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deusvult's page

FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 1,608 posts (2,140 including aliases). 7 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 21 Pathfinder Society characters. 3 aliases.

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A brave new world?


This is a hard one to give a conventional review. It's utterly unlike any PFS scenario before it, so it can't fairly be compared to any PFS scenario that came before!

Still, I'm giving 5 stars based almost entirely in support of the PFS strategic experiment in creating a configurable dungeon for PFS play. For the unitiated, expect extreme table variation in this scenario. However, that's the entire point OF the scenario... to be quite replayable and never get the same adventure twice.

As an evergreen, it won't get stale as quickly as The Confirmation or Wounded Wisp. It'll take over two dozen playthroughs to be able to see every combination of location and end boss/linked minions, and when you factor in two tiers and the additional "random" dungeon elements to be added it can be literally hundreds of different experiences.

Its very strength is also a liability... in prepping/scheduling this scenario you almost have to have players not just RSVP the event but also sign up a specific PC if not tier, as well as disclose prior locations/opposition arcs they've previously encountered so that the GM can best tailor the upcoming run to the players.

Potential pro OR con, depending on POV:
A malicious GM certainly could bend over backwards to generate a very challenging grind in the tradition of hardmode or bonekeep, if he were so inclined. While that may appeal to forewarned players, springing such a deathtrap on unsuspecting players may not go over so well. Try not to go out of your way to create killer dungeons or else PFS brass won't give us more nice things!

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Didn't live up to expectations

***( )( )

Granted, not living up to high expectations isn't necessarily a bad thing.. the Wounded Wisp is more a victim of previous success than truly being a failure in its own right.

The Good: Innovative mechanics to keep the storyline fresh. Great opportunities for roleplay.. AND the switcheroo mechanic keeps the GM from getting bored portraying the same NPCs on successive runs!

The Bad: The GM has to be sharper than normal (for PFS) to keep those mechanics from showing through as being purely superficial. Especially with meta-canny players who can see through what truly is necessary versus what is "presented" as necessary.

The Ugly: I truly can't abide by this: Canon has already established that the Pathfinder Society started at the Pig's Paunch, not the Wounded Wisp. The discontinuity is an editing error of profound magnitude. Small detail, but screwing up a detail at that level of fluff automatically precludes a 5th star. Dock another star for the replay mechanics being fundamentally meaningless beyond superficials.

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An iteration of an increasingly common PFS niche

****( )

A sandbox style scenario married to the season six storyline. However its scenario-specific mechanics make it more of a successor to the 4th season The Disappeared and 5th season's Library of the Lion.

There's a burden on the GM for this scenario because of those mechanics: one must communicate how the mechanics work to the players, as letting them divine them through trial and error will ultimately result in tears. Having played it once and ran it once I'd recommend simply taking some out-of-character time to simply recite how they work, as awkward as that is. When I ran it, I forgot to tell the players about an allowance the skilled could take to compensate for the unskilled until after the first round of skill checks already started a vicious cycle of escalating alarms. (See the previous review to see what impact that had, from a player's perspective). When I played it, our GM simply never told us the mechanics at all, and we promptly ran ourselves out of town about 2 hours into the session, missing most of the scenario. (not to mention gold and prestige..)

All that being said, however, I do enjoy seeing skills being enforced as relevant in PFS, and I do like these Library of the Lion-esque adventure formats. The GM has a lot of leeway to improvise roleplaying encounters in this scenario too, more than normal for PFS, so it's fun to express creativity on the fly with the sandbox format.

Probably will feel dated in future seasons
GM needs to really be prepared
Scenario-specific rules mechanics can trip up the entire game

For the GM- Opportunities for improv roleplay are golden.
For the Player- Ever run afoul of the Aspis Consortium and have been burning for revenge ever since? Here's your chance to formulate as evil a plan as you can to stick it to them!

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One of my favorites


Played it once (high tier) ran it twice (low tier both times)

I don't get the reviews saying this is a pushover at low levels. Both times I ran it, the first encounter was brutal (are GMs forgetting the abnormal environmental situation?) The encounter in the eponymous Hall of Flesh Eaters was brutal both times, as well.

Do brutal encounters that threaten TPKs make for a high rating in my book? Well, it doesn't hurt ;) But seriously, 5 stars because not only are they challenging encounters, there are multiple ways to resolve them. Social characters are only useless in this one if the rest of the party refuses to parley. (that can't be helped by scenario writers)

Simple prep- only 2 maps to draw
Memorable encounters
Tough encounters
Rewards combat brutes, skill monkeys, AND face characters
Continuity of theme throughout the adventure: So. Much. Flesh. Eating.
Rewards fastidious players because...

2nd prestige point is dependent upon PLAYER notes

what's up with any mechanical effects of encounters on the first map? Ok, if you're taking a while to squeeze thru a hole or suffering a condition from a scary idol while baddies are attacking that's one thing. But who would ever encounter these without dealing with the baddies first, making the effects moot?

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It doesn't deserve a bad rap...


There's no harm in having a scenario with a reputation for generating TPKs.. and it's of no consequence if that reputation is deserved or not.

In fact, there IS harm to PFS on the macro scale if there are NOT any such scenarios. Add "I survived the Elven Entanglement" to a bragsheet alongside others like "I survived the Dalsine Affair". Not only does it keep the optimized player crowd challenged, it reminds everyone that you should remember to be on your A-game when the adventure is on.

Whether you agree or disagree, I believe that The Elven Entanglement is memorable (good), challenging (good), thematically consistent (good) to a "sylvan elven adventure" theme that avoids being trite (good). It even has roleplay encounters to keep the normal players entertained at a table that's bound to have TPK-defying munchkins seeking that "I survived the Elven Entanglement" t-shirt.

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