Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-13: The Quest for Perfection—Part III: Defenders of Nesting Swallow (PFRPG) PDF

***½( ) (based on 17 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for Levels 1–5.

As the Pathfinders approach the village of Nesting Swallow in the Tian nation of Shokuro, they find it besieged by a gang of tengu bandits. Before their contact in the village will aid them in restoring the Iroran relic that brought them hundreds of miles to the isolated town, the PCs must repulse the attackers, using every ounce of tactical mettle and military strategy they possess to train the villagers, augment their defenses, and ultimately face off against the bandits' charge.

"Defenders of Nesting Swallow" is the final scenario in the three-part The Quest for Perfection campaign arc. It follows Pathfinder Society Scenario #3–09: The Quest for Perfection—Part I: The Edge of Heaven and Pathfinder Society Scenario #3–11: The Quest for Perfection—Part II: On Hostile Waters. All three chapters are intended to be played in order.

Written by Sean McGowan, RPG Superstar 2011 runner up.

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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PZOPSS0313E


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***½( ) (based on 17 ratings)

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Defense of the Ancients!

****( )

Seperated into two parts, the skill-focused first part, and the combat-focused second part.

Has some great opportunities and rewards for skill monkeys. And the last part of defense the village is such a heroic and epic time.

Why makes it out of 5 stars? I think in RAW, the combats can be too easy, villagers just shoot off most mobs, PCs won't engage many enemies. I would stronly suggest play the optional encourter, can be challenging but not deadly.


Time to be a hero and save a village

**( )( )( )

I finally got round to play the last part of the Quest for Perfection yesterday. It had been something on my to-do list for quite a while now and I was neither impressed or charmed by it.

The idea is nice: go to a village, set up adequate defences and then try to weather the storm of onslaught. It sounds simple in itself. However the resource allocation mini-game can easily backfire. It's easier to play that portion out of character and address it more as a number's game. It can break the flow a bit and ruin the immersion. Needless to say, that's quite unfortunate.

In the end my party finished the majority of the tasks and set up a more than adequate defence. When the waves of enemies approached, we were then confronted by the fact that most of the enemies were unable to reach us in the first place. Those that did make it to the walls were vastly outnumbered and were dispatched off within a single round. It wasn't all that challenging. Even the final boss ended up being hardly a challenge. Create Pit really made him unable to do anything while our party had enough time to get ready to deliver the final blow.

If we hadn't done so well with the defences, the fighting would have been much harder. In hindsight I would have probably preferred to have done a worse job at the preparations just to have some challenging fights. This just felt too easy.

All of that said, it's a nice and potentially epic way to end a three-part storyline. Especially when the GM adds some flavorful descriptions it can be a really enjoyable session. And above anything else, and regardless of how easy or difficult the ending may be, you will feel a certain level of accomplishment: you will be an actual savior. You've done something that helped a whole lot of people. You will actually be a hero.


Unfortunate Implications

**( )( )( )

I played this at tier 1-2. This review does not contain spoilers.

The meat of the scenario is a resource-management minigame, which affects a village's readiness for a siege and mass battle. Unfortunately, given the racial and ethnic makeup of the average party of Avistanian PCs versus Shokuro villagers, what it amounts to narratively is Mighty Whitey swooping in and saving the bowing and grateful brown natives.

Seriously, this isn't a case of "the PCs are special and the villagers just happen to be brown." Not only do they turn over complete control of the village to you, to the point where you decide how many people will work the fields versus shoring up the defences, but mechanically, one PC can do the work of five villagers ... even when that work is harvesting rice. In an agricultural village where that is their livelihood. I thought Profession wasn't usable untrained?

It was when I realized this that I said, flat-out, "this is really racist," and the GM was like "yes, it is."

I tried to explain away some of the implications by saying that my PC (a kitsune shrine maiden of the goddess of rice) was performing a harvest ritual or something, while our half-orc fighter could do the work of ten farmhands just because of how strong he was. But it just seemed really unfortunate that these people had no agency and were being reduced to playing pieces ... which was a theme I felt like I had seen in the other Dragon Empires adventures, where the whole continent was exoticised and existed only for "western" people to have an adventure in.

Finally, it may just be that we aced the resource management part. But the epic battle some reviewers liked felt more like shooting fish in a barrel, because this overwhelming force seemed to attack in such tiny waves. I get the impression they were going for something like Dynasty Warriors, and I'm wondering if our GM was just having trouble describing the action.


Heroic Last Stand

*****

Perspective: played once, GM'd once

I don't have a ton to add beyond the other reviews, other than that is one of few scenarios that really feel "epic." As a player (and vicariously as the GM), I love the feel of facing down impossible odds and grinning.

This is not your standard murderhobo/golden retriever fare. Here at Nesting Swallow you actually get to play a real hero.

As a side-note, the preparation mini-game can be tedious if run poorly, but frantic and exciting if done well.


A great finale with some work

****( )

This scenario has tons to work with.

If you have a vanilla Gm that does not put extra into a scenario this may be more bland. The villian has flavor the town has flavor, it is a great mold to work with.

The idea is the seven samurai with a brutal series of attacks on the town. It can be difficult as the village gets hit very quickily in succession.

If you choose to DM this take the time to develope everything. I had the town give the PC a feast in the mornings and would have a giant crow with a message from the villian descrbing how he anticipates the battle and will write ballads of the PCs defeat.


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Contributor

Announced! Cover image is a mockup.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Congrats, Sean! My theory that this arc was being written up by the Superstar finalists was close (2 out 3).

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4

John Benbo wrote:
Congrats, Sean! My theory that this arc was being written up by the Superstar finalists was close (2 out 3).

Eeep! Hadn't even noticed this had been announced til now. Thanks- and congratulations on your efficient theorizing.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4

Can't wait to run this one :)

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber

I usually do not run seven-player tables, but for this module, I would almost have to make an exception.

Grand Lodge

Hopefully the outcome of this scenario doesn't mirror Kambei's outlook on war.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

I am way excited about this scenario!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4

sveden wrote:
Hopefully the outcome of this scenario doesn't mirror Kambei's outlook on war.

...so an ending with all 4 PCs dead and buried and the players having learned a somber lesson about the passing age of the warrior would be suboptimal? Got it.

(Um, hey Mark, any room for some last minute plot changes?)

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

SPOILERS!!!!

Scarab Sages

Has release been delayed?

The Exchange

My guess is that it's in the pipeline but has been delayed due to the Snowpocalypse.

Scarab Sages

I am surprised as all the other Pathfinder PDFS from Paizo's range due for release today have been made available for purchase.

Paizo Employee Web Product Manager

The 2 new scenarios will go live at 6 PM Pacific time... so 3 minutes! :)

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yes! I can put my holiday12 order in :)

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Now Available!

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

8 people marked this as a favorite.

And yes, the image on the cover is indeed a tengu riding an axe beak.

You are welcome.

The Exchange

Hoo-ray! Thanks Mark! Looks cool!!

I think the Chronicle sheet is interesting, but would have been happier if all 3 scenarios needed to be played in sequence to get the benefit.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Thanks, Doug!

I've started a thread requesting feedback on the multipart boon from this scenario—as well as the alternative approach (that's more like what it sounds like you are looking for) in Snakes in the Fold—here, so if you have other thoughts on the two approaches, please leave a note there.

Liberty's Edge

I am definitely in favor of boons to those who play scenarios in consecutive order. It adds further continuity to the "story" of each PC.

This is something I have been trying to encourage though running through 4 Pathfinder modules in a row, linked in sequence Godsmouth> Crypt> Masks> CoGD (I changed a wee bit of the backstory to link in Godsmouth to the Price of immortality Trilogy).

So far, most of the players are interested in longer scenarios so it is working. The consecutive boon approach enforces this and encourages event organizers to offer them up as well. Good idea.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Pawns, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
You are welcome

I'm generally not a fan of the spoiler/reveal image on the covers of most of the scenarios, but a tengu (samurai?) riding an Axe Beak is friggin' awesome! Whoever is responsible for that piece of art is a genius.

Grand Lodge

Genius we tell you!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.

So what with all the excitement of this years RPG Superstar starting up and trying to keep up with every single post on every single thread there I almost completely forgot this was out this week. Like, literally, I had some free time at work today, went to the Paizo main page and did a double take at seeing the blog.
The art looks GREAT. Jikon actually looks kinda... pretty, with the purple feathers. Who's the cute widdle axe beak? Whooza cute l'il... OW WITH THE BEAKING AND CLAWING!

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:

And yes, the image on the cover is indeed a tengu riding an axe beak.

You are welcome.

Tengu riding an axebeak, are you kidding me? That is like the epitome of awesome! (You bastards all need to sit at my Nymian Beastlands table, I say!) Pure genius!

PS: don't pet or feed the axebeak without proper protective gear.
PSS: I am amused that Diatryma is named in Bestiary 3, but Phorusrhacos is a "Terror Bird." I am guessing that the standard axebeak is a variant on Fiend Folio's Terror Bird, while the same-named latter creature is actually based on the historically correct critter..... And I realize this was completely off-topic.

Liberty's Edge

Spoiler, question dealing with the Braid.

spoiler:
Slightly confused over the wording of the Braid's power for non-monks. The Braid provides the fast movement of a 2nd level monk to a character without any levels in monk. It specifically says the bonus does not stack with anything else. Yet a 2nd level monk has *no* fast movement. Why include fast movement at all? Thank you, I am scratching my head over the inclusion. I just can't see the point, and I would like to see the point ;)

Cheers!

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Spoiler:
In this case, it simply provides the bonus to damage. The non-stacking is so a monk can't get a 2-level boost to damage from this and a 5-level boost in damage from a monk's robe.

Liberty's Edge

Thank you, Mark :D

Excellent series of modules, by the way. I will be running them consecutively at a convention this weekend and I anticipate much fun!

Grand Lodge

Banner I made for a little flavor at the table

Spoiler:
Based solely on the product description I decided to make the banner from Seven Samurai to bring to PFS.

Used a stick, an old rag and a sharpie. My table got a laugh out of it so mission accomplished.

Pictured next to the banner is my Gnome Sorcerer Yenven Arcanscape. His Toppling amplified Magic Missile was extremely useful for knocking those jerk-a$$ Tengu bandits off their mounts.

I was also fond of clambering right on top of the barricades and dousing our enemies in a wash of color and illusion. About 4 or 5 Tengu were knocked out by Yenven. Good thing too because who wants to be awake when a hulked out bestial alchemist with a STR of 25 Coup de Grace you?

Thanks for such a fun arc! Part one was my first PFS event ever and it was a tough but fun scenario which just got more and more difficult as the arc progressed.


Best Shadow Lodge faction mission ever. :)

Liberty's Edge

Cassey wrote:
Best Shadow Lodge faction mission ever. :)

Huh, I have to say that I had real difficulty getting that one right today. But then again it might just be because I was playing a Society Scenario for the first time :P

But the ending was pretty kick ass though.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber

Spoiler:
Will players showing up in a Seven Samurai t-shirt get a re-roll? ;)

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Kajehase wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Heh. They would at my table ;-)

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I posted a review with some comments and feedback.

Also, I created a few handouts before running this at Who's Yer Con that I'd like to share.

The first is a player handout detailing how the resource-management aspect of the adventure works. Some spoilers, but I find that it's better to forego obfuscating things when there's a good chance PCs will just end up being confused. Anyway, here it is.

The second is a diagram for the resource management phase showing which tasks there are to accomplish. I used dice to represent the villagers, and players could place the dice and their miniatures on the different circles to represent how many villagers were doing what each day, and which task each PC was doing. It really helped to engage players and make things more tactile.

Finally, there is a handout showing how PCs can use Defense Points. I put a couple of them in the center of the table and passed out poker chips to the players to represent their pool of Defense Points. This helped a lot with making sure that the PCs remembered that they had the points available and how they could be used -- by the end of the battle, five of the six players had used up all of their DPs!

I hope these help other GMs!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4

Tamago- I tell you what, I've added your files to my own Nesting Swallow folder and fully intend to make use of them next time I run this. (Which, seeing as I used up my local group of players while writing this, might not be for a while, but who knows...) They're just way cool and useful. Thanks for going the extra mile and creating visual aids. And likewise, thanks for the review & feedback- much appreciated.


I played at Tamagos table. It all really clicked with this layout. Our table was laughing, rooting each other on, and worked as a team. It made the encounter very enjoyable and fun!


Those are some great handouts, Tamago! :)

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Aw, shucks! Thanks, everyone! I just hope that these will allow other people to enjoy the scenario as much as my group did. :-)

Liberty's Edge

Just finished this as a player and it kicked booty. I really liked the mechanics regarding protecting the village. The end battle was truly epic. By its end most of our resources were spent and several players down or heavily damaged. We had a 6 man party ran of T4-5 so many more Tengus to kill.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Since there are so many mini’s needed for this I made a very quick set and am sharing.

nesting swallow minis

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4

Russell Akred wrote:

Since there are so many mini’s needed for this I made a very quick set and am sharing.

nesting swallow minis

NEAT! Another file for my future use folder.

Spoiler:

Love that you went the extra mile and gave the owlbear panda markings.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

The PDF of this scenario has been updated (emails informing those who have already purchased it should be going out soon) to correct a balance issue in the scenario's new magic item. Both the stats presented in the adventure and on the scenario's Chronicle sheet have been updated. If you're running this in the future, please make sure you provide the most up-to-date Chronicle sheet.


How does the first item on the cronicle sheet

Spoiler:
the Axebeak boon
work for GMs? What about if a person played in some scenerios and GMed others?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
The PDF of this scenario has been updated (emails informing those who have already purchased it should be going out soon) to correct a balance issue in the scenario's new magic item. Both the stats presented in the adventure and on the scenario's Chronicle sheet have been updated. If you're running this in the future, please make sure you provide the most up-to-date Chronicle sheet.

I think I already know the answer, but as someone who GMed this a couple of weeks ago and is in contact with all the players who took part, can I give my players (and myself) the corrected chronicle sheet?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yes. Or they can simply print out the revised Chronicle themselves and attach it to the one you filled out and signed.

Also, people who bought the old version of the magic item can keep it and grandfather that version into the game. PCs do not get to automatically upgrade to the more expensive version, however they can pay the difference to upgrade from the previous version to the current.


Lord Twitchiopolis wrote:

How does the first item on the cronicle sheet** spoiler omitted ** work for GMs? What about if a person played in some scenerios and GMed others?

I had this question as well, and tried to find a definitive answer. Usually GMs dont get the boons listed on the chronicle sheets.

But that said, this boon is worded differently than all the others. One, it is not earned by doing something within the scenario. Second, it states "If you have chronicle sheets for all three parts", which tells me, RAW, that you would.

If you dont get the boon, then my question is:
1. What if you GM parts 1 and 2 and play part 3?
2. What if you GM part 3, but played part 1 and 2?

I'd love to see an answer from Mark or mike because I might end up running this next week.

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8

CRobledo wrote:
Lord Twitchiopolis wrote:

How does the first item on the cronicle sheet** spoiler omitted ** work for GMs? What about if a person played in some scenerios and GMed others?

I had this question as well, and tried to find a definitive answer. Usually GMs dont get the boons listed on the chronicle sheets.

But that said, this boon is worded differently than all the others. One, it is not earned by doing something within the scenario. Second, it states "If you have chronicle sheets for all three parts", which tells me, RAW, that you would.

If you dont get the boon, then my question is:
1. What if you GM parts 1 and 2 and play part 3?
2. What if you GM part 3, but played part 1 and 2?

I'd love to see an answer from Mark or mike because I might end up running this next week.

Ditto. I've GM'd 2/3 and am curious if I'd get the super secret awesome prize if I played part 1.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

I'm sending Mike a message to make sure he sees this when he gets back from Origins early next week. Until then, consider applying the credit for any GMed sessions to one PC and any played sessions to a different PC so at least the player PC gets access to all three boons. Mike may have a different take on how to handle it, especially as we start to do more and more of these multipart boons.


Mark Moreland wrote:
I'm sending Mike a message to make sure he sees this when he gets back from Origins early next week. Until then, consider applying the credit for any GMed sessions to one PC and any played sessions to a different PC so at least the player PC gets access to all three boons. Mike may have a different take on how to handle it, especially as we start to do more and more of these multipart boons.

FWIW, I love multipart boons, especially when they are "non consecutive". I really like the "if you have the sheets for all X parts" wording.


As someone who simply played the session (as opposed to being a module owner), what was the change to the item?

Just staying informed...

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Shifty wrote:

As someone who simply played the session (as opposed to being a module owner), what was the change to the item?

Just staying informed...

Spoiler:
The caster level, price, and level of monk bonus was increased to provide a fast movement bonus to characters without any monk levels.

Thanks Mark! :)

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