Pathfinder Society Scenario #51: The City of Strangers—Part I: The Shadow Gambit (PFRPG) PDF

3.80/5 (based on 20 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st to 7th level characters (Tiers: 1–2, 3–4, and 6–7).

The Pathfinder Society sends you to Kaer Maga, the City of Strangers, where you are ordered to find a local Pathfinder associate who sent a strange letter to Venture-Captain Drandle Dreng in Absalom. When the local associate turns up dead and you find evidence linking his death to a mysterious organization called The Shadow Lodge, it's up to you to track them down and solve the man's murder.

The Shadow Gambit is the first scenario in the two-part The City of Strangers campaign arc. Pathfinder Society Scenario #52: The City of Strangers—Part II: The Twofold Demise is the sequel.

Written by Joshua J. Frost

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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Average product rating:

3.80/5 (based on 20 ratings)

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I found this module to be incredibly frustrating. First of all, the thing about Society play is you aren't always going to get all the skills represented at a table. Sometimes a table is all combat builds. Sometimes it's all stealth builds.

Sometimes it's a great combination but still nobody has a decent diplomacy modifier.

In which case a module where one source leads to another leads to another leads to another with branching dead ends off every chain and a DC 20 diplomacy check is BASICALLY IMPOSSIBLE.

Failing until the GM takes pity is not my idea of a good time.

Really need to prepare to GM this scenario


Great scenario with balanced encounters. There are 6 scenes with one optional scene. Only downside is to GM this you need to do research to do it justice. Not a great pick up and run adventure.

Very Mixed review


First I have ran this and played it more than once/I have later changed my review I think I have ran it 4x so far.

Roleplay 3 stars
Roleplay with a dm familiar with the City of Strangers 5 Stars
Combat 2 Stars, Combat with experience running this multiple times 5 stars.

If you do run this purchase the city of strangers book. I think it totally changes the mod. Then sit back and let the city tell a story to the players.

It is hard to rate this one, as I have played then ran it, ran it more and more. I quickly find it to be my favorite scenario to date.

Good, not awesome


This module is very well written, but the combat encounters are both underpowered and boring. CR2 Goblins at Tier 7? That's just a waste of time at that level. Both part 1 and part 2 suffer from the same problem as so many Pathfinder Society mods - its a 'Humans and Humanoids' adventure, 99.9% of the Bestiary is ignored.
Kaer Maga is an original setting to be sure, but only if you have the book describing it, all that detail is completely left out of the mod, and for the most part, the locations suffer a lack of description.

The Pinacle of Role-Play Scenarios to Date


I decided upon 5 stars for this module because I simply don't want to give the wrong impression about my overall feelings. While there is one minor misstep throughout this module, none to date have oozed roleplay from its pores like The Shadow Gambit. While most modules offer up some routine and good opportunities for the people who like to roleplay, none that I have played have an entire section with upwards of an hour of play dedicated to it like this module. In my experience, with the right ambiance, players get a chance to feel like they're part of this city, and for the first time ever the faction missions play a significant part of it.

The Taldor faction mission is simply brilliant, and with a good player at the table, almost anything can happen.

If you're planning on GMing this module, you really need to understand Kaer Maga because the only way to successfully run it, is to let the city speak for itself. Frankly, you should just go out and buy The City of Strangers not only because it's such a good book, but because it makes the module just that much better.

My one issue is similar to Doug's. The encounters are not significantly challenging. It makes for a great introductory module because of this, but after a session or two (or Gods forbid 2nd level players), they will simply blow through the encounters as written. As I mentioned a the beginning of my review though, none of this matters though when the module is just that strong to begin with.

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Announced! This is for Tier 1-7.

Dark Archive

Thea Peters you might want to add a rating to your review. :)

Scarab Sages

I like this set of scenarios a lot. My advice to those running this scenario is simple:

This advice and 10 cents won't buy you a cup of coffee:

Play Wymund in a cunning manner. Use the invisibility and have him summon monster as much as he can. Once he has spent his summons the party may actually have burnt through some of their healing. In this scenario the party will find a lot of healing.

Summon monster does not count as an attack and therefore does not cause the invisibility to drop.

If the party manages to find him, have him evade and go invisibile again if he can. In the higher Tiers, once the party gets him on the ropes don't wait too long to use the scroll of dimension door to have him move to a remote location within the theater and heal up for the final confrontation.

Once he is out of summons and healing, it becomes a straight up fight.

If you don't play him this way. Large parties can easily kill him in 2 rounds. My advice is to make him memorable, play him tough. You will also want to study the map and see the locations he might use for cover or where he could lure a single character to an isolated area for an ambush.

The attitude I give him is simple: He knows this theater better than the party and he would take full advantage of knowing the home turf.

Hope my experience is helpful. Cheers :-)

PS I have made counters for these scenarios and am happy to post them on the SCARAB Gaming Convention Forums if you would like.


Scarab Sages

Additional Info - What if the party splits up.

Be Prepared:

I have had a few parties split up at the initial climb up the Halflight path. They take the incognito thing seriously. It's not a major problem unless they specifically say that they want to be equally dispersed throughout the caravan.
If this happens it means that there would likely be only one of the characters caught in the isolated arm of the path. There are several different ways you can handle it.

    [1]Role-play it instead of roll-playing it. Reward their preparedness with all the gear from the bad guys.
    [2]Run the combat as is. Have the players dice off for which one is isolated and see what happens.
    [3]My preferred method is to have the players dice off and determine which one is caught in the trap and then provide the other players NPCs to play for the encounter. I like to use 1 Dusk Warden (Gahiji), 1 Merchant and the remainder Warrior guards for the merchant.

The cool thing about using the NPCs is that it gives the party some friends in the city right off the bat. You can use them to offer housing, information, assistance locating people, additional muscle if the party is under powered, etc.

Here are the NPCs I use at all levels.

Dusk Warden Gahiji
Male Human Ranger 3
N Medium Human (Garundi)
Init +2; Senses Perception +6
AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 13 (armor +3, Dex +2)
Hp 27 (3d10)
Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +1
Spd 30 ft.
Melee mwk longsword +6 (1d8+2)
Ranged mwk composite longbow (+2 strength) +7 (1d8+2) or mwk longbow (+2 strength) +5/+5 (1d8+2)
Special Attacks: favored enemy (+2 vs humans)
Str 14, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 10
Base Atk +3; CMB +5; CMD 17
Feats: Endurance, Rapid Shot, Skill Focus (Survival), Toughness, Track, Weapon Focus (longbow),
Skills: Climb +7, Handle Animal +6, Heal +6, Intimidate +5, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +6, Knowledge (geography) +6, Knowledge (nature) +6, Perception +6, Ride +7, Stealth +8, Survival +9, Swim +7
Languages: Common (Taldan), Osiriani, Kelish
SQ: Wild Empathy +3, Favored Terrain (desert)
Gear: potion cure light wounds (2), masterwork composite longbow (+2 strength), masterwork longsword, masterwork studded leather, quiver with 20 arrows (10 cold iron)

Male Human Aristocrat 3
N Medium Human
Init +1; Senses Perception +8
AC 14, touch 11, flat-footed 13 (armor +3, Dex +1)
Hp 20 (3d8)
Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +3
Spd 30 ft.
Melee mwk rapier +4 (1d6-1) 18-20/x2
Ranged mwk shortbow +4 (1d6) x3
Str 9, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 11
Base Atk +2; CMB +1; CMD 12
Feats: Alertness, Persuasive, Weapon Finesse
Skills: Appraise +6, Bluff +4, Diplomacy +7, Intimidate +6, Knowledge (local) +6, Knowledge (nobility) +6, Linguistics +5, Perception +8, Profession (Merchant) +4, Sense Motive +6, Swim +4
Languages: Common (Taldan), ?, ?
Gear: potion cure light wounds (2), masterwork shortbow, masterwork rapier, masterwork studded leather, quiver with 20 arrows (10 silver)

Male Human Warrior 3
N Medium Human
Init +0; Senses Perception +2
AC 16, touch 10, flat-footed 16 (armor +4, shield +2)
Hp 27 (3d10+3)
Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +0
Spd 30 ft.
Melee mwk scimitar +6 (1d6+1) 18-20/x2
Ranged mwk light crossbow +4 (1d8) 19-20x2
Str 13, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 8
Base Atk +3; CMB +4; CMD 14
Feats: Quick Draw, Rapid Reload, Weapon Focus (scimitar)
Skills: Climb +4, Handle Animal +3, Intimidate +4, Perception +2, Ride +4, Swim +4
Languages: Common (Taldan), ?, ?
Gear: potion cure light wounds (1), masterwork crossbow, masterwork scimitar, masterwork chain shirt, heavy wooden shield, quiver with 10 bolts

Again, this has only happened to me a few times, but it is good to be prepared.

Hope this helps you to be better prepared.

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