Pathfinder Society Scenario #4–07: Severing Ties (PFRPG) PDF

***½( ) (based on 38 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1–5.

The Pathfinder Society has discovered a new Aspis Consortium base in the pirate city of Riddleport and sends a small team of agents to infiltrate the rival cell disguised as newly hired mercenaries from Magnimar. After proving their value to the Aspis Consortium by carrying out a number of tasks throughout the City of Cyphers, the Pathfinders can learn the location of one of the consortium's local allies and ensure that the support the Aspis Consortium is counting on from their friends won't come.

Written by Ron Lundeen.

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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***½( ) (based on 38 ratings)

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"You mean... You WANT us to cause collateral damage? Sign me up!"

****( )

(I played this.)

Man, this was a blast. I love it when scenarios go a little out of the box. This is certainly not something I've played before, and that's great. While the first half of the adventure could have been a simple fetch quest routine, the author really managed to liven it up with some fun tasks to perform. While I'm sure you could still brute-force your way through this, going along with it is so much fun. Granted, I got lucky in the drinking contest, but it really livened up the roleplay aspect of the scenario.

The other half of the scenario is just as fun, but way more dangerous. Some players thrive on criminal mischief, and it was a delight to see us realise what we could do here. But I have to say, the combat parts of this are way more brutal than they have any right to be. Typical Season 4 stuff, really. We managed to luck our way through this, but player kills or TPK are a real possibility.

In the end, I still recommend this scenario, as it is a delight to play. Bring your not-lawful characters and go to town, but still be careful of the combat parts of this scenario, I'd say.


Fun sabotage mission

****( )

Messing with the Aspis is alwasy fun. In this interesting infiltration scenario, you get to hamper them by sneaking into a cultist base and messing it up as much as possible. The nice part is that this is about stealth and sabotage, not about direct assault. Indeed, trying to brute force the scenario through combat is not the best approach here (and intentionally lethal) so the players are encouraged to take more creative solutions.

All in all, a good mission that rewards a wide variety of skillsets and character types, and that ties in well with the overall metaplot.


Lethal and dangerous, yet great roleplay potential

****( )

I feel obliged to mention that I can understand why some, or even most, people do not like this scenario. They are right when they point out that there are a couple of encounters that can kill result in the death of a character. It’s even likely that none of the player characters survive until the end of the scenario. Furthermore, I dare say that tier 1-2 is more lethal than tier 4-5. I say that not just because the characters have less hitpoints, but also because of tactics and difficulty class (DC). I’d even go so far as to say that one of the encounters in high tier is less scary due to its tactics. Don’t get me wrong, that encounter is still lethal, but not as lethal as the low-level tactics.

That said, I do like the scenario. The task you’re set out to do is simple but effective. The first part of the scenario will have you role-play in various settings. It’s diverse and interesting enough and also allows for creative thinking and out-of-the-box solution. I continue to like such sandbox situations. This time I even get to brag that me having a result of 27 on a Profession: Real Estate Agent actually contributed to getting our secondary prestige point. It’s scenarios like these that reward players actually building characters with unique skillsets, such as an odd profession.

This role-play section gets followed up by a dungeoncrawl and investigation hybrid with some nasty combats. You are tasked to investigate a location and somewhat make it uninhabitable. That’s a fun approach to a crawl in my opinion. It’s an interesting take that I’d like to see more often. You sneak around and find ways to disrupt the place, while still having a relatively large amount of freedom on how to do so.

However, this portion of the scenario is also lethal, in more than one ways. The first encounter you can actually avoid if you’re smart and somewhat paranoid. If you do however trigger that event, you best hope the dice are with you AND your party. You really can’t afford to have half the party do poorly. The second fight is scary on the high tier, but absolutely lethal on the low tier. I’d honestly say it’s a bit over the top in terms of lethality for these tiers, but at the same time my party suffered no casualties.

It’s a brutal scenario, with highly dangerous encounters. The premise, role-playing and investigation portions are outstanding however. It honestly balances itself out a bit, though in my case towards the good side of things. I would recommend it, but only for the high tier and only if you’re okay with possibly having your character die. On the low tier, I’d shy away. It’s too lethal.


Good roleplay opportunities, potentially OP combat in the second half

****( )

Just played this at the high tier, our party consisted of my lvl 4 Kitsune Trickster Rogue, a Monk, a Warpriest, a Druid, and a Fighter. Since I had the best social skills I was chosen as the leader of the group and handled most of the roleplay elements. While they weren't particularly difficult it was tremendously fun to go through the roleplays to collect the items and have a free pass to basically be the biggest jerks we could to try and smear the name of the Aspis Consortium with the people in town. The only reason I'm not giving this 5 stars is the combat in the second half, we were playing high so the first trap didn't kill us immediately but I can see it being a big issue for low lvl characters, and we were only really saved by a lucky wild empathy check from the Druid, we never made it through the second combat but the visual of this Druid commanding a pair of Basilisks was awesome. Overall I'd say this is a great scenario, just don't be surprised if you end up leaving the table with a few dead characters


Good first half, terrible second half

**( )( )( )

The first half of the scenario is fun and interesting to play, with a variety of roleplaying options. The second half of the scenario involves two rather difficult encounters for low level characters, and the final 'mission objective' can only be achieved by completely ignoring what you're told to do in the beginning (which is NOT to murder people).

Started out fun, but the last half of the adventure has made it my most-hated scenario of any I've played.


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Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Just announced!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

*reads description of the scenario*

0_0

This sounds awesome. I can't wait to run this.

Dark Archive

This looks great. If Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment is any indication, this should be challenging and fun in equal parts.

Paizo Employee Developer

Mergy wrote:
This looks great. If Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment is any indication, this should be challenging and fun in equal parts.

Thanks for the vote of confidence!


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

This sounds awesome. As an aside, this season's (4) theme has me giddy with delight.


Congrats Ron!

Paizo Employee Developer

Kyle Baird wrote:
Congrats Ron!

Thanks! I'm excited about this being unleashed on (or near) Halloween.

Dark Archive

"will be available today"

The suspense is killing me! :D

I'm glad I've got a week to review it before running it though.

Paizo Employee Contributor

Mergy wrote:
The suspense is killing me! :D

You and me both!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

This looks really cool Ron. Dynamic and proactive instead of reactive, if that makes any sense. Nice to see a different approach!

Grand Lodge

Jim Groves wrote:
This looks really cool Ron. Dynamic and proactive instead of reactive, if that makes any sense. Nice to see a different approach!

Well, now I only want it more! Can't wait to download, print and break out my highlighter!

Paizo Employee Digital Products Assistant

Final cover is up and the PDF will be available tonight!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Yep, need to snag this and begin prepping.

Dark Archive

Just got it and looking it over now. Exciiiited! :D

EDIT: OMG!!! Metaplotz and stuff! :)

Do not read if you have not read!:
Is this the same Spider from Season 2?

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Just skimmed through it. Loving the

Spoiler:
infiltration and sabotage
elements. Definitely going to prep this to run next week.

Paizo Employee Contributor

Mergy wrote:

Just got it and looking it over now. Exciiiited! :D

EDIT: OMG!!! Metaplotz and stuff! :)

** spoiler omitted **

Yes, sure is.

Dark Archive

Ron Lundeen wrote:
Mergy wrote:

Just got it and looking it over now. Exciiiited! :D

EDIT: OMG!!! Metaplotz and stuff! :)

** spoiler omitted **

Yes, sure is.

Spoiler:
But we killed her!

Spoiler:
OR DID WE?!

Spoiler:
EXPLOSIVE RUNES

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Class Deck, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

The image for the map of Riddleport can't be extracted properly (I was trying to create a handout for the players).

It looks as though the X and Y dimensions have been interchanged; when I resize the image based on that assumption I get something that matches what is in the scenario.


A good idea ruined by:
A. inappropriately tiered combat.
B. illogical execution.

A. Whilst I like an interesting challenge, writers should remember to adjust the CR of an encounter with regard to the tactical situation presented.
A case in point being reducing the hit points of a monster, without affecting its attacks as well, is not enough to justify a lower CR. Especially when the situation presented makes it more difficult for the characters to attack.

B. I would appreciate it if writers remembered to look at their scenarios from both the point of view of the protagonists and the characters, and make sure that there is some way for the characters to determine what is going on. As opposed to this scenario when you are expecting a greeting and instead are killed out-of-hand for no discernable reason.

Grand Lodge

Yep - great concepts ruined by 'rule of cool' a lethal encounter that totally fails to account for the lower tiers. From what I can ascertain from other reviews, this seems to be only one of many but I dropped at the first of the stupid CL fights. Save or Die for T1-2? Sheesh.

Shadow Lodge

So far, I am really not impressed or enjoying Season 4. I really wish that there were two seperate rating systems for Scenario, one for DM's and one for Players. Season 4 really seems to be focused on DM fun and banking on having the right party for each scenario, which is something that is not likely in PFS (and honestly part of what PFS is built upon).

This scenario is better than most, and don't take this the wrong way Ron, I do not mean this as a personal attack and am not saying your scenario sucks. I think that some of the newish changes to the assumptions in PFS (increased table size expectation for example) and a noticable trend to focus on challenging optimized players as well as focusing on DM's more than players/characters is really blowing a lot of the issues this (and other) scenarios are showing more out of proportion than they would otherwise be.

Some of the Faction missions, (more in this scenario specifically than general to Season 4) are really WTF, which seems kind of like Season 4 is really trying to implant a darker corrupted version of them, just because.

Silver Crusade

I played this scenario the other night. I really liked the story and the RP opportunities. It had potential, but it fell flat on a couple of key points.

Spoiler:
1. It didn't seem clear why the Lissallan (sp?) fortress was a dungeon. Wasn't the party expected to be bearing gifts? Why did we have to fight our way in?

2. The fights were unbalanced on both ends. The bunyips seemed out of place, and because of the terrain of the fight, were tactically neutered. The Basilisks were challenging at the 4-5 tier, though with the save or die gaze, I don't agree that 2 of them was appropriate for a general group. We were lucky that we had a knowledge based character who could tell us how to reverse the stone condition. I can't comment on the construct. The GM didn't use all of its tactics because he said that it would have probably TPK'd us. I will say that after looking over the author's lack of tier 1-2 scaling, this is module is a low tier snuff job.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Morgrym Anvilstrike wrote:

I played this scenario the other night. I really liked the story and the RP opportunities. It had potential, but it fell flat on a couple of key points.

1. It didn't seem clear why the Lissallan (sp?) fortress was a dungeon. Wasn't the party expected to be bearing gifts? Why did we have to fight our way in?

Spoiler:
Mostly because you were not who you said you were, and because they didn't have a guard screening visitors. Basilisks don't care about allegiances. If you had run into a cultist you could have bluffed being Aspis agents. But since delivering the gifts isn't your actual mission, you have no incentive to do so. An "Aspis" attack on the cult suits the Society goal much better.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Spoiler:
Mostly because you were not who you said you were, and because they didn't have a guard screening visitors. Basilisks don't care about allegiances. If you had run into a cultist you could have bluffed being Aspis agents. But since delivering the gifts isn't your actual mission, you have no incentive to do so. An "Aspis" attack on the cult suits the Society goal much better.

Spoiler:
But if they don't know that we're not Aspis Consortium, and thought that we were, that point is irrelevant. As far as they're concerned, we are there as agents of the Aspis to give gifts, and there was a scheduled meeting, best as I could decipher from what the DM said (which is strange, because the cultists acted like they weren't expecting us and that we were intruding). But, whatever, my biggest problem with this module was the out of whack monster balancing.
Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

To answer Morgrym

Spoiler:

As I read it, because the Lissalans are underground and not popular, and basically had to use what they could find would be my guess. The glyph of warding was set so that worshippers of Lisalla could pass. It may be that, even if the real Shadowtongue had turned up, the glyph would've fired - Jenk is new in post and may have been contacting the cult in the wrong way; after all, they did go in while they were having a service.


Spoiler:
There is no scheduled meeting - the Aspis are trying to get the Lissalans to like them again, and so Jenks is sending these gifts over unannounced.

Liberty's Edge

I have played and GMed this module and think that it was a lot of fun, but certainly not appropriate for inexperienced players and/or level 1 characters.
The "errands" at the beginning were a lot of fun, and the role playing opportunities are fantastic. The first combat very manageable, but the two major encounters in the second part strike me as being way too harsh/lethal for level 1. It is too easy to TPK a bunch of starting PC's/new players, which might discourage new players from returning.
To remedy this, I suggest that future adventures with this planned level of lethality also include a tier 1 only option for encounters.

Scarab Sages

Wow,cannot believe this scenario was allowed at tier 1. Great idea completely ruined by ridiculously inappropriate monsters.

:
Who thinks it is appropriate to surprise a first tier party with a save or die monster? Save or die sucks anyway, but with no warning puts this adventure on my worst waste of three hours ever list. And then the follow up monster is a one hit, first level killer? Too bad, the overall concept was great, destroyed by completely douchy monster choices.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

My thoughts on the inappropriately tiered monster:

Spoiler:
It resulted in a tpk when I played, the first time I played PFS last December. There were to players new to PFS including me, with first level characters. So two of the three regulars rolled up level one characters, and one of them played his fourth level character. When three players were turned to stone in the surprise round I suggested the GM should make the 'turn to stone' a temporary effect, but he was okay with the tpk. I liked the adventure, but the DC for the glyph of warding should scale with tier and the GM should consider giving a young basilisk a gaze that turns creatures to stone for 1d3 rounds.

Shadow Lodge

In our game, (which the DM didn't even report for me), we had a brand new player get turned to stone, and Fail the System Shock roll to revive him with the blood, all after basically missing most of the scenario. It was terrible, and my understanding is that they quit playing PF entirely after that. Everyone else was miserable knowing that we where leaving out the other players and couldn't do anything about it. We finally decided to just send the Golem thing around to wreck havoc and walked out, and then the VL DM just sort of vanished, wouldn't respond to PMs, didn't offer Chronicle Sheets, though reported it for some players. Probably the worst scenario I've ever played in, and I'm one of the few that survived.

Shadow Lodge

There is no "system shock" check for being restored with basilisk blood. That is only in the stone to flesh spell.

Shadow Lodge

That is how he ruled it, and I want to say that he said that was the official answer on it based on this.

From the Basilisk:
Gaze (Ex) Turn to stone permanently (as flesh to stone), range 30 feet, Fortitude DC 15 negates. A creature petrified in this matter that is then coated (not just splashed) with fresh basilisk blood (taken from a basilisk no more than 1 hour dead) is instantly restored to flesh. A single basilisk contains enough blood to coat 1d3 Medium creatures in this manner. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Stone to Flesh:

This spell restores a petrified creature to its normal state, restoring life and goods. The creature must make a DC 15 Fortitude save to survive the process. Any petrified creature, regardless of size, can be restored. The spell also can convert a mass of stone into a fleshy substance. Such flesh is inert and lacking a vital life force unless a life force or magical energy is available. For example, this spell would turn an animated stone statue into an animated flesh statue, but an ordinary statue would become a mass of inert flesh in the shape of the statue. You can affect an object that fits within a cylinder from 1 foot to 3 feet in diameter and up to 10 feet long or a cylinder of up to those dimensions in a larger mass of stone.

Shadow Lodge

However, it does not say "as stone to flesh" when referencing the blood restoring petrified targets.

Shadow Lodge

I said the same thing.


After criticizing the adventure, I'd like to say that it is a brilliant and fun adventure. It is easy to result in a tpk, the GM has to give the players a chance (like adjusting for level 1 characters). But I have played and run the adventure, and recommend it.


It's a stupidly written encounter in an otherwise fun to play module. Ron Lundeen had one thing in mind: How can I trick the players and get them pissed off...and maybe have them never come back to play PF again.

Even if you are prepared (I was), the way it's set up is to screw you anyways. You can gather information until the cows come home never be clued in... No one died: our GM acidently gave it away, but...

Shadow Lodge

Havoq wrote:
Ron Lundeen had one thing in mind:

Oh? Did he tell you that? Or did you use your brain scanner to pluck that information out?


This was my first PF adventure, a convention organizer did a great job of getting me interested in a session so I spent two hours creating a character which the GM asked me not to play when he arrived. After some diplomacy, he recanted and I along with 3 others --all level one players, began.

The story and setting were good, however the gsmeplay felt very linear. We were being led from one set-piece to another. It felt like we were locked into a video game where we had to figure out what we were supposed to do rather than deciding what we wanted to do.

I understand that this "fluidity" is a reflection of the GMs ability and enthusiasm, and ours was less than amiable and didn't show any real creativity. The only time he seemed to "brighten -up" was when he had somehow, somewhat improbably, worked us into a bad combat situation. At one point he had a tattoo artist run past the party in a narrow hallway, through a curtain, in order to sandwich our lead player who was engaged with another tattoo artist, then he called a friend over to gloat about this absurd maneuver.

The adventure ended with one killed by the stone golem in a single attack, one was turned to stone while at 0 hp and fleeing from the golem,one left the game, and one escaped.

Not a great deal of fun, but the other players were great, two of them seemed pretty experienced and they made things enjoyable.

The GM should be familiar with the material , creative in its application, and be able to make common sense adjustments, or better yet use a different adventure at a gaming convention if you are running level ones. This adventure clearly needs some level 3-5 PFs.

As far as the adventure itself, there is some flavor and emersion due to rich characters and a the complex nature of the mission; however the "go secure 3 items" and "oh look a contest where one of our items is a prize to the stranger who walked in off of the street to lift a table the best". Obviously not a coveted item. This type of linear setup made things feel a little juvenile, and seeing that most of the gamers are 30 and over, it seems like the writing could be a little less "gamey".

Not sure if I will play again, playing at a convention is nice, but to join a regular group would forces me to forgoe all other gaming; RPGs are definitely time intensive. But given a GM that has really prepared and shows some enthusiasm for the game, who knows.

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