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Pathfinder Module: Tears at Bitter Manor (PFRPG)

****½ (based on 4 ratings)
Pathfinder Module: Tears at Bitter Manor (PFRPG)
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Hope Against Hope!

Bleak days have come to the Taldan city of Cassomir and nearby settlements, with a wave of depression and rage sparking horrific acts of violence. When retired adventurer Taergan Flinn doesn’t show up to meet with his old companions, the PCs are called upon to investigate, leading them into a swirling maelstrom of horror and tragedy. Can the PCs unmask and confront the malevolent entity behind the madness and restore hope to a tortured land?

"Tears at Bitter Manor" is a deluxe super-adventure for 5th-level characters, and includes 64 action-packed pages filled with horrible haunts, eerie monsters, new magic items, a beautiful double-sided and full-color poster map featuring a regional overview and an important miniatures-scale battleground, and more! The winning entry of the 2013 RPG Superstar contest—in which unpublished authors compete for a chance to write a Pathfinder Module—"Tears at Bitter Manor" includes not only Steven Helt’s winning adventure, but also a plethora of new monsters and magic items submitted by other contestants!

Players can expect to reach 8th level by the time they complete this epic adventure and take on the otherworldly entity that thrives on humanity’s despair!

Written by Steven Helt, RPG Superstar 2013 winner.
Cover Art by Kieran Yanner.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-613-3

Pathfinder Modules are 64-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, a double-sided poster map, and a fully detailed bonus location that can be used as part of the adventure or in any other game!

Tears at Bitter Manor is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle Sheet and additional rules for running this module are a free download (1.6 MB zip/PDF).

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

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Print Edition: Ships from our warehouse in 1 to 7 business days.

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

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.

PZO9544


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Product Reviews (5)

Average product rating:

****½ (based on 4 ratings)

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Unique, with lots of interesting opportunities for roleplay

*****

The group I ran this for really cherished the opportunity to interact with the retired adventurers that are part of this modules premise. This really did a splendid job setting up the environment in which things were happening, so the effects of what was happening were more strongly felt by the party. It is rare for me to see these players get so emotionally invested in rooting out a villain.

GMing this was a little difficult, though. Not because of what was provided to me, but because a lot of what's here requires a certain amount of description or subtlety to carry the right impact, which kept me on my toes.

The combat difficulty varies throughout the module, with some being easily overpowered, and others being terrifying obstacles to the party.

There are a number of unique items in this module, many of which are fairly interesting. Some of which my party has taken up and used into their higher levels, but most were discarded quickly.

All things accounted for, this was detailed, emotional, thorough and interesting. This is definitely something I would be willing to run again.


*****


Hopefully a victim of the format change


I would give this 2 1/2 stars. The following is from a GM perspective.

My first impression after reading this module was that it seemed like it was developed for the old module format (1 level), caught in the switch to the 3 level format and stretched. The middle third of the module is especially suspicious and could reasonably be reduced to a random encounter table without losing anything.

I liked the idea that it seems to start from one villain and build a module around exploring the machinations and ramification of that one bad guys actions. Although...

Spoiler:
The scenario revolving around a succubus' plots isnt exactly rare and replacing a succubus with a kissing cousin version and a different alignment doesnt quite stand out enough

As another review noted the story itself was kind of thin as its based around these few setpiece NPCs which fall pretty flat. My players pegged the plot from the get go as it was all relatively predictable.

Gameplay wise, I felt the module was underwhelming in presenting a challenge. Players around here like their optimization (we had a gunslinger, witch, life oracle, and swashbuckler) and nothing presented was interesting without being doctored up. That being said in these things theres always one encounter markedly out of line difficulty wise.

Spoiler:
Second to last battle, players climb down a chimney into three waiting, hasted, alchemists likely joined by the next rooms inhabitant, an alchemical golem. Bombs away!

None of the unique monsters were really something Id be interested in seeing again and the same for the items

Minor gripes:
The players expressed dissatisfaction with the quest and reward system as essentially all their rewards were deferred until the end of the adventure when they came back to claim them. Maybe thats fine as part of a large campaign but we ran this as a one-shot adventure.

The provided map is a bit odd, as another review said. Better than the Wardens of the Reborn Forge one but having a provided map for floor one of three is a bit throwing.

Editing. example, it seems like all the unique monsters health was listed wrong in the module run. It didnt match with the stats at the back of the book.

Wins:
The module seemed to get more background information across than average. Normally these things have pages of backstory that only the Gm will ever get to know.

The art was particularly nice.

All in all the module seemed kind of... lacking. I really enjoyed Dragons Demand and at least Wardens was alright but this one, if it wern't for the Pathfinder Society credit tie-in I think we would have just flat abandoned it partway through and not looked back. I am inclined not to play the next module, the pirate theme does not interest me to begin with and this module did not really do much to get me excited in the modules line.


Good Story

****( )

I like it. Haven't played it yet, but the story seems solid. Definitely very investigation/story driven, so players will need to buy in to that, but there are lots of cool little connections if players look for them.

My one grip would be the big fold-out map. On one side is a nice map of the city and on the other is a great 1"-grid battle map of the bottom floor of a certain manor. The only problem is that the manor has four levels, so my players are going to get an awesome, professionally drawn map of the 1st floor... and fugly upstairs on graph paper. As a GM, more manor maps would have been better for me, ideally, the whole manor in 1" squares.


Good, but not great

***( )( )

Read my full review at Of Dice and Pen.

Tears at Bitter Manor is a decent adventure that has an interesting premise and some very good moments, but it doesn’t really stand out from the crowd of other decent adventures out there. Its main problem is the lack of development of the central NPCs it’s based around. In a stand-alone adventure that is meant to be inserted into another larger campaign, it can be hard to introduce NPC allies that the PCs will actually care about. Such relationships generally need time to develop. However, it can be done, and if the adventure is going to involve NPCs that the PCs should care about and want to help, it needs to be done. More vibrant NPCs would certainly help to raise Tears at Bitter Manor from a decent adventure to a really good adventure.



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