Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-01: Citadel of Corruption

2.30/5 (based on 28 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1–4.

A new year dawns for the Pathfinder Society. For the past several years, Pathfinders have explored the edges of the Iobarian wilderness, making new allies and discovering hints at a long-forgotten past. Now, the Decemvirate has decided that it is time for the Pathfinders to do what Pathfinders do best: explore, report, and cooperate! In an ancient cyclopean ruin, the Society seeks to stake their claim with both a new lodge and, hopefully, new insights into Iobaria's remote history. Some secrets are best left buried, however. Will the PCs make a name for themselves as modern day explorers, or will the evil lurking at the heart of the Iobarian dig site consume their hopes and dreams?

Written by Scott D. Young

Scenario tags: Metaplot

[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.

Product Availability

Fulfilled immediately.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

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Average product rating:

2.30/5 (based on 28 ratings)

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3/5

I kind of like that the scenario was challenging. Against the background of me thinking too many scenarios are too easy, this is a good reminder that players should stay on their toes.

That being said, it's not a great introduction to the season, and a lot of new players at conventions probably got introduced to PF2 with a TPK.

It would have been better as the 2nd scenario of the season, and softer scaling at the low end.


Terrible balance, poor scenario

1/5

I've played and GMed much PFS1 scenarios and play and GM few PF2. And this scenario just try to kill 1-2 level characters JUST BECAUSE.

DCs and NPCs very tough, 1 level paladin and ranger just died with 2 and 4 jn savev to Massive damage.
Then NPC , that gives battle disantavnteg ONLY to low level charaters, that dont have resourses to gain advantage.

And - then skill spamming challenge - who roll more times good result on D20 vs who roll bad on d20.

Worst scenario balance on both editions of Pathfinder. Even then you're munckin, as I.


Too many skill checks

3/5

As I understand, this was supposed to serve as an introduction to season 2. And while the first part is ok it doesn't have many meaningful NPC interactions compared to Absalom initiation (1-01). The map exploration is basically one check per zone, with fairly high DCs too. The haunt would be good if it wasn't in an open area where it can easily be avoided. Finally, the library as mentioned before is just a bunch of same skill checks over and over which got my group bored pretty quickly. The final boss fight can easily tpk the group if the GM uses the swipe attack liberally.
Overall, it's just too uneven to recommend imo.


Terrible Scenario

1/5

If you ever want to spend 4 hours rolling the same skillcheck over and over (lots of them in turn order even to make it more fun I guess) and fight a lame monster at the end, then this is something for you. Otherwise you better avoid it. I certainly don't plan to run it. It would require lots of extras to make it even acceptable.


2/5

spoiler:

The start feels a bit like the single players version of one of the interactives you usually play in sync with a lot of other tables - and I feel that this approach does help the first part significantly. Unfortunately, the interactions with various Society personalities before the actual briefing is... underdeveloped, they really do not have that much to tell you.. if this was one of the older interactives you likely could have picked up a couple of rumors or could helped out somewhere and earned maybe an extra potion or something like that. In this scenario, they are just there, and players can roll to earn an invite into a faction, that does not really do anything - and I would hate to see players spending a hero point on this pointless check.

If you are considering the experience for new players, honestly there are too many NPCs at the start, since after that you are also meeting some members of the Society's masked leadership. Personally, I am not a huge fan of the concept in general, since it is really hard to make the players care for the wellbeing of some masked faceless person. One of the NPCs feels kinda antagonistic, and I am not sure why, If I had to guess it'S to make sure that the players remember that NPC, but since for all we know the people wearing those masks could switch at any moment....

Exploring the top level of the city is honestly pretty interesting, though I feel like an encounter with the haunt is a bit awkward since the whole encounter gets very underwhelming if the players disarm it or trigger it from a distance. Unfortunately, while the players liked investigating that dragon story, the scenario does not really dive deeper into it, though this might be setup for a future experience.
Of course, once you are done researching the top layer of the city, you are likely kinda done for the day since it does take a fair number of hours, I am not entirely sure if the scenario had expected that, but worst case the players push on and find the lower chamber when they are very close to exhaustion, which just ends up making things harder.

The various area descriptions are pretty nice, and the encounter with the mushrooms actually plays quite well, particularly once you make of their movement options. Every time I have run this fight, the players kinda liked it.

Unfortunately, after that the scenarios gets worse, the Library system used meant that usually only a select few players actually rolled checks that mattered - if you do not have a decent intelligence and ideally some training in those skills, the Mural really is a big problem, particularly since spending more hours here can have additional negative effects.

I have to stress the fact that I felt that 1-00 did something like this so much better, and while using the library system can work, in this case, only a few skills are truly relevant, and it still ends up as a truly unpleasant number of rolls the players have to make. The fact that the Ocularity also has the potential to make the surprise encounter even harder really does not work in favor of this setup.

The undead cyclops is a nasty surprise particularly since the players are very likely to be spread unfavorably over the entire room, and that his attack bonus and Swipe attack do have a significant chance to drop 1-2 players in the first round of combat.
This really is a great example of why adding the Elite template is often a blunt tool and should ideally not be used on enemies that are already significantly above the party as far as their level is concerned. The base damage is already in the danger zone of being able to kill a low-level character in one crit, and adding the elite adjustment makes it harder. Maybe we are in dire need of some better adjustments, but in this case, it makes the fight quite deadly, and even if people survive it feels unfair.
I can totally see groups dying in this encounter since the enemy does have significant resistance. Every single instance of the party fighting a Level +3 enemy has been pretty negative and while those encounters can work if the group has more time to prep or prepare, that is absolutely not the case here.

This is not a bad scenario, and the start is quite nice, but resolving the final part really drags it down.

EDIT: The Hazard really is beyond the pale, it has a pretty good chance to kill many characters with massive damage on an average damage roll. I did the math and if Ezren and Seoni get affected by it, if their roll20 ends up rolling a 5 or lower, they are likely just dead.

After I realized that, I kinda had to reduce the score from 3 to 2 stars.


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Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

Announced for August!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Woohoo! New cover looks nice!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

This, along with 2-02, is supposed to be released at GenCon, correct? Why the available date of 8/26 then?

The Exchange

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
xyxrt wrote:
This, along with 2-02, is supposed to be released at GenCon, correct? Why the available date of 8/26 then?

I believe 8/26 is the date they're available for purchase by the general public, after having been initially exclusive to GMs running at the convention. Same reason 2-00 won't be available for purchase until August 4, 2021, but with a much smaller exclusivity window.


So this is in a "folder" named "Year of Corruption's Reach." Meanwhile, the cover art says "Year of Corruption's Grasp." Just curious: Which one is correct? I'm guessing Grasp -- not only because it is art rather than text, but also because it's better -- but confirmation would be appreciated.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

OK, if this is the "Year of Corruption's Grasp" are we going to see Tee Shirts anytime soon?

Thanks.

Grand Lodge

The current version of this file has got an error on the Chronicle Sheet.
The sector "Boons" on the Chronicle Sheet states information from the Special King of Thorns. This should be removed.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

So, we're running this online Friday night. I scheduled it that way because I was told it could be run anytime after the 26th and that it would drop then. Any chance I can get some clue as to what actual tiles are being used so I can at least get them uploaded to Roll 20? Any other clues so I can start the prep work?

Thanks!

Also, is this going to be the new regular release schedule? Meaning the last Friday of the month instead of the last Thursday. This means our venue no longer gets first crack. If a new scenario drops on Thursday, I have time to prep it before running it Friday evening (EST). If it's not going to drop until sometime Friday while I'm at work, it becomes very difficult to impossible to run it that night. Just my pair of coppers.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Associate

Robert, this post may be of interest to you: https://paizo.com/threads/rzs435j7?August-2020-Society-Scenario-Releases-De lay#2

And no, the release schedule isn't changing.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Alex Speidel wrote:

Robert, this post may be of interest to you: https://paizo.com/threads/rzs435j7?August-2020-Society-Scenario-Releases-De lay#2

And no, the release schedule isn't changing.

Ok, so I get the COVID thing, but how does something that has been done for a month get delayed? :P

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Ok, my wife got her copy, so I'm starting prep. But should this text be where it is in this scenario?

[spoiler=Congratulations on completing King in Thorns!]


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
RobertTHEPerylous wrote:

Ok, my wife got her copy, so I'm starting prep. But should this text be where it is in this scenario?

No, it should say the correct scenario name, but otherwise the rest of the text is correct.

Wayfinders

Why are the DCs on the scenario so ridiculous!

Grand Archive

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Zezashetan wrote:
Why are the DCs on the scenario so ridiculous!

When I played during GenCon it didn’t feel that hard? We actually succeeded at almost all of them... I’ll need to take a look, maybe we got lucky?

Dark Archive

does the pdf come with separate VTT friendly maps?

Scarab Sages

Elfteiroh wrote:
Zezashetan wrote:
Why are the DCs on the scenario so ridiculous!
When I played during GenCon it didn’t feel that hard? We actually succeeded at almost all of them... I’ll need to take a look, maybe we got lucky?

You got lucky, the DCs are about 3-4 higher than they should be for those levels. It looks entirely like it was written to show off investigators.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Hawkwing wrote:
does the pdf come with separate VTT friendly maps?

Not even close.

How is it at all reasonable with the pandemic pushing the majority of games to VTT that these new scenarios are still not providing VTT friendly maps in the PDFs? This goes beyond being unfriendly, because it's all dungeon tiles, but there's no unmarked single image of the full map, so to do it properly you have to copy all the tiles individually and then line and orient everything by hand. This makes what should be a five minute task into a half hour of drudgework.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The map file was likely made before the recent decision and focus to make the maps be VTT friendly was put into place.

Dark Archive

Now getting to play this scenario, it seems the DCs are too high, and getting players to roll against a time limit is just designed to punish players, especially as critical failures happen far too often with the high DC, and just remove research points. Overall, I really liked the story, but absolutely despise how difficult the DCs were made.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
The map file was likely made before the recent decision and focus to make the maps be VTT friendly was put into place.

This framing....

They already have the electronic files. I can add a page to a pdf in <30 seconds.

It doesn't have anything to do with the pandemic. But if it did... the pandemic Started shutting down society ~6 months ago. And the product release was delayed by a month. It's a decision.

The following seem like possible contributing reasons to me:
Paizo is busy, they produce a lot of adventures on a very tight schedule. There is no meaningful competition (there is extremely high product lock-in and loyalty of the customer base). They have some very expensive map products that they sell separately.

But it doesn't have anything to do with the pandemic.

It's not the end of the world. But it is a decision.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

*checks off "I totally know all there is about this operation at this profession that isn't mine and can do it lighting quick" on the bingo card*

As for no meaningful competition, LMAO, sure. But go on with the entitlements and assumptions and conspiracy theories.


I agree the map files should be more easily imported into VTT. I'm sure Paizo is listening and it looks like the later society PDFs do have map files that are able to be imported easily.


Help.. Does anyone know if there is an Errata for the Chronicle Sheet?? For some reason it states under Boons..
"Congratulations on completing King in Thorns!...."
There are also no items listed..

Grand Archive

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Brian Raivel wrote:

Help.. Does anyone know if there is an Errata for the Chronicle Sheet?? For some reason it states under Boons..

"Congratulations on completing King in Thorns!...."
There are also no items listed..

Since the second season, all boons have been moved online in the ACP system. After the GM registers your game, you get access to the scenario boon for free, IF the scenario has a boon.

As for the Items, I don't think the adventure has any uncommon or important items that would warrant access or a price reduction, so I think it's normal. But it has been a while since I played.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This has been the most lack luster game i've played to date, would strongly not suggest playing it, a lack of basic understanding of game rules as a level 1-2 has DC's that are nearly impossible to make. Creating a senario that literally asks if we are new society members only to throw large dc numbers at us is not a fun experience. Disliked the use of map-tiles on all the combat maps, only map i liked was the over-view of the main map area.

2/10.

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