Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-05: Ungrounded but Unbroken (PFRPG) PDF

2.50/5 (based on 31 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1–5.

The Peerless Empire of shaitan genies has warred with their fiery counterparts for centuries, and thinly stretched resources leave the shaitans in need of additional aid. They have founded a new state-sanctioned mercenary company known as the Ungrounded, which draws upon free agents from across the multiverse. One of the Society’s few friends on the Plane of Earth has recommended at least a handful of Pathfinders join the Ungrounded, knowing that even a few months’ service could dramatically enhance the Society’s reputation (and fill those agents’ pockets) in this distant realm. The PCs travel to the magnificent Opaline Vault as the Society’s first envoys, but in doing so they must survive the otherworldly threats that lurk in both this strange environment and within their own ranks.

Content in “Ungrounded but Unbroken” also contributes directly to the ongoing storyline of the Sovereign Court faction.

This scenario is designed for play in Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild 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.

Written by Jenny Jarzabski.

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Society Scenario Subscription.

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

PZOPSS0805E


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Average product rating:

2.50/5 (based on 31 ratings)

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Interesting premise, but somewhat difficult to convey

4/5

I really enjoyed playing and later GMing this scenario, but it does have some weak spots.

The good part: there are quite a few opportunities for RP and for comedy. You get to play drill sergeant as GM which can be very entertaining :P

What doesn't work entirely well though is that there are some challenges set up to be almost unbeatable, making it feel that the writer, not the BBEG, is being unfair to the PCs. It serves a function in the story, but it does require a concentrated effort from the GM to hit the right vibe instead of pissing people off. (As attested in a lot of previous reviews.)

Another point that one of my players remarked is that although you get a lot of training, there's no real sense of progress; after weeks of training, you haven't actually gotten better at things. Any skill is tested once, there's no chance to demonstrate improvement (if any).

What I do like is that there is a decent variety of challenges, with a significant athletic and mental/social part. Don't think of this as a grunt muscle job; it's for thinking warriors and thinkers who can fight.


Above average for some, terrible for others

2/5

This has the foundation for a good adventure, but some mechanical/design choices make the PCs enjoyment largely conditional on whether they have one particular trained-only skill and enough ranks in it (or a good enough roll) to notice something very early on.

I've both played and GMed this and I've seen it go both ways. If you make the check, you get an idea of what's going on. That makes you more likely to go where the scenario expects you to go, and this'll probably be a lot of fun to play. If you don't make the check, you're probably going off the poorly-aligned rails, and you're probably going to lose gold and maybe even prestige.

A GM who realizes this during prep can foreshadow things and amp up certain aspects of the roleplay and get the party to where they need to be, but 1-5's see far more inexperienced GMs. This isn't a great scenario for an inexperienced GM.

It's hard to rate this because the possible outcomes are so diametrically opposed. Between 4 stars and 1, I'd like to give it 2.5 stars, but since I can't do fractions, I'm rounding down to 2.

Play this with a good, well-prepared GM and you'll have more fun than my rating indicates.


Theme makes this fun for some, awful for others

1/5

If your idea of fun fantasy adventure includes belligerent, degrading Full Metal Jacket style boot camp, then you'll love this. It's not a badly done scenario, I don't fault the writing at all. The skill DCs that a lot of people are complaining about fit the scenario, and don't seem to affect the overall success or failure as far as getting your money and prestige. It all works well together as a scenario, and I think my gm did a great job running it. But I have no interest in being yelled at, embarrassed, and treated poorly for an evening of what is supposed to be fun time playing a game with friends.


Boot camp best for levels 1-2

4/5

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

Ungrounded is basically a boot camp. Your PCs are going to be unfairly intimidated, harassed, yelled at, and maybe more. I found humor in it and played up to it, but others might not.

I think this scenario is ideal for level 1-2 because you’re still a novice and training. If my PC was level 4-5, I would have disliked this scenario.

Having said that, all aspects of this scenario were good. Unlike other reviewers, I felt there was a lot of flavor in this location (GM fluff?).

I just read Amanda's review and I have to say, we the players were clueless. I'm just glad the GM didn't penalize us because it could have easily spoiled the game.

”Detailed Rating”:

Length: Medium (3.5 hours). We skipped the optional.
Experience: 6 weak PCs at subtier 1-2 (we had two level 1 rogues).
Sweet Spot: Subtier 1-2 because it makes the most sense and PCs will not feel the loss of dignity as much.
Entertainment: Was funny to me. (8/10)
Story: Apparently we didn't understand a major part of the story. (4/10)
Roleplay: Lots of interaction, opportunity for humor. (9/10)
Combat/Challenges: The right challenge level, fairly interesting. (8/10)
Maps: Standard. (7/10)
Boons: Creative but too weak or obscure to be of use. Flavorful equipment. (7/10)
Uniqueness: Boot camps are not unique but it was fun to do with an outsider/planar twist, which added to the humor. (9/10)
GM Preparation: TBD.

Overall: A fun time if you can see the humor in army style boot camp training (8/10).


Hopes Broken

1/5

I had high hopes for this scenario, as the first travel to the elemental planes since the specials. However, my hopes were quickly dashed on the sharp ground of the Plane of Earth.

The organization to whom the main villain belongs is telegraphed early, and is the very one that most readers are probably thinking.

Both the elemental locations and people seemed like an afterthought. The Pathfinders only get to talk to genies for a little bit at the beginning and the end. Sure, we were on the Plane of Earth, but much of the scenario is spent on an unremarkable military base.

All of the "nasty superior officer" schtick came off as unnecessarily annoying to my players. They quickly realized that the main villain was either willfully ignorant or blatantly incompetent.

Future scenarios will really need to step it up, especially those hyped as being part of the main season metaplot.


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Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Sounds fun; I'm interested to know if this has any crossover with a shaitan encounter in:

Season 7 scenario:
#7–13: Captive in Crystal.


Paz wrote:

Sounds fun; I'm interested to know if this has any crossover with a shaitan encounter in:

** spoiler omitted **

I feel like either that or its related to the convention scenario.

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

5 people marked this as a favorite.
MadScientistWorking wrote:
Paz wrote:

Sounds fun; I'm interested to know if this has any crossover with a shaitan encounter in:

** spoiler omitted **
I feel like either that or its related to the convention scenario.

In response, a very minor spoiler:

Reyshal ik Jalman does appear in this adventure and is the Society's main contact on the Plane of Earth at the start of Season 8.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I'll be running this at a con shortly after release, please provide the names of the map packs and flip mats used so I can ensure that I have them.

Silver Crusade

Did the release date shift from September 28?

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

Salafax wrote:
Did the release date shift from September 28?

Unfortunately, the date did shift as a result of initial growing pains as we adjust our production to account for all of the digital subscription service's needs. This should be a one-time event, and future months' adventures should return to the expected last Wednesday of the month release. I note this in today's blog, which released a few hours after you made your post.

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

Maps for #8–05:

This adventure has a half-page custom map. It also makes use of the following.
  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Arena (note that although this is out of print, Flip-Mat Classics: Arena is on its way)
  • Pathfinder Map Pack: Ice Caverns
  • Silver Crusade

    John Compton wrote:
    Salafax wrote:
    Did the release date shift from September 28?
    Unfortunately, the date did shift as a result of initial growing pains as we adjust our production to account for all of the digital subscription service's needs. This should be a one-time event, and future months' adventures should return to the expected last Wednesday of the month release. I note this in today's blog, which released a few hours after you made your post.

    No problem - thanks, John!


    Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
    John Compton wrote:
    ** spoiler omitted **

    Thanks. Although, with delay in release, it moot.

    Scarab Sages

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Mr. Compton, I deeply appreciate you posting which maps are in these scenarios. Thanks!

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