Pathfinder Society Scenario #39: The Citadel of Flame (PFRPG) PDF

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

Once the home to a cult preaching self-sacrifice by immolation in order to achieve paradise, the Citadel of Flame in Qadira's Meraz Desert was presumably wiped out decades ago after Sarenrae dervishes led a crusade to end its morbid message. An enormous sandstorm swallowed both the citadel and the army attacking it, burying both beneath hundreds of feet of sand. Thought lost forever, the citadel's rediscovery prompts the Pathfinder Society to send you deep in the unforgiving Meraz to finally close the book on Qadira's most mysterious cult.

Written by Steven Robert

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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Fun scenario but I wish early scenarios had adjustments... we had a party of 7 and played high tier.

An Exercise in Paranoia


I recently played through Citadel of Flame in a home game with a 3-man group of lvl4 PCs, vs a mix of the upper and lower tier encounters. As a result, I'm not really in a good place to say how balanced things were.

The flavor here was really entertaining. A few bits stand out as particularly memorable (listed in the spoiler below) but overall it managed to fill me with incredible paranoia about what lied in wait for us. It manages to take your out-of-character thoughts and expectations and plays with them in order to make you overly concerned about what is coming.

The initial discovery of the Sarenite corpses, the Holy arrows, and the inscription at the entrance tripped our "incoming demon" alarms. From then on we snuck about expecting trouble at every turn. The rooms do a great job of playing up how Moloch-centric the scenery is, never letting you forget what might be around the next corner.

We correctly skipped participating in the trials in the tower, but that didn't stop me from wondering what awful thing would happens from flaunting the "rules" of the tower. My DM played up the sounds of fire from above so we kept expecting more fire elementals to rush down at any moment. Also, I was convinced the sentinel statue would come to life to pursue us for not kneeling. It all made for good in-character opportunities for RP.

The post final boss seal was suitably eerie, and left me second-guessing our decision on what to do with it. On the way out with the smith we had chosen to kidnap, I was incredibly convinced that he was possessed and that there would be one last encounter. I was surprised and a bit disappointed that that didn't turn out the be the case!

The first encounter was very clever, though my own reasoning for what was happening had me barking up the wrong tree before we worked it out. Second encounter ended up being a pushover due to our character builds.

Unfortunately, the final boss ended up being a bit disappointing as the pets were easily dealt with and our Ranger handled the boss before she got to do much.

Overall, I had a lot of fun with this scenario, though the resolution was a bit disappointing after how much the environment and atmosphere hype things up.


Warning for GMs: take your time on this one.


(I GMed this.)

I love the setting in this. Someone clearly spent a lot of time and energy on making this scenario all come together, and it shows. But, even though the thematics shine through greatly, some other stuff was paid less attention to. As a GM, this was horrible to run. There were some big mistakes here and there, a lot of flavour text is missing, and it's just plain chaotic in its structure. Also, it's pretty easy to get the drop on the final encounter, invalidating the majority of her tactics and leaving her neutered. Which is a shame, I feel.

In all, great to play, terrible to run. Would recommend playing this, but only with a GM who knows what he's doing.

Strong thematics, some good fights


This adventure has aged fairly well. At low tier the enemies are strong enough to challenge a normal party; sadly the end boss is not at cool as earlier encounters.

What really makes it shine though is the flavor. Read up a bit on Moloch in Princes of Darkness, and think about how his cult would get Sarenrae's hackles raised. The location is a really cool set piece, make sure to use that. The adventure's backstory also adds plausibility to a few hidden items that may come in handy for the PCs.

In this adventure I recommend the faction missions. Most of them are appropriate or funny, and a few of them nudge towards things the PCs might find useful.

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Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

Are this month's scenarios still set for release on time?

We're supposed to be running this mod at a con this weekend. I thought it was going to release today. When will it be ready?

Still need to finalize the PDF, but the December scenarios will release today.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Joshua J. Frost wrote:
Still need to finalize the PDF, but the December scenarios will release today.

They're up now!

Dark Archive

Could this module be easily run in Katapesh, for example as a "side-trek" adventure after 'Howl of the Carrion King'? Or does it have a lot of Qadiran elements that cannot be separated/modified without "destroying" the plot?

Yeah, I don't see any reason why you couldn't run it in Katapesh.

Liberty's Edge

This one was my first-ever Tournament game I played, and I think it was a great one to start with. I enjoyed the challenge, as well as the flavor of the setting.

Grand Lodge

I can read this just fine on my desktop and laptop, but having issues viewing a few of the pages on my tablet. Any one else having issues like that on this or any other PFS module?

Grand Lodge

Pg. 9 - Fireball trap

The description says this is a spread effect, when fireballs are burst effects (and all other examples of fireball traps are burst effects).

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