Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-09—Forged in Flame, Part 1: The Cindersworn Pact (PFRPG) PDF

3.90/5 (based on 16 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 5-9.

When an impossibly vile fiend proves too powerful to destroy, the forces of good often resort to banishing or sealing the villain away to be remembered only in fearsome legends. Less common are the instances in which wrongdoers bound benevolent titans and demigods, yet Society agents recently uncovered just such a prison. Few know how to unlock such a jail, much less locate the key. The Society has identified just such a sage: a disgraced efreeti who has sworn to share her priceless knowledge in exchange for the PCs' assistance. The Pathfinders travel to the cosmopolitan melting pot of Zjarra on the Plane of Fire, where they must fulfill the cruel genie's schemes—or find some other way to fulfill the deal.

Content in The Cindersworn Pact also contributes directly to the ongoing storyline of the Exchange faction.

The Cindersworn Pact is the first scenario in the two-part "Forged in Flame" campaign arc. It is followed by Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-11: Cleansed With Fire. Both chapters are intended to be played in order.

Written by Alex Riggs.

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

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3.90/5 (based on 16 ratings)

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A showcase of well-executed ethical dillemas

4/5

Following the completion of the elemental three-parter - see my reviews there – we decided to stick together and start with this two-part series. I personally was hoping for not only a better storyline, but also for the difficulty of the encounters to stay the same. At the same time I was assuming that once again there would be a great diversity of NPCs, each unique and oozing with flavor. I was not disappointed. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised.

While I can’t really comment on the storyline since I’ve not played part 2 yet, I have to say that the story for this part was solid and well-executed. It was a nice showcase that simple requests, might not be as straightforward as they may appear to be. It’s a suitable reminder that there are always more sides to the story, something that other scenarios often neglect and that we as players tend to overlook as well. The fact that there are also consequences to your actions really made it even better. You truly have to earn your second prestige point, perhaps more so in this scenario than in many others.

Each of the four mini-quests you’re tasked to do are nothing short of being ethical dilemmas with multiple approaches. Simply put: will you do what you’ve been asked to, or will you look for a way to outsmart the efreeti? It’s a great way to showcase the alignment of your character and allows for great role-play. To give an example: while we as players would normally try to prevent a Romeo & Juliet scenario and follow our own hearts, our characters were sadly a bit too lawful to break a contract. It was a tough decision, and inevitably led to a fight, but it really got us immersed into the scenario.

When it comes to immersion, I once again must comment on the NPCs. There truly were some gems in this scenario. The mephit was amazing and hands down one of the best I’ve seen in a long, long time. Meeting a water naga on the Plane of Fire was also a very nice touch. The writer did an amazing job surprising and providing us with unique characters to interact with.

Yet that was not the highlight of the scenario for me. That honor goes to the final assignment: ruining a gala, unless you solve that instance it the ‘nice’ way. While we were mostly all lawful, we couldn’t resist creating chaos. The fact that it’s completely up to you as a player how you want to disrupt it, means there’s a ocean of possibilities, each of them potentially hilarious. I won’t tell you what we did, but it’s been a while since I last laughed this much. It was amazing.

In short I’d say that this definitely is one of the better scenarios this season in terms of decision-making and role-playing. You have to think seriously about the choices you’re about to make, but at the same time it’s light-hearted in the sense that you can go nuts and sabotage a party. It’s a nice mixture and combined with the NPCs has a lot of potential for any party or player. The only downside, and the reason why this scenario is not getting 5 stars, is that the only link to the Plane of Fire are the NPCs and a few sentences of flavor text. Had there been a more prominent link, such as a few more descriptions and mechanics, it would have been an excellent scenario. Regardless, I still highly recommend this scenario and I hope the next part is equally good.


Fantastic role-play!

5/5

This scenario prompted some of the most intriguing, in-depth, in-character discussions I've ever experienced in PFS. The moral quandaries didn't just rely on a good vs evil framework, but called upon each character's experiences and priorities. Bravo!


A good test of your morals, with actual choices for the PCs.

4/5

After playing through the poorly written and forgettable Winds trilogy, I was worried about the rest of Season Eight. So I was pleasantly surprised to see a varied and diverse scenario like this.
Basically, the Pathfinders need a favor from a high-ranking efreet, and to get that she demands a series of tasks from the PCs. The tasks are diverse in nature, and the PCs are encouraged to find their own approach, be it to use stealth, diplomacy, straight-up combat, or a combination of the above. What's more, several of the tasks pose ethical dilemmas for the PCs, and they have to decide whether to actually help the efreet, or deliver something that technically follows the letter but in practice doesn't help her. There's even an NPC advisor who can help with the latter. So expect some fun in-character debates on that.
It is crucial that this decision point exists. The efreet (as can be expected) is not exactly ethical, and the PCs have to decide whether to do what she wants, or stick to their own morals. While this adventure has a similar structure as the infamous Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch, it is important to realize that MFoGT does not give you any choice but to act unethically, and this adventure does. A better comparison point would be Destiny of the Sands, part one. I note that the players of several other reviews didn't realize that they had this choice, but that's on them: the adventure clearly gives this option.
The main downside is that while it nominally plays on the Plane of Fire, in practice it does nothing with this environment, and it might just as well have played in a random city on Golarion. Other than that, I highly recommend it as a trial of your characters' ethics instead of just their combat performance.


Bad Craziness in the Best Way

5/5

Played this one today with a party of very silly Pathfinders, which felt like the perfect approach to the scenario. There was a lot of scope to find creative, satisfying, and, yes, silly solutions to the various morally-dubious tasks we faced. I love the wide variety of NPCs we got a chance to chat with, and the opportunity for hijinks in the final section was priceless. Nobody crashes a party like the Pathfinder Society!


Best Scenario I've Seen

5/5

I'm actually surprised by a lot of the vitriol I see for this scenario, because I think it's the BEST scenario I've seen. The scenario gives the players a series of tasks that they have a variety of methods to complete. This is not necessarily uncommon, but often as a GM I am not given sufficient guidance on what to do if the players go off the rails. Forged in Flame Part I gives the GM ample guidance of what to do in a variety of specific situations and also provides some guidance on what to do for other things. Players can take the good or morally dubious route, and they can take the skill or combat route, and they are not punished for taking any of these options.

We ran this with 3 tables at my local gaming store, and each table chose to approach the challenges a different way. One table fought just about everything, and one table had no "real" combats. (I ran the middle of the road table that had a couple of combats.)

I also like that the second prestige point is winnable but not guaranteed.


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I believe you mean Succeeded by 8-11.

Silver Crusade

Is it possible, that finally, maybe just maybe, we might have a visit to the City of Brass? One of my PCs surely would love to turn in those papers...

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

gamerdork wrote:
Is it possible, that finally, maybe just maybe, we might have a visit to the City of Brass? One of my PCs surely would love to turn in those papers...

When certain papers first appeared on a Chronicle sheet, I immediately pencilled at least one City of Brass adventure into the schedule. It so happens that we get two-part series so that we can explore other parts of the Plane of Fire as well!

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

#8–09 Maps:

This adventure has two custom half-page maps. It also makes use of a small map from Map Pack: City (out-of-print but easily hand-drawn) and two pieces of Map Pack: Wizard's Tower.


Wow, is the imprisoned being an Elysium Titan or an Empyreal Lord? If so, get on it Pathfinders! :D


Isn't it supposed to be one of the good elemental lords, like with the Moaning Diamond?

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

Berselius wrote:
Wow, is the imprisoned being an Elysium Titan or an Empyreal Lord? If so, get on it Pathfinders! :D

In response:
Arguably bigger—not necessarily on a power scale but more on a level of cosmic ramifications. After all, releasing another empyreal lord to bum around Nirvana is significant but doesn't instigate major planar changes. Certain other demigods could really stir the pot of extraplanar politics and power.

Quote:
Arguably bigger—not necessarily on a power scale but more on a level of cosmic ramifications. After all, releasing another empyreal lord to bum around Nirvana is significant but doesn't instigate major planar changes. Certain other demigods could really stir the pot of extraplanar politics and power.

But it's a BENEVOLENT being of Demigod-like status (meaning it's on the same level as Empyreal Lords but not quite a full-fledged deity). That limits the choices somewhat no?

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

Berselius wrote:
Quote:
Arguably bigger—not necessarily on a power scale but more on a level of cosmic ramifications. After all, releasing another empyreal lord to bum around Nirvana is significant but doesn't instigate major planar changes. Certain other demigods could really stir the pot of extraplanar politics and power.
But it's a BENEVOLENT being of Demigod-like status (meaning it's on the same level as Empyreal Lords but not quite a full-fledged deity). That limits the choices somewhat no?

The choices...of who it could be? What that creature could accomplish? Yes to both, though the Society already knows the answer to one and has a solid sense of the other.

Grand Lodge

I'm confused and/or I think I may have found a typo in the product description. This is 8-09. The description currently reads:

The Cindersworn Pact is the second scenario in the two-part "Forged in Flame" campaign arc. It is preceded by Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-11: Cleansed With Fire. Both chapters are intended to be played in order.

Surely 8-11 doesn't come before 8-09, which is subtitled "Forged in Flame, Part 1"

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

Alexandre Gayk-Lemay wrote:

I'm confused and/or I think I may have found a typo in the product description. This is 8-09. The description currently reads:

The Cindersworn Pact is the second scenario in the two-part "Forged in Flame" campaign arc. It is preceded by Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-11: Cleansed With Fire. Both chapters are intended to be played in order.

Surely 8-11 doesn't come before 8-09, which is subtitled "Forged in Flame, Part 1"

That does look like the two got switched. I'll forward that to our web team.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Gah, my ifrit leveled out just before this. Such is life.

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