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Pathfinder Adventure Path #97: In Hell's Bright Shadow (Hell's Rebels 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

****½ (based on 7 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #97: In Hell's Bright Shadow (Hell's Rebels 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

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The rebellion begins!

The city of Kintargo has long been a safe haven for artists, freethinkers, and those marginalized by the oppressive Chelish government, but now the city has been placed under martial law by inquisitor Barzillai Thrune. When a protest turns into a riot, a new group of heroes comes together to form an organized resistance against the devil-binding government and the church of Asmodeus—but can they survive long enough to establish allies? Or will they become the latest victims of the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune?

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path begins the Hell's Rebels Adventure Path and includes:

  • "In Hell's Bright Shadow," a Pathfinder adventure for 1st-level characters, by Crystal Frasier.
  • A double-sized gazetteer of the freewheeling coastal city of Kintargo, by Crystal Frasier.
  • A plague doctor from Khari searching desperately for a cure in the Pathfinder's Journal, by Stephanie Lorée.
  • A collection of monsters both dangerous and beneficial, by Crystal Frasier, Eric Hindley, and Michael McCarthy.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-768-0

Bring your campaign to life!
The In Hell's Bright Shadow SoundPack from Syrinscape is a complete audio solution when playing through the first chapter of the Hell's Rebels Adventure Path.

Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Sanctioned Content
In Hell's Bright Shadow is sanctioned for use in the Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild.

Download the rules and Chonicle sheets — (723 kb zip/PDF)

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

Product Availability

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.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

PZO9097


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Product Reviews (7)
1 to 5 of 7 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

****½ (based on 7 ratings)

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The best Paizo AP?

*****

*DISCLAIMER*: This is a single review for all adventures in this AP.
Hell’s Rebels is the best Paizo Adventure Path. Of all the AP, it is the one that’s most coherent, approachable and GM-friendly. This review applies to all 6 books because their quality and style are so consistent that you don’t even notice the fact that they were written by 6 different authors.

Let me quickly list some of the most important things which Hell’s Rebels gets right:

1. It has a clear, believable and complex plot which goes from point A to point B to point C while at the same time allowing for multitude of side treks, optional quests and player-driven initiatives.
2. It goes full on Golarion. It touches upon core themes of the setting and is heavily nested in its history. It provides the much-anticipated opportunity to punch one of the biggest evils of the setting in the face. One warning: you can’t just lift HR and drop it into other settings without massive amounts of work.
3. The BBEG is front and center, introduced in adventure 1, encountered and fought against several times across the campaign. He’s evil, callous, quirky, nasty, brutal, amoral and good at being bad. He’s right up there with Ileosa from CotCT.
4. The campaign starts in one city and mostly stays there, with some small side-treks and one bigger detour which, fortunately, is also urban.
5. There is a cadre of sympathetic, recurring allied NPCs to play second fiddles to the PCs. There are also enemies whom you can interact in ways other than roll for initiative. The RP opportunities are plenty.
6. The cast of both allies and opponents is diverse in every sense of that word.
7. The players get opportunity to discover some of the setting’s secrets and, to a limited yet satisfying degree, reshape it without causing a Realm-Shattering Event.
8. The ending is epic to the core and fitting for a campaign of this scale and magnitude.
9. Episode 4 is a special issue with extra page count, longer adventure, more support material, an excellent article on Aroden and much, much more!
10. I love the blue colour theme for this AP AND Wayne Reynolds did the cover art. Double victory!


Story of Rebellion in Adventure Form

*****

My first review on Paizo. I felt as I needed to for this path. The path is, overall, my favorite that I've read. On a personal level I classify it as the 'BEST' path for me as a DM. On to In Hell's Bright Shadow...

Points of Praise
- Interesting Villains (Use mint at your peril!)
- Interesting NPCS in General (Venseldek and Rexus are both beloved by my party)
- The confined setting (that continues throughout the path for the most part) allows the ability to give your PCs very deep story based roots.
- The sections laying out the city of Kintargo and the major players there give a lot of ground for those roots to dig into.

DM Recommendations
- The beginning can be clunky (something I didn't notice until my group started). Either find a way to get them together when the shoe drops or be sure that they know each other previously. It goes without saying but I'll stress, "Make sure they want to start a revolution!"
- The game plays out over weeks so be on the look out for players who build crafting munchkin characters and maybe try and steer them away from it.
- Stress silver weapons. The campaign trait of the Kintargo Nobility can get you a good silver 2 hander.
- Flesh out the weeks with personal story elements to give the passage of time weight.

Not my favorite book in the path but still a 5. I'm pretty sure book 3 or 4 are easily my favorites.

Enjoy!


A Solid Start

****( )

I just finished running my group through this and we had a good time.
Pros:
The rebellion sub system - This is the best subsystem yet IMO.
Interesting sandbox type missions.
A different type of AP that is a nice change of pace.

Cons:
Taking on the mantle of the Silver Ravens feels artificial.
The villains main goal is very odd.
Information between the players guide and this adventure is disjointed, some things are given away in the players guide that are supposed to be discovered in the adventure.

I would probably give this adventure 3 1/2 stars but I rounded up since the adventure is closer to 4 stars than 3.


This is how it's done.

*****

What, only three reviews so far? For shame!

Perhaps because people are satisfied and trusting to that...

But I want to get on record here:

For a very long time, the Adventure Paths have been pretty good to great, but nothing really compared to the excellence I experienced in Curse of the Crimson Throne.

Imagine my surprise when an AP that revisits a very similar idea- rebellion in an urban setting to throw off the shackles of an upstart despot- proved to be the first real contender to unseat CotCT from the top spot.

This first adventure manages to combine challenge, a bit of humor (outlawing mint? REALLY dude?), and a sense that the city of Kintargo is worth fighting for.

The campaign as a whole is brilliant, and this initial adventure does a great deal to lay out that groundwork. If you're not a subscriber, and you're just looking for a starting point to kick off a city-based rebellion campaign, this right here is the go-to option. I cannot recommend this one too highly.


A good first leg to an urban sandbox AP

*****

(Preliminary note: Hell's Rebels is a series of urban sandbox adventures. Like most sandbox adventures, these adventures especially benefit from a DM who is willing (i) to tailor the adventure to the motivations and goals of the particular party, (ii) to allow players to be proactive, and to shape the adventure around their decisions, and (iii) to allow the party to try (and succeed at) dealing with problems in unexpected ways. So while these adventures run fine "out of the box", they work best with experienced and flexible DMs who are willing to put in a little extra work.)

We had a lot of fun with this adventure. There are lots of role-playing opportunities, and a fair number of opportunities for a "special ops"-style parties willing to use things like stealth, trickery, or diplomacy to work around potential combat situations.

Some of the things the players enjoyed most during this leg of the AP:

  • --Figuring out how to deal with the devious imp saboteur
  • --Carefully plotting how to free the slaves in the Prisoners of Salt
  • --Coming up with creative ways to bluff Chelish thugs (several times)
  • --An epic fight with Nox, Barzillai's devil-bound ally

Some tweaks we used to strengthen the narrative:

  • --Instead of having the urging of a low-level NPC (Rexus) be the main impetus for the party to start a rebellion, it felt more natural to have the players to build their characters so that they're proactively inclined to set up an active rebellion from the start.
  • --Instead of having the outline of what the party needs to do to successfully organize the rebellion ("The Five Steps of Revolution") be something that's handed to the players by a low-level NPC (Laria), it felt more natural to have this advice be something the party discovers in the Silver Ravens documents they recover from the Fair Fortune Livery.

Overall assessment: In Hell's Bright Shadow was a lot of fun. It wasn't quite as enthralling as the very best AP 1st legs (like Burnt Offerings or Smuggler's Shiv), but still a very good entry. 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 stars.


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