Pathfinder Society Scenario #5–21: The Merchant's Wake (PFRPG) PDF

4.00/5 (based on 20 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1–5.

A powerful Qadiran trade prince has died, and faction leader Aaqir al’Hakam rushes to his homeland to attend his mentor’s funeral. As an act of support, the Pathfinder Society sends the PCs as representatives to the event; however the death of such an influential merchant and politician has created a considerable power vacuum, and ambitious acquaintances from across the Inner Sea are in attendance to pay their respects, claim a piece of the trade prince’s legacy, and undercut their rivals’ attempts to do the same. Can the Pathfinders keep this somber event from spiraling into a bloodbath?

Content in “The Merchant’s Wake” also contributes directly to the ongoing storyline of the Qadira faction.

Written by Justin Juan.

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.

PZOPSS0521E


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Average product rating:

4.00/5 (based on 20 ratings)

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Great social scenario, with minor flaws.

4/5

(I GMed this and played this.)

I can be pretty brief about this scenario: the author makes some weird leaps of logic and I guess certain things got cut out during editing, but essentially, this is a great scenario. The social part works well and NPCs are described well enough that you can hold a proper conversation with them. Also, DCs are properly scaled that even non-socially-inclined characters can contribute meaningfully, I feel.

I especially like how certain choices mattered, even if only superficially. It makes the players feel like they've had an impact on the story, which is great. And from the GM point of view, these choices are easy enough to incorporate that they don't slow the game down at all. I've seen scenarios where this goes wrong, for example.

As said, the story is a little strange and NPCs behave oddly just to have the story make sense. Not too keen on that. I feel like this scenario fell prey to heavy editing, cutting out motivations and backstory, but this is only speculation on my part.

All in all, this is a fun scenario. It has some flaws, but it's certainly worth playing.


4/5


Recommend for those enjoy roleplaying

5/5

Most of the scenario is roleplay, you have to chat with varient NPCs. It means that Merchant is hevily depands on how GM and players act, also have to do much work about the Innersea world. What I like the best is the two familiar friends come out again! You'll know them if played The Glass River Rescue.

There are also two challenging and well-scaled combats, but the BBEG fight is dissapointing...too weak and not shocking at all, but still a good one to play.


Role-play heavy, but with an actual good chase-scene

5/5

I ended up playing this scenario last weekend and I had a great time. Not only was there a good mixture of role-playing and fighting, with a clear emphasis on role-playing, but there was also a unique, yet perfect chase-scene except for the swimming part. The only downside was the plot. It wasn't exactly difficult to figure out who the bad guy eventually was. Anyway, allow me to break this scenario down to role-playing and encounters though.

As for the role-playing, it indeed is the most important portion of the scenario. If you just want to kill things, you should stay clear of this scenario. However, I disagree with some of the reviews below that this scenario is hours of just talking. Don't get me wrong, it is indeed possible should you choose so, but it's not a fundamental issue with the scenario. Instead it's something that comes down to the GM and players. The GM has to feel the mood at the table and should adjust the amount of talking to it, whereas the players can speak up as well. Together they should find the sweet spot. Without proper out-of-game communication, I can see how this could drag on and cause issues for individuals.

In my case our GM said he'd give 5 to 10 minutes per conversation and all of us did our best to make the conversations fun and interesting. Not a single one of us was bored at any moment in time, nor felt left out. Everyone of us also liked the chase-scene. I consider it to be quite innovative and far less annoying than other similar situations I've encountered. You are provided with limited options and you can actually go through the process of getting from A to B rather quickly, while still having a lot of options open to you to decrease the DC's. It simply works really well.

The encounters were fine too. They weren't particularly special, but I don't believe that's needed for this scenario. Thematically it's fine and I'm sure the first encounter can give a fair amount of a parties a run for their money. My party was lucky at the BBEG as they got the drop on that particular individual, but from what I've heard, that fight can be quite annoying as well. In other words, the fights can be quite challenging.

This scenario is role-play heavy, but the fights aren't walkovers either. If you like the previous sentence, you should consider playing this scenario as you're likely to find it quite enjoyable. Be sure to bring a balanced party though!


Why should I care about any of this?

2/5

I have played & GMed this scenario. It is apparent from the beginning that it has the narrowest of relevance to most PFS members. This is a scenario for your social PC, not your combat monkey. A new player is going to be left wondering "Why should I care about any of this?". A GM is going to have a hard time keeping the players engaged at the table. Last night was 3.5 hours of talking before we ever rolled initiative. After the first combat encounter the plot becomes silly. The players know what's up, but the contrived plot tries to turn them away from an early conclusion. The GM either improvises or asks the players "This is what you are expected to do, can you just play along?" It seems like the author believes the players are all mind-readers who inherently know which direction the scenario wants them to leap toward.

If PFS is going to develop these types of scenarios in the future, then it needs to create player handouts with pictures of the NPCs with a brief profile OR give permission for users to create and share resources with images from the scenario on sites like GM Shared Prep. There are 8 key NPCs in this scenario, all with foreign names that are easy for players to mix up.


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Webstore Gninja Minion

Announced for May!

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A nice batch of new 1-5 scenarios announced. Excellent. I'm trying to focus on season 5 in my territory and having new player friendly season 5 scenarios really helps.

Dark Archive

Quote:
Can the Pathfinders keep this somber event from spiraling into a bloodbath?

I'm sure my players probably hope not...

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A mob funeral???? Ok, this is Quadira and not Sczarni, but d@#$ this could get nuts fast!


Do I sense another Blakros Matrimony?


Lithrac wrote:
Do I sense another Blakros Matrimony?

That was my impression as well.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

A pity my social characters are out of tier. :)


TriOmegaZero wrote:
A pity my social characters are out of tier. :)

Nonsense! It's just an excuse to make another one.


Tier 1-5 is never out of tier :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

When your rogue and bard are both 9th level it sure is.

Paizo Employee Developer

There's always room for more bards.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
John Compton wrote:
There's always room for more bards.

He's right.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories Subscriber

Hmm. Is the Qadira boon worth not playing my character for 2 months? I'll be GM, so it's not like I'll be able to actually play her in it.

Liberty's Edge

This looks very interesting. Qadira to me at least has felt a little sidelined of late.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

There are some typos in the blurb. Corrections are bolded below:

Scenario Blurb wrote:
A powerful Qadiran trade prince has died, and faction leader Aaqir al’Hakam rushes to his homeland to attend his mentor’s funeral. As an act of support, the Pathfinder Society sends the PCs as representatives to the event; however the death of such an influential merchant and politician has created a considerable power vacuum, and ambitious acquaintances from across the Inner Sea are in attendance to pay their respects, claim a piece of the trade prince’s legacy, and undercut their rivals’ attempts to do the same. Can the Pathfinders keep this somber event from spiraling into a bloodbath?

Webstore Gninja Minion

greysector wrote:

There are some typos in the blurb. Corrections are bolded below:

Scenario Blurb wrote:
A powerful Qadiran trade prince has died, and faction leader Aaqir al’Hakam rushes to his homeland to attend his mentor’s funeral. As an act of support, the Pathfinder Society sends the PCs as representatives to the event; however the death of such an influential merchant and politician has created a considerable power vacuum, and ambitious acquaintances from across the Inner Sea are in attendance to pay their respects, claim a piece of the trade prince’s legacy, and undercut their rivals’ attempts to do the same. Can the Pathfinders keep this somber event from spiraling into a bloodbath?

Thanks for the catch—it's been updated!


Oh, this sounds like fun. :)

By that I mean I am sure things are going to get out of control.

Shadow Lodge

This isn't available until Friday now?! Why the push back?


I'm more concerned with how certain the Friday timeframe is - I can cancel a session for this weekend now, but not on Friday if it doesn't come out.

Shadow Lodge

Are we there yet?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

We are now.


Thank you for the hard work everyone!


5 people marked this as a favorite.

I AM TRYING TO SWIM THROUGH THE DOOR SO HARD :(

Dark Archive

I'm gonna treat that swim check as a strength check.... cause yeah swim through the barricade doesn't make sense.

Scarab Sages

Sporge wrote:
I'm gonna treat that swim check as a strength check.... cause yeah swim through the barricade doesn't make sense.

I was so annoyed that they let a typo that big through into a public release

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I'm just glad my GM let me roll Swim on it with my Undine Gunslinger. :D

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