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Lord Soth

Beckett's page

RPG Superstar 6 Season Star Voter. FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 4,825 posts (18,914 including aliases). 42 reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 27 Pathfinder Society characters. 6 aliases.

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This scenario is very confusing, both to the players who simply have no real opportunity to learn what's actually going on, and no real motivation to care, but also for the DM. Information is scarce (possibly explained in part 2), and extremely poorly organized. Everyone walked away very unfulfilled after play.

The direct ties to Occult Adventures just outright failed, and hurt the scenario as there is already far too much going on, trying to push in the new material (that really doesn't fit at all) and really has no tangible point was just a bad idea.

There was far too much forced RP and railroading going on, essentially the story happening with the characters as observers or interacting with one-dimensional NPCs that share way too much personal information for no apparent reason and in an unrealistic time frame.

Lost Legacy wrote:
This bone-white candle has the power to transmit occult information across great distances. To form the necessary bond, a group of between two and four creatures must participate in a 1-hour occult ritual that culminates with lighting the candle.

So, assuming that Bakten is one of those 4, what happens when there are more than 3 characters playing? They just left out? Did the writer even bother?

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Doesn't really live up to the name

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While it is filled with a lot of stuff, a lot of it is fairly underwhelming, far too specific, and tends to be either another way to do something or not terribly great.

This really SHOULD NOT have been a setting specific book, but then really, most Players Companions shouldn't either.

A lot of the options here seem to be designed with the "Okay, build an new character to use these" than "Oh awesome, here are some cool things you might be able to take next level". Far too much is Class Specific, something that should be avoided as much as possible, not continued.

Not really sure what else to say. Great idea, but my opinion is was not handled well on too many fronts. Not enough variation or options for most of the different groups within the book. Mostly too little of this and that and than too. Take away is if you really loved the Melee and Ranged Toolbox books, you will probably love this one. If you felt let down with those two, this one will be basically the same. A lot of often requested styles are not touched upon, or much/in a practical way, while others are done yet again.

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Player Review

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this one. I find Fey kind of "meh", so the fact that it seemed built around highlighting the Fey was likewise "Meh". I generally consider it bad writing when the NPC's seem to be there to out-spotlight the players, but I'm not sure just how true that is in the scenario as a whole, as I haven't run it.

The puzzle was, how do I say this,. . . a clusterf!+$.

I really didn't care for the encounters much. Not particularly interesting, but very frustrating for the layers (not characters), which is kind of true for the scenario as a whole. It's ok, but for the players it's mostly frustrating. I'd say the big bag was the one sort of interesting stand out, but it just didn't last long enough to be as cool as I (we?) had expected. We had to be pushed a lot to try out the portals, and so I finally caved for the DM's sake, and every single time rolled poorly, showing it was just a poor idea, (sort of like casting a sleep spell on yourself and willingly failing the save so you can sit there while others do stuff and rounds tick by). Yah, that was fun.

I think the major issue, though, was just how lacking the scenario was on basically anything about the town/area at all. Or, you know, all the information that a player might ask that would be pretty pertinent to the scenario. Like what are First World Fey Circles, and why do I care? How are they significant, and then out of nowhere, they become significant, but not explained at all.

It's kind of worth it for a fairly meaningless romp, (diplomacy or attack rolls, whatever), for a fairly cool Chronicle Sheet, but not terribly memorable besides a lot of frustration.

I do recall our DM commenting on how surprised he was that the entire party kept pushing to know what the deal was between the two mayors and wanting to try and deal with that, but basically had to tell us out of character that that was outside the scenario. I guess this one wasn't playtested too much, as the obvious things just where not included or even avoided.

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I wasn't really planning on buying the book from the start, and really only broke down because I know it's going to start coming up in PFS. All in all, (still reading through it myself), I'd have to agree mostly with Marco Massoudi's review. So, be warned, a bit bias, and I am not at all a Paizo fanboy/girl.

I think my main issue with it is just how misleading "Occult" is, and how little the scope of this product really is. Being just how much emphasis is placed on spirits and ghosts, undead, faith and philosophy, the Planes, and the like, you would think that this book would have a lot of crossover with the existing divine, (or even Arcane), classes that share a lot of thematic space, but instead, the vast majority of the book seems to focus more on making a third, unique snowflake approach that shoves itself into a design space that really didn't need filled before hand. That is, by basically shoving other similarly themed classes over to make room.

Lacking the bestiary section really undercuts the products usefulness and really comes off as a money-grab. I's also disappointing just how little it seems to focus on playing "occult" games outside of the new classes, and offers rather little for everyone else. It's not so much that the product description lied or was incorrect as that it could have done a lot better a job on some aspects than it did. It was posted a few times that the product would also be introducing a lot of ways to include horror/occult/mysteries into you game, which again, not technically a lie, but it was insinuated it would be to a higher and more broad degree than it seems to have. I guess we will need a new book for that, too.

In particular, I found the gear section very lackluster, and well, just lacking. Kind of felt like it was some sort of Easter Egg or April Fool's Day joke rather than something that one would find inside of a purchased product.

Even a lot of the more unique rules and new flavor aspects just seemed, I don't know, lacking.

In the end, I think that how useful and likable you find the book really depends on just how much you are interested in playing a Kenetecist or the other classes presented in this book. It doesn't do much (that isn't already done) for anyone else or DM's just wanting to run a themed game outside of the book. So, for example, while Mythic Adventures offered material for everyone and new rules guidelines for the play style, Occult Adventures is much more like, I don't know the Advanced Players Guide that seems to focus pretty exclusively on adding options for the new classes alone, (except that the APG did actually offer a lot for everyone else, too). It's really hard to compare it to another product in that sense.

It was difficult to pin a number on this one, as it really, really just depends on how much you like the new classes. If you wanted more options for non-"occult" characters, it's really not for you (0-1 star). If you love the concept of "psychic" "magic", it's probably a 4-5 star book. It is NOT (3E) Psionics, though there are some minor thematic similarities. However, it is also not, for good or for ill, the ACG.

I went with 2 rather than 3 though as while the book is good for it's pretty niche purposes, it's a Adventures style book I hope is not repeated, hoping the next themed book focuses on all the other classes, play styles, and the like over some new classes pretty much exclusively. I was extremely skeptical about making the purchase to begin with, and really only broke down because I knew that's I would be forced to make PFS rulings on it, and because I was lead to believe it would offer a lot more thematic elements all around for play and play styles. It did, but only in a certain manner of speaking.

I think my biggest gripe with this book is that it seemed to take all of the poor implementation from D&D Psionics and repeat them. For example, making a bunch of "Psionic Only" rules that really have no purpose other than to enforce an unneeded niche. Or that Occult Magic functions similar but different than non-Occult Magic, and a simple 2,000GP Ring effectively grants the equivalent of a free Still Spell (in addition to being a cheap and great item itself), Ring of the Sublime.

Outside of cases like the PFS example, I wouldn't really say it's required reading unless yourself or one of your players just really wants to play one of the new classes, (perfectly understandable). It just does not offer too much beyond that, likely unless you buy a few more books down the road.

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Sub-Tier Matters

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I just finished this for the low tier and am getting close to finishing for the high tier PbPs I'm running, and it's pretty clear the high tier game is both much more challenging and fun. The low tier group basically waltzed through everything except the final encounter (and I even lumped the last two waves together for time and well to make it interesting).

Focusing on just the low tier game for now, as I have not fully finished the high tier. . .

ON the DM side of the screen, I felt that a lot of the mechanics to sort of ramp up the threat, both social and environmental hazards where too complex for what could instead have been a much simpler way of handling it, and the extra room could have been better used filling in some of the gaps and unexplained backstory. It's not that they are too bad or too complex, just why work harder instead of smarter?

I think the Challenges with the Praetor could have worked a lot better, essentially boiling down to "Ok, now show me you can flex your muscles", "Ok, now show me you can open a book", "good job, I think you will survive out in the bush".

I do also feel there was a missed opportunity here for Liberty's Edge and the captured slaves, but pretty minor. I was, however, extremely irked for my low tier players that the special Haversack reward was not open to them. It makes a nice little "trophy" item, and as someone that likes to collect these sorts of special items myself, it just rubbed me the wrong way that it's high tier only, particularly as it's probably the lower level character that would be most interested in purchasing it. It's already a pretty cheap item, so the special Glyph of the Open Road version should really be open to all.

One thing I also noticed, and this might just be a bit more evident due to PbP, is that after the 1st combat, but not including the waves in the final encounter, it really felt like it from one combat to the next to the next to the next with no actual break in between. In the sense that "Ok, you kill the ____ and have a short rest, healing up, and as you get back on the path to travel to your destination, roll Init. Ok, wew, take a minute to catch a breath and pass the wand around, oh, just as you finish that drink of your waterskin, . . . wait, what's that in the trees? Roll Init."

Might have been more interesting to have the bridge encounter happen before reaching Fort Bendu, maybe even within sight of some of the soldiers who then have a possible reason to suspect they are, oh gosh, dirty Pathfinders. While I like combat, I think evening it out a bit more would have been the better option, and I'll probably make that little change if I run it again.

Right now, I'm going with 2/5 stars, just based on the Low Tier play through. Once my High Tier game is finished and I discuss it with the players, I'll come edit this and adjust it.

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