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Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-18—Champion's Chalice, Part 1: Blazing Dangerous Trails (PFRPG) PDF

**½( )( ) (based on 5 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-5.

Every year, the Sargavan government hosts the Sargava Chalice, a contest of speed and survival that draws eager competitors from far and wide, each hoping to win fame, fortune, and glory. This year, Pathfinder Society has taken a special interest in the competition, sponsoring a team of agents to compete to with the trophy. Can PCs overcome their competition and the dangers of the Sargavan wilderness to emerge victorious?

Blazing Dangerous Trails is the first scenario in the two-part "Champion's Chalice" campaign arc. It is followed by Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-21: Agents of the Eye. Both chapters are intended to be played in order.

Written by Benjamin Bruck.

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Product Reviews (5)

Average product rating:

**½( )( ) (based on 5 ratings)

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Good adventure some problems

***( )( )

I've seen lots of manners of reviewing scenarios in the case of Champion's Chalice I feel like a Good, Bad, Ugly list might be the most appropriate.

Good: The story was cool and interwoven with some nice background and flavor of the area. A survival contest was also a cool concept for a pathfinder mission.

Bad: Due to equipment needs the fights are each increased in difficulty and deadliness with the fourth encounter being by far the biggest culprit. In the high tier that fight is going to TPK a lot of parties.

Ugly: As someone who has done survival challenges in the vein of the one contained you have four major concerns in a survival situation in this order fire, shelter, water, food. Fire is important for heat (every character in the scenario would be experiencing hypothermia given the conditions mentioned), morale, protection from wildlife, and for dry out clothes etc. (most parties feet would be completely shredded under the conditions mentioned see trench foot). Shelter - see fire while slightly less necessary yeah you need it. I added some survival checks to do this when I ran but it be nice to be mentioned. Without any tools this contest is completely unfeasible. Sure you can count on magic to make up for some of it, but not every competitor or team will have access to magic. Even obsidian that is in the area can be used to make up for some of it, but frankly without a modicum of skill/knowledge someone will grievously injure themselves and even a minor injury will be at high risk of infection/turning gangrenous. Any contest like this would start every team with at least some tools minimally a knife even more likely would be a knife, a flint and steel, and a compass at a minimum. Other likely inclusions would be some length of rope, a tent or at least a tarp or oilskin, some waterskins, and a bow (making a bow effective enough for starting a fire isn't a small task let alone a bow good enough to hunt/hurt people), possibly even a traveler's anytool. This would provide the organizers the added benefit of objects to act as scrying sensors to monitor teams and curb potential cheating. As it is competitors are given 3-5 days to do whatever and if something goes wrong they may never be found. Oh and something will go wrong, guaranteed. Hiding basically all of those tools behind multiple skill checks is just rubbing salt in the wound not actually designing something feasible.

Scenario loses .5 star for the fourth combat and 1.5 for the combination of the somewhat complex mechanics for the "pursuit" and overall terrible organization of an esteemed competition (that no competitor would ever do after year 1)

Bloody difficult

**( )( )( )

Look, I'm all for things being hard. But if you don't have a druid, ranger, or other nature based class for this mission, your team is going to be pulling themselves from the pits by pure luck. Is it fun? To a extent, but also very frustrating. The story is chock full of flavor, but it was hard to enjoy it when you had to deal with a situation that makes some classes straight up worthless. Occultist? Nice knowing you. Gunslinger? Nope. Anybody who uses a more specialized weapon or setup is gonna be boned. If you have a druid or a ranger, all of this is a thousand times easier, but if you walk into this mission blind your gonna have a bad time.

Good adventure with a few fixable issues

***( )( )

Played this together with Monkhound, with a party that was fairly focused on wilderness stuff. We did pretty well on the whole; there was some "roughing it" but not crippling like the oldest review makes you think.

The adventure is about adaptability. Can your character adapt if he has to do without his favorite toys for once? If he has to improvise tools? If you don't have a ginormous pile of CLW wands?

I enjoyed the setting, there were some good fights, and overall we had a new kind of challenge in actually trying to outrace other teams; occasionally we had to push ourselves and take risks to go fast enough.

There's two downsides that stop me from giving five stars.

1) The subsystem is again a bit fuzzily described. There are a lot of useful things the players can do, but that might get snowed under. With better handouts and a GM who's prepared to teach, that can be overcome.

2) Some characters will be really borked. It's very few classes that really can't adapt. This won't be a very fun adventure for a gunslinger, alchemist or investigator. Occultists are the absolute worst off. I think almost every other class should be able to adapt. Some will barely notice any inconvenience (psychics, spiritualists), and some get a chance to really shine (nature-oriented classes). Think of how happy you are with a paladin in a Worldwound scenario - that's how much you'll like druids and rangers here.

I actually enjoyed this, despite the...

****( )

As the people I play PFS with will know, I'm usually not a fan of introducing new subsystems (Alabastrine, Seal the Shadow (TStS), etc). But in this case, it was a blast. Characters able to adjust to the wild environment will have a field day :D

Positive points:
- The flavour of the story is very nice
- Despite having to recalculate my character, the'back to basics' felt nice

Points of improvement:
- A handout worth the various choices players have to gain advantages. The amount of mechanics involved in these are not as numerous as in TStS, so the amount of handouts should be limited
- Since by level 4-5, the assumption should be that whole characters are to be recalculated. Players should be aware of this so they can prepare in advance
- Why use such small maps for encounters? With 6 players, a phantom and a large AC (not counting the 2 tiny Familiars), that's 11 squares taken by the party already on a single Map Pack tile. This is not an unusual party setup. Add to this multiple large creatures for opponents and impassable terrain

Negative point:
I usually disagree with the term 'Year of the Skill Check' because I like skills, but this really felt like a (non-existing) game some friends and I use to call "Dice: The Rolling", where you roll dice for the sake of rolling dice. During the first Mountain phase, you check "What's my best check?" then you basically continue rolling that for every other phase. That's really, really boring. "Sun Orchid Scheme" used a mechanic to handle that much better, which I seriously missed in here.

Paizo, What the heck are you thinking?

*( )( )( )( )

I ran this tonight for a group of 4 characters, level 1,2,3,3. So, while definitely low tier, about as powerful as a low tier group can get

One player had a quote that summed up the primary issue with this scenario very well
"I personally want to kick them in the dick for this"

The biggest issue with this scenario is that the setup will affect different characters to a massively different extent. The above quote came from a gunslinger who found themselves almost completely useless for the entire scenario. The player had spent 2 prestige for a tiny gun but failed their (Trained) sleight of hand check (and their reroll). So the player had pretty much done EVERYTHING in their power to enable their character to actually get to PLAY!

There are a whole host of characters who are going to be almost completely useless, even if they manage to get their hands on the equipment cache (a long way from guaranteed). And there are going to be lots of players who are quite legitimately frustrated that they basically don't get to play tonight.

My secondary issue is that some of these combats are absolutely BRUTAL considering the disadvantage that the characters will be at. My 4 players managed to pull it out but they wouldn't without the 2 third levels. There is no way that a group of level 1s with maybe a level 2 will be able to survive this without some significant luck.

My third issue is that Paizo once again decides to showcase a brand new subsystem by CHANGING THE SYSTEM and NOT RUNNING IT AS WRITTEN.
Why, Paizo? I'm guessing that you actually LIKE the new system as it is, so why not JUST USE IT? And if you want to use the Chase rules, why not actually run a chase and not a Race where the rules kinda sorta make sense but not completely. Just RUN YOUR RULES as written in the simplest most straight forward way. You really don't have to twist them. Unless, of course, they don't work well as written?

This is now the second Season 8 low level scenario where I think I'll refuse to run it for new players. In fact, a new player showed up about 15 minutes into the game and I chose to NOT suggest that they sit down (he realized he was late and didn't ask to play). That really says a HUGE amount. A 5 star GM is going to refuse to run this scenario for new players because it is too broken. Gift Certificates
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