RPGNow.com
Close
New Account
 
  
 
 
You will lose your chance to get the free product of the week.
One-click unsubscribe later if you don't enjoy the newsletter.
Close
Log In
 
 Forgot password?
 

     or     Log In with your Facebook Account
Browse









Back
Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
 
$10.00
Average Rating:4.9 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
2 9
0 1
0 0
0 0
0 0
Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
Click to view
Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/26/2014 19:52:44
Best written adventure that I have run in over a decade of GMing. It is great to actually be prepared for the PCs when they go outside the box and/ do something really stupid. I will definitely be purchasing anything else from Fire Mountain.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Gary McBride and Fire Mountain Games are a scam! They funded these products with KIckstarter, are now making money on them here, but have not provided their backers with the rewards they promised! Don\'t buy anything from these thieves and lairs!
Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Yannick G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/04/2013 17:31:00
Great adventure from the beginning to the end. My player had a lot of fun running, we lost a pc but it was worth it. I can't wait to start book 2 next week, keep up the good work.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/01/2012 11:30:04
The hardest games to run are those involving evil characters. The idea of controlling players who, by design are out of control, is a difficult one. It’s why Fire Mountain gets the golden grapefruit award for not just making an evil adventure but designing an evil campaign that is both easy to DM and fun for the players. Way of the Wicked is a campaign by the new publisher that will take players on a 1 to 20 journey through the twisted plot to aid a dark god.

The first adventure, Knot of Thorns, sets the grand station with a simple premise, the PCs must break out of a fortified and heavily guarded prison where they are outmanned and unarmed. Despite such a basic plot, the writers do a creative job of establishing a series of detailed obstacles and providing the PCs the opportunity to escape the prison in a number of ways. Once they escape, the grander plot unfolds which includes a very fun puzzle filled dungeon, the instigation of a war and the uniting of a group of evil entities. Overall, Knot of Thorns shines at bringing a variety of game play options throughout the adventure.

The adventure is impressively laid out and divided into acts that make it easy to explain and follow.
The 100 page PDF is also packed with information for running an evil campaign and building characters in an evil campaign. This information is worth the purchase alone for DMs who hope to run an evil campaign one day or simply have a player who always makes someone just a tad bit leaning toward the bad guy.

For the Dungeon Master
Running a successful evil adventure or campaign takes a lot of work. Knot of Thorns not only does 90% of this work for you, it teaches you how to do the other 10%.

For the Player
If your Dungeon Master is nice enough to let you run an evil campaign for any reason, picking up this book and following the tips to making an evil character will gratify his decision.

The Iron Word
Way of the Wicked: Knot of Thorns succeeds at designing a truly innovative beginning to an evil campaign. It lays out exactly what evil is and provides material and help to insure that your campaign doesn’t derail into serial killer anarchy.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Chris D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/27/2012 23:40:27
Excellent and easy to run adventure! I bought the pdf from paizo, but after running this adventure for my group I wanted to leave a review on Drive-Thru RPG to support Fire Mountain Games and let people know how fun this adventure is to run/play. I broke down and bought the soft cover from Druve-Thru RPG so I would be allowed to leave a review.

The adventure is detailed and easy to run. Players will have an excellent time flexing their bad guy muscles, and gms will love dropping smite evils on the player characters (who deserve it very much!) Simply the most enjoyable 1st level adventure I have ever run.

Nuff said.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Eric H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/08/2012 14:30:17
I'll have to be quick but I will say this:

This book is amazingly well-done and written. If you ever wanted to run an evil campaign/adventure path, then you want this book. Aside from a well-done multi-part adventure, starting with a jailbreak, going to a test of your abilities from your new master, then delivering weapons to an ally and then lastly a sandbox-style part in which you have to take down a well-staffed and armed border fortress all by your lonesome, you get a gazetteer of the land this all happens in (one littered with adventure ideas), and a primer on doing evil campaigns that is very well done.

This is an amazing start to what looks like it'll be the very best 3rd party AP I've ever seen.

And on the POD aspect, I got my book, in perfect condition, just TWO DAYS after the order went through. That is amazing and it deserves to be mentioned here.

Five stars easy. I just wish i could give it six!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/28/2012 05:10:37
This pdf is 100 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 95 pages of content, so let's check out Fire Mountain Games' AP!

The nation of Talingarde is a shining beacon of goodness on a hill, a bastion of faith to the Mitran faith and an example of purity and goodness. Evil has been conquered and mostly rooted out in this land, the goblinoids driven beyond the grand wall - and righteous, lawful Talingarde will burn! For in this AP, the players are the villains!
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion. Seriously, you don't want to spoil this one!

Still here? After generating villains (sample violations of laws/reasons have been included), the action kicks in with the Pcs being brought to Branderscar Prison - to hang or face whatever sentence (most likely death or a life of forced labor) will await them. Unfortunately for the nation of do-gooders, complacency and incompetence have taken a hold of the nations once most tightly-run prison and so a mysterious, beautiful woman charms her way in, delivers a veil and exits - the veil containing a variety of tools the Pcs can use for the task she set them - escape from the prison and rendez-vous with a mysterious benefactor. The escape from prison being their first task, the PCs will have quite an interesting time - acquiring a spellbook and freeing an intelligent ogre from confinement and multiple ways to sneak past guards/overwhelm them included.

After a trek through a dangerous marsh, the mysterious benefactor awaits the PCs in his mansion - Adrastus Thorn, chosen of Asmodeus is on an (un-)holy crusade and has woven a dread web of plans and intrigues to bring the nation to its heels. While he has his own reasons to do so, he offers the PCs a chance for revenge - all they have to do is prove their worth in his own training ground (including hellish wisdoms in every room of the mini-dungeon) and sign a contract in blood. It is also this contract that will counteract the problem of evil campaigns in which PCs in the end try to kill one another. Furthermore, potential rivals of the PCs will be foreshadowed here.

Adrastus' first task is to accompany a weapon's smuggler behind the grand wall to deliver weapons to a horde of goblinoids under the command of an Asmodeus-sworn bugbear champion - and then tie up the loose end, the smuggler. The trip proves to be dangerous, patrols scouring the waters and barbarians offering trade. The goblinoid horde awaiting them proves to be dangerous as well and a demonstration of strength might be in order. Once the deal is completed, the bugbear-chieftain turns out to be another of Adrastus' agents and tasks the PCs with a seemingly impossible task - bring down Balentyne, fortress at the wall, the gate to Talingarde and open the fortress to the horde. This opens the final part of the adventure, a sandbox-style section where the PCs have a vast variety of options to use social entanglements, cunning, poison, infiltration, dark magics and overall smart strategies to decimate the people stationed in the fortress. Which is challenging - the fortress is well-guarded, frontal attacks/lack of subtlety is not an option, the enemies are smart, numerous, superior to the PCs and the section is incredibly detailed - reactions to the wide variety of options presented are given and there are a lot of options open for the PCs to follow - from using a tryst to their advantage, killing and impersonating actors, poisoning food etc., all kinds of dastardly activities are included in the options and a constant and steep count for victory points makes sure that the PCs won't have an easy time opening the bastion for the goblinoid horde. Their level of success will have repercussions in future adventures and the attention to stunning detail, from Branderscar to the end, makes sure that awareness, being smart etc. are rewarded.

The pdf also includes a gazetteer of Talingarde, advice for the DM on how to run a villainous campaign, help for the players to generate villains and a plot-synopsis of the whole AP.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Not one. Excellent job! Layout adheres to an easy-to-read, full-color two-column standard and is STUNNING. Beautiful. Awesome. The artwork (and there's a lot of it) is also full-color and features portraits of all major players in the adventure as well as e.g. a certain magical item in the beginning. And they are Paizo-level. I mean it. These pieces of artwork are STELLAR. The pdf comes with full bookmarks and a printer-friendly alternate version. The maps are full color as well and just as stunning - from the maps of Talingarde to the location maps, the only gripe I can muster is that we don't get extra player's maps sans keys that DMs could print out, cut up and hand to them as they explore. Content-wise the adventure is a great mix of railroady sections and the coolest sandboxy infiltration I've read in quite a while. In fact, the overall writing is stellar and up to the highest standards you could want. The finale is epic, smart, cool and offers so many ways to achieve victory it's almost frightening - without being easy, mind you! Fire Mountain Games have come from the nowhere, put out this little pdf and blown me out of the water - neither content, nor production values or bang-to-buck-ratio leave anything to be desired from this stellar, brilliant opening of their villainous AP. The novelty of an evil campaign and its challenges are addressed and solved admirably, the scenes feel new and give credence to the overall conspiracy and just about every aspect of this book can be considered a PEAK PERFORMANCE.
Oh yeah, this is the work of 2 people. Author Gary McBride and artist Michael Clarke have, with this opening, definitely upped the ante of the quality one can expect from 3pps, rivaling Paizo's APs in style, artwork and writing. I have nothing to complain. Nothing. I'm VERY impressed and, would it be possible, I'd rate this 6 stars. Seriously. If playing evil only remotely intrigued you, if you ever wondered how nations like Cheliax came to be or how grand nations came down - stop wondering. Do it yourself. For once not save them, but condemn them to hellfire! My final verdict will be 5 stars and the Endzeitgeist seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Jared R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/10/2012 21:17:35
I wasn't sure what to expect with this product. It was a novel concept. I have to admit that I've been skeptical of evil campaigns before. But between the sales pitch and the buzz, I wanted to see what this was about.

I'll get the cosmetic out of the way first. This book is pretty. There isn't a ton of art, but what there is is good, and fits the theme. The format, colors, and presentation all look really sharp. This is a first class production just based on looks.

But to get to the crux of the matter, how is the adventure?

It's great. The set up is fun, and there is a great sub-system that is simple but perfectly logical for resolving the final act of the adventure.

The advice for evil campaigns is simple, but pretty logical, especially as applied to this campaign. There is a semi-random character generation method I'm not sold on, but the campaign traits are thematic and perfect to set the tone of the adventure.

All in all, if you have ever been curious about how to set up an evil campaign to avoid the general pitfalls that might come about, this is definitely worth a look, even if you only use it as a model for your own ideas.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Tim W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/29/2012 22:08:37
One of the players in my group has been wanting to do an evil campaign for years. When I saw the picture in KBQ#20, I was like, that looks cool, let's go check it out. After checking it out at RPGNow, I checked out my own copy from their shopping cart. Today, was the 1st session.

Four tiefling siblings that were "bred" by an evil wizard about 20 years ago, were compassionately placed into an ophanage by the Mitra-loving Paladins that slew the evil conjurer. However, their true nature could not subjugated by alruism, and thus, they await their fate at the Brandescar facility.

We spent some time building the characters using the suggested methods in the AP. The characters ended up being four teifling siblings; Ethos (m)- Bladebound Magus, Asura (f) - Cleric of Asmodeus, Dagon - (m) Rogue, and Dagoth - (m) Assassin. Dagoth is starting as Ranger with humanioid(human) favored enemy to get to the Assassin prestige class. All PCs took the anti-hero option from APG to get an extra feat.

Interesting first session ended with the PCs just getting away from the Brandescar facilty to nearby shore. The Ogre ended up being a comedic side-kick, though, it was not really the intent of the GM nor PCs for that to have happened as it did. We usually like to keep the actual rolls and make the story work over fudging rolls to make the rolls go with the story.

The game has been throughouly enojoyable from the GM and PCs today. As have many others have said, would prefer a PRINT version. LOL. Too cheap to print it out, but not too cheap to buy it. However, doing fine with the .pdf version, so far. I know I am somewhat old-school for killing trees to have nice gaming books. I plan to grab .pdfs as soon as they're available and eagerly await for print versions to become available.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Luca L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/13/2012 12:20:37
A bold, well written, well thought and enticing adventure, written with the wicked perspective of an evil-aligned adventuring group, developing a saga of destruction and betrayal up to the highest levels - both of character's career and of evilness.
Can't wait for the next chapter.

Jaded DMs out there: you need this.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/25/2011 13:36:22
I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited for this.

I think that at some point, every GM (and quite possibly every player too) has entertained the thought of running an evil campaign, or at least playing an evil character. After all, who could resist the temptation of being the uber-cool arch-villain, unbound by moral codes and social niceties, doing what you please and may the gods have mercy on those who cross you? Of course, this flight of fancy tends to run headfirst into some very real problems when put into practice, and so no one’s every really marketed an adventure – let alone an adventure path – for Pathinder (or its ancestor game).

That’s all changed with Fire Mountain Games’ new adventure path, Way of the Wicked. It all begins here with book one, Knot of Thorns.

Let’s cover some of the technical aspects of the book first. The single PDF file is exactly one hundred pages long, making it a fairly substantial work. Bookmarks are present, but only to each of the book’s major sections; you won’t find nested bookmarks to more specific parts of each section, so you may need to do a bit of scrolling.

The artwork in the book is notable for its quality; something all the more impressive for the book having had but a single artist. Each piece is a full-color illustration that is clearly professional in its detail; this is especially true for the maps, which I found to be quite pretty (and wished that there was a map pack available as well). My only complaint about the maps was that they use a scale of having one square equal 10 feet, which I always find slightly off-putting, since Pathfinder uses a default 5-foot square assumption. If you’re redrawing these, make sure to scale the locations appropriately.

The pages themselves are nicely decorated, being set against a dark background and having page borders on three sides. Having said that, there is no printer-friendly version of the book available (nor, for that matter, an epublishing version), so this may be a strain on your printer.

Following a single-page introduction where the author exhorts conquering the world rather than saving it, the adventure opens with a background for the course of the campaign. Set in the island nation of Talingarde, where the faith of the sun-god Mitra has become the state religion, a deposed prince turned worshipper of Asmodeus seeks to subvert the current order and have the Devil God’s faith ascend to become the religion of the kingdom, complete with a new king on the throne. For this, he has crafted a diabolical plan utilizing nine teams to create unrest and thwart attempts to solve the problems he’ll create. It’s with these teams in mind that he turns to your PCs.

The adventure starts out with your characters already being the bad guys. You’ve been found guilty of committing major crimes (not wrongly, either; your PCs being criminals is a major part of the backstory; see below) and sentenced to prison to be executed or sent to a life of hard labor. However, thanks to a mysterious benefactor, and a lax administration, you have a chance to escape.

This first part of the adventure is a fun prison break, not only for the heightened tension in that you’re working from a disadvantage (you don’t get to keep your gear in prison), but also due to the different angles from which this scenario can be run. Are you just trying to make for the exit as fast as you can, or do you take bloody revenge on everyone around you and arm yourself with their equipment?

Following their escape, the PCs make their way to their patron and are given the choice to swear themselves to Asmodeus (which, perhaps appropriately for a devil god, isn’t much of a choice at all) and begin their training. This part of the adventure is heavier on the role-playing, as this part introduces a lot of key NPCs and the chance to build relationships with them, along with internalizing the fact that they’re now serving the forces of Hell.

The adventure’s third act consists of a journey to their first assignment. A long sea voyage, this scenario is broken up by a number of encounters, which are broken up into three groups of making the voyage, completing their task, and after the trip. This is also the most open part of the adventure, as not only can the order of events be shuffled quite a bit, but new encounters can be added or deleted as necessary; this is where a lot of the restrictions on the PCs come off.

The fourth and final part of the adventure is a mission of infiltration and destruction. Outmatched and outnumbered, the PCs have to bring down a fortress filled with soldiers of the forces of goodness. Very cogently, the adventure adopts a method of granting “Victory Points” for various actions, with the end results of their mayhem being tabulated by how many points they’ve achieved via their acts of disruption.

That’s the end of the adventure, and if it sounds short, then it’s only because I’m doing it a disservice. There’s a lot that happens throughout Knot of Thorns, so much so that your characters are supposed to end the adventure when they’ve just reached 6th level. Interestingly, while there’s plenty of bloodshed going on throughout the book, a great deal of the XP the PCs are supposed to gain comes from story-based XP awards for accomplishing various tasks. I’d go so far as to say that I’ve never seen an adventure that relied so much on story awards. This is comforting, as it makes it easy to arbitrarily increase or decrease the XP the PCs are given as they move through the series of unfortunate events they’re causing.

The book doesn’t end with the adventure, however. The last twenty pages or so are devoted to what’s essentially a player’s primer. We’re given an overview of Talingarde’s history, some of its more notable locales, and a quick overview of some of its major organizations. It’s in this last section that I think we come to the book’s single biggest oversight – there’s no information on the sun god Mitra. To be fair, the church of Mitra is covered (albeit briefly), but that’s not enough. What are Mitra’s domains and sub-domains? What is his holy symbol and favored weapon? We don’t know, because the book doesn’t tell us. True, none of that information is directly pertinent, but if GMs want to deviate from the material here and make up their own Mitran clerics (or inquisitors or similar divine spellcasters), the missing information becomes more pertinent. Hopefully we’ll see something on this from Fire Mountain Games soon.

The author then includes a section on how to run a villainous campaign. Specifically, he outlines five problem areas, and how this campaign attempts to avoid them (where possible; otherwise he includes advice for making things go smoothly). This section was, to my mind, very cogent in its reasoning. I’d always held that the major problems of an evil game were PvP conflicts, and someone being so evil that it squicked out the other players. All of these, as well as other problems (“why can’t we just send minions to do our evil for us?”) are covered, with sound reasoning given for why and how to handle them.

Subsequently there’s a short guide on PCs in a Way of the Wicked campaign. Interestingly, goes through the character creation guidelines and recommends specific changes, the sum total of which are to make the PCs more powerful, since they’re evil outcasts in a good nation. I’m not sure that this is necessary, but then I’m slightly biased against increasing the level power the PCs have, since my group includes a couple power-gamers.

What’s most interesting here are the new campaign traits. Remember how the game starts with your PCs being condemned criminals? There are twenty campaign traits here, each of which is a crime – which trait you pick is the crime that you performed, and were caught and lawfully sentenced for. I was really impressed with this simple yet elegant way of bringing the characters background, and evil nature, into the spotlight. This serves as a brilliant method for highlighting what the PCs did to start them on the road to villainy, and why they throw in with the powers of darkness.

The book closes out with a two-page synopsis of the entire adventure path, outlining what happens in each of the six adventures.

Overall, I found myself very impressed with the opening act for Way of the Wicked; this promises to be an adventure path as epic as anything by Paizo. The campaign’s themes are tightly focused, and the tenor of the adventure steers away from the problems that usually come from having a group of evil characters. The challenges are diverse, from infiltration to puzzles to deception to combat. You’ve never seen such a good job of being the bad guy.

Of course, the book isn’t without its flaws. The CR for the triton oracle seems to be off, for example, and the tactics section of Father Donnagan’s stat block seems to be an incorrect cut-and-paste. But the major problem that I think people might have with this campaign is that, even more than other adventure paths, this one is an exercise in railroading.

The first two acts of the adventure basically force the PCs to go in the specified directions, and while the third act – as mentioned above – starts to loosen the tight grip around the characters, it’s never truly removed (though in many cases it’s less visible). The PCs are bound by the goals that are set for them; their only freedoms lie in how to accomplish them – to put it another way, they’re free to do what they want, so long as they want to do what their patron says. In theory they can go their own way, but the adventure talks about what to do if the PCs go off the rails at various points, and its never good (in some cases, it flat-out says that they get slaughtered).

Of course, that may very well be a necessary evil (pun intended) for an evil game, as it’s much easier for an evil game to fall apart. I certainly don’t think it’s a deal-breaker, as the adventure offers a great “us against the world” scenario that’s a great inversion of the usual “points of light” backdrop. Follow the Way of the Wicked, and be the darkness that snuffs out the light.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Displaying 1 to 10 (of 10 reviews) Result Pages:  1 
Back
You must be logged in to rate this
0 items
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DrivethruRPG