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Fiendish Baboon

Leopold's page

94 posts. 9 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.



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Beautiful clockwork robots meet the End of the World

****( )

After reading this module backwards and forwards for the last few weeks I managed to plunk this down into my campaign. The overall feel is one of the overwhelming mechanical forces vs the PCs. A bit of the matrix here but with more options for the 'good' guys to win. Machines are all knowing and logical and therefore fallible in their belief that nothing else exists outside of their scope. Lots of room to play around in the city and the end is an epic battle that rocks!

Conversion to PF is very easy, much of it is very straight forward and can be done on the fly. This is a bare bones story so many of the odds and ends are left upto the DM. Overall I highly enjoyed the story, wish it had expanded more over time, and the artwork is both awesome and soul-crushing.

Highly recommended for those who need a high end mechanical/clockwork/steampunk adventure or setting.

NOTE: This is much shorter than my usual full review work, but I felt it was justified in getting out how great this module is.


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Great Concept, Poor Execution

**( )( )( )

The Sinister Secrets of Silvermote by TPK Games is a 67 page adventure for 4-6 players of 7-12. This book relies partially on TPK’s previous work Temerlyth the Undying and is almost required for the latter half of this module.

The gorgeous front artwork by Eric De Mander leads you into an adventure about a Temerlyth the Lich (with a burning hatred for Lycanthropes. Were creatures that destroyed his elven homeland and drove him to build a tower by goblin slaves in which he could craft ways to destroy the shape shifting hordes. Eventually madness took him and he slaughtered his loved ones, isolated himself to experimenting on man and beast to find a way to ‘save’ his people, and setup shop to further increase his growing alchemical prowess.

We open up with the background of the module providing DMs with plot hooks to aid in providing a reason to raid or infiltrate Temerlyth’s lair. One is a letter by a wizard who ‘heard’ about the unimaginable power of the place and the other a wolf in sheep’s clothing as it may. The wonderful part of this adventure is the neutrality of the setting, you can put it anywhere there is a forest. Leading the party to the dungeon are a few encounters that get the players a taste of what is to come.

Once the players arrive at the tower the ‘fun’ begins. Littered throughout this module are the monsters fully stat’d and linked to D20PFSRD.com for ease of use, no longer does a DM who uses this in digital format have to reference what a feat or ability does, they are all hyperlinked for easy reference. This is both a blessing and a curse as the linking of the earlier monsters is well done and slowly start’s lacking into the latter pages. The massive amount of linking almost causes all the text to blend into one large underlined mass.

Tips on how to run certain areas are presented such as giving the DM a certain way to handle a plot point, how monsters interact with each other, and even tidbits on the masonry to those players who have to know everything.

Since this is the lair of a Lich who has lived hundreds of years with the threat we know there will be traps, tons of traps, tricky traps. The DM has to be well versed in what player’s are affected by prior events, the location of the trap’s, and what these traps do, as some are unconventional. The sand and portcullis trap that isolates your PCs in a divide and conquer methodology is tricky enough as it is, DM has to be on their toes here. The quality ranges from the well thought-out (previously mentioned sand trap), the bizarre (were trap and arrows), to the poorly designed green slime trap (dissolves all organic matter but not bones?).

The monster’s who dwell in this tomb are a mix of constructs, undead hordes, insane creations, and a scattering of caged were-beasts. They range from CR 1 to CR 16, and TPK has generously provided the DM with scalable stats if an encounter needs to go higher or lower in difficulty. The areas come in a variety of states ranging from the well done (bugbear zombie lord), to the average (Cathedral Golems), the badly designed (Werebat sorcerer with armor and martial weapons), and the utterly broken (Cleric who lives in a 5’ room wearing a robe of vermin that gimp’s him even further). Wrapping all this together is the overwhelming specter of Temerlyth who is never given proper detail on what would happen if an invasion were to occur. Does he pursue the PCs? Does he go after them as there are sections that state, “Temerlyth is notified that intruders are here” after the PCs defeat a monster or activate a trap. Does he gather his forces and hunt the PCs down? These questions are never answered and left to the DM to decide.

The Lich’s lair is a CR17 packed with new magical items (Magical tomes that have locks, traps, and goodies inside), a handful of traps, work benches scattered with Temerlyth’s experiments gone awry, and Temerlyth himself if he’s not off gallivanting around slaughtering werebeasts. Herein contains his phylactery put in a clever location that would take the most persistent group of players who loot everything to find.

Extra’s section is where all the new content is provided: an upgraded form of glitterdust, shovel that buries it’s foe into the earth, potions that grant lichdom, artifact of utter destruction to all lycanthropes, armor made of bone and others of silver. Quality items that can easily fit in any game and the power ratings are within limits, but I can see quite a bit of abuse for the Grave Undertaker and it’s ability to root foes.

The Sinister Secrets of Silvermote is a mixed bag of great ideas thrown together with poorly thought out encounter’s, missing skill checks on traps and doors, and monster’s who caused me nothing but head scratching puzzlement of why TPK would put all these together. The sorcerer werebat with gear befitting a hobgoblin but not a sorcerer, the storage room with brown mold and no description details, the lair of his wife and kids that demand you have the prior product which could easily have a simple line of “Use Elven ghost Wiz/5 and Elven Ghost Ranger/4” to give the DMs somewhat of a guide on what to go on. Rooms that have no reason to be in the same state after hundreds of years besides “Well he’s insane so he leaves his house in tatters” with monsters that still happen to be there because that’s their lair because they said so.

In conclusion, if you as a DM are willing to put in the effort, roll up your sleeves, and there is a plethora of content one can use for a lair of the Big Bad Evil Guy. The inner workings are there, the framework is present, unfortunately the presentation falls drastically short and left disappointed by the result.


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24+Steampunk+Pathfinder=Victory

*****

The Dying Skyseer, an adventure in the Zeitgeist adventure path by EN Publishing, cannot be called an adventure and hereby I'll dub it an “Experience”. What you have in these 90+ pages mixed between beautifully drawn works of art, well crafted maps with minute detail, and a script that reads out of a mystery novel transcends normal gaming. This is something different all together.

This is the second part of the adventure path that had our PCs encounter jungle terrorists and board a steamship to vanquish a foe that led them to the courtroom of the realm and close out with the PCs becoming detectives. That arc continues onward in this Experience with the party joining up with the Risuri Homeland Constabulary (think of them as Pinkertons from the Old West) to discover why this young girl was fatally shot in a random act of violence. The party goes off on multiple threads all woven together with NPCs that have motives and reasons behind each of them, lists of plot points to discuss for the place in questions, mood settings that you as the DM can utilize to put yourself in the right frame to ratchet up the tension and create the right setting for the Experience. The Experience starts there and doesn't let you go as you run around the city chasing after the bad guys on boat, horse, carriage, over roof tops, through cairns, hills full of spirits, inside factories, and into the homes of the elite in the city of Flint. Your PCs are living inside an Experience much like they would if they were put in a season of “24”, if you can picture your players enjoying that type of murder-mystery intrigue then they will enjoy this Experience.

How are the stats, the crunchy bits, the meat and heart of the product? One Word: Amazing.

Each NPC has the full stat list, all the abilities listed for you, spells laid out, classes from the Advanced Player Guide (glad to see these new classes getting use), new monsters, new spells, new items, even some new traps that I will be using to make those PCs forget they were even there. The mind races with possibilities.

Are there downfalls or some things to worry about with this adventure? Yes, and it comes down to the DM being prepared. There is enough information in these pages for you to run each encounter, NPC, area with all the information most PCs would ask or do. Ryan Nock has thought up nearly every scenario where if your PCs can think it, there's an easy answer for you as the DM to provide it. Of course your PCs will Zig when you want them to Zag, and the background information is vast enough to allow for wiggle room as they work their way through the Experience. If the DM hasn't read all the finer points, looked over the map, studied the mood and motives of the encounter a significant amount of mood and feel is lost. Be on your “A” game as you will need it here.

With all this plot is there combat? Of course there is. Factory battles with fire going off around you, dark combat on the seas, chases on land that end up on the rooftops, warehouse battles with mass combat. Those of you like me who have PCs that thrive on combat will get their fix as the blend between Combat vs. Skill checks is very even and you can easily bluff, lie, cheat, or intimidate your way out (or into!) situations.

In closing, the Experience of The Dying Skyseer reads like a Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn novel. You are the detectives hunting down the death of a common girl who was embroiled in a conspiracy larger than any imaginable for a low level party. Through clever skill usage, crafted and interesting combat, and a story that inspires the imagination, The Dying Skyseer hits every note a good Adventure needs.


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Alchemist Werewolf Hunting Lich of DOOM!

*****

Temerlyth the Undying is a seventeen page "Plug and Play" style Big Bad Evil Guy(BBEG) that is built for any pathfinder game. TPK Games gives you, the DM, a well thought out, gorgeously drawn, and fully stated out Lich and his brood packed in a tightly done package. Let us explore shall we?

Temerlyth is an angry Elf, you wouldn't know this from the beautiful front cover by Eric De Mander, nor by the haunting pictures that ooze 'EVIL' by Kiss Marton Gyula. No, what you get is a very driven and obsessed Lich Alchemist/6, Loremaster/3, Wizard/6 (CR 16 for those that are keeping score) who wants nothing more than to wipe the stain of Werewolfdom off the face of your gaming world.

Through our detailed stat blocks of our wicked and well equipped Alchemist of Death and Destruction, ( which are hyper linked to D20PFSRD.com giving any DM who can't recall what exactly an ability, skill, spell, feat, etc. off the top of their head the exact information at their fingerprints) we see that our BBEG has a plethora of tricks and abilities to throw at almost any type of Party big or small. If you need a challenge for 12-16 party or an end Monster who is pulling strings behind the scenes all of this is provided for you, geared and ready to roll.

The two column layout is rife with information on not only how this Monster (and I use a capital M here as it is quite worth it) came to haunt your gaming world but how to properly use him and his undead family with all of their motives, descriptions, history, personality, and combat tactics ready in a pinch. One of the nice things you don't see often in monster books is the Lore section. Having a bard or someone who wants to know more about what they are up against gives the DM a chance to dish out some back information without having to design it themselves. Simple, easy to use, no frills.

We close out with Temerlyth's 'family' as it may. He can't let the bad wolf-kin take his family so he did the job for them. Righteous Vengeance or Sadistic Cruelty, you as the DM be the judge as they are all here for you to use with the same attention to detail as Temerlyth.

Total Party Kill games puts together a great package, simple to use, and with exquisite detail to not only the artwork but the stats and design of this BBEG. I can feel that by reading this over that ideas formed in my head on how I could easily use him and his undead family in my game if I so choose. TPK Games gives you the tools and let's your imagination run away with them.


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Drop in Total Party Kill Session for a Night

****( )

Grave Undertakings: The Tomb of Caragthax The Reaver by TPK Games is a 20 page plug and play adventure. This series of modules starting with this one is TPK's way of providing a DM with a single small location equipped with a Big Bad Evil Guy and appropriate detail to help a DM who might need a quick adventure to fill in for a night.

We have a glorious front page artwork detailing the BBEG himself Caragthax who was trapped in his own tomb after trapping all his "loyal" henchmen with him. Following the usual details and generous plothooks to help motivate the players into why they should or could want to go in there (take a hint they don't) we get our small 9 room dungeon with scalable monsters and tactics on how to use them. TPK not only gives you a way to use this for higher or lower PCs but you get all the stats predone for you. Less work that I as a DM have to do the better. All the feats, abilities, spells, magic items have links to D20PFSRD so you don't have to hunt down what those items mean, it's all there for you only a click away.

In the Extras section we have one of my new favorite house rules: Natural Ones give Attacks of Opportunity and 20s=Auto Crit. I've used these exclusively over the course of a few games and they work out rather well and speed up lengthy combat. Does it make combat more "swingy"? Sure, but once you read the reasoning for it, yes it makes sense.

Overall this is a solid drop in adventure with good thought out monsters, generous and smart monster tactics, and a clean layout. The two things I did not like were the outdoor maps as they were rather generic and the multitude of fonts which caused my eyes to roam back over and reread subsections again.


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