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Great LineJCServant —
Everytime I think that I have every rule book I really want for a complete game system, Paizo comes up with another one that I suddenly realize I need. They know their gamers well, and anticipate their desires. Books come with plenty of packaging to insure they are not damage in delivery, and the free PDF is very handy for those reliant on Ipads and the such at the table. Two thumbs up!
Pathfinder Society Scenario #4–11: The Disappeared (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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We had a blast!JCServant —
Our group had a really great time with this scenario. Certainly requires more GM prep than your average scenario, but the payoff is worth it. It was very RP heavy with a Mission: Impossible feel going for it. My party made it back with three minutes to spare. Awesome stuff. The combat for lower tier were somewhat forgetable, though they fit the theme rather well. This was excusable IMHO, because the focus of the scenario is clearly the RP involved. Others have pointed out that the scenario does not favor skill-lite groups. Therefore, GMs should be ready to handle (and reward) well thought out solutions (as detailed in the variation section of the Guide to PFS). With that being said, a well prepared GM with a party willing to step outside the box and RP a bit will have a blast with this!
Pathfinder Society Scenario Intro 3: First Steps—Part III: A Vision of Betrayal (PFRPG) PDF (Retired)Paizo Inc.
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A good wilderness trekJCServant —
I would definately call this finale to the Pathfinder Intro Trilogy a diamond in the rough. It's a very good module that my players had a great time with...but GM's need to be aware of a few concerns.
The setup for the mission is done well enough...there are no problems there. The first section in the forest...without going into spoilers...let's just say that the GM can really play this up and have a great time with players. Unfortunately, PFS are usually on a clock, so don't spend too much time.
Next, the party heads into the moutains.:
As others have noted below, this is an environmental hazard. It states that the mountains get to 40 degrees at night which forces the players to make fort checks. However, the description text beforehand paints a pictures that things are really frozen. My recommendation is that GM's describe the temperature at night to dip below freezing so that the mechanics (which should never really be altered by GMs) make sense.
The swamp part:
The first part of this details mechanics for the party going through a mucky swamp with diseased water and fog. Fair enough. However, as scripted, the party each have to do over a half dozen acrobatic checks and fort saves. I could be mis-interpreting what I read, so I've posted on another board to see if there's a clarification. I hope I'm wrong, because when I was done, EVERYONE had swamp disease. Scary stuff.
The rest of the adventure was every bit as fun as the first part, and then some. The party really enjoyed the final battle. A tavern fight at the end of an adventure instead of the beginning was realy a nice touch, and setting it up in this way really gave the 1st level party members a good run for their money without too much danger of their life and limb. Great job there.
Overall, this intro trilogy is a must play for players completely new to the PFS, imho.
Pathfinder Society Scenario Intro 2: First Steps—Part II: To Delve the Dungeon Deep (PFRPG) PDF (Retired)Paizo Inc.
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A fun dungeon crawlJCServant —
I ran this after Intro 1, and this ended up being better than I expected. As other reviewers have noted here, the dungeon is a very solid 1st level dungeon. The party with 3 PCs and a pregen ran through it with few problems. I did have to keep an eye on the clock, however, and skip an encounter or two to make sure I had time for the last couple of fights as well as a bit of RP at the end.
And without getting spoilerific, let me add that the RP at the beginning and end (together) was good. The party has a tough decision to make and I had to step in finally to keep things moving. Very nice! I would definately like to run this again.
Pathfinder Society Scenario Intro 1: First Steps—Part I: In Service to Lore (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Great Introduction to PFS!JCServant —
I ran this online with a new batch of players. This was a great introduction to Pathfinder Society as an organization as well as a way to play the game. Not only do the players get to meet a fair number of the factions within the PFS (and are treated to some nicely scripted NPCs), but they get a great mix of RP, skill based and combat encounters. A word of caution to DMs though, the last fight may be a bit much against the minimum group size (four) if the dice aren't going their way. Just a head's up.
A total joy to play and easily recommended. Two thumbs up!!
Pathfinder Adventure Path #49: The Brinewall Legacy (Jade Regent 1 of 6) (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
Add PDF $13.99
Print Edition Out of print
Not as good as I hopedJCServant —
Having read the reviews on Paizo, as well as the free player's guide, I was excited to run this campaign with my Wednesday group. The general premise of Jade Regent: The Brinewall Legacy is that the party will be traveling, with a carvan of some very interesting NPCs, around the world. However, after getting through the first book, we are a bit disappointed with several aspects.
First, the good. We enjoyed the start up and plot set up. Sandpoint, and the adventures around there were rather enjoyable. The swamp was a lot of fun. The Goblin camp was probably larger than it needed to be, but it was a nice setup for what was to come. I wish the other 2/3rds of the adventure were this well rounded.
The party enjoyed the interaction with the main NPCs. Jade Regent features a relationship mechanic that would not feel out of place in something like Mass Effect. I was concerned that they would come across as gimmicky, especially given that I ran this with a more experienced set of pen and paper players who shun the idea of computer gaming conventions working their way into the game. In a way, the mechanics do feel a bit fake and forced. For example, players rush when they're about to level to get their diplomacy checks with NPCs. However, at the same time, these tend to turn into some very funny moments. Over time we are seeing these relationships blossom and grow together. It's a nice touch, and something I will probably integrate into future homebrews.
Now, the not-so-good. For a game that is focused on those four NPCs, it would have been nice to see a bit more written on them. Perhaps some cut scenes, or direction given to the GM at certain parts in the adventure would help...or some more background and personality info. The two pages for each one is nice, but could use more info.
While the "level 1" section of this AP module was generally well done, the Level 2 (Trip to Brinewall from Sandpoint) and Level 3 (Brinewall Castle) had challenges.
The trip to Brinewall, which is a 500 mile trip, gets just a few paragraphs. Given the setup (The party has to prepare the caravan, plot their course, etc), it really falls flat and is a huge missed opportunity. There are tables for random encounters. The book suggests that by the time the Party is really ready to take on the castle, they should be level 3, implying that there should be a lot going on during the trip. Now, this certainly gives GM's free reign to be creative, but I buy adventure paths because I do not have a lot of prep time. GM's, take my advice... spend some time and work some adventure in on the way. Make the trip memorable. Your players deserve better than what's there.
Conversely, Brinewall castle is a beast. This three floor dungeon crawl has good flavor and some very interesting things going on it. The layout is fantastic. However, it's a bit too large. I would have loved to take some rooms (or even a floor) out of this one, and have that dedicated to the trip from earlier. Despite the pages dedicated to the castle, because of its size, some rooms are quite empty, and several things (Such as any treasure at the end) are left completely to the GM. The battles were very rarely challenging. Depending on how the party approaches the castle, they can quite possibly watch the BBEG beaten by his ex-lover without lifting a finger to help (They will, of course, help, but the fact is that it has to be one of the easiest boss encounters I've ever run).
My advice to GM's running Jade Regent: The Brinewall Legacy... be prepared to do a bit more prep work than with most other AP's.
The players also felt that the plot reveals were too sporadic...and when they took place, it was a lot of information at once (especially the one at the end). I don't believe there's a lot DM's can do to alleviate this (unless they are real creative).
Some of my players have completed other Paizo adventures such as The Rise of the Runelords. Those who have agree with me that Jade Regent: The Brinewall Legacy falls short of the mark set by those excellent productions in terms of overall quality and story telling. However, as I mentioned before, there are a number of things done right here, and plenty of fun to be had. The overall plot and the premise of taking a trip around the world is still quite interesting, and I know we're looking forward to see where the travels take them next. The interactions with the major NPCs, encouraged and spurred by the relationship mechanics, with the right party (those who favor RP'ing at the table) help to inject much needed life into the adventure. So while I am a bit disappointed, and list some definitive shortcomings, there is plenty of fun to be found here.
I'll review the other books as we continue to push forward. In my Friday group, we're a few session away from finshing the first book in Carrion Crown. Onward!