Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-08: Birthright Betrayed PDF

****( ) (based on 10 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-5.

For all its rich history and heritage, Taldor has not always welcomed the Pathfinder Society's inquiring minds. This is especially true of a small museum in Ridonport, birthplace of the legendary General Arnisant, who confronted the dreaded Whispering Tyrant during the Shining Crusade. However, the Society's ally Lady Gloriana Morilla has secured a small group of Pathfinders a unique opportunity to study the museum's relics. All she needs in return is the Pathfinders' investigative skills to uncover the local earl's indiscretions—an earl who proudly identifies as Arnisant's direct descendant.

Contents in Birthright Betrayed also contribute directly to the ongoing storyline of the Sovereign Court faction. This is one of several scenarios that also set the stage for and directly tie into the upcoming War for the Crown Adventure Path.

Written by Sam Polak.

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

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

PZOPSS0908E


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Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 10 ratings)

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An Excellent Source of Intrigue

*****

This is one of my favorite scenarios to do in the 1-5 tier. The NPCs interesting and well thought out and the adventure itself has some pretty fun interactions. The fights are fairly trivial but they include fun and unique enemies which is always worth a star in my book.

Some obnoxious editing problems are not enough to bring this one down and I am actually looking forward to running this one again.


Nice

***( )( )

The good:

Clever monsters, good tactics.
Good Story
Good balance of skills and combat
Final combat is interesting, a bit of a surprise, and some good environmental components.

The Bad
The module skill checks do not scale well over the range of the mod. Difficult at low levels, trivial at high levels.
Final scene is a bit cliched and oft done.

The Ugly
It was unpleasant and unnecessary to have political correctness forced down our throats. This module could simply have been constructed as a subterfuge module built around inheritance, and it would have been a much better mod for that.

It was simply unnecessary to waste the word count on explaining and expositing on primogeniture. Bringing in social and political correctness was unnecessary, and the module loses one star for that.


Plenty of RP


I ran this online for a part of 6 experienced high tier players.

Lots of role playing and skill checks, although I found it easy to accidentally push the players in the wrong direction, mostly because they could take an off-hand piece of flavor text as a lead.

There's a bit of page flipping when running this, the side bars aren't on the same page as the encounters.

There's more than one way to handle an encounter. One encounter in particular had two methods for overcoming it, and my players came up with a third.

The final encounter takes a bit of management, it's not tough but if they players dawdle I could see some bystander casualties.


An excellent scenario, with a couple of pitfalls

*****

I've prepared to GM this, and ended up playing it instead.

It's one of my favorites already. It ties into existing lore with aplomb, but players unfamiliar with the area or the history shouldn't feel left out. The characters are well-developed and fleshed out, and the motivations--while some are hilarious--are plausible. The plot is solid. The dialogue sparkles, and even the stuff the players don't see is a fun read.

The final RP encounter, from the GM side, was a pleasure to prepare for and I'm looking forward to running it myself. I'm not familiar with every scenario out there, but I've played or run the huge majority of season 5 content and on, and the structure of that encounter was pretty unique. The structure might be one that is rarely appropriate, but for those situations where it is, I'd like to see it used again. On the player side, the mechanics fit seamlessly and transparently into what the party wanted to do. It went almost perfectly.

There are a few gotchas in the scenario, though. Paladins in particular and anyone interested in following the law in general would be well-served with speaking to one of the citizens early, but the scenario doesn't sell that very hard, making it easy for parties to talk themselves out of speaking with that NPC. That, in turn, makes it much more difficult to take a lawful approach. GMs should be aware and be ready to make a stronger case.

The final combat encounter is also tricky to pull off well without irritating everyone. It is, however, a rare opportunity for certain urban archetypes to shine.

And finally, from the GM side, the sidebars are frustratingly misplaced. Each of the major NPCs has information split into two parts: a couple of paragraphs as part of the main text, and a sidebar. The sidebars consistently end up a page or even two pages later than the description in the main text.

In my opinion, this is one of the best scenarios not just in season 9 but of the past few seasons. Well worth a play.

(Especially if you bring a Sovereign Court PC.)


Fun and Flavourful

****( )

Played at Low Tier.

The scenario was fun, with some rather bizarre but memorable combat encounters. The final combat at low tier was relatively easy and I disliked some of the environmental components to it.

Spoiler:
There is a crowd of panicking people that causes a big chunk of the map to be difficult terrain and it just kind of bogged down the combat in a boring way

Has some room for some fun RP encounters if you have an imaginative GM and the time, but the insistence on using the Influence system from Ultimate Intrigue seems a bit unnecessary.

All in all a memorable time was had.


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Grand Lodge

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

We do this for Taldor.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

5 people marked this as a favorite.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
We do this for Taldor.

We always have.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yessss... Let the Sovereign Court storyline begin!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Maps in Pathfinder Society Scenario #9–08: Birthright Betrayed:

There is one half-page custom map in this scenario. The following also feature:

  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Noble Estate
  • Pathfinder Map Pack: Village Sites
  • Sovereign Court

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE!

    Sovereign Court

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Excellent! Another opportunity to mentor a new protege into our ranks. And by Mr. Polak, you say? It'll be a bit of extra work to find a suitably hearty candidate, but the reports they provide should be fascinating!


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I'm currently prepping this for our Grand Lodge tomorrow and I'm fascinated by the parallels between one of the sub-plots of this scenario (naval corruption in Taldor) and a current-day scandal (the investigations into high-ranking officers in the US Navy and their connections to a shady contractor named "Fat" Leonard). Was this intentional or was this merely a coincidence?

    Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    John Lance wrote:
    I'm currently prepping this for our Grand Lodge tomorrow and I'm fascinated by the parallels between one of the sub-plots of this scenario (naval corruption in Taldor) and a current-day scandal (the investigations into high-ranking officers in the US Navy and their connections to a shady contractor named "Fat" Leonard). Was this intentional or was this merely a coincidence?

    Although fantasy and sci-fi fiction certainly draw inspiration from reality and current events, I wasn't aware of the incident you're referencing until just now. Rather, Taldor lends itself beautifully to scenarios about scandals and corruption. That said, if it makes the adventure more meaningful and enjoyable for you and your players, the drawing parallels could be fertile ground for fun roleplaying.

    Grand Lodge

    Look forward to playing this one!


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I have a question on the Boon.

    Boon:
    One of the boons lets you check extra boxes if you meet a condition, and there are a few ways to do that.
    Is it possible to get the extra boxes more then once, you meet the condition twice or more?
    .


    Question about the boon:

    Boon Talk:
    As written, if the PC is already a noble via other boons, it seems better to sit on this boon for 30+ XPs before finalizing the conditions of this boon. In other words, if you have other sources of nobility, you add five checked boxes each time and could get all checked boxes at a very low XP count. Was the intent 'boxes checked x 75' or was it indeed 'XP x 75'?

    Scarab Sages

    Boon:
    I think XPx75 is probably correct. There are two parts to the boon. One gives you the gold when you complete it. The other lets you use Diplomacy or Knowledge (Nobility) for Dayjob checks. It looks like the XPx75 gold was a way to make the boon even out for players who get it later in their career. Completing the boon earlier means less gold initially, but lots more opportunities for gold from a Dayjob. I turned 3rd level when I picked up the boon, and I'm going to slow track until I complete it to give more time to use the Dayjob roll. And also because I like the character and invested a couple of boons making him.

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