Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–12: The Twisted Circle (PFRPG) PDF

2.80/5 (based on 31 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-5.

A magical war between the archmages Geb and Nex left the landscape between their nations scarred and wracked by magical anomalies—a barren stretch known as the Mana Wastes. During the conflict, their generals also created countless weapons and defenses that pushed the limits of magic, yet most of these were destroyed in battle or lost forever. Recent investigations suggest that some of this ancient power is at play in an insular town outside Alkenstar, but there the trail runs cold. Can the PCs uncover the truth while braving the residents' eccentricities?

Written by Jon Cazares.

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2.80/5 (based on 31 ratings)

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Nice underlying story, but needs a big rewrite to communicate it to the players


Perspective: player. I was a bit nervous due to previous reviews, but Monkhound ran it for me and tried hard to overcome them. He succeeded only partially, and by looking at the GM thread afterwards I could piece some more together.

What this story needs, I think, is going over it thoroughly, and asking at each point:
- What foreknowledge is required from the players to appreciate this?
- How will the PCs find out the story here?

For example, this story hinges heavily on phenomena in the Mana Wastes, as well as awareness of some odd game mechanics. That's not something most players will be familiar with. So they'll miss things that should make you go "hmm, that's unusual, shouldn't there be...?" I think getting a "Dummie Guide to the Mana Wastes" from the Venture Captain might help a lot here.

Mechanically, I wasn't too impressed. The fights were either annoying ("everything is difficult terrain") or easy ("It goes down already? Are you sure we're playing high tier?") or both.

The investigation part was so-so. You actually have to put in effort as a player, you're not just led around from clue to clue. Which is good. But there wasn't much you could find out, which is bad. Fortunately you do get sufficient leads to start with. Between this and Trouble in Tamran it seems Paizo is stepping up the difficulty of sleuthing.

It's not all doom and gloom however. The scenario does some things I rather like:
- Happens in an exotic location and tells a story that could only happen there.
- Potential for an interesting backwater town investigation.
- Has unusual enemies, with unusual motivations and story.
- Moral choices (especially if you're Scarab Sages, due to faction card).
- The chance to earn exotic boons.

I'm going to give this three stars because I think this scenario can be good, but with the caveat that it requires significant extra prep and some polishing by the GM.

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–12: The Twisted C


Originally posted at Throat Punch Games, a new idea everyday!

Product-Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–12: The Twisted Circle
Producer- Paizo
Price- $4
TL; DR-Too many ingredients spoil this soup. 70%

Basics-A Pathfinder has vanished, and you must solve the mystery of the xenophobic town! This adventure delves into the Mana Wastes as you try to uncover why a small town is prospering while all around them die, and they must hide their children. Will you find the lost Pathfinder before it’s too late?

Mechanics or Crunch-This adventure is somewhat short and doesn’t add a new mechanic like some other PFS scenarios. However, the fights that do happen here can be a real pain. This is designed for levels 1 to 5, but the first fight is a swarm. That right there can wipe a party of level 1’s, and that fight is for the low tier. Aside from that, the adventure isn’t bad, but it’s a pain to have to pull punches if the players are new to the game or if they are new Pathfinders in general. Also, this mod does some good things like providing the characters with scrolls they may need, but without a caster or the sense to use the tools they get, players will miss 70% of what going on as plants and talking to them play a big role in this one. 3.5/5

Theme or Fluff-The story of this adventure is a bit scatter shot. Nothing here is horrible, but some parts involve a random evil bad guy, another involve some plant monsters, and finally, the town has it’s own strange role to play. It feels like this adventure goes into too many directions instead of focusing on one group of monsters or theme. As a GM, I was a bit lost. There is a lot of fun stuff here, but as a GM you have to keep a ton of balls in the air to have a payoff. And, if you team isn’t on their game they might miss too much to really get the main beats. Too many ingredients spoil this soup. 3/5

Execution- Overall, this has all the standard Pathfinder Society polish. Everything get’s laid out well enough to keep you running quickly and efficiently. I think there are a few too many pages of just text to bore the reader and prevent quick skimming, but overall this is a decently laid out adventure, Paizo’s bread and butter. 4.5/5

Summary-This isn’t bad, but this won’t be on the top of any of my lists. It’s a simple enough adventure that has possibly bad enemy choices as well as a bit too convoluted plot. It’s easy enough to run, but not something that you may want to run. If you LOVE the Mana Wastes and Pathfinder Society, you will enjoy this. If you just want a 4 four hour adventure for your local PFS group, this might not be the best adventure for you to pick out. 70%

I really tried.


Ok, when I GM PFS scenarios, I feel part of my job is to communicate the story to the PCs. Often times it requires me to come up with creative solutions to give story elements to them (things that usually do not impact the primary or secondary success). Examples being lowering DCs or giving multiple chances via different skills. My style has me playing with the players not against them like I see so often.

That being said. I did not enjoy running this scenario, nor did the players have much fun playing it. They completed it with 100% success as far as the chronicle goes, but walked away knowing nothing about the Verdant Spark or why anything was happening.

The party had no one that could use the scroll of speak with plants..

If I had to make a change, maybe there is a 1st level Bard/druid/ranger in town if no PC can use it?

Obtuse and frustrating


So frustrating, in fact, that I'll just let the other 1-star reviews do most of the talking for me.

This is one of the only adventures to come out of Paizo I've played that made me think to myself, "I don't think I ever want to GM / inflict this scenario on my players."

Investagation without a point


I've now GM:ed and played this scenario and withouth a doubt it's nothing special and has some huge flaws.

+ The Place and atmosphere are good plus you have some moral choices you need to make

- The investigation gives you very little information or too obscure information
- Lots of information is behind some items which some groups can't even use or perhaps even know what they are (our group didn't have a single caster)
- Easy fights with the harder/annoying being optional
- Having so many places to investigate and so much things to ask about can drag this out (combined with you don't really learn much)

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Announced for December!

Nifty! I've wanted to know more about Alkenstar for awhile now....

Grand Lodge

The Twisted Circle scenario #7-12 was very enjoyable it captured the weirdness of the Manna waste.
The Twisted circle is very atmospheric and creepy. There are lots of chances to role play. The scenario has a moral dilemma. It is best played by a varied party to figure out the mystery. If all you want to do is hack and slash and be a murder hobo this scenario will force you to look outside the box.
This scenario was refreshing change from many of the scenarios I have played and this one I will remember.

Shadow Lodge

Sadly this product isn't meant for as a scenario. Not made for 1-5, should be for 3-7. To quote someone, "This scenario is a lackluster an investigation with unbalanced poorly planned encounters. It's too reliant on a specific skill set and class abilities and doesn't give any workarounds. I was very disappointed with the scenario at first level.. felt like we got no where.

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