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

3.60/5 (based on 28 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

"Age of Ashes" is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The rules for running this Adventure and Chronicle sheet are available as a free download (761 kb zip/PDF).

Other Resources: This product is also available on the following platforms:

Hero Lab Online
Fantasy Grounds Virtual Tabletop
Archives of Nethys

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

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3.60/5 (based on 28 ratings)

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Solid intro into the Age of Ashes

5/5

A solid introduction to this adventure path. I don't think it's unfair at any time (especially at level 1 it's sometimes such a thing) and it also offers some variety (we all thought the town hall right at the start was great). Plus, with the heroes' new home, there's also enough roleplay opportunities and relationships with NPCs to revisit over and over again to keep the motivation going. Actually there is absolutely nothing to complain about here. We liked it.


A Poor Start to a Strong AP

2/5

I remember not being drawn in by this upon reading it for the first time, and then dismissing Age of Ashes as an AP in favor of running another 1e game. That was a mistake-- Age of Ashes is definitely a strong AP. This book, however, is not a strong module.

I'll leave aside some of the stuff like wonky encounter difficulty. That's not all that hard to fix. It's pretty clear that the Barghest encounter needs to be adjusted. There are other encounters that are a bit tough, but my group didn't have any problem with that aspect overall.

The entire story and setting seemed a little dull, and didn't do a good job of seeding plot threads for the later volumes. The tone also felt different as well. I wasn't a huge fan of how it was written, and the scenario and setting were kind of generic. A lot of the logic of what happens felt undercooked, like the justification for why the PCs should get the Citadel, or what Voz's motivations were. Overall, it just didn't feel very compelling to me.


2/5


A lethal but good intro to PF2

4/5

I really liked this AP, though I felt that the tie-ins to Breachhill were a bit odd, never really felt compelled to go back to the town once we started clearing the castle.

It is definitely highly lethal as written - consider reducing some of the encounters to weak status from their normal stats.


Here's what you can expect

5/5

Warning: some spoilers ahead.

This 64-page adventure is set in Isger, a vassal state of the diabolic empire of Cheliax. Fortunately for statistically numerous chaotic PCs, Isger exists far enough away from the regimented life of the empire that nice villages like Breachill can live a quiet, peaceful coexistence — so long as money from Isger's trade routes continue flowing into her infernal majestrix's coffers. Some of the people who protect this trade are Hellknights — brutal mercenary enforcers of law and order — who long ago founded a citadel in the forests outside Breachill proper. Yet when prolonged peace prompted the Hellknights to abandon their citadel, something sinister moved in to take their place. In this adventure, you engage in small town mystery hijinks, ally with friendly goblins, and discover an incredible, ancient secret locked away beneath a fortress claimed by monsters and neglect.

Accolades to Amanda Hamon for writing this really awesome inaugural adventure for Pathfinder 2e!

What's in the back?? We've got even more Amanda awesomeness in a Breachill gazetteer, which does a good job mixing small town charm and daily life, sprinkled with scandal and secrecy around the town's mysterious founder — who saved its people when he found them lost and wandering, with no prior memories of who they were. Breachill is a fun peak into daily life in Isger (a long neglected region of Golarion) with a hero-friendly town ripe with low-stakes adventure — an ideal place to rest, found a home base, and just have fun.

Following this, we have an "Adventure Toolbox" written by Logan Bonner, Amanda Hamon, James Jacobs, and Jason Tondro. You'll find a lot of lore articles here exploring both some of the campaign's backdrop as well as some genuinely fascinating stories about Golarion's past: magical elven-made mirrors that cross between worlds, the depradations and narrow defeat of a malicious dragon god, and the tragic fall of noble dragon's vision of paradise.

Yeah, this adventure path has a lot of dragon stuff going on. Probably should have mentioned that sooner, right?

After this, there's some handy treasure, NPCs written for the adventure (a spider disguised as a human, an elven bookshop owner with secrets, and a booksmart goblin with impeccable fashion-sense), and a collection of new creatures: Anadi (spider people!), Doorwarden, Emperor Bird, Grauladon, Graveshell, Hellcrown, and Tixitog.

Age of Ashes is an Adventure Path for PCs from humble roots aspiring to greatness, and starry-eyed explorers eager to travel the wide world and uncover relics of the ancient past. All throughout this hundred-page AP you'll find yourself utterly submerged in gorgeous, evocative art, giving context and telling stories of its own about the people and places found within. Witness the legend of the Age of Ashes with your own eyes, and save the future from a dragon's fantasy yet to be fulfilled.


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Liberty's Edge

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

On a scale of 1 to a steamer trunk full, how many dragon miniatures should I have to run this AP?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

13 people marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Seitz wrote:
I guess we'll see when part 6 gets released in 2020.

In fact, people will all see when part 1 gets released in 2019, since we've got a pretty detailed GM supplement in that volume to help folks run the game.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:
I guess we'll see when part 6 gets released in 2020.
In fact, people will all see when part 1 gets released in 2019, since we've got a pretty detailed GM supplement in that volume to help folks run the game.

and even if we didn't, part 6 is coming out this year...

Silver Crusade

Enlight_Bystand wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:
I guess we'll see when part 6 gets released in 2020.
In fact, people will all see when part 1 gets released in 2019, since we've got a pretty detailed GM supplement in that volume to help folks run the game.
and even if we didn't, part 6 is coming out this year...

January, unless they’re doing a double month.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I think they are shifting the start of APs so that they are now July – December and January – June. Technically, the Second Edition products are part of the July releases, with only their street date delayed by one week.


Rysky wrote:
Enlight_Bystand wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:
I guess we'll see when part 6 gets released in 2020.
In fact, people will all see when part 1 gets released in 2019, since we've got a pretty detailed GM supplement in that volume to help folks run the game.
and even if we didn't, part 6 is coming out this year...
January, unless they’re doing a double month.

They are. Hellknight Hill comes out at the same time as Midwives to Death.

Silver Crusade

HTD wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Enlight_Bystand wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:
I guess we'll see when part 6 gets released in 2020.
In fact, people will all see when part 1 gets released in 2019, since we've got a pretty detailed GM supplement in that volume to help folks run the game.
and even if we didn't, part 6 is coming out this year...
January, unless they’re doing a double month.
They are. Hellknight Hill comes out at the same time as Midwives to Death.

I was referring to a double for Age of Ashes.

Dark Archive

AGE OF ASHES: momentary intended release dates:

1: Hellknight Hill (august 1st)
2: Cult of Cinders (august 28th)
3: Tomorrow must burn (sept 18th)
4: Fires of the Haunted City (oct 16th)
5: Against the scarlet Triad (nov 13th)
6: Broken Promises (december 11th)

I expect the august volumes to be punctual.
The others could maybe move a week back.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Street date for Paizo products is usually the last Wednesday of the month, so more likely:

Part 1: Hellknight Hill – August 1 (exception, July product)
Part 2: Cult of Cinders – August 28
Part 3: Tomorrow must burn – September 25
Part 4: Fires of the Haunted City – October 30
Part 5: Against the scarlet Triad – November 27
Part 6: Broken Promises – December 26 (possibly a week later due to Christmas)


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

Based on past experience, the street dates for November and December should come before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, so my best guess would be November 20th and December 19th for the last two.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Ah, that makes sense. Sorry, as a European, I didn't even have Thanksgiving on my radar.


Thank you James Jacobs for reminding me that each opener will have a short summary of each other book.

Also I thought it was 2020 because I wasn't sure if there was enough time left in 2019 for Paizo to fit in ALL of this before the start of 2020.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

18 people marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Seitz wrote:

Thank you James Jacobs for reminding me that each opener will have a short summary of each other book.

Also I thought it was 2020 because I wasn't sure if there was enough time left in 2019 for Paizo to fit in ALL of this before the start of 2020.

Starting with Age of Ashes, each part 1 of our Adventure Paths will have more than a "short summary" of the rest of the campaign, but will have several pages of additional information and notes to help GMs prepare.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:

Thank you James Jacobs for reminding me that each opener will have a short summary of each other book.

Also I thought it was 2020 because I wasn't sure if there was enough time left in 2019 for Paizo to fit in ALL of this before the start of 2020.

Starting with Age of Ashes, each part 1 of our Adventure Paths will have more than a "short summary" of the rest of the campaign, but will have several pages of additional information and notes to help GMs prepare.

This is excellent news as Age of Ashes will be the first Adventure Path that I will run as it is published.

Liberty's Edge

Will this one go to 20th lvl?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Paladinosaur wrote:
Will this one go to 20th lvl?

Apparently, the answer to that question is supposed to be "Yes" for the duration of 2nd edition.


All APs have been said to be envisioned to go from 1st to 20th level starting with Age of Ashes, a different pattern will be an exception in PF2E.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

So not only will PCs get to go the distance, GMs will now get MORE info so they can make a clearer determination of what each chapter will entail.

Good move Paizo guys. Good move.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Starfinder has sections of their AP books dedicated to lore that -could- be valuable to lore nerds like myself. If I were a player, I would be very tempted to purchase the Starfinder AP books and thumb through the backmatter.

Is this the case for the Pathfinder AP books as well? If it's just flavor to help a GM, I'm skipping it as a player. But if it's interesting lore and helps set the tone or provide tangential details... then I will probably buy them to use backmatter to add color for successful bardic knowledge rolls, for example.

Lantern Lodge Customer Service & Community Manager

6 people marked this as a favorite.

I removed a derail about product release information.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

We got the updated product descriptions for the last four volumes, so could we get the descriptions for the first two, please? I'm really anxious to know the articles we are getting in those.

Scarab Sages

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I think helping the goblins is going to be a nice inversion and callback to Burnt Offerings.


We actually got the updated product description for part 2 of Extinction Curse, however, we know nothing about the very first Adventure Path volume's additional content (articles and monsters)...

Knowing it would be great, really. =/


Hrm, I got the shipping notice, but the PDF isn't available for download. What gives?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, LO Special Edition, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
magnuskn wrote:
Hrm, I got the shipping notice, but the PDF isn't available for download. What gives?

The release of this month's pdfs is being delayed until 1 August due to the release of second edition at Gencon (August 1-4). There's a thread on it here somewhere — in the Customer Service forum, I think.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Here is the thread Ed Reppert mentioned.


magnuskn wrote:
Hrm, I got the shipping notice, but the PDF isn't available for download. What gives?

I'm pretty sure this is a joke. XD

... right?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
The Gold Sovereign wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Hrm, I got the shipping notice, but the PDF isn't available for download. What gives?

I'm pretty sure this is a joke. XD

... right?

It is not. PDFs for Second Edition products will become available on August 1. See the thread linked by Franz above.


Zaister wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Hrm, I got the shipping notice, but the PDF isn't available for download. What gives?

I'm pretty sure this is a joke. XD

... right?

It is not. PDFs for Second Edition products will become available on August 1. See the thread linked by Franz above.

Sorry, I wasn't clear enough. I was actually referring to him expecting the pdfs earlier as a joke. I mean, Paizo wouldn't put their new product before the release.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
The Gold Sovereign wrote:
Zaister wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Hrm, I got the shipping notice, but the PDF isn't available for download. What gives?

I'm pretty sure this is a joke. XD

... right?

It is not. PDFs for Second Edition products will become available on August 1. See the thread linked by Franz above.
Sorry, I wasn't clear enough. I was actually referring to him expecting the pdfs earlier as a joke. I mean, Paizo wouldn't put their new product before the release.

This is the first ever volume of the AP where they have done this - I believe the only book that they’ve done this for in the past is the 1st ed core book.

So it’s not an unreasonable query.

Lantern Lodge Customer Service & Community Manager

3 people marked this as a favorite.

As a quick reminder, if you have a subscription to a line that has a release in this month July 2019's cycle that qualifies for a complimentary PDF, that PDF is currently just placeholder text. It will be updated on August 1st.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Which timezone are you marking as the start of this August 1? Eastern, Pacific, UTC, other?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
logic_poet wrote:
Which timezone are you marking as the start of this August 1? Eastern, Pacific, UTC, other?

It's generally when the doors open at GenCon. I don't remember the exact time, but it should be morning Central Time, I believe.

Liberty's Edge

Bracing for the final countdown


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Joana wrote:
logic_poet wrote:
Which timezone are you marking as the start of this August 1? Eastern, Pacific, UTC, other?
It's generally when the doors open at GenCon. I don't remember the exact time, but it should be morning Central Time, I believe.

I was too lazy last night to go looking for it, but I remembered Vic had given a time and it is here.

Vic Wertz wrote:
Diego Valdez wrote:
The kiosk will have the same hours as the exhibit hall. So it will open at 10am. There is no early VIP access to the kiosk. If you ave that it needs to be done in the exhibit hall.
Gen Con is no longer providing early access to the exhibit hall as part of their VIG program. It'll be 10 AM for *everyone* this year.

However, I thought Indianapolis was in the Central Time Zone, but turns out Indiana's just over the line into the Eastern Time Zone. So, 10 AM Eastern Daylight Time, August 1st.


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

That explains the 7 a.m. PDT time to go live for 2e.aonprd.com.

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