Pathfinder Adventure Path #137: The City Outside of Time (Return of the Runelords 5 of 6)

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Pathfinder Adventure Path #137: The City Outside of Time (Return of the Runelords 5 of 6)

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Frozen in Time!

With the discovery that Runelord Alaznist has tampered with the past and set into motion devastating transformations of the timeline, the heroes must embark upon a truly dangerous and desperate gambit. Since historical texts and their own memories have been altered, the lore hidden within a time-trapped city may hold the only clues as to which events of the ancient past Alaznist has targeted. If the heroes can isolate these events, they may have a chance to correct them, but before they can even reach this repository of lore, they must brave a shadowy god's realm and find a way to enter a city that has been cut off from time itself!

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

  • "The City Outside of Time," a Pathfinder adventure for 14th-level characters, by Amanda Hamon Kunz.
  • Rules and backgrounds for several powerful magic artifacts from ancient Thassilon, by Mikko Kallio.
  • An examination of the sadistic and shadowy pantheon of kyton demagogues, by Gregory Hanigan.
  • A bestiary of monsters, including the time-racked undead spirits known as chronogeists, the frozen libitinarii kytons, planar dragons from Abaddon and Nirvana, and the powerful kyton demagogue Inkariax, by John Compton and Amanda Hamon Kunz.

ISBN-13: 978-1-64078-098-9

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

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Reads like the first draft of a flawed premise

1/5

Pixar has a creative process whereby they iterate on ideas, often ones referred to as "ugly babies" - ideas that seem troublesome at first, but with time and refinement can glow.

The City Outside of Time seems like an ugly baby that was never refined, a first or second draft of an idea that in order to work, would have taken FAR more time to refine. To begin with, any time one delves into time travel, one is wading into murky territory. Indeed, in this module, if you begin to actually think about the ramifications of the time issues, the internal logic of the adventure rapidly breaks down.

What's more, much of the adventure seems like a distraction from the main course - the party has to perform a ritual for some reason in the frozen realm of a kyton demagogue. Both here in this icy setting, and throughout the rest of the module in the titular City, one of the main issues comes to the fore - this particular writer should not be writing adventures. Her style is more well-suited to technical or scientific writing. She uses terms such as "food-based refuse", sounding very sterile and robotic.

So as you'd expect, the module comes to feel that way too. Prose lacks energy and verve that would elevate it and inspire readers. Every location feels the same. Characters are one-dimensional. Location names are cheesily alliterative - "Emerald Enlightenment", "Covetous Chorus". Dialogue is stilted, cheesy, and child-like. Plot points are communicated in non-creative ways. And most concernedly, Bellimarius - the ancient Runelord of Envy - she of Intelligence 38 and Wisdom 22, comes off as a completely incompetent villain.

All of this has become a recurring issue for Paizo - bland writing, incompetent villains, and plots with holes a mile-wide.

Unsurprisingly, Paizo's gender-discriminating, feminist writing and artwork is also present in spades, with all personal pronouns defaulting to the feminine for some reason. Are all of Paizo's players now female? (-1 star, though it doesn't matter in this case).

If you're interested in kytons, this is a 2-star module. Otherwise, it's a boring, illogical adventure that I wish truly existed outside of time, so I could get back the hours I spent reading it.


Envious Ambitions

3/5

After the high bar set by the previous adventure, I was looking forward to how the adventure path would continue. On paper, it sounded pretty exciting; sneak through the shadow plane, and hope you don’t alert the master of the domain. Infiltrate a city trapped in time, and seek knowledge lost to the ages due to various events, and take down a tyrant at her full power. Exciting, and interesting. Sign me up! The first part of the adventure was a short, non-liner dungeon crawl that, by the end of everything, feels tacked on, with little thought put into it. To be honest, it felt as if the dungeon was merely an item n a checkbox of requirements. ‘Planer travel section. Check.’ When players get to the city itself, it is presented in a sandbox style, with three opposing factions at war, with innocents in the crossfire. Sounds intense, and difficult right? Once again, it is presented in a very poor manner. Now, there are things this book does that I like. For example, everything presented here is new, not relying on previous releases as much; but in that same sense, there are references within the adventure that suggest you use flip-mats to map out encounters, rather than giving you a map for these. The fact that these encounters are major encounters within the city lessens the impact these encounters have overall. This volume also offers more roleplay scenarios than any of the previous adventures in this path. I am all for these kinds of encounters, but they are over utilized here. Granted, the situations the PC’s find themselves in can lead to some fantastic, and even very tense roleplay scenarios, but still over used. In addition to these encounters, there are several research encounters; as you are attempting to research the past, I can get why these are here, but just as with the roleplay encounters, they are over used. Lastly, I have to talk about the challenge, or rather shift in it. In previous adventures, the encounters you faced were challenging for various reasons; interesting villians, or scenarios. Workarounds, or proper preparation gave the PC’s an edge in battle, and thus a more fulfilling encounter. Here though, you are given a challenge in difficult DR encounters with little outside of that, with maybe one exception. In conclusion, I found this volume lacking in comparison. What is here has the potential to be amazing, but how much enjoyment you get will be down to each GM. One who expands on what is already here will make an incredible adventure your PC’s won’t soon forget. However, one who goes with the bare minimum may find a group grow board with the repetition of roleplay, research, and lack of anything of import happening.


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Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I can describe yes so I shall

Kyton Demagog description:
So the opening image has Aroggus with his design from Planar Adventures(the whole "empty armor where smoke is coming out of neck and big hammer" design. Cool to see him again :D

Barrovoclair, to quote the book, "she appears as a body reclining on a black slab at the moment of expiration" in otherwords naked pale lady on slab made out of shadows,

Kaikyton looks kinda similar to evangelist kyton to be honest, she is most "normally" kyton looking one out of all of them, basically wears nothing but a lot of chains with daggers in them and she has similar "bald but has spiky wire thing going through her head" style that Zon-Kuthon has as well. Basically her head wiring reminds me of porcupine. (She is also the only one who used to be human, with her having been warchief from garund in her life)

Raetorgash I find to be unusual since she looks really devil like with horns and red skin and such and instead of chains, she is wearing lot of belts and piercings. Oh and she is sitting on pile of skulls along with her halberd.

I have no real clue how to describe Velevor, imagine this living shadow like creature made out of leather(with ragged leathery wings covering most of the "body" so everything besides arms(which are covered in what appears to be black bandages) and head) and pale face that has mouth but no other facial features

Inkariax is basically blue nude dude covered in snow and ice with icicles piercing his body.

Silver Crusade

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

... did Rae use to be a Devil?

Dark Archive

Rysky wrote:
... did Rae use to be a Devil?

Thats the thing though, I don't think article mentioned it. If its true, then the book didn't bring attention to it, hence why I was confused by it.

Oh crap forgot the most important part about Inkariax: His mouth is stitched shut with icicles, he has the whole "Never speaks, but communicates his intent by staring at you really scarily" thing going on.(since he has telepathy, presumably majority of time he doesn't bother using it since why else would article mention his expressive gaze :D)


CorvusMask wrote:

I can describe yes so I shall

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks! That will satiate half my anxiety to see them... =D

They seem more like devils indeed. They are originally hell's fiends after all...

About the dragons
, how many limbs do they have?


El Ronza wrote:

Oh hey, I got my book! I can answer questions! :D

May I please ask you to PM me something from the book? If not, that's ok.


I was kind of hoping for another Kyton Demogauge to be stat-ed, but honestly all this plus the two planar dragons; VERY awesome. :D


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm now hoping for the blog post previewing this volume. It would be cool to see some of this illustrations in a preview.


Angry Wizard wrote:
El Ronza wrote:

Oh hey, I got my book! I can answer questions! :D

May I please ask you to PM me something from the book? If not, that's ok.

Ask away, but I haven't had a chance to actually sit down and read it yet. I'm happy to provide easily-found answers, though!

Had a scatterbrained couple of days; I'll answer further questions in the morning if they're still unanswered by then!


El Ronza wrote:
Angry Wizard wrote:
El Ronza wrote:

Oh hey, I got my book! I can answer questions! :D

May I please ask you to PM me something from the book? If not, that's ok.

Ask away, but I haven't had a chance to actually sit down and read it yet. I'm happy to provide easily-found answers, though!

Had a scatterbrained couple of days; I'll answer further questions in the morning if they're still unanswered by then!

I just want to know all I can about Belimarius; what her preferred abjuration spells are, details about her weapon of rule, unique details about the personality of the "least considered" runelord, etc.

Sovereign Court

I just got my shipping notice and PDF downloads, but just like last month the "one file per chapter" download is missing.

Anyone else have this issue or is it just me?


Ok, I'm now far more anxious to see the dragons art... Can anyone tell me if the artists responsible for the previous dragons are listed in the AP? If not, do you recognize the new artist?

Dark Archive

Angry Wizard wrote:
El Ronza wrote:
Angry Wizard wrote:
El Ronza wrote:

Oh hey, I got my book! I can answer questions! :D

May I please ask you to PM me something from the book? If not, that's ok.

Ask away, but I haven't had a chance to actually sit down and read it yet. I'm happy to provide easily-found answers, though!

Had a scatterbrained couple of days; I'll answer further questions in the morning if they're still unanswered by then!

I just want to know all I can about Belimarius; what her preferred abjuration spells are, details about her weapon of rule, unique details about the personality of the "least considered" runelord, etc.

Well I can say she is surprisingly snarky and nonchalant for someone who is ready to kill you for talking back to her :D Like she is different type of smugness when compared to Xanderghul

Scarab Sages

Cylerist wrote:

I just got my shipping notice and PDF downloads, but just like last month the "one file per chapter" download is missing.

Anyone else have this issue or is it just me?

It's there for me. Try customer service?

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
The Gold Sovereign wrote:
Ok, I'm now far more anxious to see the dragons art... Can anyone tell me if the artists responsible for the previous dragons are listed in the AP? If not, do you recognize the new artist?

The pictures of the two dragons (Apocalypse Dragon and Bliss Dragon) aren't initialed that I can see, and their styles are more or less consistent with other art, sorry, I'm not a good judge of that.

That said, I assume that whoever is responsible is on the list of interior artists from the credits at the start of the book, and since they probably rarely get called out and thanked here they are: Felipe Escobar, Miguel Regodón Harkness, Oksana Kerro, Ksenia Kozhevnikova, Valeria Lutfullina, Emiliano Petrozzi, Roberto Pitturru, and Maichol Quinto.

Fantastic art as always y'all!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Duiker wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:
Ok, I'm now far more anxious to see the dragons art... Can anyone tell me if the artists responsible for the previous dragons are listed in the AP? If not, do you recognize the new artist?

The pictures of the two dragons (Apocalypse Dragon and Bliss Dragon) aren't initialed that I can see, and their styles are more or less consistent with other art, sorry, I'm not a good judge of that.

That said, I assume that whoever is responsible is on the list of interior artists from the credits at the start of the book, and since they probably rarely get called out and thanked here they are: Felipe Escobar, Miguel Regodón Harkness, Oksana Kerro, Ksenia Kozhevnikova, Valeria Lutfullina, Emiliano Petrozzi, Roberto Pitturru, and Maichol Quinto.

Fantastic art as always y'all!

The crypt, havoc, infernal, paradise, and rift dragons from Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 6 are the work of Leesha Hannigan.

The edict dragon in Pathfinder #131 is the work of Cynthia F.G.

The bliss and apocalypse dragons in Pathfinder #137 are the work of Emiliano Petrozzi.

And as you can see from its product page, Pathfinder #138 has one more planar dragon by a different artist, yet I'd rather not spoil the surprise before the book is in readers' hands.

I adore each of these creatures and their illustrations.


John Compton wrote:
Duiker wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:
Ok, I'm now far more anxious to see the dragons art... Can anyone tell me if the artists responsible for the previous dragons are listed in the AP? If not, do you recognize the new artist?

The pictures of the two dragons (Apocalypse Dragon and Bliss Dragon) aren't initialed that I can see, and their styles are more or less consistent with other art, sorry, I'm not a good judge of that.

That said, I assume that whoever is responsible is on the list of interior artists from the credits at the start of the book, and since they probably rarely get called out and thanked here they are: Felipe Escobar, Miguel Regodón Harkness, Oksana Kerro, Ksenia Kozhevnikova, Valeria Lutfullina, Emiliano Petrozzi, Roberto Pitturru, and Maichol Quinto.

Fantastic art as always y'all!

The crypt, havoc, infernal, paradise, and rift dragons from Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 6 are the work of Leesha Hannigan.

The edict dragon in Pathfinder #131 is the work of Cynthia F.G.

The bliss and apocalypse dragons in Pathfinder #137 are the work of Emiliano Petrozzi.

And as you can see from its product page, Pathfinder #138 has one more planar dragon by a different artist, yet I'd rather not spoil the surprise before the book is in readers' hands.

I adore each of these creatures and their illustrations.

I would love to see the two dragons in this volume in a blog preview. *-*


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Everyone wants planar dragons and kytons. I am totally stoked for chronogeists. They fill a serious niche I needed for one of my first generation campaigns I was building. I swear, sometimes it feels like Paizo is in my head... >_> <_< >_>

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Got this as part of my subscription yesterday and it seems there is a printing error. Starting at page 33, several of the pages are replaced with other pages later in the book. These out of order pages are then reprinted in their correct place and order.

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Cigaran wrote:
Got this as part of my subscription yesterday and it seems there is a printing error. Starting at page 33, several of the pages are replaced with other pages later in the book. These out of order pages are then reprinted in their correct place and order.

That happens from time to time. Contact customer service and they'll get you fixed up.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Adam Daigle wrote:
Cigaran wrote:
Got this as part of my subscription yesterday and it seems there is a printing error. Starting at page 33, several of the pages are replaced with other pages later in the book. These out of order pages are then reprinted in their correct place and order.
That happens from time to time. Contact customer service and they'll get you fixed up.

Will do. Hoping it's just a few versus a large part of the print run.


Did anyone find full pictures of the planar dragons now that the chapter was released? Only the last three of them for me to say that I've seen all PF1E true dragons. *-*

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