Pathfinder Adventure Path #103: The Hellfire Compact (Hell's Vengeance 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

***½( ) (based on 9 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #103: The Hellfire Compact (Hell's Vengeance 1 of 6) (PFRPG)
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All Hell Breaks Loose!

The Hell's Vengeance Adventure Path begins with "The Hellfire Compact," an exciting new adventure in which the players take the roles of evil characters in the diabolical empire of Cheliax! A paladin of Iomedae and knight-errant of the Glorious Reclamation comes to the town of Longacre, inspiring the citizens to join the uprising against the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune. First as amoral mercenaries, then as retainers of the wicked archbaron of Longacre, the evil adventurers must move quickly to put down the insurgency and keep the town from falling to the knight's rebellion.

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path launches the Hell's Vengeance Adventure Path and includes:

  • "The Hellfire Compact," a Pathfinder adventure for 1st-level characters, by F. Wesley Schneider.
  • A gazetteer of Longacre, the small town in Cheliax that serves as the setting for this adventure, by F. Wesley Schneider.
  • Details on the Glorious Reclamation, a knightly order dedicated to Iomedae that sparks the events of this campaign, by Rob McCreary.
  • Magical mayhem and ill tidings from afar in the Pathfinder's Journal, by Josh Vogt.
  • A bestiary of frightful new monsters, by Paris Crenshaw, Mikko Kallio, and Jason Keeley.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-818-2

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

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***½( ) (based on 9 ratings)

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But I want to be evil my way! ... No you can't. We're LAWFUL evil here

***( )( )

What I like is the nice and detailed town of Longacre with all the characters that populate it.

The NPCs are nicely fleshed out with their motivations and background.

The history of the Glorious Reclamation opposing the Thrice Damned House of Thrune gives an interesting context.

The art is wonderful as it is in most of the paizo books.

But the first and foremost advice about playing the adventure - as written in the adventure - is: Don't be a jerk! Well, I thought being a jerk is an essential part of being evil. Killing your companions might be a tad too much, but people who can't differentiate between their player friend who they like and his in game character, who steals from their character for the fun of it, should stay with heroic APs. Just my 2cent worth.

But it doesn't stop there. If you take Rise of the Runelord for example, you start with a fair and one page later you are leaving a trail of blood and dead bodies all through the book. As good heroes.

Here, as evil characters, we got through half the book without killing anyone, because we're not supposed to. Every NPC quest giver whines about only roughing them up.

When I think about playing evil I think of Bonnie&Clyde. This is not it. Here you are at the lowest end of a LE Kingdom and have to adhere to the whims of those ordering you around. It's like it was written by a paladin who wanted to rub it in, that being evil is no fun at all.

Or maybe I'm not evil enough to understand that I shouldn't care about what the adventure wants and should go marauding and killing through town anyway... muhahahaha.


Real bad AP start, get's better.

***( )( )

GOOD:
maps, enemies and Starting town are great.

BAD:
No motivation to start the first mission beyond money and "just do it!".

UGLY:
Only easily playable for lawful evil characters.
Chaotic and neutral evil characters may have a hard time cooperating.

All in all the worst AP start of all.
Way of the Wicked is far superior.


Pretty good, but...

***( )( )

... the opening is a bit of a jolt, and also presumes a great deal about the motivation of your collection of scumbag ne'er-do-wells. For a scratch group, I wouldn't mind, but considering the way the campaign traits work, motivating the PCs for

Spoiler:
a grubby little heist that may not even pay as much as trait choices start you with
can involve a fair bit of GM editing.

But if you're fired up to play the bad guys, things rapidly get more nuanced. There's a rebellion to crush for the Evil Empire, and you're just the guys to do it!

However, the conclusion can be a bit jarring if the essentially awful nature of life in Cheliax is glossed over, and some of the NPC interactions feel a mite... forced.

Worth a go if you want to try your hand at being evil, but be prepared for some extra work on the sidelines.

While marketed as "any kind of evil," in practice, only the more subtle forms of Chaotic Evil seem likely to do terribly well- there's some room for flexing it, but a solid bank of Lawful Evil or a few Neutral Evil opportunists seems the best fit.


Excited to see the rest!

****( )

+ Characters are not one dimensional on either side. I really like that the antagonists are profoundly good guys, but are not some paragons of virtue without blame. Same thing with friendly npcs.
+ The little twists in the story are good, especially the one at the beginning and the one near the end. These work really well in the story.
+ There's a really heart-tugging moment in the adventure that can come out of nowhere and can make the players not ready for such feel surprised. I love that.
+ Hard battles ahead!

- "Villain" of the piece while is good, he can feel bit estranged. There is one character that is more of villain with all the build up, but is not the main bad guy.
- Events are fun, but I can see that the periods of reacting to events and getting orders can be a strain on the characters not in the Lawful end of the alingment pool. Though only time will tell what the Anti-paladin of the party will think of all this.

Overall: Great, I love this. Already excited to run this in the future. The Western-aesthetic can be seen and works definitely on it's advantage.

But dogs? Yeesh, you guys are evil.


Gathrix's Review of Hellfire Compact

***( )( )

I have played or GMed most of Paizo's APs so I was very excited to hear that an evil campaign had been developed. Here is my review.

So far the AP seems like it has all the basic elements from the classics going all the way back to Rise of the Runelords. However, considering the characters are coming from a mainly Lawful Evil background (or should if they know what's good for them!) the first chapter might require some tweaking to get the more Lawful characters of the group a decent hook.

My only other gripe so far is that there is no archetypes offered in the Player's Guide, and not much offered in the way of would be Hamatulatsu monks. I was happy to see the traits for the Hellknight aspirants though.

I am currently running this as a PbP with some of my own additions[url=http://paizo.com/campaigns/GathrixsHellsVengeance/gameplay&page=last] The Road to Hell[url]


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Community Manager

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Announced! Product image and description are not final and subject to change.
...Let's be bad guys.


13 people marked this as a favorite.

Finally!

Now these loudmouth peasants can learn what true justice is like :-)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Excellent! I'm sure that this will show that not all of those who are associated with evil are unable to be pleasant and productive members of society!


Shiny

Dark Archive

Yes.


14 people marked this as a favorite.

Being the one who almost always is the GM, it will be nice for me to play the good guys for a change. The icing on top is that I won't feel so bad for killing off a PC. They'll actually have it coming for a change.


I always had a campaign like this in mind, specially if you also get a couple lawful-stupid NPCs trying to stop you from your evil plans.
Or if there are rumors about your party from town to town and they actually fear you, or pay you or do stuff just not to get into trouble with you.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

My dice are ready! For real, I can't wait to play this adventure. The deities of Hell all have so much potential that goes untapped in most games (even as a DM) and PC's who aren't terribly devout will be a blast. I'm thinking of playing:

-A cleric of Baalzebul (Air/Devil domains) who is petty, envious, and seeks glory for himself (because he's so insecure). Probably would take levels in diabolist, but I'm not sure.

-A crossbowman fighter in the Chelish military who believes the hierarchy of society is required for civilization to exist (possibly Order of the Chain hellknight?). Kinda like Gran Moff Tarquin.

-NE half-orc bloodrager or sorcerer with the black dragon bloodline. Wants to get into Thrune's good graces and rule.

-Bard/cleric of Asmodeus (fire/devil domains) that is part of the Hellfire Celebrants, worshipers of Asmodeus who often form the choir in temples and glorify the burning flames of the Pit.

-Summoner who follows Mephistopheles. Both the summoner and his devilish eidolon are talented barristers and contract creators/enforcers.

Sovereign Court

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Current ideas (as if I won't be the GM):

-An inquisitor (monster tactician) of Asmodeus who focuses on hell hounds and tracking; title "The Mistress of Hounds".

-A changeling mesmerist and worshiper of Ardad Lili.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I can see a lot of people who like Way of the Wicked being really into this, and vice versa. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if people bring back their old character concepts from WoTW to use here.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This'll be an interesting switch!

Longacre - that's not terribly far from Andoran, is it? >:3


Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Longacre is actually just west of the Whisperwood and across a plain from Egorian -- so that is closer to central Cheliax than anywhere near Andoran.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Am musing a tiefling alchemist who revels in his infernal heritage and his mutagen temporaily unlocks traits of his Barbazu bloodline...


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I hope every bestiary of this AP is filled with good aligned creatures for the evil heroes to fight.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

And a puppy to kick :-)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Dragon78 wrote:
I hope every bestiary of this AP is filled with good aligned creatures for the evil heroes to fight.

According to what I was told at Paizocon, yes. And not only that, the good-aligned creatures will be stranger and "edgier" then normal.

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I do aim to provide a lot more good and neutral monsters in the bestiaries for this AP, but not every monster is going to be good- or neutral-aligned.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Darn, it would have been the best AP to do that in.

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Personally, I will skip this one before starting my subscription to the adventure paths. I would have a hard time NOT killing off evil aligned PCs ;-). I also think most of my players would not want to play evil aligned characters. There is only one player I have that I think this type of play would even interest. One of my house rules is no evil characters. Question: how easy is it to stop a subscription temporarily? I just started a sub to pathfinder legends and was looking to start one for adventure paths and one for the card game when I noticed this path which would be a waste of money for me.

Thanks

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Mediro wrote:

Personally, I will skip this one before starting my subscription to the adventure paths. I would have a hard time NOT killing off evil aligned PCs ;-). I also think most of my players would not want to play evil aligned characters. There is only one player I have that I think this type of play would even interest. One of my house rules is no evil characters. Question: how easy is it to stop a subscription temporarily? I just started a sub to pathfinder legends and was looking to start one for adventure paths and one for the card game when I noticed this path which would be a waste of money for me.

Thanks

Stopping a subscription (even temporarily) is simple! You can even sign up now for Hell's Rebels and end your subscription for Hell's Vengeance.

After the final issue of Hell's Rebels has shipped, go to the Customer Service forum and create a thread asking them to end your subscription. You can re-subscribe when Strange Aeons rolls around.


Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Abby Thrune, Despot wrote:
And a puppy to kick :-)

Okay -- One hellhound pup is on its way to you. I now have to go into hiding to escape the wrath of Asmudeus for stealing from the litter of his favorite pet, so I can't stick around to see whether you have the guts to give that puppy a few kicks.


I just hope that one can at least moderate his own damnation. I'd love to play as a lawfull neutral member of the godclaw, getting revenge on those arogant imodeans for hogging her artifacts. Otherwise I'll break out my evil stash again i suppose.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

So your players from Hell's Rebels get to play the "other side", and get to undo everything their previous characters accomplish? Uh, lol.

Also, Way of the Wicked from Fire Mountain Games. Just say'n lol

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
DaemonAngel wrote:

So your players from Hell's Rebels get to play the "other side", and get to undo everything their previous characters accomplish? Uh, lol.

Also, Way of the Wicked from Fire Mountain Games. Just say'n lol

Not at all - Hell's Vengeance takes place throughout the rest of Cheliax. The Archduchy of Ravounel is untouched.

And I'd like to think there's room for two evil APs in this world. ^_^


4 people marked this as a favorite.

See for me it's not so much the aspect of playing an evil PC that turns me off. It's the idea of actually helping the Chelish Empire succeed that makes want to avoid this AP.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
DaemonAngel wrote:

So your players from Hell's Rebels get to play the "other side", and get to undo everything their previous characters accomplish? Uh, lol.

Also, Way of the Wicked from Fire Mountain Games. Just say'n lol

Way of the Wicked was an awesome product. I think many of the same people who played and enjoyed it are also looking forward to Hell's Vengeance, too.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Thinking of using this as the third in a Trilogy, set in Way of the Wicked's realm of Talingarde.

My players completed Way of the Wicked last year, with two of the PCs surviving and taking the throne as King and Queen of Talingarde.

Hells Rebels would take place 30 years later, with the Church of Asmodeus in full control of the wicked realm, and would detail the rebellion of a single city. Hells Vengeance would then detail the state's reaction to that rebellion.

For sake of matching the AP titles, the trilogy would be called:

Way of the Wicked
Rise of the Rebels
Time of the Tyrants


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Man I need to play this. Pity I'm usually the DM


First adventure path to put a goofy smile on my face since Rasputin Must Die!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

An adventure path where the "heroes" are personified by Gregor Clegane, Ramsey Snow, Joffrey Baratheon, Melisandre and Roose Bolton. I deal with enough evil in the real world to run or play a game with that theme. Loved almost every adventure path done up to this but I won't be buying this one.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Abby Thrune, Despot wrote:
And a puppy to kick :-)

I'd rather have a kitten to drown.

Ruyan.


How do you prevent the PCs from being total morons who kill everything in sight though, including each other?

Is there an adventure path for PCs who are "good" but willing to do evil things? Like kill the evil warlord in his sleep and kill his whole family, do terrorist actions and such?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

19 people marked this as a favorite.
Scoundrel the Tiefling wrote:

How do you prevent the PCs from being total morons who kill everything in sight though, including each other?

Is there an adventure path for PCs who are "good" but willing to do evil things? Like kill the evil warlord in his sleep and kill his whole family, do terrorist actions and such?

The short answer: Play with mature gamers.

I'm not trying to be snarky.

If your players are only interested in PVP stuff, they will NOT enjoy Hell's Vengenace... any more than they will ANY of our Adventure Paths.

Most of our Adventure Paths allow for evil actions during their course—you don't have to be a good guy to want to become the ruler of the Shackles in "Skull and Shackles," to become a famous and rich adventurer in "Shattered Star," to rule your own kingdom in "Kingmaker," or even to prevent a disaster in "Iron Gods." The baseline assumption is that PCs play non-evil folks, but an even GREATER baseline assumption is that players play PCs who work together, since the game is a team effort, regardless of adventure. We don't publish Adventure Paths intended to support PvP action, because there's no real point to a long campaign of PvP action in my opinion. The game is built on the idea that your character builds in power as you continue to adventure with companions, and if every single session ended with one character standing and the other players having to build replacement ones for the next game... well, that's an entirely different game than what we've been publishing material for.

The Player's Guide WILL address this, of course, as will the adventure itself... it seems unfortunate to me that so many folks confuse "playing evil characters" with "kill everything in sight, including each other."

I know that an evil campaign isn't for everyone, but neither is a campaign where you mix fantasy and sci-fi, or a campaign where you go to Earth, or a campaign that has strong horror themes, or a campaign where you have to play pirates. This is one of the reasons we only do 6 part Adventure Paths; so we can do 2 a year and thus, if we do one any one person isn't interested in, they don't have to wait more than half a year for another chance at one they might enjoy.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

I plan on playing a LE Warpriest/Inquisitor for this campaign. What LE gods would you recommend for players for this AP?


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

I don't run or play in evil games, but I will still support Paizo and those that do by not cancelling my subscription while this season of deviltry is running. =)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The interesting thing to do might be to bring a small band of chelexian soldiers as npcs to escort the players to the city, and then have a minor skirmish with some of the entrenched defenders. They are also told that, while some violence and property damage is neccesary, the city is still part of the chelexian empire an as such every building burned down is another building they will need to rebuild.

Should create a nice dynamic of trying to crush the rebellion with one hand, and limit the damage to the city with the other. Plus, you might need to hold the city until the a chelexian noble can be sent to run the city after you leave, enabling some people to get their kicks as 'overlord for the day'. And good is a stubborn lot to bring down... There will always be some good trying to make a difference. The important thing is not cracking down heavily on the good not harming your established order, it's the ones that are supporting the rebellion or actively involved in it.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DragoDorn wrote:
I plan on playing a LE Warpriest/Inquisitor for this campaign. What LE gods would you recommend for players for this AP?

Well Asmodius is definately one, considering the chelexian's worship him in general, though some gods like zon-kuthon, or some of the many archfiends and even some fringe worship of neutral evil or lawful neutral gods should be allowed.

Though for the full list, probably look on the pathfinder wiki, or find a copy of the inner sea gods. Though probably the best one for a warpriest is the patron of the red mantis cult, Achaekek. Since in the advanced class origins opens the doors for playing red mantis zealots. Sawtooth Sabres anyone?

In all seriousness, you choose what ever one you feel comfortable with. Give them hell, sent direct from your God.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Another problem the players might need to deal with(aside from the rebels who are hell bent on bringing you down) is the power plays of preexisting evil factions trying to make a move during the chaos. I don't think the PC's will have much of a choice but to get involved if we get another plague similar to the one that struck koravosa(during the curse of the Crimson throne) hitting the city you are in. Or the undead start to ravage the city streets. On monsters of the most insidious kind start to slaughter everyone in their path and ruin your perfectly ordered city plan. While you don't neccesarily have to kill them, they do need to learn their place that it is YOU that run this city, not them.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
DragoDorn wrote:
I plan on playing a LE Warpriest/Inquisitor for this campaign. What LE gods would you recommend for players for this AP?

Asmodeus or Zon-Kuthon, but probably Asmodeus makes the most sense.

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
DragoDorn wrote:
I plan on playing a LE Warpriest/Inquisitor for this campaign. What LE gods would you recommend for players for this AP?

Asmodeus is the clear and obvious choice, and most thematically appropriate, though the other archdevils would be good choices as well. And as James said, Zon-Kuthon could work too.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm GMing Way of the Wicked right now and my players are having a blast. I'm going to ask one of them to take a turn behind the screen so that I can play in Hell's Vengeance once we're done.

A huge heartfelt thank you to James and the rest of the Paizo staff for offering us an evil AP!

Liberty's Edge

It's probably way too soon to ask, but I'm curious what this AP portends for Pathfinder Society. Any chance we could get a boon to play a Lawful Evil character? Or, better yet, just allow LE for everyone? Sith cookies are mighty tempting...

Sovereign Court

casiel wrote:
A huge heartfelt thank you to James and the rest of the Paizo staff for offering us an evil AP!

I'll second that! Paizo has been giving us a plethora of material for playing races that are almost always evil (drow, orcs, goblins, etc.) or tend to lean toward evil (half-orcs, teiflings, etc.). When playing these, we usually find ourselves in the role of an outcast who is trying to break the shackles of their heritage. This time, however, we get to live up to all the stereotypes and be the monsters that the NPC's parents warned them about. Lol!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
casiel wrote:
It's probably way too soon to ask, but I'm curious what this AP portends for Pathfinder Society. Any chance we could get a boon to play a Lawful Evil character? Or, better yet, just allow LE for everyone? Sith cookies are mighty tempting...

Nope. Not everything we do in other lines always has direct or even indirect influence on PFS.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

So many dogooders, so little time.
Hail Azmodeus.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Tree wrote:
An adventure path where the "heroes" are personified by Gregor Clegane, Ramsey Snow, Joffrey Baratheon, Melisandre and Roose Bolton. I deal with enough evil in the real world to run or play a game with that theme. Loved almost every adventure path done up to this but I won't be buying this one.

Ramsey would get his stuff slapped down for being such an uncontrollable troll. If you can't restrain yourself from maiming your wife(book version especially) so your line can be secured then you will be disposed of. Roose is more the type Chelix would want since he keeps his hands off the idiot ball.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I cancelled my AP subscription because Hell's Rebels didn't turn my crank.

I'm more than ready to re-initiate my AP subscription with Hell's Vengeance.

A mature group will undoubtedly have fun with this AP.

Editor-in-Chief

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Abby Thrune, Despot wrote:
And a puppy to kick :-)

I've confirmed elsewhere that there are puppies in this adventure...

And you'd do well to more than kick them, villain.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

First it was Monsters as PC's now it's lets play evil characters...oh dear

I'm maintaining my Sub through this AP(for the sake of completeness )but doubt I'll even open them....


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I've got Way of the Wicked, but am nevertheless curious about Hell's Vengeance.

I think the difference is the Rags to Riches style of Way of the Wicked, and I assume Hell's Vengeance will operate similar to typical APs, with the players being low tier, but not downtrodden, and allowed to be evil, rather then needing to hide it.

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