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Pathfinder #12—Curse of the Crimson Throne Chapter 6: "Crown of Fangs" (OGL)Paizo Inc.
Devils, water and bloodLev —
The final part of the CotCT AP is a little sandboxy and mainly describes the Castle of Korvosa (95 rooms). But we are not in front of a dungeon crawl here, because the PC will have the map of the entire place.
It is quite like this :
The last part is great : I really love the fact that the end part of the story is set in a flooded dungeon, with aquatic fights. I also like the use of the blood pool ("oh look, there's a queen in a giant bubble of blood !", the references to Thassilon and the "false" awakening of the dragon.
The article on Kazavon provides many hooks to enhance and continue the story.
Pathfinder #11—Curse of the Crimson Throne Chapter 5: "Skeletons of Scarwall" (OGL)Paizo Inc.
Huge dungeon crawl with great ambianceLev —
I'm not fond of dungeon crawling in general and I trully dislike huge dungeons. When there are 3 fights in a 5-6h hours game session, for me as a DM there are too many fights.
This AP volume "only" describe one huge dungeon with many fights, so at first it seems that it is definitally not my cup of tea. The book is quite boring to read with the detailed descriptions of all the rooms.
But I have to be fair : for groups who love dungeon crawls, Skeletons of Scarwall must be a masterpiece. The design level is far far better than Jorgenfist in AP4 or the Runeforge in AP5. A real ambiance radiates from this place, a dark and breathtaking ambiance with creepy haunts everywhere. If the DM removes most of the minor figths and if the players like this play style, it can be a blast to run.
Still, I prefer the way the Skinsaw Murders bring mystery and horror to the game than that "every undead bosses must be destroy" approach.
The Belkzen article is useful and give some ideas. The Zon Kuthon article is amazing... creepy and disgusting indeed, but amazing.
I give 3/5 for the adventure itself and +1 for the support articles. So 4/5.
Pathfinder #10—Curse of the Crimson Throne Chapter 4: "A History of Ashes" (OGL)Paizo Inc.
This volume is all about shoanti. In this volume, there is no "boring-linear-fighting-only-encounters-when-we-travel-from-A-to-B" and no dungeon ! Just a deep immersion in an exotic and rich culture in a land with uncommon features. Heavy on roleplaying and supported with nice articles. This part is truly refreshing... despite its title. :)
Pathfinder #9—Curse of the Crimson Throne Chapter 3: "Escape from Old Korvosa" (OGL)Paizo Inc.
Glorio Arkona is stupid !Lev —
I am on the fence with this volume.
On one side, I like the pig game, Laori Vaus character and the use of a galtan final blade.
On the other side, the whole Arkona thing (and how Golio acts during this part of the story) is poorly handled for me.
Spoiler:Futhermore, the idea of a "rotating dungeon" might seem nice on paper, but in practice I don't see how I can handle that in a game session.
Glorio's cover is totally exposed when he sends the PCs in the labyrinth. It seems not enough subtle from a rakshasa leader, politically too risky. And honestly if he really wants to kill his sister, he can do it himself without involving anyone, especially not the PCs.
Pathfinder #8—Curse of the Crimson Throne Chapter 2: "Seven Days to the Grave" (OGL)Paizo Inc.
Best AP volume ever published ?Lev —
This AP volume is a jewel. You will find everything in it : deep NPCs, complex gray clergy (Abadar), corrupted authorities, mad evil cultists, fight against time, rich story with plot twists, epic final battle... Everything, really, is highly enjoyable. I don't see a major negative point here and I'm usually not a crazy paizo fan boy.
Pathfinder #7—Curse of the Crimson Throne Chapter 1: "Edge of Anarchy" (OGL)Paizo Inc.
Great start, great flavor and great NPCS, but maybe to linearLev —
The first part greatly succeeds in unifying the PC's group, but keep in mind that for the rest of the volume (and AP), PCs have to like their city and want to help the guards of Korvosa.
The whole Harrow deck/Zeralla thing is a great addition of the AP, very flavorful, with rules and hints to use the cards in all volume of this AP. The NPCs are great and may be the best NPCs ever made in an AP from Paizo.
The different parts of this AP are nothing but a linear succession of missions from Marechal Cressida Kroft. However, each of these missions is important for the sequel of the AP's story (it prepares the way for the other volumes) and allow the PC to tackle a different aspect of the city.
I also like the Varisian article, especially the fact that it describes how varisians remember about Thassilon and the runelords without using none of this two words : very subtle.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #6: Spires of Xin-Shalast (Rise of the Runelords 6 of 6) (OGL)Paizo Inc.
A great high level exploration scenarioLev —
Pathfinder Adventure Path #5: Sins of the Saviors (Rise of the Runelords 5 of 6) (OGL)Paizo Inc.
Just a dungeon, but an interesting oneLev —
I like the way sins are tied to schools of magic in Varisia and the whole Thassilon empire story. Paizo have done a brillant job with that. But I also tend to not like "old school" dungeons (cf. my AP4 review), so I was not expecting something good with this "megadungeon" issue.
Jorgenfist in AP4 was a zoo mess and I didn't like it, but in comparison most wings feels too empty in AP5. It totally makes sense that only faction's leaders remain after more that 10000 years, but a few additionnal minor NPCs could have increased the number of ways to solve the scenario. As written, there are only a few ways. For this reason AP5 is still interesting but is far from the outstanding political dungeon announced in the book introduction.
DMs have to be careful with the wing of anger : PCs seem to be expected to finish their exploration with this wing (no possible alliance there, the hardest fights and the escape). Depending on your group, it could be a problem ("No, don't go there, not now, level up and meet the other NPCs first !" :-)).
The side article are great additions, as usual :
Pathfinder Adventure Path #4: Fortress of the Stone Giants (Rise of the Runelords 4 of 6) (OGL)Paizo Inc.
A nice backstory, 2 great side articles but a mediocre dungeonLev —
This one is really hard to review.
On one side, the first parts of the adventure are quite nice and Mokmurian's story is really great and deep, but I can't like the way the adventure is handled in the last 2 parts (under Jorgenfist).
On the other side, the articles on stone giants and dragons are really great, especially the dragons' mythology one. --> 5/5
So I will give this book a harsh 3/5 rating.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #2: The Skinsaw Murders (Rise of the Runelords 2 of 6) (OGL)Paizo Inc.
Just greatLev —
Not an original plot, but good anywayLev —
The adventure itself clearly not deserve a 5/5 and maybe not a 4/5, but the description on Sandpoint, the Thassilon article, Paizo's vision of goblins and the quality level of the product layout make the difference.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #3: The Hook Mountain Massacre (Rise of the Runelords 3 of 6) (OGL)Paizo Inc.
Great articles, great set pieces, but not a good adventure as a wholeLev —