Pathfinder Adventure Path #28: The Infernal Syndrome (Council of Thieves 4 of 6) (PFRPG)

***( )( ) (based on 3 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #28: The Infernal Syndrome (Council of Thieves 4 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Chapter 4: "The Infernal Syndrome"
by Clinton Boomer and James Jacobs

All Hell Breaks Loose

In the bowels of one of Westcrown’s most esteemed halls of power lies an unfathomable evil, a terror beyond all reason and sanity, shackled and broken by the magic of a lost archmage. For years this menace has laid fuming, endlessly testing the bars of its prison, gathering its hatred and planning its revenge. Now the machinations of a deadly conspiracy have weakened the chains of this nightmare’s bonds, and in their growing cracks rise the flames of the damned and the promise of Westcrown consumed in hellfire. Can the PCs infiltrate the labyrinth of a madman to put an end to an evil beyond even the heroes of legend? And what foulness would seek to ruin all of Westcrown by gambling with its very soul?

    This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path continues the Council of Thieves Adventure Path, and includes:
  • “The Infernal Syndrome,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 7th-level characters, by Clinton Boomer and James Jacobs
  • The citadels and secrets of the Hellknights, Cheliax’s iron-shod inquisitors, by F. Wesley Schneider
  • Insights into the soul-shaking world of fiendish possessions, by Adam Daigle
  • Murder and mystery for Pathfinder Varian Jeggare in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Dave Gross
  • Five new monsters, by F. Wesley Schneider and Hank Woon

A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure for characters of 7th to 9th level. The Council of Thieves Adventure Path is the first to take full advantage of the new Pathfinder Roleplaying Game rules, and works with both the Pathfinder RPG and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set.

Pathfinder Adventure Path is Paizo Publishing's monthly 96-page, perfect-bound, full-color softcover book printed on high-quality paper. 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. Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes use the Open Game License and work with both the Pathfinder RPG and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set.

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-198-5

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

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***( )( ) (based on 3 ratings)

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Some neat ideas but it needs fixing

**( )( )( )

The premise of this adventure is straightforward. The energy source of major Arvanxi's mansion is an imprisoned pit fiend. An accident in the power plant's engine collapsed the whole building and might allow the demon to break loose. The PCs need to enter the dungeon below the ruins of the mansion and make sure the danger is contained.

I believe the intention of the authors was to create an atmosphere similar to an old nuclear plant about to explode. The module is hit and miss for me. Even though the idea is not terrible, the execution seems a bit rushed. The dungeon map doesn't quite make sense for a nuclear-ish plant and the motivations are sloppy to say the least. This one didn't quite make it for my taste.

Overall, a pretty average module. I wouldn't run it as is but I'd pick up a few ideas to add to my own campaign or enhance another one. The idea of the nuclear plant about to explode is really neat, though, so fixing the adventure is very tempting. The most obvious fix would be to get rid of the videogame section in-between the energy plant section and the final room. If you do this, you shorten the module for sure but then if you let the PCs start at a higher level, you can time it so that they fight the pit fiend with the right level. This might be a good place to put a mythic tier in your campaign, for instance. In any case, you probably will need to fix the motivation part of the adventure. As written, it's extremely weak.

My rating: 2 stars. I like the idea but the execution is lacking. This is one to skip.

Read my whole review here


Super-dungeon, with all the pros and cons that entails...

****( )

Not a well-rounded adventure. Admittedly, it was an epic dungeon with some very fun elements, but the flow of the book was a little awkward and there wasn't much room for decision-making. Also, there is no way to do the whole thing without resting, and given that the whole point of the adventure is the ticking-clock, it was awkward for the players to have to sit and wait 8-hours or leave mid-action to replenish their resources and continue.

That having been said, it was fun because the encounters were memorable. The cinematic beginning to the book was also one of my favorite Council moments. Play it up for drama, because it's worth it!


One long dungeon

***( )( )

This adventure path proved quite all right and I had a fun time GMing it, and my players also liked it. We did however find some areas of the path that was annoying.

1) The side quests are lacking. They are presented as something that happens after the main plot starts, but my players went straight to the dungeon so the side quests seemed quite strange to include as no one presented them with these quests. This could be done much better than I did it, and I find that a way should have been included in the adventure path.

2) The entire adventure is based on one place, so it feels like one long dungeon, something that can be good if done right. You need some exploration, some social encounters and some awesome fights along with some good resting opportunities. While it is not without these, there is little exploring and far too many of the encounters cannot be avoided, and those that can are a shame to waste. The dungeons is build much like: encounter -> encounter -> encounter -> encounter which makes some of the encounters seem quite dull and repetitive. I especially think of some of the later encounters where it feels like each room have a guardian you need to defeat and there is no other way to get to the end goal without going that way. All the optional encounters are hidden with an extremely high DC on the search check and doing those encounters only award xp and loot (I would have liked shortcuts to ignore encounters). The dungeon has a “long” rather than “big” feel to it, as there is little chance of getting lost and taking encounters in a random order.

3) There was a problem with the expected level progression as it was expected that the players would be level 8 before entering the dungeon. This was however not the case in my run, but it sorted itself out in the end. It might have resulted in some of the 4 deaths and two almost worse than death for the party, but that was alright.

4) I would however have enjoyed that the adventure path had included some more optional stuff, like the side quests from bastards 1 of 6 CoT where they included some random do it yourself side quests as those they did where poorly implemented.

5) Some of the encounters seemed almost too lethal and was placed poorly at a point of no return. In one of the late encounters two players were taken out without any options to come back unless the players left the dungeon. Luckily we found a solution, but having to leave the dungeon for the 4th time right before the big climax robbed it of some of its urgency and awesomeness.

6) Might not feel like the logical step from finding an item that can end the threat of shadow beasts. A little Monty Python with “and now for something completely different”
Now for the good things, because naturally there where good as well.

1) The social encounters -> awesome. In one encounter the players where all scared enough that our good cleric toasted with devils, and the “human female” dragon disciple ate a virgins hart just to please them. In another, they all ended up feeling abused (in the good way) by a powerful being they did not dear attack but had to deal with.

2) The reoccurring villains - > awesome. One of these, they ended up fighting twice, but being attacked by 8ish times, and they see him as a constant treat. They have yet to kill him and now fear going out at night (to some extend).

3) Some of the fights where memorable like when the dragon disciple where kicked into a pool of boiling gold. The one where the two of the players are now forced to use a new favorite awful improvised weapon instead of the awesome weapons they used feats to maximize. Sadly the crossbowman did not get this awesome item. The final encounter was memorable to but might have been a little too easy for a group of 8th level guys, and mine are far from optimized.

4) Cool settings – the dungeon had some memorable places such as the hall of mirrors and some of the environmental traps where loads of fun. Everyone thought it was awesome when they tried to run down a flaming hall and I pulled out the dice to determine where explosions happened. Another was when the first fire resistance guy walked through a room that looked suspiciously explosive, nothing happened and he yelled back, Don’t worry, its safe. Two of the players then walk into the room and then imidiatly the whole room blew up. Good fun was had.

To finish it up, worth a run, but so far the worst of the CoT adventure path, and after this long dungeon, we are looking forward to some wilderness fun in the next one.




Dark Archive

:-k Is the world prepared for a Boomer AP adventure?

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

I think so!


You know, if you'd have told me at the time that the creepy shirtless guy wearing belts on the PHB:PSA would be writing adventures for Paizo I would have called serious bulls**t on it, but now... Yeah I think the world is ready for what Boomer has in store for us. I'd dare say I'm stoked to see it!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

So the Council of Thieves is run by Blink Dogs? Who knew?!


Will Wes or someone else actually be doing a Hellknight Prestige Class (or NPC) class in this AP series? Or in one of the Chronicle books?

This is always been a hotly demanded feature, so I'm just curious where it's going to show up (assuming it is).

(Though I'm still waiting for hell to freeze over so that we can see the Magesmith PrC!)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've updated the cover image and product description to match the finished product.

Dark Archive

The cover looks very cool.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

Clinton Boomer? And James Jacobs?

We're doomed.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Ooooooooh, that's super-sweet looking!

I love it!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Demiurge 1138 wrote:

Clinton Boomer? And James Jacobs?

We're doomed.

Worse, we're boomed.


Now that is a cover!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I want to cut that

Spoiler:
Pit Fiend
pic out and tape it into my bestiary.

Edit: Spoilerized just in case.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wow, great cover!


Demiurge 1138 wrote:

Clinton Boomer? And James Jacobs?

Woot! o_O

That will be awesome!!! =D

Dark Archive

Nice fiend, are we going to pit that against the players?

Spoiler:
Pun intended

Anyway, any idea when the products for December will start to ship?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Atrocious wrote:

Nice fiend, are we going to pit that against the players?

** spoiler omitted **

Anyway, any idea when the products for December will start to ship?

We're currently expecting them to go out in the days leading up to Christmas.


Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

So...it won't awwive[ahem, hum] arrive before Christmas?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
So...it won't awwive[ahem, hum] arrive before Christmas?

Well, there's still time for our deliveries to shift either way, but assuming they don't, it would be unlikely that most of you would get the print copies before the 25th. Getting the subscriber PDFs is more likely, though.


Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Thanks, Vic. I'm crossing my fingers and putting cookies out for the postman.

Liberty's Edge

Wow. This cover is badass dope.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

People are expecting 28 before Xmas? I'm still waiting on 27!

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

OamuTheMonk wrote:
People are expecting 28 before Xmas? I'm still waiting on 27!

Copies of 27 showed up in my FLGS just in the last week or so, so if you're looking to get it at a brick & mortar store, your geographic location and the store's resupply schedule might be playing into it. If you have ordered it from Paizo, check and see when it was shipped. Most of the subscribers I know have theirs by this point, though, as it shipped three weeks ago or so.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Shipped last Tuesday, apparently. Whoof. This is the first time I've encountered this month-long-mailing-cycle-phenomenon, and I've subscribed since Burnt Offerings. Is it common for hard copies of an issue to make it to two different subscribers a month apart?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Be lucky that you don't live overseas. I had PF6 arrive a month before PF5 ;)

Dark Archive

Gorbacz wrote:
Be lucky that you don't live overseas. I had PF6 arrive a month before PF5 ;)

Almost the same, but with PF4. Nothing still beats the big Ptolus package, three months in transit.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

So, it is common, then. I guess I'm just lucky that all of my previous APs have arrived in a reasonable amount of time. It's just disheartening to see the AP in the FLGS for a week, and still not have my subscription. I live in the lower 48, too, not Dakar or Montevideo or Prague or New South Wales.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

OamuTheMonk wrote:
So, it is common, then. I guess I'm just lucky that all of my previous APs have arrived in a reasonable amount of time. It's just disheartening to see the AP in the FLGS for a week, and still not have my subscription. I live in the lower 48, too, not Dakar or Montevideo or Prague or New South Wales.

It sounds like an isolated case for you, then. If it only shipped last week, I would guess there was an issue with your order that held it up, though you'd have to ask someone at Paizo what that was. Could have been billing issues, non-subscription sidecart items in the order, or a computer glitch. As long as you got the ship notice, though, it's on its way to you and it's out of Paizo's hands.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You know when I love Paizo ? I love Paizo when I see a statblock that reads:

Advanced HD fre infused stone guardian (Tome of Horrors Revised
220, Advanced Bestiary 111)

Going strong and using the creme de la creme of OGL material. Class !

Also: Amazed at the difference in power between a 3.5 kolaryut and the PF version. Fear the law, obey or succumb !

Shadow Lodge

So, I'm wondering when the PDF will be available for purchase? It's not yet listed here to buy...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The PDFs are available from the street date of the print edition, subscribers get it early.

Shadow Lodge

Gorbacz wrote:
The PDFs are available from the street date of the print edition, subscribers get it early.

I see.

So, shouldn't the PDF be available now, seeing as I can purchase the hardcopy version from the site right now?

EDIT: I can now see that the PDF will be available from Wednesday (thanks to looking at the item on the PATHFINDER page - it just isn't listed here).

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The street date is on Wednsday so it should be around soon ... enabling PDF downloads earlier than street date would make brick and mortar resellers quite upset. They already have to stomach subscriptions :)


Un...does anyone noticed that p.92 the next volume should be "Mother of files" instead of "The Infernal Syndrome"?

The Exchange

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

I just finished running my group through this adventure.

Spoiler:
The tention had been built up so greatly that they all thought they would be going up against a full-powered pit fiend.

When the cleric cast a dismissal spell and the pit fiend failed the saving throw by 1 point, there was a huge cheer of joy. This happened in the first round.

I was only kind of bummed out because I wanted to run that fight.

I even had a great piece of music running in the background. But the platers were happy. So everything is good.

This was a great adventure! An awesome idea, as well. Bravo.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Jacob, I'm glad you had fun!

When I ran the mega 2e adventure The Rod of Seven Parts in the '90s, the final fight lasted one round thanks to a saving throw of 1 on the part of the big bad. Sometimes it's funny when that happens!


Who's the artist that did the super-sweet cross-section of Citadel Enferac, on page 68?

I can't match the signature with the contributing artists.

(It's probably fairly obvious, so bear with me!)

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