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Dawn of the Scarlet Sun GM Resources

As written, Dawn of the Scarlet Sun is a straightforward urban adventure set in Magnimar, featuring a basic murder mystery premise that leads to a fairly tough big boss fight. It also provides plenty of fodder for making something larger out of it as part of a Magnimar based urban campaign.

The module is necessary to run the adventure (but it is available for free from Paizo ). The following write ups are provided for the various opponents and challenges faced within the adventure, but using Pathfinder Fate Accelerated.

Additionally, a couple more fully stated antagonists are provided to spice up the action a bit, and to build up the Cult of Shax angle set forth in the adventure's central premise a bit more. However, a GM is free to use or ignore them as they like.

  • Zadendi: once a priestess of Sarenrae, she was turned by Avalexi and now serves Shax. She is the heart-stealing murderer.
  • The Scarlet Son: a fiendish gargoyle who serves Avalexi (and is also her son, as written).
  • Undead: the adventure calls for some Wights.
  • Avalexi: a powerful succubus and the mastermind behind it all.
  • Hallway Trap: an Abyssal Fire Trap
  • Street Criminals: petty thugs that might be encountered in seedier parts of town.
  • D'laxia: bonus NPC, a powerful demonologist and cultist of Shax.
  • Iraxis: bonus NPC, a sadistic magus and cultist of Shax.

Being an urban adventure, with an initial 'whodunit' nuance, there are lots of opportunities to go "off script" and explore more of the city of Magnimar; the Magnimar City of Monuments supplement is excellent for facilitating this. Also a collection of Magnimar based side quests are offered in the Asylum Stone (part 3 of the Shattered Star Adventure Path), and finally a fair number of Pathfinder Society Adventures have been set in Magnimar.

Thus it is quite possible to string together a series of urban adventures into a full campaign, if desired, with Dawn of the Scarlet Sun being part of that. For a more fleshed out usage, the mystery of the killing spree could be drawn out over a longer stretch of time and cause much fear and speculation amongst the populace, Jack-the-Ripper style. Further, Avalexi could be using her ability to infiltrate high society and seduce those in positions of power and be a much more insidious threat from within rather than a throw away boss fight.

Undead

If you want to add in more Undead, or swap out the Wights for a less deadly threat, here is a selection of Undead mooks such as skeletons, ghouls, and ghasts.

In our campaign, Avalexi was elevated to more of a mastermind status. In the interests of character conservation, I exised the succubus Ayandamalah from Curse of the Lady's Light (part 2 of the Adventure Path) and inserted Avalexi in her place. I also re-wrote the nature of her binding, and dropped the metaplot of having tricked Ashamintallu to take her place (instead, Ashamintallu is a willing subordinate of Avalexi).

It is assumed that Avalexi survives the PC's in Dawn of the Scarlet Sun and retreats with any of her followers who also survive to the Lady's Light, to be encountered again in part 2 of the Adventure Path.

Avalexi is quite powerful, and could TPK a group of green adventurers singlehandedly, but there are some mitigating factors.

  • Avalexi avoids physical combat if possible; she prefers to enthrall would be threats and make them minions instead, or baring that have her existing minions deal with the threat. If forced into direct conflict, her first preference is to extricate herself from harm.
  • The real threat of Avalexi in the context of this adventure is not her personal capacity to wreak harm, but rather her schemes.
    • Creating a shrine to Shax and founding a murder cult in Magnimar is the immediate scheme, and the PC's don't have to defeat Avalexi to ruin it; merely bringing unwanted attention from the city's defenders renders the entire plot unviable, at which point Avelexi abandons it.
    • Her other bigger and more durable scheme is acquiring the two pieces of the Sihedron she knows to be located in or near Magnimar. In my version, she considers the Shard of Lust kept safe at Lady's Light to be hers, starts with the Shard of Pride in her possession, and is planning to go after the Shard of Greed soon. If the Shard of Pride is taken or stolen from her, she will make some attempt to reclaim it, but if that is impractical she retreats to the Lady's Light, secure in the knowledge that those who have claimed the item will likely follow the trail and end up at the Lady's Light seeking the next shard.

Abyssal Trap

Use this write up for the trap in the catacombs (marked on the map as a red zone). The GM should feel free to increase or decrease the bonus on the explosion effect to make it more or less deadly.

Abyssal Trap

Magical (Divine, Abyssal, Evil)

Detection: Requires special senses to detect as a Fantastic (+6) challenge

Easier Detection: Difficulty to detect while being Carefully Divine is only Great (+4)

Magical (Divine, Abyssal, Evil)

Disarm: Requires awareness of the trap, narrative justification, and a relevant Archetype of +3 or higher to disarm as a Epic (+7) challenge.

Easier Disarm: Difficulty to dispel while being Carefully Divine is only Superb (+5)

Magical (Divine, Abyssal, Evil), Zone

Effect: Blowing up my zone with abyssal flame (+6; Attacks Everything In Zone Without Splitting Shifts)

Lessened Effect: Reduce shifts of damage inflicted against demons or those with abyssal heritage by two (2).

Triggered By Not Carrying A Holy Symbol Of Shax. The Trap Does Not Automatically Reset

Street Criminals

While there are many dangerous criminal interests in Magnimar, such as the Night Scales and the Gallowed, common Sczarni thugs and gang members are often encountered in the Underbridge area.

Oily Street Punks, Wise Guys

Good At: Shakedowns And Protection Rackets (+3), Street Savvy (+2)

Bad At: One On One (-2), Being On The Other Side Of The Tracks (-2), Long-Term Planning (-2)

Hits: [1][1]  

Up to five (5) will fight as a mob, adding two (2) hit boxes per thug. +1 when attacking and defending for every three (3) thugs remaining in the mob.

The Creepers in particular are such despicable goons even other Sczarni dislike them; many of the scum encountered in the Underbridge area are affiliated with this gang.

Dirty Impoverished Scumbag, Ignorant And Bent On Survival

Good At: Dirty Fighting (+3), Underbridge (+2)

Bad At: Where To Start? Almost Everything Else (-2)

Hits: [1][1]  

Up to five (5) will fight as a mob, adding two (2) hit boxes per Scum. +1 when attacking and defending for every three (3) Scum remaining in the mob.

Scum will generally break and run (concede), but only after at least one or two of them have been killed.

Additional Antagonists

Following are a couple of dangerous additional antagonists, wiling minions of Avalexi and members of the fledgling Cult of Shax she has started. Adding one or both to the mix can help to flesh this adventure out. Also, even if the adventurers stop the immediate scheme to desecrate the Shrine of Sarenrae it could be only the beginning of an ongoing problem with the Cult of Shax, with multiple cells operating semi-independently.

Maps

Underbridge City Streets The Old Shrine The Catacombs