Pathfinder Adventure Path #65: Into the Nightmare Rift (Shattered Star 5 of 6)

***½( ) (based on 5 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #65: Into the Nightmare Rift (Shattered Star 5 of 6)
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Chapter 5: "Into the Nightmare Rift"
by Richard Pett

With five shards of the Shattered Star secure, visions point the PCs toward one of Varisia’s most remote corners as the site protecting the sixth fragment of the powerful artifact. Yet the heroes are not the first to search for this shard—upon arriving at the ancient ruin known as Guiltspur, they find a small army of giants excavating the site on the order of a blue dragon. Even this is not the entirety of the danger, however, for as the heroes soon learn, there are other forces searching for the final shards as well—some hailing from the Darklands below, and some from beyond reality in the nightmare realm of Leng!

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path continues the Shattered Star Adventure Path and includes:

  • "Into the Nightmare Rift," a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 13th-level characters, by Richard Pett.
  • Previously unknown secrets about H. P. Lovecraft’s famous Plateau of Leng in a special gazetteer of this strange realm of dreams and horrors, by Greg A. Vaughan.
  • The lost and ancient secrets behind the forgotten faith of Lissala, goddess of runes, fate, duty, and obedience, by Sean K Reynolds.
  • Alchemists and wererats in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Bill Ward.
  • Four new monsters, including Lovecraftian horrors and Lissala’s herald, by James Jacobs and Sean K Reynolds.

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.

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-487-0

Into the Nightmare Rift is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The rules for running this Adventure Path and Chronicle sheet are available as a free download (512 KB zip/PDF).

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscription.

Product Availability

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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 store@paizo.com.

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***½( ) (based on 5 ratings)

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Fun, but disconnected set-pieces

***( )( )

I ran this for a group of four PCs with standard rules all-around.

For me, this was the weakest offering so far in the otherwise excellent Shattered Star adventure path. And I am not saying this because it is the fifth dungeon crawl in a row (because, come on, you want to complain that the dedicated dungeon AP has too many dungeons?!) but because it is the least cohesive one so far. Pretty much everything, from the reason the Guiltspur was built in the first place to the denizens of the different levels feels a bit jumbled.

That is not to say that a lot of encounters by themselves are not loads of fun. Some examples:

Spoiler:
The initial approach and the fight with the giants was a blast. I mean, stampeding mastodons-on-fire levels of fun!
The encounter with the body-switched astral deva and nalfeshnee was also a fun situation.
Finally, the battle with the shoggoth-brewing moon beasts was terrifying, even though my players did not realize that they could use the shoggoth for their own purposes.

The problem with all of these examples is that you could cut them out of this adventure and drop them into any other with little to no work. While this is great for people who buy AP books to mine them for material they can use in their own campaign, I was disappointed of the randomness, especially when compared to the other excellent books of this AP.

Lastly, the final fight was a bit underwhelming. When you tell a level 15 party what kind of creature they are up against, they will arm and prepare themselves accordingly. So the inevitable happened: the party stomped the final villain in 3 rounds with hardly any major injuries. That was not as much of a problem for us because my players enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that their preparations paid off but it might irk other groups who are looking for more of a challenge in a boss fight.

In summary, I enjoyed running this book but it never really reached the greatness of any of the previous four books.


A Fifth Dungeon Done Right

****( )

I feel like Shattered Star is starting to suffer some dungeon fatigue, but the installments keep on chugging with interesting new dungeons. This one in particular definitely hits some Lovecraftian high points.

It also has some interesting set pieces and allies.

I'd like to take a second to point out the development of dragons wearing their hordes (and actually having their magical items in their art). I think this is one of the best developments in dragons for a long time.

Also, the gazetteer of Leng and details on Lissala are worth it alone.

Overall: A really neat adventure that suffers a little because it's the fifth dungeon crawl in a series of dungeon crawls.


Awesome villain sub-par storyline

***( )( )

My review style is bullet point, isn't that easier to read?

The Good: -Villain is awesome (cover art a big hint why)
-Giants and magma and dragons oh my!
-Good battles throughout excellent rewards.\

The Bad: -Another dungeon, this one with a thin reason for its existence.

The Ugly: -I hate encounters like the one with the drow here, too convenient just so happens ect...
-I don't buy the dragon giving up a shard to find another shard...

Overall: Another great dungeon but story is a disappointment after book 4.


Thouroughly enjoyable dungeon

****( )

In the fine tradition of Shattered Star, this is an awesome dungeon crawl. Only reason I dropped a star off of my rating here is that it is relativley short on anything other than stright up crawling through a series of cool, room by room encounters. It certainly has the right feel for a high level dungeon crawl- everything from the location to the atmosphere to the sotry feels sufficently epic. Unlike some other chapter in the shattered star AP which I felt were rather standard in their difficulty level, this one is going to TOUGH in the PCs with some of the hardest encounters in the campaing so far.

Great dungeon, I'm sure it will be a hackload of fun to play through, but it lacks that "something special" to elevate it. For example, "Curse of the Lady's Light" (Shattered Star #2) had tons of roleplay potential and the entire dungeon felt alive, belivable and magical, and the inclusion of Grey Maidens was handled very well. "The Doomsday Door", the previous adventure in this AP, had a memorable villain that the PCs learned about during the adventure and that provided a very satisfying finale to the dungeon. Here, there's just one cool room after another.


Competent adventure but not inspiring

***( )( )

Read my full review on my blog.

I must confess that I haven’t actually read much Lovecraft (my geek cred just went way down, I suppose). However, I have learned about many of the concepts through other sources and I find them endlessly fascinating. So it’s perhaps a bit strange that Into the Nightmare Rift doesn’t quite do it for me. It’s a competent dungeon crawl, but therein lies some of the problem, I think. A dungeon crawl doesn’t feel the right style to do such a nightmarish reality justice. Going from room to room, killing monster after monster (which is what a great deal of this adventure is) doesn’t really allow for a building of dread and suspense, which I feel is really needed (especially for something with the word nightmare in the title).

That said, I should stress that I don’t consider this a bad adventure. My problems with it mostly come down to personal taste. In this respect, it’s similar to Shards of Sin, the first part of Shattered Star, in that it’s a competent, well-designed dungeon that just doesn’t grab my attention all that much. Nonetheless, it’s an adventure that probably many people are going to love because it will grab their attention.


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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Announced! Cover image is a mockup, and will change prior to publication.

Dark Archive

Sounds neat.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

YES...Nightgaunts!

Silver Crusade

Quote:
including articles on Lissala, the ancient goddess of runes and fate

Aw hell yeah, Runeface is finally back! :D

Grand Lodge

Another Armageddon Echo? Or it's a kind of ravenloft/horror thing?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Manuelexar wrote:
Another Armageddon Echo? Or it's a kind of ravenloft/horror thing?

Neither, really.

It's more Lovecraftian in flavor.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Love my Lovecraft...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Creatures from the relm of Leng, Giants, and a Blue Dragon sounds cool.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Pett.

and Leng

Pett & Leng.

Leng & Pett.

*Rocks back and forth gently*

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Richard Pett ftw! It's fascinating how Paizo manages every time again to get me even more excited for the next AP with each announced book. But seriously there mustn't be any future AP without the two titans Greg Vaughan and Richard Pett.

(P.S. Mr. Vaughan really needs to get to write more books #5 or #6 of an AP so his amazing player killing abilities can truely unfold.)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

P-P-P-P-P-PETT!

*screams, rams forks into his eyes, sets himself on fire, jumps the window*

Sovereign Court

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

We need an AP with this author list
1. JJ
2. Pett
3. Hitchcock
4. Logue
5. Pett
6. Logue & Hitchcock

Which involves Derro, Harrowing, Half-Ogres, Denizens of Leng, Weresharks and a carnival.

Spoiler:
we really, really do

Spoiler:
explosive runes!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My dream setup:

1. Pett
2. Vaughan
3. Jacobs
4. Mona
5. Logue
6. Frasier


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:

My dream setup:

1. Pett
2. Vaughan
3. Jacobs
4. Mona
5. Logue
6. Frasier

But after starting an AP with Pett & Vaughn, do you really need any others? The PCs will either be dead or insane!

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Or slowly build to terror and insanity.

1) Jacobs
2) Frasier
3) Hitchcock
4) Vaughan
5) Logue
6) Pett

By the end of that, you will likely be horrified or insane if not both.


Dark_Mistress wrote:

Or slowly build to terror and insanity.

1) Jacobs
2) Frasier
3) Hitchcock
4) Vaughan
5) Logue
6) Pett

By the end of that, you will likely be horrified or insane if not both.

+1!

(gibber, gibber, gibber)

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Paizo, Sweet, Beautiful, Mad Paizo wrote:
... a gazetteer of the weird demiplane of Leng ...

Yay!!!!!

Shadow Lodge

Where's the love for Spicer and Kortes?? I want them on my AP Dream Team, along with Vaughn and Pett.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
GeraintElberion wrote:

We need an AP with this author list

1. JJ
2. Pett
3. Hitchcock
4. Logue
5. Pett
6. Logue & Hitchcock

Which involves Derro, Harrowing, Half-Ogres, Denizens of Leng, Weresharks and a carnival.

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

Pretty sure reality breaks if Vaughn's not on the list somewhere.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
ThreeEyedSloth wrote:
Where's the love for Spicer and Kortes?? I want them on my AP Dream Team, along with Vaughn and Pett.

Kortes needs to be writing another Osirion module, we need to know what the Aucturn Enigma is!

Vaughn, Kortes and Spicer are great but they don't do freaky like pett, hitchcock and Logue. JJ I'd put in at the start to suck you in and make you care... that's probably cruel.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Kortes is buried in real-life lately, so I heard.

Baaah! We need more Tito Leati, too!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Dark_Mistress wrote:

Or slowly build to terror and insanity.

1) Jacobs
2) Frasier
3) Hitchcock
4) Vaughan
5) Logue
6) Pett

By the end of that, you will likely be horrified or insane if not both.

Thirded!


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber

I could go with some more Eric L Boyd or Tito Leati.

Contributor

I've been on tablets since writing this one.

That's some extremely fine company, and very good to see Logue in many lists. I miss abusing him publicly. I think I may open the cellar door and stop the punishments.

Maybe just a few more cockroaches first.

Mnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnar!

Leng.

LENG.........

Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh........................


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

When do we anticipate seeing the player's guide for this?

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Aaron Scott 139 wrote:
When do we anticipate seeing the player's guide for this?

It should be available around the time Pathfinder Adventure Path #61 becomes available, which should be early August.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Cool, thanks.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Giants, a dragon, drow, and Leng? This here could be brutal.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

What do you mean, "could"? It's written by Richard Pett...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

I was excited before reading/seeing that Sir Richard Pett will be scribing part 5 of the Shattered Star AP ... now I am even more anxious for this AP ... and nevermind that we are going to have a Shattered Star miniatures set for use with this AP too (Yay!!) Hmm a blue dragon is a "boss" monster in this chapter ... maybe, maybe, MAYBE we will have a HUGE Blue Dragon mini in the Shattered Star minis set? :D Please!


Nightgaunts!! Finally! :D


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also: Leng, Lissala!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Just wanted to ask this again (and I realize that now the Shattered Star minis set is projected to have small, medium, and large minis no huge ones at this time, just let me say having the premium mini being a HUGE Blue Dragon would be especially wonderful). C'mon Paizo and WizKids ... you know you want to do this. :D Please...

Contributor

Generic Villain wrote:
Giants, a dragon, drow, and Leng? This here could be brutal.

Could?...

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

He meant to write
Giants, a dragon, drow and Leng could be brutal, giants, a dragon, drow and Leng in the claws of the Pett WILL be brutal, if that word is strong enough to cover it...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

"Beastly" or "savage"?

Contributor

I like beastly, Gorbacz, but actually, the giants, dragon, drow and Leng aren't what you should really be worried about...

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

...that would leave the Pett, as expected...

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Dammit, more lovecraft stuff why must I now wait 6 months for you? I don't know if I will have money for you then T-T. Please let me not pass the perfect opportunity for them in my home game...


Lovecraftian adventure with Pett at the helm.

Pinch me ye gods, I must be dreaming!

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Odraude wrote:

Lovecraftian adventure with Pett at the helm.

Pinch me ye gods, I must be dreaming!

Don't worry, the nightmares will start soon enough. And then you'll be begging for us to wake you up, except we aren't going to be able to...


Lissala! Article on Lissala! EEEEEE!

Silver Crusade

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

M'naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrr....

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

M'naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar:)

Paizo Employee Web Product Manager

Final product image and description are up!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

What a lovely blue dragon and more lovecraft is good.

Silver Crusade

Amiri just don't give a damn.

Also, love seeing dragons finally wearing their bling instead of just sleeping on it. Very cool look.

(and the gold contrasts with the blue superbly as well)


REALLY really good artwork here! LOVE the fire giant art, finally a fire giant art!!! The blue dragon is gorgeous as wel!

Cxan't wait

PS, why the nightgaunt name was removed? Sure hope they still use it in the bestiary!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Cool cover! The smell of ozone is overwhelming!

Ruyan.


Mikaze wrote:
Quote:
including articles on Lissala, the ancient goddess of runes and fate
Aw hell yeah, Runeface is finally back! :D

I share your approval of the Runeface.

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