Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–18: From Under Ice (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1–5.

Rumors of an ancient settlement and its priceless treasure locked beneath Irrisen’s perpetual ice have reached the Society’s ears. The Pathfinders set out to the Land of the Linnorm Kings with a precious cargo of trade goods to buy their way into the witch-ruled nation, but even approaching Irrisen is fraught with danger. Can the PCs navigate the frozen wastes and recover the relics within, or will the icy climate claim their lives?

Content in “From Under Ice” contributes directly to the Year of the Sky Key metaplot as well as the ongoing storyline of the Grand Lodge and Scarab Sages factions.

Written by Andrew Hoskins.

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Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–18: From Under Ic

5/5

Originally posted at Throat Punch Games, a new idea everyday!

Product- Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–18: From Under Ice
System- Pathfinder
Producer- Paizo Publishing
Price- $4
TL; DR- A THINKING humanoids mod. 97%

Basics-Chase a skykey under the ice of Irrisen! The Pathfinder Society is looking for traces of a Dwarven city that disappeared many years ago. Can you find where the dwarves went or will you anger either the Linnworm Kings or the Witches?

Mechanics or Crunch- This is a many angled mod that can be done in a straight forward way. Like most of the mods, there is a counter mechanics for determining how well the PC's succeed on their job or secondary tasks. It's not hard, but the mod isn't so much about crunch, but how well the players think. It's well done and fun when you see the players analyze and understand a situation. If the players are smart, canny, and show the proper deference, they will go through almost the entire mod without swinging their swords! That shows the mod is awesomely stretchable, but some players, the kick-in-the-door-and-eat-some-goblins players, will be vary bored if things are going well. 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff- This is where the mod truly shines. Sure, it's got the necessary fights and counters that all good mods need, but how the players go about this mod really makes the story. Are you simply smash and grab Pathfinders or are you social dilatants? Do you understand your mission or are you simple out there to kill a bunch of people? As a GM, watching that play out is a great roleplaying experience 5/5

Execution- Season six is the absolute best season for how these mods are put together. Need the maps? Here, we have blank maps for you to resize and print. Need monster stats? Here in the back of the mod are all the monster stats, so you don't have to have 10 books open to run the game. It's still four bucks, but right now four bucks for ~ 30 pages seems to be the norm for most companies. Well done! 5/5

Summary- First, the elephant in the room-If you play this mod smart, you will not have many combats. And, that's what the success condition hinges on. That right there will turn some players away. You can't make everybody happy, but in a mod that's mostly going across borders and meeting people, combat is a many terrible thing! The story makes world sense. The mechanics work as well as they can. The execution is absolutely fantastic. As a GM, I enjoyed this mod. My players did as well. Just make sure you know what your players want to get. Hack and slash need not apply! 97%


It's Okay

3/5

Played this as a party of four at low tier.

As scenarios go it is ok. Fun but I found it a little disappointing in it's story, especially the end which has a twist that I found rather annoying (though I cannot speak for the others at my table). The encounters are rather weak and there wasn't anything I felt really memorable.

All in all I found it fairly average.


Great scenario but risky in parts

4/5

I have run this twice now, once in core and once in normal mode. Both times groups have fought the border guards and avoided Whiterook entirely. Both groups were high tier although one only just and both fought Vargrim.

He tore both groups a new one and while each eventually defeated him he killed Haltani in the core run which was only just APL3 with 5 players.

Overall I rate this scenario highly, it has loads of opportunities for role playing, non combat action and general exploration while also having some challenging combat. I am quite glad no-one has yet fought the guards as the lieutenant has a real chance of turning pretty much anyone into a fine red mist.

There are some gaps though. The trade goods aren't really described and we aren't really given any information on who the players might seek to make a trade deal with outside of the faction NPC. I would have liked to have more to work with in Dalun. Similarly we are given very little about the Baroness, I don't think there is even a description.

Finally I would stress that Valgrim is a potentially extremely difficult encounter, at least in the high tier. My first group had major problems with him despite brining a number of very solid characters, his damage output is very high, his defences are decent, his mobility will overshadow most groups and his starting position makes it very likely he ends up going after the PC's from the start.


We all really enjoyed this

5/5

My players really enjoyed this, and I did too. I loved how the main NPC interacted with each character one-on-one, giving them each a chance to share their backstories. I actually had a guy who usually sits at the table reading his Ipad perk up and tell me his character's history with a twinkle in his eye. Two new players really got into it as well. Again, I think it was the emphasis on actually having to talk about their characters that really got them interested right off the bat.

I decided that the group should have all DC20 and below knowledge and diplomacy information, as they would have been in the area long enough before boarding the Grinning Pixie. I also decided that they'd been on this ship for a while, and that the briefing was their final night aboard the ship, dining in the captain's quarters and meeting the main NPC. I still made them roll for DC25 info.

Sadly, I had to look online for info on the Varki, but decided which information I would divulge about the main NPC's ethnicity based on various knowledge rolls. I then combined all the information, plus an explanation and history of what the heck the Sky Key is in the first place. I've been a player for other Sky Key adventures, yet never had this spelled out so clearly as the summary info prior to getting started. Perhaps I hadn't been paying attention (yet I don't own an Ipad to distract me lol). Perhaps the other GM's wanted to skip things they consider "fluff". Or perhaps the Sky Key history hadn't been put in a module before. I don't know. In any event, I was glad to have this information, to use it as a lead-in to the Grand Lodge player's pre-mission briefing about additional stuff they needed to look for, and weave it in with the rest of the overall mission's story and knowledge check information. Then I told them to not just introduce themselves to each other, but to the main NPC.

With all the Russian names throughout the module, I decided to imitate the accents and mannerisms of some of my friends from the Former Soviet Union for key characters. I also enlarged the printout of the rowboat, then used a fourth of a folded over waterishy side of the standard flipmap to be the river, and a fourth of a folded over landishy flipmap to be the river bank. It was cool having everyone's miniatures actually in a boat, floating down the river. Periodically they'd stop, make camp on the river bank, and someone would be sitting watch with the main NPC for the additional social interactions.

We had four tables tonight, so I let my folks know that their experience might vary greatly form the other tables depending on the decisions made -- This is yet again another excellent Season Six masterpiece, not the usual early-seasons cliché of lining up the PC's in a five-foot wide corridor like a bunch of bowling pins waiting for the monsters to roll over them. Or a swarm. No, this one, there's really no right way to do it, but whatever you do there will be consequences. Perhaps good consequences, like mission success and cool boons. Perhaps bad consequences, like a real crappy boon that's gonna mess up even future adventures for a while. THAT certainly got their attention, but also made them realize their not getting railroaded tonight -- Make the right choices, and you WILL be amply rewarded.

I'm very pleased with the fact that Paizo is FINALLY putting monster stats in the modules. By not having to look everything up ahead of time in whatever player-created database I can get my hands on, I've got more time to devote to focusing on delving into the story for proper character acting, as well as searching online for stock photos and illustrations for any NPC's the module left pictureless. On the one hand, I wish Paizo had more NPC pictures in their modules. Yet on the other hand, supplying my own pictures via Pintrest or Google search helps make the table I ran unique from anyone else's.

As to the combat versus diplomacy issue, I feel there was a perfect balance between the two. It was all up to THE PLAYERS, not me, nor pre-ordained by the author. Would they hack and slash through everything? Or try to talk their way through it? THE PLAYERS decided this, and thus drove the adventure.

GMing this was a delight, giving me plenty of opportunities to really get into bringing the NPC's to life ("You know, you no need to think about what knowledge you have for my type of creature. I'm proud of what I can do! So I TELL you! I have breath weapon. That's right: You cooperate with me, or I make you like little pigs, hahahaha! I huff! I puff! And I blow you all away!")

I haven't had this much fun GMing since "Scars of the Third Crusade" :-)


One of the Hidden Gems of Season 6

5/5

This scenario kind of snuck up on us. I GMed it at a with a mix of veteran players and a brand new player sitting down at his first Pathfinder table ever.

I love getting a module or two each season set up north. This one did a good job capturing the flavor of the borders of the Linnorm Kingdoms and Irrisen, and the local politics makes a simple mission into a diplomatic mess quickly. I loved the multiple paths to success, and really wish this was a 1-2 instead of a 1-5 so that I could see more of the multiple paths to success play out. I love seeing options for the party, and this was full of them.

With the multiple paths, this is one of the least "railroady" adventures I can recall in PFS, which was a great change of pace.

The highlight though was the roleplaying opportunities. Although it didn't get to heavy, this was full of roleplaying opportunities, and was good for getting players out of their shells. My local meta-game is usually heavy on murder-hobo first, figure out consequences later, so it was great to see players talking their way through a number of the situations, and it resulted in a great moment at the end.


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Webstore Gninja Minion

Announced!

Liberty's Edge

Woot! Andrew Hoskins!

Grand Lodge Contributor

Hey, I know that guy!

Sovereign Court

Looking forward to another scenario set in a cold climate.

Community & Digital Content Director

Now available!


Thank you! Can't wait to run this on the weekend!

Grand Lodge

I like how it contributes to the storyline of 2 factions instead of just one. My Scarab Sages PC would probably prefer this scenario more than my Grand Lodge PC. I like that we have a choice.

Liberty's Edge

Not to be contrary, but I kind of prefer the ones that apply to only one faction better.

Lantern Lodge

Needs to be added to the list on the session creation page, otherwise we can't fully report. Currently the list only goes up to 6-17 for Season Six.

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