Pathfinder Society Quest: The Silverhex Chronicles (PFRPG) PDF

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A series of six Quests designed for 1st-level characters.

When the daring half-orc scholar Ulisha enrages a noble family in the River Kingdoms, she contacts the PCs with a special deal: she will sell them a unique and ancient druidic relic at a steep discount to secure the gold she needs to pay off her bounty. By the time the PCs arrive to meet her, she has gone into hiding. However, she has left behind a journal full of profitable leads as a sign of good faith. Can the PCs recover this hidden wealth and claim the powerful Silverhex before an assassin finds their friend?

The Silverhex Chronicles includes six, 1-hour adventures that take the PCs to a graveyard in Gralton, a mist-choked forest in Ustalav, a brainwashed village in Razmiran, an ancient crash site in Numeria, and the perilous city of Daggermark. Experience the adventures in any order to create a unique story.

These Quests are designed for play in Pathfinder Society Organized Play, but can easily be adapted for use with any world.

Written by Josh Foster, Scott Sharplin, and Walter Sheppard.

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Sloppy

**( )( )( )

NO SPOILERS

The Silverhex Chronicles is a series of six linked adventures designed to take about one hour each. Although they can formally be played in any order, I’d suggest doing them roughly in the order they appear (or, at least doing the last two sequentially at the end). As Quests go, this one comes pretty low in my estimation. There are a lot of plot holes, not many interesting NPCs, and the encounter difficulty is all over the map. I don’t think it’s a great representation of what Pathfinder has to offer, and I would choose others unless I’ve started to run out of material. I played through this over the course of two nights with the four-player adjustment in effect.

SPOILERS!:
The backstory to The Silverhex Chronicles doesn’t quite gel. There’s a half-orc explorer named Ulisha who operates out of the River Kingdoms. She’s discovered an ancient enchanted sickle and wants to sell it to the PCs so that she can “pay off a bounty” that has been placed on her head by noblemen she has angered. Ulisha has gone into hiding, but has left a series of letters for the PCs with leads to profitable opportunities in the River Kingdoms so that (I think) they can earn enough money to buy the sickle so that she can pay off the debt. It’s a very roundabout way of doing things, and I’m not convinced it makes sense. Natural questions are: why doesn’t she slip out of the River Kingdoms and sell the sickle herself and why do the PCs want the sickle so bad? (there’s no explanation of its historical value or, until the Chronicle, its magical abilities). In addition, we find out at the very end that her debt can be cleared for just 500 gp and that she’s going to charge the PCs over 6,000 gp for the sickle, which they wouldn’t be able to afford even if they succeeded on every quest! It all hangs together poorly and is too transparently an ill thought-out MacGuffin.

Anyway, each of the six Quests are preceded by a handout letter and together they take the PCs on a little tour of the River Kingdoms.

“Mausoleum” is the first Quest, and from a morality point of view, it’s a doozy. The PCs are asked to break into the mausoleum of a recently-deceased nobleman and steal whatever’s valuable inside. It’s not exactly a mission for lawful or good PCs, and can’t even be justified by the usual “Indiana Jones-style archaeology” rationale. The adventure takes place in Gralton, a town filled with exiles from the Red Revolution in Galt, and they’re some of the nobles that are after Ulisa. When the PCs arrive at the cemetery, they find the body of a young man draped over a post in front of the mausoleum they’re supposed to break into. The post holds a cryptic clue to getting the mausoleum’s door to open without setting off a trap, provided by a magic mouth: “When the last sun falls upon this spot, receive my thanks.” The idea here is that a member of a rival noble house thought the reference to “sun” was a reference to “son” and killed the interred noble’s son in a bid to gain access inside. (I actually came to the same conclusion, thinking I was being clever—apparently, murderers and I think alike!)

In fact, the puzzle’s solution is the obvious one: it’s when rays of the setting sun fall upon the post. The problem is that the scenario doesn’t make it clear to the PCs what time of day it is and that the sun’s rays can’t fall on the post because of the shadow cast by a spire on a different mausoleum (the Conclusion section mentions this to the GM, but many understandably won’t notice until it’s too late). What the PCs are supposed to do is cut down or break the spire (add vandalism to grave-robbing!) to gain access to the mausoleum. Inside is a valuable tapestry (worth enough to pay off Ulisa’s debt—done, everyone go home!). The complication in this Quest is that the murderer of the noble’s son is lurking about, and there’ll inevitably be a battle with her. She’s heavily outnumbered, however, and won’t pose any real threat.

This one wasn’t bad in concept, but care really needed to be given to the exposition of crucial information to the players in order for it to work properly.

“Mists” is the second quest and sees the PCs in the bordering country of Ustalav. Ulisa has told them she buried a magic lantern in a place called “Cannibal Grove”, and the PCs are expected to recover it. (the backstory, which the PCs won’t get, explains that she stole the lantern from a necromancer and hid it in a place full of evil energy so that he couldn’t find it easily) The adventure starts at an inn called the Restless Bear, and the writer does a good job giving it and its proprietor some flavour. Once the PCs head off into the wilderness, they’ll find that the lantern is in the middle of a haunt that has a pretty cool effect: as “Cannibal Grove” would indicate, it might force a PC to eat some of their own flesh! The added complication for this scenario takes the form of a super-tiny fey with 9 hp who wants the lantern, and she’s temporarily aided by an elk. The battle is almost laughably easy. Still, I didn’t mind this one as it had some good atmosphere.

“Colony” is the third quest, and has the PCs travel to Allenstead, a small village on the border with Razmiran. The hook is solid: Allenstead has always been staunchly resistant to the faith of “The Living God” Razmir, but suddenly, in the course of just weeks, the whole town has converted! The cause must be related to the recent arrival of a priest of Razmir and the strange sceptre he carries. Ulisa wants the PCs to get that sceptre by hook or by crook, on the assumption that it’s magical and therefore quite valuable. (she’s really able to keep up on current events despite hiding out in a cave in the wilderness!)

The PCs arrive in time to hear about a daily noontime sermon. My group spent some time formulating heist-like plans to try to swipe that sceptre, which would have been a lot of fun, but the scenario has other ideas. At the sermon, the priest goes to use his magic wand to hypnotize the crowd (as he’s done every day previously) only to find out it doesn’t work—he’s exhausted its charges! It’s a very, ahem, convenient coincidence as far as the PCs are concerned. The priest runs for it, the PCs give chase (with the aid of some skill checks to escape the crowd) and do battle. It was okay, but I liked the premise more than the execution.

“Crash”, the fourth quest, was a real wake-up call—or, some might say, a kick in the nethers! The hook is again solid: Ulisa has found clues pointing to the location of a potentially-unexplored crash site of debris from the “Rain of Stars” (when a fantastical vessel broke up over Numeria, raining down shattered bits of strange metals and wondrous devices). Following her directions, the PCs unearth a metallic pod with silver disks and a bracelet inside. Getting the stuff is easy, but getting out with it is the challenge. The PCs are waylaid by a group of kellids who demand the PCs turn over the loot along with all of their gold. There’s not really a diplomatic way out of this without failing the quest, and realistically the PCs are going to have to fight. But these kellids include two Level 1 barbarians who can use Power Attack with their greatswords to do 2d6+10 points of damage with a single hit! It’s brutal enough to kill a Level 1 PC outright (especially on a crit!) and that’s exactly what happened to one poor player’s PC before mine hastily surrendered. Low-level games always hold the risk of something going very wrong when crits are involved, but this encounter was drastically more dangerous than all the others in the series and wasn’t really fair. The lesson here is that scenario writers need to rely on formal CR less and common sense/judgement more: antagonists like raging barbarians and ghouls are far more lethal than their CRs might indicate.

“Webs” is the fifth quest, and it suffered from not clearly explaining to the PCs what they needed to do. The letter from Ulisa references a desire to obtain spider silk (from giant spider nests, naturally) and sell it in Daggermark so the Poisoner’s Guild can use it in their concoctions. That seems straightforward, and obtaining the spider silk is. But the letter makes a passing reference to a particular merchant as “not being as forthright in our latest dealings as I’d like, and perhaps it’s time I sold elsewhere.” The scenario expects the PCs to interpret that as the need to seek out multiple buyers and haggle in order to get the best possible deal for the spider silk. None of us at the table clued in, and we simply sold the spider silk for the 200 gp we were first offered and thus missed the entire back-half of the quest.. It’s rare in Pathfinder, but especially in Society play, that haggling is allowed, as traditionally scenarios give a fixed price and PCs take it or leave it. A better explanation of why the PCs needed to eke every single gold piece out of the sale would have made this quest much better—but even then, it’s still rather forgettable. The morality angle of PCs taking part in the poison trade is also never broached.

“Silverhex” is the final quest, as the PCs learn of Ulisa’s location (either by haggling really well in the previous quest or, very coincidentally(!), overhearing the man who hired the assassins remarking where she’s been hiding. The PCs may arrive at her cave hide-out in time to set an ambush for the assassins, or, if not, just as they attack Ulisa. Ulisa wields silverhex (the magic sickle) in battle and you would think, given all the fuss, it would be really cool and impressive, but it’s just a spell-storing sickle and her stat block doesn’t even indicate what spell it has stored! The assassins put up a fair fight, and I have no difficulty complaints with this one. After the battle, the PCs can then intervene with the noble who set the bounty on Ulisa and get it lifted for just 500 gp or a DC 25 Diplomacy check. There’s been a lot of drama over so little!

There’s a last bit of weirdness on the Chronicle sheet. One of the boons speaks about the PCs coming to the attention of the Pathfinder Society and being invited to join as a field agent. Nowhere else in The Silverhex Chronicles is there a reference to the PCs not yet being Pathfinders (the default assumption for PFS), so it was a bit jarring.

The label that comes to mind when I think of this Quest pack is: “sloppy.” There are a lot of little plot elements and details that just don’t make sense. The encounters are all over the place in terms of difficulty, with some quests featuring trivial battles and another verging on a TPK-generator. And although I like the idea of seeing more of the River Kingdoms, the bits of lore I saw didn’t always match closely with what I’ve seen referenced in campaign setting sourcebooks. This Quest pack is free, so one really shouldn’t complain overmuch, but this one definitely needed better editing and oversight to bring it all together.


***( )( )


I love the intro module

****( )

Seperated into many quests that don't relate much with each other.

I love Mausoleum and Colony, but the others just not impressive.

In general, I can't give a high rate no matter consider of story or combats. But, a good demo for new players into PF, or PF players into PFS, not very PFS-like(agents go on missions), enjoyable for casual players.


silverwhat?

*****

personally, i love gming this. it is a very flawed scenario, but those flaws give you so much space as a gm.

the first time i read through it was in prep for gencon 2014, and right off the bat i noticed that it is probably the worst written scenario ive ever seen. there is a complete page missing! the motivations of npcs and the players for that matter are left wide open, which leaves it open for me as the gm to fill in those gaps.

i will say if you are not good at coming up with info on the fly, or being creative with npcs, this scenario can come across as dry and jumbled and complete garbage. if you are like me however and you like the freedom to make up silly things for creatures to say and do, this is the scenario for you!


Not a Good Demo

**( )( )( )

While I like the format of Silverhex Chronicles (with each segment being only 45 minutes, with the ability for players to jump in or out), I didn't particularly like the Silverhex experience itself.

The story was really thin and non-intuitive. We want to get an artifact from someone. We go looking for her but instead we find her journal. We read the journal and find that she wants different artifacts, and then we try to get these artifacts hoping that she will trade these minor artifacts with us for the major artifact that we need... when we eventually find her. These MacGuffins were found all over the world, lol, involving weeks, maybe months of travel. But let's ignore that.

The Silverhex demo wasn't as good as demos I've done for other RPG systems, and there was nothing to distinguish Pathfinder from other systems. There wasn't any roleplaying or puzzles, there was no human element. Each segment was a skill check (that didn't matter, like opening a door) followed by a non-interesting combat. Even with a good GM, each one was a yawner.

Despite not liking this particular quest, I hope to see more quests that follow this format, but perhaps being shorter in length (2 hours) and only offering some extra gold when they start a character.

Detailed Rating:

Length: Medium. All the quests can be completed in 4 hours.
Experience: Player with 6 players (4 of them new to PF) with pregens.
Sweet Spot: Level 1.
Entertainment: *YAWN*. (1/10)
Story: Illogical. (2/10)
Roleplay: None. (1/10)
Combat/Challenges: Just wasn't interesting. (2/10)
Maps: OK, used lots of flip mats (which were unavailable to my GM).(7/10)
Boons: The rewards were suitable. (8/10)
Uniqueness: 80s flashback. (1/10)
Faction Missions: None. (N/A)

Bottom Line: If I was doing a demo of Pathfinder for new players, I personally wouldn't use the Silverhex Chronicles.


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Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Aww yeah River Kingdoms!

Sovereign Court

Quote:
Written by Josh Foster, Scott Sharplin, and Walter Sheppard.

YEAH!

Lantern Lodge

They are replayable! Yeah!

Dark Archive

YES! This rocks!

Grand Lodge

So I heard a worrying rumour that these quests allow GMs to massively cheat the GM star/games reported system as each small quest counts as if you'd run a 4-5 hour scenario. Is that true? :(

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

No. Reporting is intended to be the same as the GM 101 and 201 products. 4 one hour sessions equal one table.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Now there´s one flipmat collection!
I know many people asked for this, but all others come to sweat drawing all that stuff^^

Shadow Lodge

Yeah, I'm real glad I have all these flipmats.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Could you point these out to me, please?

Ruyan.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Class Deck, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Quest A uses "Necropolis"; quests B and E use "Deep Forest";
quest C uses "Town Square"; quests D and F use "Hill Country"


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks!

Ruyan.

Dark Archive

Is there a GM discussion thread for Silverhex? I can't find any.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Mazlith wrote:
Is there a GM discussion thread for Silverhex? I can't find any.

Doesn't really look like there is one yet. Feel free to start one with questions down here

Liberty's Edge

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Silver Hex arguments amongst party members, gm's, even my VC--- ALL having differing versions of 'what's legit' on this.....

Can I PLEASE get an official reply from Mike Brock or equivalent:

Is the chronicle sheet for this adventure 'cumulative', or is it a flat 1 XP and 2 Prestige Points for the entire thing?

My question is thus: It does NOT make sense for 6 hours of play to 'only' get a TOTAL of 1 XP, 2 Prestige. I know these are 'short' vignettes, so to speak- but still. No one is going to want to play an adventure where if you complete one quest-- 1 hour of play- you get 1 XP and 1 Prestige-- Yet if you sit for 6 hours and play, you (still) only get "1 XP", and now 2 Prestige, only.

I was told initially that it is CUMULATIVE. That EACH LINE is what you get for 'that quest'. If you completed all 6, then, you'd have the TOTAL of all the lines of that chronicle sheet:

Quests Gold Pieces XP Prestige Points Other
1 100 gp 1 1
2 250 gp 1 1
3 250 gp 1 1 Impressive Find boon
4 350 gp 1 2
5 500 gp 1 2
6 500 gp 1 2 Treasure Seeking boon

As you can see, all 6 completed would be 6 XP, and 9 Prestige. With 1950 g.p. total. Each line/each quest, totaled up, then, as it/they were completed.

It does not make sense for someone to complete one quest and get 100 g.p. and 1 XP and 1 Prestige, while the person completing all 6 only gets 500 g.p. and (still) 1 XP and now only 2 Prestige.

I can't think of ANY adventure where you only get 1 or 2 Prestige; and none where I could play for 1 hour, twice or multiple times or so- using the recurring play rules- and rack up the XP/Prestige [i.e. play it just one quest at a time for 6 times, and viola- you have 6 XP now... right?], versus the guy who sat thru the whole thing one night and got so little..... Can I PLEASE have a breakdown of how this chronicle sheet is supposed to be awarded: I have 10 players now screaming for justice!!!!! Thanks!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

You only take the rewards from the line that matches the number of quests you complete. You do not add any lines together.

The rewards are meant to encourage you to return and play the remaining quests whenever you have time. Whether you play them all in one sitting or one hour at a time, you still only earn the 1 XP, 2 PP, and 500GP.

Silverhex Chronicle Sheet wrote:
Before beginning a different adventure, calculate your rewards for this Chronicle sheet based on the following table.

Edit:

"Kitten" wrote:
It does NOT make sense for 6 hours of play to 'only' get a TOTAL of 1 XP, 2 Prestige.

There are standard scenarios that can take 6 hours to finish depending on individual party makeup. They still only receive 1 XP and 2 Prestige max regardless of how long it takes.


I figure just because the Quests are 1 hour each...doesn't mean they cannot be done in less. 350gp 1 XP and 2 Prestige for 4 seems pretty much in line for a 'standard' 4 hour adventure. Especially if the party is effectively 'resting and recovering' in between each quest.

Paizo Employee Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.

TriOmegaZero and Rerednaw have the right of it. The rewards for The Silverhex Chronicles intentionally provides "front-loaded" rewards that allow someone who can only play once to walk away with a substantive benefit while also allowing someone who wants to play through more material to get a fail and complete reward equivalent to playing through a somewhat long Pathfinder Society scenario.

In short, the rewards listed on the Chronicle sheet are not cumulative; calculate the rewards by using only the line corresponding to the number of Quests played.

Grand Lodge

Why only Pre-gen characters though?

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

So everyone is on the same playing field. This is meant to be a beginner-friendly scenario, and what we don't want is experienced players showing up with characters that use a lot of non-core options and techniques to trivialize the experience for those new players.

Grand Lodge

TriOmegaZero wrote:
So everyone is on the same playing field. This is meant to be a beginner-friendly scenario, and what we don't want is experienced players showing up with characters that use a lot of non-core options and techniques to trivialize the experience for those new players.

Ok, that makes sense.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I really like this quest the only problem is that it requires you to use pre-gens. Is there any thought to opening this up for any legal lever 1 PFS character?

Grand Lodge

Started a GM story discussion topic.

Spoiler:
http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2s2mq?Silverhex-Chronicles-Cohesive-story-tips


Silverhex was made prior to CORE Campaign, I ran part of it prior to when CORE Campaign existed, meaning it would have been ran standard campaign.

Question: I'm planning on running a quest soon, at a game store for new players. The new players will work best under CORE campaign, at least 3 of them are brand new to role play. I've got another player who started while it was only offered standard campaign, before CORE existed, who has 1 or 2 quests left to complete, wants to complete them, and may or may not show up for the public event. Normally, I would run something either CORE or standard campaign, does it matter with Silverhex Chronicles, since it's the first chronicle sheet applied to a character? I only offer core pregen characters anymore as an organizer, to keep things simple for new players.

If I can't do this, what would y'all recommend in this situation?


Jason Rosauer wrote:

Silverhex was made prior to CORE Campaign, I ran part of it prior to when CORE Campaign existed, meaning it would have been ran standard campaign.

Question: I'm planning on running a quest soon, at a game store for new players. The new players will work best under CORE campaign, at least 3 of them are brand new to role play. I've got another player who started while it was only offered standard campaign, before CORE existed, who has 1 or 2 quests left to complete, wants to complete them, and may or may not show up for the public event. Normally, I would run something either CORE or standard campaign, does it matter with Silverhex Chronicles, since it's the first chronicle sheet applied to a character? I only offer core pregen characters anymore as an organizer, to keep things simple for new players.

If I can't do this, what would y'all recommend in this situation?

If you'll only offer core pregens and everyone must play a pregen, I don't see the point in complicating reporting or anything else by restricting it to a CORE game. I'd just leave it be.

In my experience, CORE is hard mode for vets, not easy mode for beginners.

The Exchange

My 10 year old is going to start running these small quests in the hour before our regular 6-10 game night. He will be doing 1 quest at a time. Do you have any suggestions for him? He has already taken the GM101 and GMed one of the phantom phenomena quests, so this is to give him a bit of practice before he attempts a full scenario.

Silver Crusade

Kara Kramer-Rapp wrote:

My 10 year old is going to start running these small quests in the hour before our regular 6-10 game night. He will be doing 1 quest at a time. Do you have any suggestions for him? He has already taken the GM101 and GMed one of the phantom phenomena quests, so this is to give him a bit of practice before he attempts a full scenario.

The PF Prep bits are definitely worth it to give you all the stat blocks (juggling tons of books is tough for running)

http://www.pfsprep.com/e107_plugins/forum/forum_viewforum.php?249

And he can take his time with it - the scenarios are all pretty good and as its level 1 characters it won't be a big risk of the game and he should be good to get any maps drawn up in advance (i believe all of them are one map per adventure. for C its only really the second one that kicks in)

If he is running it weekly though i would say to advise of playing the assigned character will mean you don't get to keep doing the quests and that you get only for what you have played.

Hope he gets on well!

Grand Lodge

Has anyone noticed that one of the "Special" boxes you can get checked off DOESN'T EXIST?

Grand Lodge

Kind of surprised I haven't heard back from anyone about my previous post.

Grand Lodge

kevin_video wrote:
Kind of surprised I haven't heard back from anyone about my previous post.

I noticed that too but figured that since you don't get to keep the items and they're all on the list of stuff you can buy anyway it didn't matter

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