Thunderscape—Lost Lexicon, Part 1: Heart of the Machine (PFRPG) PDF

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The first Thunderscape adventure path begins here!

Times are tough for adventurers in Aden, and the high-paying bounties offered by the Cogswheel Irregulars in Mekanus are a great place to save up a few crests for traveling. As representatives of the Urbanan government, however, the player characters soon find themselves in the crosshairs of a group eager to retrieve forgotten secrets from the most dangerous parts of the city, and they're only the first ones to paint a target on the characters' backs!

"Heart of the Machine" includes the following:

  • An adventure in four acts for a party of four 1st-level characters!
  • A primer and map of Mekanus, the largest city in the Known Lands!
  • Details on the mercenary lawmen known as the Cogswheel Irregulars!
  • New NPC profiles and bestiary entries!
  • And much more!

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I’ve now read “Heart of the Machine”, part one of The Lost Lexicon adventure path for the Thunderscape setting… and I’m not sure I like it. It’s a 48 page PDF.

The first part of it (Chapter 1) describes the city of Mekanus, its history and various districts. There is also a lot of detail about two possible factions that the PCs might join, or not. This section is excellent, and includes a map overview of the city with its sections.

The second third of the book (Chapter 2) is devoted to Bounty Missions. While the town does have military forces, they are used against big threats and protecting the important/wealthy areas of the city. The PCs start the adventure by joining the Cogswheel Irregulars, who are semi-professional lawmen who do jobs to help deal with the problems that the authorities won’t. This section starts off by detailing how acceptable or not killing and looting is by the Cogswheel Irregular members. This is followed by several sample missions for a GM to use. This section ends with a four page mission generator; these cover bounty, security, courier, repossession and military missions.

Chapter 3 begins to develop the plot for the adventure, with the characters performing a particular security mission; this covers 6 pages. Chapter 4 covers the adventure’s finale; the PCs should be 4th level when they attempt this section, which covers 8 pages. The last two pages includes a new monster and random encounter tables.

This adventure feels very much like a “kit”. A GM will need to undertake serious preparation to ensure that it remains fun throughout; otherwise, it is just an endless collection a random missions, plus those encounters included in the book. There are no maps, aside from the map of Mekanus itself. Personally, I think that undertaking random missions for one class level (including the sample missions) would be enough to prevent too much repetition, and a series of mini-“dungeons” would work better.

On the other hand, there could be say 2-3 missions with 8-10 or so encounters (PCs taking on a gang in a dilapidated house for example), several 3-6 encounter missions, and several 1-2 encounter missions, with encounters being roleplaying, traps, physical combat or whatever, and there should be maps. If such a thing is done, then the assault on the bad guys’ lair should also be beefed up to 8-10 encounters or it will feel underwhelming, and in any case, the final chapter should require 3rd level PCs and *just* take them to 4th level, ready for the next adventure. What would also really help is if GMs who have run or plan to run this adventure post the missions they create somewhere in a thread to help others.

Sadly, the do-it-yourself element of Heart of the Machine does not make for a compelling or interesting first part of an adventure path, which is a shame, because Kyoudai books are normally fantastic. A GM could even start this campaign with other adventures beforehand to get the PCs to 3rd level, and start this adventure then, with the PCs arriving at the city as they reach 3rd level.

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Wonderful! You guys are crazy fast with these things.

I hope those of you who have enjoyed the Thunderscape core book will consider this. It's a fantastic adventure penned by my good friend Rich Wulf. I'm enjoying running a group through it right now!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Addendum: If you prefer print-on-demand to PDF, you can get this particular work PoD over at DriveThru. But for PDF goodness, everything you need is right here at

Can't wait to hear what you guys think about it!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Great! Already bought it, I loved the Setting, I'm preparing to GM a game in this setting!

How many adventures are planned in the series?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

6 parts


Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

What level does this take the PCs to?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

By the end they should be able to reach 4th level.

The second installment was delayed but is in editing now, and I love it even more than the first. I knew getting Rich to write them was the correct choice. It will be out by the end of this month! We're already storyboarding module #3 as well so we hope to close the gap between the installments.


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