A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3–7.
The Pathfinders are sent to the Sanos Forest in central Varisia to assist an agent researching the fey who inhabit the remote wood. But like many seemingly routine tasks in a Pathfinder's adventuring career, the simple support mission quickly turns into an adventure the PCs aren't soon to forget—presuming they survive.
Written by Jerome Virnich.
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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The strong point of the scenario may be two of the NPCs, they both have strong peraonalities and actings. And the finally fight can be deadly for not-well-prepared party of tier 3-4, but the difficuty decreases in right process, that's what I like.
Pale story, but with role play potential, need a good GM who can switch among NPCs.
I ran this yesterday on low tier for a group of very experienced players. We had a good time, and they felt nicely challenged. However, the adventure has some deadly parts in it, and I wouldn't in good conscience put it in front of inexperienced players or non-optimized PCs.
The premise of the adventure is pretty simple, and is then elaborated on nicely. The selection of monsters is strongly thematic and creative. This leads to some original combats. Furthermore, there's a fey NPC accompanying you, that puts events into a bit more context than "things try to kill you".
However, the adventure also has some issues.
Originally, there was a major RP scene that was all about faction missions. But since those have been discontinued, that scene is basically obsolete. In fact, it doesn't really make much sense anymore; you're just been told someone was abducted, and then get invited to spend the night. So when I ran it, this scene was cut very short and I had time for the optional encounter instead.
Some of the statblocks contain clear errors.
The zombie pegasus has a full attack listed and its tactics include making full attacks, but it's Staggered because it's a normal zombie. Since it's a pretty weak creature, I just added another one to the encounter instead. This worked out well.
The dire porcupine zombies are not from the Bestiary as written, but from Tome of Horrors. Also, full attacks while staggered. Since their role is mostly just to be a speedbump to buy time for the BBEG, I just dropped the full attack routine from their stats.
Further, two of the creatures have abilities that on closer inspection should've gotten more attention from the Bestiary writers;
The Kelpie's Capitvating Lure ability has no duration listed. It's a very extreme ability, that basically stops a PC from doing anything for the whole combat. In this case, it led to an amusing scene with flying familiars being sent after the barbarian to deliver Protection from Evil, and someone handing Riddywipple a wand of Protection from Evil, which he can use because of sorcerer levels.
The Pukwidgie's Quills ability states that the quills will (among other things) sting anyone who attacks with a 1H weapon. But then a PC with a falcata got Enlarged. I decided that since the falcata was now the size of a 2H weapon (for a medium creature), it no longer caused the PC to hurt himself.
The Pukwudgie is Young at low tier, which makes it only slightly less effective. Since it's a Finesse-using creature with ranged attacks, it gets a +3 to hit. However, the DC on its poison goes down to 16 (!) and it can't flank or AoO anymore (it has Sneak Attack) because it becomes Tiny. Also, fewer HP. It's SLAs aren't affected.
The optional encounter was disappointing; you face the same main creature as the previous encounter, plus some hidden enemies that (at low tier) don't want to fight the PCs.
The scripted fights however were all pretty good. The opening fight was potentially dangerous (but then killer barbarian happened), the second fight was cool because
The Kelpie lured the barbarian into the water and made him swim away from the shore, making it harder for the other PCs to help. Several clever PC actions saved him.
The boss fight was good too. The BBEG is well-equipped to challenge the heroes;
Speedbumps to get a few more rounds to shoot at PCs; a really scary poison; and Invisibility SLA that can be cast defensively on a roll of 5+. As a standard action, shoot two quills with +18 to hit!
But this is tempered by the heroes having adequate hints;
The Osirion faction mission tells you to look for exotic poisons. Ignizi gives you potions of Neutralize Poison. Riddywipple mentions poison once.
At level 3, I think PCs ought to be carrying flasks of Antitoxin. Those will really help here.
A few final tidbits that bother me:
Riddywipple is a CG dragon, but he lures people into a trap that does 3d6 at low tier. I'm not sure how Good that is, that's potentially deadly.
The scenario calls for you to stay the night and talk and be merry after just hearing someone was kidnapped.
I think the basic structure and monster of this scenario is sound. The boss monster is really quite cool, the players were all enthusiastic about how nasty it was. But it really needs another round of revision, to deal with the rule-errors, bad optional encounter and the change to faction missions.
Also, maybe just a "not for beginners" warning label on it.
I played this scenario last night on the lower tier. The arcanist, the warpriest and my summoner were level 3, the magus and fighter level 5. Let me start by saying that we all had a lot of fun, but that most of it was because of the interaction between our characters. Rarely have I played with a more insane group of characters. It made everyone else look boring and dare I say sane, even though Ignizi and Riddywhipple are a lot of fun on paper and simply excellent characters.
That, however, brings me to my biggest criticism: there's a lack of roleplaying. I know there's a whole section dedicated to talking to Ignizi and the other gnomes and I'm sure that it can be a lot of fun, but that instantly gets thrown out of the window the moment you hear someone has been abducted. Which group of pathfinders could casually spend a night in a cottage when someone's life is in danger? My group couldn't and so we instantly skipped the whole roleplaying section as a result. I can imagine other groups acting similarly and that's a real pity. I consider that a gigantic flaw with this scenario and have to lower my rating for this scenario. There's a huge potential, but depending on how the party feels about an abduction, you can easily miss out on it.
The encounters were better though as there were some rather unique creatures to deal with. In other words: the setting in which this all this takes place is a lot of fun. Again, however, I have to be honest and say that there were things I didn't like. I'm disappointed by the fact that two fights are extremely similar to each-other. That simply is no fun. To make matters worse: one of those two fights was basically over in two rounds, whereas the other one took a bit longer since one of fighter was just swimming around without any issue. I can't say those two fights were particularly challenging either. They were just uneventful to be honest. Again I have to lower my final rating.
Luckily the last fight makes up for this and can be really dangerous without proper preparation. It is pretty lethal due to the special rules and our frontline took a severe beating, with one of them even got close to death. It honestly was one of the better and more interesting final encounters I've played thus far due to all the mechanics around it.
All-in-all, it's a scenario that is enjoyable with a lot of potential, but that ended up being just mediocre for me. Some things were repetitive and we missed out on a lot of fun role-playing. Again I want to stress out how much of a pity that is since that is arguably the biggest selling point of this scenario. As a result I cant justify recommending this, unless you're just after the rather interesting boon you get as a reward.
I played this twice with a group of just 4 players, and even the first encounter killed one of the PCs each time. Especially if you have only melee chars with no range attacks.
One of the encounters was completely repetitive, as it was the exact same creature again, just with annoying side kicks. This seemed totally pointless.
The real reason to play this one is for the boon, reddiwhipple.
The dialog for the gnome and the fairy dragon are very well done.
When I played, we were at the end of a con, and trying to rush through, so we didn't role play it as much as it could have been. So, our fault on missing the best part of this.
A great start and end poor means through the middle
Ok, a great start. An excellently written gnome with some fun roleplay. The next parts are poorly implimented. As you journey through the woods you get encounters. So the Players know something dangerous is ahead and they really do not have much of a way to avoid it. They are just forced on you, if you and the DM work a way to avoid the enouncter you miss much of the scneario and do nto get to fully enjoy it. The surprise NPC encounter is loads of fun. The Boss is also very fun.
Cover is freaking AMAZING! Having read the scenario I am fully pumped-up and excited about running this over the weekend! My mind was blown by how excellent some of the encounters are written, how precisely chaotic a particular piece of block-text is written, and just how random the monsters are written!
Will totally write a review after running this, and will post some GM tools to the PFS GM boards.
The Chronicle Sheet offers a special Boon to gain a Fairy Dragon Imp Familiar. My 6 Cleric was wanting to take a Level of Sorcerer to gain a Familiar, and then the Imp Familiar Feat to take advantage of this, then continue on with Cleric.
The Boon says that you need Caster Level 7, Imp Familiar, and the ability to gain a new Familiar (through the Imp Familiar Feat), as well as an alignment within one step of CG. All of that would be met by my Cleric, and I am just wanting to do it because it seems cool flavor-wise.
However, under Imp Familiar, it specifies in the flavor text (not the prerqs) ARCANE Caster Level, which would mean it is impossible for me to get this Familiar, and as it is asigned to this haracter only, (unless I DM the game later), I basically can never get it. Officially, does the Boon make an exception for the Arcane Caster Level (to just Caster Leel as it says), or does it imply Arcane Caster level like other Imp Familiar Familiar's do?
You would need 7 levels of sorcerer to qualify for this familiar. Cleric and sorcerer levels do not stack for the purposes of determining eligibility for an improved familiar, as the cleric class does not grant access to a familiar. If you had sorcerer and witch levels, however, you would stack their caster levels since both the arcane bloodline and the witch class grant access to a familiar.
Sorry, I meant something different. I was wondering if I take 7+ levels of Cleric, and just 1 level of Sorcerer, (or Wizard to get the initial Familiar and the ability to take Imp Familiar), if I could otherwise take this specific familiar that way, meating all the prereqs, (Caster Level 7, Imp Familiar, and appropriate alignment.)
The Boon does not specify ARCANE Caster Level, just Caster Level, which is what I'm asking. Was that intentional, to allow more classes to be able to use this Boon, or was it accendentally not included, makinging it only Sorcerers, Witches, and Wizards (and maybe one or two others) that can benefit from it?
Cleric levels may as well be fighter levels as far as familiars are concerned. Whether or not the boon specifies arcane caster levels, the Improved Familiar feat does. You need to have 7 levels in a class that grants a familiar to qualify.
Thanks for the responce. While it would have been cool to finally have someting like that, like I said, I can see it both ways. It is kind of disappointing that only some classes can benefit from boons like this, but maybe one day everyone else will get some nice flavor boons along these lines, too.
My son was overjoyed at the idea of gaining the familiar for his sorcerer. Couldn't wait to add it, since he was moving up to L7. However, the number of prerequisites makes it nearly impossible to add this after the fact. We tried through Hero Lab and the app said no. A draconic sorcerer needs to have a load of prerequisites to make this possible, and even then it's toying with the system. In fact, ANY sorcerer is going to have problems utilizing this boon. So the "caster" prerequisite is hopeful at best. Oh well. This is the sort of minutia problem that dogs Pathfinder, in general, and makes it harder for nongurus to do things well. Just sayin'.
Only Witches, Wizards and Arcane Blooded Sorcerers can get Familiars.
Then perhaps the boon text should be revised to make this more clear. As it stands, it says "casters." Otherwise, nongurus waste a lot of time trying to make it work for the wrong type of caster.
I would add that there may be other extenuating circumstances where it may not work. Despite the instructions, it seems that it may be more complex in some cases than simply adding the Improved Familiar feat, even for the correct type of caster.
Even if a draconic sorcerer can't have a "normal" familiar, having access to one that possesses some draconic angle seems to make sense. Oh well. The final word seems to be No.
How are you confused that your druid/sorcerer can't get access to it? It says it requires the Improved Familiar feat. You know what's a prerequisite for Improved Familiar? The ability to summon a familiar.