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Pathfinder Society Scenario #39: The Citadel of Flame (PFRPG) PDF

****( ) (based on 31 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st to 5th level characters (Tiers: 1–2 and 4–5).

Once the home to a cult preaching self-sacrifice by immolation in order to achieve paradise, the Citadel of Flame in Qadira's Meraz Desert was presumably wiped out decades ago after Sarenrae dervishes led a crusade to end its morbid message. An enormous sandstorm swallowed both the citadel and the army attacking it, burying both beneath hundreds of feet of sand. Thought lost forever, the citadel's rediscovery prompts the Pathfinder Society to send you deep in the unforgiving Meraz to finally close the book on Qadira's most mysterious cult.

Written by Steven Robert

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 (31)
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Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 31 ratings)

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Warning for GMs: take your time on this one.

****( )

(I GMed this.)

I love the setting in this. Someone clearly spent a lot of time and energy on making this scenario all come together, and it shows. But, even though the thematics shine through greatly, some other stuff was paid less attention to. As a GM, this was horrible to run. There were some big mistakes here and there, a lot of flavour text is missing, and it's just plain chaotic in its structure. Also, it's pretty easy to get the drop on the final encounter, invalidating the majority of her tactics and leaving her neutered. Which is a shame, I feel.

In all, great to play, terrible to run. Would recommend playing this, but only with a GM who knows what he's doing.

Strong thematics, some good fights

****( )

This adventure has aged fairly well. At low tier the enemies are strong enough to challenge a normal party; sadly the end boss is not at cool as earlier encounters.

What really makes it shine though is the flavor. Read up a bit on Moloch in Princes of Darkness, and think about how his cult would get Sarenrae's hackles raised. The location is a really cool set piece, make sure to use that. The adventure's backstory also adds plausibility to a few hidden items that may come in handy for the PCs.

In this adventure I recommend the faction missions. Most of them are appropriate or funny, and a few of them nudge towards things the PCs might find useful.

Great low level scenario


I've now run this several times and each time has been memorable and a lot of fun for everyone. It is well balanced with difficulty, some dangerous possibilities that can be mitigated by attentive play.

One of my favorite encounters in any scenario, make use of your right to secret rolls GMs!

The trololol caster just inside to complex is amazing, get your parties Perception, Sense Motive, and Will saves beforehand.. add a few red herrings if your players know why you want that info. Roll for them in advance, if their characters don't figure it out, there's a great opportunity to narrate the encounter from their ignorant perspective.

The aerial grappler is a neat encounter, potentially very dangerous though if the GM doesn't mind the tactics. All three groups I've run through have handled the social encounter differently, most of which were very entertaining and worthwhile. Oh and the ritual, man there are a lot of opportunities to mess with players in this scenario.

So you wanna do a ritual to an evil God, eh? You know, the one who revels in his followers wandering around in the desert until they die? Too many scenarios reward the players for questionable decision making, not this one. The ritual is almost always a bad idea, but players will do it anyways because it *must* be a good idea based on out of game knowledge..

The final fight is memorable and potentially challenging if the players aren't paying close attention to their environment. I do wish there was some 1-2 tier scaling for the lava damage though, even if that doesn't make a lot of sense. Killing a level 1 character in that manner does not feel good. Good ending to the scenario too, be sure to whisper creepy Moloch things to PCs from the great beyond and play up the danger if any of them get "stuck" to the portal.

There are a few mechanical warts in this scenario, but they can be easily covered up with a decent amount of preparation. Not enough of a problem for me to deduct a star, the scenario is just so much fun!

Stunning location for a dungeoncrawler


If I were to describe this scenario in a few words, I would have to go with 'a straightforward dungeoncrawler at a simply amazing location'. That might actually seem pretty boring, but the opposite is true. While the plot is fairly simple and standard, it is the atmosphere and scenery that really makes this scenario stand out from the rest. The aesthetics and lore behind the Citadel of Flame really give it that extra bit of flavor that it needs. I could continue on how fond I am of the location, but that would make for a boring and long review with me going on tangents just like I am already doing right now.

So lets move on to the combats. I feel like there was a nice amount of diversity and I found it to be not repetitive in the slightest. This keeps you as a player on edge and constantly worrying what's around the next corner. It's also nice that creative thinking is rewarded in a few of these fights. Especially the second encounter offers a plethora of options, which I'd assume makes this a fun scenario to DM by itself. All-in-all, the fights were rather challenging, but there are enough ways to make the foes easier to handle.

As for roleplaying opportunities, I'd have to say that it's not the main focus of the scenario. There are some occassions where you can put those social skills into practice with some NPC's, but most of the interacting will be based on the location you find yourself in and how you, as a character, react to your surroundings. Given the scenery, this can be a lot of fun to act out, but at the same time it's also something that can easily get ignored if some players are not into that sort of stuff. You can obviously play this scenario just by going on a rampage and just kill things, but I dare to say that actual roleplaying can really make this a more than memorable scenario. This is especially true if you're a paladin or cleric of a good deity, or if you're going to do the Cheliax faction mission.

Speaking of which: you (as a party) should really look into doing the Cheliax faction mission, even if you're normally not aligned with them. This closing comment may sound very awkward and strange but trust me when I saw that it's a really unique experience and well-worth getting sidetracked for. You may insert evil laughter here.

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