Pathfinder Module: Broken Chains (PFRPG)

2.60/5 (based on 7 ratings)
Pathfinder Module: Broken Chains (PFRPG)
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The slave markets of Katapesh may be an unsavory sort of business, but the trade metropolis’s enigmatic law enforcers have few qualms with the legal act of selling and buying flesh. Other factions, including the abolitionist Eagle Knights of Andoran, have their own opinions on the matter, however, and frequently send undercover agents into dangerous territory to break up slave rings.

When one such Eagle Knight goes missing while investigating an underground slave operation beneath the dilapidated Twilight Gate district, it’s up to the PCs to delve an abandoned (but hardly uninhabited) qanat beneath Katapesh and discover her dire fate. Yet not everything is as it seems in the dank slave caverns under Twilight Gate, and clues hint that the slavers may have even more loathsome connections than initially suspected. Can the PCs recover the missing Eagle Knight before her fate is sealed? Or will the monstrous slavers lairing under Katapesh succeed in their malevolent designs?

"Broken Chains" is an investigatory dungeon crawl adventure for 6th-level characters, written for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and compatible with the 3.5 edition of the world’s oldest RPG. This volume also contains a fully detailed map and gazetteer of the Garden of Chains—a nefarious slave auction house—and a brand-new demon that can easily be used in any campaign.

Written by Tim Hitchcock.

Pathfinder Modules are 32-page, high-quality, full-color, adventures using the Open Game License to work with both the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set. This Pathfinder Module includes new monsters, treasure, and a fully detailed bonus location that can be used as part of the adventure or in any other game!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-461-0

Broken Chains is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle Sheet and additional rules for running this module are a free download (94 KB zip/PDF).

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

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Average product rating:

2.60/5 (based on 7 ratings)

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Fun dungeon crawl for PFS

4/5

Fun dungeon crawl. This was run tonight in an 8 hour PFS slot, but it ran to 10.25 hours. Much more fun then the ratings suggest, but maybe it was due to a great group of players!


Broken chains...not as broken as some people say !

4/5

Let me start by saying I gave this module 4 stars...

It could be an easy 5 stars....if the story was tweaked a bit. So as many have already said it has some great story elements ( slavery,pesh addicts and of course the save the hero plot)

any RPG player worth his weight will guess right away that the hero turned to the dark side. In my session I gave the party plenty of clues in the way of handouts

treasure pouch found with the body ( coins a small map and a key)
the heroes journal ( with false information)
and another map found in dungeon ( that is different than the one the found)

these are items i added since i knew my group would quickly guess part of the main story.... and it worked they were so conflicted in their theory the couldn't decide if she was good or bad until the big reveal.any good GM will quickly read this module and make some changes to fit their group...

is it a perfect module- NO

is it a good value- Yes

with a few tweaks you can easily get 2-3 gaming sessions out of this module.


Seems rushed

1/5

I must say, the very beginning of this module is something I really enjoyed...the interaction with the market and the setting presented were pretty fun to play around with, plus trying to figure out what to do. But as soon as we got passed that (which took us about an hour and a half), the entire module took a nosedive for the worst.

Module Details:
It turns into a sewer dungeon crawl, with uninspiring, repetitive terrain and typical monsters you see in sewers, for really no apparent reason at all. I didn't feel like I was infiltrating something as much as just beating some things down. Then after that, it was cultist after cultist, feeling like it was just fluff to add time fighting the same things over and over again. I have nothing against dungeon crawls, but it gets old quick if there's nothing there to keep it interesting. Then, of course, the person who joins you does the inevitable like every single NPC that ever travels with the PCs. On a side note, I also felt the module was a tad easy and a bit too strenuous on casters with spells per day, but you know how that goes... It just felt like a bunch of cliches, random monster tables pulled from other sewer adventures, typical hidden cultist storyline, and then ending with demons, and they were just slapped together and called a module.


A magnificent muddle

2/5

Tim Hitchcock does twisted great, but Broken Chains never really comes together. The premise of infiltrating a nefarious slave market in the exotic City of Bazaars is intriguing, but the module fails to follow up in any coherent way.

There are some nice nods to the supposed setting of Katapesh, but only small gestures like the meager two page appendix on the Garden of Chains, pesh dealers, and a cameo by a black haired gnoll mentioned in Dark Markets. It is really hard to evoke the flavor of the Great Markets of Katapesh however, when nearly all of the module occurs underground. The trap-filled qanat is an innovative locale, but comes to feel too much like just another sewer crawl with the inclusion of otyughs and other oddities.

The final part really loses its way. I did quite enjoy the demonic plots and grotesques that Hitchcock describes, but ultimately the final chapter just feels like a series of unfinished sketches that only devolve into an unsatisfying conclusion.


A curate's egg

3/5

I am a fan of Tim Hitchcock's work and have been looking forward to this.

I think the hook: 'Rescue the hero!" is fine, and not one I've seen before in a Paizo module.

Starting with a non-violent, mini-sandbox involving a slave auction is cool but not for every group.

The dungeon is full of variety and everyone is someone to interrogate. However, the tunnels do have a bit of an old-school random monster population (otyughs, mimic, black pudding, rust monsters, cockatrice, minotaur) and add to the old-school sense of random lethal-ness by being chock full of traps.

Pesh addicts and Pugwampi add to the katapeshi vibe and everyone loves slaying gnoll slavers.

The slow reveal on the Lamashtan cult is nicely done, clues are smattered and will build up a picture over the adventure. The pace of the reveal depending on how alert players are and how many clues they get with skill checks and the like.

But... this is then spoiled by Othine's reveal: the PC's investigations are only foreshadowing for her reveal.

The cult compound is nicely demonic (you immediatel hit upon quasits, minor demons and krenshars). The morlock and howler, though, again feel like random monsters. The traps, rooms and cultists are excellent (graven guardians, voice of lamashtu) but the mid-way BEG, The Midwife, is a bit of a mess (half-fiend jackalwere oracle, anyone? No, thought not). The obvious alternative would have been a flind, or a gnoll with more levels. Even a half-fiend gnoll would have been more fitting.

The black milk mother is horrendous but is a captive and could have been more intriguingly pitiable. She gives birth to advanced hyenas each month but there are no advanced hyenas on the adventure!

Ukrammak should be a party ally (to destroy the ghost) and then Ukrammak and Uthine should both turn on the party: that would better that leaving a ghost-destroying-kit in Ukrammak's quarters frot he adventurers to find.

My thoughts: not a bad adventure but the random monster selection should have been replaced by more cultists, slavers, gnolls, hyenas, flinds and Yaenit Demons.

There are hints of Hitchcock's talent poking through but this feels awkward and ultimately disatisfying.


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Webstore Gninja Minion

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If you're looking for miniatures for this adventure, check this out. :)

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

When/if this posts on the store blog, I really hope it gets a Dokken tagline/reference because of its name. Everytime I see the title, a certain Dokken song gets stuck in my head.

Silver Crusade

I take it Katapesh comes through in all of its uncomfortable shades-o-gray glory here? ;)

Silver Crusade

Liz Courts wrote:
If you're looking for miniatures for this adventure, check this out. :)

opens the character list

OH GOD SHOULD HAVE SEEN THAT COMING WITH THE GNOLLS

Guess that paints the line that Katapesh's slave trade doesn't generally like to cross fairly well.

Paizo Employee Developer

Patrick Renie wrote:
Lev wrote:

Could this module be played before/during the Jackal's Price ?

Does it include hints for DMs to incorporate this module in Legacy of Fire ?

Ah, sorry about the delay! Busy busy at Paizoland.

I actually wrote a blog post in direct response to this question, and it should appear in a couple days here on the Paizo Blog, either this week or next, to preview the release of Broken Chains and help GMs integrate it into their Legacy of Fire campaign if they feel so inclined. :]

Blog is up!

Scarab Sages

I'm wondering when this will be sanctioned for PFS play and the chronicle sheet will be available for this.

Paizo Employee Developer

Chris Ballard 603 wrote:
I'm wondering when this will be sanctioned for PFS play and the chronicle sheet will be available for this.

See my response to this same query in the comments of Patrick's aforementioned blog post.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Liz Courts wrote:
If you're looking for miniatures for this adventure, check this out. :)

Thanks Liz!


Those are some low review ratings.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Those are some low review ratings.

It isn't up to the standard of things like Realm of the Fellknight Queen, From Shore to Sea or The Godsmouth Heresy.

Honestly, all of my criticisms seem like things which an editor should have picked up and some of them would have simplified the design work.

I guess you can't hit a six every ball.


has the Yaenit appeared elsewhere?


voodoo chili wrote:
has the Yaenit appeared elsewhere?

It's a new monster featured in Broken Chains. I'm fairly certain this is its first appearance in a Pathfinder product.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Nope; we first mentioned yaenits back in Pathfinder #5, in the article about Lamashtu.


James Jacobs wrote:
Nope; we first mentioned yaenits back in Pathfinder #5, in the article about Lamashtu.

I stand corrected. :)

Grand Lodge

Mechanical question...

Spoiler:
As I understand it, breaking free from manacles is either an escape artist check or a strength check. Breaking free from masterwork manacles is a DC28 strength check, but the ones listed in area C13, binding the Black Milk Mother are DC35. So, the manacles must be of an even higher quality or forged from some stronger material.

In any case, she lacks skill training in escape artist so it is logical she will try to burst the bonds using a strength check. That being said, she has a Str of 29 (+9). Even with a 'take20' she only achieves a 29, clearly not enough to break the chains. So in the tactics, is there any reason to even attempt to break free? It would seem the encounter is specifically written so she cannot get free and will begin giving birth after four rounds.

Am I misunderstanding?


Spoiler:
Seems to me that the creature is acting according to its 6 int and taking actions that a chained beast would do, ie attempt to break the chains. It is only using up its move actions so it will attack if someone is stupid enough to get within range. This fits the scenario, ie if it could have just taken 20 on this check it would have escaped some time ago.

I personally plan to play up the "sympathetic" side of this beast, so if the PCs do slaughter it from range it will be akin to "putting down" a beast.

Grand Lodge

Spoiler:

Even if it takes 20, the result is only a 29. That is still 6 points short of breaking free. It appears there is no chance the creature can free itself. I'm okay with that, just wondering why the language that suggests otherwise?


Spoiler:
direct quote:

The foul creature furiously gnashes at opponents with its powerful jaws, tugging wildly at its chains. Each round, the Black Milk Mother uses its move action to try to break free (Strength DC 35) and attack. If it lasts 4 rounds while fighting the PCs, it suddenly begins convulsing. For the next 2 rounds, it fights defensively, and then gives birth to its vile spawn.

I personally read that as the creature won't break free, but I can see how you could interpret it another way. Only a Paizo employee could say whether there was supposed to be a chance.


Evil grin:
Oh there will be a chance.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

TwilightKnight wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Lets see if I can answer this:

reply spoiler:
When I wrote this, my intent was for BMM to remain trapped within this chamber long enough to start giving birth to her vile spawn, so yes the bindings were designed to hold her. Still, she can move almost the entire length of the chamber, she just can't leave the chamber without breaking her bonds. Also, she isn't particularly described as wearing manacles, she is bound with multiple chains and stuff, so she not necessarily bound with any type of fancy material. The reason there is a DC 35 chance is because there should always be a chance. I was also thinking that the PCs appearance would rile her up more that usual.

Scarab Sages

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

Quick question about the Yaenit's Stats:

Spoiler:

The Yaenit has the feat Critical Focus listed in the stat block, but Critical Focus has a prerequisite of BAB +9, while the Yaenit only has a BAB of +8. Is this just hand-waved by the GM, or what?

I'm running this in my home game as part of Legacy of Fire and I'll just hand-wave it there if need-be, but in a few weeks I'll be running it at a convention for PFS and would like to get an "official" answer to this.

Paizo Employee Developer

Gornil wrote:

Quick question about the Yaenit's Stats:

** spoiler omitted **

Woops! Looks like an error that slipped through dev.

Spoiler:
In the yaenit stat block, replace Critical Focus with Improved Critical (bite). This alters the Melee line as follows:

Melee mwk falchion +14/+9 (2d4+7/18–20), bite +8 (1d6+2/19–20)

Dark Archive

played this at Extra Life with a *very* patient GM. we broke the scenario. badly. we pretty much skipped straight to the end via creative role-play and insane tactics (silence & invisibility sphere is just crazy stupid).

maybe it was the table I was at (and me in particular), but we found this module to be incredibly bawdy. the euphemisms and double entendre were flying fast and furious. not sure if that was intentional? definitely not one for a younger crowd.

Silver Crusade

What is the CL and DC for the Wand of Hold Person with 8 charges?


Kyra Clone #3,785 wrote:
What is the CL and DC for the Wand of Hold Person with 8 charges?

If it doesn't list it, it'd be at minimum (CL3 and DC 12)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

My group just recently concluded this adventure. Here's a sad statistic about the difference between live and virtual gaming: We got together for Origins 2013 and blasted through about half the module in a weekend. Playing online via D20Pro and Skype, it took us another 8 sessions to complete. With some exceptionally long and unplanned breaks in there, that means we started in May and finished in December!

Anyway, I'll post a recap shortly.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Sniggevert wrote:
Kyra Clone #3,785 wrote:
What is the CL and DC for the Wand of Hold Person with 8 charges?
If it doesn't list it, it'd be at minimum (CL3 and DC 12)

DC should be 13, as to cast a 2nd level spell, you need a stat of 12. So 10 + 2 for level + 1 for stat = 13.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

why has the price for the non-mint not also been dropped for the sale?

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