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Oh My Heavens

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

I've been loving this season from the moment we started planning it, and every batch of scenarios makes me love Season 9 of Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild a little more. Not only are we gearing up for a series of Sovereign Court adventures leading up to the War for the Crown Adventure Path, working on an exciting Exchange storyline, outlining a powerful Silver Crusade arc, and using the Pathfinder Adventure Card Guild to pursue one of the perpetrators behind Pathfinder Society Special #9-00: Assault on Absalom, but we're also in the early stages of locking down Pathfinder Society's Season 10. If you've seen team members cackling with barely-contained glee on social media, it's likely for these reasons and more.

And if you've seen us bouncing excitedly in the months leading up to now, it's probably because of the excellent scenarios we're releasing today.

Illustrations by Juzef Kucera

First up is the Tier 1-5 delight Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-06: The Shores of Heaven, which dispatches the PCs to Heaven itself to research and perform a ritual that might purify a beloved Pathfinder colleague. This is exciting for several reasons. First, this scenario's a direct result of the reporting data participants like you provided for Pathfinder Society Scenario #7-17: Thralls of the Shattered God. Second, it's another chance to adventure with the Pathfinder "venture-captain" Valais. Third, it's an adventure... in Heaven. This last point's been something of a personal challenge for me, as the common response to proposing a Heaven adventure is "There's no point; the archons would destroy any threats immediately." Linda and I have had a few days where we shouted the equivalent of "They said it couldn't be done! They said we were MAD!" Then we would cackle and go back to outlining. More accurately, Linda would go back to outlining, as she oversaw this project as its development lead.

Really, though, this came together as cleanly and beautifully as it did thanks to the author, Cole Kronewitter. Cole's worked on several other scenarios, and we found his character portrayals in Pathfinder Society Scenario #7-25: Orders from the Gate represented exactly the kind of talent we'd need to make this scenario happen. He delivered, and this scenario with Silver Crusade ties is absolutely charming. What's more, there's a delightful section about how characters with evil auras or evil familiars function during this adventure, including one of the most explicit "Don't mess this up" warnings I think we've ever included in a scenario—including in the Bonekeep series.

Included here are two preview illustrations, including a powerful celestial you'll meet as well as a disfigured fiend that's played an ongoing roll in Valais's story.

Last month we featured Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-04: The Unseen Inclusion by Mike Kimmel, which kicked off a very fun Scarab Sages narrative in Thuvia. This month, Matt Duval has taken the baton and brought us Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-07: Salvation of the Sages, an epic Tier 7-11 showdown in which the PCs face off against an ancient enemy and hold the fate of a faction in their hands. Need another reason to be excited? How would you like the opportunity to adventure alongside all of the Jeweled Sages? Yes, all of them. Yes, that includes one who might not be on the best of terms with the Society.

Illustration by Marco Horvatin

I recruited Matt Duval to write this in part because he has such a history with the Scarab Sages storyline, but also because he knows how to make a big and flashy event that reveals long-held secrets. The two of us had a chance to brainstorm the details at Gen Con, where we devised some terrific scenes that I feel really shed light on many of the extant sages and allow the PCs to uncover information central to the campaign and its NPCs in new ways.

There are a few tools and design variations that appear in this scenario that we're testing out. These won't necessarily become the norm, but Linda and I are interested in hearing whether these are easy to use, helpful, and something you might want to see more in the future. Specifically, #9-07 uses a skill DC table that has appeared in past multi-table interactive specials, which assigns an Easy, Average, and Hard DC value for each level range. This scenario also provides a few GM reference handouts that summarize who certain NPCs are and which past Chronicle sheets the players have might factor into the scenario. Although I don't plan on including these handouts in anything but very canon-heavy adventures, I would like to hear how we can make them as useful as possible for GMs.

This is a big scenario with big implications for the Scarab Sages, and our team reserved it as high a level tier as we could to ensure that as many faction PCs can play this—and enjoy its Chronicle sheet—as possible. I think Salvation of the Sages really drives home that Season 9 really is the Season of Factions' Favor, and we're only three months in!

John Compton
Organized Play Lead Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Josef Kucera Marco Horvatin Organized Play Pathfinder Society Pathfinder Society Scenarios
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Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

HUZZAH!

Sovereign Court *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Blog wrote:
There are a few tools and design variations that appear in this scenario that we're testing out. These won't necessarily become the norm, but Linda and I are interested in hearing whether these are easy to use, helpful, and something you might want to see more in the future. Specifically, #9-07 uses a skill DC table that has appeared in past multi-table interactive specials, which assigns an Easy, Average, and Hard DC value for each level range. This scenario also provides a few GM reference handouts that summarize who certain NPCs are and which past Chronicle sheets the players have might factor into the scenario. Although I don't plan on including these handouts in anything but very canon-heavy adventures, I would like to hear how we can make them as useful as possible for GMs.

Well, I am interested. I'll have to run that one at some point in the near future.

Shadow Lodge *****

You've NO idea what you're in for. ;)

Dark Archive *****

TOZ wrote:
You've NO idea what you're in for. ;)

This is so true. Opened this up last night to scan through in early prep for an upcoming Con and couldn't even focus in to prep, because there were so many exciting looking things packed into 1 scenario.

Sczarni *****

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Hmm. I signed up to play Salvation of the Sages at an upcoming Con, but since I don't have a Tier 7-11 character in that Faction I just signed up with my current favorite.

Should I wait until one of my lower level characters reaches that Tier instead? If an entire Blog is referencing how big a deal this is, it makes me want to hesitate.

But on the other hand I probably won't have a Scarab Sages character in Tier for quite some time (best bet is my 5th level CORE Cleric).

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

I highly recommend playing it with a Scarab Sage faction member. However, if they haven't played other build up scenarios, get those in first.

Shadow Lodge *****

What are the two build up ones? Unseen inclusion and...?

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Beacon Below, Ancient's Anguish.

Dark Archive *****

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Beacon Below, Ancient's Anguish.

Really it goes all the way back to Destiny of the Sands, but definitely those 2.

****

2 people marked this as a favorite.

My only disappointment is that the scenario with Valais is a 1-5 so I can't bring in characters who have met her before.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

A lot of Society Adventure players seem to be kinda miffed that "The Shores of Heaven" is Tier 1-5.

Sczarni *****

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Beacon Below, Ancient's Anguish.

Played and GMed those with currently retired characters. Oh well.

When I GM this I'll just apply the credit to my low level character.

***

Nefreet wrote:

Hmm. I signed up to play Salvation of the Sages at an upcoming Con, but since I don't have a Tier 7-11 character in that Faction I just signed up with my current favorite.

Should I wait until one of my lower level characters reaches that Tier instead? If an entire Blog is referencing how big a deal this is, it makes me want to hesitate.

But on the other hand I probably won't have a Scarab Sages character in Tier for quite some time (best bet is my 5th level CORE Cleric).

If you have played Unseen Inclusion you can kind of tell how dire of a situation it is. Its pretty horrifying.

Also, I know what that bird is. Grandmother deity is the best deity.

Scarab Sages ***

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Salvation of the Sages sounds like a good scenario to take my currently Scarab Sages, formerly Lantern Lodge character to 12th level. I got to play Of Kirin and Kraken with him to revisit his Lantern Lodge days. Those two as his last two regular scenarios would fit. He also played the Destiny of the Sands series and Anchient’s Anguish. I could have sworn I played Beacon Below with him, too, but I don’t see it reported for him. I might have switched to a different character based on party need. I know I’ve played that one, at any rate.

I’m also a little bummed my now 8th level character that’s encountered Valais twice won’t be able to participate in 9-06. But she’s Exchange (former Sczarni), not Silver Crusade, and spent most of the time insulting Valais, only to feel bad about it later when Valais saved her life. But not too bad.

Sovereign Court *****

"Probably best I don't meet up with her again. I think the impression from the flat of my scimitar is going to be harder to get out of her than the spare parts....."

Liberty's Edge

"..."

The tengu crossbow expert and investigator squints a few times at the mission briefing, then scratches the feathers on the back of his head before turning to other jobs for the Society, hoping Valais meets a decent enough end given the situation.

This character was in both previous Valais installments, but is unable to do the next one, unfortunately.

Scarab Sages ***

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I figured it out. He wasn’t in tier when I played Beacon Below. That one is on my other former Lantern Lodge character (now retired/level 12, and Sovereign Court). Clearly the solution is to GM Beacon below and assign it to him slow track, then play Salvation of the Sages slow track for retirement.

EDIT: I could afford to burn another star, like I did with Kraken. Assuming I can find Beacon running online somewhere. Heads off to check the Aethercon schedule.

“I’m burning up a star just to say goodbye.“ (Now I’m sad)

Shadow Lodge *****

Curse you for that feels trip.

Sovereign Court *** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

2 people marked this as a favorite.

For completionism's sake, Refugees of the Weary Sky is also foreshadowing a bit that there's trouble ahead with the Sages.

*****

Ferious Thune wrote:

I figured it out. He wasn’t in tier when I played Beacon Below. That one is on my other former Lantern Lodge character (now retired/level 12, and Sovereign Court). Clearly the solution is to GM Beacon below and assign it to him slow track, then play Salvation of the Sages slow track for retirement.

EDIT: I could afford to burn another star, like I did with Kraken. Assuming I can find Beacon running online somewhere. Heads off to check the Aethercon schedule.

“I’m burning up a star just to say goodbye.“ (Now I’m sad)

I love Beacon Below and am always happy to run it if you have a group interested in playing.

It isnt on the Aethercon schedule as far as I know.

Scarab Sages *

andreww wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:

I figured it out. He wasn’t in tier when I played Beacon Below. That one is on my other former Lantern Lodge character (now retired/level 12, and Sovereign Court). Clearly the solution is to GM Beacon below and assign it to him slow track, then play Salvation of the Sages slow track for retirement.

EDIT: I could afford to burn another star, like I did with Kraken. Assuming I can find Beacon running online somewhere. Heads off to check the Aethercon schedule.

“I’m burning up a star just to say goodbye.“ (Now I’m sad)

I love Beacon Below and am always happy to run it if you have a group interested in playing.

It isnt on the Aethercon schedule as far as I know.

You can count me in if you're running Beacon Below, Andrew :)

Tarracon, perhaps?

*****

Quenly wrote:
andreww wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:

I figured it out. He wasn’t in tier when I played Beacon Below. That one is on my other former Lantern Lodge character (now retired/level 12, and Sovereign Court). Clearly the solution is to GM Beacon below and assign it to him slow track, then play Salvation of the Sages slow track for retirement.

EDIT: I could afford to burn another star, like I did with Kraken. Assuming I can find Beacon running online somewhere. Heads off to check the Aethercon schedule.

“I’m burning up a star just to say goodbye.“ (Now I’m sad)

I love Beacon Below and am always happy to run it if you have a group interested in playing.

It isnt on the Aethercon schedule as far as I know.

You can count me in if you're running Beacon Below, Andrew :)

Tarracon, perhaps?

I am off to a con this afternoon, I will try and list something when I am back.

Scarab Sages ***

andreww wrote:
Quenly wrote:
andreww wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:

I figured it out. He wasn’t in tier when I played Beacon Below. That one is on my other former Lantern Lodge character (now retired/level 12, and Sovereign Court). Clearly the solution is to GM Beacon below and assign it to him slow track, then play Salvation of the Sages slow track for retirement.

EDIT: I could afford to burn another star, like I did with Kraken. Assuming I can find Beacon running online somewhere. Heads off to check the Aethercon schedule.

“I’m burning up a star just to say goodbye.“ (Now I’m sad)

I love Beacon Below and am always happy to run it if you have a group interested in playing.

It isnt on the Aethercon schedule as far as I know.

You can count me in if you're running Beacon Below, Andrew :)

Tarracon, perhaps?

I am off to a con this afternoon, I will try and list something when I am back.

Thanks!

Silver Crusade ***

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Berselius wrote:
A lot of Society Adventure players seem to be kinda miffed that "The Shores of Heaven" is Tier 1-5.

You can count me as one of those. The character I wanted to take to a gig in Heaven has just leveled to level 6. All those delicious RP opportunities gone.

On a more general level, it is a bit odd choice to continue two 3-7s with a 1-5,but knowing nothing about what's actually in the scenario, I cannot really theorize on why.

Silver Crusade ***

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Leathert wrote:
Berselius wrote:
A lot of Society Adventure players seem to be kinda miffed that "The Shores of Heaven" is Tier 1-5.

You can count me as one of those. The character I wanted to take to a gig in Heaven has just leveled to level 6. All those delicious RP opportunities gone.

Yeah, my Infiltrator Inquisitor of "Pharasma" *COUGH*Norgorber*COUGH* would have loved the challenge of trying to hide his secret in that environment. Unfortunately, he's up to level 7, so he doesn't qualify.

But I do have a level 5 Silver Crusader that I haven't played in nearly two years who could be a lot of fun for that one. He's a CG Gnome Prankster Bard. He doesn't fit in with the Crusade in the typical way. He heard they wanted to make the world a better place, so he signed up, but his idea of making the world better has more to do with spreading laughter than smiting evil.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

1 person marked this as a favorite.

He’ll be perfect.

Silver Crusade ***

Do angels even have shoelaces?

***

Leathert wrote:
Berselius wrote:
A lot of Society Adventure players seem to be kinda miffed that "The Shores of Heaven" is Tier 1-5.

You can count me as one of those. The character I wanted to take to a gig in Heaven has just leveled to level 6. All those delicious RP opportunities gone.

On a more general level, it is a bit odd choice to continue two 3-7s with a 1-5,but knowing nothing about what's actually in the scenario, I cannot really theorize on why.

It's actually fairly common in recent years. Season 7 had one plotline that literally said to be continued by some other character of yours. Said plot line also was related to this one making it even weirder. Eight had one that flip flopped adventure order. And nine has the record of continuing plotlines started in season 1. The only one to really progress in a timely and logical fashion were the gloomspires.

Sovereign Court *** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Leathert wrote:
Berselius wrote:
A lot of Society Adventure players seem to be kinda miffed that "The Shores of Heaven" is Tier 1-5.

You can count me as one of those. The character I wanted to take to a gig in Heaven has just leveled to level 6. All those delicious RP opportunities gone.

On a more general level, it is a bit odd choice to continue two 3-7s with a 1-5,but knowing nothing about what's actually in the scenario, I cannot really theorize on why.

Actually Shores is continuing a 3-7 followed by a 5-9, not two 3-7s in a row.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I Gmed it the weekend! It was a delightful sojourn in heaven for my players, with lots of yummy roleplay. I think it might have been appropriate to make this one higher tier storywise, but I got to see the joy of discovery in the eyes of two brand new players, each playing a level one character in PFS for the very first time. Watching them tackle the weirdnesses of heaven and of the ever charming Valais, and the enthusiasm that they brought to the task — so worth it.

Hmm

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

Oh right... I need to update my Valais art...

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Running a slot zero tonight for Wei Ji. Should be a good time with Raptor Squad +1!

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

I sooo wanted to run this for Wei Ji’s Andrietta, but she’s out of tier!

Hmm

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

I KNOW! D:

Thankfully he has his Caydenite Warpriest from our Hell's Rebels game to port in at 1st level.

*** Contributor aka Alexander Augunas

I wrote a review for Shores of Heaven here. Tl;dr it's easily in my Top 10 PFS scenarios of all time, with a strong contender for the #1 spot.

*** Contributor aka Alexander Augunas

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

I Gmed it the weekend! It was a delightful sojourn in heaven for my players, with lots of yummy roleplay. I think it might have been appropriate to make this one higher tier storywise, but I got to see the joy of discovery in the eyes of two brand new players, each playing a level one character in PFS for the very first time. Watching them tackle the weirdnesses of heaven and of the ever charming Valais, and the enthusiasm that they brought to the task — so worth it.

Hmm

I think this is actually the strongest reason why Shores of Heaven works as a low-level scenario. You need to make your new players feel like they're playing an awesome fantasy RPG if you want to keep them coming back, and if all of the low tier 1–5 scenarios are, "Bring me a Bottle of Wine from my favorite tavern," you're not going to keep those people.

Unguarded but Unbroken and Shores of Heaven (with the latter strongly resembling the former in design and pacing) break that expectation and allow new players to experience the high fantasy elements of Pathfinder, and that's pretty refreshing.

About Valias:
I also think that having different characters in Shores of Heaven than the ones you played Thralls and Traitor's Lodge is crucial to Valias's characterization in this one—the adventure focuses heavily on her willingness to accept help from others, and that characterization would fall flat if you were the same people who have helped her twice before. That's just my opinion, however.

Silver Crusade

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:

I KNOW! D:

Thankfully he has his Caydenite Warpriest from our Hell's Rebels game to port in at 1st level.

...correction, Shelynite Swashbuckler... :>

Shadow Lodge *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Man, I can't keep your birds in order.

Grand Lodge

Oh, come on...

Silver Crusade

STOP THIS FOOLISHNESS!

Liberty's Edge

"..."

Sovereign Court

"This sounds rather scandalous..."

The Exchange

"Well, perhaps I could provide some legal services?"

Liberty's Edge

"GRARRRRRRRR!!!!"

The Exchange

"Easy there big guy, we'll get that chick for you."

Grand Lodge

They are completely insane.

Liberty's Edge

"The path to Wisdom is fraught with many pitfalls, and we must always strive to climb from them to Greater Enlightenment."

Silver Crusade

"Seriously, you pick the 'Caydenite Warpriest' and you can't even get the *race* right???"

Shadow Lodge *****

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Sorry, 'bird' was an insensitive label.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

...on behalf of the team there, apology accepted from this side.

...watches the character barracks warily for rebuttal...

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