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Curse of the Crimson Throne

By Gene Capar

Played: All

In Curse of the Crimson Throne the players are thrown into a world of unrest, plague, anarchy, intrigue and regicide.  The nation of Varisia is on the edge, and once it goes over, only the players can bring it back.  As one of the earlier adventure paths this story was originally written for D&D 3.5. Some conversion will be necessary if you want to play it, which my GM painstakingly did. It should be noted, however, that there are rumours that, like Rise of the Rune Lords, Curse will be re-issued for Pathfinder.

The Good

Epic- My favorite thing about this path is how epic it felt. The situations feel very dire and players must be careful as treachery could be looming around every corner.  The repercussions of failure become unthinkable, and the dangers to be faced, grow nicely in power level.  Finally ending in a pretty awesome conclusion.

NPCs-  There are some great characters in this path, whether the players like them or not, they will remember them.  This helps the players feel they have something to fight for, or against.

Dungeon Placement- The dungeons never feel like they have been tacked on for the sake of adding a dungeon, they fit into the story.  There are some very cool rooms, and memorable fights.  This review is being edited around 2 1/2 years since the adventure’s completion and the group still talks about some of the fights and locations we faced in Curse.

The Bad

But He’s Evil-  there are a few times that require GM involvement to keep the players from killing some possibly important npcs.  Important bits of the story could easily be lost this way, as could some much needed aid at a later time.

Monty Hall- Being 3.5 too much treasure gets handed to the PCs, allowing them to gear up quickly.  Some fights that should have been near impossible for a three man team we walked through.  Most of the important fights stayed dangerous, and we even had to raise dead a couple of times, but too many were just easy.

Not Exactly a Challenge- At one point the PC’s have to undergo a ritual of survival.  It would be hard, except that being able to use level 0 spells unlimited times per day makes things like breaking pillars and dehydration not so much of a problem.

The Ugly

3.5- Did I mention that this adventure is 3.5, not Pathfinder?  Which is great, if you are playing 3.5.  If you are not, there are several concerns that need to be looked at.  At some point I will post the horrendous amount of book work my GM put into this adventure before we could play.

Party Killer- In one of the dungeons there is a magical trap that is all but impossible to find and disarm by anything short of the most twinked out rogue.  It is area of effect and the save is brutal for the level of the dungeon.  Our GM chose not to let this single trap kill our whole campaign, and had us lose some valuable time instead.  As a GM, I think that trap might need to be replaced by something less story ending, and maybe more fun.

Recommendations: You pretty much need some good aligned characters for this story to work, and at least one divine caster and one arcane caster will really help.

Rating: 8/10

My group really enjoyed this adventure.  When it was over we felt we had really earned our happy ending.

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