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Pathfinder Society Quest: Phantom Phenomena (PFRPG) PDF

***( )( ) (based on 4 ratings)

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A series of six Quests designed for 1st-level characters.

Bizarre phenomena have tormented the people of southeastern Ustalav for decades, and these events become stronger and more dangerous every year. Hoping to uncover the origins of these flashes of red lightning and spectral hauntings, Dr. Quolorum from the Sincomakti School of Sciences has set out with a team of able-bodied assistants. Can the PCs help the professor unlock the secret that dwells above Lantern Lake?

Phantom Phenomena includes six, 1-hour adventures that take the PCs to a superstitious village, a lightning-scarred woodland, an ancient Kellid monolith, a haunted manor, an occult university, and finally into the storm-choked mountains. Experience the adventures in any order to create a unique story.

These Quests are designed for play in Pathfinder Society Organized Play, but can easily be adapted for use with any world.

Written by Brian Duckwitz, Cole Kronewitter, and Nicholas Milasich.

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Product Reviews (4)

Average product rating:

***( )( ) (based on 4 ratings)

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Lack of Tactic Details

*( )( )( )( )

There is a lack tactic detail, which for one boss fight resulted in a TPK. For a first level quest, this leaves a bad feeling for the entire table. Especially when it was the first quest done within 30 min at the table.

Spoiler:
University: Greenhouse, MindSlaver Mold does have that if it hears the PC it will prepare with a seed pod attack. Our GM chose to have it use Dominate as the first attack, it had initiative and hit my PC( second in Initiative)with the orders to kill the entire party. Result was a TPK with the exception of one PC that was ruled to be far enough out of range and out of sight they could run away, My PC was then ordered to kill it self. Both of these I would say are self destructive acts which in Dominate Person says would not be followed. In a first level encounter such a powerful and controversial spell effect is not well suited without full detail of when or if it is to be used or setting limits as to what it would desire in a dominating command if used.

If this had been a high tier scenario (closer in level to where a PC could have Dominate) then no hand cuffing of the Dominate power would be needed in the tactic.

(I would highly URGE PFS to add a GM 301 and explain balancing combat tactics with level of Scenario and how desperate (injured)a NPC is before they hit with the largest gun in their bag instead of a opening salvo. Further take on the Dominate Command issue and educate GM's as to what is meant by, Obviously a self destructive command will not be followed)


***( )( )

Review from a player perspective.
Not a bad little scenario. We managed to do everything within our four hour time limit.

There are role play opportunities but mostly it is some investigation and then combat. A little more Ustalev horror vibe would have made it better. I had high hopes in that regard and they didn't manifest.

We had some issues because of a lack of knowledge skills among the characters but although handy didn't spoil the enjoyment.


A creepy introduction to Pathfinder

****( )

Just like the Silverhex Chronicles, I ended up doing the entirety of the Phantom Phenomena in one sit. Every player was allowed to change characters between quests, and so we saw the majority of the occult classes make an appearance. Especially the Spiritualist and the Kineticist were popular.

Harrow was the first one we visited. The group entered the village and one of them even got hit by a horseshoe. It wasn't the start we imagined, but it was fun regardless. What this quest does well, is create a spooky atmosphere. It really sets the tone for the entire series in a dramatic fashion.

Lightning was next and I'm a bit on the fence about it. The idea of exploring red lightning and gathering ectoplasm is nice and throwing in a haunt as well as a silly gnome is a nice change of pace, but if you have a certain pregen with you in the party – Hello Kyra! – it's basically a walk in the park. Without her, I can imagine it being a rather more difficult quest though.

Third up was Manor. Again immersion and atmosphere dominate this quest. I'm tempted to say it's tied with University for best quest in the series. It's creepy, spooky and the combat is fairly eventful. I quite like it.

I can not really say the same about Monolith. The description of the place is nice, but then instead of doing something with the monolith itself, you enter a creepy cave. The misleading title just annoys me and when the first encounter isn't scary at all, it doesn't really attribute to the overall immersion. The last encounter is more challenging, but I can't honestly say it fits the theme of the Phantom Phenomena overall. It felt out of place.

Following that, we played University. I loved this part. From the floating room with the entertaining NPC to the encounter at the end, it is simply a lot of fun. The encounter at the end actually was the most difficult in the entire series. It just went on and on due to some poor rolls on the PC's side, but it didn't really feel boring either.

Epicenter was the grand finale, or at least it's supposed to be on paper. Thematically it is great. Again the creepy atmosphere oozes through to the players, but that final fight was anticlimactic. The four-player adjustment really lowers the scariness by a lot and if you face casters or anything that just targets touch, it's just going to make the GM cry. I myself faced a spiritualist, kineticist, gunslinger and occultist. It hardly felt challenging for the players at all and I was honestly a bit disappointed I couldn't make it feel like an actual tough ending.

Overall the Phantom Phenomena are nice short adventures which all provide a different experience. There's role-play, puzzle-solving, investigation and combat. However players will miss out on a lot of the background and the bits that are available require a vast diversity of knowledge checks. If your party lacks those skills, it's rather difficult to get the overarching plot.

To summarise: it has a better plot than the Silverhex Chronicles, but it's a probably too hard to find out about. That said, it's thematically better as there's more of an emphasis on the atmosphere throughout the quests. I do however feel as if there's slightly less room for creativity than is the case in the Silverhex Chronicles. I'd say they're equally good so I'll just echo what I wrote for the Silverhex Chronicles: for a free product it's rather good and serves as a good introduction to Pathfinder. Based on that I give it four stars.


Lots of fun, but give yourself an afternoon

****( )

While it is easily possible to run these each in under an hour, it is a huge waste to do so. There is so much atmosphere and flavor that it would be more fun to just take an afternoon and relish them.

We did not get to epicenter, but will be playing that next thursday.

character choice

Spoiler:

Area affect damage is the bane of many of these quests. Yoon and Kyra between them wiped out almost everything except in university.

Make sure at least one player has some knowledge skills, or a *lot* of background will get lost.


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