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Quick & Dirty: Scenarios you think should serve as an example

Scenario Submission Talk

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Hey gang,

After Hinojai (and starting with the Golden Serpent which comes out at PaizoCon 2012) I have been trying to up my game, writing wise.

The feedback threads have been great for me in terms of understanding what makes a better faction mission, what people enjoy as treasure, the need for there not to be too many thug encounters, and all kinds of good ideas.

I *think* I have a good handle on story ideas and I always throw some roleplaying in the mix no matter what... But...

Now I'm curious about good and fun encounters. Cool fights, or even interesting non-combat encounters that weren't necessarily roleplaying encounters either.

Yes, I could look at the reviews, and actually these days I read the reviews constantly (even the ones that aren't mine). But with 3 and soon to be 4 seasons the forum search engine is just not real fast and easy to pull out narrow data.

So.. Tell me the names of those scenarios that really stand out as having cool encounters, or even one outstanding one that you always remember to this day. Can be combat or non-combat. Then I'll look at them and not copy them, BUT BE INSPIRED BY THEM!

Feel free to tell me why you chose them, but I say "quick and dirty" because you don't have to do an in depth analysis if you don't want. Just the basic facts.

(Can you show me where it hurts? - Sorry Roger Waters, song quotes just come to me natural!)

If you think someone is crazy and wrong, respectfully disagree, but lets not fight those out here. Just state your disagreement, quick and dirty on why, and then hash out the fine details in some other thread dedicated to that scenario.

WHEW! Long post.

TLDR: Tell me what scenarios had cool encounters. Don't derail the thread!



The Exchange ***

Here you go. It's an older post, but still works for me.



There's also this short thread that has some info.

Jim Groves wrote:
Don't derail the thread!

I don't understand.. ;-) p.s. I flagged the thread to have a spoiler tag added so the individual posters don't have to.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4


The posts in these two links are exactly what I'm looking for.

If anybody has more, keep them coming!


Favorite Encounters you say? Oh man, oh man, where to start.

As a GM: Rebel's Ransom Oracle of Fire:
I love the role play opportunity to try to get her out of the tomb safely only to then come back after the PCs do all the dirty work. On top of that, she's very well built and has a lot of options to cause a lot of pain.

As a Player: Flesh Collector's Purple Worm + Ghost:
This was memorable for me because 1) Todd started by having the purple worm sticking out of his pants... and 2) My poor EK was stuck in the belly of the beast, hopeless, waiting to die.

I would say the absolutely most memorable encounters tend to be caused by the mix of players and any odd actions they decide to take. I may run the encounter 10 times w/o incident or even a decent memory, but that one perfect storm of players shows up and BAM! Best encounter ever. Example:

Gen Con 2010. City of Strangers Part 2. Party enters the old trash heap/former prison and encounters the troll on guard. The troll tries to talk to them the best he can, but of course the PCs just don't want to listen (or maybe it was something I said). The fight starts, the PCs start getting decimated. The dwarven cleric drags out one of the fallen, goes back into the room and then the last person in his party still engaging the troll leaves and shuts the door. The poor cleric gets stuck with the troll while the rest of the party decides to climb the walls instead. I had about 8 rounds of fun with that cleric as the party dealt with the scorpion first. I used some of the new combat maneuvers to screw around (and the dwarven cleric went total defensive). Could I have just killed the cleric? Of course. Instead, when the party finally got to the hallway behind the front room, I had the dwarven cleric go crashing through the door into the hall, falling limp and unconscious. A split second later, a raging (and fully healed) troll comes storming down the hallway. Much hilarity (and bloodshed) ensued.

Liberty's Edge *****

In my opinion all the best combats have a secondary goal in mind, You aren't trying to "Kill the Baddies" but have a goal of something you wish to achieve, say convincing the bad guys to steal something from you, or getting to point b, or taking the bad guy alive. But something that must be done well is to have the players know what their goal is. Now I'm not a published author, though I would like to be, but it seems to me that the most significant part of any adventure is to make it memorable. The more unique each encounter is the better it will be. Are you fighting goblins, yeah, then don't have them be normal goblins, have them do something different and flashy. Orcs? Do they have to be Barbarians? be suprising, or at least have him be a clever barbarian. (Say one who stands behind a pit trap with a reach weapon and challenges the party)

Grand Lodge *****

A few of my personal favorites:

The Dalsine Affair:
The opening conflict with the guards, while trying to get the Sarenites out has been fun both as a player and as the GM. It provides a decent combat challenge, as the there are several guards, but also puts you in the situation where you shouldnt be killing them (Cause of a faction mission) and also have to worry about the npcs getting out in time.

Sewer Dragons of Absalom:
All the kobold fights are pretty cool (even better at the higher tier). The first one might lead you, accidently, into triggering a second encoutner at the same time, and the party still has to deal with the trap.
The encounter with the alchemist can be difficult because of the stairs if the party is mainly melee based and fail their saves.
The final encounter can be particularly interesting because the boss is challenging enough to be a memorable encounter, but when you add in the dragon, it is something that wont be soon forgotten if run by a good GM.

Wonders in the Weave 1:
While the story is straightforward enough for this, the combat encounters inside the temple are very well crafted. Each of the first three encounters features a main bad guy who's primary weakness is made up for partially by other aspects of the encounter. Normally, this would look a little cheesy, but they are done in such a way that the affinity doesnt look forced.

Hope that helps. :)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Seth Gipson wrote:
Hope that helps. :)

It does. This is exactly the sort of stuff I'm curious about. You guys are doing great. :)

The Exchange ** Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Late to the party here but listening.

Glad to see Sewer Dragons made someone's list other than my own :D

One of my personal favorites is Delirium's Tangle. The final encounter is in an interesting place, there is a bit of a chance to do more than monolog with the final villain and it has some fun/ interesting tactical aspects. I kind of use that as a model for some of the things I did with Sewer Dragons encounters.

There are some really fun/ interesting NPC interactions in the City of Strangers scenarios and it's an evocative place. As player and GM I'd love to return there. (I'd also love to write something there!)

Liberty's Edge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'll chime in for Sewer Dragons and City of Strangers I and II as well. The nice balance of investigative role play and combat brings something to the table for everyone and doesn't at all feel forced.

The Exchange ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Nothing has scared me more than the final encounter of the first scenario I played, Voice in the Void.

That encounter is still my favorite to this day.

There were also some interesting mechanics involved in that encounter now that I have read and prepared myself.

Hope this goes towards making more awesome encounters.

Grand Lodge *****

As both a player and GM I'm somewhat fond of investigation-style scenarios, such as City of Strangers: The Shadow Gambit and Shadow's last Stand: Web Of Corruption. (Here's to you, Miss Feathers.)

The Auntie Baltwin encounter in In Service to Lore was also a favorite, for the many ways the PCs can handle it.

Also liked the final encounter in A Vision of Betrayal. It was nice to have NPCs fight not to kill the PCs, but to escape.

Silver Crusade ****

Dennis Baker wrote:

Late to the party here but listening.

Glad to see Sewer Dragons made someone's list other than my own :D

Personally... I prefer God's Market Gamble over Sewer Dragons. Kobolds are cool. But I had more fun watching the entire party sweat a chase cause they can't clear any DC's. And it's good to see mechanics that are legal, be actually used in an active way.

Also, I am a huge fan of Among The Living. Cut your way out of a zombie apocalypse moment? Sign me up.

Silver Crusade ****

For good encounters, I'll go for Decline of Glory, Sewer Dragons of Absalom and Quest for Perfection Part I.

For what it's worth, I think Haunting of Hinojai stands out as a great example of making a scenario so that everything fits together.

Grand Lodge ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yeah I need to echo the Hinojai love. It's the Maniac Mansion of PFS.

Grand Lodge ****

I didn't GM/play much of the third season but 'Gods Market' was an excellent blend of all things - lots of roleplay, dangerous enviroment made even more so by players (warehouse) and a very strong finish

'Hydra's Fang' stood out for me as an excellently done railroad - it's possible to pass most of the encounters either with diplomacy or force and the pace of the whole thing holds players very involved. Also, different tactical 'problems' make encounters less of a slugfest and much more a great action movie scenes.

"Devil we Know III: Crypt of Fools" - I LOVED the fact that the puzzle here is in the handouts and not only there was no need to translate anything but the players all huddled together to figure it out and got a real sense of accomplishment. Moar pls!!
The rest of the adventure was also fun but the puzzle really stood out for me.

"Before the Dawn I" - no need to gloss more over how much fun it is to throw the PCs somewhere very dangerous (and far) without backup and make them think how to get what they want. And survive :D

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