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Pathfinder Adventure Path #91: Battle of Bloodmarch Hill (Giantslayer 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

****( ) (based on 8 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #91: Battle of Bloodmarch Hill (Giantslayer 1 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Enemy at the Gates!

The Giantslayer Adventure Path begins! In the human town of Trunau, a beleaguered settlement surrounded by the brutal orcs of the Hold of Belkzen, the heroes must investigate a mysterious death. Before they uncover the truth, however, Trunau comes under attack by an orc army, and the heroes must help defend it—only to discover that the situation is worse than anyone realizes. For even the fearsome orc raid is just a distraction allowing a giant chieftain to recover the relics of an ancient giant hero from a tomb long forgotten beneath the town.

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path begins the Giantslayer Adventure Path and includes:

  • "Battle of Bloodmarch Hill," a Pathfinder adventure for 1st-level characters, by Patrick Renie.
  • A collection of lore on the behavior of giants, Golarion's largest humanoids, by David Schwartz.
  • A giant bag of feats, spells, equipment, and other rules tailored specifically for giants, by Stephen Radney-MacFarland.
  • An unfortunate gnome's encounter with an ogre family in the Pathfinder's Journal, by Richard Pett.
  • A pack of dangerous monsters, by Tyler Beck, Adam Daigle, and Patrick Renie.

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: 978-1-60125-725-3

"Battle of Bloodmarch Hill" 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 (1.1 MB zip/PDF).

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

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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.

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Product Reviews (8)
1 to 5 of 8 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 8 ratings)

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Good introduction to the AP with a compelling mystery

****( )

Read my full review on Of Dice and Pen.

Once the battle begins in Battle of Bloodmarch Hill, the adventure takes on a rather epic quality, which makes it quite an exciting introduction to an adventure path. But even before that, the murder mystery provides a great draw into the world in which Giantslayer takes place. I will admit that, based on just brief descriptions, Giantslayer doesn’t seem the most engaging of adventure paths. However, this first adventure definitely shows how wrong that is. I am looking forward to reading the remaining instalments.

A good start with a few hazards

****( )

This book has a good start for the campaign and I'd probably give some more things to do for the players at the beginning festival to get a better feeling for the NPC:s.

- Lots of different encounters and some can be very dangerous
- Trunau is introduced quite well and there's useful information about the city
- Investigation is kinda easy but it's a refreshing start
- The siege shows how chaotic a fight like this could be

- A few encounters need some adjustments to not kill the PC:s
- The siege can be brutal and the PC:s need a lot of resources to get through it and after that they should go straight to the final (I recommend that you give some kind of a way for them to gain resources back)

A promising beginning

****( )

This is a good way to begin an adventure path. The light-hearted start gives everyone a chance to feel for Trunau even if not a native. (Side Note: make sure AT LEAST 1, preferably two or three of you players a re natives - in my five person party only one was and it was a struggle to really get the others hooked). Following on is a murder mystery and then an excellent running battle which takes place through the whole town including chances to rescue various NPC's, which gives the whole thing a nice sense of urgency without being an excessively drawn-out combat.

The book ends with a much more standard miniature dungeon crawl which is still fun a flavorsome with some very nice treasure at the end! Consider changing the armor to suit your party best.

Pros: A good AP, lots of different things to do during the adventure.

Cons: Relies on players having an attachment to Trunau - otherwise, none.

Tips: Can be finished very quickly (my group took about two in game days to finish the book) but the story seems to assume at least a week. As a GM be wary of that.
Also - make sure your players are crystal clear about the fate of the final boss and the timing involved, it becomes important in book 2.

Who done the deed or there's war on the doorstep

****( )

A rather interesting start to this campaign. You start off in a murder mystery that seems to depart what appears to be the theme of the game but it is brought around enjoyably to reconnect with the main theme again.

The mystery is an enjoyable one without too many dead ends and confusing twists. One of the better murder starts I’ve seen them do.

The battle that comes next, while yes does sound odd for a murder to lead into a battle but they do it fairly smoothly, is an enjoyable mix of sandbox and scripted events. They manage to keep the size of the area you are working small but it still feels large and imposing with the battles going on around. It also allows players to charge straight ahead or be methodical in their approach.

The end battle is managed nicely leaving a player feeling they are pushed just to the edge of using all their resources but not in emergency mode.

I rather enjoyed this one.

Written from the POV of a player.

3 stars for how my GM ran it, but 4 stars because I know it could be awesome

****( )

So first, I want to agree & disagree with Matt Baker's review, right before this review.

Regarding the artwork, Matt is correct. On this cover, I stared at it for a while trying to figure out if the featured enemy on the cover had bone armor on. It took me a while to puzzle out that the bones were an unrelated background scene. I also couldn't figure out what the flying humanoid was -- I thought his shoulder was his head, so it took me a while to find the face and realize it was probably a leaping dwarf. On the 2nd module cover, the same issue happens -- the background scene is just... unrelated to the fat giant on the cover, so it's difficult to discern what's going on. This artwork problem is not doing the modules justice.

Having said that, I do not mind that the artist (or the art director who guided the artist) has envisioned giants as creepy mutilated freaks. In fact I like it.

Now, one thing to cover that was mentioned in the product discussion (but not yet here in the reviews) is that there is a 100% TPK moment in this module. Here, let me explain:

There is a scene with 4 rogue assassins. They "stealth in" while the PCs are asleep at an inn (DC 25 to hear it, so most characters will remain asleep and oblivious). The author seems to have them all attack a single character at a time and use their "Gang Up" feat to ensure that each one gets sneak damage. Even if you don't have them do coup de grace attacks, that's 8d6 damage + 8, against sleeping 1st-level characters. They can't survive that unless you roll all 1s or missed -- but how likely are you to miss sleeping, probably unarmored characters? If you use coup de grace rules, it states that the attack is an automatic hit AND is a critical hit. So this is just ridiculous. If you play this out by the book, almost every Giantslayer campaign should end here, with, "The giants win. The end."

So it's going to be up to you as a GM to stop this stupidly unbalanced encounter, without blatantly nerfing it. There are ways. When the main NPC is murdered and the PCs begin their murder investigation, you can easily have many NPCs say things like they wonder who will be murdered next, and maybe that they feel the inn is no longer a safe place to be, and so on. The halfling innkeeper, Cham, can also freak out about the unknown stranger in her inn. If you added something about a key missing or something, it might fool the players into fearing that the murderer might come back. So there are ways to make the players feel like they need to post a watch at the inn, even if they normally wouldn't give it a second thought. Or, in my own case, I just allowed the Pathfinder system for hero points into the game, and gave them a whopping 1 hero point each. Every single player used their point to avert disaster.

...So even the best team may be dead before the half way mark, and if you have players who put all their time into their character creation only to have to create new ones almost right away, well that may earn you some sour, unhappy players. So watch out for that.

Other than that, the module is fun. My GM flew through encounters and railroaded the entire 2nd half (the town defense), but I could tell instantly that it was supposed to be a wide-open tension-filled scene with lots of things for the characters to tackle, in ANY order. So that's how I came at it when I ran it -- a desperate race to solve problems before they all blew up in the PCs' faces. Also, there is plenty of room in the module for fun NPCs, interesting ties to the community, etc.

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