Pathfinder Society Scenario #5–24: Assault on the Wound (PFRPG) PDF

2.30/5 (based on 38 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3–7.

The Pathfinder Society embarks on its expedition to the lost Sky Citadel Jormurdun with a small army of allies in tow, but they are not the only ones seeking the dwarven fortress. Two of the Society’s nemeses have rallied the fiends of Frostmire to crush the Pathfinders, hoping to buy the villains enough time to secure Jormurdun first. If the campaign is to succeed, the Society’s forces will need bold leadership. Can the PCs lead their motley army to victory deep in the Worldwound?

Content in “Assault on the Wound” also contributes directly to the ongoing storylines of the Silver Crusade and Taldor factions.

Characters can benefit from numerous boons earned during other Season 5 scenarios, so players are advised to bring other earned Season 5 Chronicle sheets to the event—even if those Chronicle sheets are assigned to other characters.

Written by Thurston Hillman.

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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PZOPSS0524E


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2.30/5 (based on 38 ratings)

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I kind of loved it.

5/5

A lot of the reviews seem to say this is a love it or hate it scenario, which I can see, but chalk up one for the love it column. We played high tier with the 4 person adjustments due to APL but we had 6 players.

Mass Combat Portion
No one at the table had experience playing with the mass combat rules but we didn't find them particularly difficult to go over and learn there. I think we used 3 special armies for the first part and 4 for the second engagement and am not sure if the DM used the 4 player adjustment, since there actually was 6 of us and the tiers didnt seem to affect the troops I probably wouldn't as the DM.

I immensely enjoyed this part, maybe because I seemed to be playing one of the "better" special armies but still had some nail biter moments when I went one way expecting people to follow and they go the other way. These combats are by no means a free win as the way mass combats work the die rolls are very important. One of our special armies got destroyed early in the second part by awesome rolls from the enemy side. Our Gm had us only do 1 melee phase each day while still being locked in combat allowing the slower armies to not be entirely locked out. Looking at the rules I can see that interpretation and I think it overall helped the play experience even though I had one of the faster move armies.

The Rest
The rest of the scenario was actually just kind of "okay" but I can see not having the page count for elaborate maps or much else. I didn't get a read how difficult the first encounter would have been since I get the impression the GM was softballing for the lower levels who had to play up due to the APL.

Spoiler:
I actually like the troop mechanic and would love to see more of it. It serves to make otherwise irrelevant or difficult to run threats into workable ones. I dont feel like their inclusion overloaded with new rules or anything and we all found the encounter to be pretty intuitive.

Some reviews claimed the final encounter was easily neutered if you had the specific party makeup to beat it but really what can't you say that about in Pathfinder. We didn't have the magic makeup to trivialize the encounter and I found it to be of appropriate difficulty.

Spoiler:
And I say this being the guy who got force punched out the window and just got to watch the second half. Looking back I think our GM ran the spell wrong as a successful save negates the movement and ours had a save for half the movement, still knocking me out the window, but it didn't negatively impact the play experience.

Faction Missions
One faction mission was quite nice and the other was forgettable.

Spoiler:
We had 4 silver crusaders and this was my second time to actually get to play a scenario with the correct faction this year. The Silver Crusade mission I found to be quite uninteresting, basically just being one of those make the right skill check and succeed tings. I think the Taldor mission was probably the best example of a faction mission I have seen. The Silver Crusade boon is entirely worthless but the Taldor boon is decent for being really the culmination of multiple boons. Its not particularly interesting but I think it fits and is powerful enough.

Overall
I would say the main negative to this scenario is that you definitely want to assume it will run long. I could see this being a problem to run at conventions with the time limit and the noise and distractions making learning a new system difficult. I hope to see more mass combat and an even expanded system with consumption and the works. A scenario (or module, please?) centered around raising some sort of customizable army for a mass combat section would probably be the best thing to ever happen. I could totally see using GM stars to play this again and using a different army to feel like a different scenario.

Alright, I lied - the worst thing about this scenario is that if there aren't more like it I will be disappointed.


Nope, nope, nope.

1/5

Mass combat might be fun in a campaign where you plan on having mass combat. For PFS purposes no thanks it basically turns a role-playing into RISK. The troops could be cool but honestly felt overly deadly for no good reason. The BBEG has some cool tactics but is easily defeated by single players in too many ways. I was excited about this one, and instead its one of the few that I have no interest in seeing again. Overall, I felt like it was to much an experiment in expanding PFS (tactics, enemy type, mass combat) and not really a satisfying adventure for my character.


New mechanics - Mass combat

1/5

I went into this scenario expecting to have some fun with my character. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

The scenario uses mass combat mechanics for at least half the game. You take control of an army and have a nice game of checkers. In our party, a player got his army decimated real quickly and was out for most of the game. For myself, I also lost my army fairly quickly (terrible rolls) and ended twiddling my thumbs.

Once we finally got to play our characters in another part of the scenario, we encountered a special swarm of Tieflings guarding an entrance. The swarm sent volleys of arrows which did "auto" damage to players with no way to avoid. Unfortunately our party was low level and we had no way to deal with swarm type monsters (very unfortunate for us).

I was disappointed with the scenario. If I had the chance to replay with another character, I would avoid this one.


Blech!

1/5

This scenario will likely net polarizing reviews.

You've just arrived at the game store. Did you want to play your character - your actual character you brought in a folder?

Too bad! Instead, here's a hand out and you're learning mass combat rules and playing an army instead of your character!

What? You don't like tactical combat on hexes with mediocre armies that are pitted against even more mediocre armies where you're essentially guaranteed a victory? You signed up for the wrong game day.

Now, there's gamers among us who are like "sure, I don't mind playing a few hours at mass combat to try it out" and with a beer and some friends we can pass the night away talking about rules and geeking out. In a convention setting, this is potentially not too bad if you're playing 4-5 other games and this is a footnote among the experience.

But, if you have limited, precious time and you wanted to get 4-5 hours of a tabletop roleplaying game in for the month? You'll feel like you just had 4-5 hours stolen away from you and will need to wait another month to see an actual scenario you can play your character in.

The bulk of this scenario is a briefing, learning mass combat, and then playing mass combat. Not counting the intro, maps, or stat blocks, there is roughly just 2 pages of actual scenario in which you'll be playing your character.


New Mechanics need extra loving care

5/5

I ran this a bunch of times at Paizocon 2014. The first table was a bit clunky; my grasp of the rules was not strong and the table and I learned how the rules worked together. While not intuitive, the mechanics do become second nature by the end of the first combat encounter.

Having handouts for the armies is a must. Having copies of the mass combat rules for the table is also a must. Instead of waiting until after the intro text, I handed out the rules appendices and explained how the mechanics worked. I went over the changes to initiative, how each phase worked, what you could and could not do, and how to resolve combat. I told the players that near the end of the first encounter they will have the rules down. To a table, they all did.

Charisma is important in a leader. Your ability to get people to move and fight together is important. An 8 charisma fighter is great at slaughtering goblins by himself, but will others listen to him? Or even want to fight for him? The high charisma sorcerer might not understand tactics but will inspire courage and spirit through words and deeds. It is not that difficult a concept to grasp and one not worth complaining about.

This scenario will take a full five hours the first time you gm it. As I progressed, my opening speech about "Here's how mass combat works" went from about 45-50 minutes to 20. For those worried about not finishing in five hour slots, none of my tables went long. In fact, most finished early.

The only real complaint I have is the inclusion of the Troop subtype. It felt out of place and at tier 6-7, the map is too small to accommodate the critters and players.


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Webstore Gninja Minion

Announced for July!


Another Thursty adventure - I can't wait!

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I wonder who these old nemeses are and why they are showing up here? What is their agenda?

Or perhaps do they just want to...*puts on sunglasses*...put salt on the wound.

Liberty's Edge

If one of them isn't

Spoiler:
Tancred Desimire
I'll eat my hat. But then, they have often pleasantly surprised me...


My two cents, I believe the two old nemeses will be:

Spoiler:
Tancred Desimire and Thurl. And I imagine you won't actually encounter them in this scenario. That encounter will be in 5-25: Vengeance at Sundered Crag. Especially since I believe the scenarios are supposed to take place concurrently (in time).

Liberty's Edge

I forgot about the other guy's name UE. And I totally agree with your prediction. I thought this was going to be a Tier 7-11 for some reason. No way you'd face the actual recurring villains in a 3-7, right?


Derek Weil wrote:
No way you'd face the actual recurring villains in a 3-7, right?

I sure hope not! But who knows, maybe it's a suicide mission?

Silver Crusade

My money is on...:
Tancred Desimire and Thurl. If it's anything like Portal of the Sacred Rune, Vengeance at Sundered Crag will bridge season 5-6 together, and Thurl has connections to Numeria in his backstory.

Silver Crusade

Hrothdane, where did you find said backstory? I seem to remember seeing it somewhere, but for the life of me I can't find it now...

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

After an update from the Golem regarding this scenario, I think I need to preface the release with an offer:

I'll be at PaizoCon this year, so swing by to punch me in person.


Thurston Hillman wrote:
I'll be at PaizoCon this year, so swing by to punch me in person.

ISWYDT.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Thurston Hillman wrote:

After an update from the Golem regarding this scenario, I think I need to preface the release with an offer:

I'll be at PaizoCon this year, so swing by to punch me in person.

I'm running this, so I think I'll buy you a beer.

Paizo Glitterati Robot

Now available!

Shadow Lodge

On the Chronicle Sheet, The Taldor Boon reads:
[Include 2 check boxes here] Legacy of Porthmos (Taldor):

That should probably be:
[] []
Legacy of Porthmos (Taldor):

:)

Grand Lodge Global Organized Play Coordinator

Please do not run this until July 4.

Shadow Lodge

That's odd. I'm guessing all those scenarios where not supposed to have been released yet?

I will not run them early, I honestly just saw new stuff and grabbed it, assuming it was just coming out. I can't see the release dates, but when does Scars of the Third Crusade become good to go?

Grand Lodge Global Organized Play Coordinator

DM Beckett wrote:

That's odd. I'm guessing all those scenarios where not supposed to have been released yet?

I will not run them early, I honestly just saw new stuff and grabbed it, assuming it was just coming out. I can't see the release dates, but when does Assault on the Wound become good to go?

Thank you for understanding. July 4th is a good date for the first time it can be run.

Grand Lodge

First #5-24 was scheduled for release July 30, then June 27 it was "available today." At the moment, it's not listed at all. Is there any information? I'm scheduled to run this scenario, not terribly soon, but would like to get my hands on it sooner rather than later.

Shadow Lodge

I'm kind of curious as well. Doesn't matter to me, as I'm not scheduled to run it until I feel like it :P, just wondering why it was made available, then removed, and can't be run until later?

Grand Lodge

This. They should have been held until July 4th for Paizocon.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

Huzzah, it's back up again!

Grand Lodge Global Organized Play Coordinator

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Huzzah, it's back up again!

This scenario is the suq. It haz no llamas in it ;-)

Paizo Employee Designer

Michael Brock wrote:
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Huzzah, it's back up again!
This scenario is the suq. It haz no llamas in it ;-)

Now Mike, it's not Thursty's fault that we switched the giant llamas for demons. That's just rubbing a salt on the wound.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Mark Seifter wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Huzzah, it's back up again!
This scenario is the suq. It haz no llamas in it ;-)
Now Mike, it's not Thursty's fault that we switched the giant llamas for demons. That's just rubbing a salt on the wound.

ISWYDT

Grand Lodge Global Organized Play Coordinator

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Seifter wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Huzzah, it's back up again!
This scenario is the suq. It haz no llamas in it ;-)
Now Mike, it's not Thursty's fault that we switched the giant llamas for demons. That's just rubbing a salt on the wound.

There is no excuse for not including atl east one llama that yells, "CCCAAARRRRLLLLLL" and enjoys the taste of hands.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

I guess I really need to include a millipede on the Moonscar...

Paizo Employee Designer

Thurston Hillman wrote:
I guess I really need to include a millipede on the Moonscar...

Only if you want to play the part of Abbott.

Grand Lodge Global Organized Play Coordinator

Thurston Hillman wrote:
I guess I really need to include a millipede on the Moonscar...

That's at least a start but it in no way replaces llamas with a taste for human flesh or depressed unicorns.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Meat conveyor! I vote for a meat conveyor!

Or a rift in space and time the ejects baby hands! Wait...I could've used that! Dangit! I missed my opportunity! Where's Paul?!

Shadow Lodge

I truly enjoyed the mass combat. It's kind of confusing at the beginning. I would love to see a few of these each season. Sure it takes away from roleplaying but that's ok, having something change every once and awhile is a good thing. Only thing I could ask for is to have have a super easy gimp encounter before the first real bad so how its supposed work can be visualized.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

I believe the first encounter is supposed to be the easy training wheels example to get you ready for the second (real) challenge.

Liberty's Edge

I spotted that there is a formatting typo on the chronicle; is the PDF expected to be updated in the next week or two? Or should we work with it as it is now?

Is there any chance of getting an easily-printable version of the first map with only the player-friendly markings and labels, i.e. one that can be blown up to ~A2 size?

Liberty's Edge

The tier is off. Two of the armies come from 7-11 missions and one other from 5-9. Even if all of the others were 1-5, the chances of still having your character in 3-7 after all this time is fairly remote. Also not sure why junior Pathfinders would be leading the charge... Oh. Wait a minute, what was the alignment of the Ten?

I guess I will just have to go with Plan A and use my armies to conquer Absalom now that I'm out of tier.

Paizo Employee Developer

EricMcG wrote:

The tier is off. Two of the armies come from 7-11 missions and one other from 5-9. Even if all of the others were 1-5, the chances of still having your character in 3-7 after all this time is fairly remote. Also not sure why junior Pathfinders would be leading the charge... Oh. Wait a minute, what was the alignment of the Ten?

I guess I will just have to go with Plan A and use my armies to conquer Absalom now that I'm out of tier.

In response:
If you have the boons on any of your characters, those boons apply to whichever character you bring to the table.

Also, Marcos Farabellus explains why there aren't a lot of high-level Pathfinders on hand to lead the armies when he gives his mission briefing.

Hope that helps.

Liberty's Edge

I didn't see any notes about the usual A, B, C, or D checkboxes from the reporting sheet in the Conclusion. Did I miss something?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

I see a lot of polarized reviews, it averages out to 3, but most of the reviews are 1 or 5, and from reading them I suspect the 1's wish that 0 was an option. It seems to break down to love/hate mass combat == love/hate the scenario. Beyond the boss fight are all the encounters mass combat, or is there a mix?

Liberty's Edge

It's all mass combat except for the last encounter (boss fight), but my players loved the mass combat dynamic. Everyone at the table had a blast!

Shadow Lodge

It is absolutely a love/hate of mass combat rules.

My particular objection is that mass combat means you're not really playing your character (outside of their Charisma modifier) for several hours. You can certainly roleplay "Mammoths! Charge!" a few times, but it starts to get old for a lot of players quickly. Some tables are spending 3 hours on mass combat. I know some of the PaizoCon tables didn't do all the mass combat engagements due to time restrictions (such a single token one for flavor) and it's possible those are the ones actually getting higher reviews since less time is spent in mass combat.

And the mass combat rules are a bit clunky because they don't favor holding strategic locations, so you'll see a lot of tables that simply group up as one large army and run around... typical strategic war-gaming places strategic emphasis and rewards from holding locations. The scenario could've been written with some of this (i.e. simultaneously achieve these 3 goals) which would've allowed more tables to experience more variety (as 6 armies would need to split into 3 armies each composed of 2 players or such).

(To be fair, there's two other parts that will garner love/hate responses as well, but I won't mention those here since that are spoilery)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

Ick, that actually sounds uncool, I recently scrubbed the mass combat rules from my Wrath of the Righteous Campaign because it definitely took the PCs out of the spotlight. At the same time, this is a module that sorcerers and bards can laugh at all the folks who dumped Charisma.

Shadow Lodge

The impact of a PC's charisma is somewhat negligible at least at the times I've seen this scenario in play.

The PC armies are rarely routed (usually hot dice mean an army is straight destroyed, and a routed army with 3hp left isn't really much of a factor anyway), and folks don't generally shift tactics such that a morale check is required.

When I ran the scenario, the PCs with the hottest dice were generally the strongest. How hot your dice are matters a lot more than usual in mass combat because damage dealt is the excess in which the OM roll exceeds the DV. When I last ran the second engagement, my dice were rolling very well and the PC army's were grouped up and I grouped up the demon armies in response. PCs were focus firing demon armies, so the demon armies had responded by focus firing PC armies. When running the demon armies, you'd likely attack whichever PC army is being reckless and employing raging brutality, which essentially means their DV may be like 12. With a handful of armies (say 4) all attacking that reckless PC army, if you roll a 14,16,17,19, you're looking at a destroyed PC army the first round.

Sadly, I'm not generally a fan of mass combat since in order to enjoy it, it requires the players to run their armies in a mechanically suboptimal fashion and to create situations on the battlefield ("Oh! My army doesn't need any help with these demons, why don't you go after those others on that hill there...") that are beyond those the scenario presents. Once one army groups up into a "mega-stack", the other army should follow and then it's just a bunch of fairly uninteresting rolls until it's resolved.

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