Pathfinder Society Quest: Ambush in Absalom (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Quest designed for levels 1–5.

A Pathfinder carrying an important message has gone missing in the sewers beneath Absalom, but what the PCs find when they investigate the missing agent's fate is something few expect.

Written by Mark Moreland.

This quest is designed for play in Pathfinder Society Organized Play, but can easily be adapted for use with any world. This quest is compliant with the Open Game License (OGL) and is suitable for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

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An Introduction for New Players

3/5

NO SPOILERS

Ambush in Absalom is a free, standalone "Quest" for Pathfinder Society. In this context, a Quest refers to a short adventure with a little role-playing and a little combat designed to be completed in just an hour. Participants do receive a Chronicle sheet for playing it and (if their characters are successful) a boon, but there's no gold, experience points, or Fame/Prestige to be gained. Ambush in Absalom is a very simple, straightforward adventure that would serve as a good introduction to the rules for someone brand new to Pathfinder. Its story is fairly bland and unoriginal, however, so I'd make it clear that Paizo has much more to offer in that department. For the purposes of this review, I ran it at low tier for four PCs (though there is no four-player adjustment).

SPOILERS

As the title indicates, the adventure takes place in Absalom. The PCs are asked by Venture-Captain Ambrus Valsin to enter the sewers under the city to track down a missing Pathfinder novice named Derris Jerval who failed to return from a mission to deliver a package to a curiosity shop near the city docks. Apparently Pathfinders often use the sewers to travel quickly (and unobtrusively) through the city, but on this occasion something may have gone wrong.

Once in the sewers, the PCs automatically pick up Jerval's trail, and it leads them into an ambush. There's a pit trap and a handful of kobold warriors waiting to attack interlopers. The location of the pit trap is actually pretty clever, because (once open) it blocks anyone who didn't fall in from rushing to engage the kobolds. Still, 5 hp kobolds are 5 hp kobolds, and this encounter shouldn't provide a real challenge to the party.

Things get a little more interesting afterwards once the PCs pick up Jerval's trail again. The map is very compressed here, so literally thirty feet away from the site of the initial ambush the PCs will run into a kobold chieftan and his bodyguards. Battle is inevitable. There's nothing fancy or special about the encounter, but if you're using it for new players then simplicity is a virtue. If the PCs think to search the corpses/prisoners, they'll find all of Jerval's possessions. I think they are supposed to infer from that that Jerval took a wrong turn and was killed by the kobolds, but I can also see some groups remaining unconvinced--the adventure doesn't really deal with this issue. The players I ran it for didn't think to check the kobolds at all and failed the mission.

Assuming the PCs recover the package that Jerval was to deliver and take it to its intended destination, it turns out it's a book of Varisian recipes--and the recipient already has a copy! So it turns out that Jerval died for nothing. It's an ironic twist, and one that I guess has something to say about life as a Pathfinder.

Overall, there's not much that's particularly memorable about Ambush in Absalom. Its short length and simplicity means it has a role to play, and it does that role well. For experienced players, it's not really worth running through unless there's an hour to kill with nothing else to do.


Short and effective, just like a kobold

4/5

One of the most fun creatures to portray as a GM are kobolds and having players deal with them in roughly the timespan of an hour, is a great way to pass time. The more emphasis you put on the wacky side of kobolds, the more hilarious it can be.

It's pretty straightforward and easy to prepare. Do, however, realise that the kobold chieftain packs a more than serious punch on the low tier. His little friends can be painful too, but they will likely fall quickly.

It's fun and nothing really special, but it can be really enjoyable regardless.


Cute little guys, good intro

4/5

Basically for new players, just as the Fallen Fortress.

Fit in 1 hour, two combats with some cute little stuff. I suggest GM to do more role play about the kobolds.

Another scenario full of fun!


Pretty Fun Lvl 1.

4/5

Short and sweet. Nice way to end a day of character creation.

Spoilers!

Kolbold Cheiftan with Mstwk Greataxe with x3 crit instakills the PCs' tank, and it all went downhill from there. Only one party member wasn't knocked out, and only survived with like 2 HP.


The Quest Begins!

4/5

Being the first release for the Pathfinder Society Quest series this scenario is responsible for setting a standard and I think it does that very well. Pathfinder Derris Jerval has disappeared while on a mission and Venture Captain Ambrus Valsin is sending the PCs to find him and to make sure he completes his mission (or complete it for him if need be). Unfortunately Derris was last seen heading into the sewers of Absalom so up front you know this mission is going to get messy.

The premise of this quest is a simple one and its execution is very straight forward. Utilizing the Ambush Sites Map Pack, the Bestiary (or the D20 PFSRD website) and some miniatures or tokens a GM can prep this quest in less than fifteen minutes. The entire quest can be played in less than an hour or with a little work there is enough story here to expand it into a traditional four hour game session.

No experience. No gold. No prestige. That is alright with me because these quests are not intended to replace PFS scenarios. They are designed to fit a different niche. Successfully the quest does give PCs access to one of two single-use boons which are good.

All in all I think this quest would make for a fun game session and it does a great job for setting the standard for writers looking to submit their own 2,000-word mini-adventures. Download it for free and roll some dice.


Web Product Manager

Now available!

Liberty's Edge

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

Any difference from Kobold Quarterly?

Shadow Lodge

How does the quest work in PFS?

The Chronicle sheet has no XP, but does leave the Prestige/Fame box open for some to be gained? I'm assuming 1 since there are no faction missions.

It this meant to be played straight up or included in an Absalom scenario?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Quests give no Prestige Points, no gold, and no XP. They're just extra encounters that provide a boon for PCs who go through them.

Scarab Sages

Nice, I have one question though; can this be replayed multiple times or does this count as a scenario - in that you can only apply credit once as a player (and once as a GM)?

And on a related note; can the person who GM's this get a chronicle including boons as well?

Scarab Sages

My guess would be this scenario can only be played once (or twice as GM credit).

The Exchange

There's no tick box to add this quest to an event in the session management page yet.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Quests are not reportable because they don't grant XP or Prestige Points. They're just an extra encounter to use to fill some time, serve as a demo, or to run before a thematically linked scenarios (in this case, maybe "Sewer Dragons of Absalom").


I'm curious too. Is this different from the one published in KQ?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Nope. It's the same version as published in Kobold Quarterly #17. We have more Quests planned for future issues of KQ, and those will be exclusive to the magazine for a time and then also appear here on Paizo.com.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
Quests are not reportable because they don't grant XP or Prestige Points. They're just an extra encounter to use to fill some time, serve as a demo, or to run before a thematically linked scenarios (in this case, maybe "Sewer Dragons of Absalom").

So, presumably, GMing a quest doesn't count toward the GM star rating?

Scarab Sages

What kind of boons does this quest offer for completing it?

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens Subscriber

We played this yesterday and had fun - it became a quick emergency mission immediately after finishing First Steps while the new Pathfinder PCs were still in Absalom - worked well in that context too.

I have come to record the session today but found the comments here.

For consideration please:

o It would be nice (no more) to have a PC record as having played it in the on-line record, even though it grants no PP,XP & GP

o More importantly, it'd be good to give a GM credit as they still have to prepare and, in yesterday's case, 'eat' the Quest - half a point??

Thanks

J

Grand Lodge

JohnF wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
Quests are not reportable because they don't grant XP or Prestige Points. They're just an extra encounter to use to fill some time, serve as a demo, or to run before a thematically linked scenarios (in this case, maybe "Sewer Dragons of Absalom").

So, presumably, GMing a quest doesn't count toward the GM star rating?

Correct. GMing a quest does not count toward a GM rating.

Grand Lodge

Michael Brock wrote:
JohnF wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
Quests are not reportable because they don't grant XP or Prestige Points. They're just an extra encounter to use to fill some time, serve as a demo, or to run before a thematically linked scenarios (in this case, maybe "Sewer Dragons of Absalom").

So, presumably, GMing a quest doesn't count toward the GM star rating?

Correct. GMing a quest does not count toward a GM rating.

Does this mean that it can be run any number of times? I'm thinking of taking it to a con for downtimes between slots.


No gold, no XP, no fame or prestige. OK.

Can't be reported at all. So if a character dies, that doesn't count either, right?

And any gold spent, items used, etc come back at the end of the scenario? If not, I think a lot of players will not be interested in risking life and loot for a one-time buff boon...

Why is there even a chronicle sheet? Oh yeah, the one-time buff boons...

I like the concept, don't get me wrong, but a few GP or a possibility of 1 fame point if handled well would certainly make it more appealing to players I think.


what concerns me more is the actual quest,

I mean

Spoiler:
someone working for the society has gone missing. Really. Again!!!

Shadow Lodge

So... Any plans for releasing more quests anytime soon?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
thenovalord wrote:

what concerns me more is the actual quest,

I mean ** spoiler omitted **

It's an occupational hazard.


KQ is no more and this Quest was released over a year ago. Are there any new ones planned? Or even plans to provide the KQ ones here?

Paizo Employee Developer

I can tell you that there are things in the works, and I anticipate there being an announcement about it in the not-distant future. Getting the Quests back up and running is something I've been hoping to do since signing on with Paizo.

Sorry to be cryptic, but at this time that's all I can note publicly.


That's fine. Just wondered if there was still life in the program (which I ran across from the Open Call page).

Best of luck!


Bump. Is the open call still on?

Liberty's Edge

John Compton wrote:

I can tell you that there are things in the works, and I anticipate there being an announcement about it in the not-distant future. Getting the Quests back up and running is something I've been hoping to do since signing on with Paizo.

Sorry to be cryptic, but at this time that's all I can note publicly.

Three notes:

1) Can a Quest be played in the middle of a thematically approrpriate scenario? So could "Ambush in Absalom" could be played during "Sewer Dragons of Absalom?" My guess is "no" but that's a shame. If time permitted, it would be cool for a GM to have the option to slot in a Quest and be able to give two chronicles at the end of the game.

I must admit...the idea of having 'swapping' powers for thematically appropriate quests/scenarios would be neat! Swapping out an optional encounter for a "quest" would really mix things up. Imagine adding an alternate encounter in "Master of the Fallen Fortress" for example. This would be necessary because:

Spoiler:
Some characters may already be members of the society and therefore won't be overawed at meeting the prisoner etc.

That kind of flexibility would be so cool!

2) Will future Quests be thematically compatible with already existing scenarios/modules or will they be tied to the upcoming seasons?

3) I do like the idea of having various quests that can be substituted for optional encounters. It gets complex, sure, but how cool would it be for the GM to have a few (yes few) compatible quests that can be used interchangeably for designated scenarios? I know it sounds crazy but...I think there's something to this!

Scarab Sages

This annoys me and it creates confusion for everyone. I really wish chronicle sheets were clearer and more specific to each adventure.

The chronicle sheet for "Ambush in Absalom" has a prestige award section for the GM to sign off on. This would imply Prestige can be gained! There is nothing in the adventure that either confirms or denies this.

There is no day job check space, so this implies one cannot be made, but older chronicle sheets had no space for it either. There is no mention either way.

It specifies no gold is earned at the top and yet it has a gold earned section for the GM to sign off on. Why???

For the clarity and sanity of people everywhere, please make it clear what the players earn when completing PFS adventures!!!!

Sovereign Court

Is this scenario still legal for PFS play? It doesn't say retired in the downloads section but I can't find an entry for it in the event set up page.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Yes, see the quote from above

Mark Moreland wrote:
Quests are not reportable because they don't grant XP or Prestige Points. They're just an extra encounter to use to fill some time, serve as a demo, or to run before a thematically linked scenarios (in this case, maybe "Sewer Dragons of Absalom").

Grand Lodge

I've gotta necro this. Given that we've been given series of quests during the past three seasons, which give both XP and PP, has this particular quest changed at all? Even the chronicle for Urge to Evolve has a spot for XP to be put into it.

Grand Lodge

I'm actually curious too cause we were hoping to have a few new gm run this but I have a feeling our players won't be interested if they can't gain at least fame and prestige.

Grand Lodge

Nigel O'maley wrote:
I'm actually curious too cause we were hoping to have a few new gm run this but I have a feeling our players won't be interested if they can't gain at least fame and prestige.

Apparently it hasn't changed. It's considered "an extra fight" that you plop into a scenario if there's still an hour to play. The reward is a boon, and you never report it.

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