Pathfinder Adventure Path #87: The Choking Tower (Iron Gods 3 of 6) (PFRPG)

3.90/5 (based on 7 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #87: The Choking Tower (Iron Gods 3 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Dark Clouds Gathering

The Lords of Rust and their strange Iron God have been defeated, but the victory of Numeria's newest heroes has uncovered a threat to the land much greater than a mere gang of bandits. A mightier Iron God is rising in power in the enigmatic Silver Mount—but before the heroes can confront it, they must recover the legacy of this strange deity's first worshiper. Clues lead to the technophobic town of Iadenveigh, a farming community near the mysterious Choking Tower of technomancer Furkas Xoud. What role will this knowledge-obsessed "smoke wizard" play in this unfolding threat? Will the heroes be ready in time for their inevitable clash with Numeria's greatest Iron God?

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path continues the Iron Gods Adventure Path and includes:

  • "The Choking Tower," a Pathfinder adventure for 7th-level characters, by Ron Lundeen.
  • A look at the insular, agrarian city of Iadenveigh, by Ron Lundeen.
  • Three exciting encounters in the wilds of Numeria to add to your Iron Gods campaign, by Patrick Renie.
  • A journey-turned-mystery in the Pathfinder's Journal, by Amber E. Scott.
  • Four fearsome new monsters, by Paris Crenshaw, Mark Garringer, and Ron Lundeen.

Each monthly full-color softcover Pathfinder Adventure Path volume contains an in-depth adventure scenario, stats for several new monsters, and support articles meant to give Game Masters additional material to expand their campaign. Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes use the Open Game License and work with both the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the world's oldest fantasy RPG.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-688-1

"The Choking Tower" is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The rules for running this Adventure Path and Chronicle sheet are available as a free download (874 KB zip/PDF).

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

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Average product rating:

3.90/5 (based on 7 ratings)

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Good ideas, lacks execution

3/5

The choking Tower assumes that the PCs are looking for the remains of the deceased android Casandalee and all the information she had when she died. They are, after all, searching for the entity called "Unity" and they know that Casandalee knew a lot about Unity's defenses and that she ended her days in a starship under what now is the town of Iadenveigh.

The search for Casandalee in that location is doomed because somebody did that very same mission a few years before the PCs. A Furkas Xoud was able to penetrate the ship's defenses, recover Casandalee's body and bring it to his own place, a technological laboratory he liked to call "The Choking Tower". When the PCs find out all this stuff, rather than get discouraged, they are supposed to enter the tower, brave the ghostly spirit of Furkas Xoud, his crazy experiments and creatures and get Casandalee's information.

The plot is extremely linear, allowing the PCs very little in the way of deciding what the next step should be. If ever, as written, the whole adventure can be skipped. If the PCs are really after Unity - whose location is already known - they can just go ahead instead of derailing their own mission looking for Casandalee and her elusive brain database.

Once everything is said and done, the PCs will know the answers to six questions that Furkas Xoud asked Casandalee's android brain before she stopped functioning. The info is scarce, it just tells the PCs that they should look for Casandalee's neurocam being held somewhere else, which is - of course - next book's location. If this doesn't discourage the PCs, nothing will. The plot of the AP at this point starts to look like a Russian doll with inane mission that leads to another inane mission that leads to...

Actually, if you overlook the stupidity of the module's plot and the linear sequence of events, the adventure has many good things going for it. The trust-missions in the beginning are okay, especially the "find the spy", with all the investigation parts. The dungeon that leads to dungeon is pretty underwhelming but as dungeons go, they aren't bad at all. An old malfunctioning abandoned starship is a pretty cool locale. The tower is a more classic setup but the thematic labs are nice, especially the last section in the underground dungeon. Perhaps running everything as written could be tiresome but there are certainly many good ideas here.

Read my full review here

My rating: 3 stars. It's not a bad module. Actually, it has a lot of good ideas but they feel disconnected. The linearity of the plot and the Russian doll feel to it make this one to rewrite or skip.


A bit of filler

3/5

Read my full review on Of Dice and Pen.

The Choking Tower is certainly not a bad adventure. It will likely provide hours of entertainment for any group. But there's also little about the adventure that really stands out. On the whole, it's run-of-the-mill, with a fairly linear plot and NPCs who are mostly forgettable (although the main villain is a notable exception). It also lacks the vibrant setting of its immediate predecessor, presenting instead a setting that is pretty standard despite its science fiction trappings.


ups and downs

3/5

The town was bad, the dungeon was good. The tower was good conceptually, but it dragged in the middle. Meh.


Farmers, Wizards, and Robots, Oh My!

5/5

A challenging and exciting part of the Iron Gods Adventure Path. You'll meet with technophobes (remember all that tech you've been collecting/not keeping?), fight mutants and creatures of the deep woods, and square off with an insane wizard-ghost in his tower (several times!)!

This was an adventure that challenged my players tactically, and they found some nice stuff and made some interesting friends/enemies. There was nothing I didn't enjoy!


Very good blend of sci fi and fantasy

5/5

Wrote a lenghty review but the system ate it.
Long story short it's a good module, good asthetics, good dungeon ecology, interesting story but keep watch because it comes very close to having it's battles being a boring cakewalk.


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Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
nighttree wrote:
PLEASE tell me Furkas Xoud is something new and not just an undead of some type ???

Sorry. He's

Spoiler:
a ghost with some unique special abilities.
Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Troodos wrote:
Kvantum wrote:
xidoraven wrote:
But not too soon to start pulling out our hair (if any), and screaming at the screen, "WHEN, DAMN YOU?!? WHENNNNN?!?!?!"
Does "now" work for you? (I can only answer so many questions - I'm at work so I can only look at it in short spurts, though after 6 PM CDT I'm the only one in the building.)
What are the monsters and new tech items?

Spoiler:

Monsters: Irradiated Dead (undead), Thought Harvester Robot, Warden Robot, Thorgothrel (alien ooze)

Tech: Hivebrain Symbiote, Nutrient Training Node, Smoke Furnace, there are also some items that are strictly magical and not technological.

-Skeld

Dark Archive

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

Rather happy about:
the Warden robot's design pretty much being inspired by ED-209.

Xoud and his Tower (and interactions within) are spectacular.

Lantern Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Skeld wrote:


** spoiler omitted **

-Skeld

Explain?

Spoiler:
Hivebrain Symbiote?

Man, I want this to ship out, like, now.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So whats the plot of this one like any big mysteries explained?


So there are no

Spoiler:
new memory facets?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well, two problems with this issue

First, the map and location descriptions for Iadenveigh aren't correct. The map displays sixteen areas and the text describes nineteen, because of this some of the points don't match up. Comparing descriptions and the map you can determine what should be where mostly.

Second, some serious page misplacement? I'm going to assume this didn't happen to all shipments or there would be comments about it already.

pages 1-16
pages 33-48
pages 17-32
pages 49-92

Caught me off guard, reading from "A2. Administration" then suddenly "F4. Hallway". :)

I've checked the PDF and the map is wrong there also, so maybe a corrected version in the future? The pages are all correct, so basically a printing/collating problem for my issue.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Renaak wrote:

Well, two problems with this issue

I noticed the first problem; however, I'm not sure what you mean with the second. That would suggest to me that my PDF doesn't have that particular error.

As for content, I found something highly improbable...

Spoiler:
The fact that a 9th-level sorcerer worm that walks would be unable to escape from some dinky prison cell. That is, however, until I looked at his spells. He has literally not a single spell that could damage a non-creature object, and his strength of 8 means he's not busting out physically. Let that be a lesson to sorcerers out there.


Generic Villain wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

"Blast bad, utility good" has been the mantra of character op since its inception for spellcasters.

Shadow Lodge

Generic Villain wrote:
Renaak wrote:

Well, two problems with this issue

I noticed the first problem; however, I'm not sure what you mean with the second. That would suggest to me that my PDF doesn't have that particular error.

As for content, I found something highly improbable...

** spoiler omitted **

Can't he just...?:
...dissolve into his swarm form and crawl out? Or is there some kind of forcefield? Or is the "cell" actually a solid box rather than simply bars/netting?

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Orthos wrote:


Can't he just...?

Spoiler:
Being the "smoke wizard," Furcas Xoud's tower is set up to contain gaseous creatures such as vampiric mists and nanite swarms. The place is riddled with airlocks.
Shadow Lodge

Generic Villain wrote:
Orthos wrote:


Can't he just...?
** spoiler omitted **

Niiiiiiiiice.


So he's a Sorcerer ?....what bloodline ???


So what's this I hear about a second ship of unknown origin?

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm frustrated by the overarching plot in this one. It's very "Sorry Mario, your princess is in another castle!"

I'm totally fine with a trail of breadcrumbs. Going up the lieutenant hierarchy towards the archvillian is fine to do. (Which is what books 1&2 did.) But,

Spoiler:
we kick this book off with "find Cassandra, she knows secrets! trust us, you'll need them!", which is vague and not super-motivating. (Especially when the fun/obvious goal of Silver Mount is there to tempt us.) Then we delve Aurora only to get kicked to the Choking Tower, only to get kicked to the Scar of Spider. At some point I can see the heroes get impatient and ask, "What exactly is it that we *need* to find out from her again? It's time to cut our losses and just do this the way adventurers are supposed to do this! Time to assault Silver Mount!"
The book just unhelpfully suggests us to start running book 5 and have the PCs realize they are underleveled and they have to circle back and keep searching castles until the princess turns up.

Once I have the whole AP in my hands, I'll have to rewrite a bit of the overarching plot to make pursuing Cassandra's always-out-of-reach secrets more of an obvious imperative with a clear benefit. Also find a way to give pieces to the PCs along the way, so it feels like they are making progress by visiting the early-game castles, and not just grinding for time.

That's not really a comment on the value of this issue as a standalone, just how it fits into the whole. Though it's also starting to suffer from Carrion Crown's lack of recurring NPCs or locations. Not sure what to do about that.


Erik Freund wrote:

I'm frustrated by the overarching plot in this one. It's very "Sorry Mario, your princess is in another castle!"

I'm totally fine with a trail of breadcrumbs. Going up the lieutenant hierarchy towards the archvillian is fine to do. (Which is what books 1&2 did.) But, ** spoiler omitted **

That's not really a comment on the value of this issue as a standalone, just how it fits into the whole. Though it's also starting to suffer from Carrion Crown's lack of recurring NPCs or locations. Not sure what to do about that.

I'm going to use NPCs from part 1 & 2 for the recurring part. And it looks like Khonnir got a neutral plant baby genius to educate..

I really do like this path so far (part 1 & 2, waiting for 3), IMO it's one of the best written. There is one big storyline for all books, the dungeons are "working" (who is alarming whom, what "monsters" are in them,..) and there are many possbilities for additional quests/plot, creative solutions and so on.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
nighttree wrote:
So he's a Sorcerer ?....what bloodline ???

Spoiler:
Destined.
Troodos wrote:


So what's this I hear about a second ship of unknown origin?

Spoiler:
It's called the Dusklight. From the teensy bit of info we get, it was originally piloted by Old Cultists who were looking to suck the nutrients out of - and/or possibly enslave - some unlucky planets' natives, then drain their sun of energy. The former crew are described as a now-extinct race that other space-faring races try to forget. Divinity found it drifting through space, a derelict whose only occupant was a gooey alien who killed the original inhabitants.

Troodos wrote:


So what's this I hear about a second ship of unknown origin?
** spoiler omitted **

Interesting... what role does it play in the adventure?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Troodos wrote:


Interesting... what role does it play in the adventure?

Spoiler:

None sadly. It's one of the "Three exciting encounters in the wilds of Numeria to add to your Iron Gods campaign, by Patrick Renie."

Lantern Lodge

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

Ideas for more motivation:

One or more of the PCs is proficient in firearms, or has enough familiarity with them to know how much of a problem they could become in the hands of common criminals. With the PCs all being from the River Kingdoms (from Daggermark to the Loric Fells), clues suggest that some sort of firearms dealer is shipping these dangerous weapons all throughout the south of Numeria and northern River Kingdoms. Perhaps one of the PCs is a hunter from a group whose descendants originally shared common ancestry with the Ghost Wolves, and it is said that a member from this kindred tribe may be involved; the elders of your clan in Daggermark has called upon you to take up the task of rectifying this most heinous dishonoring of the ancestral blood. They are said to be marked with a specific seal or insignia.

Spoiler:
In Fires of Creation, some firearms marked with an insignia of the sort described above are found in the belongings of the Scrapwall Fanatics, and some additional clues could lead to the next portion near Scrapwall. Including someone from the nearby Ghost Wolves tribe as an additional foe and point of confluence for finding more clues while participating in Lords of Rust, the PCs could learn that more firearms were sold to someone near Iadenveigh, with the potential to begin flooding the black markets of the River Kingdoms through the Protectorate of the Black Marquis, or a similar antagonist in the region. These goals could be in addition to all the others notated in the adventure portions.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Is it me, or is the Knowledge (Engineering) DC of 35 for the 'Nanite Cocoons' a next to impossible check for the target character level for the Module?

Level 8 character: INT 18(+4), Knowledge Engineering (8+3)=+15

So the only way a character can make the roll is a natural 20?

That isn't exactly fair since there are no rerolls on Knowledge checks, or am I missing something?


It sounds like this adventure is filler. Is this accurate? I'm running the first chapter of Iron Gods, may run the whole campaign, but have NO problem modifying. It may be easier for me to modify the next adventure to lower level and skip this one than to run a filler adventure...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Frankly, I'd say no, absolutely not. This adventure is NOT "filler."

I specifically organized Iron Gods into what can be essentially thought of as a trilogy, as detialed in the 2nd foreword. "The Choking Tower"...

Spoiler:
... starts the 2nd part of the Iron Gods "trilogy." Part 1 (adventures 1 and 2) is all about opposing and defeating the first Iron God, Helion. Part 2 (adventures 3 and 4) is all about tracking down and rescuing and recruiting the 2nd Iron God, Casandalee. And part 3 (adventures 5 and 6) is all about taking down the third and final Iron God, Unity.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Shain Edge wrote:

Is it me, or is the Knowledge (Engineering) DC of 35 for the 'Nanite Cocoons' a next to impossible check for the target character level for the Module?

Level 8 character: INT 18(+4), Knowledge Engineering (8+3)=+15

So the only way a character can make the roll is a natural 20?

That isn't exactly fair since there are no rerolls on Knowledge checks, or am I missing something?

The nanite cocoons are meant to be a tough puzzle to suss out... but not impossible. The high DC is meant to reward characters who are technology specialists.

Two ways that identifying these things is made easier:

Spoiler:

1) A bard can use Lore Master to take 20 on the skill check.

2) A spellcaster can use technomancy to help identiy the cocoon.

If your party lacks these (or similar) resources, they can still proceed; they need only carry a cocoon into proximity to the right location and it'll do its thing. And even if the PCs don't carry a cocoon down to area G8... the cocoons aren't necessary to complete the adventure. There's plenty of other ways to go forward without them, as detailed therein.

Scarab Sages

We finished running Iron Gods a few weeks ago, and Choking Tower was our favorite entry exactly because of Iadenveigh. The town seemed like just a typical AP town, but crammed into those couple of pages, every single one of the few dozen locations was unique and had some manner of plot hook that the DM could generate side stories and details for.

My group spent about 6 hours roleplaying and finding various intrigue over a couple of sessions before they ever made it to the buried ship.

Just wanted to chime in with some serious props for whoever was responsible for building out that town with such loving detail.

Media Specialist, SmiteWorks USA (Fantasy Grounds)

Hello, everyone! This is now available for purchase from Fantasy Grounds or on Steam. Sync your account first to get it a discount equivalent to the PDF Price ($15.99)

Pathfinder RPG - Iron Gods AP 3: The Choking Tower
Publisher: Paizo Inc.
System: Pathfinder RPG and D&D 3.5/ OGL
Type: Adventure Path
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