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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Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

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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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Silver Crusade

That cover is not finalized is it? I can see old art from the Taldor companion book...


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

Correct, that isn't the final cover.


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

All I know is that the Red Raven better darn well be one of the iconics for this one! :P

Silver Crusade

Nate Z wrote:
All I know is that the Red Raven better darn well be one of the iconics for this one! :P

I hear they plan to go with the shifter and it's upcoming "political animal" form of the Major! [resumes ducking stance... :P]


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

Will the events of Tomb of the Iron Medusa have any effect on this AP?


Nate Z wrote:
All I know is that the Red Raven better darn well be one of the iconics for this one! :P

I guess is that the Red Raven, Alain, Kess, and Lem will be in this one.


The phrase "players drag a once-grand nation kicking and screaming into the modern day" kinda worries me. I really hope it doesn't have too many modern day political influences. Really kills the immersion when people bring that stuff into the game. But hopefully it just turns out to be What Jade Reagent should have been and have alternate routes for those that don't necessarily want to be the new monarchs Lapdogs.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Modern day Golarion, not Earth, we're not gonna be getting smartphones and hotrods in Pathfinder.

Yet.


Rysky wrote:

Modern day Golarion, not Earth, we're not gonna be getting smartphones and hotrods in Pathfinder.

Yet.

Lol of course I just meant id be annoying to have today's political climate influence the campaign. I just think that kinda stuff should probably be kept out of an Adventure Path. And that 'kicking and screaming into the modern day" kinda sets off a red flag.

Although now I want HotRods to be introduced lol.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.

*shrugs*

Today's political climate is going to influence the campaign for the simple fact that the writers happen to be living in said political climate.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jam412 wrote:
Will the events of Tomb of the Iron Medusa have any effect on this AP?

Spoiler:

Yes, per the AP panel at PaizoCon.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:

Modern day Golarion, not Earth, we're not gonna be getting smartphones and hotrods in Pathfinder.

Yet.

Hotrods? OK, Grandma Rysky. ;)

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Dean HS Jones wrote:
Rysky wrote:

Modern day Golarion, not Earth, we're not gonna be getting smartphones and hotrods in Pathfinder.

Yet.

Hotrods? OK, Grandma Rysky. ;)

Vroom vroom m!~@*!%@~%%%s.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
Dean HS Jones wrote:
Rysky wrote:

Modern day Golarion, not Earth, we're not gonna be getting smartphones and hotrods in Pathfinder.

Yet.

Hotrods? OK, Grandma Rysky. ;)
Vroom vroom m$@#!#&!$%$!s.

Spoiler:
Yep, it probably has a spoiler, it's a hotrod

This looks potentially interesting, though I too want to know if it will be using a bunch of weird subsystems.

If one could order an AP sub to start with the next AP I would be considering it right now. I wish they would do that because I can't see any benefit to starting on part 5 or 6 of an AP.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

You should be able to start a subscription starting with this one some time in January, so not much longer :3

Liberty's Edge

Rysky wrote:

Modern day Golarion, not Earth, we're not gonna be getting smartphones and hotrods in Pathfinder.

Yet.

"Lets make Taldor great again ok" JK

I am making it more of a old Spain Taldor and can not wait to start with first book.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Count de Monet: "It is said that the people are revolting."

King Louis XVI: "You said it! They stink on ice!"


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Looks like we've got updated cover art on this! And it looks like Hagrid let some of those "Book of Monsters" get away. LOL!

Silver Crusade

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

Sweet cover!

Liberty's Edge

AND THIS IS WHY ARCANE AND ROYAL LIBRARIES SHOULD BE NOT TREATED AS A TRIVIAL AFFAIRS. if the players want to get some new spells, or special scolls of secret knowledge, THEY MIGHT NEED TO FIGHT OF OVERLY AGGRESSIVE PAPERBACKS, SCROLLS TRYING TO THROTTLE YOU AND (potentially) THE MORE POWEREFUL SPELLBOOKS OF ANCIENT LICHS OR DARK WIZARDS TRYING TO COME BACK TO LIFE OR JUST DICK SOMEBODY OVER WITH EXPLOSIVE RUNES, SIGILS OR ENTRAPPED DEMON POSSESSION.

Thats not counting the potential traps and wards probably arrayed around the place. the regular libraries, it might take time to locate what your after(if its even there). the more powerful libraries, oh the knowledge is there. you just might have to fight for it first.


Monstrous books, I like that.


Cavalier, Rogue, and Investigator, who’s the fourth iconic?


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

It's the Monster Book of Monsters!

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Amazing cover that screams HERE'S JOHNNY!!!

Edit: what's going on with that double pipe tho? :P

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Tis a groovy pipe, fit for an emperor. Though I don't think what he is smoking is very calming.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The revenge of the Monster Book of Monsters.

Dark Archive

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Milozilla wrote:
The phrase "players drag a once-grand nation kicking and screaming into the modern day" kinda worries me. I really hope it doesn't have too many modern day political influences. Really kills the immersion when people bring that stuff into the game. But hopefully it just turns out to be What Jade Reagent should have been and have alternate routes for those that don't necessarily want to be the new monarchs Lapdogs.

Modern day in Avistan apparently means hereditary monarchies where no monarchs are married or have any legitimate (or even known) children. I'm serious; every monarch in the Inner Sea is single and has no known children, except for Stavian, which is kind of immersion breaking for me because of how dangerous that is for such a type of government. There was a reason Henry VIII went through six wives and it wasn't just a wandering eye.

On a more serious note, I will probably keep my subscription up for this AP for the non-adventure articles & monsters. I will likely never run it though because so far it seems like it will require an extensive re-write to scrub out the Whig history.


Right now, we need more book monsters.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Creon Vizcarra wrote:
On a more serious note, I will probably keep my subscription up for this AP for the non-adventure articles & monsters. I will likely never run it though because so far it seems like it will require an extensive re-write to scrub out the Whig history.

What exactly do you mean by "Whig history", and why do you feel you'd need to scrub it?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Raynor Cordite wrote:

Amazing cover that screams HERE'S JOHNNY!!!

Edit: what's going on with that double pipe tho? :P

LOL! I just noticed that. Ole Stavian needs to learn how to puff, puff, pass.


I agree, could use more book monsters. Could also use (more) monsters based on clocks, ink, paper, furniture, paint, paintings, weapons, armor, pottery, jewelry, gems, plates, cutlery, etc.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Creon Vizcarra wrote:
I'm serious; every monarch in the Inner Sea is single and has no known children, except for Stavian, which is kind of immersion breaking for me because of how dangerous that is for such a type of government.

This is a very interesting point, I hadn't thought about it before. I can't off-hand recall the other monarchs, but I believe Abrogail of Cheliax and Ruby Prince of Osirion are indeed single with no known children. I'll have to pay more attention to this in the future.


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

The same seems to be true for King Eodred of Korvosa, Queen Telandia Edasseril of Kyonin, and Queen Galfrey of Mendev. Interesting.

Silver Crusade

Zaister wrote:
The same seems to be true for King Eodred of Korvosa, Queen Telandia Edasseril of Kyonin, and Queen Galfrey of Mendev. Interesting.

Uhhh...


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Rysky wrote:
Uhhh...

You known, default setting assumes no APs have taken place.

Silver Crusade

Zaister wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Uhhh...
You known, default setting assumes no APs have taken place.

He and Ileosa have been married for awhile before the AP takes place (ISWG mentions this and even has art of her).


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

Ah you're right. OK so he's not single, but still no offspring.

Dark Archive

It is plot relevant though. Actually, is he only monarch were lack of heir is presented as something they are worried about?

Liberty's Edge

5 people marked this as a favorite.

It is easier for PCs to marry the monarch this way :-D


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

Good point! :)

Liberty's Edge

Samy wrote:
Creon Vizcarra wrote:
I'm serious; every monarch in the Inner Sea is single and has no known children, except for Stavian, which is kind of immersion breaking for me because of how dangerous that is for such a type of government.
This is a very interesting point, I hadn't thought about it before. I can't off-hand recall the other monarchs, but I believe Abrogail of Cheliax and Ruby Prince of Osirion are indeed single with no known children. I'll have to pay more attention to this in the future.

I am quite certain that the Ruby Prince has children...

Liberty's Edge

Zaister wrote:
The same seems to be true for King Eodred of Korvosa, Queen Telandia Edasseril of Kyonin, and Queen Galfrey of Mendev. Interesting.

Unless I am misremembering the Elven Queen/King is elected. So heirs are not really a thing there.

Liberty's Edge

There are story explanations as I remember it for why Queen Galfrey is not pursuing having an heir.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Samy wrote:
Creon Vizcarra wrote:
I'm serious; every monarch in the Inner Sea is single and has no known children, except for Stavian, which is kind of immersion breaking for me because of how dangerous that is for such a type of government.
This is a very interesting point, I hadn't thought about it before. I can't off-hand recall the other monarchs, but I believe Abrogail of Cheliax and Ruby Prince of Osirion are indeed single with no known children. I'll have to pay more attention to this in the future.

Prince Audard III of Ustalav, too.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
graywulfe wrote:
There are story explanations as I remember it for why Queen Galfrey is not pursuing having an heir.

Yeah, she's a regular Sun Orchid Elixir user and about 100 years old. If she'd had any children, they might even be dead already. :)


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

I do recall reading a couple of medieval romances where a monarch would agree with his nephew or other heir presumptive not to marry and produce an heir with a better claim than the current heir. Maybe one or more of these single heirs made such agreements?

At least in the case of Cheliax, we know that the Thrunes have no fixed line of succession, so having a child does not actually affect the succession in any way. We have yet to see a king or queen from that house die of natural causes anyway.


Osirion, Legacy of Pharaohs makes no mention of Khemet III being even married. The ones next in line are his younger twin half-siblings, Jasilia and Ojan.

Unless it has been changed since Elves of Golarion, Telandia Edasseril is looking for an elf from outside Kyonin without political ties to father an heir. She, however has no intention to marry.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Creon Vizcarra wrote:
Milozilla wrote:
The phrase "players drag a once-grand nation kicking and screaming into the modern day" kinda worries me. I really hope it doesn't have too many modern day political influences. Really kills the immersion when people bring that stuff into the game. But hopefully it just turns out to be What Jade Reagent should have been and have alternate routes for those that don't necessarily want to be the new monarchs Lapdogs.
Modern day in Avistan apparently means hereditary monarchies where no monarchs are married or have any legitimate (or even known) children. I'm serious; every monarch in the Inner Sea is single and has no known children, except for Stavian, which is kind of immersion breaking for me because of how dangerous that is for such a type of government. There was a reason Henry VIII went through six wives and it wasn't just a wandering eye.

Does that logic even still apply in a universe where people can be constantly resurrected from death and have their lifespan lengthened considerably?

Why bother fathering/mothering a bunch of brats to continue the dynasty when I can just live forever as an Immortal God-King/Queen.

Death is poor people after all.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

10 people marked this as a favorite.

In most cases, just because someone's spouse and/or offspring isn't mentioned doesn't mean they don't exist, just that their names and ages and whatnot have been canonized yet. Rather than spend 100 words talking about who the king or queen married and how many kids they had, general nation overviews can provide two or three potential plot hooks in the same space. When there's a narrative reason to give a ruler a wife or husband, we'll do so. But in most cases, stable lines of succession make for less adventure than potentially volatile political upheaval.

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