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Pathfinder Adventure Path #28: The Infernal Syndrome (Council of Thieves 4 of 6) (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
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One long dungeonBenji —
This adventure path proved quite all right and I had a fun time GMing it, and my players also liked it. We did however find some areas of the path that was annoying.
1) The side quests are lacking. They are presented as something that happens after the main plot starts, but my players went straight to the dungeon so the side quests seemed quite strange to include as no one presented them with these quests. This could be done much better than I did it, and I find that a way should have been included in the adventure path.
2) The entire adventure is based on one place, so it feels like one long dungeon, something that can be good if done right. You need some exploration, some social encounters and some awesome fights along with some good resting opportunities. While it is not without these, there is little exploring and far too many of the encounters cannot be avoided, and those that can are a shame to waste. The dungeons is build much like: encounter -> encounter -> encounter -> encounter which makes some of the encounters seem quite dull and repetitive. I especially think of some of the later encounters where it feels like each room have a guardian you need to defeat and there is no other way to get to the end goal without going that way. All the optional encounters are hidden with an extremely high DC on the search check and doing those encounters only award xp and loot (I would have liked shortcuts to ignore encounters). The dungeon has a “long” rather than “big” feel to it, as there is little chance of getting lost and taking encounters in a random order.
3) There was a problem with the expected level progression as it was expected that the players would be level 8 before entering the dungeon. This was however not the case in my run, but it sorted itself out in the end. It might have resulted in some of the 4 deaths and two almost worse than death for the party, but that was alright.
4) I would however have enjoyed that the adventure path had included some more optional stuff, like the side quests from bastards 1 of 6 CoT where they included some random do it yourself side quests as those they did where poorly implemented.
5) Some of the encounters seemed almost too lethal and was placed poorly at a point of no return. In one of the late encounters two players were taken out without any options to come back unless the players left the dungeon. Luckily we found a solution, but having to leave the dungeon for the 4th time right before the big climax robbed it of some of its urgency and awesomeness.
6) Might not feel like the logical step from finding an item that can end the threat of shadow beasts. A little Monty Python with “and now for something completely different”
1) The social encounters -> awesome. In one encounter the players where all scared enough that our good cleric toasted with devils, and the “human female” dragon disciple ate a virgins hart just to please them. In another, they all ended up feeling abused (in the good way) by a powerful being they did not dear attack but had to deal with.
2) The reoccurring villains - > awesome. One of these, they ended up fighting twice, but being attacked by 8ish times, and they see him as a constant treat. They have yet to kill him and now fear going out at night (to some extend).
3) Some of the fights where memorable like when the dragon disciple where kicked into a pool of boiling gold. The one where the two of the players are now forced to use a new favorite awful improvised weapon instead of the awesome weapons they used feats to maximize. Sadly the crossbowman did not get this awesome item. The final encounter was memorable to but might have been a little too easy for a group of 8th level guys, and mine are far from optimized.
4) Cool settings – the dungeon had some memorable places such as the hall of mirrors and some of the environmental traps where loads of fun. Everyone thought it was awesome when they tried to run down a flaming hall and I pulled out the dice to determine where explosions happened. Another was when the first fire resistance guy walked through a room that looked suspiciously explosive, nothing happened and he yelled back, Don’t worry, its safe. Two of the players then walk into the room and then imidiatly the whole room blew up. Good fun was had.
To finish it up, worth a run, but so far the worst of the CoT adventure path, and after this long dungeon, we are looking forward to some wilderness fun in the next one.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #27: What Lies in Dust (Council of Thieves 3 of 6) (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
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Enjoyment was hadBenji —
We finished what lies in dust and everyone enjoyed every bit of it. Well almost anyway so I will start with the good.
The small side missions that are available in the start of the game gave the players a great brake from the one big dungeon way this adventure path loves (at least 2, 3 and 4 does). The side missions where a lot of fun, and everyone was stunned when a certain someone almost killed the melee powerhouse in close-combat after having immobilized the rest of the party in a cage. With the sisters I heard one of my players who hate monk as a class and a concept say those are the only monks I have ever enjoyed (sorry for paraphrasing Fenge).
The only bad thing I can say about this part is that the information the players got was not worth the effort. (not counting the stash, wow that was useful)
When they arrived at the BBD (Big Bad Dungeon) everyone was re energized by the small quests and where ready to explore. They enjoyed the traps and puzzles that where at first. There was however one problem, and that is properly the only real shortcoming of the dungeon. There is a “monster” that without enough foreshadowing comes and kills a player or two without any doubt. While I am not against killing a few players, it serves the purpose of making them feel mortal I think the timing for this encounter I not good. It is early in the dungeon where no one wants to leave the dungeon to raise a guy. My solution (at least the one I would use next time) is more foreshadowing of the dangers this creature pose.
Area B2, add a small similar creature with some of the same abilities as the bad thing with its own platform. Show off the abilities so that everyone thinks “I hope they did not do the same thing to that big one missing, and where is it now”.
The upper level had memorable encounters especially when the sorcerer picks up a cute doll and gets critically hit by inflict serious wounds leaving her with something like 5 hp after a surprise round.
The basement has this cool new game mechanic that scared the “s-word” out of the players. The finishing steps in the basement resulted in two casualties before defeating the major guardian of the level. This was a fine brake and the loads of cool elements that they had encountered before made this bearable and a good place for it to happen.
When they returned they went straight for the vault. All of the encounters that was down there even if similar had their own flavor (only enhanced by one of the big bad guys being a loved one by one of the players before “the accident”)
With regards to the writing it was alright, but there were quite a few bad production things like when they refer to something on the map that was removed.
All in all they were scared all the way through the dungeon and lost a lot of good people down there(and got them back after paying a load of gp), but everyone enjoyed it in the end with only a few sour feelings about that one encounter mentioned above.
Bought these, not a fan!Benji —
Well I ordered these to test out if i wanted the whole series of poker chips. I found that they are too large for not handy. The sizes are strange, being not quite 10ft * 10ft and being too large to use for 5ft * 5ft spells.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #26: The Sixfold Trial (Council of Thieves 2 of 6) (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
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Mixed feelings – from epic to endurance testBenji —
Having now finished DMing the six fold trials I can tell you that it was a mixed experience. While the game went on quite well, I (and the players) did have disproval of the module planning.
The casting was much fun, and the limehouse had great potential for memorable fun times (had it not been for 7 rolls of 25 + on the bards behalf).
The trials are awesome and insane, not the encounters but the other ones! while a player carved his heart out in front of hundreds of nobles clapping their hands and enjoying the show was just bad luck, the trial in the belly of the beast was nasty for anyone wearing a heavy armor. The players had to resolve it trough a different solution than the one proposed by the adventure path. But other than that, this was a great and fun time. I’m sure this will be some of the most memorable things in my role-playing carrier.
After 8+ hours with two encounters the players and I needed to roll some dice for other things than skill checks, and here I will once again applaud the brilliance of the bastards of erebus, where they included side quests to be partaken at any point during the adventure. Had we went straight to the party without doing a little side quest on first we would not have been able to enjoy the 4+ hours we spent on the cornucopia.
The final dungeon like quest was far too long and we had to spend more than 14 hours of playing to get through to the other side. There was a few memorable encounters such as the boss and the agent, but the other 10+ encounters had little flavor. My players where extremely affected by stat drain, something that had a ruining effect on their fun. One thing is a few drains, but everyone had and str and con damage, something that resulted in 2 player Casualties.
A good start, with too few encounters, and a bad end with far too many random encounters, which weakened the party far too much for them to enjoy it.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #25: The Bastards of Erebus (Council of Thieves 1 of 6) (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
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Print Edition Out of print
Good startBenji —
After having DM'ed this first module I have made some observations. It starts off great, but if you follow the rules as written then the escape has far to many encounters, none of which are extremely interesting. A little modification gives off a much better journey and the feel that they are rushing even more.
The next part is socially heavy and extremely difficult to run as there are 10+ NPC who will have to be introduced in one scene. That is to much for anyone to bite off in one go, but if you only use a few of these at a time it will be an awesome experience as everyone has a more or less plausible reason to there.
The event that follow is quite fun, and there are a few elements that make the encounter memorable, and the fact that you are rewarded differently if you act one way or another is awesome, and it is followed by a fun social encounter, we sure had a few laughs.
The fact that there are several "sidequests" that the PC's can follow if they like when they like, gives the feeling at it is an open world rather than a railroad plot. That these quests are more or less for the DM to decide makes them applicable at anypoint later in the adventure path and could be challenging at any level.
The final "run" has a few quite stimulating encounters, but for 3 level 2 heroes it was a bit to hard. They needed to rest during the dungeon and that was not supported by the adventure path. Even with a rest they only managed to complete the quest due to reduced amount of bad guys and good rolls on their part and bad on mine. The encounters however was great fun, and that guy who appears to be something else was awesome, the cleric trying to burn him and turn him. Awesome twist on an otherwise poor adversary, gave him that twist wile not making him overpowered.
The two main bad dudes are awesome, and fun to use and they gave some flavor to the fights.
All in all a good start to something that will eventually be great.
On a side note, the fact that it is an organization that reaps the fame rather than the heroes makes dealing with PC fatalities more easy as well as adding and removing them.
Made my group play more againBenji —
I have played dungeons and dragon for the last 10-13 years, and after many years of gaming we all found different fun levels in dungeons and dragons 3.5. The fighter was brilliant the first 4 levels while the wizard was just starting at level 5.
Most classes hated first level, because we could be killed by a commoner with a club with a semi lucky strike. The wizard was basicly a crossbow the first few levels. Cross references was needed for every single action, feat and ability. Levels where inconsistent, some classes had long periods of time where there was no advancement.
We all hoped that 4th edition would deal with this, and they did. The problem however was that we lost our ability to customize our heroes. A 4th level fighter would almost always be a 4th level fighter, you did not have the ability to go crazy and trying to make an intelegence fighter with focus on avoiding to die while using trip and so on.
This left my group with little lust for gaming, until this book came into my collection. My lust for gaming, basic classes, and adventure has been revisited trough the material in this book, so thank you paizo for taking the system I loved, and making it much better. The writing and rules explanations are great, the only short coming is that you named you standard dwaven ranger Harsk which is Danish for strong unpleasant smell, and your gnome bard is named lem which is Danish slang for penis. But then again, it gave us a laugh.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #8: Slave Pits of Absalom (OGL) PDFPaizo Inc.
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A nice little adventureBenji —
I just played this module and had a load of fun. It has some fun encounters, but the last three might seem a bit closely linked and rushed, as there is not much time to RP between them. The highlight of the evening was our trip to misery row where we had a lot of fun by having to distract the locals before B and E. it is a good little module worth a play, but not among the best that exists out there.
First time with organized playBenji —
I just tried this last night and it was my first time trying organized play. It was loads of fun based on the individual quests.
It was an adventure that was able to stimulate us all, and I enjoyed it (even if we had a close call with the total party kill encounter).