Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-25: You Only Die Twice (PFRPG) PDF

****( ) (based on 13 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 5th to 9th level characters (Tiers: 5-6 and 8-9).

The Pathfinder Society sends you into the undead-ruled nation of Geb for an undercover mission, not disguised as undead, but temporarily transformed into a shambling, zombie version of yourself. Can you survive the ordeal to return to the land of the living, or will your final grave be among Geb’s bones?

Written by Hyrum Savage.

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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****( ) (based on 13 ratings)

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Pathfinder plz

**( )( )( )

Amazing story but the final encounter blows all game experience at subtier5-6, the author use too much dnd3.5 mechanic (Including doing diplimacy check in a highly intense battle) instead of pf's.However there are other Scenarios far more worse than this one, so 2 stars


You only die twice, but once is enough

****( )

In the review below by Ascalaphus, he mentions the death of a character. Turns out that my Alchemist was going to have a bad day. It's a risk you take when playing up, but if we hadn't done so the scenario would have been casual stroll in the park. Even now I feel like the first couple of encounters were pretty much non-existant. However that last fight can really be scary.

Now, I'm not entirely sold on the story, or rather, the objective. If a book is that powerful, why are we Pathfinders the only ones actively looking for it? Just because you're undead doesn't mean you stop looking. You got all the time in the world simply because you can not die. That said, the rest of the scenario is excellent. You really get a different perspective on things once you've been undead and visited an undead heavy society. It's an eye-opener of sorts and the creative setup alone makes this a scenario everyone should play.

The only reason I'm not giving it five stars, is the fact that the scenario is written as a railroad and doesn't expect players to deviate from it. However, that's basically our group did with little to no effort: deviate from the beaten path. I could see (and hear) the GM struggling to get us to go in the right direction again since in his words 'this wasn't supposed to happen'. Mind you, he did a great job stitching things back together, but I find it unfortunate doesn't take multiple approaches into account. That said: fun and unique scenario, well worth playing!


Spicy dead meat

****( )

When mustering we had a choice of barely playing up or barely playing own, depending on PC choices. Wanting a real fight instead of a cakewalk, we played up. It ended with one PC dead (but recoverable) and another one nearly so, but we literally managed to snatch a complete victory from the jaws of defeat.

I really liked the scenario. Being turned into undead upsets a lot of standard tactics and interacting with undead turns a lot of alignment assumptions upside down. The closest our party came to having a moral center was 8 year old Yoon; the rest of us were not humans and not good. I think the scenario works a bit smoother with a more good-ish party, although any cleric or paladin is going to do a lot of squirming. Actually, the descriptions of life in Geb had us as players squirming quite a lot.

With regards to other reviewers who ask, how can any cleric/paladin of a good faith go along with this mission: simple. You can leave *evil thing* out there where anyone can use it, or put it in the vaults of the Grand Lodge so we can learn how to fight against it. Easy as that. (Just don't go asking what we really do with it.)

Seen from a distance the fights in this one are relatively normal, but being undead makes things a lot different. And the fights have the potential to really go south. I liked the boss, nice boss speech, short and to the point. He put up a good fight too, and then some.

The reason I'm not going 5 stars is because there's a big weakness in the plot, in the middle. When (something happened) we decided follow the instructions of the VC and stay out of trouble, which wasn't really hard. One wizard cast Invisibility Sphere, the other yelled "Dimension Door!" and passed a Bluff check. From that point on we ran off-script because we lost the connection to the next encounter. Fortunately we had a good GM who managed to figure out how to proceed from there, and he patched the plot back together in an elegant way. As it later turned out, the part that we avoided is actually the "fragile" part of the plot that's just as likely to go totally south anyway.


Tough and straightfoward

*****

Played in tier 8-9.

A very short and fun story, pathfinders disguise into undead and interact with NPCs you don't meet mostly!

Combat-central, the third one is extremely deadly(fine in low tier). With DR15/-, fast healing, lots of immune and special attacks, we just can't do much damage even with three high DPR melee(bloodrager, hunter&AC, battle oracle). The two worms are cakewalk for our team even fight consistently.

Good roleplays too, love the morog, but the "int 8 Pharasma cleric" even don't have a fxxking brain :(


Well crafted flavor, mechanics miss the mark

***( )( )

tl;dr Amazing story couched in bad mechanics, don't play the high-tier without fireballs.

I divide my reviews into two sections: fluff and crunch. Fluff is everything from NPC personalities to room descriptions to narrative flow. Mechanics is how 'level appropriate' and interesting enemies, traps, navigating, and socializing are. Each can have up to three stars, with 0 stars being absolutely terrible and 3 stars far exceeding any expectations I had.

Fluff: 3 stars

The mission itself is really quite cool. It had great atmosphere, and the narrative provides a kind of twisted reflection of the 'save the villagers from the bad raiders' motif. The backstory is cool, the NPCs are interesting, and all of it is very unconventional.

Crunch 0 stars:

Holy crap are the mechanics bad though. The Undead template wasn't my issue (well, there was a small thing, but more on that later). My issues were elsewhere:

1st encounter: We played in the high tier and managed to Diplomacy our way through it. However, after reading the low-tier it becomes clear that a party can't reasonably do that if even ONE PC fails a Will save against one of the NPC's auras. Just a silly way to derail an interesting story element.

2nd encounter: This is actually probably my biggest beef with the scenario, as the party can basically fail the mission by not thinking to do something that Pathfinder rules normally don't allow. A group of NPCs ambush you, and unless you use Diplomacy to talk them down (which is normally impossible or at least ludicrously unfeasible in combat) you will lose the mission. They are the only way to get the required information to reach the remainder of the mission. Our group didn't realize that we were in imaginary made up rules land, and took them down non-lethally on a lark. We pretended to enslave them, and set them free in the woods. Thing is, there was no real reason to believe that they had the information we needed, so we let them go. We played for about another hour (six weeks of game time wandering through the muck) before figuring out that we just needed to go two miles south of WHERE WE FOUGHT THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE. This kind of narrative bottleneck is just silly.

The Haunt. Oh god, the haunt. Anyone planning to run this should know that this haunt CANNOT reduce PCs to below 1 HP. It works like the heal spell that way, which is not how the in-scenario text writes it. In fact, Undead Anatomy 1 wouldn't make the PCs take any damage from it, as it isn't a cure spell or channeled energy. Technically it should heal the players. In any case, having a 6th level single target touch spell turned into a 30 foot diameter burst with no attack roll THAT GETS A SURPRISE ROUND is just incredibly over-the-top against lvls 8-9 PCs. GMs who don't know about the Product Discussion notes from Mark Moreland (weird place to have that) can (and probably have) TPKed parties in a surprise round.

Encounter 3: (This is REALLY spoiled, so really don't read if you haven't played.) In the low tier, I think this fight is about right. In the high tier, the combination of DR 15/-, fast healing 10, and immunity to precision damage/flanking/crits, mind-effecting, and any single-target effect makes this fight unwinnable for many parties. We basically just stole the thing we needed and ran away, because our party was incapable of damaging it. Essentially the only solutions at this level are martials that completely bypass DR (Clustered Shot archers, Pummeling Style monks, and Paladins, who basically can't play due to the whole 'lying by pretending to be undead and not freeing every human they come into contact with') or AoE blasters like Sorcerers and Alchemists. If you don't have one of those, you can't win. We spent 15 rounds in combat. He had no spells left above 2nd level, and we were all still fine. It just became a war of attrition where nobody had an end-game.

We never played what SHOULD be the final fight, but it looked cool when I read it after we finished.


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Contributor

Description updated!


Braiiiiiiins.


Woot! Can't wait to hear what people think of this one. :)

Silver Crusade

Hyrum Savage wrote:
Woot! Can't wait to hear what people think of this one. :)

It sounds awesome! It reminds me of an old-school adventure that did something like this, but I forget the name. Way to change things up!

Out of curiosity, how is this going to play out with Pharasmin clerics, I wonder...?


uriel222 wrote:
Out of curiosity, how is this going to play out with Pharasmin clerics, I wonder...?

You'll have to wait and find out. :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've said that before, but Hyrum Savage has the best first and last name, ever.

Not even Teeuwynn Woodruff or Eric Monna come close to that.


Gorbacz wrote:

I've said that before, but Hyrum Savage has the best first and last name, ever.

Not even Teeuwynn Woodruff or Eric Monna come close to that.

I believe you spelled Arrick's name wrong.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
uriel222 wrote:


It sounds awesome! It reminds me of an old-school adventure that did something like this, but I forget the name. Way to change things up!

Perhaps "Necropolis," a 2nd ed Ravenloft boxed set? In it, the lich Azalin accidentally kills every living thing in his realm (including the PCs), transforming them into undead versions of themselves.

Liberty's Edge

"Sandworms... you know I hate them!"

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Unavailable?


Chris Ballard wrote:
Unavailable?

It doesn't get officially released until the end of the month.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting Subscriber
Kyle Baird wrote:
Chris Ballard wrote:
Unavailable?
It doesn't get officially released until the end of the month.

Until last night the June releases had a sale date of the 13th. Wasn't sure what happened to them either...

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Sniggevert wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Chris Ballard wrote:
Unavailable?
It doesn't get officially released until the end of the month.
Until last night the June releases had a sale date of the 13th. Wasn't sure what happened to them either...

Fixed!


Thanks for the review Painlord! Looks like my bribe worked. ;)

The Exchange

Only a slight error, but on page 2 it says the mod is tier 5-7 instead of 5-6.

Shadow Lodge

Ran into a problem while running this scenario:

Spoiler:
In Act 2, if the PCs fail to use diplomacy, there doesn't seem to be anything in the book about where else they can find a lead. My players killed them off when their efforts at diplomacy failed. What are they meant to do here?

They decided to do gather info themselves and rolled reasonably enough to find some undead who pointed them in a general direction, but it was a weak band-aid solution.

Super Genius Games

Thanks for the review Avatar-1!

I don't have a copy of the adventure with me but I'll see if I can dig up an answer.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hyrum, can you please answer a question for me?
Jokton's Haunt in the 8-9 Tier

Spoiler:

What is the net effect of the Haunt? Do the PC's take 100 points of damage and then have the Heal spell cast on them as undead stopping at 1 HP? There was a lot of discussion about this Haunt during our last session.

Thank You!

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Heal cannot reduce an undead to fewer than 1 hp, just as harm can't do the same for someone who is alive. No PC should take more than 100 points of damage, nor should they be reduced to 0 or fewer hit points from this haunt.


That's why this haunt should have been combined with a spider swarm!

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
Heal cannot reduce an undead to fewer than 1 hp, just as harm can't do the same for someone who is alive. No PC should take more than 100 points of damage, nor should they be reduced to 0 or fewer hit points from this haunt.

Thanks Mark!

Scarab Sages

How would a servant of Pharasma treat this scenario?

Grand Lodge

Just played this scenario today.

Spoiler:
I found it amusing that the Haunt channels "POSITIVE" energy to harm the Pharasmins. This is supposed to be a booby trap to kill them for killing him.

As it currently stands, this scenario essentially heals all 'living' creatures, which includes the Pharasmins, who are ALIVE and drops all undead by up to 100 hp. Wouldn't the Pharasmins use this to their advantage, by drawing undead into the booby trap and turning the place into a giant kill zone?

Dark Archive

I am glad that Mark clarified the

Spoiler:
haunt's Harm spell; however, I am not sure that this is a 'loud' enough clarification, as GM's are likely to miss this thread.

I am wondering if this scenario could be updated and revisioned to clarify how the Haunt is to be executed. This is not a mild typo; this lack of explanation is leading to player death which is very off-putting to players and not at all what is intended. The scenario should be updated to clearly state that the Harm based haunt effect only damages up until the final 1d4 HP of the victim.


I was running this and having a sorely needed errata for the Haunt be only posted on the Product Discussion is the last place I would look as a GM. Luckily, my local VC found this errata before the night was over and one of the deaths was retconned to a player in person and the other was told to the second death online the next day. Either way, it severely put a damper on the mood of the game.

Spoils:
While the haunt contains a phrase "as per the heal spell." This phrase is after the section about removing negative conditions. Additionally, it asks for a Fortitude save, when Heal is a Will Save. Additionally, it affects a 15' by 15' area when Heal is a single target. Finally, it is caster level 10 and Heal is a sixth level spell, thus it could not even be cast at that caster level.

As an aside for future development of scenarios, this haunt is either too deadly or pointless. If the haunt can kill, then 100 points of damage at subtier 8-9 is a save-or-die in tier or a die-or-die out of tier. If the haunt can't kill, then all it does is expend resources of the Wand of Infernal Healing or Inflict Light Wounds in a way that has absolutely no danger or relevance to the scenario. In all honesty, the haunt should be able to kill and the damage should be lowered to something reasonable and doled out over the course of a few rounds.

Lastly, how can Joktan's soul both be corrupted by the soil to create the haunt AND power the Worm that Walks, especially if you do as the scenario suggests and cleanse the haunt and free his soul?


participated as a player today and went on something weird

Spoiler:

Worms that walk:
.....Mind-affecting effects that target single creatures function normally against a worm that walks, since the creature's individual components share a hive mind.....

while the worms that walk in this scenario are immune to mind-affecting effect.

it didn't make troubles when running the scenario, but I still feel weird after story is concluded.

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