Alchemist

Cyril Corbaz's page

Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 7 Season Dedicated Voter. FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Venture-Agent, Switzerland—Cossonay 10 posts (15,985 including aliases). 28 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 22 Organized Play characters. 21 aliases.



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Great collections, but so many generic monsters...

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Pathfinder Pawns is a fantastic collection at first. It includes a lot of unique creatures found in PFS, as well as many memorable and unique NPCs of the organized play scenarios. The quality is high, the pictures very vivid, and overall this is an excellent set.

One more good point is the addition of the uncommon and featured races that PFS players can pick, such as Wayang, Kitsune, Tengu, Nagaji or the elemental races (Oread, Sylph, Undine, Ifrit). Those aren't common and they're good to have.

However, I didn't like Paizo's idea to include generic monsters (such as skeleton, ghoul, bulette, basilisk, etc.) in this set. Do these creatures appear in PFS scenarios? They do. Do most people already have a ton of these? They do. Do they need more of them, whereas they could have had other unique PFS NPCs instead? They don't. Even if we needed them, would one of these suffice to run the scenario? It wouldn't.

To give you an idea, there are 35 of them. Including the Adukhait Ashura, the deadfall scorpion or the Agash Div was a good idea since they're very specific creatures, but a skeleton, a ghoul or a babau demon? Much less attractive.

Moreover, Paizo included in this collection a few NPCs from the NPC Codex that have nothing to do with PFS (Darago, Meliski, Radillo, etc.) That's another 10 or so more pawns that I personally find unappealing for a PFS set.

I'll give you that 45 out of 206+ isn't alot, but in my book it means that there are 45 important NPCs for PFS that weren't included in this set.

Regarding Serpents Rise pawns:
For example, it's great to have all the NPC minis to run "Serpents Rise", yet... the final boss, Aram Zey, one of the most famous icons of the PFS 'verse, was surprisingly left out. While I understand that Kreighton Shaine and Marcus Farabellus aren't needed as pawns, Aram Zey is another story.

Regarding Destiny of the Sands pawns:
Thank you Paizo for giving us great minis to play what's one of my favorite series of scenarios! We have Yjalk, we have Kura Shehr, we even have Grandmaster Torch! But... where's the Sage of Plagues? Yes, it's an allip with a greenish aura, but that would have been much more interesting to have than a regular mummy, for example. Kafar, Nefti, Amenopheus, Tahonikepsu?

Many key NPCs were left out. Why? Because their failing was to have only their head portrait done in the relevant scenarios, and not a full head-to-feet one. I understand the fact that art is expensive, but we're talking about essential characters to run iconic PFS scenarios. This gives me the impression that Paizo attempted to make a PFS pawns collection but didn't want to give themselves the means of making one that would truly do justice to it.

All in all, this is a fair set, but deeply flawed in my opinion.


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An excellent introduction

*****

My perspective on this scenario is as a GM. Be warned, spoilers may follow!

Story
This scenario intends on replacing the first steps series, and I think it does the job way better than FS used to. The story plays a major part in this, as The Confirmation tells the tale of what one would expect Pathfinders to do: explore remains of a lost age, cooperate among themselves, and report their findings. It's not about the factions (which hardly matter anymore now), it's about wat being a Pathfinder means. From the first well-written introductory scene where Pathfinders are encouraged to talk about their character's motivation to become part of the Pathfinder Society, to the "final exam", I think there's a lot of potential for this story.
Story score: 5/5

Roleplay
I particularly enjoyed the opportunities provided to roleplay in this scenario, which are threefold. Firstly, Janira is the perfect mentor character, not too close or too distant from the PCs, and is a great catalyst to push people to roleplay their characters and ask themselves the reasons why their character should be within the ranks of the Society. Secondly, there is Uori. I loved that encounter and what it brings to the PCs. The character itself is perfect in his tone and role, and his handicap can make things very interesting during the interaction with the PCs. Lastly, the PCs are also encouraged to roleplay among themselves, to really grab that limelight and be the heroes.
Roleplay score: 5/5

Encounters
Varied (and subject to change at every playthrough), I liked most of the options without being completely overwhelmed by what was proposed.
Encounters score: 3/5

Mechanics
This scenario is supposed to be replayable indefinitely, is set to be one that you'd want to play for every new PFS character you'll make. While the value of random encounter to alleviate the burden of replaying one scenario over and over is certain, one could wonder if it is enough. I for one think that the enjoyment found in replayability depends on player investment and motivation in creating a unique experience, this scenario being a guideline to help the player get a feel of his own character. In that perspective, I think The Confirmation does an excellent job with that, providing GM and players everything they need.

The second set of mechanics I'd like to talk about is the ritual scene. I find the idea very attractive, and lore-wise it's an excellent scene, but the bonuses are so marginal and specific to some conditions that they aren't that interesting. I'm afraid that a player replaying this scenario won't be too keen on performing the rituals since he knows the bonuses aren't that great.
Mechanics score: 4/5

The Confirmation is an excellent scenario, which has everything to please the many expectations of PFS players. Above all, I value the mood the players can be put in to explore their new PFS character. Mr. Baird's done a great job!
Total: 5/5


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Decent dungeon crawl, but had wished for more

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My perspective on this scenario is as a GM. Be warned, spoilers may follow!

Story
A simple story, with a hint of mystery. Not much to tell except that I'm a bit disappointed that much of the dungeon is linked to Thassilon (which is great flavor-wise), but the main plot only occupies a handful of rooms. Lastly, Kaer Maga is probably my favorite place in Golarion, but this module doesn't do it justice.
Story score: 2/5

Roleplay
The idea to have sentient undead like Esme was excellent, but I regret that it was only a one-time thing. It's sadly the only roleplaying opportunity the players will get in the entire module, and Kaer Maga is a city with a whole quarter of (more or less) sentient undead.
Roleplay score: 2/5

Encounters
Some decent fights, some boring ones. As usually in dungeon crawl modules, it starts to feel like a real grind.
Encounters score: 2/5

Mechanics
To be honest, I didn't like the alchemical undead much. They didn't feel that different from regular undead - I wish there was a mechanical way of making them more interesting. Not much to tell apart from that.
Mechanics score: 2/5

I've enjoyed GMing this module except for the grind. In fact, I would probably give it a 3/5 if there weren't so many missed opportunities. In the end, I don't feel it's a great module to recommend, unless you're looking for a classical dungeon crawl with a (tiny) hint of originality.
Total: 2/5


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Amazingly fun

*****

My perspective on this scenario is as a GM. Be warned, spoilers may follow!

Story
A simple story, yet efficient. Who wouldn't like to play a goblin? The story doesn't matter much: the premise does, then the story takes care of herself. Your players will create the story you're looking for. Beside that aspect, I particularly liked the emphasis on goblin quirks (regarding writing, horses, dogs, names, etc.).
Story score: 4/5

Roleplay
It's the reason you're playing this module. Goblins, especially at low level, are amazingly fun to roleplay with. You can afford to die and live your goblin life to its fullest, it won't matter. Life is short, enjoy it and feel free to push the usual boundaries of palying your regular character!
Roleplay score: 5/5

Encounters
Nothing much to say about them, except that Mr.Pett did an excellent job making encounters fun through the possible use of various devices like fireworks. Your encounters will never be the same, trust me.
Encounters score: X/5

As a conclusion, I'd like to emphasize how this module will make the best roleplaying experience of your life. Well, maybe not the best, but the funniest!
Total: 5/5


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An excellent second installment

*****

My perspective on this scenario is as a player and a GM. Be warned, spoilers may follow!

Story
The story is the continuation of the first We Be Goblins! The characters have become heroes of their village, but its dire fate put them out of a home and a tribe - time to get a new one! The trials are indeed reminiscent of the ones from the first installment, but with interesting new settings. I actually preferred the ones from WBG2 to those of the first one (except maybe riding Squealy Nord). The rest of the story would straightforward... if the characters weren't goblins! Honestly, I don't expect two run-throughs of this module to be alike, since the 'goblin factor' comes in and makes the story become unpredictable! It's what I love about these modules, along with roleplay of course.
Story score: 5/5

Roleplay
Roleplay opportunities are amazing here, and as for the first one, the best opportunities lie with the relationships among the characters themselves. This is a huge boon to the module. NPCs (especially a certain pig) are exceptionally fun too!
Roleplay score: 5/5

Encounters
The fights in this module will force the goblins to cooperate, but still allow them to do crazy actions and still succeed (which is the point of playing a goblin... except for the success part). I loved the last encounter because it's set in different phases that the GM can alter, making the environment really react to the little green terrors' actions. What will make them truly unforgettable are the tools the goblins will have at their disposal.
Encounters score: 4/5

Mechanics
The mechanics of the trials are alright and keep the game light on rules while preserving fun. That's what we want when we play goblins!
Mechanics score: 4/5

This module is simply one every Pathfinder player should experience, along with the first installment. Get them and let your inner goblin out!
Total: 5/5


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An exceptional roleplaying scenario

*****

My perspective on this scenario is as a player (and I'm set on GMing it as soon as I get the chance). For reference, I played it in the lower subtier (3-4). Be warned, spoilers may follow!

Story
An interesting premise indeed: our explorer/monster slayers will face their greatest challenge yet as they are about to... attend a wedding! Even as you get there, the story unfolds if you pay attention, small clues may give you hints of what is happening or is about to happen... and all hells break loose! I also love how this foreshadows the whole Paracountess arc.
Story score: 5/5

Roleplay
Probably one of the most intensive roleplaying scenarios ever written (with the exception of Mr. Pett's incredibly great Sixfold Trial), this will give your diplomancer a memorable experience meeting the highups of Golarion.
Roleplay score: 5/5

Encounters
Not much combat here, but they're all very distinctive and interesting. Fighting without what you usually take for granted really makes this scenario a rich experience.
Encounters score: 4/5

Mechanics
I loved the influence/discovery mechanics but the fact that we had a few very high social skills characters combined with the rule that allows to gain additional influence if you bypass the DC by 5 made the influence phase incredibly easy. However, with more balanced parties it may be necessary to make things doable but a party of six steamrolled the diplomacy phases. Honestly, it would have been interesting to see an adjustment similar to the ones for 4-player parties for the influence phases as well (such as suggesting to drop the "additional influence points for high rolls" rule)
Mechanics score: 3/5

I love roleplaying, and I must admit the roleplaying-centric scenarios aren't too common. This one is a gem, not only for season 4's storyline but also for a memorable roleplaying experience.
Total: 5/5


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Horror story at its best, don't miss this module!

*****

My perspective on this scenario is as a Game Master. Be warned, spoilers may follow!

Story
The idea behind Carrion Hill is a typical Cthulhu-like investigation that manages to be brought in Pathfinder with unparalleled talent. What I really love is the constant mystery linked to a non-linear structure and an interesting setting. Did I mention the Mythos?
Story score: 5/5

Roleplay
Many roleplaying occasions are present in this outstanding module, and will make it truly memorable. The asylum especially stands out in this regard.
Roleplay score: 5/5

Encounters
Those encounters are tough but varied and original. The vat zombies encounter was exceptionally memorable, and there isn't one encounter I'd remove from the scenario.
Encounters score: 5/5

Mechanics
The idea behind the BBEG's evolution is an outstanding one, and remains one of the strongest points of this module. If the players realize it, this will give them a hell of a motivation to end things quickly.
Mechanics score: 5/5

Make no mistake, this module is probably one of the best Paizo has published so far. Mr. Pett brings his A-game with this one!
Total: 5/5


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Free but far from fantastic

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My perspective on this scenario is as a player. Be warned, spoilers may follow!

Story
There is basically no story here besides the (sub?)plot of a captured pathfinder. It could definitely have had some more, about the dungeon itself for example. The encounters aren't thematically linked (except for the recurring troglodytes), hence giving the "scenario" little meaningfulness.
Story score: 1/5

Roleplay
The only roleplaying opportunity is with the captured pathfinder, which I found an interesting lead-in for PFS. However, the RP feast is meager here...
Roleplay score: 1/5

Encounters
Encounters are interesting, albeit a little disconnected from one another, and challenging. I think the author's intention was to provide varied challenges to prepare the players to the bread & butter of PFS (swarms, I'm looking at you!), and did the job pretty well except for the lack of connection. I still feel that Mists of Mwangi does exactly the same and is far more interesting and atmospheric. Difficulty may run a little high for beginners.
Encounters score: 3/5

Mechanics
No particular mechanics to speak of here, except the recurring climb checks-the map is a great idea but this becomes far too repetitive.
Mechanics score: 2/5

What can you expect? It's short, it doesn't have much of a story, but it's free. So grab it anyway! Don't misunderstand me, I'm grateful for the free RPG day modules that Paizo publish, but this one is simply one of the weakest in my opinion.
Total: 2/5


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A great sandbox scenario

****( )

My perspective on this scenario is as a player. For reference, I played it in the lower tier (1-2). Be warned, spoilers may follow!

Story
This scenario has a brilliant introduction and layout. Its depth of scenario isn't exactly what I would call groundbreaking, but it allows the players to delve into Bloodcove's mood with ease.
Story score: 3/5

Roleplay
Many roleplaying opportunities are present in the scenario, including a few with villains or at least despicable characters. As stated previously, the mood in Bloodcove is rich, and the roleplay is also influenced by the paranoia the players should have about who might be Aspis and who can really be trusted.
Roleplay score: 4/5

Encounters
Varied, but nothing revolutionary in terms of novelty. I liked the fact that there was two NPCs with classes from the APG, it's an excellent change.
Encounters score: 3/5

Mechanics
The whole scenario revolves around the mechanics of players that can be discovered by the Aspis consortium and captured. This is certainly a great idea, though as a player I only felt I could get discovered by failing the checks to move from one location to another. I don't know for sure if you can be spotted according to your actions in the various locations you visit, but it'd great if you could.
Mechanics score: 4/5

Overall, the Bloodcove Disguise is a very enjoyable scenario, albeit a little easy, by season four's standards. Its sandbox nature also makes it naturally more interesting and motivating for the players, albeit a little shallower on the storyline. I'll be looking forward to playing the next scenario, a direct followup to this one, apparently!
Total: 4/5


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Return to the Museum of Elemental Evil

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My perspective on this scenario is as a player. For reference, I played it in the lower tier (1-2). Be warned, spoilers may follow!

Story
The story itself remains a mystery for most of the adventure, so playing through the scenario really felt like an investigation combined with the exploration of a flavorful location. I really liked this simple yet classic story for a different reason though. The Blakros museum series have always delved into horror subjects, and "Voices in the Void" definitely fits that description. Rob McCreary definitely managed to do a good job about it!
Story score: 5/5

Roleplay
Apart from Nigel Aldain at the start (and with other characters at the end), there weren't any roleplaying opportunities unfortunately. Nothing much to say here.
Roleplay score: 2/5

Encounters
On the one hand, most of the encounters in this scenario weren't that special yet always made sense with the location we were in. Each of them contributes to the horror atmosphere aimed at by the author.

On the other hand, I particularly appreciated the last encounter, even if it eventually proved unchallenging for our group. The mechanics associated with that fight were definitely something different, in a good way. However, allowing the urn to act on its own would have helped the NPC action economy and given more of a real challenge for players.
Encounters score: 4/5

Mechanics
This scenario is definitely about horror, and the mechanics fit that topic well. The final fight, for instance, isn't about attacking blindly until the BBEG doesn't move, but involves subtlety if the group wants to truly succeed in their mission. The introduction of the sunder mechanics, as well as possession and (hopefully) the wish to keep the Blakros daughter alive will allow for a more cautious fight, more worthy of a horror & investigation adventure.
Mechanics score: 3/5

This scenario reaches its full flavour when played some time after Mists of Mwangi (season 0, scenario 5). The Blakros museum series are definitely classic scenarios of PFS, some of the must-plays as far as lore and campaign background are concerned. This episode doesn't fail to impress, more because of its atmosphere than with its encounters or roleplay.
Total: 4/5


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Player creativity well rewarded, more of this please!

*****

My perspective on this scenario is as a player. For reference, I played it in the higher tier (4-5). Be warned, spoilers will follow!

Story
The premise caught my attention right from the start. Infiltrate the Aspis Consortium and sabotaging the Lissalan hideout? Count me in!
Story score: 5/5

Roleplay
Numerous opportunities of roleplay are present in this scenario, making this scenario a very lively one. Posing as an Aspis Agent was especially fun!
Roleplay score: 4/5

Encounters
There weren't that many fights in this scenario, which is a good point for an open scenario like this one - it leaves more time for roleplay and player creativity. The encounters themselves were pleasantly challenging.
Encounters score: 3/5

Mechanics
This is the scenario's strong point, as it leaves much to be decided by the players. The sabotage scene especially comes to mind - it was very enjoyable.
Mechanics score: 5/5

I'll use the opportunity to say that I'm glad to see more of these scenarios allowing a little table variation on how things happen. This makes the player much more interested in what they're doing, in my opinion.

In the end, "Severing Ties" is a very enjoyable scenario, one of the must-plays of season 4. I'll give it a 4.5 rating, Another hit by Mr.Lundeen, who has become one of my favourite adventures authors as far as PFS is concerned.
Total: 4.5/5


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You'll never look at gnomes the same way as before...

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My perspective on this scenario is as a player. For reference, I played it in the lower tier (3-4). Be warned, spoilers will follow!

Story
The premise wasn't breathtaking, but the surprise comes in with the change of objective happening early in the scenario. Despite a very linear scenario, I appreciated that twist.
Story score: 3/5

Roleplay
This is one of the strong points of the scenario. There are a few roleplaying opportunities, but every one of them is flavorful and unique. Ignizi and Riddywhipple are both very pleasant characters to interact with, and meeting them certainly cast an interesting shadow on gnomes and fey - I loved it!
Roleplay score: 4/5

Encounters
The fights were interesting but not too challenging (a surprise again when it comes to season 4, it appears). However, I liked the variety in the fights, with many unusual or never seen before monsters from Bestiary 2+. Keep on using new monsters, please!
Encounters score: 3/5

Mechanics
Nothing much to say here since no special mechanics was at work here.
Mechanics score: 2/5

All in all, this scenario turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise, and I enjoyed playing it.
Total: 3/5


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A decent season kick-in

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My perspective on this scenario is as a player. For reference, I played it in the lower tier (1-2). Be warned, spoilers will follow!

Story
I was rather interested in the premise, and the scenario delivered exactly what was advertised - a rescue mission. However, my complaint lies in the fact that since there are no twists whatsoever, the mission turns out to be a little bland, almost too straightforward if it weren't for the last part (see Mechanics section).
Story score: 3/5

Roleplay
This scenario can be made really interesting if the GM focuses on the various roleplaying opportunities available in it, n both parts of the adventure (but especially the last one).
Roleplay score: 3/5

Encounters
The encounters weren't very original apart for the one the cover suggests. Nothing much to see here.
Encounters score: 2/5

Mechanics
The last part of the scenario particularly stands out, as it leaves the players with the choice of how they want to infiltrate the building where their mission objective lies. I really appreciate this open approach, and would like to see more of it in future scenarios.
Mechanics score: 4/5

All in all, a decent scenario, but hardly a must-play. It does set an interesting mood for season 5, though.
Total: 3/5


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Decent, but not a step forward

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There are many good things in this set: aquatic minis, fantastic NPCs or monsters from the AP... yet I couldn't helpp but being slightly disappointed.

Firstly, I was disappointed by the number of missing/broken minis inside the boosters. Out of a case, I had one completely missing, one with a severed head (poor Arronax Endymion!), and one stirge... I mean bloodbug who wanted to fly off its base... and managed to do it. Overall, resilience of the minis is still somehow lacking.

Secondly, I didn't really appreciate the paintjob of one of the most iconic character of the AP: Kerdak Bonefist's face is... very basic, and sadly unexpressive. I think my biggest grudge is how they painted the eyes. If you compare them to the previous sets and the top-notch jobs made on minis like Xin, or Sorchen, you'll probably find the face painting of S&S minis lacking as I do.

On the other hand, the set includes some great minis. My favourites include the Sea Troll (a worthy cousin of the enormous Troll Champion of the SS set), the Daughter of Imerta (sadly too rare for my taste as a S&S GM), or Ambrose Kroop. However, my disappointment also resides within the fact that there are too few minis that really got me carried away, as opposed to the two previous sets. WizKids really outdid themselves for RotRL and SS, but this set - while decent - is a bit underwhelming despite my love for the AP itself and pirates in general.


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Least scenario, definitely not a must-play

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My perspective on this scenario is as a player. For reference, I played it in the higher tier (6-7). Be warned, spoilers will follow!

I didn't like the scenario very much, to be honest. While the background elements on what's going on are present, the plot is not likely to be understood by players unless the GM does many extra efforts to emphasize certain clues. When I GM or write a scenario, I always make sure my players can understand what's going on with some exposure... there is none here, unfortunately.

As for the mechanics, I didn't like the thin air rule at all. We spent the entire last fight doing double moves for 10'', because of the continuous fatigued condition and difficult terrain.

I definitely don't recommend this scenario, there are others that are far better.

Story: 2/5
Roleplay: 1/5
Encounters: 2/5
Mechanics: 2/5

Total: 2/5


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Enjoyable link between seasons 4 and 5

****( )

My perspective on this scenario is as a player. For reference, I played it in the lower tier (3-4). Be warned, spoilers will follow!

I rather enjoyed playing "Day of the Demon" for several reasons:

- The mood & atmosphere of the scenario is amazing, and really helps with the immersion.
- Most fights are alright, though I was a little disappointed by the final one. We certainly were surprised and the fluff part was great, but mechanics-wise it wasn't that interesting. Special mention to the monster depicted on the cover, who managed to gate in another friend! That fight was actually better than the one mentioned above.
- As a lore-loving player, I deeply appreciated the handouts and information obtained about the metaplot. We played "Day of the Demon" in the very last slot of the Con, right after playing "The Disappeared" and while "Fortress of the Nail" was being played on another table. It really was a blast!

Overall, I think this scenario is a very decent and enjoyable link between seasons 4 and 5. I'll give the scenario a 4-star rating (out of five), with a minor disappointment in the combat department.

Story: 5/5
Roleplay: 3/5
Encounters: 3/5
Mechanics: 3/5

Total: 4/5


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[Player] Amazing scenario, a must-play!

*****

My perspective on this scenario is as a player. For reference, I played it in the lower tier (1-2). Be warned, spoilers will follow!

"The Disappeared" is a scenario I simply cannot find anything bad about. I sometimes rave about a scenario because the DM was good, but even with a sub-par GM, this scenario will turn out to be amazing.

What I loved about this scenario include:

- A masterfully-executed inflitration mission.
- Time is of the essence! Pressure based on a limited amount of time available will help with your immersion immensely.
- What's not to love about descriptions? I didn't know anything about the Paracountess before I played this, and I can understand why she's such a major character in PFS. Major highlight on Cheliax and Chelish culture also make this one highly interesting.
- Codes... I love deciphering codes!

As a conclusion, I'll gladly give this scenario a five-star rating, with a wish to see more scenarios like this one.

Story: 4/5
Roleplay: 4/5
Encounters: (including non-combat) 4/5
Mechanics: 5/5

Total: 5/5


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[Player] What are you ready to do for the Society?

****( )

My perspective on this scenario is as a player. For reference, I played it in the lower tier (1-2). Be warned, spoilers will follow!

Mechanics
This was my first special, and I loved the format and interactivity of the tables. The joined effort in the penultimate part was particularly thrilling! I also loved the chase scene, and the optional fight(s) at the end. There is a lot of room for player freedom - and there and numerous ways of solving every situation if you're creative.

To roleplay or not to roleplay?
Everyone's take on this scenario depends heavily on the moral conflicts arising as the Society asks you to do some reprehensible actions. In my opinion, it all boiled down to "what are you ready to do for the Society?" - and this was a source of some very interesting roleplaying between PCs, I loved it! Obviously some factions or classes will have a difficult time accepting to break the law, but that doesn't mean they can't do this special, far from it. Where some see difficulties, I see opportunities to roleplay your character fully, and not keep it one-dimensional.

Apart from this, there are numerous roleplaying opportunities present, and I loved all of them.

As a conclusion, I'll give this scenario a 4-star rating for this scenario. We had an excellent time, and it truly was a "special"!

Story: 4/5
Roleplay: 5/5
Encounters: 3/5
Mechanics: 5/5

Total: 4/5


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[Player] Outstanding scenario, a must-play!

*****

My perspective on this scenario is as a player. For reference, I played it in the lower tier (1-2). Be warned, spoilers will follow!

This scenario was simply amazing for the following reasons:

- It gives players some freedom as to how to solve every situation. I particularly liked playing this at lower tier, and I don't know if higher tier would spoil some situations with spells trivializing some of them?
- Time pressure was really appreciated, it really puts you in a difficult position, and forces you to make choices.
- Interactions with Gamin added something special. I also love the fact that as written on the Chronicle, Gamin is not overpowered, but is a fine, interesting item!
- The final room was also very interesting for its choices, and flavor (the BD's story was hilarious, and I loved roleplaying with the gnome).

As a conclusion, I'll add that this scenario is really different from anything you might have played this far, and deserves its five-star rating well. Another excellent performance by Michael Kortes!

Story: 5/5
Roleplay: 4/5
Encounters: 4/5
Mechanics: 5/5

Total: 5/5


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[Player] Flavorful crawl, great faction mission (GL)

***( )( )

My perspective on this scenario is as a player. For reference, I played it in the lower tier (1-2). Be warned, spoilers will follow!

I overall liked what that scenario had to offer, even if it was a very classic sewer crawl. The encounters were rather flavorful, and varied. I especially liked the statue encounter, because we weren't expecting this at all!

By far the strongest feature was my faction mission (I played a Grand Lodge character) - it gave the scenario a completely different dynamic, and actually made it very interesting!

I'd rate this scenario 3/5, with an additional 0.5 for the faction mission (which not everyone will experience), for a total of 3.5

Story: 2/5
Roleplay: 2/5
Encounters: 4/5
Mechanics: 3/5

Total: 3/5 (3.5 if played as Grand Lodge)


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[Player] Atmospheric and educational

****( )

My perspective on this scenario is that of a player. For reference, I played it in the lower tier (1-2). Be warned, spoilers will follow.

Strong features
The premise and the way of introducing the characters is a very interesting one - we're in front of the museum and remembering our VC's words - a very cinematic and promising start. I certainly wasn't let down by this scenario, as the atmosphere gave us a strong impression of the Blakros Museum. This is the main feature of this adventure, and the author (as well as our GM) played very well on it to make it unforgettable.

Lore
I also liked the interesting exposure on many recurring features of Absalom, or Golarion canon as a whole: the Blakros family, Mwangi, the dangers of being a Pathfinder are all very interesting topics. As a sucker for lore, I was very happy with that aspect of the scenario.

Encounters & Mechanics
Onwards to the encounters. While these were not particularly interesting from a mechanics point of view, I liked the fact that they played on the adventure's strength, the horror-like atmosphere. I certainly recognized Mr.Logue's touch in this. I also liked that the scenario introduced the DR mechanics in a newbie-friendly fashion. We had two new players at the table, so that was definitely an interesting educational addition.

Overall, I really liked this scenario, despite his relative straighforward structure. His atmosphere and lore were the main strong points for me.

Final note: This was a particularly short scenario, we did it in about three hours and a half, and that was with two new players.

Story: 5/5
Roleplay: 3/5
Encounters: 3/5
Mechanics: 3/5

Total: 4/5


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[Player] Liked it, but far from stellar

***( )( )

I offer a player's perspective here, and have played this scenario in the lower tier (1-2). As a side note, this was the first PFS scenario I ever played, so I've waited to play a few more before writing a review to get a better feel of PFS standards. Be warned, spoilers will follow!

My first impression is that this scenario is very railroady. There are murders, there's mystery... and yet I was under the impression that the PCs couldn't do anything about it and that the solution to the mystery was "given" to us.

That said, the roleplaying opportunities were interesting enough, and the fights challenging, to say the least. About the latter, I must say I prefer interesting, more intensive fights to many flavorless ones. Thus I wasn't disappointed on that account, with the possible exception of the first fight. Such an easy fight where the only stake is whether or not you'll contract a nasty disease is pretty lame, in my opinion.

I also liked my faction mission (Osirion), which fitted my character perfectly! Sometimes it feels like that mission has been written for you. The Andoran faction mission was also very enjoyable.

As a conclusion, I'll still recommend this scenario, but with a caveat - don't expect too much of it!

Story: 3/5
Roleplay: 3/5
Encounters: 3/5
Mechanics: 2/5

Total: 3/5


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[Player] Flavorful and intensive, but so many fights!

****( )

I played this scenario at a convention about one week ago, so my perspective is that of a player. For reference, I played it in the lower tier (1-2). Be warned, spoilers will follow.

"Tide of Twilight" has an interesting premise, and the flavor was instantly set. Werewolves, evil druids, a threatening ritual... what's not to like!

Encounters
The encounters were rather interesting. I liked most of them (my favourite being the first one with Falbin and the fire). My only concern (and that scenario's major flaw imho) was that there were just too many fights. Granted, we failed at convincing the elf to let us pass, but I think that's still too many encounters. Our GM had to hand-wave the second fey encounter in the maze in order for us to be able to finish within the 4-hour timeframe. One or two encounters less would have been more manageable, I think. For example, having only one fey encounter, and making the elf more prone to be convinced to let the PCs pass (she initiated combat, so those -10 penalties on diplomacy were really hard to deal with at level 1).

Mechanics
The handling of the curse was interesting because while it weakened the group, it gave us other opportunities (roleplay, alternate fighting tactics). I also liked the fact that the mission was on a timer. It really made us feel on edge.

My faction mission (Grand Lodge) was interesting, but it was too bad that it relied only on one roll, which I botched of course!

This scenario I'll definitely recommend.

Story: 3/5
Roleplay: 4/5
Encounters: 3/5
Mechanics: 4/5

Total: 4/5


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Outstanding scenario - more of this, please!

*****

I played through this scenario a week ago at a convention, and I must say it was without any doubt the best PFS scenario I've played so far. For reference, I played it at tier 1-2.

What I liked about this scenario is how open it is for the players. There's no railroading, and players can spend most of their time leading the investigation about the temple the way they wish. I deeply appreciated this, as well as the roleplaying experience that is available here. Less encounters also mean more time to do that.

Addendum after GMing this scenario: The heresy points mechanics were interesting as well.

The only (very minor) disappointment I've had concerned my faction mission (Grand Lodge), which was nothing more than an incentive to explore the temple further - which we would have done anyway.

As a conclusion, I'd like to convey my thanks to Mr. Ron Lundeen, and say that more scenarios like this one would be most welcome.

Story: 4/5
Roleplay: 5/5
Encounters: 3/5
Mechanics: 5/5

Total: 5/5


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A solid book, but far from perfect

****( )

I'm not going to write the details of the ToC/contents, EZG did it extensively and accurately. I'll just bring another point of view to the table.

I'll start by thanking Christina Stiles and the Open Design team for making such an interesting book. Despite its flaws, "Journeys to the West" is an excellent product, well-worth your attention even if you don't plan on setting your adventures in Midgard.

Firstly, the locations are truly imaginative and fantastic - that's probably what I liked best in this book! From the dreadful fate of Mnemosyne to the awe-inspiring Leviathan island, everything makes me want to write adventures with or without the hooks provided. I don't plan on playing in Midgard, yet I know that some dark creepy corners of Barsella or the Burning Shores will be included in my Golarion, with almost no effort needed to adapt them.

The NPCs are also interesting, though some artwork depicting them could have been a plus. That brings me to the art department, which I frankly find lacking. The characters get little to no art, while the bestiary and magic item entries get decent art. The maps are great, but as EZG pointed out, you can't show them to your players because of the spoilers. Player handouts would have been very nice indeed.

I liked the monsters and magic items, and they complement the book well. I particularly liked the author's take on the Lamia's wisdom drain, which drains memories instead - that's a superb idea, and is coherent with the Mnemosyne plot.

The adventures are interesting, and exemplify well what can be done with the setting proposed in the first part of the book. I liked the fact that there's a crime-solving adventure of sorts, even if the investigation part could have been more developped.

As for the editing, I also noticed quite a few errors/typos ("see table x.x", etc.) which shouldn't be there. I also disliked the fact of receiving a black and white print edition whereas the pdf in in colour. Nothing specifies it in the product page, unfortunately. I also must mention the fact that three or four pages (including two maps) were marred with ink stains. While it didn't prevent the reading, I find it annoying to pay $26 for a flawed product. Please note that it has nothing to do with the product contents, so I didn't lower the mark on account of that minor annoyance.

As a conclusion, I would like to emphasize the general quality of this product. While not perfect, I certainly got what I wanted - a set of outstanding and creative locations to set my adventures in, as well as interesting scenarios.


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