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Lord Soth

Beckett's page

RPG Superstar 2013 Star Voter. FullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 4,822 posts (13,254 including aliases). 28 reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 23 Pathfinder Society characters. 5 aliases.

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Another Season 5 one. . .

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That is, if you hate combat and love high skill check rp/investigation, this is for you. If not. . .

I had pretty high hopes for this, (finally an actual Mendev Crusade sort of scenario), but really it's none of that. It could basically take place anywhere, and actually kind of seems more like anywhere but Mendev.

From a DM's perspective, it's needlessly complicated. It tries to capture something from Before the Dawn part 1 in the Town Sentiment track and mesh that with The Stolen Heir and other almost exclusively investigation scenario it leaves a lot of things unanswered.

It really needs something to spice it up, and probably 4 or 5 random combat encounters (Season 5, you are failing me).

It's a pretty big Red Flag to me when a Scenario has a GM sidebar noting that they have gone out of their way to make a lot of class features and character abilities not work or purposefully not give info just so the precious story can. That's just bad storytelling, and not only does it not equal fun, it usually just leads to frustration.

Another issue I have is that it suggests that the party split up, (sort of) and gives penalties for them not doing so. However, that's like Rule 1 in PFS, (you don't split the party). That this aspect was even included is beyond me, and what's worse, why would any players even think to do this, ever.

I'm really not sure what the goal for this one was either. While it offers a few different locations to find clues and evidence, for the most part a single character with a decent Diplomacy can solo this (and might actually do a better job without anyone else honestly with the penalty for others tagging along). Each gives suggested skill checks (with a lot of them being Diplomacy) but also suggests to let players use other skills with a good reasoning, and well Diplomacy kind of goes hand in hand with talking to folks, so that's really the only skill check you need to make in this one. Maybe Perception.

It also talks about how you can redeem <someone> at the end, but they are still listed as LG throughout and still have all their abilities to the max, so how exactly do they need to be "redeemed"? A smack on the head, sure. Shown that it's not ok to just murder those you hate. Certainly. Seems pretty hard to pin down what her actual alignment should be (you know outside of PLOT). There is one alignment that uses the law to enforce their will and harm others. There is also this one alignment that doesn't really care about what's real or right or ethical as log as you get what you want. Neither of them are LG, though.

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****( )

It was fun to run, and I did so for the Free RPG Day.

A few issues I noticed is that the combats where very fast, simple, and kind of unfulfilling. I don't think anything lasted past 2 rounds at all, and the entire table was disappointed at the lack of final encounter. People kind of expect that now.

The entire table was low Cha/low Social skills, but one player consistently rolled high which made for some entertaining rp moments, but also lead the party to believe some falsities (even after I tried to push them in another direction). Not a single player was interested in screwing over <an individual>, some of which had played through previous scenarios involving him, which kind of left this scenario flat. But, Season 5.

What I think would have been fantastic is for the scenario to allow for individuals to both try to mess up and also for others to attempt to refix things, each side sort of behind the others back.

The other major issue is that the party really blasted through this one. I think it was under or right at 3 hours. While it was fun and they enjoyed the overall story, it just wasn't challenging at all, (one character literally jumping down the well so he can say he took damage this scenario).

No Sczarni or Qadiran PCs, and I (DM) was the only Osirion, but they in a lot of ways completed even those extra bits. They are looking forward to part 2, but really want better combats.

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On first flipping through, my initial impression left me feeling good. On closer inspection, I noticed a few things.

Art is good, and I really like that it covered and focused on classes that where NOT Bard, Rogue, Monk, or Magus.

It seems there are a lot of very cool idea in her, but the mechanics just kind of ruin them, in my opinion. Bless Equipment for example, sounds great, but costs multiple Channel Energy uses, (in addition to Feat the investments), and lasts a only a few rounds. It's just not worth it. Well not before the last few levels of the game, anyway.

None of the items really stand out. All kind of forgettable, or just placing a few other items from other books into "kits". What's kind of worse is they are broken up into three separate sections, each intended to deal with different types of Undead, (Self-Created, Hungry Undead, Incorporeal, and Mindless). A very common theme is that it's really important to find out the details about the undead before they died, but it's never really shown, just told, "hey it's important or fighting Undead".

Haunts are ignored except for the centerfold. mazing picture that is ruined by the little captions (whose intent was to give a breakdown on Haunts). But just like the original rules for Haunts, it seems only about half complete. Still, an amazing picture.

I wanted to like the Archtypes, but on reading through, I just can't. Especially the Roaming Exorcist. It kind of feels like they went back the 3.5 Complete Divine and where not entirely sure on what to do with "spirits", so it's kind of all over the place. The Corpse Hunter (Ranger) is pretty amazing though, trading in a bit of usefulness in the wild for tactical advantage in graveyards and tombs. I like it.

Undecided on my feelings on the Soul Warden PC. D8, 1/2 BaB, 2+Int with very limited Class Skills (but at this point doesn't matter, but lacks Know Religion?), Full Caster that adds a limited Channel Energy (and HEAL). Everything about it's description kind of screams Cleric or Inquisitor type, but to even think about this option for most divine classes is an enormous stp downwards.

Bygone products of an ancient war, soul wardens are an enigma of themselves. The original soul wardens were a specially trained cadre of anti-necromantic commandos in the Nexian army during the Age of Destiny. They rose to prominence during the height of Nex’s war against the undead kingdom of Geb. The wizards’ conflict came to a close during the Age of Enthronement with the undeath of Geb and the disappearance of Nex, and soul wardens fell into obscurity as those armies effectively dissolved. Now, the only soul wardens who tread Golarion are those individuals who unofficially claim the title by mastering the millennia-old secrets of these forgotten warriors.

It looks like a massive boost for most arcane casters, or an excuse to give Wizards some healing abilities. I don't know if I like that.

All in all, the book kind of feels like a very basic primer for players new to fantasy rather than a Guide for battling Undead. That being said, if you loved the other _________ Slayer's Guides, you will probably love this one. If you did not, you will probably likewise not lie this one.

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Less a players guide to the people of the sands and more of a primer for a handful of locations with little but their general climate in common. Particularly Rahadoum kind of felt out of place (and again. . .?), but with little new ground. It also seems to paint a different picture of Rahadoum than other sources?

I really hate the format (still) and especially in this book those dang Roles. And while it is not a copy/paste, there is little here outside of what has already been presented (multiple times at that) in other books such as the Inner Sea World Guide. There are two Prestige Classes, the reprinted/updated Living Monolith, (meh in my opinion) and the Thuvian Alchemist, (sort of a healer alchemist). Yet another Sorcerer Bloodline (looks like it could make a nasty NPC) and Oracle Archtype (just kind of seems thrown in here). Something I would have liked instead would be options for "desert-based" clerics, cavaliers, paladins, and other classes that are normally more Western European themed. Archtypes to help allow divine casters to be able to play in Rahadoum, or more things along those lines and usefulness.

There are a few items presented, and I'm pretty happy with those, and very surprisingly, the majority of it is actually in the price range that it might be used before Epic Level, too. The highest priced item in the book is the Flying Carpet/Tent @ 90,000 which is actually pretty dang cool, the +5 version of the Ring of the Meh coming in at 50,000, and otherwise the next highest priced gear is the oddly cool signpost at 10,000. Armor Vents are great, as is the little personal heater (burner).

A small selection of spells (mostly reprints I think, but not sure). The centerfold map is kind of cool, but at the same time, I was kind of hoping for something similar to the People of the North, with tis for surviving and playing in that climate. Something this book sadly lacks pretty entirely, and was a large part of what I was hoping for from such a book. All in all, I liked it better than People of the North, but it shares many of the same flaws.

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Interesting, but not very play friendly

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I'm not sure how to rate this. I like reading through it, so in that aspect more like a 4 star. Some of the material I'm not sure about, so in that aspect I'm thinking like a 2 star. I like some of the items and ideas, so maybe a 3 star, but then (with the stuff that follows), I'm finding it hard to go above 3, and that's kind of pushing it. Not because its a poor book, just one I am not sure I will ever really use, (to the point of needing a book for it).

The book mostly focuses on shops that are one of two things mainly; A.) a place to buy things of a certain theme or B.) a place to go that can teach some classes things like Feats or Bard Masterpieces. They are generally both Class and Concept specific, so the Mendev Sarenrae shop is pretty much focused on Inquisitors (and the proprietor, a Cleric, can teach Inquisitors new Inquisitions, . . . wait, what?), and will have basic stuff for divine classes, but no more than any other random shop. Some of them work, some are kind of odd.

All in all, it's one of those sorts of books that I'll probably never ever use, (possibly an item or two later on), but if it ever did come up in a game, it's probably only going to be a single time. It's a bit too specific (for me) to actually use for play, and so in the end was kind of a waste of money. I don't mean that to be harsh, and it is an interesting book, but I just don't use or want a bunch of mini magic marts in game, and I'm thinking that even on the rare occasion where I might use it, much of the fluff and flavor will be wasted on the players.

I was hoping for a little bit more of an Adventure's Armory than an NPC book about magical shops. Some of the material is, (and this greatly depends on what you like in your game), along the same lines as the elephant in the room Gunslingers and the like. Not really for me, but I'm not against others liking it, so I'm mostly neutral on that for this review. One think I would have liked is a lot more 1,000 - 5,000 gp prices gear, both magic and nonmagical. So, so much of the gear in here is more at the 20,000+ range that again it's just never going to be used, and if so, not often enough to warrant buying the book for it. That's how it feels anyway, that could change.

I am really not sure why this is a Player's Companion, and would really have been best placed as a small aside or chapter in a DM related product, (Ult Campaign for example) more than anything, possibly splitting up the gear into something else. It really suffers for being a small book of a bunch of mostly unrelated concepts, and really needs to be bigger and have included more. Another Adventure's Armory or mini Ult Equipment I would have found many times more useful, and much more in line of being a Player's Companion. More shops offering spells (only one does and they, well kind of suck) would have been fantastic. Great concept, but the two included are meh. Would be a great way to implement how to include spells from other similar products though, rather than just throwing them in wholesale.

One last thing I kind of hated about this book (and the more recent Companions) is the set up. It's annoying as all get out that everything is listed all over the place. It makes sense that Alchemists shop would have related gear, but at the same time I would have been so much better to just place everything together in one are. All magic weapons ere, all magic armor there, all feats back there, etc. . . and the individual shops indicating which they have access to. It would both look so much better and also be much more convenient. Visually, the way it is now is kind of tacky/ugly.

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