Return of the Runelords – Player’s Guide!

The Return of the Runelord’s Player’s Guide has recently been released by Paizo. Meant to go with the Return of the Runelord’s Adventure Path, which takes place in the nation of Varisia, this player’s guide is a free download on their website. The Return of the Runelords Adventure Path is already underway, with volume one, Secrets of Roderic’s Cove, released at the start of this month, and volume two, It Came from Hollow Mountain, released at the end of this month. The other four volumes have yet to be released (but are available for pre-order).

Return of the Runelords Players Guide
Return of the Runelords: Player’s Guide is a FREE download!

Now, I’m not sure about all of you, but I’ve been supremely excited for the Return of the Runelords Adventure Path. I have loved every adventure path set in Varisia, and played through or GMed quite a few of them. It’s a place of adventure, history, mystery, and — for me — fond memories. It’s right up there with my favourite nations of Golarion.

Like the Adventure Path Player’s Guides before it, this one is filled with all the information you need to create a character well-suited to the (Return of the Runelords) Adventure Path, and invested in its major plots and purpose. It contains advice and short compiled lists of which classes and archetypes are best suited to the campaign.  It briefly describes the region that the Adventure Path will be taking place in (Varisia, in this instance), as well as the races found there. It gives advice on which religions are common — including information on some obscure faiths.  It also contains suggestions for animal companions and familiars that are appropriate to the region. However, these lists (excluding the animals) are very brief. This is because the Return of the Runelords is very broad in scope. There is no one class that is better suited to it than others, and no classes that are unheard of. Characters of any race are more than welcome to play. This is a great time to pull out the wacky, weird, obscure, and eccentric character options you’ve been mulling over and give them a try.

There was plenty of interesting information in this little guide, including six new traits specific to the Adventure Path (called Campaign Traits), of which each character is expected to have one. I particularly enjoy ‘accidental clone,’ and ‘scion of legend.’ The player’s guide left me happily inspired. Although there’s lots of neat tidbits we could discuss here, I’m not going to go into details. It’s free! You might as well download it yourselves. What I will say is that all of your PCs must play people who have been in Roderic’s Cove for at least a month, and that you all are acquainted with one another. Not friends, or anything. That’s not required. But you know of each other and would be willing to work alongside one another for this adventure. Furthermore, your characters should be ambitious, and curious. They need to be willing to seek out answers and adventure for themselves. This adventure path does not rely on NPCs hiring you to complete a task or ordering you around. The drive to continue needs to come from your player’s characters. Finally, your characters need to be willing to protect not just the city of Roderic’s Cove, but the nation of Varisia as a whole. This is not a campaign that stays idle. It travels the width and breadth of the country.

Secrets of Roderics Cove Adam Daigle Return of the Runelords 1
Pathfinder Adventure Path 133: Secrets of Roderic’s Cove (Return of the Runelords 1 of 6)

In addition to your typical Player’s Guide information, this one also had a few extra goodies. For starters, Return of the Runelords is the direct sequel to the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path and the Shattered Star Adventure Path (which begins with Pathfinder Adventure Path 61: Shards of Sin (Shattered Star 1 of 6)). It assumes that heroes   — probably your PCs from those campaigns — defeated the Runelord of Greed, Karzoug, and reforged an ancient Thassilonian artifact known as the Sihedron. Of the many heroes who accomplished these feats, a few have decided to stay in Varisia and act as the nation’s defenders. Each player gets to select one of their heroes from either Rise of the Runelords or Shattered Star and make them one of these so called ‘Sihedron Heroes.’ These heroes will be in the background of the campaign, doing… stuff! Haha. (I have no idea what they’ll be doing, but you can bet its important!). As for the other PCs from those campaigns? That’s up to you. They will not play a major role in the adventure path. If you’ve never played either previous adventure path, that’s alright! Your fellow players can select their past PCs and you can make a concept (or stats) of your own hero. It’s a nice touch that ensures none of your players will be left out of the fun. Finally, if you’re from a group where none of your players completed Rise of the Runelords or Shattered Star, the GM will make the entire team of Sihedron Heroes themselves. Full details on the Sihedron Heroes role in Return of the Runelords (for GMs) will appear in other issues of the adventure path, beginning in Pathfinder Adventure Path 134: It Came from Hollow Mountain (Return of the Runelords 2 of 6). It should be noted that at the start of Return of the Runelords, the current location of the Sihedron Heroes is unknown.

It Came From Hollow Mountain Mike Shel Return of the Runelords 2
Pathfinder Adventure Path 134: It Came from Hollow Mountain (Return of the Runelords 2 of 6)

And the second? The maps! SO MANY MAPS! Return of the Runelords begins in the town of Roderic’s Cove, but moves on to other settlements and parts of the country. Other cities that play a major role in this campaign are Kaer Maga, Korvosa, Magnimar, and Riddleport. This player’s guide has a map of every one of those locations, plus a map of Varisia! Now, there’s obviously not enough room in the player’s guide to put full information on those cities, but the fact that maps are provided is a really nice touch. For more information on those other places you’ll have to check out a variety of sourcebooks. Roderic’s Cove is detailed in Pathfinder Adventure Path 133: Secrets of Roderic’s Cove (Return of the Runelords 1 of 6). Kaer Maga (which is my favourite city in Golarion) is detailed fully in Pathfinder Chronicles: City of Strangers. Korvosa is the location of the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path (my personal favourite adventure path) and is detailed fully in Pathfinder Chronicles: Guide to Korvosa (also available as a much more affordable PDF download). Magnimar is the home base of the Shattered Star Adventure Path and is fully detailed in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Magnimar, City of Monuments. Finally, Riddleport is the starting location of the Second Darkness Adventure Path, and is detailed in Pathfinder Adventure Path 13: Shadow in the Sky (Second Darkness Book 1 of 6). Looking for more books about Varisia and Thassilon? Check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lost Kingdoms, Pathfinder Player Companion: Varisia, Birthplace of Legends, Pathfinder Comics: Hollow Mountain, and Pathfinder Tales: Lord of Runes.

The last little bit of extra fun involves the campaign’s starting event: you’re attending the weekly Circle Market in Roderic’s Cove. During the first session you have a chance to find a great deal in the market. You’ll get 10% off of a single item chosen from either basic gear, alchemical items, weapons, potions, scrolls, or even a magical object. Although you’re free to choose the object itself, what category of item it is is determined by a d20 roll. It’s think its a nice bit of fun. Particularly if its repeated each time you attend the Circle Market. It is a weekly event, after all!

Runeplague Return of the Runelords 3 Richard Pett
Pathfinder Adventure Path 135: Runeplague (Return of the Runelords 3 of 6)

But, this is a Player’s Guide! It’s not about treasure, or cities, or Varisia. Not at its core. At its beating heart the Player’s Guide is a free tool to help players like us make characters who will work well within the Adventure Path they’re going to commit to. It should inspire us to make characters, entice us with ideas, provide us with some cool traits, and let us go crazy. And this one did.

So after reading the guide, what would I make?

A good question!

There’s a huge number of character concepts you could run with for this campaign, and a ton of classes that would work. In fact it’s one of those nice campaign where pretty much anything goes. I wouldn’t suggest using an aquatic mount or animal companion, but other than that it’s pretty open. I gave all the classes a lot of thought and came up with way too many ideas. I would adore playing the children of some of the other PCs from my family’s Varisian campaigns. Children of the heroes of Curse of the Crimson Throne, Second Darkness, and Rise of the Runelords adventure paths would be a ton of fun. Or, perhaps a spiritualist whose spirit companion is an NPC or a PC who died during one of those campaigns! I’ve always wanted to utilize the harrower prestige class, especially coupled with the deadly dealer feat, but have never had the chance. Someone descended from ancient Thassilonians would be a blast. There’s some fun character options from Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Ancients which would make that enjoyable. I have a soft spot for the Shoanti peoples, and playing a member of the Spire Clan would be particularly fun (they practically worship the ancient monuments dotting Varisia). I would have a blast playing a ex-gray maiden whose trying to start fresh and has the masked maiden vigilante archetype. And that’s not even counting all the other things I’d like to do! Chronomancer wizard, twinned summoner, relic raider rogue, and an arcanist are all on my list of things I’d love to play.

How about you? What character concepts and builds would YOU like to play for Return of the Runelords? I’d love to hear them!

Until then,

Get reading! You’ve got a free Player’s Guide to download!

Jessica


All six issues of the Return of the Runelords Adventure Path are listed below.

Pathfinder Adventure Path 133: Secrets of Roderic’s Cove (Return of the Runelords 1 of 6)

Pathfinder Adventure Path 134: It Came from Hollow Mountain (Return of the Runelords 2 of 6)

Pathfinder Adventure Path 135: Runeplague (Return of the Runelords 3 of 6)

Pathfinder Adventure Path 136: Temple of the Peacock Spirit (Return of the Runelords 4 of 6)

Pathfinder Adventure Path 137: The City Outside of Time (Return of the Runelords 5 of 6)

Pathfinder Adventure Path 138: Rise of New Thassilon (Return of the Runelords 6 of 6)

 

September New Releases

Secrets of Roderics Cove Adam Daigle Return of the Runelords 1
Pathfinder Adventure Path: Return of the Runelords: Book One: Secrets of Roderic’s Cove by Adam Daigle.

Last month was a busy one, with some awesome new releases, but also some delayed products. Fans of Starfinder were treated to the Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Armory, Starfinder Flip-Mat: Asteroid, Starfinder: Dead Suns Pawn Collection, and two awesome Starfinder Society Scenarios: #1-20: Duskmire Accord 9, and #1-21: Yesteryear’s Sorrow. Fans of Pathfinder were finally got their hands on the finale of the War for the Crown Adventure Path: War for the Crown: Book Six: The Six-Legend Soul! There were Pocket Editions released of Ultimate Combat and Bestiary 5, and three amazing Pathfinder Society Scenarios: #10-01: Oathbreakers Die, #10-02: Bones of Biting Ants, and #10-03: Death on the Ice. There were also a lot of map releases, with Pathfinder Flip-Mat Multi-Pack: Forests, Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Watch Station, Pathfinder Flip-Tiles: Dungeon Starter Set, and Pathfinder Flip-Tiles: Dungeon Perils Expansion. They also released the Ultimate Wilderness Add-On Deck for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.

Of course, there was also a wide array of Pathfinder Playtest releases including the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook, Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook Updates, Pathfinder Playtest Bestiary, Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn, Pathfinder Playtest Flip-Mat Multi-Pack, Character Sheets, Tracking Sheets, Pregenerated Characters, and three Pathfinder Playtest Society Scenarios: #1: Rose Street Revenge, #2: Raiders of Shriekers Peak, and #3: Arclord’s Envy. All of these products are available as a free download on Paizo’s website!

Against the Aeon Throne Reach of the Empire Ron Lundeen
Starfinder Adventure Path: Against the Aeon Throne: Book One: The Reach of Empire by Ron Lundeen.

Because of the recent website outages over at Paizo, shipment of their newest adventure path volumes were delayed a bit, meaning plenty of subscribers didn’t receive their copies until the start of this month, as opposed to the end of last month. That means that this month there is a WHOLE LOT of Adventure Path Volumes coming out! Both Starfinder and Pathfinder are launching new Adventure Paths. Pathfinder takes us back to Varisia with the highly anticipated Return of the Runelords! It begins in Return of the Runelords: Book One: Secrets of Roderick’s Cove, and continues on later this month/the start of next month with Return of the Runelords: Book Two: It Came from Hollow Mountain . This campaign looks like a ton of fun! It’s going to take you all the way to level 20, and pits you against not one, but all five of the remaining Runelords (or their minions)! For more information on the Return of the Runelords, check out my recent blog post: Return of the Runelords. As for Starfinder, they’re shaking things up with a special three-part adventure path that starts with a bang and just keeps the excitement coming! The Against the Aeon Throne Adventure Path pits your players against the Azlanti Star Empire, a massive tyrannical governing body that controls a whopping three solar systems! Your players will be taking on the role of some rebels who are out to help a friend, and cause some trouble for the Empire. Although they won’t be taking on the entire Azlanti Star Empire, they get some good licks in and get out safe and sound (hopefully). This adventure path feels very Star Wars themed to me, and seems very personal and exciting. It begins with Against the Aeon Throne: Book One: The Reach of Empire, which is already out, and continues at the end of this month with Against the Aeon Throne: Book Two: Escape from the Prison Moon! For more information on this adventure path check out my previous blog post: Against the Aeon Throne.

It Came From Hollow Mountain Mike Shel Return of the Runelords 2
Pathfinder Adventure Path: Return of the Runelords: Book Two: It Came from Hollow Mountain  by Mike Shel.

While we’re on the topic of adventures, let’s take a look at what else is on the agenda this month, shall we? War for the Crown Poster Map Folio comes out, which features three poster-sized maps for use with the War for the Crown Adventure Path. The maps are of Oppara, the capital city of Taldor (which is also where the adventure path begins in War for the Crown: Book One: Crownfall, and ends in War for the Crown: Book Six: The Six-Legend Soul), Meratt (a Taldan county featured in War for the Crown: Book Two: Songbird, Scion, Saboteur), and the nation of Taldor itself. There’s also the new Pathfinder Module: Cradle of Night coming out.

Pathfinder Module: Cradle of Night is an adventure that was outlined, worked on, and written by, a large number of people including Wes Schneider, Neil Spicer, James Jacobs, Greg Vaughan, and Ron Lundeen. It’s an awesome sounding adventure intended for level eight characters which will be around 64 pages in length. Of course, it’s also cursed! This poor thing has been perpetually delayed. With an original release date of last year, it was bumped to a January release, then mid 2018, and has finally shown up on the soon to be released products page. Preorder begins now (again), and hopefully will be out in a month or so. The adventure itself takes place in Nidal and begins when a refugee Caligni from the Darklands comes to the surface for help! He needs someone to save/stop his people from releasing darkness upon the world and bringing about the rebirth of a “shattered god.” It moves from Nidal, down into the Darklands, includes a lot of information on the origins of the Caligni peoples (darkfolk), and the Shadow Plane. Plus, it just sounds epic! Curious who the “shattered god” is? So am I! Haha. I’m particularly excited that this book will allow me to make use of my Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Nidal, Land of Shadows sourcebook!

Against the Aeon Throne Escape from the Prison Moon Eleanor Ferron
Starfinder Adventure Path: Against the Aeon Throne: Book Two: Escape from the Prison Moon by Eleanor Ferron.

There are two Pathfinder Player Companion books out this month, Pathfinder Player Companion: Heroes from the Fringe, which presents a look at a lot of non-human, unique character options. Examples of this include the Ekujae elves of the Mwangi Expanse, and Pahmet dwarves of Osirion’s deserts, and many more. The part I’m most excited about? Whimsical phantoms for spiritualists! Come on, you know you want to be haunted by a chipper gnome ghost! I’m very intrigued with this product and can’t wait to see what’s inside. There’s also Pathfinder Player Companion: Plane-Hopper’s Handbook, which is a great tie-in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Planar Adventures. It provides a host of new player options and equipment for characters who traverse the planes, including new eidolon subtypes for the unchained summoner, alternate race traits and favoured class bonuses for extrapljnar raves (like ganzi!), and some archetypes. I’m definitely curious what’s inside!

There are a wide variety of maps out this month. Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Wizard’s Dungeon, Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Desert (which is very usable), Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Seedy Tavern, and Starfinder Flip-Mat: Ghost Ship! Whoo! And that’s not all! There’s also the release of the Pathfinder Flip-Tiles: Forest Starter Set, which I am very curious to give a look see.

Heroes of the Fringe
Pathfinder Player Companion: Heroes from the Fringe

And the product my son is most excited for? Pathfinder Flip-Tiles: Dungeon Decor Pawn Collection! This product contains a ton of set dressing, from fireplaces, curtains, and bookshelves, to windows, stairs, doors, and statues! There’s a ton of useful bits and bobs in here. It’s very similar to the previous release Pathfinder Pawns: Traps & Treasures Pawn Collection. My son has officially added both to his Christmas list. Haha.

Finally, this month sees the release of two Pathfinder Society Scenarios, and two Starfinder Society Scenarios. Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-04: Reaver’s Roar is a tier 7-11 scenario of special importance to the Silver Crusade faction, which tasks you players with retrieving a relic of the Shining Crusade from it’s guardians. This mission could get complicated, as it sounds like you’re not the only ones after the relic. Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-05: Mysteries Under Moonlight, Part 1: Testament of Souls is a tier 3-7 scenario which takes place in Magnimar and revolves around the mysterious corruption of some of their monuments. This scenario is the first of a two part series which concludes with Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-07: Mysteries Under Moonlight, Part 2: The Howling Dance. I’m a huge fan of Varisia and its many eclectic cities, so I’m pretty excited for this one!

Plane-Hopper's Handbook
Pathfinder Player Companion: Plane-Hopper’s Handbook

Starfinder Society Scenario #1-22: Protectorate Petition is a tier 1-4 scenario that tasks the players with traveling to a planet in Near Space to determine whether the alien ‘copaxis’ should be granted protectorate status in the Pact Worlds. You’ll have to visit their planet, review their claims, explore some ruins, learn some history, and decide whether or not these guys deserve to join the Pact Worlds. Starfinder Society Scenario #1-23: Return to Sender is a tier 5-8 scenario which is a direct sequel to the special Starfinder Scenario #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion! Its of particular importance to both the Exo-Guardians and the Dataphiles. Your players will have to take a stolen spaceship into enemy territory and complete their objectives without getting caught. If they’re successful they’ll enable the Starfinders to launch an offensive against the jinsul empire! This is going to be awesome!

And that’s all for this month! I don’t know about you, but I’m most excited for the Return of the Runelords, and Against the Aeon Thrones Adventure Paths!

Jessica