Pathfinder Module: Murder's Mark (PFRPG)

****½ (based on 6 ratings)
Pathfinder Module: Murder's Mark (PFRPG)
Show Description For:
Non-Mint

Add Print Edition $13.99 $5.00

Add PDF $9.99

Non-Mint Unavailable

Facebook Twitter Email

An urban mystery adventure for 1st-level characters.

Everyone in the fishing town of Ilsurian is excited when the legendary Umbra Carnival rolls into town—even if the show is run by members of the much-maligned Varisian ethnic group. With strange and exotic beasts, scandalous performances, games of chance, and all the other fun of a traveling fair, who could resist such an opportunity for entertainment?

Unfortunately for both the town and the circus, however, entertainment isn’t the only opportunity the carnival presents. Hidden within Ilsurian, a guild of thieves and scoundrels has been waiting for just such an occasion to launch a campaign of theft and murder—leaving the strangers from the circus to take the blame. With tensions mounting between locals and performers, and the body count rising on both sides, it’s up to the PCs to uncover what’s really going on and clear the circus’s name before the entire town erupts in a firestorm of ethnic violence.

Murder’s Mark is an adventure of mystery, illusion, and mob justice for 1st-level characters, written for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and compatible with the 3.5 edition of the world’s oldest RPG. This volume also contains a gazetteer of the traveling Umbra Carnival and a brand-new monster pulled from history and mythology, all of which can easily be adapted for use in any campaign setting.

Written by Jim Groves

Pathfinder Modules are 32-page, high-quality, full-color, adventures using the Open Game License to work with both the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set. This Pathfinder Module includes new monsters, treasure, and a fully detailed bonus location that can be used as part of the adventure or in any other game!

Murder's Mark is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle Sheet and additional rules for running this module are a free download (94 KB zip/PDF).

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-447-4

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Modules Subscription.

Product Availability

Print Edition: Ships from our warehouse in 1 to 7 business days.

PDF: Will be added to your My Downloads Page immediately upon purchase of PDF.

Non-Mint: Unavailable This product is non-mint. Refunds are not available for non-mint products. The standard version of this product can be found here.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

PZO9538


See Also:

1 to 5 of 6 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

****½ (based on 6 ratings)

Sign in to create or edit a product review.

*****


Good first half

****( )

I love the idea of murders in circus as well the sphinx.

But the later part just disappointed. Too many repetitive combats, annoying for level 1 team without sufficient healing. And the bad map design... too confusing as a storage. I thought it's a pyramid or maze... ahhh.

Not bad overall, but the mobs and maps aren't attractive.


Roughly ten hours of very well-executed investigation

*****

I enjoy sandbox scenarios and modules. It rewards creativity and player ingenuity. You can imagine how pleased I was upon discovering this was one of those kind of modules. Now, of course there are some scripted events in order to keep the story moving. However, that didn't bother me or the other players in the slightest. There's was more than enough to do to fill the time between the events.

The NPC's were memorable and what can arguably be considered the main location had a ton of flavor to it. Exploring it and enjoying all the various activities there were more than just satisfying. I was lucky to have a GM that could really build on what was already there and who was able to create a massive sense of immersion.

We didn't get bored a single second. It was a huge roller-coaster of investigation and the occasional fight. The fights were scary and the last one in particular can kill an entire party. Through sheer luck and teamwork, we managed to come back from the brink of elimination and death. I do not have to say how happy we were that we not only survived, but also stopped evil from achieving their goal.

I can't speak for the others, but I think it's safe to say that we really got the feeling that we truly accomplished something, something more than in a typical PFS scenario. From that point of view, as well as the amount of fun and flavor involved, it was an excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon and evening. I wouldn't really play it again. After all, I know the plot and thus how to do the investigation. However, I would highly recommend this module to others, as long as they enjoy sandboxes and investigation.


Not bad at all!

****( )

The intrigue is fine and the characters are ok. The downside however is that PCs don't really have a chance to connect the clues to the real villains. So they basically have to succeed their perception rolls to discharge the circus at each murder site, and that's it. Only by letting events unfold can they discover their enemy. I would have loved more proactivity and investigation. Good roleplaying and lively interactions with the circus crew can save they day and make the PCs enjoy the story rather than focusing on solving it.
It's a nice module however. Fits perfectly for a cool game session, and doesn't feature endless series of fights.


Love to Run it Again!

****( )

I enjoyed running this module because it wasn’t your typical dungeon-crawl adventure. The party consisted of

PCs:
a 1st level human barbarian, a 1st level gnome barbarian, a 2nd level druid, a 1st level inquisitor of Asmodeus, and a 1st level halfling sorcerer.
It felt a bit scripted, but the players surrendered to the ‘plot current’ without a struggle. I would have been happier if it had been more like a sandbox. As written it took 7.5 hours to run. If you had more time to work with you could expand quite a bit
ideas to expand on:
like fleshing out the skulk tribe living outside town and tracking down the drug dealing network selling shiver.
The campaign flavor of the scenario was disappointing. It could have been inserted into any world with tensions between two different ethnic groups. The combats were mildly challenging for the most part. I do like that most of the encounters were set up in a thoughtful way. The party split up during the hideout raid and things got interesting, but it would have been over quick if they had stuck together. I regret the lack of monsters to fight. I think it’s more heroic to fight monsters rather than constantly facing amoral humans. What makes this module worth it is the role-playing. There are a lot of different NPCs to bring to life. The author made the pace of the murders quick enough that there’s little chance for things to derail much. I look forward to running this module again. I just wish there were some real monsters to fight!


1 to 5 of 6 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
1 to 50 of 85 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Announced! Cover image is a mockup, and will change prior to publication.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Varisia!

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yay! More 1st level mods!


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Does this take place in a an established place in Varisia (Sandpoint, Magnimar, etc...), or is this a newly detailed location for the region?

Dark Archive

Sounds very cool.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

It's like Paizo is trying to make go broke ;)

WANT


Glad to see an another introductory module using an urban setting. Not so thrilled about Varisia again, but that's the great thing about modules: effortlessly portable.


Nice, congratulations Jim!

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

What!? Watcher got a module!? Way to frickin' go Jim! I'm so jealous but I offer the most sincere congrats.

Also, I hope...:
...somehow development of this module should inflict great pain on Mark. Not that I wish him pain, but as a title it's pretty significant.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Joseph Wilson wrote:
Does this take place in a an established place in Varisia (Sandpoint, Magnimar, etc...), or is this a newly detailed location for the region?

As a less experienced freelancer I want to be sensitive to how much I say prematurely (because things can change in development), but I will venture to say that the town is established in Varisia- but has not seen extensive treatment prior to this. Nevertheless, you can find it in the gazetteer of Varisia originanally published in Rise of the Runelords, Chapter Three. I'll let Mark decide if anything more should be said at this time. :)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Adam Daigle wrote:

What!? Watcher got a module!? Way to frickin' go Jim! I'm so jealous but I offer the most sincere congrats.

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks Matt and Adam!

Spoiler:
Actually, as far as I know (and I could be wrong), Mark actually came up with the title! Titles are hard for as simple as they are, especially if you want to avoid the overused "Watchjamacallit of the Whatever" syntax.

So we brainstormed, and one day boom! There was Mark with the title. I loved it immediately.


Wow, Jim, very awesome. Congrats!


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

This module sounds sweet.

Liberty's Edge

Well pff, the title gives away the murderer right there.

*calls cops on Mark*

By the way, the title should actually be "Murderer's Mark", otherwise my conclusion makes no sense.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

congrats Jim, well deserved!


Yay Jim!

Congrats! Just another reason I am glad I renewed my Module subscription. Now hopefully with this freelance project (soon to be) under your belt, you'll be selected to write a part in the Irrisen/ Linnorm Kings (a.k.a. Witches vs. Vikings) AP in 2013 (or is that 2014)?***

***(The above comment is PURE guesswork on my part, based on a "throw-away" comment that Jim Sutter made some time ago

Don't ask for a link... I am awful at linking stuff. :P

Sorry for the threadjack Jim... hardy and heartfelt congratulations!!

~Dean


I don't usually buy modules - but after the absolute riot that was Frostfur Captives, I'm prepared to splurge on what I'm sure will be another awesome adventure.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

THANK YOU EVERYBODY!

I read these kind words this weekend, and didn't know what to say for a day or two.

I sincerely hope you enjoy it. We got some investigation, some good role-playing, ol' fashioned fightin' and design that you can play straight through, or that you can easily augment with your own encounters and idea. I'm not calling it a sandbox- but I think people who want the latitude to add their own "touches" and role-playing situations will find the adventure accommodates that nicely.

And, I think it could serve as a nice start of an individualized campaign.

The_Minstrel_Wyrm wrote:

Yay Jim!

Congrats! Just another reason I am glad I renewed my Module subscription. Now hopefully with this freelance project (soon to be) under your belt, you'll be selected to write a part in the Irrisen/ Linnorm Kings (a.k.a. Witches vs. Vikings) AP in 2013 (or is that 2014)?***

***(The above comment is PURE guesswork on my part, based on a "throw-away" comment that Jim Sutter made some time ago

Don't ask for a link... I am awful at linking stuff. :P

Sorry for the threadjack Jim... hardy and heartfelt congratulations!!

~Dean

Wow Dean, you made my heart skip there.

I'd be a liar, if I didn't say that makes me have a Galadriel moment. "You offer it to me freely? I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired this." ::trembles and starts to turn dark::

But that's not my call. That requires a lot of trust, and its a big responsibility. I can only continue to learn and develop under the tutelage of my developers- and if the time is right, then we'll see.

Paizo has protect themselves by using known quantities, especially with that product line. And really when you think about it, they're doing the freelancer a favor by making sure they're ready.

But yeah, that's a goal to aspire to! :D


Go Watcher! Looking forward to seeing this. I love urban modules, so double plus good.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Congrats, Jim! Way to represent the class of 2010! ;-)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Don't forget the apostrophe in the title anywhere this could lead to some bad typos.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Thanks Jesse and Tom! Please enjoy!

@Doc,

You remain my favorite all time Steely Dan song! KATY LIED!


This one went a long way to my resubscribing this morning. :) The final nail thing...

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Sunderstone wrote:
This one went a long way to my resubscribing this morning. :) The final nail thing...

Awesome Sunderstone, I can't think of a nicer compliment! Bless you!

I think people will find it a nice compliment to many of the Varisian based campaign products coming out this summer.. Be it PFS related, or the Shattered Star series, or the Runelords Anniversary.

Murder's Mark is not directly related to those other products, but its definitely 1st level, situated close to the heart of the region, and depending on how you juggle adjudicate experience in your game, I think it could be an awesome side-trek to something else.. or even the kick off for a campaign in Varisia and beyond.

I hope you enjoy it!


Jim Groves wrote:


Murder's Mark is not directly related to those other products, but its definitely 1st level, situated close to the heart of the region, and depending on how you juggle adjudicate experience in your game, I think it could be an awesome side-trek to something else.. or even the kick off for a campaign in Varisia and beyond.

I hope you enjoy it!

1st level murder mystery in Varisia, whats not to like? :) Most likely I'll use it as a side trek to Runelords, especially if the anniversary Runelords HC is still Fast Track xp (never liked how fast 3.5 leveled, always felt you didnt have much time to enjoy the lower levels).

My plan is to use Murder's Mark as a prequel and probably tone down the second half of it to stay at level 2 (assuming the end of your module is 3rd level), so I can keep Runelords and your work intact for the most part.
Runelords spoilage:
I'll likely just ramp up Runelords goblin Swallowtail mini-invasion as well as the Glassworks to handle a level two group.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

@ Sunderstone: Murder's Mark is a very heavy role-playing adventure, so depending on group size it might not propel your group too far ahead. There's a lot of social themes running through it that I can't disclose, lest I ruin the surprises. Don't worry! We got some fightin' too.

I think its fair to say that every freelancer has some elements of their own style. I think based upon my PFS work and personal inclinations that I'm somewhat role-playing and story oriented. I like to think I can present a snazzy fight too, but I think I know which way I lean.

Anyway, there's a lot of role-playing and investigation, and less of a dungeon crawl, so the XP gain is going to vary some I think.

Of course the able and intelligent Mr. Moreland is developing, and he might adjust it of course. We'll see!


More RP and investigation is what I was hoping to see in this one. Looking forward to it that much more now. :)
Paizo's summer stuff is looking reeaal good this year.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've updated the image and description to match the finished product.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Awesome!

Yes, cool expanded product description too.

Silver Crusade

OK let's get Jim on that sure to be announced Irrisen/ Linnorm Kings AP.


Vic Wertz wrote:
I've updated the image and description to match the finished product.

Yay, I'm on a cover again!

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Congratulations Jim - your PFS Frostfur Captives scenario was AWESOME!!
It had absolutely everything - tie-ins to previous scenarios, really great premise why the adventure happens, awesome roleplaying opportunities, and so full of flavour!
Really looking forward to seeing what you do with a full module.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Halloween PDF availability? Sounds like I have my party going!

News if this will be Sanctioned for PFS play?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

All Pathfinder Modules designed for the Pathfinder RPG have been sanctioned for Pathfinder Society play, and we don't plan to alter that pattern in the immediate future.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

*casts Irresitable Dance on myself*

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Hey, have a good time at that Halloween game, and let us know how it went!

I'm jealous!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just ordered this and it will be my prequel to Runelords for my group.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Ratbane wrote:
Just ordered this and it will be my prequel to Runelords for my group.

I am ever so pleased!

There is no connection in terms of story, but there are references to locations that later become important in Runelords. So there's a sense of shared space and geography. Also there's nothing that works *against* using it as a prequel either, other than perhaps a bump in player experience.. which you're free to mitigate as you see fit.

I know I probably come across as a shill, but I'm always excited to see people looking forward to my stuff. I can't help it, it makes me happy. I hope your group has a great time!


This looks great, but between my home game and Shattered Star, I'm reaching Varisia Overload. How easily can this module be moved to another locale, like Ustalav?

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

James,

I am going to answer behind a spoiler tag.

Spoiler:
I really want to say easily, but I'm not sure that wouldn't be disingenuous. For the most part I think it is easily ported to a new location except for one issue.

Part of the story deals with racial tension. Specifically the town of Ilsurian is founded people of Cheliaxian heritage, who left Korvosa in opposition to the founding of the local monarchy. So there was a political difference to early Korvosa, but not a cultural difference.

Now the town is apart and separate from Korvosa, situated in a spot that sees a lot of traffic that crosses southern Varisia between Korvosa and Magnimar. So they're dealing with a lot of ethnic Varisians. Not Varisian by geography, but Varisian by ethnicity. And the adventure deals with a bit of a culture clash between ethnic Chelaxian and ethnic Varisians. A concept that has always been there but not always brought out to the forefront. And don't mistake me, the two groups do mingle, do live among each other, and do have mixed marriages especially in the major cities.. But this is something of a rural community and circumstances of the adventure put that community under pressure, stress, and tension.

My concern about moving it is whether you can reproduce that tension in Ustalav. If you can, then there should be no reason you couldn't move it.

I hope that helps!


I am looking forward details of Ilsurian and npcs. Might make it a players hometown as a option if they pick human. In the end I plan that the circus reward the players a free ride to Sandpoint.


Jim Groves wrote:

James,

I am going to answer behind a spoiler tag.

** spoiler omitted **

I hope that helps!

Thanks, Jim! Very helpful info.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Hey folks!

Because I subscribe, I just got my PDF copy.

(And I know I talk a lot for a freelancer)

*MY* tradition has always been to thank the Developers, the cartographer, and the artists for their work.

It looks beautiful. Blando did a top notch job as always. I couldn't be more pleased. Thanks to everyone involved and I hope the community enjoys it.

Grand Lodge

Looking forward to seeing reviews as ppl get their PDFs

Sczarni

Thinking about running this soon for PFS. When do you think the chronicle sheet & additional rules will be available?

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

I have to defer to Mark Moreland on that, but I know there was a definite intention to release a chronicle.

Paizo Employee Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Chronicle sheets are released on the streetdate for Pathfinder Modules and Pathfinder Tales novels. So the Chronicle sheet for this one should go up tomorrow, 10/31.

Sczarni

Thanks y'all


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Jim,

Holy crap.

In my opinion this easily in the top five or so modules Paizo has put out during their entire run. It's tight, fast paced, and fully focuses the attention on the PCs. I have no idea how you fit so much into a simple 32-page module, I really don't.

Outstanding, sir.

And by the way, material like this is why I voted for you to go all the way in Superstar, and it's also how I know I wasn't wrong :)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am so pleased! I hate to be a pimp, but could you please review? As my esteemed colleague Mike Shel recently said, it helps visibility.

I just fell in love with Crystal Frazier's creation, and I wanted to do it justice. Also, Varisia is a beautiful and rich place that you can fit such amazing stories.

I really hope others feel like you do, because The Shackled Hut not only has a huge big important story, it also has a lot of little ones contained within it as well. I hope I pull it off twice! ::fingers crossed::

1 to 50 of 85 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Paizo / Product Discussion / Pathfinder Module: Murder's Mark (PFRPG) All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.