Pathfinder Society Scenario #5–03: The Hellknight's Feast (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario for characters of 5th to 9th level (Tier 5–9).

War between demons and the civilized peoples of the Inner Sea region has broken out in the Worldwound far to the north of Absalom, but despite the regional implications of an Abyssal victory, many nations are ambivalent toward the cause. The Pathfinder Society, at the urging of Silver Crusade leader Ollysta Zadrian, arranges a formal banquet to be hosted by newlyweds Michellia and Damian Blakros, at which the society's agents can attempt to sway the political opinions of Absalom's movers and shakers. Will the Pathfinders succeed in securing the much-needed military support of Absalom and other nations bordering the Inner Sea, or will the crusaders and Pathfinders fighting on the front lines in Mendev find themselves standing alone before the demonic hordes?

Written by Tom Phillips.

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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Social scenario... without memorable NPCs


The second part of Matrimony.

I really love talking with NPCs, but after playing Matrimony and Merchant, the mechenics just too repeative, nothing new... and the story itself not as interesting as Merchant's Wake, you guys go to a dinner party to make friends of great nobles, then goes into a fight, very expectible.

Still recommend for RP players, good but not as shining after playing many similar PFS modules.

2016.11.12 Decreased to 3 stars, NPCs are not memorable, compare to other social scenarios. Even Honor's Echo shall be better.

Blakros Matrimony pt. 2


A very enjoyable scenario, much in line with the Blakros Matrimony. Combats were fun and challenging, social encounters were well done. Played low tier with Slayer 5 (me), Cavalier 5, Swashbuckler 7, Ranger 6, Ninja 6.

Gameplay - Influence: The influence mechanic is pretty nearly identical to that of the Blakros Matrimony. There is a decent array of skill checks that can be used to earn favor, obviously with Diplomacy being the most important by a long shot. I had my Cha 5 Tiefling (I love bringing him to these) and there were still a few places for him to apply his skills. The only issue I always run into on these is that when you are influencing people towards a single goal, and fail your first couple checks, anyone who comes back to the same person to try again usually ends up rehashing the same argument, or just saying 'I roll diplomacy.' Even good roleplayers run out of ways to rephrase the question. Minor nitpick, thoroughly enjoyed this section anyways. (9/10)

Gameplay - Investigation: Without getting into any spoilery details, the investigation work is interwoven with the talking parts. It seems to have a pretty distinct separation from the influence parts, and some work could probably be done to intermix them a bit more in future scenarios of this type. Again, a very minor nitpick. (9/10)

Gameplay - Combat: Solid encounters. While I wouldn't say they had a major threat of killing a PC, they certainly had a threat of causing the group to expend more consumables than usual, and threat of jeopardizing the primary or secondary mission objectives. The amount of combats and quality certainly lets your Barbarians shine. The encounter setups weren't particularly interesting as there were no major hazards, but not everything needs to take place within another subsystem, so I'll give the combats a full score. (10/10)

Story: My biggest complaint is still fairly minor, but something that might be taken into account moving forward. The ostensible reason for the PCs to be at the party is to chat it up with the nobles and show that Pathfinders are cool dudes. Nothing will go wrong, just influence people. We promise. In some ways it feels a bit comical, as though someone just loudly proclaimed "I do hope nothing happens to spoil this fancy dinner party!" followed by the obviously fully expected ambush. Several members of my party had previously played in the Blakros Matrimony and Merchant's Wake, and of course being invited to a party again go into full investigation mode looking for all points of entrance, odd acting characters, and formulating defense plans for the inevitable case that security fails. At a certain point I think it may be a better idea to include some perceived threats in the briefing so the party's paranoia seems a little less idiotic and we don't need to pretend to be surprised when the baddies show up. Admit it, everyone knows it's going to happen. (8/10)

Duration: Depending on how all of the skill checks and exploration go I could see the scenario running long, but we finished in about 4.5 hours with full marks. A couple of the enemies can possibly bring more into the fray, and our party prevented that from happening. If it wasn't for that I could see the scenario take much longer as well. (8/10)

Final score: 44/50 (4.5/5 stars?)
If you liked Blakros Matrimony and Merchant's Wake, you'll like this scenario as well. I certainly recommend playing it.

Leading the dinner-party genre to new heights of awesome and savagery


It's clear that this scenario is the result of Paizo gaining experience in writing these "social occasion with inevitable surprise attack" stories. Lessons learned from Immortal Conundrum, Among the Living and Blakros Matrimony. In particular, this scenario gracefully dances around frustrations about being allowed to carry weaponry;

Missing Briefing spoilers:
Because the Society is trying to show off and impress these people, you are encouraged to show up in full kit. Clean full kit of course. And (with the events of Matrimony in mind) you're also there to provide extraordinary security, "should it be necessary".

Also, because you can influence NPCs both with traditional social skills but also with other skills relating to their fields of interest, most PCs will get a chance to contribute in a meaningful way to that.

I played this adventure with my investigator, who's been around quite a bit, and already had connections to some of the people present. And he's a Blakros. So my stats for this were through the roof. The paladin was effective as well of course. (And if you look at the cover of the scenario, you can guess having a paladin along might be nice...) The rogue/warpriest/alchemist gaggle in our party had a bit harder time influencing NPCs, but they did good groundwork ferreting out information about them, which then allowed us to more effectively diplomacize them. As a weird team we were quite effective at this.

What I also liked is that by now you're considered serious adventurers; you're not wannabes anymore, you've probably beaten some demons before so you're actually a credible person here.

Also very nice is that the NPCs here have sufficient depth and talking points that there is actually quite a bit to talk about; if you figure out who and what you are you can come up with much more compelling arguments than "look closely at this D20". This much conversational material is much harder to find in other scenarios, I think.

And then there's the investigation part of things. The investigation is actually challenging; you have to think and work to find clues and get an idea of what is going on. Depending on how well you do at that you can prevent some of the damage the bad guys are hoping to do.

As for the combat: just because this is a social scenario doesn't mean the combats are just some stuff added in. These are pretty vicious monsters; I'd say the combats are slightly above average and the final fight is significantly above-average in danger. Our saving grace was that because I fought the main boss alone (it already dropped a PC) it wasn't using its pretty horrific stuff on the other PCs or we'd have been toast. That and a lucky hit/iterative crit round where my investigator longspeared for 120 damage; didn't even give the boss a chance to switch from trying to kill me to hoping to escape.

The take away message: this is a scenario that will challenge you socially, with investigation, and with serious combat.

It also runs WAY long; we had no big digressions or breaks but it was still 8 hours. Totally worth it.

One-Two Punch


Be sure to play the Blackros Matrimony before you play this. Really great two parter.

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Webstore Gninja Minion

Announced for GenCon 2013!

RPG Superstar 2012

Congrats, Tom!

My daughter and I will definitely try to play this one at GenCon. :)

Silver Crusade

Can I play this now?

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

taig wrote:

Congrats, Tom!

My daughter and I will definitely try to play this one at GenCon. :)

Lady Ophelia wrote:
Can I play this now?

Oh, the pressure! :-)

Shadow Lodge

Oh now this sounds like fun! :D

Dark Archive

Sounds like a mod for a charisma based pc. I wonder if they will look down on you again if you wear armor at the banquet like the snobs at the Blackrose Matrimony did?

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Maybe not the best scenario to play with a goblin?... or... perhaps it's the BEST scenario to play a goblin!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Raymond Lambert wrote:
Sounds like a mod for a charisma based pc.

Nope! All PCs should be able to contribute during the social interaction scenes.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Kyle Baird wrote:
Maybe not the best scenario to play with a goblin?... or... perhaps it's the BEST scenario to play a goblin!

Depends on the goblin ... but, sure, goblin Pathfinders would work just fine. But be warned, there are dogs. Several dogs. And possibly a horse or two.

Shadow Lodge

You see Tom, now you HAVE to go to GenCon this year...

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

TPK Games wrote:
You see Tom, now you HAVE to go to GenCon this year...

I wish! With a son due this October, expenses are a bit too tight right now to justify such a trip. Possibly next year though! :-)

Tom Phillips wrote:
I wish! With a son due this October...

Congrats! Best job there is. :)

My Gencon GM for this ran it about as suboptimally as possible, but I could tell there was a really great adventure here, covering a number of possibilities and playstyles. It's one I hope I get to run for the local crowd.


Silver Crusade

Hi there! So, there is an issue with the PDF: It reads "The Waking Rune" on the heading scenarios. Other than that, he adventure looks amazing!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

This was fun to write. And major kudos to John Compton for polishing it up and making me look good ... and to Qunicy Boyd for his brilliant art and Sean Macdonald for his wonderful cartography.

terraleon: I'm sorry for your game experience. I hope you have a great time when/if you get to run it for your local group. Post a review if you can!

Balkin, Zahir: Thanks for the very kind reviews. :-)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

And thank you, Mike Welham for the kind review!

I hereby officially and formally forgive you for beating me in the final round of the 2012 RPG Superstar contest. :-)

Dark Archive

Ran this (and all the other season 5 mods) this weekend at Animefest and must say I enjoyed this one the best by far. The social part took my players a few minutes to get into but once I explained how the mechanic worked to them immediately took to it like a fish to water.

The Dinner scene alone had the women at my table rolling and the men groaning as soon as I described it as doing a seating chart for a wedding reception but that made it work.

I'll spoiler this part but

This was a BRUTAL mod and TPK'd my whole table at high tier with the 4 player adjustment. The advanced wraith eating 8 points of con a round with the 5 minute paralysis from the Mohrg terrified them and killed all my arcane casters. The succubus brought back nightmares of dawn of the scarlet sun when she one shot the cleric and then methodically went down the line 1 round killing every other party member. Invisibility + 5 attacks a round + 3D6 SA + 6D6 Vampiric touch is BRUTAL).

Had a blast with this, just the right amount of social with quick intense battles makes this an absolute joy to run. Prep is significant but the more you do the better it is.
4.5 Stars (the map is the only drawback, the rooms are too small for the number of bodies present in each scene. Claustrophobic close and makes the fights hard on the PC's.)

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

Tom Phillips wrote:

And thank you, Mike Welham for the kind review!

I hereby officially and formally forgive you for beating me in the final round of the 2012 RPG Superstar contest. :-)

Hooray! Mission accomplished!

I had a great deal of fun running this scenario, and everyone at each of my tables had a lot of fun too. After one session, one of my players told me he never hated an NPC more than he did one of the NPCs I played.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My funniest moment running this scenario:
One of my home players, Cathy, gets a lot of flak for never spending her gold. It's good-hearted, mind you. Before this session began, she uncharacteristically announced considering buying X (spoiler omitted). We all encouraged her to buy X, particularly because the role composition in our region lacks players good at X. She hummed and hawed and chose not to after all.

The adventure starts, we get to interacting with the NPCs, and she has a convincing argument with solid roleplaying, earning a +2 to her role. She stumbles onto the NPC's advantage, getting an additional +4. An ally aids, granting her another +2. She rolls her influence check and is short of the DC by 2. As it happens, this NPC has a special influence note: Any PC with X gets an additional +2 bonus to influence checks against this NPC. Cathy`s decision not to buy X was directly responsible for her character failing to influence an NPC on her first try.


Medium armour

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

In regards to the latest review on this scenario, it seems that someone's GM missed this line:

Each PC can attempt a Bluff check (to pretend to be friendly), a Diplomacy check (to be genuine), or a skill check mentioned in the NPC’s social stat block.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

That was very nice to run. Loved it, my players loved it as well (I think).

I had taken the time to setup the ground floor with some 3D dungeon:

Without limiting my player's time it ran 8 hours, but we didn't mind. I could have cut some stuff off, but... it would have been an injustice.

Sovereign Court

Running this one soon. Anyone know what that thing on the cover is? Doesn't look like any of the referenced monsters...

Have fun! The creature is a:


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