This was another one of those fix-it sessions. Paizo had seen fit to include a goblin snake in the adventure which would grab the shard if it could and then escape into the sewers, which it did. Obviously, if the party doesn’t recover the shard, then this adventure path is over. I could have engineered a big chase through the sewers, but I do not have the time to set up a big sewer-crawling adventure, and I didn’t think it would be very exciting anyway. So I came up with this idea that someone else would find the snake, take the shard, and the party would get it from him.
Thus Kieran the Magnificent was born. He actually has a fairly involved backstory, but Scratchy’s ridiculously high stealth skill precluded very much interaction with him. Yes, I could’ve beefed up the security around the shard, but I didn’t for both story and gaming reasons. The story reason was that I’d already established that Kieran had just set up his camp, and he didn’t know other people were aware of the shard and its powers, so there wasn’t enough time for him to set up a lot of security, nor would he feel an immediate need to do so, especially since he’s too busy explaining to everyone how he’s the Greatest Showman in the World. The gaming reason was that I didn’t want to drag out the search for the shard for very long. We’d already spent two full sessions searching for Natalya, and it was time for the real quest to begin. Was it too easy? Maybe, but I don’t think every encounter has to be a desperate struggle for survival. The PCs in Pathfinder are loaded up with awesome abilities – sometimes they should just get a chance to shine. Plus, when they do get beat down, it’ll just hurt that much more.