Northlands Saga 1: Vengeance of the Long Serpent (PFRPG) PDF

4.00/5 (based on 4 ratings)

Our Price: $4.99

Add to Cart
Facebook Twitter Email

This series of adventures takes place in the frozen north, where men are men, beer is ale and monsters are, well, scary. Who has not loved the setting of the 13th Warrior or wished to relive the Frost Giant’s Daughter by R.E. Howard? Heroes will fight evil in the cold lands, sail the treacherous ice filled seas where sea monsters swallow ships and crews and feast in fire-lit halls with Vikings! Planned as a series of 10 modules, this series will begin in January (appropriately, due to the cold). More information will be added as it becomes available. Written by Ken Spencer, this series is sure to send shivers up even the bravest adventurer’s spine!

1: Vengeance of the Long Serpent
Pull on your hauberk, ready your shield, and take up your axe, the tide is moving out and it is time to set sail on a voyage of adventure. In Vengeance of the Long Serpent, the heroes sail north into a land of murder, savagery, and madness to face a reawakened dark god and his deadly cult.

Vengeance of the Long Serpent is an adventure for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, designed for a party of three to six characters of 5th to 7th level. It offers a chance at rich rewards for little risk, but appearances are deceiving. The land is rugged, cold, and largely unexplored. Fierce monsters lair in the inland expanses, but the greatest danger is the natives of the far north. These people, who call themselves the Children of Althunak, are followers of an evil god who plots to bring a reign of cold and darkness to the world. Finally, the season is well advanced, and winter comes early in the north. Will the PCs’ voyage of fortune and discovery turn into a journey into horror and darkness?

The adventure can be played as a stand-alone adventure, or it can be continued in Beyond the Wailing Mountains by Frog God Games. The Far North can be used as a locale for further adventures beyond this one or even the Northlands Saga.

Product Availability

Fulfilled immediately.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

FGGNS01PFE


See Also:

Average product rating:

4.00/5 (based on 4 ratings)

Sign in to create or edit a product review.

Start of a Northland Saga

3/5

This is a review for 'Vengeance of the 'Long Serpent', part 1 of the Northland Saga which is currently 4 adventures long, and an adventure by Frog God Games. I'm not a native speaker (I'm German), so I may have fumbled my language skill checks from time to time. Give me a note if I wrote something wrong and I'll try to make myself more clear.

'Vengeance of the 'Long Serpent' has 17 pages of information with three black and white pics (and a cover, table of content and so). It is for levels 5-7 and gets the PCs to level 6-8. The whole 4 adventures published so far take the PCs to level 9-11.

The adventure plays in the far north, what would be the arctic circle in our world.

The following content includes spoilers, so players shouldn't continue to read!

Start (4 Pages): The product starts with a short description of the Northlands, the adventure background with a nice history of the region, and finally adventure summary and hooks. The adventurers are included with nice read aloud passages.
The Voyage North (3 pages): Here are 11 Random Encounters (one of them 'No encounter') and three events for the sea voyage north.
Exploring the Far North (7 pages): This is a gazeteer of a coastal arctic region with a few scetched villages, some generic inhabitants, one fleshed out encounter and a random encounter table for the tundra. A nice sandbox (or is it icebox?) that can be included in other adventure paths that touch the North, like the one of a Destined Empress or that one where a certain season reigns.
Against the Children of Althunak (3 pages): Here an evil cult is presented, with some cultist stats and their fleshed out High Priests, including some thoughts about strategies and tactics.

A good adventue has to fulfill the following four criteria in my eyes. Here are the details:

Spoiler:

Easiness for the GM:
Is it easy to master, are for example no player maps included so the master has to redraw the map with the secret doors? Are there informations on how to play it when your group has more or less people or more or less players, or do I have to rewrite lots of things for my homegame? In case of a pdf, is there a big border that eats all my ink or is there a printer-friendly version included? Are there Handouts? Can I fit the adventure into my home world or are goblins suddenly the greatest magic users in the world, while all elves are evil?

Imaginative:
Did I have room description? Read Aloud texts that provide some atmosphere? Pictures fitting the scenario? You almost always get a cover pic, but sometimes it doesn't fit the adventure at all. Is the map detailed?

Memorability:
Is the Big Bad Evil Guy (or girl) memorable? Do players remember his or her name during the adventure, or even years afterwards? How about the other NPCs? Queen Ileosa out of Curse of the Crimson Throne is a good example of a memorable NPC, the fey-villain of Kingmaker isn't, in her case due to a lack of foreshadowing and other things. Do the players remember the location, like fighting in a tower that rolls down a hill? Or is the final battle in an Adventure Path a room 30x30 feet, one door, no furniture?

Player and Character Friendly:
Has every type of player his moment of fun? In my eyes there are three types of players, those who want action (fights), those who want to have their brain challenged (puzzles, investigations, riddles) and those who want to role-play, which usually means peaceful interaction with interesting NPCs. This usually also reflects in the PCs themselves: Does every type of character has his or her moment to shine? Is the skill monkey needed? The range attacker, or is every monster just lurking directly behind a door? Is the speed-guy useful? Is there a third dimension, so the sorcerer can use his fly-spell? Does he need his other non-combat spells?

Easiness for the GM:
Here we lack some useful things, like environmental factors. A short hint toward the rules for moving in snow, snowstorms or something like this would have been nice. The random encounters are neat, they fit the group level and evoke a nice ice-age feeling (not that movie, the real ice age!).
The strategic part for the GM, in this case the defense of occupied villages and a temple, leave a lot of work to do for the GM. At least the suggested ambush could have been fleshed out.
The product is printer-friendly, has handouts and will fit into most gaming worlds since you only need an arctic coast.

Imaginative:
The three interior black and white pics don't do much to help imagine what happens, but are nicely done. The read-alouds are good, and playing in the arctic will be a nice change for most parties.

Memorability:
There are no environmental hazards, memorable sights, interesting flora, cultural impressions or whatever that would be a change to an inuit village of our world, or at least the cliché of how one would be like. The ice-age elements that are represented in the random encounters have no connection to the villages themselves. Why not build the huts out of the teeth of the mammoths for example? The NPCs, friend or foe, also are a somewhat generic, as are their tactics in fending of the PCs.

Player and Character Friendly:
There are nice elements of roll- and role-playing provided, and the strategically and tactically minded players will have something to do with organizing an assault on a temple, raids at a coast and so on. Since it is an open sandbox with lots of options how to procede, all manners of characters will have their moment to shine. PCs should take care not to assault the problems head-on, a hit-and-run tactic will be more wise for this adventure – which is a good thing in my book.

Conclusion:
This adventure has some solid parts, a nice setting and a good history, but it needs to be fleshed out much more and it needs some unique parts that steer the imagination. All in all I'll settle for three out of five stars.

Have fun!


Unconventional Northlands adventure that gets it right

5/5

This adventure is 24 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 3 pages of advertisements, leaving 17 pages of adventure, so let's check it out, shall we?

I've been quite involved in OD's "Northlands" and have, I confess, an infatuation with sagas, Scandinavian culture and customs and have studied Scandinavian Literature and Culture - I'm not the most unbiased reviewer for the subject matter, but my knowledge of said topics also means that I went into this adventure expecting to be continuously face-palming due to inconsistencies and "not getting" the mindset and mentality.

That being said, this is an adventure review and thus contains a lot of
SPOILERS.

Potential players might want to jump to the conclusion of my review.

Still here?

All right! After a short introduction to climate, culture and mentality of the North, the PCs are contacted by one Hallbjorn, a survivor of Jarl Olaf Henrikson's failed expedition to the far North -he has returned with the "Long Serpent" (loosely based on Olav Tryggvason's legendary Ormurin Langi) to recruit brave souls to a mission of both sealing and ivory gathering as well as vengeance against a strange and savage winter-cult devoted to an entity called Althunak that seems to have sprung up among the Inuit-like Ulnat. It is here, in the extensive boxed texts provided for the recruitment that my heart was pounding with glee - author Kenneth Spencer not only gets the mentality, but is also versed in Kennings, the skaldic metaphors. While he uses rather simple ones like "weather of weapons" and "spear-din", which are readily apparent in their meaning, it is his mirroring of staves (alliterative speech) in the boxed texts that really had me smile.

After recruiting ( and getting drunk with the PCs), the voyage North continues and provides 11 possible random encounters as well as 3 non-random events, among which whale hunting and the obligatory dread storm (Without covered decks, storms get scary and cold. And wet.) not only will provide fluff galore, but also provides opportunity for the PCs to not only make money and assemble (or lose) rations and become leaders of the expedition. It should be noted that anyone with Profession (Sailor) will have a blast here! Finally, the expedition will find Yilthi, an Ulnat adrift on the sea and possibly save him. If the PCs can overcome the language barrier, he makes for an interesting guide and a good reason for the PCs to visit Laquirv, the one Ulnat village in the coastal region that has not yet been subdued by the cultists of Althunak. Also, survival in the rough climate, rations and a preferable return prior to the deadly polar winter are detailed and play key parts in this adventure.

Once the PCs have finally arrived, the truly sandboxy part of the adventure begins: The PCs get a map of the Tundra of Ulanatland and are essentially free to do as they please - hunting, whaling, liberating villages. Apart fromLaquirv, we get short write-ups for the armed forces of 6 small villages the PCs probably should clear in order to gain support and weaken the cult of Althunak. If they play their cards right, the spirit of the murdered Jarl and his fellows might even bequeath their items to the PCs...or curse the grave-robbers! 2 statblocks for the warriors of the cult and 1 for the shamans and their ice-mephits are provided and once the PCs deem the opposing forces to be weakened enough (or if they just want to get back home and wrap things up- the timer for the polar winter is ticking), they'll want to tackle the adventure's climax, the battle at the second temple of Althunak. By the way: If you're a mean DM, you could always freeze the ship with "Althunak's wrath", thus forcing the PCs to tackle said attack.

The final battle features Althunak's high-priest, a dread werebear adept along a significant fore - hopefully the PCs have gathered some allies and thinned the enemy lines... It should be noted that the area around this temple also gets a map. Once the foes are defeated, the PCs can return to their port of origin, where they can sell their gains as well as gain access to the Long Serpent.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I only noticed 2 minor punctuation errors. Layout adheres to the b/w-FGG-two-column standard and the pieces of original b/w-artwork not only rock, but belong to the finest I've seen in 3pp adventures. Mechanically, we get a nice wilderness journey by sea with some nifty encounters and a cool sandboxy war of attrition against the children of Althunak. As a DM, you should beware that this adventure really expects the PCs to do what they please - no handholding with regards to the approach and if PCs act stupid and rush headlong into the Tundra towards the climax, they'll receive quite a beating. This is an adventure for smart players who don't have to be railroaded into action - this adventure has no need to do so: It OOZES flavor, it's writing is stellar and there are only two minor blemishes in this adventure: One is that the death of a certain individual is, as written, predestined. While easily written out of the adventure, said death is a minor problem. The second point of criticism I have is that there's no map of the ship included. Due to these minor blemishes I'll have to rate this 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5. For me and everyone into saga literature, kennings etc., this adventure is also full of Easter-eggs and will be remembered for quite some time. Highly recommended, especially in snyergy with Northlands. I'm looking forward to part 2.


A nice start to a series but needs work

3/5

The Northlands Saga: Vengeance of the Long Serpent by Frog God Games

This product is 24 pages long. It starts with a cover, credits, and ToC. (3 pages)

Introduction (3 pages)
This has information about the default northlands, adventure summery, history, plot hooks and how to get the adventure started. The PC's will head out on a long ship to sail north for gold and adventure. It also has some basic information about the city they are in before they head north.

The Voyage North (3 pages)
This section has a random encounter table and three events. Eventually the events lead the PC's to shore where a NPC they meet lead them to his village.

Exploring the Far North (7 pages)
This has information about the far north a partial Gaz as well as a sandbox style exploration. There is chances for some combat and RPing in this section. With a random encounter table for when they travel.

Against the Children of Althunak (3 pages)
Eventually either by stumbling across it or finding out about the evil cult the PC's should head to the old temple and deal with the cultist. This section is about them.

It ends with a OGL and ads. (4 pages)

Closing thoughts. The art work is black and white and good. Editing and layout are good. The adventure is a interesting idea with a well done history. I liked the adventure as a whole, but I felt it had a few flaws. I would have liked to have seen some information about dealing with the climate the PC's are likely to face and the tundra conditions. Not a must but I think it would have been nice. My biggest issue though is with the final encounter. You get a overview map, some information and that the creatures/people that are there. I would have liked to have seen the final location fleshed out more. A more indepth map, information on guard patrols, daily routines in the camp incase the PC's watch it for awhile. It just really felt like the final location was incomplete to me. I liked the adventure as a whole but felt like it needed some work by the GM to really bring it to life like it deserves. So what's my rating? I was tempted to give this a 3.5 but ended up rounding down to a 3 star review. I have high hopes for the rest of the series though, as this had a lot of potential but just fell a little short.

Trust me, I'm a Succubus.


Dark Archive

I am very much looking forward to this one.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Wouldn't the beer be MEAD? :-)


Author's design notes at:

http://kenspencerfreelancing.blogspot.com/


Linked it for you.

This makes me wish my budget wasn't so tight that it squeeks. Maybe there is room anyway...

Dark Archive

Dark Sasha wrote:

Linked it for you.

This makes me wish my budget wasn't so tight that it squeeks. Maybe there is room anyway...

Yeah i know the feeling. I picked this one up but not the other new FGG stuff yet for the same reason.


((This is the continuation of my review. It seems I was wordier than normal. Note: some minor spoilers which I tried very hard to reduce may still exist in the text of my review.))

What follows are specific details on crucial encounter areas. The first of these is the village of Laquirv which provides potential allies and information the players will have a hard time obtaining elsewhere. This is made easier if the players succeeded in Event 3 at sea. Again here is some of that “boxed text” which may be utilized by the GM if all else fell into place prior to this encounter. The second detailed quest area is not as crucial to the adventure and may be skipped entirely but does provide some historical information.

At a certain point the players will likely realize that they will need to make a journey across the tundra to the north some distance away. This is made somewhat easier, If they have cultivated a positive relationship with certain of the local villagers. Again as in “The Voyage North” there is a random encounter table but no stat blocks for standard enemies encountered. These must be obtained from the PFRPG Bestiary. For adventure specific encounters, however, a page number is given where the particular stat block is located within the adventure itself.

Children of Althunak (3 pages): The final encounter area, events and enemies are detailed in this section with appropriate stat blocks as needed. Valuable information for the GM is provided here on how to run these enemies to make them the challenge they should be. The final location includes plenty of tactical information on how the enemies will react to the players depending on how the area is approached. Smart PCs will do much better here than foolish ones.

Of course the danger does not end with the defeat of the enemies. There is a section on concluding the adventure that could have a variety of ends depending on the choices made by the party and their successes during the different part of the adventure. Lastly, the party has to make it back to the home port of the Long Serpent with any treasure and surviving sailors they have with them. I particularly like this part as there is some risk still and great reward available at the end if the PCs play their cards right.

OGL page, plus two advertisements and one blank page in my version of the pdf = 4 pages.

Conclusion: This adventure does a tremendous job with the feel of a Viking style adventure and with regards to the dangers of the environment of the far north. It is listed as being appropriate for a party of three to six characters of 5th through 7th levels. The resources available for the party should not overwhelm their opponents if they are run intelligently by the GM. Also I recommend that the GM running this adventure carefully read the cold dangers section of the Environment chapter in the PFRPG Core Rules and make certain to apply them. Obviously players will have some resistance to the harsh effects if they play it smart. It isn’t a surprise where they are headed and they should plan accordingly. Also on the voyage north water hazards play just as important a role as the weather for environmental dangers.
Art is limited but well drawn. The art in the interior of the module is black and white. But the cover is in color and is gorgeous. Maps are simple and not overly artistic, but rendered cleanly and are very easy to read. There are few errors in this module, some minor editing errors for the most part in the Northlands over view. Elsewhere I found only a single error in spelling, merely a transposition of letters.
On the whole the excellent parts of this adventure outweigh the minor quibbles. For those who love adventures without rails they must force their players to ride on this module does an excellent job. I particularly love how this grasps the whole feel of a far north setting with the voyage and various encounters and effects. With minor tweaking I can create a solid Viking feel to the initial introduction. The Inuit/Eskimo feel to the natives of the far north is accomplished without any work on the GMs part. The potential rewards and experiences for the PCs make this a memorable adventure that players will be discussing for years afterwards. Yes, I had some issues in the adventure where I would need to make changes. Certain encounters will need to be increased in their difficulty and certain levels of the opponents adjusted. But I don’t hold it against the adventure writer for the portions that as a GM I must adjust to suit my players’ style. This is something that any GM worth his or her salt should be doing anyway. I give this a 4.5 rating due to the minor editing errors.

Final note: While this is a part one of at least three adventures (if not more), this may be used as a stand alone adventure quite easily.

Dark Archive

Nice Review Sasha, now write some more. :D

Frog God Games

Dark Sasha, thanks for the great review!

In regards to your question about using "The Thing" as a possible placeholder name in the opening paragraphs of your review, it was actually intentional on our part and based upon the ancient Nordic tradition of a people's assembly.

The Thing.

Kind of a weird name for it by modern American standards, I know, but we opted to go with it for verisimilitude.

I hope you have a great time wiht the adventure. Thanks, again!

Greg


Greg A. Vaughan wrote:

Dark Sasha, thanks for the great review!

In regards to your question about using "The Thing" as a possible placeholder name in the opening paragraphs of your review, it was actually intentional on our part and based upon the ancient Nordic tradition of a people's assembly.

The Thing.

Kind of a weird name for it by modern American standards, I know, but we opted to go with it for verisimilitude.

I hope you have a great time wiht the adventure. Thanks, again!

Greg

Thanks for the link to the wiki entry. It seems my education into the structure of the medieval North Germanic and Scandinavian societies is lacking.

I blame the emphasis on North American and Pacific Cultures by my college professors.

That is interesting! It appears to be "the Thing" in truth.
And here I thought that was just a slang term.

Frog God Games

De nada. :-)


This is so on my list to buy. :)

Great review, Dark_Sasha!

Dark Archive

What's happened to the next modules in the series? Is it all still happening?

Richard


richard develyn wrote:

What's happened to the next modules in the series? Is it all still happening?

Richard

They are indeed coming shortly. I have seen them and they are every bit as good as the first one, in my albiet very biased opinion. :D

Frog God Games

richard develyn wrote:

What's happened to the next modules in the series? Is it all still happening?

Richard

Tome of Horrors Complete happened. :D

Northlands Saga 2 has been sent to the printer and NS3 is awaiting art.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Chuck Wright wrote:
richard develyn wrote:

What's happened to the next modules in the series? Is it all still happening?

Richard

Tome of Horrors Complete happened. :D

Northlands Saga 2 has been sent to the printer and NS3 is awaiting art.

I think a lot of people don't quite understand how much work must have gone into the Tome. Keep in mind people, the Tome of Horrors is the equivalent of Bestiary 1, Bestiary 2, and half of Bestiary 3, all crammed together (at least in terms of number of monsters), plus a lot of extras. I'm fairly impressed that FGG got it out in the relatively short time they did, all the while still throwing out other projects (Tsar, Splinters, etc) and with such a small staff. One of the reasons that they're my favorite RPG publisher (yes, even ahead of Paizo).

Frog God Games

And I have now received the manuscript for NS4 so it is just awaiting development and editing before going to Chuck for layout and art.

They've been slow coming with all the other stuff FGG has had going on, but I think they're worth the wait. Ken writes really good stuff. He actually ran NS4 as an event at Gen Con for a lucky few.

Frog God Games

Wow, thanks Kthulhu!


FYI--"Thing" really is what they called part of their government in nordic lands. On a national level, it was called an "allthing".

Frog God Games

Calamari wrote:
FYI--"Thing" really is what they called part of their government in nordic lands. On a national level, it was called an "allthing".

Yeah, Vaughan educated me on that. If you look above, you will see a link he provided. It just goes to show, if it sounds strange, look it up. It is probably true.

Frog God Games

Calamari wrote:
FYI--"Thing" really is what they called part of their government in nordic lands. On a national level, it was called an "allthing".

The younger kids nowadays refer to it as a "Thang".

:p


Just remember that it's pronounced ting nowadays.

(Old Norse, Old English and Icelandic: þing; Dutch ding; other modern scandinavian languages: ting)

Dark Archive

reviewed. I liked the adventure and thought it was very good till the final encounter/location then I felt a bit let down sadly.

Frog God Games

Dark_Mistress wrote:
reviewed. I liked the adventure and thought it was very good till the final encounter/location then I felt a bit let down sadly.

Thanks for the review D_M!

This is due to the fact that this has a sequel, NS 2 Beyond the Wailing Mountains. Though it is intended to be used as a stand alone adventure, it works best concluded by the second part, IMO. We are awaiting the print version of NS 2 from our printer. We'll let everyone know when it does become available.

Dark Archive

Dawn R Fischer wrote:
Dark_Mistress wrote:
reviewed. I liked the adventure and thought it was very good till the final encounter/location then I felt a bit let down sadly.

Thanks for the review D_M!

This is due to the fact that this has a sequel, NS 2 Beyond the Wailing Mountains. Though it is intended to be used as a stand alone adventure, it works best concluded by the second part, IMO. We are awaiting the print version of NS 2 from our printer. We'll let everyone know when it does become available.

That might be true and might change my view of this one if the next one expands on and or replaces the final encounter. It was just the final part that really let me down.


Reviewed here and sent to GMS magazine. I also might post a series of Northlands reviews on RPGaggression.

Curious, this is one where D_M and I actually differ quite a bit in opinions. Rare occasion, that.

Nevertheless, nice review, D_M!

Frog God Games

Wow!
Thank you for taking the time to do a review and for the nice comments, Endzeitgeist!

I think part two is as good if not better than part one, in my very biased opinion.

Dark Archive

What APL are the modules?


The Thing is where Dingwall in Scotland gets its name, I do believe! Norse goodness abounds, I might have to get this!


I thought that this was a solid adventure and I will probably run it. I'm pretty sure I'll buy the second one as well. But, based on the product description, I got it thinking it was viking-themed.

It's not. It feels much more like an eskimo adventure. Cultists with clubs does not say 'viking.' Might be realistic, and it is still a good read, but it wasn't what I expected from a description that mentioned The Frost Giant's Daughter, The 13th Warrior and "vikings....hauberk and axe"

No reflection on the product, but a raised eyebrow about the marketing angle.

Frog God Games

The series does become more norse-themed as it moves along. I feel that its' still appropriate material for norse-based campaign.


Fair enough. As a Necromancer and Frog God fan, it was of the quality I expected. Just not the theme.

Saw that #3 is listed at the FGG site. Most appealing storyline of the three so far, so I'll be getting 2 and 3.

Continued success to Frog God.

Frog God Games

I'd also like to point out that NS 1 begins in a viking-style mead hall. So it is easy to start off with viking/norse characters who travel to a region where the natives are more like the Inuit.

Alternatively, one could start with characters from another location who visit the viking culture and are swept up into an adventure that leads them even further north.


I now have #3 and it is absolutely all-viking/norse-saga!!!!!


Reviewed. Have fun!

Community / Forums / Paizo / Product Discussion / Northlands Saga 1: Vengeance of the Long Serpent (PFRPG) All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.