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

4.80/5 (based on 10 ratings)
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).

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

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Average product rating:

4.80/5 (based on 10 ratings)

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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


Tatterman is more Freddy Krueger than H.P. Lovecraft

3/5

Just okay. I feel this adventure path is a missed opportunity thus far, and steals too many ideas from House on Hook Street.

They missed the mark when it comes to the "feel" of injecting the Elder Gods mythos to Pathfinder. In this adventure, the "Tatterman" feels more like Freddy Krueger than anything from H.P. Lovecraft. As well, Briarstone Asylum is too large and becomes a slog. On the positive side, there are some creative elements here and the NPCs are well-developed.


Another excellent opening of an AP

5/5

In Search of Sanity is something unusual for Paizo's opening adventures - it is effectively a massive dungeon crawl set entirely in one building. The dungeon oozes atmosphere, has many unique encounters and events, a smattering of RP opportunities and some really memorable fights.

I'm very sad to see F.W.Schneider leave Paizo - I was a bit afraid that this adventure will be written in his signature, somewhat melodramatic style, but I was overjoyed to see that it reads easily while retaining all the spooky quirks which Wes is famous for. My players enjoyed In Search of Sanity very much and we will have many fond memories of the adventure. On to the rest of the Adventure Path, and a warm farewell to Wes!

Oh, and never, EVER trust small dogs found in grim dungeons. Never.


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Community Manager

26 people marked this as a favorite.

“That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.”

Announced for August—do you know where your Sanity score is at? Product image and description are not final.

Silver Crusade

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

Wow! Now that's an impressive way to kick off a campaign.


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

Ia! Ia! Ia! Ia!

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Lovecraftian stuff isn't normally my thing - but I love the way this one sounds!

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Did someone say SANS scores?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This sounds AWESOME! I usually run my own games but this one sounds right up my group's alley!


Does this mean that the players will start with some madness or insanity?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

YAY!!! Eldritch evils from beyond knowing! :D

Paizo Employee Developer

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Enjoy!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

13 people marked this as a favorite.
Dragon78 wrote:
Does this mean that the players will start with some madness or insanity?

That's exactly what it means. (That being a variant form of amnesia. MAYBE something more... you'll need to wait and see for more details!)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Rather like the opening premise, may have to keep much subs!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Any chance of revealing which Iconics are in this one?

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kevin Mack wrote:
Any chance of revealing which Iconics are in this one?

Not just yet, but in time. You can see two of the four in this cover illustration, though.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Interestingly, even though the cover is a mock up, I truly like the background on it. Especially that [redacted].


8 people marked this as a favorite.

Fearless wretch
Inanity
He watches
Lurking beneath the sea.....


jeuce wrote:

Fearless wretch

Inanity
He watches
Lurking beneath the sea.....

Dammit! (not really) Now I have to play that song from 1989 Seattle concert! :p ;)


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

Have we seen Briarstone Asylum before? It sounds familiar but I can't find it.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Okay, that introduction to the campaign sounds like one of the most original ideas I've heard in a long time. I hope they don't play this too close to actual Call of Cthulhu, though, unless the idea is for players to be rolling up new characters for every single book. Then again, that might be amusing for the right group.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

This is cool. We are just starting out in Pathfinder and this happens to be coming. Love the C'thulhu mythos.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The art's not final? You fooled me. It looks great!

Paizo Employee Developer

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Interestingly, even though the cover is a mock up, I truly like the background on it. Especially that [redacted].
TR-8R wrote:
The art's not final? You fooled me. It looks great!

Surprise! That's a final cover. No mock up here!

(At least as far as I know, and as the developer, I'm pretty sure that's final unless some minor tweaking goes on before it ships to the printer.)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns Subscriber

Can you tell us who the artist is for this AP?

Paizo Employee Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Okay, that introduction to the campaign sounds like one of the most original ideas I've heard in a long time. I hope they don't play this too close to actual Call of Cthulhu, though, unless the idea is for players to be rolling up new characters for every single book. Then again, that might be amusing for the right group.

While Call of Cthulhu is a fun game, this is Pathfinder and as such this Adventure Path isn't going to play like a CoC game. That said, it will be dripping with mythos references and elements all attached to a horror frame.

Paizo Employee Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
the Haunted Jester wrote:
Can you tell us who the artist is for this AP?

The cover artist is Michal Ivan.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

This one looks extremely promising. Also, it ties with the Ultimate Horror book so makes sense.


11 people marked this as a favorite.

Along the shore the cloud waves break,
The twin suns sink beneath the lake,
The shadows lengthen
In Carcosa.

Strange is the night where black stars rise,
And strange moons circle through the skies
But stranger still is
Lost Carcosa.

Songs that the Hyades shall sing,
Where flap the tatters of the King,
Must die unheard in
Dim Carcosa.

Song of my soul, my voice is dead;
Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed
Shall dry and die in
Lost Carcosa.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I've never purchased an adventure path before. This might be the start of something wonderful.

Sovereign Court

I was all set to cancel after HV, now I need to hold off.


Love me some Lovecraft! This AP looks amazing! Nice to see Paizo's resident horror expert, Wesley, kicking off the series.


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

Hmm: Brimstone Asylum standing in for Briarcliff from American Horror Story: Asylum?

That said, this looks to be great!


Adam Daigle wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Interestingly, even though the cover is a mock up, I truly like the background on it. Especially that [redacted].
TR-8R wrote:
The art's not final? You fooled me. It looks great!

Surprise! That's a final cover. No mock up here!

(At least as far as I know, and as the developer, I'm pretty sure that's final unless some minor tweaking goes on before it ships to the printer.)

Wow. :) Today really is a great day for me! :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Cool, that is the final cover.


That's what the man said, Dragon. :)

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Great to see Erasmus on the cover! It's fitting that the iconic who's spent time in a psychiatric hospital is featured here. (I love so much that there's an iconic who's spent time in a psychiatric hospital.)


The only support article I see listed is "details on the Mythos" - is that a double length article, or have you just not revealed what the other one is? Also, this looks incredible! Pretty neat to see Schneider start off two AP's after his long break from writing adventures.


I can't wait for this one. I've had enough of Cheliax for awhile. Ever since the Hound of Tindalos showed up way back in Rise of the Runelords, I've been chomping at the bit for a full-fledged Lovecraft inspired adventure path. Looks like I'm getting my wish.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Not a horror fan at all, but this opening is one of the best hooks I've read for a long time. This looks really fun.


Nice. This sounds like a really awesome intro to this campaign. Kind of reminds me of the premise of Azure Bonds, but much more interesting, because of the Cthulhu mythos ties. Looking forward this this mucho, mucho, mucho gusto!

Dark Archive

Starfinder Superscriber

I plan on keeping my subscription going for this.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

17 people marked this as a favorite.
Blackfingers wrote:
The only support article I see listed is "details on the Mythos" - is that a double length article, or have you just not revealed what the other one is? Also, this looks incredible! Pretty neat to see Schneider start off two AP's after his long break from writing adventures.

It is indeed a double length article about the gods of the Elder Mythos; it details, IIRC, 6 Outer Gods and 14 Great Old Ones. Can't remember off the top of my head, but there's more Great Old Ones than Outer Gods for sure... A LOT of new ones too. Both "new" in that they're familiar creatures from the mythos, and "new" in that they're actually brand new.

Look at the article we did on the Osirion deities back in Mummy's Mask for an example of how it'll be organized.

I'd thought I wasn't going to be able to do much with this one other than outline the AP itself, but it turns out that I get to write most of the backmatter articles and a LOT of the monsters fro the AP... yay! But even better is working with the fine folks at Chaosium to get some cross-promotional stuff going on!

Lantern Lodge

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

...And just when we were all getting used to how wicked Hell's Vengeance sounded.... :)

Dark Archive

Lovecraftian stuff is Great, I love anything to do with Cthulhu Mythos, an Adventure Path plus I'm sure there will be a Campaign Setting and Player Companion book's to go along with Strange Aeons Adventure Path

Grand Lodge Contributor

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!


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

I'm a bit surprised we're getting a green color scheme again so soon after Giantslayer. I think I'd have expected a sickly yellow.

Silver Crusade

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

I was more into lavender. Nobody ever does lavender :(((

Scarab Sages

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

Nothing is more fabulous then C'thullu purple.

Dark Archive

I agree. Please change the color to a pinkish tentacle purple. ;-)

Grand Lodge

Take my money!!


In which nation will take place this AP?


James Jacobs wrote:
Blackfingers wrote:
The only support article I see listed is "details on the Mythos" - is that a double length article, or have you just not revealed what the other one is? Also, this looks incredible! Pretty neat to see Schneider start off two AP's after his long break from writing adventures.

It is indeed a double length article about the gods of the Elder Mythos; it details, IIRC, 6 Outer Gods and 14 Great Old Ones. Can't remember off the top of my head, but there's more Great Old Ones than Outer Gods for sure... A LOT of new ones too. Both "new" in that they're familiar creatures from the mythos, and "new" in that they're actually brand new.

Look at the article we did on the Osirion deities back in Mummy's Mask for an example of how it'll be organized.

I'd thought I wasn't going to be able to do much with this one other than outline the AP itself, but it turns out that I get to write most of the backmatter articles and a LOT of the monsters fro the AP... yay! But even better is working with the fine folks at Chaosium to get some cross-promotional stuff going on!

Is working with Chaosium one of your secret projects?

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