Pathfinder Adventure Path #186: Ghost King’s Rage (Blood Lords 6 of 6)

4.30/5 (based on 4 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #186: Ghost King’s Rage (Blood Lords 6 of 6)

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Commands from the King!

The newest Blood Lords have discovered the identity of their peer behind the conspiracy that threatens the nation. The ghost king Geb wants this traitor destroyed, but the player characters must first question a fractured soul held in the realm where souls venture after death. This is only the first of their dangerous trials, as the traitor’s realm is one of shadowy horror and mind-bending reality that only the most powerful characters can survive!

Ghost King’s Rage is a Pathfinder adventure for four less-than-good-hearted 18th level characters. The adventure concludes 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 nation of the dead. The adventure also includes an article about Narakass, deity of renewal and cleansing, along with several artifacts held by the psychopomps, shepherds who bring souls into the afterlife. New spells and new monsters complete the furious finale of Ghost King’s Rage!

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: Jessica Catalan.

ISBN-13: 978-1-64078-484-0

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

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An Ending to Die For

5/5

While I’ve been keeping up with Bloodlords as a whole, I feel compelled to write a review for the 6th book not only because of the absolutely amazing ending to a story in my favorite location in golarion but also to support the creation of high level content.

Bloodlords #6 Ghost Kings Revenge may be some of the best payoff for an adventure I have ever seen alongside some of the best high level fantasy fulfillment.

Starting off with the direct attention and collaboration with one of the most powerful undead in golarion is a great way to kick off the book. There is a very significant shift in power dynamic from even their last encounter 2 books ago with the PCs becoming more accomplished Bloodlords. The first chapter involves facing up against some of the worst enemies of an undead nation, psychopomps. Something about facing such an innate enemy against your existence (as many PCs are probably undead at this point in the AP) feels like such a triumphant win. The story here is interesting for sure and does nothing to detract from the mission but the sheer backdrop of the chapter feels like something only the strongest undead agents could even possibly consider.

Although, since the module cannot assume any PCs are undead, this means that there isn’t too much roleplay difference between a party full of undead, living PCs, or mix of both. I wish that there was some flavor text to distinguish between the different setups. The psychopomp enemies here will flip the script on many undead PCs who have been enjoying the luxuries of immunity to a common damage type for most of the AP.

The second chapter is a series of fetch quests but also may be my favorite part of the adventure path. Finally, the PCs have meaningful ways to represent their Reputation Points. Characters who have cultivated their relationship with a faction will find themselves throwing around their own political power to accomplish tasks with ease. This is exactly what I was expecting from a high-level adventure with political themes. I also find the tasks quite fun having you revisit allies and several locations from the adventure path where clever PCs may have already made connections and have resources that could change the nature of these tasks or make them easier. Each one of these tasks also has an optional component to collect which nets the PCs (and the nation of geb) a huge reward in terms of narrative weight. I am very curious if further books will assume that the adventure was completed with this optional goal or if its non-cannon. I think it would dimmish the PCs efforts if such a monumental event wasn’t reflect in the Lost Omens setting at some point.

My biggest critique is that I wish these changes were implemented earlier. With the downtime activities presented in Book 4 the PCs could have been Bloodlords for months by the time this Book starts and already completed some big favours for their factions of choice. I think it would be sound advice to use the Reputation in Play rules earlier if you feel as if your PCs are engaging sufficiently.
Also a nitpick of mine is, due to the setting, it isn’t unlikely that a PC worships Urgathoa. I really wish that the optional component regarding the Cathedral of Epiphenomena had an alternative component or another way to accomplish the task without possibly incurring the wrath (or curse) of their diety.

The last part of the campaign is a dungeon which I suppose is nothing to complain about. It has some interesting background in Geb’s history and overall has a variety of skill checks to test the party’s diversity. At this point, the main plot has already been wrapped up and this is more of a victory lap as the PCs burn out the rat’s nest. Honestly, I don’t mind. I have always felt that a TPK at the end of an adventure path has always felt rather cheap. To have worked through 5/6 books only to possibly choke at the end and have the world end anyways (hello AOA). Even if the PCs are less then successful (on their first try or otherwise) the main goal that they set out to accomplish when the adventure started has already been completed.

Overall, I absolutely love this book and was giddy reading it all the way through. If paizo continues to print high level adventure paths like this I hope they emulate the same feeling I had reading through Ghost King’s revenge. I only wish that there was some more high-level character options like feats printed with the book. It feels like it would be perfect if the undead AP had some level 20 ghost, vampire, zombie ect… feats.
I also hope that with the success of Bloodlords we see some smaller adventures/PFS/modules in Geb. But that may be my extreme bias for the region showing. Thank you for sending it off with such love.


A variety of high-level content

5/5

It can be very hard for such a long story to stick the landing, with Agents of Edgewatch and Strength of Thousands ending with a bit of a letdown. But this volume seems to have done it!

The trip to the Boneyard looks like an absolute blast. Chapter 2 is a bit fetch quest-y, but in a fun way. And the final dungeon is short and sweet.

My only complaint - and it's a fairly minor one - is that the final villain isn't given much characterization. I would have liked to get more guidance on how to roleplay him in what should be an epic final confrontation. Neither his personality nor motivations are touched on as much as I would like.


3/5


Low Stakes Climax

4/5

Chapter 1: The party explore a not-so abandoned Pharasman temple and discover an entrance to the Boneyard. The party infiltrate a 'hospital' for damaged souls, seeking the villain's very first victim, who may yet hold the key to defeating him. I actually really liked this first chapter, it is unique and evocative and seems like it will be a lot of fun to run.

Chapter 2: The introduction to Chapter 2 reads like an elaborate and time consuming sequence of fetch quests, which does not bode well, but let's see how this develops. The Ghost King needs <stuff> for a ritual to find the bad guy's lair. By happy coincidence, additional <stuff> can be found in each location, for a second ritual to free the Ghost King to roam beyond Geb's borders. That sure is convenient!

Honestly, these scavenger hunts aren't terrible, but Chapter 2 lacks the focus and momentum that made Chapter 1 so great.

Chapter 3: The party descend into the shadow plain to confront the bad guy in his lair. I liked that the final dungeon was comparatively short and did not outstay its welcome. The bad guy's ability to hop between bodies, and the precautions the party must take against this eventuality were quite clever.

The cherry atop the steaming turd that is the Blood Lords AP is surprisingly wholesome. It's a shame you have to slog through the previous 5 (not-so-great) books to reach it. My only criticism is this does not feel like the thrilling climax to an epic adventure path. By the end of book 5, the bad guy's plot has been thwarted, book 6 is just tidying up loose ends. There is no sense of urgency or looming peril. FOUR STARS!!!!


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Paizo Employee Sales & eCommerce Assistant

2 people marked this as a favorite.

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

Dark Archive

Seems like final boss might be psychopomp related maybe? I doubt an usher is final boss(they were still demigod level right) but usher article in undead campaign hints motivations of antagonists a bit :D Either way ah so its Ghost King's Rage because party will be bringing that upon the main antagonists rather than party having to fight the rage gotcha :D


1 person marked this as a favorite.

so we get to fight the BBEG on his own horror realm & visit the boneyard? sweet and more artifact lvl items yes!

Liberty's Edge

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Undead PCs in the Boneyard ? Sounds like Geb's own Suicide Squad.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The Martyr Mafia if you will. The Haka-Kiri no Han. The Suttee Samooh. The Seppuku no Shūgō.

I have no idea what I'm saying. I'm just looking up works and attempting to my a group synonymous to Suicide Squad. XD

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The Doomed Destroyers.

The Borrowed-time Battalion.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

IS THAT A YAMARAJ ON THE COVER?!?!?!?!?!

Dark Archive

Yep


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

I am either very blind, or there is a new cover that I cannot see for some reason. Either way, a potential conflict/interaction with a Yamaraj Psychopomp is super exciting!!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ly'ualdre wrote:
I am either very blind, or there is a new cover that I cannot see for some reason. Either way, a potential conflict/interaction with a Yamaraj Psychopomp is super exciting!!

Check the Blood Lords Adventure Path landing page, they have each of the main cover art pieces for each of the AP parts. That's what they are talking about.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm just finding funny that the traitor is possible secret Narakaas worshipper based on yamaraj on cover and the article :p

That said, it seems more likely that first chapter is trip to boneyard and second one is Xibalba related maybe? I mean sahkils are psychopomp connected and nightmarish...


With this one out so soon, it's time for some final speculation: any chance of a surprise Nexian reveal, or do we think this one stays a Gebbite story?

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.

It stays a Gebbite story, although with some extraplanar travel to Boneyard to fight psychopomps (usually it's the fifth volume that goes to some exotic locale.) However, Nex will be referenced in the credits page quotes.

OTOH, shadow magic plays a prominent role in the AP, Count Ranalc is one of the few entities of interest in the Shadow Plane, and he was associated with Nex.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

18 people marked this as a favorite.

One of the key story goals of this Adventure Path from the outset (I wasn't the lead developer, so I can't say if this maintained this goal all the way through) was to present a Geb story that didn't rely on Nex stuff at all. For a LONG time, Nex and Geb had this sort of co-dependantrelationship that made it very difficult to tell stories about one nation/person without having to tell the same amount of stories with the other, which is why it took us sooooo long to get around to actually doing anything of note in either nation.

Scarab Sages

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

An AP about a Nexian embassy visiting Jalmeray, Qadira, and points east, no Geb required, would be cool.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

An AP to become mighty Nexian powers-that-be so that you can face your Blood Lords PCs when the inevitable final battle comes.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Is this product supposed to be available to order already? I haven't even gotten the notice about my subscription order being processed. Also, hoping to see the final cover soon instead of the stand-in.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
VestOfHolding wrote:
Is this product supposed to be available to order already? I haven't even gotten the notice about my subscription order being processed. Also, hoping to see the final cover soon instead of the stand-in.

Subscription authorisations should be happening tomorrow per the thread


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
silversarcasm wrote:
VestOfHolding wrote:
Is this product supposed to be available to order already? I haven't even gotten the notice about my subscription order being processed. Also, hoping to see the final cover soon instead of the stand-in.
Subscription authorisations should be happening tomorrow per the thread

I meant to call more attention to the fact that the "Add to Cart" button is active, though the release date isn't for a couple more weeks. Unless it's basically starting pre-orders for non-subscribers?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Someone please think of the poor Yamaraj.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ooh, final cover!


Super curious to see how this one wraps up - and what goodies are in the back!

Envoy's Alliance

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm curious if the final boss will be someone other than Kemnebi.
In addition, I found a spelling error in the product description: "Narakass Narakaas"


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

Glad to see the final cover! Though I do kind of hope Mr. Forehead-for-days isn't the big bad. There's just nothing intimidating about his design, lol.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
VestOfHolding wrote:
Glad to see the final cover! Though I do kind of hope Mr. Forehead-for-days isn't the big bad. There's just nothing intimidating about his design, lol.

All I can see now is a vampire-conehead Dan Ackroyd


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I do wish Kemnebi looked a little less Dracula and a little more East African/South Asian. The tall forehead I can cope with - I've watched Zeta Gundam, after all.

Dark Archive

Just to note, all vetalarana have the psychic dome head :p

(normal vetala vampires didn't, but 2e hasn't made mentions of those so I dunno if they exist anymore :'D )

Scarab Sages

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Kemnebi does look goofy. The combination of classic vampire design and the swollen craniums of the vetalarana is odd.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Okay, I just got this, let me test the spoiler tags...

Spoiler:
We good?


10 people marked this as a favorite.

So, contents of the adventure toolbox:

Spoiler:

There is a 5-page piece on Narakaas, which includes new domain: introspection domain.
There are 3 pages of new necromancy spells (for students of the Ebon Mausoleum or worshippers of Urgathoa), most are mid level (4-6), but there are 2 new cantrips.
There are 4 new Boneyard-themed artifacts, all at least lvl 20.
New creatures: Intellect Assemblage (19), Drowned Mummy (17), Shoki Psychopomp (9), Eseneth Psychopomp (17), Shabti Slayer (16), Shabty Votary (18), Shadow Worm (20) and Soul Slime (18)


4 people marked this as a favorite.
GGSigmar wrote:

So, contents of the adventure toolbox:

** spoiler omitted **

Shabti!!


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Force Choke is a level 6 spell in Pathfinder 2e now.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
GGSigmar wrote:

So, contents of the adventure toolbox:

** spoiler omitted **

Shabti!!

Wow, they get gorgeous art in this one - and a lot of it! Four very shiny pieces; I love the designs of the pair in the Adventure Toolbox. Hopefully their little sidebars here are indicative of a proper Ancestry treatment someday!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Loving Narakaas' look!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

In the single-file version of this book's PDF, the PDF outline doesn't seem to be set up right... there's just 7 sections listed to jump to, one for each major portion of the book, rather than each chapter, heading, and subheading being included like has been the case in virtually every other Paizo PDF I have downloaded. This makes it far harder to navigate the digital copy than usual. This issue seems to be present whether I open the PDF in Chrome or in a dedicated document-viewing program.

Additionally, the interior front and back cover seem to be presented here side-by-side as a single page of the PDF, which is duplicated first after the cover page and then again after the back cover page. Since these double-width pages are wider than the rest of the pages, it's add an unfortunate horizontal scrollbar when zooming in so that the majority of the PDF fills the width of the viewer.

Paizo Employee Director of Marketing

AFigureOfBlue wrote:

In the single-file version of this book's PDF, the PDF outline doesn't seem to be set up right... there's just 7 sections listed to jump to, one for each major portion of the book, rather than each chapter, heading, and subheading being included like has been the case in virtually every other Paizo PDF I have downloaded. This makes it far harder to navigate the digital copy than usual. This issue seems to be present whether I open the PDF in Chrome or in a dedicated document-viewing program.

Additionally, the interior front and back cover seem to be presented here side-by-side as a single page of the PDF, which is duplicated first after the cover page and then again after the back cover page. Since these double-width pages are wider than the rest of the pages, it's add an unfortunate horizontal scrollbar when zooming in so that the majority of the PDF fills the width of the viewer.

Please email customers service with any product issues so that they can be shared with our art team.


Aaron Shanks wrote:
Please email customers service with any product issues so that they can be shared with our art team.

Will do!

Scarab Sages

I have the same problem and emailed customer service.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Well, that's Blood Lords over with, I guess. I just left 'Ghost King's Rage' a **** review, because it genuinely did not suck.

That said, I have never disliked a Pathfinder AP as much as I disliked Blood Lords, and that's a unique sensation for me. I'm guessing the whole 'play as sentient - but not necessarily evil - undead' was just not a good fit for my lizard brain. IMO, I think the gimmick exhausted itself very quickly, and was not robust enough to support a six month campaign arc.

Onwards, to Gatewalkers, and let us never speak of this AP again.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I won’t leave a review until I’ve actually run this volume of the AP, but I’ve been a big fan of Blood Lords, and I hope we see more big swings like it in the future. To each their own!

Dark Archive

Does this volume use the faction influence mechanic in a meaningful way?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Eh, kinda. In Chapter 2 you are given a shopping list or arcane crap to pick up. Your reputation with various factions makes this scavenger hunt more/less challenging.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

11 people marked this as a favorite.
willfromamerica wrote:
I won’t leave a review until I’ve actually run this volume of the AP, but I’ve been a big fan of Blood Lords, and I hope we see more big swings like it in the future. To each their own!

While I do understand the reasoning behind "I will review this once I've played it" that sort of thing tends to result in fewer reviews for high level or end-of-Path installments. Furthermore, hearing good reviews as soon as possible lets us continue to do what folks liked (or at least take that feedback into consideration) earlier—since we operate more than a year ahead of publication schedule, the first point we'd be able to implement suggestions from a review on day 1 would be in a product that doesn't see print potentially until day 367 or more.

That goes for reviews that are more critical, of course, as well; We can't course correct on what we're doing if folks wait for us to arrive at the destination before giving feedback.

That all said, dropping feedback in here on the boards or elsewhere on the internet where we'll be able to see the feedback and act on it is helpful too! It's just that reviews have more visibility and are more likely to be noticed by more eyes.


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

That's good to know! I usually try to wait so that my review is more informed and helpful, but I'll start leaving reviews sooner for the sake of developer feedback.

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
willfromamerica wrote:
I won’t leave a review until I’ve actually run this volume of the AP, but I’ve been a big fan of Blood Lords, and I hope we see more big swings like it in the future. To each their own!

While I do understand the reasoning behind "I will review this once I've played it" that sort of thing tends to result in fewer reviews for high level or end-of-Path installments. Furthermore, hearing good reviews as soon as possible lets us continue to do what folks liked (or at least take that feedback into consideration) earlier—since we operate more than a year ahead of publication schedule, the first point we'd be able to implement suggestions from a review on day 1 would be in a product that doesn't see print potentially until day 367 or more.

That goes for reviews that are more critical, of course, as well; We can't course correct on what we're doing if folks wait for us to arrive at the destination before giving feedback.

That all said, dropping feedback in here on the boards or elsewhere on the internet where we'll be able to see the feedback and act on it is helpful too! It's just that reviews have more visibility and are more likely to be noticed by more eyes.

Yeah I feel bad about it but this is partially why I try to review books I have comments even if I want to play or run them first :'D Though I go through periods where I lack energy to review... interstellar species and impossible lands are now on my backlog among other things...


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Interestingly several NPCs in this book have different levels compared to similar entries in Lost Omens: Impossible Lands. Since Impossible Lands is the book directly about the setting I would assume its the most accurate as the author of Ghost's revenge may not have been privy to the information before its release. It would nice to get confirmation though.

NPC level changes:

Rinella Brenon loses 2 levels from Impossible Lands 18->16

Varnetta Xenopha loses a whopping 8 levels from the Impossible Lands 20->12

Kemnebi gains a level but that can be easily explained due to balance for the final fight.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:


That goes for reviews that are more critical, of course, as well; We can't course correct on what we're doing if folks wait for us to arrive at the destination before giving feedback.

I understand the thought process here, but reading text alone isn't sufficient to grasp how it plays "on the ground" in my opinion. I've had many instances where something made sense on the page, in my brain, and seemed straightforward and then it got to the table and was a mess.

That being said --:
I feel like Berline Haldoli needed a higher CR than 6 - especially if you feel like you gotta kill her.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Leon Aquilla wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


That goes for reviews that are more critical, of course, as well; We can't course correct on what we're doing if folks wait for us to arrive at the destination before giving feedback.

I understand the thought process here, but reading text alone isn't sufficient to grasp how it plays "on the ground" in my opinion. I've had many instances where something made sense on the page, in my brain, and seemed straightforward and then it got to the table and was a mess.

** spoiler omitted **

Not for "how did this play with my specific group," perhaps not, but it absolutely is enough to judge if the adventure was fun to read, and if it was easy or difficult to follow the plot. Not every adventure needs to be run to be enjoyed. Reading one that you never run can entertain you for an afternoon, and it can inspire you the next day, month, or year with your own writing.

A qualifier of "I haven't run this yet, but here's how the adventure reads" is fine, and honestly, since more adventures are read than run, it's kind of more important to get feedback on how they read than how they play. And if an adventure's text is simply hard to read or process... that alone is helpful feedback for us. If one waits months or even years to give us that feedback, those are months and years we, in theory, aren't using that feedback to improve.

After all, I don't imagine an adventure that's not enjoyable to read has nearly the same chance of seeing play at a table.

That all said, any and all reviews are helpful, so thank you for those provided.

But the sooner, the better.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
willfromamerica wrote:
That's good to know! I usually try to wait so that my review is more informed and helpful, but I'll start leaving reviews sooner for the sake of developer feedback.

It is possible to update a review.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
willfromamerica wrote:
That's good to know! I usually try to wait so that my review is more informed and helpful, but I'll start leaving reviews sooner for the sake of developer feedback.
It is possible to update a review.

Huh... I'd never noticed that edit button before. I always just assumed it was like forum posts where you can't edit them after a few minutes.

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