Pathfinder Society Scenario #4–24: Glories of the Past—Part II: The Price of Friendship (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 5–9.

The Pathfinder Society has discovered the hint of a monumental revelation, but in order to confirm their find, they must send a team of agents into the dangerous and unwelcoming orc-ruled Hold of Belkzen. While an expedition could easily be dispatched to the orc capital of Urgir, the Decemvirate urges caution to ensure success. Thus, a team of Pathfinders must seek out a guide in the Varisian orc city of Urglin. Can they navigate the treacherous city of denizens who wouldn't mind seeing them dead, or will the orcs' Second Home be the site of their final mission?

Written by Christina Stiles.

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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2.60/5 (based on 15 ratings)

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An Enjoyable Romp through Orclands

4/5

I ran this last night in high tier, and my group had a lot of fun. To start with, it was enjoyable for me to role play the various off-color NPCs. How often do you get a city of traditionally vile humanoids as the back drop for your scenario? They loved that the city felt unique with the festering river and colorful NPCs.

I had small naked, Orc children try to run scams on them for coppers and silvers, only to kick them in the shins and put their clothes back on when they got waved off. This made most of the PCs smile. They were all convinced that the source of information in

Spoiler:
Oozefront
was out to get them with his "wares" considering where they thought he got the potables from.

The predictable fight with the expected monster was made unique by the compelling interest given them by the

Spoiler:
Master of the Blookworks, Ploog. They managed to take both available Bullettes (high tier has them against a mated pair)
and that just totally overwhelmed their benefactor.

Thanks to clever playing and RP,

Spoiler:
one of the characters asked Madiskaal what Ploog's favorite drink was so they could bring a bottle as a negotiation tool, with 2 captured Bullettes
they worked their way around the final encounter without the expected fight and managed to impress the NPCs as well as earning quite a name for themselves.

If we hadn't been pressed for time, they would have captured the optional encounter as well and probably could have taken over Urglin, if they had so desired.

All in all, they never felt like there was a rail road (each experience feels different depending on how well the GM hides the tracks, I suppose), went to the different districts as they pleased and deduced they'd have better luck

Spoiler:
in the one safer for outsiders
and figured things out without any prodding.

Given a GM who is willing to have his NPCs act gruff, surly, sour or just plain difficult until given a reason to be helpful (especially when nice to half-orc PCs), the players can have a great time with a scenario that doesn't involve "murdering everyone for being evil."

I'd say the main limitation is that for those wanting lots of combat, much of it can be avoided (Charm Person/Monster, Deep Slumber, etc). The essential fight was brutal though. Characters playing up or unlucky can get eviscerated by the foe. The Pre-gen Kyra got to save the day with her Channel Energy.


So long healing wands

2/5

A rather uninspired scenario from either a player or GM position. The time spent going through the desert makes no sense considering caravans travel through there alright and does nothing but drain party resources. The final fight was incredibly swingy in my experience. In the upper tier, if your opponents win initiative it can be a TPK round 1. In the lower tier it is almost a cake walk. Combined with a very linear story and there is not a whole lot to write home about on this one.


On the trail of Eando Kline

5/5

The players I ran through this absolutely loved it and so did I. Great job.


Pride and Prejudice

4/5

This scenario is all about an NPC's pride (impacted by the legacy of another NPC) and the primal nature of life in Urglin (and the surrounding Cinderlands). To GM this most effectively, I highly recommend you read the references in AP #8 and AP #10.

The bad:
* As a GM, it would have been difficult threading together the NPCs' reaction to things the PCs say and do without having read the journal in AP #8. But having read it, I had zero problems. See my tips, below.
* The trek throug the city is too linear. It would have been better to supply a map which allowed for more connections between the districts.
* The final encounter is underpowered. I can't say more without spoiling it. This is why I give 4 instead of 5 stars. When I ran it, the players found a way to "break" it (speaks both to their clever ingenuity and the boss' limited resources).

The good:
* A deceptively simple mission, allowing for some interesting NPC/PC interactions as the PC try to figure out what they actually need to do (and where they need to go).
* It felt like a true Orc city. Many RP opertunities to take the players off guard. If you enjoy extemporaneous RP then you will love this. The payers will discover new smells. :)
* The boss NPC has a rich backstory and was a true joy to play as a GM. It was easy to RP him because his motive was clear.
* Gladiator combat. Way cool and fun to describe. What more do you need to know? Sorry for the spoiler but needs to be said.
* Rich atmosphere: every location had a distinct feel.
* The Cinderlands Events added atmosphere (when you describe them). They are not simply a resource drain as others have characterized them.

Tips for GMs:
* On page 6 (left column) put the numbers 3, 2, 4, 5, 1 (in that order) by the distincts. On page 6 (right column) put the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4a, 4b (in that order) by the successes. and on page 7 (left column) put the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4a, 4b in that order) by the personages. This will aid you in figuring out who says what where.
* If you haven't read AP#8 then you will need to study the successes well to figure out how best to motivate the PCs to where they need to go (and foreshadow what they need to do).
* On lower right of page 7, Describe and show with miniatures (and/or pawns) the event which the PCs see.

Overall:
A joy to GM and the players seemed to have a great time.


Surprisingly good

4/5

Having ran the previous adventure in this series, The Halls of Dwarven Lore, I was coming into this not expecting a very good scenario. I was pleased to see that it was actually pretty good. Certainly, it's not the most memorable of scenarios, but it's not at all bad either.

The scenario opens with some good roleplay - I really enjoy the investigative scenes like the one at the start, where the PCs are gathering information. The follow-up fights are nice, although I agree that the environmental effects are a bit much. The biggest downside, though, is the final encounter - the finale is extremely weak.

Overall, a good effort with an interesting premise. For the GM who is willing to dive into the setting and put in a bit of effort, it's a solid adventure.


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Webstore Gninja Minion

Announced for June!

Contributor

Wow, this is being run so many times at PaizoCon that I'm going to have to go hide somewhere during the show.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

1. Extremely curious about where this is going, both in this scenario and what looks to be following it. :D

2. This title sounds like an exceptionally dark episode of My Little Pony.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I've played in a dark episode of My Little Pony, actually. It was called the Ponyville Horror, and the ponies were in search of the Equinomicon. Erica Balsley ran this at MACE: West. :)


My wife just got asked to GM a few slots this year, two of them is this Scenario. She is so excited.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

You know, I'm sad that I'm locked in to just The Disappeared and In Wrath's Shadow for PaizoCon. So many great scenarios have been announced since then.

Contributor

Gary Allen Green wrote:
My wife just got asked to GM a few slots this year, two of them is this Scenario. She is so excited.

Yay! I hope it goes well.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm set to run this one as well at GenCon...twice out of my eight slots if I remember right. Plus I'm running it a couple times for the local PFS chapter. I look forward to the wickedness... the surprise after they accomplish the trial is just plain funny...and evil :)

Silver Crusade

Just got it! Wondering though:

What is Gulros' alignment?

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hey, I'm sorry I didn't think to give him an AL. I'd say CN.

Contributor

Squirrel King wrote:
I'm set to run this one as well at GenCon...twice out of my eight slots if I remember right. Plus I'm running it a couple times for the local PFS chapter. I look forward to the wickedness... the surprise after they accomplish the trial is just plain funny...and evil :)

Funny and evil--yeah, that describes my general adventure-writing tendencies. Check out Kobold Press' Beyond the Ghostlight Reef for another example of that.

Contributor

Gary A Green wrote:
My wife just got asked to GM a few slots this year, two of them is this Scenario. She is so excited.

When will she be running them? I love to hear that there are lady GMs out there!

Silver Crusade

Christina Stiles wrote:
Hey, I'm sorry I didn't think to give him an AL. I'd say CN.

fistpump

Thanks!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
the price of friendship wrote:

if the guards succeed at a DC 25 Intimidate check, they laugh and escort the PCs to Ploog with a successful DC 25 Intimidate check. Half-orcs receive a +2 circumstance bonus on these skill checks.

Ok, what?

Liberty's Edge

I have a question regarding the abilities of the BBEG in the last encounter...

spoiler:
He's an ettin, and ettins come with Superior Two-Weapon Fighting. There doesn't seem to be any consensus regarding just how many attacks ettins are capable of in a round, taking the full-attack action. Here's a breakdown of the options for the 5-6 tier:

Option A: 2 mwk flails, +16/+16/+11
Option B: 2 mwk flails, +16/+16/+11/+11

I read that superior two-weapon fighting allows the ettin to essentially make a full-attack with each arm, thereby favoring option B. However, I would rather not get into an argument with my table tonight...

To top things off, the BBEG has both CLeave and Great Cleave. Cleave is a standard action...but if the ettin can make a full-attack with each arm, you've got:

Option A: Cleave at +16, additional attack at +16.
Option B: Cleave at +16 with one arm, Cleave at +16 with the other arm.

I'm really leaning towards option B...players in my neck of the woods tend to lean towards optimization, and even the season 4 scenarios haven't been posing too much of a challenge, and I like giving players a challenge. However, again, I would rather avoid an argument from whiny nerds.

Suggestions?

Liberty's Edge

Does anyone know where a good close city map to represent Urglin would be? Back when I ran Curse of the Crimson Throne I found one in Dungeon Magazine that worked great, but I have forgotten the issue.

Paizo Employee Developer

GTSamurai wrote:

I have a question regarding the abilities of the BBEG in the last encounter...

** spoiler omitted **

Suggestions?

Answer about the BBEG:

Each hand gains the full suite of attacks, meaning he gets two swings at +x/+y for each hand for a final result of +x/+x/+y/+y. This is not technically a full attack action with each arm (that would mean he has more actions than a typical creature); it is that he can attack more often when he actually takes a full attack action.

His superior two-weapon fighting ability does not, however, grant him additional standard actions. As a result, he only makes a single attack when using Cleave, just as would any other creature. His reach makes Great Cleave rather potent, and it also gives him a solid option when reduced to a standard action to attack.

Contributor

Sorry you didn't enjoy the environmental bits, MisterSlanky. I thought that was one of the coolest things the developers included in the outline, and it certainly proves the dangers of the Cinderlands! I mean, why would anyone in their right mind want to be traveling out there? Taking on the task to get the bullete is really risky--and this proves it. I'm the type of GM who enjoys messing with characters, though, so this is fun stuff in my book.

Thanks for running it, though, and I appreciate the feedback, especially as this was my first time writing one of these.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
thaX wrote:
the price of friendship wrote:

if the guards succeed at a DC 25 Intimidate check, they laugh and escort the PCs to Ploog with a successful DC 25 Intimidate check. Half-orcs receive a +2 circumstance bonus on these skill checks.

Ok, what?

To clarify, who is making the Intimidate check, the Guards or the PC's.

Obviously, it is supposed to be the PC's, but the sentence isn't sure.

Contributor

This is running at Firefly Games in Lexington, SC, on the 9-14-13. I plan to be there to see it run and to play some PFS.

Scarab Sages

The players I ran through this absolutely loved it and so did I. Great job.

Grand Lodge

I find the Roleplaying to be fantastic in this adventure.

Spoiler:
Our party bought a cage and bait and my alchemist's pseudodragon familiar got really lucky with the poison sting. we ant hauled the bulette [further paralyzed by our other alchemist's wasp poison] and had to explain to the gladiator lord why his Bulette couldn't move and had Roc wounds in it.
The excellence of the scenario depends on the GM I think. (ours was fantastic)

Contributor

Thank you for posting. Send up a review, too!

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