Pathfinder Society Scenario #47: The Darkest Vengeance (PFRPG) PDF

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

When a newly opened Ustalav Pathfinder Lodge goes silent, it's up to you to investigate and report back to the Society as to the source of the disappearance. The mystery deepens when you arrive and find the house silent but infiltrated by an old threat now in control of one of Ustalav's most powerful artifacts.

Written by Tim Hitchcock and Mark Moreland

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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3.00/5 (based on 22 ratings)

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Uh, yeah this IS deadly even if you follow rules and play fair.


This module has some extremes -- a cakewalk encounter followed by some extremely deadly encounters. The review before mine had this text: "it is extremely challenging if that encounter is ran incorrectly or is strictly interpreted against the players." And that prompted me to write this review simply to rebut that. The answer to that statement is NO. As in, no, the module is not difficult because GMs run it "incorrectly" or are mean. The encounter is deadly because following the rules makes it deadly.

Being a good GM who follows the mandate of Pathfinder Society management -- "run modules as-is" -- makes that encounter deadly.

encounter spoiler:
The encounter involves not just darkness, but supernatural darkness, so even those with darkvision are blinded. No one can see anything. By the rules, the PCs won't even know accurately where to move, much less how to accurately interact with a machine that they have not inspected. I have seen GMs offer cheats such as allowing some alchemical light sources to penetrate the darkness a little, but that is completely rule-breaking. The darkness effect is not the lower-level weaker version. It's the higher, more powerful one. By the rules, it wipes out all non-magical lights, returns the light "setting" to the ambient light of the surrounding area (which is no light at all), and then moves it 2 levels darker than that. It is absolute darkness, of the kind you would find in a sensory deprivation chamber. Everburning torches and other low-level light spells won't offset it, unless you are playing in a home game (not PFS), where you can get an everburning torch cast at a higher level.

Interacting with a machine somewhere in the room should involve slowed movement or Acrobatics checks, and Perception checks at penalties as outlined in the "Vision and Light" section of the rule book. It should involve miss chances from that same rules section, especially because they are in combat initiative as they interact with the machine. At low levels, the PCs are in serious, serious jeopardy from unseen attackers. They are also at risk of losing the man they are trying to save, since he has mere rounds to live and the solution to the darkness problem can take many rounds longer (even minutes or hours if they have to return to town). None of that is because GMs are douchey or cheaty. It is because those are the true rules, and PFS management has said "don't you dare veer away from the rules." So even if a GM is pulling for the PCs, the encounter can result in death. The GM did not suck at running the encounter. The module is simply too hard to be run as-is for many low-level groups. The fault lies there.

In a home game, all bets are off. I could tweak this in 5 seconds to be level-appropriate, and the problems with the module would be overcome. It would even be fun.

EDIT: I also have a note for GMs, regarding darkness & fog clouds:

In my most recent game, the players were clever: when the enemy dropped Deeper Darkness on them, the PCs dropped Fog Cloud right back. They told me this does 2 things: it turns off the bad guy's sneak attack damage (because while he can see through the darkness, the fog is giving everyone concealment, which ruins sneak attacks); also, it ruins AOOs. It turns out that the latter point is WRONG. So if your players are clever and get a fog or Obscuring Mist, you should know that total concealment (50% miss chance) will ruin AOOs, but these mists & fogs only provide concealment (20% miss chance) and that does not ruin AOOs, provided that the PC and villain are adjacent when the AOO is provoked (for example, as someone runs by). So in a mist or fog, the bad guy cannot deal sneak attack damage, but can AOO.

Good scenario, if you're willing to work with darkness rules


I enjoyed running this one. There's a great social scene at the start. Most of the bad reviews come from the way that the final encounter uses darkness rules. Certainly, it is extremely challenging if that encounter is ran incorrectly or is strictly interpreted against the players. I'd recommend that GMs run the machine the way that it was obviously intended rather than the way that it technically works given the interactions of the spells involved.

completely Riddiculous for low teir


I played this scenario today in a group of level 1-2 (5pcs) 1 survivor and only because he ran away. The mechanics in this are virtually impossible for level 1-3 players to successfully overcome and complete the scenario . I am all for a challenging scenario, but not one that give you the options of die....and fail the scenario or Runaway and not complete all conditions. Even running away doesn't guarantee survival either. DO NOT recommend for any players under 4 even then I would dread playing it

Overly Deadly


This scenario contains mechanics which a level one party, particularly of 4 PCs, is unreasonable to expect them to deal with in the 1-2 subtier. I will not run this scenario at tier 1-2, although I suspect that 4-5 will probably be better, simply because PCs have a lot more options to deal mechanics then. I love challenging encounters, and well designed fights that allow characters to use creative things to shine, but the 1-2 subtier is not the place to plunge PCs into the deep end and wish them the best.


This was a fun scenario to play. I love all things Ustalav so setting was a plus. There was a good amount of investigation to do and of course combat with a few snippets of roleplay to break things up. I really enjoyed the final combat/puzzle, although it was very difficult. I wouldn't be surprised if TPKs have happened in that room...

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W00t! I can't wait to see how it turned out and hear what people think! This one was a blast to write and Tim and I are already brainstorming some ideas for a sequel.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ustalav here I come!

The Exchange

Good adventure, I ran with 2 hours of prep. We decided to play on the spur of the moment, so I grabbed this adventure and went off to study it, make maps and grab figs. Herald brought his cleric and starting using Sunrods like hand grenades =) Did I miss the explanation of what they could do somewhere in the adventure? Uses other than shutting down machines?

Last Encounter Spoiler:
Darn near killed the entire party off on the last encounter. Everyone except a paladin was in base to base, so when Z exploded... 3d6 = 15 and no one made the save. One Paladin out of LOS (behind the machine) made a bunch of successive heal checks to save the day & Skeldon the . .

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Is the lodge in question, the one (, two?) in Caliphas or is it in a different city? If it's in a different city, which one?

Paizo Employee Developer

It's in Karcau.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Hmmm...there isn't any mention of it in "Rule of Fear". Since the basis of Darkest Vengeance seems to be the loss of the lodge in Karcau, I would assume that, at the writing of "Rule of Fear", the lodge is no longer in operation. Looks like I need to get "Darkest Vengeance" to get all the details.

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