Stone Giant

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Goblin Squad Member. Organized Play Member. 1,757 posts (2,496 including aliases). 58 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 20 Organized Play characters. 1 alias.



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An Unworthy Sequel

2/5

I'm not going to be redundant with my review. I agree that the plot is terrible. The needs to be a timeline and a better description of how the heist was pulled off. Many times during the scenario the GM can be faced with relevant questions and has nothing to offer but improvisation. The only thing that saves the scenario from a 1-star review is the final combat. While challenging for the GM to run correctly, it keeps the players off-balance and punishes the murder-hoboism that has become rampant in Society play.

Any GM that runs this should review Mark Seifter's blog entry from May 2015 regarding darkness and light.


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Disjointed

3/5

Running any scenario for the first time is a learning experience. This entire scenario felt wrong right out of the gate. Too many times in the scenario I had to interrupt the game to explain the contrived mechanics created to move the plot along, or what the author actually intended the PCs to do in this situation. The motives of the NPCs were vague and illogical. The experience on my side of the screen felt disjointed. The battles were boring to run.

First Act:
The CRs for the first encounter should have been cranked up higher because the PCs aren't taking the full brunt of things. The corridors are cramped, and the [redacted]'s aura stops PCs in their tracks making the bottleneck even worse. Good luck making 4 successful DC 18 Fort saves when you step over the threshold. Enjoy sitting there as the GM rolls attack and damage dice for 10 individual creatures every round.

In its defense, the scenario oozes flavor for the Jeweled Sages arc--but falls short of allowing the players to make any real revelations. "Outside the scope of the scenario" makes players into sad pandas. Finally, the complexity of the final encounter was not fun to explain--you literally have to stop the action and describe how a little paperclip appears next to a PC's head and says, "Hi! It looks like you're trying to avoid a disastrous situation. Would you like me to activate the tutorial program?" I don't know if the players enjoyed themselves, but I felt like they had no chance of succeeding unless the mechanics were laid bare. It was too much to forgive in a scenario.


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Why should I care about any of this?

2/5

I have played & GMed this scenario. It is apparent from the beginning that it has the narrowest of relevance to most PFS members. This is a scenario for your social PC, not your combat monkey. A new player is going to be left wondering "Why should I care about any of this?". A GM is going to have a hard time keeping the players engaged at the table. Last night was 3.5 hours of talking before we ever rolled initiative. After the first combat encounter the plot becomes silly. The players know what's up, but the contrived plot tries to turn them away from an early conclusion. The GM either improvises or asks the players "This is what you are expected to do, can you just play along?" It seems like the author believes the players are all mind-readers who inherently know which direction the scenario wants them to leap toward.

If PFS is going to develop these types of scenarios in the future, then it needs to create player handouts with pictures of the NPCs with a brief profile OR give permission for users to create and share resources with images from the scenario on sites like GM Shared Prep. There are 8 key NPCs in this scenario, all with foreign names that are easy for players to mix up.


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Two wrong feet & ugly shoes

2/5

In the author's defense, this module was a great idea as a concept. I don't think Rob McCreary was the one who built the pre-gens that were included with it. They were badly matched against the encounters, which created a lot of heartache. If you play this adventure, steer clear of the pre-gens.

I'll echo the sentiments of other reviewers to say this was a poor execution of a product intended to introduce the novice gamer to the Pathfinder RPG. Two encounters in particular are responsible for this fiasco. They are overwhelming, making the beginning and the conclusion of the module contentious.

On the flipside, there are also encounters that are a trivial challenge and only serve to drag out the game. Likewise, the traps that are included are a small threat to the PCs and do not command much attention. I would have enjoyed more deadly & devious traps and fewer combat encounters.

I look forward to GMing this module again, but I think Paizo missed the mark on this one. Free RPG Day is about putting your best foot forward, and this module has two wrong feet and ugly shoes.


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A Missed Opportunity

1/5

If I felt let down by the misleading title of this scenario, it pales in comparison to my disappointment with the plot. The Chronicle sheet didn’t get much love either. There are positive things about the scenario, if the GM is willing to polish it up. There are some role-play moments you don’t often see in PFS, and players have opportunities for outside-the-box problem solving. The scenario won’t deliver any of it without a GM who can provoke it from the players, however. If the GM is uninspired then success will come down to either some lucky die rolls or having the right skill pumped. This is an adventure for your social characters, not your combat-optimized fighter. The plot takes too much for granted and spoon-feeds the clues to the players. The setting is unremarkable, as are the combat encounters. I haven’t seen The Stranger Within (April’s other new release) yet but I hope it got the love that The Horn of Aroden did not.


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If you liked 'Rescue at Azlant Ridge', this is your scenario

4/5

I've run this three times now and I think I figured it out. It would be difficult to run cold, so make sure you have time to read it through and get the tempo right. The PCs are sent into a mysterious tower inside the Worldwound with effectively no clue what to expect. Each room they investigate reveals another piece of the puzzle, but the clock is ticking. The scenario is a great fit for Season 5, which means if you don't play it soon it will make about as much sense as the Shadow Lodge scenarios from Season 2 do now. One thing that I like is the opponents allow the GM a lot of leeway to push the PCs further than previous scenarios. The climax will not fail to satisfy; it should be a nailbiter. It felt a lot like #2-02 Rescue at Azlant Ridge without the Azlanti insurance policy. Way to go Nathan!


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I Expected Better

3/5

I’ve run this scenario 7 times and it’s making a slow recovery from the 1-Star first impression it made. The adventure takes place in Riddleport, a nearly lawless pirate town. The surroundings are very colorful but can be lost on players unless the GM does some research first. I recommend the GM read either the Second Darkness Chapter 1 Adventure Path section on Riddleport or the associated Player Companion as part of the prep work, your players will thank you. Also consider purchasing Pirates of the Inner Sea as the scenario features some equipment from that resource. The scenario spends a fair amount of time on the water, which favors high-mobility (and buoyant) PCs. If you have a social PC you can also have a good time. Non-lawful PCs also fair better in Riddleport. The scenario gets high marks for Campaign Flavor for using Riddleport as a backdrop, and for enabling creative approaches from players. The Faction missions are a let-down, more of the usual find-the-obvious-stuff-and-bring-it-back. My two gripes are with the background and the combat encounters. The background/plot is implausible and takes a toll on the player’s immersion into the situation. The combat encounters are recycled opponents & contrived roles. There was a lot of potential for exploiting the Bestiary 2 and Bestiary 3 here but instead I feel let down. I’m giving the scenario a grudging 3-Star review, only because so far all my players have enjoyed themselves and haven’t felt cheated. However, this is an Exclusive scenario and there’s nothing here that set it apart from any other scenario available for purchase. It took more effort than it should have to fix this scenario, and as an Exclusive release I really expected more.


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Manual of Dwarvern Lore

4/5

One of the high points of this scenario is it brings a section of Golarion history to life for the players who don’t obsessively study the campaign material. The Quest for the Sky, the construction of the Sky Citadels and the downfall of the dwarves are wonderful stories. This scenario makes me want to create a dwarf PC. The combat encounters are difficult to classify. They all contribute to moving the story along, but they don’t have to be won to accomplish this. GMs need to thoroughly prep this scenario; there’s a LOT of material to consider. I recommend perusing Dwarves of Golarion and having handouts prepared for the players. Larry pumped a lot of lore into this thing. I have run it 5 times and it can go very fast for a Tier 5-9. Beware the dreaded double-sized maps within, drawn at the 1 square = 10 feet scale. It's hard to draw that much using only black and gray. Otherwise I enjoyed this scenario, it's solid Wilhelm craftsmanship.


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Superb Follow-Up!

5/5

Season 1 was very clever and had some tears-in-my-eyes hilarious moments. Season 2, dare I say, was even better! The ZOE writers understand game humor so well, playfully mocking its classic Gygaxian roots. The acting, costumes and special effects are even better than Season 1. This is a polished product, a surprising accomplishment on what had to be a shoestring budget. I really hope the ZOE group holds together for more seasons. There's so much talent that I fear they'll break up the dream team and independently seek their fortunes. This DVD is worth the money. I can't wait for Season 3!


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You will need at least 26 PP to play this scenario

4/5

10 for Body Recovery outside of a city, 16 for the Raise Dead.

I’ve GMed the scenario 4 times and I think I can give it a fair review now. The chief issue here is a difficult optional encounter. If it’s included in the scenario and the party isn’t well prepared then the result is likely a TPK nine times out of ten. If the optional encounter isn’t included the scenario is only mildly challenging. Player reviews are going to vary wildly as a result, so read them with that in mind.

To begin with, this is a good “Scooby-Doo” adventure. If I could read my players’ minds I’d probably hear exclamations of “Jinkies!” and “Zoinks!”. If you are looking for a creepy Halloween holiday location, an abandoned manor house with a history of diabolism fits the bill nicely.

The scenario is very flavorful and ties in tightly with the Pathfinder Society campaign. The location is visually interesting but sadly lacking in room-by-room details (damn you, word count limit!). The maps are great although I disagree with the scale. There is a single role-play opportunity but it is the central feature of the scenario and a lot of fun on both sides of the table. The faction missions are unremarkable. There are no railroad tracks; the encounters flow naturally until the big ‘reveal’ at the end. “I’d have gotten away with it all, if it wasn’t for you pesky kids!”

Lastly, “Day of the Demon” is a satisfying successor to the previous Exclusive “The Cyphermage Dilemma” which was a letdown. Thank you for farming it out to veteran contributor Larry Wilhelm. You did good, Larry.


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Victory, or an Eternity of Torment

4/5

Most of the complaints I have about Pathfinder modules and PFS scenarios is how generic they are. The Pathfinder campaign setting is expansive and ever-improving. It is a shame not to put this tool to use. Many times the players have no idea what nation or region they are in because that’s how the author intended it. In The Midnight Mirror the location matters for a change. Placing the adventure in Nidal was a bold move. I just wish there were greater details about Nidal in the module, such as the reaction of commoners and authority-types to faiths opposed to Zon-Kuthon. Having the threat of arrest and torture hanging over the PCs is something the GM has to add to the experience, but it heightens the tension.

The module is split into two sections. The first allows for mood development, investigation and role-play. It’s very ‘sandbox’. The timetable is fuzzy and the GM must improvise more than they should need to. However the players shouldn’t know the difference. There are enough clues to keep them moving. There’s a great deal of exposition to cover, but I enjoy the differing POVs the players get. Part 2 is a combination of combat and role-play, giving the PCs more insight into the backstory and a feeling they've been had.

The best part of the adventure is the aftermath. PCs are forced to choose a side or witness acts of vengeance on the innocent. It doesn't matter what they pick, they are going to have blood on their hands. I like it.

I have run this module twice. I've enjoyed it, but I have some concerns about felt the climactic encounter was going to be overwhelming for 4th level PCs. Thus far I have been wrong. It’s extremely challenging but so far only 1 PC has died.

I can't point to any single thing that prevented me from giving this 5-Stars. It just seemed lacking in small ways. Like

Spoiler:
casters using blindness in two encounters, which hoses PCs with a permanent condition. And giving a sorceress with darkvision darkvision as a 2nd level spell slot.


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Love to Run it Again!

4/5

I enjoyed running this module because it wasn’t your typical dungeon-crawl adventure. The party consisted of

PCs:
a 1st level human barbarian, a 1st level gnome barbarian, a 2nd level druid, a 1st level inquisitor of Asmodeus, and a 1st level halfling sorcerer.
It felt a bit scripted, but the players surrendered to the ‘plot current’ without a struggle. I would have been happier if it had been more like a sandbox. As written it took 7.5 hours to run. If you had more time to work with you could expand quite a bit
ideas to expand on:
like fleshing out the skulk tribe living outside town and tracking down the drug dealing network selling shiver.
The campaign flavor of the scenario was disappointing. It could have been inserted into any world with tensions between two different ethnic groups. The combats were mildly challenging for the most part. I do like that most of the encounters were set up in a thoughtful way. The party split up during the hideout raid and things got interesting, but it would have been over quick if they had stuck together. I regret the lack of monsters to fight. I think it’s more heroic to fight monsters rather than constantly facing amoral humans. What makes this module worth it is the role-playing. There are a lot of different NPCs to bring to life. The author made the pace of the murders quick enough that there’s little chance for things to derail much. I look forward to running this module again. I just wish there were some real monsters to fight!


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Download at Own Risk


I moved this product to my Shopping Cart and everything was going fine. I was looking forward to a fun experience. I had just bought a shiny new upgrade for my anti-virus software and I had been bragging my firewall was so high even Anonymous couldn't touch me. When the download began, suddenly everything froze. My motherboard began to smoke. I tried to disconnect but it was too late. Not only did this scenario take down my desktop, but all the wireless devices in my household are dead as well. Even the Roomba got fried, and it's not even connected to anything! I made a homeowner's insurance claim, but my carrier said the hardware was not covered since the mishap fell under the Acts of Kyle Baird clause. It was an unrecoverable total device kill :(


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Crystal FTW!

4/5

I've run this scenario 22 times now and I am still not tired of it. It has a simple plot and moves very fast without seeming like a railroad. The combat elements are a let-down but the strength of the scenario's role-play elements make up for the short fights. I enjoy running this scenario because the objectives allow for the players to be creative with their problem-solving. The scenario allows the GM a lot of flexibility to improvise and have a lot of fun. The faction missions are good for the most part, a step up from what has become the status quo. The campaign setting flavor takes some work on the GM's part in order to bring to the surface. I highly recommend that any GM prepping to run this get a copy of Rule of Fear and especially make an effort to read the section on Ardis. Overall it's a very entertaining scenario and worth the effort to prep and run as much as possible.


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I Expected Better

3/5

I’ve run this scenario 3 times and it’s making a slow recovery from the 1-Star first impression it made. The adventure takes place in Riddleport, a nearly lawless pirate town. The surroundings are very colorful but can be lost on players unless the GM does some research first. I recommend the GM read either the Second Darkness Chapter 1 Adventure Path section on Riddleport or the associated Player Companion as part of the prep work, your players will thank you. Also consider purchasing Pirates of the Inner Sea as the scenario features some equipment from that resource. The scenario spends a fair amount of time on the water, which favors high-mobility (and buoyant) PCs. If you have a social PC you can also have a good time. Non-lawful PCs also fair better in Riddleport. The scenario gets high marks for Campaign Flavor for using Riddleport as a backdrop, and for enabling creative approaches from players. The Faction missions are a let-down, more of the usual find-the-obvious-stuff-and-bring-it-back. My two gripes are with the background and the combat encounters. The background/plot is implausible and takes a toll on the player’s immersion into the situation. The combat encounters are recycled opponents & contrived roles. There was a lot of potential for exploiting the Bestiary 2 and Bestiary 3 here but instead I feel let down. I’m giving the scenario a grudging 3-Star review, only because so far all my players have enjoyed themselves and haven’t felt cheated. However, this is an Exclusive scenario and there’s nothing here that set it apart from any other scenario available for purchase. It took more effort than it should have to fix this scenario, and as an Exclusive release I really expected more.


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The Arms Race Continues

2/5

This adventure gets high marks for difficulty and opponent design. Matt Goodall knew what he was doing when he built the Ebon Destroyers. He did the job too well, in fact, making the adventure into a tedious lesson of pain and frustration for the players. The arms race between the power-gamers and the adventure authors continues, sucking all the fun out of the game for the players who choose not to optimize. There were several encounters where I felt like a spectator rather than a player.

The setting was the best part about this scenario. The author did his homework on Jalmeray and brought the nation to life with his selection of NPCs and opponents. The adventure covers urban, wilderness and dungeon settings and offers every character class the chance to shine. The plot is simple and after some investigation it goes straight to the bloodletting.

This is not an adventure for the casual player. It is long, it is deadly, and it is unforgiving. Played straight through it should take 10-12 hours to complete. It is written for 8th level PCs but would challenge 9th & 10th level PCs as well. If you play it with 8th level PCs then make sure there are six of you. The adventure is designed to drain resources so make sure that each party member has the means to independently fly, climb and then get out fast if things go south.


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Go Behind the Iron Curtain of Golarion!

4/5

What I enjoyed about this scenario is the uneasy feeling the players get when they realize they're walking into a city they might not be able to get out of. Simply getting into the city presents a great problem-solving challenge, and many hare-brained ideas have degenerated into great role-play moments. The downfall of the scenario is once again its insufficient page count, the fact that so much is left to the GM to improvise without any help in the text. If you GM this scenario you can do yourself a BIG favor by reading Cities of Golarion and the novel Winter Witch to get a firm grasp of the local flavor. After running it six times now I am comfortable with the setting and I am having a lot of fun. The plot timeline is messed up but no one seems to care. The combat encounters are OK, nothing epic but all of them are appropriate for the scenario. The maps are original and thankfully weren't shoe-horned into place. Faction missions were OK overall. The Taldan mission is great and leads to some superb mischief.


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Crystal FTW!

4/5

I've run this scenario 18 times now and I am still not tired of it. It has a simple plot and moves very fast without seeming like a railroad. The combat elements are a let-down but the strength of the scenario's role-play elements make up for the short fights. I enjoy running this scenario because the objectives allow for the players to be creative with their problem-solving. The scenario allows the GM a lot of flexibility to improvise and have a lot of fun. The faction missions are good for the most part, a step up from what has become the status quo. The campaign setting flavor takes some work on the GM's part in order to bring to the surface. Overall it's a very entertaining scenario and worth the effort to prep and run as much as possible.


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Shadows and Secrets

3/5

Here's another offering from PFS workhorse author Larry Wilhelm. I’ve run this scenario three times with good results. I like the plot, which promotes role-play and problem-solving…for the first half. The second half peters off and relies on slightly challenging combat encounters to wrap things up. Really this is not the author’s fault. Opening the cookie jar of unrestricted equipment access for the players has turned many formerly challenging fights into comedies. The fights in the scenario are really there to enhance the plot and encourage the players to sometimes think before they swing. It is nice to see some rewards and consequences on the Chronicle sheet. It would be nice to see these story items become the norm rather than the exception. Progress is being made, albeit slowly. I think one of the best things about the scenario is it can be run with minimal prep work. The plot makes sense and unfolds so smoothly the players won’t notice the tracks leading them around. Some of the faction missions are also very interesting, but leave a lot on the GM to do them justice. The campaign flavor is full-bodied, with some of the story fleshing out the Grand Lodge in Absalom. I would like to see some more matrix-style investigation options in future scenarios. The scenario does score well for plot, flavor and a few of the faction missions. It loses points for low challenge and for the stat block snafu/anti-climax in C3. Only three stars may be harsh, but I have high expectations of Larry.


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Saturday Afternoon Creature Feature

5/5

First I would like to caution other reviewers to be careful about spoilers when they post here. Yes, a lot can be inferred from the cover of the scenarios but the less spoiling the better.

Second, I want to express how nice it is to see scenarios tying into each other. It took two seasons to get here but I think it has been worth the wait. It is very important that you play Part 1 before you play Part 2.

Third, I’d like to stress that GMs must prepare thoroughly to run this scenario. There’s a lot going on and once the action heats up it doesn’t relent.

OK, enough lecture. This is an excellent scenario and the players are going to talk about it for a long time. There’s some role-play and a lot of fun combats. There’s a definite potential for eating up five hours of game time to give the scenario the treatment it deserves. There’s some nice campaign setting flavor, and a few of the faction missions require some thought. Overall the players are going to be on the edge of their seats because the action doesn't slow down. GMs should press the PCs hard and make them earn a victory at Azlant Ridge.


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"Heat" in the Jungle

5/5

This scenario was my favorite from GenCon. It reminds me of the movie "Heat" where the players have to weigh every move they make against the heat they create which may catch up to them and cause everything to unravel. It is a sandbox scenario that provokes imagination and problem-solving skills from the players. Several encounters may be solved through means other than violence. It has good campaign setting flavor and ties in tight with Part 2, such that the PC’s actions in Part 1 actually have an impact in Part 2. This is a first in Pathfinder Society. There are also dire consequences for failure. My only regret is that the combats were not challenging. The plot is excellent and the mechanics are sound. The faction missions helped to enhance the story rather than distract from it. All the players from GenCon enjoyed themselves.


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Don't look behind you...

4/5

I really like this scenario but it is difficult to run well. Give away too much and the climax is a cakewalk. Give away too little and it’s a bloodbath. As much as I complain about cakewalk encounters, I don’t enjoy it when the players feel as if they’re trapped in a no-win situation. I’ve only killed one PC in the 4 times I’ve run it so far. I guess that’s not awful. Deadliness aside, Tim and Mark did a masterful job delivering an engaging scenario. There’s some fun role-play in the beginning, followed by a mystery, some creepy discoveries and then a lot of player apprehension. I love seeing classic/obscure monsters used in so appropriate a setting. The scenario contains great campaign setting flavor. Practice a Slavic accent for the NPCs, and if that fails just go with your best “Borat”. Some of the faction missions are alright, none of them really stand out though. That’s a missed opportunity. The maps are all excellent though. A fun, frightening adventure.


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Flavor Overload

5/5

Mind you that I have only scratched the surface of this new Chronicle, but it has me fascinated every time I flip a page. James Sutter has really outdone himself. You know how it feels when you watch a fantasy or sci-fi film that teases you with a vivid and intriguing universe? Well City of Strangers feels like nothing is being withheld anymore, like you can take your time and peel the city like an onion on your own terms. There's a lot to absorb, more than a GM will ever be able to introduce his or her players to. Products like this is why Paizo is such a great company. I can't do City of Strangers justice with this review. You need to buy it and find out for yourself.


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Great Setting, Needs Tougher Fights

4/5

Many PFS scenarios make you feel as if you’re on a plotline railroad that only stops for scheduled encounters. Although the same could be argued for The Shadow Gambit, the players won’t notice it. Kaer Maga, the City of Strangers, is a very colorful and fascinating setting. To do this scenario justice, a prepared GM must have a copy of the Pathfinder Chronicles “City of Strangers” by James Sutter. Without it, Kaer Maga is like an unblossomed flower.

As for the scenario itself, the campaign setting flavor is excellent. Kaer Maga is nothing like any other city the Pathfinder Society scenarios have been set in. The combats are the largest let-down with this scenario, being way too easy on the players. Unless there’s a four-player table or playing up, most fights are pushovers. However, the real draw of this scenario is the plot and the exploration of the city. The players will enjoy themselves but there is a feeling like they’re sheltered or isolated from the real dangers of Kaer Maga. The Faction missions are OK and present some opportunity for humor. Sutter’s excellent companion to this scenario earns it an extra star.


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An Acquired Taste

3/5

First, this is a complex scenario to GM. I really don't believe it is a bad scenario, but it is an unforgiving scenario. I would not recommend this scenario as an introduction to PFS (but I would recommend Among the Living). I feel that if you understand Pathfinder Society and can remember playing Among the Living, you will really enjoy playing Among the Dead. On the other hand, if you DON'T know jack about Zyphus and his cult you may get the feeling that this scenario is out to kill your PC. I call it 'death by die roll and resource drain'. However, there is some great campaign world flavor throughout this scenario. One of the monsters featured is a blast from the past and will be tough for players to metagame. The faction missions were typical, nothing to get excited over. I will close with "When's the sequel Josh!?"


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