Pathfinder Society Scenario #13: The Prince of Augustana (OGL) PDF

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

When an old beggar shows up filthy and injured on the doorstep of the Augustana Pathfinder Lodge in Andoran and demands to be recognized as Andoran's one true Emperor, Venture-Captain Wallace is inclined to chase him off. But when the old beggar reveals a wayfinder and tells a tale of demons and portals to another world beneath the streets of Augustana, Wallace summons you from Absalom to investigate. Will you make it through sewers, swarms, and sanctuaries to uncover the truth or will the dangers of the Augustana underworld consume you forever?

Written by Craig Shackleton

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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3.50/5 (based on 24 ratings)

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Solid, Straightforward Fun

4/5

NO SPOILERS

I just finished running The Prince of Augustana through play-by-post at subtier 1-2. It has an interesting premise/backstory and a couple of good NPCs to role-play with. Most of the scenario is a fairly standard dungeon crawl, and there's not much in the way of creativity with the encounters or antagonists. This isn't one that's going to tax a GM's prep time or a player's comprehension of the story. I had fun running it though, and, despite its age, it remains a very playable scenario. It'd be a good choice for groups looking for a fast, relatively straightforward experience.

SPOILERS!:

The briefing is delivered by an irritated Venture-Captain Wallace at the Pathfinder Lodge in Augustana (a major port and Absalom's second-largest city). Wallace explains that a dirty, dishevelled, and probably quite mad individual arrived at the lodge clutching a wayfinder and telling a ridiculous story. But the link to the Society means an investigation is necessary, so the group is introduced to the individual, Gandros. The man, obviously stinking of the sewers, raves about being the "Prince of Augustana" and of a "portal to the demon lands" that drove him from his "palace." The PCs' mission is to track Gandros' trail to its origins and figure out if there's really a portal and how he obtained the wayfinder. V-C Wallace warns the group that the sewers under Augustana are the territory of a street gang called the Steel Wyverns, but that there's also a group of beggars living underground in a sort of safehouse run by a priest called the Almsman. It's certainly an original premise for an adventure, and Gandros can be a really fun and memorable character if the GM goes whole hog in portraying his particular brand of ostentatious ego-driven delusion.

The entirety of the rest of the scenario takes place in the sewers--yuck! Contracting filth fever is a constant risk, but given its 1d3 day onset time it's not likely to impact gameplay (though it might make for an annoying condition to clear afterwards). The first encounter is against a few Steel Wyvern gang toughs, one of whom is an alchemist. As originally written, this encounter was both harder and more interesting because the toughs' weapons had reach but they were across a channel of sewage, so they had the advantage. But when spiked chains were made non-reach weapons in Pathfinder, this becomes a more conventional brawl. If the PCs are smart, however, they'll grab some of the alchemist's splash weapons because the next encounter is against something many players dread: swarms! I'm as guilty as the next player in usually forgetting to swarm-proof my characters, and these things can inflict a lot of damage (plus, the swarm attacks in the vicinity of a pocket of trapped sewer gas that explodes if open flame is nearby--a fun touch!).

The PCs will inevitably come into contact with the Almsman, a masked priest of Abadar, and his Sanctuary for the city's downtrodden. Some good role-playing can be done here (as well as some of the faction missions). It turns out that the Steel Wyverns are on their way to attack the Sanctuary because the Almsman is refusing to help them, so this is one of those fun encounters that the PCs know about ahead of time and can be the defenders (and set an ambush). It's a good opportunity for players to exercise some creativity and use some game elements they rarely get to, like setting traps, location-triggered spells, etc. I only wish the scenario had made some better underground terrain and debris/junk for the PCs to work with.

The finale takes place when the PCs reach Gandros' living quarters--the (now sealed off) basement of a store that use to cater to the nobility in Andoran before the People's Revolution. There, the PCs will learn that the "demonic invasion" was really just an accidental summoning of some dretches and that the"portal to the Abyss" is really just a painted pattern on the wall. Still, the story here is tragic, as Gandros has been living for decades with the corpse of his father (the owner of the store before it went out of business) and, in this light, his madness becomes more tragic than hilarious. The scenario is open-ended about how the PCs deal with Gandros on their return to the surface, with one good option (that my PCs came up with by themselves) to have the Almsman serve as his caretaker.

Unlike some early season scenarios, The Prince of Augustana isn't particularly deadly. Level 1 PCs serve at the will of the dice-gods, of course, but for the most part the encounters here are certainly manageable. Depending on how much role-playing takes place, this might be one of those scenarios that some optimized groups race through in two hours. Nonetheless, I liked the scenario--it has a good feel, and a change of pace from the sometimes very-dense and complex later season scenarios can be healthy. And who knows--maybe someday we'll see Gandros again!


An RPG Review

4/5

This adventure begins with the party summoned to the Pathfinder Lodge in Augustana, the second largest city in Andoran, where they are told an extraordinary tale and are asked to investigate it. The introduction explains to the DM what is really going on, but the party will have to find out the hard way, of course!

The tale is extraordinary indeed, involving one Gandros, the long-lost Prince of Augustana, who has been gathering an army on the far side of a portal to the otherworld to restore him to his father's position of Emperor of Andoran, but ran into difficulties, so fled back through the magic portal to this realm to escape assassins... For those not up on local history, Andoran never had an Emperor, nor has there been a 'Prince of Augustana', but he does seem to know a lot about the pre-revolution noble families of the city. He also smells and looks like he's been living in a sewer for some time. No prizes for guessing where the party's investigations will lead them...

The party gets the opportunity to speak with the Prince, and to conduct inquiries in town following up what leads the local Pathfinders can supply, before descending into the depths of the Augustana sewer system. There they'll have to contend with assorted folk who have taken refuge there, critters and disease - and will no doubt discover that it is hard to wave a sword or cast a spell whilst holding ones nose! There are atmospheric descriptions and a reasonably clear map to help you navigate their way around. There's a surprising lot going on down there and ample chance for the party to get involved. The Faction missions seem a little contrived (a common flaw) but provide some opportunity for role-playing fun as Faction members attempt to fulfil them in plain sight of the rest of the party without being noticed.

Sending a party splashing through sewers can always be fun especially when you keep reminding them just how unpleasant their surroundings are! Whilst the adventure is a bit linear, there's enough going on to keep the party occupied with a better mix of interaction and brawling than some Pathfinder Society adventures manage, so take a deep breath, hold your nose and come on in!


Straightforward and nice

4/5

Sometimes you just want a straightforward adventure. This one does so nicely. It's got a funny backstory which you get to find out, too. Most of the faction missions are also cute.

The enemies are rather feeble on low tier, but if you just barely squeak into high tier they can be dangerous. On the whole this one is most fun if you don't overdo it with optimizing your party.

I think the simplicity and easiness of this scenario on low tier makes it a good one for demo-ing PF to new people, were it not for some fuzziness on some 3.5 rules used here that might complicate the demonstration.

A re-issue of this one with PF rules instead would be extremely welcome.


Fun, But Short and Easy

3/5

There was some fun roleplaying here, though more for me as GM than for the players.

GMed this for six level 1-2 characters, and they destroyed all the enemies with hardly any damage. That's even with ruling that a particular weapon has 10' reach for purposes of this adventure; the canon rules for it changed since this was written, and following current rules would nerf the enemies. We judged that even if we'd run the higher tier it might not have been much tougher. In one of the battles the PCs have plenty of time to prepare and get a large advantage, but the difficulty isn't enough to make preparation necessary or to present any real challenge if the PCs do it. (One round, and most of the foes are dead/unconscious/asleep.) Also, we ruled that a particular hazard doesn't hit squares around corners, which turned a substantial threat into something that caused the PCs no harm at all.

The game only took around 2 1/4 hours as well. It's partly the difficulty, but also that the situation is pretty simple and linear. It could have used another twist. So, overall, I think my players had fun, but it didn't present a significant challenge or as long of an adventure as they're used to. It was at least a break from two adventures that were inordinately hard. We also got some humor out of a running gag about how astonishing these long-reach weapons are.


Fun romp in the sewers

4/5

I've enjoyed both playing and running this adventure for PFS. It does badly need an update to the Pathfinder rules though, the tactics and weapons no longer work as assumed in the scenario.


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Now available!

(Actually, available last Wednesday, but we didn't say so here.)

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

Joshua J. Frost wrote:

Now available!

(Actually, available last Wednesday, but we didn't say so here.)

Not for me, it's not. :-(

Every time I try to add it to my cart, it doesn't actually get added.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

D'oh!

Sorry... fixed now.

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