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Sin Spawn

bugleyman's page

RPG Superstar 2013 Star Voter, 2014 Star Voter. FullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 6,553 posts (6,654 including aliases). 70 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 7 Pathfinder Society characters. 16 aliases.



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List Price: $19.99

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Great game, mediocre Starter Set

***( )( )

I have read the contents of the set and DM'ed a group through the first section of the adventure. I really like the way the new rules function, but I'm focusing this review on the contents of the Starter Set. There are four components:

  • The adventure (64 pages) -- It feels like the authors are going through the motions, right down to the plot hook (you're hired as a caravan guard). I appreciate that this is a Starter Set, but they could have been a little more creative without making the product any less accessible. I can't see myself using this once the Monster Manual and DMG are available.
  • The rule book (32 pages) -- The bare minimum of in-play rules is provided. There is no character generation. I wish they had simply included a printed copy of Basic. Instead, they provided a not-quite-subset of basic, which seems needlessly confusing. Even if it meant bumping the price, a perfect-bound Basic would have been something that remained useful once the PHB is available. As it is, this rule book simply doesn't have enough meat to warrant keeping around.
  • The dice -- A typical set of "swirly" blue polyhedral dice (though oddly there is only one D10...was it really worth saving $.25?)
  • The pregens -- These are the best part of the set. Nicely fleshed-out with just enough back-story, printed on high quality paper.

    Overall, I'd advise anyone who has any experience with RPGs at all to skip this, and just download the free Basic PDF instead.

    (***--)

    P.S.: Come on, guys...books need covers.


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    Great Idea...

    ****( )

    ...so-so execution.

    I love the design of this product, and I believe they went with a good mix of terrain types. Unfortunately, only the dungeon floor pattern is light/sparse enough to really show wet erase markers. Alas, if only the other textures were lighter and/or less busy, this would be a five-star product.

    (****-)


    Our Price: $3.99

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    ...and the board ate my review.

    ****( )

    One of these days, I'll learn not to edit reviews in HTML forms. :P

    Short version: The story really gets rolling in this installment. Nice mix of challenges and varied solutions, all against a flavorful backdrop. Plenty of back story...which, for a change, the players may actually have a chance to learn.

    Great scenario, looking forward to part 3.

    Spoiler:
    Employs mythic.

    (****-)


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    Balanced scenario

    ***( )( )

    This scenario is a basic "Go run this list of errands" outing, but at least the errands are interesting and varied. The encounters are well fleshed out, most offer multiple solutions, and all include enough information for the GM to handle player improvisation. There is plenty of opportunity for good role-playing.

    The combats seem to be a bit on the easy side, but then again I did run for a group of six experienced players with well-built characters.

    Better-than-average editing (at least for a Pathfinder Society scenario).

    Spoiler:
    Yes, the information broker is Grandmaster Torch.

    (***--)


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    Keep the setting; nuke the rest from orbit

    ***( )( )

    This review is based on reading the entire book, playing one level of the dungeon (The Accursed Halls), and running two others (The Forgotten Library and the Engima Vaults)

    The layout, art, and cartography in this product is excellent. The material on town of Thornkeep and environs is useful and well-done. Points of interest in the surrounding countryside, NPCs, town locations, etc. -- it's all here. There is even a full-page rumors table. Overall, things are very reminiscent of the better classic D&D products.

    Once we head into the dungeons below town, however, things begin to unravel quickly. The whole dungeon feels like a series of disjointed encounters strung together with little pretense of a coherent story. Admittedly, this is to be expected to a certain degree in a project of this nature, but much of the material simply defies logic.

    The last chapter is a behind-the-scenes of the upcoming Pathfinder MMO. I personally couldn't care less, and largely ignored this section, but if you're following the development of that the game, this chapter will likely be of great interest to you.

    Overall, Thornkeep provides an excellent base of operations, then squanders it on a disjointed, sub-par dungeon crawl. Only the sheer excellence of the first half of the book saves the product from a lower rating.

    (***--)


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