Best Stand-Alone AP Installment


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion

Liberty's Edge

I am looking for AP installments that can stand on their own as solid adventures or adventure sites for a homebrew sandbox campaign I am planning. I asked elsewhere for suggestions in general, but then I got to thinking that the AP line has some great bits that could work inside or outside their existing framework.

The game is set in a temperate region that borders an arid wasteland area. It is rooted in low to mid fantasy medieval akin to Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. The narrative backbone of the campaign is a decoupled Age of Worms though we will not explicitly be playing that campaign, it is just the big plot that will be running depending on where the party goes and what they do. The world is a dark and gritty one with a healthy dose of Lovecraftian horror in the mix.

The idea is to sprinkle the map with locations to explore and hooks to uncover that will create a decent sandbox campaign. What AP installments might work on their own as sites or plots that I could plug into the world and let the party interact with?

Liberty's Edge

I plan on using Rasputin Must Die! but that's a pretty gonzo one-off. I also have all of Wrath of the Righteous and Serpent's Skull but I am running SS another night for many of the same players and have WotR plugged into the fringes of the campaign already if the party wanders out that way. I want to include the segments of Rise of the Runelords but one of the players just got his own copy and will be running it another day for some of the same players. I ran the first two books of Reign of Winter for some of the same players previously so those are out and the other books don't seem like they would be good fits.

Outside of those, some of the things that strike me as good candidates would be Scarwall from Curse of the Crimson Throne and perhaps any of the installments of Carrion Crown or Shattered Star as from what I gather, they are pretty stand-alone already. I really want Kingmaker to have some good peices but that's just because I'm running a sandbox, though not a hexcrawl sandbox so much.


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Empty Graves
Beyond The Doomsday Door
Into The Nightmare Rift
The Varnhold Vanishing
Wake of the Watcher
Rasputin Must Die!
Frozen Stars
Sound of a Thousand Screams
The Dead Heart of Xin
Curse of the Lady's Light
The Haunting of Harrowstone
Hearlad of The Ivory Labyrinth
all those should stand on their own without too much tweaking:)

Liberty's Edge

Sweet! That's a hell of a list and now I shall have to look at them closer.

I will probably not include Frozen Stars but only because I don't want to send my players to another planet when they will already be experiencing Rasputin Must Die! and probably The Moonscar. Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth is already out there to be used if my party decides to go join the crusades, but it will be part of all of Wrath of the Righteous. If they get really exploratory they might run across a strange and alien land full of robots and chainsword wielding orcs...

Dead heart of Xin looked really neat because of the whole dangerous, mysterious island thing and the clockwork reliquary on the cover just looks awesome.


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i actually got Shattered Star specifically because of the cover of book 6:)
the rest is awesome too tho:)


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i also forgot blood for blood and stolen lands from kingmaker both are outstanding (really every book in kingmaker is top notch!)

Liberty's Edge

Is The Brinewall Legacy from Jade Regent pretty stand-alone? It looks like it from the product description.


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yes it is, Night of Frozen Shadows would work as well

Brinewall is really fun:)
just about any chapter 1 is easily stand alone, which might be why i forgot almost all of them:)

Haunting of Harrowstone my favorite 1st book:)

Sovereign Court

I'm actually looking for a few of these as well, so this is a very helpful thread. Do you know if Raiders of the Fever Sea would work?

Liberty's Edge

Plerumque wrote:
Do you know if Raiders of the Fever Sea would work?

I played in an aborted Skull & Shackles game and this one can work really well on it's own. We, as a group, never made it past the first part but it wraps up pretty nicely and leaves the nautical sandbox open if you want to do more with it. The only thing that doesn't wrap up is an important NPC the party has probably grown to hate gets away at the end.

From what the GM told me when we called it quits, the entire S&S AP is pretty stand alone.

Sovereign Court

Thanks for the advice. I have some players with a fondness for pirates, but from what I've heard The Wormwood Mutiny is a bit of a trudge. If you've played it, would you disagree with that?

Liberty's Edge

The Thousand Fangs Below has always looked pretty fun to me. I don't recall there being many plot points relying on the rest of the path - it's just some evil serpentfolk waking up in a lost city, and the PCs must stop them.


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i personally love skull and shackles*, the first adventure is great but is quite deadly and it can be a shock for the PCs to be thrust at the bottom of the totem pole and have to work their way up, but, thats the life of a pirate i suppose:)

*as in its my favorite adventure path

Liberty's Edge

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We had an absolute blast with Raiders of the Fever Sea despite the fact that I played a paladin who wasn't having any of the shenanigans of the crew. The GM didn't want to have to convert things to account for my Andoran slaver hunter so he called an end to the game and is now running Second Darkness. There's a whole story as to why I ended up playing a paladin in the pirate game and it isn't because I'm a disruptive douche.

I thought it was a great adventure and the AP had a ton of potential as a kind of Kingmaker of the Sea.

Liberty's Edge

Gark the Goblin wrote:
The Thousand Fangs Below has always looked pretty fun to me. I don't recall there being many plot points relying on the rest of the path - it's just some evil serpentfolk waking up in a lost city, and the PCs must stop them.

I'm running Serpent's Skull for a different group with a few of the same players as this game so it won't work for my purposes. However, you are correct in that it can be decoupled pretty easily. Other parts of that AP that can be decoupled are Souls for Smuggler's Shiv, which is a great adventure on so many levels, and the sandboxy goodness of the lost city as told in City of Seven Spears and Vaults of Madness. When my party reaches the city in my SS game I am going to open up the last four books as a big sandbox that they can go play in.


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we're running skull and shackles right now with an all animal race party, its hilarious! the captain was pissed when he saw his new "volunteers" "is my name Noah Mr. Plugg? no, its not SO WHY DID YOU BRING ME A F*$$ING ZOO!" its only gotten better since then:)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Seven Days to the Grave from CotCT is a great stand alone adventure.

Liberty's Edge

Gerald wrote:
Seven Days to the Grave from CotCT is a great stand alone adventure.

Oooh, it looks like that one is about a plague in a big city. I think I'll go ahead and steal that hook.


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Joshua Goudreau wrote:
I will probably not include Frozen Stars but only because I don't want to send my players to another planet when they will already be experiencing Rasputin Must Die! and probably The Moonscar.

It would be pretty easy to toss out the extraplanetary aspects of Triaxus from Frozen Stars, and just declare that it takes place in a wintry wilderness area, especially if you're running it out of context of the AP.


souls for smuggler's shiv is my pick


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There Is No Honor, the first installment of the Savage Tide Adventure Path is pretty great.

Liberty's Edge

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Olondir wrote:
There Is No Honor, the first installment of the Savage Tide Adventure Path is pretty great.

Savage Tide has some great bits to it. I haven't looked too closely but I bet the Isle of Dread segments could be used as a big, island sandbox.

Liberty's Edge

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Seven Days to the Grave is the best AP adventure period. Hook Mountain Massacre is another good standalone and Broken Moon and Trial of the Beast are great too.

Sovereign Court

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Carrion Hill and Wake of the watcher would team up nicely. I also really enjoyed souls of smugglers shiv which if you are going for a sandbox feel is my vote for number 1. Bonus since the rest of serpent skull is not very good.


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Joshua Goudreau wrote:
Olondir wrote:
There Is No Honor, the first installment of the Savage Tide Adventure Path is pretty great.
Savage Tide has some great bits to it. I haven't looked too closely but I bet the Isle of Dread segments could be used as a big, island sandbox.

Oh indeed. That was the definition of sandbox in an AP for a long while.

Shadow Lodge

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Coridan wrote:
Seven Days to the Grave is the best AP adventure period.

Having not run or played it - YET! CotCT is on my scheduled to-do list, after we finish Kingmaker and run Savage Tide - I definitely still have to put it in at the very least the top five. It's clear, concise, filled with great roleplaying opportunity, extensively researched, and all in all one of the best stories and chapters Paizo has EVER produced.

Sovereign Court

Orthos wrote:
Coridan wrote:
Seven Days to the Grave is the best AP adventure period.
Having not run or played it - YET! CotCT is on my scheduled to-do list, after we finish Kingmaker and run Savage Tide - I definitely still have to put it in at the very least the top five. It's clear, concise, filled with great roleplaying opportunity, extensively researched, and all in all one of the best stories and chapters Paizo has EVER produced.

Uh, wish my GM at the time wouldnt have spoiled CotCT for me. We got through book 1 before the game fell apart. I bought book 1 out of curisoity and he absolutely butchered the story. Some day I might revisit CotCT but I know for sure i'll re-work the players guide. The traits and party binding is super weak for this well recieved AP.


Pan wrote:
Orthos wrote:
Coridan wrote:
Seven Days to the Grave is the best AP adventure period.
Having not run or played it - YET! CotCT is on my scheduled to-do list, after we finish Kingmaker and run Savage Tide - I definitely still have to put it in at the very least the top five. It's clear, concise, filled with great roleplaying opportunity, extensively researched, and all in all one of the best stories and chapters Paizo has EVER produced.
Uh, wish my GM at the time wouldnt have spoiled CotCT for me. We got through book 1 before the game fell apart. I bought book 1 out of curisoity and he absolutely butchered the story. Some day I might revisit CotCT but I know for sure i'll re-work the players guide. The traits and party binding is super weak for this well recieved AP.

This campaign journal is a great reference for that path. I started down that road, but my group fell apart too.

end of off topic

Liberty's Edge

So what I'm gathering from this conversations is, pretty much all of them can stand alone pretty easily, it's just a matter of taste as to which ones folks prefer.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Laric wrote:
souls for smuggler's shiv is my pick

Likewise, it's quite easy to drop-in as a mid-voyage interruption then go onto a completely unrelated adventure after escape or rescue.

Liberty's Edge

My Serpent's Skull group is knee deep in Souls for Smuggler's Shiv and it is a great adventure through and through. Their characters may disagree now that life on the island has gotten a little rough.....


I also agree Souls for Smugglers Shiv is one of the best parts to an AP. It can make a great alternative start to Skull & Shackles too.


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Sound of a Thousand Screams is one of the most flexible and can be relocated anywhere you like -- drop it into Druma or Molthune or Andoran or Varisia and you wouldn't notice the difference.
The small Golarion part is event-based so it works with any civilized area bordering a fey-haunted forest. The bulk of it though is set in the First World.

Another flexible one would be the trapped in the demiplane of Kakishon volume from Legacy of Fire, which is triggered plot-wise just by activating a mysterious scroll.


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Curse of the Lady's Light is one of the best AP adventures and is quite easily done stand alone, the same goes for Beyond The Doomsday Door


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as Josh G said, its all down to what you like

I despised Smugglers Shiv for example.

Any of the shattered star to me would seem ideal, especially if you make use of Magnimar, which is the best city to play in IMO


Jade Regent's The Hungry Storm is pretty good as a standalone if you're running a homebrew campaign taking you over the Crown of the World.

You could probably shove some of Night of Frozen Shadows in there too if you're so inclined.


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My vote for End of Eternity, though I don't know all of the APs well.

If you want to plunge your players into a fantastic demiplane of a powerful wizard, where the must unravel the clues to its creation in order to escape, that's the volume for you.

It basically has nothing to do with the rest of the AP! But it is great.


The Wormwood Mutiny is good as a one-off if you make it so the goal of the PCs is not to gain their own pirate ship but simply to escape being enslaved on the pirate ship.

Sovereign Court

Joshua Goudreau wrote:
So what I'm gathering from this conversations is, pretty much all of them can stand alone pretty easily, it's just a matter of taste as to which ones folks prefer.

I wouldn't necessarily agree with this. I only posted the ones I feel would be just fine plucking from the AP and running independently. I would say most can be worked just fine as individual adventures but many I wouldn't recommend due to them being too linked to an AP or not strong enough on their own to be worth running. YMMV.

Liberty's Edge

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Pan wrote:
Joshua Goudreau wrote:
So what I'm gathering from this conversations is, pretty much all of them can stand alone pretty easily, it's just a matter of taste as to which ones folks prefer.
I wouldn't necessarily agree with this. I only posted the ones I feel would be just fine plucking from the AP and running independently. I would say most can be worked just fine as individual adventures but many I wouldn't recommend due to them being too linked to an AP or not strong enough on their own to be worth running. YMMV.

I was exaggerating a tad, but I was kind of surprised to have suggestions come from all over. I expected one or two installments to jump out but I've got marks all over my spreadsheet.

Originally what I was looking for were some suggestions of things I could plug into a sandbox. The conversation has evolved a bit since then, but it's still really helpful for me. I've decided I am definitely using Skeletons of Scarwall and Stolen Land. I'm still not sure about others yet.


Joshua Goudreau wrote:
Pan wrote:
Joshua Goudreau wrote:
So what I'm gathering from this conversations is, pretty much all of them can stand alone pretty easily, it's just a matter of taste as to which ones folks prefer.
I wouldn't necessarily agree with this. I only posted the ones I feel would be just fine plucking from the AP and running independently. I would say most can be worked just fine as individual adventures but many I wouldn't recommend due to them being too linked to an AP or not strong enough on their own to be worth running. YMMV.

I was exaggerating a tad, but I was kind of surprised to have suggestions come from all over. I expected one or two installments to jump out but I've got marks all over my spreadsheet.

Originally what I was looking for were some suggestions of things I could plug into a sandbox. The conversation has evolved a bit since then, but it's still really helpful for me. I've decided I am definitely using Skeletons of Scarwall and Stolen Land. I'm still not sure about others yet.

Generally, all of the first volumes can easily be made into great stand-alones. After that its very much a case-by-case basis dependent on how much of a role previously-established NPC's take, whether elements of the adventure are dependent on elements from previous books having been resolved, etc. Anything CAN be made to work, in theory, but I get the sense that you're looking for the ones that require the least amount of adjusting.


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Joshua Goudreau wrote:
Pan wrote:
Joshua Goudreau wrote:
So what I'm gathering from this conversations is, pretty much all of them can stand alone pretty easily, it's just a matter of taste as to which ones folks prefer.
I wouldn't necessarily agree with this. I only posted the ones I feel would be just fine plucking from the AP and running independently. I would say most can be worked just fine as individual adventures but many I wouldn't recommend due to them being too linked to an AP or not strong enough on their own to be worth running. YMMV.

I was exaggerating a tad, but I was kind of surprised to have suggestions come from all over. I expected one or two installments to jump out but I've got marks all over my spreadsheet.

Originally what I was looking for were some suggestions of things I could plug into a sandbox. The conversation has evolved a bit since then, but it's still really helpful for me. I've decided I am definitely using Skeletons of Scarwall and Stolen Land. I'm still not sure about others yet.

Beyond The Doomsday Door might fit into your plans, also give "Seven Days to the Grave" a good look:)

and The Harrowing:)


If you need a forest filled with strife, PF #15, The Armageddon Echo makes for quite a ride. For a spooky forest, you might be able to rip out from #28 The Mother of Flies

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Anything written by Michael Kortes. I just read the Slave Trenches of Hakotep and that guy is just the best. I believe he also wrote The Haunting of Harrowstone (great), A History of Ashes (also great), and What Lies in Dust (never read it, but now I'm going to).

You'd have to change the ultimate reason PCs came to the Slave Trenches to make it a standalone, but that isn't too hard and the encounters are just the best.

Dark Archive

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Pan wrote:
Carrion Hill and Wake of the watcher would team up nicely. I also really enjoyed souls of smugglers shiv which if you are going for a sandbox feel is my vote for number 1. Bonus since the rest of serpent skull is not very good.

Wake of the Watcher would work very well stand alone. The main problem with that adventure is that it's not really tied into the overall Adventure Path very strongly. And it's just an outstanding adventure.


Resurrecting an old thread because I want to know about other AP chapters out there that would work well as standalone mods, especially since this thread last saw action...

Apparently there is a ‘Serpent’s Skull’ chapter that does Kingmaker better than ‘Kingmaker,’ for example. I wish I knew what it was...

Liberty's Edge

I don't think Serpent's Skull does for example kingdom s!$* better than Kingmaker. Souls for Smuggler's Shiv could work as a start to kingdom building, I guess?

Sovereign Court

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The Sixfold Trial (AP#26) by Richard Pett can be run separately. If your group is into RPing, this is goiing to be a blast, as the PCs are going to participate in an action play/opera as the main protagonists / combatants. This is followed up by a banquett and a great dungeon with wonky physical laws.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Skeletons of Scarwall would make a pretty challenging one-shot. It is practically a stand alone episode within Curse of the Crimson Throne as it is.


In search of sanity from Strange Aeons would make a really nice stand alone book.

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