Pathfinder Playtest: Doomsday Dawn

Today on d20 Diaries the end is nigh! That’s right! We’re talking about Doomsday Dawn!

Pathfinder Playtest released a short time ago, and alongside it they launched a few adventures. There are three Pathfinder Society Playtest Scenarios out, which we’ll talk about later this week. But, the main playtest experience is an adventure called Doomsday Dawn. All four of these adventures are a free download on Paizo’s website.

Pathfinder Playtest RulebookMore accurately, Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn is a series of linked adventures which, played all in a row, make a comprehensive storyline. It’s like a mini-adventure path. With a few differences. For starters, this is created for Pathfinder Playtest, not the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. It’s intended not only to introduce players to the new Pathfinder rules, but also to playtest certain aspects of those rules. As such, each mini-adventure is focused on a different aspect of gameplay. Once you’ve finished a section of the adventure you’re invited to head over to Paizo’s website and fill out a survey about your experience. While you’re there, I highly recommend picking up the maps for this adventure: Pathfinder Playtest Flip-Mat Multi-Pack. It contains two different flip-mats which feature the four major maps of this adventure. Other maps found throughout are more generic and can be drawn on a blank mat (Pathfinder: Flip Mat: Bigger Basic), or created with other flip-mats and map products you might have at home.

There’s a few other important things to note. Doomsday Dawn takes place over a long time. A decade to be exact! And it takes it characters all throughout the Inner Sea. Most importantly: this adventure is not always played with the same characters. That is to say, you’ll make a group of ‘Primary’ characters, who will play three parts of this adventure together: parts 1, 4 and 7. For the other four parts you will play different heroes who do tasks related to the primary character’s ongoing story. Each of these side groups will be created for a specific purpose and are only used once. These characters will play parts 2, 3, 5, and 6. Intrigued? Then read on!

Doomsday Dawn tells the story of the Aucturn Enigma, which was first introduced in the module Entombed With The Pharaohs, and was also featured in the module The Pact Stone Pyramid, both of which came out before Pathfinder had its own official rules set. No idea what that is? No worries. Neither do your characters. Basically this adventure involves Ancient Osirion, the Dominion of the Black, the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye, The Night Heralds, the planet Aucturn, and nothing short of the end of the world. Yup, the stakes are high! For more information on Osirion, you can check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Osirion, Legacy of Pharoahs.

Pathfinder Playtest Doomsday DawnIn the year 4718 A.R. (later this year) the celestial bodies will align allowing the Dominion of the Black an opportunity to merge the planet Aucturn with that of Golarion. If this happens life as we know it will end. This doomsday is only possible with objects of power from Ancient Osirion which were put in place long ago in preparation for this time. A group of evil cultists called the Night Heralds seek to bring this end into being, while another group, the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye, seeks to stop them. That’s where your many different characters come in.


The first part of Doomsday Dawn is entitled The Lost Star and is intended to introduce new players and GMs to the rules of Pathfinder Playtest. During this adventure you’ll get the hang of encounter mode, and generally get a handle on the new rules. The Lost Star is played by your primary characters, who will begin at level one. They will follow all of the regular character creation rules as detailed in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook, except for their background, which will be chosen from the special backgrounds presented at the start of Doomsday Dawn. These special backgrounds include: Budding Osirionologist, Esoteric Scion, Family Friend, Goblin Renegade, Mind Quake Survivor, and Pathfinder Hopeful. Each of these backgrounds is much more specific than the generic backgrounds in the Playtest Rulebook, and is meant to not only tie your primary character to adventure’s story, but also provide them with lore skills that will be of use. There are no other special considerations you need to take into account when making your characters, although it is recommended your primary characters form a balanced party from a wide variety of ancestries, classes and backgrounds.

Rise of the Runelords
Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path.

The Lost Star begins in Magnimar in the year 4707 AR, which is eleven years before Golarion’s present and a week or two before the start of Paizo’s first Pathfinder Adventure Path: Rise of the Runelords. It takes place in the Varisian city of Magnimar and involves a noblewoman by the name of Keleri Deverin. Keleri is a relative of Kendra Deverin, the mayor of Sandpoint. With the upcoming Swallowtail festival to to begin in Sandpoint soon, Keleri headed down into her family’s vaults to pick up a family heirloom known as the Star of Desna, in hopes of getting it blessed at the festival. Unfortunately, she found the vaults robbed by goblins. And one was left behind! She questioned the brute, only to discover that the little goblin’s tribe (the Mudchewers) had been conquered by a nasty hobgoblin by the name of Drakus the Taker. Poor little goblins! Sensing opportunity, Keleri sought outside help. She hired a group of adventurers — your Primary PCs — and sends them down into the sewers of Magnimar to both obtain the Star of Desna and, possibly, to forge an alliance with the remains of the Mudchewers. But unforeseen events are at work, and clues discovered under Magnimar will lead to greater adventures after this. The Lost Star makes use of one side of the flip-mats in the Pathfinder Playtest Flip-Mat Multi-Pack.

My family has already had a chance to play The Lost Star. We found it great fun, although it was not without difficulty. We had a tough time with Drakus the Taker, having multiple characters fall unconscious, and one die. We also had some trouble with our alchemist running out of resonance in the first battle. She had to overspend her resonance for the rest of the adventure, which was dicey at best. On an upcoming playtest where I get to make a character, I’m going to make an alchemist of my own, to see how it works in other hands. About the same, I expect. Lastly, we had trouble identifying treasure. It takes an hour to identify a magical item and, since my family’s character’s weren’t forced to retreat and rest, that means they never had a chance to identify or utilize a single piece of treasure throughout the adventure. Obviously, this is disappointing. That said, it’s not the fault of the adventure, so much as a part of the Pathfinder Playtest rules itself. In addition, there are some ways for characters to shorten this timeframe down. Alternatively, this can be solved by your players retreating to rest, recover resources and study objects. However, I didn’t really find this adventure suited that tactic very well. It’s not so much that you don’t have the chance. You do, if you want to, but that my players had no reason to. They were comfortable pressing on.

PZO9226_500
The Inner Sea World Guide contains information on all of the nations visited in Doomsday Dawn.

All in all, I rather enjoyed the Lost Star. It’s a fun introduction to the game, with some very intriguing elements. My family particularly enjoyed the polluted fountain, and the glimpse of the future. In an effort not to spoil the adventure too much, I won’t say much more on the topic. Just know that we enjoyed it. In fact, my kids had so much fun, they turned the title of the adventure (Doomsday Dawn) into a song that they’ve been singing around the house. My daughter also made a delightful little sign that reads ‘We Be (GOOD) Goblins!’ She gleefully made a goblin as her primary character.

Those of you looking for more information on Magnimar, can check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Magnimar, City of Monuments. Those of you looking for more information on Varisia in general can check out the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide.


The second part of Doomsday Dawn is called ‘In Pale Mountain’s Shadow.’ It takes place two years after the end of the Lost Star. During that time, Keleri Deverin and the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye have been hard at work looking into the clues uncovered by the Primary characters during their foray into the goblin caves. They’ve recently learned of an Ancient Osiriani object of power called a countdown clock, which is counting down to a time when the world will come to an end. Believing that having one of these countdown clocks (there’s a lot of them) in their possession will give the Primary Characters and the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye an advantage in foiling the apocalypse, they have been hard at work attempting to track one down. Thankfully, they’ve succeeded. Unfortunately, there are others after the same countdown clock. In order to get at it in time the Esoteric Order will have to hire outside help. This is your second characters.

Legacy of FIre Howl of the Carrion King
Legacy Of Fire: Book One: Howl Of The Carrion King

This second group is a team of adventurers or mercenaries who live in and around the recently liberated town of Kelmarane. Yes, you heard right. This adventure takes place in Katapesh, in between Legacy Of Fire: Book One: Howl Of The Carrion King, and Legacy Of Fire: Book 2: House Of The Beast. Legacy of Fire is one of my all time favourite Adventure Paths (as anyone whose visited my d20 Stories page may have noticed… Haha), so I was more than a little excited for this connection. My children are equally excited to play through this part of Doomsday Dawn, as they’re currently in a play-by-post Legacy of Fire campaign and are working their way up to liberating Kelmarane as we speak. (But that’s a story for another day!)

‘In Pale Mountain’s Shadow’ sees your new adventuring group hired by a noblewoman representing the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye. She tasks your PCs with travelling through the surrounding wilds, to the slopes of Pale Mountain, where they will enter through a back-door to the tomb of Tular Seft. They must retrieve the countdown clock before another enemy group does (The Night Heralds), and may keep anything else they find in the tomb. Oh, and they’ll be well paid, of course. This adventure features a lot of exploration mode and travel through the wilds, so at least one of your group members should be capable of navigating and surviving in the wilderness (two is better!). In addition, it is built to test out how terrain, hazards, and other difficulties affect battle. They’re interested in if such battles are still fun to play, or they drag out too long. They’re also interesting in seeing if the terrain makes battle too difficult. So once you’re done playing through this section be sure to give your feedback. It will directly help them hammer out this aspect of Pathfinder’s new ruleset.

The characters you will be making will be brand new fourth level characters made following all of the character creation and level up rules found in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook. In addition, three uncommon languages are available for your characters to select with their languages known: Auran, Gnoll, and Ancient Osiriani. Knowledge of these languages can open up new opportunities throughout the adventure, it is not necessary. As for gear, each character gets one 3rd-level item, two 2nd-level items, one 1st-level item, and 300 sp to spend on additional items.

Overall, ‘In Pale Mountains Shadow’ looks like a lot of fun. It has an actual introduction, which Lost Star didn’t, and is a relief. The exploratory portion has interesting encounters which I think will play well at the table. These travel encounters all occur on maps you’ll be drawing yourself, or creating with your own map products at home. There are detailed instructions for drawing these maps, and feedback is desired if this was handled adequately in the surveys you’ll be filling out. After the exploration portion (which will likely take a single play session for my family), we get to the Tomb of Tular Seft himself. This portion of the adventure includes an image of a custom map which is not  included in the Pathfinder Playtest Flip-Mat Multi-Pack so you’ll have to draw it yourself. It’s an awesome looking tomb, with a lot of nifty features. It’s my kids favourite map in the entire Doomsday Dawn Adventure, for sure, and has them quite intrigued. The tomb also has some interesting role-playing opportunities which your group may or may not be able to capitalize on. At some point, your players are bound to run into their rivals — the Night Herald cultists who have been sent to acquire the countdown clock before you can. When this occurs is entirely up to your group and will vary from table to table. There’s even a chance they might slip in and out without ever meeting the Night Heralds (though the chances of that are infinitely slim). The battle looks tough, and like a lot of fun. Particularly because it allows your players to interact with the  Night Heralds for the first time. It think it’s going to be a lot of fun. That said, this battle involves multiple different, complex, NPC stat blocks, and GMs should prepare accordingly. In fact, I think that this chapter is actually my favourite adventure within Doomsday Dawn. Whether that will be the case after running it at the table next week remains to be seen. Haha.

Those of you looking for more information on Kelmarane and the Pale Mountain region can check out Legacy Of Fire: Book One: Howl Of The Carrion King. Information on Katapesh can be found in Dark Markets, A Guide to Katapesh, or the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide.


Our story continues in a few years later in part three of Doomsday Dawn: ‘Affair at Sombrefell Hall.’ The Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye has a been researching the strange cult known as the Night Heralds, and their plans to bring about the end of the world. Thanks to the efforts of mercenaries the Order has acquired a countdown clock, and have a timeline for the apparent coming end. They’ve discovered enemies, allies, and even discerned that this ‘doomsday’ involved the Dominion of the Black. They’ve gleaned all they can on their own, but now is the time to call on outside help. Your third group of characters will be a team hired by (or a part of) the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye who are sent to Ustalav to contact the foremost expert in the study of the Dominion of the Black, Dr. Verid Oscilar, and obtain his assistance in determining the plans of the Night Heralds. Upon arriving they discover that the good doctor is currently taking a break from teaching, and is relaxing at his personal manor in the countryside. Your characters will head to the manor, and try to obtain his help. Unfortunately for both your characters and Dr. Oscilar, the Night Heralds are more than aware of his expertise, and seek to make him one of their own. …Sort of. We’ll leave that a surprise for now. Haha. It doesn’t make use of any flip-mats, so be sure to have a blank map and your markers ready. You’ll be doing a lot of drawing!

Carrion Crown Haunting of Harrowstone
Carrion Crown: Book One: Haunting of Harrowstone

This section of the adventure takes place in Ustalav during the events of the Pathfinder Adventure Path: Carrion Crown: Book One: Haunting of Harrowstone. That said, they take place in completely different parts of the country and aren’t going to have any effect on each other. It’s meant to be a survival horror adventure, which will feature a lot of combat against a lot of undead with minimal preparatory time in between. This is meant to test out the healing resources of a group that includes multiple healers against undead forces. GMs will need to track not only how long each battle takes, but also how much healing is used in each fight. Your group must include at least two clerics capable of channeling energy. The other members of the group must be characters capable of healing to some extent (which can include bard, druid, paladin, or a sorcerer that has divine spells and, to a lesser extent, the alchemist). These new characters will be level seven. They will follow all of the character creation and level up guidelines for characters found in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook. For gear, they will begin with one 6th-level item, two 5th-level items, one 4th-level item, two 3rd-level items, and 125 gp to spend as they see fit. One character in the group also starts with one +2 magic armor. Good luck deciding who gets that bit of treasure! Haha.

‘Affair at Sombrefell Hall’ is a dark, difficult adventure that takes place at an interesting location. It makes wonderful use of the locale, giving players a chance to explore well before the danger starts. This can give them some really interesting combat options once the battles do begin. The adventure itself begins with some interesting (and probably suspicious) social encounters, and some good old fashioned snooping around. I’m a fan of the survival horror genre in my d20 games, but, due to the nature of the playtest, this one is going to be particularly difficult. You’re going to take a lot of damage, use a lot of healing resources, and probably lose a party member or two. Hopefully, you all come out alive in the end. And, if not, at least some of you survive and secure the aid of Dr. Oscilar to enlighten your Primary Characters. Even if you don’t, you can continue Doomsday Dawn and move on to the next chapter. Perhaps the most important part of this section of the adventure is giving your players a glimpse of the evil that the Dominion of the Black is capable of. And man, oh man. They’re just so… evil! Haha.

Players looking for more information on Ustalav can check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Rule of Fear or, for more general information, Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide.


Part four of the Doomsday Dawn, ‘Mirrored Moon,’ reunites your players with their Primary Characters. This are the same characters who played the Lost Star. They will be levelled up to 9th level, following all of the levelling rules from the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook. They begin with all of the gear they acquired during the Lost Star, plus they get to purchase one 8th-level item, two 7th-level items, one 6th-level item, and two 5th-level items. They also get 250 gp to spend on extra gear. These characters are now considered to be either agents or members of the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye, and have been off doing tasks and missions together for the last few years. Currently, they’re in a section of the River Kingdoms known as Thicketfell, on the hunt for a mystical lake known as the Moonmere, where they hope to find ancient ruins that were once used by a villain (and possibly founder of the Night Heralds) named Ramlock. There, they will scour the ruins for information on what the coming apocalypse will bring, in order to stop it. Unfortunately, the Night Heralds are already there, and the trouble they’re up to could destroy a nation (at least). Finding the Moonmere will be the least of their troubles!

Kingmaker Stolen Land
Kingmaker: Book One: Stolen Land

This adventure heavily uses exploration mode, and is meant to test out what kinds of challenges the characters can handle when they only get in one battle per day. The battles are difficult, so expect to go all out during each fight. That said, you’ll also very often have opportunities to scout out locations ahead of time, which should allow for some clever planning and preparations from players. This adventure makes use of one of the flip-mats from Pathfinder Playtest Flip-Mat Multi-Pack, as well as three other flip-mats: Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: ForestPathfinder Flip-Mat: Giant Lairs, and Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Hill Country. These maps aren’t necessary, and can easily be replaced by hand-drawings on a blank map. This adventure also makes use of a terrain hex map featuring the Thicketfell region, much like those used in the Kingmaker Adventure Path (which begins with Kingmaker: Part One: Stolen Land).

I’m not a huge fan of sandbox-style explorations like those found in Kingmaker. It’s just not my cup of tea. That’d not to say its not fun. It is. It’s just not my favourite genre for d20 games. I point this out for context. I’m heading into this one pretty sure that the actual exploration itself isn’t going to be my favourite part of this adventure (or Doomsday Dawn as a whole). Far from it. That said, I always try to put aside my biases, or at least point them out. I intend, as always, to head into playing this section of the adventure with an open mind. After giving it a thorough reading I can safely say that the Mirrored Moon has the most eclectic, enjoyable cast of NPCs found throughout the entirety of Doomsday Dawn, which is going to make it quite fun. Throughout the adventure there will be plenty of opportunities to explore, roleplay, forge alliances, and gain intelligence, which should make for an interesting adventure. The gnomish citizens of Korlabablin were a particular favourite of mine. All in all, I think this is going to be a fun, challenging adventure.

For more information on the River Kingdoms, check out Pathfinder Chronicles: Guide to the River Kingdoms, or the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide.


Part Five of Doomsday Dawn is entitled ‘Heroes of Undarin,’ and may turn out to be the most controversial part of the playtest adventures. Why? Well, in short, it keeps a secret from its players, which I honestly believe should be shared. More on this later, but for now, we’ll take a look at the adventure itself.

Wrath of the Righteous Worlwound Incursion
Wrath of the Righteous: Book One: The Worldwound Incursion

‘Heroes of Undarin’ takes place in the Worldwound, after the events of the Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path (which begins with Wrath of the Righteous: Book 1: The Worldwound Incursion). It assumes that the Worldwound has been closed, the Fifth Crusade is winding down, but that demons still infest the region and are being slowly battled. It will probably take a decade or so to make the region safe for travellers again, so for now, it’s still a dangerous, post-apocalyptic type place, infested with demons and other evils. Your players will be making brand new level 12 characters who are all members of the Crusade. They’ve fought battles against demons many of times before and are well-prepared for this mission. They’re hardy, brave, self-sacrificing folks who won’t flee from a fight. They’re… hardened. To create them you’ll be following all of the standard character creation and levelling up rules found in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook. As for gear, there’s a specific list of magical items they’ll have access to. In addition, they’ll get 100 gp to spend on anything they want. Its highly suggested you create a balanced and diverse party. This adventure is intended to test the limits and capabilities of mid/high level characters.

So who the heck are these people, and what do a bunch of crusaders have to the with Doomsday Dawn? In short, your Primary Characters are in need of information housed in an ancient ruin in the region and your Crusaders have been tasked with escorting them to the site, and protecting them while they’re there. These Crusaders have no idea whats going on with the overall plot line, which will be a bit of a refreshing change of pace. Upon arrival, the Primary Characters descend into the ruins to discover the information they need isn’t mobile. It’s not a book or a tablet. It’s all over the walls. They’re going to have to copy it. Your Crusaders will have to defend the ruins from demonic intruders while the Primary Characters are out of sight doing whatever that entails. It’s a difficult and thankless job. Note that you will NOT be playing your Primary Characters during this adventure at all. Only the Crusaders.

Now, onto the potential controversy. Note that the next paragraph after this contains SPOILERS. If you don’t want to know, don’t read it. It should be noted that the adventure specifically asks that GMs not tell their players the following piece of information. I totally understand why this is, but I disagree with the necessity for secrecy. I can honestly say that if I ran this for my family, without telling them the secret, the session would end with everyone very angry and upset. My kids would literally be in tears. No joke. I’m a firm believer that games should be fun. Tears and anger? Not what we’re aiming for. Because of this, I have one further piece of information to share with our readers. If you don’t want to know, definitely skip the rest of this section on the ‘Heroes of Undarin’ and head on down to the nice big words I’ve added that say ‘Spoiler over.’

SPOILER:

As mentioned, this adventure is meant to test the limits of mid/high level characters. Most specifically, its designed to determine how much is too much. Your characters will fight wave after wave of demons. And in the end? It’s entirely expected they’ll die. All of them. Dead. It’s been stated that knowledge of this tidbit will cause players to create characters who are purposely made to ‘survive’ which could throw off the results of this playtest. Throwing off this calibration will do no one any good. That said, I personally believe that if a player knows what they’re getting into, and what’s at stake, they’ll play fair. Roleplaying games are a game about trust, and I trust my players, just like players should trust their GMs. Sending players into a certain death scenario without their knowledge is a breach of that trust. Therefore, I’m telling you. And when my family plays, I’m telling them. Your characters will die. I suggest you embrace the spirit of that. Embrace that self-sacrifice during character creation. Embrace your death scene and make it epic! Don’t make characters made to ‘win.’ Winning isn’t fighting to the end. Winning, in this instance, is making sure that the playtest receives accurate results. It’s being an honest player. So make yourself a team of crusaders, and enjoy pushing them to their limits and beyond. And when your doomed character meets their end, be happy you’ve had a chance to ensure that mid/high level play during Pathfinder Second Edition will be of a fair and challenging difficulty.

SPOILER OVER

For more information on the Worldwound and its surround lands, check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The Worldwound, or Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide. You can also read the novel: Pathfinder Tales: The Worldwound Gambit, written by Robin D. Laws.


The sixth (and second last) adventure in Doomsday Dawn is a definite change of pace. Entitled ‘Red Flags,’ this adventure is meant to test how fun and engaging social encounters, espionage, and skill based adventures can be at high levels of play. That’s not to say that there’s no combat in it. There is. But, that’s neither the point, nor the focus. The focus is on your skills, subtlety and guile. To that end you’ll make powerful level 14 characters who are members of the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye. Its recommended that they be characters whose role among the Order is to act as one of the following; archivist, diplomat, historian, researcher, spy, or something similar. Don’t make a character who’s geared towards combat. This is an interesting challenge that I’m very excited for. The gear they can utilize is a mix of gold, and specific magical objects, but it’s long, so I won’t write it all here.

Skull and Shackles Wormwood Mutiny
Skull & Shackles: Book 1: The Wormwood Mutiny

These Agents of the Order are sent to a fancy gala on a volcanic island in the Shackles held by a white feathered tengu Free Captain by the name of Whark the Alabaster, the lord of Plumetown. They’re tasked with obtaining an important book from Whark’s treasury called The Last Theorem. Its hoped that the information contained in this book can help the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye (and your Primary Characters) stop the coming doomsday for good. The stakes are high! This adventure takes place after the end of the Skull and Shackles Adventure Path (which begins with Skull & Shackles: Book 1: The Wormwood Mutiny). It utilizes a neat custom map which is not included in the flip-mats. It looks like a lot of fun, but due to the nature of espionage style adventures, I’m going to refrain from saying any more on the matter than that.

Players looking for more information on the Shackles can check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Isle of the Shackles, or Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The Inner Sea World Guide.


Which brings us to the end. The climax. The final chapter of Doomsday Dawn. It’s called ‘When The Stars Go Dark‘ and it is a finale in every sense of the word. It will be played by your Primary Characters, although they’ll be levelled up all the way to 17th level. They’ll have a chance to stop the Night Heralds and the Dominion of the Black, thereby preventing an apocalypse that would destroy all of Golarion. Perhaps they’ll triumph. And perhaps they’ll fail. Whatever the outcome, this is one fun, challenging adventure. It takes place in the present time (for Golarion) on a demiplane known as Ramlock’s Hallow. The purpose of this final playtest is to have fun! They want to know if the game is still enjoyable and challenging at high levels. So get in the game, and have a blast! Oh, and try to save Golarion while you’re at it.

The adventure itself is complex. I can say for certain that my kids will pretty much have no idea what’s going on. Haha. For them it will be more of a ‘point them at the bad guys and they’ll fight’ kind of scenario. That said, they’ll still enjoy it. Those of you who understand what’s going on will obviously get a lot more out of it than that. There’s a good variety of encounters, and getting to the end will involve more than just muscles. You’ll need to put on your thinking caps. I particuarly enjoyed the flavourful encounter with the Ashen Man.

I don’t want to give away too much more about this adventure. But, I will say, that I think it’s an epic conclusion to the Doomsday Dawn.

For more information on demiplanes be sure to pick up the awesome hardcover, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Planar Adventures.


And that’s a wrap!

That’s what you can expect from Doomsday Dawn.

It’s definitely a different style of ‘campaign’ than I expected. It’s longer, and more… disjointed. That said, it’s a lot of fun, and an imperative aspect of the Playtest. This adventure allows the folks over at Paizo to test out the aspects of the game they need help to calibrate. It allows all of you to have a say in the final product, while simultaneously helping them fine-tune the game balance.

I highly recommend that players interested in the Playetst find a group and play through Doomsday Dawn together. It’s my hope that this article can help people get excited about Doomsday Dawn, and head into it with appropriate expectations.

I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on both the Playtest and your experiences playing Doomsday Dawn. If you’ve had a chance to play, be sure to leave a comment and let me know how it went!

Later this week we’ll take a look at the Pathfinder Society Playtest Scenarios, my family’s Pathfinder Playtest Characters, as well as the new Pathfinder Society Scenarios that were recently released for Season 10, and the new Starfinder Society Scenarios! In addition, we’ve got articles on Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Pact Worlds, and Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Sea on the horizon!

This month is going to be crazy!

Until next time,

Jessica

 

Mummy’s Mask: The Tail of the Asp

Another week, another game night! Today on d20 diaries we’re heading back to Wati for more of the Mummy’s Mask Adventure Path. So, sharpen your khopesh, pull out your holy water, and let’s get ready to take on the dead!

Mummy’s Mask is a six part adventure path for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, intended to bring your characters from level one to around level seventeen. This campaign takes place in the deserts of Osirion, and involves trap-filled pyramids, haunted tombs, scorching deserts, bustling bazaars and more undead than you can shake an ankh at! The Mummy’s Mask Player’s Guide is a free download on Paizo’s website, and contains a ton of useful information for players looking to make characters that have lasting ties to the campaign. For more information on Osirion, you can pick up Osirion, Legacy of Pharoahs. Players looking for desert-themed character options can also check out People of the Sands.

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Mummy’s Mask: Book One: The Half-Dead City, by Jim Groves.

My home group has recently completed Mummy’s Mask: Book One: The Half-Dead City, and have moved on to Mummy’s Mask: Book Two: Empty Graves, both of which take place in the desert city of Wati. For those of you looking to run the game as a GM I highly recommend picking up the Mummys Mask Pawn Collection, which has a over a hundred unique pawns for use in this campaign. You’ll also get a TON of use from the Mummy’s Mask Poster Map Folio. The campaign is also available in other formats, including The Pathfinder Card Game: Mummy’s Mask Base Set, and as a series of audio stories beginning with Pathfinder Legends: Mummy’s Mask 1: The Half-Dead City. If you’ve ever listened to the audio stories, let me know what you think! I haven’t had a chance to check them out myself.

If you’re interested in my previous posts about Mummy’s Mask, check out Mummy’s Mask: Game AidsMummy’s Mask: The Shrine of Wadjet,  Mummy’s Mask: The Canny JackalMummy’s Mask: The Dead Come Knocking…, Mummy’s Mask: Death in the Streets, or learn more about our characters in Character Focus: Mummy’s Mask: Fateway Five.


The Fateway Five left the Precinct of Left Eyes behind, and set off for their friend Manaat‘s house, deep in the slums of the Asp District. As they travelled, the streets got tighter, the homes smaller, and soon neither doors nor shutters protected the cowering inhabitants from the horrors outside. Only tattered curtains offered a barrier between the families hiding in their overcrowded homes from the zombies and skeletons stalking the streets.

“We need to get these people out of here…” Arc remarked. He was an awkward, red-headed herb witch from Thuvia. He wore little in the way of clothes and held a staff in his hands. On his back he wore a bag of dirt in which he grew a tiny garden and carried his pet rabbit.

“All of them.” Kasmet added. She was a fiesty catfolk dressed in ancient Osiriani finery with a pelt like that of a cloud leopard and an unhealthy fondness for shiny jewels.

Nazim Salahadine, a portly catfolk cleric of Pharasma who looked like an overgrown Persian housecat, spent no time in conversation. Instead, he let out a loud ululation and leapt into battle with his khopesh and shield against every undead he laid eyes on. Arc and Kasmet followed him a moment later.

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Mummy’s Mask: Book Two: Empty Graves by Crystal Frasier.

It took them a long time to fight their way through the streets to Manaat’s house. Although the wandering, weak undead posed no challenge to them, there were plenty to fight off. To make matters worse, most of the dead were relatives and pets of the residents, who had been buried under the floors of their homes due to an inability to afford burial in the Necropolis. This meant that families didn’t just have to fight off a roaming zombie, they fought off grandma, or a cousin or their previous pet cats. They also faced freshly risen zombies — residents of the Asp who were killed recently and reanimated by the necromantic pulses that had been washing over the city.

Arcs little pet rabbit looked around at the chaos with a sad look and a twitching nose. A silvanshee named Kal sat beside her, mocking every move Arc made.

“This is it!” Kasmet suddenly exclaimed.

The group hurried into the tiny house to find it under attack. Undead had literally crawled out of the tiny home’s back wall. The house was no more than ten feet by fifteen feet, and was packed with a bed, table, and cupboards, not to mention Manaat’s husband, twelve children and three zombies.

In between attempting to maneuver through the house, combat the undead, and protect the children, this turned out to be the groups hardest battle yet! Thankfully they pulled through without any of the family being injured. As Arc and Kasmet ushered the family out into the streets and explained to the father who they were, Nazim inspected the walls. The house was built right up against the Necropolis, so he was worried that the undead had broken through the Necropolis walls and into the home. Luckily, that wasn’t the case. It looked like the undead were purposefully interred within the walls, although he wasn’t sure if they had been honoured ancestors unable to pay for a proper resting place, or murder victims buried in the sly. Whatever the case, he was certain the Necropolis walls were still holding strong.

The group filed out into the streets and started to make their way back towards the Grand Mausoleum.

“Wait,” Kasmet exclaimed. “The people in these homes have no protection. We need to get them out of here.”

“Agreed!” Nazim declared. “But we cannot take them all. If the group is too large we will not be able to protect them.”

Arc nodded. “This neighbourhood, then. We’ll gather whoever will come with us from this block.”

“And the others?” Kasmet asked. “We can’t leave them.”

“We will come back for them!” Nazim purred loudly. “For now we announce our intent to return and tell them to ready themselves! Now, hurry! Let’s be off!”

The group took to the streets shouting that there was safety at the Grand Mausoleum and that evacuations were under way. They banged on the walls of those homes who they could escort now — some of whom joined them — and shouted their intent to return in another hour for another group. As they left the neighbourhood behind with nearly forty other citizens in their care, they prayed that the people of Asp could last that long…

Arc ordered Kal ahead to scout for danger. Surprisingly he offered no quips or arguments. Despite his frivolous demeanour, Kal cared for protecting innocents, particularly from his hated foe: undead. With their guide hopping between rooftops as a lookout and the Fateway Five armed and ready for battle, they managed to get back to the Grand Mausoleum without any casualties.

The Fateway Five were tired and sore. Battered and bruised. Though they still has magical resources at their disposal, it had been a long night. Fatigue would set in soon.

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Zombies, skeletons and many other undead menaces can be found in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary.

But as the residents of the poorest sections of Wati fell upon the steps of the Grand Mausoleum and wept in relief to find sanctuary; as Manaat’s family rushed into her arms crying “Mommy;” they decided it had all been worth it. It would all be worth it… For they were far from done. The slums were large, and there were many other families who needed help.

The group beckoned over some healers to tend to their wounds, then headed off to speak with  High Priestess Sebti. They found her in the sanctum making up sleeping pallets for the refugees. The group told her all they had learned so far, and informed her of the weakening of the wall wards, the rising of the recently deceased, the plans of the Voices of the Spire, and the Voices intent to summon psychopomps to supplement their numbers.

Sebti was grateful, but also worried. She thanked the group for aid and sent for the clergy’s resident expert in holy wards. While they waited for him to arrive so they could escort him to the Necropolis gates, Nazim explained their plan to protect the poor of the Asp district. Sebti was both shocked and pleased.

“A wise decision,” she told them with a smile.

Just then a regal looking man with pale skin, a bald head, and long blue robes strode into the room. With a very imperious look he assessed the Fateway Five. He sighed in disdain.

“You called for me, High Priestess.”

Sebti smiled at the scholarly priest and quickly introduced everyone. “This is Ahrutep Mahetree, our foremost expert on religious blessings and defensive wards.”

Ahrutep smiled.

You’ll be escorting him to the Necropolis gates.” Sebti finished.

Ahrutep frowned. “I… uh… that is… High Priestess!” he stammered. “I am a scholar.”

Sebti smiled. “I wish you the best of luck. May the Lady of Graves watch over you.”

With their reluctant scholar in tow the group left the safety of the Grand Mausoleum and headed out into the abandoned streets. Kal hopped off to scout ahead. Not long after he shouted down from the rooftops,

“Hey! Losers! There’s some dead-heads over here.”

The Fateway Five took a slight detour over a block, heading towards the undead.

“What? No! Go the other way, you fools!” Ahrutep exclaimed in a panic.

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Pawns for Osirion-themed undead (and NPCs!) can be found in the Pathfinder Pawns: Mummys Mask Pawn Collection.

Nazim let out a loud ululation, drowning out the man’s complaints, and leapt into battle. It was a trio of zombies, so combat was quick. During the fight Kal hopped down into Arc’s dirt-bag  and cuddled up next to Arc’s rabbit. Arc offered some ranged support, and Kasmet attacked with her claws.

Ahrutep panicked, shrieked, and hid behind Arc.

Kal laughed at the top of his lungs. “A-HA-HA! THIS POMPOUS FOOL IS THE BIGGEST COWARD!”

Ahrutep was too scared to care.

As the battle came to an end he cleared his throat and smoothed out his robes. “Ahem… Yes, well… A fair job…”

Kal scoffed. “I’ve seen braver babies at Insula Mater!”

As Ahrutep stammered in embarrassment Kal rubbed his side against the rabbit, then hopped back up to a nearby rooftop and disappeared.

Only a handful of steps later and there was a strange glow emanating from the space behind the Ahrutep! He turned slowly so see a human-shaped figure made of glowing light.

“AHHH!” he shrieked. He hurried to hide behind Kasmet and cowered in terror.

The Fateway Five looked at the glowing figure. Kasmet bared her claws, while Arc and Nazim tried to determine if it was undead. Suddenly both of the men relaxed and rolled their eyes. Nazim held out a hand to prevent Kasmet from wasting her energy.

“It is but a trick!” Nazim explained.

“Not funny, Kal,” Arc remarked aloud. “We’ve got important things to do.”

From above they could hear the silvanshee laugh. “AHAHAHAHAHAHA! Did you SEE that? Get that guy a change of shorts!”

Ahrutep fumed angrily and sputtered out a rebuttal.

Kal laughed and turned, showing off his backside to the scholarly priest. “Ha! Okay, I’m really leaving now.”

And with that, he was gone. Again.

The short trip to the Necropolis gates took far longer than expected, but in time the massive gates loomed large. They could see Bal Themm and her reinforcements holding the gate against the hordes of undead who banged against the gates from the other side. The howls of the undead made a loud cacophony that gave chills to even the bravest of souls.

“Greetings, Bal! Here is your holy water,” Nazim said, handing over the vials. “And here is your priest.”

They pushed forth Ahrutep.

The scholar cleared his throat and stepped forward. “Lead the way, Voice.”

As the pair walked away, Kal laughed. “We should call that guy ‘yellow.’ And why was he wearing a dress?”

Arc, whose elaborate loincloth was more akin to a skirt than shorts, blushed. “Get a move on, Kal! We need to hurry.”

“Sure, sure,” Kal groaned as he scampered ahead.

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My wonderful, heavily used, much beloved map of Wati! I cannot express how helpful it is for my player’s during Mummy’s Mask: Book Two: Empty Graves. This map can be found in the Mummy’s Mask Poster Map Folio

The journey to the tail end of the Asp continued with Kal making a mockery of the Fateway Five, and pointing out all the undead in their vicinity. The PCs made quick work against all of the undead in their path. They battled zombie cats, skeletal members of the Silver Chain gang who were looting nearby homes at the behest of their skeletal champion gang leaders, sun-baked dead who had died of dehydration out in the desert and slums, and even an attic whisperer who stole Nazim’s voice.

Much to my amusement Nazim’s player, my brother, played the rest of the session only acting and mouthing out Nazim’s words. We all had one heck of a fun time guessing and replying in character. I particularly enjoyed playing Kal, who assured everyone that he could read lips, and then proceeded to translate everything Nazim attempted to say horribly wrong, and thoroughly insulting. It was a complete and total blast! So much fun! We probably spent more time laughing than we did playing. Haha.

The Fateway Five pushed themselves hard, and made a total of six trips to and from the Asp district, escorting the residents to the safety of the Grand Mausoleum. They were surprised to see a few familiar faces among the residents. Senja Messeniah, a dancer who occasionally performed at the Tooth and Hookah was  among the citizens. As was Tais (a half-orc who had befriended Kasmet a few days earlier), Frida Bylo (a partying dwarven lass who had tried seduced Arc in the hopes of robbing him blind. Her flirting stopped abruptly when she realized all he had in his room was plants). They also met the Pahnet, the wife of a dead man they had discovered in the Necropolis on their second day of the lottery.

Unfortunately, undead weren’t the only ones to cause trouble. Kal tricked Arc into an embarrassing encounter with a thief girl that Arc had a massive crush on. While Arc blushed, Kal threw his voice and gave his best Arc impersonation, then proceeded to make chauvinistic comments at the young woman. She was less than unimpressed.

On another trip the group discovered that they were missing a handful of refugees! They backtracked and found the missing citizens trying to rob a local shop. Outside the battered and bruised teenaged girl who worked there sobbed in the street. To make matters worse, one of the refugees was a kid. The Fateway Five ended up beating the robbers into unconsciousness, then dragged them through the streets to the Grand Mausoleum and handed them over to High Priestess Sebti. The shopgirl refused to come with them, knowing that her father had told her not to leave the shop unattended.

On their last journey, right at the end of Mender’s Row, where the slums transition to the lower class section of the Asp (as opposed to the destitute section) they heard screams and some strange growls. The Fateway Five called a halt, left Kal in charge of the refugees (which he loved), and hurried over a street. There they reached a fabric and dyer’s shop called Rising Pheonix Textiles, which happens to be the place that Manaat worked as a dyer. Out front they saw the owners — Ohmun Kotem and Shamihn Hep — being attacked by zombies while two massive beasts tore the zombies apart. The creatures looked like wide, panthers with ruffled black feathers around their necks, and skeletal crocodile heads.

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Esoboks are a psychopomp originally published in Mummy’s Mask: Book Two: Empty Graves and reprinted in Bestiary 6. It’s mini is available in the Mummys Mask Pawn Collection as well as the Bestiary 6 Pawn Box. These guys are a blast!

“Esoboks!” Nazim exclaimed. “Psychopomps who devour all in their path!”

“You mean the Voices of the Spire summoned those things even though you told them not to?” Kasmet shrieked. “Fools!”

The esoboks finished devouring the zombies and approached the women with open, bloody jaws. Ohmun and Shamihn shrieked in panic.

“Ah!” Arc exclaimed. Then he waved his arms and starting yelling at the beast. “Hey! Over here! You’re ugly and… you look like the undead! HA!”

The esoboks turned at the word undead, pinning Arc with their baleful gaze. The Fateway Five dashed into battle intent on not only destroying the esoboks, but protecting the women. It was a fun battle, that really showcased some of the esobok’s cool abilities (wrench spirit, anyone?) which was made extra challenging due to the maidens in danger. In time the esoboks were defeated, and vanished in a puff of gravedust, confirming that they were summoned creatures brought to Wati on purpose. Although they had combatted the undead, as the Voices of the Spire intended, they also were a threat to the living, as Nazim had warned. Nazim took a quick look around for the caster, but couldn’t find him (or her), while Arc and Kasmet tried to calm the women. They offered to escort the ladies to the Grand Mausoleum, which Shamihn accepted, and Ohmun complained about. After some fine diplomacy checks the Fateway Five convinced them to join the refugees.

“Oh!” Kasmet suddenly remarked. “And Manaat sent us to check on you, you know.” she lied. “You owe her your lives. You should probably give her a raise or something.”

When they finally reached the Grand Mausoleum the sun was rising.  The Fateway Five reported to Sebti, ensured the citizens were well cared for, and then headed off to their rooms down the road at the Tooth and Hookah to fall asleep. They hadn’t slept in almost 24 hours.

Undead still stalked the streets. Citizens were still in danger. And there was a group of impatient nobles waiting at the Grand Mausoleum to be escorted to their homes. But, the Fateway Five had saved a lot of lives. They had held the Necropolis gates, coordinated the major religious organizations, evacuated the most at risk neighbourhood in Wati, and slayed dozens of undead.

They had done an amazing job. But, there was much left to do.

Wati needed heroes.

So heroes they would be.


Thanks for joining us on another trip to Wati! I hope you enjoyed your time with the dead as much as we did.

Until next time,

Watch out for esoboks!

Jessica


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Blood of the Ancients

Today on d20 Diaries we’re taking a look at one of the wonderful new products that came out just last month: Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Ancients. We recently picked it up for my husband as a Father’s Day gift, and we couldn’t be happier! Curious what’s inside? Take a peek!

Blood of the Ancients is a thin softcover book that is 32 pages long. As with every book from the Pathfinder Player Companion line, it’s aimed at players. You won’t find secrets and hidden lore in this baby. You’ll find player options. Lots of them. This includes archetypes, feats, traits, spells and gear, as well as other class options like bloodlines, discoveries and so on. And flavour! Plenty of flavour!

Wonderful stuff!

So what is Blood of the Ancients, anyway? In short: character options that are tied to the ancient civilization of Golarion. Which ones? A lot! Azlant, Celwynvian, Jistka Imperium, Lirgen, Lung Wa, Ninshabur, Osirion, Sarkoris, Shory, Tar Taargadth, Tekritanin League, Thassilon and Yamasa. See? A lot! Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

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Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Ancients

The cover showcases the iconic oracle, Alahazra, and the iconic investigator, Quinn, battling caryatid columns, in some awesome artwork by Setiawan Lie. The inside cover features a map of the Inner Sea with the dates and locations of some of the ancient civilizations mentioned in this book. I say ‘some’ because they’re not all here. Thassilon, Sarkoris, and Tekritanin are not featured on the map but are mentioned in this book. The rest are present, although Lirgen and Yamasa are included as one unit based on their location.

Past the map we come to the introduction. Here you’ll find a rundown of some of the ancient civilizations of Golarion, as well as which books you’ll need to read for further information. This is SUPER handy. I love it. There’s also a handy rules index to help you navigate this book easily.

After this we come to the first character options: the vestige bloodline, which is available for both sorcerers and bloodragers. These are very flavourful, adaptable bloodlines, capable of showing descent from any ancient civilization. Both are pretty cool, but I think I like the bloodrager better. Their final ability allows them to summon a ghostly army from the past. How cool is that? Pretty hard to top.

The next two pages are dedicated to a single feat: ‘ancient tradition.’ This allows people who are so dedicated to embodying their ancient civilization of choice to perform a ritual in order to gain a benefit. At later levels, this also unlocks spell-like abilities that you can use. That’s right, it’s ‘deific obedience‘ for an ancient civilization. Historians rejoice! Now, it should be noted that not every civilization touched on in this book has an entry for this feat. Those that do are Azlant, Jistka Imperium, Lung Wa, Ninshabur, Osirion, Sarkoris, Shory, Tar Targaadth and Thassilon. For those of you trying to figure it out, those not included are Celwynvian, Lirgen, Tekritanin and Yamasa. I particularly enjoyed the Azlant, Lung Wa, and Shory options.

The rest of this book is sorted into individual ancient cultures, with character options for each. Most of the entries are two pages long, with some reaching four pages. Three of the civilizations, (Osirion, Sarkoris, and the Tekritanin League) have less than a page to itself, while Thassilon receives no further character options throughout the book. Those of you hoping to more information on Thassilon will need to turn to some of the many other books in which this culture is featured (particularly the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path, Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide, Pathfinder Chronicles: Lost Cities of Golarion, and Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lost Kingdoms).

The first ancient civilization focused on is the ‘Abendego Gulf,’ which is more correctly a region home to two different but intertwined cultures: Lirgen and Yamasa. Both cultures heavily relied on divinations drawn from the movements of celestial bodies. That means astronomy, astrology, and portents were all very important to them. This section offers three new feats all based around astrology, two traits (one each for Lirgen and Yamasa), and three archetypes. The feats were interesting, but quite niche. The traits were both really useful but, as they’re regional traits only available to descendants of Lirgen or Yamasa, they’re not going to see a ton of play.  Still, I suggest checking out ‘naturalist’ for survivors, and ‘stargazer’ for intellectuals. ‘Chart caster’ is a mesmerist archetype which lets you enigmatically read your ally’s future with the aid of star charts. It looks quite fun. The ‘lawspeaker’ archetype for clerics lets you sacrifice channel energy uses in order to cast some pretty nifty spells which let you… get to the heart of any matter. And lastly, ‘hinyasi’ is a brawler archetype which revolves around the use of improvised weapons. This one turned out to be my favourite, so I highly recommend you give it a read! For more information on the nations of Lirgen and Yamasa, check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lost Kingdoms.

Next up? Azlant. This two-page section offers up one archetype: ‘ioun kineticist,’ which is… exactly what it sounds like. Unleash the power of these classic floating gems upon your enemies as an aether kineticist! I loved it! Haha. Seriously. ‘Gem magic’ of all kinds fascinated me as a kid, so I’m thrilled to see something new on that theme. After this there are five faith traits focused on the deities of Ancient Azlant. They were all really cool. I particularly enjoyed ‘fruits of your labor (Jaidi)‘, and ‘planar wayfarer (Onos).‘ For further details on the gods of Azlant you’ll need to pick up Pathfinder Adventure Path 123: The Flooded Cathedral (Ruins of Azlant Book 3 of 6). For further details on Azlant you can check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide and the rest of the Ruins of Azlant Adventure Path (which begins with Book One: The Lost Outpost).

The next section is two pages dedicated to the ways of ancient elves. More specifically, these character options focus on protecting, helping, and sheltering others. The first option is the ‘arcane warden‘ archetype for wizards, which is both awesome and understated. Arcane wardens must be universalists. They have a very useful selection of skills and bonus feat to choose from which is different than your standard wizard, and some nifty unique abilities that replace the standard universalist options. I really recommend giving this archetype a read, and then coming back to it a few minutes later to read it again. I think I would really enjoy making one. After the archetype there are three new spells: ashen path, brightest night, and shared training. Although ashen path is arguably the most useful of these spells, I enjoyed shared training the most. It can allow spellcasters to make good use of teamwork feats, which is certainly quirky. For more information on the way of life for ancient elves, check out Adventure Path 15: The Armageddon Echo (Second Darkness Book 3 of 6).

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Many of these ancient civilizations are further detailed in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lost Kingdoms

Leaving the elves behind, we come to four pages on the Jistka Imperium. This treasure trove features a whopping four archetypes, two magical items, two spells and two traits. My favourite options in this section were definitely the ‘antiquarian’ investigator archetype, which replaces their formula book with a collection of religious trinkets, and the ‘Jistkan artificer’ magus archetype which lets you have an awesome golem arm. Yeah! I’m definitely going to play this! As soon as I can think of a wicked character concept that is not a Fullmetal Alchemist rip off…

It’s going to be a blast.

There’s also the ‘Jistkan magistrate‘ archetype for warpriests, and the ‘Poleiheira adherent‘ archetype for wizards. Items include the ‘golem gauntlet‘ and the ‘tablet of arustun,‘ spells include ‘skim’ and ‘summon ship.’ Both of the traits were very cool, but my favourite turned out to be ‘magical aptitude,’ which is a magic trait. For more information of the Jistka Imperium, check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lost Kingdoms.

Up next is Imperial Lung Wa, which also has four pages dedicated to it. Contained within are three archetypes, five feats, three magical items, and three traits. My favourite of the archetypes was the ‘ironbound sword‘ for samurai, which focuses on non-lethal combat. There is also the ‘jinyiwei’ for investigators, which is centred around the divinely guided search for corruption; and the ‘imperial agent’ vigilante archetype. I had a really hard time narrowing down the five feats to only one favourite, so instead, I recommend checking out all three of my top picks which are centred around mundane healing: ‘acupuncture specialist,’ ‘incredible healer,’ and ‘pathologist.’ Read them! The magical items were interesting, but two of them were quite pricey. For traits, be sure to check out the social trait ‘excellent penmanship.’ For more information on Lung Wa, check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Dragon Empires Gazetteer.

We return to the Inner Sea with a two-page entry on Ninshabur, a nation known for battling the Spawn of Ravagug. Yeah. Wouldn’t have wanted to mess with those guys… This entry offers us a new legendary marshal spirit for mediums to make use of. It also has two new rituals, ‘spiritual investment‘ for combatting the incorporeal, and the incredibly powerful ‘seal.’ But, my favourite part of the entry was the slayer archetype, ‘spawn slayer.’ These daring fellows specialize in combats waged against one, big, powerful enemy. Badass. For more information on Ninshabur check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Mythic Realms.

Up next is the Shory. This is one of my favourite ancient civilizations from Golarion. Considering they’re a nation who lived in flying cities, who can blame me? But, that also means I have pretty high expectations. I want to be blown away! (Pun intended). To start with, it features my favourite art in the book. Go ahead and check out that windblown mage! She looks rocking!

The Shory section features three fun archetypes, only one of which is a spellcaster, which is a nice surprise. ‘Aeromancer’ is an arcanist archetype that focuses not only on air magic, but also on cold, electricity and sonic spells. In addition to being able to increase the effectiveness of such spells, they also learn two snazzy arcanist exploits, one of which allows you to use air walk and wind wall on yourself, and the other which lets you make cones of hurricane force winds. I think I’d enjoy this one! ‘Aerochemist’ is an short alchemist archetype whose mutagen can make them buoyant (and at higher levels can make them fly, or walk on air) and who specialize in attacking from above. Lastly, we have a fighter archetype called the ‘aerial assaulter‘ who focuses on attacking from higher ground. This is particularly effective for characters capable of flight. Coupled with the four new aerial feats in this section, you could have a lot of fun with this archetype. Of those feats, ‘turbulent takeoff‘ and ‘aerial roll‘ turned out to be my favourites. There’s also three spells in this section (check out ‘symbol of storms‘), and four traits. Spellcasters should take a peek at the magic trait ‘aeromantic affinity‘, while those interested in flight should give the combat trait ‘natural flier‘ a read. For more information on the Shory civilization, check out Pathfinder Adventure Path 83: The Slave Trenches of Hakotep (Mummy’s Mask Book 5 of 6).

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For more information on the modern and ancient civilizations of Golarion, check out the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide.

From the lofty heights of the skies, we head down to the ground, with two pages on Tar Taargadth. These dwarves come bearing a new fighting style called ‘Skyseeker’ which focuses on defeating opponents bigger than yourself. There’s also three new magical items, two traits and a bard archetype. For items, definitely check out the ‘figurine of the wondrous forge‘ which is a must have for any mobile smiths. Very cool! As for traits, both are awesome, but I’d recommend ‘Tar Taargadth trained.’ ‘Dwarven scholar‘ is an interesting  combat-focused bard archetype that gains some extra proficiencies, bonus combat feats, and can grant your combat feats to your allies. Plus? It runs off of Wisdom instead of Charisma. Very cool! Fort more information on Tar Taargadth check out the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide.

The last two pages in the book offer us a few more character options, from three different cultures. Ancient Osirion gives us two new paladin codes, one for followers of Osiris, and one for followers of Wadjet. For more information on Ancient Osirion be sure to read Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Osirion, Legacy of Pharoahs. Sarkoris provides us with three new bardic performances that focus around the telling of epic tales! I’d recommend ‘The Tragedy of False Hope‘ which renders your opponents flat footed. For more information on Sarkoris, pick up Pathfinder Campaign Settings: Lost Kingdoms. Lastly, The Tekritanin League gives us one final archetype: ‘Tekritanin Arbiter’ is an investigator archetype which makes you an expert in the use of language and diplomacy. For more information on the Tekritanin League, check out the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide.

And that’s it. We’ve reached the end of Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Ancients. Hopefully, this article has helped you decide if this is a book you want to invest in. I know we’re happy with it. In the end, my favourite options turned out to be the ‘ioun kineticist,’ ‘arcane warden,’ and ‘Jistkan artificer’ archetypes, the healing feats from Lung Wa, and the flying feats from Shory.

Already have a copy of this book? Let us know your favourites! We’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Jessica