Pathfinder Adventure Path #157: Devil at the Dreaming Palace (Agents of Edgewatch 1 of 6)

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Pathfinder Adventure Path #157: Devil at the Dreaming Palace (Agents of Edgewatch 1 of 6)
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Get ready to shine your badge and report for duty—the Agents of Edgewatch Adventure Path begins! In this thrilling new Pathfinder campaign, players assume the role of fresh recruits of the Edgewatch, the newest division of Absalom's city watch. Tasked with fighting crime during this year's Radiant Festival—a grand centennial gathering of exhibitors and wonders from around the world that this year celebrates the grand reopening of Absalom's treacherous Precipice Quarter, long a ruined haven of monsters and criminals. Soon after taking on the new beat, the detectives learn that the fair has attracted not only cutpurses and vandals, but also poisoners, ransomers, and even a sadistic serial murderer, and it's up to the Agents of Edgewatch to crack the case and bring these villains to justice!

“Devil at the Dreaming Palace,” by fan-favorite author James L. Sutter, is a Pathfinder adventure for four 1st-level characters. The adventure kicks off the Agents of Edgewatch Adventure Path, in which the heroes join the city watch to solve a series of crimes across Absalom, the City of Lost Omens, before the crooks can pull off the ultimate heist! This volume also includes an in-depth gazetteer of Absalom's Radiant Festival, thematically appropriate new monsters, and new rules designed to support the Agents of Edgewatch campaign!

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-13: 978-1-64078-253-2

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

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Fantasy Grounds Virtual Tabletop
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Gross murder porn stuff

1/5

I wrote a long review and the website strangely didn't save it.

Murder porn, police brutality, zombie babies, sex club. 0 warnings on the cover.

0 stars.


Not Perfect - But Definitely Promising!

4/5

I’ll start off by noting that I have not yet ran or played this campaign, but at the time of writing, I have bought all 6 books of the AP and intend to GM it for a group of my regular RP buddies very soon.

Keeping that in mind, I actually thought the first book in this AP was a pretty strong start. I had a few issues with it at the beginning, but otherwise, I was very happy with it. Also, this is the perspective of another white guy, but I thought that the themes of law enforcement are fine for the most part. Cop dramas are pretty popular on TV, and I kind of see Agents of Edgewatch as Paizo’s attempt to create a cop drama in roleplay form. Though, as another reviewer commented, I do not like the mercenary aspect of the Edgewatch Precinct either. I would’ve much rather seen the Precinct pay the players for their service – instead of forcing the players to get paid off by citizens and “confiscated” items. I intend to change this in my own home game, and run it much more like Pathfinder Society – where the players are expected to hand in everything they acquire during missions, and get a general salary for their work. If a player likes a particular piece of treasure, they can pay for it with their wages, and file the proper paperwork to get the original themselves, or pay for the precinct to get an exact copy made for them instead.

Now then, spoilers follow…

So, as far as my issues with the beginning go – I really was hoping that for an AP that’s basically trying to be a cop drama, they would do more at the beginning to set the stage for a cop drama. The campaign could’ve started with something unique, like the players taking the role of rookies having just signed up for the officer’s academy – and let them get to know each other in the first act while they went through basic training and their graduations.

Instead of something like that, Paizo threw us directly into the precinct and the party’s first assignment with absolutely no fanfare at all. Paizo didn’t even think it necessary to play out the opening ceremonies of the Radiant Festival – which is something that I’m definitely adding to my own home game.

Keeping all that in mind, I was still very happy with this AP book overall. The party goes to a number of unique locations like a zoo and a kind of Saw-like murder hotel – and though I’m not normally a fan of dungeon-delves (and I personally think Paizo relies too heavily on them in the first place), the unique nature of the dungeons in this book made me feel more excited for the experience. There’s also a great-looking roleplay segment where the party gets to meet a rogue’s gallery of villainous characters (who, unfortunately, in most circumstances never show up again – unless you write them back into the game yourself).

The two main villains of the book are pretty great too, and I have a feeling that a certain clown-prince of crime might have inspired the lead antagonist. Speaking of that lead antagonist, I’m intending to have him be a reoccurring character in my home game – and possibly even have him replace the ultimate villain of book 6 – because when it was all said and done, I actually liked him a LOT more than the campaign’s actual final villain.

As far as the first books other content, I did appreciate a map and description of the fairgrounds, and I intend to use it religiously during the opening acts of the campaign. The gear in the armory is also kind of cool – and I’m especially a fan of the telescoping nightsticks.

Overall – while this book did have its flaws, I was very happy with the installment.


A Masterclass in Foreshadowing

5/5

I'll spend little time discussing the themes of law enforcement in this book; others have done so better than I as a white person could ever do. Keep those reviews in mind before anything else: what I want to focus on is the excellent use of foreshadowing throughout the book. Spoilers ahead!

From the very start, payoffs are set up that won't come back until much, much later in the AP. Here's a mysterious zoo attack; the perpetrator will come back later. Here's an NPC that'll show up in the final book and help! Here's more who you'll meet later; some obviously antagonistic, some seemingly innocent. Setup for future books which could have completely been omitted as in many other AP volumes makes this a book with a narrative that'll weave in on itself throughout the adventure path. I can't wait for the glint of recognition in my players eyes followed by shock and surprise later on when mystery elements foreshadowed as early as the FIRST ENCOUNTER come back months later. And the fact that the book tells the GM that this will be important later lets them hype and build the scene with the due respect good foreshadowing needs without even having read the next books yet.

Whatever your take on the themes of Edgewatch, Paizo take note: this is how you set yourself apart from other APs!


A wonderful thriller marred by grotesque bits

2/5

Spoilers, in case you were wondering.

I will start this off by saying Sutter has given us an excellent adventure, with the buildup to the main villain and the affect he has had on almost every other NPC in some way, directly or not, being absolutely delicious for both players and GMs alike as all the pieces start to fall in to place.

The Menagerie riot is an interesting step in that while it may give many players red herrings for the time being its a nice little set piece that ties into later parts, more so if the players are able to actually pick up on it.

Midway through when the party has to infiltrate a villain bar and schmooze numerous characters (setting up the rogues gallery for this AP methinks) through various unique challenges and games is an utter delight as well.

That said, this AP does have some pitfalls so I would not in good conscience or taste run/play it as is.

There’s a small bit at the beginning where it says the PCs aren’t cops but mercenaries hired by the force, oof, to save on money and the like. That’s... not good, but it doesn’t seem to be addressed in the adventure proper and the PCs are indeed treated as rookie cops rather than outside assistance with less liability so that was probably left in from an earlier draft, hopefully.

Then there’s the loot. I wish more thought and different actions were taken in order to make sure PCs could stay equipped throughout the adventure but anytime people are dealt with, either criminals or victims, civil forfeiture and bribes/“thank yous” enter the picture and just leave an obscenely sour taste in my mouth. This whole component needs to be rewritten I would suggest.

Then we get to the second act, a workers revolt. Leading/Reading up to it you think there’ll be an intense hostage situation to try diplomacy at (and there is, to a point) when dealing with the workers who have been treated poorly, but sadly and horribly the workers revolting, Kobolds, wanting to set up a union for better rights and pay and chanting slogans they don’t understand but parrot (explicitly said so) immediate devolve into a massacre before the PCs even enter the picture, and the hostage situation itself for those that survived can go even worse very quickly and easily. This is compounded by the fact that the architect admits she was underpaying the Kobolds after, but the book tries to frame her a victim and as someone you should like, even pointing out she’ll be important later on in the AP. So Architect treating workers like crap good, protesters and unionizers deranged and homicidal, gotcha.

(Wip)


Way better than expected

4/5

First off: I don't have an issue with the whole police theme so I don't really care about playing police officers. The whole art design and tone of the book though paints the agents of edgewatch as a bunch of cringy do-gooders. Luckily that's easy to change so I won't let this affect my rating.

Spoilers Ahead!

The Bad:

The first chapter of the book is pretty mediocre: you'll get to walk around town and do a bunch of small tasks. The tavern one is great and foreshadows the final encounter in the book. The goblin encounter is fun. The rest is uninspiring, especially the foreshadowing for the main villain: making animals go wild is pretty low on the evil murder cult scale. Can't judge this without knowing the rest of the AP though.

Maps for the first chapter are mostly omitted with references to official flip mats and other products. This makes it look like they did this on purpose.

The Good:

Encounter and Map design is fantastic. The art is well done and there is plenty of room for tactical positioning and different movement on the maps. There are lots of traps and traps are also used in combat so that's great.

Loot is great so you won't need to adjust much there compared to Age of Ashes or Fall of Plaguestone.

The pair of main villains are designed really well. The main villain is a friendly, sadistic and always happy bastard that likes to torture people so this will be very fun to run since this will hit players in an unexpected way. Even better is his second in command who has a very tragic backstory and makes you empathize with her. However she's just bat s@#* crazy. All in all fantastic character design.

It's a railroad but you have more freedom in between encounters. The players can decide which side quest they want to tackle first.

The underground bar in chapter 3 is very well done and the tasks are fun. My only complaint here is that there are like ~8 floors to explore and you'll have enough clues for the next chapter after 3. That's kinda sad because you'll meet important and interesting NPCs for the next APs.

The festival descriptions in the back were kinda boring but each place has it's little issue and adventure hook in there. Gotta give them props here.

There's so much material and text crammed in here, so expect this to be a longer read than usual.

Verdict: Absolutely fantastic. You likely won't run this one straight out of the book but there's enough material in there to adjust it to your liking. Could have deserved a better chapter 1 with more oomph to get the PCs invested and therefore 4 instead of 5 stars.


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Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Announced for July! Product image and description are not final and may be subject to change.


8 people marked this as a favorite.

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? ARE WE THERE YET?!

This may be the most excited I've been about an adventure path since Strange Aeons, and I absolutely love these very specific concepts the two latest adventure paths have presented (detectives and circus members).

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Woo! :D


8 people marked this as a favorite.

Hold up while I queue up Law and Order music and sfx.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Love the name.

Love Sutter.

I’m in :3


Can't wait!!!!

Contributor

22 people marked this as a favorite.

Oh hey! I see this is announced! :D


1 person marked this as a favorite.
James Sutter wrote:
Oh hey! I see this is announced! :D

I'm not crying, you're crying!

(excellent to see you back amongst the adventure path authors, sir!)

Silver Crusade

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

I didn't know that there was an upcoming City Watch based campaign, which is a dream campaign concept I've wanted to run for years. This is incredible.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Heine Stick wrote:

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? ARE WE THERE YET?!

This may be the most excited I've been about an adventure path since Strange Aeons, and I absolutely love these very specific concepts the two latest adventure paths have presented (detectives and circus members).

would love to have Strange Aeons for PF2


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

Just to confirm that I have not been misled by unconfirmed rumors -- This is the adventure path where you can advance all the way from 1st to 20th level without ever leaving Absalom City, correct?


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

REALLY looking forward to this!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
David knott 242 wrote:


Just to confirm that I have not been misled by unconfirmed rumors -- This is the adventure path where you can advance all the way from 1st to 20th level without ever leaving Absalom City, correct?

That was the plan that was announced at Gencon (since the books aren't to the printer I expect that Paizo wouldn't be willing to say absolutely now in case there was some plot requirement that forced you out)

Paizo Employee CEO

33 people marked this as a favorite.

Many years ago, I proffered the idea of doing a CSI Absalom adventure path. Now, all these years later, I am thrilled to finally see this being done. It will be my first full-fledge PF2 adventure path and I can't wait!

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Yay!

Dark Archive

29 people marked this as a favorite.

In the Precipice Quarter criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate but equally important groups: the Edgewatch, who investigate crime; and the Pharasmins, who bury the offenders.

These are their stories.


And I'm already planning to turn maps black and white so I can run this in noir style. Anybody know someone who does jazz on their lute for background music?

Dark Archive

Lisa, I can't wait to see what you have come up with! And the first module is written by The Magnificently Scroundelous James "the Lip" Sutter. Fantastic! :)


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Yes! I've been wanting something like this for a very long time.


My players and I were hooked when it was first announced and its getting closer!!!

Ha Ha, CAN'T WAIT!!

I do hope there is a quest or two that could take the party out of the city as an optional choice please :)

Tom

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
TRDG wrote:

My players and I were hooked when it was first announced and its getting closer!!!

Ha Ha, CAN'T WAIT!!

I do hope there is a quest or two that could take the party out of the city as an optional choice please :)

Tom

Well, you can always go to Bosco.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
N'wah wrote:
TRDG wrote:

My players and I were hooked when it was first announced and its getting closer!!!

Ha Ha, CAN'T WAIT!!

I do hope there is a quest or two that could take the party out of the city as an optional choice please :)

Tom

Well, you can always go to Bosco.

I love that place.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So I just realized, where the heck THIS character art is from? Just like with Extinction Curse's part 6's placeholder art, I have no idea where the character art is from in this one either ._.;


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

He's from the Villain Codex, p.204. I have no idea about the other one.

Dark Archive

Ah I see. Villain Codex is cool book, but I use it relatively rarely so I don't remember all the pictures that well :'D

Paizo Employee Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The background art is also from the Villain Codex. It's the introduction piece for the Savage Marauders section on page 174.


11 people marked this as a favorite.

We'll have dhampir releasing in time for this.
Homebrew werewolf-lite should be manageable.
Adopted dwarf is covered, and can be done at first level on a human.
Trolls… that'll be tricky.
Nobby Nobbs is definitely a unique homebrew ancestry.

(That is to say, I'm looking forward to Commander Vimes of the City Watch, The Adventure Path.)


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

We're going to have blackscaled vigilante investigator kobolds releasing in time for this!

Diligent police kobold by day, cowled caped-crusader kobold by night!

I can see the bat-signal on the walls of the Starstone Cathedral already...

;)

Liberty's Edge

4 people marked this as a favorite.

This will be my first GM module and making old school by way of the movie " Police Academy ". I mean using the soundtrack , including the Blue Oyster and using the characters . For fun, I will use movies and TV shows characters (Kojak , Police Squad , Colombo , Dirty Harry , Lethal Weapon , , Die Hard , etc ). I guess I shown my age with my references.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I am so looking forward to this Adventure path.

Hmm


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'm really excited for this. Just imagine the number of favours Lisa could call in. I suspect Sutter won't be the only fan-favourite involved.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

You’d be correct.

Liberty's Edge

12 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Feros wrote:

We're going to have blackscaled vigilante investigator kobolds releasing in time for this!

Diligent police kobold by day, cowled caped-crusader kobold by night!

I can see the bat-signal on the walls of the Starstone Cathedral already...

;)

A cool concept, but I think I'd prefer my Kobold in this AP to be...

Copper.

;)

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The ultimate heist can only mean one thing in Absalom : the Starstone itself.


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

I wonder if it will be easy to convert to Starfinder. I can run it twice then.........


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Tribute to Devil in the White City by Eric Larson?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Is it terrible I want to try this out with an all Barbarian party?

Dark Archive

Uchuujin wrote:
Is it terrible I want to try this out with an all Barbarian party?

If you want my opinion: yes, it is.

City campaigns have a place for a maximum of one barbarian, in my experience.
Maybe two if one is an urban barbarian.

If you asked about an all-rogue or all-wizard Party, i'd say it's much more feasible.

Of course you can probably play this with an all-barbarian party, but the social parts and spellcasting will have to be adjusted and probably won't work as written.
You will also need lots of money for healing items. ;-)


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Marco Massoudi wrote:
Uchuujin wrote:
Is it terrible I want to try this out with an all Barbarian party?

If you want my opinion: yes, it is.

City campaigns have a place for a maximum of one barbarian, in my experience.
Maybe two if one is an urban barbarian.

If you asked about an all-rogue or all-wizard Party, i'd say it's much more feasible.

Of course you can probably play this with an all-barbarian party, but the social parts and spellcasting will have to be adjusted and probably won't work as written.
You will also need lots of money for healing items. ;-)

Multiclass dedications are a still a thing.

Silver Crusade

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Marco Massoudi wrote:
Uchuujin wrote:
Is it terrible I want to try this out with an all Barbarian party?

If you want my opinion: yes, it is.

City campaigns have a place for a maximum of one barbarian, in my experience.
Maybe two if one is an urban barbarian.

If you asked about an all-rogue or all-wizard Party, i'd say it's much more feasible.

Of course you can probably play this with an all-barbarian party, but the social parts and spellcasting will have to be adjusted and probably won't work as written.
You will also need lots of money for healing items. ;-)

There's nothing, literally nothing about the Barbarian class that mandates Barbs being savage, uncivilized brutes with no social skills. They can get Trained+ in social skills. They are not mandatorily illiterate. They can learn languages, take dancing classes and write poetry. The only thing that makes you think otherwise is your inability to see the class in any other way than foam-mouthed "thrug smash" simpletons. Which is one way to play a Barbarian, but far from the only one.

Healing in PF2 is easily handled without spellcasting. And one or two Barbs could pick casting dedications to handle other challenges related to magic.

Dark Archive

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Got excited and made some printable Edgewatch badges this morning. Enjoy!

Agents of Edgewatch Badges


5 people marked this as a favorite.
N'wah wrote:

Got excited and made some printable Edgewatch badges this morning. Enjoy!

Agents of Edgewatch Badges

Badges? Badges?! We don't need... Sorry, force of habit.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Marco Massoudi wrote:
Uchuujin wrote:
Is it terrible I want to try this out with an all Barbarian party?

If you want my opinion: yes, it is.

City campaigns have a place for a maximum of one barbarian, in my experience.
Maybe two if one is an urban barbarian.

If you asked about an all-rogue or all-wizard Party, i'd say it's much more feasible.

Of course you can probably play this with an all-barbarian party, but the social parts and spellcasting will have to be adjusted and probably won't work as written.
You will also need lots of money for healing items. ;-)

I guess you haven't seen a city with a frat/soror party.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:


There's nothing, literally nothing about the Barbarian class that mandates Barbs being savage, uncivilized brutes with no social skills. They can get Trained+ in social skills. They are not mandatorily illiterate. They can learn languages, take dancing classes and write poetry. The only thing that makes you think otherwise is your inability to see the class in any other way than foam-mouthed "thrug smash" simpletons. Which is one way to play a Barbarian, but far from the only one.

Healing in PF2 is easily handled without spellcasting. And one or two Barbs could pick casting dedications to handle other challenges related to magic.

For most of our playtest campaign with Mark, Linda's barbarian was the only healer we had in the party across multiple levels of play. And I was playing a 12 Dex Monk without Mountain Stance :P

In another group we have an Intimidate-focused barbarian who knew she was going to be pumping Cha and grabbed Diplomacy and Deception as well; she's the party face and the lead in most social encounters, except for those situations where the monk happens to be the right fit because he has Society with Streetwise and Courtly Graces.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:
I guess you haven't seen a city with a frat/soror party.

We don't really have US style fraternities/sororities here in Germany. Most Germans are only familiar with them, if at all, via American movies or TV shows – depictions which may or may not be close to reality.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

^Reality is bad enough.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm pretty sure wild college dorm room parties are only American thing? Over here at least they go to have those parties at night clubs instead :p


This could be very interesting


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
I'm pretty sure wild college dorm room parties are only American thing? Over here at least they go to have those parties at night clubs instead :p

American college students can't do that because we pretty much have a universal drinking age of 21, and bars and night clubs check everyone's IDs -- so usually the oldest seniors go out to buy kegs of beer and bring them back to the dorms.

We also did that at my college back around 1980, but even though the drinking age for beer and wine was only 18 back then, we were in a state where selling alcoholic drinks by the individual drink was illegal. The only advantage we had over the current day was that anyone but the youngest freshmen could buy the kegs.

Liberty's Edge

Blood stained Sunday's best wrote:
Tribute to Devil in the White City by Eric Larson?

That is what I immediately thought of as well. ^_^

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