Lopo

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*** Pathfinder Society GM. Starfinder Society GM. 434 posts (8,336 including aliases). 9 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 14 Organized Play characters. 5 aliases.



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Um... for the plot?

3/5

Good: Fun roleplaying segments with some interesting and memorable characters...

Mediocre: ...who have some pretty major 'I DO THIS FOR THE PLOT' moments that don't make a whole lot of sense in the context of the scenario.

Bad: As everyone else below has said, one of the encounters is at worst deadly, at best not a fun encounter for anyone involved.

I would go into more detail, but JasonS's review below mimics my thoughts exactly. Not something I'd tell people to avoid at all costs, but not high on my list of scenarios I'd recommend.


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Blakros Matrimony pt. 2

4/5

A very enjoyable scenario, much in line with the Blakros Matrimony. Combats were fun and challenging, social encounters were well done. Played low tier with Slayer 5 (me), Cavalier 5, Swashbuckler 7, Ranger 6, Ninja 6.

Gameplay - Influence: The influence mechanic is pretty nearly identical to that of the Blakros Matrimony. There is a decent array of skill checks that can be used to earn favor, obviously with Diplomacy being the most important by a long shot. I had my Cha 5 Tiefling (I love bringing him to these) and there were still a few places for him to apply his skills. The only issue I always run into on these is that when you are influencing people towards a single goal, and fail your first couple checks, anyone who comes back to the same person to try again usually ends up rehashing the same argument, or just saying 'I roll diplomacy.' Even good roleplayers run out of ways to rephrase the question. Minor nitpick, thoroughly enjoyed this section anyways. (9/10)

Gameplay - Investigation: Without getting into any spoilery details, the investigation work is interwoven with the talking parts. It seems to have a pretty distinct separation from the influence parts, and some work could probably be done to intermix them a bit more in future scenarios of this type. Again, a very minor nitpick. (9/10)

Gameplay - Combat: Solid encounters. While I wouldn't say they had a major threat of killing a PC, they certainly had a threat of causing the group to expend more consumables than usual, and threat of jeopardizing the primary or secondary mission objectives. The amount of combats and quality certainly lets your Barbarians shine. The encounter setups weren't particularly interesting as there were no major hazards, but not everything needs to take place within another subsystem, so I'll give the combats a full score. (10/10)

Story: My biggest complaint is still fairly minor, but something that might be taken into account moving forward. The ostensible reason for the PCs to be at the party is to chat it up with the nobles and show that Pathfinders are cool dudes. Nothing will go wrong, just influence people. We promise. In some ways it feels a bit comical, as though someone just loudly proclaimed "I do hope nothing happens to spoil this fancy dinner party!" followed by the obviously fully expected ambush. Several members of my party had previously played in the Blakros Matrimony and Merchant's Wake, and of course being invited to a party again go into full investigation mode looking for all points of entrance, odd acting characters, and formulating defense plans for the inevitable case that security fails. At a certain point I think it may be a better idea to include some perceived threats in the briefing so the party's paranoia seems a little less idiotic and we don't need to pretend to be surprised when the baddies show up. Admit it, everyone knows it's going to happen. (8/10)

Duration: Depending on how all of the skill checks and exploration go I could see the scenario running long, but we finished in about 4.5 hours with full marks. A couple of the enemies can possibly bring more into the fray, and our party prevented that from happening. If it wasn't for that I could see the scenario take much longer as well. (8/10)

Final score: 44/50 (4.5/5 stars?)
If you liked Blakros Matrimony and Merchant's Wake, you'll like this scenario as well. I certainly recommend playing it.


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Sand, sand, sand... and more sand!

4/5

Wonderful flavor, plenty of options for approaching problems. The final encounter was a bit...awkward? It was a great encounter thematically, however trying to judge time gets really awkward when you have people aiming for a diplomatic solution while others are acting in combat rounds to stave off impending doom. Feels a bit disjointed but still well done. I certainly recommend this scenario to anyone who has played in Destiny of the Sands and wants to dig deeper.

We played the scenario with the mid-tier scaling rules (we had a lot of level 9 characters), and it didn't seem to affect things too much. I've had some bad experience with mid-tier party scaling but this seemed to be handled well. I was not the GM so I can't say for certain but as a player everything felt very balanced. There were many dangerous moment, but on the whole we were well equipped so we didn't have too much trouble.


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Nigel... this is all your fault

5/5

Amazing scenario. As a big fan of Library of the Lion, to find a scenario that takes all of the good parts of it and expands on it made me quite happy. GM'd this for a 6-player mid-tier party. Make absolutely sure that you have studied the research mechanics before running this or it can slow to a crawl quickly. I love how the combats were mixed in between research sections and the GM flexibility to reward creative applications of spells and abilities was very useful. To top it off, the Serpents Rise tie-in was both extremely well done, and in some ways just an added bonus. The development of the super secret NPC in question was done so well that even if I had not been a part of that special I still would have gained an appreciation for the character. I'm going to go make a research check to find out to make a 6-star review now...


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Calling all Troubleshooters

4/5

Played low tier with several occult characters. Solid investigation, with social encounters, combat encounters, and a mini dungeon. Great way to give all characters a chance to shine and definitely recommended for new characters. Tie to Serpent's Rise very interesting and gives a bit more insight into the subject in question. I'm not sure how much I would have appreciated those references however if I hadn't played in the special. I think it might be better for local groups if the GM star requirement was waived from the special to allow everyone more of a chance to share in the experience since it plays so heavily into the end of the scenario.


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Paved with good intentions

2/5

I'm not going to go into too much depth since Zoomba's review mimics my thoughts exactly, however I do hope the authors give this adventure style another try. I feel like many of the problems stem from the amount of things going on required many pieces of the scenario to be boiled down into a short list of skill checks at several points, all of which put a major damper on the investigation if failed. This type of investigation could result in a very unique and fun adventure, but the scripted skill checks kept pulling me out of the role and made for an extremely awkward finale. I do not recommend this scenario, however I do think that with some lessons learned a gem could be written in the future.


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Fun bits for veterans, great for new characters

5/5

Played through at low tier with the following party:
Occultist 3 (Me), Spiritualist 1, Magus 1, Kineticist 2, Inquisitor 1, Samurai 1

I loved how the scenario had multiple avenues to complete the various encounters. Not only that, the roleplay served a dual purpose in that it helped to prepare the players for the types of foes to come. Certain types of encounter

Like...:
Incorporeal undead and Haunts
can be quite devastating to inexperienced parties, and the way that this scenario introduces them and prepares the party for them is a great way to help familiarize new players or players with new characters on their options for dealing with them.

All of the characters were memorable, and despite the scenario being fairly railroaded, the story great and engaging. If you are a group of veteran players looking for a challenge, I will say that it seemed to me to be a pretty easy scenario, but I didn't play it at high tier. It does however have references to many characters that veteran players will enjoy, so I can confidently recommend it to anyone.


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Now you're thinking with portals!

5/5

Environment - The approach to the location for this scenario, along with the NPC interactions both during the approach and in town really manage to give a good backdrop for the scenario. Was able to get immersed in it without any difficulty.

Pacing - The distribution of encounters and skill challenges was clean and kept a nice narrative going.

The Puzzle - Hey... I loved it. We had a bit of a tough time on it, but we managed to complete with full rewards, lots of head scratching, laughs, and a sense of accomplishment when we finished.

Encounters - The core mechanic of the scenario meshed in with the encounters amazingly.

As a note, I am a huge fan of Library of the Lion and the Overflow Archives. If you disliked both of those scenarios I suspect you may dislike this as well, but if that is the type of scenario you enjoy, I cannot recommend this enough.


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Riddle me this?

5/5

An excellent scenario that encourages care and thoughtfulness while leaving a good amount of room for PCs to flex their muscles. We had some incredibly entertaining banter with many of the NPCs, some great discussion moments within the party, hilarious diplomatic AND non-diplomatic encounters, and an all-round good time. I'm not sure what else I can say without spoiling anything, but I strongly recommend playing it.