Hero's Blood (PFRPG) PDF

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A Tale of Heartless Horror

As the PCs make their way through rugged territory claimed by warlike barbarian clans, they discover a frontier garrison surrounded by a corpse-strewn battlefield. Upon further investigation, the PCs find that the entire garrison has been slaughtered to a man and the fort has been turned into a charnel house. Furthermore, the bodies of the barbarian besiegers and those of the slain Corovossan solders all bear ghastly chest-wounds and have had their hearts cut out and removed. Who or what caused these terrible mutilations? And why is the silent, lifeless garrison’s main gate barred from within? What terrors may arise when the fires of courage turn to hate and the battlements run red with Hero's Blood?

Hero's Blood is a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure for 4‒6 10th-level characters. It can be run as a standalone wilderness adventure or tied into an ongoing campaign dealing with warfare or clashes between a corrupt colonial city and the tribes of the hinterlands and is an ideal complement to the official “Red Queen Adventure Path,” easily connecting to the fourth adventure in that series. This adventure deals with the theme of corruption of the mind, body, and soul, using the corruption rules presented in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Horror Adventures, to bring an extra element of terror to PCs as they uncover acts of carnage and cruelty that are even more sinister than they appear. If you want to bring home the horrors of war to your PCs, open up the 58 pages of this terrible tale stained crimson with blood and Make Your Game Legendary!

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This adventure clocks in at 57 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page ToC, 1 1/3 pages of SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 46 2/3 pages of content – all of which sport a surprising amount of material, as Legendary Games books have a pretty high word-per-page-density.

Okay, first things first: This adventure is intended for characters of 10th level and can thus fit pretty easily behind the 3rd adventure in the Curse of the Crimson Throne module, and before the 5th – the module provides a thematic continuation of the leitmotifs of colonial corruption that the first 3 modules sported, which are curiously absent from the otherwise intriguing and evocative 4th adventure. As such, theme-wise, this indeed enhances the AP. It should also be noted that this supplement includes a new corruption, making use of Horror Adventures’ rules. However, you do not necessarily need to have the Horror Adventure supplement to use this adventure.

Really cool: There are two new, properly codified occult rituals that feature in the plot of the adventure, both of which employ the themes and leitmotifs established in the adventure path. As always for supplements in the series, we have an adventure that seamlessly integrate with the AP, employing filed off serial numbers that still allow you to easily note what is going on. A huge plus would btw. be that the amazing full-color maps do come with player-friendly versions for your convenience. Big comfort-plus here! Inexperienced GMs will enjoy the fact that we have extensive read-aloud texts accompanying the module.

All right, as always, the following discussion contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..

.

All right, only GMs around? Great! So, the chaos in Korvosa has generated opportunity: The Shoanti (Sklar-Quah), have attacked a remote fort: Fort Hiraksos. When the PCs venture towards the fort, they find a massacre – the battlefield is littered with fallen Shoanti and members of the erstwhile garrison. All of the corpses show a specific pattern: Gaping chest-wounds. As the PCs explore the remnants of the fortress, they will have to contend with lethal undead, ranging from wights to callers in darkness and juvenile rukhs; there are deadly corpse flies and Hiraksos itself is a rather grim – the exploration of the grim keep is fantastic – even beyond the confines of the AP, the depiction of a haunted place of a true massacre is intriguing and flavorful, in both diverse enemy selection: We get unique haunts that add to the sense of decrepitude and metaphysical corruption – and the them of blood/flesh engendering fear is reinforced via, for example, ectoplasmic hungry flesh or a particularly nasty, unique wight.

Speaking of which: Said sub-boss ties in with the Onochtu, the ravenous ones, deadly and vile spirits of shoanti myth, adding some intriguing myth-weaving to the proceedings; said spirits and their dark powers are what fuels the corruption of the culprit and the potent powers of foes faced here. The sub-boss can inflict the corruption of these spirits on victims…

You see, Austan Mileswood, decorated Korvosan hero, driven insane, is working on a ritual to transcend his form, as an invisible timer is ticking away in the background, and dawdling may see him improve his darkened powers – and we btw. get a CR 10 and CR 11 statblock for this big boss as well as an extensive and well-written background story for this rather tragically flawed individual, who exemplifies so well that one people’s hero may be another people’s villain. Anyways, he has learned from the darksome shoanti spirits – that there lies strength in the hearts of the living, stealing the courage, metaphysically seated in the heart, from his victims. An addiction had formed, and what the PCs now witness, is the sad culmination of, what could be considered to be a fantastic take on a form of PTSD.

Thus, in order to truly “win” in this adventure, the PCs will have to venture down into the ancient Well of Bloody Hearts, sanctified to the wicked cannibal spirits of old, where mummified clerics and warriors loom…but beyond these, brimstone oozes and a unique creature dubbed “The Tongue” await – the latter btw. is a unique aberration with a twisted artwork, and a cool, superbly depicted athach is here as well – and stopping Austan’s ritual is NO trifle. With aether elementals and his own, significant combat prowess, the charismatic “hero” makes for a formidable foe – and yes, he is multiclass’d and has a cool mechanical angle. Here, I should definitely mention that the timeline noted before is not just cosmetic: throughout the adventure, the time elapsed always matters. Kudos for being consequent!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious guffaws on either a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to the “Curse of the Crimson Throne”-plugins series’ elegant 2-column full-color standard. Huge plus: We get quite a lot fantastic full-color artworks that I haven’t seen before, and the cartography is similarly impressive and full-color. As noted before, getting player-friendly maps is a big plus. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Tom Phillips does horror and dark fantasy really well; if you’ve been following his works, this will be no surprise to you. He is one of the authors whose adventures tend to offer meaningful challenges for the PCs, while still retaining a dense and evocative atmosphere. “Hero’s Blood” exemplifies these virtues. The adventure manages a feat that is impressive indeed: On one hand, it actually manages to carry a leitmotif that isn’t present in the otherwise fun “A History of Ashes” and thus strengthen the overall plot of Curse of the Crimson Throne – the emphasis on Korvosa affecting these lands adds to the plot.

In addition to that, though, this adventure manages to transcend the status as an adventure path plug-in: Its plot and ideas are sufficiently distinct to carry the adventure as a stand-alone supplement – if you like horror or dark fantasy, particularly themes that feature blood/vampiric elements in a cultural context that is a breath of fresh air, then consider this to be a success and well worth getting beyond the confines of the AP.

So yeah, regardless of within or without the associated AP, this is a success, no matter how you look at it. 5 stars + seal of approval – excellent job!

Endzeitgeist out.


A bloody, magically delicious adventure!!

5/5

O.k., bad pun aside, shall we get to the actual review? ;)

First off, I was not paid in any shape or form, nor rewarded with a free copy or anything of that nature in exchange for this review. Basically, I was not bribed into gushing (get it?) about this little gem.

I like to be as objective as possible with regards to reviews so here is my break-down of how I generally rate adventures, out of Paizo's five stars rating system.

One star is for how easy it is to run or adapt the adventure to different gaming styles and different campaigns (such as incorporating it into other adventure paths).

A second star is for editing/layout overall (is there a lot of typos or inconsistencies? Does the layout bleed your eyes [I cannot promise this will be the last of the "bloody" puns]? Etc., etc.).

Two stars are for the crunch, the content, and the want-to-play factor (basically, as a GM, do I want to run this? As a player, do I want this adventure to be one of my character's memorable experiences?).

And the last star is art. That is right, art, my friends. Not just cartography, but I also care about how the bad guys look because I suck at describing monsters.

Having said all that, let us examine each in turn.

Seriously, I was stoked at how easy it is to adapt this adventure for a large number of campaigns/adventure paths. Sure, it is ideal for the Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure path (if I recall correctly), but honestly, I am implementing it for my mythic Kingmaker adventure path (inserting it directly into Blood for Blood - the irony is thick here). I can easily see how it would fit Rise of the Runelords, Carrion Crown, Legacy of Fire, Serpent's Skull, Skull and Shackles, Wrath of the Righteous, Giantslayer, Hell's Rebels, and even Strange Aeons. It could also work in Second Darkness and Hell's Vengeance with some further tinkering of the backstory.

Heck, I could even drop this in older adventure paths like Age of Worms and Savage Tides with minimal changes. Not running an adventure path? Drop this adventure almost literally anywhere in your campaign. All you need are a wilderness area where a fort would make sense, and a group of barbarians or tribal warriors who want to raze the fort.

As for actually running it, most of it is straightforward. I recommend running this in two sessions, possibly three sessions for a slower group. You should definitely take the time to read it carefully though; it is not a rules-heavy or extremely complicated adventure, but some of the challenges (creatures, traps, etc.) are unusual or quite narrow in focus.

For example, one of the unique creatures' primary method of attacking is nasty use of the Grab and Constrict universal monster abilities so I recommend boning up your knowledge on that if you struggle sometimes like me in running monsters whose specialty is grappling.

The good news is that the team who gave us this adventure went above the standards in providing us with detailed information about locations, creatures, and traps (oh man, the traps are mouth-watering. If your pcs are not careful, someone is bound to get mulched to a bloody pulp!). I like having as much information as possible, whether it be fluff or crunch-based information, because quite frankly, players will do anything and everything you did not expect. The tactics descriptions for combat encounters are solid - a welcome sight for me because my players are also ridiculously tactical. I also liked that things like Escape Artist DCs for squeezing through the arrows slits in the towers were included - it is the little details like this that makes my job as a GM easier.

There is a simple timer on this adventure (trust me, it is nowhere near complicated like the timer in the final adventure of the Second Darkness adventure path). Depending on how many days the pcs spend exploring, the creepiness factor and difficulty level will progress at specific locations (the add-on challenges are often a single line of adjustments to stat blocks or a single saving throw against a harmful effect upon entering the affected area).

Overall, the editing is great (I love those hyperlinks). The stat blocks for the generic monsters are reprinted here, despite the hyperlinks, and I believe it to be because the team decided not to assume the GM would have an available online access at all times. In such cases, having the actual stat block helps. As far as I can tell, reprinting those stat blocks did not seem to cause the adventure to suffer from a lack of content that was otherwise be required to run the adventure.

There were a few unusual editing spots for me. I did not notice typos per se but I was confused as to why the stat blocks for one of the undead monsters was reprinted twice (not in the same place, but rather they are encountered in two different locations).

In addition, page 11 has a tiny chronological inconsistency in the first paragraph in regards to the timeline of the fort's construction but that is easily remedied. The last error that I saw was in a few areas they make a reference to Area C2 for description of the condition of the dead soldiers, but Area C2 does not actually have dead soldiers; Area C3 does contain the initial description of the condition of the dead soldiers' corpses. It is an error that is easily fixed as well.

Now, to the crunch. I cannot do justice to how much fun this adventure can be for those who like a bit of shock value (as a GM, you can easily tone down or ramp up the description of the carnage/gory bits). I liked the story and, although I am not overly familiar with the horror style of story-telling, I thought the mixture of undead, aberrations, and haunts were well-placed.

Interestingly enough, a few of the creatures here are from the Bestiary 4, and they are definitely weird, presenting different kinds of challenges, like the Ectoplasmic ooze. My favourite creature though has to be The Tongue. It is a one-trick pony, but it is horrifically good at it.

The traps here are fun (for the GM), reminding me of The Tomb of Horrors and The Temple of Elemental Evil. Although one or two of the traps can be extremely lethal for the foolish, a diverse range of options are given for how to beat the traps so unless your players are all playing martials, chances are your players are going to eventually overcome the traps. Basically, the traps are tough but fair (fair as in they make absolute sense, thematically-appropriate, and actually requires the players to use resources or cunning to overcome them).

To be fair though, while having access to the Horror Adventures sourcebook is not a requirement, I recommend having it because it does talk about the rituals mechanics in whole. The adventure has enough details for you to simply run it but the sourcebook itself can help you if you want to add more to the rituals or ramp up the horror factor.

Oh, did I not mention it before? Yes, the cornerstone of the story and the reason for all the horror in the adventure is due to the npc end-boss attempting to complete a ritual. I will not give it away here but let me just say that even if the pcs defeat the final boss (who has a great backstory), the secrets of the ritual does not necessarily end with his defeat. Why, the pcs could attempt the ritual themselves... :D

Finally, the art. The cartography was good (solid grid lines) with decent resolution overall. Although I wish the resolutions on the encounter areas were a bit higher. The tags (area labels) are a bit hard to read without zooming. The art of the unique monsters (and the end boss) are great - I really like the art of the guardian. Mucho bad-ass.

However, there are two artwork that is confusing the heck out of me as to why they are there. On page 17 and page 18 are two artworks that, as far as I can tell, does not actually depict anything that is directly from the adventure. Do not get me wrong, they are still nice artwork, but other than helping serve as filler, I do not understand why else they were included in this product. *shrugs* Like I said earlier, I have not noticed a lack of required content to effectively run this enjoyable adventure so the inclusion of these specific artwork is not hurting the usefulness of this product.

Whew! Having said all that, what is my final verdict? One full star for ease of play and required effort to adapt it, one full star for the editing/layout, two full stars for the crunch/content (so juicy!), and half a star for the art. (Honestly, I wish Paizo's rating system was more than a mere five stars. Even six stars would allow for a more robust and fair review). That gives us a grand total of 4.5 stars, rounding up to 5 stars (because I like the fluff and crunch that much)!

Cheers!

CB.

EDIT: I corrected a few grammar and punctuation errors above.



Would it be simple to adapt this adventure to the Kingmaker AP? From the product description, I can almost picture taking elements of this adventure for the The Varnhold Vanishing or Blood for Blood adventures of the Kingmaker AP.

Does this product have any advice on how to alter/modify the adventure itself in case one was using rules for Kingdom Building, intrigue, or any other optional ruleset put forth by Paizo (or by Legendary Games)?

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Canadian Bakka wrote:
Would it be simple to adapt this adventure to the Kingmaker AP? From the product description, I can almost picture taking elements of this adventure for the The Varnhold Vanishing or Blood for Blood adventures of the Kingmaker AP.

Absolutely! Aside from a few initial wilderness encounters and events, the entire adventure takes place at a single site: a remote fort recently under siege by a large attacking force. You could easily place the fort in any remote location.

Canadian Bakka wrote:
Does this product have any advice on how to alter/modify the adventure itself in case one was using rules for Kingdom Building, intrigue, or any other optional ruleset put forth by Paizo (or by Legendary Games)?

It does not offer tips for using the Kingdom Building or Intrigue rules. However, it does offer a nasty new corruption that uses the corruption rules in Horror Adventures.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Incidentally ...

Spoiler:

This scenario was partly inspired by a story from a 1979 issue of Creepy magazine that was stuck in my head for decades: Warrior's Ritual.
Here's an online version of that story.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Tom Phillips wrote:

Incidentally ...

** spoiler omitted **

D*mn!

Reminds me of several stories by Manly Wade Wellman and David Drake about

Spoiler:
not-quite-human
soldiers in wartime who did -- things to enemy dead.


This product sounds cool and grisly. I am inserting Courts of the Shadow Fey in Blood for Blood at Fort Drelev (the Baron there made deals with both the shadow fey (particularly the Black Prince) and the Tiger Lords barbarians). As a result of this, I am wondering if this particular adventure could be used for Fort Drelev itself after the PCs return from dealing with the shadow fey to release their claim on the lands that Baron Drelev "claimed."

Or would that be too much?

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Tom Phillips wrote:

Incidentally ...

** spoiler omitted **

D*mn!

Reminds me of several stories by Manly Wade Wellman and David Drake about ** spoiler omitted ** soldiers in wartime who did -- things to enemy dead.

When I was a kid in the 1970s, you still had a fair number of war-themed comic books, some fairly straightforward like "Sgt. Rock" but some with a definite horror edge like "Weird War Tales." I didn't read a ton of those, but there were some pretty messed up stories in those.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jason Nelson wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Tom Phillips wrote:

Incidentally ...

** spoiler omitted **

D*mn!

Reminds me of several stories by Manly Wade Wellman and David Drake about ** spoiler omitted ** soldiers in wartime who did -- things to enemy dead.

When I was a kid in the 1970s, you still had a fair number of war-themed comic books, some fairly straightforward like "Sgt. Rock" but some with a definite horror edge like "Weird War Tales." I didn't read a ton of those, but there were some pretty messed up stories in those.

I mostly remember the Haunted Tank, but yeah, 'Weird War Tales' could get pretty gruesome.

Contributor

It's still pretty surreal seeing something you laid out all shiny and finished. :D

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Liz Courts wrote:
It's still pretty surreal seeing something you laid out all shiny and finished. :D

And it looks loverly!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jason Nelson wrote:
Liz Courts wrote:
It's still pretty surreal seeing something you laid out all shiny and finished. :D
And it looks loverly!

Agreed!! :-)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Canadian Bakka wrote:
This product sounds cool and grisly.

It's certainly not for the faint of "heart." ;-)

Canadian Bakka wrote:

I am inserting Courts of the Shadow Fey in Blood for Blood at Fort Drelev (the Baron there made deals with both the shadow fey (particularly the Black Prince) and the Tiger Lords barbarians). As a result of this, I am wondering if this particular adventure could be used for Fort Drelev itself after the PCs return from dealing with the shadow fey to release their claim on the lands that Baron Drelev "claimed."

Or would that be too much?

Without being familiar with either of those titles, I can only say this: you should be able to replace the remote fort in Hero's Blood with any similar, remote location.

However, with that said, ...

Spoiler:
... the fort should have a well inside the castle walls.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.

If you're looking for the perfect Valentine's-themed adventure, look no further than Hero's Blood. I'm not saying it's going to help you find true love (it won't). However, a central theme of the adventure involves the human heart. Just look at the amazing cover art you'll see a very important NPC literally giving his heart to a lucky party of adventurers. It's a touching, tender scene.

Also, the cover art would make a great impromptu Valentine's card for that very special someone.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Tom Phillips wrote:

If you're looking for the perfect Valentine's-themed adventure, look no further than Hero's Blood. I'm not saying it's going to help you find true love (it won't). However, a central theme of the adventure involves the human heart. Just look at the amazing cover art you'll see a very important NPC literally giving his heart to a lucky party of adventurers. It's a touching, tender scene.

Also, the cover art would make a great impromptu Valentine's card for that very special someone.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Ha - it's a gift with heart!


Jason Nelson wrote:
Tom Phillips wrote:

If you're looking for the perfect Valentine's-themed adventure, look no further than Hero's Blood. I'm not saying it's going to help you find true love (it won't). However, a central theme of the adventure involves the human heart. Just look at the amazing cover art you'll see a very important NPC literally giving his heart to a lucky party of adventurers. It's a touching, tender scene.

Also, the cover art would make a great impromptu Valentine's card for that very special someone.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Ha - it's a gift with heart!

Lots and lots of them!

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

I heart all of the support this adventure has received!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well, I picked this up last week, and while it will be a long time before I can run this, it fits nicely with the Kingmaker's adventure Blood for Blood. All I have to do is simply change the antagonist to being the illegitimate son of Baron Drelev, and easy-peasy, it's all set. The only other changes I have to make is adding some Mythic modifications since my campaign uses the Mythic rules.

Any suggestions on appropriate mythic add-ons?

CB

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Canadian Bakka wrote:

Well, I picked this up last week, and while it will be a long time before I can run this, it fits nicely with the Kingmaker's adventure Blood for Blood. All I have to do is simply change the antagonist to being the illegitimate son of Baron Drelev, and easy-peasy, it's all set. The only other changes I have to make is adding some Mythic modifications since my campaign uses the Mythic rules.

Any suggestions on appropriate mythic add-ons?

CB

I'd definitely look at using Path of Villains!


Jason Nelson wrote:
I'd definitely look at using Path of Villains!

Of course! Silly me, I forgot I have that product already. :) Thanks!

CB

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Canadian Bakka wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:
I'd definitely look at using Path of Villains!

Of course! Silly me, I forgot I have that product already. :) Thanks!

CB

Definitely check out Path of Villains, CB.

Also, if you enjoy Hero's Blood -- the scenario, not the actual bodily fluid, because that would be gross -- please consider posting a review!

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Canadian Bakka wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:
I'd definitely look at using Path of Villains!

Of course! Silly me, I forgot I have that product already. :) Thanks!

CB

You could also look at Mythic Monsters: Undead for some extra boosts.


Tom Phillips wrote:

Definitely check out Path of Villains, CB.

Also, if you enjoy Hero's Blood -- the scenario, not the actual bodily fluid, because that would be gross -- please consider posting a review!

I will see if I can get a review written over the weekend. I need to sit down and read the adventure without skimming. Speed-reading is great when you are trying to slog past a 1000+ pages GoT novel; it is not as handy as when you are attempting to evaluate a role-playing product on its merits. ;)

CB.


Questions: in the first map (the one depicting the area around the fort), I don't see a scale indicating distance; how much land is covered per square on the map?

Also, the first encounter indicates a possible fight and the opponents will attempt ranged attacks via long distance, but an encounter distance was not listed (or at least none that I saw). I suppose using the random encounter distance for Plains should work or alternatively assume starting distance is at the maximum bow range.

CB

EDIT: I just found the map scale; I was looking for a bar indicating distance and missed earlier the highlighted square by the top with the distance per square listed. My bad.


I am a little confused about the attack capabilities of one of the unique creatures featured here.

Specifically,:
The Tongue with its Constrict ability and Tiny Maws ability.

Correct me if I am wrong here, in the order of sequence of how these abilities function with respect to one another.

Round 1: The Tongue successfully hits a pc with its tongue for 3d6+14 points of damage. As a result of its Grab ability, it can immediately make a grapple combat manoeuvre check without incurring an attack of opportunity. If the grapple combat manoeuvre is successful, the target is grappled AND it takes constrict damage from The Tongue (3d6+14 points of damage).

Every round thereafter on its turn, whenever The Tongue makes a successful grapple combat manoeuvre check, the target takes tongue damage (3d6+14) AND the constrict damage (3d6+14).

In addition, at the start of the grappled target's turn, the Tiny Maws ability states that the target is subject to The Tongue's constrict attack (does this mean it automatically deals constrict damage or that the Tongue makes another grapple combat manoeuvre check?) AND takes an additional 2d6 points of damage (for a possible 5d6+14 points of damage at the start of the grappled target's turn). Oh, and the grappled target must save or be staggered for 1 round each time the Tiny Maws deal damage.

I know The Tongue cannot move and effectively has a limited area where it can attack; it is essentially a sitting duck. That being said, just how many pcs were murdered by this thing in playtesting?

CB

EDIT: Changed the 2nd sentence in the spoiler for the purpose of clarity.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Canadian Bakka wrote:
I suppose using the random encounter distance for Plains should work or alternatively assume starting distance is at the maximum bow range.

That's what I would do. Good call. Apologies for not being clearer about it.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Canadian Bakka wrote:

I am a little confused about the attack capabilities of one of the unique creatures featured here.

** spoiler omitted **
CB

CB's question:
I know The Tongue cannot move and effectively has a limited area where it can attack; it is essentially a sitting duck. That being said, just how many pcs were murdered by this thing in playtesting?

Tom's response:
You have the rules right, CB. Though the Tongue still has to make a successful grapple combat maneuver check to deal constrict damage each round.

The first group I ran avoided the Tongue and killed it from a distance with ranged attacks and electricity spells. The second group I ran had a character (a 10th-level barbarian) grappled and dropped to negative hit points ... though her comrades killed the Tongue and revived her.

The Tongue is a nasty opponent. But it's a one-trick pony that can't leave the pit. It's especially easy to kill since it basically just sits there while grappling/devouring a PC, allowing the rest of the party to attack it with impunity.


Thanks Tom, I appreciate the response. I think the damage though from its Strength modifier is off by 1 point (unless my math is off, which is entirely possible as math is one of my least favourite skills). Since it has only 1 attack, the damage from Strength should be equal to 1.5 x its Strength modifier.

I imagine that in conjunction with Power Attack, this creature should really put the hurt on the primary tank in my players' group, the barbarian.

Kudos on giving us an evocative and weird creature, Tom! :)

CB


Review posted! Huzzah!

CB.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Canadian Bakka wrote:

Review posted! Huzzah!

CB.

Thank you, CB!


No problem, it was enjoyable to write the review for Hero's Blood and it helped me focus on what pieces of it I need to know better and what pieces I want to expand on when the time comes for me to run it.

I hope the review provides ample information, without robbing the joy of reading the adventure for the first time, for anyone who has an initial interest in the adventure, whether it be a player or a GM.

I left out discussing page numbers, layout format, more in-depth analysis of game balance, and price-point analysis because I know that is Endy's style of professional reviewing. No need to have overlapping review styles - the more variety and differences between reviews, the better in my opinion. People should have more data to make a well-rounded and informed purchasing decision. :)

I look forward to running this adventure someday. :)

CB

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Thanks for the great review, CB!

In answer to your questions about the art, the one on page 17 is supposed to represent Brother Ezekran and the one on page 18 is supposed to represent the ghostly archers.


Ah, really? OK. *scratches head* It's different from what I was expecting based on room descriptions and the creature type. I thought there was only 1 ghostly archer and that it was confined to inside the tower so that's why I initially discarded the idea that the second artwork was them. As for Brother Ezekran, I suppose the shadowy creatures with him in the artwork are creepy but harmless manifestations of the corruption of the evil spirits. Cool then! :)

CB

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Spoiler:
Haunts
are always a little fuzzy on exactly how to depict them, and it was an art piece that we had that seemed like it was in the neighborhood for ghostly archers so we figured "why not?" We can't quite afford to tailor-make every art piece for every scene, so sometimes you use one that's close enough and let it roll!


That's a fair and valid point, ;)

CB


Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Endzeitgeist wrote:
Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.

What a nice surprise! Thank you for the kind review, Endz!


So, if one were incorporating this into the Crimson Throne AP, where exactly would you do so, both geographically and chronologically? Given Korvosa's hostility with Kaer Maga (which controls the only convenient route up and down the Storval Plateau in the east), I can't imagine how they would have established a fort in the vicinity, and the rest of the Cinderlands is Shoanti territory. Or would it be farther into the Cinderlands, near Urglin?

Also, at what point in Chapter 4 would one run this? After the Party has been admitted to the Sun Tribe, or while they're wandering around fulfilling their quests in the Cinderlands?


@Seems: I think this one can work pretty easily in any place of the shoanti-controlled cinderlands; this ties in with the racial tensions highlighted as soon as module #1. Korvosa is occupied territory for the shoanti - they have lost the war. In that context, it makes sense for Korvosa to have outposts in territories controlled by a semi-hostile populace. (Colonialism offers plenty of inspiration there - personally, i got a strong heart of Darkness vibe from the module - not in scenery, but in theme.)

As for when, it kinda depends on the story demands. From a narrative point of view, the weak spot of CotCT is that, after module #3, Korvosa takes a backseat for modules #4 and #5; Hero's Blood can help with that, in that it serves as a reminder of sorts, a callback to the importance of the city.

*Personally*, I have used this after module #4, before #5. However, I can just as easily see this work as an interjection somewhere in #4, which is particularly helpful if your players just don't like dealing with shoanti much, play korvosan patriots, etc. It makes that cool, but railroady section more bearable for such groups.

Just my 2 cents, of course! :D

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