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

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

It's only fair. They burned you first.

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

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

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

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

You've saved the world plenty.

This time, the world needs saving from you.

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4.70/5 (based on 22 ratings)

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Written by a fraudster


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


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

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

It has begun


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

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

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

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

A wicked good time!


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

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

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

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

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

A Knot of Thorns Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Encounters Book 6


Act 1
unique Thanatonic titan
hill giant barbarian, great cyclops, troll (5), two-headed troll, hill giant (5), ettin (2), frost giants (8)
bugbear fighter
human male antipaladin

Act 2
human male armor master fighter
human male inquisitor with longsword and shield
gargantuan kraken, summoned dire sharks
glabrezu (4), marilith (2)
shoggoth (2)

Act 3
planetar (2)
human male inquisitor with greatsword
pit fiend, immolation devil
human male paladin

Act 4
Elysian titan, ghaele azata, half-dragon human female sorcerer (with form of the dragon 3 cast upon herself), colossal silver dragon, solar

This took a surprisingly long time, digging through all my pawns. I have forgotten what I pawns I used when I ran this part of the Way. But here are my suggestions for pawns in Book 1.
VC=Villain Codex
NPC= NPC codex
HV=Hells Vengeance
HR=Hells Rebels
WotR= Wrath of the Righteous
MC=Monster Codex
RoA=Ruins of Azlant
IS=Inner Sea Box
PFS=Pathfinder Society
SM=Summon Monster
SA=Strange Aeons
RoW=Reign of Winter
CotCT=Curse of the Crimson Throne
WftC=War for the Crown
II=Ironfang Invasion
RotRL=Return of the Runelords
SS=Shattered Star
S&S=Skulls & Shackles
All entries are in format of
NPC name; Pawn name(source),Pawn name (source)
or for monsters
Monster(amount); source(amount of pawns) or alternate pawn with name of monster (amount of pawns)(source)
For example Tritons(4);B2 (2),Merfolk warrior (B1),undine(2) (B2)
Act 1


Blackerly; Misguided paladin or Slave master (VC)
Guards; Longacre deputies (4) and Glorious reclamation squire(4) (HV), Guard (4)(NPC), Mendevian crusaders(3) and Molthuni soldiers (4)(IS), Horned Fang gangster(4) (RotRL)
Guard dogs (medium sized)(3); Medium dog and Medium Wolf(NPC) ,Riding dog (B1), wolf(2)(B1), warg (B1), goblin dog(B1), hyena (B1)
Servants; Charmed townsfolk (WftC), Honorary Tribune Onara Piscum(WftC), Roustabout (VC), Bolgart Caggan (HV), Apostle in Orpiment (SA)
Prison Warden; Darellus Fex (HV), Hermit (NPC)
Grumblejack; Ogre Destroyer (MC) or a special miniature.
Giant Toad; B2

Act 2

Vampiric mist; B2, RoA
Timeon; Squire (NPC)
Mithral cobras(2); Iron cobra (B1)(PFS), electric eel (B1),
Draugr(4); VC(6), B2 (3), skeleton(B1)
Sir Balin; Knight (NPC),Knight of Ozem (IS), Oppian Nevilindor (HV), Rayland Arkley (RoA)

Act 3

Captain Sambryl; Aron Kir (WotR), Syras Cokleburr Esq(WftC), chelish marine (S&S)
Sailors: Longcare deputy and Militia volunteers (HV),
Triton oracle;Triton (B2), Thalem (RoA)
Tritons(4);B2 (2),Merfolk warrior (B1),undine(2) (B2)
Small water elementals; B1, SM(3)
Dolhins(2); SM(2)
Bunyip(2); B2(1)
Yutak Chief;Zaril Namoth (PFS)
Yutak medicine man; Mud Shaman or Shaman (NPC), Thousand Bones(CotCT), Wildfire(VC)
Yutak hunters(5); Kuru thug (5)(SA)
ice mephit;SM (2). normal mephit B1
small ice elemental(4); B2 (1), RoW (1), small water elemental (B1), (3)(SM)
bugbear(4); B1(3) , MC(at least 2)
Odenkirk; Ulfen hunter or raider (IS), skulking brute (NPC), Hjort Fastax or Ostog (PFS)
Odenkirks sailors(6); pirate marauder(4) or Shackles pirate(4) (IS), Emperors thug(8) (CotCT), Einherji(2) (B4), pirate (S&S), roadkeeper(RotRL)

Act 4


dwarven engineers(10); recruit(6) (NPC), sadistic healer(4) (VC), also Heroes and Villains has some dwarves
Barnabus Eisenbauch; Dwarven rager or Hammer of justice (NPC), Gardel Vargrinnar or Kazakador (HV) or some dwarf from Heroes and
lantern archons(9); B1(1), SM(4), harbringer Archon (1)(B2),(1) (HV), paralectus aeon (B2),Will-o-wisp (2)(SA),(1)(B1),(1)(RoA)
lantern archon gestalt; large air elemental (B1) or large lightning elemental (B2)
ice golem; B1
Raven swarm; B6, RoW(2), Crowntop Kings (WftC), Bat swarm (B1)
Captain Mott;Endranni Malesk (HV)
Captain Eddarly; Daredevil hunter (NPC),Guard Sniper(VC), Xoxl(RotRL)
Rangers; cavalry Soldier(4) (NPC), Longcare deputy (4) (HV), Sodden Scavenger (IS)(4) Horses; VC(4),NPC(1)
Captain Barhold: Eagle Knigh commander (IS), Valeros (NPC), Royster MCCleagh(S&S), Rayland Arkley (RoA)
Soldiers with heavy crossbows; Superstitious mercenary(3) (NPC),Lotheed Soldier(5) (WftC), Menador Soldier (4) (HR)
Halberdiers; Guard (4) (NPC),
Captain Varning; mounted; Alain on Donahan (IS) On foot; Alain, cavalier (IS), Harsh lieutnant (VC), Verik Vancaskerkin(CotCT)
Archers; Novice scout(3) and Cavalry soldier(4)(NPC), Glorious reclamation Knight (with bow)(8) and Longcare deputy(4) (HV), Guard
spotter(4) (VC), Dusk warden(3) (IS)
Tacitus; Pyromaniac mage or Cruel Instructor (VC), Ezren (NPC)
Father Donnagain; Loran Allamar or Lacall Allmar (HV)
Acolyte clerics; Glorious Reclamation squire(4) (HV), Aasimar cleric (B1)
Mad Martin;Apperentice jeweler or Old Sailor or (if feeling cruel) Pig farmer (NPC), Jabral Louslik(HV)
Lord Havelyn; Knight of the Ioun Star (IS),Oppian Nevilindor (HV), Knight (NPC)

Probably gonna do Book 3 next as we are going to start that book as soon as we finish Iron Gods AP.

Grand Lodge

Very well done and extremely thorough.

Thank you, hopefully it will be of use to GMs running WotW.

Small Update from Enemy Encounters set.

Act 1


Grumblejack: Ogre Killer

Act 2


Draugar: Skeletal Thug(3), Skeletal Warrior(6)

Act 3


Bugbears: Bugbear(4), Bugbear ambusher(2), Bugbear stalker(4)

Tyrants Grasp pawn set is out. Not much for this book in there unfortunately.

Two Vampiric mists.
A bone cobra to serve as a mithral cobra.
Sir Balin; Tsomar Trant.
Commander Havelyn; Watcher-Lord Ulthun II

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