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

4.50/5 (based on 20 ratings)

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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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4.50/5 (based on 20 ratings)

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Fun Adventure with Less Optimal Experience

3/5

This was a nice adventure and I like the characters and setting, but only end up with complaints on encounter design. The majority of the combats the party got into were the party against one enemy and while that is a fair way to set up a combat, it ends up often feeling like the monster just chews its way through characters with high attack, damage, DCs and such.

One encounter in particular was a major problem but mostly because the GM admittedly made a couple error running it. While I normally wouldn't hold that against an scenario, the monsters stats for our particular tier were effectively spread over four different pages in different sections.

Spoiler:
In addition, from memory the encounter is with something that either paralyzes or otherwise shuts down characters. One party member in the group spent eight rounds of combat unable to act because he couldn't make the high DC. Any scenario that can casually lock a character out of combat like loses some love from me.


the most fun ive had at pfs to date

5/5


Excellent, and fun to run!

5/5

Disclaimer: I've only GM'd this, not played it.

The Good:
A nice blend of sandbox and linear elements.
Tough fights, but other options for dealing with them, beyond simply fighting.

The Chronicle sheet:
The 2 faction boons are spiffy, but I always enjoy seeing a 'general' boon. The 'negative' boon (anti-boon?) is cool too, and brings home the idea that screwing up has lingering consequences. Also, while I didn't run this as a Core scenario, I appreciate useful, non-Core equipment showing up on the chronicle sheet for Core purchase.

The Bad:

A minor issue with the main NPC:
While the NPC herself is pretty cool, and can be useful to the party without overshadowing any PCs, there were several occasions (especially at the final encounter) where the NPC was supposed to step up and either talk other NPCs down or help the PCs do so (assuming the NPC hasn't left the party). While the PCs are still often the ones making the rolls, it sometimes felt like the NPC was 'taking charge'. It kinda makes the PCs seem a little less cool. Also, I think most GMs feel like two NPCs talking to each other while the players watch gets a little awkward- nobody wants to watch a GM... play with themselves. ;-)

Overall, this is a fabulous adventure and an enjoyable contribution to the ongoing story arc! If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would!


Great scenario!

5/5

I was fortunate enough to get to play this under the author last night and I had a great time. The scenario offers several situations where a party can opt to roleplay instead of just hack and slash. The story was solid, and I love how the ending plays out, what you learn about your goal and your inability to complete it at the time.

This is a great first work by a new author, and I cant wait to see more by him!

Edit:
I had previously commented about the misspelling of the name 'Hao Jin'. In response to my comment, John Compton informed me to say that the spelling was intentional and that the npc had spelled the name phonetically.
In light of of that, I apologize for the criticism.


Fun to run, probably more fun to play

4/5

This was pretty fun to run, lots of roleplaying to do. I really hammed up the northern accents and the players really enjoyed interacting with the NPCs. The combats were well balanced and evenly spaced, with a very interesting completion aspect that left things nice and open-ended for how the players resolve it.

The Good

The are many opportunities to have some really great roleplaying at the table. The main NPC is interested in the PCs' backgrounds, so she really gives players an opportunity to introduce their characters to the rest of the group while still actually making progress on the adventure.

I'm running Reign of Winter at the moment (over PbP) and really love the northern setting. It was a total blast to be running a scenario that takes the players to the frozen north. It is full of flavor and presents a different, more reasonable and realistic side to Irrisen than most players are probably used to seeing.

There were a number of decision points in the scenario that had a real impact on how things played out, and I love when that happens. It's always nice to see something as short as a scenario allow that much latitude for how players can achieve their varying degrees of success.

Mostly, though, this scenario really felt like it had a lot to do with the Pathfinders' ongoing mission and gave players a real sense of importance within the Society.

The Bad

The secondary success condition for this scenario relies very heavily on diplomacy (and to a lesser extent bluff and intimidate). A group of non-socially focused characters will really need to do everything right in order to meet that condition. There doesn't seem to be a way around it. I heartily recommend giving your players generous good roleplaying circumstance bonuses to their diplomacy checks if the group isn't socially focused.

There was a tertiary goal to set up for trade that was very vague in the mission briefing as to how to achieve it. Just remind players that they have letters of credit and the authority to make contracts on behalf of the Society. You'll have to do some improvisation if you want to get players to roleplay their social checks here (as I always do). Inexperienced players will most likely be totally lost as to how to proceed here, so do a bit of hand-holding as necessary.

There were also a few minor typos that could leave things like whether to make a reflex save or acrobatics check open-ended.

The Ugly

There is a very complicated encounter that is entirely optional (depending upon the PCs' actions). As a GM, it took me a while to wrap my head around it and to prepare for it properly. But, depending upon the PCs' actions, it can be totally avoided. The main gripe is that it isn't obvious to the PCs - especially law-abiding ones - that it is going to be a good thing for them (overall) to fight vs surrender at that particular point. If things go well for the PCs, you've wasted prep work. If things go poorly for the PCs, it could get very confusing and complicated for them.

For GMs:
I'd recommend making that encounter (you'll know the one) very aggressive and make the NPCs quite unreasonable. Haltani could also remark that their request is unusual (or something similar to warn them). That should give the players enough hints that fighting would be a good idea.


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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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