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** Pathfinder Society GM. 134 posts (248 including aliases). 18 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 15 Organized Play characters. 3 aliases.



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A Tale of Two Tables

4/5

There were two tables of this scenario run at a local games day, and it seemed like it went very differently for each group. Let me describe a couple of the things that I enjoyed about playing it, but also point out a couple of things other folks might not enjoy so much.

The gathering information/role-playing bit:

Good - You end up investigating several deaths, and there’s a danger that this could feel like doing the same thing over and over again, but the author includes enough details to make it not boring. Each of the deceased is a different and interesting person. There is enough redundancy that you could survive not getting all the clues, but it doesn't feel repetitive talking to different people in different places.

Bad - The investigation basically comes down to two skills. I can see how this helps keep things streamlined, and gets the party through the investigation with time for everything else that comes after, but if your party is really good at both those skills, you will roll through the investigation and get all the clues. If your party is lacking in those skills, I’m guessing this could be quite frustrating.

The fighting/tactical bit:

Good - The fights felt interesting, particularly the one in the tunnels. The group I played with got to use some unusual powers and magic items that don’t necessarily get used in every adventure. I felt like our success was a nice pat on the back for being prepared for a little weirdness.

Bad - Apparently the tunnel fight was absolutely brutal at the other table. I’m not sure if any PCs actually died, but they ran away and said, “We’re going home; if we go back in there, we’ll die.” If you are expecting the same old fight where you line the melee types up in front, while the archers and casters rain down pointy and fiery death from long range, you’re going to have to think outside the box. If you are ill prepared, or maybe even just have the wrong mix of characters, then things could go badly here (and maybe even in one of the other fights as well).


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Entertaining, and good challenge for high level characters

5/5

I enjoyed playing this mod for several reasons:

1. There were interesting characters and interesting settings. There’s a story (and a grade A villain) who have been built up over several previous mods. If you have played them all, you’ll appreciate the details; if you haven’t played them all (I haven’t) then you’re not hopelessly lost and confused. Even the bit players, like Thael, are fun to interact with.

2. I felt like it was a good challenge for high level characters. At my table, there was a great ebb and flow of problems and solutions. Movement restrictions? Oh, this character can fly, this mount can walk on water. Insubstantial opponents? Oh, my weapon has ghost touch, this character has a spell that helps with that. Monsters that can dish out big hurt? We can put out a lot of damage too, eliminate threats, and not keep taking big hurt every round.

My only complaint is that there’s a lot here, and I don’t see how anyone’s going to finish it in 4 hours. I played at a 7 player table, which has its own issues, but it also allowed us to put out a lot of damage and burn through some fights that might have taken a small table longer.


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Varies widely by table

4/5

I think this adventure could going very very differently if you change up the GM, the players at the table, or even the character you bring.

I had the good fortune to play at the same table as one of the local venture agents, who was enthusiastic about role-playing, and knew a bunch of the backstory details about Hao Jin and the tapestry. He made the end of the scenario a lot of fun, and worked hard to involve the rest of the table, even those players who were not as talkative or role-play enthusiastic. He, more than the scenario author, or the GM, made my experience playing this adventure 5 stars.

On the flip side, I played a barbarian and I did not make a single attack role (partly due to a bad tactical decision on my part with a held action). I enjoyed the game despite this, but if you are the sort of player who wants a minimum quota of hitting things then you might think this is a 2 or 3 star mod.

As the previous reviewer said, don't try to run this cold as the GM. Find a group of players who are willing to do a reasonable amount of role-play, and know a bit of the back story about the tapestry. If you bring a character who has some social or knowledge skills, you'll get to roll more dice. If you bring a character who has played at least some of the tapestry related mods, then you'll have more reason to get involved in the role-play.

This adventure has the potential to be really cool, but I imagine that it might also be kind of miserable with the wrong sort of table.


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Good, but not awesome

3/5

I thought this was a good, but not awesome adventure. My main issue is that it allows for you to diplomicize your way out of several fights, which I don't necessarily mind, but if you do this repeatedly then the adventure can run very short of the scheduled time.


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Fun Story, and Interesting NPCs

5/5

I really enjoyed running this mod, and I think I would have enjoyed playing it also. There are a bunch of interesting characters to role-play, and I had several players who rose to the occasion and interacted with the NPCs in entertaining ways.

Here are two things to look out for, which might make your experience less enjoyable than mine . . .

1. The GM needs to be well prepared, and also ready to wing it if the players try some weird things. I ended up with a split party at one point, because half the group wanted to take Tistin to a safe location, and half of them went back to Roderus to report. It took a little bit of GM making stuff up that wasn’t really accounted for in the mod to get them back on track.

2. The fights were not super challenging. This may just have been the party make-up at my table. There was a third level monk taking the front line in low tier, and another PC with the bodyguard feat, so the bad guys ended up missing a lot.


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Overall a good mod; my complaints may be table specific

4/5

Big picture story-wise, I really enjoyed this mod. It felt like a challenge worthy of high level Pathfinders, and it felt like there were opportunities for high level characters to pull out their various cool tricks. The fighters got to fight. The sneakers got to sneak. The knowledge characters got to be knowledgeable. There were two elements that felt slightly frustrating, and those may have been more the fault of our table rather that the module itself.

First, the chase scene caused some frustration and took what felt like too much time. With 9th to 11th level characters we players kept throwing out ideas that were not specifically covered in the module. What if I use this spell? Can I get a bonus for using this magic item? The GM was forced to keep ruling on our weird ideas, which slowed things down. A couple players grumbled about the chase mechanics in general. At the very least I think it’s hard to write a chase sequence for high level characters just because they might have access to so many unanticipated options.

The second part that was slightly frustrating was the final fight, and it was really because we were victims of our own success. We got the beastie weakened, and positioned right where we wanted. The gnome tried to talk with animals, and when that didn’t get the desired result, we gave it a beat down in about one round. It never felt like any PC was in serious danger. Not everyone is going to have a full table, with a couple of combat capable mounts/companions. Not everyone is going to succeed at all the set up work inside the chapel. I could easily see that fight being harder, but in our case there was a little bit of “Why did we run away from this? We just cleaned its clock!”

Overall, I enjoyed it. It did run a little over 5 hours but we did have a full table and I have found that the higher level mods often run longer so I was not shocked at that.


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The world does not revolve around the heroes

4/5

There were two things that struck me as being rather unusual about this mod. I wasn’t sure I liked them as I was playing it, but after thinking it over for a couple of days I think they are actually good things.

1. Timing matters. I don’t know all the mechanics (and how much work it is from the GM’s perspective) but there’s a timeline that happens whether the PCs are there or not. The plot does not wait for the heroes to show up at just the right moment. It feels slightly frustrating if you miss catching character X at location Y, but it also feels realistic.
2. There’s a feeling (at least in our game) that things are going off the rails and the bad guys might be winning. People are getting poisoned and assassinated (presumably not a spoiler if you read the description of the mod). You may not get there in time to save them all. I started to wonder if we let too many people die if we were in danger of losing one or more PP. That felt different from most Pathfinder games I’ve played but it also feels realistic.

So, if you like the standard heroes ride in, fight three fights, pass some skill checks, and save the day this might feel a little different. Different isn’t necessarily bad.

I would repeat the previous reviewers comment that this requires a well prepared GM. There does seem to be some fiddly bookkeeping behind the scenes, though I have not run it myself.


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You’re high level - be ready to reach for some of your less commonly used tricks

4/5

I enjoyed playing this mod but I can see how some of the potential problems that other reviewers describe could easily become trouble. I think the key issue is that it’s a 7-11 mod, so it asks you to accomplish some challenging things, and fight some difficult fights. On the other hand, you have 7-11 level characters, so you should have a pretty diverse collection of tricks to throw at your problems. If you have the right sorts of tricks, then things can go pretty smoothly. If you don’t have the right tricks (or if the one character that has the right trick gets whacked over the head at the wrong moment) then things can be very rough.

For example, the one reviewer describes a near TPK. That fight is tough. If you have a couple of characters that are bad at making that kind of save, or have trouble punching through that kind of DR and resistances, then it can be really tough. On the other hand, there’s at least some chance that you can figure out what’s coming, and if you make the right preparations then the fight is significantly easier. It’s going to vary a lot from table to table.

Another thing that went a little differently for my party was that we didn’t have a good face character for doing diplomacy and knowledge: local during the information gathering part of the scenario. We did have some magic that helped us with scouting and observing before we rushed into danger. I’m not sure how much to credit flexibility of the scenario vs. flexibility of the GM but we were able to do some amount of making up for what we didn’t have with skills and powers that we did have. I do feel like there were some interesting links to characters from other scenarios (which I like to see) but we missed some of that due to not having a very socially savvy party.

I’m actually thinking of using a GM Star to play this again. I felt obliged to play my high level Liberty’s Edge character the first time through. I think playing my Arcane Trickster, who has the social skills we were lacking, would open up the opportunity to try some different tactics and I’m curious to see how different things might go. We’ll see whether or not I come back agreeing with the reviewer who said this scenario is too railroad-y.


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A solid module with some interesting challenges

4/5

I was a bit discouraged when I saw several of the other reviews describe this as a dungeon crawl, and a bunch of combat. I didn't find it to be that way. In fact one of the things that I liked about this mod is that several of the combats had opportunities where characters with tricks and clever strategies could make the fight a lot easier. I'll spoiler the details just to avoid giving things away . . .

Retriveing the Crown Fight:
Two things made this fight a lot easier than it might have been (and we could have been at a serious disadvantage because two of our casters favored electricity damage).

1. The mod gives you the wand of resist energy earlier on. If you can resist electricity damage, then the fight is a lot less scary.

2. An arcane trickster (or any spell caster with mage hand) can pick up the crown without going into the corner of the room. You can't pick up the magic loot, but if you can trigger the fight without a character getting stuck in the corner and taking a beating, then the fight is a lot less scary.

Boss Fight:
The water terrain poses an interesting challenge, but players who can deal with it have a lot easier time. We saw spider climbing across the ceiling, potions of touch of the sea, and a necklace of adaptation come into play. They're not items that come into play all the time, but since the briefing warns you about water hazards, it was nice to see proper preparation pay off.

This was one part of the final fight, which I think could have been more interesting.

Another thing about the Boss Fight:
The party apparently bursts in on the cultists as they are about to do something horrible to their captive. Then a fight breaks out and the captive just lies there, being helpless. If the cultists threw him in the water, or if the squid tried to drag him under, then you have an interesting challenge that is more than just dealing out lots of damage. Or maybe I am just bitter because my character spent several turns trying to save the guy, and I'm not sure he was ever in grave danger.


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Solid Mod, Interesting Challenges

4/5

I enjoyed running this mod, and I feel like my players were challenged but not overwhelmed. I did tell my three player table to bring the barbarian pre-gen with them so they would have someone with enough damage power to reliably punch through hardness, and I think that helped them somewhat.

A potential concern is that it is easy to lose the second prestige point if the PCs don't find out all the relevant information before they go into the last battle. I think that makes for an interesting challenge - you can't just go in and beat the bad guy with as much damage as you can, as quickly as possible. However, if you are the sort of person who expects to get 2PP every adventure then you may feel that this one was taken away from you a little too easily.


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Good mod, but the mythic bits were unnecessary

4/5

I enjoyed running this mod. Other people have called it a "dungeon crawl, only outdoors" but I think it has a couple of good role-playing sections in addition to the fighting bits. First of all, there's the potential for some interesting interaction with the two Aspis agents. In my experience, they weren't super hard to defeat, but what do you do with them afterwards? Interesting decision. Second, you get to give your input into shaping the direction that the Scarab Sages will go in the future. Yes, I know that now that Season 6 has begun, there is a defined leader of the Scarab Sages, but it's another interesting decision for the players that's not just "hit it; hit it again."

I felt like the mythic powers didn't really add much to this mod, and actually made it kind of easy for the PCs. I have a pretty good opinion of PFS and Paizo, in general, but this felt like a bit of a commercial shill. "Hey look at the cool things you could have if you buy our book! They're so cool we shoved them into a PFS mod, where they don't really belong, but please buy the book anyway." It seems like a lose-lose. Either the players are stressed that they have to learn a bunch of new rules for one game, or if they really like the mythic stuff, then they are sad that they have to give it up at the end of four hours.


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OK, but not a really cool end-of-season spectacular

3/5

This module feels like a higher level version of "In Service to Lore" - you get to meet the faction leaders and then go do an assortment of random tasks for them. That works for 1st level characters, and feels a bit weird for a level 3-7 mod.

There were some interesting challenges, and a couple of entertaining moments (like my gnome using "Speak with Animals" on the fish, and then realizing that it could talk normally) but there's definitely a lack of over-arching plot, and it certainly doesn't feel like the cool transition between Season 5 and Season 6 mod that I thought it was going to be.


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Entertaining, with an odd investigation mechanic

4/5

As people have said before me, this is a pretty talk heavy, and fight light module. It may seem like a module that would be dreadfully boring to play a barbarian - I made one attack (which missed) and a disarm attempt, and I only ever raged so that I could take a bigger swing at the test of strength game - but I actually enjoyed the game. If you are willing to role-play, even when you're not the one with +27 diplomacy, then it can be pretty entertaining. If you have one big ham at the table, the GM will probably need to keep an eye on things and make sure other characters get a chance to do stuff.

The thing that felt a bit odd is there is a mechanic where you get randomized rumors/clues. It's kind of realistic because NPC B doesn't know that the NPC A just told you the same thing on the other side of town, but by random chance we got one clue a LOT of times, and it felt like we were missing out on the opportunity to learn other useful information. It turned out we were doing a good job of investigation, and wrapped up the mod successfully in under four hours, but it felt like we were spinning our wheels sometimes.


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Lives and Dies with the GM

4/5

I can totally see why some people are rating this 1 star, and others and singing it's praises. This game is going to look very different depending on who is running it. So much time is spent talking to the various NPCs, so if you have a GM who can really draw out their different personalities, and their interconnections with one another, then it can be a really fun role-playing scenario. If you get a GM who is "You talk to the cook, roll Diplomacy" (or if you are the sort of player who would prefer to just roll the dice instead of playing out a conversation) then it's not going to be nearly so enjoyable.

I enjoyed running it (twice, with two different murderers) and I hope it was fun for my players. It's going to vary a lot from table to table.


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A Good Mix of Activities

5/5

I felt that this mod was an excellent balance of different adventuring activities. There were enough fights, and challenging, for the combative characters. There were some interesting NPCs to talk to. There were some interesting traps and puzzles to figure out. Each character got to contribute, no one got to hog the spotlight.

I probably enjoyed it particularly since it was the first mod I played after leveling my character into Arcane Trickster, and I felt like I got to use some of my cool new powers right away. If you don't have some sort of roguish, trap-finding character in the party, then you might have a significantly different experience.


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Very Long (Perhaps the Party's Fault)

3/5

When I played this at the local games day, it ran very long and we ran into trouble with the venue trying to close up and shoo us out before we were truly done. I think this is partly due to a weird party make-up - lots of characters with goofy tricks, and not so many that could just pound out large amounts of damage. We were never really in danger of losing, but it took us a long time to grind through the main two fights (and the DM basically wrapped up with last fight with "You'd win this fight if we had another hour, but we need to finish before they lock up for the night").

The writer can't anticipate every combination of players and characters that are going to run through a module. I know other reviewers say they big damage dealing parties rolled the fights. However, I think this is an easy problem to fall into in high level play. It is HARD to write a good, tight 7-11 mod that fits nicely into four hours, but I don't think this one does.

I did enjoy the fact that this built on several previous mods, and served to wrap up a couple of story lines. The character I was playing had previously met Tancred (at the Blackros Matrimony) and at least one other character had played Traitor's Lodge. It was satisfying to see both BBEGs get their comeuppance.


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Good Story, OK Fights

4/5

The strength of this mod is in the story, and the interesting moral dilemma posed to the PCs. There were several tables run at GASPCon this past weekend, and from talking to other players it seems like different groups made very different decisions at the end of the mod. I won't say too much more for fear of revealing important plot details.

The fights seemed to be there primarily to space out the talking and investigating. They weren't bad, but they're not the part of the mod that I will remember and talk about later. I felt like the fight with the wolves was particularly random, a "we need one more fight in this mod" sort of fight.


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Expect Table Variation

4/5

It is hard to give this mod a specific star rating because it will vary so much from table to table. I would rate the table I played at 5 stars, but I could see it going horribly wrong with a group of players who were not expecting this kind of scenario, or a GM that was not well prepared. I suppose that is true for all mods, but it particularly true for this one.

The players need to know what they are getting into. To his credit, the writer of the mod seems to have made an effort not to make all the social rolls come down to seventeen Diplomacy checks, but you still need some talky characters to make this work. The group I played with had the skills pretty well covered, but still ran into a wall by missing one . . .

Spoiler:
Knowledge: Geography

We also nearly got dangerously derailed by a barbarian who wanted to take his animal companion into the party. It's a fancy dinner - dinosaurs not invited! You need to get player buy in that this is not your typical dungeon crawl, where you can bash heads and throw around fireballs indiscriminately. I like this kind of game, but it's not everyone's idea of a good time.

The GM needs to be well prepared to make this game work. This is not a game you can say, in the middle of a con, we need one more table and just shove the mod into the GMs hand and expect things to run smoothly. It's all about knowing the different NPCs' personalities and how they interact with each other, and that takes some study ahead of time. It also helps if you have a DM who is comfortable ad libbing NPCs who are not fully fleshed out just in case the PCs decide they need to talk to the pastry chef, or assistant butler #3. I thought our GM did a great job with this, and it made the mod very entertaining, but again it's something that is going to vary from table to table.

So, in short, I loved playing this mod but I can understand why some people are giving it 2 stars and some people are giving it 5.