A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement The Twice-Damned Prince

The Twice-Damned Prince is the sixth and final, #30, supplement in the Council of Thieves Adventure Path from Paizo Publishing and the next in the series following Mother of Flies. The supplement is published for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and, as such, is covered by the Open Game License with some parts being considered Open Game Content as a result. Characters are assumed to have reached 11th level at the start of the adventure and should reach 13th level by its end.

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 pages are the front and rear covers, two pages are the inside covers showing a map of Westcrown and the important locations and the Dramatis Persona, two pages are the front matter, one page is the Table of Contents, one page is the Open Game License and what is upcoming next month and four pages are ads for other products from Paizo.

Epic Win is the two page Foreword discusses high level adventures, continuing the adventure after the conclusion and the Advanced Player’s Guide.

The Twice-Damned PrinceThe Twice-Damned Prince is the adventure itself. It begins with background to the adventure and the Council of Thieves’ history, followed by a summary of the adventure. With the conspirators’ plans reaching fruition, matters in Westcrown are getting out of hand and the Chelish government has dispatched forces who will fix the problem if it still exists when they arrive. There is also a sidebar on Mammon’s involvement.

Part One: Children of Westcrown is basically an introductory section and considers what players might do. There is also a sidebar, Mini-Quests, on how the locations are not described in the usual manner, because they are small and dynamic rather than dungeon crawls.

Throughout the adventure path the characters have been gaining Fame Points; in this section an explanation as to how these are used. The initial total is used, in conjunction with characters’ stats, for Fame Rolls in the adventure. The points themselves can be spent (which does not affect the number used for Fame Rolls) to reroll Fame Rolls or to gain rewards or deny resources to the Council of Thieves.

There are also stats for a number of common members of the Council that characters can encounter during the adventure.

Part Two: A Feud Among Nobles sees the characters swinging two of the city’s noble houses to their side in order to bring the rest in line and be the first step in reducing the turmoil. One in particular holds the key to the city’s guard, the dottari. Two houses are given – who don’t like each other, even though they currently live in two parts of the same manor – although it is suggested that others be used, should the players have made alliances or friendships with them. One house’s members are being held captive by the Council of Thieves; the other’s have been gutted by a doppelganger. The players need to solve the two houses’ problems and bring them onside.

Part Three: Courting the Hellknights sees the players attempting to get the Hellknights of the Order of the Rack in the city onside. The Order is mostly cloistered up in its fortress outside of town, due to it seeming that a knight assassinated the head of the dottari, so the head is investigating all the knights. Those in town have been ordered to stay in their chapterhouse but one faction has schismed, supporting the Council of Thieves.

Parts Four to Six are miniquests set in different areas of the city.

Part Four: City of Discord is a series of minor quests that should take place after the previous three sections.

Assault on the Safe House sees the Council of Thieves attack the Children of Westcrown’s safe house, as established in The Bastards of Erebus, in an attempt to assassinate the characters.

The Hellknight Siege has the Council attack the knights of the Order of the Rack, with those knights that schismed as allies.

New Recruits has the characters stopping a small gang of thugs who have been released from prison by the Council and who are abducted vulnerable people and ransoming them back to their families.

Playing with Fire has a barbed devil summoning other barbed devils to torch parts of the city. The parts are carefully selected so that the entire city doesn’t go up in flames.

A Noble Lure has the characters acting to prevent an assassination, but this is a trap with the characters themselves being the actual targets.

Rolan the Tinkerer has the characters clearing some streets that have been barricaded by some automatons built by a dwarf, the latter having lost his grip on sanity to a degree.

Part Five: City of Death is like Part Four in that it is a series of miniquests again. This time the miniquests share a common theme – the undead – and a common location – Rego Cader.

Walking Hunger sees the characters dealing with a woman from the past who has been raised as an undead and who is occupying what used to be one of Westcrown’s major gates.

Bastards of Death has the players contacted by an NPC from The Sixfold Trial who wants them to go look for her father at the family mausoleum. The players will tangle with the undead versions of a couple of the Bastards of Erebus who they tangled with in the first module, and who probably hold a bit of a grudge.

The Actor’s Encore has the players dealing with an actor they have had problem with in the past who, due to the grudge he held against them, had himself turned into a vampire.

The Heretic’s Ghost is the final encounter detailed in this part and this time the players are hunting for the ghost of the heretical Hellknight.

Part Six: City of Damnation is set in Parego Regicona and, like the previous two parts, is a series of miniquests.

Hell’s Defectors sees the characters dealing with the main body of heretical Hellknights from earlier.

Skarx’s Prison sees them probably rescuing an NPC from a prison. Alternatively, should the characters have been captured by the Council in the previous module, they will need to escape from this prison instead.

Slave Barge is a devil-run barge that is trawling the rivers capturing people.

Hellish Cavalry is the final event a group of devils riding hellcats that are terrorising people.

Part Seven: The Assassin’s Pet involves the characters looking for one of the two siblings leading the Council of Thieves. By this point, they should either have or be able to get the location that she is hiding out in. If they have the contract from Mother of Flies, they will probably be able to turn her against her brother, because his success leads to her eternal damnation.

Part Eight: The Vacant Throne is the final confrontation with the second sibling. The sister from Part Seven may be on their side; then again, they may have failed at this. There is a large, staged confrontation between devils and the Council of Thieves; if the characters directly interfere with this, the confrontation will become real with both sides turning on them, quite probably fatally.

Finally, Concluding the Campaign decides the fate of Westcrown, if the characters are successful at saving it. If they aren’t successful enough, they won’t get much gratitude – results range from being blamed for everything to being hailed as heroes. Also considered is what happens should the Council of Thieves prove to be victorious and there are five potential adventure seeds for expanding the campaign.

Catastrophe! provides new rules on disasters, especially in cities. First how such disasters would be caused is considered and it suggests researching unusual but real disasters and how such could be combined to make an actual adventure. Then, three specific types of disasters are covered: collapse, fire and floods. Such elements as structural collapse, how fires spread and how they can be extinguished and slow rise and flash floods are looked at, with a variety of new rules for the situations. Some appropriate magics are also considered.

Mammon is about the demon lord who is effectively behind much of what has happened in the adventure path, even if he has had little direct influence, only indirect through events set in motion years ago. The archdevil effectively lacks a body, instead possessing all of the third layer of the Nine Hells, Erebus (it looks like more on this is covered in Princes of Darkness: Book of the Damned Vol. 1). Mammon is associated with wealth and greed, and the section covers his religion, with a new spell and a new feat, his minions and two new magic items associated with his cult, as well as a very dangerous high-level high priestess.

Hell’s Pawns: Part 6 of 6: The Scions Academy is the final chapter in the fiction. Sidebars in this section discuss the Infernal Compact, the deal made between the rulers of Cheliax and Asmodeus, the fiction for the next adventure path, Kingmaker, and how the main character from the fiction will appear in his own novel.

The Bestiary contains a new wandering monster table which is heavy on devils, just as in the previous adventure. Also just as in the previous adventure, it’s suggested that not as many devils as are shown should be encountered, but replaced with other creatures. Which does make the table seem a little pointless. There are also six new monsters. One is a devil, one is a gigantic humanoid found in Hell, one a creature found in both Hell and the Plane of Shadow, one a construct, one a strange serpentine being and one a large magical beast.

Finally, Pre-Generated Characters has the same four characters as in the previous issues at a higher level.

The Twice-Damned Prince in Review

The PDF is well bookmarked with major and minor sections linked. The Table of Contents is not as thorough, only covering the main chapters. Navigation is therefore above average. The text maintains a two column format with a few minor errors noticed. The layout itself is full colour with many illustrations, up to around a half page in size, including ones for every monster in the Bestiary. Presentation is therefore very good.

The adventure itself is rather different from the rest of the adventure path. Previous adventures have typically had a dungeon crawl and been very linear in nature; do x, then y, then z. This is anything but linear.

Parts One to Three need running first, as they set the stage for various events and Part One is essentially just an introduction. Part Eight, being the conclusion of the adventure, needs running last. For Parts Four to Six (and even Part Seven perhaps), there is no specific order to run these, or the individual miniquests, in; players can chop and change and do them in different orders. This is effectively a sandbox, where players can go from one place to another and not in the order seen in the book. GM’s should probably consider this carefully so that they are prepared for characters running all over the city. In many ways these seem like staged monster encounters, but they could be made a bit more interesting, especially if they can be tied to NPCs previously encountered. Said NPCs might also need making a bit more interesting; there are a lot of thieves naturally enough, but these can get a bit boring. The final showdown is perhaps the most interesting.

The conclusion of the adventure, the table where Westcrown’s fate is decided, looks a bit on the dodgy side. Through the various adventures characters will have been accumulating Fame Points. In this adventure they also acquired Popularity Points. A final Fame check is then performed by one PC with the others giving a bonus using the Popularity Points. Fame Points will likely have been spent during the progress of this adventure, in order to cement victories, but any left unspent are added to the total. The final figure determines what happens – and only one of these is any good for the PCs. One is bad and two are indifferent and, without checking more deeply, it looks like it will be difficult for the players to gain a positive result – which will rightly annoy them. This may need tweaking.

Catastrophe! provides some interesting new rules on handling such and some of these at least can be used to enliven the adventure.

The article on Mammon is interesting, providing information on an archdevil who characters might get entangled with all too easily, given his focus on greed.

The Bestiary provides some interesting high-level creatures, although it is unlikely that any of these will be encountered in the adventure. Which makes their inclusion a bit odd. There is a focus on devils and creatures from the Nine Hells, but in some ways these seem like filler and not relevant to the adventure, however interesting they may be.

This is a reasonably satisfying end to the Adventure Path – assuming that the players don’t get hammered in the final popularity table – although the ending level is lower than is common. There are some interesting ideas for fleshing it out beyond the end, especially visiting other planes. The Twice-Damned Prince wraps up the path in workmanlike fashion.

 

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