What is Age of Ashes about?


Second Edition

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Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Folks, let's please keep the racist/nazi/post-baiting out of this thread.

One thing Age of Ashes is NOT about is about us being awful to each other on the internet, so that kind of behavior has no place in this thread.

Or on these boards for that matter.

If you see a post that triggers you or offends you, please flag it and move on. Engaging with the post will only make it worse for you, for the original poster, and for the rest of us who read the boards. Including employees, who then lose their faith in humanity post by post and thus lose interest in providing the very games we all, in theory, come here to enjoy.

SO... yeah; please be good to each other, and let's get back to talking about how Age of Ashes is about the PCs standing up before a potential doom coming to the world in the form of devastating disasters called Dragonstorms that might or might not be tied to a very angry dragon...


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I mean, if I was a very angry dragon looking to burninate the countryside as part of a sinister plan, I probably would want to start by burninating whoever it is whose burnination will draw the least attention from interested parties who might want to stop me.

Since, like, if you start by trying to raze Absalom, that's going to attract the wrong kind of attention straight off.


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
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 <_<

Yes, but the middle years have been hollowed out due to, you know, war. And as is common in real human settlements, you would expect there to be a baby boom after the war ended, so after 18 years you would expect families of 4 to 6 children to be somewhat common and that is ignoring the idea that in a medieval setting you would expect a fairly high birth rate even without a post-war baby boom.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean, if I was a very angry dragon looking to burninate the countryside as part of a sinister plan, I probably would want to start by burninating whoever it is whose burnination will draw the least attention from interested parties who might want to stop me.

Since, like, if you start by trying to raze Absalom, that's going to attract the wrong kind of attention straight off.

Clearly you start with peasants and their thatched roof cottages.

The Dragonstorm comes in the niiiigggghhhhtttt!

Belkzen would probably be a better place to start without getting as much attention. It's already a pretty chaotic and violent place, some burninations wouldn't attract too much attention.


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Dragonstorm sounds like the big brother of Sharknado. :)

I hope they are as cool as they sound.


James Jacobs wrote:
And let's get back to talking about how Age of Ashes is about the PCs standing up before a potential doom coming to the world in the form of devastating disasters called Dragonstorms that might or might not be tied to a very angry dragon...

So the Dragonstorms is indeed related to dragons... I knew it! ;D

Is this cataclysmic doom triggered by an artifact, a particular set of actions, a ritual or an unique person/dragon?

Could you spoil a tiny hint to what or who can start this storms?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Oh WOW. This is unexpected, but I just noticed that the product description for book six of Age of Ashes is up.

Spoilered for anyone who doesn't want to know who the villain is:

Spoiler:
The final book takes place on Hermea, and the description heavily implies that the villain actually is Mengkare. I didn't expect that theory to be correct...


MaxAstro wrote:

Oh WOW. This is unexpected, but I just noticed that the product description for book six of Age of Ashes is up.

Spoilered for anyone who doesn't want to know who the villain is:
** spoiler omitted **

Age of Ashes Spoilers:
Really, it's less 'implies' and more 'outright states', IMO.

Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Spoiler:

So that means that one ongoing debate will be settled -- This module will have to have a stat block for Mengkare, including an official alignment.

And I will be curious to find out how many parties playing this module kill Mengkare vs. reach a deal with him.


More Age of Ashes spoilers!:
I looked at the cover of the 1st adventure and was sure the BBEG would have been a red dragon, since the art there usually depicts either a baddie in the 1st adventure itself or the final boss, and having to face a red dragon at level 4 seems a little... uh, rough.

I'm thinking it's all a red herring (no pun intended)...

Also, why Mengkare, what's happened to get him off his rocker like this? I mean there's a whole cult of Dahak involved... and Dahak is emphatically not nice.


Roswynn wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

keep it going:
Maybe his perpetual eugenics experiment slowly moved him from LG to LE over the years?

Saedar wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
** spoiler omitted **
** spoiler omitted **

Spoilers, spoilers everywhere!:
I could see that, but he would still believe himself to be good in a utilitarian kind of way, I think. Involving the cult of Dahak, who wants to destroy everything, created metallics only to hunt them down, and so on... it doesn't seem in character for him, even if he's now evil.

Which most certainly means there are plot twists we would never be able to fully anticipate...

Dark Archive

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My guess is that he decided on burning rest of the world to start with clean slate :p

I mean, isn't that how most modern utopian villains work? He needs to get rid of old flawed world to replace it with perfect one

Dark Archive

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Anyway, this definitely confirms theme/motif: You help different core race in different books:

1st: Goblins,
2nd: Elves
3rd: Halflings(bellflower network)
4th: Dwarves
5th: Gnomes(I think somewhere it was confirmed that gnomes were the ones to ask help with in the book)
and 6th is the humans


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CorvusMask wrote:

My guess is that he decided on burning rest of the world to start with clean slate :p

I mean, isn't that how most modern utopian villains work? He needs to get rid of old flawed world to replace it with perfect one

Mmm. Maybe he's grown frustrated.

Or...

Spoilers, again:
You know Watchmen? Ozymandias' scientists had created a eldritch horror to attack Earth and sow a lot of destruction in order to unite everyone under the same banner...I can see Mengkare pulling an Ozymandias, actually...

Dark Archive

Roswynn wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:

My guess is that he decided on burning rest of the world to start with clean slate :p

I mean, isn't that how most modern utopian villains work? He needs to get rid of old flawed world to replace it with perfect one

Mmm. Maybe he's grown frustrated.

Or...

** spoiler omitted **

That could actually be it yeah. Whatever is the case, I suspect its some misguided way to "save" the world or humanity at least

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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It's pretty complicated and I'm not gonna get into it here, in part because I'm amused at watching folks puzzle it out, but the volumes themselves will have PLENTY of room to go into discussing this topic, never fear!


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Woo!

Spoiler:
I'm really not used to being right. It's a weird sensation. So now the only reasonable thing to do is go mad with power.

As for reasoning for Mengkare breaking bad, I can see a few.
1. He's grown disillusioned and just went full on evil and or insane, converted to worship of Dahak and everything. I find this one unlikely, but I guess it's possible.

2. The Watchmen option as Roswynn mentioned: He's trying to bring about a bigger threat so that everyone has to unite against it. He figures everyone is too divided without a unifying threat. But if the worldwound and Tar-Baphon weren't enough, I doubt dragonstorms will be.

3. The Ragequit option: These damn apes just aren't cooperating in his utopia. It just won't work with them, so lets dragonstorm the crap out of things and start over. Maybe some octopus people will evolve and work with his plans better.

4. He's not quite himself: He's possessed or corrupted by something evil. Maybe he got some artifact try to use it's power and it slowly corrupted him to his Dahakian crazy.

5. This wasn't part of the deal!: This wasn't quite his plan. He got involved with the cult or something for some purpose, but it turns out things got out of control and they twisted what he's doing into something worse, but now he's stuck with this out of control plan and it's too far along to back out.

6. Bored: Ever play Sim City and just get bored and hit the button to have Godzilla come stomp your city? That.

I find options 2, 3 and 5 to be the most plausible. It could be more than one of these mixed together.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Doktor Weasel wrote:

Woo!

** spoiler omitted **

Option 7 the plan worked and this is the easiest way to take it worldwide

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Option 8 Sorshen.

Edit:

She's the new "A Wizard did it" for Golarion!


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Reckless wrote:
Option 8 Sorshen.

Option 9 the Vancaskerkins.


Mengkare is a dragon, and not an outsider, so he could be tarnished by the whispers of an evil god. Dahak isn't a kaiju like monster or a mere dragon, he is a god. Tarnishing a metallic dragon or even using it without it's knowledge should be no problem.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The big bad was a Dany fan, and after watching the last GoT season went 'that looks like a perfectly logical, and not rushed, way to do things'


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James. Is this adventure path release in any way purposely timed to coincide with this year's release of the Trogdor board game. Or is it just a big coincidence that there is a board game and an adventure path centered around burninating?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A thought I had

Spoiler:
What if it's a frame job? I don't think that possibility has been mentioned. I mean, getting people to distrust or even blame someone instead of allying with them would be a boon for any evil plan.

Shadow Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:
It's pretty complicated and I'm not gonna get into it here, in part because I'm amused at watching folks puzzle it out, but the volumes themselves will have PLENTY of room to go into discussing this topic, never fear!

Well, the Doylist explanation isn't complicated, anyway:

Spoiler:
the people in the office who didn't want this outcome for Mengkare have been attrited away or convinced.

Shadow Lodge

Doktor Weasel wrote:
Eventually they find a portal network in the basement

How many portal networks does that make, now? Not counting the portals to other planets, there were the aiudara, then there was the Stone Road, and now this.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
Eventually they find a portal network in the basement
How many portal networks does that make, now? Not counting the portals to other planets, there were the aiudara, then there was the Stone Road, and now this.

It has been stated that these gates are very similar to the aiudara. I believe ita been stated it appears to almost be a precursor network, almost like a test network before made before hand.


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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
Eventually they find a portal network in the basement
How many portal networks does that make, now? Not counting the portals to other planets, there were the aiudara, then there was the Stone Road, and now this.

Honestly, the setting should probably have even more of them. They're absurdly useful. Replace slow, expensive and dangerous trade routes with a portal network, and trade is almost instantaneous. Set up a network across a nation, and you can move your armies from one corner to the other whenever they're needed. With that massive utility, you'd think more countries would pay to have them built, setting up permanent teleportation circles is known magic. Various other types of portals might be more obscure, but not unknown. Yeah they can be expensive and are high level, but they pay for themselves very quickly, are are a good quick source of income for the casters who are of that level.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

I think in one of the previous Pathfinder Friday show, James Jacob said it was part of the old Elf gate network, but it got broken off the main network a long time ago.


Elfteiroh wrote:
I think in one of the previous Pathfinder Friday show, James Jacob said it was part of the old Elf gate network, but it got broken off the main network a long time ago.

Yep. It's definitely part of the aiudara, or at least it was. Not something new.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Well, IIRC, it's not "part of the aiudara", but a related precursor. Something like a 'proof of concept', a to-scale and functioning model of the final working aiudara.

Shadow Lodge

Franz Lunzer wrote:
Well, IIRC, it's not "part of the aiudara", but a related precursor. Something like a 'proof of concept', a to-scale and functioning model of the final working aiudara.

Presumably why the first portal the PCs try links to an Ekujae settlement in Mwangi. Why does it link to Ravounel or the Five Kings Mountains, though? There are no native terrestrial elves in Ravounel and presumably never were; and the elves' relationship with the dwarves is predicated on "good fences mak[ing] good neighbors."

Liberty's Edge

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Franz Lunzer wrote:
Well, IIRC, it's not "part of the aiudara", but a related precursor. Something like a 'proof of concept', a to-scale and functioning model of the final working aiudara.
Presumably why the first portal the PCs try links to an Ekujae settlement in Mwangi. Why does it link to Ravounel or the Five Kings Mountains, though? There are no native terrestrial elves in Ravounel and presumably never were; and the elves' relationship with the dwarves is predicated on "good fences mak[ing] good neighbors."

Well, there are no elves in those places now. This gate network would've been created many thousands of years ago, who knows where Elves were living then? I mean, clearly we know some places, but there easily also could've been Elves in what are now Ravounel and the Five Kings Mountains.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Maybe there used to be elves in those areas? Those elf-gates could be really old, after all.


Aren't there some aquatic elven settlements in the area?

--C.

<edit> By 'area', I mean Ravounel.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Psiphyre wrote:

Aren't there some aquatic elven settlements in the area?

--C.

Near Ravounel, yes -- so it seems logical that at some point there were land elves there trading with them.

And it seems very likely that the elf-gates were built centuries before the Quest for Sky, so perhaps there were elves in the Five Kings Mountains before they were driven out by the orcs ascending from the Darklands ahead of the dwarves?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Franz Lunzer wrote:
Well, IIRC, it's not "part of the aiudara", but a related precursor. Something like a 'proof of concept', a to-scale and functioning model of the final working aiudara.
Presumably why the first portal the PCs try links to an Ekujae settlement in Mwangi. Why does it link to Ravounel or the Five Kings Mountains, though? There are no native terrestrial elves in Ravounel and presumably never were; and the elves' relationship with the dwarves is predicated on "good fences mak[ing] good neighbors."
Well, there are no elves in those places now. This gate network would've been created many thousands of years ago, who knows where Elves were living then? I mean, clearly we know some places, but there easily also could've been Elves in what are now Ravounel and the Five Kings Mountains.

In fact... there are elves in Ravounel; there's a lot of aquatic elves in the waters off the coastline, as revealed during Hell's Rebels.

And there's a reason there's not a lot of elves in the Five Kings Mountains side of things; has something to do with serpenfolk being all over the place back in that time.


I figure the simple explanation is "Aquatic Elves have not always been primarily aquatic, and weren't back when the aiudara network was built."

Either that or the portal is underwater and we get to showcase how much better people are at swimming than they were in the previous edition.


An old network like that always has a fallback for a few oddball connections:

Back when it was in use, there was an outpost there that took advantage of some resource¹ or kept an eye on some potential threat. Sure, it doesn't make sense now but but that's because things change over the centuries.

1: Noting that the 'resource' can simply be "it's a really good place to make a particular kind of astronomical observation," (which is one of the RL reasons for Antarctic outposts).


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

@James (or anyone else with the knowledge) Is it possible to relay the "Additional Resources" recommendations for this AP as typically appears in a first book's outline section? I suppose that may describe some products not yet available (or alternatively some 1E books too?), but it would be helpful to at least know which pawns/battle minis/map packs/etc a DM might want to prepare for running the AP right away.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Midnight Anarch wrote:

@James (or anyone else with the knowledge) Is it possible to relay the "Additional Resources" recommendations for this AP as typically appears in a first book's outline section? I suppose that may describe some products not yet available (or alternatively some 1E books too?), but it would be helpful to at least know which pawns/battle minis/map packs/etc a DM might want to prepare for running the AP right away.

There are none because we don't have additional resources at the time of this Adventure Path's publication, just the Core Rulebook and the Bestiary. And we don't list pawns and map packs and the like as "Additional Resources" anyway.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Theory about Mengkare's alignment thing. For reasons, he came to have a fake alignment always on so that he would not register as LG. He knows he is though. Until he is no more LG, but nobody can tell, not even himself.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
There are none because we don't have additional resources at the time of this Adventure Path's publication, just the Core Rulebook and the Bestiary. And we don't list pawns and map packs and the like as "Additional Resources" anyway.

That's not strictly true. For example, Hell's Vengeance's The Hellfire Compact (pg 91) states:

"Additional Resources To enhance the Adventure Path, GMs can pick up the following resources: Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Cheliax, The Infernal Empire, Pathfinder Player Companion: Agents of Evil, Pathfinder Pawns: Hell’s Vengeance Pawn Collection , Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Hell’s Vengeance Map Folio , and Pathfinder Map Pack: Urban Sites. The Hell’s Vengeance Player’s Guide is also available as a free PDF download at paizo.com."

Having seen that, and "Want More?" style recommendations in other AP guides, is what prompted me to ask. I'd have to look at other APs to see but maybe that one is just an outlier.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Will there be interactive map pdfs for each module?

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