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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2.60/5 (based on 38 ratings)

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Puzzle Power

5/5

I just love this scenario. It explores an unusual place that I read about quite a while back and I'm happy to see it explored. Unique creatures are throughout the adventure and I think there is something about variant creatures that put me in a good mood.

I liked the characterization of the fey in general. Even for the normal fey I get a sense of the unusual behind them beyond they have insect parts. That can be hard to convey as a GM though.

I liked all the encounters with NPCs. Talking in optional, but there are bits of rewards for being proactive and engaging with them.

That brings us to the puzzle. I do like the puzzle. To me, reading it, the answer seems obvious, but I know what information is important and how to interpret the clues and I can't turn that knowledge off. There are important aspects of this the GM has to keep in mind handing this off. The handout should be in color, the colors on it have to be clear and in color. If a color printer isn't available, I would recommend doing what I did and go over it with colored pens or markers. Refer tot the PDF to make sure the marking are accurate. The GM needs to keep track of the players progress thought the puzzle, if you handing a clue when they are already frustrated with the puzzle, I would say it definitely too late. In a loud convention space, I would expect this to be especially hard on a party. If I had to make a suggestion about the puzzle, I would liked slightly more of a clearer feedback system so that the PCs feel progress rather than being in the same place. That is handled somewhat via the clue system, but I could see something a tad more.

Puzzles aren't for everybody, and it is up the GM to prepare for that and do their best to make sure this is a fun adventure no matter the group.


Now you're thinking with portals!

5/5

Environment - The approach to the location for this scenario, along with the NPC interactions both during the approach and in town really manage to give a good backdrop for the scenario. Was able to get immersed in it without any difficulty.

Pacing - The distribution of encounters and skill challenges was clean and kept a nice narrative going.

The Puzzle - Hey... I loved it. We had a bit of a tough time on it, but we managed to complete with full rewards, lots of head scratching, laughs, and a sense of accomplishment when we finished.

Encounters - The core mechanic of the scenario meshed in with the encounters amazingly.

As a note, I am a huge fan of Library of the Lion and the Overflow Archives. If you disliked both of those scenarios I suspect you may dislike this as well, but if that is the type of scenario you enjoy, I cannot recommend this enough.


Amazing Scenario, Terrible Puzzle

3/5

At GenCon, I heard they released a scenario with a puzzle in it, so I bought a ticket for this scenario with one of my open slots. The scenario started off well, with a cool skill encounter, a nice writeup of a new town, some fun roleplaying, and a monster that had me shaking my fist in the air yelling “COURTS!”.

Then we got to the puzzle. Throughout the scenario I was already working out how the portals worked, so I wasn’t surprised when they became the focus of the puzzle. My table identified how the puzzle worked fine, and we identified some of how the final answer should look, but the final ordering is fairly frustrating and not well clued. It feels as if someone was trying to be really clever, but in doing so forgot to include that a puzzle author is trying to set him or herself up to lose.

But that’s okay, I thought, when I run it I’ll switch around the cluing to help the PCs. After all, one of the benefits of puzzles in RPGs is that there is a gamemaster there who can help prod the players to move along as they solve.

Later during GenCon, I ran this as an after-hours slot alongside another table doing the same scenario. Doing my readover to pick up additional details that my GM missed, I noticed that the rewards for the puzzle encounter. The gold that PCs earn on the chronicle sheet is dependent on whether or not they solved the puzzle before a certain number of hints. This is problematic for two reasons. The first is that full gold is dependent on not getting the clue which hints towards the proper ordering. The second is that now if I change the hints to make the experience better for my players, now I’m adjusting things that have an effect outside the scenario. While this effect is small, it pretty much is the definition of a change that a PFS GM is not supposed to do. And even though it’s a small change, there will be players who will not be happy if they don’t get full gold because of a change I made (as opposed to a choice they made).

I can’t in good conscious call this a bad scenario, because the rest of the scenario is pretty amazing and left me wanting more like it. However, I can’t in good conscious call it a good scenario when it leaves 2 tables disappointed at the end of one encounter and a third so frustrated that they got up and left without completing the scenario. A middling 3 stars then with a request to have Liz write something else in the future so that we can think of her as someone else than “the author of that terrible puzzle.”


More Fey Love!

3/5

Let me first say that I enjoyed this scenario, and very much enjoyed the fey aspect of it. I'm actually typically not interested in First World/Fey, but this scenario has made me MUCH more interested. I actually hope to find more fey scenarios.

We had a wonderful GM at GenCon. And I very much like how the hints for the puzzle worked, and the narrative explaining the hints. Really, that was quite brilliant, and avoided the Deus ex Machina.

I *do* think the puzzle's solution was too particular. We had actually figured it out, but the, eh, order of solution seemed to precise.

I'm not good at creating puzzles, so I don't know that I have any input into how to improve it.

I encourage folks to get this scenario and run it--and find a way to make a workaround or some such for the ONE problem with it. It's actually quite good, and I believe certainly deserves more than a 2 star average.


Not for everyone

3/5

We had a great time but I think this one is too much for a 5 hour slot. I thought we were to make scenarios simpler to both run & play or was that just in season 6 both of the new scenario's were long complex. I would Not want to run this one cold and if you don't have a very smart party the puzzle room is very complex. you have a long skill trail area social encounters 3 or 4 major fights before the puzzle to get to the BBEG. Our GM had to hand wave some of the puzzle so we could even get to the BBEG and we were still running out of time to encounter him.


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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.

Scaling:
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?

Thanks!

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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