Introducing the Outlaws of Alkenstar Player’s Guide

Monday, March 28, 2022

Sometimes, a bullet is best.

A gang of outlaws, each with their own grudge against the villains who wronged them, must join forces to get their revenge. In the steam-powered city of Alkenstar, where most business is as orderly as the hands on a clock, these rugged antiheroes will have to go against the grain if they’re to settle their vendettas.

Will the vigilantes have enough firepower to cut a path through Alkenstar’s soot-stained streets? Or will they, like so many others, get swallowed up by the ever-churning gears of the City of Smog?

Outlaws of Alkenstar Player's Guide Cover featuring the iconic inventor, Droven and their automaton, Whirp jumping away from an explosion


Inside the Outlaws of Alkenstar Player’s Guide, you’ll find player-friendly, spoiler-free information and tips to help you make a new character perfect for the Outlaws of Alkenstar Adventure Path.

This Player’s Guide contains details and advice about:

  • Alkenstar, the City of Smog, including summaries of well-known landmarks, dossiers on the city’s most famous personalities, and special rules for you and your Game Master to consider.
  • Your Character, including the backstory of how you came to be an outlaw and the nature of the illicit job for which you’ve just been hired.
  • Character Suggestions, including recommendations for alignments, ancestries, classes, languages, skills, and feats well suited to this Adventure Path.
  • New backgrounds to inspire your character’s criminal past and the nature of their grudge, including Banished Brighite, Framed in Ferrous Quarter, and Ratted Out Gun Runner.

Start your adventure today!
Download the Outlaws of Alkenstar Player’s Guide

Want to run Outlaws of Alkenstar as a Game Master?
Order Outlaws of Alkenstar: Punks in a Powder Keg.

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Tags: Outlaws of Alkenstar Pathfinder Pathfinder Adventure Path Pathfinder Second Edition
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Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition Subscriber

Awesome! Downloading now.

Paizo Employee Contributor

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OMG
OMG
OMG
OMG
OMG

Bang Bang!

I'M AN OUTLAW!

Paizo Employee Contributor

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Ahem...

and other professional posts.

I hope y'all enjoy the AP!


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I remember back during one of the Gen Con panels, it was mentioned that there would be options for tailoring the Mana Wastes’ impact on magic for your terrible - yet this PG only presents magic as working normally. Are those options going to be somewhere else, or did they end up not working out?

I was pretty excited to contend with wild and dead magic zones.


21 people marked this as a favorite.

The Suggested Character Options table is an absolute joy and I hope it’s in every Player’s Guide going forward - thank you, whoever made it!

I’m also tickled by the mention of Alkenstar having a port for “airships” and “dirigibles” that apparently departs for others of the same in Eastern Garund; that’s an awesome new detail, and something I’m keen to see more of.

Wayfinders

3 people marked this as a favorite.

It's great to see gnolls be given a mention - I still remember the art from the 1e Inner Sea World Guide, of a mutant gnoll with a musket.

That said, the Recommended Options table (great new element!) erroneously refers players to the LO Ancestry Guide for them, rather than to LO Mwangi Expanse book in which they were actually introduced.
(And for that matter, doesn't mark the Oracle, Investigator and Swashbuckler with the cross symbol the way that other APG options are.)

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

8 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:

I remember back during one of the Gen Con panels, it was mentioned that there would be options for tailoring the Mana Wastes’ impact on magic for your terrible - yet this PG only presents magic as working normally. Are those options going to be somewhere else, or did they end up not working out?

I was pretty excited to contend with wild and dead magic zones.

I found a sidebar for the GM in volume one that might shed some some light.

MAGIC IN ALKENSTAR:

The so-called City of Smog lies in the heart of the Mana Wastes, a fickle wasteland desert where magic doesn’t always function as planned. In Outlaws of Alkenstar, the unpredictable nature of magic is presented during several set encounters—particularly in the Mana Wastes in the second and third volumes—and characters are made aware in advance whenever such circumstances might arise. For the most part, however, magic works normally in nearly every encounter. If you and your group are interested in making unreliable magic a larger part of your campaign, consider using the rules for wellspring magic (Pathfinder Secrets of Magic 248) or leaning into the concepts of Bronzetime and Surgetime while in Alkenstar (sidebar on page 51).


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

I am loving the Recommended Options table. Its a fantastic boon that I really hope is implemented in every player guide from now on.

One of the APs currently being ran at my table is running into some rough ground due to some character choices that don't mesh well with the campaign. Not only does this serve to inform the players on how to make great characters that fit the story but it does so in a way that relieves the GM of the burden of having to do so.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

The overview table about character suggestions is a nice innovation, but this one has a quirk:

"If so, lawful neutral or lawful good are great alignment options."

"Not Recommended: LG LE NE CE"


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The suggested options table is fantastic. And while I understand that there likely isn't a lot of medicine-related content in the adventure itself, having Medicine "not recommended" makes me wonder whether Paizo has played Pathfinder Second Edition.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Aaron Shanks wrote:
keftiu wrote:

I remember back during one of the Gen Con panels, it was mentioned that there would be options for tailoring the Mana Wastes’ impact on magic for your terrible - yet this PG only presents magic as working normally. Are those options going to be somewhere else, or did they end up not working out?

I was pretty excited to contend with wild and dead magic zones.

I found a sidebar for the GM in volume one that might shed some some light.

** spoiler omitted **

I had planned on using the Wellspring Mage archetype to represent the instability of magic in the Mana Wastes, so this is reassuring to see!


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also throwing in my love for the new Suggested Options table, but I have to chuckle at Medicine being "Not Recommended" when I find nearly every party needs someone who can do it just for removing the wounded condition alone.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Probably going to have to get this one even though I use PF1 and don't really like PF2. Hopefully Alkenstar's material will stand up and isn't PF2-ified too much. (PF2-ified meaning: all "too weird" with everyone being odd species and odd classes, stuff like "shoot while midair to jump again", and whatnot. Anime-absurdism.)

Definitely like the "suggested" table. Other posts indicate this is new? I don't remember seeing it before, but I haven't looked at the AP player guides in quite a while. Good stuff.


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

Can I saw I love the suitability chart. I would love it if it became standard practice for future players guides!

Acquisitives

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Never thought I'd see medicine not recommended though.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

+1 to all the praise for the Suggested Character Options table! Would love to see this become a new fixture of the Player's Guides!

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The table is interesting because it adds info compared to the text, especially for skill feats. Otherwise, it is redundant.

And I find that it can stifle the imagination compared to the text, which fires it and is actually very well written IMO. Not to mention that some players will just pack the better options as shown by the table.

Finally, I feel the Skill feats should not have a better rating than the Skill they use.

I like that we have the description of the city before the mechanics as it forces the reader to dive into the flavor before getting into the building / optimizing parts. I believe it is a new thing, but I might be mistaken.

Very good PG IMO. And it is still free :-)


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Gnolls and Fleshwarps are among my favorite Ancestries out there; glad to see both in the spotlight!


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Player's Guide: Alkenstar, City of Smog: (Introduction) wrote:
{. . .} Many spend their days toiling without respite in grimy workshops or smoky factories. {. . .}

Sounds ripe for the growth of Droskar worship.

Player's Guide: Alkenstar, City of Smog: Notable Personas wrote:
{. . .} Most of Alkenstar’s citizenry can be divided into either the working class or the aristocratic elite. The former labor ceaselessly to produce goods, services, and wealth, while the latter live to consume these resources. {. . .}

This sounds awfully familiar . . . .

Player's Guide: Character Suggestions wrote:
{. . .} lawful neutral or lawful good are great alignment options {. . .}

. . . and the table says these are Not Recommended. Table also says Nature is Not Recommended; but aren't you going to need this when venturing out in the desert, including the Mana Wastes? After all, Erastil is widely enough worshipped there to get a listing soon after Brigh and Abadar.


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From the store pages for each volume, I don't expect all that long out in the desert; it sounds like you're mostly in Alkenstar proper, with a trip out there to go visit a dungeon.


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I do want to say: thank you for acknowledging non-Core Ancestries in this one! Unless I'm wrong, previous Player's Guides have mostly stuck to the core options and not explicitly named ethnicities - the extra specificity is awesome, and much appreciated.

Now, if someone could point me to where there's any info on the Vourinoi elves...

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Character Guide and P1's People of the Sands I believe would have info.

Silver Crusade

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hey, this is probably the best players guide I've ever seen. Absolutely does every job a players guide should:

- Gets the audience hype.
- Sets expectations both mechanically and thematically for the players.
- Anchors the Players in the world.

Anyway, I hope this level of quality and utility continues with player's guides going forward :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
Character Guide and P1's People of the Sands I believe would have info.

People of the Sands had nothing :c


9 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I think this Player's Guide recommends against the Medicine skill out of pure self-interest, it just wants to be used to create as many new characters as possible.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Character Guide and P1's People of the Sands I believe would have info.
People of the Sands had nothing :c

:(

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

3 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:

I do want to say: thank you for acknowledging non-Core Ancestries in this one! Unless I'm wrong, previous Player's Guides have mostly stuck to the core options and not explicitly named ethnicities - the extra specificity is awesome, and much appreciated.

Now, if someone could point me to where there's any info on the Vourinoi elves...

Vourinoi

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I love the SUGGESTED CHARACTER OPTIONS on page 9, that would be great to see in future player's guides! Other people have noted where the text disagrees.

I like that magic is suggested to work normally, subject to GM discretion. It does contradict setting lore but it'll make a better game.

It's interesting that the Alkenstar section precedes the character option section. It sugggest that the setting Alkenstar central to the narrative.

I dislike that Taldane is the primary language. Given Alkenstar's location and history it should have been Osiriani IMO.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Zaister wrote:
I think this Player's Guide recommends against the Medicine skill out of pure self-interest, it just wants to be used to create as many new characters as possible.

I think that’s just saying “don’t expect many Medicine checks in the text of the AP.”

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I do like the Stoolie background - very much the feel from 'The Departed'.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
Zaister wrote:
I think this Player's Guide recommends against the Medicine skill out of pure self-interest, it just wants to be used to create as many new characters as possible.
I think that’s just saying “don’t expect many Medicine checks in the text of the AP.”

FWIW Battle Medicine and Treat wounds are Medicine checks. As is treating for poison and diseases.

Glad to know PCs won't lose HPs, suffer from poison or from disease in this AP ;-D

Silver Crusade

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

This is specifically what the text beyond the chart says:

Player's Guide wrote:
While Medicine and Occultism are always useful skills to have on hand, neither will open any special doors in this campaign.

It's not that Medicine isn't still good to have, just that it won't be specifically important to the story of the campaign if you don't have someone with it.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yes. The text is better than the chart on the whole, but the chart is easier to reference and many people will just not read the text.

In the end, I feel it is better not to have the table.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I loved the chart. It was super intuitive and a great way to quickly summarize things. It should be the standard going forward, very nicely done!

That said, I would probably never put medicine in the not-recommended list since it is always essential. I know it explained it later but still, just leads to confusion as not everyone will read all the followup text hah.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

This chart is excellent and should be mandatory in all future players guides.

I'm disappointed however that the designers of the AP have opted not to discourage casters. This was a fantastic opportunity to let non-caster classes shine or alternately introduce an impediment that only casters would have to overcome.

Aaron Shanks wrote:

I found a sidebar for the GM in volume one that might shed some some light.

Oh, thank you!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm dissapointed that Paizo didn't provide a leeway for Evil characters. Playing as an outlaw with Evil alignment would've been perfect and fun with the right party. Would you reckon Paizo would provide options for Evil Aligned characters or do we have to homebrew it.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I really like the table of "SUGGESTED CHARACTER OPTIONS" since that's a thing that would be useful in literally every Pathfinder AP, so I hope that's a thing we're going to keep seeing in the Players Guide. Since "how useful is underwater marauder here ?" is a normal thing for a player to ask the GM, so putting "not at all" right up front saves everyone time and effort.

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
alfred1844 wrote:
I'm dissapointed that Paizo didn't provide a leeway for Evil characters. Playing as an outlaw with Evil alignment would've been perfect and fun with the right party. Would you reckon Paizo would provide options for Evil Aligned characters or do we have to homebrew it.

I mean you can play an evil character in almost any campaign, it just boils down to making sure it's okay at your table. Just because a campaign isn't written specifically for a character doesn't mean that that character isn't playable. There probably won't be a clear-cut "here's what to do with an evil party" add-on, because that's too specific to be applicable to most tables.


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alfred1844 wrote:
I'm dissapointed that Paizo didn't provide a leeway for Evil characters. Playing as an outlaw with Evil alignment would've been perfect and fun with the right party. Would you reckon Paizo would provide options for Evil Aligned characters or do we have to homebrew it.

You can always make something against the theme of an AP work, but that takes the players and the GM to work together and so shouldn't be something suggested in the Player's Guide. The basically thing we're doing here is a story where the people on the side of the law are the "bad guys" and the people on the opposite side of the law are the "good guys". It's a lot murkier when the nominal "good guys" are themselves bad. You can make it work but "everybody is bad" is a different kind of story.

Don't worry though, since the next AP is the "no good character" one.

Paizo Employee Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Whether Paizo intended it that way or not, I imagined this as the Law vs Chaos adventure path, where the "Law" were mostly LE folks who were bending the letter of the law for their own gain and the suffering of others.

As outlaws, the PCs represent Chaos and the power of freedom where, when wielded with wholesome intentions and not constrained by law, can be a better arbiter of justice than pure Law.

Either way, it's a rootin' tootin' good time!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
alfred1844 wrote:
I'm dissapointed that Paizo didn't provide a leeway for Evil characters. Playing as an outlaw with Evil alignment would've been perfect and fun with the right party. Would you reckon Paizo would provide options for Evil Aligned characters or do we have to homebrew it.

I reckon Paizo thinks fans of Evil characters should wait for Blood Lords, which is six books of adventure for non-Good groups:)


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I mean nothing in the players guide says you're not actually guilty of the crime you're on the lam for -- and murder is cited as an example.

"I shot a man in Smokeside, just to watch him die" is an excellent Johnny Cash reference and a one-sentence summary of a character concept, all in one.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Don't worry though, since the next AP is the "no good character" one.
keftiu wrote:
I reckon Paizo thinks fans of Evil characters should wait for Blood Lords, which is six books of adventure for non-Good groups:)

Paizo said Blood Lords is next AP and it's "no good character" one???


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Laclale♪ wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Don't worry though, since the next AP is the "no good character" one.
keftiu wrote:
I reckon Paizo thinks fans of Evil characters should wait for Blood Lords, which is six books of adventure for non-Good groups:)
Paizo said Blood Lords is next AP and it's "no good character" one???

This was all announced a fair while back, yes. The store pages for all but the last volume of Blood Lords are up.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
NECR0G1ANT wrote:

I love the SUGGESTED CHARACTER OPTIONS on page 9, that would be great to see in future player's guides! Other people have noted where the text disagrees.

I like that magic is suggested to work normally, subject to GM discretion. It does contradict setting lore but it'll make a better game.
{. . .}

This page (which gives some references, but I haven't followed them up) indicated that the Smokeside part of Alkenstar was magic dead. I would have liked to see somebody come up with a Pro-Magic Field to counteract this and the magic-dead areas of the Mana Wastes. But not have it available right away -- that would be one of the PCs quests, to get hold of this.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Leon Aquilla wrote:

I mean nothing in the players guide says you're not actually guilty of the crime you're on the lam for -- and murder is cited as an example.

"I shot a man in Smokeside, just to watch him die" is an excellent Johnny Cash reference and a one-sentence summary of a character concept, all in one.

And then they say this:

Quote:
it’s assumed that the deeds that made your character a wanted criminal weren’t motivated by greed, malevolence, or depravity (or, if they were, your character has had a dramatic and sincere change of heart between the crime and the beginning of the campaign). As usual, intentionally committing atrocities or victimizing others will make it much harder for you to work with your party and potential allies who don’t want anything to do with evildoers.

I admit I am a bit puzzled. I also don't really believe in non-evil shady arms dealers (one of the backgrounds).

Silver Crusade

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Again, just as the text points out, evil people don't get along well with parties most of the time. This is why it's a table decision and not an assumed status for the adventure path. If you and your GM agree to make an evil character (or a full evil party) work, that's completely up to you, but it's not the assumption that that will be the case.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Cori Marie wrote:
Again, just as the text points out, evil people don't get along well with parties most of the time. This is why it's a table decision and not an assumed status for the adventure path. If you and your GM agree to make an evil character (or a full evil party) work, that's completely up to you, but it's not the assumption that that will be the case.

This. It's not that you can't be evil. It's that the story of the adventure isn't going to go out of its way to give you opportunities to be evil. And you creating your own opportunities to be evil, can severely disrupt the party dynamic (and potentially make people at the table uncomfortable). Which is why you work with your GM on this.

Based on the player guide, revenge against the person(s) that led to your downfall seems to be a big theme. So if your NE and are here 100% for revenge, to satisfy your own selfishness sort of deal, you probably wont have an issue.

But if your CE, and want to to break away from this revenge story to do CE things, the story isn't designed for that and it will create party friction.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

CE can be big on revenge. " You don't do that to ME."


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Cori Marie wrote:
Again, just as the text points out, evil people don't get along well with parties most of the time. This is why it's a table decision and not an assumed status for the adventure path. If you and your GM agree to make an evil character (or a full evil party) work, that's completely up to you, but it's not the assumption that that will be the case.

Except I didn't say they should've allowed evil parties. I say that a part of their story could be very unfeasible in the assumption all PCs are non-evil. It's not the policy it's the story. Guess I don't believe in robin-hoods.

Of course corrupt officials branding innocent as criminals are rather common, but this is not the only case in this guide.

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