Pathfinder Adventure Path #88: Valley of the Brain Collectors (Iron Gods 4 of 6)

4.30/5 (based on 7 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #88: Valley of the Brain Collectors (Iron Gods 4 of 6)
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After unearthing clues pointing them toward the legacy of a mysterious prophet, the heroes of Numeria must brave a remote canyon known as the Scar of the Spider, where they hope to uncover ancient knowledge to aid them in defeating the sinister Iron God of the Silver Mount. But the heroes aren't the first visitors to the distant valley—alien monstrosities from the darkest reaches of space have colonized the canyon, and hold their own horrific agendas. Can the heroes escape with their brains intact, or will they become the latest additions to a sinister, otherworldly collection?

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

  • "Valley of the Brain Collectors," a Pathfinder adventure for 10th-level characters, by Mike Shel.
  • A treatise on the galaxy-spanning horrors known as the Dominion of the Black, by Mike Shel.
  • A study of the technology used by four alien cultures, by David Schwartz.
  • A hero's solemn return home in the Pathfinder's Journal, by Amber E. Scott.
  • Four horrendous new monsters, by Mike Shel.

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 RPG and the world's oldest fantasy RPG.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-704-8

"Valley of the Brain Collectors" 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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There is something special about #4


At least when it comes to the 4th piece of a given AP. In Carrion Crown the 4th module was Lovecraft themed and arguably the best installment in that series. Iron Gods is no different as the Lovecraftfest continues in that tradition and has been the most enjoyable of the series so far. Personally I must admit some prejudice in this matter as horror in imitation of the works of the Old Man of Providence is the type I like the best.

The tech article and the article on the Dominion itself was most enjoyable to read. The monsters in the bestiary was quite nice as well. On the whole this is a delightfully dreadful module and those with a love of the macabre will find this quite enjoyable to read, run or play in.

Alien meets Aliens (but not Alien 3)


To be clear, this is a Lovecraftian adventure, and that can be a polarizing thing. People either love his stuff or hate it, and there's usually not much middle-ground. That said, I think Valley strikes a good balance. The antagonists are aliens that want to do unspeakable things to the PCs, yes, but they lack the "eldritch horror" element often found in Lovecraft's work. These creatures are invaders and they want your brains. There are no books bound in human skin, no mystical symbols, no creepy hillbilly wizards - just terrifying beasts from outer space and a healthy dose of body horror. So much body horror. Now that my Lovecraft apology is out of the way, on to the adventure itself.

Valley of the Brain Collectors is a typical Pathfinder sandbox. Which is to say, you have a large region to explore, a few self-contained dungeons, and several fun encounters, all loosely tied together by a theme (which in this case could probably be summed up as alien weirdness). There are some specific goals for the PCs but for the most part they will need to be self-motivated. This could be a stumbling block for some parties, as the region is large and diverse enough to be overwhelming. The author addresses this, but I still got a "finding the needle in a haystack" vibe.

The adventure's antagonists are its definite highpoint. If Iron Gods is sci-fi, than Valley is the sci-fi horror episode, and in the hands of a motivated GM, the PCs will be in for a gruesomely good time. This is Alien(s), The Thing, and Predator, except that this time, the Predator might be on your team. In fact, my only real complaint would be that the author didn't delve into the horror aspects enough. Except for the Fungal Caves - those are awful in the best possible way.

This is the least technologically-heavy adventure yet in the Iron Gods AP. There are robots and high-tech treasures, but nowhere near as many as previous installments. Valley could easily be stripped of its techno aspects if the GM wanted a more standard fantasy adventure.

The two companion articles detail alien technology and the Dominion of the Black, respectively. The alien tech section is serviceable but I would have preferred less story (fluff) and more actual items (crunch). The Dominion article, on the other hand, is pure story and I loved every bit of it. Longtime Pathfinder fans have been waiting years to finally learn the truth behind this malevolent alien empire, and though there are still a lot of mysteries surrounding it, I think readers will be satisfied with what they learn. In a way I'm almost disappointed that the curtain has been pulled back, if only partially. On the other hand, Mike Shel did a great job and absolutely met my expectations.

The volume concludes with a Bestiary featuring a new robot and three aliens associated with the Dominion. Not too much to say here, except that we finally get to see what neh-thalggu evolve into when they've consumed enough brains. Hint: it's big, ugly, and still very much interested in taking your brain.

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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This keeps looking better. Now I don't plan on running this whole AP as written but using everything that comes up to support it to make a kind of space opera using Dragon Star as the main inspiration. I get the feeling this piece is going to be crucial to what I'm planning.

Lord Gadigan wrote:
Graeme Lewis wrote:
Any word on what the new Memory Facets do?

Compassion: Gives a bonus to Will saves, Diplomacy, and Sense Motive. It also gives the AI an attack bonus against things that have hurt individuals the AI has formed an emotional bond with.

Ingenuity: Gives a bonus to Disable Device, the Tech-crafting feats, and a 1/day-per-target repair-robot touch-action.

Thanks! These sound quite interesting.

Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have it now and have read it cover to cover and I am already wanting more. This whole AP has been a breath of fresh air from Pathfinder and I'm beginning to feel the pain knowing after this it will be an eternity until we go back to Numeria if ever. I am collecting everything I can in support of it to make an outer space campaign in Pathfinder. I supported the Clockwork Gnome KS about outer space and I hope that despite everything else it still manages to come out. Thanks to everyone at Paizo that worked on this, you have gotten me more entertained than I have been since the company made APs.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm currently running this adventure path and we just finished this module. One of my players wants to salvage the tank that held The-Stars-Whisper (the shipmind in the decomposing dropship) as part of some elaborate plan. As part of the rotting ship, I decided that it's in just as bad a shape as the rest of the vessel, and now questions are coming up as to what spells might be used to restore it. Since the module provides very little information on Dominion biotechnology, I'm not sure how to answer him. I assume that since it was never truly a creature, that raise dead or resurrection won't bring it back to life, but what about spells that stop decomposition or fix objects? Will gentle repose arrest the decomposition? Or, is it, despite it's organic nature, still just an object, and therefore subject to make whole? A combination of both? What keeps Dominion biotech "alive" in the first place? If repaired, will hooking it up to a power source keep it from decaying? I can, of course, just make these answers up, but I'm hoping, perhaps, some of you fine folks might have some insight so that my ruling might be more well informed.


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