Pathfinder Adventure Path #114: Black Stars Beckon (Strange Aeons 6 of 6) (PFRPG)

***½( ) (based on 3 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #114: Black Stars Beckon (Strange Aeons 6 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Death Is Not The End

The Strange Aeons Adventure Path draws to a stunning conclusion! Arriving in the alien metropolis of Carcosa, the adventurers must sever the links that bind it to Golarion. In wandering the parasitic city, the characters navigate frozen elder thing ruins, deal with accursed partygoers in a reflection of an Azlanti city, and encounter a mute musician who can help them find their way through the maddening and monster-infested streets. Can the heroes keep Carcosa from drawing Thrushmoor into its amalgam of stolen cities or do they risk waking the unspeakable nightmare that stirs in the depths of Lake Hali? They must do what it takes to break these links—or Golarion is doomed to greet the King in Yellow.

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

  • "Black Stars Beckon," a Pathfinder adventure for 15th-level characters, by Jim Groves.
  • Advice and suggestions on how to expand your campaign beyond this Adventure Path's conclusion, including a system to bring your Pathfinder character to a whole other world, by James Jacobs.
  • An unsettling interrogation and a troubling revelation in the Pathfinder's Journal, by Adam Daigle.
  • A bestiary containing a new Great Old One and other loathsome monsters, by Benjamin Bruck, Jim Groves, and James Jacobs.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-919-6

"Black Stars Beckon" 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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***½( ) (based on 3 ratings)

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What a letdown

**( )( )( )

Disappointing ending to a disappointing adventure path.

Major issues in this series continue with this installment. Again, the module start off strong with evocative, flavorful encounters upon the party's arrival in Carcosa, but again, as with its predecessors, it falls apart.

However, the highlight of this adventure, as with many installments of this Path, is the absolutely amazing Pathfinder Journal entry by Adam Daigle. Huzzah, good sir.

- Major issues with descriptions matching art: two "pureblood Azlantis" look like completely different ethnicities, Armel is described as being overweight, but is illustrated as quite thin, and with a revolver, despite one not appearing in his description.

- Potentially epic battles are not appropriately foreshadowed and built up, leaving them falling flat.

- The sudden and unnecessary inclusion of firearms into the campaign is jarring and off-putting.

- Not enough of the encounters are directly related to the main plot thread, and instead waste the party's time on errands and sidequests.

- The formulaic nature of these adventure paths is again a weakness, with an over-reliance on violence and battle forced upon the party.

- In what has become a recurring issue for Paizo, creature descriptions do not match illustrations (eg. a creature described as having crimson eyes is illustrated with green; a creature described as having a small mouth has an enormous maw in the illustration).

- Most importantly, the "feel" of the adventure is nothing like you would expect from an elder mythos module. If you aren't going to inject that dynamic and sense into the adventure, why even bother making this path?


Three fantastical diverse locations, but an uninspiring boss fight.

****( )

GOOD:
The artwork is really beautiful and all battle-maps (but the last one) are inspiring, yet easy enough to draw.
The first city location ("ancient Azlant") is ripe with roleplaying opportunities but also has some very cool fights.
The second one (Elder Thing city) has a great "scientific horrific" feel and the third one (Paris) is very flavorful and has a very cool final battle.
The NPC section is solid. The illustrations for Valeros and Seoni as "Call of Cthulhu" characters are great. The "Shrike Worm" from the Bestiary is nice.

BAD:
The arrival in Carcosa is essentially one battle after the other with little reason. I have now read the "continuing the campaign" section for the fourth time and it still fails to excite me, mainly because it stays so vague. "The Watcher in the Bay" seems just like a big monster without any real motivation or connection to Shub-Niggurath. I also can´t imagine a CR 24 beast to remain idly in the Avalon bay for so long.
The "Spirit Essence" mechanic seems unnecessary or at least described too long, i´d rather have had some tips for good introductary CoC adventures for players new to it. I don´t like the "Larva of the Outer Gods" ecology theory. These criticisms are all very subjective of course.

UGLY:
The last fight (the boss battle of the entire campaign) feels unsatisfying, as the main opponents are never met before during the entire campain and they don´t really communicate with the PCs. It is comparable to the end of the "Carrion Crown" AP imo. Also, there is no tactics section for the boss, probably due to limited page count.
The damage of the main weapon of "Armel" (greataxe) is 7 points to low for each attack, as only the normal strenght bonus for strenght 40(+15) is given, but it needs to be 1-1/2 (+22).

All in all a good final chapter to the "Lovecraft campaign", even if the final showdown lacks charismatic villain personality.


Strange but satisfactory ending

****( )


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Community Manager

Announced! Cover image and description are not necessarily final.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I can't wait.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Bhole vs. Eifel Tower - incredible cover!

Also, is that an android?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

She looks more like a soulbound shell(B4 page249).

Dark Archive

Dragon78 wrote:
She looks more like a soulbound shell(B4 page249).

Ok, thanks Dragon 78.

Is that a sphere of Annihilation she is holding or some other power?

Paizo Employee Developer

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Damn I love this cover.

Paizo Employee Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Marco Massoudi wrote:

Bhole vs. Eifel Tower - incredible cover!

Also, is that an android?

Not an android (or a soulbound shell). She's... unique.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

AHHHHH!!!

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Adam Daigle wrote:
Damn I love this cover.

Yeah, it´s great.

Feiya the witch and the Investigator fighting a Shantak in Paris with a Bhole crushing the Eifel Tower is sheer genius!

Sovereign Court

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

Cassilda?

Paizo Employee Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Maaaaybe.


Nice! I can't wait! Hmm... a look into Golarion's past huh? Now that is interesting...

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

"The Daughters of the Yellow Sign, each a titan of unmasked fire in their own right, have parted the curtains. From Hali's deeps and Carcosa's gloomy balconies and Styx-black towers, come their lamentations and rage and the consequences of intrigues and follies born in Oblivion. Run into their embrace. Their carriages wait to take you from shadowed rooms and cobblestones to The Place Where the Black Stars Hang."

https://www.atomicempire.com/item.aspx?item=195663&


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kalindlara wrote:
Cassilda?

I'm expecting both Cassilda and Camilla. But I haven't a clue what sort of beings they are!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Something unique is always good.


All I care about is we shove Lowls into Hastur's mouth hole...


Wait a minute...

If Paris is inside of Carcosa...

Oh my god...:
Guys, I think Earth was devoured/absorbed by Carcosa in between Reign of Winter and Strange Aeons
.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Axial wrote:

Wait a minute...

If Paris is inside of Carcosa...

** spoiler omitted **.

If true, I know who I'd blame for it.

Sovereign Court

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

That might not be the "real" Paris. For those who are familiar with Robert W. Chambers's actual work (not just Lovecraft's, and later Chaosium's, use of his content), a lot of it was set in French locales, with a very French flavor.

It's not out of the question that the Strange Aeons version of Carcosa reflects that, as an homage to the creator of the Yellow Sign and the King in Yellow. ^_^


Thomas Seitz wrote:
Axial wrote:

Wait a minute...

If Paris is inside of Carcosa...

** spoiler omitted **.

If true, I know who I'd blame for it.

Russia's Greatest Love Machine?

...Or someone else?


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

That is an awesome cover! Can't wait.


Axial wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Axial wrote:

Wait a minute...

If Paris is inside of Carcosa...

** spoiler omitted **.

If true, I know who I'd blame for it.

Russia's Greatest Love Machine?

...Or someone else?

Two someone elses.

Dark Archive

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Axial wrote:

Wait a minute...

If Paris is inside of Carcosa...

** spoiler omitted **.

If true, I know who I'd blame for it.

The answer is Cosmo. All other opinions are invalid as there is only one true Trickster God and his name is Cosmo.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Marco Massoudi wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
Damn I love this cover.

Yeah, it´s great.

Feiya the witch and the Investigator fighting a Shantak in Paris with a Bhole crushing the Eiffel Tower is sheer genius!

Wouldn't a shantak be too low a CR for this module, though?

I definitely like the (likely) hommage to Chamber's work and if this is done similar to what we saw in Rasputin must die! I'm more than happy.

Ruyan.


Leg o' Lamb wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Axial wrote:

Wait a minute...

If Paris is inside of Carcosa...

** spoiler omitted **.

If true, I know who I'd blame for it.
The answer is Cosmo. All other opinions are invalid as there is only one true Trickster God and his name is Cosmo.

No I'm pretty sure Cosmo is blameless in this instance, rare that might be.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Axial wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Axial wrote:

Wait a minute...

If Paris is inside of Carcosa...

** spoiler omitted **.

If true, I know who I'd blame for it.

Russia's Greatest Love Machine?

...Or someone else?

Two someone elses.

BoJo and Farage ?


4 people marked this as a favorite.

What if...

spoiler:
Paris was the reflected Azlanti city... ooh, and Azlant was our world Europe and the cataclysm was... was... o.O

Oh my God... I'm back. I'm home. All the time, it was... We finally really did it. You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! G+* d&@n you all to hell!

Or not. *shrug*

Paizo Employee Sales Associate

12 people marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Leg o' Lamb wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Axial wrote:

Wait a minute...

If Paris is inside of Carcosa...

** spoiler omitted **.

If true, I know who I'd blame for it.
The answer is Cosmo. All other opinions are invalid as there is only one true Trickster God and his name is Cosmo.
No I'm pretty sure Cosmo is blameless in this instance, rare that might be.

Yeah... let's go with that. I'm sure it'll turn out just fine.


Cosmo,

Trust me, I'm pretty sure it's not you.

Raven,

They are on the list yes.

Dark Archive

RuyanVe wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
Damn I love this cover.

Yeah, it´s great.

Feiya the witch and the Investigator fighting a Shantak in Paris with a Bhole crushing the Eiffel Tower is sheer genius!

Wouldn't a shantak be too low a CR for this module, though?

I definitely like the (likely) hommage to Chamber's work and if this is done similar to what we saw in Rasputin must die! I'm more than happy.

Ruyan.

If it is only one normal one at CR8, yes.

But if it has a badass template/levels/additional hit dice or the streets are full of them it could work. ;-)


*doesn't much care for the idea of fighting your way through a swarm of shantaks*

Unless I have an alchemist on my team! :D


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Axial wrote:

Wait a minute...

If Paris is inside of Carcosa...

** spoiler omitted **.

Are you saying Aroden was Charlton Heston? My God, it all makes sense now....


13 people marked this as a favorite.
GM_Ragged wrote:
Are you saying Aroden was Charlton Heston? My God, it all makes sense now....

Cut to: Starfinder. Aroden looks at empty space where Golarion used to be. He drops to his knees and begins pounding empty space.

"You blew it up! Damn you all to hell!"

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If this adventure is for Lvl 15 characters, what level will characters reach by the end of the AP?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
mcbraggart wrote:
If this adventure is for Lvl 15 characters, what level will characters reach by the end of the AP?

As with most of our Adventure Paths, the last installment generally starts the PCs at level 15 and has enough content for them to reach level 17 by the end. The point at which that 17th level ding happens can vary. Sometimes it happens before the end, sometimes it's the result of the last encounter. We never really know for sure when it hits until that adventure is done being developed... and we're about 2–3 months away from that at this point, I believe.


I wonder if Hildred Castaigne or Mr. Wilde will make an appearance in this AP.


I'm more wondering how much face punching I can do on Lowls...

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Axial wrote:
I wonder if Hildred Castaigne or Mr. Wilde will make an appearance in this AP.

Judging by the description that "the adventurers" "encounter a mute musician", Erich Zann is more likely.

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Seitz wrote:
I'm more wondering how much face punching I can do on Lowls...

So much hate! The first volume hasn't even been released!


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

He's been saying that for months now.

Frankly, you're just going to have to send him a life sized cut out of Lowls.

It's the only way. :-)


John Compton wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:
I'm more wondering how much face punching I can do on Lowls...
So much hate! The first volume hasn't even been released!

Let just say I think he and some other people I know share certain traits I find VERY annoying.

Also Captain is right. I need a life size cut out of Lowls to practice on.


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

Is it the funny hat.


I think it's the beard honestly...

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Romping around a demented city with trippy partners? Sign me up!


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

Indeed, you haven't lived until you've walked the streets of Carcosa with a fifteenth level Psychedelia disciplined Psychic. :-)

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Agreed, cap'n!

puts some 'Cream' on


Mmm Cream. Not sure it's that trippy but old Jefferson Airplane, sure.


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

Why not
both


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Forget the artwork - I went giddy with excitement when I read that bit about a "mute musician".

PLEASE let Erich Zann actually be an NPC in this AP!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I can't believe I missed that Volume Six was already announced!!! August release is too far away... Must... have...

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