Pathfinder Adventure Path #148: Fires of the Haunted City (Age of Ashes 4 of 6)

5.00/5 (based on 3 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #148: Fires of the Haunted City (Age of Ashes 4 of 6)

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The Scarlet Triad—slavers at the center of a vast conspiracy—have been tracked to the Five Kings Mountains. There, in the subterranean city of Saggorak, the slavers have forged an alliance with a terrifying dragon. To stop them, the heroes must navigate a complex political landscape and perhaps make an alliance of their own with a dwarven king who's been dead for thousands of years! The Age of Ashes Adventure Path continues with Fires of the Haunted City, a complete adventure for 12th- to 14th-level characters.

Age of Ashes is the first Adventure Path using the brand new rules for the Pathfinder RPG. This fourth adventure is for 12th-level characters, and also includes a gazetteer of the dwarven city of Kovlar, a discussion of the evil dwarven god of toil—Droskar, and a wealth of new rules options for player characters to discover, along with more than half a dozen new monsters!

Each monthly full-color softcover Pathfinder Adventure Path volume contains an in-depth adventure scenario, stats for several new monsters, and support articles meant to give Game Masters additional material to expand their campaign. Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes use the Open Game License and work with both the Pathfinder RPG and the world’s oldest fantasy RPG.

ISBN: 978-1-64078-192-4

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

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Great Balance of Role-Playing and Action

5/5

One thing that I can say about the Age of Ashes adventure path is that Paizo didn't take it easy with the launch of the first second edition storyline. It would have been pretty easy to stick with a classic plot filled with lots of classic tropes but little story. Fires of the Haunted City, however, shows how you can have a classic-style story with a lot of new and interesting content.

I think this is the most interesting of the adventures so far, although each of the first three books also shined. PCs have to contend with a variety of monsters threatening a dwarven city, but they also have the difficult task of winning the favor of the dwarven rulers. This involves befriending guild leaders and navigating a fraught political scene where not everything is as it seems. While this makes for a more complicated adventure, the mechanics used to influence the guilds are all straightforward and easy to run.

The adventure makes the most of the underground environment, giving a lot of memorable locations for fights and providing villains that players will love to hate. For those who prefer to break off adventure paths before reaching the highest of levels, you can make a couple small adjustments to the end of this book and change it so the villain at the end is the one behind the whole affair. This would leave the PCs at 15th level at the end of the campaign.

Personally, though, I recommend forging forward and seeing what the last two books have to offer. As good as Fires of the Haunted City is, I don't think Age of Ashes has peaked. Overall, this campaign offers an excellent start for the new edition.


So I try to be short this time

5/5

I have gotten late with this review so trying to get it done this time, I'm putting all of this into spoiler tag because I'm too tired to split non spoilery stuff from spoilery stuff::

So sort story short yay dorf fortre- I mean I don't actually am into dwarfs that much but I feel its really refreshing perspective because of how often Paizo avoids doing dwarf themed adventures(probably because D&D did lot of stuff with ancient dwarf ruins in their adventures). So while previous book is also about investigation and fighting scarlet tried, I happen to find "fighting slavers, conspiracy and dragons in a mountain around dwarf city filled with undead" much more interesting hook than "rescuing kidnapped halflings from slavers in emancipated city".

So what I loved? Council of Regents and appealing to dwarven tradition(I really love any form of meeting new cultures and respecting them whenever they come up in adventures :D), Dwarf CSI (I think I might just be really into adventures about investigating for city guard. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I think I know which AP I want to play in), that a bad guy thought it was good idea to silence their political rivals by putting them in secret prison because they didn't want to go as far as to kill them all(Its nice amount of "not completely evil" evil character) and finding about the hidden forge, alliance with honorable undead king, that stuff :D I also like Veshumirix's fragile ego

Droskar(he has really cool bad guy design, didn't realize he is THAT buff. And his hair is made out of smoke!) article and Kovlar article were great and I liked there was dwarf romance option finally!

Any nitpicks... Well still worried about lack of dragon abilities in bestiary until great wyrm stage, mostly because when paizo decides to introduce new true dragons, how do we know what abilities the oldest age versions have?


A great dwarven AP volume

5/5

This adventure is solidly Dwarven. If you turn it sideways, it probably leaks ale. The location is cool, the encounters interesting, the undead city and its relationship to the living city beside it fascinating...

The main villain of this adventure path, the Scarlet Triad, continues to be boring, with plots and machinations that negligibly effect the world around them. But when surrounded by this extremely cool adventure, it's easy to forget the reason you're here and get lost in the monster-infested Darklands with Fires of the Haunted City.


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Dark Archive

Duergar & another Dragon!
Where is Kovlar located?
Could this be taking place in the "Five Kings Mountains" region?


Kovlar... Never heard of it. Might indeed be somewhere in the Five Kings Mountains, and the dragon could be a really powerful red one.

I can't wait to know more of the evil god Droskar, one of the gods I have been waiting to see the most.

Silver Crusade

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

It's almost like if there existed some Wiki about Golarion that has an article about the place.

But we need to figure out how to connect to that whole 'Internet' y
thing first ... any ideas?


Don't break the mystery...


Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Kovlar is a small dwarven city in Five Kings Mountains built in the tunnels and caverns at the southern outskirts of the fallen great city of Saggorak.

At least according the PathfinderWiki.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

A Dragon in the Darklands, makes me think Shadow or Umbral Dragon, could be wrong though.


Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
kevin bienhoff wrote:
A Dragon in the Darklands, makes me think Shadow or Umbral Dragon, could be wrong though.

I wouldn't expect to see either of those in this AP, or the next one. I would think that they would skew very hard toward monsters already in the P2 Bestiary, since they were literally writing both at the same time.


I think it might be an Underworld dragon, but in any case, I'm always glad to explore more of the Five Kings region.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
j b 200 wrote:
kevin bienhoff wrote:
A Dragon in the Darklands, makes me think Shadow or Umbral Dragon, could be wrong though.
I wouldn't expect to see either of those in this AP, or the next one. I would think that they would skew very hard toward monsters already in the P2 Bestiary, since they were literally writing both at the same time.

The product description says that this volume will include "more than half a dozen new monsters", so it's entirely possible that it will contain a new dragon.

Personally i think that where undead are involved, an umbral dragon makes a lot of sense.

Dark Archive

James Jacobs said somewhere that no new "true dragons" will be in the Bestiaries sections of the AP volumes.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Marco Massoudi wrote:
James Jacobs said somewhere that no new "true dragons" will be in the Bestiaries sections of the AP volumes.

But keep in mind things can change between then and now and tomorrow.


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

And there are a lot of possible creatures of the dragon type that are not "true dragons".


Yeah I mean look at Elder Wyrm for example. You mean to tell me that's not a true dragon??

But in any case, looking forward to the bestiary sections in ALL of this AP.


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Well...

Technically, the true dragon from PF1E aren't NEW true dragons. So... Any of those could be included, right?

=)

Dark Archive

The cover resolution is very low.
Also if you click in the Age of Ashes links at the top of the page, book 3 has two links to it's product page.


Marco Massoudi wrote:
The cover resolution is very low.

Yes, I noticed that too.

The thumbnail doesn't link to a "proper sized" version of the cover when clicked on like the thumbnails on the product discussions for issues #145, #146 and #147.

…Hmm, the cover images for #149 and #150 are also low-resolution.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Really like the archetype that is in this book, neat and flavorful, just kinda disappointed the dedication feat is lv 4, when it feels it could have and should have been a lv 2 feat.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Vorsk, Follower or Erastil wrote:
Really like the archetype that is in this book, neat and flavorful, just kinda disappointed the dedication feat is lv 4, when it feels it could have and should have been a lv 2 feat.

Can you share the monsters in the Bestiary section with CR & creature type?

Also how long is the gazetteer of Kovlar and what is it's Population?

Thank you. :-)


Marco Massoudi wrote:
Also how long is the gazetteer of Kovlar and what is it's Population?

The population has been known since Dwarves of Golarion: 4390.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

It's been some (10?) years since Dwarves of Golarion, population can change.

Silver Crusade

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

4,391.

The Copperfists had a kid since then.

Silver Crusade

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

*joking* and no one died?

Silver Crusade

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

Carl did but he got better.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Marco Massoudi wrote:
Vorsk, Follower or Erastil wrote:
Really like the archetype that is in this book, neat and flavorful, just kinda disappointed the dedication feat is lv 4, when it feels it could have and should have been a lv 2 feat.

Can you share the monsters in the Bestiary section with CR & creature type?

Also how long is the gazetteer of Kovlar and what is it's Population?

Thank you. :-)

Carnivorous Crystal, Ooze, Creature 11

Dalos, Fey, Creature 13
Deculi, Beast, Creature 12
Devourer, Undead, Creature 11
Magma Dragon (Young, Adult And Ancient), Dragon, Creature 9,13, and 18 for age
Dragonscarred Dead. Undead, Creature 13
Forge-Spurred, Undead, Creature 5
Gashadokuro, Undead,Creature 13
Soulbound Ruin, Construct and Undead, Creature 15

Kovlar Article is 8 pages

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Can someone with their pdf copy post who are the NPCs on the inside back cover? It might be useful to GMs running this AP before all the issues are out to know which Breachhill NPCs make an appearance.

Are there any more downtime actions for PC, like for their citadel?

Thanks!


If that dragon is who I think it is, and it still has the items in its hoarde from first edition, its going to make my dwarven paladin PC extremely happy. I can't wait to get my hands on this one.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Valantrix1 wrote:
If that dragon is who I think it is, and it still has the items in its hoarde from first edition, its going to make my dwarven paladin PC extremely happy. I can't wait to get my hands on this one.

It's not that dragon.


But it's still a dragon, right James Jacobs? Therefore TREASURE!


James Jacobs wrote:
Valantrix1 wrote:
If that dragon is who I think it is, and it still has the items in its hoarde from first edition, its going to make my dwarven paladin PC extremely happy. I can't wait to get my hands on this one.
It's not that dragon.

Oh darn. I thought I was on to something. Maybe next time. Thanks James!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So, a true dragon did make it into the ap bestiary, and it's a magma dragon. Well, the primal dragon are all going to be featured in the following hardcover Bestiary, so I wasn't expecting this one.

I'm also interested in the dragonscarred dead. Are those undead creatures born from death by draconic breath weapons or something like that?

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:
Valantrix1 wrote:
If that dragon is who I think it is, and it still has the items in its hoarde from first edition, its going to make my dwarven paladin PC extremely happy. I can't wait to get my hands on this one.
It's not that dragon.

I'd love to see what happens if someone confuses the dragon in this AP for the dragon you think it is, though :)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Thanks James in the other issues' threads! For completeness, this issue has Morta Valaskin and Kellen Carondil. Also, there is a new downtime action, but it is not for the Citadel Altaerein.


Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Valantrix1 wrote:
If that dragon is who I think it is, and it still has the items in its hoarde from first edition, its going to make my dwarven paladin PC extremely happy. I can't wait to get my hands on this one.
It's not that dragon.
I'd love to see what happens if someone confuses the dragon in this AP for the dragon you think it is, though :)

Depending on where the dragon shows up, and the level gap, probably a bloodbath. My players however are very crafty, and I don't have enough experience with this edition yet to make an educated guess.


What are the traits of the Magma dragon? Does it receive the fire or the elemental trait?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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The Gold Sovereign wrote:
What are the traits of the Magma dragon? Does it receive the fire or the elemental trait?

Spoiler:
Fire.

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
The Gold Sovereign wrote:
What are the traits of the Magma dragon? Does it receive the fire or the elemental trait?

Rare, CN, Fire, and, unsurprisingly, Dragon.


Ok, early in the adventure you come across a piece of treasure called a staff of marvelous medicines. I haven't come across this anywhere before. Am I missing it somewhere, or did this get cut for space? Any suggestions on what I should replace it with


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Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Valantrix1 wrote:
Ok, early in the adventure you come across a piece of treasure called a staff of marvelous medicines. I haven't come across this anywhere before. Am I missing it somewhere, or did this get cut for space? Any suggestions on what I should replace it with

Not presented as a staff, but it could have these properties:

CRB p 574

And give it the staff traits maybe?


That's a load of monsters! Gashadokuro, wow!

Anyway, isn't Pathfinder 2 more popular? Only one page with comments? Dragon78 nowhere to be seen?

Disappointing, hopefully, they/you can still manage. I would hate for pathfinder to go away.


Jorsalheim wrote:
Valantrix1 wrote:
Ok, early in the adventure you come across a piece of treasure called a staff of marvelous medicines. I haven't come across this anywhere before. Am I missing it somewhere, or did this get cut for space? Any suggestions on what I should replace it with

Not presented as a staff, but it could have these properties:

CRB p 574

And give it the staff traits maybe?

That is probably what they were talking about. I'll just leave it as is. No reason to be a staff.

Thanks for the info!


Oh hey, the ancient magma dragon statblock on page 81 is missing its Volcanic Purge ability! Thankfully, the PDF version fixes this, but is the misprint present in all current hard copies?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Syri wrote:
Oh hey, the ancient magma dragon statblock on page 81 is missing its Volcanic Purge ability! Thankfully, the PDF version fixes this, but is the misprint present in all current hard copies?

Looks like a printing error—we're looking into it but in the meantime, yes, the ancient magma dragon should have the ability as well.

You probably shouldn't use an ancient magma dragon in this adventure though... that's kinda mean! :-P

Dark Archive

So finally reviewed :'D And I also read previous book in case I missed something first time around. Well I did notice I had forgotten that you actually help a lot of halflings in the book 3, like basically every character you help, talk to or rescue from slavers is a halfling. So its bit incorrect to say Mialari has more screentime than halflings or the mysterious folk hero bellflower halfling ally, Nolly does probably have more screentime overall(I didn't count) and they definitely have more screentime to them than gnomes do in their book.

I think my issue with previous book's halfling theme is similar to goblin theme in first one: The book feels more like Bellflower Network themed book than Halfling book, unless book is saying that Halflings are all about being enslaved(...which I guess in dark way is true because they have forgotten name for their ancestry and their original language because of it) and rescued.

That said I do like book 3, just don't have strong opinion on what you do in it until I get to run it myself.

Anyway, yeah loved this book, but really took ages to write this so it ended up being much shorter review than I originally wanted.


Do PCs find the key to help them get to the next part of the AP? If so, where?

Dark Archive

Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Do PCs find the key to help them get to the next part of the AP? If so, where?

Its the Guiding Chisel in possession of Embermead.


Thank you.


So... how does surface dwellers reach Kovlar, anyway? They go all the way through the Darklands?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sheng Li wrote:
So... how does surface dwellers reach Kovlar, anyway? They go all the way through the Darklands?

Magic.

*straight face*

No, really, literally. When you read the AP you'll understand how exactly it happens, but explaining it here would be something of a spoiler.


I've understood how the PC's reach the city... but there are some surface dwellers who travel and commerce... how do merchants and some NPC's reach the city? Is that explained on further releases or have i missed something?


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

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?

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