Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-18: The Daughters' Due

4.30/5 (based on 4 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 5-9.

Beautiful and influential, the Blakros family rose to prominence in part thanks to an ancient pact they at last broke nearly a decade ago, drawing the ire of the sinister Onyx Alliance. Ever since fighting off these foes, though, the Blakroses and Pathfinder Society largely assumed their enemies defeated—at least until spotting Alliance fetchlings wielding treasures stolen from the Blakros Museum. At considerable cost, the Blakros family has hired the Society to identify the thieves and learn of the Onyx Alliance's plans. Can the PCs separate truth from illusion as their investigation takes them to gloom-shrouded Shadow Absalom?

Written by Thurston Hillman.

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

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4.30/5 (based on 4 ratings)

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Strong Continuation of the Storyline

4/5

NO SPOILERS

The Daughters' Due continues a really good and long-running (albeit, sporadically attended to) minor storyline in PFS. The scenario definitely ticks all the boxes in terms of role-playing, combat, and skill use. It offers an enjoyable progression in the storyline, and although I would've liked more setting flavour in certain parts, overall it was a solid and satisfying experience.

SPOILERS!:

One of the great things about Pathfinder Society is that it can be far more than just an isolated series of one-shots. The Daughters' Due, for example, continues a story started in a scenario *eight* years ago! I've played that first one, though I haven't played any others in the series, but together they form a really interesting storyline concerning the Blakros family (of eponymous museum fame), the Onyx Alliance (a nefarious organisation from the shadow plane's mirror version of Absalom), and an alliance between the two groups that proved profitable but at great cost. When The Daughters' Due starts, previous scenarios have explored how the arrangement between the Blakros family and the Onyx Alliance (in which the former would periodically give up a daughter in exchange for wealth and magical relics from the latter) was finally ended with intervention from the Pathfinder Society. The Onyx Alliance, however, has also had an internal reorganization--unbeknownst to the Blakros family or the Pathfinders, one of their "sacrificed" daughters (Sarnia Blakros) has successfully launched a coup to take over the organisation, and is using its resources to secretly steal treasured antiquities from the museum--she has no qualms about getting back at the family that gave her up years ago.

The PCs get involved when they receive a letter from an anonymous member of the Decemvirate that explains that Venture-Captain Drendle Dreng is undercover in Shadow Absalom and has noticed a resurgence in Onyx Alliance activity. That, combined with suspicion that items have been stolen from the Blakros Museum, is enough for the PCs to be assigned to investigate. When they arrive at the museum, the head of the family, Hamaria Blakros, asks the PCs to verify a log of items marked as "destroyed" by the museum's curator, Nigel Aldain. Aldain explains that repeated battles over the past decade in the museum by Pathfinders have led to much destruction--which, when you think about it, must be true! There are something like a dozen scenarios set in the museum, so one can't help but imagine a stray fireball here and there (not to mention my caveman-shaman Gurkagh who once used exhibits as improvised weapons!).

The first part of the scenario involves the PCs looking around the museum and asking questions of the staff to discern whether four items that Aldain assumed were destroyed could, in fact, have been stolen. The items have some interesting backstory, and the PCs can make various skill checks to gather clues on what happened to them (but there needs to be some sort of timer or limit to the number of skill check attempts, otherwise folks are just rolling dice until they succeed). The scenario is designed to lead the PCs to the conclusion that they've been taken through a portal to Shadow Absalom, but many of the clues are fairly ambiguous. When I played it, the group (perhaps naturally) suspected that Aldain had ulterior motives behind labelling the items as destroyed, and we treated him more as a criminal suspect than simply negligent at inventory management! Mysteries are very difficult to write well in RPGs, as players are likely to ask very specific, detailed questions in order to look for inconsistencies that may be clues or proof of deception. I didn't think the scenario handled this issue particularly well, and having most the information coming from unnamed, generic "museum staff" didn't help--it puts a lot of weight on the GM to flesh things out, and mysteries are dangerous territory for improvised detail.

Arguably, the best course of action for the museum would be to acknowledge the four exhibits as lost causes and permanently seal up the portal to Shadow Absalom in order to prevent any future thefts. But it's a slow day in the Pathfinder Society, so the PCs are sent to get them back! I was excited for this part of the scenario, as I've played an adventure set in the location before, and Shadow Absalom is a really cool, creepy, intriguing place. Unfortunately, very little of that flavour comes across in The Daughters' Due, and unless the GM does a lot of work, Shadow Absalom probably won't seem all that different than regular Absalom. More built-in flavour (not just a sidebar) would help a lot.

Anyway, the middle part of the scenario has the PCs gathering information and travelling to different locations across the city to recover the missing exhibits. At one location, over-eager PCs will blow Drandle Dreng's cover and probably start an unnecessary fight against fletchings working for the Onyx Alliance--I liked how the encounter was set up, as it's definitely one that rewards stealth and subtlety instead of the way most groups handle things. A second location is the infamous Soul Stalls, where night hags and others openly trade magic items, rubies, and mortal souls! The PCs can fight a night hag to recover the exhibit they're after, or they can bribe her with gold or . . . even a soul! Though any PC who assumes it's no big deal to sell their soul will be in for a nasty surprise when they see the Chronicle sheet.

The last part of the scenario (though the order can vary) has the PCs visiting the Shadow Absalom version of the Blakros Museum--here, it's "Wightir House", an Onyx Alliance storage facility. (as an aside, it's very clever how this and previous scenarios account for changing maps used for the museum over the years.) Here, the PCs will meet Sarnia Blakros herself (cool artwork!). She comes across as a very sympathetic character, and I wish the scenario has presented a more immediate way for the PCs to ally themselves with her (instead, they can only express their preferences to the Society's leadership during the scenario's epilogue) Sarnia communicates with the PCs solely through a magical representation, so she's not a combat target. After battling some "Taxidermic Triceratops" (gotta love Pathfinder sometimes!), the PCs will meet a fan-favourite NPC in the otyugh known as Hats. Hats happens to be wearing one of the museum exhibits that the PCs want, and there's a range of options the PCs can try for recovery. It's a really amusing encounter. There's one final room guarded by some ice golems and an Onyx Alliance agent.

Once the PCs have the four items, they can return to the Blakros Museum without any difficulty. Depending on how they portray their interaction with Sarnia Blakros, reporting conditions promise the possibility of continued evolution in the storyline--perhaps the Pathfinder Society will ally with the Onyx Alliance instead of the Blakros family?

The Daughters' Due just a fantastic job integrating previous scenarios, down to very small details that could easily be forgotten or overlooked. I liked how the storyline was advanced, and the encounters are solid. I do feel like more thought could have been put into the investigation phase and that Shadow Absalom should have been give more flavour. Overall though, this was a fun, solid scenario and definitely worth playing.


Welp this was pleasant surprise

5/5

Its basically "so let's recap Blakros museum of 1e pfs and set up what will be the plot in 2e as well as bringing Onyx Alliance back to relevancy" scenario :D Also poor Nigel Aldain, 2/3 of party I run decided to report him as incompetent (because of their previous experiences from previous scenarios, considering that this time it was genuinely honest mistake most likely since no way he could have predicted those events on his own :D)


A roughshod railroad that makes you pay for the pleasure

3/5

Pros: I thoroughly enjoyed the first part, investigating. That felt very well fleshed out with lots of hooks to cling to, at least how it was run for me. Shadow Absalom was once again well-portrayed

Cons: Most of the rest felt very forced, even as it presented a 'choice'. At one point, the party can choose to act like savage buffoons, or shell out a large sum of gold. Later it felt like we had no chance (perhaps high DCs?) to press for middle of the road solutions, only harshness or nothing. In the end it felt like we didn't accomplish anything that we actually wanted to, despite 'success'.

Neutral: The cameo of the 'five star exclusive character' felt very forced and largely inconsequential, but still held some humor.


A Wonderful Season PFS1 Conclusion to the Blakros

5/5

I played this adventure at subtier 8-9 and I haven't run it.

This felt like a nice conclusion to a lot of the elements of the Blakros family that have come up over the years. It has a lot of callbacks to previous adventures.

The adventure opens with a heavy investigation emphasis and eventually leads into more combat focused encounters. We don't get much of a chance to explore the city, but I didn't miss it that much as we got to delve into a few encounters that felt like they gave me a nice sense of the area.

At the start the GM provided a list of scenarios stating that my presence in those might affect the scenario. As I was starting up it made me feel like I was missing content by having other character out of tier for the adventure. I realize that isn't the case, but I would suggest GMs not to emphasize the list of Blakros related scenarios as unlocking any additional options, content, or bonuses.

I did one have an partial issue with some of the callbacks and referrals to prior adventures.

At some point the adventure brings the party into contact with a character that is from a 5-star exclusive scenario. A lot of my questions about this character were cut off by, "can't talk to you about that without spoiling this other scenario." At this point, since we are at the end of the run of PFS1, it felt certain that I'm not going to get a chance to play this scenario and it is especially true for my friend who had no idea who this character was. While I enjoy the reference, it felt like it relied too heavily on knowledge from that previous scenario.

Aside from that issue, I had a good time with this adventure.


Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

SHADOW (Absalom) LODGE!

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I mean, what could possibly go wrong in this scenario?

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Everything.

Dataphiles

Ouch. That 5-9 tier is a game changer. I'm going to have to hold off leveling Xadd, my Wayang Alchemist, for this one. I've been waiting for more Blakros/Onyx Alliance content.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I’m 17% sure I made this happen with my review of the Penumbral Accords.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Jhaeman wrote:
I’m 17% sure I made this happen with my review of the Penumbral Accords.

Or, ya know, my nefarious "grand plan" that I've been building up since ~2011 and have put out breadcrumbs throughout a ton of my scenarios in one form or another. The same plan that gets some pretty major reveals in Distant Realms. It COULD be that related to that too... <3

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Jhaeman wrote:
I’m 17% sure I made this happen with my review of the Penumbral Accords.
Or, ya know, my nefarious "grand plan" that I've been building up since ~2011 and have put out breadcrumbs throughout a ton of my scenarios in one form or another. The same plan that gets some pretty major reveals in Distant Realms. It COULD be that related to that too... <3

Would you be willing to share a reading list for those of us that want to do our homework???

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Northern Dreamer wrote:
Would you be willing to share a reading list for those of us that want to do our homework???

Oh geeze... hmmm... I guess...

Fun Reading Material (But Totally NOT required):
-Grand Convocation 4712 (Not in Print, you had to be there)
-The Blakros Matrimony
-The Traitor's Lodge
-True Dragons of Absalom
-The Rose Street Revenge
-Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Distant Realms

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Not so random aside, I really really love the breadcrumbs and seeing story threads continue :D

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Any word on what maps the scenario may use? Inquiring minds and all...

Liberty's Edge

I'm running this in two weeks. What maps will we need?
Any word?

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Maps appearing in #10-18:

  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Carnival
  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Slum Quarter
  • Full-page custom map (the old Blakros museum, as featured in scenario #2-11)
  • Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

    :O

    Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    TriOmegaZero wrote:
    :O

    Yuuuuup! Get ready to break out an old favorite map for another adventure!

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