GameMastery Module U1: Gallery of Evil (OGL)

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GameMastery Module U1: Gallery of Evil (OGL)
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An urban adventure for 8th-level characters.

Never before has the great city of Absalom seen an artist rise in fame so quickly, but when his patrons turn up torn to pieces, more than a few begin to wonder if his renditions are a bit too lifelike.

Gallery of Evil is an urban adventure written by Stephen S. Greer that pits players against a mad artist and his vile works. When the mad painter’s visions come to life, the heroes find themselves entering his crazed landscapes to find a way to stop them from tearing the city apart.

The adventure includes information on the artist and his vile works, as well as details about the city of Absalom and a map of one of its districts.

GameMastery Modules are 32-page, high-quality, full-color, OGL-compatible adventures for use with the world's most popular fantasy RPG. All GameMastery Modules include four pre-made characters so players can jump right into the action, and full-color maps to enhance play.

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But is it art? Yeah.



As part of my “Roots of Golarion” campaign, I ran Gallery of Evil recently (making the minor conversions necessary for Pathfinder characters). As the back cover states, it’s the first Paizo product to have detailed information on (part of) of Absalom. It’s always fun to see how such iconic locations began! The adventure itself has a really interesting, original premise, and the first half has a great combination of action, role-playing, and investigation. The second half devolves into a more traditional dungeon crawl and is less memorable, though it’s fine. I’d still recommend the module, as an enterprising GM could make some adjustments to the second half to bring in more of Absalom’s flavour while keeping the essential beats.

Let’s get into the art and back matter. The cover is really fun, though just a few more visual touches to make it clear the monster is coming out of the painting (as opposed to a doorway or window) would have helped explain the theme. The inside front cover contains maps of encounter locations in the adventure--they’re not beautiful, but certainly usable. The interior art really varies in style, but it’s pretty good for the most part. The adventure itself takes about 22 pages, leaving 10 pages of back matter. Appendix # 1 is “The Ivy District”, a gazetteer of a particular neighborhood in Absalom, and it contains a fair amount of information (with a couple of potential adventure hooks). I didn’t know (or had forgotten) that one of the Foxgloves lives in Absalom! Appendix # 2 is “New Monsters”. I absolutely love the artwork for the Shadowy Lurker, even if its abilities are a bit of a pain to run. The other new addition is a template, “Painted Creation”, a type of animated object/construct. Original and useful. Appendix # 3 is “New Items”, and it includes Numerian leaf armor, id portraits, portraits of health, and sorcerous pigments. The inside back cover is a very god map of the Ivy District, suitable for photocopying and handing out to players.


No one’s as brutal as an art critic, except an angry artist out for revenge on them! Imron Gauthfallow, a former adventuring wizard, settled in Absalom with his riches and turned to painting scenes of the amazing phenomena he witnessed during his years on the road. At first he was a great success, but then imitators began aping his style and the critics turned against him. That’s how it goes in the art world, but Gauthfallow discovered one rival artist had been bribing his assistant for advanced looks at his works-in-progress and then swiping the designs. In what he believes is a fitting punishment, Gauthfallow has decided to get back at his enemies in the art world by sending them canvases with enchanted paintings of monsters that come to life!

The PCs get involved when they’re invited to the home of Asheron Coyle, a wealthy collector and art critic. The premise is that Coyle is a sponsor of various expeditions into tombs and ruins so that he can add to his collection, and wants the PCs for a dig. As a useful “Designer Notes” sidebar (a great idea that I can’t fathom the reason for abandoning) indicates, it’s not much of a hook and can be easily customised by the GM. Anyway, once the PCs show up, they find Coyle dead and a pair of giant octopi inexplicably rampaging through his house! And when the creatures are destroyed, they melt into puddles of paint. Terrified servants explain the creatures somehow emerged from a painting that had just been delivered to Coyle, and the courier had remarked he had more to deliver in the area.

Assuming the PCs are interested in stopping further attacks and discovering who’s behind Coyle’s murder, they’ll reach the townhouse of another wealthy art critic, Belfor Vittanis. Vittanis is throwing a drunken party in the ballroom and about to unwrap the “gift” painting that has just been delivered to him, and the PCs only have one minute to stop him! This is one of the best parts of the adventure, as there’s some great opportunities for role-playing in the PCs sneaking into the party and then racing to stop Vittanis before it’s too late. A myriad of obstacles (long-winded talkers, drunk and overly-affectionate guests, bouncers, etc.) are strategically positioned throughout the ballroom to slow the PCs down, ramping up the tension in a clever and unique way. The only downside is that Level 8 PCs may very well have options like flight or dimension door to bypass these obstacles entirely, removing the challenge (and some of the fun) of the encounter. If the PCs do make it in time, they can keep the magic of the painting from being triggered; if they fail, a trio of bearded devils emerge and begin to cause havoc.

Clues to the courier’s next location are easy to obtain, and this time the PCs can catch him in the act of attempting to deliver a painting to art critic Eleazonna Gertwright. The courier, a dandy named Darius Finch, doesn’t actually know what he’s been delivering, or that Gauthfallow has sent an invisible stalker to depose of him after the final delivery! Finch could be an interesting NPC if the GM breathes some life into him (I probably could have done better).

From Finch, the PCs should learn that a fourth painting has already been delivered to the home of a painter named Endrik Archerus (the rival artist who stole Gauthfallow’s ideas). In Archerus’ studio, they find no body but a recently-unveiled painting of a scene from Hell full of monsters, hags, giant worms, etc. The idea is that the PCs are supposed to intentionally touch the painting to enter a small extradimensional space of the scene depicted, fight the monsters, and realise that Archerus is still alive, having been transformed into one of the worms. My group destroyed the painting the second they saw it to keep any monsters emerging, (unintentionally) dooming Archerus! But I think that was the logical move; I wasn’t a fan of this encounter because it sort of “broke the rules” of what had been happening. In all the other paintings, the monsters stepped out of the artwork; in this one, touching the painting would take you into it. In order to make the distinction clear, the module needed to have Archerus depicted in the artwork, screaming and gesturing for help, for example.

The final part of the adventure has the PCs locating (with little difficulty) Gauthfallow’s house and searching it top to bottom to locate him. This is where the dungeon (manor) crawling begins, as the mansion has three levels above ground and two hidden dungeon levels below ground. There are some interesting encounters--for example, I love the creepily-drawn “Painted Servants”, the hellhound polymorphed to look like a normal dog, and that Gauthfallow has used a minor artifact to conjure three aspects of his personality (my son still laughs at how bombastic “The Rake” was before being defeated in one round). Gauthfallow himself is a pushover of a “boss” despite having time to prepare for the PCs. I think the adventure would have been more interesting if this part had taken place during an art show or some other way of continuing the interesting story premise with some flavour and role-playing rather than a more traditional room-by-room search for the bad guy.

Overall all, despite the weaker second half, I think there’s a lot of fun to be had with Gallery of Evil. It has an original premise, the setting (the Ivy District artworld) is an original one, and there are some fun story beats. It’s not necessarily a challenging adventure (the clues are easily obtained and the foes aren’t hard), so a GM could run it for a lower-level group with few adjustments if desired. I wouldn’t say the module is a masterpiece, but it’s worth hanging on the wall.

Nice Ideas


I played it with four Players but one got killed near the final encounter and so the group died against the foe. But There where many nice Ideas! We liked it and ready to start a second run! - Sorry for my bad english! -

Solid urban module.


A very good, clearly written urban adventure. The whole "murder paintings" concept is handled elegantly with monsters and items that support the theme. Good art and cartography.

My only problem is that the second part of the adventure is a dungeon crawl, which might be a letdown for those who look for a "pure" urban adventure.

Still, Gallery of Evil did a great job of being a sidetrek in my RotRL campaign. Recommended !

Great adventure


I purchased this adventure initially just to read through it. However, upon doing so, I immediately incorporated it into my Rise of the Runelords game.

The entire first half of the adventure is a fantastic race around the city. The encounters are varied enough so that it doesn't feel like the same thing over and over. Chases, combat against giant apes, a party and hellish landscapes keep the players guessing the entire time. The second half of the module transforms into a dungeon crawl but set in a modern home with fantastic creatures and traps.

The core of the module worked great even when I scaled the encounters to fit my groups level. This module now has me watching for other work by Stephen Greer.

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Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

For some reason this module screams of "Artist's Loving Touch" from Dungeon #68. My players loved this adventure and I'll bet I could bring up some nostalgia for sure using this mod... especially if it's strewn with overbearing jermlaine!!!

As Gallery of Evil is one of the "Urban" series and our group at the time was a galavanting troupe of rakes (a swashbuckler, elven minstrel, a bounty hunting ranger, a jester, a Gallant, and a Brawler) who lazed about a small sylvan town. They called themselves the Salt Barrel Six because the first time one of them died they packed the body in a barrel of salt to preserve it until they returned home to bury the poul soul (the Jesters first PC of the campaign... he would go through 4 all told)!!!

Can't wait to look through this one.

Dark Archive

When is the pdf version going to be available to buy?


Koriatsar wrote:
When is the pdf version going to be available to buy?

I believe it's available NOW.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Koriatsar wrote:
When is the pdf version going to be available to buy?

GameMastery Modules subscribers have had access to the PDF since their subscription copies went out. Non-subscribers will be able to purchase the PDF on the product's retail release date—this coming Wednesday, I believe.

Dark Archive

Vic Wertz wrote:
Koriatsar wrote:
When is the pdf version going to be available to buy?
GameMastery Modules subscribers have had access to the PDF since their subscription copies went out. Non-subscribers will be able to purchase the PDF on the product's retail release date—this coming Wednesday, I believe.

Ah, thanks for the info Vic.

Steve I've been checking constantly to see when it would be available in pdf. So when Wednesday comes.....
Knowing your previous works and what I've heard about it I'm sure it'll be well worth the wait!


Thanks for the vote of confidence, Koriastor. I truly hope it lives up to your expectations. It was a fun adventure to write!

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Got my physical copy today, Steve. It looks very cool! I can't wait to inflict it's evilness upon my players...

(Note: I may have to take that pg. 18 illustration to Kinko's and get it blown up to cover one of the walls in my bedroom.)

Fatespinner wrote:
(Note: I may have to take that pg. 18 illustration to Kinko's and get it blown up to cover one of the walls in my bedroom.)

You guys are killing me.

Dark Archive

Just bought and downloaded the pdf and gave it a quick read: it does indeed seems awesome. The interior art is really good too.


Has anyone had a chance to run Gallery yet? I'd love to read a review.

Liberty's Edge

I totally love this adventure. It's so easy to get the pcs involved, with those hooks in the module only scratching the surface. In an ongoing campaign it's easy to get them to the first encounter.
I can't see any problems putting this adventure into any city of any campaign world. This should be no problem. Ptolus, Sharn, Waterdeep, Greyhawk, or whatever you have!
Changing the monsters with those you like more? Just change the description of one of those pictures, and there you have it!
The ballroom scene - totally awesome. I can't wait to tell my players "you have 10 rounds, go get him!"
The whole story teems (right word?) with potentially further adventures or sidetreks, and the id portrait will be awesome to have in my campaign world (Ptolus) - so many possibilities!
The flow of the adventure is also superbly done, as it doesn't matter how a given encounter plays out, there's always an easy way to get the pcs on track again without getting them the feeling of being railroaded.
As my players are just hitting 6ht level and start The BANEWARRENS, I will surely use GoE in the near future to give them a break from the Warrens and give them also a chance to attain another level.
Nicely done, and I can't wait to see more! Whenever I am going to change things, I'll let you knwo, because I can imagine as a writer you always like to know how things could be different.
For me as a non-native speaker, this is the very first module, which I don't have to read a secong time, because it seems to be run very easy!
Thanx for this adventure!


Thanks, Dryder! I'd love to hear how the adventure goes for you in Ptolus and the modifications you end up making.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Steve Greer wrote:
Thanks, Dryder! I'd love to hear how the adventure goes for you in Ptolus and the modifications you end up making.

Finally got it! Looks like a great murder mystery. Might actually use it in Eberron since I have a pair of investigator-types that I'm running in Sharn. So far, doesn't look like it needs many modifications, though I guess the Ivy District would have to be moved to some swanky upscale district high in the clouds...and then there are all those ramps and bridges...

Maybe I'll move it to Wroat or Korranberg....


My observation so far: the most popular aspect of this adventure I've seen so far from reader feedback is it's portability. Thank goodness for portability.

I just went down to my LGS and picked up U1 yesterday. It was a tough choice between it and D2 (eventually I will be able to collect them all).
All GameMastery mods are beautiful in layout and artwork. Along with well concieved stories. Keep up the great work!

is this one worth it still, or if its not, explain the paintings to me...

Sorry for the necropost … But how easy is this adventure to scale?

I am looking for something that can be plugged into Westcrown to boost the heroes of the Council of Thieves AP between the end of Bastards of Erebus and The Sixfold Trial.
I feel that second half of the Sixfold Trail is a little tough for 4th level heroes.

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