Pathfinder Adventure Path #138: Rise of New Thassilon (Return of the Runelords 6 of 6)

Pathfinder Adventure Path #138: Rise of New Thassilon (Return of the Runelords 6 of 6)

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Sins of the Past

Varisia has been destroyed! Runelord Alaznist's alteration of the past has thrown the frontier nation into chaos, devastated cities, resurrected demon lords, and worse. The Runelord of Wrath is now primed to seize control of a ruined realm, so that she can remake it into a New Thassilon with herself as its furious queen. Only one desperate plan can set things right—a band of heroes must discover a method to travel back in time and repair the damage their enemy has wrought on history, but can they make the sacrifices necessary for victory? This adventure allows the heroes to reach the absolute height of power, but even the potent options gained at 20th level may not be enough for the party to survive the furious might of Runelord Alaznist in her seat of power!

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

  • "Rise of New Thassilon," a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 17th-level characters, by Greg A. Vaughan.
  • A brief exploration of how the Return of the Runelords Adventure Path will change Golarion in the future, including the first-ever map of the empire of Thassilon as it stood before the devastation of Earthfall, by James Jacobs.
  • A bestiary of monsters, including undead salamander forgemasters, living landslides, the mysterious hallowed lynxes used by runelords as pets and guardians, a planar dragon from the tumultuous Maelstrom, and the immense Great Old One Mhar itself, by John Compton, Andrew D. Geels, Lyz Liddell, Luis Loza, and David Schwartz.

ISBN-13: 978-1-64078-106-1

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

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
Reading the entry again, I think they are evil because they were originally created by binding Shining Children(which are evil outsiders) into body of a lynx

Yeah, I noted that. But other than that one line, which does not cover their own nature at all, the entire two page entry reads like "These are guardian creatures, they are rare and coveted". Normally any monster entry explains the evil alignment in some way.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
magnuskn wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Reading the entry again, I think they are evil because they were originally created by binding Shining Children(which are evil outsiders) into body of a lynx
Yeah, I noted that. But other than that one line, which does not cover their own nature at all, the entire two page entry reads like "These are guardian creatures, they are rare and coveted". Normally any monster entry explains the evil alignment in some way.

... They're made from Evil Outsiders.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yep. But the entire entry doesn't make anything of that, but the fact that they are made of Shining Children. About any other monster entry for an evil monster mentions their evil nature, etc. As far as the (really pretty long) entry for the Hallowed Lynx is concerned, they are dangerous wild cats, who are widely coveted as guardians and pets. You'd think that the writer would mention if they eat the servants for funsies or something like that.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
CorvusMask wrote:
Reading the entry again, I think they are evil because they were originally created by binding Shining Children(which are evil outsiders) into body of a lynx

It is because cats are EVIL. Anything that likes to shove it's butt in your face and get you emotionally dependent on it before proceeding to die when you need it the most is EVIL!

Silver Crusade

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

... *tentatively offers Phillip hugs*

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

12 people marked this as a favorite.

While it is fair to acknowledge the notable themes that occur in adventures, it is not acceptable insinuate motivations and characteristics about the people behind those projects. There is content previously in this thread with aims to do that, and I have left it rather than remove it due to the following content which involves conversation about the characters and content of the Adventure Path.

Please be mindful of how you reference the real people behind the work you’re critiquing. Also note that replying to content which you believe should be moderated makes it harder for moderators to remove those posts. Please flag content and move on from the subject of the flagged material.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Cats made from evil outsiders!!! I knew Hellcats weren't the only evil felines out there!!


I've had to cat-sit on occasion, and been told "He's an absolute dear, except he'll sometimes randomly scratch you for no reason whatsoever." Which is pretty much textbook chaotic evil behavior, if you ask me.

Really, my only regret is that the shiny kitty comes too late for me to use it in my current campaign. Alas!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Cats made from evil outsiders!!! I knew Hellcats weren't the only evil felines out there!!

That would certainly explain waking up and seeing our cat just sitting at your bed watching you. I mean if that is not the start of a horror moivie i don't know^^

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Just a heads-up: Sorshen, Arushalee, Nocticula, Casandalee, Shensen, etc are all James Jacobs characters regardless of who wrote the particular AP. You can probably just ask him about these characters in his ask JJ thread. You have the fortune of all of them being created by the same guy in this particular instance.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Robert Brookes wrote:
Just a heads-up: Sorshen, Arushalee, Nocticula, Casandalee, Shensen, etc are all James Jacobs characters regardless of who wrote the particular AP. You can probably just ask him about these characters in his ask JJ thread. You have the fortune of all of them being created by the same guy in this particular instance.

This feels less like a friendly tip and more like an attempt to start a good ol' internet mobbing.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Don't worry, James handled worse.


Gorbacz wrote:
Don't worry, James handled worse.

- see "WotR#5 and Iomedae's trumpets"


Waifus!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Angry Wizard wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Don't worry, James handled worse.
- see "WotR#5 and Iomedae's trumpets"

The bad girls become good, and the good girls act like bad girls.

Shadow Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Well most of my group played WotR and actually redeemed the old lich guy. So I was just going to do a hot fix and switch Shorshen out with him. Nothing is better then a cranky old man trying to do better. I just need to practice my Grand Torino Clint Eastwood impersonations with a splash of anger issues.


WRT repeating AP storylines, at least this one will have some difficulty forcing the players into the mandatory fiendish brothel.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
Wannabe Demon Lord wrote:
Can anyone tell me about the Ashen Forgemaster? Undead Salamanders sound interesting.

Ooh pick me! I designed that one!

Not sure what all I'm allowed to say about it, but someone already pointed out it's CR, type and subtype, etc. earlier:

Spoiler:
Ashen Forgemaster, CR 17, CE Large undead (extraplanar, fire)

Without really spoiling anything, the creature's concept is an extension of part of the Salamander bestiary entry. I came up with the creature before knowing what project it would be attached to. However, even though it isn't necessarily something exclusive to the Runelords in theory, I definitely pitched the idea because I thought it would fit the general theme and motivation behind Thassilon.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I really enjoyed reading this and can't wait to play it out. The only thing I wished they'd have flushed out is

Spoiler:
the geopolitical impact of Sorshen declaring herself queen of New Thassilon. I'd be really interested in reading about how Cheliax, Andoran, Taldor, etc would react to Sorshen and this new kingdom. I'd really like to see just how she got Magnimar and Korvosa on board

Dark Archive

samuraixsithlord wrote:

I really enjoyed reading this and can't wait to play it out. The only thing I wished they'd have flushed out is

** spoiler omitted **

Well she was noted to make her grand appearance in book 4 and apparently did some political partying offscreen that players weren't observing :p

Anyhoo realized I made error earlier so I would like to clarify one thing about that wizard group I mentioned:

So:
Aethysa who claims to be third incarnation of previous Runelords named Aethysa(a transmuter and a necromancer) is a conjurer.


Sounds great. Can't wait for it. And Time Travel adventures are always fun. But I can understand that writers are a little hesistant to use that^^


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
samuraixsithlord wrote:

I really enjoyed reading this and can't wait to play it out. The only thing I wished they'd have flushed out is

** spoiler omitted **

"fleshed out". "flushed out" is something else altogether. ^^^

Spoiler:
I'm pretty sure the political impact on Sorshen and Belimarius two New Thassilons will be picked up in whatever new campaign guide product Paizo will be doing in the future. Which probably will only be an update softcover, if I remember correctly James saying that they don't want to just release another campaign guide. Who knows, maybe it will be a hardcover Golarion atlas.

Anyway, the thing I find a bit hard to swallow is that Belimarius is supposed to be canonically still alive after the AP. The way module five portrays her and also the fact that the PC's probably ally themselves with opponents of her *and* that there's a pretty ghost girl who says that the PC's would have to kill Belimarius to put her to rest... let's say I expect her actual survival quota in played AP's to be significantly lower than 50%.

Dark Archive

magnuskn wrote:
samuraixsithlord wrote:

I really enjoyed reading this and can't wait to play it out. The only thing I wished they'd have flushed out is

** spoiler omitted **

"fleshed out". "flushed out" is something else altogether. ^^^

** spoiler omitted **

To be fair,:
same perky ghost child is also completely happy to not go back to rest :p She is kinda disturbingly cheerful all things considered, she is more snarky about Belimarius than actually angry. Heck she seems like she would be completely okay with traveling the world as a ghost

But yaeh, you could always take it as "Yeaaah, we aren't going to fight runelord of ABJURATION if we can help it"

Also depends on party, I've seen parties which never attack evil doers unless they attack first :p And some parties might be satisfied with beating her to surrender


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Spoiler:
True, but the difference between Xanderghul and Belimarius is a bit striking. Both attack when the party gets a bit too snarky (a common occurance between roleplayers, I've heard it being told), only that Xanderghul needs a special surrender condition to survive, while Belimarius surrender condition is "reaches certain amount of HP (hopefully still alive after the last hit from a level 17 character)" and canonically I guess Xanderghul gets roasted on a giant scale.

They are very similar in their approach to negotiating with the PC's, is what I suppose I am trying to say.

Dark Archive

Yeaaaaaaaah:
It is weird that Xanderghul and Belimarius allying method is pretty much exactly the same except that default assumption is that Belimarius survives and Xanderghul dies. Even Xanderghul is given possibility of becoming more humble as result while Belimarius just remains the same. I guess maybe it was because they wanted that scene with Xanderghul's soul and High Justice/Abaddon's sun to happen or because they wanted to get rid of one more level 20 mythic tier 10 wizard <_<

Ah well, at least both Xanderghul and Belimarius are amusing villains


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

True dat.

Media Specialist/Graphic Designer, SmiteWorks USA

Hello everyone! 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)

Return of the Runelords AP 6: Rise of New Thassilon
Publisher: Paizo Inc.
System: Pathfinder RPG and D&D 3.5/ OGL
Type: Adventure
Get it on Steam


5 people marked this as a favorite.

All I know is the final encounter with Alaznist is the most insane thing I've ever read. That and the time travel stuff.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I loved the art for both Alaznist and Sorshen in the appendices. The story was an entertaining read as well.


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

The artwork with Sorshen for the Hallowed Lynx also was pretty damn awesome.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Pretty kitty! :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Belimarius as a survivor kind of leaves me cold.

For me the more interesting option would be Xanderghul surviving as a new minor deity, but stuck in his temple and forced to change/narrow his focus to running a new/old religion.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Most interesting thing about Xanderghul surviving would be what is the rest of the world's reaction to learning he is actual living god when compared to Razmir xP

Paizo Employee Creative Director

8 people marked this as a favorite.

THe fact that Xanderghul, the most powerful of the Runelords, does NOT survive is more interesting to me, and his relatively humiliating end is a great element to justify the sin of pride being a character flaw and not a strength. ALL of the runelords who embrace their sins end up with bad ends, and those who move above them do not. Belimarius is a possible exception, but only because we're kinda saving her as a storyline to carry this element forward into 2nd edition if folks are interested in seeing more Runelords stuff.

Of course, feel free to adjust and change for your own Runelords game! That's the great part about being a GM after all! But I didn't just randomly or idly make any of the decisions on who lives and dies in building the AP up... ;-)

Dark Archive

I agree that canon default setting wise Xanderghul survival itself wouldn't be interesting. Like most interesting thing about it would be "How do other nations react to it to living god ruling a nation" as I said, otherwise if he survived, he likely would enter into some sort of cold war with Sorshen who is same power level <_< Meanwhile with Belimarius and Sorshen there is more interesting dynamic since Belimarius, while abjurer, was still the second weakest runelord and so basically has to rely on Sorshen being uninterested in crushing her since that type of conflict is less likely to derail whole of Varisia to be just about Xanderghul vs Sorshen cold war.


Cold War, warm war. All I know is I'm pretty sure there are some Abyssal powers that MIGHT be ready for round 5 soon. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, with Nocticula being Sorshens patron deity, I imagine there are some sore demon lords who'd like a bit of strikeback for having to watch their backs all the time for millenia.


I'm having to avoid reading this as I hope to play in it....that said, I think this is the crowning jewel in my Pathfinder experience....this trilogy is what I have always wanted, and it's what I have designed so many character concept around over the last ten years.

Dark Archive

I kinda have feeling yeah that Nocticula was already goddess at beginning of AP and was just waiting to have good base for mortal followers before making the revelation :D Presumably also founded herself a nice realm outside of Abyss so that when demon lord realize she has "betrayed" their kind, they won't unite against her right away.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Please note that my own version of Xanderghul surviving does not allow for him to be a runelord. Instead, he's trapped in the mythic path to divine ascension, forced to continue the religion which he had invented for (mythic) power purposes. When Alaznist "killed" him, he lost runelord status and could only survive by clinging to divine status. After the party's visit, any remaining runelord power is gone and only the divine remains. The illusion has become the reality for him, wanted or not, and his former reality is gone along with any related power. There might be a subtle insanity (self-delusion) included in this version.

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Okay, I'll admit it - I love the cult's dress code. I just want them to stick around without looking like idiots for worshipping a dead deity.


Can this be PFS sanctioned asap so we can get some PFS level 20's?


Again, the ending with Azlanist, completely wild, wacky and just wow.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paisley5002 wrote:
Can this be PFS sanctioned asap so we can get some PFS level 20's?

It's part of our sanctioning queue, don't worry.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Bellona wrote:

Please note that my own version of Xanderghul surviving does not allow for him to be a runelord. Instead, he's trapped in the mythic path to divine ascension, forced to continue the religion which he had invented for (mythic) power purposes. When Alaznist "killed" him, he lost runelord status and could only survive by clinging to divine status. After the party's visit, any remaining runelord power is gone and only the divine remains. The illusion has become the reality for him, wanted or not, and his former reality is gone along with any related power. There might be a subtle insanity (self-delusion) included in this version.

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Okay, I'll admit it - I love the cult's dress code. I just want them to stick around without looking like idiots for worshipping a dead deity.

My own ideas that when the PC's encountered Xanderghul, they would actually be facing off against an earlier and still evil clone created to run the temple. The actual Xanderghul, between Earthfall shattering his realm and getting murdered by Alaznist, would be a broken man kept as a prisoner, spending most of his days on the couch in a bathrobe drunk


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And eating cheetos with a giant belly. :p


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'll admit that I am okay with Belimarius as one of the surviving Runelords, because she always seemed one of the more interesting ones. She's an Abjurer, which feels like an underrepresented school of magic, she's an evil grandma-looking old lady, which is just generally underrepresented in fiction, and she's actually interested in running her nation. Plus the ghost angle feels like it has quite a lot of potential for character and plot development going forward.

(I do have a soft spot for Xanderghul, if only because there's something homey about his little lair -- you can meet the guy while he's eating dinner or feeling homesick!)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:
And eating cheetos with a giant belly. :p

kind of yeah...


MMCJawa wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
And eating cheetos with a giant belly. :p
kind of yeah...

Xanderghul is a bum who needs to find a job..


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I mean, I found the entries about what the guy was doing when you find him pretty hilarious. I know he is stuck in his sanctum, but he either seems to sleeping, harassing the help or obsessively watching TV (i.e. scrying Sorshen). I'm really kinda sad that he most probably will get murderized by my guys. Belimarius, in contrast, wasn't fun at all in her description and I personally think that Vexnill gives the PC's an excellent motivation for finishing her off.

Then again, the PC's leave Xanderghul sanctum in shambles with probably no survivors, while Xin-Edasseril still stands after part five and there are probably quite a few motivated and capable people who'd bring Belimarius back. So it kind of makes more sense that of the two she is the one who canonically stays around.

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