Carrion Crown Chapter 5, Ashes at Dawn, Session 1

First Session (16 page pdf) – The group bypasses a headless horseman on the way to Caliphas, where vampire murders are investigated.


My friend Scott from Memphis was in town, and guest starred as Vampire Hunter D.

Xurak charms the horseman as we fight off hellhounds.  Unfortunately, the intelligent nightmare he’s riding will have none of it…

Then we investigate murders.  Vampire murders.  Vampire murders of vampires.  The racist among us simply consider this “a job well done” but the plot has other ideas. We investigate, gather intel, and banter. Eventually a tailor shop is targeted for a home invasion.

9 responses to “Carrion Crown Chapter 5, Ashes at Dawn, Session 1

  1. “Help us stop these vampire murders” say the vampires.

    The paladin, cleric, undead-hunting ranger, and undead-fighting necromancer look at each other, then back at the vampires.

    “No,” they say, then move on to the next book.

    We had a long out of character discussion about this one and we couldn’t justify playing through the chapter. The GM acknowledged that our characters would have no interest in helping the vampires — my character’s family had been murdered by one of the vampires asking for help! — so we got our clue token through another source and moved on, because stopping the Whispering Way was the more pressing issue.

    I don’t know if this was just an unfortunate coincidence but the characters were all picked from the suggested types in the player’s guide for the campaign so I’m surprised that such a roadblock didn’t come up in testing.

    • Yeah, I was disappointed with the thin railroad through the whole AP, but it got extra old in this chapter. The GM argued “well but, but… vampire help!” I felt like with all the chapters they just up and say “we want you to solve this the way we want you to solve it.”

      And Paizo likes having the mandatory “cooperate with the baddie” part in every AP. Every once in a while is fine, but it’s become quite cliche by this point. Especially as it’s usually not really optional unless your GM is aboard with the plan.

  2. I agree with the above, but the gm and players are stuck with it if the gm doesn’t have the time to rewire the module.

    On the other hand, who wouldn’t want to be friends with the headless nightmare rider? And with green flames no less. Awesome. Truly a home run for module art.

    • The campaign is full of evocative ideas and great art, which makes it all the more of a shame that it’s so clumsy in terms of plot structure. This is a campaign I wanted to love.

      • I have to agree, I really wanted to love it too, previous things in APs that touched on horror (Foxglove Manor) were compelling. I wouldn’t say this AP has been bad – but it has not been as good, IMO, as our Crimson Throne or Runelords experiences. Great art, just too “theme park”-y (You’re in Lovecraft World now! Stay on the roller coaster!).

      • I mean, Crimson Throne started hitting a bit of a lead by the nose thing in Chapter 4 that put me off a little, but in this one it starts in Chapter 2.

        • One day I’ll have a go at rewriting it to give it more of a Masks of Nyarlathotep structure; the first chapter would probably be much the same, then the player-characters get the prophecy/poem and can tackle the bits in any order. I don’t think the theme park aspect would be as glaring in such a structure.

          • Yeah that’s the thing, I think it wouldn’t take all that much work to have written it in a less linear manner, feels like they were rushed when producing it.

          • kelvingreen

            I agree it does feel rushed, as if they didn’t really give it a final once-over once all the individual chapters were in.

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