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Fire Giant Forgepriest

DLandonCole's page

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16. RPG Superstar 2013 Dedicated Voter, 2014 Dedicated Voter. FullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 139 posts (159 including aliases). 8 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 8 Pathfinder Society characters. 2 aliases.



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And then they met the Pharaoh...

****( )

I ran this recently for a group of six, all third level except one fourth level wizard; while a couple of players were pretty experienced, the rest were fairly new to both RPGs in general and Pathfinder in particular.

I will start this with the disclaimer that I love all things Osirion, so I was always going to enjoy the setting.

Everyone at the table really enjoyed it. They felt that it was reasonably challenging, with a few players at negative HPs and a couple of close shaves, but without being OTT. The cleric was out of channels, the wizard down to one second-level spell and consumables on the low side all round by the end.

The traps and one of the monsters kept everyone on edge from the start; it really did feel like somewhere that had been abandoned and that they were the first people to step foot inside for a long time.

On that note, the map is fantastic. It works really well all round. It looked very impressive laid out on the table. Part of that was its size - it had to be, for a pyramid - but also it felt real, as if this could be what you'd find inside a pyramid in Egypt.

Ideally, there'd have been a bit more roleplay but that's pretty difficult inside a recently re-discovered pyramid. The two ladies made for an interesting, ahem, conversation, though. The flavour of the pyramid more than made up for that, though.

I can't comment on how it would work for Free RPG day, never having been involved with it, but we certainly had a good time with it and I expect to run it again.


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What the things under your bed have nightmares about

*****

I played this at the recent 3XP Con and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a hard scenario, no doubt, and there's been lots of discussion about that, so I'll leave that to the end.

There is a brief set-up in Absalom but the main briefing effectively takes place in Kyonin – given that it's called 'the Elven Entanglement', I hope that's not too spoilerific. A macguffin mission quickly becomes something rather more interesting, and the adventure is afoot. The section in Kyonin gives opportunity for some role-play, but the main opportunity for that is later on.

First encounter:

The first combat encounter is 'Keith'. 'Keith' is being pursued by some people who aren't sure what to make of you; that gives not only 'Keith' but shouted, in-combat diplomacy. Once you get over the shock of 'Keith's, er, unusual appearance, you have to realise that the usual tactics aren't necessarily going to work. At least in our case, moving around the terrain a lot made things much easier – once we worked it out. As with the third encounter, terrain was a challenge that made the whole setting more realistic (well, Golarionisitic). My character only survived this because of some first aid gloves and we had a couple of people down.

Second encounter:

The second encounter has a monster I'd never encountered before but is, more experienced players tell me, a classic of sorts. In retrospect, this encounter suffers in comparison to the other two; once the trick is worked out, it became a more standard sort of fight. What I only realised on reading the scenario is that a previous choice that I thought was either just for flavour or that we had made the 'right' decision (after a few anxious moments, thinking we'd just brought down all kinds of chaos) affects this combat – a nice touch.


By this point, we were on the clock, in a hostile jungle. We hadn't quite broken out the camouflage paint, but we did feel that we were somewhere we all would rather not be.

Third encounter:

The main role-play opportunity came with 'Ronnie'. The set-up is fantastic; I can't think of anything I can say that won't give too much away, but enjoy it. It fits into the area really well; you know things are creepy when you get to a nice area and immediately go on the defensive.

Spoiler:
It turns out that wayangs don't like dancing, but do like sneak attacks.

We didn't have time for the optional encounter.

Fourth encounter:

The denouement of the adventure came when we met 'Mick'. This was a tougher fight, I think, than the first encounter. It may be that we were lucky with the earlier and unlucky with the later combat, but the first one was more shock and regrouping while this was difficult all the way through.

This big bad came with abilities to match; this may be my inexperience, but I had not encountered this critter or a lot of its powers before, which always makes things more interesting.

The big difference between this and other fights here was the environment. The scene setting up to this point made it feel like an unpleasant, dangerous place to be, but the opponents and others beyond the bbeg really made it feel more like a stinking forest than a field with some unfortunate bits of terrain. Some of the opponents could easily have just been what you would expect to find in such a place; the difficult bits of terrain were used appropriately by the bbeg and it did feel like we were creeping in on his lair.

Difficulty:

Everyone seems to be giving this either a one out of five or a five out of five. I would hazard a guess that the people who gave it one out of five were TPK'd in the opening encounter.

The scenario and does, I feel, give fair warning that this is not a run of the mill adventure, particularly if you make even half-decent knowledge rolls. I came very close to an early bath – it took some first aid gloves to bring me back – and I do sympathise with people who were wiped out by the first encounter. That having been said, I'm not sure that people who lost a character and so didn't play the rest of the adventure are necessarily in the best place to comment on the adventure as a whole. I would also endorse DeusVult's comments above, to the effect that it's good to have hard adventures and, indeed, hard first encounters; if every first encounter is a cakewalk, they become humdrum and we're always waiting for the meat.

Thoughts for GMs:

As a few people have said, impressing upon them either in character, out of character or both that they're not in Kansas anymore is going to help with expectations. I originally but here that they should come loaded for bear, but that makes it sound like they just need to hit things hard - for this one, they need to be ready to think on their feet.

It it an unusual scenario, not just because of the setting and storyline but because it throws unusual critters at you in unusual ways. I'd like to see more like this from Ryan – maybe not quite as hard – because, above all, it was memorable.


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Come loaded for bear

*****

I ran this yesterday and players and I greatly enjoyed it. We played the lower tier with five players.

People should be under no illusion that this is a challenging scenario - after all, it is the end of the Shadow Lodge.

Some of the encounters do have the potential to do real damage to PCs that lack caution; that having been said, I don't think it's over the top. The twist at the end is well written and genuinely surprising. There is also an excellent opportunity for roleplay at the beginning.

While a fellow reviewer, Sieylianna, clearly didn't have as much fun as me, I have to disagree with some of the specifics. My party did have time for healing - ample time, in fact; there isn't an opportunity to relearn spells but that's hardly uncommon.

I'm becoming something of a fan of Run Lundeen's work. The Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment is still, I think, my favourite scenario to date, but I had a lot of fun with Severing Ties, too.

I'd give this the full five stars.


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Suffers by comparison to 1 and 2

***( )( )

Much as I can believe what people say about this having been produced at short notice and so on, I think people are being a bit harsh on the module.

It suffers by comparison to Shades of Ice 1 & 2 (which are really strong scenarios) and, perhaps understandably, people expected a knockout in part 3, possibly featuring a relative of the final battle from part two.

That having been said, it actually stands up pretty well on its own. Not great, but solid; the final encounter is potentially a lot of fun - one good hit from the particular weapon the BBEG has suddenly makes the PCs a lot more wary of closing in. The 'trap' is pretty original and the big RP piece is a lot of fun. The combats along the way are pretty straightforward and are going to be dealt with easily enough in most cases, but that's no bad thing as it does give time for the RP.

I ran this mod, directly after Shades of Ice 1 and 2, at CrispyCon for a group of 1st and 2nd level characters, one of whom hadn't played PFS before.


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*****

I ran this a couple of days ago and both and I and my players really enjoyed it.

It's not quite the Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment - still my favourite PFS scenario and by the same author - but it has some great combats that have real danger without being impossible and some fantastic roleplaying opportunities for GM and characters alike. I thought the premise of the adventure worked really well and, all in all, I think it's a great deal of fun to play.

I would perhaps suggest that you wouldn't want to run this with a party that were all at first level, or with inexperienced players.


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