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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Make sure to bring your thinking caps!

4/5

I played this over the weekend. I made sure I went into this scenario without any expectations, because of the hype this particular scenario has. I was pleasantly surprised, to enjoy the scenario. Yes, parts of this scenario are difficult, however, it makes players think outside of the box.

Things I expect out of a 7-11 scenario;
1. Interesting roleplay (check)
2. Difficult combats that make players think and just not hand them the "win" (check)
3. New/rarely used Monsters (check)
4. Awesome storyline that connects to previous scenarios (check)

The biggest problem I have with this scenario is that because of the amount of content in the scenario, it is incredibly hard to fit it in a 4 hr slot. Yes, I am aware that 7-11s are written with a 5 hr slot intention, but it is kind of hard to plan for 5 hr slots for 7-11s when a lot of 1-5s get done in 3 hrs or less. So most game stores and cons plan for 4 hr slots.


Haters Gonna Hate

5/5

To be honest, this probably doesn't deserve 5 stars, but I wanted to balance out the rating if possible since it sure as hell deserves more than 2. Here's the deal: most everyone complaining seems to be upset that the mod was hard. Well that's just a silly reason to complain (unless there's something truly unfair or unbalanced).

I personally love tough adventures, but I also wouldn't rate this one higher simply because it's difficult. In addition to just being difficult though, (most of) the encounters are also varied and interesting (which is pretty much all you can ask for in the PFS format). Sadly, the optional encounter (which most people probably don't play) is maybe the most interesting.

Most of the complaints I saw confused me. The mechanics of some the fights are complicated, yes (perhaps to the point of being unwieldy for novice GMs), but there's nothing inherently wrong with them. The fight at the beginning seems to be drawing particular ire, but honestly it's fantastic.

The bottom line is that this mod is for experienced GMs with capable players who enjoy being challenged (which ought, by the way, to be exactly what we want more of). If that's not you, fine. Don't play it. But that's no good reason to come on here and downrate a perfectly well-constructed mod.

Incidentally, I both played and ran this on hard mode (which is awesome), and there were no deaths either time (though admittedly the first encounter could have very easily tipped over to a TPK on both occasions). I cursed my way through that first fight (which left my 7th level warrior type with 11 HP before I took my first standard action), but when the dust cleared I was very excited and ready for more. Man up, folks. If the mods can't scare you at least sometimes, what's the point?


Gotcha Mechanics

2/5

I played and then ran this scenario the next day and honestly I hated it both times. The first fight is obnoxious from the players point of view and even worse from a GMs. I don't want to have players make 3 saves per round per swarm when they rarely fail. Its a waste of time. The second "encounter" literally does nothing but waste time until someone gets clever since there is no consequence for failing it again and again until you succeed. The entire thing is made of gotcha mechanics from creatures that don't really threaten you, just your stuff. And for the love of all that is holy someone please CHECK THE NPC EQUIPMENT LIST before printing. Unless I missed some note about them being stripped of gear the final fight should not even happen if you are smart about it.


First encounter was awesome; rest not so great.

3/5

Holy wow! I loved that first fight. I'm writing this review simply for the amount of hate it seems to be getting on here.

It was clear; at least after playing an earlier season 5 7-11 that the combat that was causing such a stir was coming in the scenario but the biggest thing that should have tipped players off as to the likely brutality of this scenario were two simple words on the front cover: Kyle Baird.

That being said; normally with such a strong first fight, this would get at least 4 stars but I feel the scenario seriously dropped the ball from there forward. We were expecting tough subsequent fights, and just weren't given any. The scenario culminated in an amusing way; but one of the mechanics involved sealed this scenarios fate at 3 stars. It made the whole party just stand around for about a half hour of real time; but while not feeling threated in the slightest. So it was simply just boring.


I lived, I guess...

1/5

By starting with an encounter that seems designed purely to kill tables of PCs with no warning and quite possibly no chance to fight back, this scenario is one of the least enjoyable ones I've played.

We lived through it due to one very powerful PC build. The rest of the scenario went fine and my character even had a couple of good moments, but after the 2+ hours of the first fight and the rush to finish in the time allowed the enjoyment was gone.

I don't mind dying in RPGs; my character probably should have died in this scenario. I just want to feel like I gave it my best shot, or at least a shot.


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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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