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Lord Soth

Beckett's page

RPG Superstar 6 Season Star Voter. Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. FullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 4,825 posts (16,818 including aliases). 39 reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 26 Pathfinder Society characters. 5 aliases.



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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.

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 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.

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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Needs more

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Reading though, a lot of the material just seems out of place. Maybe not out of place as much as maybe they couldn't find a more fitting book to stick it in?

A new Druid archtype that's exactly what everyone needed <sarcasm>, a new way for Druids to stand head and shoulders over just about everyone else, but literally and steal the reach Cleric's thunder. A Fighter stepping on the Barbarian's toes. A two-page spread showing the OGL giants kind of like the 3.0 size categories. I'd almost say this might be the Giantslayer PG, but nope, that takes up the last few pages of the book (again!!!). Not sure what the deal is with the weapons? Are they reintroducing the old school weapons deal less damage against larger creatures rules? Printing error? I don't know, too much of this book just screams, well, something other than "giants/vs giants".

Two things did stand out though which where kind of cool. Skill tricks (and unlike that god-awful Tech Guide, doesn't require a Feat to be able to use what you already have), and they are not terrible either, and then there is the Rogue Archtype, which is just cool, (and I don't even like Rogues).

Yai-Mimic Metamagic has some potential (drop the setting flavor). Very Salubri. :)


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Fun concept

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SPOILERS OBVIOUSLY FOLLOW

Really enjoyed running this one. My only complaint is that there seem to be some glaring sort of facepalm moments that the writer either didn't consider or didn't care about involving certain alignments, classes, and setting faiths and both the entire premise of the mission as well as the railroaded way the scenario plays.

Spoiler:
Why would any good Cleric, Paladin, most good characters, or the many faiths that oppose Undead ever agree to go after this book, which it tells everyone upfront is used to create new types of Undead for battlefield use, <other than to destroy it>, and then also bring it back to the PFS for study????
It seems very hard coded in that some classes just are meant to either receive a failed Chronicle sheet from the start, ignore their class/alignment restrictions, or auto fall from grace, with no other option allowed.

Luckily, I didn't have to deal with that when I ran it, but it is certainly something that needs to be looked at, especially as there is no longer the "It's not evil if the VC/Faction makes you do it rule".

The other issue is that because of the nature of what happens, some common class features become instant PvP issues.

Other than those things, it was absolutely great. Very interesting combats and also RP opportunities. One of the best Haunts (memorable, not mechanically speaking) I've encountered in PFS. It was very nice that this one ran, especially for the Tier/Level fairly fast. The finale is amazing, and while not terribly difficult, definitely had the feeling of risk and danger.

The boxed text was short and concise, the flow of play was great, and the setting was interesting and uncommon. Outside of the issues I mentioned above, the scenario's little added bonus was incredibly fun and well done, and there is so much opportunity for the player's to RP things, particularly the unspoken requirement "act like the locals" really sets this one apart.

Part of me really wishes that this was a 1-5, as it offers an absolutely amazing opportunity for "wallflowers" to really get into character and have fun, and I think this would be an fantastic sort of way to start off new player's careers.

I highly recommend it, though there is going to be some complications for Good characters and most Divine classes, <again "you are Pathfinders" is an ignorant cop-out that just doesn't do a dang thing but ignore the issues>. To avoid this, when I ran it, I removed the two little bits in the opening that referred to the "disguise", and sort of tricked the players into drinking, thinking it was a part of the teleportation spell, just telling the players that they needed to infiltrate the area they go to, and find clues on the other Pathfinders, and complete their work.

Fix those issues, and this is easily a 5 Star scenario, and one I wish more writers would use as a basis of how a great scenario looks.


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runs very slow

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SPOILERS FOLLOW (though that should be obvious)

I've this once and played it as well. It really kind of drags on after about the second floor, and it kind of leaves me unsure just who this was meant to cater to? It's fairly combat lite, doesn't have a high level of skill checks,

Spoiler:
predominantly Know Engineering, Perception, & Disable Device
, and doesn't really even offer much at all in the way of RP opportunity. I ran this as a PbP, and played it in a Face-to-Face game, and honestly I think the amount of traps early on just killed it.

The scenario I think, could have done a better job of explaining the relevance of the history, which kind of left us feeling like, "okay, so what" when I played, and needing to do a good bit of research when I ran it, as I couldn't seem to find references to some of the things in Dwarves of Golarion, ISWG, and the like.

The finale was a puzzle, and as far as I can tell, it seems like a largely convoluted and overcomplicated way of basically doing something that no matter what, they will eventually get through (assuming they have at least 2 individuals). It just doesn't work, as by the time people get there, they just don't care and want to get it over with.

There is basically a single map, but some of the directions just don't seem to add up, which confuses things. Originally, I thought I would like the single large map, (didn't realize at first it was actually 1sq = 10ft), but it just doesn't work. Please avoid doing this in the future. It looks nice as a picture, but in use, it's just terrible to use and makes it that much harder to keep track of the various areas.

I found it really annoying that, on the DM side, we get all this extra little info, like how the Undead happened, but there are no skill checks to pass this on to the players, and honestly, I'm not even sure what would apply. Know Religion? Dungeoneering? Alchemy?

I kind of felt that this would have been a lot more interesting if it would have catered a bit more towards dwarven characters, felt "dwarven", but just been more generally challenging, and I kind of suspect that it might have been heavily edited, possibly to fit into a "3 parter" rather than as a stand alone or something. It really hurt that the DM is not really given any dang info on some of the most obvious questions the players will ask, (how long ago, how many people, what exactly is the MMMC. . .).

From the DM side, probably the most interesting thing was to have fun with the little floating ghostly hand, making it act out trying to rush/lead the party where it needs them to go, especially if no one makes the check to find out what it is.


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