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KestlerGunner's page

RPG Superstar 2013 Dedicated Voter. FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Venture-Lieutenant, Australia—Melbourne. 1,278 posts (1,421 including aliases). 38 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 8 Pathfinder Society characters. 2 aliases.



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Superstar Quality.

****( )

Excellent, ticks all the boxes - 4.5 stars.

This is a dungeon exploration, that, through creative use of magic, alchemy, lore and mythic rules, creates a lasting impression. The author has been given a rare chance to flesh out the back-story of one of the most notable PFS NPCs and they've done an admirable job. The vast majority of PFS scenarios do not allow the PCs to learn the reasons and history behind events, a site, or an enemy. This scenario changes all that while rewarding creative players.

The one downside is that I believe this mission is a little too punishing for 1-5 characters. It would have been wonderful as a 3-7, but I can see why PFS organisers need to produce more 1-5 adventures. As it stands, most of the meat and unforgettable roleplay moments are included at the 4-5 tier. To get the full experience, play it high tier.

If you are intrigued by the story of PFS, or even just have a character with an history with GMT, this is a must play.


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My fist will join forces with your face.

***( )( )

Played once (mid tier), GM'ed once (low tier)

If I had a gold piece every time Season 0 or Season 1 mentions ‘slaves’, ‘a combat on board a ship’, ‘docks’ or ‘dire rat’ I would probably be able to afford an artifact or two by now. This is a fun, no-brainer “bash-them-til-they-squeal” combat mission that has you rescuing hostages via beating down anyone else seen in a room with hostages. It’s sheer dumb violence and I am guilty of enjoying it. 3.5 stars.

PRO:

-Evil clerics make fantastic boss battle enemies, and the author knows it.
-I absolutely love battles where the PCs have just laid down their weapons and are panting with exhaustion. Then something spectacularly bad happens. This scenario has that in spades.
-Making the entire scenario occur across one night gives it a great urgency.

CON:

-The idea of working with the Aspis Consortium against a common foe is dismissed as quickly as it is mentioned.
-Too many combats against average combatants, with average terrain used.
-Errors with Cleric domain abilities have not been edited out of the document.
-Errors with enemy correspondence have not been edited. Unless the big baddie is a transvestite. In which case, can we focus on that more, please? I am intrigued.


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DO NOT PLAY (under a sub-par GM)

*****

Perspective: Played once (high tier) (bad ending), GM'ed once (low tier)

An ambitious scenario like this is where the review system fails. Here’s all there is to it: If you have a wonderful, role-play focused GM, this scenario is five stars. Maybe even more. Maybe it could be one of the most memorable and intelligent scenarios you’ve ever experienced.

However if your GM is average, is phoning it in, is under-prepared, or doesn’t care about characterisation this scenario could be brief, disappointing and vague. You may feel cheated. You might wonder what the author was thinking. But this would be a mistake.

The author has given talented GMs every tool necessary to tell a memorable and paradigm smashing tale set in the very depressing and horrifying outskirts of the Worldwound. The enemy isn’t the dangerous, bloodthirsty demons (though this scenario has ‘em) It’s bigger than just those little gremlins. Draw your sword, check your companions and stay aware.


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Why you Mufasa?

****( )

Perspective: Played once at high tier, GM’ed once at low tier. I was at Avatar’s table when I played.

TO THE LIBRARY! All the word of mouth surrounding “The Disappeared” has led to the second time-critical, mission impossible, murder hobo slapping infiltration investigation. Library of the Lion takes us deep into Taldor’s Kitharodian Academy, where ancient secrets need to be copied, and books need to be read. “Ugh!” I hear you say, “Sounds boring!” Well, I say, reading is cool! Give it a chance!

Big Kyle has developed a fun research based minigame that takes the characters academic skills and uses them to earn intriguing clues or helpful hints. Clues are the real treasure of the scenario, while hints are used on mission critical book collections to bolster your chance of finding a clue.

Secondly, it’s set in a library, so bomb-throwing alchemists, gun-blasting musket masters and any class with low int and 2 skill points per level or less are set up to fail. Some creative use of strategy can let you work around your weaknesses, but otherwise, you’re in trouble. This is one of the more class specific and puzzle heavy PFS scenarios I’ve seen in recent months. Thugs need not apply. I expect this ambition will lead to a number of barbarian and fighter players down-voting this scenario as they can’t use power attack to research history.

Here’s the thing. When I played with my Linguist Sorceress Tengu, if we hadn’t [REDACTED], we would have failed on our skill check rolls and probably failed the mission. There is a LOT of reliance on skill check rolls. When I ran it for a low tier table with both an Inquisitor and a Taldan Bard, they finished with ten minutes left on the clock. Despite my own close experience with failure, I do kind of think this scenario doesn’t have enough challenges for PCs…

Ultimately, I feel Venture Captain Muesello does most of the work for the PCs. They are given a medium collection of the perfect set of magical items, including a customised tool to distract any interloper, they are given an enormous musical concert to remove/distract all other library visitors and they are given a ‘get out of jail free’ scroll. I have heard of parties running through this scenario with no combats whatsoever, and I definitely haven’t heard of any parties actually encountering the armed [REDACTED]. I just feel like the kid’s gloves are on a bit too much here. Except for the Grand Lodge mission. That one is a doozy. I guess I wanted some harder infiltration elements. Make me think how to distract the clerk, don’t do it for me. Harder skill DCs does not equal harder challenge for the player's brains.

Ultimately, this is a wonderful puzzle-rich, Taldor setting infiltration with some unique rewards included. However I do wish VC Muesello hadn’t done such a very good job for the Pathfinders. If he molly-coddles them this much, they won’t learn anything for themselves.


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A nail-bitingly cinematic investigation

****( )

Perspective: Played once at high tier, GM’ed once at low tier.

This is a superbly escalating dungeon investigation romp. Every box has been ticked by the careful work of the author. We have tense and intriguing roleplay, challenging combats, a highly cinematic and stressful second act, plenty of nods to previous scenarios and a build-up of frightening metaplot information about what’s coming up next. The central NPC is a wonderfully written character who should remain in player’s memories for a long time. Let's hope she returns!

Ultimately this would be a 5 star review, but some heavy-handedness with a non-combat encounter, lack of trap detection and some loopholey antics with monster alignment brings it down a peg. Still, a brilliant example of great dungeon design and a truly cinematic scenario. Grab your most unreliable flashlight, grab a GM who loves their horror movies and schedule in an evening game in the Traitor's Lodge.

Developer notes:

-The Neutral aligned Stitched Eidolon/Construct aspects of the demonic creatures rubbed me the wrong way. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck... alignment based class abilities should work on the duck.
-I respect the fact that the author needed a way to get the party to flee the dungeon, but there is no such thing as a chase with a CR14 creature that can greater teleport at will. In the hands of inexperienced or antagonistic GMs, this scenario may easily become a bloodbath. Also, why isn't that paperweight a magical trap?


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