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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Warning!

4/5

So, I played this scenario at Gencon at high tier on normal mode and had a blast. We had 6 players, my Razmirian Sorcerer, a Barbarian and four friends playing together with a rogue, ninja, wizard and magus.

I should say at the start that this is potentially a very difficult scenario, at least at the higher tier. However, everyone in the group was level 10-11 with the exception of the Magus at 9. All of us had at least 20+ sessions of experience under our belt and tens of thousands of gold to invest in a range of resources. At this level people should have options to deal with the various challenges the scenario presents so, while it is tough, proper preparation will get you through.

Playing this has encouraged me to go ahead and pick up a copy to look at running it. We dealt with the following encounters:

Encounter 1:
The swarms and demons are potentially really rough but level 9+ weapon users really should have invested in a swarmbane clasp, they are only 3k. We didn't need them as three arcane casters tore apart the swarms. No-one ended up confused and no gear was destroyed. The demons actually gave us more troubles as the melee had few ways to fly. Our rogue/ninja felt particularly useless but that will happen when you encounter flying enemies and don't have a simple potion.

Encounter 2:
We ended up triggering the trap as I forgot to declare I was checking for traps. The other 5 members of the group all started wandering off. Multiple suppress charms and compulsions got them back. The ooze was a speed bump. We found the tapestry and heading inside.

Encounter 3:
We encountered the big monkeys and a couple of them ended op confused straight off. Our melee managed to get some solid hits in, the caster tried to dominate our Barbarian 3 rounds in a row and he didn't roll less than 30 to save. A couple were down as our rogues struggled to get into flanking and then the trees woke up. A desperate speak with plants and a 30+ diplomacy brought them on to our side and that was it.

Encounter 4:
We encountered Nikolai and convinced him to take us to his "decemvirate" member. Spotting the difference between a masked ruler and a giant plant monster we engaged. Most of the group ended up getting calmed by the aura as they tried to close while I flew around dodging Nikolai trying to dump her into a Hungry Pit. Three natural 20's in a row was a surprise but she finally fell to the fourth.

Overall if you are looking for a challenging combat orientated adventure with an element of investigation then I would highly recommend this. If you don't have faith in your build, companions or preparations or prefer a stronger social aspect then look elsewhere.


Better the second time

4/5

After playing in this game at a convention and having a horrible time (was a player with enaudible - see his earlier review), I ran this scenario for my local group, playing 10-11.

This group was experienced and large, 7 pc's, and had played together for quite a while. The first encounter still took 2.5 hours! However good tactical use of summon monsters and going into the landing zone expecting a battle (lots of PC's who had barely survived or were raised from playing Elven Entanglement were in this game.) Only one PC dropped in the first encounter.

The optional was skipped. The traps were fun and led to some interesting RP debating on how to get by. Talking with the VC was also good RP. In the end, a hungry pit covered by a wall of ice let the party focus down one bad guy at a time in the final encounter and bought them enough space to be successful. The group had fun with some RP at the end with Zey's debriefing of the VC and the party.

Now, this group all had high will saves, which helped them tremendously. With a different group or not going in ready for action I can clearly understand the frustration felt by the other reviewers.


This is a Fun Sponge!

1/5

Do not play this... It will ruin your PFS experience...

I need to explain…

Table Make up
Three players were 8th level
Three players were 9th level

I played this adventure at PaizoConUK, with an Ex-venture captain GM’ing… Convention rules meant that we played the 10-11 sub-tier (with a four player adjustment) and tables were premade by the convention organisers to provide balance…

The opening RP encounter with Farabellus was fun… It provided a nice intro to the mod…

Then it all went downhill…

The opening combat encounter was by far one of the worst opening combat encounters I’ve ever played… It has multi actioned monsters with an ability to automatic decide player action… not my idea of fun… I could go in to great detail about this fight but I’m not… The most annoying part of this fight was that you COULD avoid it… if your GM wanted you to…

I accidently saw one of the Convention organisers during a break and he asked how it was going… I then stated a TPK was about to happen and he went and had a word… I didn’t want the GM to pull punches… It was suggested to the GM that maybe he should lower the Tier to 7-8… He did after the first encounter…

The first encounter took nearly two hours, it drained the group… we didn’t want to continue…the GM fudged us into continuing… I was so done with it I returned to my hotel room for over thirty minutes to just rant at my partner…

After the dreadful first encounter, we continued… The more we found out about the narrative, the more we groaned… The storyline progressed as a low level module should have…

There was no love for continuing this adventure after surviving! Nobody truly was interested or invested in the story presented… It gathered all my fun, the other player’s fun too and became a Fun Sponge…

It was all about getting our Pokémon card, sorry Chronicle record…

I never want to see this replayed, I never want to replay this or GM this… I would actively seek for people to choose an alternative…

Having read many of the society supplements I find it hard to believe that this made it through as a high level mod… It is an ego stroke that shows that someone (the author knows how to bend the rules) has the upper hand… I’m not opposed to this but what I want to see is realistic fantasy storyline that gets you involved…

Kyle Baird is known from presenting a challenge but you have to sustain disbelief for this… Please never play this… It does nothing to advance any part of the pathfinder society game and shows poor execution from a writer, editor and campaign staff… Please never again… This style of mod doesn't further community gaming of PFS goals...

It reminds my of LG or LA mod but without a suitable story to back it up... It just poor and tiresome...

It destroyed our day… unless that was what was intended by the author…


2/5

Quite enjoyed the rest of the scenario but first encounter is way ott.
If everyone could see what was going on the start this would be hard enough but we had half on the party unable to do anything at the start. Oh and they not only potentially kill you they destroy your equipment (luckily the only one in our party to lose valuable rather than mundane equipment was a pregen) ...and the body so goodbye character.


Rules? Rules don't seem to apply.

1/5

There should be a disclaimer at the beginning of the adventure that reminds the GM that SWARMS DO NOT STACK. I was aware of this ruling, and the GM that ran this adventure was aware of this ruling, but evidently, the writer was either unaware or simply did not care. If GM's insist upon stacking the swarms, please remind the GM that swarms damage EVERYTHING in their area-including each other.

The opening encounter is designed to incapacitate a party with lots of auto-damage, damage to your equipment, and then near automatic enervation damage. Yet another Season 5 module that drops the players into a "hot zone" with no warning and no preparation.

The rest of the adventure was only so-so at best.

A few more adventure like this, 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons will have swarms of players just itching to start a new campaign on even footing.


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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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