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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...Wow

1/5

I played this earlier today, High tier with the 4 player adjustment. Too difficult. Swarms with fire resistance+flying monsters with DR that is difficult to beat without consumables = pain (so even if you are prepared, you'll have to spend two rounds prepping in order to help while the rest of your friends are fighting). I was the last man standing with one foe and one swarm remaining, and even if I had beaten the last demon, the swarm would have eaten me alive and I couldn't do anything about it.

Afterwards, since the GM was running it as a slot zero, the GM went over the rest of the scenario, and each encounter is either as difficult or more so. I get that people have been asking for harder scenarios, but this is going too far. Despite the fact that this was offered as a slot zero, specifically for GMs to play it and then run it for their player base, I will never run this scenario. I would sooner expect a group of brand new players with pregens to best Day of the Demon than expect a group of average Pathfinders to successfully complete this adventure. Due to all of the constant save or suck I can't imagine even a winning group having much fun with it.

I like difficult encounters. I like feeling like I have to work for my wins. But in the end, I play Pathfinder to relax and have fun with my friends. If winning means that I have to build every character to be ridiculously optimized and that I can only play with other similarly designed characters, then I guess I'm out.


1/5

A few days after playing this scenario, I have come to the conclusion that I did not like it at all. Played it tier 7-8 with six players.

What comes to mind?
Pros:
RPing with other pc characters.
A hilariously funny use of a boon by a PC.

Cons:
It took forever even without the optional encounter.
The last fight took forever.
(I'm sensing a pattern.)
We really didn't care for the NPC or his buddies. My IC and OOC thoughts were roughly: "F this guy and his whining."
A lot of 'save or suck'. (Does anyone enjoy these?)

Overall? If you reall like challenge, do it and do it in hard mode.
If you have enjoyed season 5's rp-heavy side, skip this one. I would have liked to get my laundry done on time instead of playing this one.


Perspective: Player

2/5

The scenario focused on a string of challenging encounters, with a tenuous plot and few roleplay elements. Although we skipped the optional encounter, the scenario took almost 6 hours to complete, which I think we all felt was too much considering the content.

Our group was 6 experienced players with moderately optimized characters (tier 7-8) and a decent party composition (melees, ranged, caster, healer). The combat encounters were long and brutal at times, including a lot of control effects, which often disabled half of the party from action. This made the encounters less enjoyable and even frustrating, although we did not have major problems clearing them, in the end. We did have one character death, mostly due to bad rolls. Still, I think a party with less-optimized and less-experienced players can easily face tpk, if the dice fall unfavorably. For players looking for challenging combats, the scenario offers clever use of different monsters and effects. However, to my taste, good combat design can provide challenge without making the experience less fun.

In the sense of interesting plot, locations, (out-of-combat) mechanics, and roleplay opportunities, this scenario was uninspiring, especially compared to the previous scenarios of season 5 (and 4).

All in all, this scenario seemed intended for optimized characters and players looking for challenging and devious combat encounters. Others should probably avoid.


Challenging.... but not in a satisfying way

2/5

I was actually one of the less agitated players at my table at Origins, and I am partially filing this on their behalf, although I found this to be a fairly poor scenario as well.

Table complaints: weak plot, obnoxious time-wasting combats that were challenging but even more frustrating, and too many effects that cause PCs to "vibrate" and not be able to participate.

It also didn't help that we found out after that fact that we did indeed fulfill the secondary victory condition by

Plot points:
deciding to NOT murderhobo all the mind-controlled loser Pathfinders at the end, even though that's what some of us really wanted to do.
, but still didn't get credit.

more plot:
Like another poster here, I felt that the whole tapestry thing was a good excuse to be able to get the PCs in more obnoxious situations.

I would really only recommend this scenario to very optimized groups that can make short work of the encounters with brute mathematical force.


Poor GMing can ruin your life...

2/5

(my opinion shifted considerably after reading the scenario...)

All of the critiques listed to-date added up to a very negatively received scenario. Overall, it felt contrived and was tedious for a non-optimized mid-tier group.

A scenario that I wish I had never played and would never want to run and advise anyone else to avoid playing winds up as the least enjoyable scenario I have played to date. (This changed after reading the scenario - it motivated me to want to run it so I could try a bit harder than my GM to do it properly.)

This type of material (GMing, ultimately), encountered regularly, would discourage me from playing PFS entirely. As it stands, I reconsider my interest in higher tier content. Congratulations on a clever, well-built scenario that eroded any sense of pleasure as a PC (thanks to the GM).

Edit: After reading the scenario, it appears the GM used a flip-map in place of the proper map for the final encounter, as well as applying the 4-player modifications incorrectly (affecting NPC reach and size) and positioning the NPCs in a highly disadvantageous location (immediately adjacent to all the hostile NPCs) relative to the intended scenario placement.

Edit: After re-reading the scenario, the GM ran the first encounter ignoring the tactics written and somehow giving 2 critical NPCs the equivalent of blindsense/tremorsense/scent when the only thing they have is "blind-fight". How a highly experienced Venture-Captain GM can make so many egregious errors, I do not know. This was the 3rd time he reportedly was running this at Origins, so that would be 18 players subjected to the thorough incorrect running of this scenario.

What we have is an experience that goes from a no-star review, to a one star-review, to a two-star review, to a tentative three-star review. I'm thinking this scenario is considerably better than what I experienced, but I will likely never experience it as intended as a player. A cautionary tale, perhaps?


31 to 35 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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