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

****½ (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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****½ (based on 7 ratings)

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Wonderfully alien

*****

Read my full review on Of Dice and Pen.

Overall, Valley of the Brain Collectors is a very good adventure and it would be great for PCs (or players) who think they've seen it all. It does a particularly good job of making its aliens truly alien, while still providing them with personalities and motivations. At its barest, this is an adventure where the PCs explore an area of wilderness and fight monsters there, something done many times before in countless other adventures. But nevertheless, this adventure is unlike any other adventure out there. As much as I've always loved brain collectors, I haven't seen an adventure before that effectively uses them. This adventure rectifies that.


good ideas, lots of filler

***( )( )

Blah blah blah, horrors from beyond the stars.

Look, there's some fun stuff here. There's some great information on an important faction in the AP, and one side encounter that's just creepily well conceived. Unfortunately there's just so. much. filler. The entire book takes place in one geographic location, and most of the action exists to justify that, rather than advancing the overall plot of the AP.


They Came for Our Brains!

*****

ALIENS! They came from outer space to harass my PCs, and harass they did! The adventure had some excellent flavor around every corner. They made lasting allies that they carry to this day, and were well and truly bothered by some of the alien activity happening right on the ground with them. If you were hoping for an adventure of the third kind, this is the book for you!

They found some foreshadowing for later adventures, clever toys to play with, and even turned an alien into a fuzzy animal for their fun and friendship.


Unfortunately what i expected

****( )

First of all i have to say that i don't like the lovecraftian things, either in their pure form or in the form that PF uses them.
For some reason when Lovecraft makes his appearance in PF the encounters are going to be weak (extremely so), that was the case with Shattered Star 5 Into the Nightmare the Rift and that's the case with Valley of the Brain Collectors, fortunately the encounters aren't as weak as they were in the Into the Nightmare Rift but they are still weak and you need to beef them up considerably in order to not have the game being a walk in the park.
This book is the conclusion of act 2 where the heroes learn more about their enemy and finally gather the means to go and confront the evil that's about to befall the world.
The overall story is there, although it's lessened by the sandbox-ish nature of the book.
The technological aspects and themes are well presented albeit at a much lower ratio than in previous books.
To sum up, i didn't very much liked this module and i would have rated at 3 stars (or less) but the article on alien technology and the article on Dominion of the Black were both superb, so the final rating of the book bumped up to 4 stars.


Hold onto your brains

****( )

Short Version: If you like Giger, you'll probably like this. And I like Giger.

This adventure really showcases the Dominion of the Black. Even if it weren't for the excellent back matter, the Dominion would be the star of the show.

But the way the adventure is structured, I never really felt any Dominion threat. They're hella creepy and super dangerous, but they really just sort of happen to be in the PCs way.

That said, I think this is one of those adventures that can easily slide from merely average to one of the best adventures your group has ever had. It all depends on the GM's ability to pull the players into the atmosphere of the adventure.


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Webstore Gninja Minion

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Announced! Product description and cover image subject to change.
I'll point out this line for those who have been waiting for it:

Product description wrote:


...an exploration of the mysterious alien empire known as the Dominion of the Black...

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.

TAKE MY MONEY.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is the module I am most eagerly anticipating in this AP, and that's saying a lot ('cause I can't wait for any of them!!!)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

I can't wait for this one, any new information about Golarion's solar system and beyond is welcomed.


What is the creature on the cover?

Webstore Gninja Minion

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Alex Smith 908 wrote:
What is the creature on the cover?

Something out of the fever dreams of James Jacobs is my best guess.


Okay so it's not placeholder art?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It's from Distant Worlds. One of the Ilee from Apostae.

Webstore Gninja Minion

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Cthulhudrew wrote:
It's from Distant Worlds. One of the Ilee from Apostae.

So fever dreams of James Sutter. Got it. :D

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Liz Courts wrote:
Cthulhudrew wrote:
It's from Distant Worlds. One of the Ilee from Apostae.
So fever dreams of James Sutter. Got it. :D

They can be really nice folks once you get to know them. :)

srsly though, the Ilee are neat


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Awesome! I can't wait to get more info on the Dominion! That's an itch that needs some serious scratching.

Silver Crusade

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Quote:
an exploration of the mysterious alien empire known as the Dominion of the Black

Yessss͏s̸ss̹͓̣̱s҉̵̦̬̬̤̻̳̺̗s͙̱̕s̴͓͎̕͞s̼̙̮͍͖̪̰͠ͅs̸̆̈͑ͮ͢͏̷̪͍̪̩̜͇͓͉̘͡s̄ͭ͛̽ ̗̰͉̮̞̼́͊ͮͩ̋̅ͥ̈́̋̓̃ͮ̃ͦ̉́͟s̞̳͓͇̪̹͈̯̹̘̗͕̠̞̜̬̟̆͊ͤͦͯͭ̀̀͢͠s̢̟̼̟̝̙̙̿ͩ̽ͪ̂̔̈́̈́̇͊̆ͯ̍͟͞s ͋̊ͭ̎ͣͯ̇̾̑͒ͦ̈́̉́͆͌͂͘͠͏͓̙͔͖͖̤̫̫̬͇͚̮̲


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Uh-oh... Mikaze's blue screened again. Happens every time something Distant Worlds or Dominion of the Black related comes up... Don't worry, I'll have this fixed in a jiffy.

*Loads Mikaze onto the trolley and wheels him out of the thread and off to the lab*


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

The Dominion of the Black and the Android articles I can't wait to read.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Dominion of the Black, yes! I've been wanting to hear more about them for a long time. Here's hoping this will lead into a whole AP dealing with them.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Squeakmaan wrote:
Dominion of the Black, yes! I've been wanting to hear more about them for a long time. Here's hoping this will lead into a whole AP dealing with them.

Especially if it's also a Swords and Planets AP!! (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Squeakmaan wrote:
Dominion of the Black, yes! I've been wanting to hear more about them for a long time. Here's hoping this will lead into a whole AP dealing with them.

Are you convinced that Iron Gods isn't?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Squeakmaan wrote:
Dominion of the Black, yes! I've been wanting to hear more about them for a long time. Here's hoping this will lead into a whole AP dealing with them.
Are you convinced that Iron Gods isn't?

I think you just made Mikaze pass out with that statement. *Prepares Smelling Salts for Mikaze, and heads to the lab to aid Tinkergoth*


WHAT?! More shocking comments about the Dominion capable of making Mikaze flatline from joy overload? He's going to need a hard reboot if they keep this up!

*preps the adrenaline shots*


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Apply Shocking Grasp to the chest cavity. CLEAR! *applies spell to Mikaze*


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think the Dominion of the Black AP will be out in 2018. I really super hope the Paizo line will still be going strong by then, if not much stronger.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Generic Villain wrote:
I think the Dominion of the Black AP will be out in 2018. I really super hope the Paizo line will still be going strong by then, if not much stronger.

I think the Dominion of the Black will have taken over in 2018.

All your Golarion are belong to us!


Mikaze wrote:
Quote:
an exploration of the mysterious alien empire known as the Dominion of the Black
Yessss͏s̸ss̹͓̣̱s҉̵̦̬̬̤̻̳̺̗s͙̱̕s̴͓͎̕͞s̼̙̮͍͖̪̰͠ͅs̸̆̈͑ͮ͢͏̷̪͍̪̩̜͇͓͉̘͡s̄ͭ͛̽ ̗̰͉̮̞̼́͊ͮͩ̋̅ͥ̈́̋̓̃ͮ̃ͦ̉́͟s̞̳͓͇̪̹͈̯̹̘̗͕̠̞̜̬̟̆͊ͤͦͯͭ̀̀͢͠s̢̟̼̟̝̙̙̿ͩ̽ͪ̂̔̈́̈́̇͊̆ͯ̍͟͞s ͋̊ͭ̎ͣͯ̇̾̑͒ͦ̈́̉́͆͌͂͘͠͏͓̙͔͖͖̤̫̫̬͇͚̮̲

How did you do that?!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cthulhudrew wrote:

I think the Dominion of the Black will have taken over in 2018.

All your Golarion are belong to us!

They already killed Aroden and transplanted his brain into a Giger-esque biomechanical cyberdemon to lead their armies*, so that's the next logical step.

*Not confirmed. Yet.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

2018, the year that the Dominion of the Black will come to Golarion or many Osirions will gain psychic powers, or both;)

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

Lloyd Jackson wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Quote:
an exploration of the mysterious alien empire known as the Dominion of the Black
Yessss͏s̸ss̹͓̣̱s҉̵̦̬̬̤̻̳̺̗s͙̱̕s̴͓͎̕͞s̼̙̮͍͖̪̰͠ͅs̸̆̈͑ͮ͢͏̷̪͍̪̩̜͇͓͉̘͡s̗̰͉̮ ̞̼̄ͭ͛̽́͊ͮͩ̋̅ͥ̈́̋̓̃ͮ̃ͦ̉́͟s̞̳͓͇̪̹͈̯̹̘̗͕̠̞̜̬̟̆͊ͤͦͯͭ̀̀͢͠s̢̟̼̟̝̙̙̿ͩ̽ͪ̂̔̈́̈́̇͊̆ͯ̍ ͟͞s͋̊ͭ̎ͣͯ̇̾̑͒ͦ̈́̉́͆͌͂͘͠͏͓̙͔͖͖̤̫̫̬͇͚̮̲
How did you do that?!

THE POWER OF THE DOMINION IS VAST.


I saw that thing on the cover and thought that someone had somehow made brain collectors more disturbing.

*Pens a 'Get-well' card for Mikaze*


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I do hope this means this installment means someone has been mining the dead brain of Lovecraft once again.


So the brain collectors...

Are they

Movie plot spoiler:
Migou? I bet they're Migou.

Webstore Gninja Minion

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Updated with final cover and description.

Paizo Employee Developer

5 people marked this as a favorite.

*Gets the mop to clean up head explosions.*

again


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wait, Does that blaster have a bayonet?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Niiiiice Kasatha on the Cover.

It does kind of look that way, don't it?


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

And would he be wearing an aurumvorax pelt?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Nope. No bayonet. Just a thing that shoots cold at you. (It's a zero-rifle.)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Gray wrote:
And would he be wearing an aurumvorax pelt?

SHE is indeed wearing an aurumvorax pelt!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Gray wrote:
And would he be wearing an aurumvorax pelt?
SHE is indeed wearing an aurumvorax pelt!

Very nice! And fashionable!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Nice new cover art.

Information on the Dominion of the Black and tech used by four alien races. I am really looking forward to this one.


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

Braaaainssss... musst have braaaaainnnssss!

Does that Neh-Thalggu have eyes on its legs? Creeepy.

I've always loved those guys since X2: Castle Amber.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cthulhudrew wrote:
Does that Neh-Thalggu have eyes on its legs? Creeepy.

The artist must have recently completed Resident Evil 4. :)

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Valley of the Brain Collectors is just the most amazingly engaging title ever, can't wait to see what Mike has done with it - huzzah!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Cthulhudrew wrote:

Braaaainssss... musst have braaaaainnnssss!

Does that Neh-Thalggu have eyes on its legs? Creeepy.

I've always loved those guys since X2: Castle Amber.

Yup! The've always had leg eyes in Pathifnder, in fact... but this is the best time they've been illustrated for sure.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

WHAT THE FREAK!?!??!?!

EASILY THE BEST RPG COVER EVAR ANYWHEN

No hyperbole.

Srsly. From the brooding menace of the Neh-thalggu to the awesome costuming and equipment of the kasatha. So much win.


Oh, and typo....

AWESOME ADVENTURE PREMISE wrote:
or will they become the latest additions to an sinister, otherworldly collection?

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Holy S%*+ excellent cover!

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Can we all just exult in the kasatha wielding a zero-rifle, a dagger, and an energy shield at the same time?

Shadow Lodge

While using a skinned aurumvorax as a cloak? The head as a shoulder guard/sleeve is exceptionally well-placed.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Imagine my exultation when at first I thought the pelt's head was an exotic gauntlet...

Shadow Lodge

That sounds like a damned awesome magic item to be quite honest. Gauntlet that gives you a bite attack on a punch? Yes please!

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Adam Daigle wrote:

*Gets the mop to clean up head explosions.*

Sneaks into janitor's closet, squeezes goop from mop head into a bucket, tip toes out of Paizo offices with bucket, having animated conversation with self

Richard Pett wrote:
Valley of the Brain Collectors is just the most amazingly engaging title ever, can't wait to see what Mike has done with it...

Terrible, terrible things...

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