Pathfinder Adventure Path #78: City of Locusts (Wrath of the Righteous 6 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Adventure Path #78: City of Locusts (Wrath of the Righteous 6 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Chapter 6: "City of Locusts"
by Richard Pett

The Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path concludes with “City of Locusts,” a thrilling climax by fan-favorite author Richard Pett! The heroes of the Fifth Crusade have risen to heights of power undreamed of and have dealt blow after blow to the demonic armies of the Worldwound. As they return to Golarion from the Abyss, though, they find that their enemies are no longer sending minions after them—they've drawn the attention of not only the leaders of the Worldwound, but that of their demonic patron, Deskari, Lord of the Locust Host. The method for closing the Worldwound permanently lies within the heroes’ grasp, but in order to do so they must venture where no crusader has ever returned from intact. They must enter the crumbling City of Locusts to defeat its demonic ruler, but even this is but a stepping stone to the final battle against Deskari himself!

“City of Locusts” is a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure for 18th-level characters who have gained nine mythic tiers. The adventure utilizes rules from Mythic Adventures in order to portray a campaign of truly epic potential. An exploration of the apocalyptic cult of Deskari, along with an article filled with suggestions for how to both continue this campaign and to launch a new one in the transformed Worldwound after the heroes succeed (or perhaps fail) round out this volume, along with a bestiary of several monsters (including the final demon lord to be presented during the campaign!) and part six of Robin D. Laws's Pathfinder Journal novella!

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: 978-1-60125-587-7

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

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A somewhat anti-climactic end to an epic AP

**( )( )( )

Just to get this out of the way, let me start with the following obligatory advice:

Advice on adjusting the difficulty level of this AP:
Before running this AP, I was warned that the power of mythic PCs quickly outpaced the difficulty of the encounters the AP provides. Despite taking a number of precautions to mitigate this (having players use a 10 point-buy, applying advanced templates to every mythic creature, etc), I found this to be true.

In light of our experiences, and those reported on the boards, the consensus seems to be that there are two generally viable ways to deal with these problems:

Option 1: Power-down the PCs.

(a) Don't give the PCs mythic ranks.

(b) [Optional:] Use the Hero Point system introduced in the APG, and give the PCs a number of Hero Points per day equal to the number of mythic ranks they're supposed to have. (This makes players a bit more robust.)

(c) More or less play the AP as is. (Though there are a couple of encounters in book 6 that will probably need to be made a bit easier).

Option 2: Power-up the encounters.

(a) Give the PCs mythic ranks as the AP suggests (possibly with the nerfs suggested in Mythic Solutions).

(b) Use the (vastly) upgraded stat blocks presented in Sc8rpi8n_mjd's modified stat blocks document to upgrade encounters, and then further multiply the HPs given in the stat blocks by something like (creature's mythic rank+3)/3. (For more optimized players you may need to multiply HPs even more.)

Our experience, FWIW: We played books 1-4 more or less as is, and (despite my efforts to boost and combine encounters) found books 3 and 4 to be far too easy to be fun. We then adopted something like option 2 for books 5 and 6, and found that to be much more challenging and enjoyable. But we also found that combat can take forever -- don't be surprised if you find yourself needing to spend more than one session to get through a fight.

For the conclusion to an epic AP, the story of this leg of the AP feels oddly uneven. Parts feel appropriately epic -- the PCs fighting the Storm King, and working to permanently close the Worldwound. But other parts feel oddly out of place -- the players are supposed to spend a while working through a demonic brothel whose entire staff and clientele combined couldn't come close to threatening a single mythic PC at this level, and the lead-up to the finale is... a dungeon crawl filled with a number of high level mythic opponents on a par with the Storm King, who I guess were just sitting around for some reason?... An unfortunately anti-climactic way to wrap up the story in this AP.

As with the previous legs of this AP, most of the encounters in this AP are far too easy for mythic PCs. Happily, the gap here is a bit less than it was in books 4 and 5 -- for the first time in this AP we get a couple encounters that are probably too difficult for non-mythic PCs. Unfortunately, these encounters are still trivially easy for mythic PCs.

--Fun of playing this leg of the AP, as written: 1/5
--Fun of the story of this leg of the AP: 4/5
--Total score: 2.5/5 (rounded down)


An Impressive Ending For A Great Adventure Path

*****

City of Locusts was a satisfying and exciting end for a fantastic adventure path. Its pace is quite fast, so PCs had better be ready to fight, and fight hard.

Drezen will be pretty much under constant attack, so the more troops and allies PCs have managed to make, the better off everyone will be. Even NPC companions from the first adventure can be of help in this final installment.

Encounters with the final villains of Wrath of the Righteous may prove to be emotional for players. The battle with the Storm King was deadly and horrifying. He may be one of the most powerful opponents ever encountered in an adventure path. Areelu was also a dangerous foe, and her destruction will be satisfying for any PCs who have been personally hurt by her actions. The saddest and most unexpected battle was against the fallen spirit of Terendelev. Our players were heartbroken to know their rescuer had been suffering this whole time.

By the end of the adventure, players will be very pleased with all they’ve managed to accomplish. At 20 levels and 10 mythic tiers, characters will be as strong as they could ever hope to be. The module even offers advice for what such mighty characters may want to do next, such as start their own kingdoms, organizations or religions.

I love adventures written by Richard Pett. His vivid descriptions of locations, characters and bizarre treasures are always a delight.

Highly recommended!


Great Climax

*****

This was a solid finish for one of the best APs they've put out yet. Challenging PC's of this level isn't easy, but the Storm King made us sweat. This final adventure has so many nasty ideas stirred into the mix, yet it still moved the story forward to the satisfying conclusion.

I was sorry to read that there won't be anymore Mythic APs. My disappointment is only deepened by how well Wrath of the Righteous came to its end. This is one of our top campaigns. Only Shattered Star and Crimson Throne come anywhere close.


Don't waste your time (or that of your players)

*( )( )( )( )

I loved this Adventure Path. From the first book, I was hooked. That's why I find it so disappointing that it sputters out with the most boring, impossibly un-epic finale like this. Let me save you curious folk some time:

The players faff about in a brothel that's too low-level for them. Then they go to a tower and solve a mystery literally every single one of them should have already figured out, find a magical macguffin, fight ANOTHER succubus queen (as if the last four weren't enough) and then... don't even fight Deskari. Worldwound closes, peace and eternity I guess, Queen Galfrey, like, retires?? Just steps aside so a real man can do the job a lady couldn't handle or something. Meanwhile, Deskari derps around in a pocket dimension. Too bad fighting him was "beyond the scope of the path"!

You know what I - and especially my players - would have rather done than go to a wildly out of place succubus brothel? Fight Deskari. That would have saved you some precious page room, Paizo. And gah, that brothel! WHY? A brothel out in the ruined wastelands that supposedly caters to "only the most elite of the elite" and "has something for everyone, even the rarest taste" - except it has 5 chicks, with 1 disguised as a dude I guess. Really? I mean, Paizo is really progressive in a lot of ways, but there's starting to be a clear, sorta creepy hang-up about having anything sexual being exclusively portrayed by women (roughly a ratio of 99% at this rate). I dunno, I just find it really, really, really hard to believe that anyone at level 15+ could give a single fig about this brothel, much less two.

And it's out of place, so much so that the whole pace ground to a halt and people in my play group had to constantly ask me what they were supposed to do, why were they there, why weren't they out doing more productive things? They were too powerful for any of the brothel encounters so they weren't afraid of fighting, and too good to be inclined to consort - at all - with some clearly, CLEARLY evil demons. I'm so mad, because if this had been in Midnight Isles, it would have still been a remarkably lame, tame, and boring brothel, one you could take your grandmother to it's so conventional (hardly fitting for "the exclusive delight" of the entire Deskari host), but it would have made sense. Well, at least, more sense than popping up and grinding the entire campaign to a halt.

Then some other encounters happen, nothing noteworthy or meaningful, then you fight Arelash or whatever and she's basically the exact clone of any succubus boss ever (one you may have fought twice already, if your players - like mine did - angered Nocticula). Then that's it. The macguffin saves the day, your players don't even need to solve a single puzzle, the end. It's remarkable how unsatisfying an ending this book is to a campaign.

tl:dr - Even if you bought every other book in the campaign, don't buy this. You can use random monster generators to make better encounters and there is nothing at all that matters in this book.


Awesome ending to an Ap

*****

Really loved this book, The enemies are suitably epic in feel and the plot itself for me at least worked really well (Also a lot better than the goddess incident from the previous book which is always a plus.


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Announced! Cover image is a mockup.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

MMMMMNNNNNNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR~!!!

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh my this is gonna hurt.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A thought occurs. This AP is probably going to get the PCs to level 20, and I think I heard Sir Jacobs say that they'd hit tier 10 too.

So how the heck does one continue the campaign once you've reached the very tippy top of power in the game?! o.O


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I imagine the focus will be on starting new campaigns in the aftermath of the adventure path. Because you're right. As far as levels/tiers go, it's as high as it gets.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.

So. Excited. Ohmyglob.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Nate Z wrote:

A thought occurs. This AP is probably going to get the PCs to level 20, and I think I heard Sir Jacobs say that they'd hit tier 10 too.

So how the heck does one continue the campaign once you've reached the very tippy top of power in the game?! o.O

heh.

Well, for one thing, the article's not gonna be called "Continuing the Campaign" this time around! :D


10 people marked this as a favorite.

Richard Pett is writing this...

Oh ye Gods, we are doomed :)


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Odraude wrote:

Richard Pett is writing this...

Oh ye Gods, we are doomed :)

You're literally walking into the lion's demon's den. Pretty sure "pulling punches" wasn't on the menu. :D

Dark Archive

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Pett + Level 20 + Mythic Tier 10 = Pain. So, so much pain. Equal amounts of Win, too, but PAIN.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

FINALYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!! *goes on for 5 mins*

YES!


11 people marked this as a favorite.

This is like dropping a flaming piano on someone from a great height, except the piano is full of crazed miniature monkeys with chainsaws, and those chainsaws are on fire, too.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wait....*checks date for previous AP* Are you releasing two chapters of an AP in the same month?! or is that just a typo?

Paizo Employee Customer Service Dire Care Bear Manager

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The release schedule is still pretty tentative right now, but for the time being it is not a typo.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Dot


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sara Marie wrote:
The release schedule is still pretty tentative right now, but for the time being it is not a typo.

O.O Woah. Talk about orienting the AP schedules a month earlier. It would be nice though to have an AP end and a new AP begin around the end of one year and the beginning of another. though considering the phrase "time being", that could change.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
Oh my this is gonna hurt.

You're probably right, but in a different way than you mean it.

This is Pathfinder turned up to eleven thirteen.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
zergtitan wrote:
Sara Marie wrote:
The release schedule is still pretty tentative right now, but for the time being it is not a typo.
O.O Woah. Talk about orienting the AP schedules a month earlier. It would be nice though to have an AP end and a new AP begin around the end of one year and the beginning of another. though considering the phrase "time being", that could change.

It should be noted that it's a schedule slip- there presently isn't an AP issue due in November


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Enlight_Bystand wrote:
zergtitan wrote:
Sara Marie wrote:
The release schedule is still pretty tentative right now, but for the time being it is not a typo.
O.O Woah. Talk about orienting the AP schedules a month earlier. It would be nice though to have an AP end and a new AP begin around the end of one year and the beginning of another. though considering the phrase "time being", that could change.
It should be noted that it's a schedule slip- there presently isn't an AP issue due in November

O.O Holy Crap! He's right!

Scarab Sages

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

I wonder what the article will be called if it's not Continuing the campaign?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Stratagemini wrote:
I wonder what the article will be called if it's not Continuing the campaign?

"How to get your overpowered player characters out of the campaign setting, before they unbalance the entire world"? :p

Shadow Lodge

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Not cool, dude.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Why? What do you think would four (or more) player characters at level 20 and tier 10 with player equipment be able to do? They'd easily smash every government on Golarion. They'd probably kick every villains tuchas, too, including such fan favorites as Tar-Baphon, all the Runelords (probably at the same time) or romantic duo Geb and Nex.

"Continueing the campaign" would mean "rewriting Golarion as it is". Getting the characters to another plane where they can be suitably mythic without upending the whole setting seems the reasonable thing to do.

Seriously, imagine if Golarion gets updated in a few years (yes, yes, "if", "in a few years", there are some caveats in there) and we already have the problem that now we got a lot of very high-level characters running around, probably do-gooders, which is definitely not the case on present day Golarion, where mostly evil people get to be high level. This changes the entire setting, unless the writers choose to just ignore that new reality.

And one of those groups of heroes is said group of lvl 20/tier 10 superheroes. I don't expect characters as those to retire and open taverns in remote locations, so either they are the new movers and shakers in the world... or they have been removed to a location which keeps the setting intact.


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That level of power might just about be necessary to retire and open a tavern serving Titans and Gorum's higher level followers in Elysium...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Which ends up being "removing the character(s) from Golarion". ;)


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Stratagemini wrote:
I wonder what the article will be called if it's not Continuing the campaign?

"Let's go pay Asmodeus a visit..."


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Axial wrote:
Stratagemini wrote:
I wonder what the article will be called if it's not Continuing the campaign?

"Let's go pay Asmodeus a visit..."

It might as well be considering that Iomedae will fight to free Cheliax from diabolic control after the worldwound. See her article in CoT part two for evidence.


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That would be cool. I can imagine House Thrune pretty much crapping themselves once they realize a party of level 20s/MT 10s are headed their way.

That, or they can go to Geb and finally put Arazni to rest.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Or just make a list of ALL the other Demon Lords and start checking them off :3


Quote:
along with a bestiary of several monsters (including the final demon lords to be presented during the campaign!)

The plural is interesting!

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

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Stratagemini wrote:
I wonder what the article will be called if it's not Continuing the campaign?

Maybe there won't be an opportunity to continue at all? Because you know...

Spoiler:
...Pett is totally going to TPK everyone at the end of this thing.

Dark Archive

So does that then mean that the Worldwound is going to be closed in the canon of Golarion then?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
John Stout wrote:
So does that then mean that the Worldwound is going to be closed in the canon of Golarion then?

In the case of the end of this adventure, yes. But the world setting is not affected by the events of adventure paths, so the worldwound will not be closed in later volumes referencing the region.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Until one day the setting timeline is advanced, if ever that happens.


zergtitan is correct, though, in that the official Paizo stance is that, with the exception of Shattered Star (this adventure path assumed that Rise of the Runelords had happened), Paizo does not assume that any adventure paths and modules have actually happened, leaving it up to GMs and players to tell the story of Golarion, whether through official adventure material or homebrew campaigns. Some people like that approach to Pathfinder, others don't. Personally, I like it. :)

Webstore Gninja Minion

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Heine Stick wrote:
zergtitan is correct, though, in that the official Paizo stance is that, with the exception of Shattered Star (this adventure path assumed that Rise of the Runelords had happened), Paizo does not assume that any adventure paths and modules have actually happened, leaving it up to GMs and players to tell the story of Golarion, whether through official adventure material or homebrew campaigns. Some people like that approach to Pathfinder, others don't. Personally, I like it. :)

The Jade Regent Adventure Path also assumes that Rise of the Runelords happened, and I *think* that Shattered Star also assumes that Curse of the Crimson Throne happened.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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We'll be talking SPECIFICALLY about the topic of what it means to world canon in the last WotR I suspect, since it's going to have some significant changes on the world no matter what the PC's level of success is.

But yes. Basically...it's only canon to YOUR would once your group plays the adventure. No other adventure is assumed to have occurred in Golarion yet, which means that someone who comes to Golarion today has only to buy the Inner Sea World Guide to be ready to go with pretty much ANY of our other products. That new customer doesn't have to read through 6 years of books to get caught up. And perhaps more importantly for us developers... neither do new freelancers.


Liz Courts wrote:
The Jade Regent Adventure Path also assumes that Rise of the Runelords happened, and I *think* that Shattered Star also assumes that Curse of the Crimson Throne happened.

You would know better than I, of course, but I always assumed that with Jade Regent, Rise of the Runelords MIGHT have happened, and that the thing the two had in common was more related to some of the NPCs than the actual storylines, whereas Shattered Star assumed that Rise of the Runelords and possibly Curse of the Crimson Throne DID happen.

Regardless, I really like the stance Paizo has on the subject in general. That, as James put it, it'll only be canon in my game. That's beautiful. :)


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Axial wrote:

That would be cool. I can imagine House Thrune pretty much crapping themselves once they realize a party of level 20s/MT 10s are headed their way.

That, or they can go to Geb and finally put Arazni to rest.

Now I REALLY wanna run WotR :D

"An army of 1,000 Hellknights at once? We just killed SEVEN demon lords, pal.

Bring it."

Contributor

9 people marked this as a favorite.

Heh, heh...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Heine Stick wrote:
Regardless, I really like the stance Paizo has on the subject in general. That, as James put it, it'll only be canon in my game. That's beautiful. :)

I'll refrain from trying to discuss this more in depth, because a.) wrong thread for it and b.) already done so, multiple times and since I know James and Paizo's stance on this, I'll just have to wait and see what happens in a few years. :)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Heine Stick wrote:
zergtitan is correct, though, in that the official Paizo stance is that, with the exception of Shattered Star (this adventure path assumed that Rise of the Runelords had happened), Paizo does not assume that any adventure paths and modules have actually happened, leaving it up to GMs and players to tell the story of Golarion, whether through official adventure material or homebrew campaigns. Some people like that approach to Pathfinder, others don't. Personally, I like it. :)

Shattered Star assumed that all three of the original Varisia Adventure Paths happened, there are references to certain of the events in Second Darkness as well, just not as overt as the references to RotRL & CotCT.


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Wait, Mythic characters become "Immortal" at Tier 9. But there are certain methods of killing them that do work.

Is it possible that Deskari might have to kill the PCs more then once? Because it might lead to the party having to keep "re-spawning" and coming back, which has the potential to be either hilarious or annoying.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Axial wrote:

Wait, Mythic characters become "Immortal" at Tier 9. But there are certain methods of killing them that do work.

Is it possible that Deskari might have to kill the PCs more then once? Because it might lead to the party having to keep "re-spawning" and coming back, which has the potential to be either hilarious or annoying.

Oh jeez. I can see it now. Deskari camping on their respawn point... :D


He could coup de grace them to death. Or use an artifact, which is much more likely.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Axial wrote:

Wait, Mythic characters become "Immortal" at Tier 9. But there are certain methods of killing them that do work.

Is it possible that Deskari might have to kill the PCs more then once? Because it might lead to the party having to keep "re-spawning" and coming back, which has the potential to be either hilarious or annoying.

I suspect that Deskari will have an artifact of some sort.

Otherwise, the PCs will just respawn.

On the other hand, if they respawn and their bodies are still in Deskari's possession, ready for torture and to be bled of their mythic power like Rasputin tried with Dear Grandmother, well... Baba Yaga has 10 Mythic tiers. A party of four or five people with forty tiers between them? Delicious mythic supercharging for Deskari.


Oh god!


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Axial wrote:

Wait, Mythic characters become "Immortal" at Tier 9. But there are certain methods of killing them that do work.

Is it possible that Deskari might have to kill the PCs more then once? Because it might lead to the party having to keep "re-spawning" and coming back, which has the potential to be either hilarious or annoying.

good point. Remember also that demon lords respawn as well. so as long as Deskari can survive a year after the PCs kill him the first time it could become an eternal battle of some sort


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm pretty sure you'll be going there with a big honking artifact weapon to put him down for good.


Likewise, a demon lord of his strength will have a big honking artifact to bring people down on his plane.

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