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Elf Thief

feytharn's page

RPG Superstar 9 Season Dedicated Voter, 9 Season Dedicated Voter. Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 3,169 posts (4,052 including aliases). 17 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 3 Pathfinder Society characters. 19 aliases.



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Not inspired but at least a little inspiring

***( )( )

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the pdf from the publisher.

The Scorpion and the Frog is a (combat) encounter for the Pathfinder RPG. The adversary is build with material from another book by the same publisher but the rules necessary to run the encounter are presented in this pdf.

The pdf is 11 pages long, including cover, one page of legal information, two pages with the OGL, two pages with a very simple but useful map and one page with tokens, leaving 4 pages for the encounter itself.

The title illustration is what looks like a detail taken from a medieval illustration and a clip art of a Scorpion. It is fitting and does its job, but nothing special.

The first page of the encounter contains a box with a little trivia on the fable. I would have preferred a short summary of the original story, especially as it might not be as well known as the author presumes (Disclaimer: I live in Germany. I remember the fable from my English classes, but none of my players did, most knew the two other fables mentioned in the trivia). Since the encounter is inspired only very loosely by the fable, knowing it is neither required nor especially helpful.

The first page also contains a superficial description of the location and the NPCs. There really isn't much to remember here, the characters seem pretty bland and basic. There is a piece of product placement here that isn't as much bothering as it is painfully unnecessary. Since there is a pre constructed product placement with the build of the adversary, this one really shouldn't be there.

There are two encounter variants depending on the perceptiveness of the PCs. The second variant is continued on a round by round basis. This is probably the part with the most potential, but also with a crippling problem – there is only one adversary that pretty much can't take a beating (there is also a new monster, but it is of the 'plot device and more like an item kind').
In play, a second level party (non optimized, Bard, Sorcerer, Cleric, Fighter) took him out in before he could even act (variant one). I asked my players to play out variant two, where it took them two rounds (they had a little extra action later trying to help the NPCs, none of which was supported by the encounter). I simply see no way how the combat would draw out long enough for the environment to play an interesting part. I see little to no possibilities for this to be solved as a non-combat encounter.

The outline of the adversaries character is superficial, his motivation is paper thin, although he might be an interesting villain in an urban adventure.

Did my players have fun?
Yes. My players enjoyed the layout of the encounter, talking to the NPCs (though there is little in the pdf to support this). The rambling of the adversary at the beginning of the actual combat drew a few laughters, the impact of the second encounter variant pused the players to do a little creative thinking (again, not supported by the pdf), the combat was to short to leave any kind of impact.

The maps are very basic, but could be useful if the combat takes longer somehow. The tokens are neat, seemingly taken from the same illustration as the cover.

Considering my players had fun and the tokens, the creature/item and the main adversary could find other, probably better use (I found it inspiring enough to see some events of this encounter play out without a direct confrontation leading to continued use of the adversary and possibly a very different battle against him) , I give the encounter weak 3 stars – it is cheap enough to try out, but not good enough to really recommend it.


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Incredibly useful

****( )

To be honest, there isn't much to write about these maps. Detail level is good, though the maps are mor or less empty space - but that is exactly what makes them incredibly useful for running larger encounters or creating own encounter maps by drawing on them or simply placing some terrain pieces on the maps.
I know they will see much use in my pathfinder sessions.


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As good as it gets.

*****

I was a hopeful sceptic for this particular installment - going to earth is a tough thing to get away with in any high fantasy setting, even more so going into some past epoche.

I am glad it works, as in 'it is amazingly well done'. The step makes sense, storywise, it fits really well into the established mood of the AP, it reads like an amazing ride (sadly I haven't played it, yet), with some genuinely creepy and some genuinely pulpy stuff going on in the adventure.

The additional material is great, too - the article about WW1 weapons and equipment might see more use in time (at least in my game, since synchronizing Golarion with Call of Cthulhu era Earth opens some great possibilities regarding the dreamlands...), the Monster section holds some nasty surprises (that translate well to regular Golarion games) and the article about Szuriel is nothing short of amazing.
Five stars, without any doubt.


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Mostly good

***( )( )

I had initially ordered ten of these, and they all folded up nicely and without clumsy me doing any damage to them.

However, some of the map packs seem to have a thicker cardstock or lamination (no, they are not just thicker from using/transporting) and those strain the box a bit much.

Anyway, I just ordered more, so yeah, mostly good...


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Urban encounter maps done right.

*****

Boards ate my longer review - so in short: Great urban maps for a marketplace or for wider urban roads. Very useful in every 'vanilla' urban encounter.
If combined with the rooftops map packs, you have almost everything you need for 'urban outdoor encounters'.


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