Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–07: Trouble in Tamran (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-5.

Less than a decade ago, the Pathfinder Society established a lodge in Nirmathas, an act that infuriated the nation's expansionist rival Molthune. The latter outlawed the Society soon after, and ever since Pathfinders have relied on smugglers like the Varisian entrepreneur Guaril Karela to slip supplies past the Molthuni blockade for both the lodge and the Society's war-torn neighbors. Something has intercepted those shipments. Can the PCs uncover the culprit and save the Society's reputation in Nirmathas?

Content in "Trouble in Tamran" also ties into a special metaplot element from Pathfinder Society Special #6–98: Serpents Rise. Players who have completed that special event are encouraged to bring its Chronicle sheet when playing this adventure.

Written by Benjamin Bruck.

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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Well-Constructed and Fun



I recently played Trouble in Tamran via play-by-post. It’s a carefully-researched and well-written scenario that ties strongly into the season meta-plot and PFS lore. The artwork, maps, and handouts are all attractive. Importantly, there’s plenty of room for different groups to approach some issues in different ways. There’s a lot of meat to the bone of this scenario, and if I have any complaints, it’s that I imagine a live table-run of the scenario would almost surely go overtime. Still, I certainly recommend it as long as there’s no rush to finish.


Trouble in Tamran has a pretty involved backstory. The Aspis Consortium, a long-time rival of the Pathfinder Society, has launched a quiet war to undermine the PFS all over the Inner Sea. In the city of Tamran in the country of Nirmathas, this attack has taken the form of intercepting shipments to the Ashen Lodge (the Society’s headquarters in the city), spreading rumours that the PFS has allied with Nirmathas’ mortal enemy Molthune, and allying with another group with a beef against the PFS (the Church of Razmir) to rough up any reinforcements the Society sends into the city. The PCs come in at this point, assigned to help former Sczarni faction leader Guaril Karela discover why his (smuggled) shipments to the city keep getting intercepted.

The scenario does a great job incorporating story points from previous adventures. One of the creeps recruited by the Aspis Consortium to cause trouble in Tamran is Madreki Gael, an old foe of Guaril Karela. The leader of the Aspis mission is Zurnzal, a major foe in Season 6 (and players who have the Chronicle from # 6-98 may get a bonus in the scenario). The reason the Church of Razmir is happy to cooperate with the plan is because of what the Society did to its temple in Tamran in the module Masks of the Living God. That module contains a gazetteer of Tamran, and several locations and at least one NPC from it are integrated here. By sheer coincidence, I happened to be running Masks of the Living God online at the same time as I played Trouble in Tamran, and it was a kick to see the city from dual perspectives.

A major part of the first half of the scenario has the PCs investigating different leads to try to figure out what’s going on: why the shipments have been stopped, who’s spreading the rumours about the PFS, etc. This is handled perfectly, as different leads are connected to locations and NPCs that are quickly and concisely described, giving a GM just enough to work with for quality role-playing while not overwhelming them with detail. No single lead or clue is mandatory, but instead it’s a cumulative accumulation of knowledge that, when analysed, will hopefully lead to the right conclusion. To keeps things interesting, the GM is given two encounters to insert at dramatically appropriate times. One is an ambush by Razmiran-infiltrated militia, and the other is a really clever frame-up where the Church plants Molthuni coins on the PCs. Overall, I thought the investigation section was handled well, and I always appreciate it when a scenario gives the players some flexibility in how they go about solving a problem and the GM some flexibility in deciding when to place some obstacles in their way.

When the PCs next meet up with Guaril Karela, he says he’s been able to learn that the cargo thieves must be operating out of one of the abandoned forts near the city--but there are four of them, and he doesn’t know which one is being used. The PCs can use the clues they’ve gathered as a sort of real-world logic puzzle to eliminate the forts one by one until only the correct fort is left. Or, if they didn’t happen to gather enough clues (or interpret them correctly), they can brute-force a solution by manually searching all the forts--but each wrong guess gives more time for the defenders in the right fort to prepare (making the encounters a little harder). Again, a very clever way of handling things.

The last part of the scenario involves attacking the right fort and learning who’s behind the Society’s troubles in the city. The encounters here involve some clever illusions (that certainly worked on my character), more militia and Razmirans, and a cool skinwalker (Zurnzal’s apprentice) named Cetenna. Assuming they succeed in the battles, the PCs will discover various handouts that explain the Aspis Consortium’s involvement and plans (a good way of ensuring that all the background isn’t something only the GM becomes aware of).

When I was playing it, I don’t think I appreciated Trouble in Tamran as much as I should have. I’ve played too many Season 0/Season 1 scenarios where the group get one vague clue and are then expected to rush off after it, but by Season 7, scenarios are far richer and more intelligent. Play-by-post also has the unfortunate side-effect of making it hard to remember what was uncovered days or weeks earlier. But reading it for the purposes of this review, I can see how well-constructed the scenario is. It should offer a satisfying experience for players, whether they’re interested in role-playing, puzzle-solving, or combat.

Good buildup, good modularity, a final combat worth being called that


I've played it and run it. It isn't exactly first-time GM friendly as the investigation of part one can be tricky if your players start going out of the box. However, the scenario felt like it not only allowed but encouraged that sort of thinking. In that, I applaud it.

The fights also get progressively harder, with the final fight being actually quite hard. But while it is hard, it isn't unfair, and provides the right amount of punch against players, especially those jaded ones.

My only complaint? Guaril feel almost like an extra. He is not well integrated into the scenario.

No Trouble at All Really


This, this is what I want to see in my scenarios.

I played this months ago, but frankly it was one of those nights and I don't think many of us recall exactly how the adventure panned out, except for the thing about the Halfling.

"You mean I can stop?"

I recently had the pleasure of running it though, and this is one of my new all-time favorite low-tier adventures. It's a really solid mix of a well designed "investigation" and then a more combative "adventure" from what you discover during the investigation. The part that made it really shine for me though is that player decisions mattered. Even the hook itself felt pertinent to being a Pathfinder; help a Lodge recover their reputation and supply lines.

The investigation
The set-pieces for the investigation were really tight, detailed enough for a GM to have a starting point, but open enough for a GM to take a group interested in role-playing to the next level. What really impressed me though was that it required the players pay attention and think about what was happening. It didn't feel like a "throw away" investigation where A->B->C-D, it felt like you piecing together a puzzle (not a complicated puzzle, but a puzzle nonetheless. The encounters aren't tough, but they're meaningful and have impact to the story as well, which I enjoyed.

The Adventure
I absolutely love that the result of the investigation has a mechanical effect on the second half of the adventure. I like how listening and paying attention quietly help the party without being obvious about it. Finally, the end set-piece and encounter really felt like a climax. Too many adventures set up an ending that never has the punch it deserves. Both the lead-in, and final encounters were memorable and exciting for me as a GM (and I think the players as well).

I mean it, easily one of the best adventures in the season. I hope to see more like it.

Good investigation, bad ending


I enjoy the first half of investigation part, although I played a barbarian that can't really make impacts :)

There are three great and challenging combats which shows some ACG classes foes, but I would suggest tier 4-5, the low tier can be too easy.

The downside is the sniper ending. When finishing the investigation, we just don't know much to do... then delve into a dungeon, kill everything. I don't like the dungeon setting either, not as good as the first half.

Good scenario, varied "scenes", feels like a sandbox


This scenario presents itself as a fairly good urban investigation. There's clear places to go and you feel like you have the freedom to do them in any order (you really do). Each locale has its own varied interest to it, feels appropriate and could present interesting strategy/roleplay that you might not have gotten a chance at in another scenario.

When you get outside of Tamran, it feels almost like you're doing a Part II scenario and the players will actually be surprised that they're only at the halfway point. Once again, each encounter feels fresh, somewhat unexpected for where they occur. The scenario provides a surprising sense of depth for being fairly easy to prepare. For providing this depth without being overtly complex, this makes it one of the gems of Season 7 (or any season where you're looking for a scenario like this).

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Community & Digital Content Director

Announced for later this month!

Silver Crusade

So happy my Masks of the Living God character is still in-tier :)

Dark Archive

please tell me there's razmiri in this... please tell me there's razmiri in this... please tell me there's razmiri in this...


This was a lot of fun to write. I hope people enjoy it!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Hey - so for the "serpent's rise content" - the player just has to have played Serpent's Rise - it doesn't have to be the same character, right?

I figure it's the former, but I want to ask and make sure it isn't the latter.

Grand Lodge

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

Correct. It would be impossible for a character to have the Serpent's Rise chronicle before they play this one, as the first is a 6-8 chronicle and this is a 1-5 scenario.

Liberty's Edge

Will there be a map of Tamram?

It kind of sucks that the blurb mentions tie-ins to previous scenarios, but they're all unavailable. PFS aren't the only ones that run scenarios from time to time. :(

Community & Digital Content Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Now available!

Leaning towards shelving this scenario until more local players have had a chance to play Serpent's Rise. Doesn't seem fair to the players otherwise.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Slippers of Venomous Webs?

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

iemckinnon wrote:

Slippers of Venomous Webs?

Ha! Nice!

The map for the interior of the fort in the scenario is not listed as being from any particular Map Pack. Does anyone know where it is located? It doesn't seem to be in the GameMastery Ruins Map Pack (at least from what I can see on the Paizo website).

Silver Crusade Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
steelhead wrote:
The map for the interior of the fort in the scenario is not listed as being from any particular Map Pack. Does anyone know where it is located? It doesn't seem to be in the GameMastery Ruins Map Pack (at least from what I can see on the Paizo website).

I believe it's a custom map; in my experience, most scenarios have at least one.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Kalindlara is correct.

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