Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-11: The Penumbral Accords (PFRPG) PDF

2.90/5 (based on 24 ratings)

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

The daughters of Absalom's mysterious Blakros family have long been among the most pursued maidens in the Inner Sea. Now the family's matriarch approaches the Pathfinder Society to help her break a centuries-old pact with the denizens of the Plane of Shadow to save her twin daughters from a life of servitude at the hands of the Onyx Alliance. Heading into the fan-favorite adventuring location of Blakros Museum, the PCs have only a short amount of time to break the Penumbral Accords and solidify the Pathfinder Society's ties to the powerful Blakroses.

Written by Owen K.C. Stephens

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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2.90/5 (based on 24 ratings)

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Too Simple

2/5

NO SPOILERS

I played through this as high sub-tier and then read the scenario for the purposes of this review. Like many early PFS scenarios, The Penumbral Accords is high on combat and low on role-playing. It has a very simple structure and runs on the short side in terms of duration. Despite a cool backstory premise, it doesn't end up being much more than a group of separate combat encounters. It's not one I'd go out of my way to play, but I guess it's fine for what it is.

Spoilers!:
The inimitable Drandle Dreng calls the PCs in for an emergency midnight briefing to start the session. The Penumbral Accords is one of those PFS scenarios that take place almost entirely in the famous Blakros Museum, but the background here is really interesting. It turns out that, centuries ago, the Blakros family rose to a position of wealth and power through a nefarious bargain they struck with a cabal called the Onyx Alliance in the Shadow Plane! The Onyx Alliance allowed the Blakros family to use the Shadow Plane as a tariff- and pirate-free highway for trade, while in exchange they asked for a steady supply of slaves and (once a generation) the family's eldest daughter! The Blakros family has finally decided that the cost is too high, and wants out of the deal: and that's where the Pathfinder Society comes in. In order to gain continued access to the relics inside the museum, the Society has agreed to send agents to stop the Onyx Alliance.

The twist is that, on the night of each new moon, the Onyx Alliance uses a device called the Wightir Conjunction to overlay the Shadow Plane's version of the Blakros Museum (a laboratory for degenerate experimentation) over the real one on the Material Plane. At dawn, everyone inside the museum who has been marked with an arcane sigil is transported to the Shadow Plane. Since there are already slaves and Blakros women (twins) in the Museum, the Pathfinders have to hurry! (at least in theory; in reality the PCs will have plenty of time)

Once inside the museum, the PCs see the strange effects of the overlay--a single room may have two signs indicating what's within, one that's "real" and one that represents the same room in the Shadow Plane. Several creatures and effects from the Shadow Plane can be interacted with, and I think a really good GM could make this into a suitably creepy site for an adventure. Atmospherics aside, however, one of the weaknesses of this scenario is that it is a very by-the-book "each room has an independent encounter and one room has the boss" type of adventure. There's very little opportunity for role-playing or need for non-combat abilities, which was often a feature of these early PFS scenarios. The PCs will be like a fantasy SWAT team doing room-by-room sweeps.

There are seven numbered rooms in the museum, and six of them contain encounters. There are some interesting creatures to face, such as a skeletal dragon, a shadow hound, an ice golem (depending on subtier), and some fletchling guards. My favourite of the encounters (against an alchemist) takes place in a room that (on the Shadow Plane) is a vivisection lab, complete with partially vivisected (but still alive) subject! The "boss" battle is against a fetchling monk. The setting for the battle is pretty cool in terms of description (a chamber with an ebony pyramid while the ritual is underway), but most groups won't have trouble defeating a single enemy that's near their CR. Just like with a previous scenario ("Mists of the Mwangi"), there's nothing that routes PCs through particular rooms, which means a party could easily stumble into the end encounter very early in the scenario and finish it quite quickly.

All in all, the scenario has a cool backstory and a lot of fun little references to lore and setting, but at its core it's a very basic dungeon crawl (just in a museum instead of underground). I can imagine things that could have been done to make it better, like a hard time limit the PCs would have to brush up against before the ritual was concluded, or some sort of PC involvement to reverse the ritual, or even some sort of role-playing negotiation with members of the Onyx Alliance, etc. As written though, there's not much here unless players are *really* interested in the Shadow Plane or the GM is looking for a quick, simply scenario to run.


I got lucky and had more fun than others did, it appears....

3/5

The other reviewers are right -- the module/scenario is very straightforward. It's just this:

Spoiler:
Go to the museum, reclaim the 1st floor, room by room. You don't have to worry about the basement or other levels, and you don't have much to do outside of the museum. So basically, the whole game is just getting through 6 rooms. Each room has something to deal with, and that's it.

This is clearly from back in a time (2011) when Pathfinder Society actually did try to end games in 4 hours, unlike the 6-hour games they do nowadays.

So why did I have more fun than other recent reviewers? I think it's because we fit into the expectations of the product quite well. That is, we only had 4 PCs, and all were middle-of-the-road support characters; they could hit a little bit, heal pretty OK, do a few spells & skills... basically nobody was optimized, and everyone was well-rounded. We all expected someone else to bring a barbarian or heavy hitter, and it just didn't materialize. So, we had 2 clerics, each at 4th level, doing sorta OK melee damage. We had a magus, but only at 2nd level. We had an alchemist at 4th. We played up. That was it.

So on the very first fight, my character went down. In fact, 2 PCs went down and a summoned critter was killed. Of course with 2 clerics, there was a lot of healing to go around, so we survived. We went on to the next few rooms and the encounters were OK -- not deadly, not easy. Seemed like a good match for 4 "average joe" PCs.

We did enjoy the description of the environment inside the museum. I won't spoil it for you, but something weird is going on, and you have to puzzle it together to figure out how to interact with the environment properly.

Having said that, the "weird environment" is pretty much the only puzzle or non-combat thing you will do in this module. Everything else is just "swing sword, solve problems." It is NOT BAD for a simple night gaming with friends. However, it also is sorely lacking in many areas -- more modern Pathfinder Society products have discovered how to diversify and have many various challenges. This product is from a time before they learned that lesson.


Good setting for a dungeon crawl

3/5

What makes this adventure interesting is the connection to other scenarios, such as Mists of Mwangi and the Blakros Matrimony. It adds to the depth of the PFS setting to have these tie-ins that explore the background and history of recurring characters, and the museum of course. The shadow version of Absalom is an interesting choice of location that I would like to see revisited.

Aside from that, the scenario is a straightforward dungeon crawl, with solid writing and a varied roster of enemies. As other reviewers have pointed out, the combats tend toward the easy side.


A monotonous string of combat encounters in a very cool setting

2/5

(I have played this as with a level 3 character in Tier 4-5)

[PLAYER SAFE COMMENTS]

The scenario starts off with a premise that may be hard to swallow for Lawful characters, be warned. It then quite nicely sets a gothic horror scene but fails to deliver buy just turning into a string of combat encounters that vary greatly in difficulty.

If this is the only scenario offered, go ahead, there is some fun to be had if you keep your expectations low. If you have other options, take them, you won't miss out on anything here.

[SPOILER WARNING - GM EYES ONLY]

First of all: I really, really like the concept of the Blackros Museum and definitely wanted to like this scenario. The Shadow Plane convergence is an awesome idea and I love the idea of the twisted mirror image of the museum. However, 3 out of 5 combats are against fetchlings. That is enough to make it feel repetitive, even though all enemies have different class levels.
The battle with the main villain also was a joke for our group of 6 vs 1. Make sure you play the alchemist well, though, that battle was the most fun of the whole scenario.

All in all, I did have some fun with the battles and mechanically it seems fine, so it wasn't a total train wreck. But it is definitely below par for the Society, at least in my experience, and I would not recommend this to anyone.


3/5


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Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Mark,

I am going to be running this at a Convention in January, and need to register it before Oct 29. Do you have a better description of this then the basic generic one you have?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

email me and I'll send you something, though I really don't like to announce plot summaries before a scenario is ready to go out the door, as I know they can change significantly during writing and development from the original outline.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Mark have anything on this yet? I have the convention Organizers bugging me for it.

I told him he has to be patient...

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

I have the turnover from Owen, and am working on developing it this week, but that's about it. Other than it being awesome, the only other detail I'll spill now is that it takes place in Blakros Museum. Sort of.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've updated the product description (adding the synopsis) and corrected the title.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
I've updated the product description (adding the synopsis) and corrected the title.

Thank you!!!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Now available!

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ross Byers wrote:
Now available!

Woot Some more!

Grand Lodge

Wow - this is fantastic. I planned to do a Blakros museum trilogy at Conception in the UK. This will give me ample time to read and prepare.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A double dose of awesome - one scenario by Her Goddess Crystal, and another one by Owen K.F.C. Stephens ! Christmas in December, I say !


My first ever PFS scenario played, and it very much has me hooked, not just for society play, but also quick plug and play adventures for my homebrew games.

Owen wrote a beautiful, quick module that packs quite a bit of creepy in with the fun of the adventure.

Silver Crusade

What is the light level in this place?


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Talos the Talon! wrote:
What is the light level in this place?

You'll want to check (or ask again in the) Organized Play> GM Discussion thread. (a product thread is only for questions about the product itself, like when it's going to be released, how expensive it'll be, etc.)

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