Pathfinder Adventure Path #3: The Hook Mountain Massacre (Rise of the Runelords 3 of 6) (OGL)

4.20/5 (based on 24 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #3: The Hook Mountain Massacre (Rise of the Runelords 3 of 6) (OGL)

Print Edition Out of print

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Them Ogres Ain't Right...

The Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path continues! The notorious Hook Mountain ogres, known for their violent and savage ways, have slaughtered the soldiers of Fort Rannick. The few surviving rangers need heroes to help them retake this key fortification before the ogres use it as a staging ground for further assaults on the region. Yet why have the ogres chosen now to launch this sudden attack? What sinister force grows in the surrounding wilderness, and what ties to the mysterious Sihedron Rune do the ogres of Hook Mountain hide? Are the rumors of an army of giants massing for war true?

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path continues the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path and includes:

  • "The Hook Mountain Massacre," an adventure for 7th-level characters by Nicolas Logue.
  • Advice and encounters to spice up the task of commanding a keep, by Mike McArtor and James L. Sutter.
  • An extensive gazetteer of the region of Varisia, including wandering monsters and more, by James L. Sutter.
  • The third installment of the Pathfinder's Journal, by James L. Sutter.
  • Six new monsters by Nicolas Logue.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-038-4

Other Resources: This product is also available on the following platforms:

Hero Lab Online
SoundSet on Syrinscape
Archives of Nethys

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscription.

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Out of print

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Fulfilled immediately.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

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4.20/5 (based on 24 ratings)

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A flawed gem

3/5

The PCs must deal with the aftermath of a brutal ogre attack on a border fort.

This module was apparently cut down savagely from its original length, and it shows. Early scenes are lavishly developed while the endgame is rushed and thin. One of the most interesting parts--the floating den of vice--has been left on the cutting room floor.

What is left has well-constructed, colorful locations and NPCs, albeit unusually grisly ones. My group skipped many of the descriptions, but did not have trouble with the content itself--we just didn't need to hear all the gory details.

Some GM work may be necessary to solidify the timeline and logic flow of the adventure. The encounters are well chosen and appropriately difficult, with one possible exception.

While the module suggests that the PCs may end up taking over and managing the fort, my PCs refused, and I believe that will be the usual outcome. It is too far from the PCs' other interests and too difficult to hold.

Subsidiary materials include thumbnail sketches of every named location on the map of Varisia, which I found extremely helpful, and an article on managing a fort which I found completely unhelpful-- basically just a random event table.

This is a workable adventure with some awkward moments, mainly due to heavy cutting. Compared to previous entries it has quite a few typos, but not enough to damage its usefulness.


Ogrekin, Mother's of Oblivion, and Skull Rippers! Oh My!

5/5

Pathfinder #3 The Hook Mountain Massacre is an excellent value that could have been even better.

The adventure itself is well-written, descriptive, and challenging. Some parts of the story are too graphic for me to DM as is for my players, and I will either omit or modify some sections. However, the (in my opinion) objectionable part of the Ogrekin presentation is not so far over-the-top as to make this an adventure I would not want on my shelf. Probably a little more (self) editing on the author's part would have been a prudent idea.

On the other hand, the adventure is filled with an interesting series of challenges that makes the whole story flow very smoothly and is not as predicatable as some might think when an assault on a fortress is the storyline around which the tale is built.

The Bestiary is simply superb, and these creatures add enormous value to the book.

I agree with an earlier review where it was mentioned that the space on running a fortress would have been better used expanding on the nearby town of Turtleback Ferry in some way similar to Sandpoint from Pathfinder #1 Burnt Offerings.

The Pathfinder's Journal was not as compelling as the effort from Pathfinder #2, but it was still interesting and offers promise.

Overall, with the PDF that comes with my subscription, Pathfinder #3 earns 5 stars!


Solid!

4/5

Production: 5/5 - physical product is awesome with heavy-weight, glossy pages , which give the book excellent durability. The artistic style is consistent and fitting with the purpose of the adventure. The font size is slightly small, to allow for the quantity of content page limit, however reading the journal requires more focus than I'm normally used to with adventure products. PDF is very usable and allows for copy/paste for DM to create handouts/displays. I'd definitely consider this for a gift.
Mechanics: 5/5 - very minor stat-block bugs are discussed in Paizo forums. Overall though, the mechanics seem balanced and the number of mechanical issues are so low that this is probably one of the best mechanically constructed adventure products I own; the rate of problems in this one is *very* low compared with most 3.5 adventures, and those few problems that exist do not impact game flow.
Content: 3/5 - Adventure is very dark, twisted, and tough. DMs may need to tailor the adventure to the sensibilities of their group, as not all people will appreciate the level of horror and depravity in this adventure. Content was not gratuitous, but it was graphic. I think this journal missed developing the nearby town adequately

Spoiler:
given that the PCs may end up ruling the keep. A backdrop article for that village could have connected the PCs to the community, much like as was done in PF# 1. Keeping the Keep article is a little too basic for my tastes, but may be of utility to novice DMs; I would have liked something more like the "Tides of Dread" adventure in Dungeon #143 to engage the players more actively in developing the keep. Some of the flow of the events seems a little rough and disjointed after taking the keep.
The Vasaria and Journal chapters were outstanding and give great information to help long-term campaigning.
Value: 4/5 - Total value is excellent with free PDF via subscription. Overall this is in upper 30% of gaming products I own.


An excellent issue of Pathfinder

5/5

Cover: antastic, as usual. No surprises there.
Adventure itself: Very good. Grauls were amazing and fantastic at the same time(except for Mammy Graul's picture), skull's crossing was very very cool, loved the idea of branding/tattoing the citizens of the town. Wonderful stuff.
Keep article: Not super interesting, but better than I thought it would be. Learned some new stuff about different castles in Varisia, that was cool.
Gazetteer: Perfect in every way, tons of info.
Bestiary: Very very cool, especially the skull skeleton.
Journal: Best journal yet, and that's saying something.


#3 in pdf format ?


Hello,
How do you DL the 3rd issue of this excellent campaign ? I'm a French player and my team's really excited at what's to come next ;°)
Thanks
Alex


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Contributor

Yasha0006 wrote:
Mr Baron wrote:

**shudders**

I remember that X-files episode. Although, I am not sure I wanted to...truly demented.

Did Nick write that one?

No. Nick's exploits were perhaps the inspiration for it. His youthful misadventures I can only imagine were far more demented and sick compared to what he lets us see now. You see, hes in the public (by public I mean us folks here on Paizo.com, hardly a huge demographic, but hey...) eye now. He just pretends to be a slightly deviant fellow...the truth on the other hand....the basement...oh god.....

** spoiler omitted **

Ha, my youthful misadventures were very misadventurous. I can't believe I evaded jail as often I as I should not have been able to. ;-)

I just ran three Marvel Adventures back to back today, but as soon as I build up some more steam Yasha, you are most most welcome at my gaming table - any Paizoite is!


Kruelaid wrote:


I really liked that polygonal stuff. The rangers, the races of Varisia, the Thistletop merc with the huge sword in P1, and a few others. I don't find it cartoony--comic-booky, sure. Who did it?

Upon further consideration, I think "comic-booky" is a more apt description. I was incorrectly using the two terms "cartoony" and "comic-booky" interchangeably.


Nicolas Logue wrote:


Ha, my youthful misadventures were very misadventurous. I can't believe I evaded jail as often I as I should not have been able to. ;-)

I just ran three Marvel Adventures back to back today, but as soon as I build up some more steam Yasha, you are most most welcome at my gaming table - any Paizoite is!

Well should you ever find your way to the capitol city of the Govenator State let me know. That would be awesome.

Sacramento CA for those who don't know.

I appreciate the offer god sir! <--Hmm...I'm not even going to change that typo.... ^_^y


I just received Hook Mountain Massacre and the Pharoah adventure last night.

<best Homer impersonation>

"Mmm. New module smell."

Looking forward to reading them in the next few days. :-)


Varl wrote:
I just received Hook Mountain Massacre and the Pharoah adventure last night.

So did I! *squee*

Contributor

Yasha0006 wrote:
Nicolas Logue wrote:


Ha, my youthful misadventures were very misadventurous. I can't believe I evaded jail as often I as I should not have been able to. ;-)

I just ran three Marvel Adventures back to back today, but as soon as I build up some more steam Yasha, you are most most welcome at my gaming table - any Paizoite is!

Well should you ever find your way to the capitol city of the Govenator State let me know. That would be awesome.

Sacramento CA for those who don't know.

I appreciate the offer god sir! <--Hmm...I'm not even going to change that typo.... ^_^y

You never know where I'll land Yasha! I'll let you know if I'm headed out Cali-way!


JOIN US!!!

Celebrate Erik Mona Day!

Party if you love Paizo!!

Be green and ocularly challenged! You know you want to!

Can't wait to get the book btw...
Hillbilly Terror!!!
Suet!

Dark Archive

Just got my copy today. It looks great so far!


Loving every minute Nick! We depraved and sick individuals salute and applaud you.


Vic Wertz wrote:
You've always been able to pull out the map backgrounds *if* the cartographer submitted the map to us as a layered file (meaning the text is separate).

How do you pull out the backgrounds?

I seem to recall when I originally d/l Burnt Offerings, the maps were one piece. I had to reformat and re-d/l the files. When I did, they were chopped up in little pieces. I had to paste them together to make the complete map. What gives?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

CourtFool wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
You've always been able to pull out the map backgrounds *if* the cartographer submitted the map to us as a layered file (meaning the text is separate).

How do you pull out the backgrounds?

I seem to recall when I originally d/l Burnt Offerings, the maps were one piece. I had to reformat and re-d/l the files. When I did, they were chopped up in little pieces. I had to paste them together to make the complete map. What gives?

Early on, we had some issues with the process from layout to PDF. I know recent ones are correct, and images aren't split up, but we haven't had time to redo some of the earlier ones that do have that problem.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Early on, we had some issues with the process from layout to PDF. I know recent ones are correct, and images aren't split up, but we haven't had time to redo some of the earlier ones that do have that problem.

Does this go for the GameMastery PDFs as well? Also, what is "earlier".

Thanks : )

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

tdewitt274 wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Early on, we had some issues with the process from layout to PDF. I know recent ones are correct, and images aren't split up, but we haven't had time to redo some of the earlier ones that do have that problem.

Does this go for the GameMastery PDFs as well? Also, what is "earlier".

Thanks : )

Honestly, I haven't checked them, so I don't know what PDFs it does and doesn't apply to, but I think we fixed it around Pathfinder 3, and it probably didn't affect a few things before that. (I don't have the files handy.)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm just about to wrap this one up with my players. I'm curious how a particular encounter I describe in the spoiler played out with others. In the last session...

Spoiler:
...my players met the Pit Fiend trapped in the magic circle. He first tried asking them to free him, then offered to tell them how to activate the floodgates in exchange for freedom. They deduced that they needed to put a summon in the other circle on their own, but felt that whatever they put in there would not last long enough to be a real, long-term solution. So the Pit Fiend offered to put something longer lasting into the circles.

I decided beforehand that since it said in the description that the devil could still Greater Teleport, I decided that he could still use all of his powers. One of the players had a high enough Knowledge planes that he would already know something about devils in general and Pit Fiends specifically, so I told him that Devils always keep the letter of their word.

After more negotiation, Avaxiel offered to give them a wish. To my surprise though, my players did not seem to want it in the slightest. There was some joking about asking for lots of treasure or some powerful magic item, but when it finally came down to it, they agreed to dispel the circle in exchange for a promise from Avaxiel to agree to never attack them, to put two Erinyes into the circles "Strong enough to last 1,000 years," and to use the Wish to restore the Dam to the way it was when it was new, then finally to leave the plane using Greater Teleport, never to return. Their requests were so unselfish and reasonable, that I did not even bother trying to pervert the request. I also decided that the Devil was more than a little afraid of destruction in his weakened condition and was content to keep to the spirit of the request without bothering with betrayal.

During their negotiations, Avaxiel mentioned that he had been put there by a wizard named Karzoug. I was considering trying to think of some way to perhaps have him later offer some kind of reward, through a proxy, to the PCs in exchange for Karzoug's head, once word reached him that Karzoug still lived.

Anyway, sorry that was long. Anyone else offer their players a wish?


*spoilers ahead*
I am sorry to voice hard words, but just finished the module, and it probably killed my Rise of the Runelords Campaign. I am burnt out and my players got frustrated hacking through tons of always the same ogres, not seeing the point of it in relation to the Campaign. Linking of the episodes were rather illogic and without some tweeking, the glitches in the timelime would have set-up my players completely. In the end they laughed at the ridiculously overused gore and grime theme and the Blackarrows, who just seemed to have survived, because they were just not challenged before and fell to the first real threat, because of sending away half the fort on patrol regularly.
I laughed about rooms not even 30 by 30 ft which are stuffed with three large monsters, protected by a punny (for 9th lvl characters) wight, which are supposed to cast force-cage on the PCs filing in by a 5ft wide tunnel and try to escape by the very same way. And I cried about the wasted real role-playing episode (e.g. Paradise, Whitewillow and the witches) degrading the associated NPCs to yet another monster with a short speech to be slain. They seem to have been cut in order to tell unnecessary stories about the motivation and history of unimportant cannon fodder monsters (Ettin, ogre cook).
I tried my best to modify the adventure, get rid of the glitches and involve my players by interweaving their character backgrounds. As it stands I didn't succeed much. Moreover I buy adventures because I am low on time to come up with them myself. Enjoying part 1 and 2 I know that there are much better adventures in the Pathfinder AP series.
Hopefully after a break, we can give Part 4 a try or start CotCT.

Sovereign Court

Belfur wrote:
*spoilers ahead*

When you post, there is a button marked "BBCode tags you can use:" clicking on it will show you them all, including that for spoilers.

It's basically [spolier]your text here[/spolier] but with 'spoiler' spelt correctly.


Wait, wait -- I just ordered the non-mint copy of this that was for sale (at least it was yesterday), there was a problem with my payment (for some reason only the PDF got authorized, and it tried to hit my debit card twice over for the AP... so it got an 'insufficient funds' response and my buy was refused, though the money for it is still in electronic limbo), I was told to wait until 'Tuesday or Wednesday for this to clear up' and now I find out it's gone?

*Groan* So much for patience.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Eric Hinkle wrote:

Wait, wait -- I just ordered the non-mint copy of this that was for sale (at least it was yesterday), there was a problem with my payment (for some reason only the PDF got authorized, and it tried to hit my debit card twice over for the AP... so it got an 'insufficient funds' response and my buy was refused, though the money for it is still in electronic limbo), I was told to wait until 'Tuesday or Wednesday for this to clear up' and now I find out it's gone?

*Groan* So much for patience.

No worries—when you submitted you order, a copy was earmarked for you.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:

Wait, wait -- I just ordered the non-mint copy of this that was for sale (at least it was yesterday), there was a problem with my payment (for some reason only the PDF got authorized, and it tried to hit my debit card twice over for the AP... so it got an 'insufficient funds' response and my buy was refused, though the money for it is still in electronic limbo), I was told to wait until 'Tuesday or Wednesday for this to clear up' and now I find out it's gone?

*Groan* So much for patience.

No worries—when you submitted you order, a copy was earmarked for you.

Thank you for explaining that. Now I just gotta wait for the payment to clear.

BTW, about how many individual copies of the 'scratch-and-bent' Pathfinder books are there? Just one each?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Eric Hinkle wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:

Wait, wait -- I just ordered the non-mint copy of this that was for sale (at least it was yesterday), there was a problem with my payment (for some reason only the PDF got authorized, and it tried to hit my debit card twice over for the AP... so it got an 'insufficient funds' response and my buy was refused, though the money for it is still in electronic limbo), I was told to wait until 'Tuesday or Wednesday for this to clear up' and now I find out it's gone?

*Groan* So much for patience.

No worries—when you submitted you order, a copy was earmarked for you.

Thank you for explaining that. Now I just gotta wait for the payment to clear.

BTW, about how many individual copies of the 'scratch-and-bent' Pathfinder books are there? Just one each?

It varies. There were a couple of books that our printer didn't pack well, so we have lots; other books, just one or two.


The book just arrived, and only a date after my birthday. Thanks, Paizo!

BTW, considering that the books is supposed to be "damaged", it looks to be in better shape than some books I've seen being sold on the shelves in bookstores. Great job and thanks.

Though now, after reading the intro, I am wondering just what was cut to keep Nick out of jail protect our tender eyes. :D


I've managed to collect all the parts of this AP in physical copy except this particular one. I'm not a huge fan of laptops at the gaming table and I'd much rather have the physical product. Are there still physical copies of this available through Paizo?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

highpriestrsw wrote:
I've managed to collect all the parts of this AP in physical copy except this particular one. I'm not a huge fan of laptops at the gaming table and I'd much rather have the physical product. Are there still physical copies of this available through Paizo?

Nope—it's completely sold out; even the non-mint copies are gone.

Scarab Sages

highpriestrsw wrote:
I've managed to collect all the parts of this AP in physical copy except this particular one. I'm not a huge fan of laptops at the gaming table and I'd much rather have the physical product. Are there still physical copies of this available through Paizo?

It seems you can find it in ebay for about $30 right now


Is it safe to assume that any Kreeg ogres that fled Fort Rannick due to the PC's defeating Jaagrath and displaying his head for all to see (the bard scored a '40' on his Intimidate skill check, including the +15 bonus for the severed head), would head back to the Hook Mountain Clanhold? Or would they fear Barl's wrath for failing to hold the Fort?
Karly-Lop, Jolly, and Minktuck Kreeg survived along with nearly 20 ogres - that might make for quite a battle royale if the party were to meet up with the lot in the foothills leading up to the Clanhold!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

We just got done with the Graul farmstead today and I must say there were some feelings in our group that it was too over the top and possibly offensive. Is Graul more or less the peak of depravity for the AP, or should we expect even worse stuff ahead?


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Samy wrote:
We just got done with the Graul farmstead today and I must say there were some feelings in our group that it was too over the top and possibly offensive. Is Graul more or less the peak of depravity for the AP, or should we expect even worse stuff ahead?

The Grauls are the peak of depravity in the whole Pathfinder Adventure Path line, so you should be safe now. Interestingly, the adventure was actually toned down from what Nicholas Logue originally delivered...


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Samy wrote:
We just got done with the Graul farmstead today and I must say there were some feelings in our group that it was too over the top and possibly offensive. Is Graul more or less the peak of depravity for the AP, or should we expect even worse stuff ahead?

The Grauls are pretty much the peak of depravity. The editors pulled back from that edge after the Hook Horror Massacre chapter, and there's nothing quite like that in any of the other volumes or AP's afterwards. That's not to say that there isn't distrubing stuff in later AP's, just that it's not so saturated and it's usually treated more delicately.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Thanks guys. Looking forward to the upcoming stuff then.

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