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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3.50/5 (based on 32 ratings)

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Great combats, silly NPCs

3/5

For good, there are some chanllenging combats, and the atmosphere of the ancient Runelord ruin is just okay.

What is not, the final boss may be too deadly for non-combat-focused players, we have 4 vertean players of Battle Oracle 7, Wizard 6, Archery Paladin 7, and pregen Bloodrager 7. Then our wizard cought blind and almost useless, the boss' attack bonus too high and kill our bloodrager, if there's not two melees take so many attack for our ranged paladin, we can finally got TPK.

For story, it lacks roleplay, and what's worst is the NPCs keeping telling us not to break the ruin, but by doing so, PCs can't complete their mission and loss about 2000gp! Too weird, a fix is must.

All right, after I run this in tier 3-4, rise to 3 stars. Because I slightly change the NPCs' attitude to be not disgusting.


Disturbing and tough, but still a lot of fun

5/5

Less than a day ago, my level 4 Summoner embarked on this excursion together with a level 3 Warpriest, Archer and Paladin. It is safe to say that this scenario is mainly focused on fighting and I’m quite certain that the fights can be rather obnoxious and challenging, especially the last fight.

The fact that we were with a small party actually made this scenario a whole lot easier, or so we were told after we had killed the final boss. I honestly am tempted to agree. During the final fight we had less speed-bumps blocking our path, and combined with Haste from my Summoner and solid, yet lucky, tactics, we managed to avoid the majority of painful spells from the BBEG.

Even though combat is the main focus of this scenario, there’s also a fair amount of puzzle-solving and exploring to be done. It’s not as linear as it might appear and while there isn’t a lot of interaction with NPC’s, you still get to role-play in what can best be described as a very disturbing dungeon. Normally I’d miss this interaction-aspect, but in this particular case I didn’t miss it all. The environment gives enough role-playing opportunities that force you as a player to instantly act in-character. It really adds to the overall experience.

In short: tough and challenging fights in an excellent dungeon. I highly recommend considering playing this scenario, but make no mistakes: you need to be well-prepared.


Deeply Disturbing and Tough Combats

4/5

I played this scenario recently with a party with an APL just beneath the high tier mark. We where very glad that we played low tier.

The scenario placed us in a temple complex we needed to search through, and the first scene the GM painted for us when we where below ground was enough for us to look around and check if there where no children within earshot. A couple of very tough combats later we emerged successfully aboveground. We came very close to some gruesome deaths on our side and we luckily had some boons to burn to avoid just that.

I loved that this scenario really had us at that marvelous point where everything could have gone wrong and some good combat-thinking from our side saved the day.

All in all a scenario with hard combats, a deeply disturbing frame and little to no roleplay. I would not like it if all scenario's where like this, but once in a while it is tremendous fun.

What would have improved my rating: I would have liked it better if more background could be found without knowledge checks. Although we had good knowledge skills we botched some rolls and did not get the big picture.

When we where busy with chronicles the GM and some players that I GM for in a Dragon's Demand game confessed that they had not heard from Mike Shel before. I casually dropped that he is also the writer of Dragon's Demand and that I was not surprised at the brutality of the scenario...


S4 at its finest

4/5

I love challenging encounters and creepy places that make your bones crawl. This scenario has both in spades! It starts off so innocently, go check on those old ruins….

That said

BBEG:
The final boss should have had some better minions so they don't all instantly die. Once his minions are dead his tactics turn from healing them to killing PCs, which is something he does insanely well. If they'd toned up the minions some what and downgraded his melee prow less and defense I think people would have enjoyed the fight more. As it was, I immensely enjoyed the fight, but I can see why others would not


Inexperienced Adventurers Need Not Apply

3/5

Brutal. This is easily one of the toughest dungeons in PFS history. The story is good, though, and each of the fights are interesting and well-placed. If you want to challenge a party, definitely consider this one. No real RP, though.


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Web Product Manager

Announced! Cover image is a mockup.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Author announced!

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion 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 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!

Web Product Manager

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 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, Maps 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, Maps 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, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case 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 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, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case 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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