Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-15: The Bloodcove Blockade PDF

3.80/5 (based on 5 ratings)

Our Price: $4.99

Add to Cart
Facebook Twitter Email

A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3–7.

The Aspis Consortium has poached relics from the Mwangi Expanse for decades, but the organization has recently identified a wealth of rare minerals deep in the Kaava Lands. The biggest catch is that the Society is familiar with this area, and a massive mining operation like the one the Consortium's planning wouldn't just disrupt local cultures; it risks unleashing a powerful fiend the Pathfinder Society narrowly kept sealed away.

Such a large operation is beyond the capacity of a few agents to stop. Instead, the Exchange is armed and ready to strangle Bloodcove's imports to shut down the Consortium's plan before it can inflict too much damage. For this maneuver to work, though, the Exchange needs allies and intelligence within Bloodcove, made all the more essential now that the Society's sole agent in Bloodcove has disappeared.

Contents in "The Bloodcove Blockade” also contribute directly to the ongoing storyline of the Exchange faction.

Written by Nicholas Wasko.

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

Product Availability

Fulfilled immediately.

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

PZOPSS0915E


See Also:



Average product rating:

3.80/5 (based on 5 ratings)

Sign in to create or edit a product review.

Not Great, but Good!

4/5

NO SPOILERS

I played The Bloodcove Blockade via play-by-post, using the Iconic investigator, Quinn. I really enjoyed the first third of the adventure, and the rest is fine. There's plenty of opportunity to use social skills like Disguise, Bluff, Diplomacy, and more. Combat is less emphasized, though there's one that proved a real slog for the group I was in. The storyline is good, though there's perhaps too many story threads and a dubious timing mechanism--I remember losing track of the plot at one point. The scenario definitely makes use of (and adds to) existing setting lore and has good maps and artwork. Overall, I think I'm going to place this one in the "good but not great" category.

SPOILERS!:

As the name implies, the scenario takes place in Bloodcove, a port city in the Mwangi Expanse. Bloodcove is a major trading hub for the Aspis Consortium and is used to channel relics stolen from the area's indigenous inhabitants, ore from mining operations, and a variety of smuggled goods. In a briefing given jointly by Fola Barun (whom I don't know) and Guaril Karela (whom I know and love), the PCs are told that their mission is designed to turn the city against the Aspis Consortium. Fola's reason is to do good for the sake of doing good (cutting off an Aspis mining operation from supplies before it can inadvertently set free an asura trapped for centuries in a temple), while Guaril and the Exchange Faction's reason is to make room for the Pathfinder Society to become a major player in the city. I like the joint motivation, though turning an entire city against those Aspis snakes seems like a big responsibility for a group of relatively inexperienced Pathfinders.

The PCs are told that the best place to start is a warehouse owned by the Vanji Prospector's Guild, which is essentially a front for the Aspis Consortium in Bloodcove. The goal is to infiltrate the place posing as customers, pilfer or snatch any records that would make the organisation look bad, and see if a captured Pathfinder spy named Malika Fenn is being held there. This was my favourite part of the scenario, as it really gave an opportunity for some under-utilised skills (like Bluff and Disguise) to shine. Posing as Aspis agents, my group gathered a lot of intel in the warehouse, found Malika, and was then able to launch a surprise attack from the inside to rescue her. It was one of those rare times that a plan all comes together, and was a lot of fun.

After the warehouse, the PCs' next task is to turn two particularly influential figures in Bloodcove against the Aspis Consortium. The first person is Erwyn Harvacus, powerful leader of the Saltroot druid circle, a group that uses its control over nature to make Bloodcove a feasible trading port. Persuading Erwyn is handled as a pure role-playing/skills challenge, with various bonuses that can be used based on the information obtained from the warehouse. This works well, though there isn't any tips on how the GM should role-play Erywn's mannerisms or style of speaking, info which can really make lengthy encounters with NPCs come alive. The second person the PCs need to convince is Ungala, the leader of a group of warriors who try to stop the theft and smuggling of cultural relics by confronting any Indiana Jones-types who come to the Mwangi Expanse. But Ungala is too busy to talk, as her forces have been decimated by a mysterious supernatural killer. To earn her support, the PCs need to track down and destroy a weird monster called an adhukait. At low subtier, the adhukait has spell resistance, DR, a couple of types of resistances, some immunities, and (worst of all) regeneration. In the game I was in, this battle was a long, tedious thing because we just couldn't inflict enough damage on a regular basis to overcome its defenses and outpace its regeneration. The battle lasted 11 rounds, and I think the GM took mercy on us and perhaps gave us the win. To be fair, there was a way we could have learned what the foe was and prepared better, but we failed the necessary skill check.

Once Erwyn and Ungala are on board, the only thing left to do is give them the signal to start the blockade of Aspis ships and caravans. As the PCs are likely to incur retribution for this, Guaril strongly advises the group to leave the city first. However, whether they leave on foot or by boat, the Aspis have already learned of the group's presence and arranged an assassin to ambush them. The assassin is an archer and doesn't present much risk. The scenario has a "delay" mechanic embedded throughout in which the GM is supposed to keep track of how long the PCs take to accomplish their tasks (while hinting that they need to hurry), and the number of "delays" gives more time for the assassin to prepare. I think the mechanic was more trouble than it was worth, and for the players it created this weird sense of urgency for seemingly no reason--after all, a blockade of supplies is going to take a while in event to have any effect on the mining operation, and the group doesn't know about the assassin.

I'll go ahead and note here that the scenario makes excellent use of previous PFS scenarios set in and around Bloodcove by giving players special bonuses if they have a relevant Chronicle sheet. It also seems like a scenario that must tie into other Season 9 adventures, as there's not a definitive resolution of the "Aspis could set free an asura in the temple" risk.

Overall, I think The Bloodcove Blockade was a solid, fun scenario that holds appeal to various character builds. It's not flawless or full of amazing twists, but should be a satisfying experience for players and GM alike.


Fun and surprisingly dangerous infiltration scenario

4/5

My party really enjoyed this! We were a table of three level 5's, a level 3, and a (sickened) level 7. We had to play up, and that made this quite a dangerous scenario.

Two of us had recently played Signs in Senghor, and it was a LOT of fun using that advantage and RPing as minions of the Aspis Consortium in Bloodcove. We managed to talk our way through the first part of the scenario.

I don't know if it was the particular makeup of our party or the fact that we were rather underprepared and low on spells by the end, and but the final encounter we fought was was exceptionally dangerous. An epic battle! It took a chronicle boon, a lucky UMD check, a clever combat maneuver, a frantic mid-battle purchase for the retail boon, and we still came within 1 hit point of a TPK. Still, that's the stuff that makes for a good story!


Recommended

4/5

I played this at the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. We had an interesting mix of investigation, social stuff and combat which was appropriately challenging. We played high tier with 5 of us and while we completed what we needed sadly I lost my animal companion. His sacrifice will not be forgotten.

I always think a good metric of how good an adventure was is how much it pushes me to want to run it. It went right near the top of my list.


Trade negotiations, rescue a princess, overthrow the empire!

4/5

OK, this isn't Star Wars. Maybe "princess" and "empire" is a bit much. I probably titled this incorrectly.

This is not a spoiler, as it's the introductory text, but the basic gist here is: the PCs are tasked with digging up dirt on the Aspis Consortium, and sharing that information with rebels in the hopes that it will disrupt trade. Somewhere in there might be a daring rescue.

For my group, we bungled our initial attempts to (peacefully) extract information. It was doubly difficult because there was a lawful good healer in the group AND a paladin. We couldn't be stealthy, sneaky, or deceptive.

Having said that, we pushed through and in the end we got enough data to enter into negotiations and/or "persuasive talks" with a couple of important NPCs, and managed to win them to our cause. As you might expect from a Pathfinder Society product, these NPCs quested us with "jobs" to do to help them before they would fully ally with us.

I have yet to read the PDF, but my impression from playing is that this is at least a little bit of a sandbox. Our GM spent a good portion of the night asking, "So, what do you want to do next?" I didn't feel like I was on a railroad -- we had a handful of leads & things to do right at the start and we didn't seem to experience much limitation as to order of events. This open-endedness may have caused the game to run a little long.

The combat encounters for this product are quite enjoyable. At least for me, there were conditions and status effects (high tier) that caused:

Spoiler:
...limitations to movement or penalties for doing certain actions, and it made the encounters seem dynamic and interesting. Three different PCs could channel energy in our group, so the fights never put anyone in danger, but having to deal with terrain & cover & so on was a nice wildcard to add to the encounter challenge.

For GMs:

Spoiler:
We had some issues in our game:


  • 1. If the PCs can take 10 on negotiation stuff (they should be able to), at level 6-7 we were getting 35-40 (with Aid Another). This murders the DCs in this product. We had fun anyway.
  • 2. Multiple times we pulled back and went to buy gear from town. However, the game appears to be on some kind of timer, so you should work out how much delay happens if people go to market.
  • 3. There is a trap but it's also a plant (not a plant monster, just a trap made of vines). This gets weird if the PCs can Speak with Plants. Watch out for that.
  • 4. There can be a LOT of status effects. Once PCs know of the timer, they may push through the night. Dim light confers a 20% miss chance, like the Blur spell. There can be half-speed rules from certain terrain, and that penalty can double from the Web spell. You'll want to figure out how the thorny ground works in the demon fight, and the demon itself has funky rules for movement. Be prepared to juggle lots of terrain/conditions/etc. When I run it, I may put out little table tents (folded 3x5 cards) that show what effects are in play, so as to maybe get some help from my players to remember it all.


This is not the Bloodcove you are looking for

3/5

Blockade is mostly combat with a little investigation and roleplay.

I've played the previous Bloodcove scenarios and they were all great, memorable, so I always look forward to returning.

Unfortunately, this trip to Bloodcove was mundane. Impress this person, impress this person, yawn.

Being in Bloodcove didn't even seem dangerous. Are you wearing disguises? Yep. No roll needed.

I'm still unsure about the mechanics of the last encounter. Some hit points seem off.

Detailed Rating:

Length: Medium (3.5 hours).
Experience: Player at subtier 6-7 (4-player adj) with 6 average PCs.
Sweet Spot: TBD.
Entertainment: It was OK. (6/10)
Story: There was a story, but it wasn't great. (6/10)
Roleplay: Small amounts of roleplay that were not great. (5/10)
Combat/Challenges: The second encounter had a neat mechanic. That saved the scenario from being 2 stars. (7/10)
Maps: Looked good but GM hand drew them. So not so good. (8/10)
Boons: Great, especially for Exchange, almost too good compared to the lack of risk. (9/10)
Uniqueness: Impress this person. (3/10)
GM Preparation: TDB.

Overall: The first non-memorable trip to Bloodcove :( (6/10).


Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Sticking it to the Consortium again...

Scarab Sages

"...ah hell, they're gonna let that thingie out again? We all nearly DIED tryin' to get it locked down th' first time! Th' hell they thinkin?"

Liberty's Edge

”Desna weeps! That thing is icky!”


I'm considering scheduling this for a Con that opens 2 days after the scenario drops, but I'm leery of how little prep time that would leave the GM.

I know y'all can't give more adventure spoilers than the blurb already provides, but can you tell me 2 things?

1. What flipmaps/map packs does it use?

2. Does it use any unusual rules subsystems that a GM might need extra time to familiarize themselves with?

Thanks!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

Amanda Plageman wrote:

I'm considering scheduling this for a Con that opens 2 days after the scenario drops, but I'm leery of how little prep time that would leave the GM.

I know y'all can't give more adventure spoilers than the blurb already provides, but can you tell me 2 things?

1. What flipmaps/map packs does it use?

2. Does it use any unusual rules subsystems that a GM might need extra time to familiarize themselves with?

Thanks!

Only two days to prepare for a convention is going to be difficult, no matter the scenario. This is still early in the development, I can report only the following at this moment:

Spoiler:

This does use Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Swamp as well as a custom full-page map.

There aren't any heavily involved subsystems. There are some encounters that involve a fair number of skill checks, and your PCs decisions might result in more skill checks or fewer.


John Compton wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Thanks, John!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

Maps in The Bloodcove Blockade:

  • Flip-Mat Classics: Swamp
  • Flip-Mat: Basic Terrain (water)
  • Map Pack: Armada
  • Map Pack: Marsh Trails
  • Custom full-page map

  • Of course, if you liked this one, you can always venture to Bloodcove in the old GameMastery "River into Darkness"

    Community / Forums / Paizo / Product Discussion / Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-15: The Bloodcove Blockade PDF All Messageboards

    Want to post a reply? Sign in.