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FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden 11,489 posts (12,220 including aliases). 137 reviews. 3 lists. 1 wishlist. 27 Organized Play characters. 5 aliases.



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Fun story, extremely sketchy mechanics

3/5

I just played this with a party of Inqusitor 6 (me, and my pet Roc), Conjurer Wizard 7, Occultist pregen 7, Barbarian 4. We played high tier.

I do like the story in this one. It wraps up the previous parts nicely, and for once the derros actually have a scheme going that's scary.

The fights are badly done though. It starts out embarrassingly easy and then goes way up in deadliness, and then the finale is very easy again.

Part of the deadliness is from a monster that's technically illegal except that Josh Frost says "yeah, but this time I'll allow it". It squeezes the absolute maximum of danger possible out of the system for calculating a CR. And this fight takes place in an area basically set up to make the PCs fail (and cause maximum irritation.) Another fight is basically fair but very dangerous. That was just difficult but a lot of fun because it turned into a "how do we get past this" puzzle/combat.

It is a fun scenario, but you have to bring some serious tanks. And don't be afraid to step back and reconsider your tactics for a fight.


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Not horrible but by now we expect better

2/5

I played this today and we did have fun together, but this isn't measuring up to the generally high standards of season six. The plotting is awkward and feels more like a season one adventure.

The big problem is that the scenario is a bunch of scenes that individually are flavorful and evocative, but they have only the most tenuous relation to each other. The only reason you go to the next place is because it's the only clue given, so even if it doesn't really make much sense, you do it anyway.

Another thing: don't play this if you haven't played The Darkest Vengeance. All the other players today had, I hadn't. They'd all played it with different characters, so couldn't really share. So all the time the bad guy is throwing accusations and I'm like "I have no idea what he's actually upset about". The scenario doesn't really manage to carry that story across if you haven't played the previous part.

It's not an ideal scenario for good guys either. You meet a lot of people who really need a spanking which you can't give them. You actually get punished for being a good guy instead of a murderhobo. And the person you're supposed to rescue is so irritating my paladin wished we could burn her at the stake as an unbeliever.

Combat-wise, it's an okay scenario. Most of the fights weren't very original, although the end fight has some stuff you don't see too often. But if you're playing at this tier, presumably you know to take steps against an irritating effect that the scenario's title has already spoilered to you.

We played with a paladin 9, barbarian 9, cleric 10, bard 10 party on the high tier, and found the difficulty of the fights to be fine, not too easy and not too hard.


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Interesting concept, meh execution

2/5

I liked the premise of this adventure. The BBEG is really cool. However, the maze exploration was a big disappointment.

Spoiler:
We had a bunch of newbies and nobody had Survival, and the other skills you could use to navigate had their DCs too high. So we failed quite a few checks, each one leading to a repetitive encounter that just cost Wand charges. And then after enough failures, we suddenly break through anyway.

Exploring the maze just felt like a stupid grind; there weren't really meaningful choices to be made or puzzles to be solved.

The fights were fun and apart from the repeat encounters, interesting. Not too hard.


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Disappointing

2/5

The scenario has a few nice ideas to it - particularly the start, where you specifically have to lose a fight. It's quite hard to convincingly lose a fight without actually suffering losses, and not accidentally wipe out the enemy. This goes against a lot of players' instincts.

After that, it was over way too soon.

Spoiler:
You're supposed to fight your way down into the BBEG's basement and then kill him or talk to him. But we asked the front gate guards to get their boss to talk to us, and then diplomacized the boss. Adventure over.

Even if we hadn't done that, it wouldn't have been challenging, the encounters are rather easy with ineffectual opponents.

My main complaint is that this adventure really isn't exotic enough for Jalmeray. It could've happened anywhere.

For a new adventure set in Jalmeray that actually does justice to the exotic locale, see The Segang Expedition.


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Anticlimactic

2/5

Played this at low tier. After we entered the dungeon we realized we had no healer, a +5 UMD rogue and 1 CLW wand was all we had. And then the rogue went down...

After that things went pretty easy. Some monsters here and there but nothing really tough. No really interesting skill challenges or puzzles either. After a few hours (we were going slow because we were all hung over) we got to the end and went "was that it?"

All this scenario really does is establish that "the trouble from part I isn't over yet - stay tuned".


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Okay

3/5

Played this at high tier. The scenario had one scary fight in the middle, somewhat because of what it was, somewhat because our party was split across the location at the start. Otherwise the fights were all rather easy.

The investigation part was fine, although a bit simple. The scenario doesn't seem to provide for you not killing goons and interrogating them instead.

The end was, sadly,

Spoiler:
just another lone loony in a room, waiting for us to come and kill him.


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A bit simple, but also funny

3/5

I recently played and ran this and had fun.

The fights are a bit old-fashioned, with relatively simple monsters with a couple of potentially nasty abilities. They don't stand up well to modern classes like gunslingers.

The plot is a bit thin, in the "those crazy cultists again" category. But the location has a lot of funny potential. This is season 0, where Taldor is always the butt of the jokes. The nobles are foppish and ineffectual. They need the PCs to save them, but can't resist making snooty comments all the while. I had them applaud and boo the PCs in the middle of a huge brawl.

A note about the map: the map is very big. I used the opera flipmat instead, which was a mistake. You need that huge map to justify the encounters not all bumping into each other.


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Lower your alignment expectations, then go wild

4/5

I too was one of the Dutch players who played this yesterday. I'd read the previous reviews and brought my "moral vacuum" investigator; in fact, our party was morally questionable. (Inquisitor of Gorum, Gorumite barbarian, Urgathoa cleric, Urgathoa investigator, "I can't believe you're lawful" LN bard that thought he followed Sarenrae.)

So, at first I was surprised at the amount of RP included; that's a tall order for a Special due to all the time constraints. In our case we'd planned for this to run in a much longer slot so that actually wasn't a problem. There was enough time to talk to NPCs but not to talk about everything; the adventure gives plausible reasons why you need to move on.

Then we come to the first mission, and we were all a bit surprised at just how ruthless this adventure is set up. Despite the party I just mentioned, we're not used to being quite this murderous, but we were on a "no witnesses" mission.

Afterwards, there were a variety of missions to choose from. We did several and had fun with them; many of them allowed us to pick an approach that suited us. A huge difference from the video-gamey way Blood Under Absalom was written. In many cases, you didn't actually be as evil here as some other reviews suggest.

Then we come to the auction. It was entertainingly acted out between the NPCs, but the mechanics were obscure and we didn't feel like we had any real way to influence the outcome. Besides;

Spoiler:
After someone won the auction; I'm not quite sure who; cultists burst in and steal the Key, you chase them down and take the key; so all the maneuvering before that is voided

The fight that came after was rather weird;

Spoiler:
At our 8-9 tier, it seemed the cultists only had battlefield control spells, but not really anything to do once they had some control over the battlefield. So we got hit with a cloudkill, sleet storm, glitterdust, stinking cloud and web, all in 2 rounds, but after that they didn't really bring anything to do with it.

The chase was over quickly because we could trivially overcome the obstacles and the GM was being sensible about them; but that's what you get with level 7-8 characters with haste and flight available. Fruitcarts aren't going to stop them. Then we came to the final fight and that was quite interesting too.

---

All in all it was fun, but with some flaws. What is missing most is a bit of exposition on why this key is so important. We're being told to set aside all morality to get it; why is it worth that? A halfway decent explanation would go a long way towards compensating for the forced "evilness" of this adventure.


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Paizo's awkward first attempt at a group special

3/5

I wouldn't say this scenario is truly bad - I had fun - but it wasn't really good either. I don't think it makes very good use out of this being a special; there's fights happening in 10x10 square rooms where all the tables are fighting at the same time, and presumably throwing blasts. But you're only dealing with your own encounters. That just strains my suspension of disbelief.

Newer specials do a much better job at this, especially Legacy of the Stonelords, which has its group battles happening in way bigger rooms, with each table handling a part of the room. Such an easy fix.

I guess this scenario was more impressive around S2, when the whole Shadow Lodge story was new and mysterious; nowadays it's hard to figure out what all the fuss is about. Crazy dude attacks the city that nobody's managed to conquer in like 4000 years, level 1-5 party stops him? Wut?


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Okay scenario, but don't overthink it

3/5

I played this yesterday and had a good time. The puzzles and crazy artist were a lot of fun. However, you have to avoid a few obvious questions;

Spoiler:
Presumably, the cultists know the way to their own lair. So as soon as you capture and interrogate a few of them, you could dispense with the puzzles.

Although the puzzles are fun, it didn't really make sense to me, that an evil family goes around planting clues around town to find their secret lair.

The combats were so-so. I think this series suffers from enemies that can best be summed up as

Spoiler:
We're in love with the Darkness spell.

We had one new player, who was the only one without Darkvision. He was useless in half the fights.

The same tactic gets spammed in episodes 1-3 and I presume also in the final part. Either you have one of the obvious solutions, or you get the same annoying effect used on you every time.

Finallly, the map of the last encounter is seriously bad design. It's basically a boss fight in an elaborate 5ft corridor, meaning that only one PC gets to actually do stuff in melee, and the enemy gets cover from everyone else.

It's a flavorful location, but terrible design for an encounter.


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A thrill to run

5/5

I GM'ed this last weekend and it seems TheDegraded was one of my players. I'd been looking forward to running this one for a few months, due to various scheduling mishaps, but it finally happened. And I wasn't disappointed.

This scenario has a story to it that has to be pulled off in order to really drive the scenario home. That wasn't easy but the scenario does give you some good material for it. And when you use that, the story makes sense to the players at the end.

It really helps if the players are of a mind to engage with the primary NPC. The faction missions help with this, and good knowledge/gather info checks can also help. But other than that, at the beginning the guy is a bit uninviting. I had to nudge a little to get the players over their initial "oh, if he doesn't wanna play ball, then we're not gonna play ball". After that things went easier.

I think what this scenario really needed is one or two small scenes designed for conversation with the NPC. If you really look at it the text closely, you kinda get zapped from encounter to encounter, but it's supposed to be the time between encounters that you do the talking.

---

Okay, so much for the gooey stuff. On to the gore.

This scenario doesn't have a lot of fights, but they count for a lot. The party had to play up with 4 player adjustment, just barely. The jump in difficulty is quite steep here.

The barbarian that TheDegraded mentioned was played by a friend of mine. This was one of his first games at higher tier, and he suddenly discovered that he was no longer able to solo/oneshot encounters. Instead, he found himself 1-2 turns of movement ahead of the rest of the party, facing multiple casters with extreme synergies, standing just beyond his reach. Well, it turns out Superstition only goes so far in protecting you. But I was cheering just as hard as the rest of the party when he survived that pileup with a natural 20. After that, it was still a bitter fight, but the party triumphed.

I didn't have time for the optional encounter, and I don't mind in the least. That one is really the weakest part of the scenario, but it could've done in the party.

The final encounter was also quite epic. I don't want to spoil anything. However, it's one of those cool fights where there's much more on the table than "can we kill them before they kill us". My players were searching through all their chronicles to scrape up boons to find some +2 to this or that to make it. When they won, it was a true triumph.

---

Story and setting: this adventure is built into the S5 metaplot and into Golarion quite nicely. It showcases an exciting area. I think that if you have a longer timeslot you can have a lot of fun embellishing the scenery some more. If you're comfortable adding some more background to the main NPC, it'll also be easier to set him up for RP.

---

Factions: this is one of the first "new style" faction missions, from season 5. That is to say, not every faction gets a mission, but you get actual special rewards for them rather than prestige. Clearly at this point they were still working out the kinks of the system.

The faction rewards for the relevant factions are pretty cool. However, for some of the factions you basically have to guess what your faction mission might be. They're mentioned in a faction letter distributed over the internet some time ago and preserved on the forum. However, you have to know which half year's faction mission to get. This is quite awkward.

My advice to GMs: get the relevant faction letters and make the players of those factions read them before the session. They contain sufficient hints to get players going.


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Fun adventure, dubious mechanics

3/5

So let's be clear: this one isn't high-brow literature. But the plot is coherent and has a certain kind of style. For the whole thing, think of it as a kind of 90s video game/martial arts tournament kind of atmosphere. Roll with the silliness and then it's pretty fun.

That also illustrates the problem with this scenario. It's a series of fights (not a bad thing in itself) with some awkward RP interludes that much resemble cut scenes in a video game. There's not much flexibility here.

There are also some moments in fights where you're given an objective, like "get to that person". But the way it's written, you're supposed to fight some monsters first, and so should the other tables. Only when all the tables have killed X monsters can you get to that person. But this kind of falls apart when you start using fly spells or dimension door etcetera. You basically run into an invisible wall of "scenario says no". Again, a lot like a video game.

It also shows how clumsy the early multi-table specials were. This one relies a lot on synchronizations between all tables, making it feel rather forces. I recently played Legacy of the Stonelords which had much better synchronization mechanics. RPG technology advances, it seems.

Despite these flaws, I had fun playing this. The fights are flavourful and occasionally quite challenging, especially if you play with a 4-person party, like this one is meant to be played. Having a head GM with a flair for drama also helps.


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Straightforward yet surprising

5/5

I thoroughly enjoyed this scenario. It's got quite a bit of RP in it, but it's not super-complex intrigue, so I think it's also accessible to relative beginners. And it even has something in it to make sure that everyone gets to participate in the RP, not just the people with a dominating Diplomacy score.

Besides the RP, this scenario also has some good fights in it. Pretty dangerous fights actually; unlike many other 1-5s, this scenario has teeth. If you like to play powerfully built characters against a challenging scenario (like me), you'll appreciate that.

It certainly taught my investigator a lesson; he was getting a bit cocky, but the paladin had to save his bacon from the thing on the front cover.

I do wish they'd be a bit more subtle with front covers; it's a bit spoilerish.


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Promising start

3/5

I played this along with Damanta. I was playing a level 3 inquisitor with fairly decent combat ability, and we were playing down, so it being a bit easy was to be expected.

On the whole, I agree with Damanta's assessment: it's good to stay away from spike damage that occasionally kills even PCs that were doing everything right and being careful. However, I think the earlier fights could've been beefed up a bit, add a few more enemies. The final fight was pretty well written though. Also, if you're playing it, make sure the GM shows you the artwork from inside the scenario, it's really gorgeous.

The RP opportunities in the beginning were nice, and there were some hints of lore here and there. I think that it would've been okay to drop a bit more lore. I know it's only part 1, but this is a pretty out of the way part of the world, I think a lot of players don't know anything about it. Painting the scene a bit more won't do any harm.

I thought the Exchange faction mission was decent; it wasn't given to you for free but it was not too hard either. The rewards were flavorful and useful but not disproportional, for something that only some of the PCs have a chance to get.


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Strong thematics, some good fights

4/5

This adventure has aged fairly well. At low tier the enemies are strong enough to challenge a normal party; sadly the end boss is not at cool as earlier encounters.

What really makes it shine though is the flavor. Read up a bit on Moloch in Princes of Darkness, and think about how his cult would get Sarenrae's hackles raised. The location is a really cool set piece, make sure to use that. The adventure's backstory also adds plausibility to a few hidden items that may come in handy for the PCs.

In this adventure I recommend the faction missions. Most of them are appropriate or funny, and a few of them nudge towards things the PCs might find useful.


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A fun afternoon

3/5

I was the player Monkhoud's talking about. I also was apprehensive after reading the reviews, but Monkhound ran it well and there was lots of laughter around the table.

I think it's not the most brilliant adventure ever, but it's got some redeeming qualities. It's definitely one of the No-Murder-Hobo adventures, of which season 5 seems to have a lot. As long as you keep that in mind, the adventure is fairly easy.

The fights are interesting because you're not trying to triumph as quickly and brutally as possible. That can be quite a challenge if you have Pregen Amiri in the party.

There's one thing with the skill checks that I thought was a bit confusing;

Spoiler:
You make a lot of Diplomacy checks to get on the good side of the main NPC of the scenario. Letting him have a good time helps these checks. However, your mission is actually to get him to decide that adventuring isn't for him.

We decided to do this by openly praising him and encouraging him, but whenever he wasn't looking, we'd make him really uncomfortable. Making sure he was up in the middle of the night because he's being attacked by a "hellhound" (summoned fiendish dog). Rubbing poison ivy into his socks, that sort of thing.

In the end, he'd had an adventure so he could come home with head held high, but also decided that he didn't really enjoy adventuring all that much.

And seriously, this guy was a total klutz. We basically had to hold nearly harmless enemies immobile before he managed to hit them.

All in all it was a funny adventure with lots of PC antics, laughter at the NPC's expense, and trying not to ruin everything by making fun of him in his face.


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Best enjoyed at low tier

5/5

I recently GM'ed this for Damanta, and played it earlier with Monkhound as GM. When I played, we did so at low tier. When I ran it, high tier.

This scenario works quite differently depending on tier. Low tier, with four players, makes you apprehensive. You know your character is fragile, and there's a lot of scary things in the museum.

At high tier, with a somewhat bigger party, it's just a bit too easy. You don't play a plucky explorer, level 6-7 characters are stormtroopers used to stomping all over the monsters. It's a very different mood. And for this scenario, I like the low-tier mood better.

Adding together middle- and high-tier encounters helps to make things more interesting without going overboard on danger. It offsets the monsters' action economy problems (intended as 4-player scenario!). It's against PFS rules, but since it only makes things harder for the players without extra XP/money, and I did it with their permission, my conscience is clean.

Even at high tier I thought this was a nice scenario; it's got some fun monsters and encounters in it. And the boss fight worked better at high tier I think, because at top tier the boss gets a few nice toys to play with.

Spoiler:
A scroll of Black Tentacles, and the party was in perfect Fireball Formation and I happened to win initiative. This kept them from immediately swarming the boss. Instead, one by one they managed to fight their way out of it.

In addition, the PCs are trying to bring the boss back alive, while she's casting Vampiric Touch and Shocking Grasp on them with decent touch-to-hit, occasionally with Sneak Attack damage added. These circumstances help the boss fight from being over too soon.


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Woodland Critter Christmas

3/5

I ran this yesterday on low tier for a group of very experienced players. We had a good time, and they felt nicely challenged. However, the adventure has some deadly parts in it, and I wouldn't in good conscience put it in front of inexperienced players or non-optimized PCs.

The premise of the adventure is pretty simple, and is then elaborated on nicely. The selection of monsters is strongly thematic and creative. This leads to some original combats. Furthermore, there's a fey NPC accompanying you, that puts events into a bit more context than "things try to kill you".

However, the adventure also has some issues.

Originally, there was a major RP scene that was all about faction missions. But since those have been discontinued, that scene is basically obsolete. In fact, it doesn't really make much sense anymore; you're just been told someone was abducted, and then get invited to spend the night. So when I ran it, this scene was cut very short and I had time for the optional encounter instead.

Some of the statblocks contain clear errors.

Statblocks:

The zombie pegasus has a full attack listed and its tactics include making full attacks, but it's Staggered because it's a normal zombie. Since it's a pretty weak creature, I just added another one to the encounter instead. This worked out well.

The dire porcupine zombies are not from the Bestiary as written, but from Tome of Horrors. Also, full attacks while staggered. Since their role is mostly just to be a speedbump to buy time for the BBEG, I just dropped the full attack routine from their stats.

Further, two of the creatures have abilities that on closer inspection should've gotten more attention from the Bestiary writers;

Awkward abilities:

The Kelpie's Capitvating Lure ability has no duration listed. It's a very extreme ability, that basically stops a PC from doing anything for the whole combat. In this case, it led to an amusing scene with flying familiars being sent after the barbarian to deliver Protection from Evil, and someone handing Riddywipple a wand of Protection from Evil, which he can use because of sorcerer levels.

The Pukwidgie's Quills ability states that the quills will (among other things) sting anyone who attacks with a 1H weapon. But then a PC with a falcata got Enlarged. I decided that since the falcata was now the size of a 2H weapon (for a medium creature), it no longer caused the PC to hurt himself.

The Pukwudgie is Young at low tier, which makes it only slightly less effective. Since it's a Finesse-using creature with ranged attacks, it gets a +3 to hit. However, the DC on its poison goes down to 16 (!) and it can't flank or AoO anymore (it has Sneak Attack) because it becomes Tiny. Also, fewer HP. It's SLAs aren't affected.

The optional encounter was disappointing; you face the same main creature as the previous encounter, plus some hidden enemies that (at low tier) don't want to fight the PCs.

The scripted fights however were all pretty good. The opening fight was potentially dangerous (but then killer barbarian happened), the second fight was cool because

Spoiler:
The Kelpie lured the barbarian into the water and made him swim away from the shore, making it harder for the other PCs to help. Several clever PC actions saved him.

The boss fight was good too. The BBEG is well-equipped to challenge the heroes;

Spoiler:
Speedbumps to get a few more rounds to shoot at PCs; a really scary poison; and Invisibility SLA that can be cast defensively on a roll of 5+. As a standard action, shoot two quills with +18 to hit!

But this is tempered by the heroes having adequate hints;

Spoiler:
The Osirion faction mission tells you to look for exotic poisons. Ignizi gives you potions of Neutralize Poison. Riddywipple mentions poison once.

At level 3, I think PCs ought to be carrying flasks of Antitoxin. Those will really help here.

A few final tidbits that bother me:

Spoiler:
Riddywipple is a CG dragon, but he lures people into a trap that does 3d6 at low tier. I'm not sure how Good that is, that's potentially deadly.

The scenario calls for you to stay the night and talk and be merry after just hearing someone was kidnapped.

I think the basic structure and monster of this scenario is sound. The boss monster is really quite cool, the players were all enthusiastic about how nasty it was. But it really needs another round of revision, to deal with the rule-errors, bad optional encounter and the change to faction missions.

Also, maybe just a "not for beginners" warning label on it.


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Now this is an exotic island!

5/5

I was the Sovereign Court player in the game Monkhound ran (below). We played with a mix of players, most relatively inexperienced with either PF or PFS, and mostly level 1. (I kinda stuck out at level 2 with much more experience.)

I'm happy with the way the faction mission was handled here; there was a primary goal which was achievable if you kept your head in the game, and an "extra credit" goal that was harder to get. The reward for the normal faction goal was enough to make me go "nice", and the extra credit one wasn't so extreme that I'm upset I didn't make it. All in all I think it's a healthy balance.

I dunno how the NPC mechanic works, but it seems to work well. There were clear opportunities that didn't feel contrived and they didn't disrupt the flow of the adventure.

The fights were original; the goals in them were more varied than "kill everything, fast". I only thought the last fight was a bit too easy; discussing it Monkhound and I concluded that it felt like the high-tier end fight was written first (which looks cool), and that this is the watered-down version using the same race of creature, but that the lesser version just lacks the necessary combat oomph.

I don't think this adventure should've been split, as another reviewer suggested; that would've made two too-simple adventures. Maybe the first part should've been shortened slightly to make the second part a bit longer.

What I think this scenario does quite well is make good use of its location. The previous adventure in Jalmeray, Assault on the Kingdom of the Impossible, felt like it could've been placed just about anywhere on Golarion. But this adventure makes good use of the place. The mood is excellent: you're accompanying two 19th century Brits with guns on a safari in India, where there's weird indigenous cults (that I OOC really didn't even know!) and strange monsters never seen before in PFS. All of the encounters have something exotic in them. That's really well done!

---

So I'm kinda torn on whether to award four or five stars. I had only two minor gripes; the final encounter on low tier felt too simple, and

Spoiler:
The way the two nobles are portrayed, I became convinced that the point of the Sovereign Court mission was to recruit only the "worthy" one. It turned out that it would've been better to recruit both.

Also, you have to be well-informed about your faction's seasonal goals to actually achieve this one. Which works if you're playing in the running season, but is bad for the "best-before date" of the scenario. I think it would've been better for my faction leader to just hand me a note saying "while you're travelling with these people, please look for an opportunity to do X". Because in this scenario, those things would be easy to anticipate for your faction leader. Now it's like they're just being mysterious for the sake of being mysterious.

Because I think this adventure meshes action and RP well, and does a good job of redeeming Jalmeray as an exotic adventuring location, I'm gonna go with five stars despite these things.


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A human story

4/5

I played this a year back and now I'm reading it through with an eye to GMing it. It was in fact the first PFS scenario I played, and also with a paladin. After seeing quite a few "paladin panic" threads, I was a bit nervous about what it'd be like to play a paladin in PFS.

This was a really fun scenario to play. We had a nice GM who brought the tale in a pretty upbeat manner, and we had generally nice-people PCs all, so that pushed us to approach this scenario in one way. Now that I'm reading it, I see it would also work well for a much more cynical party, leading to a different ending but also achieving mostly complete success.

I'm particularly impressed by the mood and humanity of the scenario. It's got a very post-Revolution US vibe to it; the whole thing is still new, working out the kinks, and not everyone is playing nice. There's idealism and conspiracies both. People make mistakes because they're human. These aren't black and white villains and heroes.

"Under the hood", it's a somewhat railroady investigation, but not annoyingly so, because the direction of the trail makes sense. I think it's a good investigatory adventure for players who aren't hard-nosed veterans of the genre. The combats aren't really difficult or grim. Again, that's very beginner-friendly.

I certainly plan to run this.


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Good premise, so-so execution

3/5

Played this on low tier. This was an interesting scenario. Story and premise are solid, but they work best if the players are into Golarion lore.

The tea ceremony was interesting; our GM (Maglor) made us think about what we'd done and how to demonstrate that it showed us to be honourable.

I thought the fights were so-so. Maybe they're more interesting at high tier; at our tier the minions had some tricks but they didn't really feel like special tricks. All in all it felt a bit easy.

The idea of defending the house against waves of enemies fell a bit flat, I think, for several reasons. One is that interaction with the mass of enemies outside is too abstract. Basically, without AoE attacks you can't do anything, even if you have archers that can normally inflict quite a bit of hurt. Second, I thought there should maybe have been more waves of enemies, or pressure to defeat a wave before the next wave hits.

The BBEG went down rather quickly, although it did look like he could dish out some hurt if we'd given him more time. I think that's disappointing; I'd rather have a tenacious boss that trades blows for a while with the party and requires some more tactics to beat, than one that maybe drops some PCs but gets smeared pretty quickly himself as well.

Overall I thought the scenario was okay, but I wasn't deeply impressed. Maybe it's because the whole Lantern Lodge storyline was over before I got into PFS.


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Particularly good for new players

5/5

This scenario has all kinds of nice things in it, but what I particularly like is that it's very newbie-friendly. You don't have to know the rules well to succeed here; the challenges are more to your ingenuity and quick thinking than to having a good build.

Also, I think this is the adventure that "has everything";

Spoiler:
It's got bandits and attacks by animals, some terrain challenges. There's a magic sword. Very old-school really. It's got an actual dungeon, complete with gigantic leering monstrous face you walk through. It's got a dragon. It's got a demon bound in a circle trying to get you to release it. And it's got a "princess" that needs rescuing.

I think this is one of the best adventures to run for new players, because it's funny, it's varied and it's generally happy.

It's also got a cool chronicle sheet that recently got a bit cooler;

spoiler about a different adventure:
In Valley of Veiled Flame there's a boon to get Gamin re-forged.


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A lot of fun, but could be even better

4/5

This was the second-ever scenario I played in PFS, and recently I GMed it. I enjoyed both.

First, this is a story scenario. It's about Taldor and about Golarion's history. To GM this you have to delve a bit into the Golarion lore so you can bring that story.

The premise works very well for me; Taldor's half-forged history that yet contains some very valuable information. Anyone who's thought about how high-level magic could change warfare will appreciate that the Society really wants to learn how to wage war against the Worldwound.

The faction missions work for me. I particularly like the Taldor one, it tells a good story about the Taldan faction.

Second, this is a "clever" scenario. You can do it without making a single attack roll, if you do everything right. On the other hand, if you're a retarded barbarian, this is really horrible. I think "classic" Pathfinder does okay here; classic Pathfinder is an explorer that can both defend himself and gather some lore.

Season 5 sets a very nice standard; a well-rounded character and/or party that can cover talking, lore and fighting, does much better than a murderhobo party that can only brute-force its way through scenarios. This scenario is another example of that.

It's got some puzzles which are doable but clever enough to be satisfying to solve.

The location is "penetrable", and there are good reasons for that.

Spoiler:
For each NPC, there's a good reason why they can be convinced to side with you.

The NPCs are amusing to interact with, and a lot of fun to GM. This scenario has way above-average RP opportunities.

I enjoyed playing it, and when I ran it, my players were very happy as well.

Okay, so I'm not giving 5 stars. Why not? Mainly the GM experience. This scenario has a lot of moving parts behind the scenes. There's four different special rule systems to keep track of, and fairly little help given for that in the scenario.

Spoiler:
1) The timekeeping
2) The clue cards. The scenario's description of which cards should be where doesn't match 100% with the notes on the cards on where they ought to be found.
3) Deception points - why wasn't there a handy table at the end of the adventure to check off which ones were gained/missed?
4) The alternative treasure awards; yet another thing to keep track of. Couldn't this be coupled to the # of Deception points gained?

In addition, some fairly important information is hard to find;

Spoiler:
What can the Guardian do if it were to go hostile? It's stuck to the wall; can it attack people? At what distance? Is there anything else it can do? The farthest I got to answering this question was to look up the magic item on the chronicle sheet which is derived from the Guardian. This really isn't very handy for the GM.

It looks like it could attack adjacent people. However, it's too far from the doors to attack anyone trying to force them. Which makes it a bit of a lousy guardian.

I'd like more scenarios like this, but with some refinement on the GM-side on the things you need to keep track of.


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Murderous fun

4/5

We played this with a party that was basically a zoo. We had a shaman (playtest time) with a wildly OP spirit animal, a gnome paladin on a dog and a halfling on a worg. There was another halfling sorcerer, a Merisiel pregen and my human paladin. There was some weird stuff with the levels of PCs and basically, Merisiel was level 7, the dog-riding halfling paladin was level 6, and everyone else was level 5 and the sorcerer level 4; but we played high tier. *Gulp.* Our GM was Maglor.

It was pretty nasty; the monsters didn't kid around. The halfling paladin got killed in two rounds in a fight by soaking up 1.5 full attack from a monster. We paused for a bit in-game so she could get raised with a Debt to Society, before continuing.

The house was morbid and nasty, truly demonstrating why Cheliax is known as The Fun Place.

I think for me the optional encounter was actually the high point; I hear it's been pretty hard for other parties, but we managed to cope with it through having such a huge zoo of a party, and good teamwork.

The final encounter was pretty weird; MAJOR SPOILER

Spoiler:
So you find this young lost girl and she's asking you to go into the cellars to find her parents. The halfling sorcerer's player really liked her and wanted to adopt her. I bought her story too. At some point when we were out of the room all of the other players were like "something's up here" but they didn't wanna metagame so they kept their mouth shut.

So when the rest of the party was in the end zone fighting some monsters, the girl turned out to be a halfling assassin and turned on the sorcerer. Talk about irony. I was near enough to rescue the sorcerer, who then Lipstitched the BBEG, who barely failed his save. From there on it went downhill for him.

Looking back on it, the GM played it pretty well. At all times the "girl" had been just in the right place to avoid detect magic/evil effects and such. Maglor himself was pretty surprised he'd managed to fool anyone since apparently this happens all the time, but he fooled just the right people to make it a tense fight.


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How I learned to stop worrying and love The Bomb

5/5

I played this together with Damanta (I was the human paladin) and with Maglor as GM. We played up with 4 player adjustment, but no hard mode. In the end the 4-player adjustment made the difference on several crucial checks, so anecdotal evidence suggests it's well-balanced :P

I rather liked the puzzle on this one. When you think about it, it might not make a lot of sense (since enemies would be able to figure it out as well), but it's good use of Golarion lore.

I liked that while it's half dungeon crawl, like many other scenarios in season 5, this one rewards you for thinking before hitting stuff. A little genre savvy can't hurt either. [spoiler]When you find bottles that you can charge by taking negative levels, you bet that you'll need them filled later on.

We avoided some fights, but the ones we did get involved in were pretty scary. Unsurprisingly, this is a good adventure to bring paladins. The final fight in particular was pretty edge-of-your seat.

In the end, the premise of the scenario is fairly straightforward, but it's quite thrilling to actually do it.

Addendum: the chronicle sheet has quite a bit of nice things on it. I think I'm gonna GM this one just for that alone, and also because I think this is a relatively straightforward highish-tier adventure, good for getting more experience running higher level adventures.


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