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KnightErrantJR's page

FullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 5,464 posts (6,280 including aliases). 69 reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 2 Pathfinder Society characters. 14 aliases.

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Great Ideas, Lots of Potential Abuse, Wish I could make it a 2.5

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First off, let me say that I generally enjoy Rite Publishing's material. Even this product has some really good ideas, and its a good concept. I think that skills could use some more options as well. Unfortunately, while some new options really are new options, some are just begging to be abused, and others really should be feats when you look at the overall design paradigm of Pathfinder.

Among the good ideas? Guidelines on bribes based on level, and what kind of information you could get from an autopsy. Great, these are things not currently addressed. Exactly what I'm looking for.

Then some things get clunky. Skill uses that require you to have a minimum number of ranks in other skills seem especially cumbersome. It's not that there isn't a certain logic to it, but at the same time, it complicated and doesn't resemble other rules in the game regarding skills.

Then we get into using diplomacy for calling for a truce, and other skill uses that allow for a very specific use of the skill. Too many players already get hung up on forcing NPCs to do something with social skills, and skill uses like this just encourage "diplomacy as a charm spell" gaming.

Then there are skill uses that allow PCs to ignore difficult terrain (already done with other mechanics that aren't just higher DCs, and kind of messes with people that took those options), and skill uses that allow for shutting down or reprogramming constructs (definitely something I'd require a feat CHAIN for, not just a really high DC).

I really wanted to like this product, and there are some good ideas in this, but it would take too much "this is in, that is out" GM editing, and would open up too many questions compared to just not using the product outright. Here's to more skill uses that are brand new ideas and not just ways to circumvent existing rules with high skill DCs.

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No motorcycles included . . .

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The Genius Guide to Hellfire Magic is a fun product. None of the spells presented, even with the “temptation” options of casting them as evil spells, really seem to throw them out of whack. They are evocative and fun.

The domain(s) presented, as well as the witch's hex options, are similarly within what you would expect for domains or hexes within the game.

I'm not sure I'd unleash this option on every game, but these make for nice thematic spells for a campaign where you want either your PCs to be tempted by the forces of Hell, or where Hell is a very present driving factor in the campaign.

For example, I wouldn't hesitate to throw these into a Council of Thieves campaign or Fire Mountain Games Way of the Wicked adventures.

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Excellent, if your GM mojo is working and the PCs are willing . . .

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Call Forth Darkness is another solid adventure, although personally, I liked the opening installment just a bit better.

The PDF, like it's predecessor, is beautiful. The layout, colors, and artwork continue to be very impressive.

The Farholde Gazetteer in this book does a lot to bring the setting to life, which I think is important in an adventure path such as this one. The more the PCs realize that there is some history and culture behind the targets they eliminate, the more the fact that the PCs are villains is really brought home.

The article on evil organizations and minions presents a subsystem for managing minions that I wish were available in slightly more generic form for non-evil groups that also have followers. It's nice to have some guidelines as to what all of those “not quite combatants” can do when you take the time to actually be a leader.

An interesting addition at the end of the adventure is the exploration of other ways to structure the adventuring party and frame the AP based on specific themes (i.e. the whole party is clerics, the whole party are wizards, no one is a spellcaster) and what needs to be done to fit that theme. It's not overly detailed, but it's nice to see these musings and I'd like to have seen this kind of thematic conjecture in some of Paizo's adventure paths.

Now, for the adventure itself. When I say I prefer the first installment, it's not a matter of quality. It's from the GM expectation point of view. This adventure could be great or it could nosedive, because while it is a brilliant premise and laid out about as well as you could for this kind of concept, it really depends on the PCs picking up the ball and running with it.

That is true to an extent in the original adventure as well, but without a direct authority figure nudging them as much as they might have had in the first adventure, while the ultimate objective is clear, the compelling bit in the middle might not be as cool if the PCs don't get the vibe that the adventure is sending out (i.e. if they treat this as a dungeon to clear out rather than one to dominate).

One last nit pick that I will try to throw out there without spoiling too much. I love the security point concept, but wish it did more than it does. The payoff isn't quite as tangible outside of the metagame rewards.

All in all, recommended, and greatly recommended. Just pray that your players really relish being villains and not just evil characters.

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Evil is good!

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I wasn't sure what to expect with this product. It was a novel concept. I have to admit that I've been skeptical of evil campaigns before. But between the sales pitch and the buzz, I wanted to see what this was about.

I'll get the cosmetic out of the way first. This book is pretty. There isn't a ton of art, but what there is is good, and fits the theme. The format, colors, and presentation all look really sharp. This is a first class production just based on looks.

But to get to the crux of the matter, how is the adventure?

It's great. The set up is fun, and there is a great sub-system that is simple but perfectly logical for resolving the final act of the adventure.

The advice for evil campaigns is simple, but pretty logical, especially as applied to this campaign. There is a semi-random character generation method I'm not sold on, but the campaign traits are thematic and perfect to set the tone of the adventure.

All in all, if you have ever been curious about how to set up an evil campaign to avoid the general pitfalls that might come about, this is definitely worth a look, even if you only use it as a model for your own ideas.

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These are great potential campaign details

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The taxes in here are great, and a lot of them make perfect, logical sense to throw into a campaign. For the price, the extra details and idea starters are excellent.

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