Pathfinder #10—Curse of the Crimson Throne Chapter 4: "A History of Ashes" (OGL)

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Pathfinder #10—Curse of the Crimson Throne Chapter 4:
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Chapter 10: "A History of Ashes"
by Michael Kortes

Forced to flee the city of Korvosa and pursued by sinister agents of Queen Ileosa, the heroes travel to the Cinderlands to seek out advice on how to defeat the ancient evil that has claimed their queen’s mind. Few living today know the truth behind this evil—and those who do are among the Shoanti barbarian tribes preparing to invade Korvosa. The PCs must earn the trust of three tribes in order to realize their goals and save Korvosa from a brutal war.

This volume of Pathfinder also features an in-depth exploration of the Shoanti barbarian way of life, an exploration of the harsh badlands known as the Cinderlands, and six new monsters native to these lands.

For characters of 10th to 12th level.

Pathfinder is Paizo Publishing's 96-page, perfect-bound, full-color softcover Adventure Path book printed on high-quality paper that releases in a monthly volume. Each volume is brought to you by the same staff which brought you Dragon and Dungeon magazines for over five years. It contains an in-depth Adventure Path scenario, stats for about a half-dozen new monsters, and several support articles meant to give Game Masters additional material to expand their campaign. Because Pathfinder uses the Open Game License, it is 100% compatible with the world's most popular fantasy roleplaying game.

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-093-3

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

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A History of Ashes Review

*****

Warning: This review contains spoilers
Written from a GMs perspective
I ran this for 7 PCs
I ran the Pathfinder re-released version

In A History of Ashes feels like a critical turning point in the Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure path where enemies and objectives start to become clear and the PCs begin to truly march toward their ultimate goal. This turning point is handled superbly in one of the best written chapters of the adventure.
Pros:
The world building and character development continue to be great. The Cinderlands and the Shoanti characters are well developed and make for an great change of pace from the overall urban focus of the campaign. This transition happens quite naturally and didn't take away from the overall tone of the campaign. Also, despite the PCs being far away from the main problem, the writers did a great job making the main threat still feel present. The progression of Korvosa into martial law is laid out in great detail, so players are able to see that the situation is growing increasingly dire in their absense. Assassination attempts are a clear indication that their actions are not being ignored and that they pose a true threat to the queen. Most importantly, this book feels like a turning point in the adventure where the players are starting to get key information about what is truly happening. This means that they finally get to do missions that are directly related towards defeating the Queen, instead of just putting out the fires caused by her despotic reign.

In addition to a well formed plot and setting, the overall design of the adventure was pretty close to perfect. The game moved at a good pace, with no single section feeling overly drawn out. Combats were well balanced and appropriately challenging. There were tons of opportunity for good roleplaying, between winning the favor of the Shoanti, dealing with an antagonistic potential ally in the form of Krojun and the reveal of the grim revelation of how the Gray Maidens are recruited and trained. The discovery of Cinnabar's incredibly tragic backstory was an especially memorable moment for the players, who had previously had less sympathy for the Red Mantis assassins than any other group. There were also a lot of combat situations that were made more interesting by some unique additions. The fear of making too much noise and awakening the Havero and the having recreating the Shoanti legend by getting eaten by by a giant worm made for especially memorable encounters.

Cons:
One small complaint I had regarding this book is that it very exposition heavy, especially in the beginning. There is a huge information dump given by Neolandus, followed by more plot important information given by Thousand Bones. Then at the end of the book the players are given even more information by the Sun Shaman and Zellara. This is all good plot building, but can be a bit much to throw at the PCs at once. As a GM I am always a bit wary when I find myself talking for extended periods of time without much opportunity for player input. However, this isn't too much of an issue. The GM just need to be willing to reiterate information later on, in case it wasn't all taken in the first time and be careful during long monologues that they are not losing the table's interest. Some of the long cut scenes can easily be condensed if they are not your groups thing.

I did also notice that the combats are rather back loaded in this adventure, Combat is fairly sparse in the earlier sections and very heavy in the last act. However, in actual game play this did not feel as noticeable as I thought it would be. There was enough intrigue and action in the earlier parts to ensure that dice were being rolled each session and the the last act, while dangerous, was not overwhelming.

Conclusion:
Despite a few minor observations that amount to little more than nitpicks and can be easily dealt with, this was a fantastic entry in the Curse of the Crimson throne. It may actually be my favorite chapter of the adventure path to this point.


Refreshing

*****

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. :)


Portuguese - Br

****( )

A edição tem vários problemas. Sejam eles editoriais, conceituais ou de trama. Apenas a arte se salva 100%. Isso leva a supor que a aventura foi feita as pressas (um problema compartilhado com o conteporaneo Guide to Darkmoon Vale), mas mesmo assim a qualidade que o autor dá a seu texto consegue remediar boa parte dos problemas. Embora eu fique curioso no que mais tempo de desenvolvimento poderiam ter feito pela aventura, pessoalmente eu gostei e acho que não prejudica a qualidade total da campanha. Mestres interessados em conflitos entre duas culturas tem muito a aprender com essa aventura.


Fun Adventure

*****

My players and I had a lot of fun going through this adventure. I dare to say that it was our favorite adventure out of the Curse of the Crimson throne AP. The Shoanti tribes made for some enjoyable role playing at the table and it was of great relief to break free from the city to venture into the world to gather knowledge about the foe that is to be faced. One of the best out of the series.


Outstanding

*****

This module plays as well as it reads. And that's a good thing because reading it was a real treat.

The Shoanti are one of the most interesting cultures in the Pathfinder setting. And what's really great is that this module "shows" the players what they're all about through direct experience rather than "telling" them through dry exposition. The quests are varied and highly imaginative too. My players enjoyed playing as much as I enjoyed running it.

So far, this is my favorite installment of the AP series. And that's really saying something because it's got some pretty stiff competition.


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Dark Archive

This issues says it is available in May, I guess Paizo is getting caught up on Pathfinder

Dark Archive Contributor

David Wickham wrote:
This issues says it is available in May, I guess Paizo is getting caught up on Pathfinder

Looks like its going to be an early June Release. I'm going to talk to Vic about getting that changed.

*harumphs*

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Jacob Burgess wrote:
Looks like its going to be an early June Release. I'm going to talk to Vic about getting that changed.

We haven't yet got a date from the printer, but my best guess says it will reach our warehouse in late May, which puts it in stores in early June.


I'm *really* curious to see what the issue has in store for the Shoanti!


Verik Wolf wrote:
I'm *really* curious to see what the issue has in store for the Shoanti!

Ya!

I know I'm biased, but Tuesday's Shoanti blog has me super stoked. Great art too. Me thinks I've finally found the right avatar picture. . .

It'll be great to get out of the city. Maybe do a little light jogging through hell. Perhaps kill something before breakfast, wrap up the morning with an espresso of pain.

-Ask (who is apparently a Yuppie Shoanti today)


Pardon my ignorance but there's a shoanti blog?


Verik Wolf wrote:
Pardon my ignorance but there's a shoanti blog?

Well I assume there must be dozens! What else does one blog about?

Just kidding - my bad. I should have said Paizo's Tuesday's blog ("People of the Cinderlands"). A blog which I concede might possibly reference topics other than Shoanti.

Scarab Sages

*fidgets* is it out yet? Is it out yet?
Sorry don't mind me, I know it 'aint going to be available for a couple of weeks yet, but damn, between the sneak peaks on the blog (The Cinderlander and Thousand Bones for the win!) The promise of Shoanti getting some loving and the fact that it's written by the same insane genius that produced Entombed With The Pharoahs, anyone else bouncing off the walls with anticipation?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Do we have a more specific eta yet? I'm trying to work out of a pretty tight budget for the next 30 days or so and a week or more notice would be nice. :)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Wicht wrote:


Do we have a more specific eta yet? I'm trying to work out of a pretty tight budget for the next 30 days or so and a week or more notice would be nice. :)

We're currently expecting it to arrive in the second week of June.

By the way, have you seen our fancy new Product Schedule page?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
By the way, have you seen our fancy new Product Schedule page?

I have now. :)


Will it really be June? :(

Or perhaps late May? :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Has there been an update on when this will be shipping?

Edit: That was odd. I didn't see the previous posts, but when I added a message, it posted here. Anyway, now I see the release schedule. I'm looking forward to the new chapter.


Mid-June is fast approaching. Can't wait to see this issue!

Any word on an official date yet?

Scarab Sages

Pop'N'Fresh wrote:

Mid-June is fast approaching. Can't wait to see this issue!

Any word on an official date yet?

The email about changes to shipping costs last week said that History of Ashes is expected to start shipping some time this week, so hopefully it was accurate *crosses fingers*


Yeah, I just got the email now that says my order is ready for shipping! Soon I shall have the PDF in my clutches.....soon....my precious.


Horrors! My subscription states the print version is expected for July.

I could be suffering withdrawal symptoms by then.

Scarab Sages

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

Mine too... I am bummed. I am probably going to start this path later this month and the more I can read before I start the better.

Dark Archive

Mine still say in June.

Scarab Sages

In my preorders and subscription it says July, but it says June here and I've also just got the "Shipping within the next week we'll be taking the money out of your account soon" email. So June or July? Please say June, I need my fix :(


In my sidecart it shows July (NOOOOOOOO!!!!), but the product still says June.... here's hoping for June, since I am still missing the Gazetteer from the last shipment. Reading a PDF just ain't the same as a book.

Is Yahoo blocking Paizo mail again? I haven't gotten a "shipping soon" email yet.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I got the pre-ping email notification. It should be shipping soon!

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

please get here soon - may was so barren...

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

DitheringFool wrote:
please get here soon - may was so barren...

We were hoping it would arrive today, but it will apparently be Thursday or Friday. (If it's late Friday, that means we won't begin fulfillment until Monday.)

Dark Archive

Vic Wertz wrote:
DitheringFool wrote:
please get here soon - may was so barren...
We were hoping it would arrive today, but it will apparently be Thursday or Friday. (If it's late Friday, that means we won't begin fulfillment until Monday.)

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol.

I was hoping at least the pdf would be here by fathers day. Fortunately I have Crucible of Chaos and another complete encounter pack already on the way that should be here by then. Hopefully they will get there Thursday.

Dark Archive

Am I the only one that because of the font thought the cover said, "A History of Fishes?" : )


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Why are there two threads for this product? :)


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's too full of awesome for just one thread.

Dark Archive

im too good for that other thread ;)

Paizo Employee Senior Software Developer

Zaister wrote:
Why are there two threads for this product? :)

That's a good question!

Dark Archive

obviously...

David Wickham wrote:
im too good for that other thread ;)

or maybe the program thinks there are two #10 and one comes next month?

Dark Archive

David Wickham wrote:
or maybe the program thinks there are two #10 and one comes next month?

Or maybe it's the same reason some people have this in shipping, and some have it in the side-cart waiting for itself?

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Nevynxxx wrote:
David Wickham wrote:
or maybe the program thinks there are two #10 and one comes next month?
Or maybe it's the same reason some people have this in shipping, and some have it in the side-cart waiting for itself?

There are two #10 threads...

Hmm...

Anyway..Eric Boyd (!!) co-author of the Shoanti article!

Michael(Entombed with the Pharaohs)Kortes on the adventure and w/ the article...

Spoiler:
Sandworms!!

This issue is going to rock!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Gary Teter wrote:
Zaister wrote:
Why are there two threads for this product? :)
That's a good question!

We've talked about this, but it hasn't made it to the top of Gary's to-do list yet. There are actually potentially three threads for most of our products—one for the print edition, one for the PDF, and one for the "parent product," which is sort of an overview that lets you add either of the "children" to your cart.

In the future, Gary's supposed to make sure that, regardless of which version of the product you're looking at, comments go only to the parent.

Don't you love how everything that seems simple is really complicated?


Still pending and no PDF yet.........please arrive today, it's Friday! I need something good to end my week on!

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