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Pathfinder Society Scenario #5–02: The Wardstone Patrol (PFRPG) PDF

****( ) (based on 24 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario for characters of 3rd to 7th level (Tier 3–7).

All-out war has erupted on the long-contested border between the crusader nation of Mendev and the demon-infested Worldwound. With the magical defenses that once held the demons at bay failing, defense of the region now falls to small patrols of mobile soldiers to resupply, reinforce, and communicate between the border's many fortresses and outposts. With so much at stake, the Pathfinder Society has enlisted many of its agents to assist in the war effort, both to protect its own interests and to prevent the onrushing tide of demonic attackers from plunging the entire Inner Sea region into chaos. On one such wardstone patrol, however, the party may find itself facing an enemy of an entirely different nature.

Written by Alex Greenshields.

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 (26)
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Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 24 ratings)

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Great (although gruff) NPC and attention to detail make this a great scenario.

****( )

(I both GMed and played this.)

On the GM side of things, this is a great scenario. Lots of background for the central NPC that you probably don't need, but at least gives you an image of what makes him tick. I sort of had to telegraph the faction missions because otherwise people had no idea what they're supposed to do. There are apparently old faction letters explaining their goals, but those are outdated by now and you'd really need to know them, otherwise you won't know what you're supposed to do.

The sidebars are really helpful in steering the scenario and clearly outline what's supposed to happen. Big props for that, I wish more scenarios were this clear. It's sometimes a bit of a hassle to find important information.

As a player, this is a great scenario. Higher tier is definitely where you want to be, especially since the first encounter is sort of lacklustre otherwise. Last combat is probably a bit too easy if people come prepared, but beating the enemy isn't the real challenge here. Still, the combat is easily telegraphed and if people prep accordingly, it might get a bit easy.

The Cheliax faction mission is a bit of a hassle. You're supposed to schmooze up to the NPC, but he's not really willing to talk, so my players weren't really keen on pursuing that, making the boon easy to miss. It's also pretty hard to find the time to talk to him, as there's no real downtime; you're continually whisked from encounter to encounter without any time to settle down and have a chat.

The "split" is a cool twists on scenarios and works well, I feel. There's a route the scenario supposes you take, but the alternative route seems equally plausible and well-thought out.

There's a cool bit of roleplay and some non-combat encounters I really appreciated. It's a minor thing, but I appreciated the weird little thing in between combat encounters, and I think my players did as well. It's out of the ordinary, and kind of refreshing to do.

My only gripe is with the story. Semi-spoiler, so spoiler tags.

Story spoiler:
The blurb and introduction promise a sightseeing/scouting tour and cool interactions with the titular Wardstones, but in the end they're only a means to an end. It's supposed to be a grand thing, and possibly the reason the party is sent out, but once you see it, they go "Yep, that's a Wardstone, here's more stuff to do." The party's first instinct was to find a fix for the failing Wardstone, but in the end they're just saddled with a fetch-and-retrieve mission while the actually interesting stuff (read: fixing the Wardstones) never gets mentioned anymore.

In the end, I really liked the scenario. The roleplay is cool, with an interesting (albeit difficult to communicate with) NPC, and lots of little details make the scenario really easy to run. A few narrative hiccups prevent me from giving full marks, but it's close.

***( )( )

Good interaction with an NPC, but combats not scale well

****( )

The main plot is about an old warrior's mental thought, not too unique but love it. Many roleplay plots, if you play a character with social skills and enjoy perauading, you should try this.

However the downside is combat. We played high tier with the BBEG too weak, disappointed. The first one is okay of difficulty, but too many fogs and tokens to do, drag the fight long without dealing much real threat. Didn't play the optional.

Maybe the low tier scales better.

A thrill to run


I GM'ed this last weekend and it seems TheDegraded was one of my players. I'd been looking forward to running this one for a few months, due to various scheduling mishaps, but it finally happened. And I wasn't disappointed.

This scenario has a story to it that has to be pulled off in order to really drive the scenario home. That wasn't easy but the scenario does give you some good material for it. And when you use that, the story makes sense to the players at the end.

It really helps if the players are of a mind to engage with the primary NPC. The faction missions help with this, and good knowledge/gather info checks can also help. But other than that, at the beginning the guy is a bit uninviting. I had to nudge a little to get the players over their initial "oh, if he doesn't wanna play ball, then we're not gonna play ball". After that things went easier.

I think what this scenario really needed is one or two small scenes designed for conversation with the NPC. If you really look at it the text closely, you kinda get zapped from encounter to encounter, but it's supposed to be the time between encounters that you do the talking.


Okay, so much for the gooey stuff. On to the gore.

This scenario doesn't have a lot of fights, but they count for a lot. The party had to play up with 4 player adjustment, just barely. The jump in difficulty is quite steep here.

The barbarian that TheDegraded mentioned was played by a friend of mine. This was one of his first games at higher tier, and he suddenly discovered that he was no longer able to solo/oneshot encounters. Instead, he found himself 1-2 turns of movement ahead of the rest of the party, facing multiple casters with extreme synergies, standing just beyond his reach. Well, it turns out Superstition only goes so far in protecting you. But I was cheering just as hard as the rest of the party when he survived that pileup with a natural 20. After that, it was still a bitter fight, but the party triumphed.

I didn't have time for the optional encounter, and I don't mind in the least. That one is really the weakest part of the scenario, but it could've done in the party.

The final encounter was also quite epic. I don't want to spoil anything. However, it's one of those cool fights where there's much more on the table than "can we kill them before they kill us". My players were searching through all their chronicles to scrape up boons to find some +2 to this or that to make it. When they won, it was a true triumph.


Story and setting: this adventure is built into the S5 metaplot and into Golarion quite nicely. It showcases an exciting area. I think that if you have a longer timeslot you can have a lot of fun embellishing the scenery some more. If you're comfortable adding some more background to the main NPC, it'll also be easier to set him up for RP.


Factions: this is one of the first "new style" faction missions, from season 5. That is to say, not every faction gets a mission, but you get actual special rewards for them rather than prestige. Clearly at this point they were still working out the kinks of the system.

The faction rewards for the relevant factions are pretty cool. However, for some of the factions you basically have to guess what your faction mission might be. They're mentioned in a faction letter distributed over the internet some time ago and preserved on the forum. However, you have to know which half year's faction mission to get. This is quite awkward.

My advice to GMs: get the relevant faction letters and make the players of those factions read them before the session. They contain sufficient hints to get players going.

Challenging, fun and potentially lethal

****( )

Oh boy, oh boy, what a fun scenario this was! And no, that's not sarcasm. Let's start by saying that the scenario does an excellent job grabbing your imagination from the start and pulling you in instantly. You just feel immersed rather easily, which is always a good thing. Too bad that the main NPC is just pretty bland and rather tough to actually role-play as for a GM. A few more notes would have been appreciated as that would have significantly improved the role-playing portion.

And then there's the encounters. Now, I was warned in advance that we would struggle playing this on the high tier with a level 3 and two level 4's around. The GM wasn't kidding. The fights were extremely tough and challenging, but it did give quite a few memorable moments, which itself means the scenario is solid and entertaining. To give an example: our level 6 barbarian almost died in the first fight. He was unable to move and a coup de grace happened. By sheer luck he somehow managed to live. A natural 20 was never a more pleasant sight.

All-in-all, this is a fun meatgrinder that definitely is dangerous and lethal. Compared to other scenarios, I'm left with a feeling that I actually accomplished something important. As a result, I'm fond of this scenario and would still recommend it.

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