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Starfinder Society Scenario #1-08: Sanctuary of Drowned DelightPaizo Inc.
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Like...totally deep, man...CanisDirus —
Having played this and now prepped to GM it, I really love this scenario. There's a great balance between investigation and first-contact diplomatic relations, right up until the bubble bursts!
In many ways, this scenario felt like an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation! Being that ST:TNG is one of my favorite shows of all time, you don't need to be a ship's counselor to figure out how I feel about this one!
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-09: Live Exploration Extreme!Paizo Inc.
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The funniest scenario I've ever read - bar none!CanisDirus —
I hope to write a more in-depth review in the not-too-distant future, but the title of my review will stand on its own for the time being.
Players - you are in for a real treat if your GM is prepared!
GMs - I found this scenario took a little bit longer to prep than previous Starfinder Society offerings. If you have the time to invest in a few sound bytes (even if it's just a short youtube playlist queued up on your phone), you can draw your players in even more! (Personal favorite for "Showtime" fanfare - Sure Promise from The Big O).
Again - absolutely amazingly fun. I would GM this every week if given the opportunity!
Epic! and *so* cool!CanisDirus —
(Yes, the title is a Steam Powered Giraffe reference)
Normally when I get newly released PFS scenarios as a Venture Officer, I download them and scan over them a bit, looking at which maps they use, how long they are, and how neat the art is. This has been useful for my local GMs as it's enabled me to give them head's up about scenarios that are longer (#8-25, #9-07) than others, or ones with complex custom maps (#9-06) that might require more prep-time. I also do this to try and partially sate my curiosity while simultaneously allowing for the possibility that I'll maybe be able to play a new scenario before GMing it!
In this case, well...after my jaw needed a manual assist in order to close after several minutes of drooling at the cover art, I started skimming. I couldn't help but catch some of the sidebar headers, which made me grin even more as I considered the callback possibilities hiding here. By the time I found the "big" map, my will saves had failed me - I went back to page one and just started reading the scenario cover-to-cover, prepping to GM it immediately - I couldn't resist!
The Lion's Justice does not disappoint! Thrilling story hooks from the moment the PCs get into the briefing, well-written dialogue that is straightforward but doesn't feel like it's "railroading" the party, call-backs all the way from Season 1 that do fit the story, challenging combats that are very well balanced for tier 7-11 PFS play, and (a personal focus of mine when writing scenario reviews) a truly epic plot that the characters can learn during play (rather than only being able to understand by reading the GM material)!!!
This scenario ticks every single box for me as a GM and as a player (who was fortunately able to bring his Taldan Cavalier to play in it a couple of weeks after GMing it). When I GM'd this, I also incorporated art from Book 1 of War for the Crown and created a playlist/soundtrack to enhance the atmosphere! The Lion's Justice is, for me, such an exceptional scenario that it is totally worth the extra effort!
The Lion's Justice is, far and away, my favorite of Season 9 to-date and easily a contender for one of my favorites of all time!
Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-16: House of Harmonious Wisdom (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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"I have pliers" - fun, diverse, and memorable!CanisDirus —
I will probably expand this review in the near future, but after playing and running this quest series multiple times, I find that it never gets old!
From the initial briefing to the final encounter, House of Harmonious Wisdom is a fun (without ever getting too silly) and engaging romp through parts of Tien Xia that don't get seen too often in Organized Play.
Each quest has elements that allow characters of different strengths (martial, social, mental, etc.) to shine, and very few completely "prevent" characters from feeling like they can participate fully. It also allows the characters to learn the plot and backstory of the adventure, which is one of my criteria for giving a five-star review.
Two of my favorite-ever responses from a NPC during a briefing:
"Who would make the harvest festival stew if Wu got his head bitten off? No one, that’s who."
"If it’s shiny and not bolted down, pick it up. If it is bolted down, I have pliers.”
Personal advice to GMs re: Inkstains - After having played this twice and GM'd it at least twice (plus observed another GM run this particular quest once), I think that Inkstains almost works better if the map is not used except for flavor/descriptions. Especially if you are trying to fit #8-16 into a ~4 hour time slot at a convention or game night, running the "encounter" for Inkstains on the map seems to slow things down versus "theater of the mind" style.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-11: The Jarlsblood Witch Saga PDFPaizo Inc.
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A an epic nordic sagaCanisDirus —
This scenario ticks almost all of the boxes for me as a player and as a GM. It has memorable NPCs, it has a story that is engaging that the PCs learn about during the course of play (unless they choose to go off half-cocked, but that's on them rather than the scenario), balanced combats that are still fraught with danger (in answer to those who sometimes worry that PFS combats aren't "hard enough"), optional encounters that make the scenario adaptable to different play styles (and time slots available to GMs), and a potentially epic climax that story-oriented PCs will likely never forget!
If I was *forced* to find something to nitpick? When I played this, my character wanted to learn the "original" name of the disgraced family, but that bit of information couldn't be found.
In an already-great season of PFS adventures, this one is an early contender for my favorite of the year!
A note to GMs - make sure you review the investigation mechanics and how they interface with the finale of the scenario carefully! Trying to "wing" those parts will likely be frustrating to you and also slow down the pace of play big-time!
A fantastic and versatile addition to any GMs collection!CanisDirus —
Even beyond its use for the Pathfinder Society scenario #9-09: Beyond the Halflight Path, Bigger Caverns provides so much variety that I've started carrying it with me for all of my home games as well! Each "room" can be used on its own for individual caves, or you can use a marker to block off a passage or two and make smaller cave networks, in addition to the whole. The art, as always, is crisp and detailed, and (for me, at least) the creases seem to come out easier on this Flip-Mat than on previous installments of the "Bigger" product line. All of this together gets a five-star rating from me!
Wish these were still being made!CanisDirus —
An amazing resource for Pathfinder Society GMs! I just wish these were still being made - I'd buy them for my local GMs to share if I could!
Also makes me wish these came in .pdf format so they could be used by those who run online/digital games!
Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-08—Tyranny of Winds, Part 1: The Sandstorm Prophecy (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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A fantastic and fun romp with only two problems (but one is a potential biggie)CanisDirus —
I ran this last week for a table with a mix of veteran players and relatively new players. Everybody had a good time, and certain parts of it (room with the chest) had them laughing and (mock-horrified) crying and laughing again all within the span of a minute.
There is a good balance of knowledge checks, physical skill checks, social skill checks / RP, combat-that-can't-be-avoided, and combat-that-can-be-avoided. All in all, this is a scenario I would love to run for new players looking to get into PFS/Pathfinder as it has a little bit of everything for everybody. As Yoda would put it, this scenario contains "only what you bring with you" - a combat-heavy party would enjoy themselves, a diplomacy-focused party would enjoy themselves, and a skill-focused party would enjoy themselves, methinks.
As far as I can see, this scenario only has two things working against it. The minor bit is that the PCs spend the lion's share of the scenario interacting with one of two NPCs. The decision as to which NPC they encounter and RP with is almost purely arbitrary - take path A and you meet NPC A or take path B and you meet NPC B. I would have liked it if the GM could be given a little leeway to nudge PCs in one direction or another based on the party's makeup and/or their introduction/briefing RP.
This, however, is really minor, and wouldn't detract from me giving this scenario a 5-star rating if not for the big issue...
The final encounter:
So, we've run this scenario 3 times at our FLGS, and every single time, the PCs' first instinct is to try and find a third solution - to get the two sides to some sort of truce. Even the party that was mostly fighters/melee types looked at 5 elementals in front of them and one behind them and went "Whoa, hold on, we can find a way to work this out, gang," rather than immediately grabbing their weapons. The fact that the scenario doesn't even account for this possibility nor give any guidance at all to GMs (aside from the PFS messageboards where the answer was "nope, you must pick a side or else you fail the mission") is a big gaping hole in an otherwise almost-perfect scenario. I get that in the world of Golarion, there are sometimes groups who simply cannot see eye-to-eye and cannot work together or even come to a truce, but having it boil down to "pick side A or B or fail your mission" feels kind of cheap to me - especially since the side the PCs get the most experience dealing with is chosen in a potentially random way.
PS - Another issue that has nothing to do with the scenario itself but rather the end-matter...for a scenario that forces PCs to make a choice between A and B in such a stark way, it actually baffled me that there were no "Reporting Notes" to indicate which side the PCs chose. One of my players who picked up the scenario after I ran it (to prep it to GM the following week) was so shocked that she couldn't stop herself from vocalizing it, prompting every other player there into a (verbal or visual) "What?!?!" response.
Even though that one issue resonates pretty deeply with me, this is definitely a 5-star scenario that just happens to have one moderately-sized miss in it - not enough for it to be considered in a bad light by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, this one is probably going in my "favorite scenarios to run on short notice" file. All in all - a very fun scenario!
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Path of the Hellknight (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
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They ARE the law!CanisDirus —
So, my first attempt at writing a review when I got my copy got eaten by my computer.
My second attempt at a review got eaten by one of those pre-GenCon days when the Paizo site was acting a little odd.
With all the excitement of Gen Con and even getting to talk with Wes at the Paizo booth and geek out over this book and everything Hellknight...I guess I forgot to redo my super long review? I shall have to perform a pretty serious Reckoning for that kind of an offense, but gladly!
When the Inner Sea World Guide came out, I swore that no other Golarion-centric book would ever top that one as my favorite...well...apparently I need to do another Reckoning for blasphemy! Path of the Hellknight is just dripping with plot hooks and deep cuts of Golarion's unique bastions of law.
In my opinion, Hellknights are one of the things that makes the Golarion setting so unique compared to any other out there. Sure there are Paladins and Antipaladins upholding the extreme ends of the spectrum, but no other setting has a bulwark of law-above-all-else, and this book peels back the curtain on them to help the players and GMs of the Pathfinder Campaign Setting understand and experience them like never before.
This is my absolute #1 favorite book to have ever come out of Paizo, and I do not see that changing for a very, very long time!
Pathfinder Adventure Path #71: Rasputin Must Die! (Reign of Winter 5 of 6) (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
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Absolutely amazing!CanisDirus —
Everything about this book - from Brandon Hodge's introduction to the back-matter to the inside-cover items - was a joy and a pleasure to read!
This is, by far, my favorite book/module/scenario/AP to have read and GM'd - slightly edging out "The Flesh Collector" PFS scenario, even!
My players were having so much fun with this book that I purposefully dragged out RP and certain sections of it so the book took us longer than any of the others, and they loved every minute of it.
As the GM for the most recent two reviewersCanisDirus —
I wholeheartedly agree with and endorse everything they both said.
This scenario was surprisingly easy to prep (even moreso because it's a Tier 7-11, which normally take more rather than less time), and was a blast to run for a fun group.
This one is going on my "Favorite PFS Scenarios to GM" list!
Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–19: Labyrinth of Hungry Ghosts (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Punitive conditions for playersCanisDirus —
I think one of my locals said it best tonight when they described this scenario as "probably written by someone who as a GM hates their players coming up with creative solutions".
There's a lot of complexity in this scenario, and regardless of GM experience level, it's very difficult to fit into a 4 hour time slot. The villains are challenging, yes, but are still very "Skeletor-evil" and sadly not as interesting as they could have been. It was almost painfully obvious that "something was off" in the first conversation with the NPC present, which in all of our tables of this scenario led to PCs dealing with the "problem" immediately, eliminating having a babysitting mission / twist ending. The pirate leader is also given absolutely 0 agency beyond being a cookie-cutter enemy that, thankfully, some of our local GMs allowed to be talked down in the face of being obviously outclassed.
The labyrinth mechanics were also annoying - even with a check of 30+, it still takes the PCs an hour (minimum) to travel from encounter to encounter. Especially at the low tier, that's very punishing, as all but hour-per-level buffs and effects wear off after each encounter. At the high tier it wasn't too horrible, except when a check in the mid-to-high 20s left the PCs with a 4 hour trek for one of the trips.
I will say that the banquet hall was very amusing and was easily my favorite part of the scenario. Watching a rogue, a paladin, and a spiritualist try to aid another to "perform" to free their brawler friends was a great moment.
The penultimate encounter was confusing for one of our younger GMs, who made a judgement call that even though none of the PCs could do the specific performance the scenario required, that making the knowledge check and several very high (30+ diplomacy) checks was sufficient to avoid an unnecessary combat.
The final room is potentially a death trap for a party of players who aren't very much on their "A" game and/or optimized. The persistent conditions for the locale shuts down several character build-types, and unless the PCs bring specific items/weapons to the scenario...that final fight could lead to the PCs ending up like the previous Pathfinder team to enter that space.
Speaking of which - the story and boon from "Halls of the Flesh Eaters" led several people in my area to bring those specific PCs to this scenario...only to end up with one extra paragraph of intro text for their trouble. As far as I can tell having played it and then read it afterward, the boon from #6-06 has absolutely zero applications in #7-19.
Interesting premise, 1 star.
Unfortunately, that's about all I can rate this one at. I may be alone in this, and if so that's okay, but I was really not a fan of this one.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–13: Captive in Crystal (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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This Scenario isn't just Gneiss - it Rocks!CanisDirus —
Yes, I am a Geologist. Yes, I am allowed to make rock puns. Yes, I know it is a slippery slope. No, I'm not sorry :P
After having played this scenario and now having run it twice last week, #7-13 Captive in Crystal is now my favorite scenario of Season 7. I do have a small bit of personal bias in this, but by admitting it, I hope you will forgive it.
First - This is the first Pathfinder scenario/adventure/story/book I have ever read at the time of this review (not written by James Jacobs) that has 100% accuracy when it comes to descriptions of geological phenomena. Every mineral, metal, rock, and gem was set up absolutely correctly and really brought life to an amazing location! Things were so well written that I found myself expounding on the descriptions even beyond the box text - so much so that one of my players told me a few days after playing that he went home that night and looked up a few of the things that were mentioned because he wanted to see what they looked like - and was equally impressed! Win for Pathfinder and win for science!
Second - There are no published adventures that can predict with total accuracy what actions the PCs will take when faced with Plot/NPCs. The best ones give a GM the tools and knowledge to take any action no matter how far-fetched and work it into the adventure without having to utter the hated "beyond the scope of this adventure" line. Captive in Crystal is among the best I've ever seen at these - without making them feel "railroaded" by the story, the GM is given more than enough information to allow the PCs total freedom in how they approach every journey. The PCs can follow any of the breadcrumbs they want to, and it all fits within a four-hour time slot with ease, and not once did I find myself having to say no to any of the players (except when they rolled low)!
Third - Each combat brings something different, and each is well balanced to provide a good challenge for all kinds of parties. I strongly urge anyone who GMs this to find a way to show the full-color artwork for the monsters and NPC that show up after the PCs reach Area A. It didn't matter what minis I used - having the art there for the players to stare at made the fight "feel" a lot more intense!
(Especially at the high tier! GMs, make sure you read the tactics written on Page 9 carefully or you might accidentally kill a PC or two!)
The second-to-last fight was one all the PCs I had tried to avoid, but the GM is given enough information to make the players understand why it has to be done through battle - though most of my players went out of their way to deal non-lethal damage to try and save lives.
The final fight was a solid challenge. In a tier 5-9, the enemies brought things to the table that PCs should be able to deal with, and even though it was close for one of my groups, both tables managed to tackle it and save the Archive. The final fight is the only nitpick I have with the scenario, though, in the form of the combat tactics for the "real" enemy - through reading its story and mission goals, the conclusion I drew was that it would not engage the PCs directly until it felt threatened or at risk of having its mission disrupted. That happened after only 1 round for my first table and 3 rounds for my second table, so I think it worked out very well in the end. The scenario was also vague on whether or not the sonic damage bypassed hardness, but after pre-rolling a dozen rounds both ways, I was able to find the way I think it was intended (ignore hardness and it's 3-6 rounds before the Archive reaches its 1st threshold and 10-12 for the 2nd. If you allow hardness it's ~10 rounds for the 1st and ~25 for the second).
Fourth - The NPCs. Reyshal is now one of my favorite NPCs ever. His story is concise yet deep, and I found it very easy to find a "voice" (accent, cadence, even body language) for him and draw the PCs into RP with him. There's enough meat there that the RP could go on for a bit, but his "trigger" conditions make it easy to avoid letting the RP run on too long, moving "right onto business" with the next part of the scenario, all while making things flow very naturally. I loved "may she reign forever" and worked it in every time he mentioned the Sultana (may she reign forever).
Sorrina was also very well written. The descriptions of her movements were reminiscent of either a seismic trace and/or damp fingers moving on the rim of a wine glass. Both were very evocative of the scenery around her when the PCs arrived in the Archive, and added even more to the atmosphere.
After (py)writing way more than I thought I would...I think it's clear that by my reckoning this scenario is the schist! This is my absolute favorite of Season 7, and definitely on my top 10 of all time PFS scenario list. I would happily run this anytime and anywhere!
Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–22: Out of Anarchy (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Potential for fun story asphyxiated by whale blubberCanisDirus —
(Title is a brief homage to one of the best RP points of the scenario that my players had tonight)
This scenario is basically the chapter on Pezzack taken right out of the Campaign Setting book. As such, the story is good, the NPCs given solid descriptions and agency and their own agendas, and the "feel" of the setting is rather well done.
That's about all I can say about this scenario that is good. To put things in perspective - tonight was my 320th GM table in PFS, and this is only the second time in over 4 years that I did my first read-through of a scenario and went "Ya know, I really don't want to run this."
(For reference, the other was when someone handed me Race for the Runecarved Key for the first time at GenCon 2012 and asked if I felt comfortable running it on ~30 minutes notice)
The PCs can literally sleep at location A1 for 2 days, doing nothing else, and have almost the exact same chances of getting full XP, PP, and Gold as if they had gone through all of the nearly pointless hoops this scenario throws at them.
I imagine from the player's side that it's not too bad, since until after they're done, they don't know that the GM is tracking influence points after every single thing they do (thank god for the folks who posted checklists and/or guides to pfsprep.com) which have almost no effect on anything in the scenario.
Heck, the four factions - ostensibly the most important mechanic to navigate, only changes the flavor of who asks you to do encounter C and who attacks/helps you at D. These events are virtually unchanged regardless if you interact with the factions at all or not.
In an effort to be clever, the PCs are given a "coded message" that correctly points them at the location in part A that will provide them the answers they seek. A smart party will think to go there first, and then have no use for any of the other elaborate mousetrap-games in the other part A locations (mine did, and almost felt cheated that they got the only information they really needed from their very first foray into town, and spent the rest of part A exploring for the heck of it since they had 2 days in-game to kill before something scripted happens).
All in all, not fun to prep and not fun to run.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–02: Six Seconds to Midnight (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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A fun romp in Uringen, but.CanisDirus —
A great scenario with only one demerit against it - the puzzle. It seems like it was meant to be something math/dice-related, but it ended up being something weird that wasn't related to any of the clues that the scenario gave in a neat way...so not entirely sure what happened between the writing and the editing of this one...
That said, other than the puzzle, this one is a fun and great romp around with fey and time-magic, with some rather memorable NPCs who I hope show up in the future (hopefully from the same author?)!
Almost perfect in every detail!CanisDirus —
Iconic Set #4 was a miss for me, but after how amazing I found The Rusty Dragon Inn set, I decided to ask my FLGS to order a set of Iconic Heroes #5, hoping they'd help me regain and keep my faith in the Pathfinder Battles line.
Boy howdy, has it!
Oloch is, dare I say it, almost (insert "My Cousin Vinny" hand gestures here) *identical* in mini-form to his art in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game books, down to the tiniest detail! Kess and Adowyn came out looking amazing, as did Leryn - now *that* is how a head tattoo should come out! The layering on the fur was, as my friend at the FLGS put it, exquisite!
The only things that weren't 100% perfect are tiny nitpicks - Zadim's pose seems to have made his middle section a bit more robust than he appears in art-form, and Enora's face and hair make her look a bit older than she appears - both easily overlooked by how great the rest of them, and their fellows, came out in this set!
Maybe Set #4 was just a fluke?
5/5 once again! Well done, Paizo!
Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–12: The Twisted Circle (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Obtuse and frustratingCanisDirus —
So frustrating, in fact, that I'll just let the other 1-star reviews do most of the talking for me.
This is one of the only adventures to come out of Paizo I've played that made me think to myself, "I don't think I ever want to GM / inflict this scenario on my players."
A *very* close second best set ever!CanisDirus —
I waffled over this for days, but I still think Dungeons Deep is the best set to-date. That said, this set is a VERY close second. All of the sculpts that our local PFS lodge pulled from our sealed case draft were perfect. Very few had funny looking eyes (a regular thing that we just enjoy and even compete to try and get now), and absolutely 0 fell off their bases.
The paint jobs on all the furniture/dressing is exceptional, and the little details on the shields and uniforms of the General from Second Darkness and the various Guards are amazing. Our FLGS sold out of this set within 3 days of them being released!
Top notch work again, Paizo!
(See Edit at bottom - was "High hopes dashed")CanisDirus —
The digital renders for this set had my hopes flying really, really high. I've gotten all of the Iconics sets to-date (it's a great feeling when you're a PFS GM and have them to loan out to new players who in turn get excited about having the exact mini on the board!), and thanks to a holiday gift, was able to grab this one too.
After tonight, though, this may be the last Iconics set I buy.
Apparently a few sets ago the physical sizes of the minis changed (got smaller) compared to the minis that came out with other boxed sets and I just didn't notice until recently - something I'm not a fan of, but if it was to help the quality, I could live with it. Unfortunately, I fear that the smaller size combined with the complexity shown on the digital renders isn't working out very well. Hakon's facepaint looks somewhat comical, as does whatever that is on Crowe's forehead (just a blue smudge, I'm afraid), and Lirianne's hair looked like it was attached to the underside of her hat.
The worst part, for me, was the knowledge that I was paying $5 more for this set...and two of the pieces immediately fell right out of their bases when I first turned the box upside-down to start cutting at the tape - Jirelle and Lirianne will both need superglue to get their feet-pegs to go back into their bases. I had been hoping that with an increase in price, there would be an increase in quality as well, but t'was not to be.
As an avid lover of all of the Pathfinder Battles minis since the Rise of the Runelords set, this one caught me way off-guard with just how disappointing it was. I always feel bad leaving negative reviews, especially for a game and company I absolutely adore, but...yea, this one was a really big miss with me.
Edit - Jan 2018: I'm seriously not sure what happened, but every set since this one has been back to 5-star amazing quality. Outliers happen everywhere, I guess. As such, I'm going back to this review and bumping it up from a 1-star to a 3-star review, in light of the last 2 years of amazing product ever since this one.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–10: The Consortium Compact (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Best "evergreen" scenario to-date!CanisDirus —
Before even running this scenario, I found it very refreshing.
Both of the previous two years' "evergreen" (1-2 repeatable) scenarios were fairly formulaic: Location X, GM rolls 1d6 to determine what's there, Location Y, GM rolls 1d4 to determine what's there. That is not to say that they aren't fun - in fact I do very much enjoy The Confirmation (#5-08) and Wounded Wisp (#6-10), but this one was good enough that I wanted to write a review saying so!
The Consortium Compact poses three challenges to the PCs, and lets them decide on which two to tackle. Unlike in the previous two evergreens, though, there are many different ways that PCs can approach all three of them. Got a combat-oriented party? Tackle Option C and go in guns blazing! Sneaky? Try Option B, and maybe C too! Talky-Diplomatic? Option A screams for player and GM creativity, and so does Option B! And those are just the "examples" that the scenario gives for newer GMs!
That, in and of itself, is another great thing about this scenario - it lends itself well to GMs of all levels. New to being a GM? Stick to the suggested encounters. Veteran GM? The scenario calls out "GM creativity" many times, which was great when I ran it and my party strayed very far off the beaten path going after Objective A!
The "roll 1d6 to determine what's there" does come up, but only at one location near the end of the scenario, and even there, PC/GM creativity and PC ideas/plans really dictate how the encounter(s) transpire, rather than having the either-or of talking-or-fighting (the only two options in several instances of the other evergreens). Want to be sneaky? Aggressive? Sly? Diplomatic? Something I haven't mentioned? Anything can work!
Having the PCs go after 2 of 3 options means that replay will likely never be dull, as you can go after different objectives in different ways, and the final area that is "fixed" has random elements that contribute to it (different entrances/exits used, different gear found, different enemies) that has been a strength in previous evergreens.
Combine all of that with good writing and no major editing flubs in box text or GM instructions (an unfortunately regular bane in many PFS scenarios), plus a very strong chronicle sheet for level 1-2 characters...in my book, that all results in a big 5-star scenario rating!
The only error I noticed:
In Area C, the ladder is in the northwest corner of the map, while the scenario text says northeast.
That's how good this scenario is - I had to nitpick to find anything wrong!
Right out of Rhinelander, WICanisDirus —
Having been to the "home of the Hodag", I think the fact that this mini exists is awesome enough to give it a 5-star rating.
Now I need to get as many of these as I can and get them to all my Geology-Gamer friends (since Rhinelander, WI is a regular stop for my alma mater's Mineralogy class trip).
If you can find them, fantastic for a GM's toolkitCanisDirus —
With some players in my local lodge being *very* arachnophobic, and still others having mild-moderate entomophobia/insectophobia, I've found that nobody reacts badly to these minis on the table. They are my go-to for anything "creepy crawly" that I need!
One of the best sets yet!CanisDirus —
Locally, 10-12 of us pool money and buy a sealed case through our FLGS and then do a "draft". People send in their top picks, which we try to sort through to guarantee everyone 1-3 of their top 5-6 sculpts, and then we go round-robin (most/first money in gets earlier picks, last/least money in join the draft in later rounds). We've almost got it down to a science, but the end of each draft is always tough since invariably the minis that nobody wants are left in large, glaring groups. This has started to discourage people from putting in too much money (which in turn makes getting people together to go in for a case harder), since they tend to end up with several minis they really have little/no interest in at the end.
However, for Dungeons Deep, we saw was fierce competition for all of the sculpts right up to the final picks - there weren't 5 wollipeds sitting around that nobody really wanted waiting for the people who still had picks left at the end this time! For me personally, the only one I didn't really have an interest in was the jelly - I think it looks cool as heck, but its shape meant that I couldn't really have it share space on a flip-mat with a PC's minis (whereas a blank base or alea tools large-sized marker could do the same and still have PC minis standing securely on top), but that worked out okay since those jellys went very early in our drafts!
I changed up my wishlist for minis from this set so much that I ended up taking things that, based on the digital renders alone, hadn't caught my eye as much - the Frost Giant and Gnoll Spellcaster looked amazing, and I may put in more $ to buy a few boosters to try and hunt that Gnoll down since I missed out on it (but I got the sarcophagus, which was my #1, so I'm still happy)!
GM and player alike, everyone had a great time fawning over every single sculpt that came out. As far as durability goes, we're used to a handful of minis breaking pulling them from shells or from transit - our case this time only had two - a dracolisk "clear pole" that pulled out of its base (and was easily glued back in), and a baykok that lost its mace-thing. Not only high-quality detail, but also very well put together, this set! I've heard some comments about the faces of the dwarves, but for us, we liked the way they looked, and I feel lucky that I got my hands on a single Sundering Axe before both them and the barbarians got snatched up!
Even though we only drafted last week, I've already used the dungeon dressing in two PFS scenarios and two sessions of Skull & Shackles AP already, and my players love seeing it on the board (and now they think *everything* could be a mimic, which is awesome too)!
Major kudos for this whole set, Paizo!