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Pathfinder Society Scenario #4–13: Fortress of the Nail (PFRPG) PDF

***½( ) (based on 8 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 5–9.

The Pathfinder Society sends a team of agents into a Hellknight citadel to free a wrongfully imprisoned ally. Among the law-bound knights, however, they may find that getting out of the prison isn't as easy as getting in.

Written by Amanda Hamon.

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 (8)
1 to 5 of 8 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 8 ratings)

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Decent scenario

****( )

Found this scenario to be a little railroaded but enjoyed running it non the less. Majority of the scenario is repetitive RP but the encounters definitely kept the players on the edge of their seats.


***( )( )

While I did enjoy this much more than I did the Disappeared, I would rate this a solid three out of five stars, in a good way. It had some RP, though it didn't seem nearly as much, or as great as others have implied. It is extremely railroad, essentially forcing the characters to rescue an individual that they have every reason, in and out of game not to want to ever have found.

The combats are fairly strong, with a lot of info being questionable, (one or two breath weapons, lava pits, why are we being attacked and why are the individuals we are doing a huge favor for not willing to help us at all help them against their own problems).

A lot of the plot and set up is based on some pretty shaky concepts, and in a lot of ways, the end rewards are not really worth what you have to go through to succeed. The Boon is more of a punishment than a prestigious award, can not be sold off to make up for it, and comes straight from an individual a lot of people wouldn't want a gift from.

Removing the super railroad, and allowing a way to succeed WITHOUT rescuing Zarta, as well as adding some more convincing and realistic evidence, as well as some explanation for it would make this a solid 4, possibly even a 5 star scenario, as well as let the players feel like they are actually affecting the game and world. It would also be great to give players a believable reason and motive to actually want to do this at all, and a choice that seriously goes beyond "Do I really want 1XP and 2PP that much or not", which is kind of what it comes down to. Redesigning the scenario so that it focuses, or at least has the option to allow the players to find something a lot more meaningful as actual evidence would go a long way, too.


The fate of faction leaders

****( )

There were events in this scenario that directly affect the future of several faction leaders in PFS. If you care about your faction, you won't want to skip this scenario.

This scenario is 70% roleplay, 30% deadly combat.

The start of this scenario is a roleplay sandbox and I liked the mechanics of the skill challenge needed to succeed. We had some good roleplaying moments, but perhaps that was because of the GM. This was the best part of the scenario.

One of the encounters was deadly without being particularly interesting or fun. The monster was tough because multiple immunities. When I played, only two PCs (out of six) could damage it while everyone else watched (and was probably ready to run away). Single boss encounters (without other interesting details or effects) just don't work and the encounter could have been designed a lot better.

Also, the previous encounter could potentially make weak groups even weaker. Bad idea. I can imagine a lot of groups failing this scenario, especially if the GM doesn't allow them to access spellcasting services inside the citadel. The author should have been very specific about whether these services should even be available. Details like that are extremely important to limit table variance, because most of the time it's the difference between success and failure. This was probably the worst offense of the scenario.

I heard there was a map of Citadel Vraid included (which is cool), but it wasn't needed for this scenario. I never saw the map and I think the scenario is better when the map isn't used.

Ratings:

Length: 3 hours and we really took our time with the roleplay. Could be shorter. We skipped the optional encounter if there was one.
Experience: Player with 5 decent PCs at subtier 8-9.
Sweet Spot: TBD.
Entertainment: I'm biased because I like roleplay. (8/10)
Story: The meta story was good, the story in the scenario was only OK. (6/10)
Roleplay: Open-ended roleplay with well written (and notable) NPCs. I like. (8/10)
Combat/Challenges: The final encounter can kill at least one person in most groups. If PCs are missing from the prior encounter, it could be worse. (2/10)
Maps: The main citadel map wasn't needed and the other two maps didn't stand out. (3/10)
Boons: First boon, you could come out ahead 1000g, at worst you lose 500g, depends on you. The other boon was vague but I liked it anyway. (8/10)
Uniqueness: The premise of this scenario is very special and ends a story arc. (8/10)
Faction Missions: I like that many of the faction missions were shared with the main mission. (8/10)

Overall: A short and fun excursion to meet famous Hell Knights, followed by poorly designed combat encounters. I might have given this scenario a lower rating, but I had a good experience (4 stars) and we avoided all of the shortcomings of this scenario. (7/10)


Well sir, I didn't like it.

**( )( )( )

This scenario was hell, literally.

The skill challenges were fairly stiff, and didn't make much sense considering the evidence we had in hand. We did some roleplaying but thankfully had the skill set to make all the talking a formality.

The map was gargantuan, our GM had it printed out on a poster sized map and the scale was still too small to use as a combat board. I'm sitting there looking at it thinking "when the crap hits the fan and we have to fight our way through a fortess full of Hellknights, this is either going to be awesome, or suck the most suck that anything has ever sucked. Then there was no giant fight with the Hellknights. As Harry Potter would say, "Letdownius Majorus".

Now to my real beef with this session, whomever thought the dimensional anchor effect in the second fight was a good idea needs to really consider what that means.

Sure we found some potions, but as the DM pointed out, they only have a 40% chance of working each. One party member was still cursed and my mount (as a cavalier) was cursed after we had downed them all. What now?

What now means that 2 of the 5 party members are not heading through the portal, it would have been suicide for my gnome cavalier if he was mountless and had gone in, and your armored jello dog that was designed by an angry 12 year old is going to slaughter those 3 other PCs without breaking a sweat. At this point the adventure was over, sorry Zartra, poor dice rolls mean you rot in hell.

Luckily for us, we players came up with the idea that the Hellknights must have a chapel and some clerics who could possibly remove the curse. The GM used a handwave to say that we slipped over there unoticed and that they were prepared to remove our curses at standard spellcasting costs and chances of success. It still took almost a 1000 gold between the 2 characters to get the curses removed. So yeah, thanks a ton for that.

I want to point that out again, if the GM hadn't handwaved a way for us to get uncursed, 3 players would have stepped through the portal and 3 players would have died a certain death. Was that the goal behind the design of that mechanic? If so, good job.

You shouldn't paint characters into a corner that keeps them from continuing the mission, plan on giving them a way around whatever happens, or else that's just poor game design. If you only mean for the curse to prevent people from using dimensional travel during the prison fight, have the potions they find have a hightened caster level for auto success, or better yet, don't force them to rely on dimensional travel to complete the mission!!!!!

One last thing, her "boon" at the end of the scenario is utter garbage. The only thing you've done is split my level appropriate reward down into two chunks, one of which I have no use for. At this level I already have all my magic items of 3000 gp or less, my handy haversack, my +1 armor and weapons, and the other cheap wonderous items I had slated for purchase. If you had written it as a one time 10% discount on one item up to the value of the GP received for this scenario, I think that would have been a nicer idea. Instead I'm forced to buy something for 3000 gp I don't need and sell it for half price, effectively cutting my reward down even further after having to pay extra to get my mount uncursed.

Boo.


Fantastic mix of roleplay, skills, and combat

*****

I recently attended a small local convention, and played six slots of PFS. This scenario was the highlight of the entire weekend.

The first half of the scenario shows that Pathfinders need to be more than just killing machines or Diplomancers. You have to actually think, make in-character decisions, and work with some NPCs to get your prisoner release papers signed by the right people and succeed on your mission. Playing through it really made me feel like those of us with "real" characters were having a chance to shine.

Sometimes scenarios with this much roleplay and skill emphasis can have combats that feel thrown-in just to make quota, but the combats in this one felt appropriate. The fight against the big fire monster was brutal, and we had one PC death (I could have saved him had he delayed his turn, but I failed to convince him to trust me that much), but it was exciting and fun.

By the time it was all said and done, I felt like I had really gotten to truly play my character and see him go through these events. It was immersive and super fun.


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