Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-03: The Ghenett Manor Gauntlet (PFRPG) PDF

4.50/5 (based on 19 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for Levels 5–9.

When the Pathfinder Society failed to obtain a valuable artifact from a wealthy Druman noble using diplomatic means, the eccentric collector challenged them to take it through skill from one of his well-guarded manors throughout the world. You are sent to Ghenett Manor in Katapesh with the hopes of surviving long enough to return with the prize—assuming it’s there at all.

Written by Mike Shel.

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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4.50/5 (based on 19 ratings)

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5/5

An excellent scenario. Very fun to play and run, and very well written. The encounters are well planned and very fun to run as a GM.


Enjoyable.

4/5

I ran the Ghenett Manor Gauntlet as a home game for 6 players. Most of the players have not played a 5-9 before, and the average party level was right between 5-6 and 8-9. They decided to play it safe and play 5-6, which was the right choice.

The biggest thing I was excited about was finally breaking out my Easel Pad with 1 inch squares. I spent an hour trying to make things pretty, but enough about me. The full map is just too big to do, but the manor was doable, being 2 sheets.

The players seemed to have a harder time with the beginning baddies once they got in to the manor than the end. I do think I screwed up the room where they find the [spoiler] thing. One thing that annoys me is that the humanoid baddies seem to be underpowered.


Sandbox Manor

4/5

Manor is a sandbox investigation and combat scenario with small amounts of roleplaying.

In season 3, this scenario was appropriately challenging, but in season 7+ the combats might seem a little on the easy side, even with 4 players.

There are a few NPCs in this scenario that are fun for the GM to play, but annoying for the PCs. :)

One of the main attractions to this scenario is that it is sandbox, but with such a large map it's very difficult for the GM to map everything out properly. Even if the GM draws on-the-fly, it takes a long time. In my session I had no idea where I was or where I was going, and the GM got confused as well. I suggest preparing the manor maps beforehand and on-the-fly draw the outdoor maps.

Detailed Ratings:

Length: It's very possible to run this scenario in 4 hours.
Sweet Spot: Both tiers seemed fine.
Experience: GM at subtier 5-6 with 4 players, and also a player at subtier 5-6 with 4 players.
Entertainment: I've seen it all before, but it was still fun. (8/10)
Roleplay: Fun but annoying NPCs. (8/10)
Combat/Challenges: Good in season 3, easy in season 7. (8/10)
Maps: Map was huge and made my GM freehand everything. As a GM I spent a lot of time creating maps that weren't really used a lot. (7/10)
Boons: Great boon. The boon penalty was also creative. (10/10)
Uniqueness: I suppose it's unique to Pathfinder, but not overall. (8/10)
Secondary Conditions: Perfect, I liked it better than the original faction missions.
Faction Missions: This scenario benefited a great deal from having the faction missions removed. They were a waste of time.
GM Preparation: More then I expected, especially with the maps.

Overall: Solid scenario, will be sure to surprise and shock non-veteran players. (8/10)
Edited: May 1 2016


Brutal, but a Blast

5/5

I really enjoyed running this scenario. I have run this twice now, and each time, totally different outcomes, from how they approached the manor, how each party handled themselves during the tea scene, and beyond. The first session made it through, but the heavy role-playing rogue types paid dearly afterward. The second session could have been a TPK, but at tremendous cost they made it through, just to find out they had failed the mission. OUCH!

The only beef that the players had, in the second session, was that some of the DC's are brutally high depending on the make-up of the party so beware. A party must be rolling well to make it successfully through this one. It would be easy for an adventuring party to fail this mod and walk out empty handed.


Guaranteed Great Time!

5/5

This is an amazing scenario to run as a GM. The combats are memorable and challenging, the role play opportunities are vast and endless. The NPCs are a blast to play and can make for some hilarious moments with PCs. Definitely a great implementation of a sandbox style of game play. Definitely one of my favorites from Season 3, and I've GM'ed almost of all of them so far.


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Contributor

I've seen it mentioned by people on the boards a few times that parties running through Ghenett Manor have failed the overall mission. While I knew that this was a real possibility that I actually wrote into the scenario, I'm curious to know:

A) How often are groups failing the scenario objective?

B) What is the reason they fail?

Spoiler:
(e.g., they bring back the false tome, Besai doesn't come back alive because they don't find him/they kill him/he gets killed/they leave him behind because he's an annoying a**hole, etc.)

C) Does failing the mission have a big impact on their overall enjoyment of the scenario?

Dark Archive

I haven't run it yet, but I have a few thoughts on the matter:

Spoiler:
It seems that the sonic trap has a sporting chance of killing Besai. He has terrible fortitude and reflex saves, so chances are he blows them both. The average damage from the shout and chandelier is 28, which would reduce him to -1; however, if the trap rolls high, there goes the mission success. I also think that DC 30 to notice the true book location might be a tad high; the only pregen able to even achieve that number is Merisiel.

While I do think that failure should be an option for scenarios, this one seems especially hard and I could see that leaving a bitter taste in one's mouth at the end of a four-hour session.

Contributor

Mergy wrote:

I haven't run it yet, but I have a few thoughts on the matter:

** spoiler omitted **

While I do think that failure should be an option for scenarios, this one seems especially hard and I could see that leaving a bitter taste in one's mouth at the end of a four-hour session.

Mergy:

I think that's a fair criticism, though...

Spoiler:
...I'd hope players would do a better job protecting Besai. The parties I've seen in the scenario kept him out of the library or far enough away to avoid the chandelier damage.

Also, truth be told, it was Mark Moreland who added the Perception check to notice the scuff marks. I hadn't even given players that much of a clue!

Dark Archive

I would like to add that the map is way too big. The full thing is around 4 feet by 7 feet. When I run it, I condense the size down to about 3x5 feet. I say the boarder of the map are the walls and shrink the size of the gardens in the back. A bunch of these rooms are unused in the adventure.

I have only run it once so far and the group succeeded. Maybe 30 is high for 5th level but not bad for 9th.

I do really like the ruse.

Grand Lodge

My thoughts:

a) My group decisively failed to retrieve the tome.

b) I'd attribute the failure to a couple factors.

One, by the time we had finished the final encounter we had both exhausted our spells and health and hit the four hour mark. We figured the tome was our capstone reward, and it never occurred to us that it could be a counterfeit.

Two, the tome's actual hiding place is a bit irregular. We failed our broad perception checks and never looked back.

Three, there are so many potential hiding places for the book that we simply got tired of making perception checks and singling out specific shelves, dressers, safes, etc.

c) Failing to find the tome was really just a final kick in the pants. What makes this scenario unenjoyable is that the NPCs are allowed to get away with murder, but the players get browbeat for standing up for themselves. In my mind, if an NPC arranges for a amorphous tentacle monster to attack you, you shouldn't have to worry about keeping his house tidy anymore. I've never felt more suffocated by Pathfinder Society alignment requirements than I did in this scenario.

I think the scenario would be more effective if either:

a) The master of the house was cast as a clearly benevolent figure who wished to test the mettle of the heroes. The challenges could be less lethal, and the tome could be offered as a reward at the end. This would make adhering to the "do not steal or break anything" restriction more palatable.

b) The master of the house was cast as a clearly malevolent figure who was actively trying to kill the heroes. The stipulation of leaving his house in one piece could be waived, and confronting and slaying/capturing him could be the final encounter. This would add a satisfying payoff that the original scenario is lacking.

As it stands the scenario skirts the line between these two binaries and consequently makes the players feel jerked around.

Grand Lodge

As a Player:

The biggest threat to our characters when we ran through it was the Chaos Beast - 4/5 of the party wound up as puddles of goo before we could return to civilization for a Remove Curse. During the scenario, for ease of play, the GM ruled to only have us save for stability once between encounters otherwise we would have been bogged down by rolls of minutia. Only the party sorcerer didn't get infected, so he could escort our puddles to get help.

Not sure if any other players considered this, but our group escorted Besai to the Manor's front gates and told him to wait for us down the road and away from the dangerous house.

I was unaware the Perception DC was so high! 0_0 My character saw the empty book stand, thought the Aspis Consortium had beat us to the book due to our saving Besai, so I threw the podium in a fit of rage... which revealed the secret hiding spot.

Contributor

I was wondering...

Spoiler:
...those who ended up with the false tome, didn't Besai insist on seeing it? He's written to actually demand keeping it, inspect it at minimum. At a glance Besai identifies it as a false tome. How are parties ending up with the fake Mutani Manual? I watched 8 different tables play this scenario at GenCon 2011 and not one ended up with the false tome. Each party also located the Manual either by making the Perception check or moving the podiums on their own, though the latter method was most common...

Grand Lodge

Wwwweeeelllllll....:
Besai is not only a giant prick but also worthless in a fight. Since saving him is one of the objectives, the group decided to avoid a major headache and have him hang back. Like Licidy, we basically tried to remove him from the equation.

As for the podium, again, it's a weird place to hide the tome and requires a very high perception check for a party that skews lower level.

Liberty's Edge

H'okay, here's a quick question about a certain encounter in the manor.

Spoiler:

Exactly what kind of illusions are the flesh golems in the banquet hall? The description in the module only states that they are "intricate illusions."

I put the golems in initiative order when my players enter the room, so they had potential to get up and attack them (reacting to aggression). But if I don't know what type of illusion they are (figments, shadows, etc.), I don't know how to treat their damage.

I know they poof out of existence after a round, but there is still potential for interaction beyond "hey look, weird things are coming."

Also, are they all individual illusions or is the room one large illusion?

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