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D&D 5E [Let's Read] Odyssey of the Dragonlords

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Greetings everyone, and welcome to my next Let’s Read! I know that I said I’d review SIGMATA, but I found myself feeling a lot more passionate about another book. As such undertakings take quite a bit of time and effort on my part, I felt it best to do the ones that fill me with the most excitement and energy.

Back in the 90s and early Aughties, Bioware was the most prominent studio that brought the Dungeons & Dragons rules to the realm of video games. Even their much-acclaimed Knights of the Old Republic used rules derived from the Star Wars D20 System. Although Bioware moved on to its own Intellectual Properties over time, the company brought countless gamers to the Forgotten Realms seeking to learn more about the vaunted cities of Neverwinter and Baldur’s Gate.

In a way, it wasn’t too unsurprising when the lead designers of said games (as well as Dragon Age: Origins) wrote up a 5th Edition-compatible adventure for their account of Baldur’s Gate. But that was not their only delve into tabletop; last year they advertised a very successful KickStarter for an original setting.

Odyssey of the Dragonlords is part setting, part level 1 to 20* adventure path that takes heavy inspiration from Greek mythology. The continent of Thylea is dominated by two divine pantheons, the Five Gods and the Titans, who settled into an uneasy Oath of Peace for 500 years. But the Oath’s magically-binding duration is coming to an end, and the PCs are spoken of in a prophecy to be Thylea’s only hope. As the wicked Titans muster their forces to bring ruin and devastation, every day is one step towards uncertain doom.

*the book advertises 1 to 15 but it got extended as a stretch goal.

Introduction
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Our book opens up with a discussion of distinguishing tropes to make Odyssey stand out from the typical D&D faire. For one, the plot has high stakes: even at level 1 the PCs are assumed to be well-known and accomplished heroes with a few mighty deeds already under their belts. At low levels the rulers of city-states are calling upon an audience with them, and at higher levels they can even challenge the gods themselves who have convenient stat blocks for such a purpose. Oaths are powerful and cosmically-binding, and accruing fame from deeds nets you followers and power represented by a Fame score. Fate and prophecies are a gift and a curse which even the gods cannot defy, and the lives of mythic heroes have elements of comedy and tragedy.

The fate part is subverted in the adventure path proper, as some visions that can be averted and there are multiple ‘timelines’ the major Oracle character can witness. The comedy/tragedy thing isn’t really something one can do save based on the subjective tastes of the group. The adventure likely has potentially tragic moments (cities being destroyed, NPCs suffering cruel fates, adventure plots and backstories revolving around past injustices, etc), but more comedic and absurdist elements aren’t really present from my initial reading.

The World of Thylea: Thylea is an island-continent located in a remote section of the known world, guarded from the rest by the actions of the local gods. Ample islands and peninsulas reach off its southern shores, lush forests and valleys occupy much of the central area, while wild steppes in the far north are ill-explored save by nomadic bands of centaurs, cyclopes, and various monsters. Thylea’s recorded history stretches back 2,500 years, when much of the continent was home to fey races such as nymphs and satyrs, and the ur-cyclops race known as gygans* ruled a mighty empire. Two deities, the Titans Sydon and Lutheria, reigned supreme over the land and received worship and sacrifice by mortals. Over time, various refugees, sailors lost at sea, and other people from unknown lands found themselves on Thylea’s shores, where they had complicated relationships with the native races. Sometimes such conflicts were violent, and they beseeched Sydon and Lutheria for protection. Which they received, but not enough that they were capable of building civilizations beyond some meager far-flung villages.

*a smaller yet more intelligent subrace of six-armed cyclops.

This all changed when a group of warriors astride mighty bronze serpents known as the Dragonlords set wing and foot upon Thylea’s coasts. They helped the settler races build great cities and repel the worst of the centaur and gygan raids, and soon the Titans grew jealous at their status. The First War was waged, causing great devastation on both sides. As the last of the Dragonlords fell, a new pantheon of Five Gods came down from heaven to prevent the Titans from destroying all. Eventually an Oath of Peace was brokered between the old and new pantheons; the details were vague, but for 500 years Sydon and Lutheria swore not to take revenge upon Thylea’s mortals and in exchange they would continue to receive honor and tribute in the form of temple maintenance and daily sacrifices.

But as of the campaign’s beginning, it is mere months before the Oath of Peace ends, and the famed Oracle prophecies the Doom of Thylea. Where even the gods die and the mortal races are wiped off the face of the earth. The PCs, notable heroes in their own right, are summoned by her to find ways of averting this dire prediction.

Powers, Factions, & Mortal Kingdoms of Thylea: These next three sections discuss religion and politics of the setting. Beginning with the deities, it is known that the gods and goddesses of Thylea are not the only ones out there, although foreign gods from the wider world leave Thylea largely untouched and their worshipers are few in number beyond some storm-tossed foreigners. The two major pantheons are the Ancient Titans and the Five Gods, although there are Forgotten Gods whose names and power grew few to the point that they are rarely honored outside of specific groups. With a few exceptions the gods do not dwell in separate planes of existence, but live in the Material Plane so as to keep a closer watch on their mortal charges. For example, Sydon spends much of his time in the lighthouse-fortress Praxys, while Pythor and Vallus are the ruler and wife of a ruler, respectively, in two of the larger city-states. Narsus, the God of Beauty, is not technically ‘forgotten’ but is the patron god/prisoner of the city-state of Aresia.

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As you can see by the above, the Titans are the more ‘natural,’ cruel, and tempestuous of the pantheons. Thylea is the oldest titan, for it is said that the very continent is her body, her limbs extending as deep roots throughout the earth. Kentimane is Thylea’s husband, a gigantic being who stands taller than the highest mountain and regularly patrols the seas around the continent so as to guard his wife’s tomb from outside threats. The twins Sydon and Lutheria are the two surviving children of Thylea and Kentimane, their siblings long since murdered or imprisoned at the hands of their wicked kin. Sydon is a tyrannical deity in control of the seas and storms, and he longs for a world where all bow to his feet. He brooks no worship of any other entity besides his sister Lutheria, and even then only grudgingly. Lutheria is a cross between Hades and Dionysus, a harvester of souls and granter of insanity who encourages her followers to care about nothing but themselves and take what they will without consequence. Unsurprisingly the squickier elements of Odyssey shine through involving her or her worshipers; most NPCs who are sexual predators are loyal to her, and the goddess herself is a rapist in the “use enchantment magic to make people have sex with each other” kind of way.

The worship of Sydon and Lutheria is a controversial one among mortal society; people make sacrifices to Sydon more out of fear than loyalty and for safe voyage, and many find Lutheria’s doctrines disgusting. But Lutheria has devotees among some noble houses, her followers control the wine trade, and they host some of the larger public holidays which makes her a tolerated evil.

The Five Gods are the new pantheon, and unlike Sydon and Lutheria their acts of folly extend more to irresponsibility and lapses in judgment than outright sadism or malice. Mytros is the Goddess of Dawn and for whom the largest city-state is named. She is now back in the celestial realms after a battle with Sydon and Lutheria, and is by far the most common deity for clerics among the settler races to worship. Volkan is the God of Craftsmanship and invention, and is also the Santa Claus equivalent of the setting where he travels during the winter solstice as children await his gifts and sweets. Pythor is the God of War and has ruled over the city-state of Estoria for centuries after overthrowing its tyrannical king, and while popular his impulsiveness and alcoholism has dulled his ability to make wise decisions. Vallus, the Goddess of Wisdom, was once a traveler of the world and a collector of lore. Now she serves as the wife to King Acastus of the City of Mytros, and is prayed to for those seeking wisdom in overcoming some dilemma. Finally, Kyrah the Goddess of Music is a cross between Hermes and Apollo, known for being a quick-stepping trickster who provides inspiration to musicians and artists of all stripes.

Thylea has Mortal Kingdoms but no true nation-states or empires in modern times. Generally speaking, society is divided into two groups: the three major city-states and smaller settlements under their protection, and various independent tribes and villages who are scattered yet self-sufficient. The native races largely fall into the latter category barring a few exceptions such as the satyrs who are fond of visiting larger settlements.

The city-state of AthensMytros is a grand metropolis that is the religious, economic, and cultural center of Thylean society. It is home to the great Temple of the Five and ruled over by King Acastus, a descendant of one of the Dragonlords and notable for trying to rebuild said ancient order by somehow reviving the formerly-extinct race of dragons. The city-state of Estoria* is a border stronghold which holds off raids from the northern steppes; the god Pythor sits in a castle on the highest hill where he can survey the land. Finally, the city-state of SpartaAresia is home to some of the most famous warrior societies. While it doesn’t have a reigning god, its founder kidnapped and imprisoned Narsus, the God of Beauty. This act has led to centuries’ of on and off wars with Mytros. Aresian culture takes great pains to appear, well, spartan among the upper classes to separate themselves from the ‘decadent, barbaric Mytrosians.’ In practice its upper class is more elaborate at hiding their wealth and parties while using bread and circuses to keep the loyalty of the common folk. The southern islands are controlled by no large overarching power, with various barbarian tribes reigning supreme. The Amazons are the most well-known by outsiders and live in the largest island of said archipelagos: Themis.

*Apologies for not knowing what Greek City-State it’s based on.

We get a look at the ten major factions of Thylea, organizations who are either tied to a political or religious group or a power in their own right. Many of them check off typical fantasy trope boxes: the Cult of the Snake is a notable Mytrosian thieves’ guild, the Academy of Mytros is the foremost center of learning where philosopher-wizards hang out to share spells, the Order of Sydon is a paramilitary organization taking increasingly violent action against temples of the Five, the Centurions* of Mytros are said city’s standing army, and the Druids of Oldwood worship Thylea and make sacrifices to her to atone for the ‘original sins’ of the settler races’ presence on her land. The Temple of the Five and the Temple of the Oracle are institutions dedicated to the Five Gods and Versi the Oracle respectively, and only the former gets involved in secular politics with the Oracle being more removed from mundane affairs. The last three factions are monstrous in nature: the remnants of gygan tribes band together in small families and seek vengeance against the settler races, the centaurs of the Steppes war upon each other and the city-state of Estoria when they’re not partying and stargazing, and the Raving Ones are maenad worshipers of Lutheria who dwell in caves and shadowed glens, ambushing unlucky travelers to rob, torture, and sacrifice to their patron.

*hey, that’s a Roman term!

The inhabitants of Thylea are collectively referred to as Mortals, even those among the native and fey races to distinguish them from the more monstrous and divine entities. The ‘native races’ include the more classic Greek mythology creatures: centaurs, the various cyclops subraces (who are sadly non-playable), medusae, minotaurs, satyrs, and sirens. The ‘settler races’ include the standard PHB stock, and are pretty much assimilated wholesale into greater Thylean society beyond a few rare exceptions: orcs do not exist on Thylea so the half-orcs are a small community in Mytros, while tieflings are referred to as “Stygeans'' and live in Mytros’ ghettos due to a believed association with Lutheria. Dragonborn are virtually non-existent, and if one were to show up the average Thylean may think them to be either a monster or a scion of the Dragonlords.

The inclusion of the non-human PHB races is perhaps the most obvious case of ‘square peg round hole’ for importing D&D tropes into Odyssey. Most NPCs who aren’t of the native races or monsters are humans, and there’s no real place in the world for elves or dwarves that makes thematic sense. I find that the native races more or less fill most of the PHB races’ roles: centaurs and minotaurs are strong warrior guys, nymphs are nature-loving magical people, medusae are the cursed and shunned outcasts, and satyrs and sirens have Dexterity bonuses and racial features which are good for subtle distractions and/or mobility. The only real thing missing is a half-elf ‘jack of all trades’ or Small-sized races like gnomes and halflings.

We briefly get into the Laws and Oaths of Thylea. They are magically-binding aspects of the world which virtually all native Thyleans know, and even the gods can be limited by them. Generally speaking if a person swears to do or not do something, then they suffer some persistent misfortune should they intentionally break the oath. The Furies, who are not gods but very powerful beings, are three women tasked with interpreting and enforcing said Oaths. They dispatch erinyes to take the more egregious Oathbreakers to their own special hell in the afterlife known as the Island of Oathbreakers.

The most common types of Oaths are Guest Friendship (hospitality to those who invite you into their home) which is used for neutral meeting grounds and periods of peace even between sworn enemies; an Oath of Peace, where the swearer promises to commit no violence against them or their servants; an Oath of Protection, a one-time promise to come to a person or group’s aid in times of crisis; and an Oath of Service, where someone swears to perform one task on behalf of an individual. This last one is the most rare for said task is open-ended and the beneficiary of the Oath can ask them to perform dangerous, suicidal, or even wicked deeds.

We also get a list of sample curses for those who break Oaths, but can also be for those who otherwise anger the gods or commit some other great crime. They are persistent conditions which worsen over time and are typically only cured via powerful magic or rectifying the original misdeed. Curse of the Harpy and Curse of the Medusa transform the victim into the aforementioned monster types, while Curse of the Graverobber makes all food non-nourishing and slowly starves the tomb-robber to death.* Finally, Curse of the Treacherous causes the Furies to dispatch a trio of erinyes devils with special spells and equipment (entangling ropes, plane shift, etc) to kidnap the unfortunate soul and take them to the Island of Oathbreakers.

*this is only inflicted on those who steal from holy sites; otherwise the average adventurer would be in deep naughty word.

Epic Paths
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Epic Paths are one of the larger aspects of Odyssey of the Dragonlords. Added on in addition to standard backgrounds, they are aspects of a PC which tie them into the larger plot. There are certain points in the Adventure Path where a relevant Epic Path will provide an alternative means of solving a task, bonus quests and rewards, fosters a relationship with an existing important NPC, and in some cases explains what the PC was up to before the start of the campaign.

Barring one exception they are all mutually exclusive, so every PC must have a different Epic Path than the rest of the party. Additionally, each Path has a Divine Boon of some sort where the PC can be rescued them from death for free only once in the campaign. It may take the form of a notable NPC coming to resurrect them, fate turning things in their favor at the last moment, the spirit of a loved one possessing their body to bring them back from the brink of death, and so on and so forth. Furthermore, there’s a Divine Blessing which is gained via completion of the Epic Path’s overall story, and some can end earlier than others on the Adventure Path.

The Paths’ entries outline the various milestones encountered during the adventure, but said adventure sections in the appropriate chapters also make callbacks in handy little sidebars for user-friendliness. For said reasons I won’t cover them here but instead during the review of relevant chapters.

Demi-God: The PC is one of Pythor’s many bastard children, and the god feels in his heart that their progeny will succeed where he failed and maybe take his place as the God of War.

Vanished One: The PC is the last surviving Dragonlord, but the Oracle Versi became obsessed with them and jealously took them as a favored pet/implied concubine a la Odysseus and Circe. Her magic helped the Vanished One be virtually ageless, but ephemeral time spent in a secluded cave has dulled their abilities.

Doomed One: Lutheria has a thing for murdering children, and sacrificing babies is one of her cult’s most infamous rites. The PC parents were part of her cult but refused to offer up their only child for slaughter. This earned their death at the hands of the goddess’ many servants. Lutheria’s minions have tormented the PC ever since and making their life hell, the goddess viewing the whole affair as incredibly funny.

Unlike the other Paths, the PC can be resurrected immediately twice upon death, but the third time they remain dead forever unless or until Lutheria is destroyed.

The Haunted One: The PC had a happy idyllic life with a loving family. But a prophecy foretold that the PC will find a way to overcome death itself, thus posing a threat to Lutheria’s dominion. So she used her powers to gather the souls of the PCs’ loved ones in her scythe. But she made one mistake: the PC somehow escaped her clutches thanks to Mytros shielding them and erasing all memories of their legacy from reality. But the PC remembers what they lost, if not necessarily the deities involved.

The Gifted One: Like the Demi-God the PC has a divine bloodline, but as one of Sydon’s grandchildren. The cruel god murdered his mortal wife, but was unaware that she gave birth to a daughter, who is in turn the PC’s mother. Said PC is destined to restore the glory of the Dragonlords and defeat their grandfather.

The Lost One: The PC is the survivor of a shipwreck from a foreign realm outside of Thylea, and more than one PC can choose this Epic Path. This one has the last least ties to the adventure path, and its main goal is to find a way back home.

The Dragonslayer: The PC’s village was wiped out by a dragon raining flaming breath down upon hapless innocents. Said ‘dragon’ is actually Helios the Sun God (something not known immediately), and the Epic Path revolves around hunting down and slaying the one who took everything from them.

The Cursed One: The PC hails from a family or tribe who carry an ancestral curse from the Titans’ wrath. The PC has faced a life of difficulty, and their brethren are fated to die off within a generation if a means of lifting the curse isn’t found.

Guidelines are provided for the DM to make their own Epic Path; the advice focuses mostly on how to ideally space the magic item rewards based on level, making granted special powers equivalent to Epic Boons from the DMG, NPC mounts and companions should be of CR 3 or lower, Divine Blessings follow the guidelines for Supernatural Gifts (Blessings unsurprisingly) under the DMG’s Other Rewards section, and the Divine Boons should involve a key NPC from the plot riding in as the cavalry to save the PC’s now-dead bacon.

The remaining sections are short entries which can be better summed up in future chapters: an Adventure Overview outlining the plot in bite-sized chunks as well as recommended Fame and Experience Levels for the major Chapters, advice on Session 0 prep and how the PCs came together, and sample advice for role-playing the more notable and recurring characters of the Adventure Path (most notably the gods). The last part of our chapter is a picture of the Thylean alphabet which is similar to the one of Ancient Greece’s.

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Thoughts So Far: I feel that this is overall a rather good introduction to the world of Thylea. We didn’t get into any deep detail or new mechanics and rules, and some of the entries feel like they’d be more appropriate in later sections on account that they show up much later in the book. I do find it rather funny how the city-state with the God of War as ruler is not the one ripping off of Sparta, though.

The mechanics-facing aspects of the Epic Paths show up in the appendix, and speaking of which they’re a mixed bag. Some of them have more pertinent ties into the world and larger plot, such as the Demi-God and Haunted One. Others feel more like side-plots at most such as the Cursed One, Lost One, and Dragonslayer. The Vanished One being captive by an incredibly possessive character has quite a few warning bells,* and given that the Oracle is meant to be a major patron and the person who summons the call to adventure for the party in the first place, it is the kind of thing that may require a social contract or Trigger Warning for the gaming group to clear beforehand. Additionally, the Doomed One and Haunted One are too close in concept (Lutheria took away your family) and their relevant plot points are also the same. I understand that trying to make enough potential paths which have differing consequences echoing throughout an entire campaign can be difficult, so my criticism on the sameness front is a bit muted.

*like making the PC swear an oath to return to her cave when all is said and done, trying to murder characters they fall in love with, and also restoring said PC to life via a kiss as the Divine Boon.

All in all, I feel that this is a good introduction, but some things can be ordered better.

Join us next time as we cover new options for PCs: races, class archetypes, spells, equipment, and the rewards and Divine Blessings for the Epic Paths! Read future posts on this book in the comment section below!
 
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scottieboy86

Explorer
The plot holes don't stop there. The materials are inconsistent with respect to the lore of the setting and what the people of Thylea do and do not know about their history. There are some who think this is intentional, but I just find it frustrating. The DM shouldn't be kept in the dark about these sort of things. Players, sure, not DMs.
 

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Von Ether

Adventurer
The adventure naturally expects that the PCs will defy him and take up arms against the god, even more so than Lutheria. Joining Sydon and felling the Five Gods is not supported at all in the rest of the adventure path, so it sounds more like a Non-Standard Game Over where the PCs forsake their duties and join the cause of evil.

My answer to that would be "Next week, we'll be making level 1 PC in this same universe, thanks for helping make new end game bosses."
 

Libertad

Adventurer
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This chapter gives the PCs one year of downtime between it and the resolution of the Battle of Mytros. The details are left vague, but the DM can draw from the existing Fame system as well as one of the Appendices which details what happens when/if a PC builds a new Order of Dragonlords.

The destruction from the Titans’ fall left many refugees and scattered people, and various new settlements named themselves after various heroes who proved themselves during this time. Naturally several are named after the PCs, and there are perks for PCs who patronize and fund said settlements.

The adventure begins when the nymph Ekoh approaches the party with a message. Narsus was once one of the new dragon-turned-gods, but like his brethren he lost that spark at the end of the Oath of Peace. Five hundred years ago he was kidnapped by an obsessed queen of Aresia, and he’s lived as a hostage-guest in said city ever since. Ekoh was once in a contest to win the hand of said god in marriage, but the Aresian Queen cheated her out of it and kidnapped Narsus. Not only that, Ekoh claims that Narsus learned of a means of allowing mortals to ascend to godhood themselves, and that such knowledge is dangerous in the hands of the Aresians while also implying that he’ll give said secrets to whoever frees him. Meeting with knowledgeable NPCs to confirm this story demonstrates that the claim is indeed from Narsus; he’s too prideful to lie about something like this, which...sounds kind of contradictory to me; arrogant people exaggerate and lie all the time!

Aresia is on hostile terms with Mytros, and by extent Estoria, and the Dragonlords are not recognized as a legitimate organization in the city-state’s dominion. This makes the matter of just walking up to the city and asking for an audience unlikely. The adventure also implies that chaos will reign with the loss of the Five Gods and at least two of the Titans, but never goes into detail on the effects. Mytros and Thylea are still around, so it’s not a totally godless world even if the PCs killed Kentimane, Helios, and the twins Sydon and Lutheria. Does the world become a joyless, boring place without the Goddess of Music? Are timeshares and quack doctors making a killing without a replacement God(dess) of Wisdom? The adventure does not say.

The PCs have two major means of dealing with Aresia: they can lead an army to besiege it Trojan War style, or they can infiltrate the city and find a means to rescue Narsus themselves. Negotiation with Queen Helen of Aresia is an option, but the party’s NPC allies will advise against it unless they use the threat of invasion as a big stick in any dealmaking.

The adventure has a few open-ended results in however they proceed, although the siege by far has the most encounters. Instead of using a logistics mini-game in managing thousands of troops, the PCs have to accomplish several tasks during the war on a personal level in order to turn the tide in their army’s favor. In no particular order they must defeat a sapient bronze colossus named Talos defending the city; find and disable the artifact Palladium, which grants resistance against damage and advantage on attack rolls for Aresia’s walls and siege weapons respectively; and press the attack in several set-piece battles at the gates and bridges. There are also two times when the PCs will be approached by figures: the first is a siren messenger from the Queen who wishes to negotiate a ceasefire, and the second is the Shadowmaster who claims to be a servant of the Dragonlords and can help the PCs find the Palladium. The Shadowmaster is actually part of Lutheria’s cult, who still remains loyal to her even should she have been defeated by the heroes. They want to see Aresia fall for their own reasons...although you’d think that getting the PCs one step closer to divinity would make Lutheria’s job harder in the end. Oh well, I’ve learned not to expect any rational long-term plans from that weird sex cult.

If the PCs approach Queen Helen at any point, her terms are surprisingly reasonable: Narsus used to give public appearances in Aresia to adoring fans, but ever since the loss of his divinity they had to put a stop to this along with a rather large loss in morale. She wants to see her city’s divine status symbol return to his old self, and doesn’t even mind the idea of the PCs as a new pantheon, provided they promise not to “steal him away” from her.

The PCs can also find Narsus hidden in an underground chamber beneath one of the Aresian warrior-temples. The former god is here in bronze dragon form, happy that the PCs got his message. He was true about the godhood ritual, but he has no desire to leave Aresia whether for Ekoh or anyone else as all his needs are taken care of and he’s a local celebrity. If the PCs led a siege against the city, he’s entirely nonplussed about the devastation and loss of life, despite Aresia being his home for half a millenium.

This part of the adventure is a very large weak point. Although the grisly specifics are not mentioned, the Aresian siege results in suffering and death for the civilian population as well, and ironically the suggestions by pretty much every NPC advisor results in options that are worse in the long-term. Queen Helen’s demands are surprisingly reasonable and as such the PCs don’t really need to budge or renegotiate on any major matters. Chances are that if the party led a siege, they may feel more than a bit angered at Narsus’ callousness and deception and conclude that such a self-centered god should not have power over mortals. Compound this with the fact that it was one chapter ago that the party saw the effects of an invasion on the defending side, and the whole “we gotta invade ‘em!” encouragement from their allies may result in a loss of respect and trust.

Whether gaining an attendance by force or by word, Narus tells the PCs that they need 3 artifacts in order to perform the godhood ritual: the Caduceus, buried in the cairns of Aresia’s first King who is now a vampire; the Ambrosia, which has come into the hands of a minotaur warlord building up a personal army; and the Promethean Fire, which lies within the submerged former capital of the Siren race. The artifact hunt can be done in any order, although the Promethean Fire is much longer and covered in detail in the next chapter. If the PCs negotiated a peace treaty, then dealing with the vampire king and minotaur warlord are part of their end of the bargain in ensuring Aresia’s safety.

The City of Aresia
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Aresia has a write-up much like Estoria and Mytros, although not to the latter’s extensive level of detail. We have a discussion of its political factions, a brief history, magic item shops, and random encounters and rumors. Sadly much of this will not be relevant during the siege, given that most of the location entries presume the PCs are infiltrating or that the city is not in the middle of war. There’s 21 location write-ups, but to sum up the place in broad strokes…

1. It’s Fantasy Counterpart Sparta. There’s still a civilian class, but pretty much everyone in power is some kind of warrior.
2. Said Spartan warriors are Monks, and every 5th Edition monk subclass in the core rulebook (and a few from Unearthed Arcana and supplements, like Way of Tranquility and a renamed Kensei via Way of the Sword) are represented here. They have a bit of a “rival fighting schools” theme where they compete against each other in tournaments. The Way of Shadow monks are a secret Lutherian cult, while the Way of Elements monks are like Avatar’s benders in that they use their talents for public works in addition to warfare.
3. Queen Helen hand-selects warrior-monks to serve as bodyguards. But she thinks with her vagina and chooses handsome young men over experienced veterans. Said bodyguards have to be abstinent in all other relationships besides those with her.
4. There’s a Sidequest where a woman is in love with one of the senior warriors, but he does not feel worthy of marrying her unless his mithral sword is recovered. Said sword is possessed by the minotaur warlord Zakroth, and the PCs can resolve this love affair by bringing it back.
5. Minotaurs have equal rights here, unlike much of Thylea. Aresia looks down on the rest of the continent for their barbaric practice of enslaving them.
6. Aresia grows the best olives in all of Thylea, and certain high-quality olive oil varieties mixed into potions can give 1 bonus die type to rolls granted by said potion. There’s also a more generic magic item shop run by a philosopher-wizard whose wares are stored in a bag of holding.
7. The Red Lotus restaurant has various NPCs and a bartender who can update the party on interesting goings-on.
8. PCs can get funding for an underwater expedition to the siren city by a merchant house who can give them magic scrolls for deep-sea survival, mundane ships, and sailors in exchange for 10% proceeds of treasure recovered.

Zakroth’s Prison Fort
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The Ambrosia is a drinkable container that enchants whatever liquid is put in it. It raises the user’s Charisma with every drink while also de-aging them to a minimum of 13 years or early adolescence for non-humans. Given that Zakroth has possessed this artifact for a while, this must mean he’s the most well-spoken and inspiring kid in all of Thylea.

Zakroth served faithfully under Sydon, and although his patron is most likely dead he still wishes to take revenge on the settler races. He’s built up a coalition of centaurs, minotaurs, and even gigantes (who are ugly and antisocial giants) under a unified banner where they intend to make Aresia an example for the start of their war. The fort is a 10 room, 4 level dungeon inside a multi-level treehouse. It would ordinarily be a straightforward crawl save for 2 interesting role-play-worthy encounters: the first one is a group of Maenad cooks will claim that Lutheria still lives (“you cannot kill death”) and that she is angry with the party while taunting them as a premonition of things to come. The other one involves the most powerful centaur chieftains giving their sons and daughters as guest-hostages to Zakroth as a gesture of trust and to ensure the unification of their alliance. Depending on how the PCs handle the hostages, they may determine how the various tribes treat the PCs’ political legacy. Peace between the native and settler races within the party’s lifetime is based on this.

Tomb of Karpathos
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Karpathos was Aresia’s first and only king, and also had the unique title of Thylea’s first and only known vampire after breaking an oath to Lutheria. His own daughter sealed him and his brood in a barrow-mound, which is still watched over to this day by an honor guard of Aresian warriors. The Caduceus can be found in this mound. In the hands of a living creature it can grant powerful healing magic, but in the hands of an undead or a friend it can create powerful undead. Karpathos has been using the artifact to make more vampire spawn, but given that they cannot leave the tomb’s boundaries due to magical wards (Forbiddance and Antipathy/Sympathy in case the PCs wish to dispel it) his army is rather self-contained.

The tomb is a 14 room dungeon with branching pathways, and is rather underwhelming. A fair amount of the encounters are vampire spawn trapped under millstones, and they are incapable of action unless the PCs remove said weights. But as the weights do not block off any pathways or contain visible treasure, there’s nothing preventing the party from destroying the undead while they’re helpless: their torsos are pinned, the rest of their bodies visible. Karpathos’ wife, Queen Nemosyne is also pinned in such a manner, although Karpathos rests in a sarcophagus which holds Caduceus (and him) which makes fighting the head vampire mandatory. However, Karpthos cannot be slain as a typical vampire; a portrait of him at an Aresian art gallery is tied up with his essence, and it must be destroyed in order to kill him for good. The PCs have no means of finding this out save via divination spells, although chances are the PCs may slay him once and take the artifact, thus having no incentive to go back into the tomb as long as the magical wards hold up.

Thoughts So Far: The first adventure of Odyssey’s third act is off to a rather weak start, and I’m sad to report that it doesn’t improve much from here. The motivating hook in helping create a new pantheon requires a specific type of party set-up to jump at this task, and the whole “it’s in the hands of the Aresians” threat feels hollow given that said city-state has not been a visible element save as background dressing during the prior chapts. Although it is possible for the PCs to use another god (such as Thylea or Mytros) to attain godhood, the plot heavily sells them on the necessity of using Narsus to grant divine titles to mortals in the creation of this new pantheon. The idea that the PCs may become gods is appealing, but there’s no mention of what happens should they be humble enough and set out to find NPC replacements: no such candidates are listed for who can follow in the Five Gods’ footsteps, which is a wasted opportunity.

I talked earlier about how the NPC advisors all get unifying opinions in regards to the Aresian invasion, and how this is problematic. The lack of alternative and conflicting opinions seems at odds from what I’d expect to be a motley crew of allies gained during prior adventures. That said advice results in the worst options in terms of loss of life, and that Queen Helen’s demands are more or less what the PCs would want to do anyway, takes a lot of bite out of the entire affair.

Join us next time as we battle Scylla in the lost city of the Sirens in Chapter 11, the Sunken Kingdom!
 


Libertad

Adventurer
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The major hindrance in venturing to the siren’s forgotten city is that it’s well, forgotten. And also several hundred feet below sea level, but prior contacts can help with the latter should they lack the means of breathing water themselves. Fortunately for the former, one of Narsus’ siren attendants has an undersea map to the place! This chapter takes place entirely underwater, and we get a handy repeat of rules for combat changed by this: to sum things up, fire attacks deal half damage and an assload of weapons have disadvantage on attack rolls. The city itself is several hundred feet below sea level, and a civilization of merfolk now live among the ruins. Said merfolk are at war with a group of merrow who came from a nearby abyssal trench known as the Chasm. A great monster known as Scylla lives at its bottom, and the merrow take captives to sink corpses down there for sacrifices. It won’t be long before the merfolk petition the PCs to save their people.

The merfolk worship a group of empyreans as gods, who live within the shrines of the Temple District. They are capable of great feats of might and magic but are unable to leave the confines of their respective temples. The key to their freedom lies with the death of Scylla, a task the merfolk have yet to perform. Said empyreans will be quite helpful to the party, explaining that Scylla ate the artifact in which they seek and will butter up the PCs: they’ll speak of how they were once a lost pantheon, but feel that Thylea’s fate is bright in the party’s capable hands. To better seal the deal, each empyrean has a unique gift for one PC, ranging from a monstrous companion to fight at their side to magic items and boons. Some of the empyreans have higher standards than others, and demand some kind of trial.

The empyreans are liars. You see, there was once a great angel by the name of Phaeros who was exiled by his kind for believing that godhood is a right for all mortals. He sought to find a more worthy pantheon than the reigning titans of Sydon and Lutheria, so he visited the city of the sirens to find those he believed could challenge their reign. From there, he made a new pantheon of empyreans. The titan twins learned of this and asked their father Kentimane to unleash Scylla upon the city. Together with their mortal armies, they sunk the realm beneath the waves while Lutheria tricked the empyreans into being cursed to never leave their sunkern temples. Phaeros and the Promethean Fire were swallowed by Scylla, their only means of breaking the curse of imprisonment. This forgotten pantheon has grown mad in the passing millennia and seek vengeance upon those they believe abandoned them: said criteria includes all mortalkind.

The empyreans are all evil alignment save for one Chaotic Neutral crazy trickster god, and their gifts are twisted such that they will turn against the party: boons and magic items become curses, while companions fly into a rage and attack. However, none of the empyreans have means of magically concealing their alignment, meaning that the PCs may very well spurn their aid and reconsider the whole Scylla-killing business if the party contains...oh, let’s say a Paladin who realizes that empyrean after empyrean is radiating big honking gobs of Evil!

The merrow seized a fortress in the city which has 40 of their rnumber along with a coven of 3 sea hags, and there are various other small locations the PCs can explore in the city itself although most of it is free of danger and mostly role-play.

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The Chasm is a 2-mile deep pit with three broad layers. The Upper Reaches are barely lit and home to most typical sea life. The Void is halfway down and completely dark, home to gigantic primordial creatures and a tribe of ichthys.* The very bottom of the Chasm is a cavernous floor covered with the corpses of whales, merfolk, and other things that drifted down to the bottom. Tunnels and trenches hold portals to the Nether Sea at this depth.

*like centaurs but evil and with lower halves of lobsters.

One of the set-piece encounters is a nest of 36 sharks of the giant and cetus varieties asleep on a sandy ledge in the Void, and the adventure notes that waking the creatures will be suicidal for the PCs. Now I know that 5th Edition’s bounded accuracy makes it so that hordes of monsters can be dangerous even at the highest of levels, but there’s something...tonally dissonant about the whole affair. In prior chapters the party killed gods, possibly besieged a city of Spartan look-alikes with a Colossus protector, and did many other heroic deeds. But the adventure assumes that a nest of sharks is where they draw the line and decide that discretion is the better part of valor.

Scylla is the Boss Monster of this adventure, and she is a creepy, screaming bloated mass with six canine heads connected by serpentine necks. She is a tough cookie, on par with Sydon and Lutheria statwise but with slightly worse saves and no spells. Her primary means of attacks are her many biting heads and tentacles, and she can sing an AoE dirge that charms those who fail a Wisdom save which can also be done as one of her legendary actions (the others being bonus attacks and movement).

Once the PCs kill her, Phaeros will cut his way out of the corpse, holding a blue orb of fire in one hand: the Promethean Fire. He will praise the PCs for freeing him, and mention that he must now complete his sacred task and ‘restore the rightful pantheon of Thylea.’ What he means is that he will use the Promethean Fire to free the empyreans; he will fly up out of the chasm while ignoring any attacks directed at him. The adventure assumes that the PCs will be unable to catch up to him even though spells like Dimension Door are easily a thing at this part in the plot. When the PCs reach the Sunken City he will suddenly turn on the party once the emypreans are free, proclaiming them to be blasphemers for trying to use the artifacts to become gods themselves. How would he know this unless they spilled the beans to the empyreans? Also, isn't this contradictory to his earlier ideology of spreading the god-wealth around? The adventure makes no mention of how and why he changed his ideals over time.

The PCs can gain the Promethean Fire from Phaeros after killing him, and the empyreans will feign ignorance and claim that the angel must have gone crazy from time spent being digested. They will pretend to leave Thylea forever, but in reality seek to learn of the land and rebuild their strength for the coming time of vengeance.

But at least the PCs have all 3 artifacts now. They should be able to challenge these empyreans as God-to-God for a thrilling climax, right? Wellllll, about that...I took a look at the rules for the Theogenesis ritual and contrasted it with the expected experience levels at certain points in the adventure path:

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If the PCs didn’t want to strangle Narsus before, they almost certainly will want to do so now.

Thoughts So Far: I’m beginning to see a recurring theme in this third act of the PCs managing to make things worse in their quest for godhood. While the Aresian campaign could be averted, the Sunken Kingdom is far more railroady in its expectations and resolution. It presumes that the PCs will take the empyreans at their word, be unable to intercept Phaeros before he frees said empyreans, and then kill Phaeros anyway after the deed is done. The backstory is something the PCs have no real chance of finding out, so it’s very much in the style of Paizo’s adventure paths which give enemy NPCs detailed write-ups that most players are never going to learn. Contrast this to that of Sydon and Lutheria, or the legacy of the Dragonlords, or even the kidnapping of Narsus and the Aresian Campaigns. Odyssey has been rather good in giving opportunities for the PCs to learn of the world’s past and how that affects their current adventures, but this chapter only works if the party is kept in the dark about as much as possible for as long as possible.

Join us next time as we wrap up the conclusion to this adventure path in Chapter 12, Apokalypsis!
 
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Libertad

Adventurer
Someone over on RPGnet pointed out that Phaeros attacking the PCs for wanting godhood themselves is contradictory to his earlier message, so I edited in a new sentence pointing this out after "spilled the beans to the empyreans" section.
 

Libertad

Adventurer
Yes, the original campaign ended with the Battle of Mytros. The later chapters were stretch goals that they decided to integrate into the book instead of keeping them as seperate PDFs.

Looks the adventure has quite some holes when you do not follow the expected railroad of how to deal with the titans.

I honestly kind of wish it ended in the way it was originally written. The whole level 1st to 20th schematic is an outdated relic most gaming groups don't perform anyway.
 

gyor

Legend
I'd love to take Odyssey of the Dragonlords and replace the half the river nymph subraces with the Alesid (flower/medow/plains nymph) and the Lampid (Death Nymph).
 

Von Ether

Adventurer
I honestly kind of wish it ended in the way it was originally written. The whole level 1st to 20th schematic is an outdated relic most gaming groups don't perform anyway.
Totally agree, but it seems such a siren song for many groups. Regardless of the reality and how often it proves to be true for that particular table, many keep planning and hoping to "win" by knocking off the end boss after they reach 20th level.

Admitting that, though, would remove an arrow out of their quiver of excuses for learning other games. ;)
 

Libertad

Adventurer
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This is it, the final chapter of the adventure path! What dire foes await our heroes on their paths to godhood? What came of the new pantheon of empyreans?

Well, it turns out that one cannot simply kill the Goddess of Death: Lutheria has been climbing the yugoloth political ladder of Hades to regain her former power. She found a way to prematurely release the Nether Titans, primordial horrors tucked away in those cube-prisons in the Nether Sea. Additionally, she has allied with the Empyreans in helping defeat the PCs...even though she was responsible for imprisoning them in their temples, so these new gods would have to be really stupid to take her at her word again.

The empyreans’ motivations have completely changed since the last chapter. Instead of wanting to take revenge and destroy Thylea, they hope that the party will exhaust themselves in fighting the Nether Titans and swoop in to kill them and take the credit for saving Thylea. They will use this as legitimacy to cement themselves as the new pantheon and use the 3 recovered artifacts to help themselves ascend with Lutheria’s aid.

So did the empyreans just happen to change their minds upon coming to the surface? Is this poor editing/retcon? Or do they hope to get into positions of leadership and run civilization into the ground via deliberately poor policies? Unsurprisingly, the book doesn’t say.

The adventure starts after the recovery of the three artifacts but the passage of time is vague. The party is dropped in media res in taking out remnants of the Order of Sydon. By now their enemies are hilariously underpowered, and this encounter is meant to show off how badass the PCs are in comparison to their earlier quests. You’d think that this is the perfect opportunity for a Nether Titan to show up and wreak havoc, but instead the party gets summoned by Versi the Oracle who is panicking over visions of the Apokalypsis.

The four Nether Titans are all powerful, unique monsters. Two are easily recognizable as the Tarrasque and Kraken, but two are new: the Nether Dragon is an ancient red dragon with the shadow dragon template,* and the other is the Behemoth. Each monster is on a path of destruction to one of Thylea’s three major city-states while the fourth is poised to destroy the newly-founded settlements dedicated to the PCs. Unless the party splits up to simultaneously deal with 2 or more Nether Titans at once they will need to make some tough decisions in who to prioritize saving. The first and second cities saved will have quite a bit of casualties but nothing catastrophic, while the third city saved will be half-destroyed. The fourth city will be entirely destroyed by the time the PCs confront the last Nether Titan.

*which is not an entry in the core Monster Manual, nor is it in Volo’s Guide to Monsters, Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, or one of the new monsters in this book, so I have no idea where to find this thing’s stats. Trying to Google search it brings up homebrew material as the primary results.

The PCs have opportunities to use high-level magic, skill checks, and call in allied NPCs and resources to help them. The adventure suggests that said resources can help the PCs discover the weakness of these individual monsters and magic items that can prove highly useful against them. The adventure lists where said items are, who has them if applicable, and how willingly their current owners will be to give them up for the good of saving the world. Each monster has suggestions for how to ‘beef up’ the encounter in case the PCs may have too easy a job: the Tarrasque has flying chimera scavengers who worship the creature as a god, the Kraken gets Legendary Resistance to reroll failed saves, the Nether Dragon gets young black and red dragon minions, but the Behemoth has no buffs or reinforcements.

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Let’s talk about the Behemoth. It was created at the beginning of the universe by long-forgotten gods who sought to make living weapons capable of killing their rivals. The Behemoth is a titanic horned beast whose very breath brims with the essence of creation, and can disintegrate all but the toughest material with an energy beam emitted from its mouth. If one were to compare it to the Tarrasque, it would be highly similar. It has slightly fewer hit points and a much lower Armor Class (20 vs 25), but it has better mental saving throws and a much higher passive Perception score of 19. Instead of a reflective carapace it has a rechargeable energy breath weapon that is 300 feet long and can do 16d8 necrotic or radiant damage to all creatures and objects affected (objects take double damage due to its Siege Weapon special ability). Finally, one of the uncovered weaknesses mentions that the monster is vulnerable (double damage results) to all forms of damage types, although this is not reflected in its stat block. Which makes me wonder if uncovered weaknesses are meant to be new debuffs applied to the monster’s statistics, but given that the tarrasque and kraken’s weaknesses are already part of their stat blocks (no ranged attacks and not immune to charm magic respectively) this is probably not the case.

To further complicate matters, Lutheria and the empyreans will move against the PCs in between their titan-slaying. At first yugoloth servants will attack sometime after the first Nether Titan is defeated, but after the second Lutheria herself will appear leading maenads and goatlings as a dramatic reveal to the PCs. She will talk about how she is eternal and one cannot kill death itself, retreating after having some fun in the fight via teleportation. Which is a spell neither she nor her minions can cast. Finally, three of the empyreans will come to attack the party after the third Nether Titan.

At this point it will be clear that the empyreans and Lutheria are responsible. If the PCs are still unsure, they can find this out via divination. These wicked gods-to-be built a majestic palace at the summit of the tallest mountain in Thylea, and it is a very minimalistic dungeon inhabited only by them and possibly the Kraken if it survived.

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The empyreans are scattered through the palace, but will come together to fight the PCs in the throne room once they become aware that their sanctum’s been breached. Lutheria swore an oath to use the Theogenesis spell to make the empyreans true gods, but she has plans of her own. The goddess created a sapient Sphere of Annihilation which will grow larger and larger with every empyrean killed, eventually so great that the PCs will notice its presence eating up much of the palace when they kill all but 2-3 of their empyreans who will surrender to the party at this point. Once the final empyrean dies, the sphere will grow to encompass all of the Material Plane and destroy the bodies and souls of everyone within, gods included. The empyreans will plead during the battle for Luetheria to cast the spell, but she’ll merely laugh and even cheer on the PCs.

Should the PCs spare the surviving empyreans, Lutheria’s plot is thwarted. The three Furies will appear to announce that Lutheria broke the biggest rule of godhood: never break an oath. With this proclamation she will slowly dissolve into nonexistance, laughing at the irony of being hoist by her own petard.

The ending to this adventure path is vague, although there’s a few paragraphs suggesting likely events. The surviving empyreans will swear oaths and become the PCs’ servants for eternity, and the PCs will most assuredly become the greatest rulers of Thylea. If they become the new pantheon of gods, the DM will ask them to write appropriate epilogues for how they became gods as well as appropriate dominions of reality over which they hold sway based on the domains they unlocked. The DM is encouraged to have these former PCs as new gods in future campaigns.

Thoughts So Far: I like the idea of the PCs having to make a difficult choice in prioritizing which cities to save, and the use of the tarrasque and kraken as primordial weapons of destruction are thematically appropriate. I wasn’t as fond of the new monsters, given that I have no idea where to find a shadow dragon template and the Behemoth is basically a shell-less Tarrasque without a breath weapon. The use of empyreans as the final battle robs the climactic event of much of its emotional depth; these figures are more or less entirely new characters the PCs only briefly encountered in comparison to older foes. The return of Lutheria makes sense in a divine godly sort of way in that the Goddess of Death would surely not be felled so easily. But given that her destruction is entirely of her own making as opposed to being forced or tricked into it kind of robs the sense of cleverly outsmarting her. The fact that the adventure more or less spells out her plan in an obvious way makes it even less dramatic once found out. Her cheering on the heroes, combined with the last 2-3 empyreans surrendering and telling the party what Lutheria’s up to, is a very obvious metatextual “don’t choose violence or you get a Bad End!”

Join us next time as we cover the remaining Appendices!
 


Von Ether

Adventurer
Shadow Dragon is page 84 and 85 of 5e monster manual.

Which is interesting.

Neither the dracolich or shadow dragon templates are listed in the Product Identity section of the OGL, but neither are they listed as monsters in the SRD. So if you are looking for them via the SRD on the internet, they'd be in a literal bind spot.
 

BloopDS

Villager
This Let's Read has been a lot of fun! Thank you for all the posts so far

The empyreans’ motivations have completely changed since the last chapter. Instead of wanting to take revenge and destroy Thylea...
So did the empyreans just happen to change their minds upon coming to the surface? Is this poor editing/retcon? Or do they hope to get into positions of leadership and run civilization into the ground via deliberately poor policies? Unsurprisingly, the book doesn’t say.

Although the last chapter does mention them wanting to "punish the races that left them trapped at the bottom of the ocean," it does also say that they want to rule Thylea. From the end of the last chapter, "They intend to gather their strength and return to rule over all of Thylea. Refer to the Apokalypsis chapter for details."

Finally, one of the uncovered weaknesses mentions that the monster is vulnerable (double damage results) to all forms of damage types, although this is not reflected in its stat block.

This was definitely a poor word choice on their part, since "vulnerable" means something specific, like you point out. I think what they meant was just that the Behemoth isn't resistant or immune to any damage types (except the standard non-magical physical attacks), unlike the other three Nether Titans.
 
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Retreater

Legend
I have been reading through my copy today. I feel like many of the monsters are terribly underpowered. I don't think any of them (even the CR 23 boss monsters) get multiattack. They get legendary actions, but I don't think they'll be able to do damage to threaten a party of adventurers. Looks like each monster should probably have 2-3 attacks, based on their damage potential.
 

Libertad

Adventurer
This Let's Read has been a lot of fun! Thank you for all the posts so far


Glad to be of service! :)


Although the last chapter does mention them wanting to "punish the races that left them trapped at the bottom of the ocean," it does also say that they want to rule Thylea. From the end of the last chapter, "They intend to gather their strength and return to rule over all of Thylea. Refer to the Apokalypsis chapter for details."

It's the difference between President Shinra and Sephiroth. Or Emperor Gestahl and Kefka. One villain wants to rule the world, the other wants to destroy it. The book is vague on what exactly the empyreans' plans are once they win, thus my question of what exactly it is they have in mind for the world. The initial reading of "punishing mortals" sounds like they want to go hog-wild and start indiscriminately slaughtering people, which...seems like they'd try to kill the heroes and let the titans run free and do their job for them, rather than the whole song and dance of waiting for the PCs to kill enough titans and then kill them and take credit for saving Thylea to be worshiped as gods.

This was definitely a poor word choice on their part, since "vulnerable" means something specific, like you point out. I think what they meant was just that the Behemoth isn't resistant or immune to any damage types (except the standard non-magical physical attacks), unlike the other three Nether Titans.

I can see that."The behemoth is not particularly resilient against any damage types" would be better.
 

I have been reading through my copy today. I feel like many of the monsters are terribly underpowered. I don't think any of them (even the CR 23 boss monsters) get multiattack. They get legendary actions, but I don't think they'll be able to do damage to threaten a party of adventurers. Looks like each monster should probably have 2-3 attacks, based on their damage potential.
One could ALWAYS add Multiattack.
 

Glad to be of service! :)




It's the difference between President Shinra and Sephiroth. Or Emperor Gestahl and Kefka. One villain wants to rule the world, the other wants to destroy it. The book is vague on what exactly the empyreans' plans are once they win, thus my question of what exactly it is they have in mind for the world. The initial reading of "punishing mortals" sounds like they want to go hog-wild and start indiscriminately slaughtering people, which...seems like they'd try to kill the heroes and let the titans run free and do their job for them, rather than the whole song and dance of waiting for the PCs to kill enough titans and then kill them and take credit for saving Thylea to be worshiped as gods.



I can see that."The behemoth is not particularly resilient against any damage types" would be better.
They could be all totally bonkers after being confined. If you were theoretically stuck in a spot for a long enough time, one would probably making mental U-turns and backtracks like the wind.
 


Libertad

Adventurer
Clarification on Shadow Dragons: Several people helpfully pointed out that such a creature is indeed in the core Monster Manual, but in the “d” section for dragon rather than “s.” This is most likely how I missed said entry. Thank you all for the spot!

Now that we completed the main section, all we have left are the appendices! And boy do we have a lot: 163 pages’ worth between 11 appendices, to be precise. Fortunately we already covered 4 of said appendices and 39 of those pages in the first posts of this review. A good portion of this post will be dedicated to the bestiary.

Appendix A thru C, I

These appendices cover the PC-facing generic setting info, races, class archetypes, spells, and the one-page document on how to become a god which I covered as part of the Theogenesis spell.

Appendix D: Dramatis Personae
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This section includes stats for important figures and recurring characters in the adventure path along with some minor characters. The more minor entries are NPCs we’ve covered before and are nothing special, and I covered the capabilities of most of the enemies such as Sydon in the proper chapters. Sohe people we’ll focus on here are the Five Gods barring Kyrah who I talked about in Chapter 1.

Mytros predictably has no stat block, as she’s with all of the other true gods in the higher planes. Most of the Five Gods are more in line with capable high-level mortals than the mighty Titans or some older dragons. Their main universal abilities are having a 30 in at least one ability score, the ability to return to life at the Temple of the Five in Mytros should they ‘die,’ True Sight, and Legendary Resistance. Volkan, the God of Forges has 30 Intelligence but his only real offensive capabilities are a warhammer and the ability to light any number of weapons on fire as a concentration effect to deal bonus fire damage. Pythor has a 30 Strength and can attack 3 times with a mithral greataxe, but his alcoholism imposes a rather server debuff in the form of disadvantage on attacks and saves, loss of True Sight and multiattack, and has a chance of mistaking a friend as a foe in battle. Vallus, Goddess of Wisdom is basically a high-level cleric who can cast a variety of spells up to 9th level but oddly has no divination spells for this purpose. She has 30 in Wisdom and Charisma.

Versi the Oracle also has stats. She’s pretty much a naiad nymph, but with innate magic optimized for divination including a 1/day foresight. She bears the Robe of Stars, a magic item which lets her throw magical stars at enemies.

Appendix E: Monsters
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This appendix is a thing of beauty: 43 new monster stat blocks, 9 new generic NPC types, and 28 pieces of full-page artwork. Odyssey has some great art, but this section is an anomaly by the sheer number and size of them. It’s a shame that I cannot show them all, otherwise this section would be a little too image-heavy.

Before we get to the new monsters proper, the book has suggestions on how not all monsters are necessarily appropriate to the feel of Thylea and gives a sample list of what monsters a GM should restrict themselves when running an “authentic” campaign. Fortunately Greek mythology has plenty of monsters, although even then the list feels a bit restrictive to me.

The new monsters are grouped by theme rather than in alphabetical order, which can be a bit confusing.

Automatons are artificial creations powered by elemental fire and lightning. Most were created by Volkan as a means to substitute soldiers in warfare so as to reduce the death rate from battles, but instead these constructs were repurposed by the rich and powerful for their own interests. Gee, who could have seen that coming? Bronze Automatons are common low-powered golems equipped with glaives, while a Colossus is a gigantic being carved in the likeness of a god to protect a city and thus are powered by rare magical devices often passed down as royal heirlooms. Marble Golems are guardians for libraries, temples, and other places of wealth and beauty where a more typical golem may be too gauche-looking; they can opt to lose a limb and continue (awkwardly) fighting with renewed HP whenever they’d be ordinarily destroyed. Finally, Keledones can only be created by gods and are designed as winged beautiful constructs with mesmerizing singing voices that can bestow restful sleep or biting pain.

The Behemoth was covered in Chapter 12 already. The fluff explains that they were designed as a last resort to “destroy everything” and will continue to do so until the very foundations of the world are gone. At which point it may enter the closest thing to “rest” as it drifts through space until it lands on another world to destroy; great plot hook for a Chrono Trigger style of campaign.

Centaurs have 3 new stat blocks to represent the varied members of their race on Thylea. Druids have limited wildshape where they can take the forms of giant dangerous animals and have up to 5th level spells. Centaur Heroes are more powerful versions of the basic one with more weapons, while a Centaur Lord has Legendary Resistance 1/day and can call upon the gods to grant themselves and the rest of their nearby allied kind the Bless spell.

Cyclops were once a proud race of artisans, but due to unknown reasons they fell far from their lofty origins. There are a few who bear this legacy, known as Jancan who are capable of minor magical spells where they can conjure magical floating hands for both labor and in combat. The Blemys is a headless being with a single eye and mouth in the torso area. They are spiteful isolationists who even hate others of their kind, and gain something of a Barbarian rage in combat where they gain more boons the longer combat goes on: advantage on attacks, resistance to bludgeoning/piercing/slashing, etc.

Gygans are the low-powered “ogre equivalent” in Thylea, being smaller than normal cyclops and Chaotic Neutral instead of evil, but their six arms allow them to gain bonus opportunity attacks and advantage on grapple checks. Gygan Heroes are stronger varieties. Due to their genocide at the hands of Estor Arkelander’s forces they have small isolated family units at best, many of which speak Giant dialects unintelligible to other giants and others of their race.

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Empyreans are mortals who are either the direct children of the gods or who have been elevated to one step below true godhood. They have two stat blocks: Young Empyreans are still coming into their power, while Elder Empyreans are stronger in just about every way. Empyreans are Huge-sized celestials whose innate spells are derived from an appropriate Cleric domain, and they can shoot elemental blasts as a ranged attack, change size, and any weapon weapons they wield can be varied to look like whatever the empyrean desires and deal appropriate damage.

Gigantes are malformed giants, unfinished creations of the Titan Hergeron whose work was interrupted by Sydon. Now Gigantes seek only war and destruction, and their communities are led by infernal witches who claim to derive power from their sleeping creator.

Medusa, Euryale are medusa who evolved into a more powerful form over millennia. Thanks to pacts with fiends, they get...a sneak attack, a stronger petrifying gaze, and a snake-like lower half that can constrict opponents. Was kinda expecting more “fiendish magic.” Kinda underwhelming for a 2,000 year long wait.

Minotaurs are mostly Chaotic Neutral in Thylea rather than Chaotic Evil, and Heroes among their number are stronger than the base Monster Manual kind. Berserkers can shapechange into a bull while fighting, gaining appropriate natural attacks.

Myrmekes are copyright-friendly Formians, down to the Lawful Neutral Magical Ants. Their society is split up into castes, each with their own stat block. Workers are barely a threat save in numbers, although their hive mind telepathy combined with their hive learning allow them to learn a wide variety of things instantaneously:

Hive Mind: The myrmekes is in constant telepathic communication with all myrmekes witinin a mile. Everything a myrmekes learns, all myrmekes in telepathic range learn as well. The myrmekes has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if another myrmekes is within 5 feet of the creature and the myrmekes isn't incapacitated.

Hive Learning: A myrmekes can learn an action or a trait by watching a humanoid creature use it once. This action or trait can be an arcane spell that is either a cantrip or 1st level and cannot have a material component. Hive learning can also be used to learn the following: bardic inspiration, cunning action, evasion, martial advantage, multiattack, reckless, sneak attack. If it sees any of the following fighting styles being used it can learn them: archery, dueling, two weapon fighting. If it sees a humanoid using extra attacks, it also learns multiattack.

This is a monster which can get more dangerous mid-combat and in future encounters! I like. As myrmekes themselves are humanoids, they can teach what they learned to each other. Myrmkes Advanced is a sample stat block for myrmekes of higher Hit Die who have a variety of minor spellcasting and rogue class features. Only the Myrmekes Queen, who is mostly an immobile creature, lacks this rapid learning but can act as a long-range telepathy hub network

Mythic Beasts are tougher versions of mundane animals, often with some kind of minor magical ability. They are as rare as their name suggests, and highly prized as sacrifices to the gods for this very reason. They all have Legendary Resistance. A Great Boar can afflict opponents with confusion, the White Stag has a variety of innate spells to make it elusive but can grant Wish once a year to those who capture it, the Golden Lion is just...a really powerful lion whose mane can be used to craft magic items in the Mithral Forge, and finally the Golden Ram’s fleece is so bright it can blind onlookers (and can also serve as a crafting component).

Nymphs get a stat block for each subrace, reflecting those NPC varieties who are too unbalanced to let into the hands of PCs. They are in touch with nature and have Lair Actions where they can see into the future to gain advantage on d20 rolls for 1 round and merge with their surroundings to travel between them via Dimension Door. And of course they all have your typical “so beautiful they can blind you” power. Aurae can sing songs with a variety of indirect and directly dangerous effects; Naiad can stun onlookers in lieu of blinding them along with some minor spellcasting; Nereids are more martial, wield tridents, and their songs stir one’s fighting spirit to grant a listener advantage on their next action (combat or no); Oceanids can use ambient illusion magic to defend themselves which grants Charisma bonus to their AC, and can move up to 60 feet as a bonus action knocking prone and damaging anyone they pass on a failed Strength save; Oreads can charm humanois into regarding them as trusted friends, and mark targets to grant said charmed victims advantage on checks made against those the oread so marked.

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Sea Monsters are a common threat in the seafaring culture of Thylea. Cetus are giant intelligent sharks of Chaotic Evil disposition who can live for thousands of years. Ichthys are centaur-like half-crab half-humanoid people who were cursed into their current forms by the gods. Their anatomy is not ideal for supporting such a form, so they’re in constant pain which they relieve by inflicting on others. Scylla came from the Island of Typhon, once said to be a beautiful nymph imprisoned there who turned into said legendary monster over time. Sea Serpents are gigantic sinewy beings often mistaken for dragons; they’re not, but they are as powerful as all but the eldest fire-breathing lizard. In spite of their power they used to be the rulers of the sea before Sydon made an example of their number. They now fear said titan, and are vulnerable to lightning damage.

Servants of Death is a catch-all category for the custodians of the plane of Hades and Lutheria’s mortal and immortal minions. Cerberus (there’s more than one) are powerful giant three-headed dogs raised and tortured by hags to be guardians of the underworld, and they have advantage on most Perception checks. They also have both lair and legendary actions, the former allowing them some battlefield control via erupting volcanoes forming on a nearby spot of choice within 1 round.

Dread Beasts are undead variants of normal animals created by Lutheria to spread death and plague. Dread Boars have powerful stenches which can poison those within 30 feet, and Dread Wolves can instill fright with their mere gaze. Both beasts’ natural attacks deal bonus necrotic damage.

Goatlings are Thylea’s goblin equivalents. They are small-sized creatures which prefer skirmish assaults over fair fights. They’re infamous mockers, whose taunts can drive people into a frenzy, imposing disadvantage on their attacks while allowing those attacking the taunted advantage. But automatic critical hits should the mocked target hit the goatling, which means that said monsters are frequently hoisted on their own petard. Goatling Tricksters are an advanced variety who learned a few illusory spells.

Sample Goatling Taunts said:
• “When was the last time you scrubbed your louse-infested
carcass with soap?”
• “What are you ogling at, you bug-eyed dung eater?”
• “The only thing intimidating about you is your
pox-ridden, bug-eyed face!”
• “Your ‘cutting words’ couldn’t slice through butter.”
• “There’s barely enough meat on you for a crow’s feast!”
• “Mehhh-hehehe! Your horns are so tiny! Tiny horns!”
• “Bite me, fart-face!”

I dunno about you, but being called “fart-face” is the kind of thing that would make me burst into laughter rather than rage due to the sheer childish uncreativity of said insult.

Maenads, on the other hand, are the “orc/bandit” equivalent, albeit sitting at a higher Challenge Rating 3. They can enter into frenzies which can grant them advantage in melee but cause enemies to have advantage on their attack rolls. They have a rechargeable Wild Dance which can force onlookers to enter a frenzied dance with confusion-like effects.

Nuckles are Lutheria’s elite hunters, creatures which look like horses with a mount that live in saltwater. They are capable of forcing creatures to ride it via the ‘human half’ grappling them, often to their drowning deaths. Nuckles are extremely weak to immersion in freshwater, taking 40 damage per round when ending its turn in it, and they go into a mindless rage at the scent of burning seaweed.

Sphinxes in Thylea are different than in other settings, for they have an innate connection to time itself. Criosphinxes and Hierocosphinxes are known as “lesser sphinxes” due to serving the “greater” kinds and have no lair actions. However, they have unique time-based attacks: the Criosphinx can “mark” a point in time as a legendary action, and summon that duplicate along with all of its current effects 1/day for one round to simultaneously coexist alongside the “original.” The Hierocosphinx can see several seconds into the future which grants advantage on d20 rolls, can reroll initiative once per turn if it so desires, and can “mark” a creature as a legendary action and force it to “replay” its own actions last round, even moving to its original location but causing a different result. The book suggests making a spellcaster hit their own allies with an AoE spell as such an example use.

NPCs includes the various “human” characters of Thylea who are too culturally unique to be replicated with existing NPC stats. Amazon Warriors are martial women who can enter barbarian-style rages. Barbarian Paragons represent the strongest champions among primitive tribes and are CR 5 NPCs with Barbarian abilities. Warrior Monks and Martial Masters are typically Aresians and are unarmed, unarmored fighters. Satyr Minstrels are satyrs with multiattack and can charm or force to sleep targets with a musical instrument. Soldiers and Soldier-Captains represent hoplites trained in phalanx fighting: they do bonus damage when fighting adjacent to an ally and can knock prone or push back 5 feet targets they hit with a shield bash. Troglodyte Brutes are troglodytes with better stats, while wild druids represent isolated people who are fond of staying in animal form as long as possible.

The final NPC is not an NPC at all, but stats for Kentimane’s hands when encountered away from the main body. They are big tough grapple-focused monsters which can withdraw into the ground as an action and “teleport” to a nearby location on the ground.

Appendix F: Encounters
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Far shorter than the Monster appendix, these are random encounters the PCs can come upon during their travels. There’s one table for land, another for sea, and between them a total of 32 unique encounters. There’s a mixture of some typical “monster appears, you fight it” faire, so I’ll cover a few I think stand out from the rest.

Kentimane’s Arms can be encountered as giant stone formations. If the PCs killed Sydon or Lutheria then they will come to life and attack the party.

A female Cyclops figures that the PCs would make a worthy sacrifice to Sydon. If the battle goes too easily in her favor then she’ll figure that such weaklings are not worth it and spare them if they beg for their lives.

A blemyes who befriended a human merchant had a nice life until said monster lost his temper and killed his smaller companion. The PCs will find him weeping over the corpse, and unless they have a means of resurrecting the body he will attack the party in the belief that they’ll try to kill him for being “just a stupid monster.”

Zephyrus and Euria are their own encounters, but themed similarly in that they are both fey beings who are actually one of the Four Winds. They stole the Instruments of the Muse, divine instruments whose music has magical effects, from the Temple of the Five Gods. The PCs can gain said instruments back after related short sidequests. Zephyrus will set the party to sleep (no saving throws allowed) and tie them to a shambling mound which will start strangling them once awakened, and the Zephyr Flute is in his possession. For Euria, she will ask if a PC wants to experience “paradise” which involves taking them to her tower to have sex with her. During which time she puts a no-saving throw-allowed Geas to find the Boreal Harp. She’ll give a Euros Lyre in exchange for this instrument, as she’s bored with the current one.

Railroading sidequests via no-save spells. Now that’s a new one (for this book, at least)!

A Falling Star spotted at sea has a valuable orb of star metal which can be used to craft some powerful items at the Mithral Forge. But it will sink fast and the party must be quick in extracting it unless they have the means of surviving in the darkest depths of the ocean.

Gargantuan Waves are a rather harmless encounter in spite of the name, as said waves lift up the Ultros to get a glimpse of Kentimane patrolling the oceans of Thylea. Said titan’s mere steps are causing said waves in the first place.

An Island Turtle is a zaratan with a trading post of marid and sea elves operating on its back. The creature is capable of extraplanar travel, and all dragon turtles are its children. The traders sell a variety of potions, and one of the visiting dragon turtles has a shrine on its back with a Trident of Fish Command free for the taking if the PCs can reach it before it dives beneath the waves.

A Shallow Sea is home to a coral reef and merfolk village. The PCs can learn that the tribe of merfolk are enemies of the Titans, and will give them edible coral which allows them to breathe underwater for short periods as gifts. The daughter of the village leader will wish to accompany the PCs on their quest against her father’s wishes, even going so far as to stowaway on their ship. The PCs will earn the enmity of her father should she die on their quest. She’s a druid and not just a regular merfolk and can shapeshift into a human or dolphin at will, so she’s not exactly dead weight.

PCs can encounter the legendary Kraken in 2 different encounters. The first is when said monster entangles the Ultros but does not crush the ship out of curiosity; he’ll ask why they’re trespassing, but if he learns the party are enemies of Sydon (a mutual foe of his) he will grant them free passage. Otherwise they have to give a proper sacrifice worth 1,000 gp or more. The second encounter involves the Kraken fighting against one of Sydon’s empyrean children. Said empyrean will disengage from combat if the PCs get involved to report back to his father, and the Kraken will attack the party for 1 round before retreating into the deep. He does this not out of hard feelings, but just to show how powerful he is in order to boost his ego.

Appendix G: Treasures
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This section covers new magic items, but also discusses in detail how PCs can craft their own. There’s a big table of item recipes that can be made with the Mithral Forge, with cost in days, gold pieces, and primary and secondary ingredients. Said ingredients include various treasures and monster parts the PCs can come across during the adventure path. Dragon Scales can be used to make Dragon Scale Mail, Golden Fleece can be made into Winged Boots or Boots of Levitation, and so on. Appropriate NPCs such as Volkan and Steros can speed up the crafting process, while the Fates’ Loom can craft 3 Epic Path wish list magic items whose cost, ingredients, and days are more or less the same. An Orb of Star Metal is perhaps the rarest ingredient: it can be found in only 3 places in the adventure path, and can be used to craft 3 specific magic items. One of which is a potential Demigod’s Wish List magic item upgraded from an existing magical sword or mace. Given that 1 of the Orbs is a random encounter and the other is gained only after killing Kentimane, this may mean that said Epic Path’s conclusion may be delayed by quite a bit if used too soon!

But overall, I love this concept. It’s versatile enough to allow for real planning and options while giving a use for the more ‘priceless’ treasure found in Odyssey. But it is also simple and straightforward enough of a mini-game to be easily understood on a casual read.

Bioware Trope Alert: Crafting Minigame: The Mithral Forge, the Fates’ Looms, and the various limited-supply items used for crafting are all reminiscent of recent video game RPGs where the best items are not bought, they’re forged from unique treasure. The use of Pythor’s Hammer to forge existing items into better ones is similar to how said crafting minigames allow one to ‘upgrade’ equipment.

What about the new magic items? Well there’s 40 of them here, but I already summarized a few of them earlier in the adventure path so I’m going to cover the more novel and interesting ones.

Bula and Lunulia Talismans grant advantage on saving throws vs magical effects of certain monster types if the wearer is good-aligned.

Axe of Xander is a sentient +1 greataxe which communicates by sending emotional vibes to its wielder. It deals 3d6 bonus force damage to giants and titans, allowing the user to heal 1d6 damage whenever they kill such a monster. The similarly-themed Breastplate of Mytros grants +1 AC and Charisma on top of its existing AC bonus, and giants and titans have disadvantage on attacks against the wearer.

Balm of Invulnerability is made by crushing herbs growing where titan’s blood has been spilled. It grants resistance to all non-magical forms of damage for 1 day if a person applies the balm to their whole body.

Greatclub of the Cyclops can impose the prone and stunned conditions on a struck target, but only when you get a critical hit and said target fails a Strength saving throw. This limits the usability of its iconic feature.

Crown of the Dragonlords allows the wearer to cast Bond of the Dragonlords (and Dirge of the Dragonlords if they’re a spellcaster) once each per long rest.

Glaive of Sydon is a +2 glaive which can do 4d6 bonus lightning damage to a struck target once per turn.

Golden Shield of Volkan can let the user cast Thunderwave 3 times per day as the lion motif roars. Said lion can also hold the severed head of a creature of appropriate size in its ‘mouth,’ and can grant a one-term use of the beheaded’s unique traits for 5 rounds to the wielder. Although the head disintegrates after its use, I can see some clever and potentially broken uses for this item!

Mithral Weapons are invariably magical, with at least a +1 enhancement bonus. Making non-magical mithral is seen as a waste by the talented artisans of the Mithral Forge. Certain campaign-specific weapons (Chakram, Xiphos) made of mithral have unique features, such as not suffering disadvantage when thrown adjacent to an enemy, ignoring an enemy’s shield bonus to AC, etc.

Instruments of the Muse are various magical instruments forged by Volkan for his daughter Kyrah. Anyone proficient in said instrument can play it to cast a number of magical spells once per day. Every instrument can cast Jump, Invisibility, and Levitate, but specific ones have 2 more spells. For instance, the Boreal Harp can cast Control Weather and Conjure Animals, while the Euros Lyre can cast Sleep and Counterspell as 4th and 3rd level slots respectively.

Potion of Aging can rapidly age the drinker. Even a mere drop of it upon the tongue ages the drinker by one physical year. It’s typically used as punishment, but in the case of creatures such as dragons can be used to grant them the power of their elders (albeit without the wisdom and life experience).

Pythor’s Hammer is pretty much in the wrong mythology: it is a hammer which can teleport directly into the wielder’s grip 1/day a la Thor’s signature weapon. It can also be used to forge the Demigod’s Wish List Magic Items.

Scythe of Lutheria can impose a save or die on a creature with 100 or fewer hit points struck by a critical hit. Using the scythe in such a way can change the wielder’s alignment to evil on a failed Charisma save, reversible only via the Wish spell.

Shortbow of Cupidity is exactly what you think it is. An arrow fired can charm a struck target 1/day on a successful hit on your part and a failed saving throw on the target’s part. The dryad Demetria had it in her possession, which implies some more rather unsavoury things regarding her cult of lovestruck teens beyond the whole maenad creation plot.

The Promethean Fire is a moldable orb of blue fire which can take the form of any simple or martial weapon the wielder desires. It can also be used to cast various growth and creation-based spells by expending charges: Awaken, Fabricate, Plant Growth, and Stone Shape.

Titansbane, Blade of Titans deals bonus 2d6 damage to celestials and giants. It is sentient and will try to urge the wielder into finding its creator Talieus, for it is the only force in the world that can cut through his sewn eyes and mouth.

Toga Praetexta makes you super-suave. Beyond granting proficiency in Charisma saving throws, it allows you to reroll a failed charisma check 1/day by flourishing the toga provided you’re addressing a crowd. Just for that, this is my favorite magical item in this book.

Wheel of Fortune is similar to the Deck of Many Things save that it’s a spinning bronze wheel whose effect is determined by the image upon which it stops spinning. There are 20 images, and their effects range from becoming Tiny size, gaining a metallic dragon companion, being hunted by a Gygan or Centaur Hero, or the chance of summoning a nightmare-formed monster whenever you take a long rest. Most of the effects are either short-term, ranging from 8 to 24 hours in duration or stops once the creature hunting you is slain.

Appendix H: Dragonlords
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Given that 2 of the Epic Paths and the new Paladin archetype revolve around the legacy of the Dragonlords, it’s only proper that we have information on this order. We get a rundown on how to properly care for each variety of dragon egg, the specifics of the Oath of the Dragonlord (said in Draconic by both dragon and Dragonlord to bind themselves to each other) and how said Dragonlord is thereafter considered to be kin to all metallic dragons.

There’s some general RP information on raising dragons from birth; basically they’re fast growers and incredibly intelligent despite their technical age category, have a strong moral compass and will abandon cruel companions, and they can travel 10 miles per hour or 80 miles a day with people riding their back (the bigger the size the more people they can carry). Additionally, a PC with the proper Epic Path or aforementioned Paladin archetype can create a new Order of Dragonlords. Likely after the Battle of Mytros timewise. It is very bare-bones, functioning similar to the Fame rules in additional income and grants said PC the ability to call upon NPC followers of a more martial bent. Sadly we have no information on dragon NPCs and where to find them. It makes sense given that said species all but vanished, but you’d imagine that the party would certainly want to fly into battle with followers on dragonback rather than just the Battle of Mytros.

Appendix J: Secrets & Myths
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You might have noticed that even in the DM’s section the history of the world is often fragmented and biased, where what is told to the PCs and even earlier in the appendices are different than what is found out later on in the plot. Appendix J gives us the skinny of Thylea’s true history. As quite a bit of it repeats earlier information in this Let’s Read, I’m going to summarize the big reveals.

Thylea was part of a long-forgotten pantheon of gods, but grew tired of the fighting and with her husband Kentimane carved out their own corner of the ocean to find peace. Thylea turned into a continent, and Kentimane accidentally created the Titan children by hurting his hands on pomegranate seeds from the fruit he ate. Sydon and Lutheria were born from the same seed at once, and each Titan reflected some virtue. Lutheria was charged with overseeing the dead and to act as a guardian of all of Thylea, and the eons’ worth of vigils drove her murderously insane. Various native races were made by Talieus. Sydon and Lutheria grew jealous of their existence, and tricked Talieus into creating a “master race” that were the myrmekes who ended up trying to conquer everyone else before being trapped on a single island. Kentimane enslaved and depowered Taleius for this, and Sydon gave him as a gift to Lutheria* where she made him pull her eternal barge with his eyes and mouth sewn shut.

*who he now married even though they’re brother and sister.

The other Titans became really creeped out by what the twins did to Talieus, so they ended up trying to kill them. They failed and suffered a variety of terrible fates. Sydon and Lutheria were the only beings of authority on Thylea after the titan’s war concluded. That is, until refugees from the outside world washed up on Thylea’s shores. They were initially ignored by the titans but were treated as second class citizens by the native fey. The Dragonlords came astride the dragons that would later become gods, and they managed to give the settler races proper towns and cities by helping them win against fey incursions. But war brought out the worst sides of everyone, and Estor Arkelander and his brother Telamok became “settler supremacists” who wanted to enslave the fey races as punishment for past misdeeds. He grew in power and support, eventually going to war against the gygan empire which resulted in the genocide of said race. Kyrah, Estor’s mount, finally left Estor’s side after she realized her attempts at minimizing his wrath were in vain. It was from the destruction of the gygans that Lutheria realized the settler races were growing into a genuine threat, so she tricked Estor into offering him immortality via dream-sex to betray and kill the rest of his crew. Said immortality was in fact a curse, for he and his crew became undead ghosts.

The silver dragon Balmytria, who would later become the goddess Mytros, managed to end the First War by challenging Sydon to the Game of Twenty Squares: the titans staked a portion of their divinity, the dragon her life as their wagers. Sydon’s impatience proved his undoing during the first six rolls, although Lutheria found a way to cheat by apportioning some of her own divine power to deliver him final victory. During the close of the final game Balmytria committed suicide with a giant-sized dagger, her blood falling over the magical board game, mixing with Lutheria’s cheating essence and in turn allowing the dragons to steal their divine sparks and become the Five Gods.

The Oath of Peace was sealed after both sides faced irreversible losses and the threat of annihilation, and most of the Dragonlords perished in battle. The Titans and Five Gods signed the Oath with their blood, underneath the great tree from which Thylea herself stood as silent witness on the Island of the Golden Heart.

And the rest is history.

Appendix K: Handouts

Not much here to say. This includes in-game documents, letters, and descriptions of divine visions to give or read out to players at certain points in the adventure path. We also have a convenient “Thylea World Primer” for players which summarizes key aspects of the setting all on one page:

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Final Thoughts: Odyssey of the Dragonlords is a great book with lots to love in it. The adventure path is more open-ended than others of its kind without going full sandbox, and the setting is thematic enough to feel fresh and novel amid other D&D settings. That it accomplished this with well-known Ancient Greek tropes is all the more impressive. The sidequests, mobile base of operations, and detailed crafting mechanics are nice touches as well, and the diversity of locales and dungeons does a good job of making the campaign’s various chapters feel fresh. The PC-friendly options are not too overpowered or useless to the point that I can see many players not struggling between maintaining an “authentic” race such as a centaur vs more traditional Player’s Handbook choices. The artwork is beautiful, and the various cities and islands feel like they have more than enough to occupy parties who want to depart from the beaten path of the main quest.

Even so, I also have my criticisms. Odyssey has quite a few instances of rape and similar sexual themes, both onscreen and offscreen, that can be triggering or uncomfortable to many gaming groups. It’s hard to tell how much of it is the authors trying to be edgy or ‘authentic’ to the Greek myths, and how much is their sexual fantasies spilling out onto the pages. The setting’s third act past the Battle of Mytros is a weak end, and some of the Epic Paths are not created equal. The legacy of the Dragonlords is surprisingly underplayed as a plot element despite being part of the book’s name: whether it be Acastus’ failed attempt or the PCs reforming the legacy, said organizations have a bit part overall. I was kind of hoping for a moment where the Gifted One had to use the Fortress of the Dragonlords to serve as a mobile base of operations in the third act similar to the Ultros, recruiting dragonriders to battle Lutheria’s second rise. But such things will need to be homebrewed by the Dungeon Master.

But overall, I’m glad that I purchased this book and read it in full. It can use some polish, but the tools within can be used to make a truly great long-running campaign. I look forward to seeing what other plans, if any, James Ohlen and Jesse Sky have in the tabletop industry.

This was a long review for me. My next project will be a smaller one in reviewing 3rd party class and archetype splatbooks for 5th Edition. After that’s done, who knows where my reviewing fancy shall take me. See you in the next Let’s Read!
 

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