Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Review: Pathfinder #7 - Edge of Anarchy


This is the first installment of the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path, and I will be writing up reviews on all six parts with a final wrap up, very similar to what I did on first Adventure Path series. This adventure path returns to Varisa and centers around the city of Korvosal, with its troubled monarchy. It is interesting that I just blogged a bit about Cersei from Martin’s work, as there is some similarities between the two Queens. This adventure path has a number of tie in products to support it, which offers creative GM’s a number of add in options, which should enhance play. This series also contains quite a few special features that I think should raise the interest level for groups that like to try new stuff.

Nick Logue

I wrote a bit about Nick in my review of Pathfinder #3, which he wrote, so I will try not to repeat what I wrote earlier. It was about a year or so ago now that he accepted his current job with a college in England, which has taken him away from writing. This Pathfinder represents his last adventure write up for Paizo, but I would not be surprised to see him surface again. Right now he is a bit behind on his publish of Razor Coast that has a number of us chanting, “just write the book Nick.”


The layout for the new series offers a new and improved look. From its crimson red cover, to the new font, the layout is a lot nicer than the first series. The font on the earlier AP took a bit of criticism and it has been adjusted, which makes it a bit easier to read. The book itself is very similar to overall terms with the earlier series in that it is 96 pages not counting the covers, with the actual adventure taking up 51 of these pages, with an approximate word count of ~40,000 words. The book is divided up into several sections including the main adventure, two supporting articles (Harrow and People of the Road), the Pathfinder Journal, bestiary (six monsters) and the pregens.

One of the layout features that I like is the different colored heading bar and footer bars to differentiate the different sections of the book. The previous series had a color tab on the side, but I like the header and footer bars better.

It is also worth point out that the Pathfinder Journal is a bit cleaner in look than the first series.


As with all Pathfinders published to date, this one is in full color. Wayne again is the cover artist and has drawn up an otyugh bursting out of the sewers with the ionic paladin taking center stage. The interior art is excellent, and I do want to call out a couple of specific pieces. I like the shark on page 14, but then again Discovery Shark Week is a must see for me. The art in the bestiary is very good and is probably the best section of the book from an art stand point. It is also worth pointing out that the size chart at the beginning of the bestiary is discontinued, and is replaced by a specific art piece, which in this case is a devilfish attacking a small boat.


This first module in the series is an urban adventure and the campaign kicks off with the characters hired to go after a local criminal. The characters then discover a mysterious Harrow Deck that will stay with them throughout the campaign. Things pick up as they find a brooch that belongs to the queen. The characters find out that the King has died, and they are recruited by the Korvosan Guard to apprehend a woman named Trina Sabor. In the last part of the adventure the characters need to recover the missing body of a Shoanti warrior in order to stop a war. In the final moments of the adventure, the characters witness a heroic rescue by the legendary Blackjack and mysterious black ship approaches Korvosa.
Key features
There are a number of features that this module provides that I am going to list out below:
1. The Harrow Deck, which provides more than a bit of flavor to the adventure.

2. A fully mapped out city, which is supported by the Pathfinder Chronicles Korvosa supplement.

3. Imps and Dragons. This is just wonderful flavor that defines Korvosa.
4. A roof top chase, along with rules on how to play it.

5. Six new monsters, of which the reefclaw and the raktavarna are two of my favorites of the Pathfinder monsters.

6. The Pathfinder Journal, which continues the chronicles of Eando Kline.

Final notes

Let there be no mistake in that this is an urban adventure. Folks looking for a traditional dungeon crawl will be a bit disappointed. There is a lot of fluff included in the adventure write up, which supports more role play than roll play. Some may be turned off by the heavy story elements, which are significantly stronger than in the first AP. On the flip side, this AP hangs together better than the other series, with well defined tie ins to the following adventures in this series. The Harrow Deck and roof top chase provide something a bit different for the experienced group, and I applaud the Paizo team for adding these features into this adventure. The Harrow Deck will continue to be used throughout the campaign, and I think it is a very interesting feature. There is one small dungeon in the adventure that is at the end. Most groups should be able to finish it within a session or two, as it is not very big.

Overall, I do give this module a thumbs up, but I recognize that this particular adventure is a bit of a mixed bag. Groups that really like story heavy urban adventures are going to be really happy with this one, while groups that enjoy the traditional dungeon crawl are probably not going to like it. I personally really like the way in which the Harrow Deck is used, and that makes this a more intriguing adventure to run.
Rating: 3.5 Dragons (on a scale of 5)

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