Pathfinder Society Scenario #4–02: In Wrath’s Shadow (PFRPG) PDF

3.50/5 (based on 32 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3–7.

In the ruins of Xin-Bakrakhan—seat of power of the Runelord of Wrath—the Pathfinder Society stands on the verge of a great discovery, but first the brave agents exploring the ruins must survive ages-old dangers and contemporary threats to return with the knowledge and wealth they’ve unearthed.

Written by Mike Shel.

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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Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

PZOPSS0402E


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Average product rating:

3.50/5 (based on 32 ratings)

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Absolutely Pathetic

1/5

4 players all level 3 - rogue, magus, monk, and ranger. We had zero chance against the final boss.

Think this has convinced at least 3 of the players to stop playing PFS and possibly pathfinder all together.

Story was fine - combat and traps not balanced at all for 3rd level characters.

Would give zero stars if possible.


In Which There Is A Conversation About A Dungeon Crawl

4/5

Fanboy: So you want to review this Module after someone suggested the author have his private parts violated?

Reviewer: Yes. It seemed appropriate.

Fanboy: What makes your opinion so special?

Reviewer: Nothing, I just wanted to give a thorough review. Trolls annoy me.

Fanboy: But what are your qualifications?

Reviewer: If you're looking for a resume, I wrote for the RPGA for several years. My two big achievements were writing the 2002 D&D Open at GenCon titled "The Proving Grounds," and winning an award at GenCon UK for my scenario "Holding the Fort." I have a short story set to appear soon in "The Writhing Dark" from Chaosium for the 7th Edition of Call of Cthulhu titled "The Book of San Yrsath."

Fanboy: But you never wrote for Dungeon Magazine. Mike Shel wrote for Dungeon Magazine.

Reviewer: I chose to focus on the RPGA, and that was not the best decision, looking back on things. Now, let's move on to the adventure.

Fanboy: The adventure is known for how creepy it is, what's your take on the atmosphere.

Reviewer: Super creepy. I felt like I was reading some prime horror novels, and Clive Barker is the appropriate comparison here. Bodies hanging from the ceiling, extreme torture and undead from out of your worst nightmares. I've had some pretty bad nightmares, but these descriptions are not for those with weak stomachs. Since I dig this kind of stuff in my horror, I give it a positive review with the note about weak stomachs.

Fanboy: What about the background information available to the characters?

Reviewer: While there are opportunities to learn everything if you roll well on knowledge checks, the lack of access to that information from within the temple is an oversight. Outside of a tournament situation, this is easily remedied by the placement of texts, journals, and other artifacts.

Fanboy: Ok, how about the encounters. Some reviews complain about how combat heavy the scenario is and how deadly it can be.

Reviewer: There's nothing wrong with a tough scenario, even within the confines of PFS. I'm old school, and I have no problem with trapped dungeons that are designed to kill interlopers. I do have problems with "dungeons" that let players waltz right through them, especially once above third level. People complained about how tough The Tomb Of Horrors was, but that now is considered an icon in dungeon design. I believe a temple/tomb/lair of "bad guys" should not in any way be easy. I certainly wouldn't make my evil lair simple to get through so treasure seekers could just wander in and take my stuff, why should this temple be any different? Should there have been a welcome mat with a plate of cookies and a glass of milk? It's a lost temple to a violent being that now is inhabited by undead. If you thought this was going to be a weekend lark smashing some low-level zombies while stealing the Holy Grail, you signed up for the wrong adventure. Bravo to Mr. Shel for doing it right.

Fanboy: Tell me some things you didn't like.

Reviewer: The Grammar Police wrote several tickets for items pointed out elsewhere I won't repeat here, other than to observe they're still on the page two years later. I thought the PDFs would've been touched up by now.

Fanboy: You're nitpicking, tell me something you didn't like.

Reviewer: I thought Tholrist should've been a more proactive antagonist. Since the players wouldn't exactly have been able to keep their investigation of the temple secret, Tholrist should've had a little more to do other than to just sit there and wait. I know he's confined to his room, but giving the guy some minions is the easy fix for this. Also, a projected image taunting the players would have been a nice touch, but that's just me.

Fanboy: That's it for negatives?

Reviewer: Yes. Overall this is a great One Night Stand adventure that players will remember. The layout of the temple makes sense, the monsters are tough, and the add-on of assembling the mask gives the characters a reason to keep exploring the temple even if they find the secret door and rescue the prisoners.

Fanboy: Is there anything you'd like to do to Mr. Shel? Someone already has wished violence to his nether regions.

Reviewer: Buy him a beer and talk D&D, PF, Sci-fi or Football and Baseball if he's a fan.

Fanboy: Any closing remarks?

Reviewer: I hope everyone enjoyed reading this.


Worst scenario I've ever played.

1/5

The writer needs kicked in the balls. Any first time player will never play PF again if this is their first scenario. Three super hard fights is all the scenario is. F-----


A great romp through a dungeon

4/5

This is a minimal roleplay scenario where the PC venture through a Clive Barker-esque(Hell Raiser) dungeon with mutilated bodies and constant such horrors.

The scenario does not have everything for everyone but a decent GM can definately set an excellent mood of horror for this mod.


Great flavor-tough fights

4/5

As one of the opening scenarios for the ramping up of difficulty in season 4, this is a excellent example of that. I ran it a few times before finally coming down of the side of I love this scenario.

There are a couple of combats that can be extremely difficult, but with a good party or appropriate actions can be made much easier.

The story and detail of the scenario is great for delving into the history of Thassilon. The setting is extremely gruesome, and that can be played up or down depending on table composition.

Overall, a very memorable story with a finale that can challenge what most groups can throw at it. I strongly recommend this one if you're looking for an eerie crawl through a long lost temple.


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Announced! Cover image is a mockup.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

Author announced!

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Yes, got to Love Mike Shel.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Dragnmoon wrote:
Yes, got to Love Mike Shel.

It's just platonic.

Go Mike Shel!


Congrats Mike!

Contributor

Dragnmoon wrote:
Yes, got to Love Mike Shel.

Heh. You might want to let about half the reviewers of Isles of the Shackles know that.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Mike Shel wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
Yes, got to Love Mike Shel.

Heh. You might want to let about half the reviewers of Isles of the Shackles know that.

Most of those reviewers under scored it due to the map.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragnmoon wrote:
Mike Shel wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
Yes, got to Love Mike Shel.

Heh. You might want to let about half the reviewers of Isles of the Shackles know that.

Most of those reviewers under scored it due to the map.

That, and vomiting comes always easier than praising. Just look at me.

Dark Archive

Ah I shall return in triumph to MY ISLAND! The Warmages of Bakrakhan shall return in all their glory.

I guess im going to put Eldarius on slow play mode if these scenarios get too juicy!


Added final cover image!

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Gorbacz wrote:
That, and vomiting comes always easier than praising. Just look at me.

Huh? You're a bag of devouring ... how is that even relevant???

Contributor

Thanks again to all the GMs who ran this scenario and GenCon and for letting me pop in and out to observe. Apologies to those who got murdered, hope everyone had a great time! Please take a few minutes to post your reviews. Paizo listens to feedback and so do I!

See you next year!

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thanks Mike for sitting at our table, it was nice to have you there on Sunday.

I will be putting up a review when I get back home.

The scenario was great, and very well written. The problems I had with it (running out of time both times I ran it, and neither time was the overall mission completed) had nothing to do with how well this scenario was written. Thanks again Mike for contributing to PFS, you are one of my favorite scenario/module writers.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Question about one of the stat blocks -

Spoiler:

Shouldn't the Wrathspawn Barbarians have SR? Or am I missing something?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

I loved this scenario and was honoured to have the author at my table 3 times. Some parts of it had the potential to be very creepy and provide a great opportunity to play up the atmosphere. Pretty sure I traumatized a kid who played at my table but it was very well received by all the groups I ran through it!

Contributor

Iammars wrote:

Question about one of the stat blocks -

** spoiler omitted **

Yes. Looks like that was an oversight. Look to Bestiary 2 for the actual value, which I think is 12.

Contributor

The ShadowShackleton wrote:
I loved this scenario and was honoured to have the author at my table 3 times. Some parts of it had the potential to be very creepy and provide a great opportunity to play up the atmosphere. Pretty sure I traumatized a kid who played at my table but it was very well received by all the groups I ran through it!

Dude! Write a review!

As for the trauma, there was one boxed text passage that Adam re-wrote during the development process that creeped me out. For the record, what's floating around in Mr Daigle's mind is far more disturbing than what's floating around mine! Paizo staff, keep a close eye on him!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

Ha I may have upped the traumatizing side of it a bit. It's what I do.

Review submitted.

The Exchange

I played this today at Austin, Tx's Dragons Lair Lair-Con

Something about Wraths Shadow reminds me of either an older scenario or an AP encounter, I could swear I've played/dealt with several of those fights/situations before in exactly the same manner.

Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Dear evdjj3j:

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and cogent review of this scenario. I was especially charmed by your call for the brutalization of my testicles. I think I speak for many scenario authors when I say that it's this kind of insightful critique of one's work that makes all the time and labor that goes into producing PFS scenarios and other Pathfinder products worthwhile. Should you deign to participate in any other material I have written, I hope you will provide more of your adroit and penetrating commentary.

On the off chance that you are under the age of 13 — chronologically or emotionally — let me make a recommendation: while the internet provides a level of anonimity and therefore offers opportunities to ignore basic rules of courtesy, try to refrain from coarse insults. It tends to mark one as a troll and results in others making an uncharitable assessment of the poster. Indeed, some may make comparisons of the poster to specific parts of the anatomy.

Sincerely,

- Mike Shel


I happened to see Mike's name as I scrolled through the Messageboard, and now I've caught up on everything.

Having not read the scenario, I can't YET offer a good review of it. However, based on this, I will be getting it just to put a review up.

You deserve better than this, Mike.

Contributor

justmebd wrote:

I happened to see Mike's name as I scrolled through the Messageboard, and now I've caught up on everything.

Having not read the scenario, I can't YET offer a good review of it. However, based on this, I will be getting it just to put a review up.

You deserve better than this, Mike.

Thanks, but I'm not special — everyone on the boards deserves better. No one likes a negative critique, but it helps if the poster puts a bit of thought into it. Smug calls for punting my pudenda might give someone a chuckle, but it doesn't illuminate. Unfavorable commentary is useful if it gives some quantifiable reasons for the dissatisfaction.

This particular scenario produced some strong reactions and those reactions have had an impact on my design work. For instance, I now work harder to make the backstory discoverable for players in situ. If you're unhappy with a scenario, by all means, let Paizo and the author know, but doing so in an insulting manner is counterproductive. Deliberately cruel language may seem clever or edgy, but it just gets you marked as a creep.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

The reviewer also shows some deficiency in knowledge of PFS rules as this scenario is unlikely to be a players first organized play experience as the minimum level is 3.

Mike, loved this scenario, creeps out my players every time. :)


Mike Shel wrote:
justmebd wrote:

I happened to see Mike's name as I scrolled through the Messageboard, and now I've caught up on everything.

Having not read the scenario, I can't YET offer a good review of it. However, based on this, I will be getting it just to put a review up.

You deserve better than this, Mike.

Thanks, but I'm not special — everyone on the boards deserves better. No one likes a negative critique, but it helps if the poster puts a bit of thought into it. Smug calls for punting my pudenda might give someone a chuckle, but it doesn't illuminate. Unfavorable commentary is useful if it gives some quantifiable reasons for the dissatisfaction.

This particular scenario produced some strong reactions and those reactions have had an impact on my design work. For instance, I now work harder to make the backstory discoverable for players in situ. If you're unhappy with a scenario, by all means, let Paizo and the author know, but doing so in an insulting manner is counterproductive. Deliberately cruel language may seem clever or edgy, but it just gets you marked as a creep.

Agreed. I'm off to my "real" job now, but I've already glanced through the scenario and I can't wait to dig into it when I get home tonight. I believe you'll like what I have to say. I'm planning something . . . . creative. :)

Contributor

TriOmegaZero wrote:

The reviewer also shows some deficiency in knowledge of PFS rules as this scenario is unlikely to be a players first organized play experience as the minimum level is 3.

Mike, loved this scenario, creeps out my players every time. :)

Thanks, though I can't take all the creepy credit. I sent in my turnover, which I thought was pretty creepy, but then it got...

Daigle-fied.

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber

Every time I roll a 1 on a save, the writer of the scenario I happen to be playing in should be subject to physical violence.

Right?

...right?...

No?

Hmm.

Oh well.

On topic: I played this quite a while ago. It may be that memory fades with time, but I have to admit I don't remember being terribly creeped out with it. Now I'm fearing that I might have missed out on the experience. Perhaps this would be a time to use a GM star replay and convince TOZ to run it....

Or I should just GM the thing.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

This is one of my Favorite Scenarios to Run. One of the few scenarios I was able to actually get reactions from players from the horror aspects of the scenario. I also got lucky and was able to run it with Mike Shel sitting at our table to witness the game.


Off work today, so hopefully the kids will leave me alone long enough to get this review done. It may be a two-parter.


TriOmegaZero wrote:

The reviewer also shows some deficiency in knowledge of PFS rules as this scenario is unlikely to be a players first organized play experience as the minimum level is 3.

Mike, loved this scenario, creeps out my players every time. :)

Player could have used a pregen character. It's becoming apparent through seasons 4 and 5 that pregens have little to no use in a level 5+ encounter, and it should be the GM's call as to whether it's appropriate to allow a new character to pilot a pregen through an especially deadly encounter. If they adjust the sub-tier, they could easily be more of a liability than an asset (in the hands of an inexperienced player).

I loved the scenario, though. The players... not so much.


The review is up. I hope everyone enjoys it!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
downerbeautiful wrote:
Player could have used a pregen character.

Indeed, but that doesn't change my opinion that it is unlikely to be a players first organized play experience. They would have to walk in on a game day where only this scenario was being offered as their first time sitting down to PFS. That's enough if statements that I consider it unlikely.

Scarab Sages

The scenario itself is pretty cool, even though our table had a very poor experience. That mainly had to do with the player that didn't realize he had already played the scenario until after the first encounter, which resulted in our party wiping in the final encounter. Having that many things that impart that particular negative condition is practically begging for trouble. I didn't even act in the final combat, taking two of the same spell before I could even act. Even then, character death happens, but it still smarted, especially since the GM talked me into playing a character that was 3 in the 6-7 tier because of the cert, and one of the people that had a character die hasn't shown back up for PFS since.

But, like I said, the scenario itself is pretty cool, it has good atmosphere, and the fights are super tough, which is nice if you're playing a character that can deal with it.

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber

Gah. I was running "Glass River Rescue", and had a player who had played it before, but only realized it after the initial briefing. Fortunately, there, after he left, I still had four players, and everything was fine.

I predict this becomes more of a problem as there are more and more scenarios out there; it will be harder for everybody to remember which ones they've done. Myself, I keep a spreadsheet of which scenarios I've played, GMed, how many times I've GMed them, and which characters got credit... but I'm extremely anal, and I'm aware that most players aren't going to do that.

Scarab Sages

It's this one specific person that does it over and over. Now when he's sitting at the table, we have to have him double check and make absolutely sure he hasn't already played the scenario before we start.


rknop wrote:
Myself, I keep a spreadsheet of which scenarios I've played, GMed, how many times I've GMed them, and which characters got credit... but I'm extremely anal, and I'm aware that most players aren't going to do that.

... Could I get a look at this spreadsheet? I actually want to do something similar.

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber

This feels awfully exhibitionist, but sure.... Here it is as of today (July 26): scenarios.ods.

It's in ODS format, the spreadsheet format used by OpenOffice and LibreOffice. (I use OpenOffice 4 mostly.) The font I use is DejaVu Sans.

The spreadsheet isn't designed to be used or seen by anybody other than me, so I have built in all kinds of assumptions that I will "just do it right" without documenting them....

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