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RPG Superstar 2015

Retribution (PFRPG)

***** (based on 8 ratings)
PZOPDFRSP10100E
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A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure by Creighton Broadhurst for four 1st-level PCs

In the frozen depths of winter, murderous winds mercilessly batter the crumbling Priory of Cymer. Within, trapped by their duty and the heaped snowdrifts that render travel near impossible, the few remaining faithful huddle together and tend the sacred places of their forbears. With the weather worsening, nerves fray and tempers snap as the wind howls its mournful dirge for the forgotten dead of a fallen time. But the worst is yet to come. One of those trapped within holds a murderous grudge that only blood can expunge, and as the storm reaches its savage height, terrible revenge is wrought amid the frigid halls and faded glories of a bygone age.

Visit www.ragingswan.com to download bonus materials including maps, graphics, reorganised stat block listings, pregenerated characters and more.

This ZIP file includes two versions of Retribution, one optimised for printing and use on a normal computer and one optimised for use on a mobile device such as an iPad. You can learn more about Raging Swan's Dual Format PDF initiative at ragingswan.com

"A fantasy roleplaying campaign can always use spooky, atmospheric low-level adventures, and RETRIBUTION is a solid, useful foray. It's "old school" in the best sense of that term: the adventure, its setting, its characters, and its new elements have all been carefully and lovingly detailed and thought through. The result is truly ready-to-use, and its elements lend themselves to easy re-use in an ongoing campaign. Recommended."
    —Ed Greenwood, creator of the Forgotten Realms

"Retribution is a wintry scenario that makes full use of the weather to create a claustrophobic and gritty introduction. This is followed by an excellent middle, with something for every party as it is full of investigation, roleplaying, and combat, before building to a worthy climax. Overall, it is an excellent scenario that can be slotted into any campaign and, with very little work, any roleplaying system."
    —Dave McAlister of UK Role Players

“A gripping gothic yarn. Retribution is one part classic pulp, one part The Name of the Rose, and all around a compelling narrative with exciting encounters and absorbing NPCs. It will no doubt leave a lasting impression on every adventurer who dares winter on the Lonely Coast.”
    —Stephen Radney-MacFarland

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

Non-Mint Print/PDF Bundle: Unavailable This product is non-mint. Refunds are not available for non-mint products. The standard version of this product can be found here.

Print/PDF Bundle: Unavailable

Print: Unavailable

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.

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

RSP10101


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Product Discussion (20)
Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Any chance of the print version of this (and other books from Raging Swan Press) becoming available through Paizo?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Oliver von Spreckelsen wrote:
Any chance of the print version of this (and other books from Raging Swan Press) becoming available through Paizo?

I'd say if you want that to happen, let Raging Swan know!


Retribution is a 71 pages pdf, 1 front cover, 1 blank page (inside the front cover), 3 pages credits, half a page OGL, 1 page ads and 1 page back cover.

The pdf is extensively bookmarked for ease of reference; all the statblocks also have flavor-text describing the monsters/enemies as well as summaries of the obtainable treasure at the end of each part, making the adventure very easy and comfortable on the DM.
The adventure starts off with the obligatory 3 pages of introduction, synopsis of the adventure, background and a map of the Lonely Coast, the region in which Retribution is set.

Part I: Sanctuary (8 pages)Retribution starts off with a journey through a snow/sleet storm towards the Priory of Cymer that perfectly captures a foreboding, gritty and harsh atmosphere of the adventure and sets the mood for the rest: The tone is one of an old, uncaring world that is not too far from the past of our own in terms of the dangers of traveling.
The 2 encounters on the road are very good examples for the fact that environment, circumstances and the like may make for very interesting encounters, even on first level. There are also some hooks suggested to start the adventure, one of which assumes that some of the PCs are sick and go to Cymer to get healed. That's an unconventional hook that actually worked very well for my group and further set the gritty mood - Excellent idea. The wilderness-journey part of the adventure ends when the PCs arrive at the Priory of Cymer.

Part II: Signs (31 pages) The next part of Retribution is a roleplaying-heavy/investigation-section, something I'd love to see more often, especially due to the fact that the atmosphere is constantly building up. From the beginning and the introduction of the NPCs, the first thing that springs to mind as an analogue to the atmosphere is The Name of the Rose. The atmosphere is simply superb and one of the most dreaded role-playing encounters, the dinner with several NPCs, has been presented in a way that makes the conversations flow naturally and with ease as several sentences and talks are presented for the DM.

Furthermore, the text is interspersed with troubleshooting advice, columns on the reaction of NPCs to some of the ominous happenings in the next couple of days and ends in an exciting series of encounters that serves to further underline the established gritty and ominous atmosphere. The climax sees the PCs undertake a kind of skill-challenge and roleplay their way past a potentially dangerous being.
When first reading the whole of part 2, I thought: Hell yeah! That's how a role-playing adventure should be.

Part III: Darkness (12 pages) The final part of Retribution is a descent into darkness, both physically into a dungeon and symbolic, into the tarnished soul of the primary antagonist: It includes a chasm and a tidal surge, mirroring the emotions of the antagonist in the obstacles and enemies the PCs will have to face until they reach a furious showdown and triumph in battle, slaying the villain. No, wait. They can actually talk sense into the villain in the final confrontation, save his soul and solve the encounter by role-playing instead of roll-playing! In my humble opinion, a showdown of a diplomatic skill-challenge, a heated discussion can evoke even more suspense than a frenetic battle (Plus, the PCs had enough of that already!).
Thus ends the adventure section with all the NPC-destinies results of the PCs blunders or victories.

We also get a 5 pages appendix on the Priory of Cymer in excruciating detail, going so far to even provide a short list of the books in the library.

The second appendix is 8 pages long and focuses on the folk of Cymer, presented in the detailed manner I've come to expect of Raging Swan Press: That means they all have their own b/w character portrait, own distinct mannerisms and distinguishing features that help the DM to make them memorable. Each of them comes with an additional hook to draw the PCs into the adventure, centered on the NPC, making the adventure easier to individualize to your PCs.

The pdf closes with appendix no.3 and new rule items (4 pages), to be precise the half-goblin race, a new magic item (the Blessed Aspergillum, which has its own picture and even a whole print-out page in the look-see art web-enhancement) and information about the 2 default gods used in the adventure as well as a sect.

As always with Raging Swan products, you can download several free web-enhancements on their homepage:

- One contains 4 pregen-characters
- One has the collated statblocks: The pages are organized by creature/faction type, 9 pages long
- Advice on scaling the adventure: 1 page
- Look-see art has all the art from the adventure, easy to print out and show to your players: 14 pages
- The last enhancement, Nemesis, has 4 statblocks to make the villain level with the players and reuse him for future adventures.(lvl 3, 7, 12, 18)
- The whole, free Lonely Coast pdf can be considered a huge additional web-enhancement for Retribution.

Conclusion:

The quality of the editing is top-notch, I didn't find any typos or glitches. The adventure has wilderness, investigation and dungeon, action and role-playing, does not shoehorn or railroad the player's actions (as far as that is possible in a non-sandbox-module), is extremely easy on the DM and features the evocative, very atmospheric fluff I loved in the free supplement The Lonely Coast. Due to the multilayered characters (that actually deserve the moniker and go beyond being one-dimensional encounters/foils for the PCs), the attention to detail and the symbolism of the adventure, Retribution not only manages to slowly build up tension, but continuously ups the ante on the mysterious happenings and locations until the finale. The diplomatic skill-challenges that encourage the use of more than one skill in role-playing as well as the fact that the adventure dares to not solely rely on "Kill-it-with-fire"-tactics is another major Plus.

I've only got two minor complaints:
First is that there is no player-friendly map of the dungeon. I like to cut up printed maps and present them to players while they are exploring.
My second gripe is something more severe, though: The maps of this adventure feature my arch-nemesis, the bane of my existence: Letters on maps. I hate them with a passion. I realize they are necessary for the DM-maps. But why do they have to be in player's maps? So they can see all significant locations and walk from A to B to C? So they can be reminded that this is a game with hotspots and get ripped from the awesome mood of the adventure? I just don't get why maps bare of letters and numbers to hand out to your players are so rare. Usually, that alone would suffice for me to deduct one star.

However: With the web-enhancements, top-quality prose and plot, the free Lonely Coast file as an additional supplement and the subtle, yet intricate symbolism, I am almost forced to acknowledge one fact:
Retribution ranks among the best first level adventures I've ever read. It's not over the top, it's personal. And it's better off for it. Check it out. It's better than almost any first level adventure I've read for PFRPG and its predecessors.

Lantern Lodge

Now that, my friends, is a stylish cover. I approve.


A new web-enhgancement has been added to the free download section by Creighton Broadhurst, and we got an additional map of Cymer sans key. Player-friendly and extremely open to feedback. Very nice!

Consider this another small boost recommendation-wise. :)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Based on End's review, this is going in my cart!


Thanks for the trust, Elorebaen!
Don't forget to download all the free goodies at the Raging Swan page. ;)
I really hope you'll enjoy this adventure as much as I and my group did.

Cheers,
Endzeitgeist

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Any reccomendations as to where in Golarion I might drop THe Lonely Coast and associated adventures?

Dark Archive

GeraintElberion wrote:
Any reccomendations as to where in Golarion I might drop THe Lonely Coast and associated adventures?

The Lost Coast of Varisia seems to me a good fit.

Also, any region of Iobaria along the Lake of Mists and Veils or the Catrovin Sea south of Vladmirr (see PF #33 for a gazetteer of Iobaria).

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
golem101 wrote:
GeraintElberion wrote:
Any reccomendations as to where in Golarion I might drop THe Lonely Coast and associated adventures?

The Lost Coast of Varisia seems to me a good fit.

Also, any region of Iobaria along the Lake of Mists and Veils or the Catrovin Sea south of Vladmirr (see PF #33 for a gazetteer of Iobaria).

Halfway between Windsong Abbey and Riddleport?

Ooh, Castrovin Sea looks good - thanks for that.

Now I just have to decide which gods to sub in (I'll just make the lonely coast gods alt. names for Golarion gods).

Dark Archive

GeraintElberion wrote:
golem101 wrote:
GeraintElberion wrote:
Any reccomendations as to where in Golarion I might drop THe Lonely Coast and associated adventures?

The Lost Coast of Varisia seems to me a good fit.

Also, any region of Iobaria along the Lake of Mists and Veils or the Catrovin Sea south of Vladmirr (see PF #33 for a gazetteer of Iobaria).

Halfway between Windsong Abbey and Riddleport?

Ooh, Castrovin Sea looks good - thanks for that.

Now I just have to decide which gods to sub in (I'll just make the lonely coast gods alt. names for Golarion gods).

Yes, just south (or north) of the Fogscar Mountains.

Another place in Varisia that could fit is the rather isolated gulf in the Varisian Bay that is south of the Calphiak Mountains (west of Riddleport and north of the Thassilonian satrapy of Bakrakhan).

Dark Archive

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

Reviewed.


Dark_Mistress wrote:
Reviewed.

Thanks for the great review, Dark Mistress. I'm very glad you enjoyed the adventure. I noticed that you'd like a player friendly version of the priory map. I actually have one of those on Retribution's web enhancement page. Check out the unkeyed Priory map enhancement. If that's not what you are looking for, let me know what you are after and I'll add it to the page.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Raging Swan wrote:
Dark_Mistress wrote:
Reviewed.
Thanks for the great review, Dark Mistress. I'm very glad you enjoyed the adventure. I noticed that you'd like a player friendly version of the priory map. I actually have one of those on Retribution's web enhancement page. Check out the unkeyed Priory map enhancement. If that's not what you are looking for, let me know what you are after and I'll add it to the page.

Is the map listed as part of the free stuff? For me it isn't a big deal but I know it is often a very common request I see by other people. So I try and hit that point in reviews, since I know it is common request.

Not all comments I make in a review is based on my own personal views, but some are on what I think others would want to know.


Can there be made some guesses on how far this will take the PCs as far as experience points?

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Russell Akred wrote:
Can there be made some guesses on how far this will take the PCs as far as experience points?

If the PCs do well, they should hit 2nd-level by the end of the adventure.

Paizo Employee Webstore Gninja Minion , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Print and bundle preorders now available!

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Wow. Thanks again for the five-star review. I'm delighted you enjoyed Retribution so much. Have fun running it!

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Thanks very much for the review, UncleRiotous! It's much appreciated and I'm very glad you enjoyed the module!


Bit of a plug for my blog but I ran this as my first proper adventure after a long time away from role playing (well over 20 years) and I've posted the adventure log up and thought people might be interested. At one point I painted myself into a corner and had to work my way back out so the last two sessions weren't exactly in line with the source material but the players still really enjoyed it.

Anyway for anyone who is interested you can find the adventure log at RiotousGM - Retribution Log

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