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Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-06: Song of the Sea Witch (PFRPG) PDF

***( )( ) (based on 12 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for Levels 3–7.

When an unlucky historian in Absalom uncovers an infernal book from distant Tian Xia, he unwittingly unleashes a terrible evil into the city—the legions of devils imprisoned within its dusty pages. Only the book's holy counterpart can end the threat, and the Pathfinder Society has been called in to assist. Can the PCs locate and retrieve the key to ending the diabolical invasion of the City at the Center of the World, or will Absalom be drowned in the sea of destruction wrought by the Infernal Incantation?

Written by Thurston Hillman.

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 (12)
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Average product rating:

***( )( ) (based on 12 ratings)

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Underwhelming and in desperate need of a revision

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I played this scenario last night and overall I had fun, but that's mostly due to the players and GM. The scenario starts with a nice premise and the plot has certainly potential, yet fails to really deliver on it. It honestly feels like the atmosphere and story is made by the encounters and fights. The places you visit just don't really seem to contribute to the story. Given the plot, that's a shame. The books could have really been used more to set the mood than is the case right now.

I would even go so far as saying that the story is more based on the encounters, than on it having a story behind it. The creatures are great and diverse, especially the first and last one. That diversity is the sole reason I give it a second star. However yet again I'm forced to say that while there is potential, it's poorly executed. Honestly, the first encounter is great, but the fight with the BBEG is a huge, huge disappointment.

At this point I'm considering throwing in some more 'huge' in that sentence, because that really is the case. It was the biggest let-down I've had in PFS to date. The tactics make absolutely no sense whatsoever. It literally is 'it will do X, and then just do nothing other than getting killed while posing no threat at all'. That's just no fun. The only thing that it has going for it, is it's appearance. That's unique and really fascinating, but it will never succeed at anything due to the tactics it has to follow.

Due to that final fight, the scenario ends on a sour note. It's underwhelming and doesn't leave the players satisfied. I wouldn't recommend this scenario at all, unless it is for a revision, but that's something it sadly will never receive. I think the best we as players can do now, is starting a 'hug the sea witch' faction.

In dire need of a rewrite.

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(I both GMed and played this.)

Okay, there's a great premise in this story, but it never pays off. The books are intriguing, but are only treated as plot items, rather than an actual danger. The story is bland, but could easily have been more memorable if there was more focus on the alienness of the books.

That's excusable, though. I've had lots of scenarios that were lacking in story but compensated with their encounters. But that's where this scenario fails as well. The first encounter in the high tier can be interesting, but doesn't have the room to do its thing. The second encounter is a pushover (as the scenario admits itself) and is only there to waste time and/or resources. The optional encounter is honestly the highlight of the encounter, at least in the high tier.

But the biggest disappointment is the final encounter. Here's where the scenario falls apart. It's easy for it to get surprised, and its tactics work against it. He's built as a quite competent melee fighter, but has a crappy spell selection to back him up, and to top it off, his tactics make no sense and don't take advantage of his strengths. The GM forums are full of how terribly designed this encounter is. And again, his tactics defy all logic and don't work rules-wise.

The puzzle in the middle was cute and poses a challenge for certain builds, which is fun. When I GMed this, it was easily solved, which was a letdown, but when I played it, we actually spent a fair amount of time dealing with this, so that shows that not everyone will have the same experience.

Also, from a GM perspective, why is that map 10 by 10 feet per square, rather than the usual 5 by 5? It makes no sense to scale it like that other than that it was convenient to do so.

All in all, this seems like it had potential, but was the product of a rush job. A terrible shame. I don't know why anyone would want to recommend this: the story is barely present, there's a smattering of roleplay, but not many skillchecks to be rolled, combats are generally on the easy side, there's a fairly easy puzzle to be solved, and there's a nice but unimpressive boon at the end. Play only if you've run out of other things to play, or if you're allowed to rewrite pretty much everything to give your players a challenge.

Play for speed

***( )( )

I ran this at tier 6-7 over PbP. I agree with all the other reviewers that the encounters were far too easy. The first was within reason (opening encounters shouldn't be too challenging) but every other encounter was also CR 8. The stated tactics and encounter-specific nerfs make the encounters at most CR 7, too.

Some detail:
One of the encounters involves 4 core class rogues who are an underpowered class at the best of times (as admitted by Paizo, see Pathfinder Unchained). They're glass canons who don't even open with the canon fire. They all throw thunderstones in the first round - which makes it almost certain that any PC caught in the area of effect will go deaf, but otherwise has no benefit to using 4 over 1. Worse, it does no lasting damage at all. The rogues are then in a situation that (due to the map and placement) makes it virtually impossible to provide them with a flank against their opponents, who are also now not flat-footed. Highly sub-optimal tactics and situational modifiers. My guys pretty much one-hitted each of them in the first round.

In all, an interesting enough plot, but with very minimal roleplaying and combats you can do in your sleep. So, why give this a 3 instead of a 1 or 2? Because a quick and easy scenario was exactly what we wanted and sometimes, that's exactly what you need.

Play this if you need a scenario that can be wrapped up very quickly or if you have a group of sub-optimal PCs.

Far Too Easy

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Ran this tonight at the lower tier.

The first encounter is tough but about right. The rest of the scenario is a complete cakewalk with nothing to challenge even the most average of player characters.

I won't give it one star simply because if this was run for inexperienced players it would be about right. But experienced or optimizers will simply steamroller through this without breaking a sweat.

It started with a bang, but it ended with a whimper.

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I ran this at the higher tier. Straight out the gate, the first encounter should prove exciting and challenging. The second encounter is laughable and a complete waste of time for the group mainly due to the equipment of the antagonists and tactics. The third encounter is optional, but I urge any GM to do the encounter because it could make up for lame second encounter and prove challenging, in a good way, for the group. The puzzle is good and can reveal how clever your group can be at solving puzzles. I gave this scenario a one star rating mainly because of the main boss fight. It is excruciatingly easy and lackluster, at either tier. Due to the boss' class-build and positioning on the map, it immediately nullifies its main tactic. He might as well not even be there since he doesn't seem to fit in at all with the scenario. Since faction missions are non-existent now, the players will have no reason to find out more about any of the scenario's NPCs. I actually apologized to the group for giving them an anticlimactic ending to a scenario that started out so well.

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