Pathfinder #13—Second Darkness Chapter 1: "Shadow in the Sky" (OGL)

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Pathfinder #13—Second Darkness Chapter 1:
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Chapter 1: "Shadow in the Sky"
by Greg A. Vaughan

The elves of the Mierani Forest have been hiding something from outside eyes for hundreds of years, but now, this sinister secret has escaped. What at first seems to be a sudden uprising in unsanctioned banditry in the Riddleport hinterlands is in fact something altogether more menacing—the dark elves have come to Varisia. Yet the threat presented by the drow from below may be nothing compared to a new threat from the skies above. Can a new group of heroes save the world from the Second Darkness?

This volume of Pathfinder kicks off the third Pathfinder Adventure Path campaign—Second Darkness—and presents a detailed gazetteer of the intrigue-filled streets of Riddleport, details the Gold Goblin Gaming Hall and several of Riddleport's most popular games of chance, and presents a half dozen new monsters native to the Riddleport region. It also contains a bonus adventure that presents a typical Riddleport thieves' guild.

For characters of 1st to 3rd 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: 978-1-60125-115-2

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

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I've reviewed this book over on

Disappointing AP start


Just finished running this module for my group, and was very disappointed in it. I've ran Curse of Crimson Throne and Carrion Crown AP and this is by far the weakest first adventure of an AP. The adventure felt like just a huge sidetrack for the AP. Will be starting the 2nd adventure in this AP since I've already purchased it and hope it improves.

Disjointed and Illogical


This book is probably the worst book #1 of any AP I’ve read. As a solo adventure, Shadow is OK. Unfortunately, Shadow is book #1 of an adventure path (AP). The job of book #1 of an AP is to "set the stage" for the rest of the AP, and Shadow fails at this job miserably.

The main problem with Shadow (and the player’s guide) is that it’s disjointed from the rest of the AP. Running Shadow is like running “The Sopranos” on Golarion. Can mob campaigns be fun? Definitely! Will Riddleport, the NPCs you meet, and your base of operation (that you’ve been building) be completely irrelevant in books 2-6? Absolutely! And that’s one of the main problems.

The other problem is that the players are encouraged to start the campaign with non-good PCs and then the rest of the AP relies on the fact that the PCs are heroes that will sacrifice everything to save the world. This book basically just sets the rest of the AP up for failure.

On its own, Shadow is “OK”, but I find the encounters are rather mundane compared to other products (like Pathfinder Society Organized Play). Also, if you’re a thinking person, the storyline could be better.


When the PCs stop some thugs from robbing the casino, they’re made partners in the business, which I find very silly. If people were that gullible in Riddleport, I would hire some thugs just to become a partner in someone's successful business.

It’s even more ridiculous that five (weak) level 1 thugs would even try to rob the casino with 100+ patrons in it, all of them which are at least as tough as them. It’s insanity. In a pirate town, I’m guessing the offense for something like that would be death. I don't think most common thugs would do this.

I also thought it made no sense why the PCs boss would want to kill them. Because they're "becoming too powerful" and could take him out? The only way this would make sense would be if the PCs were evil, in which case they don't work with the rest of the AP. How about just firing them?

At one point, one of the major crime families loses six level 1 thugs to the PCs and has to spend time to replenish their "army". In a pirate town, this is unrealistic, either that or Riddleport is pathetic.

Also, I find it farfetched that Depora (a fighter) could conduct business in Riddleport. She has:
- Dark purple skin, white hair, and white eyes. She stands out, she’s a Drow.
- No Stealth skills, so that she could enter Riddleport unnoticed.
- No Disguise skill that would allow her to watch Saul. No Sense Motive skill to determine that he’d be a good candidate to manage the casino and give her all of the profits (in modern society, it's almost an impossible task to hire a good manager, let alone hiring on in a pirate town and being Drow!). No Diplomacy skill to allow her to approach the subject tactfully. Somehow she was successful at all of these things, and picked the perfect trustworthy candidate.
- No magic items that would have helped conceal her (Hat of Disguise?)
- The ability to arrange shipments to Devil’s Elbow, no questions asked (which again would be tough to manage, even if human).

I find the likelihood of Depora being successful highly unlikely. Interacting with the locals is perhaps the biggest threat to the Drow succeeding, and if it has to happen, the Drow wouldn't send a fighter.

The supporting article on Riddleport was good. The bestiary was not. The side quest was OK. With the exception of Ghoulette (which is awesome), the gambling games are forgettable.

Maybe the worst thing that can happen is that your players love Riddleport, because the PCs won’t see Riddleport, their casino, or gambling after book #1.

Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a great AP, I just think that if you’re going to run this AP, I would ignore most of Shadows in the Sky, read the support articles, and run something else in Riddleport (adventures in Riddleport while investigating "the blot"), and then run books 2-6. You could also run a mini-campaign with books #1-3. Second Darkness is a good AP as long as you don't mix book #1 with #3-6.

Portuguese - Br


Devo admitir que eu esperava menos de Shadow in the Sky, a aventura e seus artigos relacionados são muitos bons e tem ótimas ideias. Apenas faltou um pouco mais de edição para faze-los funcionar melhor juntos, o que acaba tornando-a uma aventura inicial mais fraca que suas antecessoras. Contudo, bons mestres que não tenham problemas em alterar ou criar material original podem torna-la uma aventura excepcional pois seu nível de intriga e dramaticidade é muito alto. O que é uma pena, porque até agora essa é a aventura mais adequada a anti-heróis ou heróis pouco ortodoxos (até que Skull and Shackles seja lançada no começo de 2012).

Great Start to a Huge Plot


This opening chapter really hit the mark on establishing the plot hook for a storyline that really has kept the PCs focused through the subsequent chapters. It couldn't have had a better climax.

The background for Riddleport was terrific for allowing the PC's to feel engaged during the sandbox aspects of the AP. And the Gold Goblin made for a great home base.

All and all, this really set the tone for what has been a blast of a campaign.

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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I wouldn't hold my breath.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It would be interesting to see this AP redone as a Starfinder AP, actually.

Scarab Sages

Cthulhudrew wrote:
It would be interesting to see this AP redone as a Starfinder AP, actually.

I haven't played this AP nor read any of the starfinder materiel yet still waiting on orders so I wouldn't know how it work. Thoug how easy some of the conversions seem I can't see it being overly difficult.

Zaister wrote:
I wouldn't hold my breath.

The rise of the runelords and curse of crimson throne but came out in recent years so maybe a year or two for this one?

I would like to see some kind of roadmap has for these products as they are dated and people have grievances about sections so if they can be tidied up and refined then i think thats going to be a win for Paizo and the consumers

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Phoenix1990 wrote:
The rise of the runelords and curse of crimson throne but came out in recent years so maybe a year or two for this one?

Look at the dates the originals were published and when the Hardcovers were published. It'll be a lot longer than a year or two. A lot.

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Also, the original Runelords and Crimson Thrones volumes were mostly sold out at the time they made the hardcovers. Second Darkness, however still fills up the warehouse and continues to do so even though the prices of all issues were reduced by 75%.

Not to mention many say you'd have to completely re-write the AP to make it more...playable.

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