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

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BE THE BAD GUY!

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.

Product Availability

Fulfilled immediately.

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

FRM1001E


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The only good book in this AP.

3/5

The title says it all. Book 1 of Way of the Wicked is fantastic, with a great and memorable starting setpiece, So is the Watch Wall, with a lot of options for the PCs.

-1 Star from my overall rating, with the whole Kickstarter fraud thing others have mentioned.


Fraud

1/5

I would love to give this product a higher rating but it has been written by a fraudster, Gary McBride, who tricked 315 people into giving him $40,000 through Kickstarter and refused to communicate with them for 4 years now. Despite multiple appeals from backers he has backed over 520 other kickstarters since then, logging in every week though seemingly unable to respond to his backers products. Shame on Paizo for selling the products of a con man and allowing him to continue profiting from rpg fans.

For details of the swindle and Gary McBride’s backing record see https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/730004812/throne-of-night-a-pathfinder -rpg-adventure-path/comments


Written by a fraudster

1/5

I would love to give this product a higher rating but it has been written by a fraudster, Gary McBride, who tricked 315 people into giving him $40,000 through Kickstarter and refused to communicate with them for 4 years now. Despite multiple appeals from backers he has backed over 520 other kickstarters since then, logging in every week though seemingly unable to respond to his backers products. Shame on Paizo for selling the products of a con man and allowing him to continue profiting from rpg fans.

For details of the swindle and Gary McBride’s backing record see https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/730004812/throne-of-night-a-pathfinder -rpg-adventure-path/comments


Excellent campaign

5/5

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

5/5

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.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Morval wrote:
*snip* And all adventures should come out with Herolab files like Adventureaweek does.

If you weren't aware, there is fan-created HeroLab content for books 1 through 3.

Click
Just scroll down or search for Way of the Wicked. Right now there are two .zip files; includes NPC portfolios and Events. I imagine material for books 4 through 6 is forthcoming.


SnowHeart wrote:
Morval wrote:
*snip* And all adventures should come out with Herolab files like Adventureaweek does.

If you weren't aware, there is fan-created HeroLab content for books 1 through 3.

Click
Just scroll down or search for Way of the Wicked. Right now there are two .zip files; includes NPC portfolios and Events. I imagine material for books 4 through 6 is forthcoming.

Thanks, I found that. I even asked how to volunteer. :)


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I apologize if this has already been discussed (I've tried to follow all the discussions but these threads have gotten so long...), but is there any additional information or discussion about elves in Talingarde?

One entry for the Iraen state that they're human tribes, but...

Spoiler:
...we subsequently learn, I think in book six, they're lead by some half-elven druids.

We also know the Barcan nobility contained a lot of half-elves who, generally, have to be parented by one human and one elf. (Or, I guess, two half-elves...)

So, where are the elves? What is their role in Talingarde society and culture? Do they live primarily in the Caer Bryr and, if so, how did that lead to half-elves ruling the nation?

I'm just spending time thinking about the culture and society of Talingarde and this is one of the few details that eludes me and I haven't been able to put together my own explanation that I'm completely happy with.

Grand Lodge

Got a little confusion I need help clearing up.

1) Are Aldencross and Balentyne the same city? It only shows one white dot in the location where there's supposed to be two cities.

2) This is more prevalent in Book 6, but why are there still so many unnamed white dot cities? There's eight cities without names. Were these just places that Gary didn't get to in time? Maybe they'll be in Book 7 should they reach that stretch goal?


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
kevin_video wrote:
1) Are Aldencross and Balentyne the same city? It only shows one white dot in the location where there's supposed to be two cities.

My understanding was that Balentyne was the watchtower/castle and Aldencross was the supporting city. In other words, Balentyne isn't a city at all, but it is next to one.

Quote:
2) This is more prevalent in Book 6, but why are there still so many unnamed white dot cities? There's eight cities without names. Were these just places that Gary didn't get to in time? Maybe they'll be in Book 7 should they reach that stretch goal?

Maybe I don't understand what you're referring to, but I think those are just the locations of the other "watchtowers" or fortifications along the Watch Wall. I'm making an assumption here, but I imagine Gary didn't elaborate on them as (a) they're not critical to the plot and (b) space/time limitations.

Also... anyone have thoughts on my elves question from Monday?


kevin_video wrote:

Got a little confusion I need help clearing up.

1) Are Aldencross and Balentyne the same city? It only shows one white dot in the location where there's supposed to be two cities.

2) This is more prevalent in Book 6, but why are there still so many unnamed white dot cities? There's eight cities without names. Were these just places that Gary didn't get to in time? Maybe they'll be in Book 7 should they reach that stretch goal?

Balentyne is the castle, Aldencross is the town. Just like Porchester Castle is in Hampshire or La Aljaferia is in Zaragoza

And the unnamed cities aren't relevant to the story, as nothing core happen there. I guess they are unnamed so the GM could insert any city of their own creation in those spots.

Grand Lodge

gustavo iglesias wrote:
kevin_video wrote:

Got a little confusion I need help clearing up.

1) Are Aldencross and Balentyne the same city? It only shows one white dot in the location where there's supposed to be two cities.

2) This is more prevalent in Book 6, but why are there still so many unnamed white dot cities? There's eight cities without names. Were these just places that Gary didn't get to in time? Maybe they'll be in Book 7 should they reach that stretch goal?

Balentyne is the castle, Aldencross is the town. Just like Porchester Castle is in Hampshire or La Aljaferia is in Zaragoza

And the unnamed cities aren't relevant to the story, as nothing core happen there. I guess they are unnamed so the GM could insert any city of their own creation in those spots.

Yeah, no idea about the blank city dots, and Gary's kind of busy with the Kickstarter so I don't think he'll be answering anything that's not Throne of Night related right now.

But if the down is Aldencross, why is it called Balentyne. This was my dilemma.

@SnowHeart -- No idea about the regular elves, but the artic elves are plentiful in the Savage North.


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kevin_video wrote:

Yeah, no idea about the blank city dots, and Gary's kind of busy with the Kickstarter so I don't think he'll be answering anything that's not Throne of Night related right now.

But if the down is Aldencross, why is it called Balentyne. This was my dilemma.

Aha! Surprised you. The unnamed white dots are the other watchtowers of the Watch Wall of which only Balentyne, Hamarhall and Lorringsgate get names. The other nine are irrelevant to the plot and probably largely abandoned after the fall of Balentyne and Sakkarot's invasion.

Balentyne is the watch wall which was originally the name of the old dwarven bridge (Balin's span; tine between the dwarven word for span) which preceded the tower.

Aldencross (named for an old trading post at a crossroads founded by a frontier merchant named Zeth Alden) is the town that grew up to support the garrison at Balentyne.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Grand Lodge

Fire Mountain Games wrote:

Aha! Surprised you. The unnamed white dots are the other watchtowers of the Watch Wall of which only Balentyne, Hamarhall and Lorringsgate get names. The other nine are irrelevant to the plot and probably largely abandoned after the fall of Balentyne and Sakkarot's invasion.

Balentyne is the watch wall which was originally the name of the old dwarven bridge (Balin's span; tine between the dwarven word for span) which preceded the tower.

Aldencross (named for an old trading post at a crossroads founded by a frontier merchant named Zeth Alden) is the town that grew up to support the garrison at Balentyne.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Yes you did surprise me. Especially considering what time of night I'm seeing this reply too.

So basically, Balentyne is relevant for naming on the map, but Aldencross is not. Just going to need to keep that straight so I don't forget locations.

Appreciate the reply.


kevin_video wrote:

Yes you did surprise me. Especially considering what time of night I'm seeing this reply too.

So basically, Balentyne is relevant for naming on the map, but Aldencross is not. Just going to need to keep that straight so I don't forget locations.

Appreciate the reply.

I'm not sure I'd say relevant. On the scale of the big map, Balentyne and Aldencross are the same dot.

You know, when I do Book VII: Tales of Talingarde (hopefully because of the kickstarter), one of the things that going to be in that book perhaps is a one-page map of Balentyne and Aldencross relative to each other. I've been asked this question more than once and a map would clear it up.

I'll probably slip it in with a small gazetteer of Aldencross that would provide a few side quests.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Grand Lodge

Fire Mountain Games wrote:
kevin_video wrote:

Yes you did surprise me. Especially considering what time of night I'm seeing this reply too.

So basically, Balentyne is relevant for naming on the map, but Aldencross is not. Just going to need to keep that straight so I don't forget locations.

Appreciate the reply.

I'm not sure I'd say relevant. On the scale of the big map, Balentyne and Aldencross are the same dot.

You know, when I do Book VII: Tales of Talingarde (hopefully because of the kickstarter), one of the things that going to be in that book perhaps is a one-page map of Balentyne and Aldencross relative to each other. I've been asked this question more than once and a map would clear it up.

I'll probably slip it in with a small gazetteer of Aldencross that would provide a few side quests.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

As per your asking on FB, I've put down a few suggestions.

Grand Lodge

First update post in a LONG time. Between people having wedding prep, exams, holidays, and work practicum, it's been a long time coming. Everyone that was able to stick with the group, despite their commitments, were quite happy to play last night.

The PCs took to the ocean after finishing the tests, and were told by Thorn to get his money back by the greedy captain, after they'd finished their jobs. With Timeon under their control, he'd do up a map of Balentyne and meet them at Aldencross with a finished version. I also gave the PCs the side quest of getting the ice troll king to aid Fire Axe with the weapons and armor, and reinforcing them all so that they'd be harder to sunder or break.

Spoiler:
After setting off, they encountered Captain Sambryl. The half-dragon transformed into a gold half dragon, and flew towards the ship, asking if they required assistance, as it had looked to the PCs as if they were being hailed. Sambryl was caught off guard by both the fake that a gold dragon was flying near the ship, and also asking if he needed help. He quickly composed himself and told her that he merely wanted to investigate the ship. The half-dragon agreed to the demands, and said they'd slow down so the ship could catch up. The wizard immediately transformed himself into Sir Balin, and pulled out a few papers that he'd written up regarding why they were sailing this way. He'd had a feeling that something like this would happen at some point. When Sambryl came aboard, the wizard as Balin, introduced himself and was immediately recognized. Sambryl grudgingly asked why a Knight of Alerion was on such a ship. The wizard quickly told him that he'd been informed of possible bugbears up North and that these crates of weapons, armor, and food were desperately required to ensure the fate of the Watch Wall. Since he had worded it in such a fashion, he was able to not need a bluff check. When asked about Timeon, the wizard as Balin merely stated that they'd been sent ahead and that the squire would be meeting them later at Aldencross. Again, no bluff check required. Sambryl accepted what was said, and let them carry on without any issues.

The first night, they took on the tritons. Both the ninja and the oracle were throw into the ocean by the elementals. Thankfully though, their comrades were able to pull them up, and take on the tritons without a ridiculous amount of trouble. However, the oracle was BADLY injured, and the ninja nearly died had it not been for the wizard secretly keeping a potion of cure moderate on himself and not telling anyone about it (they were complaining every time they took even 1 point of damage and wanted healing).

Before dying, Nerianus spoke to them of his vision about how the son will be their undoing. The samsaran oracle PC took it as meaning "sun" and quipped about how he was the oracle of darkness, and no sun would triumph over him. Nerianus merely smiled and died.

The PCs knew that something was up when their captain said they needed to go to Seal Isle and get more water when they had plenty of it on the boat, and a cleric that could make more at will. It was merely explained that evil cleric magic is not acceptable for provision, and IT'S MY SHIP. The PCs wanted to kill him all the more. However, the oracle wants to curse everyone with having all of their beards fall off first. Just because.

They sailed out, except for the wizard who wanted nothing with the seal hunting escapade, and they immediately had to deal with the bunyips. The ninja, being small, was nearly swallowed, but thankfully the half-dragon was able to take them on and bleed them out before killing anyone in the party.

Overall, the PCs absolutely destroyed Kargeld's total of seals. They'd managed to scare all of them away after a few days, but not before getting an impressive number of pelts.

When the Yutak tribe came by, the party considered killing them, but decided against it. They were just so fascinating, and like possible good allies in the future. The wizard managed to use prestidigitation on all of the clothes and get the chief to buy them all quickly, but with a successful Bluff, managed to convince everyone that if they weren't careful with the clothes, that the colours might fade. Oh the poor disappointment of the chief when the spell's gone.

I changed up Kiliketz a little, and had him be an ice mephit that was once a fire mephit, banished by Asmodeus for being an upstart punk who constantly defied him. So, as penance, Kiliketz was to take out the fire wizard to prove his worth. If he couldn't, then he was the wizard's to do with as he pleased (wizard wanted to be a Diabolist with a fire mephit). The party easily defeated him, and while Kiliketz doesn't like the idea of being subjugated, again, he will tolerate the "stupid fire wizard" for now.

The PCs landed in the camp, intimidated the bugbears to not even get remotely close to the boat, and back off completely. They loved Fire Axe, and his stories, and even managed to get him to tell them a few things about himself. Not so much about Thorn though.

He gave them the quest to go talk to the ice troll King Iekenhart, and get him to be their blacksmith. The king agreed, if they did a favor (see Delzomen's Iceforge in 3.5 Frostburn). They succeeded without too much trouble, and left the neanderthals alive for the time being. The trolls can decide what to do with them. Also, instead of spellbooks with Frostburn spells, I instead gave them a copy of the journal that Delzomen kept. It brought up various side quests like the Lost Island of Taane-Thak, the Sunken City of Aath-Aryn, the Mead Hall of the Elven Ice King, and the current Queen of the Ice Elves mentioned in Book 6.

The ice troll king (made him an artificer from Tome of Secrets) agreed to help the bugbears, and will reinforce their arms and armor.

Next session, they're going to be heading to Aldencross, but first a ship burning is in order.

I almost feel bad for the group because they've got a quite a bit of loot, but Aldencross doesn't have a whole lot of money to spare for buying it, even at half price.


My groups trek through Knot of Thorns is now complete. We're moving onto the second book, ladden with loot and ready for more evil.


Thanks for the updates, guys! Glad to hear your campaigns are going strong.

Gary McBride
Check out Throne of Night -- Fire Mountain Game's next adventure path.


Continuing the line started with Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Jade, LPJ Design is doing its next installment featuring pregenerated characters designed specifically for this adventure path.

Having just finished the writing for this project, I have to say I've quickly become a huge fan of the Way of the Wicked AP and can't wait to run it. If I can somehow manage to swing Paizocon this year, I may run the first part of Knot of Thorns with the AP iconics.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So, I'm guessing the answer to my question from April 1 is "no, we have no idea", but just in case it was missed, I'm going to ask once more... Does anyone have thoughts on adding more detail to the status and position of elves (and half-elves) on/in Talingarde?

Original Post:
SnowHeart wrote:

I apologize if this has already been discussed (I've tried to follow all the discussions but these threads have gotten so long...), but is there any additional information or discussion about elves in Talingarde?

One entry for the Iraen state that they're human tribes, but we subsequently learn, I think in book six, they're lead by some half-elven druids.

We also know the Barcan nobility contained a lot of half-elves who, generally, have to be parented by one human and one elf. (Or, I guess, two half-elves...)

So, where are the elves? What is their role in Talingarde society and culture? Do they live primarily in the Caer Bryr and, if so, how did that lead to half-elves ruling the nation?

I'm just spending time thinking about the culture and society of Talingarde and this is one of the few details that eludes me and I haven't been able to put together my own explanation that I'm completely happy with.

Absent other suggestions, I think the direction/flavor I'm going to go in is that elves are rarely seen outside of the Caer Bryr; those that are seen tend to be either in the vein of "wild elves" or traveled to Talingarde from elsewhere. As for the Barcan half-elven nobility, I'll figure they primarily procreated among themselves (e.g., the Hapsburgs). It'd be nice to more fully detail the origins of the House, though, and how half-elves came to rule the island for so long. (Partly because I think there could be a hook there for co-opting the Iraen in Book 6.) Thus, wondering if others had thoughts about this, but if it's just me wanting to delve ever deeper into the rabbit hole... I can live with my weirdness. >:-)


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Snowheart,

I totally let that question slip through my fingers. Elves do not play a major role in Way of the Wicked, its true. There are only 650 elves in Ghastenhall, for example, a city of more than 80,000. And I believe no major NPC is an elf. I personally always envisioned Talingarde being a predominantly human and dwarven land.

A few civilized elves in Talingarde. Elves live in the Caer Bryr and the Savage North in small tribes. And elves doubtless live in the rest of the world in much more normal concentrations.

But Talingarde is a very lawful good sort of place and I largely visualize elves as being predominantly chaotic good. They don't find the dominion of the House of Darius very welcoming.

Really, its as simple as that.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


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Shadowborn wrote:
Having just finished the writing for this project, I have to say I've quickly become a huge fan of the Way of the Wicked AP and can't wait to run it. If I can somehow manage to swing Paizocon this year, I may run the first part of Knot of Thorns with the AP iconics.

Shadowborn,

Thanks for the kind words and I'm glad you're enjoying "Way of the Wicked".

If you do run "Knot" at PaizoCon, let me know and I'll provide some prize support.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Fire Mountain Games wrote:

*snip*

No worries at all, Gary! :-) I realize you happen to have other things on your plate (anyone who hasn't checked our your Kickstarter page should do so)!

That makes sense for the elves, but it sort of brings me back to wondering about how a bunch of half-elves wound up ruling the nation. I'm content to just fill that detail in on my own with a Hapsburg-esque tale of sex, money and power, but I was wondering what others thought or if you had penciled something out on it that just didn't make it into the books for space reasons.

Grand Lodge

SnowHeart wrote:
Fire Mountain Games wrote:

*snip*

No worries at all, Gary! :-) I realize you happen to have other things on your plate (anyone who hasn't checked our your Kickstarter page should do so)!

That makes sense for the elves, but it sort of brings me back to wondering about how a bunch of half-elves wound up ruling the nation. I'm content to just fill that detail in on my own with a Hapsburg-esque tale of sex, money and power, but I was wondering what others thought or if you had penciled something out on it that just didn't make it into the books for space reasons.

I just made a note that the elven bloodline for Barca was essentially water thin. That the island was once a little more chaotic than it is now. I mean, Vetra-Kali was once worshiped. And Asmodeus was worshiped. Other, more chaotic good or neutral, gods could have been worshiped, but that could have all been taken down by the various lawful kings that were crazy zealots.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

First, many thanks to Gary and Kevin for the responses. It's much appreciated. Despite their efforts, the ascendancy of a house of half-elves, not only to nobility but the crown, continues to nag at me. So, I decided to write something myself. I realize this is a slightly obsessive tendency (I proudly embrace the term "nerd"), but in case anyone else likes as fully a detailed campaign background as possible, I thought I'd share what I came up with. It's still a work in progress as I'm trying to make it conform with as much of the "official" history written by Gary as possible and there are certainly some typos. That said, I would welcome feedback and constructive criticism. (I've setup a Google site for our campaign with a small wikia, and so far my players seem to have found the information quite helpful in terms of thinking up characters, etc.) Due to the length, I've plopped this into "spoiler" boxes.

A few baseline assumptions:
First, my campaign is set in Golarion rather than a homebrew world or Talingarde as an island in isolation. I've placed it approximately two weeks sail west of Varisia and Cheliax.

Second, I considered trying to incorporate the fey-elves of the Caer Bryr into the Barcan backstory, but given the apparent rarity of matings between the Iraen and elves, I didn't think it likely there would ever be a critical mass of outcast half-elves.

Third, I thought it unlikely the war of 80 years ago was the first war over the crown, so I renamed it the "Second War of Succession."

Finally, there are some brief references to the initial invasion of the island by the Talireans, but I didn't see much other information on this (e.g., dates, names, reasons, etc.). So, I made it up. In doing so, I may have overlooked some details that Gary already provided. If so, blame my poor memory and feel free to correct me. In fact, please correct me.

History of the House:
More than five centuries ago, long before the death of the god Aroden, it was a time of war and strife in Avistan. Cheliax had not yet made an alliance with the Nine Hells but its quest for power and domination was stronger than ever, manifested by a seemingly endless war of expansion. They had captured the Arch of Aroden, controlled access to the Inner Sea, founded colonies on the continent of Garund, and their armies marched ever northward. Many natives of Avistan were not eager to fall under the yoke of a foreign empire while others found themselves captivated by the charismatic prophet, Talin, who professed faith in a previously unrecognized deity whom he called Mitra. Both those fleeing imperial domination and those drawn to a new faith found themselves drawn towards exodus.

Though the emigrants were primarily human, there was also a sizable faction of half-elves. Though a few professed interest in the Mitran faith, most stated quite plainly they wanted only to leave Avistan yet would not explain further. Some thought the half-elves to be a criminal enterprise organized around their bastard ancestry, but, whatever the true reason was for their decision to join the exodus, they proved their value through contributions of craft, sword and magic.

In 4144 AR, after a year of preparation and guided by the visions of the prophet, the emigrants boarded more than a hundred ships. Some of those ships were hired, others purchased and many others built by the emigrants’ own hands. It was a ramshackle fleet with few professional sailors. Nonetheless, with desperation and faith, the emigrants followed the vision of the prophet and eventually, after a series of mishaps and dangerous encounters, the fleet arrived on the shores of a massive island they named Talingarde. They would quickly learn they were not the first to discover the island.

Though the emigrants, who began to call themselves Talireans, were initially welcomed by the island’s native population of humans, that relationship began to degrade over the following years as more and more ships arrived with thousands more emigrants who desired to start anew. Talin was named king, the cities of Matharyn and Daveryn began to grow and, as they grew, the Iraen were increasingly displaced from the lands they called their home and on which they hunted. Conflict was inevitable.

At the time, the half-elves who had joined the exodus were little more than a loose coalition of merchants, professional sell-swords, craftsmen and spellcasters. It was true they had organized around their shared heritage, but it was under the cunning leadership of one half-elf in particular that the loose coalition solidified into a force to be reckoned with, the House of Barca and its eponymous leader.

In those early years, the rules for joining the House of Barca were simple. After all, at the time its leaders had no patents of nobility and it functioned more as a merchants’ guild and social club than anything else. To join, you had to possess a degree of elven blood and you had to swear loyalty to the guild master, Barca. With neither nobility of birth nor privilege of peerage, Barca himself was a commoner, yet an incredibly successful merchant and money lender who wielded his wealth as others would a sword or spell. Shut out from much of Talirean society, half-elves (and even a few elves from Golarion) flocked to Barca’s banner. And when full-fledged war broke out between the fledgling nation of Talingarde and the savage Iraen, it was Barcan weapons and intelligence that fed the Talirean armies.

Though the war never ended in a decisive victory, the Talirean armies continued to push back the Iraen tribes, first west into the Caer Bryr and then north beyond the geological formations that would centuries later become known as the Watch Wall. Having fortified their lines and established defensive positions, the humans of Talingarde were able to solidify their holdings and even start a new settlement, Ghastenhall. From these settlements and out of these wars grew Talingarde’s first generation of of true nobles – including Barca, who was named a duke, and many of his factors awarded lesser titles, each of them swearing fealty to Barca and all to the monarchy. That a simple arms merchant and rumored master of thieves warranted a duchy baffled many, though rumors circulated the wily half-elf had extorted the grand position from a weak king through blackmail. However it was achieved, it was thus that a mercantile collective of half-elves achieved nobility and rose from beneath the simple banner of a merchant house.

Over the following century, Duke Barca and his first generation of heirs continued to accrue wealth and power. However, they followed an unorthodox path. The human nobility largely ostracized the half-elves, so the Barcans turned their eyes towards the farthest reaches and overlooked corners of the newborn nation. Alliances were made not with the great houses of Talingarde’s nobility but with the lesser lords and appointed municipal officials. The Barcans were subjected to scorn for the perceived rejection of Talingarde nobility, and many nobles began to openly mock the Barcans for their rites of intermarriage. This was not entirely fair as half-elves born outside of the House could still be inducted into the noble family through ceremony and marriage, but such events were few and the hereditary titles still passed through blood. Tales of incestuous orgies were rampant, though always behind the Barcans’ backs. It was, perhaps oddly, this very contempt by the nobility that created the room for Barca to ascend to the throne.

When Talin’s only son died on the throne without an heir in 4173, the first War of Succession erupted, with the nobles of Talingarde declaring wars and making alliances in a near free-for-all bid for the crown. The lowly Barcans played each faction against the other, feeding weapons and information to each, always seemingly at the most opportune time, extending a faction’s ability to fight a little longer. Years passed. The war continued. Always the House of Barca stayed out of the conflict, leaving questions of the crown to its “betters”. That is until the barons and other lesser lords who were being ground beneath the heels of the greater lords began to beg for relief.

Its coffers rich, its armories full and its sorcerers having spent decades gathering magical devices, what became known as the Barcan Ascension began in Daveryn when fifty ships arrived with 15,000 fresh and rested mercenaries from Avistan. The native Barcans joined with the mercenaries against the largely depleted forces of the Duke of Daveryn, and the city’s badly damaged walls quickly succumbed to the combined assault. News spread and, with the promise of a quick end to the war, even the bedraggled commoners rallied to the Barcan flag, adding their pitchforks to Barcan spell and steel. A month later, Ghastenhall fell. Two month after that, the Barcan army arrived in Matharyn. The remaining nobles – facing a siege with exhausted supplies and empty granaries – surrendered… and the crown was placed on the brow of a Barcan duke.

What followed was a century of relative peace, but the human nobles remained jealous and bitter at the Barcan’s masterfully manipulative ascent to the throne. It was bitterness that resonated little with the commoners, dismissed as “sour grapes” cast by those who had failed to lead their nation and protect their vassals. At least, so it was for a time.

The Second War of Succession:
The Barcan Ascension occurred not so much due to Barcan hostility towards the family of the deceased king nor animosity towards the contending noble houses, but largely due to sheer opportunism. And, if history were fair, it would note the Barcan dynasty accomplished much for Talingarde, including most notably the construction and fortification of the Watch Wall. Though the Savage North may not have been pacified, it was at least contained, as were the barbarians of the Caer Bryr who seemed willing to suffer slights at the hands of the half-elf Barcans that would have brought them to war if delivered by a human.

Yet, the Second War of Succession of eighty-one years ago did not occur in a vacuum. While they may not have been entirely true at first, the rumors of hedonistic parties and rituals eventually began to reflect the truth. Though many Barcan lords were considered to be geniuses with few peers, a strain of insanity began to run in their noble blood while the practice of intermarriage descended into outright incest. What at first were scandalous rumors eventually became unproven allegations, then to an open secret and eventually into a blatant and flagrant display of excess and lust.

Not only were such practices unique to the half-elven Barcans, but they were frowned upon by the orthodox followers of Mitra. Yet this religious difference was not, by itself, cause to depose the Barcan dynasty. The Barcans had been open about their acceptance of all faiths, even that of Asmodeus (which several of the Barcan nobles openly followed) and were honest about the fact that many did not follow the Mitran religion. Whatever else one might have said, the Barcans could not be accused religious extremism nor moral hypocrisy.

No, by itself, the sexuality proclivities and dynastic peccadilloes of the House of Barca could have been overlooked. In truth, it was the inattention to governance and personal arrogance of the last two Barcan kings that led to the House's downfall. When King Jaraad's predecessor died in 4629 AR, turmoil and dissent broke out. For decades the other noble houses had been quietly hoping for an opportunity to supplant the Barcan dynasty with one of their own. Though the Barcan kings had always been publicly respectful of the other nobles, the laws and edicts issued from Matharyn had been slowly eroding their bases of power and wealth. The scheming nobles pinned their hope on a strident and unyielding yet incredibly charismatic paladin from the House of Darius. Not only did the paladin have force of personality and conviction of faith (one shared by most Talireans), his claim to the throne was powerful, able to trace his lineage back to King Talin's second son.

The precise triggers of the war are little known, though it would be obvious to say the Barcans refused to cede to the demands of the other nobles and their champion, Markadian of House Darius. In truth, both the Barcans and Markadian's supporters had less than pure motives. What neither had planned on, however, was Markadian himself. When the two armies fought their final battle at Tamberlyn, Markadian not only slew King Jaraad but, through tales of his tactical genius and connection to Mitra (whose providence was "clearly" demonstrated through Markadian's stunning victory) also managed to gain for himself a measure of freedom from the other noble houses. He eschewed their demands to put the Barcans to death and instead offered them amnesty – if they would but repent their sins and swear allegiance to the crown. Almost to the last, each Barcan noble bent the knee, though they were never restored to their duchy. With King Jaraad’s death, Markadian declared the duchy to have expired.

The House Today:
In the eighty-one years thence, House Barca has assumed a humble stature and quietly rebuilt. Its leaders would also seem to have learned the lessons taught by its enemies. The nobles of the house carry themselves with a seeming openness and forthrightness, yet they are notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to the inner workings of their own house. Some think this to be new-found modesty or even embarrassment.

No human has ever married into the Barcan family and the only large concentration of elves reside in the isolated Caer Bryr, the House of Barca has slowly grown to near the same numbers it had before the War of Succession. This has both helped and hurt the house, as the outraged cries of incest have softened to quiet whispers of simple hedonism (an accusation frequently made by commoners against all nobles with homes in Matharyn’s Golden Bow), but many jealous nobles still claim the former house of the deposed king cannot be trusted.

This distrust, however, does not seem to be shared by the king. The house itself is lead by the wise but irascible and plain spoken Count Leothyn, a venerable lord of more than one-hundred thirty years. Though hardly a “close adviser to the king, he is consulted on matters of trade and finance. Further, the Count’s cousin was knighted and named Lord General of Markadian’s armies. While the Count is kept at a respectful distance, General Vastenus is said to be privy to the king’s most secret counsel.

The greatest days of the House of Barca would seem to be behind it but, as it did centuries ago, the influence of the long-lived half-elves continues to grow, albeit so slowly it is imperceptible to most.


Fire Mountain Games wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:
Having just finished the writing for this project, I have to say I've quickly become a huge fan of the Way of the Wicked AP and can't wait to run it. If I can somehow manage to swing Paizocon this year, I may run the first part of Knot of Thorns with the AP iconics.

Shadowborn,

Thanks for the kind words and I'm glad you're enjoying "Way of the Wicked".

If you do run "Knot" at PaizoCon, let me know and I'll provide some prize support.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

I'll certainly let you know. I really hope I can swing it this year.

Liberty's Edge

So, we just finished Book One tonight (this morning). Our six person party was down to five because of a player being out of town. They'd already spent a couple weeks in Aldencross stirring up trouble and making money (it's a trade town, why not?). The big move was deciding to crash the play. They infiltrated the watchtower under cover of invisibility and, not being ones for subtlety, kicked in the door to the great hall, let loose two Stone Rains (which dealt enough damage to drop everything that wasn't named) then pop more invisibility and high tail it out of there. They spent one day regrouping in the woods then went back in to finish the job. They walked straight into an ambush consisting of Barnabus, Havelyn, Donnagon, Barhold, Tacitus, his ice golem, and the surviving 28 guardsmen. A well placed Stone Rain ended most of the guardsmen and a Cloudkill took the rest. The alchemist, cleric, and gunslinger waded into combat while the two wizards vanished and slipped to the edges of the courtyard. Things started to look grim for our band of brigands (especially after Havelyn joined the fray) when it came to the gunslinger's turn.

This deserves it's own paragraph. The gunslinger, madwoman that she was, dropped every ounce of gunpowder she had on her (well over 700 doses, because she was, as previously mentioned, a madwoman) and struck her flint and steel straight into it. The resulting 35d6 explosion took out everything except for the paladin (who promptly went from untouched to 2 hp)and the two wizards (who were safely out of range). And then the ice golem exploded, finishing off the paladin.

One round resulted in over 1000 damage being dealt. Sure, half the party has to roll new characters, but what a hell of a way to end a book. This is what I get for gaming with AM BARBARIAN.


Sounds stupid. hope she died too and not just other peoples PCs.


Patrick Kropp wrote:
Sounds stupid. hope she died too and not just other peoples PCs.

She was at ground 0 for a glorious metal explosion that dealt 71 damage to everyone if they made their saves.

Hell yes she died, and it was the most glorious, amazing death I've ever had.

It was also exactly 40% better of an outcome than a TPK. Acceptable! :D

Grand Lodge

That's crazy. I never would have seen that kind of destruction coming. I can only hope it's not a recurring process.

Liberty's Edge

kevin_video wrote:
That's crazy. I never would have seen that kind of destruction coming. I can only hope it's not a recurring process.

You know, it made me realize how frighteningly often suicide bombings happen in our group. I think we average one per campaign. If we got our one out of the system early, I'll be pleased.


VikingIrishman wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
That's crazy. I never would have seen that kind of destruction coming. I can only hope it's not a recurring process.
You know, it made me realize how frighteningly often suicide bombings happen in our group. I think we average one per campaign. If we got our one out of the system early, I'll be pleased.

Oh come on boss, the time before this wasn't even a suicide bombing.

Our Lady All The High Queen Astral I survived that without a scratch on her. The puddings on the other hand...

EDIT: Come to think of it, why am I the one doing all the suicide bombings? Isn't it Max's turn next?

Liberty's Edge

Trinam wrote:

Oh come on boss, the time before this wasn't even a suicide bombing.

Our Lady All The High Queen Astral I survived that without a scratch on her. The puddings on the other hand...

EDIT: Come to think of it, why am I the one doing all the suicide bombings? Isn't it Max's turn next?

Don't forget about when I played the Mognificent Kupo Khan and burned a full Necklace of Fireballs Type VII on top of that gazebo.

Grand Lodge

So I managed to convince the players to search for the Lost Island of Taane-Thak, and try and release the frost giants, so that they will aid them in taking on Balentyne. For those interested, I posted it earlier in the forum and had it be guarded by an ice mephit who's been guarding the place for the past few decades. He's gone to get Rhodulus the Ironic, a NG arctic elf fire elementalist wizard, and his two friends the CG half-elf bard Sheryl, and the catfolk (cat claws) ranger (companion bond, natural weapons combat style).

The party managed to help Captain Kargeld to navigate through the rough seas, and get to the island itself.

More of an update later.

Sovereign Court

My group is a 6 player group who is probably going to reach Balentyne in the next session. As I'll have to give the players more experience due to a larger number of players, do you have any suggestions to power up the encounter at Balentyne? Here are some ideas I thought of:

1. Double the number of troops. 200 instead of 100. This can be easily done by adding double the number of troops in any encounter.

2. As I have mapped out the inn, I don't see the need of doubling the number of dwarves as 20 dwarves would easily use up a good deal of the inn's capacity. Instead to give some extra XP, I've upgraded one of the dwarves to be a level 4 fighter (Basically the 2nd in command).

3. For the Tacticus encounter I might add an apprentice wizard to add some extra danger for the PC's (Probably using an NPC out of the NPC codex).

Would this be enough to give players enough experience to keep level with advancement in the adventure path?

Grand Lodge

Darkfire142 wrote:

My group is a 6 player group who is probably going to reach Balentyne in the next session. As I'll have to give the players more experience due to a larger number of players, do you have any suggestions to power up the encounter at Balentyne? Here are some ideas I thought of:

1. Double the number of troops. 200 instead of 100. This can be easily done by adding double the number of troops in any encounter.

2. As I have mapped out the inn, I don't see the need of doubling the number of dwarves as 20 dwarves would easily use up a good deal of the inn's capacity. Instead to give some extra XP, I've upgraded one of the dwarves to be a level 4 fighter (Basically the 2nd in command).

3. For the Tacticus encounter I might add an apprentice wizard to add some extra danger for the PC's (Probably using an NPC out of the NPC codex).

Would this be enough to give players enough experience to keep level with advancement in the adventure path?

I had the same problem, which is why I added a couple of the side quests into the game. I just wish we had Book 7 right now as it's apparently going to have a few Aldencross specific quests that should be done up.

The only concern I've got for adding more enemies and levels to the opposition is the players being able to survive it, and still succeeding within the two week timeline.

Liberty's Edge

Darkfire142 wrote:

My group is a 6 player group who is probably going to reach Balentyne in the next session. As I'll have to give the players more experience due to a larger number of players, do you have any suggestions to power up the encounter at Balentyne? Here are some ideas I thought of:

1. Double the number of troops. 200 instead of 100. This can be easily done by adding double the number of troops in any encounter.

2. As I have mapped out the inn, I don't see the need of doubling the number of dwarves as 20 dwarves would easily use up a good deal of the inn's capacity. Instead to give some extra XP, I've upgraded one of the dwarves to be a level 4 fighter (Basically the 2nd in command).

3. For the Tacticus encounter I might add an apprentice wizard to add some extra danger for the PC's (Probably using an NPC out of the NPC codex).

Would this be enough to give players enough experience to keep level with advancement in the adventure path?

That's a lot of work for a much simpler solution; use the "Fast" experience track.

Adventure paths are built with 4 players in mind. If it takes 3,600,000 XP for one character to reach level 20 on the "Medium" advancement track, that means a 1-20 campaign needs to provide 14,400,000 XP for an entire party to hit 20. Coincidentally, 14,400,000 divided by 6 gives you 2,400,000 XP per player, which is exactly enough to hit 20 on the "Fast" track. ^_^ (this formula does not hold true for the "Slow" XP track)

That said, if you're wanting to add stuff in for a greater challenge, go ahead.

Grand Lodge

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So what happened on Sunday's game.

Lost Island of Taane-Thak:

I homebrewed the whole thing, including the waves, blizzard, traps, etc, but the idea and concept of the port and what frost giants that will be found, are courtesy of Raging Swan Press and the Frost Giant Pirates pdf. In it, I'm having that part of the island is actually an iceberg, their pirate ship. This is how they're going to get back to the mainland to attack. What available soldiers Balentyne can afford, they'll send out. This will be my explanation for why there will only be 100 soldiers when the party gets there.

Since the party were able to con the Yutak clan out of so much of their ivory, Kargeld didn't get anything for his seal pelts. Having overheard most of the conversation with the group and the medicine man (the only one who could talk common), he knew there was an open invitation for them to go back to island and get the rest of what was "owed" to them. Not that the party actually required any more money nor had they properly earned it other than through bluffs. That, and the chief enjoyed loud clothes so he was paying three times the cost of what everything was worth (as per the book says he will).

So, as "compensation" for leaving him and his crew alone with all those bugbears, he demanded they go back to the island and get what he felt he was due.

Because of them doing the side adventure of getting the ice troll king to agree to join the cause, and him agreeing to reinforce all of their weaponry and armor (I made him an artificer with a proper ice forge), they've been granted an additional three weeks to play with. This allowed them to go for the Lost Island side quest.

Knowing that they had plenty of time, but unsure if they should, the tiefling decided to have his imp familiar (devil wizard archetype) Commune with Asmodeus and asked his six questions. All of them basically told the group to go for it, and they had time before the bugbears would try to take down the Balentyne Wall.

Kargeld turned the boat around, and they headed back the way they came all the way up to the land of the Yutak. Once there, they talked with the chief and medicine man again, and as promised, they were paid the extra they thought the party was owed, and stayed around to hear all the legends and stories that the elders knew, while having supper.

At the same time, the wizard showed the medicine man how to use an alchemist's lab, and how to make various items that might help the tribe. Granted it would likely greatly off balance the ecosystem, but he didn't really care about that.

Thankfully the majority of the players were there as they had to keep one player from getting too antsy and want to kill everyone off. They knew he likely would, and even I had to step in and tell him straight how things would play out. That's three times now it's happened. I don't think he's really cut out to play evil. If it wasn't for that contract, I don't even want to consider how things would be playing out right now.

Anyways, the tales talked of how there was an island completely surrounded by winter itself, raging rapids, and an almost impenetrable coral reef. On that island were frost giants, frozen in place, thanks to the meddling of an old wizard. No captain yet had been able to brave these strange ocean currents and survived. This immediately had Kargeld raise an eyebrow. His greedy mind immediately thinking about fabled treasures that no one except him could get their hands on. The prices he could sell them for. The prices he could sell his story for. He saw nothing but fame and fortune after that. He had a sturdy vessel, and a hardy crew. He could handle it. He even proclaimed as such.

The party were all smiles as they bluffed him with sarcasm saying that it was mighty dangerous, and asked him if he didn't hear what the elders said. They subtly goaded him until he even got exclaimed that he'd be able to get there in just a few days. With the cargo no longer on the ship, but with the bugbears, he felt that the ship could easily maneuver in the weather and stay afloat.

The wizard told Kargeld that he wouldn't help him at any point during the trip. At least not for free. The captain didn't trust the wizard, and said he wouldn't need any arcane help. However, he wasn't against the idea of the cleric using guidance.

During the trip, the group immediately realized that they'd all bitten off more than they could chew as they were presented what could only be described as a black hole and a series of unholy storms with the wrong colour of lightning. Speaking of which, lightning during a snow storm? They really had taken one heck of an adventure, and they all hoped they'd live to tell the tale someday as they all tied themselves to the ship, praying to Asmodeus to please not tip over. Before it really got bad, but as soon as they realized the sudden temperature drop, they used a majority of their Endure Elements.

The wizard use rope trick and had the imp and the ice mephit hide up there, and used Prestidigitation as often as he could to keep the ship as clear as possible. He soon realized that he was doing this all for free, but also came to the decision that his own life meant more than money.

The party had to make save after save to not be sickened, slammed hard against the boat, or thrown overboard (they were tied off, but they can still be flung around and over).

Kargeld made amazing Profession checks, and his crew each aided him to through the waves, and keep the hail and snow from weighing down the ship. Eventually they came to the eye of the storm, and could see the island, completely surrounded by a sleet storm, and what looked like an endless coral reef.

Despite all the good rolls, Kargeld couldn't help his ship from at least getting a few scratches due to their incredibly sharp edges. Thankfully they didn't sink. When they finally got through the brunt of it, they dropped anchor, and surveyed the damage.

The cleric used Mending to try fix what he could, but the crew ended up having to use some of the spare wood from the empty crates and barrels to do a proper patch job. However, it'd take a while.

The party made a deal with Kargeld to stay with the ship, and that he'd get first chance to take whatever loot they were able to get from the island. He was unsure, but he didn't want the ship to sink, so reluctantly he agreed.

The first thought of the party was if that was what they had to go through just to get in, would they have to go through this again once they left. (The answer is no because the curse will have been lifted. Not that I'm telling them that.)

They stepped into the brink as they walked passed the beach, and into the raging sleet storm. All of them immediately felt the cold, and were glad of their Endure Elements, but I had it be so cold that they still took 1d6 if they were wearing metal, as Chill Metal. Those that were taking damage, had Resist Energy go up, which would last for 40 minutes.

Eventually they found a path that stopped the brunt of the wind and made their way to the top of what was obviously a very large hill. From there, they searched around to find a hidden entrance, that lead inside the mountain. There they came across a wall of ice that'd be shaped up and covered the windows. The wizard knew of a riddle where the frost giants would only wake during the dawn of a new day. With any and all windows being covered, they'd have to deal with those. They continued searching and came across what looked to be the remnants of an ancient looking, frozen throne room. Inside what was like a great hall to them, stood a half dozen giants.

As they stepped forward, four beings teleported in. A male arctic elf fire elementalist wizard, his ice mephit improved familiar, a female half-elf bard, and a female catfolk ranger. They are not impressed with the trespassers entering the complex, and plan on doing something about it.

Next session, the party takes on the descendent of the wizard that cursed the frost giants.


What exactly are the vampiric weaknesses to daylight mentioned in the Risen part of the Vampire creation rules? I dont see anything about daylight weaknesses in the PF rules.

It says "However, you must sleep in a coffin every night, you gain the vampiric weaknesses to daylight (this replaces being sickened by daylight)"


Macgreine wrote:

What exactly are the vampiric weaknesses to daylight mentioned in the Risen part of the Vampire creation rules? I dont see anything about daylight weaknesses in the PF rules.

It says "However, you must sleep in a coffin every night, you gain the vampiric weaknesses to daylight (this replaces being sickened by daylight)"

This?

Bestiary Entry: Vampire wrote:
Exposing any vampire to direct sunlight staggers it on the first round of exposure and destroys it utterly on the second consecutive round of exposure if it does not escape.


Alright so I've been looking for good adventure paths to run and this is the most recent to hit my list. I already bought it and well it's back ordered. I've read through the pdf and found it to be very good thus far. But my question is... when am I going to see these back orders taken care of? I've waited almost a week for it to become un-back ordered and nothing? How long should I expect. I wish I knew but of course if you have no answers than I guess I have no right really here.

I do long for the hardcopies to come but when? I'm due to start this up in a couple of weeks. I can't run this on my computer because I'm not at my computer when I run my games.

This isn't meant to be a troll rant but more of a concern on my part for when I'm due to start.

Grand Lodge

DaRaDu wrote:

Alright so I've been looking for good adventure paths to run and this is the most recent to hit my list. I already bought it and well it's back ordered. I've read through the pdf and found it to be very good thus far. But my question is... when am I going to see these back orders taken care of? I've waited almost a week for it to become un-back ordered and nothing? How long should I expect. I wish I knew but of course if you have no answers than I guess I have no right really here.

I do long for the hardcopies to come but when? I'm due to start this up in a couple of weeks. I can't run this on my computer because I'm not at my computer when I run my games.

This isn't meant to be a troll rant but more of a concern on my part for when I'm due to start.

It shouldn't be too much longer. They just released a bunch from back order not that long ago.


DaRaDu,

I feel your pain and the restock will hit as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience and your kind words.

Rather than commit to a date that I cannot control, I'll merely say that the restock is coming soon. I also want to you that when it happens, I'll be sure to post about it here.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ran first session last night. The players rolled up a lizardman necromancer, a tiefling priest of Asmodeus, a troblin troublemaker (cross-bed betwen a troll and a goblin), a rakashan pirate, a psychopathic gnome postal worker and a half-elf jewel thief.

I'll post an AP in the forums soon, but in a nutshell... The half-elf thief is pulled out of the cell to meet Tiadora, they use the window straight away to get out of their cell, they fight through the guardhouse, killing Blackerly in the process. They completely missed Grumblejack the Ogre, so I'll probably have Cardinal Thorn send them back to the prison to break him out (he is too great a character not to have around for the whole AP, hopefully they will be a bit more sneaky breaking back inside than they were breaking out, especially once they have the iron circlets).

EDIT: Have kickstarted Throne of Night, looking forward to getting first PDF in May [?]. :D


Mike,

I would suggest you not send them back. It makes the players feel like they have no choice in the adventure. If anything, try to make the players feel like it's more of a sand box where their choices matter.

In my Hearts of Darkness: Way of the Wicked The players captured a guard and learned that the warden kept prison records on each inmate to Branderscar. That alone would have likely been enough, but as a Wizard he had also help several items that belonged to the players before they arrested. (a poppet for a Gravewalker Witch and a sword that belonged to a Kensai, black blade Magus). They could have decided to ignore the warden but there was good reasons. Before there wasn't any. I think that’s one of the biggest responsibilities as a GM. Give the players creditable reasons to move in a direction and then adapt the game based on their decisions.

In the case of Grumblejack, you could always bring him in during the 3rd act. After the weapon delivery.

Grand Lodge

Avatar of Mitra wrote:

Mike,

I would suggest you not send them back. It makes the players feel like they have no choice in the adventure. If anything, try to make the players feel like it's more of a sand box where their choices matter.

In my Hearts of Darkness: Way of the Wicked The players captured a guard and learned that the warden kept prison records on each inmate to Branderscar. That alone would have likely been enough, but as a Wizard he had also help several items that belonged to the players before they arrested. (a poppet for a Gravewalker Witch and a sword that belonged to a Kensai, black blade Magus). They could have decided to ignore the warden but there was good reasons. Before there wasn't any. I think that’s one of the biggest responsibilities as a GM. Give the players creditable reasons to move in a direction and then adapt the game based on their decisions.

I did the same thing. The wizard's familiar was in the tower, and was to be "executed" alongside him in three days. The party had to take on the challenge of the rescue.

As well, one of the PCs was a descendent of the hellknights from long ago, and in Gary's side notes, the banner was hanging in the tower. Not that they knew that at the time, but it sure made that PC feel like she'd done the right thing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

But Grumblejack... :(

You are right about the warden though. I've run the prison break from this book three times (once with this group and twice as a one-shot adventure) and the players have NEVER gone near the tower. In fact, I would recommend that other GM's remove the window from the veil of useful items altogether.

I was going to have Thorne send them back to Branderscar to instigate a mass breakout (I know the book says the PCs are the only ones there, but...) and kill the warden as a test of their skill and loyalty, since I'm dropping the Nine Trials altogether (it doesn't convert well to Savage Worlds, which is all about big set pieces and explosions). Plus, that lets me use Sir Balin as a recurring nemesis who hounds the PCs across Talingarde.

Grand Lodge

mikeawmids wrote:

But Grumblejack... :(

You are right about the warden though. I've run the prison break from this book three times (once with this group and twice as a one-shot adventure) and the players have NEVER gone near the tower. In fact, I would recommend that other GM's remove the window from the veil of useful items altogether.

I was going to have Thorne send them back to Branderscar to instigate a mass breakout (I know the book says the PCs are the only ones there, but...) and kill the warden as a test of their skill and loyalty, since I'm dropping the Nine Trials altogether (it doesn't convert well to Savage Worlds, which is all about big set pieces and explosions). Plus, that lets me use Sir Balin as a recurring nemesis who hounds the PCs across Talingarde.

I was actually going to send my PCs back if they missed a few things, and get Thorn to have them bring back to the books that are in the tower.


*shrug* Thorn is extreemly powerful. With his resources what does a few books matter? Grumblejack is also useful but you can introduce him into other points in the plot. Making the players go back to the tower feels *very* heavy handed forces the group into even more of a rail-road. Let them move on.


Fire Mountain Games wrote:

DaRaDu,

I feel your pain and the restock will hit as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience and your kind words.

Rather than commit to a date that I cannot control, I'll merely say that the restock is coming soon. I also want to you that when it happens, I'll be sure to post about it here.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Hey thanks for the reply. I appreciate that you keep a social face. You guys have done a wonderful job on these books from what I've read thus far.

Thanks.

Grand Lodge

Avatar of Mitra wrote:
*shrug* Thorn is extreemly powerful. With his resources what does a few books matter? Grumblejack is also useful but you can introduce him into other points in the plot. Making the players go back to the tower feels *very* heavy handed forces the group into even more of a rail-road. Let them move on.

To each their own, really. And Thorn doesn't really much in resources. They're already busy doing other stuff, and some of the time they're failing.

Grand Lodge

PCs just made it to Aldencross. They've managed to retrieve the money that was Thorn's from Kargeld, and sunk the ship. Amazing what having Color Spray can do to a group of low level mooks with even lower saves. Sheesh.


We had our first two sessions this weekend, and ended with the players getting their shiny new equipment from Tiadora.

I set the campaign in the Forgotten Realms, with Cormyr replacing Talingarde and the Triad (Tyr, Torm, and Ilmater) replacing Mitra.

Our dastardly villains consist of:

A human Favored Soul of Loviatar. She's a condescending sado-masochist and was infected with vampirism (currently at The Bitten stage) shortly before she was caught and sent to prison for Blasphemy.

A drow rogue who follows Vhaeraun (and pays at least lip service to Asmodeus). He tried to steal a (currently ill-defined) holy relic from a Triad church. He is efficient and skilled, though not above murdering non-combatants whether expedient or not.

An Aasimar Godling who is a bastard son of King Azoun. He has become quite disgusted with the Favored Soul, seeing her as wasting too much precious time and energy on pointless cruelty. He was formerly a paladin candidate but washed out and was sent to prison for the equivalent of having relations with a vestal virgin. (Her father pulled a few strings and got her sent to a nunnery.) He might have gotten off on his own charge, given his connections to King Azoun, but he was a little too vocal in his opposition to the rules and advocating the overthrow of the government. He was sentenced for Treason, Sedition, and Blasphemy (basically they threw the book at him.)

A Tiefling Balladmonger (who is the Aasimar's younger half-sister, sharing the same mother). She tried to help her brother escape his own charges bu murdering the magistrate set to try him, but only managed to get caught herself. She goes by the Nom de guerre Penny Dreadful, and only the Aasimar and herself currently know she is his sister. She hero worships him, and may or may not in fact be in love with him.

A serpentfolk Wizard who has assumed the form of a 13 year old human girl. Her crimes were grave-robbing and cannibalism, and has currently shown a predilection for necromantic spells.

First Session: The player of the drow rogue couldn't make it, so he was demoted to an NPC for the session with the tasks of opening locks found and "keeping an eye out for reinforcements" i.e. stay out of fights and watch our backs.

He nearly got the guards coming in to investigate when he failed a few open lock checks in a row, but fortunately for them, the aasimar's blessing of the godling bumped his check just enough to avoid that and get the villains unshackled.

The fight with the guards in the guard room was quick and quiet, with the villains managing to eliminate them before they could take an action through an efficient combination of attacks and spells. Thus partially armed and armored, they investigated the rest of the floor and the Favored Soul managed to cow Grumblejack into serving her.

The aasimar climbed down the fireplace, but failed to avoid the fire at the bottom, and got a little scorched for his trouble. He was armed though, and managed to get the servants to surrender and intimidated them into telling them what they knew, and he assured them he'd let them live. The drow tied them up (poorly as it turned out later), the favored soul hurt them a bit (no damage, just several very hard pinches in sensitive places) just for the sheer pleasure of it (while claiming her goddess required it of her) and the villains managed to clean out the rest of the guards and get into the armory with nary a scratch. Grumblejack was the MVP of the night, managing a crit on one of the guards and splitting him open.

Second session: Drow's player is attending, so he is able to take a more active role. They decided to head back out the kitchen door, rather than risk the main doors and through sheer luck managed to reenter the kitchen just as the servants were slipping their bonds. The drow and favored soul killed them out of hand, over the objections of the aasimar who favored just tying them up properly this time. The wizard asked that the female servant's body be taken along, but declined to explain why. The other villains responded with a collective meh and had Grumblejack tote it around for her. They identified the belladonna and the balladmonger easily made three doses of poison. The drow scouted around, and got the rest of the party to the warden's tower by watching the movements of the guards on the wall carefully. They left Grumblejack downstairs to watch their back rather than have him try to squeeze up the spiral stairs. The fight with the warden was starting to look like they'd steamroller him as well, but the sleep scroll took out the aasimar and they became a bit concerned.

They were triumphant however, and looted his person, library and office, though missing the most valuable book in the library. The drow put the dogs to sleep with Blackerly's medicine and the doggy treats they found in a guard's footlocker.

They found Blackerly's little card game, and things started to circle the drain. They were only saved by the drow's use of his darkness spell like ability, as Blackerly found it near impossible to hit any one in the shadowy light with a series of unlucky (or lucky, from the players' POV) miss chance rolls. Still, half the party (the drow, the favored soul, and the wizard) were all driven into unconsciousness. The plan was originally to take Blackerly alive so they could brand him a few times, but when the other started dropping like flies the aasimar took the initiative and simply killed him.

A few timely cure light wounds potions and the party were all back on their feet, though severely battered. The drow and Grumblejack stayed back as the rest of the party approached the gatehouse. When the questioning started to go south, the aasimar once again took the initiative and attacked. The guard dog proved a bit tenacious and managed to knock the favored soul into negative HP again before it was driven off. The aasimar and the drow combined talents (the drow's faerie fire and aasimar's spellfire wielder feat) to heal the favored soul back to 1 hp so she could move under her own power.

Now out of spells, all in sngle digit HP (except the aasimar who was only lightly wounded) and being chased by who knows how many guards (8 in fact) they headed out across the moors. It looked like there might be a TPK when the giant toad showed up, but the favored soul ordered Grumblejack to toss the servant's corpse to the toad, much to the ire of the wizard. In an act of reckless bravery (or wanton foolishness) they tracked the toad back to its lair and managed to not only kill the toad but retrieve the corpse before it was significantly damaged.

They rested a bit in the cave, got spells back and healed themselves, and got to the Manor house alive and somewhat well shortly before dawn. I fudged things a bit and instead of giving them three days to rest, I gave them a week, so the wizard could consume the servant's corpse and add her form to the ones she can polymorph into.


As a side note, I got a bit of moaning from some of my players over my assuring them the evils perpetrated should remain PG-13. I explained that I had precisely zero interest in describing graphic acts of torture or whatnot, and eventually the moaning subsided amicably and we all agreed it was for the best.

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