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Smaar Janderfut

CanisDirus's page

Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 9 Season Marathon Voter. Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber. FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar RPG Venture-Captain, Indiana—Bloomington. 1,151 posts (1,715 including aliases). 5 reviews. 4 lists. 2 wishlists. 36 Pathfinder Society characters. 3 aliases.



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If you can find them, fantastic for a GM's toolkit

*****

With some players in my local lodge being *very* arachnophobic, and still others having mild-moderate entomophobia/insectophobia, I've found that nobody reacts badly to these minis on the table. They are my go-to for anything "creepy crawly" that I need!


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One of the best sets yet!

*****

Locally, 10-12 of us pool money and buy a sealed case through our FLGS and then do a "draft". People send in their top picks, which we try to sort through to guarantee everyone 1-3 of their top 5-6 sculpts, and then we go round-robin (most/first money in gets earlier picks, last/least money in join the draft in later rounds). We've almost got it down to a science, but the end of each draft is always tough since invariably the minis that nobody wants are left in large, glaring groups. This has started to discourage people from putting in too much money (which in turn makes getting people together to go in for a case harder), since they tend to end up with several minis they really have little/no interest in at the end.

However, for Dungeons Deep, we saw was fierce competition for all of the sculpts right up to the final picks - there weren't 5 wollipeds sitting around that nobody really wanted waiting for the people who still had picks left at the end this time! For me personally, the only one I didn't really have an interest in was the jelly - I think it looks cool as heck, but its shape meant that I couldn't really have it share space on a flip-mat with a PC's minis (whereas a blank base or alea tools large-sized marker could do the same and still have PC minis standing securely on top), but that worked out okay since those jellys went very early in our drafts!

I changed up my wishlist for minis from this set so much that I ended up taking things that, based on the digital renders alone, hadn't caught my eye as much - the Frost Giant and Gnoll Spellcaster looked amazing, and I may put in more $ to buy a few boosters to try and hunt that Gnoll down since I missed out on it (but I got the sarcophagus, which was my #1, so I'm still happy)!

GM and player alike, everyone had a great time fawning over every single sculpt that came out. As far as durability goes, we're used to a handful of minis breaking pulling them from shells or from transit - our case this time only had two - a dracolisk "clear pole" that pulled out of its base (and was easily glued back in), and a baykok that lost its mace-thing. Not only high-quality detail, but also very well put together, this set! I've heard some comments about the faces of the dwarves, but for us, we liked the way they looked, and I feel lucky that I got my hands on a single Sundering Axe before both them and the barbarians got snatched up!

Even though we only drafted last week, I've already used the dungeon dressing in two PFS scenarios and two sessions of Skull & Shackles AP already, and my players love seeing it on the board (and now they think *everything* could be a mimic, which is awesome too)!

Major kudos for this whole set, Paizo!


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Intense and deep roleplay opportunities! Take your time with this one!

*****

I fully plan to expand this review in the near future, but let me say that this is one of my top five scenarios, modules, or AP sections of all time!

Perhaps the tactics aren't "perfect" for every single encounter - eh, so what? The roleplay opportunities, on the other hand - from the players' reactions to their very first perception check at "the gates" to the final combat forgone conclusion are just dripping (dare I say hanging?) with rich plot!

Rather than retype past posts, here are two other times I've gushed about this scenario in the past. If your players like deep roleplay, nonlinear plot, powerful monsters (see most recent reviewer before mine for [redacted]), and potentially personal-paradigm-shifting plot - run this for them!!!

Mike Bramnik
Venture Captain, Bloomington IN

PS - This is one of VERY few scenarios prior to John Compton taking the helm where the PCs can learn all of the scenario's backstory during the scenario itself! A major plus in my book!

PPS - I really wish I could GM this for the first two reviewers who left only 1-2 stars for this scenario. This one might not be best for a convention setting where you have to rush to fit a tight schedule, but is much better for when you really want to take your time and enjoy the RP!


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Elite combat agents only!

***( )( )

This was a solid, hard-fighting scenario. Elite challenges for elite agents only - PCs who walk into this one unprepared will be destroyed, trounced, and annihilated (keeping pace with the author's reputation - be it deserved or no).

The reviewers prior to me cover a lot of the sort of things I'd go into already (which makes my review that much easier to write).

Leave yourself lots of time for this scenario! This scenario could possibly run up to 7 hours - the first fight (10-11 no difficulty adjustment) took the party I ran through it ~2 hours alone. Even with the party talking their way past 1.5 encounters later, we still ran close to 6 hours.

This is also one of the more challenging scenarios to prep as a GM in recent memory - lots of mechanics to know, lots of spells to know, lots of different monsters and tons of templates (plus one out of Bestiary 4, which was difficult since as of the time of this review that book is not on the PRD yet and I don't own it - luckily for me the Archives of Nethys are always awesome at getting stuff like that available).

Each combat is unique, which most of my players loved - if it wasn't for the first aid gloves from the PFS Primer, there would have been 2 PC deaths and several destroyed magical items.

A big thing for me as a GM, and my players as we talked about the scenario as I was handing out chronicle sheets, was with how much everyone was excited to be doing "a sequel to Where Mammoths Dare Not Tread!" only to have the scenario go in a totally unrelated direction after the first act. Even post-combat-afterglow from the combat-heavy PCs who loved the challenging fights, they were a little disappointed.

So, for me (always starting with 4 stars as my "base") -
+1 for the challenging and diverse fights and the availability of "hard mode" (something my players opted not to do, but the prospect alone got 4/6 of them really excited before I took a secret vote yea-or-nay)
-1 for the story issues
+1 for the use of PC-inspired (or so rumor says?) NPCs and Venture Captains in the scenario
-2 for the scenario length and the massive amount of prep required, including the use of many templates, and the use of multiple custom maps which weren't really needed - their layout did nothing to any of the encounters that took place in them that several different flip-mats or map-packs could have covered (which would make GM prep easier). Combat heavy PCs will likely enjoy the fights (unless they think that attacks that destroy equipment is a bad thing), but as a GM, I'm not sure if I'd want to run it again, and would never want to play or run it at a convention.

So, overall, solid - 3 stars.


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My new favorite module!

*****

I ran this for some very experienced players recently, and the more I prepared in advance, the more excited I was.

Unlike many modules which are dungeon-delves or where everything is seemingly preordained in the module itself, The Midnight Mirror presents the story in such a way that the PCs can take almost any approach, any order of events, and the story remains coherent and tight.

(My players caught the subtle "butcher, baker, candlestick maker" bit, and thought that was a neat joke to slip in under the radar, by the by)

Many times in PFS scenarios and some other modules, a rich backstory is developed that the GM gets to read and enjoy, but there are no good opportunities for the PCs to learn about it, and the motivations behind NPCs and their involvement in the story - Midnight Mirror has those connections in spades, and my players (especially the ones who were more investigation-focused than combat-focused) loved digging into the history of Karpad and the Shae/Kayal of the past and the present.

I only have two criticisms of the module, neither enough to warrant less than a 5-star review from me:

1 - Stats for Stepan would be nice, in case the PCs decide to turn on him, or if Nicasor goes for him and the PCs are engaged to try and protect him.

2 - One of my players caught a potential plot hole:

Spoiler:
If those trapped inside the mirror do not age as part of their eternal imprisonment, how is it that Manar and Sorin were born/aged inside the mirror? Is it just that people brought in from outside don't age, but those born within can be born, age, and die? That bugged some of my players for hours after they finished the module and had convinced Stepan to raise Sorin as his own.

I found this module to be rich in story, and flexible in terms of numbers of combats depending on the PCs' approach - a more diplomatic group (like mine) could talk through many encounters, whereas a more aggressive party would be able to enjoy fighting through everything, and the story would still be solid.

As the title of this review says - this is now my favorite Pathfinder RPG module!



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