Slumbering Tsar 8: The Temple-City of Orcus, Part 5—Foundations of Infamy (PFRPG) PDF

****½ (based on 2 ratings)

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The secrets of the city have been laid bare as brave heroes reach its pinnacles only to discover they have only scratched the surface of the dread they face. For after braving all the perils they have, PCs discover that the Foundations of Infamy merely provide the means of reaching the final challenge—The Hidden Citadel. This adventure explores the upper reaches of the city known as the High Terrace, the Maze, the Darken Bridge and the Plateau of the Demon Prince.

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****½ (based on 2 ratings)

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Not as epic as I would have hoped for

****( )

This installment of the epic Slumbering Tsar series is 40 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of advertisements and 1 page of SRD, leaving 34 pages of content, so let's take a good look at the conclusion to the venture into the dread temple-city of Orcus!

This being an adventure review, the following contains massive
SPOILERS
so please, potential players, stop reading.

Still here? All right! The foundations of infamy detail the plateau of the city that has originally been reserved for the upper class and the clergy and it was at this center of the city that the legendary citadel of Orcus vanished. This area is supposed to be wicked, and damn, wicked it is! The Tower Gate leading into the part of the city is a beautifully complex and deadly trap waiting to crush, pierce and kill your PCs. Better yet, the tower gets its own one-page map. Nice!

Next up on the list of locations provided is the so-called cold dell, where the nobles of the city once had their bodies interred. As befitting of the wicked ruling caste, they do not rest easy in their graves and undead abound. The dell also gets its one-page map.
Next up on the iconic locales is the troll stone, a petrified troll-lord who sends out a telepathic call for help and tries to use one of the disciples to erode his prison - once the Pcs have taken the statue, they'll ahve to deal with trolls. A lot of trolls. (See the lower city for information on this)

Oh yeah, then there's the maze, a VERY convoluted area of street-building gone horribly wrong that is patrolled by many flying creatures, necessitating either combat prowess on part of the PCs or survival skills. On the other hand, if they've come this far, both can be expected. I would have really loved to see a map here rather than the abstract confusion that is resolved via dice, but oh well.

Then there's the High Church - the place of worship for the decadent and corrupt elite of the city, whose demonic inhabitants bow to one of the major adversaries of the city, the vrock Plaguebone. The huge army of ghasts and the mummy lord and his entourage that can be found in the crypts make for even more deadly sparring partners. The church also gets 4 pages of maps, depicting both its inside and outside and contains another one of the disciples.
The last section of the temple-city is also detailed herein - the plateau of the demon prince that contains both the remaining servants of a fallen dragon and the place where the 9 disciples can conjure back the legendary citadel of Orcus, whose reappearance is breathtakingly described, thus concluding the second part of the Slumbering Tsar saga.

The pdf concludes with 2 entries for magic items (one of which being the disciples), both of which get their artworks as well as the map appendix.

Conclusion:
Formatting is top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. I did notice an instance of an upper case letter too much, but not enough to detract a star for editing glitches. The pdf is extensively bookmarked. Layout adheres to the beautiful b/w-two-column standard of the series and the maps, once again, come with the used parchment look and grids and once again, I would have loved to see some gridless, player-friendly versions to print out, cut up and hand to my players. Apart from that, well...this installment of the temple-city somewhat underwhelmed me at a very high level: I would have expected something unique, something special, a final guardian of the disciples, possibly divine intervention from the forces of heaven to warn the PCs (offering some rp-opportunities...), a maze that is a bit more original, something along those lines. Additionally, this being the finale of this part of the saga, its stand-alone qualities are not as pronounced as in other installments. If you're looking for a single file, the crooked tower would be a better choice. Finale...perhaps that's it: I would have loved to see some final encounter accompanying the return of the citadel, a kind of battle worthy of the monumental reintroduction of the evil sinkhole in which the PCs summon the place, something analogue to the dragon Malerix guarding the city of Tsar in ST:D3. Perhaps if some additional pages were included, the climax would be more epic, this is after all, the shortest of the ST-parts since the first.

For everyone following the series, this is nevertheless an excellent conclusion to the temple-city arc and thus a must-buy. For people just looking to scavenge bits and pieces, I'd refer you to another part. Not the best installment of the series, but still a good buy, my final verdict will be 4 stars.


The final section of the city.

*****

Slumbering Tsar part 8: Foundations of Infamy by Frog God Publishing

This product is 40 pages long. It starts with a cover, credits, intro, and ToC. (4 pages)

Chapter: The High Terrace (19 pages)
It starts of with two random encounter tables, one for day and the other for night. A third random encounter table comes later for the maze. It has short stat blocks for the wandering monsters in this section as well. Then it moves onto the location encounters. There is 18 encounters in this section that range from CR 5 to CR 17 with most being in the 10-15 range.

Chapter: Plateau of the Demon Prince (6 pages)
This is the final section of the city, at it's highest point with a large church covering much of the ground. There is 5 encounters that range from CR6 to 16. Half of the last page in this section is devoted to describing what happens with the final icon is placed in it's place, it opens up the hidden citadel. Which is where the rest of the series adventures will take place.

Magic Item Appendix (1 pages)
There is a minor artifacts in this section and a normal magic item, both are pretty cool.

Map Appendix (7 pages)
There is 7 pages of nicely done full page maps in this section.

It ends with a OGL and ads. (3 pages)

Closing thoughts. The art work is black and white and range from decent to good. Layout and editing was well done. The maps are brown giving them a slight parchment look to them, which while pretty would be rough to print. There is a new spell Greater Spectral Hand in the book as well. The encounters range from CR5 to CR17, the majority of them fall between CR10-17 though. There is a few encounters that can be very easy or very hard depending on exactly what the PC's do so their CR's vary. Some of the monsters the bigger more important ones have full stat blocks, while some of the simpler ones have short stat blocks.

Like most FGG product this is another one that can be very dangerous and hard if the PC's are not careful. I personally like this style as it is more organic feeling. You have easy walk over encounters next to brutal ones. Good tactics and caution can really help, while those that just bully on with out much thought will like meet a quick and painful end. This like most FGG stuff is very old school feel and if you like that, then you will love this. This adventures and the rest in the series is a nice exploring of a old city that is now inhabited by monsters and other things. So what's my rating? Well maybe I am biased cause I like the style but I couldn't find any real fault with this so I am giving it a 5 star review.

Trust me, I'm a Succubus.


Dark Archive

Reviewed. Yes I know my last few reviews have been very similar. Well the truth is beyond the difference in each individual encounter which i like to avoid getting into to avoid spoilers. There is not a ton that makes them different. Which if you like sandboxy city exploration is a good thing. So anyways here is my latest review for what it is worth.


Reviewed here, on RPGaggression and sent to GMS magazine. Cheers!


Excellent reviews as always, thanks End and D_M!

Dark Archive

Nice review End.


Thanks for the praise! It's why I do this. ^^ (The untold riches and rockstar-like amount of fame also help, though. ;P)

Dark Archive

Endzeitgeist wrote:
Thanks for the praise! It's why I do this. ^^ (The untold riches and rockstar-like amount of fame also help, though. ;P)

If you are getting riches and rockstar status I must be doing it wrong. All I get is a lot of men groveling at my feet which i always got. :)


Thanks for the reviews, you guys. I find them very helpful as I cherry pick which parts I want to use for my PC's ultimate confrontation of Orcus as the culmination of my 1-20 campaign. /salute!

Frog God Games

Again, thanks for the reviews!

And Endzeitgeist, I think your assessment is spot on. This chapter unfortunately suffers somewhat from the "what was left" effect when the 2nd Tsar book got divided up into 5 parts, and much of the climax ties directly into the events described in ST5, so it definitely loses some impact. And it's certainly not as stand-aloney as many of the others by its very nature. Thanks for the review.

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