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Pathfinder Adventure Path #109: In Search of Sanity (Strange Aeons 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

***** (based on 5 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #109: In Search of Sanity (Strange Aeons 1 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Waking Nightmares

The Strange Aeons Adventure Path begins with "In Search of Sanity," a mind-shattering foray into horror where the heroes awaken within the walls of the eerie Briarstone Asylum, their minds wracked and memories missing. Working together to recover their missing time, they soon learn that their amnesia is but a symptom of a much greater cosmic menace. As they struggle to retain their sanity, the heroes must ally with other asylum residents and fight against the monstrosities that have taken over the building and plunged it into nightmare. Can the adventurers defeat the terror that stalks the halls and free themselves from their prison of madness?

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path launches the Strange Aeons Adventure Path and includes:

  • "In Search of Sanity," a Pathfinder adventure for 1st-level characters, by F. Wesley Schneider.
  • A double-sized article that peers into the dangerous realm of the Great Old Ones and Outer Gods who make up the Elder Mythos, by James Jacobs.
  • A dollmaker's macabre secret in the Pathfinder's Journal, by Jason Keeley.
  • A collection of weird and frightful new monsters, by Eric Hindley, James Jacobs, Jenny Jarzabski, and F. Wesley Schneider.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-882-3

Bring your campaign to life!
The In Search of Sanity SoundPack from Syrinscape is a complete audio solution when playing through the first chapter of the Strange Aeons Adventure Path.

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

Product Availability

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PDF: Will be added to your My Downloads Page immediately upon purchase of PDF.

Non-Mint: Ships from our warehouse in 1 to 7 business days. This product is non-mint. Refunds are not available for non-mint products. The standard version of this product can be found here.

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

PZO90109


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Product Reviews (5)

Average product rating:

***** (based on 5 ratings)

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Excellent from a new DM's perspective

*****

I'm writing this review as a newbie DM. Before picking up this AP, I did about 3 one-off campaign sessions to just get my feet wet. Decided I finally want to do a longer term campaign with a group of friends and chose this as my first AP.

This was around the time when I had just finished Stranger Things so I definitely wanted to emit a creepy vibe to my players and let me just say this: this AP emits that vibe off so well. We had only finished the first part however it gave off a creepy atmosphere so well that my players want to see this campaign to its conclusion. My group is usually more accustomed to one-offs so that's saying something.

My players seem so engrossed in the story, actually caring about all these clues hidden in the asylum, and I could tell they are sufficiently creeped out. So creeped out that whenever the party opened a door and I described what they heard or saw beyond that door, they would immediately "NOPE" their way out of there.

In addition, the puzzles are challenging but never were they ever an impassable road block. My players, despite half the party being new players themselves, were rockstars. There was one particular puzzle that had them stumped for about a half hour but they were able to go through possible solutions one by one until they finally arrived at the right answer.

I've already read up to book 4 of the Strange Aeons campaign so I know what happens from here on forth but I am really looking forward to how my players handle book 2.

While preparing the DM work, I began to seriously question whether I wanted to be a DM after seeing how much time I spent just preparing. That questioning went away after our first session when I got to see the rewards of that preparation: my players' reactions.

So thanks Paizo for getting me hooked on DMing.


The Adventure I Wish I'd Written

*****

I have to start by saying that I have been a DM since the early 1980's, and have written 100's of pages of adventures over the years. Furthermore, I have been a huge fan of HPL and his colleagues (RW Chambers, CA Smith, RE Howard and so on) for just as long. Finally, I have played 5 PF AP campaigns, as well as countless other purchased adventures for many game systems over the years.

This weekend, my group played through most of Book 1, and I can say that this is the best purchased adventure I've ever played.

This adventure conjures many of the core elements of the strange horror fiction that I love, creating a consistent and highly immersive tone.

In Search of Sanity begins with a very atypical opening, in which the characters are plunged into a dream world where they are relieved of control from the outset. It effectively establishes two of the main themes of the AP right away - horrific mystery and loss of control.

The opening setting could be criticized as 'cliche', but it is exceptionally well executed. If one imagines themselves playing this adventure in 1932, before the setting was exhausted by B-movies, it is most enjoyable.

Finally, as the title of my review suggests, I wish I had written this adventure. I am envious of how effectively it handles the Fugue State, both thematically and mechanically. Further, the integration of all the great strange horror fiction elements into a cogent adventure in an already-rich setting (PF) is an accomplishment that any DM who has attempted the same will appreciate.

Buy this and play it. The timing couldn't be better!


4,5 stars rounded up!

*****

GOOD:
Very athmospheric and creepy. Great map design. Diverse enemies. Great article about the Great Old Ones and Outer Gods. Good Bestiary.

BAD:
The Fugue State the PCs are in, while evoking a very mysterious feel, eliminates the need and possibility for a character backstory entirely.
The tactics for all enemies but the last three are given. Especially the last boss fight is hard to handle for unexperienced GMs.
A lot of backstory will never be found out, tactics and a timetable would have been a more useful content.
Quite a few little mistakes (like the differentiating CRs given for Zandalus and the Tatterman on different pages).

UGLY: nothing.

A very solid beginning to the H.P. Lovecraft inspired campaign.


A great start to the AP

*****

Wonderfully creepy. The locations, story, NPCs and encounters are really well executed. Just the right amount of horror and mystery. It's looking good for the AP so far, and I am glad to have restarted my subscription for this.


Holy S%*#

*****

I'm going to preface this by saying I haven't run the adventure yet, at least not fully. My party have gotten their gear and brought back a few softened skulls for a place to sleep, but then it was 1am and ain't nobody got time for that. I'm writing this after that session with a few beers in me, so my profanity might not be on point.

Let me start off with the two worst things in this book. James Jacobs cites the book in the book(I’M ONTO YOU M%@+%$$!$~%~! I'LL ONLY FORGIVE YOU IF WE GET 5 MORE BOOKS LIKE THIS!) in the cheekiest use of notation since House of Leaves. That's number one. The second thing is the short fiction has a sleepless detective who isn't playing like a paranoid schizophrenic in a factory working on the development of invisible mouse traps and landmines. Everyone who knows a Sleepless Detective knows they can't go ten feet without rolling two perception and one sense motive on a neighborhood cat. The fiction is still great though.

I love everything in this book. I love that nyarlathotep gets a floating fifth domain for every one of his different aspects. I love that even though the book says something is outside the scope of the adventure, it tells you exactly what's there, what spell it has on it, how far down it is, and what bestiary to find it in. Beyond the scope of the adventure, my entire A*#. I love how this book uses haunts to put together crazy encounters that can actually threaten a pc even if they're armed for bear and expecting a half-illithid choker behind every door. I love that the boss fight isn't spoiled by the cover, and when it comes, it has two, very different stages that are teased throughout the entire story. I love that one of the gnarlier fights is an enemy who has had one of its attacks removed, rather than just sticking some class levels on a humanoid monster. I love that it's the right combination of elements from Amnesia:The Dark Descent and Fallout New Vegas: Dead Money.

2/10, the player's guide doesn't know the definition of nonplussed, refund, cancel subscription, and start buying up 4e minis.


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