Pathfinder Society Special: Race for the Runecarved Key (PFRPG) PDF

2.80/5 (based on 18 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Special designed for levels 1-12+

An ancient Thassilonian artifact has been unearthed in Magnimar and is to be auctioned off by the city government. In order to maintain good relations with those in power in the City of Monuments, the Pathfinder Society must obtain the relic without simply stealing it, although employing any other means necessary. It falls to the PCs to infiltrate the auction, sabotage the other bidders' efforts, and call in favors from those in the Society's debt to ensure the Runecarved Key (and the secrets it unlocks) belongs to the Pathfinders when the adventure draws to a close.

Written by Kyle Baird and Tim Hitchcock.

Note: Race for the Runecarved Key is designed for play in the Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild. It may be run anywhere by anyone, as long as there are 4 tables playing the scenario simultaneously and are in contact with each other. To inquire about access to this scenario, refer to the Organized Play Convention Support Policy.

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

PZOPSS0400E


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Average product rating:

2.80/5 (based on 18 ratings)

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Just Horrible.

1/5

Do not play this module unless your character is CN. The things you are asked to do will not go over well with the majority of good aligned characters. The point system used to figure out the winner of the auction is broken, you have to do unmoral acts. There also was lazy writing with the players being defeated by box text. Easily one of my biggest pet peeves. There were ways to do it without this.

I played this at level 10-11 and we did not have to heal once. The combats were just that easy. The final combat was horrible. It wasn't designed to be an epic challenge rather endless waves like you are playing a video game.

Overall it was one of the worst Pathfinder experiences. Specials like this are supposed to leave you with a feeling you accomplished something EPIC. The only thing this module left you feeling is dirty.


The best special event so far

4/5

Key was the best special event I've played so far (and I've played all of them).

I liked the variety and choice in quests. I liked the creativity in the encounters. I liked the story. I loved the roleplay (which was the main feature). But I would have liked to know the significance of the key (which was probably part 2)!

Many of the quests in this scenario involve convincing, persuading, bribing, influencing, and intimidating others, which some players might have a problem with (if they have a super hero complex). This scenario heavily favors rogue, bard, and other "Pathfinder" skills, which I thought was great. Paladins will have a tough time with this scenario, similar to "Severing Ties".

The only thing I didn't like about this scenario was the encounter before the chase.

Before the chase:

I disliked how the chase encounter started. 4 wizards/sorcerers broke through plated glass (doing 14 AE damage to us! Which is unrealistic.) and landed on the floor. They weren't even invisible. Before we could make Perception or initiative rolls, they were able to use their scrolls.

Seriously, that bothers me, why do scenario writers feel the need to break basic Pathfinder game rules and use GM fiat to make their plotlines and schemes happen? Write storylines so that you don't have to break the rules, and if the PCs somehow break your story, either plan for contingencies or allow them an easy victory in one encounter. This is a pet peeve of mine and it happens far too often for my liking.

Btw, that guy who stole the key would have never made it out of that room either. He would have split alright... :)

Detailed Rating:

Length: Full 5 hours.
Experience: Player with 5 (extremely well built) players at subtier 8-9. The two martial PC were level 10. 4 tables were playing this at once.
Sweet Spot: TBD.
Entertainment: I thought it was the best special so far. (8/10)
Story: I liked that the story was straight forward and not convoluted. (8/10)
Roleplay: Several great opportunities to roleplay but no NPCs stood out. (8/10)
Combat/Challenges: Most were easy and one encounter we almost had a TPK. (8/10)
Maps: Good use of flip maps, they always add to the scenario. (8/10)
Boons: Best boon so far and was probably appreciated considering part 2. (10/10)
Uniqueness: The bidding was cool, shows you how bad people are at bidding. Lol. The bidding was probably better with only 4 tables.(8/10)
Faction Missions: None. (n/a)

Overall: Best special event so far, was entertaining, fun, and different. (8/10)


Good stuff

4/5

I played this at our FLGS last night. We had 7 tables, and as far as I can tell everyone had a great time.

The good:

Spoiler:

Coop-petitive mechanics. Engaging in friendly rivalry with the other tables was a lot of fun. Everyone seemed quite engaged when we regrouped at the auction.

Variety of missions. Being able to choose from the missions allowed tables to prioritize based on their skill sets. I found the descriptions of the missions were clear enough for us to get an idea of what we'd be doing so we could plan accordingly.

Variety of options. Even within the missions, we had options in terms of how we could complete them. I felt we had an appropriate amount of freedom to make our own decisions.

The bad:

Spoiler:

Chase scene. This one wasn't so bad, as chase scenes go, but we were playing at 10-11 so we had a lot of options for circumventing obstacles. I heard that lower level tables had a lot more difficulty with it.

Never-ending battle. Once the third wave hit in the final battle, I knew that this was going to keep going until time ran out (maybe there is an end, but it sure seemed a ways off). At that point, I started playing more defensively because it became apparent that all we'd need to do is survive. It also seemed a little video game-y with all the baddies teleporting in waves.

The variables

Spoiler:

We had very good organization and very good GMs. I can see how this could go south in the wrong hands.

The time limit for us was 4 hours, which left our poor GM scrambling to get the information out and made RP a little more difficult. We managed, and we had fun, but the time crunch definitely favors quick and decisive action over careful planning.

As I said, we played 10-11 and we had one very optimized skill monkey and one very optimized archer. This allowed us to trivialize a lot of the challenges. Less optimized characters and parties will likely struggle.


Great in smaller settings

4/5

I ran this at GenCon, and then again at my FLGS. The GenCon version was a bit of a cluster, but that's what happens when you get a room full of 150+ tables.

The one at the FLGS went very smoothly (surprisingly). Due to the 4 hour time constraint of playing at the store, I worked with my team of 7 GMs (I was overseer) to trim the scenario down to ~4 hours.

Spoiler:

Here were our changes:
* Act 1: Let the players take 20 on their perception check and just get the list of other bidders. Saved a few minutes
* Act 2: Completely removed going into the forest for Aspis Gold. Still kept the Heidmarch de-briefing.
* Act 3: Reduced the time from 2 hours to 1.5 hours for 3A-3H. One group still completed all of the encounters, and most got 2/3s done. I think this actually helped, as if the players would have had 2 hours, no NPC would be around for voting.
* Act 4: Went back and forth with cutting either 4A (battle in the cathedral) or 4B (chase). I wanted to cut 4B, but my GMs were excited to run the chase, so we cut 4A. One table took an hour to get through the chase, which made them not get to fight any waves.

Total running time was 4.5 hours. All of the players and GMs were really happy with the scenario, and how efficient it went. As the overseer, I wish I had more to do as the scenario went on. Also, we need to make the players sing something. That would have been great.


Dark Mirror

4/5

Perspective player

I liked the format and found the encounters interesting and entertaining. However what we were being asked to do, and what the encounter victory conditions were based on, was to NOT act like Pathfinders normally do. In fact we were making the Aspis Consortium look like the good guys compared to what we were being driven to do.


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Webstore Gninja Minion

Steel Forged Games wrote:
This product comes out in August of 2013 how is it being discussed and reviewed?

This product is an exclusive available to Paizo staff and Venture officers, and was the Special played at GenCon 2012. The 2013 date is when it will be available to everybody—right now it's on a limited basis for other events and conventions.

Liberty's Edge

Thanks Liz you are amazing as always!

Liberty's Edge

Care Baird wrote:
Eight days from now I'll be feasting on the tears of nearly 500 dead PCs!

You should be ashamed. I hated this adventure and everyone at my table survived.

Liberty's Edge

Dragnmoon wrote:
Care Baird wrote:
C'mon guys! You don't want to play at my table for part 2? :(

Was I not specific enough?...

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

;)

I agree. I will not be playing part 2 of this adventure. Even if the rewards for it are actually worth it next time.

Liberty's Edge

Tim Hitchcock wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
I'm developing Round 2 right now, and not everyone will die. I'm tuning down the evil a little bit because Kyle and Tim combined is worse than anything we've ever published in terms of lethality, and I want at least a few survivors to tell the horrific tale...

Bah!

First off, Night Two is never going to be published.
Second, its only as lethal as the monsters in the Bestiary.
and Third...

PYGON has pleaded to learn the art of TPK, that and he also complained Ruby Phoenix was TOO EASY. Night 2 should be the event, you wish you hadn't won your way into.

The slogan for Night 2 should be:
"Welcome To the PFS Saturday Night Special. We Make Gamers Cry."

Come one heros... chime in. Tell Mark not to work so hard to make things easy on you.
Tell him, you want to be champion. Tell him not to water down they deadly. Tell him you only want one Pathfinder survive round two (which of course will be you, and you alone)

No. I dont want to be a champion by your terms or his. Ill do it by mine.

Liberty's Edge

Could someone please tell me how to add an review to this module? I cant seem to find that function.

Scarab Sages

Damalon01 wrote:
Could someone please tell me how to add an review to this module? I cant seem to find that function.

On the reviews tab, directly under the rating, there is a link to "Write a review".

They don't look good....

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Played this today. Not bad, brutal fights, lots of opportunities for players to shine.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Played this today. Not bad, brutal fights, lots of opportunities for players to shine.

Although I did not get the opportunity to kill -- erm, play with TOZ today, I did get to GM for his wife. Classy lady, way too good for him. ;-)

Shadow Lodge

bugleyman wrote:
Classy lady, way too good for him. ;-)

Who you tellin'?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
hmarcbower wrote:
Damalon01 wrote:
Could someone please tell me how to add an review to this module? I cant seem to find that function.

On the reviews tab, directly under the rating, there is a link to "Write a review".

They don't look good....

Sadly, I did not get to play it last year, but from the reviews...

This would have been a great scenario if the Pathfinder Society Organized Player allowed evil characters. Both Seekers of Secrets and The Field Guide imply that there are "dark" pathfinders - this would have been a good scenario for them.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

While my bard was CN, and the party involved a rogue, bard, fighter, and barbarian, very little of what we did was evil. Not nice, certainly, and except for one of the first encounters, ended with no actual deaths.

Shadow Lodge

Why u no available for purchase?

Webstore Gninja Minion

TOZ wrote:
Why u no available for purchase?

It will be available at 6pm. :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Woo! *spends money*

Vigilant Seal

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Hey, all.

This is single-round scenario, right? Some mentioned in the reviews that it took eight hours. I'm running this at a game day and sent to accommodate it so nothing is lost because of time.

And, any suggestions for adventures at a couple of different tiers that leads up to this? Not necessarily a prequel, but something at least in the same city or close by.

Happy gaming,
Don (Greyson)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Greyson, there are a few Season 4 scenarios in Magnimar, including #4-01: Rise of the Goblin Guild and #4-03: The Golemworks Incident.

Vigilant Seal

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Thanks for the reply, TriOmegaZero. We're gonna go with the Rise of the Goblin Guild. Sounds fun.

Now that the Race for the Runecarved Key is out there for public consumption, does the four table minimum still apply? It seems like it does not, but I don't want to guess at it.

Happy gaming!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Generally speaking, running the specials with less than the minimum tables listed is not going to be successful, as victory conditions usually require multiple tables to achieve. You'd likely find the players doing everything right and still failing the mission.

Grand Lodge

At our convention, the Venture Captains were given special permission to play this, but apparently there's a second part to this that was only allowed to be played at PaizoCon, where the boon allowed winning players to use goblins as PCs. Is the second part made public as well?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
kevin_video wrote:
Is the second part made public as well?

Sadly, no. Part 2 was a GenCon exclusive one-shot and will never be released. Which is a shame as I'd love to read it and see what those lucky few faced.

Grand Lodge

TriOmegaZero wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
Is the second part made public as well?
Sadly, no. Part 2 was a GenCon exclusive one-shot and will never be released. Which is a shame as I'd love to read it and see what those lucky few faced.

Ah, GenCon. Fair enough. Still, it really sucks to not be able to play the second part. My group was supposed to because we'd gotten the most points out of all of the groups, but the Venture Captain retired so now we'll never get to experience it. We knew that we wouldn't get the goblins because that was exclusive to the con, but just to play it and finish the quest would have been nice.

Shadow Lodge

The scenario actually had an in-game explanation for the one-shot nature. The portal to the pocket dimension could only be opened for a few hours, and the key only worked once. Characters who did not make it out in time were permanently trapped and declared dead.


Be warned, there is a lot for a judge to keep track of. Ours wasn't up to it, and we had a terrible time.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I don't play PFS (there's not really an opportunity here anyway), but I'll want to read up on the scenarios. Is this part of Season 4 (it looks like it), and if so where does it fall in the general time line of the season?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Officially, I believe this happens near the beginning of the season. However, the only reference to Race happening in Season 4 is in Waking Rune, so really you could stick it anywhere without too many consequences.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thanks, Iammars. I'm just putting together a good reading order.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Pg. 25 - Scaling Encounter 3C sidebar

In the sidebar on page 25...:

...the trap's text gets cut off. It seems to be identical to the trap found in Pathfinder Comics: Hollow Mountain #6. If so, then the effect line would be:

"Effect spell effect (empowered disintegrate, +9 ranged touch, 30d6 damage plus 50%, DC 19 Fort save reduces the damage to 5d6 plus 50%)."

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