What is Age of Ashes about?


Age of Ashes

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Paizo Employee Creative Director

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ograx wrote:

Is this AP going to be sort of open like Kingmaker was it isn’t linear?

Does it make use of downtime and encounter mode rules? ( I love these systems being in the CRB and hope they are integrated into the path)

Age of Ashes follows a traditional linear plot akin to what you saw in Adventure Paths like Rise of the Runelords. There will be elements here and there in specific adventures where the PCs will have choices of what to do next, but it's not a sandbox.

ALL of our adventures going forward will make use of downtime and exploration modes (encounter mode is the baseline tactical combat mode). Note that these modes were utilized in every prior adventure in 1st edition as well, even though we didn't have specific names for them.


I'm sorry James, I meant exploration mode. I assume since downtime is in exploration mode we will have specific options and events with it as well??

That is so exciting to hear as I personally feel as having some of those kind of options scripted and hashed out really lets whole system shine.

Awesome!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
ograx wrote:

I'm sorry James, I meant exploration mode. I assume since downtime is in exploration mode we will have specific options and events with it as well??

That is so exciting to hear as I personally feel as having some of those kind of options scripted and hashed out really lets whole system shine.

Awesome!

I know on the Paizo Friday episode where James talked about this AP he mentioned something about possibly being able to rebuild a certain hellknight castle we get at the end of the first book. I cant recall if that was said as a theory on what could be done or as an actual part of the AP, but it sounds like would be a neat mechanic to add in (Especially as we do know the last book takes you back to said castle to deal with the BBEG, who is still un-named, as they attack it and the town near by.)


ograx wrote:

I'm sorry James, I meant exploration mode. I assume since downtime is in exploration mode we will have specific options and events with it as well??

That is so exciting to hear as I personally feel as having some of those kind of options scripted and hashed out really lets whole system shine.

Awesome!

Downtime is not in exploration mode. They're two distinct things.


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
ALL of our adventures going forward will make use of downtime and exploration modes (encounter mode is the baseline tactical combat mode). Note that these modes were utilized in every prior adventure in 1st edition as well, even though we didn't have specific names for them.

What is Age of Ashes main schtick, anyhow? Will each 2E AP feature additional themed mechanics the way 1E AP's did, such Hell's Rebel's rebellion or Crown's social combat? Is this what you're referring to when you say "downtime and exploration modes" for future adventures?

Maybe I haven't been looking hard enough but it feels like the info on this upcoming AP is slim given that the release is not so many weeks away!


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I suspect Age of Ashes main schtick is roughly the same as Rise of the Runelords main schtick - being a well-written but relatively by-the-numbers adventure that's iconic and recognizable enough to be a baseline for what Adventure Paths should be going forward.


Roswynn wrote:
ograx wrote:

I'm sorry James, I meant exploration mode. I assume since downtime is in exploration mode we will have specific options and events with it as well??

That is so exciting to hear as I personally feel as having some of those kind of options scripted and hashed out really lets whole system shine.

Awesome!

Downtime is not in exploration mode. They're two distinct things.

I know. I meant to specifically ask about these separate modes and if they will be integrated into the adventures and modules. Seems like they will be which is fantastic.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
ograx wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
ograx wrote:

I'm sorry James, I meant exploration mode. I assume since downtime is in exploration mode we will have specific options and events with it as well??

That is so exciting to hear as I personally feel as having some of those kind of options scripted and hashed out really lets whole system shine.

Awesome!

Downtime is not in exploration mode. They're two distinct things.
I know. I meant to specifically ask about these separate modes and if they will be integrated into the adventures and modules. Seems like they will be which is fantastic.

Worth mentioning that it's not so much a matter of "integrating". You are always in one of the three modes, without exception. If combat is not happening, you are either in exploration mode or downtime mode. There is never a case otherwise.


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MaxAstro wrote:


Worth mentioning that it's not so much a matter of "integrating". You are always in one of the three modes, without exception. If combat is not happening, you are either in exploration mode or downtime mode. There is never a case otherwise.

Or in dead mode. Or does that count as DOWNtime?

*leaves stage quickly*


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MaxAstro wrote:
ograx wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
ograx wrote:

I'm sorry James, I meant exploration mode. I assume since downtime is in exploration mode we will have specific options and events with it as well??

That is so exciting to hear as I personally feel as having some of those kind of options scripted and hashed out really lets whole system shine.

Awesome!

Downtime is not in exploration mode. They're two distinct things.
I know. I meant to specifically ask about these separate modes and if they will be integrated into the adventures and modules. Seems like they will be which is fantastic.
Worth mentioning that it's not so much a matter of "integrating". You are always in one of the three modes, without exception. If combat is not happening, you are either in exploration mode or downtime mode. There is never a case otherwise.

True, but you can integrate actual adventure stuff into them or you can just gloss over them to get back to the action. Technically "a week passes" is downtime mode, but it's not really integrated.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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ograx wrote:

I'm sorry James, I meant exploration mode. I assume since downtime is in exploration mode we will have specific options and events with it as well??

That is so exciting to hear as I personally feel as having some of those kind of options scripted and hashed out really lets whole system shine.

Awesome!

Downtime and Exploration are different modes of play, and there'll be stuff going on in both of them in our adventures as it makes sense.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Midnight Anarch wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
ALL of our adventures going forward will make use of downtime and exploration modes (encounter mode is the baseline tactical combat mode). Note that these modes were utilized in every prior adventure in 1st edition as well, even though we didn't have specific names for them.

What is Age of Ashes main schtick, anyhow? Will each 2E AP feature additional themed mechanics the way 1E AP's did, such Hell's Rebel's rebellion or Crown's social combat? Is this what you're referring to when you say "downtime and exploration modes" for future adventures?

Maybe I haven't been looking hard enough but it feels like the info on this upcoming AP is slim given that the release is not so many weeks away!

Some will have subsystems like the Rebellion rules. Most Adventure Paths will not. Age of Ashes doesn't have one, for example.


ograx wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
ograx wrote:

I'm sorry James, I meant exploration mode. I assume since downtime is in exploration mode we will have specific options and events with it as well??

That is so exciting to hear as I personally feel as having some of those kind of options scripted and hashed out really lets whole system shine.

Awesome!

Downtime is not in exploration mode. They're two distinct things.
I know. I meant to specifically ask about these separate modes and if they will be integrated into the adventures and modules. Seems like they will be which is fantastic.

I apologize, I read "I assume since donwtime is in exploration mode" and my inner pedant reared her ugly head ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


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Roswynn wrote:
ograx wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
ograx wrote:

I'm sorry James, I meant exploration mode. I assume since downtime is in exploration mode we will have specific options and events with it as well??

That is so exciting to hear as I personally feel as having some of those kind of options scripted and hashed out really lets whole system shine.

Awesome!

Downtime is not in exploration mode. They're two distinct things.
I know. I meant to specifically ask about these separate modes and if they will be integrated into the adventures and modules. Seems like they will be which is fantastic.
I apologize, I read "I assume since donwtime is in exploration mode" and my inner pedant reared her ugly head ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

All good!

This is just stuff I’ve been waiting to hear about and I’m ecstatic with the news.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Per Rob Lundeen, this is what Age of Ashes is about:

Arcane Mark wrote:
If you want to be the kind of hero who's gonna stop a draconic apocalypse and fight evil slavers and put an end to a lot of villainy all over the world, this is sort of a good place for you to do it. This is a classic adventure where you get to be the Big Damn Heroes who right the wrongs and conclusively defeat the bad guys.


I just want to know if we are getting new dragons in this AP, or at least if there are going to be dragons other than the Chromatic and the Metallic. I would love to see powerful yet smaller dragons! *-*


Another question if you are still lurking in the thread James Jacobs, do we get to rebuild or do anything with this castle after we capture it back?!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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The Gold Sovereign wrote:
I just want to know if we are getting new dragons in this AP, or at least if there are going to be dragons other than the Chromatic and the Metallic. I would love to see powerful yet smaller dragons! *-*

No new true dragons in this Adventure Path.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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ograx wrote:
Another question if you are still lurking in the thread James Jacobs, do we get to rebuild or do anything with this castle after we capture it back?!

The assumption is that the PCs turn the castle into their headquarters/home base. Rebuilding it and creating training halls and other support elements within the castle as downtime activities to support other downtime activities is detailed in the 2nd adventure.


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James Jacobs wrote:
ograx wrote:
Another question if you are still lurking in the thread James Jacobs, do we get to rebuild or do anything with this castle after we capture it back?!
The assumption is that the PCs turn the castle into their headquarters/home base. Rebuilding it and creating training halls and other support elements within the castle as downtime activities to support other downtime activities is detailed in the 2nd adventure.

Fantastic! I really hope you guys are doing some twitch shows or putting some ads up about this AP and what cool stuff is in it. I’ve been seeing a lot of your stuff on social media and the art and showcasing has been very well done.


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James Jacobs wrote:
ograx wrote:
Another question if you are still lurking in the thread James Jacobs, do we get to rebuild or do anything with this castle after we capture it back?!
The assumption is that the PCs turn the castle into their headquarters/home base. Rebuilding it and creating training halls and other support elements within the castle as downtime activities to support other downtime activities is detailed in the 2nd adventure.

I have to admit, this one post has me more interested in Age of Ashes than anything else so far.


Stone Dog wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
ograx wrote:
Another question if you are still lurking in the thread James Jacobs, do we get to rebuild or do anything with this castle after we capture it back?!
The assumption is that the PCs turn the castle into their headquarters/home base. Rebuilding it and creating training halls and other support elements within the castle as downtime activities to support other downtime activities is detailed in the 2nd adventure.
I have to admit, this one post has me more interested in Age of Ashes than anything else so far.

Agreed. I know they’ve touched on the story but for a lot of us the mechanics and systems that the APs use can be just as big if not bigger of a selling point.


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ograx wrote:
Agreed. I know they’ve touched on the story but for a lot of us the mechanics and systems that the APs use can be just as big if not bigger of a selling point.

Have they? All I've gathered is that there will be dragons and ashes and some scampering about the countryside via portals.

I mean there is this...

Arcane Mark wrote:
If you want to be the kind of hero who's gonna stop a draconic apocalypse and fight evil slavers and put an end to a lot of villainy all over the world, this is sort of a good place for you to do it. This is a classic adventure where you get to be the Big Damn Heroes who right the wrongs and conclusively defeat the bad guys.

But that isn't exactly an elevator pitch. You could say "If you want to be the kind of hero who's gonna stop an evil wizard and fight tyranny and put an end to a lot of villainy, this is sort of a good place for you to do it" and still won't know if you are going to be playing Star Wars or Harry Potter.

Contrast that with Extinction Curse, which seems to be something like "you play members of a circus troupe investigating the murder of your beloved ringleader during an uprising of vengeance driven troglodytes."

I might have missed something crucial, but I think it is odd that I feel like I know more about next year's AP than I do about this one.

I really do like the idea of a game where the PCs have a core experience they care about though. Kintargo, a traveling circus family, or a castle to build up and defend.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Stone Dog wrote:


I mean there is this...

Arcane Mark wrote:
If you want to be the kind of hero who's gonna stop a draconic apocalypse and fight evil slavers and put an end to a lot of villainy all over the world, this is sort of a good place for you to do it. This is a classic adventure where you get to be the Big Damn Heroes who right the wrongs and conclusively defeat the bad guys.
But that isn't exactly an elevator pitch. You could say "If you want to be the kind of hero who's gonna stop an evil wizard and fight tyranny and put an end to a lot of villainy, this is sort of a good place for you to do it" and still won't know if you are going to be playing Star Wars or Harry Potter.

For what it's worth, this quote was the answer to the question "In one or two sentences, how would you sell Age of Ashes to players?" So not really an elevator pitch of the plot, but more of the feel of the campaign. It also happens to be the answer to that question in the context of a group of new players jumping in at PF2. There was also an answer tuned to groups who played lots of PF1 adventures, but I didn't write that one down


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Stone Dog wrote:
ograx wrote:
Agreed. I know they’ve touched on the story but for a lot of us the mechanics and systems that the APs use can be just as big if not bigger of a selling point.
Have they? All I've gathered is that there will be dragons and ashes and some scampering about the countryside via portals.

There actually has been a decent amount about the plot that's been revealed through various points. I guess this might be considered spoilery for some people, so if you want to go in cold, stop reading.

This is all from memory, so I might have some things wrong. So it starts in Isger, goblin emissaries come asking for help. Some of their people who had been staying at the abandoned Hellknight Keep have stopped responding. I think there's some other shenanigans going on too that get the PCs to go investigate. Eventually they find a portal network in the basement, and much of the rest of the AP is spent portal hopping to different regions, using the fortress as their base of operations. I think it was stated that you go "off map" a little. It might be Arcadia, but I might just be confusing that with Tyrant's Grasp. Anyway, the plot involves a conspiracy by a cult of Dahak trying to set loose a massive flight of dragons to burn the world. The big bad is said to be a known character from the setting, and strongly implied to be a dragon as well and said to be a bit of a shocker (my guess is Mengkare, the potentially loopy Gold Dragon running Hermea. He'd fit on all counts). Also, I think Tar-Baphon's activities in Tyrant's Grasp play a role in kicking things off. I recall a mention that if you draw a straight line from Gallowspire to Absalom, it will go near this Hellknight fortress.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Doktor Weasel wrote:
I recall a mention that if you draw a straight line from Gallowspire to Absalom, it will go near this Hellknight fortress.

Not really. Tyrant's Grasp doesn't really have much of an impact on Age of Ashes.


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Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Doktor Weasel wrote:
So it starts in Isger, goblin emissaries come asking for help. Some of their people who had been staying at the abandoned Hellknight Keep have stopped responding.

Uggggggh. They start with a ham-fisted "goblin emissaries" hook? I didn't have much of an opinion on this AP so far but this doesn't improve it. Why the heck would a party of do-good heroes care about a group of missing goblins at an abandoned Hellknight Keep? Ugggggh, why Paizo, why?! Please tell me I'm missing something with this.


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Midnight Anarch wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
So it starts in Isger, goblin emissaries come asking for help. Some of their people who had been staying at the abandoned Hellknight Keep have stopped responding.
Uggggggh. They start with a ham-fisted "goblin emissaries" hook? I didn't have much of an opinion on this AP so far but this doesn't improve it. Why the heck would a party of do-good heroes care about a group of missing goblins at an abandoned Hellknight Keep? Ugggggh, why Paizo, why?! Please tell me I'm missing something with this.

Because Goblins are now core characters and this is a way to bring them in right away??

Personally I think thats the right way to go if you are trying to introduce a new race into the general fold is to humanize them a little more.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Midnight Anarch wrote:
Why the heck would a party of do-good heroes care about a group of missing goblins at an abandoned Hellknight Keep?

I mean… the "do-good" and "heroes" parts stand out to me. Someone comes asking for help without other options to turn to- seems like a fair hook for a heroic party.


Weasel also said there were other reasons to go investigate on the very next sentence, so that complaint already seems answered no matter how you feel about goblins.

Liberty's Edge

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Midnight Anarch wrote:
Uggggggh. They start with a ham-fisted "goblin emissaries" hook? I didn't have much of an opinion on this AP so far but this doesn't improve it.

People asking for your help is a pretty common AP opening. Them being goblins is different, but assuming they're goblins friendly with the local humans, I don't see any reason it doesn't work.

Midnight Anarch wrote:
Why the heck would a party of do-good heroes care about a group of missing goblins at an abandoned Hellknight Keep?

Because they aren't racist a!#*$#@s and innocent people are missing?

Midnight Anarch wrote:
Ugggggh, why Paizo, why?! Please tell me I'm missing something with this.

The PCs not being terribly racist? Or at least being willing to put their racism aside to help people?


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I mean one thing about a lot of APs is that oftentime there's a prerequisite for your character to really fit into the narrative. Perhaps the most common one is "this is your hometown, or at least a place you care about". Sometimes it's oddly specific like "you have a previous relationship with a specific Ustalav Academic". For Age of Ashes the prerquisite for fitting into the story is "does not hate goblins to the point where you are unwilling to help them."

Playing an inveterate goblin-hater in Age of Ashes is likely less inappropriate as playing a Thrune Loyalist in Hell's Rebels, an Iomedean Paladin in Hell's Vengeance, a Molthune Patriot (or a hobgoblin) in Ironfang Invasion, a Whispering Way member in Tyrant's Grasp, etc.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Is this Hellknight citadel not in Isger?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Midnight Anarch wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
So it starts in Isger, goblin emissaries come asking for help. Some of their people who had been staying at the abandoned Hellknight Keep have stopped responding.
Uggggggh. They start with a ham-fisted "goblin emissaries" hook? I didn't have much of an opinion on this AP so far but this doesn't improve it. Why the heck would a party of do-good heroes care about a group of missing goblins at an abandoned Hellknight Keep? Ugggggh, why Paizo, why?! Please tell me I'm missing something with this.

What you're missing is the adventure itself. Check it out when it comes out in a few months. It still might not be something you're into, but time will tell if that's a minority or majority opinion, and we'll never know if we don't try things out.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Kevin Mack wrote:
Is this Hellknight citadel not in Isger?

It is in Isger.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As in Goblinoid war, about half the population killed in said war, they kill goblins and leave em outside on stakes Isger?


Kevin Mack wrote:
As in Goblinoid war, about half the population killed in said war, they kill goblins and leave em outside on stakes Isger?

What are they, Vlad the Impaler?


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Kevin Mack wrote:
As in Goblinoid war, about half the population killed in said war, they kill goblins and leave em outside on stakes Isger?

One would imagine it would be easy for Isger to pivot and see goblins as ultimately victims of the hobgoblin war of aggression. I wouldn't expect relations between Oprak and Isger to be amicable any time soon but "eventually coming to see the rank and file on the other side of a war as people" is just sort of a natural part of the aftermath of a war.

From another perspective the one thing Isger has is "an abundance of goblins." Of these goblins some goblin groups are going to cling to the bad old ways and some are going to try to be good neighbors. Since extermination is impractical/morally abhorrent, you probably want the "goblins who make an effort to be tolerable neighbors" to be the ones that thrive.


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To be fair, the big villains of the goblinoids war were hobgoblins, not goblins, and staking those guys on sight is probably less socially acceptable now that they have their own nation which is an economic powerhouse.

So all you really need is someone who understands the difference between goblins and hobgoblins who would be willing to listen to the former. And even then, there's plenty of room to build in other motivations. For example, if there's a mysterious danger snatching up people on a hilltop you can see from your village, it seems worth investigating before it decides to leave that hilltop and come to your home.

And these are just obvious guesses without having seen the adventure itself.


Could the BBEG be Raskineya the Dark Comet? That void dragon who wants to release Rovagug, and is currently holed up in the Pit of Gormuz and supposedly building an army to do... something or other?

That'd be a curveball. Now all I have to do is wait for James to notice so he can shoot it down. :p


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There was a hint in PaizoCon that the BigBad can be convinced that the way he's doing things is wrong, so I'm unsure if a CE dragon would be inclined to listen to lesser races.

Emperor/God Daralathyxl would probably burn anyone who remotely implied he was mistaken and Raskineya is a mad void dragon devoted to the god of destruction.

I suppose a gold dragon or a blue dragon, perhaps even a silver dragon, wouldf fit this role better. That's why I'm guessing Mengkare is the BigBad.


If I get a tarnished metallic dragon, I'll be happy! I don't care if they've been showcased in previous material. All I want is a fallen dragon.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

If i was gonna take a stab at the plot, it would be that Mengkare is doing a noah's ark scenario, Using slavers to bring people to his island he wishes to save so he can wipe the rest of golarion in dragon fire and start again under his glorious regime.


James Jacobs wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
I recall a mention that if you draw a straight line from Gallowspire to Absalom, it will go near this Hellknight fortress.
Not really. Tyrant's Grasp doesn't really have much of an impact on Age of Ashes.

Ah, must be mistaking this for something else. There's been a lot of reveals in various places, and I sometimes have trouble keeping them straight.


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QuidEst wrote:
Midnight Anarch wrote:
Why the heck would a party of do-good heroes care about a group of missing goblins at an abandoned Hellknight Keep?
I mean… the "do-good" and "heroes" parts stand out to me. Someone comes asking for help without other options to turn to- seems like a fair hook for a heroic party.

Seems like a pretty normal thing for me. Especially with the hints of the non-evil Chitterwood goblins tribes coming out of hiding and trying to get security by making nice with the humans. Getting help for some of their people in trouble sounds like exactly the reason these tribes are trying to be friendly. And I agree with the point about the goblins also being victims of Hobgoblin oppression. From what I recall, they were basically slave soldiers of the hobs. So that might get them at least some sympathy, even if there is suspicion. And would also explain the goblins making nice with the humans, having allies is better than having masters. And it's in the town's interest that the local goblins not be the raiding and murdering type. If nothing else, they can serve as a buffer between them and more aggressive tribes.

There's also the point, that this was just me reciting various snippets of detail I've pieced together from memory. So it's missing all the context, and I might have gotten the details wrong. Like I apparently did with the Tyrant's Grasp connection. My guess, is the way the emissary was mentioned, that this town already had a friendly relationship with this tribe. Possibly built up over years of tentative contact and distrust.

This is the kind of thing my group would do without much debate. We have a tendency to like helping the weirdos, as long as they're not being actively horrible. Even our somewhat less heroic characters have a tendency to help them out, if only to get authority over them. Like in our playtest of Doomsday Dawn, we kept the goblins alive, and the cleric of Gorum basically took over the tribe and rededicated them to Groum. After we killed their former leader, they weren't in any mood to argue.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Doktor Weasel wrote:
This is the kind of thing my group would do without much debate. We have a tendency to like helping the weirdos, as long as they're not being actively horrible.

This so reminds me of my players. They have tendency of trying to befriend literally anything that isn't actively trying to kill them. And sometimes things that are. They ended up eventually befriending Scarplume in Hell's Rebels after she and the party mutually failed to kill each other on two separate occasions. XD


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Also the goblinblood wars were ended 18 years ago in setting. The vast majority of the living goblins weren't even born when the war ended and a majority of the humans were either not born or small children.

Dark Archive

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j b 200 wrote:
Also the goblinblood wars were ended 18 years ago in setting. The vast majority of the living goblins weren't even born when the war ended and a majority of the humans were either not born or small children.

Umm, average lifespan of humans in setting isn't 40 years <_<


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:
I just want to know if we are getting new dragons in this AP, or at least if there are going to be dragons other than the Chromatic and the Metallic. I would love to see powerful yet smaller dragons! *-*
No new true dragons in this Adventure Path.

Making me think we might see a return visit of particular members of the True Dragons of Absolom kobold tribe :P and maybe their smelly, loveable protector.


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CorvusMask wrote:
j b 200 wrote:
Also the goblinblood wars were ended 18 years ago in setting. The vast majority of the living goblins weren't even born when the war ended and a majority of the humans were either not born or small children.
Umm, average lifespan of humans in setting isn't 40 years <_<

Presumably a lot of the 18-25 year olds in Isger during the Goblinblood Wars died in said goblinblood wars. So there should be a bit of a gap in that there aren't a lot of people between the "too old to fight back then" and "too young to fight back then" demographics.

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