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Bryan Stiltz's page

Reaper Miniatures. Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Society Member. 257 posts (327 including aliases). 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 1 alias.

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Vengeance is it's own reward!


I was impressed with this product before I purchased it from having read the sample chapter available. After getting the full product, I am more impressed.

Mechanically, the artwork is high quality, and the page layout and book layout are both up to Paizo standards. There were a few times a column broke strangely, but once I saw that that was the standard for the product, it stopped being a concern. The opponent's stat blocks were clear, and the the maps were well drawn and accurate to the text. Although several times the square was keyed as 10' instead of 5', years of Paizo maps doing the same has made that less of a problem than it once was.

Story-wise, which really is the far more important criteria than "is the art pretty", the adventure is ambitious and manages to be straightforward without being railroady. The only real chokepoint is after the players escape from prison, they are assumed to meet their benefactor as arranged before the prison break - and if they choose not to do so the GM is given several excellent options. Nevertheless, they must eventually either be slain at the hands of the forces of good, or meet their benefactor. However, once the benefactor has been met and the training and initiation are complete, their assignments become very free-form.

They aren't quite sandboxy, as they PCs have specific objectives, but the vast number of ways they can choose to achieve these objectives is impressive. Crafty PCs will spend a lot of time investigating their options, and will likely combine multiple approaches, which is perfectly valid, although so is the straightforward approach. Each job has overt and covert methods, violent and non-violent solutions, and blended approaches seem to be even more effective. I certainly hope that this freeform approach to problem solving is respected and continues to be used throughout the series.

The trials and initiation is a fun adventure, and there are lots of opportunities for excellent roleplay, creating intrigue or romance with NPCs that will later become rivals, and character development. Once the PCs leave the first part, having been accepted into the villainous cult trying to overthrow the kingdom, the players will really have an opportunity to shine as the restrictions really come off. They are given the freedom to use any methods necessary to accomplish the goals they are given, and in addition to mundane tasks, like "deliver these weapons safely", they get a chance for some real villainy - "clean up loose ends. No survivors." The tenor of all of the missions does an excellent job of not feeling like a standard adventure just dressed in black and wearing spikes, the players will really get a chance to do some genuinely evil things, betraying former allies and sowing chaos.

The product also contains a section on the pitfalls of evil PCs and advice to the GM on how to deal with these should they arise, as well as a good section on character creation for this path, which is important, and should probably be printed and handed to your players as a players' guide before creation begins. Not only will it help them create an evil group that remains cohesive, it will give them great role-playing and mechanical aides as a launch point.

If there's any weakness, it's the dark page backgrounds that, although they work well on the screen, do not contribute to the overall look when printed to a black and white printer.

Overall, this is a top notch product, and I look forward not only to the rest of the adventure path, but to other products from this company!

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