Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-20: Breaking the Storm: Bastion in Embers

3.10/5 (based on 14 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 5-8.

Seeking to free one of their own who has become possessed by a malign spirit, the Pathfinder Society’s masked leaders dispatch a group of senior agents to secure help from an old ally. Heading into the wilds of Sarkoris, a group of heroes must assist the Farheaven Clan in defending a ritual to cleanse a demonically tainted forest. Only by succeeding can the heroes recruit the clan’s leader to support the Society in restoring their possessed leader.

Written by Christopher Wasko

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:

  • Pathfinder Flip-Tiles: Darklands Fire Caves Expansion
  • Pathfinder Flip-Tiles: Forest Perils Expansion
  • Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Society Scenario Subscription.

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    1 to 5 of 14 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

    Average product rating:

    3.10/5 (based on 14 ratings)

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    Amazing Concept, Brilliant Implementation!

    5/5

    I played at Falgaia’s table some time ago, and for what it’s worth, his review was previously posted. Still, after reading over all the other reviews for this scenario, I wanted to put in my two cents.

    SPOILERS AHEAD!

    When I originally played through this scenario, I had no idea that user reviews would be so polarized. I just thought this scenario was an amazing combat gauntlet and that was it. I personally love tough combats, and feel like if you’re not having tough combats, then why even have the combats in the first place? I want to be challenged, I want to be forced to use tactics, to plan out my turn in ways that feel more significant than “run up and punch things,” to feel like we could be right on the cusp of losing at any moment! In that regard, this scenario does not disappoint. All the combats felt challenging and tense, especially since we had additional losing condition besides a TPK. It’s rare to find additional losing conditions in any Pathfinder products, so having additional things to worry about other than death made the fights feel fresh and exciting!

    Then there was the special tree mechanic – which just pushed this combat gauntlet over the top for me. I loved everything about the trees! At first, I thought it might just be some gimmick that wouldn’t prove to be that important in the long run – but no! The trees were an important strategic advantage throughout the adventure, one that we had to protect and position carefully in order to get the most bang for our buck.

    SUPER SPOILERS AHEAD!

    And this leads me to the grandest moment of the whole scenario. After our group completed the first two fights with the trees (and were all in love with them BTW), we had to say our goodbyes since the final fight was underground. We were so disappointed that the – until then – awesome tree mechanic had reached its end, and that for the final fight, we’d be on our own… We got onto the encounter map and saw all the dangerous foes arrayed against us, strapped ourselves in for an uphill battle – AND THEN THE TREES CAME! THEY CAME JUST THE SAME! It was such an amazing feeling, thinking that the coolest mechanic in all of Paizo had abandoned us – only for it to return to us like a blessing from the heavens! That is one of the most exciting and rewarding moments I’ve ever had in all of PFS!

    BTW – The final fight was still tough, a lot of fun, and the trees helped out considerably!

    Now, I will admit that this scenario is very light on roleplay. The story is there though – it’s just not a very deep one (Defend the camp and weather the storm! Hoorah!). Also, this scenario does have tough, complex fights, so the combats can take some time. However, unlike some reviewers, I do not see the complexity, difficulty, or the length as downsides. If you have a capable and prepared GM (and it doesn’t need to be the first GM to get 5-glyphs), you can complete this scenario in 5-6 hours – which is perfectly acceptable to me. If you have a time crunch, play a different scenario and save this one for a day when you have the time. Still, I’d argue that this scenario is most-definitely worth the time! Also, some may think the combats are too complex or too tough in this scenario; but again, I’m the type of player that likes a challenge. Our party wasn’t really optimized, but we survived everything – though with some admittedly close calls (which is perfectly acceptable – and even appreciated in my book).

    So in sum, if you want a challenging combat gauntlet with some cool tower-defense mechanics – then this scenario is for you! If the GM takes the time and prepares ahead, this scenario can be amazing fun.

    In spite of it's lack of RP, the sheer ambition of this scenario is enough reason for me to rate it 5-stars! I want to see more from this author.


    Right Up My Alley and the Perfect Way to stat a 3 parter

    4/5

    Let's face it in 3 parters one of the episodes is always plot light anyway so why not take this chance to just thrown down with some demons and set the stage for the stakes of this story!

    The fights were complex and all had a lot of moving parts which have been SORELY lacking in Pathfinder up to this point.

    However, the last fight there was a serious discrepancy between the proscribed tactics and what the monster Clouded Quartz actually had available to him in terms of spell selection. This isn't a huge deal but I would have liked to be put in a less no-win situation than that as it really put the players behind the 8 ball in ways that felt unintentional.

    But still a properly dramatic scenario themed around combat? I could swoon.


    4/5

    This is a semi-plotless battlefest, but it serves its function well. The combats are interesting and varied, and the teams have multiple, viable approaches to accomplish their goal (or to thwart the enemies).

    If expectations are set carefully, it's fine.


    Tree mechs innovative and constant combat okay, but way too drawn out.

    2/5

    I played this once (6 players, 25 CP, clocked in at 6h40) and GMed this once (6 players, 28 CP, clocked in at 5h13).

    So here's the good and bad from me:

    (1) Constant combat, as others have said. I'm okay with this, but a lot of people may not be. The problem comes in when there literally is barely any time for anything else. There's one segment that involves skill checks, but given how long the combat is drawn out, those three fights suck the oxygen from your timeslot. Especially if you are running/playing at cons (which was my experience both times) or racing the clock at a physical LGS and you know the store is going to close before you can finish. A lot of the drawn out combat came down to enemy positioning, and my player experience was so drawn out, I had to consult 2-3 other GMs and get tips on how to possibly condense my fights without dumbing it down. At the con I was running at, I had an upper limit of 5h, and with a 5m break I really had to bend over backwards to keep it as close to 5h as possible.

    (2) GM preparation. Even if the GM IS prepared, if players don't know what they are doing with the trees, the first two fights can consume an insane amount of time. I attempted to save time by controlling the trees myself; but I know in reality, properly briefed players would have enjoyed this mechanic more if they were acquainted with the mechanic and focused. I'll admit I faltered in this as a player especially given how tiresome the first fight was.

    (3) The final fight. Without giving too many spoilers, let's just say we have a VERY tight spot with potential for environmental damage and enemies that are extremely resilient. When playing, the "key" troll that "made her way" on the map...we had little chance of catching her just because of the sheer number of companions she had. Too many and too beefy. We were given nine rounds to stop the troll from evading us, and it took us dealing massive damage in that last round to simply survive. On the other hand, the group I GMed played extremely well and worked extraordinarily well together AND had some VERY solid abilities and rode their luck on the dice.

    (4) Skillcheck challenge. The rotation of folks and getting the aids you need. This was a nice break in combat, some players commented on how harsh a critical fail would be on you, but I felt probability was low enough this should not be a big deal and when one of the frontliners in the group I GMed got punished in this challenge, the rest of his team stepped up.

    That said....it took me bending over backwards, constantly monitoring time, really overthinking my fights to save every second I could. In the end it was draining, and the group (the people) that I GMed and/or played with was literally the only reason I enjoyed it. I was exhausted in both games and especially so when I played (because it just took significantly longer and we had much worse with the trolls). My playing experience was significantly worse, we barely succeeded and our champions were the sole reason we did not get TPKed.

    This scenario had potential with the tree mechanics but the execution let me down. I've never felt more relieved to be over playing a scenario and this was what I felt.


    Just a long, dull slobberknocker of a scenario

    2/5

    All the other reviews say everything I can about it. I wasn't mad at the scenario when it was done, but I could hear annoyance between players and the GM as we moved into hours 5 and 6.

    The only thing I might add is I feel like the novel mechanic to assist PC's could have been implemented better. A lot of players forgot about it, a lot of time was wasted on who it would affect, and sometimes it felt like it was not even helping toward the later stages of encounters.


    1 to 5 of 14 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
    Paizo Employee Organized Play Associate

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    Announced for May! Product description and cover are not final and are subject to change.

    Silver Crusade

    Looking forward to run this one at Paizocon Online ^^

    Paizo Employee Organized Play Associate

    Cover and map list updated.


    I'd post a 1 Star review, but the neither Safari nor Opera are showing a link to write a review.
    The scaling and tactics on this seem quite poor.

    Spoiler:

    The GM seems to be forced with 2 options:
    1) Take the most favorable interpretation of tactics.
    2) Simply write off the secondary success condition.

    The first will make things very long and quite possibly kill multiple players. The second speeds things up and probably avoids PC death.

    My table's GM chose option 2 as they were kind. I'm running in a few weeks and will let the players decide by asking them if they want to risk a TPK or not which will determine how I run it.

    We had plenty of healing, but simply failed the initiative roll in the last fight. The only PCs to see the boss where the ones that started in front. 4 rounds later, we were simply doing mop up duty as boss was out of LOS on round 1 with trolls blocking the exit before anyone acted.

    The GM slipped and told us the tactics, but we didn't try walking into the middle of the lava just to get LOS back assuming it wasn't around the corner before we acted. I do not blame the GM as their actions were perfectly valid based on the tactics a written.

    Dark Archive

    Kalador101 wrote:

    I'd post a 1 Star review, but the neither Safari nor Opera are showing a link to write a review.

    The scaling and tactics on this seem quite poor.
    ** spoiler omitted **

    Eeeh, I always think its better for players to actually read scenario before reviewing it (like even if GM is good GM, GM interpretation, party composition, random dice luck, etc, all have part in how player experiences the scenario), but if you do want to review the scenario, just put (https://paizo.com/products/btq027nn/discuss?Pathfinder-Society-Scenario-22 0-Breaking-the-Storm-Bastion-in-Embers) in th url bar. Thing about review tab is that it disappears often when there is #number of post at end of url. If that doesn't work then just spam refresh button until it shows up. So for example if it reads (https://paizo.com/products/btq027nn/discuss?Pathfinder-Society-Scenario-22 0-Breaking-the-Storm-Bastion-in-Embers#4) there is pretty good chance that review tab has disappeared.

    ...Yeaaaaaaah, Paizo.com website needs bit updating x'D


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I was originally supposed to run the scenario 2 weeks ago, so I was fully prepped on the scenario while playing.

    Dark Archive

    Kalador101 wrote:
    I was originally supposed to run the scenario 2 weeks ago, so I was fully prepped on the scenario while playing.

    No objections from me then :D Though I think your gm managed to review it first x'D

    (I think I know one of other players from that table too since I think I heard discussion on this scenario in local scene and description of events sound familiar)

    Liberty's Edge

    It is great the jpegs of custom maps are included in the download. But Roll20 has a max size of 10 mb and one of the custom maps is 11 mb. So not really a time saver.

    So PLEASE be aware of this limit for Roll20 when making the pictures. Otherwise, it is really not very helpful.


    Spoiler:
    does the violet trees count as sunlight for the troll's sunlight petrification ability?

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