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Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-14: To Seal the Shadow (PFRPG) PDF

**½( )( ) (based on 22 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-5.

To most, Mount Shibotai's devastating eruption was a footnote in Tian history. To the shadow-bound wayangs who settled the jagged crater in Minata, the volcano was the reason they inhabited Golarion at all. In their de facto capitol Inahiyi, the wayangs host an annual festival to commemorate the catastrophe that brought them into this world and forced them to ally with their neighbors against a common threat. On especially auspicious anniversaries, the wayangs invite foreigners to contribute to the ceremony, and the Pathfinder Society has negotiated the privilege of having its agents observe the sacred ceremonies as these outside participants. This is no mere anthropological opportunity, though, and the PCs may be all that stands between their world and an unspeakable evil.

Written by Jason Keeley.

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PZOPSS0814E


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Product Reviews (22)
1 to 5 of 22 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

**½( )( ) (based on 22 ratings)

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Devil to prep, but worth it.

*****

I have GM'd this three times, and I would happily do so again.

The verbal duel rules look difficult, but can be easily adopted by the players if they are presented in an intelligent way. The only issue is that the scenario doesn't really do that. The pay off is good, because the debate provides an interesting way to encourage more in depth roleplaying in a social encounter. Having the players elect to use a specific tactic, such as Emotional Appeal or Rhetoric, makes a good RP prompt, so players come up with arguments like "As a mother...." or "Really this whole issue is about rights..."

The setting for the final encounter is quite interesting as a backdrop, which really gives a flavour for what Wayang are about. I found my players tended to have a solid idea of where they were and what was going on, as opposed to the Bad Guy being in whatever room. The ending isn't a surprise, and hard to make feel organic, but I found my players were still quite concerned, while also being able to solve the issue in a creative way.

I also liked how it gives a little lasting and flavoured effect for the players having participated.


Good setting, poor development

**( )( )( )

The setting for this adventure is very nice. It does well in showing the exoticness of the locale, and the often glimpsed but rarely seen Wayang race. Exploring a community instead of a location is rarely done, and is an interesting change of pace and a good mission for characters who want to see more of the world. The various masks make for a nice touch with their distinct personalities and desires for the PCs.

The downside is that the plot doesn't develop very well, and that the twist (if you can even call it that) is telegraphed a mile in advance. Gee, the guy who looks like he's going to betray you ends up betraying you, there's a shocker. And he doesn't even have a motive, he's just the designated bad guy for no good reason. Aside from that, getting full points from the masks strikes me as far too easy.

And then there is the much-derided debate subsystem. It has all the disadvantages of being overly clunky, inhibiting roleplaying in favor of finding numbers on a table, having a poor and overly verbose explanation, and not even being relevant to the plot. A player warned me in advance that there would be a very complicated minigame but told me to ignore it since its outcome was completely irrelevant, and it turns out he was correct. I would strongly recommend to all GMs to run this as a pure roleplaying discussion to the players, and keep all rolls hidden behind the GM screen.

Despite these downsides it remains a decent roleplaying scenario - but one that could have been done much better for its setting.


how did this make it through editing

*( )( )( )( )

so the story was fun ... and thats about all I have good to say about it

Verbal Duels - UGH
ran this at a local Con over the weekend ... the night before I told everyone who was going to be playing it to study the rules - only about 1/2 of them did and it still took an hour to set up
these Rules were So Clunky they made the Mass Battle Rules seem Fun
1) the Rules for Verbal Duels in UI are only designed for a 1 on 1 debate, yes there are rules for teams but this is not what the scenario follows
2) Calculating Determination is Vague - I can only assume we were supposed to have Each PC Average their Mental stats and then Average the average across all players and then add the number of players instead of HD ... this took some massive Mental Gymnastics to make it work
3) Assigning skills this was probably the most Confusing - sure we found a worksheet to help us on pfsprep.com but no guidelines were given as to if each player filled one out on their own .. or if they used the old "by our powers combined" - and how this interacted with the guardian spirits .. sure we had actions that the guardian spirits wanted the players to take but the whole thing seemed like a hot mess

Lets be honest ... any scenario thats supposed to fit into a 4-5 hour Slot that adds a mechanic that takes an hour + to just Explain and set up needs to die in committee - its just a bad Idea

this is Hands down the Absolute WORST Scenario I have ever run and now will cause me to read the reviews / product Discussion of Every Scenario I ever consider volunteering to run to make sure that there are no shenanaginy mechanics to be had
I would give this 0 stars if I could
and IMHO this Scenario needs to be retired out of circulation

Shame on you PFS for allowing this absolute piece of garbage past Editing


The (Not-So) Great Debate

**( )( )( )

Featuring an interesting concept and setting, I figured that we'd be engaging in a lot of fish-out-of-water fun amid the miniscule Wayangs, but that promise largely went unfulfilled.

The Good: There are some small doses of flavor throughout the scenario that added life to Wayang culture and gave us a chance to partake in it. The first combat was entertaining (and in our case, fairly threatening) as each of us attempted to play out our parts during the battle.

The Bad: The Debate rules. Oh boy. Everybody has been harping on them, but I'll add to the dogpile. A complex sub-system like this only grinds the game to a halt, and in the end, you're supposed to lose, making all the effort to learn the system feel hollow. We took about 20-30 minutes to get everybody up to speed on the system, and then it was over in maybe 5 minutes. It also seemed like the writers didn't prompt the GM with many examples of what sort of things to debate, so we were often left in a void of roleplaying. The one bright spot of the debate was an excellent Red Herring by one of the players: "You say we should help seal the evil, but I think we need a massive seal, a huge seal, and the evil is gonna pay for it!"

The final battle... happened. A guy jumped out, got Hideous Laughtered, his shadow pup went down, another shadow monster popped out, and some ritualizing put it back where it came from. Just never had a great grasp on why or how it was occurring.

Conclusion: There are some neat pieces and ideas floating around in this scenario, but too often, I felt like I didn't have much of an idea of what we were doing or why. The debate was fun enough once we got our heads wrapped around the subsystem, but took waaaay more time than was worth it to learn.


I'm tired of paizo trying to stuff ultimate intrigue down our face

*( )( )( )( )

Really the debate system is bulky and really not a lot of fun it breaks up the session and ruins the immersion with so many die roles and mechanics that just slow the session down.

We spent 2 hours trying to explain the mechanics in a 4 hour slot


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