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Way of the Wicked Book Two: Call Forth Darkness $10.00
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Way of the Wicked Book Two: Call Forth Darkness
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Way of the Wicked Book Two: Call Forth Darkness
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/03/2012 03:43:25

The second installment of Fire Mountain Games' evil adventure path centered on serving Asmodeus is 106 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 101 pages of content, so what exactly do we get?

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Asmodeus and the dukes of hell will be greatly displeased with potential servants glimpsing at their grand plans beforehand. If you don't want to incur their wrath, skip ahead to the conclusion!

Still here? That means you're either foolhardy or classified to know about the information, so let's take a look! After Adrastus Thorn's ninth knot (i.e. your PCs) have unleashed terror, death and destruction by opening Talingarde to the hordes of the fire-axe, they have been enjoying a pleasure-cruise with Tiadora, the handmaiden devil, who leaves a trail of demoralized villages in her wake, pillaging and raging at the populace in the guise of Mitran clergy and knights in a bid to destroy the unity of the nation. But that's only the intro. Once the PCs have reached Farholde, they are tasked to do what another knot has failed to do - locate the famed Horn of Abaddon, summon the daemon prince Vetra-Kali Eats-the-Eyes and claim the famed tears of Achlys from the bringer of pestilence - a supernatural plague upon the land to serve as a second strike to break the nation of Talingarde. The seventh knot under the command of Elise Zadaria, which the PCs know from their indoctrination/training and which might contain potential love interests, is to stage murders and keep the town in line and the PCs up to what's going on. But before the Ps can get to anything, they have to meet with the local Asmodean elven noble, NOT blow his cover and enlist his aid. With some basic research, the PCs can unearth the location of the dread Horn of Abaddon among the jungle-covered spires of the Caer Bryr.

Unfortunately, the fourth knot has not failed solely due to incompetence - the horn is guarded by quite a powerful treant and far from abandoned. The lower caves of the place are now inhabited by a tribe of Dagon-worshipping boggards. Once the PCs manage to slay the treant and enter the boggard-territory, the adventure starts to feel different immediately: They may actually slay the leader, enlist the drug-addled, mad shaman and subjugate the whole tribe. Until now, if you take away the lillend with her elven/feyish consort who attack and harass the PCs, the overall fortress is a standard dungeon exploration - only...it is not. You see, the Horn of Abaddon was once home to a dread, pestilence-worshipping daemon cult and was squashed by the legendary paladin-king dubbed "the Victor", its evil sealed. Thus, the PCs encounter remains of the horn's original defenses, natural predators that have invaded the place, undead remnants of the cult and daemons still standing guard. Inc ontrast to a traditional dungeon, though, the horn's defenses lie in tatters: There's even a good shrine to Mitra impeding evil magic here! And the paladin-king screwed the PCs over in the worst way possible - he created a seal to prevent Vetra-Kali's return and the damn thing is an artifact! Even with the 3 eyes of Vetra-Kali, logically and cleverly hidden in the complex, the PCs have no idea on how to break the seal - unless they explore or listen to the mad ramblings of the boggard shaman.

Among the incoherent blubberings, they may find a hint that points them towards an annotated, unique version of Vetra-Kali's scriptures, in which a mad member who witnessed its creation of the cult wrote down a way to break the seal prior to ending his existence. 666 prayers over 222 days and 3 sacrifices - 1 to start (a priest of the cult that failed Vetra-Kali), 1 at the 111-mark (a devout Mitran) and the final sacrifice, blood from the Victor's bloodline. 3 hearts cut from the chests of the noble and pure, 3 prayers a day, one for every eye of Vetra-Kali - which the PCs have hopefully found and inserted into the statue of the daemon, for they grant scrying, knowledge about exact locations of spells being cast etc. Oh, and there are allies to be recruited - from undead remnants of the former cult to rituals to conjure mudmen to the aforementioned boggards, the PCs will have quite their hands full. If they want to successfully complete their ritual, they will have to outfit their dungeon: Each of the rooms comes with suggestions on reactivating/building traps, posing sentries and security points, which will determine the ease of incursions.

For your ease, Fire Mountain Games provides a 4-page handouts pdf available for free, which contains key-less maps of the dungeon and surroundings as well as a one-page spread of the defunct golem. Defunct Golem? Yep, among others, the PCs may activate a sociopathic alchemical golem who may make for a dread sentry, but only if posted alone - living creatures tend to die ugly around it and only if the PCs manage to find all ingredients necessary to repair the thing. Grumblejack, if he has survived so far, may be transformed via a fiendish apotheosis and thus also increase in power, just to let fans of the ogre know! (This, of course, being purely optional!) Now, the PCs can create traps, have minions to direct and prepare the defenses of their own dungeon - it should be noted that many of the enemies that will harass the PCs during the 222 days can be caught, broken and/or recruited - especially things like messenger-eating hangman-trees and minion-munching dire tigers might make for rather strong allies.

Of course, the first though of most player-groups will be to keep the ritual secret. That's not an option. The one-page beautiful artwork of the overgrown horn is ignited in green balefire and makes clear to anyone in quite a distance, that something is WRONG there. Take a look at the front cover - that's your PCs's new home and castle for the next 222 days and it is here that the adventure leaves any territory you might have played before. I already mentioned minions and indeed, the leadership-problem is tackled: Essentially, the adventure not only provides ways to gain allies, but also proposes a kind of super-party-cohort, purely optional, mind you. More interesting are the concise rules to run your own evil organization: Essentially, this module assumes an organization to have 6 scores ranging from -5 to 10, much like a character: Ruthlessness, Secrecy, Survivability, Connections, Espionage and Loyalty. Organization start off with 0 on each score and the leader's charisma bonus may be used to enhance those scores. Since running a dungeon, abducting peasants for monster-food, indoctrination, smear campaigns, espionage and assassinations are all time-consuming endeavors, the PCs may thankfully delegate said tasks to the orphan-minions of their contact in Farholde, the vile, aforementioned baron. If they do a good job, they may whip the servants into an effective tool to sow confusion, disinformation and destruction. Each organization has a limited amount of actions each week depending on the charisma and level of its leader and 17 organization actions are provided, including chances to fail and 15 organizational events provide further opportunities/challenges.

Now that the PCs have a (hopefully) staffed dungeon, intact traps and minions at their disposal and now that the ritual has prematurely blown their cover, the truly awesome part of the adventure begins: While not every day should be played out, managing the organization is a challenge in itself and if the PCs opt to ally with the afore-mentioned hangman tree or dire tiger, they will have to use their minions to make sure the creatures are well-fed. And then there's the worst kind of predator coming their way: Adventurers. Multiple groups of adventurers, complete with artworks and stats, will try to infiltrate the complex and vanquish the PCs and ruin their ritual. From some megalomaniacal local heroes to scrupulous mercenaries, groups are coming their way. And every DM knows - adventurers are DEADLY.

Thankfully, the 7th knot under the command of the winter witch warns the PCs of such incursions. Until the first truly lethal group heads the way of the PCs and knows ALL their defenses, making tracking them down a true challenge - it seems like the winter witch has betrayed Thorn and thus, hopefully with some evidence, will have to work that out as well. On the bright side, one of the group can be salvaged as a cohort. That's not all of the problems the PCs will face: The horn has a teleport-network, and while the ritual prevents regular teleports inside and out of the dungeon, a certain inquisitor has found an reactivated an outpost's teleporter and will use it to great effect for truly deadly hit and run techniques. Even better, you can do something the adventure heartily encourages: Take one of your player's favorite strategies from other groups and send their own former characters after them or at least pay homage to them. The annoying enchanter? The untouchable dwarf? Send them in! It is here that DMs will have FUN GALORE and players will finally get a taste of what your poor villains had to face! Thankfully, the local descendant of the Victor is also among the foolhardy who will try to crush the PCs, thus unknowingly deliver the last ingredient for their sacrifice. Oh, have I mentioned that the PCs may have to get their Baron out of the way? After all, a SILVER DRAGON is convinced that he has to die to stop the darkness...

And then, there are the last 5 days. If your players have thought that being a villain bent on calling down a daemon prince while being besieged by adventurers, moon dogs and the like while running an organization was too easy until now, they are in for a surprise, for in the end, as with many a plot out there, everything goes horribly wrong: An earthquake shatters parts of the dungeon, destroying some components of its defenses and creates breaches. Minions get hurt and die. An Avoral breaches their defenses. The boggards abandon them and potentially turn against them to consecrate the horn to their father Dagon. The remaining undead priests of Vetra-Kali seek to kill and replace the PCs. Any survivors of the adventurers band together to attack one last time. The freakin' silver dragon makes for an all-out assault. And following the trail of broken villages, the hardest party so far enters the horn - allies/family/survivors of the slaughter in Balentyne make for one final desperate attack on the PCs. In short: Just about anything that can go wrong, does go wrong and only a fraction of their allies does not turn against them. Keeping the ritual going will be a true challenge for the PCs and test their prowess to the extreme. One of the survivors of Balentyne, though, will probably escape - we have not seen the last of this particular man...

Provided the PCs succeed against all odds, they break Mitra's seal, summon Vetra-Kali and hopefully heed the advice on haggling with the Daemon Prince in order to get his dread plague. Better yet, the PCs can become carriers to his disease by asking the being a boon or even double-cross it, sending it back to oblivion - after all, they want to rule these lands one day and having a disease-ridden daemon prince sowing pestilence might not make for a good start for Asmodeus' glorious reign. Anyways, the adventure concludes with Thorn having the Tears of Achlys, though failure might be an option.

The pdf also contains aforementioned organization/minion-rules (which would also work well for thieves guilds or similar illegal organizations), a gazetteer of Farholde including a beautiful map and ideas on how to run variants of "Way of the Wicked" - e.g. with an all-duergar party or class-restrictions. I didn't care too much for these, but I guess some of you out there might enjoy the ideas.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect - I did encounter some minor glitches like an additional "t" after a full-stop or a formatting inconsistency in the organization-rules: The rolled-20-entry and rolled-1-entry are swapped in one entry. While not providing wrong information and amounting to about 5 glitches on the whole adventure, it's not perfect. The adventure adheres to one of the most beautiful full-color 2-column layouts I have seen in any publication, 3pp or otherwise. The pdf comes with a printer-friendly version that gets rid of the background, but not the colors or illustrations. The pdf comes with 4 pages of player handouts, which can be downloaded on the fire-mountain-page and the pdfs come with full bookmarks. Artworks are up to the highest standards, as is the cartography - Michael Clarke provides not only beautiful illustrations, but also stellar maps. Which brings me to the second minor gripe I have with this pdf: The town of Farholde-map comes without a key-less version of the map to hand out to players, which is a bummer, for the town is beautifully detailed.

This installment of the "Way of the Wicked" feels, on the formal side, slightly less polished than "Knot of Thorns". If you're like me, you've read a LOT of adventures and ran a lot of them. And after a while, at least if you're like me, you start to see the same plot-devices, the same tropes, repeated over and over and over. And it starts to get BORING, oh so boring. You'll start to yearn for nouveaux frissants, new sensations with regards to rpgs to ease the existential boredom creeping up to your game. And then, once in a while, you read an adventure that does something different. That is innovative. That tears apart the old yarns and does something ambitious, something radical and, more importantly, something NEW. Most adventures that feature such a component use it in one fight, perhaps the climax, in one location. Some adventures, and these are the ones that we remember as bright stars, as iconic legends, as part of the must-play canon, though, are brave and radical: They take an idea, develop it and present it in a supremely professional and concise way and offer a whole new way of having fun, a new story, a new angle. "Call forth Darkness" does that.

This module not only surpasses "Knot of Thorns", it leaves it at the wayside sobbing for its infernal mommy. And "Knot of Thorns" was excellent, but at its heart still a rather conventional module on the other side of the alignment scale. An excellent module, to be sure, but one on the conventional side nevertheless. "Call forth Darkness" is smart. It's supremely ambitious. It succeeds at what it sets out to do (though it is an adventure that is a challenge for DMs to run) and it puts two gleeful "i"s into "Villains". These are not heroes, they are villains and they do villainous things and thus face completely different challenges. I am still baffled at the quality Gary McBride and Michael Clarke manage to produce as essentially a two-man enterprise. Artworks, Cartography, Writing, Crunch and Fluff - all are up to top-standards and then, the scenario is brave, smart and INNOVATIVE. Where other adventures move on known ground, this one feels different. Want to know why it took me so long to write this review? Every time I got frustrated due to reading boring/bad pdfs and writing reviews for them, I went back to this adventure. Read a couple of pages. Smiled. And went back to work. I don't regret a single buck I spent for the print version and if your gamers are anything like mine and if there is some kind of justice, this adventure will go down into the must-play canon and be remembered in years to come as one of these iconic, unique scenarios that are classics - and this module also offers a stellar bang-for-buck ratio.

If you're thinking I'm exaggerating, I'm not. In spite of the minor glitches and the lack of a player-friendly gazetteer-map, I'll gladly settle for a final verdict of 5 stars plus Endzeitgeist seal of approval. I'd go for 6. Or 7. Or 10. In any rating-system, this represents almost the apex, at least in my humble opinion: Excellent presentation, top production values, stellar ideas, innovation - anything you'd want, it's here. My only concern for the overall AP is that this part will be nigh-impossible to repeat, let alone surpass.

Endzeitgeist out.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Way of the Wicked Book Two: Call Forth Darkness
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Jared R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/26/2012 14:43:21

Call Forth Darkness is another solid adventure, although personally, I liked the opening installment just a bit better.

The PDF, like it's predecessor, is beautiful. The layout, colors, and artwork continue to be very impressive.

The Farholde Gazetteer in this book does a lot to bring the setting to life, which I think is important in an adventure path such as this one. The more the PCs realize that there is some history and culture behind the targets they eliminate, the more the fact that the PCs are villains is really brought home.

The article on evil organizations and minions presents a subsystem for managing minions that I wish were available in slightly more generic form for non-evil groups that also have followers. It's nice to have some guidelines as to what all of those “not quite combatants” can do when you take the time to actually be a leader.

An interesting addition at the end of the adventure is the exploration of other ways to structure the adventuring party and frame the AP based on specific themes (i.e. the whole party is clerics, the whole party are wizards, no one is a spellcaster) and what needs to be done to fit that theme. It's not overly detailed, but it's nice to see these musings and I'd like to have seen this kind of thematic conjecture in some of Paizo's adventure paths.

Now, for the adventure itself. When I say I prefer the first installment, it's not a matter of quality. It's from the GM expectation point of view. This adventure could be great or it could nosedive, because while it is a brilliant premise and laid out about as well as you could for this kind of concept, it really depends on the PCs picking up the ball and running with it.

That is true to an extent in the original adventure as well, but without a direct authority figure nudging them as much as they might have had in the first adventure, while the ultimate objective is clear, the compelling bit in the middle might not be as cool if the PCs don't get the vibe that the adventure is sending out (i.e. if they treat this as a dungeon to clear out rather than one to dominate).

One last nit pick that I will try to throw out there without spoiling too much. I love the security point concept, but wish it did more than it does. The payoff isn't quite as tangible outside of the metagame rewards.

All in all, recommended, and greatly recommended. Just pray that your players really relish being villains and not just evil characters.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Way of the Wicked Book Two: Call Forth Darkness
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/25/2012 16:31:14

One of the defining characteristics of PCs in most role-playing games is that they’re proactive rather than reactive. It’s what comes from being the one raiding dungeons, while the denizens are dealing with your raid. But what would it be like if that paradigm was turned on its head, and you were the one trying to defend your lair from some do-gooders that had suddenly kicked in the door? That’s the primary question your group faces in the second book of the Way of the Wicked campaign: Call Forth Darkness.

Continuing this adventure path for evil characters, Call Forth Darkness is aptly named. Tasked to summon back a banished daemon lord and have him give you a powerful item, your group must first find, conquer, and hold the fortress that the fiendish cult used to inhabit while attempting to stop the forces of good – as well as meddlesome adventurers – from putting the kibosh on your plans.

From a technical standpoint, Call Forth Darkness is a good product, but could have used a few more tweaks. Weighing in at one-hundred-six pages altogether, it has bookmarks to each of the book’s major sections, but I had hoped there would be nested bookmarks to the various sub-sections as well. It does have copy-and-pasted enabled, which is always a good thing.

The book’s graphical presentation is quite strong. The pages are set on a dark tan background, as though the file were an old tome, with black borders along three sides. Michael Clarke continues to impress with his full-color interior illustrations, largely of various personages that your group will encounter throughout the adventure.

I did have a few problems with the pictorial aspects of the book, however. First, I can’t really hold this against the artist, but the maps continue to be done as one square equaling ten feet. This makes it difficult to reproduce these in battle-mat size, but as I said, this isn’t really Fire Mountain Games’ fault – there’s only so much you can tweak the scale you want to set things at. Secondly, it should be noted that the book comes with three files – the main PDF, a printer-friendly version, and a book of players’ handouts.

The printer-friendly version was something of a disappointment. It’s only changes were to remove the tan background and set the page borders to being line-scaling rather than a full color border. That’s good, but it’s not enough – not when the full-color cover and interior illustrations remain. These should have been removed entirely (requiring an adjusted layout) or at least set to grayscale. That they weren’t makes this not nearly as printer-friendly as it should have been.

Similarly, the players’ handouts consist of four pages. One is a wilderness map, two are the two pages of maps of the Horn of Abaddon (the evil fortress), and the final one is an illustration of one of the dungeon denizens.

But enough about that, let’s look at the meat of the adventure and see what new evil your group is doing!

After the ubiquitous introduction and adventure background, things are broken up into four “acts” each of which is sub-divided into various “events.”

The first act covers everything prior to the arrival at the dungeon. Herein, the PCs receive their next assignment, taking them to the frontier town of Farholde and meeting with their support (a local baron, as well as another of the nine groups helping to overthrow the current order), before setting out to locate the Horn of Abaddon.

Taking up less than ten percent of the book’s total page-count, this section of the adventure wasn’t bad, but was clearly the book’s weak point. I say that not because there’s a dearth of action here (though there is), but rather than there’s not enough exposition on what can really be done at this stage. For example, it’s helpful (though not necessarily expected) that the PCs start to develop a minion organization during the adventure, with the unspoken assumption that some part of it will be set up in Farholde; however, there’s little here that really helps to put that part of the adventure forward.

Now, to be fair, there is some support for this part of the adventure at this stage – just not enough. Meeting with the local baron and securing his aid is helpful, and having another “knot” of evil-doers backing you up from the town is a mixed blessing, but notwithstanding the gazetteer of Farholde itself, that’s really all that there is. While the section on running an evil organization does talk a little about finding minions in Farholde, I’d have preferred that there were a few events placed here to let the PCs work their way into the town’s seedy underbelly and set up the beginnings of a network before they went into the wild.

Speaking of the wild, the book somewhat glosses over the task of finding the Horn. Even presuming that they find the map to it, the book rather oddly sets finding the location as a Perception, rather than Survival skill. Moreover, it seems like there’s some wasted potential for further encounters here – the few spots that are marked on the GMs map receive extremely little coverage (said coverage is given in their events later in the book, rather than having an overview in act one). There could have been a lot more here to help round out the environment – at the very least it would have been nice to have had a table of random encounters!

It’s at the second act, however, that the book really begins to shine. Here, the PCs discover the Horn, and at first it’s not too dissimilar from any other dungeon crawl, as the PCs have to explore the place, deal with some of the creatures that have already moved in, and figure out their next move. While the adventure doesn’t expressly spell out that they need to try and dominate, rather than eradicate, most of the local monsters, the encounters are somewhat slanted in that direction – a smart group will quickly figure it out. This is particularly true since, if the PCs root out all of the Horn’s secrets (and the adventure assumes they do, to the point of having a sidebar saying what to do if some critical information slips by them), they’ll realize that they’ll need to conduct a ritual that takes months to complete in order to complete their mission.

As I mentioned, this is where the adventure really takes off. The PCs start to interact with various creatures that require longer-term thinking on their part. What monsters should be slain, and which should be subjugated? Can the first line of good-aligned defenders be manipulated, or should you destroy them on sight? The adventure sometimes tilts things subtly in one direction, but by and large it’s refreshing how it lets the party make their own decisions, and reap the rewards or consequences therein. The author makes sure to say what various creatures do over time.

The book also notes certain things that can increase the local security, earning “Security Points.” Oddly, the points have no particular effect save to earn bonus XP for the party – while the individual defenses do make a difference in and of themselves, I’d have thought that there’d be more of an effect in terms of what the Security Points do to potential invaders – a missed opportunity there, albeit a slight one.

The book’s third act is where the PCs need to shift from offense to defense. Because the ritual they’re performing takes months, the book outlines things week by week, and various interlopers start in from the very beginning. The book does a truly remarkable job of blending in layers of plot here, as the PCs’ “allies” will send them varying degrees of advanced notice (though how these notices are sent is left frustratingly vague), all in accordance with their own plans, as they learn about adventurers and crusaders heading towards the Horn.

This is where the book also starts to introduce monsters from beyond the first Pathfinder Bestiary. It’s a small but refreshing change to see creatures from the Bestiary 2 or Tome of Horrors being used here, and helps to keep the PCs on their toes. This is also when the PCs are most likely to have their own group of minions that they can command, both in terms of the subjugated monsters and in their organization in Farholde.

I also really have to compliment the author on the structure of the various groups the PCs face. The composition of enemies here is something that only a gamer would think of. You have groups ranging from uber-good crusaders who strike hard and fast, to the all-neutral party who isn’t vulnerable to anti-good measures. Some groups come with plenty of advanced warning and just walk in the front door; some do their homework beforehand and (likely) get the drop on the PCs. All are written with a battle strategy (as part of their stat block), and many discuss what they do if they manage to flee. Several even have some ties to the previous adventure, building a strong sense of continuity beyond the usual “sequence of events” that most adventure paths have.

The book’s final act takes place during the last five days of the months-long ritual, and its here that the heat is really turned up on the PCs. With their summoning almost done, there’s a lot of attention focused on them, and the adversaries come hard and fast. From other evils that want to hijack the ritual to desperate defenders of goodness, and more, the PCs are effectively under siege, both from without and from within. The denouement of the adventure is exceptional in its crafting, so much so that I honestly think your players will likely remember this as one of the best adventures they’ve ever played.

Following this, the book still has more in store. Several pages are dedicated to the running of an evil organization. Surprisingly, this is fairly simple in terms of mechanics. While I was initially suspicious of it being based around the Leadership feat, I did like that it makes it so that Leadership gives you the usual cohort, but the followers are instead set up as an organization. The organization is treated as a single entity, and can perform so many actions per week (more if multiple PCs throw in as co-leaders), presuming a successful check. A list of about two dozen actions is given, followed by a series of possible events that can happen, and some further discussion.

The town of Farholde is given roughly a half-dozen pages of examination, including a map of the town. There’s quite a lot here, and an enterprising GM will use the information to help personalize the townsfolk while the PCs are here – the information here seems almost excessive given how the PCs will likely spend most of the their time holed up in the Horn.

The book’s final section talks about modifying the campaign depending on the composition of the party. To be more clear, it discusses running the campaign if you have party members that are of the same type of class (e.g. all clerics), or of the same race (e.g. all goblins). In practice, this section mostly lays down background for why such a group would have existed in the first place. There is some discussion regarding modifying the feel of the campaign, but nothing too specific is given for even major game-changers (e.g. if your entire party lacks spellcasters). There is, however, a single new feat given for creatures that are sensitive to light.

I was personally hoping for a section on what to do for replacement PCs should some die over the course of the campaign. Given the importance of the back-story, and the group’s secretive nature (plus how they’re operating under the oversight of their master), it seems like new characters would be very hard to come by. Hopefully a future book will address this.

Overall, this is a book that starts slowly and builds its way up to a truly epic crescendo. While there are some parts that could have been fleshed out better, what’s here is massive in scale and breathtaking in scope. From the all-too-short sections that deal with Farholde (a much more interesting town that it had a right to be) to clearing and refurbishing the dungeon to the incredible dungeon-defense sections to the harrowing conclusion, this is an adventure of grandeur. Throw in the formation of your own evil organization to lord over, and I have to wonder if this campaign hasn’t already hit its high point; certainly this will be a hard act to follow.

If you haven’t already started to walk the Way of the Wicked, then let this be the reason to begin doing so – you’ll never have so much fun as when you Call Forth Darkness.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Way of the Wicked Book Two: Call Forth Darkness
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Luca L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/24/2012 05:51:10

This new adventure has it all. Exploration, role-playing, plot twists, discovering ancient secrets, reverse-dungeoneering, resource managing, and battles. A rather hefty bunch of them, and each quite exciting, as they involve not your run-of-the-mill stat block creature, but very specific individuals.

The PCs will have to find, conquer (not an easy task), and hold a place as twisted and wicked as only the legends can be, complete a seemingly impossible ritual, face righteous retribution from brave heroes, and deal with some more subtle menaces. And obviously rally under their own banner the hordes of evil minions that are the staple of any bad guy - but this time they are the ones holding the leash! Over the span of many months the characters have the opportunity of fitting their own dungeon to become a death trap that devours band after band of adventurers, and with a custom built subsystem manage minions to further bolster their forces and harass their enemies - and provide entertainment, prisoners, treasure, and the inevitable headache for their masters. Will the PCs be cunning, greedy or too greedy? The pitfalls of an evil mastermind are innumerable, and a lot of them don't just come upon the blade of a do-gooder knight...

You or your player don't like the managing element of the adventure? Skip it with no hassle. You want to fill in some pieces of your design (the place screms for haunts)? There're a good many places to do so. You've been frustrated by unstoppable PCs mopping the floor with your carefully designed nemesis in a couple of rounds? Feed them their own medicine.

With yet another innovative plot, a bold take on the "hold the fortress" idea, and colourful heroes to slaughter, this installment of the Way of the Wicked was a blast to read, and being able to handle varied playing styles, will be a blast to play too. Not to be discarded are the gazetteer and the extra player concepts presented, useful for fleshing out the environs and having some quite exotic ideas (goblins? we be goblins, you be food!) for the evil adventuring group.

Highly recommended.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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