Pathfinder Society Scenario #1-11: Flames of Rebellion

4.10/5 (based on 7 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:

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

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PZOPFS0111E


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4.10/5 (based on 7 ratings)

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Great fights!

4/5

The scenario has a number a good story points.

There are a variety of fights that are differently challenging to different groups. While it's possible, I guess, for “just the right party” to breeze through every fight, or to be in danger of party wipe in every fight, it seems to me likeliest that most parties will have a good mix of “oh-my-G-d-we're-all-going-to-die" moments, and fights in which they can feel their characters to be “in control” of the situation. The scaling of the fights seemed right – they nicely avoided the boring old “add some more X” methods.

The fights also encourage/permit innovation in movement and terrain use. A real swashbuckling element, usually missing in “indoor” fights.

The adversaries and others are interesting, with interesting motivations.

Unfortunately, the physical layout of the maps seemed poor. Out of game the tiles are so obnoxious to assemble that we end up laying out other terrain pieces “close enough.” I am glad that the battle areas/maps were “compact” – it gave a claustrophobic sense of the encounters, and kept the table from being too crowded!

In-game, the history/design of layouts makes no sense. Who the Heck would plan the design of a building to leave X in that space, a Y in that space, and/or a Z in that space? Places need to make sense for suspension of disbelief, just as NPCs and adversaries do.

I'm not usually a huge fan of dungeon crawls, but this was exceptional. Definitely worthwhile, but not everything that it could have been with more careful editing.


3/5

I played the scenario recently and then read through the encounters afterwards to find out what exactly went on there. We had four players and about of them liked the scenario, the others didn’t very much.

The Good

The introduction was pretty fun, even if there is a lot of travelling and talking to people that doesn’t give you any real information. I think the dungeon layout was nice and there was a reasonable amount of encounters for a dungeon crawl. The encounters and traps in a vacuum were interesting and creative too.

The Bad

A few encounters were not very challenging and felt like filler in comparison to the overtuned other encounters and there is no good way for players to know when difficulty spikes will happen and how to avoid them. More in spoilers. May run pretty long depending on how encounters play out.

The Ugly

Challenge point system doesn’t see to adjust to the power of the group well. Certain challenge point ranges seem way more difficult than others.

Spoiler:

We were 4 players: Level 4 Rogue (2x), Fighter 4, Druid 2 (21 challenge points)
The druid was a normal mix of ranged damage with spells and healing, all others primarily melee without striking ranged weapons.
Encounters were very easy until the kobolds at the barricade. It ended up being a very long, dragged out encounter that we barely won with the level 2 druid dying. We checked the boss and after rolling a knowledge check that revealed the infernal wounds we decided not to attempt fighting him.
I read through the encounters to find out what went wrong and was pretty horrified about the amount of HP, enemy types and adjustment by challenge points.
Or group of three level 4s and a level 2 was up against two level 4.5s, three level 2s and two weak level 0.5 enemies. Thar is already a pretty severe difficulty and with the terrain the players don’t know and will waste their turns on (not very enjoyable btw) this becomes very deadly. Even though the GM played the enemies very intelligently (maybe a bit too much), an almost tpk is an expected result with this kind of difficulty. A group of six or seven low tier characters in the same difficulty might just tpk without much of a chance right then. The next higher challenge rating bracket is quite a bit easier since there is one less caster that is very high hp and very dangerous with this kind of terrain. Of course groups with many ranged fighters and casters will have an easier time with this encounter but it is still overtunded.
The last encounter is overtunded as well. Again with challenge points 19-22 being more dangerous than the next bracket. The amount of damage the boss does combined with his damage reduction, high to hit chances and high saves will pretty much guarantee that one or several players will go down and not unlikely die of the infernal wound. A low tier group in the 19-22 bracket has at best a 25% chance to hit him with the first attack getting their damage reduced by his DR but he will have about a 90% chance to hit them (for a potential one shot) and a 45% to crit them for a 100% one shot all including infernal wound.
These unbalances in difficulty are not acceptable in a normal scenario in my opinion.


Awesome scenario, had a blast

5/5

Really awesome! probably my favorite 2e scenario so far, although Bandits of the Immenwood was good too!

Firstly, the scenario is pretty much a dungeon crawl, but it didn't necessarily feel like it because the build-up and transition is pretty smooth and well done. You start the adventure with a handout from your Venture-Captain, so pretty basic breefing. Then you meet a contact, who leads you to another contact, who points you to a possible point of interest. Journey there doesn't go without hickups, but the actual crawl doesn't really start before you get there, and the social beginning of the scenario sets a tone quite different from other crawls.

As to the crawl itself - the encounters aren't too deadly or difficult, but they are interesting and provide a sufficiently threatening feel. There's some more socializing in the middle that provides the PC's and players a breather, and possibly more socializing in the end too.

For Society play, it's probably best if the GM reminds players to "do as their characters would" during the scenario, because despite the very railroaded nature of the crawl, the actual outcome of the scenario can vary VERY wildly between different runs (although due to the tendency of players... doing as players often do, without spoiling too much, many parties probably reach the same conclusion).

I've rarely seen a scenario that hands players this much agency in the matters, let alone in a scenario this dungeoncrawley.

BOSS FIGHT: The boss fight can be, and probably will be, very tough, probably even deadly. Probably many could even consider it Unfair in the way it works and how easily it might kill PC's (despite the 2e's tendency to not kill PC's very easily) - but PC's and players should probably realize that the odds might not be in their favor, given how the end goes down. On our group, 3 out of 4 PC's (levels 2, 2, 2, 1) went down, two saved themselves with hero points, and one was saved by healing. Nobody died, but it could have been a TPK.

A note to GM's: Apparently the two boons should not be mutually exclusive even though they may feel like they sorta are. There might be an update on the matter in the GM thread once the dev's confirm this.


Great Dungeon Run

5/5

We had a blast with this scenario, the initial investigation had plenty of character and my bard spent the whole first in-game afternoon collecting stories from the rambling old man.

The Good
We have been itching for combat scenarios and this one satisfied the group.

One of our players that just hit level 2 was complaining that they didn't feel like they got a chance to feel out the combat mechanics of their class during their 3 level 1 scenarios. They were uncertain if they wanted to continue with their current class and lock it in by playing at level 2 during this game. So it was good to give everyone a chance to break in their dice.

Our session went 5 hours, longer than the 3.5 we have been averaging, but no complaints here as we have been getting sloppy with start times. Is we would have started on time and stayed on topic I think we would have been done in 4-4.5 hrs.

The dynamic battle fields were a high point, everyone had fun interacting with them.

The maps looked easy to draw and it was convenient to be dropping small maps on the table that didn't require everyone to move their books every time there was a new map.

The boss had us chewing on our nails wondering if this was where we would all die.

The Bad
N/A

The Ugly
I'm enjoying the challenge point adjustment system but it continuous to confuse. I'm the event organizer and was answering questions for the GM running this game. We added up challenge points and checked against the organized play guide to determine that this game would be played with low tier, 5 player adjustment, with a level bump to the adventure. So I kept emphasizing not to forget the level bump, little did I know that the adventure had its own scaling that didn't use the 5/6 player adjustments. So we did most the adventure scaled twice, until we got to the boss where the adventure scaling was an inflated level bump and the GM decided that maybe we were doing it wrong and ran the boss with only the as written scaling in the adventure.

Although we survived the double scaling through the whole adventure, the added hit points added some extra time to the adventure and removed some character's ability to spend time in the spotlight. (The +10 hp meant that some characters were not one-shotting enemies that they normally would while the barbarian was still one shotting enemies, making it feel like we needed them to carry the team).


Ascalaphus review is really good.

4/5

as long as your players are told that this is a dungeon crawl ahead of time, then it's pretty good. If nobody knows its a dungeon crawl, then it sorta doesnt feel as fun. the final boss is a bit overtuned, or at least my local playstore thinks so, just a little bit. if the ghost could give us some info on him, perhaps in an attempt to get us to set him free, then it might be a little more fair.

it can really turn into a "this looks like we're all going to die" situation REALLY fast with him though. Scary fast.


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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

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

I was able to download mine without issue.


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

Mine worked fine also.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

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

2 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).

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