Pathfinder Society Scenario #4–21: Way of the Kirin (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3–7.

On the eastern continent of Tian Xia, the Pathfinder Society remains a small player in the greater political landscape, but Amara Li, head of the Lantern Lodge in the teeming city of Goka, has plans to change that. In order to secure the Pathfinder Society's place as an influential organization on the far side of the world from the Grand Lodge in Absalom, she must orchestrate an alliance with the mysterious Way of the Kirin. But the longtime rival of the Pathfinder Society, the Aspis Consortium, has plans to form an alliance of its own, and if the consortium succeeds, the Pathfinder Society's hopes of cementing their place in the Dragon Empires could be dashed forever.

Written by Dennis Baker.

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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Memorable in every aspect

5/5

I didn't exactly know what to expect from Way of the Kirin based on the small description. If I had to guess before starting the session, I would have said this would be a social scenario where you would help Amara Li talk to people and leave a good impression. At the same time, you'd have to root out the Aspis and in true Pathfinder spirit persuade them to go away.

To some extend this is true. There certainly is some diplomacy to be done, but it is definitely not the main focus of the scenario. Instead Way of the Kirin is one of those rare scenarios where you end up finding yourself at a location and forced to create defensive matters. Once you've set up, you obviously have to defend yourself against waves of enemies and basically try to stay alive to tell the tale.

As is normal for such a scenario, it's nice to have a mixture of skill monkeys and heavy hitters. As such I was happy I brought an investigator to the table. Together with another skill monkey, we managed to figure out what kind of 'special' defenses we could set up and we happily did so. We were all able to work together and set up a nice defence just in time for a tea ceremony, of all things. Even the nagaji cleric with an intelligence of 5 managed to brew up some alchemical goodies, albeit it with some pointers. Everyone was able to participate in organising the defence, which is always a good thing.

The highlight for me personally this scenario, was finding a bronze bathtub. I know that sounds strange, but it is true. I didn't think much of it at the time as I was busy setting up defences by building a catapult, but surely it would come in handy as a barricade of sorts, right? We weathered a few waves of foes, when some nasty ranged opponents caught us completely off guard. Thankfully we had some minor cover of a certain bronze bathtub, or so we thought . Sadly that's also when the bathtub betrayed us. Not only did it fail to provide enough cover as the enemies somehow kept hitting us over and over again (the GM's dice were hot), but it also blocked the path of our heavy hitters. Bad bathtub, bad!

After surviving that wave of enemies, we received word that we were needed elsewhere. We were about to leave when some casters started distracting us. My investigator, a bit annoyed by the bathtub, asked if she could just launch the thing as a parting gift and because of the 'rule of cool'. The GM allowed it and we all started laughing when I subsequently rolled a natural 20 on my to hit, which I then easily confirmed as well. Turns out bathtubs make terrible cover, but excellent ammunition.

As you can tell by the example given above, I had a blast playing this scenario. While my combat participation was limited, I helped setting things up for others to finish. As such everyone had his or her moment to shine and this scenario is a perfect example that every kind of character is useful in his or her own unique way. The combats themselves can be rather brutal, hectic and challenging. It might not be as lethal as some other season 4 scenarios, but it should not be underestimated. In the end this scenario just works and checks off every box: combat, roleplay and investigation. To the author I say well done, to everyone else I simply recommend playing this scenario if you haven't already.


Good Tian Xia flavor, memorable combats

5/5

Kirin is one of the better Tian Xia flavor module, even after the Lantern Lodge is retired.

The story starts of going to meet an old samuri, the tea party is flexable and in good atmosphere thanks to our lovely GM. I would suggest to do the faction missions, can make up a brillant meeting.

Then, the good air suddenly change into a DOTA game! Nervous, heroic, and well-paced. Also with some well-designed fights, for not prepared team can be a little difficult but full of zeal. Both tiers are recommended.


A Worthy Send Off for the Lantern Lodge

4/5

Even playing this scenario 2 years after the Lantern Lodge retired… I’m very glad I did. This is a very good combat based scenario.

Unlike previous scenarios, it had Tian flavor (at the tea ceremony) and in truth, I really wish this section was expanded upon more, because it had the potential for fun. In the end, I was surprised by the question and it was over before I knew it.

The combat is fairly challenging in this scenario, especially at subtier 6-7. However, I would have it no other way and it will surely be memorable at this subtier.

My only suggestion would have been to explain to ALL factions the reason the Lantern Lodge was leaving, not just to Lantern Lodge members. I appreciated it when the GM read the box text that was supposed to be for the Lantern Lodge only.

Spoiler:

Length: Medium-long. We finished in 4 hours without doing the optional combat.
Experience: Player with 4 players at subtier 6-7 (2 pregens).
Sweet Spot: Subtier 6-7 if your characters are up to the challenge.
Entertainment: Great Tian flavor and images. (9/10)
Story: Tian flavored escort mission. (8/10)
Roleplay: A LITTLE more would have been welcome. (4/10)
Combat/Challenges: Decent variety, fun, challenging at subtier 6-7. Interesting ways to make it easier. The enemies are very well designed. (9/10)
Maps: Good. (8/10)
Boons: Nice. (10/10)
Uniqueness: Somewhat unique. (7/10)

Overall: A fun combat scenario dripping with Tian flavor. (8/10).


Thumbs Up

4/5

Played this at high tier.

I enjoyed this a lot even if it is very specific and there isn't much to do other than defend a house from an invading force. There is some roleplay but not enough really.

The defence of the house reminded me of Nesting Swallows but better. I didn't feel that the encounters here were too tough. I am sick to death of grapple opponents though. Grapple and darkness are so overused in PFS to the point of boredom.

Even so, I enjoyed this one a lot.


Good premise, so-so execution

3/5

Played this on low tier. This was an interesting scenario. Story and premise are solid, but they work best if the players are into Golarion lore.

The tea ceremony was interesting; our GM (Maglor) made us think about what we'd done and how to demonstrate that it showed us to be honourable.

I thought the fights were so-so. Maybe they're more interesting at high tier; at our tier the minions had some tricks but they didn't really feel like special tricks. All in all it felt a bit easy.

The idea of defending the house against waves of enemies fell a bit flat, I think, for several reasons. One is that interaction with the mass of enemies outside is too abstract. Basically, without AoE attacks you can't do anything, even if you have archers that can normally inflict quite a bit of hurt. Second, I thought there should maybe have been more waves of enemies, or pressure to defeat a wave before the next wave hits.

The BBEG went down rather quickly, although it did look like he could dish out some hurt if we'd given him more time. I think that's disappointing; I'd rather have a tenacious boss that trades blows for a while with the party and requires some more tactics to beat, than one that maybe drops some PCs but gets smeared pretty quickly himself as well.

Overall I thought the scenario was okay, but I wasn't deeply impressed. Maybe it's because the whole Lantern Lodge storyline was over before I got into PFS.


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Lantern Lodge

[sarcasm]It is good to know that paizo rewards players who spend the time building a back story over the past two years based around a samurai's devotion to the Lantern Lodge by completely removing their faction from play and forcing him to decide between leaving the Inner Sea for good and committing ritual suicide.[/sarcasm]
This will be the last scenario I will be purchasing and I will not be participating further in Pathfinder Society after August 14th. I am very disappointed with Paizo's decision.

Shadow Lodge

It's good to know that some players are so hidebound that they can't see this as the culmination of their characters work instead of a betrayal of their faithfulness by the staff.

Thank you for your time, and I wish you luck in your future endeavors.

Liberty's Edge

Quick question about "out of tier"... does this mean below tier as well as over tier, or do we just do the "typical" thing and hold the chronicle until the character hits, in this case, 3rd level?

Just checking... pretty sure i knew the answer already.

Lantern Lodge

"By my glorious mustache, I have sworn an oath of service to Master Amara Li and the Lantern Lodge. To that end will only come by my death, be it by my enemy's blade or my own." -Dr. Corneleus Theophylus Idaho, (former) Samurai of the Lantern Lodge.

Read through the scenario. Sounds pretty intense. Still upset about it, but I'm sure I'll get over it.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I'm GMing this today for a party completely composed of Lantern Lodge PCs. Kind of awesome.

Amara Li has a posse.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
S. Werner wrote:

A couple of spoilery questions about one of the stat blocks:

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks.

Looking at the calculations, it looks like his CMD is 24 because of

:
the 2nd part of his Style feats (Snapping Turtle Clutch)

Paizo Employee Developer

TriOmegaZero wrote:

I'm GMing this today for a party completely composed of Lantern Lodge PCs. Kind of awesome.

Amara Li has a posse.

I'm eager to hear how this went!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

We had a couple last minute additions (Sczarni and Shadow Lodge) but it was still a good party. Check out wvpolarbear's review as he was one of my players.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

So, I thought I would share a weird thing that happened last night when I ran this. Spoilers

Spoiler:
So, this was playing up, but the players did well enough to only get one strangler in the first wave. The strangler came through the second window (the one that the gnome bard was guarding), grappled the gnome, and during next round started to pin him and was going to attempt to tie him up as the next action. Two of the party (a barbarian and a gunslinger) was running to his rescue when the gnome had a brilliant (but crazy idea). He dropped his inspire courage and stared a fascinate on the brawler. I rolled so horribly...and mentally cringed as the brawler just sat there enthralled by the gnome's soothing voice. I had this BAD image of a kid with a teddy bear.

Needless to say, the gnome was able to tell the group that he has this one covered and go finish the rest of the first wave. And once the group got rid of the conscripts, I just hand waved the dispatching of the strangler.

That I think was the first time I have seen fascinate do so well stopping what could have been a BAD fight.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Waldergrave Valmer wrote:

So, I thought I would share a weird thing that happened last night when I ran this. Spoilers

** spoiler omitted **

Just as a note - your player should have failed:

"Fascinate (Su): At 1st level, a bard can use his performance to cause one or more creatures to become fascinated with him. Each creature to be fascinated must be within 90 feet, able to see and hear the bard, and capable of paying attention to him. The bard must also be able to see the creatures affected. The Distraction of a nearby combat or other dangers prevents the ability from working. For every three levels a bard has attained beyond 1st, he can target one additional creature with this ability."


I just played this tonight and was pretty frustrated. Its possible my GM left out some critical information that would have helped make sense of this. The first hour was prepping for a siege. Cool concept. Love the premise. Here were the problems in the execution:

:

The mission was framed as an escort mission. We did some shopping. For an escort mission. We arrive at our destination and discover its a Rorkes Drift/Aliens 2 mission. So I hit my first major complaint. The mission giver couldn't have told us we were going to be defending from an assault? We could have bought supplies like greek fire, smoke bombs, or whatever.
Now we have an hour or so to prep defenses. How did we know an assault was coming? The GM never mentioned this but perhaps it was in the mod somewhere.
Complaint #2. The mission giver hired us the DAY BEFORE. If time was so critical, why didn't we leave THAT DAY?
Complaint #3. This was a big one. If you didn't have knowledge:engineering, or craft: traps, or maybe knowledge:survival, you pretty much sat on your thumbs during the prep for the assault. Again, this could have been our GM, but most of my party spent the prep feeling useless. To know what I consider pretty much the Gold Standard for this sort of scenario, try and find a copy of the Tides Of Dread from the Savage Tide adventure path. Same basic scenario (pirate assault coming, prepare a villages defenses), but a LOT more options and ways to be helpful.
Complaint #4. This isn't as big, but always a pet peeve in any adventure. The NPCs are morons/jerks. The mission giver did NOTHING to contribute to her own survival or the one guy we held the tea ceremony with. Also: There's a force coming to assault the house and we're holding a TEA CEREMONY?!
Complaint #5. The assault force arrives. The NPCs immediately leave. Half the table was like "Fine, we go with them." "Thats not your mission." So we are defending an EMPTY house? Apparently so.
Complaint #6. Nothing you did mattered. The house got burned downed ("Four sorcerors begin bombarding the house with fireballs.") and the NPCs are intercepted by the Big Bad.

I mean. Really. Once again. 5th Module in Savage Tides. Check it out for how to do this right.


Slaughterwombat wrote:


** spoiler omitted **...

lol. i have the same complaints about the npcs and the house

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Slaughterwombat:
Quote:

The mission giver couldn't have told us we were going to be defending from an assault? We could have bought supplies like greek fire, smoke bombs, or whatever.

Now we have an hour or so to prep defenses. How did we know an assault was coming? The GM never mentioned this but perhaps it was in the mod somewhere.

Amara Li was supposed to tell you that you were going to be security for the meeting. Basically her Secret Service. She did not know there would be a siege. You were just there as a precaution.

Quote:
Complaint #2. The mission giver hired us the DAY BEFORE. If time was so critical, why didn't we leave THAT DAY?

You were hired weeks before. You had to travel to Dtang Ma from Absalom, and only arrived within teleport distance the day before the meeting.

Quote:
Complaint #3. This was a big one. If you didn't have knowledge:engineering, or craft: traps, or maybe knowledge:survival, you pretty much sat on your thumbs during the prep for the assault. Again, this could have been our GM, but most of my party spent the prep feeling useless. To know what I consider pretty much the Gold Standard for this sort of scenario, try and find a copy of the Tides Of Dread from the Savage Tide adventure path. Same basic scenario (pirate assault coming, prepare a villages defenses), but a LOT more options and ways to be helpful.

Craft skills can be used untrained. Not much help, but I didn't even know that for my run of this scenario either. You also did not need to use skills to barricade windows, just effort.

Quote:
Complaint #4. This isn't as big, but always a pet peeve in any adventure. The NPCs are morons/jerks. The mission giver did NOTHING to contribute to her own survival or the one guy we held the tea ceremony with. Also: There's a force coming to assault the house and we're holding a TEA CEREMONY?!

The tea ceremony is a proper custom of their culture when entertaining formal guests. Neither Amara Li or Ito Tsuneo were aware of the impending attack until the party noticed the ships burning.

Now, if you would have liked Amara Li and Ito to have killed all the badguys and left the PCs just watching twiddling their thumbs, that's fine. But scenarios are written with the idea that the PCs are the stars and get to do the heroic things. There can be NPCs doing things in the background, but only what the PCs do matter to the success of the scenario.

Quote:
Complaint #5. The assault force arrives. The NPCs immediately leave. Half the table was like "Fine, we go with them." "Thats not your mission." So we are defending an EMPTY house? Apparently so.

One, it is Ito's childhood home. The Society would lose a lot of face letting it burn down. Two, Ito tells the party he needs time to conduct the ritual to summon aid. If the entire force were to follow you down into the cave, there would likely be no time for the ritual.

Quote:
Complaint #6. Nothing you did mattered. The house got burned downed ("Four sorcerors begin bombarding the house with fireballs.") and the NPCs are intercepted by the Big Bad.

The house did not get burned down by the fireballs. It specifically does little damage while being flashy. It is meant to be a distraction while Mikogu is attacking Amara Li and Ito in the cave.

I encourage you to get a copy of the scenario and compare what you remember of the session to what is written in it. I believe you have some legitimate complaints, but not all of them are with the adventure as written.

Grand Lodge

S. Werner wrote:

A couple of spoilery questions about one of the stat blocks:

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks.

About the CMD:
I know this is old and the original author isn't likely to see or care about this, but this is for anyone like myself who goes through these threads to find errata.

As far as I can tell, the extra +1 to CMD is likely coming from the Snapping Turtle Clutch feat, and the stat block is written as if they've already entered that style.

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