Review of Way of the Wicked (Book Two: Call Forth Darkness) by Fire Mountain Games


Neuroglyph

First Post
As it mentioned before in previous reviews, one of the great things about being a reviewer for a site like the EN World is the sheer volume of great third party products for a variety of gaming systems such as Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder RPG, Traveller, and many others. All one of the pitfalls of receiving so many products is finding the time to review them all given only one review a week. Sometimes a product gets lost in the shuffle, and then turns up again like a wonderful lost treasure.

So I recently discovered that when Fire Mountain Games sent me the first of their Way of the Wicked adventure path, I’d actually received both the first and the second products in that series. And while organizing my review schedule for this month and through the end of the year, I encountered this little gem and realized I needed to get a review done for it as soon as possible! So I hope that the folks at fire mountain games will forgive me this little lapse in organization, and make sure that this supplement gets the attention it deserves during this holiday week.

Like the first of the Way of the Wicked adventure path series, this adventure is designed for evil characters, picking up from where the previous adventure left off and sends the villains out to undertake new acts of violence and treachery. Here players are given an opportunity that few will ever have: conquering and re-populating a dungeon, commanding its evil denizens to thwarting goodly heroes and treasure hunting adventures!

Way of the Wicked (Book Two: Call Forth Darkness)

  • Designer: Gary McBride
  • Illustrations: Michael Clarke
  • Publisher: Fire Mountain Games, LLC
  • Year: 2012
  • Media: PDF (106 pages)
  • Price: $10.00 (PDF available from the RPGNow)

Way of the Wicked (Book Two: Call Forth Darkness) is the second module of a six-part adventure path designed for Pathfinder RPG. Book Two: Call Forth Darkness is meant for evil characters of Levels 6 – 9, and is part of an entire campaign arc for characters all the way to Level 20. Book Two: Call Forth Darkness is actually four adventures in one book, each a part a chain of events which unleashes a great evil upon world. The supplement contains encounters and monsters for all parts of the adventures, maps of the local area and of dungeon environments, rules for creating an evil organization, and new backgrounds for evil character groups.

Production Quality

As was the first installment of this series, the production quality of Way of the Wicked (Book Two: Call Forth Darkness) is simply amazing, with an awesome presentation and great layouts, along with very solid writing by the author. The content is presented in a logical fashion, with high attention to detail, and standard Pathfinder RPG monster stat blocks and encounter formats. The PDF contains both a table of contents and bookmarks for easy navigation, and a printer-friendly version comes with the standard copy, which is mostly black and white or grayscale for the main pages of the book.


The illustrations in Way of the Wicked (Book Two: Call Forth Darkness) are also worthy of praise, and like the first supplement, many of the important NPCs are depicted so that they can be shared with the players. The maps in the book are nicely rendered, and provide a great resource for the DM.

[Spoiler Warning: In discussing this product, there may be spoilers revealed which would impact a players ability to fully enjoy this product. Please skip to the Overall Score and Conclusions section to avoid any possible revelations about the plot.]

The Darkness Comes Forth

Like the first adventure in this series, Way of the Wicked (Book Two: Call Forth Darkness) is actually four adventures (or Acts, as the author refers to them) in a single module. The plot once again takes place on the island nation of Talingarde, but focused in a small region near a backwater town called Farholde. While resourceful GMs could place this adventure in almost any setting of their choosing, the author is clearly developing the land of Talingarde in greater detail, and use of other settings might not be required. While the plot follows a somewhat linear chain of events, there are plenty of opportunities for the characters to devise their own methods for how to achieve their goals, particularly in Act Three, when they are given a chance to be over lords of their own dungeon environment!

Act One: Farholde finds the villains being sent to the edge of Taligarde and the remote town of Farholde, where they are to unleash a terrible daemon prince (and gain a boon from it) on behalf of their evil benefactor. They must travel to the town, enlist aid from their patron’s treacherous allies, and find the location of the lost temple where the ritual to bring back the daemon prince can be performed.

In Act Two: Taking the Horn, the villains must explore and conquer Abaddon’s Horn, a long lost temple of evil. Anyone to have been conquered, the heroes must enlist the aid of evil creatures in the area, set up defenses and traps, in order to make sure that the ritual is undisturbed. Thankfully the dungeon is filled with all manner of dangerous materials and vicious monsters just waiting to be recruited into the nefarious schemes of the villains.

During Act Three: Thirty-One Weeks, the villains must hold this bastion of evil for 222 days, repelling goodly creatures, would-be heroes, and treasure seeking adventurers of all types. The author has created a wide range of events during this chapter, what will test the resolve, as well as the cunning, of the villains to get the job done. I was particularly amused when the author makes a recommendation to substitute one of the adventuring bands he has designed with heroes (i.e. old player-characters) from the players past. Subjecting the villainous players to their own tactics when they were heroes is a bit of role reversal which few GMs will fight hard to resist.

But Act Four: Five Days to Darkness is literally the five last days of the ritual leading to a series of world shattering events. The players will find their characters tested to the uttermost, particularly when they must deal with the evil forces they themselves have unleashed –for good or for ill!
The author also includes a handy chapter called Master of the Wicked – Building an Evil Organization. These are very slick set of abstract rules variants to allow the villains to create an evil organization through agents and contacts. There are nifty ways for the villains to utilize their cohorts and contacts in order to recruit for their dungeon, creating revenue, and gather raw materials for their diabolical schemes.

And like the previous Way of the Wicked adventure, the author provides a gazetteer of Farholde, expanding on the information about Talingarde. He includes information about this backwater city at the edge of Taligarde, discussing its history and culture, as well as important landmarks and locales. There is also a lovely and well-detailed map of Farholde, with reference numbers to the gazetteer’s list of landmarks.

The author includes a final section entitled Deeper Shades of Darkness, and details some background “group” options for characters so that they can be more immersed in the Taligarde setting and more likely to work together. Suggested character options include priests of an Asmodean cult, part of a tribe of goblins, members of an evil order of knights, just to name a few. While I liked these ideas, and certainly would put the players in a more cooperative mode for dealing with each other’s inherent evil nature, this information might have been better placed in the first module, when the players were creating their initial character concepts for Way of the Wicked: Book One.

Nevertheless, there are some fun ideas here and well worth considering if you’re a Game Master planning on running the entire series of adventures!


Overall Score: 4.3 out of 5

Conclusions

As of the first installment, Way of the Wicked (Book Two: Call Forth Darkness) blew me away with its storyline and concept, and use the even greater inspiration for wanting to run an evil campaign of my own, despite my usual misgivings about “evil role-playing” and campaigns. Just the idea alone of having players “manage” a dungeon with their evil characters is just too amazing to pass up. And again, like the first installment of the series, the layout, artwork, and maps really give Way of the Wicked (Book Two: Call Forth Darkness) a look that feels professional and polished.

Considering all that you get in this installment of the Way of the Wicked series, from its four well-written adventures to the encounters and maps, and the great artwork, this adventure arc is well worth serious consideration for any Pathfinder or OGL gamer who wants a chance to take a walk on the dark side of role-playing!

So until next review… I wish you Happy Gaming!

Author’s Note: This Reviewer received a complimentary copy of the product in PDF format from which the review was written.

Grade Card (Ratings 1 to 5)

  • Presentation: 4.0
  • - Design: 4.0 (awesome layout & format; great plot & writing)
  • - Illustrations: 4.0 (cool-looking evil cover, great illustrations and maps)
  • Content: 4.5
  • - Crunch: 4.0 (great encounter design; cool “good” monster use)
  • - Fluff: 5.0 (Excellent plot; great atmosphere; unique opportunity for a player run dungeon!)
  • Value: 4.5 (it’s got four huge adventures and a unique plot – can’t beat a value like that!)
 

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WiredNerve

First Post
This sounds very interesting, I plan on adding it to my subscriptions from Paizo. Unfortunately , I will have to convert the content to 4th Ed because my gaming group uses that system instead ( I have tried to get them to try 3.5 again - they just don't like it or Paizo's variant)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

gdmcbride

First Post
WiredNerve,

As someone who has run and appreciates D&D 4th edition, I can definitely say that "Way of the Wicked" was written with the idea that it would not be that difficult to convert.

The maps and plot line basically need no conversion and with the old monster creator, it should be a cinch to convert any monsters.

The area that probably needs the most hands on work is the treasure (Pathfinder and D&D 4th's economies are very different).

Anyways, if you do a conversion, I would love to see any work you care to post.

Thanks for your interest and if you have any further questions, I am eager to hear them.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I'd love to run this series. Sadly, my own stuff take spriority (selfish, I know), but I think this would be next on the list.
 

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