Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-10: The Shattered Shield

*½( )( )( ) (based on 8 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-5.

When news arrives that one of the shards of the holy relic known as the Shattered Shield of Arnisant have been put up for sale in a Rahadoumi auction, the Pathfinder Society is highly skeptical, particularly since all the shards of the shield are safely accounted for, enshrined in the nation of Lastwall's capital city, Vigil. However, the Society's sources have confirmed that the seller does indeed seem to have a powerful magical relic identical to one of the shards, so the Pathfinders have sent a team to investigate. What secrets might be uncovered in this nation where religion is banned? And who besides the Pathfinder Society and their allies in Lastwall might be seeking the purported relic?

Contents in The Shattered Shield also contribute directly to the ongoing storyline of the Dark Archive faction.

Written by Leo Glass.

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

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*½( )( )( ) (based on 8 ratings)

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Fixer-upper, but wow.

***( )( )

My players really enjoyed this one! That said, a lot of that is owed to the effort I put in as a GM, and to the prior reviewers who told me what to look out for. Here’s the good stuff:

The setting is fantastic--remarkably spooky and dark, full of intrigue and history. Some neat mechanics come into play. Overall, the players can feel like they have true agency if you play it right. (I’ll put my vote in as disagreeing with previous reviewers who complained of railroading. They have a lot of ways to accomplish their task!) The villain, especially, can be extremely cool. Two nifty mechanics mix things up for the party:

the fire and the auction.

Main issues:

Plot holes/hand-waving:
You find the captain just randomly in the desert, and she’s the exact person you need to bypass the line. If the players don’t find her, they’re stuck. If they do, it seems like too great a coincidence. Then, you just happen to find in some random burning building four random items, including—I kid you not—a last will and testament hidden inside a painting? Kinda silly. The villain seems to have no real motivation to stick around besides playing games, especially with how little background the players actually get from the basic scenario.

Lower subtier mobs get stomped in a heartbeat, but the upper-tier will TPK you in a heartbeat. Truly murderous special abilities.

The auction has precious few instructions. My players bid too conservatively in the beginning because they really had no clue how much the others could bring to the table.

The True Tragedy: The villain is awesome. Their backstory left me conflicted, feeling a sense of pity but also of danger and threat. Too bad the players, by the basic scenario, never get to see it!

Here’s what I tweaked:
Have the players get to Azir and see the huge lines, then have the guards drop something about how this’ll never get moving until the captain comes back from her patrol. She’s late, which worries them. This allows players to feel like they have a way around their objective, rather than a random NPC drop that solves a problem that hadn’t yet arisen. DCs and mechanics, of course, remain unchanged.

Torvad gives them the seeds, having planned to use them at the auction to bribe Adenalar. They find the will at the museum—the Borkalik brother boasts about how much his family’s donated to it, and the sister quietly insists to the players that the will must be around here somewhere. Same perception DC. The statue’s whatever since Pateba doesn’t bring a lot of dosh to the table. Spreading out the finds, making some of them chance and some driven by interactions with the auction-goers, really makes it more natural for the party.

Really play up the PCs options once in the city. Express to them the variety of leads they have to follow up on, even if they can only progress directly with one. Stress that they can work with the Pure Legion if necessary, or they can remain outside the law.

Atmosphere. You gotta show the fear of the aurum death, with gold sellers having closed their booths in the Grand Souk (possibly under pressure of the Pure Legion). Bring up the Ul’Ravi family, maybe one of the auction items comes from their holdings and the disguised ghoul seems to have a special affinity for it. When they finally confront the boss, have her heavily hint at her past as a gamer. Mine flew into a rage when our trigger-happy gunslinger shot the shard out of her hand. “You’re just like them! Punishing me! All I wanted was to play a game!” Then the black lights start flashing.

Folks, love takes work. You have to be ready to improvise and DM like a real dungeon master, transporting your players into the setting. But if you’re willing to meet this scenario head-on and go the extra mile, you’ll find a truly rewarding experience. And so will your players. Hey, we even finished in four hours!

Absurdly overcomplicated

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I can't really add anything new to the existing reviews, I just wanted to help see how many 1 star reviews this scenario can get. And, quite frankly, I NEEDED to vent after this monstrosity

The whole thing is absurdly over complicated and it makes no sense when you play it and even less sense when you read it later.

Its far too deadly, especially for a tier 1-5 where new players are a very lively possibility.

Making it undead all the time and making those undead tougher with a b$*$$~#% disease that makes undead far tougher without raising their CR is just more bad writing.

And the railroad tracks are just crazy stupid on this one. Vaguely sane PCs would just acknowledge failure and go home long before the end.

Not to mention the whole "Your in the CAPITAL CITY of a country with what you're told is a VERY good law enforcement force but they need level 1-2 characters to save the day?"

This feels like it might once have been a decent module which then got totally cut in production. Its too long, too much happens, it all makes no sense.

Or maybe Paizo just wasn't paying any attention because everybody was way too busy with PF2

*( )( )( )( )

This is one of the worst scenarios I've ever played. Alas. The main claim - silly and illogical reactions of the majority of NPC. We played scenario for 6 hours, most of the time spent in polemics, and then gave up. Rating of 1 star is quite appropriate.

I want to like this scenario. And I kinda do. It's just good ideas, but poorly written, with bad or absent mechanics, in a heavily railroaded scenario.

I had fun, players had fun, but it doesn't mean it's a good scenario, since most of the time was laughing at the scenario, not with it.
Not saying "DON'T RUN THIS!" - just saying, be prepared to do a lot of work and handwaive lots of inconsistencies and hope players don't question the plot >.>



The first encounter in the desert had good mood setting and was really foreboding.
Problem is that the mechanics are just time wasting, and there is no challenge in them. The encounter, while it ties into the story sorta later, is a completely random "you just happaned to run into a person that may be of great help to you later."

The second encounter while waiting to get into the city is sorta comical but kinda fun. We had fun when the TSA confiscated the party's holy water bottles.

Third encounter. The idea is fun. The mechanical exectuion is weird. Stuffing the plotguffins into the manor was really crude and the combat in high tier can be stupidly deadly. Our party also failed 3/4 saves. Luckily, they all rolled just 1 round for paralysis duration, and managed to kill the thing.

The fourth encounter. Why is she there. What for. Just... Why. And not to mention that the GM is given just about zero tools for actually running the bidding. Prepare to do kinda lots of the work.
Thing here is... The players might manage to kill the boss here. And if they do, they are rewarded with the final fight being 2-3 times as hard as it would have been if they hadn't killed the boss here, plus, set up in such a way that they are likely to (accidentally, without knowing) destroy one of the boons on the chronicle sheet.
The adventure is literally set up so that if players over-perform earlier, they are punished in for it in the end.

The last part would be interesting except that the adventure is pretty long, so expect players to just look at you stupefied as you speed them through the weird dungeon, with them not knowing what's happening. There won't be time for the optional encounter.
And then the boss fight.

The boss presents a game to the players. The game is effectively: "Heads, I win, Tails, you lose." If the boss is alive, there's no challenge because a party of 4-6 charaters will gang up on a solo caster before it can pull of ANYTHING. They might get a cool boon if they don't have zealots in the party.
If the boss died earlier, there's still a caster, but it's accomppanied by a CR 7 melee monster, and if the players kill This caster, they lose a boon. Horrible design.

To emphasize - scenario is written in a way that punishes parties that perform too well in a certain part, and it punishes them pretty heavily (in my opinion). A GM can fix it by "preventing players from out-performing" but that shouldn't be needed in a scenario.

The Shattered Narrative

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This scenario, which was written by an editor, was the most poorly edited scenario I've seen since Library of the Lion.

The players are penalized for not asking about a meaningless activity in the opening crawl.

The auction is not given enough narrative attention.

There is too much content. This should have been two scenarios.

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Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Hey, back to Rahadoum, THAT can’t go wrong...

Can't wait! Any word on which, if any, flip mats will be used with this one?


Is this planned to be available soon? We've scheduled to have this played at my local hobby store December 20th!

Grand Lodge

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

This scenario is a December release, usually the last Wednesday of the month. Since that is directly after Christmas, it may release early or it may not. You should schedule a different scenario for that day.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

I'm not sure why this is listed as a November scenario (#10-08 and #10-09 were our November scenarios). This is intended as a December release. I'll see about getting this corrected.

We're getting December scenarios wrapped up a little earlier than we would most other adventures largely because we need everything finalized and queued to go live on the website before much of the office empties for holiday travel. As usual, though, December scenarios become available on the last Wednesday of the month, which this year would be December 26th.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Prepping and reading this was a joy. I have the perfect ratty old fairground teddy for the poppet :-)

Also, maps since I didn't see it posted yet.


Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Noble Estate
Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Museum
One Custom Full Page map

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Matt Duval wrote:

Prepping and reading this was a joy. I have the perfect ratty old fairground teddy for the poppet :-)

Also, maps since I didn't see it posted yet.
** spoiler omitted **

How did this game end up going for you?

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Michael Sayre wrote:

How did this game end up going for you?

Gonna spoiler just in case, but in general, had a very fun time!


The antagonist was very colorful, the PCs really engaged with several of the NPCs they met, and the buildup encounters did a good job of getting the paladin really gung-ho against the villain. It felt like an Indiana Jones story with a nice mix of intrigue, subterfuge, and combat; I was imagining the Cairo scenes in Raiders for much of it. I don't want to get too into spoilers in the product thread since there's a lot of stuff that happens that has fun surprise value [particularly one cinematic moment], but I enjoyed it and I think the players did too. I had a couple minor quibbles but overall a great addition to season 10.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Need clarification on a statblock:

Gold-clad mummies have mummy rot referenced in their SQ section and the blurb about it only being curable is in the entry for aurum death. So do they have both, or can their aurum death only be treated like mummy rot, or what?

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