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Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-99: The Solstice Scar—Version A

***( )( ) (based on 8 ratings)

Our Price: $4.99

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A Pathfinder Society Special designed for levels 1-11.

The world-renowned Blakros Museum has outdone itself, gathering an unrivaled collection of relics from the Shining Crusade, a holy coalition that felled the greatest lich to threaten Golarion. When trouble befalls the exhibit mere days before its debut, the Pathfinders intervene, only to discover that one of the relics is key to averting a far greater disaster that has laid in wait for a millennium.

The Solstice Scar is a multi-table interactive adventure in which each group's actions can affect neighboring groups and contribute to the entire room's success. This is an ongoing adventure that will be updated and rereleased incrementally several times each season, collectively telling a longer story while also presenting exciting stand-alone chapters.

Written by Andrew Hoskins.

Note: The Solstice Scar is a limited release scenario. It may be run anywhere by anyone, as long as there are 3 tables playing the scenario simultaneously and are in contact with each other. To inquire about access to this scenario, refer to the Organized Play Convention Support Policy.

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PZOPSS0899AE


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Product Reviews (8)
1 to 5 of 8 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

***( )( ) (based on 8 ratings)

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A modular approach with room for improvement

***( )( )

The idea of a special that is modular in the sense that it gets updated over the course of time is an interesting approach to tell an overarching epic story. You can, however, still tell that Paizo is new to this. The three parts were exactly that: three completely different parts. They felt more like quests that simply required more time, than as parts of a single story. I, as a GM, struggled to really make it feel like one cohesive story. This is a complaint I have with normal quests as well and I still consider it one of the things Paizo can really improve on.

When I look at the parts separately though, I think they were fun and diverse. The first part, namely the museum with the museum had a fun ‘difficult’ challenge and some rather interesting and diverse opponents. Everyone could contribute. It probably was my favourite part of the three. Then again, the museum is always a nice place to visit and this time was no different.

The second part was a bit awkward. While I like the fact you have to influence multiple leaders, I feel like the time to really role-play that out was far too limited. It honestly punishes players who really try to role-play more than it rewards them. The different combat encounters and objectives made sense and allows the GM to really cater towards the party.

The third part had a good role-playing portion with the influence system. It was probably the highlight of the special for me. The combats however on tier 3-4 were really disappointing. The maps are gigantic and you get zombies that are staggered and have to make their way to the PC’s. That takes ages and just a waste of time. This is just a big disappointment and issue considering this is a special and thus has a really harsh schedule in terms of time per encounter. In the final encounter, you suddenly have to field skeletons with 4 hit points each. I’m sorry, but that’s not even worth calling fodder. A single cleric will just laugh. This made the final fight extremely disappoint and anticlimactic.

Overall I’m not impressed with this special. I agree with others that it wasn’t epic enough. Certain portions were too easy, others too rushed. I will, however, say that the modular approach is a good thing and I can see it work. Finally, I’d like to point out that the biggest improvement was that it was relatively easy to prepare and that there were no unnecessarily difficult mechanics in the background to keep track of as was the case in a different special.

I’d like to advise Paizo to pay closer attention to balancing things out when version B comes out. Role-playing sections require more time than was given now and some fights need less time or actually challenging opponents that aren’t a waste of time. I also would like to see more table-interaction that’s obvious for the players and not just for the GMs. For a first attempt at a modular special, this wasn’t bad. There is, however, still room for improvement.


****( )


Serviceable

***( )( )

I ran this at Tier 7-8 at Gen Con. This felt like three quests and a special got together and had a baby. Echoing the thoughts of many, it did not feel epic enough to warrant a special. Each part was a fine story that would have made a decent scenario if expanded a bit. There didn't seem to be enough time to do the encounters, but I think that was a Gen Con problem rather than a problem with the special. It also may not have helped that for me, it followed Assault on Absalom.


It was different

****( )

I like the idea that this scenario will evolve over the seasons. I'm hoping there is a good mechanic so it doesn't feel like a flash back for 2 of the 3 parts.

I did like running some of the encounters especially those that made party go oh @#$¥.

My gripe is that getting maps that are out of print isn't fun. As much as I run scenarios I'm actually burnt out on drawing maps.the cost of ink to print them is straining my wallet too. I rather just buy the pregen printed maps.


Very Disappointing

*( )( )( )( )

I should start out by saying that I have never given a game 1 star, despite reviewing a couple of games that resulting in my party or my players having a TPK, but I thought it was warranted in this instance.

The Fights:
The biggest flaw of this special is that the fights are repetitive (I played tier 1-2, but I also heard this from people who played higher tiers). The fights in the first section are somewhat diverse and used different creature types, but the second and third sections used the exact same type of creature over and over again; often literally the same monster. Not only was this boring, it caused our PCs who were ineffective at fighting that monster to feel unnecessary. The final fight showed a lot of promise of being climatic … but it can be rendered laughably easy if a very common type of PC is in the party, or if the party just uses some tactical knowhow.

The Skills:
At one point, we had a chance to use skill checks (which is rare in a special) to acquire something we needed, but instead of using our skills to help people in exchange for the stuff, we just used them to impress people into giving us stuff. The worst part is that the game tells you that these items are rather valuable, but there is never an explanation given for why these people would part with it just because we impressed them by possessing a skill set.

At another point, we had to use our skills to convince people to undertake a daring, but risky plan. The problem is that one of the people you must convince is the very person who came up with the plan, and who earlier was willing to risk their people’s lives to get the McGuffin needed to make the plan work. No explanation is given for this NPC’s sudden change of heart and the PCs get bonuses on this check for political correctness (see spoiler below for details) which felt heavy handed.

Spoiler:
Paizo has introduced Transsexual NPCs and an Iconic PC and for the most part they were well received. Transsexual players felt more comfortable and accepted and people who didn’t care or who felt uncomfortable with the subject were not forced to focus on those NPC’s sexual identity. In this special however, the transsexual NPC’s backstory was only made available to us right before we had to convince her to send her people to undertake a dangerous plan and we got bonuses on the check to convince her if we showed we were supportive of her transformation. What could have been an epic moment of heroic speeches quickly became an awkward attempt by a bunch of cisgendered players at remembering the politically correct terminology for her transformation and some of our players (mostly the older ones) felt very uncomfortable with the whole thing. What’s worse, this made the transsexual NPC seem like she was more interested in the acceptance of a bunch of strangers than she was in the safety of her people.

The story:
The story starts out by making fun of Nigel Aldain (which we enjoyed), but then it continues to do so multiple times, long after it stops being funny. For some reason, the pathfinder leaders decide that Nigel asking for help requires hundreds of pathfinders instead of the usual 4 to 6 and at no point even tries to explain why so many people are being sent into a relatively small building (or how they all fit). We then have a set of minor fights and our introduction to the real story, which shows a lot of promise and causes us to have to travel through a relatively un-explored part of the pathfinder world. We are attacked on the way by an army of monsters … but we are never given any explanation for why they were attacking us, which is especially grating because the game that earlier explained that it was well known that there would be serious consequences to anyone who did attack us. We then moved to a new area where we had to fight several minor battles, so that we could fight a major battle and stop a great evil (as often happens in specials) … only to be told that we didn’t really accomplish anything (see spoiler below for details).

Spoiler:
After going through all of this effort to stop the great evil, you discover that the entire thing will have to be done again next year. Yep, that is right, this special is going to be replayable every year (with minor changes each year), but I guarantee that I won’t be replaying it.

Overall:
This special should not have been a special. It didn’t feel big and epic like most of the specials and left us feeling like our characters had not accomplished anything. What’s worse, if it had been flushed out and had had a normal amount of fights, it might have made a decent regular game, but as a special it was very disappointing.


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