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Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-09—Forged in Flame, Part 1: The Cindersworn Pact (PFRPG) PDF

***½( ) (based on 10 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 5-9.

When an impossibly vile fiend proves too powerful to destroy, the forces of good often resort to banishing or sealing the villain away to be remembered only in fearsome legends. Less common are the instances in which wrongdoers bound benevolent titans and demigods, yet Society agents recently uncovered just such a prison. Few know how to unlock such a jail, much less locate the key. The Society has identified just such a sage: a disgraced efreeti who has sworn to share her priceless knowledge in exchange for the PCs' assistance. The Pathfinders travel to the cosmopolitan melting pot of Zjarra on the Plane of Fire, where they must fulfill the cruel genie's schemes—or find some other way to fulfill the deal.

Content in The Cindersworn Pact also contributes directly to the ongoing storyline of the Exchange faction.

The Cindersworn Pact is the first scenario in the two-part "Forged in Flame" campaign arc. It is followed by Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-11: Cleansed With Fire. Both chapters are intended to be played in order.

Written by Alex Riggs.

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PZOPSS0809E


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Product Reviews (10)
1 to 5 of 10 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 10 ratings)

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Not bad, but lacking a real threat.

***( )( )

Ran it this weekend for a party of 4 - Brawler, Sorcerer, Oracle and Bloodrager. I don't mind being able to bypass some or even most of the combat encounters in a scenario, but I'm really not interested in one where every single situation can be resolved with skill checks. Some other skills were involved and a lot of RP, but I felt like the whole thing boiled down to murder-hobo it up or Bluff until your tongue turns blue and have one meaningless combat encounter at the end. Not a total loss as the RP was fun with good NPCs, but I want at least one good fight and the recommendation to make the only one non-lethal left me disappointed.


The Many Fortunes of the Plane of Fire

*( )( )( )( )

To anybody that knows the Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch, it has the poor reputation of being murder hoboism at its worst. How much so? Unprompted, there was a point where a player at the table referred to it as "The Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch redux". Everybody agreed. If you haven't played Many Fortunes, this was not a compliment. TMFoGMT is renown for a scenario with no consequences for bad behavior. Where the the players are told, "go rough up the innocents".

We hated it.

Why bring that premise back for round two?

This scenario can play out like a murder hobo's wet dream, and then reinforces that concept by providing all the negative outcomes from "doing the right thing" (such as not earning your prestige) and absolutely no penalty for being a bunch of jerks (such as fulfilling your faction mission objectives for the less reputable half of The Exchange).

I absolutely HATED this scenario. Like bottom 10 hated. Not frustrated hated where I think the power level is way too out of whack, or there's a really lousy puzzle or little logic, but I hope never to see a scenario like this again hated.

So from here on out spoilers abound...

The combat encounters are fine as written. There I said something positive about this mess. The problem is, following the "social route" is the only way for that Paladin not to need an atonement after the scenario is over, or for your character to sleep well at night (unless they are one of the aforementioned murder hobos).

The problem with building an entire series of social avoidances around bluff, or not using far more modern mechanisms of skill checks (such as group checks) means one character can defeat every single non-combat encounter. At my table, three of the players had nothing to do at all, and two were only involved because they were Exchange members. Even trying to split out some face-time with each player resulted in complaints by those characters that all they did was twiddle their thumbs.

In addition, in the poor design category comes the treasure. Every piece of treasure is listed in text as being associated with the combat itself. One can only be found if you decide to search the area around your latest murder. Another only comes from "ransacking the store" after a kidnapping, and the very last one requires that you literally tear off a chunk of somebody's private residence. Since the non-violent approach is not considered "a creative solution" for this scenario (is is advertised as a route to not feel like you need a shower after playing the scenario), a literalist GM could easily penalize characters simply for negotiating an encounter to not require heading off to a warehouse, or negotiating instead of getting into a fight, or by simply not being a complete jerkwad and ransacking somebody's home. Between that and the not-clear result of the party being deliberately defeated in the last encounter, it's hard to know exactly what the author was thinking in terms of treasure distribution.

Finally, other than avoiding the low-tier combat that can be a real mess for most groups, it is mechanically better in every way to just do exactly what you're asked to do...to the letter. That means it's mechanically better to literally murder, kidnap, extort, and murder yet again.

So, if you do horrible things, there is:
- No penalty with the Pathfinder Society leadership.
- No penalty with the Kelish embassy allies.

On the other hand, if you "do the right thing", there is:
- The possibility of missing the majority of the adventure's treasure (as written, maybe not the gold, but items for sure).
- You set yourself up for missing your prestige.

So other than perhaps not feeling good about yourself in the morning, the former option is perfect for Murder Hobos, and only reinforces that play style. Heck, even killing the other Efreet only results in an easy bluff check to explain to the cops, "this wasn't our fault", and if you fail that, You're let off without so much a slap on the wrist anyway that carries no penalties whatsoever.

This scenario was an entire step backwards in the concepts of not being complete d*cks.

I'm not even kind-of getting the like of this scenario. Not even a little.


Nice Premise, Poor Implementation

****( )

I had a chance to play this at a local convention this past weekend. A lot of comments have been made above, so will not follow them directly.

Pros:

-Multiple options to address each step of the way, and our GM was on top of it.

-A definite feeling of suspense throughout contributed to a nice level of game tension.

Cons:

-Scenario is potentially too large for a 4-5 hour slot if the party starts to hit brick walls, which we started having an issue with even having the right skills and party composition.

-Faction Boons were too narrowly written for someone who attempting to synergize the dynamic of the *full* Exchange, and penalizes those who try to do so.

Had a great deal of fun playing this, but upon hearing what was required for either side of the Exchange faction felt once again my character was yet again in the wrong faction The other one was Bid for Alabastrine, another scenario I enjoyed and felt I played 'right', despite playing both aspects within reason and the entire table helping to try and accomplish the missions.

The way the player finds about the faction missions is inspired, but they were too vague to be helpful for what was ultimately required to fulfill either goal.

That really shouldn't happen, imo.


If You Prep It, Players Will Love It

****( )

I believe this has already been said by other reviewers, but PFS #8-09 is a scenario that is very demanding for a GM to prep - but if you can put in the time & effort, your players will love you for it.

My experience comes from having played an Exchange Arms-dealing Gunslinger in a party of 4 that consisted of a Lvl 8 barbarian, a ranger, a fighter, and my aforementioned Lvl 6 gunslinger. I don't remember the levels of the ranger or fighter, but we ended up playing up (and having to rely on the ranger for all our party's healing - needless to say, it wasn't ideal).

-That typed, I liked how we had the potential to talk our way through most of the encounters (and possibly considering that none of us were really party faces), it was fun & challenging to try with our less-than-optimal party comp.

There's flavor galore & roleplay opportunities literally in every encounter, with a diverse & interesting cast of somewhere between 10 & 15 NPCs total. Being an RPer at heart, I really ate up every quirky character & crazy locale we found ourselves in. The one issue with all this was that (as the GM mentioned many times), there was a lot to prepare for: the most of any PFS scenario I've heard that didn't introduce a new subsystem.

The combats (at least for us) weren't complete pushovers (although the final fight was the only one that really made us sweat). There also included a couple of fairly unique enemies.

Also, the Exchange faction mission was the best I've ever seen in a PFS scenario. I'm used to seeing short little faction side-goals that don't really tie into a scenario's main plot - but the way the Exchange faction mission was set up this time around; not only did I feel the mission was fully integrated into the main plot, but I also loved how you as a player feel like you're getting to help choose your faction's future.

There were a few weird bits about the plot - but they were overshadowed by the scenario's sheer awesomeness in my mind.

All things considered, if I were just rating this scenario with players in mind - I'd give it 5 starts. However, since I'm also aware that this scenario is fairly daunting to prep, I give it 4 stars for the GMs out there. Whatever the case may be however, this scenario is well worth the effort of prepping, & if done right, players will love you for it! I look forward to playing Pt 2 to see how the story finally turns out.


****( )

This scenario was very fun to play but it was far too easy in the lower tier. We managed to bypass every encounter but the final one (and after hearing what they were they would have been very easy).

One thing I really like about this scenario is the skill mechanic in the final encounter and the debriefing, this solves some problems of the "I aid automatically" and "He has 40 bluff, I don't need to talk at all"

The only real problem I have is that the encounters are too easy especially if you can bypass them easily and the final one is a not difficult enough if you consider that the players will likely have had none combat before.


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