Pathfinder Legends—Curse of the Crimson Throne #4: A History of Ashes

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Pathfinder Legends—Curse of the Crimson Throne #4: A History of Ashes

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The path to save Korvosa leads Ezren, Valeros, Harsk and Merisiel far beyond the ravaged city's walls. In the burning plains of the Cinderlands the tenacious tribes of the Shoanti barbarians protect an ancient secret that might be the only way to save the Jewel of Varisia from ruin, but Korvosa has been their enemy too long for the proud natives to give up their knowledge freely. Only by learning the ways of the Shoanti and facing their sacred trials can the Queen’s champions hope to save Korvosa.

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"I wasn't screaming, that was a battle-cry!"



There's a lot to like about the fourth instalment of the audio play version of Curse of the Crimson Throne. The interaction (often bickering) between the party members is great and leads to some laugh-out-loud moments; the music and sound effects are top-notch; and the script is scrupulous about accurately representing Golarion lore. As with all of the Pathfinder Legends audio plays, a lot has to be cut or condensed from the written adventure in order to fit within 120 minutes. I also found the final segment a bit dry and exposition-heavy, but I guess it had to be to properly set up Chapter 5. Overall, if you enjoyed the previous instalments, I'm sure you'll like this one too.


The adventure starts in Kaer Maga, as the Iconics arrive at the Blue Hyacinth Inn to meet a guide that Vencarlo Orisini arranged for them: it's Trinia Sabor! Apparently, she's spent her time after escaping Korvosa in travelling and exploring the Cinderlands, which is exactly where the Iconics need to go. The party has left Kyra back in Korvosa to magically update them on events in the city, and Merisiel's distress about being separated from her is portrayed well.

One of the interesting parts of the audio play is the attention given to Cinnabar, the leader of the Red Mantis assassins that follow the group into the Cinderlands. She gets extensive dialogue with references to the Vernai, Mediogalti Island, etc. When my group encountered her in the game, the battles precluded much in the way of character development, so it's nice to get a sense of her (shallow) personality here.

I think the portrayal of the Cinderlands is done reasonably well. There's incorporation of things like emberstorms, basilisk barrels, and that the Shoanti guard their ancestral lands from trespassers. I would have liked more on the constant heat, lack of water, etc., because I really hammered that home with my group. I did appreciate the references to Harsk's wilderness skills, as rangers often get overlooked.

In this version, the various quests and steps the group needs to impress the Sklar-Quah to gain access to tribal stories about Kazavon are reduced to just one. However, it's the most memorable one, being swallowed by a giant worm named Cindermaw and cutting their way out. I loved Valeros' line to Merisiel when the pair end up in the belly of the beast: "I wasn't screaming, that was a battle cry!" Because the story is condensed, elements like the lyrune-quah, the challenge of the pillars, and the Cinderlander have been excised. Krojun is still present, and given decent character development, though he's more Vulcan than edge-of-rage as I imagined (and, oddly, Thousand Bones is surprisingly bitter).

The exposition the group receives at the end sets up Scarwall well. As I said, it's pretty talky, but I really liked how Thousand Bones commented on the spirits drawn to each PC (from their past) before settling on talking with Zellara. Speaking of whom, she gets a nice farewell here.

In my campaign, the group finished Scarwall recently after a *long* slog, so I'm keen to see what it looks like in the audio version.

Silver Crusade

Any word when this will be released? I've found it on the Big Finish website for order (CD and digital) ( ry-of-ashes-1538) but it's still not available here.

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