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Another Winner!KitsuneWarlock —
Love this scenario so much. When your only criticism is that you want to expand it out to a 6-hour session but you managed it in 4-hours and everyone had a good time: you know it's a winner. The scenario had a clear-cut problem and enough breadth to allow player's abilities and creative solutions to shine. It can be hard to fit and entire urban intrigue situation into a 4-hour slot, but this scenario manages it with flying colors while showing off yet another of Lost Omen's amazingly cool civilizations in a way that will stick to my players for a long, long time.
The author really knew how to guesstimate what players wanted to do next without making them feel constrained on wheels!
Amazing Scenario!KitsuneWarlock —
There's so much here to love! It delves deep into the metaplot in a way that interested my players more than any other meta scenario they've played thus so far this season. The NPCs were a joy to act out and had incredible impact on my players. The fights themselves were a challenge for the players and gave a breadth of fun options for the GM. The hazards were relevant without slowing down the adventure or feeling unfair, and the final fight is one we will remember for a long time. The boon is absolutely epic and one of the most slotted and used boons in my lodge since.
Solid Story, Decent Build-up, Great Quest Tie-in, Mediocre ExecutionKitsuneWarlock —
So I love the idea behind the scenario. I love the build up using a quest. The NPCs are pretty memorable, but having so many did make prepping kind of a pain. I love wilderness adventures, but this didn't really feel like one with the check-points for resting and skill challenges being set up by the locals. But it didn't quite feel like a cultural exploration scenario given the need for what amounted to a narrator to explain how each challenge was relevant to the story of the race.
So I'm deducting my first star for unnecessary use of map in many of these challenges. My fellow GM wound up going to 5.5 hours because of map set-up and mini placement for what amounted to a handful of skill checks. The river was the only map-relevant and also the most memorable of the challenges.
The second star was for the enemy. Just forgettable. There was this big epic build up and even two points where my table wanted to just abandon the adventure to hunt down the bear...maybe if it had been enhanced with magic cast by one of the competing teams or attacked the players in their sleep or something there'd be more to remember here, but just a random bear honestly just made the group hosting the race look incompetent.
Any Scenario that gets my players singing is awesomeKitsuneWarlock —
This scenario was so much fun! I was afraid the more "serious" and "anti-goblin" players would hate this scenario, but they were just as on board with acting out the play and helping the goblins out as our actual goblin players!
What I loved best was how all the challenges were part of a sequential and logical order that all interlocked in a way that didn't make the scenario feel disjointed. The adventurers were a great touch in bridging having to challenge someone to get the goblin's attention and having a humanoid combat in the sewers without it just being "suddenly cultists!" or "suddenly rats!" Even the gator played an important story role...and can we talk about the ghoul?
The use of a (often) non-hostile undead was fabulous. Honestly, I love this story so much that I hope we get a return because this is one of the best written uses of a "wish" I've seen in Pathfinder Society.
If I had to criticize this scenario? The flip-mat used for the dungeon was a solid choice, but it was awfully big for how irrelevant most of the rooms were. This isn't really a major complaint (notice this is still a 5-star review), and I highly recommend this scenario to everyone!
Absolutely Love ItKitsuneWarlock —
Warning: There is some obvious bias here given the use of kami, Tamashigo and kitsune in this scenario. But we are allowed to rate a scenario a little higher because it includes some of our favorite elements of Golarion, right? So be it.
This scenario does a fabulous job of giving the GM a dirth of options, not only in its diverse set of repayable elements, but in making the village and spirits their own during the investigative portion of the game. Being able to give those personal touches based on my group's PCs and what I'm most comfortable roleplaying made this an ideal scenario for me. I have the freedom to run the scenario the way I want but can let the developer and writer do the crunchy bits for me. The encounters themselves are challenging without being impossible, putting a fear of death into my PCs without feeling "unfair". The NPC is memorable and doesn't rely on the normal "backstabber in disguise" trope we've already seen kitsune use. The use of curses and boons to help intro the Forest of Spirits and Tamashigo culture to my PCs was a big boon and I greatly enjoyed stretching out the travel and investigative parts of the scenario.
It could work for the right group, but I'm not sure what that group is?KitsuneWarlock —
The scenario has two speeds: boring and (potentially) unfair.
The encounters and skill checks are all completely boring until the final fight. That final fight has the potential to be far too difficult for many groups: one group managed great with an early crit and high initiative, but the first group I saw run this almost TPK'd. The story is almost non-existent for most Pathfinders and needs to be explained in detail after the fact which doesn't make for a fun scenario.
Not Bad, But Not PerfectKitsuneWarlock —
I really enjoyed running this adventure and my friends all enjoyed playing it. The combats were a little less challenging than other adventures this season, but both times we had players with some effective anti-undead tactics and above average die rolls. The horse became a fan favorite. There were only a few points that I didn't much enjoy.
1. Giving players the option of being fatigued if they miss the first skill challenge. Such a nasty trap. This can completely remove a player from all the investigations (most of the scenario) given how brutal fatigue is and that there is a timer (no chance to rest).
2. Many of the skill challenges feeling like they were railroading players away from fights they can't win without making it that explicit that they'd be completely overwhelmed. Three times during one run and twice during another run my players were drawing weapons and expecting a fight, and it had to be clarified that the enemies were still quite a distance away but looked like they were more than the party could handle.
3. The centipede trap almost knocked out and completely knocked out a player both times I ran it. Having a player get knocked out just for wanting to investigate a room is pretty brutal, but I suppose its the punishment for not checking every room for hazards.
4. Knowing that the sign of some tavern was an "item of historical significance" was lost on my players and had to be kind of shoehorned in with a random behind-the-screen check with one of my groups.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #1-17: The Perennial Crown Part 2, The Thorned MonarchPaizo Inc.
Our Price: $4.99Add to Cart
Thrilling Adventure; Definately Requires Playing Part 1KitsuneWarlock —
I really enjoy how quickly connected these two parts are, allowing a GM to easily run a 6-8 hour "module slot" using these scenarios. I didn't play it like that, but it almost felt like I had with how clear cut the cliff-hanger was from the prior adventure. The skill challenges at the beginning and the chase were both super exciting for our group and we were able to easily get into it. The final fight is one of our most memorable thus so far in PFS2e and afterward one of our other players suggested that they wanted to see Qxal return in a multi-table scenario at a convention. And I feel like that's a good way to describe the later half of the scenario: It feels like the best part of a multi-table scenario. Being able to scream "Fire!" as you blast a giant fiendish moth with cannon-fire feels fantastic, and the fight itself is challenging without being impossible, even for our fairly under powered group. The dialogue felt natural and well written.
The scenario is not without it's flaws. "Giving back your loot" was really awkwardly shoehorned in. I understand why some players might want to, but our GM felt compelled to ask us at the end without us thinking of it and it made it kind of awkward. We also did get a point of infamy and I wish the entire party didn't get the infamy because one player "forgot" to non-lethal his attack of opportunity when someone else in the party already wanted everyone that we shouldn't kill him.
The boon is really cool and I love seeing unique feats on boon sheets.
Can't believe I didn't review this already?KitsuneWarlock —
Thus so far this is my favorite quest in Pathfinder (first or second edition)! The NPC is memorable, the challenges are exciting and fulfilling, the boon is really cool and I hope we get to see this particular story evolve into an ongoing plotline in a future quest or scenario! My players from my first group loved this NPC so much they literally wanted to quit the society and join her. Yet my second group absolutely hated her which...just shows she's a character with lots of depth and angles that can be played to help promote your party's needs! There's lots of room here for improvising, and I've run this as both a 1 hour game and a 3 hour game: It's really up to the GM and the party how much you want to explore this fantastically written and designed adventure!
Spooky, Unnerving, Mysterious and Engaging!KitsuneWarlock —
Ran the scenario twice. Spoilers ahoy!
It really does feel like a cryptid hunt in the best possible way! The players were uncertain the entire scenario which rumors were and weren't real, and it added to the mystery of the hunt that I honestly feel was somehow more engaging with the sudden shift from Blair Witch to Scooby Doo.
This scenario absolutely rocks if your a huge Umineko fan, given its about proving or denying the existence of a Witch. I do wish there was maybe one more townsfolk who didn't believe in the witch at all, but at the same time I don't know if it would have added or detracted from the scenario itself.
The scenario successfully creates a creepy atmosphere. Especially with the doll randomly showing up in unexpected places. I love how the doll was given its own image so I could pass it around the table to add to the unnerving atmosphere.
The only “con” is the first table really wanted to confirm whether or not the witch existed, but I personally can't help but feel like it would have ruined it. It was also kind of weird that the non-combatants at the very end try to parlay with the party but can't speak common? Both times I kind of hand waved that one of them could speak common, and no one seemed to notice even after they confirmed in the prior fight that most of them don't speak common! So, not really a big deal, and I suppose I could have used pantomime.
Both tables loved Haru and Peaches, and I personally hope they show up in a future scenario!
Wonderful Scenario!KitsuneWarlock —
So the site ate my first review, so I'll try to summarize. There will be spoilers.
Background: We had a table of 7 players. We had to play up with a level boost, as we had one level 3 cleric. The layout of the quest made it easy for me to pick the proper encounter, which is a big plus. The mummies were still a very hard fight. Many of my players were on the verge of dying and the group thought it might have been a TPK, but the level boost and the design of the monsters made it a-okay without any fudging.
Overall: The theme is perfect for a new group of Pathfinders. It helps highlight what the society is all about, gives some quick checks to help demonstrate some core tennants and facts about the Society, and takes us to one of the most iconic destinations for an adventuring archaelogist. The descriptions of the rooms were all on-point. The history of the site engaged even the newer pathfinder players who were all eager to learn more about the backstory of the ruins!
Social Encounter: This was one of the highlights of the quest and the players had a great deal of fun here. The antagonist was memorable and very easy to hate. The placement of the bored guards made them relatable in a way that lead to a positive roleplay experience. My only quibble was putting the guys name on his portrait when he was operating under an alias. I also wish the product specified if the guards would take him under custody if he survived the encounter, but I assume they would since he clearly was taking advantage of his position in the government and the Pathfinder Society has quite a bit of clout, even if they aren't in the best political position with Osiria right now.
Hazard: My biggest quibble here is the placement of the trap. The book says its on a door, but the map shows it in the hallway. Are we supposed to move it if we use the electricity arc trap? Maybe I misread, but it wasn't a major issue (i.e. no players noticed).
Encounter: Big bulky monsters with limited per-round actions, no reactions and weakness to positive energy and fire makes for a super exciting fight. The monsters will take lots of hits, letting me roleplay getting hurt and making sure the players can all have a chance to contribute. The monsters do hit very hard, but with the new dying rules and the lower action count it just makes the fight challenging (but not impossible). My only complaint here are the constructs, as hardness can very much overwhelm a level 1 party.
TLDR: I'd gvie this 4.5 stars if I could, for the minor issues above. The backstory made up for it enough that I'm not going to hold the product's rating accountable. It was a memorable evening for everyone involved, and they were talking excitedly about it the next week, which to me is the mark of a good product.
A win for Players and GMs!KitsuneWarlock —
The hall was a great roleplaying experience, surprisingly moreso for the players who have never played Pathfinder Society before! The ability to fail lore checks and go into the party thinking Morilla is an agent of Cheliax is absolutely wonderful. And I'm glad to see so many of my favorites there, giving us a chance to catch up on what's happening and introduce players to the four-to-six major factions!
The ship encounter was a great opportunity to teach new players that the Pathfinders aren't always murderhobos, while tying the story to a past arc. I was able to sculpt the adventure around giving one of our youngest and newest players an opportunity to shine, and I really appreciated that versatility.
The haunted house was quite unnerving for several of our experienced players, especially with the new rules for confusion! I've heard terrible things about the hand-trap and it can do quite a bit of damage, but the activation is very generous (a specific player has to enter the room twice in a 24-hour period) and it only goes off once, so the party should be able to recover the player and drag them off to safety. Plus it's nice that you can detect haunts without spamming "detect undead".
The mob provided more excellent roleplaying opportunities while highlighting the versatility of the monster creation rules in PF2, but was the least memorable part of the scenario for our group.
The encounter in the Blackros Museum was the highlight and what I'll focus on most here. It has received mixed reviews. The encounter has an out-of-control ritual slogging everyone participating for a significant chunk of damage each turn. The only way to turn off the ritual is to succeed at a very high skill check or kill up to three durable enemies while the ritual damages everyone in the room attempting to fix it. People have complained that the high DC and being zapped by the ritual each round discourages people from trying the skill checks, but I think this is a prime example of past system mastery getting in the way of seeing how well the encounter highlights the action economy.
First you have the reaction, allowing martial characters to protect their skillful compatriots by jumping in front of the negative energy. The ease by which a product can give a balanced action to players like this helps show off the strengths of the system’s modularity only possible thanks to the action economy.
Second, you have three actions per turn, and thus up to three attempts at that high DC skill check. Yes, the ritual will damage you, but when you only have to resolve 1-3 checks to stop it, being able to throw 12-18 skill checks looking for a 16-18 isn’t that unreasonable.
Third, you have three actions! That means you can attack the shadows with your first two attacks, then attempt a skill check or quaff a potion or throw a heal with the second. Heck, if the pulse of negative energy is that scary you can even use your three actions to run into the room, attempt a skill check, then run out of the room before the end of the round!
I know it will take players time to adjust to the new system, and typical norms of the First Edition need to be forgotten and relearned through the lens of our new paradigm. It’s painful watching the most experienced players get hit the hardest and be the most likely to recommend staying with the system they are more familiar with. The proficiency system, dying rules and action economy give more leeway for scenario authors to provide players with more diverse sets of more difficult challenges. In every second edition game I’ve run so far, the players honestly felt like they could very well be facing a total party wipe! And yet, in every game I’ve run so far the players have achieved their primary and secondary success conditions without a single death! A game that can provide that gripping sense of fear and yet give even the newest players the tools to overcome the game’s challenges is one balanced to favor fun.
And that’s a win for both sides of the screen.
This might be a bit of a "rant" because, frankly, I can't contain my excitement enough to write out a "well-thought out review".
I've been able to thoroughly analyze the book and experienced the system first-hand at Paizocon. I was extremely hesitant after the playtest and approached the Second Edition with a sort of cautious optimism. While I could feel even during the playtest that the new system was a labor of love, I just wasn't feeling especially enthused with what I saw after playing through the playtest scenarios. Then I saw the final product.
The modular nature of the new system can be somewhat daunting. If you just skim the class section like you would any other d20 system, you may be a little disappointed at what looks like a lack of options. But once you sit down and make your first character, you'll begin to realize that the breadth of options here manages somehow to bridge that gap between a level-class system that defines ecah character by a set role and a point-buy system that allows for modular character option selection!
This isn't a "nerf"; on the contrary, this opens up characters we could only dream of playing in 1e. In the core rulebook alone there are at least 11,880 viable class and class/dedication combinations (and I could get more ridiculous if I wanted to claim it's possible to have a decent 4 dedication PC). Each book being released will add even further depths of customization given the fabulous "archetype" system from 1e has been seperated from individual classes and instead given out freely.
Essentially, you are no longer building a "class" in 2e. You are building a "character".
Skill feats ensure that the "modifier race" has been replaced by choosing cool abilities that help define your character beyond "+25 to diplomacy!"
Codified saves and DCs help both players and GMs make quick table calls that won't result in a 25 minute forum search and debate as to whether or not a player can or can't do something. Ask for their proficiency. Have them roll the die. Set the DC based on the chart in the book or the DC of the target being opposed.
Ancestries are customizable right off the bat, with the tantilizing promise of BALANCED CHARACTER TEMPLATES for the first time in 1pp d20, potentially allowing for all sorts of "hybrid races" like Dhampir Elves without overly specific trade-offs that might not make sense for your specific character!
The combat rules are somehow simpler and yet more tactically satisfying even if we don't go into what the action economy does for us. Skill-based maneuvers without the need for a feat tax let everyone potentially "grab the guy trying to run away" without being grossly punished for it. Rules like enlarging and the debuffs are so clean and clear that I don't think I'll ever need to reference the rulebook once I play for a few months. And yet there is no missing depth to the tactical decision-making both players and GMs can make here...especially due to the action economy (being able to 'spring attack' with zombies in the playtest was so freaking fun).
The environment and hazard rules in this system are tight! Balanced rules for things like jumping on enemies or bypassing different types of hazards without just relying on the same old "class check".
The multi-classing system is brilliant, and this is coming from someone who multi-classed and even prestiged classed a majority of his PCs in 1e. Allowing for trade-offs they way they do helps further customize what your character is defined by, without the skill/save/BAB problems in 1e or the need for prerequisites that limited most prestige classes in older editions to only be accessible to "certain classes".
The weapon traits in this system are a wonderful addition. I can't wait to see more than the dozen or so "optimal weapons" we saw in 1e. Almost every weapon in this book serves a role beyond "it exists in the real world, so we better give it stats, even if its worse in every way than something else we already have".
And the best part?
The very best part?
I can get someone playing this system after maybe an hour of rules explanation and character creation. And I mean actually playing. As in making the decisions for themselves. As in having your creative solutions be a feasible check rather than having a group of experienced gamers roll their eyes because they know the rules don't support what your trying to do without some obscure feat.
Paizo has completely hit this edition out of the park. Somehow they've managed that perfect balance between clarity and complexity. This is truly a game that you can learn in an afternoon, but take a lifetime to master. One that's as fun playing as it is GMing. And one that goes the extra mile to make sure no player option is "too weak", without making everything feel "the same".
Now go roll some dice.
Fantastic and Immersive FunKitsuneWarlock —
Played it once, ran it twice. This scenario ticks so many boxes for me as a player and GM. The NPCs are an absolute blast to role-play (both with and as), including a quest-giver I've been looking forward to meeting for a long time. Even the NPCs intended to only interact via combat are super memorable! I was afraid of the primary combat in the scenario, but the guidelines are given very clearly and every time the scenario is ran results in at least one memorable "oops" moment (for the PCs and NPCs), making the entire encounter feel very organic. There are lots of ways the players can approach this one, and the author did a wonderful job making sure we would have the tools necessary to accomidate our players attempting to go off the rails.
The slavemaster was so well written that we had a player who wanted to take him up on his offer even though the party was going to free the efreeti! Even when my own character got hit by the trap in the living room, I was able to engage with the rest of the encounter because of how perfectly placed that trap was! It was also hard to not feel sorry for our target rogue venture-captian, even if he was a scumbag.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-09: Beyond the Halflight Path PDFPaizo Inc.
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I'm glad I can run it again because it was a blastKitsuneWarlock —
I ran it with a party of 5 using many of the "difficult" options, despite having an unoptimized party (Including a core Rogue, core Monk and a disguise-focused Vigilante). The party was able to breeze through the investigation, but the colorful cast and open-endedness of the rumors allowed for some great roleplay opportunity that really let me customize the experience on the fly for each of my players and their play styles. They used the map and their brains to great advantage in the dungeon. I will admit this is a biased review; I have a wonderful group, and playing it during Hanukkah with 75% of our encounters involving monsters from Jewish Qabbalism really made me appreciate the customability of the module. It was a challenge, for sure. In fact, one of my players said it was one of the best games they'd played in recent memory!
As a GM, you have to pick the route that most appeals to your style of roleplay. There are lots of options here to play enemies you don't commonly get to encounter in Pathfinder Society. And, at least in my prepared story route, there is an unmistakeably creepy vibe that really resonates with the players exploring the wonderful location of Kaer Maga.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-25: Unleashing the Untouchable (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Makes me use the Word EpicKitsuneWarlock —
In every sense of the word, this module was Epic. It goes without spoiler tags that this is the capstone of an entire season, and from start to finish it feels like one. The use of items, names and locations from across the season all helps bring this home.
The first combat gives us an opportunity to test our meddle against foes that shouldn't pose a challenge if it wasn't for their tactics, which helped the immersion of the module. We are stronger than your average enemy, but there are still enemies willing to fight to the death serving their Goddess. And the mechanic used in the encounter helps answer the question: "But what about the low CR mooks?" while still making defeating those enemies a resource-draining challenge.
The second uses monsters and environmental mechanics I've personally used to scare players, but never thought I'd see in a module first hand. There was a real threat of death here, and at the same time we were able to use think-outside-of-the-box tactics to overcome some very powerful enemies.
The less-combat-heavy encounter was a bit of a morality test for some of our characters, which is always appreciated. The use of this kind of an "enemy" is threatening and always puts even high-level players on guard (for good reason).
The last encounter is something I will always remember. I was on the edge of my seat until the very end, and honestly found myself calculating how much it'd cost to resurrect the character (if it was even possible). Even with almost a dozen buffs on each of our PCs from the first round of combat, we found ourselves struggling to take out an enemy that was a serious and dreadfully scary threat.
And the rewards were just as satisfying.
Give this module a try, especially if you played any of the elemental adventures in Season 8. It makes for a satisfying, thrilling and dare I say, "epic" conclusion to the 8th Season of Pathfinder Society!
Pathfinder Player Companion: Paths of the Righteous (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
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Prestige Classes Done RightKitsuneWarlock —
TLDR: This is an excellent book that provides a number of balanced, versatile, thematic and well designed Prestige Classes that can be well used by fans of any base class published. The new options presented demonstrate the best use of Prestige Classes in Pathfinder to date.
Now for the detailed review.
I hope it doesn't come off as dramatic to say this Player's Companion lanced isn't just a collection of thematic, balanced and versatile prestige classes, but may just be a turning point for the game itself. The Prestige Classes offered are versatile enough to work with a number of base classes without overpowering the base-class only options. They are thematically appropriate but at the same time don't pidgeonhole you into one or two narrow predefined options. The classes here certainly can be used by players that don't want to have to delve into half a dozen books to figure out the best way to play them, but at the same time they use under-appreciate mechanics and the potential for combining the roles of other base classes. Tying the Prestige classes to established lore helps create characters already established in the setting. And using deities and factions like this secures their positions in a way that is less obstructive to GMs than “special requirement” classes. The best part is how the classes are largely untied to any base classes, allowing for maximum versatility and character adaptability.
The holy symbols in the inside cover and description of each deity will be a literal godsend to those who aren't as familiar with Golarion lore. The Prestigious Feats are incredibly helpful in giving prestige shy players a reason to take the more flavorful prestige classes of this and prior books without worrying so much about losing their favored class bonuses or spellcaster levels. The rest of the book is divided very cleanly by prestige class/deity, and I will separate my review as such.
Ashavic Dancer class seems limited in that almost every class feature mentions undead or haunts. But don't let its Bardic theme mislead you: This class is perfectly accessible by any caster and tailor made for an Oracle or Sorcerer who wants extra tools against the undead without sacrificing more than one level of spellcasting. Reading the class features as though they were merely a Mystery or Bloodline makes it a far more appealing class, even if it's narrow-use. The feat is oozing with flavor, even if it's not the most powerful in the book.
The Brewkeeper reminds me of how much fun Cayden Cailean characters can be. Making your own potions and enhancing them with Metamagic gives you a slew of options, whether your an alchemist or otherwise. Being able to use your own caster level when you drink or administer a Potion is the hidden gem of this class, but using the Brew Point system to enhance your extracts and bombs is where you will have your fun. The Two-Weapon Drunkard feat feels like the same feat we've seen at least once before for Cayden Cailean, but being able to use any old Tankard as a Divine Focus has its uses.
I didn't realize how cool Ragathiel was until I read the Crimson Templar. This fire-oriented divine-inspired anti-outsider assassin class just oozes flavor. Between the devastating holy fire, the burning wings and the divine obedience, the class is going to make a lot of melee character look and feel incredible. Mechanically, it's a full base attack bonus class with bonus feats and sneak attack dice. Essentially a divine Slayer. And whether its a vital strike or dual-wielding bastard sword build, you'll find yourself easily doing over 150 damage with only 5 levels in the Prestige Class. Shield of Wings is a really cool spell, effectively giving Clerics/Paladins of the deity a single spell-slot for both flight and fire resistance. It's nice to see the extra option, given both aren't always usable in every scenario...but you're often in trouble if you don't have them.
Mechanical Trivia? The class also confirms that you can take the Divine Obedience feat and not necessarily the Celestial Obedience feat for Ragathiel, opening up some new character options in other books. It also is a little disappointing that by RAW it's Fiendish Study class feature doesn't function on the spell-like abilities the class grants it via Divine Obedience.
The Darechaser was one of the most exciting classes in the book. It fits absolutely perfectly for a deity of Kurgess, and who doesn't love adding extra rolls to your d20? While the Daring Exploit feat clearly makes it ideal for a Sleuth or Swashbuckler, the class will work for any martial character and give you that thrill of adding to so many difference checks that you'll really feel like you're playing the exact kind of boisterous daredevil the class was intended to be! A total win for flavorful mechanics.
Dawnflower Anchorite gives you all the warm fuzzies of the goddess of the Sun in a highly versatile package. The Focused Class Feature Credence lets you advance a number of pre-existing base class features as you level, not only giving you way to continue progressing as any of the three-fourth base attack bonuses casters in Pathfinder, but even blend the two becoming a hybrid-class all of its own stacking, for example, Sacred Weapon and Bardic Performance. Of course your Spells per Day will still be stuck to only one class, but its still an option. The Solar Invocation ability will provide a fantastic party buff, and being an almost full spellcaster with three-fourths base attack bonus means the class can be applied to any number of base classes. The Flame Blade Dervish feat is a fantastic buff to Sarenrae's favorite spell.
Devoted Muse is my absolute favorite class in this book. Feint is probably the least touched upon feature in the combat section of the Core Rulebook, and this book has completely blown me away with a class that provides full martial characters with a new and exciting versatile combat option. Being able to debuff enemies with your feint and continue progressing in swashbuckler talents gives you this far less feat intensive pseudo Dirty Trick vibe. And Bladed Brush gives Swashbucklers, devoted muse or otherwise, the option use a Glaive as a Finesse and One-Handed weapon! That being said, the class can be deceptively trickier than the similar Vexing Devil archetype due to the vague nature of Feinting, with numerous Feinting feats not necessarily functioning with Artistic Flourish due to the nature of the feature replacing the Dex to AC bonus. Furthermore, the Deeds ability inadvertently works with Gunslinger better than Swashbuckler...but maybe that was intentional?
Heritor Knight is touted as both one of the most powerful and flavorful classes in the book, and I'm beginning to see why. The effects all look very narrow-use when you first read it, and I suspect that and the prerequisite feats are a good argument for its balance. Most of the effects are keyed against certain tactics that can make it a pain for melee characters, such as swallow hole, flight and incorporeality. But where it really gets nasty is at level 6, when it not only get Vital Strike and Improved Strike as bonus feats, but can use Improved/Greater Vital Strike as a Standard Action, allowing it to combine with a number of other class features and feats. The fact the class advances your fighter's weapon training and feat prerequisites is fabulous. Strike True looks pretty fun for Vital Strike builds, but usually you'll want to move around and its already a feat intensive build.
The Hinterlander is one of two classes I'm excited about. It'd be great in an Adventure Path that is all about defending a specific settlement, but most adventurers move around too much to use most of its class abilities. Defended Hearth can also be something of a game breaker, letting you know if there are any “unnatural” presences in your town without having to actually go out and investigate. Getting Imbue Arrow like an Arcane Archer is really powerful for a class with bonus feats and almost full spell-caster progression. The feat Erastil's Blessing looks good for Rangers who will want to focus on their spells, but absolutely fantastic for Zen Archers or bow-wielding Clerics.
The Rose Warden was the first class I used from this book. Mechanically, its a sort of advanced Pathfinder Field Agent, giving you Talents and Sneak Attack dice. But it does it so much better that I won't be surprised if more Milanites suddenly show up at your local Lodge. Shoring up Will Saves is absolutely something rogues have needed from the beginning, not that this class is tied exclusively to Rogues. Unchained Rogues will also appreciate being able to take “Chained” Talents with this class, in addition to its Synergies with the popular Scout Archetype (being able to charge through crowds/difficult terrain). The thorn-themed talents are really neat, but I was a little disappointed when I realized you can't actually add sneak attack dice to Chaos Hammer or Holy Smite. Thematically, the class oozes rose petals and rebellion, an excellent addition for Hell's Rebels or any Urban Campaign where you don't mind ruffling a few feathers. The Magic Item is quite nice too, especially if you have high Charisma. Its a little annoying that the class features of the Rose Warden keys off Intelligence but its Magic Item keys off Charisma, but I can understand why. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of Oracles and Sorcerers pick up an Everbloom Thorn.
The Rune Guard is a fascinating addition to the book I wasn't expecting. A “good Thassilonian Rune mage” that uses the original Virtues of Soralyon to buff its allies by sacrificing spell-slots. It's a pretty solid class if you want some new ways to help your friends, and the Charity Rune will allow some killer combinations depending on who else is in your party. Want to see a Rogue get Sneak Attack on their Ray? Spiffy.
The Sacred Sentinel is the least exciting class in the book, able to defend a certain number of allies a day by fighting defensively. It progresses Lay on Hands, Animal Companions, Familiars and Divine/Arcane Bond all the way through, but doesn't get spellcaster levels (instead opting for a full base attack bonus). It's kind of neat dedicating yourself to defending your Animal Companion or Familiar, and I can think of a number of Amusing Paladin/Druid or just straight Druid builds that will undoubtedly become powerful accessory items for their friends. Its just not the kind of class that appeals to me.
Now the Scar Seeker is a bit more flashy. Full Base Attack Bonus, half-casting progression, smite and lay on hands gives the worshiper of Vildeis a paladin feel, despite having no paladin-only prerequisites. Its abilities that require them to get hurt in order to activate, including powering up their weapon or exploding in healing and/or damage when they are brought to zero hit-points. It provides a nice “good aligned” variant to classes like the Pain Taster that are usually keyed to Evil aligned gods like Zon-Kuthon. The Smite Evil Magic feat looks like an absolute blast, and I can't wait to see a Paladin slice an ongoing spell-effect in half with their deities favored weapon.
The Sphere Singer is another example of how the Prestige Classes in this book reference other base classes (granting Bardic Music) without outright requiring you to take the class. It's a lovely little Prestige Class, right on target for a Desnic Gish looking to fly across the battlefield with a Starknife. The biggest aha moment here was the Versatile Performance class feature letting you retrain ranks in associated skills at no cost: An absolutely brilliant design move. The Guided Star feat is going to make a lot of Desnan Clerics very happy.
The Stargazer class has the most potential for a multiclass caster, improving spellcasting, channel, hexes, domains, mysteries, and familiars. The Arcana are flavorful, useful and flashy, and the fact its a ¾ Base Attack Bonus prestige class with full casting and no feat requirements makes it another versatile class. The Aurora Patron is going to be a top choice for witches regardless of Deity, both for the awe inspiring nature and flavor potential of the Aurora itself, and access to the powerful Color Spray spell.
In short, the book not only clarifies some rules, gives us fourteen wonderful prestige classes and a number of cool feats, spells and magic items, but could actually represent a turning point in Prestige Class design that makes me absolutely excited for the Adventurer's Guide coming out this Spring! Each class somehow retains a distinct playing style while not absolutely stapling itself to a base class, making them feel less like puzzles and more like tools you can use to express your character. The expanded lore for these deities is refreshing, especially with the focus on these “chosen followers”. And while I focus on this book largely as a player, it's an excellent tool for a GM who wants to fill their temple with distinct NPCs.
Overall the book is an amazing addition to the Player's Companion line and one I highly recommend.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-08: Among the Gods (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Wouldn't Recommend, But Not Entirely AwfulKitsuneWarlock —
Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–99: Through Maelstrom Rift (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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GM's and Players be prepared...For Fun!KitsuneWarlock —
This scenario can be taxing on both players and GMs, but it can be equally rewarding. If your table wants to drive through it as fast as possible, it will not be fun. The sandbox like qualities of the first half of the scenario requires the players to be willing to get into the spirits of their characters, and the GM must be willing to improvise. Fortunately, the scenarios length is such that there is adequate time for roleplay and the players should be encouraged to explore this strange world and all its wonderful creatures. The GM should do some extra homework prepping for the adventure in the strange new plane, but most of all should be ready to let the players spend some time getting a feel for their characters.
The second encounter was extremely difficult to prep. Even the most experienced GMs at Gencon were running from table to table asking one another how they planned on doing it. I saw velocity charts and additional rules handouts and numerous other aids, and I wish the module would have given some optional tips to GMs, or even a photo of how the table was set up during testing.