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KestlerGunner's page

RPG Superstar 2013 Dedicated Voter. FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Venture-Lieutenant, Australia—Melbourne. 1,305 posts (1,448 including aliases). 42 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 9 Pathfinder Society characters. 2 aliases.



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The Danger Within

****( )

You won’t like where this investigation is taking you... (Perspective: Played once, GM'ed once)
Kaer Maga is one of the fan favourite locations for Varisia and the Inner Sea setting. It's definitely a city which has far more imagination in it than some I.S. nations have in their entire borders. The author has taken every opportunity to squeeze every drop of flavour from this locale in a long and harrowing investigation. It ends with a tough and grisly finale that shows off the author’s skill in writing an encounter that can challenge a number of parties.

PRO:
-Battles were very memorable and fell into the sweet spot of being scary but not impossible.
-Great use of the locale. Selling the sizzle of Kaer Maga.
-Beautiful artwork, and lots of it.

CON:
-Way too long. We could have done without Vargun and the Sweet-Talkers pretty easily.
-Little storytelling opportunities to describe the history between Guaril Karela and the Gael family. This should have been included in part on some player handouts or knowledge checks.
-The free men scene rubbed me the wrong way. Let’s decide our future by playing darts? Really? Who are these guys? Why are they strategically important? Are you making this up as we go along? I wanted to know more about Andoran corruption! Please don't let that storyline die.


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Overly long tomb dig with high risk of death

***( )( )

This is a dungeon romp that squeezes some classic Egyptian flavour out of the locale. The dungeon is a little too large and the enemies have a little too much variance in powers and abilities, but overall it’s a great tough dungeon to recommend if your players are itching for a sustained difficult battle with some good backstory to splash on as well.

PRO:

-Final boss battle is livened up with the addition of a zombified fast sphinx (nice work!) and the inclusion of a secret passage to an undead harem. Yum!
-Nice synergy in treasure placement that can assist the party deal with big threats and curses.
-Good research into fake tombs and architecture that follow with the Pharaoh’s afterlife.
-Harem room. It’s awesome and brimming with possibilities.

CONS:

-The Pyramid trap/monster/railroad of death requires further balancing. I’ve made some comments in the PFS GM thread that I would highly recommend, otherwise you’ll kill your players on the second room, and everyone will feel cheated. I feel like a job was half-done here, or an explanation to GMs was cut with word limits. Either way, work is required.
-Too many encounters. If I was editor I’d cut the elemental room and the huntsman.
-The Swashbuckler is NOT the right pregen for this dungeon! Not at all! Yikes.
-10 feet square maps have no friends. Nobody likes 10ft square maps. Nobody.


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See cover: it's a Turkey.

*( )( )( )( )

Perspective: GM'ed the scenario once.

This reads like an unimaginative mountain built from fantasy cliche upon cliche.
The setting of Brevoy, its awesome history and multiple noble families is utterly wasted here. So too is the history of Aroden.
The forced role play will be over with one subdual power attack from a murder hobo's two-handed weapon.
Meaningless random encounters in the forest equates to the laziest writing possible in the hobby.
To top it all off, there are plenty of editing errors with the chronicle sheet.
This scenario is inexcusably unimaginative. The one star that has been granted is for the fantastic artwork delivered by Marjorie Davis. More work for her, please!
Ugh! I really hate this scenario!


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Surprise! Abrupt Left Turn!

***( )( )

Perspective: GM'ed once.
Spoilers ensue.

In part one, the heroes dealt with the nefarious Grandmaster Torch and made brief attempts to undo his schemes in the face of assassins, ancient cultures and long-held grudges.

In part two, the heroes embark on a dangerous journey wherein using detective work, they learn the origins of Grandmaster Torch and the power of the jeweled sages.

In part three, mythic powers makes stuff

EXPLODE!:
And there's a giant DRAGON! And this dead thing explodes and sprays its goo everywhere! And there's a swift action teleport full-attacking transdimensional MONSTER! And then you chase an old man and his teenager through a RAVINE. Then you beat on them! Then you smash some more stuff while the GM tries to make any sense out of the most POORLY WRITTEN and redundant PUZZLE in PFS HISTORY! And then you get to engage in some VOTING, where one candidate is SOMEONE YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT and the other is YOUR FORGETFUL YET LOVABLE EGYPTIAN GRANDPOP! DEMOCRACY F*** HELLZ YEAH!

Where is Torch? He took an incredibly powerful Macguffin and left two hours before this scenario even starts. Why does this keep happening to PFS trilogies? The multiple author rule means whatever narrative arc you have from the first two are GUARANTEED to be ignored in the final chapter.

This scenario is very, very long and can get quite stupid. The PCs get to make an incredible decision, but are given next to no details about one of the two candidates, meaning the result is probably already predetermined. The mythic rules seem to work best when they're limited to the chronicle sheet powers - actually using the Mythic book will result in an incredible power jump for the PCs. There's some Lovecraftian crap wedged in awkwardly because THAT'S WHAT PAIZO LOVES TO DO.

The entire alienist subject matter should have been deleted and replaced with a previous home of the Diamond Sage. This would have allowed the PCs to learn something about her, while building anticipation to actually meet her. If the big finale is a decision, allow some research and build-up to that decision!

I can't comment on the handling of a certain Aspis duo, because I've only played the first in that series, and I felt that scenario, like this one, was just dumb violent fun.

I'm not feeling this one. There's continuing metaplot, but it all seems to be building somewhere else, while the trilogy finale flying tackles the left-field so fervently it literally reaches orbit. It's a pain to prepare as the module tells you what mythic templates to apply to what monsters, but it doesn't do it for you. Two point nine stars.


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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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