Pathfinder Society Scenario #30: The Devil We Know—Part II: Cassomir's Locker (PFRPG) PDF

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

The Pathfinder Society dispatches you to the catacombs called Cassomir's Locker to find the source of a rat cult breeding monstrous vermin. After clearing Cassomir's dank sewers and delving into the dirty dungeons below, will you find the artifact that powers Cassomir's Locker or bring about the destruction of Taldor's most important port?

Written by Joshua J. Frost

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 Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

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**½( )( ) (based on 23 ratings)

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Disappointing and Forgettable

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NO SPOILERS

When people who have never played an RPG speculate about what it's like, they probably think of something like The Devil We Know Part II: Cassomir's Locker, an adventure where the PCs run around some generic tunnels fighting some generic monsters on a mission to recover a generic piece of treasure. Having played in the scenario and then read it, I find very little to recommend it. I suppose, at a stretch, it's serviceable as a sort of "combat only" adventure to quickly introduce combat rules to new players, but there are much better introductory scenarios available. Frankly, this is the sort of thing that most GMs could quickly come up with on the fly given some random encounter tables and a bit of imagination to flesh them out. It's forgettable and completely skippable.

SPOILERS

A PFS Venture-Captain named Hestia Themis gives the briefing. A noblewoman named Countess Arieta Patrizia was kidnapped and taken to the sewers below the city. Although Patrizia managed to escape, she eventually succumbed to the disease and wounds she incurred as part of her ordeal. Before she died, she described her kidnappers as derro (mad creatures who live underground and kidnap humans for slavery or experiments) and said there were many more captives. In addition, she saw a strange artifact transforming normal rats into giant-sized versions! The mission that Themis gives the PCs is to descend into the sewers, seize the artifact, and free any captives found along the way.

The rest of the scenario takes place entirely underground, and is structured into two Acts.

Act I has the PCs exploring the sewers. There are a few combat encounters here that can be triggered in any order. There are the typical things one might expect: giant spiders, a couple of traps, diseased water, etc. The substantive encounters include cultists of Groetus (the God of the End Times), which has a tiny bit of tie-in to the previous scenario in the series. One of the cultists is even Dalirio Teppish's twin brother--like in a soap opera, I didn't even know Dalirio *had* a brother, much less a twin! It could be an interesting twist, but it doesn't really amount to anything besides a quick combat. At some point during their exploration of the sewers, the PCs will find a hatch leading further below.

Act II is a little more interesting, and is loosely based on the fact that Seattle and some other real cities are actually built *above* earlier settlements, the abandoned buildings of which still exist below! The fictional city of Cassomir has something like it, and soon the PCs find themselves exploring abandoned buildings whose upper levels are abruptly cut off by the "ceiling" of the cavern. It's a really evocative concept that could have been a great setting for an adventure, but little is made of it here. Instead, the PCs will encounter rats (dire rats or rat swarms), mites, and, in the "big conclusion" (for Subtier 3-4 at least) a single derro! The cheesy "artifact" (whose origin is unexplained) is just sitting in a room to be scooped up. It's all very bland.

I think I was particularly disappointed in this scenario because the entry for derro in Classic Horrors Revisited was so fantastic at establishing them as these bizarre, creepy, frankly terrifying creatures whose predilection for kidnapping and thirst for experimentation make them the stuff of nightmares. But in this scenario, the derro is just waiting around in a room with a giant rat, fights, and dies. There's very little done with a potentially cool setting and antagonists. More, there's almost no opportunity for role-playing, with only the faction missions livening things up a bit.

Overall, The Devil We Know Part II: Cassomir's Locker is an eminently forgettable little dungeon crawl. I'm glad Pathfinder Society scenarios have evolved in a much better direction!


A disappointing trip beneath Cassomir

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I played through Cassomir's Locker in tier 3-4 as part of an APL 4 group.

I found this scenario's prequel, Shipyard Rats, to be a fairly unexciting scenario with a relatively weak story, but had high hopes for the sequel to develop into an interesting tale of Derro, mysterious cultists, and unusual kidnappings. This followup squanders everything that was built up in part 1 and delivers a dull and unsurprising adventure.

Scenario Plot Spoilers:
We end up rehashing part 1 almost in full. Some people are kidnapped, we find that a rat-based cult seems to be behind things, we get to their base and find everything, Derro show up and its implied that they're the masterminds behind the scenes. Been there, done that. What's next?

We get nothing new here that we haven't already done. The scenery certainly doesn't help things either. The sewer is incredibly generic and underutilized as an area. Both fights in it happen in places where it is unlikely the sewer will serve as a tool or obstacle. Cassomir Below has to be one of the least exciting places yet, with the entire town in the middle of an indistinct "underground space" and almost all of the houses devoid of anything interesting to fight or investigate. There is so little flavor in this ancient town that I can't really even describe it after the fact. This was a big opportunity to make something cool! Why was it squandered to badly?

The cult also continues to evade any sense of a larger objective or purpose. None of the members here have any indication of a grander plan or any subtlety to them that comes through to the player. The twin brother to boss-man in Shipyard Rats is an unremarkable encounter with no clear ties to the larger story. Even the derro just seems to be "there" rather than having a clear goal. In the end it comes through that there is an insane rat-loving cult that is kidnapping people for "reasons". Bleh! What a lame story.

The encounters all seemed to be critically undertuned on the tier we played at. We routinely seemed to engage enemies that died to the smallest gust of wind and had no possibility of endangering us. We accidentally fought the second and third fights of the scenario in rapid succession and found it to be completely unthreatening. The elevation changes in that fight provided the only tactically interesting part of the scenario.

I found this scenario to be one of the most disappointing thus far, and my first to get a 2/5 rating.


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A forgettable sewer-crawl

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The past month I've played part 1 and 2 of this four-parter, and all three parts of the new (read: season 7) trilogy. The differences couldn't be bigger.

I quite liked part 1 of The Devil We Know series, though it wasn't anything special. This part is not much better and I honestly think it's a little worse. It's just a sewer-crawl that simply does not stand out in any shape or form. There's no point during the scenario that stood out to me or that I will be able to remember it by. The combats too were far from challenging.

It's a shame though. The idea of an item creating mutated rats is solid and could have been a great way to create unique opponents, memorable area-effects and overall a fun experience. Instead you just get slightly tougher rats and that's it. It's just a missed opportunity and makes this scenario forgettable. I sincerely hope part 3 and 4 will be better than this part.


An RPG Resource Review

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Whilst this adventure is linked to The Devil We Know 1: Shipyard Rats, you don't need to have played it first to enjoy this one, although it does give a sense of continuity of plot that can be rare in shared campaigns. If you like that, there are two more adventures in The Devil We Know series later in Season 1.

As usual, we open with a detailed backstory of what is going on for the GM's eyes only, leading up to how the party gets involved in the action. Cassomir has been suffering from a plague of kidnappings of late, but one victim has managed to escape and lived long enough to tell her story to a local Pathfinder Venture Captain before expiring from her injuries and a nasty bout of filth fever she'd picked up. So the Venture Captain, one Hestia Themis, summons the party and tasks them with investigating the sewers where the kidnappers - believed to be derro - are operating and (unsurprisingly, this is the Pathfinders after all) to look for an artefact called the jet rat which they apparently have. This turns regular rats into giant mean vicious ones and of course the Pathfinders want it.

Briefing given, the party will have to head down into the sewers to undertake their mission. It's not a nice place... and that's before you meet those who live down there! With a bit of imagination, it's possible to make this a vivid and unpleasant trip for the party. There are some surprises down here as well. Faction missions fit in quite nearly, although faction members may want to conduct them covertly as otherwise fellow party members may wonder just what they are doing!

Overall this is a good if basic delve adventure, with the edge of it being in fairly unpleasant surroundings. Fighting aplenty and a spot of trap-finding but no real opportunities for role-playing interaction except at the point of a sword! If you're running this at home, you might want to take the underlying plot and make a lot more of it, here it is used merely as the reason for the delve.


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