Pathfinder Adventure Path #43: The Haunting of Harrowstone (Carrion Crown 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

4.60/5 (based on 32 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #43: The Haunting of Harrowstone (Carrion Crown 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Chapter 1: "Haunting of Harrowstone"
by Michael Kortes

When Harrowstone Prison burned to the ground, prisoners, guards, and a host of vicious madmen met a terrifying end. In the years since, the nearby town of Ravengro has shunned the fire-scarred ruins, telling tales of unquiet spirits that wander abandoned cellblocks. But when a mysterious evil disturbs Harrowstone’s tenuous spiritual balance, a ghostly prison riot commences that threatens to consume the nearby village in madness and flames. Can the adventurers discover the secrets of Harrowstone and quell a rebellion of the dead? Or will they be the spirit-prison’s next inmates?

    This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path launches the Carrion Crown Adventure Path and includes:
  • “The Haunting of Harrowstone,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 1st-level characters, by Michael Kortes
  • A tour of Ravengro, village of mystery and suspicion, by Michael Kortes
  • Expanded rules for creating and running horrific haunts, by Brandon Hodge
  • An ancient revenge is reborn in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by F. Wesley Schneider
  • Six new monsters, by Adam Daigle and Patrick Renie

Each monthly full-color softcover 96-page Pathfinder Adventure Path volume contains an in-depth adventure scenario, stats for several new monsters, and 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: 978-1-60125-308-8

The Haunting of Harrowstone is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The rules for running this Adventure Path and Chronicle sheet are available as a free download (561 KB zip/PDF).

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

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Horror, drama and challenging encounters!

5/5

I would like to add my thoughts upon this.

Despite a lot of traditional content (like, chasing a lich-king) the first part of this adventure path is not to be considered "old, boring and predictable".

Instead, I think that Paizo really is successful by combining a thematic frame with cool, and challenging encounters! Everything is not what it looks like…

I do hope that the remaining parts of "Carrion Crown" is as successful combining drama, action and horror, but whatever the other parts will be like: "The Haunting of Harrowstone" deserves a closer inspection if you are looking for a great module.


A well-shaped story

5/5

Much love is already being thrown about for the monsters, maps, NPCs, and writing in Haunting of Harrowstone.

I would like to express my awe and admiration at the shaping of the dramatic action. The devices used move the plot from chill to creepy to horrific on an ever-accelerating and expectionally flavorful ride.

In keeping with the proud history of the horror genre, the players will experience a growing, gnawing apprehension that leads inexorably towards the story's climax with a fervor that sometimes makes you forget if you're running towards the next encounter or away from the last one. This is by far the finest example of pacing I have seen modeled in the pages of a Pathfinder AP. Kudos!


A beautiful homage to classic horror

5/5

The overall concept of this adventure path is by far my favorite and it shows horror in a light not often utilized.

There is a such a sweet satisfaction when a player's mindset goes from just bashing another skeleton to the mortal chill of facing something that has crawled its way back from the veil of death and is intruding upon the natural cycle of life, and Haunting of Harrowstone kicks off that feeling in a superb manner.

It is going to be captivating to see how the story unfolds, and I am just as anxious as my players to see what is in store. Very brilliantly done.


Pathfinder style, traditonal horror theme

5/5

Wow. Just wow. An amazing start to the Carrion Crown adventure path.

Inbred rapist cannibal necrophilia-practicing ogres chased me away from Adventure Paths years ago and I couldn’t be lured back until Carrion Crown beckoned with promises of a more traditional horror approach. While Carrion Crown has its own disturbing story and images, this first chapter just dips one mangled toe slightly into the torture-porn type of horror and no more (for which I’m profoundly grateful).

Lots of spoilers to follow.

Carrion Crown enticed me with the promise old-school horror. It went well beyond just delivering a fearful story, it also presented a Pathfinder adventure in which the PCs are still heroes and can save the day. It even includes a likable damsel in distress in need of rescue.

This first part of the Carrion Crown adventure path succeeds on many levels. The PCs are drawn in as possible pallbearers in a funeral and beneficiaries of a will. They are likely to stay for a variety of reasons: to help the town, protect the lady in distress—Kendra Lorrimor, or for the promise of future reward. And they will find a peaceful stay with their patron, Kendra, and find that peace threatened by the nearby haunted prison. The patron could even become a love interest if a PC is interested (and can woo her).

The adventure itself starts out with a confrontation with ugly locals. The PCs get to choose whether to talk things out or start busting heads. This theme of choosing to either think and talk through problems or go right to smash and burn continues throughout the entire adventure. Smart play is rewarded with trust being built with the locals (as a new game mechanic) which in turn makes the PCs job of unraveling what is going on that much easier.

From that point on, the PCs have plenty of encouragement to investigate what is going on in the haunted town. Some groups may want to charge right into the burned prison, but friendly warnings from their patron and promises of finding some ghost-busting equipment first may stay their hand (and maybe save their lives).

The prison itself is haunted, truly haunted, by unique spirits sure to give the PCs nightmares. The place is not just creepy or horrible it is on all levels and in all ways cursed and plagued by the spirits of the restless dead through the use of uniquely developed haunts.

Some very nice touches of horror in the adventure include but aren’t limited to the opening scene with PCs as possible pallbearers, the dead professor showing up as undead on his daughter’s doorstep (a classic), and a Golarin specific Ouija board that can contact spirits but also includes the danger of possession (another classic). A twisted combo of the ghosts of serial killers and sociopaths gives a tip of the hat to more modern horror.

I don’t usually notice artwork unless it is really bad, but I noticed the artwork here because it is really, really good. My favorites are the iconics carrying the casket, the Headless Horseman, and the animated jack-o’-lantern.

This adventure path chapter and the Player’s Guide do not have a map of Ustalav. Following along with the adventure path outline may be difficult unless the reader picks up a map.

My only small quibbles are that I found a couple of places where the adventure doesn’t tie in directly with the Player’s Guide for the adventure. Professor Lorrimor says that the villagers may think ill of him, considering him a demonologist or witch. The guide though states that Ustalav accepts witches. I’d rather he’d referred to oracles and summoners in this case to keep the idea that in this kingdom, witches are accepted.

I also couldn’t find game information on using the Harrow card the Uprising with the new rules from the guide. I expected to see something about using that card with the rules for Harrow Points.

Edit on the above two points: Paizo stated that the Player's Guide wasn't finalized when the adventure was. So the above two points aren't really a problem and the Harrow card will show up in the next chapter of the AP.

The other piece I didn’t like was the mention that PCs who find the mysterious words appearing on a memorial likely wouldn’t know they are under a time limit (if the entire name is spelled out, Bad Things Happen). This information is important for the PCs to know and in fact later in the adventure they can discover the truth about the words. I was surprised in an adventure so laden with solving mysteries that this one mystery was dismissed as not being solvable (only to allow the mystery to be solved later which is a better choice).

Beyond the adventure, the advice on what music to use to enhance the game was an interesting idea. I’d have preferred list of stories players might read to get into the game, but the music idea was fine. In fact, I used the fiction included in the AP to hand out to my players to read, so that worked out well.

I enjoyed the new fiction and the town write-up. The town and NPCs are crucial to the first third of the adventure which involves the PCs poking around and asking questions in true Scooby Doo style (the original Scooby Doo is classic horror for kids).

The expanded information on haunts is great on two levels—it really allows a GM to tie the story of the campaign right into encounters and it expands the existing options for haunts found in the GameMastery Guide.

I liked that in addition to new monsters, the bestiary expanded existing monster rules and added new animated objects. I also like seeing a new race option for PCs; I know Paizo hasn’t wanted too many new races added to the game, but I think changelings really fit well into this adventure path. The race is different from standard races with a natural weapon and natural armor which plays up their monstrous heritage nicely.

I don’t miss the stats for iconic PCs. I liked them, but I like everything else that was kept even more and I’m glad the extra two pages were used in another way.

Finally, I like the bits of background included on the inside of the front and back covers. A haunted house, a ghost, burial rituals, and whippoorwills all add great depth to Ustalav and the unfolding AP. I plan to hand one of each of these four background pieces out to the PCs along with the art of the iconics being pallbearers.

This AP delivers what I want: old-school horror with atmosphere and unwholesome mysteries combined with the heroism and excitement of the Pathfinder game.


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OK, so maybe I'm running this for the wrong group...

I dumped it into our current campaign, with the characters heading to the prison to recover a stolen weapon from a doppleganger working for the cultists.

so they check out the sinkhole/pond and the skeletons attack.

My 17 year old daughter's comment: Water-based, flaming kamakazi skeltons practicing fistcuffmanship. Most awesome encounter ever!


What is supposed to be the Average party size for Pathfinder Modules like this one? I know 4 is the usual for some D&D modules but not sure about Pathfinder ones. Any help would be appreciated.

Dark Archive

The general assumption is that the adventure will challenge a versatile party of four with a good mix of abilities and skills. Having a party of five will not unduly off balance a mod.

If you plan to have a party of six then you will need to make some adjustments to make the adventure as challenging, something that should not be too difficult, in fact in the Carrion Crown section of the message boards there are already some threads regarding this.


Were Changeling PCs only meant to have one claw attack? The fluff indicates that both hands turn claw like, and it would seem the vast majority of claw attacks are in pairs. Also, the example has 2 claws.


Just finished playing through this last night.

My players loved it and I'm pretty sure any problems that we encountered were my fault, not the module's.

There was lots of hilarious stuff that occured, there were some severe beatdowns and then there were some wicked lucky moments. No party deaths, but the rogue went down to negative hit points every other combat!

My first time running an Adventure Path and the players can't wait to start The Beast of Lepidstadt!

Excellent job, Michael Kortes and Paizo!


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

Just a small nitpick: shouldn't the product title read: "Pathfinder Adventure Path #43: The Haunting of Harrowstone (Carrion Crown 1 of 6) (PFRPG)"?

Contributor

Yes! Fixed. :D


Hi guys!

I am planning to run this module, it would be my first adventure path. I wanted to ask, does anybody know how many sessions would "the haunting of harrowstone" last?

And, in general, how many sessions are each adventure path module?

Thanks.


It'll vary but 4-5 is a good ballpark. It will likely get longer as you get to the higher level ones (e.g. book 5,6)

I will be wrapping up HoH in 5 sessions (albeit each were 3 hrs or so).

Dark Archive

Depends on a few factors a big one is how long do you guys play at a given time. That can make a major difference.


Vassago Embrace wrote:

Hi guys!

I am planning to run this module, it would be my first adventure path. I wanted to ask, does anybody know how many sessions would "the haunting of harrowstone" last?

And, in general, how many sessions are each adventure path module?

Thanks.

.

.
Vary with the level of experience of the players and GM, the party's size, for how many hours you play, how much of that time is spent playing the game, etc...

2) I love the Changeling for some reasons, I want to hug her and...

Dark Archive

Currently running the Carrion Crown AP campaign. My adventurers are about finished with the 1st book and will be moving to the next book "The Trial of the Beast" duing the next session. As the GM, I love using props and handouts during my game, including pictures of the people the players meet and the monsters they encounter. I have the PDF version of the 1st book and have all 6 of the physical books.

I have found copying the portraits of the NPCs in the PDF doesn't "translate" well onto a full page by itself. And printing the entire page and cutting around the NPC picture provides a handout that is too small for my players to store in their notebooks properly.

Is there a website that Paizo has posted the pictures of this AP that I would be able to download/print clean copies? I have searched on the web and found where others have made their own printouts but would rather using something that has been issued by Paizo.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

~ Thanks!


ckdragons wrote:

Currently running the Carrion Crown AP campaign. My adventurers are about finished with the 1st book and will be moving to the next book "The Trial of the Beast" duing the next session. As the GM, I love using props and handouts during my game, including pictures of the people the players meet and the monsters they encounter. I have the PDF version of the 1st book and have all 6 of the physical books.

I have found copying the portraits of the NPCs in the PDF doesn't "translate" well onto a full page by itself. And printing the entire page and cutting around the NPC picture provides a handout that is too small for my players to store in their notebooks properly.

Is there a website that Paizo has posted the pictures of this AP that I would be able to download/print clean copies? I have searched on the web and found where others have made their own printouts but would rather using something that has been issued by Paizo.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

~ Thanks!

I use obsidian portal as tool for my players adding the pics to the site is great so they can see everyone they have met(end plug), now as far as hand outs its not the same as giving them the hand out but with todays tech couldn't you make an e-file/note book with all the info for them and set it up on a monitor close buy with a click to send on a net work.

You could alwasy go into MS paint and touch it up rescale it and what not.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Short story by Elizabeth Bear (in podcast format) that's relevant to this volume's Bestiary


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Event 5. Smoldering Revenge question (nit-pick, not a game breaker)

Page 25: "When the fire begins, it starts at the five locations
marked on the map (see page 18)—each of these locations
represents an oil lamp that one of the five primary spirits
of Harrowstone targets to start the fire."

I notice on page 18 that there are no such markings (nor on the interactive .pdf map).

I've run a fire/stress scenario once and they're great fun, so I was just curious as to what the optimal placement for the oil lamps might be.

Also, what was the optimal number of town folk people might have played on this piece (I can't imagine having 60 town folk in the building like the AP mentions. That would just be crazy).


Will physical copies of this ever be available again? Maybe non mint?

Webstore Gninja Minion

Sky Howl wrote:
Will physical copies of this ever be available again? Maybe non mint?

Unlikely. If there were non-mint copies available, they would be listed.


I'll just have to become a subscriber for future adventure paths. Missing out on these sucks!

President, SmiteWorks

The Fantasy Grounds version is available for just $6 now if you already own the PDF here at Paizo.com and synced your account.

Carrion Crown AP 1 for Fantasy Grounds

The rest of the Carrion Crown series is available as well.


Alright campers, here's the skinny if you want to keep the number of deaths down in this campaign and first book:

You need a Ranger, preferably with Disable Device as class, who concentrates on hunting undead. Check out the Duskwalker race, this will save the party because the first book expects you to somehow use enchanted arrows to take out incorporeal undead even if you don't have a party archer, and comes in handy later.

You need a Paladin (angelkin aasimar preferred). They are immune to disease and have very high saving throws and additional healing powers. This is VERY handy later on in the campaign!

You need a Cleric of Pharasma (standard aasimar preferred). Yes this is specific, but it is going to pay off dearly later. Our Cleric in both campaigns was running on fumes most of the time, tapped out of spells and channels. To that end, always have both Cure Light Wounds wands (happy sticks) and Lesser Restoration wands handy, even if you have to get the party to pony up for them.

You need a Wizard (elf preferred as the bonus against SR is very useful) with LOTS of knowledges and the ability to craft wondrous item, magic arms and armor, and forge ring would be great. There are lots of enemy spellbooks you can find throughout the campaign. GMs, allow the party Wizard to exchange spellbooks for a time with the NPC daughter of their deceased sponsor, give them access to as many spells as possible (equal to the number of spells she has in her spellbook). They need it.

For items, concentrate on Ghost Touch, Holy, Undead Bane enchantments on your weapons. Everybody needs to have a Cloak of Resistance as high as possible except the high Charisma Paladin. You will thank me later.

Everyone who isn't a Cleric or a Paladin must take Iron Will at first level. No joke. This will save your butt so many times during the campaign that it was easily the most valued feat ever. Maybe even Improved Iron Will. Because of the sheer lethality of this campaign, I recommend you take Improved Initiative and Toughness as soon as you can! Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration is very handy later on. Try to take Great Fortitude early on if you can, this will help against undead and disease/curses.

GM, I pasted in the Carrion Hill adventure (quite nasty but rewarding for Wizards) right after the first book. Rule of Fear is handy for learning that obviously nonhuman PCs might not be welcome, and for knowing where the cities are. Even if they follow all of my recommendations as to character construction etc, they are likely to die frequently. The last book in the campaign kinda sucks, in that it's nothing more than a series of fights in an isolated and difficult to retreat from locale. Horror Adventures Sanity rules are nice, but the net effect is that the party will get lots of wands of lesser restoration, max out their will saves asap, and may take more time to get through the campaign. They are still really neat rules though.

Ways to Cure Werewolfism by the book, summarized:
Wolfsbane: 500 gp. Grants a new saving throw in first 3 days. DC 16 poison, 1d3 con damage, 1 save to cure.
Remove Disease from NPC Cleric CL12: 360 gold. 90% likely to cure ordinary lycanthropy in first 3 days. Must be in appropriate town.
Remove Disease from CL 12 scroll: 900 gold. 90% likely to cure ordinary lycanthropy in first 3 days. Must have someone who can use it.
Remove Disease from CL 12 potion: 1,800 gold. 90% likely to cure ordinary lycanthropy in first 3 days.
Remove Curse from CL 12 scroll: 900 gold. 90% likely to cure ordinary lycanthropy when victim is transformed, if the spell connects. It is a touch spell and grants a will save and a spell resistance check. Must have someone who can use it on transformed victim.
CL 14: Add 1/6 to above costs. Spells are 10% more likely to cure.
Vilkacis lycanthropy: Spells are 15% less likely to cure.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Use spoiler tags please, especially if you're dropping this in the product description.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, spoilers, dude. It's fine to go spoilerific without warning in GM threads, but not in product threads.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

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Spoiler Tag Added.


I couldn't. I didn't know how. I would have rather put it in the reviews section for GMs to see, but for some odd reason, I couldn't do that.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

It's easy! Do what I do but take the space I put in after spoiler

[Spoiler =]Put your words here [/spoiler ]

:
See, super easy! :-)

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