Pathfinder Society Scenario #4–08: The Cultist's Kiss (PFRPG) PDF

4.50/5 (based on 17 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 7–11.

An active cell of the cult of Lissala—ancient goddess of runes and obedience—has been discovered in the Varisian town of Palin's Cove. Seeking a chance to learn about this long-lost faith not from millennia-old relics but from its current practice, a team of Pathfinders travels to the industrial seaside settlement to uncover the secret coven and infiltrate its services in the guise of prospective converts. Will the Pathfinders discover the knowledge they seek, or will the evil cult subvert them with its vile and seductive faith?

Written by Sam Zeitlin.

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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Average product rating:

4.50/5 (based on 17 ratings)

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If you liked Midnight Mirror...

4/5

My Experience

I ran this module for a table of five players at tier 7-8. The characters were a spellcasting cleric, two gunslingers, and two fighters, all in-tier. I am still learning to deal with high-level characters' abilities and don't have a lot of experience at that level yet.

The Good

There's a lot of roleplaying potential here. Like Midnight Mirror, which I allude to in the title of the review, the players can spend a lot of time just wandering around the town and interacting with people. A prepared GM can make this really, really engaging and fun. If you're prepared to go with the flow and let your players loose, then the first part of the scenario can be great.

The combats were challenging and difficult for the players. The ambiance through the second act - before the combats really break out - can be remarkably creepy. Like, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom's Cult of Kali creepy. If a GM has the time to make this come to life, it's an awesome experience.

The Bad

Time. If you're limited to a 4-hour slot, it's hard to do this scenario justice. I've read of situations where this scenario has gone to 7 or 8 hours and that doesn't surprise me. If a GM has to be prepared to run this properly, they also have to be prepared to hustle the players along.

The "Unique Treasure Item." I feel like there's supposed to be a huge moral quandary, and the choice to accept or not accept is supposed to be a real question. It wasn't, which was something of a disappointment. Perhaps a statement about the players themselves, but there's nothing in the scenario to suggest to them that they can still succeed without accepting it, so they didn't feel that there was a choice involved at all. It's a neat item, don't get me wrong, but it sort of seemed like a letdown at the table.

Conclusions

For GMs: Strike a balance between sandbox and guiding the players, and be prepared to improvise. Bring handouts of the town map and headshots (character cards work well) to help the players keep track of who's who.

For Players: don't be impatient for combat - you'll get there soon enough. Bring your most balanced socialite - Diplomacy, Bluff, and Knowledge (Local) are easily as important as that +14 to hit with your weapon of choice.

Overall Feegle Rating: Great potential in the hands of the right GM with the right mix of players, with massive potential to run long.


Hammer Horror Double Feature

5/5

Perspective: GM twice

A deep scenario that has that Hammer horror feel with all the right elements. The action takes place in a remote port with several manor houses, a run down inn and an asylum. In the background a sinister cult operates with impunity. Meaningful moral choices await our heroes.

There is a huge amount of role-play and background available in this one. It includes the details for many people, locations, clues and rumours. You could spend an entire session just on the role-play elements if you had the time. It almost feels like this was a full length module, that has been cut down to scenario length, and which has inherited a lot of the background detail.

It seems a shame to play this scenario in a single convention slot when there is enough potential role-play content for a double slot or leisurely home game.

The cult is well established, well organised and intelligently led. As you would expect from an evil cult they fight smart and dirty.

In short:
Story: complex, coherent, unpredictable
RP: strong throughout
Combats: thematic, unusual

Rich background and role-play elements complemented by a powerful and sinister cult plus a fun Hammer horror plot and a few nasty surprises. Unusually for a high tier scenario this is not a pure combat fest. Nice one.

Well above average prep required - even for high level scenarios. The challenge for the GM in a convention slot is to keep it moving and find ways to make it fit within the time available.


GM Perspective

5/5

Fun: (5) I had fun. Oh, did I have fun.

Story: (5) The story starts out how any investigation type starts but if you choose the right clues you can keep your players off guard depending on that route they take.

Combat: (5) The combats give the GM’s plenty of options to keep their players on their toes and not taking anything for granted. I enjoyed this. I had a full toolkit with nothing feeling wasted.

Roleplay: (5) The roleplay opportunities were fabulous and well mixed into the story. All of my players put this in their top 3 sessions of all time.

Challenge: (5) They felt pushed to their limits and I almost killed 2 of them, but they managed to scrape by just barely and come out with a win, a big win.

Overall: 5 (5 star) My word of warning if you spend too much time on the roleplay you will push this well out of the 4 hour mark. We took 5.5 hours, but we weren’t hammering the timers either. Just keep an eye on that clock at least.

Venture-Captain Dan Luckett (West Michigan)


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Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Just announced!

Shadow Lodge

Scheduled to run it first week in November, which maps does it use?

Paizo Employee Developer

Spoiler:
New map of Palin's Cove, new map of a new location, and Flip-Mat: Prison

Shadow Lodge

Thanks.

Digital Products Assistant

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


Good job Sam, will drop in a review this weekend.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I enjoyed this a lot Sam! Wow, well done!

Silver Crusade

Shattered Star GMs really need to check out this scenario. I'm not sure if it's an easy plug-in with the second half of that AP still coming, but there's a lot to mine here.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

spoiler::
Is there a reason that Charitos - a pathfinder - doesn't have a wayfinder? Or is it not something every pathfinder carries?

Grand Lodge

Pg. 7 - Palin's Cove stat block

Minor gripe, but the Base Value of Palin's Cove should be 1,400 gp, not 1,430. According to the Gamemastery Guide, when multiple settlement qualities and disadvantages affect the base value or purchase limit, you don't add them one at a time, but rather add the total percentage increased or decreased among all qualities and disadvantages before calculating. For this stat block, the author increased 1,000 gp base by 30% (Prosperous) to get 1,300, THEN increased that number by another 10% (strategic location) to get 1,430. Instead he should have just determined 40% increase of 1,000, or 1,400.

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