The Ironfang Invasion Adventure Path launches with "Trail of the Hunted," a tale of desperate survival set against the invasion of a ruthless hobgoblin army—the Ironfang Legion! As the Ironfang Legion begins carving out an empire of monsters, the heroes must flee their hometown of Phaendar as it burns, saving any lives they can. The heroes guard their band of survivors in the wilderness, challenge a troglodyte tribe for safe haven, and face the brutal bounty hunters dispatched to end their flight to freedom!
I thoroughly enjoyed going through this issue in preparation to run Pathfinder Adventure Path 117: Assault on Longshadow. This issue is packed with info on the Ironfang Legion, new troop types, wereraptors, leshies and a gazetteer on the Nesmian Plains.
It reminds me of the classic Paizo published Dungeon magazines in that they are packed with material that is not only integral to the adventure at hand, but useful to GMs and players outside of the context of the adventure.
What an excellent and brave way to start an AP. Lots of player freedom, and an endless supply of baddies to throw at the PCs. Make sure your players have family etc. in the starting settlement. This really suits a mounted and martial party.
My favourite AP by far was Kingmaker. Until now. May be a close call by the time we get to the end.
If you like lots player freedom, GM freedom, and adventure landscape style play this is for you.
The art really shines: from the cover over the interior full body illustrations, to the headshots and half page scenes.
Also all encounter battle-maps are designed really evocative and fun to play on.
Lots of possible player decisions are covered.
Very informative sidebars.
Players can get their hands on a lot of cool gear.
The NPCs are solidly designed.
The two new Leshy and the Wereraptor.
Managing the refugees and assigning each one a daily duty seems bothersome and most players i know won´t like it.
A "Refugees character sheet" would have been useful for an overview.
A bigger map of Phaendar on the inside front cover would have been more useful than the smaller than 1/4th page one on page 22 - it certainly is a nice map and the place where the entire first session takes place.
The "Southern Chernasardo" map on page 22 is much too small and would have been so much better as a hexploration map. At the size it is, it´s pretty much guesswork where the characters are going exactly.
"Part 2" is a little jumbled and would have benefited from a clearer structure or at least a timetable sidebar.
There is no mention of the settlements "Ecru", "Redburrow" or "Radya´s Hollow" from the inside front cover in the Nesmian plains section, which otherwise is solid.
The inside front cover map doesn´t line up with the one on page 66 in all details, especially #8 "Cavlinor" is in two different places.
This really feels like a classic fantasy adventure!
This adventure path gets back to the basics, and has a healthy dose of wilderness encounters. Lots of hobgoblins to fight, but there are other critters too. I like the art for the hobgoblins and bugbear, very nice.
The fiction really is gone, folks. This was stated in a developer post in one of the Strange Aeons topics. It stayed for Strange Aeons only because the developers really wanted to pay homage to the Mythos with some good fiction. Debatable, since Chaosium offers this as well, and some of it's pretty good.
The Side Treks do actually still exist. What happened was they got rolled into the general adventure, since everyone ran them anyway, they weren't really considered optional.
I really want to see hobgoblins and bugbears come into their own in this one. Classic Monsters Revisited and some revolutionary art really makes them look creepy. I also think this would be a great opportunity for some hex crawl. Then we can have some "side quests" and random encounter tables in the new section. History, rumours, environmental descriptions, some minor but atmospheric items, a new magic item or two... I'd love to see something like Raging Swan does in their weblog or "so what's it like" series for the new section.
What I'd really like to see gone is the editorial. While fun at the time, so much of it becomes dated when you pull back issues to read. If you want to do current affairs, use the weblog. Keep the section, but do "designer's notes" like in the first adventures, little behind the scenes notes or real-world background that inspired the adventure or whatever.
Nirmathas and Molthune have long been my favorite region in Golarion, one of the few places where two nations really feel like they're interacting with each other in a relatable way. This is why I'm kinda disappointed that this is about a third party invading rather than the ongoing war. It's like Fangwood Keep all over again, except maybe worse. Pity, because the gimmick of leading a group of survivors really appeals to me.
I look forward to this adventure. The location (Nirmathas & Molthune) appeals to me greatly, plus the fact that this adventure features Hobgoblins, who were said to be a major threat to the inner sea region, all makes it interesting.
Hobgoblins have been said to be a major threat to the region, but so far they've never really posed an issue.
The fact that Hobgoblins' leaders are chosen through duels to the death probably means that a lot of them don't rule for long and many "officers" are cycled out before a truly worthy one emerges. Natural selection, really.
Well, I would rather paizo give the opportunity to play as hobgobs in an AP due to Molthune recruiting them like crazy (along with lycanthropes, centaurs, and any other monstrous race that can take orders).
In home game fluff, we've even set up hobgoblin orphanages in Braganza, in part so that city's population grows in size, and in part because hobgoblins aren't big into parenting.
A green dragon who runs the mage college also experiments with the hobgoblin bloodline in an effort to create varied species or even more suitable soldiers. As a result, my personal character is a vanguard slayer hobgoblin who is of alchemical altered blood, a mix of bugbear and hobgoblin. Makes him stronger (+2 to strength instead of dex) but he was so unruly as a child he was placed in the infamous Redwall Reformatory for Troubled Youths.
Because of this stuff our group has done, I'm taking such an interest in this particular AP.
I guess it's a settlement which was created or at least newly fleshed out for this AP.
Appearently, it lies in the Nesmian Plains as stated in the introductory text of this installment.
I'd put it somewhere north of Kraggodan and south of the Deepcut river.
*Casually about to go debate with himself whether he should by himself more Pathfinder books or wait until after Christmas and then get himself more Pathfinder books*
Malefactor: Well you know, Iron Godsis supposed to be a real nice campaign, and I am looking for something to tide me over 'til Starfinder comes out so mayb- HOLY SALAMANDER CUTTLEFISH! NEW ART FOR IRONFANG INVASION! I HAVE NO IDEA WHO THE ICONICS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE SO THAT PROBABLY MEANS THAT IS FROM THE ACG! I SHOULD PROBABLY GET THAT ONE OF THESE DAYS!
*Passes out from excitement, doesn't even get a chance to read text*
*gawks at the new final covers' art and colour scheme*
Ooooo... Shiny. I'm more and more hyped by the possibilities of hobgoblin centralised, war infused fantasy campaigning. This has a potential of including some very good times indeed!
Also we totally have a reason for why we cannot just fight the big bad at early levels. He* has an army with him and is probably a badass. That and your a low level Adventurer being attacked by a very old dragon. In short, you know who this bastard is, You want to kill him, but cannot, and the only thing you can do is save what you can and run. After you are safe, then you can start forming a plan to make this general Azaersi pay for stepping on your town... And probably others, but mostly your town.
She. She has an army. :)
WAIT WHAT ? That is .... JUST AWESOME 8D!!!! An Female Hobgoblin Commander. I am curious how she looks like