Man, to hell with that polite nonsense. Or rather, to the Abyss with it. Let's gas up our panhead Harleys, set fire to the gas station, and head off on a power ride into a canyon of flames.
Wrath of the Righteous is all the sin you want in one game. Designers Paul Peterson and Tanis O'Connor will march you lockstep through the gory battlegrounds of the Worldwound in the next couple weeks. For now, I'm going to describe how we got to the gates of the Abyss, and why we barreled right on through.
The First Sin: Pride
When we were considering the next Adventure Path, we thought about what had come before it. Rise of the Runelords was a catalogue of essential fantasy tropes: there were goblins and ogres and dragons and giants and everything under the sun. Skull & Shackles was a lot more focused and personal: you were kidnapped pirates trying to stay alive in a sea of sharks and buccaneers. As epic as those adventures were, they seemed... manageable. You could get your brain around how to defeat the challenge. We wanted something crazy impossible for the next set, something that would make everyone say "How exactly do you expect us to beat THAT?" Basically, we wanted to show off. So we pridefully looked around for the most impossible thing. Going into the Abyss to stop a demon prince's invasion of the world sounded pretty, pretty good.
The Second Sin: Sloth
I've made no secret of the major influence that the videogame Diablo had on the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. The plot of Diablo is pretty simple: there's a demon lord named Diablo, and he's not a very nice guy, and so you kill everything in your path to get to him. Blizzard made two more Diablo videogames after Diablo, and they were exactly that thing two more times. Maybe that thing was the best thing ever. I have probably sat on my couch for a full three months of my life playing Diablo. Yes, I could be using that time to go outside and interact with the world. To heck with that. There's demons to kill. So when it became apparent that we could write an entire Adventure Path about carving a swath through the Abyss, I was on it like a Shakespeare sonnet.
The Third Sin: Gluttony
Wrath of the Righteous is about being mythic heroes. I mean, seriously mythic. Kings of the world, really. Everything is just bigger in the Worldwound. We wanted all that stuff. Of course, we had a real challenge ahead, because we needed every character we've ever created to work in that environment. We had to come up with a lot of clever trickery to make that all work. But basically, we did it because we like to eat the most awesome things, and nobody was gonna stop us from eating all of them.
The Fourth Sin: Greed
And oh, the toys! The Pathfinder RPG folks had built up all these artifacts and relics and other boss things that just didn't make sense in an intimate story like Skull & Shackles. We made a thing called a Boomcrown for you. Also, we made a bow that fires dragon breath. And that's not even scraping the surface. Would you like to ride a Dire Griffon? Got that for you. Wanna cast a spell called Terraform? No problem. Maybe have a goddess as an ally? All of this and more can be yours! It's so cool.
The Fifth Sin: Lust
I would like to introduce you to my friend Nocticula. She's a demon lord who controls a realm made out of the corpses of demon lords she's killed. She's got a cavalcade of succubi and incubi and other demons of lust, ready to bring down the will of the mortal world. She's a super-hot nova of sex and violence. And she's your friend. That's just the kind of thing that keeps our attention in Wrath of the Righteous.
The Sixth Sin: Envy
And okay, here's the basest reason we wanted to do Wrath of the Righteous. We were working on Rise of the Runelords when the Pathfinder RPG guys were designing the RPG version of Wrath. Throughout the day, we would hear them chuckling at the latest evil machination that James Jacobs and his team had come up with. They were having so much fun. And quite honestly, we're not the kind of folks who can abide people having fun without us. So we stole their fun. I'm sure they will get it back someday.
The Seventh Sin: Wrath
With all those rationalizations under our belt, we set about to designing Wrath of the Righteous, breaking everything along the way. One of the coolest things about this game line is how the sets seem to take on the personality of one member of the design team. Rise of the Runelords is Chad's: it's a sweeping arc of everything one can pack into a fantasy game. Skull & Shackles is Gaby's: it's a jaunty adventure on the high seas, with all the yo-ho-hoing her galvo-obsessed brain can handle. The organized play seasons are Tanis's: they're a big inclusive tent under which all gamers can gather.
Wrath of the Righteous is Paul Peterson's. Paul is the designer of Smash Up and Guillotine and other violent-sounding games. If I'm going to find someone to design a hellscape, he's my guy. And so he'll be leading you through Wrath of the Righteous. Buckle up, because it's going to be a bumpy ride.
Adventure Card Game Designer