Pathfinder Society Scenarios: The Daughters’ Due and Corpses in Kalsgard

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 these scenarios 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!

10-18 - The Daughters' DuePathfinder Society Scenario #10-18: The Daughters’ Due is a Tier 5-9 adventure written by Thurston Hillman. It begins in the Blakros Museum and quickly moves to Shadow Absalom. In addition to the Core Rulebook it includes content from the Advanced Player’s GuideUltimate Equipment, and Ultimate WildernessIt features creatures from BestiaryBestiary 2, and Bestiary 5 (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario). It utilizes Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Carnival, and Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Slum Quarter, and a half-page custom map that will look very familiar to some players. For more information on the Shadow Plane check out The Inner Sea World Guide and Planar Adventures, and for more information on Shadow Absalom check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Distant Realms.

Daughter's Due - Chalos Visanda - Illustration by Leonardo Santanna
Chalos Visanda from #10-18: The Daughters’ Due. Illustration by Leonardo Santanna. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

This adventure tasks the PCs with investigating four missing relics from the Blakros Museum which it’s curator, Nigel Aldain, insists were destroyed or stolen by Pathfinders during their many missions within the Blakros Museum over the years. His boss, Lady Hamaria Blakros, has invited the PCs to her museum to investigate or refute these claims. After this quick mystery the PCs can give their report to Hamaria and even pass judgement on Nigel himself — a turn of events that I’m sure many players will take a perverse joy in. Haha. From there the PCs head into Shadow Absalom, to track down the missing relics and retrieve them from the true thieves. PCs who have played in any of the Blakros-themed Pathfinder Society Scenarios over the years (there’s lots!) will find this mission more relevant and entertaining than those who haven’t. It’s particularly closely tied to the events of Pathfinder Society Scenario #2–11: The Penumbral AccordsPCs who have the “Acquainted with Aslynn” boon from Pathfinder Society #5-09: The Traitor’s Lodge and #7-09: The Blakros Connection have a chance to have a slightly different experience than players who haven’t, although its minor.

Start to finish, this scenario was an absolute joy! The investigations in the beginning of the scenario are interesting. There’s a wide variety of fun social encounters and quirky characters to interact with. The battles were challenging and dynamic, with one of them having the potential to be avoided with clever skill use. Best of all, this scenario includes multiple ways in which the PCs can make important decisions which will come to influence the Pathfinder Society in the future. Overall, I thought this was an excellent scenario that’s going to be a ton of fun to play. It brings the Blakros/Onyx Alliance storyline to a nice ‘conclusion’ for First Edition, which is clearly going to be picked up again in Second Edition. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here!

10-19 - Corpses in KalsgardPathfinder Society Scenario #10-19: Corpses in Kalsgard is a Tier 5-9 Adventure written by Alex Riggs. It begins in Iceferry but primarily takes place in Kalsgard, a major city in the Land of the Linnorm Kings. For more information on these locations check out The Inner Sea World GuidePathfinder Campaign Setting: Lands of the Linnorm Kings and Pathfinder Adventure Path 50: Night of Frozen Shadows (Jade Regent 2 of 6). In addition to the Core RulebookCorpses in Kalsgard includes content from the Advanced Class Guide and Advanced Player’s Guide. It features creatures and monster templates from BestiaryHorror Adventures, and Pathfinder Adventure Path 81: Shifting Sands (Mummy’s Mask 3 of 6) (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario). It utilizes the Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: City Streets, Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Necropolis, Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Thieves’ Guild, and a custom full-page map. This mission is of particular importance to gnomes, followers of Nivi Rhombodazzle, and any characters who have an interest ensuring the dead are treated with respect, and deaths are properly investigated.

Corpses in Kalsgard - ElluxShost - Illustration by Hannah Boving
Ellux Shost, one of the gnomes PCs will have a chance to interact with during their investigation. Illustration by Hannah Boving. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

This adventure tasks the PCs with investigating a series of deaths in Kalsgard, all of which occurred in gnomes and were attributed to the Bleaching. Of course, the local priestess of Nivi Rhombodazzle, Quil Tabberdash refutes these claims. Venture-Captain Bjersig Torrsen and his husky Mahki dispatch the PCs to Kalsgard to meet up with Quil and get to the bottom of this mystery! PCs will have a chance to quickly check out a series of crime scenes, dead bodies, and petition neighbours and witnesses for information. As the mystery unravels the PCs will have a chance to follow two different avenues of inquiry with each resulting in a different encounter and event. To make matters even more exciting this is all happening on a backdrop of political turmoil in Kalsgard, and canny PCs can even pick up clues that this mission has a connection to an organization and Adventure Path I’ll leave unnamed. This scenario is a great little mystery that should move at a rapid pace. There’s lots of fun NPCs to interact with. Most are brief witness statements, but Quil is an absolute delight. I’ll leave the other NPCs and villains unmentioned to help prevent too many spoilers, but I will say I enjoyed them all. There’s quite a few fights in this one (although one will be excluded depending on your PCs actions), but it’s the final encounter that will likely prove most challenging.  Particularly as the composition of the fight depends upon your PCs actions throughout the scenario. This means that some groups will find it difficult and others… less so. Although this could prove problematic, I think it’s a nice change of pace. I’d be interested to see how this plays out at game tables throughout the Organized Play Community. Overall I thought this was a fun and quirky murder mystery that made an effort to shake things up a bit. I particularly enjoyed that the PCs actions can alter the events and battles in this scenario. I give it four out of five stars.

Thanks for joining us today! We’ll see you again soon!

Jessica

April New Releases

Spring is in the air, April is here, and plethora of new gaming products are hitting shelves! Check out this month’s new d20 releases!


Dungeons and Dragons

Last month was full of exciting product announcements for Dungeons and Dragons, but only one major product was released, D&D Icons of The Realms: Waterdeep: Dungeon of The Mad Mage miniatures! Produced by WizKids these pre-painted minis come in blind boosters, each of which contains four figures — one large or huge figure and three medium or small figures. In addition to a single booster box you can pick up a standard booster brick, which consists of eight booster boxes. Also released was a special collection of minis and set dressing, D&D Icons of The Realms: Waterdeep: Dungeon of The Mad Mage: Halasters Lab .

There are no major product releases for Dungeons and Dragons this month (as far as I know).


Pathfinder

Highlights from last months Pathfinder releases include the Return of the Runelords Pawn CollectionPathfinder Player Companion: Heroes of Golarion, and Pathfinder Adventure Path 140: Eulogy for Roslar’s Coffer (Tyrant’s Grasp 2 of 6).

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April will see the release of two Pathfinder books. Pathfinder Adventure Path 141: Last Watch by Larry Wilhelm continues the ongoing Tyrant’s Grasp Adventure Path. Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Concordance of Rivals takes an in depth look at monitors — neutral outsiders — including aeons, proteons, and psychopomps. In addition to details on a variety of monitor demigods, this book also contains occult rituals, details on monitor sects, a prestige class, and a bestiary.

Map releases for April include Pathfinder Flip-mat Classics: Deep Forest and Pathfinder Flip-Tiles: Dungeon Vaults Expansion, which is compatible with Pathfinder Flip-Tiles: Dungeon Starter Set.

Organized Play releases include Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-18: The Daughters’ Due and Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-19: Corpses in Kalsgard. The Daughters’ Due is a Tier 5-9 scenario written by Thurston Hillman that involves the infamous Blakros family, their enemies in the Onyx Alliance, and Shadow Absalom! Corpses of Kalsgard is a Tier 5-9 scenario written by Alex Riggs that takes place in the Land of the Linnorm Kings and involves a sudden outbreak of gnomes dying from the Bleaching.

The most exciting Pathfinder release of April is Pathfinder Battles: Ruins of Lastwall! This brand new set of pre-painted miniatures comes in blind booster boxes that contain four minis each — one large figure and three small or medium figures. In addition to buying a single standard booster box you can order a brick of boosters (which contains eight boosters) or a case of boosters (four bricks for a total of 32 boosters). Anyone who orders an entire case of boosters may also order Pathfinder Battles: Ruins of Lastwall: Cemetery of the Fallen Set which is a collection of graveyard themed set dressing.

There have been a lot of wonderful renderings of this product’s miniatures released over the past month or so. Far too many to share here. Be on the lookout for further details on Pathfinder Battles: Ruins of Lastwall in a future blog post!

NOTE: According to WizKids, Pathfinder Battles: Ruins of Lastwall will be available in MAY, not April. The release date seems to have been pushed back a month.


Starfinder

Highlights from last months Starfinder releases include Starfinder Adventure Path 14: Soldiers of Brass (Dawn of Flame 2 of 6) and the Starfinder Critical Fumble Deck!

This months releases include Starfinder Adventure Path 15: Sun Divers (Dawn of Flame 3 of 6), the Signal of Screams Pawn Collection, and the highly anticipated Starfinder Beginner Box!!! (Yes, it deserves all those exclamation points). Organized Play releases are Starfinder Society Scenario #1-36: Enter the Ashen Asteroid (a Tier 1-4 scenario written by Larry Wilhelm that tasks the PCs with investigating a Duergar complex discovered on an asteroid by dwarven space-miners), and Starfinder Society Scenario #1-37: Siege of Civility (a Tier 5-8 scenario written by Kalervo Oikarinen that sends the PCs on a trip to visit the Gideron Authority Republic previously featured in Starfinder Society Scenario #1-24: Siege of Enlightenment).


Enjoy!

Jessica

Pathfinder Society Scenarios: What the Helms Hide and On Sevenfingers Sails

Today we’re going to take a look at the most recent Pathfinder Society Scenarios that are 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 started!

PFS #10-16 - What the Helms Hide
Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-16: What the Helm’s Hide.

Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-16: What the Helm’s Hide is a Tier 1-5 repayable scenario that consists of four short one-hour long quests. “Collection,” “Autumn,” “Dust,” and “Witness.” “Collection” should always be played first, “Autumn” and “Dust” may be played in any order, and “Witness” is the thrilling finale. Each quest is penned by a different author, including Calder CaDavid, Lysle Kapp, Kendra Leigh Speedling, and Nate Wright. While Speedling and Wright have written for Paizo before, this will be the first Paizo writing credit going to CaDavid and Kapp. Each quest also comes with its own player handout, which is always nice. Also, this scenario has a lot of great artwork in it!

What the Helms Hide delves into the history of the mysterious masked leaders of the Pathfinder Society, The Decemvirate! Three hundred years ago violence and assassinations directed at Pathfinder Society leaders caused them to don masks to hide their identities. When Master of Scrolls Kreighton Shaine discovers clues that one such assassination attempt may not have happened the way the history books have recorded he seeks the Decemvirate’s blessing and tasks a group of Pathfinders with investigating the clues, digging up the past,  and discovering the truth. This series of quests will take PCs to a variety of locations throughout Golarion’s Inner Sea Region, including Absalom, Andoran, the Five Kings Mountains, and Varisia. It features creatures from BestiaryBestiary 4, and Monster Codex (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario). It contains content from Pathfinder Core RulebookAdvanced Player’s GuideAdvanced Race GuideOccult AdventuresUltimate Equipment, and Pathfinder Player Companion: Champions of Corruption (although all the content needed from Champions of Corruption is included in the scenario itself). It utilizes the Pathfinder Flip-Mat: MuseumPathfinder Flip-Mat: Cavernous LairPathfinder Flip-Mat: Arcane Library, and Pathfinder Flip-Tiles: Forest Starter Set. This mission contributes to this years Season of the Ten metaplot and builds on events from the always popular evergreen scenario #6-10: The Wounded Wisp (and, to a lesser extent, #8-04: Wardens of Sulfur Gulch and #9-11: The Jarlsblood Witch Saga).

The first quest, “Collection,” is written by Lysle Kapp and takes place in Korvosa’s Jeggare Museum. Here PCs will need to inspect relics discovered by the famous Pathfinder Helven Leroung and uncover clues about her history and character. You also get to delve into Helven’s relationship with the famous Montlarion Jeggare, for whom the museum (and much more!) is named. His descendant, Mercival Jeggare is curator of the museum and willing to lend you a hand. There’s a lot of information you can learn here, although groups are unlikely to get all of it, which I rather enjoyed. For more information on Korvosa you can check out Pathfinder Chronicles: Guide to Korvosa.

“Autumn” is written by Calder Cadavid and takes places in Andoran’s Arthfell Forest. PCs investigate a sliver of the history of the Pathfinder Zaul Blystone. It has amazing art for an NPC, Adelyn Rhinon, which is my favourite art in the scenario. This is a fun quest although I do have one minor complaint. I feel like one of the characters gives up a bit too easily. For more information on Andoran check out Andoran, Birthplace of Freedom.

Decemvirate - Illustration by Ernanda Souza
A member of the Decemvirate.  Illustration by Ernanda Souza. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

“Dust” by Nate Wright takes place in underground Dwarven ruins on the edge of Highhelm. There players get to dig a little deeper into the history of Veldrid Goldborough.  I enjoyed the NPCs in this one and adore the art for Helga Silverbrew. She’s got such a great facial expression. I like enemies in this one a lot, and the… source of information. For further details on the Five Kings Mountains check out the The Inner Sea.

The finale, “Witness,” is written by Kendra Leigh Speedling and was an absolute delight! It takes place in the Grand Lodge of Absalom and involves the PCs enacting a sort of ritual to activate a secret cache hidden by the gnome Pathfinder Eylysia. As Master of Scrolls Kreighton Shaine and two members of the Decemvirate watch on your players get to experience an important event from Eylysia’s past. I won’t say any more to prevent too many spoilers, but I will say it was awesome. I loved the final battle and the revelations it uncovered. And Eylysia’s final line! So good. For more information on the Grand Lodge check out Pathfinder Chronicles: Seekers of Secrets and Pathfinder Society Field Guide.

What the Helms Hide is a really great series of Quests. So great, in fact, that it’s my favourite series of PFS Quests. All of it’s component Quests were enjoyable, but its the finale that really ties it all together and makes it exceptional. Really well done from the whole team of writers. Each Quest has a chance for battle, a social encounter, and to uncover clues regarding their respective mini mysteries. Overall I really enjoyed this scenario. I give it four out of five stars.

PFS #10-17 - On Sevenfingers's Sails by Tom Phillips
Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-17: On Sevenfingers’s Sails

Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-17: On Sevenfingers’s Sails is a Tier 7-11 adventure written by Tom Phillips. During his time on RPG Superstar 2012 Phillips created the Gloomspires, the haunted, mist-shrouded resting place of the infamous Pirate Captain Sempet Sevenfingers. Rising out of the stormy seas of the Shackles, the Gloomspires are a place of unstable dimensional magic, dark horror, and menacing undead, with connections to the nightmare realm of Leng. The Gloomspires were further explored in Pathfinder Society Scenario #6-06: Hall of the Flesh Eaters, Pathfinder Society Scenario #7-19: Labyrinth of Hungry Ghosts, and Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-15: Hrethnar’s Throne. On Sevenfingers’s Sails marks the finale of this series of linked scenarios and finally features Captain Sevenfingers himself. For more information on the Shackles check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Isle of the Shackles and for more information on Leng check out Planar Adventures or Pathfinder Adventure Path 65: Into the Nightmare Rift (Shattered Star 5 of 6).

On Sevenfingers’s Sails features creatures from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary, and Bestiary 2Bestiary 3Bestiary 4Bestiary 5Bestiary 6, and the Monster Codex (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario). It contains content from the Pathfinder Core RulebookAdvanced Player’s GuideOccult Adventures, and Ultimate Equipment. This scenario utilizes the Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: ShipPathfinder Map Pack: Perilous Paths, two custom half-page maps, and (perhaps) Pathfinder Map Pack: Armada.

Sevenfingers - Illustration by Josef Kucera
Captain Sevenfingers. Illustration by Josef Kucera. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Like the three scenarios before it, On Sevenfingers’s Sails features Venture-Captain Calisro Benarry, a half-orc Pathfinder who has sent plenty of Pathfinders into the depths of the Gloomspires. It also features Benarry’s quartermaster Kakikko, and Hrethnar from Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-15: Hrethnar’s Throne. New NPCs introduced include the very disturbing Thael Shivers, Vashthrexa, Nightdrinker, and Sempet Sevenfingers himself.  PCs will need to enter the terrifying tomb, contend with Captain Sevenfingers, and plunder everything they can. Of course, there’s some complications in this mission, and PCs will have to contend with far more than expected. This scenario features an optional Hard Mode for all those players out there who relish a challenge.

The scenario is wonderfully creepy, morbid, and ominous, although  that sort of content is not for everyone. Players who have issues with body horror will want to give this scenario a pass. It’s definitely not an scenario for kids. Any characters who played the previous Gloomspires adventures are going to get a bit more satisfaction out of this scenario than their compatriots who haven’t, and will find they get a few extra bonuses along the way.  This scenario is packed full of atmospheric environments, memorable characters, and foul villains. The battles are challenging and take place in dynamic locations. I particularly enjoyed the final encounter. Really well done! Overall I think this is a really great scenario that won’t be for everyone. It’s creepy, gory, and a great high level challenge. I give it five out of five stars!

Thanks for joining us today!

Jessica

Adventures at RetroCon!

My family and I don’t often have the chance to attend conventions. We don’t usually get to play Pathfinder Society or Starfinder Society games in person. We play a lot via play-by-post (which is a ton of fun) and we play a lot in small family groups. But to actually play in a public venue? That’s a new experience for us.

So, when we discovered that there would be a convention just down the road from our home how could we say no?

I wasn’t sure my kids would behave. Would they remain focused in a noisy room? Would they sit still long enough to get a whole game in? My son’s a fidgeter, and he fiddles with everything, so I was more than a little skeptical. Would we drive our poor GM bonkers?

Most likely.

But, my kids wanted to go, and my husband wanted to go, and of course I wanted to go. So we went.

In the week leading up to RetroCon we decided to make new characters. We have plenty of PFS characters to choose from but my kids wanted to make some that actually matched the minis we own. My son picked out a snazzy little halfling mini and rolled up a gnome shifter to match it — with the new boar options from Wilderness Origins (more on Wilderness Origins in an upcoming blog post!). My daughter chose one of the only minis she personally owns and created a hunter (her first one!). Determined to make use of an adorable little badger mini she owns she selected one as her animal companion. Yes, you read that right. She finally made something that does not involve a rabbit! GASP! My husband made a dwarven warpriest of Cayden Cailean with a mini we picked up from the flea market this past summer. And I was determined to use of one of my painted minis — which means there aren’t many options! Haha. I’ve only painted minis once and, although I had intended to use the four minis I painted right away, none of them ever saw use. I hummed and hawed a bit until I picked up my wealthy looking noblewoman mini and I created an over-enthusiastic librarian who has spent her life reading about the world and was thrilled to finally go out and experience it.

RetroCon Team

We spent the morning packing and double checking our game time. My kids were practically bouncing off the walls in excitement (which is both a good and bad sign! Haha!). It’s a quick walk down the road, but the sidewalks are an icy, rough mess, so that slowed things down a bit. Luckily no one took a spill or got soaked. We had more than enough time to get settled and say some hellos before our GM arrived and the game got started.

Our GM was really great. He had my kids laughing a lot and was super patient. My kids weren’t the most attentive players, my son kept fixating on off-mission activities, and my son made some of the worst tactical decisions of his short PFS career. We probably drove the GM crazy. Haha. Anyway, my kids had a ton of fun. People were saved, villains were defeated, fish were thrown around, my daughter uttered the battle cry ‘nibble nibble,’ and my arcanist finally left the library.

And then we died.

Yup! Total party kill in the final fight. My kids were both in tears.

My son cheered up a bit when he won a special boon — he’s pretty sure he’s going to apply it to Fuzzzy (his forgetful wizard). My daughter didn’t win anything, but someone was walking around handing out bee folders which she assumed was a prize and happily  claimed. She seriously loves this folder. She’s been cooing over it all evening.

By the time we were packed up and on our way home both of my kids decided that — despite having to suffer through their first character death, first PFS character death, and first TPK all in the same afternoon — they had fun. By the time they got home they were already discussing their next characters and when we would get to play next. (I guess we’ll be attending another Game Day in the future). It turned out to be a good first convention for them — tears and all.

Jessica

Near death
We had a good start. The final boss went down quick! Unfortunately, his undead minion did not. A few rounds later and it was the only one still standing. 

Pathfinder Society Scenarios: Debt to the Quah and Tapestry’s Trial

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 I recommend you check out 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!

10-14 - Debt to the QuahPathfinder Society Scenario #10-14: Debt to the Quah is a Tier 3-7 adventure written by Adrian Ng. It takes place in Varisia’s Storval Plateau, in a sepulchre along the Muschkal River, and heavily features the Shoanti people and their culture. For more information on Varisia, the Storval Plateau, and the Shoanti, check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World GuidePathfinder Player Companion: Varisia, Birthplace of Legends, and Pathfinder Adventure Path 10: A History of Ashes (Curse of the Crimson Throne book 4 of 6). Debt to the Quah features creatures from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: BestiaryBestiary 3Monster Codex, and Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Occult Bestiary (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario). In addition to the Pathfinder Core Rulebook it utilizes content from the GameMastery Guide  and Ultimate Equipment, and heavily uses the influence subsystem from Ultimate Intrigue. The influence subsystems and all of its relevant rules are included in an easy to understand Appendix at the back of this scenario. Finally, Debt to the Quah makes use of one map: Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Dungeon.

Recently the Shoanti people of the Storval Plateau were angered by the actions of the Pathfinder Society, when an over-enthusiastic Pathfinder raided and destroyed an important Shoanti burial ground — and then passed it off as Thassilonian. Angered (with reason) at the actions of this Pathfinder many Shoanti are calling for the expulsion of the Pathfinder Society from their lands (or worse!). This adventure tasks the PCs with attending a Shoanti council where they will need to return the grave goods taken from the site, and attempt to salvage what they can of the relationship between the Pathfinder Society and the representatives from the various Shoanti Quahs. More specifically, their goal is to earn a chance to fix the damage that has been done to the ancient Shoanti sepulchre, and make what reparations they can. This scenario doesn’t continue any ongoing storylines and isn’t connected to any factions. If you’ve got any characters who have played a PFS scenario involving the Shoanti people (such as #4-06: The Green Market, #8-22: Wrath of the Fleshwarped Queen, or #8-23: Graves of Crystalmaw Pass), now is a good time to play them. In addition, characters with other connections to the Shoanti, characters who have a respect for foreign cultures and history, and characters who are diplomatic, will all find something to be excited about in this scenario. Reckless, destructive, and rude characters are not going to excel in this adventure.

Michele Giorgi-Sklar
Kemchet Flame Stoker, chosen representative of the Sklar-Quah (Sun Clan). Illustrated by Michele Giorgi. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

First off: I love the premise of this scenario! As a student (once upon a time) of anthropology and archaeology, I adore any adventure that goes out of its way to add some semblance of reality to Pathfinder excavations. So, cleaning up after some shoddy treasure hunter? Sign me up! In addition, the Shoanti are one of my very favourite ethnic groups in the world of Golarion, so getting both in one adventure had me more than a little excited. Putting aside my biases, this is a really fun adventure. It has some useful handouts, lots of nice art, and an interesting cast of NPCs. Influencing the clans at the council meeting was both enjoyable and rewarding, but could be difficult for some GMs to run. It features seven important NPCs (Payah Against the Winds, Cousin to All, Kemchet Flame Stoker, Lake at Dawn, Memory Tender, Rollicks in Waves, and Togimal in Shadow), each of whom has their own personality, values, and pet peeves. This could get confusing for GMs and players alike. However, with some prep work (or great improv) this scene is going to be tense and exciting — a lot’s riding on it, after all! Repairing the tomb and the devastation wreaked there was very enjoyable for me, and the more… talkative inhabitant of the sepulchre was a really nice touch! The final encounter is quite a challenge, both for the participants synergy and for the encounter context. This battle is likely to cause some PCs to hesitate or stress, which leads to one of my only issues with this scenario. However, my relatively vague comments on it are heavier on the spoilers than I typically share, so if that makes you nervous skip the next paragraph.

If something is meant to be in a tomb that you’re restoring, but that something is hazardous to you, should you preserve it or destroy it? A nice dilemma! Unfortunately, this scenario doesn’t embrace that conundrum and has no notes on what should be done if PCs attempt to circumvent it instead of using more destructive methods. A bit of a missed opportunity, I think. Now, most groups will have no such qualms and leap into the encounter without issue, but for those groups who do show professional restraint, their hesitation could prove their undoing, and cause this nice challenging encounter to be too difficult. I’m curious to hear how this shakes out in play!

Overall, I really enjoyed the topic, content, and execution of this adventure. It’s right up my alley, and I can’t wait to play it. I give it four out of five stars.

10-15 - Tapestry's TrialPathfinder Society Scenario #10-15: Tapestry’s Trial is a Tier 7-11 adventure written by Alex Greenshields. It takes place in Axis, a lawfully aligned plane. For more information on Axis and its denizens check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Planar Adventures. Tapestry’s Trial features creatures and templates from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: BestiaryBestiary 2Bestiary 5, and Monster Codex (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario) and utilizes the Pathfinder Flip-Mat: MuseumGamemastery Map Pack: Magic Academy, and might also use a blank flip-mat. In addition to the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, this scenario includes content from the Advanced Player’s GuideUltimate Magic, and Pathfinder Player Companion: Heroes of Golarion (although Heroes of Golarion  is not needed to run this scenario). This mission is not directly related to any Pathfinder Society factions, although thematically it aligns well with members of the Grand Lodge and Dark Archives.

This adventure tasks the PCs with travelling to Axis, finding the legendary sorceress Hao Jin, and attaining her help in repairing the Hao Jin tapestry, a powerful artifact and demiplane used by the Pathfinder Society for a whopping seven seasons of play.  This scenario continues the ongoing saga of the Hao Jin Tapestry, and any characters who have interacted with the Hao Jin Tapestry — particularly those who helped attain, defend, or protect it — will have ample reason to get involved in this scenario. It’s also a direct continuation of events from Pathfinder Society Scenario Special #10-00: Hao Jin Cataclysm, and Scenarios #10-11: The Hao Jin Hierophant and #10-13: Fragments of Antiquity. Although I won’t get into the reasons why (to avoid spoilers), characters who were involved in any of the following scenarios will find a familiar face/event or two seen/mentioned: #4-16: The Fabric of Reality, #5-09: The Traitor’s Lodge, #6-98: Serpent’s Rise, #7-09: The Blakros Connection, and #7-23: Abducted in Aether.  I highly recommend you bring along such characters (although not necessarily more than those who have an interest in Hao Jin and her tapestry). Finally, any worshippers of Abadar, Brigh, Chaldira Zuzaristan, and Pharasma will have a chance to visit or glimpse their god’s domain throughout the course of this scenario, which can be an awesome and fulfilling character moment.

Leonardo Santanna-TheMaker
The Maker, an eccentric kolyarut from #10-15: Tapestry’s Trial. Illustrated by Leonardo Santanna. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Planar adventures are tricky. Players need to feel like they’re someplace totally different — a whole other world — but not so much that it hinders play. NPCs need to be extra memorable, locations need to be extra unique, and through it all you need to try to distill a whole planar environment into a short amount of time and a few encounters. Players want to experience a plane — after all, it’s likely they’ll only go there once! This scenario does an awesome job of showcasing Axis. The place is at once understandable and completely alien, with cool environments, and a lot of fun NPCs. And by a lot, I mean a lot! There’s a whopping nine new NPCs to interact with. I really enjoyed the various social interactions, particularly the entire final sequence of events. Many of these social interactions and encounters have unexpected effects and consequences, some of which will even have effect past the end of this scenario (which is always a treat!). Of the various locations you can visit I particularly enjoyed The Floating Library, not only for its contents and librarian, but also for the view. PCs can literally see a few domains of the gods from this vantage point, which is a really nice moment. Although social encounters and big decisions are the major focus of this scenario, it’s not without its combats. Chaotic and unlucky groups could have as many as four combat encounters (or more if they continue to attract the ‘law enforcement’ of Axis), while other groups will have as few as one combat encounter. The battles that are included are enjoyable, and all have extra considerations and complications for player’s take into account, which is a really nice touch. Overall, I love this scenario. I think it’s going to be a satisfying, exciting experience, that has a lot of cool moments, and ramifications for further scenarios. I give it five out of five stars.

Thanks for joining us today. Tune in later this week for a look at this month’s new d20 releases!

Jessica

 

Pathfinder Society Scenarios: Breath of the Dragonskull and Fragments of Antiquity

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 I recommend you check out 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!

scourge of the farheavens - dolok darkfur - sebastian rodriguez
Dolok Darkfur from #9-18: Scourge of the Farheavens and #10-12: Breath of the Dragonskull. Illustrated by Sebastian Rodriguez. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-12:Breath of the Dragonskull is a Tier 1-5 adventure written by Michael Sayre. It takes place in Iobaria, beginning in the Starrise Spire of Nerosyan, before quickly travelling to Mishkar and the Findabar Forest. It features creatures from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary and Inner Sea Monster Codex (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario) and includes content from the Core RulebookAdvanced Class Guide, and Ultimate Equipment. It utilizes the Pathfinder Flip-Tiles: Forest Starter SetPathfinder Flip-tiles: Forest Perils ExpansionPathfinder Flip-Mat: Forest Fire, and a custom half-page map.

This adventure tasks the PCs with protecting a caravan of Sarkorian refugees who are scheduled to begin a journey from Mishkar back to their long-lost homeland of Sarkoris (recently the Worldwound). The caravan has run into trouble with goblins, a forest fire, and centaurs, and need assistance so they can get underway. PCs will need to protect the caravan’s members, figure out what the heck is going on, and put a stop to it. Breath of the Dragonskull continues the storyline from #9-18: Scourge of the Farheavens, and features Dolok Darkfur and Nelket, with Jorsal of Lauterbury serving as Venture-Captain. This scenario involves a lot of interacting with the forest fire, so be sure to prepare your characters appropriately after the mission briefing. I loved the new characters introduced in this scenario — particularly Dragbog — and the various social encounters. There’s a lot of them, and they’re great fun. The battles are enjoyable and each is more complicated than it seems, which I was really happy to see. My only complaint is that if PCs manage to avoid some of the encounters (which they could), this scenario could pass by rather quickly. Overall I thought this was a really fun scenario. I can’t wait to run it for my family. I give it five out of five stars.

Kaana Korag by Tawny Fritz
Kaana Korag from #10-12: Breath of the Dragonskull. Illustrated by Tawny Fritz. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-13: Fragments of Antiquity is a Tier 5-9 adventure written by Sam Polak that takes place in the Hao Jin Tapestry. It features creatures from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: BestiaryBestiary 4, and the Monster Codex (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario) and contains content from the Core RulebookAdvanced Player’s GuidePlanar AdventuresUltimate Combat, and Ultimate Equipment. This scenario heavily utilizes Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Arcane Library. It also features Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Falls and RapidsPathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Forest (although it’s unlikely you’ll need to run the encounter that uses the Forest Flip-Mat), and a full-page custom map. This mission continues the ongoing Hao Jin Tapestry storyline. Players who can speak Tien will be a great boon during this scenario.

This adventure tasks the PCs with exploring a library within the Hao Jin Tapestry to collect important documents and clues related to the fate of Hao Jin. But, this isn’t as simple as it sounds. PCs will need to deal with kobolds, traps, and mysterious enemies during their mission, in addition to navigating the library. I thought the library location was interesting and atmospheric, but quite complex, so GMs will want to take some extra time to familiarize themselves with it thoroughly. I really enjoyed the interactions with the Scalebreaker kobolds, although they’re quite brief. Particularly canny PCs may be able to gain some extra insights that will be useful for them later on. This scenario is light on combat, but heavy on hazards, so it balances out quite nicely. The final battle in this scenario was very exciting and could prove to be quite challenging, particularly in the lower subtier. In the hands of a clever GM it would be a blast to play. Overall I enjoyed this scenario, particularly the brief interactions with the Scalebreakers, but it will take a solid GM to really make it shine. It’s not the easiest scenario to run. I give it four out of five stars.

Bridge-and-Logs by Tom Ventre
Bridge-and-Logs, Chieftain of the Scalebreakers from #10-13: Fragments of Antiquity. Illustrated by Tom Ventre. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Thanks for joining me today! I hope you enjoyed taking a look at the new Pathfinder Society scenarios.

Jessica

 

PaizoCon 2019: Event Submission, Volunteers, and Updates

As the month wears on PaizoCon is creeping closer. Registration to attend PaizoCon began just over a month ago and this past week event submission began.

PaizoCon 2019 will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in SeaTac, Washington over Memorial Day weekend (which is May 24–27). At PaizoCon you can meet your favorite Paizo artists, authors, designers, developers, editors, and personalities. You can also play games at the Pathfinder and Starfinder Society organized play tables, attend panels, seminars, and workshops, get some snazzy sneak-peeks, and (of course) buy stuff! This PaizoCon will also mark the relaunch of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (which has been getting an overhaul) and their new Adventure Path: Curse of the Crimson Throne. The Starfinder team  apparently has some secrets to share, and Pathfinder Second Edition is sure to be a hot topic, as well.

The Guests of Honor for PaizoCon 2019 are Liane Merciel (author of Pathfinder Tales: Hellknight), Wayne Reynolds (freelance illustrator whose work includes every Pathfinder RPG hardcover release and the Pathfinder Iconics), and The Glass Cannon Podcast (weekly live-play podcasters who play Pathfinder and Starfinder. I’ve previously written about them here).

In addition to the wonderful events that Paizo employees are going to host, everyone else out there — fans, artists, authors, gamers, third party publishers and so on — are all welcome to host their own events! This is an opportunity to host a seminar, run a game, or just book a table. Whoever you are and whatever you’re hoping to do, now is the time to sign up! By signing up in advance you allow the team running PaizoCon to ensure they have time and space available for you. This also allows PaizoCon attendees to sign up for your events in advance (Very important!).

For more information on how to submit an event for PaizoCon 2019 you can click this handy link that will take you to the appropriate part of Paizo’s website! Event submission closes on March 1st.

Curious about pricing to buy tickets to PaizoCon 2019? Look no further!

  • 4-Day Badges are $75.00
  • 4-Day Kid’s Badges are $40.00
  • PaizoCon Preview Banquet Tickets are $45.00 and include an exclusive commemorative item available only to attendees at the Preview Banquet and through auctions or prizes at select charity events.
  • Purchasing a 4-Day Badge (regular) and a Preview Banquet ticket together are $110 ($10 savings)

For more information on PaizoCon 2019 and to register head over to PaizoCon.com. Want to learn more about the special guests? Check out LianeMerciel.com, WayneReynolds.com, and GlassCannonPodcast.com.

In related news, the Organized Play Foundation (OPF) has put out the call for volunteers for some of the year’s most popular conventions. So if you’re going to PaizoCon, Origins, Gen Con, UK Games Expo or PAX Unplugged and want to volunteer to lend a hand, now is the time to sign up! Paizo is looking for volunteers for Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Pathfinder Society Adventure Card Guild, Pathfinder Society Academy, Starfinder Society, and Pathfinder Society version 2. Volunteers are rewarded with some awesome swag, although what you receive will vary based on which convention you’re volunteering for, and how much of your time you volunteer. To register as a volunteer head on over to the OPF Convention Volunteer Page and fill out the appropriate questionnaires.

Have fun, everyone!

Jessica

Pathfinder, Studying, Paizo
Image courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Pathfinder Society Scenarios: The Shattered Shield and The Hao Jin Hierophant!

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 I recommend you check out 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!

10-10 Shattered Shield
Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-10: The Shattered Shield by Leo Glass

Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-10: The Shattered Shield is a Tier 1-5 adventure written by Leo Glass. It takes place in Rahadoum, a nation where religion is outlawed. It features creatures from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: BestiaryBestiary 3, and Bestiary 4 (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario). It makes use of the Pathfinder Core RulebookAdvanced Player’s GuideUltimate Equipment, and Ultimate Magic. This scenario utilizes Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Noble EstatePathfinder Flip-Mat: Museum, and a morbid custom map that looks pretty rockin’. This mission is of particularly importance to members of the Dark Archives Faction, and is very likely going to lead to other Pathfinder Society Scenarios (and tie in with the Tyrant’s Grasp Adventure Path, I’d wager).

On the surface, because religion is outlawed in Rahadoum, bringing a cleric, paladin, or other divine caster on this mission is a really bad idea, but actually… that’s only half true. Yes, religion is outlawed in Rahadoum, and playing a divine caster will be a challenge. There will be social repercussions, and you’re likely to run into trouble with the law. However, these interactions are very well-handled in this scenario with the addition of ‘Legion Points,’ which are a measure of how many legal infractions the Pure Legion has caught you committing. The punishments are clear, and you have plenty of opportunities to lower these totals throughout the scenario. You’re not going to be executed, or immediately kicked out of the scenario or something equally drastic. As long as you play your divine character with some subtlety and caution, you should come out alright. As a nice bonus, there are quite a few obvious benefits to bringing that divine caster along. Players who take the time and try their best to navigate this difficult political landscape will find their efforts were worth it. It’s a gamble. Although I don’t recommend you bring a divine-heavy party to this scenario, I don’t condemn their use either. If you’re up for the challenge, go for it!

The Shattered Shield tasks the PCs with heading into Rahadoum and attending an illegal auction that deals in religious relics. There they’ll need to obtain a shard of the Shield of Arnisant, which was once known as the Shield of Aroden, and was used to battle the Whispering Tyrant. This shield is supposed to be safe in Vigil, but all signs seem to show that the shard up for auction is legitimate. Of course, as with any good scenario, acquiring the shard will be harder than it sounds.

Zaashakar Tom Ventre
Zaashakar and Vaultkeeper from Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-10: The Shattered Shield. Illustration by Tom Ventre

There’s a lot to like in this scenario. It has a lot of interesting social and skill-based encounters. There’s one very weird illness going around that’s used to great effect. The mission briefing with Venture Captain Obo was very detailed, with plenty for roleplay-oriented players to riff off of. I particularly enjoyed how the Pure Legion was portrayed. This scenario did a great job of humanizing them, which was nice to see. The adventure allowed for some deviation from the assumed path, with alternate allies and differing methods accounted for. I really, REALLY liked that. It’s rare to see in published products, particularly of this length. I also really enjoyed some behind the scenes bits with Nulalla, which most players will be curious about but aren’t likely to discover completely. I loved the situation that Torvad Shalzadin and Inusi Mendalari find themselves in. In addition to being dynamic and a little suspenseful, clever PCs will be able to glean a bit of information about this scenario’s main villain from the witnesses. The final location PCs visit in this scenario was super morbid and different. I really, really liked it. And the map for it looks great! Finally, I adored the main villain’s… pal. It’s both horrible and adorable. Just awesome.

That said, there are some downsides. The auction itself was a bit of a let-down. Although there’s some interesting people to interact with, and some cool things to bid on it’s unscripted, and the notes are scattered over a few pages. This is inconvenient for GMs, and means that the auction is unlikely to be a showstopper. Which is a shame! I LOVE a good auction in my Pathfinder. Events are also a bit overly convenient. Not a trait unique to this scenario, but it is more obvious and heavy-handed than is typical. Particularly with regards to the connections between the estate and the auction guests.

Finally, villain tactics. This scenario’s villain is an odd one. Don’t get me wrong, I love her. Seriously. She has flaws, hang-ups, quirks, obsessions, and goals which both haunt and drive her. They affect her tactics and reactions. Unfortunately, it’s not depicted in a way that everyone — GMs and players alike — will necessarily notice. And if you don’t notice? She comes off seeming rather stupid. Which is… unfortunate. And as cool as the final location is, the ending has the potential to be incredibly anticlimactic. I like the premise, and it works for the character, but if certain events occur a lot of players will just be left shaking their heads and asking: ‘That’s it?’ Not really the reaction you want at the end of a successful mission.

10-11 Hao Jin Hierophant
Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-11: The Hao Jin Hierophant by Jessica Redekop.

There’s one other quibble I have with this scenario: penalties. As with any Society Scenario, there’s many opportunities where not discovering ‘X’ or accomplishing ‘X’ can cause your PCs to lose out on some of the gold rewards on their chronicles. Usually accomplishing those tasks is easy, and it just sort of happens as you play. In this scenario that is not necessarily the case. Some are harder to get than is typical. Most groups won’t get full gold. In fact, some groups will miss out on gold two or three times. Now, on the one hand, I like that it’s not a given you’ll get all the rewards this scenario has to offer. It’s refreshing. But, this scenario might have gone too far in the other direction. If too many players miss out on too much of the rewards, they might even feel like they’ve been unjustly penalized.

Overall, I ended up torn on this mission. I love how Rahadoum and the Pure Legion was handled. I also enjoyed the large number of social and skill based encounters. The villain was flavourful, different, and had some serious quirks — all things I adore. Heck, I even liked her doorman. On the other hand, players are likely to come away from this scenario feeling confused over enemy tactics and behaviour, and the ending has the potential to be a let down. In the end I decided to give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Hao Jin Tapestry by Robert Lazzaretti
The Hao Jin Tapestry. Art by Robert Lazzaretti.

Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-11: The Hao Jin Hierophant is a Tier 5-9 adventure written by Jessica Redekop. It takes place in the Hao Jin Tapestry, an artifact that acts as a gateway to a demiplane that the sorceress Hao Jin created to store her greatest treasures. Things like magical objects, temples, places, and even people. The Pathfinder Society won the Hao Jin Tapestry seven years ago at the Ruby Pheonix Tournament, and have made heavy use of it since. This scenario features creatures from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 5, although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario. In addition to the Pathfinder Core Rulebook it makes use of  content from Occult AdventuresPlanar AdventuresUltimate Equipment, and Ultimate Magic. It utilizes the Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Forbidden JunglePathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Swamp, and a custom map.

The Hao Jin Tapestry is unstable. Unravelling, one could say. This scenario tasks the PCs with heading into the demiplane, checking out an ancient Tian site, and getting out with whatever lore and treasures they can before it’s too late. It’s a sequel to this year’s interactive special Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-00: The Hao Jin Cataclysm. In the new year this story will continue with Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-13: Fragments of Antiquity, and Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-15: Tapestry’s Trial. If you’ve got characters who have had a hand in acquiring, exploring, or protecting the Hao Jin Tapestry in the past, now is definitely the time to bring them out! Also, if you’ve got characters with knowledge of Tian Xia, who can speak Hwan, or who can magically communicate in other languages, they’ll be used to great effect in this scenario.

Lin Fen Hai by Michele Giorgi
Lin Fen Hai from Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-11: The Hao Jin Hierophant. Illustration by Michele Giorgi.

This scenario begins in Absalom with an announcement from two members of the Decemvirate! This is followed by a more typical mission briefing with the oread Master of Spells Sorrina Westyr. From there it quickly moves into the Hao Jin Tapestry’s demiplane. There the PCs will get to explore the ancient Tian village of Onhae, which would once have been found in the jungles of Chang Liao. The PCs main goals are to collect a sample of a rare flower from the area, and to learn all that they can about the traditional religion and culture of the people of Onhae, the Sunsu Godae. Happily, there’s still people in Onhae. This should be a cinch! …But, it turns out they’re not practising their traditional religion anymore. They have a new leader, Lin Fen Hai the Hao Jin Hierophant, and a new god who we’ll just call the Ruby Pheonix. Interesting! Your players will get to navigate this newly changed political environment in order to accomplish their missions, all while the Hao Jin Tapestry frays around them, causing unnatural events, magical malfunctions, and planar breaches. It’s an interesting mission to say the least. Similar in form and tone to some previous adventures like… #3-21: The Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment and #9-12: Shrine of the Sacred Tempest.

RubyPhoenix Hao Jin Cataclysm
The Ruby Phoenix.

Onhae was an interesting, rich little village with both and ancient past, recent history, and current changes. Sussing out this places many secrets looks like an enjoyable challenge. Their new religion was awesome! Haha. So good! Although a lot of this scenario was social encounters and skill checks, there are some battles to be fought. Each of these encounters is well written and has interesting flavour and tactics. There’s also some neat planar malfunctions going on you get to interact with. Overall, I really liked this scenario! I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Thanks for taking the time to join us today! I hope you stop by later this week when we take a look at the newest Starfinder Society Scenarios!

All the best,

Jessica

 

New Pathfinder Society Scenarios: What Prestige is Worth and The Rasping Rebirth

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 I recommend you check out 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!

10-08 What Pretige is Worth
Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-08: What Prestige is Worth by Matt Duval.

Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-08: What Prestige is Worth is a Tier 7-11 adventure written by Matt Duval. It begins in the Grand Lodge in Absalom, but quickly moves to the city of Dis, the second layer of Hell ruled by the Archdevil Dispater. This scenario makes use of the Pathfinder Core RulebookAdvanced Player’s GuidePlanar Adventures, and Ultimate Magic. It features creatures from Pathfinder BestiaryBestiary 3Book of the DamnedNPC Codex, and the Villain Codex (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario).  It utilizes the Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: City StreetsGamemastery Map Pack: Hellscapes, and a full page custom map. This mission is of particular importance to members of the Dark Archives faction. If you’ve got any characters who have ties to Zarta Dralneen, an interest in interacting with devils, or who worships Asmodeus or an Archdevil, now is definitely the time to bring them! In addition, if you have any PCs that have the checked version of the Infernal True Name boon (from Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-16: Fallen Family, Broken Name), you’ll get both helpful and hindering effects during the course of this adventure. It should also be noted that many characters will have issue working with devils. If your character adamantly would not do so, even for the greater good, don’t bring them. Lastly, characters who have obvious ties to good outsiders, who openly worship divine beings, or who can cast divine magic will have a harder time accomplishing their goals than those who don’t. Although that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring such goodly characters, it is something you should take into account.

Michele Giorgi Rowane 10-08 What Prestige is Worth
Rowane, a norn from Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-08: What Prestige is Worth. Art by Michele Giorgi.

This adventure tasks the PCs with entering a portal in the Pathfinder Archives that spontaneously opened to Dis. The portal has a connection to an important soul from Cheliax’s past, which Zarta Dralneen, Leader of the Dark Archives, wants to question. Along with Zarta, your players will enter Hell, explore Dis, investigate a contract devil, and interact with some of the nastiest and most dangerous beings around — all while avoiding the attention of Dipater himself!

I really enjoyed this scenario. It’s incredibly atmospheric, with Dis always seeming ominous, dark, and downright evil. There’s a ton of wonderfully challenging and unique social encounters, where your PCs can forge both enemies and allies — temporary allies, at least. Players will be faced with temptation and opportunity, and even have the chance to barter away parts of their personality or souls in order to accomplish their mission, or gain tangible or esoteric rewards. The battles in this scenario are challenging, and never straight forward. For in Hell a bargain can always be struck — if you’re willing to pay…. There’s a lot of incredibly helpful handouts, most of which are for the GM. Overall I really enjoyed this scenario. It was different, challenging, haunting, and really, really well done. That said, it’s not an easy scenario to run. Not by a long shot. And it’s not an easy one to play, either. Players have a lot of free reign — which is great, but also can be hard. Some groups might flounder, get confused, or just get frustrated with their efforts. Lastly, this scenario is not for everyone. In addition to any moral concerns some folks might have about playing an adventure in Hell, there is also sights and sounds in the background in this scenario that are dark, haunting, and perhaps even offensive. Although I would enjoy this kind of adventure, not everyone will. Although it should go without saying, this is not the kind of adventure you should let your kids play. No way in hell! Haha. I give this scenario four out of five stars.

10-09 - The rasping Rebirth
Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-09: The Rasping Rebirth by Cole Kronewitter.

Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-09: The Rasping Breath is a Tier 12-15 adventure written by Cole Kronewitter. It begins in the Starrise Tower in Mendev, but the majority of the scenario takes place in the Worldwound, and the Abyss. It makes use of Pathfinder Core RulebookBestiaryBestiary 2, and Mythic Adventures (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario) and utilizes Pathfinder Flip-Mat: BattlefieldPathfinder Flip-Mat: Forest FireGamemastery Map Pack: Swallowed Whole, and a full page custom map. If you’ve got characters who have done a lot of work to make the Worldwound safer, particularly one who’s played multiple scenarios from Pathfinder Society Season Five: Year of the Demon, or if you have any characters who have interacted with the glabrezu demon Koth’Vaul, or the Demon Lord Deskari in the past, I highly suggest bringing them. Characters who have earned the ‘Al-Jakri’s Debt’ boon (from Pathfinder Society Scenario #9–25: Betrayal in the Bones) will also get a nifty benefit during this scenario. 

Mythic Adventures
This scenario makes use of rules found in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Mythic Adventures.

The demon Koth’Vaul, a constant thorn in the side of the Pathfinder Society, has entered the Worldwound, torn open a rift to the Abyss, and entered Deskari’s realm. His purpose? Unknown! Your PCs are tasked with tracking down Koth’Vaul, foiling his plans, and destroying him. Now, I REALLY enjoyed this adventure. Every single one of the battles was complex, enjoyable, challenging, and most importantly: dynamic! The social encounters in this scenario were really well-done!   There were lots of helpful handouts, cool maps, and the finale! So good! One of my favourite decisions the PCs are faced with is whether they’ll accept outside aid from a foul source, knowing that there will be repercussions, but the aid might be necessary. It’s a wonderful predicament where your players will have to decide what they’re willing to sacrifice in the fight for the greater good.  While some PCs will balk at this, others will definitely claim the offered power! The repercussions are amazing, and I can’t wait to see how the majority of players swing! Overall I really, really enjoyed this scenario. I give it five out of five stars.

Thanks for joining us today! We’ll see you again soon!

Jessica

KothVaul Josef Kucera 10-09 The Rasping Rebirth
Koth’Vaul the glabrezu from Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-09: The Rasping Rebirth. Art by Josef Kucera.

 

Factions Forever! New Starfinder Classes!

Hello and welcome!

This week brings us some exciting news in the world of Starfinder and Pathfinder. We’ve talked a lot about the changes coming to the Pathfinder Society when Pathfinder Second Edition gets released next year. Paizo has released multiple blog posts and surveys on the subject, and has some threads on their message boards where you can put forth your ideas and opinions. Which is great! Your opinions can help shape the future of the Pathfinder Society. This week brings us to the last of these blog posts.

So what did they talk about?

Lots!

GrandLodgeSymbol
Sigil of the Open Road, the symbol of the Pathfinder Society.

Although, most of the information amounted to a sort of… we’re changing this, but we haven’t quite decided how. A fair point when the rules for Pathfinder Second Edition are still in flux.

Fame and Prestige will likely follow Starfinders lead and be called Reputation and Fame. In addition, you’ll be allowed to earn fame in multiple factions if you so choose. Another nice improvement inspired by Starfinder Society play. ‘Prestige’, whatever it comes to be called, will also be more useful. You’ll be able to acquire special boons — some general and some faction specific — for your characters.

How we gain access to magical items is also going to change. Likely, this will involve item rarity and item level, but the details will depend on how Pathfinder 2 shakes out.

Infamy, much like that used in the Starfinder Society, is also going to be introduced.

One of my favourite changes? Schools. Nearly all Pathfinders undergo training at the Grand Lodge and specialize in one of three schools: Scrolls, Spells, or Swords. Scrolls is taught by Kreighton Shane and focuses on learning and diplomacy. Spells is taught by Sorrina Westyr and focuses on magical prowess. Swords is taught by Marcos Farabellus and focuses on martial might and physical fitness. Deciding which of the schools your character favours most is now going to be a choice you can make at character creation. For what? Well, they’re not sure yet. We’ll have to wait and see.

Which brings us to the most exciting aspect of this week’s Pathfinder Society changes: factions. Factions are getting a major shake-up! Some factions will be retired as their goals have been accomplished. Some will find their stories come to a close during Season 10. Others will remain but have changes of leadership. So what’s changing exactly? Unknown! That’s why they’d like your input! They’ve compiled a list of general concepts for factions and want you to let them know which ones you like best. Got an idea for another major character motivation for Pathfinders? Share them! Also, they want to know your opinions on which faction leaders should stay an go. Help them out by heading over to their survey and filling it out: Faction Survey.


In other news, Starfinder Wednesday put out another awesome episode. And this one dropped a BOMB! Starfinder will soon be putting out a playtest for NEW CLASSES!

SO EXCITING!

Want more details?

So do I! More information will be coming out on the Paizo Blog on Monday, December 3rd. Be sure to check it out! I know I will!

Jessica


UPDATE: For more information check out my blog post: New Classes Come to Starfinder! or visit Paizo’s website: StarfinderPlaytest.com

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