Pathfinder Adventure Path #101: The Kintargo Contract (Hell's Rebels 5 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Adventure Path #101: The Kintargo Contract (Hell's Rebels 5 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Devil in the Details

The Silver Ravens have defeated Paracount Barzillai Thrune and liberated Kintargo, but unless steps are taken to protect what they've won, it's only a matter of time before Cheliax's rulers respond with open war—one that could likely destroy the Silver City. The key to the city's last defense may lie hidden in a sprawling scroll recovered from the wicked inquisitor: the Kintargo Contract. Within this contract's clauses and stipulations lurks a cunning loophole that gives the heroes an opportunity to use Cheliax's own love of law against it, not only securing the city, but also freeing the surrounding region from the infernal machinations of House Thrune and the Church of Asmodeus. Yet as the heroes scramble to parse the contract and Kintargo reels from its recent upheavals, an old menace from the city's past strikes. Before Kintargo can be truly safe, the Silver Ravens must save the city from a monster of its own making!

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path continues the Hell's Rebels Adventure Path and includes:

  • "The Kintargo Contract," a Pathfinder adventure for 13th-level characters, by Jim Groves.
  • A thorough investigation of infernal contracts, by F. Wesley Schneider.
  • A look into the secretive and enigmatic strix, by Robert Brookes.
  • Fiend hounds and infernal trickery in the Pathfinder's Journal, by Stephanie Lorée.
  • Five monstrous threats, by Kalervo Oikarinen, David N. Ross, and Todd Stewart.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-800-7

Bring your campaign to life!
The Kintargo Contract SoundPack from Syrinscape is a complete audio solution when playing through the fifth chapter of the Hell's Rebels Adventure Path.

"The Kintargo Contract" 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 (723 kb zip/PDF).

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

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Not worth running

2/5

The previous four books have been rather good, so you might be surprised that this book is so sub-par. The PCs leave the city of Kintargo for very railroaded reasons and have to do mini missions that are forgettable. There have been mini dungeons in previous books, but there is usually a main dungeon near the end. This time however there are two equal sized dungeons, and both are forgettable with some convoluted set-ups. Nothing in this entire book was really challenging or interesting to either myself or my players.


The best Paizo AP?

5/5

*DISCLAIMER*: This is a single review for all adventures in this AP.
Hell’s Rebels is the best Paizo Adventure Path. Of all the AP, it is the one that’s most coherent, approachable and GM-friendly. This review applies to all 6 books because their quality and style are so consistent that you don’t even notice the fact that they were written by 6 different authors.

Let me quickly list some of the most important things which Hell’s Rebels gets right:

1. It has a clear, believable and complex plot which goes from point A to point B to point C while at the same time allowing for multitude of side treks, optional quests and player-driven initiatives.
2. It goes full on Golarion. It touches upon core themes of the setting and is heavily nested in its history. It provides the much-anticipated opportunity to punch one of the biggest evils of the setting in the face. One warning: you can’t just lift HR and drop it into other settings without massive amounts of work.
3. The BBEG is front and center, introduced in adventure 1, encountered and fought against several times across the campaign. He’s evil, callous, quirky, nasty, brutal, amoral and good at being bad. He’s right up there with Ileosa from CotCT.
4. The campaign starts in one city and mostly stays there, with some small side-treks and one bigger detour which, fortunately, is also urban.
5. There is a cadre of sympathetic, recurring allied NPCs to play second fiddles to the PCs. There are also enemies whom you can interact in ways other than roll for initiative. The RP opportunities are plenty.
6. The cast of both allies and opponents is diverse in every sense of that word.
7. The players get opportunity to discover some of the setting’s secrets and, to a limited yet satisfying degree, reshape it without causing a Realm-Shattering Event.
8. The ending is epic to the core and fitting for a campaign of this scale and magnitude.
9. Episode 4 is a special issue with extra page count, longer adventure, more support material, an excellent article on Aroden and much, much more!
10. I love the blue colour theme for this AP AND Wayne Reynolds did the cover art. Double victory!
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A nice palate cleanser

5/5

While by no means less challenging than the previous adventure, The Kintargo Contract shifts gears somewhat.

If your party approaches all of its problems with drawn weapons, well, that's an option, but a decidedly sub-optimal one.

Not that there's no combat- not by a long shot- but this adventure, after a campaign of wheeling and dealing with allies and opposing straightforwardly antagonistic foes, allows some scope for proper diplomacy- trying to win over people who don't necessarily like you very much.

It's also a nice reminder that there is more to rebellion than just toppling the old order- you have to build something to replace it.


A role-playing-rich fifth leg to an urban sandbox AP

5/5

(Preliminary note: Hell's Rebels is a series of urban sandbox adventures. Like most sandbox adventures, these adventures especially benefit from a DM who is willing (i) to tailor the adventure to the motivations and goals of the particular party, (ii) to allow players to be proactive, and to shape the adventure around their decisions, and (iii) to allow the party to try (and succeed at) dealing with problems in unexpected ways. So while these adventures run fine "out of the box", they work best with experienced and flexible DMs who are willing to put in a little extra work.)

I haven't run the Kintargo Contract yet, so this review is largely based on my impressions from reading through the adventure. After the somewhat combat-heavy 4th leg, the Kintargo Contract is crammed with entertaining role-playing opportunities, mixed with some interesting skill-heavy challenges. And although the events in this leg aren't as dramatic as the 4th leg -- there isn't a clear climax to this leg of the AP -- it looks really, really fun to play.

Some expected highlights:

  • --Bargaining for information with Odexidie in the Fallen Fastness
  • --A cornucopia of role-playing opportunities while courting votes from the five families
  • --The Soulstrain Haunt in Mangvhune's secret lair, and the terrifying fight with a Magic Jar-ing dybbuk that results

Some tweaks I'm planning on making:

  • --A clever party might decide to not tell Cheliax about the hidden clause in the Kintargo contract, in order to lure Cheliax into invading Ravounel, which would void the contract between Hell and the House of Thrune, and free all of Cheliax from infernal control. To forestall this possibility, I'm planning on emphasizing Cheliax's overwhelming military power early on (during Silver Raven council meeting in fourth leg), and making it clear to the party that even without infernal help, Cheliax has a strong enough military to both hold on to their empire and crush Kintargo.
  • --Traveling to hell to bargain with Odexidie for information is something I can imagine players resisting if they can get the information they need from Jackdaw instead. So I'm planning on tweaking the hidden clause in the Kintargo Contract to also require the ratification of the lord-mayor to require a certain ritual in a certain location, and to make the details of this ritual known only to Odexidie.
  • --Since the scarring the Soulstrain Haunt makes to the afflicted character's soul is a great way to allow the players figure out key points of the plot with respect to the soul anchor, I'm planning on tweaking the haunt so that a successful save prevents the Trap the Soul effect, but still scars the player's soul and releases the Dybbuk.

Overall assessment: This leg is crammed with role-playing opportunities and skill-based puzzles, and looks like one of the most fun to play through. While it's not quite as enthralling as the best AP 5th leg (Rasputin Must Die), it's in contention for being the runner-up. 5 stars.


Community Manager

Announced! Cover image and description not final.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The article about the Strix is good enough for me.


Is this the first of this AP to happen in Kintargo? I guess I wasn't paying very close attention.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Fourshadow wrote:
Is this the first of this AP to happen in Kintargo? I guess I wasn't paying very close attention.

Um, pretty much the whole AP takes place in Kintargo.


Haladir wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:
Is this the first of this AP to happen in Kintargo? I guess I wasn't paying very close attention.
Um, pretty much the whole AP takes place in Kintargo.

Yes, I realize this now. Do any of these give greater information on the bard college of Kintargo? If so, which? Thank you for helping a clueless bard.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Go strix!

Ruyan.


Looking forward to reading about the Strix!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Pipefox wrote:
Looking forward to reading about the Strix!

Same - I've loved the idea of them ever since Council of Thieves, and Nightglass only cemented it for me.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Fourshadow wrote:
Haladir wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:
Is this the first of this AP to happen in Kintargo? I guess I wasn't paying very close attention.
Um, pretty much the whole AP takes place in Kintargo.
Yes, I realize this now. Do any of these give greater information on the bard college of Kintargo? If so, which? Thank you for helping a clueless bard.

There isn't really a "bard college" in Kintargo. Unless you're talking about the Kintargo Opera House, which is VERY bard-friendly and has an entry in Inner Sea Magic.

Slight AP spoiler...

Spoiler:
The 3rd adventure has a significant portion set in the opera house, and there's bits and pieces detailing it elsewhere as well... but pretty much in a world/adventure context, not in a player character option context.


Pipefox wrote:
Looking forward to reading about the Strix!

I'm still trying to decide if playing a Strix is a viable option for this AP...or if it involves to much "blending with the locals"....don't want my character to spend most of his time hiding on the outskirts of town :(

Sovereign Court

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

I believe there's a feat in the Inner Sea Monster Codex that lets strix disguise their wings as a cloak to help them pass among humans.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
nighttree wrote:
Pipefox wrote:
Looking forward to reading about the Strix!
I'm still trying to decide if playing a Strix is a viable option for this AP...or if it involves to much "blending with the locals"....don't want my character to spend most of his time hiding on the outskirts of town :(

Strix would be a tricky race to play, and not only because they can fly. But if there's ANYWHERE in Cheliax that a PC Strix could actually have a chance to get along in public without being attacked on sight... Kintargo's in the top 4. After Vyre and Pezzack. And Devil's Perch, of course! :P

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

7 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm excited to see people looking forward to the Strix article!


James Jacobs wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:
Haladir wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:
Is this the first of this AP to happen in Kintargo? I guess I wasn't paying very close attention.
Um, pretty much the whole AP takes place in Kintargo.
Yes, I realize this now. Do any of these give greater information on the bard college of Kintargo? If so, which? Thank you for helping a clueless bard.

There isn't really a "bard college" in Kintargo. Unless you're talking about the Kintargo Opera House, which is VERY bard-friendly and has an entry in Inner Sea Magic.

Slight AP spoiler...

** spoiler omitted **

Yes, I was speaking of the Kintargo Opera House in Inner Sea Magic (love that book!). Thank you very much for the teaser/spoiler/information. You just sold at least the 3rd book of this to me. I will take any and all info to that wonderful guild that is the Kintargo Opera House.

Thank you VERY much, Mr. Jacobs! I is a happier bard!

Community & Digital Content Director

Updated with final cover image and description!


Cool cover- is this the first "non-combat" cover we've had in the line? I can't recall any others offhand.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Cthulhudrew wrote:
Cool cover- is this the first "non-combat" cover we've had in the line? I can't recall any others offhand.

Look more closely. I'm ready for combat. Devils can't be trusted.

Spoiler:
stab


That is one NICE looking Strix.....Wayne does it again ;)


Looking forward to this adventure, time to get litigious! I loved being able to use bureaucracy against Cheliax in the second adventure, using infernal contracts against THEM..... way to stimulating to even think about.

edit:

It better live up to the expectation ;)


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

Gadzooks! this looks fun.


Wow that background with that Contract Devil looks awesome.


Anyone have this and want to share what the monsters are in here? A brief description and CR would also be appreciated.


not been released to subscribers yet AFAIK

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
MMCJawa wrote:
not been released to subscribers yet AFAIK

They started to go out last night. Been busy with a work project, but that's now waiting on approval and review, so I have a minute.

Spoiler:

Rust Devil/Ferrugon, CR 12. A pride and cynicism devil with metallic flesh and iron-feathered wings.

Hegessik Protean, CR 15. If Keketar are the kings of the Maelstrom, then Hegessik are the wandering clergy.

Scythe Glass Swarm, CR 9. A stained glass window that shatters into a animate swarm of shards of glass that attack anyone trying to intrude into a church.

Wraithwing, CR 4 Undead. Strix that were captured and killed by the Chelish, but then arose from the dead fueled by lingering hatred, their wings ablaze with ghostly green flames.

Zephyr, CR 12 Fey. Nature spirits tied to the weather, alternating between equine and humanoid forms.


Kvantum wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
not been released to subscribers yet AFAIK

They started to go out last night. Been busy with a work project, but that's now waiting on approval and review, so I have a minute.

** spoiler omitted **

Sweet! Thanks! Those beasties sound pretty cool.


Kvantum wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
not been released to subscribers yet AFAIK

They started to go out last night. Been busy with a work project, but that's now waiting on approval and review, so I have a minute.

** spoiler omitted **

Very nice beasties indeed.


I'm looking forward to seeing the art for the monsters. :)


What information is there on Professor Manghvune? Why did he turn bad? What are his stats?

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Professor Manghvune:

There's actually a rather good bit of information on the guy. He's the end boss of the volume and gets a section in the NPC Gallery (as well as an entry as an entry on the back-cover).

He's currently an Advanced Babau Assassin 10 (with a full-page statblock). It notes that his Babau form has grown in power since when it got mentioned in Demons Revisited.

He used to be a CE Male Human Expert 4 / Rogue 7 / Assassin 2 in life (no full statblock provided or really needed).

He didn't just snap one day; his descent into his serial-killer state was gradual, and he was evil long before it became obvious. He started out researching life, then what happens to the soul after death. He became disturbed that he would lose his memories and general sense of 'self' when becoming a petitioner and desired to find a way around that; he came to Kintargo to track down the Soul Anchor. Unable to find it, he started killing people to trace their souls to it. When that didn't work, he started slowly torturing people to almost-death then healing them repeatedly to see if that got him better information. He eventually managed to locate the Soul Anchor with his ritual serial murders and bathed in its energies, allowing him to retain his memories after death. By that point, he'd decided he liked killing people and, even though he had achieved his goal, he continued the murders anyway.

================================

And an unrelated repost of what I said about infernal contracts earlier (but accidentally posted on volume 6's page):

Repost:

I extend a big thumbs-up on the design of the Infernal Contracts. They use the library research system elements in an interesting and effective way, include a rule to prevent brute-forcing-via-infinite-retries by the underqualified-to-understand-them that reflects diabolic trickery well while allowing bargainers to still have a chance of cracking them later when they're more up-to-the-task, have a good selection of benefits, and are overall rather flavorful with the hidden clauses, payments, and effects.

I'd love to see a 'fiendish toolbox' book full of these and manifestations (and probably other, similar, things).


Speaking of infernal contracts, and this chapter's use of them...

Why not...:

...fail to inform Queen Abrogail of the contract, and let her break it by moving against Kintargo, thus abruptly removing Hell's support of Thrune and destabilizing them severely?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:

Speaking of infernal contracts, and this chapter's use of them...

** spoiler omitted **

See #102.

The short version:

Spoiler:
Becasue doing so would result in Kintargo being destroyed. The goal is to NOT let Chelaix raze the region, and even if they lose Hell's support they'll still be plenty strong to petulantly destroy everything the PCs have worked for.


James Jacobs wrote:

See #102.

The short version:

** spoiler omitted **

That's a very good point, thanks.


What happens in this volume? I mean, besides looking at a contract and hunting down a demon serial killer.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Axial wrote:
What happens in this volume? I mean, besides looking at a contract and hunting down a demon serial killer.

The other two parts involve:

-finding scions of various noble families, since you need their votes to ratify a lord-mayor by the terms of the Contract.

-unifying (and pacifying) the countryside. This includes a powerful umbral dragon, an unleashed charybdis, a coven of hags, and a bunch of strix.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So whats the new protean like?


Kalindlara wrote:
Axial wrote:
What happens in this volume? I mean, besides looking at a contract and hunting down a demon serial killer.

The other two parts involve:

-finding scions of various noble families, since you need their votes to ratify a lord-mayor by the terms of the Contract.

-unifying (and pacifying) the countryside. This includes a powerful umbral dragon, an unleashed charybdis, a coven of hags, and a bunch of strix.

Very nice! I have not played this AP, but I have read much of 3 and 4 and the storyline is so intriguing.

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
KaiserBruno wrote:
So whats the new protean like?

Well the book is out to subscribers now, and since no one else has answered the question (and since I wrote the critter in question), I'll field the question. :)

The hegessik proteans are serpentine in profile, but plumed and multi-armed, with a third eye. They act like wandering clergy who mediate between and at times coordinate between various keketar led protean choruses.

CR 15. Gaze attack, a ranged telekinetic attack, and an aura of confusion. Various other abilities as well.

Some examples of known hegessiks, including a group that act as servitors of the protean lord Ssila'meshnik, and a nearly mythical individual hegessik known as Galisem the Whisper of Malleable Dissonance.

Lots more and more detail than that little bit. I hope folks enjoy it. I'm also a big fan of the Strix ecology article in this AP entry.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Todd Stewart wrote:
KaiserBruno wrote:
So whats the new protean like?

Well the book is out to subscribers now, and since no one else has answered the question (and since I wrote the critter in question), I'll field the question. :)

The hegessik proteans are serpentine in profile, but plumed and multi-armed, with a third eye. They act like wandering clergy who mediate between and at times coordinate between various keketar led protean choruses.

CR 15. Gaze attack, a ranged telekinetic attack, and an aura of confusion. Various other abilities as well.

Some examples of known hegessiks, including a group that act as servitors of the protean lord Ssila'meshnik, and a nearly mythical individual hegessik known as Galisem the Whisper of Malleable Dissonance.

Lots more and more detail than that little bit. I hope folks enjoy it. I'm also a big fan of the Strix ecology article in this AP entry.

Sounds magnificent like the rest of your work Todd. You actually saved me a bit of work. I was actually going to design a CR 15 protean for my homebrew world so thanks!

As soon as I get back to work, I'll be getting Hell's Rebels. Partially to run for my home group after we finish up Curse of the Crimson Throne, mostly to get the proteans and other lovely beasts in here.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Would I be correct in assuming that Hell's Vengeance will provide more information about the Cheliax Covenant that is mentioned in this volume? I am curious as to how it might affect families that are related to but not formally part of House Thrune.


Glanced through the bestiary in this and something popped out at me regarding the Zephyr (love that fey beastie, BTW): in the stat blocks, it's Breath Weapon is said to be sonic damage. However, in the Breath Weapon explanation further down, it is said to be electricity! So, which is it?!


Is there a clarification for the Zephyr's breath weapon? As I stated above, it is sonic in one place, electricity in another. Which one is correct?

Paizo Employee Developer

Fourshadow wrote:
Is there a clarification for the Zephyr's breath weapon? As I stated above, it is sonic in one place, electricity in another. Which one is correct?

Oh, sorry about that. That's my error. Sonic is the correct energy type for the breath weapon.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thank you! I had hoped we could have another fey with a sonic BW! A what's more we have a thunder horse!


Just for that Four...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPRBOTp19jQ


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Does anyone have an explanation for why, in the revised Kintargo city stat block (p. 3), Lictor Octavio Sabinus is listed as being in the Order of the Rack? Did I miss something in my read-through of the previous four adventures?!?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Bellona wrote:
Does anyone have an explanation for why, in the revised Kintargo city stat block (p. 3), Lictor Octavio Sabinus is listed as being in the Order of the Rack? Did I miss something in my read-through of the previous four adventures?!?

Typo. He remains the Lictor of the Torrent.


Bellona wrote:
Does anyone have an explanation for why, in the revised Kintargo city stat block (p. 3), Lictor Octavio Sabinus is listed as being in the Order of the Rack? Did I miss something in my read-through of the previous four adventures?!?

The Order of the Torrent doesn't exist.

It was all a ruse created by Sabinus, the true Lictor of the Rack. He went into hiding on Mephistopheles' orders to trick the PCs into letting their guard down. While they're dealing with Barzillai Thrune, he's plotting to rebuild his Hellknights and take them out.

Shadow Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:
Bellona wrote:
Does anyone have an explanation for why, in the revised Kintargo city stat block (p. 3), Lictor Octavio Sabinus is listed as being in the Order of the Rack? Did I miss something in my read-through of the previous four adventures?!?
Typo. He remains the Lictor of the Torrent.

Is his gaining of 3 Hellknight levels since Turn of the Torrent (from Hellknight 3 to Hellknight 6, the same Hellknight level as Kyre Ekodyre) a typo as well?

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