Pathfinder Adventure Path #48: Shadows of Gallowspire (Carrion Crown 6 of 6) (PFRPG)

3.10/5 (based on 9 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #48: Shadows of Gallowspire (Carrion Crown 6 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Chapter 6: "Shadows of Gallowspire"
by Brandon Hodge

A mad plot to unleash the greatest necromancer the world has ever known draws to its sinister end. As the murderous cultists of the Whispering Way retreat to their profane sanctuary, the powers of death align to resurrect their fallen champion. Bold adventurers pursue these villains, but can their bravery survive the haunted wasteland of Virlych, the accursed cathedral of Renchurch, and ultimately the towering crypt of Gallowspire? And will their boldness be enough to stop the Whispering Tyrant, the infamous lich-king locked away beneath Ustalav’s deadliest ruin, from being reborn upon a defenseless world? The heroes must test their courage against the servants of death itself in this, the climactic final chapter of the Carrion Crown Adventure Path.

    This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path includes:
  • “Shadows of Gallowspire,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 13th-level characters, by Brandon Hodge
  • Nefarious plots and macabre menaces to prolong the terrors of your Carrion Crown campaign, by F. Wesley Schneider
  • An investigation into the most infamous liches plotting dooms across the Inner Sea region, by Adam Daigle
  • Laurel Cylphra’s attempt to save a soul in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by F. Wesley Schneider
  • Five new monsters by Adam Daigle, Crystal Frasier, and F. Wesley Schneider

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: 978-1-60125-313-2

Shadows of Gallowspire 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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Classic undead high level dungeon, err tower crawl!

5/5


A decent end to a dis-jointed yet fun AP

4/5

Overall, the conclusion to the Carrion Crown AP was a fairly solid part 6. There are a lot of unique enemies and challenges that address some of the issues of high level play. The locales of Renchurch and Adorak are wonderfully detailed and some of the high level haunts are uniquely awesome. All that said, there are a few negatives; it is a extremely combat heavy module, and with it being higher level, tends to bog down a lot. The end guy also has no correlation to the overall story and events unless you as the DM write him in to be so (involving him in earlier AP chapters). I give a more in depth review of the module here .
Overall, this has been a fun and solid AP to run but has also taken a lot of work to connect all the dots of the storyline.


Great if you like Dungeon-Crawls and Liches!

4/5

GOOD:
-Gallowspire is probably the most famous dungeon in Golarion.
It´s top levels are in here.
If you want to expand this adventure, "Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Dungeons of Golarion" shows the entire mega-dungeon in a cut-away style and details one chamber and describes the others.
Thar-Baphon´s statistics can be found in "Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Mythic Realms"
-The article about Golarion´s most famous liches.
-The adventure ideas for continuing the campaign have some increadible ideas and statistics.

BAD:
A very unsatisfying end to an otherwise very solid campaign.

UGLY:
With a more stringent backstorie this campaign could have been perfect.

There are less than 25 of this issue left - i am glad i have it, if you don´t: buy it!


Serviceable

2/5

As with Book 5 there's some good parts:

1. Creepy Virlych setting

2. Renchurch is atmospheric gothic dungeon crawl

3. A lot of great encounters, unique opponents (Lucimar, Gray Friar etc.)

But as others have pointed out this still ends up being a dungeon crawl in the end. I got my use out of this book by plundering it for stat blocks and some other elements (the Tyrant's Whispers) but I would think that groups running through this as is will find it rather grindy.


Shadows of Gallowspire or What we were writing about again?

1/5

The module is fairly standard without much that makes it unique. Combat and story are uninspiring and frustrating at times. The cell block with the lady is a wonderful way to kill your party if you dislike your players and show that the writers care little about a good story.

The story and pacing will just make players want to push through it as quickly as possible to get to the end to hope for some big finish but are left dulled and bored.

The entire adventure path suffered heavily from the writers wanting to do a whistle stop tour of Transylvania under a flimsy story pretense. The adventure itself doesn’t really push an inspiration at all and feels like your trudging through mud.


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The stats for the Grim Reaper are a little wonky. It's incorporeal, but it has a Strength score and damage reduction? It also has polymorph, am I mistaken or aren't undead immune to polymorph effects?


Anyone!? I am assuming grim reapers weren't supposed to have incorporeal trait or maybe they have an ability to tur incorporeal and material?

I'd like to know ASAP as I would like to use these in my game soon

Contributor

Razz wrote:

Anyone!? I am assuming grim reapers weren't supposed to have incorporeal trait or maybe they have an ability to tur incorporeal and material?

I'd like to know ASAP as I would like to use these in my game soon

I hear 'ya, but another designer will have to help 'ya. I didn't write the grim reaper, nor use them in the adventure, so I don't know what the intent is there.


Razz wrote:
The stats for the Grim Reaper are a little wonky. It's incorporeal, but it has a Strength score and damage reduction? It also has polymorph, am I mistaken or aren't undead immune to polymorph effects?

Undead are immune to polymorph but any creature can drop his immunities unless specifically mentioned (for example unintelligent constructs can't drop their SR). So he can recieve beneficial polynorph effects if he wishes to.

Also Damage reduction might be extraordinary or supernatural. Nothing stops an incorporeal creature having supernatural (ie. alignment based or x/magic or epic) damage reduction.

Lastly there are incorporeal creatures with a strength score (ghosts). usually they have the ability to manifest (where they are incorporeal), but on their home plane they are corporeal (thus the strength score)


venefice wrote:
Razz wrote:
The stats for the Grim Reaper are a little wonky. It's incorporeal, but it has a Strength score and damage reduction? It also has polymorph, am I mistaken or aren't undead immune to polymorph effects?

Undead are immune to polymorph but any creature can drop his immunities unless specifically mentioned (for example unintelligent constructs can't drop their SR). So he can recieve beneficial polynorph effects if he wishes to.

Also Damage reduction might be extraordinary or supernatural. Nothing stops an incorporeal creature having supernatural (ie. alignment based or x/magic or epic) damage reduction.

Lastly there are incorporeal creatures with a strength score (ghosts). usually they have the ability to manifest (where they are incorporeal), but on their home plane they are corporeal (thus the strength score)

So I take it the grim reapers have a sort of ghost touch scythe and a Strength score is needed? I remember ghosts having Str, but I thought it would only apply to those on the Ethereal Plane?

The grim reaper's incorporeal trait just isn't clear enough to me.


Brandon Hodge wrote:
Jason did initially claim this AP chapter for his own, but found himself juggling too much awesome, and handed the reigns over to me at NeonCon. We initially hoped to split duties on it, with me handling the journey and Renchurch stuff, and him tackling Gallowspire, but in the end we just nodded in understanding and I took the whole thing on, inspired by a page of half-drunken notes I scribbled in Vegas while we spoke on dark subjects. I know it took a lot for Jason to put Gallowspire in my hands, but I hope I did the old boy right.

Well, having only skimmed through the adventure, I must say I was very impressed right from the beginning! Oh boy, CC's finale seems sooooo good, I´m so eager to DM this!

Congrats Brandon, you certainly did a very good job!

BTW...

Spoiler:
The final battle against Adivion is just EPIC!


Horror isn't my thing so I sat out this AP. However, I *am* intrigued by a plot to raise the Whispering Tyrant.

For those of you with this book, any opinions on how easily it could be ripped from the AP and ran as its own adventure? How much of Shadows of Gallowspire are rooted in things the PCs have done/experienced in previous adventures and how much of that can be inserted in other (more traditional) adventures?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

IT can actually be inserted quite easily. All you need is a need for them to head into Tar-Baphon's territory and mess with the Whispering Way.

There's literally nothing required in the prior AP modules. I dare say that the last module would be a great capstone to a homebrew based on the Crusaders of Lastwall holding the line against the necromantic threat.

But if they aren't well and truly geared up to take on undead and necromancers, they're gonna have their heads handed to them. Just saying.

The only thing you need is a trigger. "THe WWay has captured a noble of Ustalav for use in some ceremony to free Tar-Baphon! Stop them and save the nobleman!"

Exactly who that noble is, is completely up to you. Likewise the ceremony, and such. The encounters themselves don't have to be changed AT ALL.

==Aelryinth


Okay, I just checked it again. This is the worst rated Pathfinder of them all! We have started CC a while ago in the German translation and as only part three is out yet, I wonder how the whole AP ends. I cannot believe the adventure or the whole issue is that bad!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Aureus, that's only one person's review. I'm sure many others feel differently!


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
ericthecleric wrote:
Aureus, that's only one person's review. I'm sure many others feel differently!

You might also notice that this particular reviewer always gives low ranks to Paizo products.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I added my review because I really like this adventure. It is probably my 2nd favorite of the 6. I plan on builing the upper deck of Gallowspire for the last battle because it will be EPIC!

The AP could have had a stronger horror feel, maybe a little more Ravenloftish, but I added the elements that I thought were missing (minor). The first book has been my favorite to date. The second will be pretty cool too. The third seems off the mark for me, but with a few minor adjustments it will be great. The fourth jumps into madness which is cool. Then faith is restored in vampires in the fifth. Then an awesome conclusion.

I have a ton of old Ravenloft stuff so I pulled a few things from there, but the AP was solid and allows for minor tweaking with ease.

I have enjoyed it a bunch. I already ran Legacy of Fire and it will be fun to see which AP the group liked better. Thanks to all of the Paizo staff and contributors to the AP.

Contributor

Aureus wrote:
Okay, I just checked it again. This is the worst rated Pathfinder of them all! We have started CC a while ago in the German translation and as only part three is out yet, I wonder how the whole AP ends. I cannot believe the adventure or the whole issue is that bad!

As the author, it is typically in poor taste to engage bad reviews, so I've refrained from any sort of response toward the 1-star review posted. It sucks having that hang out there like that, when you know your work warrants a more considerate review than that, but as an owner of two popular retail stores who has to deal with the occasional testy customer who decides to take out life's frustrations on a public forum in the name of your product or brand, I've come to just accept that you can't please everyone all of the time.

In cases like these, the distressing thing for both an author AND potential customers is the utter lack of actual review and the total polarization that occurs when someone doesn't like something, refusing to give it any credit whatsoever. Did the reviewer lose a character badly during play, and is taking out frustrations on the writer who they hold responsible? What points of contention does the reviewer have with the adventure beyond feeling strongly that there wasn't more material on Aroden? What valid criticisms do they have? Why didn't they think it was a strong finale? What might have been done better? Were the encounters unbalanced or unrealistic? Were there any positive points? What makes it a "vast disappointment?" These question don't get raised or answered -and potential customers are left with an utterly dismissive review of a product that seemingly has not a single redeeming quality, and that's a real shame for folks looking to purchase the product (or looking forward to running the adventure soon) while there aren't any counter views posted.

For Aureas and others, I suggest checking out the discussion started by Erik Freund in his Gallowspire Discussion Thread. There, you can see a thoughtful, considerate breakdown of what he thinks works, what doesn't work in his opinion, how the adventure is good, how it might suffer, and, most importantly, why he thinks that. And, you get to see others chime in with equally valid critiques, opinions, and criticisms, as well as a few rational responses from yours truly, that is a far cry from a cryptic 1-star review with little explanation than a lack of material on a deity that doesn't really pertain to the adventure's storyline.

Thank you the Dave for taking a few minutes of his time to post a second review and, most importantly -state why he thinks it works for him and his group and as a fitting finale for Carrion Crown. Gameplay is what counts, and I look forward to hearing how it all plays out at his table when they run it! =-)

Shine on, you crazy diamonds...

Liberty's Edge

Brandon, I just finished reading this adventure on Thursday during a nine hour flight back from London. I was so jazzed up over the ending that I am really looking forward to it and I know the players will love it. Most of the previous books involve a bunch of investigating and mystery solving, but in this one you are hot on the heels of the bad guys and slugging out the whole way. I think it fits perfectly and it thrills me to know that we will eventually get to play it. I will definately post the outcome (late 2012 at this rate) and pics of whatever model I construct. I built the BattleMarket for Legacy of Fire (Featured in the Paizo Blog of Nov. 2009) and the town of Kelmarane. Now I have a new project in mind! Thanks again!


ericthecleric wrote:
Aureus, that's only one person's review. I'm sure many others feel differently!

I know, I know. It just seemed so odd, I had to ask.

Justin Franklin wrote:
You might also notice that this particular reviewer always gives low ranks to Paizo products.

Such things are just plain ugly. (But good to know for this piece of the puzzle, Justin!)

Dave the Barbarian wrote:
I added my review because I really like this adventure.

Thank you for that, Dave!

Brandon Hodge wrote:
For Aureus and others, I suggest checking out the discussion started by Erik Freund in his Gallowspire Discussion Thread.

Nice link, Brandon. Thank you for that. Actually it was threads like these (the one about introducing AA way earlier, that caught my interest!)

And with all that information I couldn't resist any longer and bought the PDF. So a one star-review made me buy a product! Nice review, Christa! :D


I asked this on the Rules board but no one answered so I figured this would be the better spot for it. I also see Razz above had asked this so, I now ask it, too, since no developer has come to the rescue.

The grim reaper monster entry has me very confused.

It's an incorporeal creature, but yet it has a Strength score? It is incorporeal but also has damage reduction? It can't be tripped either? I assume this is due to incorporeal, but yet it, again, wields weapons and has a Strength score? This doesn't make any sense, how can it be incorporeal and corporeal at the same time?

Please help! I am trying to run this creature in a game but I need to know the specifics to this confusion.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Thalis Greatlight wrote:

I asked this on the Rules board but no one answered so I figured this would be the better spot for it. I also see Razz above had asked this so, I now ask it, too, since no developer has come to the rescue.

The grim reaper monster entry has me very confused.

It's an incorporeal creature, but yet it has a Strength score? It is incorporeal but also has damage reduction? It can't be tripped either? I assume this is due to incorporeal, but yet it, again, wields weapons and has a Strength score? This doesn't make any sense, how can it be incorporeal and corporeal at the same time?

Please help! I am trying to run this creature in a game but I need to know the specifics to this confusion.

Taking a quick look, I'd call his Strength score a typo. The greater version is meant to be incorporeal and thus shouldn't have a Strength score, adjusting it attacks as per normal. I'd leave it with its scythe though ('cause it's cool and a grim reaper needs his scythe) and just treat it as a ghost touch weapon. None of that should have too much of an impact on it's balance or CR, so if you just want to make those tinkers, you should be cool.

The lesser version is supposed to be be corporeal. So it's supposed to have the Strength score that it does. So that looks legit.

Alternatively, if you want to give the guy the benefits of incorporeal and a Strength score to make him extra badass, go for it. (Just imagine another ability that gives him those benefits) At CR 20, the difference isn't major and the more you can do to make him an especially vicious threat, the better. It is the grim reaper after all.

Suck about the typo, but the grim reaper is pretty iconic, so if we ever do another Bestiary product, I could definitely see a revised version of this guy making it in there.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Personally, I'm all for incorporeal creatures having a Strength score. There are effects that can cause it to be relevant; for example, any force effect can affect an incorporeal creature, and you might, for example, try to disarm an incorporeal creature wielding a ghost touch weapon. Or, for that matter, you might be wearing ghost touch armor, which ought to let you grapple an incorporeal creature.

Ghosts, in particular, are even worse, for they are corporeal in the Ethereal plane.

So I'd rather see the opposite ... I'd like to see Strength scores added for incorporeal creatures rather than me having to assume their Strength is 10 when they're subject to an effect that makes their (unlisted) Strength score relevant.


gbonehead wrote:

Personally, I'm all for incorporeal creatures having a Strength score. There are effects that can cause it to be relevant; for example, any force effect can affect an incorporeal creature, and you might, for example, try to disarm an incorporeal creature wielding a ghost touch weapon. Or, for that matter, you might be wearing ghost touch armor, which ought to let you grapple an incorporeal creature.

Ghosts, in particular, are even worse, for they are corporeal in the Ethereal plane.

So I'd rather see the opposite ... I'd like to see Strength scores added for incorporeal creatures rather than me having to assume their Strength is 10 when they're subject to an effect that makes their (unlisted) Strength score relevant.

ghosts are not partialy on the ethereal plane according to the creative director

James Jacobs wrote:

Correct. In 3.5, ghosts existed partially on the ethereal plane, and in order to be able to affect those on the material plane at all they had the manifest ability. Unfortunately, this setup caused some pretty significant problems. First, it confused people as to what being ethereal and incorporeal meant. Second, and more importantly, it meant that ghosts simply couldn't exist anywhere that wasn't coterminous with the ethereal plane... such as the outer planes.

In Pathfinder, ghosts are simply incorporeal undead, like wraiths or specters. They don't partially exist on two planes; they exist wholly on one plane but simply aren't corporeal. This allows ghosts to exist on any plane and removes the only awkward "ethereal means incorporeal" element from the game. ALSO: by not having to include the long and awkward rules for the manifest ability, we got a sizable paragraph of text back to play with, which let us punch up the advice on what ghosts are and how they work. Which FURTHER separates them from things like wraiths and specters.

as for the strength score, they use the dex score instead as stated in the PRD for incorporeal special quality.

Quote:


It has no Strength score, so its Dexterity modifier applies to its melee attacks, ranged attacks, and CMB.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

That's good, they partially covered the bases ... but the reality is that it's just flat out not true that incorporeal creatures have no Strength.

How much stuff can an incorporeal horse carry? What happens when an incorporeal creature smacks you with a shost touch sword ... it adds its Dex bonus to damage? In that case, I know a lot of min/maxers who are suddenly going to be big fans of the dust form spell. What about trying to break something? After all, many spells still require a Strength check, and should someone decide to use Ectoplasmic Spell, well ... now we need Strength checks.

Using Dex instead of Str is just a patch that fixes small parts of the overall problem. And it's likely to get worse - sooner or later they're going to add a spell like forced manifestation (Ghostwalk) or ghost trap (Spell Compendium) and then we have corporeal incorporeal cretures.

(and right, I forgot they changed ghosts in Pathfinder.)

So yeah, I know it's rarely needed ... but why not just put a Strength in instead of pretending it's irrelevant?


Yea but the same can be said about Con with any undead, after all undead still have hitpoints and must also make fort saves with things like disintigrate or calcing breath weapons and the like. but the rules dictate that Cha is used in its place.

but yea, min/maxers are an issue with ot without the ghost mechanics in play. I have been working with my DM on solving some of the issues and the easiest way i can see to do this would be a cursed ghost touch amulet of mighty fists (or simular item).

the amulet of mighty fists allows for the addition of weapon special abilities, these abilities are applied to the wearer. ghost touch makes the weapon count as both corporeal and incorporeal. in the case of normal weapons this extends to the entire weapon including hilt or handle (the non damaging bit), this allows the weapon to deal damage to non corporeals as easy as if they were corporeal. but the reverse is also ture, a ghost can use a ghost touch sword or try to sunder it as if they and the weapon as both corporeal (including the hilt or handle).

the same would apply to a ghost wearing a ghost touch amulet of mighty fists, at that point damage from a normal cross bow or war hammer for instance would take full effect. make the amulet cursed so it can't be removed and the major boons for bing incorporeal are preaty much whiped out. even if they lobby that they can still walk through walls because they are more incorporeal that corporeal what about the item?

as for abusing dust form, its easily countered with ghostbane dirge. counter acting a 5/6th level spell with a 1/2nd level spell rains on ones parade fairly fast. adapting bestow curse for a more long lasting version or variant of ghostbane dirge works as well, just like bestow curse emulates negative versions of eagles splender and the like.

min/maxers are still at the mercy of the GM (as it should be) and can be brought back into check fairly fast if it becomes a problem. a preaty step price to pay for maxing out dex for psudeo strength if you ask me.


though personaly i could see it better as using Int rather than Dex for Str. Int being mental Str, Wis for mental Con and Cha for mental Dex... But thats delving into a sizeable rules restructure thats not really called for at this point

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Please leave the discussion threads for discussion of the product itself; feel free to continue the rules discussion in a more appropriate forum.

Dark Archive

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With less than 25 of these left in stock, i have to say that this is a pretty cool hardcore dungeon crawl.
I can only recommend this in conjunction with "Pathfinder Companion: Dungeons of Golarion", which includes a cutaway of the whole Gallowspire dungeon with one additional area (of the vast complex of rooms) detailed that is not featured in this AP.

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