Game of Thrones meets Pathfinder in the latest Pathfinder Adventure Path #127: Crownfall (War for the Crown 1 of 6). Want some political intrigue, complete with back stabbing nobles, assassinations, and the threat of war? The first installment of War for the Crown, designed for 1st level characters, is the perfect place to start! Over the six part series, the characters will achieve a lofty 17th level, while helping shape the nation of Taldor in Pathfinder’s Golarion.
Crownfall is written by Thurston Hillman. “Thirsty” game mastered We Be Goblins for a me and a random group of attendees at PAX Prime many years ago. His energy and enthusiasm made for an extremely entertaining goblin adventure. He’s worked on numerous products for Paizo and is now the Developer for the Starfinder Society organized play campaign.
As a warning, there are minor spoilers after this point–however, not much more than you’d get reading the blurb on the outside of the Crownfall Adventure Path.
As Taldor’s entire capital city gathers to celebrate, few realize that conspiracy and royal rivalries are about to shake the empire to its core! When a high-minded cabal of senators and nobles tries to steer the nation away from disaster, Emperor Stavian III orders a bloodbath in the senate halls, trapping neophyte spies inside layer upon layer of magical security. As tensions rise and the emperor falls, can the heroes escape the forgotten halls beneath the senate and save the heir to Taldor from an assassin’s blade? And even then, can anyone prevent a civil war that will tear one of the Inner Sea’s oldest nations apart at its rotting seams? – Crownfall Adventure Path summary
Heros in the dungeons beneath the senate rushing to save a noble from the assassin’s blade? As Paizo forum user DM_aka_Dudemeister put it, this is Die Hard! Maybe Die Hard meets Game of Thrones, meets MI5–in any case an adventure sure to entertain. The Adventure Path will focus much on the elements of political intrigue and manipulation. Unlike the enormously popular Kingmaker Adventure Path, this campaign is not about making the player characters into the lords of the kingdom, but rather the characters use behind-the-scenes espionage, and manipulations to direct the future of Taldor.
“… we wanted the PCs to play James Bond and Lorraine Broughton: fighting spies, matching wits with masterminds, and rescuing important figures. Instead of ascending to the throne, the PCs may be more interested in overthrowing Taldor’s current government and installing another system altogether” – Crownfall Introduction
The first section of Crownfall is full of political maneuvering with the PCs finding weaknesses and incfluencing many noble NPCs, committing thefts and sabotage to embarrass and lessen the influence of adversaries, back room intimidation, and thwarting the plans of other noble’s agents with opposing goals. The section ends in an epic bloodbath worthy of the Red Wedding–a moment that shapes the future of Taldor for generations to come. After that the adventure continues with a mind-bending escape room, dangerous dungeon crawl, and heroic rescue–and this is just the first chapter of War for the Crown!
This would be an excellent Adventure Path to try out character classes such as the investigator, or the slayer. The vigilante, hard-hitting hero by night, suave and diplomatic smooth talker by day, would also be an excellent choice for this campaign. Heck, the oft-overlooked diviner wizard could be a blast for a campaign focused on, “fighting spies, matching wits with masterminds, and rescuing important figures.” With so much political and social maneuvering, players will want to consider characters beyond just the brawny barbarian with dumped charisma. Intimidation will only take you so far. Crownfall is all about interactions with the many NPCs detailed in the module.
Crownfall has a lot of NPCs, with options for adding even more. Nearly half the adventure revolves around politicking and rubbing elbows with the who’s who of Taldan society (with the obligatory brawl in the middle to shake things up). While each PC needs to interact with only two or three NPCs, you will need to remember them all on short notice. – Crownfall Introduction
Part one of War of the Throne, Crownfall, comes in at over 90 pages of exciting content– 50 pages of adventure, with the rest of the module containing such section as, an NPC Gallery, Oppara Gazetteer, Faces of the Senate, Bestiary, and a Campaign Outline covering the course of the adventure for all six modules.
Crownfall is available as a hardcopy for $24.99 on Paizo’s website, often for a little less on Amazon, and as a PDF on the Paizo website. Paizo is excellent in their digital offerings, providing most everything they make in PDF format. All digital copies you purchase remain available on your Paizo account. When you buy an adventure path as a PDF on the site, it comes with an interactive PDF map. You can display the standard map for the GM with room numbers, key, and the rest, with and without the 5-foot grid marks, or you can switch to a player view, turning off room numbers, secret doors indicators, and other GM specific information–again, with or without the 5-foot grid. This is extremely useful if you display the maps digitally, either on screen via a virtual tabletop, or through a projector or LCD screen in a face-to-face game.
Speaking of virtual tabletops, Crownfall is an excellent Adventure Path to hop into as Roll20’s official support for Pathfinder products is starting with War for the Crown! There’s no need to buy the hard-copy or PDF from Paizo if you go with Roll20, For $27.99 you can get the entire contents of Crownfall. All maps are already entered at the appropriate scale and with dynamic lighting. Encounters have the stat-blocks for ready access, all hand-outs and images are available to display for the characters. Even if you buy the hard-copy, if you use a virtual tabletop for gaming either with geographically disperse groups, or face-to-face gaming like I do, then the pre-entered content is more than worth the extra cost.
Check out my post discussing the announcement from Roll20 on their support for Pathfinder and Starfinder to see all the great things Roll20 offers both for virtual games, as well as games played face-to-face.
In addition to on Roll20 Virtual Table Top, Crownfall is available now on the Paizo site as a hardcopy for $24.99 on Paizo’s website, often for a little less on Amazon, and as a PDF on the Paizo website.
Crownfall is just the first part of War for the Crown, characters will advance from their 1st level neophyte spies to 17th level double-oughts as they help shape the future of Taldor. After Crownfall the characters will advance through;
- SONGBIRD, SCION, SABOTEUR By Crystal Frasier and Richard PettPathfinder Adventure Path #128, Levels 4–6
- THE TWILIGHT CHILD By Ron Lundeen Pathfinder Adventure Path #129, Levels 7–9
- CITY IN THE LION’S EYE By Mikko Kallio Pathfinder Adventure Path #130, Levels 10–12
- THE REAPER’S RIGHT HAND By John Compton Pathfinder Adventure Path #131, Levels 13–15
- THE SIX-LEGEND SOUL By Amber E. Scott Pathfinder Adventure Path #132, Levels 16–17