Pathfinder Adventure Path #75: Demon's Heresy (Wrath of the Righteous 3 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Adventure Path #75: Demon's Heresy (Wrath of the Righteous 3 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Chapter 3: "Demon's Heresy"
by Jim Groves

The Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path continues with “Demon's Heresy,” by Jim Groves. After reclaiming the city of Drezen and recovering the lost sacred banner known as the Sword of Valor, the heroes have established a significant foothold behind enemy lines. With the demon armies still concentrating their attacks to the south, the heroes must now set off into the heart of the Worldwound to seek out powerful new allies and strike a mortal blow against the Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth—but in doing so, they discover a disturbing truth about the crystalline source of mythic power the demons have been using against the crusaders. Will the heroes survive the terrors of the Worldwound long enough to end the demons’ increasing attacks?

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path continues the Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path and includes:

  • “Demon’s Heresy,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 9th-level characters with 3 mythic tiers, by Jim Groves.
  • A study of the Green Faith, an ancient philosophy revolving around nature, by Sean K Reynolds.
  • A look at the unnatural horrors known as worms that walk, by Amanda Hamon.
  • A journey to a crusader outpost inside the Worldwound in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Robin D. Laws.
  • Four new monsters, by Jim Groves, Amanda Hamon, and James Jacobs.

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: 978-1-60125-577-8

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

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A fun, if unchallenging, third leg

***( )( )

Just to get this out of the way, let me start with the following obligatory advice:

Advice on adjusting the difficulty level of this AP:
Before running this AP, I was warned that the power of mythic PCs quickly outpaced the difficulty of the encounters the AP provides. Despite taking a number of precautions to mitigate this (having players use a 10 point-buy, applying advanced templates to every mythic creature, etc), I found this to be true.

In light of our experiences, and those reported on the boards, the consensus seems to be that there are two generally viable ways to deal with these problems:

Option 1: Power-down the PCs.

(a) Don't give the PCs mythic ranks.

(b) [Optional:] Use the Hero Point system introduced in the APG, and give the PCs a number of Hero Points per day equal to the number of mythic ranks they're supposed to have. (This makes players a bit more robust.)

(c) More or less play the AP as is. (Though there are a couple of encounters in book 6 that will probably need to be made a bit easier).

Option 2: Power-up the encounters.

(a) Give the PCs mythic ranks as the AP suggests (possibly with the nerfs suggested in Mythic Solutions).

(b) Use the (vastly) upgraded stat blocks presented in Sc8rpi8n_mjd's modified stat blocks document to upgrade encounters, and then further multiply the HPs given in the stat blocks by something like (creature's mythic rank+3)/3. (For more optimized players you may need to multiply HPs even more.)

Our experience, FWIW: We played books 1-4 more or less as is, and (despite my efforts to boost and combine encounters) found books 3 and 4 to be far too easy to be fun. We then adopted something like option 2 for books 5 and 6, and found that to be much more challenging and enjoyable. But we also found that combat can take forever -- don't be surprised if you find yourself needing to spend more than one session to get through a fight.

The story of this AP was pretty good -- with a sandbox exploration of a demonic landscape, and a very memorable NPC who can join the party -- but it didn't have as epic a feel as the second leg of this AP.

We found the encounters in this AP to be far too easy for mythic PCs, especially given the 1/day encounter-rate that hexploration lends itself to. (I combined all of the encounters at Arueshalae's Redoubt into one encounter, and combined the Ivory Sanctum encounters in 3 big encounters, and the PCs still had little difficult plowing through them.)

--Fun of playing this leg of the AP, as written: 2/5
--Fun of the story of this leg of the AP: 4.5/5
--Total score: 3.25/5


Character's Backstories Come Alive

*****

Wrath of the Righteous continues to be a fantastic story. Demon’s Heresy isn’t as intense or as high stakes as the two previous chapters in the campaign, but it is still equally engaging and offers big opportunities for story and character development.

Wrath of the Righteous character traits pay off in big ways I never expected. I was playing a PC with the Touched By Divinity trait who was shocked and delighted to learn the news of her heritage. What a wonderful twist that was! Other characters also had interesting revelations about themselves depending on which traits they’d chosen. I was really impressed by the way each PC was given a personal story arc in this chapter that fit in so well to the overall adventure path. It was so enjoyable to play through.

This chapter also introduced Arueshalae, my favorite NPC of the entire campaign. What a strong, complex, loveable character she is! Her heartfelt desire to redeem herself is truly inspirational, and the love she shares with her chosen PC is really sweet.

Once again the artwork through the book is fantastic. There are interesting and challenging villains who are a pleasure to defeat. Lots of unique and pretty magical items, too.

Highly recommended!


a Hexceptional adventure!

***( )( )

Well, we get to the third part of the campaign. The PCs already saved a city and conquered a fortress, they blasted wardstones in the face of thousands of demons and retrieved a long lost artifact.

And now, they are reduced to roaming the worldwound and hoping something interesting would pop up in front of them.

I have now read 5 out of the 6 adventures in the campaign, and I feel like I have a good picture of it's general shape in mind. And I must say that this is the adventure where I feel the story maybe lost it's direction a bit.

The two previous adventures were about starting things off, and they did a really good job of it. By the end of the first adventure the scene was set for a new crusade, with the PCs standing firm in the front lines. By the second adventure the PCs already took an active part in the new war. But now? now nothing much is happening. Even though a war is supposedly raging in the near vicinity, the environment around the PCs does not really seem to react to it. This adventure is really kind of just a tour of the worldwound, more than it really is part of the campaign.
By the end of the adventure, the PCs spent their time walking around and bumping into numerous little encounters without getting anything important accomplished. Eventually they just happen to run into an encounter that is important, but really all the intermediate little stories could have been skipped. In later adventures the PCs will run around doing very important things, but the larger picture is missing. So much story momentum is lost here that I feel the entire campaign is a bit awkward after it.

Maybe it's my personal dislike of sandbox adventures, maybe not, I just feel that the players are going to spend so much time touring and sightseeing in this third part of the AP that by the time the actual story of the campaign kicks back in they might be a bit cold for it.

All in all, the weakest part of the AP, if for no other reason than it's non-significance from a story telling point of view. For those who like a sandbox, though, this one is as good as any Iv'e ever seen.


****( )

Read my full review on Of Dice and Pen.

Demon’s Heresy is a welcome change of pace for the Wrath of the Righteous adventure path. After the urgency of the first two volumes, it allows the PCs to breathe a little (just a little) as they secure their hold on Drezen and the surrounding lands. While they do this, the PCs also have the opportunity to make a powerful new ally and score a major blow against the demon forces. All things considered, Wrath of the Righteous continues to surprise me with just how good it is.


Great book, great adventure

*****

This is a great addition to the adventure which is fantastic. I'm having a problem with the interactive maps in the PDF though, since they won't print with the grids, and stangely this one for once has a map with a hex grid rather than the standard squares. I have to say it does have by far my favorite NPC, I just have to make sure I lay the proper ground work for her introduction.


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Webstore Gninja Minion

Announced! Cover image is a mockup and subject to change.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Jim!

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Woah, way to go Jim! Another adventure path credit?

You're a machine!


This AP just keeps looking better and better...

Shadow Lodge

Oh Hi There Wriggling Man. So glad you are only a mockup image for a level-9 party.


I have to say, this is shaping up to be the best Pathfinder year yet. So much gaming goodness coming out, and this adventure path keeps sounding cooler and cooler.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

With James Jacobs as our captain and Developer, I promise this AP to be solid awesome!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Articles on the worms that walk and green faith sound interesting.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yay sounds great and can't wait.

Contributor

Congrats, Jim!


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

My Demon Lord guess: Yhidrothus. I'm getting a "things that have learnt to walk that ought to crawl" vibe...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I know they're twisted, evil, and "icky", but I love me some Worms that Walk. Kind of always wanted to play one...

I've also always been fond of that picture. Probably the best Worm that Walks picture I've seen.

-Kcinlive


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kcinlive wrote:

I know they're twisted, evil, and "icky", but I love me some Worms that Walk. Kind of always wanted to play one...

-Kcinlive

Me too, so much. The Age of Worms AP started my love affair with the buggers and I'm so glad Paizo kept them around. As for playing one, they're just too freaking strong for a typical PC, but there is a lesser worm that walks in (I think) the Elder Evils 3.5 supplement from Wizards of the Coast. The problem is they don't actually give you the template - only a creature who has it. So you'd have to reverse engineer it...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The 3.5 Worm That Walks template is from the Epic Level Handbook, and as such I believe that it is available in the SRD. It's CR+3, and can be added to any evil wizard or sorcerer.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Bellona wrote:
The 3.5 Worm That Walks template is from the Epic Level Handbook, and as such I believe that it is available in the SRD. It's CR+3, and can be added to any evil wizard or sorcerer.

The Pathfinder one is in Bestiray 2 and is a +2 CR template


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would never want to use the Epic WtW template. It's way too powerful imo. The one in Bestiary 2 is better. I've just never been a fan of adding templates to PCs. I never thought they meshed well. It would probably be better as a Prestige Class or something. Removing the has to be evil restriction as well.

Oh well. A man/worm can dream...

-Kcinlive


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

....Really? No one's commenting on the supposed "redeemed succubus"? After that huge thread on how there's no redemption in APs that supposedly gave Sir Jacobs the idea? Where's the Mizake guy when you need him? :P

In all seriousness though, while I'm sure the whole volume will be amazing, the above is going to be what makes this really hard for me not read once it arrives. ^_^

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Nate Z wrote:

....Really? No one's commenting on the supposed "redeemed succubus"? After that huge thread on how there's no redemption in APs that supposedly gave Sir Jacobs the idea? Where's the Mizake guy when you need him? :P

In all seriousness though, while I'm sure the whole volume will be amazing, the above is going to be what makes this really hard for me not read once it arrives. ^_^

Oh, I'd love to talk about it. ;D

But them's the breaks. Gag order and all. Needless to say, I am excited for this. I hope to deliver some awesome roleplaying in this chapter.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Redeemed succubus... sounds intriguing!

Dark Archive

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

....Really? No one's commenting on the supposed "redeemed succubus"? After that huge thread on how there's no redemption in APs that supposedly gave Sir Jacobs the idea? Where's the Mizake guy when you need him? :P

In all seriousness though, while I'm sure the whole volume will be amazing, the above is going to be what makes this really hard for me not read once it arrives. ^_^

James already mentioned the Succubus elsewhere. Between that and Champions of Purity, I think Mikase might have gone for a long lie down...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Quote:
to seek out powerful new allies (including a succubus who may have been redeemed by Desna, the goddess of dreams)

Waiting for Mikaze to arrive...3, 2, 1...

Silver Crusade

Got messaged about the thread but can't read. Determined to play this one, no want be spoiled plz. Already heard its a huge "redemption themes" payoff and that's all I need to know for now. :)

Can't wait.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, can't wait, either, although I will GM this one. :)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Sounds fantastic, and ... level 9 and 3 mythic levels by the 3rd book? This is going through the levels at a fair clip and no mistake!
The heroes must be very busy indeed, I love it!


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

The Devs have already stated this AP is intended to top out at 20th level with Mythic levels on top of that. Considering they have also stated the 'end game' includes going Head-to-Head against a !Demon Lord!, that seems not just appropriate but necessary...

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Fantastic! I've been relegated to semi-Lurker status since fatherhood so miss a lot of that info. Thanks!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Orthos wrote:
Oh Hi There Wriggling Man. So glad you are only a mockup image for a level-9 party.

Since the sample Worm that Walks in Bestiary 2 is CR 14, and with three mythic tiers the ninth level adventurers should be able to take on challenges as a 12th level party, that is not necessarily "only" a mockup. :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The actual worm that walks that appears in this adventure and who will be on the cover will be more powerful than the CR 14 sample worm that walks. Never fear.

Spoiler:
He's probably gonna end up at CR 15 when I'm done developing him...


I know this is going to sound really stupid, but...

What if I used the module "The Demon Within" as part of this adventure path between parts two and three? As soon as the PC's take over Drezen, they get called to Clydwell keep to oversee Albright's inauguration before the whole Demonscope mess goes down. After that gets sorted out, the crusader authorities thank them for their efforts and send them back into the Worldwound. Cue Wrath of the Righteous part three.

I don't know. I'm actually just curious to see how it would affect level progression and the narrative. I'd imagine that a 9th level/3rd mythic tier party is at least as powerful as a normal 11th level party. That, and since the module and AP have pretty much the same concept, it would seem natural to combine them together.

EDIT: Oh, and it could also increase tension in the storyline because it would seem like the demons are pressing the crusaders on EVERY front.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Axial wrote:

I know this is going to sound really stupid, but...

What if I used the module "The Demon Within" as part of this adventure path between parts two and three? As soon as the PC's take over Drezen, they get called to Clydwell keep to oversee Albright's inauguration before the whole Demonscope mess goes down. After that gets sorted out, the crusader authorities thank them for their efforts and send them back into the Worldwound. Cue Wrath of the Righteous part three.

I don't know. I'm actually just curious to see how it would affect level progression and the narrative. I'd imagine that a 9th level/3rd mythic tier party is at least as powerful as a normal 11th level party. That, and since the module and AP have pretty much the same concept, it would seem natural to combine them together.

EDIT: Oh, and it could also increase tension in the storyline because it would seem like the demons are pressing the crusaders on EVERY front.

Won't work, really. You could do it, but it'll require some MAJOR changes to the AP. Some relatively large spoilers that I try to keep kinda vague...

Spoiler:
The events of "The Demon Within" are assumed to have taken place several years before this adventure. Furthermore... one of the key locations in "The Demon Within" is destroyed very early in the Adventure Path. And on top of that, the nature of how the Worldwound and wardstones even function has changed pretty dramatically since "The Demon Within," which got quite a few things wrong as far as how demons work and how the Worldwound works.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is an Adventure Path that I have been looking forward to for quite some time, and the description of this adventure make me want it even more. Just a pity that I am unlikely to be able to play it . . .

The Exchange

Jim Groves wrote:
Nate Z wrote:

....Really? No one's commenting on the supposed "redeemed succubus"? After that huge thread on how there's no redemption in APs that supposedly gave Sir Jacobs the idea? Where's the Mizake guy when you need him? :P

In all seriousness though, while I'm sure the whole volume will be amazing, the above is going to be what makes this really hard for me not read once it arrives. ^_^

Oh, I'd love to talk about it. ;D

But them's the breaks. Gag order and all. Needless to say, I am excited for this. I hope to deliver some awesome roleplaying in this chapter.

Considering that individual NPC stories and character development were the best part of "The Shackled Hut", I can already see this becoming a very, very memorable NPC to interact with.

This AP is confusing because while I am uniterested in mythic, every single other thing about the AP sounds so awesome I just can't pass on it, probably.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

I'm quite sure that, even beyond the support we'll give in print in the form of relatively brief advice on how to run Wrath of the Righteous as a non-mythic AP, there'll be plenty of more advice here on the boards both from fellow gamers doing the same and from me too.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:
I'm quite sure that, even beyond the support we'll give in print in the form of relatively brief advice on how to run Wrath of the Righteous as a non-mythic AP, there'll be plenty of more advice here on the boards both from fellow gamers doing the same and from me too.

I get that, but the AP still has a higher-than-normal chance of never being played by me. Which dosen't really matter because I so far got to run only 2 and am hoping to get to 5 somewhere in this following decade, so that's not a big deal.

It remains to be seen if buying this AP would be a mythtake, but I already decided I'm going to. Hope it's the right desicsion!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Lord Snow wrote:
It remains to be seen if buying this AP would be a mythtake, but I already decided I'm going to. Hope it's the right decision!

It has a very exciting overall plot, and like The Shackled Hut, many of my encounters are little stories unto themselves (to be further enhanced by James Jacobs!).

I think you'll love it, and as James said, the whole community will be sorting these new rules out together (whether to use them or not to use them), so there's going to be plenty of support.

ALso, I am ever so grateful for your positive outlook on this. You have concerns, but you're giving it a chance. That means a lot, not just to me but everyone involved.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Spoiler:
James Jacobs wrote:
The events of "The Demon Within" are assumed to have taken place several years before this adventure. Furthermore... one of the key locations in "The Demon Within" is destroyed very early in the Adventure Path. And on top of that, the nature of how the Worldwound and wardstones even function has changed pretty dramatically since "The Demon Within," which got quite a few things wrong as far as how demons work and how the Worldwound works.

I think we've talked about that before (maybe in the thread "What do we know about WotR?) since I also would('ve) like(d) to use The Demon Within but that was some time ago; I'll actually go for some kind of dream quest where the heros get a chance to travel back to the past having to stem the tide against the demons as written in the module with the actual wardstone from the module to be some significant item/artifact for the shamans/druids who sent the PCs on this forray, but hopefully with the new mechanics concerning wardstones and such--if the rules/mechanics are provided and it'd still makes sence.

Ruyan.

Shadow Lodge

Feros wrote:
Orthos wrote:
Oh Hi There Wriggling Man. So glad you are only a mockup image for a level-9 party.
Since the sample Worm that Walks in Bestiary 2 is CR 14, and with three mythic tiers the ninth level adventurers should be able to take on challenges as a 12th level party, that is not necessarily "only" a mockup. :)

Heh. The first time I saw that particular picture was The Wriggling Man from Kingmaker #6, who was if I recall correctly a 19th-level Wizard, plus his template.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

CR 18, worm that walks transmuter 17 to be precise. *smirks*

Grand Lodge

dot


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

I just realized with the redeemed succubus in this adventure and with Merisiel being one of the iconics, she will finally have that Succubus cohort (lover?) she always wanted.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Jim Groves, you magnificent bastard!

Congrats! I cannot believe how excited I am for this whole AP storyline.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Winter_Born wrote:

Jim Groves, you magnificent bastard!

Congrats! I cannot believe how excited I am for this whole AP storyline.

You are kind!I am of course confident this will rock, but with my trusty Developer, awesomeness is guaranteed.


I'd actually be very interested in seeing the stats for a redeemed Erinyes sometime in the future.


cool clothing very demonic wizard type

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

When do we get to see the final Art??

Webstore Gninja Minion

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Cat-thulhu wrote:

When do we get to see the final Art??

When I get it from the art department. :D


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber

Are we there yet?

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

I am excited too!

I have seen a post-development version of this, and I want to tell folks that our Creative Director put a lot of love into this AP and this chapter in particular. I'm not denigrating my own efforts, but I believe our combined efforts are going to really deliver a spectacular adventure.. and I can't wait for people to see it.

I was amazed how James had made this one shine! I loved Reign of Winter, but there are fantastic things ahead for subscribers and buyers.

Webstore Gninja Minion

Updated to final cover image!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Still shows the old cover when you click for the larger image.

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