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Pathfinder Society Scenario #55: The Infernal Vault (PFRPG) PDF

***½( ) (based on 22 ratings)

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

A decade ago, the Decklands family, a house of Chelish nobles, were exiled from Absalom for treason. Their fate made for an interesting story and when a Pathfinder agent in Cheliax studying the family's long history and exile from the City at the Center of the World ends up murdered, the Society sends you to the recently discovered Deckland Vaults in Absalom to see what connection their old home might have to your murdered colleague.

Written by Thurston Hillman

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 (22)
1 to 5 of 22 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 22 ratings)

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A linear adventure with a bit of everything

****( )

I recently had a chance to play through this scenario in a home game. We had an APL4 party in the 3-4 tier. We also added the faction missions in for fun.

The Infernal Vault is a surprisingly solid scenario, held together by varied encounters, a little bit of puzzling, some well built enemies (with surprisingly competent selection of feats/spells), and interesting faction missions that promote non-smash-and-grab gameplay. Sure its totally and unashamedly linear. The great design along the way makes up for the railroading.

The Good:

- There are two interesting "think before you act" encounters, and while neither of them are difficult, they give you the satisfaction of having correctly read the situation. The disk puzzle was a bit contrived, and the prestacked disks matching the correct combination was anticlimactic. The trapped hallway with a single enemy as a lure was great though. The enemy's tactics made sense and the players could read into the enemy's actions along with the layout of the environment to draw logical conclusions. This kind of design is way above the typical level of quality in season 1.

- There are multiple encounters (Imps, Skeletons, Dretch) that reward good knowledge checks and being prepared for a variety of DR.

- Half the encounters are in challenging terrain situations, with narrow corridors and elevation changes. Very rewarding for good tactical play.

- Other half of the encounters include some diplomacy element to them, or at least allow for diplomatic solutions. This is pretty out of the ordinary for season 1.

- Faction missions all seemed to include some kind of nonlethal element, letting all players get into the right frame of mind for an adventure with multiple valid tactics.

- Enemies have much more solid builds than is typical in season 1. Celeena in particular is very solid, with choices on par with an average player character build (but with reduced wealth). She made for a pretty dangerous final encounter, though her relatively mediocre damage output and the tight quarters mean that she can't absolutely dominate.

The Bad:

- The concept of the scenario was rather unexciting. While the individual elements were thematically good and logical (Chelaxian family has devils and traps guarding their wealth), the overall goal of the scenario was pretty dull. Mysterious plans to Absalom have been left around and the bad lady wants to get them. Feels like so many other scenarios.

- Very linear. Every room has one door in and one out and exactly one encounter. It doesn't even attempt to obscure the linearity of it all.

Overall, our group really enjoyed it. The writer clearly put a lot of care into making a solid adventure under the constraints of PFS, both from a thematic and gameplay standpoint.

A strategic dungeoncrawl

***( )( )

I played this scenario a couple of weeks ago, and I'm still figuring out what to think of the scenario. Let me start by saying that by no means this is a bad scenario. Above anything else this scenario requires players to think strategically. You can not simply walk in and fight every single time as it can easily backfire and cause fatalities.

As a result, the fights are challenging at times. The keywords here being 'at times'. Some are just walks in the park, others are potentially deadly. And I have to admit, that the 'BBEG' is fairly easy compared to the rest. The scenario as result ends on a bit of an anticlimactic note, which is a bit of a shame.

My main issue with the scenario is that the plot just feels lacking. The overarching idea is good, but the encounters just feels out of place at times. The players receive little to no reason as to why some of the opponents are there. They simply are there, and that's it. I personally need to have some sort of link between the storyline and the encounter, and it just isn't there this scenario and that makes it a little bit frustrating.

The scenario is a good dungeoncrawler, but lacks a little in the storyline department. In the end it's not enough to make me want to discourage people from playing this scenario, but I also feel like there are other scenarios where the link between encounters and story is simply better. The Infernal Vault remains enjoyable, but it feels a little unfinished.

Standard dungeon crawl

***( )( )

Just as comments above, a standard dungeon crawl.

Played once in Tier 6-7, the only shinging point is the BBEG fight, she is well built conbines with the terrain, but with weakness, PCs have to do some tactics.

What is not good, no roleplay, and the map is bad designed like many old scenarios... all three tiers are okay, but I think tier 3-4 scales best, althouh the tier 6-7 boss fight can be brutal for some groups.

By the way, no boons but a reward of 3862gp in tier 6-7!

Okay, but kind of a filler adventure

***( )( )

The scenario was okay - some puzzling (which I totally overthought, coming up with a way more complicated explanation for he same solution), traps that make you nervous and some cute fights.

However, it wasn't really anything special. The bad guy was just "someone", there was no big story behind this that I could see. It could happen anytime, anywhere. And none of the puzzles or monsters were special enough to really make this one stand out for that reason.

I'm on the fence about the narrow corridors. I suspect that was just the author going "it's only people walking through here, why should it be any wider?". However, if you actually plan fights in there, you get horribly cramped fights in those 5ft corridors, in which only half (at best) of the party gets to participate.

At some point, it turns from "tactical challenge" to "author absent-mindedness means half the party gets to sit on its hands". I think this adventure was just barely on the good side of that.

In summary: this is a good adventure if you want to spend an amusing afternoon spanking baddies and get your XP, but that's about it. Also, for a beginning GM it's a good buildup to more difficult to run scenarios.

Decent, but unexciting.

**( )( )( )

(I GMed this.)

As others have said, this is a good introduction to PFS. It's fairly standard and hits on some important elements of the game: some puzzle-solving, some roleplay, some traps, a lot of fighting, and so on.

The story's basically nonexistent. Go in here, go fight, get object, get back. There's no explanation other than "she was bad, go spank her." I struggled to make this interesting. The possibility for roleplay halfway through is a nice touch. The puzzle is trivial (as the game expects it to), but why put it there in the first place if it's not supposed to challenge players? It also doesn't help that the solution's already spoiled by the order in which the pieces are listed. My players asked to hear them again and went, "yeah, in that exact order," which is a bit of a letdown.

The dungeon itself isn't that interesting either. It feels bare-bones, having only the bare necessities to make the dungeon work (the first encounter is described as a townhouse in a middle-class area, owned by a wealthy family. Yet there's barely enough room for one person?). Moreover, the dungeon is too small to be any fun. Most fights ended up in five-foot corridors and half of the party not being able to attack or maneuver past the enemy, making for a very static fight. Luckily, my players passed it off as challenging, rather than frustrating, but I would've preferred some bigger rooms.

I like how the enemies teach players to come prepared. A lot of enemies here have different DRs, so it's important to diversify. The Alchemist player was having a hard time, though, because enemies resisted most of her attacks. I also really like how tactics change between tiers, really making use of the enemies' abilities. The 3-4 tier fights seem most interesting to me. The final boss is an interesting challenge, with some quite powerful spells. She's well built, and would've been a bigger threat if she weren't alone.

In the end, I'm debating whether to give it two or three stars. It isn't totally worthless, but I've certainly played better. There's too little information given to make it memorable and the fights can be a slog, especially in the cramped rooms, but they're also pretty entertaining and educational for new players. I finally decided on two stars, purely because it just failed to wow me at any point.

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