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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A nice bit of role reversal!

4/5

When running an adventure like this at a convention, I think that having "Experience Required:None (You've never played before - rules will be taught)" listed as the experience required might be disingenuous. These pregens are complicated, and not something to be attempted by new players.

Once you get going, you will love this scenario IF, and this is a BIG IF, you enjoy roleplaying. I mean truly enjoy roleplaying. I don't mean just putting a brogue on your hard drinking dwarf, or making LOTR jokes about the halflings or Gandalf's taking all of the XP for the Balrog. I mean the sort of roleplaying where you can be given an assigned role, with their motivations and truly run with it.

If you can't do that sort of willing suspension and getting out of your own box and getting into the box that the author of the scenario has offered you, then I recommend you find something else to play.

I won't even begin to talk about the scenario plot without spoiling it, because I'd fail. What I will do is state that the motivations and backgrounds of the characters were phenomenal. Even better than the prequel scenario (which I will write up next). The reoccurrence of a character from before was both cool and eerie, as that was the NPC I had played before. I highly recommend that people play the prequel first though, because the continuity will help, and where possible play the same character you did before (3 of the NPCs in this scenario were retreads from the prequel).

Being Aspis agents was a nice departure from the norm. As I said before though, do this one with role-players and a great GM!


Work In Progress

3/5

The scenario experience from a play-through at PaizoCon, subject to change as I continue to mentally review this:

There was a *clear* effort and love spent on this scenario, as evidenced by the depth of material and complexity behind the encounters and interactions on a level that exceeded the 'feel' of RiseThe spiritual predecessor.

Pros:

There was a LOT of REALLY NEAT STUFF in this scenario, including a point where a previous NPC from Rise shows up and there's a collective burst of "OH, CRAP!" from the table.

Also kind of neat was to see a different direction and motivation and a for lack of a better term sanctioned 'death vagrancy'.

Group Synergy Bonus:

When the entire party was together and working as a unit, it was fairly impressive, even with lack of system mastery on the player side. That was refreshing.

Interesting Character Backgrounds:

After it became painfully obvious we were going to fail to complete the mission in the time constraints, we shared our personal briefing notes, and it was fun to see where the characters were coming from.

Cons:

LONG -- Sadly, because of the above REALLY NEAT STUFF our party did not get to the 'back' half of the scenario until eighty percent of the time slot (5 hours) was complete. At that point, it was an assured party failure and the party components began looking for means to try and at least complete *just their own secondary conditions*.

As a result, party cohesion went out the window and while not PvP it was a very uncomfortable and distasteful RP experience. The loss of both prestige was annoying, but there was no cure for it as written and run.

CHARACTER COMPLEXITY -- It is difficult to grab a pregen under optimal circumstances, and these circumstances were near sub-optimal.

Even with the helpful 'cheat sheets' that someone devised, it still took us the better part of an hour to get even a rough idea of what our characters were about.

A future recommendation to mitigate this is to make the characters available in whole to the players well before the scenario, so those who HAVEN'T played a given class combo have a chance to work out the mechanics rather than within the already straining constraints of time noted above.

SET UP TO FAIL -- Given the first comment in the above CON section, I was playing Rataji, an admittedly poor choice on my part as I am not familiar with prepared casters.

Given background, though, it felt like (especially after we engaged quasi-passive-aggressive PvP mode) like this was a scenario designed to kill the characters for their perceived failures, leaving me to wonder at least if perhaps that was an unspoken design intent. Pretty sure that wasn't the case, but it was hard to tell.

Perhaps if the 'personal briefings' were tightened up a little bit, that might mitigate some of that feeling?

AMBIGUOUS NPC -- There's a helpful NPC (for a limited definition of 'helpful') that has a communication barrier.

Unfortunately, our GM utilized the method in a way that left us confused and distracted rather than focused on the scenario, and he admitted that he probably would have used a different method if he'd seen how badly it was throwing us off our track.

BRIEFING NPC -- This could have easily have been chopped and replaced with a printed letter and an info-dump (and some block-text) to expedite the 'front half' of the scenario.

It might make things a bit more complex, but it'd stop the 'asking of dumb time-wasting questions' and 'players not making knowledge checks' for information they kind of need to know about the scenario. I realize it's counter-intuitive, but these ARE L8 characters.

If it could be safely assumed they got the briefing in Rise just fine, then it should be safely assumed that the method could work here, as well.

'POINTS' -- While this is a handy GM tool, it is a very quantitative measure for a qualitative rp environment. If this could be altered to 'general goals' rather than 'must have this hard number', it might help with the 'unit cohesion' issue mentioned above.

We didn't know about the points until wrap-up, but it was clear that when our characters did or did not perform actions notes were being made about that.

In Summary
For my play experience, this scenario desperately needs a tag on it along the lines of 'FOR EXPERIENCED PLAYERS ONLY' and 'Potentially Lengthy Scenario' to prevent it trying to be crammed into a four-hour slot.

Our GM had a hard time fitting it into a *five-hour* time slot. Given the way it ran, I can't imagine it fitting into four currently.

It shows a lot of promise.

It also needs some work to clean up to a level where it can be run in a large room with hundreds of fellow gamers talking at conversational levels or louder.

I want to give it a higher rating because of the clear work that was put INTO it, but I can't in honesty give it more given the experience I had playing it.


A Complex & Evilly Fun Adventure!

4/5

I had the pleasure of being a Serpents' Ire GM at PaizoCon. It is possible that it will see a small revision before GenCon, but it is an excellent adventure in its current state. I have two concerns that if met will make for a great time: 1) The GM must be exceptionally prepared & 2) the slot needs to be at least five hour (even then the prepared GM will have to hand-waive content).

Players will sit down to characters options they've likely never played before. Be prepared to ask questions, review PDFs and search other resources at the table. The story is a lot of fun though and you can be evil (sort of)! You'll have to work with your fellow players while pursuing your own goal. As you venture deeper you uncover more intrigue and must balance choices to complete your mission...and to survive.


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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.


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, Adventure Path, Maps 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

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

    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; 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, 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

    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.

    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


    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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