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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4.60/5 (based on 23 ratings)

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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.


A wicked good time!

5/5

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.


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Xzaral,

Spoiler:

I'm a believer in the tough encounter and the treasure hoard.

What does this mean?

It means I would rather see fewer but tougher, more memorable fights. Yes, there is a place for the lower CR, quick fight. Of course there is. "Knot of Thorns" is dripping with low-level nobodies the PCs can merrily slaughter. But I think the more memorable fights -- Sir Balin, Father Donnagin and his choir, the Lantern Archons, Tacitus and his ice golem, and of course Lord Havelyn -- should be tough.

I have tried to make sure that enemies do not have resistances and immunities that just flat out deny your PCs abilities at the appropriate level. But tough? You bet!

Likewise, when the PCs find treasure, they are far more likely to find a great golden gleaming hoard. This reaches its culmination in Book Two with the Horn's treasure chamber. That is several levels worth of loot heaped in one place. A treasure hoard, you remember. Pocket change is just pocket change.

I will say I do find it ironic that Sir Balin is proving so challenging. Sir Balin is a fifth level human fighter with almost no magic items (a cloak of resistance +1 and potion of CLW). Who knew those guys could be tough?

Anyways, ultimately my advice is this -- nobody knows your group better than you do, GM. If you think an encounter is too tough, tone it down. Maybe Sir Balin is still a little hurt and has three quarters of his full hp. Maybe his armor is little banged up and his AC is two lower.

These modules are not holy (unholy?) texts meant to be adhered to with religious zeal. I try to make the fights appropriate to a standard 4 person group of adventurers of the appropriate level. I playtest them against that group. But it will always be an estimate.

Ultimately, I just hope you have fun playing them.

Game on, my friend. Game on.

Hope that helps,
Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


increddibelly,

Great links! Thanks for posting them.

I'm also glad to hear your players are excited to play in "Way of the Wicked". If you have time, I always love to read play reports.

Regardless, thanks for supporting Fire Mountain Games and "Way of the Wicked".

More is on the way.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


I have a question on something...

Spoiler:
My group just started Act IV of Knot of Thorns, and were exploring the tower, first visually from a distance, then getting a bit closer. I added in that the tower does customs searchs on wagons passing south into Talingarde. The oracle in the group wanted to check out the Mitran temple within, partly because the player wanted an idea of what he saw while moving through. The problem I had is that it appears on the map and in the descriptions that the only way up to the second level without going into someone's private chambers is through the armory, which seems a bit odd. Since there is a servants entrance and a main hall/passageway, is there something like a visitor's entrance for those coming to see the church. On a slight side note, I enjoyed the look on my player's face when the lantern archon flitted in front of him and told him to leave. They still have no idea of the scope of what they are dealing with. And now I'm off to finish npc write-ups for the people they are going to murder/steal from next session in order to not pay for magical items. It was a bit sad that only me and the rogue thought to mention "Why are we worried about how much it costs? We're villians!"

In regards to facing Sir Ballin, he did a number on my group, and I have six players. Mostly they got through because I stressed they may want some healing power going in. As it was, the hungry ghost monk got dropped right away, the half-orc fighter went down, and so nearly did they oracle. Part of some the difficulty I've found can come from lack of healing support. I ran the first module for Rise of the Runelords and required everyone to play non-core book classes. So we had a ninja, a gunslinger, an alchemist, an inquisitor, a kensai magus, and a summoner. I didn't have to adjust most of the CR's, most fights were fairly difficult for them simply because they had no heavy hitters (magic or physical) and minimal healing.


John,

Yes, evil characters are challenged initially by their lack of healing support. Of course that should change by Act IV. They have money and the opportunity to buy some healing items. I would definitely let a wand of CLW be for sale in Aldencross if nothing else.

In regards to your question...

Spoiler:

The man in entrance to the second level of the Watchtower Balentyne is the Aldencross Gate (22). You can also get their up through the temple, through the armory and across the wall from the gatehouse. That's four entrances without doing anything too clever.

Pilgrims who come to the aldencross gate and asked politely to visit the temple of Mitra are likely to get introduced to Father Donnagin who is only too happy to take a little time out of his day to converse with fellow devotees of the Lord of Light. Of course, he will take them to see the famed Singing Saints of Balentyne. Note that without the proper deception magic, this can be fantastically dangerous. The lantern archons can detect evil and this may well start Father Donnagin investigating the PCs...

Hope that helps,
Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


Oh, and I will be unavailable from now till Monday for more questions.

Fire Mountain Games is at Gamestorm here in Portland, Oregon.

Game on!

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Grand Lodge

Fire Mountain Games wrote:

Oh, and I will be unavailable from now till Monday for more questions.

Fire Mountain Games is at Gamestorm here in Portland, Oregon.

Game on!

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Have fun.

When you get back, let me know if you're able to start work (or even do work) on those premade PCs for Book 1 so it can be run at conventions. You might already even have them done up for Gamestorm. Don't know. My convention, Prairie Con, is coming up soon so I'm just looking to know if I need to throw them together, or if you've got ones done up to hand out.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

kevin_video,

Seven premade PCs are done and finished for Gamestorm. I'm playtesting them this weekend. They even each have custom art from Mike. Will post next week.

Back to the con!

Gary


Greetings all,

Back from Gamestorm.

Had a great time. Ran "Prison Break!" four times for twenty five players.

They...

Spoiler:

The group with the bloodiest escape killed Blackerly, eleven guards, two servants and a guard dog.
After all four sessions, they...
Killed Blackerly three times
Blackerly's stash was discovered twice
Got Grumblejack out alive twice
Twelve PCs dropped to zero hit points
Had two permanent PC deaths
No one killed the Warden

There were four successful prison breaks this weekend.

At Paizocon, will there be more?

We shall see.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


Just finished Act 2!

Spoiler:
My PC's got to the manner, went through the motions of meeting Thorn, the slaves, the other Knot, and finally going into the Nine Lessons.

Lesson 1: triggered the trap, smashed the lantern, finally found both doors.

Lesson 2: Figured out the right door, took some damage from the mold but killed it and got through.

Lesson 3: Here's where they had the most trouble. Lots of Con damage, lots of hp damage, but the fighter put his greatsword to excellent use against the dark sphere and Vampiric Mist.

Lesson 4: On the first time in this room they didn't do anything. After room 6 they came back and started to torture on of the slaves, basically grasping at straws for something to do. I had them roll for Perception as Timeon stifled a cry, DC 20. The anti-paladin of Zon-Kuthon and the Knife Master rogue both made it, so they coerced Timeon into coming out and the fighter promptly killed him.

Lesson 5: Took them awhile and some poison damage, but they managed to kill both Mithral Cobras.

Lesson 6: They fell for the Rolling Ball trap, but it took them awhile to find the secret door.

Lesson 7: Fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Set off the shrieker, got their behinds whooped by the draugr, but finally killed them. After this they took a MUCH needed rest (only healer is a witch who doesn't prepare a lot of healing spells).

Lesson 8: After resting they brought down Grumblejack, who was amused that they needed help fighting empty coffins and truly dead skeletons.

Lesson 9: Balin knocked out the fighter in the first round with a charge. He would have EASILY killed the party, so I started ignoring crits and reducing how much damage he did. They were able to kill him after awhile, but I had to switch to some bad tactics.

I really like this dungeon, but I feel that Balin is WAY too hard for them. Even with Grumblejack, I don't think Sir Balin should be as strong as he is. Maybe just reduce his strength or something, but too high nonetheless. Anyway, it was still a lot of fun and my players loved it. Thanks Fire Mountain!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

OmegaZ,

Thanks for the play reports! Sounds awesome and I'm glad your group had a good time.

Spoiler:

Hmmm...you're not the first to report this. I will review Sir Balin's stat block before we release the next batch of errata in April.

Anyways, thanks for supporting "Way of the Wicked" and thanks for taking the time to post actual play reports here.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Agreed. Sir Balin is very much a badass. His stats are that of a PC, not an NPC, meaning his CR is actually 5. I actually revised him to have the Elite Array 16/12/14/10/13/10. Having 1 less hp a level, and -1 to his attacks and damaged helped enough. I think what really makes him powerful is that he's the last guy at the end of the lessons that could very nearly kill you outright to begin with.


Encounters with single NPCs can be very swingy, in my experience. If they get to act, they can often wipe out one PC each round, but sometimes they don't even get to act once before being dogpiled!

Grand Lodge

hogarth wrote:
Encounters with single NPCs can be very swingy, in my experience. If they get to act, they can often wipe out one PC each round, but sometimes they don't even get to act once before being dogpiled!

I agree. It really depends on what the party has for its make up. If the party's wizard and cleric have the right spells memorized, the fight's over before it begins, if they get first initiative. The same can be said if the situation's reversed.


Fire Mountain Games wrote:

kevin_video,

Seven premade PCs are done and finished for Gamestorm. I'm playtesting them this weekend. They even each have custom art from Mike. Will post next week.

Back to the con!

Gary

Looking forward to it. I checked out the free preview and this looks awesome. Will the next AP be "good-based" about undoing all the havoc wrought by the evil PCs?


Fire Mountain Games wrote:

OmegaZ,

Thanks for the play reports! Sounds awesome and I'm glad your group had a good time.

** spoiler omitted **

Anyways, thanks for supporting "Way of the Wicked" and thanks for taking the time to post actual play reports here.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Part of my problem is that we only have a Witch for healing and she doesn't seem too keen on keeping everyone alive. I've thrown them a few extra Cure Light Wounds potions to balance that out.

Spoiler:
The other problem that I see is because there are fewer, but more difficult fights, its more likely to be lethal for the PC's. Spreading the danger out amongst other encounters is safer and allows a crescendo towards the dungeons boss. First books should focus on keeping the PC's alive while giving them easy-moderate challenges, setting up the overall plot, and giving them a final difficult challenge with the boss. Of course you already know this, so I'm gonna shut up now. :P

Grand Lodge

Fire Mountain Games wrote:

kevin_video,

Seven premade PCs are done and finished for Gamestorm. I'm playtesting them this weekend. They even each have custom art from Mike. Will post next week.

Back to the con!

Gary

Guessing the pre-mades worked out well if you were able to do that much that many times. Looking forward to getting those for the convention.


Kevin,

I like your solution. Something very like it is probably going to be in the official update coming next month. Sir Balin is meant to be tough. Rest assured he will remain that way. But maybe not quite as tough.

Also, the pregenerated portraits are now available as a zip file here.

Character sheets will follow shortly. In the mean time, enjoy the pile of new free art.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


Devastation Bob wrote:


Looking forward to it. I checked out the free preview and this looks awesome. Will the next AP be "good-based" about undoing all the havoc wrought by the evil PCs?

Devastation Bob,

Thanks for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed the preview.

All I can say about our next release after "Way of the Wicked" at this time is that there will be one, we are considering several options, and we will make an announcement probably in August.

We are not being coy about our decision. We simply haven't made one yet.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Grand Lodge

Fire Mountain Games wrote:

Kevin,

I like your solution. Something very like it is probably going to be in the official update coming next month. Sir Balin is meant to be tough. Rest assured he will remain that way. But maybe not quite as tough.

Also, the pregenerated portraits are now available as a zip file here.

Character sheets will follow shortly. In the mean time, enjoy the pile of new free art.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Whatever you come up with I'm sure will be fine. It's just that I did this up, and it seemed to work well enough. Having a cleric with high Cha and Selective Channeling helped too.

Loving the art. Names are pretty badass too. I'm assuming that we're good with just the standard four PCs that are suggested, and not have to worry about having all seven that are there. If for no other reason than to keep it relatively short.


kevin_video wrote:
Loving the art. Names are pretty badass too. I'm assuming that we're good with just the standard four PCs that are suggested, and not have to worry about having all seven that are there. If for no other reason than to keep it relatively short.

I ran the game with groups from four to all seven PCs. I would say that actually having seven PCs in this particular scenario does not make it any easier. That is three more PCs to make noise and get the alarm blown. I did add a few more guards here and there for seven PCs when the fighting came.

Also...

Spoiler:

I also gave Blackerly a couple of corporeals so he didn't go down too easily when attacked by seven villains.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Grand Lodge

Gary,

With all of the talking on here, I forgot to actually detail what I did for the first session of your campaign. Not much got done though as we did the character creation and the little bit of the first session done on the first night. I'll fill you in on what did happen though.

The Start up:
The first thing that we did was figure what everyone's alignment was. Surprisingly enough, almost everyone wanted to chaotic. If they were to be evil, and the continent lawful, they wanted absolute anarchy. When I told them that it didn't work that way, they grudgingly went lawful evil or neutral.

In my game, I allowed flaws from Flaws by 4Winds Fantasy Gaming, and drawbacks from Tome of Secrets. The were given Wanted and Marked. I thought that they were wanted criminals and had been branded, that they should get something for their troubles instead of fluff and nothing to back it up. This would give them a bonus feat, and bonus skill points. I also allowed level buy-offs from 3.5's Unearthed Arcana. Mostly because the tiefling wanted to eventually become a full half-fiend, and one of the PCs wanted to be a succubus. Instead of the suggested bonus skill points each level, I instead gave them the feat Skill Knowledge (makes any one cross-class skill into a class skill) and Open Minded (gives 5 bonus skill points). These will kick in every 5 levels, and be used however they feel. That's about all I did for major house rules. I also made it harder for them to be killed. There's a variant 3.5 rule called the Death Threshold where you can't die unless you're coup-de-graced, or left for dead for 10 mins. They were alright with this.

They are a tiefling fire-element wizard, succubus spell-less ranger (Kobold Quarterly variant), whisper gnome assassin (Kobold Quarterly Assassin's Creed base class), human cleric (who's actually a descendant of Asmodeus but doesn't know it yet, he just thinks he himself is a god), a dhampir half-vampire swashbuckler, and a kitsune ninja.

Before the game, I had taken them aside and let them know they were being taken to jail, and allowed them to fill in what they had been doing before they got caught. This would allow them to potentially hide their stuff before they met with their benefactor. If he's all knowing anyways, he could potentially have his minions pick up their gear from their secret hiding spot. This would let the PCs know that there wasn't anything he didn't know, and also how much he wanted them to be on his team. He did go out of his way to make sure that when they arrived that they were given THEIR stuff back. Perhaps even unscathed.

From here they were told that they were clasped in irons to each other, nothing not who they were beside because they couldn't see through the hood. I described in detail how helpless they were in their anti-magic iron shackles, the cold shower of ice water they got to rinse the stink of evil off of them, the tattooing (resist fire and acid) and hot branding (or acid branding if they resisted fire). The smell of burning flesh of their comrades being put to the iron, the screams of others as they failed Constitution checks. I even used the variant in one of the mags that described torture, and the saves they'd need to make for everything they were enduring. They didn't collapse, but they were fatigued or exhausted. The succubus actually took ability damage from it.

The guards dragged their bodies to the prison, and chained them above their heads, as per the adventure. From there they talked in whispers about how they all plan to get out, and get back at all of them. How the branding for them will be worse. To the point that they'll lose unconsciousness. It became very "Chicago" style. Basically the "You put one of us in the hospital, we put one of you in the morgue" deal. That's when they brought up the black market, how they'll start it, and by the end of the campaign, they'll own everyone.

It was at that point that we called it quits, and I came here for advice on that last part. I've taken that advice, and put it amongst my notes.

I'm going to be going in for surgery so my game sessions will be on hiatus for about a month while I recover.


First, best wishes for a speedy recovery Kevin.
Second, here's what my group has been up to:

Spoiler:
My PC's have finally began formulating some degree of a plan to take down Balentyne. They have discovered the hidden entrance into the tower, and even explored a bit, although they almost got caught investigating Captain Motts quarters' by Captain Barhold. They have also learned of Mama's stew, and plan to poison it in some way, but have yet to make any move's in that direction. Now that they have had a better look at the tower, they have realized that their previous ideas of simply sacking the place were weak, although several seem convinced all they need to do is control the far gatehouse. Luckily, a few of the PC's realize they will need a bit more than that. At present they are looking for evidence to expose Eddarly and Kaitlyn, and have just killed Captain Varning, after torturing him for a information first, which gave them rather little intel. Next week should hold some more interesting developments, as well as possibly a few murders in town.


Kevin,

Sorry to hear about your surgery. Best wishes and a speed recovery. Your campaign is getting off to an interesting start. Chicago-style, eh? I think Talingarde might have the edge on numbers...for now.

John,

Very cool. Plans are clearly developing. Pity the poor defenders of Balentyne for what is to come...

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Grand Lodge

Thanks for the well wishes, Gary and John.

When you ran the games at the con, Gary, did you have a specific reference sheet for achievements or goals that the PCs should have accomplished by the time they're done playing? You know, for when you'd give out prizes for best played PC, or most accomplished. That kind of thing. Or did you just have the players themselves choose a winner, and if more than one person was chosen, did you have them roll off (roll a d20) for the prize?


kevin,

Yes I did have a specific goal...

Spoiler:

Escape or die!

I guess that's not much of a spoiler, since the title of the adventure is "Prison Break!"

I did not give out prizes either at this con. We really don't have much yet prepared for prize support (but we will!).

However, what I would do for prizes is award one GM's choice prize in which you pick your favorite PC. And then let the PC's vote on their first and second place picks.

Tally the votes for PC's choice. A first place vote gets you two points. A second place vote gets you one point. Whoever gets the most points is the winner. If the GM's choice and the PC's choice are the same then the second place winner gets the PC's choice prize.

And in the case of a tie, a roll off with a d20 is perfectly acceptable.

Sounds acceptable?

Gary

Grand Lodge

Yeah that sounds fine. That's usually how we do it at our con anyways, but now that I've been exposed to Pathfinder Society, as well as D&D Encounters, I've kind of gotten used to their checklist as well so I was just seeing if that was to be an issue or not for this game.


Kevin,

No checklist. Just our thanks for running the event and hopes that you have a great game. And if you take some pictures, we'll post 'em on website and facebook page!

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


When will the pregens be available?

Grand Lodge

Fire Mountain Games wrote:

Kevin,

No checklist. Just our thanks for running the event and hopes that you have a great game. And if you take some pictures, we'll post 'em on website and facebook page!

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Just sent you an e-mail with a link to the convention to show when the game's being played.

As for pics, those are always being randomly taken. I'll ask the coordinators if they could specifically take a few photos of our game, and I'll mail them to you.

Hoping that my game's as successful as yours were.

Grand Lodge

Got a quick question to add to this as well for you Gary. This is in regards to your original suggestion in the book of getting rangers to take Favored Enemy (humans) and later (good outsiders).

A 3rd Party book brought back the Urban Ranger's "Favored Organization" that was from 3.5 and could be used to switch out the standard Favored Enemy. This is my question. If you took that, would "follower's of Mitra" basically take up the entire group of everyone you're fighting unless specifically noted otherwise? As well, would you consider that too broad a category?


kevin_video wrote:

Got a quick question to add to this as well for you Gary. This is in regards to your original suggestion in the book of getting rangers to take Favored Enemy (humans) and later (good outsiders).

A 3rd Party book brought back the Urban Ranger's "Favored Organization" that was from 3.5 and could be used to switch out the standard Favored Enemy. This is my question. If you took that, would "follower's of Mitra" basically take up the entire group of everyone you're fighting unless specifically noted otherwise? As well, would you consider that too broad a category?

Personally, I'd compare that to the examples that the book the option comes from gives and consider the context that those examples might normally be used.

For example, would the book that it comes out of take "Followers of Mitra" to be anyone that hold Mitra to be their patron deity, or would it assume that it means people who are members of a specific brotherhood called the Followers of Mitra?

I think lumping all followers of Mitra together might be a bit much, you can reasonably assume that just about every Good human in Talingarde worships Mitra. However, is it really any worse than Favoured Enemy (Human)?

If, after looking at Book I and II, you think that it seems a bit better than Favoured Enemy (Human), then it is probably too good.

I honestly think that letting all Mitra worshipers count as a single Favoured Enemy is too much in this particular adventure path, but your milage may vary. It really depends on your players and what everyone (yourself included) wants out of the campaign.

Grand Lodge

The problem is that they don't really give you much of a list. "The city guard" is one example, as well as particular thieves guilds. It'd be like going Favored Organization (the mafia) vs Favored Organization (the Russian mafia) vs Favored Organization (the yakuza).

EDIT: So if "Favored Organization (followers of Mitra)" was too vague and large scale, what would be a less laughable and more finite description?


The journey North begins!

Spoiler:
My players are officially the Nessian Knot! They began heading up with Cap. Odenkirk & crew and came up with their go-to disguises for their Iron Circlets. When they ran into the Talirean patrol boat, they successfully duped the captain into thinking they were escorting a dying woman on a tour of the Savage North coast. The magus (disguised as a noble), used Warden Richter's signet ring to great affect, saying it was a request by the Warden. Captain Sambryl was touched by the story and was very sorry to inform the "noble" of the Warden's demise in Branderscar. Sambryl left then, bidding them safe passage.

Next came the assault by Nerianus. This was honestly pretty tedious, mostly because my group has very little ranged options. The magus and anti-paladin of Zon-Kuthon were the only ones with ranged weapons, but they missed due to a LOT of low rolls. The water elementals Nerianus summoned were able to knock the witch overboard, but she got back up with little difficulty. Everyone else was able to stay aboard. I eventually had one of the tritons go aboard the ship, but this was a bad idea because of his terrible move speed on land. The rest stayed in the sea, only took a couple arrows and Evil Eyes from the witch, and eventually fled when Nerianus launched himself at the PC's on the edge of the boat and got full attacked by the fighter, Odenkirk, and magus.

The Nerianus fight was really only tedious because there aren't any ranged specialists in the group, which is a problem they'll have to deal with. We were running into overtime, so I had Nerianus pull a stupid by going into melee (which honestly isn't too bad for him), but I'm still not happy with how the fight went. The dolphins couldn't do at thing, since no one fell in the water. Not a knock on the adventure, just on my party for being unable to really engage the tritons properly. Oh well, next session should be a blast! The players still had fun though. :)


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Devastation Bob wrote:
When will the pregens be available?

Pregens are available right now.

You can find seven pregenerated 1st level villains here.

You can find art for the corresponding seven characters here.

Enjoy!

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


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Kevin,

I would say that an organizational enemy (followers of Mitra) is probably too good to allow in Way of the Wicked.

I would instead make it a bit more specific like (knights of the Alerion) or (Priests of Mitra) or (Inquisitors of Mitra).

Something that still gets a lot of enemies, just not all of them.

And by the way, if someone took preferred enemy (human) I might make a few more of the guards they face dwarves and half-elves. Yes, there are still plenty of humans to slaughter. But, you don't want them to get the advantage constantly.

Just my two cents,
Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


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OmegaZ,

Thanks for the play report. Glad to see you rolled with the punches when an encounter went a little astray. That's good Game Mastering in my book.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Grand Lodge

Fire Mountain Games wrote:

Kevin,

I would say that an organizational enemy (followers of Mitra) is probably too good to allow in Way of the Wicked.

I would instead make it a bit more specific like (knights of the Alerion) or (Priests of Mitra) or (Inquisitors of Mitra).

Something that still gets a lot of enemies, just not all of them.

And by the way, if someone took preferred enemy (human) I might make a few more of the guards they face dwarves and half-elves. Yes, there are still plenty of humans to slaughter. But, you don't want them to get the advantage constantly.

Just my two cents,
Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

lol Wow are you ever up late. Guess the same could be said about me.

I was thinking about the Knights of Alerion after going over the book again, and looking at Sir Balin. I'd have to read really carefully into it to discover which ones were exactly part of what faction though. As for the humans vs dwarves vs other races, there's feats that get around that. Additional Favored Enemy and Bounty Hunter just to name two. I'm not too concerned as the person playing the ranger is a beginner to the game so I'm fine with her having an advantage on her first real game. If it was someone who was more schooled in the game, I'd definitely switch it around.

EDIT: Question on the premade characters. Lazarus has the language "Necril". Where's that from?


kevin_video wrote:
EDIT: Question on the premade characters. Lazarus has the language "Necril". Where's that from?

From the PFSRD:

Necril
Spoken By: Undead
An ancient language of the dead, this whispering tongue is shared among undead throughout Golarion, and is also often associated with necromancy.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Tobias wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
EDIT: Question on the premade characters. Lazarus has the language "Necril". Where's that from?

From the PFSRD:

Necril
Spoken By: Undead
An ancient language of the dead, this whispering tongue is shared among undead throughout Golarion, and is also often associated with necromancy.

Linkified.

Grand Lodge

Alzrius wrote:
Tobias wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
EDIT: Question on the premade characters. Lazarus has the language "Necril". Where's that from?

From the PFSRD:

Necril
Spoken By: Undead
An ancient language of the dead, this whispering tongue is shared among undead throughout Golarion, and is also often associated with necromancy.

Linkified.

Much appreciated.


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Update

Spoiler:
These are dark days for the tower of Balentyne and town of Aldencross. On the far edge of town, an abandoned home burns to the ground. Meanwhile, rumors begin about a serious infestation of rats, as multiple people come to the alchemist and purchase all of his rat poison in a matter of days. But good news appears, as Ye Merry Men arrives and puts on their production of "The Fall of Amberlyn". A good time is had by most of those lucky enough to attend. Sadly with the following day comes more troubles, as Captain Mott, tipped off by an anonymous letter, and two incriminating ones, finds his wife and the dashing Captain Eddarly in the throes of passion. Grimmer still is the duel the following day between Eddarly and Mott, in which Mott, filled with rage, mortally wounds Eddarly before savagely falling upon him and beating him to death. It is a swift trip to Branderscar the following day for Captain Mott. In need of captains, the tower sends forth another patrol to summon back Captain Varning, now some three days overdue in returning from his patrol. Within the tower, things become worse, as Mad Martin is found dead in his rookery, his body torn apart by the ravens he so cared for. His cause of death uncertain, though some point to the two missing guards, who surely snuck out after murdering Mad Martin for hidden riches his ravens have collected over the years, or so the rumor goes. All is well at the Lord's Dalliance Inn, however, with the evening stew more filling than ever, what with the secret ingredient so secret not even the staff know about it's inclusion (Hint: It ryhmes with "cumin" but is not a spice). Just don't dig too deep in the pickle barrel, you might lose a head (or find one).

On a side note, picked up the subscription for the remaining modules, looking forward to them!


John,

Thanks for posting the play report. Very cool. Sounds like Balentyne is in a lot of trouble.

I continue to enjoy your updates and look forward to the next.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Grand Lodge

Hey Gary, I'm curious about something. The prison guards. They're human warriors. Their stats are 15/12/12/10/10/8. So why are their saves +4/+0/-1? Shouldn't that be +4/+1/+0? Am I missing some kind of penalty?


kevin_video wrote:
Hey Gary, I'm curious about something. The prison guards. They're human warriors. Their stats are 15/12/12/10/10/8. So why are their saves +4/+0/-1? Shouldn't that be +4/+1/+0? Am I missing some kind of penalty?

Yeah, I think you're right. I'll update it in the next release of the errata.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


Here's how my last hour and a half went:

-sees ad in Kobald Quarterly 21-
Me: Evil campaign? Awesome!
-immediate impulse buy-
-reads: chaotic characters not allowed-
Me: SON OF A...

Ok, I realize why you're avoiding the problems of Chaotic Evil characters in an evil campaign. But it's becoming a pet peeve of mine when a product sold over the internet isn't adequately described in its blurb. This is a very specific campaign for Lawful Evil worshippers of Asmodeus and it excludes a certain style of villain, that's the kind of salient fact I would have liked to know before my purchase.

Again: I know why you've designed the campaign this way and that's great, I applaud it even, but please adequately describe your product.

The adventure itself is very good, the only flaws I can call out are in the graphic design area. Double spaces after full stops, edges around some of the art assets, strange fonts and text block formatting can be improved. Quality of the art assets is high overall, I particularly liked the boarders.

I liked the adventure design and alot of the ideas presented are interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing how the path develops.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've gone back and copied my original review back into the review area, now that the space limits on reviews have been raised (though it's still posted in the forum area too, as posts from that long ago can't be edited).


Short update and a couple of questions:

Spoiler:
The only action during this session consisted of the villians running down a couple of npc adventurers to take their gear. Needless to say, the pc's have acquired some new trinkets. The assault took place a few hours south of the gatehouse, so risk of discovery is minimal. The rest of the evening consisted of numerous plans to take down the tower. Currently the plan is to poison the stew, wait a couple of hours for it to take effect, then set off the signal rocket. Then one team (the magus, monk and witch), will use invisibilty and stealth to infiltrate the top of the gatehouse and take control of the drawbridge and portculis, as well as the door connected to the bridge of death.
Team two (gnome oracle of flame, 1/2 orc fighter, and rogue) will already be in the tower, posing as kitchen staff. During the poisoning, they plan on cornering Father Donnigan, killing him, then taking out the magister, and then the commander. They have no idea what the "artifact" is that Tacitus has, so they are in for a surprise, and likely to get killed. It will be interesting.
My question is this: The evening before, the plan is for the dwarf monk to drink with Barnaus until he can provoke a fight, during which time his goal is to kill him and as many of the dwarven engineers as he can. My question is, what is the situation with guards/the watch in Aldencross? Do they have seperate watch troops, how many, etc. or are they supplimented by the tower? Also, how many off-duty troops are likely to be at the inn on a given night. Just looking for the creators input, I can always come up with my own.


Shasazar,

First, thanks for buying "Way of the Wicked".

This campaign does not have to focus around worshippers of Asmodeus. We picked that god because he is a popular one, a public domain evil deity and provides a natural reason for the party to hang together. "Way of the Wicked" strives above all else to be the evil campaign that actually works and alas for many that means lawful evil.

However, you can completely downplay or even ignore that aspect without having to change a single encounter. This could simply be a campaign about revenge against Talingarde for very personal reasons.

The danger of doing that, as you rightly point out, is that this opens the door for the campaign to degenerate into a festival of betrayal, bickering and back-biting. But if your players can overcome that, we try to give you the tools to play the game that way. Book Two includes an article discussing alternate ways to play the campaign.

Now with months of play reports under my belt, I think you can run this campaign with a group of chaotic evil characters. Have them swear a blood oath to work together and replace Cardinal Thorn with a demon sent from the abyss to sow chaos and death -- the demon Adrastus.

I believe with that one minor change, you can transform "Way of the Wicked" into a chaotic evil campaign.

Regardless, thanks for checking us out and thanks for taking the time to provide us with feedback. We only get better because of people like you.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


John,

Thanks for continuing to post updates.

As to your question...

Spoiler:

Once upon a time, I considered writing up a more thorough description of Aldencross, but with space already being tight on Book One, it never got developed.

I would say this, Aldencross has its own watch and they are not as well trained as the guards of Aldencross. I'd probably use the sailors from Act Three, Event: The Blade of St. Martius as my models.

In short, they are no real threat to the PCs. The danger they present is that they can make noise and draw more important named NPCs with large parties of soldiery.

What I would use the watch of Aldencross for is to set up interesting fights with important NPCs. Perhaps one of the captains is in town spending time with family or merely doing some errands. The captain gathers a few off duty guards from Balentyne and thus ... interesting barroom combat!

That is how I'd handle it, rather than obsessing over exact watch figures. We already do plenty of that in Balentyne proper.

Hope that helps,
Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


Hi Gary,

Would there be much chance of the additional information in Way of the Wicked being developed for Hero Lab?

Regards,
John

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