In case you haven’t heard: Season Ten is here! And let me tell you, it starts STRONG!
Today we’re going to take a look at THREE of the most recent Pathfinder Society Scenarios that are currently available for purchase, and let you know we thought. Although you’ll find references to events in each that I liked or disliked, and comments about specific characters, these scenarios are not explored in detail. It’s not my intention to spoil the events in these scenarios, or give summaries and full reviews, but to share my opinions and provide recommendations. That said, if you want to avoid even minor spoilers then I recommend clicking on a different article. Whether you intend to use them in home games of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, sanctioned scenarios for use with the Pathfinder Society Organized Play, or just want to read a nifty new adventure, we’ve got you covered! So let’s get cracking!
Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-01: Oathbreakers Die is a Tier 1-5 adventure written by Nicholas Wasko. (Winner of Paizo’s RPG Superstar Season 9, and author of the wonderful Pathfinder Module: Seers of the Drowned City). It takes place in Daggermark, a city in the River Kingdoms where the Assassin’s Guild holds incredible power. (Don’t tick off your neighbours in this town…). This scenario features creatures from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary, and the NPC Codex (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario). In addition to the Core Rulebook, this scenario includes content from Ultimate Equipment and the Advanced Player’s Guide. It utilizes the Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Seedy Tavern, Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Thieves Guild, and Pathfinder Map Pack: Slum Quarter Alleys. To help keep up tension (and prevent your PCs from knowing when they might get attacked) I highly recommend using maps for even non-combat areas. You’ll find the previously mentioned Pathfinder Map Pack: Slum Quarter Alleys great help in this regard. I also recommend using Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Pub Crawl and Pathfinder Map Pack – Village Sites if you have either of them.
Scenario #10-01: Oathbreakers Die has an awesome, spectacular, WONDERFUL opening that really flips the player’s expectations on its head. You chat with your companions on the trip and arrive in Daggermark to meet your Venture-Captain Istivil Bosk (who’s been around since Season 0’s Scenario #17: Perils of the Pirate Pact). Once it gets started, this mission involves tracking down assassins and solving a murder investigation. Due to the nature on these sorts of scenarios I won’t say much on its content. This scenario features a lot of fun NPCs to interact with including suspects, contacts, fellow agents, and even enemies. If you happen to have any characters kicking around who’ve played Scenario #17: Perils of the Pirate Pact I recommend sending them on this mission. It’s one of the few (perhaps only? I’ll have to check) scenarios that Istivil Bosk appears in (although canny GMs may have worked him into the Silverhex Chronicles, which is a free download and great fun). This scenario has great GM references which will be very helpful for running this scenario. The battles are interesting and complex but I think the truly great part of this scenario is the feeling of urgency which should settle over your PCs at some point. It was really well done. The other nice thing about this scenario is that your actions have direct repercussions. Your players may not realize it at first, but their behaviour in this scenario with decide the fate of the Pathfinder Society in Daggermark, the fate of at least one other agent, and the fate of the Dryblade House Pathfinder Lodge. Overall I thought this scenario was really well written and fast-paced. It’s one of my favourite tier 1-5 scenarios. I give it five out of five stars.
For more information on Daggermark and the River Kingdoms you can check out Pathfinder Chronicles: Guide to the River Kingdoms, or the Inner Sea World Guide.
Scenario #10-02: Bones of Biting Ants is a Tier 3-7 adventure written by Sean McGowan. It begins in Eleder, the capital of Sargava, and moves into the wild savannahs of the Mwangi Expanse, right up to the territory of the Mzali people. This scenario features creatures from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary, Bestiary 5, and Bestiary 6 (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario). In addition to the Core Rulebook, it utilizes content from the Advanced Class Guide, Advanced Player’s Guide, Game Mastery Guide, and — most especially — Occult Adventures, and Ultimate Intrigue. It makes use of Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Cavernous Lair , Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Hill Country, Pathfinder Map Pack: Camps & Shelters, and a few custom maps.
This adventure is different. It begins when Venture-Captain Finze Bellaugh tasks the PCs with escorting a traumatized Pathfinder agent to the site of his previously failed mission many years ago. They need to get there, retrieve the artifacts he left behind, and lift the curse that was placed upon him. Then they need to get home. That’s the mission. But, at it’s heart, that’s not the point of this mission at all. The point is to help the agent, Stuinvolk Hundrakson, confront his past and get some closure. You need to help him heal and that’s not something that can be accomplished in a single mission. You won’t make Stuinvolk ‘better.’ But you can aid him on his road to recovery. Stuinvolk is a very complicated character. He was handled with such exceptional care in this scenario, which is just spectacular. But, he’s not the easiest to portray. GMs will need to be very attentive to ensure that he doesn’t become a cliché. In addition to roleplaying, the interactions with Stuinvolk make use of the influence system from Ultimate Intrigue, but all the necessary rules are contained within this scenario. It also did an excellent job of allowing for various occult skill unlocks (awesome!).
That said, this mission’s not all about making Stuinvolk feel better. There’s still all the battles, social encounters, and environmental hazards you can expect in a typical scenario packed into this one. You’ll have to deal with heat and natural hazards. You’ll be passing by Mzali territory, so you’ll have to be wary of being spotted or ambushed. And the relics won’t be easy to obtain. The battles were great fun. Particularly against a certain recurring night-time visitor. There’s some very interesting social encounters that can determine whether you make your targets allies or enemies. I particularly enjoyed the interactions with Bujune. Overall, I was really impressed with this scenario. That said, it’s not for everyone. This isn’t the kind of scenario I’d play with my kids, for example. I flip-flopped a bit on deciding whether to rate it four or five stars. In the end, I’m giving it four out of five stars. But, if you’re a player or GM who particularly likes social encounters, or getting to know your NPCs, I’d bump it up to five out of five.
For more information on Sargava and the Mwangi Expanse check out Pathfinder Companion: Sargava, the Lost Colony, Pathfinder Chronicles: Heart of the Jungle, or the Inner Sea World Guide.
Scenario #10-03: Death of the Ice is a Tier 5-9 adventure written by Scott D. Young. It begins in Iceferry in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings and quickly moves to the Crown of the World. It features creatures from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary, Bestiary 2, Bestiary 3, Bestiary 5 and the NPC Codex (although almost all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario, there is one from the NPC Codex not included. It is for a non-combatant and you are incredibly unlikely to need it). In addition to the Core Rulebook, it utilizes content from the Advanced Player’s Guide, Ultimate Combat, Ultimate Magic, and Pathfinder Player Companion: People of the North. It makes use of the Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Winter Forest, Pathfinder: Map Pack: Frozen Sites, and a custom map.
This adventure tasks the PCs with getting some advice from a local tribe of Erutaki and relaying it to Svala Ice-Rider, a Pathfinder of Varki descent who is running an archaeological dig further north. If you’ve got any characters from the region, or who are built for cold environments now is your chance to bring them out to play. There are also lot of animals in this scenario, and a lot of travelling, so druids and rangers are likely to get to show off a bit more than they normally would. There’s wonderfully streamlined rules for the weather and travel that that I think will work really well. This scenario features Venture-Captain Bjersig Torrsen, a deaf Ulfen half-orc who I thought was wonderful. And his delightful husky Mahki, of course. This scenario had a LOT of fun NPCs to interact with, including the citizens of Aaminiut, your guide Tikasak, Captain Brynhild Redaxe and the crew of the Rimedrake, Svala Ice-Rider and her pet snow owl Kuokei, and even some potential allies and enemies of a more monstrous nature. Some of the battles in this scenario can be avoided by clever characters, which might make it a little light on the combat for some groups. That said, the final battle is both complex and very climatic, so it will balance out nicely, I think. This scenario makes great use of one of my very favourite monsters, the qallupilluk, so I obviously think it’s amazing. Haha. (The qallupiluit is based on an Inuit story and was the antagonist in one of my favourite picture books as a child: A Promise is a Promise by Canadian author Robert Munsch (Okay, okay, he was born American, but we adopted him a long time ago. Haha)). While we’re on the topic of my biases, it should also be noted that the Erutaki are one of my favourite ethnicities in the world of Golarion, so I’m thrilled to see them in print once again! I thought this scenario handled the very long journey your PCs are destined to undertake very well. Near the end you have more than one route you can take which will change how the final encounter plays out, which I thought was wonderful. Overall, I adored this scenario. I give it five out of five stars.
For more information on the Crown of the World check out Jade Regent: Book 3: The Hungry Storm.
And that’s it! Three very different, awesome scenarios from a variety of tiers. I think they nailed every one! (Way to set the bar high this season!)
I can’t wait to see where they go from here.