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Rise of the Runelords / Seven Swords of Sin mashup. (Massive spoilers for both!)


Rise of the Runelords


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Currently I'm running Rise of the Runelords for my group. I took a look through the Seven Swords of Sin module, and decided that it would make a great side-trek in between Hook Mountain Massacre and Fortress of the Stone Giants.

In reading through the Seven Swords of Sin, while I found parts of it to be deviously brilliant mechanically, the actual storyline, history, and reasons were horribly bad in writing. I love all of the Pathfinder writing, but I have to admit that this module is the worst written Pathfinder product. In addition to this, there is sadly only ONE reference to Thassilon during the entire module... the Seven Swords. So, I took it upon myself to rewrite the module in order to fit it into and more seamlessly integrate it with the existing story of Seven Swords of Sin.

So, for those of you interested in running Seven Swords of Sin in your Rise of the Runelords campaign, hopefully you can get a few ideas from this!

In my campaign, Nualia was captured alive and taken to trial, where she was released by Ironbriar (Who pinned all of her crimes on Lyria) and has been hounding the party ever since. After Hook Mountain Massacre wrapped up and the party had some downtime, the party cleric, who has a personal quest to track down, capture, and redeem Nualia to good once again, tracked signs of Nualia's passage from Fort Rannick through Varisia, to Kaer Maga. After returning to the party to inform them of her new "Hideout" in Kaer Maga and enlisting their aid, the party set off for Kaer Maga in full force.

For the actual Dungeon, I heavily modified the rooms and layouts instead of using Seven Swords of Sin's default map. For most of it i used the free "Map a week" wizards tower map released by Wizards here as a base template and heavily modified it for my use:

Wizards Tower

Level 1:

Level 1 is mostly newer architecture than the rest of the dungeon, but most of it is still abandoned and crumbling. On this level I placed rooms 1, 2, and 18 as an inner courtyard garden (long abandoned and overgrown).

Room 1
I added lots of pillows, silk drapes, and throws similar to how the rooms of Xanesha and Lucrecia's dens were decorated. This room is where Nadina, third and oldest sister of Xanesha and Lucretia entertains her "guests" and deals with business with outsiders when she needs to.

Room 2
As written

Room 18
As written

Beyond the doorway from room 1, I included a long, circular hall that defines the perimeter of area 18. It is populated by four more thugs.

I added several empty rooms full of refuse and destroyed old furniture and crumbling remains. One room's wall has crumbled, revealing a hole into a dark hallway beyond. The hallway is choked full of debris and shows signs of being much, much older in architecture. It also has signs of Thassilonian origin. Much of the hallway is choked in debris, but a small side room is clear enough to enter. The floor has given way in the far corner, allowing one to crawl below to the next level.

Level 2:

I used the Wizard Tower 1 map as a basis for this level. The party crawls through a hole in the ceiling, finding themselves in the southwestern most room. The map makes for "clusters" of rooms in circular areas. The southern most cluster of rooms include rooms 3, 8, 11, 15, 23, and 26. The middle cluster of rooms include 9, 12, 13, and 24. The northern cluster of rooms include 16 and 17.

Room 3
I replaced the Gray Render in this room with a mechanical construct, set as a trap by the Thassalonian wizards of greed. I used the stats of an Owlbear, gave it DR 5, and construct traits.

Room 8
The largest room on the west side of this cluster, the Incinerator and smelting forge is currently inactive and sealed by large, heavy metal doors that cannot be lock picked. The room does not actually become active until the complex's power source (Room 12) is turned on. If the doors are destroyed in any way, they fail to hold back the flow of molten metal and stone when the power generator is turned on, flowing out to fill every square within 25 feet of the doors.

Room 11
The southern most room, the ventilation duct and it's controlling machinery is currently inactive until the power source (Room 12) is turned on.

Room 15
The Recycler is currently inactive until the power source (Room 12) is turned on.

Room 23
I replaced the vampire template of the guardian with the construct template and when active acts as if under the effects of a Brilliant Energy enchantment, (And thus safe from the falling blades). He still cannot pass through the walls and floor of the room. The guardian is set into an alcove in the wall, inactive. The slots on the floor and ceiling are clearly visible, but the room, including both the blades and guardian, are inactive and covered in ancient dust until the generator (room 12) is turned on.

Room 26
This is the northern most room of the southern cluster. This room's trap does not go off until the power is turned on (room 12). Fiddling with the switches does nothing and no traps can be detected. The alcove in the western part of this room is a lift that leads down to the lower level. It does not operate until the generator in room 12 is turned on, so until then the players have to climb down the 20 foot drop themselves.

Room 9
The northern most room, this room is as written. The hallway leading north beyond the door is a dead end, leading to crumbling ruin.

Room 12
The large central circular room is home to the Generator. The generator is on a platform in the dead center of the room and is what powers most of the defenses and mechanics of the complex. The room itself is a huge cistern of water, with an iron walkway going around the perimeter of the room just above the water. Another walkway bisects the room from east to west, giving access from the Eastern to Western doors, and allowing access to the generator itself for repairs and maintenance.

The Generator is currently off. Although the nearby room has a console that can turn on or off the generators, the main breaker switch located in room 36 is currently OFF. Once it is switched on, the Generators power up, and can be turned on or off from here normally.

I changed the cosmetics of the giant squid to look more like some ancient tentacled aberration or mutation long lost and forgotten. It remains deep in the murky water most of the time and stays idle. If a lone adventurer walks across the walkway above, he will attack as long as he has the advantage. If the generator is on, the electrical discharges, while harmless to him, still cause him pain, and he attacks anyone he sees on the above walkways to the death.

Room 13
To the east of the main central generator room is the Chaos Circuit. It is currently inactive until the generators in room 12 are turned on. Instead of a mephit, the Shock Sphere floats alone in the center of the room. The sphere itself is immovable. If it or any of the crystal spires are struck enough to do damage, the struck object discharges a bolt of chain lightning, regardless of whether the generator is on or not.

When the generator is powered on, electricity arcs between the crystals and does 6d6 damage to everyone in the room every 1d4 rounds, reflex for half.

The Chaos Circuit is capable of storing the energy of the generator much like a capacitor, so even if the generator is disabled or turned off, the Chaos Circuit is capable of still powering the crystals in room 35 for one hour after the power is shut off. If two of the Chaos Circuit's crystals or the Shock Sphere itself destroyed, the crystals in room 35 become inert.

Room 24
The Natural cave in the southeast corner is expanded, and the water flows through a grate into room 12. The water is normal and requires no save. Otherwise the encounter is as written.

Room 16
In the empty room nearby is another flesh golem, same stats as The Scarecrow from Book 2 of Rise of the Runelords, the Skinsaw Murders, which the Doctor will run to aid him if he feels threatened. Included with the Doctors possessions is a note from Xanesha thanking him for his handiwork.

Room 17
As written

Level 3:

I used Wizard Tower 2 as a template for this level. The southern cluster of rooms include rooms 5, 6, the bottom shaft of room 8, and 21. The central round room is 22, and the northern cluster includes rooms 20 and 25.

Room 5
As written

Room 6
The books in this library are entirely in Thassalonian. Among them are handwritten notes, research data, magical theories, and reports. Some of the less boring books and of particular interest are on the subjects of magical power generation, Demons, controlling and binding outsiders, studies on extracting magical essence from Demons, A report on an extensive list of failed experiments with Oozes and slimes (From harnessing them as a potential power source, to creating sentience and cheap labor.), Research and plans on Constructs as well as experimental research on both very small and very large constructs, A detailed series of research books and data on tapping into alternate realities and planes for strip mining of raw resources and indigenous labor, and various theories and experimentation with raw magical energy through arcane crystals. A DC 20 perception check will notice that quite a few volumes and reports are recently missing from the shelves, leaving areas free of dust where they once were.

A caster of 3rd level or higher who studies the books and research here can learn the feat Inscribe Rune (Page 57 of Sins of the Saviors) if he has an available feat slot. In addition, for each day spent studying for at least 8 hours, they can piece together the magical formula to cast certain ancient Thassalonian spells. For each day spent like this, they can learn these spells (In the order given): Rainment of Command, Blood Money, Deathwine, Swipe, Covetous Aura, Unconscious Agenda, Sign of Wrath. All of the spells are detailed in "Magic of Thassilon", page 56 of Sins of the Saviors. The library contains limited knowledge on the Thassalonian culture and can give +2 on one knowledge check towards Thassalon history.

Room 8
The largest western area here is inaccessible on this level. It is the bottom of the incinerator shaft from the level above, however a heavy reinforced magical window portal looks into the shaft here. If the generator is off, you can see the remains and scorched items of the adventurer detailed in the description. If the generator is on, all that can be seen is roiling fire, bathing the surrounding area in a red glow. The window is reinforced to withstand extreme temperatures and is practically unbreakable.

Room 21
As written

Included in the rooms in the southern cluster I added a room full of clockwork and construct parts. The remains of two constructs, now long worn out and broke down, lie in heaps on the floor. A third construct still remains, however he is in heavy disrepair and currently is endlessly searching through the neatly stacked piles of parts and then re-stacking them, searching for a missing part that is not there. He is friendly and if attacked he does not fight back and will only try to flee. The Clockwork servant has the same stats as the Clockwork Librarian on page 46 of Fortress of the Stone Giants, only he currently has 5 hp. He only speaks Giant and Thassalonian, but if a party member can communicate with him, he will ask with what service he can be of aid with. If asked he can give them basic information on the layout of the complex, and that it is one of four magic research complexes spanning the width of Shalast. He knows little else. A nearby storage room contains more parts, including enough to fix the Clockwork Servant along with a few mending spells or relevant skill checks (Such as Knowledge: Engineering or Craft: Construct). He can be convinced to follow and assist the party (or even taken as a Cohort) but will never willingly fight in combat, preferring to flee to safety first, fighting back only if fleeing is not an option.

Room 22
The circular, large room is filled with water with only small platforms along the southeast and northwest sides. Water courses down the walls draining from area 12 above. The walls are also scarred with huge verticle gashes in places. The water itself is dark, but someone near the center of the room with a bright light source would be able to make out the outline of a huge submerged object in the very center.

The submerged object is the room's guardian. Instead of a Casuval, I replaced him with a Huge size Iron Golem construct. He is heavily rusted and is made of armor that is strikingly similar to that worn by the "sleeping giant" in Hook Mountain Massacre. Instead of the Iron

Golem's gas breath weapon, it can spit acid (retaining the stats for Casuval's breath weapon). He is inert when the generator (room 12) is off and appears to simply be a huge statue sitting underwater. When the generator is on however, he is active and casts off an inner glow that shines through the seams and slots between his metal plates, which can be seen from the surface. If anyone attempts to cross the room (whether by boat or any other method), he stands up, rising out of the water to stand waist-high. He then asks in Thassalonian for the pass-phrase (now long since forgotten to time) before allowing them to pass. When none (or the wrong one) is given, he summons the water elemental, then attacks. He will not leave the room, but will try to prevent anyone from crossing it. If the generator is ever turned off again, he will become inert once more.

Room 20
I removed the infested thug. Otherwise, as written.

Room 25
As written. A shaft of light can be seen far above.

Level 4:

This level uses rooms 10, 25, 27, and 28. I drew the level out by hand, tracing out the same three circular rooms from the previous maps. I then connected them with a snaking hallway, forcing you to pass through all of the rooms but 10, before connecting to a stairway heading down.

Room 10
Added as a side room along the hallway. The door itself appears to be trapped, but when inspected seems to focus a Magic Circle against Chaos spell bound into the door frame, preventing any chaotic outsiders from passing through. The room contains two podiums with large tomes open on each, one next to each portal. One reads like a bestiary and exploration log, while the second one contains a resource and materials ledger, specimen inventory, labor count, and also details numerous alternate-pocket-reality experiments. Otherwise is as written.

Room 25
The northern most circular room is the bottom of the stairwell. To the south the doors exit into the hallway leading toward the other rooms, to the West a large thick steel door bars passage into a 10x10 metal lift that lowers down to the lower level. Both the door and the lift are inoperable if the generator (room 12) is off.

Room 27
The southern most circular room. The traps are inoperable (and undetectable) when the power is off. Otherwise as written.

(Optional): In room 27 I had Viorian Dekanti (page 50, Spires of Xin-Shalast) enter from behind the party. Her weapons are sheathed (She wields a masterwork scimitar currently and does not yet have Chellan), and she appears to be nonthreatening in posture, largely ignoring the party. She will ignore any conversation, and if prevented from walking towards her destination (room 36) will warn, "Get out of my way now, or suffer my blade.". She does not care to fight and has much larger business at hand, and will only attack those who stop her or attack her directly. If forced to attack, she will focus on downing the one person as quickly and effectively as possible, then shoot a look of warning towards any others who wish to cross her.

Having a bit of a twisted cruel streak in her, if she is forced to attack anyone, being a highly skilled warrior, she will pull any fatal shots, leaving her opponent unconscious but alive. She will leave her sword impaled in their body with the final shot (letting go and not pulling it out) and say, "You can keep it. I won't need it anymore now.". She will then pull a knife out and scar (or if the campaign is more gritty, scalp or remove the ear of) the unconscious PC before proceeding to continue on to room 36.

Room 28
The large central room has a circle of glowing runes in the very center of the floor. The runes surround a faintly glowing shaft of energy that appears to be containing roiling smoke. Brief glimpses of movement can be seen within the smoke. Spaced evenly along the outer wall are six crystals, five feet in length, each topped with a humanoid skull. When the power is off, the skulls radiate no magic, and the barrier is impenetrable.

Once the power in room 12 is turned on, the barrier can be dropped by the controls in room 36, releasing the Vrock inside. The center of the room fills with thick smoke, giving full cover. The rest of the room is choked with light smoke, providing partial cover. The skulls radiate magic and focus a colored beam of light on the Vrock and empower it with spell buffs (instead of the cultists). Each crystal has hardness 8, HP 50.

Level 5:

On this level are rooms 29, 30, 35, and 36.

The stairs to this level leads down a short hallway and then opens up into a large circular room. The floor is carved with the sihedron star that glows when the generator in room 12 is on, and doors leading in all four cardinal directions. West leads to the stairs up, North to room 29, East to room 30, and South to a small study (description below).

Standing in the center of the room is Nualia, holding Garvok, sword of wrath in a locked gauntlet. She will fight until she reaches half hit points, then attempt to flee to room 36, using Stoneshape to seal the hallway behind her to aid in escape. There she will attempt to heal up.

The Study, the room south of the sihedron chamber, is filled with a few stacks of books and notes taken from area 6, along with hand-written translations and notes in common. The books and notes seem to be mostly on the Seven Swords, but also partly on Demon experimentation, and the specifics of dominating or controlling constructs.

Room 29
This room is largely rewritten so much to almost be a completely new encounter. The room has chains hanging from the ceiling in various spots, connected to rails that allow them to slide along the ceiling. Most of the rails all join up and lead down the hall to the west, towards the room of the Dormant Army. Some of the chains have large pieces and parts of various construct components hanging from them, and large parts and plates lie piled about the room. In the center of the room is an Iron Golem that looks like a giant warrior donned in Thassalonian armor. Within it's chest is a glowing sphere of roiling smoke, that sometimes appears to hold something within. It is under the control of Nadina and allows her and her allies to pass. It attacks PC's on sight.

To the east is room 35/36. To the west is the hallway that leads to the Dormant Army.

The Dormant Army is a massive Hall that extends out of sight, filled on either side of the walkway with rows of the same Iron Golems as in Room 29. Near the entrance to the hall is a great steel door. This door leads to a lift that connects to room 25. The lift and golems are all inoperable and lay dormant as long as the generator (room 12) is off. Once it is switched on however, they come to life. They stand idle and will ignore the PC's unless they enter too far into the room, or draw attention to themselves, after which they will march forward to attack.

The golems are under control of Nadina through the console in room 36, however Nadina is currently researching a for a way to control them without it.

Room 35
Removed Upar. Changed the stones to appear as crystals topped with humanoid skulls. The skulls can emit their magic fields for one hour after the generator is turned off. If two or more crystals of the Chaos Circuit are destroyed, they cease to function. Otherwise as written.

Room 36
This room is rewritten as filled with pipes blowing steam (instead of the geysers) and intricate consoles along the walls, with the Seven Swords altar in the center. A swirling portal to Xin-Shalast is open next to the altar.

Changed Tirana's race to Lamia matron, and her name to Nadina. She is the older sister to Xanesha and Lucretia. She was sent out to gain power for Karzoug's army and has been here over the past several years collecting the swords and researching how to take control of the Dormant army, to add to Karzoug's forces. She has since recruited the aid of Nualia to help recover the last of the swords, who in return will get another chance to kill the PC's.

Viorian stands next to the altar and every round takes one of the swords and fastens it to her belt under her cloak. After she has taken five of the swords (Leaving Gorvak for Nualia and Asheia for Nadina), she steps through the portal and returns to Xin-Shalast. The following round Nadina closes the portal and begins focusing her attentions on the party.

Nualia (or Nadina) immediately activates the breaker on the console that turns on the generators in area 12. Doing so also activates the magic barriers of room 35. If the PC's flee or attempt to return to room 12 to deactivate the generator, Nadina will free the Vrock from it's prison in room 28 with the controls on the console. In the event that Nadina feels she is losing the battle, or the PC's are escaping with one of the Seven Swords, Nadina will attempt to cause chaos with the Dormant Army Golems by activating them from the Console. If this happens, or if the console is destroyed, the Golems will begin, one by one, going up the lift into area 25, then climbing the shaft up out into the city. They will attack anyone they come across. Shutting down the generator in area 12 will deactivate them once more.

I cut several rooms from the original mod as I felt they were entirely unnecessary or went against the overall feel of the dungeon and storyline, or any sense of coherency. The rooms i did not include were rooms 4, 7, 14, 19, 31, 32, 33, 34.

How to make your own Seven Swords of Sin!

I've seen a lot of unanswered discussions and questions regarding the rest of the swords of sin. Hopefully this can help people make suitable swords to fill their own campaigns.

In trying to create the stats for Garvok, sword of wrath, I took a real careful look at the two existing stat-blocks for the swords of sin. After a bit i noticed several consistencies and was able to develop these basic rules:

1) An enhancement bonus relative to the level of the adventure.

2) A weapon enchantment

3) A spell-like effect of level 1-3 activated on hit. This must be of a corresponding school to the sin of the sword, ie lust=enchantment, wrath=evocation, etc. The DC of this effect is 20.

4) A spell-like effect of level 4-6 activated on critical hit. This must be of a corresponding school to the sin of the sword. The DC of this effect is 25.

Here is my example.

Garvok, Sword of Wrath

+3 Bastard Sword
Bane (all). The wielder may spend a standard action to change the Bane type to another of their choosing. Only one bane may be active at any time.
Whenever it strikes an opponent the sword produces an effect similar to a Sound Burst, as per the spell, centered on the opponent struck. The DC for this effect is 20. The wielder of Garvok is always immune to this effect.
Whenever Garvok scores a critical strike on an opponent, Garvok unleashes a devastating blast as per the spell Sign of Wrath. This effect is centered on the foe struck. The DC for this effect is 25. The effective caster level for this effect is the wielder's character level.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

If i remember correctly, this module wasnt really suppose to be a module. I think this was a deal for a PaizoCon or GenCon when designers within the company were suppose to create a room, situation, etc just for a convention. I think it was all mashed together in the form of a module because the editors thought it had alot of potential and good ideas.

Thats said I do agree that it has potential at the beginning but once the PCs get into the dungeon levels itself it doesnt make much sense...a mad scientist type wizzie, a dragon, a vampire, and an enchantress all living under one roof.... Kinda like Big Brother D&D style.

I like some of your changes...thanks for sharing your ideas!!


DmRrostarr wrote:

Thats said I do agree that it has potential at the beginning but once the PCs get into the dungeon levels itself it doesnt make much sense...a mad scientist type wizzie, a dragon, a vampire, and an enchantress all living under one roof.... Kinda like Big Brother D&D style.

I like some of your changes...thanks for sharing your ideas!!

That was my biggest issue is that it didn't flow together at all. One room has cultists and a demon, next a giant, next a dragon... wtf?

I really tried to give the room layouts a flow and a sense of purpose.

Level 1 is supposed to feel like the entrance to it was long ago lost to ruin and built over with newer structures as the ages passed by.

Level 2 I tried to give it the feel of the "maintenance" area. It's where the air vents, generator, circuits, incinerator, all of those types of things are. The industrial backbone to the complex.

Level 3 is more of the pure research areas. Library, scrying, alchemy lab, and the "nano constructs" and the like.

Level 4 is the experiment rooms where their experiments were carried out.

Level 5 is the heart of the complex, where everything is controlled, and the main heavy assembly construction takes place.

I tried to fit the various rooms in the module into it more seamlessly, but for these reasons many of the creatures were changed into constructs, as I saw no reason for dragons and the like to randomly be down there or even compelled. I tried to hint at the "Good doctor" being another cog working for the big Karzoug machine (much like Nualia was). But changing most things over to be constructs also gives it more of an eerie vibe, seeing the complex pretty much as the ancient Thassalonians left it, with few other creatures ever finding their way in.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thread Necromancy!

Wow! This is amazing work! Thanks so much for this, Ravenot!

I am in the process of making a MapTool version of the map as you laid out, using your ideas for making the module a better fit into Runelords.

Nualia is very much dead, and her body burned in a funeral pyre in my version of Runelords, but I do have a recurring NPC foil to the party-- actually a former PC whose player resigned from the campaign. The character has become an Aspis Consortium agent, and is also unknowingly a servant of Karzoug.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In case anyone's interested in how I'm setting this up...

1)After the PCs defeat Barl Breakbones at the end of Hook Mountain Massacre, they'll find a note from Mokmourian, stating that the giants will be on the move come spring, and that they have located the Sword of Lust in Magnimar. He has sent an agent to acquire it, and that with all of the Seven Swords, his army will be invincible. Since the PCs have a lot of expensive stuff they'll want to sell, they hop a riverboat to Magnimar.

2) In Magnimar, they'll both be looking for a buyer for the Thassilonian artifacts they recovered at Hook Mountain, and also for clues about this Sword of Lust. They'll find both at Heidmarch Manor, and they'll go to introduce themselves to the Pathfinder Society. Of course, VC Heidmarch already knows a bit about them, and while giving the PCs a tour of the grounds, she offers them membership in the Society. While near the greenhouse, they are attacked by rogue constructs. Also during the attack, burglars steal the Sword of Lust from the manor's trophy room.

3) Play The Golemworks Incident pretty much as written. A clue at end of that adventure implicates the Aspis Consortium.

4) [details still fuzzy here] Brief investigation leads PCs to track an Aspis agent that was a former PC. Signs point to Kaer Maga, so off they go.

5) I'm copping the boggard attack pn the river and the trip up the Halflight Path from The Assylum Stone.

6) I'll run Seven Swords of Sin as modified above.

7) PCs then race to Sandpoint for the start of Fortress of the Stone Giants.

Andoran

This is an excellent idea. I'm running a RoTR campaign and was looking for a side quest or two to throw in that made sense to the campaign, but didn't rely too heavily on it. Looking through the adventure this may just be perfect. Thanks for the ideas.

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