Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-05: Balancing the Scales

3.00/5 (based on 7 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-4.

The Sewer Dragons reach out to the Pathfinder Society, concerned about a missing contact. The Pathfinders discover that this is no mere meet and greet, however, as strange events and a mysterious cult become tangled together in a web of mystery.

Written by: Jessica Catalan

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.

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Average product rating:

3.00/5 (based on 7 ratings)

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Tough but rewarding

4/5

There are some well-crafted encounters here, but they are not easy. They are not, I think, unfair but one skill challenge is particularly punishing. GMs will find some combat encounters particularly enjoyable to run if they read the tactics closely - there are fun combo effects. There are plenty of roleplaying opportunities, but the interaction with the kobolds feels overwritten.


3/5

In a vacuum, the scenario is fine. I think the combat encounters felt unique and there were an interesting mix of things to fight.

However, I was - and actually still am - confused about the metaplot. The characters don't really discover reasons to go from one location to another, they get told. It would have been nice if that were more organic, and it fed into the metaplot more than "you see this, and then move on."


Messy and meandering execution of a good plot outline.

2/5

I truly wish I could recommend this more. It was great to finally get to return to the lair of the Sewer Dragons and to have some level of interaction between the canon kobolds and their people. The RP opportunities were a bit stiff however and without profiles about the personalities of Pethjun and Chief Yiddlepode it was hard to riff with the players in ways that felt genuine (especially given their hypocrisy depending on if the kobold was a Sewer Dragon or not).

The combats were cool but overall, I don't feel like the overall mystery of this scenario ended up being solved - just three episodes surrounding the same incident that I assume we'll end up seeing more of later. The details you uncover all confirm the biases set by the previous adventures and the opening encounter. But in general this sort of scenario that is just pure set-up has no shelf life and I don't think I would ever run it outside of the sequence of this particular metaplot because without those tie-ins this scenario has nothing for players to sink their teeth into.

Players in general bristled at being scolded by the kobolds for not wanting to rescue Dreng and then having no actions they could take towards helping with looking into what happened to him.

The episode with the city guard in particular felt very disjointed and random, serving only to direct you to the museum in case you hadn't already figured that out. It was weird to have a cult of Urxehl's lair feature prominently only for zero details (that weren't already known before you entered the lair) about that cult to be gleaned from your time there. Exploration is only thrilling if you can actually discover something - without it it's just a frustrating waste of time. Doubly so when this cult would seem to be the bad guys du jour that we already know nothing about and which players are thirsty for more on.

The one highlight of the adventure is the sequence at the museum with the storm, the intern, and the snatching of the obelisk capped with a very fun fight. But the sequence, while cinematic once you're able to decipher the way it's presented, is potentially pretty brutal and a bit too repetitive for a scene that is meant to be cinematic. For example, the necessity of 5 rounds of checks to run against the wind to get inside the museum is a boring sequence because there will always be several party members who aren't trained in athletics that will be required to roll pretty darn high. 5 rounds of checks will always cause cinematic momentum to grind to a halt. Further the lightning damage is a bit too high and can result in players being in extraordinarily bad shape entering this boss fight.

Overall, the vision was in place for this adventure - there are good bones here. But it just never came together.


Could've used a bit more content.

3/5

(I GMed this.)

From a GM perspective, this could use some work. There's a whole lot of descriptive text and flavour text that could either have been regular box text, or gone to actually fleshing out the scenario more. Several paragraphs are in this in-between state of being descriptive while not being actually helpful.

From a player perspective, it feels more like three separate mini-missions that are only loosely tied together. There's an overarching plot, but it's really one-and-done that's probably all just setup for a next adventure, without any satisfying conclusion of its own.

The combats and skill challenges feel fine. Nothing spectacular, but also nothing really bad. There's some fun creatures in here. It also ran pretty fast, but that might just have been because of a four-player party.


Nice but challenging

4/5

I have played this and prepared it to run. Overall I really like this adventure but it has some issues. The structure works well and it is easy to prepare. It has a good mix of combat and investigation with some RP opportunities with the kobolds.

However, there are some issues, particularly at low tier. The first encounter is particularly lethal for level 1 characters and I can easily see one PC dropping a round. This really hghlights the issues when you put level 3 solo monsters into low tier adventures. Having the potential for death from massive damage for level 1 characters does little to help foster new players which is important with a 1-4.

The skill challenge is challenging but the DCs are reasonable. The damage is low but given what happens when you get inside it seems unlikely you will rest before moving to the final confrontation. That is likely to make things even more dangerous.


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Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

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Announced for October! Product image and description are not final and may be subject to change.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Associate

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Final cover and map list added. The bear is having a Very Normal One.

Envoy's Alliance

"Ooh... what wonderful spectral chonk! I have seen rare few bears to rival such a chonkful beefiness."

Paizo Employee Designer

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Silver Shriker wrote:
"Ooh... what wonderful spectral chonk! I have seen rare few bears to rival such a chonkful beefiness."

Full credit goes to the artist on that one. My art order was literally and only "It's a bear made entirely out of lightning." Sometimes the artist does their best work when the writers just get out of the way.

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