Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-04: Shadows Fall on Absalom (PFRPG) PDF

3.50/5 (based on 4 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 7th to 11th level characters (Tiers: 7–8 and 10–11).

One of the Pathfinder Society's most beloved venture-captains, Drandle Dreng, is nearly killed in a failed assassination attempt on the grounds of the Grand Lodge itself. Your mission to catch the assassin is complicated when you learn he is the son of an influential Pathfinder. Can you catch the assassin before his blade strikes again while avoiding the outrage of your peers?

Written by Larry Wilhelm

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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3.50/5 (based on 4 ratings)

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If you love Dreng, play this. If you hate Dreng, play this.

4/5

Quentin GMd this for me.

As Quentin and Ascapalus said, it hasnt aged well with the powercurve. We did have an overpowered party (in my opinion).
But we had a lot of fun. It has a bit of a three stooges feel, but in a good way.
It is certainly a flavorful scenario, with good locations. The shadowlodge angle doesnt work that well, but Dreng is a mysterious figure. I think it could work if you keep the villains of this scenario a bit vague.


Imaginative set-pieces, but mechanically dated, and some plot weakness

3/5

Quentin ran this for us last night, and we had a good time. It wasn't because of being properly challenged (we weren't) but rather because there's a few imaginative set-piece fights.

Mechanically, there's quite a few issues in here (mostly behind the scenes). Enemy tactics could have been interesting, and made things spicy, but they were founded on somewhat brittle assumptions of what PCs will do. When players start moving less predictably (and this is a 7-11 scenario, so they will) those assumptions don't pan oout.

The plot is interesting, but seems a bit contrived. I think by pitching the mission briefing slightly differently, it would work out better.

Also, I think this scenario would be really neat if the whole Shadow Lodge thing was totally new; it fits very well in the then-metaplot when people had no idea who these people were and what they were about. Unfortunately that metaplot hasn't aged all that well. Suppose you're looking to run a cohesive campaign of scenarios in storywise order for new players who had no foreknowledge, that's something you can exploit.

In any case, I recommend playing this scenario on low tier, it just feels more like a 3-7 in terms of the degree of weird s&@* going down than the superheroic antics you expect in a 10-11 tier.


An interesting and fun setup, though sadly not much payoff.

4/5

(I GMed this.)

I love Larry Wilhelm. I've played or GMed all except two of his scenarios by now, and every time I'm impressed how evocative and imaginative his work is. He writes the kind of adventures I'd like to see more often. This is no exception. The story has a fun twist to it and while it's obvious there's something funky going on, if the players roll with it, you can have a lot of fun. My players all loved the second location, and it's a fun thing to play around with. And, as the reviewer before me said, a few interesting negative boons I wouldn't mind seeing more often. They're learning experiences and define your character.

One downside is that the encounters are pretty easy by today's standards, but they can still hit pretty hard if they get the chance to. Problem is, at this level players will have a lot of magic stuff the scenario can't really cope with. Scenarios that might have been a challenge to underprepared players were absolutely cakewalks for my party (with, granted, a few optimised characters). There's also some sloppy editing going on here and there, but that's all behind the scenes stuff that doesn't really impact the scenario on its own.

While this might not be the best Wilhelm scenario I've played, it's certainly a very fun scenario, and I have no idea why it only has one review so far. I'd recommend playing it, but be aware of some slightly underwhelming fights.


Shadows and Secrets

3/5

Here's another offering from PFS workhorse author Larry Wilhelm. I’ve run this scenario three times with good results. I like the plot, which promotes role-play and problem-solving…for the first half. The second half peters off and relies on slightly challenging combat encounters to wrap things up. Really this is not the author’s fault. Opening the cookie jar of unrestricted equipment access for the players has turned many formerly challenging fights into comedies. The fights in the scenario are really there to enhance the plot and encourage the players to sometimes think before they swing. It is nice to see some rewards and consequences on the Chronicle sheet. It would be nice to see these story items become the norm rather than the exception. Progress is being made, albeit slowly. I think one of the best things about the scenario is it can be run with minimal prep work. The plot makes sense and unfolds so smoothly the players won’t notice the tracks leading them around. Some of the faction missions are also very interesting, but leave a lot on the GM to do them justice. The campaign flavor is full-bodied, with some of the story fleshing out the Grand Lodge in Absalom. I would like to see some more matrix-style investigation options in future scenarios. The scenario does score well for plot, flavor and a few of the faction missions. It loses points for low challenge and for the stat block snafu/anti-climax in C3. Only three stars may be harsh, but I have high expectations of Larry.



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Thanks for the review Doug. What's that statblock snafu you mention? Is it something we can easily fix in the pdf?


I have to agree. The bad guys's stat block at the end is completely screwy. Two-Weapon fighting with a Dex of 10?

Mark Moreland wrote:
Thanks for the review Doug. What's that statblock snafu you mention? Is it something we can easily fix in the pdf?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Given that the scenario is almost 2 years old, we're unlikely to go back and redesign an entire NPC in two subtiers and deal with the cascading issues of changing equipment (and wealth rewards) and layout spacing. Were it a simpler error that wouldn't have take the same amount of resources, or a larger error that absolutely demanded attention (such as one that rendered the adventure unplayable), we might make the necessary changes.

In this case, treating the NPC as though he had the requisite Dexterity to take all his feats (for those feats only, not when determining skill bonuses, AC, Reflex save, initiative, etc.) is probably easiest. In other words, just run him as written. Alternatively, you could simply run him as if he had neither TWF tree feat and have him perform only 1-handed attacks.


That's what I did. Played him as written and hand-waved all the rest. :-)
Merci, Mark!

Liberty's Edge

Just noticed that the Stats for the

Spoiler:
10-11 Wired Mannequins are a little screwy. They are advanced Large Animated Objects but their stat block dosnt match up with the damage they are doing.

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Added spoiler tag above!

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