Pathfinder Adventure Path #127: Crownfall (War for the Crown 1 of 6)

3.90/5 (based on 15 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #127: Crownfall (War for the Crown 1 of 6)

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Everyone Loves a Party

As Taldor's entire capital city gathers to celebrate, few realize that conspiracy and royal rivalries are about to shake the empire to its core! When a high-minded cabal of senators and nobles tries to steer the nation away from disaster, Emperor Stavian III orders a bloodbath in the senate halls, trapping neophyte spies inside layer upon layer of magical security. As tensions rise and the emperor falls, can the heroes escape the forgotten halls beneath the senate and save the heir to Taldor from an assassin's blade? And even then, can anyone prevent a civil war that will tear one of the Inner Sea's oldest nations apart at its rotting seams?

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path launches the War for the Crown Adventure Path and includes:

  • "Crownfall," a Pathfinder adventure for 1st-level characters, by Thurston Hillman.
  • A gazetteer of Oppara, crown jewel of Taldor and center of Inner Sea culture, by Eleanor Ferron.
  • A closer look at some of the primary movers and shakers within the Taldan senate, who make for ideal allies, patrons, or rivals to politically minded players, by Thurston Hillman.
  • A collection of some of Taldor's most exotic and unusual threats, from the unsettlingly doll-like fantionette to the freewheeling onyvolan, by Thurston Hillman and Adrian Ng.

IBSN-13: 978-1-64078-015-6

"Crownfall" 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 (922 kb zip/PDF).

Other Resources: This product is also available on the following platforms:

Hero Lab Online
Fantasy Grounds Virtual Tabletop
Roll20 Virtual Tabletop
Archives of Nethys

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

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2/5


Princess Highground

2/5

Crystal Frasier unfortunately made such a caricature stand-in for her own opinions out of Eutropia Stavian that my group still refers to her as "Princess Highground". God bless the authors that tried to salvage this, but the developer kept trying to smother them.

There are also some odd anachronistic elements in the writing that jumped out at me. "Peace-bonding" weapons in the Senate. Service animals allowed....an editor probably should have caught these.


Excellent and Prescient

5/5

A great mix of intrigue, role playing and combat, and scarily prescient. Tremendous job everyone!


5/5

As a player I had a blast when my GM dropped us into the intrigue from this AP. Another great political scenario from paizo.


Creative, But Lacking in Facts

3/5

I feel very torn about this AP, because there's so much to like, but there's some really fundamental things which have consistently irritated me while running it.

First of all, I want to echo another reviewer by talking a bit about terminology.

I get a strong sense in this AP that the writer(s) was extremely excited by the notion of kicking back against the patriarchy, ABOLISHING PRIMOGENITURE and really making a strong change in Taldor.

That's fine, lord knows the stuffy nation could use a kick up the backside. I'm British, so I know how that feels.

But, honestly, it would have taken 2 minutes on Google to understand these core, fundamental terms that you're dealing with here. Rather than 'abolishing primogeniture', what you actually want to do is bring in Absolute Primogeniture. It's a lot less exciting isn't it? But still, it's correct. The thing we don't want here is called (as another reviewer noted) Agnatic Primogeniture, which means the first born male inherits. Absolute Primogeniture is when the first born inherits. Princess Eutropia is the first born, and so neatly altering the law to include all heirs is all that needed to happen.

In fact, if you did indeed 'abolish' primogeniture, what you'd have on your hands is a complete and total sh*tshow. There wouldn't be an heir at all! The claim to the throne would come down to a billion other factors and poor Eutropia would probably be pushed out of the running altogether.

It's really simple, but I can't tell whether it was overlooked because it didn't fit the 'punching up' narrative, or whether the writers heard the term, got excited, and did no further research at all. I wouldn't mind, but it's repeated so often throughout the AP, and it just feel like facts and terminology have twisted to fit some imagined narrative.

I understand that Paizo are a US company and that this kind of stuff isn't common in their culture. I admit that even for a British person I'm a little more into this than the norm, but I would have thought that if you were going to write a whole AP about thrones and monarchy, you'd do your research.

Unfortunately, it also shows that the setting of Taldor wasn't really built to withstand this level of noble intrigue. Quite simply, I don't think Paizo really understands how the aristocracy actually functions in the places of the world that have it. The way they handle titles and land ownership is spotty at best, and requires GMs to just run with what they're given in most cases because there's a severe dearth of facts and consistency when dealing with noble families and monarchy. This one has a lot in common with Ironfang Invasion in that it prioritizes style over substance too often, where lots of detail is given to NPCs and their personalities and motivations, and very little to the kind of concrete details GMs need in the heat of the moment.

This brings me to my second issue with this AP as a whole - tone.

In the mission statement for War for the Crown, it was sold very much as more nuanced experience than Hell's Rebels, where the PCs would work within the system to enact change, working with established hierarchies and affecting a steady, non-revolutionary change. Also, it would not be a glory seeking AP where the PCs are great heroes who overthrow the system.

So far so good, I was very interested by that mission statement and had high hopes for a truly complex, intrigue experience. My group was very interested in the idea of playing primarily Lawful characters in this case. We'd had a great time being Chaotic revolutionaries in Hell's Rebels, but this sounded like something very different.

It's not that the AP doesn't deliver on the intrigue side of things, but I couldn't shake the sense throughout that it would much -rather- have been about virtuous and chaotic revolutionaries who constantly seek glory by donning on masks and sticking it to the man. I mean, there's literally an entire subsystem about building cults of personality around the PCs, so I don't think it's fair to say this is about working behind the scenes simply because you're not using your own names.

Within the very first setpiece, there's a strong expectation that the PCs are supposed to lie, cheat, steal, and defraud their way through problems. Of course, GMs are always free to make any changes they see fit, but I feel that there is a constant tension between what the AP said it wanted to be, and what it ended up being.

The first installment was a fun mix of intrigue and challenging combat, and I have no problems at all with how it played out. There's just an irritating lack of care for the details in a story that really just wants to pit a compassionate woman against a stodgy, patriarchal man. There's nothing wrong with that narrative, but let's at least get the facts straight first.


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Scarab Sages Webstore Coordinator

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Announced for February! Image and description are provisional and subject to change prior to release.

Silver Crusade Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yes! ^_^

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wait, the first issue of this AP is DIE HARD?

Yassss!

Silver Crusade

SWEET!

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Quote:
The adventure kicks off the War for the Crown Adventure Path, as players drag a once-grand nation kicking and screaming into the modern day,

Oh f!!@ yeah.


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

I hope the AP logo is subject to change prior to release, too. It really looks a bit pedestrian like this.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

This sounds really cool!


I like it!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yay! Thursty!

...wait: TWO Adventure Path adventures in a row? Dude, when do you sleep?

:)


"...the players drag a once grand nation..." For a minute there I thought it said something about the players going drag:)

Sovereign Court

Players can become politicians, spymasters, and nobles? Yes pls!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Feros wrote:

Yay! Thursty!

...wait: TWO Adventure Path adventures in a row? Dude, when do you sleep?

:)

Greg A. Vaughn has an adventure in every adventure path up until Mummy's Mask. :-)

Dark Archive

Trapped inside layers upon layers of magical security sounds intrigueing.

This also sounds like certain classes are more suited than others.

High Charisma seems to be a desireable ability for once in this AP...

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

19 people marked this as a favorite.
Feros wrote:

Yay! Thursty!

...wait: TWO Adventure Path adventures in a row? Dude, when do you sleep?

:)

Whenever Crystal or John instructs me that it's OK to sleep... >_>

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

18 people marked this as a favorite.
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Feros wrote:

Yay! Thursty!

...wait: TWO Adventure Path adventures in a row? Dude, when do you sleep?

:)

Whenever Crystal or John instructs me that it's OK to sleep... >_>

Oh shoot, I knew I was forgetting to tell you something for the past couple of nights!

Eh...let's put in a couple more hours of writing first.


Coooooooooool


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
captain yesterday wrote:
Feros wrote:

Yay! Thursty!

...wait: TWO Adventure Path adventures in a row? Dude, when do you sleep?

:)

Greg A. Vaughn has an adventure in every adventure path up until Mummy's Mask. :-)

True! But not once did Greg write two adventures in consecutive months! (I just checked)


I just wonder if it's Die Hard or Die Hard with a Vengeance...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Is this adventure path going to heavily use the verbal duels from Ultimate Intrigue.

I'd rather not get it if it does.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It sounds cool.

-Skeld


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Seitz wrote:
I just wonder if it's Die Hard or Die Hard with a Vengeance...

Surely it's Die Hard. What I wouldn't give to have a proper Pathfinder version of Hans Gruber...

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Interesting! Rockin' modernist cabals.

Sovereign Court

captain yesterday wrote:

Is this adventure path going to heavily use the verbal duels from Ultimate Intrigue.

I'd rather not get it if it does.

I don't know the specifics but "verbal duels" sounds awful.....


1 person marked this as a favorite.

For Taldor!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pan wrote:
I don't know the specifics but "verbal duels" sounds awful.....

They show up in Ultimate Intrigue.

The idea is to model verbal conflicts more like physical conflicts. By default we have 1,000+ pages of physical combat rules with different attacks, maneuvers, feats, special abilities, modifiers and so on. A negotiation, by contrast, is just "roll diplomacy".

Verbal duels introduce 'determination' which are basically hit points, each 'round' of the verbal duel has a winner and a loser who loses determination until they are forced to concede. Different tactics are available for each round, use of allegory for example uses a different skill than baiting the opponent and there are rock-paper-scissors style interactions between the techniques. Logic for example has a penalty when used to counter red herrings.

I'm not a fan, it adds a lot of mechanics, calculations, and general bookkeeping to social scenes and can obscure role playing behind a thick wall of abstract math problems.

Shadow Lodge

Took long enough. Now lets see how this thing goes.


Nut bunnies, I was hoping for Holomog and Geb. :(

Oh wells, I hope this'll be good.

Also, with a face like that, did anyone really expect Stavian to be a good king? :D

Shadow Lodge

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I mean, to me he was the perfect set up for the Vigilante class concept. Seemingly powerless ruler by day, hitting the streets and getting s~#& done without regards for red tape by night.


Berselius,

I expect we'll get some Geb down the road. Maybe.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Seitz wrote:

Berselius,

I expect we'll get some Geb down the road. Maybe.

Hope so, I'd also love to see another Megadungeon. Maybe something similar to Gygax's Necropolis? Only maybe the final boss can be an insane Mummy Lord cleric of Rovagug hoping to summon a brand new spawn of the rough beast. Then when the PC's finally beat him, BANG, the mummy lord's helmet pops open and he's revealed as a demilich! ^_^

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Berselius wrote:
Hope so, I'd also love to see another Megadungeon. Maybe something similar to Gygax's Necropolis? Only maybe the final boss can be an insane Mummy Lord cleric of Rovagug hoping to summon a brand new spawn of the rough beast. Then when the PC's finally beat him, BANG, the mummy lord's helmet pops open and he's revealed as a demilich! ^_^

We had a dungeon Crawl adventure Path with Shattered Star. that was pretty much all dungeons all the time. Alternatively, have you grabbed Emerald Spire? That's a megadungeon.


Are there any special rules being used in this AP such as mass combat or the verbal dueling?

Dark Archive

John Compton wrote:
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Feros wrote:

Yay! Thursty!

...wait: TWO Adventure Path adventures in a row? Dude, when do you sleep?

:)

Whenever Crystal or John instructs me that it's OK to sleep... >_>

Oh shoot, I knew I was forgetting to tell you something for the past couple of nights!

Eh...let's put in a couple more hours of writing first.

That is one long ass chain to Canada.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Princess Eutropia: Wisdom is what makes a good ruler.

My Cavalier: Yes. But what is wisdom? A house with great wealth and fertile lands asks you for your protection against another house with a strong navy that could one day oppose you. How do you know which choice is wise and which is not? Have you any experience of treasuries and granaries? Or shipyards and soldiers?

Princess Eutropia: No.

My Cavalier: Of course not. A wise ruler knows what he knows and what he doesn't. You're young. A wise young ruler listens to his councilors and heeds their advice until he comes of age. And the wisest rulers continue to listen to them long afterwards. Your father was not a wise king. Your father was not a good king. If he had been, he'd probably still be alive.

Silver Crusade

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Berselius wrote:

Princess Eutropia: Wisdom is what makes a good ruler.

My Cavalier: Yes. But what is wisdom? A house with great wealth and fertile lands asks you for your protection against another house with a strong navy that could one day oppose you. How do you know which choice is wise and which is not? Have you any experience of treasuries and granaries? Or shipyards and soldiers?

Princess Eutropia: No.

My Cavalier: Of course not. A wise ruler knows what he knows and what he doesn't. You're young. A wise young ruler listens to his councilors and heeds their advice until he comes of age. And the wisest rulers continue to listen to them long afterwards. Your father was not a wise king. Your father was not a good king. If he had been, he'd probably still be alive.

And then you end up with your own son killing you by means of a crossbow bolt through your guts while you take a poo. So much for wisdom ;-)

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
Berselius wrote:

Princess Eutropia: Wisdom is what makes a good ruler.

My Cavalier: Yes. But what is wisdom? A house with great wealth and fertile lands asks you for your protection against another house with a strong navy that could one day oppose you. How do you know which choice is wise and which is not? Have you any experience of treasuries and granaries? Or shipyards and soldiers?

Princess Eutropia: No.

My Cavalier: Of course not. A wise ruler knows what he knows and what he doesn't. You're young. A wise young ruler listens to his councilors and heeds their advice until he comes of age. And the wisest rulers continue to listen to them long afterwards. Your father was not a wise king. Your father was not a good king. If he had been, he'd probably still be alive.

And then you end up with your own son killing you by means of a crossbow bolt through your guts while you take a poo. So much for wisdom ;-)

Had it coming.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
And then you end up with your own son killing you by means of a crossbow bolt through your guts while you take a poo. So much for wisdom ;-)

(shrugs) No one said being an advisor to the king is an easy job. :P

Rysky wrote:
Had it coming.

Yup. Also, one could say Tywin was UNWISE to not realize that Tyrion still had worth and could still be of great use to House Lannister.

Silver Crusade

Berselius wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
And then you end up with your own son killing you by means of a crossbow bolt through your guts while you take a poo. So much for wisdom ;-)

(shrugs) No one said being an advisor to the king is an easy job. :P

Rysky wrote:
Had it coming.
Yup. Also, one could say Tywin was UNWISE to not realize that Tyrion still had worth and could still be of great use to House Lannister.

... there was probably a lot more for that playing out than just for being an Advisor >_>


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well I suppose it's a good thing Frodo threw the one ring into Mount Doom then, isn't it.


This is why having a half demon/half fiend wizard advisor works better. At least for Arthur.


Berselius wrote:

Princess Eutropia: Wisdom is what makes a good ruler.

My Cavalier: Yes. But what is wisdom? A house with great wealth and fertile lands asks you for your protection against another house with a strong navy that could one day oppose you. How do you know which choice is wise and which is not? Have you any experience of treasuries and granaries? Or shipyards and soldiers?

Princess Eutropia: No.

My Cavalier: Of course not. A wise ruler knows what he knows and what he doesn't. You're young. A wise young ruler listens to his councilors and heeds their advice until he comes of age. And the wisest rulers continue to listen to them long afterwards. Your father was not a wise king. Your father was not a good king. If he had been, he'd probably still be alive.

Can't you just use a enhancement spell and control her that way? Feels more honest and to the point than pulling a mind game and infantilizing her.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Lemartes wrote:
Are there any special rules being used in this AP such as mass combat or the verbal dueling?

Or Mass Verbal Dueling.

"Go away, or I shall taunt you a second time!"

"Run Away!!!!"


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Delightful wrote:
Berselius wrote:

Princess Eutropia: Wisdom is what makes a good ruler.

My Cavalier: Yes. But what is wisdom? A house with great wealth and fertile lands asks you for your protection against another house with a strong navy that could one day oppose you. How do you know which choice is wise and which is not? Have you any experience of treasuries and granaries? Or shipyards and soldiers?

Princess Eutropia: No.

My Cavalier: Of course not. A wise ruler knows what he knows and what he doesn't. You're young. A wise young ruler listens to his councilors and heeds their advice until he comes of age. And the wisest rulers continue to listen to them long afterwards. Your father was not a wise king. Your father was not a good king. If he had been, he'd probably still be alive.

Can't you just use a enhancement spell and control her that way? Feels more honest and to the point than pulling a mind game and infantilizing her.

Berselius is modifying and truncating dialog from Game of Thrones.

A reply I can see happening:

Princess Eutropia:

"Sir Knight, in matters of lance and steed you know more than I. In matters of Taldan succession law and the steps necessary to my rightful crown, I know far more than you. Wise councilors give their advice when necessary, then perform what their liege orders after she has considered their sage advice. Or am I asking too much of my lord?"

Liberty's Edge

Point to princess Eutropia.


The Mad Comrade wrote:
Delightful wrote:
Berselius wrote:

Princess Eutropia: Wisdom is what makes a good ruler.

My Cavalier: Yes. But what is wisdom? A house with great wealth and fertile lands asks you for your protection against another house with a strong navy that could one day oppose you. How do you know which choice is wise and which is not? Have you any experience of treasuries and granaries? Or shipyards and soldiers?

Princess Eutropia: No.

My Cavalier: Of course not. A wise ruler knows what he knows and what he doesn't. You're young. A wise young ruler listens to his councilors and heeds their advice until he comes of age. And the wisest rulers continue to listen to them long afterwards. Your father was not a wise king. Your father was not a good king. If he had been, he'd probably still be alive.

Can't you just use a enhancement spell and control her that way? Feels more honest and to the point than pulling a mind game and infantilizing her.

Berselius is modifying and truncating dialog from Game of Thrones.

A reply I can see happening:

Princess Eutropia:

"Sir Knight, in matters of lance and steed you know more than I. In matters of Taldan succession law and the steps necessary to my rightful crown, I know far more than you. Wise councilors give their advice when necessary, then perform what their liege orders after she has considered their sage advice. Or am I asking too much of my lord?"

I know. Which is why I think not bothering with the obvious manipulation and going straight for a magical solution is best when it comes to secretly controlling a monarch, especially one that's not going to fall for your condescending BS like Tommen the Inbred would. Tywin didn't have the ability to literally brainwash his rulers, players on the are hand do.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think of it as a smart-mouth chauvinist getting put in his place by his social better without resorting to something as gauche as kicking his butt. ;)

If anyone thinks that the princess is going to be some mush-minded weak Willed pretty thing susceptible to Jedi mind tricks and petty charm or dominate spells ... well, IMO the savvy GM will take care of that if the authors don't.

Besides, I love making stat blocks. It'll be pretty easy to come up with one to file the flavor text off of and swap in. *grin*

Edit: few cavaliers have the ability to use enchantments, so the reasonable supposition is that words will suffice to establish Princess Eutropia's status and attitude. One imagines that Her Highness will be quite capable in the new 'social combat' mechanics, especially when dealing with entry-level characters.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The Mad Comrade, I was trying to make people amused by quoting game of thrones. Please chill kay?

Silver Crusade

8 people marked this as a favorite.

Chauvinism and infantilizing of women leaders is rarely amusing.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I did not see it as infantalizing (q.v. feeblemind to reduce a target to babbling non-functionality). I did see it as both (a) character advising his liege; and (b) chauvinistic.

Having said that, I thought the quoting of Game of Thrones was appropriate, thus Her Highness' response to a mouthy subordinate. *grin*


The Mad Comrade wrote:

I think of it as a smart-mouth chauvinist getting put in his place by his social better without resorting to something as gauche as kicking his butt. ;)

If anyone thinks that the princess is going to be some mush-minded weak Willed pretty thing susceptible to Jedi mind tricks and petty charm or dominate spells ... well, IMO the savvy GM will take care of that if the authors don't.

Besides, I love making stat blocks. It'll be pretty easy to come up with one to file the flavor text off of and swap in. *grin*

Edit: few cavaliers have the ability to use enchantments, so the reasonable supposition is that words will suffice to establish Princess Eutropia's status and attitude. One imagines that Her Highness will be quite capable in the new 'social combat' mechanics, especially when dealing with entry-level characters.

Yeah, your probably right that a I well stated Eutropia will be pretty resilient to jedi mind trick shenanigans. Still though, players might as well try to be the power behind the throne, or else what's the point of trying to save a kingdom from another group of a~+%~~!s if you don't get to secretly rule it through a figurehead?

Pretty sure that's on the Evil Overlord list.

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