Pathfinder Adventure Path #133: Secrets of Roderic's Cove (Return of the Runelords 1 of 6)

**½( )( ) (based on 2 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #133: Secrets of Roderic's Cove (Return of the Runelords 1 of 6)

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Wrath Shall Reign!

When one runelord rose from his slumber, the frontier nation of Varisia shook with his power, and it took a band of heroes to save the world. Yet there remained six other runelords, and now the most wrathful of them all has woken! As the runelords waken one after another, the dangers and perils faced by past heroes pale in comparison. When a mysterious and fearful ghost manifests on the streets of Roderic's Cove at the same time the town's gangs use the runes and legacies of ancient Thassilonian tyrants for their own ends, a new band of heroes must rise to save Varisia, and perhaps the world, from the return of the runelords!

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path begins the Return of the Runelords Adventure Path and includes:

  • "Secrets of Roderic's Cove," a Pathfinder adventure for 1st-level characters, by Adam Daigle.
  • An exploration and gazetteer of the town of Roderic's Cove and its inhabitants, by Adam Daigle.
  • An extensive timeline of the history of Thassilon, revelations about the methods used by each runelord to avoid destruction during the apocalypse of Earthfall, and notes for Game Masters on the roles each runelord plays in this Adventure Path, by James Jacobs.
  • A bestiary of monsters lurking around Varisia, including the child-stealing nochlean and the innocuous-looking warpglass ooze, by Mikko Kallio, Luis Loza, Jacob W. Michaels, and Conor J. Owens.

ISBN-13: 978-1-64078-062-0

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

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**½( )( ) (based on 2 ratings)

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Underwhelming.

*( )( )( )( )

The underlying structure of this story is not great, and the writing doesn't help. For the first book in an Adventure Path, this one leaves me underwhelmed and slightly nervous to see what follows. It seems like a rough first draft, and it gives me the same impression of Ultimate Wilderness, where not enough time was taken to craft a publication that is worth distributing. I hope it was just a one-time thing, and that the next books will be back up to the usual standard of quality for APs.

I find that the AP books are increasingly filled with great ideas, and the quality has been top-notch for quite a while. When I read this book, I was constantly thinking about how I'd have to re-work things to make the story coherent, or thinking of details I'd have to add where none are provided in the book.

The text (room descriptions, faction descriptions, NPC description) gives very little fuel for the imagination. They largely focus on back-story that is irrelevant to what the PCs might encounter.

SPOILERS:

For example, one room takes an entire paragraph to describe where the long-dead family sat in this room when they ate their meals. That does nothing for me as a DM. Instead, why not say that the following can be found in the room: "A child's toy; a carved drawing on the table. An old bracket on the window where a telescope used to be. A hand-crafted high chair for the youngest child that's now rotting." Something that the characters could actually discover. I find myself continually frustrated by the unusable text in the book that makes it a chore to read.

Some room descriptions simply repeat what's obvious on the map (and also given in the read aloud text): "This hallway stretches from the front door and curves at a right angle before ending. A set of rickety stairs ascends to the house's second story." This is obvious from the map, and to make it worse, the read-aloud also says: "A set of stairs rises to the next floor, and the hallway turns sharply to the north past the staircase." None of this adds anything I couldn't just tell the players from looking at the map.

There are four different groups involved in this book, and the relationships between them are over-complicated and unnecessary. Several of the groups are hard to realistically imagine living in the town. The groups (and all areas) also feel static, like they're waiting for the PCs to arrive to interact with them. The descriptions of the groups are insufficient to determine more dynamic interactions and motivations, and these brief descriptions sometime contradict the way they're encountered.

For example, there is a group of "frustrated workers and struggling individuals from the lower classes who hope to make a better place for themselves in Roderic's Cove - a sort of informal and rough-around-the edges labourer's guild." This sounds very realistic and compelling to me. However, the group is named the "Horned Fangs", and their members seem to be hanging out in a dungeon, waiting to attack. All the verisimilitude is lost, as is the potential complexity of dealing with co-opted members of the town.

Another group is led by an old witch-like oracle who seems completely out of place with the rest of her members, and there is literally zero description about her motivations, or why she leads the group.

The macguffin in the book could provide a great lead-in to the dangers of the following books, but everything is strangely capped off at the end of the book. The only motivation the PCs have at the end is to follow an NPC's advice to research the macguffin they found. I can think of a number of ways this could have been done better. (The macguffin also uses a power at the start of the story that is not usable by PCs. There is some description of why this happens, but it will never be obvious to the PCs, and is potentially confusing).

TL:DR - This book doesn't match up to the usual quality of PF AP's. I'm writing this to express my concern, and my hope that the next books in this AP match what we expect in terms of cohesive and compelling writing, and as a tool for GM's to create great stories from.


Sins of the Past

****( )

I have written this twice now, and I keep getting timed out so, quick version. I like this adventure; good story, and set up. challenging encounters, and investigations. Consequences to the PC's actions, and the written structure of the adventure is set up to greatly assist a GM. Downsides though, there are several difficult, if not impossible for their level, skill checks that give the PC's important information, that they may not get. Could leave some PC's un-invested in the developments. There are NPC's to balance this, but can feel like hand-holding for some. Despite the flaws, I enjoyed the first volume, and can't wait for the next.


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1 person marked this as a favorite.

Look what is hiding here...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Here we go, boys and girls...


16 people marked this as a favorite.

♬My boyfriend's back and you're gonna be in trouble,
hey na, hey na...♬

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Excellent! ^_^


at last the runelords are back


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sweet! The AP that will keep on giving! ;)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sleepy coastal town in Varisia ... Runelords ... sinspawn ... count me in!


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

"world-impacting"

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

OOOOOOOOOOoooooooo!!!!


I sense a mythic game in the making, considering we already know where Sorshen is hiding and both her and Xanderghul are specifically stated to be mythic. Currently Karzoug and Krune are confirmed dead.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I would be extremely shocked if the PCs actually go mythic, given previous developer experiences. More likely, there'll be some sort of benefits granted or artifacts acquired that bring the PCs up in power without granting mythic tiers. Don't forget that the Rise of the Runelords PCs and the Shattered Star PCs - complete with Sihedron - will affect this AP as well.

Pathfinder Society:
Also, I'm not sure that Runelord Krune's defeat by the Pathfinder Society "counts". PFS is kind of its own plotline. That said, it might be factored in.

Additional Speculation:
Given the title of the final module, I'm not sure that this will end with all of the Runelords' defeat, at least in the traditional manner...

Dark Archive

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

Based on James Jacobs' comments about five runelords, yeah PFS defeating one of them is in the continuity.

(also yeah confirmed to be level 1-20 ap without mythic. Makes sad since I would like to see more mythic aps, or at least partially mythic, tier 3 is sweet spot from what I heard for Wrath of the Righteous?)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Could yet be all 7 runelords still since James has confirmed time travel elements in this Ap.

Silver Crusade

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

I wouldn't be surprised if there were several mythic foes there though, WotR taught us that a regular non-mythic party of PCs can handle those just fine. In fact, mythic makes for great system for spicing up encounters without artificially inflating HD or doing the dreaded "It's an advanced dire celestial shadow divine guardian fighter boar, you better either have HeroLab or an hour of spare time for statting this up" thing.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Now with the rumors of time travel I might actually be interested in this one:)

Dark Archive

19 people marked this as a favorite.

Given the Runelords we haven't seen yet, I'm intrigued by the idea of facing Belimarius, the Runelord of Envy/Abjuration. I've seen tons of necromancers, evokers, conjurers, etc. so that's kind of 'been there, done that,' but an Abjuration specialist? Part of me wants her to be all 'blue deck' from Magic the Gathering, all about shutting down and denying others magical effects, while her minions actually inflict the damage. Another part of me wants her to roll up her sleeves and beat you to death with her halberd (and non-magically potent minions), from inside an anti-magic field...

"Yes, yes, I'm sure you have unique spells and amazing magical tactics that you've developed over decades. Let's see how well you fare when I take all that away..."


I am SOOOoooooo looking foreword to this :P


This is definitely on MY list! I can't wait. Can't we switch Return and Crown?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Personally I am really sick of necromancers in general.

I have to agree Set, an abjuration specialist would be different and interesting.

Silver Crusade

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
nighttree wrote:
I am SOOOoooooo looking foreword to this :P

You like forewords that much? I mean, they're fun and all, but I buy AP for adventures and support material, forewords are rather low on my list.


9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I love the forewards to be quite honest, they're the first thing I read. :-)


Gorbacz wrote:
nighttree wrote:
I am SOOOoooooo looking foreword to this :P
You like forewords that much? I mean, they're fun and all, but I buy AP for adventures and support material, forewords are rather low on my list.

LOL....and the spelling Nazis strike again :P

Silver Crusade

15 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
nighttree wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
nighttree wrote:
I am SOOOoooooo looking foreword to this :P
You like forewords that much? I mean, they're fun and all, but I buy AP for adventures and support material, forewords are rather low on my list.
LOL....and the spelling Nazi's strike again :P

It's NAZIS. The apostrophe is redundant, because it's not a possessive.


Gorbacz wrote:
nighttree wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
nighttree wrote:
I am SOOOoooooo looking foreword to this :P
You like forewords that much? I mean, they're fun and all, but I buy AP for adventures and support material, forewords are rather low on my list.
LOL....and the spelling Nazi's strike again :P
It's NAZIS. The apostrophe is redundant, because it's not a possessive.

Thank you kindly ;)


captain yesterday wrote:
I love the forewards to be quite honest, they're the first thing I read. :-)

that's unusual. the first thing I read is the cover.

Silver Crusade

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

I never read the cover, I fear the

Spoiler:

EXPLOSIVE RUNES


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
nighttree wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
nighttree wrote:
I am SOOOoooooo looking foreword to this :P
You like forewords that much? I mean, they're fun and all, but I buy AP for adventures and support material, forewords are rather low on my list.
LOL....and the spelling Nazi's strike again :P
It's NAZIS. The apostrophe is redundant, because it's not a possessive.

"Nazi" is not an acronym, so spelling it in all capitals is incorrect.

Also, more to the point, what does it matter if someone spells something wrong? You're on an internet forum. So long as you understood the idea being expressed, it doesn't matter. Language exists to communicate ideas, and I honestly fail to see the point of "correcting" how an idea was communicated when it was still communicated.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:

I never read the cover, I fear the

** spoiler omitted **

DAMMIT! Got me!

*shakes*


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Lindley Court wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
nighttree wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
nighttree wrote:
I am SOOOoooooo looking foreword to this :P
You like forewords that much? I mean, they're fun and all, but I buy AP for adventures and support material, forewords are rather low on my list.
LOL....and the spelling Nazi's strike again :P
It's NAZIS. The apostrophe is redundant, because it's not a possessive.

"Nazi" is not an acronym, so spelling it in all capitals is incorrect.

Also, more to the point, what does it matter if someone spells something wrong? You're on an internet forum. So long as you understood the idea being expressed, it doesn't matter. Language exists to communicate ideas, and I honestly fail to see the point of "correcting" how an idea was communicated when it was still communicated.

In my case I actually appreciate it....

I am very phonetic in my spelling patterns, so especially if I'm not paying strict attention, I tend to use the wrong form of similar sounding words (there, their, etc....) and those are not often caught by spell check either. Punctuation rules are often confused by my autism as well....so it's good for me to see corrections.

At least after a while some of them tend to stick ;)

Silver Crusade

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

Yeah, nighttree did appreciate being corrected a while back, so I kind of followed up on that. After all, some people come to Internet forums to Polish their English, like I do.


Sounds like a lot of fun!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Me fail English, that's unpossible;)


Dragon78 wrote:
Me fail English, that's unpossible;)

Hey! I'm watching you...

Dark Archive

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

...could there have already been hints of this in one of last season's PFS scenarios?

Pertinent Plot Points/potential spoilers/Theory conjecture:

Riddleport has the Cyphermages faction.

Alaznist had a research lab that the Pathfinders found.

Fiery wrath is specifically noted, so the Runelord of Wrath sounds prominent.

There is a rumor that she created the reefclaws, which show up in a PFS scenario in Riddleport.

It may also make part of this an aquatic adventure, as well?


9 people marked this as a favorite.

Man, the game of “Hardy Boys novel or Pathfinder AP title” gets harder every month.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

8 people marked this as a favorite.

Let's not get to carried away with spelling or grammar derails in product discussion threads.


9 people marked this as a favorite.
Sara Marie wrote:
Let's not get to carried away with spelling or grammar derails in product discussion threads.

HRNGH!

Ok... *slinks off dejectedly*

The Exchange

checks calendar, nope not yet. checks again, nope. this is going to be a hard wait.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I can't wait to see what Adam Daigle does as an adventure writer!

In fact, is this his maiden voyage writing adventures...


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

All of the Runelords? Levels 1-20?! Time travel?!!

[Head Explodes]

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm looking forward to get a map and gazetteer of Roderic's Cove (pop 1,100), as it's comparable to Sandpoint in size (pop 1,240).

From the titles of the other AP parts, i also wonder if and how the face of Varisia may change during the storyline.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kevin Mack wrote:
Could yet be all 7 runelords still since James has confirmed time travel elements in this Ap.

But also, alas, no plans for Alderpash. Though I suspect if I get around to running this I will try to shoehorn him in somewhere.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

18 people marked this as a favorite.
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Could yet be all 7 runelords still since James has confirmed time travel elements in this Ap.
But also, alas, no plans for Alderpash. Though I suspect if I get around to running this I will try to shoehorn him in somewhere.

There are nearly 50 runelords who existed over the course of Thassilon's run, of which the majority we've said nothing about. More than the seven last ones will have roles to play in Return of the Runelords, I suspect. Alderpash included in perhaps a small way. We'll see!


8 people marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:
There are nearly 50 runelords who existed over the course of Thassilon's run...More than the seven last ones will have roles to play in Return of the Runelords, I suspect.

*debeverages*


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Wait 50?!! Holy crap on a stick! I mean I knew there were more than the original seven but...50?!!


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Wait 50?!! Holy crap on a stick! I mean I knew there were more than the original seven but...50?!!

Their positions must have had high turnover...

;)

Dark Archive

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

Now I'm starting to hope we will learn identities of all of the original ones :D Like learning more about original Runelord of Greed Kaladurnae besides the name would be nice too


There and back again !!!
Let it come to papa !!!

On the other hand, hopefully Pathfinder is not going the same way as Dungeons & Dragons. Where almost every great adventure got is sequel... (see temple of elemental evil and etc.)

But like Star Wars sequels can be better ...

Dark Archive

4 people marked this as a favorite.
quibblemuch wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
There are nearly 50 runelords who existed over the course of Thassilon's run...More than the seven last ones will have roles to play in Return of the Runelords, I suspect.
*debeverages*

The Runelord of Wrath position probably had a pretty high turnover, as Alaznist slaying Thybidos to take the job was referred to as a 'quite traditional' method of succession. (Not that several of the Runelords didn't get their jobs the same way...)

But yeah, *fifty* is an eye-opening number. :)

Interesting that the Runelord of Envy never actually killed her predecessor, keeping his still-living body in a coffin of force in her throne room as a trophy. So, technically, there could be *two* Runelords of Envy available to face...


19 people marked this as a favorite.
Set wrote:
So, technically, there could be *two* Runelords of Envy available to face...

Wait--the ancient Thassilonians had TWO Runelords of Envy? I'm so jealous...

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