Continuing their search for the Sword of Serithtial, our heroes must form an unlikely alliance to storm Castle Scarwall. But ancient foes guard the weapon and won’t surrender it without a fight!
Pathfinder Legends is a series of audio dramas based on the popular Pathfinder tabletop RPG. Big Finish has been producing the series since 2014. ‘Skeletons of Scarwell’ is the fifth chapter of series three, ‘Curse of the Crimson Throne’.
Curse of the Crimson Throne
Each series is based on an adventure path in the RPG. In this tale, the evil Queen Ileosa has taken the throne and is spreading unrest across Korvosa. With dark magic protecting her, Ezren, Valeros, Harsk and Merisiel seek a way to calm the city and depose Ileosa. Before it’s too late!
Admittedly, I’m coming at this release a little blind. I’m more familiar with Big Finish’s Doctor Who range and have never played an RPG in my life (except ‘Cluedo’). Expecting to be completely lost, I immersed myself in the audios and all the Wikis and websites I could find. Well, I skimmed.
Everyone got that?
When I finally reached this story, however, I found the plot was much easier to follow than I’d anticipated. It helps that our four main heroes are given very distinctive voices by some seasoned audio performers. Between that and the clever writing, I had no trouble getting to know their personalities and relationships. The appearance of a recurring character allows for some vital catch-up exposition early into the release. It sets out the mission, the basic story arc and then launches into the plot. It’s a very efficient way of getting new listeners up to speed.
With that in mind, sometimes the backstory bogs down the plot. Several scenes of extremely detailed exposition are thrown at the listener during the first half. Most of it factors into the plot later, but there was so much information it was hard to keep track. This script was written by David Bryher, adapted from the original game story by Greg A Vaughan. Evidently, this backstory comes straight from Vaughan’s work and it really helps add layers of world-building. I feel it could just have been spread out a bit more.
One of the highlights of the story has to be the tension between Merisiel and Laori, who have some excellent chemistry. Ashleigh Loeb does a great job as Laori with her uniquely high-pitched voice. Though I occasionally found it hard to take the character seriously, particularly during some more dramatic scenes in the climax.
If you’re more familiar with Big Finish’s sci-fi titles then listening to something like ‘Pathfinder Legends’ is a refreshing change. ‘Skeletons of Scarwall’ is a surprisingly accessible entry-point for new listeners, though it’s definitely worth starting from the beginning. If you can keep up with the backstory, there’s a rollicking action-packed quest that rewards careful attention.
Blogtor Rating – 8/10
Condemned by a history of horrors, an army of the living dead stands between Korvosa and its only hope for salvation. Within the grim fastness of haunted Scarwall, the lifeless legions of the ancient warlord Kazavon guard the same accursed halls they’ve stalked for more than 700 years.
Crossing a forsaken land to reach the infamous citadel’s dreaded gates, Ezren, Merisiel, Harsk and Valeros must explore the foul castle’s haunted halls, and confront otherworldly terrors to purge the taint of Kazavon’s final days before having any hope of finally breaking the Curse of the Crimson Throne.
Written By: David Bryher, based on a story by Greg A Vaughan
Directed By: John Ainsworth
Stewart Alexander (Valeros), Trevor Littledale (Ezren), Ian Brooker (Harsk), Kerry Skinner (Merisiel), Ashleigh Loeb (Laori Vaus), Fanos Xenofós (Shadowcount Sial), Harry Myers (Mithrodar/ Uri), Helen Goldwyn (Ravenka), Wraith Johnson (Kleestad/ Ildervok)
Producer John Ainsworth
Script Editor John Ainsworth
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs