Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-17: Shades of Ice—Part II: Exiles of Winter (PFRPG) PDF

2.90/5 (based on 14 ratings)

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

Following the trail of the insidious Shadow Lodge from Trollheim to the icebound city of Whitethrone in the witch-ruled nation of Irrisen, the PCs must locate the hidden lodge of their contact’s kidnapper. Can they get past the city’s defenses, infiltrate the Shadow Lodge headquarters and rescue the Pathfinder Society’s valuable ally, or will they—like so many before them—find their bones ground to make Baba Yaga’s bread?

Exiles of Winter is part two of the three-part Shades of Ice campaign arc. It follows Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-15: Shades of Ice—Part I: Written in Blood 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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Average product rating:

2.90/5 (based on 14 ratings)

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Pretty good adventure, fun run through the mid-point of Shades of Ice

4/5

Summary: I GM'd this for a party of 6 Tier 1-2 (APL 1.75 or so). Solidly playable scenario, easy set up, challenging fights, needs moderately more improv/GM finessing/'on the fly' role-playing skills than more streamlined scenarios.

it looks as if I disagree with the rest of the reviewers on Part II of Shades of Ice. My party seemed to enjoy it quite a bit, it offers a solid opportunity for role-play and adventure in Irrisen's capital, Whitehall.

I suppose one element of the scenario is that you can add role-playing elements to the scenario without turning it into a blood-bath - which I think goes a long ways to make the scenario both more fun and less a straight-up murder hobo slaughter of everyone opposing the Pathfinders.

I do agree that the scenario lacks backstory for the villains, but by introducing a bit of context, it's much more understandable. It's not as clear-cut of a RPG adventure as, say, The Confirmation or From Under Ice (which are both very well-crafted.) The last encounter is a serious challenge, and also comes out of nowhere - but I enjoyed the raw challenge that the adventure posed to my Tier 1-2 party, compared to milder scenarios.


Where did the storyline and background go?

2/5

I was one of the players in Quentin's session – see the review below for his opinion. The start indeed was awkward. Normally you get a briefing and more or less a general idea of what you have to do. Now you apparently got robbed and are stranded in the middle of nowhere, faced with suddenly having to enter a city. It's not 'standard procedure' so that threw us off as players.

Yet that's not the biggest complaint I have about this scenario. The real problem with this scenario is a gigantic lack of context. Every scenario has encounters, but most of the time they make sense. In this particular scenario, almost all of the (potential) fights are just there and are without any form of explanation. Why are those 'creatures' there in the first place, what's their motivation? Right now it seems to be nothing more than just random encounters put together without a storyline behind it. It makes no sense for the players whatsoever.

It ruins the immersion for players when you face an opponent and there's absolutely nothing the GM can say about him/her/it because there is nothing written about it. That last fight is the most obvious example featuring this flaw. You face something you wouldn't expect, but there's no motivation why that creature is even there. There's nothing written about how the creature feels, how he/she should act or what the players can do to influence him. The writer of this scenario clearly was convinced that players would fight that particular foe. That is a terrible mistake to make as it now offers no options to solve that situation through diplomacy or other non-violent ways.

Honestly, I'm pretty disappointed in the scenario. Do note that I deliberately say scenario there. The GM and the other players still made it an enjoyable evening for me due to the hilarious interaction we had. The moments we were in a sandbox and more or less outside the scope of the scenario, were by far the most enjoyable parts.

I can't say I recommend this scenario. I can only say that once you've played the first part of this trilogy, you might as well just stick with it and keep going.


Has its moments, but also a lot of problems.

2/5

(I both GMed and played this once.)

Sigh. Great potential, terrible execution. This scenario has a lot going for it, but it never gets to that.

The opening is weird and my players didn't really knew what to do with it, though that might've also been a failing on my part as a GM. It's a fun cinematic moment, but if feels out of place in a game where you're always in control of your own character's actions.

Getting into the city is fun if you have creative players, that I like. Once inside though, it becomes much less exciting. Irrisen is a land of monsters, yet you never get to fight anything other than the thing on the cover, and even he's a bit lacklustre in powers. The story warns you of the threatening nature of its citizens, but you'll only fight vanilla humans, that's a big disappointment for me.

The story is pretty thin, something that continues throughout this trilogy. None of the encounters have something interesting to tell, and there's an infodump at the end that wraps things up.

And then there's the final combat. The one your second prestige point hinges on. I vehemently disagree with this fight. It's out of nowhere, there's no context for it within the story, and people at this level aren't really equipped to deal with it. Maybe I played him a bit too mean, but if he fights intelligently, the PCs have no real method of dealing with him.

All in all, my group had fun playing this scenario, but most of it's due to our interactions, not because of the scenario itself.


Passable and Forgettable

2/5

Average, boring, and at times "Why am I here taking this ****?!" scenario. Honestly, any experienced player could have written it differently (better) even on a bad day.

One of those scenarios where you ask yourself if Pathfinder Society is even worth attending, and it's not at all the fault of the GM. The first one wasn't good either, and judging from the reviews - it only gets worse from here.

Play and forget - moving on...


same old

2/5

Only even slightly memorable because of the last encounter, which was pretty funny. But the secondary success condition under the new system is pretty stupid.


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Grand Lodge

Spoilerly question:

Spoiler:

From page 4,

Quote:
The PCs who played Written in Blood likely possess a map once held by Runa White—a map that shows the precise location of the Whitethrone Shadow Lodge beneath an abandoned brewery.

But from Part 1, page 20,

Quote:
Runa also carries several damning documents that explain that the entire plot to kidnap Skagni and use Hjort to tarnish the Pathfinder Society’s reputation in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings was organized by a Shadow Lodge agent named Caggrigar and his man in Irrisen, the shadowy Vermund. Runa also has one last clue for the PCs: Rognvald Skagni is alive and a prisoner of the Shadow Lodge in Irrisen.

No mention of said map. Am I missing something?

Ty! Love this three parter!

Grand Lodge

Spoilerly question:

Spoiler:

From page 4,

Quote:
The PCs who played Written in Blood likely possess a map once held by Runa White—a map that shows the precise location of the Whitethrone Shadow Lodge beneath an abandoned brewery.

But from Part 1, page 20,

Quote:
Runa also carries several damning documents that explain that the entire plot to kidnap Skagni and use Hjort to tarnish the Pathfinder Society’s reputation in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings was organized by a Shadow Lodge agent named Caggrigar and his man in Irrisen, the shadowy Vermund. Runa also has one last clue for the PCs: Rognvald Skagni is alive and a prisoner of the Shadow Lodge in Irrisen.

No mention of said map. Am I missing something?

Ty! Love this three parter!

EDIT: created two GM handouts for the above spoiler:

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