Way of the Wicked—Book #2: Call Forth Darkness (PFRPG) PDF

4.30/5 (based on 11 ratings)

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A DUNGEON OF YOUR OWN!

The Horn of Abaddon was once a place of primal darkness. And then the forces of good moved in and ruined everything. It’s been eighty years and the kingdom of Talingarde sleeps soundly knowing that darkness has been vanquished. Now, it’s your turn to prove them wrong.

You will find the lost temple and do what no one else has ever dared. You will call forth the banished daemon prince. And from his unholy hand, you will recover a plague so virulent that it shall shake Talingarde to its foundations.

And then the fools will sleep no longer.

Welcome to the second chapter of the “Way of the Wicked” adventure path! Inside you’ll find:

  • “Call Forth Darkness,” an adventure compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game for 6th-level villains by Gary McBride
  • Full color art and maps by Michael Clarke
  • A gazetteer of the frontier town of Farholde
  • Optional rules for building your own evil organization and managing your minions.
  • Advice for crafting unique variants of this adventure path
  • And more!

You’ve raided countless dungeons. Isn’t it time you had a horrid little dungeon of your own?

A 106-page full color Pathfinder Roleplaying Game-compatible PDF perfect to either stand alone or continue the "Way of the Wicked" adventure path. Includes a printer friendly version and seperate player handout PDF.

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

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4.30/5 (based on 11 ratings)

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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


I loved it - others may not

5/5

Taking over and then defending your own multi-level Dungeon of Doom? Heck yeah!

As with the entire Way of the Wicked campaign there are significant sandbox elements, so long as the players are willing to take the risks if they gallivant about overlong.

I would rate this at 9/10 for the minion subsystem. It wasn't my cup of tea. Others may get a great deal more gratification from it than I did. Since fractional ratings on the 1-5 scale are not possible, I round up to 5/5 since this remains an excellent defend-your-sandbox plus extra.

The upside is that the campaign encourages taking Vile Leadership. You'll likely need the fireball fodder ...


Call Forth Darkness Review

4/5

Warning: Potential Spoilers. Written from a GM's perspective. I ran this for 6 PCs.

Pros:
The concept of Call Forth Darkness is really great. Getting to own your own dungeon and having to defend it against invaders is not something that players usually get to do.

Both the ally and enemy NPCs continue to be fun and memorable. Grumblejack is still a party favorite. Tenuous alliances with Ezra Thrice-Damned and Zikomo had the players sleeping with one eye open. Opponents were fleshed out well enough to make for memorable encounters. The minion system also opened up a lot of possibilities for roleplaying as the party threatened those not making quotas and began to pick favorites.

Finally, while the pacing of this book starts out rather slow, it really hits its stride in the final act. The presence of the Abbey and the watchtower in the town, as well as the impending threat of the dragon created a great feeling on tension as the players waited for their enemies next moves. The Sons of Balentyne were a good surprise for the party and proved to be worthy adversaries. Finally, the summoning of Vetra Kali felt like an appropriately epic finale.

Cons:
The only real criticism I have is that the book felt like it dragged in some sections. It took my group about five months of weekly play to make it to the end of the book. By comparison, the first book only took about eight sessions to complete. Between the unchanging location and the long stretches without level ups, there were definitely some moments where the game felt a little stagnant. I found a good way to deal with this was to cut a few encounters that didn't add much to the overall story, like the Wytch Lights and the Gorgimera. However, the most important thing, I found, was to encourage players to be proactive and add flavor based on their actions. Otherwise, the game risks falling into a monotonous pattern of "Does anyone want to do anything this week? No. Okay. So it's new week, does anyone want to do anything now?"

General Advice:
The Horn of Abaddon has nearly a hundred rooms and your players are heavily encouraged to modify its already complex layout. Pretty much every encounter has to be reviewed and carefully adjusted, so that players are challenged, while still feeling like their defense choices are meaningful. I would highly recommend printing out the player's map of the Horn and letting your players mark it up. Make sure that you have organized notes on the changes they make.

There are also a lot of potential allied NPCs to manage, which can easily throw off the encounter balance or overshadow PCs if not utilized carefully. The book recommends that the GM print out stat blocks for allied NPCs and have players run. I strongly recommend following this suggestion. Not only did it make running combats far more manageable for me, it also helped the players feel more connected to the NPCs. However, most importantly, it made it easy for me to keep all the players at the table involved, even though sometimes their PC was in the wrong place and was stuck spending their rounds running to the fight.

Finally, Call Forth Darkness is not an easy book for a GM to run. The book offers players a lot of freedom, which is great, but makes it extremely likely that the GM will have to create extra content for plans that the book didn't anticipate. An inexperienced GM might want to approach this one cautiously and any GM just looking for something quick and easy to run, should probably avoid this book entirely. However, when managed correctly, all these challenges can lead to an incredibly fun and unique gaming experience.


Call Forth Darkness or Bogging down the pace.

3/5

The greatest weakness of this module is its pacing. It gets bogged down and gives the players idle hands while their characters do things. This makes it a bit more difficult for the GM as players want to push forward and the GM has to create things to distract them.

Getting the dungeon to build is a wonderful option and players can throw themselves into it. At this level, the access to stone shape is easier and allows the players to alter the dungeon to their desire. But the fact all the heroes know where they are and kind of line up to walk in lowers the difficulty and can make it feel like they are just waiting to be attacked.

The NPC’s varies widely to keep things mixed up and fresh. Combat varies nicely and helps keep it fresh. The pacing becomes bogged down in counting weeks off till the end and it is recommended you alter the adventure to help keep the players motivated. The book gives you options on how to branch out from what writing to what could be and helps save it.

The minion system is very nice to actually give additional value to the Leadership feat and helps players feel like they are evil masters. This is a nice distraction though if no one takes the leadership feat, you can easily figure out alternate methods to distract the players.


5/5

I've reviewed this on RPGGeek.com.

You can read it here.


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More NPC scrutiny.
I left the inquisitor group mostly be, just noted some buffs and feat effects. I would not give Thomas the Penitent any better gear, he is a criminal paying for his crimes, not a free adventurer.

I followed kevin_videos advice and gave Banner Verdant some gear.
I don't see any outright errors on the Banner but some choices are odd. Why does the druid have Point blank shot and Precise shot but only a spear to use them with? I changed them to Wild speech and Wild Vigor. Not that great but make more sense.
I changed some spell selections around and wrote down the effects of their buff spells. They have their 10 min and hour per level buffs up as soon as they get in the place.
I wrote down some stats for Brunhild in two wild shape forms and had Fineas zap her with mage armor to keep her AC up.
Understandably not all the effects of NPCs feats are not written up. I added things like Vethias attack routine with rapid shot+many shot. With gravity bow up she deals a lot of damage (4d6+4/2d6+2/2d6+2). She has poor favored enemy choices but I don't think I'll bother changing them.


I'm having a problem understanding one map description. What is the deal with the room of the guardian demons?

There is a stair there, separated by a wall. Can you get to the altar level from there? The other descriptions (like the clue about cult priests descending to the caves) suggest that the only way up is through the secret passage on the caves level (making most of the compound a red herring to get invading adventurers killed) But if that were true, why are the demons guarding that room?

So, does that wall fully separate the stair from the rest of the room, or not?


You can absolutely get to the altar level from there. Check the description again: "A spiral staircase without railing rises at the western end of the room. A curved half-wall blocks direct access to the staircase." The curved half-wall probably won't be relevant, but it can give partial cover to Hexy and Vexy if they decide to hang back and use their SLAs before engaging.

The staircase is the only way to reach the altar level without flying. Flying will certainly attract the attention of the lightning elemental, so is probably not a great idea. And at this level (6-7), probably most of the party cannot fly anyway.

However, you can't access this room from the rest of the level. So, yes, the only way up is through the secret staircase or through flying, and most of the tower is indeed a big red herring for invading adventurers. Still, you never know when someone will get lucky with a Perception roll -- and later, several of the final-week encounters will come straight for the jugular.

Doug M.


Okay, question for Kevin Video (or anyone else): I no longer have the player maps for this. They were available free on the FMG site, but... yeah.

Would anyone be willing to share them? If yes, please ping me with a PM!

cheers,

Doug M.


Pm sent Doug.

Grand Lodge

Just saw this. Glad a copy of the maps were sent out.


Well received. Thank you!

Doug M.


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My group and Grumblejack ran into Jurak the Elder. Bluff failed so init was rolled. Grumble swung his sword, hit! I started singing "I'm, a Grumblejack and I'm okay, I drink all night and kill all day! ".


My players cleared out the Horn and advanced to seventh level. Soon they will start building their organisation. I was thinking of giving them a variant of Vile Leadership feat and require they lead their organisation as a Council. I would give them Leadership score of highest PC lvl+combined charisma bonus, ie. about 14-15 at the moment, thus they can attract about 20 followers plus the boggards. That seems quite a small number.

The organisation rules in the book say nothing about the number of people in the organisation. I remember Gary saying something like 5 minions per action. With combined levels and charisma they hit 10 actions a week easily. So about fifty minions. Plus boggards. This seems more sensible. How many followers can they plausibly recruit from Farholde? 100? 200? More? More minions would not affect the amount of actions, but they may want extra guards, servants etc.

How much money the minions require per week for basic upkeep?
What equipment should the thugs from Drownington and orphans arrive with? Probably clubs and daggers, maybe leather armor? The soldiers from Sir Bonder should probably be better equipped. Scalemail, longsword + shield probably.

So fellow GMs, how many minions (in addition to the boggards) do you think is reasonable amount for the PCs to recruit and how much should it cost per week/month?


The description of C-15 A says: These crystals could be used to aid in the
repair of the Alchemical Golem (see room 1-18 below).
I don't see anything in 1-18 that refers to these crystals. Is this a forgotten detail or am I missing something?

Grand Lodge

WagnerSika wrote:

The description of C-15 A says: These crystals could be used to aid in the

repair of the Alchemical Golem (see room 1-18 below).
I don't see anything in 1-18 that refers to these crystals. Is this a forgotten detail or am I missing something?

Chalk it up to a forgotten detail. I had the crystals be glass-like for the reservoir.


I found some prices in Ultimate equipment. A trained hireling costs 3 sp per day and untrained 1 sp per day. I would say hirelings meant for guard duty should be considered trained, so at least 3 sp/day.

Is somewhere some guidelines on prices of furnishing the rooms? Like how much should it cost to buy stuff for a 10 person barracks, 2 person bedroom and so forth. There is something in Ultimate campaign but the prices seem really steep. 400 gp for a room with bunks for 10 people and it takes 24 days to build one.
I could of course just eyeball the whole deal, like 10 gp table or bed, solid iron door 200 gp, wooden door 15 gp and so forth.

Hmm, have to look through my old 1st ed Ad&d material and Dragon magazines. They used to write all kinds of detailed stuff those days.


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Suddenly I'm not sure I have understood the organization rules correctly. If the PCs form a council how do I calculate the number of actions they have per week? Is it levels(4*7)+combined charisma(2+3+3+1) = 30 thus giving them 10 actions per week. OR is it calculated for each character individually and then the actions are totaled. This would give them only 2 actions per week since only two characters have CHA +3 giving them score of 10 and 1 action per week. The former sounds like they get too much and the latter that they get too few actions.


Old One Eye managed to rip one of the PCs to shreds. Well nearly. Pounce attack, one crit, all hits. Over 70 points of damage and the inquisitor was KO'd. Unfortunately they managed to swarm him and prevented him from escaping. Grumblejack wanted to keep it as a pet since all the PC's had pets of their own.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For the group action rolls I worked it out for each individual pc and then totaled the result. However as 4 of my pc's had charisma 18+ they got a lot of actions either way.

Old One Eye it all depends of id he manages a good pounce full attack , IIRC my players took him down with a spell and kept him as a pet

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

My One-Eye got a good hit in on one pc then almost killed in one round. I had him escape via Transport Via Plants (can't remember if he actually had this in the module) so they had to track him down.

Second time, in his lair and wounded, he had the scouting thief grappled when the rest arrived. The cleric landed a Moonlust spell and they surrounded him while he stared at the moon. Simultaneous actions and that was that.

They thought it was a druid who got "stuck" in animal form, after a discussion. Grumblejack made him into a (smelly) rug for his den.


Poor Argossarian, he fought valiantly but did not manage to kill a single bad guy. Instead, he is going to join them as a zombie >_<
The inquisitor was nearly killed, again. Almost everyone saved against the paralytic gas. Should have used his cold breath instead :(
I tried to thin the ranks of NPCs the party is toting around, but only managed to destroy a few skeletons and two Hell hounds.


We completed this book tonight. Interesting fights with the penultimate being with about 30 combatants. Boggards led by Zikomo, the gorgimera and a 'survivor' party comprised of 4 people who had managed to escape the Horn earlier, Traya, Hassan, Thomas the Penitent and Brunhild. They all assaulted the Horn at the same time, boggards attacking the forces on 3rd floor followed shortly by the adventurers and the gorgimera assaulting the Sanctum. Though fight, with Hexor being banished by Traya using a scroll of Dismissal. Some undead vassals destroyed and lots of hit point damage. Too bad the villains destroyed the wraiths early in the adventure.

The Sons attacked the next day and destroyed the dragon zombie quickly. They wounded many villains gravely and destroyed some minions like the rest of hell hounds and a zombie moon dog. Erik the Falconer was gravely wounded and after Meinhard died he decided that this is enough. Havelyn and the priest were in good condition but Erik teleported them out regardless.

The villains then completed the ritual. Vetra Kali was asked to not kill them or theirs. So he killed Halthus, who was *his*. He gladly gave the Tears, and howled in rage when they told him to return to Abaddon and never come back to this world. The mountain collapsed, the villains escaped through the balcony using fly and Snapleaf tokens. Artephius simply jumped down and survived the 20d6 falling damage!

I tweaked the Sons a lot and they used five rounds of buffing before attacking. The villains did not use the stones at the time and were not alerted to the Mitran spells being cast. Tough fight with the antipaladin, Artephius and the mage nearly killed, zombie Argossarian and Vexor killed and many badly hurt.

This was a very fun adventure to GM. I loved handing out pictures of the adventurers assaulting the Horn and all those letters and journal entries. Seeing the PCs scamper around building the defense of the Horn was great. Have to say that WotW is the most fun I have had as a GM in a long time.


So it's been a bit since I DM'd this part of the ap, about a year or so now. The one thing I found extremely lacking is the clarity of DCs for the organization actions.

It might be because I am a GM that loves to have rules to follow vs making stuff up as I go. I almost feel like the DC should be chosen as you say what you want to do, and then each DC has an outcome reflecting that.

Like, lets say you chose grave robbing it's always 2d6 or 4d6 as a result. I feel like this should be based on the DC or at least how many graves they want to pillage.

Players: I want grumble jack and a couple boggards to go grave robbing in farholde.

GM: Ok how many bodies do you expect to dig up in a week? Give me a range

Players: How about 7-10 bodies?

GM: Looking at notes I would be like:

8 1d6+1
12 2d6+2
16 3d6+3
20 4d6+4
25 5d6+5

And on a natural 20, move up to the next difficulty level. On dc 25, add an extra 2d6 instead.


WagnerSika wrote:
Suddenly I'm not sure I have understood the organization rules correctly. If the PCs form a council how do I calculate the number of actions they have per week? Is it levels(4*7)+combined charisma(2+3+3+1) = 30 thus giving them 10 actions per week. OR is it calculated for each character individually and then the actions are totaled. This would give them only 2 actions per week since only two characters have CHA +3 giving them score of 10 and 1 action per week. The former sounds like they get too much and the latter that they get too few actions.

If they are a council, simply pool the actions. Everyone must agree, or the action is lost It says so in the book.


I meant that how should I calculate the amount of actions they have?
If they are level 7 and have charisma bonuses of +2, +3, +1 and +3.
So first PC gets 0 actions, second gets 1 action, third gets 0 actions and fourth gets 1 action. All together they get 2 minion actions a week. OR should it be that they get 3 actions from their combined score of level + the sum of their charisma modifiers? The difference is not much, granted.

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