Pathfinder Society Scenario #5–20: The Sealed Gate (PFRPG) PDF

2.70/5 (based on 39 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 7–11.

Following its efforts to set up a base camp in the Realm of the Mammoth Lords, the Pathfinder Society seemed ready to mobilize its forces when Marcos Farabellus received troubling news: something dire had befallen the camp. What’s worse, these events resulted in the disappearance of one of the Society’s most valuable tools as well as two of its esteemed leaders. The PCs must investigate the ruined camp, track down the perpetrators, and recover a powerful relic to prevent this tragedy from ruining the entire expedition.

Content in “The Sealed Gate” also contributes directly to the ongoing storylines of the Grand Lodge and Silver Crusade factions.

Written by Kyle Baird.

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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Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

PZOPSS0520E


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2.70/5 (based on 39 ratings)

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3/5


4 player 10-11 tier Hard Mode

5/5

I went into this game as a level 9 character expecting the hardest scenario I had ever played so far and this game did not disappoint. For 4 people in hard mode this game is extremely challenging even for a powerful party.

Be sure to have plenty of time when running this game. We didn't have time for the optional encounter and still ran about 6 hours.

5/5 Would play again. If more scenarios were like this I would be very happy.


Be prepared

3/5

I played this last evening in party of 4, on low tier with 4 player adjustment.

party:
Inquisitor 8, Cleric 8, Witch 9, Bloodrager 9

The GM warned us in advanced that it would be a very tough scenario and that we were to bring our best gameplay. So we did and we were successful.

briefing:
During the briefing when we asked where we were going to be teleported to we were shown a grassland and told that an illusion was covering the site, so we got ourselves some true seeing (yeah expensive but it'd enable us to see through the illusion right away).

1st encounter:
Basically immediately after you teleport. The true seeing ment we weren't surprised/got chewed on by the various enemies there while they had the benefit of the illusion. Both the inquisitor and the bloodrager had a swarmbane clasp, combat reflexes and reach weapons so the swarm wasn't much of a threat. The witch slumbered the big guy and combat was won. Search the site, find clues about strange things happening.

2nd encounter:
Cave with a nasty trap. The inquisitor and the witch failed their saves against a suggestion and started walking away, while the cleric and bloodrager took care of the ooze. After that we had an awesome discussion and roleplay scene to deal with the suggestion. We find the Hao Jin Tapestry (wtf is it doing out here?) and enter.

3d encounter:
A short fight with a strange beast and some talking with a couple of treants. Wait, the pathfinder group had what whit them? This can't be good.

4th encounter:
Ah, find the good venture captain, but wait, the inquisitor and cleric notice something off with him (both had fairly high sense motive checks), we get into a discussion and it escalates into a fight. Bloodrager grapples and ties up the pathfinder accompanying him, while the witch ensures that the inquisitor can knock the VC out. Uh guys, I think we may have created a diplomatic incident here. After a lengthy discussion we decide to press on and most likely start to collect unconscious pathfinders

5th encounter:
This escalated into a fight really quick. Bloodrager and inquisitor saved against the aura (the bloodrager being able to pretend to be affected thanks to a seducer's bane bracelet) and then the bloodrager makes the spellcraft check against a charm monster being tossed at the witch. Lots of non-lethal damage later we have subdued a plantlady and some kind of creature.

aftermath:
We help the poor VC clear his name a bit, and fix the damage done. Full prestige and the poor VC isn't demoted.

Combat 4/5:
This one requires you to have a way to deal with illusions straight out of the bat or you'll be in a world of problems. If you can deal with it the fights are hard but fair.

Roleplay 2/5:
Very light, mostly a make your own.

Skills 3/5:
Enough oppertunities for a different bunch of skills to come into play.

Overall 3/5:
There's some holes in the plot, but it was a nice enough adventure, however there are a couple of spots that can end it for parties really quick making for a bad experience.


Lives up to the hype

4/5

I GM'd this after my regular players had been steamrolling through all the previous scenarios. It definitely lived up to the hype about being difficult and challenging. No one died, but one or two came close.

The first encounter is still the big thing, and took about 3 hours in itself. I think we took 7 hours total to play it all the way through.
The mechanics of the first fight weren't bad. It just had enough going on to keep all the characters busy. And if they can't all gang up on one bad guy, the fight last longer. Good tactics were used on both the players and GM's side.

Granted, if I was one of the first people to play this at GenCon and brought my diplomatic character, thinking it would be like all the others, then I would probably be on this list ranting and raving too.
But since we're past that, and word that this one is challenging has gotten out, then by all means use it to challenge your more powerful parties. Just don't surprise anyone with it, and be ready to sit in for a while if you want to finish it all.


A challenge worthy of the tier

5/5

Mr. Baird, for any unaware of his reputation, creates decidedly wicked scenarios. He often plays upon 'genre savvy' expectations, and uses atypical combinations of abilities to create unusual and HIGHLY challenging encounters.

In lower tier scenarios, I have at times found this frustrating. In this tier, I found it no less than completely satisfying.

Even optimally built characters will not have victories handed to them on silver platters, both combat and out-of-combat roleplay will need to be handled intelligently if the party expects their EXP at the end of the session.

I will say, our party was composed of experienced players who knew to bring their A game, and did. We also go lucky on a few rolls, so perhaps were not as brutalized as other parties with...less positive memories. Therefore, I would say DO NOT RUN this scenario unless your players know roughly what they're getting into. Or do, and make them aware of how hard this game can be.

The only flaw was one of storyboarding, as

Spoiler:
Nikolai could not possible have failed the immense quantity of saves detailed to be under the Alraune's influence. Furthermore, even if the party members free him of the enchantment, they are still not allowed to use social skills to convince him of his errors. This bespeaks a certain amount of 'hand-waving' that was somewhat dissatisfying. I don't see how it would have been a problem to allow a party capable and willing of bringing him to their side to get some form of aid from him. Still, this is a relatively minor sticking point in what was generally a great time.


6 to 10 of 39 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | next > last >>
Webstore Gninja Minion

Announced for May!

Silver Crusade

I stand ready.

Grand Lodge

I cannot wait. I bet Kyle Baird and Paizo's staff have quite a challenge for us with this one!

Grand Lodge

Kyle's back, maybe for another deadly scenario?

I'm a bit disappointed by the blurb to be honest, I thought this would be the scenario where the Society would at last explore Jormundun.

Paizo Employee Developer

They can't explore Jormurdun until they lead their army from this base of operations to its gates. Then they have to actually gain entry into the chambers within. One step at a time!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

By "the disappearance of one of the Society’s most valuable tools" do they mean Drendle Drang?

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

They certainly don't mean he's one of the esteemed leaders...

Grand Lodge

Yep, going to use this one to level my druid to 12. Should be fun, Kyle Baird always writes a nice adventure.

Liberty's Edge

Really wondering what tool we lost and who the esteemed leaders are.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Worst-case scenario (and with Kyle, you know you want to plan for that): Aram Zey, Marcos Farabellus, and the Hao Jin Tapestry?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Nari Burnsong wrote:
Really wondering what tool we lost and who the esteemed leaders are.

Tool: Trusty Buddy

Leaders: Mike and John

Dark Archive

Kyle Baird wrote:
Nari Burnsong wrote:
Really wondering what tool we lost and who the esteemed leaders are.

Tool: Trusty Buddy

Leaders: Mike and John

NOOOOOOO!!!! Not Trusty Buddy!

Really looking forward to this one, Mammoths was awesome, and I'm interested to see how it follows up.


Damn. Kyle wracked up a body count with a level 1, we're going to need a bigger cart if he's writing 7-11s....

Paizo Employee Developer

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Damn. Kyle wracked up a body count with a level 1, we're going to need a bigger cart if he's writing 7-11s....

How do you think he started his writing career with PFS?

Shadow Lodge

John Compton wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Damn. Kyle wracked up a body count with a level 1, we're going to need a bigger cart if he's writing 7-11s....
How do you think he started his writing career with PFS?

WITH BLOOD! (and Caubo's tears)

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

There are some extraneous words in the blurb, which I have bolded below (IMO they should be removed).

Scenario Blurb wrote:
Following its efforts to set up a basecamp in the Realm of the Mammoth Lords, the Pathfinder Society seemed ready to mobilize its forces when the Marcos Farabellus received troubling news: something dire had befallen the camp. What’s worse, these events resulted in the disappearance of one of the Society’s most valuable tools and the disappearance of two of its esteemed leaders. The PCs must investigate the ruined camp, track down the perpetrators, and recover a powerful relic to prevent this tragedy from ruining the entire expedition.

Base camp is not a compound word, it is two separate words. It sounds like the original draft read, "the Pathfinder Society received troubling news..." and 'Pathfinder Society' was replaced with 'Marcos Farabellus' without removing 'the'. You could also change "and two of its esteemed leaders" to "as well as two of its esteemed leaders".

So it should read:

Following its efforts to set up a base camp in the Realm of the Mammoth Lords, the Pathfinder Society seemed ready to mobilize its forces when Marcos Farabellus received troubling news: something dire had befallen the camp. What’s worse, these events resulted in the disappearance of one of the Society’s most valuable tools as well as two of its esteemed leaders. The PCs must investigate the ruined camp, track down the perpetrators, and recover a powerful relic to prevent this tragedy from ruining the entire expedition.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Meh. Words are hard.

Webstore Gninja Minion

Thanks for the catch, greysector!

Silver Crusade

Ack! Just noticed the release has been pushed back from Wednesday to Friday...

Say I was scheduled to run this on Sunday...should I inform the event coordinator that we'll need a different scenario, or do you think the Friday release date will stand?

(and I'll hope that Kyle's writing is clear enough that I can figure it out and prep it in a 24 hour time span) :P

Thanks, and sorry to bother.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Running this in three and a half weeks. Can't wait to add some more notches to my GM screen. I'll send a portion of player tears as tribute to Baird the following Monday.


Mike Bramnik wrote:
(and I'll hope that Kyle's writing is clear enough that I can figure it out and prep it in a 24 hour time span)

Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions.

Silver Crusade

Kyle Baird wrote:
Mike Bramnik wrote:
(and I'll hope that Kyle's writing is clear enough that I can figure it out and prep it in a 24 hour time span)
Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions.

Will do - thanks! Looking forward to digging my teeth into this one (and then its teeth into my players)!

Shadow Lodge

*finishes his first read-through*

Dude... just... wow. *rubs hands together gleefully and looks around for a suitable vial for player tears*

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm kind of disappointed in the writing for this one, as I've seen some glaring plot holes that make no sense.

1.) They clearly remind players that when you enter the Tapestry, that you leave a planar eddie where you came in. It states to the players that all they need to do is enter that eddie and they leave the Tapestry and return to the material plane at the spot where they entered. So, if Zay and Li entered the tapestry, how can they not exit via their own planar eddies? There is no explanation for this, and it is clearly in odds with what they remind the players so that they, and the other pathfinders, can leave the Tapestry.

2.) Even more disturbing is the horrible way that Nikolai is presented. It is claimed in several places that he had fallen under the influence of the Alraune. For most of the scenario I assumed that this meant that it had some power over him that was manipulating his mind and making him more pliable. Having seen both stat blocks, the only thing I can see is the Charm Monster power, and having seen Nikolai's stat block, there is virtually no way that he would have failed the Will save to fall under its effect. So either the Alraune is great at mental manipulation, and therefore didn't need the spell like ability to control the venture captain, or Nikolai is just that pliable and arrogant that he easily fell under the manipulations of the creature because of his own arrogance. Either way, the whole thing makes no sense, and given that it is the entire driving premise of the scenario, it makes the whole thing tenuous at best.

Paizo Employee Developer

morbon wrote:
1.) They clearly remind players that when you enter the Tapestry, that you leave a planar eddie where you came in. It states to the players that all they need to do is enter that eddie and they leave the Tapestry and return to the material plane at the spot where they entered. So, if Zay and Li entered the tapestry, how can they not exit via their own planar eddies? There is no explanation for this, and it is clearly in odds with what they remind the players so that they, and the other pathfinders, can leave the Tapestry.

In Response:
The issue that those two ran into was that their connection was disrupted when the tapestry moved (in addition to the disruption of the arcane foci stabilizing the portal they were creating). Thus far the Society's travels into the tapestry have involved the artifact staying on one place the whole time. When the alraune carried off the tapestry, it appears it made Zey's and Li's respective eddies disappear or be disrupted.
Grand Lodge

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

Brought 'em back alive, every one of them.

Dark Archive

If you take out the reviews from people that complained because their characters died, this is actually a well-liked scenario...YOLO

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It's a scenario for REAL Pathfinders™.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Why is the prices of magic items wrong? Do I use the price in the book or on the sheet?

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