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

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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.

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

PZOPSS0915E


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****( ) (based on 4 ratings)

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Fun and surprisingly dangerous infiltration scenario

****( )

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

****( )

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!

****( )

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

***( )( )

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


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

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.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
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

  • Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

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