The 21st of September marked the day of Pathfinder Society Hasselt’s inaugural event. Pathfinder Society Hasselt is one of the first, if not the first, Pathfinder Lodges in Belgium and I was very happy to be present for its first event. It was decided to keep the event quite small as a testcase, to figure out the paperwork involved in running a Pathfinder Society event. For this event 2 dungeon masters accompanied 8 players on their quest for fame and glory.
The adventure that was run at both tables was PZOPSSINTRO1E First Steps Part 1: In service to Lore. This adventure was written by Adam Daigle and is the first of a trilogy to introduce new players to the Pathfinder Society, both in-game and out. The other two parts To delve the dungeon deep and A vision of betrayal are no longer legal in season 5 of the campaign. The adventure centers around a number of tasks being given to the player characters which need to be resolved in one day. The task lists sends the characters throughout most of Absolom’s districts and has them encounter important Pathfinder Society NPCs such as Guaril Karela, and Zarta Dralneen.
<ATTENTION : SPOILERS BELOW>
The session began with my character Henricus meeting up with a few other Pathfinders in the Grand Lodge of Absalom. We had seen each other before during boot camp, but hadn’t really interacted or worked together. Colwyn Drakken, a tough looking figher, Julius Baradin, a noble of Chelaxian birth, and Idran, a mysterious half-elf worshipper of Sarenrae covered in scars, all waited with Henricus to be let into Ambrus Valsin’s office. Curt as always, Ambrus informed us that we still had a lot to prove before being considered true Pathfinders and as such he wanted us to do a number of small tasks for the Society.
We received an enveloppe containing four tasks. These tasks would lead us through a number of different districts starting with the Docks where Guaril Karela, the leader of the Sczarni faction, showed us around his shop The pickled imp. Guaril told us about a crate he needed retrieved from a warehouse on the docks, more specifically he needed a small box filled with paperwork within that crate. Going through the shop’s inventory, Henricus noticed a lot of jar with strange creatures in them, one of them the shop’s mascot, an imp. On the way to the docks Idran has the feeling that we’re being followed.
At the docks the warehouse turned out to be rather remote with only a few children and fishermen nearby who seemed to mind their own business. Entering the place took a while as Henricus struggled with a lock of extremely high quality (or so he explained) while the rest of the group stood around awkwardly, trying to block the view and getting more impatient by the minute.
Once inside Idran noticed that the warehouse inventory showed some tracks of rat infestation and Julius added they were quite large from what he could see. Carefully the party moved forward until three dire rats were located and fought. In the fight only Colwyn was bitten by one of the rats but he rubbed some disease-removing spit on the wound afterwards so he should be just fine. We then proceeded with figuring out how to lift the big crate out of the hole in the floor without dropping it in the water. First Colwyn attempted using the warehouse crane but that wasn’t very succesful so instead we got together some wooden boards to reinforce the floor enabling us to access the crate. We lifted out the whole inventory and returned to Guaril’s shop. Henricus grabbed the loaded dice, which didn’t sit well with Idran and became a constant point of discussion on the way back. At the shop we handed over the loot and Henricus offered Guaril his taxidermy skills in order to improve the creatures on his shelves a bit.
Next up was a trip to the Temple of the Shining Star in the Ascendant’s Court where we met Ollysta Zadrian, the leader of the Silver Crusade. Ollysta asked us to bring some medicine to Auntie Baltwin’s Home for recovery. However, we were also tasked to check if everything was alright overthere as some shady rumours had surfaced about the home recently. On the way to the home Henricus asked for directions several times, trying to get the locals to spill the beans on Auntie Baltwin. Mainly positive comments were heard, except for one person living nearby saying that he was glad that she sent the children into the city once in a while so he could get some rest, and another person claimed sometimes shady adults were treated at the Home as well. Many confirmed she wasn’t exactly very polite either, but other than that she seemed to get those children healed time and again.
Our Sarenrae worshipping agent Idran took this task very seriously and was pretty much as subtle as a brick, immediately confronting Auntie Baltwin with the rumours and demanding an explanation. Auntie Baltwin gave reasonable explanations but Idran wasn’t persuaded easily and demanded a search of the house. Julius sent his pet familiar ferret after some cats causing both him and Auntie Baltwin to chase the ferret so the rest could search the house. Nothing was found however so we left. Then Colwyn talked to one of the children outside who told him the adults weren’t being healed, and the children stayed away all day, a bit long for groceries as Auntie had told us.
This led to Idran barging back into the house, drawing one of his scimitars and threatening Auntie Baltwin who of course started screaming for help. Idran was stopped by Colwyn, wanted to vent his frustration by burning a cat, and was stopped again by Colwyn. By now the city watch had turned up and Henricus and Colwyn did their best to calm everyone down. In the end we didn’t leave the medicine behind and returned it to temple where Ollysta said she would look into things before considering more donations to the Home. Idran again has the feeling of being followed and this time Julius confirms his suspicions.
Our third assignment took us to the Wise Quarter for a visit to the Sapphire Sage who told us he had arranged our visit to the vaults of his lord and that a small test would await us there. Once in the vault we were greeted by a wicker basket, a glass jar, and three chests. Henricus investigates the basket and notices the snake below the cloth at the last moment. He then used a small hook and rope to lift the key from the cloth. When the viper reared, Idran burned it. Henricus then proceeded to check the chests for traps while the rest of the group tried to figure what kind of liquid was in the bowl.
Henricus finds a trap in the steel chest but while deactivating it, sets it off and has his skin turn blue. The rest of the group seems to find this quite amusing. Henricus refocusses his energy and opens the chest after a good while of tinkering with the lock. The rest of the party in the meanwhile has opened the red chest and causes a small scepter to appear from the ceiling. Idran lifts Colwyn off the ground and with the help of Julius’ ferret is able to retrieve the scepter.
Julius studies the wand found in the steel chest and identifies it as wand of knock, which he uses to open the door of the vault. Amenopheus’ servant congratulates the group and shows them the way out. Henricus wears his gloves and sinks a bit deeper into his highwayman’s coat to not attract too much attention with his blue skincolor.
Last stop on the tour of Absalom is Zarta Dralneen’s townhouse in the Ivy District. Zarta tells them that the item they were sent to retrieve is in the next room. The issue however is that her pet imp Kreuvus is in the same room, upset for not being able to access the chest the item’s in. To everyone’s surprise Julius seems to be able to communicate with the imp using some abyssal language. While this conversation is going on Colwyn has gathering one of the big draperies from the bed, sneaks up on Kreuvus and throws the blanket over the imp. Henricus immediately jumps on top and together they grapple the imp and drapery into a knot.
To Zarta’s amazement this task was completed incredibly fast. When Zarta notices Henricus’ blue skin color, he claims to be quite exotic and receives an instant invitation for a future visit. Colwyn gets to keep a nice silver letter opener and is invited back as well.
When the party arrives back in the Foreign Quarter, a group of performers has gathered quite a crowd and is blocking the main road. In order to not have to move through the crowd with the chest obtained at Zarta’s estate, the party moves into the side roads where all of a sudden a mist fills the alleys and forms are seen moving about in front of the party. Then voices are heard and Julius recognizes two people casting a spell. The party draws weapons and Henricus looses a few bolts in the direction of the voices. Julius casts enlarge on Colwyn effectively blocking much of the alley in this way. Then a high pitched voice screams an attack and out of the mist a halfling runs at the party, blood and rage filling his eyes, only to be stopped in a pool of grease cast by Julius.
The halfling is able to badly wound Colwyn and another figure steps from the mist, channeling negative energy into the party, nearly crippling it. Idran counters with some positive energy and Colwyn is able to kill the halfling in two fell strokes. In the meantime Henricus has sent the cleric of Norgorber into hiding with a well aimed bolt from his crossbow as Julius casts more spells at the opposition and is hit with a magic missile. Idran is forced to channel more positive energy to keep the group alive. Noises are heard from the roof as the combat ensues as Colwyn is caught in a cone of vivid colors and slumps to the ground unconscious. Julius and Henricus finish off the mage and cleric of Norgorber as the thief who crept up on the party from behind turns and runs off, followed by an eagle summoned by Julius.
After this encounter the party returns to Ambrus who congratulates them and asks them to next time leave the city guard out of the Society’s affairs.
*Memorable moments of roleplay*
- The countless discussions between Henricus and Idran on the subject of Henricus wanting to keep some loaded dice he found.
- Idran: ‘I burn a cat!’, after which the rest of the table looks at each other and shake their head.
- Colwyn: ‘Why did you enlarge me?’ Julius: ‘I needed a meat shield.’
- Henricus turning blue and having to endure all sorts of sentences and sayings with the word blue in it