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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 68 posts. 5 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 1 alias.



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My favorite Adventure Path so far!

*****

UPDATE: This is the LONGEST adventure path module by far. We have been on this module twice as long as any other AP in the series. Very fun, but it maybe could have been broken into two.

I have to say, this adventure path is probably the most fun of all of the Skull and Shackles Adventure paths to date.

The PC's have a solid mission and have a great motivation to seek out and complete each of this module's challenges. The AP starts with the Pirates gaining status and being able to take part diplomatically in pirate matters in the Shackles. The mechanics for this arrangement work well, and the case being made for each is interesting to Role Play. A page with all of the NPC portraits on one page would have added visual props.

The onus on the PC's to build a fleet is exciting, although the amount of money the Pirates need as opposed to what they have found across the last four modules is insufficient. I luckily read ahead and planted some extra plunder among the various wreckage's on the Island of Empty Eyes. The pirates COULD just spend a couple of weeks grinding away on pirate ship encounters from module one and two, but that tends to be anti-climatic and the group would rather do new stuff.

The quests and places for adventure are well thought out, difficult and exciting. The various challenges and the rewards for completing each give a sense of accomplishment. There is also some final closure to the PC's longstanding rivalry with a competing free captain of the Shackles.

The overarching storyline about warring nations is almost not needed in the AP as it adds little in the way of motivation for pirates, they could have had the rivalry be somewhat more local instead of geopolitical.

That aside, the adventure path is outstanding and the players are having a blast with it. They are excited to finish up in module 6.


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Excellent Adventure for my campaign

*****

I may be biased in my review due to a major plot item interacting perfectly with my particular campaign and characters, but nonetheless I feel the need to give the AP 5 stars.

The premise is the only somewhat shaky leg of the AP, and the players are kind of like "we have to prove ourselves AGAIN?!" That sentiment is quickly discarded however as the adventure gets underway. Meanwhile the addition of cyclopes as a major element is welcome; it is nice to see classical fantasy elements included in an AP, and their inclusion on the cover and back indicate that they are a major part of the AP.

The tragic NPC and his/her dilemma sets my PC's up perfectly and the ultimate plot payoff can differ somewhat from the AP in my campaign depending upon what the affected PC decides to do with the clues given. The maps included are detailed and I would like a flip mat of the ultimate ruins included in the AP. I was going to enlarge the map to 1":5' scale and print it in tiles on the printer but it ended up being over 120 pages!!! Using that much printer paper and spending that much time taping the sheets together would be cost/time prohibitive. Not to mention the file becomes cumbersome when enlarged to 90x126. Would the market be large enough to support a flip mat? I am not so sure. A printed paper map poster possibly. $9.99??

I like this AP and liked how it flowed coherently from start to finish. Tempest Rising, while excellently written and intriguing was jumbled up somewhat, not gaining its sea-legs until act 3. Isle of empty eyes flows smoothly from start to finish and very little GM work is required to make this AP fun and exciting.


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Great Writing - Lack of Maps

***( )( )

I purchased this to help flesh out the individual isles in the Skull and Shackles Adventure path. I was happy that the writing encompassed the isles, but unfortunately there are NO maps of the isles in the gazetteer. A gazetteer without some maps is like a pirate ship without a crew. The Inner Sea World Guide is how each campaign setting supplement should be written. Yes, making maps of the isles and of the major ports of call is tedious; however once the work is accomplished, it is done forever and the world gets more detailed and more fleshed out. If it is too difficult to map from scratch, use Google maps to overlay existing locales on Earth like the Marshall Islands, and illustrate the overlay into a map for the guide.

I really don't need more monsters. Between the Bestiaries, the AP's and the campaign settings, we are being overwhelmed by monsters. Save those monsters for the AP's or for campaign specific bestiaries and flesh out the campaign resources with more MAPS.


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Paizo needs plot flow charts

***( )( )

This adventure is pretty fun for my players right now, but the hodge-podge of clues and intrigue points starts to make running the adventure somewhat tedious.

I propose that Paizo include one page in each adventure path that details all of the plot progression points in a flow chart, or plot circle fashion so the GM can easily track the plot and can navigate the adventure without having to jump around in the book randomly to try set up his/her own plot flow chart.

I think this simple inclusion would make Tempest rising and other adventure paths more exciting to run and less tedious for GMs

[update 2/7/2013] The players finished this AP. The beginning portion of the AP was basically skipped over due to the fact that the contests and the whole setup felt somewhat contrived with a nobody orc insinuating himself into the pirate's lives. The second part of the AP was the most difficult as it was a large intrigue involving many NPC's and locales. I purchased the Isles of the Shackles supplement to augment the locales with hopefully some visuals (maps of the ports of call) but was disappointed that it didn't contain island maps I needed to make the locales come to life.
The AP picked up noticeably towards the end with the regatta, and the players were noticeably more excited to get involved in a seafaring adventure at the end of the AP. The way scoring was done worked well and the introduction of the PC's nemesis gave them some motivation.

Overall, I would have liked to have seen the locales fleshed out more. The inner sea world guide is replete with maps of each locale in the book and the middle part of the adventure would have been better served by having some visual aides.


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The first AP I've run in Pathfinder

****( )

The Good: The adventurers have a nice mix of shipboard life, land-lubbing autonomy, and the NPC's detailed are fleshed out nicely and really come to life.

The Bad: The endless days upon ship splitting up tasks amongst four players can get tedious and drag on as each gets multiple interaction (separate....DON'T SPLIT THE PARTY)opportunities every day.

The Ugly: Some NPC's weren't fleshed out at all, and so it was hard to divert PC attention from some of the key crew members. Exploring the ship stealthily seemed a little contrived and farfetched for my taste.

The Wormwood Mutiny is a fun way to get the characters into the pirate way of life. I agree with the press-gang mentality of the adventure, and I basically started the PC's with little to nothing in the way of gear and everything they got was scrounged up.

There wasn't enough info on the Wormwood's magic user, Longfarthing, but the rest of the PC's were pretty well fleshed out.

The end scene was a little too much Roger-Rabbit for my likes and I had to modify the ending somewhat to make due in the interest of time.

I wasn't much of a fan with the dynamic of sneaking around the ship, it seems a little too contrived and with no where to go, anyone stealing something could be caught with a full ship health-and-welfare inspection. Also the number of days spent on sea had to be compressed somewhat as 17-odd days of doing the tasks and having each player in their own little world interacting with PC's can make for very loooong drawn out gaming sessions.

Overall I think the adventure went well and the party was excited to exact their revenge upon Plugg and Scourge, the fact that the players had such enmity against the antagonists means that the press-ganging and pirate justice had the desired effect. These NPC's were not just regarded with the usual apathy that villains usually engender.

All in all four stars.



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