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

3.60/5 (based on 23 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).

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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3.60/5 (based on 23 ratings)

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Great for the first Adventure published in the system

4/5

This adventure definitely includes quite a few dungeon crawls that tend to run a little combat-heavy, but does include some more exploration or roleplay heavy sections in Breachill to break it up. I definitely encourage GMs to add more opportunities to address challenges with roleplay if that's what their group wants.

For a group of pretty new players (and brand new to this system), this was a nice entrance into Golarion that didn't require a lot of understanding about the rest of the setting.

The balance worked out well for my group, but I think several encounters could have gone a different way if the dice had rolled differently.

Breachill is a pretty generic settings, but has some pretty cool NPCs. Unfortunately, the pictures of all of those NPCs are spread throughout the back cover of the next 5 volumes of the adventure path, so it was quite a bit of work to collect them to show to my players. My party especially liked the town council, only 2/5 get roles in the story at all.

I think think this compares negatively to the second volume in the adventure, but overall I liked this quite a bit compared to modules I've ran or played in other systems.


Turned out pretty ok

3/5

You will run this as a very linear adventure. The Citadel is well done, the NPCs likable. Breachhill itself and its citizens are a bit boring and the descriptions in the back don't really lead to a lot of possible custom quests. Some say it has too much combat, but for my group it was fine. Overall an ok start.


A good start

4/5

This is the first adventure I've ever GMed, and i thought it went well. issues with balance and grind as others have pointed out are present, but not overly glaring. My players enjoyed it and i think the overall story of the AP is really good, and I'm looking forward to continue through the rest of it.


First Time GM

3/5

This was my first time running an AP, although I did wind up starting and finishing book 1 of a Starfinder AP while in the process of running this book. I had run a few PFS scenarios before this, but did not otherwise have much experience as a GM before running this.

Overall I was satisfied with it and think my players enjoyed their time and are looking forward to book 2. I did not find it difficult to run besides a minor plot hole or two. I really liked the town of Breachill as there is a fun cast of NPCs to interact with the PCs when they're in town, and there is some nice artwork to go along with it. Some of the villager artwork is tucked away at the end of subsequent books though as a heads up.

Overall the citadel felt like a bit of a grind. Even though I was using mile-stone leveling (which felt like it worked really well) I was wary of deviating from the module so I basically included every combat. If I were to do it over, I would remove a lot of the filler combats that just don't really matter.

I think my biggest criticism is that although the book has some nice story points and a fairly solid ending, the villains pretty uniformly struck me as underwhelming if you run them exactly as written. I might have overly high expectations, but I just didn't think any of the antagonists had a coherent plan or goal which makes it hard to take them seriously. Luckily(?) my players tended to cut them all down without bothering to ask them any tricky questions like 'how exactly did you think that would work?'.

My other gripe is that most of the battle maps were very cramped. My group had two fighters, so body blocking in all the narrow passages and then just using Attack of Opportunity to hack anything trying to get to the squishier backline characters made a lot of the fights feel pretty flat.

There was however one map with a lot of verticality that I would like to praise. It was essentially a map with three multi-level, fancy tree houses to fight over. The distance math on ranges of spell effects got a bit complicated, but the players really had a great time putting together a plan of attack and then (attempting) to execute it. So that fight really shined as a high note in the adventure.

Overall would recommend and the overall story seems interesting.


Uninspired dungeon crawling

2/5

I enjoyed spending some time in Isger between #1-05 in PFS, Fall of Plaguestone, and this AP volume.

That said, Hellknight Hill feels like the most forced of the lot. It's paint by numbers to remind you that goblins are good now, bunch of combat so that you can try out 2E monsters, and sets up the rest of the AP.

I enjoyed playing through it as a completionist, but once more APs come out I think this intro won't compare to the newer entries.


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Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hey folks, we are currently experiencing some issues with the file-per-chapter download of this product. We're looking into the issue, but it's taking a little bit longer than anticipated to troubleshoot. I'll make sure to post an update here along with the normal notification email when the files have been fixed. Thanks for your patience!

Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

Katina Davis wrote:
Hey folks, we are currently experiencing some issues with the file-per-chapter download of this product. We're looking into the issue, but it's taking a little bit longer than anticipated to troubleshoot. I'll make sure to post an update here along with the normal notification email when the files have been fixed. Thanks for your patience!

Update: Looks like we've got this ironed out now. It may take a while for everything to sync up, so some folks may need to refresh or try a different browser if they're still seeing issues in the immediate future, but it should be all sorted.

Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Zaister wrote:
I noticed on my downloads page that this volume—along with some other parts of this adventure path—was apparently updated on January 3, 2020. What has changed?

Hey Zaister, it looks like we updated the file on the 3rd because there were some issues with the Interactive Maps that needed to be resolved. I sent out a notification email to those with the PDF, but you have to opt in to notifications about digital asset updates on your My Account page to receive those. If you're opted in and still haven't been receiving them, let us know so we can investigate. Thanks!


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Katina Davis wrote:
Zaister wrote:
I noticed on my downloads page that this volume—along with some other parts of this adventure path—was apparently updated on January 3, 2020. What has changed?
Hey Zaister, it looks like we updated the file on the 3rd because there were some issues with the Interactive Maps that needed to be resolved. I sent out a notification email to those with the PDF, but you have to opt in to notifications about digital asset updates on your My Account page to receive those. If you're opted in and still haven't been receiving them, let us know so we can investigate. Thanks!

Hi Katina, thanks for the information. I have checked my account page, and I have opted into all emails, so I should have gotten the update mail, but I haven't. I think there have been others recently, such as for the recent Gods & Magic update, and I didn't get an email for that one either. And yes, I have checked my spam folder. :) So, there seems to be something wrong with my account settings, I guess.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Zaister wrote:
Katina Davis wrote:
Zaister wrote:
I noticed on my downloads page that this volume—along with some other parts of this adventure path—was apparently updated on January 3, 2020. What has changed?
Hey Zaister, it looks like we updated the file on the 3rd because there were some issues with the Interactive Maps that needed to be resolved. I sent out a notification email to those with the PDF, but you have to opt in to notifications about digital asset updates on your My Account page to receive those. If you're opted in and still haven't been receiving them, let us know so we can investigate. Thanks!
Hi Katina, thanks for the information. I have checked my account page, and I have opted into all emails, so I should have gotten the update mail, but I haven't. I think there have been others recently, such as for the recent Gods & Magic update, and I didn't get an email for that one either. And yes, I have checked my spam folder. :) So, there seems to be something wrong with my account settings, I guess.

It's not just you. Looking into it!

Grand Lodge

Any clue about chronicle sheets for at the very least, the first few volumes of this AP? I mean.....it's been since August...

Paizo Employee Organized Play Manager

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Brilde Phelon wrote:
Any clue about chronicle sheets for at the very least, the first few volumes of this AP? I mean.....it's been since August...

Over the past few months, we've been updating the community via blogs as to the organized play team backlog and workflow. A week and a half ago, we dropped our sanctioning information for the Lost Omens and Pathfinder RPG books. Age of Ashes is part of the next batch of Pathfinder (second edition) sanctioning. We have not released a date yet, because we need to ensure publication of Society scenarios is on track. There should be news in the not so distant future.


Awesome thank you tonya at least there is light at the end of the tunnel now.


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

That's a train. :-)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Any idea when this will be sanctioned?

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Any idea when this will be sanctioned?

Another month goes by.....(tumbleweeds)


I'm from NM and am familiar with tumbleweeds.

Liberty's Edge

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

Let's face it folks. This AP is not getting sanctioned. There are too many problems with breaking it down properly so that GMs can run a small section of it in 8 hours to grant the 12 xp for the PFS level up. And, it would take too many hours to generate Chronicle sheets for each character level's worth of game play. It's not like this one breaks out the levels at nice break points either. I'd go so far as to say it was written without Organized Play Support in mind at all. Reading through it, I think it's very difficult to sanction it because there are lots of options for different opportunities. To sanction an adventure, the OP team, or at least the author, has to be able to predict what a vast majority of players will do. It's very tough to do on this one.

Paizo's human resources are already stretched paper thin with everything else they're doing, then throw the pandemic on the bonfire and santioning for Age of Ashes is toast.

Am I correct in my assessment? Or will Paizo prove me wrong?

Just my pair of coppers.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Lol wut

How is this any different than any other AP?

They’ve sanctioned Kingmaker of all things, they can sanction this by all standards rather normal AP.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
RobertTHEPerylous wrote:

Let's face it folks. This AP is not getting sanctioned. There are too many problems with breaking it down properly so that GMs can run a small section of it in 8 hours to grant the 12 xp for the PFS level up. And, it would take too many hours to generate Chronicle sheets for each character level's worth of game play. It's not like this one breaks out the levels at nice break points either. I'd go so far as to say it was written without Organized Play Support in mind at all. Reading through it, I think it's very difficult to sanction it because there are lots of options for different opportunities. To sanction an adventure, the OP team, or at least the author, has to be able to predict what a vast majority of players will do. It's very tough to do on this one.

Paizo's human resources are already stretched paper thin with everything else they're doing, then throw the pandemic on the bonfire and santioning for Age of Ashes is toast.

Am I correct in my assessment? Or will Paizo prove me wrong?

Just my pair of coppers.

You are not correct.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

May I point to Starfinder APs. I've mainly played those in campaign mode. And then a chronicle sheet given for each book completed. So, it can be sanctioned, maybe not as PF1 standards of sanctioning, but as a reward for completing it in campaign mode. So, this being the first AP, let's give them time to figure it out and how to decide.

Liberty's Edge

Just started reading this AP and am wondering if the chained plate boarder is an intentional homage to the Shackled City AP? Ditto to the naming of the Scarlet Triad (Ebon Triad)?

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Brilde Phelon wrote:
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Any idea when this will be sanctioned?
Another month goes by.....(tumbleweeds)

And another month AND a half goes by.......(crickets)

Silver Crusade

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

Plagues kinda throw a wrench into things.


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Rysky wrote:
Plagues kinda throw a wrench into things.

Three out of the Four Horsemen approve of this post!

The Fourth is "uncommittedly ambivalent"... ;p


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I could be wrong but wasn't the idea of having the new pfs group to make it quicker to get things sanctioned? How long did it take for APs to get sanctioned in 1e?

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
Plagues kinda throw a wrench into things.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
Plagues kinda throw a wrench into things.

& Gremlins all over are happy to supply the wrenches...

;p

Shadow Lodge

Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
How long did it take for APs to get sanctioned in 1e?

You mean the ones that we still don't have completely sanctioned yet?

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