Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-14: To Seal the Shadow (PFRPG) PDF

**½( )( ) (based on 34 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-5.

To most, Mount Shibotai's devastating eruption was a footnote in Tian history. To the shadow-bound wayangs who settled the jagged crater in Minata, the volcano was the reason they inhabited Golarion at all. In their de facto capitol Inahiyi, the wayangs host an annual festival to commemorate the catastrophe that brought them into this world and forced them to ally with their neighbors against a common threat. On especially auspicious anniversaries, the wayangs invite foreigners to contribute to the ceremony, and the Pathfinder Society has negotiated the privilege of having its agents observe the sacred ceremonies as these outside participants. This is no mere anthropological opportunity, though, and the PCs may be all that stands between their world and an unspeakable evil.

Written by Jason Keeley.

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

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**½( )( ) (based on 34 ratings)

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Skill focused intrigue with an indonesian twist...

****( )

And the first scenario i've ever played that didn't require a single perception check. Kudos for that. This one plays like a fun one-shot in an outlandish environment with an over-the-top puzzle that seems designed not to be understood. We had a good time role-playing and so will you.

-1 star for back editing. the GM was trying to find relevant information but it was hidden, as per saldo with PFS scenarios these days. However, I still think the cool hints to real-world culture combined with a clear three-stage action sequence makes for a solid sandbox for a GM to toy around with.


Extensive prep required, but it pays off!

****( )

I have run this scenario two times now (once as a slot zero), and I would definitely run it again. This is not a scenario you want to run cold, or with limited prep time. However, if you take the time to prep this properly (I strongly recommend the awesome handouts on pfsprep!), and you have a group that is even a little interested in role play, the players will have a great time, with some memorable moments. The key is in how you present the debate mechanics, and to take the time to do it in an easy-to-follow fashion. The rest of the scenario is flavorful, but not overly time consuming, so there's plenty of time to spend on making sure your players understand the duel mechanics without sacrificing anything else.

My only complaint is that there is so little backstory given to go off of for the debate, so players and the GM will need to fill in the details. However, if you get a group that pays attention to their in-character role, you can end up with some fun, creative solutions!


Devil to prep, but worth it.

*****

I have GM'd this three times, and I would happily do so again.

The verbal duel rules look difficult, but can be easily adopted by the players if they are presented in an intelligent way. The only issue is that the scenario doesn't really do that. The pay off is good, because the debate provides an interesting way to encourage more in depth roleplaying in a social encounter. Having the players elect to use a specific tactic, such as Emotional Appeal or Rhetoric, makes a good RP prompt, so players come up with arguments like "As a mother...." or "Really this whole issue is about rights..."

The setting for the final encounter is quite interesting as a backdrop, which really gives a flavour for what Wayang are about. I found my players tended to have a solid idea of where they were and what was going on, as opposed to the Bad Guy being in whatever room. The ending isn't a surprise, and hard to make feel organic, but I found my players were still quite concerned, while also being able to solve the issue in a creative way.

I also liked how it gives a little lasting and flavoured effect for the players having participated.


Good setting, poor development

**( )( )( )

The setting for this adventure is very nice. It does well in showing the exoticness of the locale, and the often glimpsed but rarely seen Wayang race. Exploring a community instead of a location is rarely done, and is an interesting change of pace and a good mission for characters who want to see more of the world. The various masks make for a nice touch with their distinct personalities and desires for the PCs.

The downside is that the plot doesn't develop very well, and that the twist (if you can even call it that) is telegraphed a mile in advance. Gee, the guy who looks like he's going to betray you ends up betraying you, there's a shocker. And he doesn't even have a motive, he's just the designated bad guy for no good reason. Aside from that, getting full points from the masks strikes me as far too easy.

And then there is the much-derided debate subsystem. It has all the disadvantages of being overly clunky, inhibiting roleplaying in favor of finding numbers on a table, having a poor and overly verbose explanation, and not even being relevant to the plot. A player warned me in advance that there would be a very complicated minigame but told me to ignore it since its outcome was completely irrelevant, and it turns out he was correct. I would strongly recommend to all GMs to run this as a pure roleplaying discussion to the players, and keep all rolls hidden behind the GM screen.

Despite these downsides it remains a decent roleplaying scenario - but one that could have been done much better for its setting.


how did this make it through editing

*( )( )( )( )

so the story was fun ... and thats about all I have good to say about it

Verbal Duels - UGH
ran this at a local Con over the weekend ... the night before I told everyone who was going to be playing it to study the rules - only about 1/2 of them did and it still took an hour to set up
these Rules were So Clunky they made the Mass Battle Rules seem Fun
1) the Rules for Verbal Duels in UI are only designed for a 1 on 1 debate, yes there are rules for teams but this is not what the scenario follows
2) Calculating Determination is Vague - I can only assume we were supposed to have Each PC Average their Mental stats and then Average the average across all players and then add the number of players instead of HD ... this took some massive Mental Gymnastics to make it work
3) Assigning skills this was probably the most Confusing - sure we found a worksheet to help us on pfsprep.com but no guidelines were given as to if each player filled one out on their own .. or if they used the old "by our powers combined" - and how this interacted with the guardian spirits .. sure we had actions that the guardian spirits wanted the players to take but the whole thing seemed like a hot mess

Lets be honest ... any scenario thats supposed to fit into a 4-5 hour Slot that adds a mechanic that takes an hour + to just Explain and set up needs to die in committee - its just a bad Idea

this is Hands down the Absolute WORST Scenario I have ever run and now will cause me to read the reviews / product Discussion of Every Scenario I ever consider volunteering to run to make sure that there are no shenanaginy mechanics to be had
I would give this 0 stars if I could
and IMHO this Scenario needs to be retired out of circulation

Shame on you PFS for allowing this absolute piece of garbage past Editing


11 to 15 of 34 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | next > last >>
Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Moar Tian Xia!

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

This sounds poised to do for the wayang what Red Harvest did for the nagaji. Nice!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm so happy the Wayangs are finally getting some love. I really hope it shows us a bit of how worship of Lao Shu Po, the Old Rat Woman, effects Wayang culture.

With all the Wayang characters there are in central Illinois these days, I am betting this scenario will be quite popular around here.

Silver Crusade

Soooooon....

Dark Archive

But my wayang is already level 9...

Paizo Employee Editor

9 people marked this as a favorite.

To set the mood, I wrote this scenario by only the light of a candle made from wax produced by bees that never saw the sun and exclusively pollinated the Nicandra physalodes (commonly known as the shoo-fly plant) while listening to The Smiths. The bees have since died, and my life expectancy has yet to be fully determined.

I hope you enjoy it!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I am excite. ^_^

Sovereign Court

Hi.

Very good an interesting scénario.

But, the rules for the second reenactement are awfully long to explain.

I'd give to my players a summary of the rules 30 minutes before the beginning and we can achieve the scenario in four hours.

If i run it again, I'll plan it to 6 hours, because this part can offer a lot of roleplay and it's a shame to skip it.

Thanks Jason and too bad for the bees.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Alexander Augunas wrote:
This sounds poised to do for the wayang what Red Harvest did for the nagaji. Nice!

It did exactly that and cranked hot-button political issues up to eleven.

Paizo Employee Editor

Hidesako YAMAMOTO wrote:

Hi.

Very good an interesting scénario.

But, the rules for the second reenactement are awfully long to explain.

I'd give to my players a summary of the rules 30 minutes before the beginning and we can achieve the scenario in four hours.

If i run it again, I'll plan it to 6 hours, because this part can offer a lot of roleplay and it's a shame to skip it.

Thanks Jason and too bad for the bees.

No, thank you!

It is a bit of a complicated scenario in places. Sorry about that, but I just can't do things the easy way!

Without spoiling anything, GMs might want to brush up on Ultimate Intrigue's verbal duel rules...

Lantern Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I tried to prep this for a game tomorrow night but have failed. There is a whole set of complicated new rules that I am unable to understand, let alone try to explain to the players. I hope other people have better luck.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I have a negative opinion of a scenario that spends 10 pages (almost half of this 25 page scenario) on a unique encounter and rule-set. I am prepping this adventure to run and am very annoyed that I am spending the majority of my time reading this one-off ruleset from Ultimate Intrigue (a book I do not own, that is not even on the Paizo PRD yet).

I hope running it goes well. I have printed off 6 sets of the Player handouts for the players to pre-read this alternate rules. I also find that this rule-set is being used in a non-standard way additionally frustrating and unnecessarily complicated.

I think this could have been handled with a half-page of skill checks and Role Playing commentary. I would rather spend this encounter & game-time role playing basic concepts and a few skill checks, then get mired an overly mechanical setup.

The remainder of the adventure looks straightforward, and the story is good. I will post a review after running it with real players.

I am highly tempted to Kobayashi-Maru this (scrub the whole encounter rules and re-write it myself to be something simpler), if that wouldn't set such a bad precedent for others.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

For GMs that do not have Ultimate Intrigue, the extra rules can be found here.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

With all respect due the author and editor of this adventure:

A few years ago, I got a chance to play "Assault on the Wound," and I thought that the mass combat rules, and in particular the "swarm of tieflings" rules were promising mechanics that belonged somewhere else. It might be fun to build a character who's good at mass combat, and then let him or her shine. It's awful to run a mass combat with inappropriate characters shoe-horned into it. It's fun to be powerful enough that masses of low-level humanoids act like a swarm. It's awful, awful, awful to be at a similar level to those enemies, who cannot be defeated until the last of them falls.

This scenario feels much the same. There are campaigns, and characters where "verbal duelling" is appropriate. And in particular there are situations where "try to look like you're winning, but actually lose" might be a valid option in a duel. (You're an envoy for a pig of a king, He expects you to persuade people to do X, which you really don't want to do...)

Let's contrast that to "Midnight Mauler" which introduced the chase mechanic. Normal PCs can participate in chases, and they can have a lot of fun. The mechanic doesn't have to be adapted to characters who weren't built around running after people.

So, I went into this adventure expecting very much to like it. I've had a Wayang ninja since you needed a special boon to play one, and she's been pining to find out information about her background. It was going to take something pretty awful to get me to dislike this scenario.

I dislike this scenario.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

How is adding verbal dueling that much jarring in contrast to the normal formula of having face characters/Diplomacy rolls?

Shadow Lodge

Because it's a dumpster fire of a ruleset?

Chris Mortika wrote:
Let's contrast that to "Midnight Mauler" which introduced the chase mechanic.

The chase rules were also s&!@ on a shingle. It took two seasons to get decent chases.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

*shrugs*

I like verbal duels and chase mechanics.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I like the new chases. Not the originals.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
I like the new chases. Not the originals.

Which chase rules are The Original Cherry Vanilla ones and which ones are the "New Chase - Different Formula, Same Great Taste" rules?

Silver Crusade

Ran this days ago, going to play it today.

Getting ready to run this one was unpleasant, I think I made the scenario a fun experience for my players... but frankly that was mostly me trying to be entertaining despite the scenario.

We had a couple of players with only a couple of scenarios at the table, and frankly, I was very happy, that we didn't have a player with no previous PFS experience at the table.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
Which chase rules are The Original Cherry Vanilla ones and which ones are the "New Chase - Different Formula, Same Great Taste" rules?

The Midnight Mauler versus The Merchant's Wake.

Liberty's Edge

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Which chase rules are The Original Cherry Vanilla ones and which ones are the "New Chase - Different Formula, Same Great Taste" rules?
The Midnight Mauler versus The Merchant's Wake.

Let us not forget the OG chase rules as presented in Curse of the Crimson Throne, my personal favorite.

[hipster]
I was a fan of the chase rules before they were cool.
[/hipster]

:P

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
graywulfe wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Which chase rules are The Original Cherry Vanilla ones and which ones are the "New Chase - Different Formula, Same Great Taste" rules?
The Midnight Mauler versus The Merchant's Wake.

Let us not forget the OG chase rules as presented in Curse of the Crimson Throne, my personal favorite.

[hipster]
I was a fan of the chase rules before they were cool.
[/hipster]

:P

The one in CotCT is the only chase scene I've gotten to play in.

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