Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-04: The Unseen Inclusion PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-5.

The Thuvian city of Merab has grown steadily over the past decade, and construction teams have uncovered numerous foundations and features dating back to Ancient Osirion and the Tekritanin League as they break ground for new buildings. Recently, workers accidentally unsealed a haunted ruin, out of which screamed a terrifying apparition. The Society has sent the PCs to investigate, not only to learn about the newly discovered ruin, but also to put this angry spirit to rest. In the process, the Pathfinders will uncover more than part of Thuvia's past; they'll unravel a dire secret that even now threatens one of the Society's closest allies.

Contents in The Unseen Inclusion also contribute directly to the ongoing storyline of the Scarab Sages faction.

Written by Mike Kimmel.

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

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Scarab Sages Must Have!

4/5

NO SPOILERS

I played in The Unseen Inclusion with my Daggermark Poisoner character, Siegfried, via play-by-post. I probably didn't bring the best PC for it, but I still found that the scenario was well-written and interesting. It ties into a major plotline for one of the PFS factions, and has a good mix of combat and role-playing. I can't say there's anything super memorable about it, but it's a solid adventure.

SPOILERS!:

The Unseen Inclusion takes place in the city of Merab in the country of Thuvia. The scenario is a big part of the Scarab Sages' faction storyline in Season 9, as it continues with the plot concept that the sage jewels (ancient Osirion mystical stones that have been collected by a new generation of scholars) were contaminated with the spirit of a vile necromancer named Aryana Tahari. That spirit is starting to revive and exert influence on the present wearers of the sage jewels. When the Sapphire Sage, Amenopheus, senses something related to the jewels in ruins recently unearthed in Merab, he sends Pathfinders to investigate. (Amenopheus can feel an evil influence, but doesn't know anything about Tahari) The scenario itself starts with a briefing from a cool new Venture-Captain, Diya Akan. She explains to the PCs that excavation in the city has uncovered an ancient complex, while also setting free some kind of evil spirit. She asks the PCs to investigate the dig site and canvass the workers to learn more.

Interviewing the dig team provides a good, early opportunity for role-playing. I especially like how one of the youthful workers makes up a story about having seen the monster emerge, and this story could give the PCs a very different sense of what to expect (a vargouille) than what was really set free. A scholar named Obahar who is working at the site gives members of the Scarab Sages faction a sort of special mission--to learn what their senses (other than sight) can discern when they explore the complex. I didn't play a PC from this faction, but I really like how the scenario calls them out for some special importance (and can lead to a special faction boon).

The ancient complex dates back to the Age of Destiny and was a secret outpost for Aryana Tahari, the necromancer whose spirit has corrupted the sage jewels. Tahari used it as a laboratory to craft curses and diseases, using a trapped doru div named Veshtahz as her test subject. The encounters in the complex are fairly mundane--skeletons and caryatid columns--but there's a ton of excellent "dungeon dressing" and flavourful lore to uncover. With some careful investigation, the PCs should learn that the "evil spirit" or "monster" that escaped the complex was Veshtahz--still alive after being buried for millennia.

But finding Veshtahz's current whereabouts isn't easy--the PCs need to assemble several clues from different sites in Merab (a temple to Sarenrae, an alchemist's shop, a necropolis, and a scholar's study) in order to reach the right conclusion. I found the "clues" pretty obscure and thought they could have been done better. On the other hand, there is a surprise appearance by Zurnzal--a notorious Aspis Consortium assassin (who I got to play in a Special!)--who is now working for Grandmaster Torch. Zurnzal is here as an ally, not a foe, but PCs' innate distrust of Torch may be enough that they refuse to work with him to their own detriment. I love Zurnzal, though I'm not sure how much his appearance here is really necessary to the plot.

One way or another, the PCs likely do discover that Veshtahz is located at the "Dungeons of the Ever-Dying", another ancient outpost of Aryana Tahari. The site has since been reclaimed by the Usij (cultists who are trying to hasten her re-awakening). But in a good twist, Veshtahz hasn't come to help the cultists--he's come to murder them all as vengeance for what Tahari did to him! The flip-mat chosen for this location, Asylum, is simply too large for the actual content in the scenario. When I played, instead of the PCs getting to the only room where the action was, we spent ages investigating each of the over two dozen side chambers, occasionally finding a minor clue but nothing of any real importance. The big showdown with Veshtahz (and the cultists he's mentally taken over) is solid, if unspectacular.

After the climax, the PCs will be able to recover the onyx sage jewel which Amenopheus can use to realise that it is Tahari's spirit that is reawakening. It's an exciting ending that sets up nicely future scenarios in the storyline.

I could quibble that it seems awfully convenient that a construction crew in Merab would accidentally free Veshtahz, who has been trapped for millennia, at exactly the same time that Tahari is awakening. But on the whole, I thought the scenario was put together pretty well and, if I were invested in the Scarab Sages, would be thrilled by.


Ran in home game good fun.

4/5

I Ran this in a home game because I needed a level 2 short adventure in a pinch & had a bit of a hole in my modules (lots of level 1 & level 3 adventures).
I ran it for Beginners Box PCs who graduated from Blackfang's dungeon through to other modules & are now level 2.
I ran mostly Beginner's Box rules but with the monster stat blocks & rules from the scenario/ bestiary.
It's a good module with fun locations, plenty of Role-Play, some dungeon exploration, & interesting characters to interact with.
One of the PCs is a priestess of Sarenrae & it was cool to visit the spectacular temple in Thuvia. The players were intrigued by Pharasma as a non-evil godess of death opposed to undead.
Because of having one (11 year - old) child player, I had to tone down/ gloss over some of the nastier murder/ torture aspects of the villain - not an uncommon thing to have to do with Pathfinder adventures.
Overall, a really strong scenario with plenty of role-play, exploration & just the right amount of combat.


Some links are weak between investigations...

4/5

As a whole I really enjoyed this scenario. A small dungeon crawl to start out with and a lot of fun RPing with characters and NPCs.

The only reason for not having 5 stars: one of the places the CHs need to investigate and get clues is has a very weak link to the rest of the story that could be easily missed by the PCs. The other places they receive in a note from the VC... but the 3rd I kind of had to spoon feed to the PCs.

But, very enjoyable and easy to GM. No complex rules that require tons of research to find out how they work.


Stick Around for the End

5/5

Great balance of combat and exploration. Lots of interesting lore tidbits and a nice buildup for 9-07, which is another great scenario.


Mandatory for Scarab Sages and fans of lore.

5/5

I ran this scenario yesterday for a group of five players. I specifically recommended them to bring a character that belongs to the Scarab Sages and three were able to do so. After the session they all said that it was indeed a good recommendation as it really helps you understand the faction a fair bit more afterwards. I would personally go so far as to say that the lore is mandatory for anyone with a Scarab Sages character. It really gives an interesting perspective on things. The lore leads up to a sequel, namely 9-07: Salvation of the Sages. I highly recommend playing this one before that because of a plethora of good reasons.

As for this scenario, I’d have to say it’s a solid investigation scenario with some fights and plenty of role-play opportunities. It literally has it all. Throughout multiple parts PC’s have to gather clues, which requires a wide variety of skill checks and, at times for the Scarab Sages, creative thinking. Slowly the players will uncover the existence of something that’s particularly evil as well as a big threat. They even toss in some familiar faces to really force players to think about the consequences of their actions. It’s an excellent plot if you’d ask me. The combat encounters are fun as well, with some being more challenging than others.

All-in-all this is a great scenario. It’s a great mixture of exploration, investigation, roleplay and combat. The lore is superb and it’s surprisingly easy to prepare as well. All a GM need is just a piece of paper to note the amount of discoveries a party has gathered. I’ll happily run GM this multiple times, though as is normal for an investigation, it can run a bit longer than your typical timeslot. Then again, it’s certainly worth it.


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Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Whelp, time to bring the haunt siphons.

Sovereign Court

Time for me to make yet another Polygot character, as the ancient languages will prove invaluable i'm guessing.

Scarab Sages

I hate

Spoiler:
Torch as much as I hate the Blackros family. By a great twist to know he was in this scenario.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

Added spoiler tag.

The Exchange

Are you doing the map list for this scenario?

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