Pathfinder Society Scenario #4–22: Glories of the Past—Part I: Halls of Dwarven Lore (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 5–9.

The dwarven sky citadel of Janderhoff in eastern Varisia is one of the least visited settlements in the land, at least by non-dwarves. Nevertheless, the Pathfinder Society has been invited to assist in the excavation of a forgotten ruin within the large underground complex. What the fearless adventurers stand to find within could be the greatest discovery of the Age of Lost Omens, something sure to immortalize all involved in the pages of the Pathfinder Chronicles for ever more. But the ruins under Janderhoff aren't the end of the Pathfinders' journey; rather they illuminate a treacherous path ahead, from the familiar land of Varisia into much more dangerous territory.

Written by Tork Shaw.

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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Don't look directly at it

1/5

I've played this once at high tier, and I've GM'd it at high tier, so I'm going to try to address this from both a player and GM's perspective.

Since it'd be impossible to discuss the good and bad of the scenario without spoiling it, read the following at your own risk.

Away we go:

Setting:

Player - We get to explore ancient dwarven ruins, previously occupied by the cult of Droskar? Cool. We have to spend of our time riding an elevator? Um... cool? Another team went in first? Slightly less cool. Droskari lore, and uniquely dwarven things, only show up like twice? Lame.

I guess this is the main problem with the module, unlike the excellent third part of this series, it feels like we're in a generic dungeon. We never get a sense that this place is truly ancient or menacing. The elevator is a cool gimmick, but it wears thin as the scenario stretches on.

GM - There's not much to say here. It's a dungeon. A particularly empty dungeon. Unless you want to put in a lot of work adding interesting sights, and sounds, this is about as boring as you can get.

Fights:

Player -

1. Traps. I understand why they're here, it makes sense, I just hate the things. They slow down movement, and rarely do anything other than burn some CLW wand charges.

2. Why? Why are there Fey in a dwarven ruin? Why are these Fey so annoying? The enemies here are fans of the "let's cast tons of crowd control spells, forcing this fight to go on forever, by preventing half of the PCs from acting" school of thought. It's just annoying, and poor design. Not challenging. More wasted CLW wand charges.

3. Yes. This fight is awesome. The elevator starts flooding, which added a fantastic sense of urgency to the combat. My Gunslinger had to draw his sword for the first time since 1st level. The flooding made the non-construct enemies a legitimate threat, and the constructs were great. I enjoyed this fight so much I've thrown similar fights into home games I've run.

4. Common undead with class levels, one of whom can't even move? Really? That's it? Also, I just killed a ghoul disguised as a vampire, disguised as a human? What.

5. The puzzle is okay. Not good, not bad, just okay.

GM -

1. I still dislike traps. The ridiculous amount on the first level forces players to spend an insane amount of time searching every other level for traps. Complete waste of time. Not much else to say.

2. The justification for why these guys are here is pretty flimsy and the fight is just as boring for a GM as it is for the players. Taking an majority of the party out of the fight is not good game design, it just pisses people off.

3. No complaints here. This fight is entertaining to run, just because the player's dread at the sight of the rising water is hilarious.

4. This fight is beyond moronic. Apparently, we're meant to believe that a liberation domain cleric was trapped under rubble for days. I repeat LIBERATION DOMAIN. IE, the domain which gives you two different types of Freedom of Movement, as well as the spell itself. We're also meant to believe that these Pathfinders murdered each other, while the Wizard couldn't be arsed to stop them from fighting.

The fight itself is meh. If the cleric's crowd control goes off then this could be a difficult fight, if the players make their will saves, then it's a rogue, and a fighter vs. an entire party. Cue Curb-stomp.

Once again, Confusion is an awful spell. Taking agency away from the players is not good design.

5. The puzzle is poorly explained, to the point where it's nearly impossible to figure out how it works. However it doesn't really matter, because by this point most players will be fine just skipping the puzzle and being done.

Other -
Player - This is where I'd discuss other factors, like roleplaying, or theme, but there aren't any. None. It's just a straight dungeon crawl.

GM - It's been mention before, but the maps are terrible. 10 foot scale and circular rooms, and diagonals? Why do you hate us, map designing person?

Overall -
Player - Probably the worst scenario I've ever played, if not, then it's a close second. The setting is boring, the first floor is terrible without a rogue, the first fight drags on, and the last fight is stupid, but the second fight is pretty cool, if it works as intended. 1/5

GM - Bad. No roleplaying. Lots of traps. Un-fun encounters. Moronic narrative. The only saving grace is the organization is passable, but that's like complimenting a Mario game, because Mario jumps when you press "A". 0/5

Total - 0.5
Avoid it.
This scenario seems like it was designed by someone who understands the game mechanics, but not the game. The enemies are well built, and their abilities synergize with each other, but not in a way that's fun for, or fair to, the players. When the two of the three fights rely on taking agency away from the party, then you've got a scenario which no players, and only the most sadistic of GMs can enjoy.


The end of this scenario ruins it

2/5

This is a pretty fun scenario with an ending that completely ruins it.

Spoiler:
The ending has an ill conceived puzzle that is not fun to GM or play. After a really long and not easy scenario, having the success of the scenario hinge on a stupid puzzle that isn't explained well in the scenario ruins it for everyone.
I would have rated this 3 or 4 stars if it didn't have that awful puzzle at the end.


Could be better


Im actually writing my reviews for all 3 of this series after Ive just finished running the last.

Im going to mention the Puzzle first. When I was running this, it ran quite long. So long in fact that I was actually going to struggle to make the end. With the Puzzle the essentially last challenge before the Stele, I personally found that I had to rush it. The party worked it out with some trial and error but I just felt it was wrongly placed within the scenario. It would of been better perhaps at the start.

Like other reviewers, I noted that this scenario was not the killer some of the other scenarios had been. Which wasnt a bad thing. Thematically I didnt have any problems with the monsters (although it seems like one or two authors have gotten a little hung up on a particular type of fey).

I found this one the 2nd best in the series.


Not good.

1/5

I was really disappointed in this adventure. Season 4 in general has been somewhat brutal with combats, but this is certainly an exception. Nothing in this adventure poses even the most remote threat to the party. This would be saved if it had a decent story, but the story is nonexistent and merely ends with a "Your Princess is in another castle!"

The puzzle is the most interesting portion of this adventure. Unfortunately, the puzzle is horribly written and, once the party gets the gist of it, it is remarkably easy.

The maps are also very annoying. The 10 foot scale really hurts things, and there are several maps that just feel...pointless.

The second part of this series is good, at least. I would recommend treating this series as a 2-parter, starting with The Price of Friendship. You will literally miss nothing by doing so.


Maps Suck!

1/5

This scenario is purely a dungeon crawl, with little to no RPing. The only part of the scenario I even remotely liked was the first floor. I like that there is an assortment of traps throughout the first floor, but after the first floor traps were forgotten about completely.

The first fight is long and monotonous. Sure the nubglub with its high AC is fine, but at least give it some buddies that can do more then 1d3-2 dmg and 1d6 for SA. I have GMd this 3 times and played once and this fight takes at least 1 hr and its ends with the PCs take very little or no dmg.

The water fight is ok. The idea behind it is nice, the execution is poor. The unaltered aquatic ghouls are very under powered for a 5-9. The statues take penalties when they are in the water, so had it be given a piercing weapon would have been a huge improvement.

The party fight is dumb. The cleric is completely screwed over making this fight a complete cakewalk.

The puzzle is just confusing to understand and after you figure out what is going on, it makes no sense to even try to play through this.

I would have rated this 2 stars, but the absolutely terrible maps make this a 1 star. Not only is there the same circular room over and over, but they entire map is done on a 10 ft scale. Making ALL of the maps a b!&+* to draw and forget about printing because of the 10 ft scaling.


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Webstore Gninja Minion

Announced for May!

Liberty's Edge

Hmmm. Some foreshadowing of Season 5 perhaps?

Grand Lodge

Hooray dwarves!!!

Digital Products Assistant

This product has been pushed out to tomorrow, Thursday, 5/30/13.

Scarab Sages

More dwarven stuff at last. Perhaps finaly that boon from The Beggar's Pearl back in season 1 will actualy be useful in one of the three upcoming dwarven scenarios.

Us dwarfs have been waiting a long time for stuff like this :).

Digital Products Assistant

Now available!


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Hmm... Seems like the Chronicle Sheet is off.

Spoiler:
The Sheet has Tier 8-9 listed twice for Items found.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Looking forward to your first PFS Scenario Tork Shaw.

Goblinworks Game Designer

Dragnmoon wrote:
Looking forward to your first PFS Scenario Tork Shaw.

Haha, me too :)

Bit of a baptism of fire what with everything going on, but hopefully I hit the spot! I was pleased with it anyway, and I really enjoyed writing it.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am prepping this scenario for my local PFS. Can someone explain the part in the spoiler to me?

Spoiler:
How exactly is the lock at the end meant to work? I understand the moving up and down of columns. Do you assume all colums are down in the beginning? Also, do the PC's become stuck in the pit once they failed three times? These are unclear to me. Thanks.

Goblinworks Game Designer

Hrm. By the looks of it I think this took a bit of an edit from my original so this is purely what I intended for this device -

Spoiler:
you may want to wait for an official PFS ruling... It looks like the passageway locations have been mislabelled in the text: the SOUTH EAST passageway in fact leads "across a short bridge over a deep trench before terminating in a small recess just large enough to accommodate a fully armored dwarf", while the NORTH WEST passageway "winds gradually to the south and is littered with but not blocked by rubble", leading back to the other chambers.

If players fall into the pit beneath the vault lock they can use the trench to return to the circular room (F3a) as per the description (with the directions fixxored).

"The trench extends 30 feet into a vaulted open space beneath the SOUTHERN room, and its walls are fairly smooth, requiring a successful DC 25 Climb check to scale."
The southern room in this case is the vault lock.

Likewise the whole trap description has had a wee bit of an edit too, but yes the original intention is that ALL the columns but that in the single entrance square are down. Only 1 column can be raised at any time, so as soon as a lever is activated to raise an adjacent column the currently raised one drops.

"...causing one to rise to create a new open space and the previously raised column to fall, closing off a previously open space. This movement happens quickly, but an attentive individual can easily step into a new space before a column drops into the vacated space."

Does that help?

Digital Products Assistant

RAdeMorris wrote:

Hmm... Seems like the Chronicle Sheet is off.

** spoiler omitted **

This has been corrected and will be reflected if you redownload the scenario.

Dark Archive

That helps tremendously. There was no mentiom of how to get out after the fall. Thank you for clarifying this.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Tork Shaw wrote:
Hrm. By the looks of it I think this took a bit of an edit from my original so this is purely what I intended for this device -
Spoiler:
you may want to wait for an official PFS ruling... It looks like the passageway locations have been mislabelled in the text: the SOUTH EAST passageway in fact leads "across a short bridge over a deep trench before terminating in a small recess just large enough to accommodate a fully armored dwarf", while the NORTH WEST passageway "winds gradually to the south and is littered with but not blocked by rubble", leading back to the other chambers.

Actually the intermediate directions in the scenario are correct. They might have changed the Compass North point on you after turn in.

North is not straight up and down, but right and left. Right being North, left being South.

Spoiler:
Therefore as the scenario states the vault lock is northeast across a short bridge over a deep trench and the way back is southwest

Also can someone spoiler tag Tork's post?

Goblinworks Game Designer

Dragnmoon wrote:

Actually the intermediate directions in the scenario are correct. They might have changed the Compass North point on you after turn in.

North is not straight up and down, but right and left. Right being North, left being South.

** spoiler omitted **

Also can someone spoiler tag Tork's post?

My apologies, you are absolutely correct. The compass directions are correct.

Grand Lodge Contributor

I've been part of Tork's gaming group for several years and he ran this module for us on Saturday.

We're all experienced players but none of us generally plays in PFS and we had new characters for the occasion. Due to our unfamiliarity with PFS modules, having only four PCs, drinking too much, roleplaying too hard, and a litany of terrible dice rolls we had quite a lot of trouble with the encounters and ultimately a TPK. We didn't even make it as far as the puzzle the other reviewers are raving about.

All that aside, I really enjoyed the adventure, particularly since I haven't actually played in years (I'm the GM). It was frustrating, ridiculous, energetic, confusing, and ultimately a lot of fun. That's Tork.


Can anyone tell me if this book contains a map of the town of Janderhoff itself? I'm searching everywhere for one and I can't find one. I would really like to have my all Dwarven group based in Janderhoff, but don't want to make the whole town from scratch.

Paizo Employee Developer

Amanda Jeffcoat wrote:
Can anyone tell me if this book contains a map of the town of Janderhoff itself? I'm searching everywhere for one and I can't find one. I would really like to have my all Dwarven group based in Janderhoff, but don't want to make the whole town from scratch.

It does not contain a city map of Janderhoff. The closest thing we have to such would be the map of Highhelm that appears in Castles of the Inner Sea.


Thank you Mark.

The Exchange

The description of the puzzle maze makes no sense in context of the map provided. I'm frankly disappointed and confused. I know i'm a bit late to the review party here but this alone is enough to give it a huge hit to stars. Im trying to prep this for a con and frankly it's absurd that something that is such utter nonsense made it into a scenario.

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