In the Shadowed Depths of the Earth

Friday, November 30, 2018


Illustration by Sally Gottschalk

It's no secret I love adventures first and foremost, and the upcoming Pathfinder Module: Cradle of Night is one of the highlights of my first year at Paizo. This adventure was crafted by several of Paizo's veteran contributors: James Jacobs, Wes Schneider, Neil Spicer, and Greg Vaughan. Don't let the multiple authors fool you into thinking this is a collection of stories—it's a single super-adventure with a stunning beginning and a desperate urgency all the way to the end. Cradle of Night was a long time coming, but it's all the better for it, and now it's here!

In this deluxe adventure for 8th-level characters, the heroes receive a plea from a desperate caligni refugee. Her cosmopolitan subterranean city of Lyrudrada has fallen into the grip of a fanatical cult called the Reborn. This wicked cult seeks an artifact called the Cradle of Night, an important piece of caligni history and lore. The heroes must keep the artifact out of the cult's hands and fight to bring light to the shadows that threaten to consume them.

One of the reasons I was glad to jump in on this project—apart from it being an exciting adventure into new lands and themes—is the opportunity to address the name and history of the caligni. There's an unfortunate trend in fantasy fiction to equate "dark" with "evil," and the "dark folk" monsters have been carrying this baggage for years. Of course, these subterranean people don't call themselves "dark folk;" they call themselves "caligni," and since they're at the center of this adventure, it's a great time to pull back the shadows around their naming, history, and secret lore.

Venture into the depths of the earth and claim the Cradle of Night!

Ron Lundeen
Developer

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Tags: Pathfinder Module Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Sally Gottschalk
Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Huzzah!


You guys should do Pawns for these Adventures!:D <3 I cannot wait to play this


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Very cool. For years I had been wishing for a playable Darkfolk race. And then it showed up in Bestiary 5 and I was quite happy, and played one rather soon after. They always seemed like a great choice for some more depth, so it's good to hear they're getting it. Their typical alignment is CN, but too often they were just used as enemies. I figure a neutral alignment gives plenty of opportunity for friendly encounters as well. Any creature with intelligence and a non-evil alignment shouldn't be used just as monsters. And I totally agree that the 'dark' or 'monsterous' creatures make for some fun playing against expectations. For the same reason, I was very happy to see the Otyugh merchant in a recent AP. Our PCs (including my Claigni) helped her back to the city run by our Mythic PCs, which has become a bit of an Island of Misfit Toys, with all sorts of weirdos allowed as long as they play nicely togethre. So the new book dealer being a tentacled thing that sometimes eats the books she buys fit wonderfully.

Now if we could get a PC version of Derro then we'll have all the races set for my concept of an all-Darklander campaign, where all of the standard core-book PC races are replaced with the Darklands equivalent. Caligni for Humans, Drow for Elves, Svirfneblin for Gnomes, Duergar for Dwarves, Half-Orcs would mostly be half-orc and half Caligni and Derro for Halflings. That last one is the least direct fit, but both halflings and Derro are the only major races left, and both small so kind of fits. I was figuring the PCs might be outcasts from their societies and undergoing a bit of a mini Quest for the Sky while trying to survive as fugitives, undergoing intrigue in the underground cities and probably foiling some evil plan in the process. I like the perspective flip between topsiders going down to the darklands as strangers, to the Darklanders trying to get out, while living as natives. I'd love to see an AP along those lines as a more experimental change of pace.

Grand Lodge

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Been waiting for this one for a while, and so glad it's finally coming out.

Kind of hoping that this gets immediate PFS sanctioning. My group's been frothing for a couple of months already, each time getting more disappointed as the release date got bumped back. I'm expecting the module to be as hype as we first thought it to be.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

It's really wonderful to see this in the light of day now...(pun intended). Thanks for the opportunity to flesh out part of it. And, I love what everyone else brought to it, as well.

As an aside, I'm still considering running this as a Play-by-Post game here on Paizo's messageboards. So, if anyone has interest in that, look for a recruitment thread once I'm ready.


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Sounds like an awesome module! Can't wait.

However, equating darkness with evil is not new, is not a trend, and derives from mankind's fear of the unknown and what it cannot see. When something is shrouded in darkness or shadows, you aren't sure what could be there, and the imagination begins to race, often leading to fear.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

It's absolutely a trend. No one has said it was new. Hades was the archetype for Dark is Not Evil from mythology, despite the modern trend of equating him with Satan. L.E. Modesitt did a fantastic job of portraying Chaos as destructive light bringers while giving Order the trappings of darkness.


No, it isn't a trend, unless you are defining a trend as something spanning millenia. The fact that some people are doing it now doesn't make it a trend, given that authors and individuals have been doing it for thousands of years. It's something that started long, long ago, and simply has continued, because it plays on deep, visceral fears of mankind spanning back to prehistoric days. That's not a trend.

I can actually think of a number of authors who have portrayed dark as leaning towards good and light towards evil in recent memory, Steven Erikson among them.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I know, that's why I mentioned Modesitt. Even Satan has fallen to the trend, as plenty of original myths have him as being appointed to the task rather than being evil.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I must admit that I do get irritated when people get all panicky about using the term "dark" in relation to evil. Often, as was noted above, it's meant as an equation along the lines of "(day)light = safety/things that one can see coming vs. darkness/night = danger/unseen things which can be dangerous".

For example, I'd be uneasy (or worse) if I had to move about outside on a moonless night in the middle of an untamed forest wilderness. Add in real supernatural horrors that are active at night, and the darkness becomes even more dangerous.

On the other hand, the dark folk (and others) should certainly have their own names for themselves. Caligni? If that's what they call themselves, then fine.

Mini-rant aside, I am looking forward to this module! There are some excellent names attached to it.

The "vanished demigods of shadow" (from the product description) also sounds interesting. I'm wondering if the kytons(/whatever the new term is) are connected to them somehow.


It'd be great to see a set of pawns made for the modules line instead of an AP. It would be nice to have one set that had unique pieces for several adventures, like the Pathfinder Society set accomplished.


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Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Two things stood out for me about this module:

1) The Caligni shown in this module are considerably better looking than the rag-covered dark creeper and dark stalker in the bestiaries.

2) The alignments of the Caligni NPCs are all over the place, as they would be in a more standard adventure set in a mostly human town.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

This sounds ultra cool! Also, I really dig the artwork.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
David knott 242 wrote:
1) The Caligni shown in this module are considerably better looking than the rag-covered dark creeper and dark stalker in the bestiaries.

They saved up enough to go shopping in the ritzy Drow shops.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

4 people marked this as a favorite.
David knott 242 wrote:

Two things stood out for me about this module:

1) The Caligni shown in this module are considerably better looking than the rag-covered dark creeper and dark stalker in the bestiaries.

2) The alignments of the Caligni NPCs are all over the place, as they would be in a more standard adventure set in a mostly human town.

Both of which are intentional bits of development we're bringing to the caligni to help separate them from their original D&D inspirations. Glad folks are enjoying them!

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