Pathfinder Adventure Path #70: The Frozen Stars (Reign of Winter 4 of 6) (PFRPG)

***** (based on 6 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #70: The Frozen Stars (Reign of Winter 4 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Chapter 4: "The Frozen Stars"
by Matthew Goodall

Alien Winter
Continuing their search for Baba Yaga, the heroes take the Dancing Hut to the planet of Triaxus, the seventh world in Golarion’s solar system, now in the midst of its decades-long winter. On the hunt for more clues as to the whereabouts of Baba Yaga, the heroes soon find themselves embroiled in a conflict between the alien dragonriders of the Skyfire Mandate and the barbarian armies of a white dragon warlord looking to conquer the lands of humanoids. Will the PCs ally with one of the warring factions to get the information they need, or will their quest come to an end on a distant, alien world?

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path continues the Reign of Winter Adventure Path and includes:

  • “The Frozen Stars,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 10th-level characters, by Matt Goodall.
  • A special double-sized gazetteer of Triaxus, a strange planet of dragon-riding warriors and seasons that last for generations, by James L. Sutter.
  • A look across the Bone Bridge and into the terrifying secret of Irrisen’s magical dolls, by Kevin Andrew Murphy.
  • Four exciting new monsters, by Adam Daigle, Amanda Hamon, and James L. Sutter.

Each monthly full-color softcover Pathfinder Adventure Path volume contains an in-depth adventure scenario, stats for several new monsters, and support articles meant to give Game Masters additional material to expand their campaign. Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes use the Open Game License and work with both the Pathfinder RPG and the world’s oldest fantasy RPG.

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-495-5

The Frozen Stars is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The rules for running this Adventure Path and Chronicle sheet are available as a free download (639 KB zip/PDF).

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscription.

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***** (based on 6 ratings)

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****( )

Player review.

After the last couple books this one was a nice change of pace. Zapped off to another world with strange alien peoples and dragons, it gave us a chance to get some tactical play and big combats in. I don't know that the events of this one help carry the plot but was one of the more enjoyable chapters in the campaign.


Aliens! Dragons! Mass battles!

*****

This adventure is truly good.

Asides the obvious excitement about the adventuring location and all the awesome encounters it enables, the adventure is built really well.

After a forgettable crawl through another version of the Hut, the PCs emerge into a world not their own, a fact that becomes quickly apparent as they encounter aliens riding on the backs of weird, semi humanoid drakes. The adventure quickly ramps up by throwing the PC into the midst of a deciding battle between two warring factions.

Many people liked the battle because the PCs can theoratically choose which side to join, but honestly it seems like much more planning went into designing a fun encounter for PCs who side with the good guys, as the bad guys encounters are rather lame. I would have actually like to see the page count dedicated to something else.
However, I did LOVE the fight and consider it to be the best implementation of placing mid level PCs in a mass combat situation - the battle rages in the background as the PCs round around solving the most serious threats. They get to have a significant impact and feel like they are a part of something bigger, without using mass scale combat rules or anything. I would REALLY like to see more scenarios like this in the future.

The second half of the adventure is a nice little travel section followed by a more than decent crawl with many dragons in it, in a fortress hidden within an iceberg.

All in all a great, unique adventure, that would have stood out in any other AP, but kinda gets overshadowed by part #5 of this one. Still worthy of great praise.


*****

I've reviewed this on RPGGeek.com.

You can read it here.


Here be Dragons

*****

Frozen Stars was just the fix I needed after the disappointing 3rd chapter of Reign of Winter. The PCs are zapped (sort of) to a world filled to the brim with dragons and their like, and the dragons, as usual, don’t play nice.

While the premise of the adventure is a simple "go find these two items", the execution of it is awesome. And it’s awesomenes stems mainly (but not only) due to the fact that this is the most open of Reign of Winter adventures so far: this is the environment, here are your objectives, go!

The party can go about completing their objective in any way they see fit and is in their style: good guys, bad guys, sneaky guys, betraying guys, dastardly bastards guys… the options are there, and the adventure gives the GM the tools on how to handle any of these situation. At no point in this adventure is anything assumed as to the actions the PCs might take, and the adventure can run its course not matter what the end result of the PCs actions is. The party might leave Traixus behind in a far better situation than when they came, they might leave it behind with the “bad guys” having a one-up on the good guys, or something in between.

The first (although you may run it second if it so fits your group) adventure is to help defend/attack/sneak into a fort under siege. Some very good possible role-playing situations there, and very cool combat encounters as the PCs run around the battlefield scoring (hopefully) victories for their team, or trying to avoid being captured cause they snuck in.

Next part of the adventure is sort of a dungeon crawl, but one that feels alive and has some interesting NPCs to interact with. It’s not overly long (which is good in my book), has good encounters, and excellent NPCs.

The gazetteer very nicely expands and enriches the area the adventure takes place in and the planet of Triaxus in general. And the monsters are very cool and appropriate (and got me itching to try them on my party).

All in all: a very good book.


Great fun on an alien world!

*****

Read my full review on my blog.

The Frozen Stars is an excellent product. As one of the middle adventures of the adventure path, it has the difficult task of keeping the overall story-building moving along without losing the PCs’ interest, a task it succeeds in with a compelling adventure in its own right. Indeed, with a bit of work, gamemasters could use this adventure as a stand-alone. All they need is a means to get the PCs to Triaxus and a reason for them to acquire a pair of objects (the two-headed eagle and bearskin, or whatever GMs decide to replace them with). While Reign of Winter as a whole took a small dip in Maiden, Mother, Crone, it has risen back up and I eagerly look forward to reading the next instalment.


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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Announced! Product image is a mockup, and will change prior to publication.


A trip to another planet? Oh wow... I will have to check out this path just based on that. :P


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sounds great! War between alien cultures on a distant planet!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

and we get to choose sides and influence the entire course of a war? Awesome!

Is that the Lashunta pic from Distant Worlds on the Mock-up?

I wonder how a white dragon got to Triaxus, and how it differs from the white dragons of Golarion. I hope there's a lot of strangeness and some unique traps and such that make PCs do doubletakes. Curse of the Lady's Light has made my appetite for such things ravenous, and where better to encounter culture shock and bizarre twists on familiar concepts than on a distant world?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Triaxus is probably the least "Sci-fi" of the Distant Worlds. IIRC, The Skyfire mandate is an alliance of metallic dragons and humanoids, while a good chunk of the planet is controlled by an alliance of chromatics.

If anything, there are probably MORE dragons on Triaxus than Golarion

Silver Crusade

Quote:

Triaxus

Skyfire Mandate dragon-riders

Possible alliance

I wanna meet this book.

When I saw all the new dragon books showing up in Product Discussion, I thought for sure they were timed primarily around this part of the AP before reading about the new module(and the revision of that line). Still, should be a LOT of material in those books applicable to the dragon-heavy scene in Triaxus.


Welp, now I have to get this AP. So much for my disposable income.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

All this time I wondered who was writing #4.

Congrats Matt!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

I have been really interested in this volume since I heard about Triaxus being involved.

Yeah it is an early pic of a Lashunta, it is actually from the Gamemasters Guide.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Congrats Matt!

That said... You guys are running out of parts in this AP for Greg A. Vaughan to write...;)


Pooh, I have no money and this is begging me to spend some.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

Thanks Jim and Dragnmoon. I hope you like it.


So, I have to ask...

This sounds like a great adventure. However, I'm hoping that it will have a sidebar or story element for addressing how people on another planet won't be running around speaking Common (Taldan) just for the convenience of the players.

Will that be accounted for, or is it subject to handwaving it?

Paizo Employee Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Language is fairly important in this entire Adventure Path, actually. Common (Taldane) isn't even spoken widespread in Irrisen, where Skald and Hallit are much more common. I'm planning on addressing the importance of language in the Player's Guide so folks aren't taken off guard. So, it's something we've thought about in regards to this AP.


Adam Daigle wrote:
Language is fairly important in this entire Adventure Path, actually. Common (Taldane) isn't even spoken widespread in Irrisen, where Skald and Hallit are much more common. I'm planning on addressing the importance of language in the Player's Guide so folks aren't taken off guard. So, it's something we've thought about in regards to this AP.

Fantastic! Thank you!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

I can see that Draconic might be useful.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
BPorter wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
Language is fairly important in this entire Adventure Path, actually. Common (Taldane) isn't even spoken widespread in Irrisen, where Skald and Hallit are much more common. I'm planning on addressing the importance of language in the Player's Guide so folks aren't taken off guard. So, it's something we've thought about in regards to this AP.
Fantastic! Thank you!

I agree this is good.

Scarab Sages

The white dragon in this cover art is just awesome! I wish they could come out with a black dragon, or red dragon image that was that good. I'm almost thinking of having it drawn up for a tattoo.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dok'nethal wrote:
The white dragon in this cover art is just awesome! I wish they could come out with a black dragon, or red dragon image that was that good. I'm almost thinking of having it drawn up for a tattoo.

You know that's not the final cover art, right? I believe that specific white dragon piece is from Dragons Revisited.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Pretty much every Paizo mockup cover looks great, and then you get the real cover and it looks even better. Maybe that's just me though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm also really looking forward to this one. I love Distant Worlds, and this AP instalment is just feeding that appetite! :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I sense a large scale "Fistful of Dollars" vibe ... excellent.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

As much as I really like the idea of going to earth and fighting Rasputin, it is this one I am most excited about. Finally some more info on one of the other planets of the Golarion solar system. I can't wait see what monsters we get and what the racial stats are for the Triaxians themselves.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Adam Daigle wrote:
Language is fairly important in this entire Adventure Path, actually. Common (Taldane) isn't even spoken widespread in Irrisen, where Skald and Hallit are much more common. I'm planning on addressing the importance of language in the Player's Guide so folks aren't taken off guard. So, it's something we've thought about in regards to this AP.

I like the idea of stressing different languages but how strong of an impact it's going to make?

  • Leaning towards a simulation ("RL") it will take PCs at least 2+ months to learn the language(s).
  • Mechanically, you need to level up to spend a skill rank on that language.
  • Alternatively, you craft a headband of vast intelligence with ranks in Linguistics (for a whole party) or
  • cast comprehend languages or tongues (or craft the respective wand) or similar magic continuously.
  • Countless others, I've not thought about...

    Nobody will accept the downtime involved in any of the alternatives, the impediment the continous casting means for casters or the money sink represented by scribing scrolls, I'm afraid.
    So this will either get handwaved or; hm, actually this sounds like another AP where leveling up by GM fiat is (again) a really good idea!

    Ruyan.


  • Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

    Maybe we will be lucky and the good people at Paizo will give us magic items that have abilities like comprehend languages or tongues before this AP volume.

    Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

    Share language and communal share languare have a 24 hour duration which can ease the language difficulties (assuming you can convince the target to let you touch them).

    Webstore Gninja Minion

    Updated product with final cover image and description.

    Dark Archive

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    That a catfolk on the cover or something else?


    Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

    I'm guessing it's a Winterborn of Triaxus. I hope. I don't like or want catfolk. :)


    Cool, a Frost Drake!

    Paizo Employee Developer

    Kevin Mack wrote:
    That a catfolk on the cover or something else?
    Zaister wrote:
    I'm guessing it's a Winterborn of Triaxus. I hope. I don't like or want catfolk. :)

    That is a Winterborn Triaxian.

    Dark Archive

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Rob McCreary wrote:
    Kevin Mack wrote:
    That a catfolk on the cover or something else?
    Zaister wrote:
    I'm guessing it's a Winterborn of Triaxus. I hope. I don't like or want catfolk. :)
    That is a Winterborn Triaxian.

    Cool so uh whats the diffrence?


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    In the description of Triaxus it mentions that the native inhabitants go through cycles of adaptation that match the Planet's 'seasonal' patterns. During the decades of 'winter' the natives, then called 'Winterborn' have thick coats of hair to help them survive the lower temperatures.
    Basically, they could just as easily be humans with some kind of 'boreal' template added as Catfolk.
    Although I will admit I would have had the guy appear rounder & more bear-like than cat-like; I've never yet seen somebody in the real world who spends so much time out in the cold like that with such an ectomorphic build.

    Paizo Employee Developer

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Kevin Mack wrote:
    Cool so uh whats the diffrence?

    Between Summerborn and Winterborn Triaxians?

    Or

    What's the difference between catfolk and a humanoid race that lives on another planet in Golarion's solar system?

    Because the first will be explained in the article (and Bestiary) in this volume. I can't really help with the second one. :)


    Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
    Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
    I've never yet seen somebody in the real world who spends so much time out in the cold like that with such an ectomorphic build.

    Maybe they have some kind of cold resistance and thus do not need the body fat to keep warm. Who knows?

    Paizo Employee Developer

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Also, to put another wrinkle into Triaxians, there are also Transitional Triaxians, though none of them show up in the adventure. It's Winterborn all the way.

    Silver Crusade

    All of this Triaxan talk has me even more eager to get this book.

    I'm guessing the Triaxan pictured in Distant Worlds must have been a Summerborn?

    Looking at the Triaxan on this cover and Distant Worlds, I really like the visual that's been established for these folks across the seasonal generations. :)


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

    I can't wait for this one.

    Paizo Employee Developer

    Mikaze wrote:
    I'm guessing the Triaxan pictured in Distant Worlds must have been a Summerborn?

    Correct.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

    Well at least we will get stats for the Triaxans and nice article on the planet itself. Man I would love to see something like this for Castrovel and Akiton.


    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Dragon78 wrote:
    Well at least we will get stats for the Triaxans and nice article on the planet itself. Man I would love to see something like this for Castrovel and Akiton.

    +1 though we do already have the traits of many of these worlds denizens.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

    We have stats for the Lashunta of Castrovel but not the red skinned human like race of Akiton. Alo we haven't had any adventures in ether place yet.

    So far we a module on the moon and will have an AP volume on Triaxus.


    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Dragon78 wrote:

    We have stats for the Lashunta of Castrovel but not the red skinned human like race of Akiton. Alo we haven't had any adventures in ether place yet.

    So far we a module on the moon and will have an AP volume on Triaxus.

    The red skin humans are the same as on Galorian. They just treat gravity as being x3 heavier then the humans of Galorian would.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

    Yes but they can still have different racial mods and/or racial abilities if they are classiffied as humans. The Exions were human but they there racial mods were +4Int -4Con before they became undead.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

    So what is the race point value of the Triaxan?


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

    So we get 4 monsters in this one, I wonder if the stats for the Triaxians is one of those "monsters" or there stats are somewhere else in the book.

    Paizo Employee Developer

    Triaxians are included in the Bestiary for this volume along with 3 other monsters/creatures.


    Hmmm the chance the frosty Barbegazi, Mahaha and Fossegrim are appearing in the Winter Ap bestiary are getting smaller and smaller.

    These 3 would make the perfect mythological monsters in these cold-based bestiaries...

    What are Triaxians? Never heard about them, if Dragon78 is so exciting about them it probably means they are playable race monsters, of CR 1 tho...

    Paizo Employee Developer

    Sincubus wrote:
    What are Triaxians? Never heard about them, if Dragon78 is so exciting about them it probably means they are playable race monsters, of CR 1 tho...

    Triaxians are the humanoid natives of the planet Triaxus, where this volume of the AP takes place.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

    Well Sincubus we haven't gotten volume 3 yet of this AP, so there is a chance for one of those guys getting in there. Also who knows what volume 6 will have in it as well since a lot of that one takes place in Baba Yaga's hut.

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