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Mad Props for Mad God's Key


Dungeon Magazine General Discussion


I just finished running Mad God's Key (Dungeon #114) and it was a hit. It took two sessions as a side quest in my Scarred Lands/Savage Tide campaign. I liked that there was some 'detective' elements without getting overly complicated- very easy to convert on the fly (upped for a 4th level party and swapped out the city and the gods).

This worked great to get the party to 5th before they set sail to the Isle of Dread with Lavinia.

My players said that the Tomb of Blood Overflowing had a creepy Temple of Doom-meets-Legend of Zelda feel to it.

Anyways, just wanted to say thanks to Paizo for giving me a great adventure to run.

I'm digging through old Dungeon mags all the time!

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I've run it twice, STILL LOVE it!


I've run this adventure twice myself. Once in a Waterdeep campaign, and again with a smaller group where it was converted to my homebrew setting. Both times it was very well remembered. From the chase scene at the beginning to the fight with the priest at the bottom of the crypt, it is a top-notch adventure.


Please, tell me more about this Savage Tide in the Scarred Lands.


Ahh, wonderful memories - MGK was the first adventure I spent sitting behind the DM's screen, back in '04 after 19 years of only ever having experienced D&D from a player's perspective. I seem to remember everyone having a good time, although for us it was an 11-session slog - not like Conway's 2 session side trek. But that is because I have the slowest group in the history of D&D...

This one is still among my favourites, although admittedly that is at least partly for sentimental reasons.

*** WARNING *** SPOILERS ***

This adventure makes an excellent prelude to the Age of Worms AP as well - just think of the pages from the stolen book that turn out to be missing by the end of the adventure as being the Apostolic Scrolls that finally reappear in AoW AP part 4, The Champion's Belt. Heck, this adventure has already got Greyhawk (ie. Barge End), the Cairn Hills, and cultists of Vecna built right in... When the players eventually complete the Champion's Belt adventure, sure, they might well have unleashed a city-killing plague of undeath on the world and basically relegated Greyhawk to necropolis status henceforth, but at least they'll feel like they finally wrapped up what is most likely the oldest loose end in their campaign! Hey, it's something... :o)

Heck, if I wasn't already 99% sure that MGK had an RPGA-only sequel, I'd almost think it must have been intended as an intro to the AoW AP!

My campaign is still going strong (we have played through MGK, Unfamiliar Ground, Final Resting Place, part of the Beasts of Aulbesmill, plus a few random encounters including a gang of goblinoid bandits seemingly backed by a mysterious corrupt Greyhawk official, a pair of sea cats, a band of marauding ogres, and some Rot Fiends poaching off a Death's Head Tree's territory - see Dragon #339 for these last 2 monsters' stats - as they travelled from one adventure location to another, before playing through the first 4 installments (so far) of the Age of Worms Adventure Path) and I still have all the players I had in that fateful first session of the MGK adventure, back on October 21, 2004. That should say something about the quality of this adventure! If not, consider that it has been longer since I DM'ed this adventure than it has been since any other Dungeon module I have ever run, and yet this is the only one I can remember the issue # for without having to google it or run to my bookshelf to check... (it was issue 124, right?) Yup, a really great adventure.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane,

Kang


Kang wrote:
Heck, if I wasn't already 99% sure that MGK had an RPGA-only sequel, I'd almost think it must have been intended as an intro to the AoW AP!

Funny, I've been eyeballing Mad God's Key as an opening act to Savage Tide. My version would take place in Sasserine rather than Greyhawk, of course, but the PCs recovery of Zagyg's key would be what inspires Lavinia to call on them to retrieve her father's key.


Fletch wrote:
Funny, I've been eyeballing Mad God's Key as an opening act to Savage Tide. My version would take place in Sasserine rather than Greyhawk, of course, but the PCs recovery of Zagyg's key would be what inspires Lavinia to call on them to retrieve her father's key.

OOOOoooooo... Just as the adventure's eponymous key will open any door, so will the adventure itself open any campaign!

Or so it seems... based on just a couple of examples...

Still... makes you think, doesn't it? :o)

Kang


Fletch wrote:
Please, tell me more about this Savage Tide in the Scarred Lands.

Sure, and sorry for the slow response! Sasserine has been converted to the city of Mithril on the Blood Sea, which has worked out great so far. I'm only converting it piece-by-piece as I run the adventures, but my master plan is to alter the plotline so that the Shadow Pearl that causes the Savage Tide is tied directly to the previous Blood Monsoon of the Scarred Lands world. If the PCs succeed they will stop the next blood monsoon. The sea-faring and Isle of Dread are on the Blood Sea, and I intend to place the defeated titan Kadum and other nefarious Blood Sea characters like Queen Ran into the mix.

Fletch wrote:
Funny, I've been eyeballing Mad God's Key as an opening act to Savage Tide. My version would take place in Sasserine rather than Greyhawk, of course, but the PCs recovery of Zagyg's key would be what inspires Lavinia to call on them to retrieve her father's key.

That's a great idea!


Fletch wrote:
I've been eyeballing Mad God's Key as an opening act to Savage Tide.

I did precisely this, and it worked out great! It gave the PCs a bit of a bump going into There is no Honor, but didn't upset the balance of the first adventure. It works very well as a way to get the party together before they are approached by Lavinia.

And, on top of that, it's a really great low-level adventure.


I'm planning to run Mad God's Key for the introduction to my Pathfinder Savage Tide campaign. It took a little adaptation. Setting it to start in Sasserine isn't tough, considering there's canals all over the place that can stand in for Barge End. I did end up substituting a lot of deities within the story, though -- Nethys will be subbing in for Wee Jas in Sasserine, and the disguised "cleric of Boccob" aka Nethys is actually a cult-priest of Norgorber.

The stolen book comes from within the House of the Dragon in the Noble District.

The elven rogue/sorcerer of the Green Dagger Guild has the Aberrant bloodline -- pretty minor updates there.

The ancient cairn I placed in the hills just west of Fort Rakin, south of Sasserine along the Thunder River. It used to be a cairn to Pharasma, rather than Wee Jas, and has been thoroughly corrupted by the cult of Norgorber (or "Father Skinner", as this cult calls him). (Then again, arguably, since the Scarlet Brotherhood is very much Suloise, they could have been in the area originally and the tomb IS still to Wee Jas. Different cultures, different gods... and linking Wee Jas to the Scarlet Brotherhood makes for an intriguing twist in Sasserine even if she isn't still worshipped openly. In fact, if any of the PCs wanted to take a level in cleric of Wee Jas after returning the ancient bones to their crypt and getting the blessing, I'd probably allow it.)

I'm throwing in all manner of nasty atmospheric stuff (because after all, a tomb of everflowing blood isn't nasty enough! *grin*). All of the zombies have the flesh around their left eye-socket and over their hearts peeled away in the shape of an eight-pointed star, leaving only white bone showing (much like the symbol of Norgorber).

Isalnarr's high AC (+1 breastplate and heavy steel shield along with DEX 12 make him AC 20) makes him a tough nut to crack. He'll ably back up the skeletons in the blood with his negative channel energy burst, and the Diehard feat along with the new negative-CON rules on actual death are going to make him a horrifying foe for the PCs to finish off. ("But... we stabbed him with a spear THREE TIMES. He's got a huge bloody hole in his gut! WHY WON'T HE DIE?!?")

Veltargo... man. I don't know whether or not he'll be too much for my five PCs. I gave him an additional level of fighter to allow him to use the listed banded mail and a masterwork flail (hey, if you want to specialize in disarming opponents, go the full monty). Since a human fighter 1/cleric 3 has a total of four feats, I made his feats Combat Expertise, Improved Disarm, Weapon Focus (flail), and Channel Smite (for an extra 2d6 negative energy damage as a swift action a few times a day).

With the flail and an 17 STR, buffed by bull's strength to 21, his CMB for disarming is +12 and he's swinging at +10 attack for 1d8+5. I'm actually somewhat concerned that, backed up by the Blessed One skeleton, he'll squash the hell out of a 1st level party (even one with 5 PCs).

That said... assuming they survive, it'll be a hell of an opening adventure to start a campaign with. *grin* Exploration, detective and diplomacy work, foes that you need to capture alive so you can get information from them, and a handful of nasty final opponents... I love it! Moreover, it will nicely boost the party before they begin There Is No Honor. I'm using the slow advancement table for Pathfinder, and this adventure alone takes them about 3/4 of the way to 2nd level -- nice enough as a boost, but not unbalancing in the long run.

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