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Way of the Wicked—Book #5: The Devil My Only Master (PFRPG)

****½ (based on 2 ratings)
FRM1005E

Backorder Print/PDF Bundle: $24.99

Add PDF: $10.00

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For years you have been a follower in a sinister conspiracy dedicated to burning the noble nation of Talingarde to the ground. For years you have accepted their missions and done as you were told. For years you have been a MINION.

That changes today. Today you seize your destiny. Today you will destroy those who think themselves above you. Today you will become the dark lord you were always destined to be. And then all of Talingarde will tremble in your wake.

Welcome to the fifth chapter of the critically acclaimed, ENnie-award nominated “Way of the Wicked” adventure path!

Inside you’ll find:

  • “The Devil My Only Master,” an adventure compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game designed for 16th-level villains by Gary McBride
  • Full color illustrations and maps by Michael Clarke
  • New character options for villains by Jason Bulmahn
  • How to play vampire and lich PCs
  • And More!
  • Hunt a linnorm! Corrupt a paladin! Slay your master and become Talingarde’s greatest villains!

    No one but the devil guides you now.

Product Availability


Print/PDF Bundle: This product is a backorder. The PDF will be added to your My Downloads Page immediately upon purchase.

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

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

FRM1005E


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Product Discussion (280)
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Paizo Employee Webstore Gninja Minion

Be evil, my friends. Way of the Wicked #5 now available!


Indeed! Added to my collection, now to kick back and read through these deliciously evil pages.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

My precious!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks Liz!

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


10 people marked this as a favorite.

I am not always evil, but when I am I prefer Way of the Wicked. Stay evil my friends.

Qadira

Whoo hoo. It's out here too.

And Gary, I've already got a list coming your way of edits and revisions for this book. Sorry. ^^;

For those who defeated Brigit and are still low on XP, a suggestion...

to build up more:
add the Celestial-blessed (Solar) template to her. I'll be doing that with my group for that added umph. The backstory is that she doesn't want to be defeated by the villains and asks for another shot. Unfortunately, with her being banished from the Material Plane, she can't go back easily. However, a solar is willing to merge with her so that she'll be able to go back one last time before she'll have to return. His power will give her 24 hours of time to locate and dispatch them.
That won't be necessary though. As Dessiter has come to the party with this news. They were take her out completely, but they failed. However, this is not their fault, and no one is blaming them. No one could have forseen this. If the PCs want a little bonus, Dessiter won't be against revising the contract a little. Put a little subclause in there for taking out the advanced version of this being. The optional encounter will still take place as written.

Just an idea. The guy would be nameless for now, but I'm sure he'll have a name once Book VI comes out. Something tells him he'll be the final, FINAL encounter. Although I could be wrong too.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I love that cover, it's very evocative.

It reminds me of how I've always pictured the Clocktower of Tyre in "Hell in Freeport".


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Gary, is it on purpose that the Agathium is not marked on the map?

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Woot! Already purchased! :)

Grand Lodge

Bought bought bought! Gary Mcbride is a genius and these are awesome idea mines, rich with creative ore, even if you never intend to run the AP!


TAKE MY MONEY GARY. JUST TAKE IT.


And I have to wait a few weeks before I can get it! Arrgh!

Oh well, I'll just have to look forward to the review until it's actually in my grabby little paws.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Zaister wrote:
Gary, is it on purpose that the Agathium is not marked on the map?

Interestingly enough, it's on the map at the end of the book.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Alzrius wrote:
Zaister wrote:
Gary, is it on purpose that the Agathium is not marked on the map?
Interestingly enough, it's on the map at the end of the book.

Oh, I've totally missed that map at the end.


So it turns out that Gary has a direct feed to my wallet or something, because money keeps disappearing from it every couple months or so, though to be fair, it's usually replaced by awesome

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game Subscriber

Yay!


Gary, just reading over the Children of the Night pt. 2...

Spoiler:
For the Vampire template, the suggestion of 5 feats seems a little steep, especially since they probably won't be getting access to vampirism until after level 13, at least as far as the story is written.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Gary, about the everybody favourite frost giant...

Spoiler:
Why does he waste a feat into martial weapon(great axe)?? Giants are proficient with any weapon mentioned in their stat, and beyond that, the king is a 5th level barbarian too. So he has proficiency with all martial weapons. He's already "wasting" feats in things like skill focus: stealth, but this feat does pretty much nothing at all :/

Beyond that, a huge Great Axe does 4d6, not 3d8 as mentioned in the statblock.

I think your low levels Big Good Guys were spot on in optimization (Sir Balin is a beast), but at high level, they seem to be built "holding punches", using a lot of not very optimized stuff -like Skill Focus Stealth on a Huge Giant that will have, at best, +7 in proper conditions, against characters with +25 or more in perception, is a waste. So is Improved Great Cleaving finish, for the most part: if the Big Guy is dropping more than one PC per turn, then something is horribly wrong. In 99% of encounters, that's simply a NPC who lacks two feats. Furious Focus or critical focus would be be much better. I guess this is on purpose, to avoid too much TPK among non-optimized parties or weak combinations of parties, or whatever, and I understand it, but this is too much holding punches in my opinion.

I agree with DSRM too, the suggestion of 5 feats for becoming a vampire is way too much. Unless the character is planning to be a vampire from level 1 (AND has the chance to do so), it's impossible. If they start becoming a vampire at lvl 12-13 in Glastenhall, this means they won't be a full vampire until lvl TWENTY ONE. Including having less CON for a good bunch of levels in the process. And then, and only then, they can start using other vampire-related feats (such as form of the swarm, etc). That means those feats are epic level (you can't take them until lvl 23 or more...) I don't think any of my players want to be a vampire, but if any of them wants, I'll ditch this enterely. Probably I'll put him in the slow progression table, and be done with it.

The suggestion for Lich seems better. It's a bit expensive, but at least it's doable.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

By the way... Dissiter is a GREAT character. I'm going to put a bit more spotlike on himm. Probably he'll be present in the Manor in Book I to certify and make the Knot Contract, and thus make the PC know him sooner and treat him more. Probably will appear in Book II, in the White Raven's stuff too.

The scene between the PC, Dissiter, and the Pit Fiend is just plain awesomesauce. I'm going to delight that one. So much Roleplaying potential.


Eric Hinkle wrote:

And I have to wait a few weeks before I can get it! Arrgh!

Oh well, I'll just have to look forward to the review until it's actually in my grabby little paws.

I feel with you. I wait til drivethru has the POD+PDF Bundle. As much I like the book - I don´t spend extra 10$.

Somebody want to get the waiters some info on the archetypes (they are OGL or not?). Only a overview would suffice.

I am really curios about the magic item which Gary inserted to bring strife into the knot. What qualities it has? How mighty is it?


gustavo iglesias wrote:
The scene between the PC, Dissiter, and the Pit Fiend is just plain awesomesauce. I'm going to delight that one. So much Roleplaying potential.

+111

I really liked the encounter with Chargammon in his lair in book IV, but this one is even better, a really difficult thing.
I really want my party arrive there, in the middle of book II right now.


The archetypes are good, and very asmodean. I'm not sure if they are OGL (where should it say?). I guess they are, but in any case, I'll give only a small review.

The hand of tyranny has "command" instead of "stunning fist". It also swap "wholeness of the body" for a "pain strike" that nauseate/sicken.

The antipaladin swap "aura of cowardice" for "aura of obedience", which allow to "command" people with Intimidate. Later, they can Dominate a single thrall.

The Torturer swap Solo Tactic and the extra feats, for torturing stuff (That alone makes it a good archetype for ranged inquisitors, as there are not a lot of teamwork feats for ranged). PEople tortured must roll a save, or be forced to answer questions truthfully. Sort of "speak with the not-yet-dead". Later, they can torture as a standard action (Allowing for in combat use), and torture can also apply conditions, such as sickened, nauseated, fatigued, shaken, etc. It's flavourful and balanced.

The barristan is the best one, imho. It has an ability to heal asmodeans believers with it's channel energy (which makes it the archetype of choice for this AP) and also an ability to do stuff with contracts.

The item is powerful, but not artifact-level. It's two very good Core Book rings, combined into a single item, plus a flavourful ability which is good, but not overpowered, which allow you to cast Deeper Darkness under some conditions.


DSRMT wrote:

Gary, just reading over the Children of the Night pt. 2...

** spoiler omitted **

Remember in book 4 there is an option for players to become vampires from the adventure start. These 5 feats help balance it.


Warsor wrote:
DSRMT wrote:

Gary, just reading over the Children of the Night pt. 2...

** spoiler omitted **

Remember in book 4 there is an option for players to become vampires from the adventure start. These 5 feats help balance it.

Yes, it helps to balance this case, IF there's only one or two vampires. If all the players are vampires, you don't need to balance them, all of them are in the same boat.

It's still a *hard* cost. Specially if you have to play several levels with reduced CON at low levels and survive. But make any other case impossible (such as using the Prince of Glastenhal offer). It's especially costly if you compare it with Lichdom, which cost 1 feat and 1 expensive magic item, and it's arguabily better (it has much less drawbacks at the very least. You can play during day, you have less vulnerabilities, you don't need to feed on people...)


Brigit lair is so cool, that I'm thinking if my players kill her in book IV, she'll have a sister that they have to fight in book V. That lair is too good to let it go just because Brigit is dead :)

Qadira

For those that are upset about the vampire feats, just take it as a base class as suggested in 3.5 and put in the unofficial PF Savage Species Bestiary. Considering it was originally +8 LA, which meant no HD, saves, or skill point progression, five feats is probably a bargain. The only difference now is that it's eight base class levels with 3/4 progression. As for the lich, there's a prestige class that you can take and you'll only lose three spellcasting levels. If those are still important to you, the WotC (which will now be third party) feat Practiced Spellcaster will give you those back.


I'm happy enough with WotW lich. 120.000g item, and a feat, seems about right. 120.000g is a damn high tax anyway, so is 120 days forging. That, and I'll add slow chart progression.

For vampires, I think I'll go something similar, but I'm not sure yet. I think none of my Players want to be a vampire, so unless any of them suddenly wants when they learn about Prince of Glastenhall, I don't even need rules for it. In Pathfinder, Vampire template is +2 CR. In WotW, I think it's less powerful than in a regular adventure path: there are a LOT of paladins, good outsiders, and celestial stuff that can Smite Evil, which does double damage against undead in the first hit. There's also a few spells that punish them (Sunburst and similar). It's cool, and powerful, but the PC are already taking CR 17 stuff as allies and cohorts in the adventure.


You also don't need all five feats listed in this volume to be a vampire. Three to be a bloodsucker (on top of the class mojo). If you want to crank the vampire aspect of a character to 11 (Spinal Tap not a game mechanic), then you can jump on it earlier with a little help from your evil GM. But if you want to thematically be a vampire...that's much more drive-thru for a couple feats.


I still think 5 feats is a bit much. I might lower it to just 3 feats.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
Warsor wrote:
DSRMT wrote:

Gary, just reading over the Children of the Night pt. 2...

** spoiler omitted **

Remember in book 4 there is an option for players to become vampires from the adventure start. These 5 feats help balance it.

Yes, it helps to balance this case, IF there's only one or two vampires. If all the players are vampires, you don't need to balance them, all of them are in the same boat.

It's still a *hard* cost. Specially if you have to play several levels with reduced CON at low levels and survive. But make any other case impossible (such as using the Prince of Glastenhal offer). It's especially costly if you compare it with Lichdom, which cost 1 feat and 1 expensive magic item, and it's arguabily better (it has much less drawbacks at the very least. You can play during day, you have less vulnerabilities, you don't need to feed on people...)

I look at it as the players are getting a powerful bonus for no levels traded in and vampire requires no gold, crafting feat, or 5th level spells. In my campaign I will probably wave the feats if the players perform the special quest in book III for the Prince. The story quest will effectively reward them with the template if they so choose. I'm sure they'll be spending plenty of other feats on some of the general undead feats anyways.

However I could see a DM using the 5 feat chain if the PCs start off all vampires from the start, basically being bitten and slowly transforming as their powers blossomed.

Qadira

Gary,

Questions about the brine dragon.
1) Is it plain Ancient or Ancient Wyrm? Is it LN?
2) You said that we'd get into that later, but I don't see anything about it later on in the book. Do we make it up as we go along?
3) Is there only the brine dragon and the merfolk? How many merfolk? A whole city worth? Various levels?
4) Is there any issues with bringing the dragon to the side of the wicked?
5) How about the merfolk?
6) Does the brine dragon have his own horde as well?
7) Is there anything specific we should know about before doing this encounter?

Osirion

Had a look through the book and loving it. (Going to be a while till I run it though).

Awesome book, in an awesome AP.

Qadira

Just came out, and it's by Little Red Goblin Games, who've made some decent 3 PP stuff, but they've just released a book classes for vampires and liches. They couldn't have timed this better. I haven't bought it yet, but I intend to.

It's called Substitution Classes


Mmmm, substitution feats might work for this... :)

If someone wants to become vampire after the prince of glastenhall act, he could swap some feats he know for this feats (or the first three feats). I'll think about it.


YEAAAAH BABYYYYY !!!! BOOK V !

Guys I love you ! Bought !


Hi Gary,

I am reading your article on becoming a vampire. Can you be more precise on what you gain at the last vampire level ?

Also I like the adventure as it is with Asmodeus involved and don't like too much the alternate adventure for vampires.

My PCs are now in Act II book 1. Could I have Tiadora as a vampire ? or should I add someone else ? I understand they could get bitten in Book III too but it seems late already (13th lvl).

I find the story so Fan- Tastic that I don't want to change the whole "Asmodeus is watching you " thing... ^^


Major Longhorn,

Though the two articles about vampires and liches have generated a lot of discussion (and I'll be addressing more about that throughout the day), it is important to remember ... this adventure path is not primarily about either.

It is about playing villianous PCs.

Twelve pages of the more than 600 pages of the AP when finished are dedicated in two appendices to this play option.

Ignore it and you lose nothing.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Taldor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
BiggDawg wrote:
I am not always evil, but when I am I prefer Way of the Wicked. Stay evil my friends.

I like the cut of this fellow's jib.


The Most Interesting Man wrote:
BiggDawg wrote:
I am not always evil, but when I am I prefer Way of the Wicked. Stay evil my friends.
I like the cut of this fellow's jib.

As do I.

And let me make a general comment before I begin sorting through all the comments I missed this weekend.

Thanks for all the feedback and encouragement and thanks to everyone who bought the book. We sold more books this weekend that we did in our first month of existence as a publisher. It's so great to see Fire Mountain Games thriving and we couldn't do it without your support.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


Just finished reading through the adventure for the 2nd time. Gotta say, it feels perfect. Epic in scale, satisfying encounters. The art is nice, and I've been meaning to say this for a while, but I love how the art adds your own personal touch to what the monsters look like!

I'd say you have outdone yourself, but something tells me I need to wait for the 6th book to say that

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

I have my concerns about the title. It is over the top and could bring another wave of anti D&D publicity if the wrong parent runs across it.


sieylianna wrote:
I have my concerns about the title. It is over the top and could bring another wave of anti D&D publicity if the wrong parent runs across it.

Those fathers would do it for "Way of the Wicked" too. Any kind of name that mentions something about the AP itself would be doomed, if those people run across it. I'd rather deal with it.

The AP itself will be fought with bigotry and stupidity for the content, whatever the name is.


sieylianna wrote:
I have my concerns about the title. It is over the top and could bring another wave of anti D&D publicity if the wrong parent runs across it.

Most of those parents are too busy yelling at Mass Effect 3 for turning their children gay, but I suppose it's always a little bit of a concern

(ps. no trying to belittle your concern, because sadly it is valid, only the shortshighted kneejerk reaction of some of these anti-whatever groups)


Greetings all,

Why does vampirism take five feats? First, it doesn't. You're a lesser sort of vampire after the third feat. Five feats gets you all the way to being a master vampire. This not how I'd do things in a campaign where everyone is a vampire. This is how I'd try to balance the template in a campaign where only one PC is a vampire.

The vampire template is a powerful one -- it grants six feats and eighteen points of stat increase. Yes, there are substantial weaknesses. But a five feat investment doesn't sound out of line.

Anyways, if it still seems unbalanced to you, then here's a real simple house rule to alleviate the cost -- given then the first feat for free when they are bitten. Two feats (i.e. at most four levels), they'll be the undead. And four more after that, they'll have mastered their dark gift completely.

Vampire vs. Lich -- the lich's problem is not one of character investment -- it is one of money and time. Finding 120 days to craft a phylactery and 120,000 gp in spare cash is a major limiting factor. In fact, its so daunting, I imagine many PCs will simply never manage the task.

I considered allowing a feat-based/no-time-and-money lich route, but could never come up with something completely satisfying and honestly ran out of space.

Vamps and lich PCs could easily be a book of their own.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


1 person marked this as a favorite.
sieylianna wrote:
I have my concerns about the title. It is over the top and could bring another wave of anti D&D publicity if the wrong parent runs across it.

While I find it unlikely that a third party PDF/POD publication will ever generate anything close to a media wave, I would remark that "Way of the Wicked" is ultimately a 600-page example of why being evil and letting the quest for vengeance and power consume you is a bad idea.

Playing a villain is fun. Just ask actors. They say that all the time in interviews.

Mistaking "Way of the Wicked" (or any piece of fiction that highlights villainy) as a treatise defending being real-life evil, is simply not its intent.

But thanks for your interest and taking the time to express your feelings on this matter!

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


I'm re-reading the vampire rules, and actually I find them quite balanced. It cost you 5 feats, but give you 5 feats also. The only problem, is that they override an option of the AP (the Glastenhall Prince stuff), because you can't transform into a vampire if you start collecting feats at level 10 or so. One option could be to handweave it (saying "you owe me the next 5 feats if you transform"), or to allow for "feat substitution" (saying "the transformation is a painful event, and you'll forget some things you already know. You have to pay this amount of feats to transform"), or a combination of both. That allow for a balanced transformation, but doesn't need 10 levels to do so.

EDIT: what Gary said :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
Fire Mountain Games wrote:
Mistaking "Way of the Wicked" (or any piece of fiction that highlights villainy) as a treatise defending being real-life evil, is simply not its intent.

Actually, I've been reading "Way of the Wicked" threads for months with no real concern. It's "The Devil: My Only Master" which seems like it could cause problems.


sieylianna wrote:
Actually, I've been reading "Way of the Wicked" threads for months with no real concern. It's "The Devil: My Only Master" which seems like it could cause problems.

Gary (ie Fire Mountain Games) will be well within the realm of defensibility against the thought police if they come a-knocking. It's a creative work. It is not a religious or philosophical text. It is not claiming to be history, science or other type of technical, operational or instructional manual. It is part of a series of books that is clearly marketed as an evil adventure path for a roleplaying game. As such, "The Devil My Only Master" shouldn't be any more open to being tossed on the book burning pyre or pulled down from Paizo's site than Book 1 when taken in context with the AP's content (a bunch of devil bound evil-doers that sacrifice for their dark gods and perform heinous acts of "evil"). It has been transparently marketed and labeled to be exactly what it is...an evil adventure path. Thus, the uninterested and easily offended can avoid it and move along.

The old Dungeons and Dragons = Satanic Cult trope caught on primarily due to the fact that D&D was marketed as a game and the religious hysterics wailed and gnashed their teeth at the insidious corruption of the young by forcing them to form cults. Never mind that they essentially made the whole thing up as they went along. Advance the world a few decades and the groups that still think role playing games are evil...would think any Pathfinder rpg book was just as bad or worse.

So while the title of Book V could cause some people to get their feathers ruffled, it's no worse that calling M. Night Shyamalan's movie "Devil," or any other fictional work that bears the big "d" word in it.

I in no way speak for Gary, but in the interest of those gamers that are having fun with this adventure path let's move back to discussing the adventure and the Ap as a whole. So, if you intend to cause problems based on the title of this book then feel free to do so. I won't try to stop you being offended by the title. That is your right to have your own opinion. Otherwise, count your point as noted and let's all move on to discussing the adventure and it's supporting articles in context.

Any further commentary on Book V?

Qadira

Gary, I know you said you'd get to responding to everyone's comment and concerned, but I just wanted to bring notice to mine again regarding the brine dragon and his servants.


I must say I love this adventure path! At first I was wondering if it was worth buying, money well spent. I love the vampire feats, im currently trying them out on my brother's character. Now i just wanted to know, you guys think there will have room for a feat chain to play a half-fiend of somesort or some other type of sinister being.

Anyways cant wait to see the next book.

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