Slumbering Tsar 9: The Hidden Citadel, Part 1—At the Feet of Orcus (PFRPG) PDF

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Daring to enter the great Throne of Orcus, lost these many centuries to the knowledge of the world, the heroes begin to unravel the mystery of the Lost Fifty and One as they explore the High Altar of Orcus and the Death Chambers in this, the Hidden Citadel. The player characters should be around 15th level when they begin this adventure.

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Neat start for Part 3, a lot of meta-information, though


This pdf is 68 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving 62 pages of content, so let's check out the latest installment of the epic Slumbering Tsar saga!

This being the first review of the final section of the Slumbering Tsar-saga, this review not only contains SPOILERS for this particular installment, but for the whole saga. Potential players might want to skip ahead to the conclusion to avoid the massive SPOILERS.

Still here? All right!

The end of the epic exploration of the deadly temple-city of Orcus has the PCs use the legendary statues called disciples to call back Orcus' Hidden Citadel, a statue of the demon-lord of undeath as tall as a mountain and this adventure quite literally takes place at (and in!) the feet of Orcus, as the PCCs journey into the true palace of the dread demon-lord of Undeath. The adventure recaps what has gone before as well as the myth behind the demon lord and comes with adventure hooks for the saga. The pdf also includes an extensive set of rumors regarding the citadel and its factions as well as a recap of the effects on the dread aura of corruption infusing the fortress, the pall of Tsar.

As with many of the Tsar-installments, this one also features a series of ready-to-drop-in encounters that happen when a specific story-goal is reached (which often allude to future installments) - these ones especially emphasize the epic proportions of the saga - from the ultimate fate of a celestial spy, the truth behind the midnight peddler and the possible redemption of an artifact, the themes featured herein are sufficiently epic for the higher levels. In case you wondered, the way to defeat the pall is also included in these pages. However, if you're out there to scavenge these encounters, you should be aware that they are rather high-CR and deadly, in fact harder than this particular installment of ST, as they allude to things that happen over the course of the whole exploration of the Hidden Citadel.

The feet of Orcus can roughly be separated into two areas, the great temple and the Death Chambers. It should also be noted that a one-page table fills us in about the ultimate fate of the 51 knights, most of which have been assimilated into the cult of Orcus and converted into undead (and other!) monstrosities. The temple makes for a challenging environment, even for high-level PCs.

The Death Chambers are deadly. The huge, advanced gibbering mouther (predecessor of the things to come - see one of the creatures from the encounters - Bell, the gibbering lich...) as well as the dread silid goblioids who adhere to the Deathbringer order make for deadly foes - their witch queen being an especially smart foe.
The pdf also has a monster appendix featuring the CR 16 Flayed Angel and the CR 2 Toxic Mudman.
The Deathbringer Cult gets its own special weapon quality and a certain artifact gets a haul-over, as its true power is unleashed. Even better, we get 4 pages of player hand-outs and 4 pages of maps.

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. layout adheres to the 2-column, printer-friendly b/w-standard we've come to expect from FGG. The maps are brown/grey and the artworks are neat. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks. This is a part of the ST-saga that is rather hard to rate - on the one hand, the adventure is great, the dungeon deadly and the foes iconic. However, while the pdf is good, it also did not have this extreme iconicity I observed with other ST-installments. On the other hand, a lot of disjointed narratives and subplots come together and in rather interesting ways, especially in the metaplot encounters. However, this is also where the format of the serial pdfs somewhat falls short - the mega-dungeon that is the citadel is an organic environment and as such it somewhat suffers from being cut into pieces and, more so than previous ST-installments, this one points towards as of yet unreleased pdfs, which makes running the installment a bit harder. Since the dungeons form itself is very iconic and atmospheric, I'm also not sure whether the adventure would profit from being used to scavenge parts, though the two areas and themes do lend themselves to this endeavor. When all's said and done, this is an awesome installment for everyone following the ST-saga. For everyone else, though, there are better ST-parts out there. Don't let that fool you, though: Greg A. Vaughan delivers and this is once again an excellent pdf - my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4.

Endzeitgeist out.

This is my first post and I am already showing bad form. Sorry. This isn't about this particular installment of Slumbering Tsar. I am going to start DMing part I, The Edge of Oblivion, in two days.

My question is...Do we have an estimated time the hard back book will come out for those of us who did the $125 subscription? I am loving reading the Campaign. I have all but memorized the first three pdfs so my group can have a truly sandbox experience--something new for us and my ultimate goal in DM style.

I think having the physical book will make it easier to campaign tho. I am hoping my laptop and notes are good enough, but there is nothing like the tactile sensation of flipping through a book on breaks to stay abreast of the campaign as the PCs make unexpected decisions.

We have10 out of 14 downloadable. Does that mean it will take four months for the last installments and then another month for the book? Is five months a realistic goal, or are just focusing the pdfs for now?

Please don't feel rushed. I love your quality and can wait another year. I am just curious.

It is September 2011 right now.

Dark Archive

I don't know for sure. My guess is longer than that before we see the book, but I could be wrong. I will nudge Bill in the direction of this thread though.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Last estimate I heard from Greg was Decemberish

Surely not in 3 months! I hope they don't feel rushed. Take your time. Your products are AMAZING and worth the wait. I am glad I found out about the subscription. I stumbled upon it while looking for possible second printings of ToH and immediately purchased the subscription.

Dark Archive

Dragnmoon wrote:
Last estimate I heard from Greg was Decemberish

I thought that was before ToH pushed everything else back. I know they got behind on everything with the ToH eating up more time than expected.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

How does the Hidden Citadel work with the sandbox nature of the campaign?

I understand that you have to complete (most of) the Temple City (ie books 4-8) before you can get into the Hidden Citadel. So there's a choke-point in the plot between books 8 and 9, which is fine to have occasionally in an otherwise sandbox.

But, once you're inside the Citadel, how does that work? Is it a sprawling complex with multiple ways to move between levels (kindof like the original Temple of Elemental Evil), or is it a more linear dungeon experience, where you have to mostly complete book 9 before running book 10, then complete 10 before 11, etc.?

I guess I'm asking a very general question as to how the Citadel is laid out.

Also, in most basic of terms, what are the various restrictions put in place to prevent high-level groups from circumventing the dungeon? (ie teleport, disintigrating walls, etc) I'm curious how a semi-traditional dungeon works at high-level, and if this is answered in detail in the book, then I'd be happy to purchase for that intel alone. :-)

Reviewed here and sent to GMS magazine. Cheers!

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

So I finally got to reading these and I have a quick question, I am unfamiliar with the setting this is placed in is there any old books that goes into that setting?

I believe all FGG products are (loosely) set in the Wilderlands of High Fantasy campaign setting as were the Necromancer Games products. Check out Necromancer Games' boxed set of that name or Players Guide to the Wilderlands or even the old 1E/2E Wilderlands products by Judges Guild.

The setting is a quite old school sort-of-generic dark Sword & Sorcery D&Dish sandbox afaik. Here's an excellent introduction to WoHF and here's a detailed review of the WoHF boxed set by Necromancer Games (and here's another one).

Dark Archive

Dragnmoon wrote:
So I finally got to reading these and I have a quick question, I am unfamiliar with the setting this is placed in is there any old books that goes into that setting?

There is a little bit of info on the setting spread through t a few of the old Necromancer games books but the info is very sparse.

Tomb of Abysthor ,Rappan Athuk,Bards Gate,Shades of Gray has the only real map of the small section of the world where the majority of the adventures take place.There is info spread out throughout most of the Old Necro stuff but those are a few of the best. Wilderlands of High Fantasy is a Different wold all together but a lot of the people who run the old Necro stuff place the modules in that world as it is pretty much open and semi easy to fit in.

You can probably get some much better answers along with finding some nice player made maps and info on the Necromancer Games Forums.

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