Pathfinder Society Scenarios: Scourge of the Farheavens and In the Grandmaster’s Name!

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!

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Scenario #9-18: Scourge of the Farheavens, by Jason Own Black.

Scenario #9-18: Scourge of the Farheavens is a Tier 1-5 adventure written by Jason Owen Black which takes place in Iobaria. For those of you who don’t know, Iobaria is located northeast of Brevoy, just off the map of the Inner Sea. It’s a place they’ve rarely focused on for Pathfinder products. As far as I know the only other adventure that takes place there is Pathfinder Adventure Path 69: Maiden, Mother, Crone (Reign of Winter Part 3 of 6), while Pathfinder Adventure Path 33: The Varnhold Vanishing (Kingmaker Part 3 of 6) features a gazetteer on the region. If you’re curious, check out this nifty map of Iobaria! But, if you want the short, short summary: Iobaria’s cold, sparsely populated, generally ‘uncivilized,’ and prone to devastating plagues. It was once home to a Cyclopian nation, as well as an Ulfen one, and some of its people have ties to old Sarkoris. Sounds fun, right? Right! More specifically, this scenario takes places in an independent city-state called Mishkar, as well as a ruined village in the Norinor Forest.  It features creatures from Bestiary 3 and Bestiary 4 (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario) and utilizes the Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Bigger Forest, and Pathfinder Map Pack: Ruined Village.

The Pathfinder Society has recently gained access to some old Sarkorian ruins, and wants to get the assistance of Sarkorians (or their descendants) to help them interpret the ruins and culture, before it is lost forever. To that end, the PCs are sent to Mishkar to meet with a refugee by the name of Nelket, whom the Society hopes to ally with. It’s a delightfully fun romp, that has a wide variety of social encounters (some of which could be quite challenging). It gives you a bit of a glimpse into Iobarian culture, but Mishkar didn’t feel very different to me, which is a shame. That minor nitpick aside, I thought it was a great scenario. Now, I ADORE adventures where you get to explore exotic locales, ruins and cultures. So, it should come as no surprise that I loved this scenario. Admittedly, I might be biased. Haha. I give this scenario five out of five stars.

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Dolok Darkfur from Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-18: Scourge of the Farheavens. Illustration by Sebastian Rodriguez.
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Scenario #9-21: In the Grandmaster’s Name, by Jenny Jarzabski

Scenario #9-21: In the Grandmaster’s Name is a Tier 3-7 scenario written by Jenny Jarzabski. It takes place in Druma, and is of particular importance to members of the Grand Lodge Faction. It features enemies from Bestiary 2, Bestiary 4, and the NPC Codex, and uses a single custom map. It features subterfuge, reconnaissance, infiltration, and trickery, so be sure to choose your PC wisely!

Now, it should be noted, that Grandmaster Torch does not appear in this scenario. (I found this very disappointing! Haha.) Instead, the PCs are tasked with impersonating some of his couriers. They must deliver a message to another courier, this one serving two one-time allies turned enemies: Ex-Venture-Captain Thurl, and Pasha Muhlia al-Jakri. If the PCs are successful, the message will (hopefully) cause Thurl and Muhlia to leave their defensible hide-out and move on to a new location, giving the Pathfinder Society the perfect opportunity to strike against them! If you’ve got characters kicking around who have met these characters before, now is definitely the time to bring them out to play! No idea who those two are? 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, #6-05: Slave Ships of Absalom, and #6-11: Slave Master’s Mirror. But enough about the past! What’s up with this scenario? In an effort to prevent too many spoilers, I won’t go into detail, but I will mention that it involves Kalistocrats and Blackjackets! Exciting! Finally, the events in this scenario directly lead to another upcoming scenario, #9-25: Betrayal in the Bones, which is a Seeker level mission. All that excitement aside, I found that this scenario fell short of what I expected. In the end, I’m only giving it three out of five stars.

Thanks for joining us today! We’ll see you again soon, when we take a look at the two newest Starfinder Society Scenarios!

Jessica

 

The Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch

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The Glyph of the Open Road, Sigil of the Pathfinder Society.

Another week has passed, and another of our OutPost games has come to an end. It was an oldie, but a goodie, from way back in Season 0. Scenario #06: Black Waters was an absolute delight. Put on by GM Shieldbug, the best GM I’ve ever had the opportunity to play alongside, my kids, my husband and I all had a ton of fun! Black Waters is designed for 1st to 5th level characters, and was written by Tim and Eileen Connors. In it, the Pathfinder Society sends its agents to the Tri-Towers Yard, an elite academy for the children of Absalom which was destroyed and flooded by an earth quake a decade ago. During the quake the school collapsed into an undiscovered necropolis, and the Pathfinders have been itching to get at the ruins ever since. Kept out of the mass graves by the (understandable) sentimentality of the influential parents whose children died in the tragedy, the Pathfinders have bided their time. Now known as the Drownyard, the Pathfinders are finally granted a chance! Sent to retrieve a magical ring, this scenario is more than just a dungeon delve. It’s got a surprisingly wide cast of entertaining characters to interact with, from influential noblewoman Lady Dacilane, to a gardener who is more than he appears, and the spirits of the dead themselves. I highly recommend this one!

Five lucky Pathfinders were chosen for the job, including my husband’s character: Enzo Jeggare, a Chelaxian occultist with a splendid moustache and a habit of summoning a dog to battle on his behalf. My daughter played Bunny Paras, a two-tailed kitsune druid with a fondness for dinosaurs and rabbits. Bunny Paras owns a rabbit breeding farm and is a vegetarian. In addition to her many pet rabbits, she has a pet parasaurolophus named Paras, who loves to dance and toot out rocking tunes. My son was paying Senton,  an Ulfen ranger better known as Mr. Ice who fled south to escape the continual cold of his homeland: unfortunately, he’s still freezing anyway. I played my wood kineticist, Everbloom, a kitsune who grew up alone in the wilds and views life and death as just another fascinating part of existence. More than a little aloof and uncaring, Everbloom comes off as way nicer than she actually is. The final character was Tera Fosham, a veiled ifrit oracle with clouded vision whose healing touch and blessings were invaluable on this adventure. For more information on Enzo Jeggare, Bunny Paras, Paras and Mr. Ice, check out the following blog posts (Joining the Pathfinder Society and Signs in Senghor: Part One and Part Two) where I talked about their backgrounds, creation, and their first adventure playing Scenario #9-10: Signs in Senghor.  To read about our adventures playing Black Waters, check out the gameplay thread, here.

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Sigil of the Scarab Sages, a faction of the Pathfinder Society.

After wrapping up that wonderful game, my kids wanted to immediately begin another one, but my husband had other plans. Knowing he was only one adventure shy of a reaching level two, my husband suggested I GM them through another scenario this weekend, and my kids agreed. I spent some time thinking about what my kids love best about playing Pathfinder. Fulfilling faction goals, of course, which means missions that have importance to the Scarab Sages and the Dark Archives. My daughter loves adventures that contain animals and cute things. Definitely nothing with lycanthropes. My son loves missions where he gets to interact with colourful characters, and make friends. Also? Turns out he loved messing with the Aspis Consortium, which he saved his good pal Gideon Wren from. And my husband? Something he’s never done before. And surprisingly, he showed interest in missions regarding the Shadow Lodge. Awesome! So after a ton of sifting, reading and sorting through the scenarios I own, I made an absurdly long list of potential scenarios we could play, and set to work reading. In the end, I decided to run us through an old scenario from Season 0 intended for Tiers 1-7: Scenario #14: The Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch. Why, you might ask, did you choose to run that old thing? Well, for starters, Grandmaster Torch is an important character to both the Shadow Lodge and the Scarab Sages, so I definitely wanted to ensure my family got to meet him before we played later scenarios which might involve or mention him. Second, this scenario takes place in Qadira and involves the illegal smuggling of Osirian artifacts, a topic which would interest both my son and daughter’s characters, as they are members of the Scarab Sages. Third, it involves retrieving the stolen relics, all of which have magical properties, and turn out to be more dangerous than originally thought–aspects which could interest my husband’s character, who is a member of the Dark Archives faction. Fourth? This scenario has a lot of roleplaying opportunities, not just with your venture captains and Grandmaster Torch, but also with the people around each of the relics, and the people who possess them. And lastly, although this scenario might seem to be pretty straightforward, there’s actually a lot of ways that players who think outside the box could shake up or alter how the encounters are supposed to take place. And if there’s one thing my family’s good at, its coming up with crazy plans and ideas that no one’s accounted for. In short, I thought they’d have a blast.

And I was right!

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The sigil of the Dark Archives, a faction of the Pathfinder Society.

We began our adventure with a short introduction to it’s setting: Qadira and the city of Sedeq, followed by our mission briefing with Venture-Captain Yasmin Kal’al (complete with pictures, of course!). From there we set out into the city, to track down the smuggler Matzal Chaim and determine who he sold the relics to. Bunny Paras and Mr. Ice were also interested in who his inside contact was within the Osirian Cultural Ministry, without whom the relics would have remained out of his hands. They found Chaim, and came up with a good plan to corner him, but he noticed them and fled into a bathhouse. While our Iconic filler character and Mr. Ice watched the outside entrances an exits, Enzo and Bunny Paras chased him into the bathhouse, and cracked out a bunch of wonderful skill checks to avoid slipping on wet tiles, pushing past crowds of bathers, jumping over baths, and seeing through stream. Enzo nearly slipped and fell on the tiles, while Bunny Paras was thrown off guard when she had to slip past a group of naked bathers who fled from Paras in a panic. In the end they caught up to their target, but they were too late. He had run into a private bath and was cut down by the guards–guards working for the notorious information broker, Grandmaster Torch. Lucky for them, Torch had the information they were looking for and was willing to part with it–for a price.

My kids had a blast interacting with the ever-creepy Grandmaster. My daughter immediately began trying to purchase other, non-related, frivolous objects from his associates for her rabbit farm (a giant rabbit statue and planter, anyone?), while my son offered Torch a whopping two dollars for the information. Hearing the price was 3,000 gold pieces, Mr. Ice sure was surprised! He bargained for the information by offering favours and was rewarded with four names–one for each person who had purchased one of the stolen statuettes. Mr. Ice promptly asked for more information on them, in exchange for another favour each. Grandmaster Torch was more than happy to oblige. With that information, my son set out to learn more by offering MORE favours, but was interrupted by Enzo Jeggare, who had to drag his companions out of the bathhouse before they agreed to any more favours and absurdities. Clearly, his companions had never dealt with anyone unscrupulous before! Not trusting the Grandmaster, Enzo himself led the group through the streets of Sedeq to find each of their targets.

Although it’s expected that the PCs will have to engage in four or five combat encounters during this scenario–some groups might manage three or four–my family managed to use quick thinking, cunning plans, distractions, summoned creatures and childish optimism to complete three of those encounters non-violently. That left only two battle encounters for the entire scenario. A real feat! The battles all went well, but weren’t particularly difficult for them. But in this scenario it was the interactions and roleplaying that really shined. Everyone had a BLAST.

After completing their mission and some minor interactions with their venture captain, the group was given an invitation to have dinner with Grandmaster Torch–an event which Enzo accepted with some trepidation, Bunny Paras was happy for, and Mr. Ice was over the moon.  Seriously. He was SUPREMELY excited. In the end he decided that Grandmaster Torch was his second favourite NPC, and he wanted to make him his best friend–alongside Gideon Wren, of course! Mr. Ice invited Grandmaster Torch to his upcoming birthday party, and the group bid him farewell.

And so our scenario came to an end. As their third scenario, they got to spend some time levelling up their characters to level two, and purchasing gear. And which adventure will they go on next time?

I’m thinking… Scenario #7-10: The Consortium Compact! It’s a low level, repeatable scenario involving the Aspis Consortium that I think my kids will rally have a ball with!

And that’s all for us today!

See you next time, on d20diaries!

Jessica