Pathfinder Adventure Path #185: A Taste of Ashes (Blood Lords 5 of 6)

3.00/5 (based on 7 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #185: A Taste of Ashes (Blood Lords 5 of 6)

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Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down!

The newest Blood Lords follow the trail of a deadly plot to the bone-walled metropolis of Yled, just as the city is gearing up for war against the undead nation's greatest enemy. From spectral theater performances to the city's secret defense installations, the Blood Lords race to stop a plan to bring forth horrors from beyond death—and before their foes leave nothing more than ashes in their wake.

A Taste of Ashes is a Pathfinder adventure for four less-than-good-hearted 15th-level characters. This adventure continues the Blood Lords Adventure Path, a six-part, monthly campaign in which the characters rise from skilled troubleshooters to join the Blood Lords who rule a land of the dead. The adventure also details the Warmaster Council orchestrating the nation's defenses and explores trade routes across the Inner Sea region. New items, spells, monsters, and more await in A Taste of Ashes.

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.

Written by: Brian Duckwitz

ISBN-13: 978-1-64078-479-6

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

Archives of Nethys

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Average product rating:

3.00/5 (based on 7 ratings)

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Seems fun so far

4/5


A fun exploration of another central city in Geb

5/5

THE GOOD:
—It does a nice job of emphasizing the militaristic feel of Yled, and gives tips on how to emphasize the ways in which Yled differs from the other cities in Geb. (The section on Yled in the Impossible Lands book is helpful here as well.)
—It mixes in some skill challenges with combat challenges (the playhouse bit looks especially fun), though it’s still a bit more combat heavy than I would have liked.
—It does set up several encounters that can be resolved without combat (though I would have liked to see even more of this, giving the PCs the option of using their impressive status as the blood lords to good effect).
—The final chapter, and the ultimate opponents the PCs face, feel appropriately epic for PCs of this level. Likewise, the game-world import of these opponents feels appropriately important; independently of the main plot, the PCs actions here feel like a Big Deal.

THE BAD:
—The “gathering rumors” section seemed like it could have been a bit more interesting.
—Not as much use of faction ratings as I would have liked. Likewise, not as much import put on the PCs status as Blood Lords as I would have liked; it would have been cool to have some encounters/skill challenges/political challenges which would only make sense for high-status characters like the PCs.

THE UGLY/PRETTY:
—The art hits Paizo’s usual standard for high quality. Some favorites: the art for Quinelle Quilltongue (p74), and the details in the Agorron maps (like the bones in the surrounding stone).


The heroes don't feel like Blood Lords

2/5

As other reviewers have stated, most of the page space in this book is taken up by dungeon room descriptions and creature statblocks. It seems like a well-designed dungeon, but there isn't much meat on the bones here.

Furthermore, the work that the PCs are doing in this volume doesn't feel like the work of government officials. It feels like standard adventurer stuff. For an adventure path so concerned with the reputation system, there isn't much of the rubbing shoulders with fellow elites that I would expect.

Overall, just kind of misses the mark.


Haven't run this yet so rating could change, but...

3/5

So as this adventure is 2/3 combat dungeon crawling and combat, its bit hard to estimate how good the book is without playing it. That said the main reason I review this is because I'm bit disappointed by that aspect of the book.

Like the 1/3 non combat stuff is investigation and information gathering... But while the second half of blood lords is the half of ap where you are actually blood lords, it doesn't really feel like party does "blood lords" like stuff. You are essentially important VIPs who still do on the ground investigation and just using your influence to get a pass rather than having minions(or establishing power base) or such to command as far as adventure is concerned. Like I was expecting more politics and political intrigue by this point

Its bit bummer since I like the articles, cover character and bestiary entries here, but yeah I feel bit underwhelmed by what it means to be a blood lord in this ap.


A Taste of Ass

1/5

The only bad taste is the one left in my mouth after finishing this module.

Chapter One: The heroes return to Yled to find out where the bad guy is getting so much Shadow Ash, a rare material created by the death/rebirth of an undead phoenix-like creature. Ok, that is still awesome. Yled is under control of the Wamaster's Council, effectively negating any political clout the PCs would enjoy as Geb's newest Blood Lords.

The PCs are instructed to investigate a dodgy priest, but they can't get near him for reasons, and for fear of losing Reputation Points (you know, the things they've been accumulating for the entire AP, for no apparent reason). Instead, they are steered towards a random guy who is acting weird. Sure, why not? This is followed by pages and pages of disconnected rumours, locations and NPCs that eventually railroad the investigators into a confrontation with the dodgy priest, whose schedule suddenly cleared up.

Chapter Two: The dodgy priest sends the party to a dodgy theatre. Oh no! Some actors are sick and the Blood Lords are volunteered to stand in for them. This whole section read like the author was trying to replicate the popularity of The Sixfold Trial, unsuccessfully. You can skip the entire thing at no detriment to the plot. A portal appears and transports the party to a dungeon, where the dodgy theatre owner finally reveals where the Shadow Ash is coming from.

Chapter Three: The party assault a bland underground facility to stop the production of Shadow Ash. They eventually reach the undead phoenix-like creature, that pops out its own eye, which acts as a magical go-pro that caught the bad guy doing some incriminating stuff. To be continued...!

Man, I had trouble finishing this book. I'm not sure how much of that was this book specifically, and how much was a general disinterest/distaste for the Blood Lords AP as a whole. ONE STAR!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Spectral theater? I’m sold!


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Oh, wow - are we really getting hot war between Geb and Nex again?

That trade route backmatter sounds incredibly fun, too. Hopefully it doesn't have the same map issues as the trade routes in Guns & Gears.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Not gonna lie, the City of Yled makes me think of the City of Yhitil, and now I can't help but wonder it Hastur has some dominion here. Lol

I also wonder if the Twilight Sages or the three Nightshades (Nightwalkers?) will be brought up at all here.


keftiu wrote:

Oh, wow - are we really getting hot war between Geb and Nex again?

That trade route backmatter sounds incredibly fun, too. Hopefully it doesn't have the same map issues as the trade routes in Guns & Gears.

Could be Holomog or something different, but I guess "greatest" does imply Nex. Intriguing either way...


I'd /love/ if this one involved orchestrating a city defense, or other large military action.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
I'd /love/ if this one involved orchestrating a city defense, or other large military action.

I feel it's more a race to find and defeat the bad people while in a metropolis that prepares for war.

Wayfinders

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Also, Yled is pretty much on the border with the Mana Wastes, rather than anywhere near the border with Holomog, so there's that.


...Oh, pushing happened.


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

Just wanted to note that my zip file didn’t come with interactive maps.

More notably: the backmatter has a new oracle curse: ashes! Related domains are destruction and fire, curse benefit is resistance to physical damage and +2 bonus to saves and DCs against grapple, shove, and forced movement. Moderate curse makes you both dazzled and concealed, but the rest of the curse effects are pretty minor. 6th-level focus spell Ash Form is very similar to gaseous form.

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

My subscriptions got added to my downloads, but I couldn't get the personalizer to work on them. Also, this volume did not have two entries with one for single file and one for By CHapter, so they be having technical problems.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

That looks like really fashionable shae :O


1 person marked this as a favorite.

What beasties are in the toolbox?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
logic_poet wrote:
My subscriptions got added to my downloads, but I couldn't get the personalizer to work on them. Also, this volume did not have two entries with one for single file and one for By CHapter, so they be having technical problems.

Mine either. Looks like they are having technical difficulties on that end. As it's listed as "Single File" but it's actually one file per chapter.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I've not finished reading 'A Taste of Ashes', but I just wanted to leave a shout-out for whoever wrote the inspirational rumour table in Part 1.

The PCs may come across several random rumours in their search. Roll a d12 to determine which random rumour they hear;
1: The High Priest is up to something.
2: The High Priest is up to something.
3: The High Priest is up to something.
4: The High Priest is up to something.
5: The High Priest is up to something.
6: The High Priest is up to something.
7: The High Priest is up to something.
8: The High Priest is up to something.
9: The High Priest is up to something.
10: The High Priest is up to something.
11: The High Priest is up to something.
12: The High Priest is up to something.

You dedicated an entire page to this, when you could just as easily have the PCs overhear someone mention that THE HIGH PRIEST IS UP TO SOMETHING.

Review forthcoming. :D

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I was kinda hoping I would manage to do my 3 star review ages ago, but I've been lately kinda bummed out x'D Welp finally managed to do it.

But yeah, the dungeon stuff itself seems fine and there are some fun set pieces and encounters, but I'm underwhelmed that this is essentially 2/3 dungeon crawling book when I was really hoping players got to do really cool blood lords stuff when they became blood lords. Like even if it turns out that the encounters are best in 2e in practice, its still would feel like book doesn't take advantage of players being newcomers to the political elite of the country.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I gotta say, I really enjoyed the depictions of the priests of Urgathoa throughout this AP. It would have been easy to depict them as absolute sociopaths but they're some of the more clever NPC's you find, both Zoheri and of course Brennon herself.

Quote:
So as this adventure is 2/3 combat dungeon crawling and combat, its bit hard to estimate how good the book is without playing it.

See, this is what I find frustrating about "I haven't played this but I'm going to review it". We've played through the first chapter and had a blast. Ironically the part I'm NOT looking forward to is when the group gets co-opted into being theatre kids. That to me sounds less like Blood Lording it up and more like having to do performative stuff for people like you did in BL #3.

Also I feel like the opportunity for player-oriented solutions to AVOID combat goes up with the more toys they have at higher levels. The Pallid Pinnacle? No problem, Scry + Teleport up to the top floor. Wow, that was hard!

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