Pathfinder Society Scenario #1-10: Tarnbreaker's Trail

3.10/5 (based on 11 ratings)

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

Venture-Captain Bjersig Torrsen has set out the call for a group of Pathfinders to compete in a race known as the Balgirdtrek. Taking place in the Land of the Linnorm Kings, this race is an annual event that includes participants from both the Varki and Ulfen people of the region. Bjersig hopes that by having the PCs participate, they might not only bolster the Society's reputation in the Saga Lands, but also document this exciting event. Although the Society has the organizers' official permission, some of the Ulfen competitors in particular see the Pathfinders' participation as an intrusion on their time-honored pastime. The true challenge of this race is not monsters or villains, but the harsh nature of the grueling marathon itself.

Written by: Steven Hammond

Scenario tags: Repeatable

[Scenario Maps spoiler - click to reveal]

The following maps used in this scenario are also available for purchase here on paizo.com:

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

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PZOPFS0110E


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Average product rating:

3.10/5 (based on 11 ratings)

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2/5

This is another repeatable that I enjoy GMing but don't like as a player.

The things that matter never change. (Like who the bad guys are.)

The overland travel mechanics don't really make sense. There's an influence skill game that doesn't really matter either.

The order that some challenges are can be randomized, along with the weather and exactly what kind of sabotage but nothing that actually matters.

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GMing it I do my best to provide flavor/knowledge advantages based on befriending other teams, as well as streaching creative solutions to make the night phase more interesting/rewarding.

I skip the maps for all the skill encounters as they don't provide any real benefit

That said the setup is neat, I really like the intro with the Venture Captain and there aren't any weak filler combats just cuz.

It needs a couple more skill challenges to have it being repeatable make sense. The night phase and the social/investigative stuff need a little more development to tie them in better and we're so close to rating this 5 stars.

Instead I'm a 2.5 Good premise, good skill challenges. The social bit is largely pointless, the replayability is low and there's some lack of clarity in the writing regarding both rewards, and some of the challenges. That said I enjoy GMing it.


Another deadly and unfun boss

1/5

The scenario was nothing but hours of skill checks followed by a single combat with a massively powerful boss that can delete the poor players.

Not fun in any way, another example of season one throwing lethal single-enemy combats at the characters.


4/5

If this was a non-repeatable scenaro, I'd give it 5 stars. I love the winterland atmosphere with the human vs nature feeling, the race, the various teams and the stalker. Unfortunately the replay value is relatively low, hence the 4 stars.

For GMs:

It's important to check if you have the revised version. In the original one the players simply cannot lose the race which makes this aspect somewhat pointless.

There could be 2-3 randomized tasks for the checkpoint areas, this would already enhance the replay value a lot. (I guess the GMs can invent some themselves as long as they don't change the settings but that would be the scenario's job.)

Also, I don't really understand why there isn't a variable monster encounter in the end. Maybe some custom draconic creature? Mini frostworm? ...?

The bear can insta-kill lvl1 characters, so GM needs to pay extra attention with low tier parties.
I found it useful to have a race tracker map which the players can inspect each day.


2/5

There are a lot of comments about the scenario changing, and I don't know whether I played or GMed the unrevised or revised version.

The scenario is a mediocre scenario as a repeatable, and well below average for a non-repeatable. The maps feel unnecessary, and the combat is non-existent until it suddenly insta-perma-kills characters. It's fine as an introductory scenario for newer players, so long as the GM takes the hardest edge off the final encounter.


The new version is a good change

4/5

I played Tarnbreaker both before and after it was changed. It does feel better after the changes as it feels like you can fail, and yes you can now. Pushing yourself against nature was kind of fun and doing it in the frame work of following the legends of old was a nice flavor to add on.

One part at the end is if the party helps another cross the finish line means they can lose. This was kind of stupid I feel. Write it so the legend of old did the same thing and this only adds on more points to the party so they will get the win if they do the good thing of helping a party cross the finish line. I think locking it too much to the point system kind of holds it back.

The combat is scary at the end which is nice. Good challenge that really snaps everyone's focus on that and the possibly of doing a rescue during it, just adds a nice level of complication for players to debate with their morals.


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Sovereign Court

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I love that the maps included in a scenario is part of the product description now!

My players had a lot of fun in the last PFS race scenario, and this one looks even more deadly. Always looking forward to more Ulfen material.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps Subscriber
KitsuneWarlock wrote:
I love that the maps included in a scenario is part of the product description now!

Plus 1!

So helpful in evaluating whether or not to pick up the scenario.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Agree, map links are wonderful. Can easily order if needed and be prepared. Thank you.

Shadow Lodge

Is this scenario supposed to only award 4 fame and 2 reputation at the most?

Thanks in advance!

Dark Archive

Just wondered about that topic, too. Isn't it supposed to provide 2 fame and 2 reputation for each, primary and secondary goal?

Grand Lodge

It is 4 and 4. There is a comment that clarifies this on the GM forum thread.

Shadow Lodge

Thod wrote:

It is 4 and 4. There is a comment that clarifies this on the GM forum thread.

Do you happen to have a link? I also think it's supposed to be 2 and 2 for each, but given how the text is written, and repeated, as "2 and 1" I wanted to check.

Thanks!

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
CanisDirus wrote:
Thod wrote:

It is 4 and 4. There is a comment that clarifies this on the GM forum thread.

Do you happen to have a link? I also think it's supposed to be 2 and 2 for each, but given how the text is written, and repeated, as "2 and 1" I wanted to check.

Thanks!

I was certain I read it on the GM section of the society - but the thread where I thought it is doesn't answer it. Now I'm confused if I took a question for an answer or mis-remember the place where I read it.

On a different note:
The PP and success calculations seem to have been warped during development. It has been acknowledged that this part is wrong and that they will issue a corrected pdf. Unfortunately due to Christmas that might not happen before next year anymore.

For more details - my OP showing that something is off (my Maths isn't 100% either - one trial can't be done multiple times to gain PP). But the important replies are the second and fourth reply by Michael Sayre - organized play developer.

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42vv4?pfs2-110-PP-vs-success-Maths-completely- off

Liberty's Edge

Thod wrote:
CanisDirus wrote:
Thod wrote:

It is 4 and 4. There is a comment that clarifies this on the GM forum thread.

Do you happen to have a link? I also think it's supposed to be 2 and 2 for each, but given how the text is written, and repeated, as "2 and 1" I wanted to check.

Thanks!

I was certain I read it on the GM section of the society - but the thread where I thought it is doesn't answer it. Now I'm confused if I took a question for an answer or mis-remember the place where I read it.

On a different note:
The PP and success calculations seem to have been warped during development. It has been acknowledged that this part is wrong and that they will issue a corrected pdf. Unfortunately due to Christmas that might not happen before next year anymore.

For more details - my OP showing that something is off (my Maths isn't 100% either - one trial can't be done multiple times to gain PP). But the important replies are the second and fourth reply by Michael Sayre - organized play developer.

Link fixed


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Thod wrote:
CanisDirus wrote:
Thod wrote:

It is 4 and 4. There is a comment that clarifies this on the GM forum thread.

Do you happen to have a link? I also think it's supposed to be 2 and 2 for each, but given how the text is written, and repeated, as "2 and 1" I wanted to check.

Thanks!

I was certain I read it on the GM section of the society - but the thread where I thought it is doesn't answer it. Now I'm confused if I took a question for an answer or mis-remember the place where I read it.

Perhaps you mean Linda Zayas-Palmer's post in this thread. It's a thread for different scenario but I think the intent is that this is the standard pattern for all scenarios.

Shadow Lodge

I suspect you're right, Iogsig.

In the mean time, Michael confirmed our shared suspicions in the thread Thod started here that the rewards are indeed 2/2 per success condition.

Grand Lodge

logsig - that is likely what happened. I read the post for 1-06 and in my mind must have applied it to 1-08. Luckily as CanicDirus pointed out - it has now also been confirmed by Michael for 1-10.

Shadow Lodge

I'm just hoping the numbers issue Thod identified gets its fix soon, seeing that we're now about 2 weeks past when it was originally noticed.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

CanisDirus wrote:
I'm just hoping the numbers issue Thod identified gets its fix soon, seeing that we're now about 2 weeks past when it was originally noticed.

The updated file should have been uploaded; let me know here if you're still not seeing it.

Liberty's Edge

Michael Sayre wrote:
CanisDirus wrote:
I'm just hoping the numbers issue Thod identified gets its fix soon, seeing that we're now about 2 weeks past when it was originally noticed.
The updated file should have been uploaded; let me know here if you're still not seeing it.

Does Paizo still send out emails when products have been updated? Those were a helpful metric for noting when things have been fixed.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Arnim Thayer wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:
CanisDirus wrote:
I'm just hoping the numbers issue Thod identified gets its fix soon, seeing that we're now about 2 weeks past when it was originally noticed.
The updated file should have been uploaded; let me know here if you're still not seeing it.
Does Paizo still send out emails when products have been updated? Those were a helpful metric for noting when things have been fixed.

Yeah, my understanding is that one should have been generated when the update was pushed through.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

How come no upcoming scenarios for 2020 are listed so far?

Shadow Lodge

Michael - I never got any emails about this scenario being updated (just learned about it by watching the threads on the PFS boards). I had some new questions based on the update which I also put over there, too (don't want to be bothering you and Linda in multiple places when I already hate bothering either/both of you at all to begin with...).

Thanks for the work on this!


I can’t find this anywhere in the scenario. How much money is in the coin purse given to the party by Venture-Captain Bjersig Torrsen in the pre-mission briefing?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
TheBigBlueFrog wrote:
I can’t find this anywhere in the scenario. How much money is in the coin purse given to the party by Venture-Captain Bjersig Torrsen in the pre-mission briefing?

It's not stated. I assume it's enough to handwave the cost of the equipment listed in handout 1 for the purpose of playing the scenario. I tell players to use their own funds to buy anything they want to keep after the scenario.

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