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

4.10/5 (based on 12 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).

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

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4.10/5 (based on 12 ratings)

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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.


Chooo Chooooo

1/5

Having a plot macguffin teleport the party out while the cool stuff happens is beyond railroading and into Deus Ex. There were options for PCs to feel like part of the fight without taking out the part of the fight that would incinerate them without resorting to this.


One of the Strongest Starts to an AP

5/5

This is an astounding AP. The new social influence rules are fun and will serve a group well whether they want to roleplay or roll-play. The combats are interesting, the adventure is generous with magic items, and it has what I consider (and my players would likely agree) the best plot hook and twist of any AP.

If you have a group that doesn't particularly enjoy intrigue or social encounters, or have a group of "murder-hobos", you may wish to skip this AP. For everyone else, I would consider this a must-play.


One of the best intros ever

5/5

I have received legal advice (from Poland no less) that I should post a review, so here it is (note I haven’t yet run this, it is based purely on reading it):

This instalment has immediately become one of my top modules of all time. As all first instalments of an AP, it serves two purposes – first it introduces the next epic adventure path and second it is an adventure in its own right. As far as the first goes, it is terrific. It makes it clear that the players in this AP will be agents of a political leader/faction and not vying for the throne themselves. It also demonstrates that combat will take a less important role in this AP than many others. Finally, it embeds the story in the Empire of Taldor – there are hints of the vast history of the nation and how that will tie-in later, plus introductions to many of the political factions at work in the Empire during this adventure path.

As an adventure in its own right, I think it is exquisitely crafted. First thing to note is that it is definitely an intrigue/roleplay scenario over a combat-focussed scenario. The first several encounters have incidental combat opportunities at best – rather there is a whole bunch of investigation/research and diplomacy opportunities. When things DO get ‘tactical’ even the dungeon featuring the first few bad guys begins with an intricate puzzle spread over a few rooms before there’s any opportunity to kill things and take their stuff (although those opportunities come up later).

The factions are interesting, the initial patron (likely to continue in that role for the campaign, by the looks) is engaging, likable and has a deep background. She is portrayed as ambitious plus competent and yet still sympathetic. There is a good reason for her involving the PCs (often a matter requiring suspension of disbelief in Aps).

My biggest pleasant surprise of this module is that despite being heavily roleplay focussed in the early stages, I feel like I would be able to run it with anyone – whether they were comfortable acting it out or if they preferred to roll dice and consult DCs. As such, I think it would be a good intrigue/diplomacy adventure for a group lacking confidence in that regard (assuming they wanted to stretch their legs somewhat).

My only criticism is that it takes a long time before the PCs get to really flex their combat muscles. At least for my group, they LOVE getting into combats early so they can see how they gel as a group tactically and can try out whatever tactic/approach they’ve decided to pursue with their new, shiny characters. I think I would definitely run the PCs through a ‘meet the team’ adventure first – complete with lots of stealth/combat/etcetera. That would be easily motivated as a ‘testing ground’ for the patron before she entrusts them with the missions in this module. My worry is that, without that introduction, they’ll spend the whole first half (which is supposed to be subtle investigation/diplomacy) sabotaging the plot by getting into fights they really shouldn’t be starting.

As ever – that’s the kind of thing that depends heavily on your group’s idiosyncracies.

If you’re looking for an intrigue/political macinations module, I can’t think of a better one (in any system or any decade from the 70s through to now). There’s some work on the part of the DM, of course, but that’s the nature of the beast when adventures step outside the ‘usual’ fare of kicking in doors and killing clearly identified baddies.

It’s a thoroughly excellent adventure – hats off to everyone who worked on it!


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Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Guys, really. I know everyone wants the last word. Take it to another thread.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I really liked the Senator outlines in the back. It'll be fun to put a few in front of players and see who they take to.

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.

EDIT: Sorry, I should have read through the thread and realized Mark had asked to move the discussion to another thread.

In summary. I like the simplicity offered. Perfect amount of information.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I might actually be a player in this one, and it's so hard to have my hard copy just sitting there, but I can't read it!

So excited for this.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
KingOfAnything wrote:
I really liked the Senator outlines in the back. It'll be fun to put a few in front of players and see who they take to.

*nods*

Hey e'erbody, lookit alllllllllllllllllll these people to get attached to! *grins*

Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
I really liked the Senator outlines in the back. It'll be fun to put a few in front of players and see who they take to.

*nods*

Hey e'erbody, lookit alllllllllllllllllll these people to get attached to! *grins*

Why, Rysky, you're not implying that something terrible might happen to these NPCs, are you?


Kate, if you plan to play this, I know it's hard, but I would REALLY advise you don't hang in dem parts of the Internets that talk about it. :)

The Internets are weird and vicious, as per last night's episode of the X-Files... :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kate Baker wrote:
Rysky wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
I really liked the Senator outlines in the back. It'll be fun to put a few in front of players and see who they take to.

*nods*

Hey e'erbody, lookit alllllllllllllllllll these people to get attached to! *grins*

Why, Rysky, you're not implying that something terrible might happen to these NPCs, are you?

Something terrible "might" happen to everyone, it is simply a facet of life.

*shines die*

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I've already seen what happened to them. And didn't have any reason to get attached! (Go play The Lion's Justice and see!)

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
I've already seen what happened to them. And didn't have any reason to get attached! (Go play The Lion's Justice and see!)

I play that one in May!

Dark Archive

"It seems that Taldor is ripe for the establishment of my own NOBLE EFREETI court. Our GLORIOUS PATHFINDER AGENTS are welcome to pay call at any time."

Liberty's Edge

moving on from the discussion, this is a very solid adventure. One of the best AP starters, I think.

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kate Baker wrote:
Rysky wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
I really liked the Senator outlines in the back. It'll be fun to put a few in front of players and see who they take to.

*nods*

Hey e'erbody, lookit alllllllllllllllllll these people to get attached to! *grins*

Why, Rysky, you're not implying that something terrible might happen to these NPCs, are you?

I promise that if I GM this AP, nothing bad will happen to said NPCs!

Unrelated, on the internet you can't tell if someone is crossing their fingers when they post.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

9 people marked this as a favorite.

I removed a significant amount of posts and replies. We welcome feedback and questions, critiques and commentary on our products, however, it is important that posts on paizo.com are civil and respectful. Our forums are not a place for angry venting, or vitriol aimed at other community members or creators. It is important to remember when on our forums, posts are often communicating directly with the folks who have put in a tremendous amount of energy, talent and heart into our books and content. Commentary and critiques need to be polite, just as the conversation was happening face to face with someone like when hanging out at a coffee shop. The discussion wouldn't (shouldn't?) involve meeting with someone who wrote or developed a product and calling them lazy or insulting their work.
There are ways to express concerns without insulting people who worked on the product or who enjoy it as is. If you cannot do that, please refrain from posting until you are able to do so.
On the flip side, it is important that when a forum conversation is getting derailed or going off into the weeds, that folks do not continue to escalate it. Ultimately, we are all here to enjoy roleplaying games, let's work towards connecting with each other over this commonality instead of fighting over the meaning of a word.


*would rather have his Winter Witch fight for the right to party with Ice Golems* :P ;)

Serious though I did enjoy the articles on the senate and the city of Oppara itself. Good job guys! :)


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

By the way, is Oppara stressed on the first or second syllable?

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

It's the second syllable. op-PAH-rah

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Okay...going to run this.

One thing that came to my mind though...why doesn't Eutropia find something (potion, spell, etc) to permanently change her gender? Then she would qualify as male. I can see that being brought up by my PC's almost immediately.

The whole story though...a succession war with intrigue is going to be fun.

Edit: PS....sorry if this blows up. It is an honest question that I think might come up in more than one game.

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Cause Dysphoria is a m#~$!@*&#+$%.

(pretty sure this conversation has already been had in this thread)

Silver Crusade

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

Because opening the possibility of there being a reigning QUEEN of Taldor is what she is after, not just the throne.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Then that is probably what I am going to answer the PC's.

Thanks.


Not sure if this is the place to ask this, but I'm super new to OP and I've never been this excited for an Adventure Path before. Any of the vets out there know approximately how long it's been taking for APs to get PFS support? I really want to run this, but I don't want to run it if these things usually get support pretty quick - but I also don't want to be waiting for years, either!

Thanks!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Sara Marie wrote:

I removed a significant amount of posts and replies. We welcome feedback and questions, critiques and commentary on our products, however, it is important that posts on paizo.com are civil and respectful. Our forums are not a place for angry venting, or vitriol aimed at other community members or creators. It is important to remember when on our forums, posts are often communicating directly with the folks who have put in a tremendous amount of energy, talent and heart into our books and content. Commentary and critiques need to be polite, just as the conversation was happening face to face with someone like when hanging out at a coffee shop. The discussion wouldn't (shouldn't?) involve meeting with someone who wrote or developed a product and calling them lazy or insulting their work.

There are ways to express concerns without insulting people who worked on the product or who enjoy it as is. If you cannot do that, please refrain from posting until you are able to do so.
On the flip side, it is important that when a forum conversation is getting derailed or going off into the weeds, that folks do not continue to escalate it. Ultimately, we are all here to enjoy roleplaying games, let's work towards connecting with each other over this commonality instead of fighting over the meaning of a word.

Well that explains why I can't figure out what was triggering certain comments :P


Hey all! I just picked the PDF of this volume up yesterday and I'm already in love. Potentially close to the same love I felt when I read through Hell's Rebels! This book is well worth the money, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the Adventure Path in the months to come. <3 <3 <3

That said, I haven't yet seen a player's guide for War for the Crown yet, and Crownfall is already referencing it. Will it be released soon? I'm actually surprised I haven't seen it by now. If I've missed something, please let me know. Thank you! ^_^()


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Lunar Mage wrote:

Hey all! I just picked the PDF of this volume up yesterday and I'm already in love. Potentially close to the same love I felt when I read through Hell's Rebels! This book is well worth the money, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the Adventure Path in the months to come. <3 <3 <3

That said, I haven't yet seen a player's guide for War for the Crown yet, and Crownfall is already referencing it. Will it be released soon? I'm actually surprised I haven't seen it by now. If I've missed something, please let me know. Thank you! ^_^()

You've missed the last several weeks worth of discussion in this thread. The short and skinny of it is they're workin' on it, and we'll get it when we get it, we haven't been able to needle any more out of 'em.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm as hyped for the player's guide as the next guy, but let's be cool about it. It's pretty cool that the Paizo staff communicate with players this much, and it is not something they have to do. Let's try to not make it a horrible experience for them. I'm pretty sure no one's lounging around the office drinking a martini and telling themselves that player's guide can wait another week or two while they relax. They're working on it, and shouldn't have to be signing on to give us an update just to have to read through a page of railing about how we hope they get paper cuts and their hamsters die.

(General comment, nothing I think you did, Lunar Mage. Also this regarding the situation.)

In any case, looking forward to playing in this one. Even if Taldor itself hasn't seemed particularly interesting to me, maybe a reason to learn more about it will help.


sorry for harping this but can we not have a blog post on a out line for if not us for our player to see ?

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
john mclaughlin 11 wrote:
sorry for harping this but can we not have a blog post on a out line for if not us for our player to see ?

What’s the hurry?


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

They might have a game planned for this morning.


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captain yesterday wrote:
They might have a game planned for this morning.

I've given my players the option to rebuild once it's out and to proceed with building their character in the meantime. It will also allow them to gel as a group and figure out their deficiencies when we sit down face to face. On paper outlook of a group is rarely a full prediction of actual play capabilities.

Other notes: since Taldor, First Empire mentions a sizeable aasimar population in Taldor, I've allowed one player to select it at the cost of a drawback (other players get 2 traits or 3 traits + 1 drawback; his aasimar will get 2 traits + 1 drawback). This is the first time I'm trying this and I hope the fine tuning on the traits dial will provide suitable but not overbearing penalty to the PC over his entire levels progression. I've also granted Combat Stamina for free to the group's fighter at 1st level, and if he survives, he will also get Extra Stamina at 9th level and Push the Limit at 11th (for free as well). I also use Background Skill from the Unchained book. For this, we will use HP and point buy identical to PFS rules (i.e. 20 point buy, full HP at 1st level, then half+1).

Let me know what you've come up in terms of house rules.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

GM PDK, did you want to also add the Unchained Poison/Disease tracks? I usually in home games allow pretty much what you have said (3 traits +1 drawback, or 2 traits no drawback), Combat stamina for fighters and background skills.

I added Poison/Disease optional because I honestly think that in normal pathfinder the poison/disease is almost too easy (okay, there are like 2-3 poisons and a few diseases that aren't). Also since Starfinder has basically absconded with the Poison/Disease tracks in Unchained it isn't such a shock to my players now.

I am also thinking on some of the magic options in ultimate magic. Until we actually start to sit down and talk, I am only looking over them as something to read....if we have a full caster I might think about allowing them.

Are you specifically going to say no to any classes, races or archetypes?

Silver Crusade

I'm using background skills from the Unchained book as well. I also use Automatic Bonus Progression and Dynamic Item creation. I used both in my Hell's Rebels campaign, and I and all my players were instant converts, especially to ABP.

I really like the idea of requiring a drawback for an Aasimar. I like to limit races to the ones that make sense, and I do worry about power creep. I'm waiting for the players guide to officially tell me what races make the most sense for the AP, but I suspected that aasimar would be on the list based on the Taldor campaign setting as well.

I generally don't limit classes or archetypes, just ask that people be reasonable.

After a bad experience where someone dropped 3 of their stats to 7, I give 20 point buy but don't let any stats be above 18 or below 8 after racial adjustments. I tell people they can take the average rounded up for hp or they can roll for them. (Some of my players really like to roll for their hp.)


I'm not planning to say no to any class/archetypes on this one. I was a bit picky about alignment for HR and HV, so as to have a group appropriate to the story. But for this one really, the players are doing a great job discussing party balance, and I see this AP as the 'grown up' AP, thus I intend to give no recommendation and let the story happen as it should happen, and let them reap the rewards or penalties of their choices.


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

Where might one find Immured, which is referenced in the Walcofinde bestiary entry.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber
captain yesterday wrote:
Where might one find Immured, which is referenced in the Walcofinde bestiary entry.

Daughters of Fury


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Kate Baker wrote:

I might actually be a player in this one, and it's so hard to have my hard copy just sitting there, but I can't read it!

So excited for this.

You’re a stronger person than me.

I resolved not to read it because I so desperately wanted to play it. That resolution lasted nearly half an hour. You’re going to have a blast. :)

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