A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game GO PLAY adventure for four 3rd-level PCs by Creighton Broadhurst
Centuries ago, the Tuath were a mighty folk who strove against the goblins of the Tangled Wood for dominion over that ancient place. Defeated by treachery and their feral, warlike enemies the Tuath’s civilisation was thrown down. Their settlements were sacked, their places of strength broken open and their holy places despoiled; the few survivors melted away into the trackless gloom of the deep forest leaving behind nothing but remnants of their once-great culture. The Road of the Dead, a ceremonial pathway representing a soul’s journey to the underworld, is one such fragment that yet lingers in the Tangled Wood awaiting the brave or the foolhardy. A cunningly designed death-trap, it hides the forgotten treasures and legends of a fallen people.
Road of the Dead takes place on The Lonely Coast (a free, extensively bookmarked PDF) but is easily adaptable to a GM’s personal campaign.
You can check out Road of the Dead’s free downloads & previews or art gallery at ragingswan.com
GO PLAY adventures are perfect for those occasions when a GM is pushed for prep time or for when the regular GM cannot make it. They contain everything a GM needs to get a game going quickly including six pre-generated characters, illustrated handouts for every major encounter area and new magic items and utilises an easy-to-use and prepare format.
This ZIP file includes two versions of Road of the Dead, one optimized for printing and use on a normal computer and one optimized 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
This adventure is located in Raging Swan's Lonely Coast campaign setting but, as it deals with remnants of a far-distant past just about everybody has forgotten about, it can be placed in a suitable location in your own campaign world with minimal effort. Before getting into the adventure, however, there is a very clear explanation of how encounters are set out showing you exactly where to find each item of information you might need whilst running it. A lot of people lay encounters out clearly, but actually explaining your methods in advance is a nice touch. Traps and monster stat blocks are similarly laid out in detail, and this is followed by an overview of the Lonely Coast, to enable you to establish the adventure's location easily, complete with a good map.
Next comes an Adventure Background and an Adventure Synopsis. The Background gives all the detail you need about the situation, and the Synopsis walks you through the intended sequence of events. There's a note about the best way to relocate the adventure if you don't want to use the Lonely Coast, and then more detail of the complex whose exploration forms the actual adventure, complete with a beautifully-detailed map that has a 'hand-drawn' feel. Several ideas are provided for why the characters come across this adventure, including blind chance (after all, it's over ten centuries old and most folks don't even know it's there!) as well as reasons for why they might be in the area about other concerns. Neat.
The adventure proper then begins, with everything you need to run the characters through finding the entrance... complete with pictures to show your players as well as detailed plans of each location. This is well-resourced indeed! Everything is very clear and detailed, you will not need to spend time rummaging through other books to find additional information.
The adventure itself is deliberately challenging for the intended Level 3 characters, partly because they have ample time to rest, regain spells, etc., as they explore and partly because, well, it's intended to be a dangerous place anyway. But the rewards are pretty good, especially for those who like - or know where they can sell - ancient artefacts and knowledge.
It is a well-devised and beautifully-presented dungeon crawl, with a coherent underlying rationale and plenty of exploration and combat to challenge the most determined adventurers. Moreover, it is not - as so many such adventures are - very linear, the characters have quite a lot of freedom in where they go and what they do whilst exploring the depths. There's an excellent atmosphere of treading ancient halls that have not been disturbed for countless generations... and even some follow-up activities if desired.
This product is 51 pages long. It starts with a cover, ToC, and credits. (5 pages)
Using the Adventure (5 pages)
It starts off with explaining stat blocks, talks about encounters, traps, treasures, and a overview of the Lonely Coast area, with map. It ends with a adventure overview and summery.
Road of the Dead (18 pages)
The Road of the Dead is a old religious location. It starts with a map, random encounters, features about the road and plot hooks. There is 6 encounters and two optional encounters. There is some lore checks to learn about the Road of the Dead, a bit of a Indian Jones style romp with monsters in a old religious place is the over all feel of things.
Appendix 1: New Stuff (4 pages)
There is 3 new monsters, 1 new disease, 2 new magic items and a new weapon.
Appendix 2: Player's Handouts(10 pages)
All told there is 17 varies player handouts in this section, some are two to a page.
Appendix 3: Pregen PC's (7 pages)
There is 6 pregen characters in this section, with full stat blocks but no histories.
It ends with a OGL and back cover. (2 pages)
Closing thoughts. The art work is black and white and ranges from ok to very good. Editing and layout was good, I didn't notice any errors or problems. This adventure is a more standard explore the lost “insert name here” type dungeon, but there is some knowledge and lore aspects to it. Otherwise it is a fairly well done short dungeon crawl. While it is made to fit into the local area of the Lonely Coast area by Raging Swan it would be pretty easy to drop in just about anywhere for PC's as a side trek. It is made for a 3rd level party, it does have some information about continuing the adventure as well as scaling it for other levels. So what's my rating? It is a nice simple very well done fun little dungeon crawl. It just begs to have had more lore and puzzles and such added to it. I am going to rate this one a 4.5, good but with just a bit more it could have been great.
Trust me, I'm a Succubus.
An easy to run, iconic dungeon crawl for 3rd level