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

It's all cued up in my subscription. Now the eager wait for shipping begins!


I'm not seeing a pdf option, are these handled differently than the player companions? I get that it isn't quite time for the official release, but there is usually an "pdf expected" time, at least for the companions, I think.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
psychie wrote:
I'm not seeing a pdf option, are these handled differently than the player companions? I get that it isn't quite time for the official release, but there is usually an "pdf expected" time, at least for the companions, I think.

The PDF always shows up on the street date so they don't bother posting the date. If that differs for Player's Companions, there is probably some obscure reason for it.

So expect the PDF Feb. 28th.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Oh, and it appears the fourth iconic is the psychic, Rivani. So healing falls to Quinn*.

*The party I'm currently running through Iron Gods has no cleric and an investigator as the primary healer. This actually works well with the infusion talent; just expect most healing to be done outside of combat and plan accordingly.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So anyone got there subscriber PDF'S yet


Is the player's guide available yet?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

2 people marked this as a favorite.

No


Will it be soon? :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Maybe.


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

Until the Player's Guide comes out may i recommend Taldor, The First Empire.

I got it last night and it's been a super fun read so far!


*will wait for the Player's Guide first...*

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

15 people marked this as a favorite.

Hey folks, I just wanted to pop in here and address the Player's Guide question that's been floating around. Due to illnesses and other production-related issues, the Player's Guide for this Adventure Path is going to be delayed longer than normal. While we try to have them out by the time subscribers start getting their PDFs, that isn't going to happen this time around. I still endeavor to have it out as soon as possible, but I have no firm estimates at this time.

Thanks for your patience.

Silver Crusade

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

No probs. Running an AP before you have all 6 books is not the best idea in any case.

Dark Archive

Adam Daigle wrote:

Hey folks, I just wanted to pop in here and address the Player's Guide question that's been floating around. Due to illnesses and other production-related issues, the Player's Guide for this Adventure Path is going to be delayed longer than normal. While we try to have them out by the time subscribers start getting their PDFs, that isn't going to happen this time around. I still endeavor to have it out as soon as possible, but I have no firm estimates at this time.

Thanks for your patience.

2017s first player´s Guide was out on march 16th, so no worries there and get well soon! :-)

Street date is the last day of february, so that should suffice. ;-)


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I got my shipping notice a few minutes ago, so...

...it has begun!

-Skeld


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Skeld, PDF Prophet wrote:
I got my shipping notice a few minutes ago...

This does not surprise me.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

How is the first chapter also hows the art?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Adam Daigle wrote:

Hey folks, I just wanted to pop in here and address the Player's Guide question that's been floating around. Due to illnesses and other production-related issues, the Player's Guide for this Adventure Path is going to be delayed longer than normal. While we try to have them out by the time subscribers start getting their PDFs, that isn't going to happen this time around. I still endeavor to have it out as soon as possible, but I have no firm estimates at this time.

Thanks for your patience.

Np, thankies for the heads-up.

*offers tummy wubs to the ill*

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If it's that new flu-bug flying around, take vitamin C supplements in the morning, Something Spicy for lunch for Viruses or Non-spicy Curry if it's more fatigue related.

I know lots of foods that actually help with different variants of Colds and flu's.

The joy of living in Alaska


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Skeld, PDF Prophet wrote:

I got my shipping notice a few minutes ago, so...

...it has begun!

-Skeld

I could have a heart attack of not surprise.


Kevin Mack wrote:
How is the first chapter also hows the art?

I haven't read it yet, but the art is pretty solid. There are a lot of NPC portraits and such.

-Skeld

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Feros wrote:
Skeld, PDF Prophet wrote:

I got my shipping notice a few minutes ago, so...

...it has begun!

-Skeld

I could have a heart attack of not surprise.

Is that even physically possible?

-Skeld


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Skeld, PDF Prophet wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
How is the first chapter also hows the art?

I haven't read it yet, but the art is pretty solid. There are a lot of NPC portraits and such.

-Skeld

is the woman on the cover of the second adventure look like princess Eutropia or is that someone else?


zergtitan wrote:
Skeld, PDF Prophet wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
How is the first chapter also hows the art?

I haven't read it yet, but the art is pretty solid. There are a lot of NPC portraits and such.

-Skeld

is the woman on the cover of the second adventure look like princess Eutropia or is that someone else?

I'm not sure who that is.

-Skeld


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Skeld, PDF Prophet wrote:
zergtitan wrote:
Skeld, PDF Prophet wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
How is the first chapter also hows the art?

I haven't read it yet, but the art is pretty solid. There are a lot of NPC portraits and such.

-Skeld

is the woman on the cover of the second adventure look like princess Eutropia or is that someone else?

I'm not sure who that is.

-Skeld

this one.


zergtitan wrote:
Skeld, PDF Prophet wrote:
zergtitan wrote:
Skeld, PDF Prophet wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
How is the first chapter also hows the art?

I haven't read it yet, but the art is pretty solid. There are a lot of NPC portraits and such.

-Skeld

is the woman on the cover of the second adventure look like princess Eutropia or is that someone else?

I'm not sure who that is.

-Skeld

this one.

Sorry, I wasn't clear. What I meant was that I can't tell from the art in Chapter 1 who that character is. It might be someone completely new to that volume.

-Skeld


Adam Daigle wrote:

Hey folks, I just wanted to pop in here and address the Player's Guide question that's been floating around. Due to illnesses and other production-related issues, the Player's Guide for this Adventure Path is going to be delayed longer than normal. While we try to have them out by the time subscribers start getting their PDFs, that isn't going to happen this time around. I still endeavor to have it out as soon as possible, but I have no firm estimates at this time.

Thanks for your patience.

Thank you Mister Daigle! I will now curb my enthusiasm (or at least my expectations) on getting the Player's guide before the end of February.


Skeld: I'm running PFS Honor's Echo now... could use a portrait of Eutropia if you have one. Roger Out.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Skeld, PDF Prophet wrote:

I got my shipping notice a few minutes ago, so...

...it has begun!

-Skeld

Me too. This is the first time I got mine on the first day. I'm stoked. And I'm also behind on my CoCT and Ironfang note generation. Too much reading to do this week, coupled with all the wine I have to finish... ARGH! :)

For the record, I like the maps.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
zergtitan wrote:
is the woman on the cover of the second adventure look like princess Eutropia or is that someone else?

According to the file name for the image on artist Hugh Pindur's ArtStation page, the woman on the cover of War for the Crown #2: Songbird, Scion, Saboteur is indeed Princess Eutropia.

The artwork can be found HERE.

Silver Crusade

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

Woohoo!


Heine Stick wrote:
zergtitan wrote:
is the woman on the cover of the second adventure look like princess Eutropia or is that someone else?

According to the file name for the image on artist Hugh Pindur's ArtStation page, the woman on the cover of War for the Crown #2: Songbird, Scion, Saboteur is indeed Princess Eutropia.

The artwork can be found HERE.

She looks Thrune-curious.


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

What an awesome picture.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
No probs. Running an AP before you have all 6 books is not the best idea in any case.

I usually wait for all six to be sanctioned for PFS. :P


Thanks for the head's up.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
taks wrote:
Skeld, PDF Prophet wrote:

I got my shipping notice a few minutes ago, so...

...it has begun!

-Skeld

Me too. This is the first time I got mine on the first day. I'm stoked. And I'm also behind on my CoCT and Ironfang note generation. Too much reading to do this week, coupled with all the wine I have to finish... ARGH! :)

For the record, I like the maps.

I meant to mention the maps; they're great. I especially like the inside cover map, with the various regions/loyalties highlighted.

-Skeld

Dark Archive

Skeld, PDF Prophet wrote:
taks wrote:
Skeld, PDF Prophet wrote:

I got my shipping notice a few minutes ago, so...

...it has begun!

-Skeld

Me too. This is the first time I got mine on the first day. I'm stoked. And I'm also behind on my CoCT and Ironfang note generation. Too much reading to do this week, coupled with all the wine I have to finish... ARGH! :)

For the record, I like the maps.

I meant to mention the maps; they're great. I especially like the inside cover map, with the various regions/loyalties highlighted.

-Skeld

Skeld,

-can you share how large the gazetteer of Oppara is and how detailed the map (as we´ll get that one as one of the three in the map folio)?

-Can you elaborate on the inside cover map (of Taldor and it´s counties, i assume)?

-Lastly, how many "primary movers and shakers within the Taldan senate" are in the book and are stats or CR given?

Thanks a lot,
Marco.


Xenocrat wrote:
Heine Stick wrote:
zergtitan wrote:
is the woman on the cover of the second adventure look like princess Eutropia or is that someone else?

According to the file name for the image on artist Hugh Pindur's ArtStation page, the woman on the cover of War for the Crown #2: Songbird, Scion, Saboteur is indeed Princess Eutropia.

The artwork can be found HERE.

She looks Thrune-curious.

Agreed, or at least Chelaxian in dress.

Regardless, that is amazing art.

Does she really need two rapiers? ;)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
No probs. Running an AP before you have all 6 books is not the best idea in any case.
I usually wait for all six to be sanctioned for PFS. :P

That won't do, for this one... the demands from my players are... more immediate... :)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Marco Massoudi wrote:

Skeld,

-can you share how large the gazetteer of Oppara is and how detailed the map (as we´ll get that one as one of the three in the map folio)?

-Can you elaborate on the inside cover map (of Taldor and it´s counties, i assume)?

-Lastly, how many "primary movers and shakers within the Taldan senate" are in the book and are stats or CR given?

I'm not Skeld, but here you go:

The Oppara gazetteer is 10 pages, with one page the usual intro and one page with a map. The map is basically the same map from the Player Companion, but redrawn, but there are some other numbered locations this time.

The inside cover map is very much in the same style as the inside cover maps from Ironfang Invasion and it shows "succession loyalties". If you want a map of Taldor's "counties" (which are called prefectures), there's one in Taldor, the First Empire. This is not it.

The "Faces of the Senate" article details 12 senators that may be important in this campaign, each with half a page. The get abbreviated Ultimate Intrigue social stat blocks that list alignment and classes, but no level or CR or other stats. ("This allows you to further flesh out these characters based on the needs of your campaign.")


Thanks for the assist. I've been busy at work today.

-Skeld


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
No probs. Running an AP before you have all 6 books is not the best idea in any case.

This...this is a lesson I have learned the "fun" way.


Just a curiosity, but is the main bad guy in ANY way related to Daemons or Divs?

Also what's the onyvolan like?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

What monsters do we have this time around? Any historical timelines in the backmatter?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Just a curiosity, but is the main bad guy in ANY way related to Daemons or Divs?

Spoiler:
Not that i can tell. Cultists (Norgorber, Thamir Gixx) are involved.

Thomas Seitz wrote:
Also what's the onyvolan like?

Spoiler:
Really weird. 7-foot tall troublemakers with wheels for hands and feet. Just strange.

-Skeld


Mm Oh well. I was hoping but not expecting. Thank you Skeld! :)


3 people marked this as a favorite.
FallenDabus wrote:
What monsters do we have this time around?

Spoiler:
Fantionette (CR4, CE outsider)

Gishvit (CR 1/2, LN outsider)
Onyvolan (CR3, CN monstrous humanoid)
Walcofinde (CR2, NE undead)

FallenDabus wrote:
Any historical timelines in the backmatter?

Spoiler:
None that I've seen.

-Skeld


4 people marked this as a favorite.

So I'm hysterically afraid of rats, but...

Spoiler:
Dagio the Great is one of the most fascinating NPCs I've seen in a VERY long time!

Also, those fantionettes!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The Onyvolan are great! They appear to be inspired by

Spoiler:
the Wheelers from Return to Oz

Dark Archive

Holy crap, this book is great

I'd rate it 5/5 if I don't have standards of reviewing adventures only after running them :'D But yeah, so fricking good

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