Pathfinder Module: Broken Chains (PFRPG)

**½( )( ) (based on 7 ratings)
Pathfinder Module: Broken Chains (PFRPG)
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The slave markets of Katapesh may be an unsavory sort of business, but the trade metropolis’s enigmatic law enforcers have few qualms with the legal act of selling and buying flesh. Other factions, including the abolitionist Eagle Knights of Andoran, have their own opinions on the matter, however, and frequently send undercover agents into dangerous territory to break up slave rings.

When one such Eagle Knight goes missing while investigating an underground slave operation beneath the dilapidated Twilight Gate district, it’s up to the PCs to delve an abandoned (but hardly uninhabited) qanat beneath Katapesh and discover her dire fate. Yet not everything is as it seems in the dank slave caverns under Twilight Gate, and clues hint that the slavers may have even more loathsome connections than initially suspected. Can the PCs recover the missing Eagle Knight before her fate is sealed? Or will the monstrous slavers lairing under Katapesh succeed in their malevolent designs?

"Broken Chains" is an investigatory dungeon crawl adventure for 6th-level characters, written for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and compatible with the 3.5 edition of the world’s oldest RPG. This volume also contains a fully detailed map and gazetteer of the Garden of Chains—a nefarious slave auction house—and a brand-new demon that can easily be used in any campaign.

Written by Tim Hitchcock.

Pathfinder Modules are 32-page, high-quality, full-color, adventures using the Open Game License to work with both the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set. This Pathfinder Module includes new monsters, treasure, and a fully detailed bonus location that can be used as part of the adventure or in any other game!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-461-0

Broken Chains is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle Sheet and additional rules for running this module are a free download (94 KB zip/PDF).

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Modules Subscription.

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**½( )( ) (based on 7 ratings)

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Fun dungeon crawl for PFS

****( )

Fun dungeon crawl. This was run tonight in an 8 hour PFS slot, but it ran to 10.25 hours. Much more fun then the ratings suggest, but maybe it was due to a great group of players!


Broken chains...not as broken as some people say !

****( )

Let me start by saying I gave this module 4 stars...

It could be an easy 5 stars....if the story was tweaked a bit. So as many have already said it has some great story elements ( slavery,pesh addicts and of course the save the hero plot)

any RPG player worth his weight will guess right away that the hero turned to the dark side. In my session I gave the party plenty of clues in the way of handouts

treasure pouch found with the body ( coins a small map and a key)
the heroes journal ( with false information)
and another map found in dungeon ( that is different than the one the found)

these are items i added since i knew my group would quickly guess part of the main story.... and it worked they were so conflicted in their theory the couldn't decide if she was good or bad until the big reveal.any good GM will quickly read this module and make some changes to fit their group...

is it a perfect module- NO

is it a good value- Yes

with a few tweaks you can easily get 2-3 gaming sessions out of this module.


Seems rushed

*( )( )( )( )

I must say, the very beginning of this module is something I really enjoyed...the interaction with the market and the setting presented were pretty fun to play around with, plus trying to figure out what to do. But as soon as we got passed that (which took us about an hour and a half), the entire module took a nosedive for the worst.

Module Details:
It turns into a sewer dungeon crawl, with uninspiring, repetitive terrain and typical monsters you see in sewers, for really no apparent reason at all. I didn't feel like I was infiltrating something as much as just beating some things down. Then after that, it was cultist after cultist, feeling like it was just fluff to add time fighting the same things over and over again. I have nothing against dungeon crawls, but it gets old quick if there's nothing there to keep it interesting. Then, of course, the person who joins you does the inevitable like every single NPC that ever travels with the PCs. On a side note, I also felt the module was a tad easy and a bit too strenuous on casters with spells per day, but you know how that goes... It just felt like a bunch of cliches, random monster tables pulled from other sewer adventures, typical hidden cultist storyline, and then ending with demons, and they were just slapped together and called a module.


A magnificent muddle

**( )( )( )

Tim Hitchcock does twisted great, but Broken Chains never really comes together. The premise of infiltrating a nefarious slave market in the exotic City of Bazaars is intriguing, but the module fails to follow up in any coherent way.

There are some nice nods to the supposed setting of Katapesh, but only small gestures like the meager two page appendix on the Garden of Chains, pesh dealers, and a cameo by a black haired gnoll mentioned in Dark Markets. It is really hard to evoke the flavor of the Great Markets of Katapesh however, when nearly all of the module occurs underground. The trap-filled qanat is an innovative locale, but comes to feel too much like just another sewer crawl with the inclusion of otyughs and other oddities.

The final part really loses its way. I did quite enjoy the demonic plots and grotesques that Hitchcock describes, but ultimately the final chapter just feels like a series of unfinished sketches that only devolve into an unsatisfying conclusion.


A curate's egg

***( )( )

I am a fan of Tim Hitchcock's work and have been looking forward to this.

I think the hook: 'Rescue the hero!" is fine, and not one I've seen before in a Paizo module.

Starting with a non-violent, mini-sandbox involving a slave auction is cool but not for every group.

The dungeon is full of variety and everyone is someone to interrogate. However, the tunnels do have a bit of an old-school random monster population (otyughs, mimic, black pudding, rust monsters, cockatrice, minotaur) and add to the old-school sense of random lethal-ness by being chock full of traps.

Pesh addicts and Pugwampi add to the katapeshi vibe and everyone loves slaying gnoll slavers.

The slow reveal on the Lamashtan cult is nicely done, clues are smattered and will build up a picture over the adventure. The pace of the reveal depending on how alert players are and how many clues they get with skill checks and the like.

But... this is then spoiled by Othine's reveal: the PC's investigations are only foreshadowing for her reveal.

The cult compound is nicely demonic (you immediatel hit upon quasits, minor demons and krenshars). The morlock and howler, though, again feel like random monsters. The traps, rooms and cultists are excellent (graven guardians, voice of lamashtu) but the mid-way BEG, The Midwife, is a bit of a mess (half-fiend jackalwere oracle, anyone? No, thought not). The obvious alternative would have been a flind, or a gnoll with more levels. Even a half-fiend gnoll would have been more fitting.

The black milk mother is horrendous but is a captive and could have been more intriguingly pitiable. She gives birth to advanced hyenas each month but there are no advanced hyenas on the adventure!

Ukrammak should be a party ally (to destroy the ghost) and then Ukrammak and Uthine should both turn on the party: that would better that leaving a ghost-destroying-kit in Ukrammak's quarters frot he adventurers to find.

My thoughts: not a bad adventure but the random monster selection should have been replaced by more cultists, slavers, gnolls, hyenas, flinds and Yaenit Demons.

There are hints of Hitchcock's talent poking through but this feels awkward and ultimately disatisfying.


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Contributor

Announced! Cover image is a mock-up and will change.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Gnolls are always fun to kill.

Scarab Sages

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

Having mostly wiped out the Rovagug worshipping gnolls already, I can only hope to reap the ranks of Lamashtu's faithfull. Maybe even bag a creepy goblin assassin. That would be nice.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Liz Courts wrote:
Announced! Cover image is a mock-up and will change.

A Tim Hitchcock adventure.

Groovy.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Description wrote:
fully detailed slave auction (suitable for destruction)

This made me chuckle.

Sovereign Court

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

'Tim' is the Welsh for 'Team'...

I would like to sign up for Team Hitchcock, please.

Sczarni

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

Looks that could be happening alongside Jackal´s Price in a legacy of Fire campaing. Cool.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Draco Bahamut wrote:
Looks that could be happening alongside Jackal´s Price in a legacy of Fire campaing. Cool.

Exactly how I plan to run it. And serendipitously, it'll be released just as I need it.


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

Aw, dang it, did this get bumped back another month?

Dark Archive

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

So whens the cover of this one being updated?

Dark Archive

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

Also seems this has been pushed back again.

Dark Archive

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

Still nothing?

Project Manager

Can you clarify your question?

Dark Archive

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

Oh uh was just wondering about this being updated any time soon?

Project Manager

It's in edit/layout, so it shouldn't get pushed back anymore.

Dark Archive

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

Changing the subject slightly who are the iconics in this one?

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Glad we are returning to Katapesh, shame it isn't high enough level to be a sequel to LoF though.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

What do they mean by a fully detailed Slave auction? A map and sets of NPCs?

Silver Crusade

Stratagemini wrote:
What do they mean by a fully detailed Slave auction? A map and sets of NPCs?

Huh... Can't help but imagine a breakdown of notable potential bidders and a list/sequence of the slaves up on the block. More than a few of which might drive some PCs to place bids themselves or some other attempt to win their freedom and/or safety(intercepting bids from the worst of the worst potential buyers). Then again, just resorting to force seems doable too, considering "suitable for destruction" in the blurb. ;)

Katapesh is a pretty rough place for good-hearted PCs. Freakin' Pactmasters man.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

You could place the slave auction in Kaer Maga. City of Strangers mentions that the Freemen of the Bottoms are big buyers of slaves.

Dark Archive

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

Noticed all the other Febuary releases have had cover updates. Is this one falling behind again (Sorry to rag on about it but this Module really has me interested)


Kevin Mack wrote:
Noticed all the other Febuary releases have had cover updates. Is this one falling behind again (Sorry to rag on about it but this Module really has me interested)

I'm following,and waiting, this module as eagerly as you.

Project Manager

It's out the door, but I think it's likely to come out in March at this point. But it's done! :-)

Dark Archive

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

Good to here hopefully that means cover updating soon (As well as finding out what Iconics are being used for this one.)

Developer

Kevin Mack wrote:
Good to here hopefully that means cover updating soon (As well as finding out what Iconics are being used for this one.)

I assume you mean the iconics in the art? That would be Seelah, Damiel, Ezren, and Kyra.


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

March? Oh, that's a pity. The timing of this adventure was so fortuitous for a while... I'm running The Jackal's Price right now, and I think that March finally pushes this adventure firmly out of my window of opportunity. At the current rate we're going, I think I would have needed to seed the story hooks for this by the end of January at the latest to be able to incorporate it. Back to the drawing board...

Webstore Gninja Minion

Final description and cover image added!

Silver Crusade

Oh hell yes.

For those familiar with Seelah's backstory, that looks like some sweet, sweet closure on that cover. >:) (or at least a really cool callback!)

Lookan forward to this!

(Seelah should probably keep her helmet on here)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Nice art for the Gnoll.


Definitively going to get this.

Sovereign Court

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

Oh, lordy, I totally missed the crucial information!

Tim Hitchcock!
Tim Carnival-of-Souls Hitchcock!

It does a soul good to see that name associated with a Paizo module.

Dark Archive

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

As much as I want it, it's only for 6th level PCs. That's the number one reason I dropped my modules subscription, too many low-level mods.

The Exchange

I'm all for this. I like the thicker modules.

Developer

GeraintElberion wrote:

Oh, lordy, I totally missed the crucial information!

Tim Hitchcock!
Tim Carnival-of-Souls Hitchcock!

It does a soul good to see that name associated with a Paizo module.

Oh yes—fans of Tim Hitchock and his work will definitely be pleased with this module! :]

Liberty's Edge Contributor

GeraintElberion wrote:

Oh, lordy, I totally missed the crucial information!

Tim Hitchcock!
Tim Carnival-of-Souls Hitchcock!

It does a soul good to see that name associated with a Paizo module.

Thanks ever so much!

Dark Archive

I'll probably run this as a PBP.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Who did the cover art for this one?

Paizo Employee Production Specialist

The cover was handled by Grafit Studios.


This module keeps getting delayed. Now we are looking at March 27th., three months or longer between modules? Hey Tim are you out there? Hang in there buddy!

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Crystal Frasier wrote:
The cover was handled by Grafit Studios.

Thanks for the info. :)

Liberty's Edge

How often do these come out? Yesterday our group realized we've already played every single PF module released to date and we took a look at the release schedules.

The last one came out on October and this one is scheduled for March, then the next two are scheduled for April and another one for May. If those dates are for real, that'd be awesome.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Theoretically the modules are released to be released every two months. Obviously that's not the case and I think that's part of the reason why Paizo's decided to move them to a quarterly release schedule, increasing the page count somewhat for each module.

Shadow Lodge

Hey Tim, I have a question that I was wondering if you'd be able to answer. If not, I understand. :)

I'm running Legacy of Fire very, very soon, and one of my players is considering playing this module at an upcoming convention. Based on the module's product description, it sounds like a really easy and potentially awesome opportunity to combine this with The Jackal's Price.

I want to let him enjoy it, but if the module works as much as I hope it does, I don't want him to spoil a big chunk of my campaign. But, if it heads down some pretty different directions, then I won't worry about it and I'll be okay with him playing it.

If posting about it here is too spoilery, a private message would suffice. Thanks!

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Just signed up to run this at ConQuest in Sacramento. Looking forward to it!


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

It's a Legacy of Fire miracle! I was certain that the final shipping delay would push this module a month past the point-of-no-return in LoF where I would be able to incorporate it, but now, the...

Spoiler:

Sons of Carrion siege

...has taken us a full month to play out! So now (crosses fingers), I expect the module to hit my inbox more-or-less the very day I need to seed it into The Jackal's Price.

TES: I'm looking at using this adventure as a possible means of resolving Haleen's debts in Katapesh. If it works out at all, I'll post conversion notes (bumping it up to 8th level and thoughts on incorporating it into TJP) sooner than later.

Shadow Lodge

Thank you sir!

I will probably end up playing it myself very soon, so I can see firsthand how well it might integrate into my LoF campaign. But that sadly still doesn't help me with my player that is also running through it. So, I may just have to skip out on integrating it because of that.


Could this module be played before/during the Jackal's Price ?
Does it include hints for DMs to incorporate this module in Legacy of Fire ?


No answer... :(

Developer

Lev wrote:

Could this module be played before/during the Jackal's Price ?

Does it include hints for DMs to incorporate this module in Legacy of Fire ?

Ah, sorry about the delay! Busy busy at Paizoland.

I actually wrote a blog post in direct response to this question, and it should appear in a couple days here on the Paizo Blog, either this week or next, to preview the release of Broken Chains and help GMs integrate it into their Legacy of Fire campaign if they feel so inclined. :]


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

Boy, I hope that blog post comes tomorrow--(looks at clock)--I mean today! I'm kinda locked into running this in some fashion for my group at Gary Con on Thursday. With that in mind, I've started crunching Broken Chains to see how it slots into LoF. Non-spoilery first reaction stuff:

First of all, it's a long adventure with a lot of variety in the opposition. On the medium XP track, 4 PCs who start this adventure fresh at 6th level and are thorough in their work could very well come awfully close to reaching 8th by the end--toss in a few random encounters or have them start a little past 6th, and reaching 8th may be within their reach. Which means that, were to you bump everything in here up by +1 CR, this could function as a replacement for The Jackal's Price for those who are so inclined.

I, on the other hand, have been looking to slot this in alongside The Jackal's Price, so to that end I think I'll mostly be keeping the levels as they are. May keep the first section as written, then punch up the final sections, as I think about it. Bump up the entire adventure to suit 8th-level PCs and you'll wind up with a massive XP infusion to deal with. (If 4 PCs are 8th level when they begin Broken Chains, they can earn enough XP to reach 9th, and if they're 9th--as they might be if they hold off on this until dealing with TJP--they won't quite reach 10th level.)

Also, and this is a major benefit, Broken Chains really "feels" like Katapesh. A lot of cultural details that Legacy of Fire barely touched upon--such as pesh, slave rings, humans and gnolls living side-by-side--get plenty of screen time here.

As for my thoughts on tying this into Legacy of Fire: The adventure itself really just tosses you into the action, allowing GMs to come up with their own hooks to explain how the PCs are initially approached.

Now I'll get just a touch spoilery:

Spoiler:

As I write this, my PCs have just defeated the Sons of Carrion and are half a day away from reaching Katapesh and kicking off the next section of The Jackal's Price. Here's three possible hooks I have to ponder to tie them into Broken Chains, which begins with an Eagle Knight agent recruiting the PCs to seek out an undercover Twilight Talon who's gone missing, amid signs of foul play.

* Amwyr Yuseifah: My group's PCs rescued this broken old slaver back in House of the Beast and have managed to get him home to Katapesh--amid much debate as to whether he really deserves to live at all--to receive their promised reward of a coffer of gold and their own exotic slaves. (Most of the PCs want their slaves so they can turn around and free them.) My inclination is to tie Amwyr to the Garden of Chains, perhaps having him come back after his 16-month exile to discover that his business partner, Fat Aghurr, has steered their slave ring down a path so nasty that it falls beyond even Amwyr's remarkably callous comfort levels. If Amwyr's lost his fortunes and influence, he may find himself demoted from co-owner to lowly auctioneer--and if that's the case, then there's a secondary NPC (Saiyd) that he can seamlessly replace.

My PCs are bringing Amwyr home, even accepting his payment of slaves, but that doesn't mean they like him. In fact, the night before they reach the city, one of the PCs' cohorts--who entered my campaign as one of Amwyr's concubines, purchased from Amwyr on his way to Pale Mountain--made it pretty clear that left to her own devices, she'd kill him and leave him for the vultures. So Amwyr's none too fond of the PCs, and while he scurries about to secure their reward, he's also bad-mouthing them to anyone who'll listen. That might catch the ear of the Eagle Knight who kicks off the adventure.

The only real downside to tying Amwyr to the Garden of Chains is that the nature of the slaves he specializes in doesn't really match the sort of chattel the Garden of Chains deals in. But it's not unworkable.

* Haleen Tropp: This NPC, who may be closely tied to one or more of the PCs, ran off from some bad debts in Katapesh back in Howl of the Carrion King. In my campaign, she's the sister of one PC and the cohort of another, and now she's come back to Katapesh with them. I've long been intending to add a short side adventure to address Haleen's bad debts in Katapesh, and this may fit the scenario. The simple solution: The Eagle Knight who recruits the PCs offers them a nice chunk of change for their efforts. If the PCs are somehow hard up for gold, this may be motivation enough. My PCs, on the other hand, are a wee touch cash-poor but otherwise quite wealthy by any reasonable standard. I've established that Haleen owes her money to someone tied to the Duskwalker Guild, but I've otherwise been keeping things vague, with the intention of sucking the PCs into a den of thieves as they discover that Haleen's shady beneficiaries don't just want their money back, not even with punitive interest--they want a pound of Haleen's flesh for reneging on the debt in the first place. I haven't yet quite worked out how to tie into Broken Chains from this angle, but the baddies in this adventure are actually running an illegal (or at the very least gray-market) slave ring, which the Duskwalker leadership wouldn't approve of, if they knew. Perhaps, Haleen and the PCs start to get mired in dealing with the Duskwalker Guild, and then our undercover Eagle Knight could approach them with this job as a chance to appease the Duskwalkers by quietly eliminating a corrupt wing of the guild.

* The Demon Smugglers: Perhaps the most organic solution, but also the one requiring the most work: Make Father Jackal and this cult affiliated organizations. The Garden of Chains baddies handle "production," while Father Jackal oversees international "distribution." There's even an NPC in Broken Chains you could reasonably refer to as "Mother Jackal." Were I do to this, I would probably convert Father Jackal's lackies from a Rovagug cult to Lamashtu followers, and have the heroes' raid on FJ's lair produce evidence that leads them to the Garden of Chains.

Dunno. Still thinking. Have about 54 hours to settle on a solution. :)

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