Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-22: Breaking the Storm: Excising Ruination

3.70/5 (based on 3 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 7-10.

With allies ready to assist them, the Pathfinder Society enacts a ritual to track down one of its leaders who is now possessed by an evil force. With agents spread across the region in hopes of tracking down their target, things quickly spiral out of control when a threat is discovered to be closer to home than anyone would expect. It’s up to a single group of Pathfinders to track down and confront this new foe, which could lead to a threat against the whole of Golarion!

Written by Nicholas Wasko

Scenario tags: Metaplot, Vigilant Seal

[Scenario Maps spoiler - click to reveal]

This scenario uses one custom map.

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Society Scenario Subscription.

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PZOPFS0222E


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Average product rating:

3.70/5 (based on 3 ratings)

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Exciting “Blockbuster” Style-Scenario

3/5

I played this scenario in high tier with a party of level 9 characters.

Breaking the Storm: Excising Ruin is the first entry into the 7th to 10th-level range for Pathfinder Society Second Edition and promises a climactic confrontation with the fiendish force that has stolen one of the Society’s leaders and taunted its agents throughout the season. Unfortunately, the overall presentation falls somewhat flat as the entirety of the scenario takes place on a single custom map and does not seem to possess the gravitas necessary to give its scenes any weight.

Mechanically, Excising Ruin is competent. While it does require the GM to remember and track ambient weather effects, there are not so many moving parts as to make encounters cumbersome. Combats, likewise, flow together rather smoothly and enemy types are varied enough to keep things relatively interesting. There is a good balance of combat, skill challenges, and traps that should appeal to most group compositions.

The scenario’s most interesting mechanic is its Aspiration Points, a limited resource the PCs can use to even the odds in certain situations. Some options to use aspiration points arise based on your past adventures in Season 2, however it doesn’t unnecessarily punish you if you haven’t played much of the metaplot.

The scenario’s weaknesses are its theming and narrative. While combats are varied, the enemies’ present in them feel like they were thrown in to meet an XP budget, rather than being the most thematically appropriate enemy for the scene (it is not like their presence is without merit or logic, however it doesn’t always feel like the “best” fit). Likewise, some of the hazards felt oddly dangerous in a way that didn’t seem to track thematically.

Hazard:
The caltrop traps seemed very dangerous for scattered bits of barbed metal, and the disarm DC seemed very high.

Much of the scenario’s story can be best described as “go here, do this” and I never really felt any buy-in to the narrative. The villain’s actions, although central to the plot, are never the focus of the storytelling, and even in places where attention is drawn to them, the details are more of a footnote than a sweeping revelation. In a similar vein, the narrative stakes are frequently conveyed through exposition.

Overall, Breaking the Storm: Excising Ruin is a beer-and-pretzels scenario--a combat-focused storyline that doesn’t require too much focus or attention and still manages to be entertaining. However for those looking for more substance out of a first half of the metaplot’s conclusion, it can leave you feeling a bit disappointed. I would liken it to a blockbuster movie: Exciting and entertaining, but perhaps lacking some nuance. If you’re looking for a fun combat scenario to kick off the finale of your seasonal metaplot, definitely give this one a look. After all, who can say “no” to a good popcorn flick?


Another Nick Wasko Swiss Watch Masterpiece

5/5

This was a huge improve on 2-20. There were a lot of complicated moving pieces here that really help this one stand out as a metaplot ending experience.

The ritual, the callbacks to the previous metaplot episodes, the way the scenario continually tempts you into using Aspiration points.

One point of contention is the scenario as written doesn't really make a lot of sense in terms of how rituals work (the ritual can only fail or succeed given the parameters laid out in the scenario and that success is only possible on a crit by one of the two secondary casters).

But the three fights how they are laid out and how the final one lands depending on how players have done to the point is all impeccably done. Just a blast from start to finish.


Serviceable, but the presentation could use work

3/5

Context: I'm read this three times and GMed it once for a high-tier, 20 CP table.

Give this one lots of prep time. I appreciate that this is a higher level scenario, and the varied encounters are nice, but basically everything in here some combination of resistance, immunities, unusual reactions, etc. Still not as bad as GMing higher level 1E, but noticeably more balls for the GM to juggle than lower level stuff. It doesn't help that this scenario is laced with modifiers based on what the characters (in some cases) or the players (in others) have played before. There is a ritual, and a custom resource system, varying light levels, invisibility, and a big list of NPC spells. Overall, there's lots for the GM to parse/track, and it could have been presented much more effectively (say, as tables).

The good:
* Editing is solid; I only found a few typos, and didn't spot any stat block errors
* Cool, evocative location for the final confrontation
* Custom maps

The bad:
* Another chronicle devoid of interesting gear/boons
* The GM could really use a little more specifics on the interior of the colossus

The ugly:
* The reporting conditions are, once again, logically muddled for no apparent reason

(***--)


Paizo Employee Organized Play Associate

Announced for June! Cover and product description are not final and are subject to change.

Silver Crusade

Alex Speidel wrote:
Announced for June! Cover and product description are not final and are subject to change.

Woo hoo!!

Why do I suspect that many tables will be all level 10 characters? Yeah, I know, can only have made it to level 9 via PFS. But which of the people who play that much don't have at least ONE level of AP or module credit to apply? :-)


Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Possessed you say? That can't be good for Mr/Ms Sapphire.

Silver Crusade

Interesting. I just noticed that the price is higher than other scenarios. Got to wonder if this is a one off because it's a higher level or if all scenarios are going up.

Paizo Employee Designer

pauljathome wrote:
Interesting. I just noticed that the price is higher than other scenarios. Got to wonder if this is a one off because it's a higher level or if all scenarios are going up.

This is the standard price for a high level scenario as announced back in December. Organized Play Scenario Prices.

Silver Crusade

Michael Sayre wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
Interesting. I just noticed that the price is higher than other scenarios. Got to wonder if this is a one off because it's a higher level or if all scenarios are going up.
This is the standard price for a high level scenario as announced back in December. Organized Play Scenario Prices.

Totally missed that :-)

Fair enough.

Grand Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sweet at this rate my fighter will make level 10 by 2023!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Associate

Cover and map list updated.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am curious to see what final cover of this one shows when cache is done with updating :O

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think cache is bugging out these weeks, but I can see from store page in super small pic that cover features some sort of... Cool creepy cyclops statue?


It works for me, looks to be a massive cyclops statue holding a crown.


I'm prepping to run this online and I'm not going to lie, working with this map file is awful. I understand that both maps are supposed to be played side-by-side, but please keep them on the same grid and scaling if you're going to do that.

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