Rise of the Drow (PFRPG)

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Rise of the Drow (PFRPG)
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If absolute power corrupts absolutely, Matron Maelora best beware; her plans for total domination of the Underworld are already close to satisfactory completion, while attacks on the Upperworld have become increasingly successful. The other power-hungry drow families of Holoth may despise her but they know a true leader when they see one, and House Gullion has been revealed as the family to lead them all on the path to glory. With the entire Underworld in chaos and the Spider Goddess regularly communing with her chosen Matron, far greater dreams than mere regional conquest are within the grasp of the drow, as Maelora prepares her grand dark elf army for victory!

With other mystical allies standing firm with the Matron, other Underworld races beneath her heel or cowering behind fortified walls, and every drow ready to play their part when she gives the word, what could possibly stop her from achieving her final triumph and fulfilling her destiny?

But even the greatest of plans has a flaw if you look hard enough, and a party of stout heart and strong resolve can make a difference. At first, such a party may well believe it is on a smaller adventure, perhaps to win a few baubles or some small acclaim by rescuing a few kidnapped villagers. Soon, however, those adventurers will realise that much more is at stake, and that they are the ones who will need to make moves against the evil Matron Maelora and her increasing dominance if both the entire Underworld and Upperworld are to be saved. But how will they go about it? Can they ensure their own success when an entire city is standing against them? Only they have the chance to halt the Rise of the Drow!

"Rise of the Drow" is a standalone 'mega module' of almost 500 pages. It is designed for starters of 6th level and takes players up to around 18th level. It can be played in conjunction with "The Darkness Arrives," the prologue to this adventure that support PCs of level 1 to 6, and "The Commander of Malice," an epilogue to "Rise of the Drow" that takes those same PCs to level 20.

"Rise of the Drow" contains:

  • Brand new illustrations by Mates Laurentiu, Rick Hershey, Jacob Blackmon, Jen Page, and Satine Phoenix
  • New and revised maps by three time ENnie award-winning cartographer Todd Gamble
  • Beautiful page design by Rick Hershey of Fat Goblin Games
  • The dwarven trade city of Embla fleshed out in even greater detail
  • A fully expanded Fungi Forest spanning over 50 pages with new spells and items
  • Three main paths for the PCs to explore with options to take your adventures even farther
  • The dwarven capital of Stoneholme by Kevin Mickelson, author of "The Mask of Death"
  • Jorumgard, the deep dragon lair by Owen KC Stephens of Rogue Genius Games
  • Vethin's Hold, a new underground city of trade and treachery by Jason Stoffa of Fat Goblin Games
  • The foul drow House Invidious by Brian Berg of TPK Games
  • Holoth, the mighty drow city of the Underworld completely revised and expanded by Christina Stiles of Kobold Press, Rogue Genius Games, and Christina Stiles Presents.
  • The gargantuan Temple of the Spider Goddess by Joshua Gullion of AaW
  • House Gullion’s home, Tolgorith Tower which spans across 6 maps and includes over 30 different locations for your PCs to explore
  • Supplemental histories on each member of House Gullion
  • The demiplane of Venom
  • Multiple ways for the PCs to end the adventure and many more ways to continue with the "Rise of the Drow Epilogue: The Commander of Malice" or new adventures in the Underworld!
  • New artifacts like the powerful soul-stealing Vidrefacte
  • New Traps like ochre jelly dust
  • New Special Abilities such as the third eye of fear
  • New Feats including Fused Weapon Fighting
  • New Items like giant green-spored parasol mushroom poison and Fungi Forest kombucha
  • New Magical Items such as the coin of singing and mycelosuits
  • New Mushroom and Drow domains
  • Loads of new spells perfect for adventuring underground
  • New Monsters, too numerous to list
  • and so much more!

Foreword by Ed Greenwood
Written by Stephen Yeardley, Jonathan G. Nelson, Mike Myler, Joshua Guillon, Ed Greenwood, Owen KC Stephens, Christina Stiles, Brian Berg, Jason Stoffa, Kevin Mickelson
Cover Art by Kerem Beyit
Art by Jen Page, Satine Phoenix, Todd Gamble, Kerem Beyit, Mates Laurentiu, Rick Hershey, Jacob Blackmon and more!
Pages: 494, full color

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Video review

5/5


Great campaign, my players loved it!

5/5

Just wrapped up running this campaign with my group. It’s a huge book with gobs of content, all ready to use in the publisher’s setting. It is not overly difficult to drop into any setting tho, as I did for the collaborative shared-world setting I’ve got going on with two other DMs.

There were only a couple of hiccups during our play through, and I can’t blame them on this book. One, the starting point in the book is the small town of Rybalka. That just wasn’t going to fit with our setting, but it was easy to tweak. Two, my group just wasn’t ready to move underground… humans that didn’t bring light sources, that sort of thing. And the fact that large portions of this book takes your PCs underground shouldn’t be a spoiler, given the title!! :)

This book is huge, with gobs of content, art, maps, locations, and NPCs with personality and tactics write ups! I have some of the very old original PDFs from when Rise of the Drow was a pack of separate adventures. The editing, art, and especially maps are greatly improved!

All in all, a very fun, challenging-but-survivable quest, definitely worth the money and the 5 stars!


An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This massive tome of a module is 494 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page designer signatures, 1 blank page inside front cover, 1 page editorial, 5 pages ToC,2 pages of SRD, 2 pages of backer-lists, 12 pages of advertisements (all in the back), 1 page back cover, leaving us with 469 pages of content...that's A LOT, so I'll better get going!

First, let me preface this review with a disclaimer: I reviewed the original Rise of the Drow-trilogy back in the day, and it already was a very good array of modules then. When this kickstarter happened, I was asked to be a stretch-goal and I agreed. I did receive compensation for my contribution to this book, small as said contribution may have been - an ecology (I'll point out in the review) was penned by me, but I had no influence over any other part of this book. I do not consider my judgment in any way compromised and if you've been following me, you'll have noticed that I'm just as adept at criticizing my own work, so yeah - this book, if anything does not get an easier standing with me. Still, full disclosure in regards like this is a necessity to maintain my integrity. If you are still in doubt, feel free to check my original reviews for the trilogy, posted quite some time before even the announcement of the kickstarter that made this book to verify this.

Next up, since this is an adventure-review, here's the warning - the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should definitely jump to the conclusion.

Still here? All right!

If you're familiar with "Descent into the Underworld", Part I of the original Rise of the Drow trilogy, then you'll realize one thing from the get go - you get your money's worth in this tome. The AAW crew has NOT skimped on the art budget, quite the contrary - from a one-page panorama of the starting village of Rybalka to the copious amounts of artworks in lavish detail (and color!), this is more than the sum of its constituent parts - take the keep the PCs are to investigate in the beginning - its whole surrounding area has now been properly mapped and expanded to include some gruesome remnants of the ancient fields of battle - including a couple of rather deadly creatures stalking the place...Have I mentioned that chaotic remnants of magic infusing the area (in case screaming skulls and diseased, mad treants did not drive home the point that this is unpleasantville...) or the rather problematic new residents of the keep?

From a panicked "prisoner" (you'll see...) to the exploration of the creepy place, the PCs have a neat array of threats ahead of them - and intelligence to gather. Rather nice here would be the module actually taking into account that the PCs probably will (and should!) regroup at the village sooner or later - if only to do some legwork. The exploration of the dungeon beneath the keep has also been upgraded with a much needed (and useful!) place - a kind of teleport nexus (hard to use, but players probably will find a way...) of a cabal of drow/undead, the so-called ossuary collaborative. Here, people knowing the original trilogy will look a bit puzzled: Yes, Yul, the nasty drow mhorg can still the "boss" of this dungeon - but the AAW-crew took one of my gripes with the original trilogy, the relative weak tie-in of the first module with the rest, and slew two brutes with one stone - the PCs receive powerful gifts from a mysterious drow female as they explore the complex - the lady Makinnga seems to be looking for an alliance and her extremely powerful items indeed are nothing to scoff at...plus, this alliance may be a shadow of the things to come for your players.

Exploring successfully the dungeon beneath the keep, the PCs are next off to a trip into the bowels of the earth, the wondrous realm called underdark. Or rather, in AAW Games' setting Aventyr (Norwegian for adventure, btw.), the world called underworld - and no, you won't (yet!) find Lethe or the like, but seriously - this is a world in itself. One of my grand disappointments with most 2nd and 3rd edition underdark/world-supplements of our game and, to a lesser extent, Pathfinder, is the lack of claustrophobia, of wonder, of strange horizons unconquered. The good ole' Dungeoneer's Survival Guide, one of the best resources I've ever read, is a rare exception to this - and the second module of the series garnered high praise from me initially, trumping the whole Second Darkness AP in one fell swoop. So AAW could have just left that alone. They didn't - they vastly expanded the whole section. Not only do we get tables of underworld hazards the players will have to adapt to, random and special encounters to face while the explore the vast network of tunnels - this time, they get to save a dwarven caravan from drow raiders and then, explore the vastly expanded dwarven city of Embla. Studded with crystalline Gonjolas, fully mapped and vastly expanded to provide a vast political panoply for exploration, interaction etc. - all while maintaining believability. What do I mean by that? Fungus farms, trade routes - the city feels alive, realistic and still thoroughly fantastic. Embla was great before, but ultimately only a grandiose backdrop - now, it's a vast sandbox to expand, develop and play in - complete with a creation myth, prices for beard-jewelry and trimming (YES!!! Now if that ain't dwarven, what is?), notable NPCs, different stores, taverns, banks and even a recipe for dwarven bread. Now, if your players don't bite, you can guide them through the story-threads rather easily here, but I literally, for my life can't imagine a group of players who wouldn't at least be intrigued by this strange place.

Beyond Embla, a short primer of some interest for the city of Stoneholm (tangential to the module - just there if your players want to check it out - now that's detail!) also can be found herein. While in Embla, the PCs will have to thwart an assassination attempt on the ruling council of the mercantile dwarves (after they've been thoroughly introduces into the intricacies of dwarven hospitality) and then, follow one of three paths to pursue in the aftermath of the drow's cowardly attempt at destroying the back-bone of the dwarves. Or at least, 3 paths are assumed and depicted - overall, the whole chapter is mostly written as a sandbox and thus offers quite an array of tough choices - two of which, though, have dire consequences: Returning to Rybalka to warn the village will see Embla fall to the drow and the PCs consequently will have to navigate either the ruins of the gorgeous city or avoid it altogether - sample encounters and the like are provided. A direct assault on the city is also possible, especially if your players are all about kicking the door in, murder-hobo style - and the battle indeed will be epic. The most detailed of the 3 paths, though, and the one the players should imho choose for maximum enjoyment, would be the one to Holoth's back entrance.

This choice will also change the final adventure in the trilogy, mind you. But back to the exploration trip through the wilderness. This trip, in the original, constituted the very best in underworld wilderness I've seen in ANY Pathfinder module. That was before the addition of the dreadful underworld dragon Nidh-Cthon and his demesne Jorumgard. And before the addition of Venthin's Hold, a truly despicable, extremely dangerous city hidden in the bowels of the earth, where no appetite, no matter how depraved, may be satisfied or the caves of the bat-like humanoids, the ahool. This would also be a good time to mention that the settlements get full settlement statblocks. And then, a gorgeous one-page illustration of a fungus jungle starts with what can be considered a herbarium of giant fungi of the underdark - what for example about a giant fungus that makes perception checks easier when adjacent due to its funnel-like shape? What about moonlight-like-radiance emitting mushrooms that imbue powers to e.g. reverse gravity to those drinking parts of the shrooms in alcohol. Especially impressive here - all fungi and molds herein get their very own full-color artworks (most including a humanoid figure as a frame of reference) and beyond these plants and wondrous hazards, mycelosuits are also introduced. These suits can essentially give you a mushroom suit that coats most of your body, rendering you weird, but also providing some very cool bonuses.

Plus: Seriously, how awesome is walking around covered in a weird suit of fungal fibre? Especially if the fungal suit constantly ejects tendrils and he like to propel you forward in e.g. forested environments? Oh, and then there would be the mushroom domain - one of my favorite domains currently available for Pathfinder. Why? Because you learn to generate explosive caps and kill your foes with force damage dealing mushroom caps. Not cool enough yet? What about entering shrooms and exiting through the same species? Or about the array of exclusive spells introduced? What spells? Well, what about fusing your legs with a mushroom and ride it? No, really. There's a spell here that fusing a hopping shroom to your feet, making you ignore difficult terrain and nigh invincible against most combat maneuvers, but also providing a severe hindrance to your spellcasting? Yes, picture it. Glorious. Especially if you evoke carnivorous shrooms erupting from the floor to eat foes?

What about special weather conditions like fungi sweat and spore storms? Yeah - and then there would be the new, superb map of the fungal jungle and the already by now (at least in my game) cult mushroom harvesting mini-game, with a cool makeover. Oh, and the jungle itself has MUCH more going on inside as well... This section of the module was great before - it's stellar now. Here is also a good place to note one of the smartest layout decisions I've seen in a while: Each of the 3 parts has its own, distinct, unique and gorgeous layout in full color. And I'm not saying the following due to Joshua Gullion (also known as fellow reviewer KTFish7 and a true friend) being responsible: The layout in this book is friggin' Paizo-level, depending on personal preferences even beyond that. Each of the various styles used just is stunning, complements well the full color illustrations and is just downright gorgeous. My girl-friend is professionally involved in layout and LOVES what he's done here - even though she usually has only complaints regarding my RPG-books. Better yet - the herbarium gets its own distinct layout - and in the context of this vast tome, that means if you just want to use the fungal jungle rules, you can immediately see where the section starts - flip it open, done. The same holds true for the 3 modules etc. - rendering this tome rather user-friendly. I am not engaging in hyperbole when I say that the layouts used here are among the most beautiful I've ever seen.

That out of the way - I know what you want to hear about - the vast drow city of Holoth and what is going on there. Well, let's start with a cohesive and concise gazetteer to the city - including detailed houses, power-structure, produce etc., allowing a DM to portray a very vivid depiction of the place. Each noble house (including two shadow houses)gets a full write up to inspire DMs further/expand the place, while each member of the main antagonist-house of Gullion actually gets a massive, full background story - making them come alive and potentially offering smart PCs way to use/trick/defeat the opposition. Speaking of which - roleplaying opportunities to strike deals with demons or devils, staging a slave revolt against dinosaur-riding drow taskmasters.

Chaos reigns in the city of Holoth, as the drow and the vidre wage war around the central fortress containing the dread artifact Vidrefacte - and to stop the threat once and for all, they will have to navigate the spider-shaped temple of the drow and enter via the temple Tolgrith tower. Here, the level of detail has once again been upped significantly - what about a 1-page table of quasi-magical herbs, all with different effects for one or 3 doses? Favorites like the mosaic tile golem or the book golem also make a triumphant return to form here. And the PCs better hurry, for each effect of the vidrefacte demands the power of souls to fuel it - and life is cheap in the underdark. Literally every day the PCs dawdle costs between 200 and 500 HD of creatures their lives...Yes, these drow are capital "N" Nasty genocidal megalomaniacs... If the PCs are smart, though, they'll return to an alliance with the undead-affine Makinnga that, via her magic and items might have helped them time and again (and is a great way to keep players on track): She proposes an alliance to destroy the vidrefacte: If the PCs can get 3 personal items from each family member, Makinnga can use her talents to distract that family member...and delay the collapse of the tower upon destruction of the artifact. The PCs have to essentially create their own ticking clock in the end and are responsible for what happens - greed for magical items versus survival instinct - brilliant. And the PCs better damn well heed this advice and alliance, unless they're buffed up and maxed out to the brim. Why? Because the tower and its foes are BRUTAL. We're talking Frog God Games level, mixed with TPK Games-style boss battles. What do I mean by that? Navigating the tower is brutal in itself - but in order to stop Matron Mother Maelora, the PCs will also have to escape the friggin' demplane of venom (now fully depicted and containing one of the most iconic boss battles I've seen in ages!) and final defeat the mastermind of the genocidal drow in a massive, chaotic free-for-all that lets them reap the benefits of their deeds and puts them in direct confrontation not only with the matron mother, but also her strongest allies and the dread vidre in a deadly free-for-all of epic proportions. A round-to-round breakdown helps the DM track all the complex interactions here and then, the collapse of the tower makes for a truly deadly escape - and, as for magic and the like - unlike most high-level modules, this one actually takes teleportations, flying and similar escape tricks into account and provides sensible explanations why the PCs should better damn well run on their own two legs...

Escaping from a city in chaos, the PCs will probably never, ever forget how deadly those damn drow are...and if even my players did so with PCs either fallen or severely battered and bruised, they still talk about the original module in reverent tones. This one is even better. So go figure! Different results, different end-game scenarios...all provided here...though, if you're like me, you want to go for the high-level epilogue module next!

Beyond the epic modules (at this point, we're on page 394 of the book!), we get the ecology of the enigmatic vidre, written by yours truly. I'm, of course, biased as to how this turned out, so feel free to tell me whether you liked it and why/why not! (And yes, I managed to point towards Rogue Genius Games great research rules in this one as an optional rule...) and also have a strange affliction and power components (inspired by Rite Publishing's 101 Special Material and Power Components) in here, though you need neither book to (hopefully!) enjoy the article.

Now not all is great in here - I'm e.g. no fan of the new drow domain - I consider its crunch somewhat flawed - gaining sight-based powers for negative energy damage falls apart with undead casters immediately and the other spells provided here didn't blow me away either - so this one is a definite "pass" for me. Then again, there is the gloriously whacky (or disturbing, depends on how you play it!) mushroom domain, so one flop, one top evens out for me. We also get a handy page of general drow traits for both 3.5 and PFRPG for the DM and then are off to the crunchy bits, i.e. the statblocks of the creatures and NPCs herein, provided for both Pathfinder and 3.5, each with its own index for convenience's sake and easy navigation - nice!

Part II of my review in the product discussion, post no 85. See you there!


Rise of the Drow - A hardback campaign

5/5

First review here, so hopefully it's an okay one. I haven't played through the entire campaign yet, so most of this are my impressions from thumbing through the Rise of the Drow.

The first statement I want to make is if you like the hardback campaigns of Shackled City and Rise of the Runelords, you want to take a good LONG HARD look at Rise of the Drow.

It didn't hit me until after I got Rise of the Drow that there are some similarities between the title of it, and that of Rise of the Runelords. What's more striking, is that on the shelf, side by side, they look of the same design and make, as well as about the same length.

The cover of Rise of the Drow seems to be a little bit more loose than the one I have on Rise of the Runelords and the Shackled City, but otherwise seems to be of the same design considerations.

Rise of the Drow has an interesting story (no spoilers here, or I'll try not to put any, though there are some obvious ones simply from reading the title), which is probably on par with Shackled City, and has some interesting ideas which can be incorporated into any campaign.

The artwork and design is pretty good, as is the layout. Most of the art reminds me less of Paizo's current offerings (and hence less like the Rise of the Runelords Hardcover) and more like Shackled City (so more like the original Rise of the Runelords paperback AP...though even there, I'd put it even earlier with the original AP's like Shackled City).

It would fall more in line with what I see in my Shackled City campaign book than in the Rise of the Runelords book. This would also apply more in how I'd see the adventure design and how it flows (just reading, not playing through it yet).

The appendixes are also nice, and there is plenty of setting information which probably could be dropped into most campaigns (so specific in nature, but generic enough that it could be used in most campaign settings). It also has 100 monsters in an appendix, though this is misleading as some of those are specific types of enemies rather than the generic monsters you can drop into any other adventure you wish (though there a multitude of those as well).

The stats are for both PF and 3.5 from what I could see, so you could run it in either format.

Overall, it's a very impressive book, on par with the other two hardback campaign/AP types I have (Shackled City and Rise of the Runelords). It is NOT like Rappan Athuk (which I also have for PF), but more in the style of a Paizo type writing, rather than the old style (which I'd say Rappan Athuk is more like).

IF you have and have enjoyed Shackled City or Rise of the Runelord Anniversary edition, I'd say take a good long look at Rise of the Drow as another hardback campaign you may want to add to your shelf.


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Sczarni

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Excellent. In time for my July birthday! Still want to pre-order so I can read the pdf though.


Someone asked about the quality. We're using the same printer as Paizo with nearly identical specs. Got the proofs back this week and they are drop dead gorgeous! Friend me on Facebook to get a peek at the photos I posted!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventureaweek wrote:
Someone asked about the quality. We're using the same printer as Paizo with nearly identical specs. Got the proofs back this week and they are drop dead gorgeous! Friend me on Facebook to get a peek at the photos I posted!

Those pages are just, WOW.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

It really does look awesome!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Holy moley - so glad I backed this.

KS projects can sometimes be of, ahem 'variable' quality (in terms of the physical product...luckily all the KS projects I have backed have content which has been pretty awesome), but this looks amazing.

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme :)


Thanks guys, we spent every dollar earned from the Rise of the Drow Kickstarter to craft the best book we could for you. We didn't cut any corners and poured our blood, sweat, and tears into this tome. A dying man and namesake to drow House Gullion did the layout; in fact this could be Joshua Gullion's last book--but I hope not because I want to see NaeraCull and those damn Were-Jaguars Joshua! ;)

Bug Joshua about his Were-Jaguars here!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I just couldn't wait for the pre-order so bought it all Monday, =) I will be buying the hard back when it comes available also! Still reading through it all but it is...beyond expectations so far!

Dark Archive

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so, do we start a wait list? tried to pre-order and its spinning.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ugh. Looks like I know where my tax return is going.

I would buy this just to look at the pictures. Yeesh.

Dark Archive

hopefully, i dont have to wait till Gencon to get my copy.


We are trying to work out a print agreement that will put more books in Paizo's hands but for the meantime you can pre-order hardbacks/grab the PDF on our website at Adventureaweek.com.

I also have good news for Gen Con attendees who want this book. Looks like we will be getting a booth for AAW Games so you can snag the Rise of the Drow books there or at the Kobold Press booth. I'm hoping Paizo will also carry some copies at Gen Con. :)


Adventureaweek wrote:
We are trying to work out a print agreement that will put more books in Paizo's hands but for the meantime you can pre-order hardbacks/grab the PDF on our website at Adventureaweek.com.

I checked the website but only see orders for the pdf/hardback bundle. Is there a seperate link for just the hardback you can point us to? I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

We just posted a preview video of the hardback on Youtube! Books arrive mid-June and ship soon thereafter.


Swashbucklersdc wrote:
I checked the website but only see orders for the pdf/hardback bundle. Is there a seperate link for just the hardback you can point us to? I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks!

A single hardback is the same price as the hardback/PDF bundle. Hope that answers your question. :)

Webstore Gninja Minion

1 person marked this as a favorite.

We've got a few more hardcover copies available for preorder, so if you've been holding off (or having issues with checking out), please go ahead and order this. (You *did* see that it's a nearly 500 page long tome fighting against drow, yes? :D )


Since I previously bought the PDF and then pre-ordered the Hardback/PDF Bundle, could I gift the second PDF to someone?

Paizo Employee Customer Service Dire Care Bear Manager

Swashbucklersdc wrote:
Since I previously bought the PDF and then pre-ordered the Hardback/PDF Bundle, could I gift the second PDF to someone?

We can't gift it to anyone else, but if you email customer.service@paizo.com we can assist you with this further.

thanks
sara marie


Sara Marie wrote:
Swashbucklersdc wrote:
Since I previously bought the PDF and then pre-ordered the Hardback/PDF Bundle, could I gift the second PDF to someone?

We can't gift it to anyone else, but if you email customer.service@paizo.com we can assist you with this further.

thanks
sara marie

I didn't gift anyone, but I did have a question regarding the Pre-order that I asked Customer service at the beginning of the week. Have not gotten an answer yet though.

I assume/hope the hardcopies are still included with the preorder?

That's what is indicated.

Webstore Gninja Minion

GreyWolfLord wrote:
I assume/hope the hardcopies are still included with the preorder?

Customer Service is a bit backed up right now, but if you preordered the bundle, it does include the hardcover.


Paizo warehouse now has hardcover copies of this book! Order away before they're all gone!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'd love to but can't really reach the required $62 shipping :(


Explain "required". Where are you shipping to?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I am in New Zealand and the shipping from Paizo to me is 62$ (as it is on your site, a priority box). Cest la vie.


I got the email saying mine has shipped. From my estimate I should be getting it next week sometime, most likely. Very excited to get it!


Would love to hear what you think of it! :)


How hard would it be to "plug" it in Golarion


Quoting three people here off the prologue thread:

various people (including ENDZEITGEIST wrote:

I'm considering running this with it set in Golarion. Anyone have any thought on where the best location would be? I'm currently considering the Land of the Linorm Kings, but not sure that's a good fit.

Thoughts?
I asked around the core team and Joshua Gullion said: "Land of the Linorm Kings is exactly where someone would want to port it to if they are wanting to use Golarion for the setting."

So yes! :D

FWiW, that's also where I put all the AaW/Rybalka-modules - Land of the Linnorm Kings = Perfect fit. In Midgard: Northlands. In the Lost Lands: The other Northlands. ^^


Rise of the Drow was just nominated for BEST ADVENTURE in the 2014 ENnie Awards!

Congrats to the entire AAW Games team and a huge thank you to all our backers!


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Shipping to Germany is $55 too. :(


I'm going to send a small pallet of books to my co-author Stephen Yeardley in London soon. They are primarily for backers but if you live in Europe and just can't pay the shipping costs you can contact us through our website and I can put you in touch with Stephen.

Webstore Gninja Minion

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Zaister wrote:
Shipping to Germany is $55 too. :(

It is a mighty tome, and as such, the PostMasters demand tribute.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Adventureaweek wrote:
I'm going to send a small pallet of books to my co-author Stephen Yeardley in London soon. They are primarily for backers but if you live in Europe and just can't pay the shipping costs you can contact us through our website and I can put you in touch with Stephen.

Thanks for the offer, I have sent a mail through your site!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Curse you PostMasteeeerrrrrrrrrrrrs!!!!


I know this is a product thread but I felt it wise to mention that our newest 5-star Kickstarter project for Snow White (Pathfinder RPG) was just funded but still has 23 days to knock out some stretch goals. We also have a cool contest going where you can win tons of fairy tale related RPG stuff on our Facebook page.

I know many people have shown regrets at not having backed Rise of the Drow when they had the chance. Here's your chance to get on board for our latest and greatest book!


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Part II of my review:

Here, let me go on a slight tangent: AAW's modules provide statblocks for two systems that are related, but distinct and different - and both have in common, that their details eat up space. 60 pages of 3.5 stats, 64 PFRPG-stats. This means that you probably won't use the stats of the other system, right? Well...it actually depends. Personally, for example, I HATE how PFRPG weakened the Demilich. I'm taking the 3.5 statblock of that one over the PFRPG-equivalent and make a conversion of it - and having the statblock already done helps here. Perhaps that's just me, but I actually like how this results in alternative builds available for a minimum of work. Plus: Take a look at the page-count. Even sans using the statblocks of one system, this tome still clocks in at a massive 400+ pages. That's a lot of material.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch - while any book of this size will sport a lonely glitch here and there, the overall book is surprisingly error-free. Now I've already gushed about the drop-dead gorgeous, superb layout. I'll do so again - It adheres to beautiful, stunning two-column standards and each of the different styles used is beautiful in its own right. Then there would be the artwork. I'm not engaging in hyperbole when I'm saying that this is one of the most art-intense 3pp-books I#ve seen so far, with quite an impressive array of "show, don't tell" full-color pieces that are simply stunning and, at one glance, help immerse the players in the epic. The pdf comes with a vast array of bookmarks, indexes for statblocks and the different layout styles further help with navigation. Kudos! Now, as you know if you've ever purchased an AAW-module, the cartography by Todd Gamble and Jonathan Nelson, quite extensive and improved from the already great original pieces, is simply stunning. As per the writing of this review, I don't yet have the hardcover in my hands, so commenting on the quality of the binding, paper etc. is not yet possible. HOWEVER, I do own quite a bunch of AAW-print modules and they have in common that they use high-quality paper, glossy covers etc. - production values of a top-notch level beyond what I usually get when purchasing print.

When I reviewed the original trilogy and when the kickstarter was announced, Jonathan Nelson and the whole AAW-crew told me, they'd make this book a full-blown 5-star + seal of approval beast. Big promises indeed and, to be honest, I was somewhat skeptical - the original trilogy worked well and had its glorious moments, but it also had some severe weaknesses regarding tying the modules together and some minor logic bugs. These are gone. Now you may not realize this in the beginning, with the start being rather slow and relatively linear, but this is not only a huge, sandboxy module, this is the most expansive underworld/underdark-sourcebook I've read in ages.

The second half of the "Second Darkness" AP, back in the day, felt somewhat soulless to me - yes, the underdark depicted there was strange, had deadly creatures and cool hazards and the finale rocked. But it, at least to me, felt like a big kind-of-dungeon. It didn't feel like a cohesive, huge world, with its own rules, culture, flora, politics. Yes, it was a HUGE step up from 3.5's exceedingly boring slugfest "City of the Spider-Queen", but still - to me, it fell short: Of the level of detail I expected, of actual believability. Perhaps that's just the scholar in me, but there are many components to making fantastical settings work and the underworld should elicit wonder, this slack-jawed awe, this feeling you're not in Kansas anymore and have entered a world governed by strange rules and convention different from the surface world.

Rise of the Drow manages to pull this off. The AAW-crew has an uncanny knack for crafting believable, unique cultures, social norms and the like and the places and their inhabitants depicted herein adhere triumphantly to this tradition, with the guest-authors Brian Berg, Christina Stiles, Jason Stoffa, Joshua Gullion, Kevin Mickelson, Mike Myler, Owen K.C. Stephens, Will Myers, Chris Bayes, Curtis Baum, Justin Andrew Mason, Michale Allen, Rory Thomas, Todd Gamble and Steven Helt (and yours truly, at least I hope so!) bringing their A-game to the table and add their talents to the basic frame crafted by Stephen Yeardley and Jonathan Nelson. Most surpisingly here - the narrative cohesiveness of the voices of the narrative and the book - too many authors ften result in disjointed prose, something thankfully absent here. Oh, and take a look at this list - notice something? Yeah, that's pretty close to a veritable who's who of great game-designers, with several publishers among them.

As a vast module, Rise of the Drow manages to weave a vision of drow as efficient, deadly adversaries to be feared indeed, with so much going on, so much additional material and level of detail, that I can almost guarantee that no two groups will play this vast module in the same way. Want to go linear, run this like an AP? No problem. Want your players to explore and truly get into the meat (or rather: rhizome!) of the underworld and go full-blown sandbox? No problem either. Your players start experimenting with magical spices? There you go, full blown table of unique effects. In fact, the only module that came close to this in structure (but not in detail) would be the legendary, unavailable closed patron project "Empire of Ghouls" by Kobold Press, then Open Design, which reigned supreme since I managed to get my hands on it as my all-time favorite underworld module. Where I'm getting at is: I can't, with all the modules I've read, for the life of me, mention a single underworld-module in any iteration of a d20-based system that would be on par with this beauty. Mind you, that from someone who is actually rather sick of the drow as adversaries.

Now don't get me wrong, this book surely isn't perfect. here and there, certain magic items or effects could have used a slight streamlining and not all supernatural effects the PCs will encounter have the crunch detail to e.g. dispel them...but personally, as much as you'll be stunned to hear his...I like this decision. Why? Because thinking of 2nd ad 1st edition, there were so many cool terrains, weird magical effects, strange phenomena - all not codified with caster levels and the like. And honestly, in some cases I think the game is better off that way. Magic, when pressed in too tight a corset, ceases to be magic and becomes a science, something you can study and predict. Now, before prospective adventure authors start grinning: No, I have not lowered my standards, for where it is necessary, where it is feasible (i.e. in the vast majority of cases), the module actually uses spells, effects etc. and provides all of this information. And personally, I don't think I need harvesting DCs or a check to but mushroom fragments into a bottle of alcohol and dissolve it. This beast of a sourcebook/module is exceedingly detailed, but in a matter that makes sense. It leaves room for the strange to be strange. And overall, the crunch felt more refined than e.g. the at times problematic supplemental crunch used in e.g. Razor Coast.

It also offers a cornucopia of uncommon ideas, one of the best final fights (and penultimate bosses), a glorious mini-game, takes the capabilities of the high-level PCs into account, offers freedom sans losing its track. And while I probably won't run the saga again now, I will do one thing - scavenge the hell out of this book. The impressive amount of improved and new content makes this a great purchase even for those that own the original trilogy. I'm going so far as to suggest this being a truly worthwhile purchase even as a kind of regional sourcebook to plug and play in your game- you won't find an underworld-sourcebook of this quality anywhere else.

I already went into the pricing (this book is not cheap), but honestly, one look at the page-count (even minus the statblocks of the system you won't use) shows you why I still consider this great: To give you a relation - Razor Coast, another massive premium content sandbox, has a rather ill-fated, ineffective "build-your-own-AP"-chapter that confused me and almost ruined the whole experience for me. Said chapter of Razor Coast took up 100 of the 500+ pages and some less-than-perfect crunch ate more pages from the otherwise superb tale of colonialism and dark fantasy pirate-mega-module. What I actually used in both Rise of the Drow and Razor Coast is approximately on par, with Rise of the Drow even winning by a margin. So yeah, in relation to one another, I think the price for this massive, full-color premium book is damn justified.

So let's sum up my ramblings: This is the best currently available underdark sourcebook to scavenge ideas from, a glorious sandbox, an epic module with a furious climax and extremely high production values in the layout, art and cartography-departments to boot that fuses the sense of old-school underworld-exploration wonder and level of detail with a pressing, action-paced new-school approach and manages to please both my old-school sensibilities and my craving for cinematic, epic new-school scenery. This is a massive accomplishment and the measure by which all future underdark/underworld modules will be judged. It also is a no-brainer 5-star+seal of approval-book and a candidate for my Top Ten of 2014 - no matter whether you run this or just scavenge its pieces: This verdict holds true even if you never want to run this and just take components for your own game. Once the print copy arrives, it will get an honored place next to my copies of Slumbering Tsar, Rappan Athuk, my Midgard Campaign Setting and Coliseum Morpheuon as one of the books that defined Pathfinder modules for me. Have I mentioned I really, really don't like drow anymore?

Posted first on Endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop. Cheers!

Endzeitgeist out.

Dark Archive

I've just got my copy as a present and I'm skimming it. I have a question about dwergar and dweorg: Are they mechanically same as standard dwarves? Is there some info on them? The book is huge and I couldn't find it by casual page-flipping.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
mach1.9pants wrote:
Curse you PostMasteeeerrrrrrrrrrrrs!!!!

Hey! Do you have any idea the cost of Sahuagin couriers?


@Nightflier:

Dweorg and Dwergar are dwarven ethnicities of the Aventyr setting. While they are similar to what default dwarves are like, there are some minor differences in stats, traits etc. - I don't have my info ready and a lousy connection where I am, but yeah. Will check again tomorrow, but you shouldn't run into any problems with them...


Dweorg and Dvergr are similar to standard surface dwarves and duergar. There are Aventyr books for all of these Underworld Races & Classes being released with the Dweorg already available in PDF here on Paizo and PDF/Print on DTRPG. The Ahool is also available right now!

Dvergr, drow, and more are on the way!


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Rise of the Drow hardback too expensive? I have fantastic news for you: The brand new Rise of the Drow softcover book is now available in color and B&W over at DriveThruRPG! Get yours now!


My copy arrived yesterday. I backed the Kickstarter and it took awhile to get all the add on's done. That's not a complaint, not given how nice this book is. Here's a few things that I really liked:

-In the Prologue adventure and in the main book, every "chunk" of the book is color-coded, so you can flip to the right section pretty quickly.
-In the back of the book all of the statblocks are provided in 3.5 and Pathfinder rules, it adds thickness to the book, but also adds versatility!
-The art is really good! Some of it is what I think of as "cartoony" but it all looks good!

If I think of other things to say about it, I'll come back later!

Dark Archive

I must say that I really like the "personalization" of the dwarven subraces with setting-specific names. I use "dvergar" for mountain dwarves in my own setting, so I was pleasantly surprised.


@nightflier
That's so cool to find someone else who uses the other names for "dwarf". When reading mythology- specifically Norse Mythology, I found that there were different dwarves mentioned who were vastly different from one another. It made sense that there would be more than one type of dwarf given the myriad locations in which they have lived for hundreds or even thousands of years. Our setting of Aventyr has multiple layers, like an onion with the Upperworld as the outer-layer (home to Zwerc & Dweorg), then two layers of Underworld (homes of Dweorg, Dvergr, and some Zwerc), another layer of Underworld just about HEL (where the Gitwerc "play with fire" by consorting with those from below) then HEL itself at the center of the planet where demons and devils originate. More about the cosmology of Aventyr will be fleshed out in future books. For now grab the Underworld Races books- we've got the Ahool, Dweorg (dwarf), Gitwerc (dwarf), and Drow out so far in PDF (on Adventureaweek.com and Paizo.com) and both PDF/Print on DriveThruRPG.com. More races to come as well as some specialized classes to follow! Sorry for any typos, on my mobile.

@Itchy- so glad you like the books! Let us know how your games pan out!


How important is dark vision in this adventure?
How important are "good alignments"? (my guys tend to be NG, CG, LN and N)

My guys are one final battle from finishing book 5 of the AP I am running, and book 6 will only take 3 months or so to run, so I am looking forward to the next adventure.

These (prologue / main / epilogue) intrigue me but I don't want to purchase something that is going to just remain on the shelf and not be used.

thanks for you answers,

-- david


The assumption is for the PCs to be good (or at least neutral) - though evil PCs could, with some work, also function. if your PCs are lawful stupid good murder hobos they might have problems in the finale (refusing to make an alliance versus a greater evil), but nothing even remotely Second Darkness-level. If that should be a problem, drop me a line via my homepage endzeitgeist.com and I'll discuss ways to make that work.

I.e. there'll be no dressing in drow-skin etc. Darkvision is NOT crucial, at least not more so than in any dungeon exploration/underdark module. It's useful, but just because a PC doesn't have it doesn't mean it'll cripple him/her.

Hope that helps!


Yes, that helps a lot.

They do tend to the neutral or good alignments, but not LG. I don't think they will have a problem with an alliance.

Shattered Star AP:
They made an alliance with the drow in Shattered Star book 5. Hesitantly, but they did for the greater good. Too bad it will backfire spectacularly on them.

-- david


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I got the hardcover today, plus the ancillary books. This really is a spectacular product!


Thank you Zaister! We worked hard on this series and I hope you and your players enjoy it. Let us know how the games go- seriously, I would love hear how they fair and what paths they take.


How easy would the Paizo kingdom building rules fit in to this campaign?

Endzeitgeist's review does mention sandboxy content, i just haven't had a chance to dissect this book yet and wondered if this would be a good fit?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I saw that the premium version of the book is available elsewhere. Does that version include the epilogue and prologue?

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