Pathfinder Society Scenario #1-01: The Absalom Initiation

3.80/5 (based on 8 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1–4 (Subtiers 1–2 and 3–4).

A new era is beginning for the Pathfinder Society, with new recruits and new factions all excited to build connections and embark on grand adventures. The PCs are among these recruits invited to attend a welcoming party where they can meet both the old guard as well as the up-and-coming leaders. But the party's not all talk; the PCs learn of four exciting escapades in Absalom, through which they can kick off their adventuring careers!

This adventure's individual missions include numerous variations that make each play-through exciting and different.

Written by Lyz Liddell.

Scenario Tags: Repeatable

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

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Fulfilled immediately.

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

PZOPFS0101E


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Average product rating:

3.80/5 (based on 8 ratings)

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Not impressed

2/5

Too much sitting around while the GM makes secret rolls for you. Intro section drags on too long, with too many skill checks, before you get into the action. Though this is admittedly a continuation of late PFS1 scenarios front-loading too much of the same.

The way the GM rolled random elements basically hosed our party as it came out heavy on skills that party was not trained in.

On the whole, an unimpressive introduction to PF 2nd edition, and did not make me want to pick up the system.


Fun, but Long and Difficulty Inconsistent

3/5

Ran it once as a player and once as a GM, and my feelings about it both times are similar - although the adventure is a lot of fun, it is impossible to fit everything into a 4 hour slot (especially with new players) and some parts of the adventure are way more difficult than others.

The roleplay during the first segment was a large challenge for me as a new GM, because I am not familiar with any of the characters, and the adventure does not give suggested dialogue or really any pointers on what the characters would talk about. As a player, my GM was very familiar with Golarion lore and the PFS campaign, so he knew all the characters very well, but as a GM I found myself having to improvise these characters more than I would have liked.

The adventure states that each section should take about 40 minutes. This held true for the Party, Flotsam Graveyard, Petals District, and Westgate sections, but the Precipice Quarter section ran MUCH longer (and that was with omitting the optional encounter, too).

The skill check DCs in the Petals District section and one particular variation of the Westgate section are astronomically high for a party of level 1 players. The major problem I have with the Petals District skill checks in particular is that, due to the crit success/fail system, characters are mechanically discouraged from attempting checks they're not good at, but the Petals District checks are exceptions (because they still reward on failure). This is not intuitive and I found it difficult to encourage my players to attempt these checks while they were also racing against a hazard with damage (and a save DC) tuned WAY too high for a 1st level party.

I think if ran in a 6 hour slot and with the aforementioned DCs tuned down, this would be a super solid adventure, but in its current form, I don't think it was a great pick for brand-new groups.


Best Scenario with Janira

4/5

I have run this twice with four level 1 players, with the intent to do it again in the future. A solid scenario all around.

The socializing didn't seem to take very long for me. I don't think I botched it either. Didn't go more in-depth than the PCs should know, but dredged up some info on the guests for them to play around with. Guess it just depends.

I liked the encounter at the Blakros Museum: Multifaceted, with a place for everyone, and a foe with a fun weakness to tell players. "Cast light on the fighter's sword, go nuts." The fight can go anywhere between easy and catastrophic (mostly for the NPCs). I didn't like that things were occuring throughout the museum, visually nice as it was. I thought it would've helped to draw the whole map to display the experience, which I am awful at. And there was only the one use of the map, in a circular room.

The customization and replay value are good. Fights that can (and often should) be avoided are difficult, giving more chance for challenge.

Some pieces are traps for the GM that look fun, but clearly detract from the player experience and chance of success. Like one of the mob encounters that's harder to quell. It's fun to throw trash and chamber pots (and hazards still have their obscene to-hit from PF1 and SF, which combos with critical hits now). But it has lethal potential and is almost guaranteed to reduce their chance at the secondary success, because they have to resort to violence.


fun but flawed

2/5

As an early scenario for the new edition, this runs into many of the same troubles they had in the first scenarios of PF1. Namely that they haven't quite figured out how to balance things appropriately yet. DCs are all over the board from easy to impossibly high for 1st level characters. Fights also range from easy enemies to monsters that one shot players on a normal hit and instakill them on crits. Having only enemies that were immune to mind affecting led to one player calling it his "worst roleplaying experience ever."

The scenario is way too long, running at 5 hours with the GM skipping and rushing through sections to reduce the play time. Especially as a so called intro scenario, where extra time should be allotted for new players learning the rules.

However, if you can get past these flaws, the scenario itself is great. I had a good time playing it.


A home Run

5/5

I have both played and GMed this. I think that it gives a lot of great introduction content to both the Society itself and to our fair home city of Absalom. A clear PFS2 spiritual successor to First Steps.

The other reviews cover things well, so I will keep it brief.

Start your PFS2 career here!


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The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Any map info yet?


Seconded on maps.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Hmm. Maybe it's only custom maps.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It would still be nice to know that!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

9 people marked this as a favorite.

Maps for The Absalom Initiation:

This adventure uses the following:
  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Haunted House
  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Museum
  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Ship
  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Village Square

    There are not any custom maps.

  • The Exchange

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

    Thank you John!

    Grand Lodge

    Thanks!


    "YESS! I don't have to buy maps!!" *fistpump*

    *eyeballs other GenCon scenarios, discovers a lot of commonality, fistpumps again!


    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    Is this meant for 2.0?


    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    midknightblu wrote:
    Is this meant for 2.0?

    Yes. You can tell that from the reset on the season number (going from 10- to 1-).


    Is this a four hour adventure? And is it intended to be replayable with four different branches players can go on?


    Is this released yet?

    Silver Crusade

    Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    11 more hours.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Iunno if it's intentional but it appears that you can buy it now. (I did, and the download worked!)

    The Concordance

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Akvo wrote:
    Iunno if it's intentional but it appears that you can buy it now. (I did, and the download worked!)

    Which is interesting, as my subscription for it, or any of the PFS2 modules, has yet to fulfill.

    Grand Lodge

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

    Can anyone link to the rules for 2E society? I always wanted to play run/play it in 1E. And can anyone answer if I can run society at home or does it need to be at a flgs for it to count as society play?

    Silver Crusade

    Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    I don't believe the 2e Guide is out yet. And I'm pretty sure you can play PFS at home (there's not a real way to check where you're playing unless it's at conventions).


    Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    I have six subscriptions and received all of my rulebooks and AP volumes this morning but didn't get these new PFS scenarios that were released. I thought that having six subscriptions meant you got the PFS and SFS scenarios free?


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
    Phaedre wrote:
    I have six subscriptions and received all of my rulebooks and AP volumes this morning but didn't get these new PFS scenarios that were released. I thought that having six subscriptions meant you got the PFS and SFS scenarios free?

    I have enough for free PFS scenarios and have that checked on my subscription page. I also do not have these yet.

    Any idea when they'll drop?

    Thanks!


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    Here, Sara Marie said:

    Sara Marie wrote:
    We are having trouble with order creation for org play Scenario subs. Actively being worked on. Unclear of a timeframe


    Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    Joana wrote:

    Here, Sara Marie said:

    Sara Marie wrote:
    We are having trouble with order creation for org play Scenario subs. Actively being worked on. Unclear of a timeframe

    Thanks! I figured it was something like that. I'm sure they'll work it out then, I just wasn't sure if I misunderstood how it was supposed to work since it's a new thing.


    This is good to know.


    I should have these as part of my subscription, and order history says I bought them. But they're not in my downloads.

    Customer service isn't answering...does anyone know if they're working on this bug?

    Silver Crusade

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    Joana wrote:

    Here, Sara Marie said:

    Sara Marie wrote:
    We are having trouble with order creation for org play Scenario subs. Actively being worked on. Unclear of a timeframe

    Three posts up.


    Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

    I received an email about these last night, so it seems they are making progress at least.

    Silver Crusade

    I got an email on Wednesday saying that there were "ordered" since I have the requisite number of subscriptions, but still cannot find them in my downloads.


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

    If you check your "My Accounts" or "Order History" page, you should see something about one or more pending orders. A pending order for PFS means that they have authorized giving you the PDFs but haven't actually given them to you yet.


    Are the goblins still working on this or did they leave for the weekend?

    I don’t want to hammer the My Downloads page with F5 spamming if they’re off for some Well deserved R’n R :)


    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    The Goblins may not be working on it, but we Gremlins are!

    Hope that alleviates any consternation! ;)


    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Master Pugwampi wrote:

    The Goblins may not be working on it, but we Gremlins are!

    Hope that alleviates any consternation! ;)

    Its been a couple weeks, my head is ready to go back in the gears

    Grand Lodge

    4 people marked this as a favorite.
    Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber

    Just received my downloads from my subscription for this and the other Gencon PFS scenarios, and I just want to say, I love love LOVE that full page art for everything we meet is included in the appendix. PLEASE keep doing this. I cannot click like enough on this particular change to scenarios.


    Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    Me too. Got the second email each for both PFS and SFS scenarios, and they were in my downloads.

    Grand Lodge

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

    I got my Starfinder scenarios but still waiting these.


    Got them this morning.

    Silver Crusade

    David knott 242 wrote:

    If you check your "My Accounts" or "Order History" page, you should see something about one or more pending orders. A pending order for PFS means that they have authorized giving you the PDFs but haven't actually given them to you yet.

    Where did you get that profile pic?


    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    Amaron Blackthorn wrote:
    David knott 242 wrote:

    If you check your "My Accounts" or "Order History" page, you should see something about one or more pending orders. A pending order for PFS means that they have authorized giving you the PDFs but haven't actually given them to you yet.

    Where did you get that profile pic?

    It is the better looking of the two male merfolk. I ended up stuck with it when I could no longer find the lashunta that I was previously using.


    Anyone played this yet? Is it a good introduction to new players to ttrpgs?


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

    I can't find the XP reward. Can I get a page #? I assume it's 4, but...

    Scarab Sages

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Has anyone started a GM Discussion page for PFS2?

    The Exchange

    Ginasteri wrote:

    Has anyone started a GM Discussion page for PFS2?

    I played this at Gen Con. My GM wrote down 8 XP. I'm not sure that's right.


    Hi there.

    Can it be played with PF2ed?

    Thanks in advance

    Silver Crusade

    Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    Yes it is intended to be played with the Second Edition ruleset ^w^


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Rysky wrote:
    Yes it is intended to be played with the Second Edition ruleset ^w^

    Thanks a lot.

    Silver Crusade

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    Np :3


    Spoilers:

    I ran this on Sunday in a non-sanctioned home game.
    This was my first time running PF2 and all my players first time playing the edition as well. Some of them first time playing Pathfinder although everyone had TTRPG experience.

    I have to say it was a bit challenging and a lot of parts I had to wing because I didn't understand how they made sense.

    Now, I admit I still haven't finished reading all the CRB and my grasp on the edition is still very loose. But there were situations I was like... wait, what?

    Like, the Haunt in the Mansion. Does the player not get a save for that? It says Stealth 20... so OK, they hear some scratching under the floorboards... OK? Then hands come out and do 4d6 damage regardless? I'm confused.

    There was a lot of parts where you would use checks like Society, Thievery or Athletics to impress the Venture Captains or to dissuade the Crow leaders. But it was very hard for me to make sense of it in a RP standpoint or for my players to figure out what options they ahd other than flat out saying "You can try and use Athletics to get rid of this guy"


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
    Unikatze wrote:

    Spoilers:

    Like, the Haunt in the Mansion.

    Regarding the haunt ...:

    The trigger for the haunt's reaction is "A creature passes through area C2 for the second time in 24 hours." So when the creatures pass through the room the first time, the GM makes secret Perception checks vs. DC 20 (in tier 1-2). If anyone senses the hazard, they can then try the Religion check to disable it. If no one hears it, or they hear it but don't disable it, then it triggers when the creature enters the room a second time.

    What I did wrong with this was that I assumed it triggered each time a creature enters the room a second time (only once per turn, since it is a reaction). I thought the "reset" was what happened when the trap got disabled. Reading the p. 521 directions, I think the trap should only have been able to react once, and then is dormant until midnight when it resets.


    OK, so my main mistake there was having them heard it and not telling them they could try a religion check to disable.


    Question - my group is in the middle of Tyrant's Grasp but we want to play a little PF2 on the side. One of the players is going to GM the PF2. I've managed to keep my group in the dark about the AP.. so far, but I need to know - are there TG spoilers in the text.

    I ask because it's located in Absalom.


    It kinda sucks that brand new scenarios uses maps that aren't available or if found only at extortion prices ($50-70 for a single flip-mat). Been looking around and it doesn't seem possible to get all 4 maps unless you buy the pdf and have them printed.

    Silver Crusade

    Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    Wolftame wrote:
    It kinda sucks that brand new scenarios uses maps that aren't available or if found only at extortion prices ($50-70 for a single flip-mat). Been looking around and it doesn't seem possible to get all 4 maps unless you buy the pdf and have them printed.

    Uh, all but 1 of the maps have copies for sale here on Paizo.

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