Slumbering Tsar Saga (PFRPG) PDF

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The Sleeper Awakes!
At last, after languishing in its crypt for an age, the secrets of the slumbering city of Tsar burst forth in all their macabre glory. Poured forth from the eldritch furnaces and crucibles of the Necromancer and Orcus himself comes Frog God Games bringing you at long last The Slumbering Tsar Saga.

Something Stirs in the City of Evil
Over the distant northern hills, beyond The Camp, and past the Desolation stand the pitted walls of Tsar. A hundred armies have crushed themselves against this bulwark in futile attempts to breach the city. Even the combined might of the Heavens and Earth were unable to break through in the final battle of Tsar. So why was the city suddenly abandoned on the verge of victory, and what waits for those foolish enough to enter the Temple-City of Orcus?

The Black Gates Await
Only the bravest and most powerful of heroes dare the depths of the Desolation and live to tell of it. But what happens when they penetrate that blasted landscape and look upon the gates of the very center of evil on the earth. Can even heroes of such renown breach the Walls of Death and live?

The Slumbering Tsar Saga began its journey years ago as a single mega-adventure for the masters of Third Edition rules and First Edition feel, then became a trilogy of adventures, then a trilogy of mega-adventures, and now finally comes to you as a monthly series culminating in a massive book with over a half million words of pure First Edition-style adventure. Updated to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game to accommodate today’s audience of the classic fantasy roleplaying games, The Slumbering Tsar Saga brings you 14 chapters, each chapter the size of a full adventure in its own right (30-50 pages), but in the Hardcover compilation (and NOT in the PDF) you will get something you can't get anywhere else—the final fifteenth chapter!

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

FGGSTSE


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A massive book that's worth every dollar

5/5

Disclaimer: I purchased a physical copy of this book and got the PDF with it.

Okay, before we go anywhere, we need to make one thing clear - The Slumbering Tsar Saga is not an Adventure Path. There is a plot here, but it's more of a setting than anything else, a reason for why things are the way they are. This book is better described as an adventure setting - if Rappan Athuk is the ultimate dungeon crawl, then Slumbering Tsar is the ultimate ruined city crawl. (For a city adventure taking place somewhere that's still fully active, you'll want to look at The Blight, forthcoming from Frog God Games.)

The series starts off in The Desolation, the ugly wasteland that was once a battlefield as the forces of light assaulted Tsar. Most notably, players are quickly introduced to The Camp, which is the safest place for them to rest on excursions throughout the area. (Note that "safest" does not actually mean "safe"... just not quite as dangerous as everywhere else). Before the players can even get into the city, though, there's danger and death to be had. In the Lost Lands Campaign Setting, Tsar was not the site of a skirmish or a battle - it was a war, with the unholy city besieged by a force of over 140,000 (including outsiders, representatives from many species, and a significant number of the world's heroes). Great powers were used by both sides... and the ruins left behind are what the players have to make their way through. One way or another, everywhere they go they'll see the remnants of battle - from storms of deadly bone dust to an enormous chaos rift, players could spend quite a few sessions just trudging around and learning what happened.

Sooner or later, though, they'll want to start making forays into Tsar itself - and while the city may be ruined, it's far from deserted. There are multiple dungeon-sized regions players can stumble through just by walking around (and indeed, they'll have to if they actually want to get into the Temple of Orcus, which is massive even by Frog God Games' standards (comprising over 400 locations). There are waaaaaay too many things here to even begin covering all of them in detail - suffice it to say that if your players enjoy seeing what's in the next building and exploring the world they're in, this book will not disappoint. (If you prefer a more structured adventure, you can trim out some of the locations and insert a plot of your choosing. The book provides a very good mechanism for delivering information.)

Following the three main sandbox adventures is a bunch of extra material, ranging from new monsters (the Battlehulk, in particular, is fun to throw at players) to unique magic items and even a pair of prestige classes. Players may or may not take levels in either of these - one is for the devoted of Orcus (who is quite possibly *the* villain of the Lost Lands setting), while the other is sort of a Paladin on steroids. Lots of extra power (crit-focused builds, in particular, will WRECK evil monsters), but extra restrictions as well (like needing Atonement for things that weren't even your fault). It should be noted that the Justicar of Muir can easily be reflavored to fit the champion of any other appropriate deity, should the GM be willing to permit that. If normal Paladins are the elite crusaders of a church, the Justicars are a lot like divine champions, likely to be known the whole world over. (...As you may have guessed, I rather like this prestige class. XD) There are also a few hierarchy charts, some new spells, and over a hundred pages of maps. The PDF version of this book is very valuable here, since you can simply print out whatever you need to use.

Slumbering Tsar is massive (clocking in at over 900 pages of content, most of which is solid adventure), and depending on the speed of your group, it could easily take them months or even years to finish going through this. That makes it a good choice for stable groups, and... a bit harder for anyone else. As with most of Frog God Games' products, though, it's fairly easy to drop individual sections into your own campaign world. For example, you could pull individual parts of The Desolation and drop them in somewhere, which breaks the series into manageable chunks that are good for shorter adventures and smaller time commitments.

Again, though, Slumbering Tsar is not inherently an adventure path - if you want a true story, you'll have to step up as GM and come up with something that fits for your group. This book essentially demands an active GM'ing style if you want to get the most from it. Obviously, I can't recommend this to everyone - many groups would find this difficult to play (if only because of how big it is), but if it's something that works for your table, then you're going to get a massive amount of content for your investment. Yes, this is one of the most expensive RPG books you're ever likely to see, but on a per-page value, its cost is actually pretty low. There are just so many pages. It might literally take you weeks of reading just to go through it the first time and start preparing to run the game. XD

For those tables that can use this book, I think it's a solid 5/5. It really does require commitment, though - if you're not truly serious about exploring this region, you may be better off looking for a shorter book instead. (Off-hand, I suggest The Northlands Saga Complete - that actually is an Adventure Path.)


Worth every penny

5/5

This is an entire adventure path in a single, massive tome. Is it expensive? Yes, but it is worth every penny.

Let's take a look at the physical product:

-The binding is tough and durable.
-The pages are thick, quality paper.

I've carried this puppy around a lot and it is none the worse for it.

What's inside?

-the maps are clear and easy to read
-the illustrations are plentiful and serviceable
-layout is clear and easy on the eyes
-statblocks are mostly in-line for ease of play

But what about the adventure?

-Tons of memorable characters
-A story that feels like a real life legend
-side stories that feel like real life legends
-A location redolent with history and sorrow
-really mean traps
-amazing locales
-the most detailed ruins I've ever seen in a supplement

This product deserves every five star review it's gotten.


What everybody says about Tsar being amazing...

5/5

It's all true. The Slumbering Tsar is absolutely amazing. I'm not going to bother writing a huge review of it - there's plenty of those out there already.

Consider this a giant +1 for all the reviews already out there saying that the Slumbering Tsar Saga is fantastic. It is epic, twisted, wonderful and genius.


Slumbering Tsar lives up to hype

5/5

I've waited more than a month after getting the PDF of Slumbering Tsar, the epic Greg Vaughan mega-campaign, to offer any kind of review.
I knew when it came that the adventure read well. There were tons of fun, twisty (and twisted) plot elements. Nice bit of foreshadowing.

And I had the sense that the sandbox elements -- which allow players to really broadly dictate the direction of play -- were solid.
But I wanted to see how it flowed at the table and how my players reacted to the story-line and the texture.

First, a few bits of background. In SS, the adventurers begin by arriving at a dreary Camp on the edge of a massive, war-scarred desolation. Over time, they explore, learn more about their horrible surroundings, and hopefully progress toward exploring a ruined, haunted city.

I should say that I love making slight mods to any adventure I buy and this campaign setting allows that to happen smoothly. You can run it entirely as-is, or you can slide in 10% of your own material and ad nuances of your own.

My group has spent four game-sessions in the campaign so far, two entirely in the camp and another two venturing out into the desolation proper. At our last session, I asked the group for a blunt, no holds barred review and it was the most positive response I've ever had to a campaign.

Basically, they loved that the desolation seems so bloody horrible and dangerous -- lots of battle. But they also loved the fact that there were bits of story and role-playing. Vaughan manages to create something like the feel of a 1st edition dungeon (or wasteland) crawl, but with constant nudges of actual narrative and motivation.

There are also just gobs of cool wow moments here. (SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT) It's not just an undead: it's a hung man who haunts the camp at night. It's not just a tavern brawl: it's a conspiracy of homicidal little gnomes. Bottom line? Vaghan is a great writer, a great storyteller, and he knows that at the gaming table RPGs are about big cool moments. He delivers all those.

I do have one idea that I think GMs should consider before running this adventure. (And you should buy it and run it...) Here it is: SS offers a remarkable measuring stick for power creep in Pathfinder. An adventure that was ridiculously deadly when written is now only moderately dangerous - and sometimes encounters that would have been deadly fierce in August 2009 are fairly easy in September 2014.

I'd suggest looking closely at these encounters, especially ones that should be real tentpole moments and tests. If your party is going to sweep through them, consider adding a minion or two, or giving the NPC some kind of strategic advantage. This isn't always called for. Some moments in SS are supposed to be relatively easy -- a chance to sort of plow through the bad guys. But if you're not careful, a few of the BBEG's in this adventure will topple far too easily.

It's worth noting that some parts of SS are still extremely deadly as written. In four gaming sessions, we've had two PCs die, and two more brought to the absolute brink where one bad roll would have killed them. Granted I've done a bit of tweaking, but that's a much higher risk rate than any campaign I've ever run. And I should end by saying my players are loving it. I told them in advance to create back-up characters, so they knew going in that the tone would be bloody and high body count. So long as you get that kind of buy-in from your table, I think your group will love the Tsar.

--Marsh


And I don't care.

5/5

I held off getting this for months because I figured I’d never run it. Then I remembered that I’ve enjoyed lots of RPG items over the years I’ve never run, just read. So I did my homework on other’s reviews. They all said the same thing: what a total joy to read.

So, I plunked down the full price to the Frog Gods for the hardcover book and the PDF. Then 2 weeks later Paizo had it on sale for $50 off for their GM’s day promotion. And I don’t care.

It’s so huge I don’t know if I could ever actually run it. And I don’t care.

I’m going to lose a whole year reading this thing, and I don’t care.

I’m only on page 52 and having a fantastic time. The reading is easy, flavorful and fun. Like a novel, you really can’t wait to read the next location or situation. Its steal-ability factor is sky high, either just for situations, NPCs, encounters or monsters and flavor. It is also a cohesive set of mini stories all tied to one terrible location. The maps may not be gorgeous but they are clear and easy to follow – so I don’t care.

What I do care about is value for money and this is a prime example of it. If you were/are a huge fan of Necromancer Games’ 3rd edition material like I was, it will remain a treasure on your shelf. My hat is off to Greg Vaughan for sticking with it all this time and Bill Webb for making it happen.


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Liberty's Edge

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Discussing sizes, how does this compare to The Complete Tome of Horrors and Monte Cook's Ptolus? I fear for my poor book shelves. :)

Way bigger tha Ptolus. At least an inch thicker.

The only time you will encounter a book this big in the wild is in a University bookstore. Only textbooks are released in a format this large.

ToHC? *Bigger*. Significantly bigger on the shelf, actually. (looked to be almost an inch thicker than the TOHC to my eye. I didn't have them side-by-side at the time to judge, so it might only end up being 3/4 of an inch thicker -- but yeah. The Slumbering Tsar Saga is a REALLY BIG book.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Brb, going shopping for steel reinforcement beams.

Contributor

If you preordered from Paizo, it should go out with the next subscription run (if you've got it set to ship that way). This book is a beast (as Steel_Wind has pointed out) and I find myself wishing it had stats like the Tome of Horrors Complete did.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Any word on when the full ST .pdf will be available for download?

Frog God Games

I've handed it over to FGGs web people, so when they figure out the logistics of it all.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I'm glad I have the PDFs, as it sounds like this book will not be easily used at the gaming table.

I love huge books, but they tend to be shelf ornaments more than anything. *peers at TOHC, WotBS, Ptolus, and Castle Whiterock*

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

*imagines ST on a reading stand in the middle of the room*


TriOmegaZero wrote:
*imagines ST on a reading stand in the middle of the room*

What would you estimate its Frightful Presence DC as?

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

You say that like it can be resisted. ;)


TriOmegaZero wrote:
You say that like it can be resisted. ;)

Even if there was a chance to, I know I failed!

Shadow Lodge

1st Edition Feel Baby!


I emailed Bill yesterday. I'm hoping that it is not too late to combine shipping of this with my copy of Rappan Athuk. I know that it will delay my getting Slumbering Tsar, but will mean a savings in shipping and less packaging that I have to deal with in the long run. Besides, I won't be running this adventure for a while and I DO have the pdfs already.

-Aaron


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Chuck Wright wrote:
I've handed it over to FGGs web people, so when they figure out the logistics of it all.

Thanks for the intel Chuck. On a related note, do you know if the maps in the pdf ended up being layered such that we'll be able to copy/paste them without bringing along room numbers, traps and/or concealed doors? IIRC correctly from the discussion we had in another thread (or was it this thread?) this was something you were looking at adding.

Frog God Games

3 people marked this as a favorite.

There are two versions of each map in the PDFs.

One with numbers, one without and hidden areas cleverly removed.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

You, sir, are a scholar and a gentleman. Now I'm going to go back to staring at my Bytes Interactive download page and hitting refresh until the link to the master ST .pdf appears :)


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Chuck Wright wrote:

There are two versions of each map in the PDFs.

One with numbers, one without and hidden areas cleverly removed.

Totally fricking awesome!


Dr. Johnny Fever wrote:
You, sir, are a scholar and a gentleman. Now I'm going to go back to staring at my Bytes Interactive download page and hitting refresh until the link to the master ST .pdf appears :)

Ditto.

Though I'm going to wait until Tuesday afternoon to do so.

-Aaron


Chuck Wright wrote:

There are two versions of each map in the PDFs.

One with numbers, one without and hidden areas cleverly removed.

Sweet!!!!


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Has anyone gotten access to the final uber ST pdf download? I'm (im)patiently waiting for it to appear.

Frog God Games

Just dropped off the first 300 signed and numbered copies at the post office in uber-packed priority boxes. Should arrive in 2-4 days. Foreign orders shipping later today.

Grab those $125's as long as you can, they are supposed to go up to $150 on Paizo now too--so price should change almost immediately to $150.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Bill Webb wrote:

Just dropped off the first 300 signed and numbered copies at the post office in uber-packed priority boxes. Should arrive in 2-4 days. Foreign orders shipping later today.

Grab those $125's as long as you can, they are supposed to go up to $150 on Paizo now too--so price should change almost immediately to $150.

Awesome!


Can't wait!


Bill Webb wrote:
Just dropped off the first 300 signed and numbered copies at the post office in uber-packed priority boxes. Should arrive in 2-4 days.

Yay!


@Bill,
Just curious if you got my email about combining shipping in time. I sent it in the middle of last week, it could have been too late. If you didn't get it in time, there's no worries. My email address is aaron.(my last name, which I'd rather not post here)@gmail.com

-Aaron


Had to jump in on this one - must have just nailed the $125 in the dying moments.

Now to try and find at least $100 for the RA kickstarter...


Is anyone getting emails from LinkedIn purportedly from Bill, asking them to join? I tried PM'ing him from here but haven't heard anything. I suspect they're bogus but just want some assurance of that. Thanks.

P.S. I just want to make sure it has nothing to do w/ mailing me my copy of ST!


Yeah, I did and it has nothing to do with it. Might be a spam-bot


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I joined up. (Call me naive and gullible).

Now I get daily offers to join some new linkedin group. One has to be suspicious about the fact that it asks for the password to your email account.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Sounds like Bill's account was hacked.


Steve Geddes wrote:

I joined up. (Call me naive and gullible).

Now I get daily offers to join some new linkedin group. One has to be suspicious about the fact that it asks for the password to your email account.

Whoah! That's definitely bogus, then, like I thought. There's no way I would ever give someone a password in a friggin' email!

What I'm worried about is that I've heard that until you refuse a LinkedIn invitation, they'll spam you forever to join. But I'm not stupid enough to click on any link in their emails; even the enticing "Unsubscribe".

Now I think I'll just have to set my spam filter to block anything from LinkedIn whatsoever. Sigh.

Thanks for the confirmation, guys.


Chuck Wright wrote:

There are two versions of each map in the PDFs.

One with numbers, one without and hidden areas cleverly removed.

Chuck, I'm not seeing this in my PDFs. Am I missing something or are they coming in the final full PDF that has yet to be released?

Also, I can't seem to get the player handout map to download off FGG website, does anyone have a good link to it?

Thanks.


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

There are two versions of each map in the PDFs.

One with numbers, one without and hidden areas cleverly removed.

Chuck, I'm not seeing this in my PDFs. Am I missing something or are they coming in the final full PDF that has yet to be released?

Also, I can't seem to get the player handout map to download off FGG website, does anyone have a good link to it?

Thanks.

This is the link that has been failing:

Go to http://www.talesofthefroggod.com/images/Free%20Downloads/Desolation_maphand out.JPG

Frog God Games

the lnked in thing was me...I hit "all contacts" insrtead of business contacts


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dr. Johnny Fever wrote:
You, sir, are a scholar and a gentleman.

Don't go getting crazy here. :)

Frog God Games

It for the final PDF, Malacki, not the individuals


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Bill,

Do you know if the Bytes Interactive download link for the final .pdf will go live by the end of the week?


Any idea when Paizo will be shipping their copies?


Chuck Wright wrote:
It for the final PDF, Malacki, not the individuals

Thanks Chuck!

Now I just need a way to get a copy of the player handout map to start my campaign. :D

Dark Archive

Just got my copies in the mail today. The maps in the back look great compared to what they were in the PDF's.

This thing is a BEAST!!

Frog God Games

Glad you like! We take to heart the comments and concerns of the fans, and try to fix what we can. Reworking the maps for the compilation was done thanks to you folks. :-)


Just received my copy. It is HUGE! I counted up the pages through the obituary pages and the count is 960 total pages in the book. Many thanks to Greg and to Bill and all the other Frogs. Now I will be out of contact for several days while reading.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

For those who have received their copies, where are you (approximately) located?

I am in the Chicago area, not sure if the copies are getting that far out yet.

Dark Archive

Hobbun wrote:

For those who have received their copies, where are you (approximately) located?

I am in the Chicago area, not sure if the copies are getting that far out yet.

I am a hour and a half by car plus a 30 min boat ride from Bill's house soooo pretty close.


bigkilla wrote:
Hobbun wrote:

For those who have received their copies, where are you (approximately) located?

I am in the Chicago area, not sure if the copies are getting that far out yet.

I am a hour and a half by car plus a 30 min boat ride from Bill's house soooo pretty close.

BK-

What direction? Im over in Lake Stevens by Everett.

SG


Paizo has not shipped mine yet. It seems everyone is shipping but Paizo. I try to support Paizo by buying items from them instead of other places but I guess I will have to stop doing that.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Paizo has to receive their books as well, inventory them, then repackage the books and finally send them off to their buyers.

The people who are receiving them now are ones who bought directly from Frog God Games, therefore they are going to get their copies more quickly.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I'm actually wearing out my F5 key refreshing the Bytes Interactive download page, hoping to see the final master .pdf for ST. I'm definitely looking forward to my hardcopy version of this monster getting to my place (Texas), but I'm even more interested in the final .pdf version so I can load it onto my iPad for viewing without lugging a 960 page hardcover everywhere with me. I've got the 64GB iPad2 so I'm hoping it'll load the file without too much grief.


PathfinderFan64 wrote:
Paizo has not shipped mine yet. It seems everyone is shipping but Paizo. I try to support Paizo by buying items from them instead of other places but I guess I will have to stop doing that.

I believe that there was an estimate that Paizo's copies would ship out around a week after Frog God Games' copies did. As Hobbun stated, the folks who subscribed directly at Frog God Games are getting them first.

-Aaron

Contributor

Itchy wrote:
PathfinderFan64 wrote:
Paizo has not shipped mine yet. It seems everyone is shipping but Paizo. I try to support Paizo by buying items from them instead of other places but I guess I will have to stop doing that.

I believe that there was an estimate that Paizo's copies would ship out around a week after Frog God Games' copies did. As Hobbun stated, the folks who subscribed directly at Frog God Games are getting them first.

-Aaron

This. We will start shipping Slumbering Tsar Saga very shortly—if you subscribe to any of Paizo's subscription products, I would recommend moving this tome over to your sidecart for the next subscription run (which is also SoonTM).

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns Subscriber
Skeeter Green wrote:
bigkilla wrote:
Hobbun wrote:

For those who have received their copies, where are you (approximately) located?

I am in the Chicago area, not sure if the copies are getting that far out yet.

I am a hour and a half by car plus a 30 min boat ride from Bill's house soooo pretty close.

BK-

What direction? Im over in Lake Stevens by Everett.

SG

Lisa Stevens is so famous that they named a lake for her? That is super cool! :D

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