New Classics: Paizo Modules J1 and J4

Entombed with the Pharaohs and The Pact Stone Pyramid

Entombed with the Pharohs CoverToday I bring in a couple of my favorite Paizo modules both written by Michael Kortes.  One is a sequel to the other, though they can easily be played as separate adventures.  They share similar themes of pyramid exploration and bring in more than just the usual dungeon crawling.  I believe these are the best pyramid based modules since the Desert of Desolation series that I still need to run for my current group.  We did play through both of these modules and I believe my players had as much fun playing them as I did running them.

Both modules are set in the Golarion setting in the country of Osirion.  If you are not familiar, the country is a fantasy version of Egypt though not as dead on as say Green Ronin’s Hamunaptra.  The setting is important to both modules so it will reward groups that use it specifically in the Osirion country but the modules are not so attached to it that it cannot be pulled away and placed in a homebrew or other similarly themed setting.  When I ran them they were placed in my homebrew setting with zero issues of compatibility.

Both modules are also written under the OGL and before the Pathfinder RPG came out.  I think this might be one reason I rarely see mention of them or other modules from this period of Paizo’s publishing.  I ran these using 3.5 D&D so I did not have to do any converting but I don’t believe it would be difficult to convert these into newer or even older versions of D&D and like RPGs.  One aspect that makes them a little easier to convert is the modules are not very large.  Each module has a little more than a dozen different areas in the Pyramids with encounters that lead up to the actual pyramid exploration.  These days I think I prefer these smaller modules and the ease they can be completed in.  I think each of these took us a session or two to finish.  Entombed with the Pharaohs is for sixth levels characters and the Pact Stone is for eighth level characters.

Entombed with the Pharaohs

Entombed with the Pharaohs starts with some good pulp feeling adventure.  The bad guys are introduced at the beginning and there is an auction the PCs need to win to get clues on where the Pyramid is.  I like that it doesn’t just start the PCs at the base of the Pyramid, though one could easily ignore the first part of the module and do just that.  The module has great sidebars that tell additional information.  I like the one on the numerology. That one can be focused on to add more depth to the mystery for the PCs to figure out.  There is also plenty of information on what the bad guys are going to be doing so it is not just rooms waiting to be explored.  There is a race to see who can get the treasure first.  There is a good variety to the encounters with some just tough combats and others are minor puzzles.  There are some great references to planet watching and another planet in the Golarion solar system.  This is just hinted at in the module but would be easy to expand on especially since now there is a book on the other planets.  The module is self-contained but hints at a much bigger picture for DMs to have fun with.  For a small module there is a good deal of mystery and information that can be built on or ignored without damaging the adventure

The Pact Stone PyramidThe Pact Stone Pyramid

The Pact Stone Pyramid is quite different but the general themes are the same.  One could probably combine both pyramids of the modules into a much larger dungeon crawl or just have this be a tougher area in the first module.  But I like them as separate places especially with the hints and foreshadow of the first module to the second one.  Like the other module the Pact Stone Pyramid has a rival group that is there before the PCs, but having difficulties.  There is a lot of potential to bring back old NPC nemesis or allies here and introduce some new ones.  Getting into the Pyramid and by its initial guardians is a challenge and not the easiest thing to figure out for PCs that stop and delay trying to.  There are plenty of cool encounters and mysteries to be figured out.  Like the other module this one to hints at events larger than the module and between the two modules it seems to prophesize a large event that is coming soon and clever PCs can figure out exactly how long they have.

Both modules appear to still be in print and I’ve seen them occasionally at used books stores. It should be easy to pick them up for people interested in them.  They have a great pulp feel that could actually aid in converting them to other non D&D like games like Hollow Earth Expedition or Adventure.  Modernizing the rival factions but keeping the magic and fantasy elements of the modules could make for some fun 1920’s pulp adventures.  With the foreshadowing of something evil coming, the numerology, and ancient books that the modules reference it could make these a good starting point some Call of Cthulhu adventures or even a more modern Delta Green version.  Running the modules for these games would take a bit more work for the GM but would be a good surprise for players that might not be expecting adventures like these.  The modules have a plenty of potential to be used in fun and creative ways.

Chris Gath.  I’ve been gaming since 1980 playing all kinds of games since then.  In the past year I’ve run Pathfinder, Dungeon Crawl Classic, Paranoia, and Mini d6.  My current campaign is mini d6 and we are using that for a modern supernatural conspiracy investigative game.  On some forums I’m known as Crothian and I’ve written a few hundred reviews though I took a sabbatical from reviewing for a few years as it burnt me out.  I was also an judge for the Gen Con awards (ENnies) six times.  Jeff, the owner of this blog, is one of my players and a good friend.

2 thoughts on “New Classics: Paizo Modules J1 and J4

  1. I have these modules sitting in a stack of things to read, and they have been sitting there for some time. I am now putting them to the top of the pile. This review has made me a bit keen for a bout of pulp adventure in an Egyptian setting 🙂

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