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A little gem of an adventureCarl Cramér —
A little gem of an adventure. It is written to be played with kids, but I see no problem using this in my regular gaming group. I would say it is good for gamers of any age *except* 16-22, as some of the concepts are childish and might annoy players who are still finding their adult identity. Also, the adventure uses the full Pathfinder rules, so gamemasters running this for smaller children should either handwave some issues or resolve them behind the screen.
The story is very linear, this is not an investigation but a personal drama, the spiritual quest to save a child in need. For this kind of story, I feel this is a good way to present things.
The prose is elegant and clear, presenting the situations in a way that is a joy to read.
The adventure is no pushover. There are quite tough fights in here, but also situations best resolves without combat. It has some genuinely endearing characters, both good and evil.
Overall, I find this an adventure suitable for children - and for the general public.
Shoddy Conversion From 4ECarl Cramér —
I wanted to love this scenario, and maybe I am acting like a spurned lover in this review.
The production values are good. Coming in at 66 pages (which is oddly not said in the presentation), which after administrative pages leaves us with a scenario of 61 pages. It has a few lovely maps but just one illustration, the cover image.
The adventure itself is a shoddy conversion from 4E to Pathfinder that has many annoying 4E-isms such as skill challenges and set-piece battle setups. At one point it even mentions giving the PCs a short rest. As is natural in 4E, all the conflicts are heavily scripted, except the one hardest to run, where the GM is suddenly left without much support.
The part of the conversion that has been done well is in the stat blocks. These are in Pathfinder format and looking good. The text is also full of the author's notes from playtesting, and this is perhaps the best part of the entire adventure, as it gives suggestions for alternate ways to resolve the conflicts in the scenario. Sadly, the actual text gives a GM little to go on for interactions; NPC personalities are sketchy and NPC motivations childish in an uncompromising way. It is as if the scenario is written for a group that tends to overindulge in social resolutions, with NPCs tailored to lead to combat.
The plot is not bad, with a fairytale feeling. But it is often a romph in the dark, as the PCs encounter a strange land with minimal directions and information. I can see many groups losing motivation at fumbling around with no clear purpose. Other groups might get a sense of wonder out of this, but some kind of guide or other not-an-ashole creature met fairly early on would have lifted the adventure. As it is, the Fey throughout seem to be pests in need of extermination.
The adventure is salvageable. I expect to run it after a fair amount of conversion and general polish. Many of the scenes have great role-playing potential. But it provides too little for a new or inexperienced group and GM and is caught up in many of the things that made people choose Pathfinder over 4E in the first place.
What You See is What You GetCarl Cramér —
The iconic alchemist, this guy has about as much accessories as other pathfinder iconics. I'd expect more on an alchemist, but then again the other models are a bit over-accessorized so taken on its own this is good; it is only comparing to the other iconics it could use more gear. The coat he's wearing flares around the legs, which gives the model a heavyset look; the arms and head feel small compared to the massive lower body. The sculpt is good with lots of detail; figuring out which layer of clothes is which takes some doing, but also gives options to the painter. Overall just below what I've come to expect from bones, it gets only thre stars.
Lumpy BladesCarl Cramér —
Pathfinder's iconic rogue, this feels acrobatic and even lithe. You can believe this woman would be good at stealth and acrobatics. She is also sensibly covered. The model is good, but the face could have more definition and there are many protruding bits that don't cast so well. This could be only my Merishel, but on the picture here it looks like the sword has the same problem; it looks a bit lumpy and has a tendency to bend. I like this model a lot, but these details reduce it to a three-star rating.
Basic WizardCarl Cramér —
This is the Pathfinder iconic wizard, and the model makes him very generic; with another color of clothes and hair, this can be almost any active spellcaster. Like all iconics, he has a lot of accessories, but here it works without cluttering the model. The model is quite big, put it beside a warrior and it seems almost as beefy.
OverdetailedCarl Cramér —
The pathfinder iconics in their bones versions are very well equipped and accessorized, and here that went a bit overboard. Deiya has so much detail that the model becomes a bit cluttered. With a good paint job and seen up close, this can be marvelous, but as a game piece it can look motley and be hard to see. That said, the pose and mien of the model is nice, and the sculpt is without blemish in the high quality we expect from bones.
Powerful BarbarianCarl Cramér —
Amiri doesn't mess around, and neither does this model. Hefting a big two-handed sword and with the handy javelins on her back, the gear makes sense for a barbarian. The pieacemeal armor also gives flexibility; you can use this for almost any light or medium armor. The bare midriff and bustier sash manage to look powerful and not exploitative, at least to my eyes. The drawbacks are in the weapons; they tend to flipflop when the figure is handled, which makes it feel less than solid.
Accessory WarriorCarl Cramér —
This is Kyra, and her holy symbol, and her sword, sheathe, pouches, sashes, and more. It really looks like a well-equipped female adventurer, no bimbo here. The pose is active if not dynamic. Sculpt is good; a bit more facial depth would have made painting it easier.
Elegant Small GuyCarl Cramér —
This model can of course be used as Lem, but also serves well as any elegant halfling or gnome. The flute can be seen as a rod of office or magic if preferred (the flute holes are clearly visible, but only really close). This is nice flexibility, I find this gets used a lot when the party has an employer of a small race. Overall a very nice bone model, nice with a halfling that doesn't look like a rogue.
Spiky SeltyrielCarl Cramér —
Capturing the dual nature of the eldrish knight, this model could also be a necromancer, he is so tattered. His body almost looks spiky. The familiar in his hand looks very good, the sword is quite thin. Overall a good model.
Boxy SeelahCarl Cramér —
Nicely sculpted with lots of detail to the high bones standards, this model nevertheless feels boxy. The pose is static and the body more heavyset than it has to be. If you like a female warrior that isn't waifish, this is for you.
Sexy GraceCarl Cramér —
In a dynamic pose with robes and braids fluttering, this is a model that is both delicate and powerful. Cast is to the usual high bones standards, no blemishes even in the little parts.
Bendy BladesCarl Cramér —
Nicely sculpted to high bones standards, this model is full of detail in equipment and has an action-filled pose. As shown on the picture the blade of his word is bent sideways, which is hard to change.
Hydra of Unusual SizeCarl Cramér —
This is a lovely, detailed, well-executed model. The five heads are expressive, the spiked tail looks dangerous, and the difference between the upper and lower scales gives the entire piece definition. The cast and sculpt are at the high end of bones.
The trouble is basing it top be a game piece; this is way to small to be a Huge model, but needs a base of around 70 mm. The height is higher than a human but shorter than an ogre. It could be mounted on a much smaller base and the tail sticks out far, far behind. Maybe the tail can be bent over the head like a scorpion tail or coiled, but this change seems difficult even for the normally bendable bones.
The model comes in three pieces; body with a single head, and two pieces with 2 heads each. Assembly is easy. Unlike most bones but like many bones monster, this does not have an integral base, and can really benefit from some basing.
I am giving it 3 stars because of the difficulties mentioned above; if you want it as a showpiece and not as a game piece, I'd say its worth 4 stars, tough then I would still want it to be larger.
Featureless PirateCarl Cramér —
A pirate carrying a chest of loot and wielding a cutlass, this is the archetypal pirate minion. Sadly, the sculpt has "minion" written all over it, with less detail and less sharpness to the sculpt than most bones. It is ok, but definitely not spectacular. The face gives a bit of an Afrcian feel to me, which is cool because it is rare, but sort of wasted by the lack of other merits. Good try, but poor execution.
Sultry Undead or Insect QueenCarl Cramér —
The picture gives a good sultry of this picture; a sultry woman in decaying clothes with a great deal of metal hardware close at hand. She is partially covered in what could be goo or the remains of something long decayed. The result is a sultry queen of the undead, or possibly a human partially assimilated by insects. The high collar could just as well be vestigial mandibles. I painted the clothes in a murky green and feel the model can now play both roles.
The swords are part of the same cast, folded back on itself and attached to the back of the model. When painting this model, I found I could detach the swords in the back, which made painting the back of the body a lot easier. The cast pulls of the bending trick well and is overall up to the high bones standard. It could become spectacular with a good paint job, but despite relief and many details it is somewhat hard to paint well, at least it was for me.
Scary Skin-ShredderCarl Cramér —
Similar to the flesh golem above, but larger and more gruesome. This also has a bare anatomy, but here the skin is actually still left in places, peeling off in others. This makes the figure gross on the scary side, most certainly a monster. Production values are otherwise up to bones standards. This model is big, likely Large, but like many bones it is stuck in the middle between two Pathfinder size categories, too big for Medium, a bit small for Large. This is not a major problem tough, and actually gives some added flexibility.
Heroic Dwarf FemaleCarl Cramér —
This is a very heroic dwarf female, standing resolutely with axe and shield. She also sports a throwing axe on the inside of the shield. Little details like that lift a model from good to superior. The device on her shield is an arrow pointing up, which makes me think of a cleric of law, but this could be any fighting class really. The pose is heroic, but avoids excesses, which makes this feel like a solid dwarf. Cast is up to bones standards.
Monstrous Anatomy LessonCarl Cramér —
This looks like a big man missing his skin. If you paint it green with purple pants it might seem heroic, but overall it is quite monstrous. Normally I'm not fond of over-muscled monstrous humans, but this is clearly one of the better ones. It has a mix of humanity and monster that makes it look tragic, not just dangerous. Excellent as a flesh golem or for a master chymist's alternate form, it can also be a lord among zombies. Cast is up to the high bones standards. In size, it is a very big Medium.
Native American With KatanasCarl Cramér —
This figure is a little confused in its origin. It is very tall, weilds two katanas, and has the accessories and general look of a Native American in a very short tunic. Perfect for those Shadowrun games, it is still a fantasy figure and has no obvious high tech anywhere. I felt the modeling on the face was slightly below the high bones standard, but this is still a beautiful figure if you don't mind it being somewhat sexualized.
Pirate Royalty?Carl Cramér —
To me, this evokes the image of a king more than a pirate. This is not a bad thing, it is an expression of the power of the model. A bit larger than other humans, which makes sense for this figure. Keeps up the high bones standards.
Bats on the GraveCarl Cramér —
A tombstone surrounded by circling bats - perfect to evoke that feeling of lurking horror. The tombstone has a bat and some text, which is nice if you do a dry brush job but might have to be cut away if you want a particular name on the stone. The bats are really swarming, it is hard to make out individual bats, but enough to go by if you want to pick out some bats in a contrasting color. While flat, the sculpt is dynamic enough that this doesn't feel artificial. The cast is up to the usual high Bones standards. The model is sized for a base around 25 mm, the integral base is even smaller. I put it on a 40 mm base and it carried its weight pretty well. Very nicely done, 5 stars.
Low on the ReliefCarl Cramér —
In my opinion this does not live up to the standard of Bones. The pose is pretty static, and the sculpt is in low relief - the details are nowhere as sharp as in other bones. This makes the model more realistic and less toonified, but as a game piece it might well look flat unless you give it an exceptional paint job. Two stars, others may well like this model much better than I do.
Electric GuitarCarl Cramér —
Sporting a sword and what could be generously described as leather armor, the feel of this model is still "rock star" and not "bard". And the guitar definitely looks modern. Perhaps this should be in the Chronoscope range? Still, a nice enough model, up to the usual high Bones standards. I give it 4 starts because the model deserves it, avoiding any deduction for being doubtful in the Dark Heaven range.
Barbarian or Bloodrager?Carl Cramér —
Clad in piecemeal armor and standing at what looks like the top of a cliff, this model looks heroic. There are a lot of details in clothing and armor to make this stand out. Technically, it is up to the high Bones standard. Though the sword is obviously intended to be two-handed, she is not holding it in two hands - one hand is free right beside the hilt of the blade. You can glue this had to the blade for added stability, or keep it as it is to give the idea that she is using a flexible technique or even using that hand to cast a spell. Model is large for a Mediujm creature, but part of this is the custom sloped base.