Pathfinder Society Scenario #4-EX: Day of the Demon (PFRPG) PDF

3.40/5 (based on 11 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3–7 (Tier 3–7; Subtiers 3–4 and 6–7).

The Blakros family, long an ally of the Pathfinder Society, has come into possession of a manor house in the imperial nation of Cheliax, where a once prominent noble family was known to practice diabolism before the Age of Lost Omens. The Pathfinders' task is simple: clear the abandoned manor of any remaining threats before the Blakroses move in. Unfortunately, the estate hasn't sat empty as long as the Blakroses think it has, and its recent inhabitants were anything but the devil-worshipers who originally built the manor.

"Day of the Demon" is an exclusive adventure to be run only by 4-star Pathfinder Society GMs, Venture-Captain and Venture-Lieutenant campaign volunteers, and Paizo staff for its first year.

Written by Larry Wilhelm.

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.

Note: This scenario has been updated from its exclusive version for public release and is now available as Pathfinder Society Scenario #5–14.

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3.40/5 (based on 11 ratings)

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Optional Fights are Stupid.

1/5

Asking level 3 PCs to bring 3rd-level spells with them or TPK said optional fight is also stupid.

PFS is already a hack-and-slashfest. Optional fights take up valuable time, they have from time to time been the toughest fight in the scenario, and too often the difficulty level of the module comes down to whether the GM chooses to run the optional fight. Here, the optional fight's tactics create a very lengthy, very swingy, and very TPK-possible fight.

That's just bad campaign design.

Shame, PFS. Shame.

-Matt


You will need at least 26 PP to play this scenario

4/5

10 for Body Recovery outside of a city, 16 for the Raise Dead.

I’ve GMed the scenario 4 times and I think I can give it a fair review now. The chief issue here is a difficult optional encounter. If it’s included in the scenario and the party isn’t well prepared then the result is likely a TPK nine times out of ten. If the optional encounter isn’t included the scenario is only mildly challenging. Player reviews are going to vary wildly as a result, so read them with that in mind.

To begin with, this is a good “Scooby-Doo” adventure. If I could read my players’ minds I’d probably hear exclamations of “Jinkies!” and “Zoinks!”. If you are looking for a creepy Halloween holiday location, an abandoned manor house with a history of diabolism fits the bill nicely.

The scenario is very flavorful and ties in tightly with the Pathfinder Society campaign. The location is visually interesting but sadly lacking in room-by-room details (damn you, word count limit!). The maps are great although I disagree with the scale. There is a single role-play opportunity but it is the central feature of the scenario and a lot of fun on both sides of the table. The faction missions are unremarkable. There are no railroad tracks; the encounters flow naturally until the big ‘reveal’ at the end. “I’d have gotten away with it all, if it wasn’t for you pesky kids!”

Lastly, “Day of the Demon” is a satisfying successor to the previous Exclusive “The Cyphermage Dilemma” which was a letdown. Thank you for farming it out to veteran contributor Larry Wilhelm. You did good, Larry.


Fun until everyone was dead

2/5

I am going to side with Zak on this one (and not just because I lost my favorite role-playing character and a racial boon in one surprise round and an attack of opportunity). It has been a few days so I am comfortable that this isn't just a knee-jerk reaction out of anger and spite (otherwise I would have found a way to give it a zero).

The atmosphere is really good, though the house itself can be really dull. Most rooms have nothing but fluff, there is no items, no secrets, nothing really to be found that merits having this massive sprawling lay-out. At first I was really excited that we'd really be uncovering some horror ala Lovecraft and soon we'd be facing some tough combats to come out wiser. Sometime after the third "you find dusty furniture and recently used stuff" description to our exploration, I honestly was kind of bored. A certain NPCs blatant build to prevent an early revelation was sort of b#!*+#%@, but hey we were only third level and no one had the spells to help reveal it (trying not to spoil it). Skill-wise it meant rolling a 25 or higher for those of us with max ranks/abilities. And not sure about you guys but my d20 doesn't have a 26 on it.

Skipped one combat, so I guess maybe we had a bit too much bravado as we continued. The creepiness came back as we moved on, enjoyed it. Failed a perception check by one or two and in that the whole battle devolved into the team being whittled down one or two at a time by a monster, who despite not being the boss apparently, was well over our level and with significant advantage in the lay-out of the dungeon. Had we one "silver key" spell, the tides would have turned; but we didn't and that is no player's fault it goes back to a designer who incorporated a monster well over APL, with significant advantages, with a single tactic to over-come it.

Needless to say, we didn't have that tactic down as we seemed to be limited to 3 characters designed mostly for role-playing scenarios like the Blackros matrimony and Murder on the Throaty Mermaid, 2 rape-barrians who lasted the longest (taking 3 whole attacks before falling) and a wizard who never casted. So we all died and boy was that not fun. I went from 24 HP to 4 to -18 in the span of the surprise round (due to failed perception check) and an attack of opportunity. Then we were told we needed resurrection and not raise dead and one guy literally tore all of his character sheets and chronicles in half and then more or less stormed out.

My suggestion here is that the 3-4 tier is probably in deep, deep trouble without the "right" spells. Anytime something can be described as "right" in a game like this, I strongly feel it is against the spirit of the game. There should never be a "right" set up, or a "right" solution to combat. Obviously a puzzle has a right solution but rarely do puzzles have sneak attack damage from a monster designed to deal out damage via sneak+AO. The whole time we got 1 point of damage against it which I felt the GM gave to us out of pity.

Looking back on it with some friends and discussing it further and more calmly, even then I had trouble finding a solution. Having the "right" spell would have helped, but it still would have lead to a few casualties unless you are the sort of person who meta-games. Plus the blocked escape route and other things meant running away literally impossible and even if you could the bodies of your fellow pathfinders would have to languish behind for a fate literally worse than death.

Needless to say, the Shadow Lodge will be hearing about this one.


Great atmosphere but ruthlessly punishes non-optimized parties at low tier

2/5

I played this in a group of 6, with primarily 3rd level PCs.

The haunted house atmosphere was wonderfully creepy, as was previously mentioned. What I saw of the investigation was fairly interesting and the main npc was fairly clever. I'd lovlow levelo see more of these types of things in future scenarios.

The combats were where things fell apart. The first one was interesting, forcing several types of builds to adapt to the conditions of the fightito remain effective, which wasn't a bad dynamic. One of the remaining fights was bypassed, one basically resulted in a TPK, and another finished off the only PC who was able to get away from the other. I don't know how much of this came down to the listed tactics and how much of it was the GM being vindictive. The fight that ended up wiping out our party was against a CR 6 monster, in conditions optimal for the monster which severely hindered any attempts at escape by the PCs. The GM then disallowed the use of Riase Dead by any of the characters, due to the out-of-the-way location of the scenario. Again, I dont know if this was in the scenario itself, or if our GM was completely out to ruin the day of some low-level players.

Part of our difficulty was down to party make-up and low APL, which aren't really under the control of the players. That particular fight is extremely reliant on having multiple methods of shutting down the monster in order to stand a chance at low tier, which is incredibly punishing for 3rd level characters. We were losing about 1 party member per round, from full health to dead. The lack of escape route and means of recovering your character afterwards (no low-tier character is going to be able to afford a Resurrection) make it plain that this was designed to remove low-level characters from the game in a way that just inspires player resentment.


Average

3/5

I will have to agree with Jason's post. Overall the Haunted house idea and the slight twists were a great idea but the combats were not challenging at all especially the final combat.


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Sovereign Court

I just got back from playing this, it was tough, I have trouble seeing how a party of appropriate level standard pathfinder characters can survive this.

Spoiler:
We played this at the low tier although I brought a 6th level character, we couldn't survive the 4th fight because no one could overcome the darkness. I don't see how 3rd level characters which everyone else brought could be expected to be prepared to cast daylight or a similar spell.

This was fun but difficult when not power-gaming.


Matt Seay wrote:

I just got back from playing this, it was tough, I have trouble seeing how a party of appropriate level standard pathfinder characters can survive this.

** spoiler omitted **
This was fun but difficult when not power-gaming.

I've run it three times with no power builds present, including once with essentially all pregens (one was a cleric who was worse than pregen Kyra, the other three were pregen bard, pregen druid, and pregen paladin) and they won every time. The pregen party actually annihilated the scenario, with the surest win of any of the groups (the other two times were touch-and-go, but they were playing up with 5 characters that averaged to level 5 both times and never had any level 7s, and they had to fight the 6 player 6-7 version--

Spoiler:
which has 3 babaus instead of 1.

One thing--it's not deeper darkness, only darkness, so if nobody in the party has darkvision, you can beat it with the 2nd level spells darkvision or alter self, and any character can spend 2 PP for an oil of daylight, which I generally recommend, along with a potion of fly if you're melee, ASAP. Blind-fight is a big help too if you have it--it makes fighting in the dark not so bad.


uncleden wrote:

I just got my 4th star over the weekend. What is the process for this to show up in my downloads?

Den

I am in the same boat; got my 4th star over the weekend. Some folks are itching for me to run this exclusive. Do I need to do something special to get access to this scenario?

Thanks

Rod

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Matt Seay wrote:

I just got back from playing this, it was tough, I have trouble seeing how a party of appropriate level standard pathfinder characters can survive this.

** spoiler omitted **
This was fun but difficult when not power-gaming.

The fight in question:
Let's see...

One-third of playable races in PFS are completely uninhibited by darkness.
Darkvision is a 2nd-level spell, thus not beyond reason to have access to at 3rd-4th level. It's also a mere 300gp as a potion, and anyone with at least 5 Fame (at 3rd level and up, that's everyone) can purchase it as such.
An oil of daylight costs 750gp or 2PP, so anyone could have that as well.

• If anyone just happens to be playing a dwarf, half-orc, tiefling or aasimar, they aren't even slowed down by darkness.
• If anyone has access to darkvision (whether as a spell or as a potion), then they merely need to spend a turn responding to darkness and then they're fine.
• If even one person in the entire party brought an oil of daylight, then the entire party gets to fight in bright light, end of story.


These are trained field agents of an organization whose daily operations include exploring and dungeon-delving. Expecting that after having completed six missions (the minimum before being eligible for this one), such an agent would be carrying a few solutions to common hazards... well, I wouldn't really call that "power-gaming". I'd call that "roleplaying a campaign-appropriate concept".

Digital Products Assistant

If you've received your fourth GM star, and do not have this scenario, please email Mike Brock (mike.brock@paizo.com).


I've read this post a few times and I apologize if I'm taking it the wrong way, but it's comes across to me as: "If you're playing a 3rd or 4th level character and aren't prepared for this hazard, you're an idiot." (Or at least, you're a poor player.) I think that's a bad stance and here's why.

Races:
Jiggy wrote:
One-third of playable races in PFS are completely uninhibited by darkness.

If your point is that one-third of any given party is playing a race with darkvision, I think you're making a false correlation between the numbers and reality. I've played and judged 160+ PFS scenarios and the number of PCs with darkvision has been far less than 33%. And if it weren't for the power creep of the aasimar, I'd have seen even fewer. (Aasimar seem to be everywhere these days.)

If your point is that people should be playing more races with darkvision...well, people are going to play what they like to play. If that's a race without darkvision, it's their choice and shouldn't be penalized for it. (Though they need to understand their limitations and prepare for it.)

Your mileage may vary, but that's what I've seen.

Spell:
Jiggy wrote:
Darkvision is a 2nd-level spell, thus not beyond reason to have access to at 3rd-4th level. It's also a mere 300gp as a potion, and anyone with at least 5 Fame (at 3rd level and up, that's everyone) can purchase it as such.

It's not beyond reason to have the spell, but how many 3rd or 4th characters are going to tie up a 2nd level slot -- their highest spell slot -- for something that might come up?

PCs can buy a potion of darkvision, but that's roughly 10% of a 3rd level PC's gold. And you're talking about an item that is a contingency item; most of the time, an ioun torch is just fine for dark conditions.

By 3rd or 4th level, most PCs are going to be looking at purchasing a wand of cure light wounds, masterwork weapon(s), masterwork armor, potions of cure light wounds. Magic armor, magic weapons, and a cloak of resistance are in the realm of possibility, too. All that stuff can be used all the time -- not just some of the time -- and at 3rd or 4th level will quickly beggar a character.

What about other contingency items? Have a run in with harpies (Silken Caravan)? Well, you might think you need a potion of fly and/or some form of protection from evil. How about an allip (Black Waters)? Getting a magic weapon (or the ability to make your weapon magic) is high on your list, unless you want to be useless against incorporeal creatures.

My point is this: There are only so many PPs and so much gold to spend at low levels and a lot of things that happen occasionally, that it's hard to be prepared for all of them.

Oil:
Jiggy wrote:
An oil of daylight costs 750gp or 2PP, so anyone could have that as well.

See above.

Responding to the hazard:
Jiggy wrote:
If anyone has access to darkvision (whether as a spell or as a potion), then they merely need to spend a turn responding to darkness and then they're fine.

In general, you're right. If a PC has access to a potion of darkvision, they'll be a round behind, but overall, OK.

For Day of the Demon, the quarters are tight and drinking a potion provokes an attack of opportunity, as does retrieving it unless you have a handy haversack. In this case, it's from a creature that threatens at 5 and 10 ft., has combat reflexes, and has sneak attack. It's not unreasonable for a PC to get smacked twice trying to pull and drink a potion. That's a lot of hurt. (Average 36 points, including sneak, with two hits from the spear.) (And heaven forbid, you're trying to do this at high tier, with multiple babaus threatening you.)

Jiggy wrote:
These are trained field agents of an organization whose daily operations include exploring and dungeon-delving. Expecting that after having completed six missions (the minimum before being eligible for this one), such an agent would be carrying a few solutions to common hazards... well, I wouldn't really call that "power-gaming". I'd call that "roleplaying a campaign-appropriate concept".

Trained field agents:
It's all well and good in theory to say folks are trained field agents, but the reality is a bit different. These are players who are coming out to play a game, many of whom are only casual players and only play PF RPG rules in PFS settings. And it's the player who decides on what to buy for their character.

I cannot stress enough that until you run into the bad side of darkness, you don't know how bad -- and deadly -- it can be. By then, it may be too late for your character. In Day of the Demon, given the terrain and the fact that the babau can cast darkness at will, you have a recipe for disaster for an inexperienced or unprepared group.

One last thing about PFS play:
You can't count on your party members. Well, to be more clear: You can't count on showing up to a PFS event and having X at your table, whether X is a cleric, a fighter, a rogue, a wizard -- whatever. (Unless, of course, you game with a regular group.) Because of that, you need to have a bit of a lone wolf approach to preparing for contingencies. No one else may have daylight, darkvision, the ability to fly -- whatever -- so you need to be able to take care of yourself. This is both costly (PP or gold) and takes some intiative on the player's part to understand and plan for these contingencies.

You are going to see widely varying degrees of preparedness of the players. (Do you know what it's like to face two encounters in a mod against incorporeal creatures at Tier 7-8 with a 4-person party and with a fighter without a magic weapon? I do. It ain't pretty.) When PCs can't contribute, the fight becomes that much harder for those that can.

As for the mod, I do not necessarily think that either the creature or the hazard in question is inappropriate or overpowering. I don't have a problem with the mod, though I think at low tier you're going to see a lot of PC deaths. I do think that trivializing the danger because there are half a dozen ways around is a stretch.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Jeffrey Stop wrote:
I've read this post a few times and I apologize if I'm taking it the wrong way, but it's comes across to me as: "If you're playing a 3rd or 4th level character and aren't prepared for this hazard, you're an idiot." (Or at least, you're a poor player.)

Good thing that's not even remotely close to what I said, then.

I didn't say "If you're not prepared, you're an idiot/poor player."

I said "If you ARE prepared, that doesn't make you some kind of dirty power-gamer."

"Doing X does not make me bad" is waaaaaay different than "NOT doing X makes YOU bad."

So apparently it's okay for someone to openly criticize people who play the "prepared field agent" concept, but to defend oneself or others with "We're not having badwrongfun" constitutes calling other people idiots or poor players.


Jiggy wrote:
Good thing that's not even remotely close to what I said, then.

Ah, well, then again I apologize. It's not the first time I've been wrong and, sadly, it won't be the last.

Jiggy wrote:
So apparently it's okay for someone to openly criticize people who play the "prepared field agent" concept, but to defend oneself or others with "We're not having badwrongfun" constitutes calling other people idiots or poor players.

That wasn't my intent, but given that I misconstrued your post it's a fair criticism of my post.

Dark Archive

Does this become legal for non 4-star GMs on Jan 26th and legal for regular play?


Mazlith wrote:
Does this become legal for non 4-star GMs on Jan 26th and legal for regular play?

Usually the old EX becomes a regular scenario when the new EX comes out. I don't remember how accurate previous dates have been, but assuming that date is accurate then it should, yes.

Dark Archive

GAR! Release date moved to Feb 26th? I was planning to run this in early February.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Just got my run of it in today, looking forward to maybe a second table before it becomes a regular scenario. All my experience has been at 3-4 subtier, and while the story is pretty awesome, the overall mission is perhaps a bit lackluster. Need to practice this one a bit more I think.

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