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Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-11: The Quest for Perfection—Part II: On Hostile Waters (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Player Review (played up, mid tier)
Not a particularly memorable scenario (arc). The combats where I think the highlight of this one, though I typical prefere a more even spread playstyle the RP was just lacking and not interesting there where no real twists or mysteries, and no sense of being part of something epic, exploring something new, or really much besides just being there. I think this scenario really suffered from trying to push the Tian Xia material too much, (matter of preference, probably great if that's your thing).
Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-21: The Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Player Review (lower tier)
Let me start by saying this one's intro sounded so great. Probably my most disliked scenario yet. The DM suggested mechanic was terrible. It left our entire group not understanding at all what the heck was going on the entire game. This is the first scenario we have rested multiple times in to just be able to move along, and that is not counting the overly brutal BBEG fight or 1 other that nearly TPKd that party before we could really even act.
It has all kinds of great story and flavor, for the DM, but players just dont get to see most of it, which at least for our group led to the DM having a blast and everyone else, not. Some of the faction missions where very wonky, and it kind of felt like some where just handed to you on a plate while others required a Nat 20 on a one time only roll.
In the end, I think everyone was down except me (Cleric) with no more healing left (and I guess we misundersstood NEA, so most of the damage we did from my Channeling every single round didn't actually happen), and the NPC guards came to save us. This is after we devised a (what should have been) great plan to finally set up and corner the BBEG away from it's allies.
Player Review (Lowest tier)
I liked it. Simple but eligant. It felt like a much better introductory scenario (to PFS play in general as well as at least a portion of the world) than all of the First Steps together. It kind of takes (for me) first level characters and starts showing some of the movers and shakers in the world, and thrusts them into it, even though they are just starting out their careers and learning the ropes.
One issue we had, playing this before some of the more recent (Ult Combat/Magic, APG, ARG, etc. . .) material came out is that at midpoint there is a group of puzzles that might potentually prevent a group from advancing past, and other groups simply stuck there until they roll high, which destroys the mood and sense of achievment, (not to mention how GMT couldn't manage to get the thing open himself). I feel if a few other ways to get past that puzzle had been offered, this would rock as a scenario.
Again, it is one of the scenarios that really has an epic feel to it, and that's a pretty good thing, (if not overdone). I enjoyed how it goes beyond "the rules" to allow th plot and threat to exist, and I thought that the few encounters where really well designed. In my opinion, a lot of Season 3 and especially 4 fights are really overdoing the "gotcha" aspect, just automatically placing the party in unfavorable conditions like that makes it interesting. This scenario puts the party into a similar sort of thing, but one that they can full well use agains the enemies too and that makes it really fun and a bit comical. I liked it. I liked the sense of urgency, the sense of if we don't stops this, the entire city dies, the flow, and the sense of achievment. I liked the puzzle, but wish that a few other skill check options where presented.
Player Review (lower tier)
I think that this scenario could have been better. It wasn't terrible, but there are some issues, (as well as some high points).
1.) there are just way too many traps. I am really not sure (at least the lower level tiers) if a party without a Rogue (or similar character) can survive or succeed at this scenario. It is never a good thing to assume that a certain class (type) is available.
2.) most other encounters where extremely easy, but the BBEG wasn't actually the hardest fight. Instead there is a single roaming monster that I can easily see one-shoting a character on a moderatly lucky roll in the right circumstances.
Some good things about this scenario is that it continues from a previous scenario, (though the other one is not needed to play this one), and drops little bits of extra info and easter eggs along the way, and gives a feling of building to a rather epic end game.
A right, well balanced party shouldn't have too much trouble with this, but a few bad rolls at the wrong time can be very dangerous. I did appreciate the sort of old school, dungeon exploration feel. I also really liked that about 1/4 of the traps had already gone off, offering an amazing atmosphere for the game (and allowing a DM some pretty awesome oportunities to toss in some description that can add to the sense of threat of danger and help explain a bit what is going on that the DM has explained to them but the players might not get.
If there where a lot less traps, this would easily be a 4 star scenario. The fact that it basically mandates a Rogue, and that the traps get to the point of bogging down the game a bit (oh look, another trap. . .) is what really drops it. :(
Pathfinder Society Scenario #4: The Frozen Fingers of Midnight (OGL) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Very interesting and funBeckett —
I enjoyed it a lot. I felt that it offered a decent spread of playstyles and encounters, and also offered everyone a chance at the spotlight. It also, in my opinion, had a very epic feel to it, involving an artifact-like item, and going far outside the rules (in a good way!!!) for story and plot elements.
This scenario also left me feeling like I (my character) had actually accomplished something in the world, and done something worthy of being written about. In many ways it has a classic movie sort of feel, the hero rising off into the sunset after all is done.
I honestly wish more scenarios worked under a similar model, and this honestly really shows the strengths and draws of an organization like the Pathfinder Society (beyond just thugs, graverobbers and above-the-law).
This scenario is fairly easy to succeed in, but I feel like there are levels and depths of success, and also unlocking more background that go beyond that for those characters that want that sort of thing. The Faction missions, (that I have seen) all seem very well written and very in-character with their organizations goals and beliefs.
Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Night (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
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Ok, not Great too much and way too littleBeckett —
Not really sure why this is a Players Guide book. It has a few options in there, but what it seems to do more than anything is present a lot of options to make players want to use it, but very likely be universally denied by DM's.
At the same time it tries to do too many things in one already too short of a book line. As others have said, it presents rules for playing vampires, some stuff for playing Dhampires, and some guides for playing vampire-hunters. The Vampire, and perhaps even the Dhampir section should have been more of a DM guide. It's good. The art is good. I personally still hate the newer formatting style, and there is no improvement in that area.
I went for this Guide primarily for the vampire-hunter portion, the part I thought would be the most used and interesting, (and most "player's guidish". Not too much there. Again, it's not bad, but rather it's another example of just not nearly enough on any front. (Againg in my opinion), it leaves the reader with a taste of wanting more after reading each part, and not in a good, exciting way, but in a "is that it???" sense.
Please drop the Roles portion. From all the Player's Guides. I would have given a much higher rating for this book if it focused on just Dhampires and vampire-hunters, or even just one of those two.
Pathfinder Player Companion: Knights of the Inner Sea (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
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Pretty big let downBeckett —
I don't want to rehash what Siren's Mask has already said too much, as it is pretty spot on. I can’t say that I like the “Roles” portion, and honestly I am undecided on the new formats. Much of the flavor information, while well written is yet another rewording of thing we already have, and just doesn’t really bring anything new.
The game mechanics seem very lacking throughout, seeming to force certain classes and leaving others out in the cold, which is, in my opinion, the exact opposite of what a Player’s Companion should focus on doing.
The art is atypical of most Pathfinder books. All good, don't get me wrong, but some are very outlandish and wonky, reminding me very much of 4E and the Book of Nine Swords (Dungeon-punk?)
A lot of work was put into listing (and offering options for) Mounts and Squires (related to the Leadership Feat), and are really well done at that, BUT Leadership is probably the most universally banned Feat in the game, and it is fairly typical that players want “knightly” characters to move away from mounts, which normally can not actually adventure with the character, so I really question what the intent of this focus was.
Knights of the Inner Sea introduces a new style of Trait, tied in strongly with a code of conduct, which I really loved in theory, but in practice, the benefits are minor and (once again) something other Traits already offer, usually without such a cost to maintain and sometimes even better.
A couple of options certainly gave a WTF moment, (Order of the Staff), but more so the sense that certain Classes, specifically Core Classes, character types, and concepts where almost completely ignored. Personal preferences aside, Bards and Clerics, two classes that already have a large hand in knightly matters get 2 spells, and they are rather NPC hireling focused while the Magus (?) and Inquisitor (??), (and even the Wizard) gets practically (or in some cases literally) all.
Pros: This book has abandon the previous design layout of Combat/Faith/Magic/Social and instead actually lists option in categories like “Knightly Codes and Traits”, “Spells”, and “Magic Items”. As was previously mention, it does have a very, very nice spread on pieces of armor and barding. The book needs more of this.
Cons: The books lacks a lot of options, information, or ideas I expected and feel would have been both helpful and important (opinion). It tries to stretch certain concepts while ignoring others. It is much to vague in certain areas, both “fluff” and “crunch”, but as a Player’s Guide, (again opinion) needed to have more a “crunch” focus than it wound up having. The book is too short, so much of the information needs more clarification, (or in some cases errata to function). It rehashed already know information while not really bringing anything new, particularly in regards to the subject matter to the table, and fails to really give ways for players to create a knighthood, introduce new knighthoods, details on day-to-day knightly living and ordeals. It lacks much detail on actual knightly information like say social station, titles and ranks, honor, organization, and gear (outside of a few magic items).
It may seem harsh, and is certainly biased by what I was hoping and expecting from such a book, as well as my person preference for the number of, and distribution of player mechanical options, but there it is. I think it should have focused a lot more on Player options for the Fighter, Paladin, Cleric, and Cavalier, including a lot more option for playing a Knightly character as well as options for becoming a knight or joining/starting a knighthood.
All in all, nothing really stands out to me, and it's overall a fairly forgettable book.