Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–09: The Blakros Connection (PFRPG) PDF

3.80/5 (based on 21 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 5-9.

A recent attack on the Grand Lodge became all the more heinous when one of the invading agents employed an eldritch relic to abduct a high-ranking Pathfinder. In order to release the captive, the Society must understand the relic and track down the fleeing operative—a mission that leads the PCs into Absalom's most prestigious archives to uncover a dark secret.

Content in "The Blakros Connection" 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 Robert Brookes.

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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3.80/5 (based on 21 ratings)

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Too much left to chance.

2/5

I had high hopes going into this scenario. Another trip to the Blakros museum! That's always fun, right?

Well, not in this case.

The investigation is dependent on some very specific skills... and you have to have multiple people in the group with those skills. You don't seem to get much out of the rolls, but if you don't make 6 perfect sets of checks, you fail your secondary mission.

Now I am all about investigations, or even research scenarios. Ancients Anguish was great, but the difference is that its mechanic allowed for more variation of skills, and rewarded a wider variety of skills. For this one, I would say that you want to bring in a team of arcane casters... with high int, and high skill checks in those specific skills.

My Warpriest, Gunari, is not a slouch at skills. In fact, he has 5 skills at +10 or better (Diplomacy +18, Intimidate +12, Sense Motive +17, Spellcraft +12, and Survival +10) (he is 9th level, but this is a class with 2+INT skills). He was utterly useless during the investigation phases. Useless

I felt punished for choosing what were good choices for my character, who is a reasonably well rounded individual.

I am sorry to say that this was a big let down for me, in a tier that is usually full of greatness.


All work and no play... makes this a dull boy

1/5

Played this one over PbP (here). Rather than leave a detailed critique, I'll just share some of the comments I made over the course of the game:

While playing the game, I wrote:
  • - "Seriously, this is the 3rd season 7 I've played post GenCon and the 2nd dreamscape sequence. I know that the PFS creative team is trying to set out on their own and not be tied to an AP, but it is hard to think of anything more unimaginative than constantly entering a realm of imagination. Well, maybe two library sequences in the same scenario." --> This was before I knew there was a third library sequence!
  • - "...it is getting ridiculous."
  • - "Wow. Just finding it so hard to care right now."
  • - "...uninventive, unnecessarily punitive and just poor design."
  • - "I like the introduction of interesting extra mechanics. Rolling on ones that have been arbitrarily sprung on you is okay. Doing it on 4 separate encounters (three of which required a ridiculous number of rolls) within something as brief as a scenario? Not cool. Not fun."
  • - "...the worst scenario I think I've ever played..."
  • - "Am I missing something here? How can this be the conclusion of the scenario? We do all this f*#*ing research and get absolutely nowhere? Any reason this isn't a tier 1-5? I thought that was the level range for "do nothing / go nowhere" scenarios."

In short, just don't play this one. It's not even worth it for the connection to Serpents Rise (it is a vague sequel to some of the events)... the end plot-payoff is far from worth it. You get nowhere near the main protagonist or the main object of your quest.

Disappointing in the extreme.


Don't get your hopes up - no control

1/5

My biggest complaint about this scenario is that as a player I felt like I had zero control at any point in the scenario. At no point did I ever get the impression that any of the character's role play or decision making contributed in any meaningful way to the storyline, and certainly had no effect on the lackluster and disappointing 'resolution' to the scenario.

Vague spoilers:
The scenario starts off with rolling dice enough times on skill checks for the GM to check boxes to tell us we can go to the next thing. Never mind that these specific skill checks could quite possibly (bordering on likely) not actually be covered by the group's composition, and certainly not covered in the numbers required to have much success.

Then the pathfinders get ambushed by a scenario that felt like it was intentionally designed to kill at least one player outright before anyone in the group has a chance to react. Maybe you are into that kind of thing, but I have serious issues with taking away a players ability to control their character's own fate. What makes this encounter worse is it HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE STORY OR PLOT LINE WHATSOEVER. Nothing. The logic/reasoning behind why the encounter happens from a story standpoint is a throwaway comment that makes less than zero sense.

Then the players are railroaded to another 'roll your dice until the GM checks enough boxes' snorefest with the same problems mentioned above. Consider yourself lucky if you had the skill set in the group to cover the first one. Consider it a miracle if you can cover the first and the second one.

Enter another combat encounter that has a tenuous at best connection to the actual story the author is trying to tell (which still has had zero input from the PCs)

At this point, as a player, I was wondering when I would actually get to do something, or make a decision that matters, or have some opportunity for some meaningful RP. Turns out not anytime soon. Enter Yet another skill check blitz where we roll until the GM says we can stop. The diversity of the skills required to handle three of these insanely boring skill romps is mind-boggling, and would be rare to find in a group not specially constructed for this scenario. We had one player who couldn't do a single thing in all three "skill" encounters. We had several who couldn't do anything in at least one of them, which means that in all three encounters we were hamstrung, even with good rolls from those who did have those skills.

After all of this, another combat encounter is given to the PCs which has some potential to be fun and cool. I'm not sure anyone in our group enjoyed it, but I won't comment to much on that. I have a feeling that the disappointment of the poor scenario leading up to this may have colored our moods by then.

To wrap it all up, after the final combat the PCs are allowed to interact with some... thing. It turns out everything you have been "working" for the entire scenario, you can't actually have. So there is no actual resolution to the storyline you didn't really get to participate in.

All in all this scenario felt like a train ride for the character and player. I was just along for the ride, staring out the window while the dice were rolled and things happened around me, but at no point could I get off the train and do anything meaningful in the story. There is a popular and amusing theory that had Indiana Jones had zero effect on the outcome of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Regardless of how true that is, that is exactly the feeling I was left with as a player in this scenario. Why was I even there? Nothing I did or didn't do mattered.

If you want to experience this scenario for its part in the aftermath of seige of serpents and serpents rise, you are better off just getting a copy of the scenario, reading it so you know the story, and spending your valuable playing time with a different game/scenario.


4/5

I've GM'd this twice at Subtier 8–9. While I like this scenario, it absolutely requires a prepared GM and engaged players. I would not try to run this in a four hour slot at Subtier 8–9. This scenario would be perfect had it been tightened up and some material were left on the cutting room floor.


How to sell Occult Adventures

5/5

I'd already gotten Occult Adventures, but hadn't really read much in it beyond the PFS legal content. After playing this adventure I got a lot more interested in the rest of it. It's not just about mechanics; this scenario also really manages to catch the flavour of an occult adventure.

This scenario has a lot of minigames in it. And yet, they all worked very smoothly, which is quite a feat.

The research mechanics originally come from Mummy's Mask, but have been tidied up a bit. Contrary to what another reviewer said, you do get extra credit for rolling really well on the check, it's not just about your Intelligence score/KP die. Although that's a big factor. With my alchemist I totally ruled this aspect of the scenario, but it was nice to see that non-Int-casters also have a real shot at doing well on the research because of the range of skills allowed.

There are two other minigame systems in here which do come from Occult Adventures. Both were easily explained and used, and especially the second one was really sweet. That one also favours the Cha-caster crowd more, evening out the balance in who gets to shine in the scenario. Very nice touch there.

The fights in this module were interesting, using some monsters you don't see often or at all, but who were really good fits for the story. We were playing up barely, but did pretty well on the combats, due to a diverse party playing together well. A lot of unexpectedly good saving throws near the end also helped. I think the 4-player adjustment was well chosen in this scenario.

The best thing about this scenario however is the story. Some scenarios have an awesome story but no way for the GM to convey it to the players. This scenario is all about doing that. It builds off Serpents Rise and really delves into one of those characters. It picks up another story thread from a while ago and now I'm really curious about where that's going to lead to in the future. The implications could be pretty dire.

Re: the name of the scenario; yeah, it really isn't very much about the Blakros. Though there are some funny bits of dialogue for those who've played Museum scenarios before.

Finally, a caution: this one can run pretty long. We didn't hurry, that's true, and maybe we tried a little too hard to get the research perfect (getting results in the low 40s pretty much every time). All in all it took us 7 hours to play. I don't really mind, because it allowed the story to unfold at a natural pace. But I think scenarios like this are an argument for making a few scenarios per season into double-slot scenarios. The difference with a multi-parter being that they don't need to be stand-alone scenarios. For example, I don't think the To Judge A Soul pair worked very well because part I ends on a really annoying note unless you can immediately go forth into part II.


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Community & Digital Content Director

Announced for October!

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Intrigue! And more museum time :) Need a reason each season to want to burn down the museum :P

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Me wonders if this will put that new Museum map to use...

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

"Absalom's most prestigious archives to uncover a dark secret."

Most prestigious? Nigel's trash heap cum meat grinder? I don't think so. Rather, it's likely some actual archive.

Liberty's Edge

Me thinks this will finally explain the details of 6-99 as well.

Grand Lodge

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

Some how I imagine Kermit the Deep One sitting in his hell swamp singing
"Someday will find it/the Blackros Connection/Cultists, Chuthlu and Me"

Community & Digital Content Director

Now available!

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

*looks at cover*

Oh crapbricks. I love that new books see use but that one's just pure evil.

...good choice.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It gets worse. ;)


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Used Maps:
I was very surprised that this scenario does not use the flip mat. Was really looking forward to an opportunity to use the new mat.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

A Brookes scenario. Looking forward to this one!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
Duncan7291 wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Really? Disappointed...

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Duncan7291 wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

In response:
It's something I had hoped to use, but as Robert and I worked on this scenario, it became clear that the storyline just wasn't going to accommodate that map without substantial shoe-horning. You can bet that any time the Blakros Mueseum shows up in an adventure, I'm looking for ways to use that flip-mat.
Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

Duncan7291 wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Follow up on John's point

Spoiler:

Very little of the actual adventure takes place in the museum as well.

But I wager it'll only be a matter of time before the museum gets attacked! Nigel has nothing but bad luck.

Grand Lodge

For map A, the map pack is incorrect.

Spoiler:
It's listed as Waterfront, but it should be Temples.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Thanks John for post. I spent money on acquiring maps so yes, I like to use them. Also, I think they add level to adventure rather than me just drawing the map out. (Also, easier to prep ;) )

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

How has Nigel not quit or retired from all of the crazy Night at the Museum shenanigans that happen to him? :)

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Sheer determination. ;)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

Spoiler:
Penance for not taking the family name


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Tyranius wrote:
How has Nigel not quit or retired from all of the crazy Night at the Museum shenanigans that happen to him? :)

Considering all the weird stuff that happens in that museum, and considering how often the Pathfinder Society is expected to clean up after the latest disaster, I'm just waiting for a table of experienced players/PCs to be sent to the museum, open the front door, throw in all their alchemist fire/other expendables, cast all their high-damage spells, close and lock the door, then look at me as I hide behind my GM screen and say "Problem solved".

I love the Blakros Museum. My players love to hate it. Fun for all! lol

Shadow Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.

We've tried. The damn building won't burn.

Paizo Employee Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Amanda Plageman wrote:
Tyranius wrote:
How has Nigel not quit or retired from all of the crazy Night at the Museum shenanigans that happen to him? :)

Considering all the weird stuff that happens in that museum, and considering how often the Pathfinder Society is expected to clean up after the latest disaster, I'm just waiting for a table of experienced players/PCs to be sent to the museum, open the front door, throw in all their alchemist fire/other expendables, cast all their high-damage spells, close and lock the door, then look at me as I hide behind my GM screen and say "Problem solved".

I love the Blakros Museum. My players love to hate it. Fun for all! lol

I can't wait to be the GM for that table and tell them that the building's made of basalt.

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