Pathfinder #18—Second Darkness Chapter 6: "Descent into Midnight" (OGL)

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Chapter 6: "Descent into Midnight"
by Brian Cortijo

The Second Darkness Adventure Path comes to its explosive conclusion as the heroes travel into a forgotten world hidden deep underground—the Land of Black Blood. There, they must contend with the region's monstrous guardians and defeat the drow who would use ancient magic to call down a star from the sky to destroy their enemies on the world above.

This volume of Pathfinder also includes a gazetteer of the deadly Land of Black Blood, an exploration of the demon lords of Golarion, a bonus adventure set in the deepest reaches of the underground world, and several new monsters from these dark depths.

For characters of 14th to 16th 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 3.5 edition of the world's most popular fantasy roleplaying game.

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-131-2

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

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Portuguese - Br

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A aventura em si acabou sendo um pouco fraca, embora tenha seus bons momentos, felizmente os artigos suplementares conseguem realmente salvar o somatório da edição ampliando em muito os possíveis plot utilizados na aventura. Se você encarar com uma caixa de ferramentas para construir um grande final da campanha Second Darkness você poderá se surpreender com o resultado, mas se seu interesse são apenas aventuras prontas para uso imediato sem ter trabalho algum, você encontrará uma trama mediana com um final anti-climax porem divertido. Como um livro isolado funciona muito bem como aventura de nível alto, mas os artigos já receberam novas versões superiores e não justificam a compra dessa edição.


And Finally, an Earth Shattering Climax! DESCENT INTO MIDNIGHT


My favorite adventure path, featuring my favorite villain, the Drow, thunders to a climatic close! Will the heroes emerge victorious? It's a toss of the dice. See my full review: Descent into Darkness


Liberty's Edge

I'm looking forward to seeing Golarion's set of demon lords.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've just updated the cover and the author credit for this volume.


Nice looking cover particularly the final drow. Would I be right in guessing that the Drow on the cover is Allevrah?

Looking forward to this one already particularly the Demon lords article but the whole thing looks quality. The vaults sound like such a cool idea.

Contributor

Cheddar Bearer wrote:
Nice looking cover particularly the final drow. Would I be right in guessing that the Drow on the cover is Allevrah?

Yep. That's Allevrah. Rawr!

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Brian Cortijo wrote:
Cheddar Bearer wrote:
Nice looking cover particularly the final drow. Would I be right in guessing that the Drow on the cover is Allevrah?
Yep. That's Allevrah. Rawr!

Congratulations, Brian on your first Pathfinder cover credit! I can't wait to read this one and maybe even run it someday. Here's to many more!

Contributor

yoda8myhead wrote:
Congratulations, Brian on your first Pathfinder cover credit! I can't wait to read this one and maybe even run it someday. Here's to many more!

Thank you, sir. I certainly hope that everyone reads it, enjoys it, and asks Paizo for many more. ;)

Not too many more, though. I do need to sleep once or twice a week.

Dark Archive

"the heroes travel into a forgotten world hidden deep underground—the Land of Black Blood."

Ah, the source of 'Black Blood of the Earth!'

Contributor

Set wrote:

"the heroes travel into a forgotten world hidden deep underground—the Land of Black Blood."

Ah, the source of 'Black Blood of the Earth!'

Indeed. Thank you for enlightening us, Egg Shen.


Info on demon lords? Yet another must-buy!


Wow; the covers just keep getting better!

Dark Archive

Ooh, that's gotta be a Tentacle Rod she's holding, too!


As someone who was up to his eyeballs in Politics during the "Acension of the Drow" at GenCon, did the Queen get her due mention in the AP somewhere?

who is Allevrah? but if spoilerific, do not post...i have not read them as i hope to play in it...


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Any news on a shipping date for this one.. we're all threw with #17 already (kidding). Actually I just want to know when my Second Darkness Item Card deck will ship (with this) :)


Hey there Brian if you are still around.

Just a question I have for you: How long did the cover take you to do?

Cheers

:)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Majuba wrote:
Any news on a shipping date for this one.. we're all threw with #17 already (kidding). Actually I just want to know when my Second Darkness Item Card deck will ship (with this) :)

We're currently hoping we'll have it to begin shipping around the 20th.

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

The 20th would be a good date!

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Glennis Murphy wrote:

Hey there Brian if you are still around.

Just a question I have for you: How long did the cover take you to do?

Cheers

:)

I don't think Brian spent much time on the cover at all. Steve Prescott, on the other hand, obviously spent a significant amount of time on it, given its high quality.

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
yoda8myhead wrote:
Glennis Murphy wrote:

Hey there Brian if you are still around.

Just a question I have for you: How long did the cover take you to do?

Cheers

:)

I don't think Brian spent much time on the cover at all. Steve Prescott, on the other hand, obviously spent a significant amount of time on it, given its high quality.

The 'cover credit' talked about earlier in this thread means that he wrote the main article (or in pathfinder's case adventure) in the book, which means his name is on the cover of the book.


yoda8myhead wrote:
Glennis Murphy wrote:

Hey there Brian if you are still around.

Just a question I have for you: How long did the cover take you to do?

Cheers

:)

I don't think Brian spent much time on the cover at all. Steve Prescott, on the other hand, obviously spent a significant amount of time on it, given its high quality.

Whoops.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Cheddar Bearer wrote:
Nice looking cover particularly the final drow. Would I be right in guessing that the Drow on the cover is Allevrah?

Who? :)

Spoiler:
Remember your spoiler tags

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I am having trouble downloading the file. Is anyone else having trouble?

The 1 chapter/file downloads fine, but the single file PDF is not downloading for me.

Late edit: Fixed now.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Mr Baron wrote:

I am having trouble downloading the file. Is anyone else having trouble?

The 1 chapter/file downloads fine, but the single file PDF is not downloading for me.

Fixed! Sorry about that.

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Mr Baron wrote:

I am having trouble downloading the file. Is anyone else having trouble?

The 1 chapter/file downloads fine, but the single file PDF is not downloading for me.

Fixed! Sorry about that.

Thanks! It downloaded fine now.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

When you purchase the print copy of any adventure path do you also get the PDF? I'm considering purchasing the print copy of #13 through #18 but the PDF's are helpful to have when I'm DMing whereas I spend more time reading the hard copy in preparation for the weekly game.

I know it says if you subscribe to the adventure path you get both, which means I could get both the print edition and the PDF for #18, but what about the previous issues?

If anyone can reply, I would appreciate it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Class Deck, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Glimras wrote:

When you purchase the print copy of any adventure path do you also get the PDF? I'm considering purchasing the print copy of #13 through #18 but the PDF's are helpful to have when I'm DMing whereas I spend more time reading the hard copy in preparation for the weekly game.

I know it says if you subscribe to the adventure path you get both, which means I could get both the print edition and the PDF for #18, but what about the previous issues?

If anyone can reply, I would appreciate it.

Only subscribers get the PDF for free with the print copy. If you're going back and buying after they've come out, you have to buy each separately.

When you subscribe, you get the choice of starting your subscription with the last issue to ship or the next issue to ship. Since they're just about to ship #18 to subscribers this week, if you hurry, you might still be able to start your subscription with #17 and get the PDFs of the last two...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Once you've become a subscriber though, can you get the print edition, the PDF, or both at 15% off?

Glimras

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Glimras wrote:

Once you've become a subscriber though, can you get the print edition, the PDF, or both at 15% off?

Glimras

Yes—the Pathfinder Advantage discount will apply to both!

-Vic.
.

Dark Archive

So, I just got this yesterday and noted two minor quibbles on the cursory review;

P 33, Klirikit is described in the text as being an Adept and using curative spells, providing fresh water, etc. Then she's given a one-line description that doesn't include any of that.

P 34, Something about Orrn doing something with potions is mentioned in the descriptive text (vagued up slightly to avoid spoilers), but doesn't actually have any potions in the stat block, nor any mention of using said potions in his combat options.

Other thoughts are still percolating in my brain, so I'll avoid comment until they are done brewing.


Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

I just want to say that I read through the section, "Demon Lords of Golarion" today. 'Someone' has really outdone himself. This is the best flavor/mythos I've read on demons, with a logic and imaginative integration that is really satisfying. Saaaaa-lute. (The author, not the demons.)

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I was a bit disappointed with the Second Darkness as a whole. In Pathfinder 18 specifically, we didn't get a stat block for Alistraria. We get this awesome picture, but just some vague information about her having some rogue levels and being too tough for the party. I would have liked a full write up. We have references to some things like Set pointed out without those thing being fleshed out in the actual adventure.

I don't normally like complaining about the Pathfinder products because they rock so much, but it is starting to feel like the AP's are getting more skeletal to me with details that would make the adventure better being left out in the name of adding the set pieces, more flavor articles, and the fiction. During the Rise of the Runelords and even the Curse of the Crimson throne, they felt like Adventure Paths. The Second Darkness too often felt like a bunch of encounters thrown together and stripped down to only the bare minimums instead of a true AP. I understand the appeal of adding as many different sorts of things to the Pathfinder volumes as possible to appeal to the broadest audience and would keep the bestiaries and the adventures, but I find that for a product I buy for the AP that too much of the AP is being sacrificed for other things.

I feel dirty for having said all that, because you guys do such a phenominal job. That said, I am not particularly happy with the direction the AP's have been taking with format and content of late. I probably just need to have a more panoramic view of things. I hope you see this as constructive criticism instead of just sour grapes.

Shadow Lodge

Honestly, I quite enjoyed reading through this AP, and so far, in my group's play-through, it's proven to have just as much depth as the previous two APs. I loved the articles on Golarion's solar system, and on the demon-lords, and definitely will love to get to the end of this adventure path with my group. Great job :)

Sovereign Court

Set wrote:

So, I just got this yesterday and noted two minor quibbles on the cursory review;

P 33, Klirikit is described in the text as being an Adept and using curative spells, providing fresh water, etc. Then she's given a one-line description that doesn't include any of that.

P 34, Something about Orrn doing something with potions is mentioned in the descriptive text (vagued up slightly to avoid spoilers), but doesn't actually have any potions in the stat block, nor any mention of using said potions in his combat options.

Other thoughts are still percolating in my brain, so I'll avoid comment until they are done brewing.

Answered (in response to your questions in this thread) here in the GM Reference thread.

For myself, I am somewhat disturbed by the consequences of the players failing to complete their mission...

Sovereign Court

Brent wrote:

In Pathfinder 18 specifically, we didn't get a stat block for Alistraria. We get this awesome picture, but just some vague information about her having some rogue levels and being too tough for the party. I would have liked a full write up. We have references to some things like Set pointed out without those thing being fleshed out in the actual adventure.

I normally like stat blocks for Gods, even, let alone merely powerful enemies, but as this is an adventure and space is limited and Alistraria was not meant, in the adventure design, to be fought and will in fact ensure that she can't be fought, it seemed like a fair omission to me.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Brent wrote:
I was a bit disappointed with the Second Darkness as a whole...

No worries; we don't expect every Adventure Path to be equally loved by every customer (as much as I try to make that be the case). That's a big reason why we're doing two a year, so that if one doesn't work you won't have to wait a year.

As for Alistraria's missing stat block... it would have taken up about a page and would have been a TPK machine if she enters combat. Instead, we just gave the roughest details about her and set her up as a possible villain for an epic level game... otherwise we would have had to cut a page of content from the issue for a stat block that wouldn't have been an appropriate challenge in the first place. If you DO want your PCs to fight her in the adventure, I suggest using just a plain old vanilla marilith... although at CR 17, she might be a bit rough for the PCs to handle if they stumble into her swords too soon after the climactic battle a few rooms back.

Anyway... I hear your complaints, and for what it's worth, I agree. Second Darkness tried to be too much at a time where we were ramping back on the room available for adventures. With Legacy of Fire, we're trying to focus more on the adventures themselves. Hopefully this will alleviate folks' complaints that the adventures feel too short or rushed.

Liberty's Edge

I liked this AP because there was so much story. Nonetheless, I was curious to see Ali's full stats, as well. Maybe we could access this kind of stuff as web enhancements in the future. Personally, I hope the amount of Pathfinder fluff increases over time. Good fluff and artwork attracts new players --and keeps sad, playerless blokes like me :-(

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Andrew Turner wrote:
I liked this AP because there was so much story. Nonetheless, I was curious to see Ali's full stats, as well. Maybe we could access this kind of stuff as web enhancements in the future. Personally, I hope the amount of Pathfinder fluff increases over time. Good fluff and artwork attracts new players.

A web enhancement of this nature won't happen—web enhancements are just as difficult to produce as print products, and we don't have the resources to produce much more content beyond what we print already.

That said, if anyone here wants to stat up a high-level marilith... I'd love to see it! :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Andrew Turner wrote:
I liked this AP because there was so much story. Nonetheless, I was curious to see Ali's full stats, as well. Maybe we could access this kind of stuff as web enhancements in the future. Personally, I hope the amount of Pathfinder fluff increases over time. Good fluff and artwork attracts new players.

A web enhancement of this nature won't happen—web enhancements are just as difficult to produce as print products, and we don't have the resources to produce much more content beyond what we print already.

That said, if anyone here wants to stat up a high-level marilith... I'd love to see it! :)

So what level would she be I would be more then happy to do it

Dark Archive

Andrew Turner wrote:
keeps sad, playerless blokes like me :-(

Andrew, run a play by post ? Sign me up : )

Joey please post on this thread.

Dark Archive

Joey Virtue wrote:


So what level would she be I would be more then happy to do it

Spoiler:
12th level rogue
Dark Archive

Andrew Turner wrote:
I liked this AP because there was so much story. Nonetheless, I was curious to see Ali's full stats, as well. Maybe we could access this kind of stuff as web enhancements in the future. Personally, I hope the amount of Pathfinder fluff increases over time. Good fluff and artwork attracts new players --and keeps sad, playerless blokes like me :-(

I completely agree with loving the Pathfinder fluff. I just prefer the AP Volumes to be adventure path and crunch heavy. I subscribe to the chronicles, modules, and companion lines and if they want to put more fluff into pretty much any of them I am totally on board. For the AP, I DO want them to have awesomeness in places other than the adventure....It's just that I want the PRIMARY focus to be the adventure. So if there is a decision of cutting some of the fluff to make the adventure fleshed out better, I prefer they flesh out the adventure.

That said, JJ's comments work for me and I look forward to seeing what incredible awesomeness they have for us in the Legacy of Fire. I totally believe in the guys at Paizo and I wouldn't be a superscriber in such a difficult economic time if I didn't. I loves me some fluff too, so I think we feel the same way. They have set a really high bar on this AP thing, so I expect their absolute best in those AP's. I feel confident they are giving me that, and JJ's comment lets me know he has heard my few criticisms. Consider me satisfied once again with how Paizo puts the customer first.


If it can be revealed without violating any copyrights... just what does the book have about the demon lords? I'm especially curious about the one who rules werewolves.


Yeesh, hasn't anyone reviewed this book yet? How long has it been out now?

It look like I'm going to have to order a copy just so I can say something about it here on the site!


Why do all Pathfinder-Adventure-Paths end at level 16? Is it because of the slow-down in game play once characters reach very high levels?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Tim Bürgers wrote:
Why do all Pathfinder-Adventure-Paths end at level 16? Is it because of the slow-down in game play once characters reach very high levels?

Yes, that´s basically the reason why. At high levels, combat gets very complex, and stat blocks eat up a lot of space. Designing adequate challenges also does not get easier, although I trust paizo to be able to pull it off.

Stefan

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.

That's only part of the reason. We also end them at 15th/16th level because:
We don't have room to do them.
We don't have time to do them.
Relatively few people want them (or want to write them).

Expanded discussion on these three points behind the spoiler (it's a sorta long discussion... hence the spoiler to compress this post's space.)

Spoiler:

1) We want to be able to offer 2 adventure paths a year, and that doesn't leave us room to do 1st to 20th level adventures. Above 15th level or so, adventures get progressively larger, partially because the stat blocks are more numerous (with barely any monsters in the SRD of CR 15 or higher, we're forced to print full stat blocks) and the stat blocks tend to be longer.

2) We have to keep on a monthly schedule. Designing a high level adventure requires different adventures than low level adventures, and having seen hundreds and hundreds of adventures, I can tell you that there just aren't that many people who can design solid high level adventures (partially because low and mid level adventures are VASTLY preferred... see #3 below, and partially because in order to be a good high level adventure designer you have to have had run lots of high level adventures to know the traps, and there's just not as many designers who fit that category). Designing high level adventures is tough because character options limit the choices of classical adventure plots like dungeon crawls, murder mysteries, and the like; you have to account for a lot of PC actions that you don't at lower level, such as resurrection and teleport and gate and other things. Of course, high level play opens up NEW adventure possibilities, but for designers more familiar and rooted in lower and mid level design, those options aren't as obvious. All this boils down to what I started this point with: We have to stick to our monthly schedule. Developing and editing a low or mid level adventure is tough to do in a month, and when you have an author who makes a lot of errors, it takes a lot longer... especially if those errors are significant enough to create fundamental flaws in the adventure that require a partial or even total rewrite. Sometimes these flaws are so subtle that they don't show up until the last minute, at which time we don't have time to bring the author back in; we have to rewrite things ourselves. And since high level adventures are so much tougher to write, those kinds of errors are more common in high level adventures, and you combine that with the simple fact that high level stat blocks and rules just take more time to develop and edit because of their nature, and suddenly you have adventures that simply Cannot Be Finished on a monthly schedule.

3) Although it sometimes feels like there are calls for high level adventures all over... the actual reality is that they're just not as popular as low or mid level adventures. I'd have to guess, based solely on 5 years of looking at unsolicited adventures in the Dungeon Magazine slush pile, 7th level's the most popular level. One of the reasons our Dungeon Magazine APs spent half a year on high level adventures is because that was a way for us to mask the fact that we got relatively few high level submissions in from authors. (And as for point 2 above... the dungeon adventures were much shorter than Pathfinder's, and we were doing a LOT less in those days, and as such the high level adventures were more manageable on a monthly basis).

That all said, I suspect that some day we'll tackle a higher level adventure in Pathfinder. It's just not going to be soon.


Wow... thanks a lot for these new insights! Since my first question worked that well, I´d like to ask another one:
Which Adventure Path will be the first to make use of your 3.75-rules ? Is it Council of Thieves?


Yes, they are announcing Council of Thieves as the first AP to use the Pathfinder RPG Rules.

Just my 2 cp.

Contributor

Tim Bürgers wrote:

Wow... thanks a lot for these new insights! Since my first question worked that well, I´d like to ask another one:

Which Adventure Path will be the first to make use of your 3.75-rules ? Is it Council of Thieves?

Council of Thieves will be the first AP to use the PFRPG rules. The Pathfinder rules and Bastards of Erebus are both set to release in August (oh, happy Gen Con for Pathfinder fans!), and after that, we should probably expect all releases to use the PF rules exclusively.

Now, about that Descent into Midnight...

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