Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–99: True Dragons of Absalom (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 4th-level pregenerated characters.

For several years, the Pathfinder Society has enjoyed a mutually beneficial alliance with the Sewer Dragons, the dominant tribe of kobolds living beneath Absalom. When an elite patrol discovers a wounded member of the Society with a desperate message, the Sewer Dragons must move quickly intercept an extraordinary threat from seizing their territory—if not Absalom itself! In this special adventure the players portray kobolds as unlikely defenders of the City at the Center of the World using 4th-level pregenerated characters.

Written by Thurston Hillman.

Note: True Dragons of Absalom is a limited release scenario. It may be run anywhere, but only by 5-star GMs. Venture-Officers may only run this scenario if they meet this star rating requirement.

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Memorable, Original, and Super Fun!

5/5

NO SPOILERS

True Dragons of Absalom is a rare PFS scenario to be found offered for play, as it can only be run by 5-star GMs. I was lucky enough to get a chance to play in a game at PaizoCon AP in 2019, and it was a memorable experience. There's a couple of big things that sets the scenario apart. First, it was written by Thurston Hillman, one of the best PFS writers in the stable. Second, instead of regular PCs, everyone plays a pre-gen kobold! The scenario has memorable NPCs, some really clever encounters, and makes good use of the setting. I think a couple of the plot premises might be a bit shaky, but otherwise it's an all-around winner. If you get a chance to play it, seize the opportunity--it might not come around again for a while!

SPOILERS!:

The PCs are members of Absalom's Sewer Dragon tribe of kobolds, a group that has a mutually-beneficial relationship with the Pathfinder Society. The PCs are ordered to traverse the sewers and find Hats, a (hilarious) otyugh who says he has an important captive. The "briefing" proper starts when the PCs meet Hats' prisoner--Venture-Captain Drandle Dreng! Dreng explains that enemies of the Society known as the Onyx Alliance have been building a portal to the Shadow Plane in the sewers nearby. Dreng says the Onyx Alliance will clear out all perceived threats in the sewers, including the Sewer Dragons, and that he needs their help to stop the portal before it's too late. Dreng himself, however, was badly hurt in a battle against the Onyx Alliance, so it's up to the kobolds to save the day! It's a fun, original concept for a briefing and one thing that's particularly cool is that with a sufficient bribe (one of the PC's magic hats) Hats will join the kobolds for the first half of the adventure.

Finding the portal isn't hard, but overcoming the defenders is far more challenging. In addition to several fetchling rogues, there's a shadow mastiff whose baying can easily send some of the PCs fleeing in panic. I remember it being a hard but fun encounter that made good use of sewer terrain to complicate things.

The next encounter is the most clever in the scenario, and makes excellent use of the fact that the PCs are kobolds. The idea is that the PCs know that Onyx Alliance reinforcements are on their way so it's time to switch from offense to defence and build some traps! There's a wide variety of traps that can be built (with successful skill checks) and there's a really fun, cooperative strategy element involved in figuring out how to best funnel the incoming waves of attackers and destroy (or at least soften them up) before they get into combat range. I wish more scenarios could contrive this sort of "reverse dungeon crawl". It was used perfectly here.

Soon after the portal is secured, it opens from the other side. It turns out that the Sewer Dragons are going to have to venture forth to the Shadow Plane to figure out how to close it. I thought it was a bit unrealistic that a handful of sewer kobolds would tackle a mission like this, but I placed that thought to one side and moved on. The rest of the adventure takes place in Shadow Absalom, a dark and fascinating alternative version of the city. The scenario does a great job making the place feel strange and somewhat creepy, and good GMs (and they better be good if they have 5 stars!) will be able to add to the atmosphere of the setting. After some open-ended exploration and information-gathering, the PCs will be approached by a member of the Light-Weavers' Guild (an organisation opposed to the Onyx Alliance) who explains what needs to be done to permanently close the portal. It turns out that the PCs need to take on an umbral wyrmling dragon!

The confrontation with the umbral dragon takes place, quite cinematically, at the top of a massive spire. Getting to the spire holds some additional challenges (traps and potential encounters). The wyrmling, Shadrixis (cool art!), can actually be negotiated with to give the PCs what they need to close the portal--but it's far more likely that a battle ensues. It was a thrilling, difficult battle. Afterwards, the PCs can close the portal after jumping through one last time.

The pre-gen kobolds all come with backstories and full-colour art, and they were fun and distinctive. The scenario has a sidebar for GMs that gives some guidelines on how far is too far if players decide to go crazy with running PCs with an evil alignment. There's a pretty cool boon for completion that allows you to play your kobold once the next time you need a 4th level pre-gen for a scenario--I'm saving mine for a special occasion.

I thought True Dragons of Absalom was a real treat. It continued to advance the long-running storyline of the Onyx Alliance, had some original encounters, and provided a unique opportunity to see life from a kobold's perspective. If I get another 100 or so tables under my belt someday, I'll return the favour and run it for another group!


Fabulous if you have the time for it

4/5

I enjoyed this scenario tremendously. There are some very entertaining NPCs (thanks in part to the thespian capabilities of our 5-star GM), and the pre-gens were written in such a way as to encourage player to role-play as kobolds.

There was a uniquely kobold-ish mechanic for the 2nd encounter that, while time-consuming, fit the scenario perfectly and was a lot of fun for everyone at the table.

I suspect that many tables only get to enjoy the first half of the scenario, and never even set foot on the other side of the portal, which is unfortunate. It took my group EIGHT HOURS over two sessions to complete this scenario. We loved every minute of it, but if you don't have that much time, I'd recommend another adventure.


A very fun scenario!

5/5

The kobolds are definitely fun to play. The scenario is packed, so make sure you have enough time for it.


A very fun and unique scenario

5/5

True Dragons is worth playing just for the large encounter in the middle section, but the rest of it is pretty good too. If you get a chance to try this one, I strongly recommend it. The only real caveat is that you need to keep an eye on the time a bit, because it is a scenario that can get away from you depending on how long the PCs decide to take on some things.


Kobolds are Best! Better than the rest!

5/5

Full of memorable characters, hilarious situations, and so very many traps. A blast to play, even better than the goblin scenarios.


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Webstore Gninja Minion

Announced!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Oh this will be fun.

We Be Kobolds!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Must haves!


Oh my god, yes!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

This...is AWESOME!

Sczarni

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I want to play this so bad...

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

Please tell me we'll be able to play this in time for Paizocon, because I'm so there.

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

KOBOLDS! :)

Dark Archive

Robert Brookes wrote:
Please tell me we'll be able to play this in time for Paizocon, because I'm so there.

I believe this is debuting at Gencon.

Paizo Employee Developer

Leg o' Lamb wrote:
Robert Brookes wrote:
Please tell me we'll be able to play this in time for Paizocon, because I'm so there.
I believe this is debuting at Gencon.

Confirmed. This debuts at Gen Con 2015.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Hmmmm. Is this opening to door to kobolds as a playable race in Season 7?

Paizo Employee Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Jezza wrote:
Hmmmm. Is this opening to door to kobolds as a playable race in Season 7?

In discussions with the author, there are definitely some interesting (and likely substantial) kobold-related boons that might appear on this adventure's Chronicle sheet. At this time, though, that's all that I can say on the matter.

Scarab Sages

Will we only be able to apply credit for this to a 4th level PC (assuming we can apply credit at all)? Or will there be a broader range?

Grand Lodge Global Organized Play Coordinator

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jezza wrote:
Hmmmm. Is this opening to door to kobolds as a playable race in Season 7?

No, I have no plans to sanction kobolds as a playable race at this time.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Will there be 6 (or more) pregens to go with this adventure? I am assuming yes as the current PFS table size assumption is 6 players.

Paizo Employee Developer

1970Zombie wrote:
Will there be 6 (or more) pregens to go with this adventure? I am assuming yes as the current PFS table size assumption is 6 players.

The plan is to have six pregenerated kobold PCs for this adventure.

Grand Lodge

This is absolutely marvelous, a sequel of sorts for Sewer Dragons of Absalom, one of my all time favorites, and this is a Gen Con run, I remembered seeing it when I signed up!

This will be AWESOME!

Silver Crusade

Do not forget to bring these. ;P

Shadow Lodge

Yes! While I probably won't be playing a Kobold in regular society play for at least two more years, if not longer, at the very least I can play some pregens.

This is awesome, I hope to see more Kobold adventures in the future. They have to catch up with the Goblins after all.


So this is the 5 star special one?


BigNorseWolf wrote:
So this is the 5 star special one?

Correct. The Aspis one (6-98 Serpents Rise) is going to be the 4 star special.

EDIT: This is after they debut at GenCon.

Grand Lodge

Will this be runnable by VCs? Given my area only has 4 Star or less GMs, I am curious...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Sniggevert wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
So this is the 5 star special one?

Correct. The Aspis one (6-98 Serpents Rise) is going to be the 4 star special.

EDIT: This is after they debut at GenCon.

Question about this, since I'm interested in the Aspis ones for non-Society reasons.

Will those ones be available via the website as well? I was worried it'd be like Race for the Runecarved Key, which was only available at conventions...

Grand Lodge Global Organized Play Coordinator

4 people marked this as a favorite.
kinevon wrote:
Will this be runnable by VCs? Given my area only has 4 Star or less GMs, I am curious...

No. We need to reward 4 and 5 star GMs with some things unique to their station.

Grand Lodge

If I get my 5th star after this is released, will I get access to this or do I have to get my 5th star before it is released to qualify?

I am so close, I am just wondering if I need to make sure I get my last two specials and last few normal sessions out before GenCon.

Paizo Employee Contributor—Canadian Maplecakes

Do people even like traps? ;)

Grand Lodge

The only question now is, when it will be released so we can prepare! lol


Dumagand wrote:
The only question now is, when it will be released so we can prepare! lol

Probably late the 24th or 25th would be my guess for GenCon GM's...


Question: does this module fit into the timeline of 6-97 to 7-01, or is it independent? I have the chance to play 6-97, 6-98, 7-00, and 7-01 in order, but this module (6-99) will not be played until afterwards! Does that cause me to miss any inter-related story? Or is this module a standalone?

Grand Lodge

Sniggevert wrote:
Probably late the 24th or 25th would be my guess for GenCon GM's...

Ouch, that leaves us only short time to prepare then...

Grand Lodge

5 star only? What if we want to run this as a convention special? I'd like this to be our special at a local con.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Dark_Angel, you are more than welcome to network with our current 5 star GMs and see if one or two can make the trip to your location. If you don't know who to ask, contact your nearest VO and they can put out the word.

Grand Lodge

Is there another update due for this one? I do not see any maps in the scenario?

Paizo Employee Designer

Dumagand, to answer your question here and in the Sky Key Solution thread, as your e-mail to your paizo.com e-mail address mentioned, you have the super-preview version sent out to Gencon GMs to give you max prep time. There will be a final version, just not yet.

Grand Lodge

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Dark_Angel, you are more than welcome to network with our current 5 star GMs and see if one or two can make the trip to your location. If you don't know who to ask, contact your nearest VO and they can put out the word.

Noted. Thanks.

Liberty's Edge

When will this be added to the 5 star GMs accounts? Thanks

Paizo Employee Developer

Qstor wrote:
When will this be added to the 5 star GMs accounts? Thanks

I'll check with my scenario-granting coworkers to see when we can expect this.

Grand Lodge

Will the pregens be generally available, or will we have to wait until game time to see them?


Is this playable as CORE?

Liberty's Edge

John Compton wrote:
Qstor wrote:
When will this be added to the 5 star GMs accounts? Thanks
I'll check with my scenario-granting coworkers to see when we can expect this.

Any word yet?

Shadow Lodge

Cronge wrote:
John Compton wrote:
Qstor wrote:
When will this be added to the 5 star GMs accounts? Thanks
I'll check with my scenario-granting coworkers to see when we can expect this.
Any word yet?

agree - its been 3 weeks since GenCon updates would be appreciated


Daeslan wrote:
Is this playable as CORE?

Other preg-only modules are (WBG series, for example). Why would this not be?

Do you have any reason to think this this scenario would be different from all others?

Grand Lodge

TomG wrote:
Daeslan wrote:
Is this playable as CORE?

Other preg-only modules are (WBG series, for example). Why would this not be?

Do you have any reason to think this this scenario would be different from all others?

Because the Aspis one apparently isn't. It's fair to think that there are exceptions.

Shadow Lodge

The two exclusives at Gen Con (True Dragons and Serpents Rise) didn't have CORE tickets sold for them. Because we are currently between Campaign Coordinators, we have to wait until a new one is hired before we get the answer to whether we can run them for CORE or not. Currently it is not clear whether they will be legal for CORE or not so it's better to simply not run them CORE.


Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
Currently it is not clear whether they will be legal for CORE or not so it's better to simply not run them CORE.

Something something something forgiveness, something something something permission.

I've seen several posts from different people saying, effectively, "We don't know because they haven't told us yes." Has there been *any* module or scenario thus far that is accepted in standard but not core? (Not counting the two recent ones that are being second-guessed in this thread?)

If it were different, they'd tell us. We have every reason to believe they work in core, because everything thus far has, and because the core rules say all the same scenarios, modules, and sanctioned adventures in standard are legal in core.

Paizo Blog wrote:
Both campaign "modes" use the same scenarios, modules, and other sanctioned adventure resources.


So, from what I've read of this discussion, this module will not be available for purchase to the masses?

If that's the case, I'm highly bummed out. (well, sort of bummed out =P ) as I run PFS modules as a modified home game and this sounded interesting.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Bard of Ages wrote:

So, from what I've read of this discussion, this module will not be available for purchase to the masses?

If that's the case, I'm highly bummed out. (well, sort of bummed out =P ) as I run PFS modules as a modified home game and this sounded interesting.

It will probably EVENTUALLY be available to the masses, but will be exclusive to five-star GMs for at least a year, I would expect.

Grand Lodge

cartmanbeck wrote:
Bard of Ages wrote:

So, from what I've read of this discussion, this module will not be available for purchase to the masses?

If that's the case, I'm highly bummed out. (well, sort of bummed out =P ) as I run PFS modules as a modified home game and this sounded interesting.

It will probably EVENTUALLY be available to the masses, but will be exclusive to five-star GMs for at least a year, I would expect.

It's unfortunate for us too because we only just got a 3-star last month. Maybe someday we can run this in our little burg.

Shadow Lodge

kevin_video wrote:
It's unfortunate for us too because we only just got a 3-star last month. Maybe someday we can run this in our little burg.

What you need to do Kevin is organize a game day and sweet talk Myron Pauls from Winnipeg into coming out and running both of the exclusives for whomever wants to play them. Bribing him might be good, putting him up in a nice hotel or something might go a long ways too. If you could talk Scott Young into coming with him, he could run Serpent's Rise while Myron runs True Dragons.

Something to think about. Back when we only had one VO/5-star in Michigan, Doug Miles would go all over the state to run the exclusives for people. If you reach out to them, they just might be willing to help you out. I know I really enjoy running both of the exclusives and if someone offered me a place to stay and maybe a meal I'd be willing to drive a few hours to run them for a group.

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