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Pathfinder Society Scenario #20: King Xeros of Old Azlant (OGL) PDF

****( ) (based on 8 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 7th to 11th level characters (Tiers: 7–8 and 10–11).

Panic grips Absalom when a huge crystalline sailing vessel appears suddenly in the harbor. Identified as the King Xeros of Old Azlant, the ship presents a great opportunity for the Pathfinder Society. You and your fellow adventurers are summoned by Venture-Captain Adril Hestram and dropped aboard the King Xeros to explore it and report back. Only, what you find isn't an empty vessel, but a sinister ship with a vile intent.

Written by Greg A. Vaughan

This scenario is designed for play in Pathfinder Society Organized Play, but can easily be adapted for use with any world. This scenario is compliant with the Open Game License (OGL) and is suitable for use with the 3.5 edition of the world’s most popular fantasy roleplaying game.

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Product Reviews (8)
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Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 8 ratings)

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****( )


Weird and great.

****( )

(I played this.)

This scenario throws you into a great big mystery right from the start. What's that ship doing here, and what is its function? The scenario throws weird situation after weird situation at you, and never stops amazing. There's a big reveal partway through that reveals a lot of interesting (but essentially pointless) lore about the world. It's great on storytelling, but it feels oddly sparse, something a lot of earlier scenarios suffer from. You really need a GM who knows how to work with this to make it really stand out, I feel.

Combats felt great. There's a weird combat near the start that feels underpowered, but it serves a purpose on the way back, which is interesting. Combats were pretty tough but they felt manageable, which is something I appreciate. And this scenario does something not enough scenarios have done since: thrown superior numbers at the Pathfinders. Two combats felt especially exhilarating because of the fact that we were getting swarmed. The monsters were maybe a bit tougher than they should be, but we managed to pull through because of sheer luck. But anyway, I felt properly challenged, and that's not something that happens all too often.

In short, I love this scenario. Seasons 0 and 1 dared to be exotic, something that was missing from later seasons. This is a weird scenario I'd gladly experience again.


An RPG Resource Review

****( )

A strange vessel constructed of opaque crystal has suddenly just appeared in Absalom harbour. Who better to investigate it that a party of Pathfinders?

The introduction to the adventure gives plenty of detail for the DM, covering the creation of the ship over ten thousand years ago, what it's been doing since, who is operating it now and a thorough description of it. A plan view of the vessel is provided, but an illustration would have helped to translate the exotic appearance described into something that could be readily visualised. All that anyone knows, however, is that it appears to be of Azlanti origin and - according to those who can read their script - it's called the King Xenos. Legends tell of a magical vessel of that name being launched just before Earthfall, when the Azlanti were wiped out.

The first trick, of course, is getting in. The decks are smooth and there is but one entry point. Oh, and the Harbour Guard who have already borded the vessel have set off the automatic defence system, which consists of pop-up flame throwers and defence constructs which move to attack! Once those have been dealt with, there's still the little matter of gaining entry. Whilst the way to do so seems perfectly clear when you are sitting reading the notes, it is likely to appear very mysterious to the characters attempting to gain admission!

Indeed, this continues throughout the entire exploration - it all makes sense when you have the scenario to read but unless you're just going to tell your players what is going on it is difficult to see how on earth - or even Golarion - they are going to be able to figure it all out just from what their characters can see, hear or otherwise experience. For best effect, let them be baffled. It is a weird and strange vessel and it ought to be very confusing for the characters. Care needs to be taken that bafflement does not turn to frustration.

This has potential to provide an excellent adventure that serves to remind all involved that Golarion is indeed a rich and strange world, not merely some cod-mediaeval place with a bit of magic bolted on. However it could just as easily become an exercise in frustration and who enjoys that?


Concept Great - Execution Questionable

**( )( )( )

Played this over the weekend with a table of 4 at low (8-9) tier. The concept was good and the players loved the unique feel. One said it was Star Trek-like (I think that was a compliment?).

The initial combat with the ship's defenses was outstanding. Challenging and thematic they struggled against it at first, but eventually their superior firepower took over.

The first battle below decks was well done. Difficult but not impossible.

The exploration of the ship, which is poorly laid out in the adventure--the GM having to flip back and forth between area description and encounter descriptions, was a little choppy. The teleportation mechanisms and the area descriptions were light on detail and the consequences for messing with one of the parts ended up killing a well-loved animal companion (could've been a PC, but random selection got the animal).

The ending was another combat slugfest which they liked. At the very end, the scenario suggests the party has one hour to leave the ship, but doesn't detail how that can be accomplished. Some of the teleportation devices look to only work one direction and the strange portal is specifically said to be one-way. I had to fudge that part quite a bit.

Would recommend for the uniqueness of it, but don't get too bogged down in what's missing.


Thematic Thumbs Up

****( )

Ran this at high tier.

Had a real blast with this one. Nice thematic but combat heavy and I do mean heavy. There is almost no role play but that didn't spoil the enjoyment.

The best way to describe this was that it had a nice Stargate: Universe vibe to that we all felt and grabbed on to. In the hands of a good GM who can get that same feel out of it this is a good scenario even under Pathfinder rather than 3rd edition D&D.

The reason for not five stars was the pacing. The combats are a little too lengthy and we barely fit this into a four hour slot. We had to rush the empty rooms with minimal description. Even so this was one of the better scenarios that I've run in a long time.


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