Pathfinder Adventure Path #134: It Came from Hollow Mountain (Return of the Runelords 2 of 6)

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Pathfinder Adventure Path #134: It Came from Hollow Mountain (Return of the Runelords 2 of 6)

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Hollow Mountain has loomed over the horizon of the Varisian Gulf for as long as those waters have been sailed, frightening sailors and tempting adventurers with its promises of treasure and terror alike. Having restored order to the town of Roderic's Cove, the region's newest heroes must deliver a powerful item south to the city of Magnimar, but they soon find that fate is leading them to one of the land's most infamous dungeons. What awaits these heroes in the trap-filled and monster-haunted corridors and chambers below Hollow Mountain will put them to the test, but if they can survive, they will emerge with knowledge vital to standing against the runelords' return!

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

  • "It Came from Hollow Mountain," a Pathfinder adventure for 5th-level characters, by Mike Shel.
  • Details on the empyreal lord Ashava, patron of dancers and lost souls, by Jason Keeley.
  • An exploration of the violent and hideous monsters known collectively as sinspawn, by Patchen Mortimer.
  • A bestiary of monsters, including the malevolent choking shade, the lumbering arachnid masterminds known as shriezyx queens, and the demigoddess Ashava herself, by Jason Keeley, Mark Moreland, and Mike Shel.

ISBN-13: 978-1-64078-070-5

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

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In for a Penny in for a Pound

4/5

Hollow Mountain lives up to its reputation as a hero devourer, which is perfect for my old-school sensibilies, but may bewilder crowds accustomed to steam rolling through the opposition. Some of the more tedious elements of the dungeon crawl could have ended up on the cutting room floor. Even so, it really picks up in the third act and builds to a satifying ending.


A Huge Let Down

1/5

Very uninspired and well, boring. The first 3 parts are fluff and then you arrive at a basic dungeon filled with mostly undead.

This AP was a huge letdown.


A Great Adventure with Many Different Options

5/5

After learning in the previous adventure that Alaznist may have returned, the PCs find themselves off to the Runelord's old lair of Hollow Mountain to confirm their suspicions. But first, they have numerous new NPCs and challenges to face as they journey to Magnimar.

The first part of this adventure is a voyage by ship with several suspicious characters and a chance for some great problem-solving and role-playing. One of the NPCs, a gregarious diva who mysteriously seems unable to perform on a stage, stands out as particularly interesting with the potential to enrapture and frustrate adventurers as they try to figure her out.

The journey is an interesting stretch of adventure for those who want more than combat and traps, but the meat of this adventure is Hollow Mountain itself. The dungeon contains numerous fascinating monsters and interesting NPC enemies, some of whom can become allies depending on the approach the PCs take. It also has lots of traps and puzzles to challenge the PCs' problem-solving abilities.

The puzzles in particular deserve special note because they serve as interesting challenges without completely shutting down players who aren't particularly talented or interested in that style of exploration. Each puzzle has multiple ways through it, including one where the answer is plainly written (albeit in Thassilonian - somebody read the Player's Guide and took that, right?) right in front of the PCs.

Of course, each solution has its price. If PCs choose to bash their way through a puzzle instead of relying on arcane lore, they face more monsters to battle. If they read the obvious solution in front of them, they face a dangerous creature before going through the rest of the complex. I see these different paths as a good thing - a skill with solving puzzles helps the PCs proceed, but the game doesn't grind to a halt if the PCs can't figure things out right away.

Similarly, the adventure features several foes, including some in the dungeon, who can become allies. It's rare for a dungeon crawl to offer so many solutions, but this adventure can effectively accommodate almost any style of group. You can bash your way through all obstacles, talk your way past multiple foes, make the path easier through puzzle-solving, or take a mixed strategy and still accomplish the same goals at the end.

Overall, It Came From Hollow Mountain is an excellent and well-paced dungeon adventure. None of the encounters feel like repeats or padding, and the PCs have the freedom to proceed through the adventure in whatever way they choose. I hope to see more dungeon adventures that offer the same variety of interesting creatures, compelling NPCs, and depth of options in the future.


Dungeon Escape Room

3/5

As a note, I haven't read the first segment of the AP. I liked the beginning of the AP and enjoyed the voyage and the encounters there. Unlike the previous reviewer, I thought the NPCs were memorable, especially Barsilla and her underling and the NPC the PCs meet on the island. This was where I think the author shines; he would do very well with a hex map of random encounters or one of those multi-city in an AP volume adventures Paizo seems so fond of. Dungeon crawls, not so much.

The dungeon has the feel of an escape room for the most part. There are lots of puzzles. However, I did not like how many of these were executed. As a player, I would be frustrated at guessing at so many of these requiring passwords without obvious clues or solutions. A big detriment in my book. Yes, you can bash your way through them, and I understand this is the dungeon devoted to wrath, but this is a lame solution. It's actually required in a few spots. I felt the author could've benefited from a day of visiting escape rooms before writing this one.

As a plus, many of the encounters have different directions they can go, based on the PCs actions. All in all, underwhelming and potentially frustrating. Unless you are dying to resolve the Runelords Trilogy, I'd skip this one, or pick it up on sale for the voyage to include in a homebrew.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Heine Stick wrote:
ratcatbo wrote:
Ok whomever is doing the cover art for this ap is insanly talented
That would be Ekaterina Burmak

thanks

Dark Archive

Feiya the witch & Alahazra the oracle vs. a trio of Sinspawn.

Is it me or did Krunes tattoos bleach out?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Nah I think they just aren't glowing because no magic is around, Marco

But still, nice Krune and very lovely stuff. Also shriezyx queens!!!!


An article and stats for Achava? That's surely a must have.


Ashava! Yes! Always love seeing Empyreal Lord stuffs.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Anyone gotten there subscriber PDF for this yet?


I just downloaded my PDF, yes.


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

I started play Pathfinder around Wrath of the Righteous, so seeing demigod stats in the back of APs warms my heart.


Heine Stick wrote:
I just downloaded my PDF, yes.

Can you list the creatures by name, size, type, subtypes and CR?

Scarab Sages

Oh wow, just got mine! And only a week after the August shipment! Props to the Paizo team for powering back onto schedule so incredibly fast after the website problems shut down shipping for so long!

Scarab Sages

4 people marked this as a favorite.
HTD wrote:
Heine Stick wrote:
I just downloaded my PDF, yes.
Can you list the creatures by name, size, type, subtypes and CR?

I'm always in the last batch to ship, this never happens to me so I'm so excited to be the one who can actually answer something!

Choking Shade a CR5 incorporeal undead. Kind of like a souped up ghost, with some interesting abilities, and "susceptible to wind" because it's so insubstantial! Nice two page layout with a lot of flavor and four variants of the basic one.

Ashava, a CR28 Empyreal Lord. She's CG and very dancer and bardic themed, including a special ability for hypnotizing undead.

The CR6 Vexenion Qlippoth, and outsider of course. Ton of flavor text and context for it, and a cool ability called Tentacular Versatility, which lets it get a faster speed for every tentacle it doesn't attack with that turn.

The CR8 Shriezyx Queen, a horse sized spider (aberation). Two words: Incendiary Webs.

CR5 or 7 Thassilonian Sentinels. Couple varieties of this construct made of different materials. Basically they're flying construct heads that look like skulls, are made of different base materials. Think vargouilles except constructs.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Duiker wrote:
I'm always in the last batch to ship, this never happens to me so I'm so excited to be the one who can actually answer something!

Congratz ^w^

Dark Archive

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

Wow, that was fast!

Those beasties sound pretty cool!

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Got the pfd yesterday too, have to say from quick skim that I really love one of the NPCs xD (let's just say "twice the fun")


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

I loved the "Lord of the Scarlet Tide" reference.


Would anyone be kind enough to describe the Vexenion's physical appearance?

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Wannabe Demon Lord wrote:
Would anyone be kind enough to describe the Vexenion's physical appearance?

Imagine if you turned a person inside out, so the texture all over was like coiled intestines, with tufts of hair sticking out and an eye here and there. Four enormous tentacles that look more like tongues than appendages, splayed in each direction. It's like a transporter accident turned into an ooze.

Dark Archive

There is also person inside it trying to get out judging by hands pressed against its see through parts :p So clearly it has already used its absorption ability on someone


James Jacobs wrote:
Tusk the Half-Orc wrote:
Does the Pathfinder Comics Hollow Mountain arc spoil anything? Or alternatively, perhaps the events in the comics are presumed to be general knowledge (at least by PFS members)?
No more so than we've already spoiled things by titling the Adventure Path "Return of the Runelords."

LOL

Are we getting a runelord on every cover? what about the 7th? IS THIS A SEVEN BOOK AP?!?!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Bean Slaad wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Tusk the Half-Orc wrote:
Does the Pathfinder Comics Hollow Mountain arc spoil anything? Or alternatively, perhaps the events in the comics are presumed to be general knowledge (at least by PFS members)?
No more so than we've already spoiled things by titling the Adventure Path "Return of the Runelords."

LOL

Are we getting a runelord on every cover? what about the 7th? IS THIS A SEVEN BOOK AP?!?!

We already put Karzoug on the cover, so he's taken care of.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Can you please tell us eXactly where the x is supposed to be west of D9? It appears to have disappeared from the map.

Dark Archive

We got a cut-away and one level of Hollow mountain in "Dungeons of Golarion" i think.

Question:
Which levels are detailed in here?

Thank you!

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Marco Massoudi wrote:

We got a cut-away and one level of Hollow mountain in "Dungeons of Golarion" i think.

Question:
Which levels are detailed in here?

Thank you!

Spoilers for this volume:

Half this volume is a set of four levels of Hollow Mountain, but only portions of those levels, not the whole things. Short descriptions of the whole levels are in Dungeons of Golarion (these are parts of levels 8, 9, 10, and 14 in the cut away map there):

1. The Baleful Repository

2. The Forsaken Mezanine

3. The Gauntlet of Fury

4. The Forlorn Sepulchers

Spoilers for Volume 6 of the AP:
It does mention that in the final adventure of the campaign, the party will return to the apex of Hollow Mountain!


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

Has any subscriber not gotten this? Or am I the only one?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Generic Villain wrote:
Has any subscriber not gotten this? Or am I the only one?

My download hasn't come through yet, either.

President, SmiteWorks

This is now available for purchase from Fantasy Grounds or on Steam. Sync your account first to get it a discount equivalent to the PDF Price ($17.99)

Pathfinder RPG - Return of the Runelords AP 2: It Came from Hollow Mountain
Publisher: Paizo Inc.
System: Pathfinder RPG and D&D 3.5/ OGL
Type: Adventure
Get it on Steam


Doug Davison wrote:

This is now available for purchase from Fantasy Grounds or on Steam. Sync your account first to get it a discount equivalent to the PDF Price ($17.99)

Pathfinder RPG - Return of the Runelords AP 2: It Came from Hollow Mountain
Publisher: Paizo Inc.
System: Pathfinder RPG and D&D 3.5/ OGL
Type: Adventure
Get it on Steam

Any support for Roll20?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I haven't even gotten last months issue let alone this months it is totally unfair that some people are getting Septembers issue when some people haven't even gotten August's issue yet. In july my copy of the armory was messed up they said they would fix it and send another copy and I haven't gotten that yet either. I seem to be lost somehow I have been paitent for 2 months now waiting for my return of the runelords subscription how much longer do I have to wait.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
ladydragona wrote:
I haven't even gotten last months issue let alone this months it is totally unfair that some people are getting Septembers issue when some people haven't even gotten August's issue yet. In july my copy of the armory was messed up they said they would fix it and send another copy and I haven't gotten that yet either. I seem to be lost somehow I have been paitent for 2 months now waiting for my return of the runelords subscription how much longer do I have to wait.

Perhaps you could make a post about this in the Customer Service forum so that the good folks at Paizo can look into your problem and offer you some assistance in resolving it?

Just a thought.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Possible Spoiler...

Spoiler:
Is Dith-Ka the killer of Shalelu Andosana father or did I forget that was revealed in Second Darkness?

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Anorak wrote:

Possible Spoiler...

** spoiler omitted **

That was revealed in Second Darkness. ^_^


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So, regarding that stay in Sandpoint...

Spoiler for RotRL and Jade Regent:
Who else who has played Rise of the Runelords and Jade Regent is already foreseeing that their players would rather visit the Rusty Dragon instead of Cracktooth's? I plan to have Amaya Kaijitsu (Ameiko's half-sister) run the tavern and make an off-hand comment about how her half-sister is running around Minkai, apparently ruling something. ^^

Paizo Employee Creative Director

6 people marked this as a favorite.
magnuskn wrote:

So, regarding that stay in Sandpoint...

** spoiler omitted **

And just so folks know why I decided to have the Sandpoint section do what it did...

Spoiler:
1) Featuring Cracktooth's let us explore a location we've not done much with.

2) Not going to the Rusty Dragon let us dodge whether or not Ameiko is or isn't in town, and thus avoids us having to say that Jade Regent has or hasn't happened, letting each individual GM make that decision as best fits their game.

3) Folks who can wait should check out the Sanpdoint book when it's out. There's a full map of the Rusty Dragon in there, and it presents the tavern as it exists AFTER Rise of the Runelords but BEFORE Jade Regent and Return of the Runelords.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hm, interesting. Maybe I should give the Sandpoint book another look. :)

Dark Archive

James, will there be any chance for a Hollow Mountain supermodule written (exclusively) by Mike Shel? Because when it comes to dungeons, it's nigh-impossible to beat Mike... :)

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I have to say that I really, really love this adventure! It's another Mike Shel masterpiece that shows his loving attention to detail and history. As I was reading it, I felt that same sense of wonder I had when exploring the infamous Mud Sorcerer's Tomb (twice, actually!) or the best parts of Undermountain back in the 1990s. Mike really makes you feel like you've stepped into an ancient dungeon complex where horrible tragedies took place millennia ago. Every chamber and corridor just oozes that feeling of time and history, every monster and haunt has a reason to be there. And Mike's dungeons don't really include vast amounts of treasure lying about; true to this spirit, Hollow Mountain encourages exploration and daring. I especially love how few magical items there are in the dungeon, and those all also feel part of the dungeon's ecology, in a good way.

The maps are otherwise (IMO) excellent, but I have to say I really, REALLY wondered why there is the one-page-map that is practically useless for all purposes; the ship map doesn't include any key and the overland map is so small I could barely make out the main adventure location on it! Sweet Asmodeus, where is the island map that would not only tie the wilderness encounters together, but also shed more light on the location of dungeon entrances and the ruins?

Another (minor) issue is that it'd have been nice to get some information on what Tassilonian script and language look and sound like. As this is a Mike Shel module, some kind of hand-outs on key inscriptions or riddles (written in Thassilonian) would have been fantastic!

However, my biggest gripe with this module is that I won't be able to play it, but I just hope I'll do it justice as a GM!


That's a promising review, Asgetrion. Secrets of Roderic's Cove deflated me a bit, and I'm hopeful that this and the next book(s) make the AP worthwhile on the whole.

Dark Archive

While i havn't read the adventure yet, i have to say that the maps are really bad in this volume... ;-(

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Coffee Demon wrote:
That's a promising review, Asgetrion. Secrets of Roderic's Cove deflated me a bit, and I'm hopeful that this and the next book(s) make the AP worthwhile on the whole.

Yeah, for some reason Secrets of Roderick's Cove reminded me of West Side Story? Even though you wouldn't even run this AP, Rivenrake island features really great encounters and locations, something even a Forgotten Realms GM might "steal" for their campaings. For example, you might use Hollow Mountain sections as sublevels in Undermountain with some minor tweaks. It's well worth the money, in my opinion this module is one of Paizo's best adventures in years. :)

Dark Archive

Marco Massoudi wrote:
While i havn't read the adventure yet, i have to say that the maps are really bad in this volume... ;-(

Marco, how so? I thought they were excellent, especially considering each location's history and theme. I agree with you on the one-page boat/overland map, but Rivenrake Island + Hollow Mountain maps are really well done. All the levels serve an ancient purpose determined by the ruler of that place, and in that regard I thought they were excellent.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just curious, are there issues with this book getting out to game stores? The local game stores in Vancouver Canada don't have it yet, and are having a hard time finding a way to order it. Also, amazon.ca just suggested that I ask for a refund with my preorder through them, because they don't yet have an estimate of when the book will arrive.

Thanks!

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