Thornkeep, a 96-page softcover book, was a reward for backers of the Pathfinder Online Technology Demo Kickstarter project to fund the initial steps in the development of the Pathfinder Online MMO. It was written by Richard Baker, Jason Bulmahn, Ed Greenwood, James Jacobs, Erik Mona, and the Goblinworks staff. The PDF of the book was released to Kickstarter backers in October 2012, and at retail in both print and PDF versions in January 2013.
|A Den of VillainyUncover a world of adventure and claim your fortune in Pathfinder Online: Thornkeep! This detailed sourcebook contains everything a GM needs to run adventures in and around the dastardly town of Thornkeep, as well as several deadly dungeon levels and a sneak peek at the upcoming massively multiplayer online game Pathfinder Online. Inside this book, you'll find:
The Pathfinder Online MMO will put YOU in command of your very own kingdom in the treacherous River Kingdoms of the Pathfinder world. Get an early start on conquest with Pathfinder Online: Thornkeep, a complete gazetteer of one of the upcoming game's starting towns and the deadly dungeons that sprawl beneath it!
A co-production of video game developers Goblinworks and Paizo Publishing, this fully illustrated adventure sourcebook slots easily into any Pathfinder RPG campaign, and provides a tantalizing glimpse at the early production of the Pathfinder Online MMO, with behind-the-scenes accounts, sneak peeks at characters and environment images, and new details about the upcoming game.
Thornkeep also includes complete original dungeon levels designed by a who's-who of adventure design: Richard Baker, Jason Bulmahn, Ed Greenwood, James Jacobs, and Erik Mona! With enough gaming material to advance a character from 1st to 8th level, Thornkeep brings the action and excitement of the Pathfinder Online MMO to your tabletop!
Thornkeep contains the following complete dungeon levels:
- The Accursed Halls (by veteran RPG designer Richard Baker): Buried beneath the castle of Thornkeep lie strange passages and chambers that once belonged to a cruel Azlanti wizard of eons past. Goblins have begun excavating the so-called Accursed Halls in hopes of finding a lost goblin artifact, though their constant battles with the undead that haunt these corridors has left them blind to the dungeon's other myriad wonders.
- The Forgotten Laboratory (by Pathfinder RPG Lead Designer Jason Bulmahn): The goblins of the dungeon's upper level took more than one trinket from the ancient laboratory that dwells beneath them. The wizard that created these items also performed dangerous experiments, many of which have gone out of control over the years. Stranger still, someone appears to be using the ancient equipment with sinister results.
- The Enigma Vaults (by Paizo Creative Director James Jacobs): In ages past, the mad wizard who dwelt in these halls collected many strange items in his travels—and the strangest of those he put on display here, in a museum-like complex he called the Enigma Vaults. When a group of thieves made their way into the vaults in hopes of a huge payday, they released something far beyond their capacity to control, and now they serve as the thralls of a sinister influence from a dark and distant world.
- Sanctum of a Lost Age (by Paizo Publisher Erik Mona): Scholars claim the dungeons below Thornkeep were built by the Ancient Azlanti, but how do they know, really? If Rozimus of Tymon speaks true, one level of Thornkeep's dungeon holds survivors of that long-dead empire eager to return to the world and share the lore of their glorious age. They're not undead, Rozimus claims, or illusory phantoms, but true living and breathing High Azlanti! But why does Rozimus know so much about them, and why is he so eager to return to the dungeon he claims almost killed him 5 years ago?
- Dark Menagerie (by RPG legend Ed Greenwood): In life, the wizard who ruled this realm kept many trophies, mementos, and even captured pets from his journeys, both to entertain his dark sensibilities and to cow his business associates and coerced allies. Now, kept alive all these years via stasis-inducing magic that's recently failed, the unfettered beasts of his magical menagerie run amok.
Originally pitched as a 64-page book, the first half of the book was to be a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game sourcebook detailing the town of Thornkeep—the very same "hive of scum and villainy" that the Pathfinder Online community named in Goblinworks's first online poll in January 2012—penned by veteran game designer Rich Baker. This would include the surrounding woods and a detailed dungeon below the ruins upon which Thornkeep was built. This very same dungeon would also serve as the basis for part of Goblinworks's technology demo, providing a great window into how tabletop design will make the transition to the digital medium.
The remaining section was to be written by the Pathfinder Online design team, giving readers a glimpse into Goblinworks' design philosophy and giving project backers inside information gleaned from the development of the technology preview.12
After the project was funded in less than 24 hours, additional stretch goals were added to incentivize further backing, each expanding the scope of Thornkeep and the dungeons beneath. By the conclusion of the Kickstarter project, the book had grown in length to nearly 100 pages and featured dungeon levels written by Jason Bulmahn, Ed Greenwood, James Jacobs, and Erik Mona.
- For an alphabetical listing of all the relevant terms in this story, please visit its Index.