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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Princess Highground


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 editor probably should have caught these.

Excellent and Prescient


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


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


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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Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

22 people marked this as a favorite.

I will have you all know, I spend a lot of time reading Wikipedia articles, thank you very much!

That being said...

I'd like to avoid any sort of long debates on the topic, but I do want to point out one thing for those concerned about the overall premise of the Adventure Path based on recent comments in this thread. The use of the word "primogeniture" in context of this adventure (and basically the whole AP) is in reference to a specific Taldan law that shares the same name. The first reference of primogeniture within the adventure states: " vote down the ancient _law_ of primogeniture."

Primogeniture in this context not about some Earth equivalent word or some established set of rules that was once followed on Earth and magically ported over into Golarion; this use of the word is specifically addressing an ancient law that the _fictional nation of Taldor_ has followed for a long time. Yes, the word has contextual history and meaning in our world, but to the people of Taldor (again, a fictional nation) this is the name they chose for a law that determines their succession of nobility and how it works. Much like the application of real world primogeniture, of which there are numerous variants (as per, funnily enough, the Wikipedia article.) Taldor has its own application of the word and an associated meaning. In this case, primogeniture is a law that's become tradition that was established in their early politics. The Senate's involvement in its repeal is the direct result of it being a Taldan law that requires the Senate to overrule it.

Anyways, I hope that helps! If it doesn't, and this particular word choice is still a major impediment to your enjoyment of what I hope is an otherwise fun and enjoyable adventure... I'm sorry.*

The author [[Under the amazing guidance of his Developer Supreme, Crystal Frasier!]]

* Canadianism (spoken from a man who dutifully serves his Queen——a monarch who also shows up the his $20 bills!)

Liberty's Edge Developer

23 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm the developer for War for the Crown, and I specifically elected to go with the word "primogeniture" rather than delve into pedantry about specific subcategories of a tradition that was getting overturned before the PCs really become involved in the action. If my choice for brevity over specifics offends you, I really don't have anything I can say in response to that.

It's not changing. Feel free that add additional adjectives to it in your game, or if it breaks the world for you, simply skip this Adventure Path.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

8 people marked this as a favorite.

BUT, since this is a product thread and we're now WAAAAAY off-topic, may I suggest any gripes about what word Taldans use to describe their laws of succession be moved to their own thread rather than continue to muddy this one? People are going to have to scroll through so much grar just to see if the player's guide has been released yet.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mark Moreland wrote:
BUT, since this is a product thread and we're now WAAAAAY off-topic, may I suggest any gripes about what word Taldans use to describe their laws of succession be moved to their own thread rather than continue to muddy this one? People are going to have to scroll through so much grar just to see if the player's guide has been released yet.

You are going to announce that HERE? sweet

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