Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-17: Red Harvest (PFRPG) PDF

3.90/5 (based on 16 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 7-11.

In the naga-ruled nation of Nagajor in southern Tian Xia, the Pathfinder Society finds itself caught between feuding factions in a remote village. Forced to choose a side, the decisions of the agents involved could determine whether or not the Society gains access to a valuable religious artifact considered sacred by the village's nagaji population.

Written by Alex Greenshields.

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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PZOPSS0317E


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3.90/5 (based on 16 ratings)

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Not reaping the rewards we hoped for

3/5

After reviewing a couple of scenarios from third season, I think this a great example of what I consider to be average-ie from PFS. There were some elements I considered very strong and some elements which I think needed some tweeking. Red Harvest is an adventure which on the surface presents the players with a "choice" to determine their storyline but I felt this was a superficial and inconsequential "choice". I think the main challenge my players faced when making this choice was that they were not invested in their decision because there were no real consequences.

DM complexity - moderate
I'm an experienced DM in 3.0, 3.5 and PFS and spent about 2 hours preparing this after playing it.

Player complexity - easy
I like the fact that this module focused more on the role-playing elements of the game - information gathering and diplomacy rather than just being a series of fights.

Spoiler:

Strengths - I liked the fact that the players are immediately drawn into the Nagini by having to obtain the book from the Princess. This forces them to begin conducting an investigation to understand the townsfolk and the opposing factions. I also like that "just stealing" the book and trying to ignore the "choice" is severely punished by having the entire town moving against the players as being a very effective doorstop.
Weaknesses - Unfortunately once our players have learned of the situation, there doesn't really seem to be much of a choice because it will be determined (more likely than not) by your character's alignment (lawful vs. chaotic). As most parties tend to have a combination of lawful AND chaotic characters, it becomes very difficult for them to make an overall choice. This is where my groups stopped working together and become uninvested with the rest of the story.


Yojimbo

4/5

I have played this, I have not read or GMed it.

Good challenging fights. Felt like we got to make decisions that mattered.

I was a little disappointed that we didn't get to play the sides off each other and instead basically picked who's mission we were going to do. Although even that choice was nice, although I imagine it would make it tougher to prep for.

Has a good mix of RP and tough combats, could have been even better though.


An ok premise, that didnt work

2/5

This would make a good 32 page 'module' you play over 2-3 sessions with a party somewhere 'in the middle'

Unfortunately its another...go and make first contact with a culture and either rob them, diminish a holy work, kill some, kidnap some,

Spoiler:
poison some
...and make a great impression!!

It also threatens to be rather short, and is that wonky that

Spoiler:
five faction mission are just about fuliflled by chatting to a farmer in the first encounter

I just feel the mission is not what pathfinders should be doing


Don't care, don't care, don't care...

1/5

This scenario was an opportunity to look into Nagaji society and after playing it I must say that I'm not exactly eager to go back.

Effectively this plot is Yojimbo (or a Fistful of Dollars or Last Man Standing if you prefer.) It's the classic tale of two warring factions in a town that see visiting strangers as a way of breaking their stalemate. Neither side is particularly pleasant and the whole thing is morally grey. Now that works well with a largely amoral central character like in the movies but with a group of pathfinders this falls down for the following two reasons.

Firstly, it is highly unlikely that every PC in the game will be morally grey. You are almost certainly going to have a good PC or two who will object to working with these generally reprehensible people.

Secondly, the players are not there to make money or solve this problem they are instead there to get a magic Macguffin. Because of this the PC's have no real investment in solving this problem beyond "we have to do it to get the magic football of Bob". This is exacerbated by the fact that both sides are pretty much functionally identical- horrible people prepared to let the people suffer for their own petty power plays. Effectively you are forced into the highly unpleasant choice of either kidnapping or assassination.

The result of this was that we just didn't care about the Nagaji or their stupid problems. Instead we let them slaughter each other at the end and this barely registered any concern from the players at all. This was not because we wanted people to suffer but that we felt that whatever choice we made a colossal scumbag would still be in charge. Better for these idiots to kill themselves and decrease the global moron count.

If you are going to have a moral choice in a game it should follow the following format:

Choice one: Morally dubious but easy.
Choice two: Morally good but more difficult or restricted outcome.

Alternatively you could have the following format:

Choice one: Morally dubious
Choice two: Also morally dubious

After investigation though you find a third option that resolves the conflict and makes everything better (a.k.a. the hidden third way.)

This scenario seemed to follow the second pattern but in actuality it was the second pattern without the satisfying third option. As a result we had no investment in the outcome of the petty squabble that was going on and as a result the outcome of this scenario was deeply unsatisfactory.


Fantastic PFS Scenario

5/5

This scenario is a very welcomed change from typical PFS scenarios that simply guide you from one encounter to the next. Not only do you have options of what you want to do next to further the mission, you get to pick which of the 2 feuding factions you'll side with (which will lead to different results). This made it very engaging as the PC's had to carefully weigh options and choices.

Another plus is how there are multiple ways to deal with the encounters, aside from the traditional method of "we charge in and attack". Not all scenarios let the GM know of alternative solutions to the encounters, requiring them to improvise when the players want to do so. It's just a nice addition the author put in.

Highly recommended scenario, get your PC high enough so you can play it!


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Announced! Cover image is a mockup.


Woohoo! :)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

This thing better be based on the Dashiell Hammett novel of the same name, or I'll cry foul! Otherwise, it's like naming an adventure "A Tale of Two Cities," and then it turns out to have nothing to do with a revolution. Or naming one "Moby Dick," and having no ships or whales in it.


Don't listen to him, Paizo. If he's not crying foul, he's not happy.

Look at the blurb, Kirth. Sounds pretty Red Harvest-inspired to me.


It seems a bit weird to me to directly take the name of another work, though. Chacun a son gout, I suppose.


If it gets anyone to pick up Dash, it's well worth it. Also, I think of the PFS scenarios like the modules in Dungeon where it was totally okay to plunder titles from other works. It's not theft, it's a hommage.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
This thing better be based on the Dashiell Hammett novel of the same name, or I'll cry foul! Otherwise, it's like naming an adventure "A Tale of Two Cities," and then it turns out to have nothing to do with a revolution. Or naming one "Moby Dick," and having no ships or whales in it.

Dashiell who? This is an hommage to the great Bruce Willis movie "Last Man Standing"! :)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
Alex Greenshields wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
This thing better be based on the Dashiell Hammett novel of the same name, or I'll cry foul! Otherwise, it's like naming an adventure "A Tale of Two Cities," and then it turns out to have nothing to do with a revolution. Or naming one "Moby Dick," and having no ships or whales in it.
Dashiell who? This is an hommage to the great Bruce Willis movie "Last Man Standing"! :)

Oh, dear. I hope you meant that to read as an homage to the Kurosawa movie Yojimbo? Or the Sergio Leone movie A Fistful of Dollars? (Yes, Last Man Standing was an authorized remake, but.... the greatness, it does seem to descend from Kurosawa's adaptation of The Glass Key)

Season: Tian Xia featuring Society adaptations of Kurosawa greatness seems like a reasonably iconic choice... The Seven Samurai was well adapted, hopefully this will be as good :)

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

Now available!

The Exchange

Huh, who knew that Magnimar had moved to Nagajor...

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

I don't know where that came from, but it's been fixed and the PDF will be updated as soon as the web team has a chance to do so. We'll send out an email about it once the change goes live, which should be later today.

The Exchange

That's a very quick relocation for the entire city. I'm sure the populace must be up in arms.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Nope, the nagas of Nagajor have no arms.

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Moreland wrote:
Nope, the nagas of Nagajor have no arms.

I'm sure they'll figure out a way around this. After all, the daleks figured out how to get up steps ... eventually.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

The PDF of this scenario has been updated (emails informing those who have already purchased it should be going out soon) to correct an error in the first act (in the low subtier, the correct number of enemies is now shown in the creature statblock; in the high subtier, the creature's special attack damage has been modified).

Scarab Sages

Thanks for taking the time to fix those errors, Mark!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

Hey Alex, I have to say I really enjoyed this scenario. The flavor was cool, the plot didn't have an easy answer (like real life sometimes), the fights were tough, (very tough) :-) and I thought you captured the feel of Nagajor so that the PCs could experience it.


TetsujinOni wrote:
Oh, dear. I hope you meant that to read as an homage to the Kurosawa movie Yojimbo? Or the Sergio Leone movie A Fistful of Dollars? (Yes, Last Man Standing was an authorized remake, but.... the greatness, it does seem to descend from Kurosawa's adaptation of The Glass Key

You mean "Kurosawa's adaptation of Red Harvest." Miller's Crossing was the Coen Brothers' adaptation of The Glass Key.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Stumbled across this one today and it might be my favorite PFS module. Is there a canonical outcome for which naga rules the town?

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
Stumbled across this one today and it might be my favorite PFS module. Is there a canonical outcome for which naga rules the town?

Woohoo! Not as far as I know, keftiu. Pathfinder 2e has for the most part stayed clear of Tian-Xia in general, let alone the tiny village of Nibung.

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