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The Reaping Stone Deluxe Adventure

The Reaping Stone Deluxe Adventure

From: TPK Games

Reviewed by: Tera Fulbright

The Reaping Stone Deluxe Adventure is a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible Adventure from TPK Games.

TPK (Total Party Kill) Games lives up to its name in this Deluxe Adventure. Taking advantage of having a Pathfinder gaming group, I ran the party through the first couple of encounters in this adventure to see how it played out. As a DM, I had to pull my punches to keep from killing the party in the first session. While there are positive aspects to the adventure, the overall TPK (no pun intended) chance seemed extremely high.

From the Website:

“‘The Reaping Stone’ is a deluxe 200-page adventure that will take your characters down a dark path, from 1st level to at least 5th level, as prequel for the upcoming Bleeding Hollow deluxe adventure.

‘The Reaping Stone’ is as brutal as Rappan Athuk and as challenging and engaging as any published Adventure Path, with a good dose of old-school carnage binding the lot together.”

The setup for this game is absolutely inventive, even if it does start in a tavern. Characters are sent to investigate a cult and find themselves infected by a “vile” disease. From the outset, the game sets a high standard for survivability.

At second level, it is challenging for characters to make the save required to avoid the initial impact of the disease. Nearly all of my players became infected immediately. While this did give an immediate reason for the players and their characters to become involved in the campaign, it also immediately handicapped them depending on their CON stat. Indeed, the next encounter again targets CON, which puts already weak characters at further risk.

The adventure then leads the characters into a dungeon of twists and turns where they face challenge after challenge from new creatures like the Effluvium Jelly to a swarm of rats.

I do like that TPK Games include a “scaling the encounter” block in case you are playing with a smaller group. The adventure assumes six PC’s starting at second level. This did come in handy as I realized that the encounters as written were more than the four PC’s could handle.

From the Synopsis:

“Some years ago, Azrenar, a cleric of Maramaga, Scythe-mother and Queen of Rot, petitions the king of Maerh-Varza to build a great temple to the ancient goddess. In great fury, the king seeks to put the offensive cleric and his followers to the sword and nearly succeeds. His followers’ dead bodies line the roads to Maerh-Varza and the cleric Azrenar curses the king, declaring bloody vengeance.

Now channeling the power of the Reaping Stone, Azrenar has created a deadly supernatural disease, one capable of animating those who die of the horrible wasting disease. Will the spurned cleric turn Maerh-Varza into a zombie-infested metropolis or will the players find the cure in time?”

As the adventure continues, the characters are faced with challenges from haunts and ghosts to zombies and vampires.

There were things I liked about the design of the adventure. As I mentioned, I liked the “scaling” options. I also liked the “morale” aspect of the encounters which helps guide the DM in the personality of the enemy NPC’s. In addition, knowing the deadliness of the adventure, the encounter treasures are prepped with cure potions and other healing.

The encounters are described well, with an immense amount of detail. The author, Tom Phillips, is clearly well-versed in horror. He paints a picture of a dark and depressing world with NPC’s and encounters.

From page 107:

“These ancient crumbling ruins are obviously haunted. Softly whispering shadow-shapes dance at the corner of your vision as the empty streets and crumbling buildings seem to almost vibrate with a tangible malign presence.”

But all of the incredibly vivid and descriptive details get lost in the seemingly never-ending dungeon crawl aspect of the adventure.

Many of the challenges seem to be set two to three levels above the PC’s. Where this becomes a problem is when the PC’s are using a lot of resources on lower level encounters, leaving them with limited options when faced with a stronger enemy.

As the adventure continues, the NPC’s gain power significantly faster than the PC’s do. At one point, it appears as though the PC’s will face an NPC three to five levels above theirs, and this is after facing several equal or slightly higher encounters.

In Conclusion…

From page 5:

“It is a dangerous adventure that could mean the death of one or more player characters and will take extra precaution or resourcefulness to navigate it successfully. The word “Reaping” in the title of this adventure is also a serious hint: players should proceed with extreme caution.”

I think TPK Games calls the adventure correctly as dangerous. The adventure as written could easily kill a party of PC’s that are not extremely resourceful and careful. It is written to be challenging and deadly.

That being said, I still think the adventure is a bit overpowered for the expressed level of PC’s. Even with six PC’s, DM’s may find themselves scaling the adventure back if they do not wish to kill the party early on.

For more details on TPK Games and their new deluxe adventure “The Reaping Stone” check them out at their website http://www.tpkgames.com, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 11

Product Summary

The Reaping Stone Deluxe Adventure

From: TPK Games

Type of Game: Adventure Module

Lead Designer: Tom Phillips

Cover Design: Brian Berg

Additional Art by: Dusan Kostic, Christopher Stoll, and various public domain images

Number of Pages: 204

Game Components Included: Book

Retail Price: $24.99

Number of Players: 6

Website: www.tpkgames.com

Reviewed by: Tera Fulbright

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