by Luis Loza
A Pathfinder adventure for four to five level 3 PCs
An ancient fort lost to time has reappeared, prompting murmurs of lost kingdoms and mystical artifacts. When the PCs investigate they find themselves flung outside of time, reliving the life of the fort over and over again! It’s up to the party to learn what happened in the final days of Fort Jaroma and put an end to the endless loop they find themselves in. Will they be able end this cycle and save the keep from the assault of the three Mad Kings or will they be lost for all eternity?
Also included in “The Timeless Fort”:
● Fort Jaroma, a living and breathing keep from fabled legends
● The Shard of the Broken Sky, a powerful crystal fallen from the heavens themselves
● Rules for improving the fortifications and training of the troops within Fort Jaroma
● Maps by Cartographer Dan Roy
Welcome to the 2013 PATHMASTER Adventure Writing Contest!
By purchasing and voting on the PATHMASTER adventures you decide the fate of these valiant new game designers!
Your rating helps determine the winner!
The adventure scoring the best “verified owner” ratings/reviews will be declared grand prize winner and the author hired to write a 6 part adventure path published in PDF and PRINT by Adventureaweek.com. In addition, the grand prize winner will also receive a free one year subscription to Adventureaweek.com, a limited edition village of Rybalkaprint autographed by AaW founders Todd Gamble and Jonathan Nelson, as well as a print copy of “BASIC1: A Learning Time” autographed by author Kevin Mickelson (Mask of Death).
Note from Publisher: Please do not vote unless you have actually purchased and read this adventure in its entirety. Thank you for being honest.
email@example.com (verified owner) – September 30, 2013
This module takes an awesome concept and turns it into a pretty badass adventure.
One of my favorite aspects about this module is how the entire setting is written to evolve and expand as the PCs decide how to handle each encounter. The “reset” mechanic encourages creativity on the part of your party. If something didn’t go well last time, change it! Once your PCs have gone through an encounter once, they’ll (hopefully) know what to expect, and how best to prepare for it. What’s really cool about this though, is that it’s written in such a way that multiple playthroughs won’t get stale. Your party is playing with causality, and little changes in the way they handle things can have a big impact on the overall outcome. Besides that, the entire adventure has a very interesting backstory with some equally interesting characters.
I’m definitely going to be injecting this module into my own home campaign.
Bryan (verified owner) – September 30, 2013
An interesting departure from the norm, rife with interesting encounters, colorful characters, and Time Travel (And who doesn’t like a little temporal instability?). I will say that this is probably not an adventure I would to the fledgling GM, it provides mostly a blueprint such that it can be fit into any setting or world, but for those with a little experience it is a valuable tool that can be fit into any game and provides and interesting respite from the ordinary dungeon crawl.
The core of this adventure is that of a fortress siege lost in time. It should be noted however that it plays through in a perfectly normal fashion without any time travel at all. Indeed, if so desired one could play through as though the players had come upon the fortress in the midst of this siege, and in the event of failure (and if the DM is feeling particularly lenient), the disruption of time could give the PC’s that oh-so-rare opportunity, a second chance.
Timothy (verified owner) – September 30, 2013
Wonderful, Timeless Fort is a great adventure with tons of options and fun things you can do with the adventure. I feel that I also makes for a great side quest while you wait for other parts of adventure paths come out. All in all I can’t wait to run this with my adventure group.
Antony (verified owner) – September 30, 2013
This module is interesting. It’s sandbox qualities and options with PC deaths leaves many possibilities and options for both PCs and the GM. The adventure itself is well thought-out. The intrigue from the kings and other parties seeking the shard brings a lot of options for the GM. I can see other options for the GM as well with managing the flow of time. All in all, I imagine this would be a fun adventure to run or play in.
Taylor (verified owner) – September 30, 2013
A Pathfinder adventure that takes its influence from Majora’s Mask and Groundhog Day? Sign me up! I think it’s rare to see elements of time travel in a campaign that actually work well and don’t feel like cheap GM tricks, but author Luis has hit on something really unique and fun here.
I can’t count the times I’ve been playing a campaign and a dispute among party members or plain boneheadedness all around has lead to a crazy, undesirable outcome that has me wishing I could reload our last save and retcon the whole thing. In this adventure you are stuck in a seemingly endless time loop, and each decision, each outcome, becomes an advantage the PCs can use should they find themselves cycling through those same instances again. Theoretically, PCs could amass so much insider knowledge about the events that transpire in the adventure that they could execute the perfect playthrough, provided the dice gods are kind enough.
Besides the time-travel mechanics, there are also built in mechanics for building up and fortifying the fort the adventure takes place in. PCs are rewarded with FP, a sort of currency that represents the state of the fort’s troops. Thwarting early assaults in the timeline results in more FP that can be assign later. Failing to stop a threat might result in a loss of FP, thinner troops, and a greater disadvantage against any future assaults on the fort. Likewise killing a threat might result in a reward of 2 FP, while capturing and conscripting prisoners to your order through good diplomacy might result in 3 FP. FP can be spent at certain times to reinforce defensible positions or add troops to allied assaults. If the timeline resets, you lose your FP and start from zero. It sounds like a great system, and I’m excited to put it to practice.
The story seems great too. Full disclosure: I know Luis in real life. He’s really creative and great at writing interesting characters and places. While The Timeless Fort has a great cast of characters and kingdoms, there is still plenty left for GMs to flush out, putting their own unique spin on things.
I’m super excited to run this one. I read through the whole thing this afternoon.
Sara (verified owner) – October 1, 2013
The writing and setup of this adventure is lovely. The story presented is interesting, and the incorporation of the time element sets it apart. The flexibility and openness of the adventure is also a nice benefit, as I could incorporate this into a number of campaigns multiple times and modify it to be fairly unique each time. Great read, can’t wait to use this.
ENDZEITGEIST – October 30, 2013
An Endzeitgeist.com review
I was one of the judges of the contest that determined which pitches were chosen for the Pathmaster contest. I did not receive any compensation and thus do not consider my verdict compromised. The very presence of these modules means that I like the premise of all Pathmaster-modules, but can their execution stand up?
This Pathmaster-module is 51 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page author-bio/developer’s note,1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 43 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.
When a crystal shard fell to earth centuries ago in an age of peace at the border of three kingdoms, its power prompted obsession on part of the three monarchs and led to disaster – sheltered away by guardians, the kingdoms whittled themselves down in trying to claim the shard, finally tracking it and its guardians, the Order of the Shard down to Fort Jamora, where they annihilated their last forces in a desperate claim for the shard. When the shard sundered in the chaos, it sent the fort and its assailants into a Grounghog Day-style time loop.
Now the fort is depicted i rather extensive detail and constitutes basically the groundframe for the PCs to work from – the PCs start with 7 Fort Points and add 3 per assault day. A true sandbox, the PCs have only a scarce amount of soldiers and reinforcements to make to the fort to withstand the challenges and assailants that would otherwise be beyond their power to surpass. In order to break the timehole, the PCs will have to guard the shard from the assault of an orcish warlord, a priest-king and an elven lord and finally a combined move by all of the monarchs-all three kings and their desperate gambit need to be vanquished in their attempts to gain control of the shard. Now the respective assaults of the king’s and their henchmen (which include elementals, thieves and treants) are detailed herein, but more interesting for the PCs, they actually get to experience the creation of new buildings etc. in fast-forward and reap the benefits of actually knowing what will happen after experiencing it. Only if they manage to prevent the shard’s shattering may they break the resetting of the timeline of the fort.
The PCs may use aforementioned FP as resources to defend the fortress during the final assault and overall, there are quite a few consequences and details on both fortress and occupants confound in making the loop an interesting concept to experience. The assaults per se are also cool and oftentimes rather imaginative – being catapulted into the fortress’s courtyard and surviving the fall via feather fall, just to give you an example, would be one of the assault-techniques employed by the PC’s opposition.
As with most AaW-modules, we also get player-friendly versions of the full color maps of the locales featured, though the maps this time around are not as mind-bogglingly beautiful as in some other AaW-modules.
Editing and formatting are very good, with only a few minor glitches creeping into the pages. Layout adheres to an original drop-dead gorgeous 2-column full color standard with thematically-fitting full-color artworks. Cartography adheres to a full-color standard as well. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Author Luis Loza has created a cool, uncommon adventure-premise/sandbox in this module – ambitious in scope, detailed and challenging, PCs can and probably will require the resetting of the fort’s properties. The consequences of their performance make for more cool variety and a sense of empowerment for the PCs. That being said, this sandbox does waste one extremely cool opportunity: With consequences for the fort and fast-forwarding due to the unstable timeframe, this pdf could have utilized Ultimate Campaign’s downtime-rules to exceedingly awesome effect. While the Fort Points mechanic works well within the frame of this module, actually using the donwtime-rules would have provided for a glorious, more diverse variety of consequences and player-choices. Handing them an amount of capital and making them earn capital for acing encounters could have made this even cooler in my book and fit in more seamlessly within an overall context. This would have also expanded the PC’s option by oh so many options…
Now whether you consider this a blemish or don’t mind, I still consider this the one and crucial missed chance of an otherwise cool, uncommon module with a nice premise that is executed with surprising panache. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform and I look forward to reading more from author Luis Loza!
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