A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement The Sixfold Trial

The Sixfold Trial is the second, #26, in the Council of Thieves Adventure Path from Paizo Publishing, following The Bastards of Erebus. This is an adventure for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and, as such, is covered by the Open Game License with some of it being considered to be Open Game Content as a result. Characters are assumed to be 3rd level at the start of this module and are expected to be 5th level by the end. The Adventure Path then continues in What Lies in Dust. This adventure sees the characters perform a play in order to infiltrate a pocket dimension in the mansion of the Lord Mayor of Westcrown.

The PDF is available from the Paizo site for $13.99 but was purchased at the reduced price of $9.79. It is also available as a softcover book, primarily from sites such as Amazon. The PDF is the version reviewed and has 100 pages. Two of these are the colour front and rear covers, two pages are the inside covers, one being a map of Westcrown with the locations of this adventure marked and the other being a Dramatis Personae, two pages are the front matter, one the Table of Contents, one page on upcoming products and the Open Game License and four pages are ads for other products.

The Sixfold TrialOn With the Show is the two page Foreword. This explains how the main focus of this section of the Adventure Path is a play and how the author was chosen for his work on The Prince of Redhand from Dungeon 131 and the Age of Worms Adventure Path.

The Sixfold Trial is the adventure itself. It starts with Adventure Background. The adventure is based around a play, The Six Trials of Larazod, a rather dangerous play that in its full version tends to kill of its main cast. The brother and sister who were the shadowy backers behind the Bastards of Erebus and would appear to be the main antagonists of the path are planning to free a captive pit fiend, in exchange for help, whilst the players are infiltrating the mayor’s manor to get information.

Part One: The Shadows Lengthen is assumed to start with a bit of a gap after the end of the last module (perhaps the characters could have been doing side quests). In this the characters are told the plan for infiltrating the manor.

Part Two: Dress Rehearsal introduces various NPCs that are important to the play and has the characters auditioning for various parts. This ends with a dress rehearsal for the play, in which the players are intended to actually read out the lines for the characters that their characters are playing.

Part Three: The Nightshade Theatre covers the actual performance of the play itself, which is very dangerous. Again, players are supposed to act out the roles and their characters will have to fight monsters and survive other dangers as well. At the end of the play, they will receive a monetary reward, the size dependent on how well they did, and an invitation to the mayor’s mansion for a feast.

Part Four: The Cornucopia is the feast itself. During the feast, the players can interact with some of the other guests and learn some important information. If they cause problems, though, they will be asked to leave. Details of various important NPCs are given, and there is a description of the mansion itself.

Part Five: The Asmodean Knot is the final part of the adventure and covers the pit fiend-powered demiplane that is where the characters go to find a specific item that they need. There is an enemy NPC who has infiltrated the place first and who has left what is actually a really dangerous trap that has probably got a high likelihood of killing one character at the entrance. It’s possible for characters to turn this trap back on her, but if it isn’t a devil who is a substantial threat at the level they are will be summoned. What happens here is responsible for events in a later episode of the Adventure Path, The Infernal Syndrome.

The adventure itself finishes with a few paragraphs concluding it and that the next adventure can start when the players try to open the item they recovered, the Chelish Crux. Should they delay too long, NPCs will ask them when they are going to try to open it.

The Six Trials of Larazod is a complete, small, play, the play that is performed as part of the adventure. Should players wish to run the play instead of doing the performance using ability rolls, this can be used.

Iomedae covers the goddess of that name. A former mortal paladin of Arazni from Cheliax, she became the herald of Aroden after the fall of Arazni. When Aroden himself died, Iomedae gained most of his followers. This section gives details on the lawful good, quite young, goddess, her religion, followers, temples and shrines and other religious material. There is a new spell, a new feat and a new prestige class for followers of this goddess.

Hell’s Pawns: House Henderthane is the second part of the piece of fiction.

The Bestiary starts with wandering monster tables for Westcrown then details five new monsters, although one is simply a giant version of a swarm creature. These are stated as being associated with the virtues and vices of nobility, although this may be a stretch.

Finally, there are the same four Pregenerated Characters who have now been increased in level.

The Sixfold Trial in Review

The PDF is well bookmarked with the major and minor sections included. The Table of Contents simply lists the main sections. Navigation is as a result above average.

The text maintains a two column format and appeared to be free of errors. The pages are full colour and there are many full colour illustrations as well, up to around half a page in size. The monsters are all illustrated too, which is good. There are also some full colour battlemaps for the mayor’s mansion and the Asmodean Knot.

The play The Six Trials of Larazod, given its references to people not surviving the complete unedited performance, does throw up similarities to The King in Yellow, but it is rather different. The reason actors don’t survive the performance is because it’s potentially quite lethal.

The adventure itself provides a mix of role playing opportunities and combat encounters. The extent of the role playing does depend on whether or not the play is actually performed, or whether it is simply rolled. The play itself will probably either make or break the adventure, depending on the opinion – and, frankly, age; it is not really suited to a younger audience – of the players regarding it. Those who enjoy reading it out will think it’s great; those who don’t will be bored. It is an interesting concept though and, whilst nasty, is quite fitting for a lawful evil setting.

Players can also meet and get information from non-player characters, some of whom will be important later on (so it’s fortunate that they aren’t going to have a chance to kill them!). More of this is done during the Cornucopia, a meal that possesses its own dangers – and has a wonderful description of the courses and their names.

The final location, the demiplane dungeon called the Asmodean Knot, is both weird and deadly. Lots of strange occurrences and a trap left by an NPC that is potentially quite lethal unless players catch on to it.

Iomedae provides decent background on a new, young, ascended goddess, one who will likely not be popular with the rulership of Cheliax but who does play a role through her followers.

The Bestiary provides five new monsters, with a fairly deadly assassin-type devil, although they are expensive to hire, a herald of Iomedae, a new type of undead and a weird bird.

The play, as mentioned, has the potential to make or break the adventure, but if it doesn’t interest, it can be disposed of with a few dice rolls. Those more interested in more traditional fare have the Asmodean Knot to contend with. The Sixfold Trial is an interesting, and different, entry in this adventure path.

 

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