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PaizoCon 2016

NeoExodus Legacies: Ruins of Trovaska (PFRPG) PDF

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The summons was clear and simple: you were needed for a simple task of exploration in dangerous territory. Large payment was mentioned, with possibility of even more. It seems your employer's letter only let out a few important details. A Pathfinder adventure for 3rd-level characters.

In addition, this adventure includes:

  • Buff Sheet
  • Daily Spell List
  • Initiative and Monster Cards
  • NeoExodus Combat & Initiative Tracker

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Product Reviews (1)

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Good module bogged down by sloppy editing

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The second scenario of the NeoExodus-legacies-series is 21 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page Buff-sheet, 2 pages daily spell-lists, 1 page combat & initiative tracker, 2 pages mini-monster sheets, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's check this out!

Set after the first scenario, "Encounter at Ramat Bridge", this is the sequel and drives on the metaplot of the setting, so you may wish to play the other one before this. Some encounters are called "Soft" and be left out when running the module at a convention or otherwise starved for time. That out of the way, this being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

All right, still here? This module takes place during the offensive the Arman Protectorate launches into Sametian territory to guard its borders, including nasty side-effects of such incursions like slave-takings and forced mass-conversions to the Sanguine Covenant. Mother Ulana, one of the priestesses of the covenant tasks the PCs with the salvaging of a crystal that is a part of a matched pair of scrying devices stolen during Sametian raids. They are to travel to Trovaska's ruin and return it to the hands of the church before the Arman army can lay claim to it.

The way through hostile territory should prove to be interesting or the PCs - tailed by hordesmen, they will find the traces of the recent clashes: Vanquished soldiers, remnants of battlefields, impaled heads on spikes, church ruins that now house swarms of scavenging rats, cockatrices and stragglers left of an Arman unit that is rather nervous and might initiate combat with the PCs.

The deadly wind carrying wasp eggs and a Sametian ambush should also provide some opportunities for the PCs to test their mettle. In Trovaska's ruins, they will find strange things going on - in the ruins, humans and p'tan are busy excavating something, obviously enslaved and urging the PCs to meet the "master". In order to free them, they will have to disable a strange war-machine hidden in a shed and then make their way to the Nexus Gateway hidden here - where they can also find the crystal sphere that is the target of their quest. They could leave now (or sneak inside and skip the disabling of the strange machine) - but then they won't find the grisly, enslaved harem of the "Master", who is sometimes man and sometimes a woman and who has impregnated all of them. In the papers here, they can find papers with mixed gender-markers in their description (which unfortunately have spread to the module's text, resulting in severe he/she inconsistencies as well as a sentence fragment missing) and evidence that the Khaynite Arem'sher (the same one responsible for the attacks on Ramat Bridge) is seeking to amass an army and lead them through the Nexus Gateway. The papers also mention that a new "golden era under the will begin"[sic!] - seriously, that's unnecessarily sloppy editing!

In order to reach the Nexus Gateway and the soul-gatherer, which enslaves all the people, the PCs will have to first vanquish a weakened scythian bone golem, though - not a pushover at this level!

The adventure also provides consequences for their actions - whether they aid the Protectorate or the Church, they have chances to improve their standing with one of them, though a more tangible faction prestige mechanic than the abstract "rise/decline" would be appreciated for organized play modules - as would individual benefits instead of group benefits.

The module also provides stats for the enslavement device of the first ones - which remains a loose end in my opinion. Any political body with a modicum of self-interest would probably covet an enslavement machine like this and the destruction/handing over of such a device should have some ramifications. But that may just be me. We also get full stats of all NPCs featured in the module as well as a nice map. What also has me puzzled is why not keeping quiet about what went on results in a near-defeat of the Armans - telling the Horde, yes, but this consequence feels strangely disjointed from its instigating effect.

Editing and formatting are mediocre at best, with sentences missing parts, typos and word omissions - LPJr Design can do better and the module deserves more care with editing. Layout adheres to the beautiful, new NeoExodus-2-column-standard with parchment-background and the module also provides a more printer-friendly version that adheres to the old NeoExodus standard with white background. The pdf has bookmarks, but bookmarks that are clearly from "Encounter at Ramat Bridge" and not working to boot - another clear indicator of a sloppy job.

This module is a little tragedy for me: On the one hand I like the scenario, the atmosphere and progression of the metaplot regarding the clash of the Armans and the Horde as well as the continuing threat posed by the grey eminence. On the other hand, though, this module suffers from sloppy editing, faulty bookmarks and a continuation of the problem of the first scenario: The repercussions are hard to track. Like the "Encounter at Ramat Bridge", this module has left us almost completely in the dark regarding the repercussions of the PC's actions.

While there now are repercussions, they are limited, abstract and feel slightly disjointed from their instigating effects. Oh, and then there's the woefully abstract way in which faction prestige is handled in the module (and worse, in its predecessor): I really hope to see a more tangible way of tracking the INDIVIDUAL prestige with factions and patrons, preferably in addition to a group prestige-score. As written, all remains rather nebulous. The module also lacks an LR-sheet to track character-success in the module, which is a pity and almost ironic, considering all the sheets included in the pdf.

This module could have been a 4 star-file and an interesting choice and still has the chance to be so via a major additional pass at editing as well as a revision of the faction-system, but as provided, its flaws detract much from its appeal - my final verdict will thus unfortunately be 2 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

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