Owl

Ascalaphus's page

** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden 14,837 posts (15,858 including aliases). 165 reviews. 3 lists. 1 wishlist. 44 Organized Play characters. 5 aliases.



1 to 25 of 165 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | next > last >>

Sign in to create or edit a product review.

Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Brutally dangerous old-school Osirion fun

5/5

Perspective: played this yesterday with a party of monk 8 (me), fighter 8, ranger 7, gunslinger 6, investigator 5. So high tier but not by much, but fortunately the high levels were the front row.

At first I was thinking if this was going to be a three or four star review because while I really liked the dungeon design and the lore bits, the big fight really shocked me by how brutal and hard it was. AFAIK this is the only PFS2 scenario so far that's gotten a revision to tone it down due to too many TPKs, and even after the revision it's hitting like a truck.

But after sleeping on it I'm bumping it to a five. We had a lot of fun fighting for our lives and barely snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Pulling out some tactical tricks and learning lessons. And when I'm looking through the scenario now, I think this is just about the hardest fight you can write that's still fair. It doesn't rely on just one boss with super high numbers that are just frustrating, but all the enemy monsters add a real threat. But all of them have soft spots that can be exploited too, if you can pivot your tactics.

It's only the end of a short story arc, but it feels like this scenario can be listed next to the grand PFS1 Osirion capstones like Ancients' Anguish and Salvation of the Sages without embarrassing itself.

For GMs, I think two things to beware of:
- This season 1-4 scenarios seem to be fairly beginner friendly and easy. 3-6 scenarios a bit more challenging. But by 5-8 the gloves are really coming off. Might want to warn the players.
- Make sure you have the revised version of the scenario, for the love of Desna.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Fun!

5/5

I enjoyed playing this adventure a lot. Good RP scenes with NPCs that make you enjoy punking them. And a "big bad" that's quite different from what we're used to, very nice change of pace.

The fights I guess were not particularly special, I didn't have a problem with them but they weren't really the most memorable part of the adventure.

The scenario succeeded really well in making me curious about the sequel and the ongoing storyline. And once I played that one, it didn't disappoint. This is one of the best coordinated multipart adventures I've seen in PFS.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

More scenarios like this please

5/5

Perspective: played at Monkhound's table.

This was a really enjoyable scenario. I enjoyed the overall lighthearted pranksterish tone of it, and the symmetry with the previous one in this arc; last time we were causing mayhem, this time we're playing defense.

The A7 encounter I agree with Monkhound, I think the proposed solution by the author is cute, there but are also plenty of other reasonable ways to solve the situation so that encounter is a bit "fragile". It was easy enough to cope with for the GM though that it didn't detract from the scenario.

I don't agree with P.B. that it leans too heavily on the same skill check. We got to use mental, social and physical skills. If a character turns out to have none of them, then maybe this is a good wakeup call to diversify your build a bit because you'll also feel frustrated in other scenarios?

I liked the exotic vibe, and the interaction with the "big bad" and "little bad". It's a power dynamic you don't see very often. It makes me curious to see this storyline continue.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Fun story, fun combats, but a bit sloppy at the edges.

3/5

Perspective: I GMed this on low tier

Overall this was an enjoyable scenario. The plot unfolded in an interesting way that had the players wanting to know what's coming next. Special mention for the art assets; the picture of the bell is really good. I also dove into the Mwangi setting book to get some extra background. I recommend that to GMs; it's not strictly needed, but it does make the story a bit richer. The scenario's pretty solidly grounded on the setting. Nice work there.

The combats were quite entertaining, with creatures having an environment to work with so they can do interesting things, but not hopelessly contrived.

The big social part in the middle worked out well, my players juuuust managed to get the happy outcome out of it. They weren't especially good or badly statted for it, so I guess that speaks to good balancing (it sure looked dicey right up till the end).

There's a couple of points though where I think it could be better though.

* Several elite adjustments, without those statblocks printed. There was plenty of room on the page. This just seems lazy editing?

* I'm not convinced the encounter difficulty tags were correct. Especially the final encounter seems very easy on low tier and very hard on high tier. Especially the CP scaling seems to swing rather wildly there.

* Some of the skill challenges seem a bit shoehorned in, or require a high success without really signalling that they're particularly important and perhaps worth spending a hero point on.

* For the big central social part, I don't love what would have happened if the PCs don't get full points. It's a bit railroady. Maybe this kind of skill challenge isn't the right one for what the rest of the story needs to have happen at this point.

None of these are especially egregious but they do prevent it from rising from decent to great. In the hands of a moderately experienced/prepared GM you can still have a good afternoon with this.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Strongly recommend low tier

3/5

This was an enjoyable scenario, enough opportunities for RP, the investigation flowed quite reasonably. And then you get that sudden monster at the end for no apparent reason. Which results in level 2 characters that are already playing uphill in high tier, fighting a level 6 monster. WHY?


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

A good solid adventure

4/5

This adventure ticks a lot of boxes for me. The skill challenges are pretty spot on for difficulty and run smoothly. There's a couple of good opportunities for social interaction. Couple of combats with good build-up and use of venue. The scenario is thoroughly grounded in lore, so you're not just going through a dungeon corridor by corridor, there's some actual story to uncover here. The puzzle is well-done too, and can work well both for players who want to think their way through it themselves or who like letting character skill be the driver.

Some of the other reviews mention the lack of a climax at the end. I agree, BUT: the floor plan is also more open, so you actually get a bit of freedom in how you want to take on this dungeon instead of proceeding in linear fashion as we often do. It's tricky to combine those things. I for one really enjoyed the freedom.


Our Price: $6.99

Add to Cart

Starfinder showing off :)

4/5

This scenario could have been a 5-star scenario, because it does a lot of really cool stuff. Unfortunately there are also some annoying bits that didn't have to be this way.

I really liked the story, environment, reveals, and the general mood of craziness piled on craziness. It really feels like epic high level adventure.

Where it loses a bit IMO is this:
- Monsters in high and low tier were quite different. This makes the GM's job harder than necessary while players get to see only half the content. In Starfinder scaling a monster up or down a few levels is much easier than Pathfinder 1 so having entirely different monsters seems really unnecessary.
- A monster that's got "lower CR than it's stats indicate because it moves slowly" together with a lot of other monsters that hamper the PCs' action economy. This is Pathfinder 1 style fiddingling with the numbers to squeeze more out of your CR budget that we don't need.
- Several success conditions that hinge on you asking exactly the right question (reading the author's mind) just after a big combat. I really don't like this because that's the moment when peoples' attention is all over the place, they're tracking character resources, considering healing options, and generally blowing off steam a bit. This isn't supposed to be some kind of concentration test, it's a game that we might be playing to unwind after a long day at work.

Those things detract a bit and I think they were unnecessary. But they're not really terribly bad and the rest of the scenario is still really good.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Deeply wrong in many ways

1/5

This is the sort of new-job onboarding where your boss congratulates you on making it through boot camp and you tell him you quit. I'm really ANGRY at this adventure. Seriously, I was playing this with a new character and I'm having trouble imagining even wanting to continue playing with the character after this.

the Scrolls:
What a pointless flogging of a flipmat. Also, what exactly is the replayability here? The exact same riddle in a random order. And you have to solve it by rolling dice because it's so simple that even on the first run you could otherwise solve it just from hearing the scene descriptions.

the Spells:
This section has some redeeming aspects and you're encouraged to come up with creative solutions. It's also marred by rules-technical mistakes with areas of effects. And in general it's written with the sort of "you better make all your checks" mentality that should have died in PF1 when characters could stack their bonuses to auto-succeed.

the Swords:
The fights started interesting and I thought this was going to be a good lesson about how you should be prepared for particular enemy types. But the main lesson here is that "the PCs have numerical advantage" is BS when confronted with a high-level enemy with an area attack that can easily drop half the party in the first round of combat.

and then the ugly:
The ending to this adventure needs to die in a fire. This sort of backstabbing crap pisses me off so very much. In any sane company this sort of behavior would lead to executives being fired and put in jail.

Honorable mention for the monster that gets upgraded to level 4 for a 6-player party.

Also, the adventure mentions that the enemies all use lethal force, although "the three deans observe from just far-enough away to intervene if things get out of hand". Like, how? Some of these enemies can easily kill a character instantly with massive damage.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Fun to play

4/5

I played in one of andreww's games and I rather enjoyed this one. The "trials" element is maybe not blindingly original but it's executed well enough, and they help the plot forward. I liked the chase because you actually feel like competent, even powerful adventurers. I think in some previous scenarios the difficulty had been too high and now people are expecting them all to be grueling and unfair.

The encounter difficulty seemed okay to me - maybe a bit easy for a group that's teamworked like a well-oiled machine, but challenging to a random grab-bag of people you end up with on roll20. I rather liked the second to last encounter because it feels like "hey, we got better at this" while the last one is really quite challenging. So, a bit varied difficulty, I like that.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Good buildup, bad letdown and way overtuned for level 1.

2/5

We played this with a mostly level 1 party and the encounters are badly balanced.

Spoiler:
The use of terrain in encounter B inflates enemy defense to a point that is very problematic for level 1 characters.

The tactic of running away when half the enemies are beaten is a false victory for the players, because it just makes the next encounter much harder. Especially since they had such good defenses that the ones running away are probably still unscathed.

And the last encounter has a boss that's listed as CR 3 but has stats that are pretty good even for CR 4. Plus the reinforcements from the previous encounter.

The bad guy tries to initiate combat with a readied action, which isn't possible in the rules. If readying actions before opening a door was an option, then expect players to start doing it too. This is a dark path you don't want to go down on.

Add to this that while the buildup is pretty nice, the final reveal is just... ugh, these things again?!


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Good but the influence game is too long and boring against 1 NPC at a time

3/5

Overall I liked the scenario. I've played all the Blakros/Museum stuff in PFS1 so this was very interesting for story. And I found the fights pretty enjoyable.

I thought using the Influence rules for the audit was an interesting idea, and I think it's really good that the NPCs have so much to say. Being stuck for small talk topics is the bane of some Influence scenes.

What I don't like is that the Influence scenes are (1) too long and (2) against one NPC at a time.

(1) There's no punishment for re-using the same skill so everyone is just rolling their best skill every round for ten rounds which becomes a grind.

(2) One NPC at a time means that there really is no tactical depth to the minigame. There is no "worker placement" or real strategy as the players figure out which PC should talk to which NPC, it's just everyone using their best applicable skill over and over again against the same target. Button-bashing, when playing on VTT.

Playing this with six players means a grueling 24 rolls against the first NPC and 36 rolls against the second NPC. Really, you run out of interesting things to say as you use the same skill for the sixth time against the same NPC. I think this could have been improved a lot by simply halving the number of influence rounds and halving the number of required successes.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Feels a bit lacking

3/5

Yeah, it's an evergreen in a sweet level range, and the combats are pretty good combats, and at a challenging pace. I liked them.

But I'm really missing some theatrical RP encounters in between. Where are the interviews, weird commercials and whatnot? This could have been much better with a few skill challenges and a bit fewer combats.

The starship combat in particular just wasn't that interesting, and could easily have been cut to free up an hour for RP/skill challenges.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Overall fine, but...

3/5

Most of this quest pack is fine. I rather like the running theme of "complications" on each mission.

I felt very railroaded in the third quest though;

Spoiler:
We're basically told "go shoot down those freedom fighters". The adventure doesn't really permit you any other option than to side with the imperialist Veskarium. This could have been far better if we'd had some kind of interesting choice to subtly sabotage the mission to let the freedom fighters go while pretending we'd done everything to catch them.

Being railroaded into siding with the fascists doesn't sit well with me.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Very cool!

5/5

I really enjoyed playing this adventure. Excellent use of sci-fi tropes with a fine seasoning of light horror. Cool action scenes (like how you actually get to the station). I'm impressed by how all this is accomplished with neat lightweight mechanics. As a player you can keep your eyes on the plot without getting distracted by game mechanical baggage. The scenario's ending was quite a nailbiter!

Peeking into the scenario (planning to GM soon) I'm also impressed by what the GM gets: clear writing about how the adventure is intended to develop, guidance on how to make some GM calls to best dramatic effect instead of nailing you down to a rigid script. Difficulties seem well-scaled for the tier, neither too hard nor too easy. The new season 3 style appendices with encounters in them are a big usability improvement as well.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Pretty good

4/5

Perspective: played this, and GMed it three times so far.

Few scenarios are truly perfect, and this one isn't either. But I really like the "reception" part, I think it's one of the better social encounters I've seen. The mechanics are kept straightforward but the NPCs have a lot of content to talk about, so as a GM you're not condemned to empty small talk and a dice roll.

There are a variety of clever bits happening under the hood to attach the social encounter to the next bit. The start of it is set up quite cleverly, with an unusual combat. Sadly, the final combat in the scenario is rather underwhelming by comparison. I feel like that last combat could have been trimmed and instead a more interactive social bit could have been added in the "tour" part of the scenario.

Despite some warts, I still think this is a very enjoyable scenario.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

What could go wrong?

4/5

I thoroughly enjoyed playing this. Some interesting set piece battles, getting knocked out of your comfort zone a bit, working together to survive. Good use of tropes and some challenging moments. Our party didn't have it easy but we felt pretty good about ourselves at the end.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Fun but could have been better

3/5

I played at andreww's high tier table. Overall the scenario was fun but I really don't see this being very repeatable. There's too much fixed plot, the variable elements aren't really that important. In fact, I would say that parts of the final challenge being interchangeable devalues them a bit. To compare to Tome of Rightous Repose: that was an unapologetic dungeon crawl with a huge bestiary. The amount of variation possible was very large, and really, in many replayables, combats and the luck of the dice are one of the bigger parts of keeping things varied. It's very hard to have a plot that's both modular and meaningful. I think this scenario doesn't make sense as an evergreen, but as a single-run scenario it's got a lot going for it. Also it refers very often to a boon that you'd get from a non-evergreen scenario, that's also not ideal for an evergreen to do.

I'm a bit weirded out by how on the one hand the iruxi get presented as perhaps more advanced than humans, but on the other hand they're the only playable race with an intelligence penalty. It almost feels like people writing iruxi stories wanted to write stories about a different ancestry than the one that's actually in LOCG. I'd be okay with either one, but this feels a bit split personality.

The combats in this scenario were great set pieces. I dunno how evergreen they are but as "done it once" I really enjoyed them.

The main skill challenge I'm not so wild about. What particularly annoys me is that you get told there's a penalty for re-using the same skill, but the choice of skills in each phase is very narrow and basically gives you a choice between niche lores or repeating a skill. This is feel-bad writing. I also think that the amount of successes required was on the high side, so to get enough everyone has to pitch in but with the narrow choice of skills actually many people can't help well. I think these kinds of challenges need a bit of a rethink because this isn't the first scenario to have that problem.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

A-mazingly disappointing

1/5

Where we in a hedge maze? I couldn't really tell by the maps. It felt like we absolutely had to visit an entire map pack and meet some random elemental opposite monsters - most of which should be highly intelligent, but little conversation was possible. It felt just... dumb. Lacking in any interesting plot or things to think about as players. Such a wasted opportunity. And a tired old "surprise" plot that we've seen multiple times already.


Add Print Edition $34.99

Add PDF $24.99

Not boxed, and not numbered: a storage nightmare

2/5

I've already complained before about how the pawns in previous Starfinder boxes/AP collections weren't numbered, like they are in Pathfinder 1E sets. This makes keeping them organized and finding a given pawn a lot harder. Why did they remove this useful feature?

This product makes it even worse because there's also no box to store it in. This makes the product much less usable than it could have been!


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Kinda Shadowrun-lite

3/5

I liked the premise of the scenario, and it advances the story nicely. I mean, it's part of a series, but it doesn't feel like it's just obligatory connecting tissue. More like peeling back the next layer of the conspiracy and getting to see something new. (Definitely try to play this scenario in advance of season 2, or you may have been spoiled.)

The map had some interesting bits to it, but I feel it was needlessly huge. That just makes it harder to use at a physical table. It could have been smaller, or perhaps split into separate submaps for specific areas where something happens.

The encounters were a bit too easy, I think because the encounters' CR budget was diluted by using too many enemies that individually have trouble scratching the paint on the PCs. But the choice of monsters was interesting.

Computers are obviously important, so your group is going to need someone competent with them. But it's not crazy over the top high DCs or just only doing computers checks for the whole scenario, so good job on not becoming monotonous.


Our Price: $6.99

Add to Cart

Epic carapace-kicking adventure

5/5

This scenario really does a good job of showing the high stakes of the Society's impending showdown with the Jinsuls. I liked just about everything in the scenario. I think for the influence scene I would have liked a handout/overview of the people present though, because it's a bit of an avalanche of information. That presentation could be improved.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Fun, but with room for improvement

4/5

I ran this for a low-tier table where everyone was neatly in-tier. That made the skill checks doable, but still tough. The players managed to wrangle a complete success out of it at the last moment. Level 5-6 seems to be where Starfinder DCs still work okay, beyond that the differences between skill-heavy and skill-poor classes really start to grate. Also, given how steeply skill DCs scale, playing up in a skill-heavy Starfinder scenario is not recommended. So, it was happy that my party was all of the same subtier.

I think you get out of this scenario what you put into it as GM. It's more a mood piece than a gauntlet of combats. You talk to a lot of people, and if that's just some dice rolls, then it won't be very interesting. If as the GM you're prepared to go a bit deeper than that and have a conversation, then it works nicely. As players, you don't have to like the people that you're talking to; the GM should have made it clear why you badly need something they have. So yeah, you might get a bit squicky feeling about it, which I don't think is a bad thing.

The combat is a bit too easy, because it dilutes its CR budget too much over too many enemies. But it gives a good "intermission" to break up the talk talk talk.

It bugs me a bit that the scenario doesn't have reporting conditions, because I would have liked to see the choices and promises the PCs make have more long-lasting consequences.

Overall I think it's good in the hands of a GM who can handle it, but you do need to invest some extra RP effort into it.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Short but sweet

4/5

It's a bit on the easy side and runs really fast, but the story works, and especially right now is extremely apropos. I had a good time playing this.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Elegant

5/5

I had a good time with this scenario. There was some fun RP and interesting NPCs, but also a couple of really nice fights that I'll fondly remember.

I'm particularly impressed with how the scenario gives you a problem to solve, and then gives you surprisingly much freedom to pick your own preferred solution to try. All the while, not being too vague to be usable in PFS.

I'm not so well-versed in runelord lore, but you could clearly tell this city was run by the runelord of abjuration. Some very nice characterization of a location I'd never been to before.


Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Easy-going fun

4/5

While prepping to run the scenario I thought it was maybe a bit thin. But when we actually played it, it was quite nice. There's enough NPC interaction to put the action in a story frame. And the combats were reasonably challenging and varied.

I guess not everything needs to be complicated :)


1 to 25 of 165 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | next > last >>