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Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-05: Call of the Copper Gate PDF

***½( ) (based on 8 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3-7.

Alarm bells blare throughout the Pathfinder Society's Grand Lodge as chaos reigns in one of the vaults below. The PCs must venture into the vaults to put a stop to the mysterious incident. They quickly learn, however, that what has happened in the Grand Lodge is almost certainly not an isolated event. It falls to the PCs to follow this disruption's trail, a mission that puts them on a collision course with mysterious forces that wish to unleash horrors from beyond reality upon Golarion.

Contents in Call of the Copper Gate also contribute directly to the ongoing storyline of the Dark Archive faction.

Written by Christopher Wasko.

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Product Reviews (8)
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Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 8 ratings)

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This isn't an adventure, but the prelude to one.

**( )( )( )

(I played this.)

I did not like this scenario. The combats and the challenges were fun, but the story is purely sequel-bait. We get tasked with finding three MacGuffins, but there is no information to be obtained what they do, only that they'll be important later. Then out of nowhere a baddie appears we're supposed to care about, but we don't. This whole thing feels like a season 1 scenario, where proper rules weren't really codified yet and writers could do whatever. I guess it'll be important for later, but as a stand-alone adventure, it feels really lacklustre. I'd go into more details about it, but I simply can't muster the enthusiasm.

Confusing to GM.

**( )( )( )

I am a newer GM (only 1 star) but I found this scenario very difficult to GM.

There are so many different boxes of information for each encounter above what is normally required and so many 'if this then that... and if this different bonus'

See MAJUBA's post about this to see more details... but yeah a very poor scenario as a whole IMO.

It was fun, but we were lost for a lot of backstory.

****( )

There are light spoilers here. I talk in general about various activities in the game -- nothing big, but you might be able to surmise some things after reading my review. So, you've been warned.

Our team consisted of oracle, cleric, ninja, wizard, barbarian, monk. High tier. The oracle was our only Diplomacy character. The ninja was our only Disable Device character. The wizard was our only Knowledge character (mostly). In all 3 cases, there was a point where getting information depended upon someone doing well with Diplomacy, Knowledge, or Disable Device -- and in each case, we had a "single point of failure" that... failed. Because of this, we missed out on information, back story, lore, and in some cases even missed out on how to solve things properly.

So for me, I had a couple of places where I wanted to understand what was happening but just couldn't. My character couldn't, and I couldn't in real life either.

Having said that, the wild start of the game is fun and action-packed. It begins with alarms blaring and it's very clear that you're rushing to fix some emergency. I liked how my GM ran the first encounter with so many terrain conditions. In fact, that seems to be the hallmark of this module. In multiple encounters, the terrain isn't just "you're at the door to a room, go fight." I really appreciated this. It was cool to have the environment be an important factor.

I also enjoyed the mystery and weirdness of things. Something has triggered all this chaos and the PCs have to figure it out, but it isn't just "who's the bad guy?" There are talking encounters where your questions and answers don't necessarily make sense, but you're obviously getting accurate information -- it's just beyond comprehension. It's like staring into infinity and trying to explain it to a 2 year-old.

The big encounter was, in my opinion, very well done. Here's why. My character failed everything. Things went badly. Yet, I didn't die. It was scary and I was tense as I rolled die after die and failed again & again. I could see my character heading toward death, but also feeling like "I have a couple rounds to avert disaster. It's still possible to survive and win." While that was happening to me, there was SO MUCH for others to do. There were a lot of issues to tackle. People struggled to overcome obstacles, just as I did (but they overcame issues while I didn't). When they did overcome things, they raced around trying to accomplish anything before the situation got too dire. So it overall felt like a difficult challenge, relentless, but also didn't murder us. It's rare to find something so balanced.

This was a good time. It felt like it might be leading to bigger things, like during the season finale or something. If you play this, remember to have a good team with lots of diverse abilities. This module rewards "boy scout" types -- those who are prepared for anything.

A Lovecraftian scenario best played on high tier

****( )

I had the pleasure of playing this scenario on low tier with a party of 6. I recall we had a level 4 fighter, level 3 monk, two level 4 rogues, a level 4 bard and I myself played a level 3 oracle of the Dark Tapestry. It should come as no surprise that my character was a perfect fit in terms of theme for this Lovecraftian adventure.

One of the first things I want to go over in this review are the encounters. As I mentioned I was playing this on low tier, but I’m also preparing to run it myself for a high tier party. I immediately noticed that high tier is much more challenging and, honestly, more fun. Before commenting on each encounter separately, I’d like to stress out how wonderful it was to have such unique opponents.

The first encounter is likely going to take longer for low tier tables since they have less ways of dealing with the actual problem in that room, or rather, reaching it in a timely fashion. In our case we just spend over an hour getting there without really taking a bunch of damage. There wasn’t a lot happening and while it wasn’t boring, it felt like it took longer that it should have.

The second encounter is, for me, the highlight of the scenario. It’s so delightfully alien with a nice mix of investigation tied to it. I loved it! It's a great take on introducing a unique and interesting NPC. I do wonder about action-economy though. In the end there’s a big difference between 1 versus 4 or 1 versus 6. Thankfully, depending on the interaction with that creature, things might be harder for the players, though I will say that it’s a bit of work to keep track of as a GM. It’s not as much a nightmare as it was for a similar case in 8-04 Wardens of Sulfur Gulch, but I feel like this could have been presented to GMs in a better fashion.

Finally there’s the final combat. Here’s where the high tier is much scarier, and not just in terms of potential damage and shutdown capabilities. On the high tier the spells used actually contribute to the overall atmosphere. It adds something to the scenario other than being just an encounter. The spells the enemy uses on the low tier simply don’t speak to the imagination and actually distract from the overall theme of the scenario. It’s just a case of ‘here, take some generic damage’.

What’s also worth pointing out, is the return of some NPCs of other scenarios. I’ve always wondered what happened to some of them and I was really happy to see them return. My gnome oracle had rescued one of them in a previous scenario and now had a chance to talk to her once more. I really like that Paizo is drawing inspiration from previous scenarios and gives individuals or artefacts a new purpose.

Overall this scenario is a scenario that is best played when it’s dark outside. It’s a Lovecraftian scenario where encounters, investigation and role-play are all combined in a neat little package. If you’re going to play this scenario, and you should, be sure that you have some experience with the Blakros museum. While being a part of the Dark Archives isn’t necessary, it does provide you with a nice boon. Lastly, if you’re going to play it, I recommend doing so on high tier because the creepy atmosphere is more prominent and kept more intact than on low tier, especially during the final encounter.

Challenging Scenario with great atmosphere


I just ran this on high tier with a lv 7 swashbuckler, lv 5 psych sorcerer (dark archive), a lv 5 reach fighter, lv 6 arcane sorcerer and lv 7 witch pregen.

The encounters do have alot going on so there is a lot to track but it isn't too daunting. They were challenging espacilly the first do to the party make up. Many of the concerns others had on the prevlence of certain immunties did styme at least on character most were able to contribute for the most part.

First Encounter:
With 3 arcane spell casters there was little they could do to the golems.

The second was also diffcult do to confined space but they enjoyed the limited role playing.
Second Encounter:
The confined creature was difficult to understand but they did well on the questiong. For the comabt there was a lot of character confused durring the encounter and also a lot grappled so it took a fair amount of time to complete

Optional was skip due to time.

Final encounter was tense due to the objective and with Hazard.

Final Encounter:
The Aucturn atmospher caused the swashbuckler a hard time as she spent alot of time confused and just babling in the mist.It took a whileto get started as the Villan was able to get the majority of the group bottlenecked by his Black Tentacles.

Overall the group found the scenario challenging with many feeling they were in serious in each encounter.

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