Pathfinder Adventure Path #103: The Hellfire Compact (Hell's Vengeance 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Adventure Path #103: The Hellfire Compact (Hell's Vengeance 1 of 6) (PFRPG)
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All Hell Breaks Loose!

The Hell's Vengeance Adventure Path begins with "The Hellfire Compact," an exciting new adventure in which the players take the roles of evil characters in the diabolical empire of Cheliax! A paladin of Iomedae and knight-errant of the Glorious Reclamation comes to the town of Longacre, inspiring the citizens to join the uprising against the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune. First as amoral mercenaries, then as retainers of the wicked archbaron of Longacre, the evil adventurers must move quickly to put down the insurgency and keep the town from falling to the knight's rebellion.

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path launches the Hell's Vengeance Adventure Path and includes:

  • "The Hellfire Compact," a Pathfinder adventure for 1st-level characters, by F. Wesley Schneider.
  • A gazetteer of Longacre, the small town in Cheliax that serves as the setting for this adventure, by F. Wesley Schneider.
  • Details on the Glorious Reclamation, a knightly order dedicated to Iomedae that sparks the events of this campaign, by Rob McCreary.
  • Magical mayhem and ill tidings from afar in the Pathfinder's Journal, by Josh Vogt.
  • A bestiary of frightful new monsters, by Paris Crenshaw, Mikko Kallio, and Jason Keeley.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-818-2

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

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The Worst Start to an AP I've Ever Seen

1/5

I was a player in this, so I can't comment about things behind the screen.

In our group, we like to make meaningful characters with genuine motives for what they do. As a long-time GM, I'm pretty used to playing villains who are also real people. Most people do not need help with this concept. Putting an NPC in to basically 'show the PCs the ropes' of being villainous was so patronizing I don't even have words for it.

Also, starting the PCs mid-crime and just telling them to roll with it? Awful, abysmal idea. Who on earth thought this would be good?

Just because you're playing evil characters it doesn't mean you suddenly don't need a reason for being an a&!#%@%. As someone who attempted to make a character with a halfway nuanced backstory (and a lawful one, mind) I was honestly blown away that this setpiece was the price of entry into this AP. Just go along with it or don't bother! Delightful.

No other major problems with the town, setting, motives, villains. But Paizo's lack of experience in evil campaigns really shone here (and would continue to do so for the rest of the AP)


But I want to be evil my way! ... No you can't. We're LAWFUL evil here

3/5

What I like is the nice and detailed town of Longacre with all the characters that populate it.

The NPCs are nicely fleshed out with their motivations and background.

The history of the Glorious Reclamation opposing the Thrice Damned House of Thrune gives an interesting context.

The art is wonderful as it is in most of the paizo books.

But the first and foremost advice about playing the adventure - as written in the adventure - is: Don't be a jerk! Well, I thought being a jerk is an essential part of being evil. Killing your companions might be a tad too much, but people who can't differentiate between their player friend who they like and his in game character, who steals from their character for the fun of it, should stay with heroic APs. Just my 2cent worth.

But it doesn't stop there. If you take Rise of the Runelord for example, you start with a fair and one page later you are leaving a trail of blood and dead bodies all through the book. As good heroes.

Here, as evil characters, we got through half the book without killing anyone, because we're not supposed to. Every NPC quest giver whines about only roughing them up.

When I think about playing evil I think of Bonnie&Clyde. This is not it. Here you are at the lowest end of a LE Kingdom and have to adhere to the whims of those ordering you around. It's like it was written by a paladin who wanted to rub it in, that being evil is no fun at all.

Or maybe I'm not evil enough to understand that I shouldn't care about what the adventure wants and should go marauding and killing through town anyway... muhahahaha.


Real bad AP start, get's better.

3/5

GOOD:
maps, enemies and Starting town are great.

BAD:
No motivation to start the first mission beyond money and "just do it!".

UGLY:
Only easily playable for lawful evil characters.
Chaotic and neutral evil characters may have a hard time cooperating.

All in all the worst AP start of all.
Way of the Wicked is far superior.


Pretty good, but...

3/5

... the opening is a bit of a jolt, and also presumes a great deal about the motivation of your collection of scumbag ne'er-do-wells. For a scratch group, I wouldn't mind, but considering the way the campaign traits work, motivating the PCs for

Spoiler:
a grubby little heist that may not even pay as much as trait choices start you with
can involve a fair bit of GM editing.

But if you're fired up to play the bad guys, things rapidly get more nuanced. There's a rebellion to crush for the Evil Empire, and you're just the guys to do it!

However, the conclusion can be a bit jarring if the essentially awful nature of life in Cheliax is glossed over, and some of the NPC interactions feel a mite... forced.

Worth a go if you want to try your hand at being evil, but be prepared for some extra work on the sidelines.

While marketed as "any kind of evil," in practice, only the more subtle forms of Chaotic Evil seem likely to do terribly well- there's some room for flexing it, but a solid bank of Lawful Evil or a few Neutral Evil opportunists seems the best fit.


Excited to see the rest!

4/5

+ Characters are not one dimensional on either side. I really like that the antagonists are profoundly good guys, but are not some paragons of virtue without blame. Same thing with friendly npcs.
+ The little twists in the story are good, especially the one at the beginning and the one near the end. These work really well in the story.
+ There's a really heart-tugging moment in the adventure that can come out of nowhere and can make the players not ready for such feel surprised. I love that.
+ Hard battles ahead!

- "Villain" of the piece while is good, he can feel bit estranged. There is one character that is more of villain with all the build up, but is not the main bad guy.
- Events are fun, but I can see that the periods of reacting to events and getting orders can be a strain on the characters not in the Lawful end of the alingment pool. Though only time will tell what the Anti-paladin of the party will think of all this.

Overall: Great, I love this. Already excited to run this in the future. The Western-aesthetic can be seen and works definitely on it's advantage.

But dogs? Yeesh, you guys are evil.


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Silver Crusade

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

BLOOD FOR THE GOD OF BLOOD, SKULLS FOR THE THRONE OF KHORNE!

Dark Archive

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

Crush. Kill. Destroy. Swag.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I got my shipping notice yesterday; I just finished my first read. It looks excellent!

I did notice the presence of a familiar name... the Feign Prince Lairsaph. Despite our evil AP being disappointingly Seltyiel-deficient, I'm glad for this little Easter egg. ^_^

Scarab Sages

Where is the Hell's Vengeance Player's Guide?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Not out yet.

Editor-in-Chief

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Kalindlara wrote:

I got my shipping notice yesterday; I just finished my first read. It looks excellent!

I did notice the presence of a familiar name... the Feign Prince Lairsaph. Despite our evil AP being disappointingly Seltyiel-deficient, I'm glad for this little Easter egg. ^_^

I hope you like omelets.


Besides the basics of "They worship Iomedae, they want to get rid of Thrune, and they raided Citadel Dinyar" what does the section on the Glorious Reclamation teach us about them?

Dark Archive

Weird question for everyone who has read this and WotW. Does this seem more evil then the first chapter of WotW? It seems it to me.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

This isn't my groups cup of tea, too evil for our taste. That is fine that they made an adventure path for this, I am sure most people will like it, I just wish it wasn't RIGHT after another hell themed adventure path. For our group it is an entire year of wasted adventure paths, in the future I wish you would spread out similarly themed adventure paths, because if it is a theme someone doesn't enjoy it is a year before they have something to look forward too again.

If you don't agree that is fine, enjoy the path!

Dark Archive

This one's going to be fun, but where is the players guide?


As I understand it, there's been a slight delay. This means that the Player's Guide for Hell's Vengeance will be released on the first installment's street date, which is February 24th.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Seraphmoon wrote:

This isn't my groups cup of tea, too evil for our taste. That is fine that they made an adventure path for this, I am sure most people will like it, I just wish it wasn't RIGHT after another hell themed adventure path. For our group it is an entire year of wasted adventure paths, in the future I wish you would spread out similarly themed adventure paths, because if it is a theme someone doesn't enjoy it is a year before they have something to look forward too again.

If you don't agree that is fine, enjoy the path!

This is a unique circumstance brought on by the "two sides of the same coin" approach we're taking to these two campaigns. Expect a return to the standard "each AP is very different" approach.

Dark Archive

Seraphmoon wrote:
hell themed adventure path.

Isn't it more like two rebellion themed APs?

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
CorvusMask wrote:
Seraphmoon wrote:
hell themed adventure path.
Isn't it more like two rebellion themed APs?

Yes, but the rebellion theme is much stronger in Hell's Rebels. There is a rebellion of sorts going on in Hell's Vengeance as well, but it's not simply a rebellion (there are foreign "invaders" as well) and it takes place over a much larger area. And of course, the PCs in Hell's Vengeance are working against the "rebellion" in various different ways.

The biggest difference, however, is that the PCs of Hell's Rebels are the primary instigators of the rebellion - it succeeds or fails based solely on them. In Hell's Vengeance, on the other hand, the PCs are not the only ones involved - there are other Thrune agents, the Chelish army, etc. fighting against the Glorious Reclamation as well, and the success or failure of the Reclamation is not as tightly tied to the PCs' actions - though their actions *do* have a significant impact.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:

I got my shipping notice yesterday; I just finished my first read. It looks excellent!

I did notice the presence of a familiar name... the Feign Prince Lairsaph. Despite our evil AP being disappointingly Seltyiel-deficient, I'm glad for this little Easter egg. ^_^

I hope you like omelets.

*ponders the implications of omelets and eggs in this context*

*bursts out laughing*

If I'm right, then I hope that Seltyiel can at least take his revenge on his other evil daddy.

Deadpool The Movie:
And now I'm picturing the execution of Francis, with Seltyiel as Deadpool and Seelah as Colossus.


Do you also face evil monster enemies? Or only angels and other good bores?


Being evil means everyone is a potential enemy. Heck even a potential short term ally?
So I hope nearly all alignments can be a Challenge


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't like good-natured creatures because they mostly look like super models and pretty people, something I don't really enjoy in 90% of a creature group, it should be uncommon. Like being pretty means you are very kind as well, while in the real world it is mostly the opposite, just look at myself. ;-)

SO an entire adventure facing pretty dryads, pixies, angels, nymphs and other such beauties is something I wouldn't like. That's why I asked.
A new question is, what type of creatures do you face during this adventure?

But a good mixture of good, neutral and evil creatures in this book would be interesting, and yes, I hope they did that too with the evil vs everything, and not lets-make-an-adventure-path-so-all-good-aligmnent-creatures-in-our-bestiari es-have-a-chance-to-shine-for-once-excuse.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Nightterror wrote:
Do you also face evil monster enemies? Or only angels and other good bores?

The first part includes mostly Good humanoid NPCs, however there is a

Spoiler:
manticore at one point


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hmm at least the bestiary is interesting (even the angel)

But i'm not a fan of human enemies, but this is only part 1 so maybe part 2 will change that.


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

The Glorious Reclamation would obviously be mostly human followers of Iomedae -- but I am sure that the cleric in charge of them will be calling or summoning plenty of angels and archons by the final battle.


David knott 242 wrote:
The Glorious Reclamation would obviously be mostly human followers of Iomedae -- but I am sure that the cleric in charge of them will be calling or summoning plenty of angels and archons by the final battle.

I thought the leader was a paladin... Paladin/cleric maybe?


Archons can get weird, so hopefully we'll have some neat diversity there.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Thomas Seitz wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
The Glorious Reclamation would obviously be mostly human followers of Iomedae -- but I am sure that the cleric in charge of them will be calling or summoning plenty of angels and archons by the final battle.
I thought the leader was a paladin... Paladin/cleric maybe?

You are right -- this adventure does describe her as a paladin. I am not sure how I got confused on that point.


Are the GR proper LG or at they abit grey in parts?

Silver Crusade

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

Lawfuler Gooder than LG, they even have their own Paladin style code they follow.

Paizo Employee Contributor—Canadian Maplecakes

Nightterror wrote:

Hmm at least the bestiary is interesting (even the angel)

But i'm not a fan of human enemies, but this is only part 1 so maybe part 2 will change that.

Well, a bit of a heads up for the next adventure...

Spoiler:
The next adventure will continue the trend of fighting the Glorious Reclamation, as described in the adventure summary at the back of Adventure 1.

I will say, that there's an emphasis on 'evil fighting evil' and one of the underlying themes of Adventure 2 is how the PCs handle evil vs. evil while maintaining their (in)glorious crusade against the forces of the Reclamation!

Hope that keeps you interested :)


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

I got The Hellfire Compact in the mail today, and reading through the summary of the adventure path, I've decided this one is not for me, and I'm going to suspend my subscription. Maybe I'm too old or square; I just don't understand the appeal of some of the content.

Spoiler For Plot Point From Part 5:
The PCs apparently have to bathe a gold dragon's head in the blood of 100 innocents. It's really hard for me to understand how people can find this kind of thing fun. As a DM, I hate it when PCs kill my NPCs, especially the ones that don't deserve it.


John Warren wrote:

I got The Hellfire Compact in the mail today, and reading through the summary of the adventure path, I've decided this one is not for me, and I'm going to suspend my subscription. Maybe I'm too old or square; I just don't understand the appeal of some of the content.

100 is not so bad....we have taken out that many Goblins at low levels...

Dark Archive

I'm still confused that people apparently aren't ready to pay for bestiaries and articles .-.

..Like I have bought before APs just for articles even though I never plan reading them so I don't spoil them if I get to play them...


I bought all AP for the bestiaries and other content. The only ones i don't bought are iron gods, and I kinda regret buying wrath of the righteous now that the only two monsters from those bestiaries that I liked ended up in bestiary 5 as wel...


2 people marked this as a favorite.
John Warren wrote:
I got The Hellfire Compact in the mail today, and reading through the summary of the adventure path, I've decided this one is not for me, and I'm going to suspend my subscription. Maybe I'm too old or square; I just don't understand the appeal of some of the content.

I think that's a valid point, and Paizo have mentioned this as well, that Hell's Vengeance isn't going to appeal to everyone (something that can be said for all adventure paths but especially Hell's Vengeance, given its subject matter).

For me personally, an evil-focused adventure path is a nice change of pace from the type of games I normally run and play. For the players it's fun to get a glimpse of the dark side and to roleplay the bad guys, and for me it's actually a chance for me to roleplay the good guys.

Response to the spoiler-tagged text:
I understand how that can be off-putting. However, I'm sure there's a deeper context than just because the characters are evil. It's still a brutal act, of course, and it's a good example of why Hell's Vengeance isn't for everyone.

Personally I'm rather intrigued by the event. Not the act itself, but rather the cirstumances surrounding the act, and the story behind it.

Silver Crusade

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

For extra shock and awe, if I ever run this I'll be replacing the blood of 100 innocents with the blood of 100 PUPPIES. Although I'm sure some people will just walk away while vomiting at that point.

Dark Archive

Gorbacz wrote:
For extra shock and awe, if I ever run this I'll be replacing the blood of 100 innocents with the blood of 100 PUPPIES. Although I'm sure some people will just walk away while vomiting at that point.

you murderous little bag i bet a puppy pied on you didn't they?

Dark Archive

Gorbacz wrote:
For extra shock and awe, if I ever run this I'll be replacing the blood of 100 innocents with the blood of 100 PUPPIES. Although I'm sure some people will just walk away while vomiting at that point.

How about making it a sadistic choice and providing 100 puppies as "more ethical" options? :P

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
For extra shock and awe, if I ever run this I'll be replacing the blood of 100 innocents with the blood of 100 PUPPIES. Although I'm sure some people will just walk away while vomiting at that point.
How about making it a sadistic choice and providing 100 humans as "more ethical" options? :P

FTFY.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I wonder if you could pull of the ritual with forced blood donations. 2 pints minimum per person, A reward for willing donations of more than 2 pints, forcing a donation from those that refuse or resist the donation, and if there isn't enough by a set point in time, the random selection of 100 innocents and sacrificing them 1 at a time until the neccessary amount is collected.

We might be evil people, but that doesn't mean we don't have standards.

Sovereign Court

Fingers crossed for player's guide tomorrow!


I also wonder how literally they are using the term "innocents"....100 true innocents could be next to impossible to come up with......

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
nighttree wrote:
I also wonder how literally they are using the term "innocents"....100 true innocents could be next to impossible to come up with......

Newborn innocent. Literally, 100 newborns with the umbilical cords still attached.


I hope it's been a long cold winter.....

Silver Crusade

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

Me too.

Grand Lodge Contributor

Whether it's puppies or innocents, if you're only going to use the blood, you should give the bones to a centianima. 100 sounds just about right...

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

It would be terrible if it was exactly 100 innocents. One accidental death or mistake and suddenly you need to start all over again.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
ErisAcolyte-Chaos jester wrote:
It would be terrible if it was exactly 100 innocents. One accidental death or mistake and suddenly you need to start all over again.

One of the pitfalls of working for Lawful Evil.


Is it tomorrow yet?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
casiel wrote:
It's probably way too soon to ask, but I'm curious what this AP portends for Pathfinder Society. Any chance we could get a boon to play a Lawful Evil character? Or, better yet, just allow LE for everyone? Sith cookies are mighty tempting...

And it should be noted that PFS does give multiple opportunities to play evil characters such as Aspis Consortium, Sewer Dragon Kobolds, and no doubt a new module featuring our favorite Goblin heroes of the Lickspittle tribe down the pike at some point.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
ErisAcolyte-Chaos jester wrote:
It would be terrible if it was exactly 100 innocents. One accidental death or mistake and suddenly you need to start all over again.

"Kargath Bladefist: Hmph. I only counted ninety-nine kills, wizard.

Archmage Khadgar : Then I guess we owe you one."


100 sacrifices sounds kinda NE-CE lulzy. Kind of reminds me of a comic book where thousands of prisoners were killed by a sadistic super-soldier and an officer said 'No one will ever surrender to us again.'


So got the AP PDF.There is reference to a player's guide, is that available yet?

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