Pathfinder Society Scenario #4-05: The Arclord Who Never Was

3.40/5 (based on 8 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st- through 4th-level characters.

A skull with glowing eyes was among the many objects which recently turned up in the Pathfinder Society's vaults, and none of the other objects are quite so talkative as this one! In fact, the skull isn't an object at all, but a person. The Society isn't sure who, or what, they are, and the skull seems to have lost their memories. Nonetheless, the skulls requests—no, insists—that the Society return them to their former glory at once!

Grand Archivist Zarta Dralneen has determined that the skull is from Quantium, the magic-filled capital of Nex. She dispatches a group of Pathfinders to conduct a simple research mission and guide the skull around the city, hoping to jar the skull's memories and learn the truth.

"See the world," they said. "Simple research mission," they said.

This adventure is the first part of the two-part Skull & Scroll metaplot arc in the Year of Boundless Wonder.

Written by Michael Bramnik

Scenario tags: Metaplot (Boundless Wonder), Faction (Envoy's Alliance, Vigilant Seal)

[Scenario Maps spoiler - click to reveal]

The following maps used in this scenario are also available for purchase here on paizo.com:

  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat: The Rusty Dragon Inn
  • Starfinder Flip-Mat: Solar Temple
  • 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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    1 to 5 of 8 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

    Average product rating:

    3.40/5 (based on 8 ratings)

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    4/5

    I was able to enjoy a corner touring Quantium.

    I enjoyed the scenario, but needed to be prepared to communicate a lot with the NPCs.
    It was unfortunate that the factional missions turned the players into paranoia.


    A fun romp through an underexplored locale

    3/5

    I love any time we get to really dig into a locale that breaks out from the normal quasi medieval-renaissance-steampunk feel that the setting has, instead bringing to life the almost comedically high fantasy feel of Nex and its commonplace rarity.

    The city itself is the center piece of this one and the author does an excellent job laying down the details as the adventure feels like an excuse just to go tour this under-represented city. Unfortunately, a lot of the word count that could have gone to making each stop on the tour really pop went instead to writing a unique pun for the NPC the PCs are accompanying on their tour; this had the effect of making each stop on the tour feel a little sparse. Each stop was like a very small scene fragment and the players were left feeling dissatisified at each turn. I was able to fluff these stops out using background detail from the paragraphs at the start of the adventure but a little more guidance on how to connect the muscles to the bones of this one. Lesser GMs will reduce that section to a very chunky mechanical series of skill rolls.

    I also feel as though the conflict with the gang could have used a little more flesh too - the gang had a very specific gang sign but not a name. And even the backstory had a very touchy bit of non-specificity where Id have liked a little more detail to avoid tossing my foot in my mouth.

    Plot spoilers:
    The arclords transness mixed with the truename ritual's purpose (changing her body in a permament way) gave the impression that the mishap that turned them into a skull was a gender transition disaster which feels pretty hot button for organized play.

    I know this review sounds critical but I still really enjoyed it; I was just frustrated because its a masterpiece in the rough.


    Review in progress...

    2/5

    Playing this pbp so that makes writing the entire review a bit hard as after weeks spent on the intro and skill checks it all becomes a bit hazy.

    My impressions of first part: real lack of direction. It's "go to this place roll a bunch of skill checks with no explanation", repeat ad nauseum. Every attempt to dig deeper ends up with "out of scope of the scenario". It doesn't help that the main npc comes off as obnoxious and at some point was just directly insulting party members (not sure if that's intended or a gm flavor). Overall so far, while not technically difficult, the scenario just feels plain shallow and unpleasant.

    To be continued...


    Two Fatal Flaws, but overall enjoyable

    4/5

    I actually really enjoyed the scenario but I understand that this one is definitely not for everyone.

    There's lots of skill checks and lots of roleplay. If you've got a group that likes their combat, this one's not really going to interest them. That was a flaw for one of my players.

    The main flaw is that one encounter in particular within this scenario feels like it was made for a 3-6 scenario. It's REALLY swingy and REALLY dangerous for low level characters, especially those at level 1. The encounter seems much better at a higher tier, as it can't swing nearly as hard, but I legit almost had my first character death as a GM because of this one and how all the things added up.

    But overall, I enjoyed it, and most of my players did, too!


    Great Scenario

    4/5

    My group had a great time with this one. The setting is rich, and the author captures Nex quite well. The key NPC is one of my favorites I've encountered playing PFS in quite some time.

    While the faction reputation missions are somewhat opposed, it's possible to do both (we did). It's nothing like the PF1e PFS days in regards to conflicting faction missions at least. This scenario rewards roleplaying opportunities, and I'm all for that. Again, really enjoyed this one.


    1 to 5 of 8 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
    Paizo Employee Organized Play Coordinator

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

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


    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    I quite like the sound of this one.

    Advocates

    5 people marked this as a favorite.
    Scenario Blurb wrote:
    "See the world," they said. "Simple research mission," they said.

    Mike (or blurb writer; possibly both), you have won the adoration of the Von Rooiakker family for the rest of existence for that line.

    Dark Archive

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    Looks like we diving head first into this one. Hopefully we come out of it without having our brains rattled.

    Looking forward to this one!


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Any idea what the level range of Part 2 will be? And when it might come out?

    Got a group of PCs who definitely want to play both parts and don't want to accidentally level out of Part 2.

    Sovereign Court

    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition Subscriber

    Any news on what the maps for this scenario may be?
    Thanks in advance.

    Paizo Employee Organized Play Coordinator

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    Cover and map list updated.


    Is that sidebar right - Quantium has 18 pages in the Impossible Lands book?


    Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    keftiu wrote:
    Is that sidebar right - Quantium has 18 pages in the Impossible Lands book?

    Pages 250-268 would actually be 19 pages. If that page range reference is in error, someone will be able to point it out in a few days.

    Advocates

    7 people marked this as a favorite.

    Just played it with the author; it is fantastic. My table and I all had moments of sheer cackling at the jokes, then we got a little teary eyed at a certain point.

    Cannot recommend it highly enough, and if you can catch it with the author sometime, please do. I hear he's a top bloke ;)

    Liberty's Edge

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Had the honor of playing this with the author and I can assure you, this one is worth grabbing.


    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Just cruel forcing a GM to play an NPC that has to tell puns. Heartless in fact.

    Wayfinders

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    elisaelli wrote:
    Just cruel forcing a GM to play an NPC that has to tell puns. Heartless in fact.

    Disembodied skulls should be considered to have expert proficiency in being heartless. I'd call this a tongue-in-cheek fact, but that also does not apply here :P


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Puns are truly brainless. I angrily look forward to going ahead with the follow up scenario.

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