Pathfinder Society Scenario #5: Mists of Mwangi (OGL/PFRPG) PDF

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

Pathfinder Lugizar Trantos recently returned from the Mwangi Expanse with haunted eyes and a pack full of strange idols. Absalom's famed Blakros Museum purchased his pieces and Lugizar vanished. The strange monkey idols he pulled from the misty jungles of Mwangi carry with them a fell curse, and now their power has laid claim to the museum. Can the Pathfinder Society uncover the source of the curse in time, or will the Blackros Museum be forever lost to the mists of Mwangi?

Written by Nicolas Logue

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.

Note: This scenario has been updated for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Purchasers have access to both 3.5 and Pathfinder RPG editions, but as of January 10, 2011, only the Pathfinder RPG edition is legal for Pathfinder Society organized play.

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A Gamble!

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NO SPOILERS

I ran Mists of Mwangi at Subtier 4-5, using the revised Pathfinder RPG version. This is a fairly simple, but atmospheric scenario that has a lot of offer, including (depending on what happens) an awesome twist that could lead to a really memorable night of gaming. However, the scenario is structured in such a way that it could also be over in about an hour! I definitely think players should experience it, but with the understanding that it could be more jarring or abrupt than more standard scenarios. This review is based on what *should* happen in the scenario, but it’s also inevitably coloured by my particular experience.

SPOILERS

A decade after release, these Season Zero scenarios are interesting artifacts of a time when Pathfinder organized play was in its earliest stages and still figuring itself out. Many of the scenarios, in retrospect, look underwritten and uneven in terms of difficulty, but there’s also a display of creativity and willingness to think outside the rules that has perhaps been lost in more homogenized later scenarios.

Mists of Mwangi, and writer Nicholas Logue, are to thank for the introduction of what’s become an iconic staple of Pathfinder Society: the Blakros Museum in Absalom. The scenario starts in media res (as I wish more would), with the PCs standing outside the front gates of the museum on the night of the full moon as silver-gray mist pours forth from its wide-open front doors. The “briefing” is something the PCs experience as a memory of being sent to the museum by Adril Hestram to investigate a strange curse that has befallen it. Adril hopes that if the Society can set things right, the museum’s curator (Nigel Aldain) will decide to work with the Society instead of against it.

As soon as the PCs walk into the front door (and into the mist), the big twist happens. PCs who fail a save against the mist’s effects degenerate into an “ape-like proto creature, little more than a brutish animal.” Basically, they become a damn dirty ape! In the forums, a lot of people report having tremendous fun role-playing the shift, though in mine, the affected players handled it rather subtly and it was more forgettable than fantastic. Still, in the right group it could be one of those things that the players never forget.

The background behind the mist and the curse generally is that a Pathfinder who recently returned with artifacts from the Mwangi Expanse decided to give first dibs on his discovery to Nigel Aldain. Neither man realized that some of the artifacts were Tik-Taan, spirit-infested, malevolent idols. The mist has had the effect of turning almost all of the museum’s staff into violent, apelike brutes, while also animating undead and causing other problems throughout the museum. In order to destroy the curse, the PCs need to destroy the Tik-Taan, though they won’t realize the source of the problem until they explore the museum.

This is the place where things can go wrong. The problem was flagged in the forums so I was aware it could happen, but I didn’t think it actually *would*. The way the museum is mapped (close but annoyingly different than the “Museum” flip-mat, by the way), PCs can simply head straight down the main corridor to the north exhibit hall and trigger the “final” encounter first! In the briefing, Adril Hestram does suggest the PCs check out the offices first, but players are forgetful (or just stubborn), and this advice is easily disregarded. The big battle, intended as the scenario’s climax, is really good, as the PCs are up against a massive gorilla (drawn to the museum by the curse) while the tiny Tik-Taan idols hide at the edges of the room and cast spells to hinder the PCs. Meanwhile, Nigel Aldain is strapped to a sacrificial altar! It’s a really fun, exciting battle. The only problem I had when running the battle (apart from a whiny player) is that the rules about the Tik-Taan’s ability to hide are ambiguous and contradictory, and don’t take into account later developments like spell manifestations.

If the PCs win this battle and destroy the idol, the curse is lifted. The mists dissipate and everyone affected by them returns to normal. The scenario isn’t 100% clear on whether some of the other encounters in the museum still remain or not (for example, there are vargouilles in one exhibit hall and a giant crocodile in the bathroom!), but at least some of the other encounters (involving affected staff) are instantly “cleared.” Depending on how the GM interprets things, there could be some anti-climactic mop-up duty but, in essence, winning this battle wins the scenario. This is what happened when I ran it, and although the battle was a long and difficult one for the PCs, the entire session took maybe an hour and a half.

To be fair, the possibility of this happening doesn’t mean it always, or even mostly, happens. Many groups will investigate the side rooms first and have a variety of good encounters (and chances to gather clues about what’s going on) before getting to the final battle. But it’s definitely a possibility that GMs need to be aware of. In one respect, it’s hard to criticize a scenario for avoiding the railroading that so many other scenarios suffer from. But on the other hand, I’m now more sympathetic to why writers often need to railroad in the first place!

Overall, running Mists of Mwangi is a gamble. You might have awesome, unforgettable role-playing as the PCs turn into monkeys and investigate a cursed museum, or you might have a really short session as the PCs head straight into the “final” encounter, kill the bad guys, and go home. It’s a high-risk, high-reward crapshoot!


Visiting the Blakros Museum never gets old

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The first ever scenario featuring the Blakros Museum is according to many players a scenario one has to play. Yet somehow this iconic and trendsetting scenario managed to elude me for years. That is, it managed to do so until yesterday when I finally found four other players and a willing GM. In roughly four-and-a-half hours our level 1 characters explored the mysterious location. Why one would send two barbarians, a slayer, a hunter and an oracle to this place is beyond me though. Barbarians aren’t known for being subtle after all.

First of all I should point out the mist-mechanic. It’s hilarious for melee characters, not so much for casters. Luckily my oracle managed to save against the mist and only a single barbarian and the slayer failed. They didn’t mind that much, though I must confess that we did attempt to keep them in check with Handle Animal. It’s honestly a very simple, yet very effective way to make this scenario special and memorable. It has a distinct impact on roleplaying a character. I liked it a lot, even though my character was ‘safe’.

Then again, everyone who has ever been to the Blakros Museum knows that safe is not exactly a word that fits this location. Something is always wrong and the mist is just a single thing. The encounters within this scenario are diverse. They differ from room to room, thus making sure it’s not repetitive. Some are also more scary than others and require different tactics, but I would say that they’re not as scary now as when the scenario first came out. Overall they’re certainly no cakewalk, but they’re also not overly threatening or lethal. Sure, there can be some (very) nasty surprises if the dice do not cooperate with the players, but they’re certainly fair.

As for the rest, the story and theme are simple, yet effective. Combined with the encounters and some minor effort from the GM to create a jungle-vibe, I’d say this scenario aged fairly well. It’s a straightforward, simple dungeoncrawl that focuses on combat. There’s little roleplaying with NPCS, but hopefully your ape-like companions will suffice. I can see why others recommend this scenario; I do so too.


We be apes!

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I recently GM'ed this again and have played it ages ago.

I ran this for a party of 4, APL exactly at 3.5 and they decided to round that to 4 -> high tier.

The scenario is straightforward, but quite fun if the GM plays up the whole Jumanji theme. My players embraced the fun and were properly scared by the encounters, even thought it is now season 8.


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An RPG Resource Review

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Ever wondered where all those artefacts the Pathfinder Society collects end up? There's a spot of bother in one museum that's run by a former Pathfinder (who has turned against the Society and won't let them have access!) and the party is sent to deal with it... in scenes redolant of Night At The Museum, with assorted exhibits doing anything but sit quietly in their display cases!

To start with, the party might wish to do some research. The trouble began after another Pathfinder returned from the demon-infested jungles of Mwangi and presented the museum with a bagfull of idols he'd brought back. Knowing a bit about Mwangi, the Pathfinder, and the museum itself might be of benefit, and the DM is well-resourced with information to hand out to those characters who think to investigate before venturing into the mist-filled chaos that the museum has become.

The adventure itself sees the party exploring the museum as they please - there's a floor plan and room descriptions to aid the DM, with plenty of threats to hurl at the unwary - and hopefully discovering the root cause of the mayhem and laying it to rest. If they do, all becomes calm and the curator is recociled with the Pathfinder Society again, now ready to collaborate in scholarly research instead of competing with them for choice artefacts. If they don't... well, that's left to your imagination. The consequences for failure are not laid out, although failed characters are likely dead and beyond caring.

Overall it is a good hands-on adventure, a bit combat-heavy perhaps but with scope for those interested in lore to actually put it to some use in figuring things out. It ought to prove both exciting and entertaining... a most unusual visit to one of Absalom's museums. Or, of course, one situated in a suitable location on your own campaign world. Some of the background about the museum and the family that founded it, whilst of no more than passing interest as far as this adventure is concerned, could give rise to many adventures or even a whole campaign if you enjoy artefact collecting, information networks and a sprawling dynasty that seems to have people everywhere...


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So, is planning a game day to play this on October 4th a good idea or a bad idea? That is, how reliable is the release date for this?

Dark Archive

This actually sounds like a good Halloween adventure to me.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Now available!

Scarab Sages

Vic Wertz wrote:
Now available!

umm... product is unavailable.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Jonathan_Shade wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Now available!
umm... product is unavailable.

Sigh. It may take a couple of minutes for all of the store applications to see it... I'll see if I can't kick it.

Scarab Sages

Vic Wertz wrote:
Jonathan_Shade wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Now available!
umm... product is unavailable.

Sigh. It may take a couple of minutes for all of the store applications to see it... I'll see if I can't kick it.

Thank you for the help, Vic


I would like to see these Pathfinder Society Scenarios available free to Pathfinder Sunscribers. Especially Superscribers.

ASEO out


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber
ASEO wrote:

I would like to see these Pathfinder Society Scenarios available free to Pathfinder Sunscribers. Especially Superscribers.

ASEO out

I wouldn't go that far. Paizo needs to pay for these to get made, after all, and they're quite cheap if you think of the page count and quality production values etc. Though I'm a fellow Charter Superscriber like yourself, I don't begrudge Paizo making a small profit on these. Even if you finished one in an evening's session, that's a small price to pay. Like renting a movie.

However, if we Charter Superscribers were to, say, receive a discount on them...I wouldn't complain ;-)

Nice avatar choice. You're either a Downer fan like myself, or a Drow fan (that works too). If the former, we need to put the pressure on Paizo to do something really important. Like print the 2nd volume of those Downer strips...

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

BenS wrote:
However, if we Charter Superscribers were to, say, receive a discount on them...I wouldn't complain ;-)

You get the same Pathfinder subscriber discount on these as on any other product, so they gave you what you wanted over a year ago! Yay Paizo!


BenS wrote:
ASEO wrote:

I would like to see these Pathfinder Society Scenarios available free to Pathfinder Sunscribers. Especially Superscribers.

ASEO out

I wouldn't go that far. Paizo needs to pay for these to get made, after all, and they're quite cheap if you think of the page count and quality production values etc. Though I'm a fellow Charter Superscriber like yourself, I don't begrudge Paizo making a small profit on these. Even if you finished one in an evening's session, that's a small price to pay. Like renting a movie.

However, if we Charter Superscribers were to, say, receive a discount on them...I wouldn't complain ;-)

Nice avatar choice. You're either a Downer fan like myself, or a Drow fan (that works too). If the former, we need to put the pressure on Paizo to do something really important. Like print the 2nd volume of those Downer strips...

Both, and I think there were like only 8 avatars available when I picked it out ;-)

ASEO out


ASEO wrote:

I would like to see these Pathfinder Society Scenarios available free to Pathfinder Sunscribers. Especially Superscribers.

ASEO out

We still have to pay the authors, cartographers, and artists (as well as the developers, editors, and graphic designers) responsible for the production of the scenarios. Given we're releasing 28 a year and that these take work to produce, there is no way we could just give them away for free.

Rather, we set a low price point to make them accessible.


Joshua J. Frost wrote:


We still have to pay the authors, cartographers, and artists (as well as the developers, editors, and graphic designers) responsible for the production of the scenarios. Given we're releasing 28 a year and that these take work to produce, there is no way we could just give them away for free.

Rather, we set a low price point to make them accessible.

I just thought it would be a nice feature for superscribers who are already investing on the Pathfinder game. but I can see how an extra $100 a year can make a difference in spending on both sides of the table.

Maybe at some point there can be a complied print edition of the previous years senarios. "Pathfinder Happinings Year X"

I'm much more willing to pay for print editions than I am soley e-copies.

ASEO out


Can anybody tell me wether this module is easy to convert to PFRPG? Especially the template.


I was under the impression all the Pathfinder scenarios were compatable with the PFRPG.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Aureus wrote:
Can anybody tell me wether this module is easy to convert to PFRPG? Especially the template.

It shouldn't be hard at all. In fact, I ran this as written for four Pathfinder characters at an unofficial game at GenCon and it was still so challenging that they didn't even finish it, fleeing from the museum with their near-dead comrades in tow. I wouldn't change anything, except maybe using PFRPG stats for any monsters that now exist in updated form (vargouille, snake, ghoul, etc.) Even the template doesn't need any work as far as I can tell.


Great news! Thank you!


So Pathfinder society scenaries aren't set up for use with the Pathfinder RPG? I've only played the once, last gencon...and we played Pathfinder. I'm so very very lost right now...

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Fraust wrote:
So Pathfinder society scenaries aren't set up for use with the Pathfinder RPG? I've only played the once, last gencon...and we played Pathfinder. I'm so very very lost right now...

Before the final Pathfinder RPG rules were out, all PFS scenarios used standard 3.5 rules. So all 28 Season 0 scenarios need minor conversion to the current rules set, but they are mostly compatible since PFRPG is backwards compatible.


Fraust wrote:
So Pathfinder society scenaries aren't set up for use with the Pathfinder RPG? I've only played the once, last gencon...and we played Pathfinder. I'm so very very lost right now...

To be specifically clear:

Scenarios #1 through #28 were designed using 3.5. They are compatible with Pathfinder RPG and need nothing more than a CMB/CMD calculation for each stat block in order to be run under Pathfinder RPG (the current rules set for Pathfinder Society).

Scenarios #29 and up were designed using Pathfinder RPG.


Gotcha....I think I knew that, just got it in my head this was a new adventure (not looking at the numbers, just saw the name and got interested). Thanks for clearing it up guys.

Dark Archive

The template need a little conversion. I recommend you look at the template spreadsheet that someone has posted on the boards for easy appliance of the template, and convert that sheet. It's mainly the skills that needs working at, but also add CMB and CMD.


thank you for the tip. any idea where i can find this "template spreadsheet"? i haven't found it via the search function on these boards. :(

Dark Archive

Somewhere in this thread.


Thank you. :)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Pathfinder Society Scenario #5: Mists of Mwangi has been updated for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Purchasers have access to both 3.5 and Pathfinder RPG editions, but as of today, only the Pathfinder RPG edition is legal for Pathfinder Society organized play.

Anyone who has purchased the 3.5 edition may download the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game edition for free from your My Downloads page.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

AWESOME!!!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Anyone who has purchased the 3.5 edition may download the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game edition for free from your My Downloads page.

Thanks very much for not asking me to buy this again for the PfRPG update, especially since I've never gotten around to running it since buying the 3.5 edition. :)

Paizo rocks!

Grand Lodge

Hello - I only have access to the 3.5 edition of this module on my assets page.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Sozin - I'm showing that you have access to both versions. However, they are likely not directly next to one another, since they were granted on differing days. Your browser's Find function may be helpful.

Grand Lodge

Yep, I am seeing it now. Thanks Ross!

Scarab Sages

I played in the updated version of this at Penguicon 2011. I liked the setting a lot, but there were some problems. If I could rate it, I would give it 3 stars.

We had a party of 4 characters (Clr1, Fig1, Wiz2, Fig1). We *barely* survived the first encounter.

Details about an encounter:
The fight in the hall of the honored dead is just too hard for 4 characters. The zombie that has an AC of 20 (!!) and a ghoul (3 attacks) and 1 skeleton. Jeez. And with the pregen cleric with no turn undead, we just had to do it the hard way.

The final encounter was good fun.

And yet...:
The caster in the corner required a perception check of 25 to see him. I managed it because I rolled a nat 20 and have a fairly crazy perception skill for a 2nd level character.

In the final analysis, I'd like to see this tweaked a little bit more to accommodate first level characters.

Sovereign Court

Sunday my friends joined me to go play a TBD game at PFS. A fellow player and PFS enthusiast RT had come to play but took pity on us and ran Mists of Mwangi for us. I played my dwarven wizard from Cheliax.

This was "Jumanji" and a dangerous "Night at the Museum" all rolled up into one. I really enjoyed this scenario, it was hard in places, and could be bit deadly in others if the entire party failed their rolls, but very rewarding.

Paranoid players are going to have to remember at tier 1-2 not to over think things. Other than some RIDICULOUS spot checks required to find an item, the rest just requires you to use a calm rational approach. Course that's that's easier said than done, with dark mists full of crazies and poo flinging primates!

I give this scenario a solid 4 out of 5 stars fun fun fun! Again thanks to RT (prolly stands for REAL TEXAN) for running this for us all.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This was the first scenario I ever ran as a character of my own. I decided to play it risky, and play the 4-5 subtier. Fortunately, I survived. But the final boss...pulled something unexpected that wasn't in the scenario. I was surprised that even though that was stated as a possibility, it didn't occur to the makers of this scenario to make the schematics for said situation.

Don't look if you haven't played it:
Da'Tunga got killed and zombified by the idols, basically. And the GM had to make up the stats and whatnot for Zom'Tunga.

If that could be rectified somehow, I'm sure others would appreciate it...though I doubt that this is a common occurance lol

All in all, it was a blast however. Gotta love dat curse.


Just finished playing this one at Tier 4-5 and am now running it (as a PbF) at Tier 1-2.

Spoiler Alert!:
The tactics of the Tik Taan idols at Tier 4-5 state that they "avoid melee combat if at all possible" and "use their spell-like and special abilities to support Da'Tunga." It goes on to say that "Any person slain during combat is immediately animated as a fast zombie." (emphasis mine)

I'm not sure if the "person" is an intentional qualifier of if one would merely be arguing semantics; but raising Da'Tunga as a fast zombie makes a difficult encounter nearly impossible.

Grand Lodge

Just downloaded the PF version of it. Didn't realize it'd been updated. Only ever had the 3.5 one.

I have a couple of questions though. Firstly, why does the tier 1-2 version not have the spear listed as treasure? Is it because it's actually jeweled treasure and not a real weapon like the tier 4-5 one? Also, why does the 3.5 version have it listed at 2000 gold but the PF version is only 750?

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