Way of the Wicked—Book #1: Knot of Thorns (PFRPG) PDF

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The Kingdom of Talingarde is the most noble, virtuous, peaceful nation in the known world. Herein is the story of how you burned this insipid paradise to the ground.

It's only fair. They burned you first.

They condemned you for your wicked deeds. They branded you. They shipped you to the worst prison in the kingdom. In three days, you die. In three days, the do-gooders pray they'll be rid of you.

They've given you three days. The fools, that's more than you need to break out. And then, it will be their turn to face the fire.

Welcome to the first chapter of the "Way of the Wicked" adventure path! Inside you'll find:

  • "Knot of Thorns," an adventure for 1st level villains compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game by Gary McBride.
  • Full color art and maps by Michael Clarke
  • A gazetteer of brave, noble, doomed Talingarde
  • Advice for running a successful villainous campaign
  • Rules for creating wicked PCs
  • A 100-page full color PDF (including printer friendly version) full of vice and villainy.
  • And more!

You've saved the world plenty.

This time, the world needs saving from you.

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Excellent campaign


This is more of a review of the entire AP. I just finished running it after a long run. It is one of the best AP's I have run, some bits of some modules are a bit weak , I think book 5 has some problems with player actions and planning. However if you are willing to deal with all the problems a very high level party can cause and expand a bit over the last 2 books were this power gives the pc's so many options that the books cannot cover them all then this works well.

An evil party gets the chance to become the evil overlords of the land and show their true natures , mine were suprisingly subtle and restrained but it can be fun to see how things turn out.

It has begun


Despite the relative age of the Way of the Wicked it holds up very well.

Provided the players understand and buy into this campaign's concept they will have a Hell of a good time.

This chapter packs a lot of material from start to end. You get a lot of adventure for your money and the maps are well done. There are a lot of player handouts that you may want to review and re-do for the vision-impaired players (or yourself!).

Especially for the price point the campaign is worth every penny so long as everyone buys in for the long haul.

A wicked good time!


My friend turned me onto this, and while I haven't checked out a 3P adventure path before, the idea for this one was enough to get me to put some eyes on it. And really, it was a great call to do so.

What I liked:
The level of polish on this product is incredible, and while there's a few typos and such, it's nothing that detracts from the ease of use that this module boast. The idea is original and done in a fun way, the story is engaging, and I myself had a great time reading through it (hoping to run it eventually), making it something that I'd recommend to others.

The game starts off strong with a more complex first part than I was expecting (possibly too complex, but whatever), and the roleplaying opportunities are plenty. The second part is just as engaging, and the ending of it is enjoyably open ended. It really does feel like you're facing off against the forces of good, and in a very organic way as well.

What I didn't like:
The third part is a bit of a slog, it feels like filler in an otherwise tight game. Also no map of the town in part 4 was slightly annoying, and as stated by others, a reputation mechanic built into the game would have pushed it to the next level for me. But regardless, those are minor gripes. Also, you have to MAKE SURE everyone's on team pentagram or else the game doesn't work. Once you do that though, everything flows smoothly.

Overall I'd recommend this to anyone looking for an adventure path that breaks from the norm.

A Knot of Thorns Review


Warning: Potential Spoilers. Written from a GM's perspective. I ran this for five PCs.

I am sure that the opportunity to play through an evil adventure path is enough of a lure for many gamers. However, what is special about Way of the Wicked is that it does evil so well. This book contains a helpful article about the pitfalls of running an evil campaign and how to avoid them. This advice is spot on and faithfully followed by the writers themselves.

Player creativity is heavily encouraged. There are lot of scenarios that require problem solving and can't be resolved with brute strength alone. This gives players a lot of opportunity to put the lawful evil in their alignment to good use.

Talingarde is an interesting place. At first glance, the country seems like a Lawful Good utopia. However, it actually has a lot of issues, such as restrictions on academics, religious intolerance and general complacency. This really helps with backstories and roleplaying, as the characters, despite being evil, have believable reasons to resent their home country.

There is a lot of inspiration for how to make the NPCs feel vibrant and memorable. Everyone delighted in taking down the magister because he had been so rude to them, but they all felt awful about killing the man who ran the rookery. Then of course, who doesn't love Grumblejack the ogre?

While the entire book is strong, the final act is on another level. Unlike the rest of the book, players are given almost total freedom as to how to solve the task they are assigned. This freedom allows almost every build a chance to bring their skills to the table. Most importantly, up until the final act, the players are mostly just fleeing the law and following orders from their new master. The final act is where they finally get to feel like they are evil puppet masters, manipulating things from the shadows.

The boat ride in the third act is a little uninspiring, compared to the rest of the book. It feels a bit like a string of random encounters, most of which don't further the story. If your players enjoy that, go for it. Personally, I cut about half of the encounters, especially since we were using story based leveling.

The story is very linear and can easily lead to players feeling railroaded. This is by far the book's biggest problem. There is a built in assumption that players will follow along the path provided for them. If this doesn't happen, the AP's method of dealing with it is fairly unpleasant, going as far as to outright kill non-cooperative characters at one point. There is a line in the character creation guidelines about the AP assuming that players say yes to an opportunity to work with Asmodeans, so build a character that can say yes. Find it. Bold it. Underline it. Circle it. Make sure that your players understand that it is 100% required. If everyone is clear on this point, your game will most likely run smoothly, without this being a major issue.

Knot of Thorns or I am the villain!


This book took me by surprise, not just in the fact you get to play the evil character but more in all the assistance they give new GM’s for running an evil game and run it coherently. The book gives good lore about the world and how to bring it into others.

It does railroad the players a bit at start but does use that railroading to build the seeds nicely instead of only explaining why the players are together. The adventure pushes nicely through its pace and really lets the players tackle a problem as they feel their characters would.

Combat is solid, challenging, but not restricting. Players are offered lots of side missions to help finish the main task and all are enjoyably evil.

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kevin_video wrote:

No feats. You get that for free.

then the rule is absolutely broken. As much as the metal items you touch with it.

Grand Lodge

gustavo iglesias wrote:
kevin_video wrote:

No feats. You get that for free.

then the rule is absolutely broken. As much as the metal items you touch with it.

Yes and no. In this campaign it most definitely is. However, the majority of the people your heroes tend to take on are thugs that usually wear leather or studded leather. You might even come across the occasional evil druid in wood. In those campaigns it definitely wouldn't be broken. It's all about location.

kevin_video wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Isn't that extremelly powerful? How much feats does it cost to him? I mean, the ability to give the broken condition to a full plate with a touch attack is not something a PC should get for free, isn't it? It's way more powerful than Improved Sunder.

No feats. You get that for free.

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

It doesn't work that way. You give the Broken condition to stuff that you wear or "use", not stuff that you just touch.

Doug M.
Actually, re-read it. You do give the broken condition to everything you touch. Temporarily. You give away your curse for a small time, and put it on others. Thus they gain the broken condition on all of their items.

I think you need to re-read it, Kevin.

Wrecker Curse "Held objects gain the broken condition when you use or equip them but regain their actual condition if employed by anyone else."

The only thing it says you can destroy just by touching it is non-magical traps.


Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you're enjoying Mike's art. If you go to our facebook page, you can see a lot more of it.

We're also doing a kickstarter where his art is being highlighted on a deck of playing cards.

Regardless, thanks for purchasing "Way of the Wicked"!

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games
Check out our kickstarter! Creature Cards

Grand Lodge

Geistlinger wrote:

I think you need to re-read it, Kevin.

Wrecker Curse "Held objects gain the broken condition when you use or equip them but regain their actual condition if employed by anyone else."

The only thing it says you can destroy just by touching it is non-magical traps.

I love the English language. Same spelling for two words. Mine was meant to say "re-read it" as in "re-red it".

This is all I've found so far. I'm getting him to e-mail me the exact details of what he found if it's any different.

At 15th level, whenever you are dealt damage by an attack with a manufactured weapon, you can require the weapon’s wielder to make a Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 your oracle level + your Charisma modifier) to avoid having the weapon collapse into dust immediately after striking you (magical weapons receive an additional saving throw against this effect).

EDIT: The above AND a 2nd level Oracle Spell called Oracle's Burden. It's a Will save and SR applies.

I'm running this as a PC and I'm loving every evil moment.

We're currently in Book 2 and are getting ready for the grind, but it's so much fun... thanks for giving the good monsters a chance to not just be NPCs... the deadliness of the monsters are great.

We've been through 4 PCs already, though mine and the alchmist have survived, and have definatly gone outside the lines, but every time I ask if we broke it my DM smiles and says nope they have a contingency for that. Can't wait to to see how this ends, though I can't buy them myself until after I'm done playing them, count the next AP you're putting out "subscribed".

The Chozyn,

I'm glad you're enjoying "Way of the Wicked". Sounds like you're playing with a particularly vicious GM.

But regardless I'm glad you're having a good time. "Throne of Night" will be here before you know it.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games
Check out our kickstarter! Creature Cards

Question for Gary. I notice you're occasionally stopping by the PBP games. What (if anything) have you seen there that particularly struck you as interesting, clever, or cool? -- I ask because I've been browsing them myself, and it's pretty interesting how 5 different DMs are presenting 5 slightly different versions of the same tale.

(They're all Knot of Thorns, of course -- the pace of PBP is such that nobody has reached Call Forth Darkness yet, though one group is getting close.)

Doug M.

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You hit it on the nose. It is interesting to see what different people ignore, emphasize, and expand upon.

But the real thing that always strikes me as clever and cool is not what the GMs do. Its how the players look at a problem and devise some ingenious, wicked, and off-the-cuff solution I would never have dreamed of.

In one of the games a PC is going through playing a lesser devil. Wow. I never even considered that possibility. What a neat roleplaying experience.

In another game I've watched (I can't remember if this on paizo.com) one group made it out of the prison without spilling a single drop of blood by bluffing and forgery.

In another game, the PCs ...


...decreased the defense of Balentyne by arriving as exhausted king's messengers with a fake message that declared that Farholde was being overrun by frost giants and that all available men were to be sent to reinforce the garrison their. They got half the men and two of the officers to sail off on a wild goose chase with that one.

If want to know the reason the PbP hold my interest, that' it.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games
Check out our kickstarter! Creature Cards

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

One of the things I'm doing for my game is a white board with the main quest identified, along with any side quests they have picked up or heard about and anything they want to keep track of.

I think when we hit Balentyne it should be interesting to see what rumors they get and what they decide are the priorities for weakening the defenses.

It does also keep them slightly focused on what the 'big goal' is. :)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Fire Mountain Games wrote:


You hit it on the nose. It is interesting to see what different people ignore, emphasize, and expand upon.

But the real thing that always strikes me as clever and cool is not what the GMs do. Its how the players look at a problem and devise some ingenious, wicked, and off-the-cuff solution I would never have dreamed of.

In one of the games a PC is going through playing a lesser devil. Wow. I never even considered that possibility. What a neat roleplaying experience.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games
Check out our kickstarter! Creature Cards

Yeah, I saw that lesser devil idea and I so wanted to pinch it for my game... unfortunately the PCs had already rolled up their toons... maybe I'll run it again for a different group... or better... convince another DM to let me play it in his game! :)

What I like about that one is not so much that he's a lesser devil per se, as that he is /playing the hell out of it/. He's legitimately terrified of Tiadora; the player writes that every time she's around, his character has to make a conscious effort not to cringe and whimper.

Here's a separate but related question: are you seeing things in the runs that tell you how well your design worked (or not)?

Doug M.

My PC is a Gladiator and has used his acting ability to get passed a few of the things in Book 1.

Prison Break:
After the initial exploration of the inner prison conviced the Ogre to put on a staged fight with me out the gate with the party wearing the clothes of the others guards. The ogre died for his trouble but it got us into the gatehouse. From there we slaughtered the left over guards and then locked the warden and the remainder of the guards in the prison using the ogres body to help bar the door.

We had Balentyne done in 6 days, We split the party after our initial rumor mongering, as well as getting the dwarves rip roaring drunk and convincing them that takeing down a portion of the wall would guarentee them more work that they could charge better rates for, got the officers killed and then started a riot with the people by convincing them the wizard was the one behind the murders and mayhem. In the confusion of that we convinced the cleric and wizard to fight each other then finished off the leftovers...

Grand Lodge

Want people's opinions. I was inspired by Gary reading a pbp about the frost giants. I'm putting this out simply because I unfortunately couldn't find a module that already dealt with this kind of thing. If there is, I'd love to get pointed towards it. Otherwise, this is the homebrew solution I came up with.

The Lost Island of Taane-thak:
As is described by the write-up, a whole bunch of frost giants are in a sleeping state thanks to a good wizard.

I was thinking of having the hidden island located 100 miles East of Seal Isle. While talking to the Yutak tribe, they swap legendary stories of each other's culture. That's when they learn about the cave of the sleeping frost giants. They could use them to their advantage. For rescuing them and waking them up from their centuries long slumber, they can lay waste to the town where their jailer lived -- Balentyne. That might satisfy them.

However, the trek won't be that easy. They'll have to discover the island from the legend lore's clues, brave the rapids around the coral reefs, and enter the cave that's in the middle of a constant blizzard. But even inside is a peril waiting for them.

The wizard knew that he wouldn't survive forever, and left in charge of the cave, a single ice mephit, Rime. He was the wizard's improved familiar. Should anyone actually manage to free the frost giants, or at the very least get close to pulling it off, the ice mephit was to immediately contact the wizard's current heir, Rhodulus the Ironic, a NG arctic elf fire elementalist wizard.

Rhodulus never thought it actually possible to get called so he slacked in his studies, and was fairly adamant with shirking his responsibilities, unless it was that to a fair maiden. However, he did manage to become powerful enough for Rime to continue on as his familiar like he had with his grandfather.

As lazy as Rhodulus was, he wasn't stupid. On the off chance that the frost giants ever did wake up, he had readied a wand of wall of fire and scroll of teleport just in case. No one will be more shocked than him though when he's summoned to the ice cave.

Rhodulus will be at a level appropriate to that of the PCs, but no lower then 7th level so Rime can be his familiar. He'll come with his friends: Sheryl, a CG female half-elf bard; and Tabitha, a NG female catfolk (cat's claws) companion bond ranger (natural CS and FE giant +2). They're both two levels lower than Rhodulus.

With the opposition dealt with the party can finally deal with the riddle. How do you wake up the frost giants? The riddle talks about sleeping until the new dawn breaks and the aroma of aromatic spirits fills their nostrils.

What this means is that the party has to find someway to shed some light into the cave, over the giants, and have each one of them inhale smelling salts. If the PCs look around and make a DC 20 Knowledge (engineering) check, they'll notice that an ice wall doesn't quite look like the rest of the walls. It's a magical shaping transmutation by the previous wizard. It covers the original window that let in light. The PCs will need to destroy this by whatever means they can pull off.

Taane-Thak is a frost giant/sorcerer 2. Her and her crew, while they aren't fond of it, will agree that the PCs did save them, and will work for them for a price. If the PCs introduce them to Thorn, he'll recruit them and eventually he'll gain the king and queen for Book 5's write-up.

For their first order of business, they are to take out Balentyne. This allows the PCs to go to their next destination, Mathyrn, and get them to send a majority of their troops to help fight the giants, leaving the wall mostly unguarded with but a skeleton crew.

So, what do you guys think? Note that I'm writing this at almost 4 AM because inspiration struck me, so I'm not sure how coherent this reads.

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Dedicated to Gary McBride and our GM Doug, I am posting this here but I'm trying to avoid spoilers (above) so I won't be responding for a bit.

Sing a song for six fools, all made hung out to dry,
Two set for a life of labour, Four condemned to die.

When the locks were opened the Gob began to slash,
Wasn't that a dainty twist, preferable to beheading or the lash.

Watch Sergeant where are you, we fools spoiling for a fight
Warden in his lofty tower, researching Wizardry by candle light.

With stealth, summoned shadow, spell, and blade let us make haste!
Fools we may be, but pity those sods our newfound Giant will turn to paste.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Very cool. I think you might be the first person, Kate, inspired to write in-character poetry for any of my RPG products.

Glad you're enjoying "Way of the Wicked". I didn't write this, but I feel this poetry is appropriate:

Three times I had the lust to kill,
To clutch a throat so young and fair,
And squeeze with all my might until
No breath of being lingered there.
Three times I drove the demon out,
Though on my brow was evil sweat. . . .
And yet I know beyond a doubt
He’ll get me yet, he’ll get me yet.

-- Robert Service, "A Hero"

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games
Check out our kickstarter! Creature Cards

Creepy poem, and appropriate to this adventure path.

And thanks for the five star review, Kate!

Fire Mountain Games
Check out our kickstarter! Creature Cards

*struts around like a bawss*

I'm definitely enjoying playing Mi'Dre. I love weird, outside the norm style characters, so the chance to play a devil is a lot of fun, and is encouraging me to be a bit more gruesome than I normally would :p

He has every reason to be afraid of Tiadora too :p It wouldn't have worked anyway now I know what she is, but that was a bad time to roll a nat one.

Mi'Dre's infernal strut is somewhat mitigated by his current guise as a human child... :P

A very creepy human child :D But yes, I figured they'd know who I am since they claim to have read the PbPs

Lantern Lodge

Hey Gary,

Just wanted to pop in and say that I've gotten a group together and we've been running through the path with nothing slowing us down. Its the adventure path me and my friends have always wanted to play but couldn't figure out a way to properly run without it all falling to pieces. (One of my players is a strangely large fan of Asmodeus and devils in general, so he's beyond thrilled.)

My players are:

Male LE Human Wizard Conjurer (Going for Diabolist)
Female NE Tiefling Cleric of Apollyon
Male LE Half Orc Anti-Paladin
Male NE Fetchling Infernal Sorcerer

They've been able to get through some of the scrapes with fairly clever solutions, such as impersonating the Warden and convincing the guards to lock up Blackerly for stealing from the prison. The cleric of Apollyon is always sacrificing survivors of their encounters to her dark Daemonic lord. (Which makes me pretty stoked for the Horn! I almost want to let her become full half-fiend)

I will keep little updates about what the groups up to throughout the adventure. Thanks again for the great product!

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Is there something wrong with the 6 pdf subscription option on drivethrurpg.com?

Grand Lodge

@ Revenantdog -- With regards to your spoiler stuff on the tiefling, go for it. When Grumblejack gets his boost, give the tiefling hers too. I'm considering doing it for my players if they get behind too much on XP.

Justin Sluder wrote:
Is there something wrong with the 6 pdf subscription option on drivethrurpg.com?

Don't think so. Mine's working fine.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I have tried on multiple computers to purchase it, including restarts of the machines, and am unable to complete the purchase. I think drivethrurpg.com doesn't want my money.

And yes, I did send a message to their customer service about this. Still waiting to hear back.


If you continue to have any problem with this, don't hesitate to email me at gary at firemountaingames dot com and I will also look into it.

We definitely want you to be able to give us your money. :)

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games
Check out our kickstarter! Creature Cards

Revenant Dog,

Sounds like a great group. Please, keep us informed about how your campaign is going!

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games
Check out our kickstarter! Creature Cards

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I would get them individually, either through drivethrurpg or Paizo, but Paizo charges tax, and I'm a cheap enough bastard that the $3 less for the subscription is important.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Got it. Turns out there was something set up wrong on their end. Things working now. :D

Hi Gary,

I would like to run this campaign with 6 Players.
How can I fix it?


I'm running it with six. I made the following changes:

(1) Added an anti-magic ward. It operates only inside the main building: DC 15 concentration check to cast any spell.

(2) Added a third guard to the two in the cell block.

(3) Added an alarm bell on Blackerly's office door, a simple trap on his bedroom door, and another trap on his chest.

(4) Added a barracks along the wall (where the dog kennel is) with a dozen guards. The guards are off-duty and unarmed, and at night they're asleep, but just by existing they force the party to be more thoughtful.

(5) Gave the Warden another level and made him a specialist illusionist.

(6) Added two more guards to Blackerly's game in the gatehouse.

(7) Gave Blackerly one expert level (better Will save, some skills, a few more hp, +1 Str).

This seemed a little more interesting to me than "just increase all monster numbers by 50%, or give them another hit die/level."

Doug M.

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

I'm running it with six. I made the following changes:

** spoiler omitted **

This seemed a little more interesting to me than "just increase all monster numbers by 50%, or give them another hit die/level."

Doug M.

Thank you Douglas Muir 406, great Tips indeed for this 1st AP

Maybe another way is to opting for "point buy method" (Standard Fantasy)?


I know is not a funny way to create characters....

Dark Archive

During most of the first book, the players will be

short on items, as there isn't that much loot. A lot of gold though, but no place to spend it.
, and especially with 6 players, this could disappoint some player types. Maybe one of the good guys carries a sword that makes all his mates jealous, just to have it confiscated by the first proper villains to pass by?

We've finished this book last sunday, and it's been a great ride.

a friend was kind enough to come by and play the last remaining good guy, lord Havelyn. He totally went with the "yes he talks like that" bit, and prepared a 2 minute speech of sickening selfrighteous holier-than-thouishness for his grand entrance on the battlefield. This was of course way too long, so everybody wanted him dead. Two near deaths, a couple of Create Pits and a lot of scripture references later, the assassin pops up from his hiding spot and drives a rapier through the man's head, simply saying "Oh DO shut up."

We love playing evil guys. I love running this - the book has exactly enough information for me to just read it once and run the game. What a relief! I can focus almost all my prep time on making props and battlemaps and background music, and that's what I like to do most and get to do least. Awesome.

I've been playing this in a group and we're having a blast!

Our DM has us roll 2d6+8 for attributes (rolling two matrix's taking the higher of the two). Needless to say we have powerful characters (which is awesome as I/we enjoy optimizing our characters). Speaking of characters our group consists of the following (7 players all veterans):

Human summoner
Human fey bloodlines sorcerer
Human draconic blooded sorcerer
Dwarf cleric
Gnome rogue
Asimar monk (taking the vamp feats at lvl1,3,5,7,9)
and my character:
"Angel-Blooded" Asamir, Dark Lord (archtype) antipaladin (also taking the vamp feats at lvl1,3,5,7,9).

We all worship the big A except for the rogue who signed on for vengeance and eventual riches.

Should I survive, my build will be:
Dark Lord 4/Magister 1/Dragon Disciple 8/Eldritch knight 7.
I'll get my STR to 40 at lvl 16 (read I use 2handed weapons and will power attack all the time when I get the feat) and my CHA to 28 (+9) by lvl 9 (I get Cha to HP and Saves, as well as for smite good).

At the moment (lvl4) my stats are:

At lvl 20 I'll have:
Spells cast per day as a 13th lvl Magister (read 1-6th lvl spells)
CL of 19 (with the trait and feat that boost caster level)
No ASF in light armor due to Magister(which is good as my Dex will be high, something mithral or celestial armor will be my ideal armor)
All the undead awesome from the vamp template.
Basically a smogas bord of great defensive and offensive abilities with out going into too much more detail.

As far as how we've done so far..


In the prison we used stealth,bluff and took the guards one or two at a time. We freed Grumble jack but fearing he was too clumsy we kept him guarding the cafeteria as we went to the other guard locations taking them out. The most we faced at a time was 4 when we fought the warden. He knocked one of our characters down before he and his men fell but we healed him right back up. We effectively looted anything that wasn't nailed down and then set the prison on fire. Before that however the human fey blooded sorcerer looking at the dogs in the cages said "the dogs shouldn't starve.. that's cruel." then took the body of the warden and stuck his dead body into the dogs cages. lol

After that we made it leisurely to the manor house. Signed the pact and mingled some with the other knot learning their story. In 3 days we got our 24 hour mission to learn the lessons. Being all veteran gamers who like being creative, we completed the lessons in 30 game world minutes. We didn't kill Tim the kid, we got info from him, found out Sir Balin would be at the end. We figured we have to kill him so when we went into his chamber my character had Tim held with a sword against Tim's throat telling Sir Balin to drop his weapons and shield, and get on the ground. He did and our casters mage handed them away from him. Sir Balin then realized we worshipped big A and then flipped out, standing up and attacked us despite his charge being held as a hostage. At which point we surrounded him and beat him down (he had no weapons but a dagger and no shield, so it didn't take too long). None of us fell in the 9 lessons. Thorn was indeed impressed.

We then got our next mission to go up north. We purchased some equipment, boarded the boarded the frost hammer and headed north. We ran into the patrol and my character put on the necklace from Sir Balin, and turned to look like a knight. They boarded us and asked what we were doing. I told them we were bringing orphans much needed relief up north, and got some intel from him in casual conversation. He totally bought it and even donated 2GP for those pooooorr orphans before he let us go. ;)

After that we traveled more north, met some merfolk type creatures and water elementals we stomped hard on an island. The one with the trident got away though. We then met with some atuk or some such traders we successfully traded those masterwork items for ivory with. Then we ran into the mephit, we stomped and with him begging for his life he agreed to become our minion (he is a mixture of annoying and hilarious to be sure) so we kept him against the capatin of the frost hammer's preference.

Then when we finally got all the way to the bugbear's dock we met the 3 who were speaking in goblin, we tried intimidating them but it didn't work. That's fine as we pounded them pretty fast. Fireaxe came and gave his speach. We told him we'd meet with him in a few moments, we just needed to settle some thing with the captain. He seemed reluctant but let us. After he walked away, our party all looked at each other and positioned ourselves tactically on the boat. As inconspicuously as we could so we could flank captain and his crew. We cucceeded. Our cleric started off with "oh your crewmate is injured.. let me heal him for you!" *inflict light wounds* *bluff* "Oh I'm sorry.. let me try again" *inflict light wounds*. Then initiative started with us getting a surprise round. Holy crap the captain was tough (I'm guessing he was lvl8-10 due to his hit points and number of attacks!).. even with our good positioning and tactics we were basically just very lucky we only had one of our characters fall during combat (not die, just on the ground). However even with that.. to be honest we weren't in any real danger. At this point our group is starting to feel kinda invincible.

Note I did tell our DM in this last game that since we have almost twice the number of players (as it was written for 4 pcs as we have 7), he might want to up the enemy count. He assured me it will get tougher and left it at that.

In any case we then looted and burned the boat and joined the feast with Fireaxe. After getting our next mission from Fireaxe we learned we need a boat again at which point we face palmed.. We'll see if we can barter with one of them to get a ride there from one of their boats (they want to sell us a boat in exchange for the captains great axe.. and unless its a folding boat I dont' think we'll want to "keep it" as we think we'll just have to abandon it once across the other side.

That's were we're at now. We play again this Thursday. I can't wait!

Some interesting things of note:
Once the monk and my character hit level 5 and we take our 3rd vamp feat, we become undead. At this point the "disguise self" hats don't help us blend in with the common folk any longer. That is since our type changes to undead and disguise self only allows one to look like other subtypes of this main type.. we could only look like other undead creatures (which I guess has its own tactical uses).

In any case I guess we'll need to break out the powder and fake stashe kits before we hit any populated areas once we become undead.

Part Two for you Gary:

Sing a song for six fools, all made hung to dry,
Two set for a life of labor, Four condemned to die.

Cooks in the kitchen, oh how they bake no more,
Guards being idle, now it's time to even up the score.

Watch Sergeant where are you, naughty, naughty you've been crooked too!
We Fools looking hither for you, the Gob needs your hide to broth his stew.

Warden in his lofty tower, boy did the old coot know how to fight,
Yet the Knight and his newfound Love made up for all that, despite!

With stealth, summoned shadow, spell, and blade let us make haste!
Fools luck holding, but ever we be careful else all this will be for waste.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Finally got my 3rd session in (moving can be soooo disruptive).
The session went quite well if a little unexpected at the end.


The party was resting at the manor and having their requests for equipment being filled. As a smart choice they decided to pool resources together and chipped in for a Wand of Cure Light Wounds.

The necromancer requested 3 corpses... /sigh.

Going into the 9 Lessons, my players looked at me mournfully... they hate puzzles!
The first room was quite amusing, the party filled the room and then the goblin rogue went to check out the door... failed his perception check and reflex save and fell into the pit and hit a spike. Grumblejack reached in and pulled him out. But it seemed that the first trap was going to be par for the course for the evening, the goblin rogue failed to spot any of the traps and triggered them all.

They found Timeon and convinced him that they were trying to 'clear' the dungeon of evil things and they would be more than happy to take him along. The Witch recognized the name of Sir Balin and was starting to plot revenge. With some really good diplomacy rolls and bluffs they convinced Timeon that the 3 skeletons were villagers animated by foul magic and that they were 'escorting' them out of the dungeon for proper burial.

With the pedestal & silver pendant (fake) the goblin rogue after being told specifically not to touch it (with the orc monk using intimidate)... of course pocketed the pendant. The goblin decided to make off with the pendant and return it to Cardinal Thorn so that he would get the reward... so up the stairs he went, right into the spiked ball that came crashing down. Afterwards the rest of the party forceibly reminded the goblin about the Pact of Thorns.

Avoiding the shrieker room and quickly dispatching the undead the party at last came to Sir Balin's room. At this point the goblin was feeling very paranoid about traps and carefully went over the locked door. One of the other players mentioned that in this case the door probably wasn't trapped, but that it was probably the key ring that was... my players are evil!

As all the PCs were disguised as something (even Grumblejack was disguised as a very large human) Sir Balin didn't immediately attack. Then he was reunited with his squire. He was overjoyed to see that his squire was unharmed and alive... and then Sir Balin was overcome by 'Murderous Command' and cut Timeon in two.

With considerable role playing the party managed to start Sir Balin on the path of evil (after all how could Mitra have let him cut down his own squire, obviously Mitra doesn't really care).

The party turned in the pendant to Cardinal Thorn, trained up and are ready for the next Act.

The 'turning' Sir Balin to the dark side was not what I was expecting, but the Witch (who Sir Balin caught for Convorting with Dark Powers) figured it was a more fitting punishment than just killing him.

Then to add to his torment later, some of the party members would use their Iron Circlets to look like 'Timeon' to ravish Sir Balin with guilt.

A priceless session.

Gary, I've said it before but very well done.
One of the things I really like about the AP so far is that there is very little prep required or flipping through other books to find stat blocks.

Good stuff.

Grand Lodge

Due to unforeseen circumstances the campaign's been put on hold for a month. We'll be starting in Dec. On the plus side, we've got a new player.

The group will be as follows:
A tiefling flame specialist wizard
A succubus spell-less ranger
A whisper gnome ninja
A red dragonblood lord of darkness (anti-paladin)
A samsaran metal oracle
A vishkanya slaver (rogue)
An infernal human unholy barrister (cleric)

I'll be adding some creatures and a fair bit of templates to challenge these guys since this plus Grumblejack will make them twice the suggested party numbers of the campaign.

Someone asked a while back about playing for six, and I suggested upgrading the Warden. Here's the upgraded version:

Warden Richter, 4th level Illusionist:

Male old human aristocrat 1/wizard (Illusionist) 4
LG Medium humanoid
Init +4; Senses Perception +8 (+11 vs. sight-based tests in shadows
or darkness)

AC 10 (14 with mage armor, 18 with mage armor and shield), touch 10, flat-footed 10 (14 with mage armor)
hp 19 (d8 + 4d6)
Fort +1, Ref 0, Will +8

Speed 30 ft. (60 ft. with expeditious retreat)
Melee dagger +0 (1d4-1/19-20)
Ranged dagger +1 (1d4-1/19-20)

Wizard Spells Prepared (CL 4th; Concentration +9)
2nd – flaming sphere (DC 17), minor image, mirror image, summon monster II (usually a small air elemental)
1st – charm person (DC 17), color spray (DC 18), expeditious retreat, mage armor, magic missile, shield
0th – detect magic, mage hand, prestidigitation, ray of frost

During Combat: The warden is terrible at melee combat and so uses expeditious retreat to avoid it at all costs. If he hears a suspicious sound or a signal horn, he will also delay three rounds and cast mage armor, expeditious retreat, and shield on himself (in that order) before investigating. If threatened with combat, he'll try to cast mirror image, then summon a small air elemental, then use minor image to make it look like he's summoning a medium air elemental. He'll use his scrolls of hypnotic pattern and sleep against groups of enemies, preferring to take prisoners if possible. However, if he sees a prisoner kill anyone, the gloves are off and he casts flaming sphere as soon as he can.

Morale As incompetent as he is, Mathias is no coward. He will fight to the death to keep prisoners from escaping his jail.

Str 8, Dex 8, Con 10, Int 21, Wis 14, Cha 14
Base Atk +1; CMB +0; CMD 10

Feats Alertness, Combat Casting, Improved Initiative, Scribe
Scroll, Spell Focus (Enchantment), Spell Focus (Illusion)

Skills Bluff +6, Diplomacy +6, Knowledge (arcana) +12, Knowledge (history) +12, Knowledge (local) +12, Knowledge (nobility) +12, Knowledge (religion) +11, Linguistics +12, Perception +8 (+11 vs. sight-based tests in shadows or darkness), Sense Motive +8, Spellcraft +11

Languages Auran, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Gnome, Halfling, Sylvan

SQ arcane bond (his owl “Strixia”)

Combat Gear potion of cure light wounds, scrolls of hypnotic pattern, magic missile, sleep, hideous laughter and invisibility
Other Gear dagger, wizard’s college class ring (gold with diamonds
worth 250 gp), seven other rings worth 30 gp each, ioun torch (used when he must go out at night)


-- added one level of wizard and made him a specialist Illusionist
-- added several spells
-- dropped his Dex and Con by two each (he's old!)

Note that this version of the Warden is much more dangerous if he has time to buff -- with Mage Armor, Shield, Expeditious Retreat and Mirror Image up, he'll give 6 first level PCs a really hard time. My group of players took him down, but not before he did major damage to two of them and reduced two others to temporary imbecility. The players were in serious fear of a TPK, and only a couple of good saves avoided a PC death.

Grand Lodge

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

Someone asked a while back about playing for six, and I suggested upgrading the Warden. Here's the upgraded version:

** spoiler omitted **...

I did the same thing (advancing him). However, I used the Overpowered Feats/templates, Gestalt and Skill Domination, and made him a lvl 2 fighter (feat gives you the special column of the class at 1/2 HD and all skills are class skills) giving him +1 CR and gave him PC stats and wealth (low charge wands, and scrolls) for another +1 CR. His Dex is 2 higher, and better at doing ranged attacks for damage with less range penalties. I also gave him a flaw for his lack of one eye, which gave him another feat, and gave him a magical eyepatch.

That raises another question: what about upgrading our good friend, Sergeant Blackerly? (Note that I want to keep this relatively simple.) I have some ideas along these lines, but I'd be interested to hear what others have done.

Doug M.

Wow, I have a lot of posts on this board I haven't read and/or answered. Let me just say that between Book VI, the Kickstarter, Thanksgiving and certain secret projects -- I've been utterly swamped.

After tomorrow when the Creature Card Kickstarter is over I will make some time to catch up here, I promise.

Thanks everyone for your ongoing support for Fire Mountain Games and "Way of the Wicked". We love you guys!

Okay, back to the grindstone.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games
Check out our kickstarter! Creature Cards

Grand Lodge

Hey Gary. Good to see you posting.

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

That raises another question: what about upgrading our good friend, Sergeant Blackerly? (Note that I want to keep this relatively simple.) I have some ideas along these lines, but I'd be interested to hear what others have done.

Doug M.

I didn't actually do much with him. Gave him PC stats (Dex 14/Int 12/Wis 12) and the Bully trait (+1 Intimidate) for +1 CR and two levels of Expert for +2 CR. As well, I gave him the Coward flaw for another bonus feat, Run. Total of CR 5. This increased his wealth table so I gave him masterwork chainmail, a potion of fly (so he can try to escape better), and a couple more cure light potions.

Also, did anyone else notice that Blackerly's initiative was +0 and not +1 for having Dex 13?

kevin_video wrote:

Also, did anyone else notice that Blackerly's initiative was +0 and not +1 for having Dex 13?

I literally just noticed that five minutes ago. My PCs are about to confront him: http://paizo.com/campaigns/DougMsWayOfTheWicked/gameplay&page=28.

Doug M.

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After finishing Carrion Crown with a party of 2 paladins of Iomedae, a cleric of Pharasma, an Oracle of Life, and a swashbuckler, my group was ready for this adventure path and get their evil on! The Swashbuckler stole the show from the "Good Guys" at the end with three sneak attack critical hits to wipe out the big bad at the end

I'd like to throw a question out for Gary or anyone else on a way to make something work.

One of my players would like to play a Drow cleric and was interested in the Demonic Apostle from the ARG.

Any ideas for converting this to more of a Devil theme? My initial ideas to make this work for the campaign would be to limit the domain to Lawful, Evil or Devil subdomain and have the channel only affect Good and Chaotic creatures. For familiar I would swap Quasit for an Imp.

What about a substitute for the rage power, as that seems inappropriate for a Devil theme.

Thanks and I am excited to start this! Very good stuff

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It's a pretty straight forward revamp for demonic apostle. I think you're on top of all the chaotic/lawful/familiar revision.

Call the archetype the Infernal Apostle. Replace rage with heroism. Perhaps giving the heroism effect a devilish flavor by also imparting fire resistance 5 for the duration, but holy and silver weapons do an additional 1d6 of damage. Something similar.

I think that will give you the devil-worshipper archetype you're looking for.

Hope that helps and thanks for your kind words about "Way of the Wicked".

Hope that helps,
Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games
Check out our kickstarter! Creature Cards

Thanks Gary! That was what I was thinking of doing to replace rage, but I like the additional twist you suggested!

Is there a site or anything similar, with other content like a GM Reference or player content?

Grand Lodge

Kozaric wrote:
Is there a site or anything similar, with other content like a GM Reference or player content?

Nothing that I'm aware of. The main site's a few downloads, but that's about it. Other than that, one has to sift through all of the threads to find info from Gary to the GMs.

Ah ok thanks.

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