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

4.80/5 (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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4/5

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!

5/5

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.


5/5

I've reviewed this on RPGGeek.com.

You can read it here.


Here be Dragons

5/5

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!

5/5

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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Silver Crusade

I really hope this volume doesn't pass up on the chance to hook PCs up with dragon-kin. Dragon riding. C'mon! :)

Still really excited for more information on the Triaxans and Triaxus itself too.


Dragon78 wrote:
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.

Well Barbegazi would have been low level CR so it probably should have been in the first 2 AP's already, or it is a ChonChon/Kijimuna case.

The Mahaha and fossegrim don't have a chance to appear in the human/tank/russia AP bestiary and also not in the upcoming part 3 of this AP, the only chance is in part 4 or 6, so that's what I meant with the chances are getting smaller and smaller, not 100% of course.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

a bestiary for an alien arctic world should hopefully draw on science fiction ideas of aliens on frozen worlds..fossegrim and Barbegazi wouldn't fit as well IMHO


Well maybe they are in bestiary 4 :) I hope we see a creature/qlippoth/Protean based on a the THE THING somewhere in that alien monster list.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sincubus wrote:
Well maybe they are in bestiary 4 :) I hope we see a creature/qlippoth/Protean based on a the THE THING somewhere in that alien monster list.

Oh God

No
NO
NO!

That movie scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. Still squicks me out something fierce in my forties.


I never found any alien horror movie scary, even when I was very young... I kinda thought the Thing and Aliens (from the alien movies) were cool but not scary.

The stuff that freaked me out were movies like It (horror clown), Werewolves (especially when they transformed) and Freddy Kruger.

The inuit frost demon Mahaha can have both looks and attitude resembles with both It and Freddy, so that creature would really freak me out.


If they make Mahaha a demon in pathfinder the world wound AP would be a likely place to find it.

I would love a creature like the Thing(Aberration), "It"(Outsider or Aberration) would be cool and something like Freddy(Undead or Outsider) would be cool as well.


There aren't much frost-based monsters in mythology, so I thought Mahaha would be better af in snow.

Anyway we already kindof have a Freddy Kruger in Night Hags, and also the It in Aranea or Jorogumo or maybe Spider of Leng (spider with illusion powers.)


The problem with using The Thing is that it's a very all-or-nothing creature. As long as you can keep it isolated in a polar-cap environment, you can win. Once the smallest part of it reaches your planet's ecosystem, it's over barring some really extensive divine intervention.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The perfect biological weapon. Like the Witchlight Marauder from 2e's Spelljammer setting. (IIRC, the elves used it/them against their enemies during the First Unhuman War.)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sincubus wrote:
Anyway we already kindof have a Freddy Kruger in Night Hags, and also the It in Aranea or Jorogumo or maybe Spider of Leng (spider with illusion powers.)

Also, a variant bogeyman from Bestiary 3.


Love the cover~!


I also love the cover for this one.


Bellona wrote:
The perfect biological weapon. Like the Witchlight Marauder from 2e's Spelljammer setting. (IIRC, the elves used it/them against their enemies during the First Unhuman War.)

I'm actually pretty sure the witchlights were used by the orcs and goblins against the elves in the UnHuman War. The only ones that are present in the actual Spelljammer Campaign setting are those that escaped the purge. I believe there may have been an adventure centering around a Scro leader trying to retrieve one.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

So did the gazeteer get changed from one focused on just the borderland between the skyfire mandate and the evil dragons, to now one for all of Triaxus?

Paizo Employee Developer

The gazetteer is a zoomed in focus on the particular region where the adventure takes place, but it does mention the rest of the planet, just not in detail.


Just a couple more weeks and I will have the volume I have been waiting for.


Distant Worlds said that spell casters from Golarion will find "numerous differences" between their spell casting and that of their triaxan counterparts. How is this covered? Different spell effects? Different Schools? Different systems as opposed to Vancian and spontenaeous?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Bellona wrote:
The perfect biological weapon. Like the Witchlight Marauder from 2e's Spelljammer setting. (IIRC, the elves used it/them against their enemies during the First Unhuman War.)
Alex Smith 908 wrote:
I'm actually pretty sure the witchlights were used by the orcs and goblins against the elves in the UnHuman War. The only ones that are present in the actual Spelljammer Campaign setting are those that escaped the purge. I believe there may have been an adventure centering around a Scro leader trying to retrieve one.

That could well be - I am definitely AFB at the moment! :)

Senior Editor/Fiction Editor

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Adam Daigle wrote:
The gazetteer is a zoomed in focus on the particular region where the adventure takes place, but it does mention the rest of the planet, just not in detail.

Yeah, we didn't want to give people a bunch of specific locations on continents they'll never reach during the AP, so instead there's a lot of general Triaxus information followed by a lot of information on specific places along the Skyfire Mandate/Drakelands border--we really wanted that area fleshed out. If you're curious about the density of locations, the gazetteer is comparable to the ones I originally did on Belkzen, Kyonin, and Varisia back in the early Pathfinder days (meaning tons of tags).

Also note that the "specific area" focused on is the size of most of the Yucatan Peninsula, if I'm remembering correctly. So it's a significant region.

I really enjoyed writing the gazetteer--it reminded me of the days when we were still filling in the Inner Sea region, not knowing what was across the next border, and I hope that enthusiasm comes across in the text!


I have been looking forward to this AP because we get some more info on Triaxus, a new playable race, and an adventure on one of the planets from Distant Worlds.


I wonder if any of the new creatures in the bestiary are of the dragon type. We haven't gotten one in an AP for a while now and seeing as this world has a lot dragon themes it would be nice.


Forgot about the Clockwork Dragon haven we? :-P

I hope this bestiary is just like the previous 3 Winter Ap's full of cool creatures of ice, myth and strangeness, the next AP probably won't have them given its about humans and russia, and the last AP I hope returns to the ice, myth and strangeness theme.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Clockwork Dragons are not real dragons...they are, well clockworks

I am hoping the bestiary has a lot of shout outs to science fiction and dragons


Yes to science fiction and dragons as well.

Notice I said the dragon type and since clockwork dragons are constructs they do not count.


Notice I put the :-p smilie behind my text, meaning I wasn't 100% serious.

Scarab Sages

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

I wonder if we'll get a Wyrm that Walks?


Well since we have gotten at least one new fey in the last three volumes maybe that pattern will continue with the next three as well.

Silver Crusade

Y'know, for all the craziness and excitement surrounding the fifth volume, this is the one I've been most eager to read. Bring on those distant worlds. :)

Webstore Gninja Minion

*flips through copy* Triaxus sounds pretty awesome, and there's a wide variety of excellent art in this volume. :P


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

*shakes fist*


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hm. Can't wait for the last installment of this AP, the next two leave me cold. Ahahahahah.
Ok, actually looking forward for #5 - but only in hope of getting the statblock of a badass Rasputin to finally convince me of trying a witch.

Ruyan.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Has it been confirmed that Triaxians are in this book and that they are indeed a playable race?

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

There are full stats for Triaxians in this volume. (And, yep, they are a 0-HD race.)

Scarab Sages

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

are the stats winter-born only? or are summer-born included as well?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Adam Daigle wrote:
There are full stats for Triaxians in this volume. (And, yep, they are a 0-HD race.)

.....eeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

^_^

Paizo Employee Developer

Stratagemini wrote:
are the stats winter-born only? or are summer-born included as well?

To be revealed...


I thought I heard that both summer and winter-born were in this book but that was a while ago so it could have changed.

Is there a spring and fall born versions of Triaxians?

Paizo Employee Developer

Dragon78 wrote:
Is there a spring and fall born versions of Triaxians?

Those are transitionals.


I Repeat my Question Mr Daigle:

Distant Worlds said that spell casters from Golarion will find "numerous differences" between their spell casting and that of their triaxan counterparts. How is this covered? Different spell effects? Different Schools? Different systems as opposed to Vancian and spontenaeous?


I was excited yesterday when my subscription showed that payment would be authorized today, anticipating it would then be shipping soon, but I just noticed today that the payment is now showing it will now not be authorized until next month, and will ship at the end of the month (along with Rasputin Must Die!). Did this get pushed back?


Everything that was going to ship in May for my subscription has been pushed back until June. Help!

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Lawful GM wrote:

I Repeat my Question Mr Daigle:

Distant Worlds said that spell casters from Golarion will find "numerous differences" between their spell casting and that of their triaxan counterparts. How is this covered? Different spell effects? Different Schools? Different systems as opposed to Vancian and spontenaeous?

A sidebar in the adventure addresses these differences, but unfortunately, it's not really plausible to create an entirely new magic system for one adventure, nor to expect GMs to learn a bunch of entirely new spells to use in one adventure (not to mention the space requirements that would be needed to present such new rules). Basically, the differences are mostly cosmetic, and left for the GM to fill i.

Senior Editor/Fiction Editor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Lawful GM wrote:

I Repeat my Question Mr Daigle:

Distant Worlds said that spell casters from Golarion will find "numerous differences" between their spell casting and that of their triaxan counterparts. How is this covered? Different spell effects? Different Schools? Different systems as opposed to Vancian and spontenaeous?

We allude to there being differences, and suggest some easy ways for GMs to make things *feel* different, but there are no new alternative magic systems presented or anything like that. There simply isn't enough room in one AP installment to create a bunch of new local spells and things, and we wanted to make running a game there easy on both GM and players. Plus, remember that while the various traditions of magic might be different on Triaxus in terms of components used, precise effects, etc., the same general laws of magic are likely going to hold true for all worlds on the Material Plane. When you can hop between Heaven and Hell with a spell, the distance between Golarion and Triaxus is pretty insignificant, in the grand scheme of things!

(Although having said that, my brain immediately imagines how we could treat magic on the Material Plane like space/time... wouldn't it be cool if there were things--like deities--that could create magical "gravity wells"... hmm...)

Paizo Employee Developer

Thanks for the assist, guys!

Senior Editor/Fiction Editor

Scooped by Tsar Rob!


Cthulhudrew wrote:
I was excited yesterday when my subscription showed that payment would be authorized today, anticipating it would then be shipping soon, but I just noticed today that the payment is now showing it will now not be authorized until next month, and will ship at the end of the month (along with Rasputin Must Die!). Did this get pushed back?

I have the same issue. Is this a bug?


WickedBlender wrote:
Cthulhudrew wrote:
I was excited yesterday when my subscription showed that payment would be authorized today, anticipating it would then be shipping soon, but I just noticed today that the payment is now showing it will now not be authorized until next month, and will ship at the end of the month (along with Rasputin Must Die!). Did this get pushed back?
I have the same issue. Is this a bug?

Customer Service tells me it's just a temporary hiccup that happens while they're processing subscriptions, and shouldn't affect the actual shipments. Crisis averted!

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

Nope not a bug. Not all the subscriptions finished authorizing/generating orders last night. I restarted it this morning when I got in. Current status shows about 352 minutes until it is 100% complete. Looks like you folks were in the group that it missed yesterday. If you haven't seen your order get generated by the end of the day (5pm PST), let me know at customer.service@paizo.com.

thanks
sara marie


Ok, thanks Sara. I thought that might be the case, and I should just be patient, but then I saw someone else with the same issue in the Ultimate Campaign thread, and panicked!

I should have just grabbed my towel.

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