Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 8 Season Star Voter. Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber. Pathfinder Society GM. 59 posts (64 including aliases). 6 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 25 Organized Play characters. 1 alias.
I purchased this on release of Starfinder and was excited to see several aspects of it. First, if comes with the tactical combat and starship combat tracking sides, very helpful since Starfinder includes the new starship combat system. It comes with a generous double set of initiative tracking tokens. The art is fine. The plastic bag if comes in is generously sized and will probably be sufficient to hold it for a while.
Unfortunately for me, the pad itself is significantly flimsier than my old Gamemastery initiative tracker. My old gamemastery tracker can be held like a clipboard and nearly used like one. This pad, on the other hand, flexes noticeably with use, is as holding it in one hand and writing on it with another like a notepad. Even keeping both sheets of magnetic tags attached to the back provided poor control. This might not be a problem if you keep to a table or attach it to a clipboard...but since previous products could do this unassisted it significantly limits its useful to me.
Confusingly it also comes with an unlabeled cardboard sheet the same size as the pad. Asking Paizo's customer service about it, this was not a defect; it's part of the packaging. It is significantly sturdy, and I wish the combat pad was stuck to/wrapped around that to stiffen if up.
Unless they fix the flimsiness of the pad, or you keep your pad always on a table, I suggest steering clear of this item, especially at this price point.
This prevent special scenario gives Starfinder Society a great starting place! Exploration, weirdness, a little bit of ship combat, and an unexpected adversary at the end. We had s mixed group of characters and everyone got a chance to shine.
It is a pregen only special, which is in this case really cool: we get a chance to try out characters that have a few levels, where as in Starfinder Socierty organized play most of us can only play level 1 or maybe a level 2 if they're lucky.
The art for this map is neat enough; a metal grid on one side and sandy wastes on another; these would fit in many starfinder games.
However, even though the map is 30" by 24", the grid is NOT a 30x24. It's closer to 21 x 27 squares, but even then several have incomplete squares that overflow on the edges. This means you can't pair it with any of the (many) other 24 x 30 flip mats Paizo produced. It feels painfully sloppy as a first "basic" product for the line.
I hope Paizo re-issues them at the standard 30" by 24" as advertised on the mat.
I had the good fortune of playing this scenario recently. We had a diverse group as we entered the library, and it worked out well. The puzzles were fun and environment interesting. This was a scenario where thought overtook brawn. For a society of scholars and archaeologists, this kind of encounter should happen more often!
I will echo one thing other reviewers mentioned: this is a scenario that must be prepared well in advance. Some scenarios can be run cold if needed due to familiar mechanics and activities; this is not one of those scenarios. There are numerous handouts and other clues that must be well understood by the GM and provided to players. GMs: do your homework!
This scenario, properly run, is one of the best scenarios in all of pathfinder society. It is a pillar unto which all other tier 1-5 scenarios should be judged.
This scenario offers lots to new and experienced players alike. For new players, almost every basic mechanic gets introduced and used: stealth, combat maneuvers, flanking, climbing, swimming, concealment, knowledge checks (one for almost every knowledge in the game), magic item use, overland travel, dungeon travel, and finally, dealing with ancient struggles between good and evil. The initial portions of the scenario, when the GM keeps the players to a tight pace, can feel as important or more than any combat without even needing a playmat. A person new to the game will walk away from this one session and be just about ready for every major kind of low level challenge. For experienced players, lots of roleplaying and combat options exist. Players can use many creative solutions to the challenges presented - there is no "one right way" to win this scenario.
For GMs, ample role-playing opportunities are given at several stages. The included friendly NPCs can spice up the scenario at virtually any point. The antagonists have varied motives included, much more than just a motive of "suicide myself at the PCs" (a side note: fighting to the death is sadly somewhat too common in PFS scenarios.) The scenario gives the GM lots of tools to make a threatening encounter tailored to the skill and power of the table. The final challenges allow your GM to really play with the character's (and the player's) minds. Unfortunately, an ill-prepared GM can gloss over or breeze by a lot of the depth this scenario can offer. Don't make that mistake: this is one to thoroughly prep and think about.
In short, this scenario rocks. Read it, play it, love it!