Joran Vhane

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RPG Superstar 9 Season Marathon Voter. Organized Play Member. 1,017 posts (2,052 including aliases). 18 reviews. 3 lists. No wishlists. 29 Organized Play characters. 7 aliases.



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Good adventure some problems

3/5

I've seen lots of manners of reviewing scenarios in the case of Champion's Chalice I feel like a Good, Bad, Ugly list might be the most appropriate.

Good: The story was cool and interwoven with some nice background and flavor of the area. A survival contest was also a cool concept for a pathfinder mission.

Bad: Due to equipment needs the fights are each increased in difficulty and deadliness with the fourth encounter being by far the biggest culprit. In the high tier that fight is going to TPK a lot of parties.

Ugly: As someone who has done survival challenges in the vein of the one contained you have four major concerns in a survival situation in this order fire, shelter, water, food. Fire is important for heat (every character in the scenario would be experiencing hypothermia given the conditions mentioned), morale, protection from wildlife, and for dry out clothes etc. (most parties feet would be completely shredded under the conditions mentioned see trench foot). Shelter - see fire while slightly less necessary yeah you need it. I added some survival checks to do this when I ran but it be nice to be mentioned. Without any tools this contest is completely unfeasible. Sure you can count on magic to make up for some of it, but not every competitor or team will have access to magic. Even obsidian that is in the area can be used to make up for some of it, but frankly without a modicum of skill/knowledge someone will grievously injure themselves and even a minor injury will be at high risk of infection/turning gangrenous. Any contest like this would start every team with at least some tools minimally a knife even more likely would be a knife, a flint and steel, and a compass at a minimum. Other likely inclusions would be some length of rope, a tent or at least a tarp or oilskin, some waterskins, and a bow (making a bow effective enough for starting a fire isn't a small task let alone a bow good enough to hunt/hurt people), possibly even a traveler's anytool. This would provide the organizers the added benefit of objects to act as scrying sensors to monitor teams and curb potential cheating. As it is competitors are given 3-5 days to do whatever and if something goes wrong they may never be found. Oh and something will go wrong, guaranteed. Hiding basically all of those tools behind multiple skill checks is just rubbing salt in the wound not actually designing something feasible.

Scenario loses .5 star for the fourth combat and 1.5 for the combination of the somewhat complex mechanics for the "pursuit" and overall terrible organization of an esteemed competition (that no competitor would ever do after year 1)


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I ended the scenario casting confusion, got myself with it too.

2/5

So I've now played and run this scenario. It's really a fairly straight forward dungeon crawl in an eerie locale.

The first two combats can both be pretty difficult.

Combats:
The Tactics in the first combat are fairly bad (the alchemist who starts the combat doesn't pre-buff and instead uses them during combat) and the positioning of the enemies is contradictory with itself throughout the description.

Combat 2 - the mummies in both tiers are difficult, with a variety of special abilities that can be nasty, that said Bog Rot is particularly nasty)

The optional encounter in the high tier makes no sense as the enemies at best barely fit in the room.

The fourth encounter is fine, though in one tier it's severely hampered by the spacing of the map (also, it can potentially occur as a more difficult version of itself after the final combat - which is problematic)

The final encounter, not poorly designed but again severely limited by spacing.

The biggest issue I have with the scenario though is you're told to go into a place and loot everything. There's nothing to loot, there's almost no checks for gaining any real meaningful info (outside of the GM adding things), there are a lot of rooms with nothing. It's just a lot of dead space versus the amount of map.

All in all it wasn't a bad scenario, but it left me confused about what I had just seen, and whether or not it was a good scenario, especially after I felt like the opening sequence set me up for a more exciting scenario than the rest provided.


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Best Tech Scenario Ever (or at least yet)

4/5

The Good.

The use of tech was sensible and felt thematic throughout. The entire scenario made good use of it. The monsters that were used/created for the scenario are fantastic to read and run. Overall both the fluff and crunch worked really well.

The Bad.

The haunts all adjusting the boss differently is complex, this is made worse by the fact that the formatting looking for what everything does versus the checks you might need to be making versus the stat blocks are in disparate locations. It would be helpful to have the checks that are done in a certain location actually on the same page as that location not 5-10 pages earlier (4 locations ago)

The Ugly.

The Optional encounter should not have story wise been optional. This scenario runs to time or long so it doesn't happen and it really really should.


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Good mix

5/5

The good:

Almost everything about the scenario.
The story was good, and it's a "sandbox" that works in the allotted time. The combats vary from speedbump to challenging and are set up in such a way that both tactics and feats matter, the combats feel fairly original and creative while still being fairly manageable to prepare as the GM. The nice part is that neither group feels like the perfect choice for a given group.

The bad:

There isn't anyway to come to a third solution, choose A or B. Also, there's what I'd assume is an odd artifact of the editing process where the party is given some gold at the beginning, with no real reason/way to use it later.

The ugly:

If your party is basically 2 languages it's going to be a struggle. (Though this can be mitigated fairly easily).

Overall, I felt like this scenario encompassed exactly what I want out of a scenario. Decent to great (party/GM dependent) roleplay opportunities and interesting combats.


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Potential Squandered

2/5

Reading through and playing this scenario reveal a couple of contradictions within. The prose descriptions of things and the combat felt hastily scraped together to me.

The combat is a joke. Not a funny one, but a joke none the less. A single combat encounter scenario (which despite being written as 2 combats this is) should be difficult (and to me I'd prefer it at the end). An APL -1 or APL encounter just doesn't cut it. If you have a combat, have a combat, if you don't (and there are great scenarios without combat) then don't, but the super-generic speed bump doesn't cut it.

The NPC development/backstory is actually quite good.

The prose/descriptions are ok, but highly repetitive and often feel like copy/paste or basic thesaurus changes. There is something Dickensian about the descriptions (but not really in a good way) as it felt like the author was trying to puff up his word count by using repetition.

The Intrigue mechanic is pretty good, but for a social scenario (as it seems to be) it doesn't really use social mechanics much, and if your party doesn't have some of the 5 needed skills you're gonna have a bad time. The social interactions at a certain point just felt too much. Had there been more characters to interact with, or some more flip-flopping or something built in it would have complicated an already complex situation but wouldn't have felt quite so blase by the end.

Overall, I think the author had some shining moments and made use of a nice mechanic, but I felt that those moments were more hidden from the players and GM dependent while the not-so-great was more obvious.


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Solid scenario

4/5

I've now run this 4 times (low tier, high tier 4 player adjustment, high tier *2). I like the scenario and it's played out slightly differently each time. It runs on time to slightly short (at least for me). There are some complicated parts to prep and it's a lot of really big monsters for a 3-7 (and at least one massive map that is mostly pointless - other than being in 2-02). Overall pretty good though.


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Meh.

2/5

So, I've had the opportunity to GM this special but have yet to play it. I've spent a long time considering what I would rate it, and trying to separate my rating from the single table I had. (The people were great, the overall table from my perspective not so much)

First, this things a bear to prepare. There are something on the order of 40 separate possible encounters - most tables won't even see 1/3 of them. Furthermore it takes something like 20 maps. It's just too much. The overall page length is massive - 110 pages, which is significantly shortened by the bestiaries being split up by tier. Except, then you find out that you may also need the tier above and below the one you're running depending on path and table speed.

Second, the ability to reveal story. To be honest of the three possible paths 1 pretty much has no opportunity to reveal story line, and the other 2 have their best opportunity for story hidden in the second area that unlocks on that path. My players had absolutely no way of ever getting to that encounter since by the time it opened that was also the trigger to move onto the next phase.

Third, there was almost no interaction between tables, basically it's 6+ tables running the same scenario at the same time, and there are a couple of effects that happen based on others but nothing overtly obvious. Take Stonelords as an example, the low tier table fires off their ballista (IIRC) and it stuns the monster in the high tier, this really makes it feel more interactive as tables help each other. This scenario completely lacked that feel IMO.

Fourth, there are a couple of encounters that get highly repetitive, one section repeats the same combat over and over until you succeed and/or move on (due to others succeeding), also the first and final combats in every tier are the same.

Supposedly, the three tracks are supposed to be set up for different ability groups however one track is all combat, the other 2 have the exact same number of combat/non-combat encounters.

Overall, I have to say it's my least favorite of the recent specials possibly all of them.


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Love it.

5/5

The Cons:
There are some missing mechanics (most notably what 0 gravity means for the players, which has since been clarified on the GM boards)

It can feel a bit railroady

Oh and I'm tired of the occult

The pros:

The social part is atmospheric and very cool, and there are definitely some nice opportunities to make the NPCs shine.

Spoiler:
Personally, I liked all the vendors, but most importantly ignore the Profession(merchant) check and play up Tik.

The combats are extremely difficult, but very good. The occult aspect is well mixed onto a character that can take advantage of it, but to do so gives up some part of their power.

In my top 5 scenarios to run all time.


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Hmm.

3/5

First, let me say, as a player I think this scenario is pretty good. In fact I'd say there's a great scenario hidden behind just too much work.

It's a 1-5 that is a bear to run. The first part is tracking like 5 different things, for every player over 3-9 checks in two locations, with a bunch of things dependent on how each check goes and the possibility of adding some other checks in.

The final fight is linked to the scenario (but barely) the scenario may have been better off without it. First, it could have left a nice start to another scenario. Second, it would have been a lot easier (if possible at all) to run in 4 hours. I tend to run on the fast side and it took my group 4 hours 45 minutes to get through. (Also, final boss choice is good flavor wise but a fairly bad combat class)

There's a lot to like about the scenario, but I don't ever want to run it again it was just too much work.


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Problems

2/5

Story - Actually I like the stroy included in the scenario quite a bit, though it's a struggle to understand how some of the things are supposed to be revealed. (I don't mean things that are GM knowledge only, but cool stuff in areas you have no reason to go into) Over all I'd give the story 2.5 stars out of 3.

Combats - One fairly decent to trivial one (depending on tier & group). One that is just full of save or sucks (3 spells can trivialize parts of the encounter - 2 do effectively the same thing and 1 does a different thing, but low tier characters don't have access to any of them). .5 Stars out of 3

Normally, I'd stop there but the formatting in the scenario is convoluted and confusing. Introducing every room, before introducing what happens when you arrive. It causes a lot of extra page flipping, and honestly makes at least the first read through very odd. And I'm taking away a star because of that.


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4/5

Overall, the scenario was pretty good with one of the most memorable NPCs I've seen in PFS. The pregens have some issues, especially being created where there main ability is completely negated in certain encounters. There are some other issues, but for the most part I felt like the scenario overcame all of them. However, the final encounter is far better as a social encounter than a fight.

The scenario actually starts off with a number of the same issues that turned into one of my least favorite scenarios, but manages them all pretty well. 1. You aren't really playing your character - but since you know this going in it's not that big a deal, IMO. 2. A new funky mechanic that takes 50+% of the time at the table. I found it to be fun, but long and at times seemed to drag the play down. 3. Single enemy BBEG on the top (not bottom this time) of a tower. If you go for the social encounter it works really well, otherwise the BBEG gets some advantage via environment that helps.

Honestly, if it weren't for a couple of the NPCs this one would probably be closer to 3 stars, but they were so good that it added an extra star.


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Good scenario

4/5

Easily my favorite scenario of the end of the season 5 releases and the beginning of season 6. In fact one of my favorite non-specials. That being said this scenario should not be run in a time limited format (unless you're time limit is 6 or 8 hours). It can run long very very long if you were to do everything. Otherwise, really good scenario.


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Love it

5/5

I have played Mists (and loved it) and ran this. The atmosphere is great if you take the time, I suggest music (horror game soundtracks are great in this one), also extra minis or pawns or for the museum displays, and will saves with no mechanical effect. I'd run this again at the drop of a hat.


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YES

5/5

Having prepped and played this module i love it. It doesn't get old to me and I would run it at the drop of a hat. It may be a bit short (but you can run it and We Be Goblins Too in 4-5 hours). It's just great, the flavor, each character's song, the enemies. Fantastic


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Fun

4/5

This module is a whole ton of fun and short to boot. I think the only reason this one gets a four is the comparison to We Be Goblins which is just amazing.


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Meh

3/5

I really wanted to like this scenario. The monsters (for lack of a better term) had a nice flavor to them, as did the found items. The "puzzles" were a nice touch. But honestly prepping and running the scenario just felt bland.

I have a number of pros and cons about the scenario, but I really can't figure out what to write in a review spoiler wise.

Overall, not the best scenario ever not the worst, honestly not sure I'll remember running it.


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Nope, nope, nope.

1/5

Mass combat might be fun in a campaign where you plan on having mass combat. For PFS purposes no thanks it basically turns a role-playing into RISK. The troops could be cool but honestly felt overly deadly for no good reason. The BBEG has some cool tactics but is easily defeated by single players in too many ways. I was excited about this one, and instead its one of the few that I have no interest in seeing again. Overall, I felt like it was to much an experiment in expanding PFS (tactics, enemy type, mass combat) and not really a satisfying adventure for my character.


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Bleh - revised

3/5

Let me start by saying I did not enjoy my playing experience with this scenario. (In fact all the season 5 ending scenarios I have experienced so far have been disappointing, with the Confirmation be a notable exception) Player perspective. Going in I knew nothing about the scenario. My character choice led to my character feeling very uncomfortable/shunned in town and his only real opportunity to shine came in the fair games. The investigation had ridiculously obvious and potentially cool holes littered throughout.

Spoiler:
Nothing in the scenario for investigating the Inquisitor's quarters or about the actual murder victims for example
Final encounter not well set up for the actual enemy. I would give it one star but for the RP opportunities, that being said GM's beware you'll be improving all over the place and a lot of info is confusing and misplaced. - Player review - 1.5 stars but expect huge amounts of table variation due to character, group, and GM (My experience is very jaded by my character and group, the GM was good)

GM experience. In some ways this scenario is a blessing in disguise. But that comes with a huge caveat. Read the scenario more than once and play through it in your head with at least a couple of characters that you play, what would they do/where would they go/how would I handle. This is not a plug and play scenario, you will be improvising (or prepping material) that is not in the scenario, and it does change depending on players more than most scenarios. (Also, make liberal use of the GM discussion board and prep site for ideas/materials). If you enjoy doing things by the seat of your pants and really wielding that GM discretion though this can really shine. GM rating 4 stars (some things that are missing still feel a bit silly)

Overall rating - 3 stars (with a standard deviation of 1 star) - Expect table variation