Pathfinder Society Scenario #5-06: Ukuja, The First Wall

3.30/5 (based on 3 ratings)
Pathfinder Society Scenario #5-06: Ukuja, The First Wall
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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 7th- through 10th-level characters.

A new portal has been discovered in the Maze of the Open Road, and the Society has sent the PCs to investigate what secrets remain on the other side. The PCs discover the settlement of Ukuja, first of the nine walls that make up the Matanji orcs's aptly named Nine Walls nation. There, the PCs fall under scrutiny for a fiendish plot to destabilize the fortress settlement and must work to prove their innocence, all while discovering the true villain behind a fiendish invasion!

Written by Shan Wolf

Scenario tags: Metaplot (Unfettered Exploration), Faction (Horizon Hunters, 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 Classics: Town Square
  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Watch Station
  • Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Society Scenario Subscription.

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    Average product rating:

    3.30/5 (based on 3 ratings)

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    Interesting Story, but needs some better editing/support.

    3/5

    Overall this is an intriguing scenario with some unique engagements.
    There's way too many combats, but the one place that the players wanted to engage for Roleplay wasn't allowed by the weird unexplained railroading that you have to tell the players sorry you can't do that because I don't have a stat block and you are told to

    Spoiler:

    "The Maze of the Open Road is our responsibility, and if it was somehow used to hurt
    people, we should do everything in our power to make it right." I'm not sure how that translates to you encounter a random group of combative looking people approach you and you therefore are willing to drop your weapons. This doesn't make any sense. Its hard to convince the players that these aren't simply other bad guys. Several people have their diefic weapon on them.
    Secondly is the possession. Its not explained clearly whether the creature effectively is using an ability as the normal or heightened version of that spell. These have two very different outcomes.

    Overall, I give the plot premise a 4 or 5. The execution is a 2-3. Too much combat, poor written assumptions that someone is going to read into what you said to mean something you quite simply didn't. No help for key issues. The end brings the original premise of the beginning into question as to why its unclear how the party should act in the first place. It would have been nice to seen a better establishment instead of a weird trope for a pointless scene that only acts as an irritant to the players because you have to force them to do something without any realistic options as a gm.


    3/5

    I appreciate the actual challenge of many of these high level combats. The enemies between encounters are a good mix  of re-used monsters from prior fights and new foes. This is a good thing to see in my opinion: it allows PCs to have learned about certain enemies' tactics and abilities from earlier battles and then be able to adapt while also mixing indifferent creatures with their own quirks. The fights can also be challenging,especially the final one: both times (running and playing) the group of Pathfinders really felt like their backs were up against the wall. 

    The problem is that there are too many combats. At this tier 4 fights - none marked as optional - means this is never going to fit into a normal 4 hour slot.Playing it took 5.5 hours; running it took 5 and that was with me knowing how long it could go and trying to push forward as best possible. The 2nd and 3rdfight particularly come across as 'samey'; while the enemies are a bit different the overall feel and narrative importance of each is about the same and one could have easily been dropped. 

    The amount of time the encounters take up also shortchanges opportunities for other types of RP.Ukuja as a setting is great and relatively unexplored in Pathfinder but the PCs don't have much opportunity to get to know it. An investigation component is(happily) left pretty open-ended and sandbox-like in terms of approaches but the scenario does not give that many hooks for a GM to build on to flesh out the city as the PCs move through it. I had to pull liberally from the LO:Mwangi Expanse book to flesh out the scenes but not all GMs have that resource. 

    Also this scenario contains a too-common example of

    Spoiler:
    the NPC who doesn't like you is the one behind it. It's a too common pattern in Paizo adventures that lets any other points they're making against Pathfinder be dismissed as 'but they're the bad guy, so of course they'd say that.' Let NPCs not like Pathfinders for non-villainous reasons and let indifferent/friendly NPCs actually be behind the unrelated schemes!
     
    Overall a good challenge and interesting setting that suffers from too many long combats overshadowing the chance to explore that setting.


    I kinda wish this had been earlier in the year

    4/5

    This scenario does have its issues, but its challenging and pretty much what I've been wanting to happen in this season. Like I think we had too many months in row with varying degree of light heartedness, this one we have classic scenario of meeting up with new people and investigating a mystery and this one does have its fair amount of gore and gravitas. Good drama is nice, though admittedly the amount of combat means there isn't really that much roleplaying time(its bit obvious to me that out of only few detailed characters which one is the bad guy, but I do personalities of keycast at least comes across through well and fast)

    My first issue is that there isn't really introduction to Ukuja or Matanji orcs in scenario itself, so considering I think this is first scenario where pathfinder society makes contact with them its very much likely that society only players have no idea who they are or what the first wall is like. Second, and the main issue, is that there are lot of small editing errors that make me think there were behind the scenes production problems, like its kinda weird that first flip mat has "ante chamber" be located on what is clearly a chapel of church while second one seems to assume route to be linear to the final room, but the map itself seems like the two encounter rooms are so close to each other that enemies should be hearing the fighting.

    (there is also that having one low, two moderate and one severe encounter especially at these levels likely takes more than 6 hours unless party happens to be optimal for situation. Like I think one of encounters could easily have been cut or at least there should have been two low encounters instead.


    Paizo Employee Organized Play Coordinator

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

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


    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    The one flaw of the Mwangi book was a lack of good maps - I'd love to see Nine Walls properly placed!

    This one sounds *awesome.*

    Shadow Lodge

    This sounds amazing!

    Paizo Employee Organized Play Coordinator

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Cover and map list updated.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Paizo has figured out that if they keep printing adventures about orcs I'm just going to have to keep buying them. Time to run another adventure!

    Horizon Hunters

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I accidentally managed to purchase this scenario on October 25th, before announced release date.


    This does sound really rad. I'll be curious to see what PFS players think of it!

    Paizo Employee Editor

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Important note, spoilers for a combat:

    Final Combat Scaling:
    The sidebar on page 21 should read as:
    To adjust for the PCs’ overall strength, use the following Challenge Point adjustments. These adjustments are not cumulative.
    10–11 Challenge Points: Add one babau to the encounter.
    12–13 Challenge Points: Add one nabasu to the encounter.
    14–15 Challenge Points: Add one babau and one nabasu to the encounter.
    16–18 Challenge Points (5+ players): Add two babaus and one nabasu to the encounter.

    The sidebar on page 30 should read as:
    To adjust for the PCs’ overall strength, use the following Challenge Point adjustments. These adjustments are not cumulative.
    19–22 Challenge Points: Add one nabasu to the encounter.
    23–27 Challenge Points: Add two nabasus to the encounter.
    28–32 Challenge Points: Add one invidiak, one nabasu, and one kithangian to the encounter.
    33+ Challenge Points (5+ players): Add two invidiaks and two kithangians to the encounter.

    We're waiting for an updated PDF and will let y'all know once it's ready!

    Dark Archive

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

    This one is pretty great yeah, my main issues are editing/map problems and small nitpicks.

    Dark Archive

    After running this scenario, doing normal interactions/RP plus investigation and still having to do 4 higher level combats for a 7 - 10 is ludacris and certainly will never fit into a 4 hour time block, and took us over 6 hours to complete. It has been the trend that I've noted to have 4 combats in most scenarios this season and so everything runs long. That really needs to get fixed as many of these could never be run in a live instore game environment given our usual timing restraints.

    Sovereign Court

    morbon wrote:
    After running this scenario, doing normal interactions/RP plus investigation and still having to do 4 higher level combats for a 7 - 10 is ludacris and certainly will never fit into a 4 hour time block, and took us over 6 hours to complete. It has been the trend that I've noted to have 4 combats in most scenarios this season and so everything runs long. That really needs to get fixed as many of these could never be run in a live instore game environment given our usual timing restraints.

    Agreed. And none of the combats are even marked optional.


    Add "Wall"... is that intense?

    Sanyeron wrote:
    I really want to check Ukuja but... I have a Pathfinder Society subscription and I haven't received anything since #05-04, and customer.service@paizo.com hasn't replied after 4 days... not very happy about this.


    Pathfinder LO Special Edition, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

    Hm. This should have come with my November (I guess) subscription. It didn't. :-(

    Grand Archive

    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Ed Reppert wrote:
    Hm. This should have come with my November (I guess) subscription. It didn't. :-(

    In the past when I’ve missed mine I’ve emailed customer service with links to the missing scenarios and they are great at getting them to me in good time; but you know keep it friendly, they are dealing with a lot of backlog


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder LO Special Edition, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

    I always keep it friendly. I've already written to CS. They have already sent me a ticket number (I'm pretty sure that part's automated). We'll see.

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