Pathfinder Adventure Path #179: Cradle of Quartz (Outlaws of Alkenstar 2 of 3)

2.70/5 (based on 3 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #179: Cradle of Quartz (Outlaws of Alkenstar 2 of 3)
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Time is of the essence when the formula for the devastating explosive pyronite falls into the wrong hands. To secure the formula and even the score with the sinister rival who ruined them, a motley gang of outlaws must brave the weird and wild wastes of the Spellscar Desert. At the center of this mutant-filled wasteland, the outlaws discover an abandoned temple of time called the Cradle of Quartz. But while redemption and a fresh start might be nice perks, the outlaws seek something far more valuable among the Cradle's time-warped halls: revenge.

"Cradle of Quartz" is a Pathfinder adventure for four 4th-level characters. This adventure continues the Outlaws of Alkenstar Adventure Path, a three-part monthly campaign in which a band of outlaws unravel an explosive criminal plot in the heart of the City of Smog, Alkenstar. This adventure also includes an exploration of the magic-warped wastes east of Alkenstar, the Spellscar Desert; new feats, items, and rules options perfect for gunslingers, gearheads, and grenadiers; and new steampunk creatures and mutant monsters to befriend or bedevil your players.

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: 978-1-64078-422-2

The Outlaws of Alkenstar Adventure Path is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The rules for running this Adventure and Chronicle Sheets are available as a free download (963 KB PDF).

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

Fantasy Grounds Virtual Tabletop
Foundry Virtual Tabletop
Pathfinder Nexus on Demiplane
Archives of Nethys

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

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2.70/5 (based on 3 ratings)

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Good Raw Materials With Weird Execution

3/5

Let me start by being clear - as with all of Paizo's stuff, this is a high-quality book. The book is beautiful, the art is high-quality, and so on. That said, there are a frustrating number of strange mistakes and errors/omissions that made it into the final version of this book.

A microcosm of this is the chapter in which the party boards and faces adventure on a flying clockwork ship. (Spoilers ahead.) A great set-up!

But then there are weird plot-points. Before the party can board the ship, they have to jump through hoops to convince a number of other people to also make the voyage. Why can't they just pay for the extra seats themselves? Well, we're told, the captain's ego requires that more people sign up(?!). And why can't they just hire some assistants to travel with them and pay for their seats?... Um... it's not clear.

Likewise, there seem to be mistakes in the set-up of the ship itself. It looks like there's a large stairwell that goes to the first-mate's room, and nowhere else. And that this is the only way in and out of the first-mate's room. Even though this room is right next to all of the others, and could be conveniently reached if there was a door to the main hallway, as there is with all the other rooms.

Likewise, there's a room with ballistas that plays an important role in one of the encounters... except the room is completely omitted from the description of the ship.

Anyway, with some patching up and a little work on the GM's side, there's a serviceable adventure here. But this requires more work of this type than one would like.


2/5


Mana Wasted Opportunity

3/5

Opens with a whole load of religious fluff. I could feel myself losing interest right out of the gate. Asynchronous Archives, you say? 13th Ordinal, you say?? Concurrent Heresy, you say??? Get on with the adventure!!!
The time travel aspect is interesting, but by Christendom, you have to wade through some tripe to get there.

Another trap laden workshop. Yay. Such sparkling originality.

Part Two looks promising! Airships and mutants and marauders, oh my! It's hard to conceive how even current-day Paizo could make this boring, but let's see if they managed to pull it off.
Yeah, it's not looking good. You find a pilot, but rather than setting off into the Mana Wastes immediately, she demands that you adopt the role of fantasy travel agents to recruit more passengers for your flight.
Hold on, what? A DC 15 Medcine check to distinguish between a knife wound and a snake bite?! Suuuure.
The battle with marauders amidst a storm, followed by a boss beastie, who you might have to fight atop the envelope is a cool set piece, resulting in the ship crashing down in the desert. Awesome!
Completely unnecessary sidequest is completely unnecessary. On to the titular Cradle of Quartz!!
-
Nyarlathotep and Yog-Sothoth? Someone should remind the author he's not writing Strange Aeons 2.
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I lost interest before reaching the end of the module. The skeleton of a great adventure is hidden here somewhere, beneath the fatty folds of bloated lore. Three stars ***


Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

1 person marked this as a favorite.

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


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This AP sounds like a delight. Time stuff!


Awesome all! I'm going to love this one.


I love how innovative Pathfinder adventure paths can be and are not just generic fatasy.


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

Ok, with exploration of the Spellscar Desert and the new rules surrounding magical dead zones, I'm convinced. I'm hoping there will be space for a mostly "normal" adventuring party so that spell casters aren't completely nerfed for this part of the AP. "Magic warped" sounds like a great step in that direction!

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

3 people marked this as a favorite.

WEIRD MAGIC SPOILER:
Alkenstar was founded in the ruined lands between Nex and Geb in spite—and because—of the region’s peculiar ambient effects on magic. Thankfully for the city’s inhabitants, protective walls and magical forecasts have largely mitigated the most troublesome aspects of spellcasting within the City of Smog. Naturally, however, the same can’t be said for the vast, haunted wastes beyond the city’s borders.

In this adventure, the characters step foot outside the relative safety of the city of Alkenstar and into the perilous Spellscar Desert, one of the Mana Wastes’ most magically disturbed subregions. Here as never before, they’ll encounter dangerous, terrifying, and downright strange places and denizens. For many, the outright weirdness of the Mana Wastes is exactly what makes the place so appealing.

Chapter 2 of “Cradle of Quartz” includes numerous bizarre situations and encounters for the party to overcome, and the Spellscar Desert article on page 66 includes dozens more whimsical characters, locations, and ideas for you to seed into the party’s wasteland wanderings as you like. Of course, you should feel free to drop in your own outlandish ideas, too. In fact, if you’ve been waiting for a chance to incorporate your wildest, wackiest ideas into a Pathfinder Adventure Path, the party’s foray into the Spellscar is a prime opportunity.


Can't wait to step out of "the comfort zone" and see what kind of crazy team Paizo came up with!!

Tom


So time travel is involved with the AP featuring a steam punk Doc Brown homage. I mean its brilliant. You get me wanting a time travel AP and then you deliver the AP at the same time.


Feeling very curious about the backmatter in this. What are those new player options?

I’m hoping to meet some friendly mutants in this one.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If I have a Subscription and get the free PDF and then I want the foundry upgrade... does it subtract the "normal" pdf price or is there no credit because I paid nothing for the PDF?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
keftiu wrote:

Feeling very curious about the backmatter in this. What are those new player options?

I’m hoping to meet some friendly mutants in this one.

*insert Ancient Aliens meme*

"Mutant Archetype"

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Shea Hoarfoot wrote:
If I have a Subscription and get the free PDF and then I want the foundry upgrade... does it subtract the "normal" pdf price or is there no credit because I paid nothing for the PDF?

You get the credit. Folks are raving about the value of subs + VTT.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Back cover text:

A Ticking Time Bomb
Time is of the essence for a motley gang of outlaws if they’re to settle the score with the sinister rival who ruined them. Somewhere amid the weird and wild wastes of the Spellscar Desert lies an abandoned clockwork temple called the Cradle of Quartz. But while redemption and a fresh start might be nice perks, the outlaws seek something far more valuable among the Cradle’s time-warped halls: revenge. The Outlaws of Alkenstar Adventure Path continues with “Cradle of Quartz,” a complete adventure for 4th- to 7th-level characters.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

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Backmatter:

THE SPELLSCAR DESERT
by Ron Lundeen
The wild and weird wasteland east of Alkenstar defies description. Keep an eye out for threats both familiar and alien as you explore the Spellscar Desert!

ADVENTURE TOOLBOX

Spoiler:
includes pyronite, gilded gear, Mana Waste armaments, vestiges of Brigh, clockwork, non-playable mutants and other creatures.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Aaron Shanks wrote:

Backmatter:

THE SPELLSCAR DESERT
by Ron Lundeen
The wild and weird wasteland east of Alkenstar defies description. Keep an eye out for threats both familiar and alien as you explore the Spellscar Desert!

ADVENTURE TOOLBOX
** spoiler omitted **

Bummed to see "non-playable" there - I hope we get a Versatile Heritage someday!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Aaron Shanks wrote:

Backmatter:

THE SPELLSCAR DESERT
by Ron Lundeen
The wild and weird wasteland east of Alkenstar defies description. Keep an eye out for threats both familiar and alien as you explore the Spellscar Desert!

ADVENTURE TOOLBOX
** spoiler omitted **

Thanks for the info Aaron! Paizo has been putting out straight fire (is that what the kids are saying?) these days, and I appreciate the effort you go to in order to spread the word!

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Shea Hoarfoot wrote:
If I have a Subscription and get the free PDF and then I want the foundry upgrade... does it subtract the "normal" pdf price or is there no credit because I paid nothing for the PDF?
You get the credit. Folks are raving about the value of subs + VTT.

Well ... then you just sold me on Subscription ... ok wallet prepare to be En-Lightened...

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Shea Hoarfoot wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Shea Hoarfoot wrote:
If I have a Subscription and get the free PDF and then I want the foundry upgrade... does it subtract the "normal" pdf price or is there no credit because I paid nothing for the PDF?
You get the credit. Folks are raving about the value of subs + VTT.
Well ... then you just sold me on Subscription ... ok wallet prepare to be En-Lightened...

Great!

Also, PDF "ownership" gets you discounts on Pathfinder Nexus, for those interested in premium online tools.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Xethik wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:

Backmatter:

THE SPELLSCAR DESERT
by Ron Lundeen
The wild and weird wasteland east of Alkenstar defies description. Keep an eye out for threats both familiar and alien as you explore the Spellscar Desert!

ADVENTURE TOOLBOX
** spoiler omitted **

Thanks for the info Aaron! Paizo has been putting out straight fire (is that what the kids are saying?) these days, and I appreciate the effort you go to in order to spread the word!

I appreciate the attaboy and I agree about the quality of my cowoker's output! It is good to be the bard who gets sings their praises.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Aaron Shanks wrote:

Backmatter:

THE SPELLSCAR DESERT
by Ron Lundeen
The wild and weird wasteland east of Alkenstar defies description. Keep an eye out for threats both familiar and alien as you explore the Spellscar Desert!

ADVENTURE TOOLBOX
** spoiler omitted **

I hope pyronite is actually as groundbreaking/ explosive as it's hyped up to be so far the AP specific items have lived up to the lore but I'm worried pyronite won't for two reasons 1 its not in anyway magical 2 ap only goes to 10th lvl hope the effects prove me wrong and is better than previous alchemical explosives in damage or effects


anyone do an ama yet? those who have early copies


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I will start out with one bit that many people will love.

Remember all those people who were asking about pyronite in volume 1 of this AP? This is the volume where you get the full stats for it.

I may be able to answer other questions when I get back home in a few hours.


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

More magical items than I expected for a trip through the Mana Wastes.

Adventurer's Toolbox':

Items:
Pyronite
Pyronite - 11 rare, alchemical, consumable, fire
Alchemical Fuse - 1 Alchemical, consumable, fire
Gilded Gear
Alchemist's Damper - 5 Uncommon, Consumable, Magical, Talisman, Transmutation
Dupe's Gold Nugget - 5 Uncommon, Consumable, magical, talisman, transmutation
Golden Branding Iron - 5+ Uncommon, consumable, magical, talisman, transmutation
Golden-cased bullet - 4+ uncommon, consumable, divination, magical
Golden Silencer - 6+ Uncommon, consumable, illusion, magical, talisman
Golden Spur - 11 Uncommon, conjuration, consumable, magical, talisman, teleportation
Liquid Gold - 6+ Uncommon, consumable, evocation, magical, talisman
Gyroscoptic Stablizer - 4 Uncommon, divination, magical
Mana Waste Armaments
Harpoon Bolt - 4 Uncommon, Conjuration, Consumable, Magical
Jax - 8 Unique, LN, Cursed, Divine, Evocation, Intelligent
Lodestone Pellet - 3 Uncommon, Consumable, Magical, Transmutation
Smogger - 9 Uncommon, Conjuration, Invested, Magical
Thunder Helm - 5 Uncommon, conjuration, invested, magical
Vestiges of Brigh
Aeon Stone (Clear Quartz Octagon) - 4 Uncommon, Invested, Magical, Transmutation
Containment Contraption - 8 uncommon, invested, magical transmutation
Metronomic Hammer - 5 uncommon, evocation, magical
Winder's Ring - 7 uncommon, magical, transmutation

Creatures
Clockwork Door warden - 4 Rare, N, Medium, clockwork, construct, mindless
Clockwork Disposer - 5 uncommon, N, small, clockwork, construct, mindless
Clockwork Sphinx - 8 Rare, N, Large, clockwork, construct, mindless
Daelum - 4 Rare, N, Large, Construct
Smog Giant - 7 Rare, CE, Large, Giant, Humanoid
Mana Waste Mutant
-Mutant Giant Toad- 3 Rare, N, Large, Animal, Mutant
-Mutant Desert Drake- 9 Rare, NE, Large, Dragon, Earth, Mutant
Scarecophagus - 6 Rare, LE, Large, Construct
Trapjaw Tangle - 5 Rare, N, Large, Construct, Swarm

NPCs
Ambrost Mugland - 8 Unique, NE, Small, Halfling, Humanoid
Sabora Sharkosa - 7 Unique, LE, Medium, Elf, Half Elf, Human, Humanoid

Grand Lodge

Will this contain also VTT?

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

fingerzz wrote:
Will this contain also VTT?

The Foundry VTT product will drop separately at 11 AM Pacific. Fantasy Grounds VTT is also supporting it.

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I see the Abomination Vaults VTT page, but not the Outlaws book 2 VTT page. I want to make sure I buy them all, because I want to show Paizo that these are successful, so they continue for a long time to come

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Cori Marie wrote:
I see the Abomination Vaults VTT page, but not the Outlaws book 2 VTT page. I want to make sure I buy them all, because I want to show Paizo that these are successful, so they continue for a long time to come

It is live.

Dark Archive

Any plans for getting this series on Roll20?

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

AllenJ wrote:
Any plans for getting this series on Roll20?

They are not planning to at this time.


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

"I need you to draw Powers Boothe from Deadwood, but as a Halfling."

"I got you, fam"

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