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Hooded Man

Serisan's page

FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 3,466 posts (3,499 including aliases). 7 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 21 Pathfinder Society characters.



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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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Repetitive, generic, and occasionally setting appropriate

***( )( )

If you want an indication of how the module was written, look no further than the included pull-out map on the print edition. Rather than include any area with machinery, it's a generic flip of a fortress wall, an interior stream, and what amounts to a run-off structure.

The module takes place in 3 areas over 4 acts - two of these are generic mines, with 1 sq = 10 ft scaling and constant squiggles. When the mines aren't completely generic, they're kind of fun. There's some nice RP with a few mutants, a couple likable NPCs, an absolutely hilarious encounter that is shoehorned in, and little else. Could have happened anywhere.

Act 3 has a primal magic event system with a few claw-out-my-eyes moments, including the need to create elementals that have 4+ templates to reach the likely CRs necessarily for the mana storm. I didn't realize that elementals pretty much stop progressing at CR 11. There are use-activated items of CL 17 and characters who could reasonably be casting at CL 19, meaning custom generation of elementals, up to and including adding templates to Gozreh's herald just to fit a poorly thought out table. It is my hope that the Bard Creature + Fighter Creature + Giant + Advanced Elder Earth Elemental I had to generate (CR 17) comes out and starts attacking with dance moves. Note that Act 3 is not part of the sanctioned content for PFS, unless running the Seeker Arc rules.

Act 4 happens in a place that is befitting of the Mana Wastes - a huge factory...just large enough to fall off the edges of a single map. Assuming the final BBEG can act, it can be wonderfully evocative and interesting. This is unlikely, however, based on a number of factors, not least of which is his abysmal initiative modifier. This is the most setting-appropriate section of the adventure, but also the most likely to be derailed, assuming that players did Act 3.

It's a grand romp, otherwise, but it really didn't feel very specific to the Mana Wastes.


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Some flaws, but largely enjoyable

*****

The single biggest challenge with this scenario is that it requires the GM to prep and extrapolate a lot. If you're GMing, make sure you take additional time to understand what's going on and read the PFS GM thread. I've run this 3 times now and have found the scenario very enjoyable, despite what others have said here.

NPCs are fun to work with here and the scenario offers a lot of room for players to RP with them and each other. With the number of oddities in Mercy, you can find parties that are highly suspicious of the activities in town or that do things that offend the townsfolk, which can be fun to play around with. From the GM seat, I found those aspects to be really compelling and greatly enjoyed the way the party got creeped out throughout the scenario.

My understanding is that the published version had to significantly trim down the submitted word count, which explains some oddities of the scenario. Ultimately, this ends up being a non-issue for most tables as you can prep around any areas of concern. A lot of the issues have been hashed out in the GM thread. While the scenario is difficult to run properly without significant preparation, I feel that its other merits compel me to avoid weighing down my rating based on prep time.


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Frustrating but potentially fun

***( )( )

I've both played and run this scenario.

Pros: some limited interesting RP, somewhat free-form sections, the possibility of a social TPK

Cons: Several sections appear to be "read the author's mind" in nature and are not intuitive to either the players or the GM. Skill check DCs are absurdly high. The secondary success condition is nearly impossible with many party configurations as it depends on having a series of specific skills in a series where you can't really get help from others. The level of preparation required for the GM is incredibly high for a 5-9 scenario - it feels in prep more like a particularly complex 7-11, but it doesn't feel commensurately satisfying in play.

Ultimately, I felt fatigued simply preparing it. I would have rather done pretty much anything else with my time because it took an investment of entirely too many hours just to wrangle the last two sections. The players burned through the first section very quickly, but the scenario slows to a crawl very quickly once you're actually in the Bronze House. As we got to the confrontation, it was clear that the players were exhausted and I had to tell them that there was basically an entire act remaining as they started to pack up. They seriously thought they were done at that point.

Despite getting the social TPK cost of 5 PP applied to all of them, the players all enjoyed the scenario and I had a good enough time, but I would not have interest in running this scenario again for the amount of effort involved.


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Amazing

*****

Played in the 5-6 subtier. Solid adventure, nice mid-scenario subsystem, kind of a DPR check for a final encounter...but the descriptive text is what sells me.

10/10, would innuendo again.


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