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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2.80/5 (based on 18 ratings)

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3.5 stars, specials in development.

3/5

Perspective: Played 'Race' as a unskilled level 3 cleric in a slot zero, ran it for a low-tier table at a con. My previous special experience includes playing through 'Blood under Absalom'.

I really like the drama and action of this PFS special. The plot is easily the strongest point for me. The module as written impresses a do-or-die situation - the Pathfinder Society needs this artifact, or else unknown opponents will use its power naively, or for unspeakable means and the awakening of dark powers beneath Varisia. While normally the Society is hampered by the Aspis Consortium, in this module there's a huge background of rival interests, all with interesting approaches and unique personalities. Your team is set out into Magnimar in the dim light of the evening to do everything physically possible to seize the objective — the Runecarved key. If you fail, darker interests will gain an upper hand and Magnimar Lodge may lose its influence in Varisia forever.

The Good spoilers:

-The theatrical and almost pantomimic nature of the interactions between rivals for the key are great. My fellow GMs enjoyed roleplaying the rival collectors for the players. There's key scenes where the crowd could almost yell 'He's behind you!'

-The key point system for the module is a great initiative. It kept players focused and competitive in a way that had them listening more intently to orders, thinking more creatively, and second-guessing what actions would give points and what wouldn't. It streamlined party cohesion and quashed arguments (for fear of losing time). It has its hiccups, but I'm excited about this system for specials, and if it can be developed further, could lead to some really exciting scenarios.

-The multiple mission format is very free-form, allows the players to take the game off the railroad and investigate the NPCs that they are intrigued by. Good variety in the social and the combat in these missions. Perhaps in the future we could label missions depending on what they involved? EG 'Intrigue', 'Battle', 'Charm' or 'Stealth'? This way the PCs could pursue the type of Pathfindering that they love best.

-It's better than Blood Under Absalom. There's more at stake, it's easier to care about the consequences of the adventure, and there's quite a warped but amusing sense of humour at work.

The Bad spoilers:

-Challenging combats. The whole point of a special event is not to present Pathfinder at its most difficult, but to showcase the game in a convention setting to as wide an audience as possible. Certainly at my convention we had casual gamers who do not play regularly, and are not up to date with the rules lore as they could be. We want to attract new regular players with the specials - not scare them away. My reading was that the "Party Crashers" combat scenario was too difficult for a special. The enemy NPCs were laden with expensive, high caster level weaponry that could savage any party, even one that knows all the tricks.

-Beautiful Average Party Level (APL) tweaking in everything except for the critical Chase section. I was running this for a low tier table and at the end of the con, I felt like they had key point victory snatched from them simply due to the fact that they didn't have the vast amount of skill points as their middle and high tier competitors. It was crazy to have my level 1s and 2s run against DC20 skill checks while in the next room folks were casting Expeditious Retreat and Fly spells to deal with the same DC20 checks.

-Challenging GM running. The sheer size of the module and the number of missions means that a lot of free reign is given to GMs. Some missions have very little details for the GM to run off. If you have a GM that can think on the fly and role-play realistically, you'll have fun. If you have someone who goes 'Ummm' and stares hard at the printout, you're in for a painful experience.

-This is the Pathfinder Society at its most Chaotic Neutral. In terms of storytelling, there is insufficient gravity given to the potential danger of the Runecarved Key. If this story mentioned an example of what sort of horror the key could unlock, or gave a taste of the devastation it had wrought in times past, a lot of missions would be justified for good adventurers. Indiana Jones went after the Ark of the Covenant because it could unlock the wrath of God. Harry Potter went after the Deathly Hallows because it was necessary to defeat Voldemort. We need to storytell the Pathfinders into how and why they need this MacGuffin. Again, a good GM will stress to the party the gravity of the situation.

-For timed combat events, there needs to be an explanation of what happens for negative status effects for when the timer ticks to zero. I've seen two incidences of confusion occurring when a character was turned to stone by the basilisk in the 45 minute Aspis Caravan assault. In some cases, all it would have taken is one more round of combat for the stoned character to be given the antidote and brought back to good health. But with a timed event, such common adventuring gets glossed over, potentially with a huge penalty to a player. More direction is needed for coordinators here.


Why do I work for the pathfinders?

1/5

To give you a bit of background; My table was a table full of experienced GMs (one was a VC too). We have all played together almost biweekly. We had great skills, and in combat we excel in each of our expertise. We played at [7-8].

Negative:
But to sum it up; it was the worst scenario any of us have played. In general all of us came out of it hating Sheila Heidmarch and the society for sending us on such a degrading mission. One of our Andoran players thought she may be possessed and we all prayed that was the case, but apparently not.

First thing we had to do was MURDER a group of Aspis agents. we went in trying to subdue them with non-lethal, but they apparently had lvls in commoner/warrior and that solution turned out to be moot.

Then we had to do these "tasks." It was nothing but thug work, we had to steal, beat up nobles, and generally do things that our paladin should have had alignment shift doing (not to mention the rest of the party that had "Good" on there sheets). We tried Diplomacy or Intimidate every chance we got, but it always turned into a brawl, no mater how high our rolls were.

the good:
The final battle was the best part, they were obviously evil and we didn't have to act like we trusted Sheila.

conclusion:
This was a game I as a player and my character felt like walking away, I violated everything I felt a Pathfinder should be doing (Silver Crusade=me, Andoran=character). All of us hope it is better when we run it for our lodge this fall and suggest everyone play C/N characters... Maybe then I can amend my review.


such potential

2/5

Played this at VC-run minicon recently.

Look, here's the thing: The beginning part was fun. Morally questionable, but fun. We did a lot of different tasks, and it was interesting to work around our strange little party composition (we were playing Tier 1-2).

The trouble is

Spoiler:
after the auction, you've done all that work, and yoink! No key for you and absolutely nothing you can do to stop it except go through chase mechanics which aren't terribly well balanced oh and things keep spawning because "special" has apparently become "video game set to hardest mode."

Feh.

Also, multiple tables all seemed to be doing the same thing. How does that even work? C'mon.


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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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