Pathfinder Adventure Path #115: Trail of the Hunted (Ironfang Invasion 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Adventure Path #115: Trail of the Hunted (Ironfang Invasion 1 of 6) (PFRPG)
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War Comes Unbidden

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!

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path launches the Ironfang Invasion Adventure Path and includes:

  • "Trail of the Hunted," a Pathfinder adventure for 1st-level characters, by Amber E. Scott.
  • A detailed overview of the Ironfang Legion, including its history, membership, and tools, by Ron Lundeen.
  • A gazetteer on the expansive Nesmian Plains, a rugged wilderness of breathtaking vistas and tangled histories, by Crystal Frasier.
  • A bestiary containing new regional threats and allies, by Crystal Frasier, Amber E. Scott, Tonya Woldridge, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-926-4

"Trail of the Hunted" 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 (2 MB zip/PDF).

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

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The Ironfang Invasion will be considered a modern classic!

5/5

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.


Blood Will flow

5/5

I have GMed this.

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.

Well done Paizo


Fresh Feel Guerilla Warfare

4/5

GOOD:
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.

BAD:
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.

UGLY:
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!


Solid part One

4/5

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.


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Or maybe a 0HD race;)

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
Or maybe a 0HD race;)

Let's not make Pathfinder's arguable overcrowded Mos Eisley Cantina even more overcrowded.


They already have gotten to that point;) Besides given time Starfinder will equal Pathfinder if not surpass them with different 0HD races. But even if Pathfinder had a 100 0HD races that still might not be enough...unless they cover every niche/concept I am looking for.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I really like that bugbear! Who is the cover artist?


Silver Scarab wrote:
I really like that bugbear! Who is the cover artist?

Remko Troost.


REALLY looking forward to this as I get to be a player, gathered 4 of the 6 Players including me, just hope to snag a GM over in Roll20 soonish

Cheers

Tom


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Heine Stick wrote:
Silver Scarab wrote:
I really like that bugbear! Who is the cover artist?
Remko Troost.

Thanks!

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This will begin shipping to subscribers on monday, march 13th.

Do we have an ETA for the "Ironfang Invasion Player's Guide"?

Between march 1st and march 10th should be realistic imo.

Dark Archive

Crystal Frasier wrote:
ErisAcolyte-Chaos jester wrote:
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. :)

I really like the fact that this book/AP is developed by four women and also stars four female iconics.

1. Does every developing lady have her own iconic hero and if yes, who is who? ;-)

2. Who writes the Player's Guide and when will it be available?

Thank you, Crystal!


Player's Guide???

PLEASE????


Marco Massoudi wrote:

This will begin shipping to subscribers on monday, march 13th.

Do we have an ETA for the "Ironfang Invasion Player's Guide"?

Between march 1st and march 10th should be realistic imo.

Around the time subscribers get their PDF, which is when the physical copies (for subscribers) start shipping. Delays have been known to happen.


Is the Player's Guide available yet?


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

I would not expect the Player's Guide before the 13th.

Paizo Employee Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Marco Massoudi wrote:

I really like the fact that this book/AP is developed by four women and also stars four female iconics.

1. Does every developing lady have her own iconic hero and if yes, who is who? ;-)

2. Who writes the Player's Guide and when will it be available?

Thank you, Crystal!

First, the AP is developed by Crystal and me, she handling the adventure and me tackling the backmatter. We may employ women to write for us (and are doing so with increasing regularity), but the book is developed by a 50% male and 50% female team.

As for who writes the player's guide, it depends what information we need to put in it. Campaign traits are usually written by the adventure path's developer, while other background info like setting material or campaign-specific rules subsystems, are either taken from their existing sources or written by whoever is best suited to do so.

It should be available sometime prior to the first volume shipping, but that's largely dependent on our larger release schedule and when all the ducks are in a row (in the right order).

Dark Archive

Mark Moreland wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:

I really like the fact that this book/AP is developed by four women and also stars four female iconics.

1. Does every developing lady have her own iconic hero and if yes, who is who? ;-)

2. Who writes the Player's Guide and when will it be available?

Thank you, Crystal!

First, the AP is developed by Crystal and me, she handling the adventure and me tackling the backmatter. We may employ women to write for us (and are doing so with increasing regularity), but the book is developed by a 50% male and 50% female team.

As for who writes the player's guide, it depends what information we need to put in it. Campaign traits are usually written by the adventure path's developer, while other background info like setting material or campaign-specific rules subsystems, are either taken from their existing sources or written by whoever is best suited to do so.

It should be available sometime prior to the first volume shipping, but that's largely dependent on our larger release schedule and when all the ducks are in a row (in the right order).

Thanks for clarifying, Mark, i wasn´t trying to belittle your part. :-)

I thought from the description of "A bestiary containing new regional threats and allies, by Crystal Frasier, Amber E. Scott, Tonya Woldridge, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.", that this book was mainly done by an all-female team (and Ron Lundeen) and thought that the four of them maybe each have a favorite (female) iconic from the ranks of the four included ones (Adowyn, Feiya, Jirelle & Lini). ;-)


In this case, the distinction is between contributors (who write the content) and developers (who polish it up, catch any errors, and make sure everything fits together seamlessly).

So while the four people listed each wrote one or more creature entries, it was Mr. Moreland who collected them all and made a seamless Bestiary chapter out of them. ^_^


So we might get the Players guide I am hoping next week, if all the ducks are in a row

Lets hope so and thanks for posting Mark

I have 5 players plus myself and a GM just going crazy to see this sucker and add or take away some character bits after reading the guide and the Campaign traits!!!

Then another week and we START!!!

Ha Ha

Tom

Dark Archive

TRDG wrote:

So we might get the Players guide I am hoping next week, if all the ducks are in a row

Lets hope so and thanks for posting Mark

I have 5 players plus myself and a GM just going crazy to see this sucker and add or take away some character bits after reading the guide and the Campaign traits!!!

Then another week and we START!!!

Ha Ha

Tom

Yeah I am waiting for the Players guide too. We already have our group ready. Trapper Ranger, Hunter, Paladin, and a Phantom Blade Spiritualist.


Besides the eventual Player's Guide, and CS:Lands of Conflict, are there any other supplements for this AP that are out or coming out?

Dark Archive

TheBobJones wrote:
Besides the eventual Player's Guide, and CS:Lands of Conflict, are there any other supplements for this AP that are out or coming out?

Yes, there are:

-the Ironfang poster-map folio in july,

-the Monster Hunter´s Handbook in march

and the "Ironfang Invasion Pawn Collection" (probably) in october.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

By the way: "Lands of Conflict" puts the population of Phaendar at just under 400.
So if every PC saves about 100 people...
Ah, who am i kidding - let there be blood! ;-)


If every PC saves 100 people, There is no guarantee that they won't be the same 100 people.


AmbassadoroftheDominion wrote:
If every PC saves 100 people, There is no guarantee that they won't be the same 100 people.

or tourists/visitors.

Liberty's Edge Developer

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Marco Massoudi wrote:
TheBobJones wrote:
Besides the eventual Player's Guide, and CS:Lands of Conflict, are there any other supplements for this AP that are out or coming out?

Yes, there are:

-the Ironfang poster-map folio in july,

-the Monster Hunter´s Handbook in march

and the "Ironfang Invasion Pawn Collection" (probably) in october.

Monster Hunter's Handbook, while a cool book, has nothing to do with this AP. Please stop giving people false information with an officious tone.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I was wondering how that was supposed to connect and when I looked it up it did'nt, thanks Crystal.

My group is almost ready to go

We have

Warpriest, Ranger, Unchained Rogue, Black Blade Magus, Druid and the last person still has not quite decided.

Once the PG comes out we do get the option to modify our build with that info, looking forward to seeing it soon :)


How much you want to bet that the number of invading Hobgoblins at the beginning is far greater then the population of the town itself?

I mean...four hundred? They're just going to walk through the place with minimal casualties.


LOL, 400 more like against 4000+ I would just bet

Come on Players Guide, we are all waiting for ya :) Then next week for those lucky enough to get their PDF's earlier than most and I hope our GM is one of em!!!

:)


I'm salivating over this AP. I'm hoping to see some PBP interest checks for this to start popping up any day now...


Sixteenbiticon wrote:
I'm salivating over this AP. I'm hoping to see some PBP interest checks for this to start popping up any day now...

Most of us are still waiting for the Player Guide.


Indeed, 6 player party here with baited breathe, GM a bit less so but he is glued to his hourly check on any sign of an Early PDF in his downloads as well.

A bit bummed there is no real hype for this, I suspect it just might be a sleeper AP hit myself, fingers crossed!!

:)

Dark Archive

Crystal Frasier wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:
TheBobJones wrote:
Besides the eventual Player's Guide, and CS:Lands of Conflict, are there any other supplements for this AP that are out or coming out?

Yes, there are:

-the Ironfang poster-map folio in july,

-the Monster Hunter´s Handbook in march

and the "Ironfang Invasion Pawn Collection" (probably) in october.

Monster Hunter's Handbook, while a cool book, has nothing to do with this AP. Please stop giving people false information with an officious tone.

I apologize.

I was under the impression, that the Monster Hunter´s Handbook was created (at least a little) with the Ironfang Invasion in mind, because of the mentioned monstrous humanoids and abberations in it´s description and the same release date (like with the Giant Slayer´s Handbook released in relative conjunction with the "Giantslayer" AP).

Of course you are right - no Player´s Companion (that i know of) is released as an official supplement for only one Adventure Path, it´s use is broader than that and it´s usable for lots of different adventures.

Sorry, Crystal.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Marco Massoudi wrote:


I apologize.

I was under the impression, that the Monster Hunter´s Handbook was created (at least a little) with the Ironfang Invasion in mind, because of the mentioned monstrous humanoids and abberations in it´s description and the same release date (like with the Giant Slayer´s Handbook released in relative conjunction with the "Giantslayer" AP).
Sorry, Crystal.

Don't stress it....I was under the same impression. It's only logical ;)

Liberty's Edge Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
nighttree wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:


I apologize.

I was under the impression, that the Monster Hunter´s Handbook was created (at least a little) with the Ironfang Invasion in mind, because of the mentioned monstrous humanoids and abberations in it´s description and the same release date (like with the Giant Slayer´s Handbook released in relative conjunction with the "Giantslayer" AP).
Sorry, Crystal.

Don't stress it....I was under the same impression. It's only logical ;)

Not really. The products are completely unrelated, and we've never said anywhere that they're related.

Silver Crusade

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

I'm not seeing the connection. You have an AP about fighting a hobgoblin army and a splatbook about hunting oozes and magical beasts. The fact that they come out at the same time is of no consequence, because Paizo did both publish books which have no relation to the current AP before OR did publish a very related book either later or earlier.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Ships soon!!

TRDG wrote:

I suspect it just might be a sleeper AP hit myself, fingers crossed!!

:)

I agree, though when this was announced I was hoping for the PCs to be stuck between an epic three army standoff. Reading the blurbs that doesn't seem to be in the cards, but the direction they've taken it still reads just as exciting.


Well we have some more time to wait, but I think it will be worth it, Ya a more epic feel with real armies clashing through out an AP would be quite cool and fun to GM and play and up a couple of my groups ally.

But me thinks we will get another Kingmaker type AP before something like that. Either is a win win as far as I am concerned.

Just got done watching Know Directions podcast and they had Wesley on, and it was asked if anything is coming to shake up the recent history in cannon AP's that what took place and I speculate what will take place in a future AP that would effect all of Varisia even with the no AP effects any other one deal, and he said YES!!!

That can mean a lot or a little but can't wait to see what they have planned for the future

Back on topic, sorry

Had 1 player drop because of the delay but should not be a problem getting a replacement me thinks


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Crystal Frasier wrote:
nighttree wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:


I apologize.

I was under the impression, that the Monster Hunter´s Handbook was created (at least a little) with the Ironfang Invasion in mind, because of the mentioned monstrous humanoids and abberations in it´s description and the same release date (like with the Giant Slayer´s Handbook released in relative conjunction with the "Giantslayer" AP).
Sorry, Crystal.

Don't stress it....I was under the same impression. It's only logical ;)

Not really. The products are completely unrelated, and we've never said anywhere that they're related.

Seems logical to me, since Paizo usually puts out books in conjunction with new AP releases. I had the same impression Marco had.


WVUFan1971 wrote:
Crystal Frasier wrote:
nighttree wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:


I apologize.

I was under the impression, that the Monster Hunter´s Handbook was created (at least a little) with the Ironfang Invasion in mind, because of the mentioned monstrous humanoids and abberations in it´s description and the same release date (like with the Giant Slayer´s Handbook released in relative conjunction with the "Giantslayer" AP).
Sorry, Crystal.

Don't stress it....I was under the same impression. It's only logical ;)

Not really. The products are completely unrelated, and we've never said anywhere that they're related.
Seems logical to me, since Paizo usually puts out books in conjunction with new AP releases. I had the same impression Marco had.

And Iron Fang is supposed to be about a monstrous army.....

Jon Brazer Enterprises

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The waiting between the "its coming soon" email and the "its on its way, go ahead and download the adventure" email is always the hardest part.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
The waiting between the "its coming soon" email and the "its on its way, go ahead and download the adventure" email is always the hardest part.

Same.

This could be the next AP I'm going to GM.


While people are waiting, I figured I'd share the story of when I ran a one-shot set in Molthune/Nirmathas. This was originally a Facebook post. Beware, it's pretty long.

abandon all hope, ye who enter here:
Let me tell you a story: a tale of how my one-shot PF session last Sunday went far off the rails. Every GM has stories of games going haywire when the players and GM don’t see eye-to-eye. Sometimes, this can be a cause for frustration. But this time, my players genuinely surprised me with a shocking twist, turned script of the campaign upside-down, and left everyone at the table with an experience that everyone found both memorable and satisfying.
First, the context. I’ve been GM-ing consistently since 2013. I’ve had a long time to accumulate knowledge and experience, but I still tend to slip up every now and then. Two things that irritate my players are A) using abyssal demons and their cultists as antagonists frequently enough that my players are sick of it (especially since such enemies are usually irredeemable fanatics who can’t be reasoned with) and B) having villains withdraw or teleport away from encounters before they can be finished off.
One thing my players like to do for one-shots is to agree on a single party theme or class, without my knowledge, and then surprise me with it. One time they brought an entire party of synthesist summoners (I have yet to forgive them for this), and another they came up with an entire party of paladins.
Keep these things in mind.
So, midway through my winter break, I decide to set up a one-shot. I’ve been delving deeper into the official Pathfinder setting and Golarion lore more recently; and I wanted to give my players something new. I looked into two countries in the Inner Sea region, Molthune and Nirmathas, that are perpetually at war. Molthune is a predominately Lawful Neutral, militarized, imperialistic nation where common folk and foreigners can become citizens through five years of military service (which amused me, since it immediately invokes parallels to the movie/book Starship Troopers). Molthune shares it’s northern border with Nirmathas, a primarily Chaotic Good nation of Robin Hood-esque freemen, wild folk, rangers, and frontiersmen with no centralized structure of authority binding them together. In the setting lore, the Nirmathi are portrayed as heroic guerrillas opposed to Molthune’s imperialism.
I decided that this would be the setting of my one-shot, but rather then having the party be Nirmathi underdogs fighting back against the Molthuni war machine…they would be soldiers serving the military hierarchy of Molthune, undertaking dangerous missions in exchange for their citizenship. Rather then a holy crusade against demons or devils, they would be plunged into a grim, bloody war between two non-evil nations that had been dragging on for decades. To facilitate this, I decided that Nirmathas in my campaign would be Chaotic Neutral, as opposed to Chaotic Good. Sure, they are free-spirited, nature-loving folk who hate centralized authority. But maybe they have a lot of bandits, thieves’ guilds, and other criminals amongst them. Maybe they’re strongly xenophobic, extreme, and quarrelsome, like the Wildings from George R.R Martin’s fiction. This makes the war between the two nations less a mere struggle of underdogs against an empire and more a battle of order versus chaos, industry versus nature, and centralized power versus anarchism. But this would be the overall backdrop of the session, not it’s focus. I decided that my PCs would indeed be facing evil antagonists: Nirmathi extremists who worshipped an evil Fey goddess and wish to tear down civilization as we know it. I fear my players would not be invested if they weren’t facing evil enemies, and this would flip the coin on the setting’s assumptions: we get to see the Molthune imperialists acting heroically, and a darker side of Nirmathas. But at the end of the adventure, the PCs would be forced to make a fateful choice, and their response to it would determine their ending and possibly their alignments. I allowed any race or alignment so long as they could justify working for a Lawful Neutral military command structure.
So I posted the event, under the title of “Pathfinder: Service and Citizenship” and six of my friends made time in their schedules to attend. Little did I know what I had just put into motion…
The following the way that the adventure was EXPECTED to progress:
The PCs are the Imperial Special Tasks Force, also known informally as the “Petitioners”; due to the low survival rate within the unit. The Petitioners undertake the most lethal, dangerous missions in exchange for a faster track to citizenship.
After attending a parade in Molthune’s capitol, Canorate, and being granted the privilege of dining for one night at a high-end restaurant usually open only to citizens (this privilege being granted to them to honor their service and provide them with more motivation to fight towards citizenship), they are sent to the Nirmathi border for a new assignment. There, the Petitioners meet their commanding officer: Zeo Armadus, the Iron General of Molthune. He is a gearforged (ported over from Kobold Press’ Midgard setting) who lost his human body in a bloody battle against Nirmathas, and had his soul transplanted into a body of iron and clockwork before he could die. A ruthless, fanatical commander with a body of dark metal, crimson gemstones for eyes, and a shocking greatsword across his back, Armadus is a threatening figure. He gives the PCs a lecture on citizenship and the superiority of Molthune’s way of life, before assigning them their mission. It turns out that there is a band of Nirmathi rebels calling themselves the Green Ones who are raiding villages in both Nirmathas and Molthune, killing some and abducting others. According to some reports, they are a druidic cult based around a figure calling herself the Green Maiden. Armadus wishes to put an end to this, so he orders the PCs eliminate the Green Ones. They are based in Goldenfield, a village on the southern edge of the Fangwood Forest, and in the forest proper.
The PCs were to travel to Goldenfield, where the Green Ones were oppressing the villagers, and drive them out. It would be discovered that they worship a Neutral Evil fey goddess, the Green Mother (who the Green Maiden is a herald of), and that villagers are being taken into the forest as “tributes” and not returning. They would then enter the Fangwood forest, where they would be ambushed by Green One cultists, moss trolls, and evil fey. The Green Maiden herself appears during the ambush in all her splendor as an NE druid and Moss Lich (check the Advanced Bestiary for that template), but the PCs presumably lack the means to kill her, so they can only drive her off.
That night at camp, a Shadowman (CR 5 evil fey from the Colossal Creatures Bestiary) would attack the the players. After destroying it, a shadowy fey or fetching would approach them and congratulate them on passing their trial. He would go on to say that he represents the other Eldest fey gods, and that the Green Maiden is feeding villagers to a supernatural tree (with eyes and mouths) deep in the forest that uses their soul-energy to break down the boundaries between the material plane and the First World, realm of the fey. Once her dark plan comes to fruition, the First World will breach reality and Nirmathas would become the Green Mother’s domain. The reason her cultists support this is because A) they hate industry, cities, and civilization, B ) because it will enable them to invade and destroy their hated enemy of Molthune and C) permanent death doesn’t exist in the First World, so they would be granted eternal life. To this end, the messenger hands the PCs a magic skull that can be used to fire beams of negative energy (the means to stop a Moss Liches’ regeneration, which I feared the PCs wouldn’t have access to) and casting Desecrate, which would prevent the Green Maiden’s rejuvenation seed from regrowing.
Thus, it’s time for a final showdown between the Molthuni PCs and an eco-terrorist fey-worshipping death cult. The PCs travel to the Green Maiden’s sanctum deep in the Fangwood, along the way meeting a Nirmathi ranger hero who serves as her second-in-command. He’s become horrified and disillusioned with her, and the PCs get the chance to talk him down and skipping his encounter. Under the shadow of her nightmarish tree, the Green Maiden tells the PCs that her village was burned by the Molthuni army when she was a young human girl, and that she fled into the Fangwood before being taken by Fey and raised by the Green Mother in the First World. She declares that the power of primal nature will conquer the man-made cities and civilization of Molthune. The PCs may have one last chance to talk her down, but chances are that they end up fighting her. It was also possible that they could defect to her side, but I deemed this as unlikely…
Once the Green Maiden is done with, the PCs return to Goldenfield. There they find their commander, General Zeo Armadus, outside of town with a retinue of soldiers. He congratulates them on getting rid of the Green Ones and gives them one final order: slaughter the entire village of Goldenfield for their defiance and harboring of rebels. If the PCs comply with this command, they carry out their war crimes and are granted citizenship. If they refuse the General, they then have to fight him. They don’t commit the atrocity, but they are now fugitives who will be hunted by Molthune and never get their citizenship. Cue Starship Troopers theme as an outro while the PCs contemplate their final choice.
The theme of the game was going to be that the war was bringing out the worst in both countries. The Green Maiden and General Armadus were to serve as foils: one is a being of plants and moss, another one a being of gears and steel. Both of them had sacrificed their humanity for power, and were acting out of hatred and malice. Through the PCs actions, they could end up fighting both of them. The stage was set for a unique, awesome one-shot with interesting villains and an original theme…but while I wrote up the plot and the NPCs for my campaign, my players were making plans of their own…
HERE’S WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED:
The players arrived at my table around noon. I took out a notepad and asked them to tell me their names, alignments, races, and classes.
Azariah/CN “human” (later revealed as Kitsune) wizard.
Fellhide/CN human multi class monstrosity, one of which enabled him to wild shape into a crocodile.
Zing Xhao/CN skin walker (boar) alchemist.
Taran Wrex/CN human slayer
Krough/N Tengu sniper rogue
Malrium/“LG” “Human” “Paladin”.
This was a very strange assortment of characters. I had given people the guidelines of making characters willing to follow Molthune’s authoritarian hierarchy and have reasons for seeking citizenship; be it that they are mercenaries, criminals seeking pardon, patriots, opportunists, or anything within that broad category. So I was somewhat annoyed that they seemed to be chaotic neutral, but I figured that they could still have mercenary motivations or want the benefits of citizenship without having to be lawful. And Malrium, our paladin, seemed strange because I assumed that he’d be considered untrustworthy due to following his deity and code of conduct before the military’s orders. Lastly, most of my party described their backgrounds as being from Nirmathas, but I didn’t think of this much at the time. They were probably turncoats, who had joined Molthune because it had more to offer them and was the stronger country.
Hmm.
Moving on, we played out the scene where the PCs were in the restaurant. I told them to just talk, in character, in order to build character development. Azariah’s player then had everyone link hands to pray before their meal for fortune in the battles to come; a prayer which mentioned “the mother” and the hope they she would give them “the savagery to prevail in battle”
Savagery. That’s interesting. Well, it was probably just some edgy CN “mother” and Molthune probably doesn’t care about your religion so long as you get the job done.
Hmm…
I introduced two NPCs, a human soldier named Halden and Hobgoblin named Oktar, who requested permission to sit at their table. Halden wants to become a banker once he gets his citizenship, and Oktar wants to become a general and crush Nirmathas. The PCs talked to them before they excused themselves for the night.
Cut to the Nirmathi border. General Armadus gives his speech and their mission. The rather transparently Lawful Evil gearforged makes it clear that he views Nirmathis as vermin and the PCs as entirely expendable. He makes Krough do twenty push ups after the tengu calls him “shiny”. When Azariah shows the most authority and strategic planning out of the group, Armadus appoints him as squad leader and leans in threateningly, telling the Kitsune that he expects results.
Off to the mission! They come across a band of Green Ones looting the corpses of normal Nirmathi troops who turned down the Green Maiden’s offer. The party kills them easily (1 HD warriors aren’t much to a level 3 party) and infiltrate the village using their cloaks. They pose as Green Ones and try to ingratiate themselves into their ranks. They find out that the chieftain of the town is defiant towards the Green Ones and that the cult wants to dispose of him. But the PCs want to negotiate with the chieftain. The local Green Ones are suspicious, since the PCs just arrived and they aren’t sure that they’re truly loyal to the cult.
The fact that they attempt to infiltrate the cult isn’t so suspicious. But the PCs seem to do it very easily, and they come across as very cunning and “cultish”.
Hmm…
When their attempt at deceiving the Green Ones fails, the PCs simply slaughtered the entire occupation of Goldenfield, taking one of them alive. They interrogate him, ask what he knows about the cult (Not much. He’s a 1 HD shlub who was left behind with his buddies to control the town. I whipped up some 3 HD guys really fast who are the “real” cultists who reside in the forest, with the level 1s being the jayvee team). They ask him why he joined the Green Ones and why he serves the Green Maiden/Mother. It’s because he is a criminal from another town. He committed murder against a girl who turned down his marriage proposal. I improvised that, but it was meant to be something that would disgust any good or even neutrally aligned party into disposing of him right then and there.
But instead, they reassured him that what he did was a crime of passion and that in context, it could be seen as understandable. They offered to find him new opportunities and get him a new wife.
HMMMMMM….
Working with the chieftain, they asked him to organize a militia. The PCs would scout ahead into the forest. The chieftain asked them where they were from and why they were helping. They said that they were servants of the “true mother”. They also said that they were “all united against Molthune”, upon which I asked the PCs to role a Bluff check. But they replied that this wasn’t a lie.
HMMMMMMMMMMM……
Perhaps this was a party of Nirmathis, I thought, and their goal was always to betray Molthune. Perhaps they were a group of morally ambiguous anti-heroes who would turn against the bad guys and win the day for their homeland.
Soon, the truth would be revealed…
Scouting ahead into the forest, the PCs were soon ambushed by a moss troll, 4 3hd melee fighters, 2 3hd archers, and 1 satyr. They fought efficiently against these threats, when I had the Green Maiden reveal herself in all her Moss Lich glory: a darkly beautiful woman in a green dress with glowing green eyes and hair comprised of moss and branches. She began using her druid spells to inflict some damage against the party.
And that’s when the party dropped the facade.
The paladin’s player announced that his character’s hand was wreathed in black, eldritch fire that he used to heal himself, much to my puzzlement. He then showed me the holy symbol of Baphomet on his phone and told me that was the sign this “paladin” was holding up. Azariah displayed the holy symbol of Lamashtu.
Then the entire party announced to me that they were all demon worshippers, every last one of them.
Irredeemable demon worshippers.
And they had kept it secret from both the NPCs, and myself.
My eyes widened in astonishment.
I tried to keep the adventure on track. The Green Maiden said that this was an interesting development, and prepared to wild shape and fly back to her sanctum. But the PCs objected on account of me pulling that crap with fleeing villains before. Instead, they offered to ally with the Green Maiden.
And she accepted.
The party of demon worshippers returned to the village, assuring the mayor that the Green Maiden was dealt with and that the village needed to defend itself against the remaining Green Ones and Molthune. They told the militia to gather in the tavern and be prepared to defend themselves.
They they burned it down, with all of them inside.
The Green Maiden’s minions came out of the forest and abducted the rest of the village, dragging them into the forest to be sacrificed to their evil tree.
Their next task was to ambush and betray Armadus, with the Green Maiden’s help. Them fighting Armadus wasn’t unexpected (see my summary of the original script), but under these circumstances was unheard of. They met him and his retinue at the bridge (Halden and Oktar were there too, alongside the general)), while they buffed (with the excuse that they just finished a battle) while Krough remained hidden and sniping on the other end of the bridge and the Green Maiden concealed herself under the bridge using moss shape.
Malrium the Dhampir Antipaladin of Baphomet approached first, telling the general (correctly) that the cults of Baphomet, Lamashtu, and the Green Mother had joined forces. He asked what happened to Krough (who was hiding) and they reported, sullenly, that the poor tengu had died. Armadus coldly replied that he was “acceptable losses” and “could be replaced”. When he asked what happened to the Green Maiden, Azariah replied that she was “greater then death” (the trigger phrase to signal her attack).
The party swung into action, with Krough firing a tanglefoot bag and trip arrow at Armadus, entangling him and knocking him prone in one round. The enlarged Malrium began attacking him, while the Green Maiden attempted to use Call Lightning. Armadus, enraged, cursed the traitors and told them they would be massacred for daring to defy the Iron General of Molthune. Halden shrieked that the players had to audacity to betray them after having dinner together, and that he would kill them, become a citizen, and establish his bank with their heads on display there. Zeo Armadus managed to get up (provoking an AOO) and destroyed his entanglement with his shocking greatsword Nimbus. He survived another round and hit back at Malrium…critting on a 20 and confirming on a 15, killing the antipaladin instantly. The rest of the party kept fighting, wiped out his bodyguards, and Taran braved an AOO to sneak attack the general and reduce him to 0 hit points. Krough wrote something on an arrow and fired it, and as it embedded itself into his vulnerable gearworks the party could see the words “ACCEPTABLE LOSSES” written on the arrow.
The Iron General had been destroyed.
Now the villains stood victorious. Baphomet, in semi-corporeal form, manifested and put Malrium’s soul inside of Armadus’ body, overwriting his soul gem (the anti paladin had promised to fashion the gear forged into a new suit of full-plate and wear it, now he was essentially getting his wish).
Thus, Malrium used his new identity to infiltrate Molthune and secretly establish a Baphomet cult that would come to infest and dominate the entire country, the rest of the PCs became rulers of Molthune, The Green Maiden would transform Nirmathas into an outgrowth of the First World that she would rule over, and evil would reign.
I set out to create an adventure for my players that would be interesting, fun, and memorable. But they drew me into their web of secrecy, deceit, and outright lies. They turned a good adventure into a great one. And helped me create an experience that none of us will ever forget.
*****
Thanks for reading if you’ve gotten this far. Here are the statblocks of General Armadus and the Green Maiden.
GENERAL ZEO ARMADUS CR 5
Male gearforged fighter (Seasoned Commander) 5
LE Medium humanoid (gearforged)
Init +7 ; Senses Darkvision 60 ft; Perception +6
DEFENSE
AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 17 (natural +1, armor +6, dex +1)
hp 49
Fort +7, Ref +2, Will +2
Immune disease, poison, 
magical sleep effects, enchantment effects, paralysis, fatigue, 
exhaustion�Weaknesses repairs required, water susceptibility
OFFENSE
Speed 20 ft.
Melee +1 shocking greatsword +11 (2d6 +10 plus 1d6 electricity/19-20/x2) or longsword +9 (1d8 +4/19-20/x2)
Special Attacks inspiring speech +1 1/day (3 rounds/day)
STATISTICS
Str 18, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 14
Base Atk +5, CMB +9, CMD 20
Feats Weapon Focus (greatsword), Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Furious Focus, Outflank
Skills Intimidate +12, Sense Motive +7, Perception +6, Profession (soldier) +9
SQ adamant, rewind the gears, stable, tactician
Traits reactionary, suspicious
Languages common
THE GREEN MAIDEN CR 6
Female Moss Lich human druid 5
NE Medium plant (human)
Init + 7, Senses low-light vision; perception +
Aura wild growth (1 mile)
DEFENSE
AC 19, touch 18, flat-footed 11 (dex +1, natural +5, armor +3)
hp 53 ;verdant healing 5
Fort +9, Ref +2, Will +10
Defensive abilities rejuvenating seed, resist nature’s lure, DR 15/slashing and magic; immunities plant traits, poison
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft., verdant stride, woodland stride
Melee +1 flaming sickle +8 (1d6 +4 plus 1d6 fire/x2) or slam +6 (1d4 +3 plus entrap) or +1 flaming sickle +8 (1d6 +4 plus 1d6 fire/x2) and slam +1 (1d4 +3 plus entrap)
Special attacks entrap (DC 13, permanent, hardness 5, hit points 10), wild shape (1/day)
Domain Spell-Like Abilities (CL 5th, concentration +11)
9/day-fire bolt
Druid Spells Prepared (CL 5th, concentration +11; +15)
3rd-Call Lightning (DC 19), Fungal Infestation (DC 19)
2nd-Flaming Sphere (DC 18), Summon Swarm, Aggressive Thundercloud (DC 18), Stone Call
1st-Burning Disarm (DC 17) X2, Entangle (DC 16), Ray of Sickening (DC 17) X2
Domain fire
0 (at will)-light, flare, stabilize,
STATISTICS
Str 16, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 22, Cha 16
Base Atk +3, CMB +6, CMD 17
Feats Improved Initiative, Natural Spell, Combat Casting, Weapon Focus (sickle), Diehard, Great Fortitude, Endurance, Toughness
Skills Perception +22, Stealth +15, Survival +22, Intimidate +11, Sense Motive +7; +8 Perception, Stealth, Survival
Traits reactionary,
Languages Common, Sylvan
Gear
SQ moss magic, moss shape, spontaneous casting, trackless step, wild empathy

I should also note that I'm going to put General Armadus and the Green Maiden into my Ironfang Invasion campaign when I run it.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

I'll be honest, I haven't been this excited for an AP since Kingmaker.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So anyone started to get there PDF subscription copies yet?

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kevin Mack wrote:
So anyone started to get there PDF subscription copies yet?

I just downloaded mine.

-Skeld


Questions:

1) What's the deal with the Ironfang Legion? How did they form and who's backing them?

2) How big is the assault on Phaendar at the beginning? Is it "Attempt to oppose the advancing army until you must retreat" or "Fly, you fools!"?

3) Judging by this volume, how much involvement does Molthune have in this AP? Not a huge one, if I understand correctly, but how much are they mentioned?

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Skeld wrote:

I just downloaded mine.

-Skeld

DETAILS!!!

Grand Lodge

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

I'll have to spend some time reading it before I attempt any of those questions. :)

-Skeld

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

How is the iconic/character art in this one?


What are the monsters in the bestiary?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

First question: How dare you.

Follow up question: As if!

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