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Pathfinder Society Scenario #3–24: The Golden Serpent (PFRPG) PDF

****( ) (based on 14 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 5–9

The Pathfinder Society sends a team of agents to meet an important contact in an unassuming restaurant in Absalom’s Ivy District, but not everything is as it seems. What the Pathfinders find there will lead them into a lion’s den of danger and intrigue in the City at the Center of the World.

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.

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Product Reviews (14)
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Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 14 ratings)

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A simple task is never easy for a Pathfinder

****( )

I was one of the players in Quentin's game, see the review below and I have to echo some of his thoughts.

The Golden Serpent is a scenario that is wickedly fun, but does have a few problems. Let me start by saying that the plot is a lot of fun. You are asked to perform a simple task, but nothing is ever easy for a pathfinder. You'll end up dealing with a volatile, even potentially explosive situation, and also encounter some pretty interesting foes you hardly ever get to see. For me, that's always a good thing.

Yet as I mentioned, the scenario does have some issues. For the players the storyline was unclear. We had no ideas why certain foes were even there and sadly we also couldn't find a note or two to explain that to us. The backstory, which we heard from the GM after the scenario was over, is however really good. It's a shame you just miss out on it as a player.

Another issue is that I noticed the GM struggled a bit with the rooms and tactics at times. Turns out that certain important sentences are scattered over multiple pages, as well as different tactics. The formatting in other words is a bit of a mess. If you're looking to GM this, and I recommend you should, you really need to be aware of this, but even then I can see you forget things in the heat of the moment.

Finally there's a small issue with the gold. Having to rob a store or miss out on 17 gold is just weird. The same applies for taking a bunch of clothes and torches. To put that in perspective: taking some of the extravagant furniture fetches no coin. That really doesn't make sense at all. It's just an arbitrary way of 'well, the PC's are entitled to this much gold, so let's toss in some random stuff to reach that number.'It felt weird and really unsatisfying.

That said, The Golden Serpent is a fun and challenging scenario with a lot of potential. There's enough opportunity to roleplay, fight and investigate and there are multiple ways to overcome certain challenges. Players have a decent amount of freedom and that is always a good thing. The potential boons, I may add, are great as well. If it wasn't for the issues I pointed out, this scenario would have gotten five stars from me. Regardless of that, I highly recommend this scenario to everyone.

Great setup, lacklustre story.

****( )

(I GMed this)
I just love how this scenario starts. No one expects what's happening, and although people are mistrustful of the seemingly easy mission, seeing the players realising what's going on makes for a great story. The roleplay was great, without the adventure hinging on it. I wish this was done more often.
I also liked the variety of the encounters. Pathfinder has hundreds of Bestiary pages; it's great to see them put to use to create more unique encounters, rather than throwing more vanilla humans at the party (and even the human encounters had some interesting strategies). Though I feel the monsters could've been buffed slightly, the damage output never really reached its full potential. Meanwhile, the final boss was a house to deal with, but with action economy favouring the players, she never really got to shine.
What puts this scenario down for me is the fact that the dungeon made little to no sense, the backstory never really factored in, and the BBEG's plan was as cliche'd as they come. My players kept wondering what they were doing in the dungeon, and why everything's even there.
I liked how the writer tried to make it a realistic lair with sleeping quarters, a kitchen, and a training room, but if half of those rooms are empty with nothing to find (or even lacking flavour text), it loses some of its appeal. Similarly, the Society expects you to loot everything, and failing to loot a wardrobe could cost you a handful of GP. I know the Society likes you to loot valuables, but I don't think I'm supposed to loot a legitimate business, even if it's a front for the evil guys.

All in all, the encounters were great in its variety and abilities (although they do suffer from the "stay inside your room until the heroes kick in the door"-syndrome), but the backstory could really use some help.

Five stars, would GM again.


I just ran ths yesterday, and it is now one of my favorite scenarios to date. While reading the scenario during prep I knew that if it played half as well as it read I would not be disappointed, and I wasn't. The scenario has a little something for everyone: ample roleplaying opportunity, good fights, cool baddies (something I've noticed in the other Jim Groves scenario I've played, Haunting at Hinojai), some opportunities for some hilarity, and plenty of danger. There wasn't really any point that the party felt at ease, it was really nice to keep people on their toes.

A splendid scenario for both combat and roleplay


This scenario had everything I was looking to bring for a table. The roleplay elements were in depth, and varied between subtle nods to prior scenarios, backdrops detailing the political atmosphere of Absalom, and detailed interpersonal opportunities with specific NPCs. The number of things I can't say here without spoilers is simply overwhelming.

The opening was done beautifully, and really sets the tone for the urgency of the whole scenario. This leads directly into some tactically interesting combats that had my table gritting their teeth as they fought through them. This scenario sets the party up well for a real feeling of accomplishment at the end. I cannot recommend this highly enough.

Dripping with flavor


The first scene of this adventure is one of the most memorable of any PFS scenario. It leads into an excellent dungeon crawl that is challenging and creative. Good RP, plenty of combat; everybody leaves the table happy.

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