Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–02: Six Seconds to Midnight (PFRPG) PDF

2.60/5 (based on 38 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3–7.

A strange confluence of circumstances leaves the researchers of Uringen understaffed and in need of able-bodied assistants. Conveniently, recent Pathfinder Society experiments call for a rare reagent found only in that area, and the two organizations have negotiated a mutually beneficial deal. Can the PCs reach the secluded settlement in time to witness this extraordinary event—and handle the phenomenon’s aftermath?

Written by Liz Courts.

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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A Great Scenario with One Flaw


I think it's ludicrous to give this scenario one-star because of the puzzle. The implementation of the puzzle is just one unfortunate flaw in an otherwise enjoyable and creative scenario filled with creatures and mechanics that players have likely never encountered before. Allowing the characters to solve the puzzle as opposed to forcing it on the players would have solved any issues.

There are multiple options for accessing the tower, diplomancers get rewarded while not punishing combat-mavens by denying them a chance to fight, and there's a lot of cool flavor in the town, the NPCs, and the enemies.

I would take care playing this scenario with a GM that is known to enjoy killing players and going off-tactics, as this scenario is one of many that relies upon strict adherence to written tactics to keep the difficulty manageable. An unscrupulous GM running the low tier of this can TPK a party with little effort.

Railroad to nowhere and stupid puzzle


This scenario had such a cool premise. Our GM was an awesome GM. Unfortunately, the scenario pretty much sucked in the end.

You just follow a good mood setting trail into a unique village with an interesting setup. Early, you get rewarded for some cleverness. Everyone is super excited because this seems like this is going to be fun! Then, you get a social interaction that is pretty cool. Then, there is an interesting combat, and absurd puzzle that devours too much time for a PFS event. Then, a very anti-climatic ending (unless, once again, you go the murder hobo route).

The BIGGEST problem with this scenario (and it's a doozy) is the idiot inclusion of an overly complicated puzzle. Our group wasted about an hour of real life figuring out the puzzle. Then, we had to figure out the ORDER of the f'ing puzzle. Hey, guess what, my character has an INT of 16. Another player's character has an INT of 20 and skills that would be the envy of any PhD. If you REALLY feel the need to put a puzzle into a game then you need to put into the scenario a "quick-out" set of rolls for characters if they don't want to waste more than 15 minutes on your puzzle. Every time there is a puzzle in a PFS scenario, I hear groans all around the table. Many GM's are just hand waiving them now. The most horrible thing about the puzzle contributed NOTHING to the scenario. It just gobbled up time that could have been much better spent in so many other encounters. Also, PC's are not rewarded for simply bypassing the puzzle with abilities they have at their disposal because it is a McGuffin puzzle that "must" be solved.

Then, after the pointless puzzle that nobody enjoyed...the railroad ending provides little roleplaying reward but is GREAT fun if you have time for those who are murder hobos with blood lust.

Paizo, the next time you come up with a "great" idea for a puzzle in one of your scenarios, please do everyone a favor and don't!

Can go looong


Played it first, going to run it next week. We started at noon, and was rushing/calling it at 7pm. There were quite a few 'neat' aspects to the game, and a LOT of the fun is going to be decided by what GM you have. The infamous puzzle is tough, but not impossible, it took a little teamwork of thought, but eventually I and one of the other guys worked it out and was successful. (Make sure you print out a color version of the hand out... which our GM did NOT.. lol). I haven't read the thing entirely yet, but we were told we lost gold/loot if we got clues and most of the clues we had already figured out. Only complaint is that it should have gone into more detail and stretched into a 2 or 3 parter. Seems like too much content was crammed into one scenario, imho. I would've liked to have had more time to 'play' without rushing.

Nice premise, poor implementation


This scenario had some fun ideas, but all of the encounters (and the puzzle) had very real issues. We were playing with a party of 6 on the 3-4 tier, with mostly level 3 and 4 characters. Our GM had run the scenario before and seemed unhappy with the scenario from the very beginning.

Encounter 1:
The town square fight was really shaping up to be an entertaining and memorable one. We started out in the middle, far away from the enemies who closed in on us. We were all eager to experiment with the portals but found it extremely difficult to make a DC 25 Will save at level 3. That didn't stop us from playing with them anyway and hoping for a good random exit. This fight put a smile on our faces until the Greater Invisibility/Scorching Ray action started one-shotting people. At level 3, we didn't have any tools to deal with the Greater Invisibility, flight, or massive amount of healing required to wait it out. One of the gremlins had gotten onto the roof of a building far from us and we were afraid to venture out of the Obscuring Mist, so this combat dragged on for far too long. I think that at low tier the Scorching Ray wand should have had a lower caster level to lessen the chance of outright killing a level 3 character in the first combat.

Encounter 2:
This fight was fun and funny, never really much of a danger. I still don't understand why this animated object has DR rather than Hardness, though.

Encounter 3:
The tight space and favored-enemy-human archer enemies made this fight a lot more dangerous than we expected. After one player was almost dropped by the four attacks on the first round, we hurried to deal with the archers, pulling some focus from the gremlins wrecking the clock mechanism. The gremlin on the far side of the room took two rounds to reach and we failed to drop him in the third round. Apparently his 1 nonlethal damage per round was still enough to break the clock that had survived for over a century without any maintenance, and we lost 1 prestige. Bummer.

We were approaching our time limit by this point and I think that everybody was a little fried, but we still got into the spirit of what seemed to be a really cool puzzle and tried a lot of variations on what ended up being the correct answer. We picked up on the mechanism of the portals right away and were very close to figuring it out in our initial attempt. However, the "Proceed in an orderly fashion" note on the back of the map felt kind of misleading and prevented us from figuring out where to begin, so we ended up spinning our wheels. Faced with the lack of time, we reluctantly asked for a clue which told us nothing we hadn't already figured out. This continued until the final clue, which was the vital piece of information you would otherwise have no way to expect. This was really a big disappointment because the puzzle could have been a satisfying perk-up before the final fight, but instead it totally took the wind out of our sails.

Final encounter:
Our party face had to leave during the puzzle because we were now over time, so we tried diplomacy on the dryad and were really excited when we rolled an 18 (along with one aid another) to reach a peaceful conclusion. The only problem was that the DC was 28 and we had only achieved a 26 with our level 3 characters. Unable to convince her to let us both achieve our primary objective and leave the tower intact, she attacked us. Wow, she was a piece of work designed to kill a PC. Thankfully, this was just an awful room for her to fight in and we were able to encircle her. I'm not sure we would have actually finished her off as her AC was making it hard to land a hit, but the GM called it as he needed to leave and we were left with a hurried wrap-up.

I learned a valuable lesson playing this scenario. When the GM is apologizing for how poorly designed the encounters are before you even begin, pay attention. Several of us at the table agreed that this was our new least favorite PFS scenario and were all happy that we would never have to play it again.

Fun and refreshing


I ran this at GenCon and really enjoyed it. The mechanics in it are fun, even if you do need to pay attention as a GM to ensure the players don't get side tracked.

The final battle varies depending on the choices players make, and I really loved that aspect of it... even if I did have to prep two separate BBEG fights.

The only negative is the scenario almost ran overtime and it still felt like a lot was chopped out. My players really wanted to explore the freaky town, but if I'd let them do all they wanted to do, they would have gone overtime and I would have had to improvise a tonne of answers (not enough detail in the scenario on the whys and wherefores of the town itself). I know this is a scenario and should be short, but the bit with the ranger at the beginning would have been a better trim... and I get the feeling they didn't just to keep up the encounters that have a CR.

Would have made a 5 star module if all the ideas I can imagine got squeezed out were left in.

Anyway, still highly enjoyable and I'd recommend giving it a go!

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Community Manager

10 people marked this as a favorite.

Announced (and heading your way Gen Con 2015)!
...That author seems a little shifty, though.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Cool looking forward to it Liz!

Sovereign Court

Had never heard of Uringen so had to look it up on the wiki. What a strange and facinating place!

So uh... how it is pronounced?

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Cool ! I guess i will spend the entire scenario looking for hidden ninjas.

Community Manager

Draco Bahamut wrote:
Cool ! I guess i will spend the entire scenario looking for hidden ninjas.

Ninja are not going to be your problem in this one. >.>

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is going in my queue asap. Can't wait to unleash it on my players.

Shadow Lodge

I'm running this 5+ times at Gen Con, Liz. If you want to swing by and see how it's going, just look for the jolly roger flag I always fly at my table when I'm GMing.

I've already got accents picked out for several of the NPCs, and something fun for "ze sack" too!

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Sounds like Iron Maiden on time lapse.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

What height is the clockwork tower? Height of the individual floors? I'm hoping to build a to scale model for when I GM this scenario later this month.

Community Manager

2 people marked this as a favorite.

My thoughts when I was designing the scenario was a standard 10 feet per floor, with the belfry twice that.

Zaister wrote:
Sounds like Iron Maiden on time lapse.

Spinal Tap does Iron Maiden.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I solved the puzzle!

Paizo Employee Assistant Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The 4 player scaling for one of the encounters is missing. The following is an official addition to the scenario, which will be included in any future modifications to the PDF.

Make the following adjustments to the Nithra's Fury encounter to accommodate a party of 4 PCs.
Subtier 3–4: Remove one of the quicklings from the encounter, and reduce each quickling's number of doses of poison to 1.
Subiter 6–7: Remove one of the quickling cutthroats from the encounter, and reduce each quickling's number of doses of poison to 1.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Yay for updates!

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

So, judging from the reveiws, people seem to like this scenario except for the puzzle.

I'm thinking of using this for a non-PFS game. If I do, are there any changes that could be made to the puzzle to make it work better for my group? Is there an obvious flaw that just needs to be corrected, or is the entire premise of the puzzle off-base?


Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

From the GM discussion, I think an indication of progress would be a good thing to add. Everytime they take a correct step in the solution, have the clocktower chime. (Especially if you've primed them by mentioning there is no bell or chime mechanism visible.) Then when they make a wrong turn, reset it back to the start. A puzzle with no feedback about right or wrong is highly frustrating.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

@Tamago: well, people are also pointing out that the combats in the scenario are poorly written, and that the plot sets up an interesting location (the disappearing village) and then does absolutely nothing with that. So no, it's not just the puzzle.

The puzzle itself has two major problems. The first is that the PCs don't actually get enough information to solve it, and have to rely on assumptions, trial and error (this is why people suggest a progress indicator, but the underlying issue is simply that the required information isn't there).

The second is that it's a huge immersion breaker. In character, the puzzle has no reason to be there, and the PCs have no reason to believe that hopping through portals will somehow get the plot going. There's no roleplaying involved; it's a strictly mechanical experience (i.e. a "soup can puzzle").

There are several cool fey-based scenarios in PFS, e.g. the Sanos Abduction, or the Pallid Plague. I recommend using one of those instead.

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