Pathfinder Society Scenario #4–01: Rise of the Goblin Guild (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1–5.

When a monster is discovered on the grounds of the Pathfinder Lodge at Heidmarch Manor in Magnimar, an investigation into its appearance leads the PCs deep under the City of Monuments—and face to face with a burgeoning thieves’ guild.

Written by Matthew Goodall.

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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Cute little guys


What I love the module is basically one memorable goblin girl! One of my favorite NPCs ever.

The second part is a fast-pace dungeon crawl, great combats also, GMs should do some acting with the goblins too.

One of my favorite, a must play for PFS.

challenging scenario with a memorable NPC


this was the first scenario I ever played at a paizocon, and we nearly TPK'd a couple times, playing up when we were borderline. it's definitely challenging, but it's also wonderful fun. the mini-boss fight is epic, and a good GM can make it truly memorable.

the main antagonist NPC is a ton of fun to play for the GM, you can really get creative with her and throw a few spanners in the plans of the PCs. she's quirky and challenging for the party to deal with.

A challenging low-tier dungeon-crawler


A while back a friend recommended this particular scenario to me and added the words 'especially if you're an alchemist'. Now, I had been wanting to play an alchemist for a while and I immediately jumped at the opportunity to test-run her today. I was not disappointed.

Now, I see a fair few reviews complain about the chase scene. When the GM described how we were to handle that section of the story, I too struggled with how much fun that would be. It didn't sound like fun and mostly just dice-rolling without a sense of action. Luckily for me, the NPC made my alchemist angry by going through her stuff and jumped out the window, only to get hit in the face by a bomb upon landing. My alchemist clearly wasn't amused and instantly solved the whole chase scene with a single action. None of us complained.

After applying some.. creative.. interrogation techniques to this rather hilarious NPC, we entered the dungeon-crawling portion of this scenario, bringing her with us just because we could. There's little story after this point and the fights are a bit random, but they sure are fun and diverse. Our party was lacking damage and everyone but me managed to roll below 10 most of the time, so we were challenged more often than not.

A special mention should go out to the BBEG, who is absolutely brutal on low tier. A crit send our makeshift tank to -10 health and our cleric was quick to follow after a normal attack. I'm convinced that it would have been a TPK had my alchemist not been around. Like my friend said, this is a good scenario for an alchemist, as they are likely to get a lot of goodies. Being able to set the enemy on fire and forcing them to try and extinguish the fire instead of actually fighting, really prevented a lot of pain and helped us avoid a massacre.

Honestly, I really like this scenario. I am going to disagree with some other reviews and say that due to the enemies and their tactics, newer players can easily bite the dirt. The scenario also does not have a great storyline, and while some NPCs are quite frankly a hoot to interact with, I wouldn't say it has amazing role-play potential.

However, it is certainly a better than average dungeon-crawler, albeit one that can be considered a little bit too linear. Looking back I have to admit that if I hadn't played an alchemist, I probably would have had less fun, even on characters I really enjoy playing otherwise. Taking all of this into account, I think a final rating of 3.5 Stars is fair. As that's not an option, I'll round it up to 4 instead.

Let them catch her!


You know who I mean!

Context: Played and GM’d sub-tier 1-2

When I played this, we didn’t catch her and this scenario was an above average dungeon crawl with a tense BBEG fight. Call it 3.5 stars.

But when I GM’d it, the players caught her (I didn’t let them – they rolled well). And this is when the adventure began to shine.

The roleplay was over-the-top hilarious, with the party adopting her as a mascot – the party barbarian carried her on his shoulders all game – even after they gave have her a flaming torch to carry …

GM: Are you guys sure you want to do that?


Interestingly, the players I ran this for found the early dungeon encounters challenging, but steam-rolled the BBEG fight. Go figure. Thanks for a great scenario, Matt Goodall!

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Announced! Cover image is a mockup.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yay! Goblin mayhem is a kick ass cool tradition for the first scenario of the season!

(And that's not a hint or a suggestion or anything.. my best wishes to the future author! Write them little freaks proudly!)

Dark Archive

Wonder if there will be shirts to go along with the new season of PFS. I love the theme as well and how it ties into the AP and module line. Plus i will be able to play the new season at GenCon for the first time. Woot!!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Nice to see next season announced so early, and many of them taken advantage of the new Magnimar book coming out.

Love Goblin theme. Putting a goblin on season 4 shirts would be cool too.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

Author announced!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Looking forward to it Matt!

Matt + Goblins? Deadly. I love it! Congrats Matt!

Silver Crusade

I think the title should be changed to Rise of the Rune Goblins

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

These goblins are not affiliated with rune magic, runelords, or Thassilon, and while the name would certainly evoke all those things, I'd hate to let people down after raising their expectations with a misleading title like that.

Silver Crusade

I was kidding. It's just that with a title that begins with "Rise of..." in conjunction with Pathfinder, the first thing I thought of was "Rise of the Runelords". It would be a funny parody title.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Will you be continuing the tradition from Season 3 of having an icon on the cover indicate which stories are part of the metaplot for the season? I thought the Ruby Phoenix icon was very helpful for determining which scenarios to play and run.


Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

That's the plan!

Added final cover image!

Have an event set to run this and the players seem to be excited. We are using a kick off party for season 4, I know this GM can't wait...

Liberty's Edge

Not to be a pest, but my family is jonesin' a bit for some PFS and the "will be available today" has been the tag on this for the better part of today. Is this a real "today" or should I be looking in prior seasons for a scenario?

It's now available!

Liberty's Edge


Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

Here are some links for some additional optional content (for GMs) to help with running this adventure.

Statblocks for templated monsters and pictures of featured monsters (spoilers)

Extra flavor for monsters (spoilers)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Damn Matt you killed a PC at GenCon this weekend in one of my games and almost killed another!

of death:
Poor Tiefling learned how hard it is to breath With a Slime down her throat :(, and the poor "flammable" elf learned how much goblins loved fire and cooked elf meat. Every goblin he met was nice enough to show him just how much they liked burned elf flesh. Luckily for him the group was kind enough to pool their resources to bring him back but I think he will have a permanent fear of goblins and fire.

Very well written and very challenging, but not too challenging, will write a review when I get home from GenCon.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The scenario was pretty deadly, but we lucked out and the one 2nd level character took most of the damage at GenCon - otherwise we would have had deaths too. As a group our only real complaint was that some of the prescribed goblin tactics were illogical which helped us as a group to beat them. Particularly, the battle with the warchanter and the horse choppers. With the sewer being two squares wide and the main path covered in caltrops, any PCs that had ranged weapons just stood out of range and shot them to death. Had the sewer been only 5' wide, melee characters would have been enticed to get closer, provoke AoO from the goblins and the warchanter could have used his whips.

Of course, I greatly amused the GM because I was failing at my faction mission because I had no diplomacy skills (being a necromancer) or stealth (being a wizard), so I had the brilliant idea at the end of the scenario where you meet up with the original goblin who stole the necklace to hire her to steal the damn book I needed. For 4 vials of alchemist fire, I got my prestige point.

The Chase was really fun.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

Dragnmoon wrote:
Very well written and very challenging, but not too challenging, will write a review when I get home from GenCon.

Good to hear. :-) Whenever I walked around the PFS room at Gencon everyone playing it seemed to be steamrolling it. They are only goblins but having a base with good defenses helps. It is hard to make a 1-5 and have it challenging at both tiers, just because of how the XP system works for levels 1-2.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

wgahnagl wrote:
goblin tactics were illogical

These are goblins we are talking about. Goblins are genetically insane, to them their tactics make perfect sense. :-)

I approve of you not charging into the obvious pain, and I'm sure the goblins had something (arrows or alchemist's fire) to throw back.

wgahnagl wrote:
Of course, I greatly amused the GM because I was failing at my faction mission because I had no diplomacy skills (being a necromancer) or stealth (being a wizard), so I had the brilliant idea at the end of the scenario where you meet up with the original goblin who stole the necklace to hire her to steal the damn book I needed. For 4 vials of alchemist fire, I got my prestige point.

Nice use of creativity to complete a faction mission!

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Here's a PDF file to help the GM manage the chase scene and the NPC attitude!

Goblin Guild GM aids

Things to watch for when GMing:


* tactics for the collector room seemed poor: the bard is better firing off his good fear spells asap, and leaving the hound fighting by himself. There's no point in having a mount. Grease is nice though. Also the goblins with reach weapons cannot reach the PCs... and cannot hit them anyways. They're much better using fire and bows.
* boss fight: have the goblins start hidden. Get them out only to flank, that's their best use. Also, don't use Inoklar's frighten effect on every PC, keep a couple merely shaken, that'll split the party and allow strong attacks from Inoklar
* empty rooms (and dog room) should be skipped. Players lose time searching through them, as they always expect rooms to have stuff.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

FlorianF wrote:

Things to watch for

Good advice Florian,

Got to remember these are goblins and think like goblins. For the pipe room, if the goblins with horsechoppers can't reach the PCs, it means that the mean longshanks can't hit them either, Yay! They are there to stop the PCs from charging and meleeing immediately. They can throw alchemist's fire, Yay fire! While the horsechoppers don't reach over the channel (but can reach both squares of the bridge), Versevosh has 15 foot reach with his whip meaning he can get PCs on the other side of the channel.
The tactics do assume the PCs are going to try and quickly overwhelm the goblins (which is what the goblins expect from nasty longshanks!)
Versevosh stays on his mount because if he needs to retreat, he wants a way to outrun pursuit.
Not super optimal, but that's goblins for you.

Inoklar: Definitely keep the goblins hidden, they are the best way for Inoklar to get a flank=sneak attack! It will depend on the PC's party composition for Inoklar's Dazzling Display, I suspect most of the time she'll have trouble getting all the PCs within 30 feet anyway. Like you said, she definitely wants to split the PCs up if she can.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

I just reread the scenario, you were right Florian:

I noticed the goblin sharpers aren't proficent with their horsechoppers at the higher tier. They probably should be via the goblin racial trait - Weapon Familiarity.

Re: Goblin tactics. Makes much sense put that way. If I run it again, I will keep this in mind and play on it. However, maybe I missed something, but I did not see a comment to this effect.



I'm curious, where the 'empty' rooms not empty in a previous revision?
My players were so intent on 'finding something' in the training room that I had them crawl through the obstacle course (Escape Artiste and hp loss Ahoy!) up to a "secret pipe" leading to the alchemy lab...

Also, I had Versevosh start disguised as a halfling. The silver crusade PC spent two rounds detecting evil to avoid mishaps.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

Sometimes a room is ... just a room. The goblins do need places to eat, sleep, train, and do other gobliny stuff. The dungeon is fairly linear anyway, I wanted to give at least a nod to it being a base rather than just a series of encounters. This also avoids the metagaming aspect of:
GM: "You come to a room..."
PCs: "We buff..."

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Pretty lethal Moments

first near death moment was the first trap, the PCs delayed coming round the corner so the goblins readied their short bows. One PC came around intomambarage of arrows, and then fell in the pit trap. Only the slim molds poor initiative roll saved the PC in the pit.

The second moment was the boss, she critted poor Valeros and his remains required scrapping off the floor. After that it almost became one PC unconscious a round, the half Orcs ferocity, and the spell less clerics luck with her blade was the only thing that saved the day from a TPK.

In spite of the lethality, we had a lot of fun with the goblins. Poor eekie, Valeros stompped on plerg... But one of the others made it up to her with vershvose's head washed clean with all that convenient acid, and a decent bluff roll about "magic glue"

Grand Lodge

I just played this one yesterday, at our regular Saturday game. I have to admit to being very disappointed at the faction mission brief for Silver Crusade. The success conditions are VERY specific; and the note passed very vague. Since we never captured Ekkie, no amount of kindness or mercy shownto the down-trodden (which was all the note asked for) was sufficient to meet the conditions of success. If we're going to have such very specific conditions, perhaps a bit more focused mission brief might be in order? Alternatively, if the brief is vague, allow some leeway in the award conditions.

Other than the one quibble, it was a great run. :) One death, lots of uses of the healing wand, and a great many close calls!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

Silver Crusade mission:
I realised while writing that if Ekkie gets away in the chase scene, then the Silver Crusade mission of befriending her would be impossible. So in the goblin dog kennels, Ekkie is meant to reappear and beg for the return of her cage brother's skull. This is part of the optional encounter, so your GM might have missed this. I know the Silver Crusade mission is fairly non-specific, but Ollysta Zadrian isn't omniscient either.

Liberty's Edge

I've run this four times now, and loved it every time. It does run very long, and the last time I had to have Versevosh retreat to the throne room so as to have one fewer fight.

I think the biggest time is the faction missions. Having six different solo scenes, as entertaining as the role-play is, seriously eats into your slot. I like good RP faction missions, but maybe having several of them at the same location, allowing for some synergy would help.

Otherwise, this is one of my favorite PFS scenarios to date. I'll be looking for Matt's byline on other scenarios!

Shadow Lodge

Not sure how I feel about this module it was my third module I've played, but we ran with 4 characters, 3 of which were level one, it was 3 ranger, and a pally group.

We didn't even get past the alchemist fight, the AoE fire was laying down before we could even hit them. It was a tad hard for a low level module. I never got to fully enjoy it or learn the story of it, given when we got into the alchemist, half of our party was down, one of our guys abandoned us, so I was left in the room with a wand of cure light, and two unconscious, stabilized characters. Note this was toned down to 1 assistant and the Alchemist, but the fact I couldn't get a shot off, and the fact we were getting hit by 2 AoEs, and the bomb giving a burn the fight was very painful, and we ended up surrendering.

Defiantly hard to run with 4,wish I could enjoy it, but we finished early and felt that it was a tedious game, barely even living past the first fight.

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