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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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

Thanks Dawn

Mike


Bill Webb wrote:
Chuck is brining a external drive w/ the pdf (serious)--if you are in Dallas, you can load it

I'd love to but Dallas is too far from the Tri-Cities of Washington for me to manage.


Just got the book. Or, perhaps, The Book. Or maybe, The Book: The Second Helping.

Thank you, Froggy Lords. And thank you for such a low number.

Regards,
Ruemere


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
ruemere wrote:


Thank you, Froggy Lords. And thank you for such a low number.

From what I recall your number is determined by when you bought the book. An earlier preorder would be a lower number. So you can thank yourself for preordering early on. :)


In that case I can hardly believe my luck. The book is so beautiful, that I am probably going to limit myself to using PDF.

The section 15, the one with the book and monster sources, is 5 and half pages long!

Regards,
Ruemere


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Any Europeans got their copies yet?


I especially like the "Obituaries" section in the back. It is EIGHT PAGES long, with approximately 25 lines per page. That is enough room for 200 PC deaths.

Will it be enough?


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
ericthecleric wrote:
Any Europeans got their copies yet?

Nope, unfortunately not yet.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
ericthecleric wrote:
Any Europeans got their copies yet?

Not me, but here in the UK the two Bank Holidays will have impacted. I think today is reasonably the first day one could expect them to begin arriving. Unfortunately, I won't get to check my post until Friday :(


ericthecleric wrote:
Any Europeans got their copies yet?

Yep.

(living in Poland)

Regards,
Ruemere


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks for the replies!

My copies arrived this morning (UK), and the book looks great! :)


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I hate to sound like a broken record, but is there any ETA on when the full master Slumbering Tsar pdf will be available for download?


Mine arrived today (London, Ontario, Canada). Seven days after I received an email from Paizo saying they had shipped it.

I think I may need to invest in a lectern or podium or somesuch for this. I don't think my poor wrists can hold that much weight for very long. :)

Thank you Paizo and Frog Gods!

---
Taffer


Likewise received mine today, and it's absolutely magnificent!

Liberty's Edge

Mine is shipping with my subscription, so I expect to have it by next week Friday.

Scarab Sages

Mine arrived today (UK here).
Book is looking awesome!
Many thanks Frog Gods!


Mine arrived yesterday
n. 316 found its way to my home (in Italy)
thanks to all the frogs! :)


Hi all, just received my copy here in Michigan. Looks dynamite. This has probably been asked before, but any recommendations on pre-adventures that will take pcs from 1 - 7? Wondering what would fit well themeatically or if any adventures were desinged to fill such a need. I've only recently gotten familiar with FGG. After reading through it though I am really excited about the style, presentation, etc. Can't wait for the Camp!

Frog God Games

Crucible of Freya and Tomb of Abysthor from Necromancer Games (now a subsidiary of Frog God Games) were what I used in my home game.


Greg A. Vaughan wrote:
Crucible of Freya and Tomb of Abysthor from Necromancer Games (now a subsidiary of Frog God Games) were what I used in my home game.

Thanks Greg, I'll check those out :)

Frog God Games

I finally got my copy at North Texas RPG Con! #4 of 500! Unfortunately two numbskulls scribbled their names on the inside cover . . .

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I hate it when that happens... LOL


#97 has made it to Perth, Western Australia.

I thought it would be bigger ; )

Scarab Sages

Got my HB book on Monday and it is awesome. Very much worth the money. thanks guys for a great product. Will be running this game for my group.

Dark Archive

#67 arrived in Düsseldorf, Germany. Had to wrestle customs to get the Book, but now I have it.

AWESOME!


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I got my #25 of 500 (from the original subscription at FGG) from customs (Cologne, Germany) today, and I was even able to convince the customs official that the book was just a bonus for the PDF subscription, so I didn't even have to pay any import taxes.

The book itself is GORGEOUS, and I think it has the biggest OGL ever (7 pages!), and the Obituaries section is a cool idea to fill out the pages with a sheer endless number of victims.

I wonder, will the original subscribers get access to the consolidated PDF as well?

Shadow Lodge

Zaister wrote:
I wonder, will the original subscribers get access to the consolidated PDF as well?

We're supposed to. Not really sure when, I know all the FGG folks are (always) amazingly busy.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I'm chomping at the bit for that final master ST pdf. I know Bill had mentioned that the individual at Bytes Interactive that is responsible for making the download link available was vacation for two weeks. What I can't remember is if he posted that one week ago or two weeks ago. At any rate, I'm really looking forward to that final pdf because my wrists are starting to hurt from holding up the hard cover while I'm reading it on the couch :) . My iPad2 has lots of space freed up and I'm dying to be able to read this monster on it.

Shadow Lodge

Searching through his posts, the one that mentioned that the Bytes Interactive guy was gone for the next two weeks was made on the 31st. So probably the PDF will go live sometime next week. *knock on wood*

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

I have a comment or three.

Other then a few editing mistakes (right word by spelling, wrong word by context - that woodwrack dragon 'peaking' around the corner is probably having sex at a bad time), I have a balance question.

The Sword of Garrant is a +x Brilliant Sword, right? Care to tell me why the holy sword of a high Justicar, a mighty foe of the undead and demonkind, is UTTERLY USELESS against undead?

Because, you know, Brilliant weapons can't harm undead. Brilliant weapons are Player Character and living NPC killers...they tend to be much less effective against monsters, and useless against undead. Monsters tend to rely on dex and natural armor more then armor and shields, after all.

ERm.

And then, the WRAITH magical ability.
Okay, we've got this sword that makes all attacks touch attacks. That's better then Brilliant, because it ignores shield, armor AND Nat Armor.
Bril is +4. Armor and Shield only.
No drawbacks against constructs and undead and objects for Wraith. Uh huh.
And then a Save or Suck effect on top.
AND it's Ghost Touch.
You want to justify how this effect is priced at +3?
At a MINIMUM, it should be +7...which is Epic.
If you make Ghost Touch a pre-req, and take out the save or suck, instead of part of the enhancement, it's still +6...better then Brilliant (tons, loads, HUGELY better) because it does more then Brilliant, AND has no drawbacks.

So those guys wielding Wraithblades are slinging around Epic Weaponry.

Or am I reading this wrong and the only effect the weapons have is a Save or suck?

=+Aelryinth

Dark Archive

#189 in Los Angeles on 6/3

I have a question for anyone who cares to answer it (and my question may be out of sorts since I'm at work and don't have the book in front of me).

Question - what is the sequence for the environs maps? I know the first two are right on top of each other but I am trying to lay out the whole thing in my head and I am having a block as to how these all lay out.

If someone can sequence them such as camp, then directly north is the rift, etc, etc, I would greatly appreciate it. Map page sequence would work just as well.

Also to any of the FGG people out there - a complete map or an environs layout would be very helpful. I know one huge map wouldn't work to run it since the keyed locations would be unreadable but it would help me visualize the pieces a little better.

Thanks if anyone can help.

-Aux


Aux - see Player Handout A. Is that what you want?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

# 275 arrived in Frankfurt, Germany already last week but could only be freed from the greedy customs mits this morning (due to a public holiday). The spine suffered a bit during transport (upper side bent) but nonetheless an amazingly epic book - thank you FGG!

Can't wait to run some of the enocunters/dungeons as part of my upcoming second "Kingmaker" campaign.

Dark Archive

DaveMage wrote:
Aux - see Player Handout A. Is that what you want?

Thanks Dave, I'll let you know if it is when I get home. All I have to reference at work are the pdfs as the separate modules and the Player Handout A (which I didn't look at) may have only been included in the final book.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Auxmaulous wrote:
DaveMage wrote:
Aux - see Player Handout A. Is that what you want?

Thanks Dave, I'll let you know if it is when I get home. All I have to reference at work are the pdfs as the separate modules and the Player Handout A (which I didn't look at) may have only been included in the final book.

Yes, it's in the final book and not the PDFs. Frog God has a copy on its website (linkified).

Dark Archive

DaveMage wrote:
Auxmaulous wrote:
DaveMage wrote:
Aux - see Player Handout A. Is that what you want?

Thanks Dave, I'll let you know if it is when I get home. All I have to reference at work are the pdfs as the separate modules and the Player Handout A (which I didn't look at) may have only been included in the final book.

Yes, it's in the final book and not the PDFs. Frog God has a copy on its website (linkified).

Thanks a million Dave, this is exactly what I was looking for. Serves me right for only looking at the DM maps!


Excellent! I remember having the same concern when the subscription copies started.

Scarab Sages

I haven't received my copy yet (Los Angeles, CA) - should I be concerned?

Frog God Games

Dr. Gradgrind wrote:
I haven't received my copy yet (Los Angeles, CA) - should I be concerned?

I would send an e-mail to Bill about it. He's also currently combing through 5 days of e-mail as well, so please be patient with us. :)


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Chuck, out of curiosity, just how big is the Slumbering Tsar master pdf? Are we talking 200 - 300 mb? Larger?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

And any word on when it will be available?

Frog God Games

The one that I sent out is 244.7

I'm sure that something odd happened because it was modified from a version that was only 161Megs.

I still have to work on some of those Acrobat skills, I do apologize.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Chuck Wright wrote:
I still have to work on some of those Acrobat skills, I do apologize.

Sir, as long as it opens you'll hear no complaints from me. A difference of 80mb is nothing compared to the convenience of having access to ST pretty much whenever I want!

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Dr. Johnny Fever wrote:


Chuck, out of curiosity, just how big is the Slumbering Tsar master pdf? Are we talking 200 - 300 mb? Larger?

454mb


Mactaka wrote:
Dr. Johnny Fever wrote:


Chuck, out of curiosity, just how big is the Slumbering Tsar master pdf? Are we talking 200 - 300 mb? Larger?
454mb

Since it's still not posted, I presume you went to the con last weekend. :)


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Mactaka wrote:
Dr. Johnny Fever wrote:


Chuck, out of curiosity, just how big is the Slumbering Tsar master pdf? Are we talking 200 - 300 mb? Larger?
454mb

That's a hefty file, but still oh-so-worth it. If only the link would show up. I wonder if the Bytes Interactive guy that's gonna upload this thing can feel my voodoo pins...

Sovereign Court

ericthecleric wrote:
Any Europeans got their copies yet?

Yessss ! (France)

Frog God Games

Dave - I handed over the file a bit ago, I think that they're waiting on the Bytes Interactive fellow to get back from his vacation now.


Chuck Wright wrote:
Dave - I handed over the file a bit ago, I think that they're waiting on the Bytes Interactive fellow to get back from his vacation now.

I'm a little confused here. I bought the book through Paizo. I've been waiting for the pdf to become available on Paizo. I've been checking "My Downloads" on Paizo daily for it.

It seems to me that you're saying I'm either not going to get it (because I bought it through Paizo), or that I'm going to have to log into this Bytes Interactive website to get the pdf.

Please clarify for me. :(

---
Taffer

Frog God Games

You should be able to get it through Paizo when it's made available to them, Taffer.

I know that DaveMage got his through us, so I was speaking directly to his concerns.

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