Batsel Hoon

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Where Uninspired and Lazy Intersect


I must say, I was quite excited for this book. Ever since the debacle that was 3.5 polymorphing, Paizo has seemed to do everything in their power to nerf everything that involves it, and avoid printing more content. Thus, the existence of the Shifter intrigued me, the many-formed wanderer is a staple of Fantasy fiction, but Druid has too much clutter in the way to allow everyone to enjoy it. I wanted a class that could shapeshift from the word go, with unique and interesting class features to support that choice.

What we got, is a combination of Monk, Druid, and Hunter, that takes the worst, least exciting, and least functional aspects from each. Several features are cut and pasted whole cloth from Druid, while Wild Shape has been nerfed to the point of being a mere shadow of its former self, a fact I will discuss later. The Aspects feature is a copy paste from the Hunter's base Animal Foci, with a minor progression added at 8th level, it even includes the limited duration and uses per day clause! Something that even the base hunter did away with under certain circumstances. But it's unfair to focus solely on what's been cribbed from other classes, lets talk about Shifter's Claws, one of the few new features added; and I think an accurate summary of my problems with Shifter in a nutshell

1. You only get claws. No matter your theme, no matter your animal aspects, you get claws. Yes, that includes the Frog and Snake Shifters. This decision baffles me. Why restrict the Shifter to only using claws? Is there an issue with allowing a bite? Or a gore? Or a slam? Or a tail slap? On a class designed around shape changing, the fact this is unusually static reeks of hurried design.

2. The claws scale in damage, but very poorly. Why not allow claws to scale at a similar speed to the Monk and Brawler's unarmed strikes? At low levels, a full attack with claws is essentially a flurry, while at upper levels, the flurry vastly outpaces the claws, because unarmed strikes benefit from iterative attacks.

3. Even the claws have a feature cribbed from the Monk, in the form of their scaling material/property changes. The only unique feature the Shifter will see in their first handful of levels, is still just a spruced up hand me down system.

As for the issue of Wildshape, first we need to talk about the Aspect changes. Unlike Hunter, which knows all their Animal Foci at 1st level, the Shifter is incredibly limited, knowing only ONE aspect at first level, and gaining another Aspect every five levels thereafter. That alone, is worrying when compared with the Hunter... but then there's the Wildshape. A Shifter can only Wildshape into a creature she has an Aspect for. Unlike a Druid, who has numerous advantages over a Shifter already, the Shifter is limited to transforming into a total of 5 animals over the course of their entire career. Forget about transforming into Elementals, or Plants, or any Aquatic creature, or any of the dozens of bizarre and useful forms a clever Druid can pick from. The Shifter gets five forms, drawn from a list of fifteen animals. I would also point out, that this Wildshape is limited in exactly the same way as the Druid's is, so the Shifter can't even be in their form for the entire day until higher levels.

This, right here, is the real crux of the issue with the Shifter. It's not even as good at Shapeshifting as a 9 Wisdom Druid or Feral Hunter.

The rest of the book suffers from the same issues as many paizo hardcovers of late, namely large numbers of misprints that greatly alter the power of abilities. Many archetypes that are seemingly designed for NPC usage, or are simply trap options for less savvy players (The Ooze Shifter may be the new gold standard for this, given that it can't wear any magic items when in natural form.); combined with a large number of reprints and nerfs to spells and abilities people enjoyed using. If you look hard enough, there are a few things worth using, such as the Wildshaping Warpriest, or the Mapmaker Investigator, but those diamonds are few and far between.

1/5 - Absolutely Do Not Purchase.

Not Our Story


Reviewing a living scenario is incredibly tricky, since any mechanical/encounter comments may be made completely irrelevant by the next edit of the document. After running it at 10-11, I can say there's a lot to like about Solstice Scar, and there's a lot I do like about it. However, the issues I have with it run right to the core of the scenario, and are things that I doubt can be fixed by the addition of a new act, or some encounter tweaks.

Fully discussing my complaints will require some spoilers, which will be marked as such.

The Good:
Compared to previous multi-table specials, the majority of this one is a breeze to run. Largely in part due to the excellent organization, and the how the bestiaries are broken down by both section and tier in the appendices. I've run every multi-table special bar one, and this was the second easiest prep I've had. No easy feat considering the scale of the encounters.

The inclusion of one major roleplay encounter per act was a godsend for my table, who all loved the opportunity to do something other than fight.

The encounter variety was greatly appreciated. Everyone got a chance to shine in their own ways. The Monk with anti-hardness abilities loved Part 1, the AoE blaster/controller Wizard loved the low-save enemies in part 2, and the Paladin/Anti-Undead Cleric loved Part 3. Too often specials are focused on one type of enemy, which can leave characters out in the cold; this one made every skill set uniquely valuable.

The challenge was a little on the easy side at the highest tier, which is to be expected for a special; but several encounters (particularly in Act 3) had the party on the edge of their seats. Although, they were a bit unhappy with how anti-climactic the final encounter was. A boss fight would not have gone amiss.

The Bad:
Three of the flipmats used (Museum, Hill Country, Bigger Forest), including the one for the final encounter, are fairly uncommon, and are all painful to hand-draw. Museum can be solved by breaking it down into the relevant sections, however there's no easy solution for the other two. Especially the map for the final encounter which has no geometric shapes, and is too large for a normal flipmat.

The latter two social encounters both really needed a handout. I ended up making one for my table, simply because it's next to impossible to convey all the written information in a noisy convention hall when you're on a tight deadline.

The story lacked connective tissue. This special takes place over the course of several weeks-months, with large sections of time glossed over by box text. Leading to a fairly disorienting experience for both the players and the GMs.

Why did a relic of Vildeis from the Shinning Crusade somehow end up being needed for a ritual way up in the Realm of the Mammoth Lords? The connection is unwieldy and left the lore junkies scratching their heads.

The Story:
This is where my biggest complaint with Solstice Scar comes from. It's not our story. It is the story of Medda, the perfect chosen one NPC, and her quest to retrieve her ancestral McGuffin and save the world, because she's the only one who can. The story goes to great lengths to give myriads of details about her past, how capable she is, how much she's respected, and how she'd never actually hurt anyone. (The scenario accomplishes the last one by ratcheting Nigel Aldain's incompetence up to cartoonish heights.) But it never once tells the PCs what the Society is doing there, why the Masters and the Decemvriate felt this was a good use of their time, and why they're sending thousands of agents, when it seems that 4-6 would do.

The Society is only an incidental party in it's own special. Had Aldain called anybody else, they would never had gotten involved. In addition, there's no promise of knowledge, or treasure, or... anything to be gained from sending thousands of the best equipped and most dangerous people in the world on a multi-week trek through northern Avistan. Why does the Society expend a ridiculous amount of time and resources on this quest? Because Medda asks them to. The scenario contains no justification for it, other than it's a nice thing to do. Might I also mention that it's not Ollystra or another one of the "moral" leaders of the Society that pledges their support to this venture after talking to the NPC for 30 seconds, it's Ambrus Valsin. The prickly, crotchety, and ever-pragmatic Ambrus Valsin is willing to risk the lives of hundreds of his agents, and spend millions of gold, because someone he's never met before asked him to.

Contrast this with literally every other special, where the Society has a concrete reason be involved, and something spectacular to gain from the endeavor. We went to the World Wound to find Jormurdun. We went back in time to preserve history. We went to space to find god. We walked across Avistan because... I don't know how to finish that sentence.

Which is, ultimately, why this special rates so low. The mechanical content is pretty good, but its wrapper is anything but "special", and I don't see how any amount of new acts or act restructuring can change that, short of removing Acts 1 and 2, and going directly from 3.


When it's not sadistic, it's boring.


Prefacing this by saying I've both played and run this at high tier, with full tables of veteran players, and a veteran GM.

My biggest problem with the scenario is neatly summed up by the title of this review. The concepts and ideas lurking within the margins are very, very cool. However the scenario chooses to make these moments secondary to one of the most sadistic combats I've seen in years, and a plot line that seems designed to trick the party into screwing themselves over. Even if the party defies common sense, and does what the author wants, they're greeted with what is essentially a glorified info-dump, followed by a single skill check to completely resolve the mission.

Digging into specifics, so spoilers incoming.

The Setup: The party's mission is to solidify the alliance between the Society and the Concordance of Elements (the organization from the completely underwhelming Tyranny of the Winds arc), by exploring an ancient Jistkan outpost that's doing funky things to the elemental planes.

The Atmosphere: This is the one thing the scenario does well; the moment where the party finally reactivates the complex, and begins to understand the true scope of the citadel is excellently done. Elevators have crumbled into disrepair, broken golems lie scattered about, and magical effects abound. This is exactly what I imagined an intact Jistkan ruin would look like.

Full breakdown of encounters and endgame:
The Encounters: I greatly enjoy challenging encounters, and I enjoy challenging players as a GM, but there is such a thing as going too far. It's clear the author twisted and strained the CR system in order to squeeze every last drop of PC blood they could from this scenario.

The first encounter is straightforward, but gives the enemies a decent amount of terrain advantage.

The second encounter (and the one that took nearly 2/3rds of the session for both tables) pits the party against several incredibly tough incorporeal minions (147 HP, 24 AC, 2 attacks for 5d8 damage at 10-11), along with a PC-equivalent ghost spellcaster. All while the party is crammed onto a tiny floating platform, over a 200 ft. pit. Incorporeal creatures already wreck havoc on the CR system due to their massive number of defenses/immunities, giving them utter terrain dominance, spells/abilities tied to making use of the terrain, AND a surprise round with which is mess with the PCs is far, far too much. Were it not for a well-timed Anti-Incorporeal Shell at one table, and 5(!) scrolls of Heal at the other, neither group would have made it past this fight. As a player I was shaking my head in frustration and disbelief, as a GM I was unsure of how it was possible for me to not kill players.

Third encounter with the guardian is a fairly straightforward talk-y encounter, with a welcome twist brought on by the madness and the mural. I just wish this NPC had shown up sooner, to provide context for the previous encounters, and to break up the info-dump that the final bit of the scenario turns into.

Fourth encounter with Korj annoys me greatly. The previous two fights get the PCs in the mindset that a fight is inevitable, which means a perfectly reasonable PC with particularly good init can easily torpedo any attempts at negotiation, and drag the party into another fight with incorporeal enemies. Neither of my tables fought this encounter, but the feats the creature has, combined with its attack, means it can reasonably be expected to kill 1 PC a round. Also, even a fairly reasonable reading of its pseudo-possession ability can mean an unlucky PC may end up perma-dead, due to being shattered.
If you talk to the creature, it's yet another info-dump, with a smattering of good character moments all involving the guardian.

The Payoff: The McGuffin behind the entire scenario can be dealt with via a touch from a humanoid and a single skill check. After that, there's some character bits with the guardian and Korj, and the scenario just kinda ends. Very underwhelming, especially given the pain the party has likely experienced along the way.

The Factions: The Grand Lodge mission is just to succeed at the overall mission; boring, but par for the course for the faction. The Scarab Sage mission is fantastic, and I'm excited to see how it pays off. Between Beacon Below, Ancient's Anguish, and this one, it's clear someone on the PFS team really likes the faction.

Setup isn't the worst I've seen, but could be better.
Atmosphere is excellent, and I wish we had gotten more of it.
The Encounters are sadistic to the extreme (don't bring anyone who relies on precision damage!)
The RP is decent, but is all clumped together.
I found the payoff underwhelming, but others may have differing thoughts.
The Grand Lodge mission is bland as bland can be, but the Scarab Sage mission is one of the coolest I've ever seen.

1.75/5 (rounds to 2) - The brutal encounters and lackluster payoff makes this hard to recommend to anyone but fans of Jistka and Scarab Sages, with suitably min-maxed characters. I've certainly played worse scenarios, but not many.

Even the best isn't without blemishes


First off, I played this scenario at tier 14-15, with a five player party and no adjustment. I am currently prepping to run this at tier 14-15 on hardmode.

Unlike with Part 1, my complaints dealing with this scenario are isolated to a single encounter near the middle, rather than the entire adventure. If you wish to avoid all spoilers, scroll down to my final thoughts near the bottom.

That encounter.:
Research Mechanics.
As someone who has both played and run Blackrose Connection and played Mummy's Mask, there are few words that cause as violent a reaction as those two. In this scenario there is not one, but two separate libraries for you to research. Every attempt at researching causes a delay, and the number of delays ultimately decides of the NPC you're searching for is alive or dead; and if she's still carrying her unique magic items.

When our group played it, the GM rolled poorly (in the bottom 1/3rd) to determine KP damage three times in a row. Despite the fact our primary researcher had 24 Intelligence, 15 ranks in the skill, and a total of +32 + 1d8 to any relevant check, we still failed to finish off the second library before buffs ran out, and ultimately had to abandon it, causing us to not only find the NPC dead, but also miss out on an excellent and unique boon.

This is not okay. I had the same problem with Blackrose connection. The research rules are too random to be applied in any situation where time is a factor.

Going beyond the poorly implemented mechanics, I also have a problem with the underlying philosophy behind the choice to include them. I am a lore junkie, for me it's not enough to know I'm fighting Kobolds, I need to know why. So... when I'm forced to choose between understanding what's going on, and succeeding at the mission, I get a trifle miffed. We're Seekers. We shouldn't be penalized for not kicking in the door and murderhoboing everything in the room, without asking them questions.

But that's exactly what happened here, and the fact it was tied to one of the worst subsystems in recent memory is just a heaping handful of salt in the wound.

If I may make a suggestion, if you plan on implementing something similar to this in a future scenario, why not modify the research rules as so:

Instead of rolling your 1d4/1d8/1d12/etc. why not just reduce the KP of the library by the amount the relevant check exceeds the DC? Or even roll the appropriate die add intelligence modifier, then reduce KP by the result or the difference between the result and the DC, whichever is higher? It makes the numbers more consistent, allowing the author to calculate how long it'd take the average group to succeed, while keeping all other groups fairly close to that median.

Overall - In my opinion, this is the best of the three All For Immortality parts. The setting feels properly epic, the encounters are all interesting, the Leadership mechanics are more straightforward and less obtuse than in the other two parts, and the NPC near the end rivals Ekira and the Squizzard for the position of best NPC in all of Society. This one would easily be five stars and in the running for best of Season 7, if it wasn't for the one fatal flaw in the middle.

Rating: 4/5

Interesting, but flawed.


First off, I played through this scenario at high tier, with 4-player adjustment. I'm currently prepping to run this at high tier on Hardmode.

In order to fully explain the problems I have with the scenario, I'm gonna need to dig deeply into the design of the encounters, the story, and how it ties into the meta-plot. Beneath the Spoiler tag, anything goes. If you want my quick thoughts, then scroll down to the bottom.

Spoilers for all of AFI part 1:

The Pathfinder Society has been contracted by the Prince of Pashow to escort several vials of Sun Orchid elixir from the Citadel of the Alchemist to his city. As part of the contract, the PCs have been hired to act as troubleshooters, if anything unforeseen happens to the caravans. As expected, something goes wrong, and the PCs are teleported to the ruins of a smoldering caravan, right over a dimensional weakspot. The PCs kill the dimensional shamblers, and another one of Prof. Kromalag's experiments (#117), and find out that three different groups. One from a local city, one serving Kromalag, and one serving someone named "Loralis" attacked the caravan, with Loralis's group absconding with the elixir. Their only lead is a contract notarized at the local temple of Abadar.

After returning to Pashow the PCs find the city on the verge of anarchy, people are rioting in the streets, and the city guard is overwhelmed. Upon reporting to the Prince, the PCs are sent to the temple of Abadar to investigate. Once there, they are attacked by the high priest of Abadar, and the captain of the guard, who were secretly serving Loralis.

Moving deeper into the catacombs, the PCs finally confront Loralis; the Mature Adult Blue Dragon Mesmerist. In preparation for the PCs' arrival, she set up several bombs at structural weakpoints, to collapse the catacombs and the streets above.

After defeating Loralis (either killing her, or forcing her to flee), the party recovers the Sun Orchid Elixir and is given the hook for part 2.

Thoughts - I think most of my problems with this part of the arc have to do with the story.

1. This arc is meant to be about hunting down and dealing with the Korholm Agenda, so why is the BBEG of the first book Loralis? A character we'd never heard of until half-way through the scenario.

To contrast this fight with the big battle of Eyes of the Ten 1. Both fights were against groups we'd never heard of (Loralis and the Red Raven & Co.), but the information gained from the Red Raven was integral to the plot of the arc. Without the cooperation of the Raven, Eyes of the Ten doesn't happen. In All for Immortality, it doesn't matter if Loralis lives or dies (the scenario says as much), or even if the Sun Orchid Elixir is recovered, stolen, or quaffed by a greedy PC. Parts 2 and 3 feel like a cohesive whole, whereas this one feels like a one-shot.

2. Why are the captain of the guard, and the high priest of Abadar secretly traitors? There's nothing to suggest that, and the scenario is completely silent as to their motivation. It feels the author wanted to include a twist, but didn't have the time or word count to set it up. Maybe if we'd had several scenarios with these characters, time to get to them, their motivations, etc. then it would have had some kind of impact. Instead, it comes off as flat, and more than a little distracting.

3. The Sun Orchid Elixir. In contrast to my previous two points, I actually quite liked the way this was handled. I like the fact that we're getting more an more boons which cause you to fail the mission, but give a greater benefit. Negotiating with Serpents from Bid for Alabastrine is the other that comes to mind.

I want more boons like this in the future.


1 - I have very few complaints about this one. The Dimensional Shamblers are interesting and flavorful enemies, and the Oracle is fairly well built. Forcing the players to fight on two planes at once is an excellent way to show the PCs that they've entered a new chapter of their careers. My only real complaint, is that the line of text which says Plane Shift is 100% accurate within the disturbance should be more prominent. Our fight would have gone much differently if we'd been able to plane shift in, rather than wait for the shamblers.

2 - The only word to describe this fight is boring. You've got a Fighter and a Cleric, neither one with particularly exceptional builds or interesting personality/motivation. Excepting the Wishcraft Bond, which 4-player adjustment removes, there's no tricks/surprises/anything interesting going on here. When contrasted with the excellent opening fight this one just feels... blah. It's almost like it was designed to be the obligatory 3rd encounter, rather than existing to serve the narrative.

3 - I do not like Occult classes. I especially do not like high level Occult classes. While not the worst offender in the arc, making this character an Occult caster added a ton of complexity, without really adding much efficacy. In an arc like this, with so many moving parts and bizarre PC effects for the GM to keep track of, the author really needs to make an effort to stick to things people know. When looking at the Seeker Spreadsheet, how many Occult classes do you see on there? I'd wager it's a pretty small number. I personally only know of 1 Seeker-level Occult character.

The truth is, players and GMs just aren't familiar with the Occult book yet, so by adding a high level Occult character, you're forcing GMs to not only learn brand new mechanics, but to do so with little to no support from their fellow GMs. That's a really bad idea, especially for something like this.

This is the first iteration of the leadership subsystem, so I'll cut it a bit of slack. Due to comments on the forums, the system noticeably improved in Part 3, so I'll hold off on commenting on the system until then.

The one thing I liked about the Leadership system here which was noticeably absent in Parts 2 and 3, was how the PCs' actions effected their teams. Having Loralis' bombs not only threaten the civilians, but also the Pathfinder teams was excellent.

Overall - The first encounter is truly excellent from both a mechanics and a lore perspective. It knocks the players off balance, then forces them to devise a way out. Exactly what I had hoped for in Seeker play. The second and third encounters make very little sense (even after reading the scenario), and seem to be designed as "gotcha" moments, rather than to make sense in the story. Also, 4-player adjustment really takes the teeth out of the second encounter, making it closer to what I'd expect from 10-11, rather than 14-15.

I won't fully discuss the leadership mechanics here, since I've got quite a bit to say on that subject. Check my review of part 3 for full comments.

The scenario was enjoyable and interesting, but had enough frustrations that it was noticeably hampered.

3.5/5 Stars

Terms of Enrampagement


I've played this one at low tier, and GMed it multiple times at both tiers. So, I'll attempt to give both a player's perspective, and a GM's perspective.


Player - I love it. Riddleport is an archetypical hive of scum and villainy, and the locations you visit only enforce this image. All three of the temples have a unique feel, and contribute to the craziness of the scenario.

GM - I also love it. The best Pathfinder stories come about when players are allowed to go nuts, and Riddleport is the perfect location for it. Between getting smashed at the temple of Cayden, get "smashed" at the temple to Calistria, and doing the smashing at the temple of Besmara, there's plenty of opportunities for the players to turn this supposedly covert mission into a drunken rampage.


Player - Hard. The first and optional fights are a cakewalk, but the second and final boss fights are potential TPKs. Our group had a Paladin trigger the second fight, so it didn't really hurt us, but if the Rogue or Wizard did it instead, then things might have been different. Overall I enjoyed it, I prefer quality over quantity in my encounters, and the author clearly does as well.

GM - I'll echo the player comments. GMs need to be careful with the second fight (remember the flickering wall) and the final boss, I've nearly TPK'd low tier parties with both of them.


Player - This module is about, role playing, not rollplaying. If you come into this one willing to get out of your comfort zone and do some crazy things then you'll have an awesome time. If you want to roll dice and kill monsters, you'll leave disappointed.

GM - Whether this module succeeds or fails depends on you. If you really get into it, and encourage players to get into it (I usually give the players a bit of time to hang out in the Tavern for precisely this purpose), then everyone will have a great time. If you just stick to the script, and refuse to get out of the box, then it'll fall a little flat.

Final Score:

Player - I love the roleplaying, the story, and the combats. Easily a 5.

GM - I also love the roleplaying, the story, and the combats. Also a 5.

If "The Disappeared" is an episode of Mission Impossible, then "Severing Ties" is an episode of Archer.


Don't look directly at it


I've played this once at high tier, and I've GM'd it at high tier, so I'm going to try to address this from both a player and GM's perspective.

Since it'd be impossible to discuss the good and bad of the scenario without spoiling it, read the following at your own risk.

Away we go:


Player - We get to explore ancient dwarven ruins, previously occupied by the cult of Droskar? Cool. We have to spend of our time riding an elevator? Um... cool? Another team went in first? Slightly less cool. Droskari lore, and uniquely dwarven things, only show up like twice? Lame.

I guess this is the main problem with the module, unlike the excellent third part of this series, it feels like we're in a generic dungeon. We never get a sense that this place is truly ancient or menacing. The elevator is a cool gimmick, but it wears thin as the scenario stretches on.

GM - There's not much to say here. It's a dungeon. A particularly empty dungeon. Unless you want to put in a lot of work adding interesting sights, and sounds, this is about as boring as you can get.


Player -

1. Traps. I understand why they're here, it makes sense, I just hate the things. They slow down movement, and rarely do anything other than burn some CLW wand charges.

2. Why? Why are there Fey in a dwarven ruin? Why are these Fey so annoying? The enemies here are fans of the "let's cast tons of crowd control spells, forcing this fight to go on forever, by preventing half of the PCs from acting" school of thought. It's just annoying, and poor design. Not challenging. More wasted CLW wand charges.

3. Yes. This fight is awesome. The elevator starts flooding, which added a fantastic sense of urgency to the combat. My Gunslinger had to draw his sword for the first time since 1st level. The flooding made the non-construct enemies a legitimate threat, and the constructs were great. I enjoyed this fight so much I've thrown similar fights into home games I've run.

4. Common undead with class levels, one of whom can't even move? Really? That's it? Also, I just killed a ghoul disguised as a vampire, disguised as a human? What.

5. The puzzle is okay. Not good, not bad, just okay.

GM -

1. I still dislike traps. The ridiculous amount on the first level forces players to spend an insane amount of time searching every other level for traps. Complete waste of time. Not much else to say.

2. The justification for why these guys are here is pretty flimsy and the fight is just as boring for a GM as it is for the players. Taking an majority of the party out of the fight is not good game design, it just pisses people off.

3. No complaints here. This fight is entertaining to run, just because the player's dread at the sight of the rising water is hilarious.

4. This fight is beyond moronic. Apparently, we're meant to believe that a liberation domain cleric was trapped under rubble for days. I repeat LIBERATION DOMAIN. IE, the domain which gives you two different types of Freedom of Movement, as well as the spell itself. We're also meant to believe that these Pathfinders murdered each other, while the Wizard couldn't be arsed to stop them from fighting.

The fight itself is meh. If the cleric's crowd control goes off then this could be a difficult fight, if the players make their will saves, then it's a rogue, and a fighter vs. an entire party. Cue Curb-stomp.

Once again, Confusion is an awful spell. Taking agency away from the players is not good design.

5. The puzzle is poorly explained, to the point where it's nearly impossible to figure out how it works. However it doesn't really matter, because by this point most players will be fine just skipping the puzzle and being done.

Other -
Player - This is where I'd discuss other factors, like roleplaying, or theme, but there aren't any. None. It's just a straight dungeon crawl.

GM - It's been mention before, but the maps are terrible. 10 foot scale and circular rooms, and diagonals? Why do you hate us, map designing person?

Overall -
Player - Probably the worst scenario I've ever played, if not, then it's a close second. The setting is boring, the first floor is terrible without a rogue, the first fight drags on, and the last fight is stupid, but the second fight is pretty cool, if it works as intended. 1/5

GM - Bad. No roleplaying. Lots of traps. Un-fun encounters. Moronic narrative. The only saving grace is the organization is passable, but that's like complimenting a Mario game, because Mario jumps when you press "A". 0/5

Total - 0.5
Avoid it.
This scenario seems like it was designed by someone who understands the game mechanics, but not the game. The enemies are well built, and their abilities synergize with each other, but not in a way that's fun for, or fair to, the players. When the two of the three fights rely on taking agency away from the party, then you've got a scenario which no players, and only the most sadistic of GMs can enjoy.

Roleplaying, Investigating, and Dungeon Crawling? Yes, please.


I've played this scenario once, and GM'd it once, both at 8-9. So I'll try to address this scenario as both a player and a GM.

Act 1 - A house, a marker, a racetrack, and the Law.

I had the opportunity to play this as an Inquisitor, and I really enjoyed the dilemma that the Laws of Man present. The ban on divine magic forces players to think before whipping out their wands of Cure Light, but doesn't cripple divine casters.

The role playing and investigative portions are meant to be fun, not challenging. I thought the two bakers were hilarious, and having one section take place at a race track allowed for some interesting background events.

I really liked the mechanics for how they identify/notify the guards of divine casting.I was also really happy that they made the Pure Legion actually act like law enforcers, rather than generic enemies (looking at you Heresy of Man). I was also thrilled that they don't instantly resort to violence, and allow players to make diplomacy/bluff checks, or intimidate at a penalty, which is something too few scenarios do.

My one big complaint about the scenario is, they don't mention what the guards do about divine wands/scrolls/potions, or what they do about Oracles and Druids. Divine casters that don't invoke a specific god when casting.

Act 2 - Are you sure Torch didn't give us this mission?

This encounter is, mechanically and thematically, really cool. I never thought I'd enjoy an encounter where I wasn't allowed to use weapons or armor, but this scenario continued to prove me wrong. My only gripe is, if your main diplomatic person is the wrong race, then you're in for some trouble.

As a GM, I adore this encounter, it even forced our combat monkeys to stop calculating DPR and role play. It also reinforces that the Pure Legion are, at heart, reasonable and intelligent people. Which is something too few scenarios do. As a GM, I have no complaints about act 2.

Act 3 - Spetsnaz got nothing on us!

A compound filled with bad guys. Four methods of entry. One goal. The final boss was terrifying, her minions were deadly, and the clock was ticking. I still rank clearing that compound among the coolest things I've ever done in Society.

Holy-Balls. This is a complex encounter. I say "encounter," because the entire things needs to take place in rounds due to the ticking clock.

The boss is terrifying, and her tactics only mention what she does before combat, and in the first round or two. Once the players find her, the GM is free to go nuts (other than the one spell she saves to escape). In the hands of some who doesn't play that class, she nearly TPK'd the party. In the hands of an experienced player, it'd be worse.

The fact that this fight is so open ended, means you have to know EVERYTHING about her, her abilities, the minions, and the minions' abilities in order to play the fight properly. All while keeping track of the ticking clock.

I'm a pretty experienced GM, and I was exhausted by the time the fight was over.

Overall - The Good, the Great, and the Awesome

Unique and interesting setting, that the scenario takes full advantage of, some fun role playing, and epically challenging combats. Easily a 5, definitely in my top 5 favorite scenarios.

Complex encounters, interesting NPCs, and lovingly crafted enemies. A solid 4.75, would be a perfect 5 if the amount of prep required wasn't so dang high. Would definitely run again.

Total - 5

It could have been a Season 0...


Season 5 has really raised the standard for PFS scenarios. With fantastic scenarios like Wardstone Patrol, Port Godless, and the Confirmation, PFS is better than ever. So it makes me sad to see the writers take, what I feel is, a step backwards in terms of quality.

1. The first encounter. I liked it, I thought it was a good introduction to the world, and to the savage nature of the land. However, I think it was a little annoying for both enemies to drop what they were doing and attack the party. I mean I understand the logic, but it felt a little... off.

2. Why aren't we told which gifts go to what NPC? I know other reviews have mentioned this, but I feel like it's important enough to repeat. The scenario makes a big deal about the specific items we get, and the the different chieftains, but nothing comes of it. The ENTIRE point of the module is to establish diplomatic relations, but we're not given any way of figuring out how to do that.

3. The "mystery." When you're told to pick a staging area, there's really only one logical choice. I mean, the module flat-out tells you not to pick the other two sites, but then they try to shoehorn in a "mystery" surrounding the other site, with only the vague promise that it'll get resolved.

4. How do the Barbarians keep sneaking up on the party in the middle of the Tundra? A DC 29 perception check is insane for a flat, barren area.

However, even after all these problems why did I rate this module 3 stars? Well, because it's fun. Despite being a little odd, the combats (particularly the first and optional encounters) are unique and memorable, and the enemies are rare enough that most players are gonna be completely caught-off guard by what they're facing. It's mildly entertaining while it lasts, but you'll never think about it again afterwards. Just like a Season 0.