Pathfinder Society Scenario Intro 1: First Steps—Part I: In Service to Lore (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st level characters.

In your first mission as a Pathfinder agent, the head of the Grand Lodge sends you on a number of missions throughout the metropolis of Absalom, pitting you against traps,thieves, and even an unruly devil, all in the pursuit of knowledge.

Written by Adam Daigle.

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 32 ratings)

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A challenging introduction for new players

***( )( )

I played this scenario yesterday, knowing all too well that parts 2 and 3 wouldn’t be PFS legal. I suppose that’s my biggest complaint as well: it’s a part 1 that won’t get a legal follow up. Only a portion of the various factions will get addressed and new players will only get a glimpse of a select few of the factions.

I mentioned the words ‘new players’ deliberately. It’s for those players that this scenario is great. You get a plethora of different challenges that you have to solve. It gives you a nice impression of what the various things you can encounter in Pathfinder Society. There’s some role-playing, creative thinking, fights and challenges. In short it’s everything you need for an introduction.

For more experienced players it still is enjoyable, but not remarkable. It’s basically a bunch of ‘fetch this for me’ quests and lacks story (not to mention a solid conclusion). It’s similar to the Silverhex Chronicles or Phantom Phenomena, but without an overarching storyline that brings it all together. A special mention should be the final encounter though. That one can still be quite challenging. It’s a shame it’s a five-foot corridor, though that can also be a blessing I suppose.

In short it’s a challenging introduction for new players and the last fight can be brutal. More experienced players will still enjoy this, but will likely want more of a story. The fact that it’s the only part in a series that’s still PFS-legal, also slightly lowers my overall rating. I’m a little OCD when it comes to such things. I honestly felt like I needed a better conclusion and storyline. I still had fun though, and I can see this being great for new players. For more experienced I'd look for something different.


Fun Introduction to Pathfinder Society

*****

I ran this for my group last night who was all familiar with Pathfinder, but none of us had ever tried Pathfinder Society. It was a great introduction, and they managed to use their joint creativity and mostly roleplay their way through until the end. It was fun to experience everyone really working together.

We all enjoyed it and will likely be doing more PFS in the future!


Not interesting for new players

***( )( )

Combines with social, investigation, and combats(the final fight is challenging), why only 3 stars?

I think First Steps is written for new players, but easily make them confused of what they are doing even with expierenced GM, "what I've done in the smash?"

Face for fan players, it does have strong points, but not for new players.


Dated, but decent

****( )

Great that this is free, even if it isn't quite so relevant in season 6.

This is a solid scenario that is both a good intro to PFS and a reasonable overview of Absalom. The main issue I have with it is that parts II and III are no longer sanctioned for play. We played them anyway for no credit - just to get the flavor. The factions presented there were retired even earlier than the ones in part I, so I understand the choice from the PFS staff. Especially since, at the end, you need select one of the (mostly) retired factions!

A real highlight in this scenario was the encounter in the boarding house (for the Silver Crusade - one of the few "surviving" factions). It's got a great amount of investigation, and leads to ever more troubling information. You can really ham it up, too. Love that kind of roleplaying. Quintessential PFS, and lovely to still play something that has Guaril, the Sczarni leader, in it. Nice to see him again.

If you're playing this for a first time character, I highly recommend doing this as the first chronicle they ever get, followed by Wounded Wisp, then the Confirmation. It works beautifully as a trilogy, and even better when played in that order.


Good introduction scenario to PFS

****( )

Up to today, I still believe this is a fairly decent scenario to introduce newbies into PFS. Despite having to do some seemingly 'minor' tasks, these tasks will introduce new players into some aspects of the Pathfinder world and challenge the players into some quick thinking and creative solutions (unless they want to go in swords swinging and guns blazing).

The few things that stop me from giving this a solid 5/5 rating is the fact that a few of the skill checks required are just a little tad too high for a level 1 only game. Also, the last boss fight can be unforgiving should players get very unlucky dice rolls and that they could have a better place/area to battle it out instead of being crapped into a squeezy place like that.

Overall, I'll still be willing to run this many as times as needed since me and many others I've played with or GMed for enjoyed it.


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I am very exicted about these 3 new scenario's.

Seems like a great PFS recruitment tool.
:)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Red-Assassin wrote:

I am very exicted about these 3 new scenario's.

Seems like a great PFS recruitment tool.
:)

+1

Contributor

Description and author updated!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Daigle?!? Awe man. This one might require role playing. :(

Spoiler:
;-)


Still can't wait hoping for an earlier release date to recruit more players before gencon .

Dark Archive

Three parter? Will this require three separate 4-hour slots?


A Warning / Note based on recently obtained information - the Pathfinder First Steps series REALLY should be played in sequence, without any other games played in between if possible. This makes it less usefull to introduce people to the Pathfinder Society campaign than it might have been, but it's important to know for existing Society members planning to run/play the games.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Does this scenario have to be a given character's very first scenario, or can a character with one or two scenarios under his belt play through and get credit as well?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

RETH-Mog wrote:
Does this scenario have to be a given character's very first scenario, or can a character with one or two scenarios under his belt play through and get credit as well?

In theory, someone with multiple scenarios under his belt could play these, but unless the alternative is that player not playing anything at all, they should probably play a normal Tier 1–5 scenario. Not only would they level out of this arc before completing it, as after 3 scenarios total, they'd be level 2 and no longer within this scenario's Tier, but they'd also already have a faction. Since these scenarios don't have faction missions, and serve to introduce characters to all 10 faction heads so they can choose one at the series's conclusion, someone with a faction may feel let down that they're not able to do anything for their faction during the course of these adventures.


Mark,

Since the characters are expected to not have factions til finishing this arc and reaching 2nd level, and there are no faction missions included, is there some alternate system in place to earn those potential 6 PA or are all characters started with this arc going to be at a permanent disadvantage PA-wise when compared to characters who play through normal scenarios?

Also, while this may be better answered in the regular PFS forums, do all characters start at the normal XP rate and then choose to stay with that or switch to the slow XP rate once reaching 2nd level or can a brand new character start on the slow XP rate? If they can, you could play these three and then three normal scenarios and at least have the chance of having 3 PA on reaching 2nd level rather than none.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I see they're listed as free.

Is that the final price, or is that a placeholder?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Snorter wrote:

I see they're listed as free.

Is that the final price, or is that a placeholder?

That's the final price! We want everyone to be able to build a character, play a few PFS sessions and get hooked on the best organized play campaign in the world, and to do that, we are offering these at no cost, so entry into the campaign is now totally free!

Liberty's Edge

Any chances of this being released in the next 12 hours? :)

Grand Lodge

Are these scenarios also designed for new GMs?


Probably not. And they are not really designed for players new to role-playing in general either, but rather for those new to the Pathfinder Society and organized play.

Liberty's Edge

It's mid-afternoon on the east coast and these still aren't available. Please make them available soon--I've been anxiously awaiting these for weeks.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
casiel wrote:
It's mid-afternoon on the east coast and these still aren't available. Please make them available soon--I've been anxiously awaiting these for weeks.

Check back in half an hour.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

These are up! Got 'em in my downloads now and reading eagerly - I want to apply these GMing credits to my upcoming half-orc sorceror!

Liberty's Edge

Liz Courts wrote:
casiel wrote:
It's mid-afternoon on the east coast and these still aren't available. Please make them available soon--I've been anxiously awaiting these for weeks.
Check back in half an hour.

Thank you! :)


very good

Grand Lodge

Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
Probably not. And they are not really designed for players new to role-playing in general either, but rather for those new to the Pathfinder Society and organized play.

Dang I was hoping to be lazy helping some local PFS players take that step to GM.


What is the time it takes to run these? Have any of you noticed if they each fit in a four hour slot?


All Society scenarios are written to fit into a four-hour time slot. Whether something runs quicker or slower really depends on the balance of the party and how experienced the players are.

The Exchange

Mark Moreland wrote:
RETH-Mog wrote:
Does this scenario have to be a given character's very first scenario, or can a character with one or two scenarios under his belt play through and get credit as well?
In theory, someone with multiple scenarios under his belt could play these, but unless the alternative is that player not playing anything at all, they should probably play a normal Tier 1–5 scenario. Not only would they level out of this arc before completing it, as after 3 scenarios total, they'd be level 2 and no longer within this scenario's Tier, but they'd also already have a faction. Since these scenarios don't have faction missions, and serve to introduce characters to all 10 faction heads so they can choose one at the series's conclusion, someone with a faction may feel let down that they're not able to do anything for their faction during the course of these adventures.

I was hoping there would be a way to allow the characters that had just finished Master of the Fallen Fortress to take these as their next 3 sessions. ie No faction chosen yet, just the one start adventure under their belts. I cannot though think of any way to let them finish the arc though as they will level after part 2. I take it there is no way to delay the award of XP to allow this?

W

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.

[shoutedtothemasses]This is free. Why haven't you downloaded it yet? Get it. Validate my effort by running it for folks![/shoutedtothemasses]

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

[oneofthemasses] Adam,running this tomorrow [/oneofthemasses]

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

sanwah68 wrote:
[oneofthemasses] Adam,running this tomorrow [/oneofthemasses]

You rock!

Shadow Lodge

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

Ok question time. Hopefully Daigle or someone can help :)

Act 4:

Spoiler:

before entering 4b, Zarta hands the PCs a silver letter opener (dagger). But latter on says "In addition to the silvered cat-o’-nine-tails Zarta gave the group...". So which on is it? I think it's the dagger, but if a nine-tails what stats whould I use? Whip?

Also mentioned is silver tipped riding crop. If I were to run this as a non-PF Society game what stats would you suggest for it? I have a kinkster in my group who wouldn't mind taking it for herself.

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Lazaro wrote:

Ok question time. Hopefully Daigle or someone can help :)

Act 4:
** spoiler omitted **

Lazaro:

Spoiler:
I originally wrote it with a cat-o’-nine-tails (just for flavor purposes with the intention to use dagger stats as a fast-and-loose rule). It got changed in one mention is development to a letter opener (which is honestly a clearer rules connection to the dagger stats.)

For the riding crop, I see it as a 1d3 or 1d4 light weapon dealing non-lethal bludgeoning damage if I were actually adding new weapon rules.

Scarab Sages

Just finished running this earlier tonight.

Everyone had a blast and it was my best experience yet with PFS play.

I sincerely hope this varied approach of roleplaying / puzzles / problem solving / investigation / combat will be reflected in future PFS design.

Overall, great job Adam.

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

weirmonken wrote:

Just finished running this earlier tonight.

Everyone had a blast and it was my best experience yet with PFS play.

I sincerely hope this varied approach of roleplaying / puzzles / problem solving / investigation / combat will be reflected in future PFS design.

Overall, great job Adam.

Thanks, man! I'm glad you and your players enjoyed it. :)

Sovereign Court

Adam Daigle, you rock:
Know that the Finns did love this. The tasks vary enough, characters are interesting, the whole scenario is filled with roleplaying opportunities, and you created a properly balanced encounter. I haven't seen one since the start of Season 0! It's very tough, the four character party I ran this to almost TPK'd and was very, very happy when they eventually dropped the last foe.

Adam Daigle, stop whatever you are doing and make more scenarios.

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Deussu wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Everyone knows, you make the Finns happy—you can take over the world. Now on to Step 2…

Seriously, I really appreciate the kind words and I’m glad I hit all my marks. I put in the kind of encounters I like to play in, especially focusing on ones that allow for as many different ways to get through them as is reasonable. That way it allows more people to have more fun and lets all kinds of different characters shine. I’m hoping that feeling of accomplishment players have will help keep the new folks who tried out Pathfinder with these intro scenarios hooked for years.


Did someone say there is no prestige reward for these? I see that you end up choosing a faction in the end but do you gain any Prestige in the process?


Gorum wrote:
Did someone say there is no prestige reward for these? I see that you end up choosing a faction in the end but do you gain any Prestige in the process?

You get 2 prestige per scenario, as normal, which is "reported to your faction" at the end of the arc. Mechanically, there is not difference, as I understand it - you get 6 prestige and hit level two at the end of the three scenarios. (assuming you successfully complete all the tasks in each scenario, of course)


I'm preparing to run this scenario as a Play By Forum with four people, as an official Pathfinder Society scenario. Since the PDF has so many wonderful NPC art I was wondering if I am allowed to put those images up in my posts to show my players, or would that violate the community use policy?

(The forum is a public forum dedicated for PBF threads on the RPG side of BoardGameGeek.)


Another question regarding this scenario: since the players don't choose their faction untill the end of the third scenario, how should their characters be registered since you have to pick a faction when inputting a character in the site?

Also, I suspect they can't pick any faction specific traits?

Contributor

Kriss Lambert wrote:

I'm preparing to run this scenario as a Play By Forum with four people, as an official Pathfinder Society scenario. Since the PDF has so many wonderful NPC art I was wondering if I am allowed to put those images up in my posts to show my players, or would that violate the community use policy?

Any images you pull from a PDF that is not in the Community Use Policy or on the blog has to be put behind a private area accessible only by you and your players.

Kriss Lambert wrote:

Another question regarding this scenario: since the players don't choose their faction untill the end of the third scenario, how should their characters be registered since you have to pick a faction when inputting a character in the site?

Also, I suspect they can't pick any faction specific traits?

I would hold off registering their characters until they've completed the First Steps arc and picked a faction, just to make it easier. Since you're only allowed one faction trait, I would keep an empty slot for a faction trait until the end of the arc, after which they can select the one they want, or use a non-faction trait if they so desire.


Thanks Liz!


Okay, I've come up with a question about act 2:

Spoiler:
Quoting from the scenario: If the PCs deliver the medicine and report any information about Auntie Gilga Baltwin to Ollysta Zadrian, give each PC 68 gp.

So the PC's task is to deliver the medicine and bring back a report on wether or not the headmistress is worthy of the aid. But what if they PC's deem her unworthy, and so do not deliver the medicine, but rather take it back to the temple. Does this mean they've actually failed their task?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Kriss Lambert wrote:

Okay, I've come up with a question about act 2:

** spoiler omitted **

Nope.

Spoiler:
If they complete that encounter and discover she's unworthy and make other arrangements to care for the children in her charge, then that's fine. This would fall under the Award Creative Solutions section of the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play. As long as they don't say "she looks legit" and hand over the potions and leave, they should get the reward.

Thanks Mark! I'm still amazed at how fast and easy it is to get replies and feedback directly from Paizo employees, you guys rock!


I have to say, that final encounter looks kinda unbalanced.

Spoiler:

You have an NPC party of four 1st level characters. They're well-balanced and have significantly better equipment than the PCs -- potions, scrolls, a wand, masterwork armor. They know about the PCs and have prepared an ambush, so reasonably should have their buffs up and a decent shot at getting a surprise round.

Against four first level PCs, this should give a high probability of a TPK. The only reason it might not is that most parties seem to be bigger than the standard four (I see people in this thread mentioning five, six and even seven).

If I ran this against my players, and pulled no punches, good chance I'd kill them.

Doug M.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

I have to say, that final encounter looks kinda unbalanced.

** spoiler omitted **

If I ran this against my players, and pulled no punches, good chance I'd kill them.

Doug M.

When I ran this, the players took advantage of their surroundings. For example:

Spoiler:

The rogue went to the rooftops and proceeded to attack with ranged weapons.
The fighter closed into melee with the casters.
The gunslinger used the corners to give herself partial cover.

Also, keep in mind that at least one of the foes don't fight to the death, particularly the enemy rogue, so double-check the tactics section and tone down if you need to.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

I have to say, that final encounter looks kinda unbalanced.

** spoiler omitted **

If I ran this against my players, and pulled no punches, good chance I'd kill them.

Doug M.

Spoiler:
Despite the comments that have been made about the Ambush Sites map setup, I find it also makes thing easier for the group too. If they think tactically, they can keep from getting surrounded and flanked by virtue simply of the narrow alleyway.
Silver Crusade

I'll be GMing this adventure in a few days. It looks like I will have 6 PCs. Has anyone run this scenario with that many PCs, and if so, was it too easy for them? Are PFS scenarios to be run as-is, or can you alter encounters to make a scenario more challenging for a larger table? If you can change things, what did you change to make it more challenging for 6 players?

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Since this is for PFS, it's assumed there will be 4–6 PCs. Also, in an official PFS game, you can't alter the scenario and are supposed to run it as-is.

Depending on the group make-up, I'm sure some encounters might be easier but not necessarily so.

Liberty's Edge

I ran this with 6 PCs.

Spoilers here:
The first combat: I threw in an extra dire rat but it was still over before the first round had finished.

Second combat: The barbarian -- second in initiative order -- raged and scored a crit with a scythe (x4) in the first round and did 34 points of damage. Even with DR, way more than enough to one-shot him.

We're now through two combats and there was one player who hadn't rolled a die in combat.

The third combat was about right for 6 PCs. Everybody got to play. It lasted five rounds.

So, if I were running this in a home game for six PCs, I might throw in two more dire rats and double the imp's hit points.


I ran this last night with a group of 4. This was my first time running a PFS game, so I wasn't sure exactly how my players would do with it.

I think they really liked it up until the last encounter...

Spoiler:
The halfling barbarian tore thought the fighter, the rogue and then the cleric. I played it as if they had been left for dead and all their recently collected loot was taken. I really didn't know how else to resolve it. IMO, I really would have liked having the option to drop him from the encounter when the group only has 4 (mostly new) players.


My table had five players; that last encounter almost TPKed us, but that's more due to our not having a healer than the encounter being overwhelming.

Spoiler:
Though I have a new hatred for halfling barbarians. Little b@stard dropped two of us before the monk and fighter put him down.

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