Pathfinder Society Scenario #14: The Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch (OGL) PDF

2.50/5 (based on 27 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st to 7th level characters (Tiers: 1–2, 3–4, and 6–7).

When four statues of unspeakable power were found in a tomb in Osirion and then stolen, the Pathfinder Society assumed they were gone forever. When they appeared again in the illicit inventory of a Qadiran smuggler in the massive trade city of Sedeq, the Society wasted little time dispatching you there to recover them. Finding the smuggler dead and a familiar face from Absalom responsible, your task quickly becomes a race to retrieve the statues before their brutal power can be unleashed on the citizens of the Satrap. Can you find the statues in time or will Sedeq be swallowed in a plague like none Golarion has ever seen?

Written by Jonathan H. Keith

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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2.50/5 (based on 27 ratings)

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Thug Life - Society Style!

2/5

This was excrutiating to run for a Paladin and Lawful Good Cleric; robbery and murder are not very heroic and lead said types into an atonement spell faster than cookie monster can scarf down macaroons. With a less savory group this would have been a better run, so make sure you know who your audience is prior to running.


The Many Misfortunes of Grandmaster Torch

1/5

This may be the worst PFS scenario I have ever seen, though I say that after fully admitting that even though I started at Gencon of Season 0, I happened to only play Season 0 scenarios that weren't retired, so there could be worse.

Challenge (2/5)::
The encounters in the module are all pathetic except for the vermin. The time I played this in Subtier 3-4, the vermin were substantially harder than the hypothetical fight consisting of all the other enemies in the scenario coming at you at once. Granted, in this instance, the GM had some hot dice for the vermin, so I'll go ahead and figure that the vermin are about right in difficulty.

Interesting Encounters (2/5)::
The author tries pretty hard to give at least some of the encounters varied conditions, rather than straight up fights. Unfortunately, some of these are pretty big fumbles in my book. One of the worst parts of the scenario is the inflexible way that the scenarios turn into combat, detailed more below. Fighting in an area with no weapons or magic could be cool but just came out feeling cheesy. The chase against the invisible opponent into the spice factory has some potential, but it's likely to wind up as bothersome, with the PCs forced to contend with the unrelated guards of the place who they don't really have a reason to fight. The vermin fight and protection money thugs are pretty standard and uninteresting.

Roleplaying Opportunities (1/5)::
I really like Grandmaster Torch, and there is an opportunity for roleplay with him here, but in the end he seems to have been stuck into this scenario as a gimmick, and the way he interacts with the PCs probably hurts his status overall and yields people who just hate him and aren't interested in ever seeing him again (or want to kill him) as I've heard about on the forums. The real reason for the 1/5, however, is the ridiculously railroady and anti-RP nature of the mission here. You are tasked with essentially mugging four people for their artifacts. When I first played this adventure, our group decided to take it another way, and explain that the items were stolen merchandise and that they were actually dangerous to the owner (as we had discovered along the way), and we assured the owners that we knew they were duped by the thief into buying stolen goods, so we wouldn't press charges. Our backup was to offer to buy the items back. In no instances did the scenario allow this to work. One guy (running guy) uses a 300 gold piece item to run away from the party, even if they are completely non-threatening and have no intent to harm him whatsoever. What the hell? That's a lot of money down the drain. This railroady there-must-be-a-fight aspect earns Many Fortunes a rare 1/5 from me in this category.

Golarion Flavor/Continuity (1/5)::
There's two ways to think of this mission as the VC describes it. There's the rational way, where the Pathfinders are trying to reason with some unwitting purchasers of dangerous items that will release a plague in order to neutralize the threat and recover the items. Then there's the absolutely insane way, where the Pathfinders are going on a jolly mugging and killing spree through the streets of Sedeq, murdering citizens whose only crime may have been unwittingly purchasing stolen goods (you can't very well leave them alive, as they surely can point out your party to the guards and get you all arrested immediately). Also you probably have to kill all witnesses for good measure. Now, usually a PC who presents that second plan will be scowled at by everyone else or directed away from it by the GM or the scenario itself. But--you guessed it--in Many Fortunes, they assume that you use the crazy plan. In fact, if you don't try the psychopath plan, the adventure railroads you into fighting anyway, and all NPCs react to you as if they knew you were going to be treating them that way. At least they will sometimes be attacking you first? Fortunately, there are apparently no consequences to the PCs for blatantly murdering all of these people. For added bonus points, the Taldor mission encourages terrorism and mass murder (generally ending in an explosion killing dozens of innocents) and the Qadira mission requires an assassination of some random guy the Pasha doesn't like using a poison that was selected for its unbearable agony. I haven't even gotten into the weirdness of the giant antimagic field on the market and what implications its existence has for all of Golarion as a whole.

Awesome Factor (1.5/5)::
This category exists for things that just make the characters call out "That's awesome!" On the other side, it includes things that make them groan, but I've named the category after the positive side of the aspect. The weird magical appearance of the giant bugs was actually kind of awesome, I guess, but the ridiculous assumptions of murdering people in a big city with no consequences, combined with the evil faction missions, are very anti-awesome. If you are a paladin in Taldor, Qadira, or Lantern Lodge (particularly Taldor), PvP rule be damned, you should be losing your powers if you don't sabotage your fellow faction members on those missions, not that you had a great chance of keeping your paladinhood through the main scenario anyway...

Overall Analysis (1/5): I don't judge often in extremes. A scenario will truly have to be something to get a 1/5 or a 5/5 from me in any category. This scenario managed to get a 1/5 in two categories. I know some reviewers tend to rate high, where a 3/5 would be a product they didn't like. For me, The Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch's 1 star rating means that it has serious problems. It would actually be fine with some major adjustments for a non-PFS GM who is allowed to change the scenario around somewhat. But given that you aren't supposed to make changes in PFS that actually modify the challenges in the scenario, I have to rate this scenario based on that. It's not easy to get a 1/5 in my rating system, since I rarely give a 1/5 or 5/5 on any given category, and you need to average 1.5 or below to get a 1 star review. This scenario should almost certainly have been retired, and I'm guessing that Grandmaster Torch's appearance is the main thing that allowed it to stay. That's a pity, since as I said before, this scenario actually leads to character decay for GMT, so I am willfully avoiding it for my group that has the most interplay with Torch.


3/5

Aside from the things already listed, the biggest complaint I have against the scenario is that in the last Act, the only instructions it gives is if the PCs DONT ask for the statue, which leads to a fight. But what if they do? Is it ok to sell it to them? For how much? Roleplaying through that encounter wouldnt have been a hard thing to type up, or added much to the word count. It's definitely something that shouldnt have been overlooked.

I do think it was a good scenario, but it definitely has it's faults.


Wish I could give this 0 stars

1/5

I am not sure how this has yet to be retired. The basic idea is "Beat up an old man, a foreigner, an innocent man, and another guy to find a bunch of stupid statues."

I understand this introduces Torch and he is a plot device through many mods but this thing is just terrible. Please do players and GMs a favor and file this one away.


Kill someone, steal his stuff, repeat.

2/5

I suggest people who have any illusions that PFS is a place where heroic characters are welcome avoid this module. There are some interesting fights and some potentially fun role-playing opportunities but the bulk of this module is pure thuggery.

Spoiler:
The Pathfinders are given a list of 4 random strangers and told they need to steal a valuable magic item from each of them.

They don't *have* to murder all of the statue owners but most likely 2 of the 4 will be killed and all of them will be robbed if they are to succeed.


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Now available!

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

Sovereign Court

Hey, not fair Josh! In the UK we have been away at Conception running the Pathfinder Organized Play for the last five days. (It was great and all the 5 slots I ran were 200 percent over subscribed by players.)

I would have snapped up these two recent modules with the rest of my January purchases and used the voucher you sent out. Now I try to buy them and the "Add to shopping cart" doesn't work and the expiry date has passed. Why didn't you make these new modules public last Wednesday?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Angel Gabriel wrote:
...the "Add to shopping cart" doesn't work...

Sorry—I broke that earlier today. It's fixed now.

Angel Gabriel wrote:
Why didn't you make these new modules public last Wednesday?

They were available. I was too busy last week to send out a notifying e-mail, but we did mention them in our store blog all weekend. We just didn't create a discussion thread here.

The last Wednesday of each month is the scheduled date for all scenarios, by the way. (I can't promised they'll never be late, but that's the scheduled date, and Josh and crew work hard to meet it.)

The Exchange

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Angel Gabriel wrote:
...the "Add to shopping cart" doesn't work...

Sorry—I broke that earlier today. It's fixed now.

Angel Gabriel wrote:
Why didn't you make these new modules public last Wednesday?

They were available. I was too busy last week to send out a notifying e-mail, but we did mention them in our store blog all weekend. We just didn't create a discussion thread here.

The last Wednesday of each month is the scheduled date for all scenarios, by the way. (I can't promised they'll never be late, but that's the scheduled date, and Josh and crew work hard to meet it.)

They were only available for pre-order when I checked earlier and now they are available for actual download so they would never of been eligible for the holiday discount.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Wintergreen wrote:
They were only available for pre-order when I checked earlier and now they are available for actual download so they would never of been eligible for the holiday discount.

That was just a display issue; the product was indeed available for purchase. (You can't actually preorder a PDF on our site.)

Liberty's Edge

Wait, tier's 3-4 and 6-7?!?! What happened to tier 4-5?

The Exchange

I played this at Pandemonium this weekend. Overall it was fun, but I had real ethical problems with my faction's assignment. Rather than commit a purely evil act (and as a cleric risk serious alignment infraction) I declined the opportunity. I know Pathfinder is morally grey, but are good aligned characters simply not practical? It was only my 3rd Pathfinder, and the GM was fantastic.


NotMousse wrote:
Wait, tier's 3-4 and 6-7?!?! What happened to tier 4-5?

This is Tier 1-7, meaning it plays in Tiers 1-2, 3-4, and 6-7. If your APL (average party level) is 5, you can choose either Tier 3-4 or Tier 6-7.


GamerChick wrote:
I played this at Pandemonium this weekend. Overall it was fun, but I had real ethical problems with my faction's assignment. Rather than commit a purely evil act (and as a cleric risk serious alignment infraction) I declined the opportunity. I know Pathfinder is morally grey, but are good aligned characters simply not practical? It was only my 3rd Pathfinder, and the GM was fantastic.

There will occasionally be missions that PCs won't want to do and that's totally okay. We didn't create the faction missions to be guaranteed successes every time--whether that's from a PC morality choice, a skill roll, etc. You should be able to succeed at more than 75% of your missions in a season, but we don't guarantee any amount.

The Exchange

Joshua J. Frost wrote:
GamerChick wrote:
I played this at Pandemonium this weekend. Overall it was fun, but I had real ethical problems with my faction's assignment. Rather than commit a purely evil act (and as a cleric risk serious alignment infraction) I declined the opportunity. I know Pathfinder is morally grey, but are good aligned characters simply not practical? It was only my 3rd Pathfinder, and the GM was fantastic.
There will occasionally be missions that PCs won't want to do and that's totally okay. We didn't create the faction missions to be guaranteed successes every time--whether that's from a PC morality choice, a skill roll, etc. You should be able to succeed at more than 75% of your missions in a season, but we don't guarantee any amount.

OK, that's fair enough. :) I don't ever expect 100%.

The Exchange

Ran this for a group during MegaCon 2009, just after running Silent Tide for the same group. Was neat to see a continuing character and be able to breath life into it. The group did really well with the exception of a misfired alchemist fire in a certain room making the whole town dive for cover as the refinery went ka-boom! Awesome!
Everyone survived, and had a great time. Definitly some return business here for the new players in the party. Eagerly looking forward to GenCon this year and running some more of these.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Can this scenario still be played in light of Rivalry's End?

Silver Crusade

Is there a sequel to this where GT calls in his marker? If so I'd like to know so I can request my GM to run it.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yup, Torch calls in his favor in 1-45 Delirium's Tangle.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Lord Fyre wrote:
Can this scenario still be played in light of Rivalry's End?

What this guy said. I've got an ex shadow lodge character I'm playing and I'm wanting to know if this is a good scenario to run him with in light of the fact that, after rivalries end he's kind of looking to kill Torch or bring him to justice.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Torch is fast, Torch is cool...

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
doc the grey wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:
Can this scenario still be played in light of Rivalry's End?
What this guy said. I've got an ex shadow lodge character I'm playing and I'm wanting to know if this is a good scenario to run him with in light of the fact that, after rivalries end he's kind of looking to kill Torch or bring him to justice.

You point out a serious problem with the way the Shadow Lodge was dissolved. It left a lot of hatred for Torch, this effectively invalidates earlier scenarios like this one.

Of course, I also feel that disbanding the Shadow Lodge was a mistake. It provided a good foil for the Grand Lodge faction.

Sovereign Court

Lord Fyre wrote:
doc the grey wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:
Can this scenario still be played in light of Rivalry's End?
What this guy said. I've got an ex shadow lodge character I'm playing and I'm wanting to know if this is a good scenario to run him with in light of the fact that, after rivalries end he's kind of looking to kill Torch or bring him to justice.

You point out a serious problem with the way the Shadow Lodge was dissolved. It left a lot of hatred for Torch, this effectively invalidates earlier scenarios like this one.

Of course, I also feel that disbanding the Shadow Lodge was a mistake. It provided a good foil for the Grand Lodge faction.

You may be right in the fact that it may have invalidate this one, but think about life... sometimes we think we are on one path and then something happens that changes that path. My players loved this scenario because it told the beginnings, (This area has only been organized since January and started with Season 5 stuff, so I have been taking them on a trip through season 0 and season 1 scenarios AND story arcs. The first arc, they loved. This one I believe that are loving as well... :D

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