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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Tim Hitchock is truly the master of the deadly modules


I played this adventure just today and it's on my "never again" list along with the horror that was Skeleton Moon (for interestingly the same reason). It doesn't get one star like Skeleton Moon did, simply because I loved the creative use of the main foil, but it only barely does so. There was only a very small amount of potential roleplay, at the very beginning, and the module quickly degenerated from there into one tough combat after another. The "device" was an interesting addition, and I liked thematically the climax, but again, it was all set amongst the guise of "too difficult."

Honestly I don't get the appeal of the module and found it horribly overrated. It was easily the slowest module I've played through so far, and for something set in Ulstav, I expected it to be A LOT more creepy, but when you find out right away it's a Darklands module, that excitement waned (talk about a bait and switch). I didn't like how the adventure doesn't play well without certain classes, and woe to the group that doesn't have a cleric for no reason other than it has the potential for horrible player deaths (at least at Tier 1-2 where we played). From Tim Hitchcock I expected so much more, which only added to that disappointment.

I will note: I don't mind a challenge, but the potential lethality of this module was inappropriate. I don't care what level you're playing at, creatures with base damage capable of insta-killing party members are neither fun, nor a "challenge" they're just outright cruel to players and do nothing but discourage the player it happens to. This is especially true in Pathfinder Society where a lot of times you're trying to encourage new players to join. 1st level PCs should not be meeting up with one, let alone three creatures that can one-shot party members via spells, special-abilities, or bonuses due to the encounter nor should they have to deal with a certain optional encounter that is all but impossible for a low-level party. In fact, I counted no less than four of these kinds of issues with this module.

Don't look behind you...


I really like this scenario but it is difficult to run well. Give away too much and the climax is a cakewalk. Give away too little and it’s a bloodbath. As much as I complain about cakewalk encounters, I don’t enjoy it when the players feel as if they’re trapped in a no-win situation. I’ve only killed one PC in the 4 times I’ve run it so far. I guess that’s not awful. Deadliness aside, Tim and Mark did a masterful job delivering an engaging scenario. There’s some fun role-play in the beginning, followed by a mystery, some creepy discoveries and then a lot of player apprehension. I love seeing classic/obscure monsters used in so appropriate a setting. The scenario contains great campaign setting flavor. Practice a Slavic accent for the NPCs, and if that fails just go with your best “Borat”. Some of the faction missions are alright, none of them really stand out though. That’s a missed opportunity. The maps are all excellent though. A fun, frightening adventure.

Fun but frustrating


I really wanted to give this scenario five stars. The writing is excellent and the setting is interesting. The fights were creative and there were several points where you have to do a bit of thinking. We had a great group of people playing. However, there seems to be one glaring flaw to this adventure. We went in without two very critical classes.

Toward the end of the adventure there are several key skill checks (trained only) that we had no training in. It's certainly not an impossibility that classes other than the two I mentioned would take the skills needed, but they tend to be thought of as key to those classes. We managed to make it to the last encounter regardless, but by this point both we the players and the DM were starting to get frustrated. The circumstances surrounding the last fight pushed us over the edge.

I don't want to give away what happens during the last fight but it takes place in an interesting environment. We and the final protagonist were at something of a stalemate. The group spent a good thirty minutes trying to figure out how to overcome our "disadvantage" in the last encounter. The GM even discussed our options with his fellow GM's at the con and told us we had only one option for success due to his interpretation of the rules, the way the scenario was written, and the abilities and items available to us. After putting our heads together we finally puzzled it out that we had to leave and go back to town to buy the one item that would give us the ability to overcome our foes advantage. We also had to bring in a hireling from the local town to solve the final puzzle (due to a lack of skill on our part). We won in the end but it was a frustrating finale to an otherwise fun adventure.

If you have the right party makeup this will be a fun, albeit challenging, adventure. If not, it's quite possible you will either die a terrible death in the final encounter or not be able to complete the scenario (unless your GM is willing to bend the rules for you).

A lot of fun....and deadly


Got to play this recently, with Mark Moreland himself running. A lot of fun and impressive how Tim and Mark made a monster I thought of as lame intresting and deadly. There's a very creepy encounter and the last combat is deadly - there was a death the last time Mark ran it and I droped to - 3. (I only survived because as a half-orc I had the Orc Ferocity to keep me going and as an Inquisitor with a wand of Cure Light Wounds I ran from the combat and spent a few rounds healing myself before jumping back in.) I would advise not being an arrogant player with nothing to fear in this one...tough at times but fair.

Looking forward to the sequel....

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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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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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