Against the Cult of the Bat God (PFRPG)

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Against the Cult of the Bat God (PFRPG)

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A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure for four 5th-level PCs by John Bennett

The Lonely Coast’s most remote village, Oakhurst broods under the dark boughs of the Tangled Woods. Rumours of incest, murder, and vile rites during the black of night surround its insular citizens. It is a place most wise people avoid as the very air seems inhospitable to strangers. Yet in the rumours is a grain of truth, for something dark does indeed stir in the shadow haunted trees and hunched homes of Oakhurst. An ancient evil, hungry with the thirst for blood, awakens from its eons long sleep. As disappearances mount and the Lonely Coast can no longer turn a blind eye to the blight that is Oakhurst, heroes are called upon to investigate the foul rumours and mysteries that plague the village. As the search for the truth intensifies, they may find themselves the next victims of a rising, bloodthirsty evil. Can they survive Against the Cult of the Bat God?

Although designed for The Lonely Coast, a free mini-campaign setting available from Raging Swan Press, "Against the Cult of the Bat God" is simple to insert into almost any GM's home campaign.

For a free sample head over to ragingswan.com/batcult

This product is a Dual Format PDF. The downloadable ZIP file contains two versions, one optimised for printing and use on a normal computer and one optimised for use on a mobile device such as an iPad.

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An RPG Resource Review

5/5

The usual preamble opens the book, a brief bio of the author, notes on how to use the adventure from a mechanical standpoint (reading stat blocks, the anatomy of an encounter and so on), and then there's a rundown on the Lonely Coast, the wild frontier in which Raging Swan's adventures are set. The default location for this adventure is a remote and insular village by the name of Oakhurst, but it's relatively simple to either use a village in your own campaign world instead, or relocate Oakhurst lock, stock and barrel to a suitable location there. If you do decide to use Oakhurst, it's presented in considerable detail including locations, principal inhabitants and a map.

We then move on to the adventure itself, beginning with the background and a synopsis. Several ideas are provided to intice the party into visiting Oakhurst - they'll be needed as it is a dismal place with hostile and insular inhabitants, not somewhere you'd visit for pleasure. Like many of Raging Swan's adventures, there's a timeline of events that are going on irrespective of what the party does, not only providing a good feel of life going on regardless but also presenting a real threat: if the plot is not thwarted in time, disaster will befall the region!

To start with, the adventure will involve investigation and general poking about, but the more physical members of the party need not fear, they will soon have opportunity to engage in combat as offence is taken at their nosiness. To support the investigation, there are several locations which the party can visit, with notes on what they can discover at each one. Events - as detailed in the timeline - are presented with ample support to enable you to run them effectively.There are many little touches - such as a chart of 'Sights and Sounds' - to add flavour to proceedings.

After the investigative phase, the characters ought to feel moved to visit a decaying and decrepit manor house to pick up clues, and again there is a wealth of detail to make this a delightfully creepy exploration... even before they get down into a veritable dungeon underneath the house, and then the final part of the adventure leads them to a hidden cave deep within a cliff where they will (hopefully) thwart the cultists once and for all.

With plenty of traps and an abundance of mad inbred cultists to contend with, this is a classic and creepy adventure with plenty of brooding atmosphere.


Scary Good

5/5

I've been running this module with the included pre-gens. This is the first Raging Swan Press material I have ever purchased, and I have to say if the quality of their other modules and supplements is as good as this they're going to be one of my favorite 3PP! The level of detail is superb, with great descriptions of characters and settings that give wonderful atmosphere to the game. At the end of the first session we hadn't even had any combat encounters or even dug into the investigation and the group was already creeped out. The format of the book makes it very easy to find information quickly. Normally, I hate GMing off a pdf because it can be difficult to scroll through pages, but this book was actually okay to read from. The way the module is set up, it could easily be inserted into a campaign.


Excellent Fantasy Gothic Horror

5/5

As Endzeitgeist says in his review this module really is too good to give spoilers for. I'm a big fan of Raging Swan's output (their GM aids as well as their modules) and this is one of my favourite adventures. As easy to run and well laid out as I'd expect this module manages to be truly creepy, really exuding mood. Various adventures try to work horror into a fantasy setting and often they completely fail to do so, just turning into a blood bath battle scenario. Against the Cult of the Bat God manages to avoid falling into those traps and even with my limited GMing experience I think I'll be able to get a really scary mood across to my players.

I'm running a campaign on The Lonely Coast (Raging Swan's free campaign setting) and have the Oakhurst village backdrop so I've been looking forward to this one coming out since it went on the release schedule. I bought a copy the day it came out so that I can foreshadow the adventure, when it turned up it absolutely fell off the page.

I have various adventures that I'm planning to run within my campaign and a couple that I really can't wait to run, this definitely falls into the latter category. I really can't recommend it enough.


An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This module clocks in at 63 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advice on how to read statblocks, 1 page help on using the adventure, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 55 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We kick off this module with a handy gazetteer of the immediate area, which would be the lonely coast, Raging Swan's easily plugged in, free mini-setting - which you btw. should have downloaded years ago. ;) Kidding aside, travel distances etc. are part of the deal and mainly, that due to this module taking place in Oakhurst, the most remote of the villages of the decidedly old-school, old-world style lonely coast. Oakhurst (previously spotlighted in a village backdrop), is also one of the most unpleasant places to visit.

Insular and xenophobic, dirty and illiterate, rumors of cults and stranger things abound and still, no matter y which hook - it is here the PCs have to travel. Nestled deep inside the tangled forest, Oakhurst is not a pleasant place, and both its statblock, rumor- etc. tables drive that home.

Now I'm going to deviate from my usual format for a bit - there still will be SPOILERS here, but not as many as usual. Players should probably still skip to the conclusion, though.

All right, only DMs left here? Good! The events that transpire in Oakhurst have a loose timeline of 3 days, forcing the player's hands without becoming hectic - and here's the first peculiarity of the module: The level of detail. It's staggering. From the thoroughly unique areas, villain machinations and plans that make sense to the massive table of sights and sounds around town, this place jumps to life from the very page.

Especially the latter table makes for a joy to read - each entry offering some direct or indirect way of characterizing townsfolk, coming with subtle, yet disturbing nods towards something just being WRONG around town. The sense of decay and decrepitude are more than prevalent and, as any DM with a bit experience in that regard knows - the devil (or rather: horror!) lies in the details.

Even before anything happens, the sheer level of detail makes this module stand out like a lighthouse - and helps with one crucial task: Making this investigation so easy to run, I bet any DM with even a bit of experience under his/her belt can pull it off sans preparation, just reading this book while running the module. For stumped PCs, alternate helps to come to conclusions and provide cues they might have missed are just as much part of the deal, as are thoroughly interesting adversaries.

I'm not spoiling much (given the title), when I'm saying that the cult of the primal bat god has reactions to the PC's meddling that make sense, their responses working exceedingly well and taking both terrain and creature peculiarities into account. Furthermore, we get a thoroughly unique "grimoire" (you'll understand what I mean by that when reading this module!), a chance for PCs to be kidnapped (and the first handling of such a gambit that makes sense!), awareness of spell-usage to handle challenges...

Have I mentioned the supremely creepy mansion of decadent, inbred scions, the intimidating as all hell, dreadful final encounter with boss fight-level special arena "features" (again, not spoiling!), the unique and lavishly illustrated final adversary? The fact that, throughout the module, not only PCs, but actual players have to show bravery with the actions of their characters? The inclusion of one damn cool haunt?

Oh, and the pdf comes with pregens, should you wish to run it as a one-shot.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are slightly less superb than in many RSP-products - but I don't care. The few glitches can be easily ignored. Layout adheres to RSP's 2-column full-color standard and the b/w-artworks are neat and thematically fitting. The superb maps can be downloaded for free as web-enhancements on ragingswan.com, which is simply superb customer service. The module also comes with an optimized screen and print pdf. I do own the dead-tree copy as well and the quality of this book is nothing to scoff at - elegant, nice paper, no printer-glitches. If you can, get the dead tree version. Also, the pdf comes fully bookmarked with excessive nested bookmarks for your convenience.

John Bennett's "Against the Cult of the Bat God" is one thing: Supreme.

This is the best gothic horror (not splatter/dark fantasy, but true GOTHIC HORROR) module I've read in ages.

If the spirit of the best Ravenloft modules had a love child with Raging Swan Press' excellent quality control, production values and attention to/level of detail - this would be it.

This module is ridiculously good if you have even the slightest soft spot for horror. Each sentence, each paragraph BREATHES atmosphere, mood - and it's incredibly easy to run to boot! This module is one of the best modules currently available for Pathfinder and can stand alongside the works of giants of horror like Nicholas Logue, Richard Pett or ascendant masters like Tim Hitchcock or Tom Phillips, all while having its very own style, its very own, distinguished voice.

Have I mentioned that I could actually read this somewhat like a novel? Yeah, the writing is that good.

This book is so good that I will take a look at Vathak again (which I have dismissed as not working for me), Fat Goblin Games' setting, which is now under the tender care of John Bennett.

This module is so good, I deleted my original draft of the review, went back and killed spoilers, just to drive home that you SHOULD get this and avoid just about all notions of spoilers for peeking players - because I *know* that neither my ramblings on the content, nor a tight synopsis would do this one credit.

If you're like me and come from a Ravenloft background, if you're looking for a change of pace and mood, if you enjoy somewhat gritty and SUBTLE horror that plays with your mind and that does not end with "roll initiative" (though there are combats to be had!), then you NEED this.

This is a hot contender for my no.1 spot for 2014. This is a module that makes me recall how joyous being a reviewer can be. 5 stars + seal of approval - and damn it, would I go higher if I could. I do hope, from the bottom of my heart, that we'll see more collaboration between John Bennett and Raging Swan Press, more modules of that caliber.

Endzeitgeist out.



This looks rad. Grabbn it.


Uh, Liz, looks like you've been posting from the TARDIS again. Your "Now available" post is timestamped as "Tomorrow, 6:25 AM"


Even when she posts tomorrow she still posts before us! That's efficiency!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Quick, Liz; if you can just copy paste tomorrow morning's Nikkei stock numbers every 15 minutes for an hour, I can make infinity money and split it with you.

Silver Crusade

Where's the opposing view? I'd like to be for please.


This would be really cool for my campaign, since I have an evil bat-demon god that fills in the Lamashtu spot.

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

I wanted to mention two things:

1 - Don't forget you can get a free sample of this adventure here.

2 - The physical copies are on the way to Paizo as we speak!


The email circular says reptile God, which is one of the top ten typos of all time!!

John

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This looks awesome! Grabbing the pdf today :)

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

thenovalord wrote:

The email circular says reptile God, which is one of the top ten typos of all time!!

John

Thanks! (I think)

;-(

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Laurial wrote:
This looks awesome! Grabbing the pdf today :)

Thank you very much! Please let me know what you think!! I think John did an awesome job on the module!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Hope people enjoying playing this as much as I did writing it!

Webstore Gninja Minion

...my foot got stuck in my TARDICH again.


Okay, Liz......3:25 pm. I need you to go to NASDAQ.com and copy paste stock quotes every 15 minutes for the next hour.

I want to be an infinityaire!!!

Webstore Gninja Minion

Now available!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Creighton,

I'm looking forward to reading it this weekend! I haven't purchased anything from Raging Swan before, but from the bit I skimmed it looks very fun :)

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Laurial wrote:

Creighton,

I'm looking forward to reading it this weekend! I haven't purchased anything from Raging Swan before, but from the bit I skimmed it looks very fun :)

Thanks for taking a chance on Raging Swan! Please let me know what you think. John poured his (dark and twisted) soul into this module and I think it came out really well.


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

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Thanks so much for this review. I'm rather chuffed you rate the module so highly - and I didn't even write it!


Intriguing. Thilo, can you tell us more about Vathak and how the author is and/or has been involved there ?


Vathak is essentially a dark fantasy setting where the Old Ones wage war against mankind. Personally, I didn't think it always handled its horror-genre that awesome and it was extremely hit and miss for me - those that worked were SUPERB (Detective Carmacki's Serial Killers, for example...), while those that didn't...well, weren't.

John Bennett has taken over said setting and if this book is any indicator, he has a mastery of the genre of gothic horror, so I expect to see more glorious "hits" from Vathak in the future.

This module was penned by that very man, but is setting-neutral/situated in the lonely coast and makes for a great plug-and-play into just about any (quasi-) medieval fantasy setting. So it works for the lonely coast, but would equally well work in just about every land in Ranveloft's Core, Golarion, Midgard...you name it.

Hope that helps!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Endzeitgeist, once again, thanks for the review! I'm deeply humbled by it. Creighton has a lot of experience writing modules and a natural talent for it, so working with him was a joy. Which reminds me, I need to bug him again about another project that I've been bugging him to do over the years.

As to the other question, in January, I took over as the line developer for Fat Goblin Game's Shadows over Vathak campaign setting. We're talking a different approach with the products were putting out than what was done previously. I post biweekly on the Shadows over Vathak Facebook page on the products we are planning, my design philosophy, and progress on what's currently being written. I also do a lot of "inspiration" blogs- showcasing different movies, books, anime, etc. and how you can strip them down to make a Vathak adventure.

Anyway, I hope that based on Endzeitgeist's recommendation people check this module out. I'm always interested in hearing play reports. During the playtest, I discovered there was a lot of room for player ingenuity in confronting the various challenges.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

@UncleRiotous- thanks for the review! Since you are running a campaign in the Lonely Coast, be on the lookout for Town Backdrop:Wolverton releasing in a couple of weeks. I wrote that as well and made sure some rumors about what's going on in Oakhurst made it in.

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Thanks very much for the review, UncleRiotous! It's much appreciated and I'm very glad you enjoyed the module!

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Blimey! Thanks so much for the review, Laurial. I'm delighted you enjoyed this module so much!


Does this contain the Oakhurst setting or do you need to get the separate town setting for that?


This pdf contains Oakhurst. You don't require the additional file.

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