Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-10: The Immortal Conundrum (PFRPG) PDF

****½ (based on 12 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for Levels 5–9.

When the Pathfinder Society receives an invitation to a dinner party at the Thuvian Embassy, hosted by the guardian of this year's six doses of the infamous sun orchid elixir, the Decemvirate sends a team of Pathfinders to represent them and uncover the nature of the event. Can the PCs navigate the complex social landscape of Absalom's elite and gain access to the mysterious vault known as the Conundrum, or will they face public ridicule or worse in the face of the steepest competition in the Inner Sea?

Written by Larry Wilhelm.

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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****½ (based on 12 ratings)

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Fun role-play heavy adventure

****( )

I really enjoy this scenario! I've played and GM'd it. I think this one plays much better if you hand out the faction missions - the flavor of running secret missions in a foreign embassy is great, and the Chelish faction mission, in particular, makes for some delightful role-play.

When GMing this scenario, I let people know ahead of time that they were going to be invited to a fancy party, and suggested they choose to play a character who either would do well in that situation or would be a hilariously bad choice for it. ;-) Then I asked them to take a few minutes to look back through their chronicle sheets and consider their character's background, experiences, and priorities. I think that improved everyone's enjoyment.

Despite being written years ago, before all of the 'social encounter' rules came out, the way this scenario is written allows the GM to engage all of the characters and their players, even the quiet ones. Much fun was had!

The second half of this scenario is a bit underwhelming. I like the mix of 'traps, puzzles, and guardians', but they were a bit too easy. I suggest that GM's consider how to offer players some reasonable 'hints' when describing the trap and its surroundings, since as written characters are likely to give up and brute force it either with lockpicks or by walking into it, which is less satisfying than figuring out how to avoid it.

All in all, I would recommend this scenario to groups (and GMs) that enjoy role-play.


Good, but potentially punishing role-playing opportunity

***( )( )

I had the pleasure of playing this scenario two weeks ago on the low tier with my socialite and control mesmerist. For reasons that are going to be mentioned below, I had a pleasant time.

This scenario is basically divided into two sections. The first is in my opinion the highlight of the scenario. You are forced to undergo a bunch of social encounters with some well-known and lesser-known individuals you may or may not have come to love over the last few years. It’s a nice sandbox for you to show off your social prowess. My mesmerist focuses on excelling in that situation, so I was lucky. But even the non-social characters had a great time as they all had nice opportunities to pursue their faction missions.

The feast was great and I enjoyed the interrogation part. It was nice that you could give your character's opinion on various topics. That is a great way to showcase the personality of your character. However, your secondary prestige point depends on the answers you give. Long story short: you're supposed to give social desirable answers. This means you can be punished for actually role-playing your character. While I can understand the reasoning behind it, I consider it a major flaw of the scenario.

The second portion of the scenario focuses on puzzles and a fight. The puzzles were fun, but at times a bit awkward. I enjoyed the 'air' one, but the 'fire' one was a tad unclear on what to do. There are no real hints as to how to solve it. The easiest solution was to just take the damage and be done with it. It felt a bit underdeveloped, but was still enjoyable.

The final fight can be pretty scary, I guess. The creatures pack quite a punch and got powerful abilities. For my party, it was a walk in the park. In the first round my mesmerist made sure one of our opponents would do do nothing for about 7 rounds straight, and she could have easily done the same to the other one. While I like shutting opponents down, I felt like this was a bit too easy for a mesmerist. I took pity on my GM and used less powerful spells just to give him a chance of actually doing something and making it a fight worthy of being the end of the scenario. With a few minor tweaks (say a higher will save) I think the encounter might be a bit more challenging, but still fair.

To conclude: it was a fun scenario with diverse activities. Despite certain problems and a final rating of 3 stars, I would still recommend it to others.


Great roleplay without getting bogged down by dice-rolling.

****( )

(I played this.)

I like this scenario a lot. It never really achieves excellence, I feel, but it's really good at whatever it does. The social encounters are fun and people can participate even if they brought social potatoes to the table. The fact that you can influence without depending on rolls is something I really like. Slight spoiler, though:

Social encounter:
I dislike how the game wants socially acceptable answers, rather than in-character answers. We really answered some questions true to our characters, and the GM said he really enjoyed it, but it simply wasn't what the scenario wanted us to say. We lost our second prestige point because we answered truthfully, not politically correct. It's not a big deal to me, but I can imagine other people being upset.

I don't hold this against the scenario, but it was a bit of a bummer.

The puzzles were fine. There were some fun traps and the encounters were interesting, but they never really reached awesomeness. I can't put my finger on it, but it felt like it was missing just a little bit of punch to make it amazing.

To me, season 3 is a season filled with ups and downs: some are really great, some are really meh. Luckily, for me this falls into the first category.


Great fun

*****

This was a great scenario. It's one of the first "social" scenarios, preceding the modern use of influence mechanics. Character skill isn't so important, player social skill much more. That worked very well for us. The structure of the encounter also allowed for natural "turns" to also give a chance to the more quiet players to get a few words in. The rather loose structure of this encounter helped to give it a lot more depth rather than following rigid rule-paths. Very nice.

The more fighty part of the scenario seems about right to me as well; there's a fight that wasn't all that easy for our four-player party. A 6-player party or one with different builds might find it much easier though. The dungeon and puzzles were easy but that was fine; we'd spent so much time on the dinner party that we had to hurry a bit anyway.


Guess who is coming to dinner

****( )

This scenario has a fantastic premise, you've been invited to a dinner party. It has rich NPCs, involves the PC in the role-play along with them, and then the rest of the scenario follows.

Rest of Scenario:
The assassin's attack is fantastic because although many groups will suspect something is up, very few will actually get to do much about it. The fact all the PCs are seated at dinner leaves even those who act (almost all did at my table, and virtually no one did when I played it), unable to stop the attack itself. That said the guest of honor isn't one rounded and there is plenty of opportunity to save her. She then rewards the society quite nicely letting them down into the archives for information, which Shaine is quite impressed with! The puzzles contained within are ok, but could have been better. One comment I would have is that the combats are rather easy for most groups I've seen. The fact that the role-play has no tie in to the combats and the combats are so easy causes me to detract an otherwise 5 star scenario.


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Shadow Lodge

This one looks fun. Too bad my social rouge is 11th. But my no social skills gunslinger will might be 5th by the time I play it. :)

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Sounds like an awesome scenario, but maybe not so awesome for my 1/2 orc fighter. :)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I think it would be a lot of fun for a 1/2 orc fighter. Sometimes being a "fish out of water" creates the best moments in gaming. Give this scenario a shot, and let us know how it went.
Larry Wilhelm
PS I can guarantee that your 1/2 orc fighter will have something to do....

Sczarni

Recently GMed this at the local PFSOP time slot down at the local shop. I have also played this scenario.

The Good.
Role playing opportunities were great! I really like how this scenario pushed people to RP. We need more scenarios that allow people the opportunity to practice their gift of gab!

The Bad. *SPOILERS*

Click for spoilers:
Combats were rather bland. The First encounter was all about a surprise round where the baddies get their sneak attacks off and try to drop the birthday girl, before moving on to the other people. At the higher tier its touch and go if she dies depending on how well they roll, but after the surprise round the combat dissolves into a fairly easy encounter. The assassin minions don't come with weapons so they unarmed strike for pathetic damage and the Boss assassin is a push over with his poor build. I understand its a first encounter but at higher tier with players having tricks to use, the combat is far to easy and there is no penalty for her dying.

The last combat is by far too easy. The two sphinx shriek, then either use fly by attack or pounce for a grand total of quite easy, the end encounter just did not feel like it was worthy of being an end encounter.

Overall ide give it 4/5 stars
5 for roleplaying 2 for combats.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Some things I'm doing to really make Act I more immersive:

Spoiler:
I've printed out the menu, a copy for each player. It's written in a fancy, Garundi-esque, script. Between segments, each gets passed out. I've also printed out placards for each guest. The players will sit as they do at the table, with the NPCs interspersed. This will likely affect checks needed (e.g. dang, I needed to pass so-and-so a note. This would have been easier had I sat next to them.... I've also se tup the area like a board for the game Clue. If someone leaves one area to explore another, they can move their mini to a given area.


Can anybody help me prepare one of the puzzles?

Spoiler:

The west puzzle, "Marid's Pool", is a retelling of the old "here's a 3-cup jug, here's a 5-cup jug, measure out 4 cups". Thing is, the gaming group I'm running the for includes a guy with a Masters in maths, a geophysicist, a self-run ISP and a trainee policeman. Any one of them is going to find that one stupidly easy.

There doesn't seem to be any story content attached to the puzzle, so I should be able to just swap it out with a different one. Alternatively I could beef up of screw with the existing puzzle.

One suggestion I've had is to keep the puzzle as is, except that the solution doesn't work because the mechanism's broken. The party have to coax the puzzle into solving with some perception and disable device rolls, and a bit of creativity.


My players break things...

Details, details and spoilers:

They never got as far as the Conundrum itself. The game ended with Abroziel alive and hanging from a chandelier, while Ofarah was sitting in a chair being intimidated. They decided that undermining the fairness of the auction, and thereby risking the complete elimination of her country's main income, was entirely deserving of the assassination attempt, and made her swear - in a Zone of Truth - to allow the auction proceed without interference.

:)

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