Pathfinder Adventure Path #44: Trial of the Beast (Carrion Crown 2 of 6) (PFRPG)

3.60/5 (based on 19 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #44: Trial of the Beast (Carrion Crown 2 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Chapter 2: "Trial of the Beast"
by Richard Pett

The rampaging abomination known as the Beast of Lepidstadt has been captured! Yet rather than destroy the monster for its countless murders and untold crimes, the city council demands the creature receive a fair trial. Upon traveling to Lepidstadt, the adventurers find themselves caught up in the anger and investigations surrounding the Beast’s judgment. Soon it’s up to them to discover whether the legendary monster is truly a killer or merely the instrument of some greater evil—and either way, whether it’s too dangerous to be allowed to survive.

    This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path continues the Carrion Crown Adventure Path and includes:
  • “Trial of the Beast,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 4th-level characters, by Richard Pett
  • An investigation into the secret society called the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye, by Brandon Hodge
  • Revelations on the faith of Pharasma, goddess of birth, death, and fate, by Sean K Reynolds
  • Terror upon terror for Laurel Cylphra in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by F. Wesley Schneider
  • Four exciting and deadly new monsters, by Rob McCreary, Patrick Renie, and Sean K Reynolds

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: 978-1-60125-309-5

Trial of the Beast 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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3.60/5 (based on 19 ratings)

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Solid adventure with glaring issues in the last segment

3/5

This is one of the better Adventure Path books I've ran or read. There's a clunky introduction with a carnival troupe that never shows up again (I'm also not entirely comfortable with the troupe of "freaks" presented), though the investigation and battle can be interesting depending on the group.

The second section deals with an investigation into the Beast's crimes overlapped with a dungeon crawl you can complete over the multiday investigation period. It's a comfortable time limit, with enough time that you aren't in huge danger of failing, but not enough time that it's a pointless addition. The actual areas and court room scenes are interesting enough, though the haunted town can get into rinse and repeat encounters that are either tedious or deadly depending on the group.

The dungeon crawl is solid with nothing especially deadly or weak, though unfortunately there is little writing on what would happen if you tried to instead resolve the situation diplomatically. It expects the PCs to realize evil is afoot and simply raid the compound.

After the trial, it leads into a much larger dungeon. The first part is fine. The encounters are interesting, but the maps are wrong (Most of it should be twice as larger but not all of it) and there are a lot of empty rooms with flavor but little in content.

The glaring flaw in the book comes in the last section of the dungeon. First of all, all of the doors are barred requiring dc 28 strength checks. The writer thinks enough to give you a magical item to bypass the doors, but even with the magical item you would need to roll a 19 on the die with it at full power, and the item has charges. Once you break past the FIRST door you enter an entirely flooded dungeon. Everywhere is difficult terrain and if you are size small you have to make swim checks everywhere. The first two encounters in this section are behind traps, though the traps are not themselves deadly unless you have a player wearing heavy armor. The problem is that behind one of these traps is TWO high level swarms. Underwater. That can do both ability damage AND drain. My group had a pyrokineticist so could at least do infinite cone attacks, but even those would require very high caster level checks to get past it being underwater. I decided to just ignore the encounter after the first round when the crossbow user took dex damage and drain.

There's also an encounter with a near invisible basilisk that could easily end the game before anyone can react. I removed that one as well. To top it all off, almost every encounter, and room, is completely avoidable with no loss of loot or story.

The final mini-boss and boss are fine, though the final boss can be especially deadly with the wrong group or tactics. It seems perfectly survivable as long as the GM uses the exposition NPC nearby appropriately.

This would have been a 4 star book easily if not for the flooded section.


Trial of the Beast or cliché of who the real monster is trial.

1/5

Trial of the Beast is where you start to see Carrion Crown unravel quickly. The adventure really does little help tie into the Whisper Tyrant. The threads connecting it are so small the players have to be reminded often about it or railroaded hard so they don’t forget it. The NPC’s do not get very flushed out and just order the PC’s around to do things. The castle at the end is rather confusing in how it really ties into the Adventure Path but instead becomes apparent that the writers just wanted to do a whistle stop tour of famous horror locations in various mediums and cared little more for anything else.


Frankenstein meets Law and Order

4/5

Finished running this last night, this adventure is a good blend of various styles and should appeal to most DMs and players. The concept is a great hook and got my players involved as they took on the defence of the Beast. For the DM the challenge in this adventure is striking a balance between mob hysteria and the fact the city is educated and still has an almost slavish respect for legal tradition.
The investigation and the villains in the first half are great. Where this adventure begins to lost a bit of its steam is in the last half while the party looks to locate the Beast's creator. The last encounter while memorable is pretty railroady. My group enjoyed it as I did open up some options (finding a few adamantine weapons and or distracting the opponent to loose the prisoner). Overall another high quality module.


Some nice ideas...

2/5

...but the result wasn't as good.
Let me start with saying that I had, most likely, given it 3 Stars if it had been a seperate module instead of a part of carrion crown. Not because being part of CC makes it bad but because for me as a player it didn't seem to fit in with the bigger picture.

But as is I could not help but wonder "Why are we wasting our time here instead of hunting the whispering way?"
That sums up one of my main concerns: Character motivation. There is, really, none given.

Other problems I had with the adventure:
- Too much railroading.
- Too much time pressure. After some time we had to start using massive ressouces to keep going. Like lesser restoration spells and a bought scroll of napstack that eat up nearly all of our scarce cash.
- As someone else rewied:

Quote:
WAAAAY too skill roll intensive on the first portion. It just became annoying.

- The mob attacking the prison


5/5

This book is what would happen if Frankenstein's monster got his day in court. This book is mostly an investigation but there's plenty of combat and tons of roleplay, especially in court, for the characters to experience. I loved the urgency of a time limit and if you manage to complete the investigation you will enjoy learning the truth behind each crime.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS.....

My favorites:
1) I still love anything to do with Ustalav. This time you're in Lepidstadt, home of the world famous university.

2) You meet a circus troupe of "freaks" known as the Crooked Kin. They are portrayed with dignity and as being afflicted by real disorders. Our GM had us watch the movie "Freaks" to prepare for meeting the Kin, which I also highly recommend.

3) Yet again, the plot is interesting and pulls you along to the end of the book. You are allowed more hints about the Whispering Way and transition easily from the first book to the second.

Least favorites:

1) I think the themes inspired by other media blended well except for a clumsy cameo by what could only be the Candyman later in the book.

2) Perhaps we didn't investigate every tiny detail (our GM later told us we found everything but who knows) but there are still unanswered questions about the crimes. I can only hope there will be tie-ins later in the AP.


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Liberty's Edge

First! Huzzah!!!

Dark Archive

I like the color assuming that is the final color.

Liberty's Edge

Hangins too good for him! Burnins too good for him!
he should be chopped up into little bitty pieces, and BURIED ALIVE!!!

Contributor

Heathansson wrote:

Hangins too good for him! Burnins too good for him!

he should be chopped up into little bitty pieces, and BURIED ALIVE!!!

Get your torches and pitchforks ready!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Dark_Mistress wrote:
I like the color assuming that is the final color.

Nothing about this cover is final yet; we probably won't have final images for another five months or so, actually.


The PCs as guardians of a flesh golem? That sounds like a BAD idea. But I love it. :)

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

Pett!


James Jacobs wrote:
Dark_Mistress wrote:
I like the color assuming that is the final color.
Nothing about this cover is final yet; we probably won't have final images for another five months or so, actually.

I'd like to request split pea soup green.

Dark Archive

Hmmmmmm........ Frankenstein much?

But in all seriousness thats the first thought in my head when I read the preview. Sounds like it'll be a good adventure.


I like how there's an "among monsters" theme going on through this AP. Almost seems like the heroes will have helped more evil creatures than anything else by the end of the path.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Monele wrote:
I like how there's an "among monsters" theme going on through this AP. Almost seems like the heroes will have helped more evil creatures than anything else by the end of the path.

Ah, but...

Spoiler:
The Beast of Lepidstadt is statted up in Classic Horrors Revisited, and he's neutral, not evil. Indeed, the poor fellow "...desperately wants to be accepted," but has a bit of an anger issue.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

Funny that the mock-up cover to #4 has the Beast of Lepidstadt on it, instead of on this volume.

Contributor

...it has begun...

Ooo, I can't do THAT can I?

Oh yes...you know, I have a bad feeling about this one:)

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Monele wrote:
I like how there's an "among monsters" theme going on through this AP. Almost seems like the heroes will have helped more evil creatures than anything else by the end of the path.

How is that a good thing?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

gbonehead wrote:
Monele wrote:
I like how there's an "among monsters" theme going on through this AP. Almost seems like the heroes will have helped more evil creatures than anything else by the end of the path.

How is that a good thing?

Actually... the "you have to help the evil creature" is a theme we've dipped into a LOT, and it's one that we'll be trying to avoid in this AP. The penultimate adventure is a lot more complex than "help the vampires," and the second adventure, which features a flesh golem on trial... and flesh golems aren't usually evil (the one in this adventure is not).

There IS a lot of monsters among humanity in this AP though, that's for sure.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:


The penultimate adventure

Well played, Mr. Jacobs, well played. :)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:


Actually... the "you have to help the evil creature" is a theme we've dipped into a LOT, and it's one that we'll be trying to avoid in this AP. The penultimate adventure is a lot more complex than "help the vampires," and the second adventure, which features a flesh golem on trial... and flesh golems aren't usually evil (the one in this adventure is not).

There IS a lot of monsters among humanity in this AP though, that's for sure.

I do hope this isn't a AP in which paladins and like minded characters 'need not apply' because, at first blush, helping werewolves and vampires goes so against the grain. I will take comfort in James' words but I can't help but get a Underworld (movies) / Van Helsing (the movie) vibe from the initial adventure writeups.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vigil wrote:
Funny that the mock-up cover to #4 has the Beast of Lepidstadt on it, instead of on this volume.

Yeah, that's what I thought too. (Maybe the actual cover will feature new artwork with the Beast of Lepidstadt?) Or maybe the "Beast" will be the cover "boy"... new pose, new artwork...

I'm looking forward to running this one (although with my current plans for my Monday night game, I need to give the players a nice, decent, adventure "finish" in my high level Mwangi Expanse game... and then it's on to Council of Thieves, which I'd really like to run... however after CoT... it'll be Carrion Crown for sure).

You folks at Paizo continue to WOW me with your talents and abilities.

Regards,

Dean (TMW)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thank goodness Richard Pett is writing a volume in this adventure path! Well, I guess it is a no brainer really ... The Skinsaw Murders is probably the best gothic horror style adventure I have seen, I’m sure that mantle will probably be passed during this AP!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Cover image and description have been updated to match the finished product.

Dark Archive

Cool cover.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That's a high quality cover.

Horrible monster, and peasants with torches. I hope there are some pitchforks obscured by the Beast.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Now, that's a cover I like!

Quote:
I do hope this isn't a AP in which paladins and like minded characters 'need not apply' because, at first blush, helping werewolves and vampires goes so against the grain.

Naah, if an iconic can take it, so can you(r player's paladin).

Ruyan.


Nice cover, it's a flesh golem on steriods.


Dragon78 wrote:
Nice cover, it's a flesh golem on steriods.

After the green, gray and red one - here comes the undead Hulk.

I like the cover!

Silver Crusade

Solomon Grundy, like pathfinder too. Great cover..

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4

Looks like he has Dragon scales for his back, very cool.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Wow i'm intrigued by this "Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye"--any clues as to what exactly this is??

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The Painted Oryx wrote:
Wow i'm intrigued by this "Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye"--any clues as to what exactly this is??

No one should have many clues at all about this group yet, since it's not really been talked about at all until Carrion Crown.

Dark Archive

The Painted Oryx wrote:
Wow i'm intrigued by this "Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye"--any clues as to what exactly this is??

When I was speed reading that I read it as the The Eye of Palpatine myself.

Image


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wait, is that Seelah leading a mob of torch-wielding villagers? oO

Dark Archive

TheTwitching King wrote:

Looks like he has Dragon scales for his back, very cool.

And an owlbear bicep!


Quick question about this from a potential DM of CC...

Spoiler:
Does this chapter take place very far from a certain "Carrion Hill"? ;) Thinking set-piece/side trek potential.

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder

Sunderstone wrote:

Quick question about this from a potential DM of CC...

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
Trial of the Beast takes place a bit far from Carrion Hill, but the PCs go right past it between Pathfinder #45 and Pathfinder #46. In fact, "Wake of the Watcher" includes a sidebar with some ideas about adding Carrion Hill to the AP, but some modification will be needed, as the PCs will be a bit too high in level by that point to play Carrion Hill as written.

Rob McCreary wrote:
Sunderstone wrote:

Quick question about this from a potential DM of CC...

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks. I was thinking it might be cool to run at the appropriate level, a high lvl version is interesting too.

Shadow Lodge

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

Loves the cover!

Liberty's Edge

The plot to this AP sounds amazing. I hope there's a court scene were social PCs have a chance to be shine.

Contributor

Mike Silva wrote:
The plot to this AP sounds amazing. I hope there's a court scene were social PCs have a chance to be shine.

There's a TON in this about how to run it if your PCs want to be total hams on the stand, or if they just want to do the behind the scenes crime scene investigation. Or both!

Sounds like this might be right up your alley.

Contributor

Burn him!

BURN HIM!

...Sorry, I got carried back for a moment there...

Liberty's Edge

Hmmm. I may have to see if I can persuade a local lawyer of my acquaintance to appear in a cameo role (via Skype) as an NPC Barrister for my CC online Campaign.

"My Lords, with respect, what my **barely honourable** friend MEANS with that scandalous submission..."

Hey. I might just know one who's into Pathfinder (generally) and Carrion Crown (specifically). :P

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Myself being a theoretician of law, I am very curious if said trial will be an Anglo-Saxon trial (jury and al) or a continental trial (inquisition-style).

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens Subscriber

Question: in the Inner Sea World Guide p260 there is a mention of the 'Eldritch Order of the Palatine Eye'; can we assume this is the same as the 'Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye' mentioned in Pathfinder 43 and here in the blurb for Pathfinder 44?

Is it an alternative name or a typo?

I shall do the Pathfinder wiki article on the org so want to get this right please.

Thanks

J

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder

Fleanetha wrote:

Question: in the Inner Sea World Guide p260 there is a mention of the 'Eldritch Order of the Palatine Eye'; can we assume this is the same as the 'Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye' mentioned in Pathfinder 43 and here in the blurb for Pathfinder 44?

Is it an alternative name or a typo?

I shall do the Pathfinder wiki article on the org so want to get this right please.

Thanks

J

The name wasn't finalized when we were working on The Inner Sea World Guide, and the "eldritch" version unfortunately slipped past. The correct name is the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye, and is referred to such throughout the Carrion Crown AP.

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens Subscriber

Thanks Rob - I shall amend accordingly and point here.

J


When approximately will this book start shipping to subscribers?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
When approximately will this book start shipping to subscribers?

I haven't gotten my "shipping in a week or two" email yet, so I'm really doubting it'll be this week. Hope I'm wrong.


Generic Villain wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
When approximately will this book start shipping to subscribers?
I haven't gotten my "shipping in a week or two" email yet, so I'm really doubting it'll be this week. Hope I'm wrong.

Life is getting in the way of my gaming so I was just looking for something to read at least. I was not really expecting anything until around the 15 or a little later.

Sovereign Court

Gorbacz wrote:
Myself being a theoretician of law, I am very curious if said trial will be an Anglo-Saxon trial (jury and al) or a continental trial (inquisition-style).

Given the Anglo-Saxonity of most of the writers and players, and despite the Eastern European feel of Ustalav (to me), I suspect it will be a jury trial so as not to confuse us poor dumb Americans.


Stephan wrote:
The PCs as guardians of a flesh golem? That sounds like a BAD idea. But I love it. :)

Could be a flesh golem, though it also might be Carrion as the arms are quite different and appear to be from some other creatures, then again for all I know it's a altered flesh golem of somekind.

I assume it might have intelligence of somekind otherwise it would seem rarther silly to put someone in court who's only response is
"Roaaaaaaar! Grrrrrrr! Mwhaaaaaaaa!"

Then again I've heard of clerics who've actually tried to put zombies in trail for their crimes.

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder

cappadocius wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Myself being a theoretician of law, I am very curious if said trial will be an Anglo-Saxon trial (jury and al) or a continental trial (inquisition-style).
Given the Anglo-Saxonity of most of the writers and players, and despite the Eastern European feel of Ustalav (to me), I suspect it will be a jury trial so as not to confuse us poor dumb Americans.

Given that the adventure was written by an Englishman, and developed by someone who lived in Central/Eastern Europe for a few years, you might be surprised! :)

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