Pathfinder Legends—Curse of the Crimson Throne #3: Escape from Old Korvosa

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Pathfinder Legends—Curse of the Crimson Throne #3: Escape from Old Korvosa

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Anarchy, plague, and the mandates of a pitiless queen have thrown the island community of Old Korvosa into chaos. Forsaken by the government and cut off from the rest of the city, hundreds of unfortunates stand helpless against the rising criminal warlords, each eager to carve out a slice of Korvosa as his own.

Yet, amid the turmoil of warring gangs and sinister power mongers hides the only man who might be able to restore sanity to the beleaguered city. But why has he remained silent for so long? What secret of the new queen does he hide? And what fiendish power grows in the shadows, ready to sink its claws into the heart of Old Korvosa?

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Great Laori



This third instalment of the Pathfinder Legends audio version of Curse of the Crimson Throne comes close to meeting the strong expectations set by the first two. It’s an impressively faithful adaptation of the written version of the AP. Off-hand, I can’t even think of anything major that has been left out, though perhaps some artistic liberties were taken with the climax. The voice acting remains strong. There’s perhaps less humor in this one than in previous ones and a couple of confusing scenes, but the overall plot is well-handled through some excellent exposition. I probably understand a crucial sequence of background events better from listening to this CD than I did reading and running the adventure!

Like all of these Pathfinder Legends audio stories, the running time is relatively short (about an hour and a half). I got the physical two-CD format and, as with the previous ones, the paper insert has a nice spread of the Iconic heroes.


In this version of Escape from Old Korvosa, the four main Iconics (Valeros, Ezren, Merisiel, and Harsk) have spent several weeks moving from inn to inn to stay one step ahead of the Queen’s agents. Kyra, who has been helping Ishani Dhatri address lingering illnesses from blood veil, arrives with the startling news that she witnessed Queen Ileosa impossibly survive an assassination attempt from Marcus Endrin—clearly, she has powers no ordinary human could possess. Kyra’s description is very vivid and handled well, and she also mentions Togomor and the Queen’s new crown.

The rest of the story plays out fairly similarly to that in the written adventure. The PCs go to Vencarlo Orisini’s academy in Old Korvosa to find it burned to the ground, survive a sudden attack by Red Mantis assassins while looking for him in his house, encounter the foppish (but funny) Amin Jalento to get a lead that Vencarlo may be with “Sebastian” (not Salvatore, for some reason) Scream, hear from Glorio Arkona that Scream is probably with the “Emperor of Old Korvosa”, rescue Scream and learn about that the castle’s seneschal (Neolandus) is still alive, and return to Arkona’s palace looking for him and Vencarlo—only to be thrown into the Vivified Labyrinth underneath. The climax falls into cliché territory, with Glorio ordering the sphinx Sivit to kill his rakhasa sister Vimanda, only for the PCs to then free the magically-enslaved creature which promptly turns and devours Glorio himself. I think I prefer the written ending, which has the characters faced with the dilemma of choosing which of the siblings to support, with repercussions that can echo throughout the rest of the adventure.

Throughout the audio version, we’re treated to scenes of a demonic creature apparently spying on the Iconics and manipulating them for his own ends. This turns out to be Bahor (Glorio’s alter ego); I found it intrusive rather than compelling, but I *loved* the idea of Glorio giving the heroes “House Arkona badges” ostensibly to ease their passage throughout Old Korvosa only to use those badges for his magical scrying attempts. I didn’t think the Bahor/Vimanda rivalry was particularly well-portrayed. I also found the Iconics’ time in the labyrinth confusing, and I imagine listeners who weren’t familiar with the plot would be even worse off.

Perhaps my favourite part of the adventure was the representation of Laori Vaus. Not only is she (somewhat creepily) hilarious, but the audio version draws a compelling connection between her and Merisiel, as both are Forlorn elves who experienced the short lifespans of humans around them. Merisiel deals with her pain by continually running away, while Laori embraced the pain through worshipping Zon-Kuthon. It actually explains a lot about Laori’s background and personality that I just couldn’t quite get a grip on in the written version. Other things I enjoyed include Valeros’ enthusiasm for Blood Pig (it does sound really fun as long as you don’t think about the fate of the pig), Scream’s exposition (it’s not only 100% canon, but so much more coherent than what I was able to role-play), and the nice lead-in to Chapter Four.

All in all, I can’t say it’s a *perfect* audio version of the adventure, but it’s pretty good.

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