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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Simply amazing.

5/5

(I played this.)

From a player's point of view, this adventure is almost perfect. Great story, great combats, cool locations, good challenges, generally a cool adventure, lots of opportunities for roleplay (both between party members and to NPCs) without leaning on it too much, everything. The way it ties several loose threads together (at least three, I can tell), and manages to produce a memorable (recurring?) villain and a new storyline is an awesome feat in and of itself. The scenario also manages to dose the story out in little bits, giving you a real sense of discovery most scenarios lack, where a lot of exposition is dumped at the end, or not explained at all. Enemies have some tricks up their sleeves and it rarely devolves into just hitting it with your sword.

Some slight spoilers about the encounters:
I like how they're on the tougher end, but you're usually limited to one fight per day, so you can go all-out. I do wish it was communicated better beforehand, though. Our GM warned us beforehand, and it helped a lot. I also love how the final boss is potentially very deadly, but there's little to no penalty for dying. Sure, you're missing out on a cool fight, but it feels much better than having to spend money on Raise Deads.

Some slight spoiler on the research part:
I like how it rewards specialised characters, but people who didn't aren't left out. Also, the range of skills is pretty diverse and it isn't unreasonable to think you've maxed out at least one those skills on most characters, unless you're particularly starved on skill points. I do wish the way to reduce KP was a bit better, though. I happened to have the higher die to roll, but due to crappy rolls I still rolled lower on average than the other party member. I'd rather have had a bigger static bonus, which at least guarantees I have a bigger impact, but I guess rolling a bigger die is flashier, and I don't hold it against the adventure.

On the GMs end, it seemed like a nightmare. Our GM had to riffle a lot through the scenario, and one encounter had the monsters on three different pages. It also seems like a big hassle to prep, so don't run this cold.

In the end, this is one of the biggest recommendations I can give. Easily a place in my top 10, probably even in my top 5.

EDIT: After running this two times, the research part can be frustrating if you don't have a very skilled party. I saw some people's attentions fade here and there, that does knock it down a bit. If your party isn't that skilled, I'd rank this four out of five, but still a big recommendation just for the lore alone.


One of the best scenarios ever

5/5

I played this (high subtier), and then prepped it to GM.

I've always been a fan of scenarios that require PCs to actually be *Pathfinders*, and this one does it: research, lore, crazy combats, fear of death, and exploring places we have never been before.

While the research rules are a bit clunky and probably need some adjustment to make things a little less "foregone conclusion", the way information is doled out really makes players pay attention and participate in putting the story together. Of course, the story does hinge on having played the special scenario that is related to this one, and without that, it's likely that the motivations may just be too complex to make sense. Still, this is a great exploration of one of the best NPCs to grace PFS, while also setting up a mysterious group in the shadows that isn't one of the regular enemies we face. I can't wait to see what happens next!

The Dreamland sequence was really well done. Alas, by the time my group got there, we were so short on time that our creativity had to be curtailed. The first fight, while cool and "realistic", just takes so darn long because of the mechanics of the creatures involved. Took us 2 hours to finish it, and then we skipped the optional and had to really rushed everything from the Dreamland sequence on. 4.5 hours is not enough to do this scenario justice.

I can understand the other reviewers who said that the name "Blakros Connection" is inappropriate, since we spend so little time in the Museum itself. For me, however, the title served to underline the importance of the connection that the <thing> came from the Blakros family's holdings, and how that might have happened. I expect that this connection will play out over future scenarios. To my character (who has met Nigel Aldain twice and really dislikes him), the only disappointment was that the esteemed curator did not have a stat block. One day, Nigel, one day...


Fun plot, but lots of obscure details

3/5

Spoiler:
Ran this at high tier this weekend. I liked the story and connections to the bigger plot, but I don't have Occult Bestiary or Occult Adventures, so I got really bogged down with all the little details of running the monsters. I wound up not even using most of the minions' special abilities in the final battle because I didn't want to waste more time figuring out how they worked, which would mean somehow looking up references to material in a sourcebook I didn't have (I stuck to the abilities that were explicitly detailed in the stat blocks and didn't require any of the new occult rules). Just giving the name of an uncommon or new special monster or class ability isn't enough for me to know how it works.

There was one RP mechanic where the PCs can share personal secrets too, but that kind of flopped since it didn't really connect to the big story and most of the players hadn't thought about that part of their characters' backstories. I get using the research rules for the first and even the second library (because of the secondary success condition), but after that they're kind of a time sink. Not the most elegant skill check mechanic I've seen.

Overall pretty fun, I just wish everything was more streamlined and catered a little less to the new sourcebook releases.


Nigel... this is all your fault

5/5

Amazing scenario. As a big fan of Library of the Lion, to find a scenario that takes all of the good parts of it and expands on it made me quite happy. GM'd this for a 6-player mid-tier party. Make absolutely sure that you have studied the research mechanics before running this or it can slow to a crawl quickly. I love how the combats were mixed in between research sections and the GM flexibility to reward creative applications of spells and abilities was very useful. To top it off, the Serpents Rise tie-in was both extremely well done, and in some ways just an added bonus. The development of the super secret NPC in question was done so well that even if I had not been a part of that special I still would have gained an appreciation for the character. I'm going to go make a research check to find out to make a 6-star review now...


The Blakros Decapitation

4/5

Connection is a skill based scenario mixed with several challenging combat encounters. If you don’t have one character with strong Knowledge skills, I would avoid this scenario.

Connection really shines when it comes to the cool and unique environments/combats, the imagery, and the story. What makes these combats and environments unique also makes them very challenging and I think this scenario can be an absolute killer for many groups. We got lucky (with the classes we brought) and even my group was challenged (and softballed in one encounter).

Connection uses a research mechanic but I found this to be the most boring part of the scenario and surprisingly... time consuming. I didn’t feel that the research mechanic was cumbersome however or that there was "rules bloat", they were just skill checks. Having said that, GMs really need to speed this part along with strong preparation, notes, and potentially handouts for the players. We had a nearly optimal party (and used several "tricks" to be successful) and we still didn’t complete the research in time (which makes me wonder if my GM did something wrong).

The other weakness of this scenario is that it can easily run longer than 5 hours. Several of the combats feature opponents that have strong defenses or that remove PCs from combat. This would have been OK for one, maybe two encounters in a scenario, but not for all of them.

There is a really cool secret mechanic in this scenario but my GM forgot about it. Could have been amazing? :(

”Detailed Rating”:

Length: Very long (5 hours). I don’t believe we used the optional encounter, we skipped 50% of the first and last encounters when we were winning, and we skipped the secret. Could have easily been 6+ hours.
Experience: Player with 6 good PCs at subtier 5-6 which were perfectly suited for the scenario.
Sweet Spot: TBD.
Entertainment: Apart from the necessary evil of the research mechanic, I was very entertained by the story, environments, and combats. (9/10)
Story: An interesting story, I’m not sure 100% understood it however. Maybe a GM problem? (8/10)
Roleplay: Very little and not interesting. (2/10)
Combat/Challenges: Unique, interesting, all combats are challenging for difference reasons. (8/10)
Maps: Nice unique maps. (9/10)
Boons: Great boons. (10/10)
Uniqueness: Something different. (9/10)

Overall: Blakros Connection has great environments and challenging/unique combats. It's up to the GM to get to the good stuff and tell the story to the players. In combat, bring your "A" game. (8/10)


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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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