Pathfinder Adventure Path #108: Hell Comes to Westcrown (Hell's Vengeance 6 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Adventure Path #108: Hell Comes to Westcrown (Hell's Vengeance 6 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Raising Hell!

Cheliax's largest city, Westcrown, has fallen to the Glorious Reclamation, and the evil adventurers are sent to reclaim the metropolis in the name of House Thrune. Armed with the legendary weapon they created from a gold dragon's head, the nefarious characters confront the Glorious Reclamation's forces and break its siege of a nearby Hellknight citadel. Once the army is defeated, the villains enter Westcrown, where they must undermine the chivalrous knights' rule of the city. Finally, they face the founder and Lord Marshal of the Glorious Reclamation to end the rebellion and restore the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune's rule over the empire of Cheliax.

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

  • "Hell Comes to Westcrown," a Pathfinder adventure for 15th-level characters, by Ron Lundeen.
  • A look at how the city of Westcrown operates under the rule of the Glorious Reclamation, by Ron Lundeen.
  • Advice and suggestions on how to expand your campaign beyond the Adventure Path's conclusion, by Ron Lundeen.
  • An infernal confrontation and the waking of a powerful ancient weapon in the Pathfinder's Journal, by Josh Vogt.
  • A collection of formidable monsters, by Jason Keeley and Ron Lundeen.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-851-9

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

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Unimaginative, by the numbers, designed to subvert players

2/5

Was in this as a player, so can't comment on anything behind the screen.

This was certainly a High Level Game where you Fight Good Creatures. That's really the best that can be said for it.

Sure, there were some interesting setpieces and enemies. But, why is everything in the city possessed of an artificially high stat block? I could swallow it if it were specifically Glorious Reclamation folk who were sent here to hold an important city, but it's not. Every random dude here is coincidentally at the right level for a book 6... for some reason.

Others have said this but, holy heck where did you get all these paladins? It was a tad absurd even in Wrath, but isn't paladin supposed to be a somewhat unusual class which takes a remarkable level of personal dedication and really means something for the individual? They're a dime a dozen here, no big deal I guess.

Which brings me on to my next point. Paladins have some nice immunities, as we all know. Some would say they have some extremely strong immunities. I say let them have their fun... usually at least. But when nigh on the only enemy you're facing is paladins, these things become very apparent. Let's be honest, a huge pull for this AP was the chance to play evil characters with evil abilities, access to domains you wouldn't usually get, antipaladin stuff etc. And as we learned in our group, a LOT of evil class features involve fear, charm, and compulsion. Yes, they're nasty things to do, but this is an -evil- game. The presence of so many paladins is a huge middle finger to a lot of the tactics and class features which are going to be favored by evil characters. I'm not sure what the impetus was for this decision, apart from to make sure the PCs don't have too much fun being evil, and are subverted as much as possible.

It might be subjective to our group, but the final villain seemed to be completely out of nowhere, no fanfare, and no reputation build up at all prior to fighting her. Compare this to Hell's Rebels, it's extremely anticlimactic and underwhelming.

Adding my voice to those fed up with the evil iconics. I'm sorry but the art is some of the worst I've ever seen, and they're horribly made characters. A couple of them are interesting enough in terms of story, but I'd love to know what drugs the person is on who decided that a duergar paladin is a sensible choice.


Assault on Brienne's castle! And celestials killed!

5/5

I just finished reading this volume and found it to be very nice, possibly the best of the saga (maybe a close second after volume4).

The mass murdering at the begining of the book is simply glorious (pun intended) and the Korradath is a very funny and live dungeon, if a little too small ( i especially apreciated the fluidity of the encounters, well connected to previous player actions and Chorus).
The missions in the middle are also well varied and interesting. Including other elements of the campaign, such as the inferno gate is a marvelous idea as well. My favourite point of the adventure must be the final lines on the Big Bad Good Lady description..and the alternate ways of..dealing with her..reminded me a lot of the first Mass Effect game.

Continuing the campaing is also a very interesting article, especially for the high level stat block presented...very looking forward to any player foolish enough to face that. Also, what to do with a good artifact was a very nice read.

I loved the bestiary, filled with high level celestials, it felt very consistent with the needs of a high level evil campaign.

All in all i am very satisfied with this volume, the art, tough being somewhere a bit too dark (but that gives out a lot of atmosphere) looks very good, except for a certain high level cleric, way too plain for being such a high level cleric. If i must find a ngative element i must say that i'm quite surprised by the numbers of high level paladins present in the Glorious Reclamation army. Tough i understand that lower level enemies would have counted for nothing.


Average end to an average adventure path

3/5

Previous 2 reviews have said it all so I'll just add still not a fan of the evil Iconics taking up page space and cover.


Still better than Inferno Gate

3/5

At this point, I'm figuring it went something like this:
"Hey man, I noticed in the warehouse we have like ten boxes of paladins, and they're still unloading more, what's up?"
"Dude, it's going to be radical. I ordered up like 500 identical paladins for the big battle at the end of Wrath of the Righteous! You can't have an epic battle without hundreds of identical paladins, pretty sure gygax said that."
"We cancelled that battle bro! Oh man, we're so fired when the Golem finds out!"
"What? No dude, hold on, I have an idea. We pitch an evil adventure path! Every encounter in the last two books can just be a s~!@ load of paladins, problem solved!"
"Man, I don't know about you, but I don't know how to write an evil adventure path!"
"I got that covered too! We just make the party a bunch of government agents for the legitimate authority! They won't actually do much evil s#@~ at all, but they can still be hellknights or whatever."

So you set off the artifact bomb you spent a whole book building, only to find it's two or three delayed blast fireballs with a ridiculous summoning caveat that the game encourages you to let the party play as some ridiculous undead, which sort of defeats the purpose of role-playing? The head of an adult gold dragon, blood of a bunch of peasants, the desecration of a holy spring, and the destruction of an ancient monastery of evil for roughly as much power as the level 14 sorcerer's 6th level spell slots. Once the tiny warhead has been dropped, you sneak into the city, conduct some more silly rituals while fighting a whole bunch of paladins. Your old friends from Castle Dinyar are back: An endless fountain of paladins, minibosses that can be summoned by the final boss, and making knowledge checks to identify which devil is best at standing on a bridge. Okay, that last one is new, but it's absurd enough to fit it with the Scourge of the Godclaw, or even The Inferno Gate. You identify some other devils to delegate to, because there are no Chelaxian troops or Hellknights anywhere on the planet. Then you fight the biggest paladin of them all(or make a reasonable diplomacy check), and you're done!

This book answers one of the great mysteries of the adventure path. We finally discover why Iomedae left Heart's Edge behind when she ascended: It wasn't very good. This is a good book for mediocre artifacts. The quest to corrupt it is pretty extraordinary, if you choose to follow it, in that it's way harder than just leaving it with the court of Zon-Kuthon to torture evil s$~@ for a thousand years.

All of this is not to say this book is without redeeming value. There's a sequence I haven't mentioned with some awesome, thematic monsters in a sensical sequence, and the Solar form of the Angel Knight is going in my folder for all eternity as a 'Melee Solar.' The combat maps are pretty great, all the non-paladin fights are solid, and most of the art is awesome. While I would rather have had more evil s!~~ to do, perhaps actually invading heaven with an Archon who was uncomfortable with the unlawful actions of the Glorious Reclamation and their indifference to the pain caused by their actions, perhaps destroying a major good city as vengeance for them taking Westcrown, the book works, and is far better than The Inferno Gate.


Mediocre finale of a disappointing AP!

3/5

GOOD: Battle maps, stat blocks, Westcrown article and bestiary are solid.

BAD: Illustrations are too dark or crude, magic items/artifacts either op or just strange. The encounters are very much work for the DM, because of multiple spellcasters and/or spell-like abilities, missions feel like computergame quests. The BBE is boring and has no build-up.

UGLY: You NEED the NPC Codex to play this, as every 3rd fight has characters from it!The Iconic necromancer lvl 7 with AC 12 & 41 hp.

The "Evil AP" is a failure, mostly because of the boxed-in framework. "Way of the Wicked" shows how it's done the right way. Luckily this is the ONLY AP that failed.


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

Tammy doesn't like Paladins.

Silver Crusade

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

Even those that follow Lymneiris?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
Tammy needs some cuddles.

Agreed, Rysky.


*likes paladins fine*


Tammy hates all Paladins.

What deity they worship is irrelevant to their sanctimonious uppity holier than thou b+@*!*+*.

Besides, Tammy doesn't want to go to Hell either, she's got plans, big, big plans.


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

For the record, I do hate Paladins.

But I'm a big big fan of Chronicles of the Righteous for what it's worth.

Edit: And just having fun, in case it isn't obvious. :-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
MannyGoblin wrote:

I have to wonder about Ilnerik though, considering the new info on agents, he had to be a big time agent of Thrune to be given control of the streets at night, so when he gets axed, that is major treason. So i am kinda doubtful that even well behaved PCs could get away with anything other than exile or ceding control to any nobles that they made alliances with.

"What? Self rule? Whatever made you think that would be allowed?"

Unless he was more trouble than he was worth perhaps.

I'm not sure what you mean - Ilnerik was a leader of the Council of Thieves and had no Thrune connections. As far as I know he's never been mentioned since, unless I missed something. Eh, did I miss something?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh and a slight gripe: I don't see the point in giving angels and other LG outsiders levels in paladin. I mean, aren't they paladins by nature? Many paladin abilities are diminished or outright useless to high-CR good outsiders. Plus, isn't the point of a paladin to be the mortal pinnacle of goodness? Same goes for demons with antipaladin levels.

That's just my opinion of course. But why not something interesting like fighter, ranger, barbarian, some prestige class, etc.?


Generic Villain wrote:
MannyGoblin wrote:

I have to wonder about Ilnerik though, considering the new info on agents, he had to be a big time agent of Thrune to be given control of the streets at night, so when he gets axed, that is major treason. So i am kinda doubtful that even well behaved PCs could get away with anything other than exile or ceding control to any nobles that they made alliances with.

"What? Self rule? Whatever made you think that would be allowed?"

Unless he was more trouble than he was worth perhaps.

I'm not sure what you mean - Ilnerik was a leader of the Council of Thieves and had no Thrune connections. As far as I know he's never been mentioned since, unless I missed something. Eh, did I miss something?

It was in the background of CoT. Ilnerik was contacted by Thrune to use the shadowbeasts to do population control. By day, everyone did their business and were indoors at night when Ilnerik sent out the shadowbeasts.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
MannyGoblin wrote:


It was in the background of CoT. Ilnerik was contacted by Thrune to use the shadowbeasts to do population control. By day, everyone did their business and were indoors at night when Ilnerik sent out the shadowbeasts.

Ah okay, I misunderstood the original intent of your post. There is no mention made of Council of Thieves' PCs. Hell's Vengeance is assumed to take place 6 years after the events of Council of Thieves. Very little info is given about what happened between Council of Thieves and Hell's Vengeance, perhaps because the author didn't want to invalidate anyone's Council campaign.

In my opinion, I never considered Ilnerik an official Thrune agent. He was someone who they could conveniently manipulate to keep the populace of Westcrown in check, because House Thrune had no real interest in governing the city themselves. When Ilnerik perished, he would have just been written off as an expendable agent being expended.


Generic Villain wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

spoiler:

Wow! That's awesome!

Most people were speculating that if the PCs lost, Abrogail would just say "Screw it!" and have all of Cheliax destroyed, since if she can't rule the empire, no one can. But it turns out, not only can the Glorious Reclamation survive, but they can cripple Cheliax and force House Thrune to the brink of extinction! I guess we were underestimating these crusaders all along.

Generic Villain wrote:

Oh, and Brienne of Tarth is an excellent approximation. Her face is narrower and more imperious though. Not a friendly looking woman.

That actually makes a lot of sense


1 person marked this as a favorite.

*agrees with Axial's joy*

*loves paladins and anti-paladins*


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Seitz wrote:

*agrees with Axial's joy*

*loves paladins and anti-paladins*

Wouldn't it be epic if the villains decided to resolve the Westcrown battle by having the party's tyrant antipaladin challenge Alexaera to a 1 vs 1 duel to the death? :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

It would be interesting but I think Alexaera might win due to the fact she's got a freaking artifact weapon...

Not sure what Urgraz is carrying but I don't think it's on the same level, Axial.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Thomas Seitz wrote:

It would be interesting but I think Alexaera might win due to the fact she's got a freaking artifact weapon...

Not sure what Urgraz is carrying but I don't think it's on the same level, Axial.

I see nothing wrong with this.


No but I think a fair fight is better in some ways. But whatever.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Maybe making a joke out of said antipaladin and killing him/her right in front of the villain party's eyes would be Alexaera's "last dance" and final act of heroism before she falls.


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I think I want the PCs to fail. Long live the Glorious Reclamation!


Zaister,

I think we all do if it means we get something better out of it.

Axial

Maybe but then I'd assume the Crusade might end with her demise.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Axial wrote:


** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:

Abrogail is most definitely not ready to give up her nation if the PCs fail. Actually if I recall, wasn't it revealed in Hell's Rebels that Abrogail I set up the county of Ravounel as sort of an ace in the hole? A place she could retreat to if things got bad? If so, that means the actions of the PCs in Hell's Rebels basically took away Abrogail III's backup plan. With Ravounel effectively seceding, she has no other place to go. She has to fight or literally lose everything.

Here's the sense I got: the Glorious Reclamation is a well-organized, dedicated military machine and many of Cheliax's residents support them. This isn't a band of pitchfork wielding peasants trying to overthrow the aristocracy - it's a legitimate, well thought-out attack by a bunch of very powerful warriors with heavy support from the forces of Heaven itself. They are comparable to the legions of crusaders who marched east from Europe, both in size and capability.

Here's the rub though. The Glorious Reclamation and House Thrune are both highly disciplined militaristic tyrants dead-set on imposing their own beliefs on the populace. Thrune just happens to be evil and the GR good. But from the point of view of your average peasant? Both are conquerors with a thing for creating a lawful utopia. Or as it's also known, a dystopia.

In Hell's Rebels it was a simple matter: a scrappy bunch of rebels setting out to defeat a remorseless villain. Hell's Vengeance is much more nuanced. Rather than bad guys vs. good guys, it's dark gray (the PCs) vs. lighter gray (the Reclamation).

Spoiler:
By the end, Cansellarion herself is beginning to doubt her path and lose faith. And as a fun kicker - if the PC's succeed? Abrogail III continues to allow the worship of Iomedae in Cheliax. Makes you think.


Spoiler:
I am guessing that the outright banning of Iomedae would make things an even bigger dumpsterfire than t already it.


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

So who is this mysterious Abrogail III? I could see an interesting story in helping her overthrow Abrogail II.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

The Hell she is, that b@#*@ is dead!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

RRR,,

I HAVE BEEN CLICKING ON MY DOWNLOAD BUTTON EVERY 8 HOURS AND I STILL DON'T HAVE THIS.

WANT NOW! WANT NOW!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
David knott 242 wrote:
So who is this mysterious Abrogail III? I could see an interesting story in helping her overthrow Abrogail II.

Whoops, my bad; I meant Abrogail II. Mistakenly thought the current queen was third generation.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Abrogail the III, the once and future Queen. ;)


The once and future intestinal necktie for a Pit Fiend maybe...


You say so, your Majestrix.


Can someone give me an overview of Hearts Edge? I've been wondering about that artifact weapon for awhile now.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Valantrix1 wrote:
Can someone give me an overview of Hearts Edge? I've been wondering about that artifact weapon for awhile now.

Spoiler:

-Functions as a holy avenger made of mithral in the hands of a paladin of Iomedae.
-Gains bane quality against shapechangers and can un-shapechange a struck creature 3/day.
-+6 sacred bonus to AC, 60 bonus hit points.
-8/day, gain a +5 bonus on Charisma checks.
-Forced repentance 3/day
-Sunburst 1/day


Thomas Seitz wrote:
You say so, your Majestrix.

Did you want a Paladin's intestine as a tie, or possibly a belt, they're all the rage with the theater crowd.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Got it read it wee bit disapointed none of the children of westcrown appear to be in it (Unless Ive missed something?)


Generic Villain wrote:
Valantrix1 wrote:
Can someone give me an overview of Hearts Edge? I've been wondering about that artifact weapon for awhile now.
** spoiler omitted **

Thanks! Sounds pretty nasty. Many of the powers line up nice with the Acts of Iomedae.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Valantrix1 wrote:

Thanks! Sounds pretty nasty. Many of the powers line up nice with the Acts of Iomedae.

Hehe. Well it just so happens that...

Spoiler:
Corrupting the sword involved symbolically undoing each of Iomedae's 11 Acts. A very fitting blasphemy.


*reads Heart's Edge's power*

Wow. This almost makes mythic Radiance look like a cheap knock off.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Thomas Seitz wrote:

*reads Heart's Edge's power*

Wow. This almost makes mythic Radiance look like a cheap knock off.

Not sure what mythic radiance is. However, I can confirm that Heart's Edge puts the sacred avenger (mythic version of holy avenger from Mythic Adventures [obviously]) to shame. As it should be.


Generic,

Radiance, you know the blade from Wrath of the Righteous?

Dark Archive

So what is the dragon head super weapon anyway? Big laser beams or just summoning an army of nightshades?

Dark Archive

Does the book include any info on the status of the GodClaw post Scourge/Hells Vengeance?

Sovereign Court

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

For those wondering, none of the Children of Westcrown appear. Fans of the original gazetteer of Westcrown will have a lot of Easter eggs to look forward to, though. ^_^

As a supreme expert on Westcrown, I'm very pleased with how that aspect of the adventure turned out.

Also, fans of CoT may be glad to hear that they finally added a scale to maps of Westcrown. :P

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
B`Elanna Moonblood wrote:
Does the book include any info on the status of the GodClaw post Scourge/Hells Vengeance?

It does not.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
So what is the dragon head super weapon anyway? Big laser beams or just summoning an army of nightshades?

Spoiler:
It's essentially a bomb you drop. It kills everything in a massive radius, and enough death fuels the creation of nightwalkers and/or warsworn.

Wow, Kal...that's pretty horrific in my mind.

I LIKE IT! :D


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kalindlara wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
So what is the dragon head super weapon anyway? Big laser beams or just summoning an army of nightshades?
** spoiler omitted **

So we literally drop a magic Nuke on them. That is evil. And I like it. >:)


Zert,

I would see that way, yes.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Uh, are the Nightwalkers under any particular control of anyone? Because those things are pretty much fashioned in the deepest pits of the Negative Energy Plane to turn entire nations into undead dwelling lightless cesspools. Thrune might have a problem letting them run wild.


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

The PCs i'd imagine.


Is that confirmed CY?

Also, what are the Ninkonda Angel all about?

What is the reason behind their mutilated appearance?

Are they risen Kytons or some other sort of fiend?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

They are uncontrolled. Presumably, that's House Thrune's problem. ^_^


They're not under anyone's control, the PCs roll for their attack and everything, but as soon as combat is over they wander away to do as they please. :-)

Edit: That'll teach me for having to look things up.

Well played grasshopper!

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