[PFS 2E] Scenario #1-03 - Escaping the Grave
A Pathfinder 2E Society Scenario designed for levels 1–4 (Subtiers 1–2 and 3–4).
The Whispering Tyrant has escaped Gallowspire and ravaged the lands of Lastwall. Although the nation managed to evacuate many civilians, there are still refugees, Pathfinders, and irreplaceable cultural treasures trapped in this undead-ridden realm known as the Gravelands. The PCs are part of the Society's efforts to infiltrate these dangerous lands, rescue the Pathfinders missing in action, and recover what historical texts and treasures they can. Just be quick! Every hour behind enemy lines increases the chance a nearby army learns of the PCs' mission.
Written by Adrian Ng.
Scenario Tags: Faction (Envoys' Alliance)
Founded in the wake of the Shining Crusade that defeated the Whispering Tyrant in 3827 AR, the nation of Lastwall stood vigil against the dread lich’s return and repeated orc invasions alike for nearly 900 years.
Despite the efforts and sacrifices of Lastwall’s soldiers, the Whispering Tyrant broke free only a few months ago, and the lich’s armies and magic devastated Lastwall in revenge for his centuries of imprisonment.
Although the Whispering Tyrant suffered a major defeat that brought his invasion of other lands to a halt, Lastwall as a country is no more—all that remains is the shattered terrain known as the... Gravelands!
What will you do about this?
What CAN you do about this?!
After traveling there, probably coming through the River Kingdoms from the East, you have arrived, and you realize that the streets of Caliphas are bustling with activity, due to an influx of refugees from the former nation of Lastwall.
You are nearly physically hit by the loud cacophony rising from... dozens of Pathfinders!
You have never seen so many outside of the Great Lodge.
Groups are crammed all over, discussing missions, sharing documents, and gathering supplies for their quests.
At the center of it all is a gnome, that you hear referred to as VC Zongnoss.
That must be the person who summoned you: Venture-Captain Evni Zongnoss.
Still dusty and a bit tired from your short or long trek here, you move towards, but see she is still busy, so you step to the side, and wait.
That is when your perceptive Pathfinder eyes spot some others who seem to have the same letter of summons in hand!
It seems that the group she has called for are all here, and waiting pretty much together.
You look at one another, wondering who you will be working with.
While Evni is directing various Pathfinders, and delegating tasks, as well as simultaneously preparing weapons and gear for her own quest... you introduce yourselves to one another, waiting for the moment you can approach her.
Greetings, and thank you for joining me on this adventure!
You can check all the above links for some Pathfinder history.
Please present your characters.
Also, can you please fill out the slide, providing us with your mini, and inputting your name and bonuses for Perception and Stealth, for Initiative purposes (speak up if you have bonuses to Init').
An handsome well dressed human male of chelaxian origin but with a tan skin moves gracefully into the room, his armor clinging as he walks. His eyes are cold, as his smile, and at his side a blade of Tian origin.
With an hint of mwangi accent he speaks Greetings, I'm bronz... I'm Kamil Durus. Connoisseur of both Arts and Blade.
Don't you think it's quite cold here? I've never went so far North!
A finely dressed half-elf with dark skin and white hair walks up to the others. "Good day, the name is Devin Starside." Looking around the room. "Place seems busy, think we'll be seen soon?"
"Aye. It is colder than I prefer. Hopefully there's a fire and good ale to keep us warm." Tybal looks the part of the quintessential dwarf. He has long hair braided into his beard; wearing armor and carrying several weapons all adorned with stylized likenesses of his ancestors and Torag.
A human wearing the red and white "+" of Dalenydra enters the lodge. At his hip are numerous potions and elixers in syringes, making it quite clear that he is a field medic alchemist. Sticking its head out of his backpack is a tortie cat, meowing hello at everyone they pass by. "Laraman Latharian, field medic, reporting for assignment." the man says followed by a loud Meow-ow from his cat. "And grey cat."
Kamil and Tybalt are at least happy that there is a real fire burning away, so they can warm their hands up.
But Tybalt is dejected when he finds out they only serve goat milk and ice water, not a drop of ale, no mead even… a cold place indeed.
Devin, finally, is relieved when he sees they are to be taken care of soon, well, actually right now— as Evni spots you, the newcomers, and issues a warm smile at your group.
She is obviously a harried gnome, for, even as she scurries through the crowded Vodavani Lodge towards you, she stops here and there to delegate tasks to various Pathfinders.
Coming up to you, in her blue turban and matching robe decorated with golden crescent moons and butterflies, she smiles again: ”Ah, thank you for coming. Gather around over here, please.”
Evni motions you all to a nearby table upon which rests a parchment map, stuck with a miniature flag partly obscuring the label Lastwall.
”Apologies for the out-of-date cartography, but it’s the best we can do at this time.
The re-emergence of Tar-Baphon dealt a devastating blow to the Society, so we’ve been scrambling to consolidate resources.
The Society is focusing on missions into the Gravelands for two reasons: to track down the whereabouts of Pathfinder agents who went missing when the undead hordes struck, and to recover the fragments of history and culture that yet survive. I believe you all should have received
a letter from me containing your assigned destination.”
Seeing that some of you pull out the letter you all received, she thanks you, and points to a flag in the southeast portion of Lastwall.
”Goldenflame was an idyllic place surrounding a college sponsored and supported by the church of Iomedae.
Fortunately, most of the town was able to evacuate swiftly, but we know that some residents stayed behind out of a sense of civic duty to defend their home against evil.
Goldenflame College is known for its documentation of the history of both southeastern Lastwall and the activities of the church of Iomedae in the region, as well as its collection of invaluable local curiosities accrued over time.
Those relics and stories—if they can be recovered, then Lastwall can live on.
I will— oh, wait… excuse me!”
Having looked around for something Evni excuses herself and leaves—
—before shortly returning with a bundle of papers.
”Here! There they are. These dossiers contain information on all known Pathfinder agents in the region surrounding Goldenflame.
Although we must hold out hope, I cannot truthfully say I am optimistic.
Nevertheless, closure is important, and we can properly mourn for their loss and celebrate their lives if we know their fates.
Perhaps these documents could be of some use to you in this quest.”
She hands you a couple parchments with information on them.
Before pursuing: ”I’ve also completed and signed travel documentation stating your reasons for being in the Gravelands.
Present this document to the border crossing, and you can then be on your way.”
Evni hands you some sealed travel papers: the Pathfinder documentation.
She then leaves again, walking over to a nearby bench, to a relatively massive pack, where she begins sorting through its contents.
She pulls out a bundle of sacks: ”Here. These are for you to transport any items or—“ she bows her head ”—remains you might find.
I know it is a sad and gruesome task, but retrieving those fallen Pathfinders would bring closure to their loved ones.”
She gives you 10 empty and folded sacks.
Looking at Laraman she nods: ”It is good you have one with Dalenydra’s special red-and-white tabard with you.”
Evni then closes the pack and shoulders it: ”I’m also heading into the Gravelands myself. May Desna guide us all on our journeys. Hopefully we can find what we seek.”
It seems she is ready to head out, but she looks at you, raising an eyebrow…
Interesting, its not with my old buddies that we will have mount an expedition for rescuing people! Except if they had worth some gold...
Kamil asks Are undead still in town? Do we need to protect ourselves from necromantic disease or pollution in the area?
If the Pathfinders we found have been corrupted by the necromantic energy, do we try to get them back alive?
"Yes, there are still undead around.
Tar-Baphon’s legions are constantly patrolling and are mighty indeed, so I recommend avoiding fights with those troops.
Try to identify the paths the undead patrols normally take and travel elsewhere.
Covering your tracks would be wise as well. Although I would like you to be as thorough as you can in your investigation, do keep in mind that spending too much time in the Gravelands increases your likelihood of being found, so don’t linger.
As for necromantic diseases and such... well, if you make it out alive I hope we can deal with whatever ailments you bring with you.
Regarding the Pathfinders: if you find any survivors, do all you can to get them out alive."
Listening to the instructions and information Devin says, "While I feel it is my duty to return the undead to the graves as they deserve, I will do as you ask. Returning the living is a more noble cause."
Evni smiles at Tybalt: "Thank you! I expected such from gallant Pathfinders."
Then turns to Devin: "The living are the priority... and do not take undue risks. But if the families have confirmation, at least, that a lost one is dead, sadly, that should help them grieve at least."
Tybalt recalls that Goldenflame’s chapel functioned as both a religious institution and the town hall, so historical records concerning its citizens and events were most probably stored there.
Evni looks around: "Any lasts questions?
Goldenflame is not far from here, so a round trip should be possible in a single day."
She gives you detailed instructions on the roads you should follow to reach Goldenflame, and return on.
You can make whatever purchases you would like before you leave Caliphas, and you can slot you boons for this scenario.
"Seems straightforward to me, lets get out there." Laraman says.
No extra purchases.
Evni smiles at you: "Remember that the Gravelands are dangerous. So you must be quick in your investigation, and not remain longer than you truly have to.
Seeing as you look tired, and some have just arrived, spend the night here, to rest and recuperate, and be going early tomorrow!"
Evni then leaves.
You do as she said, eating and getting rest, and being able to prepare your packs and purchase any last minute articles.
Then, the next day, after a hearty breakfast, you depart Caliphas early in the day,.
You have the directions on Evni’s map, and follow that.
First you pass through a heavily fortified Ustalavic border crossing staffed by Knights of Lastwall.
One of them examines your documentation through the slits in his helmet - you wonder what he can actually read? - and then waves you through with his heavy gauntlet.
The day is clear and bright, but the landscape is desolate and quiet, the gently rolling hills devoid of life.
Goldenflame is a few hours’ travel southwest of Caliphas by foot.
And you are now trekking along.
Soon, a large, steep rise blocks the most direct path through the area, and the road diverts around it-- you would gain precious time, time that Evni said is counted, by managing to go over the hill rather than the long way around it.
Here comes a long OOC blurb, sorry.
• You might encounter some obstacles such as this hill.
When that happens, you can (if you wish):
• do a Setup Check:
To prepare for a given obstacle, a single PC (referred to as the setup PC) can attempt a special setup check in place of their check to overcome the obstacle.
This check is harder than the checks to simply overcome the obstacle, but by succeeding on this check, the PC not only grants all other PCs a +2 circumstance bonus to their own checks against the obstacle, but it also counts as a success toward overcoming the obstacle.
Only one PC can attempt this check, and it must be attempted before any other PCs attempt their own checks to overcome the obstacle. Attempting the setup check is optional.
If you do the Setup Check, it counts as your Check, and you cannot do the Check as below.
Each obstacle is represented by a check described in the obstacle’s Check entry; other skills, actions, or abilities could be applicable, subject to the GM’s discretion. As normal (see Special Circumstances on page 492 of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook), if the PCs come up with particularly appropriate solutions, you can award them a +1 circumstance bonus, or even a +2 or higher circumstance bonus for an extremely appropriate solution (maximum +4). Each check has degrees of success.
All PCs (other than the one having chosen to do the Setup Check) must attempt a Check.
The better you succeed, the faster your trip goes.
• Of course, you can decide NOT to pass the obstacle, in which case you:
If you cannot or don't wish to attempt a relevant skill check, a PC can bypass an obstacle by using the Hustle exploration activity to simply take the long way around. This grants the PC an automatic success toward overcoming the obstacle, but they must attempt a Fortitude save, which, if failed, means they are too tired to attempt the Hustle activity again for any subsequent obstacles.[
- one person can try to help all by setting something up that will aid in passing the obstacle
- then all must either try to pass (Check) or hurry around (Hustle), but might end up too tired to Hustle again
Looking at the hill, you wonder, could one of you help the others across by finding an efficient path up the hill, granting the others an easier climb?
Shall you just scale the obstacle, or will some simply jog around?
• Setup Check: one PC (and only one) could attempt a Scouting Lore, Survival check, or Perception check (must be done before the other Checks)
• all the other PCs must either go for an Athletics check to use sheer strength to power up and over the hill, or--
• Hustle around the hill, on the road, earning an automatic success as described above (w. a Fortitude check to not be too tired to Hustle again).
Laraman follows Tybalt's keen eyes and realizes that he has discovered a much easier and efficient path up the hill. Knowing that time is of the essence, Laraman points up the hill, "This way guys, Tybalt found a hidden trail up the hill."
athletics: 1d20 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 4 + 2 = 11
Watching Tybalt and Laraman climbing up the hill, Devin attempts to follow in there foot steps. "Why didn't I think I would be climbing mountains when I was training." Talking to himself.
Athletics: 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 + 2 = 8
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Can you at least attempt a modicum of RP, as well as explaining what you are doing?So, I imagine the first roll is Tybalt trying to lead the others? (Setup Check) If so, as stated you do not need the "simple" Check.
Sorry. I was called away while at work and wasn't able to get back to pretty up the post.
Tybalt was raised in the 5 Kings Mountains. He barely considered this a hill. After a moment of study to figure out the correct path, he hiked up over the hill and down the other side.
No problem at all Tybalt.
Tybalt Stone-Peak is not one to be hindered by a hill and, indeed, he points out the best way to pass this hillock... before doing so himself, going over it without slowing down a bit.
1 success (and give bonus to the others' checks)
Laraman sees Tybalt pointing to an easier and efficient path up the hill, but, thinking there is some hidden path, he gets a bit lost, and, despite the Dwarf's help... he has a lot of difficulty passing the hill, huffing and puffing all the way up.
Kamil follows Laraman, believing the man knows the way, and ends up just as tired and lost on how to pass what seems like a small mountain.
As for Devin, well, he is ready to fight, and thus spends too much time being cautious... and does not fare better than the other two, not at all.
Failure, even w. the bonus, for all three
All in all it is a failure--
You did not achieve the number of success required
--and Tybalt is part upset part amazed that his comrades are out of breath, and need to take some time resting on top of the hill!
But, so be it...
After having rested, and had some water, the group moves on down the hill, knowing they did not speed the journey up, but, so be it.
After a while, still using the map, you know you are to come towards a ford, on a small river, but... all of a sudden, you know something is off.
Slowing down, you move along carefully, and spot--
--what seems to be two dozen armored skeletons, that have some kind of chained gargantuan zombie-behemoth, that they are pulling along.
The group seems to have stopped for a while beside the river.
Even though none seem to like bathing, and they sure do not drink.
What to do?
Well, one of you (Setup Check, w. Deception) could try to divert the undead's attention with some ploy, enabling the others to be able to discreetly pass the ford, or else you all just try to slip past them (the Check is Stealth).
If not, well, maybe Hustling up river a bit would work, to find a place to swim across or use some log to float. Though that might be tiring. (Hustle is an auto-success, but requires a Fortitude save to not be tired, if tired you can no longer hustle).
Well, you could also simply... attack.
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stealth: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20
Laraman focuses more on stealth than strength, so he has a much easier time silently sneaking past the undead.
Kamil tries to follow.
Stealth: 1d20 + 6 - 1 ⇒ (8) + 6 - 1 = 13 the armor is Noisy if that change something
Before, he casts light on a rock and tries to throw it in the opposite direction to lure the undead out of their way.
Deception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
Deception (hero point): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17 Incredible, I roll a 10!
Kamil takes point, and tries to give everyone an edge, by casting his spell and tossing the illuminated stone... at first it slips in his hand, but then he manages to toss it far!
Of course, the brainless undead are very curious about anything that shines, and so they all open their mouthless jaws and stare at the light.
"Light... light... light..."
Following Kamil, Laraman moves across the river, behind the skeletons, undetected.
The others can use the diversion Kamil set off..
Stealth: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Devin starts to try and sneak across, but he must be undead also as he is staring at the shiney stone when he steps into the water with a splash.
Tybalt was about to try to move across, but seeing how the undead nearly spotted Devin, and are all alerted, the Dwarf hustles on upstream, trying to rush, and finds a place to cross.
He then jogs back to meet the others, who are drying themselves after passing the ford.
Being sturdy, Tybalt is not tired--
YSuccess + you made the Fortitude check and are not prohibited from Hustling next time if you wish.
--and you see that the undead did not pick up your trail, spending some more time looking at the light, before moving on.
You are able to get moving again, following the map.
But the road turns into a path, and the path becomes an overgrown trail.
There is a LOT of undergrowth, and it is made up of heavy, prickly bushes and tall grasses, that have grown over the road.
Someone might be able identify areas where the undergrowth isn’t as thick--
Setup Check - only one person can attempt - Nature or Survival - if you succeed, it is a success AND you give others a bonus[
--or else you have to hack your way through, or nimbly maneuver through the narrow spaces between the bushes and such.
The others can try a melee attack roll using a weapon that deals slashing damage ; alternatively, you can go for an Acrobatics check
Finally, you could also decide to circumvent the road and avoid the brambles and vines, but that could wear you out because you'd have to hurry.
Hustle - automatic success - but need a Fort' check to not be exhausted (and unable to Hustle again).
You also think that your more Goblin-minded companions could simply set fire to all this and then stroll through the newly cleared area.
But, well... you choose one of the other options.
Who said we didn't have a goblin-minded companion?
Laraman uses his field alchemy to create an alchemist fire, then tosses it at the undergrowth to burn it away.
Let me know what check I need to roll
edit, added attack roll for alchemist fire: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
Kamil, hack through the bushes with his katana.
Attack: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23 Someone could make the knowledge or survival check, so add an possible bonus to it
It remember when he was in the Mwangi jungle and quickly find his way through.
At least something I know how to do!
Nature: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22 Didn't know if my Scouting Lore would come into effect, but my nature is higher.
Scouting ahead Devin attempts to point out the best places to cut to make it through the brush.
Also the only slashing weapon I have is a whip, which honestly doesn't seem like it would really be effective in this situation.
Led by the nature-attuned elf, Devin, who scouts out the path of least resistance, and gives good tips to all, Kamil finds new uses for the Tian weaponry, Mangwi-style, and slices a path for all to follow, a really smooth path, that is carpeted by all that was cut ; while a whistling Tybalt slashes left and right and clears a wide trail, dwarf-style. A really wide trail! Enough for a cart to pass.
Crit' success for both!
All is working very well, super well--
You have 5 success vs. 3 needed so far
--and Laraman need only follow along, but you have the feeling something radical is in the works!
Yes, Laraman must have read too many Firebug Goblin novels, for he tosses an alchemical fire--
(one used for the day, then)
--that works well seeing the chopping that was done, and so the brush catches on fire, and you hurry along so as not to be hurt, nor there when things are attracted by the dark smoke, but it sure cleared the way for when you go back.
Also, it can pass as a natural fire, so you doubt people will track you thanks to that.
Thus, after having had problems with the hill, you really got into it and cleared the second and third obstacle really well, totally removing the last one!
You feel you made good speed, maybe having only last 15 to 30 minutes at the hill.
After a little while you crest a hill, and Goldenflame comes into view.
You follow the gently descending path into town, looking around and admiring the view.
Suddenly, Laraman gasps, and points to a figure in the distance, that you all see now, as it runs over the crest of a short hill, on another side of the town, disappearing from you view.
Well, you keep on moving down, and you see that Goldenflame must have formerly been an idyllic town built around the Goldenflame College.
Established and sponsored by the church of Iomedae, Goldenflame was a place where students could study how to best do good in the world while staying far away from the infamously dangerous parts of Lastwall.
Goldenflame was a small settlement with amenities one might expect of a town in a militaristic and religious nation.
All the buildings in town have 10-foot ceilings.
The fountain in the middle of the town square is raised only about a foot off the ground.
The hedges are all only 2–3 feet high; a creature can move through them, but they are difficult terrain.
You look around the center of the village as you approach.
Map is up (I used my map to show the outside of the buildings, and then my map where I will reveal the insides - the game map has a bunch of letters and other things)
Kamil: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
Laraman: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Devin: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
"Should we go after the person on the hill or check these houses?" Laraman asks as he follows the others.
"Or they will come back with more people and either ambush or rob us. I'd rather deal with something clearly alive than check quiet houses, they aren't going anywhere." Laraman replies to Kamil.
On the slope leading down to the village of Goldenflame, that seems to be empty, you hesitate: are you to try to track down the departing figure?
To see if this is some refugee running because he or she thinks you are undead, or some undead gone to get reinforcements and ambush you, or something else entirely?
Or are you to go down to the village?
With three Pathfinders wishing to find out about the person you saw slipping away after most probably spotting you, Kamil decides (I imagine) to remain with his comrades, and set out after the figure that ran over the hill.
You spend a few minutes moving along the hill side, but on an angle, slowly going up but also cutting across.
Basically, you circle around about one third of the city, from East where you arrived, to the North-West, where you saw the figure race off.
Reaching the top, you look around-- but no one sees anyone.
Devin, maybe with keener eleven eyes, is pretty sure that nothing is moving anywhere.
Down the side of the hill, to the West, there are some woods, so he person could have gone there.
A bit further down, more towards the North, there are a lot of reeds, and some marshland.
The person could have hurried that way too.
Kamil: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
Laraman: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
Devin: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18