Hex Crawl Chronicles 4: The Shattered Empire (PFRPG) PDF

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For millennia the men of the north were pitted against one another in ceaseless battle, one city-state against another. In due time, the men of Yal-Garok gained the upper hand, dominating the minor city-states through arranged marriages and then striking at its greatest rivals militarily and forcing them to sue for peace. The rise of Yal-Garok ushered in the Age of Peace, allowing the clever, hard-working Northmen to focus their energies are building rather than destroying one another. Most of the country was brought under cultivation, towns and cities flourished and colonies were established in the eastern mountains, the western prairie and, unsuccessfully, the icy woodlands of the far north.

Pages: 52

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

4/5

This installment of John M. Stater’s Hex Crawl-series is 52 long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 ½ pages of SRD, leaving us with 46 ½ pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This being an adventure-sandbox, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

When Emperor Brodred passed away, he did suspect that trouble would follow – but not the extent. His daughters, the princesses Petal, Peahen and Pearl started immediately quarreling. And now, the whole empire is falling into all-out anarchy – both lavishly-mapped pages of hex-crawling areas of the empire provided. Hence, we also start the pdf with an overview of different units of soldiers – after all, three armies are ravaging the remnants of the empire, searching (so far) in vain for the Imperial Regalia hidden by the late emperor – for said items will decide who inherits the throne.

We also get rumors and more complications – for unfortunately for the players, one of the princesses has been more than dabbling in demonology, resulting in more than a few unpleasant interlopers from the lower planes scouring the country-side. Beyond the armies, PCs may also test their mettle against an incarnation of a thunder god for the favor of his nymph-mistress. Or what about awakening some legendary paladins from their slumber? Even beyond the raging war, deserters and chaos consuming these lands, there’s a lot to be done.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are not up to Frog God Games usually excellent track-record – I noticed ambiguous names, male/female ambiguities and similar typos and more of them than usual for a product of this size. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly b/w-2-column standard and the original pieces of b/w-artworks are gorgeous indeed. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Hex Crawl Classics, each one of them, essentially deliver enough content to carry potentially a whole campaign – and this one’s no difference. There is a lot of content in here, and while we don’t get full statblocks for every creature/character in here, we still get a lot of content – though apart from some rare cases, the respective NPCs get not an appropriate selection of gear – some of the higher level NPCs have pitifully few items at their disposal. Still, as a drag-and-drop to insert into e.g. a kingmaker campaign or simply as a backdrop, this is a treasure-trove of ideas that slightly suffers from the lack of player-friendly maps and aforementioned gripes. Still, at this length and for such a low price-point, this still is a nice offering and hence my final verdict will clock in at a solid 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.


Frog God Games

Shattered Empire old school Hex Crawl for PFRPG!

Thanks again Liz!


Is there a level recommendation for this (and all the other Hex Crawls)?

How well could this be integrated with, to name a not-so-random example, Slumbering Tsar? Specifically, as a lead-up to starting ST? Not that there's anything wrong with Crucible of Freya or Tomb of Abysthor, but alternate methods of arriving at the great city would be fun to consider.

Frog God Games

For the Hex Crawls the levels vary significantly. As they are wilderness adventures with many different encounter areas (and room to customize your own) it's impossible to nail down a level recommendation.

Any of this series could easily work with beginning character. It's also a good way to introduce or reinforce "running away" as a survival tactic that will serve them well in The Slumbering Tsar Saga. :)


Reviewed first on Endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to GMS magazine and Nerdtrek and posted here and on d20pfsrd.com. Couldn't post it on OBS since I bought it here.

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