Pathfinder Adventure Path #162: Ruins of the Radiant Siege (Agents of Edgewatch 6 of 6)

2.80/5 (based on 5 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #162: Ruins of the Radiant Siege (Agents of Edgewatch 6 of 6)
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The Agents of Edgewatch Adventure Path reaches its exciting climax! Only one member of the fiendish Twilight Four remains, but having completed her pact with the murderous god Norgorber, the already powerful politician has risen to new heights as she is imbued with both a spark of divinity and the authority of Absalom's crown. Now, the heroic Edgewatch agents must stop a massive, labyrinthine excavator before it stampedes the entire Radiant Festival fairgrounds, then secure a sacred relic long hidden in one of Absalom's most famous siege castles. With this powerful artifact in hand, all that's left is to ascend the reanimated nightmarescape of Beldrin's Tower and face off against the daemonic Gray Queen once and for all!

“Ruins of the Radiant Siege” is a Pathfinder adventure for four 18th-level characters. This adventure concludes the Agents of Edgewatch Adventure Path, a six-part monthly campaign in which players take on the role of city watchdogs and dole out justice to Absalom's most nefarious criminal elements. This volume also includes new rules and inspiring legends about the otherworldly harbingers of fear, the sahkils; the long-abandoned and treasure-laden siege castles that dot Absalom's perimeter; and a pack of new monsters and villains for urban fantasy campaigns.

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: 978-1-64078-294-5

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

Hero Lab Online
Fantasy Grounds Virtual Tabletop
Roll20 Virtual Tabletop
Archives of Nethys

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Really cool lore callbacks

2/5

So this book is another weird one. Because its a fairly brilliant planar shenanigans adventure with cool super old-school lore callbacks, held back by it being the final book of Edgewatch.

Like I did kinda expect there to be at least one encounter with chaotic outsiders in law enforcement campaign, but as the book says the complete switch to outsider-based adventures and recommendation to give pcs a chance to retrain their entire characters is a bit of a red flag.

Overall it kinda ends up giving me the feeling that AP outline provided to writers was kinda vague? Hard to tell since this ap didn't have a clear campaign outline in book 1, I kinda assume those are essentially fleshed out outline of what was given to writers after they were finished :'D Finished AP does make sure that there is at least one foreshadowing of something in previous books, but a lot of things here still come out of nowhere in how sudden they are.

But... Yeah, there is only one more thing I can say pre-spoiler tags: Ultimately final villain of AP is essentially a political one, in the AP that skips all scenes dealing with politics to focus on action. As a result, it comes across as "main bad guy pulled political victory, off-screen, somehow" since they have made only one cameo in ap as written so far, and political shenanigans on the background are never shown in this ap, so we don't know how they managed to make meteoritic raise from obscurity to top of city besides "blackmail and genius maneuvering". With previous book's big bad essentially being the AP's actual main big bad, it kinda ends up looking like you could easily end ap on book 5 and wrap up Gray Queen with "and she got arrested since you had derailed her plans and evidence Rumormonger had"*. Heck, the adventure itself feels like it would be more fitting for level 15 adventure, most of the enemies are powered-up versions of lower-level outsiders(likely because there weren't many bestiary options for writers at the time) and ultimately adventure is kinda low stakes even with big bad's divine spark. Like the forum suggestions on how to change the final book are really good at upping the stakes, with this one not having a "what happens if pcs fail" paragraph it kinda ends up feeling like "Well Absalom is already a corrupt city, so at worst there is now mad evil leader for while." Basically stakes aren't as legendary as adventure should have for level.

*honestly the original plan with Infector does kinda make it confusing how exactly Gray Queen managed to still do her part of the plan without Infector's part. Sure players won't know what the original plan was, but to GM it makes it seem like Infector's part was completely unnecessary since apparently it didn't take much of extra effort to pull off, somehow.

Enough of that, to the plot analysis:

So starting from chapter 1 is why I believe there were communication issues about the outline for the entire ap: after the humble city architect's dark horse victory for acting emergency Primarch spot over the actual Primarch candidates from Absalom book, the first thing she does is order immediate execution of everyone related to Twilight Four, this being meant as way to ensure all Twilight Four members are dead to raise as daemons(book 2 assuming they steal Skinner's body seems bit odd in retrospect). Main problem: if I understood the Twilight Four's pact right(and I might not), all of the surviving members should be empowered the moment the final offering is done, so basically all of them should now be godlings with themed powers for their gods's aspect(well more on that later). And even if that wasn't the case, at which time Rumormonger had time to be jailed since this immediately happened after pcs had captured Rumormonger?

So after this is the chaotic non-sequitor chapter with graveraker. Graveraker had really weird journey huh, it disappeared in chapter 1 to be only used for plot to frame Wynsal, book 5 is only one that explains what it actually is and now its being taken on postal destruction ride. I do like the theme of chapter 1 being "chaotic proteans be chaotic and randomly interrupting plot", but due to overall problems with Edgewatch as whole, it comes across as less charming diversion and another case of PCs being kinda yanked along. (chapter 1 and 2 are essentially filler you could cut out without changing final dungeon or plot, you could cut out entire graveraker from campaign and nothing would change)

Anyway, after brief callbacks to chapter 1 minor npc and Radiant Festival still ongoing, the graveraker dungeon is pretty cool yeah. I do find it sad there isn't art of the entire machine though. I do find it lorewise confusing the proteans inside return to Maelstrom since they don't need to be summoned, but bound, but it's nice that players don't need to be morally worried. I do like that time dilation exists to provide pcs finally rest chance at these dungeons (though with rests having consequences with events) :D

But yeah, while dungeon is cool chaos themed diversion, fan favorite and author's player character cameo Il’setsya comes randomly to offer the deal to swap artifact big bad has(that pcs learned of in last book and that she decided to steal to build super villain lair) for location of Radiant Spark which comes across as... Convenient? Like once again(it really isn't a mystery ap and more of an action movie ap), players' investigation has nothing to do it. Plus unlike what she says, the radiant spark isn't needed to combat her, only thing it does as written to the final boss is seal her divine spells at 100 hp (out of 500). More on that later.

Either way it's nice to have NPC ally accompany the party to anything important for once, so I'll take what I can get.

So the quest to find an artifact that pcs apparently "Need" to destroy Oleansa(again, its not like creatures with divine spark are immortal?), there is nice diversion with research rules being brought up (plus time mechanic to add consenquences). This ap is ultimately action and dungeon crawling heavy, but I like it whenever it remembers to give pcs any kind of opportunity to investigate, and this time its not infiltration super spy thing.

But yeah the dungeon itself is extensive, but again there isn't the same kind of time pressure anymore pcs feels for most of campaign(since no criminals to escape if they take too long), with time being handled by timeline of agents of gray queens causing problems. Cool lore bits, cool lore based puzzles rewarding knowing lore, rare fights with corrupted celestials(bit sad at lack of token chance to try to redeem any of them, but fair enough xD) Overall cool stuff for long term fans.

But yeah Radiant Spark aka glorified evil pokeball is bit weird as sudden macguffin because its never been foreshadowed being important in entire ap besides Radiant Festival celebrating Radiant Siege. Its anti outsider nature makes it useful items (as long there are characters willing to use device that tortures celestials inside and makes good aligned characters sickened), but it feels bit weakly connected as for its "intended purpose".

There are several things here: 1) Gray Queen doesn't have any divine Gray Master themed abilities, and radiant spark sucking her divinity doesn't remove her extra levels as 23 creature. So only thing it does as written is remove her spell list (that she has likely already used all good spells by point she is at 100 hp. her spell list could use more norgorber themed spells too) for final stretch of fight(radiant spark stops being usable implies fight still continues. It might be fine if book assumed fight ends the moment Gray Queen is nerfed back to mortal, but I guess that would technically be it just effectively reducing her hp by 100. Plus I guess that conflicts with final defeat cutscene. 2) I guess final cutscene of Radiant Spark and Norgorber wrestling where Gray Queen's essence goes is supposed to carry the implication of "what if Norgorber lost something permanently because Gray Queen got sealed" but I don't know if that's how divine sparks and gifts really work. Plus next page has editing mistake with saying that "with [her] arrest" which just seems funny since she definitely didn't get arrested in adventure. 3) I kind of feel like it would have been more impactful if divine spark made her super affectable by radiant spark so the reaction works at her when she is weakened and thus she gets straight up sealed inside with failed save thus final cutscene. Preferably at higher hp threshold to make it worth it.

In general I would add usefulness to radiant spark through final dungeon. Like maybe all Daemonic Twilight Four members are susceptible it so you can collect them all inside relic like pokemon. Maybe have the opportunity to swap their essence with good celestial essence inside to encourage good characters to make use of it. Maybe each sealed up twilight four member gives you another chance to use reaction on Gray Queen.

But oki, after good dungeons of bit fillery content, the final dungeon at least has good jrpg final boss presentation. Main problem here is Gray Queen herself since it uses the good old "main big bad has went mad thus she is doing tactically bad choices that let player's have chance of defeating her", except its even more silly since its result of her choosing to steal cane of maelstrom to build her super villain tower. At least have her divine gift protect her from madness to retain her threat.

(nitpick: I'm also confused of whats up with her art. The reada loud text calls out her daemonic form's spider like appearance, then text after that clearly refers her looking like meladaemon instead. Considering all four Daemonic Twilight Four members seem to appear like version of different deacon daemon(her having famine does seem bit funny, but other ones do make sense enough with Skinner = war Infector = disease and Rumormonger = death), it really seems like artist got the order wrong and editor forgot to edit meladaemon part. Which is pity because I really don't like her drider form, its kinda silly tbh.)

Anyhoo final dungeon is relatively short and sweet. It has fun protean dungeon shop keeper, megaman style bossrush with daemonic twilight four(it does explain why book really wants all members to die) and some opportunities to make use of radiant spark (eremites are evil, eeeeevil). Plus CHAOS mech- I mean Famous Golem is fun ;D My only nitpick about dungeon is that Daemonic Infector's minions are vulnerable to his aura.

But yeah. Gray Queen is sadly statwise also bit underwhelming since she doesn't really have that strong "divine thief" theme going on, but her main problem really is being a political villain who never got the chance to shine on her stage in this ap.

So yeah overall I like a lot of things about volume individually, but as whole as part of AP it suffers.


5/5


Satisfying Conclusion

5/5

As other reviewers have said, the protean aspect is a twist that isn't foreshadowed... which is what makes it work. The storyline of an unseen enemy suddenly grasping control really fits with the plot of Edgewatch and the trifecta of Norgorber's followers, and if foreshadowed by the GM properly, will have players thumping their fists because they never saw it coming. My literal only complaint is the NPC on the cover not representing the AP at large!


Disappointing end to an AP

1/5

This book felt like it came out of nowhere - there was no hints dropped for the big bad at any point and the themes (eg proteans) just felt jarring compared to the rest of the AP.

All the players and GM ended up reading it because of a discussion we had and all decided not to play it and end our game at the book 5 boss which we thought was a much more appropriate battle.

At the start of the AP is says something about the book being a complete change of pace to the rest of the AP and that PCs might want to consider retraining. This is a massive red flag. When PCs have worked so hard through 5 other books to get where they are now, this is not the change of direction that is welcome. Especially with impending time limits in plot.

This book unfortunately did not intrigue any of the players to want to continue with our current characters.


1/5


Advocates

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

*chanting* siege castles siege castles siege castles

Dark Archive

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Woo for Sahkil returning :D

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

F$#%in sweet Amber.

Contributor

11 people marked this as a favorite.

Woohoo! :D

Contributor

18 people marked this as a favorite.

And yes, to clarify, this is indeed me, and it's finally my first AP entry. :)

Silver Crusade

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

Oh, Todd is writing this one? Great, it means a double-sized issue! :P

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oh my :O

Man I really want to play in this one but now I want to also read it :'D I hope I get to play in this fast xP But have to wait whole ap to be out first since that is the best experience...

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yay Amber!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh, so Todd and Amber are one and the same person, they just change at odd hours!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
Oh, so Todd and Amber are one and the same person, they just change at odd hours!

Like a werewolf, except way cooler.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Looks pretty sweet! Definitely llooking forward to this one.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm unbelievably excited for this. That we never leave Absalom to do a wilderness trek and the final dungeon is a landmark in the city is so thrilling.

Bring it on. I'm beyond ready!

Grand Archive

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

> [...] spark of divinity [...]
That escalated quickly! O_O

Town Guards vs divinity...
:D
Everyone... Remember, if they ask you if you're a god? You say YES.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Good lord I am so excited. This AP looks like it's less combat-directed, and that will work so well for my players. The description of this book is seriously good stuff.

Sad I have to wait till around Christmas to have the whole adventure in my hands, though!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Great to see this sixth and final book in the AP announced!

Grand Lodge

Radiant...... Radiant`s Fire?

Silver Crusade

Hmm, wonder if it’s nvolved.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Siege castles and Sahkils? And it's written by Todd? Sold! :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The AP blurb wrote:
daemonic Gray Queen

"daemonic"??? You mean, that Daemons will finally get to be the major villains for an AP? I was already interested in the premise but now I really want to run this.

Dark Archive

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

Yay, S̴̟̅̋a̷̢̬͆̊h̷͖̎k̶͕̬͌i̴͎̯̚l̵̲͐̓s̵͙̣̊ are back. Will save me some conversion time >:D

Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I adore the cover art! I can't wait until this is released! :D

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wait, are we FINALLY having a gnome big bad? :O I hope didn't spoil myself by seeing the cover

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

No that’s just the author.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
No that’s just the author.

Hmm, not seeing the tail puppet...

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
DeciusNero wrote:
Rysky wrote:
No that’s just the author.
Hmm, not seeing the tail puppet...

Hah!

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

If I had to take an educated guess, the purple-haired gnome on the cover is...

possible spoiler??:
Absalom's Chief Architect, Blune Blandersworth. (The architect's compass, coke bottle glasses, and blueprints on hand, plus the very gnomish last name. BLATHERING BLANDERSWORTH!)


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm so hype for this! My group is absolutely loving the AP so far :) can't wait to read this! The creativity in this series so far has been amazing

Dark Archive

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm gonna be really curious about the sahkil article :3

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
benthic wrote:

If I had to take an educated guess, the purple-haired gnome on the cover is...

** spoiler omitted **

This is a good guess. He gets a full character write up as well.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

What's in this Bestiary?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Quite the varied selection of monsters in this AP:

Bestiary:

Creature 21 BAATAMIDAR - Ooze from the Outer Planes
Creature 17 CAMARACH - Manifestations of the Maelstrom
Creature 15 SORDESDAEMON - Pollution Daemon
Creature 19 AGRADAEMON - Conflagration Daemon
Creature 15 HEGESSIK - Protean Mystic
Creature 20 IZFIITAR - Protean Priest
Creature 22 RHEVANNA - Creepy hunter of Celestials
Creature 15 PENQUAL - Sahkil (!!!) based on fear of crowds
Creature 19 NENCHUUJ - Sahkil (!!!) based on fear of corrupted magic

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Encolpius wrote:

Quite the varied selection of monsters in this AP:

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
Proteans and daemon with my sahkil?? Oh you spoil me!
Contributor

8 people marked this as a favorite.
DeciusNero wrote:
Encolpius wrote:

Quite the varied selection of monsters in this AP:

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

This AP entry is -wildly- on-brand for me. :D


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Does the toolbox have new capstones for all the classes like the AoA and EC did?


xNellynelx wrote:
Does the toolbox have new capstones for all the classes like the AoA and EC did?

Spoiler:
Nope. It contains a few artifacts, two of which are the basis of the struggle in this book, as well as two spells and rules for the new warpglass material. The toolbox is literally three pages this time around.
Horizon Hunters

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Sporkedup wrote:
xNellynelx wrote:
Does the toolbox have new capstones for all the classes like the AoA and EC did?
** spoiler omitted **

I guess

Spoiler:
all those sweet creatures
took up room

Just wondering if these will be sanctioned for Organised Play? Just finished Book 4. I notice 'Abomination Vaults' have been, but not these. My apologies if I've missed something here, I probably have. Thanks so much for your time on sanctioning all these products.
God Bless,
Andrew.

Silver Crusade

Agents of Edgewatch is not being sanctioned, no.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Shame, thanks for the info. Just did a search and found out why.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Its kinda weird that they did say they might sanction player character content, but that hasn't happened either ^_^;

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Welp that was end of my entire journey to review and plot analyze this ap :'D I feel so exhausted, two final books took whole day while I did four other books in a day...

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