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**** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden 11,644 posts (12,383 including aliases). 137 reviews. 3 lists. 1 wishlist. 28 Organized Play characters. 5 aliases.



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Enjoyable scenario, but OP boss

4/5

I enjoyed the scenario itself, it's an interesting dungeon, Larry Wilhelm has shown several times before that he can deliver them. The boss though is really absurdly tough for low tier. I don't think this scenario would be playable if the party includes multiple pregens. (Which, for a scenario with 1-2 tier, is kind of a requirement.)


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Witness!

4/5

Perspective: GMed this at high tier for a 4-player party.

I like the flavor of it a lot. It sets a nice tense situation, and rewards the players with finally finding out more about who these jinsuls really are and what's driving them. (Also, no complaints about the loot.)

I'm a little less enchanted with the mechanical execution. It requires quite some GM prep to run smoothly and ought to have had the [vehicle] tag just to signify you should have those rules fresh in mind.

On high tier I felt the combat was a bit on the easy side, but I suspect it'll be exactly on the sweet spot on low tier.


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A sweet investigation messed up by a broken combat

3/5

I played this yesterday at high tier with a 4-player party. We rather enjoyed the investigation phase of the scenario, although I did feel that it was a bit hard to guess in advance what skills would be called on when going to a particular part of town. Given that you have limited time to investigate, it's kinda a "worker placement" kind of game and spending a phase at a location only to find out you don't have the trained-only skill needed to succeed there is a bit of a bummer. I did think the scenario made a gallant effort not to make Diplomacy the solution to every talky challenge, without making it useless either.

Where it breaks down is the combat part of the scenario. We had a comparatively strong party but the balancing on the high tier final fight is just bonkers. I seriously wonder if this was playtested. It feels to me like the author took the CR from the bestiary on faith and just said "hey this adds up to the right CR/EL for the tier so print it". Well, the bestiary really has it wrong when calculating that CR.

We managed to beat it through a lot of lucky dice, disciplined teamwork and a very strong party. But it's really the sort of encounter that sends the message "you'd better be powergaming because you need it to survive what almost looks like a writer cheating with monster design".

I rather enjoyed the scenario's story, it's got clever connections between setting lore and the PFS storyline and really lets Pathfinders be explorers more than murderhobos. The pacing feels natural, and you have nice agency in how to carry out your investigation.

But the monster is crazy. As a player it kinda feels like playing with a juvenile GM on a power trip designing a monster to kill the PCs by just slapping together mechanics that have crazy synergy and then saying "I can give it whatever CR because I'm the GM". I'm saying this a bit forcefully, maybe it wasn't malice, but it just breaks the boundaries of good monster design and balancing so much, it throws you out of the game. You're not playing a tough combat (which would be enjoyable), you're trying to survive a cheesing author. (Or an author who blindly believes in CR without testing.)


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A great spiritual successor

4/5

I really enjoyed this scenario. It's got a good premise, the Starfinder (and Azlanti) NPCs do fairly intelligent things. The space combat is interesting, I saw some things that I hadn't seen before. I'm just glad we brought the Drake because we needed the firepower.

VampByDay (previous review) doesn't like with how short the mission on board of the ship was; I don't really agree, but I like it because I played King Xeros of Old Azlant before and this setup is a strong callback to that.

The combats did feel a bit on the easy side, especially the 4-player adjustment to the final fight was a bit too generous. Also, you have to make a choice between two different routes to take, but you have so information about your options that it's just a guess. But the choice does determine which of (both pretty nice) things you get on the chronicle sheet. So those things stop me from giving five stars. Otherwise, I think it's a solid scenario.


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The ugly truth

2/5

I ran this scenario, and I tried my best to make it look good. But quite frankly, it doesn't measure up to the high standard set by other scenarios in this season.

I was hoping this scenario would do a couple of things: show off the Idari and give us an idea of who Jadnura is. Sadly, it does little of either. We're put on a railroad on the Idari, spend most of our time talking to a lashunta about how we will be talking to a kasatha later on, and then it turns out there's really not much to talk about with the kasatha. Then there's a pointless fight and we're off again. The whole investigation really isn't one, it solves itself.

We go to a place that should be an amazing set piece, but there's no description at all. We fight a monster with an ability that seems to have become weirdly powerful in the transition from Pathfinder to Starfinder, but is otherwise mostly a nuisance. Then we get to a genuinely cool place, and face a boss that's way over the top. And if you succeed at all that (and my players didn't) you take Jadnura home.

I feel this scenario really wastes the opportunity to explore the Idari (which could have easily been one or more adventures on its own). Which is sad because I don't know if we'll get another opportunity for a long time, now that it's had its turn. This is also the second time we meet Jadnura only for him to immediately get shuffled off-stage because the act is over. Third chance for a second impression?


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Strong concept with a couple of rough edges

4/5

Perspective: played it and ran it.

I liked this scenario; it's tough but not mean. There's good use of recognizable movie tropes and some properly scare moments. Some of the mechanics are a bit awkward to run though. Let's chalk that up to a new game system. Overall Hoskins shows the lessons learned in PFS on how to write an interesting and challenging scenario.


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Awesome, scary, epic, and yet not overcomplicated

5/5

I was very impressed by last year's Seeker scenario, and this year does not disappoint either. I also played at Monkhound's table.

I like the epic premise of the scenario. It lends itself well to playing with characters that had gone mostly into retirement a long time ago, coming back to settle a score with an old foe. This is a good difference with the S8 Seeker scenario, which you really should have played a lot of S8 for. But that's hard with Seeker characters, those often have a lot of their levels in much earlier content.

I think the difficulty in this scenario is decent; there were quite a few scary moments, even for our powerful group, but we never felt that the author resorted to cheap mean tricks. The Hard Mode made things a bit harder in clever ways. This is not "the AI cheats with higher numbers", it's odd wrinkles that make it a bit harder to rely on standard tactics.

I suppose there could have been more socialization, but you can't do everything in one scenario. I liked the ethical considerations put into the mission briefing too. Although it's a fighting mission, it's not a murderhobo mission.


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Nice artwork, bad scaling, and a big timebomb flaw

2/5

When I first laid hands on this baby I was pretty happy. I like the artwork a lot, there's a lot of pawns in here that I think I can use. There's a nice range of races covered, as well as more core races. Two things irk me though;

1) Again the artwork keeps getting cut off. Pictures are scaled to basically let the top of people's head but up against the ceiling of the pawn, and for lashunta that means their antenna get snipped off. And for a lot of other people, the end of their weapon or their wings get cut off. I think this is really sloppy and could have easily been prevented by scaling the picture 90% just to keep everything in the frame.

2) The pawns don't have the name of their pawn set on the pawn. Sounds trivial? It's not.

I store my pawns in the original cardboard in their boxes - easiest way to keep them sorted. If I need a monster from Bestiary 17 starting with Q, I pop open box 17 and flip cardboard until I come to monsters starting with a Q. After I'm done playing, I have a hand of pawns from five boxes, but each pawn has a box name printed on it so I now where to put it back. It's very easy and efficient.

Bestiary boxes, as well as Pathfinder AP pawn collections, the Villain Codex, NPC Codes all have this handy system. But the Starfinder sets don't. Neither Alien Archive, nor Pact Worlds, nor Core Rulebook. So if I've used pawns from all three in an adventure (which is really not that unlikely) I have to do a lot of looking up to see where to put them back. And Alien Archive 2 is going to hit the shelves in a couple of months. This problem could get bigger and bigger.

PLEASE PAIZO PUT THE NAME OF THE PAWN SET ON THE PAWNS. Also please the number in that set. You've done this for years and it's really useful. Why did you stop?


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A good product with one big timebomb flaw

3/5

I'm a fan of pawn sets. They're size-efficient and cost-effective. Who has enough money and room in their house to store 500 new 3D minis per year? And their flatness makes them very convenient when packing luggage.

In this pawn box Paizo succeeded quite well at keeping the whole image on the pawn (something which they haven't always done well). Maybe because Alien Archive is noticeably thinner than the Bestiaries, you get fewer different critters but a lot more of each (4-6 of things where a Bestiary box might give you 2-4).

I particularly like the elementals. This one has Huge elementals, which the Pathfinder Bestiary doesn't have. Each size of elemental has new artwork, and the bigger they get the angrier they look. Wouldn't want to run into the huge earth elemental in a dark alleyway :P

The big, BIG PROBLEM though is that the name of the pawn set isn't printed on the pawns, nor do they have numbers. That sounds trivial but it isn't. I store my pawns in the original cardboard in their boxes - easiest way to keep them sorted. If I need a monster from Bestiary 17 starting with Q, I pop open box 17 and flip cardboard until I come to monsters starting with a Q. After I'm done playing, I have a hand of pawns from five boxes, but each pawn has a box name printed on it so I now where to put it back. It's very easy and efficient.

Bestiary boxes, as well as Pathfinder AP pawn collections, the Villain Codex, NPC Codes all have this handy system. But the Starfinder sets don't. Neither Alien Archive, nor Pact Worlds, nor Core Rulebook. So if I've used pawns from all three in an adventure (which is really not that unlikely) I have to do a lot of looking up to see where to put them back. And Alien Archive 2 is going to hit the shelves in a couple of months. This problem could get bigger and bigger.

PLEASE PAIZO PUT THE NAME OF THE PAWN SET ON THE PAWNS. Also please the number in that set. You've done this for years and it's really useful. Why did you stop?


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Doesn't get more "Land of the Linnorm Kings" than this!

5/5

Just played this. Amazing. It's got vikings, feuds, bogeymen, honor and that thing on the cover. That thing's scaaary.

It's a story that makes sense once the pieces start coming together, uses flavorful things that would only work here in the Linnorm Kings, and the difficulty seemed to be spot-on.


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Now this is how you set up a bigger story to come

5/5

Perspective: GMed this at low tier.

I think this scenario does "taking the offensive against the Aspis" well - it's got a straightforward plan and reasonable mechanics. And of course no plan ever survives contact with the not-so-uninhabited ruin.

Afterwards the scenario very deftly anticipates the players taking different approaches to completing their mission and either of them is "correct", making this scenario much less of a dumb railroad than many of its peers.

The combats I found to be fair but challenging. Likewise for the other mechanics; the difficulty seemed to be at a sweet spot where a regular party can do what is really needed but it takes something extra to get 100% score, and only the hopelessly incompetent or bitterly unlucky party should court total disaster.

Set-up stories often get a bad rap because they feel like they don't have a satisfying conclusion of their own. This scenario elegantly dodges that problem. When you finish it you'll feel like you accomplished something.

There's a lot of backstory in the GM preamble that the PCs won't find out, but in this case I don't think that's a flaw. I'm pretty sure it's being saved for a later installment in this story arc, but the GM is being clued in a bit so he actually understands the context of this story.


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Flavorful setup, but (high tier) not really filling

3/5

Perspective: played at high tier with a fairly strong group.

I enjoyed the setting of this story quite a bit. It gives an insight into Kwanlai and Tianjing, and develops a plot thread hinted at in Shores of Heaven. It's got the potential to be a bit of a horror adventure.

At low tier, that is; at high tier the enemies are just not able to do the job. Sure, action economy is a thing, but actions only count for the economy if they can actually affect the PCs. Deploying more of the same goons as low tier just feels like conservation of ninjutsu striking back.

All the time we were thinking the guy on the front cover would be the big bad hinted at in the whole scenario which looked quite dangerous. Well, for low tier these guys might be quite scary; not so much at high tier. At high tier we're kinda left feeling like this episode ended up just setting up the next one.

Advice: enjoy as a horror story at low tier


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A fun RP adventure nicely grounded in lore

5/5

Played this yesterday with a party mostly level 3, playing up with the 4P adjustment. I haven't looked up DCs but I think the difficulty was fine - if you're paying attention to the story and thinking things through you should be able to accumulate enough advantages to get the happy ending.

The story is well-integrated in existing Taldor lore which is nice; and there's a lot of RP options with NPCs with enough background to have a good talk.

The scenario does something interesting with treating noble PCs (and aspiring noble PCs) differently. It's not necessarily ideal to have an all-noble party, which helps spread the spotlight.

But for our noble-wannabe-PCs we had a great deal of fun heaping our righteous scorn on the BBEG.

There are combats in the scenario; we steamrolled them. They worked fine for the story though, and gave some change of pace between all the talking.

---

Finally, the SovCo boon is really really nice.


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A long-overdue follow-up and the beginning of something exciting

4/5

It seems season 9 will be the season of the cameo. Just about every scenario has had callbacks to earlier scenarios in it, and this one as well. Think back - when did you encounter a copper gate before? (I'm liking this new trend.)

This is a pretty neat Lovecraftian adventure. You meet interesting people and... things... and fight creepy stuff. Opponents were original and reasonably balanced (we had a 5-player APL 5.4 party playing the 4-player high tier, it was dicey but not unfair). There were some pretty tense moments.

I think the adventure caters nicely to a variety of party roles; you'll be happy going into this with a diverse party rather than all-arcane-specialists or all-muscle-lummoxes.

I have just one gripe, and it's something that happens in a lot of occult-themed adventures. Spoilers!

Spoiler:
The adventure is quite occult-themed, so it makes sense to bring occult classes. But almost all of the enemies are immune to mind-affecting effects. So most occult classes can only do stuff at the fringes. I was able to be useful with my psychic by having superb knowledges and a spell selection built to deal with enemies immune to 90% of my class, but only barely.

By the way, the Dark Archive part of this adventure was really cool!


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Lashuntas get their antennas cruelly cut off by bad picture scaling

2/5

At first I thought, hey, this is a really useful pawn set. A lot of pawns for each race, which is nice with oddball new races for which there isn't a lot of art out there to make your own pawns with.

But what really annoys me is that the pictures are often slightly too big for the pawns they're printed on so that bits get snipped off at the edges. Like the lashuntas antennas. Or like the guns and other cool weapons people are holding (lots of sawed-off laser rifles).

This is bad. It could have been prevented by shrinking the picture 5% so it would fit on the pawn. And it's something Paizo has been doing wrong for years.

---

ADDENDUM

A big, BIG PROBLEM with this set though is that the name of the pawn set isn't printed on the pawns, nor do they have numbers. That sounds trivial but it isn't. I store my pawns in the original cardboard in their boxes - easiest way to keep them sorted. If I need a monster from Bestiary 17 starting with Q, I pop open box 17 and flip cardboard until I come to monsters starting with a Q. After I'm done playing, I have a hand of pawns from five boxes, but each pawn has a box name printed on it so I now where to put it back. It's very easy and efficient.

Bestiary boxes, as well as Pathfinder AP pawn collections, the Villain Codex, NPC Codes all have this handy system. But the Starfinder sets don't. Neither Alien Archive, nor Pact Worlds, nor Core Rulebook. So if I've used pawns from all three in an adventure (which is really not that unlikely) I have to do a lot of looking up to see where to put them back. And Alien Archive 2 is going to hit the shelves in a couple of months. This problem could get bigger and bigger.

PLEASE PAIZO PUT THE NAME OF THE PAWN SET ON THE PAWNS. Also please the number in that set. You've done this for years and it's really useful. Why did you stop?


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Exciting re-start of a storyline

5/5

I liked the season 5 faction plots, and this scenario does a good job of kickstarting the Liberty's Edge plot after it had been left to cool its heels for three years.

There are some weird twists and turns in this story, it's set in an interesting and dramatic location, and the scenario gives the players a lot of room to apply their own ingenuity.


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A lot of fun, but not your typical carefree romp

4/5

When I first grabbed this scenario to run I looked through it and went "WTF?!" - what kind of weird scenario is this?

However, I did get to run it with exactly the right set of players and it was great fun. It is an interesting scenario, with the potential to really show off Qadira. The philosophical bits, when delivered properly, do make sense.

There are some things I didn't like. Some of the descriptions are excessive and show-offy about the author's vocabulary. The combats are not balanced - one is quite dangerous, the rest are complete walkovers.

Ultimately, I recommend playing it with a small (= better attention) group of players who like to think their way through the adventure. Also, you'll get some mileage out of reading the Qadira setting book, which is really good in itself.


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A scenario that knows what it wants to do and does it well

5/5

Played this last week, ran by Monkhound, at six-player high tier with everyone in tier. We had a great time.

Stuff I like
- We go to an exotic place. And the place matters; the story wouldn't work as well elsewhere.

- An environmental challenge done well; your performance matters without spitefully crippling people. And no over-complex subsystems.

- A decent mix of encounters. Some can be solved socially, but there are straight-up fights as well.

- Well-balanced fights against some tough but not unfair enemies. Tactical challenges due to the design of the battlefield and mission parameters.

On those whole it's a fairly straightforward scenario that succeeds at what it tries to do. There's only one quibble; there's a choice at the end,

Spoiler:
And that choice sounds like either answer has something to say for it. But then it turns out only one answer was the right one. Compared with other scenarios where you have a choice at the end, this one felt like we got duped. Fortunately the consequence is not extreme.


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This story is too good to pass up, but the mechanics need an update

4/5

Like most S0 scenarios, you can see this was Paizo's playtest season, and they didn't have the proper difficulty down yet. This one leans in the easy direction.

The story however is excellent. It's got some fun twists, and really shows off the Society "growing up" to be recognized as being more than your average tavern filled with murderhobos calling itself an adventurer's guild.

If Paizo ever gets around to updating S0 scenarios, this one should definitely be upgraded to proper Pathfinder rules. It's too good to languish in the 3.5 dungeon.


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Better than I expected

4/5

I played this last weekend at the 6-7 tier with a six-player party, and both us and the GM were expecting a walkover. That didn't happen however. We triumphed but it took some ingenuity; in some of the fights the enemies are well-placed to handle PC crowds.

The thing to remember when playing this adventure is that at the time of this scenario, nobody knows about "that other lodge". It's not until the next season that they come out of the closet.


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Potential, but doesn't realize it

2/5

I was a bit disappointed by this adventure. It's not horrible, it doesn't inflict grievous psychological scars on players or anything, but it's just a bit uninspired.

Which is a shame. It's got a decent backstory, which could be impressive if players/GM know what it's about, understand the creatures involved. And most importantly, if that information actually made its way to the players. But the adventure doesn't provide very well for that. There's two separate stories going on - the urgent one which never really gets explained, and the old news one which does get some exposition.

Another issue is that the encounters were a bit meh.

Spoiler:
You fight the same enemies three times. And they're not that interesting to begin with.

There's enough encounters in the adventure to try your stamina, which is good. And if you want a dungeon crawl that's enjoyable if you just want to hit things, this one is decent. It's not too brainy.

P.S. the review by balystic seems to be referring to part 1 of this series, not to this part.


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If you just stay nicely on the railroad, you'll crash

4/5

It seems to me that the author of this adventure decided that high-tier characters are forever trying to run off the railroad of an adventure, and that it'd be fun to work with that. If you try to just trudge from scene to scene without anticipating shenanigans, things will be bad for you. That's when you'll run into all the sadistic gotchas.

There's some stuff in the adventure that doesn't necessarily make sense; the best summary is this. But just because it offends common sense doesn't mean it's not an entertaining challenge :P


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Good adventure with a few fixable issues

4/5

Played this together with Monkhound, with a party that was fairly focused on wilderness stuff. We did pretty well on the whole; there was some "roughing it" but not crippling like the oldest review makes you think.

The adventure is about adaptability. Can your character adapt if he has to do without his favorite toys for once? If he has to improvise tools? If you don't have a ginormous pile of CLW wands?

I enjoyed the setting, there were some good fights, and overall we had a new kind of challenge in actually trying to outrace other teams; occasionally we had to push ourselves and take risks to go fast enough.

There's two downsides that stop me from giving five stars.

1) The subsystem is again a bit fuzzily described. There are a lot of useful things the players can do, but that might get snowed under. With better handouts and a GM who's prepared to teach, that can be overcome.

2) Some characters will be really borked. It's very few classes that really can't adapt. This won't be a very fun adventure for a gunslinger, alchemist or investigator. Occultists are the absolute worst off. I think almost every other class should be able to adapt. Some will barely notice any inconvenience (psychics, spiritualists), and some get a chance to really shine (nature-oriented classes). Think of how happy you are with a paladin in a Worldwound scenario - that's how much you'll like druids and rangers here.


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A good story, but not for everyone

4/5

I was really excited to play this sequel to Ward Asunder. And the story really delivered. While skills play a role, how you actually play your character also matters a great deal. People who played Ward Asunder will guess what I mean.

While I really dug the flavor of the place and story we were playing (which is why I'm giving four stars), I do have a quibble with the scenario. It's just a little too "brainy" - most of the fights can be avoided, and the big fight that you can't avoid is more of a puzzle-fight than a straight brawl (if you approach it as a straight brawl you're going to be creamed). That means that if you brought a warrior sort of PC, you can end up feeling a bit useless.

I feel like this is a trend in the recent seasons; a move from simple dungeon crawling towards more brainy games. I feel like this one ended a bit too far on the brainy side where normal combat is never a good answer.


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Our VC, implicated in yet another human sacrifice scandal

3/5

Well, that was sort of the vibe we had after the mission briefing at least. I've got mixed feelings about the scenario. On the one hand I had a fun afternoon with friends so it's certainly not all bad. The story itself is okay, and the challenges are flavorful. And there's the fun of visiting an exotic location.

However, I think it leaves a lot to be desired. The story is very predictable, and the flow of encounters felt a bit formulaic to me. Do X, then Y, then the inevitable twist Z which everyone could predict exactly when it would happen and what it would be. It's a sort of B movie vibe really.

I found the fights to be too easy. Over too soon, opponents with no endurance. Which left little time for the story of the fights to unfold.

As for the debate, the system is way overcomplicated for what you actually use it for in this scenario. I am interested in looking it up for my home campaign now because I like non-combat challenges that are decided in more than one high Diplomacy check.

In summary: not a bad scenario for the players, but requires a lot of prep from the GM to be able to handle the new mechanics smoothly. And given the simplicity of the scenario, the amount of study required is quite out of proportion.


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