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Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-13: Murder on the Throaty Mermaid (PFRPG) PDF

***½( ) (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).

While on a routine mission to escort a dignitary to the mysterious Mordant Spire aboard a disreputable smuggler's ship, the PCs find themselves embroiled in a murder mystery that could jeopardize the Pathfinder Society's relationship with the isolationist elves who call the citadel home. Can the cunning Pathfinders discover who among the ship's crew of scum and villains is responsible for the crime in time to clear their own names? This murder mystery upon the open sea features a mechanic allowing for a different killer each time it's run to ensure that no amount of word of mouth will spoil the investigation for any team of canny players.

Written by Mark Moreland

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:

***½( ) (based on 31 ratings)

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Entertaining, but with some problems

***( )( )

Played this with a three-player crew + Zadim at high tier. We were an easygoing group; we know that in order to have a murder mystery there has to be a murder, so we didn't try to break the scenario by trying to make the murder impossible to carry out or something like that. Likewise, we were prepared to tolerate a certain amount of nonsensical plotting necessary to keep everything on the rails. I think such a relaxed frame of mind, and a small group of players, helps make this a fun scenario.

We had a good time. Especially the fight against the monster on the cover was hilarious, with a PC dropping all his inexpensive weapons to try to distract it while he ran to hide behind me (monk). Absolutely classic.

However, as murder mystery, it leaves something to be desired. There were so many red herrings, some big logic holes and so few actual clues that by the end we hadn't really managed to narrow things down; everyone had sort of a motive but also sort of an alibi. We talked to everyone and looked everywhere and didn't find anything that looked conclusive. It was starting to look like we'd have to resort to trying to brute-force things with layered Zone of Truth spells (see if you can pass six Will saves..) or something like that. And then the killer suddenly decides "we were getting too close" and reveals him/herself with a hopeless-odds attack.

Murder Mystery

***( )( )

Played this at the lower tier. Simply put the heroes are escorting an elven ambassador back to the Mordant spire and on route he is murdered. It then falls to the heroes to investigate and solve the murder.

It is a good investigative scenario but the one complaint that seemed to arise was the utter lack of any real clues which made it more about supposition than finding the murderer. There is lots of roleplay opportunities but again I found this lacking as the crew don't give enough information away.

The climax... well, I can see why some feel it is a let down but I thought it quite a cool ending though makes the whole investigation somewhat pointless. Even so I give this one an average rating as I did enjoy it as an evenings session.

Broke suspension of belief

**( )( )( )

If you like to be immersed in the plot, you are likely to have problems with this scenario.

You are given a mission and sail on a boat for a couple of months. Getting to a lodge, you then are given your mission. It is at that point that you first find out who all is on the crew of the ship you've been sailing on and who the captain is. This immediately broke my suspension of belief and soured the adventure for me.

It really needed to either allow an opportunity to interact during the first part of the voyage (preferred solution) or had you switch ships.

The transitions were a bit clunky and the mechanics for a sudden emergency didn't really work for me. The battles themselves seemed alright.

After the game the GM revealed some of the other details of the scenario. It felt to me like there really weren't enough clues for some of this.

If you want a good mystery/investigation, look for a different scenario.

One of the most memorable PFS adventures


This adventure, if ran by a GM who is willing to prep it well, engage the players in RP and who can think on the fly, is phenomenal. Most veteran PFS players have fantastic stories about this adventure. The only downside is that it is a mystery which solves itself. A good GM should probably add some clues to this adventure to make the storyline make sense because the scenario is a success even if the wrong person is nabbed.

Lives and Dies with the GM

****( )

I can totally see why some people are rating this 1 star, and others and singing it's praises. This game is going to look very different depending on who is running it. So much time is spent talking to the various NPCs, so if you have a GM who can really draw out their different personalities, and their interconnections with one another, then it can be a really fun role-playing scenario. If you get a GM who is "You talk to the cook, roll Diplomacy" (or if you are the sort of player who would prefer to just roll the dice instead of playing out a conversation) then it's not going to be nearly so enjoyable.

I enjoyed running it (twice, with two different murderers) and I hope it was fun for my players. It's going to vary a lot from table to table.

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