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Non Hack'n'Slay modules

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Hi there.

First of all: I have been playing AD&D 2nd Ed. for about 10 Years, before skipping 3rd and instead switching to Earthdawn and a few german RPGs like Midgard and "Ruf des Warlock". Now I came back to my roots by buying Pathfinder - and so far the system looks good and the first few evenings have been great fun.

But there is one thing that concerns me - am I looking at the wrong places or is nearly every single Module out there for PF and 3rd Ed. a simple Hack'n'Slay fest with almost no story or roleplay at all? Don't get me wrong - I like a good dungeon romp now and there as anyone does, but where have all the atmospheric, story driven adventures gone? I bought "Crown of the Kobold King", "Carnival of Tears" and a few other Pazio Products as well as some 3rd Edition Modules and what can I say - in CotKK you have an encounter in EVERY ROOM!

Or take Carnival of Tears. It's a great adventure, I love the style and it has plenty of roleplaying opportunities - but suddenly it all comes down to killing dozens of baddies again.

So I wonder: Are there any mystery modules? Investigative Modules, maybe in a city, where you have to solve the riddle of gruesome murders? No matter what the publisher is?

Of course Adventure Paths come to mind. But there is one problem - our group is used to leveling really, really slowly. Slowly as in "1 Level per 3 - 5 Adventures slow". Now it is not a problem to modify a single module to my needs, but a whole AP? Besides, it's a bit unrealistic when a group of level 4 Heroes fights demons and saves the world three times in a row or so.

Well, long story short - are there any low to non-combat modules? And changing the system (as well as leveling faster) is not an option, as our group always loved the D&D-feeling the most - we have come to stay ;)



Oh, and sorry for my English, I am not a native speaker.

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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Here's a quick list, note most are in the works






Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Hm... You might just have to homebrew it. Remember that for a pre-written adventure there's not a lot of room for the expansive and unpredictable elements that open-ended RP can incur, so there's naturally a bit more focus on combat and linear plots.

Silver Crusade

I'll second the recommendation for Feast of Ravenmoor. Loads of fun, and although there's definitely some combat, there's quite a bit of talking to the villagers, investigating clues, etc. I'm a huge fan of this adventure.

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hangman's Noose is a very good RP module (NPCs are High quality) as you have to find clues to who did a murder and who framed an innocent man to die.

yes there is combat as every single module has combat.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Suppression wrote:

Well, long story short - are there any low to non-combat modules? And changing the system (as well as leveling faster) is not an option, as our group always loved the D&D-feeling the most - we have come to stay ;)

First off - your English was fine.

Since combat is the main way to get experience and level, that is highlighted. If you're looking for non-combat story ideas, I would suggest looking at the chronicles line. Many of the 64 page books detail a city or region, with many mysteries and plot hooks mentioned but not fleshed out, allowing you to run with them as you see fit.

Thank you for your answers.


Thanks, I will look into these. Feast of Ravenmoor is really looking great.

@Jiggy and Cpt_kirstov:

Yes, it seems like I have to homebrew it - but the mentioned chronicles seem like a good idea, thanks!

And while it is true that combat is the main way to get experience, I don't quite understand why they put the old "XP for quest objectives" out of the modules (but of course I can add these myself). What I also don't get is why new modules only have 36 pages? My old AD&D adventures are all 64 pages minimum.

I may sound like a grumpy old man, but I am just curious. As I said, I really like the game and it's not like I hate combat (in fact just yesterday I ran The Dragonfiend Pact from Dungeoncrawl Classics and it was a blast) - I just don't want to play a tactical wargame where a fight pops up every five foot my players are taking ;-)

Anyway, thanks again for your answers.



Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hangman's noose gives you "XP for quest objectives" at the end pending how the players end that module.

*Note this is for each PC:
Find the guilty and hang'em CR 3 XP,
a PC hang's himself CR 1 XP for party, CR 3 XP for the Martyr.
Allow a certain NPC to Hang himself, 0 XP
Bring a guilty person to Justice, CR 1 XP

I thought that Carrion Hill had fairly low combat. Maybe my definition is a bit different though. There's only 4-5 main encounters, I think.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Tower of the Last Baron can be done without much combat.

you -could- also fight everyone in the entire place, but that's a silly idea.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

Try sneaking in The Sixfold Trial somewhere. (Just cut out the bit at the end with the Asmodean Knot.)

I can endorse Tower of the Last Baron.

Also, since you say you don't care about publisher at all, have you checked out EN's Zeitgeist?

EN Publishing

Suppression wrote:

So I wonder: Are there any mystery modules? Investigative Modules, maybe in a city, where you have to solve the riddle of gruesome murders? No matter what the publisher is?

ZEITGEIST #2: The Dying Skyseer is exactly that. 90 pages of delicious full-colour murder investigation in - as you say - a city.

It's part of an AP, but you can easily use it on its own.

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I second Cheapy's suggestion. Carrion Hill is an excellent investigation adventure. There are some fights, but I think it's well-balanced compared to the rest of the adventure.

Hangsman's Noose is great too, though the day I'll run it, I'll probably drop most of the fights.

@Suppression: I'll suggest what I often do with modules or APs. When a fight has no meaning in my opinion, I simply drop it. IMHO, a lot of the meaningless fights included in the Pathfinder adventures are there to give players enough XP to reach a given landmark at the end of the adventure. While I accept this point of view, it's not my cup of tea.

XP is not an issue because I mostly give some according to one factor: completion of adventure objectives. This gives most XP, allowing me to more or less choose when the characters level up so that there isn't any imbalance between contents and the character's level. I also award bonus XP with roleplay, or completion of personal goals for a character.

Hope it helps :)

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The first part of the Serpent's Skull Adventure Path, "Souls for the Smuggler's Shiv", would make a great stand-alone adventure. There are a lot of survival and exploration elements to it, and the PCs can really build some interesting friendships and rivalries with the NPCs who also survived the shipwreck. Likewise, figuring out what really happened and doing something about it has good mystery aspects to it.

Sovereign Court

See if you can find the 3.5 "The Eldest Son" from Reaper.

Really good investigation there.

Sovereign Court

While I love Paizo modules, it's true that they could benefit sometimes from more fluff to valorize the investigation / behind the scene parts. These parts are already there, just find some way to give them more light.

For instance, I loved the Feast of Ravenmoor execution, and I prefer it to the Ruby Phoenix tournament, while the latter had a better premise to start with. It's not the content, both are good, it's the hype that I get from reading it.

In short, my take is you need to convince the DM of the worth of your module, and how he will enjoy it, so that he feels he must out perform himself, and be ready to wing the parts that you can't cram in 32 pages.

YMMV, of course.

I would definately say to check out the Carrion Crown AP. The first volume has mostly "boss" fights and the second has a huge investigative bend, but the second half is more hack and slash.

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