The Evergreen Desert

Monday, November 30, 2015

November's adventures fit two of the toughest kinds of scenario to write. The first is the load-bearing adventure, one whose contribution to the campaign's ongoing plotline is so central that it must work properly. The second is the Tier 1-2 evergreen scenario, which far and away sees the most play of any adventure during that season of Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild. I know that from replay alone, the latter needs to be especially clean, effective, and fun because so many people will see it—often again and again while taking characters from 1st to 2nd level. These needed some especially capable authors.

It's especially fitting because of the recent American Thanksgiving holiday that I give thanks for the consistently excellent RPG Superstar finalists who have contributed to the Destiny of the Sands, Scions of the Sky Key, and the upcoming Faithless and Forgotten series. I am consistently impressed with the quality of their turnovers, and it's telling that their names continue to appear in recent Pathfinder products. There were two authors that quickly came to mind for these two tough projects: Mikko Kallio and Mike Kimmel, finalists in RPG Superstar 2014 (the third finalist Robert Brookes handled one of the adventures last month and recently concluded a Kickstarter for a new campaign setting).

Illustration by John Derek Murphy

With Pathfinder Society Scenario #7-10: The Consortium Compact by Mike Kimmel, the organized play campaign publishes its third evergreen Tier 1-2 scenario since the First Steps series. In a recent blog, assistant developer Linda Zayas-Palmer provides an initial preview and explains what makes an evergreen scenario. This week I'd like to introduce you to Magali Delroya, an informant with growing sympathies toward the Pathfinder Society. Look forward to meeting her for this assignment in Diobel, on the western coast of the Isle of Kortos. Get your new characters ready to stick it to the Aspis Consortium!

Illustration by Kim Sokol, John Derek Murphy

Mikko Kallio had the tricky task of picking up the ongoing Scarab Sages metaplot and continuing a story that goes back several seasons. Pathfinder Society Scenario #7-11: Ancients' Anguish is (to the amusement of many) a Tier 7-11 adventure that begins in Katapesh with Venture-Captain Roderus and takes us to the desert of northern Nex, where a member of the Jeweled Sages fled millennia ago. Recent divinations have picked up his trail, and the PCs brave the stinging sands to uncover secrets from a rarely explored time period in a rarely explored region. This is a story that I've had rolling around in my head since we first introduced the sage jewels, and I'd hate to spoil the surprise by saying much more. I am really happy with how this adventure turned out, and Mikko not only respected the outline but also breathed some great flavor into the adventure. To preview just one of those additional elements, take a look at The Dark Iris.

As the end of the calendar year approaches, I'm spending more and more time outlining and assigning scenarios for Spring 2016 and beyond—including several really fun special events. I can hardly wait to share what's coming up.

John Compton

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Tags: John Derek Murphy Kim Sokol Pathfinder Society Pathfinder Society Scenarios
Venture-Captain, Iowa—Tri-Cities

I'm looking to some more Jeweled Sages scenarios, Destiny in the Sands is one of my favorite trilogies!


Ancients' Anguish does look excellent, I am running it three times over the next three weeks.

4/5 ⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2015 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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Two awesome products by two awesome people. Keep up the great work, John, Linda, Mike, and Mikko!

Scarab Sages 5/5 Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

Yes! Another evergreen! <3

Scarab Sages 3/5 Venture-Agent

Really looking forward to more of the Sage arc, and the new Evergreen sounds awesome.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Manchester aka Merisal The Risen

First I am preparing to run Consortium Compact on Sunday and does indeed read awesome. Hope it plays well a numerous times.

Second just curious as to where we are with the possible re release of two old evergreen scenarios?

5/5 Venture-Captain, Ohio—Northern aka GinoA

Merisal, you probably want to take a look at the PFS GM forum thread for 7-10. There are a couple areas where the PCs can get misguided easily that you should be able to guide them past if you're prepared for it.

Grand Lodge 5/5

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I would like to see a new set of Epic story lines for other factions than the scarab sages. I understand that they are in the middle of a long running one, but I believe some of the other factions would benefit from a long running story line or a three part scenario. I have a hard time seeing why the Venture Captains, let alone the Ten let the exchange be a thing, or the Dark Archive for that matter. Give us a storyline that ties these factions to the Society or explores them in some depth. Just my 2 copper.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

I'd smash for a Darkive storyline. I hope the it involves Darklands. They've dropped a hint or two about the down below and it'd be a great fit for Zarta's scheming.

Maybe after/during that new 1-5 trilogy in Cheliax.

Just no big derro presence, pl0x. I had quite enough in season 1, thank you very much. Duergar, Orvian vampires, ghouls, anything else goes. I know, I know, Monster Codex just featured a ton of ready class-leveled derro, but c'monnn...

Shadow Lodge

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Muser wrote:
I'd smash for a Darkive storyline. I hope the it involves Darklands.

Sure that's the way you want to phrase that?

To be honest, I'd like for basically everyone else to get that. Scarab Sage already did, and Darkive already as some of the better scenarios attached to them. Be nice for some others to get some epic feeling scenarios or trilogy.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

Hmm, that "the" shouldn't exist. But yes, "smash". Killing would be kinda dramatic.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

If anyone has questions about The Consortium Compact I am happy to answer via PM or on the GM discussion thread.

Big thanks again to John and Linda for the opportunity to work on such a fun project, and all their hard work making it awesome.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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I'd like some epic scenarios for all the factions really. It seems like Scarab Sages are way ahead of the rest. Perhaps because its easier to come up with an epic quest about ancient sages than it is to make business dealings sound epic?

It feels like the Sovereign Court has been gathering bits and pieces for a while now, but "perhaps found a new empire in Avistan" does have a certain epic ring to it. Not really something you can tack on to another scenario as a 10% extra bit. It has the issue though of actually changing the Golarion setting significantly, something PFS has mostly tried to avoid (mostly focused on preventing changes by stopping ancient stuff awakening/escaping and such).

In that respect, the Dark Archive should be an easier balancing act to write. Putting epic stuff (back) into the vaults helps to maintain the status quo.

An epic Exchange storyline centered around a massive economic attack on the Aspis Consortium could be cool. Hit them where it really hurts their money-grubbing black hearts.

Sovereign Court 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Scarab Sages has the advantage that the Jeweled Sages are a part of Golarion canon that has been explicitly saved for PFS to mess with, so they can do more with that without worrying about potentially stepping on someone else's toes.

That being said, I will always be happy to trumpet the cause of Sovereign Court getting more cool stuff. (I will point out that they did get some cool stuff from Assault on the Wound.)

Scarab Sages 4/5

The Lantern Lodge just got a 2-parter. :)

Dark Archive had the Zarta thread when they were still Cheliax.

A dual Liberty's Edge/Sovereign Court series could be fun, if it can be worked out so they aren't actively trying to make the other fail. Like Morella wants to bring down a noble who also happens to be corrupt, so the two factions end up on the same side.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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I quite enjoyed Assault on the Wound. I really liked the concept of working towards it for an entire season, gathering support everywhere. I hope to see something similar with the SovCo.

It's true that LEdge should have something coming too. Having recently played Hellknight's Feast, I can actually picture Morilla and Maldriss working together; one of them believes that aristocrats should set an example, the other one has no use for foppish aristocrats and wannabe aristocrats. Different, but they have common ground enough to work with.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

Let's not make this an Assault thread, guise pl0x.

I'm fairly sure there's going to be a reckoning in the Edge hierarchy. Colson's a bastard afterall. The seeds have been planted in fertile Andorens soil, honhonhon!

And that recent "Support Colson? Y/N" thing was very telling. Edge's Journal Card also hints at stuff.

Personally, I want to have a gnomish or dwarven faction leader. A Grey Corsair or a freedom-minded Wizard.

Grand Lodge 5/5

First, I would like to thank Mike Kimmel for taking the time to show his willingness to help GMs with his scenario he recently wrote. Thank you Mike, and congratulations on being able to write such a fun scenario.

Second, I am starting a new thread for the discussion of faction storylines as to not hijack this one.

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