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.
Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at
I recently played this scenario in a home game (playing down to low tier at the recommendation of our DM). This made most of the combats quite easy, but didn't detract too much from the overall feel of the scenario.
To discuss the elephant in the room:
The Final Encounter:
We were lucky that our group had a way to deal with this encounter, and I expect things would have gone pretty hard south if we didn't. After the not-too-unexpected surprise of deeper darkness we moseyed on out of the room and our cleric summoned up a beastie with tremorsense to deal with the boss more effectively.
I'm not a big fan of this kind of very binary encounter (you have a solution or you don't) and I can imagine it being way worse for lower leveled players.
The story felt quite solid, with a good amount of mystery packed into a short time. Sure it was more "told" than shown to the players, but the parts you got to interact with (the machine and the last couple of encounters) worked well to reinforce everything.
The handouts seem to spell out Skeldon as the bad guy in the scenario, stealing from the Dark folk and sacrificing Pathfinders. I approached the final encounter with the impression that it might be possible to negotiate with any dark folk and/or let them extract their vengeance (...like the title of the scenario... y'know). That impression what swiftly dispersed when my PC got shanked for serious damage in the first round of the deeper darkness effect despite taking no actions to help Skeldon.
Also, the journal hypes up his work in the darklands, only for the area under the lodge to be a large cavern and one more room... what a letdown.
So overall: Spotty but decent combats, great flavor, while the end soured me a little, I had a lot of fun with this one.
If a scenario has "dark" in its name, I assume all sane people prepare to fight in bad light conditions. I personally don't believe that players should contort themselves to avoid making use of the scenario name, blurb or front cover image when preparing for the adventure. It's not their fault the editor spoiled it.
In this case, there are actually quite a few in-scenario hints that you will be struggling with light conditions, so being prepared is legitimate.
We played this with a 6-player party on high tier. It was unusually dangerous for a S1 scenario (which is, after all, built for 4 players with less options than now). Which I'm fine with; a bit of a challenge is good. I think including all the foreshadowing given, the high tier is doable (nowadays). Dangerous but by level 4-5 you should be ready for opponents who have a real plan for fighting back.
On low tier, I think it's quite busted. The boss is way over the top.
All in all I'm not a fan of "darkness gimmick" scenarios. This isn't the first and definitely not the last. The problems with darkness as a gimmick are;
Calculating areas of light and darkness, especially when people start deploying countermeasures, is annoyingly complicated. Especially if the source of light or darkness moves about, continually calculating how far regions of normal, dim, dark and supernatural darkness extend, is a lot of work. Add to that the fact that there are way too many vaguely conflicting light and darkness powers out there and you spend a lot of time looking up and explaining rules.
It's repetitive. Just about every darkness encounter I've ever run into is rogues trying to shank you for muchos sneak attack damage.
It leads to an arms race where you "have to" play a race with darkvision. Nice surprise for new players. Not.
It makes scenario difficulty very swingy. If you have a darkvision table, it makes encounters trivial. If you don't have any, it's murder.
We went into this with a well-prepared group and despite a few dicey moments made it through in one piece. We did have a good time. It's not a terrible scenario, but not great. And should only be played with a proper high tier table.
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 . .
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.