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)

 

War for the Crown: Player’s Guide

Well, it may be a little late (okay, more than a little), but the War for the Crown Player’s Guide has finally been released by Paizo. Meant to go with their War for the Crown Adventure Path, which takes place in the nation of Taldor, this player’s guide is a free download on their website. The War for the Crown Adventure Path is already underway, with volume one, Crownfall, released in February, and volume two, Songbird, Scion, Saboteur, released this month. The other four volumes have yet to be released.

Now, I’m not sure about all of you, but I’ve been supremely excited for the War for the Crown Adventure Path. However, purchasing that lovely little book isn’t in the cards right now, so I was ready to pounce on the Player’s Guide the moment it launched. And I waited…. And waited…. And waited….

But, now that it’s here! Was it worth the wait?

Uh, yeah, obviously. It’s awesome and it’s free.

Want more details? On it!

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War for the Crown Adventure Path, Volume One of Six, Crownfall

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 (War for the Crown) Adventure Path, and invested in its major plots and purpose. It contains advice and 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 (Taldor, in this instance), as well as the culture or cultures found there. It describes each races place in the region, and gives advice on which obscure races are more common there (I was pleasantly surprised to find Taldor contains a LOT!). It also releases a series of traits specific to the Adventure Path (called Campaign Traits), of which each character is expected to have one.

There was plenty of wonderfully, interesting information in this little guide, and I actually got a really great feel for Taldor from it. Not a clichéd stereotype of the nation, either. An actual feel for the place. It 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.

My favourite parts of the Player’s Guide were quite unexpected. The first was a wonderfully illustrated map of Taldor. It’s just… beautiful. I love it!

And the second? We finally got a good, clear view of Princess Eutropia Stavian, eldest daughter and only living child of Grand Prince Stavian III, ruler of Taldor. Who? The War for the Crown Adventure Path was not given its name without cause! The players are going to be acting as spies/diplomats/agents of Princess Eutropia herself as she maneuvers through a budding civil war in order to claim Taldor’s throne for herself. And her opponents? Not nearly as awesome as she is! Holy smokes! I knew a bit about her from campaign spoilers, namely that she wanted to change Taldor for the better, she supports reform, she wants to ensure that women could inherit (as currently in Taldor only men can), and wants to claim the throne for herself. I’m not sure what I expected, but the Princess Eutropia we got was not it! In a good way! She’s AMAZING. From her stats to her backstory, from her public attitude to her inner turmoil, and especially THAT ART, she literally blew me away. Never mind who her opponents are, I’m in, hands down. Call it! I support the Princess!

Seriously! Look her up.

But, it’s a Player’s Guide! It’s not about our patrons, or our country. 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!

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War for the Crown Adventure Path, Volume Two of Six, Songbird, Scion, Saboteur

There’s plenty of character concepts you could run with for this campaign, and a ton of classes that would work. Rogues and bards (from the Core Rulebook or the Core Rulebook (Pocket Edition)) as well as investigators (from the Advanced Class Guide or the Advanced Class Guide (Pocket Edition)) are the most obvious options, and probably the best suited to the campaign. But, I’m not one for optimization. I won’t play something just because it’s going to be the best or the most useful. It’s characters and quirkiness that I tend to enjoy most. So, I gave all the classes a lot of thought. I quickly narrowed it down to four classes that I was inspired to make. Yes, bard was one of them. I LOVE bards. Absolutely, positively, my favourite class. And although I’ve made plenty of bards, they all seem doomed to have their campaigns crash and burn and die. So sad. Which means that bard is once again a strong contender for class choice. I also adore occultists, and making one who utilizes ancient relics of Taldor sounds like a ton of fun. The third option I’m contemplating is the mesmerist. I recently had a chance to test one (finally) as a player for a Pathfinder Society Scenario and I just had a ball. I think mesmerist’s would be a great choice for this campaign. Both the occultist and mesmerist are from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Occult Adventures.

And lastly? The vigilante, of course! I feel that vigilante’s are a hard class to play. Not mechanically, but to actually use. At their heart they’re linked to one area or region (which not a ton of campaigns are) and they rely on keeping your two identities secret (which could be a challenge among certain parties, and even among players). Although I’ve been interested in them since their release in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Intrigue, I haven’t had opportunity to play one before. And War for the Crown seems like the PERFECT time. Honestly! Is there ever going to be a better chance than this campaign? I highly doubt it. How can I resist?

So, although mesmerist is a close runner-up, I’d play a vigilante for War for the Crown. But what kind? One that I’ve desperately wanted to play since it’s publication is the magical child. Yeah, yeah. It’s cheesy, I know. But my favourite show growing up was Sailor Moon. This archetype is literally my childhood dreams all rolled up into a spectacular little package! So, obviously I want to make one. But, it’s not the only vigilante archetype I’m interested in. The warlock is also cool. With the ability to hurl magical bolts or wield them in melee combat and up to sixth level spells at your disposal, I think this archetype would be a ton of fun. And finally, the psychometrist! This class gains the ability to use the focus powers of the occultist class, with implements you designed yourself. You get to be an master inventor, who utilizes awesome gadgets. How cool is that? All three archetypes are from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Intrigue.

In the end, it was the psychometrist that won me over. I’d probably play a clever woman… The daughter of an inventor or craftsman. She was married to a ‘like-minded’ man before her father’s death so that she could inherit her father’s business and home (through her husband). Unfortunately, her husband wasn’t as ‘like-minded’ as they thought. He sold the business, took over the house, and was generally a big jerk. Infuriated, she lobbied for change and reformation, making a public spectacle of herself, and gaining the support of many of the lower classes (or at least causing them to talk). In order to shut her up, she was given a government job tending to the plights of the commoners. It was office work, reading official requests for assistance and sorting them by priority and importance. Unfortunately, the department she was supposed to pass on her recommendations to, turned out to be completely un-staffed. It existed only on paper. Her job was useless! A sham! And her reputation? Ruined! Or was it? Using the complaints as a guide, and her father’s inventions (with a few modifications of her own), she took to the streets to help those in need. She would save Taldor one person at a time!

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

Until then,

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

Jessica



Update: All of the issues of War for the Crown are now available!

War for the Crown: Book One: Crownfall

War for the Crown: Book 2: Songbird, Scion, Saboteur

War for the Crown: Book Three: Twilight Child

War for the Crown: Book Four: City in the Lion’s Eye

War for the Crown: Book Five: The Reaper’s Right Hand

War for the Crown: Book Six: The Six-Legend Soul