Today we’re going to take a look at two 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!
Scenario #9-24: Beneath Unbroken Waves is a Tier 5-9 adventure written by (the amazing and super nice) Kate Baker! It takes place off the coast of the Isle of Jalmeray, in a region of the Obari Ocean known as the Deadly Ocean Passage. For more information on the Isle of Jalmeray, check out the Inner Sea World Guide. This scenario features creatures from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary, Bestiary 2, Bestiary 3 and Bestiary 5 (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario) and utilizes the Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Ship, Pathfinder: Flip-Mat: Sunken City, and a custom map. This mission is of particularly importance to members of the Concordance faction.
This adventure gives the PCs a mysterious key that moves of its own accord and tasks them with taking it to its destination, exploring the site, and discovering what it opens. The location is known to be underwater, and involves a lost monastic academy. This mission makes heavy use of the underwater combat rules so GMs should refresh their memories on those rules (a handy summary is provided in this scenario) and players should select their PC carefully. If you’ve got sailors, swimmers, monks, unarmed fighters, members of the Concordance, or undine, now is a great time to take them for a spin (all for different reasons). Do not bring someone who relies on ranged combat, slashing weapons or bludgeoning weapons (they don’t work well underwater). This scenario starts with a very engaging mission briefing with a refreshing Venture-Captain (Rashmivati Melipdra of Niswan) who I desperately want to be pals with! Haha. There’s a fun navigation portion to this adventure. The first battle is very interesting, while another had some great hazards in play. The finale is a blast and looks like it could be a challenge. There were plenty of great opportunities for social encounters, and some interesting NPCs you can interact with. All of the enemies have distinct goals that really show in their tactics, which was awesome to see. Overall I thought this scenario was great fun. I can’t wait to play it. I give it four out of five stars.
Scenario #9-25: Betrayal in the Bones is a Tier 12-15 adventure written by Tom Phillips. It takes place in the ossuary of Taal Mornat in the Five Kings Mountains. For more information on The Five Kings Mountains check out the Inner Sea World Guide, or Pathfinder Player Companion: Dwarves of Golarion. This scenario features creatures from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary, Bestiary 2, Bestiary 3, Bestiary 4 and Bestiary 5 (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario). It utilizes the Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Twisted Caverns, Pathfinder Map Pack: Evil Ruins, and a custom map. This mission is of particularly importance to members of the Grand Lodge faction.
This adventure tasks the PCs with entering Taal Mornat, and capturing or killing two enemies of the Pathfinder Society: the demoniac Ex-Venture-Captain Thurl, and the assassin Pasha Muhlia al-Jakri. I highly recommend that players bring along any of their characters who have had run ins with these characters in the past, or have gone up against their machinations and plots. Thurl can be found in Scenarios: #2-08: Sarkorian Prophesy, #5-09: The Traitor’s Lodge, #5-24: Assault on the Wound, #5-25: Vengeance at the Sundered Crag, #7-17: Thralls of the Shattered God, #9-06: Shores of Heaven, and the Special: Siege of the Diamond City. As for Muhlia? As the old leader of the Qadiran Faction, she’s been mentioned and featured in a ton of early scenarios, but most notably #2-21: The Dalsine Affair, #3-25: Storming the Diamond Gate, #6-05: Slave Ships of Absalom, and #6-11: Slave Master’s Mirror. This scenario is a direct sequel to #9-21: In the Grandmaster’s Name. That said, due to the tier difference, it won’t be played by the same characters. For more information on #9-21 check out my previous blog post here. This is also a great scenario to play any dwarves you have, or characters who have the ‘Hero of the Five Kings’ boon.
Now, heading into an ancient dwarven ossuary to get two bad guys isn’t as easy as it sounds. Thurl has drawn a portion of an abyssal labyrinth to the region, making the corridors incredibly dangerous and difficult to navigate. By the time you arrive, many dwarves have gone missing or lost their lives in an attempt to oust the intruders from their holy site. In addition, monsters made from the desecrated remains of the dwarves ancestors have come out of the ossuary and slaughtered a legion of dwarven soldiers. Players who don’t want to try navigating the labyrinth can attempt to enter through the volcanic fissure above the mountain, but its clear that this will likely be an even more difficult task than the labyrinth — especially since no one’s even sure if the fissure can take you to Thurl and Muhlia. Either way, I like that the option is there. Particularly for such high-level PCs.
The next line I’m about to write is a bit more of a spoiler than I normally include, so it gets its own special warning! If you don’t want to read it, skip the rest of this paragraph! The labyrinth portion of this scenario was surprisingly short, and fell a little flat, I felt. Although the battle within was great, it just didn’t feel like you were trapped in a labyrinth. The battle was really well done, though. And I love the… added complications involved.
There were some fun NPCs to interact with, my favourite of which was Borsaget. She’s awesome, although not all groups will end up getting to meet her. Muhlia was very well done! I’m curious to see how different groups handle her (and the arguments that are sure to pop up regarding her fate). Thurl is much more of a classic villain, which will give players someone to unite against and give the characters they bring some much needed closure. Some groups may uncover clues in this scenario that can lead them to the location of another enemy of the society (which is sure to be covered in an upcoming Pathfinder Society Scenario). Overall I thought this was a great, challenging scenario that did an awesome job of wrapping up Thurl and Muhlia’s story. I give it four out of five stars.
Thanks for tuning in today! Be sure to head over to Paizo’s website tomorrow and download the free rulebook for the Pathfinder Playtest! I’ll race you to it!