Pathfinder Adventure Path #145: Hellknight Hill (Age of Ashes 1 of 6)

3.90/5 (based on 16 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #145: Hellknight Hill (Age of Ashes 1 of 6)

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Dawn of a New Age

Fires burn atop the ruined citadel on Hellknight Hill, sending plumes of red smoke into the air that could be a call for help. Within the old keep, strange invaders from a distant land, mysterious long-lost ruins, and the machinations of a shadowy organization await discovery. Something dire is building toward an apocalyptic event, and it falls to your characters to stop the end before it begins. The Age of Ashes Adventure Path begins with "Hellknight Hill"—a complete adventure for 1st- to 4th-level characters.

ISBN: 978-1-64078-173-3

Online Resources: Rules and mechanics from this book can be accessed for free on Paizo's official online resource: Archives of Nethys. Click here!

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

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3.90/5 (based on 16 ratings)

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Be willing to avoid needless combat - otherwise good

4/5

Nice adventure, took my group of 4-5 players roughly 30 hours to finish this. Overall, there's some weird plot holes and lots of needless combats. One thing I appreciated is there's not a 'grind until you're leveled up' aspect - I was able to use a milestone method for leveling, so my players didn't attempt to slaughter everything they met for gold and XP. Also, nice work adding in NPCs that have some depth. I enjoyed that the goblins aren't monsters, but can instead become staunch allies (and help progress the plot).


5/5

Simply a very good adventure to start playing pf2. You find interesting, very easy for a novice Gm in pf2 to direct and carry it correctly. There are opportunities for role-playing, research and combat in a manageable environment for a novice Gm.
The book is structured in a fantastic way.
Sincerely, a first book of the path totally recommended to start with pf2.


New Edition, Old School Feel

5/5

Despite providing some new twists (such as rescuing goblins from a crazed halfling instead of the other way around), a lot of Hellknight Hill feels like a callback to older dungeon crawls. The PCs have a large structure to delve through and numerous factions with which to interact. A desire for exploration drives most of the adventure, allowing the PCs to grow together as a group and figure out how to unearth the secrets of Hellknight Hill in their own way.

The factions provide a lot of potential for expansion and interaction. In a short amount of space, the text delivers a good feel for each monster and its motivations. This leaves a lot of room for expansion of the GM desires and lets the PCs choose many different ways to bypass their problems. Do the adventurers kill all the monsters? Do they work with some of them? Play the different factions off of each other? These choices seem basic, but the fact that the adventure doesn't push the PCs too hard down one path allows the group to find their own identity and grow together as a team.

This volume lacks a real big bad at the end (although one particular nasty foe can turn into a TPK if the PCs get too cocky). Technically, the cultists the PCs face do have a named leader, but he and his followers are in a desperate situation themselves and don't feel like end bosses. However, their presence provides enough foreshadowing that PCs should be intrigued by what the future holds.

In terms of feel, I think this module compares to old school D&D modules like In Search of the Unknown and Keep on the Borderlands. The story unfolds gradually, but in doing so it showcases the latitude and depth of options that RPGs allow. The adventure thus serves as a great introduction to new players without repeating so many old tropes that old players might get bored.

Hellknight Hill serves as a solid first volume to the Age of Ashes adventure path, but it can also function as a stand-alone adventure if desired. It's a fun adventure with a wide variety of challenges, interesting NPCs, and lots of room for expansion.


Tons of fun

5/5

Had a lot of fun with this, just got through it, players loved it.


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Dark Archive

Where on Golarion is Breechill?


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Sounds Cheliaxy.

So, no more numbered volumes, it seems.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

10 people marked this as a favorite.

It's in Isger.

We're still numbering APs, but the number only shows up in the last three digits of the "PZO" product code and on the spine.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I know the page kind of says it but to confirm this will be in the AP Subscription and 1e Sub will rollover into 2e AP Sub when Tyrants Grasp is done?


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thanks for the explanation, Erik!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Marco Massoudi wrote:
Where on Golarion is Breechill?

It's brand new. Breachill is located in Isger, though.

EDIT: Which Erik's already confirmed. :P


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Nicolas Paradise wrote:
I know the page kind of says it but to confirm this will be in the AP Subscription and 1e Sub will rollover into 2e AP Sub when Tyrants Grasp is done?

Full info on subscriptions here.

Dark Archive

Erik Mona wrote:

It's in Isger.

We're still numbering APs, but the number only shows up in the last three digits of the "PZO" product code and on the spine.

Thank you for answering, Erik.

Is the Hellknight Citadel Altaerein or Dinyar?

Is this AP #1 or #145?
Cheers.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oooh, neat! I think that also suggests that we're heading towards Citadel Altaerein.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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

It's in Isger.

We're still numbering APs, but the number only shows up in the last three digits of the "PZO" product code and on the spine.

Thank you for answering, Erik.

Is the Hellknight Citadel Altaerein or Dinyar?

Is this AP #1 or #145?
Cheers.

This is AP #145, and it's Citadel Altaerein.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Nicolas Paradise wrote:
I know the page kind of says it but to confirm this will be in the AP Subscription and 1e Sub will rollover into 2e AP Sub when Tyrants Grasp is done?

We'll be talking a lot more about subscriptions in the coming weeks, but that's the gist of it, yes.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Erik Mona wrote:
Nicolas Paradise wrote:
I know the page kind of says it but to confirm this will be in the AP Subscription and 1e Sub will rollover into 2e AP Sub when Tyrants Grasp is done?
We'll be talking a lot more about subscriptions in the coming weeks, but that's the gist of it, yes.

Thank you sir, your a hero. I figured as much but it is nice to hear it from the source.

Liberty's Edge

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

This is a solid beginner's intro to the Pathfinder setting! Showcasing stuff like Hellknights and Isger (home of many a goblin!) which makes Golarion unique while sticking to tropes that will be familiar and welcoming to 5e fans like dragons and adventurers being sent to check out ruined castles... what an excellent start to a new edition!


It sounds like an amazing AP.

I'm anxious to see what comes next, after we have "concluded" our fight against two of our greatest enemies (the Runelords and the Tyrant) one after the other.

Will the evolution of Pathfinder give us an even greater enemy to fear?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

14 people marked this as a favorite.
The Gold Sovereign wrote:

It sounds like an amazing AP.

I'm anxious to see what comes next, after we have "concluded" our fight against two of our greatest enemies (the Runelords and the Tyrant) one after the other.

Will the evolution of Pathfinder give us an even greater enemy to fear?

I hope so. It IS someone you folks already know, after all. Mwa ha ha.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Oooh! Very exciting!


James Jacobs wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:

It sounds like an amazing AP.

I'm anxious to see what comes next, after we have "concluded" our fight against two of our greatest enemies (the Runelords and the Tyrant) one after the other.

Will the evolution of Pathfinder give us an even greater enemy to fear?

I hope so. It IS someone you folks already know, after all. Mwa ha ha.

Mr. Jacobs. One of the greatest opponents my curiosity has ever happily faced. XD

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Can't wait!

Second Edition Adventure Path will come in the usual 100 pages format?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:

It sounds like an amazing AP.

I'm anxious to see what comes next, after we have "concluded" our fight against two of our greatest enemies (the Runelords and the Tyrant) one after the other.

Will the evolution of Pathfinder give us an even greater enemy to fear?

I hope so. It IS someone you folks already know, after all. Mwa ha ha.

Looking forward to seeing Aashaq's new stats.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

7 people marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:

It sounds like an amazing AP.

I'm anxious to see what comes next, after we have "concluded" our fight against two of our greatest enemies (the Runelords and the Tyrant) one after the other.

Will the evolution of Pathfinder give us an even greater enemy to fear?

I hope so. It IS someone you folks already know, after all. Mwa ha ha.

I was wondering when we'd get the "Mengkare is Evil" adventure path


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:

It sounds like an amazing AP.

I'm anxious to see what comes next, after we have "concluded" our fight against two of our greatest enemies (the Runelords and the Tyrant) one after the other.

Will the evolution of Pathfinder give us an even greater enemy to fear?

I hope so. It IS someone you folks already know, after all. Mwa ha ha.
Looking forward to seeing Aashaq's new stats.

As this starts in Isger, i have a feeling the final threat is of the "Sixth King", Daralathyxl


Vorsk, Follower or Erastil wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:

It sounds like an amazing AP.

I'm anxious to see what comes next, after we have "concluded" our fight against two of our greatest enemies (the Runelords and the Tyrant) one after the other.

Will the evolution of Pathfinder give us an even greater enemy to fear?

I hope so. It IS someone you folks already know, after all. Mwa ha ha.
Looking forward to seeing Aashaq's new stats.
As this starts in Isger, i have a feeling the final threat is of the "Sixth King", Daralathyxl

Reasonable, but "continent-spanning" allows us to go farther afield, and Aashaq fits better with a cult aspect and motivated action toward a goal.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

He is such a tease!

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

11 people marked this as a favorite.

Well, I am rather excited* to see this announced! :D

Tiny whisper:
AKA TERRIFIED!!! EEP!

I really hope folks enjoy the adventure!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I can speak only for me, Amanda, but the fact it's based in the old Order of the Nail's citadel is pretty huge selling point for me. :)

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Seitz wrote:
I can speak only for me, Amanda, but the fact it's based in the old Order of the Nail's citadel is pretty huge selling point for me. :)

Oh yeah, I loved taking the opportunity to detail Citadel Altaerein. It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Hellknights and of weaving stories throughout the environment of dungeons. Plus, the Order of the Nail holds a special place in my heart because my first adventure for Paizo (#4-13 Fortress of the Nail) took place in Citadel Vraid, and that assignment allowed me to feel invested in and build personalities for some of the order's leaders. And I've outlined and developed adventures set in Isger, so this pretty much felt like a dream project!

Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:

It sounds like an amazing AP.

I'm anxious to see what comes next, after we have "concluded" our fight against two of our greatest enemies (the Runelords and the Tyrant) one after the other.

Will the evolution of Pathfinder give us an even greater enemy to fear?

I hope so. It IS someone you folks already know, after all. Mwa ha ha.

I vote for an AP with a mad keketar or entire chorus behind it all, ala Song of Gentle Poison from 'Beyond the Vault of Souls'. ;)

Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.

AP set in Isger. Odds of the Wight Mother of Isger showing up? :)


To what level is this AP designed to take characters through? I am currently running my players through Return of the Runelords. And they are loving it and the nostalgia factor. My group tends to prefer to play through to level 20, so they can one day reach their capstone abilities.

Silver Crusade

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Todd Stewart wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:

It sounds like an amazing AP.

I'm anxious to see what comes next, after we have "concluded" our fight against two of our greatest enemies (the Runelords and the Tyrant) one after the other.

Will the evolution of Pathfinder give us an even greater enemy to fear?

I hope so. It IS someone you folks already know, after all. Mwa ha ha.
I vote for an AP with a mad keketar or entire chorus behind it all, ala Song of Gentle Poison from 'Beyond the Vault of Souls'. ;)

*shoots Todd with a tranq dart*

There, lock him up and make sure he doesn't do any further creativity without a contract with Paizo.


Why is everyone guessing that Aashaq is the villain? Should I go back and read more about her, Isger and the Order of the Nail? I can't see our first big bad for Pathfinder 2E to be a dragon... I mean, we had none in 1E... Am I still a bit skeptical about dragons with main rules in Pathfinder APs?

Dark Archive

Like I don't think its Aashaq since she is cleric level 7 aka CR 25 <_< Like, by Pathfinder's CR logic, that would be impossible hard final boss for level 20 party. Mean while great wyrm red dragon is CR 22 so that seems like plausible final boss material.

Anyway, I think having our first BBEG dragon be in 2e's first ap does actually make sense since its one of things players have requested for long time, its classic D&Dy and Age of Ashes does sound like something is gonna burn something.


So is that the new font/type/logo for "Pathfinder"? I'm guessing that cover artwork is not final, but the branding feels like it might be. I like the small designation of Second Edition.


Ah. I see all the other products. So that is the new logo.

Silver Crusade

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

It's pretty

Liberty's Edge

Does It have anything to do with that mythic red dragon of the 5 Kings mountains?


Are there going to be options in the Player Guide or in this to allow players to be Hellknights?

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

WILL THERE BE PLAYER'S GUIDES???

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
User69 wrote:

Can't wait!

Second Edition Adventure Path will come in the usual 100 pages format?

Correct.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

12 people marked this as a favorite.
wizenedguru wrote:
To what level is this AP designed to take characters through? I am currently running my players through Return of the Runelords. And they are loving it and the nostalgia factor. My group tends to prefer to play through to level 20, so they can one day reach their capstone abilities.

The hope and goal at this time is that all of our Adventure Paths going forward will go from 1st level to 20th level.

That's certainly the intent for Age of Ashes.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
WILL THERE BE PLAYER'S GUIDES???

Of course.

Hellknight rules won't be in the Age of Ashes player's guide, but we'll have those rules out very soon. Playing a Hellknight in Age of Ashes should be interesting.

As for exactly WHAT is going into the Player's Guide... I can't say yet because I haven't yet written it. I've got more ideas in it than are responsible to include in it, of course. I'll likely aim to keep it pretty simple and short so that...

...A) It doesn't kill an already incredibly busy editorial department here, and...

...B) Doesn't overwhelm players with too many new options, when everyone's gonna still be focusing on the options in the Core rules.

Contributor

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Marco Massoudi wrote:
Where on Golarion is Breechill?

Anywhere that one can lower the temperature of soft cheeses!

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
Rysky wrote:
WILL THERE BE PLAYER'S GUIDES???

Of course.

Hellknight rules won't be in the Age of Ashes player's guide, but we'll have those rules out very soon. Playing a Hellknight in Age of Ashes should be interesting.

As for exactly WHAT is going into the Player's Guide... I can't say yet because I haven't yet written it. I've got more ideas in it than are responsible to include in it, of course. I'll likely aim to keep it pretty simple and short so that...

...A) It doesn't kill an already incredibly busy editorial department here, and...

...B) Doesn't overwhelm players with too many new options, when everyone's gonna still be focusing on the options in the Core rules.

Does it still have campaign specific background options(which replaced campaign traits)? Or were those replaced by something else after playtest was done?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

9 people marked this as a favorite.
CorvusMask wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Rysky wrote:
WILL THERE BE PLAYER'S GUIDES???

Of course.

Hellknight rules won't be in the Age of Ashes player's guide, but we'll have those rules out very soon. Playing a Hellknight in Age of Ashes should be interesting.

As for exactly WHAT is going into the Player's Guide... I can't say yet because I haven't yet written it. I've got more ideas in it than are responsible to include in it, of course. I'll likely aim to keep it pretty simple and short so that...

...A) It doesn't kill an already incredibly busy editorial department here, and...

...B) Doesn't overwhelm players with too many new options, when everyone's gonna still be focusing on the options in the Core rules.

Does it still have campaign specific background options(which replaced campaign traits)? Or were those replaced by something else after playtest was done?

The role previously played by campaign traits will be played by backgrounds, yes. That's the only rules element that I can 100% guarantee will be in the player's guide.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Rysky wrote:
WILL THERE BE PLAYER'S GUIDES???

Of course.

Hellknight rules won't be in the Age of Ashes player's guide, but we'll have those rules out very soon. Playing a Hellknight in Age of Ashes should be interesting.

As for exactly WHAT is going into the Player's Guide... I can't say yet because I haven't yet written it. I've got more ideas in it than are responsible to include in it, of course. I'll likely aim to keep it pretty simple and short so that...

...A) It doesn't kill an already incredibly busy editorial department here, and...

...B) Doesn't overwhelm players with too many new options, when everyone's gonna still be focusing on the options in the Core rules.

Does it still have campaign specific background options(which replaced campaign traits)? Or were those replaced by something else after playtest was done?
The role previously played by campaign traits will be played by backgrounds, yes. That's the only rules element that I can 100% guarantee will be in the player's guide.

Yay!

Can't wait to see what you come up with ^w^


This is interesting news. I have yet to play a Hellknight, though I seem to favor characters from Cheliax, lol. but perhaps in PFS I can at least start one.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:

It sounds like an amazing AP.

I'm anxious to see what comes next, after we have "concluded" our fight against two of our greatest enemies (the Runelords and the Tyrant) one after the other.

Will the evolution of Pathfinder give us an even greater enemy to fear?

I hope so. It IS someone you folks already know, after all. Mwa ha ha.

I always knew Damiel would be the one to kill me.


Todd Stewart wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:

It sounds like an amazing AP.

I'm anxious to see what comes next, after we have "concluded" our fight against two of our greatest enemies (the Runelords and the Tyrant) one after the other.

Will the evolution of Pathfinder give us an even greater enemy to fear?

I hope so. It IS someone you folks already know, after all. Mwa ha ha.
I vote for an AP with a mad keketar or entire chorus behind it all, ala Song of Gentle Poison from 'Beyond the Vault of Souls'. ;)

I loved your work on Starfinder. I'm sure this one will be awesome :)

Dark Archive

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Can you please do one thing different in the new AP volumes?

Please include a list of the magical and special items that can be found throughout the adventure in an appendix at the end of the book and where they can be found.
Most ideally include the value behind the item.

It takes up so much time to search for all the items throughout the books of an AP (i am now looking in book #1 & 2 of Strange Aeons where which books have been found to see what kind of bonus they give to skill checks and it is so much unnecessary work).

Thank you for considering this. :-)

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