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Le Petite Mort's page

RPG Superstar 9 Season Marathon Voter. FullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 433 posts (566 including aliases). 35 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 11 Pathfinder Society characters.

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A masterpiece.


I do 0-3 stars for fluff, 0-3 for crunch, and a good/bad/ugly section for each. Note that my group played the trilogy in Hard mode, as we enjoy deadly scenarios more than pleasant excursions.

Fluff: 3 stars

The mission hearkens back to the Island of Dr. Moreau, in a very good way. The set-up ties in very nicely both to the overall storyline of the trilogy and of the season as a whole. The location was extremely well designed both in terms of space usage and there was a ton of really cool areas with really fascinating and well-described stuff in it. I don't want to dive into details and spoil anything, but the things the party will discover in this adventure actually give some hints at how the Golarion universe works as a whole in a way that felt organic and earned by the players. The NPCs (particularly the last one encountered) have incredibly well written monologues/dialogues, that give them engaging and unique personalities. Honestly, all of the prose is pretty strong throughout. The enemies fit the location/mission thematically while still surprising the PCs. The whole mission gives the trilogy forward momentum, tying what initially was going to be a 'normal' mission in Part 1 into a tangle of conspiracies that will be resolved in part 3, while still having a distinctly satisfying story in and of itself.

Bad - There were a few things about the environment that merited a bit more exploration/ methods of disseminating the information. Honestly, not enough to subtract even half a star.

Ugly - There is a potentially large reward reduction that is in no way foreshadowed by the scenario. My crew was lucky enough to avoid it, but I imagine a number of groups get hosed by this 'gotcha' mechanic. There were also a few elements of the map/scenario that I felt could have had a bit more in the way of interaction methods.

Crunch - 2.5 stars

Good - This scenario had only two real combats with an optional, but both (or all three) were extraordinary challenges, featuring an array of defenses, offensive abilities, and strategic use of terrain and player expectations. They were devilishly challenging without resorting to truly 'unfair' methods like mis-calculating CR or monster combat metrics. There were some skill sections using mechanics from recent books that I really enjoy, as they help everyone to participate without requiring everyone to actually be great at a particular skill. The leadership mechanic was well executed again, though perhaps the weakest of the trilogy in that aspect. DCs for everything felt right, both in and out of combat.

Bad - Once again, I'm kind of drawing a blank here. Well, I was a bit frustrated by how all the fights had basically the same set of immunities. As a control caster with a wide variety of status conditions I can inflict, it was galling being almost incapable of contributing offensively. Luckily, a Cleric like myself can always cast support spells, so I wasn't useless, but still. A greater variety of immunities would have been nice, though I have to admit that the final combat was a real thinker and that was a good thing.

Ugly - Some of the map-space (particularly the final area) could have been better utilized. Some things about the are (a particular sonic effect) had lower impact than I think we expected, which was disappointing. Basically, I think there was so much coolness packed in here that both the authors and GMs will have to triage which aspects get dived into. That's really only a flaw in the interview, "What's your biggest flaw" sense where it's actually a virtue in disguise.

Yeah, strong 5-6 star scenario.

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Don't bother.

*( )( )( )( )

The two reviews below mine say everything I was going to.

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Quite good.

****( )

I enjoyed the story, the set-up, ambiance, environments, and NPCs. The motivations of some NPCs could have been better elucidated, but oh well. I enjoyed that certain NPCs have counter-measures to abilities of specific characters in the party, and the manner in which this was explained in terms of story. The first two combats were thematic, engaging, and challenging without breaking the CR curve. I liked the Leadership mechanic, and am also glad the author made it a brief element of the scenario, rather than taking a majority of table time. That has been a problem in some other scenarios by this author, and I was happy that a more nuanced and balanced approach was used this go-round.

The encounters were also well thought through in terms of having interesting enemies, intelligent and dastardly tactics, and a feeling that the purpose of the fight wasn't merely to 'beat the other guy', but to accomplish some greater goal. They were pretty challenging as well, at least in Hard Mode.

The final encounter...well, it might have gone a bit far in terms of challenge. Opponents that are custom-made for specific scenarios really need to be more closely reviewed by the PFS development team before publication. This beast is stated at a high CR, but indeed its stats correspond a full 5 CR higher than that on the Average Monster Statistics by CR table in the Monster Creation page of the PRD. Well, other than HP. It's AC and saves in particular are preposterously high. Beyond its statistics, it also has several very significant advantages from its environment, which should raise the encounters CR by 1 or 2. It's pretty much a CR 25 encounter in the high-tier, unadjusted. Even for 6 level 15 characters, that's an APL+7 encounter. For reference, APL+4 is considered a coin-flip for party survival.

GMs will have to be downright creative in how they softball that fight unless you just really want to TPK your lodge's seekers.

It's a problem, so I'm taking away 1 star. The rest of the scenario was really quite impressive though. Very good work overall.

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No great shakes, but not horrible.

**( )( )( )

I do 0-3 stars for fluff and 0-3 for crunch, a good/bad/ugly for both.

Fluff (1 star)

Good: The scenario really starts off with a bang, in a way that is interesting and unexpected. The room housing the scenario's second combat is flavorful and interesting, with some unique elements.

Bad: There is a lot of dead space. Most rooms/areas that the party journeys through there is literally nothing of note. No box description, nothing to find with Perception, nothing to learn about with knowledges, nothing to talk to, nothing to do. It makes the pacing very immersion breaking.

The decent backstory of the mission is also marred by an almost complete lack of methods for the GM to disseminate information to the players. Virtually nothing has stated skill checks to learn about the weird objects/areas you encounter.

Ugly: I don't really have any nit-picks beyond what I've already said.

Crunch (1 star)

Good: The second combat was well set-up, using terrain and creature abilities intelligently to challenge the players. The final combat has a social mechanic that affects it in a sensible manner rather than entirely obviating the combat. The encounters were CR appropriate.

Bad: Something I've noticed about this author in this and other scenarios; opponents have tactics and abilities that require they be able to get out of melee range of the PCs, but in areas that preclude them doing this successfully. I'll spoiler what I mean

Notes on combats here and in Fabric of Reality:
In Fabric of Reality, we had an assassin and her lackeys, stated to leverage feats and abilities contingent upon moving around the map a lot, like Spring Attack. However, the cramped space and difficult terrain made that unfeasible. In this scenario, there is a room where potentially two Huge creatures spawn in a room too small to house them and the party very well. Another encounter pits a caster against the PCs in a narrow ship hull, where it can't adequately prevent itself from being surrounded and pummeled to oblivion. The final encounter is similar, though at least she has between 1 and 3 allies. I recommend that the author consider how creatures will be able to move around the battlefield tactically when designing the maps housing encounters.

I think the lack of skill checks of any kind to get information counts for fluff and crunch, so I'll reiterate it.

Ugly: It takes railroad to a new level. There isn't even the vaguest illusion of choice until the final encounter and aftermath.

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