Pathfinder Society Scenario Intro 2: First Steps—Part II: To Delve the Dungeon Deep (PFRPG) PDF (Retired)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st level characters.

You venture for the first time into the massive haunted dungeons beneath an abandoned siege tower in the deadly Cairnlands, where you will experience firsthand the true dangers of being a tomb-delving Pathfinder.

Written by Stephen Radney-MacFarland.

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.

This scenario was retired from Pathfinder Society Organized Play on August 15, 2013. After August 15, 2013, it will no longer be legal for Pathfinder Society Organized Play and will no longer be available in the Pathfinder Society Organized Play reporting system.

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PZOPSSINTRO2E


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4.00/5 (based on 15 ratings)

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Solid Introductory Scenario

4/5

NO SPOILERS

The title’s a mouthful, but First Steps, Part II: To Delve the Dungeon Deep delivers a solid Pathfinder Society adventure. As with Part I, the goal here is to introduce gamers to Pathfinder and to the Pathfinder Society’s faction leaders in particular. The scenario’s opening sequence is much better than the generic briefing we often get, and the bulk of the gameplay has a few creative twists on classic gameplay. It’s not a mind-blowing scenario, but it is a solid experience and worth playing to continue the theme started in Part I (though, please note, Part II has been officially retired).

SPOILERS!:

First Steps, Part II starts off in an interesting way, with the PCs receiving an invitation to attend a holiday festival in Absalom. The invitation, sent by Venture-Captain Amara Li (of the then-existing Lantern Lodge), is for the Snapdragon Festival, a traditional Gokan holiday featuring fireworks, plum wire, and elaborate dress. Goka is part of Golarion’s little-used Asian/eastern setting, and the Lantern Lodge was themed around the so-called Dragon Empires. The PCs thus have a chance to put on their finest, mingle with some guests (the GM should do a bit of improvisation here), and learn a bit about another culture before they’re discreetly invited aside for a private meeting with Amara Li. She explains that one of her ancestors gave the gift of a ceremonial jade katana to a warlord that had laid siege to Absalom centuries ago; like all invaders before and after him, this warlord failed. Amara Li suspects the jade katana still lies somewhere within the rubble of the warlord’s siege castle outside the city, and asks the PCs to retrieve it for her. She also makes it clear, however, that this is a personal favour to her and not an official mission for the Pathfinder Society. What she doesn’t explain to the PCs is that this ceremonial katana hides important trade agreements between her family and Qadira noble houses, and she desperately needs money to cover the enormous cost of establishing the Lantern Lodge in Absalom!

Later during the party, the PCs are pulled aside by (separately) two other representatives of PFS factions. The bombastic Colson Madris (of the Andoren/Liberty’s Edge) faction says he’s heard the PCs are venturing into the Cairnlands (the area around Absalom where dozens of ancient siege castles still exist, crumbling into ruin). Madris warns the group about undead, and I guess serves as a bit of introduction to Andoran and the Eagle Knights, but he comes across as a prat and I think does a disservice to the faction. Soon after that encounter, the PCs are pulled aside by Trade Prince Aaqir al’Hakam, representing the Society’s Qadira faction (he later is a founding member of the Exchange faction). al’Hakam also suspects ancient trade agreements can be found within the warlord’s ruined siege tower, and wants the PCs to bring it to him (instead of Amara Li). I like seeing the PCs get involved in intra-faction intrigue early on in their careers, and I wish more scenarios would make good use of the story possibilities presented by the faction concept. The festival was a great way to start the scenario, though it could perhaps have been fleshed out a bit more to help the GM with some flavour and role-playing.

The PCs have no difficulty travelling to the crumbling siege tower. Just outside the entrance, they’re accosted by a ghoul who still retains some memories of her former life—she was once a Pathfinder! The incident is set up so the PCs can handle this encounter diplomatically or through combat, and I thought it was presented well. The interior of the keep is essentially a dungeon crawl, which I might complain about but these First Steps scenarios are designed to introduce players to the game and there’s no arguing that room-by-room exploration of dungeons isn't a core part of many adventures. In addition, the writer did a good job of making the siege tower more than just a random collection of unconnected encounters. There’s a lot of details connecting the rooms and dangers within to the adventure’s backstory, and some creative touches like giving the PCs a chance to control a (small) earth elemental. A potentially devastating encounter is versus one or more blindheims, creatures that have a gaze attack that blind a PC for an hour on a failed save; with a little bad luck here, the entire party could be effectively crippled for a while.

The “boss” encounter in the dungeon involves a kobold tribe that has been tricked by a skulk (humanoids creatures skilled in deception and disguise) into thinking that a fire-breathing statue is giving them instructions. The scenario does a good job of setting up multiple ways this situation can be addressed, so it doesn’t have to be a pure hack n’ slash situation. I did find the in-text instructions for the GM on how to run the skulk clashed some with some of the given During Combat and Morale conditions given in the stat block, and it would be very possible for the skulk to escape the dungeon entirely (taking the jade katana with him!). Assuming the PCs recover the katana, they may or may not discover the trade agreements within. If they do, they’ll have a choice on who to present them to when they return to Absalom, thus gaining more favour with the Lantern Lodge or the Qadira faction. There are no long-term implications of this decision (and the scenario is retired anyway), but it’s a good role-playing choice nonetheless.

Overall, I appreciate First Steps, Part 2 more now than I did on a first quick read-through. It does what an introductory scenario needs to do, and even though I wish there was a bit more flavour here and there (and more time interacting with the faction leaders), there’s a good mix of combat, role-playing, and setting lore. It’s a satisfying way to spend a few hours.


3/5

This is a great intro to the dungeon crawl, skill and knowledge checks, and problem solving in game. I don't like it quite as much as part 1 but it's still a lot of fun. I wish all dungeon crawls were this good.


good sequel

4/5

Once new players have gotten through First Steps 1, this is a great introductory dungeon crawl. There are random encounters that make sense for the dungeon, and non-lethal but interesting traps, and then the overall dungeon quest works out well. Plus, more moral ambiguity! Good stuff.


Great Intro for the Experienced Gamer

4/5

After a rocky introduction to PFS via part 1 of this series, it was this scenario that made me interested in giving PFS a chance. I think for an experienced gamer, this is actually a much better first session, showing off the strong points of pathfinder's modules.

It has fully realized, fleshed out NPC's who could be interacted with in multiple ways. The dungeon actually has a working ecology and sensical microculture, which the simulationist is sure to enjoy. There was moral nuance, room for individual initiative, and hints at the faction shadow war.


A fun dungeon crawl

5/5

I ran this after Intro 1, and this ended up being better than I expected. As other reviewers have noted here, the dungeon is a very solid 1st level dungeon. The party with 3 PCs and a pregen ran through it with few problems. I did have to keep an eye on the clock, however, and skip an encounter or two to make sure I had time for the last couple of fights as well as a bit of RP at the end.

And without getting spoilerific, let me add that the RP at the beginning and end (together) was good. The party has a tough decision to make and I had to step in finally to keep things moving. Very nice! I would definately like to run this again.


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Contributor

Description and author updated!


A Warning / Note based on recently obtained information - the Pathfinder First Steps series REALLY should be played in sequence, without any other games played in between if possible. This makes it less usefull to introduce people to the Pathfinder Society campaign than it might have been, but it's important to know for existing Society members planning to run/play the games.


If I'm not mistaken, the map in this is the Haunted Dungeon Flip-Mat, but I can't find anywhere in the scenario that states that outright. Can anyone confirm if this is the case?

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Feegle wrote:

If I'm not mistaken, the map in this is the Haunted Dungeon Flip-Mat, but I can't find anywhere in the scenario that states that outright. Can anyone confirm if this is the case?

The map used in the scenario is indeed the Haunted Dungeon Flit-Mat.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Why was this retired along with part 3? This was a good learning tool for early PFS players.

Liberty's Edge

Well, one of the main reasons they retired it is because of the involvement of Amara Li (and Grandmaster Torch in part 3). Lantern & Shadow Lodges go bye-bye, it doesn't make sense to introduce new players to them. They do plan to add new level 1-2 modules to replace them.

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