Pathfinder Module: Doom Comes to Dustpawn (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Module: Doom Comes to Dustpawn (PFRPG)
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Invaders from Space!
When the iron mines that made Dustpawn so prosperous played out not long after the Goblinblood Wars of Isger ended, the city shifted its focus from mining to goat herding with quite a bit of success. Things have, as a result, been quiet and calm in Dustpawn for the past several years, but that quiet is shattered the night a strange falling star roars across the sky above town to crash somewhere in the hills several miles to the south. When several locals eager to find the fallen star and strip it of its ore go missing, it becomes apparent that whatever has fallen from the sky is much more than a mere meteorite. There are those in town who claim the falling star was in fact a ship, and now a strange malady is creeping through the townsfolk. Can the PCs discover the truth behind the falling star before doom comes to Dustpawn?

Written by Mike Welham, the 2012 winner of Paizo Publishing’s annual RPG Superstar contest—in which unpublished authors compete before a panel of celebrity game designers and legions of their peers for the chance to write a Pathfinder ModuleDoom Comes to Dustpawn presents the players with a classic trope of 1950s sci-fi recast in the fantasy setting of the world of Golarion. Can the PCs save the town of Dustpawn from a menace from the darkest depths of space?

Doom Comes to Dustpawn is an adventure of investigation and cosmic horror for 9th-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 gazetteer of the town of Dustpawn and a brand-new monster template for a strange form of feral mutation, both of which can easily be integrated into any campaign setting.

Written by Mike Welham, RPG Superstar 2012 winner.
Cover Art by Grafit Studios.

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: 978-1-60125-504-4

Doom Comes to Dustpawn is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle Sheet and additional rules for running this module are a free download (111 KB zip/PDF).

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

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Fun, Original Feel

5/5

NO SPOILERS

I ran Doom Comes to Dustpawn via play-by-post for six Pathfinder Society players. One thing I can say off the bat is that the module really would work better with just 4 (as designed), because my PCs had little real difficulty with any of the encounters. But putting that to one side, the module has a great, original feel to it and is certainly a different adventure than the norm. The interior artwork (and cartography) is quite strong, and there's a solid amount of role-playing (especially at the beginning) to off-set the later combat/exploration sections. It also has a nice, epic-feeling conclusion. Although I wish I could go back in time and run it for a group that would be challenged more by the encounters, I think this is a great module and definitely worth experiencing.

SPOILERS!:

The adventure has a great backstory, some of which the PCs will be able to learn: over a century ago, a cabal of elven sorcerer-astronomers from the nation of Lirgen set out in a magical ship to explore the stars. Some years after they left, Lirgen itself was destroyed by the perpetual hurricane known as the Eye of Abendego. But the ship, Lirgen's Glory, kept going until it encountered the mysterious creature that had been beckoning to it: the Emissary from Beyond, a vespergaunt agent of the Dominion of the Black. The Emissary partially succeeded in enslaving the minds of the ship's crew and convinced them to lead it back to Golarion, where it plans to prepare the planet for its masters. This is the "doom" that's now on it's way to Dustpawn--a small mining town in the foothills of eastern Isger. The module includes a handsome map of the town and two-page description in an appendix (not enough to flesh it out as much as I would like, but enough for a GM to get by over the course of a module).

The PCs enter the picture when they hear about (or are hired to investigate) rumors that a mysterious meteorite crashed in the hills south of Dustpawn. No one has found the meteorite yet, but ever since it crashed, livestock and hunters in the region have disappeared and the townsfolks have started acting strangely. The PCs' primary contact is Dalviss Crenn, a former adventurer who now runs an inn called The Mineshaft. The module does a good job describing Crenn's personality and the layout of the Mineshaft, which will likely serve as the PCs' base of operation over the course of the adventure. Dalviss explains that one of his own staff members--a cook named Leeara--has gone missing while looking for the meteorite, and that he suspects it may be more than a simple hunk of rock. Additional intrigue is provided by the fact that four mysterious strangers are now staying at the Mineshaft, claiming to be prospectors but acting rather suspiciously.

One of the major strengths of the module is that it's open-ended on how the PCs pursue their investigation. If they look into Leeara's disappearance by searching her room, they'll find clues that lead them into a cave in a nearby swamp she used to stay in while foraging for cooking ingredients. Only, Leeara has been transformed into a feral catlike person! If they instead start off by investigating the suspicious strangers, they might learn they're local cultists of the Dominion of the Black who have been poisoning/cursing the town's water supply with "dream crystal toxin" to pave the way for the Emissary's arrival. Not only that, several more cultists (and their leader) are hiding out in a nearby mine. A third option is for the PCs to just start looking for the crash site of the "meteorite"--there are some clues that can narrow down its location, but things like divination or flyovers (the PCs are ninth level, after all) can help them spot it. But the crash site isn't from a meteorite--it's from Lirgen's Glory, broken in half from the impact! Inside, the PCs will encounter more animalistic "id mutants" (transformed by the Emissary's magic) and learn that they're dealing with a ship that has travelled among the stars! I especially liked the portrayal of Gelviel Zorriah, the ship's captain, who is (insanely) convinced that the PCs are his crew members and therefore orders the group to carry out various "surveys" of the "new world" the ship has landed on.

By exploring Lirgen's Glory, the PCs will learn that the Emissary's arrival is imminent. Here, they're presenting with an interesting choice. The Emissary is psychically connected to a minor artifact aboard the ship called the Orrery of Distant Worlds. The orrery is a quite powerful magic item (each of its planetary spheres can be detached to cast a different spell), but destroying the orrery will significantly weaken the Emissary before it arrives. The group I ran the module for was divided on how to proceed, which is the mark of a good dilemma.

When the PCs get back to Dustpawn, some very cinematic scenes show how the town is suffering from the madness brought by the Emissary drawing closer and closer. Some of the NPCs transform into id mutant monsters that have to be stopped (hopefully without killing them--another good challenge). As for The Emissary itself, it's a little underwhelming in appearance (vespergaunts are medium-sized creatures that don't look that different than an ooze) and there's no map provided for the big final battle. I ended up using the Town Square flip-mat, which worked fine. Again, the PCs I ran it for handled the creature with little difficulty, but I imagine it could be a more interesting fight with a different group.

Overall, I really liked Doom Comes to Dustpawn. It's a bit of 1950s science-fiction tropes integrated smartly into Pathfinder fantasy. It's also a different type of SF than the type presented in the Iron Gods adventure path (no robots or laser guns here!). If you get a chance to try it out, I'd recommend it.


Awesome writing.

5/5

My players and I sat dowm to play this. From the first box text to the final blow of the heroes, the excitement of the plot drove my players deeper into the mystery. The table had a fun time dying and battling the enemy, and with a mighty blow from the last of four players, saved the town. If you like horror and Cthulhuian themes, I fully recommend this module.


B-Movie Goodness

4/5

Ran this for PFS. Meant for four but ended up with a full seven players at the table which made a big difference.

First off, I loved this from a GM standpoint because it has a nice mix of Lovecraftian meets 50's B-Movie science fiction and it works wonderfully. Just right.

Taking into account that we had three players more than suggested I think that the encounters are just not tough enough once you get into the story. For the level of characters this is designed for it is still too easy to almost walk it in my opinion.

Good module. Fun times. A good option.


Taste of the Fusion Fantasy

5/5

Investigation + Horror + SF + Magitech?
Profit!
(the GN driv... demon engine is too awesome to leave)




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Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Creatures from the Dark Tapestry. I am so running this.

Liberty's Edge

Would love to run this for Gamex 2013...

Webstore Gninja Minion

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Updated product with final cover image and description.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Is that godzilla and squealynord in the same image?

Silver Crusade

After finding out who's going to be involved in this adventure, need.

(plz bring on the body horror!)


Very cool cover! Who's the artist?

Liberty's Edge Production Specialist

This covers comes from Grafit Studios.

The Exchange

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Awesome cover! curious to see how this works out, given that so many RPG superstar finalists are now doing some serious work for Paizo.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Can't wait for this to ship. I hope I get my shipment today.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

My hype level for this is astronomical.


Hooray for Squealy Nord!

Liberty's Edge

I always loved the old AD&D Module, S3 Expedition to Barrier Peaks - I look forward to this one as well - looks terrific. :)


This looks like a fun one.

Sovereign Court

looking forward to this one ... but it does not look like it is not authorized for PFS use. Weren't all modules moving forward going to be given the PFS seal of approval?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Modules will continue to be authorized. They just don't get authorized immediately is all... especially when folks have been working such huge work weeks and are starting to finally get a chance to come down from the mayhem and get back to the normal work flow... Patience! ;-P

Sovereign Court

Oh no worries ... I still plan on picking it up (and I have a little ways to go before the folks I am doing a PFS module run for will hit level 9 ... running Fangwood Keep for them this weekend).

Take your time, take a breath, drink a beer. It's all good. :)

Silver Crusade

Man this one is going to induce so many Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles flashbacks in people. ;)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

zylphryx wrote:

Oh no worries ... I still plan on picking it up (and I have a little ways to go before the folks I am doing a PFS module run for will hit level 9 ... running Fangwood Keep for them this weekend).

Take your time, take a breath, drink a beer. It's all good. :)

We ARE taking our time. That's what prompted the question in the first place! :P

RPG Superstar 2012

Mikaze wrote:
Man this one is going to induce so many Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles flashbacks in people. ;)

I can only hope that's a good thing. :)


HUZZAH!!


The cover kind of reminds me of the Speaker in the Dreams.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Any update on the timeframe for the chronicle? I have people who thought it'd available for Saturday...

Paizo Employee Developer

Hey TetsujinOni, I have plans to finish up the Chronicle sheet for this toward the end of the week, so I'll keep at it so that you and your friends can play this this weekend.

Silver Crusade

taig wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Man this one is going to induce so many Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles flashbacks in people. ;)
I can only hope that's a good thing. :)

Hitting those nostalgia neurons is definitely a positive. :)

The inevitable recital of random lyrics from the themesong could go either way, depending on the group. ;)


Mikaze wrote:
taig wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Man this one is going to induce so many Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles flashbacks in people. ;)
I can only hope that's a good thing. :)

Hitting those nostalgia neurons is definitely a positive. :)

The inevitable recital of random lyrics from the themesong could go either way, depending on the group. ;)

I'll try to stick with the 2003 version. TURTLES COUNT IT OFF

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Having skimmed it, I'm loving the Forbidden Planet inversion and references. It seems like a great story to use as the starting point for this adventure. Prepping it for Saturday for a gameday.

Silver Crusade

I'm still digesting it, but just wanted to say:

I love the planetary flavor of spell assignment on that item. :)

Also love the design of that ship.

This module actually presents a very real doomsday scenario for at least a wide swath of Golarion.

Very happy to see that specific creature brought into play.

If goblins get a hold of any of this stuff, geez...

RPG Superstar 2012

I hope you and your group have a good time with the module, Tetsujin Oni!

RPG Superstar 2012

Thank you, Mikaze! Mark Moreland pointed me in the direction of the creature in question (if we're talking about the same one), and it really fit the concept I had in mind for it.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Bought the module today, and was impressed. Very cool, right in my wheelhouse (love the 50's Sci-Fi call-outs). Surely no shame to lose to you. Nice work, buckaroo.

Shadow Lodge

Can anyone spoil what the new creatures are?

Digital Products Assistant

The Chronicle sheet for this module is now available.

Sovereign Court

This module arrived at the house, and it begs a design/playtest question; I realize that it follows the proscribed design of 50% encounters being at APL. I also realize the slow draining of resources of the party is accounted for. And I do see the overall layout of encounter challenge ratings culminating into the bbeg at the end at APL+3. However, I'm asking if in actual play, does this overall design formula play too easy for the players.

In actual play, does it play/feel too easy?

Thanks for any response you can provide. (Below is an overall list showing challenge encounter levels.)

Spoiler:

APL is Level 9
> p8 CR4x5=CR9
> p9 CR8
> p9 CR9
> p11 CR4x4=CR8
> p13 Trap CR2
> p13 Trap CR7
> p14 Trap CR9
> p14 CR9
> p16 CR4
> p16 CR8
> p16 Trap CR3
> p16 Trap CR--
> p16 CR7x2=CR9
> p17 CR8
> p18 CR4x5=CR8
> p20 CR4
> P20 CR8
> p21 CR9
> P22 CR9
> p22 CR7
> p23 CR11
> p25 CR10
> p25 CR9
> p26 CR12 (APL+3)

Note: in player groups greater than 4 such as 5-players or 6-players, this would seem a cake-walk. Hypothesis, most all of my Pathfinder modules run 2 levels too high i.e. I suggest that Pathfinder modules seem to be appropriate for APLs 1 or 2 steps lower than the recommended Level noted on the cover of the modules.

Any thoughts or observations from actual play of Doom Comes To Dustpawn are welcomed. I would truly appreciate input on this hypothesis based on player or GM experiences. Thanks sincerely. Pax.

Webstore Gninja Minion

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Added spoiler tag to encounter list above.


Doesn't looks like you did.

What's the beast on the cover?

edit: hey what whoa how? I opened the thread 36 minutes after the above post, and it wasn't hidden. When I made the post saying so, it was hidden.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

I'll have a formal review of this later. Overall my experience in reading the module through was positive (but it won't slot into my campaign schedule for a while yet.) However, I was disappointed in one aspects spoilered below.

Final Encounter:

I was disappointed that the Emissary of the Dominion was not a new creature, but rather just a re-purposed previously-existing monster. I was hoping for something different. It's a minor complaint, though.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

Cheapy wrote:

Doesn't looks like you did.

What's the beast on the cover?

edit: hey what whoa how? I opened the thread 36 minutes after the above post, and it wasn't hidden. When I made the post saying so, it was hidden.

Spoiler:

It's one of the townfolk, transmormed into a large mutant by the bestial curse outlined in the module.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2012

Cheapy, the monster is:
Nalan Hossler, a human transformed into an id mutant who rampages through Dustpawn unless the PCs stop him.

Ninja'd by Robert. :)

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2012

Robert Brookes wrote:

I'll have a formal review of this later. Overall my experience in reading the module through was positive (but it won't slot into my campaign schedule for a while yet.) However, I was disappointed in one aspects spoilered below.

** spoiler omitted **

I'm glad you enjoyed the module, Robert.

Spoiler:
The reuse of the vespergaunt was due to page constraints, and the addition of the id mutants eliminated room to stat out a new monster. Fortunately, the vespergaunt was a great fit for the "boss" monster, but I can understand your disappointment.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2012

Navior, thank you for the review! I can understand your point about the hook, and I think you've hit upon a nice solution to start the adventure just before the ship crashes outside Dustpawn.

The module's name definitely tripped a lot of people up. :)

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

It's a pretty limited disappointment, because overall the module is really exciting and fun. That, ad I figured it was just page limitations cutting in on that. I do feel like Doom could have benefited from the newer, bigger, meaner module format rather than the older, sparser model. I feel that this was a good adventure to close out the old 32-pagers, though.

There probably could have been a little more development of what the Dominion is as well, especially in the Knowledge check portion (which I'll likely expand when I run it), if only because it fails to mention any of the historical Dominion influence over Osirion (established in Pact Stone Pyramid and Entomed with the Pharaohs.) Nor did it connect the dots between the Dominion and Aucturn, surprisingly, since that was more recently touched on in Distant Worlds.

These are all minor complaints, of course, and all largely due to the size-limitations the adventure is working in. Even in spite of all of these things, it is definitely worthy of at least a 4-star review. I won't know until I actually play it how the whole thing truly comes together, but at the moment it's looking quite good.


taig wrote:

Navior, thank you for the review! I can understand your point about the hook, and I think you've hit upon a nice solution to start the adventure just before the ship crashes outside Dustpawn.

The module's name definitely tripped a lot of people up. :)

You're welcome! I enjoyed reading the adventure a great deal.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
Pax Veritas wrote:


Any thoughts or observations from actual play of Doom Comes To Dustpawn are welcomed. I would truly appreciate input on this hypothesis based on player or GM experiences. Thanks sincerely. Pax.

For a pragmatic enough party (i.e. willing to commit evil acts to stop greater suffering),

Spoiler:
killing the inn group after discovering the cultist's manipulations but before they transform
makes this truly fairly easy.

The Emissary is still a potent encounter depending on table makeup. A heavily divine powered party (with several or all of melee ranger, cleric, paladin, non-ranged inquisitor or bones oracle etc) could find themselves in serious trouble.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I just wanted to give props for the subtle use of the number 56 in the Adventure Background in this fun mod.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The Pharaoh of Numbers approves.


Ask a Shoanti wrote:

I just wanted to give props for the subtle use of the number 56 in the Adventure Background in this fun mod.

What's the significance?


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Answered my own question!

Quote:
The Pharaoh of Numbers was both an astronomer as well as an architect. His passion was his study of the distant planet Aucturn. It is said that Aucturn inspired the magic that fueled the pharaohs’ binding pact and its influence infuses the design of much of the architecture that comprises the pyramids left behind by the Four Pharaohs of Ascension.[15][5] Although their relationship is poorly understood, the Pharaoh of Numbers had a particular affinity for the numbers 56 and 11. The Pharaoh of Numbers was said to have constructed some of Tumen's greatest centers of learning and study.[16]

Damnit Paizo, stop leaving tantalizing threads linking seemingly disparate events together. I need to get some work done.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Ask a Shoanti wrote:

I just wanted to give props for the subtle use of the number 56 in the Adventure Background in this fun mod.

I have to give props to my developer who wisely chose that number. :)

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thank you for the review, 7th Son! I'm glad you liked the module, but it looks like I'll have to step up my game to make my encounters more deadly (I'm too much of a softie as a GM, and that carried through here, evidently).


Two quick questions ...

If I was going to be running this for a party of 6, would people suggest dropping the starting level or two? (People are already commenting that encounters are under-powered.)

And as designed, how many levels are the players expected to advance?

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