Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–12: Scions of the Sky Key, Part 1: On Sharrowsmith's Trail (PFRPG) PDF

***½( ) (based on 26 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1–5.

Weeks have passed since Venture-Captain Nieford Sharrowsmith departed for the Bandu Hills, and having not heard from him since but learned of an Aspis Consortium expedition bound for the same destination, the Society and local allies have grown worried for the aging explorer’s safety. As the PCs travel south on Sharrowsmith’s trail, they must track the venture-captain to the ruins he sought while also dealing with the aftermath of his actions.

“On Sharrowsmith’s Trail” is the first scenario in the three-part Scions of the Sky Key campaign arc. It is followed by Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–14: Scions of the Sky Key, Part 2: “Kaava Quarry” and Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–16: Scions of the Sky Key, Part 3: “The Golden Guardian.” All three chapters are intended to be played in order.

Content in “On Sharrowsmith’s Trail” also contributes directly to the ongoing storylines of the Exchange faction.

Written by Robert Brookes, RPG Superstar 2014 finalist.

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.

PZOPSS0612E


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Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 26 ratings)

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Promising start

***( )( )

I played this along with Damanta. I was playing a level 3 inquisitor with fairly decent combat ability, and we were playing down, so it being a bit easy was to be expected.

On the whole, I agree with Damanta's assessment: it's good to stay away from spike damage that occasionally kills even PCs that were doing everything right and being careful. However, I think the earlier fights could've been beefed up a bit, add a few more enemies. The final fight was pretty well written though. Also, if you're playing it, make sure the GM shows you the artwork from inside the scenario, it's really gorgeous.

The RP opportunities in the beginning were nice, and there were some hints of lore here and there. I think that it would've been okay to drop a bit more lore. I know it's only part 1, but this is a pretty out of the way part of the world, I think a lot of players don't know anything about it. Painting the scene a bit more won't do any harm.

I thought the Exchange faction mission was decent; it wasn't given to you for free but it was not too hard either. The rewards were flavorful and useful but not disproportional, for something that only some of the PCs have a chance to get.


Interesting intro to a three parter

****( )

We played this in low tier with a party of 6 this evening.
While the combats were relative easy, our dice made the final fight last fairly long.

Combat 4/5:
Fairly typical for low level, if you are moderately optimized for combat, these are all a breeze on low tier. There seemed to be a lack of spike damage that could oneshot a fresh level 1 so that's good.

Roleplay 4/5:
While the start is a bit slow with a very short briefing, there is a very good roleplay scene right after. After that it once against drops to near nothing, but that's okay, you've still got 3-5 other players to roleplay with while following a trail.

Environment 4/5:
I feel there should be done more with enviroment and long travels and their effects. A very nice touch here.

Overall feel 4/5: A nice introduction to the quest of Sharrowsmith. Now to find out what he is actually after.

Bonus:
Also a good oppertunity to try and discredit the Aspis Consortion, always great :D


Solid Start to the Trilogy

*****

I played this a few days ago and read through it for GMing yesterday. In my opinion, this is a great scenario. Firstly, it features the PCs not only representing the Society, but actively exploring. As the name suggests, this scenario relates to the dwarven quest for the sky, a fantastic and interest element of Golarion history. As a player it was great to see tid bits of this history appearing in the adventure in an organic way while perusing the core objective of the scenario.

Some players/GMs may not like the fact that the scenario leads you from one encounter to another, but these encounters are interesting and each offers different chances to roleplay, investigate or throw down. Sometimes exploring ancient ruins in the jungle needs to be just that, this scenario delivers on that and more.

I can't wait to GM this myself, and I'm hopeful for what the next two parts have in store.

Disclaimer:Neither myself or my party had any members of the scenario specific Faction members, so I couldn't comment on how those felt.


A convoluted series of annoying mechanics

*( )( )( )( )

Spoilers ahoy.

I've been prepping this scenario for the past several hours, and doing so has left a pretty sour taste in my mouth. The lengthy backstory on the front page has NOTHING to do with this scenario. Once it actually begins, it is simply about rescuing a fellow pathfinder. The story comes down to "Your princess is in another castle!" as the players traipse about in the jungle being told by everyone they meet that Sharrowsmith was there recently, but has now gone on to yet another location even deeper in the jungle. The ending is similarly dissatisfying, giving players and GMs alike the distinct impression that they have accomplished nothing. Granted, there will be more to this series of adventures, but previous first installments of multi-part scenarios at least grant some feeling of accomplishment. Players get only the possibility (not certainty, even if they do succeed at the mission) of having rescued a few faceless, nameless NPCs.

The story isn't my primary complaint. It's the mechanics. EVERYTHING is unnecessarily convoluted. There isn't a single section in this adventure that doesn't entail odd combinations of rolls, often with multiple success and failure conditions, and often pointless rewards. Most of these sections serve as minor annoyances to the players, as failure inconveniences them rather than increasing danger/suspense. Examples would be: piddling amounts of damage taken outside of combat, a trivially removed fatigued condition, getting lost in the woods for a few hours, not knowing the name of the dungeon, needing to ask around for directions, or failing to identify the local flowers. This is some epic adventuring right here folks.

Even the combats have needlessly complex mechanics involved. The final encounter is done in waves, one is done from ambush with a strange way of determining where the enemy is when combat actually starts, there is an additional social mechanic during one fight, and another is basically a set of trivial enemies with a few traps lying around.

Frankly, on an individual basis I wouldn't mind any of these mechanics. Some of them are even kind of neat. What annoys me is that EVERYTHING in the entire scenario is overwrought with complexity, but fails to achieve a sense of narrative drive, challenge, or atmosphere. It is ultimately nothing more than a routine dungeon crawl with minimal storytelling and contrived complications and inconveniences.

EDIT: I have now run the scenario, and asked for player feedback. The consensus was that it felt like 'a pretty run of the mill' scenario, which is true. I think my problem is that there are so many of these weird mechanics, but none of them really do anything cool. If I had only played this, I probably would give it two or even three stars. Running it was miserable, and demanded far more preparation than it should have considering that all but one of the enemies are blocked out in the appendices. I'm sticking with my one star rating.


A Little Streamlined for my tastes.

***( )( )

I ran this for a group of 5 players at tier 1-2, mostly level 2. The scenario really only thing that can be done in each area, all of which must be done in the specific order. It did keep my players interested, the lack of tactics allowed me to do things that actually made sense for the monsters, so it was more realistic.
Combat wise however, I feel that the encounters at the beginning were far too easy, and could be completed by a party of 2 players realistically..
I should also add that from a GM perspective there were some oddities, It was great that the creature stats were included in the back, made combat a breeze, it was odd though that there was one single encounter where the monster wasn't in the back of the scenario, causing me to look it up unexpectantly mid-fight. Additionally, there were stats for a creature that wasn't even included in the scenario, just happened to be on the same page of the bestiary. Slightly confusing as I thought I had overlooked an encounter.


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Announced for January!

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

I've really enjoyed working on this scenario. Writing it involved channeling the spirit of old Lucas Arts Indiana Jones adventure games (Fate of Atlantis, specifically) as well as the 1930's flick Stanley and Livingstone. There's also a dash of Skull Island vibe from King Kong, too.

I've had a great time collaborating with Mikko Kallio, Mike Kimmel, and John Compton on this three-parter, and I'm looking forward to hearing people's impressions on it once it is released!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Now to figure out which of my characters will brave this trail.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Now to figure out which of my characters will brave this trail.

The brave ones, duh.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Right, the stupid ones. Got it.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Robert Brookes wrote:
I've had a great time collaborating with Mikko Kallio, Mike Kimmel, and John Compton on this three-parter,

Likewise, Robert! Can't wait to play/GM this scenario!

Sovereign Court

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

Is this one still on track for the 28th? I only ask because I have it scheduled at a con next weekend and I am hoping I didn't make a foolish mistake. Ha ha.

Paizo Employee Developer

The ShadowShackleton wrote:
Is this one still on track for the 28th? I only ask because I have it scheduled at a con next weekend and I am hoping I didn't make a foolish mistake. Ha ha.

I foresee no reason why this would not go out on Wednesday as scheduled. Please be mindful that scenarios tend to go live around the end of the business day (Pacific Standard Time), so be sure that is part of your calculations.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Ok awesome. Thanks John.


Is there going to be a trilogy-boon for those who play all three scenarios with the same character?

Paizo Employee Developer

FranKc wrote:
Is there going to be a trilogy-boon for those who play all three scenarios with the same character?

This is a strong possibility, but I am not able to confirm or deny this until I have finished developing the third adventure.

Sovereign Court

Where is it?

Shadow Lodge

Soon.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

We're at now-now.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I love the new format! It's going to make GMing so much easier for me. Thanks to the entire development team for making this happen!

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I just saw the art! KOBOLDS! I love it already!

Now we just need a "We Be Kobolds" intro module and all will be right with the world.

:)


Don't get me wrong, I love me some kobolds. I'm sure its a fantastic adventure, but, the cover looks like "Jar Jar the Barbarian"...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

GMd this scenario last weekend at low tier and had a load of fun. Best part ever was the

Encounter:
Party encountered the KRENSHAR and did a knowledge check. After a successful role they asked about special attacks. I told them and they said "thats the lamest special attack ever!" I proceeded to frighten 1/2 the party and all of a sudden it wasn't so lame:). Also had fun with Kobold Blade.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

I'm so glad you and your group had fun!

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

I was at a local hobby store today and had a conversation with a PFS GM who was really happy with the layout changes starting in this scenario. He had high praise for the inclusion of monster statistics in the back of the scenario!

Shadow Lodge

Robert Brookes wrote:
I was at a local hobby store today and had a conversation with a PFS GM who was really happy with the layout changes starting in this scenario. He had high praise for the inclusion of monster statistics in the back of the scenario!

Except for the one spoilered right above.

Scarab Sages

Um... The Exchange faction members make a choice that obviously affects the faction, but do we actually report this choice? There is no A/B in the scenario itself. :\


Just got this, running it with my party on Thursday. I'm going to sneak in Aerosmith song lyrics whenever I talk about Sharrowsmith...

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