaingames.com

Qadira

Looking forward to getting the full book now that I've finished reading the preview. My players want to play this so bad that they're going to buy it for me that way I'm more likely to run it. Have to be sure to get the errata that I'm guessing will be out next month.

I had assumed that it was going to be four books plus the preview, but it looks like it'll be five books instead. That's cool.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
kevin_video wrote:
I had assumed that it was going to be four books plus the preview, but it looks like it'll be five books instead. That's cool.

It will be six books in total. Here are the titles and tenative release schedule of the six PDFs.

Way of the Wicked: Knot of Thorns (Lvl 1-5) -- available now!
Way of the Wicked: Call Forth Darkness (Lvl 6-9) -- February 2012
Way of the Wicked: Tears of the Blessed (Lvl 10-12) -- April 2012
Way of the Wicked: Of Dragons and Princesses (Lvl 13-15) -- June 2012
Way of the Wicked: The Devil My Only Master (Lvl 16-17) -- August 2012
Way of the Wicked: The Wages of Sin (Lvl 18-20) -- October 2012

Gary McBride
www.firemountaingames.com


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've just finished reading the full Knot of Thorns, which includes a synopsis of the additional five adventures and all I can say (without any spoilers)is Wow! the PCs are really going to be getting their evil on.

I would love to run this as a GM. Imagine for once being the good guys who are totally justified in doing everything in their power to stop these evil characters. And the characters are evil. The adventure path is clear that the PCs are evil from the get go (as Alzrius mentioned in his review), but the path itself includes deeds of true wickedness. It seems the path of evil only gets darker and more profound as it progresses.

Of course I would also love to play this as a PC, which means I can't read the further installments. Must. Resist. Urge.

Totally worth the $10. Looking forward to the next installments. Nice work Fire Mountain!


Tommy GM wrote:
I would love to run this as a GM.
Tommy GM wrote:
Of course I would also love to play this as a PC...

I take these as the highest of compliments. Thanks for buying and supporting our products and thanks for the kind words.

More is on its way!

Gary McBride
www.firemountaingames.com


Shane's excellent review is up on rpg.net as well complete with some additional commentary.

Enjoy,
Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Osirion Reaper Miniatures

I have posted a review, though not as in depth as Alzrius.


Bryan Stiltz wrote:
I have posted a review, though not as in depth as Alzrius.

Thanks, Bryan!

Gary "Gigantic Fan of Reaper Miniatures" McBride
Fire Mountain Games


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just purchased this today, sat down and read through it.

Initial response: dudes. You deserve some serious kudos for this. It's a bold, serious attempt to set up an evil campaign that can run a bunch of PCs clear up to epic level. You've thought deeply about the problems that evil parties face at both the game and metagame level, and you've come up with plausible, playable solutions.

There's a lot more to be said about this, but I may move that discussion to another forum. Meanwhile: This is really impressive.

Doug M.


Doug,

Thanks for the kind words and thanks for buying the book!

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Okay, some quick initial thoughts.

-- The crime traits are brilliant. Having each player open with the story of his crimes? Love it love it.

-- Opening with a jailbreak is solid. I like that you give an in-game explanation of how a bunch of 1st level PCs can plausibly beat this jail.

-- The first half is very railroad-y -- the PCs must break out of jail, then they must sign up with the BBEG -- and I'm totally fine with that. Later it gets more sandbox-y, and that's good too. I think it works well.

-- The Victory Points mechanic seems solid, though I wonder how it would work in play -- it seems like many, perhaps most parties would end up with less than 30 VPs. It'll be interesting to hear how this works out in play.

-- I really like that you took several pages to discuss the most common problems with evil parties (PVP, squick factor, etc.) and give some ways to deal with them.

Okay, now some less positive stuff.

-- Too many story awards of experience. The module opens with what's basically a cutscene -- and then awards 400 xp for sitting through it. By the time you're out of your cell the party is another 1000 xp richer, possibly having done nothing more than rolled a couple of successful lockpickings.

A little of this goes a long way. Too much and you leave the reader with the impression that you couldn't be bothered to to actually come up with monsters and encounters. (I'm not saying I had that impression. Just that it's a thing that can happen.) Maybe just skip most of the story awards and use the fast xp track?

-- Not enough evil. This one is a bit tricky and subjective. But: how much of this module could be reskinned as a standard adventure?

Spoiler:

My answer is, about 80%. Consider:

- Good PCs start in captivity, held by slavers, orcs, or other evil NPCs. With the aid of a friendly NPC, they escape.

- Friendly NPC directs them to more powerful NPC. More powerful NPC signs PCs up to work for him.

-- MPNPC sets PCs some tests, including a dungeon crawl, at the end of which is a minor boss (APL+2) who is an evil NPC.

-- The PCs having passed, MPNPC throws them a party and then sends them on a long trip to deliver weapons to the plucky rebel forces who are seeking to overthrow the evil empire. After various adventures along the way, they succeed.

-- The PCs are then tasked with infiltrating an outpost of the evil empire and subverting it from within so that the plucky rebels can succeed in a surprise attack.

Point being, there are only a few points in the adventure where the fact that the PCs are evil will really make a difference. The fate of the captain and his crew, that's a big one. The squire. The possible use of poison at a couple of points. But overall... not that many. If we're going to be evil, it should matter!

-- Not enough good. Two things there. One, there are almost no good characters in the first half of the adventure! (Okay, low level prison guards and servants. I'm not even counting them.) If you're playing an antipaladin, you'll have one, maybe two fights where you can get your smite on. Not until you enter the tower full of good characters can you really rev your engine, and by that time you're fourth or fifth level.

Two, the good characters are not always particularly "good". Often they're just antagonists who happen to have the Good label on them. There are exceptions, sure. For instance, we can affect Sir Balin's behavior by threatening the captive squire. And that's great, because it opens up interesting possibilities for roleplaying and for tactics. But for the most part, these guys could be neutral or evil and it wouldn't really change much.

Fighting against good characters should feel different. On one hand, you'd expect the good guys to cooperate better (especially since most are LG), to trust each other, and to be willing to sacrifice themselves if necessary. That should make them tougher. On the other hand, you'd expect them to be more trusting than evil antagonists, and much more susceptible to things like threats against innocents. That should make them weaker. Either way, it shouldn't be like fighting an equivalent force of orcs or such.

-- Okay, this went longer than expected... The concerns above are actually pretty minor. Overall I liked the adventure a lot. I'd give it a solid A-, and that's higher than I've given a number of Paizo AP modules. I liked it a lot, and if I get the chance I want to run it sometime. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

Also, for you fence-sitters? This is totally worth ten bucks.

cheers,

Doug M.

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