Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber. Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West 3,140 posts (3,719 including aliases). 4 reviews. 6 lists. 4 wishlists. 37 Organized Play characters. 11 aliases.
I was lucky enough to be one of the players at 'Asmodeus Jones's table (and almost certainly one of those who he perceived as getting frustrated at times). This is a great scenario, but requires a great (and well-prepared) GM to get the most out of it. Fortunately we had that. We were constantly bouncing from the elation of finding one of us had just the right trick up his sleeve to solve one of the many challenges thrown at us to the fear that we were about to be forced to retreat in disarray. Every time, though, there was someone in the party who came up with the insight necessary to allow us to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. From the initial briefing to the final denouement (over 6 1/2 hours later) this was a scenario that kept us on our toes, but was prepared to reward us for paying attention to all that had gone before.
This isn't a perfect scenario to play in a limited-time slot - I'll be sure to allow two slots for it when we schedule it at conventions, and will recommend that our VAs do the same at their stores. And I must admit that I am more than a little disappointed that, despite having played many of the earlier scenarios that led up to this epic conclusion (and having won through this last chapter with flying colours), the Scarab Sages characters of my wife and I are ineligible to receive probably the nicest reward on the chronicle. But these are at most minor quibbles - to downgrade the rating to less than five stars simply because of those would be inappropriate.
[I just spent 45 minutes writing a review, only to have paizo.com time out on me and drop the review into the bit bucket when I tried to submit it. Let's see if I can recreate the gist of that review ...]
I thought with "Assault on the Wound" a few years ago Paizo had realised that introducing a whole new complicated set of rule mechanics as part of a four-hour scenario was a bad idea, but apparently that lesson has been forgotten. I'm a pretty fast reader, and reasonably quick on the uptake, but even I was glad that there was somebody at the table who got the whole picture faster than I did, and was able to guide me through the final step. My wife just threw up her hands in despair - it would have taken her well over an hour to read through all the handout material and assimilate how it applied to the character she was playing.
Apparently these new rules are to be found in "Ultimate Intrigue" (which, at the time of writing this review, isn't available in the PRD - good luck to any GM who doesn't own a copy of that book, but wants to find out a little more about what is going on). I can see how those rules could work well for characters built with an understanding of the rules, but they don't work anywhere near as well when they are retrofitted to a character built in the expectation of being played under different conditions. In particular, changing skills to be based off a different attribute is unfair (and, in my opinion, totally unnecessary in the limited context of a single scenario such as this). All that does is to invalidate the character build, which is quite likely to cause the player to feel some amount of resentment.
And, in case that wasn't enough, this is a Tier 1-5 scenario, which means it is quite possible that this is the first experience of PFS for some of the players at the table. I know that if my first experience of PFS had come from a scenario such as this one I may well have never gone on to find out just how much fun PFS play can actually provide.
I ran this for the first time last night. While my overall impression was favourable, there were several places where I felt things could have gone better. We were playing in a noisy environment, and my players must have missed catching the mention of the second place to get information mentioned in the VC's briefing. This made meeting up with their contact a little harder than necesssary, but that was fairly easy to work around.
What was a lot harder to work around, though, was the outcome of the penultimate combat. I was rolling well for the bad guys, and <redacted> scored a critical hit on his first attack (after having succeeded at a DC20 will save). The average damage there at subtier 1-2 is going to be 32HP, which will one-shot a lot of characters to below negative CON; my party lost their cleric.
It's also very easy to miss just which is the optional encounter on a quick reading of the scenario; the box calling out what is to be done doesn't show up until several pages beyond the point where the decision has to be made.
Overall impression: Not recommended for a small party of low-level characters. The GM should also read the scenario through carefully, and be prepared to nudge the party back towards the plot line if necessary; there are several places where it's all too easy to miss a key piece of information (which, again, is more likely in a smaller party).
As both my wife and I are running "We Be Goblins Too!" on Free RPG Day, and my wife runs the original "We Be Goblins!" at every opportunity, deciding to pick up these miniatures wasn't really a difficult choice.
We already have all the goblins from the earlier Pathfinder Battles sets, and we'd seen the pictures of the new sculpts, so we thought we knew pretty much what we'd be getting. As soon as we opened the first pack, though, we got a very pleasant surprise. The paint scheme on these figures is much more eye-catching than that used in the earlier sets, and the metallic paint on the weapons looks far more realistic. The goblins themselves, too, are a darker shade of green, which looks a lot closer to that used in the Paizo artwork. The one thing I don't like quite so much is the repaint of the Goblin Dogs, which makes them almost pink. But that's a minor quibble, and doesn't warrant dropping the star rating.
We bought two full sets so we could each have all the right figures for Free RPG Day - first-time players really seem to like using a miniature that matches the illustration on their character sheet. Each set yielded one each of the six rare figures, and three each of the common ones. I'm sure the extra goblins will come in handy in my Rise of the Runelords campaign.
And, in any case, how can you possibly have too many goblins?