Chris O'Reilly's page

FullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 256 posts (321 including aliases). 13 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 12 Organized Play characters. 1 alias.



Sign in to create or edit a product review.

Our Price: $3.99

Add to Cart

Enjoyable Sandbox

****( )

We played low tier but we were at the higher end of the APL curve and had good characters for the scenario. As such the scenario was much less challenging than we were expecting but it was still enjoyable. I havent read the scenario but found it interesting enough that I will probably get it just to read all the background.

Likes
Flavorful location
Sandbox nature

Dislikes
Length- I take it the scenario has instructions for how to fit into a 4 hour slot but the completionist in me doesnt like the feeling that I didnt get "the full experience"
Faction Missions- We had both faction missions at the table and both just seemed like "succeed at what you were going to do anyway" kinds.
Difficulty- I actually wish this had been more... kyle baird. We had a strong party for this scenario so that probably wont be the experience for most people. When you have a reputation as a writer, though, its a blessing and a curse!


Our Price: $3.99

Add to Cart

Nice setting but a little grueling

***( )( )

We played high tier with 4 players. Our apl was 3 so I think we actually should have played down with the 6 player settings but I wasn't going to question our VC and VL who were there. I'm judging the scenario as if we had played down, otherwise I'd have to give the scenario a worse score for being too difficult.

We all agreed we liked the setting and the theme. We were a bit confused as others note why we wouldn't just leave when we got the mcguffin.

I often have difficulties envisioning things and I think some of the holo deck style features here stretched me beyond my limit so I gave up trying to figure things out cartographically like.

As for the tech I understand pfs uses standard pathfinder rules and so tech is hard to identify but being barraged with it, when you're trying to hold back your out of character knowledge, was met with all the enthusiasm you'd expect.

combats:
The combats were, even if we had a level or two more among us, a bit much. I get the robot thing but many more low level fights with hardness and I'm just going to start zoning out and playing on my phone. A guy can only take so much. We had a bad team for this one, natural attackers and just no big two handed fighter types or magi who are really the only ones who do okay. I like difficult combat in the sense of making you think, not in the sense of hoping the one guy with the adamantine weapon rolls well while you sit there.

We didn't have the faction for the faction mission but it sounded both interesting and difficult.

Overall I think this was a good introduction to season 6 and suffers from the faults I hope don't keep showing up in season 6. I wouldn't recommend playing this unless you are on the higher side of the apl for your tier. Having played this I feel inclined to NOT run it for others.

teaser:
I was a little disappointed there was no puzzle, the Npcs teased one and got my hopes up


Our Price: $3.99

Add to Cart

Too much for one scenario

**( )( )( )

This scenario is really just some unrelated mini missions over a bland backdrop. We played high tier, Scarab Sages, Exchange, and Liberty's Edge missions. I was curious so I read through the scenario after but am only judging based on our actual experience playing. We seem to have got some of the less interesting missions, but that could just be personal opinion.

Scarab Sages
The most tacked on mission. Relatively unexciting and over quickly. Also has the worst story wrap up. So long Amenopheus!

Spoiler:
The trap killed an animal companion, so I guess theres that

Exchange
The puzzle(?) seemed to just be a time filler. The final combat was actually touch and go for us. I normally complain about suboptimal NPCs but this seemed about right. Story wise this faction never really made sense to me and the scenario handles it awkwardly but I don't know what else they should have done save not have combined the factions.

Spoiler:
I love the 3 sided combat thing and would like to see more of it. Im the type that likes seeing stats for important NPCs so I like that they included Guaril's

Libery's Edge
Best of the three. A nontraditional scenario like this begs for nontraditional encounters and this delivered. Again the wrap up doesnt particularly make sense to me but thats not really a problem with the scenario but rather the decisions to change the factions.

Backdrop
The party backdrop thing was fairly blah and a little lockstep. You are talking to some important people when a messenger pulls you away. Id like to have seen the backdrop integrated into the story more either as the second prestige or the boons being from influencing the events at the party. In an inherently disintegrated story you have to really work hard to make the connections relevant.

A few of the missions look kind of neat (Taldor, Grand Lodge, Cheliax) so if you know youll be playing those then maybe this would be okay. On the whole, though, trying to wrap up all the faction changes with one scenario just proved too heavy a task and this scenario suffers for it. I would still play it or read through it just to know what happened, but don't expect a super exciting game.


Our Price: $3.99

Add to Cart

Average

***( )( )

We played high tier with 7 party members who seemed to have everything this scenario asked for. The distinguishing feature of this scenario seemed to be the challenging combats but we did not have that experience. As such the scenario was simply average, not bad but not one Im rushing to go GM myself so that others can experience it. Heavy on the Numeria stuff so avoid if you are trying to play around the sci-fi scenarios.

The location, actually, is pretty terrible but I'm not going to deduct points or anything.

Spoiler:
When we heard about rearranging the Blackrose Museum we all agreed it sounded like an open excuse to ignore continuity. There were also a lot of empty and seemingly useless rooms. On the one hand you dont want every room to have a big bad or else you get spam buffs at the door syndrome but a bit more streamlining would have been nice

The BBEG was kind of neat in a different way but our table didn't really get to experience it fully. I personally like the idea and wish to see more strange and non standard monsters that require adapting tactics.

Spoiler:
Our paladin remove disease lay on hands'ed the guy, succeeded, and then he got chopped up with a swarmbane adamantine weapon. The swarm did infest one guy but was again expelled before the round was over.

The Boon is the kind I want to see more of in the future

Spoiler:
Interesting, character defining roleplay boons. Expensive enough so everyone doesnt just take it because why not.


Our Price: $3.99

Add to Cart

I kind of loved it.

*****

A lot of the reviews seem to say this is a love it or hate it scenario, which I can see, but chalk up one for the love it column. We played high tier with the 4 person adjustments due to APL but we had 6 players.

Mass Combat Portion
No one at the table had experience playing with the mass combat rules but we didn't find them particularly difficult to go over and learn there. I think we used 3 special armies for the first part and 4 for the second engagement and am not sure if the DM used the 4 player adjustment, since there actually was 6 of us and the tiers didnt seem to affect the troops I probably wouldn't as the DM.

I immensely enjoyed this part, maybe because I seemed to be playing one of the "better" special armies but still had some nail biter moments when I went one way expecting people to follow and they go the other way. These combats are by no means a free win as the way mass combats work the die rolls are very important. One of our special armies got destroyed early in the second part by awesome rolls from the enemy side. Our Gm had us only do 1 melee phase each day while still being locked in combat allowing the slower armies to not be entirely locked out. Looking at the rules I can see that interpretation and I think it overall helped the play experience even though I had one of the faster move armies.

The Rest
The rest of the scenario was actually just kind of "okay" but I can see not having the page count for elaborate maps or much else. I didn't get a read how difficult the first encounter would have been since I get the impression the GM was softballing for the lower levels who had to play up due to the APL.

Spoiler:
I actually like the troop mechanic and would love to see more of it. It serves to make otherwise irrelevant or difficult to run threats into workable ones. I dont feel like their inclusion overloaded with new rules or anything and we all found the encounter to be pretty intuitive.

Some reviews claimed the final encounter was easily neutered if you had the specific party makeup to beat it but really what can't you say that about in Pathfinder. We didn't have the magic makeup to trivialize the encounter and I found it to be of appropriate difficulty.

Spoiler:
And I say this being the guy who got force punched out the window and just got to watch the second half. Looking back I think our GM ran the spell wrong as a successful save negates the movement and ours had a save for half the movement, still knocking me out the window, but it didn't negatively impact the play experience.

Faction Missions
One faction mission was quite nice and the other was forgettable.

Spoiler:
We had 4 silver crusaders and this was my second time to actually get to play a scenario with the correct faction this year. The Silver Crusade mission I found to be quite uninteresting, basically just being one of those make the right skill check and succeed tings. I think the Taldor mission was probably the best example of a faction mission I have seen. The Silver Crusade boon is entirely worthless but the Taldor boon is decent for being really the culmination of multiple boons. Its not particularly interesting but I think it fits and is powerful enough.

Overall
I would say the main negative to this scenario is that you definitely want to assume it will run long. I could see this being a problem to run at conventions with the time limit and the noise and distractions making learning a new system difficult. I hope to see more mass combat and an even expanded system with consumption and the works. A scenario (or module, please?) centered around raising some sort of customizable army for a mass combat section would probably be the best thing to ever happen. I could totally see using GM stars to play this again and using a different army to feel like a different scenario.

Alright, I lied - the worst thing about this scenario is that if there aren't more like it I will be disappointed.


Our Price: $3.99

Add to Cart

Enjoyable

****( )

This is a good roleplay heavy scenario and I enjoy when those are offered. If you don't know that beforehand and roleplay does not appeal to you or your character is not situated for it, then you will probably not have that much fun.

As mentioned before the scenario also features a nice twist on the chase mechanic.


Add Print Edition $24.99 $12.49

Add PDF $17.99

Non-Mint Unavailable

Hopefully a victim of the format change


I would give this 2 1/2 stars. The following is from a GM perspective.

My first impression after reading this module was that it seemed like it was developed for the old module format (1 level), caught in the switch to the 3 level format and stretched. The middle third of the module is especially suspicious and could reasonably be reduced to a random encounter table without losing anything.

I liked the idea that it seems to start from one villain and build a module around exploring the machinations and ramification of that one bad guys actions. Although...

Spoiler:
The scenario revolving around a succubus' plots isnt exactly rare and replacing a succubus with a kissing cousin version and a different alignment doesnt quite stand out enough

As another review noted the story itself was kind of thin as its based around these few setpiece NPCs which fall pretty flat. My players pegged the plot from the get go as it was all relatively predictable.

Gameplay wise, I felt the module was underwhelming in presenting a challenge. Players around here like their optimization (we had a gunslinger, witch, life oracle, and swashbuckler) and nothing presented was interesting without being doctored up. That being said in these things theres always one encounter markedly out of line difficulty wise.

Spoiler:
Second to last battle, players climb down a chimney into three waiting, hasted, alchemists likely joined by the next rooms inhabitant, an alchemical golem. Bombs away!

None of the unique monsters were really something Id be interested in seeing again and the same for the items

Minor gripes:
The players expressed dissatisfaction with the quest and reward system as essentially all their rewards were deferred until the end of the adventure when they came back to claim them. Maybe thats fine as part of a large campaign but we ran this as a one-shot adventure.

The provided map is a bit odd, as another review said. Better than the Wardens of the Reborn Forge one but having a provided map for floor one of three is a bit throwing.

Editing. example, it seems like all the unique monsters health was listed wrong in the module run. It didnt match with the stats at the back of the book.

Wins:
The module seemed to get more background information across than average. Normally these things have pages of backstory that only the Gm will ever get to know.

The art was particularly nice.

All in all the module seemed kind of... lacking. I really enjoyed Dragons Demand and at least Wardens was alright but this one, if it wern't for the Pathfinder Society credit tie-in I think we would have just flat abandoned it partway through and not looked back. I am inclined not to play the next module, the pirate theme does not interest me to begin with and this module did not really do much to get me excited in the modules line.


Our Price: $3.99

Add to Cart

Very Baird

****( )

We played this with three players and a pregen, high tier, non challenge, and I have not seen the scenario.
This scenario was enjoyable in a challenging way. There wasn’t much more to the scenario than encounters, though, so if they fall flat or that isn’t what you are looking for I’d avoid this one. I thought the plot would relate more to the overall story arc but it kind of felt a bit arbitrary. Overall though it’s a solid scenario that I don’t see being anyone’s favorite, really.
First Encounter

Spoiler:
The teleport right into an encounter thing is kind of uninspired and showing the players the location and then still ambushing them seems a bit of a “gotcha” moment. The actual encounter type is one that I’ve heard complaints about where you are inundated with saves and can easily end up just sitting watching others play. Features the first of two effects that target your items, which players might see as “unfair.” The faces people make when you tell them something is targeting their items is something to see, though.
EDIT: I don't mean to say PCs should never have to face control effects but having three is about the limit of good taste. Save or die effects are fine in moderation, a scenario that just chucks them at you until one sticks is a different matter, for example. At some point why not just go for the gusto and have there be dual cursed oracle variant demon pugwampi riders too.

Second Encounter
Spoiler:
The traps seem at odds with the monster, is it supposed to be nonlethal or what. This time you have a persistent control effect, so hope you have not one but two good die rolls in your future or, again, you get to sit and watch others play. I personally loved having an excuse to walk out of the fight but there will certainly be people who don’t feel the same

Third Encounter
Spoiler:
I really don’t like the tapestry as a plot device because it just seems like carte blanche to throw random things at you. Anyway this features another teleport you right into an encounter mechanic although the encounter itself was not particularly noteworthy. Plot wise it featured two competing interests, both of which seemed shoehorned in and didn’t relate to the overall goal. At the sight of the monkey men things I got excited looking back to my first chronicle for the character, Azlant Ridge, but there was no connection.

Fourth Encounter
Spoiler:
We did not actually fight the pathfinders (we were 3 CHA based casters each with a different social skill) but were told after that it was possible. I guess this is supposed to constitute a roleplay moment.

Final Encounter
Spoiler:
This encounter seems like it can go a few ways based on how the gm reads its abilities. It features multiple attacks all with grab and constrict almost encouraging strange attack-grab-constrict-drop shenanigans. Again, it features a passive save or sit and watch aura (and a quickend glitterdust?). It seems like the effects should break on everyone affected if any are damaged but I could see that being easily overlooked leading to problems. I haven’t seen the scenario but I hope it points out the way it intends to be run to prevent any undue confusion and/or deaths.

Plot
Spoiler:
I say the plot almost felt arbitrary since we are saving this base camp… from some plant that literally just happened to spawn on the camp. The blurb mentions saving some notable npcs but they just pop back out at the end and are never really involved in a meaningful way. This is the first mention of Amara Li Ive seen since she retired but it just feels like a name drop since shes not relevant at all. I also thought we were going to have to track down and collect the key rock things but, coincidence, they happened to be right with the BBEG. I went out of my way to play this on the character I played Mammoth Lords with expecting a connection but this scenario really could have taken place anywhere and with anyone.

Faction
Spoiler:
We had a silver crusader but ended up doing grand lodge inadvertently (its not really out of the way). Its an acceptable faction mission that doesn’t seem tacked on and offers some player choice.


Our Price: $3.99

Add to Cart

Surprisingly... Great!

*****

This review comes from the POV of a player, low tier, 3 players and a pregen to make a legal table. I havent seen the scenario.

I had read the negative reviews and so was expecting a rather ho-hum adventure but I am glad I didn't believe the hype. We just barely split into two tables with the some experienced players breaking off to play this same scenario. Their game lasted probably 2 hours as they likely turned the game into a lockstep follow the breadcrumbs game like the other reviews complained about. I was with two newer players and we took the game off the rails and it was quite enjoyable.

Other reviews might be right in that the game requires the GM to roleplay important NPCs and requires the players to, gasp, interact in turn. Maybe this scenario doesnt hold up to the increasingly highly optimized group but it really was quite enjoyable.

If your table views npc interaction and a diplomacy roll as one in the same then this probably is a rather lackluster scenario. But we can't really blame the scenario for that.


Our Price: $3.99

Add to Cart

Entirely Forgettable

**( )( )( )

This review is from the perspective of a player, low tier 6 players, who has not seen the scenario.

This scenario features an investigation which is rather lockstep and railroad-y, even more so than other investigations. God's Market Gamble is one of my favourite scenarios whereas this investigation fell flat. Perhaps investigations are better as low-level fodder.

Encounter wise this scenario feels like they went out of their way to include overused enemies which contributed to the overall bland feeling.

Spoiler:
Oh hey the bad guy is in league with a necromancer, so have 2 fights with zombies. And some swarms for good measure! And some rogue NPCs, I think all shopkeeper NPCs are rogues at this point

The highlights of the scenario are that, being set in Kaer Maga, it features a requisite appearance from Miss Feathers and that the final encounter was refreshingly difficult (our party composition was also sub par).

The scenario began with a briefing that gave me high hopes but quickly turned into standard pathfinder fare.

Spoiler:
The briefing led me to believe we would be involved in some high politicking faction warfare, perhaps having to navigate some moral dilemmas when really it was, as usual, simply find the suspiciously incriminating evidence the bad guy left lying around

All in all this was not a bad scenario per-se but if you are attending a convention or game day and have a choice between this and some other scenario the safe bet is to play the other scenario. We did have a Sczarni and an Andoran but neither was too informed on their faction storyline. Perhaps this scenario would have resonated more if our specific characters were more involved in the backstory but with the new faction mission system it seems rare (in our area, at least) for characters to have played the right scenarios to be properly invested.


Our Price: $3.99

Add to Cart

Above Average

***( )( )

This review is from the perspective of a player, high tier with 4 player adjustments. I have not read the scenario, so I will edit this review if it turns out I was mistaken about anything. I had played part 2 but not part 1 of the series. We normally run tight 4 hour slots but did this in 6. Beware it might run long!

I would qualify this as an above average scenario. There were multiple chances for roleplay with at least mildly interesting characters. Combats were on the easy side, but we play in a rather high powered area.

Spoiler:
I really liked that a few combats challenged the typical "back row" pcs. I do not know if that was Gm choice or included tactics but the bullette things and the teleporting incubi made for very nice combats

My biggest complaint is that, again not knowing the exact mechanics, this scenario seems to encourage the murderhobo style so frowney face to that.
Spoiler:
Your gold gained gets reduced if you dont pathfinder some NPC hellknights (and their dead) that you find. You also have to pay an NPC for a mcguffin. Presumably you can also just choose to do things by force an save some money.

This seems to be one of the scenarios that hinges on a morale debate question, which I am not a fan of. As it happened all of our characters were the type that couldn't care less, so the climax fell short
Spoiler:
BBEG is a lich, fight her and you pretty much throw away your prestige. Otherwise you loose a lich on the world. None of our characters were the types to loose sleep over such a decision. I did get her to make me a duke before she left so maybe shes actually a nice lady deep down inside. Anyway, I hope she features again sooner rather than later, I guess depending on how other tables report they handled the situation

All in all I would say this is the best of the 7-11s of season 5, if you are deciding on one of the three to play.


Our Price: $3.99

Add to Cart

Nicely Different

***( )( )

This review comes from A GM point of view. Table played low with 6 players (3 new 3 experienced).
This is an old scenario and the age shows but not quite as much as some other scenarios of the season. Overall I consider this to be a middle of the pack scenario with the potential to frustrate players as the entirety of the scenario is basically made to stymie and aggravate. Some of the low tier encounters seem disproportionately difficult compared to their high tier versions.

Spoiler:
Encounter 1: Weapon immune swarm in entangled terrain, dangerous combination for new people. One direct alchemist fire could end the encounter, or you could miss 4 like my group and have this grind everyone until this isn't fun anymore (touch ac is high, plus entangle, close quarters tends to mean cover). Becomes rat swarms at high tier which take half weapon damage and become arguable easier.
Encounter 2: Burning building seems hard to come into real effect, monster inside too easy for rounds to pile up. Allow full use of intelligent tactics so he can use darkness/invisibility to become relevant, if the theme of this scenario is annoying fights
Encounter 3: Gnomes have a high diplomacy DC for this level, encounters that use many (8 in this case) low CR creatures to generate a CR appropriate encounter is really bad design
Encounter 4: Snakes and easy to detect traps on a bridge. Could be a conversion issue but the low tier snakes have much better to-hits than higher tier(via Gm shared prep folder)
Final Encounter: Interesting idea of playing keep-away rather than a brawl. Would have required more time than allowed to play to its full conclusion. Vastly different encounter with 6 party members (they can box him in and maneuver better). I would like to see more "combats" with alternate goals like this.


Our Price: $3.99

Add to Cart

Love it or Hate it

**( )( )( )

For reference this is the first scenario I have felt the urge to review having played and/or GMed 50-75 total and my experience comes from both playing and running this scenario for Pathfinder Society. I feel that roleplay centric scenarios are either going to be loved or hated and, unfortunately, this one just didn't do it for me. It asks characters to make moral decisions and so plays with the player-character boundaries in a way that doesn't appeal to me. Detailed rating (with spoilers) follows.

Spoiler:

Length: Medium to long. We finished in 4 hours both times, there is no optional encounter. Length will depend upon length of roleplay and investigation elements.
Experience: Played/GMed high tier with 6 at least moderately optimized characters (as is normal for our area). The combats were fairly uninteresting but seem appropriate for parties at the intended power level. From a GM side it includes a magus and an alchemist in tight quarters so you have to make sure to do your prep in advance if you dont know all the intricacies of each class.
Story: This is a story driven module. The developers can't begin to answer every question that might come up in a mystery style adventure but there was a lot that the GM will be asked to fill in. When I ran the scenario once Demrick said his piece about Tercio winning the recent election the table sad straightaway that they knew he was the culprit but now just had to prove it.
Roleplay: There were potentially strong roleplay elements if your characters want them. Both times I went through this, though, none of the back and forth dealing in either the magus or alchemist encounter had changed anyone's mind. People came in with their preconceived notions of what their character's would do and did not deviate. Ex: "Well, I'm Silver Crusade so we'll never take your offer no matter what you say, ever."
Combat/Challenges: Few encounters are able to appropriately challenge characters in our play area who seem to operate at a higher than average optimization level. The final confrontation combines a fairly weak build alchemist and a situation unfavorable to her. One encounter (some advanced wolves) actually fits the story (the town is being overwhelmed due to lack of guards) but left some players feeling like it was a wasted encounter.
Maps: Two cramped combats. Nothing exciting, but it was a welcome respite from over grand maps.
Boons: Peoples faces when the get the "you will be remembered in the future" boons say it all, and I believe that is the second of two for Taldor like that.
Uniqueness: It was different to have a scenario that revolved around a moral dilemma decision. What I and some others mentioned disliking was feeling like you are "fighting" your group to make the main decision in the scenario. It is likely that at least one person will walk away feeling sidelined for being outvoted. I would have *loved* to have seen the decision be played out individually with, maybe, each PC getting to make their decision by being a witness at trial or something.
Faction Missions: This scenario would be much more interesting to play with characters pursuing both faction missions as, while they do not outright conflict, they can add some extra tension. Having only one mission present will likely change the course of the table.
Followup: The wrap up denouement could have been explored more, although time was obviously limiting (have the players present evidence at trial, other scenarios do this but it feels fitting). The decisions you make largely affect your prestige and get reported to affect the flow of the campaign later. I guess my feelings on this scenario will largely depend on how this is followed up on. For a scenario to revolve around a "hard" decision that decision has to actually generate some sort of conflict in each character and for us it just didn't.