Review: Paizo – The Show Must Go On (Pathfinder Adventure Path Extinction Curse)

Extinction Curse: The Show Must Go On
The Show Must Go On is an epic fantasy adventure module for Pathfinder Second Edition, written by Jason Tondro and published by Paizo.
By Aaron T. Huss

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The Show Must Go On is the first part of the Extinction Curse adventure path campaign set for Pathfinder Second Edition. It takes place on the Isle of Erran and Isle of Kortos and follows a very similar vanilla fantasy path that many other Pathfinder campaigns do. There is one caveat though… the campaign contains an ongoing backdrop of life running a circus in these fantasy lands. No, the circus is not the focus of the game, it is merely part of the ongoing narrative in the foreground giving the adventurers something to do between tasks and provides some background story material to bring the story to life (such as giving the characters a reason for being where they are). The Show Must Go On starts at Level 1 and the PCs should reach level 5 by its completion.

For those who may not realize it, The Show Must Go On is adventure path release #151. There has been 150 other modules across 25 campaigns all set within Golarion, the setting of Pathfinder. As you can imagine, once you get this far along, you run the risk of rinsing, rewashing, and repeating many of the same tropes you have presented time and again. That doesn’t mean every single campaign is vanilla fantasy, but most adventures in Golarion are. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the talented folks at Paizo do their best to change their campaigns thematically as they go along. This latest set, Extinction Curse, is themed with the circus going on in the background. This circus, however, is not a narrative in the background; not at all as it takes a prominent place in the foreground. It literally contains an entire chapter about running a circus and the fun things your gaming group can do to manage it! This includes promotion, upgrading, the different shows, and more. It gives the players something else to look forward to!

This is not going to be for everyone, but then the entirety of the Adventure Path series has never really been designed for everyone and tries to meander throughout the various fantasy genres and themes to give everyone the opportunity to find something they really like. This one just happens to include running a circus!

Oh wait, that’s not the entirety of the book… not by a long shot. It also includes a murder investigation, a bit of mystery and intrigue, tracking down information, a dangerous trek, a purging of a locale, and connecting the dots to figure out what’s really going on. I don’t like to spoil things, so I won’t go into much more detail than that. I will say that there is some historical items in the overarching storyline that will eventually come to light and it will all make sense in the end!

Connecting the background and foreground narratives are some really cool character goodies. First there are Feats and weapons connecting the circus to adventuring, some new spells that really go with the locale, but also a smattering of beasties that embrace all aspects of the setting.

I like how Paizo goes out on a limb and tries something different to theme their adventure paths. The addition of the circus adds a bit of fun and any number of possible vignettes for those who really get into their roleplaying. It also adds a great opportunity to earn wealth and fame!

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