Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-15: Shades of Ice—Part I: Written in Blood (PFRPG) PDF

3.80/5 (based on 16 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st to 5th level characters (Tiers: 1-2 and 4-5).

When the Decemvirate sends the PCs to the Viking city of Trollheim in the frigid northern Lands of the Linnorm Kings to deliver a package to an allied scholar there, the Pathfinders soon find themselves unwelcome visitors. Forced to navigate the rugged, isolated city and interact with the standoffish natives, can they deliver their cargo to its target, or will they find themselves exiled from the city... or worse?

Written in Blood is the first scenario in the three-part Shades of Ice campaign arc. It continues in Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-17: Shades of Ice—Part II: Exiles of Winter and concludes in Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-19: Shades of Ice—Part III: Keep of the Huscarl King. All three scenarios are intended to be played in order.

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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3.80/5 (based on 16 ratings)

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The bad guys haven't withstood the test of time

3/5

Barring the last couple fights, most of the opponents in this scenario aren't very challenging.

From a plot perspective, the story that is woven is a little on the weak side, and potentially confusing. Ithe is also mostly behind the scenes, requiring any gm wanting to expose what is going on to have to put in a little extra work.


Good roleplay potential, nonsense mechanics

2/5

Runned once, not played yet.

I really enjoy the roleplays, but ruined by horrible mechanics:

1.Railroad diplomacy. You get into a town, meet A,B,C,D,E, get some useless clues, then keep going. I put much time into roleplaying, and my players enjoyed, but the writing itself just too repetitive and don't make sense.

2.The bar fight, I appreciate the setting as well the fight. But a idiot storyline ruined this, the barbarian put a mob to tell PC where he is, and to stop them? What a hell.

3.How the guard let the goblin get in and with no cautions? Too weird... I just let the guards knocked off and skip the boring social encounter.

4.There's no room to do the last two fights, terrible maps make me confused... I just skip the second floor then put into a back-to-back (goblins are fairly weak)


Lackluster compared to the newer scenarios

2/5

I was one of the players in Quentin's game – read his review below. While he did a great job, I do have to admit the scenario is a bit lackluster at times, especially compared to the newer releases. The initial fight was a good way making us pathfinders feel unwelcome. At the same time we're forced to ask around for information, which we received. That, to some extend, made me feel welcome. So instantly I feel a bit confused: I'm welcome, but also not welcome.

Another thing that bugged me were the last two fights. Let's start with goblins in a small corridor. That basically turns into a 'let the melee folk deal with that, while some levels 1's have to roll a 20 to actually hit something unless they have a spell or something'. It's not really gameplay that's enjoyable for those players. It basically made me lose interest in the fight. It was a situation that we'd obviously win, but also gave me zero impact. I contemplated just asking the GM to remove me from initiative just to get this fight over with more quickly. I don't have to explain why that is a major problem with the game.

The last fight also was weird. No one would willingly place himself in a corner to fight an opponent. That tactically makes no sense and an Ulfen want-to-be leader should have known better. Furthermore, why would the PC's be honorable and go down to face them? We could just blast them to pieces from the relative safety of the second floor. But that's not my only issue with that fight: it honestly felt rather easy and was pretty anticlimactic. Storywise, the suspension builds up really nice, but then there are some fights that just flat-out ruin that.

However, there was a part of this scenario that I really enjoyed: the barfight. Seriously, if the players actually treat it as a barfight and favor throwing chairs at people over tossing a fireball, it's an incredibly fun and memorable scene. That alone gives this scenario two stars in total. I'm interested in how the storyline continues, but I do have to say I hope the next two parts are substantially better.


Only play this if you're itching for a bar brawl.

2/5

(I GMed this.)

This scenario had a good premise, but sadly never delivers on it. All the fights seem to be lacking in some way or another. The first fight throws you into the chaos, but is only there to lead you on the right track; the second fight is exciting (and my players genuinely had fun to star in a bar brawl), but the enemies are disappointing in strength; the last few fights seem unnecessary and use cramped spaces so enemies have no way to maneuver. The final encounter could've been so cool, with the enemies having an interesting party setup that could equal a normal adventuring group, yet they have to fight in a cramped space and all have a handful of HP, which means they go down with just a few hits.

My first problem with this scenario is how little information is given. Enemies know just enough to lead you to the next encounter and are just plot vehicles, but even the roleplay encounter is badly designed (more on this later). You get five pieces of information and 5 NPCs to tell them, but no instruction on their whereabouts. In this sense I'd preferred if this encounter was more on-rails, so I'd have context, but I understand there are people who love this and I won't hold it against them. The encounter with the guards has no reason being there as-is: right now, it's an arbitrary roadblock without any explanation why it's there. I ended up skipping it as I had no context for it. They're supposed to go inside but don't, yet won't let anyone pass to do their work for them, and if the players wait to see what happens, they're just standing there bickering. The Goblin fight is a pushover and the Goblins just rush to their death. They have no room for maneuvering and just get in each other's way. The final encounter is badly written in that the writer expects the players to just come outside without trying anything, and it was only at my player's suggestion that they'd make it a fair fight, rather than pelt them with ranged weapons from above (a single well-thrown Alchemist bomb would've heavily injured all of them). The enemies have no tactics (or means) to fight from range when the players decide to play dirty.

Also, this is one of many scenarios where the plot is only revealed after the boss fight is over. I'd just love to see a plot gradually uncovered, with players puzzling things together bit by bit, rather than by exposition dump.

The roleplay-encounter: This is where your second prestige point hinges on, yet is totally unfair. Each attempt costs 1d6 hours and is insanely high for low-level characters. And the mechanics for when you're talking to the characters don't make sense, either. You need to make a Local or Diplomacy to find them in the first place, yet they require another check just for them to pass the information, with a small bonus or penalty when the party does a certain thing.

I gave the second star just because of the bar fight. I'm sure the intentions were good, but I find it lacking in execution.


Good Fun

4/5

I GMed this last night for several people who were newer to Pathfinder and a few veteran players, and generally speaking they enjoyed it. This is a good scenario with amble opportunity for role-play and some fun, if somewhat weak combats. Generally speaking quantity in a 1-5 means fairly weak bad guys, and with the exception of one fight, that is what you get.

I agree with other reviews that state this is a good scenario for newer people to PFS. Well built PCs will easily trounce through the combats.

minor spoilers:

Despite the combats being fairly weak (at least in the 1-2 subtier) the players were rolling very poorly and the bad guys very well, particularly in the bar, causing them to expend most of their resources.

In the first encounter the boss got away, making it harder to deduce what was going on, but a gather information check put them on the right track, realizing that there was someone in town who was going around hating on pathfinders pretty hard. When the NPC who was brought back to life from the first encounter told them "The boss said not to kill this PC" the table was highly entertained, assuming they had a turncoat in their midsts.

The checks to figure out what is going on in town are also entertaining, and the NPCs are a great way to break up this monotony.

A new player was introduced to rerolls in PFS and used one on Lem (in his first PFS session) to avoid a fight, which is a great use and he seemed fairly happy with the way things went both at the bar (he inspired everyone in the bar, making him very popular), and he just barely made the diplomacy here.

The final encounter almost turned lethal between the guaranteed damage from the caster, the prone party members from the lack of acrobatics, and the negative channeling cleric whose tactics specify doing this. I had a downed party member from round 2 who barely survived the channels from that point on, because I had the cleric use bane, cause fear, and finally go steal a potion of cure light wounds to try to heal herself. Between these actions I managed to not kill the downed PC. Perhaps giving her a higher charisma (as in subtier 4-5) and stating in 1-2 she attempts to exclude the first party member downed for questioning later (as in her tactics from the handout) would make this easier to do organically.


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Announced!

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Author announced!


This sounds great - planning to run all three parts at TexiCon in May.

Could we get a snippet of description to tease the fans/attendees?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Now available!

Grand Lodge

Neat scenario.

A couple of nitpicks:

- One of the flip maps contained within (ruins) has inconsistent grid sizes, so if you are playing on a VTT you won't be able to get the grid to space evenly.

- No map for the city of Trollheim (either in this scenario or in the Paizo collection as a whole, AFAIK).

Grand Lodge

Here's some handouts for the ...

Spoiler:

...incriminating evidence that on Runa White's person at the end of the scenario.

Grand Lodge

sozin wrote:
Here's some handouts for the ...

Very nice work. Thank you for sharing.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

One of the least deadly scenarios I have played in.

Spoiler:

If I recall correctly we ended up killing a goblin and the faction missions people.

I think their were 3 successful attacks on us. One being 2 points of non-lethal

Their were a lot of color sprays involved

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