The Stars Are Right

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Dear Reader,

The light from Aldebaran and the songs from the Hyades fall upon our brittle planet, and I'm pleased to share with you that in the coming weeks the Strange Aeons Adventure Path will be slinking out of our warehouse and making its way into game stores, distributors' warehouses, and your homes. After much research and many an occult ritual, this Adventure Path steeped in the cosmic horror of the Elder Mythos has broken free from the Dreamlands and become a reality—a sentient thing, perhaps.

Now, this is no reason for concern. I assure you that the Strange Aeons Adventure Path is fairly benign. You will not go mad from reading it; the books won't flap themselves from your shelf and scuttle about your home in the stygian hours of the night while you slumber—dreaming of things far more horrific, no doubt. It will, however, provide hours and hours of creepy excitement for you and your friends.


Illustration by Caio Maciel Monteiro

While this Adventure Path is perfect for experts on the Lovecraft Mythos, don't feel like Strange Aeons isn't for you if you're not familiar with or well versed in the literature that provides the inspiration for this campaign. If you enjoy creepy cultists, bizarre monsters, forgotten lore, and accursed locations, Strange Aeons is a good fit for you.

I will, however, bestow upon you a small warning that this campaign starts off in an atypical way, perhaps our most non-standard Adventure Path opening to date. The characters wake up in an asylum with no memory of how they got there and only hazy recollections of who they are. This kind of start requires a fair amount of trust of the GM and of the Adventure Path. You can still create a character with a complete backstory, but know that some things happened in your character's past that are beyond his or her control. The upcoming Strange Aeons Player's Guide provides advice on how to make the best of this strange (but fun) situation.

If you are eager to play through or run the Strange Aeons and want to gather some associated materials to help spice up your campaign, consider checking out some of the following items. As this is a cosmic horror campaign, picking up the newly released Pathfinder RPG Horror Adventures is a great idea. In addition to great advice on running horror games, the book provides plenty of great character options for GMs and players both. I also advise using the new alternate fear rules included in this book, as I feel it will really help set the mood for the campaign. Similarly, grabbing a copy of Pathfinder RPG Occult Adventures provides plenty of character options and new rules that fit the tone and flavor of the Strange Aeons Adventure Path.


Illustration by Ramon Puasa Jr.

Strange Aeons kicks off with Pathfinder Adventure Path #109: In Search of Sanity by our own Editor-In-Chief F. Wesley Schneider, who puts his own brand of horror on the Adventure Path right out of the gate. I cornered him in his office and got him to jot down a few thoughts about his opening adventure.

"As soon as it was clear that we were returning to Ustalav, I was pretty vocal that I wanted in. Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Rule of Fear established Versex county as Lovecraft country, and Thrushmoor already had dozens of threads dangling for cosmic horror plots, so I was instantly stoked that Strange Aeons was going to be playing in that sandbox. The fact that the first adventure was set in an asylum was just icing on a really big pile of also icing (I might have written a couple of fictional asylums in past works).

Now, it's been nearly a year since I wrapped up work on In Search of Sanity. I wrote it on something of a binge after finishing my novel, Pathfinder Tales: Bloodbound (also set in Ustalav), and the first volume of Hell's Vengeance, "The Hellfire Compact." As a result, "In Search of Sanity" features as few subtle nods to both. I won't give away too much, but if you're interested in learning more about Ustalav's royal accusers or about the tribulations of Longacre's Lieklan family, the first Strange Aeons has more to say.

You'll also have the chance to join an asylum revolt, surf a blood tsunami and give a ghoul a shower.

I seem to remember that some Lovecrafty stuff happens too.

Y'all like bholes, right?"

If you're eager to get into the right feel for Strange Aeons and want to do some reading, I've compiled a brief reading list of some of the stories that capture the feel of and have inspired the Strange Aeons Adventure Path.

  • "The Shadow Out of Time," by H. P. Lovecraft
  • "The Dunwich Horror," by H. P. Lovecraft
  • "At the Mountains of Madness," by H. P. Lovecraft
  • "The Call of Cthulhu," by H. P. Lovecraft
  • "Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath," by H. P. Lovecraft
  • "The Doom that Came to Sarnath," by H. P. Lovecraft
  • "The Repairer of Reputations," by Robert Chambers
  • "The Yellow Sign," by Robert Chambers
  • "The Great God Pan," by Arthur Machen
  • "The Wendigo," by Algernon Blackwood
  • "The Willows," by Algernon Blackwood
  • "The House on the Borderland," by William Hope Hodgson

In a few short weeks the ritual to properly summon the Strange Aeons Adventure Path will be complete! Keep your eyes on this blog for the Strange Aeons Player's Guide, which you will see soon enough.

Adam Daigle
Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Caio Maciel Monteiro Pathfinder Adventure Path Ramon Puasa Jr. Strange Aeons
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Dark Archive

Havn't been more excited for any other AP ever.
I love Rule of Fear.

How are the chances that we'll get the Players Guide a few days before the street date of AP #109?

Thank you for making this AP!


I'm very excited for this one.

We're just finishing Kingmaker (2 days to go!) & then we'll be alternating between Mummy's Mask & Strange Aeons.

MM will use the standard tactical, grid based combat, but for Strange Aeons, I'll be converting over to Narrative Combat. Our group gets too bogged down with tactical play (up to 40 minutes per turn in Kingmaker), so I want to speed things up significantly.

Community & Digital Content Director

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Marco Massoudi wrote:
How are the chances that we'll get the Players Guide a few days before the street date of AP #109?

Quite good :)

Scarab Sages

Great reading list!

If you finish all those, check out Ambrose Bierce for more cosmic horror.


Chris Lambertz wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:
How are the chances that we'll get the Players Guide a few days before the street date of AP #109?
Quite good :)

You mean it is pretty much ready, there won't be another Humble Bundle kind of thing during launch date, etc???


1 person marked this as a favorite.

It is a shame we never got that "At The Mountains of Madness" movie directed by Del Toro.


I would add, "Notebook Found in a Deserted House." By Robert Bloch to that list as well.

I might also recommend "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream," by Harlan Ellison. The latter also is probably a good one for, the Second Darkness and the Iron Gods AP's.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

... you taunt us ...

Order of the Amber Die

6 people marked this as a favorite.

BRING.

IT.

ON.

The Strange Aeons Experiment


I cancelled my adventure path subscription because of this AP. If I'd wanted to play Call of Cthulhu, I'd be playing that RPG, not Pathfinder.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Scott Romanowski wrote:
I cancelled my adventure path subscription because of this AP. If I'd wanted to play Call of Cthulhu, I'd be playing that RPG, not Pathfinder.

I agree - if I wanted to play CoC, I would grab my Chaosium CoC books and run that system.

But - this AP isn't Call of Cuthulhu, it's Pathfinder with a Mythos theme. Believe me, I know how you feel - I haven't run a Paizo AP since Reign of Winter. Everything since that one had zero appeal to myself and my players. This one finally has us excited again.
Paizo will never make everyone happy, all of the time.

Dark Archive

My GM has already been adding a lot of Mythos-inspired stuff to our S&S campaign, so I'm pretty sure he's read everything on that list at the end by now. This is certainly going to be an interesting AP.


Oh god, the Doom that came to Sarnath is suggested reading? And here I was already planning to play a half-mad Ib-Hybrid style cultist summoner.

Time to start getting excited.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Firstbourne wrote:
this AP isn't Call of Cuthulhu, it's Pathfinder with a Mythos theme.

This exactly. Playing CoC is completely different from "let's hack and slash through the Bestiary monsters based on Lovecraft".


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

I subscribed to the adventure path specifically because of this path. I subscribed previously through five adventure paths but stopped after Carrion Crown because what followed wasn't matching my group's interests. I am whole-heartedly back again with this one.

Silver Crusade

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Scott Romanowski wrote:
I cancelled my adventure path subscription because of this AP. If I'd wanted to play Call of Cthulhu, I'd be playing that RPG, not Pathfinder.

Except this isn't Call of Cthulhu. CoC is about puny, terrified humans armed with knives, revolvers and perhaps some unreliable magick up against things that come from beyond. It's a game about hopeless horror in face of the cosmic unspeakable.

Whereas Pathfinder is about SUMMONING HOSTS OF SOLARS WHILE THE VIVISECTIONIST ALCHEMIST TEARS THE STARSPAWN OF CTHULHU A NEW ONE AND THE CATFOLK ARCANIST CASTS QUICKENED MAXIMIZED ENERVATION ON THE DIMENSIONAL SHAMBLER AND ALL THE WHILE, YOUR GODS GOT YOUR BACK AND WON'T LET ANY HIGH PRIEST OF A REMOTELY RELEVANT ENTITY FROM BEYOND THE STARS MESS UP THEIR TURF.

Basically, Strange Aeons will be about throwing Lovecraft and high-powered fantasy into a blender. It's something totally different from purist Call of Cthulhu.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Call of Cthulhu would be a very different feel if the setting even posited something like a level 20/mythic 10 human being even capable of existing. It would remove a lot of the whole dread of humankind's futile struggle for brief existence in an indifferent and hostile universe.

Even if Strange Aeon PCs' experience isn't quite as Gorbacz describes, and is generally more horrific and surreal than your average AP, the world itself isn't out to get them in the same way that it is in CoC.

I mean, in CoC learning more about the true nature of reality(Mythos Knowledge) impacts your character's sanity because the true nature of reality is inimical to human thought. Even if you use the Horror Adventures sanity rules you're not going to get that vibe with a fantasy Lovecraftian adventure. A writhing mass or tentacles emerging out of the sky just doesn't have the same impact on a person from a world with teleport, darkmantles, aboleths, and such as it would on some average schmuck in a more realistic world.

Horrors from beyond time might indeed be scary and threatening to the inhabitants of Golarion, but they aren't going to rewrite an observer's entire paradigm of reality the way they would appearing to an Earthling.

That having been said, if this AP isn't for you, that's cool. Play what you like.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! Ph'nglui mglw'nfah Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Putting this one on the growing backlog of cool APs I need to run. Damnit Paizo, I can't possibly have time to run every awesome thing you put out, but this has my interest, especially since Wes is involved.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm really looking forward to this AP. However if this:

Masterflumph Theater narrator wrote:
surf a blood tsunami

gives me nightmare-flashbacks about Escape from L.A., I'll be sending Paizo my therapist's bills.

Dark Archive

I really want to run this as soon as I get my hands on it. However I kickstarted sandy Petersens guide to Cthulhu monsters for pathfinder and it won't ship until December assuming it's on time. So I think I will wait and plot and see what December brings.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

The debate here brings back fond memories of Beyond the Supernatural, aka CoC where you can indeed strike back at the monsters :-)

Scarab Sages

8 people marked this as a favorite.

Will this be released in a non-euclidean box set?


Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
I'm really looking forward to this AP. However if this:
Masterflumph Theater narrator wrote:
surf a blood tsunami
gives me nightmare-flashbacks about Escape from L.A., I'll be sending Paizo my therapist's bills.

Honestly I thought it was meh. Blood surf or not.

Paizo Employee Developer

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Belabras wrote:

Great reading list!

If you finish all those, check out Ambrose Bierce for more cosmic horror.

That list could be soooo much longer, but it's a good start (and most relevant to the adventures... hint hint). But, yeah, Bierce is great, especially when you realize that he (and Robert Chambers) were laying the groundwork decades before the folks that really blossomed the genre.

Paizo Employee Developer

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Scott Romanowski wrote:
I cancelled my adventure path subscription because of this AP. If I'd wanted to play Call of Cthulhu, I'd be playing that RPG, not Pathfinder.

I'm sorry to hear that. I know that not everything we put out is ideal for everyone. However, I'd like to personally tell you that this Adventure Path is not us trying to ape the Call of Cthulhu RPG. This Adventure Path is fully Pathfinder with strong cosmic horror and occult elements that follows a storyline that would be easily found within the vast Mythos genre. You still get to fireball monsters and slice into weird creatures with a greatsword. There's not even a hardcoded sanity mechanic (though you can use the one from Horror Adventures as an option).

While I'm sorry that this isn't your thing, I wanted to have the chance to post this reply for not only you, but for anyone else who was concerned about this particular Adventure Path because I know you're not alone.

Scarab Sages

Adam Daigle wrote:
Belabras wrote:

Great reading list!

If you finish all those, check out Ambrose Bierce for more cosmic horror.

That list could be soooo much longer, but it's a good start (and most relevant to the adventures... hint hint). But, yeah, Bierce is great, especially when you realize that he (and Robert Chambers) were laying the groundwork decades before the folks that really blossomed the genre.

Minor derail - The Ballad of Black Tom is a take on the genre from an oft unexplored and long overdue perspective. Well worth the read.


Gorbacz wrote:
Scott Romanowski wrote:
I cancelled my adventure path subscription because of this AP. If I'd wanted to play Call of Cthulhu, I'd be playing that RPG, not Pathfinder.

Except this isn't Call of Cthulhu. CoC is about puny, terrified humans armed with knives, revolvers and perhaps some unreliable magick up against things that come from beyond. It's a game about hopeless horror in face of the cosmic unspeakable.

We actually had a great game of Cthulhu Now (w stuff from Twilight 2000) with GI Joe vs Cobra. Cobra found some vs bad Cthulhu stuff and Destro was trying to find out just what he had found and then what he could do with it and of course GI Joe had to step in and save the day.

Hay it was way back in the 80's and we were just having a lot of fun with stuff that I do not think would fly with many group today.

MDC

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Daigle wrote:
Now, this is no reason for concern. I assure you that the Strange Aeons Adventure Path is fairly benign. You will not go mad from reading it; the books won't flap themselves from your shelf and scuttle about your home in the stygian hours of the night while you slumber—dreaming of things far more horrific, no doubt.

For some reason, my level of concern did not lower.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
BMovieMonster wrote:
Will this be released in a non-euclidean box set?

With a plush Puppy of Tindalos?

Edit: Ooo, Shibe Puppy of Tindalos?


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Along the shore the cloud waves break,
The twin suns sink behind the lake,
The shadows lengthen
In Carcosa
Strange is the night where black stars rise,
And strange moons circle through the skies,
But stranger still is
Lost Carcosa
Songs that the Hyades shall sing,
Where flap the tatters of the King,
Must die unheard in
Dim Carcosa.
Song of my soul, my voice is dead,
Die though, unsung, as tears unshed
Shall dry and die in
Lost Carcosa


My old live GM actually started working on a heavily Lovecraft-inspired Pathfinder game about a month before I found out about this. Haven't started it just yet, but I'm always up for anything Lovecraft.


This almost makes me want to end my Kingmaker AP early so we can start this! I've been looking forward to this since it was announced. I am such a happy little gug!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Randarak wrote:
This almost makes me want to end my Kingmaker AP early so we can start this! I've been looking forward to this since it was announced. I am such a happy little gug!

Hell no. Kingmaker was amazing. Take your time and enjoy it, then by the time you are done, Strange Aeons will be done 100% and you can tackle it with all the info you need to make it epic.

Paizo Employee Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.

From past personal experiences, I've found that being able to read through a whole AP before running it is always a good call. Finish off Kingmaker, buy and read all the Strange Aeons volumes, and by the time you end Kingmaker, you've got a fine AP to present to your players.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Actually looking at the oath against corruption paladin archetype it seems one of the best choices for a deity in this adventure might actually be shelyn,

Reasons?

1. She is the only non-lawful deity listed under the oath archetypes suggested.
2. Her brother was corrupted whilst in the dark tapestry so a personal vendetta would be there.
3. She is about the natural beauty of the world and the deities in this pantheon are about twisting it.
4. He faithful also act as psychiatrists for those who dealt with encounters like this if they don't go normally to an asylum.

Surprisingly a goddess like shelyn may be perfect for this adventure.


Adam Daigle wrote:
From past personal experiences, I've found that being able to read through a whole AP before running it is always a good call. Finish off Kingmaker, buy and read all the Strange Aeons volumes, and by the time you end Kingmaker, you've got a fine AP to present to your players.

My regular Pathfinder group is wanting to run Strange Aeons as freshly as possible, so I'm looking at DMing it starting one week after the Player's Guide is released (got a subscription on another account, so hopefully module 1's pdf will get here with plenty of time for me to read through and prepare content). Is it just generally inadvisable to do so, or bad for a specific reason in this campaign?

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

As long as you and your group are adaptable, running as it comes out works fine. I've just found from past campaigns that the better I can know the whole story the better I can weave things into the characters from the start.


Adam Daigle wrote:
As long as you and your group are adaptable, running as it comes out works fine. I've just found from past campaigns that the better I can know the whole story the better I can weave things into the characters from the start.

I agree. Because if something happens in module 4 you can place something in module 2 to help with it and or simple add in encounters in previous modules/time lines to help flesh out things in later times lines.

Waiting is a huge benefit IMHO.

But I can also really understand if you just cannot wait and jump right in ... even before the Gm has read the module (if you can find such a GM that is).
MDC


Adam Daigle wrote:
I'm sorry to hear that. I know that not everything we put out is ideal for everyone.

Thank you Adam.

IMHO Paizo has been taking many "detours", diluting what was a great FRPG. Science fiction, occult, and horror are three of the themes I don't want in my FRPG. It's just my personal preference. I wanted to post because so many of the other posts were enthusiastic, and most people that see something they don't like simply pass over it, without taking the time to leave feedback.


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

More detours please!


Scott Romanowski wrote:
IMHO Paizo has been taking many "detours", diluting what was a great FRPG. Science fiction, occult, and horror are three of the themes I don't want in my FRPG. It's just my personal preference. I wanted to post because so many of the other posts were enthusiastic, and most people that see something they don't like simply pass over it, without taking the time to leave feedback.

The thing to keep in mind (as I'm sure you do since you cited personal preference) is that Paizo caters to a wide range of gamers with many different tastes and preferences, including many with a love for sci-fi, horror, firearms, pirates, kingdom building, Oriental adventures, ancient Egypt, and so on. Hell, one of the most popular adventure path installments...

Reign of Winter spoiler:
...took place in World War I Russia!

You have every right to make your displeasure known. Absolutely. This is also part of the reason why Paizo so far hasn't altered their concept of two adventure paths each year. If you don't like something, chances are relatively decent that you'll like what comes next or what came before.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Axial wrote:

Along the shore the cloud waves break,

The twin suns sink behind the lake,
The shadows lengthen
In Carcosa
Strange is the night where black stars rise,
And strange moons circle through the skies,
But stranger still is
Lost Carcosa
Songs that the Hyades shall sing,
Where flap the tatters of the King,
Must die unheard in
Dim Carcosa.
Song of my soul, my voice is dead,
Die though, unsung, as tears unshed
Shall dry and die in
Lost Carcosa

With melody


Adam Daigle wrote:
From past personal experiences, I've found that being able to read through a whole AP before running it is always a good call.

This. So much this.


Adam Daigle wrote:
From past personal experiences, I've found that being able to read through a whole AP before running it is always a good call.

Does it mean we will see more Hell's Vengeance games pop up now?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Look to the sky, way up on high
There in the night stars are now right.
Eons have passed: now then at last
Prison walls break, Old Ones awake!
They will return: mankind will learn
New kinds of fear when they are here.
They will reclaim all in their name;
Hopes turn to black when they come back.
Ignorant fools, mankind now rules
Where they ruled then: it's theirs again

Stars brightly burning, boiling and churning
Bode a returning season of doom

Scary scary scary scary solstice
Very very very scary solstice

Up from the sea, from underground
Down from the sky, they're all around
They will return: mankind will learn
New kinds of fear when they are here

Look to the sky, way up on high
There in the night stars are now right.
Eons have passed: now then at last
Prison walls break, Old Ones awake!
Madness will reign, terror and pain
Woes without end where they extend.
Ignorant fools, mankind now rules
Where they ruled then: it's theirs again

Stars brightly burning, boiling and churning
Bode a returning season of doom

Scary scary scary scary solstice
Very very very scary solstice

Up from the sea, from underground
Down from the sky, they're all around.

Fear

(Look to the sky, way up on high
There in the night stars now are right)

They will return.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Quote:
The characters wake up in an asylum with no memory of how they got there and only hazy recollections of who they are. This kind of start requires a fair amount of trust of the GM and of the Adventure Path. You can still create a character with a complete backstory, but know that some things happened in your character's past that are beyond his or her control.

While I'm going to encourage my players to not all try to play The Nameless One from Planescape Torment I won't mind the occassional jokes about "updating my journal."


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Drive us by pitchfork to caves by the sea
Atop the mountain, under cities
We are monsters, we are older than men
Yes, we are Gorgons and we will have our revenge

Frighten their children by speaking our name
Epoch and eon, it's always the same
We are monsters, but we will no longer run
We are the cyclops and our time has come

This world was ours before it had ever known men
Soon it will be ours again
Grant them their tales of their forefather's glory
For soon it will be ours again

Atop the buttress the gargoyle sits
The fragile foundation crumbles to bits
We are monsters and they are but men
Behold the Colossus rises again!

This world was ours before it had ever known men
And soon it will be ours again
Grant them their tales of their forefather's glory
For soon it will be ours again

This world was ours before it had ever known men
And soon it will be ours again
Soon it will be ours again


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is the most interesting AP since Iron Gods, IMHO.


I wonder how many Rust Cohles and Marty Harts will be run through this? :)

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