Pathfinder Module: City of Golden Death (PFRPG)

3.70/5 (based on 15 ratings)
Pathfinder Module: City of Golden Death (PFRPG)
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An adventure for 5th-level Pathfinder Roleplaying Game characters.

The Price of Greed

In the center of Lake Encarthan looms the dreaded Isle of Terror, accursed land of mystery and treachery. Hidden within the island's negative energy storms, the secret treasure city of the wizard-king Tar-Baphon has lain sealed for centuries. Now masked cultists have opened the golden city of Xin-Grafar to claim the wealth of the legendary city for the Living God Razmir. Can the PCs track the cultists through the poisoned swamps and blasted wastelands of the Isle of Terror to the City of Golden Death itself? And what forgotten dangers will oppose them as they struggle to prevent a dark faith from spreading across the world?

City of Golden Death is an adventure for 5th-level characters; it is written for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is compatible with the 3.5 edition of the world's oldest RPG. The adventure features a mix of wilderness and dungeon sites and includes a race through a ruined, golden city to stop evil cultists before the city floods with molten gold!

This adventure is set on the legendary Isle of Terror in the Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting, but it can be easily adapted for any game world. It can be used as a stand-alone adventure or as the final chapter of the Price of Immortality trilogy, following the adventures Crypt of the Everflame and Masks of the Living God.

Written by Joshua J. Frost

Pathfinder Modules are 32-page, high-quality, full-color, adventures using the Open Game License to work with both the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set. This Pathfinder Module includes four pre-made characters so players can jump right into the action, and full-color maps to enhance play.

ISBN 13: 978-1-60125-225-8

City of Golden Death is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle Sheet and additional rules for running this module are a free download (213 KB zip/PDF).

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

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5/5


Tough and epic slog

4/5

I played this adventure as the conclusion to the trilogy, and I think it's best enjoyed that way. It gives you real investment in finally beating your nemesis.

We played with a party of 4: Barbarian 6, Alchemist 4/Barbarian 1, Zen Archer 5 and Inquisitor 5. We soon started to feel the burn of not having an actual level 5 cleric as two PCs got hit by a very nasty curse during a random encounter.

The random encounters here are the special Josh Frost nasty sauce. Several of them can easily cause a TPK. We managed to run from the scariest of them. I don't think monsters early in the adventure should stand a better than even chance of causing a TPK, particularly if they're random encounters, not a storied villain. I'm docking a star for that.

The random encounters do serve a purpose in the module though: they make it clear that you're deep into territory where you weren't meant to go. The Isle of Terror is not safe territory for an APL 5 party and there's nobody to rescue you if you fail. There's no restocking CLW wands so you might want to bring a few to spare; we burnt through about three wands and half a CMW wand, and all the potions we looted. We really felt like we were operating without a safety net here; depending on how you die, Raise Dead might not cut it.

The module is very good about sticking to theme in its monsters. All the monster were clearly picked out to add something to the flavour (and body count). Some encounters were easy, but all the bosses were tough. That works well to make them stand out. That thing you see on the cover of the book is really cool hot. You don't often face dragons but this one is scary, it can kill PCs with a standard action if you make a bad move. Or kill you twice over with a good full attack routine. And it's not the only scary thing you face that day.

The module is mostly about the scary combats, in an absolutely epic setting. I know my character will never look at gold the same way again. But he really feels like a badass hero now.


Well, I was certainly terrified!

2/5

The next time my Venture Captain tries to send me to somewhere with a name that includes 'Terror', 'Death', or both, I'm going back to bed.

I would say this is definitely the weakest of the trilogy of modules.

Keep in mind that I played this as part of a four-person party, all level 5. Perhaps it would have felt more balanced with more people. But even though we were quite combat-optimized, we found this to be a very, very difficult module, with a lot of potential for TPK.

There was no roleplay to speak of, which is always a bit of a disappointment to me. The random encounters ranged from trivial, to challenging, to brutal. (The only reason we made it to the city itself was due to the kindness of our GM, I think.)

Inside the city there are many dangers, as one would expect. The creature pictured on the cover appears to be built to kill one PC per round, every round after the first round of combat. Ouch!

After that, the rest of the combats were fairly straightforward, and a bit of a let-down, especially after the fantastic build-up from 'Crypt of the Everflame' and 'Masks of the Living God'.


3/5

I've reviewed this book over on RPGGeek.com.


Memorable

5/5

I ran this one as a player, the main tank. I still think of this dungeon a year later. I felt a real challenge here. Very grim and tactical. Several situations that can kill players, possibly this is giving it a lower rating. The only piece of advice I have is: take a tiefling!


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Contributor

Nadir-Khân wrote:

Hi there :)

Is there an information about the "Well Of Sorrows" included in this Adventure? I want to run a campaign, where the PCs enter the Darklands. And this Well is so full of history and adventure... I'd like to play that ;)

This adventure takes place entirely on the surface and doesn't involve travel into the Darklands. Sorry!


Sean K Reynolds wrote:


This adventure takes place entirely on the surface and doesn't involve travel into the Darklands. Sorry!

Thank you for the reply, Sean. What a pity :(

Better luck next time ;)

Sovereign Court

Zeugma wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
I wanna punch a Razmir priest in the face. This can't come soon enough.
Wouldn't you hurt your hand doing that? They all wear iron masks.

Not if you wear a spiked Gauntlet. HEH. HEH. HEH.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Aberzombie wrote:

Just finished reading through this adventure last night. Allow me to say Mr. Frost...

...You are a very evil and twisted man. My party will very likely curse your name after I run them through this.

** spoiler omitted **

Although, I've got to wonder....

** spoiler omitted **

Lastly, Isle of Terror -

** spoiler omitted **

I agree my party will be using his name in vain as well.

Dark Archive

ARGH! My FLGS still hasn't received my copy... I'll probably have to murder Aberzombie and steal his module!

Scarab Sages

Asgetrion wrote:
ARGH! My FLGS still hasn't received my copy... I'll probably have to murder Aberzombie and steal his module!

Bring it on! You'll just have to fight your way through the horde first.

Mwahahahhahahaha....


Technically, isn't it impossible to kill you?

Scarab Sages

Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
Technically, isn't it impossible to kill you?

Shhhhh.....

Dark Archive

Aberzombie wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
ARGH! My FLGS still hasn't received my copy... I'll probably have to murder Aberzombie and steal his module!

Bring it on! You'll just have to fight your way through the horde first.

Mwahahahhahahaha....

Your wall of rotting corpses cannot withstand the unleashed fury of my legion of fiendish squirrels! Besides, I'm an Infernal Librarian, a favored son of the Most Blessed Asmodeus! Hellfire dances at my command, and flesh withers under my searing gaze!

Now, wait... dances... I feel like dancing...

Little Tim, wait! Daddy isn't going to dance! Don't go the basement - daddy was only joking!

Dark Archive

Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
Technically, isn't it impossible to kill you?

You should have more faith in my powers, dear Mairkurion! There are very few things a follower of Asmodeus cannot do, and burning things is *not* among them! ;)


It's not a matter of faith, but of logic.

Dark Archive

Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
It's not a matter of faith, but of logic.

And since when have you become logical, or even remotely coherent? :O


Funny you should ask...

Dark Archive

Dr. Double Honors, Ph.D. wrote:
Funny you should ask...

Blood and bloody hellfire! I must be dreaming... I just witnessed the deranged, poor Mairkurion polymorph into a civilized, educated human being! Beloved Asmodeus, let me awaken from this nightmare... ;P


I've been telling people for years that the greenman is a mask, but people either don't believe or they forget.

Scarab Sages

Asgetrion wrote:

Hellfire dances at my command, and flesh withers under my searing gaze!

What if the flesh is already withered?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Aberzombie wrote:
...You are a very evil and twisted man.

*bow*

Spoiler:

Aberzombie wrote:

If you can't take any gold with you, what treasure did Asar, Kassen, and Iramine take when they visited? Did they just luck out on the stuff that can be taken? I did see some of that in there, like the trapped treasure pile and the skeletal dragon's treasure....

Also, what was the point of Tar-Baphon placing all these guardians and traps, if most of the treasure couldn't be removed excpet by him? Just being an a#&#%!!?

A, K, and I took a lot of the treasure that could be removed with them when they looted the city the first time. There's still some of it there and the PCs can find it, but anything created by the gold floods or Tar-Baphon's jewel can only be removed from the city by Tar-Baphon. Also, yes, T-B is an a#&#%!!?

Spoiler:

Aberzombie wrote:


To start, pretty damn cool. I'd love to see something that explores it further, especially the corrupting influence it has on living creatures. I was surprised we didn't see more undead, however. You'd think a place with regular negative energy lightening strikes would be something they might enjoy.
I especially like the Shadow's Heart forest and the description of the trees. If the PCs go in there, what kind of stats could we use for a tree attack? Treant? Or, maybe something similar to the treant's animate tree ability?

I wish I had 64 or 128 pages just to write about it. For the forest, I had a new creature in mind for the trees. A treant would work, likely a treant with the terror template.

Dark Archive

Aberzombie wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:

Hellfire dances at my command, and flesh withers under my searing gaze!

What if the flesh is already withered?

Er... it will become... even more withered?

Dark Archive

Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
I've been telling people for years that the greenman is a mask, but people either don't believe or they forget.

All polymorph magics aside, I refuse to believe you're anything else but a deranged old treeman! ;P


My group finished City of Golden Death last night (we play by internet chat, so it's quite slow - especially as we can only manage a game once a week, with frequent gaps). The crowning moment, I think, was when the PCs were in the process of escaping from the Tabernacle, fighting the guardian there.

The naga, down to 6 HP, turned invisible and attempted to climb down from the ledge. She rolled a 1 on the climb check, fell, and took enough falling damage to kill herself off. Thus it ends - not with a bang, but a whimper.

Excellent module, though!


I created a map for the PCs to look at when they are ready to enter Xin-Grafar.

A map your DM should approve of:

Liberty's Edge

Russell, you are awesome!


Zonto wrote:
Russell, you are awesome!

Glad you liked it.

Liberty's Edge

I just picked this up. Have not read all they way through it. But after reading the summary I can see an issue with some groups.

Spoiler:
If the PCs figure out that Iramine and Her party did not see the warning that the whole city will flood with molten gold 72 hours after the came into city, I know some groups that will just say "well, they are dead and that will stop what they are doing. We leave."


CapeCodRPGer wrote:

I just picked this up. Have not read all they way through it. But after reading the summary I can see an issue with some groups.

** spoiler omitted **

Except that

Spoiler:
they are supposed to recover the two parts of the key to set Asar's and Kassen's spirits to rest, not just to stop Iramine from making Razmir rich. At least, that's the case if you've played through the previous two adventures.

Silver Crusade

ahhh razmer shall I ever tire of punching your masked priests in the face?
nope, now let me get my +2 gloves of sundering...

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Urath DM wrote:
CapeCodRPGer wrote:

I just picked this up. Have not read all they way through it. But after reading the summary I can see an issue with some groups.

** spoiler omitted **

Except that

** spoiler omitted **

Also keep in mind...

Spoiler:
The key is needed to get back out. By the time the PCs realize this, the outer doors should be closed!
Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I took some things a step further while running this adventure several months ago.

City of Golden Death Revision:

Firstly, with the scepter a creation of Tar-Baphon holding a fragment of his malign will, I upped the stakes for the PCs some. On determining what the scepter truly was they learned that it could, potentially, be used to liberate Tar-Baphon from Gallowspyre by way of freeing his consciousness from his corporeal form and using the key as a "channel" to enslave a host body.

If, somehow, the key were allowed to leave Xin-Grafar, that would be the goals planted in Iramine's mind. This urged the PCs on further towards thwarting Iramine, as we had not done the preceding adventures.

Secondly, I cut out the "timer" entirely and did not seal the PCs into the Golden City. The City of Golden Death's trap would become something all-together different.

Once the PCs dropped the scepter into the well at the end to destroy it, the magic that was used to channel the golden rivers from the elemental plane of earth collapsed in epic fashion. The well became a sinkhole that sucked downwards into the plane of earth and began consuming the central temple.

From here on out, it was an "inverted" chase using the Pathfinder chase mechanics. They were not trying to beat someone to a location, but rather trying to stay ahead of the collapsing city falling apart behind them. Sort of like the collapse of the treasure chamber in Disney's Aladdin.

Each obstacle on the chase represented things like fissures opening in the ground, rocks falling from the ceiling, geysers of molten rock, columns of smoke, collapsing buildings blocking of streets, etc. I made the chase 20 cards long and after they cleared the first card I had the "vortex" move up one card. If the PCs got mired for too long they would be caught up in the collapse of the city and take damage. If they became mired in the "vortex" card for one more round they were lost in the collapse of the city.

The PCs loved it and loved the "escape" chase out of the collapsing city. It turned a somewhat ham-handed timer mechanic into a more exhilarating and cinematic end, whereby the entire golden city was swallowed up into the plane of earth at the end, and didn't require finding a reason why the PCs couldn't dig it up for all its remaining worth.


I am running this for a group of 4. Last night we just finished the battle with the bbeg and things have taken an interesting turn. I have also come up with something regarding Dusan to make the way out interesting.

spoiler:
In the final battle Iramine never got the chance to use the septer to change into elemental form. She was cut open by a crit for 39 damage a turn before she would have changed. She slumped down against the wall and our party summoner wrenched the septer from her hands, instantly becoming cursed. The party then spent almost an hour trying to decide what to do with the septer. My cursed player RP'd his role wonderfully.

After a while the summoner ( still holding the septer) was drawn to the pedestal. The key to the city started to glow and revealed a golden jeweled helm/crown. All the while he was hearing the whisperings off the staff but not communicating quite everything to the party.

After convincing him to leave the septer behind and flee the city, the party triggered the naga again. At which point the summoner ran back into the back room, grabbed the sepeter and transformed into a huge fire elemental. He beat down the naga and we ended the session.

Now comes a bit more of my own invention. Dusan, who on his previous visit to the city ventured into the pit and became inhabited by a dormant portion of tar baphon (which has allowed him to survive the island and has driven him mad) is subconciously leading a horde of undead into the center of the city. The spirit of tar baphon wills him to claim the septer, crown and key, which will be very bad news for Golarion. The party will run into this encounter on their way out and I'm excited to see what happens.


Robert Brookes: in your spoiler, you are referring to

Spoiler:
"the well at the end"
.Where is it located on the maps?

Asmo


Holy crap this is awesome!!!!
I love Thassilon, and the fact that Tar-Baphon got so much of his ability from that old world knowledge and power. Didn't know there was a city from Thassilon on that old island though. That is AWESOME, but did Thassilon extend out that far or was it a wayward colony?

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