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Hooded Man

Serisan's page

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber. FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 3,705 posts (3,742 including aliases). 11 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 22 Organized Play characters.



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Satisfying, difficult, and deep

*****

I ran this for a very experienced, RP-focused party with 3 Scarab Sages members. The party felt genuinely threatened by the encounters and engaged well with the story elements.

From the GM perspective, there's a lot to think about with this scenario. I'm a 4 star PFS GM who specializes in mid-high tier play and I spent 2 weeks preparing the scenario, but still faltered on some details during the encounters. This scenario has a lot of depth with a lot of elements to portray, but some of that portrayal is condensed into mid-encounter chatter and visions. Portraying how fight mechanics work while the combat is ongoing is essential to making the players understand what's going on.

The players all loved the scenario, saying that it felt like it was a multi-table special in content and tone. Avoiding as many spoilers as possible, one of the single best elements of the scenario is how it dives into history-as-experienced, particularly for otherwise hard to nail down NPCs.

Appropriate tables for this adventure will come prepared for a variety of situations, be combat-capable for complex encounters, and have a strong desire to fulfill the goals of the story over quick one-shot combat capacity. It's worth noting as well that the combats are exceptionally dangerous for some compositions, particularly if the level spread is large and the scenario is pulled into high tier.


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Amateur philosophy hour(s)

**( )( )( )

Generally, I agree with a lot of prior sentiment that I'm seeing in the reviews. There was little canon regarding Roidira, so I can't fully blame any single party for trying to define and explicate her philosophical underpinnings.

Pros:
*Social scenario with definite non-Diplomacy answers.
*Combats were relevant to the plot and conveyed information about the story being presented.
*The story was mostly coherent.
*Lorah is an entertaining NPC.
*The Sunwrought Festival was pretty fun.

Cons:
*Philosophically equivalent to a 15 year old's interpretation of Nietzsche.
*Seriously, the lizard. There are very reasonable complaints about the lizard, particularly since the Young template is one of the least balanced CR adjustments.
*Quiz Show felt pretty bad for PCs who were not in any way, shape, or form interested in Roidira beyond the mission and the scripted assumption that the PCs did have interest was made ridiculous.

The scenario felt less like an investigation and more like story time in many regards - I spoke probably twice as much as the sum of my players. So much of the scenario attempted to script the PCs and, quite frankly, that is not a reliable way to write a scenario, nor an engaging one. I had walked in with some amount of excitement for what the scenario could offer, but the reality was that none of my players were particularly on-board with the premise of the railroad and there was little I could do to change that. Uncovering information on a cult can be pretty interesting stuff, but a petty, pretentious, and juvenile goddess is not an engaging subject, even to the party nihilist who might otherwise share some viewpoints with her.


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Great flavor, some questionable filler

*****

Update: I was able to play the module recently, albeit modified to fit into a more reasonable day. I think we completed it in about 11 hours, but we also had cut a number of the encounters. Exploration remains very long. I was glad that we cut out several sections for time.

Original review:
I had a much more in-depth post, but the website ate it. I ran this module as part of a 24 hour fundraiser event.

Fort Breakthrough: Solid first level adventure, very engaging to the party. Est run time: 4.5 hours.

Storm: Perfection. Very quick, but the players really engaged with the town in a way no other adventure ever has. The players absolutely loved Oyin and I loved how much a mundane cat added to the personality of the adventure. The subsystem was basically run over by the party of 6, who would have had enough successes for the best result even if they skipped everything after the skill check section. Est run time: 1.5 hours.

Out of town: LONG! Probably two sessions of content. Some excessive filler, IMO, that didn't particularly advance the story (esp. the coral capuchin thing). Travel to set pieces means you have to spend a lot of time re-establishing what the players are doing. Weather was interesting for a while, but really frustrated the archer in the group. Est run time: 9 hours.

Sky Tempest Temple: We were exhausted by this point, so I'm unable to be completely fair to the content here. The only thing that truly mattered to me was the MIREBORN LIZARDFOLK CHAMPIONSHIP! It was a hit with the PCs and it woke me up quite a bit after being about 18 hours into the module at this point, including our breaks.

Daruthek's lair: I really can't be fair to this - we rolled up on this at about 19 hours in and the players could have bodied every encounter in here without much issue. Daruthek is really cool as a villain, but I felt like the encounter lacked a bit of oomph. That may have just been the tired talking at that point, though.

Great module. Don't do it in one sitting like me.


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Solid overall

****( )

tl;dr: I think it's a good book with lots of options, but there are reasonable gripes about it. Some people think it's full of spoilers, but I tend to disagree.

Pros:
-Compelling write-ups for a significant number of Golarion organizations
-Huge number of character and NPC options to play with.
-Character options allow for diversified characters for each organization, such that you could build a primarily Bellflower character or similar.

Cons:
-Some of the reprints that could have used polish ended up being straight copy/paste.
-Not enough page space to devote to a number of other important factions, particularly factions that tend towards villainy.
-Very short for a hardcover - clocks in at 192 pages.

Mixed:
-There are a significant number of reprints. When I asked about this at PaizoCon, the response was that this inserts a huge number of options that previously were in campaign setting and softcover books into the "rules" line, where they will be added to the PRD (assisting scenario/module development by preventing reprints within the scenario/module) and have a more agile FAQ/errata process to fix any issues. I understand how this operates within Paizo's business structure, but still #FeelsBadMan.

-A lot of people are complaining that the organization write-ups effectively spoil certain APs, particularly Hell's Rebels, Council of Thieves, and Curse of the Crimson Throne. I tend to view the relevant entries as being canonized results within the rest of the world and, while it has some material that impacts the way players might engage with those APs, it presents relevant options for 2 of the 3 APs from what I can tell.


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Painful

*( )( )( )( )

0 xp, 0 prestige chronicles are never fun. This scenario was painful in ways I wasn't anticipating.

Party: Amiri, Lem, 7 bard with the bottle + smoke song combo, and my ectoplasmist 5. Low tier, 4 player adjust.

GM admitted that he forgot the Haste bombs on encounter 1, which would have murdered the not-Lem bard. We managed alright because of that. Go to encounter 2, surrounded quickly, both Amiri and I were wrecked by the under-CRd mummies and we fled.

This screams overtuned to me.


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