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

****½ (based on 9 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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Product Reviews (9)
1 to 5 of 9 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

****½ (based on 9 ratings)

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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.

****( )

Played this at low tier. Party was witch 6, wizard 5, swashbuckler 6, and Arcanist 5.

A clever scenario idea and an little used setting. The encounters were suitably tough and fun to play against. A good fun scenario in a vein that I'd like to see more of.

Fun concept

****( )


Really enjoyed running this one. My only complaint is that there seem to be some glaring sort of facepalm moments that the writer either didn't consider or didn't care about involving certain alignments, classes, and setting faiths and both the entire premise of the mission as well as the railroaded way the scenario plays.

Why would any good Cleric, Paladin, most good characters, or the many faiths that oppose Undead ever agree to go after this book, which it tells everyone upfront is used to create new types of Undead for battlefield use, <other than to destroy it>, and then also bring it back to the PFS for study????
It seems very hard coded in that some classes just are meant to either receive a failed Chronicle sheet from the start, ignore their class/alignment restrictions, or auto fall from grace, with no other option allowed.

Luckily, I didn't have to deal with that when I ran it, but it is certainly something that needs to be looked at, especially as there is no longer the "It's not evil if the VC/Faction makes you do it rule".

The other issue is that because of the nature of what happens, some common class features become instant PvP issues.

Other than those things, it was absolutely great. Very interesting combats and also RP opportunities. One of the best Haunts (memorable, not mechanically speaking) I've encountered in PFS. It was very nice that this one ran, especially for the Tier/Level fairly fast. The finale is amazing, and while not terribly difficult, definitely had the feeling of risk and danger.

The boxed text was short and concise, the flow of play was great, and the setting was interesting and uncommon. Outside of the issues I mentioned above, the scenario's little added bonus was incredibly fun and well done, and there is so much opportunity for the player's to RP things, particularly the unspoken requirement "act like the locals" really sets this one apart.

Part of me really wishes that this was a 1-5, as it offers an absolutely amazing opportunity for "wallflowers" to really get into character and have fun, and I think this would be an fantastic sort of way to start off new player's careers.

I highly recommend it, though there is going to be some complications for Good characters and most Divine classes, <again "you are Pathfinders" is an ignorant cop-out that just doesn't do a dang thing but ignore the issues>. To avoid this, when I ran it, I removed the two little bits in the opening that referred to the "disguise", and sort of tricked the players into drinking, thinking it was a part of the teleportation spell, just telling the players that they needed to infiltrate the area they go to, and find clues on the other Pathfinders, and complete their work.

Fix those issues, and this is easily a 5 Star scenario, and one I wish more writers would use as a basis of how a great scenario looks.

Creative setup with interesting combat

****( )

The scenario sets up a really interesting problem for the party. One wouldn't think that a scenario focused on undead would rely on social skills, but they can be a huge help here. The final boss is extremely memorable and interesting mechanics-wise. Only 4 stars due to the poorly-written haunt that many GMs have mistakenly killed PCs with. To those who are going to run this, read the haunt very closely, especially the spells that it emulates.

The Problem:
The haunt emulates Heal which functions as Harm against undead. Harm cannot reduce somebody below 1 HP. This is, essentially, a resource drain.

On My Top Ten List


I recently had the pleasure to play this scenario and it quickly grabbed a spot on my All Time Top Ten Scenarios List.

You're absolutely out of your comfort zone from the start as you make your way into Geb, and a lot of people will also be thrown off by the mechanics. There's great opportunity for roleplay at the start (always a plus) and amazing unique encounters (another plus).

This adventure has something for every player type and atmosphere oozing from its pores.

1 to 5 of 9 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

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