Pathfinder Adventure Path #77: Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth (Wrath of the Righteous 5 of 6) (PFRPG)

****½ (based on 4 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #77: Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth (Wrath of the Righteous 5 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Chapter 5: "Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth"
by Wolfgang Baur

The cult of Baphomet has been delivered a critical blow, yet the demon lord remains undeterred. Now he’s taken hostage the herald of Iomedae, goddess of justice and valor. The heroes of the Fifth Crusade must attempt their most dangerous and audacious mission yet—travel to Baphomet’s Abyssal realm known as the Ivory Labyrinth, navigate its trackless mazes, and find the ancient prison in which he’s keeping the abducted herald. Can the heroes rescue the goddess’s messenger, or are they already too late? And was the abduction merely a ruse by the demon lord to lure the heroes into his clutches?

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path continues the Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path and includes:

  • "Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 15th-level characters with 7 mythic tiers, by Wolfgang Baur.
  • A look into Baphomet—demon lord of beasts, labyrinths, and minotaurs—and the workings of his sinister cults, by Sean K Reynolds.
  • An exploration of the foul fiends known as demodands and their place in the Abyss, by Amanda Hamon.
  • Betrayal and bloodshed in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Robin D. Laws.
  • Four new monsters, by Amanda Hamon, James Jacobs, Ron Lundeen, and Jason Nelson.

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: 978-1-60125-586-0

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

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****½ (based on 4 ratings)

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A mix of awesome flavor and disappointing crunch

**( )( )( )

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.

The story of this leg of the AP is fantastic -- the players have to head to Baphomet's Ivory Labyrinth and break into a prison in which he keeps his most dangerous foes. More than any other AP, this AP feels epic and "heavy metal", and the flavor of this leg of the AP is awesome.

Unfortunately, the difficulty level of this AP feels way off. The encounters in this leg of the AP are trivial for mythic PCs. Heck, most of the encounters of this AP would be too easy for non-mythic PCs. Given the awesome story of this leg of the AP, this was disappointing.

--Fun of playing this leg of the AP, as written: 0/5
--Fun of the story of this leg of the AP: 5/5
--Total score: 2.5/5 (rounded down)


A Mission From A Goddess

*****

Although Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth diverges the PCs from their main quest for a little while, it is still a highly exciting adventure with a scary setting, high rewards, and a truly thrilling conclusion.

Our PCs were honored to have one of their Gods actually appear to them and personally ask for their aid. It’s not very often that characters come face to face with a deity, so Iomedae’s appearance was an unexpected treat. The magic items she lent the players to help them on their quest were very interesting artifacts as well. I’m not quite sure why she felt the need to give us a history exam first, but it’s not my place to question the Gods.

The Ivory Labyrinth was a weird setting and felt like more of a sandbox than I would have liked, but I was glad for the fun encounters of weird monsters and unexpected allies waiting within. I especially liked the opportunity to resurrect Malakia, the unfortunate Astral Deva.

I also appreciated that PCs are given a chance to save the fallen Herald of Iomedae. Simply killing him when his fall from grace wasn’t his own fault would have been too sad. Redemption is a big part of this adventure path, and our group liked to help others wherever they could.

The battle with Baphomet was an incredible event, a feat that only mythic characters would have been able to manage. Actually slaying a demon lord isn’t something players get to do every day. Needless to say, we all had great fun with that.

There are a lot of nice little things to mention about Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth as well; the art continues to be fantastic. The portraits of Ylleshka, Svendack and the Bonepowder Ghoul are quite worthy of note. Dawnflower’s Kiss was a wonderful gift. Our cleric, who had the Touched By Divinity trait (with Sarenrae as her parent) was overjoyed to wield that weapon!

Highly recommended!


The mythic is back!

*****

Read my full review on Of Dice and Pen.

Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth, written by Wolfgang Baur, manages to be one of the most original and exciting outer plane adventures I’ve read in some time. While The Midnight Isles, its immediate predecessor in Wrath of the Righteous, is rather ordinary as far as planar adventures go, Herald brings back the mythic feel that was present in the earlier instalments of the adventure path. This is an adventure where the PCs face off against some of the deadliest foes in the multiverse, but also leaves ample room for investigating, roleplaying, and drama. And it brings with it some incredible rewards for the PCs—assuming they succeed, of course.


A very cool abyss adventure

*****

In "Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth", the PCs are caught in what my be one of the biggest stories ever told in an AP - the demon lord Baphomet lured Iomedae's herald into a trap, kidnapped him and corrupted him, and is no holding him prisoner. Iomedae herself addresses the PCs and requests that they help free her herald.

As an individual adventure, this is really, really cool. And the adventure is written in a way that capitalizes on the kind of high level adventuring it requires. We get an excellent description of Bephomet's realm, and the long dungeon crawl the adventure culminates in, The Ineluctable Prison, is the coolest yet in the AP. There's something awesome about seeing all those CR20 or more encounters, and I imagine playing through them will feel appropriately mythic.

Having said all those good things and given the adventure the high 5 starts rating it deserves, I do have a caveat or three. Firstly, as was hotly debated in the product description forum, I feel the section of the adventure that handles talking with Iomedae was a major spoof. Another small issue that I have is that the story doesn't really make sense - Baphomet is insanely angry at the PCs, but fears to confront them because of his vulnerable state - however, he knows full well that the PCs will be trying to free the herald from his Ineluctable Prison. Yet for some reason, instead of summoning a screaming horde of a million fiends to defend it for him, he... does nothing? seriously, he is inactive during the entire adventure, even though it is said many times that he is angry and looking for a way to get revenge at the PCs for all the trouble they caused him.

The greatest issue I have with this adventure is that it feels like the side quest - the main story of the campaign is forgotten and pushed to the background, and the PCs run off to do a mission that, while certainly accomplishes something great and important, also has nothing to do with the larger plot of the campaign. After the 3rd adventure, that was just a huge waste of time, and the fourth adventure, that also put the PCs far away from the action, I feel that a large oppertunity to play up the crusade aspect of the story was missed. Hopefully the last adventure will compensate for that, but for now it kind of feels like the PCs are away from the action running errands for most of the campaign. Compare to, say, Curse of the Crimson Thrones, where the PCs carry the torch of the plot from the second adventure all the way to the 6th, and what they are doing is always the crucial, necessary next step. That was a much better constructed story, in my opinion.

But, still, despite some problems that I have with the structure of the campaign as a whole, Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth is one of the coolest adventures Iv'e seen in a long while, and it makes me hope that the next one would be even more awesome.


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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Announced! Image is a mockup and will change prior to publication.

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

O hai Wolfgang.


This Adventure looks more amazing with every announcement!

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

dot :)

Liberty's Edge

When the heck did you find time to do this????? ;)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

15th level plus 7 mythic tiers.

I wonder if they will make it to 20th level by the end of the next book.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Getting to 20th level before finishing the last book is kind of one of the main goals of Wrath of the Righteous, in fact!

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Umn, this is #77, not #76

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

This was so much fun to design, and let me deliver so many demonic nightmare-encounters, that I just couldn't possibly say no! I did not sleep much, just stayed up late or early and wrote like mad. Then rewrote it. Then opened the cage in James Jacobs' general direction.

I think my map turnover was a couple weeks late, but James forgave me.

The urge to cackle madly strikes every time I think about the opening and the finale, and one really crucial sticky bit in the middle.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Marc Radle wrote:
When the heck did you find time to do this????? ;)

Yeah, between that, his own company, RPG Superstar judging, and the thing he's doing for us that's getting announced at PaizoCon—you know, that really major thing that nobody even knows about yet—he's got to be one of the hardest working people in the game industry.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Reckless wrote:
Umn, this is #77, not #76

Oops! Fixed. Thanks!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

You're welcome.

Wolfgang, this looks like it's right up your alley. Can't wait to see what you do, and how James' twisted little mind tweaks it.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Vic Wertz wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:
When the heck did you find time to do this????? ;)
... the thing he's doing for us that's getting announced at PaizoCon—you know, that really major thing that nobody even knows about yet

Say what now???

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

This is why you really should start showing up at PaizoCon, Marc. The Saturday banquet is packed with Major Announcements.

Liberty's Edge

Wolfgang Baur wrote:
This is why you really should start showing up at PaizoCon, Marc. The Saturday banquet is packed with Major Announcements.

Wow, you know how to hurt a guy :)

Besides, if I was at PaizoCon this weekend, how much work would NOT get done? Someone has to stay behind and keep working while you go hob-nob with the fancy people! :)

Spoiler:
Spoken, of course, by someone who is EXTREMELY bummed not be going to PaizoCon this year :(


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Yeah, between that, his own company, RPG Superstar judging, and the thing he's doing for us that's getting announced at PaizoCon—you know, that really major thing that nobody even knows about yet—he's got to be one of the hardest working people in the game industry.

Nobody likes a tease.

And does it rhyme with Mychic Psagic? :)


So. 15th level plus 7 mythic tiers.. these PCs are as strong as 22nd level characters with that, yes?

Giggity.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think it comes out to around 18th/19th, from what I recall of where the playtest ended, but it might be that high, too.


Ah I only have the early playtest stuff, and that one says you add the mythic tiers to their level to get the general power level of a PC.

Still, this campaign is gonna be awesome!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Who is going to write the last module? I keep my fingers crossed for Brandon (who is just knocking out one epic module after the next lately).

The Exchange

So in this book the PCs are going to be more powerful than in any previous AP book, ever, including the final moments of all previous APs. Right?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:
When the heck did you find time to do this????? ;)
Yeah, between that, his own company, RPG Superstar judging, and the thing he's doing for us that's getting announced at PaizoCon—you know, that really major thing that nobody even knows about yet—he's got to be one of the hardest working people in the game industry.

Dibs on Planar Hardcover by Wolfgang, Ray, Colin, Erik, James, Todd and Monte.


Happy to see Wolfgang back in the mix!

I bet that his experience writing the Savage Tide adventure "Enemies of my Enemy" for 19th level characters and featuring many demon lords including Orcus himself came in handy in writing this particular adventure.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lord Snow wrote:
So in this book the PCs are going to be more powerful than in any previous AP book, ever, including the final moments of all previous APs. Right?

Definitely at the end of the module. At the start... hmm, I'd say the guys from Rise of the Runelords ( which ends at lvl 18, IIRC ) have a chance to be as strong. Same with the ones from Shattered Star.


Consarn it! Everything I hear about this makes me want to play it more, but I don't think I'll ever get the chance because it doesn't seem like the sort of thing my group would go for. Grrr.

Oh well, at least there's some demodand love at last! Huzzah!

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

Wolfgang!

Man, I'm really excited for this. One of my favorite demon lords, one of y favorite authors, and the penultimate AP chapter. The stars are aligning!

Dark Archive RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Sounds cool! The adventure theme is almost shocking in its simplicity. I think the community is ready for some classic themes again.


Hm... Another repeat of Arazni, perhaps?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just curious, assuming that Baphomet is the demon lord presented in this issue (I think that's pretty safe), how different is he going to be from the version that you wrote in Dragon 341, James?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

FallenDabus wrote:
Just curious, assuming that Baphomet is the demon lord presented in this issue (I think that's pretty safe), how different is he going to be from the version that you wrote in Dragon 341, James?

Quite different. We're going a lot more with the traditional mythological appearance of Baphomet for Pathifnder. While he'll still have some sway over minotaurs, we're really downplaying his role as the god of minotaurs and uplaying his role as a lord of mazes and beasts and secret cults. He'll look more like the real-world mythological depictions of Baphomet and will have different powers and abilities than the version I statted up in Dragon magazine... but since BOTH of them are inspired by the same mythological sources, there will also be some similarities.


James Jacobs wrote:
FallenDabus wrote:
Just curious, assuming that Baphomet is the demon lord presented in this issue (I think that's pretty safe), how different is he going to be from the version that you wrote in Dragon 341, James?
Quite different. We're going a lot more with the traditional mythological appearance of Baphomet for Pathifnder. While he'll still have some sway over minotaurs, we're really downplaying his role as the god of minotaurs and uplaying his role as a lord of mazes and beasts and secret cults. He'll look more like the real-world mythological depictions of Baphomet and will have different powers and abilities than the version I statted up in Dragon magazine... but since BOTH of them are inspired by the same mythological sources, there will also be some similarities.

So, oracular brazen heads and... oh hey, you did mention a knightly order that's dedicated to him (secretly, I'm guessing)?


Vic Wertz wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:
When the heck did you find time to do this????? ;)
Yeah, between that, his own company, RPG Superstar judging, and the thing he's doing for us that's getting announced at PaizoCon—you know, that really major thing that nobody even knows about yet—he's got to be one of the hardest working people in the game industry.

So is the secret out yet?

Liberty's Edge

Thanael wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:
When the heck did you find time to do this????? ;)
Yeah, between that, his own company, RPG Superstar judging, and the thing he's doing for us that's getting announced at PaizoCon—you know, that really major thing that nobody even knows about yet—he's got to be one of the hardest working people in the game industry.
So is the secret out yet?

I believe Wolfgang is working on the Strategy Guide.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

And he'sgoing to write the next three AP solo! Although that might be an exageration.
Now when are details about part 6 of this AP released?

Scarab Sages

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

Is that Old Alain on the Mockup? I don't recognize it or the backup image.


Both pieces are from the Mendev section in the Inner Sea World Guide. The dude is a Mendevian Crusader.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Where is part six o.0 ?

Scarab Sages

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

not up yet. Parts are put up as their shipping date nears, generally 4 or so months away.

Liberty's Edge

Richard Pett's City of Locusts is volume 6.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Laschoni wrote:
Richard Pett's City of Locusts is volume 6.

Wait, Pett is doing the sixth volume?! Dear gods, Sarkoris is doomed...

Contributor

8 people marked this as a favorite.

Doomed...

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Was there ever really any doubt? ;-)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

"Doomed" is something they wish they were once Sir Pett is done with them.

Contributor

Ha! Look I'm sorry ok, it was James...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm doing the art order for this now.

Lord Stillborn is one of my favorite bad guy names, but this guy's probably the LEAST freaky thing I get to order art for today. WOOO! Ahem. I mean, MNARRRR!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

I'm doing the art order for this now.

Lord Stillborn is one of my favorite bad guy names, but this guy's probably the LEAST freaky thing I get to order art for today. WOOO! Ahem. I mean, MNARRRR!

You know your doing right when a baddie named Lord Stillborn isn't the freakiest art in the order. Though now I wonder who/what he is that warrented such a comment from JJ.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

I'm doing the art order for this now.

Lord Stillborn is one of my favorite bad guy names, but this guy's probably the LEAST freaky thing I get to order art for today. WOOO! Ahem. I mean, MNARRRR!

Was he from his mother's womb untimely ripped?


Richard Pett wrote:
Doomed...

Doom!

Contributor

Not only can I not wait to see what an evil genius like Wolfgang will do with this, but I must also add that city of locusts is the most exciting, awesome, epic outline I've ever seen from those lovely paizo folks.

It had me bouncing with terrible evil glee.

Mnar.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I have to say, this was a project where I had to ask myself "Can I really DO that to the players? What have I become?" As in, more than once.

It's vile. It's full of horrors. It's a mere appetizer for the city of locusts, but really, I think Pathfinder needs some one-off Sanity rules for this whole AP.

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