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Secret War - Rejected Scenario


Scenario Submission Talk

Cheliax

I too got my first submition rejection last night. I wasn't expecting to get picked, but thought this more like a recon mission on what's good and what's not. But, like so many others I did not get any feedback, so I am posting my submition here hoping for yours.

I am not a writer and don't play one on TV. This is my first submition anywhere so I am very interested in what the public has to say. I really appreciate your feedback.

INTRODUCTION

When Sinnume betrayed the Darklight Sisterhood by stealing a list of Chelaxian spies embedded in the Andoran government, she never thought that it would trigger a clandestine proxy war. Fleeing to Falcon’s Hollow, she uses her underworld contacts to arrange passage to Almas where she plans to sell the list for a sizeable fortune.

SUMMARY

At the Sitting Duck, the PCs meet with Sinnume, Gregore Matkriax, a Lumber Consortium businessman, and Dominisious Salpados, the local Pathfinder Venture-Captain. Salpados asks the PCs to escort Sinnume and a Pathfinder artifact to Almas. On the way to the docks, the PCs are ambushed by Andoran operatives attempting to capture the stolen list. The PCs then leave the town aboard the Trout.

Later that night, the ship is boarded by Darklight Sorceresses and their summoned Fire Elementals seeking to kill Sinnume and capture the list. The PCs fight to escape the burning Trout and must swim to shore to continue on foot.

Taldan operatives shadowing the Trout ambush the PCs from hidden treetop-positions. The PCs find Taldan orders to secure the “artifact”. Shortly thereafter, the PCs are intercepted by Andoran Eagle Knights who execute a warrant to arrest Sinnume for High Treason. The knights ask the PCs to accompany them back to town to sort out the Pathfinders’ involvement.

Back in Falcon’s Hollow, Sinnume is handed over to the local Sheriff, Deldrin Baleson. Sinnume, realizing that she is unlikely to reach Almas alive begs for protection, confesses her crime and absolves the PCs of being complicit in the plot.

The order of the subsequent events depends on the PCs’ decision to either protect Sinnume or return to the Pathfinder Lodge. Based on their choice, one of two encounters is optional. If the PCs choose to protect Sinnume, they are confronted at the town’s jail by a Darklight Necromancer and her Skeleton minions. Otherwise, if the attack on the jail is optional, the PCs arrive too late and find Sinnume’s murdered body. Regardless, Sheriff Baleson deputizes the PCs and asks them to protect the other targets.

At the lodge, if this encounter is optional, the PCs find Dominisious’ body in the lodge’s Great-room. Otherwise, they find Dominisious’ strangled and confront a Darklight Druid and her Assassin Vine.

In either encounter, the PCs find orders to kill Sinnume, Gregore, Dominisious and the PCs in orchestrated attacks during the night.

At Gregore’s, the PCs find him covered in blood and three dismembered Darklight Sisters. The local businessman transforms into his Werewolf form and fights the PCs. After the battle, the PCs find evidence of Gregore’s involvement in the conspiracy.

ENCOUNTER SUMMARY
ACT 1

T1-2(CR2)
TWILIGHT TALON ROGUE(2) CR1/2

T3-4(CR4)
TWILIGHT TALON ROGUE(4) CR1/2

T6-7(CR7)
TWILIGHT TALON FIGHTER(3) CR2

TWILIGHT TALON ROGUE(2) CR2

TWILIGHT TALON WIZARD(1) CR2

ACT 2

Special: Ship in on fire and sinking.
T1-2(CR3)
FIRE ELEMENTAL, SMALL CR1

DARKLIGHT TIEFLING SORCERESS(2) CR1/2
T3-4(CR5)
As T1-2 + FIRE ELEMENTAL, SMALL(2) CR1

T6-7(CR8)
DARKLIGHT TIEFLING SORCERESS(2) CR3

FIRE ELEMENTAL, MEDIUM(2) CR3

ACT 3

Special: Attack from hidden treetop-positions.
T1-2(CR3)
TALDAN ELVEN RANGER CR1/2

TENGU(2) CR1/2

T3-4(CR5)
TALDAN ELVEN RANGER CR1

TENGU(4) CR1/2

T6-7(CR8)
TALDAN ELVEN RANGER CR4

TENGU(2) CR4

TENGU, EVOCER WIZARD CR4

ACT 4 (OPTIONAL)

Notes: Only one Act from Act 4 or 5 is optional.
Special: Sleeping PCs may start the encounter unarmored and weaponless.
T1-2(CR3)
DARKLIGHT TIEFLING NECROMANCER CR1/2

DWARVEN FIGHTER SKELETON(3) CR1/3

T3-4(CR5)
DARKLIGHT TIEFLING NECROMANCER CR1

DWARVEN FIGHTER SKELETON(3) CR1

T6-7(CR8)
DARKLIGHT TIEFLING NECROMANCER CR4

DWARVEN FIGHTER SKELETON(3) CR4

ACT 5 (OPTIONAL)

Notes: Only one Act from Act 4 or 5 is optional.
T1-2(CR1)
DARKLIGHT ELVEN DRUID CR1

T3-4(CR3)
ASSASIN VINE, SMALL CR1

DARKLIGHT ELVEN DRUID CR1

T6-7(CR6)
ASSASIN VINE CR3

DARKLIGHT ELVEN DRUID(2) CR3

ACT 6

T1-2(CR3)
WEREWOLF(Gregore Matkriax) CR3

T3-4(CR5)
WEREWOLF(Gregore Matkriax) CR3

WOLF, DIRE CR3

T6-7(CR8)
WEREWOLF(Gregore Matkriax) CR5

WOLF, DIRE(4) CR3

CONCLUSION

In Gregore’s home, the PCs discover evidence that the list is a Taldan fabrication aimed at instigating conflict between Cheliax and Andoran. Gregore, unhappy with the Lumber Consortium’s weakened position in Andoran, worked covertly to undermine the fledgling democracy. He agreed to help the Taldans and used his Pathfinders’ connection to help Sinnume reach Almas but was compromised when the Chelaxians traced her to him. With the evidence of the Taldan conspiracy, the PCs may inform the Andoran authorities and possibly prevent a war. Otherwise, the Andoran’s proceed to cleanse the alleged spies and are left in a tenuous position the Taldans will undoubtedly seek to exploit.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Conflicts with spies, clandestine proxy wars, battles aboard burning ships - this catches my attention right off the bat. Well done!

I'm not sure how some of the ambushes happen though. How does the sorceress get aboard the ship? I could see her teleporting at high tiers, but what about in lower tiers? How do the Taldan agents ambush a ship in the middle of the water from the trees?

What happens if the PCs don't cooperate with the Eagle Knights? Players typically don't like being told what to do and they might not want to hand Sinnume over.

The murders throughout the second half of the scenario should keep the game moving at a quick and exciting pace. I like this.

I'd like to see more information about Gregore, such as how he became a werewolf and why he keeps a pack of dire wolves in his house.

Keep writing and good luck on future submissions!

Paizo Employee ** Developer

The few comments that come to mind when reading your submission are that I don't see the connection to the Pathfinder Society here. Why are they helping the Andoren government? Also, I believe Paizo has abandoned the idea of the Darklight Sisterhood as rivals of the Pathfinder Society, using the Aspis Consortium in that role instead. These details could be worked out in development, I think, but you make a fatal error when you include werewolves in a PFS scenario. Sure, they're native to the Darkmoon Vale region and can be awesome encounters and villains. But they can be complicated to run (3 statblocks?) in a limited amount of time and have the possibility of granting extremely unbalanced abilities (and detriments) to PCs in a system designed to keep everyone balanced. While it's assumed a PC would remove their lycanthropy with magic at the end of the scenario, what if they don't? Do future GMs have to take time to follow up on lycanthropy rules for those PCs in future scenarios? How does one handle a major power boost like becoming a were-creature in organized play? These are huge issues that would require a lot of extra work for Josh to balance and are surely a contributing factor in the scenario's rejection. I hope you continue submitting to open calls because this seems like a fun scenario to play through, I just don't think it fits fully within the framework of PFS.

* RPG Superstar 2012

Hello. Bear in mind that these suggestions come from someone who hasn't had an accepted scenario.

I like the plot of this scenario and you have a lot of intrigue, which is a departure from the norm. I'm not sure if getting involved in a shadow war between Andorran and Cheliax fits the Pathfinder Society. Also, the dodgy nature of the "artifact" could raise some flags for some of players, who will spend a lot of time focusing on why a list is an artifact.

In the encounters, you could remove the somewhat dry lists of opponents and replace them with a more descriptive and evocative sentence for the encounter.

I hope that helps, and I wish you luck in future scenario submissions!

Cheliax

Elizabeth Leib wrote:

Conflicts with spies, clandestine proxy wars, battles aboard burning ships - this catches my attention right off the bat. Well done!

I'm not sure how some of the ambushes happen though. How does the sorceress get aboard the ship? I could see her teleporting at high tiers, but what about in lower tiers? How do the Taldan agents ambush a ship in the middle of the water from the trees?

What happens if the PCs don't cooperate with the Eagle Knights? Players typically don't like being told what to do and they might not want to hand Sinnume over.

The murders throughout the second half of the scenario should keep the game moving at a quick and exciting pace. I like this.

I'd like to see more information about Gregore, such as how he became a werewolf and why he keeps a pack of dire wolves in his house.

Keep writing and good luck on future submissions!

Thanks for taking the time to review.

I had to omit a number of details because of the word limit and if you have questions, then its probably a good indication of some of the reasons for the rejection.

I planned the sorcerers to board the ship at night through row boats. They would have been waiting, hidden on the shore. Board the ship and cast the summoning spells.

The Taldan agents ambush the PCs after the ship burns and sinks. The PCs are forced to continue on foot. The agents had been too late to intercept them in town, so they shadowed the ship.

Now the issue with cooperating with the Eagle Knights is a tough one. I figured that if confronted with the truth about their companion and surrounded by overwhelming numbers, would be a good insentive, but I can see now where that could have been a problem.

Gregore...He is a power nehind the scenes. I included him in the first paragraph as meeting with the PCs and the venture captian. Not enough room in the 750 word limit to explain the connection. But again, the fact I couldn't fill more of his background in the description and you are asking, may be another reason for the rejection.

You gave me some things to think about for the next time. I think I will complete it though and play it in my home game.

Again, thank you for the feedback.

Cheliax

yoda8myhead wrote:
The few comments that come to mind when reading your submission are that I don't see the connection to the Pathfinder Society here. Why are they helping the Andoren government? Also, I believe Paizo has abandoned the idea of the Darklight Sisterhood as rivals of the Pathfinder Society, using the Aspis Consortium in that role instead. These details could be worked out in development, I think, but you make a fatal error when you include werewolves in a PFS scenario. Sure, they're native to the Darkmoon Vale region and can be awesome encounters and villains. But they can be complicated to run (3 statblocks?) in a limited amount of time and have the possibility of granting extremely unbalanced abilities (and detriments) to PCs in a system designed to keep everyone balanced. While it's assumed a PC would remove their lycanthropy with magic at the end of the scenario, what if they don't? Do future GMs have to take time to follow up on lycanthropy rules for those PCs in future scenarios? How does one handle a major power boost like becoming a were-creature in organized play? These are huge issues that would require a lot of extra work for Josh to balance and are surely a contributing factor in the scenario's rejection. I hope you continue submitting to open calls because this seems like a fun scenario to play through, I just don't think it fits fully within the framework of PFS.

Yoda8myhead,

Thanks for the feedback! Good comments as well.

The idea (I tried to allude to it in the first paragraph of the summary) was that the PCs are to accompany the Sinumme and a Pathfinder artifact to Almas. This artifact is actually where the list of the spies are hidden. I deleted a lot of the detail when I ran out of space. In short, the PCs are being 'tricked' into helping the Sinnume under the guise of going on a Pathfinder mission. Both, Gregore and Dominisious (the venture captain) are in on the charade for their own reasons (also, couldn't get into it due to the 750 word cap). The were not helping the Andoran government to begin with, though toward the end, the sheriff does ask for their help. The motivation here would have been connected to their venture captain being in emminent dnager.

Now, I did not know about the plan to abandon the sisterhood as a Pathfinder antagonist. Obviously, I liked the idea of hot-looking-leather-wearing-devil-worshipping-females running around trying to vex the society. But if that was Paizo's ruling, I can see where this story may not have fit into their plans.

Great point on werewolves. Makes perfect sense about DMing in a living campaign.

I will continue submitting. I answered you in another thread, that what I was looking forward the most in this first submition was the feedback. I'll work on perfecting the craft :)

Cheliax

taig wrote:

Hello. Bear in mind that these suggestions come from someone who hasn't had an accepted scenario.

I like the plot of this scenario and you have a lot of intrigue, which is a departure from the norm. I'm not sure if getting involved in a shadow war between Andorran and Cheliax fits the Pathfinder Society. Also, the dodgy nature of the "artifact" could raise some flags for some of players, who will spend a lot of time focusing on why a list is an artifact.

In the encounters, you could remove the somewhat dry lists of opponents and replace them with a more descriptive and evocative sentence for the encounter.

I hope that helps, and I wish you luck in future scenario submissions!

Taig,

Good feedback.

<<In the encounters, you could remove the somewhat dry lists of opponents and replace them with a more descriptive and evocative sentence for the encounter.>>

I debated about this over and over. I ended up trying to cover the descriptions in the Summary. The 750 limit is tough, so I had to cut conners. Good advise. Will try to work with it next time.

<<I'm not sure if getting involved in a shadow war between Andorran and Cheliax fits the Pathfinder Society. Also, the dodgy nature of the "artifact" could raise some flags for some of players, who will spend a lot of time focusing on why a list is an artifact.>>

All good points. I took the risk by trying to take it out of the norm. But understand the point.

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