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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***½( ) (based on 16 ratings)

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Straightforward dungeon crawl

**( )( )( )

It's a straightforward dungeon crawl, that suffers from the common problem of pitting a single enemy against half a dozen PCs. Other than a powerful but completely random trap and the discussed-to-death story boon, nothing in particular stands out here.


Boons of Time

***( )( )

Refuge is a short combat based scenario with the most powerful boon PFS has ever offered.

The start of Refuge placed us against a unique foe and we weren't sure if we were going to TPK. It was also the best part of the scenario. Having said that, the guardian wasn’t protected enough.

”First Encounter Results”:
It died before it was able to act. We were able to buff, plan, and cherry pick how we approached it (archers can basically kill it from a distance). It should have been concealed inside, and we shouldn’t have had the opportunity to buff and plan, especially if the premise was to disarm everyone at the start of the scenario.

It’s kind of a dumb premise when you think about it. If you’re tough enough to kill the 1st encounter, the rest of the scenario will be a joke. And if you’re not tough enough, then the rest of the scenario will be insanely hard. It’s impossible to design the rest of the scenario appropriately like this.

The other encounters were fairly standard. The environment had very little to offer in terms of story or interest. The last encounter was poorly designed, especially the tactics.

”Last Encounter”:
The caster had poor tactics and a weak spell list. I grappled him (with my character that doesn’t even have Improved Grappling) and it was over. Even if I didn’t, the caster wasn't going to do much. That caster should have been conjuring monsters the entire time and sending a menagerie at us.

”Detailed Rating”:

Length: Super short(3 hours), especially for a 7-11, which is good.
Experience: Player with 5 powerful PCs at subtier 7-8.
Sweet Spot: TBD.
Entertainment: First encounter was entertaining. Standard faire besides that. (6/10)
Story: Some story about Lissala, but not much. (4/10)
Roleplay: Minimal roleplay. (3/10)
Combat/Challenges: I was told this was hard but for us it was easy. (6/10)
Maps: Standard. (4/10)
Boons: Mixed feelings, but in terms of power it doesn’t get much better. (10/10)
Uniqueness: Standard McGuffin scenario. 1st encounter was unique but could be improved. (3/10)
GM Preparation: TBD.
Secondary Condition: Was fair. (8/10)

Overall: The most notable aspect if this scenario was the boon. (5/10)


***( )( )


Epic fights, then gain a feat

****( )

Played in tier 7-8 with all veteran players and GM. Almost no roleplay, pure combats, but I love it!

There are four combats, all of them are pretty challenging but not overwhelming. Two power players died, and two almost died... but had a fun time, that's what PFS lacks in later seasons, strong fight in season 4 is must for epic adventures.


Actually... not bad!

****( )

I had a great time playing this with Mitch @ Endgame. Mitch was smart -- he may have heard us talking before the game, and realized we were all pretty much overly-prepared power-gamers who were going to brutalize the combat encounters (even though we were level 9s playing up). So, there was a lot of role play instead.

Spoiler:
We acted out some conversations with the angel, and spent a long time with the prisoners, etc. We even held court at the end, to try & convict the BBEG, because the NPCs wanted him dead but we had a paladin in our midst who wouldn't allow murder. All in all, the non-combat stuff was great fun.

The combat stuff was fun too, but each fight ended in just 2 rounds or so. We used Gloves of Reconnaissance to scout the rooms safely, and then had a complicated set of readied actions that foiled everything -- he even had the phantom steed ignoring the pews and getting a full charge, but our readies (involving teleporting away and reappearing surrounding the charger) foiled it. I was very happy that our GM allowed us to "foil" some of those fights like that, because lesser GMs would freak out and railroad us in various ways.

The only other thing to note is that I disagree with a previous post about the ochre rhomboid ioun stone. There is no complication or problem to "fix" or "errata" with this -- the module tells us that this custom item will work a certain way, and so it will. The end. It's a custom item, so the module author can make it work however he wants. If he wants the ioun stone to be susceptible to an Atonement in a special way, then it can be, because he made it up, from scratch! Of course our paladin refused this item, but the rest of us took it, and did indeed do the Atonement.

As a sidenote, I would point out for GMs that the version of Atonement that people should be using for this is the cheap version. There is an expensive version with costly material components that costs around 3000 GP, but right in the spell listing it has a specific call-out for magical alignment shifts (which this is), and the spell flags that as not needing to be the expensive version. If you are a GM who is charging players 3000 GP or 8 prestige to fix this, you really need to read the spell because you're ripping off those players!


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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

Paizo Employee 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, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics 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 Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game 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 Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game 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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