Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–23: Abducted in Aether (PFRPG) PDF

****½ (based on 9 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 7–11.

Among the greatest crimes committed during an attack on the Grand Lodge was the abduction of a high-ranking member of the Pathfinder Society. The Society has tracked the kidnapped to another plane of existence, where his captor is preparing to sell her prize to a host of otherworldly bidders. Can the PCs intervene and mount a rescue before the esteemed captive disappears forever?

Content in “Abducted in Aether” also contributes directly to the ongoing storyline of the Grand Lodge faction.

Written by Jason Keeley.

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Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

PZOPSS0723E


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****½ (based on 9 ratings)

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A great start, but a weird ending

***( )( )

Quentin, see his review below, ended up running this scenario once more for me and some friends. I agree with him on almost everything. The location and the NPCs you encounter in this scenario is simply outstanding. There's a lot of creativity involved and my interplanar real estate agent had a lot of fun talking to various vendors and figuring out who are suited for joining the Exchange and who weren't. It was almost a little sidequest.

I will also agree with others when it comes to this scenario feeling disjointed. It really is a bit messy and the shift from 'part 1' to 'part 2' felt completely out of place and illogical. I honestly don't understand the decision-making behind it and it completely ruined my immersion in the story. I immediately noticed that the enthusiasm I had for this scenario slowly vanished. Going from a really cool place to something utterly boring and standard just doesn't work for me and to be blunt I consider it a designflaw.

I suppose the focus in the second part was on the combat and not on the bigger picture. It's a shame, I guess, but that doesn't mean the author failed. There's a bunch of mechanics at the same time which can potentially turn the fight into a very dangerous one. That's fine, but to me it feels like it had to compensate for the setting. That said, our party however didn't struggle at all, though I have to admit we were party with amazing crowd control, buffs and damage output. Our level 9 hunter did 203 damage in a single round and only had one arrow crit. I think that paints the picture and does a good job pointing out that it felt a bit lacklustre.

As such I'm a bit on the fence. It started really great, easily 5 stars, but then part 2 happened and the scenario just completely failed to keep me interested and grab my attention. I'm not sure if that's to blame on me or on the scenario, but it's a fact I sadly can't ignore. Had it been possible, I'd have given it 3,5 stars. For now I just can't shake the feeling it could have (easily) been better.


Long, but fun.

****( )

(I both GMed and played this.)

This is a fun scenario to play, on either side of the GM screen. I'd normally go into details, but there isn't much to say here, everything just clicks together. I have a few nitpicky points, but they don't detract from the overall grade. While it doesn't wow me, it's still very fun to play, and it deserves the good reviews it's gotten so far. The location's great, the NPCs are fantastic, this is simply what high-level play should be about.

Nitpicks:
It can run long. There are a lot of NPCs introduced here, and they're all fun to interact with. When I GMed it, I lost track of time and had to rush through the rest, which is a shame. If you have a longer timeslot or aren't worried about running long, this is a great scenario to burn a few hours with.
While the first part is sort of open-ended, there clearly is a preferred route. Otherwise your players might gain bonuses for parts they might've already completed. As a GM, maybe pressing the urgency of meeting Aslynn might be a good thing. My players wandered around for a bit and while it didn't ruin the narrative, a different order would've been better.
As other people have said, this scenario feels a little disjointed. The second part doesn't really follow logically from the first part, and there could a bit of a narrative/mood whiplash. It didn't really affect my table, but I can see it being a thing for others.


This is what a high tier scenario should aspire to be

*****

Abducted is a mix of roleplay, skill challenges, and combat.

Abducted was a terrific wrapup to the season 7 story arc. The locale was exotic and interesting, the NPCs were fascinating (that hopefully make a return one day), cool trinkets, great story, and flavorful combats. And it fits into a 4 hour time slot. You couldn’t really ask for anything more.

The only bad part is we didn’t interact with the Aspis agent very much, didn’t learn her story. Also, I still have no idea why the end boss wanted the mcguffin. So the entire story wasn’t conveyed.

”Detailed Rating”:

Length: Medium (4 hours). We skipped the optional and maybe some encounters that weren’t optional.
Experience: 6 average PCs at subtier 10-11 (2 of them optimized).
Sweet Spot: tbd.
Entertainment: The NPCs and storyline were super amusing. Intelligent fights. (9/10)
Story: Fantastic story, fun, open to great roleplay moments. Some story not conveyed. (9/10)
Roleplay: Mostly this is a roleplay scenario. (8/10)
Combat/Challenges: Intelligent challenges and combat. Not too hard, not too easy. (9/10)
Maps: Looked great at a glance, GM didn’t use them :(. (8/10)
Boons: Good boons without going over the top. (9/10)
Uniqueness: The NPCs and storyline were very fun and unique. Exotic is the best word to describe it. (9/10)
GM Preparation: TBD.

Overall: When you get to level 11, this is what you imagine high level play to be like. (9/10).


Complex but worth it

****( )

I have played this at high tier and run it at low tier. Overall I recommend it and it definitely goes into my "Would run multiple times" pile.

It comes with an interesting mix of social and combat encounters. The locale is unusual, filled with interesting characters and gives plenty of chances to weird out the PC's. It could have done with some art for the venue and/or some of the NPC's you meet.

The combat encounters are potentially challenging and the first encounter will present obstacles unless you come well prepared. It also has a nice twist where you are not just looking to murder things.

The boss encounter is an interesting one but has the real potential to become a bit of a cluster****. She is also pretty complicated to run, even at the low tier, at the high tier she is excessively complex. Even running on low tier PC's moving to engage her were making three or four different saves before they got to do anything.

That level of complexity would make this a 4.5 star review if I could. I am also now entirely done with running Psychic classes, could we have something different please.


*****

Great opportunity for both halves of the social/martial group to shine, with the ROLE-playing and information gathering in the first half and the ROLL-playing and combat mastery in the second half. The endboss is a bit of a challenge to run effectively (at both Tiers, although I only ran this at 7-8) and there are many sub-rules and conditions to remember, so bring your notecards or your cheat sheets and make sure to do your preparation beforehand. This one is great, but it requires some planning.


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Community Manager

Announced for May!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Well THAT is a way to wrap up the season...


Paizo Con Premier?

Shadow Lodge

Called it!

Well, still waiting for the Goblin Market.

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

tlotig wrote:
Paizo Con Premier?

Yep, this is one of our PaizoCon adventures.

Silver Crusade

Part of me wonders if there is a choice involved ^^

Liberty's Edge

Well! I haven't heard back on my vounteering, but if I am Tier 1, then I'm going to have to convince somebody to run this for me at PaizoCon either early on Thursday or late on Monday! (Unless I end up scheduled to run it....)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Possible trip to the City of Brass to cash in on a certain previous season Boon?

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
andreww wrote:
Possible trip to the City of Brass to cash in on a certain previous season Boon?

You are reading my mind - if this is true the next thing we need is a new seeker arc and all my hopes for this season are fulfilled.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
andreww wrote:
Possible trip to the City of Brass to cash in on a certain previous season Boon?

I thought this exact same thing when I read the description. Time to slap chronicles onto my cleric and barbarian so they can finish this plot hook!

Dark Archive

What... uh... what if we don't want him back? I mean, things have been relatively... nice around here lately.

Silver Crusade

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Well THAT is a way to wrap up the season...

Is it, though? I'm curious, as this would mean that either season eight is starting a month early, or we'll get left with a month lag between seasons seven and eight.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
UndeadMitch wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Well THAT is a way to wrap up the season...
Is it, though? I'm curious, as this would mean that either season eight is starting a month early, or we'll get left with a month lag between seasons seven and eight.

There usually is. July more often than not has no scenarios.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Kidnapped?

I mean, I guess he was kidnapped, after a fashion... I suppose...

Anyway, really excited to play this one, just sad I'll have to wait until after PaizoCon for it...


Dresden10589 wrote:
What... uh... what if we don't want him back? I mean, things have been relatively... nice around here lately.

I know that if it comes to a vote I'll be voting for his predecessor/replacement. But yes, I feel we probably should collect the soul even if we don't want him around.

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

Keirine, Human Rogue wrote:

Kidnapped?

I mean, I guess he was kidnapped, after a fashion... I suppose...

Anyway, really excited to play this one, just sad I'll have to wait until after PaizoCon for it...

I'm with you on the "kidnapping" bit. Writing product pages is a strange balancing act between providing enough information and not spoiling earlier adventures.

As for PaizoCon, all of the May adventures (including this one) should be available at PaizoCon. The listed date is the street date.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I've never really understood the dislike for certain NPCs in PFS. Sure, Zey is an unmitigated ass, but he is our unmitigated ass! :)

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

YES YES YES YES YES.

SHE'S BACK.

}:)


GreySector wrote:
I've never really understood the dislike for certain NPCs in PFS. Sure, Zey is an unmitigated ass, but he is our unmitigated ass! :)

Have you met his replacement? People's experiences may differ but she introduced herself to our party by pointing out the party alchemist isn't a real spellcaster. I hope she never goes away.

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
p-sto wrote:
GreySector wrote:
I've never really understood the dislike for certain NPCs in PFS. Sure, Zey is an unmitigated ass, but he is our unmitigated ass! :)
Have you met his replacement? People's experiences may differ but she introduced herself to our party by pointing out the party alchemist isn't a real spellcaster. I hope she never goes away.

My dwarven cleric of Nethys in Mummy's Mask loves accusing the party investigator of the same faux-magic failures.

Hopes for Sorrina with very mild spoilers for #7–13:
I hope that Sorrina Westyr comes across as mostly sympathetic and helpful. That was certainly the reasoning behind having her freely share her spells and knowledge in the second half of #7–13.


John Compton wrote:
p-sto wrote:
GreySector wrote:
I've never really understood the dislike for certain NPCs in PFS. Sure, Zey is an unmitigated ass, but he is our unmitigated ass! :)
Have you met his replacement? People's experiences may differ but she introduced herself to our party by pointing out the party alchemist isn't a real spellcaster. I hope she never goes away.

My dwarven cleric of Nethys in Mummy's Mask loves accusing the party investigator of the same faux-magic failures.

** spoiler omitted **

Yes, sorry if I overstated things a little bit. I do think that part of what makes her charming when she's being crass is that there's a lot of very nice and interesting aspects to her as well.

Spoiler for 7-09:
That's not to say that Zey's interactions with 322 weren't poignant but as far as 7-13 is concerned I was impressed for how effectively the author managed to portray a well rounded NPC in the span of a single scenario with respect to Sorrina.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
DubiousYak wrote:
andreww wrote:
Possible trip to the City of Brass to cash in on a certain previous season Boon?
You are reading my mind - if this is true the next thing we need is a new seeker arc and all my hopes for this season are fulfilled.

As of today's blog, consider them fulfilled. :)


Hmm, I wonder if this might also link to Jairo from Slave Master's Mirror. I have that boon and the Karamoss one sitting on the same level 11 character. Maybe I will get something out of both of them before he reaches seeker status.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

If they bring him back then my home Wifi password will become outdated... I'm sure we could just throw him in one of Zarta's vaults for safe keeping and midnight visits....


John Compton wrote:
tlotig wrote:
Paizo Con Premier?
Yep, this is one of our PaizoCon adventures.

Yup, apparently i am running it all of the times *grin*

Paizo Employee Editor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Now that I have finally fully decompressed from PaizoCon (and having a guest stay with me for close to a week), I can bring up some points that tlotig and I discussed during the convention. He was running this scenario multiple times and had a lot of good points and questions, which I'll try to answer here.

These are tips/answers for GMs, so I guess I'll put them in spoiler tags.

Spoiler:

What if my players ask Sorrina for stuff to trade at the Bazaar?
Sorrina is just as uninformed about how the Bazaar works as your players, but if they are insistent, she can give them a small pouch of unusual coins from around Golarion. These pieces of currency are antiquated and unusable in a regular marketplace, but handing over the pouch to one of the Bazaar's vendors can sweeten up any deal they are trying to make, granting a +2 bonus on one Diplomacy check (or other skill you see fit).

My players seem a bit lost as to who to talk to at the Bazaar and they don't really trust Tik
If your players seem like they are just itching for a fight, try to steer them toward the interaction with Yetakerinos, who sends them to get beaten up by aether elementals. (PS, sorry about that.) Otherwise, there's a lot of merchants clamoring for the PCs' attention, so any one of the shopping encounters could come to them!

Hey, the maenads' confusion ability sure sucks the fun out of the game!
Yeah, I would limit the length of that ability to like a minute, instead of the full hour. Or even have it end when the combat does.

This was my first Pathfinder Society Scenario and I'm very pleased with the reaction it has gotten so far! If you have any questions for me, don't hesitate to ask!

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