Pathfinder Adventure Path #66: The Dead Heart of Xin (Shattered Star 6 of 6) (PFRPG)

3.70/5 (based on 6 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #66: The Dead Heart of Xin (Shattered Star 6 of 6) (PFRPG)
Show Description For:
Non-Mint

Add PDF $13.99

Print Edition Unavailable

Non-Mint Unavailable

Facebook Twitter Email

Chapter 6: "The Dead Heart of Xin"
by Brandon Hodge

The seven shards of the Shattered Star have been recovered, and the Pathfinders prepare a grand festival on Magnimar's Irespan to celebrate this incredible achievement. The culmination of this celebration is to be the reassembly of the seven shards into the legendary Sihedron itself, rebuilt for the first time in over ten thousand years. But a lot can change in that amount of time, and as the ritual to reforge the artifact finishes, ancient contingencies rumble to life, and as the dead heart of Thassilon begins to beat again, all of Magnimar is put in terrible danger. With the power of the Sihedron on their side, the heroes take a stance against this risen evil—but will the aid of an ancient artifact be enough to save them all?

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path concludes the Shattered Star Adventure Path and includes:

  • “The Dead Heart of Xin,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 15th-level characters, by Brandon Hodge.
  • Explorations of lost cities and confrontations with ancient evils to continue your Shattered Star campaign, by Adam Daigle.
  • A survey of the ancient rulers of Thassilon—all seven runelords detailed in one place, by Rob McCreary.
  • The madness-inducing conclusion of “Light of a Distant Star” in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Bill Ward.
  • Four new monsters, by Dennis Baker, Adam Daigle, and Brandon Hodge.

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: 978-1-60125-491-7

The Dead Heart of Xin 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 (512 KB zip/PDF).

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

Product Availability

PDF:

Fulfilled immediately.

Print Edition:

Unavailable

Non-Mint:

Unavailable

This product is non-mint. Refunds are not available for non-mint products. The standard version of this product can be found here.

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

PZO9066


See Also:

1 to 5 of 6 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

3.70/5 (based on 6 ratings)

Sign in to create or edit a product review.

Epic conclusion to the Shattered Star AP

4/5

I had a longer review typed out but the website ate it...

The gist of it was that this is a great adventure with a fantastic opening scene where high-level PCs really get to show off their abilities. The main dungeon is a fun crawl and the way the history of the place is revealed was very-well received by my group. Through that neat trick, the final villain, which would otherwise be a little lifeless (pun intended), became much more interesting to the players.

However, there is only a section in the adventure that is a series of literally teleporting into a room with a monster, killing it, and teleporting to the next. While I get the flavor idea behind this series of rooms, in play, they are a bit of a drag. Make sure to adjust this to your players' preferences.

All in all, we enjoyed the Shattered Star immensely and felt like this epic conclusion was well worth the long journey.


Construct-themed dungeon crawl

3/5

This module is a huge dungeon. There is no way around that. If your group loves dungeon-crawling, they might enjoy playing through this material. Otherwise, choose a different adventure. This is heavy-duty high-level combat most of the time without a lot of social interaction and little in the way of traps.

From the story perspective, at certain times during their exploration, the PCs will be subjected to visions from the emperor's past which will gradually let them put the whole backstory together. On top of that, on the fourth level there is a small lantern artifact that while it illuminates the rooms of the palace, it shows a different reality in that same room: the past, the original intent of the room, etc. It's not a bad storytelling trick to pull, I like that.

From the game mechanics perspective, the palace is haunted by the undead spirit of the emperor. This means that the GM needs to keep track of how many "spirit" points the enemy has and spend them on unleashing stuff to the players, like traps - yes, traps. The spirit starts with 20 points and spends them on things to bother the players. This is unnecessarily complex. By the way, it's the same two traps all over the palace. By the third time trap A or trap B have appeared, the players will be sick of them. I didn't think that was a particularly fun way of setting traps but on the other hand, your group might enjoy recognizing them after the second time.

Another quirk of the palace and its inhabitants is that they are haunted in a peculiar way. They all have greater dispel magic, chain lightning, +4 to AC and a lot more abilities in a new "xin-haunted" template. In practical terms, this means that every other creature needs to have its bestiary stats adjusted. A lot of them are also "advanced" so good luck trying to figure out the stats for that "Xin-haunted advanced retriever" from room C3, with two crystal sliver traps - that's Trap B - right next to it. You're going to be flipping between four separate page locations in two different books. That doesn't sound like fun.

As for the dungeon, it's got four levels and it's very construct-themed. Lots of golems and stuff. It's not bad, although I don't like the fact that the rooms in level 4 are not physically connected; the PCs teleport between one room and the next. As a result, the map of each room is located in the map for levels 1, 3 or 5. What was the need for that? The DM will need to flip pages back and forth to see where the next room is. I don't understand that design decision.

Overall, the module is just a large dungeon site with few opportunities for role-playing. It is a solid dungeon-crawl, though, so if your group loves that style of playing, they'll probably enjoy this. Just do yourself a favor and pre-calculate those template-stacked stats or look for them online.

My rating: 3 stars. It's good for an old-style dungeon. It didn't wow me but it's solid. The needless complexity of some of the mechanics detracts from it, though.

Read my whole review here


high level dungeon crawling done right

5/5

Don't wanna sound like a broken record, but the "Shattered Star" AP really delivered on the dungeons, and "Dead Heart of Xin" really is worthy as the latest of them.

After reading the previous adventure in the AP, I really thought it would be impossible to top it, but this adventure takes the "crazy" lever and turns it up a further notch. PCs will get to Save The City, in a truly epic, high level scene, and then will hustle off to a strange and magnificant dungeon that is sure to give any party a run for their money. This adventure is NOT a cake walk.

And the flavour is wonderful. Xin is the most evocative villain Iv'e seen in an AP in recent years (the stat block does him justice, too!), and he is given enough of a spotlight to make the final fight memorable. In too many APs the villain is encountered the very first time in the very last combat of the last module, not really giving the PCs time to grow to love to hate him/her. No trouble of that sort here, as the PCs wonder through Xin's sick mind as well as through his haunted palace risen from the deeps in this module, and get to know him and the tragedy of his death.

All in all just a wonderful adventure - probably the best high level adventure Iv'e seen since the climax of Kingmaker.

I know many people feel that yet another dungeon crawl was a lackluster way to finish the AP, due to probable exhuastion from dungeons the party might have after going through the previous 5 adventures, but given that this was the stated format of the AP I can't see how this would be held as a negative for the adventure.


Epic Finale

5/5

It's hard to fully introduce an Adventure Path's "final boss" in the last module, although they've done a really bang-up job here. It will be challenging running it, trying to hit the right balance between sympathy and necessity, but I'm excited to try.

I think my favorite part about this module are the tools provided to show off Xin and Thassilon's past.

Getting to actually use the Sihedron definitely comes in a close second, however. No fading to black after you get the MacGuffin together or making it useless.

Overall: Hitting the right notes might be challenging, but I think the result if you do will be awesome.


Didn't feel Xin as a villain

2/5

Like this AP, I'm sticking to my bullet point format.

The Good: -Stats for a clockwork dragon, sweet that was worth the money.
-Ok the artifact reward is frakin awesome and deserves a nod as perhaps the best reward in any AP I've read thus far.
-Opening disaster makes the story more compelling.

The Bad: -6 dungeons is a little much

The Ugly: -I hate Xin as a villain. For one he was the good guy this is just a machine trap, kind of lame.
-Not tech no, didn't see that coming not something I like in my setting.

Overall: An AP's apex villain needs to close the AP strong, I can't love this because I con't love Xin as a villain, I might take pieces from is but I will NEVER run it.


1 to 5 of 6 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
51 to 100 of 183 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
The seeds planted in Burnt Offerings about the Hellstorm Flumes is not yet ripe for the harvest.

Unless you had the Scepter of Ages and went back in time.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
zergtitan wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
The seeds planted in Burnt Offerings about the Hellstorm Flumes is not yet ripe for the harvest.
Unless you had the Scepter of Ages and went back in time.

Or forward X number of years.

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
The seeds planted in Burnt Offerings about the Hellstorm Flumes is not yet ripe for the harvest.

Curses, foiled again!

At least for now.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

How do you fight the Dominion of the Black on their horrifying return?

LASERS.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

2 people marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:
The seeds planted in Burnt Offerings about the Hellstorm Flumes is not yet ripe for the harvest.

Three words: Oliphaunt. Of. Janderlay.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I have a request. Could we get pictures of each of the runelords in their section of the book? We have karzoug and sorshen, but no pictures of any of the others.

Paizo Employee Developer

zergtitan wrote:
I have a request. Could we get pictures of each of the runelords in their section of the book? We have karzoug and sorshen, but no pictures of any of the others.

Are headshots good enough?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Adam Daigle wrote:
zergtitan wrote:
I have a request. Could we get pictures of each of the runelords in their section of the book? We have karzoug and sorshen, but no pictures of any of the others.
Are headshots good enough?

We got Headshots in Inner Sea Magic for most of them. I'd like more than headshots for Runelords who are not Karzoug and Sorshen.

Paizo Employee Developer

I wanted to do more than just head shots, trust me, but making this article fit in 8 pages is going to be hard enough with full body shots for each one of them. It's a words vs. art space balance.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
zergtitan wrote:
I have a request. Could we get pictures of each of the runelords in their section of the book? We have karzoug and sorshen, but no pictures of any of the others.

There's a picture or two of Alaznist (Ultimate Magic has one of those), and a headhost of Xanderghul in Inner Sea Magic.

Honestly though, I'd prefer full pictures for Belimarius, Zutha, and Krune without any other artwork, than headshots of all 7.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Mechalibur wrote:
zergtitan wrote:
I have a request. Could we get pictures of each of the runelords in their section of the book? We have karzoug and sorshen, but no pictures of any of the others.

There's a picture or two of Alaznist (Ultimate Magic has one of those), and a headhost of Xanderghul in Inner Sea Magic.

Honestly though, I'd prefer full pictures for Belimarius, Zutha, and Krune without any other artwork, than headshots of all 7.

That's true. I forgot about Alaznist there, and I know we have a headshot of Xanderghul. though what I would truly like is just the full-body pictures of Xanderghul, Belimarius, Zutha, and Krune. that way we would have seven full body images. (Karzoug in Rise of the Runelords, Shorshen in Lady's Light, and Alaznist in Ultimate Magic)

P.S. If we finally do get images of all seven, someone has to make a poster with them together in it.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

We'll get full illustrations of all seven runelords eventually. Now is not the time, though.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Nude, with fig leaves if at all possible.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
zergtitan wrote:
Mechalibur wrote:

There's a picture or two of Alaznist (Ultimate Magic has one of those), and a headhost of Xanderghul in Inner Sea Magic.

Honestly though, I'd prefer full pictures for Belimarius, Zutha, and Krune without any other artwork, than headshots of all 7.

That's true. I forgot about Alaznist there, and I know we have a headshot of Xanderghul. though what I would truly like is just the full-body pictures of Xanderghul, Belimarius, Zutha, and Krune. that way we would have seven full body images. (Karzoug in Rise of the Runelords, Shorshen in Lady's Light, and Alaznist in Ultimate Magic)

P.S. If we finally do get images of all seven, someone has to make a poster with them together in it.

I'm sure once someone does we'll immediately see art of them all taking a bath together. Or perhaps building their empires. Whether this art will be official or fan art is a question for the ages of course.

Will we at least get stats for all the non-mythic Runelords in this volume? or will we forever be limited to Xin and Karzoug?

Paizo Employee Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Stratagemini wrote:
Will we at least get stats for all the non-mythic Runelords in this volume? or will we forever be limited to Xin and Karzoug?

I can't speak to forever, but I can manage some expectations for this article. There will be no stats for any runelords in this article. This is an 8-page article that spends a page talking about each runelord. It talks about how they became a runelord, things they did while being a runelord, and surviving legacies of their rule. Pretty much we crammed as much information as possible onto that one page, collecting bits and pieces we've talked about for the past five years while introducing new information.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Adam Daigle wrote:
Stratagemini wrote:
Will we at least get stats for all the non-mythic Runelords in this volume? or will we forever be limited to Xin and Karzoug?
I can't speak to forever, but I can manage some expectations for this article. There will be no stats for any runelords in this article. This is an 8-page article that spends a page talking about each runelord. It talks about how they became a runelord, things they did while being a runelord, and surviving legacies of their rule. Pretty much we crammed as much information as possible onto that one page, collecting bits and pieces we've talked about for the past five years while introducing new information.

8 page article, 7 Runelords. is the 8th page an Intro? or is it Xin?

Paizo Employee Developer

Like all of our sections in the APs, it's a half-page illustration (you gotta wait to see it!) and an intro. Then 7 pages of runelords.

Webstore Gninja Minion

Cover image and product description updated to final.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Huh. That was not what I was expecting!

Very cool though.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This has to be the freakiest cover yet. I like!


Wow nice cover, really like that pic of a Scylla, and the skeleton in a jar with robot limbs looks cool, and more then likely that will be Xin.

Contributor

5 people marked this as a favorite.

So, so satisfying.

You guys have no idea...I can't wait for everyone to see what's in store in this volume!

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well, those hints from James Jacobs about "a lot of things can go wrong in 10,000 years" suddenly paid off. :)

I'm getting the feeling it's going to be pretty easy to play him as a tragic villain.


Holy God that cover art is a-bloody-mazing!

I am SO HAPPY that I get to experience this AP as a player and not as a GM!


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Quick question.

How did Xin whose body on the record was destroyed in an arcane explosion get most of his unbroken and unblackend bones inside a giant piece of quartz postmortem?

Sorry, slight perfectionist for details in reference to Pathfinder world lore.


...will this have rules for making Technoliches? If not, can it?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

zergtitan wrote:

Quick question.

How did Xin whose body on the record was destroyed in an arcane explosion get most of his unbroken and unblackend bones inside a giant piece of quartz postmortem?

Sorry, slight perfectionist for details in reference to Pathfinder world lore.

Magic, to a certain extent.

To a lesser extent... that explosion didn't destroy his WHOLE body.

It's unfortunately not something we were able to go over in great detail in the adventure... but:

Spoiler:
Just as trap the soul traps a body and soul inside of a gemstone, this creature, the "clockwork reliquary," was created to trap Xin's body within at a certain point after his transition/death—the explosion that killed him prematurely interacted strangely with the reliquary and his palace, resulting in what's going on in this adventure!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Cheapy wrote:
...will this have rules for making Technoliches? If not, can it?

Nope. And no it can't, since it just went to the printer on Monday without anything like a "technolich" in it.

Spoiler:
The thing on the cover is called a "clockwork reliquary."

It is not undead. Not ENTIRELY undead.

It IS tied to Xin's obsession with clockworks and skymetal.

Something like a technolich would need to wait for the Numeria Adventure Path I'm so increasingly eager to start.

Contributor

Zergtitan, beyond the revelations in James' uncharacteristically spoiler-filled reply, all will be clear when you read the adventure and the events surrounding Xin's death. Though for the record, I don't think Mr. Reynolds realized the bones were supposed to be blackened, burned, and much fewer in number, so nice catch. Though that's a beauty of a BBEG, isn't it? =-)

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Have to say, I'm really glad you guys didn't go with a "brain in a jar" aesthetic for that character. This is so much more horribly regal and wrong. :)

This guy deserves some magnificent monologue material.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Freaking awesome cover!
I'm really curious how Scylla (another one?) gets/is involved in this surely grand finale!

Ruyan.

Silver Crusade

RuyanVe wrote:

Freaking awesome cover!

I'm really curious how Scylla (another one?) gets/is involved in this surely grand finale!

Ruyan.

Maybe climax spoilers?:
Plenty of weird folks might have caught a ride up to the surface when Xin's clockwork city surfaces. :)

The synopsis in Shards of Sin does mention a large chunk of the Irespan popping loose and riling something big and bad up in the ocean's depths, but I initially assumed it would be a rematch between Magnimar and those gigantic seamonsters introduced in that city's sourcebook, the kind that attacked much earlier in the city's history. It might be a Scylla instead.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Lucent wrote:

How do you fight the Dominion of the Black on their horrifying return?

LASERS.

Specifically to destroy them with!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ah, thanks for the info, Mikaze!


Awesome cover! But that clockwork is blocking my view on the much more awesome Scylla!!!

Mostly scylla means Charbybdis! I really hope there is a new picture of the charybdis in action in the book!

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Freakin sweet cover. Again I must worry that I might have to buy another ap I wasn't interested in after learning of it's contents, stupid clockworks why must you be soo cool.

Webstore Gninja Minion

doc the grey wrote:
Freakin sweet cover. Again I must worry that I might have to buy another ap I wasn't interested in after learning of it's contents, stupid clockworks why must you be soo cool.

If you like clockworks, you really should check out the gearforged from the Midgard Campaign Setting (and the Player's Guide to the Crossroads as well) from Kobold Press.

Shadow Lodge

* watches Wolfgang slip an envelope to Liz *

Webstore Gninja Minion

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Kthulhu wrote:
* watches Wolfgang slip an envelope to Liz *

Ehrmehgerd, it's fulla kerhberlds!

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

So I was thinking about Shattered Star and Juno Reactor's Mona Lisa Overdrive(Thomas P Heckmann Remix) came on, and it hit me:

FUTURE PROPHET CLIMAX SPOILERS?:
The final book is going to have a clockwork city resurface next to Magnimar, right?

That city is most likely going to be crawling with clockwork creatures. Animated weapons and tools of ancient design, far more advanced than most of what's being made in modern Golarion for the most part.

But Magnimar is crawling with constructs of its own. From traditional golems to art deco Angel Guardians, there's a wide range of these things in use. They're a part of Magnimar's identity.

When the PCs invade that clockwork city, there has to be a full blown construct vs. construct war going on around them. Ancient clockworks following ancient protocols or the new commands of the First King himself vs. the labors of love of Magnimar, fighting alongside their flesh and blood creators. The top-of-the-line technology of Thassilon vs. the best Varisia has to throw at it. Xin's masterpiece vs. works made in the shadow of his accomplishments but with their creators' own innovations.

oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy :D

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:

So I was thinking about Shattered Star and Juno Reactor's Mona Lisa Overdrive(Thomas P Heckmann Remix) came on, and it hit me:

** spoiler omitted **

oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy :D

That is awesome. Even if it is not so? It is now so when I am GMing this path. Epic Battles should have Epic Background Cinematics.

Shadow Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Little known fact: Micheal Bay is going to be the director for the final volume.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Stratagemini wrote:
Mikaze wrote:

So I was thinking about Shattered Star and Juno Reactor's Mona Lisa Overdrive(Thomas P Heckmann Remix) came on, and it hit me:

** spoiler omitted **

oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy :D

That is awesome. Even if it is not so? It is now so when I am GMing this path. Epic Battles should have Epic Background Cinematics.

Hell, yeah! That's the way mine is going to play out, too. Awesome visual!


So Kthulhu, are you saying we shouldn't get this one then.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hey there ... just a question ... will the clockwork reliquary be a mini in the Shattered Star miniatures set? (May be a "stupid question" but there are only so many "slots" in the set ... ) and I was curious. :)

Very COOL cover by the way.

Dean


James Jacobs wrote:


Something like a technolich would need to wait for the Numeria Adventure Path I'm so increasingly eager to start.

And I will happily lay down the cash to buy such an AP ;)


I want techno everything! Numeria!

Varisia is good, too.

Dark Archive

zergtitan wrote:

Quick question.

How did Xin whose body on the record was destroyed in an arcane explosion get most of his unbroken and unblackend bones inside a giant piece of quartz postmortem?

Sorry, slight perfectionist for details in reference to Pathfinder world lore.

Umm... magic.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:

So I was thinking about Shattered Star and Juno Reactor's Mona Lisa Overdrive(Thomas P Heckmann Remix) came on, and it hit me:

** spoiler omitted **

oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy :D

This is awesome!

Spoiler:

But I was also planning a backstory in which player characters from the preceding APs working together towards a goal of unifying the city-states of Varisia into one true nation. To better work together and face threats both from their past and abroad.

While the constructs of Maginimar are trying their best to fight back the clockwork golems long enough for the Heroes to defeat Xin. Just when the city is about to be overrun, the monster and construct forces of Kaer Maga arrive to aid the city. Along with the armies of Korvosa led by the heroes of CotCT, and a fleet of pirate ships from Riddleport led by some of the heroes of SD.

Only unified together are they able to push back the clockwork golems and give enough time for the heroes to defeat Xin, ending the threat and in the process establishing the council of Varisia lead the nation into an brighter future.


Hey everyone. This is a question for those of you who have been running Shattered Star. Currently, I have a group consisting of a Fighter, Inquisitor, Bladebound Magus, and an undecided fourth. I was hoping to utilize the Magus's Black Blade as a role playing device in the adventure. Do any of you have any recommendations as to how I can go about developing the Black Blades increasing sentience to work with the Shattered Star's overarching story line? I'd like for his blade to have a purpose that would prove useful or a hindrance in late game. Thanks a lot! I'm looking forward to hearing some fun ideas.

51 to 100 of 183 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Paizo / Product Discussion / Pathfinder Adventure Path #66: The Dead Heart of Xin (Shattered Star 6 of 6) (PFRPG) All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.