Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-22: The Rats of Round Mountain—Part II: Pagoda of the Rat (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for Levels 7–11.

In the hollow center of Round Mountain, the Pathfinder Society's crack team of special agents must navigate the so-called Pagoda of the Rat, where the influential ratfolk of the region hold court. Can they break up negotiations between the ratfolk and the sinister Aspis Consortium, or will the risks taken to reach this point have been in vain? The future of the Pathfinder Society's viability in the region lies in the PCs' hands.

"Pagoda of the Rat" is the second and final scenario in the two-part The Rats of Round Mountain campaign arc. The story begins in Pathfinder Society Scenario #3–20: The Rats of Round Mountain—Part I: The Sundered Path. Both chapters are intended to be played in order and consecutively; PCs who do will receive a special reward at the arc's conclusion.

Written by Russ Taylor.

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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3.10/5 (based on 13 ratings)

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Standard fare

3/5

I have mixed feelings about Pagoda. On one hand we had a great time (it was mostly because of the players). On the other hand I didn't find the scenario itself very memorable. Too much time was spent by my GM drawing maps.

The combats were balanced but not memorable overall. We actually ended up bypassing all of the encounters except for two combat encounters. I'm honestly not sure how anyone finishes either Rats 1 or 2 on time if you're not diplomatic. Luckily, most groups have a diplomacy monkey, so it isn't an issue.

Detailed Rating:

Length: Long. We finished in 5 hours, bypassing most combat encounters with our diplomacy monkey.
Experience: Player with 5 well built PCs at subtier 7-8.
Sweet Spot: TBD.
Entertainment: Entertaining just because of the open roleplay aspect, so it will depend on the players. For that reason, has the potential to crash and burn with stonefaced players. (7/10)
Roleplay: Open ended roleplay. Hard to assess based on my GM alone. (6/10)
Combat/Challenges: It was OK but not memorable. It's possible my GM wasn't prepared and didn't do it justice. (6/10)
Maps: The maps might have been good, however for GMs that like to draw everything on blank flip maps with sharpees, it takes too long and is often confusing. A lot of the session was spent on maps. (4/10)
Boons: A powerful but situational boon that will be appreciated by some players. I guess if you're going to reward boons like this it should be in the upper tiers. (10/10)
Uniqueness: There were a few tricks. (7/10)
Faction Missions: We didn't get faction missions, so that was welcome change and it made sense. (8/10)

Overall: The scenario was 'OK'. (6/10)


Rats Return Rocking!

5/5

Wow ... after running Rats part 1 at a convention within 4 hours it was quite a change as I ran Rats part 2 as a home game which took 8 hours at Tier 10-11. Admitedly, we took breaks for food and drinks and chit-chat but I think this might be a tricky scenario to complete within 4 hours. I think it can be completed within 4 hours but the DM has to keep the party very focused and execute the mobs' strategy quickly.

Again, this adventure was an excellent balance of story and combat which places the power back into the hands of the DM. What do I mean by that? - I had that question from a reader. I mean that the mobs are sufficiently nasty that the DM really needs to be responsible for customizing how dangerous the mobs are. If you read the encounter specific spoilers, I elaborate on how this can be achieved.

Also, I received a question why Rats part 1 only received 4 stars and not 5 stars so I imagine I'll receive another question since I gave Rats part 2 received 5 stars. I really liked Rats part 2 because of how it could be played "sandbox" style. It also provides for a unique experience for the players depending up whether they have played Rats part 1 before Rats part 2. IMO, being open ended and unique earns a module 5-stars vs. 4-stars which I would award to a module which I felt is solidly better than average.

Spoiler:

In my particular case, my players had played Rats part 1 immediately prior to Rats part 2. As such, the scenario does not require them to complete their faction missions. However, I suggested that my players do so because I felt they would be able to better experience the story. They agreed and this may have contributed towards how "long" the scenario ran.

In any case, if my players had chosen NOT to complete their faction mission, they could have easily flown up to the top of the tower, encountered Krella who would be friendly to them and helped them defeat Durriya. I would have probably enabled Durriya to notify her Inquisitors and they would have arrived in 2 minutes as a second encounter for the party. If that occurred, I'm pretty sure the scenario could be completed within 4 hours.

DM complexity - very high
I'm an experienced DM in 3.0, 3.5 and PFS and spent over 8 hours preparing this module at Tier 10-11. Furthermore, there are lot of conditional modifiers to keep track - I usually keep a note sheet at hand to track everything which occurs and I ran out of space on it.

Player complexity - moderate
I ran this game at Tier 10-11 for 6 players: one at 10th level; 4 at 9th level and one at 7th. I would consider two of the characters having "optimized" builds but this did not imbalance things especially since they were the front-line fighters and this ended up saving them when they performed unwise character actions. I also made the PCs complete the entire scenario without resting so spells and resources were very limited.

My favorite element of this scenario was the complexity of the plot. There were many twists and turns which could have occurred. As such, I felt I was definately kept "on my toes" as a DM.

Spoiler:

Inquisitors on floor 1 - This is probably the most deadly encounter when the Inquisitors are combined with Shenru. I knew in advance that my players would not fight the Pagoda Guards and this meant that Shenru would join up with the Inquisitors which meant TPK - something which I refuse to accept as a DM because I believe that ends a story and as a DM, my job is to tell a story. As such, I decided in advance that the Inquisitors would be similar to the Tower Guards in Rats part 1 and deal non-lethal if they saw someone was getting ready to fall. Since I wasn't planning on TPK, I had to plan for what to do if the entire party was incapacitated and captured. If that happened, I decided that the Inquisitors would notify Krella of their capture and not tell Durriya (since she was meeting with the Aspis Consortium agents). As such, Krella would rescue the party and lead them to Durriya.

When I actually ran this encounter, it went very badly for the PCs as I expected. The PCs rolled very poorly for perception and initiative which gave the Inquistors plenty of time to almost drop their two front line fighters. Each Inquisitor when fully buffed dealt about 30 points for each hit - so within the surprise round and 1st round of combat, the party took over 200hps. The fight occurred in room A2 as described in the module and I had the Inquisitors positioned in the adjacent rooms (Shenru with 2 Inquisitors on the west door by the Storage Room; 3 Inquistors in the east door by the Armory). As such, the party was pretty much cornered - funny since they earned the Cornered Fury boon at the end.

Xorn and Crystal on floor 2 - after the first battle, this was a relatively "easy" fight.

Destrachens on floor 6 - after the first battle, this was a relatively "easy" fight too. However, nobody in my party had Silence memorized and so they ended up being completely out of memorized healing spells after this fight due to the amount of damage they had to take from the Destrachens. As such, after this fight, they were very relieved to meet Krella (who provided some healing to them).

Durriya and the Diplomats - this COULD have been the most deadly fight for the party. I say that cautiously because I think it could have gone very differently if the party had not played Rats part 1 prior to this game. If they had not played Rats part 1, then the Inquisitors on floor 1 wouldn't have been as deadly since Shemu isn't with them. Also, if they hadn't played Rats part 1, then Krella would probably not help the party. In any case, this has a potential to rival the Inquisitors/Shenru on floor 1 for the toughest encounter.

I did not provide for surprise in this encounter since Durriya had an enhanced detect thoughts ability and Krella was with them. However, the Diplomats were very effective against the party (mostly human). I think my most interesting moment was when the two front line fighters decided to charge Durriya only to discover she was an illusion. Then realize that Durriya was on the far side of the room. It then gave the rest of the party a challenge to try to figure out how to defeat her.


Enter the Rat

4/5

So I liked this scenario, what I like seeing are some tougher fights. This follows a nice set of sceanrio's, as a whole season 3 really has picked up so serious steam. I liked some of the NPC's and liked running them.

I have only ran this at low tier. I really was impressed on the use of boons on this. I think that the scenario is really packed with goodness. RP chances decent complex fights, ohh the fluff is great. It has been awhile since players have really jumped at the details provided in the descriptive text. The descriptive text and setting is great.

The negatives, first the map, allot of curves and diagonal lines. Size can be an issue, I can forsee allot of people running out of room drawing these on a flipmats. A megamat is great to use and it fits nicely on one. Be prepared to have some time on prepping this map and general layout. This isn't to much of a problem.

Size of general encounter, this scenario is probably going to run long. Be prepared with this much content 4 hours may be hard. A single fight ran near a hour and a half mark. I could see this pushing 5+ hours. This could be a good thing in the right setting.

Tiers, this is an intersting part, I really liked the idea of running this at high tier. Low tier is interesting still. I think mechanically the fights will be dramatically different between the 2 tiers. At one tier fight X will be allot more memorable than fight x on the other tier. I am not sure how I feel about this, I only know I want to run this at a high tier with all the time at my disposal to experience all the encounters.

Well done Russ.


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Web Product Manager

Announced! Cover image is a mockup.

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Yay! A Russ scenario!

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

Ack! I've been outed :)

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Russ Taylor wrote:
Ack! I've been outed :)

Good to see Russ get a scenario, hopefully this will lead to more and a Module in the future!

Grand Lodge

I was wondering why there is an Unavailable tag on this? Instead of "Available Today"?

I am planning on running this this weekend and my players have already made plans to attend to the point of breaking some vacation plans to play it. Because of the boon they have been prevented from playing their characters for over a month now and really want to play this! :)

Please let me know as soon as possible so I can let my players know and hopefully not tick them off if it is not going to happen?

Thank you.

Web Product Manager

Deanoth wrote:

I was wondering why there is an Unavailable tag on this? Instead of "Available Today"?

I am planning on running this this weekend and my players have already made plans to attend to the point of breaking some vacation plans to play it. Because of the boon they have been prevented from playing their characters for over a month now and really want to play this! :)

Please let me know as soon as possible so I can let my players know and hopefully not tick them off if it is not going to happen?

Thank you.

I've confirmed that both scenarios will be available today.


Deanoth wrote:

I was wondering why there is an Unavailable tag on this? Instead of "Available Today"?

I am planning on running this this weekend and my players have already made plans to attend to the point of breaking some vacation plans to play it. Because of the boon they have been prevented from playing their characters for over a month now and really want to play this! :)

Please let me know as soon as possible so I can let my players know and hopefully not tick them off if it is not going to happen?

Thank you.

Wait. They survived Part 1? Nooooooooo!

Grand Lodge

Kyle Baird wrote:
Deanoth wrote:

I was wondering why there is an Unavailable tag on this? Instead of "Available Today"?

I am planning on running this this weekend and my players have already made plans to attend to the point of breaking some vacation plans to play it. Because of the boon they have been prevented from playing their characters for over a month now and really want to play this! :)

Please let me know as soon as possible so I can let my players know and hopefully not tick them off if it is not going to happen?

Thank you.

Wait. They survived Part 1? Nooooooooo!

\Yeppers they did.. It was well done though enough to make them excited for part two hehe :)

Oh and it was one of the toughest they have ever played too!

Grand Lodge

Chris Lambertz wrote:
Deanoth wrote:

I was wondering why there is an Unavailable tag on this? Instead of "Available Today"?

I am planning on running this this weekend and my players have already made plans to attend to the point of breaking some vacation plans to play it. Because of the boon they have been prevented from playing their characters for over a month now and really want to play this! :)

Please let me know as soon as possible so I can let my players know and hopefully not tick them off if it is not going to happen?

Thank you.

I've confirmed that both scenarios will be available today.

Thanks!!

Shadow Lodge

Told you that you'd probably get a quicker answer here. ;)


Deanoth wrote:

Yeppers they did.. It was well done though enough to make them excited for part two hehe :)

Oh and it was one of the toughest they have ever played too!

Awesome! Strange how your review isn't showing up on the product page. ;-)

Web Product Manager

Now available!

Dark Archive

Chronicle sheet is showing an error...

Subtiers for loot are listed as "1-2" & "4-5".


Joe Jungers wrote:

Chronicle sheet is showing an error...

Subtiers for loot are listed as "1-2" & "4-5".

Perhaps I can trick a few players into playing this at tier 1-2... >:)

Dark Archive

Kyle Baird wrote:
Joe Jungers wrote:

Chronicle sheet is showing an error...

Subtiers for loot are listed as "1-2" & "4-5".

Perhaps I can trick a few players into playing this at tier 1-2... >:)

You're a mean one, Mr Baird.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Congrats Russ!

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Joe Jungers wrote:

Chronicle sheet is showing an error...

Subtiers for loot are listed as "1-2" & "4-5".

I'll correct that first thing in the morning. Thanks for pointing it out.


I was overly eager to get my hands on this, I forgot to say one really important thing:

Congrats Russ!

Dark Archive

Picked this up right away and in the process of ripping apart the combat encounters to get prepped to run this. There are a few spoilered comments I need to clarify so far, don't peek if you aren't running it, I'd hate to spoil the suprise.

spoiler 1:

5 9th level Melee Inquisitors !!! as the first encounter !!!
Just keeping track of all the buffs, teamwork feats and various Banes is going to be a paperwork nightmare for the GM.
90% of parties aren't going to make it past the front door, I approve.

spoiler 2:

The Carnivorous Crystals Crystallize ability is a bit confusing. Based on the wording it seems if you ever fail the initial fort save for the entrap (DC 22 so many will fail this save) you then have to make that save again for the next 1D10 rounds or become helpless and STILL have to keep making that save for the rest of that 1D10 rounds or die.

That's brutal and a bit different from the usual Entrap ability where the target has to be hit with the entrap ability twice and fail twice before you go helpless.
Or am I reading it wrong?

spoiler 3:

Durriya and her 2 10th level ranger companions....
the rangers only have a 10 wis so they can only use their Hunter's bond bonus for 1 round each time they turn it on. I get it but that's kinda weird also as 10th level Rangers they should have spells even though they have that horrible wis score. A 10th level ranger who can't cast spells (I can't believe we can't use instant enemy in this fight) and hasn't swapped spell casting for hunter's tricks just seems wrong.

Anyway, as soon as this fight starts we're looking at 10-16 attacks a round (between them + haste) with every one of them backed by a serious favored enemy bonus with massive DC Dominate Person, Fears and 8D6 Scoorching Rays raining down on them.
This just screams TPK to me.

Kyle, your module was mean but this one just seems... vicious to me.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

Spoiler:

10 Wisdom means you can't even cast a first level spell. They took hunter's bond to avoid needing an animal companion in the fight (stat block) and I avoided an archetype for them just to keep the stat blocks simpler, word count was already running long. So basically, hunter's bond is rarely a good choice for them to use.


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Kyle, your module was mean but this one just seems... vicious to me.

In my defense, we tried to make it so at least *some* of the PCs make it to the Pagoda.

In Russ's defense, would you expect anything less?

Dark Archive

Mark Moreland wrote:
Joe Jungers wrote:

Chronicle sheet is showing an error...

Subtiers for loot are listed as "1-2" & "4-5".

I'll correct that first thing in the morning. Thanks for pointing it out.

The sub-tiers for this are still showing at 1-2 & 3-4. Now I'm a hateful individual and would love to run some 2nd and 4th levels through her for giggles but I think they might take it the wrong way. :P

Scarab Sages

@mark moreland. i am not sure how to go about getting updated chronile sheets with the fixes. both for part one and part two. this was released in season 3. are the fixes already applied?

Community Manager

YashaVienne wrote:
@mark moreland. i am not sure how to go about getting updated chronile sheets with the fixes. both for part one and part two. this was released in season 3. are the fixes already applied?

It looks like the PDF was updated on June 13th, 2012. It's possible you have a Chronicle Sheet that wasn't the latest version.

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