Uneven portrayal of the Silver Ravens status in the Player's Guide


Hell's Rebels


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So, I'm two thirds through Shattered Star and well into prepping Hell's Rebels as the next campaign I'll be running (finally!) and, going another time through the Player's Guide, I find once again that the portrayal of the current status of the Silver Ravens is very uneven, to say the least.

The Silver Ravens, at the same time, are:

- Legends from the past, about whom very little is really known because of the Thrune redactions to Kintargo's history (Historian of the Rebellion trait)

- A currently leaderless, but very much currently existing rebellious organization, because most of the leadership has been taken out or been disappeared in the Night of Ashes (Reasons to protest: Meeting a contact).

- Popular enough that at least one member of them (Jackdaw) can serve as the focus of fandom obsession for a player character, where said PC expects her return RIGHT NOW, despite her not having been seen for a 100 years (Star Struck trait, with focus on Jackdaw + Reasons to protest: Looking for your idol).

I don't know, this makes it quite difficult to get a handle on how to convey to my players what they know or don't know about the Silver Ravens at the start of the campaign and how they should build their characters. Has anybody found a way for a coherent portrayal what the current status of the Silver Ravens is, in terms of their actual current existence and the popular knowledge of them?

Also, as an side, many thanks to whomever had the bright idea to put Assassin and Red Mantis Assassin first in the list of campaign-appropiate prestige classes in the PG, while they are about the farthest away from campaign-appropiate I can think of. I had a hell of a time explaining to my players that non-good characters really are not a very good fit for this campaign after they saw that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

wow. that prestige class suggestion list... Hellknight? wha?

saying, yeah, go play an evil or lawful evil character! you'll figure it out... geeze...


The AP is full of inconsistencies, and you will have to pick which narrative you want to use.

But the most consistent story is that the Silver Ravens were a group from 100 years ago. The Jackdaw in my mind is more a legendary character or folk hero of yore, but yeah framing them as an "idol" really doesn't make sense especially considering they haven't been seen in a human lifetime.

Due to Thrune redactions, the name Silver Ravens should be most but to all the longest lived Kintargoans.

Evil characters can work in this AP, like any AP, but like any AP I'd suggest a great deal of caution. Evil people can work to good ends and even cherish good ideals, but honestly most of the time it's more work than it's worth.


My suggestion is (from over HERE):

Warped Savant wrote:

The discrepancies in the Player's Guide versus what's presented in the AP books between the Silver Ravens being unheard of and, at the same time, them having just disappeared from Kintargo is easy to fix. Change any recent mention of the Raven's to the Bellflower Network and it all makes a lot more sense.

What I told my players in regard to the Player's Guide is that it has some errors and to change it according to this:
Page 9: Meeting a Contact - Replace all instances of "Silver Ravens" with "Bellflower Network"

Page 12-13: Star Struck - With the exception of Jackdaw (who is simply known as a folk hero from the end of the civil war and hasn't been seen in the last 80 years) the people listed have nothing to do with the Silver Ravens of old, nor the Bellflower Network. They are simply people that would have issues with Barzillai Thrune and haven't been seen since a few days after Barzillai came to town and instituted martial law.

Page 20 "Silver Ravens" section - Replace all instances of "Silver Ravens" with "Bellflower Network"

That fixes the contradictory information as to if people know of the Ravens or not (most people don't know about them), makes it so that it doesn't seem like the previous lord-mayor, Jilia Bainilus, as well as the lictor of the Order of the Torrent have ties to the Silver Ravens (because that seems really weird and out of place), and it shows that the Bellflower Network was established before Barzillai came to town and therefore gives more weight to what Laria has to say about what not to do.

Shadow Lodge

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The framing I go with is that "silver raven" before the start of the AP is not the name of any particular group, but a common regional term for dissident, troublemaker, or firebrand. People can and do use it to refer to members of any number of actual, and separate, organizations, particularly as those organizations tend to be secret societies or otherwise clandestine. The term's origin as referring to a particular group is what was affected by Thrune redactions, but they couldn't get rid of the term itself, and settled for it losing all practical meaning.


Yakman wrote:

wow. that prestige class suggestion list... Hellknight? wha?

saying, yeah, go play an evil or lawful evil character! you'll figure it out... geeze...

Hellknights are lawful, not necessarily evil. The implication is you'd join the LG Order of the Torrent.

The fed up citizen trait is specifically for these kinds of characters.


zimmerwald1915 wrote:
The framing I go with is that "silver raven" before the start of the AP is not the name of any particular group, but a common regional term for dissident, troublemaker, or firebrand. People can and do use it to refer to members of any number of actual, and separate, organizations, particularly as those organizations tend to be secret societies or otherwise clandestine. The term's origin as referring to a particular group is what was affected by Thrune redactions, but they couldn't get rid of the term itself, and settled for it losing all practical meaning.

This is brilliant. If I ever run the AP again I am so stealing this.


This is why I didn't give my table the player's guide, but only selected the portions that I wanted them to see and that they needed. A bit more work, true, but it avoided those kinds of things.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks for the suggestions, y'all. I think I'll go with Zimmermann's approach, which seems to be the best fit and easiest to explain.

I guess I'll just make clear to the one player who already took Jackdaw as his idol that she is a local legend and not really likely to show up, since it's been so long.

The existence of long-lived races of course makes the whole "everybody has forgotten about who they really were" a bit sketchy, but that's the problem with any such element in a fantasy setting. ^^

As for evil classes in this AP, there are multiple instances in the story where I think evil characters would be inappropiate. Of course they might work if surrounded by a group of good characters, but then we get into the question why those people would hang out together (especially since there are multiple options for the good characters to work together with other less distasteful characters in the city). This AP is strongly aligned towards good characters, the same way that an AP like Reign of Winter was much more alignment-neutral.

Shadow Lodge

magnuskn wrote:
Thanks for the suggestions, y'all. I think I'll go with Zimmermann's approach, which seems to be the best fit and easiest to explain.

M'glad you think so! Break a leg come game time.

(Pet peeve, though: while I do get my handle from a piece of mid-Great War trivia, it's the Swiss village and not the German diplomat. You're by no means the only person to make this mistake, and ultimately it's harmless, both of which are reasons why it's a pet peeve. But still, it rankles.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

It is always possible for the Silver Ravens to still be known and yet be erased from history.

Thrune can only eliminate their mention from written records and tell people "you aren't allowed to talk about them." Though to be honest, the Silver Ravens ended up discrediting themselves thanks to Brakisi or whatever his name was who ended up kidnapping the son of the Thrune-assigned Lord-Mayor of Kintargo, which resulted in the Hellknights of the Torrent ending up coming into existence.

Events happened long enough ago that the only "witnesses" would be non-human races and half-elves among the part-human. You have the older people who would tell tales of the "Silver Ravens" but seeing that people get arrested for talking about them (until probably the previous Lord-Mayor before Barzillai) it was only something a grandfather or grandmother would tell their immediate family, or maybe someone in the Devil's Nursery (which tends to be ignored by the authorities).

Further, there were still some folk who did talk about the Silver Ravens around from what the first book says - again, they were older folk and they were all going to the Silver Badger and they got swept up in the initial raid and murders during the Night of Ashes. This even gives the player a reason to hate Thrune - maybe a beloved grandparent or great grandparent died in that fire and they went from "yeah, Nana, you keep telling us about these 'Ravens' but they don't exist" to "Thrune killed her to keep this quiet. I need to learn more."

tl;dr - the Silver Ravens were erased from the history books, but it was the actions of Brakisi that discredited them and caused most folk to stop talking about them. It was likely a grandparent or older storyteller who vanishes during the Night of Ashes that instigates a player interested in the Silver Ravens to start looking for more information and attending the Aria Park Protest.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
magnuskn wrote:

Thanks for the suggestions, y'all. I think I'll go with Zimmermann's approach, which seems to be the best fit and easiest to explain.

I guess I'll just make clear to the one player who already took Jackdaw as his idol that she is a local legend and not really likely to show up, since it's been so long.

The existence of long-lived races of course makes the whole "everybody has forgotten about who they really were" a bit sketchy, but that's the problem with any such element in a fantasy setting. ^^

Amusingly enough, once my PCs learned about the Silver Raven organization, one of the PCs took levels in vigilante to become 'Jackdaw' and

Book 4 Spoiler:
was suitably put out when her namesake did show back up and felt the need to ask if she could keep using the name.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Artofregicide wrote:
Yakman wrote:

wow. that prestige class suggestion list... Hellknight? wha?

saying, yeah, go play an evil or lawful evil character! you'll figure it out... geeze...

Hellknights are lawful, not necessarily evil. The implication is you'd join the LG Order of the Torrent.

The fed up citizen trait is specifically for these kinds of characters.

then it should say that.

Shadow Lodge

Yakman wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:
Yakman wrote:

wow. that prestige class suggestion list... Hellknight? wha?

saying, yeah, go play an evil or lawful evil character! you'll figure it out... geeze...

Hellknights are lawful, not necessarily evil. The implication is you'd join the LG Order of the Torrent.

The fed up citizen trait is specifically for these kinds of characters.

then it should say that.

Doesn't it? I'm AFB ATM, but I could swear it did.

Shadow Lodge

Tangent101 wrote:
Though to be honest, the Silver Ravens ended up discrediting themselves thanks to Brakisi or whatever his name was who ended up kidnapping the son of the Thrune-assigned Lord-Mayor of Kintargo, which resulted in the Hellknights of the Torrent ending up coming into existence.

Speaking of things that rankle, how un-compelling must the OG SRs have been if this was the thing that did in their popular support? They didn't even partition Poland!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tangent101 wrote:

It is always possible for the Silver Ravens to still be known and yet be erased from history.

Thrune can only eliminate their mention from written records and tell people "you aren't allowed to talk about them." Though to be honest, the Silver Ravens ended up discrediting themselves thanks to Brakisi or whatever his name was who ended up kidnapping the son of the Thrune-assigned Lord-Mayor of Kintargo, which resulted in the Hellknights of the Torrent ending up coming into existence.

Events happened long enough ago that the only "witnesses" would be non-human races and half-elves among the part-human. You have the older people who would tell tales of the "Silver Ravens" but seeing that people get arrested for talking about them (until probably the previous Lord-Mayor before Barzillai) it was only something a grandfather or grandmother would tell their immediate family, or maybe someone in the Devil's Nursery (which tends to be ignored by the authorities).

Further, there were still some folk who did talk about the Silver Ravens around from what the first book says - again, they were older folk and they were all going to the Silver Badger and they got swept up in the initial raid and murders during the Night of Ashes. This even gives the player a reason to hate Thrune - maybe a beloved grandparent or great grandparent died in that fire and they went from "yeah, Nana, you keep telling us about these 'Ravens' but they don't exist" to "Thrune killed her to keep this quiet. I need to learn more."

tl;dr - the Silver Ravens were erased from the history books, but it was the actions of Brakisi that discredited them and caused most folk to stop talking about them. It was likely a grandparent or older storyteller who vanishes during the Night of Ashes that instigates a player interested in the Silver Ravens to start looking for more information and attending the Aria Park Protest.

i always imagined that after Thrune took over the city and dispatched with most of the Silver Ravens, they flooded Kintargo with high level bards who essentially wiped the minds of most of the citizens about the Silver Ravens. It's not only something that Thrune would do, but it's also distinctly Cheliaxan AND Kintargan, what with having street performances creating alternative memories for the audiences.

That's not going to be 100 % effective, but it would provide enough 'herd immunity' to the alternative fact that there was something known as a Silver Raven or resistance to Thrune.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Thanks for the suggestions, y'all. I think I'll go with Zimmermann's approach, which seems to be the best fit and easiest to explain.

M'glad you think so! Break a leg come game time.

(Pet peeve, though: while I do get my handle from a piece of mid-Great War trivia, it's the Swiss village and not the German diplomat. You're by no means the only person to make this mistake, and ultimately it's harmless, both of which are reasons why it's a pet peeve. But still, it rankles.)

Ah, my bad, I often get your name confused, since "Zimmermann" is a really common name in Germany and "Zimmerwald" ain't... but the "Zimmer" in front sticks really in your mind. It's a German thing. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Though to be honest, the Silver Ravens ended up discrediting themselves thanks to Brakisi or whatever his name was who ended up kidnapping the son of the Thrune-assigned Lord-Mayor of Kintargo, which resulted in the Hellknights of the Torrent ending up coming into existence.
Speaking of things that rankle, how un-compelling must the OG SRs have been if this was the thing that did in their popular support? They didn't even partition Poland!

It was a public fight. You had a man calling himself one of the Silver Ravens (who murdered another of the Silver Ravens) who had kidnapped a child and this brouhaha went on for a couple weeks. It was a stupid thing for Brakisi to do and he refused to back down. (He also was CN so the fact he was descending into evil with his actions just didn't matter to him and his need to do what he wanted).

The other non-leader Silver Ravens probably were disheartened by the fact that of their five leaders, Jackdaw had been captured or had turned themselves in, while two more of their number had been killed while trying to sing the Song in Silver to protect Kintargo. Brakisi then murders Bok when Bok insisted they not kidnap the Lord-Mayor's son and no doubt at that moment a bunch of the rank-and-file Ravens just quietly quit. They had lost. For Thrune to then wipe out the Ravens in the history books... well, essentially at that point morale was at an all-low point.

In a way Thrune did the wrong thing by erasing the Silver Ravens from the history books - they could have had a couple incidents in the books culminating with the kidnapping of the Lord-Mayor's son and the Silver Ravens would have become a minor group of anarchists who got in over their heads and were rightfully put down. By trying to erase them, that left a handful of folk who could spread some tales to kids who might listen... and allow the PCs with traits that are into Jackdaw or the Silver Ravens to know a tiny bit without having specifics excepting that the extended family member who would tell tales of the Ravens goes missing when the Night of Ashes hits. And that would be what drives that player.

Shadow Lodge

Tangent101 wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Though to be honest, the Silver Ravens ended up discrediting themselves thanks to Brakisi or whatever his name was who ended up kidnapping the son of the Thrune-assigned Lord-Mayor of Kintargo, which resulted in the Hellknights of the Torrent ending up coming into existence.
Speaking of things that rankle, how un-compelling must the OG SRs have been if this was the thing that did in their popular support? They didn't even partition Poland!
It was a public fight.

Yes, I'm familiar with the story. What troubles me is that it's so small-scale. Political groups, both legitimate and illegitimate, witness their leaders commit crimes large and small all the time, and their membership is not meaningfully impacted by that. Because the group's cause, or its patronage network, or some other quality, is appealing enough to survive the discrediting of a leader. You need something really egregious, and collectively implicating, to undermine a political support base like that.

Ergo, the OG SRs must not have been all that appealing, if their support could be undone by a single crime (no one cared about Ba) by a single leader.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Except the entire leadership structure of the Silver Ravens had just been wiped out. Jackdaw was captured. The bard and cleric both died in an attack when they were trying to protect the city. And then Bo gets murdered and Brakisi goes nuts and there's no leadership left. No doubt House Thrune also had other Silver Ravens targeted so that any attempt to reform was met with lethal force until the few survivors, lowly members who were just rank-and-file members, went into hiding.

You can see this with third parties in various nations - after a charismatic leader dies, if there isn't a charismatic replacement the party founders and often fades away. Now add in someone deliberately targeting members of the group... and it being what, 70 or so years since they were wiped out... and it makes sense that the common people don't really know anything about the Silver Ravens.

Shadow Lodge

Tangent101 wrote:
Except the entire leadership structure of the Silver Ravens had just been wiped out.

And if they had any kind of broad or deep base of support, that wouldn't matter. Groups that live or die on the existence and actions of a handful of people are fragile. They're sects.

My point is not that the events couldn't have played out as they did, my point is that events having played out as they did tells us something about the OG SRs. It doesn't tell us anything good.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also, there's of course Eduard Zimmermann, who for Germans of a certain age was such a household name, due to Aktenzeichen XY... ungelöst, that this particular surname has a special connotation for us and easily comes to the forefront of the mind.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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The original Silver Ravens were not perfect. They were never intended to be. If they were, they...

a) Wouldn't have fallen apart, and...

b) Wouldn't be something the PCs can improve upon.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Except the entire leadership structure of the Silver Ravens had just been wiped out.

And if they had any kind of broad or deep base of support, that wouldn't matter. Groups that live or die on the existence and actions of a handful of people are fragile. They're sects.

My point is not that the events couldn't have played out as they did, my point is that events having played out as they did tells us something about the OG SRs. It doesn't tell us anything good.

You have a tyrant in charge of the government. He makes it illegal to even talk about the Silver Ravens. Further, you have a public battle in which the last big Silver Raven dies after having committed an evil act by kidnapping the son of the Lord-Mayor. There was plenty of incentive for people to NOT talk about the Silver Ravens.

There still were some folk who did. The player character who takes a trait showing interest in the Ravens obviously heard from somewhere. Similarly someone who was into Jackdaw. And most of THOSE got wiped out because they would hang out in the same bar exchanging old tales and the like about their parents or grandparents who were in the Silver Ravens.

Enough about the Silver Ravens exists that when a new group calling themselves this, people notice. But most of what was known about the Silver Ravens was vague rumors and the like that no one could research because the government would crack down on those who did. Amusingly enough, the people who know the most about the old Silver Ravens ends up being the NEW Silver Ravens.

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