Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-19: The Icebound Outpost (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1–5.

The Pathfinder Society discovers an Aspis Consortium base in an ancient Vudran temple now encased in a glacier and sends the PCs to infiltrate it and investigate the extent of the rival organization's regional operations. Can the PCs get in the well-guarded Aspis outpost and escape with their lives and the information the Society seeks?

Written by Jeff Erwin.

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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A hard scenario for hard players

3/5

The Ruby Phoenix plotline is building to its crescendo this May with the release of Rats of Round Mountain Part I: The Sundered Path and the object of this review; The Icebound Outpost.

Picking up where Wonders of the Weave left off, players find themselves in a Vudran ruin buried deep inside a glacier, currently under control of the Aspis Consortium, the villain of choice for PFS at the moment. Players need to eliminate this threat and the general gist of the directive is by any means necessary.

There isn't a lot of room for talking written into the scenario (unless the players force it in which case be ready to improvise) and there are some questionable directives written into the NPC tactics. I am looking at you Ms. 'stands there looking menacing only to the first level sorcerer drop you in the first round with a colour spray because he beat your initiative’.

The Icebound Outpost is a fairly straight forward, single map affair that will either go real easy on careful players or end up a blood bath with dead PCs. If players get the drop on the NPCs they win. If not, they could well be screwed. I have heard of TPKs in the first encounter and it's not hard to see how if the NPCs are ready for the players. This is not a criticism in so much as an observation; this is a tough, combat heavy scenario that is more 'no prisoners' in style than the edge of your seat 'it's going to be alright' variety. This is not often the case with Tier 1-5 scenarios and is worth being aware of that from the outset.

The Icebound Outpost is a tactician's dream and that's how it needs to be treated and delivered. Be prepared, hold no bars and make the players work at staying alive. The setting is cool (no pun intended), the combat challenges varied and should deliver a smug sense of satisfaction for players that survive. If this doesn't sound like your cup of beverage, maybe move on to an alternate scenario.

I hear The God's Markets are nice this time of year...


One for the tacticians

3/5

Perspective GM 4 times.

A combat heavy, roleplay light scenario in an interesting setting.

It is well constructed and season 3 appropriate both in setting and style. The overall encounters have story consistency, though with set tactics which makes all but one combat encounter weaker than their CR infers.

The encounters can very easily run into one another leading to a marathon combat fest, lasting for a record breaking number of rounds in one of my 4 games. The scenario also tends to play short with experienced players. The fastest of my 4 games took a few minutes over three hours. The only one that ran over 4 hours was with 5 new players at the table.

Faction missions tie into the plot and there are no obvious clunkers.

The scenario has a major spoiler for the Ruby Phoenix Tournament module, such that if you are going to play that module then don’t run or read this scenario until afterwards.

Overall an OK dungeon style action adventure with good use of terrain, and a couple of twists, though no major RP, which is memorable mainly for the setting and possibly for longest combat ever. Maybe a 4-star adventure for combat junkies and a 3-star for everyone else.


Not bad, but not amazing.

3/5

This is just a simple, no fuss/no must dungeon crawl, that doesn't take place in a dungeon. The story will get lost, if players haven't run in The Ruby Phoenix Tournament, or the first part of Rats of The Round Mountain Series. But it's level appropriate, not too insane combats, and room for some light RP so the players will still have loads of fun.

I personally, prefer adventures that have more RP than dungeon crawling. The RP is the whole reason we're in society, and although my table had a good time in RPing with a Gen-Con Tiefling, who liked Pesh(See Inner Sea World Guide). I just feel like the RP was just the filler between combats instead of part of the combating. But it's not a *terrible* module. It's just great for those who prefer heavy combat.

I have heard that this is the first submission from this author, and he is definitely on the right path to being awesome! Looking forward to seeing other adventures he has in mind!


Good but not enough.

3/5

I love arctic adventures, however, this just didn't have the 'Oomph!' I was hoping for. Just a bunch of combats in a temple with many classes introduced in some of the new books. At least it will help me learn how to run some new classes. This would be a good scenario for new GMs to run since it is straight up combats in a single location. I heard this is the author's first PFS scenario. Kudos!


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Web Product Manager

Announced! Cover image is a mockup.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is my first PFS scenario; hopefully it is a winner!

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Gratz Jeff!

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

You're getting out there Jeff! Congrats, man!


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Way to go Jeff! And "Vudran temple encased in a glacier" sounds very intriguing.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

This month's Pathfinder Society Scenarios have been delayed by a week, and are now scheduled to be released on May 2.

Sovereign Court Contributor

Sad Jeff. As my daughter says "hurry! hurry! faster!"


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Awww.

Contributor

Now available!

Sovereign Court Contributor

And it's out. I'll check back on this thread periodically if anyone has thoughts or questions for the author. :)

Dark Archive

I'll be playing this tonight, will report back once we're done!

Sovereign Court Contributor

Dezhem wrote:
I'll be playing this tonight, will report back once we're done!

How'd it go?

Dark Archive

Jeff Erwin wrote:
Dezhem wrote:
I'll be playing this tonight, will report back once we're done!
How'd it go?

We all managed to survive, heh. That's always a good start. Feedback for the mod from myself and various players:

SPOILERS FOR MOD; YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED:

Mod was played by:

Level 4 Monk
Level 5 Cleric w/ spinosaurus animal companion
Level 4-5 (forget which) Vivisectionist Alchemist (Lots of natural attacks/arms)
Level 4 Sorcerer

- The beginning hook was not received very well. Alright, Aspis Consortium have freely been coming and going via unknown means; sure. But if you're able to teleport directly to the temple via the tapestry, it seems weird that they just wouldn't, I don't know, send Adril Hestram to commando drop in and solo the entire place. I know that's not exactly a unique complaint but several players voiced that. I'm not sure if that was just our GM, but very little emphasis was placed on finding out HOW they were doing it. In fact, one of the faction missions seemed more interested in it.

- The snare trap by the tree was hilarious. Could have used more traps! We ended up making so much noise (and through a ludicrously high Str Alchemist just shunted the tree away), that there was absolutely zero hope of surprising anyone. Despite that, the first encounter went pretty smoothly; Mooks dropped one unconscious (more due to GM rolling well) but were cleaned up pretty quick. Seemed odd since we had made SO much noise that they weren't better prepared.

- The general toughness of the encounters, I felt, and the other players felt, was overall fairly weak. High rolls notwithstanding, I feel that the various bad guys could have easily been bumped up 1-2 levels to provide more of a challenge, at least for Tier 4-5. Having said that, 2 of the PC's were fairly optimized. The tactics of the NPC's could have done with some tweaking too, I think.

- The small environment was both a pro and a con. I hadn't adventured in such a small environment before so that was new to me. It's a nice change from having to travel 5000 miles to get to your mission. However, the small environment also led to some weird situations. Assuming party makes ungodly noise (and combat is pretty loud as is), it feels like all the encounters should have triggered at the same time or something. Weird suspension of disbelief moment there. It also seems like you could almost finish the mod in an hour or less if you have a group that excels at combat.

I hope that's constructive feedback for you! We did enjoy ourselves and spent a lot of time RP'ing our characters, which is a big plus in my book. I think had the temple complex been expanded a bit more and some more traps/exploration element been added it would have been received better overall.

Sovereign Court Contributor

Interesting.

Spoiler:

Actually, it seems like the society had a good team (your party) for the mission, considering... and the way the Aspis people were doing it is in the adventure, too. But the clues discovered in the mission lead to other scenarios which direct the society to the actual Aspis portal.
There are some rationales written in the scenario for when and why people might come running; I don't know if they were implemented effectively, and I may need feedback from a different group to judge.
I don't know how your GM interpreted it, but yes, mistakes like setting off traps or noise are supposed to be part of the challenge.


Jeff de luna wrote:
This is my first PFS scenario; hopefully it is a winner!

I just ran this module last night and our group went through it in a different way then I expected. Well, we had 8 people and the module was for 4-6 so had to make some adjustments. Now a lot of my friends have said I am a pretty good tactician, and I definately did some prepping, but things didn't work out the way I wanted, but played high tier.

Spoiler:
Group: Lvl 4 Wizard, 2 Cleric,4 fighter, 5 paladin, 4 barbarian, 4 ranger, 4 monk, 3 Alchemist.I was so looking forward to use the scrollmaster (Transmuter) chick, and I managed to get off a couple of nasty spells, but I wasn't able to use her full potential. Otherwise, I could've killed 2-3 members minimum, I guarentee it. I loved her the second I saw her capabilities. Like that Scroll of Dimension Door for example. She never stood a chance. ^^"
All in all, great first module! I liked some of the tactics. Keep up the good work! :)

Shadow Lodge

Question SA, was this for PFS? Because 8 player tables are not legal, nor is it legal to make adjustments...


Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
Question SA, was this for PFS? Because 8 player tables are not legal, nor is it legal to make adjustments...

yes it was for PFS. and...how are 8 player tables not legal if I may ask? That's just...our group. sometimes we only have 4-5, others we have a full house. it just depends.


Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
Question SA, was this for PFS? Because 8 player tables are not legal, nor is it legal to make adjustments...

and by adjustments, I merely increased the hitpoints. that's all. Otherwise we wouldve finished an an hour. I just made it a bit harder hp wise. is that wrong? I didnt change anything else, just added some hit points.

Dark Archive

Pasted from the current Guide to Organized Play:

Spoiler:
Legal Table Size
The minimum table size for a Pathfinder Society
Organized Play session to be considered legal is four
PCs. Table size is capped at six PCs. In cases in which
you simply cannot seat four players, you may run a table
of three players, and play an official level-appropriate
pregenerated character in order to meet the minimum
table size of four PCs.
Conversely, if seven players show up to an event,
rather than turning someone away from the campaign
altogether, consider adding a seventh person to the table.
These situations should be extremely rare and should only
be used as a last resort to sending someone home without
the chance to play. Seven-person tables often overpower
otherwise challenging adventures and limit the amount
of time each player gets to shine in the given scenario, and
many players prefer not to play at all rather than play at
such a large table. Check with the players to determine
their preferences before running a seven-person table.
One alternative to a seven-person table is to split the
group into two tables of three players, and ask one of the
players to serve as Game Master for the second table, with
each GM running a pregenerated character to fill her
table out. Under no circumstance should a table ever have
eight or more players.

Consider getting one of your players up and running as a GM, in my opinion. As for changing what's in scenarios; it's frowned upon and the developers have asked people not to do it.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just for clarification, the 7-person table limit and restrictions on modifying mechanics in scenarios only really applies if you're giving out Chronicle sheets for Pathfinder Society credit. If this is just an adventure you ran for your home group but you aren't playing it as part of the Pathfinder Society Organized Play campaign, then you can run it however you want. Really, if you only ever play with this same group and you want to use Chronicle sheets to track wealth and advancement, you can use them, but if players then go to conventions or game stores or what-have-you, the assumption is that all the games in which they've played with their PC thus far have been PFS-legal, and altered scenarios or ones that held less than 4 or more than 7 PCs don't qualify as such.


Ok, let me clear this up. I'm not trying to make a debate about it. I ran this game at my house, and I didnt make changes to the scenario itself. I ran it as it said, we had a large group which consisted of my dad, brother, and his gaming buddies and they went through the module a different way than I was expecting. It's the same group I play with all the time. it was merely a Saturday night game. Point is, I liked the module, I just wished I could've conducted some of the tactics better. That is all. :)

Shadow Lodge

Whether you ran it in a private home game or a public game at a game store, if you're running it for PFS credit, you need to follow all the guidelines. The scenarios are made for 4-6 characters, so by playing outside those targets things are going to not work. It sounds like you guys are big enough now you could/should split the group. This would allow you to run separate scenarios, or two of you run the same for both groups. Getting too big isn't a bad thing, but trying to squeeze 8 into a scenario made for half that number isn't good for the group in the long run.


Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
Whether you ran it in a private home game or a public game at a game store, if you're running it for PFS credit, you need to follow all the guidelines. The scenarios are made for 4-6 characters, so by playing outside those targets things are going to not work. It sounds like you guys are big enough now you could/should split the group. This would allow you to run separate scenarios, or two of you run the same for both groups. Getting too big isn't a bad thing, but trying to squeeze 8 into a scenario made for half that number isn't good for the group in the long run.

Fair enough, however this group has always been fairly large for many years. Almost as old as I've been alive if not longer if I recall. between 7-10 people. Now, if we have a 2nd person to run, then yeah we split it into two, however most of the time, noone else if prepared to run said module or whatever type of game we may be playing. It merely depends. most of the time we have 5-7 players due to varying circumstances. Some we have 8, others on the rare occasion we have 9-10 just split into a table of 4 and a table of 3, or 2 tables of 4. =/ It really just depends on circumstances ^^". Plus, we, the Waterdeep Boys Club are quite the eclectic group. We have a blast and there's lots of camaraderie between all of us lol.


Question:

How is it that Isehkta has Improved Natural Attack when she has a +2 BAB and the feat requires a +4 BAB?

Shadow Lodge

So I just ran this tonight with 5 predominantly new players, two of them being the fighter and rogue pregens. First encounter was tough for them, and it only got worse with the second. Three people ended up dying and two fled. Has anyone else had a group of all new players go through this? When I read through it prior I was actually thinking this could be a TPK. :-/ Even if they survived the second and third encounters I wasn't optimistic about their chances with the BBEG at the end. I really don't like killing PC's and even gave them tactical combat advice to help out. It also didn't help that I rolled well and they in general rolled petty bad.


I have been asked to start putting up reviews/comments on scenarios. So even though this is an old one, here it be.

We played at the low tier with 5 PC's. Granted they were all 2nd (almost 3rd) so geared pretty well. But the fights were just ridiculously easy. I think almost everyone went down on the first hit. One of the guys who kept rolling poorly in initiative never even got to do anything except move toward the fights before it was over.

But really, I can't see anything that should have kept all the fights separate either. They should have been able to see/hear if on guard. Then if all of them had swarmed us, it probably would have been too hard for 1st level PC's.

Also it was all combat. There were these vast detailed descriptions, we were listening and taking notes since we expected that to mean something. But it was just a series of easy fights.

I doubt I would consider running this unless it was a bunch of newbies who wanted an intro to combat.

I have no experience so far with the high tier.


ElterAgo wrote:

I have been asked to start putting up reviews/comments on scenarios. So even though this is an old one, here it be.

We played at the low tier with 5 PC's. Granted they were all 2nd (almost 3rd) so geared pretty well. But the fights were just ridiculously easy. I think almost everyone went down on the first hit. One of the guys who kept rolling poorly in initiative never even got to do anything except move toward the fights before it was over.

But really, I can't see anything that should have kept all the fights separate either. They should have been able to see/hear if on guard. Then if all of them had swarmed us, it probably would have been too hard for 1st level PC's.

Also it was all combat. There were these vast detailed descriptions, we were listening and taking notes since we expected that to mean something. But it was just a series of easy fights.

I doubt I would consider running this unless it was a bunch of newbies who wanted an intro to combat.

I have no experience so far with the high tier.

Nice comments! If you looks at the tabs near the top, there's a review tab where you can post this same text and even give a star rating; it'll make it more visible.


Ah, missed that. Will do.

Grand Lodge

Pg. 6 - Poisoned snare trap

Better late than never. Two snare traps are on this page. The first snare trap is listed as CR 3. The second snare trap at the higher subtier is the exact same trap, but just adds malyass root paste to the trap. The Subtier header lists it as CR 6, but the trap itself lists itself as CR 3 again. In my opinion it should probably just be CR 4. Adding poison but not increasing damage and not increasing the Perception or Disable Device DCs shouldn't warrant a +3 CR increase. The poison only deals Dex damage anyway.

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