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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Average product rating:

3.70/5 (based on 15 ratings)

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Disappointing conclusion

3/5

Encounters were decent but I was disappointed with the conclusion of the 3 module series and wound up rewriting the third module so that it was a satisfying conclusion to my players. The writer of the first two modules in the series was a lot better and it shows in the encounter descriptions and pacing.

The party's justification for going is weak, the rewards miserly, and yet the dangers phenomenal. Only stupid party's need apply.

Also the group the party is chasing bypass encounters and creative players can't bypass any of the fights the same way so it feels like a cheap trick. I added a lot more dead cultists so the party felt the cultists were at least in the same situation.

Another peeve is that tantalizing wealth is repeatedly snatched away from players with rather poor justification. It takes lot of modifications to not feel like GM Fiat to a good group of players. Creative GMing can work around the flaws but it is a lot more work than earlier modules in the series. An ok but far from great conclusion.


Not the best but..

4/5

Of the three in this beautiful intro arc my favorite had to be the first (Crypt of the Everflame) but each of these modules (Crypt of the Everflame, Masks of the Living God, City of Golden Death) are made to show off a little bit of what Pathfinder has to offer. If you're new to Pathfinder it's a great starting point. The city of Golden Death deals with time constraints, situational awareness, and ancient artifacts, wrapped up in the deep history of the Inner Sea region of Golarion. I don't want to give away spoilers so all I'll say is the framers did a good job in finding a way to give each PC, regardless of character class a chance in the spotlight through skill checks and class abilities so fari n the trilogy, The City of Golden Death is no exception.


Very good concept but PC involvement to rethink

3/5

I really liked the old city concept with it's bunch of history and traps, in addition to the race against the clock, but...

Why on earth the PC would like to go to this extraordinary dangerous place, with inspiring names as Isle of Terror and so ?
Just because Reginar, one barely known pathfinder, asks ?
For the adventure spirit ?
If your players are naive or gentle, it could work, but the involvement will be rather low.
To play this scenario, you will have to think about why low level young adults would have to go to one of the most dangerous place in the world...

That's why the only 3 stars, as PC involvment has been, IMHO, sacrified there.


Wonderful !

5/5

This module is a pure masterpiece : great baseline, wonderful sceneries, high-pressure environment for characters, twisted NPC and many many interesting ideas for developments and other adventures.

After the smart previous episode, this one ends this mini campaign in fireworks.

Last thing : the mini-campaign concept with 3 modules is a fantastic concept. The perfect middle between one-shot story and too big AP for my too busy players. Please, Paizo's folk... could you write another one like this ? :)


Awesome concept

5/5

I love the concept for this module. This is another winner by Paizo.


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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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