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Rejected Scenario: Weaver of Lies


Scenario Submission Talk


Hello Everybody,

This is my submission that was rejected. I would appreciate any critique or advise anybody has for me.

Thanks for the help.

The Weaver of Lies

The Minotaur Prince of Absalom came into possession of the Rod of Endless Night, an artifact from Qadira. The prince is trying to gather favor with the Pathfinder Society; the prince offers the Pathfinder Society first bid on the item. PCs have been tasked to meet with the prince to inspect the artifact.

John Undertow, an underling of Grandmaster Torch initiates a rumor; the prince has come into possession of a Cheliax artifact with the power to summon a lesser demon. Knowing full well, the Cheliax backed Bloody Barbers would want a Cheliax artifact. The rumor is sure to entice the Bloody Barbers to steal the artifact for their Cheliax backers. John thinks he can swindle the artifact from the Bloody Barbers once they realize it is not a Cheliax artifact. The black market always has a patron willing to pay large sums of money for such Treasures. Selling the artifact without Grandmaster Torch finding out is John’s prime concern.

A band of Bloody Barbers breaks into the prince’s house looking for the artifact. When they can’t find it, the bandits try to force the information from the prince, but the prince says nothing. The bandits cause such a ruckus, the neighbors are roused and constables are summoned to the house. The bandits know they can’t return without the artifact, but time is running out. They extract the prince and move to their safe house to make the prince divulge the location of the artifact. After hours of torture, the prince tells the bandits were he hid the artifact. The bandits sneak back into the house the next day and retrieve the artifact. Upon returning, the bandits realize the artifact is not of Chelish design. The Bloody Barbers no longer want the artifact. The bandits contact Grandmaster Torch organization; John arrives to buy the artifact in the name of Grandmaster Torch. Grandmaster Torch never learns anything about this exchange.

1. PCs arrive to meet the prince but find his home torn apart and he is nowhere to be found. The PCs search the house for clues. During the search a neighbor walks into the house and offers to tell the PCs all that she saw and heard last night. The PCs find a broken barber knife with the name of a local barber and gain information from the neighbor.

2. PCs travel to the local barbershop. The barber explains to the PCs he has no idea what they are talking about. The PCs can tell he is not telling the truth, he is overly nervous during the conversation. He keeps looking to the door at the back of the shop.

3. A group of Bloody Bandits rush out from the back door and attack the PCs. (optional)

4. PCs travel to the back room. They find bandits and the prince tied to a chair. After defeating the bandits, PCs learn from the prince that the artifact was given to a man named John that works for Grandmaster Torch. The prince tells the PCs where to find Grandmaster torch.

5. PCs meet with Grandmaster Torch. Grandmaster Torch has no idea what the PCs are talking about. PCs learn that John is a hired hand and left for the docks to meet up with a friend from Qadira a few hours earlier. Grandmaster Torch is furious to learn that John was working behind his back.

6. PCs travel to the docks and search for a ship from Qadira. AL-Bashir’s Blessing is docked close to the entrance of the docks. PCs find a way to board the ship; on the top deck a crew of mercenaries plays cards. Fight breaks out with the PCs and Mercenaries.

7. PCs travel to the second level of the ship. A Qadiran assassin waits below with John and more mercenaries. The Qadiran assassin does not want to fight the PCs. He wants to return the artifact to Qadira. He tries to bribe the PCs with money to let him go, but if PCs declined he will fight.

Though the PCs had a simple mission to retrieve an artifact, the situation quickly spiraled out of control. If the PCs were able to rescue the prince, they have gained a merchant ally. If the PCs retrieve the artifact, the prince offers it as a token of friendship to the Pathfinder Society. Depending on how the PCs dealt with John, they might be able to rely on Grandmaster Torch as an ally in the future.

Scarab Sages ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
PKelly 388 wrote:

Hello Everybody,

Hello Everybody,

This is my submission that was rejected. I would appreciate any critique or advise anybody has for me.

Thanks for the help.

The Weaver of Lies

The Minotaur Prince of Absalom came into possession of the Rod of Endless Night, an artifact from Qadira. The prince is trying to gather favor with the Pathfinder Society; the prince offers the Pathfinder Society first bid on the item. PCs have been tasked to meet with the prince to inspect the artifact.

I liked this first paragraph. Good, simple, concise. My only worry is that you are bringing in a "named" magical item, which normally indicates some powerful artifact from ancient legend. I can't speak for Paizo in this regard, but I think that for us first time writers, they would want us to avoid "big items", since these smack of canon. I would consider changing it simply to "some ancient artifacts".

Quote:

John Undertow, an underling of Grandmaster Torch initiates a rumor; the prince has come into possession of a Cheliax artifact with the power to summon a lesser demon. Knowing full well, the Cheliax backed Bloody Barbers would want a Cheliax artifact. The rumor is sure to entice the Bloody Barbers to steal the artifact for their Cheliax backers. John thinks he can swindle the artifact from the Bloody Barbers once they realize it is not a Cheliax artifact. The black market always has a patron willing to pay large sums of money for such Treasures. Selling the artifact without Grandmaster Torch finding out is John’s prime concern.

A band of Bloody Barbers breaks into the prince’s house looking for the artifact. When they can’t find it, the bandits try to force the information from the prince, but the prince says nothing. The bandits cause such a ruckus, the neighbors are roused and constables are summoned to the house. The bandits know they can’t return without the artifact, but time is running out. They extract the prince and move to their safe house to make the prince divulge the location of the artifact. After hours of torture, the prince tells the bandits were he hid the artifact. The bandits sneak back into the house the next day and retrieve the artifact. Upon returning, the bandits realize the artifact is not of Chelish design. The Bloody Barbers no longer want the artifact. The bandits contact Grandmaster Torch organization; John arrives to buy the artifact in the name of Grandmaster Torch. Grandmaster Torch never learns anything about this exchange.

You used lots of strange tensing in these two paragraphs. While I don't know the name for it, since identifying tensing was always my weakest area in grammer, I suggest two things.

1. Read what you have written out loud, exactly as written. Does it sound clean? Does it roll off the tongue easily? If not, consider rewriting it. Josh pushes to avoid passive voice. I hear passive voice only when I read it out loud. Just an idea.

2. Grab a copy a book called "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White. I've been using it since I was introduced to it in highschool, and have found it very helpful.

The above idea is interesting, but I think it should be rewritten to come out sounding cleaner.

Quote:

1. PCs arrive to meet the prince but find his home torn apart and he is nowhere to be found. The PCs search the house for clues. During the search a neighbor walks into the house and offers to tell the PCs all that she saw and heard last night. The PCs find a broken barber knife with the name of a local barber and gain information from the neighbor.

Instead of the neighbor "walking in", have her already be there, maybe nosing around. Besides, aren't all neighbors nosy. This avoids the “coincidence” of the neighbor just happening to come in when the party was there. Also, it works out to be cleaner and more believable.

Quote:


2. PCs travel to the local barbershop. The barber explains to the PCs he has no idea what they are talking about. The PCs can tell he is not telling the truth, he is overly nervous during the conversation. He keeps looking to the door at the back of the shop.

Your first iteration of "travel". Also, by using a numbered bullet system to break down the adventure, you infer that this is a separate encounter or Act. Numbers 2-4 sound like they would be one encounter, with alternate ways to resolve it. I suggest rewriting the proposal to combine them.

Quote:


3. A group of Bloody Bandits rush out from the back door and attack the PCs. (optional)

4. PCs travel to the back room. They find bandits and the prince tied to a chair. After defeating the bandits, PCs learn from the prince that the artifact was given to a man named John that works for Grandmaster Torch. The prince tells the PCs where to find Grandmaster torch.

2nd itteration. See above comment for #2.

Quote:


5. PCs meet with Grandmaster Torch. Grandmaster Torch has no idea what the PCs are talking about. PCs learn that John is a hired hand and left for the docks to meet up with a friend from Qadira a few hours earlier. Grandmaster Torch is furious to learn that John was working behind his back.

If GM Torch has no clue what the PCs are talking about, then how do they learn that John hired a band and went to the docks? Vague step. Consider rewriting it.

Quote:


6. PCs travel to the docks and search for a ship from Qadira. AL-Bashir’s Blessing is docked close to the entrance of the docks. PCs find a way to board the ship; on the top deck a crew of mercenaries plays cards. Fight breaks out with the PCs and Mercenaries.

Your third iteration of travel.

I look at these proposals the same way that I once watched an HR guy look at job applications. The HR guy found any reason to reject an application, to allow him to narrow down twenty applicants into three to four to seriously look at and investigate. I assume Josh does the same with these proposals.

Seeing "PCs travel" again and again points to a lack of vocabulary, which he may use to auto-reject a proposal if he has a lot to go through. Just FYI. I have no clue if this is actually true, but I would consider using the method if I had twenty proposals and only an hour to go through them.

Quote:


7. PCs travel to the second level of the ship. A Qadiran assassin waits below with John and more mercenaries. The Qadiran assassin does not want to fight the PCs. He wants to return the artifact to Qadira. He tries to bribe the PCs with money to let him go, but if PCs declined he will fight.

While not always lawful in nature, PFS tends towards doing what is right. By saying the PCs can get out of this situation by "taking a bribe", and therefore failing the mission (no XP!), it reflects poorly on the proposal in general. I would reword this to say:

Quote:


He tries to bribe the PCs with money to let him go, but when they decline, he fights.

Not only does it stick with the idea that PFS does the right thing, but it is MUCH more forceful and aggressive.

Quote:


Though the PCs had a simple mission to retrieve an artifact, the situation quickly spiraled out of control. If the PCs were able to rescue the prince, they have gained a merchant ally. If the PCs retrieve the artifact, the prince offers it as a token of friendship to the Pathfinder Society. Depending on how the PCs dealt with John, they might be able to rely on Grandmaster Torch as an ally in the future.

I'm assuming the "merchant ally" is the prince. I also like the fact that the party could make GM Torch indebted to the Society. Overall, a good idea, but I think the grammar was the most likely culprit in your rejection.

Bill


Thank you very much for the advice. I think are right on many of the points.

The Exchange *****

William Sinclair wrote:
I liked this first paragraph. Good, simple, concise. My only worry is that you are bringing in a "named" magical item, which normally indicates some powerful artifact from ancient legend. I can't speak for Paizo in this regard, but I think that for us first time writers, they would want us to avoid "big items", since these smack of canon. I would consider changing it simply to "some ancient artifacts".

I personally prefer to avoid artifacts and any item that reek of uber-magic for low-level. The nature of the Society is such that many of these items are throwaway item never to be seen or heard from again.

Reading your proposal, you start with a Qadiran Artifact then a Chelaxian Artifact. Its just too many.

Remember, though they might be cool, artifacts and powerful magic item should be so common as to be found every street corner. They should be *RARE* and *PRIZED*. Having few of them adds credence to an adventure.

How you could "salvage" this would be to turn the "artifacts" into "rare art" such as a painting of some ancient king. Nothing magical, but that can have a cool history without the magic.

"The Society sends a few PCs to investigate and guard a rare painting/vase/statue".

--------------------
Another thing... You have an investigation that is very, very easy... I mean the PCs follow Clue 1-> Clue 2-> Clue 3 without any difficulty. I would propose something where the PCs get a few clues and a choice of following the one that draws them the most. (of course, in the end, every road leads to Rome, but there could be a number of roads).
---------------------
Third, too many PFS adventures take the PCs to the bottom of a ship where the bad guys wait for the PCs to trounce them. There are just too many and the soup is very watered down.

That's it...

JP


Thank you for the insight. I think you uncovered many little mistakes that I made.

** Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

I have been meaning to post on this for a while but got distracted by RPGSS... and probably I have nothing new that is not already been mentioned.

An encounter is something that prevents characters from reaching their goal. As you have it written, these are not encounters, they are plot devices (they move the characters from A to B.) Each of these encounters should have something for the party to do: combat, investigate, trap, sneaks, search. They should have a d20 chance to fail thereby failing to meet the ultimate goal.

What I mean is each encounter has a minimum of two options (fail or succeed) though more than two is certainly more intriguing (rescue the prince & kill the captor, rescue the prince & captor escapes, kill the captor & prince is also killed, etc.) PCs will come up with a dozen different ways to beat an encounter and 'receiving a clue' is only one. So once you have a goal, think of ways to prevent the characters from reaching it.

BTW I like the goal you chose, chasing down a forgery/forger and finding out there is still value in the fake, as well as the rumor planting that began the whole thing and came back to haunt the rumor starter. 'Tis good. It is good because the goal of John* is almost prevented by Torch (hiding from), Barbers, Chelaxians, minotaurs, etc.. hmmm... just realized I translated the mixing of Chelaxians/Qudarin rumor as a forgery, I may be reading too much into what you wrote, so be careful to make sure your story is in your submission. Still I like the premise.

*John is a real world name, for fantasy you will need to choose something else (though Undertow is good :) Artifacts should be avoided because they change the world, but I assumed 'item' is probably what you meant. A publisher may not.

Nice job, sorry for the delay.

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