Pathfinder Society Scenario #1-14: Lions of Katapesh

3.00/5 (based on 10 ratings)

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

Goblin patriarch, merchant, and Pathfinder Society ally Yigrig Moneymaker needs help! The cunning goblin merchant has big plans to build a bridge that will connect two promising trade partners, but something is stirring up the local wildlife and convincing the lions and other predators of the Katapeshi plains that goblins are more tasty than can possibly be true. The PCs must find out who's responsible for the trials Yigrig's family faces before the lions of Katapesh devour the entire goblin clan and end the chance for trade between two desert cities.

Written by: Adam Meyers

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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Average product rating:

3.00/5 (based on 10 ratings)

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3/5

It's okay.

Glad there's some variety in what you fight, but it's always the same structure.

Some complicated terrain manipulation based on wagons saved that largely doesn't matter.

The need to keep PCs from going straight to the end.

The goblin caravan camp scene is a great chance for GMs to encourage role play and leads to some laughs.


Yawn

3/5

Lions is a simple combat and skill challenge scenario.

I guess if you are amused by goblin silliness, this might be for you.

The scenario can (and should!) be quite brief.

There is nothing wrong with this scenario, it’s just that generic replayable scenarios are not what I’m looking for in a game.


3/5

The biggest charm of this scenario is its relative shortness (when played with experienced players). Replay value is good. Goblins are one-dimensional but fun, combat is somewhat challenging on low tier but survivable.

For GMs:

The biggest drawback for me came when I first ran the scenario, as then it became apparent that the players might play relatively well and still end up with 3 treasure bundles in total and not complete their secondary objective. Simply because they didn't know entertaining goblins was vital or forgot to search a particular area. So these are definitely parts the GM needs to emphasize.
Also, the special rules for the lions stealing goblins from the camp are highly unbelievable.


3/5

It's a fine repeatable scenario, but it's definitely not as well-thought or coordinated as a non-repeatable scenario. I played it once and then GMed it once, and don't feel compelled to do either again.

If I GM it outside of Society, I'd definitely embellish the story and link the parts together with an overall arc.


A Good Idea Marred by Poor Design

3/5

I played this scenario at a low-tier table with a mixture of play levels. I also own the scenario.

Lions of Katapesh is a fun, quick scenario that seems to draw inspiration from the real life Tsavo Man-Eaters (something a player at the table quickly pointed out), but with a twist! The scenario's writing is at its best when playing with its goblin NPCs, who come off as two-dimensional caricatures, but are endearing regardless. Our GM also used some great accents to help each character stand out (which led to a great "what?" moment toward the end).

Overall, it's hard to point to any one part of the scenario that stands out. The combats aren't particularly hard, and the skill challenges aren't particularly challenging. They aren't easy and we definitely had some close scrapes, but nothing about these challenges were particularly memorable.

The scenario's faults, on the other hand, are more readily identifiable. Simply put: Lions of Katapesh suffers from poor design choices that hinder its challenge and engagement throughout the scenario. The issue begins with the initial skill challenge, which is also tied-in with the scenario's reward scheme. Without going into details, you want to do well early because you are rewarded for it later. This by itself is not particularly egregious. This appears to be the new normal for Pathfinder 2E rewards, and while I don't approve of what I refer to as "luck-gating" (gating treasure bundles behind doing well on skill checks rather than making meaningful in-game choices), at least this feels consistent and somewhat fair.

What makes this challenge problematic is that various events throughout the scenario can eat into your crop of successes, effectively diminishing successes without a way to build them back up. And while I could appreciate a mechanic like this if the party was undertaking a grueling or arduous task, but this is simply not the case. Many of us where surprised that there were no other options to claw some of our lost successes back, or perhaps even earn new opportunities to generate successes.

There are additional problems when it comes to the mechanics behind how you lose successes. While the scenario offers you choices for how to prevent these loses, they are effectively meaningless and do nothing. Our group immediately lost a success despite our best preparations, and unless the GM misread the encounter section, it does not seem like there was much more we could have done to prevent it--other than get lucky, of course.

The group's impression at the end of the scenario is that it was a fun, but punishing, repeatable, and that it was almost impossible to protect your accumulated successes without some incredible luck.

My own impression is similar. For all its humor and character, Lions of Katapesh lacks strong mechanics to stand on. Its encounters oscillate from bland to unfair, and its skill challenges are rather easy, yet constrained. Overall, I think it is a solid 3-stars. It's neither the worst scenario I've played, nor the best, but somewhere distinctly in the middle. However, with a bit of polish and playtesting it might have been a far more memorable and enjoyable experience.


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Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Announced for February!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Katina Davis wrote:
Announced for February!

Sounds like great fun. Perhaps we can finally settle the debate about how tasty goblins are (and how they should be prepared and served).

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yay! More Repeatable Scenarios. I am very very glad there are a number of repeatable scenarios, please keep it up. It makes it much easier to get new players up to speed with more experienced players, and makes creating more characters per player easier.

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.

When will I be able to download this if I have the subscription?


Ginasteri wrote:
When will I be able to download this if I have the subscription?

I am glad it's not just me that's having a problem. I have the subscription, too, but haven't gotten any prompts.


Yrrej86 wrote:
Ginasteri wrote:
When will I be able to download this if I have the subscription?
I am glad it's not just me that's having a problem. I have the subscription, too, but haven't gotten any prompts.

I was hoping to find some info about that here, since I have the same problem.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, LO Special Edition, PF Special Edition, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I have called several times about this. There is a glitch that their IT guys are working on.


cool good to know that others are having this problem looking forward to running this


I'm running this tonight. From going over what's involved this feels like it could be one of the shortest scenarios yet. I guess we'll see.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I’m running this in a few days and I request clarifications ASAP on a discrepancy in the scenario concerning

spoiler:
the DC of the Survival check to Track the lions to their layer.

Scenario spoiler:
page 10 wrote:
Track the Felines: A PC can attempt a DC 20 Survival check to Track the felines to their lair. If the felines have attacked and killed at least one goblin, the PCs gain a +2 circumstance bonus to this check and can do so untrained, as the fresh blood dragged across the desert is easy to follow.

Scenario spoiler:
page 12 wrote:
First, a PC who succeeds at a DC 15 Survival check to Track can follow the leopards or lions to their lair. The PC gains a +1 circumstance bonus to this check if the felines have killed a goblin and escaped with its body, or a +2 circumstance bonus if a member of the party succeeded at a Nature check to Recall Knowledge regarding where the felines might be hiding.

Which is accurate and why the difference?


Why has the above question never been answered when this is a very popular repeatable scenario for beginning players? Please, someone, anyone at all, answer this.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm guessing this was based on the Tsavo Maneaters?


Astrael wrote:
Why has the above question never been answered when this is a very popular repeatable scenario for beginning players? Please, someone, anyone at all, answer this.

I'm guessing the lower DC is for subtier 1-2 characters and the higher DC is for subtier 3-4 characters

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