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Pathfinder Society Scenario #3–25: Storming the Diamond Gate (PFRPG) PDF

****( ) (based on 15 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3–7.

Agents of the Pathfinder Society have discovered the location of a back door into their private demiplane that puts the entire realm at risk of plunder and exploitation at the hands of the Aspis Consortium. Rather than close the access point into their adventuring paradise, however, the Decemvirate sends a crack team of Pathfinders to secure the gate for future Society use... at any cost.

Written by Larry Wilhelm.

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 (16)
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Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 15 ratings)

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Snakes and Ladders

***( )( )

Hi all, its been awhile since I had a PFS game but here I am. This particular scenario already has plenty of reviews and some of them say some of the same things I'm about to say but I don't think they say it quite the way I intend to so here goes.

First of all I must say that there was very little in the way of actual role playing in this scenario and that's a terrible shame. None of the npcs were terribly talkative, there wasn't even an overly boastful villain.

Apart from a fellow Pathfinder that has little in the way of useful information to add you really dont need to talk to anyone at all. I'm with holding 1 star from its mark just for this oversight.

My second point concerns the background of the scenario, namely the introduction of the Children of Lamashtu, Aldinach and Areshkagal. I thought the information about all of this was fascinating myself and very much appreciated its inclusion into the story.

Without this background in the story it would have just been a boring dungeon crawl, with a couple difficult encounters to annoy me. During the early part of the scenario it was the main thing that had me thinking and that's never a bad thing.

To me this sort of background in a scenario connects the game back to Golarion, it makes the scenario thematic and I love that. As a player I try to make my characters thematic so I love it To me this sort of background in a scenario connects the game back to Golarion, it makes the scenario Thematic and I love that.

As a player I try to make my characters as thematic as I can so I love it when the Game designers and GMs are trying to do the same thing.

The third thing I'd like to bring up concerns the encounters though and here's where I need to use spoilers because I found two of them annoying, especially the final encounter. I will try to provide clear and reasonable arguments concerning them of course.

Spoiler:
The encounter with the Graven Guardian was quite annoying and there are several reason why I think it should not have been included. The thing to remember is that the party I was with was level 3-4 and mainly spell casters and a pregen Amiri.

The Graven Guardian is one of those monsters that has very high defenses. It has Damage reduction that is only broken by Adamantine, a big ask for level 3-4 even counting the existence of weapon blanches simply because who thinks of buying them that early?

Even if you did think of buying some blanches it takes at least one round to prepare it so by the time you realize you need it the moment has passed.

As well as Damage reduction it also has considerable Spell resistance, enough that you really need spell penetration to reliably get through it at that level and who takes spell penetration at level 3?!

The reason I think this monster should not have been included in the scenario, at least at tier 3-4, is that with such high defenses all you get is a long and boring fight. At the 6-7 tier it probably would have been fine.

I understand you can avoid the fight with the Graven Guardian but really that's no excuse because you know someone is going to trigger it sooner or later so you are essentially laying a trap for a group of players to trigger, a boring frustrating trap.

Spoiler:
Now onto the Final Encounter. This was a test of my ability to suspend disbelief as well as annoying.

It was a darkened chamber with a number of platforms connected by wooden bridges, which happened to form a winding route around the chamber in a big snakey S pattern.

The only way to get from one platform to another is to take the bridges, jump or fly because there are drops of 100' to 200' feet falls involved.

To top it all off the bad guys are conveniently at the end of the gauntlet which is conveniently placed just close enough for the bad guys to take full advantage of their powers. Conveniently each platform counts as difficult terrain to boot, just to slow you down more.

They summon monsters to slow you down, shoot arrows at you and even fireball you, all the while remaining invisible in the darkness since they can quite clearly see your lights while you cant see them in the dark. Convenient.

Now concerning the fireball, it was used on us almost right away so that the wooden bridge was ignited and collapsing. Our GM was kind and gave us all 1 round to get off the bridge before it collapsed but I could see many GMs ruling that the bridge is instantly destroyed and that anyone on it must roll a save or fall into the yawning chasm beneath, which would easily result in several character deaths.

How are we meant to avoid this? How can we plan for it since there's no hint of what the BBEG can do?!

The point I'm trying to make here is that this is all just too convenient. The terrain is perfect, the enemies choice of tactics is perfect, our lack of knowledge is perfect and if you expect pcs to have just the right thing to solve all of this you'll be sorely disappointed.

I appreciate that the game designers were trying to make a tough fight but this particular encounter takes it too far. There's tough and then there's terrain so perfectly and fiendishly designed that it comes of feeling like it is designed rather than natural! which promptly destroys suspension of disbelief. At least it did for me.

Before I conclude this review I'd like to talk about something I've heard mentioned a number of times now concerning consumables. Some players and GMs seem to believe that a player should have a consumable for everything. Don't have a Fly Potion? Why not? You're a Pathfinder you should know better. Don't have weapon blanches? You're a Pathfinder. No Potion of See Invisibility? No Potion of Resist Fire? No Scroll of Comprehend Languages? Breath of Life? Lesser restoration? Restoration for that matter? Cold Iron weapon? Silver weapon? Adamantine Weapon? Oil of Bless Weapon? Oil of Align Weapon? Blunt weapon? Slashing weapon? Ranged weapon? Antitoxin? Antiplague? Alchemist's Fire? Everburning Torch? Scroll of Daylight? Wand of Cure Light Wounds or a Wand of Infernal Healing? Smoked Goggles? Hot Weather outfit? Cold Weather outfit? How about a rope and grappling hook? A sledge hammer and crowbar? Climbing kit? Tent? Food and water? You're a Pathfinder! You Should Have an Answer for Everything!!

I have problems with this line of thinking.
1) PFS has very controlled resources you cant afford everything and really you shouldn't be expected too. Also anyone with less than 14 strength probably cant carry all the stuff they might need without the use of a Bag of Holding or a Handy Haversack, Which of course you cant afford if you need all those expendables and the rest! Well certainly not at level 3-4.

2) Its Metagaming to assume your character knows about all these things unless he/she has the right knowledge skills, EG Knowledge (Planes) so they know the need Cold Iron and Silver for killing Demons and Devils.

3) The Pathfinder Society Field Guide give you some hints about things you need but its not part of the Core Assumption so unless you own a copy and can show it to your GM on demand then you cant assume your character knows they need these things UNLESS THEY HAVE THE RIGHT KNOWLEDGES. If I ever GM PFS, and its a BIG if, I fully intend to ask players to produce this book or show me their knowledges if they have a lot of this gear. (I recently found out that the Field Guide is part of the Core Assumption but I had to look it up on the Additional Reources page. The Guide to Organised play for Season 5 makes no mention of this fact. Although curiously previous seasons Guides did... Why was the Field Guide removed only to be put back in? Editing error?)

4) Claiming your GM is 'Softballing you' because they don't assume you have all of this crap and don't screw you for not having it is an excuse for cruelty and elitism. Please don't make the game about that! I for one resent one style of players trying to force other styles of players to conform to their standards.

In conclusion this is a cool little story that's part of an interesting line of scenarios. I wish the terrain used in the final fight was more realistic or at least not quite so contrived but otherwise the final encounter was tough but fair. There was a distinct lack of role playing, a great shame. I think the main complaint I have about this scenario is that it came off feeling like it was a game when what I want is a story.

I just realized I forgot to talk about the rewards for the scenario, which are fairly interesting. One of the items offered can be bought with Prestige, and that's a really good idea.

However I think the game designers have been far to cautious with the design and utility of said item, by that I mean that the use of the item is far too easily circumvented - so much so that I struggle to even think of a use for it. That being the case the item costs far too much for what it does, maybe if it cost 1000 gp or 3 PA it MIGHT be worth it.

Its an excellent idea in that it gives Prestige another use and that's good. But its also an example of poor or overcautious design.


So much fun!

****( )

Perspective: Player, Subtier 3-4, 5-player table.

This one was so much fun! Yeah, it is a dungeon crawl. No, there is not much RP in it. (With more RP, it would be 5 stars.)

The best things about this scenario:

  • Very cool effects for characters to gain, with upsides and downsides.
  • Incredible terrain.
  • Tough encounters! It is nice to have encounters that last more than 1 or 2 rounds.


  • review of diamond gates

    ****( )

    So I just played in this game last night with 2 level 4 fighters a ninja, a magus, a druid, and 2 clerics and it took us over an hour and a half to get through one room with only one monster the damn statue. Only one of us could do damage since we had an adamantine dwarven waraxe. Unfortunately the one dang cleric didn't want to heal at all so it kept taking us down. It was probably the one encounter I was about to just leave because of. Overall the rest of the encounter was a great dungeon crawl.


    Caution: Would not advise playing up!


    So just ran this yesterday with a group that was a little over 5 in average level. Like most PFS games they voted to play up since in actuality most PFS games are pretty easy. Sadly for them though this was not one of those games. I really enjoyed the maps, plot, mobs and of course the end battle (although it was a b~*@# to draw). When I compare the end battle to the laughably pathetic end battle for "Our Lady of Silver" I wonder what Paizo was thinking. Unfortunately for my group about half of them had just breezed through "Our Lady of Silver" recently so were expecting another cake walk. So all-in-all a very good scenario, I would just recommend (highly) that when you run this suggest to the players that playing up would be a very very bad idea.


    Epic finale

    ****( )

    Perspective: GM'ed twice.

    Summary: This is a rock solid dungeon exploration that explodes with a terrifically challenging and engaging final boss battle, a great finale to the Tapestry warfare storyline.

    The Good:
    -Interesting dungeon rooms with flavour and verisimilitude ensure that your party are not adventuring through empty and featureless stone rooms. Being stalked by a telepathic trickster makes for some intriguing roleplay too.

    -The final fight will pick up your players and shake them silly, ready for arguably the most epic and challenging boss battle PFS has ever seen! Aspis agents will never seem the same after Aglorn Desimire. If you have a party that are itching for a greater challenge, consider running Diamond Gate.

    -Snippets of the metaplot are abound here. The Andorans are worried about a letter sent from "Pasha", the Aspis are scrambling in Varisia, the Paracountess Dralneen starts a feud with the nouveau riche Desimire noble family. I am amazed that during a simple dungeon delve, so many interesting snippets come to light during the faction missions. It's great and attentive players will delight in seeing the threads come together. A beautiful example of metaplot immersion.

    The Bad:
    -The Hao Jin Tapestry is still just a undeveloped locale where Hao Jin teleported in a bunch of smaller dungeons that can be navigated in five hours. There's no interesting additions from the demiplane aspect of the scenario.

    -The special magic item on the chronicle sheet is vastly overpriced for what it does.


    1 to 5 of 16 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>

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