Pathfinder Society Scenario #2: The Hydra's Fang Incident (OGL) PDF

3.30/5 (based on 35 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st to 5th level characters (Tiers: 1–2, 4–5).

After an Andoren village is razed by the Hydra's Fang, a renegade Chelish slaver-ship, outrage threatens the stability of both nations. You and your fellow Pathfinders are sent to capture the Fang before the Inner Sea is pitched into political frenzy.

Written by Tim Hitchcock

This scenario is designed for play in Pathfinder Society Organized Play, but can easily be adapted for use with any world. This scenario is compliant with the Open Game License (OGL) and is suitable for use with the 3.5 edition of the world’s most popular fantasy roleplaying game.

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3.30/5 (based on 35 ratings)

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This was actually my very first PFS scenario. It wasn't bad, although some of the encounters felt kind of arbitrary. "You're in a hallway you can't avoid. You have no mobility. SO YOU GET ATTACKED." Meh.

On the other hand, the actual goal of the adventure was amusing.

Three ghouls and a ghast


This is how I imagine Tim Hitchcock's thought process works for season 0.

Hmmm I need another encounter... I know! How about 3 ghouls at low tier and 3 ghouls and a ghast at high tier.

This adventure had some cool terrain and tough fights with things like shark chum and water ambushes. The faction missions are a little confusing and the BBEG is very underwhelming which drops this otherwise great scenario down to 4 stars.

Fast-paced, Fun and (Possibly) Fatal!


This was a fairly enjoyable module to run! Although primarily combat driven, there were some decent roleplay opportunities along the way that my players took full advantage of.

I very much enjoyed Diobel as a setting, although I agree with some of the prior reviewers that it is rather hard to describe the city concisely. I felt like that I knew quite a bit about the wonderful city, but only had the opportunity to convey small portions of this knowledge to the players.

The sahuagin encounter in the rowboat is probably the low point of the adventure. Having to bust out aquatic combat rules and make swim checks every round really slows down gameplay, and players will simply NOT strip out of their armour before boarding the boats. Drowning is a definite possibility!

Encounter 5 seems to come out of left field, and I would have liked to see something a bit more appropriate... and perhaps a little less difficult!

The three ghouls can really gang up on players quickly with claw/claw/bite, and paralyzation can disable even the most prepared party

Have some fun with the few interesting NPCs in this encounter, reward good diplomacy, and make sure you have a few level twos leading the charge. Otherwise you have some real TPK potential!

A fun chase


This was a fun one. I had some technical difficulties so had to cut out one short encounter and we rushed the end but all in all, it was a really good and dynamic session.
The mission briefing and the city gave it all a great athmosphere, and even tho the mission was very straightforward, it gave the playres a nice mix of RP opportunities and good tactical challenges. I'm really looking forward to GMing this one again (without rushing)



We had a decent time with this one, or there wasn't much frustration going on, which was a relief. It was one fight after another and the final battle caused a character death as they ran into a situation that was beyond them.

I kind of enjoyed running this one more than other later modules as it ran quicker and thus there was more breathing room for embellishing with the roleplaying, which is what people were getting the most enjoyment from.

A lot of later modules, with a 5 hour time plan (we only have four hours to play at our FLGS) means they feel rushed, where this one allowed for a more casual (and enjoyable pace).

Still, there isn't a great deal of depth here, and a major character in the story was underwhelming in its build or tactical strategy.

The maps were very cramped which made the fights a bit stagnant unfortunately. It also would have been nice to get a map of the town. The players were having a hard time getting the idea of what the town was like.

The transitions between the acts was also a bit sparse. It felt like we were just moving from one dungeon room to the next.

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Sovereign Court

I have a few questions and notices regarding the adventure. I've found some minor editing errors, some of which confuse me. I'll put them under a spoiler tag, since they do contain spoilers.

Is the town razed by Du Moire named Wittleshine or Wittlestone? Both names appear during the scenario.
The thug doesn't seem to have daggers listed in its gear nor attacks. An easy thing to fix oneself, but still a minor editing error.
On page 9, the map of the Underdocks encounter ... how large squares are they? I'm assuming 10 ft., but they could be 20 ft. 5 ft. would be ridiculously small. And why is the pathway blocked by the bunker? This map seriously made me stop for 30 minutes to try to think why it was ever put there.

Other than that, this scenario is brutal! Very well written and so, but I'd consider the Tier 1-2 to be way too difficult at certain points.

I ran this adventure during GenCon and

...I saw what you saw with the bunker and docks, but since the description referred to boats being lowered into the water, I just made the part of the docks that sticks out the guard watch post and assumed that they access the rest of the docks via cargo nets or somesuch...but then, I ad-lib stuff all the time. I don't know if that map issue you saw was intentional or not, is what I'm trying to say.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Hey All.

The small town is Wittleshine.

The map scale is 5ft per square (narrow docks). I wanted to keep them a little dangerous.
more on the docks here

The dock running straight into the the bunker is correct,
however the other dock that seems to just stop... That's actually supposed to go off towards Lubor's Exports.

As far as the final enounter,

thank Nick the lacedon encounter isn't more brutal, I'd actually used 4 in the original text

More stuff I found that was wonky-

DuMoire is supposed to be wearing a Signet Ring, though its not listed in his possessions.

I didn’t have quite enough space in my review to explain my statements.

I think the entire premise was rather forced and inappropriate for first level characters.

The adventure synopsis paints Captain Darsielle Du Moire as the scourge of the Inner Sea and the bane of the Chelish and Andoran navies. He has sunken half a dozen pirate ships! Yet, for most parties he is a 4th level aristocrat surrounded by 1st level warrior flunkies. I think this would have been a much better adventure tiered to challenge 4th or 5th level characters with appropriately dangerous foes.

Not all of the encounters seemed entirely rational.

Why is the encounter with the Consortium officials in the Underdocks geared to be a combat encounter? These are the duly appointed custodians of law and order in Diobel. Yes the Consortium is made up of criminals, even if these guards are conveniently evil; they still represent the law of the city. Is it rational to assume a party of 1st level adventurers is going to attack what amounts to the City Watch? And are these the ONLY watchmen under the city? Add to this that anyone of the Qadiran faction is pretty much forced to attack them in order to steal their log book. I don’t think this encounter was thought through.

At first I had some serious problems with the sahuagin encounter. It seemed very much like it was thrown in to simply add another combat. Certainly the explanation given in the module text does not do a very good job of explaining it, or providing any rationale for why it would be occurring. I think there are ways to make it work – but they do require making inferences and conjectures that have no basis on the actual text. As written it could be an near insta-kill for a number of parties and anyone dropped into the bay in full armor.

A Possible Solution:
One solution might be that in order to get to where the Hydra's Fang lays at anchor any small boat has to pass through a narrow and shallow "passage" between some large derelict vessels. The sahuagin are lying in wait in the passage waiting for any small boat headed toward the Fang. They know that any boat moving through the passage is going to the Fang as it is the only vessel at anchor in this particular anchorage (the anchorage is somewhat secluded and Darcy bribed the harbor pilot to use it). The sahuagin can easily discern that the row boat headed toward the Fang is being crewed by novice seamen (too much splashing, unsteady oar strokes, bad navigation, etc.). Hence they know that they have a pretty good chance of swamping the boat and dropping the boaters into the shallow waters of the passage. Also, given the orientation of the passage and the Hydra's Fang, any lookouts posted aboard the Fang are unlikely to see the sahuagin's assault.

The party I ran through this module had no trouble dispatching the vicious pirates at each turn. I’m not sure how the dastardly 1st level warriors managed to sink so many pirate ships but they weren’t much of a match for even a lightly optimized adventuring party.

The Hydra’s Fang didn’t work for me.

Almost nothing about the Hydra’s Fang makes sense. Given that Paizo has put out some very well received nautical adventures I was thoroughly underwhelmed. I would encourage the author to do a little more research about sailing vessels, what it takes to crew them, and how they are put together – I’m still not sure what the big box in the center of the boat is.

I have done quite a bit of research on medieval and Renaissance-era sailing vessels. I probably had a lot more time and energy to devote to this than the author, and came up with an alternative deck plan for the ship.

There is also a discussion going on here with major spoilers.


Liberty's Edge Contributor

Hey Gavin,

Glad you liked reading the adventure.

You should check the spoiler threads be for running it, as there are a couple of wierd issues that you might want to address. Check my maps comments in particular, as they came out a little wonky in the final piece.

Dark Archive

Not for 1st level characters!!

Spoiler alert!!!:

This was the second Pathfinder Society module I played through, and for 4, 1st level characters, it was a real pain. The module made sense, and I got the time intensive element, but it was, overall, deadly.

For Tier 1, ouch. The GM let me have a look at the module afterwards and, wow.

Encounter 1's EL wasn't listed, but it could have easily been a EL 2.

Encounter 2 wasn't bad. It felt balanced.

Encounter 3 felt like it was designed to kill the PCs. I'm curious as to how many players didn't tie off gear, take off armor, and died when the boat flipped...

Encounter 4, again, doesn't list an EL. Nor does the trap have a CR. So, I'll assume the trap's CR is equal to the 1d3 medium sharks it summons. (An EL 2 or 3 itself, we'll be nice and call it CR 1). Add two more brigands (CR 1/2 x2) and the CR 3 end guy? I'm going to say EL 4, maybe 5.

Encounter 5 was a solid EL 3. However, by the time we reached it, resources were completely exhausted and it was far more difficult. A party without a cleric would die here.

All in all, the run of the module for 1st level characters is very difficult.

I would not run this for level 1 characters. Moreover, as it is the second Pathfinder Society module, it strikes me as being intended for 1st level characters when released, which seems inappropriate.

The writing, story line, and feel was amazing. I loved the feel of it. But the encounters. Ouch.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

Jason Sonia wrote:

Not for 1st level characters!!

** spoiler omitted **

It took them a little while to get a feel for balanced scenarios. Silent Tide was the best of the first four scenarios, and while each of the other GenCon 08 offerings were good, they each have at least one encounter that is deadly or are relatively low in the peril department.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Played this tonight and had a blast, with some lucky diplomacy managing to bypass a few fights and party archers and two-handers managing the fights we couldn't avoid. A pity my brother had a worse time of it at Origins last year!

Was there a reason why Tier 4-5 chest has only 1 copper piece in it vs Tier 1-2 having 1600 Gold?

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Hm, no idea. There's a mention of a coin in one of the faction missions. Maybe there was a change of plans in editing but something got left in by mistake? I guess for PFS it doesn't matter, but if you're using the adventure as part of a regular campaign, it's a pretty big deal.

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