Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–98: Serpents' Ire (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 8th-level pregenerated characters.

A parasitic faction known as the Korholm Agenda has tried to corrupt the upstanding Aspis Consortium from the inside out, all in the vain pursuit of revenge and profit. Now one of the powerful Aspis Patrons has learned that the Korholm Agenda has siphoned the Consortium's funding to build a base of operations in Nidal. This shall not stand. He has assembled a team of top agents—including both new faces and veterans of the attack on the Grand Lodge a year ago—to infiltrate the operation and shut it down by any means necessary.

In this adventure the players portray agents of the Aspis Consortium using 8th-level pregenerated characters. Content in Serpents' Ire 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 John Compton.

Note: Serpents' Ire is a limited release scenario. It may be run anywhere, but only by 4- or 5-star GMs. Venture-Officers may only run this scenario if they meet this star rating requirement.

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Convoluted to the extreme

**( )( )( )

While it contains some well-thought out throwbacks to the first Aspis special, this one (even the new version) is simply painfully convoluted and overwrought. The sheer number of obscure creatures, classes, archetypes, templates, spells, and items used makes game play tedious at best (in two cases five different obscure sources simultaneously). Most of the backstory is simply inaccessible to players, despite the 'research' focus of the mission.

It's only redeeming qualities are callbacks (and callforwards in the background info), and some potential for freeform wonkiness in a creative party.

Not recommended, even as a follow-up for big fans of Serpent's Rise.


Time to be the bad guys again!

***( )( )

How often do you have a chance to say that last Sunday off dusted off your Aspis badge and went on a mission to ‘secure’ intelligence? Not that often, I’d wager. In my case I grabbed my silver badge and led 3 others on a mission.

The premise of this scenario is simple. Infiltrate a location, find a secret base and gather as much evidence and intelligence as you can. From that perspective it sounds like a typical PFS scenario, but I forgot to mention that you’re also supposed to utterly destroy the place when you’re done and not care about any casualties. That’s just collateral damage after all.

While it may not be the most original approach, it still remains effective and gives you a nice amount of freedom to do as you wish. As a consequence the whole infiltration portion takes up roughly half the scenario and gives you plenty of time and opportunity to showcase your pregen’s skillset and characteristics. You should have no problem getting into character. It does, however, mean that you must enjoy roleplay as that will take up quite some time. If you’re just looking for fights, you will likely not have the best of times.

I should add that the pregens are lovely once more. Due to the face we only had four players, I ended up playing ‘the Leader’, a nice but effective cavalier. It took me some time to figure her out, but I enjoyed playing her once I had done so. Based on what I’ve seen, I’d say the other characters are great too. They all have their own reasons to be there and their own strong points. Even the ‘special’ one that shows up later on is well-designed. Individually they’re solid characters and as a group they also mash pretty decently.

The second half of the scenario is basically a series of fights and skill checks. There’s not a whole lot to say without going into spoilers, but every character gets to have a meaningful impact. The fights were somewhat challenging, yet not overly so. It could be that the four-player adjustment has a significant impact though. That said, the final boss was something we had never faced before, which is always a nice bonus to me.

In retrospection I had a good time. The pregens are nice, the story is solid. If I were to nitpick though, I’d have to say I didn’t like it as much as the previous one. I find that hard to explain, but it was more difficult to instantly get a feeling for your pregen and, from what I gathered, this scenario also requires more time to properly prepare as a GM. At the same time the scenario also runs long, which means you might have to rush through certain segments. The end also felt a little anticlimactic and was no where near as special as the previous part.

That’s not to say you should stay clear from Serpent’s Ire, but rather that’s it’s best played in a longer timeslot and with people you enjoy role-playing with. If you're just looking for combat, this is probably not for you. If given the chance, there are better pregen specials out there.


Hillarously Awesome

*****

I just played this at a local con and had a blast. I will say that it definitely needs a long slot, and some bonus time to get the players to acclimate to the characters (both mechanically and RP-wise).

We had a great time- I played the Enchanter and loved how it worked out. Our GM did a great job of streamlining a part of it to account for too much time spend in the first act (again, wish we could have had a 6-7 hour slot for this one to truly enjoy everything).

I also see a lot of potential for learning more about the "Catastrophe" backstory. WHAT HAPPENED IN Saringallow???? Why do they think the Aspis are werewolves there?? This is a story that needs to be told!


WAY too optimistic and flawed

*( )( )( )( )

Most of my review below will contain considerable spoilers. I'll try and make my main points here before starting with the spoilers.

This review is based on playing it and then reading it afterwards in preparation for running it in a couple of weeks.

I mostly enjoyed myself and if it wasn't for the various things that I point out I'd probably have given this 3 stars.

1) There was absolutely no reason for this being an Aspis Agent pregen only scenario. With a few changes in the mission briefing this could trivially have been a normal 7-11 scenario
2) It was WAY too long. There is next to no chance of getting this finished in a 4 hour slot without some major cutting of corners
3) Parts of it were significantly over complicated for no good reason
4) Preparation for this is going to take much longer than it really should
5) There are many parts where the characters are supposed to do insanely stupid things because of "plot"
6) The pregens suffer the usual problems of Paizo pregens. Too complicated in some areas, too weak in others. And incredibly variable difficulty in getting secondary prestige. Some were darn near impossible, some essentially gimmees.
7) The combats were fairly uneven. Our group found them fairly easy (due to a combination of team work and some luck). Other apparently found them too hard.
8) A massive element of WTF

Lots of Spoilers. Really:

1)So, in the mission we find out that the Society and the Consortium have shared information so as to crush the Korholm Agenda. In other words, this could trivially have been a Society raid. NOTHING would change. Oh, the characters would have to be the usual Murder Hoboes and not the "I am actually evil" characters but that is pretty darn minor.

And its really MUCH worse than that. The GM learns lots of interesting back story about the Aspis. The players are unlikely to figure out much of this (I was quite confused when playing). But, of course, the actual Pathfinder Society players will know NOTHING of this. So, any knowledge acquired is now "forbidden knowledge" that your character would NOT know. Usually one can at least arm wave the "heard things around the Society bar" to explain out of character knowledge. Here, no. EVERYTHING you find out NONE OF YOUR CHARACTERS WOULD KNOW. And there is a LOT of things you find out.

2) When I played it it took over 5 hours and still felt rushed with the GM shortening some things (NOT complaining about the GM). There is a mini-game which can take lots of time as players consider a host of options, there is combat, there is some exploration largely meant to be arm waved. There are huge "What the Fxxx moments which take time to process. All this with characters that the players are NOT very experienced with and so they take longer to decide what to do,

3) Piazo loves its new books. I don't. The BBEG is a Psychic with several OA spells (6 if I counted correctly). I'll just quote his summary : "Mutant aranea psychic 5 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 5 180,
Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2 30, Pathfinder RPG Occult
Adventures 60)" . That really pretty much sums it up.

The set of books used are "Pathfinder RPG Core
Rulebook, Advanced Class Guide (ACG), Advanced Player’s
Guide (APG), Advanced Race Guide (ARG), Occult Adventures
(OA), Ultimate Combat (UC), Ultimate Equipment (UE),
Ultimate Magic (UM), Bestiary 2, Bestiary 3, Bestiary 4, and
Bestiary 5".

We then had the two mandatory little subsystems (in fairness, these were both fine on their own. Just not when put into an adventure that is already complicated).

4) So, I have to learn what this new class does, what the various monsters do, create several maps, keep track of lots of things, read all the pregens so I know how to adlib, come up with ways to handle an amusing but very difficult to run beastie and how it communicates. All in one scenario. No. Just too much.

5) So, when I ran it I got the strong impression from the GM that I was "breaking it". From my point of view, I took the ONLY logical path. We were wandering around the Warehouse when the 1/2ling NPC showed up and recognized one of our characters. Obviously, to me, letting her go was INSANE. She'd raise the alarm immediately. So I wanted to kill her. I'm an Evil Aspis on a Mission and my Mission pretty much includes killing that NPC. But no, letting her go just raises the enemy alertness level a little bit. That MAKES NO SENSE.

Even worse is the potential replacement character. The other players are expected to just watch while it eats a companion and go "Oh, ok, we'll trust you now"? This is metagaming of the worst possible type. The PLAYERS know what is going on so the characters are supposed to act totally idiotically.

6) I'm only going to discuss Eramay, the Cavalier pregen that I played. Note that this is one of the 4 Pregens that are supposed to be pretty much always played.

So, given that a pregen created specifically and exclusively for this adventure invested a feat into knowledge religion in order to get a massive +15 on that skill one would kinda expect Knowledge Religion to be at least sporadically useful, right?

No, of course not.

Well, ok, at least it will have the skills to participate in the "sneak into the place" part of the adventure, right?

Well, it has a +7 in one of the 3 skills. And the DCs are only 20+. What could possibly go wrong with that?

Partly because they chose a poor archetype of a poorish class the character is no great shakes. Lots of abilities that I'm fortunately experienced enough to realize aren't worth the action economy to ever try and actually use. Admittedly its not that bad in combat as long as the player realizes that you 2 hand the scimitar and power attack a lot. So, a pre-gen that is going to fare a LOT better in the hands of an experienced player.

And different Pre-gens had wildly different difficulties in obtaining their secondary success condition.

7) We found the combats pretty easy. Of course, due to time constraints we skipped the optional. We'd killed the 1/2ling early and so she had no guards with her which made that fight trivial. And there wasn't time to fight the guards with the mage.

The end fight was, due admittedly to a combination of good teamwork and some luck, pretty easy. Fly was cast on me and I was in the bad guys face at the end of round 1. One crit later and the fight was effectively over.

8) The whole laboratory underground and the interaction with the Thelatos felt very, very bizarre. There was a slight bit of foreshadowing in the briefing but only a little. As the GM said, it felt like they were already trying to drum up interest in StarFinder.

It was, at least for me, a massive WTF moment. I mean, LAST year was the year of the Robot :-)


We've lost that "Special" feeling

**( )( )( )

This review is from the perspective of a player at GenCon.

I will admit it may have been our GM, but this scenario fell short of expectations. As far as a followup to last year's "Serpents Rise" it failed to live up to the positive feelings of getting to be "the bad guys" for once. It had more of the feel of a standard pathfinder mission and is not worthy of being called a "Special."

Sorry John, but not one of your better works.


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Community Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Announced—this is an exclusive scenario debuting at PaizoCon 2016!

Sovereign Court

Liz Courts wrote:
Announced—this is an exclusive scenario debuting at PaizoCon 2016!

YESSSSSSSSsssssssssss!!


Doh! I got excited and DL'd the link in my downloads... I got Serpents Rise! :p

Community Manager

Shifty wrote:
Doh! I got excited and DL'd the link in my downloads... I got Serpents Rise! :p

Removed...FOR NOW.

Dark Archive

If its HALF as good as "Rise," it will be AMAZING!!

Can't wait to run it!

Grand Lodge

Does this one count towards specials for 5 star status?

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mizkitty wrote:
Does this one count towards specials for 5 star status?

I have every reason to believe that this, #7–99, and #8–00 will count toward 5-star qualification.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Will this be a lottery drawing event at PaizoCon like other events?

*will be putting it at HIGH priority if such is the case*

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Class Deck, Maps, Modules Subscriber
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Will this be a lottery drawing event at PaizoCon like other events?

*will be putting it at HIGH priority if such is the case*

Historically, I don't believe the PFS room was lottery based, especially for "all the tables are this" slots.


So happy about this - it means I don't have to keep grinding Serpents Rise for the 10 specials :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Scheduled to GM this at PaizoCon.
Any word on when it will be available in downloads, so GMs can begin prep?
Any word on which flip-mats or map packs it uses?
I'd like to make sure I have whatever I need.


John Compton wrote:
I have every reason to believe that this, #7–99, and #8–00 will count toward 5-star qualification.

As long as it doesn't go the same way as #5-99...!

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Lawrence Smith 2 wrote:

Scheduled to GM this at PaizoCon.

Any word on when it will be available in downloads, so GMs can begin prep?
Any word on which flip-mats or map packs it uses?
I'd like to make sure I have whatever I need.

Near-Final Map List:
I'm still working on the scenario, though I don't currently anticipate needing other maps beyond these.

  • Custom half-page map (large scale for navigation, not tactical combat)
  • Custom half-page map (tactical, 5-foot squares)
  • Map Pack: Starship Chambers (so excited for this one)
  • Flip-Mat: Noble Estate

  • Just one question. Does my favorite jolly halfling magus return? =D

    Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    FiddlersGreen wrote:
    Just one question. Does my favorite jolly halfling magus return? =D

    Modest spoiler:
    Joliryn plays a delightful role.
    The Exchange

    Fingers crossed for Shohiraj!!!


    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Serpents Rise was awesome... This piece of awesome can't come soon enough!

    Silver Crusade

    Is #8-00 only available at GenCon? I didn't see it on the schedule for PaizoCon 16.

    Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

    Trevian Gray wrote:

    Is #8-00 only available at GenCon? I didn't see it on the schedule for PaizoCon 16.

    It's debuting at Gen Con, yes.

    Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

    shame we can't get it for origins...

    I mean 8-00

    Liberty's Edge

    Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
    John Compton wrote:
    Lawrence Smith 2 wrote:

    Scheduled to GM this at PaizoCon.

    Any word on when it will be available in downloads, so GMs can begin prep?
    Any word on which flip-mats or map packs it uses?
    I'd like to make sure I have whatever I need.
    ** spoiler omitted **

    Will the Custom Tactical map fit on the Blank Flip-Mat?

    Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Dragnmoon wrote:
    John Compton wrote:
    Lawrence Smith 2 wrote:

    Scheduled to GM this at PaizoCon.

    Any word on when it will be available in downloads, so GMs can begin prep?
    Any word on which flip-mats or map packs it uses?
    I'd like to make sure I have whatever I need.
    ** spoiler omitted **
    Will the Custom Tactical map fit on the Blank Flip-Mat?

    Easily! One of the rarely-broken guidelines for designing scenario maps is that they can fit on a blank Flip-Mat (24x30 squares). It think this one is roughly 24x15.

    Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

    John Compton wrote:
    Lawrence Smith 2 wrote:

    Scheduled to GM this at PaizoCon.

    Any word on when it will be available in downloads, so GMs can begin prep?
    Any word on which flip-mats or map packs it uses?
    I'd like to make sure I have whatever I need.
    ** spoiler omitted **

    I can confirm that the previously advised map list is exactly what appears in the final version.

    Sovereign Court

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    John Compton wrote:
    Lawrence Smith 2 wrote:

    Scheduled to GM this at PaizoCon.

    Any word on when it will be available in downloads, so GMs can begin prep?
    Any word on which flip-mats or map packs it uses?
    I'd like to make sure I have whatever I need.
    ** spoiler omitted **

    Wait, what? Okay John, now I'm intrigued.

    Spoiler:
    Starship Chambers? Come on robots!

    EDIT: <insert obvious "but you've already been Intrigued for a couple months!" pun here>

    Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

    Iammars wrote:
    John Compton wrote:
    Lawrence Smith 2 wrote:

    Scheduled to GM this at PaizoCon.

    Any word on when it will be available in downloads, so GMs can begin prep?
    Any word on which flip-mats or map packs it uses?
    I'd like to make sure I have whatever I need.
    ** spoiler omitted **

    Wait, what? Okay John, now I'm intrigued.

    ** spoiler omitted **

    EDIT: <insert obvious "but you've already been Intrigued for a couple months!" pun here>

    Spoiler:
    Not only does this use Starship Chambers, it uses almost the entire map pack! This is definitely a good reason to pick up the printed version if you don't have it already.

    Will this be able to be run by a 4*?

    Any idea on release date? Want to try get ahead of the curve on scheduling :)

    Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Shifty wrote:

    Will this be able to be run by a 4*?

    Any idea on release date? Want to try get ahead of the curve on scheduling :)

    The expected release date will be just after Gen Con (~August 7th). We're still finalizing the criteria that will apply to running this event, be it four stars, five, or some other metric.


    Hmmm hope its 4...!

    Thanks for the date, gives me time to blow through the rush of WBG4 :)


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    John Compton wrote:
    Shifty wrote:

    Will this be able to be run by a 4*?

    Any idea on release date? Want to try get ahead of the curve on scheduling :)

    The expected release date will be just after Gen Con (~August 7th). We're still finalizing the criteria that will apply to running this event, be it four stars, five, or some other metric.

    Will the PaizoCon version be sent the the GenCon GMs soon so we can start preping? I know a final version might not come until right before GenCon. Last year receiving Serpent's Rise shortly after PaizoCon was very helpful.

    Grand Lodge

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

    On a similar note to Swiftbrook's question, is the Jul 6th version what we'll be using at GenCon? I'd like to know before I start printing.

    Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

    TriOmegaZero wrote:
    On a similar note to Swiftbrook's question, is the Jul 6th version what we'll be using at GenCon? I'd like to know before I start printing.

    Yes, that should be the updated version.


    Hi, this just hit my account - are we supposed to be leaving a grace period?

    I'm not a Genconner...

    Grand Lodge

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

    Yes. Until after GenCon, this scenario is restricted.


    Yeah no worries.

    I just saw it come through and there wasn't a sticker on it :)

    Grand Lodge

    Necro apologies;

    Any word on what the GM-star or con-only requirements are for #7-98 Serpents' Ire and #7-90 Through Maelstrom Rift?

    I know it must be posted somewhere in the blog or something, but my google-fu is failing me...

    Grand Lodge

    Daneel wrote:

    Necro apologies;

    Any word on what the GM-star or con-only requirements are for #7-98 Serpents' Ire and #7-90 Through Maelstrom Rift?

    I know it must be posted somewhere in the blog or something, but my google-fu is failing me...

    http://paizo.com/paizo/blog/v5748dyo5lj43?OPC-Log-20-Rova-4716


    Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
    Diego Valdez wrote:

    Hello Fedor,

    We run that report once a week, so you will likely see

    them sometime next week.

    Two weeks passed (three and a half months since 4th star) - still can not purchase Bonekeep 1, 2, 3,

    6-98, 7-98, 7-99
    http://paizo.com/products/btpy8wrx
    http://paizo.com/products/btpy8xkj?Pathfinder-Society-

    Special-Ruins-of-Bonekeep-Level-2-Maze-to-the-Mind-Slave
    http://paizo.com/products/btpy97st?Pathfinder-Society-

    Special-Ruins-of-Bonekeep-Level-3-The-Wakening-Tomb
    http://paizo.com/products/btpy9cu0?Pathfinder-Society-

    Scenario-6-98-Serpents-Rise
    http://paizo.com/products/btpy9lzy
    http://paizo.com/products/btpy9mbd
    all this links show "unavailable" text under price, not

    "Add to Cart" button

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