Pathfinder Adventure Path #188: They Watched the Stars (Gatewalkers 2 of 3)

3.00/5 (based on 11 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #188: They Watched the Stars (Gatewalkers 2 of 3)
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It's written in the stars!

After learning the truth behind the alien being responsible for their missing memories, the characters join forces with Sakuachi, a young oracle whose destiny is inextricably bound to theirs. To help Sakuachi fulfill her quest to find a living god and seal away an ancient evil, the party travels across frigid northlands toward the demon-ravaged wastes of Sarkoris. As they voyage across the harrowing waters of the Lake of Mists and Veils and push through monster-filled ruins, the party must rely on their own wits, their new friends, and the stars above to guide them to safety.

They Watched the Stars is a Pathfinder adventure for four 4th-level characters. This adventure continues the Gatewalkers Adventure Path, a three-part monthly campaign in which a team of paranormal investigators unravel the mystery behind a mass amnesic episode which left them with lost memories and strange powers. This adventure also includes a gazetteer of the shrouded waters and eerie shores of the Lake of Mists and Veils; new rules options perfect for paranormalist adventurers; and strange new creatures 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.

Written by: Jason Keeley

ISBN-13: 978-1-64078-499-4

The Gatewalkers Adventure Path is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The rules for running this Adventure Path and Chronicle Sheets are available as a free download (1 MB PDF).

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

Fantasy Grounds Virtual Tabletop
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3.00/5 (based on 11 ratings)

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5/5


Weakest book of the three. Not worth running, but has some salvageable content

2/5

[On the campaign, from my review of The Seventh Arch] As advertised, I was expecting Gatewalkers to focus a lot more strongly on paranormal adventures, investigating mysteries, and related horror themes, similar to Dark Archive. However, disappointingly, that feels like its really only a third of the adventure path, where most of it is spent on an adventure that feels like it hops around randomly. While the locales can be interesting and varied, the AP as a whole didn't deliver as much as I'd hoped. So as I've run it (at the time of writing, I've run the first book), I've had to make a lot of modifications, integrating new plot lines and content from other books like Dark Archive.

On They Watched the Stars: Boy, this book has issues. Personally, I'm scrapping most of the content of this book and replacing it with other content from Dark Archive and doing what I can to stitch the plot together.

SPOILERS: The biggest issue with this book (and the rest of the campaign) is Sakuachi, the "chosen one" GMPC who turns the party into functionally an escort for her mission. You KNOW this was an issue because Paizo had to write a blurb at the front to address this with the quote "...some players might feel like they’re playing second fiddle. You can assuage such concerns...". Yikes. For my campaign, I'm completely writing her out, which is tough, because she's interwoven with the narrative for the rest of the campaign.
Chapter 1 has players land in Skywatch which is a town which has some seemingly cool, but confusing geometry that mostly involves the players getting lost or making rolls to not get lost.
Chapter 2 is definitely the best part of this book, as the players get their own ghost pirate ship, which is awesome. There's a nautical encounter and visions on the sea which are pretty neat as well.
Chapters 3 and 4 feel confusing in purpose. The encounters with the townsfolk of Egede feel like the cool start to uncovering a mystery or something, but feel very quickly wrapped up as written, like the author doesn't want you to spend much time there and move on, to help Sakuachi with her quest. The rest of the chapter 3 feels like a combination of tedious random encounters and a weird diversion. Chapter 4 feels odd in that it has the investigation system applied to... looting random buildings? It feels less like the there's a mystery to uncover here and more like the players are trying to not be lost. The whole cistern dungeon feels strange in theme for what I'd expect from divinity or god-calling, and as it reads, players need to repeat the same boss encounter 3 times exactly the same way? This feels like it would be tedious to run.

I personally am not running most of the content in this book, I'd encourage a GM looking to run Gatewalkers to find ways to bridge the levels between Book 1 and Book 3, since this book doesn't exactly add much to the narrative anyway.


1/5


2/5


Very uninspired with the addition of a new main character

2/5

This continues the theme of no agency and amplifies it to a huge degree. The players are now trapped in Skywatch and meet Sakuachi, the new main character.

The players are immediately tasked with a huge task from her which is to save all her companions that are hidden throughout the whole city. The players have no real reason to do so except being vaguely connected to her.

After they do this, she has an even bigger ask which is to help her on her quest which takes you in the middle of a demon-infested wasteland in the middle of nowhere? Why would your characters agree to this? Well because the plot demands it and there is no other way forward. The book even lampshades this in a section called "aren't the PCs the main characters?" but seemingly does nothing else to try to solve the issue rather than pointing out it exists.

Characters start the campaign by exploring a gate for clues and have been shuffled around ever since with no decisions of their own and now they have to help Sakuachi with her quest.

On top of that it just feels very disjointed and uninspired, walk in Sarkoris and just face a random reclaimer, go into a town and get attacked by an ooze, just walk through a boring travel sequence with 1d6 demons attack you.

When you get to Domora itself it's mostly the same but when you go to the actual gods you find out they are trapped in a literal sewer and that you have to complete their three challenges to get the privilege of saving them. It just felt a bit insulting to the characters and don't inspire much beyond "why are we getting this god with us if they can't get out of a sewer and kill some demons?"


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Paizo Employee Sales & eCommerce Assistant

1 person marked this as a favorite.

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


7 people marked this as a favorite.

Of all the places this would go, I never once would've guessed Sarkoris. Fascinating move - though it does mean I still have /no/ clue what this AP is.

I do love how clearly this AP seems to be leaning on Dark Archive's themes.

Liberty's Edge

9 people marked this as a favorite.

It feels like Strange Aeons with less Lovecraft and more Golarion.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
keftiu wrote:
I do love how clearly this AP seems to be leaning on Dark Archive's themes.

Tying the APs to the big releases is a brilliant move. It gives the new material a workout while providing examples of how that material might play out when designing adventures.

Silver Crusade

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

I am now ten-fold more excited about this AP and hoping to find a game to play in when it launches. SARKORIS YES!


Starfinder Superscriber

The idea of the AP isn't really my thing but I might pick this up for a gazeteer on the lake.

Evan Tarlton wrote:

Tying the APs to the big releases is a brilliant move. It gives the new material a workout while providing examples of how that material might play out when designing adventures.

As someone else has mentioned there has been some issues with this method.

Silver Crusade

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

No, what someone is complaining about there is the timing of the Setting books not the timing of the Adventures to the Core books. Typically the release schedule has been Core > Adventure Path > Setting. That works well for the first two, has left a sour taste for some on the latter two.

Secrets of Magic was followed closely by Strength of Thousands which utilized it. SoT was followed a bit later by Mwangi. Likewise Guns & Gears came out before Outlaws, and Impossible Kingdoms is following it.

Liberty's Edge

So, Dark Archive followed by Gatewalkers followed by which setting book ?

Do we know already ?

EDIT - I see. It's the Broken Lands.

RE-EDIT - Numeria could be the location of the 3rd part because "alien".

Liberty's Edge

Or Razmiran for the "living god" part, but it feels too obvious. Not to mention Razmir is currently in Absalom, waiting for his turn.

Liberty's Edge

"Alien responsible for their missing memories."

Hypothesis 1 : the PCs are aliens too.

Hypothesis 2 : the PCs are clones.


The Raven Black wrote:

So, Dark Archive followed by Gatewalkers followed by which setting book ?

Do we know already ?

EDIT - I see. It's the Broken Lands.

RE-EDIT - Numeria could be the location of the 3rd part because "alien".

Has there been a Broken Lands book announced?

Liberty's Edge

keftiu wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

So, Dark Archive followed by Gatewalkers followed by which setting book ?

Do we know already ?

EDIT - I see. It's the Broken Lands.

RE-EDIT - Numeria could be the location of the 3rd part because "alien".

Has there been a Broken Lands book announced?

Not that I know of. But it would definitely fit the modus operandi described above by Cori Marie.


The Raven Black wrote:
keftiu wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

So, Dark Archive followed by Gatewalkers followed by which setting book ?

Do we know already ?

EDIT - I see. It's the Broken Lands.

RE-EDIT - Numeria could be the location of the 3rd part because "alien".

Has there been a Broken Lands book announced?
Not that I know of. But it would definitely fit the modus operandi described above by Cori Marie.

Ah, that makes more sense!

I’m still a little hesitant to make any grand claims on next year’s LO book; each pair of 3-parters has had an AP with no connection to that year’s other releases (FotRP, QftFF), after all.

But if Gatewatchers ends up being a tour of the Broken Lands, I definitely wouldn’t cry about it! I do hope book 3 isn’t Numeria, because I want an Iron Gods sequel and they’d never do Numeria twice in an edition… are we sure book 2 gets all the way to Sarkoris?

Dark Archive

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

Yessss, Lake of Mists and Veils needs some exploring!


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
Or Razmiran for the "living god" part, but it feels too obvious. Not to mention Razmir is currently in Absalom, waiting for his turn.

It would be very tempting for Razmir to sneak back to Razmiran and claim he succeeded in the Test. Who in his home country would dare challenge that claim?


I'm curious - does /this/ volume go to Sarkoris, or are we on our way and getting there in book 3?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

voyaging across the waters of the lake... does that sound to anyone else like a seafaring piece of the adventure? very excited for that if so


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

Living God I am almost positive is talking about an eidolen. Expecting our friend we are escorting will become a God caller

Liberty's Edge

5 people marked this as a favorite.
David knott 242 wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Or Razmiran for the "living god" part, but it feels too obvious. Not to mention Razmir is currently in Absalom, waiting for his turn.

It would be very tempting for Razmir to sneak back to Razmiran and claim he succeeded in the Test. Who in his home country would dare challenge that claim?

Razmir the Living God is already a true deity. He has no need for such a test.

Suggesting otherwise is blasphemy.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
keftiu wrote:

I'm curious - does /this/ volume go to Sarkoris, or are we on our way and getting there in book 3?

Over in one of your setting book threads, I mentioned my theory that we're heading there, but not actually going to get there. I agree with one of the later posters below this original comment that the living god is an eidolon. If the ancient evil to be locked away is the hulk north of Chesed with the hallucinogenic fumes, that could be a spaceship component an scratch the Iron Gods itch people have been talking about too.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

I just realized: barring drastic changes to Paizo and Pathfinder 2e, a year from this will be AP #200. That's incredible!

The backmatter article in #100 of extra NPCs for every single prior AP is one of my favorites they've ever done.

Scarab Sages

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

I just realized: barring drastic changes to Paizo and Pathfinder 2e, a year from this will be AP #200. That's incredible!

The backmatter article in #100 of extra NPCs for every single prior AP is one of my favorites they've ever done.

Maybe we can get a hologram on the cover?

Paizo Employee Contributor-Subscriber-Venture Lieutenant

1 person marked this as a favorite.

+10 points if Sakuachi is a Numerian kitsune! I'm allowed to dream!


4 people marked this as a favorite.

As this one draws closer, I'm starting to get really excited for a dose of Sarkorian goodness. It's grown to be maybe my favorite place in Avistan.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

So hoping that Sakuachi is a Star Mystery Oracle


Final cover art for this is up on the AP landing page and is gorgeous. Any bets on where in Sarkoris that site in the background is?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The art is really phenomenal.
If I had to guess, it would be somehow tied with the Lake of Mists and Veils, but I'm not aware of any undead-filled ruins there. Likely related to the description line "push through monster-filled ruins", but it may be something entirely new!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
It feels like Strange Aeons with less Lovecraft and more Golarion.

Is there actually a 2e AP or section of an AP that is very Lovecraft?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
stese wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
It feels like Strange Aeons with less Lovecraft and more Golarion.
Is there actually a 2e AP or section of an AP that is very Lovecraft?

I don't think anything explicitly from-the-pages-of-Lovecraft Mythos-y has happened in a PF2 adventure since Gnarly Nyarly making an appearance in Doomsday Dawn. Malevolence goes some very similar places very well, however!


Starfinder Superscriber

The cover art is pretty snaz.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

23 people marked this as a favorite.
stese wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
It feels like Strange Aeons with less Lovecraft and more Golarion.
Is there actually a 2e AP or section of an AP that is very Lovecraft?

SOON.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
stese wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
It feels like Strange Aeons with less Lovecraft and more Golarion.
Is there actually a 2e AP or section of an AP that is very Lovecraft?
SOON.

❤️

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
stese wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
It feels like Strange Aeons with less Lovecraft and more Golarion.
Is there actually a 2e AP or section of an AP that is very Lovecraft?
I don't think anything explicitly from-the-pages-of-Lovecraft Mythos-y has happened in a PF2 adventure since Gnarly Nyarly making an appearance in Doomsday Dawn. Malevolence goes some very similar places very well, however!

Though the mood is decidedly not Lovecraftian IMO, Abomination Vaults' BBEG's deity is Mythos-like.


James Jacobs wrote:
stese wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
It feels like Strange Aeons with less Lovecraft and more Golarion.
Is there actually a 2e AP or section of an AP that is very Lovecraft?
SOON.

That is awesome news.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

6 people marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:
keftiu wrote:
stese wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
It feels like Strange Aeons with less Lovecraft and more Golarion.
Is there actually a 2e AP or section of an AP that is very Lovecraft?
I don't think anything explicitly from-the-pages-of-Lovecraft Mythos-y has happened in a PF2 adventure since Gnarly Nyarly making an appearance in Doomsday Dawn. Malevolence goes some very similar places very well, however!
Though the mood is decidedly not Lovecraftian IMO, Abomination Vaults' BBEG's deity is Mythos-like.

In fact, That BBEG deity was invented by me decades ago for my homebrew game and short stories, along with a few others (like Xhamen-dor) expressly and intentionally as additions to the Mythos. While that deity isn't one Lovecraft created, it is very much in the same category as other deities other authors have created (like Ithaqua, Hastur, Y'golonac, and Tsathoggua) to fill out the ranks of the Great Old Ones and Outer Gods. Whether or not these two stand the test of time like those, I can't say, but I'd be delighted if they did.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
logic_poet wrote:
keftiu wrote:

I just realized: barring drastic changes to Paizo and Pathfinder 2e, a year from this will be AP #200. That's incredible!

The backmatter article in #100 of extra NPCs for every single prior AP is one of my favorites they've ever done.

Maybe we can get a hologram on the cover?

That would be outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous.

Grand Archive

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

New cover art alert!


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Sarkoris, here we come!


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

I love the cover art, I'm guessing that must be Sakuachi on the front, I love their design and I'm genuinely excited to meet them! I'm hopeful that their handling of Erutaki culture will be more sensitive this time around and Sakuachi seems like a cool NPC from what little we know of them from book 1


1 person marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
Final cover art for this is up on the AP landing page and is gorgeous. Any bets on where in Sarkoris that site in the background is?

A bit late, but that's actually in Mendev, innit? Icerift Castle, the spooky undead place in northern Mendev, east and a bit north of Drezen. (And ironically close to where that village on the Icy Rill is in the CRPG.) Wouldn't be surprised if, overall, we bounce between Mendev and Sarkoris on our way up to the far north; it does seem like the adventure will conclude in the Crown of the World.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Any adventure toolkit spoilers? I heard there was an arcane primal level 1 spell and a new archetype but not much else.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Toolbox contains:

Toolbox Spoilers:

3 Astronomer's Tools (Held Items)
2 Demonic Spellhearts (Spellheart)

3 Maritime Spells
1) Advanced Scurvy, a Divine/Primal lvl 2 spell that inflicts Advanced Scurvy
2) Briny Bolt, an Arcane/Primal lvl 1 spell that shoots a bolt of saltwater at your target
3) Lashing Rope, an Arcane/Occult lvl 3 spell that animates a rope which you can Strike with and has the Trip weapon trait.

Phantom Ship Ritual

Scion of Domora Archetype, a rare lvl 4 dedicaiton that has a prerequisite of "Familiar Master Dedication, You have befriended a spirit guide and it bonded with you using its Bond with Mortal ability"
There are 8 feats for this archetype (including dedication)

Note; you can take this archetype even if you have not take two other Familiar Master feats.

Lastly, the Spirit Guide Special Familiar (required number of abilities, 3)


So strange these APs are getting review bombed


5 people marked this as a favorite.
The Painted Oryx wrote:
So strange these APs are getting review bombed

A single 3-star review is hardly what I would call 'review bombing.'


1 person marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
The Painted Oryx wrote:
So strange these APs are getting review bombed
A single 3-star review is hardly what I would call 'review bombing.'

You're right! The previous volume also had some low reviews with no comments, so I was worried it was a trend! I find that reviews with no information about why they made that assessment is really not useful


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
The Painted Oryx wrote:
keftiu wrote:
The Painted Oryx wrote:
So strange these APs are getting review bombed
A single 3-star review is hardly what I would call 'review bombing.'
You're right! The previous volume also had some low reviews with no comments, so I was worried it was a trend! I find that reviews with no information about why they made that assessment is really not useful

Agreed. I understand that not everyone is great at giving coherent or useful feedback, but it feels so... Low-effort to just drop a review score without any actual opinions to explain it.

It's entirely possible the reason they didn't enjoy it is one that would make me even more excited to play/run the module, but you'd just never know.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
A single 3-star review is hardly what I would call 'review bombing.'

Rip tanner certainly is though, all their reviews are 1-2 stars for pf2e content and 5 stars for pf1e content. Never a comment and quite ecclectic (Amusingly even kingmaker got the boot).

So while it is plausible someone was a subscriber who got it shipped two weeks early, quickly read it in 1-2 days and felt the star rating was worth putting out there without any other information. I can see why that may seem implausible to others.
And they certainly haven't run it through ;)

That said maybe they had an internet blip and couldn't stomach writing it all again... paizo's site is... well.

Honestly I put more than a bit of blame on paizo for not enforcing a standard of "rules for reviews" because a star only review is worthless.

Edit: yup neurogenesis has given lots of high quality reviews in the past, no way is this a lazy review bomb. Putting this here to show why it is important to confirm before judging ;) ... even if it seems implausible at the time :)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My first impression is that I'm loving this one and I find monster selection in bestiary delightful xD


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

I’ve also noticed that Rip Tanner only favorites comments that are critical of 2e in some way. There’s been a couple times when they’ve favorited one of my comments where I was trying to give constructive criticism, and it made me question whether I was actually being a jerk given that they agreed with me.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Trying to move on the topic from yet another discussion that is only bickering about reviews, I am absolutely in love with the organization of this AP.

The plot summaries, the plot beats, advice for Investigators, etc. Makes it even easier to run the game and I'd love for this to be a trend.

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