Pathfinder Society Scenario #4–12: The Refuge of Time (PFRPG) PDF

***½( ) (based on 16 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 7–11.

In the ruins of a fallen empire built on the power of sin lies the key to awakening a great evil from a time long gone. The Pathfinder Society isn't the only organization seeking this potent artifact, however, and the result of failure could mean disaster for the whole of Varisia and beyond.

Written by Steve Miller, RPG Superstar 2012 finalist.

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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PZOPSS0412E


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Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 16 ratings)

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Very nicely made... with one big issue.

****( )

Very much recommended as well-timed, rather easy to prepare game. Interesting and varied monster, good fight and amusing (if deadly) traps. BUT...

Spoiler:

The angel
The deva's a nice original idea but... setting aside the complexity involved in the wizard convincing an angel to its bidding (Cha contest, anyone?), his behaviour is quite odd. Why in hell when he does allow the "tomb robbers" inside he asks them to leave their stuff outside? It makes sense that he asks to leave the shrine's stuff inside, but not the other way around. And no players would accept the former, so they would need to fight it... which a Good PCs should not do in conscience. Same if they fail the very high diplo check(*).
So, change his behaviour, cause it makes no sense.

Faction missions issues 
Silver crusader have to steal and destroy a relic from within the shrine... which the angel should prohibit... and they're likely to be good. Misssion failed.

Andoran have to find a "local contact"... which is actually a Taldoran in Varisia. Duh. Mission Failed (for paying too much attention to the NPC!).

(*) At least the writer did a good job using decently high DC, but I pity the fool trying this at Level 7! Why oh why don't scenario always have varying DC per subtier??


****( )

This was a lot of fun! There was a "dungeon" of sorts but it was small and had plenty of open space. There were some truly nasty (in a good way) encounters but none felt impossible. One of my favorite things about this scenario was a certain object that could either bestow a buff or debuff purely based on chance. We almost lost a party member to it, but it was a nice touch. This was the first "high tier" scenario I've played in PFS and I enjoyed it.

The best thing about Refuge is that it had my favorite PFS formula - enough roleplaying and story to keep you interested and a few (but not too many) challenging yet balanced encounters. It also didn’t have constricting dungeon passageways that keep all but a few characters from being in on the action.

spoiler:
I feel like each PC had his or her time to shine. My rogue wished that we had spent more time having good, dirty fun in Kaer Maga. My friend’s cleric of Cayden Cailean wished for a boon for completely destroying the grave knight we encountered, but alas, there wasn’t one. I thought it was sort of funny that people in the party were clambering to put on a ioun stone that gave them a boon but forced them to pay for an atonement. For once my rogue decided not to be super greedy and it was for the best.


Changed my mind

*****

EDIT:
Having now read the scenario after playing it, I think it was not intended to be what I described it as, and what I described in my review was the doing of the GM, not of the scenario's intent.

For completeness, my un-edited review is within this spoiler tag:

Original review:
There was a lot of great stuff in this scenario (speaking from a player's perspective). However, there is one element of it which compels me to condemn the entire scenario.

****MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW****

Alright, if you've played any significant number of PFS scenarios, you know that sometimes all you're doing is killing everything that moves. Some scenarios do a great job of having a couple of really engaging combats, plus lots of noncombat content (like investigating murders or whatever) and time for roleplay, etc.

Better still are the scenarios where you reach a potential encounter, and you can fight it if you want, but you could also bypass/resolve it via diplomacy, trickery, or some other creative solution. These are the times when the game really comes alive, and you feel like your presence matters because your choices and capabilities determine what happens next, instead of every group always resolving it the same way no matter what.

And then there's this scenario. In this scenario, it gives you an encounter where you can obviously choose between fighting or bypassing: there's a bound angel guarding the only entrance to the temple. You can just kill him because he's in your way, or you can think like a real person and see about getting him to let you through.

Well, if you get him to let you pass, the BBEG at the end can call in a favor, forcing you to fight two encounters at once. That's right: trying to be nonviolent will get you killed.

This scenario *pretends* to offer chances for roleplay resolutions of your obstacles, but then punishes you for doing anything other than killing everything in your path. If you kill the angel on sight, you proceed through the scenario as normal. If you succeed at getting past him without resort to violence, the scenario punishes you by forcing a much harder encounter.

This scenario grabs players by the throat and screams "THE RIGHT WAY TO PLAY PATHFINDER IS TO KILL WHOEVER STANDS IN YOUR WAY" into your ears.

Seeing now how the scenario was supposed to go, it's actually pretty cool. The setting is well-thought-out, and the encounters are varied, challenging, and engaging. The graveknight in particular is a fun enemy, forcing the party to think on their feet and re-evaluate whatever "normal" tactics they're used to employing.


To the Point

****( )

I enjoyed running this scenario quite a bit. Unlike many of the Season 4 scenarios that take 5+ hours to run, this one should complete in under 4. It can be brutal though, if your party isn't prepared for it.

There is an interesting 'trap' a potentially very interesting RP/fight and some fun enemies inside.

The baddies are well thought out, but complex. This requires more than average prep time to correctly utilize their abilities in combat, but you save time on map drawing and story prep. Its a nice compact dungeon.

Very flavorful for this season's themes and enjoyed by myself and the one table I have ran it for so far. Even with a player death (he got better). Recommend - especially if you need/want a thematic Season 4 but don't have 1/2 a day to devote to it.


Interesting through and through

****( )

Ran as: Player, Fire Elemental Kin Barbarian, Level 9.

I found this scenario to be challenging and very interactive. We were a large party (6) and it did take a little bit of extra time with the boss at the end. There were deaths and cries of victory capped off with a very interesting choice at the end.

I liked the map on this one. It is compact but it works out really well for the adventure, unlike a few others that I have dealt with recently. As ZomB pointed out the bad guys were pretty smart on how they approached the party. Due to this I would take extra time to prep before running it as a GM.

I have not had a lot of time to play the Season 4 scenarios but I am very glad I found the time for this one.


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Contributor

Announced!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Woo Hoo!


It's Miller time!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Congrats!


Congrats.

The topic seems a bit heavy, though! Just how great an evil and how long ago?


Cheapy wrote:

Congrats.

The topic seems a bit heavy, though! Just how great an evil and how long ago?

Fallen empire, power of sin, great evil, Varisia. How many options are there, really? :)

Grand Lodge Contributor

Any clues whereabouts in Varisia this takes place. I'd like to slot it into my current campaign and would like to plan ahead :p

Dark Archive

Location guess

Spoiler:
Based on an earlier scenario I would say it is likely on Rivenrake island at Hollow Mountain

Digital Products Assistant

Now available! In the spirit of the all things awesome, we've moved up the release date of this month's scenarios. Happy Holidays! :)


You don't want to succeed at this adventure, really. Let the cultists do their thing. Wouldn't it be nicer just to sit at home over the long holiday off from work and just watch TV or play XBox or something? You really want to move about and have fun? Really? All to stop some cultists from their ... totally not evil plans?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This season, give the gift of rest.

rest:
No, SLOTH!

Grand Lodge Contributor

The conclusion of this adventure suggests that there is at least one more adventure following the other Lissala adventures this season, but I don't see anything like that in the remaining relases for season 4. When are we likely to see the conclusion of this 'arc of Sloth' of adventures?

Paizo Employee Developer

The following two parts of this metaplot series have not yet been announced. One will be released in the spring and the other in July, as the conclusion to the Year of the Risen Rune.

Grand Lodge Contributor

Aha! OK! Woohoo! Thanks!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'm curious about what Emketta would do if one of the PCs happened to openly worship Lissala. One example, openly displaying an unholy symbol of Lissala..

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Chris Ballard wrote:
I'm curious about what Emketta would do if one of the PCs happened to openly worship Lissala. One example, openly displaying an unholy symbol of Lissala..

I recommend

Spoiler:
Bluff vs Sense Motive if they just have the unholy symbol and no faith to back it up. If they are a true follower, let them pass. That PC can try to take on the following encounter solo.
Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Chris Ballard wrote:
I'm curious about what Emketta would do if one of the PCs happened to openly worship Lissala. One example, openly displaying an unholy symbol of Lissala..

That actually triggered some of the more interesting roleplay of the evening when I ran this. I had Emketta interrogate the bard who was displaying the Sihedron brand from [Redacted] about Lissala and the tenets of her faith. Fortunately, the character was fairly knowledgeable about the lore (he'd taken 20 at the start of the scenario on the Knowledge: Religion check) and was able to bluff his way past.

Of course, then he flubbed his bluff check against the BBEG (rolled a 2), whom promptly shouted out "They're spies, kill them!" to Emketta and made it a very interesting fight.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Update.

I ran the scenario again this past weekend.

This party, also a seven-player one, successfully bluffed their way past Emketta, again.

They then tried the same trick with the BBEG, again.

They then proceeded to pull both encounters and lost party members to a celestial tyrannosaurus, again.

Grand Lodge

DrSwordopolis wrote:
They then proceeded to pull both encounters and lost party members to a celestial tyrannosaurus, again.

Naroth is Evil he would summon a fiendish tyrannosaurus not a celestial one.

Also Summon Monster VII is in his spell book, but not on his prepared spell list for the day. I might be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure that you're supposed to play the module as written so the spells he has prepared are what he would bring into combat.

Someone feel free to correct me on that actually being a society requirement though.

Grand Lodge

MassivePauldrons wrote:
DrSwordopolis wrote:
They then proceeded to pull both encounters and lost party members to a celestial tyrannosaurus, again.

Naroth is Evil he would summon a fiendish tyrannosaurus not a celestial one.

Also Summon Monster VII is in his spell book, but not on his prepared spell list for the day. I might be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure that you're supposed to play the module as written so the spells he has prepared are what he would bring into combat.

Someone feel free to correct me on that actually being a society requirement though.

He has a bonded object, and casting Summon Monster 4 in a 10-11 scenario would be supremely stupid when he has 20 INT and is capable of casting Summon Monster 7.

The only truly broken thing about his module (and I'm surprised nobody has mentioned it) is that my level 8 character earned ~4000 for doing the module, and ~15000 for taking the stone and selling it after a party member used Remove Curse.

Silver Crusade

Can we say Runelord?

Paizo Employee Developer

The speaking of such a word is not forbidden, so sure.

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
FragerZ wrote:
The only truly broken thing about his module (and I'm surprised nobody has mentioned it) is that my level 8 character earned ~4000 for doing the module, and ~15000 for taking the stone and selling it after a party member used Remove Curse.

You cannot sell the ioun stone in this manner. It has a 0 gp resale value if it was gained without a gp cost to the PC.

Grand Lodge

Thanks for correcting me - I had looked for some sort of rule that would tell me I couldn't, but I had trouble finding it.

Grand Lodge

The magic item on page 14 has construction requirements like regular magic items, but doesn't list any kind of spell that needs to be cast as part of its crafting.

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