Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-00: Assault on Absalom (PFRPG) PDF

****½ (based on 12 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-11.

Glorious Absalom has stood strong against attackers for nearly 5,000 years, and the land around it remains littered with the siege castles of failed invaders. However, centuries have passed since Absalom last repelled a siege in earnest, and a new warlord has gathered a supernatural army and ghastly allies that will test the city—and perhaps be the first to conquer the so-called City at the Center of the World. When chaos erupts in the streets, the Pathfinder Society and its factions rally to the defense of their home, uncover the identity of the would-be conquerers, and seek a way to break the siege.

Written by Mikko Kallio.

Note: This product will be available for sale August 2, 2018.

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

PZOPSS0900E


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****½ (based on 12 ratings)

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Simply the best

*****

This is far and away the best PFS Special I have run (I have run 5 different ones in conventions of different sizes).

It is very easy to prep as a GM and smooth to run. Players are given a variety of choices that best suits the kinds of encounters they're interested in (social, skill, combat etc.) There is an unexpected and epic showdown that gives the players control in a new, interesting way.

Solid, in every way.


A Good Special

***( )( )

Absalom is a combat-based scenario.

Absalom was definitely a well designed and innovative scenario.

I especially liked the part with the robot, although not everyone at my table did. Even with handouts, this just goes over some people's heads. Even with good division of labor, we lost however.

I’m not sure I like the (story) concept of a ½ construct ½ demonic horde, it just doesn’t make sense to me, sorry it just didn't feel like a realistic threat, especially given how long it takes to make constructs or how expensive it is.

Having said that, this is probably the last special I will play for awhile, although this was well done, specials are just not appealing to me.


Solid and GM-friendly

****( )

Let me start by saying that compared to previous specials this one was much easier to prepare as a GM. There were no obnoxious mechanics we had to keep track. The fact that things were kept relatively simple is a vast improvement. As it is combined with a compelling story and being less strict on the time-management, you end up with a solid special.

The first portion of the special puts the various factions in a spotlight and puts the emphasize on a different aspects of the roleplaying game we all enjoy. Be it puzzles, roleplay or fighting, there’s something for everyone to do and enjoy, especially since there were some nice throwbacks to previous scenarios. It just works.

The second half starts of great. You get to face (mini-)bosses depending on your tier and there’s a scene that would fit in most anime-series. To some extend it’s silly, but it works due to its sheer simplicity. People were sitting on the edge of their seats and had a great time. Similar surprises should definitely return, although in different forms as to keep things fresh.

The final encounters of the special are, however, disappointing on the lower tiers. While the high tiers face off against the big bad evil, the lower tiers have to do some minor tasks and even though they’re important, they hardly feel epic. In fact, I’d rather use the words underwhelming and repetitive. As is the case in other specials the variety of enemies people face on the lower levels is really limited and that’s a shame.

While my tier 1-2 table had fun and felt properly challenged, they didn’t really feel like they made much of impact in the greater scheme of things. They just had to face more or less the same enemies over and over again towards the epic conclusion and that didn’t really give them a sense of achievement. Sure, they know they were part of the bigger success, but going from fighting mini-bosses an hour or so earlier to having to get rid of mooks and flunkies as part of the final battle just feels like a letdown.

I really hope that Paizo will improve on that, as there’s honestly little to improve on otherwise. This special is easily one of the better ones I’ve seen.


So much fun

*****

One of the best scenarios i have played, have played this core and regular at different tiers 1-2 and 5-6 and both times i had a blast both times


Top 2 Interactive Special!

*****

I still haven't decided, yet, if I like this better than Siege of the Diamond City, but they are both amazing.

I ran this table at subtier 7-8 at Gen Con, and just played it at subtier 5-6 at SkålCon. Both tables were fantastic.

Without going into too much detail...

Things I liked:
The options for characters in act two had a very similar feel to 5-99 The Paths We Choose. The characters could take options that best fit their characters, and the encounters were a lot of fun! I think between the two tables I ran or played all but the Silver Crusade mission. ☹

What I especially liked about these was that the encounters were a good balance of decent challenge without all of them being CR+3 or more, like has been the trend in recent years for specials. Some were mere speedbumps, some were more difficult. This is a Good Thing!

The choice in Act 3 wasn't as clear cut (though in playing, we went the path less chosen, especially at Gen Con). Having the choice was a Good Thing as well, especially when the choices were not the HUGE paths that were in Cosmic Captive!

However...

On the Choices:
There probably needed to be a better incentive to go the Sea route. Most tables were afraid of going to sea, as they were wearing armor, and had very poor swim checks. This is totally understandable.

The choice to go the sea route seems even less effective since all of the other sections were opened up by going against the Minotaurs.

The special encounter was very neat for all but the highest tier, as they didn't get to use their new toy. This is unfortunately, but understandable.

On the final encounter, though, it seems that the lowest tiers had a bit too much drudgery involved, with a very limited cast of opponents. They were required to continually grind through the same encounters if they were fast about it.

Really, the same is true about the mid-tiers, without even having the advantage of a story encounter like the low tiers. Also, at least 7-8 should have been given the option of going after the boss (even though it would have been a Very Bad Idea for them to do so).

Thank you, Mikko, for an amazing scenario, and for listening to us at Paizo Con!


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Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sounds amazing, would be lovely to learn the maps involved^^

Sovereign Court

Can't wait to GM it as my first PFS GenCon Special, and i'll second the request for maps whenever the staff has a chance. Curious to see if there will be an similarities to the Season 2 Special.


Cool! I might have to adapt this one for mythic!

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
Sounds amazing, would be lovely to learn the maps involved^^

As a note for this and all of the other Gen Con scenarios, Linda or I will post the map list during or shortly after the development process. You'll like see a lot of those posts around late June and early July.

The Exchange

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Any map update on the map list?

The Exchange

Part of me is hoping that this will have some call-backs to some of TD's plans that he was hatching way back during Season 5...

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I am posting in most of the discussion threads for Gen Con adventures, noting which published map products appear in each adventure. Note that a final list is not yet ready for this adventure. Once we’ve locked in those maps in the development process, I’ll post an update here.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Please let us know which flip-mats/map packs the special will use. Not a lot of time to order them and have them delivered prior to Gen Con.
Thanks.

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

Maps Appearing in Pathfinder Society Special #9–00: Assault on Absalom:

  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Arcane Library
  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat: City Gates
  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Desert Ruins
  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Red Light District (sees a lot of use)
  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Ship
  • Sovereign Court

    Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
    John Compton wrote:
    ** spoiler omitted **

    First time I'll already own them all. Subscription really does pay off.

    Thanks John!


    Thanks John!

    What are the requirements for running this as a special?

    Grand Lodge

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Pawns, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

    The idea of an intermission is nice, but in implementation, at Gen Con, not so much. Letting 1300+ people all break from their table at the same time created HUGE problems at the rest rooms and prize station. It would be better to just see a sandboxy presentation of a long middle act where tables could break at their own pace whenever it was convenient for them.

    Sovereign Court

    I don't want to criticize the product itself and give it a low-rating because of what could have been a bad GM...

    Spoiler:
    So I got to play in this at a table of six and was kind of disappointed when I found myself having to sit and watch everyone else do stuff during the encounter teased by the cover, as the GM said only five PCs can participate. I don't think the GM prepared the module correctly, but between that, three people at my table playing pregens they couldn't pilot and the last three encounters being "called" before we were even done rolling initiative, this was the worst multi-table experience I've ever had.

    The first half of it was great. The second half blew chunks. And I was playing an almost entirely combat-focused character, so given the first half is skill-based, something is off.

    Grand Lodge Contributor

    TwilightKnight, thanks for the feedback! The intermission is probably something that works better at a smaller convention.

    KitsuneWarlock, in the encounter you weren't able to participate in:

    Spoiler:

    There are 6 roles: boots, fist, gun, head, heart, and voice. The GM must have misunderstood something.

    I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy the latter part of the special. There were probably too many encounters in that part, so the problems with pacing are probably on me. But I wasn't at the con, so I don't know for sure why it ended up being so rushed.

    Again, apologies, and thank you for the feedback.

    Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

    15 people marked this as a favorite.

    Upon reviewing Assault on Absalom with other members of the team, comparing notes from the event at Gen Con, and looking through varied feedback from the community, we’ve made several changes to this special adventure.

    Changes made:

    The number of faction successes the House must accrue to trigger a faction condition in Part 2 has been reduced from 3/5 times the number of tables to 2/5 times the number of tables. In play, we found the rate at which groups completed encounters was making it difficult to hit the target number of faction conditions (in the 3–5 range).

    The duration of Part 2 has been reduced from 110 minutes to 100 minutes. An extraneous reference to Part 2 taking 120 minutes has been corrected. This buys a little more time for Part 3, which felt rushed during the event. This shorter window is offset by the adjusted number of successes required above.

    The duration of Part 3 has been increased from 135–145 minutes to 145–160 minutes. Likewise, the Overseer GM’s “Pacing Part 3” note on page 30 has been adjusted slightly to reflect these numbers. This buys a little more time to hit those fun encounters.

    The Table GM instructions for the Broken Horns condition prompts the GM to conclude ongoing Flotsam Graveyards more quickly. There is no change to that condition’s mechanics. Players should really be moving to the Flight of Atalazorn encounter soon after the condition hits, giving them more time to enjoy the set-piece construct encounter.

    The Chronicle sheet now cites that a player may select either a faction reward that their table completed or that the House completed. This remains true whether the House earned one or two rewards.

    The PDF has being updated and awaits imminent re-release on the website.

    Event Organizers: In the meantime, event organizers should use the spoiler-ed notes above to adjust their respective conventions’ experiences. Tonya Woldridge is alerting coordinators for the conventions of this coming weekend about these changes.

    Players: If you have already received a Chronicle sheet for playing Assault on Absalom and would have selected a different reward based on the new reward mechanism, you can contact your local venture-captain to get an updated sheet. Do note that the only change to the Chronicle sheet is that the text for which benefit you can select; if you do not need your selected reward changed, you do not need to take any action at all.

    Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

    The faction goals completed at Gen Con 2017:

    The House fulfilled the faction objectives for the Grand Lodge, Liberty's Edge, Scarab Sages, and Silver Crusade.

    Liberty's Edge

    6 people marked this as a favorite.

    John -

    Thanks to you and the team for looking at this and re-considering how the boons are issued. I think this is a fairer way, and one less demanding than redoing some of the faction boons.

    I very much appreciate it.

    Scarab Sages

    Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

    John,

    Thanks for the update on this issue. I do have a question though. If you are not planning to offer this special in your area due to the increased possibility of getting 8-99 to go, will VCs still be receiving the scenario?

    Paizo Employee Organized Play Manager

    Preston Hudson wrote:

    John,

    Thanks for the update on this issue. I do have a question though. If you are not planning to offer this special in your area due to the increased possibility of getting 8-99 to go, will VCs still be receiving the scenario?

    No, VCs aren't getting 9-00 as an auto drop this year, as it is restricted release.

    Grand Lodge Contributor

    John Compton wrote:

    Upon reviewing Assault on Absalom with other members of the team, comparing notes from the event at Gen Con, and looking through varied feedback from the community, we’ve made several changes to this special adventure.

    Awesome! Thanks so much, John! (And thanks to everyone who gave feedback!)

    I hope the changes will iron out the timing and boon-related wrinkles! :)

    Grand Lodge

    Thanks for listening to our feedback. I'm very pleased with your updates.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    John & Tonya, thank you for these changes. As someone who will be GMing Assault on Absalom soon, I really appreciated them.

    Hugs
    Hmm

    Shadow Lodge

    Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
    Tonya Woldridge wrote:
    Preston Hudson wrote:

    John,

    Thanks for the update on this issue. I do have a question though. If you are not planning to offer this special in your area due to the increased possibility of getting 8-99 to go, will VCs still be receiving the scenario?

    No, VCs aren't getting 9-00 as an auto drop this year, as it is restricted release.

    Then how are venture officers supposed to replace chronicles if requested per John's spoilers?

    Liberty's Edge

    John Compton wrote:
    The Chronicle sheet now cites that a player may select either a faction reward that their table completed or that the House completed. This remains true whether the House earned one or two rewards.

    While noted on the chronicle sheet, this change is not reflected in the text of the scenario (page 45, under the header "Final Closing").

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Class Deck, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
    Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
    Tonya Woldridge wrote:
    Preston Hudson wrote:

    John,

    Thanks for the update on this issue. I do have a question though. If you are not planning to offer this special in your area due to the increased possibility of getting 8-99 to go, will VCs still be receiving the scenario?

    No, VCs aren't getting 9-00 as an auto drop this year, as it is restricted release.
    Then how are venture officers supposed to replace chronicles if requested per John's spoilers?

    I was discussing this topic while filling in my partner on the forum's goings-on. The net result that I worked out was, it is only those who went to Gencon that are impacted, and of those who played only a percentage would be changing their sheets (those who didn't already unlock the things they wanted), and of those needing a change, a percentage would have VO's who were also there... so the total number of folks who traveled without their VO's present and need a change should be fairly small, small enough that the local VC can request a properly doctored chronicle from Tonya (or her support team) without any significant flood on Tonya's side, honestly. It may take that particular group a bit longer to get a re-tuned chronicle, but it shouldn't be that many cases I don't think.

    Sovereign Court

    Mikko Kallio wrote:

    TwilightKnight, thanks for the feedback! The intermission is probably something that works better at a smaller convention.

    KitsuneWarlock, in the encounter you weren't able to participate in:
    ** spoiler omitted **

    I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy the latter part of the special. There were probably too many encounters in that part, so the problems with pacing are probably on me. But I wasn't at the con, so I don't know for sure why it ended up being so rushed.

    Again, apologies, and thank you for the feedback.

    Yeah the GM was at fault. The table also had three players who have never played Pathfinder before and were playing mid-level Pregens with fairly complicated classes. I don't blame the writer and I can even understand why my friend at Gencon called this her "favorite multi-table to date". Hopefully I'll get a different experience with a more experienced GM and more prepared players at a later convention!


    Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

    "Available Aug 29" – does that mean 2018?

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

    Yes, multi-table specials are typically opened up to general purchase a year after debut.


    Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

    Thanks!

    Grand Lodge

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

    No problem! I have had the good fortune to play this over the weekend at SkalCon and found it to be one of the best specials yet!

    Grand Lodge

    Aside from waiting until Aug 2nd of 2018, how would someone get this one to run? Cons only? 5-star GM's? VA's? VC's? A few larger cons coming up, just curious the probability of this one becoming available to play before next year.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

    Only approved events may receive access. I had to schedule over 15 tables last weekend to be able to run this on Sunday. (And remember to include the overseer in the request. Despite being a VC, I had to borrow a copy from one of my GMs to reference since I have not been granted the PDF.)

    Grand Lodge

    So hopefully I'll see it at the larger con this fall. Thanks for the info!

    Brilde

    Silver Crusade

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

    John, can you tell us what the table requirements are to run this thing yet?


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Terminalmancer wrote:
    John, can you tell us what the table requirements are to run this thing yet?

    I agree; it would be nice if the product description gave the minimum number of tables that are allowed for the multi-table interactive specials.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

    Five table minimum.


    Any chance of this getting available now?

    Dark Archive

    This scenario is listed "available for sale August 2, 2018." It is now September 12 (I concede to the website issues some delays) and I have a local group organizing this special on September 29 (planned based on/well before the August 2 release date). Any chance this will be made available for purchase soon?

    Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    We've adjusted a missed setting on the product and its now available for sale. We apologize for the delay! If something like this happens in the future, let us know at customer.service at paizo.com or post in the CS forum and we can take a look to resolve it. We don't always see new posts in product threads.


    Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

    Does this include the card game portion? If not, could that be made available too?

    It might also be good if the description mentioned there was a card game portion for anyone looking to run the special.

    I'll post in CS forum as well.

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