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

***( )( ) (based on 10 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 (10)
1 to 5 of 10 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

***( )( ) (based on 10 ratings)

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Good, challenging scenario

****( )

This scenario is the tried and tested formula of "start with some interesting roleplay" (you're trying to convince hellknights in a hellknight citadel to do what you want) and then following it up with a handful of unique, challenging encounters.

In that sense, it scratches the itch of both types of gamers (those who like to have interesting roleplay, those who like to have interesting combat).

Another reviewer mentions a CR12 fight for a level 7 party. The CR12 fight is the fight for a level 8-9 party (thus you could see how a table of six level 9s would be somewhat challenged by a CR12 fight). A level 7 party playing up would face a 4-player adjust in the final fight and it would not be CR12. That said, the fight should be challenging for most tables -- if run right -- and in a good way.

This one gets high marks for me since it has great RP encounters with hellknights and some great, unique fights.

Party Level 7, Enemy CR 12

**( )( )( )

As noted above, that's the simplest way to sum up this mod. Our party level was 7, and the final 'boss' was CR 12. Naturally, we got slaughtered.

It's a shame, because the majority of the scenario before that was interesting and fun. Lots of social skills, lots of RP, a nice little plot twist to investigate, a moderately challenging fight... good stuff that's often lacking in PFS scenarios.

But then came the final enemy. CR 12. High DR. Attacks from surprise with multiple hard-hitting attacks and combat maneuvers, and it literally cannot miss ever (+25 to all attacks). Our archer gets five shots a round and couldn't hit him (and couldn't have hurt him if he did). And you can't even run away. It was a major letdown, as the futility of even trying was evident from Round 1. The GM said he would never run this story again, and I can't blame him. If I wanted to throw away a character on a pointless, no-win scenario, I'd play Bonekeep.

What bugs me about slaughterhouse encounters is that there's no cleverness or creativity involved; there's no way to win aside from sheer power. You don't get to figure out the bad guy's weakness, or come up with an ingenious strategy. Smart tactics don't work; roleplay is irrelevant; teamwork won't save you; even luck doesn't turn the tide. All that matters is sheer power, and the bad guys simply have more, so you die. Period. Where's the fun in that?

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.


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)

1 to 5 of 10 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

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