Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-11: The Quest for Perfection—Part II: On Hostile Waters (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for Levels 1–5.

With an ancient Iroran relic in hand, the Pathfinders must make a long river voyage to the inland nation of Shokuro to return it to the only person who can reactivate the long-dormant artifact. Whether dangers take the form of goblinoid menaces on the shores of Kaoling to the north or the powerful armies of Lingshen to the south, the Pathfinders' journey will be anything but a pleasure cruise. Can the PCs survive hostile waters to safely reach their destination, or will they fall victim to the perils of river travel in Tian Xia?

"On Hostile Waters" is the second scenario in the three-part The Quest for Perfection campaign arc. It follows Pathfinder Society Scenario #3–09: The Quest for Perfection—Part I: The Edge of Heaven and is followed by Pathfinder Society Scenario #3–13: The Quest for Perfection—Part III: Defenders of Nesting Swallow. All three chapters are intended to be played in order.

Written by Benjamin Bruck.

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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Nice Quiet Boat Ride

****( )

I loved this scenario because it provides loads of opportunity for inter-party role playing. The boat ride is quiet punctuated by a few relatively simple encounters to overcome, which add to the inter-party banter and discussions.

For those who want to role-play with the other party members without being overly distracted by time-intensive combat encounters, this scenario is for you.


Bad Story and Worse Encounters

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I have played through and GMed this scenario and it was incredibly boring both times. First off the story is entirely forgettable with almost no RP and little in the way of player input. On the other side all of the combat encounters except the first are so easy that it is painful to GM because the PC's will be able to one hit kill most of the enemies in this scenario.Finally, the final confrontation makes absolutely no sense if the PC's succeeded on their secondary success condition, but the scenario basically says, "Too bad!" giving the baddies zero motivation to attack outside if the assumption that they failed earlier. The final confrontation was so forced and so lackluster that my players were baffled that this was the end of the game. Coming off the high that is completing The "Edge of Heaven" and the joy of playing "Defenders of Nesting Swallow" it is a shame that in the middle is something so forgettable that it needn't exist in the first place.


String of unrelated encounters

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I played and GM'ed this

As a player I felt this scenario was a string of unrelated encounters and unfortunately my opinion did not change when I ran the scenario. Which is a pity as the travel from A to B could have been made a lot more exciting with some relations between the encounters that are obvious for the players. That would have increased the feeling of being watched / chased and improved the scenario.


Disappointed

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As the second part of the Quest for Perfection, it's really a disappointment.

Too railroady, each combat does not combine with another, easily fall into a hiking campus, especially when you have a strong wizard :)

The storyline doesn't make sense either, I really hate the druid clan... ridiculously stupid.

What makes it out of 1 star, may be one of few better Tian Xia flavor decription, and the final boss fight has its challenge but just fine.

Wouldn't sugguest this, just play part1 and 3.


A bit dull

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Let me start by saying that this second part of this trilogy is distinctively different from the first part. The first scenario had an emphasis on scenery and was more linear with forced fights, whereas this part was less linear (except for the river) and had actual encounters you could role-play your way through. It made for a nice change and while I had a great time due to great players and a hilarious GM, I’m not as big a fan of this scenario as I could (or should) have been.

The issue is that the scenario lacks a bit of immersion. The descriptions of the surroundings, regions, politics, religions and such are all lacking. It comes down to the GM to come up with details the players can act on in those role-play sections. While this means there’s a lot of potential, it still somehow feels a bit more limited than it should be.

The fights also felt either a bit too forced, or too random. It didn’t feel natural or logical, and especially one fight was nothing more than a pointless speedbump that added absolutely nothing to the scenario. Those tiny things served no purpose other than giving the Grand Lodge a not-so-worthwhile faction mission. The final fight, is not to be underestimated and can be lethal. Nevertheless, our party managed to take only 7 damage in total due to good tactics from our side, and poor dice rolls from the GM.

All-in-all, it’s a scenario that has potential, but doesn’t feel fleshed out enough. I’ll only recommend it if you plan on playing the entire trilogy of scenarios.


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Contributor

Announced! Cover image is a mockup.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

"the only person who can reactive the long-dormant artifact."

Should that read "reactivate"?

Contributor

Chris Mortika wrote:

"the only person who can reactive the long-dormant artifact."

Should that read "reactivate"?

Indeed! Fixed.

Liberty's Edge

Does the plot of this scenario follow on directly from part I, or does it make sense for PFS PCs to play other scenarios between the parts of this trilogy?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

The scenario picks up immediately after the events in part I, and part III picks up immediately after the conclusion of this one. That said, the nature of organized play often means that players have to hand-wave some of the continuity between scenarios, and ultimately, the continuity of each individual character is all that matters, as no two players will have played everything in the same order. That's the long way of saying, "yes, they are designed to run consecutively, but if someone plays other things, it should be easy enough to justify in-character."


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Are this months scenarios delayed? I'm scheduled to run this one in a week, and was looking to prep it. Thanks.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

They're done and should have gone live yesterday evening. It looks like something has snagged in the process, however. I'll ask the web team to poke this when I get into the office in a few hours and we'll get it up as soon as possible.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
They're done and should have gone live yesterday evening. It looks like something has snagged in the process, however. I'll ask the web team to poke this when I get into the office in a few hours and we'll get it up as soon as possible.

Thanks Mark. I was hoping it was just something like this.

Contributor

It's done been poked—sorry about the delay!

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Thanks, Liz!

Grand Lodge

Played this scenario yesterday with at a table of level 1s.

It was great! We had a lot of laughs at our table.

My squishy 8 HP Sorcerer survived the module and has progressed to level 2. Huzzah!


I'm not understanding the first encounter.

Spoiler:
First off, is the river in the Basin still traveling at 40ft per round and 10-15ft deep?

How are the raiders supposed to get on the ship? Even if they manage to shoot the driver, and get a snag or collision result, the water is 10-15 deep. Are they going to swim out to the boat?

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

sveden wrote:

Played this scenario yesterday with at a table of level 1s.

It was great! We had a lot of laughs at our table.

My squishy 8 HP Sorcerer survived the module and has progressed to level 2. Huzzah!

Excellent! Glad to hear you enjoyed it, and also glad to hear about your Sorcerer! (My Ranger leveled up from this module too, GM credit of course.)

DMFTodd wrote:

I'm not understanding the first encounter.

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
The river is 10-15 ft deep at its center, but its shallow enough at the sides for the raider's horses to wade in a ways (essentially, close enough for the raiders to dismount onto the ship's deck). I didn't spell that out very well in the encounter write up, sorry about that :(

Hope the rest of the adventure plays alright for you!


A question about the Andoran faction mission:

Spoiler:
The Andoran's are supposed to make nice with the Mutabi-qi, but the first batch of them are a combat encounter and the Andoran mission is not in the mission notes. Was that on purpose to make the Andorans think a bit?

The PCs meet the Jhemulit camp second and that's where the Andoran mission is mentioned, but the text doesn't actually describe them as Mutabi-qi.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The Driving DC is 20 for both Tier 1-2 and 4-5? Because a 20 is pretty darn difficult for 1st level PCs. This provided a lot of hilarity when I ran it as things quickly went to crap, but I could certainly see a lot of groups being very frustrated at having so little control over such an important aspect of the module.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

DMFTodd wrote:

A question about the Andoran faction mission:

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
Mutabi-qi is the generic name for the nomadic tribes of Shaguang. The Jhemulit are one tribe among the Mutabi-qi, the raiders that attack in encounter 1 are another (I mentioned the name of their tribe, the Managha, in my turnover, but it looks like it got cut).

As for the Drive DC, I sort of agree :) The drive system got a bit of an overhaul between my turnover and the final draft. On the other hand, a lower DC wouldn't challenge the higher Tier very much, and while I can sympathize with your group for feeling a little out of control, I also think the chaos caused by a failed check can make some of the easier combats more exciting (at least that's how it felt for me when I ran it).

Shadow Lodge

Is it just me, or does having a Summoner in the party make this adventure significantly easier than it ought to be?

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

1 person marked this as a favorite.
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Is it just me, or does having a Summoner in the party make this adventure significantly easier than it ought to be?

In my experience, having a summoner in the party makes every adventure somewhat easier than it ought to be.


Two things

Spoiler:
How many guards are supposed to be Cheyeng at teir 4-5? The PDF uses the plural, but fails to include nembers. Same as teir 1-2?

Also, it gets a little foggy on what happens if the PCs DON'T hide the braid, instead taking a very lawful route and volunteer up the Braid for inspection, like my PCs did. They even went through all sorts of paperwork (one is quite skilled in Diplomacy) and filed a travel plan with the border guards. I used this to justify the final encounter in Act 3, as well as to give the villians the upper hand in that encounter (supprise round, as the PCs thought that they had a standing contract).


Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
As for the Drive DC, I sort of agree :) The drive system got a bit of an overhaul between my turnover and the final draft. On the other hand, a lower DC wouldn't challenge the higher Tier very much, and while I can sympathize with your group for feeling a little out of control, I also think the chaos caused by a failed check can make some of the easier combats more exciting (at least that's how it felt for me when I ran it).

I'd agree. It actually worked in favor of my PCs, helping them clear out an encounter with only half the fighting.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Lord Twitchiopolis wrote:

Two things

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:

There are supposed to be 3 guards in the high tier, the 3 just got lost somewhere along the way.

If the PCs don't hide the braid in that encounter, Cheyeng should definitely attempt to confiscate it. Remember, his whole tax-assessor schtick is a front. In truth, he's there on the river trying to intercept the braid.
I originally gave the PCs a few ways to talk their way through the checkpoint, but that text got cut from final draft.


Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Wiggid. I figured as much, which is why I played it out as I previously stated. Now that I've got my rules questions answered, time for the praise.

All in all, I dare say that this was an excellent scenerio, and that you deserve much kudos for it. It was a refreshing venture from the norm without bogging the players down in too much extra rules. It also had some great comedic potential, as happened in my group.

Why drive checks are fun:
Failed drive check, lurch to the left. Goblinoid goes overboard.
Failed drive check, lurch to the right. Goblinoid goes overboard.
Barbarian to cleric, "What...what just happened?"

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Lord Twitchiopolis wrote:
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Wiggid. I figured as much, which is why I played it out as I previously stated. Now that I've got my rules questions answered, time for the praise.

All in all, I dare say that this was an excellent scenerio, and that you deserve much kudos for it. It was a refreshing venture from the norm without bogging the players down in too much extra rules. It also had some great comedic potential, as happened in my group. ** spoiler omitted **

Thanks! Glad to hear you had fun with it!

Liberty's Edge

Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
DMFTodd wrote:

A question about the Andoran faction mission:

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
Mutabi-qi is the generic name for the nomadic tribes of Shaguang. The Jhemulit are one tribe among the Mutabi-qi, the raiders that attack in encounter 1 are another (I mentioned the name of their tribe, the Managha, in my turnover, but it looks like it got cut).

I played this as an Andoran in Feb and failed my faction mission. I'm GMing this scenario soon and was looking forward to reading the scenario and finding out what I had done wrong. I'm disappointed to find that I was actually operating on false information.

Spoiler:
In the game I played, I attempted to make contact with the raiders in the first encounter, because they matched the description of Mutabi-qi. When they attacked, the opportunity to talk seemed lost. I had assumed that I had gone about it in the wrong way. I gave up on the mission because there were no more contacts with the Mutabi-qi! I have to emphasize that. The rest of the game passed without any more contact with Mutabi-qi.
I was pivotal in the party's success with the Jhemulit, but I didn't pursue my faction mission because there was nothing to indicate that the Jhemulit are Mutabi-qi. In fact the only clue in the entire scenario that this is not the case are the mission notes at the end of the act that indicate Andorans can complete their mission there.

You state that "Mutabi-qi is the generic name for the nomadic tribes of Shaguang," but the scenario doesn't make that clear. My GM either wasn't clear about it either or just neglected to make it clear to us. I don't mind when I fail because of a bad roll or even when I don't recognize my opportunity. But to have failed because the scenario write-up misled me makes me steam a bit.


I realize this sounds like sour grapes, and maybe it is, but I had no problems with the failed mission until I discovered *why* I had failed it.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

BLAMM! wrote:
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
DMFTodd wrote:

A question about the Andoran faction mission:

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

I played this as an Andoran in Feb and failed my faction mission. I'm GMing this scenario soon and was looking forward to reading the scenario and finding out what I had done wrong. I'm disappointed to find that I was actually operating on false information.

** spoiler omitted **
I realize this sounds like sour grapes, and maybe it is, but I had no problems with the failed mission until I discovered *why* I had failed it.

I'm sorry to hear that Blamm, and reading back over it I can see where the confusion comes from. The connection isn't explicitly made...but it's definitely in there.

Spoiler:
In her opening text, Amara-Li refers to the Jhemulit as "a nomadic tribe in Shaguang". When you ask her about the mutabi-qi, she says “That’s what the nomad tribes of Shaguang call themselves." The implication being that there are many tribes that wander Shaguang, and they are collectively known as as mutabi-qi.

Still, it could definitely be made clearer, and it sounds like more than a couple GMs and Players didn't pick up on it though, which is regrettable.

When you GM the scenario, Blamm, I would suggest you have Amara-Li specifically call the Jhemulit out as being a mutabi-qi tribe (if you hadn't planned to do so already).

Liberty's Edge

Thanks for the reply. I'm mostly over it now. :)

Had I any Andorans in my group I would definitely make that clear. I suppose I'll do it anyway, just to be sure there's no confusion.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Class Deck, Maps, Modules Subscriber

So, this recently ran at one of our fine local gaming stores, and I managed to get pictures of the ships we used.

The larger vessel was one I had commissioned from my custom terrain builder (i.e. my wife - evil grin) to have a "properly sized ocean going cargo vessel" instead of these dinky little ... skiffs suited for Mediterranean conditions.

The smaller vessel was made by printing the Laughing Crow maps to scale and then making a ship shaped hull... (which is notably not evenly sized... see pictures).

Enjoy!

The pictures

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