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Human

Feegle's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Maps Subscriber. FullStarFullStarFullStar Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Ontario. 885 posts (887 including aliases). 4 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 6 Pathfinder Society characters. 4 aliases.



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More thought into pregen choice needed

***( )( )

I played this adventure at Free RPG Day, with five people - two pregens and three Pathfinder Society characters. Generally, the adventure was alright - though there are a few nitpicks about the overall design.

Thematically, the adventure was nicely done. Monsters fit the theme nicely, encounters made sense, and it hit all the right cliches for an "Ancient Egyptian" dungeon delve.

Encounter design suffered somewhat for remaining in that theme, unfortunately. Foe example, I believe the first encounter should have been CR-adjusted for the terrain in which it took place - the situation added significantly to the difficulty of the encounter.

And then there's the pre-gens. Don't get me wrong; I like these pregens; as general design goes, they're great. However, this isn't a general situation - this is Free RPG Day, and that comes with a certain requirement as far as pregen availability goes. An earlier reviewer already mentioned that between them, none of the pregens could identify any of the magic items they found, even though several had one piece of the puzzle.

I'm going to add to that a critique of Jirelle, the swashbuckler, specifically because I watched the new-to-Pathfinder player controlling her across the table from me grow more and more frustrated as the module progressed.

Jirelle does 1d6+1 damage on a normal strike. Out of the 14 different creatures statted out in the module, only 4 of them do not have DR against her attacks or hardness of at least 5. That means that in the vast majority of fights, Jirelle is unable to hurt her opponent 2/3 or more of the time. Really?

If Free RPG day is supposed to give new players a chance to explore the game, and perhaps recruit them into further trying Pathfinder out, then putting a mostly-ineffective pregen in the module is not the way to do it. Players choose a character like Jirelle because they want to be part of the action and feel powerful, not because they want to give flank and Aid Another bonuses all afternoon.

4 stars for the module, but reduced to 3 because of the poor matchup between the pregens and what's needed for the module.


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If you liked Midnight Mirror...

****( )

My Experience

I ran this module for a table of five players at tier 7-8. The characters were a spellcasting cleric, two gunslingers, and two fighters, all in-tier. I am still learning to deal with high-level characters' abilities and don't have a lot of experience at that level yet.

The Good

There's a lot of roleplaying potential here. Like Midnight Mirror, which I allude to in the title of the review, the players can spend a lot of time just wandering around the town and interacting with people. A prepared GM can make this really, really engaging and fun. If you're prepared to go with the flow and let your players loose, then the first part of the scenario can be great.

The combats were challenging and difficult for the players. The ambiance through the second act - before the combats really break out - can be remarkably creepy. Like, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom's Cult of Kali creepy. If a GM has the time to make this come to life, it's an awesome experience.

The Bad

Time. If you're limited to a 4-hour slot, it's hard to do this scenario justice. I've read of situations where this scenario has gone to 7 or 8 hours and that doesn't surprise me. If a GM has to be prepared to run this properly, they also have to be prepared to hustle the players along.

The "Unique Treasure Item." I feel like there's supposed to be a huge moral quandary, and the choice to accept or not accept is supposed to be a real question. It wasn't, which was something of a disappointment. Perhaps a statement about the players themselves, but there's nothing in the scenario to suggest to them that they can still succeed without accepting it, so they didn't feel that there was a choice involved at all. It's a neat item, don't get me wrong, but it sort of seemed like a letdown at the table.

Conclusions

For GMs: Strike a balance between sandbox and guiding the players, and be prepared to improvise. Bring handouts of the town map and headshots (character cards work well) to help the players keep track of who's who.

For Players: don't be impatient for combat - you'll get there soon enough. Bring your most balanced socialite - Diplomacy, Bluff, and Knowledge (Local) are easily as important as that +14 to hit with your weapon of choice.

Overall Feegle Rating: Great potential in the hands of the right GM with the right mix of players, with massive potential to run long.


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A Great Change of Pace

****( )

My Experience

I ran this module for a table of five players at tier 5-6 - it was my first time running a tier 5-6 scenario. The characters were a witch, alchemist, two fighters, and a gunslinger. (No divine magic or positive energy, you say? Uh-oh...) The physical atmosphere was at a gaming store, so somewhat cramped and noisy.

Players enjoyed it, and did whatever they could to avoid the haunts. The final combat almost ended in a TPK, and would have if not for a musket master gunslinger critical hit which (effectively) one-shotted the bag bad on round 4 of the fight. I don't begrudge the gunslinger that - with half the party having succumbed to save-or-suck, it was, perhaps, the one way out they had left.

The Good

If you're one of the GMs who think that PFS Scenarios are a bit too combat-heavy, then this scenario will work nicely for you. There are three combats, plus an optional one, but compared to the rest of the encounters, it doesn't feel like combat is a huge portion of the scenario. Two of the combats that are there are challenging without being overwhelming, largely - but there is definitely a chance for a character death or a TPK if the rolls don't go in the players' favour. The Haunt mechanic is used to good effect, and the author has gone out of his way to make the haunts not only interesting, but also relevant to the scenario storyline. While it would have been interesting for my players to have a cleric or other positive-energy person, I almost feel that they would have missed out by neutralizing the haunts - few of them were so bad that the lack of a divine character was felt.

The Bad

I spotted a half-dozen typos, one of which is in a faction mission (Osirion). There's a lot of exploration of largely-empty rooms. I expect that more could have been done to flesh out the appearance of these rooms, but at the expense of the word count, so I understand why this was limited. One of the Haunts had the potential to be disastrous on a failed save, which might have changed the outcome completely. A great map which is just a little too wide to fit on a standard flip-mat is frustrating if you like to draw stuff out by hand.

Conclusions

This one's about atmosphere. Play it at home or in a quieter store - the aura of menace is really important to building the suspense. If other Pathfinder Society scenarios are Raiders of the Lost Ark, this one is The Grudge. Pace it well, build suspense, and freak your players out at the right moment and everyone will have a better time.

Overall Feegle Rating: Awesome, with a side of typos.

For suggestions on how GMs can improve it, see my post in the Discussion Thread


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Words Do Not Exist...

*****

...to describe how useful these cards are.

I'm not a walking encyclopedia of rules, and I have trouble remembering the difference between Dazzled and Fascinated, for example. Or exactly what the penalties are if you're prone. The cards help me with that.

Where they help me even more is when I'm GMing a PFS open game. Often, new players have no idea what those penalties should be, and so instead of them asking me at the beginning of each of their turns, it's now a simple matter of just handing them a helpful card.

The art is great, the colour-coding makes it easy to find what you're looking for in the deck, and the repeat instances of each card men you can hand them out to multiple players when that big bad dazzles all their meatshields.

Awesome.



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