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    PATHMASTER: Twilight Falling $8.99
    Average Rating:4.0 / 5
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    PATHMASTER: Twilight Falling
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    PATHMASTER: Twilight Falling
    Publisher: AAW Games
    by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
    Date Added: 09/26/2013 13:09:55

    The PATHMASTER products are part of an adventure writing and design competition from Adventureaweek.com. Five finalists from loads of initial entries were chosen to write an adventure each, and the winning adventure of the five gets to move onward and upward in the RPG writing industry. This review is a review of one of the adventures from the five finalists. I've reviewed each of the five final adventure submissions, culminating in me choosing my own personal winning entry for PATHMASTER. Each review has been concluded with a few comments on the adventure relative to the others, and some justification as to its position in the winning stakes. All five reviews have been posted at the same time, so if you're reading this, you can read the other 4 review entries as well. With that in mind, on with the review.

    Twilight Falling is a Pathfinder RPG adventure for characters of levels 5 to 7. This 39 page pdf product was written by Michael Holland. The product is neatly and professionally presented, and the artwork, maps and general layout are all very good. I particularly liked the fact that the layout is colour-coded in parts, allowing you to quickly see which sections of the adventure you need for read-aloud text, combat details, etc. Layout backgrounds are quite dark, meaning that this product might not be suitable for home printing. Writing is good, with some vivid descriptions, and some good imagery, and I particularly liked the detailed adventure synopses and background information. These little things make running an adventure much easier than trying to pick up the gist of the adventure on the fly.

    Twilight Falling is the zombie adventure of the PATHMASTER contest. In this adventure the PCs travel to the town of Crepus (an amalgamation of Creepy?) which is plagued by an outbreak of zombies. The town is in disarray, as is the ruling council, particularly as the undead are considered part of the honored dead, and many of them cannot therefore be destroyed. The PCs will need to assist the town guard in dealing with the plague zombies, find and agree a plan of action with the town leaders, and then discover the machinations responsible for unleashing this plague on the town. In doing so, they will come face to face with the strange political nature of the town and its allies, and deal with some of the unusual laws that this town holds. The adventure is based largely in the town of Crepus, although parts of the adventure take place in the surrounding areas of the town. By and large, though, this is a location-based adventure, where the PCs investigate the matter and finally deal with the culprits.

    This adventure is a good romp through a zombie-invested town. The town itself is quite a unique place, governed by a unique council with odd laws. The players will have plenty of opportunity to deal with waves of zombies, but also plenty of roleplaying and investigation as they try to uncover any clue as to who or what is behind the zombie infestation. The adventure sets a good atmosphere and keeps the action going at a reasonable pace. The first part of the adventure is largely spent dealing with zombies while investigating, while the second part is devoted to tracking down the culprits and dealing with them. There are probably a few ethical dilemmas involved along the way as well, though it's not up to the PCs to deal with the exact nature of the town and its council.

    The PCs will have a good number of varied encounters despite the zombie theme, and as mentioned, not all zombie encounters are aimed at destroying the critters. The adventures uses some good locations for the main encounters of the town, and there are plenty of interesting villains that reveal themselves as the background story unfolds. There is some sense of urgency about the business of the zombies, although I wish this could have been played out a little more. At times it feels like the town guard are on top of things and the PCs just help occasionally, whereas full-scale panic would've created a greater sense of urgency and made for a better atmosphere and memorable adventure. I really enjoyed the overall mixture of combat, investigation and roleplaying, as it balances these nicely without introducing a massive zombie-killing fest.

    Overall, this is a good and compelling adventure, though moving along fairly standard lines of theme and organisation. The adventure maintains good atmosphere, and the pace is decent, though in both cases I think things could have been better. I liked the varied encounters and locations of the adventure, although a greater sense of panic would've been better than the somewhat complacent approach to the zombie plague. Very good adventure, with interesting town and background, and an unique location perhaps worth visiting again.

    Twilight Falling is perhaps the adventure of the bunch that doesn't break as much ground as the others. Timeless Fort deals with time-travelling, Cutting Silver Pass with grand projects, for example, while Twilight Falling is perhaps too familiar in its theme of zombie plague. The action is good, and dynamic, though not in the same league as Timeless Fort or Ironwall Gap Must Hold. The aforementioned sense of critical timescales would've made this faster paced and more intense. It maintains very good atmosphere - not on par with To Walk the Dark Road, but better than the others with the themes of zombies, necromancy and all things dark and dangerous. Overall, I think this adventure takes elements that make the other adventures good and combines them to a lesser degree to create a good adventure but perhaps one that doesn't stand out too much. I think it presents the more interesting location of the bunch, where To Walk the Dark Road has the better wilderness encounters. In the end, a solid and entertaining adventure that I've rated as 4th in my list of adventures for the PATHMASTER contest.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    PATHMASTER: Twilight Falling
    Publisher: AAW Games
    by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 09/17/2013 02:56:53

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    Full disclosure:

    I was one of the judges of the contest that determined which pitches were chosen for the Pathmaster contest. I did not receive any compensation and thus do not consider my verdict compromised. The very presence of these modules means that I like the premise of all Pathmaster-modules, but can their execution stand up?

    This module is 39 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD and 1 page of back cover, leaving us with 31 pages of content, so let's take a look!

    This being an adventure-review, the following review features quite a few SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

    Still here? All right! The town of Crepus was once known for being the base of the Red Hand of Ghulooti-Huul and while they had to go underground, the aftermath of their influence gave rise to a two-class-society between the ruling "Circle" and the servant-class called "Companions" after the moniker once provided by the erstwhile masters. collecting the souls of the dead in a pocket dimension called the "Twilight Hold", the circle banned arcanists (the exiles founding the "Sanctuary of the Golden Dawns" and established a religion based on feeding souls to the dimension, reverence of the dead becoming a crucial part of life in Crepus. As an accompanying effect, a kind of racism crept into the settlement - "homogenous" souls proved more fertile for the means of drawing power from them and hence, a seamstresses' sin of conceiving a child born from an elven father, once discovered, led to a swift trial. Guided by anger over his mother's death and the whisperings of Morvus, an agent of the Red Hand, chaos is about to return to Crepus.

    Or rather, has already returned: Via the half-elven boy's extensive knowledge of Crepus' layout, Morvus has spread zombie rot throughout the city and plans to wrestle control of the Twilight Hold and the power it contains from the circle via a complex ritual. It is into this chaos and plague zombies hunting people in the streets that the PCs enter the fray: After saving some citizens from rampaging undead, one Captain Kellis admits to the severity of the situation and a Septarch confirms in a meeting the situation: Not only are the undead an issue, their souls do not pass to the Twilight Hold, destroying them also endangers the integrity of the pocket dimension, so herding is preferable.

    Investigation of the culprits send the PCs towards the sanctuary, where one cool peculiarity awaits - group skill-checks, i.e. simple skill challenges where the whole group's successes determine over the (optional) successes at doing proper legwork. Sooner or later, the PCs will ferret out a man admitting to cooperating with the Red Hand -albeit unaware of the true extents of the Red Hand's depravity.

    It is thus the PCs are pointed towards the Necropolis where the remains of the honored are interred:

    Here, they may take Garrett, the misguided half-elven youth ostracized by his bigot home and take him prisoner while preventing the poisoning of the town's water supply. Returning to the portico and inner sanctum of the Circle, the PCs find things escalating and not under control - exploring the dungeon, now populated with undead firm under the control of the Red Hand, the PCs will be hard-pressed to foil the plans of Morvus.

    Special mention deserves the fact that failed skill-checks, for example, come with their own read-aloud checks here - as do successful ones. Nice for DMs not as confident. The module comes with 2 pages of player's handouts and a player-friendly 1-page map of the sanctum.

    Conclusion:

    Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to its own, beautiful two-column full color standard and the pdf comes with gorgeous full color artwork as well The cartography, also provided in full color, is nice. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

    This module I was most skeptical of among the pitches - little did I realize how well author Michael Holland would do in weaving a believable microcosm of moral shades of gray in this module. Contrary to what I believed originally, "Twilight Falling" actually manages to cram the unique village AND a module into the few pages allotted - a prime example of effective, concise writing. That being said, this module also feels like it would have worked better as a mega-module rather than a short module: With a gazetteer of the town, a map of it and some set up, the escalation of the red hand's sabotage would have made for one damn cool apocalyptic "Walking Dead"-like scenario with the appropriate drama etc. - preferably after setting up the NPCs with their flaws etc.

    In the format provided, this module does its task exceedingly well, though I honestly wished the Michael Holland had instead used another set-up and left this one for a longer, more complex type of module to develop - as written, much like the 32-page Paizo-modules, this module is iconic, cool and fun - but also leaves me wishing it had more space to develop and expand its ideas. Suffering a bit (though much, much less than I anticipated and almost imperceptibly so when compared to e.g. "Curse of the Riven Sky" -a and check out the name of the author of that one!) from its brevity, I feel confident in rating this 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform. I hope to one day see more of Crepus!

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    PATHMASTER: Twilight Falling
    Publisher: AAW Games
    by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
    Date Added: 09/02/2013 12:04:13

    Even a township which worships the dead gets unhappy when plague zombies start roaming the streets... and the characters, as notable adventurers, are called upon to come and deal with the situation.

    The backstory is deep and complex, explaining how this worship of the dead came about and some of the ramifications of this policy and introducing the GM to several antagonists who will turn up during the adventure.

    The party will have to navigate the rather odd beliefs of the residents of this settlement as they track the plague zombies to their source and attempt to deal with the problem. The township's leaders have but one solid lead (or so they think) to share, but other clues might turn up... this is one of those adventures where a bad die roll could close down a whole avenue of investigation, the GM needs to be alert to this and make sure that the information surfaces somehow.

    A scamper through some catacombs and a climactic brawl in a temple should see the day saved...

    The only map provided is that of the temple. Undead abound throughout this adventure, so a means for dealing with them is vital. A lot is left to the GM to run on his own, as the characters attempt to discover all they need to know to put them in the right place to have that final combat.

    Some really nice ideas here, but possibly in need of a bit more development. But it does have zombies! Lots of zombies!



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Displaying 1 to 3 (of 3 reviews) Result Pages:  1 
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