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

2.90/5 (based on 23 ratings)

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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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2.90/5 (based on 23 ratings)

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Karma is a b____


If you're one of those GMs that like to run the scenario "as is", this is not the scenario for you. Unmodified, this is a 2 star killer scenario that should be avoided. Even victorious, your players will likely be annoyed and won't have fun.

As others have already stated, this is a killer scenario (especially with the optional encounter). Ideally you should have 6 PCs and the group should be APL 3 at subtier 1-2 and APL of 6 at subtier 4-5 (to avoid a TPK).

Having said that, with some modifications, this scenario is great. One of the best aspects of this scenario is that it oozes dark gothic horror, that was fun to GM. Even the intro was fun.

Length: Long. I thought it was going to take 5 hours and it took almost 6 hours. To fit into 5 hours, much handwaving has to be done (and the optional encounter skipped).
Sweet Spot: Both subtiers are equally good.
Experience: GM subtier 1-2.
Entertainment: Overall DV is fun, although the optional and final encounter can be frustrating.(9/10)
Roleplay: This scenario has some fun roleplay at the start and some interesting interactions later (depends on GM). (10/10)
Combat/Challenges: Too deadly at times. The puzzle the PCs are meant to solve is unlikely to be solved without modifications. (4/10)
Uniqueness: It's memorable, hopefully not for the wrong reasons. (9/10)
Faction Missions: Average Mcguffin and they don't really add anything the scenario. Then again, you probably wouldn't have time for anything more involved. (7/10)
Overall: With changes to the final encounter and puzzle, this is a great and memorable scenario. Unmodified it's a mess and frustrating at best. (9/10)

I highly recommend reading the GM thread on this scenario and I'll post my thoughts there.

The GM should modify the puzzle in the scenario. As written, most groups won't even get the clues needed to solve the puzzle. Even with the clues, my group of players almost didn't figure it out (it took 20+ minutes).

Edit: Bumping to 5 stars since this is exactly the kind of scenario I like, with the exception of the problems with the final encounter and puzzle.

The reason I bought this scenario was because of the creepy dark horror theme, and I wasn't disappointed. So if your players like dark horror themes and you're willing to heavily modify the main puzzle and the final encounters, your players will have a good time.

Annoying modules aren't my favourites


I played this recently, and I have to agree with the other reviewers who were irritated by some of the combats. Having a combat under difficult conditions does not necessarily make it interesting; on the contrary, it often makes it a frustrating, tedious slog when several PCs can only make minimal contributions.

Similarly, I find challenges that require the use of a particular skill (which can't be used untrained) to be irritating as well, especially since I usually play in "pick-up" groups where we rarely have a balanced mix of classes.

On the positive side, I liked the initial story behind the mission, although the actual module was a very linear dungeon crawl.

Problematic if players not preapred


I just played this module recently at a convention, and can honestly say that my experience playing this game was annoying beyond words. Not wanting to get into too many spoilers, there are some combats in this game that, if the players are not completely prepared for with the right mix of spells, skills, or special abilities, the combat can be incredibly deadly or take annoyingly too long.

Fortunately, for my table, we were of sufficient level and experience that the combat was not threatening our characters' survival, but it got so annoying at one point that one of the players literally threw up his hands and walked away from the table for 20 minutes before he came back saying he was ready to continue.

The only suggestion that I can give without crossing the "spoiler line" is that DM's and players need to READ THE TITLE OF THIS MODULE and take it to heart.

Beyond the two combat scenes that annoyed the players beyond words, the rest of the module was incredibly well written and provided some great RP encounters. Tim Hitchcock and Mark Moreland usually do amazing work with their modules, and this module is not a complete bust. However, I will say that it's not the best work they've ever done.

Wanted to rate it higher-I don't advise playing with 1st level players.


I recently ran this. I absolutely loved the first encounter. I ran it with newer players, I like tough encounters, but I think it could be hard/deadly for most allot of groups, which isn't a bad thing.

I think it could be a bit tough on 1st level characters.


After running and playing in this module I found that it was inappropriately deadly, particularly for first level characters.

One encounter was literally and thematically opaque to the degree that players could not reasonably find the solution to the problem, and PCs were being one-shotted.

In both games I participated in the only reason the players were able to survive was due to very large table size, giving enough targets for one or two players to be able to eventually have the time to solve the issue. If these had been a standard four person party they would have resulted in TPKs.

That just isn't right, especially for a low level module.

The other big problem, which seems common with most of the PFS modules, is that what is actually going on with the elaborate backstory is not in any way adequately conveyed to the players. They stumble from one encounter to the next, getting attacked by seemingly random things, and not really getting a clear idea of what is going on.

If this was a home game and had relaxed time requirements, it would be possible for a GM to orchestrate things so that the larger context could be drawn out, but in a living campaign environment, where you are trying to cram a whole session into four hours, all of this is lost.

Modules need to be tighter, more direct, and have appropriate challenges for the levels that you are playing at.

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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Now available!

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

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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