Pathfinder Society Scenario #1-13: Devil at the Crossroads

3.30/5 (based on 4 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3–6 (subtiers 3–4 and 5–6).

The Sarkoris Scar still aches from the recently closed Worldwound, but that hasn't stopped the Pathfinder Society and their allies in the Farheavens Clan from maintaining their efforts to reclaim the Sarkorians' ancestral homelands. At a trading post near the southern border of the Sarkoris Scar, the PCs meet their contact from the Farheavens but not all is as it seems. The PCs and their allies will need to unravel the twisted skeins of an infernal plot if they have any hope of avoiding becoming the next victims of a fiendish spirit. This adventure was concepted at Paizo's Adventure Design Workshop panel during GenCon 2019.

Written by: Jenny Jarzabski

Scenario tags: Faction (Vigilant Seal)

[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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Average product rating:

3.30/5 (based on 4 ratings)

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Excellent scenario.

5/5

I GMed this scenario at my local game store and had a blast running it. My players had a lot of fun playing it, and thoroughly enjoyed the pacing and the unique situation. This module is one of the rare few that, while being great for Society play, can also be adapted very well to any kind of home game. It’s essentially a “locked room” mystery, with a good cast of characters, interesting set-up, and well-paced progression. Home GMs can use some of their favorite NPCs to drive the action.

That being said, it has a lot of moving parts and the NPC characters have their unique motivations and reactions to what is going on, which should be used liberally to help set the mood and keep the game moving. I would not necessarily agree that it’s “low-prep,” especially for a novice GM. I also don’t agree about the “railroading” aspect. Although the final encounter does occur no matter what the players do, there are numerous ways for them to gain the information they need to keep the scenario moving. GMs should remember that even the “unhelpful” NPCs can be helpful, providing clues through their actions or maybe muttered offhand comments.

This scenario can potentially run long, especially if your party really enjoys the social aspect and interrogating the suspects. I had to fit this into a 3.5 hour time slot, so we bypassed the first encounter entirely, and the scenario was probably better for it. “Random animals attack” type of encounters are a waste of space in my opinion anyhow…


Well, I liked it

5/5

I've run this twice face-to-face - the first table in low subtier with 4 players (3, 4, 5, 5) and the second table barely into high subtier with 7 players (3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5). The low subtier table with 4 players ran a little over 3 hours. The barely-high subtier 7-player table ran 5 hours - and that's long, in my estimation. I don't think this is really a problem with the scenario, though.

The scenario contains plenty of recognizable genre tropes (which is not a bad thing), and the atmosphere is enjoyable. Other than the first, trivial encounter of the scenario, the other combats were interesting and tense. The lead-up to the final encounter definitely caused some raised eyebrows at both tables, as it is quite dramatic. The boss combat itself was challenging but not impossible. Though (as you would expect) people did get hit hard, I never felt the party as a whole was ever in imminent danger of failing. The terrain does pose a challenge, but not one which is unique to this scenario. And yes, the geometry causes line of sight issues, but that works both ways. As with many PFS2 scenarios, the odds might seem bad at first glance but barring exceptional circumstances, the encounter balance is on the side of the party.

The alternative success route for the boss encounter is a novel experiment that (I think) succeeds in its intention. As a GM, if you think your players might be annoyed by having it just suddenly happen, I suggest adding some foreshadowing flavor before it does. It is, however, entirely possible to win the traditional way (my low-tier table did so).

This is definitely not what I would call a social scenario, but unlike (say) #1-04 which is almost pure combat, there is enough social interaction required here that it makes this scenario feel more balanced. Prep-wise, the NPCs don't need a great deal of additional work to portray. The trope-y elements are good and the events unfold with minimal-to-no GM extemporizing needed to make things hang together. You can easily say yes to players' creative ideas in the RP on the fly - if you keep in mind what's going to have to happen and flavor events appropriately. On that basis, this is a fairly low-prep scenario.

Overall, I enjoyed running this and I believe my players had fun with it. I can understand how it isn't necessarily going to be the scenario of everyone's dreams, but I think it was a pretty good one.


The tracks are very visible in this deadly scenario

1/5

Note, I was in the same group as The Vortex. Read it after playing it.

One comes to expect railroading but this scenario went to extremes. Lock up an NPC? Matters not, they escape anyway.

It has several "fail this roll and you're arguably dead" situations (the GM was nice and didn't kill us). Even at tier 3-6, gating some extremely important information behind an expert only check us rather optimistic. There are a lot of skills to be expert in.

And the final battle is just crazy. At low tier it's a CR 6 with some extra mooks to slow you down AND an incredibly hard terrain disadvantage. It's very likely that only 1 or at most 2 characters will get to the big bad quickly and even the tank is being crit on something like a 15 or so. And a nasty (or just honest) GM is going to rule that there isn't line of sight based on geometry.

And all this in a place where running away isn't an option (actually, it's unclear what happens if the PCs attempt to flee the final encounter)


Confusing and quite railroady with lots of punishing encounters

2/5

I just played this online with a group of 5. And what can I say? The plot was confusing, too many weird characters, all with their own agenda. That in itself would be a good thing, if there weren't also four encounters, so that roleplaying and encounters are just not doable in the alloted time and the GM had to handwave and railroad us even more than the adventure already enforces.

The worst thing though was the final encounter. It made no sense that it happens the way it does, with no way to prevent it, and the encounter itself is extremely poorly designed:

Spoiler:
+17 Attack in Low Tier with a persistant damage effect on a crit? Really? We were quite lucky that the main tank was level 5 and could take the hits. Also we had enough healers to keep him alive. But that encounter was utterly unwinnable. Yet that weird timelimit made us win it in the end, but came completely out of the blue. It didn't feel like we really accomplished a victory there, even though I can see no way in which a group at that level ever could actually defeat the Ascendant without insane luck!


Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

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Coming this month!

Liberty's Edge

Yay! Can't wiat to hang out with Dolok again!

Silver Crusade

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

Pleeeeease let their be a Contract Devil in this.

Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Update: Product description has been updated to include the recommended scenario maps.

Silver Crusade

Errata: This scenario seems to only grant 2 fame and 2 reputation. It seems, that these rewards are lacking from page 18 - secondary objectives.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Talon Zorch wrote:
Errata: This scenario seems to only grant 2 fame and 2 reputation. It seems, that these rewards are lacking from page 18 - secondary objectives.

That looks to be an error; the secondary objective should grant fame and reputation as normal.

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