Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-12: Shrine of the Sacred Tempest PDF

2.70/5 (based on 3 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-5.

Outside of a remote village in the tengu nation of Kwanlai, a generations-old group of shrinekeepers has dutifully watched over a holy site that commemorates celestial forces that fell in battle against a qlippoth invasion in the distant past. By tradition, the guardians report to celestial forces every 10 years, but these guardians have fallen silent. A messenger from Heaven has called upon the Pathfinder Society to investigate the historic site and uncover the truth behind the shrinekeepers' fate.

Contents in "Shrine of the Sacred Tempest" also contribute directly to the ongoing storyline of the Silver Crusade faction.

Written by Justin Juan.

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

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2.70/5 (based on 3 ratings)

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Atmospheric but not challenging


Some great ideas here, with encounters that really pop off the page and run themselves. A little gruesome in places, but not in such a way that the GM can't gloss over those elements. A good balance of roleplay, puzzle-solving and combat, but most of the combat encounters (at least in tier 1-2, where I ran it) are push-overs for a competent group.

I can't help but think that the author overestimated the difficulty of the challenge presented in the scenario generally. The scenario has multiple endings depending on how many points the PCs gather over the course of the story - the expectation seems to have been that a competent party with accrue 15-20, but mine gathered 24 without particular effort (an outcome the author refers to as 'unlikely' in the text). I wonder if this scenario could have used some tweaking at editorial level to make it tougher.

Flavorful setup, but (high tier) not really filling


Perspective: played at high tier with a fairly strong group.

I enjoyed the setting of this story quite a bit. It gives an insight into Kwanlai and Tianjing, and develops a plot thread hinted at in Shores of Heaven. It's got the potential to be a bit of a horror adventure.

At low tier, that is; at high tier the enemies are just not able to do the job. Sure, action economy is a thing, but actions only count for the economy if they can actually affect the PCs. Deploying more of the same goons as low tier just feels like conservation of ninjutsu striking back.

All the time we were thinking the guy on the front cover would be the big bad hinted at in the whole scenario which looked quite dangerous. Well, for low tier these guys might be quite scary; not so much at high tier. At high tier we're kinda left feeling like this episode ended up just setting up the next one.

Advice: enjoy as a horror story at low tier

This was very fun! 2 stars.


So I had a great time playing this module/scenario last night. Yet I'm only giving it 2 stars. Let me explain why.

First, you need to know this is an adventure in the Tien section of the map, an area comparable to Asian countries in the real world, with foreign languages (at least to Absalom-dwelling Pathfinders) and bird people (tengus).

The social interactions at the start of the game were enjoyable. A few people got to shine, including myself, as my Tian-Min druid was our designated translator. We had a bard who specialized in tea ceremonies, which made him particularly useful for social activities. We enjoyed meeting some of the local tengus, and learning of their upcoming "chosen one" religious ceremony. So far, so good. Except... I couldn't help thinking of another scenario:

8-14 - To Seal the Shadow (a wayang puppet story). This is almost literally the same concept, sans puppets. In fact I've put this in a spoiler because once you know this, then pretty much you know this entire product, including plot twists, right to the end.

In fact, something really surprised me during the game last night. Upon learning what was at issue for the tengus, a player at the table said, "And of course this ceremony will be spoiled by the corrupt stormy dudes." That felt like deja-vu, and so I looked at my review of 8-14 and what do you know? I wrote this: "The whole 'puppet ceremony is interrupted because somebody goes crazy and tries to unleash the ultimate evil' thing? Yeah, totally predictable. And, entirely contrived." And so if it's a super-obvious twist there, it's a super-obvious twist here.

Our final "boss fight" was hilariously underwhelming, and that's not a dig at the product. The bad guys taunted us, our barbarian got to act first, and he charged & landed a crit with a greataxe (x3), doing about 55 points of damage in a single hit. The 1st enemy was down. The next enemy took a turn, provoked AOO, the barbarian got another crit, and insta-killed the 2nd bad boss dude. Literally the entire final encounter took a few moments as crits were resolved, people cheered and laughed in disbelief, and that was it. It was very fun and funny. And that had little to do with the module. It was all due to the gang at the table.

And I feel that "it was all due to the gang at the table" was the theme of the night. Did the scenario provide some good NPCs to talk to? Well, it provided NPCs -- I won't care if I meet any of them again, but the players made it fun. Did the scenario provide a good story? Well, it did provide something, but we were all joking about the plot twists within minutes of starting the game, and players had called the boss fight 4 hours before it happened. Part of the amusement was watching players try to get to the bad guy before we were allowed. We all tried to jump the railroading. It was a great time, due to fun people.

So the product pales, even despite my attempt to make this scenario personally more relevant. How? I took my druid, which had never been played before, and changed his backstory to be Tian-Min. I gave him the relevant languages. I had the GM agree that I was picked up for this mission as a translator, a local working in the area. My character didn't initially know what Pathfinder Society was, but essentially got "roped into it" and then stayed in it. Yet all this effort to tie myself into this module didn't really help -- I mean, it worked at the table, of course, but it didn't make the game any more interesting. Essentially, the setting feels like it could have worked anywhere. The story doesn't need tengu society to work, nor does it have much regional flavor. Perhaps that's unfair -- there is read-aloud text that is evocative of the region. What I mean to suggest is that some read-aloud text and tea parties is pretty much all there is. You could strip that out and re-skin it as a Mwangi plot/story with little effort.

In the end, I feel like the product is very "okay-ish." It works. But you have seen this before. You or people at your table will predict everything. Your interactions with NPCs will be fine, but not memorable. If an NPC here is going to be memorable, it will likely require a 2nd product that makes them more interesting, thus giving us rose-tinted glasses to look back at these NPCs and re-characterize them as more vital than they are now. An interesting side-note about this:

There was some cool flavor about the interactions with the tengu. At one point, the GM described our winning the approval of a crowd of tengu as a "ruffle of feathers" as they all sorta shook or rubbed their wings, creating this windy sound that he characterized as applause. We all sorta stopped, and one player said, "Is that in the module? Like, tengu society applauds with a shuffle of wings, making this cool feather-fall sound?" The GM apologized, "No, I just made that up." Oh. The one cool thing we liked about their society wasn't even in the product at all. That seems par for the course, here. The scenario is a decent framework, but it needs a good GM to paint the details. When those details are painted, you have to credit the painter, not the product.

Shadow Lodge

5 people marked this as a favorite.


Liberty's Edge

"While it would be an enlightening experience to return home, it is probably better that younger hands that have not faced the joys of Kwanlai do so."

Silver Crusade

"They're going to have to send some fledglings into that... I hope they're prepared. Grandmother knows these bones have seen what that place is like."

Liberty's Edge

...a weathered Tengu squints, then nods sagely.

Liberty's Edge


The Exchange

A reasonably dressed tengu pushes the fedora atop their head back a bit.

"Is this a case that's going to walk into my office, like that whole Wayang situation a couple of years back?"

Silver Crusade

"Oooh! Heaven wants us to go to Kwanlai? I won't let the Eternal Rose down!" An eager multi-colored tengu cheerfully sing-songs and dances happily.

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

...sigh... had to go get them all flustered, TOZ. Now the kids are gonna be fighting over who gets to 'do the thing'. And I'ma gonna haveta referee.


That all aside, really, really glad to see more opportunity for our feathered friends in the Tengu nation and looking forward to this opportunity!

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

”My siblings will be excited to see a new land of our people. I look forward to learning of their community.”


Scarab Sages

Right then ... must be time to check up on this, lads and lassies! I'll be bringin' me dorn dorgar, me armor, and a cask of me best beer! You birdie folk do drink beer, yes? Wouldn't want to accidentally poison somebody.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Maps appearing in #9–12:

  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Town Square
  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Woodlands
  • Pathfinder Map Pack: Farmsted

    There's also a custom full-page map.

  • Grand Lodge

    Kazmarok wrote:
    Right then ... must be time to check up on this, lads and lassies! I'll be bringin' me dorn dorgar, me armor, and a cask of me best beer! You birdie folk do drink beer, yes? Wouldn't want to accidentally poison somebody.

    "We have all manners of intoxicating substances among our people. Heck, we even have our own magic jug that can make plum liquor, sake, or tea!"

    The Exchange

    "Join the feather-ation!"

    Btw, what class levels does the tengu on the cover have? Looks like a badass.

    I would guess monk with elemental fist feat.

    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    ..or an aerokineticist lighting it up after Gathering Power.

    Sovereign Court

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

    Why not both? ^_^

    Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    GMing this allowed me to inflict

    minor spoiler:
    a gelatengus cube
    on the PCs.

    This scenario was really a let down. Players in my area are really getting tired of season 9 formatting with scenario after scenario where you have walk around a town and investigate or Diplomacy people. It's too much at one time. There is always a player or 2 who dominates and everyone else is bored for an hour or 2. In this one we had one player who could talk to the locals and the entire rest of the table couldn't speak the language and sat around bored and cracking jokes due to the limited ability to participate in the first half of the scenario. I have not read it so I don't know if the GM missed something but as it played out it exasperated the problems season 9 is having.

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