Pathfinder Society Scenario #1-11: Flames of Rebellion

3.80/5 (based on 12 ratings)

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

Following the trail of one of the first Pathfinders, the PCs travel to the town of Sauerton where an old ally helps them find important clues. These clues lead the PCs into a dangerous wilderness to an old tower whose history goes back even farther than the Pathfinder Society itself. As the PCs navigate numerous threats with opposing interests, will they find the hidden keys to unlock the secrets of the Open Road Pact, or just another trail obscured by the passage of centuries?

Written by: Michael Sayre

Scenario tags: None

[Scenario Maps spoiler - click to reveal]

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

Other Resources: This product is also available on the following platforms:

Fantasy Grounds Virtual Tabletop

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

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PZOPFS0111E


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3.80/5 (based on 12 ratings)

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1/5


Scaling problems


The scenario delivers on its intended mix of roleplay and dungeon crawl. The opening social encounters can be fun/comical (if you're in a group that has time to linger here), and the characters met during the adventure are interesting (and ambiguously motivated) as well. For an adventure that spends a good amount of time as a dungeon crawl, the players get the chance to think about what the correct resolution is.

Within the "dungeon", the flavor of the encounters strongly matches the nature of its occupants. Each encounter has its twist, and each is a little bit troll-y, in a fun way. My players really enjoyed the encounters.

That said, this scenario needs some editing. For example, the statblock of a hazard is incorrectly specified and can't be run as written, and it makes a significant mistake about its history/timeline (implying two historic figures were contemporaries when they actually lived centuries apart).

There is also a serious editing error that causes one encounter to be extremely difficult with a certain range of CP. This was noted by another reviewer, but I want to be specific about it to (hopefully) induce Paizo to go back and fix this:

Spoiler:
Encounter B4, subtier 3-4 with 19-22 CP would be calculated as above "extreme" by the CRB's method. A party of five level 3 PCs has 20 CP in PFS, so they're the "core" party for this calculation. Per the CRB, a "severe" encounter like this one should have 120 + 30*(#PCs-4) XP, or 150 in this case. Per the scaling, the foes encountered are 2x level 4 (60 XP each), 2x level -1 (10 XP each), and 3x level 1 (20 XP each), plus a level 5 simple hazard (16 XP), for a total of 216. The threshold for an "extreme" encounter is 200, so this is a bit above that. I think the error is having 2x spellweavers rather than just 1; that would make it 156 XP, just barely over the target of 150.

This problem is not present for the other CP scalings for identically leveled party sizes:

Spoiler:
A party of four level 3 PCs has a "severe" target encounter XP of 120, and the scenario provides 126. A party of six level 3 PCs has a "severe" target encounter XP of 180, and the scenario provides 176. A party of seven level 3 PCs has a "severe" target encounter XP of 210 and the scenario provides 216.


A Safe Dungeon Crawl Marred By Poor Design

3/5

1-11 Flames of Rebellion

I played high tier with a mix of level 2, 3, and 4 characters, and I own the scenario with the intent to run it in the future.

1-11 is a classic dungeon crawl with a good amount of history and storytelling baked-in. It felt like a proper exploration, although I do wish we would've been given the opportunity to engage with the dungeon's inhabitants without immediately attempting to exterminate them. The dungeon itself was a bit linear, however this was alleviated by interesting challenges and traps. The diversity and creativity of the challenges, and the tactics of the enemies, fit together nicely to create a cohesive and believable experience. Furthermore, there is a unique encounter later in that really makes use of the Secret roll mechanic built-in to PF2E. Our party was actually split on how to approach the situation, since we had conflicting information, and without knowing who rolled high and who rolled low we simply had to come to a consensus.

Unfortunately, much of the enjoyment that is derived from 1-11 is marred by its final encounter. While authors and developers in PF2S have slowly been achieving an understanding of how to balance encounters for party sizes above four players, the final boss in this scenario is not an example of good encounter design or scaling. Quite the opposite. The scaling calls for increasing the enemy's numerical values, which is an extremely strong ability in Pathfinder 2nd Edition--implications I do not personally think the designers and authors fully grasp. Combined with a narrow and restrictive combat space, limited tactical choices, and some mistakes from the GM that gave the boss too many actions (a fact only made known on my own review of the scenario text), the fight sucks the oxygen out of the room as it drags on--mostly because it ties victory too much into good luck (most of us needed to roll a 15 or better to do anything against the enemy, while he only needed to roll a 5 or better against us).

It is my view that numerical adjustments to monsters to increase challenge does not, on a fundamental level, work with the way the game is played. The action economy is always going to be against the solo monster, so it is better not to have one-on-many boss fights in the first place. Some writers and designers comprehend this, adding minions or allies to the encounter with the "Big Bad Evil Guy" in order to adjust difficulty. Personally I think the same could have been done in this scenario, but the designers and writers choose to take a different approach and one that ultimately diminished the experience for myself and my fellow players.

Ultimately I enjoyed 1-11 and the challenges it offered. I am disappointed, however, that our final challenge managed to thoroughly suck the energy out of the room the way it did.


It's a dungeon crawl

3/5

This module is a dungeon crawl. Not much to say really. You go in, fight, fight, fight, and try to survive. The combats are enjoyable with a sprinkling of traps. The right gear choices can really make or break you in this. For players that love combat and traps, this is right up your alley.


Amazing Scenario!

5/5

There's so much here to love! It delves deep into the metaplot in a way that interested my players more than any other meta scenario they've played thus so far this season. The NPCs were a joy to act out and had incredible impact on my players. The fights themselves were a challenge for the players and gave a breadth of fun options for the GM. The hazards were relevant without slowing down the adventure or feeling unfair, and the final fight is one we will remember for a long time. The boon is absolutely epic and one of the most slotted and used boons in my lodge since.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Good to see this coming and I love having the links for the maps. Unfortunately, these links are going to the maps for 1-10 and need to be fixed.

Dark Archive

Also huh, this is unrelated to Revolution on the Riverside I think, but funny there are two rebellion/revolution adventures in two months row :D

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
CorvusMask wrote:
Also huh, this is unrelated to Revolution on the Riverside I think, but funny there are two rebellion/revolution adventures in two months row :D

They're related in that they're both part of the season's metaplot rediscovering the adventures of the founding Pathfinders, though they don't directly interlink in a way that requires you to play one in order to get the full value from the other.


Michael Sayre wrote:
They're related in that they're both part of the season's metaplot rediscovering the adventures of the founding Pathfinders, though they don't directly interlink in a way that requires you to play one in order to get the full value from the other.

Is there any way to find out which adventures are a part of the metaplot?

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Yrrej86 wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:
They're related in that they're both part of the season's metaplot rediscovering the adventures of the founding Pathfinders, though they don't directly interlink in a way that requires you to play one in order to get the full value from the other.
Is there any way to find out which adventures are a part of the metaplot?

So far that's-

1-00: Origin of the Open Road
1-08: Revolution on the Riverside
1-11: Flames of Rebellion

The next entries should be a two-parter currently scheduled for March.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
numbat1 wrote:

Good to see this coming and I love having the links for the maps. Unfortunately, these links are going to the maps for 1-10 and need to be fixed.

I'll let tech know so we can get those pointing to the right pages.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Michael Sayre wrote:
Yrrej86 wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:
They're related in that they're both part of the season's metaplot rediscovering the adventures of the founding Pathfinders, though they don't directly interlink in a way that requires you to play one in order to get the full value from the other.
Is there any way to find out which adventures are a part of the metaplot?

So far that's-

1-00: Origin of the Open Road
1-08: Revolution on the Riverside
1-11: Flames of Rebellion

The next entries should be a two-parter currently scheduled for March.

I appreciate this!

Thank you very much!

Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Michael Sayre wrote:
numbat1 wrote:

Good to see this coming and I love having the links for the maps. Unfortunately, these links are going to the maps for 1-10 and need to be fixed.

I'll let tech know so we can get those pointing to the right pages.

Whoopsie! This was a copy/paste error on my part, thanks for pointing it out! Those links should be going to the right places now :)

Grand Lodge

Not sure if it's just me, but this keeps downloading empty zip files instead of the scenario?

Have tried an incognito window & tried the "problems downloading" button to refresh the personalization & blocking caching locally, and also tried another browser.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Tim Schneider 908 wrote:

Not sure if it's just me, but this keeps downloading empty zip files instead of the scenario?

Have tried an incognito window & tried the "problems downloading" button to refresh the personalization & blocking caching locally, and also tried another browser.

I was able to download it, but I have no idea if my being on an employee account would affect the results we're each seeing. I'll ping tech so they can see if there's anything visibly wrong on the back end.

Sovereign Court

I was able to download mine without issue.


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

Mine worked fine also.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Retried again now & it's worked :D Probably something went wrong & got stuck in a cache somewhere along the way.

EDIT: To throw in something useful, 10/10 for the new GM synopsis's, Another great little addition added to the list of reasons I'm loving the new 2E scenario layouts!

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Can we please get updated reporting sheets on the 2e adventures? The one that is included in the scenarios do not have enough room for players to write a 7 digit number followed by a four digit number. Under "Org Play #". The easiest solution is to swap "Class" and "Org Play #". Class is something we don't need when reporting.

There has been sufficient time to get this fixed. The community has produced half-page sheets that are better.

Please. Update the reporting sheets. They are not sufficient to be used.

I plan to post this message in all future releases until this gets fixed.

Thank you.

Dark Archive

Michael Sayre,
I would like to make a suggestion or two in regards to flip-tiles

Since these appear to all be numbered/labeled, would it be possible to have those labels on future maps using them? Would make it way faster to find the correct map tile.

Also, please try and be cognizant of the price of these... each pack is twice the price of a flip-mat... so the investment to get three different packs is pretty extreme for one scenario (at about $90, retail)

Thank you.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Silbeg wrote:

Michael Sayre,

I would like to make a suggestion or two in regards to flip-tiles

Since these appear to all be numbered/labeled, would it be possible to have those labels on future maps using them? Would make it way faster to find the correct map tile.

Unfortunately, putting the tags directly on the maps in the scenario is either illegible or unsightly to the point of interfering with necessary tags on the map. This is why we include a list of all the tile numbers for each map at the beginning of the associated encounter area with instructions for how to assemble them.

Quote:


Also, please try and be cognizant of the price of these... each pack is twice the price of a flip-mat... so the investment to get three different packs is pretty extreme for one scenario (at about $90, retail)

Thank you.

We're very cognizant of the cost of flip-tiles, which is one of the reasons we make a point of ensuring that if we use a flip-tile set during a season, we use it across multiple adventures. Two of the three flip-tile packs used in this adventure have been / will be used on at least one other occasion this season and season 10 of the PF1 campaign (numerous times in the case of Forest Starter Set).

For the folks who pay to print out custom maps, we've already saved them enough money this season to pay for the entire set of flip-tiles used in this adventure (at least based on local rates for flip-mat sized color printouts). For the folks who buy our products for every adventure they run, we can keep things a lot fresher with the flip-tiles than we were able to with just the map packs and flip-mats, and using the same tile set across multiple adventures doesn't mean we're recycling the same map(s).

Grand Lodge

Michael Sayre wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Also huh, this is unrelated to Revolution on the Riverside I think, but funny there are two rebellion/revolution adventures in two months row :D
They're related in that they're both part of the season's metaplot rediscovering the adventures of the founding Pathfinders, though they don't directly interlink in a way that requires you to play one in order to get the full value from the other.

Can "metaplot" be added to the scenario tag, please?

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