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Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–12: The Twisted Circle (PFRPG) PDF

***( )( ) (based on 31 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-5.

A magical war between the archmages Geb and Nex left the landscape between their nations scarred and wracked by magical anomalies—a barren stretch known as the Mana Wastes. During the conflict, their generals also created countless weapons and defenses that pushed the limits of magic, yet most of these were destroyed in battle or lost forever. Recent investigations suggest that some of this ancient power is at play in an insular town outside Alkenstar, but there the trail runs cold. Can the PCs uncover the truth while braving the residents' eccentricities?

Written by Jon Cazares.

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Product Reviews (31)
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Average product rating:

***( )( ) (based on 31 ratings)

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One of the Best Sandbox Investigation Scenarios

****( )

Twisted is a mix of investigation and roleplay.

Before I go any further, I want to say:
1) The scenario, as written, didn’t allow most PC groups to learn the story. Which is why we have the poor reviews.
2) There were too many red herrings and because the PCs might not know anything, it can waste time and be frustrating.
3) My GM probably didn’t play everything by the book and he helped guide us away from the red herrings. As a result it lead to an extremely memorable story, a 5 star story.

Twisted has one of the best stories, NPCs, and environment in a scenario I’ve seen. It was extremely memorable, especially RUBARI.

PFS editors, you don’t need to waste your time putting so many boons or so much special gear into the chronicles. I really feel you’re overdoing it lately. It’s not just in this chronicle, it's a trend. A scenario isn’t good or bad based on how many unique potions, scrolls, or wands I can purchase. A few things are fine, but lately I can barely put any (regular) purchases onto my chronicle. I feel like your time would be spent better actually editing the scenarios, so a good idea doesn't turn out like this scenario did.

The conclusion to the story was a letdown but it didn't ruin the journey getting there.

Detailed Rating:

Length: Medium-Long (4 hours). We skipped the optional.
Experience: Player with 6 OK PCs at subtier 1-2.
Sweet Spot: TBD.
Entertainment: Great roleplay and investigation moments. (9/10)
Story: Memorable and unique location and NPCs. (10/10)
Roleplay: Memorable NPCs. (9/10)
Combat/Challenges: Sucked, the enemy and conclusion were disappointing. (1/10)
Maps: Not sure, maps were drawn and used infrequently. (7/10)
Boons: I have to admit the boons were good. In general, less is sometimes better. (9/10)
Uniqueness: I loved the town of Mercy. PFS should have more unique and interesting locations like this! (10/10)
GM Preparation: TBD.

Overall: The scenario has 5 star potential, but it’s wrapped in 2 star writing and editing. (7/10).

An interesting mystery full of atmosphere

****( )

Played this tonight and really enjoyed it, though it began to run long so we missed the optional encounter.

Overall a lot of fun. The atmosphere slowly builds and there are neat little red herrings that cause the tension to be high at all times. The six players at the table all felt paranoid, unsettled, and a little afraid. Awesome. Some things might be hard to find out unless a specific thing is done, ie speak with plants, but, sometimes scenarios should play out this way. Many connect to larger plot lines, and some act just to immerse you in the setting. This one really makes the Mana wastes more interesting, and not just "Alkenster, where you buy the guns".

With some prep, there are really neat ways to present the clues to decipher the overall story. I think this one succeeds in spite of what most of the complaints above are about: it Is Mysterious with Suspense and High Tension. Maybe you don't figure everything out...sometimes, you won't...those mysteries are reported back to your Society superiors, let them wrestle with things "above your paygrade".

A resounding waste of a pile of great ideas

**( )( )( )

I played this scenario and then read through the file assuming the the gm had simply run something wrong. There is so much potential here. The setting is cool and the plot could if properly written play like a sort of outer limits episode. It could have been a ton of fun.

Unfortunately, the structure of the investigation is so poorly laid out that it basically just relied on the gm's ability to make things up and improvise to get the information into the pc's hands and then the investigation itself is rendered moot.

I feel like this could be re-written into a 4 or 5 star scenario but as is it is the least fun that I have ever had in a published scenario, notable only for the interesting setting.

Some flaws, but largely enjoyable


The single biggest challenge with this scenario is that it requires the GM to prep and extrapolate a lot. If you're GMing, make sure you take additional time to understand what's going on and read the PFS GM thread. I've run this 3 times now and have found the scenario very enjoyable, despite what others have said here.

NPCs are fun to work with here and the scenario offers a lot of room for players to RP with them and each other. With the number of oddities in Mercy, you can find parties that are highly suspicious of the activities in town or that do things that offend the townsfolk, which can be fun to play around with. From the GM seat, I found those aspects to be really compelling and greatly enjoyed the way the party got creeped out throughout the scenario.

My understanding is that the published version had to significantly trim down the submitted word count, which explains some oddities of the scenario. Ultimately, this ends up being a non-issue for most tables as you can prep around any areas of concern. A lot of the issues have been hashed out in the GM thread. While the scenario is difficult to run properly without significant preparation, I feel that its other merits compel me to avoid weighing down my rating based on prep time.

lackluster investigation

*( )( )( )( )

This scenario is a lackluster an investigation with unbalanced poorly planned encounters. It's too reliant on a specific skill set and class abilities and doesn't give any workarounds. I felt bad for my GM who was trying so hard to convey a story and wasn't given the tools to do it.

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