Pathfinder Adventure Path #39: City of Seven Spears (Serpent's Skull 3 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Adventure Path #39: City of Seven Spears (Serpent's Skull 3 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Chapter 3: "The City of Seven Spears"
by James Jacobs, Kevin Kulp, and Rob McCreary

The legendary lost city of Saventh-Yhi, known to some as the City of Seven Spears, has finally been found! Yet while the ancient city's mysteries have long remained hidden, all manner of man-eating beasts and plants still dwell within the vine-choked ruins. Can the PCs be the first among five competing factions to claim the rights of discovery? Or will they become but the latest of Saventh-Yhi's victims?

    This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path includes:
  • "City of Seven Spears," a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 7th-level characters, by James Jacobs, Kevin Kulp, and Rob McCreary, including an extensive appendix of magic items designed by Owen K.C. Stephens.
  • A detailed look at the members of the five factions exploring the city, by James Jacobs and Rob McCreary.
  • New powers and magic items from the sinister mystical tradition of juju, by Mike Shel.
  • Deadly lion riders in the Pathfinder's Journal, by Robin D. Laws.
  • Nine new monsters, by Jesse Benner, Patrick Renie, and Neil Spicer.

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: 978-1-60125-274-6

Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Sanctioned Content
City of Seven Spears is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild.

Download the rules for running this Adventure Path and Chronicle sheets — (495 kb zip/PDF)

Other Resources: This product is also available on the following platforms:

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Use this as a Framework

3/5

My players and I just finished City of Seven Spears (CoSS) last night. We actually genuinely enjoyed it for the most part, but as the GM I made some radical overhauls for my group. This review will contain SPOILERS, so be warned.

As an AP, CoSS isn't great. It's not even really good - compared to most other APs I've seen, it's shockingly bare. It seems to be missing a bunch of substance and is just festooned with combat encounters (none of which have any maps for them) with a little narrative fluff placed between them to give them some precedence. There's no puzzles, no traps, the rivalry of the factions (which was already something a GM would've had to put into effect in the last installment since that AP hardly goes to any lengths to establishing any sort of rivalry besides one meagre assassination attempt) doesn't even come into play unless the GM explicitly tries to tie them in (you should). However, what this AP does provide is a decent framework for a personalized sandbox adventure. The downside is that it requires a bunch more work than most APs should, so I can understand why people buying it would be suddenly put off by the lack of, well, plot or information or anything. I actually liked this approach for the city since it allowed me to customize it based on my players actions and desires.

Here are some things I did and would recommend:
I changed it so that the existing tribes and factions within the city were constantly warring with one another and vying for territorial control - admittedly I kind of tossed the idea that the spires were magically keeping them sated and happy staying in their own districts in favor of something way more interactive and dynamic. I also established the various faction's methods of exploring and where they'd start first upon entering the city. In this sense, I had to keep track of the days and nights on when the other factions were arriving, what they'd do, where they'd explore, and even made the PCs' decisions as to what districts they conquered have weight (since rival factions might conquer another district given the right amount of time). Along with that, I used the Kingmaker mass combat rules when the PC's faction went up against Olujimi in the Military District (which they actually lost, and in turn they had to strike a deal with the malicious Akarundo to offer serpent folk troops in exchange for various "favors"). Even when meeting the Radiant Muse, instead of rolling a performance check that none of them could hope to succeed on, I allowed them to actually make an impromptu play to earn her favor. All in all, there's a lot to work with here, given what little they provide. Use it as a framework and it'll work well, but played as is this installment is terribly boring and monotonous.

It's also worth noting that our group (and I assume most other groups as well), did not technically "complete" CoSS since they hit level 10 before exploring the last 2 districts (boggards and troglodytes, specifically, and even Egizmora, who I altered to be an enigmatic fungal beast that's infected a treant and seeks to cover the whole city in spores, was hardly touched and is still at large. I fully plan on incorporating them into the next installment as events that happen between the exploration of the crypts so they don't just suddenly not matter anymore.

If you go into this installment with the right mindset and the willingness to put some work into it (maybe a lot of work), it can be very rewarding. If not, prepare for a series of barely linked combat sequences and the thinnest drippings of a plot.


Not bad, but not good either.

3/5

As a player I do like a sandbox adventure, and this was a nice big sandbox for me to play in, but sadly much of the adventure was monster killing rather then exploring or discovering.

So let me start with the complaints (many of which have already been expressed by other reviewers):

1) the players were not the first group to discover the City of Seven Spears. What?! Turns out there's a ghost of a pathfinder that was part of a group that discovered it from over land, and we run into another pathfinder that was part of a group that discovered it though the darklands. Way to take away the heroic accomplishments of PCs completely.

2) The Spires don't seem to serve any point whatsoever. This adventure starts with the PCs hacking through the brush to discover the amazing sight of Saventh-Yhi. Seeing those spires made our PCs imidately want to explore them. Sadly, apart from some basic bonuses, the spires really didn't do much of anything. My character has slowly been piecing together the underlying plot of the campaign, she even reasoned that the city was there to guard against something, and she had a hypothesis that the spires must be activated all at once or in a set order to open up some secret ancient gate that leads to . . . nope, turns out there's a hole in the ground where some feebleminded elf escaped from that leads to the next chapter in the story.

3) Diplomacy = role for initiative. Our group was really never going to talk our way though this adventure, we really don't have face, but it seems like everyone and everything in this adventure was out to kill us from the start. Only the humans seemed willing to parlay and even they seemed ready to attack us at points. It would have been a nice mix to have more then one area in the city were we weren't automatically attacked the moment we were spotted.

4) Mystery/action/adventure = role for initiative. As others have pointed out there weren't any traps or abandoned temples or anything else that you might associate with discovering an ancient hidden city. If you were expecting Indiana Jones you'd be very much disappointed, this is more Duke Nukem, and while I appreciate there are time and word constraints you could have at least thrown us a bone here. I've been waiting for Indiana Jones style action adventure for sometime now but if that's coming in this adventure path we haven't seen it yet.

There are however some good points, and although I'm not so sure how well they translate from the adventure as written, I am giving this review three stars because of them.

1) Interesting characters and NPCs like them or hate them there are a lot of fun personalities in Saventh-Yhi. Not only do we have all our old friends from the Shiv, but we get to meet faction leaders, and the interesting denizens of city itself. Granted many of these folks are trying to kill us but there were lots of interesting interactions before the inevitable combat.

2) Good boss fights I'm not a huge fan of combat, to me it's usually something that we need to suffer though to advance the plot, but there were some tough fights in this adventure. Often encounters are written with creatures with abilities that counter the abilities of the players, as my character is a witch I notice many monsters that have immunities to mind affecting, but I don't remember too much of that happening here. There were big bad monsters for sure, some with various types of DR, but there weren't too many that seemed to exist solely to dick around the PCs. It's fun sometimes to fight a monster who's biggest defense is a vast amount of HP.

3) There was a promise of mystery and discovery Now granted much of this proved to be a disappointment, but just thinking that we were going to stumble across something vast and wondrous did keep me going. I wish the adventure had delivered but seeing that vast map and listening to the descriptions kept me exploring and anticipating.

4) There is lots of room to expand The adventure as written doesn't seem that impressive but my GM took the time to add some of his own content and these small changes made the adventure the second most memorable in the path thus far. The great thing about a sand box is that it gives you lots of room to expand, if you're a GM that likes building then this adventure has lots of space to build, however if you're the type of GM that prefers the work done for them and tends to run everything as written then this adventure might seem a bit dry.

Overall I think this adventure is probably middle of the road for me. It had great potential but I feel it squandered much of that, and while what we're left with isn't bad, what was missed makes this adventure feel like a bit of a disappointment. We raced through a jungle for this? I can only speak as a player however, I thought our GM did an excellent job, but many of the disappointments were from what he kept from the adventure and the real fun I had was from what he'd added. I'd give the adventure 2.5 stars if I could, I don't feel uncomfortable bumping that up to a generous 3, but I do agree with the overall disappointment of my fellow reviewers. Perhaps one star is a little harsh, I think there's enough good stuff here to warrant at least a two, but I can't disagree with their well argued complaints.


Could have been really good if it were finished

2/5

If you are able and willing to spend 15 or 20 hours preparing for each gaming session you run, this may be the module for you.

Because its a sandbox adventure, you need good reference access to lots of information. But the module is so poorly organized, you are going to be flipping back and forth trying to find stuff so often that your players are going wonder if you've prepared at all. For example: the spears. I can't count how much time I wasted searching back and forth between the descriptions and the powers, which are each separate. There are at least 15 different locations in the module for information about the spears. A summary table would have been nice. Also, there is a table of "Historical Discoveries" that you can roll on - but all the information you need for the roll results is scattered across various sections and even other modules. There are so many poorly organized facets to this module that I wanted to scream. The result is a huge amount of preparation and play overhead.

Content-wise, there *is* some good stuff here. I especially liked the Tribe of the Sacred Serpent, the Green God, and the Military District. Make sure you study Olujimi closely. His at-will abilities are key to making him a really excellent and challenging encounter - or series of encounters. I also liked Akarundo. Egzimora is right, he is a "filthy deviant". His abilities, location and perversions combine well if you want to harass your players with something very creative.

Other stuff was weak. I hate encounters or story lines that contain long-winded justifications and backgrounds which the PCs have little or no hope of ever understanding. And there is plenty of this. It's even worse if the players spend a lot of time investigating - because of all the clues - and then it turns out to be completely orthogonal to the main story. I'm thinking of you, Aboleth. This is a complicated theme which your players have little hope of ever unraveling, and which you have little hope of keeping track of in a timely manner since the clues and explanations are scattered all over the module. Yet if you and your players, in a great show of teamwork, somehow manage to get to the bottom of it, you'll find that it was just a lame side story, and that you wasted hours of your lives on it.

Lastly, the maps. There is exactly one encounter map for one unimportant encounter. That's it. Paizo, you should have held off publishing this until you had some maps. I don't think you've fulfilled your side of the bargain when you sell us such a complicated module with no maps.

Overall, this module could have been good with a lot more organizing, a bit of cutting, and a good dose of cartography. But as is, it's a rough draft with a lot of TBDs printed on shiny paper. As the linchpin module of the adventure path, it is an epic failure. It should be framed and hung on the wall at Paizo as a reminder of what not to do.

If you are thinking of running this adventure path be aware that this module is the centerpiece. You'll have plenty to do reworking, organizing, mapping and finishing it yourself. I strongly recommend visiting the forums where the community have posted a lot of helpful information and game aids.


Extremely disappointed

1/5

I tend only to write bad reviews because I cannot spare the time to write some for all the decent books I read from Paizo. Therefore, as a “Pathfinder Charter Superscriber”, it pains me to say that like the two previous reviewers, I have found this adventure underwhelming at best.

The very first complaint is: "Where are the maps"?
While I do not mind some free in-house advertising by referring to the optional use of Map Packs and Flip Mats in my Pathfinder copies; I resent the lack of maps, and worse I resent being told to use generic maps for all sorts of encounters. Do I have to design and draw my own maps? I thought this was a ready-made adventure; this is what I paid for at least... Hello...?!?

That problem put aside, why oh why redo Runeforge (RotRLs, Sins of the Saviours) as a city? Runeforge was great, seven mini-dungeons with a theme, but one can only be original once. “City of Seven Spears” just does not work and for the reasons already exposed by Erik Freund’s review. The, I must say “lazy”, repetitive design carries on with “Vaults of Madness” as we get another seven mini-dungeons. The following instalment of the “Serpent’s Skull” AP has a bit more taste though with indeed more defined theme per cave... and it has maps, yeah!

I agree that one cannot always win and that people at Paizo can have a miss or two. I am a bit behind my AP reading and I dearly hope that the last two adventures rekindle “Serpent’s Skull” because the first two adventures were pure gold. “Legacy of Fire” had its continuity issues, but Paizo had the excuse of developing the Pathfinder RPG at the time. What is the excuse for those two unimaginative duds in a row (“City of Seven Spears” and “Vaults of Madness”)?

Note that for me “Rise of the Runelords” is still the ultimate AP, things were new and original back then and looking back makes parts 3 and 4 of “Serpent’s Skull” look pretty tired design-wise indeed.

That being said the non-adventure contents of “City of Seven Spears” are very good and it is a shame that the Juju magic article will not come to mind when mentioning the title of this book because of the poor quality of the adventure itself.

Well, as mentioned earlier, I am not going to burn all my Pathfinder books because of that, but I had to react to it nonetheless.


bad enough to kill the AP

1/5

After much prodding from the sub-forum, I'm posting my review in the product section.

Here it is: the mid-campaign climax. In many ways, the entire Serpent's Skull campaign is about Saventh-Yhi, and this book needed to be great. I'm holding it to a higher standard because of its unique place in the series. Let me breifly touch upon why this needed to be a standout and amazing module:
- the climax of book 1 and the entirety of book 2 was building up to this moment; there's a big need for the hype to pay off
- all of book 4 and some of book 6 will use this book as background and setting; the party had better find it an interesting place to reside
- by virtue of being the 3rd book in the series, it is in the "sweet spot" level range that many parties prefer to play in
- one of the principle themes/inspirations for this series is "Indiana Jones" and other pulp sources; the genre demands that "finding a long-lost city" be an exciting time

These are reasons for my inflammatory title: "bad enough to kill the AP" - this module really needed to be great, and it wasn't. To the point where I would recommend against the entire Serpent's Skull AP because of it. (Which is a shame, because some of the other books in the series were quite good.)

Now on to actually reviewing this book:

The module starts off with an encounter against the ghost of an explorer who claims he discovered the city first. Wow. Really? I thought the PCs were supposed to be the stars of the show, and only able to find the city because of the special maps they picked up in books 1 and 2. And this dead guy found it before them, without any magic maps? This is a poor way to introduce the city, in my opinion.

Then we get to the meat of the matter: there are seven districts, and the module introduces a special kind of statblock to represent them. Each has a leader, rules for winning him over with diplomacy, a variety of objectives to complete in order to gain control of the district, the ritual needed to unlock its magic, then a passive bonus for taking it over. This sounds cool, and the idea got me very excited.

Until I actually started looking at how these district-statblocks were filled out:
For all but one of the districts, the section on diplomacy just read "the leader hates outsiders and would never cooperate, you'll have to kill him or dominate him."
Then I look at the objectives. I was hoping for lots of variety, maybe some social quests, some fetch quests, some skill challenges, etc. No. They're all combat. It's all "kill creature at location X", and over half the time, the creature isn't even an intelligent or politically powerful entity, it's just a big animal. Why killing this big animal gives me political control of this district is beyond me. Also, one thing I find absolutely mind-boggling is that for every district, one of the objectives is "kill 60~120 of the local creatures." Who thought that would be a fun quest??

The whole city is basically a large monster-mash. The encounters are mostly “you show up in this area, see some monsters, and kill them.” As I alluded to before, there is one exception: one of the districts is filled with a tribe of plagued humans, and that makes for a little change of pace. But the other six are mind-numbing in their repetitiveness. This is exacerbated by the fact that (outside of the intro encounter), there are no maps for the city. There’s the one large map, yes, and there’s letters & numbers sprinkled on it, but there’s never any “zoomed in” map, and the read-aloud text descriptions aren’t entirely helpful for figuring out what’s going on. You often have to squint at the full-city map and make some guesses as to what the environment that the party is fighting in might look like.

Coming back to the theme idea: there’s nothing “Indiana Jones” going on here. There are no rolling boulders (or traps at all), there are no puzzles to solve, or mysteries to unearth. No supernatural floating idols or haunted artifacts. Just a lot of killing monsters. Rogues or Bard PCs that were hoping to use their scholarly wit on the ancient ruins will be sorely disappointed. The entirety of “learning the history of the city” is dealt with in one disappointing sidebar.

The city just isn't interesting. A lost city demands interesting architecture, forgotten technology/magic, mysterious locations that make the party wonder what they were used for, etc. Paizo has done some excellent lost city adventures before. I would recommend both Crucible of Chaos as well as From Shore to Sea as great excamples of how to do an interesting and exciting lost city that your PCs will be anxious to explore and be fascinated with all of the wonders therein. Why they dropped the ball on this one, I'm not sure.

Finally, we get to the climax. At some point (the module says “once the party hits level 9”), a feebleminded elf escapes into the city, chased by undead serpentfolk. From a gameplay point of view, this is a desperately needed change of pace, but from a story point of view, this couldn’t be more horrible. She is from a party of adventurers that had found this city first, and were taken captive. Her story is the linchpin that drives the next 2 books forward. Why couldn’t the PCs have been the one to find the city? Most module-authors know enough not to have their NPCs kill the end boss and save the world: so why did NPCs get to do this campaign’s equivalent event?

And just to add a touch of insult near the end: I found the art to be pretty bad. The cover art notwithstanding (that’s amazing) the interior art featured very simple, cartoony characters drawn with thick lines and solid colors.

In conclusion: I have to give this the lowest rating possible. There is little story, and what story there is would have been better if it wasn’t there at all. The gameplay is monotonous. And I could have written this module myself if I just sat down with a wandering monsters generator and rolled it all out. It really kills the entire campaign. And again, that’s sad, because some of the other books in the series were really quite good.


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Dark Archive

Any update on when this will be out?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Kevin Mack wrote:
Any update on when this will be out?

What's the rush - haven't you seen that we're getting nothing in November?

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
DitheringFool wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Any update on when this will be out?
What's the rush - haven't you seen that we're getting nothing in November?

Hey at this point it looks like this is going to be November! Besides i imagine some people who are running this at current are quickly coming to the point of having to wait for the book before they can keep going, especially given the delay on the last one and the serious delay on this one.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Gorbacz wrote:
The main reason for the non-subscriber delay is to make the PDF release date equal with LGS street release date - if PDFs would be available 2 weeks ahead of normal book trade, stores and distributors would likely be really, really, REALLY p'd off.

Mainly that, and also making sure subscribers have first access.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

We're still hoping that we'll have all of our October shipment items within the next couple of days, and we are prepared to turn them around quickly.


just changed the ship date to NOVEMBER 2010.
uhm, little help? we are ready to start this. just completed book 2 last sunday.

Dark Archive

Well at this point it pretty much has to be a Nov ship date. I mean only 3 days left of Oct and two of them are on the weekend.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Plotty Fingers wrote:

just changed the ship date to NOVEMBER 2010.

uhm, little help? we are ready to start this. just completed book 2 last sunday.

We're doing everything we can to get this one shipped out ASAP, but there are certain realities (like the laws of time and space) that we have no control over. Rest assured, it hurts us more to not ship these things on time, and as a result we'll get them out as soon as we can. Which is not always the same as "as soon as we would like."


James Jacobs wrote:
Plotty Fingers wrote:

just changed the ship date to NOVEMBER 2010.

uhm, little help? we are ready to start this. just completed book 2 last sunday.
We're doing everything we can to get this one shipped out ASAP, but there are certain realities (like the laws of time and space) that we have no control over. Rest assured, it hurts us more to not ship these things on time, and as a result we'll get them out as soon as we can. Which is not always the same as "as soon as we would like."

thanks James!

forgive the other inquiry posts (i will remove).
our AP group is taking a break until the 6th anyway, so sounds like we will be in good shape. looking forward to it!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

It's just a "trick" rather than a "treat"...

Paizo is secretly planning on having their Pathfinder goblins deliver each issue under the guise of a trick-or-treater knocking at your door. ;-)


Meh, it's cool. I have a paper to write this weekend, and honestly, if this shipped on Friday, reading it would take precedents.

So um... thanks Paizo for letting me do homework. I think.


Just received my "In a week or so" email. Woo!

Liberty's Edge

James Jacobs wrote:
We're doing everything we can to get this one shipped out ASAP, but there are certain realities (like the laws of time and space) that we have no control over. Rest assured, it hurts us more to not ship these things on time, and as a result we'll get them out as soon as we can. Which is not always the same as "as soon as we would like."

I'm in no great rush, and will enjoy it when it comes. But for those who are ready to run this with their regular group - and assuming the delay is one of the physical print-run - perhaps you could release the PDF for subscribers now?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
ajs wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
We're doing everything we can to get this one shipped out ASAP, but there are certain realities (like the laws of time and space) that we have no control over. Rest assured, it hurts us more to not ship these things on time, and as a result we'll get them out as soon as we can. Which is not always the same as "as soon as we would like."

I'm in no great rush, and will enjoy it when it comes. But for those who are ready to run this with their regular group - and assuming the delay is one of the physical print-run - perhaps you could release the PDF for subscribers now?

Sadly, they don't release the PDFs until they bill us, and they won't bill us until they ship the books. If they'd pre-bill us for stuff, we could probably have the Bestiary 2 PDF right now, if we asked nice enough.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kvantum wrote:
Sadly, they don't release the PDFs until they bill us, and they won't bill us until they ship the books. If they'd pre-bill us for stuff, we could probably have the Bestiary 2 PDF right now, if we asked nice enough.

Sadly an entirely realistic buisness plan honestly, because im sure if they didn't some people out there would subscribe, get the free pdf. then cancel before the billing. And releasing pdf and print at the same time instead of releasing the pdfs early (like printer proof pdf they must have well in advance...), would likely hurt hardcopy sales since by the time the actual book came out all those who were desperate for it have the pdf. Personally I'm just glad this one is finally shipment ready! now to wait for the next one and the beastiary!

Dark Archive

Damn. That cover is all sorts of sexy.

Liberty's Edge

xn0o0cl3 wrote:
Damn. That cover is all sorts of sexy.

I'm sorry, but I only count 3 sorts (arguably 4, but the mist isn't actually ON the ziggurat)... where are you seeing the other 72?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
sarokcat wrote:
Kvantum wrote:
Sadly, they don't release the PDFs until they bill us, and they won't bill us until they ship the books. If they'd pre-bill us for stuff, we could probably have the Bestiary 2 PDF right now, if we asked nice enough.
Sadly an entirely realistic buisness plan honestly, because im sure if they didn't some people out there would subscribe, get the free pdf. then cancel before the billing. And releasing pdf and print at the same time instead of releasing the pdfs early (like printer proof pdf they must have well in advance...), would likely hurt hardcopy sales since by the time the actual book came out all those who were desperate for it have the pdf. Personally I'm just glad this one is finally shipment ready! now to wait for the next one and the beastiary!

You could (would) charge them for the print book when you decided to let the PDF out, but that would likely cause problems if something went wrong in the shipping process, and especially if a disaster were to occur and something happened to the print run (from what I remember, there was some consideration about pulping or delaying the campaign setting over the Reigon debacle for example)

Dark Archive

ajs wrote:
I'm sorry, but I only count 3 sorts (arguably 4, but the mist isn't actually ON the ziggurat)... where are you seeing the other 72?

I was obviously just talking about Ezren. I mean, look at him down there. He's dominating that cover with all that grizzle and age, down there in the corner... I guess those pterodactyls aren't bad either.


The lady on the cover would make an awesome mini!


James Jacobs wrote:
Plotty Fingers wrote:

just changed the ship date to NOVEMBER 2010.

uhm, little help? we are ready to start this. just completed book 2 last sunday.
We're doing everything we can to get this one shipped out ASAP, but there are certain realities (like the laws of time and space) that we have no control over. Rest assured, it hurts us more to not ship these things on time, and as a result we'll get them out as soon as we can. Which is not always the same as "as soon as we would like."

Got me the PDFs this morning! thank you!!!

we GO!!!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Vaellen wrote:
The lady on the cover would make an awesome mini!

I told Erik that same thing the second I saw it.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

Vic Wertz wrote:
Vaellen wrote:
The lady on the cover would make an awesome mini!
I told Erik that same thing the second I saw it.

Was that when I overheard him repeating "Vic, we can't do life-sized minis" over and over again?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Mark Moreland wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Vaellen wrote:
The lady on the cover would make an awesome mini!
I told Erik that same thing the second I saw it.
Was that when I overheard him repeating "Vic, we can't do life-sized minis" over and over again?

I fail to see the problem with the notion.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Really, really not what I thought you were going to link to...


Questions for the Paizo people:

-1: In the bestiary section, what is the base CR of a greater tribal totem?

-2: In the juju section, juju zombies are mentioned repeatedly, but no specific stat reference is given. Will juju zombies be in Bestiary II? Or are they something like the skeleton champion, but for zombies?

-3: Also in the juju section; it's noted that juju fetishes fall apart after a few days. Does this rule also to laubo powder? There's no indication that it doesn't apply, but it just seems odd that powder can be delicate and fall apart.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Generic Villain wrote:

Questions for the Paizo people:

-1: In the bestiary section, what is the base CR of a greater tribal totem?

-2: In the juju section, juju zombies are mentioned repeatedly, but no specific stat reference is given. Will juju zombies be in Bestiary II? Or are they something like the skeleton champion, but for zombies?

-3: Also in the juju section; it's noted that juju fetishes fall apart after a few days. Does this rule also to laubo powder? There's no indication that it doesn't apply, but it just seems odd that powder can be delicate and fall apart.

1: There is no base CR for a greater tribal totem, since this category covers both Large and Huge tribal totems. That said, I guess the MINIMUM CR a greater tribal totem would be would be something like CR 10, figuring the addition of at least 4 or 5 HD and the attendant bonuses they get to ability scores not only from their size increase but also from simply being greater tribal totems. Really, the best way to determine a greater tribal totem's CR is to just build the creature using the rules in the Bestairy for advancing HD and size and then just comparing the resulting creature's stats to the values on Table 1–1 in the Bestiary.

2: Juju zombies are currently statted up in the Tome of Horrors. They will be in Bestiary 2; at the time we were working on the article, we had hoped that Bestiary 2 would be right around the corner. It is, so pretty soon the rules for Pathfinder juju zombies will be available for all. (They are indeed something like skeletal champions for zombies, though.)

3: The idea behind juju fetishes being fragile is that they lose their magic if you open the pouch or break the doll. In the case of laubo powder, that basically means it can be ruined by water or wind or all sorts of mayhem. Once it's applied, though, it's good to go—unlike the other fetishes, laubo powder is a one-use item. Well... a THREE use item, I guess.

Dark Archive

The image of Nareem Daress made me laugh yet it is so so wrong. But a nice little tribute. :)

So far I thinking this might be my fav all time single AP adventure. But I LOVE lost cities so I am biased.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

I'm astonished to find myself agreeing, and I have a number of top TOP faves in older APs. What particularly floats my boat is the use of such varied NPC's - the race/class mix is incredibly inventive and has got my DM-muscles twitching to add a few lecvels to them all and throw them into my (13th level) Savage Tide campaign!

I'm not sure who thought of all the set-pieces or wickedly inventive NPC/ bad gyus, but seeing Kevin Kulp's name on the cover, and thinking of Piratecat's Story Hour on enworld, I have to assume he's in some way responsible.

Thank you James Jacobs, Kevin Kulp, and Rob McCreary - this is fantastic!


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

So I was just thumbing through my paper copy of this, and found that pages 65 through 80 are missing. Am I the only one? How is Paizo going to make this right?

Let me say that I have always been pleased with the creative and production quality in the past, and assume that this is just a glitch. Perhaps non-subscribers will wind up benefiting from the delay ;-).

Dark Archive

Adam Jung wrote:

So I was just thumbing through my paper copy of this, and found that pages 65 through 80 are missing. Am I the only one? How is Paizo going to make this right?

Let me say that I have always been pleased with the creative and production quality in the past, and assume that this is just a glitch. Perhaps non-subscribers will wind up benefiting from the delay ;-).

Haven't got my book yet, only the PDF. But my guess is you just got unlucky and got a defect book. Least I hope so. :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Adam Jung wrote:

So I was just thumbing through my paper copy of this, and found that pages 65 through 80 are missing. Am I the only one? How is Paizo going to make this right?

Let me say that I have always been pleased with the creative and production quality in the past, and assume that this is just a glitch. Perhaps non-subscribers will wind up benefiting from the delay ;-).

Sounds like a printer error to me. They happen. It's certainly not a pervasive error in every copy, though.

Contact our customer service department and they'll get you a replacement copy sent out ASAP.


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

Thanks, that's pretty much what I figured. Thought I'd mention it in case there was something that was widespread and could be fixed earlier rather than later. Thanks for the quick response!

The Exchange

carborundum wrote:
I'm astonished to find myself agreeing, and I have a number of top TOP faves in older APs. What particularly floats my boat is the use of such varied NPC's - the race/class mix is incredibly inventive and has got my DM-muscles twitching

I agree with this sentiment- this is one of my favorite, if not the favorite AP adventure. It will take a skilled GM to run this however (because of the amount of NPCs/ interactions and the open ended nature of the adventure).


I have to say I love this AP so far. We just finished Race to ruin and are preparing to start City of Seven Spears, which I'm really looking forward to DM'ing. I really liked the spirit totems for my characters and was wondering if there will be any further development of them in the upcoming modules.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Michael Ziehl wrote:
I have to say I love this AP so far. We just finished Race to ruin and are preparing to start City of Seven Spears, which I'm really looking forward to DM'ing. I really liked the spirit totems for my characters and was wondering if there will be any further development of them in the upcoming modules.

Nope; the spirit totems are deliberately left for GMs to do with what they will.

Scarab Sages

The artist who did the image of Chivane on the cover...was that Kerem Beyit?


[Elcor style]Overjoyed response... Happy, happy base camp guidelines. I know most people don't gush on this kind of sub-rule but I tend toward the improvisation and simulation side of DMing. Getting more tools to help make the world run in a consistently logical way makes me positively giddy, like a 1st grader after a good haul on Halloween. Now I need to reorganize my master list to slot them somewhere in-between all the good stuff from Kingmaker, somewhere in the middle of the general overland exploitation guidelines.

Optimistic... Someday perhaps after many more Pathfinder volumes all these kinds of things, like the sewer/maze rules from Council of Thieves and the above mentioned, will be collected into a single tome of improvisational awesome?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

John Tanzini wrote:
The artist who did the image of Chivane on the cover...was that Kerem Beyit?

Yes. Nice, innit?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Dorje Sylas wrote:

[Elcor style]Overjoyed response... Happy, happy base camp guidelines. I know most people don't gush on this kind of sub-rule but I tend toward the improvisation and simulation side of DMing. Getting more tools to help make the world run in a consistently logical way makes me positively giddy, like a 1st grader after a good haul on Halloween. Now I need to reorganize my master list to slot them somewhere in-between all the good stuff from Kingmaker, somewhere in the middle of the general overland exploitation guidelines.

Optimistic... Someday perhaps after many more Pathfinder volumes all these kinds of things, like the sewer/maze rules from Council of Thieves and the above mentioned, will be collected into a single tome of improvisational awesome?

We're already picking up several of these subsystems we've introduced in the APs over time in our hardcovers. The chase rules, haunts, and traits are great examples of this type of content.

The book has to be "right" for such reprints though.


James Jacobs wrote:
The book has to be "right" for such reprints though.

I totally agree and I love the revisit of the Chase Rules in Gamemastery Guide, and the deck. I would not expect anything at all soon nor ask for it. With this last issue I've starred going back and pulling page numbers on past issue sub-systems and goddies for my own improvisation index. As it stands the page count isn't there... but I'm sure it will eventually (several years?) :D

The adventure was a good read. I just wish I had both the time and dedicated players to actually run more of your APs.


Excellent adventure! I absolutely loved the sandbox feel of Dwellers of the Forbidden City, and this captures it nicely! I love that a lot is left open ended, but also love that there are definite things going on.

Currently I am running Savage Tides, but am at a point (mountain pass after shipwreck) where I could change over and still not have them be the wiser. Things will still be on the Isle of Dread, which in my Eberron game is, and the Pathfinder factions will need to be changed to Eberron factions...I'm looking forward to that!


In the statblock for the Camulatz there are two lines for Skill:

1 - Fly +10, Perception +14
2 - Bluff +5 (+13 to mimic sounds), Fly +7, Perception +14; Racial Modifiers +8 Bluff to mimic sounds

Would I be correct in assuming it's the second line that's the right one?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Kajehase wrote:

In the statblock for the Camulatz there are two lines for Skill:

1 - Fly +10, Perception +14
2 - Bluff +5 (+13 to mimic sounds), Fly +7, Perception +14; Racial Modifiers +8 Bluff to mimic sounds

Would I be correct in assuming it's the second line that's the right one?

Second line is correct.


Zeugma wrote:
The half-elf Red Mantis is very sexy.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed that she's oddly sexy for a cold-blooded murderess. The way she looks, I might want to hire her to hunt me.

Liberty's Edge

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

I know you guys like being notified about this, My City of Seven Spear is starting to fall apart. Parts 1 and 2 held up very well through my games and I have only read through part 3 twice. Once to read through the second time to prep.

Tonight I am starting part 3 and when I opened up my book today the first page fell right out, usually once that happens more pages start to fall out.


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

Zero posts? That's weird. Shouldn't this thread be attached here?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Zaister wrote:
Zero posts? That's weird. Shouldn't this thread be attached here?

I merged some things.

Grand Lodge

This seems to be the only volume of the adventure path line that's not included in the Community Use policy. I wonder what's up with that.

Webstore Gninja Minion

Exocrat wrote:
This seems to be the only volume of the adventure path line that's not included in the Community Use policy. I wonder what's up with that.

User error! It's been corrected.

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