This is a 100% spoiler free review. I won’t be touching on the plot at all, so that players can fully enjoy the experience when they play.
In 2012, Paizo Publishing released Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition. At the time, they said that a hardcover Adventure Path collection was a one time thing: an anniversary celebration of both Pathfinder, and the first Adventure Path release.
Well, it’s 5 years later and Paizo’s second Adventure Path, Curse of the Crimson Throne, has also made it’s way into a hardcover collection. This version has been revised and expanded to create a fuller playing experience, reorganizing sections and updating some of the NPCs with newer character classes and abilities.
This beautiful hardcover edition is split into eight sections. First there is an introduction, giving a bit of background on the book, and actual campaign. It also gives a set of required campaign traits that every player must choose from, and quick reference chart listing the other Pathfinder products that are referenced and their abbreviations. It also notes that no other products are required to play this adventure, besides the Core Rulebook.
Each of the six chapters starts out with it’s own table of contents, including a listing of which page each of the maps is on. There is a Chapter Background section that also includes a note about what level the players should be at coming into each chapter and approximately when they should be advancing to the next level. Another nice touch is that every page has a sidebar showing what chapter you are on, and which section within that chapter. With each each chapter being subsequently split into three parts and an interactive conclusion, this makes navigating extra easy. Now, it should be pointed out that none of these features are unique to this collected edition. Other Adventure Path books that (available through subscription or for individual purchase) all have a similar structure.
The Appendix section in this book is terrific and contains a ton of useful extra information: useful ideas to continue the campaign yourself, more information about the city of Korvosa and the surrounding area, tips on the Harrow deck (a Pathfinder fortunetelling tool), how to use specific equipment and magic, as well as NPC and Monster information.
As always Paizo has put together a beautiful product and, even with 28 separate artists, it still feels unified. The $59.99 USD price point is an exceptional value, given that the cover price on a current Adventure Path chapter is $24.99 USD, times six chapters. Even with the 30% subscription discount Paizo offers, it’s a great price.
In addition to the book, you can also purchase a separate box of cardboard pawns specific to this adventure, as well as several digital supplements. There is a free Player’s Guide, a Map Folio that reprints the maps in the book, as well as a Guide to Korvosa with additional background information. Be aware that these PDF documents are based off of the ORIGINAL Curse of the Crimson Throne release, not this current updated collection. I have not seen them and can not confirm how well they do, or do not, integrate with this edition.
My only real complaint with this book is not actually with the book, it’s with Paizo’s website. You’ll notice I linked to the PDF product pages above. The reason for that is because they are actually really hard to find otherwise. The Player’s Guide is listed on the overall product page for this Adventure Path, but the other two are not. I found them by accident. I also had problems accessing the Pathfinder Reference Document page, as the URL published in the book is actually wrong. When I was accessing it on my mobile device, I just ended up going around in circles, but eventually found the proper URL from my desktop. It’s not the first time I’ve had issues with their site, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Really the whole site needs an overhaul.
That being said, I’m not reviewing the website, only the book at hand. The Curse of the Crimson Throne hardcover is a great option if you want to try running an ongoing game, but don’t want to jump into a regular Adventure Path subscription. I give this a strong 4 out of 5 and hope that Paizo brings out more of these collected editions.