Pathfinder Adventure Review: Daughters of Fury

Daughters of Fury is an adventure for level 3 characters using the Pathfinder system. It is designed by Victoria Jaczko, the winner of the 2014 RPG Superstar competition that Paizo runs on an annual basis, and is the adventure she won the competition with. It has the normal, high production values you expect from Paizo, and includes a small, double-sided poster map that illustrates a couple of the adventure locations.

The book is 64 pages long. The adventure itself takes up 49 pages and there are three appendices: a description of the mining town where the adventure takes place, a bestiary of four new monsters designed by the finalists of the Superstar competition, and 28 new magic items also designed in the competition.

I do not like the adventure’s story. It revolves around the corruption of an innocent half-orc woman by an erinyes. That, in itself, is not a problem. The problem lies in its complete disregarding of Pathfinder lore. The erinyes comes up with a scheme that takes twenty years to come to fruition. Meanwhile, from the Bestiary entry on Erinyes: “Yet despite their beauty, erinyes are not seducers—they lack the subtlety and patience required for such fine emotional manipulations, and instead vastly prefer to solve their problems with swift and excruciating violence.” This is a disconnect between how erinyes are described and how they are used in the adventure.

This might be acceptable if the story otherwise made sense. However, it doesn’t. The erinyes wants to convert the half-orc, Vegazi, to an erinyes. Not now, but in twenty years. Vegazi apparently possesses the type of good soul that makes the best sort of erinyes.

The erinyes, Shayle, comes to Vegazi’s mother and offers her power in exchange for one of her children, twenty years hence. Kelseph, the mother, accepts, thinking it would be one of her sons the erinyes wants, but not caring either way. In the chaos of Kelseph’s rise to power, Vegazi escaped and then lived in the wild for 20 years, which is when the adventure begins. The bargain is now due, Kelseph doesn’t know where Vegazi is and – for some unknown reason – bargains her own soul away for extra time to find her, and sends her tiefling children out to find her daughter. Shayle’s eventual end-game is to cause Vegazi to sacrifice herself in Shayle’s name to stop Kelseph’s attacks on a local village; this sacrifice will cause Vegazi to become an Erinyes herself.

So, for a devil that lacks “subtlety and patience”, we get this crackpot scheme for corrupting a half-orc. Given that half-orcs reach middle-age at 30 and old age at 45, the 20-year plan also seems entirely too long a timespan. Of course, we also have the conclusion of the adventure – but more on that later.

If you can accept this scheme and begin running the adventure, the plot works like this:

The adventurers come across the ending stages of a battle between devils and a party of the local villagers; the villagers are dead, but the remaining devils are fighting Vegazi, who came down from the hills to help the villagers. It turns out that the leader of the village was slain in the attack, and once the group get to the village, they discover (a) the villagers distrust half-orcs, and (b) they’ll soon be in the middle of another devil attack. Once that’s dealt with, it’s into a small dungeon to deal with the person responsible for the attack, who is one of Vegazi’s sisters, a tiefling. (Kelseph had further children after rising to power).

The second chapter sees the group escorting outlying farmers back to the dubious safety of the village, while a tiefling druid (another of Vegazi’s sisters) causes trouble for them. Once back in the village, the Erinyes sends a curse devil to curse a few of the townsfolk, hoping to covertly cause Vegazi to realise that her very presence in the village puts the villagers in danger. Note that Vegazi doesn’t live in the village, and doesn’t visit it.

The final chapter has the group taking on Vegazi’s mother and final children, and then persuading Vegazi that she shouldn’t sacrifice herself to save the village. This last is handled by the relationship mechanics from Ultimate Campaign, which is to say, you get points during the adventure for doing various things and lose points for other things. If the points are in your favour, you persuade Vegazi! Or you could handle it by roleplaying, a task made more difficult by there being about no description of Vegazi’s character anywhere. Even after putting together all the scattered information from the relationship system together, she’s still very much a cypher – which is a massive problem when the story is centered on her.

The individual encounters and scenes of the adventure aren’t that bad, but the story is a disaster. Shayle comes off as a complete idiot; she has two goals: to corrupt Vegazi and gain a foothold in the orc tribes. By her actions, she destroys the second to try to achieve the first, and if she’d just gotten hold of Vegazi twenty years ago none of this would have happened. Is there something special about letting a half-orc soul simmer 20 years until its done?

Paizo generally puts out good adventures with good stories. This is not one of them.

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