Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-06: Treason's Chains

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-5.

Venture-Captain Roderus has long been one of the most reliable and steadfast allies of the Pathfinder Society in the nation of Katapesh, but the aging human has decided that it is time to retire from his long-held position. Roderus's retirement party draws in Pathfinders from across Golarion, but there are some who see his retirement as an opportunity to advance personal goals that go against the Pathfinder Society's interests. Amid the turmoil of a party turned crime scene, the PCs must uncover the true threat to the Society's stability in Katapesh—and perhaps make an unexpected new ally along the way.

Contents in Treason's Chains also contribute directly to the ongoing storyline of the Liberty's Edge faction.

Written by Adam Meyers.

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

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Boring, easy, and heavy handed preparation for PF2

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Easy fights. A railroad for a plot. Boring opponents.

The focus of this scenario is a heavy handed attempt to "redeem" interesting evil monsters into good, even heroic, individuals that lack all trace of what made them fun, interesting, and different.


Bland and Forgettable

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NO SPOILERS

I ran Treason’s Chains at low subtier using the four-player adjustment. It’s pretty forgettable, with a paint-by-numbers storyline and bland encounters. It does advance the PFS storyline in Katapesh, and I’d say that’s its only redeeming value.

SPOILERS!:

Treason’s Chains takes place in the metropolis of Katapesh, a major trading city where anything imaginable can be bought or sold. The scenario starts with a briefing by Venture-Captain Roderus at his headquarters, the Winding Road Inn. Alas, the briefing doesn’t tell the PCs that they’re in Katapesh, or that the city is very different than many others insofar as there are multiple Venture-Captains with responsibilities over different parts of it (a crucial aspect of the plot). What the PCs are told is that Roderus is having his retirement party in the evening and would like the PCs to (covertly) keep an eye on his two likely successors (Wulessa Yuul and Phlegos Dulm), as there are rumours that the rivalry between them has escalated to a dangerous level.

During the party, the PCs maintain their cover by helping out with a variety of tasks such as serving drinks, taking care of the guests’ mounts, delivering food, etc. There are skill checks for each of these tasks that tie into the PCs’ gold rewards at the end of the scenario, and some good suggestions are made as to how to integrate the skill checks naturally into the role-playing scene. I like little things like this, even if they require some quick improv on the GM’s part. While working, the PCs will also meet some of the inn’s other staff, the most important of whom is a goblin named Zig. Zig is a transparent attempt to introduce more likable goblins in anticipation of their becoming a core race in the game’s second edition. I’m not persuaded, but that’s neither here nor there, and we’ll see more of them later in the scenario.

Assuming the PCs manage to gather some information during the party, they’ll learn that VCs Wulessa Yuul and Phlegos Dulm are indeed major rivals, with Phlegos (a half-orc potion maker) allegedly involved in particularly shady activities to undermine his rival like paying street toughs to harass Wulessa’s contacts. The PCs are supposed to decide that, while Phlegos is tied up at the party, it’s the perfect opportunity to snoop around his headquarters (a potion shop and warehouse) for proof of his misdeeds. I thought this was a bit of a stretch based on what limited intel the PCs uncover during the party, but the plot requires what the plot requires, I guess.
At Phlegos’ HQ, the PCs will happen upon another friendly goblin (an accountant’s apprentice, no less--I guess books aren’t that scary after all!) who can easily be persuaded to turn over a ledger that will prove Phlegos’ lllicit dealings. An alternative way to get a separate set of ledgers is to venture into the warehouse, subdue a couple of generic street toughs, and yank the info right out of an office desk (or intimidate the accountant into fetching them). The desk is guarded by a particularly-feeble summon monster trap (one dretch for 5 rounds at low tier; I should mention the four-player adjustment doesn’t work). The whole scene is pretty straightforward, and the most fun I had was role-playing the “pompous, arrogant” accountant.

The PCs are then to head back to the party, where they learn that there’s been an attempted murder! A trio of bards performing at the party (singing songs about being freed slaves from Absalom hoping to liberate others) were poisoned but the assembled Pathfinders at the party reacted quickly enough to save their lives. The prime suspect . . . Zig, the lovable goblin! The PCs may suspect Zig is innocent (all goblins are Lawful Good now, after all) but there’s nothing they can do about it at the moment. Instead, they have to clean up after the party and go to bed.

Hitting the hay after a hard day’s breaking-and-entering and Venture-Captain-Phlegos-is-evil-proving may seem counter-intuitive, but by this point we just have to accept that this scenario is on rails and try to enjoy the ride. And it does allow for my favourite encounter in the scenario. The PCs are attacked by assassins in the middle of the night! Fortunately, more (friendly) goblins awaken the PCs prior to any classic coups de grace, but the PCs still have to do battle against assassins while wearing little to no armor, not having prepared new spells, and with whatever real or improvised weapons happen to be within arm’s reach. It’s pretty rare that encounters like this happen in PFS, and I really like ones that take PCs out of their comfort zones (and reward feats that are relatively rarely taken, like Endurance).

After turning the tables on the would-be assassins, the friendly goblins lead the PCs to their leader, Yigrig Moneymaker. Yigrig is a wealthy goblin who uses his money and connections to free goblin slaves and (cough, cough) “place members of his extended family in respected positions across the Inner Sea.” Yigrig is angry about Zig being framed for the attempted murder, and has done enough business with Phlegos in the past to know that the half-orc must be behind the stitch-up. Yigrig tells the PCs that Phlegos has been involved in importing slaves to Katapesh, and that his operation can be found at an old warehouse on the docks.

This leads to the final part of the scenario. There are a few encounters here against Phlegos’ hired toughs. The chosen flip-mat works really well, and I think the most original part of the scene is that the area is patrolled by a guard holding the leashes of some guard dogs—the rules for the direction of the wind for the purposes of their Scent ability actually comes into play! (I may be over-excited, but I’ve never seen that before, in or out of PFS.) Anyway, the PCs can go in Alkenstar guns-blazing or sneak in, and I do appreciate options. After the dust is settled, the PCs will be able to easily find the evidence they need to further incriminate Phelgos and acquit Zig. Anti-climactically, however, the half-orc is long gone, having fled the city. In the conclusion, we learn that Wulessa Yuul will be the new Venture-Captain for Katapesh.

I didn’t hate Treason’s Chains, but I didn’t particularly like it either. I appreciated the incorporation of the Pathfinders’ situation in Katapesh from Seeker of Secrets, and developing the plotline of the organisation’s leadership in the city makes sense. On the other hand, there wasn’t much description of the city and very little to distinguish it from any other generic urban area. The goblin subplot didn’t do much for me, and I don’t know why PFS scenarios were asked to bear the brunt of laying the groundwork for such a controversial change. The plot for the scenario was almost embarrassingly straightforward, with there being no question from the very beginning that Phlegos was the “bad” Venture-Captain and Wulessa the “good” one. While I don’t need each adventure to be like Murder on the Orient Express, some red herrings and more complex story-telling would have been appreciated. The encounters were also fairly bland, and if I had a ranger in PFS I wish I could take “Favored Enemy (Gang Tough).” The couple of nice bits (the bedtime raid, evading the guard dog patrol) aren’t enough to significantly elevate the scenario. I’d peg it as below average, perhaps suitable for new players who need to learn the game through a very straightforward story.


Treasons Greetings

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What do you get when you mix an unbelievably dull and predictable plotline, some good old fashioned heavy handed moralizing, and some of the most one level boring mook fights ever?

You get a 1 star review thats what.

Stop ruining Goblins.


My copper piece


Spoiler:
Railway scenario. No real choise for PC between of good\bad venture captains (and where is third Katapesh venture captain?)


I've come to expect more from a story since Season 5

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Although I played at a different table than the one Quentin bases his review on, I agree with him: the plot is so predictable that you expect a final plot twist that never comes.
For my part, I played the low tier with 6 players, all in tier: the combats were a walk over without any significant threat or challenge.
I myself was also irritated by the way the goblins were shoe-horned into the story to either explain or promote their introduction into PF2: it felt forced and out of place.
It also felt as if this scenario could have taken place anywhere else: the things that make Katapesh a special place were never really shown.


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Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Party time!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Parties are dangerous in Pathfinder Society. Pathfinders should have parties and spend significant resources staking them out, to catch bad guys. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Do we have a listing of what maps will be used in this as yet?

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Pathfinder Society Scenario #10–06: Treason's Chains uses

Maps:

Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classic: Pub Crawl and two custom half-page maps.


So, is this going to be a mystery similar to Murder on the Throaty Mermaid?

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I enjoyed this one. I think it did a great job setting up goblins for PFS2 as a playable race.

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