Iomedae

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RPG Superstar 8 Season Star Voter, 9 Season Star Voter. Organized Play Member. 906 posts (6,362 including aliases). 30 reviews. 2 lists. No wishlists. 30 Organized Play characters. 33 aliases.



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Strong Mechanics, but Uncomfortable in Places

****( )

This scenario has mechanics that have aged remarkably well and can provide a thorough challenge to even a season 10 party, as ours was. The encounters are strong and thematic and have lots of wow factor. There's a great sense of accomplishment after triumph, and there's lots of freedom to go off-script.

However, there are some elements of this scenario that will feel excluding to a number of people. From the titular Red Raven being a white guy in redface to cheesecake art of a woman to Mwangi cultists worshipping the god of "Savagery" there's a lot that could use some updating. The Red Raven's design has thankfully been updated thanks to Ultimate Intrigue, so I would recommend using that art instead and adjusting flavor as necessary with him and elsewhere.


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The Revolution Begins!

*****

After a delightfully flavorful opening scene, this book delivers on one of the central promises of this AP almost immediately by making the players take charge of creating a revolution. Every step of the way, I felt like our characters were making progress towards building our resistance in ways that made sense considering our strength and influence. The challenges are varied and good, and the characters are memorable. There's also a satisfying minor villain that is set up at the beginning and dealt with at the end, making this book have an ending that feels significant, but not too much for a book 1.

As a side note, Hell's Rebels is an AP about rebelling against repressive authority SHOULD have girl (and trans) power, so idk what the hells people were expecting. Anyone who disagrees is free to go find people that agree with them more in hell's vengeance (and is also free to stay the hells away from me).


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Librarians Take Note

****( )

This book gave me exactly what my character inspired by Evey from The Mummy was looking for: a chance to read the f!!& out of some books and figure out what's going on. The urban parts of this adventure are delightful and were one of the highlights of this AP for me.

The book loses a star for me for the rather forgettable bits after you get out of the city. Hex exploration felt a bit too mechanical and easily dealt with by having one character with a good (not even optimized) survival, and the battles at the end didn't leave a strong impression.


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It's a Dungeon! And You Crawl Through It!

****( )

At the end of the day, it's a big dungeon crawl. There's lots of cool and interesting challenges, but that's it. As it's an AP about uncovering tombs, it should come as little surprise by this point, so while it does feel like Book 6 Dungeon Crawl Syndrome, it's nevertheless hopefully at least what you and your group signed up for. Also, the final encounter is a doozy and it'll give even highly optimized parties an appropriately epic finale, as it did to my group. I would normally give a pure-combat AP book a 3 at most, if not for the above caveats.


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Gave Me Everything I Was Looking For

*****

As per the title, this book of the AP did a great job of providing in a single AP volume that I was looking for in a Egyptian-flavored AP. We got tons of undead to fight, a mysterious cult on the loose, and solving massive puzzles (that are well done!). I especially appreciated the more urban setting of this book, as it brought to mind some of the fun sequences of The Mummy and The Mummy Returns.


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Pathfinder Tech Adventure at Its Best

*****

I have played this scenario once and GMed it twice. This adventure provides a simple, focused plot but populates it with memorable characters, which elevate it beyond just a basic dungeon crawl. While the fights are not the hardest, they are full of flavor and character and do not feel generic in the slightest. The rewards for this scenario are fun and exciting and help to build excitement for later scenarios. It's not the hardest scenario by any means, as long as your party has prepared the basics and listened during the briefing, but not every scenario needs to be. I'd much rather have a scenario full of flavor and character that is too easy than a bonekeep in all but name.


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An Old Classic Reimagined

*****

This adventure was a delightful update to Starfinder of one of my favorite PFS scenarios. It masterfully balances keeping what made the original work, creating its own unique flavor and setting, and iterating upon the original without being derivative. I had the joy of getting to play this adventure with my wife who has yet to experience the original, and we both loved it! Kate Baker is a star!


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More Please!

*****

Influence scenarios are my favorite, both to play and to run, and this one has it all. I absolutely adored playing this adventure and I would happily do so again without credit, if possible. This scenario showcases all the things I come to tabletop for.


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The Perfect Intro

*****

This scenario does an excellent job of introducing the Starfinder Society in-story and in terms of what type of mechanical challenges to expect. And, importantly, it accomplishes this will still providing a flavorful and delightful experience that I'm happy to replay. This scenario was my wife's first exposure to tabletop RPGs, and they are still playing regularly now, so I consider it a smashing success.


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Crystal Frasier Has Won Adventure Writing

*****

That’s it. It’s over. You can all go home now. Crystal Frasier has created the fulfillment of everything I love about this game. She has won adventure writing.

I may sound like I’m exaggerating, but just look at all the other reviews. This adventure lives up to the hype, and I never find anything that lives up to the hype. I literally spent years hearing hype about this before I played it, and it still blew away my expectations. Play it, run it, cherish it.


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Not a Delicious Dungeon, but a Satisfying One

***( )( )

I’ve played this twice and run it once.

Do you like dungeons? Cause this is a huge dungeon and that’s it. It’s a good dungeon with interesting and varied things to fight, but don’t expect more. For intro dungeon modules, first floor of Emerald Spire is faster, first floor of Thornkeep is more hair-pulling, Crypt of the Everflame offers more challenge, and first book of Mummy’s Mask is just overall better in all respects while still providing dungeons (I love you Jim Groves). If you are running a home game and are willing to put in the work fleshing out the city, this has potential for more, but that’ll be all you.


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Tough, Fair, and Long

*****

I played this with a 5 wisdom LG fanatical follower of Iomedae wearing at least a dozen holy symbols and she was still able to be herself believably in Hell, which I commend the author for. This adventure is dripping with flavor and is the rare adventure to make a high level investigation work and work well. Yes, it needs extra time to get the full potential out of it, but that’s honestly just about every scenario post season 1.


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Too Big for a Scenario

***( )( )

This scenario really needed to be a module. There’s just too much going on with too many groups and too many moving parts. There’s the makings of a delightful setting and characters here, along with a highly memorable final act, but it takes a godly GM and motivated party with little shenanigans to get this to run on time.


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Fire, Fire, Everywhere

****( )

I like that this scenario promises fire and gives it to you. There are some wonky mechanics with it that I thought were unnecessary for a low level adventure with limited character resources.

I got no problems with the new goblin direction. Always CE races has been an original sin of all Tolkien-derived fantasy and the sooner it’s let go, the better. This scenario does a good job of playing with those preconceptions and offering opportunities to resolve the scenario in many ways.

Also, extra points for some great art.


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Deepens My Investment in Golarion

*****

I didn’t expect to find such a connection to this book, having not played the APs that touch on the various groups contained herein (and also just generally hating hellknights), but hoo-boy was I surprised.

The writing is lovely, the characters and organizations are vivid, and the player options are exciting and well-designed. The gray maidens chapter in particular blew me away in particular. The mechanics of their player options are a pedect combination of flavorful and mechanically effective, and have the added bonus of fitting together into a coherent and effective character build.


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The Standard for AP Openings

*****

As the title, this book is everything I love about Pathfinder and the best opener of any AP I’ve played. For context, I have played one other AP from beginning to end, 4 books of another, and the first book of another.

There’s challenge! There’s scale! There’s memorable NPCs! There’s such an energy and drive here that has kept me stoked for more. Yes, I am biased by my love of paladiny lawful goodness, but that’s just a small part of what makes this book work so well for me.

As a final note, anyone who wants to whine about LGBT-inclusion can kiss my transgender lesbian ass. This book rocks.


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My Favorite Scenario to GM

*****

Played and GMed twice this scenario, and I would happily GM it again.

This scenario lives and dies based on how you RP the main NPC. Her main hook is absolutely brilliant, and she turns what could be just another faux-creepy dungeon into a deepling unsettling delve into horror by adding a human element to it.

Are the fights hard? Not for any table I've run or played at, but they dont matter. Get the GM equivalent of a character actor if you want to play it, and revel in the creepiness.


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My Second Favorite Special (and I've Played them All!)

*****

I played this scenario at 10-11.

This scenario offered everything I look for in a special: a dynamic hook, an interesting story that provides plenty of opportunities for RP and exciting, interesting combats. My character went unconscious in the first round of the first combat!

Get a GM that can is well-prepared and runs things fast, and you will have a great time.

Spoiler for Ending:

I absolutely, absolutely adore that we were given the opportunity to resolve the final fight in a nonviolent way! It made my inner paladin delightfully happy.


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Come to Bloodcove to RP

*****

The roleplaying opportunities are great and many, and the tone is set brilliantly with the briefing. You can see Aram Zey's voice on the page, and it sets the standard for what I look for in character writing in scenarios. All depictions of him after this one owe it for giving such a brilliant image of him.

Once again, Crystal Frasier takes risks and tries to use new mechanics to structure and tell the story, which set the standard format for other classics like Severing Ties. While there are parts of the disguise mechanics I would tweak, I still respect the effort to forge new ground. Modern power-creeped characters will steamroll this scenario (though my table did have a rough time with one fight when I played it), but that is more of a function of the scenario's age than anything.


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A Wild Crystal Frasier Appears!

*****

Have both played and run this scenario.

This scenario is unique and fun, offering challenges that the party might not be accustomed to using mechanics in fresh and interesting ways. One of my players when I ran it happily told me that it made him use something he's never had to use in PFS before. The challenge doesnt match up to modern power-creeped characters, but few season 0 and 1 scenarios do. It takes risks and they almost all pay off in my opinion, which counts as a 5 for me.

With a narrativist GM willing to paint the scene, this scenario has some truly wonderful opportunities. There aren't a lot of opportunities for RPing with NPCs, but those that do come up are with rich characters (the GM should absolutely read the section on our misplaced minotaur in Guide to Absalom to inform his character!).


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Delightfully Well-Rounded

*****

I have both played and run this scenario.

This scenario offers a fun RP section at the beginning with interesting NPCs and social situations, as well as unique and flavorful encounters. While the creatures appear intimidating at first when preparing the game, the combats run very smoothly. Add on one of the most rewarding chronicles in PFS (imo), and you have a scenario that is a delight to play and to run.


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Yeah, the Combat Is Easy. Who Cares?

*****

Love, love, love this scenario!

Play this with a whimsical GM that likes to RP, and throw the spreadsheets for your full-attacks out the window. Or blow through the combats and spend the rest of the slot talking to NPCs.

I would rather have flavorful combats than super crunchy numbers battles, and that's what you will find here.

If you or your GM hate fun and whimsy, then stay away. I'd be happy to take your spot and burn a GM star on it or GM it instead.


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A Great Scenario with One Flaw

****( )

I think it's ludicrous to give this scenario one-star because of the puzzle. The implementation of the puzzle is just one unfortunate flaw in an otherwise enjoyable and creative scenario filled with creatures and mechanics that players have likely never encountered before. Allowing the characters to solve the puzzle as opposed to forcing it on the players would have solved any issues.

There are multiple options for accessing the tower, diplomancers get rewarded while not punishing combat-mavens by denying them a chance to fight, and there's a lot of cool flavor in the town, the NPCs, and the enemies.

I would take care playing this scenario with a GM that is known to enjoy killing players and going off-tactics, as this scenario is one of many that relies upon strict adherence to written tactics to keep the difficulty manageable. An unscrupulous GM running the low tier of this can TPK a party with little effort.


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Good potential, poor execution

***( )( )

There are some well-written combats with strong creatures. When I ran this, I had a Venture-Captain, two Venture-Lieutenants, a former VL with 5 stars, and two other 3 star GM's, all playing well-optimized characters, and the final fight still managed to last half-a-dozen rounds and almost killed a character, and that's with a fair GM that gets no enjoyment out of killing players.

However, this scenario has some issues with story and mechanics, but the biggest problem is the potential negative boon and the method in which you acquire it. Negative boons will always cause bad blood, so they need to be handled carefully, and in a way that rewards a thoughtful style of play. This particular negative boon rewards murder-hoboing in a very unfortunate way.

I respect what the writer was trying to do, showing off all of the cool flavor of Karcau (the best city in Golarion imo), but the scenario does so at the cost of a strong, player-driven story. An investigation—particularly a high-level one for an unspecified party—needs flexibility, and this scenario unfortunately lacks that. The railroad tracks are particularly unfortunate in that they make you hit red herring after red herring, which compounds the frustration of both.

This scenario is thoroughly three stars for me because I appreciate the author's ambitions and I felt the mechanics were well-thought-out, but there are serious problems with the implementation of the negative boon and the story that keep it from being the amazing scenario it could have been.

I want more Ustalav, but not like this.


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My Least Favorite of Crystal Frasier's Work

**( )( )( )

If you had asked me who wrote this scenario, I would have never guessed Crystal, as it doesn't feel like her style at all. She is one of my favorite Paizo authors because each of her scenarios has a unique feel thanks to her experiments with story and gameplay mechanics. They don't always fully succeed, but they always succeed at pushing the envelope.

I didn't see anything like that here. This scenario is simply a meat-grinder. There's little, if any, roleplaying to be had, and what minimal backstory there is will likely have to be explained to the player by the GM afterwards.

From anyone else, this would likely be a 3 star from me, but I have higher expectations for Crystal.


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