Pathfinder Adventure Path #109: In Search of Sanity (Strange Aeons 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Adventure Path #109: In Search of Sanity (Strange Aeons 1 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Waking Nightmares

The Strange Aeons Adventure Path begins with "In Search of Sanity," a mind-shattering foray into horror where the heroes awaken within the walls of the eerie Briarstone Asylum, their minds wracked and memories missing. Working together to recover their missing time, they soon learn that their amnesia is but a symptom of a much greater cosmic menace. As they struggle to retain their sanity, the heroes must ally with other asylum residents and fight against the monstrosities that have taken over the building and plunged it into nightmare. Can the adventurers defeat the terror that stalks the halls and free themselves from their prison of madness?

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path launches the Strange Aeons Adventure Path and includes:

  • "In Search of Sanity," a Pathfinder adventure for 1st-level characters, by F. Wesley Schneider.
  • A double-sized article that peers into the dangerous realm of the Great Old Ones and Outer Gods who make up the Elder Mythos, by James Jacobs.
  • A dollmaker's macabre secret in the Pathfinder's Journal, by Jason Keeley.
  • A collection of weird and frightful new monsters, by Eric Hindley, James Jacobs, Jenny Jarzabski, and F. Wesley Schneider.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-882-3

Bring your campaign to life!
The In Search of Sanity SoundPack from Syrinscape is a complete audio solution when playing through the first chapter of the Strange Aeons Adventure Path.

"In Search of Sanity" 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).

Other Resources: This product is also available on the following platforms:

Hero Lab Online
Fantasy Grounds Virtual Tabletop
SoundSet on Syrinscape
Archives of Nethys

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

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5/5


A great start

5/5

This part of the Adventure Path sets the perfect start for a Lovecraftian horror setting. It is very clear cut who is good and who is evil, making the Players believe it is always very clear, which is where we want them, so we can surprise them later!
It is one big dungeon crawl, which can be a bit tedious, but otherwise an amazing adventure and a great start. Not too much prep-work needed, so you are able to focus on stuff like soundscape, handouts etc.


One of the best openers to an AP I've ever been in

5/5

To put it simply, I absolutely adored this book. I will never, ever forget the bizarre surreal experience of exploring the asylum and having no idea what was going on, the desperate struggle for survival, the dreamy, jaundiced quality to everything... just absolutely 10/10 on atmosphere.

I was a player, so can't comment on anything behind the scenes.

I want to give huge kudos to Paizo for setting a book in an asylum and not making mental illness the real terror, or making the place terrifying because of its mentally ill inmates. The place was beset by real monsters, which made the challenges faced by the staff who were trying to protect the patients all the more upsetting. The patients were handled sensitively and some were truly tragic, and none were monsters simply because of their afflictions. In a setting often beset by lazy, ignorant writing this was a real triumph.

It's not easy to tackle cosmic horror in a game where the players are accustomed to being empowered and are assumed to be able to kill everything they face. I think this book handled it admirably. The encounters seemed a little harder than I'm used to in a first book (perhaps subjective) and the things themselves were horrifying enough that even defeating them wouldn't exclude us from the psychological trauma of facing them down. It rewards thoughtful roleplay with a thought to real psychological consequences.

After reading other reviews of this entire AP, I realize that it holds much greater delights for those who are extremely familiar with the source material and perhaps comes across as bizarre or underwhelming for those who don't know it, or who have a very limited or stereotyped idea of what weird fiction and cosmic horror should be. That's a shame, but I want to add my voice to say that I think this AP was (largely) a unique and wonderful experience, and an excellent way to bring cosmic horror themes to a combat-oriented role playing game.

One minor point of note - I don't think we'd have made it through this AP if we'd used the sanity system out of the box. Too many things would be utterly ruinous to the point where we'd have been gibbering idiots before even the halfway point. We just ran a houseruled version which worked neatly enough, though I'd be interested to hear how it went for anyone who just went for it as is!


5/5


5/5


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Please be great, please be great, please be great!
I hope there's something that inflicts spooked, and I really want a chance at getting some of the more exciting corruptions, particularly Hive.


sadcasual wrote:

Please be great, please be great, please be great!

I hope there's something that inflicts spooked, and I really want a chance at getting some of the more exciting corruptions, particularly Hive.

New optional subsystems will probably require the GM putting them in. Definitely for corruptions, since it's very unlikely that an AP would include anything that will inevitably turn PCs into NPCs. (And, similarly, it's unlikely that they would change the rules for something just published.)

I'm considering including two manifestations of appropriate corruptions in my game without the hassle of saves vs. NPC, and I'm sure a lot of other GMs who got Horror Adventures are considering similar homebrew.


Huh, just realized that this comes out on a Wednesday, I could have sworn they normally come out on Mondays and subs get it two weeks in advance.


I think Wednesday is the most common pdf date, last month was Thursday maybe because of Gencon.

Community Manager

Subscribers get it at the beginning of the month, and our retail release date (which is tied to the digital release date) is roughly two weeks after we begin to authorize shipments. Retail release date is on a Wednesday. Gen Con usually monkeys with our retail release schedule though, so those dates shift around.


I look forward to the Bestiary AND the article on Elder Mythos stuff. :)

Dark Archive

The first lucky subscribers should already have access to their pdfs.

So, what are the new monsters?

What Great Old Ones and Outer Gods are in the article?

Thank you! :-)

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Monsters:

Great Old One, Ithaqua (CR 28)
Gremlin, Drexin (CR 2)
Indescribable Swarm, Pallid Wiggler Swarm (CR 2)
Indescribable Swarm, Patchwork Insect Swarm (CR 1/2)
Indescribable Swarm, Swimming Eye Swarm (CR 4)
Oneirogen (CR 2, variants attached to various planes)

Great Old Ones and Outer Gods:

Abhoth, Source of Uncleanliness (Outer God)
Atlach-Nacha, The Void Weaver (Great Old One)
Azathoth, The Daemon Sultan (Outer God)
Bokrug, The Water Lizard (Great Old One)
Chaugnar Faugn, The Horror From The Hills (Great Old One)
Cthulhu, The Dreamer In The Deep (Great Old One)
Ghatanothoa, The Eternal Source (Great Old One)
Hastur, The King In Yellow (Great Old One)
Ithaqua, The Wind-Walker (Great Old One)
Mhar, The World Thunder (Great Old One)
Mordiggian, The Charnel God (Great Old One)
Nhimbaloth, The Empty Death (Outer Goddess)
Nyarlathotep, The Crawling Chaos (Outer God)
Orgesh, The Faceless God (Great Old One)
Rhan-Tegoth, Herald Of The End Times (Great Old One)
Shub-Niggurath, Black Goat Of The Woods (Outer Goddess)
Tsathoggua, Father Of Night (Great Old One)
Xhamen-Dor, The Inmost Blot (Great Old One)
Yig, Father Of Serpents (Great Old One)
Yog-Sothoth, The Key And The Gate (Outer God)


Thank you Gadigan!

Quick question: Oneirogen...the hell is that?! (general description, not stats, of course.)

Also thank you for the list of Great Old Ones and Outer Gods. I recognized more than a few names.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Ithaqua?! The Wind-Walker?!?! F@#& YEAH!

Thankies Gad.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lord Gadigan wrote:
Great Old Ones and Outer Gods:** spoiler omitted **

could we get their alignments and domains?

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Oneirogen:
Mortal-turned-Outsider thanks to being cursed with a tiny planar-breach within their body. They breathe forth magical mist that flows through the breach as their body slowly fails thanks to the strain.

I'll try to answer more questions after I get back from dinner if someone else hasn't fielded them by then.


Wow. That sounds extremely weird! But still kind of cool.

Thanks Gad!

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rysky wrote:

Ithaqua?! The Wind-Walker?!?! F&&! YEAH!

Thankies Gad.

I belive thats the one we refer to the "winds of s*#$&" when we play Eldritch Horror. Sweet!

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber

Well, really, subscribers get the PDF when the physical book is shipped (or perhaps finalized for shipment). So, most of us probably don't have it yet, as I think the shipping cycle as just started. (I don't have mine yet.)


Oh wow, a Great Old one is statted in the Bestiary? I wonder if we'll get a GOO in each volume, just as we got a Demon Lord in each volume of Wrath of the Righteous? Please let it be so!

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Alignments and Domains:
Abhoth - CE - Chaos, Darkness, Earth, Madness Strength
Atlach-Nacha - NE - Artifice, Evil, Madness, Void
Azathoth - CN - Chaos, Destruction, Madness, Sun, Void
Bokrug - CN - Chaos, Destruction, Water, Weather
Chaugnar Faugn - CE - Chaos, Death, Evil, War
Cthulhu - CE - Chaos, Evil, Madness, Void
Ghatanothoa - NE - Destruction, Evil, Madness, Water
Hastur - CE - Chaos, Evil, Rune, Void
Ithaqua - CE - Air, Chaos, Evil, Weather
Mhar - CN - Chaos, Destruction, Evil, Fire
Mordiggian - CE - Chaos, Darkness, Death, Evil
Nhimbaloth - CE - Chaos, Death, Evil, Plant, Void
Nyarlathotep - CE - Chaos, Evil, Knowledge, Magic, *Plus one more*
Orgesh - CE - Chaos, Earth, Evil, Water
Rhan-Tegoth - CE - Chaos, Evil, Repose, Void
Shub-Niggurath - CE - Animal, Chaos, Evil, Plant, Void
Tsthoggua - CE - Chaos, Evil, Knowledge, Magic
Xhamen-Dor - NE - Death, Evil, Plant, Trickery
Yig - CN - Chaos, Community, Protection, Scalykind
Yog-Sothoth - CN - Darkness, Chaos, Knowledge, Travel, Void


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Generic Villain wrote:
Oh wow, a Great Old one is statted in the Bestiary? I wonder if we'll get a GOO in each volume, just as we got a Demon Lord in each volume of Wrath of the Righteous? Please let it be so!

*boom voice* WISH GRANTED


Lord Gadigan wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Considering the number of domains they have, can I assume that Nhimbaloth and Abhoth are Elder Gods, not "mere" Great Old Ones?

Paizo Employee Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.

There are two categories of deities in that article. Great Old Ones, which are demigod status—thus have four domains and stat blocks–and Outer Gods, which are full on deities and have five domains and no stat blocks.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Generic Villain wrote:
Considering the number of domains they have, can I assume that Nhimbaloth and Abhoth are Elder Gods, not "mere" Great Old Ones?

Correct.

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

I'm heading off for the night, but my general first impression of the adventure is quite positive. I'm probably not going to read the full thing until I get my hard copy (particularly since I'm still finishing Hell's Vengeance and my reread of Council of Thieves), but it seems like a strong start to the AP with the right mix of creepy and weird for its overall atmosphere.


Adam Daigle wrote:
There are two categories of deities in that article. Great Old Ones, which are demigod status—thus have four domains and stat blocks–and Outer Gods, which are full on deities and have five domains and no stat blocks.

Yeah I meant Outer God, not Elder God.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Oooh! New gremlin!!!

(Isn't it about time they got themselves their own subtype? Equal time for Gremlins!!!)


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
Ithaqua?! The Wind-Walker?!?! F~** YEAH!

I thought that was Ameriqua.


What are the deities' favored weapons?

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Favored Weapons:
Abhoth - Whip
Atlach-Nacha - Net
Azathoth - Warhammer
Bokrug - Ranseur
Chaugnar Faugn - Light Pick
Cthulhu - Dagger
Ghatanothoa - Morningstar
Hastur - Rapier
Ithaqua - Handaxe
Mhar - Heavy Pick
Mordiggian - Scimitar
Nhimbaloth - Flail
Nyarlathotep - Varies
Orgesh - Spear
Rhan-Tegoth - Sickle
Shub-Niggurath - Dagger
Tsthoggua - Short Sword
Xhamen-Dor - Spear
Yig - Punching Dagger
Yog-Sothoth - Dagger

Lots of daggers. Presumably to have the standard dagger-wielding robed cultists making sacrifices.

Dark Archive

Anyone want to give an overview of what happens in it?


Kevin Mack wrote:
Anyone want to give an overview of what happens in it?

I don't think people want the adventure spoiled in a Product Discussion thread...

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Fourshadow wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Anyone want to give an overview of what happens in it?
I don't think people want the adventure spoiled in a Product Discussion thread...

Luckily we have these handy dandy

Spoiler:
spoilers!

Also, coming from you, that's hilarious.


Rysky wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Anyone want to give an overview of what happens in it?
I don't think people want the adventure spoiled in a Product Discussion thread...

Luckily we have these handy dandy ** spoiler omitted **

Also, coming from you, that's hilarious.

Ooooookaay...I guess I have spoiled adventures in a Product Discussion thread?! Not that I am aware of...but I have never claimed to be perfect.

Silver Crusade

Fourshadow wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Anyone want to give an overview of what happens in it?
I don't think people want the adventure spoiled in a Product Discussion thread...

Luckily we have these handy dandy ** spoiler omitted **

Also, coming from you, that's hilarious.

Ooooookaay...I guess I have spoiled adventures in a Product Discussion thread?! Not that I am aware of...but I have never claimed to be perfect.

*shakes head*


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Since the pdfs are becoming available is there word on the players guide?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
H2Osw wrote:
Since the pdfs are becoming available is there word on the players guide?

Later this week! So not too long.


Fourshadow wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Anyone want to give an overview of what happens in it?
I don't think people want the adventure spoiled in a Product Discussion thread...

Luckily we have these handy dandy ** spoiler omitted **

Also, coming from you, that's hilarious.

Ooooookaay...I guess I have spoiled adventures in a Product Discussion thread?! Not that I am aware of...but I have never claimed to be perfect.

Username checks out.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Is Ithaqua, while technically a member of the Ivy League Great Old Ones, looked down upon by all of the other ones?


Biggest thing I want to know is, how much of the PCs' memory is missing? My guys are getting restless, not knowing how much of their backstories to leave blank.


So what does Ithaqua look like?

Is there any art for the other Old Ones/Elder Gods? If so then who/what?

Dark Archive

So we get Ithaqua in part 1.

Xhamen-Dor in part 5.

Bokrug, Cthulhu & Hastur are in Bestiary 4 (but i expect Hastur to be reprinted in part 6).

That still leaves Atlach-Nacha, Chaugnar Faugn, Ghatanothoa, Mhar*, Mordiggan*, Orgesh*, Rhan-Tegoth*, Tsathoggua & Yig.

* never heard of them outside Pathfinder.

The Exchange

Dragon78 wrote:

So what does Ithaqua look like?

Is there any art for the other Old Ones/Elder Gods? If so then who/what?

This is what I'm used to from Arkham Horror.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Marco Massoudi wrote:

So we get Ithaqua in part 1.

Xhamen-Dor in part 5.

Bokrug, Cthulhu & Hastur are in Bestiary 4 (but i expect Hastur to be reprinted in part 6).

That still leaves Atlach-Nacha, Chaugnar Faugn, Ghatanothoa, Mhar*, Mordiggan*, Orgesh*, Rhan-Tegoth*, Tsathoggua & Yig.

* never heard of them outside Pathfinder.

Mhar and Orgesh were invented for Pathifnder.

Mordiggian was invented by Clark Ashton Smith.

Rhan-Tegoth was invented by Lovecraft.

We're putting source info in for all of them, so each monster from the mythos is listed with the author who created them.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Marco Massoudi wrote:

So we get Ithaqua in part 1.

Xhamen-Dor in part 5.

Bokrug, Cthulhu & Hastur are in Bestiary 4 (but i expect Hastur to be reprinted in part 6).

That still leaves Atlach-Nacha, Chaugnar Faugn, Ghatanothoa, Mhar*, Mordiggan*, Orgesh*, Rhan-Tegoth*, Tsathoggua & Yig.

* never heard of them outside Pathfinder.

Hastur won't be reprinted in the sixth adventure. Though it's worth noting that the Hastur in Bestiary 4 is actually the King in Yellow, who is but an avatar of Hastur in Chamber's work. I'm not as familiar with the Chambers side of the Mythos, but I believe there are implications that the "true" Hastur is something else entirely. Possibly even that Hastur is a genius loci manifesting in the form of a city.

Mhar and Orgesh are Pathfinder originals.

Mordiggian is from the author Clark Ashton Smith. Rhan-Tegoth is from the HPL story The Horror in the Museum.

*Ninja'd by JJ.

Shadow Lodge

Ohh mine finally came!

I've started skimming through it now but suffice it to say the back material already made me giggle like a school girl.

That bodes ill for my party as we proceed *maniacal laugh*

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:

So we get Ithaqua in part 1.

Xhamen-Dor in part 5.

Bokrug, Cthulhu & Hastur are in Bestiary 4 (but i expect Hastur to be reprinted in part 6).

That still leaves Atlach-Nacha, Chaugnar Faugn, Ghatanothoa, Mhar*, Mordiggan*, Orgesh*, Rhan-Tegoth*, Tsathoggua & Yig.

* never heard of them outside Pathfinder.

Mhar and Orgesh were invented for Pathifnder.

Mordiggian was invented by Clark Ashton Smith.

Rhan-Tegoth was invented by Lovecraft.

We're putting source info in for all of them, so each monster from the mythos is listed with the author who created them.

Very cool.

I already figured that we would finally get stats for Mhar, since he gets mentioned since RotR (part 5 i believe). :-)

So Orgesh is another hot candidate, i guess?

Is it possible to put all of them inside a "Mythos Bestiary" Campaign Setting or are they only in the AP issues and won't be reprinted?

I would also love to see the Outer Gods (without stats of course), the other Great Old Ones and the Mythos Monsters collected.

Will we have to wait for Bestiary 6?

Thank you for your time.


I'd say for my money it will be Ogresh, Yig and probably Mordiggian.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Seitz wrote:
I'd say for my money it will be Ogresh, Yig and probably Mordiggian.

At the very least I hope Yig is one of them. He is my favorite of all the Great Old Ones.


Val,

Pretty sure about Yig. In terms of he's been used before in Pathfinder (well Freeport anyway.)


"Rhan-Tegoth, Herald Of The End Times " ......wonder if/how Groetus play's into that ???


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Generic Villain wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:

So we get Ithaqua in part 1.

Xhamen-Dor in part 5.

Bokrug, Cthulhu & Hastur are in Bestiary 4 (but i expect Hastur to be reprinted in part 6).

That still leaves Atlach-Nacha, Chaugnar Faugn, Ghatanothoa, Mhar*, Mordiggan*, Orgesh*, Rhan-Tegoth*, Tsathoggua & Yig.

* never heard of them outside Pathfinder.

Hastur won't be reprinted in the sixth adventure. Though it's worth noting that the Hastur in Bestiary 4 is actually the King in Yellow, who is but an avatar of Hastur in Chamber's work. I'm not as familiar with the Chambers side of the Mythos, but I believe there are implications that the "true" Hastur is something else entirely. Possibly even that Hastur is a genius loci manifesting in the form of a city.

Mhar and Orgesh are Pathfinder originals.

Mordiggian is from the author Clark Ashton Smith. Rhan-Tegoth is from the HPL story The Horror in the Museum.

*Ninja'd by JJ.

Bestiary 4 wrote:
Hastur is the most mysterious of the Great Old Ones. In fact, the entity known as Hastur might actually be an Outer God. The physical manifestation of this entity is known as the King in Yellow, and though most consider this creature—a vaguely human-shaped figure draped in a yellow cloak—to be synonymous with Hastur himself, many scholars believe that the King in Yellow is nothing more than an avatar used by the true Hastur to move among the denizens of the physical world. Hastur himself is said to dwell upon a distant world called Carcosa on the shores of the monstrous Lake of Hali, and his power on a planet is strongest when the baleful light of Carcosa's star is visible in that planet's night sky.


How exactly does Mhar have the Evil domain but the chaotic neutral alignment? I am confoozled by this!

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