The Age of Ashes Adventure Path concludes! The heroes have defeated the Scarlet Triad, but in doing so have learned a shocking truth—the Scarlet Triad has been financed all these years by the enigmatic ruler of the island nation of Hermea, the gold dragon Mengkare! After a devastating manifestation of a violent dragon god erupts from the portals the heroes have been using the entire campaign, they must travel to Hermea to confront Mengkare about the Scarlet Triad and find out what the gold dragon's plans actually are. Does he seek to save the world... or to end it in a devastating Age of Ashes?
Age of Ashes is the first Adventure Path using the brand new rules for the Pathfinder RPG. This sixth and final adventure was written by Luis Loza for 18th-level characters, and also includes a gazetteer of the utopian city of Promise, advice for GMs on how the events of this campaign can change the world, a wealth of new options for player characters to discover, and 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.
The players left the last book asking "wait, what's *next*?" after realizing that they've destroyed the Scarlet Triad and yet still haven't solved the problem.
Well, what's next is that Breachill is about to get NUKED, and the players are plenty attached to their home, so I'm really looking forward to chapter 1.
I'm also really looking forward to chapter 2 because of all the hooks I have planned to bring some character backstories into final focus, but I feel like on particular NPC is going to be too easy to figure out immediately so I'll be making some adjustments here.
I feel like chapter 3 is going to need some work though. As players have noted, it's a series of largely unconnected encounters that are kind of hard to justify. The final battle is largely just a PL+4 tank-and-spank as well.
In summary, I'm really looking forward to this one but the final chapter will need some tweaks.
The first chapter was great and went down very well with my players. Couldn't find anything to complain about here. It creates a sense of urgency, things are blowing up left and right and it feels very cinematic.
The second chapter just feels very empty and lacking. The players are infiltrating a prison and archive to collect more info on the background story, then deal with the dragon. It didn't really finish the whole Scarlet Triad, slaver BBEG build up from the previous 4 books and felt more like a rush to the finale. The backmatter on Promise has no quest hooks and is generally kinda sparse so it was hard to present the city in a more interesting light through quests. This would be the one thing that I would really recommend changing: spice it up, throw in some quests and encounters that show the dragon's harsh rule and add some Scarlet Triad encounters.
The last chapter was ok. You basically try to fight/solve 6 different encounters in the BBEGs area to open the final portal. Most of the encounters were really far fetched and it was hard to present the party with a good reason on why they are doing these encounters and there is no good way to really explain why they are structured like this. This chapter would have benefitted greatly from more pages that detail the whole portal network stuff using encounters. Stuff like: let the players figure out why things are borked, investigate some plane stuff, etc. Would haven been better than to just another couple fights at them. The boons from the ritual and quest buff rewards (the ones that weren't completely useless) made the last fight a cake walk unfortunately, so you might want to add some minions or tune them down.
TL;DR: good but needs GM changes to smooth it out.
This 64-page adventure is set in Hermea, an island paradise where all is not as it seems. Founded not so long ago by the legendary golden dragon Mengkare, this nation was to be his greatest gift to the world — a grand experiment to perfect humankind and create utopia. But generations of failure has changed this once noble dragon, and where once his grand designs sought to bring peace and growth, now his means threaten to bring great destruction to achieve this first aim. In his fight for good, Mengkare descends ever more deeply into evil. It is up to the PCs to see through the deceptions of Mengkare's counselors, wade through a cesspool of carefully laid traps, and finally confront the gold dragon himself — either to save him, or slay him for good — before Mengkare's good intentions fulfill the will of his unwitting master, and bring to pass the very desolation of world: the Age of Ashes.
This epic adventure was written by Luis Loza, who is a similarly epic person. We need more Arcadia love you, Luis!
What's in the back?? Luis finally unveils decade-long mysteries and gives us our first ever gazetteer of the Island of Hermea, and its capital city of Promise. You'll find details about its history, government, daily life, notable sites (including Mengkare's Lair), and a wealth of information on Promise itself. I can't stress enough what a cool deal this is to finally explore this legendary locale.
Following this absolutely nuclear gazetteer is a megasized adventure toolbox, with plot seeds for adventures set after the main campaign — including advice on what should happen if the PCs fail. Ingenious legacy backgrounds can be awarded to PCs who participate in an adventure set after this main campaign (for instance, you can be the child of one of the Age of Ashes player characters), bridging different campaigns together in thoughtful, intimate ways. OP level 20 items and spells and feats abound — even rules to enlarge your animal companion into a huge-sized, rampaging kaiju-wannabe. Seriously, there's some legendary stuff here to make your PCs look absolutely mythic. To grant your players foes worthy of their newfound powers, a ton of endgame level baddies are awarded to GMs, including an Aiudara Wraith, Dragonshard Guardian, Aztec-inspired Tzitzimitl, Astral Plane-hopping Vazgorlu, Wyrmwraith (dragon ghost), and an honest-to-goodness, emineffin Tarrasque, appropriately epitheted "The Armaggedon Engine." Concluding this final chapter in the Age of Ashes adventure path are statblocked profiles for Hermea's most prolific minds, capable of serving as allies or enemies for PCs, and include the beautiful, scheming sister of a previous villain, a hopeful, stalwart captain of Promise's city guard who hopes to redeem her nation's patron, and Mengkare himself. These revelatory articles were written by James Jacobs, Luis Loza, Alex Riggs, and Owen K.C. Stephens, bless them.
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.
An Epic Finale
(RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32)
It's hard to write a climactic adventure for levels 18-20 that feel climactic. Broken Promises manages to do that well. The combats are epic, featuring fights against some of the top creatures in the Bestiary, not to mention an end boss that is one of the most imposing villains in the game to date. The social encounters, which can often suffer from mundane inflation of DCs to make them level-appropriate, feel epic because of the environment. The PCs begin this adventure by fighting against Dahak's rage, and continue to by infiltrating the island of Promise and sway the great gold dragon Mengkare to their side.
Combat is challenging and interesting, but it's also quick and fun in play--a huge accomplishment considering how difficult high-level battles in 1st edition got. Skill-based encounters include protecting townsfolk from some truly perilous circumstances and arguing in the court of a dragon regent, among other interesting challenges. The adventure gives a lot of freedom for PCs to take things in whatever order they choose.
Why only four stars, then? My one big complaint about this adventure book is that the handling of one of the major villains is left a bit nebulous. The PCs can just attack her in combat, or they might wind up her unwitting pawns, but there's a whole spectrum of options in between that have little in the way of guidance. This leads to a potentially anticlimactic end to somebody who is effectively the end boss of an entire thread of adventures that have woven through the campaign. I think there might have been a hitch in the transition between Book Five, which set her up as a major foe and potential end boss, and Book Six, which treats her as but one player on a greater stage--and which seems to expect the PCs to buy into her duplicity despite having gathered significant evidence that she might not be what she seems.
This minor hitch doesn't take much away from an excellent adventure and a superb adventure path. Age of Ashes is one of Paizo's better efforts, and it represents a wonderful introduction to Pathfinder's second edition and the world of Golarion as a whole.
Is this the first AP volume 6 credits quote that is made up by Paizo rather than being a literary or cultural reference?
We don't have "rules" we follow for these hidden message. Sometimes they're literary quotes. Sometimes they're cultural references. Sometimes they're in-world hints of events to come—for example, the very first one we dropped back in the day for the last volume of "Rise of the Runelords" was "The runelords will retrun."
It's generally the lead developer for an Adventure Path that decides what that hidden message will be.
In any event, nope, it's hardly the first one with a quote that we made up. :-P
Just got my copy and am gobsmacked by some of these statblocks. I can't wait to see how my players react during these "WTF?" moments. I haven't been this excited about certain fights since I read through the last chapters of Wrath of the Righteous. And the 2nd edition at first glance looks like it will keep high level play fast paced. Very excited!
Heh, I was wondering when someone would mention it. It was my attempt to replicate the ability in 2E. Whether we use that as the framework for a theoretical spellstrike in the future is unknown. But I hope it allows GMs to homebrew their own magi and possibly even use them for their own NPCs or players
I know it probably wouldn't work, but I stayed up till midnight waiting to see if I could finally get the final part of the adventure. Thought it might be released cause it's technically "tomorrow." Not really disappointed, just sad and tired.
Yeah as whole 6 part story its not THAT great since its by very nature "Let's show newbie players(who are likely not even know about final book's location) six different places on Inner Sea" newbie adventure. Like, its good for newbies, but its not that good from veteran perspective mostly because while invidual books are pretty good, its more of six different adventures with common theme. The standalone thing also results in earlier book introducing cool friendly aps which ap doesn't do much with in later books. Still missing that Curse of the Crimson Throne style recurring NPC cast.
Like I think it would work at complete story better if it was all set in Hermea rather than Hermea being surprise plot twist in fifth book. It also contains bit of "Well we need to get plot moving" moments like Scarlet Tried trying to recruit PCs(through the classic criminal method of kidnapping a hostage for negotiaton... I've seen that tactic in movies, but does it actually work even if both sides are cold blooded criminals? :P) and in doing so extra motivating them to investigate lead from previous book about them.
Besides that it also has the early edition advenure(like council of thieves, dead suns in some respect and even 5e's hoard of the dragon queen...) syndrome of mechanics being bit off because final guidelines weren't out yet. So in this case it contains stuff like scaling dc for tasks that would have been easier in earlier books.
Invidually, I feel like first book is pretty weak goblin themed adventure since effort to portray local goblins as nice mean they never really do anything particularly goblin like. It does have cool stuff to it, could have used more art for the anadi npc's spider form though. It could work if it played up the role reversal of goblins being good guys more, but it seems to be kinda regular thing in Breachill already.
Second book is cool though and one of my favorite standalone ap parts. Also does good job of elf theme really well.
Third book is criminal investigation in Ravounel. It has cool stuff to it, but overally no strong opinions about it as standalone. The halfling theme.. Barely comes clear, sure one of your helpers is bellflower network member, but the elf spy feels like they did more in the plot.
Fourth book has dwarven ruin exploration. I feel refhresed by that because I haven't played D&D material and PF1e for most part skipped lot of classic D&D dungeon crawling scenarios. So I liked the part a lot and more than part 3(which I liked more than part 1 butnot as much as part 2) as standalone. Very dwarfy even if its mostly dungeon crawling
Fifth book I again loved as standalone. It did have lot of sidequests and such to be done in order to defeat bad guy group, but I liked it about as much as fourth book. Gnomes aren't really heavily featured in this one besides you helping some.
I would say overall that most adventures in this AP feel kinda like D&D style "hey, let's have series of modules that take place over levels 1-20" like Sunless Citadel -> The Forge of Fury -> The Speaker in Dreams -> ... ->Bastion of Broken Souls linked modules from 3.0 times. Main difference being that each module is linked to overall plot unlike those modules were only like three of them(each written by Bruce Cordell) are linked to each other by having characters mentioned in earlier ones show up. Its kinda the nature of whole "Let's explore drastically different settings!" plot, you get lot of cool scenery, but none of them get explored in super well detail. The overall theme of showcasing different core ancestries is cool too, but not all of them get show cased as much compared to other ones and they kinda feel after thought in some books.
Book 6 is the human themed one and the grand finale where there is npc trying to mislead you and npc that you can convince they are in the wrong. Lot of nice moving parts and such and I can see the overall human theme, though the dragon in draconic AP really takes the spotlight. I haven't read it in detail yet, but my first impression was great again as standalone. Only real problem here that surprise villain works best if you know who they are, but this is first time they are featured in adventure so only gms and lore hungry people are to be affected by the twist.
Another thing about thing with each book feeling pretty self contained with common themes, is that I think AP could use more heavy Dahak themes. In general I think campaigns were invidual parts are essentially series of linked standaloneswork better when the linking themes feel really strong, but Dahak themes show up occasionally, Hermea related themes not really before final book, dragon themed stuff does keep popping up occasionally most often yeah, but Ancestry theme is book by book casis. Books 1, 3 and 5 don't really feel gobliny/halflingy/gnomey while book 2/4/6 feel suitably elfy/dwary/humany. Small ancestries with less importance to overall setting kinda got the shaft here.
Umm, oops? I can't edit spoiler tags into that post anymore. That said, most of stuff I said was in each book's shop summary and once that weren't are from beginning of the books, and one that could be spoilers were really vague. Still should have played it safe and used spoiler tags
I'm kinda amazed at how much I love this ap and how critical I can be when I talk about it as whole vs individual parts of it. I genuinely think this is one of best final AP parts in any AP and I love multiple books of the AP, but I somehow make it sound like I enjoy it much less when I write on it as whole .-.