Delve Into Alien Worlds

Monday, September 26, 2016


Illustration by Marko Horvatin

Once Gen Con ended in August, Linda and I had a chance to breathe after pushing ourselves to create an immense number of adventures for the Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild. By breathe, of course, I mean we kept busy with sanctioning a big pile of modules and Adventure Paths (many of which we're queuing for a big release next month); outline and assign a big chunk of Season 8's adventures; and perform some long-range planning that takes us through 2017 and beyond. When it came time to start developing September's adventures, it had been so long since we'd done any scenario development that the process seemed strangely alien.

Thankfully, that coincides nicely with these adventures, both of which deal with very alien people, places, and things.

For the first of these adventures, Isabelle Lee takes us back to Numeria for the first time since Season 6 with Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-04: Wardens of Sulfur Gulch. Pathfinders recently uncovered hitherto unknown surveys of the Numerian landscape by the famous Gojan the Sharp, and Venture-Captain Holgarin Smine believes one of these sites in particular merits exploration. To reach the ruins, the PCs must first impress the Kellid tribe (including one of its mystics, pictured here) that claims the region as its own—and that's even before the Pathfinders can uncover the dangerous legacy that lies within Sulfur Gulch! Whether you love technological adventures or seek the camaraderie of robot-hating peers, this Tier 7-11 adventure has something for everyone.


Illustration by Marko Horvatin

When we first announced Season 8: Year of the Stolen Storm, we mentioned this year would enjoy a considerable connection to the elemental planes. Now that we've kicked off the season properly, we're taking our first jaunt to the Plane of Earth with Jenny Jarzabski as the pilot in Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-05: Ungrounded But Unbroken. The shaitan genies of the Opaline Vault aren't as easy to impress with words as they are with actions, and the best way to demonstrate the Society's worth is by working directly for one of the shaitans' finest: the genie Faiza, pictured here. This Tier 1-5 adventure with Sovereign Court connections allows even novice adventurers to play a big role on another plane, with challenges that take them to strange urban sites and bizarre wilderness realms.

As a closing note, as the Pathfinder Society team spins up the Pathfinder Society scenario subscription, we're encountering some new, very necessary logistical steps. We've already taken steps to ensure our production schedule accommodates these going forward, but we're unable to compress our timeline further for the September scenarios to account for those challenges. Regretfully, that means that the September scenarios are delayed by one week (now debuting October 5, 2016). We're sorry for the inconvenience, and future months' publications should be back on schedule.

John Compton
Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

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Tags: Marko Horvatin Pathfinder Society Pathfinder Society Scenarios
Liberty's Edge 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Virginia—Hampton Roads aka Darius Silverbolt

Sounds fun!

5/5 Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka Pirate Rob

Woo! More scenarios.

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

PLANAR ADVENTURES YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So excited! ^_^

Scarab Sages 2/5

Always down for more Numeria.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Here are the maps that appear in each scenario. I've also posted these on the respective products' discussion threads.

Maps for #8–04:

This adventure has a full-page custom map. It also makes use of the following.
  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Hill Country
  • Pathfinder Map Pack: Starship Chambers
  • Pathfinder Map Pack: Starship Corridors

  • Maps for #8–05:

    This adventure has a half-page custom map. It also makes use of the following.
  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Arena (note that although this is out of print, Flip-Mat Classics: Arena is on its way)
  • Pathfinder Map Pack: Ice Caverns
  • Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Indiana—Northern

    7 people marked this as a favorite.
    John Compton wrote:

    Here are the maps that appear in each scenario. I've also posted these on the respective products' discussion threads.

    ** spoiler omitted **
    ** spoiler omitted **

    *cough*cough*FlipMatClassicDARKLANDSplease*cough*cough*

    3/5

    Mark Stratton wrote:
    *cough*cough*FlipMatClassicDARKLANDSplease*cough*cough*

    +1


    Mark Stratton wrote:
    John Compton wrote:

    Here are the maps that appear in each scenario. I've also posted these on the respective products' discussion threads.

    ** spoiler omitted **
    ** spoiler omitted **

    *cough*cough*FlipMatClassicDARKLANDSplease*cough*cough*

    Yes, please.

    Shadow Lodge 4/5

    John Compton wrote:

    Here are the maps that appear in each scenario. I've also posted these on the respective products' discussion threads.

    ** spoiler omitted **

    Kinda starting to get fed up with the first one. I dunno, but seems like it's the new Flip Mat: Mountain Pass or indeed Darklands!

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

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Muser wrote:
    John Compton wrote:

    Here are the maps that appear in each scenario. I've also posted these on the respective products' discussion threads.

    ** spoiler omitted **

    Kinda starting to get fed up with the first one. I dunno, but seems like it's the new Flip Mat: Mountain Pass or indeed Darklands!

    I dont mind so much because I actually have that one. :P

    Also, reprint darklands plx!

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

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I'm real glad I bought the first one. Getting lots of use. Maps with properly-illustrated height differences are a cut above what you can quickly do with a marker.

    To put it differently: tactically relevant scenery is hard if you can't draw it in a way players understand. This map broadens the possibilities of encounters. (Yes, some people can draw it themselves, but I'm not that good...)

    Paizo Employee 5/5 Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

    5 people marked this as a favorite.

    Map Over-Use:
    Some maps are more versatile than others, and little compares to the versatility of hilly terrain, one side with a small cave entrance and the other with a prominent peak. Just in the past year it's shown hills, gullys, large underground caverns, a floating asteroid, a scree-covered mountainside, amd doubtless more.

    This is in much the same vein as how for a while Flip-Mat: Deep Forest was the only substantial map in print that had trees, so it saw use all over the place in Season 5. So while I do feel we're starting to overuse Hill Country a bit, I still feel it's one of the strongest Flip-Mats—both in terms of design and in terms of common scenario needs.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Hey, at least it's still available. ^_^

    But, seriously: it really was the perfect map for the encounter.

    Scarab Sages 5/5 Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Thames Valley aka chris manning

    i got some out of print flipmats printed onto vinyl from the PDF's by pixart printing for a reasonable price. see my other post here

    Sczarni 5/5

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Super excited! :D

    Shadow Lodge 4/5

    John Compton wrote:
    ** spoiler omitted **

    I get what you're saying! Let me explain my thoughts over fed-uppiness: Like Flip Mat: Darklands can no longer take me to e.g a Galtan vigilante's underground hideaway or to slimy Opparan sewers while escorting Sarenites, Hill Country is starting to look less and less like an Orvian hillock or an Abyss-blasted Menadorian mountainside and instead showing the map is accompanied by a bored "Oh, it's Hill Country again...". It just takes me out of the game and I'm not the only one.

    Mind you, once you guys roll out the next ubiquitous Flip Mat, I'll probably turn around on this. I mean, think about Ambush Alley: It has basically turned into a meme!


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    For real, I get where Muser is coming from. I've run far fewer scenarios (although more than my records here show), but Hill Country has been a serious theme. I can think of at least three I've run that used it (one of which used both sides), and my scenario will make it four.

    That said... it still was the perfect map for Wardens of Sulfur Gulch. ^_^

    5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Finland—Tampere aka Rei

    At least with Hill Country there's always the discussion of "so how high are these ledges this time, what's the Climb DC, and what direction do they go?". :P

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

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Flipmats vary quite a bit in how useful they are. On the one hand you have stuff like Arcane Dungeon that are so hyper-specific that you can only use them if you write the adventure around the map. On the other hand you have the quite generic terrain maps such as the Deep Forest and Hill Country maps; they can feature many many many different encounters.

    I think some useful characteristics of maps are:


    • Tactically interesting features. A good map makes for a more interesting battlefield than a featureless plain. If there's too much open space on the mat, why even bother.

      Rather, we want features that we can play with. Such as trees to provide cover from flying enemies, rivers to cross (and face crocodiles), from which archers can rain down arrows on climbing assailants, shrubbery for ambushers to hide in, boulders to press our back to to stymie would-be flankers and so forth.

    • Not too cluttered. We do need some actual space to fight in. 5ft-corridors are awful if you have multiple players who bought a melee character. If there's not an open area anywhere, cavaliers, archers and blasters will be sad.

      I think this goes wrong with forest maps as well, due to the way trees are drawn. A bird's-eye view of a tree doesn't tell us where the trunk is. Rather, most tables will run the whole area shaded by the canopy as difficult/impassable terrain. Which means most forest maps become disguised versions of cave systems. Deep Forest is the rare exception which shows tree trunks. That does look a little "dead forest", but tactically it works better.

      Likewise, the Red Light District map has been quite useful because it's open enough to have scenes on, while the Slum District map is a maze of tiny rooms and I haven't seen it used anywhere yet.

    • Good-looking. If we're gonna shell out money for something on which to place our lovingly-painted minis, we do want it to look nice. The map should aid immersion in the adventure.

    • Generic = reusable It's far easier to re-use the Darklands map than the Tech Dungeon map.

    Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

    Do we have any idea when these scenarios are going to drop? I'm supposedly GMing one of them October 9th, and I'm getting nervous about not getting it in time!

    Hmm

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

    They were delayed till october 5th Im afraid.

    Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

    Sigh. Good thing I have Fridays off... I hate having too little prep time.

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

    Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
    Sigh. Good thing I have Fridays off... I hate having too little prep time.

    I'll race you. Im GMing Ungrounded but Umbroken the 8th and 9th.

    Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

    Well if I keep running PFS events, now I'm tempted to schedule every scenario that uses the Darklands map :-)

    3/5 Venture-Agent, Pennsylvania—King of Prussia aka Alexander Augunas

    Lau Bannenberg wrote:

    Flipmats vary quite a bit in how useful they are. On the one hand you have stuff like Arcane Dungeon that are so hyper-specific that you can only use them if you write the adventure around the map. On the other hand you have the quite generic terrain maps such as the Deep Forest and Hill Country maps; they can feature many many many different encounters.

    I think some useful characteristics of maps are:


    • Tactically interesting features. A good map makes for a more interesting battlefield than a featureless plain. If there's too much open space on the mat, why even bother.

      Rather, we want features that we can play with. Such as trees to provide cover from flying enemies, rivers to cross (and face crocodiles), from which archers can rain down arrows on climbing assailants, shrubbery for ambushers to hide in, boulders to press our back to to stymie would-be flankers and so forth.

    • Not too cluttered. We do need some actual space to fight in. 5ft-corridors are awful if you have multiple players who bought a melee character. If there's not an open area anywhere, cavaliers, archers and blasters will be sad.

      I think this goes wrong with forest maps as well, due to the way trees are drawn. A bird's-eye view of a tree doesn't tell us where the trunk is. Rather, most tables will run the whole area shaded by the canopy as difficult/impassable terrain. Which means most forest maps become disguised versions of cave systems. Deep Forest is the rare exception which shows tree trunks. That does look a little "dead forest", but tactically it works better.

      Likewise, the Red Light District map has been quite useful because it's open enough to have scenes on, while the Slum District map is a maze of tiny rooms and I haven't seen it used anywhere yet.

    • Good-looking. If we're gonna shell out money for something on which to place our lovingly-painted minis, we do want it to look nice. The map should aid immersion in the adventure.

    • Generic = reusable
    ...

    This looks like good feedback, but it is likely better served in the Flip-Mats and Map Pack product threads.


    I'm getting some good suggestions for my random terrain topic. A river or canyon would be good above ground or even deep below.

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