New Society GM trying to pick scenarios


Pathfinder Society

1/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Can anyone explain to me the concept of the structure of Seasons? I am currently trying to find scenarios to get a group of friends through Season 4 but as far as I can see, there are not enough scenarios for every tier to do that.

Now that made me think about what exactly a Season is supposed to be. Is there an overarching story within a season? Is the timeline advanced between seasons? Or can you just mix up scenarios from different seasons without bending or breaking verisimilitude?

3/5

You can mix and match as you please with only minor bending of verisimilitude. Timeline is sort-of semi-quasi advanced...It's complicated.

Each season has an overarching story or plot that advances as the season goes on, for example Season 5 is all about the worldwound (and specifically trying to help some Dwarves recover something important to them).

That's all I got for now.

~NPEH

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Season 0 was the introductory season, when it still used D&D 3.5 rules. It doesn't have an overarching plot.

Season 1 was the first season using Pathfinder rules specifically. It also doesn't have an overarching plot.

Season 2 is the "Year of the Shadow Lodge," dealing with rogue agents within the Pathfinder Society

Season 3 is the "Year of the Ruby Phoenix," focusing on the Asian-flavored region of Tian Xia, and its Ruby Phoenix Tournament, for which the Pathfinder Society is collecting artifacts to gain an edge. 5 new factions were introduced in this season (Lantern Lodge, Shadow Lodge, Silver Crusade, Sczarni, and Grand Lodge)

Season 4 is the "Year of the Risen Rune," which focuses on the European-flavored nation of Varisia, and the resurgence of the cult of Lissala and culminates in the waking of a runelord from ancient Thassilon

Season 5 is the "Year of the Demon," and focuses on the Mendevian Crusade to the Worldwound, where demons spill from a portal to the Abyss. 2 factions were retired at the start of this season (Lantern Lodge and Shadow Lodge)

However, there are plenty of scenarios in each season that are independent of the general arc.

Silver Crusade

Earlier season missions are generally easier. Particularly season 0 and 1. However, there are a few humdingers in 0 because of 3.5 rules vs Pathfinder.

Silver Crusade

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The low number of lower level adventures in season 4 was a big complaint by a lot of people. For a new group, you'll definitely have to play some of the older scenarios to get up to level 5.

Here's some older low level stand alone scenarios that I'd recommend:

First Steps part 1 (level 1 only - parts 2 and 3 are "retired", so no longer available for Society play)
Assault on the Kingdom of the Impossible (season 1)
The Frostfur Captives (season 3)
The Pallid Plague (season 1, but I would recommend waiting to run this at tier 3-4 or higher)

And, of course, the infamous Blackros Museum adventures, which are stand alone and can be done in any order without breaking verisimilitude, until the latest one:
Mists of Mwangi (season 0)
Voices in the Void (season 1)
Penumbral Accords (season 2)
Echoes of the Overwatched (season 3)
The Blackros Matrimony (season 4 - this one comes after Penumbral Accords, and mildly ties into other season 4 adventures)

Liberty's Edge

As others have said, time line is wibley wobbly.

I personally suggest Season 2 scenarios 01 and 02, Bloodcove and Rescue at Azlant Ridge. Bloodcove was VERY popular with my group.

Silver Crusade

New Venture Lt. myself. Been sticking to First Steps Part 1 and Season 0/1 scenarios to get the player base up to speed. Been picking up a lot of new to Pathfinder people, so I'm trying to keep things in easy mode for now.

So far we've run First Steps, 08 Slave Pits of Absolom, and 39 Citadel of Flame. All ran smoothly, everyone had fun, and no character deaths. Giving Pallid Plague and Devil We Know Part 1 a go this weekend. [[Crossing fingers]]

Once I get a base of players with 2nd level and higher characters, I'm planning on scheduling a few of the chained scenarios (both official and unofficial) to give the people wanting a bit more continuity something to sink their teeth into. And also start running some the later season scenarios for the players looking for more challenge.

Silver Crusade

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Brett Carlos wrote:

New Venture Lt. myself. Been sticking to First Steps Part 1 and Season 0/1 scenarios to get the player base up to speed. Been picking up a lot of new to Pathfinder people, so I'm trying to keep things in easy mode for now.

So far we've run First Steps, 08 Slave Pits of Absolom, and 39 Citadel of Flame. All ran smoothly, everyone had fun, and no character deaths. Giving Pallid Plague and Devil We Know Part 1 a go this weekend. [[Crossing fingers]]

Once I get a base of players with 2nd level and higher characters, I'm planning on scheduling a few of the chained scenarios (both official and unofficial) to give the people wanting a bit more continuity something to sink their teeth into. And also start running some the later season scenarios for the players looking for more challenge.

I'd recommend against running The Pallid Plague at 1-2. It's a great scenario, but it has lots of skill checks, and characters might not have all the skills trained yet. Wait until they're level 3+ for that.

As for The Devil We Know, part 1, that one can be brutal on an all level 1 group. As long as you have some level 2s mixed in, and stick to the villain tactics written in the scenario, you should be ok. But there's one bad guy who could easily decimate a level 1 group, especially if played more intelligently than the listed tactics. It was a near-TPK when I ran it for experienced players with brand new level 1 PCs, and I intentionally stuck to the less deadly tactics in the adventure.

1/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks for all those really helpful replies.
I' m not trying to be snide but then where is the "living" in the campaign? Are the results of the missions in one season shaping later missions? I'm a little surprised that you can jump that easily between seasons, to be honest.

5/5 Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka Pirate Rob

Nullpunkt wrote:

Thanks for all those really helpful replies.

I' m not trying to be snide but then where is the "living" in the campaign? Are the results of the missions in one season shaping later missions? I'm a little surprised that you can jump that easily between seasons, to be honest.

I don't believe Pathfinder Society has ever called itself a "living" campaign.

Silver Crusade

There are ongoing storylines in some of the scenarios. We're just mostly recommending scenarios that don't tie into them.

There are other threads around here somewhere which list scenarios that tie in to each other to form ongoing stories. If you search around a little, you should be able to find them. Search for "Year of the Shadow Lodge" (season 2), "Hao Jin Tapestry" (season 3), and "Cult of Lissala" (season 4).

Shadow Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northwest aka WalterGM

initiate soapbox mode

With the start of Season 5, participants of Pathfinder Society will be able to contribute to the shape of the campaign like never before.

Season 5 began by giving each faction a single goal. One "faction mission" that they are trying to strive toward this year. These goals can be found in the Guide to Organized Play. Throughout this season, the various scenarios will have opportunities for those factions to work on their goals. There will be different options for completing those goals, the overall recorded decision of which will impact how the faction grows.

For example. "Do you save person A or person B? If more people saved A over B, then B will be removed from the game." Things like that. These decisions will allow the campaign development to change the shape of the world, depending on character decisions.

This new direction for Season 5 places the future of the factions directly in the hands of the players. So it's more living then ever before, in that regard.


Fromper wrote:

There are ongoing storylines in some of the scenarios. We're just mostly recommending scenarios that don't tie into them.

There are other threads around here somewhere which list scenarios that tie in to each other to form ongoing stories. If you search around a little, you should be able to find them. Search for "Year of the Shadow Lodge" (season 2), "Hao Jin Tapestry" (season 3), and "Cult of Lissala" (season 4).

Here's two threads that compiled lists of connected scenarios: Link, Link

Grand Lodge

As a quick aside addressing the point in the title, the Frostfur Captives, the Night March of Kalkamedes, and the Rise of the Goblin Guild are some of my favorite 1-2 scenarios and I recommend them for any group starting out. The Cyphermage Dilemna is also very fun, although maybe a bit on the harder side.

Worrying about the chronology of the Society if you take into account every scenario could give you a headache. I couldn't really make much of it personally.

1/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I know that the Society has never called itself "living" but somehow I just assumed it was implied. What Walter says sounds very interesting to me!

I'll also look into the connected scenarios. So looking at a season it is kind of the "Monster of the Week"/"Myth Arc" deal in X-Files where some episodes are stand-alone, some have minor connections to others and some only really make sense in a certain order. Is that about right?

Silver Crusade

Yeah, that sounds right. For beginners, sticking to stand alone adventures is best. But there are connected adventures if you want to go that way.

Also, there have been past things where character decisions have affected the campaign, just not many. We recently lost two factions, and the choice to get rid of them was supposedly based on the popularity/success rate of characters in that faction (the exact formula is still something of a mystery outside of Paizo staff, and some people think this wasn't done openly enough).

We're not sure how season 5 and it's vague goals will play out, since it only just started.

Shadow Lodge

While I love the Blakros Museum scenario's, my understanding (the write up just sounds o unappealing), is that that last one basically has nothing at all to do with the others, and really isn't part of the set.

Also, don't forget that you can run AP's and Modules to help fill in the gaps.

Silver Crusade

That's part of the beauty of the Blackros adventures - none of them really tie in directly to the others. You can play any number of them in any order, and it matters even less than with other storyline tie ins in Society play. The closest thing to a direct tie in is that The Blackros Matrimony involves one of the girls you saved in Penumbral Accords getting married.

Liberty's Edge

Which can go funky, esp if one or two players remember her dying in X but she survives to get married in Y. Table variation is going to be the biggest challenge to storyline.

RainydayNinja: European Varisia? Varisia as the 'last untamed frontier' sounds more like a brochure from pre US North America where the Shoanti are obviously a Native American riff (with the different tribes being... different tribes) and the Chelaxians playing the part of a quasi Spanish invasion complete with religious undertones.

Of course the Varisians seem Romany enough

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