This adventure opens with a long and detailed background for the DM, which provides all the underpinning information you need to understand what is going on. The party, of course, don't get anything like that much detail in their briefing - they are merely told that a senior Pathfinder has gone missing whilst exploring an ancient and long-lost edifice, the Ravenous Sphinx, and they are being sent to find out what happened to him.
The adventure as written begins with the party already well on their way to the Ravenous Sphinx, with a voyage and caravan journey behind them once they had received their mission. Naturally, if you have time and inclination you could play out their travels, otherwise the adventure starts with a running battle as the caravan is attacked! Assuming they deal with that, they soon come on the forbidding shape of the Sphinx, part-buried in the sand but with an open doorway between its front paws and a passageway leading down...
The rest of the adventure consists of their exploration of what is down there. In essence it's a well-trapped puzzle dungeon, but one for which there is a good reason - which surprisingly is actually explained to them by one of the denizens of the place (who set it up, as it happens).
The puzzles are quite challenging and it's going to take more than a strong swordarm and spells to work out what has to be done... yet it can be done. These kind of puzzles don't appeal to everybody, but they can be a fun intellectual challenge for those who do enjoy them. In essence it is a bit like Matthew Reilly meets Indiana Jones with a spot of Tomb Raider mixed in, and ought to prove a memorable adventure for those which survive it! Faction missions are linked in reasonably well, although as usual raise the question of how come the Factions know so much of what is going on wherever it is the party has been sent to give them such detailed missions!
It certainly gets to the very core of what the Pathfinder Society is all about, and those who succeed have earned the title of Pathfinder indeed.
Return to The Third Riddle page.
Reviewed: 23 January 2016