Pathfinder Society Scenario #4–26: The Waking Rune (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 7–11.

After a year of searching and risking life and limb, the agents of the Pathfinder Society have discovered the resting place of the Runelord of Sloth, who has been sequestered from the world at large for 10,000 years awaiting the proper time for his return. Thanks to the efforts of the sinister cult of Lissala, that time is now. In a desperate attempt to defeat this ancient evil once and for all, the Decemvirate sends its best agents, armed with relics found throughout ancient Thassilon, to foil the cult's last-ditch efforts to usher in a new era of tyranny and strife. Will the party succeed in preventing Krune's return to Golarion, or will the Pathfinder Society serve simply as a speed-bump in the runelord's path to domination over the entire region?

Written by Tim Hitchcock.

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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Epic scenario!

*****

Having played this scenario and talking to the GM afterwards, I can see the definitely see how the potential level of lethality could turn off many players.

My friends and I went into this eyes-open knowing (or at least assuming) that we were going toe-to-toe with one of most powerful wizards in history and his minions.

The party was very well balanced. In addition, we stocked up with expendables (scrolls, oils, etc) that really gave us an advantage in the various encounters.

The final encounter almost ended prematurely when my brawler "one punched" the big bad with his knockout after the GM rolled a "1". It was downhill (for him) from there.

Regardless, we had a great time. The table played like a team and our GM was great. Luck did play a factor -- we had some amazing rolls while the GM had some poor ones. It could just have easily swung the other way I supposed. But it didn't.

One of my best PFS experiences to date!


Too dependent on your GM style

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So last night our table wiped on this module, and while the module is difficult I blame it more on the encounters being a way too complex and relying too heavily on "GM style." Our GM was stingy on Spellcraft checks, often not even letting us make the rolls, and without gaining the knowledge we needed we were doomed to failure since the module is so dependent on the players learning everything before hand. Also he went off tactics (He obviously read the forums for "guidance" on how to up the difficult even though we didn't want to up the difficulty) and killed a player in the very first round of combat on the first encounter.

Starting the module off with a "Save or die" with no way to get a resurrection is against the spirit of why PFS was created in the first place. We basically had a player sit down and play for 10 minutes, then go home because he had nothing else he could do.


Why?

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Designed to Kill not to have Fun. From start to finish #4-26 is bad. Encounters are all meant to kill players. I will be taking a long break from Pathfinders Society after this one. My advice is don't play this one. If your a DM don't run this one.


Fundamentally Poor Design / Very GM Dependent

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There is a difference between something being fun and challenging versus over the top and designed to kill players in the name of 'being hard'.

This module contains things like save or dies, unbalanced CRs, and hindering 'entries to combat'. There are mechanics that need to be prepared for, but no hint or indication of what is required before hand. So you're riding on blind luck that all your bases are covered.

If your character is not min/maxed or you happen to have a GM that enjoys killing players then AVOID THIS MODULE. I would have said I found it challenging but unfortunately it was eye rolling for most parts and then boring for the other parts.

Everyone will have a different experience with this module. Again, if you have a GM who enjoys killing players versus judging (like they're supposed to do), DO NOT PLAY THIS MODULE.


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Announced for July!


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Whoa, cool!

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Finally I will destroy the enemies of my mistress, Alaznist and soon I shall raise a new Thassilon in my image!!! MUAHAHAHAHA


Alaznist is a she, so technically she's a mistress. Just sayin'.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Aw, man. And I was hoping not to have to work. You damned Pathfinders are going to make this hard on me, aren't you?

Liberty's Edge

Well, I think this'll do nicely as my crowning moment of glory. I hope you have your affairs in order, Krune. You've certainly had enough time to prepare them.

Grand Lodge

I really want to have the last boss of this be Krune returned (though obviously weakened to a Tier-appropriate challenge). C'mon, Paizo! Let us take down a Runelord!

Dark Archive

Tryanny, hmmm. Maybe we can work out a good deal when Krune comes back.

Shadow Lodge

Is the date right? I thought the final two scenarios were going to be available in time for PaizoCon.


You are correct. Mark has stated that these scenarios will release sometime to the public during or at PaizoCon. I bet that information just hasn't made it to IT quite yet. :)

Liberty's Edge

I can't wait. My highest-level PC is doing slow progression from 11 to 12 specifically so she can finish out the Cult of Lissala arc. The Waking Rune will be her final mission as a regular pathfinder, a fittingly impressive end to a long and glorious career.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Can I wish for the opposite. A vastly out of Tier Krune?

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Oh, if only I could have a Double-Hackbut, for just this one mission.

Krune: "Mwa-ha-ha!"
Me: "Welcome to the 48th century."
Krune: "Huh?"
Me: *Blam goes the cannon.*

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

The cover indicates this is for Tier 5 - 9, but the description lists 7 - 11. I'm guessing the description is correct.

Paizo Employee Developer

This is a known error, and it will be corrected early next week. The proper tier of the scenario is 7-11.


Okay, wait a minute. A band of six 11th level heroes is going to be expected to possibly challenge a 20th level Conjurer with levels in mythic tiers? Is this a joke or will the heroes themselves have levels in Mythic Tiers. Cause if they're not Mythic then to be perfectly blunt: there's epic and then there's SUICIDE.


Berselius wrote:
Okay, wait a minute. A band of six 11th level heroes is going to be expected to possibly challenge a 20th level Conjurer with levels in mythic tiers? Is this a joke or will the heroes themselves have levels in Mythic Tiers. Cause if they're not Mythic then to be perfectly blunt: there's epic and then there's SUICIDE.

Don't worry--Krune is canonically the weakest Runelord. Only the Runelords stronger than Karzoug, who was middle-of-the-pack, are Mythic. Since Krune is weaker than Karzoug, he isn't even level 20. Maybe something like level 17.

Paizo Employee Developer

We have never published Krune's statistics until this adventure. Remember, Karzoug (wizard 20) is right in the middle of the seven runelords in terms of power. Krune was the weakest. Even considering all that, yes, the Pathfinders are in for a tough fight. Then again, they've been building toward this for a year, so perhaps they'll have collected some tools along the way to aid them in the big battle.


If Karzoug was in the middle and Krune was at the lowest end where did Sorshen stand in the ranking of most powerful Runelord?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Berselius wrote:
If Karzoug was in the middle and Krune was at the lowest end where did Sorshen stand in the ranking of most powerful Runelord?

IIRC, she's 2nd in power behind the Runelord of Pride (I can't remember his name though).


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Xanderghul.

The Runelord power-structure (in order of "weakest" to strongest) is:

Krune, Belimarius, Zutha, Karzoug, Alaznist, Sorshen, Xanderghul.

Shadow Lodge

And where did Emperor Xin stand compared to them? I can't seem to find that, though I'm certain I've read it somewhere.

Paizo Employee Developer

He was stronger than all of them, but he couldn't take all seven of them when they overthrew him. Note that several of the runelords are but one in a long line who held their respective positions, so it wasn't the seven in power at Thassilon's fall who wrested control from Xin.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Moreland wrote:
He was stronger than all of them, but he couldn't take all seven of them when they overthrew him. Note that several of the runelords are but one in a long line who held their respective positions, so it wasn't the seven in power at Thassilon's fall who wrested control from Xin.

Yeah, I was just looking this up the other day for Shattered Star. Xin held power from -6530 to -6420 AR. Earthfall was -5293.

So Thassilon lasted over 1,000 years after the fall of Xin and Xin only ruled it for a comparatively short stretch. Sorshen and Xanderghul (who came with Xin from Azlant and were members of the original 7) must have discovered routes to immortality (perhaps the Immortality level 20 arcane discovery). I suppose that in their Xinless millennium of rule, Sorshen and Xanderghul may have grown in strength, so it makes it tough to rate Xin's strength because we can't necessarily use the current versions of them as benchmarks (and we don't know the other five Runelords at the time at all).

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I gotta say, the canon wonk in me loves posts like that, Rogue Eidolon.


Mark Moreland wrote:
I gotta say, the canon wonk in me loves posts like that, Rogue Eidolon.

Canon wonks unite--today Thassilon and then Starday the trivia contest!

Silver Crusade

I'm actually glad to see that worshipers or Lissala are still alive and running around. I wonder if she is granting them spells still since she was supposedly "dead" or "missing"


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Lissala is only 'missing'. Although considering even her herald doesn't know where she is/how to find her, whether any of her 'priests' are actually clerics is one of those 'answer unclear, ask again later' sorts of things...


Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
Lissala is only 'missing'. Although considering even her herald doesn't know where she is/how to find her, whether any of her 'priests' are actually clerics is one of those 'answer unclear, ask again later' sorts of things...

At least from a PFS perspective, we've seen clerics of Lissala with spellcasting abilities in several scenarios.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
Lissala is only 'missing'. Although considering even her herald doesn't know where she is/how to find her, whether any of her 'priests' are actually clerics is one of those 'answer unclear, ask again later' sorts of things...
At least from a PFS perspective, we've seen clerics of Lissala with spellcasting abilities in several scenarios.

Please note, I said priests who were clerics, not spellcasters. Krune is/was Lissala's High Priest & assuming what James Jacobs has said about all the Runelords being single-classed Specialist Wizards being accurate, he's only going to be a Wizard (Conjurer).

Now if what you are saying is that the NPC Priests of Lissala that the PC's have been running into do have Cleric levels...
Well, that potentially answers that question.


Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
Lissala is only 'missing'. Although considering even her herald doesn't know where she is/how to find her, whether any of her 'priests' are actually clerics is one of those 'answer unclear, ask again later' sorts of things...
At least from a PFS perspective, we've seen clerics of Lissala with spellcasting abilities in several scenarios.

Please note, I said priests who were clerics, not spellcasters. Krune is/was Lissala's High Priest & assuming what James Jacobs has said about all the Runelords being single-classed Specialist Wizards being accurate, he's only going to be a Wizard (Conjurer).

Now if what you are saying is that the NPC Priests of Lissala that the PC's have been running into do have Cleric levels...
Well, that potentially answers that question.

Yes, sorry for the confusion, I was being precise in just that way with my wording above when I said clerics, not priests.


Don't know where else to speak of this, but Krune's statblock is messed up.

Spoiler:
He's missing one cantrip (he should have 5).

Instead of giving him two prepared versions of one conjuration like a Thassilonian Wizard should, Krune instead gets one spell too many in both 7th and 8th level spells having 6 and 5 individual spells respectively.

For "a harder challenge" a recommendation is swapping "one" of Krune's Quickened Summon Monster V's for Summon Monster IX, which is impossible.

How should I change the errors?

Shadow Lodge

Another Statblock Issue:
I also noticed that his initiative is only a +4, while he should have a +4 from dex and another +4 from his runes for a +8.

That said, this looks fantastic. I'm really looking forward to running it.

Scarab Sages

Lawful GM wrote:

Don't know where else to speak of this, but Krune's statblock is messed up.

***SPOILER OMITTED***

How should I change the errors?

For 7th and 8th level spells... I'd drop spell turning (he has a ring of it) and add another Summon Monster VII. For 8th, drop either the empowered or the quickened and add another of those.

For the 9th level issue... either swap them both or swap out foresight. Or cheat and sneak him an additional 1 Int so he gets a bonus 9th level spell and put it there.

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

"After ten thousand years, I'm free! It's time to conquer Golarion!"

..."Shiela! Krune has escaped! Recruit a team of Pathfinders with attitude!"

Seriously, this makes me wish my local game store had more high-level people in it; my highest-tiered PFS character is level 9, and I haven't played as her in over a year. ...But all those new players need help and keep talking over each other!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I am seriously looking forward to the challenge on hard mode for this one. Bragging rights at taking out a Runelord with the kid gloves off? Now that's big game hunting.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hmm. Well, seeing that I am currently GMing the "penultimate" chapter of Rise of the Runelords ... I am very curious about this PFS scenario (and I have never played any whatsoever). What other scenarios are "required" play for this "final"? (If possible list the order 1st, 2nd, etc).

Having Karzoug's stat block in RotR, and getting hints for Zutha (although not his statblock) in "Continuing the Campaign" notes in Shattered Star ... having game stats for another Runelord (even the "least" among them) is actually appealing ... and I'm really very curious about this PFS scenario (and again what others are "required" for a nice satisfying story/game-arc).

Thanks in advance for any suggestions/assistance.

Dean


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
The_Minstrel_Wyrm wrote:

Hmm. Well, seeing that I am currently GMing the "penultimate" chapter of Rise of the Runelords ... I am very curious about this PFS scenario (and I have never played any whatsoever). What other scenarios are "required" play for this "final"? (If possible list the order 1st, 2nd, etc).

Having Karzoug's stat block in RotR, and getting hints for Zutha (although not his statblock) in "Continuing the Campaign" notes in Shattered Star ... having game stats for another Runelord (even the "least" among them) is actually appealing ... and I'm really very curious about this PFS scenario (and again what others are "required" for a nice satisfying story/game-arc).

Thanks in advance for any suggestions/assistance.

Dean

Actually I must thank a recent reviewer for this PFS scenario, it has answered my questions, and I think very soon I'll be purchasing this scenario and (4) others "noted" by that reviewer as "required" play to get the most out of this final.

Just need a "spare" $20 to spend on PFS scenario PDFs. :)

So, a special "thank you" to Himokl! :)

Sovereign Court

Literally the worst module to date. Barring a full on cheese monkey party this scenario is intended to tpk. Vastly out of tier for 7th level parties.

Grand Lodge

I concur with the above, This is the worst scenario I have played yet. I have only 51 scenarios left to play before season 5 comes, so I would say that's saying something. This scenario is left way too much up to the GM. So he bogged us down for 6 hours of play and then said, since we couldn't kill the boss, then we fail. However, he used the tactics so that after 2.5 hours of fighting the main boss, we had not gotten 1 full attack against him with any of the 6 members of the party. I can't say more without giving it away, but this was not the fun time I was really hoping for.

Scarab Sages

I played this two days ago. Worst experience ever. 0 role play. We didn't survive the first encounter, so we got chronicle sheets with zeros all over them. I felt like I got a traffic ticket.

I have decided to leave society play for a while as a result of this 'adventure'. It was stressful and a hopeless battle. I spend my free time trying to have a good time, yet I just got more stressed out and frustrated.

If you are going to play this, experienced players only with cheezy min maxed characters will likely win the day....I really have no idea though because we got beat like we stole something and I have no idea what is in the rest of the adventure.


It looks like there is a mistake on the chronicle for High Tier gold on the slow path. It says it is 3916 gold but should be 3941 gold.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Played 10-11 with 6 characters ranging from 8th to 10th. (Maybe an 11th.) 10th level barbarian finished the fight with four deaths and one rage prophet cowering due to a failed Will save.


Wow, I guess this scenario gives a great example of how different scenarios can go very differently from group to group.

The party I was a part of annihilated the scenario on normal tier 10-11 without taking a single point of damage. Seriously, the GM wasn't holding back on us. We just planned well enough and had enough luck that we never actually got damage to our hit points. Our levels ranged from 9 to 11. After that, we asked the GM to run the final fight for us 'unofficially' with the runelord on hard mode, at full power, and acting first. We still won with no deaths (though my character nearly died).

Sooo... I hope that Paizo simply marks some scenarios this 'difficult' so that people who want to play these things can do so while others who don't want to risk it can avoid them.

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