Pathfinder Adventure Path #76: The Midnight Isles (Wrath of the Righteous 4 of 6) (PFRPG)

***½( ) (based on 5 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #76: The Midnight Isles (Wrath of the Righteous 4 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Chapter 4: "The Midnight Isles"
by Greg A. Vaughan and James Jacobs

After an audience with the Crusader Queen, the heroes journey to a fortress that straddles the boundary between this world and the demon-haunted realm of the Abyss. There, they must face powerful agents of the architects of the Worldwound and put a stop to the production of the powerful elixirs being used to grant demons mythic power. Beyond the fortress lies the Abyssal realm of the Midnight Isles, lair of the succubus queen Nocticula—and the source of the crystals used to create the mystical elixirs. Can the heroes navigate the intrigues of the Midnight Isles to strike a critical blow for the forces of good? And can they avoid losing their souls to darkness in the process?

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

  • "The Midnight Isles,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 12th-level characters with 5 mythic tiers, by James Jacobs and Greg A. Vaughan.
  • A look into the vast horror of the Abyss and an exploration of its many corrupted realms, by Mike Shel.
  • An overview of Nocticula’s realm of the Midnight Isles in a gazetteer of her capital city, by James Jacobs.
  • A demonic siege in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Robin D. Laws.
  • Four new monsters, by 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: 978-1-60125-585-3

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

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A partly epic, and partly disapointing, fourth 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 decent and a lot of this AP felt appropriately epic -- with plane-hopping, trying to survive in a demonic city in the abyss, and a face-to-face encounter with a demon lord. The last half of the AP felt a little anti-climatic, though, sending the PCs through a lengthy dungeon crawl in a... [wait for it...] mine. Not very epic.

We found all of the encounters in this AP that the PCs are intended to fight their way through to be trivial for mythic PCs. (For example, I combined the 20 or so encounters in the mine into three big encounters, and the PCs never broke a sweat.) My players seemed bored by this leg of the AP (which is rare for them), and a couple of them independently suggested quitting the AP to try something else.

--Fun of playing this leg of the AP, as written: 0/5
--Fun of the story of this leg of the AP: 4.5/5
--Total score: 2.25/5


Evil All Around Us

****( )

The Midnight Isles proves itself to be another interesting chapter in the Wrath of the Righteous campaign. Although I didn’t find this part to be as good as the three previous chapters in this campaign, it was still quite a lot of fun and well worth the play time.

The player characters will find themselves in a lot of ugly and dangerous places this time. Normally being surrounded by so many enemies would probably get them killed in a matter of minutes, but they’re all pretty high level at this point, so as long as they stay together they should survive.

There’s quite a bit of wandering around trying to find information about a mining operation for evil crystals. I personally didn’t find that part very engaging. It also seemed a bit awkward when good-aligned PCs have to do amusing things to entertain a succubus. Our paladin wasn’t pleased about that!

On the plus side, there are lots of scary battles to fight, and many powerful evil to destroy. Although they don’t do battle with her, PCs do get the opportunity to come face-to-face with the Succubus Queen Nocticula, which makes for a pretty fascinating encounter.

The artwork throughout the book is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Some of my favorites include the images of Mutasafen, Ursathella, Vellexia, and of course, the amazing depiction of Arueshalae on the cover.

Recommended!


Awesome!!!

*****

Fell in love with this AP from the beginning and this adventure just kept it up, by far my favorite AP of them all so far


Into the abyss

****( )

In this fourth part of the campaign, the PCs finally leave the material plane behind and hop head first into the abyss - one of the most horrible realms in all of existence.

Of course, the PCs are not yet high enough in level to survive the more hostile locations in the abyss, but luckily for them, their mission sends them into the Nightmare Isles, realm of the Demon Lord of Juvenile Fantasies, Nocticula. In their quest to stop the production of a special kind of crystals that make demons into mythic versions of themselves, the new heroes of the crusade must brave infernal jungles, a beautiful city that hides it's terrible nature behind a fanciful yet dangerous facade, and even a meeting with the Demon Lord herself!

The mid part of the adventure is certainly the strongest. The possibilities for unique adventures in the capital city of the Midnight Isles are endless, and the players will be responsible for taking the initiative and getting things done by themselves. The later part and the early part, though, are standard dungeon crawls, albeit truly high powered ones - the PCs are quit the little menaces by this point.

All in all despite the unique setting the adventure feels rather bland, and no particular thing about it really stands up above the rest. I suspect that the fact that it was written by two different people had to do with it. It still looks like a ton of fun to play, and is perfectly serviceable as a part 4 of a campaign.

It is a bit annoying how unimportant the PCs mission turns out to be, though. They stop the production of the super crystals, and process to meet, like, 70 mythic demons in the next adventure. If there are so many, surely preventing the creation of the crystals barely matters.


Lacks that mythic feel

***( )( )

Read my full review on Of Dice and Pen.

The Midnight Isles is the first adventure in Wrath of the Righteous to lose that mythic quality and feel like just another adventure. It’s a decent adventure, sure, but it doesn’t stand out the way the other instalments in this adventure path have. In part, this is because planar adventures already have many of the qualities that make an adventure feel “mythic” and so, in order to make them stand out even more, they have to have something more than other planar adventures have—and I really don’t think this one does. In part, it’s also due to the fact that this adventure feels rather “done before”. It bears a lot of similarities to some earlier Paizo adventures, particularly parts of the Savage Tide adventure path. Of course, to a certain extent, all adventures reuse common patterns and tropes, but this one seems to do so to a greater extent. In his foreword, James Jacobs explains that the reason there are two authors on this adventure is because he and Greg A. Vaughan helped each other out due to both of them have very busy and tight schedules. It’s therefore not surprising, I suppose, that in order get it completed, they had to rely on reusing tried-and-true tropes. But alas, tried-and-true does not make for a mythic feel. The result is a planar adventure that seems rather ordinary when compared to the adventures that have led up to it.


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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

There's a cut-and-paste error in the text above. In paragraph 2, it refers to the adventure as "Demon's Heresy."


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Information on the cult of Nocticula, huh? I wonder how it compares to Calistria and what the rivalry between the two is like.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Jason Nelson wrote:
There's a cut-and-paste error in the text above. In paragraph 2, it refers to the adventure as "Demon's Heresy."

Thank ye, kind sir.


This volume also includes an extensive gazetteer of the Abyss... Awesome! I've been waiting for that for awhile.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Vic Wertz wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:
There's a cut-and-paste error in the text above. In paragraph 2, it refers to the adventure as "Demon's Heresy."
Thank ye, kind sir.

De nada.


Using "powerful" and "power" in the same sentence is... clumsy.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hm, PC's are only 12th level when they start this module? Makes me fear that we won't reach level 20 after all ( although mythic tier 10 is probably a given ). I've been promising my players that we'll make level 20 in this AP, which was one of the big selling points for them aside from the general premise and mythic power. I hope the actual AP, when its finalized, will get there.

Sovereign Court

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

Normally PC's are at 10th level at this point of an AP.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
magnuskn wrote:
Hm, PC's are only 12th level when they start this module? Makes me fear that we won't reach level 20 after all ( although mythic tier 10 is probably a given ). I've been promising my players that we'll make level 20 in this AP, which was one of the big selling points for them aside from the general premise and mythic power. I hope the actual AP, when its finalized, will get there.

Part 4: 12th to 14th level.

Part 5: 15th to 17th level.

Part 6: 18th to 20th level.

And those are still estimates. That said, you can get well into 9th level by the end of adventure #2, so we're kinda ahead of "schedule" there. I'm very optimistic about this one getting to 20th level.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Cool, an adventure by Greg Vaughan AND James Jacobs! I'm very excited to see what two of my favorite adventure writers will come up with working together! (i know you guys often work together as writer and editor, but this will be different)

Also happy to see Greg was able to keep his AP streak going despite how busy things probably are for him doing medical school. Hats off to you Greg!

Shadow Lodge

Laric wrote:

Cool, an adventure by Greg Vaughan AND James Jacobs! I'm very excited to see what two of my favorite adventure writers will come up with working together! (i know you guys often work together as writer and editor, but this will be different)

Also happy to see Greg was able to keep his AP streak going despite how busy things probably are for him doing medical school. Hats off to you Greg!

+1 x2 combo =)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Orthos wrote:
Laric wrote:

Cool, an adventure by Greg Vaughan AND James Jacobs! I'm very excited to see what two of my favorite adventure writers will come up with working together! (i know you guys often work together as writer and editor, but this will be different)

Also happy to see Greg was able to keep his AP streak going despite how busy things probably are for him doing medical school. Hats off to you Greg!

+1 x2 combo =)

James + Greg = Paizo power couple!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Cool stuff!

Looking forward to the gazetteer (and the adventure itself, of course).

Ruyan.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Hm, PC's are only 12th level when they start this module? Makes me fear that we won't reach level 20 after all ( although mythic tier 10 is probably a given ). I've been promising my players that we'll make level 20 in this AP, which was one of the big selling points for them aside from the general premise and mythic power. I hope the actual AP, when its finalized, will get there.

Part 4: 12th to 14th level.

Part 5: 15th to 17th level.

Part 6: 18th to 20th level.

And those are still estimates. That said, you can get well into 9th level by the end of adventure #2, so we're kinda ahead of "schedule" there. I'm very optimistic about this one getting to 20th level.

Thanks for the info, James! :)


Valantrix1 wrote:
This volume also includes an extensive gazetteer of the Abyss... Awesome! I've been waiting for that for awhile.

Or as extensive as a gazetteer of it's nature can be, seeing as how the Abyss is, k'know...infinite.

Grand Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Hm, PC's are only 12th level when they start this module? Makes me fear that we won't reach level 20 after all ( although mythic tier 10 is probably a given ). I've been promising my players that we'll make level 20 in this AP, which was one of the big selling points for them aside from the general premise and mythic power. I hope the actual AP, when its finalized, will get there.

Part 4: 12th to 14th level.

Part 5: 15th to 17th level.

Part 6: 18th to 20th level.

And those are still estimates. That said, you can get well into 9th level by the end of adventure #2, so we're kinda ahead of "schedule" there. I'm very optimistic about this one getting to 20th level.

I hope that works out.


Stuff like this? Yeah. See, stuff like this is why I subbed.

'Nuff Said!


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber

Kudos to whoever wrote the blurb for using "betwixt." :D


Deskari, Nocticula,...and I wonder who the third prince will be.


Any chance we'll get to see any nascent incubi demon lords to go along with all the succubi? :o

Also, really looking forward to the cover art for this adventure!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Varisian Wanderer wrote:

Any chance we'll get to see any nascent incubi demon lords to go along with all the succubi? :o

Also, really looking forward to the cover art for this adventure!

There's at one powerful incubus in this adventure, but he's nowhere near powerful enough to be a ruler of one of the Midnight Isles or a nascent lord.


DM Wellard wrote:
Deskari, Nocticula,...and I wonder who the third prince will be.

Baphomet? I think the fifth AP episode will be taking the heroes to his labyrinth.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber
Alleran wrote:
Baphomet? I think the fifth AP episode will be taking the heroes to his labyrinth.

It looks to me like This is the lineup:

Module 1: Xoveron
Module 2: ???
Module 3: ???
Module 4: Noticula
Module 5: Baphomet
Module 6: Deskari

I'm hoping 2 and 3 are Shax and either Cyth-V'sug or Pazuzu. Though, It might be Kostchtchie or Angazhan, given Paizo's predilection for developing their IP rather than Open Source stuff.


Stratagemini wrote:
Alleran wrote:
Baphomet? I think the fifth AP episode will be taking the heroes to his labyrinth.

It looks to me like This is the lineup:

Module 1: Xoveron
Module 2: ???
Module 3: ???
Module 4: Noticula
Module 5: Baphomet
Module 6: Deskari

I'm hoping 2 and 3 are Shax and either Cyth-V'sug or Pazuzu. Though, It might be Kostchtchie or Angazhan, given Paizo's predilection for developing their IP rather than Open Source stuff.

I'm pretty sure that it was said that Pazuzu and Dagon are in Bestiary 4, but I'm not sure about Cyth-V'sug and Shax.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Pazuzu is in Bestiary 4. Shax is not.

Dark Archive

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

Nobody saw this line in the intro to The Worldwound Incursions's bestiary?

The Worldwound Incursion wrote:

Demon Lords

The Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path presents a new demon lord in each volume’s bestiary. These creatures are always unique creatures ranging in power from CR 26 to CR 30. Additional demon lords (Dagon, Kostchtchie, and Pazuzu) appear in Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 4. The following rules apply to all demon lords—refer back here or to Bestiary 4 as needed in upcoming volumes when we present statistics for Shax, Sifkesh, Nocticula, Baphomet, and Deskari.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

But more importantly when do we see the cover art?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber
Cat-thulhu wrote:
But more importantly when do we see the cover art?

Presumably when it's posted.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

New art please?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gray wrote:

New art please?

Perhaps even the posting of part six would be nice.


I could handle part six as well.


And new art? when the new cover?


Usually the subscriptions come out around the 25th of the month. Will this come out in early December instead, since we're missing November, or will it come out around Christmas and get bout 5 and 6 at the end of January?


Why December? What happened to November?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
scifan888 wrote:
Why December? What happened to November?

August.

Webstore Gninja Minion

Updated to final cover image, product description updated.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thank you!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

That is one impressive looking succubus!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

In fact, she doesn't look evil at all...

:)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm in love! :}


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Feros wrote:

In fact, she doesn't look evil at all...

:)

.

Most likely because she isn't. From the Starknife at her hip, I suspect this is Arushalae, the risen Succubus of Desna.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Nice cover and they gave her soulful eyes.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
Feros wrote:

In fact, she doesn't look evil at all...

:)

.

Most likely because she isn't. From the Starknife at her hip, I suspect this is Arushalae, the risen Succubus of Desna.

Yeah, that is sort of what I was implying. Obviously, I didn't do it right. Sorry! :)


Clearly you have to use the winky face to denote being silly ;)


Is that a tiefling or a succubus? I can't tell.


Lawful GM wrote:
Is that a tiefling or a succubus? I can't tell.

That my friend is Mikaze's wet dream. (probably if the others are righT)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Very probably the redeemed Succubus who follows Desna, whom the players are meeting in module three. I guess the desire of getting that Worm That Walks on the cover there outweighed the desire to see her on the cover of the book she first appeared in.

Could well be that she will be a permanent follower for the party. Eeehehehehehe... the Paladin in the party will probably love that. Also the Cleric of Asmodeus. ^^


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:

Very probably the redeemed Succubus who follows Desna, whom the players are meeting in module three. I guess the desire of getting that Worm That Walks on the cover there outweighed the desire to see her on the cover of the book she first appeared in.

Could well be that she will be a permanent follower for the party. Eeehehehehehe... the Paladin in the party will probably love that. Also the Cleric of Asmodeus. ^^

I'm actually guessing that whoever has the chance encounter trait will gain her as a free cohort or something considering the description in The Worldwound Incursion.....

Spoiler:

Page 54 wrote:
Chance Encounter (Trickster): The PC gains a +2 trait bonus on Reflex saves. By expending one use of mythic power, the PC can take 20 on an Acrobatics, Bluff, Disguise, Sleight of Hand, or Stealth check without an increase in the time required to make the check. The mysterious woman the PC encountered was in fact a disguised Arueshalae, and her act of saving the PC was the first of her conscious acts toward her redemption. This PC will have a special bond with the redeemed succubus when the party encounters her in the third adventure.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Feros wrote:
Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
Feros wrote:

In fact, she doesn't look evil at all...

:)

.

Most likely because she isn't. From the Starknife at her hip, I suspect this is Arushalae, the risen Succubus of Desna.
Yeah, that is sort of what I was implying. Obviously, I didn't do it right. Sorry! :)

Eh, I tend to ere on the side of literal. No worries.

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