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Pathfinder Society Scenario #4–07: Severing Ties (PFRPG) PDF

***½( ) (based on 29 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1–5.

The Pathfinder Society has discovered a new Aspis Consortium base in the pirate city of Riddleport and sends a small team of agents to infiltrate the rival cell disguised as newly hired mercenaries from Magnimar. After proving their value to the Aspis Consortium by carrying out a number of tasks throughout the City of Cyphers, the Pathfinders can learn the location of one of the consortium's local allies and ensure that the support the Aspis Consortium is counting on from their friends won't come.

Written by Ron Lundeen.

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 (29)
1 to 5 of 29 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 29 ratings)

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Sandboxed Death

***( )( )

Perspective: played once, GM'd once

Overall this scenario is a fun sandbox/infiltration mission and Riddleport is always an enjoyable destination with some nice settings/lore. The first half is great. However, it gets knocked down to 3 stars due to the extremely high death probability in the second half.

Now, I do think that death has a place in the campaign, but my feelings are that death should (generally) come from extraordinary stupid or extraordinarily lucky/unlucky dice rolls. I'm also a person who has smoked goggles on my "every character should buy this basic gear immediately" list. Nevertheless, there are at least three places in this scenario where PC death is unusually probable (ie, far above PFS standards):

GMs only!:

1.The basilisk(s). You better hope everybody brought smoked goggles and no more than one PC fails the save, because there's only enough basilisk blood for one stone-to-flesh conversion.

2. The statue almost certainly be destroyed for the second prestige point, and that's pretty hard to do. Especially when it can one-shot a 1st level character, as I ended up doing.

3. In the upper tier, the statue is equipped with the only tactics section I have ever seen that includes a coup de grace. An unlucky PC could easily become an altar sacrifice.

Still fun, but know that death is a strong possibility going in.

Terms of Enrampagement


I've played this one at low tier, and GMed it multiple times at both tiers. So, I'll attempt to give both a player's perspective, and a GM's perspective.


Player - I love it. Riddleport is an archetypical hive of scum and villainy, and the locations you visit only enforce this image. All three of the temples have a unique feel, and contribute to the craziness of the scenario.

GM - I also love it. The best Pathfinder stories come about when players are allowed to go nuts, and Riddleport is the perfect location for it. Between getting smashed at the temple of Cayden, get "smashed" at the temple to Calistria, and doing the smashing at the temple of Besmara, there's plenty of opportunities for the players to turn this supposedly covert mission into a drunken rampage.


Player - Hard. The first and optional fights are a cakewalk, but the second and final boss fights are potential TPKs. Our group had a Paladin trigger the second fight, so it didn't really hurt us, but if the Rogue or Wizard did it instead, then things might have been different. Overall I enjoyed it, I prefer quality over quantity in my encounters, and the author clearly does as well.

GM - I'll echo the player comments. GMs need to be careful with the second fight (remember the flickering wall) and the final boss, I've nearly TPK'd low tier parties with both of them.


Player - This module is about, role playing, not rollplaying. If you come into this one willing to get out of your comfort zone and do some crazy things then you'll have an awesome time. If you want to roll dice and kill monsters, you'll leave disappointed.

GM - Whether this module succeeds or fails depends on you. If you really get into it, and encourage players to get into it (I usually give the players a bit of time to hang out in the Tavern for precisely this purpose), then everyone will have a great time. If you just stick to the script, and refuse to get out of the box, then it'll fall a little flat.

Final Score:

Player - I love the roleplaying, the story, and the combats. Easily a 5.

GM - I also love the roleplaying, the story, and the combats. Also a 5.

If "The Disappeared" is an episode of Mission Impossible, then "Severing Ties" is an episode of Archer.


Smoked Goggles


10gp. Buy a pair.

Maybe it's fine for 4-5, but level 1s are dead

*( )( )( )( )

We ran this with level 1s and 2s and the basilisk was just a dead end. When the trap sprung half of us were turned to stone (seriously? A DC 15 check to basically die at level 1?!), the rest of us couldn't get a hit in through the bars (which provide cover) because we either had our eyes closed or averted (even more - to hit). Breaking in the room was impossible because of the hardness of the bars and the fact that you can't pick a lock with something that instant kills you swiping constantly. Getting close to the bars is a 1-hit death sentence to anyone who isn't super tanky, which at level 1 is everybody.

The story sounds great and I would have loved to see more of it, but putting a bunch of level 1-2s against a basilisk that they can't get to is just insane.

Sadly from now on I'm going to come read reviews before playing encounters, which will probably ruin some that have surprising twists. But at least I won't have to deal with instant-kill stuff like this.

I wanted to like it, but then it failed me

*( )( )( )( )

I really liked it to begin with. It's a neat premise, the mod hooks you in nicely and you get to play "the bad guys" for a bit. Up until the spoilered part, it was great. And yet I give this one star, because *spoilers*.

So yeah, the one-star part. There is a basilisk at Tier 1-2. A basilisk. A CR 5 creature with the young template applied to take it down to CR 4. 38 hit points, AC 17 (21 because of two-way cover), and oh yeah, a gaze attack of save or die. The young template doesn't actually take away or really make easier a basilisk's best weapon, which is its gaze attack.

If the PCs kill it, the stoned PCs can be brought back. If not, it takes 660 gold and DC 15 Fort save or die to come back from it: at level 1-2, DC 13 is less than a 50% chance for most PCs, and many PCs simply won't have the gold or PPs to get the spellcasting done. There is a reason the guidelines in the CRB mention using some common sense in making adjustments- if a templated monster's CR is technically in range, but its primary abilities are unaffected or lightly affected and too difficult for the level of the PCs, don't do it. I would think a basilisk would quite obviously be right up there in the list of things you don't do to level 1 PCs!

All it takes is a string of average luck to have a TPK in this mod. Average. Not bad luck or terrible luck, just average. If every PC rolls an 11 on the d20, over half of them will fail the save in the first round. That should tell you this is a completely unacceptable encounter to place in a mod of this tier.

For anyone reading this: take into account the resources and likely stats of the PCs playing your modules. Level 1 and 2 PCs don't have much- they don't have gold, they don't have magic, and they are extremely dependent on the d20 roll to a much larger extent than higher level characters. It is unacceptable to place an encounter that can easily lead to a TPK with average luck and variability in a mod that could be played by brand new players with brand new characters.

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