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Pathfinder Society Scenario #29: The Devil We Know—Part I: Shipyard Rats (PFRPG) PDF

***½( ) (based on 25 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st to 7th level characters (Tiers: 1–2, 3–4, and 6–7).

When simultaneous kidnappings of Pathfinder and Aspis Consortium agents rock Cassomir's Imperial Naval Shipyards, the Society orders you to join forces with hated Aspis agents to solve the mystery. Can you work together with the enemies of the Society to uncover the source of the kidnappings, or will you perish in the shipyards of Cassomir?

Written by Joshua J. Frost

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 Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

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Product Reviews (25)
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Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 25 ratings)

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Heavy on Fights, Light on Balance

***( )( )

Recently played through this one in a home game, playing through the 3-4 tier as a group with APL 4.

The good: A solid introduction and clear breadcrumbs led us from location to location without too much of a problem. Faction missions (we added them in) were a highlight, with some good RP opportunities. I also enjoyed how it managed to condense what felt like a longer adventure into the essentials that could fit in a scenario time-frame. The party gets to traipse over the city quite a bit before they're done.

The so-so: The thematic elements were all over the place. At the end I couldn't tell if things were supposed to be frightening, or laughable, or if any of the foes were meant to represent a threat larger than the few the party fought. We were informed afterwards by our DM that we missed some background due to not questioning the NPCs, but it neither seemed necessary nor beneficial to do so during the scenario (they seemed like typical madmen).

The bad: The tier we played in just seemed to be a cakewalk. There were a LOT of fights, but most seemed to be nothing but filler, ending in the first or second round even if we had started on the wrong foot. Many enemies seemed like they just didn't pose a realistic chance of facing PCs of the appropriate level. It led to a lot of "the only credible reason these guys would fight us is because they are insane"

The encounters:
After the session I took a peek at the stat blocks for our tier and my suspicions were absolutely confirmed. Most mook encounters were vs. CR 1/2s, usually the same enemies as low tier but with an additional member or two on their team. Compare this to the vastly more dangerous (and more appropriately CR'd) opponents in the other two tiers, and I start to wonder if maybe they were running out of space for additional stat blocks. Particularly trivial were the 4 1st level monks in the ship and the five 1st level fighters not long afterward. Both encounters seem to have no tricks to aid them against a higher level opponent and instead just crumple under the slightest offense. I'd forgive these encounters if either of them added anything to the story of the scenario, but neither seemed to matter in the least. The boss was also hilarious as a 2nd level cleric in tier 3-4 vs. an 8th level one in tier 6-7.


***( )( )


An RPG Resource Review

****( )

After a detailed backstory that spells out what's really going on for the DM we hear that the party, apparently newly-arrived in Cassomir, are given the task of finding a recently-kidnapped fellow Pathfinder. What makes it a bit interesting is that the one lead is an Aspis Consortium trainee whose boss was also kidnapped at the same time: both agents were attending an auction of artefacts that night, from which all the attendees were taken.

For once, the adventure actually starts with the briefing, rather than having it as a flashback. Once given the characters are sent off to commence their investigations. Cassomir has had a spate of kidnappings recently, mostly of people associated with the the Imperial Naval Shipyards. Nobody knows who's behind it, the imperative at this time is to get the Pathfinder back. The Aspis Consortium junior thinks he knows where some of the kidnap victims were taken (he escaped by jumping into the harbour!) and has agreed to lead the party there.

From there on in, it's basically one brawl after another around the dockyard area. The maps lay things out OK, and for at least a couple are based on Paizo Flipmat product, so if you like largescale maps to lay before the players (or use miniatures in combat) you can get hold of ones which match the ones given here. Apart from questioning vanquished foes (or rescued kidnap victims) there's little in the way of interaction apart from at the point of a sword. The Faction missions interlock quite neatly, and could bring about a bit of party conflict depending on which factions are represented.

Overall it's a reasonable low-level adventure provided you are happy to let your sword do your talking. The backstory is good, but unless the party captures rather than kills the mastermind behind it all and then get him to talk at length, it's unlikely that the players will discover what's going on. However, if you are mining this module for your own campaign, you might wish to expand on it to run a whole sequence of adventures...


Okay but with many problems

***( )( )

Have played and runned for all three tiers.

It's a combat-central module, simple and recommeded for new players.

However, as a season 1 scenario, there are so many problems. First, some monster's stats are incorrect, especially the two clerics. Then, the combats don't scale well, the BBEG is much less poweful than the girl cleric in tier 1-2... Tier 3-4 is too underpowered like a cakewalk. Some enemies are too easy for tier 6-7, for instance the guy on the coverpage...

The story background is facinating, but hard to involed for most GMs, very easy to run just keep fighting, and the cooperation with Aspis disappears so quickly, nothing connected with this module.

In conclusion, enjoyable and okay to play, but too many problems of combats and storytelling mechnics, just give an average rate. If want to play or run this, highly suggest tier 1-2, and avoid tier 3-4.


Okay

***( )( )

Played this at high tier. The scenario had one scary fight in the middle, somewhat because of what it was, somewhat because our party was split across the location at the start. Otherwise the fights were all rather easy.

The investigation part was fine, although a bit simple. The scenario doesn't seem to provide for you not killing goons and interrogating them instead.

The end was, sadly,

Spoiler:
just another lone loony in a room, waiting for us to come and kill him.


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