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Pathfinder Adventure Path #102: Breaking the Bones of Hell (Hell's Rebels 6 of 6)

***** (based on 2 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #102: Breaking the Bones of Hell (Hell's Rebels 6 of 6)
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Hell Hath No Limits...

With the Kintargo Contract recovered and alliances in place, the Silver City and the surrounding region of Ravounel is shielded from Chelish invasion. Yet as Kintargo's heroes ready treaties to secure the area's independence, enemies made in the liberation effort remain active. Worse, the onetime despotic ruler of Kintargo, Barzillai Thrune, lives on in Hell, and his plans have only been slowed. Strange manifestations and infernal hauntings throughout Kintargo reveal the truth—that the inquisitor's death has only empowered him, and the secret to stopping him hides in Hell's depths! Can Kintargo's heroes brave the Pit to forever save the city from Barzillai Thrune

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

  • "Breaking the Bones of Hell," a Pathfinder adventure for 15th-level characters, by Amber E. Scott.
  • Advice and suggestions to expand your campaign beyond the Adventure Path's conclusion, by Adam Daigle and James Jacobs.
  • A glimpse into the faith of Mephistopheles, archdevil of contracts, devils, and secrets, by F. Wesley Schneider.
  • The wrenching conclusion of "Monsters Among Us" in the Pathfinder's Journal, by Stephanie Lorée.
  • A host of exciting new monsters, by Jenny Jarzabski, Mikko Kallio, and David Schwartz.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-808-3

"Breaking the Bones of Hell" 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 (723 kb zip/PDF).

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

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Product Reviews (2)

Average product rating:

***** (based on 2 ratings)

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An epic sixth 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.)

I haven't run Breaking the Bones of Hell yet, so this review is largely based on my impressions from reading through the adventure. Breaking the Bones solidifies the Hell's Rebels AP as the most consistently high quality AP to date. While bringing everything the campaign has been building up to to a close, this leg provides a good mix of the elements that have come before: a mix of role playing and combat, a little investigation, and an epic climax to finish things off.

One notable feature of this leg (and the last leg) that's worth highlighting is the relative scarcity of "filler" combats. One of the biggest threats to the completion of the higher-level legs of APs (in my experience) is how long high-level combat takes. The duration of high-level fights tends to turn any leg that's even remotely combat-heavy into a not-so-fun slog, and makes it easy for campaigns to stall out. But both Breaking the Bones of Hell (and the previous leg, The Kintargo Contract) do an excellent job of minimizing this. For the most part, combat, when it occurs, is either (i) avoidable, (ii) tied to a specific and interesting task or issue, or (iii) suitably epic. And these combats are made up for, XP-wise, in a satisfying way by adding big XP rewards for a couple climactic events. (I wouldn't have minded having a few more more non-combat ways of resolving some of the encounters in the Tower of Bone, but this is something it's relatively easy for a DM to tweak.)

Some expected highlights:

  • --Negotiating with the Nereza over the future relations between Kintargo and Cheliax (my favorite part of this AP, and a place where I can see players introducing all sorts of fun new wrinkles when nailing down the details regarding the agreement)
  • --Dealing with the Whispering Vortex and Hell Prison haunts (continuing the Hell's Rebels trend of unleashing terrifying haunts (especially if Barzillai has a strong influence in the region))
  • --The epic fight with a mythic Barzillai and a potentially endless sea of infernal hounds...

Some tweaks I'm planning on making:

  • --Although the trip through the Tower of Bone looks like a lot of fun, revealing aspects of Barzillai's personality as the party progresses, I think it would be a bit more interesting if there were a few more non-combat options available to the party to bypass some of the levels. A few tweaks along these lines:
  • --In the Bloodwall Bastion, have the handmaiden devils agree to let the party pass if they can come up with a novel and suitably creative "task" or punishment to inflict upon the children (with the possibility of successfully bluffing them, against an opposed +25 Sense Motive check, into believing that some innocuous or painless task will eventually become torturous)
  • --In the Cantonment, have the Warmonger Guardians agree to let the party pass if they provide them with arms to increase the military might of the diabolical soldiers being formed; demanding at least 10,000gp-worth of weapons or shields per PC they allow to pass
  • --In Fangrane's Reliquary, have Fangrane agree to allow the party to pass if they can answer three questions about Barzillai's life, motives, or ambition; giving the party free access to the library and 1 hour to determine the answer to each question, each requiring a DC 45 knowledge (local, history, nobility) check to determine the answer (using this to fill in any important gaps in the player's knowledge of Barzillai's life, motives or ambition)

Overall assessment: A good mix of fun role-playing opportunities and combat, ending in an en epic encounter with a mythic Barzillai atop the Tower of Bone. A satisfying conclusion to this AP, up there with the very best AP 6th legs (like From Hell's Heart and The Divinity Drive). 5 stars.


Whoa Nelly!

*****

This one is... a pretty big deal.

The word "Epic" is criminally overused these days, but rest assured: Breaking the Bones of Hell is epic.

You will not only delve into the psyche of your adversary in a very real and immediate sense, you will do it in the very bowels of Hell itself.

Note that this will not be for everyone as written- some of what you learn about the enemy might be a bit R-rated for some groups. Even more than usual, I would suggest a GM using this adventure read over the relevant sections very carefully, keeping their players in mind, and possibly making some edits.

But rest assured, done right, your group will feel like absolute aces for coming out on top. This right here is how you and an AP with a BANG.


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