Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-23: Shadow's Last Stand—Part I: At Shadow's Door (PFRPG) PDF

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

The Shadow Lodge’s assault on the Pathfinder Society has come to a head in the Andoren city of Almas, where renegade Shadow Pathfinders have taken over the Grand Cathedral of Aroden, holding the Pathfinders and Venture-Captain stationed there hostage. You must gain entry into the overrun Pathfinder lodge and put an end to the open warfare within the Society.

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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PZOPSS0223E


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A confusing mess.

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(I both played and GMed this.)

There isn't much exciting about this scenario, it's about as bog-standard as they come. I've sort of been going through the Shadow Lodge story arc with a group and so far, it's pretty lacklustre.

The background is boring, there aren't any opportunities for roleplay, except for a little one, fights are mostly bland, and except for the first fight, combat is pretty standard. And oh boy, that first fight. It has the potential to be a TPK written all over it, and it would've been, if I hadn't toned it down a bit. Other than that, though, combats are pretty disappointing. Enemies are interesting in theory, but are so outnumbered they fall due to sheer action economy.

Also, that map. Urgh. The map itself is confusing, there are lots of pointless rooms, and some rooms are just plain confusing without any payoff (the library comes to mind). Also, some omissions (enemy placement, secret doors, and where the PCs are supposed to enter, for instance) can lead to some GM improvisation.

Still, though, we had a good time. Below average, but not a waste of time.


A Tactics Bonanza (Some Spoilers)

****( )

I GM'd this (low tier) at my local game store and all the players seemed to enjoy themselves. If you enjoy tactics, and can use them well, then you will likely enjoy this adventure. If you ignore the special conditions and tactics then you will find this boring and plodding.

Spoilers follow, so if you're going to play this, stop now!

Virtually all the encounters get their novelty by using relatively uncommon tactics. This makes combat interesting and fresh so don't ignore them if you GM, seriously. Luckily my players were the "tactics types" and immediately picked up on how things needed to go. Even the challenging stained glass was handled well, eventually -- they grappled it and tossed it off the balcony. Then dropped heavy things on it.

Roleplay is minimal, but you can get a lot out of the hobgoblins if you put some effort into it (the snipers taunt and run, the BBEG is smug and sinister). The homunculi are also a prime source of roleplaying if you want to inject humor or creepy (whichever you or your players prefer). The atmosphere is thick, with all the old religious iconography; and a sense of tragedy/despair is well represented, with the dead party-goers and destroyed rooms.

The last room is especially tense with the pseudo-time limit in place. This felt very urgent and the players immediately felt the need to hurry. It was also easy to GM as it's a simple countdown. The tactics (feats) and conditions (rough terrain) in this room are very important; pay attention, otherwise the combat is over too soon or very vanilla.

I removed a full star for the terrible map however. Not only are there missing symbols, but the amount of extra "dead space" is annoying. There's nothing worse than players opening door after door with only filler in them. I redrew the map and removed all the extra 5'x5' rooms and reduced the two towers to two rooms. Why spend 30-60 minutes searching emptiness?

As for the tunnel, I had it pre-collapsed by the hobgoblins. My group would've gone into it otherwise!


Pretty fun and novel

****( )

People sure seem to dislike this one, but I was pleasantly surprised. The whole scenario takes place in a cathedral, which was an interesting setting. Though the initial sneaking-in isn't particularly well done, I thought each encounter was interesting:

-An air elemental that uses fly-by attack while the PCs are stuck on a balcony-- he's hard to hit and good at hitting, and your PCs will need to use good tactics (like readying actions) to bring him down. Luckily, he doesn't do much damage, so he's unlikely to wipe them out.

-An animated window that humorously tackles a PC-- getting through his DR is tough for low level parties, but his AC and HP, again, aren't really high enough for him to be truly dangerous (unless your PCs are level 1, perhaps).

-Two goblins that use secret doors to sneak around the PCs-- it's fun for the PCs to have to deal with goblins appearing and disappearing, and the goblins are so weak that they'll go down in a hit or two, meaning the the fight is novel, but again, not truly frustrating or deadly.

-Finally, the boss, whose main goal is to delay the PCs while some NPCs are strangling to death on a gallows; he makes cool use of a feat to keep PCs from advancing. He has pretty robust stats, but since he's mostly worried about stopping them and not working at killing PCs one at a time, dealing with him should be doable (again, good tactics help).

The maps are missing some labels, which is a big problem-- check out the "product discussion" tab here for some help with that.

I do find it odd that people act like the underground tunnel the PCs aren't supposed to go in is a huge problem. I could see it being an issue in a home game where PCs are obsessed with exploring every angle, but... this is a four hour PFS game. If you hint to the PCs that they should leave it alone, they will if they're not morons.

There isn't a ton of plot here, but that seems to be the case with most of the Shadow Lodge scenarios-- there just isn't that much actual information for the PCs to uncover.

A pretty short scenario. You'll probably finish early.


Bland dungeon crawl

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So, a bunch of hobgoblins manage to take over a Pathfinder lodge and overpower a Venture Captain. What do we do? Let's send in these new level 1 recruits!

Saved from the 1 star bin due to the entertaining Chelish mission and a couple of interesting fights. I have a feeling this scenario would work better as a movie than as an RPG.


Not as bad as the reviews indicate...

****( )

I've both played and GM'd this scenario in the 3-4 subtier. As a player, I had a really great time. As a GM, I both enjoyed running it, and the players had a great time.

There's not a lot of roleplay - which usually means I wouldn't give a scenario more than 3 stars, but the combats in this scenario are unique enough and challenging to set it apart and make it worth playing.

I wouldn't recommend this scenario for suboptimal characters at the 3-4 subtier. They are challenging even for a 6-person party, which is what helps to make this exciting.

It's in the description above, but it is indeed a hostage situation at the Temple of Aroden. GMs should make sure to set up the scene in a quiet early morning, with critical named NPCs (who feature prominently in PFS lore) being held hostage - and it's unknown whether or not they are still alive, or will be much longer. The most likely way in gives the players a good "Mission Impossible" vibe as they drop into a scene of horror that should be described.

There are four major combats, and each is interesting due to the mechanics, especially the last one, which has a real sense of tension and immediacy to it.

Don't let the 1.5 star review fool you. If you've got a seasoned 3-4 group and they like tough fights, this one is actually a gem.


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Contributor

Description updated!

Scarab Sages

Liz Courts wrote:
Description updated!

The description for the Shadow's Last Stand two-parter seems to indicate that this is the finale for the Shadow Lodge arc of Season 2.

Does that mean that I need to cram in Shadows Fall on Absalom, The Sarkorian Prophecy, and Wrath of the Accursed, all 7th-11th tier scenarios, at the end of 6th / beginning of 7th level of my PFS home game if I want to give my players the chance to play the full Shadow Lodge arc with the same characters?

To put it another way, will the higher-tier Shadow Lodge scenarios still seem relevant to players who have participated in Shadow's Last Stand, or will they potentially face some cognitive dissonance as they've already effectively defeated the Shadow Lodge?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

The season's metaplot does assume the events occur in the order in which they're released, but we've taken care to ensure that any of the Shadow Lodge scenarios can still be played in future seasons, and out of order. Each standalone scenario or two- to three-part series is isolated in the sense that they involve individual Shadow Lodge threats.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I am going to enjoy running this, but..

There is a Bunch of Map Errors on this Map.

Hopefully it can be fixed in the future.

Spoiler:
  • Area B where the stairs from the Belfry exit is not on the Map

  • It says there are secret doors in Area 8, they are not marked

  • Area R where the Hobgoblin Rogues are supposed to be are not marked


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I can answer these based on the original map I turned in - doesn't look like any of these things changed in development.

Spoiler:
1. Area B is the door on the east side of the circular part of the balcony.

2. The secret doors provide access to the corridor that runs north/south on the eastern edge of area 8 (it appears blocked off entirely). There should be one on the northern edge, one on the southern edge, and one on the third square from the top (connecting to the main corridor).

3. One rogue would begin inside the southernmost of the secret doors; the other in the northernmost square of the long straight part of the main corridor (the one labeled "8").

Enjoy!

The Exchange

Steven Robert wrote:

I can answer these based on the original map I turned in - doesn't look like any of these things changed in development.

** spoiler omitted **

Enjoy!

Thanks for the clarifications. I'm running this tomorrow and those help a lot. Did you place the "West" arrow on the map? Never seen one of those before :) usually its a North arrow...


Chernobyl wrote:

Thanks for the clarifications. I'm running this tomorrow and those help a lot. Did you place the "West" arrow on the map? Never seen one of those before :) usually its a North arrow...

What can I say, I like to be different!

Seriously, it's that way because of the tower cross-section - the view there is from the south, so a "north" arrow might be confusing, while the west arrow actually works for both the cutaway and the normal map.

Good luck!

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

The "West" arrow is actually the cartographer's siganture. Since his name is Chris West, he cleverly incorporated his name into the compass rose, which is something almost every map has.

As for the tags, the locations mentioned in this thread are correct and we're aware that they're missing. Getting the pdf revised is on the todo list but may slip until after the push to get all the Gen Con scenarios out in the next few weeks.

The Exchange

I was just prepping this scenario today and

Spoiler:
I was looking for a mini to represent the stained glass golem. I had an idea to take one of my Litko Aerosystems invisible character minis and color it in with wet erase markers in a patchwork pattern. It makes an acceptable representation of a colorful, near 2-dimensional, translucent figure. The figure is supposed to look like Aroden so I used the cleric, but I think the wizard would work just as well.


I made a custom Mini for this scenario for the Stained Glass Window.

http://dungeongeek.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/rose.jpg

Here is how I made it.

I used a piece of Clear Plastic Stock from the Hobby Store.
These should be in the scrapbook section for about $0.50 a page.

I drew a 2" circle on the plastic stock and colored a design with Sharpi Markers to represent the StarFall over Almas.

I then cut it up into random shapes and assembled them with a hot glue gun.

Next, I based it.

Instant Glass Golem Mini for about $1.00.

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