Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–15: The Overflow Archives (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1–5.

Beneath the Grand Lodge of Absalom lie the vaults, a series of storerooms and libraries that contain much of the Society’s findings from the past centuries. Cataloguing the sundry relics and texts takes time, and finds requiring closer study find their way to an extensive vault called the Overflow Archives. Soon after a pair of initiates sneaks into the archive and steals a few items on a dare, the complex inexplicably springs a leak. It is up to the PCs to investigate this strange phenomenon and put a stop to it before thousands of priceless documents are ruined forever.

Content in “The Overflow Archives” also contributes directly to the ongoing storyline of the Dark Archive faction.

Written by Scott Sharplin.

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A Bit of Silly Fun



I got to play The Overflow Archives via play-by-post with one of my favorite new PCs, Jilla. The scenario is very light-hearted in tone (bordering on silly), and apart from an emphasis on riddles, could be good for younger players. There's plenty of opportunities for role-playing throughout, and the internal artwork is excellent. From recollection, the encounters weren't difficult--the challenge was figuring out what was causing a particular problem and how to solve it. The scenario wasn't really to my taste, but I had still had a good time (and it happened to suit Jilla's personality perfectly).


The Overflow Archives introduces an eponymous outbuilding on the grounds of the Grand Lodge in Absalom. The in-game Overflow Archives is a repository for all the ancient tomes and obscure scrolls that Pathfinders have brought back from their adventures but that the main library in the Grand Lodge hasn't had a chance to examine and catalog yet. I really like the concept (it reminds me a bit of a fantasy-version of Warehouse 13), and I could see plenty of future scenarios premised on discoveries made within it.

What's important for present purposes is that a Pathfinder initiate named Virml snuck into the Overflow Archives on a nighttime dare, and while puttering around inside grabbed an old scroll off a shelf and read an old riddle-poem from it. Instead of summoning some awful demon (hey, I've seen Buffy!), a kitsune trickster named Caught was released from centuries of extradimensional imprisonment for offending fey riddlers back in the Age of Anguish. The scroll promptly tore into six pieces, Caught locked Virml in an old (giant) bird cage, and shapechanged to look like him. After using some pieces of the scroll to summon some guardians (and distractions), Caught plans to figure out how to open a portal between the First World and the Material Plane. (which, if you've played # 9-14: Down the Verdant Path, you know could be a problem!)

The PCs come into the picture when they're summoned in the middle of the night by a very irate Kreighton Shaine (Master of Scrolls), an opportunistic Paracountess Zarta Dralneen (the Dark Archive faction leader), and a sodden and ashamed-looking Virml (secretly Caught in disguise!). Shaine explains that somehow the Overflow Archives are flooding, and the PCs' job is to investigate and put a stop to it. I like to think that if I were an amazingly-powerful spellcaster and a valuable repository of books and scrolls were being destroyed in a flood, I might investigate it immediately myself instead of waiting while several others are summoned and briefed to do so. Maybe Shaine suffers from hydrophobia? I like how, during the briefing, all three interrupt and talk over one another--could be fun to handle as the GM. Also, in a touch I really like, Zarta Dralneen gives a secret mission to any PCs who are members of the Dark Archive: to steal and turn over to her personally a copy of a dangerous tome named The Darklands Precepts. I still like the idea of faction missions, and this one is done well as the book has a cool concept and some interesting magical protections.

Once inside, the immediate source of the flooding will be obvious: a giant talking magical fish is squirting water out of its mouth! Although Jilla's suggestion was to hit the giant talking fish with her rolling pin, the scenario doesn't advise combat against a CR 5 grodair. Instead, "Mistress Koi" (one of the guardians of the extradimensional prison) explains about the fugitive kitsune and says if all six pieces of the scroll are brought to her, its magic can recapture him--and in exchange, she'll remove all the water she's released. Importantly, Mistress Koi has a poor memory and can't remember the kitsune's name, but only by speaking his true name can the reassembled scroll open the doorway to the extradimensional prison.

The rest of the scenario has the PCs exploring the flooded building look to assemble all six pieces of the scroll. There are some really funny gathlains "fishing" from atop a bookcase (great RP potential), some voidworms to do battle with (dangerous because of their confusion ability), the real Virml to rescue from some tooth fairies (I did cringe a bit here, as they've removed most of his teeth with pliers!), and Caught, who has changed his disguise to look like Kreighton Shaine--I for one was fooled! All of the creatures are stylised to resemble the subjects of the riddle-poem.

Assuming the PCs recover the pieces of the scroll, catch Caught, and return to Mistress Koi, they then just need to figure out the kitsune's true name. This doesn't actually require solving the riddle itself (which is good, because the "answer" is arguable and probably unfair); instead, there's an acrostic the players can discover if they get all six pieces assembled in order (the GM *has* to remember to remove the numbering from the handouts, otherwise it'll be a snap). Once that's done, everything is put right. Except for the waterlogged books and scrolls, which the scenario doesn't seem to think is a very big deal because they can just be "recopied". I suspect the writer isn't familiar with how flood damage can irretrievably destroy books, but let's just assume some magical protections were put on the library and someone will spam mending, I guess.

Overall, if you're in the mood for something light or need an adventure that shouldn't stress anyone out (apart from the tooth fairies!), The Overflow Archives could be what you're looking for.

Very enjoyable!


Loved this scenario. Played it in the low tier and it wasn't extremely overwhelming.

The worst thing about this scenario is the riddle... It just doesn't make any sense... But you just gotta go with it.

An Overflow of fun


I have to give this a 5 because it was just fun to run. Had a small party, like 4 and they just rocked the non combat parts of the scenario. The only problem they had was not having the correct knowlege skill to id the fey. But they still rolled with it.
I can say this though, a mesmerist can and will wreck the final combat and make the bbg useless. it happened and took all my fun away.

Anyway it was well written and the combats were not overpowering, but the tooth faries and friend made that combat hairy for the first couple of rounds, love charm person!
Loved it and want to run it again soon.

A Fun and Interesting Romp


A top notch scenario and definitely one of my favorite low level games. I am always a fan of unique creatures in scenarios and there are several in here. The NPCs are delightful and if done well can really sell the weirdness of the entire situation. This entire scenario feels exactly like the kind of thing low level pathfinders would be tasked to do and when they are not out adventuring.

Playful, odd, and gruesome by turns, like any good fairy tale


This was a truly unique scenario that left my character feeling that he'd not just been in an adventure, but part of a story. The author did a spectacular job of capturing that 'kitty-corner to sanity' that is fey logic and bringing us into their world. My GM had a blast role-playing the different characters and a fabulous time was had by all!

Luckily we had not one but TWO party members who could speak Sylvan - I can imagine that the scenario would be much less fun without.

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Dark Archive

Is this the season 6 Library of the Lion / The Disappeared style scenario?

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

As an archivist, I am very much looking forward to this. :)

Paizo Employee Developer

ZomB wrote:
Is this the season 6 Library of the Lion / The Disappeared style scenario?

It's not quite the same style, but there are some thematic similarities. Scott's adventure has both opportunities for skillful characters to feel good as well as moments where someone with 18 Strength and a two-handed weapon will chuckle.

Liberty's Edge

This sounds perfect for my 18 strength Order of the Tome Cavalier.

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.

This is the best internship ever.

Sovereign Court

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pellor Fodexencil wrote:
This is the best internship ever.

Pathfinder Interns often find themselves interred way to soon.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Panty raid! (Except in a library.)

Grand Lodge

Giggity, I am sitting on needles here. We scheduled a table with this scenario for saturday. I really hope it releases today.

Paizo Glitterati Robot

Now available!

Lantern Lodge

FYI: The description of A1 refers to a particular terrain found on page 426 of the Core book, but it's actually on page 427. Probably not a big deal for those that own a hard copy of the CRB, but I had to scroll up and down a bit in the PDF to find it. Anyhow, so far I'm loving reading it, and look forward to roleplaying the various folks in the opening scene.

Someone please tell me why the cartographer made the map 31 inches wide?


map spoiler:
Don't blame Sean; he was working off my maps. This was my first PFS assignment, and I must've got over-exuberant with the final design. I'll show more restraint next time!

But the layout of the Understacks is nearly symmetrical, so you should be able to draw half the map on a flip-mat, and then rotate when the time is right. I hope that helps!

Paizo Employee Developer

Scott Sharplin wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

More map talk:
What's more, the 31st square is just the upper wingtip of the butterfly. I suspect it won't be much of an issue if you clip the end off area B2, which doesn't have a combat encounter.

John Compton wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Excellent. I definitely consider that permission. :P

Grand Lodge

This scenario's handouts were a nightmare to translate (=

Scott Sharplin wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

BTW, congrats on your first scenario.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I am very happy that this is the scenario I was scheduled to run 3 times at PaizoCon. All three tables (and the two times I've participated in this scenario locally) have been great fun!

Franchisee - Game Kastle College Park

Was naming the villain kitsune Verbal an intentional The Usual Suspects Easter egg or an accident?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Since that isn't his name, I doubt it. ;)

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Maxim Nikolaev wrote:
This scenario's handouts were a nightmare to translate (=

I didn´t translate the handout, only read it out loud in german several times on purpose, since the riddle seems very easy to solve to me even for people not familiar with english.

Since the scroll is supposed to be in a different language not everyone can read...

Gladior wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Gladior, did you play the scenario in English, or in another language? If it was the latter, then I suspect your GM made an ingenious adaptive choice.

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