Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-03: The Ghenett Manor Gauntlet (PFRPG) PDF

****½ (based on 19 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for Levels 5–9.

When the Pathfinder Society failed to obtain a valuable artifact from a wealthy Druman noble using diplomatic means, the eccentric collector challenged them to take it through skill from one of his well-guarded manors throughout the world. You are sent to Ghenett Manor in Katapesh with the hopes of surviving long enough to return with the prize—assuming it’s there at all.

Written by Mike Shel.

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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****½ (based on 19 ratings)

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Home Alone done the Pathfinder way

****( )

It’s not often that the owner of a valuable item challenges you to break in and steal it from him. Or rather, invites the Pathinder Society to do so. It's not as if we got the best reputation when it comes to those things. Regardless, you’re literally invited to go to a booby-trapped mansion, deal with its challenges including guards, fierce competitors, traps and tricks in order to acquire something other agents completely failed at earlier. It’s like Home Alone, but with the thieves being the good guys.

There’s fighting, puzzling, social interaction in this somewhat sandbox scenario, so every character should have his or her moment in the spotlight. I will, however, say that you need someone who can deal with traps. That shouldn’t be a surprise or a spoiler if you’ve read the description of the scenario or, I don’t know, the reference to Home Alone.

While it was certainly enjoyable, and at times challenging, I did feel like some things were a bit too random and out of place. Let me put it this way: I feel like there were a lot of interesting ideas and concepts that are all great fun on the individual level, but don’t really mesh well together to feel like a ‘complete package’. It lacked that little something that really made it all come together. Still, it’s a fun scenario and I can recommend it to basically everyone.


(GM) The almost assassination and the giant prick

*****

This was a bit of an interesting scenario for our group. Running with 7 people it was a bit bogged down during times, so it ended up taking 4.5 hours instead of our typical 4 and we didn't face the hell hounds.

The start involved the alchemist trying to poison Po while he was waiting at the gate by stabbing him while invisible. But, he failed the poison and I let him remain friendly though really playing that up. This is the same one that almost killed Besai because he was annoying and a giant prick. (Great NPC because it basically made a majority of the table want to kill him)

Having played up we had one death in the atrium. But that was also due to the fact that there was no melee fighters.

Only problems I had with this scenario were some clarifications

spoiler:
It wasn't entirely clear on which parts of the atrium set off the Chaos Beast. I originally thought it was just the raised spot surrounding the pool, but the thief specifically used spider climb to avoid the floor.

And lastly, a tip for all GMs, really study the Aspis stat blocks. That slowed a lot of the game down was trying to figure things out on the fly.

Great story, very enjoyable to run!


****( )


Urban Dungeon Crawl

*****

I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes to dungeon crawl. Interesting setting, diverse monsters, deadly traps and a clever plot contingency make this crawl one to remember.


Dungeon Crawls Done Right

*****

Great setup for this adventure. The house contains a lot of really interesting traps and tricks, and will definitely keep a party entertained. Roleplay is to be had too, and both NPCs are quite enjoyable to run. Combat is fierce, as is appropriate for a 5-9.


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Contributor

I've seen it mentioned by people on the boards a few times that parties running through Ghenett Manor have failed the overall mission. While I knew that this was a real possibility that I actually wrote into the scenario, I'm curious to know:

A) How often are groups failing the scenario objective?

B) What is the reason they fail?

Spoiler:
(e.g., they bring back the false tome, Besai doesn't come back alive because they don't find him/they kill him/he gets killed/they leave him behind because he's an annoying a**hole, etc.)

C) Does failing the mission have a big impact on their overall enjoyment of the scenario?

Dark Archive

I haven't run it yet, but I have a few thoughts on the matter:

Spoiler:
It seems that the sonic trap has a sporting chance of killing Besai. He has terrible fortitude and reflex saves, so chances are he blows them both. The average damage from the shout and chandelier is 28, which would reduce him to -1; however, if the trap rolls high, there goes the mission success. I also think that DC 30 to notice the true book location might be a tad high; the only pregen able to even achieve that number is Merisiel.

While I do think that failure should be an option for scenarios, this one seems especially hard and I could see that leaving a bitter taste in one's mouth at the end of a four-hour session.

Contributor

Mergy wrote:

I haven't run it yet, but I have a few thoughts on the matter:

** spoiler omitted **

While I do think that failure should be an option for scenarios, this one seems especially hard and I could see that leaving a bitter taste in one's mouth at the end of a four-hour session.

Mergy:

I think that's a fair criticism, though...

Spoiler:
...I'd hope players would do a better job protecting Besai. The parties I've seen in the scenario kept him out of the library or far enough away to avoid the chandelier damage.

Also, truth be told, it was Mark Moreland who added the Perception check to notice the scuff marks. I hadn't even given players that much of a clue!

Dark Archive

I would like to add that the map is way too big. The full thing is around 4 feet by 7 feet. When I run it, I condense the size down to about 3x5 feet. I say the boarder of the map are the walls and shrink the size of the gardens in the back. A bunch of these rooms are unused in the adventure.

I have only run it once so far and the group succeeded. Maybe 30 is high for 5th level but not bad for 9th.

I do really like the ruse.

Grand Lodge

My thoughts:

a) My group decisively failed to retrieve the tome.

b) I'd attribute the failure to a couple factors.

One, by the time we had finished the final encounter we had both exhausted our spells and health and hit the four hour mark. We figured the tome was our capstone reward, and it never occurred to us that it could be a counterfeit.

Two, the tome's actual hiding place is a bit irregular. We failed our broad perception checks and never looked back.

Three, there are so many potential hiding places for the book that we simply got tired of making perception checks and singling out specific shelves, dressers, safes, etc.

c) Failing to find the tome was really just a final kick in the pants. What makes this scenario unenjoyable is that the NPCs are allowed to get away with murder, but the players get browbeat for standing up for themselves. In my mind, if an NPC arranges for a amorphous tentacle monster to attack you, you shouldn't have to worry about keeping his house tidy anymore. I've never felt more suffocated by Pathfinder Society alignment requirements than I did in this scenario.

I think the scenario would be more effective if either:

a) The master of the house was cast as a clearly benevolent figure who wished to test the mettle of the heroes. The challenges could be less lethal, and the tome could be offered as a reward at the end. This would make adhering to the "do not steal or break anything" restriction more palatable.

b) The master of the house was cast as a clearly malevolent figure who was actively trying to kill the heroes. The stipulation of leaving his house in one piece could be waived, and confronting and slaying/capturing him could be the final encounter. This would add a satisfying payoff that the original scenario is lacking.

As it stands the scenario skirts the line between these two binaries and consequently makes the players feel jerked around.

Grand Lodge

As a Player:

The biggest threat to our characters when we ran through it was the Chaos Beast - 4/5 of the party wound up as puddles of goo before we could return to civilization for a Remove Curse. During the scenario, for ease of play, the GM ruled to only have us save for stability once between encounters otherwise we would have been bogged down by rolls of minutia. Only the party sorcerer didn't get infected, so he could escort our puddles to get help.

Not sure if any other players considered this, but our group escorted Besai to the Manor's front gates and told him to wait for us down the road and away from the dangerous house.

I was unaware the Perception DC was so high! 0_0 My character saw the empty book stand, thought the Aspis Consortium had beat us to the book due to our saving Besai, so I threw the podium in a fit of rage... which revealed the secret hiding spot.

Contributor

I was wondering...

Spoiler:
...those who ended up with the false tome, didn't Besai insist on seeing it? He's written to actually demand keeping it, inspect it at minimum. At a glance Besai identifies it as a false tome. How are parties ending up with the fake Mutani Manual? I watched 8 different tables play this scenario at GenCon 2011 and not one ended up with the false tome. Each party also located the Manual either by making the Perception check or moving the podiums on their own, though the latter method was most common...

Grand Lodge

Wwwweeeelllllll....:
Besai is not only a giant prick but also worthless in a fight. Since saving him is one of the objectives, the group decided to avoid a major headache and have him hang back. Like Licidy, we basically tried to remove him from the equation.

As for the podium, again, it's a weird place to hide the tome and requires a very high perception check for a party that skews lower level.

Liberty's Edge

H'okay, here's a quick question about a certain encounter in the manor.

Spoiler:

Exactly what kind of illusions are the flesh golems in the banquet hall? The description in the module only states that they are "intricate illusions."

I put the golems in initiative order when my players enter the room, so they had potential to get up and attack them (reacting to aggression). But if I don't know what type of illusion they are (figments, shadows, etc.), I don't know how to treat their damage.

I know they poof out of existence after a round, but there is still potential for interaction beyond "hey look, weird things are coming."

Also, are they all individual illusions or is the room one large illusion?

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