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Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-08—Tyranny of Winds, Part 1: The Sandstorm Prophecy (PFRPG) PDF

***½( ) (based on 8 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-5.

As a repurposed prison, the Sandswept Hall Pathfinder lodge in Sothis is an imposing target for thieves, yet an enemy operative recently broken in, stole valuable property, and escaped into the sun-scorched deserts of eastern Osirion. The PCs are the best disposed to follow the culprit's trail. Be warned, though, for the Scorpion Coast is the battleground of powerful elemental tribes that have assailed Osirion's frontier with cruel sandstorms and deadly force for millennia.

Content in The Sandstorm Prophecy also contributes directly to the ongoing storyline of the Scarab Sages faction.

The Sandstorm Prophecy is the first scenario in the three-part "Tyranny of Winds" campaign arc. It is followed by Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-10: Secrets of the Endless Sky and Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-12: Caught in the Eclipse. All three chapters are intended to be played in order.

Written by Charlie Brooks.

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Product Reviews (8)
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Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 8 ratings)

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Just Not Interesting

**( )( )( )

Sandstorm is a skill based scenario with some combat and roleplay.

The story and scenario experience is just not that interesting. You’ll spend most your time making climb, swim, fortitude, and fly checks. Too much of the scenario was spent making skill checks for boons and the secondary mission, telling a story that no one cared about.

Skill checks where the result doesn’t really matter are not fun. So what if it takes me 10 minutes of game time to climb up a cliff face or swim across a pool? There was no real chance of dying, it just wasted everyone’s gaming time. There are numerous examples of this in Sandstorm.

For GM preparation, this scenario took more time than average to prepare and it wasn’t a fun read. The boons, primary and secondary missions, and faction missions were not straight forward and easy to understand. Please, do not make boons like this, please remove boons altogether if I need to make notes just to understand what should and should not be included. In practice I’m sure most GMs will just give their players all of the boons (which is my experience in general).

There were a lot of details in this scenario, I’m sure that GMs will make mistakes (particularly in A3 where the dangerous effect should only be 1 round until a new save is made). For GMs there were a lot of rules that needed to be looked up.

There are several sections and details that are not relevant to the scenario (Ex. Dazzled, the design around the Sandstone Source, talking about tea, etc) and by including them, it wastes the players time and the GMs time when preparing the scenario. This scenario already runs long.

The final combat was too easy.

If the two powerful elementals are in the fight, they more of less cancel each other out, and even though they attack the lesser elementals, the only challenge to the encounter is really the lesser elementals. Sigh.

Some GMs will (incorrectly) force the players to make a choice at the end, which players dislike.

The scenario punishes the PCs if they aren't murder hobos in certain circumstances.

In the case of Iyasset, she wants you to kill Qiarah. My PCs were so disgusted by this suggestion, even when later prompted with convincing her to leave the Sandflow Source, they ignored Iyasset altogether and lost substantial gold and attitude. If they hadn't switched to Elsharon they would have lost almost everything.

”Detailed Rating”:

Length: Long (4.5 hours) and I was completely prepared with pre-drawn maps and notes on everything from environment effects to skill checks. I even skipped some of the pre-amble at the start.
Experience: GM with 3 pregens and 2 OK PCs, 1 strong PC at subtier 1-2.
Sweet Spot: Subtier 4-5 in my opinion, the combats will be more challenging.
Entertainment: I personally had fun with the NPCs, which is the only part I enjoyed. (4/10)
Story: A basic uninteresting story. (2/10)
Roleplay: As written the NPCs are jerks and could be unlikable and/or boring. (4/10)
Combat/Challenges: Most of the encounters are complete pushovers and not interesting, but one of them can be deadly (if played incorrectly). (5/10)
Maps: Better than average. (8/10)
Boons: Too complicated and not useful enough to be worthwhile. (1/10)
Uniqueness: Another trial scenario. Yawn. (1/10)
GM Preparation: Not fun. I’ve prepared tier 7-11 scenarios that were less complicated and a more enjoyable to prepare than this.

Overall: An uninteresting story wrapped in skill checks that eat time but are inconsequential. (3/10).


**( )( )( )

tl;dr: no highpoint; cliche NPCs; no solution; no depth - storywise;

I've run this game just yesterday. In the tier 1-2 with seasoned PnP-players.

First off, my players had no skill monkey. So the whole backstory as far as it goes, remained a mystery. They got all the clues available without the different skill checks (Planes, Local, History, Nature, Arcane, Craft: Stonemasonry), but there was nothing to gain.

First the theft itself, with little information regarding what was stolen, why for example or how or how difficult a theft it was.

This adventure had a good start, Sothis is a good location. An inspection throughout the city, meeting people, chasing snitches, would have been very interesting. If the adventure would have made this theft a great big crime, showing the effort it took and therefore the importance and power of those involved. The answer the players are finally getting "She is involved with the yadda-yadda-group." would have been far more rewarding. But no the players are looking for the information what she did after that and where she went to, because their plothook "Something-was-stolen... get it back", which is what one usually aims for, was important to them. The theft and information which group she worked for never connected in the beginning and therefore wasnt satisfying.

Instead, players get forcefed the cliche animosity of characters without any depth to them. I am very windy - I am very earthy - We hate each other - done. *sigh*

In the end my players preferred the wind elemental (which they first met) simply because it was talking faster. Of course, they didn't act in combat. There was no reason given, to prefer any side. Which in my eyes led to often described problem that players try to make peace. Which would have been interesting and impactful. If it had been the focus of the whole story all along. It wasn't.

This could have been also an interesting point and goal, but no. Wasted. Instead players return to the lodge and get the feedback, that the important mission wasn't a success, someone more experienced pathfinders will do that. Which is of course after getting shipped out of absalom to a terribly dangerous and wondrous place. Which is all in all insulting to the players and the GM.

Lastly even if my players would have gotten all the information available, it's all over the place. And everything leds to the conclusion, that this is only the first part, of a bigger story perhaps. Owning the second part, which is more interesting (but I haven't played it yet) I must admit, it doesn't deliver on this. Because the second part has yet another story it's based unto.

The scenario had different skill checks, nice places (not interesting or fascinating, nice), the opportunity for combat and not combat. So it earned a star.

Player only view point review.

****( )

Only played and not read through afterwards, from a high tier (APL 3.4) play through aspect only. I was the only one playing one of the new races in this and we had no real casters, good thing we had some wands.

Using enough skills we were able to gather enough information to get a good idea of what was going on at this location, for right or wrong but enough that it worked out. Spouse played at another table and they did not have the skills needed so they were really clueless when they needed to make a decision.

Not going into make details but two of the fights were hard pressed on us, teamwork and wand use got us all through it and we had fun. I caused us as a group of veteran players to get creative and think of different approaches so was nice it was not straight forward on parts of it.

I am disappointed to hear from other reviews that there is no reporting on the party's choice. That is a huge missed opportunity for PFS to grant the society some way have an effect. Hopefully it does give a chance in the other parts for that.

I am looking forward to playing through the series. I also would encourage people to have play some of the new races during this season.

Disappointing force of choice

***( )( )

This is written from the perspective of the player in the upper tier

Walked into this not really knowing what to expect. I've done the Season 8 special so thought I might get to move forward on that plot. Most other 3 part scenarios were really good and told a great story. My hope here is that this one still does.

We gathers a lot of info but nothing concrete on the objective. there was 1 difficult combat because most of the party wasn't really prepared properly but that's expected. For me, I'm playing a cavalier in the order of the dragon, lots of diplomacy and member of liberty's edge. i'm looking for the RP and chances to shorten the game with some good diplomacy. because of a choice in path, we get stuck with a guy that wanted everything killed. it didn't sit right with me.

after the first combat (and I won't go into the OP of a CR 3 creature), we were able to use diplomacy to skip encounter 2 for us. the the final encounter was terrible. We didn't think choosing a side was an option. we knew nothing about one of the sides and the only thing we got from the other was a feeling of simple kill things. It felt like picking the lesser of two evils. We avoided the final encounter as well with diplomacy but still had to choose a side which makes absolutely no sense.

I give it 3 only because the GM allowed us to end the final encounter without conflict. Maybe it has nothing to do with the season 8 story and maybe the choice doesn't do much in anything else.

There's no reporting of it either so why have a choice? Why force players to make a choice of one side or the other if you aren't reporting it in any way and it doesn't effect the future scenarios. that seems rather weak to force a choice by the players with very little information to base the choice on. For our group it came down to which path we took.

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