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Good Screen Let Down by the Fourth PanelCreighton Broadhurst (Raging Swan Press) —
As I’ve been thinking about going back to rolling all my dice behind a screen, I’ve (naturally) been thinking about what screen to actually use. I purchased the Pathfinder GM’s Screen back when it came out, but never really used it. This seemed a perfect opportunity to dust it off and take a good look at it.
First off, impressions were good. It’s made of some jolly tough cardboard (or something similar) that looks very durable. I suspect that it will take a lot of abuse. The image on the player’s side of the screen, though, while very good technically is a little bit boring. I would much have preferred some kind of cool battle screen or even a map of various parts of Golarion. I would have also preferred it in landscape rather than portrait orientation.
The screen has four panels and three of them are stuffed full of the kind of things you’d expect on a GM’s screen – the DCs of a variety of skill checks, AC and attack roll modifiers and even the text of some common conditions (a very handy addition).
Where the screen fails utterly is the fourth panel which contains little of use or value when you consider what could have been included. While I can sort of almost see why Paizo included the armour and weapons hardness rules, I have absolutely no idea why they included the XP Awards and Treasure Values per Encounter tables instead of (say) the incredibly handy and some (me) would say vital Actions in Combat table. Let’s face it, I’d use that table in practically every encounter I ran, but I’ll rarely if ever use the Treasure Values per Encounter table. And while Armour and Weapon hardness rules are occasionally used, it’s a rare circumstance.
So all in all, this is a pretty good GM’s screen let down by the Fourth Panel of Pointlessness and the nice but boring “cover” artwork.That said, 75% of the content is great and the screen is durable enough to last for ages. Given all that, I’ll settle for a rating of four stars.
Solid Thematically Cool Dungeon CrawlCreighton Broadhurst (Raging Swan Press) —
I ran Godsmouth Heresy several months ago and really enjoyed it. It is an excellent 1st-level dungeon crawl that features an interesting array of challenges and opponents. In the most part, the encounters thematically fit with the dungeon and are of appropriate ELs.
While nominally set in Kaer Maga, the adventure is modular enough that it could be transplanted into almost any urban locale. For me, that’s a real bonus as I run my games in the World of Greyhawk.
What I particularly liked about the module was that it was quite easy to link it into the Riddle of the Runelords AP because of some of the dungeon’s features and themes. It could easily be used as a handy add-in or introduction to that AP.I also liked the nature of some of the “boss monsters” in that they were atypical. Putting aside the presence of an alchemist (it’s a flavour thing for me) the NPCs are interesting, engaging foes.
Artwork and presentation are, or course, up to Paizo’s normally high standards and so I’ll give this module five stars (even though it’s got an alchemist!)
Terrific Flavour, Brutal End FightCreighton Broadhurst (Raging Swan Press) —
I ran this adventure several months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Designer Brandon Hodge has done a terrific job of bringing the squalid, degenerate village of Ravenmoor to life in all its fetid, perverted glory.
I’m not going to go into great detail about the module’s plot and such like, but I will say that it has several absolutely cracking encounters that are really flavoursome and fun to run. If your party enjoy roleplaying as well as investigation you should definitely run this module. If they only like combat, they may get a tad frustrated as a fair amount of the time the PCs are interacting (non-violently) with the villagers.
Sadly, the module is not perfect. The final battle seems to be rather under CRed to me never mind the fact that it is an EL 4 fight followed immediately by an EL 5 fight; very harsh for a 3rd-level party if they are not super-optimised. I would advise anyone running this adventure to take a very close look at the end encounter and modify it to give their players a chance!
However, in my mind flavour beats crunch and so I have no hesitation in recommending this module to any group that isn’t obsessed with combat. Overall, I’m rating this module at 4.5 stars; I’m removing half a star for the toughness of the last battle. For the purposes of this platform though, I’m awarding 5 stars.
Well done Brandon Hodge; it’s a cracking module!
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Dungeons of Golarion (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
Add PDF $13.99
Print Edition Unavailable
Behold: Awesome Megadungeon GoodnessCreighton Broadhurst (Raging Swan Press) —
Let’s get right to the point: Dungeons of Golarion is an excellent supplement. Although Golarion specific (rather unsurprisingly) its contents could in most cases be easily adapted to fit almost any GM’s campaign world. What it is not, however, is a fully developed megadungeon and people buying it on the assumption that they’ll be able to dive right into adventure are going to be disappointed. Rather, it presents flavoursome summaries of six such locales, giving enough information for a GM to roll his sleeves up and put his own stamp on the chosen megadungeon.
The great thing about the six megadungeons in this book are that they all have their own flavour which sets them apart from their fellows. I love that as at their best, megadungeons are interesting, unique places while at their worst they are boring hackfests which exist simply to contain monsters and treasures. Because megadungeons are at the least rather unrealistic, having a good story and background for such locales is absolutely vital. That’s something that this supplement easily delivers.
Even if a GM never gets around to using any of the specific dungeons in this supplement, this is an excellent resource to mine for ideas. It makes me want to design a megadungeon for Raging Swan!
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Condition Cards (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
Add Print $10.99
Cracking and Very UsefulCreighton Broadhurst (Raging Swan Press) —
I've just received these cards and have used them in my game last night. We found them very useful and they are of good quality. My only one minor criticism is that the box they come in is quite flimsy - I ripped it while getting the cards out. That shouldn't detract from the usefulness of the product, though.
If Paizo ever do a reprint for this product I'd recommend adding a "Doomed" card to the deck (just for the GM's fun).