Saintly Knight

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**** Pathfinder Society GM. 59 posts. 13 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 22 Organized Play characters.



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The best part of Fallout games in a table top

5/5

This adventure is great! It is a solid Starfinder adventure that takes the humor of the Fallout games and combines it with the heroics of Cloud City. Not only are there a number of times where the PCs get to do genuinely heroic things, they will also be laughing while doing them.


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A good adventure with one major flaw

4/5

Over all this is a good adventure. It gives us a chance to get a lot of the flavor of both Eox and the Diaspora and it gives us some interesting fights. Its only major flaw is that at one point the primary antagonists act incredibly stupidly for no explained reason (see spoiler for details).

Spoiler:
In the second half of the adventure, the PCs have to do an investigation and the in-story reason why the investigation is so easy is that the antagonists want the PCs to succeed so they can be lured into a trap. This then leads the PCs into three really hard fights one after another. … the problem is that there is no reason given for why these fights are separate. The first fights is with an giant soul eating monster (which has no ranged attack, so it can be easily killed if any of the PCs can fly by the way) and the second fight is with a woman who keeps the monster as a pet and is in a building right next to it. She is apparently supposed to not hear the sound of combat 20 feet away and join in. If the GM does decide to have her join in, then the fight goes from hard (assuming no one has flying or a vehicle) to incredibly hard. Then the PCs have to fight the remainder of the antagonists (who didn’t join in the previous fights for no explained reason). So to review, the primary antagonists are intelligent enough to lay a trap for the PCs, but then divide their forces into three waves (for no explained reason) that the PCs can rest between fighting.


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Might have been a good Pathfinder adventure, but a poor Starfinder one

2/5

This adventure starts with some fun open ending roleplaying, but quickly devolves into a tedious and boring jungle trek that involves horribly crunchy game mechanics. In a setting about starships and speeder bikes, this is an adventure about dying from diseases and heat in the jungle. Details in the spoiler.

Spoiler:
The players travel to an alien university and get caught up in some fun open ended roleplaying between feuding professors. Then then travel to a quirky and memorable café where they have to deal with a few more problems and finally they travel through a magical gateway to an alien jungle. This is all great content, but most players run through it all in a session. Once you get to the jungle things start to go downhill fast. The players are in a chase, but they are no longer allowed to use their starships or vehicles and the only explanation is that they are “not allowed by law” because the continent is a nature preserve. No opportunity is provided to smuggle in a vehicle or bride a customs official and the players are also not given any opportunity buy riding animals or tame native animals. They just have to walk.

What is worse is that each hour of walking requires a dice roll from players to deal with damage from the heat. The DC changes and they will have to do this each hour for eight hours a day for approximately two weeks! To add even more complexity to this system, some of these heat rolls can be avoided by using the hours of environmental protection on the PC’s armor, but this becomes a resource the PCs have to manage. These are important dice rolls because the players are expected to have multiple combats on their trek and the adventure seems to assume that they will be at least partially weakened by the heat damage. The adventure tells the DM the day that the attacks should take place on, but not the hour, leaving the GM to have to come up with something. The adventure also doesn’t give a reason for why the PCs (most of which probably have a form of low light vision and/or darkvision) couldn’t just beat the heat by traveling at night. Many of the fights are not particularly challenging but risk giving the players a poison or a disease. This over all leads to a feeling of attrition on the PCs which quickly stops being fun for the players. Eventually, the PCs find an ancient city, get into some bland fights and can return home … if they aren’t killed by a disease they caught on the way there.


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Good adventure ... if everyone doesn't die

3/5

There is a lot of good content in this adventure, but some major issues. It does a good job of introducing the setting and gives you a chance to uses some of the unique starfinder rules. The major down side is that there is one fight that is so incredibly hard that it almost guaranteed to kill a PC, if not all of them. Additionally, there is some major rail-roading (see spoiler for details).

Spoiler:
The ambassador gives the PCs a robot to record their exploits. The ambassador then broadcasts the robots footage to Absalom Station to make the PCs celebrities. Many of the PCs may not want to be celebrities, but they don’t get a choice. Even if they disabled the robot early on, the adventure says that the ambassador put a hidden tracking device on the PCs. A tracking device that the PCs never get any kind of check see being planted or find later. This would be forgivable if their celebrity status was a major plot point that needed to happen, but despite a little bit of mention in the beginning of book 2, this plot point is quickly dropped and forgotten.


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Just the worst

1/5

This book is by far the worst of the six and probably the worst adventure path/module I have run. It starts out with a peace summit which will be interesting to maybe one of your players and then gives you some boring and non-challenging filler to get them to higher levels. At the begging of the book it promises that you will go to epic places and do epic things … but you really don’t get to do either (see spoiler for details). It is worth noting that this book has a content warning early on for some truly dark and terrifying content, but none of that dark or terrifying content was necessary for telling the story and just distracts from the actual plot. The most unforgivable thing is that after six books it leaves you with the emotionally unsatisfying sense that your characters didn’t really accomplish anything (again see spoiler for details). Avoid running this book!

Spoiler:
The book promises that you will go to the darklands and hell … but “the darklands” is just a typical undead dungeon at the bottom of a very long pit (which just as easily could have been on the surface) and the only part of hell you can go to is the dungeon that Mephistopheles lets you go to. Worse, that dungeon is filled with souls that are being tortured in unique and horrifying ways, but punishes you for trying to help them (which is bound to be a problem in an adventure path designed for chaotic good PCs). It also punishes you if you try to be clever and bypass any part of the dungeon. Large portions of this final dungeon are just devoted to giving you the back story of the antagonist that you have been fighting for six books … but doesn’t make you want to make you fight him anymore than you previously wanted to (it might actually make you want to fight him less). Worse of all it turns out that the entire adventure path that you ran to oppose evil and Cheliax was actually something that Mephistopheles wanted to happen and you have advanced the cause of hell and Cheliax. … just the worst.

PS. I know this is just a minor pet peeve of mine, but the writer claims that Azata don't have genders when we have seen LOTs of evidence to the contrary in other material. If he wanted a genderless race ... why not just make his own new race?!


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Not worth running

2/5

The previous four books have been rather good, so you might be surprised that this book is so sub-par. The PCs leave the city of Kintargo for very railroaded reasons and have to do mini missions that are forgettable. There have been mini dungeons in previous books, but there is usually a main dungeon near the end. This time however there are two equal sized dungeons, and both are forgettable with some convoluted set-ups. Nothing in this entire book was really challenging or interesting to either myself or my players.


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A good end to the adventure path ... kind of

4/5

This book continues what has been a solid adventure path, but it isn't the best we have seen so far. The adventure manages to use game rule to make the players feel like they are leading a city wide open rebellion against evil. It manages to make each of the single session side missions flow together and feel like they are just a continuous part of that rebellion. It gives the players a chance to defend a dungeon from invasion by enemies, which was a nice twist on the classic dungeon invading narrative. The problem comes when we get to this books true "dungeon". Unlike previous "dungeons" this one is bland, repetitive, and doesn't seem befitting the dangerous villain that the place is supposed to be protecting (see spoilers for details). This books continues the tradition for bad backstories and gives a backstory for a character that was introduced last book that makes a lot of people hate her (this character's backstory is the most complained about portion of the adventure path) (again see spoiler for details).

This book ends with a sense of closure and emotional satisfaction and given how much worse the next two books are, it probably a good place to end running the adventure path.

Spoiler:
Brazillai Thrune is a dangerous villain that you have been trying to stop for weeks and … he just sits in his room in his dungeon waiting for you to come kill him. Does he have powerful body guards waiting to protect him? No. Does he have alarms to gather allies to him when attacked? No. He just tries to hit the players with a mace. It is a rather disappointing end for a villain that you have been trying to kill for four books. Additionally, Shensen has been accused a lot of being a Mary Sue and I didn’t understand it until I read her backstory. She is a writer’s PC character put into the game world with a convoluted backstory worse than any PC I have seen and who the writer encourages the GM to use to save the party if they ever seen in over their head.


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Continues going strong

5/5

This book continues what has been a good adventure path. Again, the book is broken down into single session sized side missions and a “dungeon”. The side missions are unique and remember-able and really contribute to the flavor of the area. The “dungeon” is the least dungeony feeling area I have seen in pathfinder and was a nice change of pace (see spoiler for details). My only complaint is that a lot of the dungeon is probably going to be skipped and the villain’s motivations don’t really make sense (again see spoiler for details).

Spoiler:
The “dungeon” is actually an opera house that is throwing a mascaraed ball. The PCs have to get themselves invited and then sneak in any armor or weapons they want to have with them (which I thought was a nice touch). The only problem is that they then must allocate time between exploring the dungeon and being political and there really isn’t enough time for both, so there is a good chance a lot of the content of the book is going to be skipped. The final fight is in the middle of the ball to save all of the guests at the ball, which is remember-able and dramatic … but the reasoning for why the villains would start the fight is poorly thought out. Even my players started wondering why they wouldn’t have done something this foolish.


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Continues going strong

5/5

The adventure path continues going strong with a good second book. The adventure path has now settled into a formula of combining a major dungeon with smaller single session sized side missions. The side missions in this book are decent (but don't really feel like they have anything to do with a rebellion and could have been part of any city based adventure path), but the dungeon was a work of art that managed to be different and interesting, but also still be thematically consistent. It also manages to do something that I have wanted to see in an adventure path for a while, but never have (see spoiler). My only complaint is that this book is right where the rebellion rules (as detailed in the player's guide) really start to require the GM to keep track on the date "in game" and this will quickly become a major annoyance for the GM.

Spoiler:
A prison brake. The adventure gives you a flushed out prison and lets you be open ended about figuring out a way to break out some of the prisoners.


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Solid Start

4/5

This is a solid start to an adventure path. It does a good job of gathering together PCs from different backgrounds and making them invested in accomplishing the objectives of the adventure path. The villains are remember-able and easy to hate and the plot does a good job of encouraging the players to go to places and do things, but doesn’t make them feel railroaded. The only reason I am not giving this book five stars is because some of the fights were unfair for lower level PCs and because the NPC backgrounds that were provided seemed to not-sych with the main plot and sometimes directly contradict the main plot’s themes (see spoilers for more information). This adventure path will go downhill in future books (see my review of other books for more details), but this book is solid and a good start.

Fights:

There are three problematic fights in this book. The first fight in the book gets harder and harder until the PCs flee, which is an interesting idea, but since the adventure path makes it clear that running is abandoning innocent people to arrest there is a serious change of one or more PC continuing to fight until they are arrested or even killed in the first fight. Later there is a fight with a flying sorceress that can cast scorching ray, and not only is it hard for low level characters to do serious damage to a flying creature, but if one of them gets high by a scorching ray critical, they will likely die. The final boss fight has a creature that has regeneration 5 that is overcome only by holy damage. She will run if damaged enough, but it is almost impossible for low lever PCs to do holy damage which makes a hard fight almost impossible.

NPC Backgrounds:
This adventure path provides stat blocks for notable NPCs and includes character backgrounds for them. The problem is that these backgrounds feel like they were written by a completely different person. The kind Halfling baker has the background of a hedonist with a voracious sexual appetite. The everyman who was thrust into this rebellion by chance has the background of a being an absolute saint who wants to save the world and who needs regular expensive alchemical items to prevent from turning back into a woman (an obvious transsexual analogy … which doesn’t work in a world with multiple relatively cheap magic items that permanently change people’s sex). This is a problem that is going to continue and get worse in the books to come.


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Very Disappointing

1/5

I should start out by saying that I have never given a game 1 star, despite reviewing a couple of games that resulting in my party or my players having a TPK, but I thought it was warranted in this instance.

The Fights:
The biggest flaw of this special is that the fights are repetitive (I played tier 1-2, but I also heard this from people who played higher tiers). The fights in the first section are somewhat diverse and used different creature types, but the second and third sections used the exact same type of creature over and over again; often literally the same monster. Not only was this boring, it caused our PCs who were ineffective at fighting that monster to feel unnecessary. The final fight showed a lot of promise of being climatic … but it can be rendered laughably easy if a very common type of PC is in the party, or if the party just uses some tactical knowhow.

The Skills:
At one point, we had a chance to use skill checks (which is rare in a special) to acquire something we needed, but instead of using our skills to help people in exchange for the stuff, we just used them to impress people into giving us stuff. The worst part is that the game tells you that these items are rather valuable, but there is never an explanation given for why these people would part with it just because we impressed them by possessing a skill set.

At another point, we had to use our skills to convince people to undertake a daring, but risky plan. The problem is that one of the people you must convince is the very person who came up with the plan, and who earlier was willing to risk their people’s lives to get the McGuffin needed to make the plan work. No explanation is given for this NPC’s sudden change of heart and the PCs get bonuses on this check for political correctness (see spoiler below for details) which felt heavy handed.

Spoiler:
Paizo has introduced Transsexual NPCs and an Iconic PC and for the most part they were well received. Transsexual players felt more comfortable and accepted and people who didn’t care or who felt uncomfortable with the subject were not forced to focus on those NPC’s sexual identity. In this special however, the transsexual NPC’s backstory was only made available to us right before we had to convince her to send her people to undertake a dangerous plan and we got bonuses on the check to convince her if we showed we were supportive of her transformation. What could have been an epic moment of heroic speeches quickly became an awkward attempt by a bunch of cisgendered players at remembering the politically correct terminology for her transformation and some of our players (mostly the older ones) felt very uncomfortable with the whole thing. What’s worse, this made the transsexual NPC seem like she was more interested in the acceptance of a bunch of strangers than she was in the safety of her people.

The story:
The story starts out by making fun of Nigel Aldain (which we enjoyed), but then it continues to do so multiple times, long after it stops being funny. For some reason, the pathfinder leaders decide that Nigel asking for help requires hundreds of pathfinders instead of the usual 4 to 6 and at no point even tries to explain why so many people are being sent into a relatively small building (or how they all fit). We then have a set of minor fights and our introduction to the real story, which shows a lot of promise and causes us to have to travel through a relatively un-explored part of the pathfinder world. We are attacked on the way by an army of monsters … but we are never given any explanation for why they were attacking us, which is especially grating because the game that earlier explained that it was well known that there would be serious consequences to anyone who did attack us. We then moved to a new area where we had to fight several minor battles, so that we could fight a major battle and stop a great evil (as often happens in specials) … only to be told that we didn’t really accomplish anything (see spoiler below for details).

Spoiler:
After going through all of this effort to stop the great evil, you discover that the entire thing will have to be done again next year. Yep, that is right, this special is going to be replayable every year (with minor changes each year), but I guarantee that I won’t be replaying it.

Overall:
This special should not have been a special. It didn’t feel big and epic like most of the specials and left us feeling like our characters had not accomplished anything. What’s worse, if it had been flushed out and had had a normal amount of fights, it might have made a decent regular game, but as a special it was very disappointing.


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Good, Solid Game

5/5

This game starts off as a "throw back" to the plot of an earlier three part series, but you would only know that if you did the three part series. Otherwise it seems like a solid stand alone adventure. The game seems to have stakes and interesting combat and introduces a new group of people, but doesn't make them feel forced upon you. I have played and GMed it and both times it went well.

My only complaint is that one of the character's motivations seems off, but that is something a GM can easily clean up, if it comes up at all.


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Very poor game

1/5

This game is confusing both as a player and as a GM (I have been both). The NPCs motivations and actions seem illogical at best and outright insane at worse. But what makes it worse is that several times it uses a story telling tool called "forced failure" to move the story forward. Forced failures can be great if used well, but usually aren't and these are no exceptions. Player work their hardest and try their best, only to have no way of succeeding no matter how clever or lucky they are, and are forced to watch things fall apart. The game also makes use of a lot of Occult Adventure's rules but most of the time it feels like they are forcing it into a non-occulty storyline just to make you buy the book. Do not play or run this game! The sequel wasn't bad though (and can be run independently of the original).