Pathfinder Module: Tears at Bitter Manor (PFRPG)

4.00/5 (based on 6 ratings)
Pathfinder Module: Tears at Bitter Manor (PFRPG)
Show Description For:
Non-Mint

Add Print Edition $24.99 $12.49

Add PDF $17.99

Add Non-Mint $24.99 $18.74

Facebook Twitter Email

Hope Against Hope!

Bleak days have come to the Taldan city of Cassomir and nearby settlements, with a wave of depression and rage sparking horrific acts of violence. When retired adventurer Taergan Flinn doesn’t show up to meet with his old companions, the PCs are called upon to investigate, leading them into a swirling maelstrom of horror and tragedy. Can the PCs unmask and confront the malevolent entity behind the madness and restore hope to a tortured land?

"Tears at Bitter Manor" is a deluxe super-adventure for 5th-level characters, and includes 64 action-packed pages filled with horrible haunts, eerie monsters, new magic items, a beautiful double-sided and full-color poster map featuring a regional overview and an important miniatures-scale battleground, and more! The winning entry of the 2013 RPG Superstar contest—in which unpublished authors compete for a chance to write a Pathfinder Module—"Tears at Bitter Manor" includes not only Steven Helt’s winning adventure, but also a plethora of new monsters and magic items submitted by other contestants!

Players can expect to reach 8th level by the time they complete this epic adventure and take on the otherworldly entity that thrives on humanity’s despair!

Written by Steven Helt, RPG Superstar 2013 winner.
Cover Art by Kieran Yanner.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-613-3

Pathfinder Modules are 64-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, a double-sided poster map, and a fully detailed bonus location that can be used as part of the adventure or in any other game!

Tears at Bitter Manor is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle Sheet and additional rules for running this module are a free download (1.6 MB zip/PDF).

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

Product Availability

Print Edition:

Available now

Ships from our warehouse in 1 to 5 business days.

PDF:

Fulfilled immediately.

Non-Mint:

Available now

Ships from our warehouse in 1 to 5 business days.

This product is non-mint. Refunds are not available for non-mint products. The standard version of this product can be found here.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

PZO9544


See Also:

1 to 5 of 7 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

4.00/5 (based on 6 ratings)

Sign in to create or edit a product review.

Absolutely amazing on all fronts.

5/5

(I GMed this twice.)

This is probably my favourite module I've played so far. Everything just works. Story is basic but strong, theme is excellent, enemies are varied and interesting, and so on. There's a nice mix of roleplay and skills/fights involved, so it's not just a dungeon crawl or a roleplay-fest. There are a few minor nitpicks, but they don't detract from the overall grade. This is a fantastic mod.

I like that nearly every encounter is designed with the greater picture in mind. Almost every encounter makes sense and is not just there to fill an XP budget. That said, there are a few sidequests in part 2 that can easily be cut. A lot of encounters contribute to the greater story, but some others feel like they're just thrown in to showcase a new monster.
That said, I like the sidequest system in this module. It's easy to keep track of and as a GM you'll easily know which ones to cut or not depending on your needs.

All in all, it seems like the author really had the freedom to tell the story he wanted, and it worked really well. No wonder this was the 2013 Superstar winner.


A good story held back by bad design

2/5

Note that if/when my GM reads this, I mean no disrespect to him at all. He did his best with what he had to work with, which was unfortunately kind of a mess.

Let's start things off on a positive note. There is a GOOD story here unlike a few modules I've played. The NPCs you're supposed to save have an interesting backstory and you legitimately want to help the people of this town. And the encounters in Part 1 are reasonably fun

Now the bad stuff

1. It seems overly bogged down with sidequests that don't really contribute much besides extra encounters. I'm usually inclined to do them since doing the side stuff in the module tends to translate to provide some help in the later stages. The ones we did, didn't seem to do much story or mechanics wise. You could easily have had them just be dialogue NPCs and get just as much info. And it'd be paced better.

2. There needs to be some gate keeping when letting players design monsters. One monster in part two can perform an instant death skill at range that normally can only be performed in melee. As far as I can remember, the GM said there really was no valid reason given for this. Any time a player designs a monster for use in non-homebrew play, Paizo must make sure said monsters conform to the rules of the system. I hate to play Rules Lawyer but no matter the reason, even if the DC is so low you can only fail on nat 1, if a monster is doing things that break the rules, some reason better be given beyond "dramatic effect" as a good friend called it (and I believe they were being sincere I was just quoting them). I'd accept that it uses a special item or something (particularly if it's available on the Chronicle sheet) but a reason needs to exist IMO. That's just my personal quirk though.

3. Perhaps the most egregious problem is the difficulty spike. The first part's encounters were decent, perhaps a bit too easy. Second part's first couple encounters were alright. But then pretty much goes into Bonekeep territory when you encounter the rulebreaking monster. I'm not trying to dramatic I assure you. I'm told one of the encounter rooms is even a borderline ripoff of Bonekeep. (Minus points for ripping from another scenario if this is true btw. Come on, this author is capable of doing better).

What makes the whole thing worse is that you ABSOLUTELY need a balanced party. The trouble is with 4 players, that is insanely difficult if not wholly impossible. You're either going to be sacrificing damage, healing, spell casting, or trap finding. This is one scenario where you need them all. If you go in with 4 players, prep for a TPK (#DimensionDoor) or have some prestige built up. You are better off just going with max players. Not only would it be paced a lot better, but you'll (probably) survive to see the end of a good story.

Scenarios actively designed to get TPKs, such as Bonekeep, are not for everyone. However, they are honest about their intent. Namely to wreck you, especially if you're not an active powergamer. If you go into such scenarios you do so expecting that this will happen, design around it and are more likely to have fun.

Tears at Bitter Manor, IMO, if played with 4 players as advertised, is an intentional party killer scenario that is not honest about its intent when it starts off like a rather normal, if a bit sidequest heavy, module in the first part. Then it literally rips off Bonekeep and then just goes off the rails from there.

To make things worse, it was not adjusted for more restrictive PFS play when it was allowed.

If I want to play Bonekeep, I will play Bonekeep. I don't think I'm alone here.

I give it a 2/5 for being an intentional party killer that hides itself behind a scenario of reasonable difficulty. If being played go for max players and you'll get 3/5.


Unique, with lots of interesting opportunities for roleplay

5/5

The group I ran this for really cherished the opportunity to interact with the retired adventurers that are part of this modules premise. This really did a splendid job setting up the environment in which things were happening, so the effects of what was happening were more strongly felt by the party. It is rare for me to see these players get so emotionally invested in rooting out a villain.

GMing this was a little difficult, though. Not because of what was provided to me, but because a lot of what's here requires a certain amount of description or subtlety to carry the right impact, which kept me on my toes.

The combat difficulty varies throughout the module, with some being easily overpowered, and others being terrifying obstacles to the party.

There are a number of unique items in this module, many of which are fairly interesting. Some of which my party has taken up and used into their higher levels, but most were discarded quickly.

All things accounted for, this was detailed, emotional, thorough and interesting. This is definitely something I would be willing to run again.


5/5


Hopefully a victim of the format change


I would give this 2 1/2 stars. The following is from a GM perspective.

My first impression after reading this module was that it seemed like it was developed for the old module format (1 level), caught in the switch to the 3 level format and stretched. The middle third of the module is especially suspicious and could reasonably be reduced to a random encounter table without losing anything.

I liked the idea that it seems to start from one villain and build a module around exploring the machinations and ramification of that one bad guys actions. Although...

Spoiler:
The scenario revolving around a succubus' plots isnt exactly rare and replacing a succubus with a kissing cousin version and a different alignment doesnt quite stand out enough

As another review noted the story itself was kind of thin as its based around these few setpiece NPCs which fall pretty flat. My players pegged the plot from the get go as it was all relatively predictable.

Gameplay wise, I felt the module was underwhelming in presenting a challenge. Players around here like their optimization (we had a gunslinger, witch, life oracle, and swashbuckler) and nothing presented was interesting without being doctored up. That being said in these things theres always one encounter markedly out of line difficulty wise.

Spoiler:
Second to last battle, players climb down a chimney into three waiting, hasted, alchemists likely joined by the next rooms inhabitant, an alchemical golem. Bombs away!

None of the unique monsters were really something Id be interested in seeing again and the same for the items

Minor gripes:
The players expressed dissatisfaction with the quest and reward system as essentially all their rewards were deferred until the end of the adventure when they came back to claim them. Maybe thats fine as part of a large campaign but we ran this as a one-shot adventure.

The provided map is a bit odd, as another review said. Better than the Wardens of the Reborn Forge one but having a provided map for floor one of three is a bit throwing.

Editing. example, it seems like all the unique monsters health was listed wrong in the module run. It didnt match with the stats at the back of the book.

Wins:
The module seemed to get more background information across than average. Normally these things have pages of backstory that only the Gm will ever get to know.

The art was particularly nice.

All in all the module seemed kind of... lacking. I really enjoyed Dragons Demand and at least Wardens was alright but this one, if it wern't for the Pathfinder Society credit tie-in I think we would have just flat abandoned it partway through and not looked back. I am inclined not to play the next module, the pirate theme does not interest me to begin with and this module did not really do much to get me excited in the modules line.


1 to 5 of 7 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
51 to 98 of 98 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Dark Archive

release is now in March??
ughhh

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013

Itchy wrote:

I'm looking forward to this one. I'm wondering if I could drop it into Carrion Crown...

Probably not since it takes the characters to 8th or 9th level.

-Aaron

The adventure will certainly require the party to be every bit of 7th or 8th level for those last few encounters, but then you can always make it fit into another campaign if you need to. I was thinking Carrion Crown because it's a haunted house (sort of), or Kingmaker since the retired adventurers could request help during a long sandbox time period.

I hope you all enjoy it when it comes out!

Liberty's Edge

Hi, I was wondering how this module might fit as a follow-up to The Dragon's Demand.

That one of course gets the PC's to 6th level (or 7th if they try REALLY hard).

Both are set in Taldor, though quite far apart. I'm sure I could make some kind of story hook.

Steven, if you're still out there, would this idea have any merit?

And what level ranges can we expect for future modules released in 2014? I'm considering a subscription if it meshes well.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I have skimmed Dragon's Demand (and I really really liked it), but I haven't read it in depth enough to try to hybridize the plots. However, if you'll just give me a day or two, I'll post what I'd do in my game to bridge the two. I can also come up with a couple of beefy bits to add to some of the encounters since the PCs would be starting a bit higher in level.

I think if PCs can complete The Dragon's Demand and Bitter Manor back to back, they can pretty much get the keys to Taldor. Good on them!

Liberty's Edge

Thanks! That sounds great! Among my concerns were two tricky items: 1) gear: The heroes in DD get soem pretty specific gear near the end to help them in the final combat. Mayeb they sell this off and start over with average wealth-by-level before tackling Bitter Manor? Maybe the heroes retire briefly, or soemthing like that.

2) Party composition: My current groups are running pretty vanilla parties in that they are covering the "classic" roles without specializing in fighting certain creature types, etc. Would this present any added difficulty?

Thanks again!


The premise of this module sounds like a Scooby-Doo episode, lol.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013

I don't think a little extra gear is gonna hurt the encounters much. Some of them are pretty tough. Like lots of good adventures, there's some specific gear in Bitter Manor that will help with the most chalenging encounters if the PCs avail themselves of it. If some encounters seem soft because of what your players come into the game with, consider not giving them as much experience for quest items and beefing up encounters that seem fun but too easy.

I'll be honest, a good adventure usually has soft encounters, challenging encounters, and really tough encounters, and I can't think of too many "soft encounters" from the top of my head.

I think adventures have to be designed with both mixed parties, unusual classes, and the common mix of classes in mind. I tried consciously to do just that.

Xorial, it might seem that the party will unmask the villain at the end and he'll be carted of to jail, but I think this story is littered with corpses.

Hope everyone digs it!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Anyone have this yet and if they do which Iconics are in it?


Steven T. Helt wrote:
Xorial, it might seem that the party will unmask the villain at the end and he'll be carted of to jail, but I think this story is littered with corpses.

So... The Venture Bros. parody version of Scooby Doo? Where Fred's a homicidal kidnapper modeled off of Ted Bundy, Daphne's Patty Hearst, Velma's been turned into Valerie Solanas, and Shaggy's the Son of Sam(with Scooby being Harvey and only able to be heard by Shaggy)...

Schoolgirls! Painted lips! Zey must be punished! Ze hair must be punished, Sonny! You are ze hand chosen by ze Master! Yours is ze veil of blood! Yours is ze sword of Michael!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013

I confess...I have never seen Venture Brothers. My friend Nick Logue is a fan but I never caught it. I think it'son Netflix, though.

If your party breaks down and starts serial killing, I think you can blame video games and parents, but not....Her.


How many new monsters are in it. Thanks

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013

I was asked to create new monsters and select several from the 2013 Superstar monster round. I think I can say there are easily half a dozen, but I'll withhold more specific comment until it looks like more people have a copy in hand.

Or the 26th when the .pdf is available.


Steven T. Helt wrote:

I confess...I have never seen Venture Brothers. My friend Nick Logue is a fan but I never caught it. I think it'son Netflix, though.

If your party breaks down and starts serial killing, I think you can blame video games and parents, but not....Her.

The first season is on Netflix, yea. It's a good one, but season 2 and season 3(which has the Scooby-Doo parody) are really great.

Anyway, enough about that. I want my copy so I can see the embalming bear!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The finished version of the adventure has....surprises. Order yours today!

Grand Lodge

REALLY looking forward to this.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Is this going to also get the PFS Chronicle treatment?

Dark Archive

RIGZARRETH p. 32

spoiler:

CheckAlignment: Invalid alignment value - ME

XP CR: Computed: 3200 Stat Block: 600

Dark Archive

DULVAN p. 37

spoiler:

Male human natural wererat rogue 5/assassin 2 (augmented humanoid) (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 197)
LE Medium humanoid (human, shapechanger)

Archetype of augmented humanoid???


I know you can't tell much from a "Blurb" but I just finished reading the last Pathfinder Tale "Dagger of Trust" and the plot of Bitter Manor seems very familiar in light of the book. Is this on purpose or just a coincidence based on my not having enough info about what Bitter Manor is really about?

Dark Archive

bunch of monsters and magic items from superstar 2013 are included

nice touch!!!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013

I don't know anything about Dagger of Trust. Bitter Manor is,described in more detail in the final round of 2013's Superstar contest. But there are changes, so don't assume everything there is exactly the same as the adventure.


Thanks Steven, obviously not a purposeful crossover then. I look forward to seeing the module as it sounds great.


chopswil wrote:

bunch of monsters and magic items from superstar 2013 are included

nice touch!!!

Which one? I'm curious because I was asked if my item could be used in the module.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013

Which one was yours, brah?

And, Chopswil:

Spoiler:

That's probably my fault. Since shape-shifter used to be a type (3.0, but not 3.5, I think), I called it augmented even though I gave him the human and shapeshifter subtype. There's nothing weird about his humanoid-ness.


Steven T. Helt wrote:

Which one was yours, brah?

And, Chopswil:

** spoiler omitted **

The elixir of last will.

Dark Archive

goldomark wrote:
Steven T. Helt wrote:

Which one was yours, brah?

And, Chopswil:

** spoiler omitted **

The elixir of last will.

that one was included


Shweeeet!

Thanks!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

Did Cobra-hood cloak or Thoughtstealer ooze get in?

Scarab Sages

I did just download my pdf and while I haven't been reading much (nor will I until I get a few hours of sleep, so please don't ask me for spoilers) in a passing glance this appears to be the first of the new adventures without extensive dungeons. I will take that as a sign that more diversity (not only in regions but in content) is coming :-)

Edit: What I did see in both art and cartography looks gorgeous btw.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Thanks for using my item! Got my name in a Pathfinder book! Woot!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013

You deserve it Christopher! I really liked it!

I am so pleased with the art and cartography. Yerril and the art over the first chapter creeped me right out!

Liberty's Edge

Well, I just subscribed to the AP's for Mummy's Mask, and with the Pathfinder Advantage in place I grabbed this too. I should have it in my hands within the week!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Blob of glue ripped both the map and the back page of the module.
Hopefully next release will fix this

Dark Archive Vendor - Fantasiapelit Tampere

So far it seems interesting. The leveling speed worries me, since our players really enjoy time between leveling, playing at one level long times. Sure, there are ton of adventures in addition, but most of them are so secondary in comparison to the main plot

Spoiler:
of saving the adventurers, in which they will not hesitate and will run trough the adventure to save them and leave the sidequest for later notice. This brings up a problem, when the ending encounter is too tough for lov-level players.

I liked Dragons Demand, and Tears at Bitter Manor has some very great scenes and VERY strong scenes and themes going on, but I really liked the one level at time-modules. You could hack adventure trough in a night and be done with it, but this eats time little too much to be casual adventure.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013

That is good feedback, Rosgakori. I think my solution would be to brainstorm several more cases of betrayal or heartbreak. Cassomir is certainly large enough to keep the PCs busy for a while. Plus, the other things going on in Cassomir are compelling. Or you could combine them, like, a single mother wasting away because her young son was abducted by derro and taken below the city for Nefarious Purposes.

A few more of these sprinkled into the city or in Hope's Hollow will slow down the leveling pace. The encounters and stories solidify the theme and extend play, and you remove some side quest experience to keep the level adjustment on a pace your table enjoys.

But, don't let them get to the house without a strong head start on level 8. :)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I noticed the stat block for Rigzarreth on page 32 lists her as being ME. I'm guessing that should be NE.


Chris Ballard wrote:
I noticed the stat block for Rigzarreth on page 32 lists her as being ME. I'm guessing that should be NE.

No, she is YOU.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Tirisfal wrote:
Chris Ballard wrote:
I noticed the stat block for Rigzarreth on page 32 lists her as being ME. I'm guessing that should be NE.
No, she is YOU.

Well, I wasn't going to advertise it.

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Helaman wrote:
Is this going to also get the PFS Chronicle treatment?

In time it will. With convention season approaching, my primary responsibility is getting everything prepared for the end of Season 5 and the start of Season 6. As my schedule permits, I will work on sanctioning and the accompanying Chronicle sheets.

I read through this module a few nights ago, and it looks like it would sanction rather nicely.


I noticed that Hope's Hollow siblings (Regine and Cris) are missing some feats. They are both fighter 3/rogue 2, so they should have a total of 6 feats (1 human, 2 fighter, 3 for 5th level), but they have 5 feats, one being Weapon Finesse, which is granded by their rogue talent Finesse Rogue.

So they are both missing 2 feats (?).
Or these npcs follow some rule im unaware of?

Their talents are:
Alertness, Dazzling Display, Iron Will, Weapon Focus (rapier), Weapon Finesse (granted by a rogue talent).


I'm really not a fan of the Delgeth...

The Delgeth is the only Pronghorn monster in Mythology, and now it is turned into a neutral (the Delgeth from NA mythology is extremely evil) nature hugging Elk...

This delgeth doesn't only cut creatures like the Sianach and Paiyuk (two real Elk monsters from mythology) from the paizonizer-monster list but also destroys the only chance on a cool Pronghorn monster :-(

I know JJ say its unlikely the monster gets changed when converted into the Bestiary 5 or later, but I still hope it will be changed, maybe this creature can be renamed into Paiyuk.

Appart from that, I really love the story and the book!


@Evil Queen
Hey, i didnt know that a Delgeth was evil, that actually matches my plans for the encounter. I was planning to ignore the "neutral and peaceful" aspect of the creature and make him really aggressive, as if he evil in the forest had affected him and he went over protective, trying to expell the demons with fire.

But now that you tell me it's an evil creature, that makes things a lot easier to me. I went ahead and read some texts about them, and they seemed more like a giant cat mixed with an elk, really aggressive and a carnivore aswell.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
shadowkras wrote:

@Evil Queen

Hey, i didnt know that a Delgeth was evil, that actually matches my plans for the encounter. I was planning to ignore the "neutral and peaceful" aspect of the creature and make him really aggressive, as if he evil in the forest had affected him and he went over protective, trying to expell the demons with fire.

But now that you tell me it's an evil creature, that makes things a lot easier to me. I went ahead and read some texts about them, and they seemed more like a giant cat mixed with an elk, really aggressive and a carnivore aswell.

Well in most pictures and storylines I see about the creatures they mention it as Carnivorous Antilope of North America, and there is only one type of antelope in NOrth America, the Pronghorn.

+ the awesome picture you find on google pictures of the delgeth being some type of flaming pronghorn/bicorne.

I love the abilities of the Delgeth from this book, don't get me wrong, but I hate it being an Elk and being neutral and nature hugging, while the real deal was a nature destroying creature and one of the terrible demons from Native America, it belonged to the demons, Yeitso, Tsenahale and the twin totem demon with a difficult name.

I love the idea of making the Delgeth a demon-corrupted creature, much like the Baregara, Bebilith and other demon-like horrors that aren't demons YET.


Quick necro question for Steven Helt: What deity would you ascribe to Luersa? Seeing as antipaladins need a patron deity in Pathfinder and in keeping with the context of the adventure, she'd likely worship one of the archdaemons or possibly some NE deity.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013

Thanks for the question, Ashram!

My understanding is that antipaladins don't need a specific deity, same as other divine classes might venerate a concern or set or domains. Certainly, Luersa betrayed her deity and stopped believing in anything but evil and the destruction of her rival faith.

If you feel you really want to nominate a deity for her to sell herself out to, use any evil deity you think would deal with the daemons, but I'd say the Horsemen Famine. Not only is that my persona on my writing team, but Anobaith clearly deals in people who are fixated on a need—a form of spiritual starvation.

Hope that helps!


Maybe I am missing something, but are there flip mats or map packs that go along with the module without the labels in them?

It's hard for my group not to metagame with a big dotted T square labeled for traps and that sort of thing etc... I have the ground floor map without labels, but what about all the other maps?


The Supplements for this Adventure box on page 5 states in part:

Spoiler:
"The adventure features the daemons of Abaddon, so Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Book of the Damned, Vol. 3 will be particularly helpful. You can run this adventure without Book of the Damned, Vol. 3, as this module contains the full statistics for those monsters, but the full flavor and abilities of those monsters (namely the erodaemon and venedaemon) are detailed in that book."

However, the monster on page 23 is called out from that book but doesn't have a stat block.

Liberty's Edge

I downloaded the pdf for this and it seems I'm missing a map. Is there supposed to be a map of Hope's Hollow, since there are actual encounter areas H (Sorrow from Beyond) and I (Mother's Care Home for Invalids)? I do have the tactical map for the Invalid home.

51 to 98 of 98 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Paizo / Product Discussion / Pathfinder Module: Tears at Bitter Manor (PFRPG) All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.