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WalterGM's page

RPG Superstar 2013 Star Voter, 2014 Dedicated Voter, 2015 Dedicated Voter. Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber. FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar RPG Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington. 2,517 posts (2,584 including aliases). 8 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 18 Pathfinder Society characters.

of Palouse Games

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Such revelry that Cayden would be proud


Every bit of Hall of Drunken Heroes warms my cold, lifeless GM heart. Even in re-reading the introduction to the Hall itself I find myself grinning like the Cheshire Cat.

"Cayden’s Hall is a massive, open fest hall of rough-hewn timbers. The latter have been replaced many times over the years thanks to their predecessors being burnt to cinders when the large, celebratory bonfires often burning within the wooden structure mixed badly with the very large and very inebriated crowds frequenting the establishment."

I think it's impossible to resist wanting to play a game where that is the setting. In addition to such a great location, the game starts off with what is probably the best briefing ever, as Osprey brings in a demon for the PCs to pump for information, like some 1970 beat cops.


We then are taken into Cayden's Hall, thrown into a memorable barroom brawl and are free to roam through a series of clues and leads before arriving at what is probably the most challenging fight in all of Season 1 (sans Eyes of the Ten). And the fun's not done yet; you're only half-way through the scenario at this point!

I could keep going, but you shouldn't keep reading. Download this scenario and play it right now!

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This might be my favorite scenario of all time


What an excellent scenario!

When this adventure came out, it was a showstopper when I ran it at PaizoCon. Players stood out of their chairs when the reveal happened that Season 4 was going to have a Thassilonian theme. That alone is great to have in a season finale scenario. But that aside, this scenario still carries its weight as we start moving into Season 6.

Each of the encounters is unique, challenging, and wrought with roleplay opportunity, and the trap(s) that lie within the Well of Tainted virtue are still whispered among my players to this day. In addition to having an especially potent BBEG, this scenario is well equipped to handle a seasoned party of Pathfinders and give them a run for their money.

It wastes no time placing your players into the action and has a thrilling "Stargate" styled introduction to boot. Despite their retirement, even the faction missions in this scenario are worth exploring. Cheliaxian PCs may indeed enjoy playing this scenario if they are willing to explore their... morally ambiguous side.

Literally the only thing that I have issue with in this scenario is the map. But given the setting and epic gravitas of this scenario, I don't mind drawing it out each time one little bit.

To this day, this scenario is the gold standard I use when gauging the quality of new 7-11 scenarios, as well as the season finale scenarios of season 4, and 5. And I still like Portal of the Sacred Rune more.

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A fantastical romp through classical Aladdin themes


*GM Spoiler area*

This scenario screams Aladdin to me. It takes place in Qadira, it involves an evil genie and a magical lamp, and the PCs have to travel deep into the desert to find the vault where it all lies hidden beneath the sands.

If that isn't cool enough, this adventure is packed full of challenging and different encounters, clever traps and hazards, and a well written narrative that the PCs can uncover as they play through the game. I love giving my players handouts and clues to point them in the right direction when they are playing an investigative game, and this scenario provides those.

Couple that with one of the most memorable environmental challenges I've ever seen in a PFS scenario and you've got a game that's sure to entertain and challenge your players.

I've GM'd this scenario a handful of times now and my players have always enjoyed it. The one time I did get to play was one of the best experiences I've had at a table, and kudos to the GM aside, this is a great gem of a scenario from Season 2.

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5 out of 5, would replay.


Janira Gavix
This NPC is probably the best thing in The Confirmation. Janira serves many functions, some of which are pretty subtle, and overall is a great addition to the scenario. Janira drives the story. She gets your players introduced to the idea of adventuring, gets them out the door and into their first dungeon. She's written in such a way that she enables you as a GM to help you players develop their skills as fledgling Pathfinders. The scenario itself makes this clear, as it has Janira inspect player's gear, pass out useful items, and define the qualities of exemplary former Pathfinders.

Also, because of the addition of Janira, it gives you as a GM a voice among your players. This allows you to advise your players through the medium of an NPC. So instead of telling your players "hey, let's focus on the game please," you can have Janira do it for you. "Oh yes! What a delightful story, friend. Now then, what do you make of this cave up ahead?" You can use Janira to keep your story on track, help new players make better combat decisions, draw typically quiet players out of their shell -- anything you really want. And the whole time the NPC is doing it. Since Janira is the one giving out advice, players are more likely to be responsive to it. Everyone hates being told "no" by a GM, but it's hard to hate Janira's genuine passion for adventure as she keeps the table in check. "Why don't we visit that whore house after we explore the caves? Sound good?"

Replacing First Steps
The Confirmation has some pretty big shoes to fill. It's replacing the only PFS introductory scenario the game has ever had, and at the same time it's condensing it from a 3 part story arc to a one part. That's not easy. All that said, Kyle hasn't failed to deliver with this scenario.

Rather than spending three games following the instructions of almost a dozen different people, in this scenario you have a very straightforward "do this" kind of plot. Straight forward, but with enough of a twist that it remains interesting all the way until the end. In addition, because of how the final fight is designed, it allows the players to experience a difficult fight with a level of preparation that helps careful PCs even the odds.

By having randomly rolled fights for a majority of the encounters, it makes every playthrough of The Confirmation quite different. The built in replayability feature is a huge step forward for an evergreen (replayable for credit) scenario like this.

As an introduction to PFS play
My players (all of which had experienced First Steps) thought that the way The Confirmation was written served as a much better introduction to the Pathfinder Society. As a player, you are given an introduction to the society, it's history, a couple of it's members, and are reminded of it's structure and beliefs. You are given your first official assignment, presented as a final exam, and are guided through your first fight in a sort of "tutorial mode" before Janira lets you off the leash to adventure on your own for the rest of the game. You are given instruction on gear, which can be quite daunting to new players, and are faced with an even mix of combat and non-combat encounters to test your newly minted skills.

As a GM, I especially liked that the players were reminded of what is expected of Pathfinders - explore, report, cooperate. It can be difficult in PFS when players with diametrically opposed characters sit down and have to rationalize working with one another. I was actually able to remind my players of this via Janira, which was great. An Andoran at the table introduced his character and included a line about defeating the evil Chelish empire and driving them from the face of Golarion, so I had Janira chime in. "Now while I, more than most, can appreciate your drive for freedom and equality, we must remember that while adventuring under the Pathfinder banner that we uphold the three duties. The last of which is cooperation. I'd suggest that you embrace any Chelaxians Pathfinders you come across as your brothers and sisters. Some might even consider joining your cause! Ethnicity is no reason for exclusivity, I always say!"

Final Thoughts
I've liked Kyle's previous work (Rats of Round Mountain, pt. 1 in particular), but I think that he's hit the nail on the head with The Confirmation. This scenario comes exactly as promised: an evergreen new scenario that introduces new players to PFS. And it even goes a bit further. It's well written, quick, and replayable in a way that other PFS scenarios aren't. It can help introduce new players to Pathfinder in general. I actually plan on using it to introduce my parents to Pathfinder, as well as any other people that are unfamiliar with tabletop.

I like the direction that this will take PFS in Season 5 and beyond, and look forward to what else Paizo has Kyle work on. 5/5.

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GM's: worth your time, prep for it; Players: don't read this!!


Since this is one of the scenarios I am slotted to run a table of at Paizocon, I figured I would run it a few times before getting there to see how it was, and boy was I surprised. The first thing that really got me into Rats, Pt 1 was the basic premise.

The Premise:

I always thought going into the tapestry was a cool notion -- as genesis was a staple of any high level wizard back in the day -- so the thought that the Pathfinder society would send people into a high level spellcaster's personal demiplane to look for treasure, explore, report, etc. is just very cool to me. Rats turns that introductory premise on it's ear a bit. Hao Jin didn't just use her tapestry for cataloging relics and hiding pyramids, she used the existence of her demiplane as a tactical decision. Against an invading force of ratfolk, she simply caused a massive chunk of Golarion's Darklands to no longer exist on Golarion -- teleporting it into her tapestry. Not only did this cause some catastrophic drawbacks for the ratfolk back home, but now there was essentially a spherical terrarium that cratered it's way into the tapestry. And from that "round mountain," the rats adapted to their new home. How freaking cool is that? And all that is just the premise to the freaking scenario.

That right there should be enough to get you to go out and get this scenario. Or download it. After you've done that and have a copy beside you, let's continue.

More Hooks:

So, as the players find out, there's more than just rats within Round Mountain. Because Hao Jin essentially just scooped out a huge section of earth, anything that was in that dirt and rock was teleported into the tapestry as well. This allows Rats, pt. 1 to be filled with displaced creatures, scratching out a new survival in their sundered home. It also allows the young wyrmling that was caught up in the spell to have come to full maturity. But more on that later. We already agree that the presentation of this scenario is great, but what of the actual meat? The crunch, the numbers -- how does it play?

The Encounters:

Breaking down the encounters, you have:
- Diplomatic
- Combat
- Trap
- Combat (optional)
- Diplomatic/Combat Final

A pretty standard set up for PFS game. But lets look at each one in depth and find out why they stand out. The initial diplomatic encounter is pretty straightforward. There are some rats, you are sent to parlay with rats, so you parlay with rats. However, for the diplomatically disinclined, there are actually options for combat. Challenging combat at that. And even if they succeed, they get burned in the end, as the consequences of their actions carryover into the second scenario in the series.

The rest of the encounters struck me as very solid benchmarks for what a high level party should be prepared to encounter.

The combat following the diplomatic encounter demonstrates this well. You have a pair of creatures with see in darkness, deeper darkness, and dispel magic. Combine that with 4 attacks from a high level enemy rogue a round and you have the potential for a lot of bloodshed. However, this encounter can be defeated if the PCs have a well thought out group and supply accordingly. They are going into a place that was torn from the darklands after all, so perhaps they should have a means to dispel magical darkness. Just saying.

The trap is easy to notice, but the PCs can't help but trigger it when the swarm appears. I liked that. I think a really challenging encounter should always put players into a situation where they're deciding between one unfavorable outcome or the other. Do I take full attacks from the wolves, or do I jump off the balcony? Things like that. And because it's made fairly clear that the trap can be triggered quite easily, punishing the group for a player casting fireball on the swarm serves as a good learning lesson.

The optional encounter is rough, very rough. In the high tier, expect a PC to die. You have 4 attacks slamming in at a +15 a pop (with power attack) that do 1d6-1d8+17 each. You can also have fun with their tactics. They have awesome blow and greater bull rush, and they are trying to beat one PC up and scamper off with their dinner. Combined with a 15' reach (courtesy of lunge), those feats make it very easy to split the party, especially in the 30ft corridor the gugs appear in.

The Beast:

The final fight, is of course the dragon we were introduced to in the fluff. CR 14 in the 10-11 tier means high level SLAs, spell resistance 20+, 30+ AC, 200+ HP, not to mention her slew of other spellcasting abilities. However, it begins the "fight" in discussion mode. The PCs have a couple of rounds to sense the beast coming, and will likely use this time to prep their buff spells. A lot of those will have minute durations or less, so you may want to employ this trick. Once they're all done with their "pre-dragon rounds," have the dragon appear, describe it, and then take out your smart phone and set it as a stopwatch in the center of the table. And as you start it, begin speaking as the dragon. If they do something to move the discussion into combat, stop the stopwatch, and see how much time was "wasted" dialoguing.

The dragon can do quite well at the end, following the presented strategy. Fear aura, split the party, breath weapon, combination of melee/spells. Be sure to calculate out the size covered by her wall of stone ahead of time, and use a shot or two of her enervation in the 10-11 tier. One to four negative levels on a touch with no save is pretty harsh. Then again, so are her full attacks, especially with power attack, improved critical on her claws and bite, and lunge. In the 10-11 tier, the math for power attack is -5 to hit, +10 damage (or +15 on the bite), and the lunge makes her have a 20 foot reach.

That is how a high level scenario should be. Even with all these challenging, gear checking encounters, I was able to finish a high tiered in 3.5 hours, with the optional encounter. A quick read though, followed by a short visit to the Society forums will do you well if you're planning to run Rats 1 and 2.

- WalterGM

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