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Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-15: The Haunting of Hinojai (PFRPG) PDF

****( ) (based on 11 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 5–9.

Ever seeking long-lost secrets, the Pathfinder Society sends a team of agents to explore a reportedly haunted house in the Dragon Empires nation of Minkai, hoping they can uncover the secret behind the legendary location's tormented past.

Written by Jim Groves.

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.

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 (11)
1 to 5 of 11 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 11 ratings)

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Excellent!

****( )

A challenging scenario with a well integrated theme, I really enjoyed running this one. I would highly recommend it. A little extra prep to add a little more horror will just add fuel to the fire. I want to see more scenarios like this one!

My only gripe is that the Faction Missions feel really pasted on. They have little to do with the main story line or activities in the scenario. They are the one week point to an otherwise excellent adventure.


Very interesting and challenging (spoilers contained)

****( )

This is the third scenario that I have DMed. Overall, I thought it was a very well written scenario, with a good storyline, fantastic opportunities to roleplay both as a DM and for the players, and a variety of problem solving and discovery in the second act.

The first act was definitely a challenge; I had to create a town scene, come up with NPCs (some were provided but not enough) for the players to interact with, and make sure it was varied enough that faction missions weren't too obviously presented. I do like having that freedom, but novice DMs beware: this will take some time to prep.

There was a little freedom given for which baddies came when, and where battles would take place. I like that element, having the freedom to move things around.

The 'main boss' battle was hard to introduce but easy to keep going. There was no written suggestion on how to get her transformed then fighting - I created a sort of 'suspension of time' for her to get in place. It worked, but was a little awkward. I would have liked some help with that.

Some of the loot found after battles was not available on the Chronicle sheet for the players to buy. That was a little disappointing. And there are a whole bunch of scrolls available for purchase - spells that the characters had, but no scrolls were found in game. That was a little odd to me. I suppose the thought is that characters saw the spells in action and could then seek out how to cast them?

I recommend this scenario for DMs who like digging in and getting creative. Definitely took about 3 hours of prep time, and lots of improv.


Horrible Haunts

**( )( )( )

After providing a few positive reviews for scenarios, I decided that it was time to chose one which I wouldn't. Unfortunately, I flipped through the 3rd season mods which I had played, GMed and read carefully and this was the one I liked the least. However, it was still a fun experience so I'm by no means discouraging anyone from experiencing it.

DM complexity - moderate
I'm an experienced DM in 3.0, 3.5 and PFS and spent about 2 hours preparing this after playing it.

Player complexity - moderate
In line with the rest of 3rd season, the modules have ramped up requiring players to better balance the stats of their characters.

My favorite element of this module was the mechanics - both of the haunts and the combats. I am also a fan of the module for trying to emulate an "Asian Haunted House". My least favorite element of this module was the story.

Spoiler:

Or lack of story. The primary motivation for our nemesis is eternal youth - which being an asian female, I can understand but it is not sufficient imo to be the source of true evil. The wonderful part of having haunts is being able to tell a story and unfortunately, there were not interesting elements to this story to tell. Each of the haunts only reveal another evil act which our nemesis chose to commit. I think the story could have been much richer if there was a sequence to the evil acts - that she began perhaps accidentally and then become darker and more deliberate. That is what a story should be - something which talks about the change or progression of a character. It doesn't have to be a sympathetic story but the haunts just appeared to be a series of unjointed experiences rather than pieces of a story.


House On Hinojai Hill

****( )

I thought Haunting accomplished its goal and was creepy and frightening.

It's difficult for me to review Haunting since the group I was with was extremely optimized. In other words, each fight was a cakewalk. For all I know, this scenario could be extremely difficult for some groups.

I don't agree with some comments made on the forums, I thought the haunts were great, but I suppose not all GMs can do horror and not all players can appreciate it.

Constructive criticism to improve haunts:

Like most players, I dislike save or die spells or traps. Luckily, our lab rat made his saving throw. But if he failed it, the haunt would have felt like cheese, a random unneeded punishment.

Instead of save or die, sometimes it's more horrible if you disable someone. For example, during combat they need to save or become nauseated (with fluff depending on the haunt). Or Confused or prone to random violence or seeing things (which can result in random violence). Think about what happens in horror movies!

Another suggestion for save or die spells would be to allow the PC to do an action (in 1 round) based on Haunt that would deactivate the effect (and be in sympathy with the haunt). For example, there's something you can say or do to interact with the haunt.

In general, I think if you give the PC choices and based on the choices you give them an effect, I find that interesting. For example, the Haunt makes the PC feel insane and he gets the desire to run away. If he stays, Confusion spell or possibly attacking his friend for 2 rounds. If he gives into his desire, he flees for several rounds. Choices are interesting.

I think the best way to implement haunts (and traps) is to combine them with a creature that attacks after the haunt/trap is activated.

Also, some of the empty rooms could have had small, meaningless haunt effects, to make players nervous.

I guess basically what I'm saying is that I want the authors to get CREATIVE when they make haunts. I don't want them looking through the Core Handbook thinking about what level 5 spell to use, I want them to use their imagination and be creative, and think about the appropriate spell after (if there is one).


Other constructive criticism:
I'm not sure the creature in the statue room made much sense thematically and the encounter felt out of place.

I thought the best part was the opening sequence at the house, because it set the stage.

Length: Medium/long. We were finished in slightly less than 4 hours (playing cautiously) and skipped the optional encounter, but I think most groups would take 5 hours.
Experience: 6 players at subtier 8-9.
Sweet Spot: TBD.
Entertainment: I was leery and nervous the entire time, so yes. (8/10)
Roleplay: Faction missions and investigation at the start only. (6/10)
Combat/Challenges: The difficulty felt appropriate, I only found one unique/compelling however. (7/10)
Maps: I liked the map of the house, although I was confused as a player about the drop-off. (8/10)
Boons: n/a (n/a)
Uniqueness: The different rooms in Haunting kept us guessing. (7/10)
Faction Missions: Above average, one was slightly amusing, and it felt good getting them out of the way early. (8/10)
Overall: Haunting had a great atmosphere, was creepy, scary and accomplished its task. (8/10)

Without reading Haunting, I thought it was a good horror experience for PFS, although a little too G-rated for my tastes. I'll be adding fluff when I GM it.


Haunts.

****( )

I have played this scenario, I have neither read nor GMed it.

This had some interesting combats/encounters. Quite a few of them actually, without feeling overwhelming.

I never felt really drawn into the scenario though. Neither the town nor the castle seemed exotic enough.

I did like the encounters, and the flavor, it just didn't seem to matter that it was in Tian Xia.

Despite the setting shortcomings I thought this was a fun, flavorful and reasonably challenging scenario. I just want it to be even better.


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