Although the scenario starts in Magnimar with a briefing by Sheila Heidmarch, Feast of Sigils otherwise takes place entirely in the city of Kaer Maga. I've already expressed my certainty that City of Strangers
is the best Pathfinder book ever, so I was pretty stoked to finally play an adventure there. Unfortunately, the scenario doesn't make much use out of the city, as the bulk of it takes place indoors and could be set in the rough-and-tumble area of pretty much any city. The reason the PCs are sent to Kaer Maga is that the Pathfinder Society has gotten a lead that a group of cultists who worship Lassala (the ancient Thassilonian goddess of runes and sigils) are at work trying to wake Runelord Krune from his centuries of slumber. The lead came from a sex worker in Kaer Maga, and the PCs are asked to make contact with her and then track down and destroy the cult. The stakes are thus pretty high in this scenario (probably the highest I've seen outside of a special), as Golarion does *not* want a Runelord running around!
The journey from Magnimar to Kaer Maga is handwaved, and the PCs presumably start at a brothel called the Blushing Rose in order to meet their contact. Miss Feathers is a transgender sex worker, and I'm impressed at how well the scenario handles both facets of her life. Neither is treated with derision or condescension, and I think it's great to see some genuine diversity in RPGs. Miss Feathers explains to the PCs that several fellow sex workers have gone missing after attending a notorious drug den in the city. The drug of choice for the establishment is lethe, a powerful narcotic which allows people to temporarily forget painful memories.
Presumably, the PCs head to the lethe house. The scenario has been pretty straightforward and railroady so far, but once in the lethe house, things get more complicated. The PCs see about a dozen users circulating the lobby of the place, while a foul-smelling dwarf named Drollis waddles around giving away samples of lethe. Of course, Drollis isn't doing this out of the kindness of his heart: he wants to lure lethe customers into taking part in a "wholly consensual" religious ceremony in the back room--a ceremony that just so happens to steal pieces of their souls! The most interesting part of Feast of Sigils when I played it was, as a group, trying to figure out what to do once we got into the lobby of the lethe house. It was clear something was up, but should we attack? Should we try to sneak into the back room? Should we wait around and volunteer for the ceremony? There are a lot of ways to approach things without one obvious answer, which I always like in scenarios.
If the PCs do stick around to participate in the ceremony, or otherwise spy on it, they'll see that participants sit around a table marked with the infamous seven-pointed sihedron star. A ritual knife is used to draw blood and coat a wafer, but the participants don't realize that they've just been magically drained of some of their life-force in an ancient ritual called the Feast of Sigils. The cult of Lissala is collecting the "sigil wafers" in a bid to restore Runelord Krune once he awakens, because whoever eats a sigil wafer gains the drained life-force. When I played the scenario, some of us did participate in the ritual and the GM did an impressive job describing it and making it suitably creepy. It's a reminder to myself that adding detail and atmosphere to the literal writing of a scenario makes it that much better.
Anyway, one way or another, the PCs will realise that across a back alleyway from the lethe house is another building owned by the cult. On the first floor are dozens of unconscious, drug-addled victims whose life-force is being regularly drained. Here, the PCs can rescue the missing sex workers and many others. The place is guarded, however, by some nasty flamestrike traps and lighting bolt shooting "war wisps," and my group was wrecked. Tough fights for groups that aren't prepared and very, very cautious.
We penetrated into the basement below where the head priestess of the cult had her ritual altar. The battle here was more traditional, but a forbiddance spell around the area was a cruel equalizer. It was an exciting and memorable conclusion to the scenario, and I'm still not 100% sure how we all made it out of there alive.
The boon on the Chronicle is one of the very beast I've ever seen: it provides a +2 profane bonus to one ability score (player's choice) for one year of real time. It does shift the PC's alignment one step toward evil unless an atonement is received (on the premise that the character is eating someone else's sigil wafer to gain their life-force), but that's still worth while! Alas, I had credit assigned to my Paladin PC and there's no way he would eat the wafer. I imagine this is one of those Season Four super-boons that I've heard used as an argument against unlimited replay.
All in all, I really liked Feast of Sigils. It has high-level threats for high-level characters, a novel storyline, and some interesting decision-making for players. I do wish it made more out of Kaer Maga and was perhaps a little longer in the "investigation" area (some groups could just plow straight through, combat-combat-combat and be done relatively quickly).
The moral of the story: stay away from drugs, kids. They're a plot by evil cultists to steal your soul!