Grey Render

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Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber. ***** Pathfinder Society GM. 3,319 posts (5,103 including aliases). 60 reviews. 2 lists. 1 wishlist. 22 Organized Play characters. 9 aliases.



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Race to the Death...Yours Probably

2/5

I just ran this – I hope never to play the scenario, or if I do, it will be with a group where frustration isn’t going to set in like I keep hearing (and watched).

A lot of the previous reviews hit this on the head, this is a tough scenario. If you like tough scenarios, then here’s your chance. If you like some tough scenarios, then this one think swings firmly enough into the too hard wing to likely make it fun. It also suffers from some very poor design decisions that may make some “run as written” GMs frustrated.

I always try to find the best way to relay the information about the scenario so I’ll take the Good/Bad/Ugly path for this scenario…

The Good:
Sargava is awesome, and the idea of a footrace is pretty cool. The concept here is quite good, it’s the execution I have an issue with.

The Bad:
There’s the previously discussed (in other reviews) issue with the set-up and its ramifications to certain classes. I’m always a firm believer of “let people play the character they came to play”; this scenario tests that limit (but not to the extent of a bunch of harpies). I’m on the fence though on this one – this seems like a reasonable challenge, but perhaps one hurt by the difficulty of the combats that follow. It’s as if the author wasn’t thinking about the ramifications to a party when designing combats or placing treasure.

It’s also worth noting that the final fight is just brutal. I watched a very, very well balanced and well equipped group struggle to do anything in the last fight due to DR that was fairly cruel to put in. Players trying to not game the system might find themselves in trouble when they walk into this one. There’s hard, and then there’s HARD. I think this crosses the line.

The Ugly:
The mathematics behind the race subsystem aren’t awful (though they are clumsy and require some additional explaining), but the author did not recognize that the math behind the scenario just doesn’t work out. There are options (fairly easy to see options too) which will “break” the scenario pretty readily without GM fiat that borders on violating “run as written”.

I don’t hate the system, but I really dislike its lack of details to cover what I see as some pretty typical player actions.

Overall it’s really a four-star concept with 1-star execution. I was upset enough about the implementation though, that I really can’t give it more than two.


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Good Story with Poor Mechanics - Experienced GM Required

4/5

Edit: I recently had the opportunity to run this and watch a solid GM run it as well. Due to that opportunity I'm revising my review from the "average scenario I don't need to play or GM again" 3-Star to "good scenario I'd be willing to run again" 4-star.

This scenario has a really good story and does not deserve the hate it gets. The key is prep - if you play with any GM that enjoys "running on the fly", you will have a bad time. If you have a GM that thinks things through, prepares appropriate player aids, and pushes the story while trying to engage you to do the same, you'll probably enjoy yourself.

I'd suggest reading through the GM thread if you're running - this one requires work to pull off.

Original Review:

I walked into To Seal the Shadow with a laundry list of 1-2 star reviews to back up why I would not have a good time. In my case though, I had a GM where I was able to walk in cautiously optimistic. That optimism was well founded.

I'm here to say that:

1) This is not a spectacular scenario, but it is not a horrible 1-star mess.
2) It is true that the mechanics are less than ideal.
2a) With the right tools the mechanics are not nearly as cumbersome and horrible as noted.
3) The story is solid.
3a) The background could be stronger, which does weaken the scenario.

Seriously, it's not that bad. Since the rest of the scenario apart from the "debate" was pretty typical in terms of complexity and story, I'm going to simply say it was fine - I had fun. And then move on.

The debate is the part that seems to enjoy the majority of the consternation. I can see where that's founded, the mechanics are not "normal" and it took a little getting used to. That said, we sailed through that section of the scenario with only a few early hiccups, and I can honestly say everybody at the table enjoyed trying to figure out what to counter with what, and how to move our story forward. I wouldn't call it the most robust or best roleplay I've experienced in PFS, but it was pretty good.

This wasn't without reason though, and I think that's the key behind this scenario. To any GM running I would:

a) Make judicious use of PFS Prep. The player worksheets were a godsend and were 10x better than any of the in-scenario handouts (which we basically ignored once we figured out our worksheets).
b) Do the worksheets right away - just get them out of the way. Don't interrupt gameplay. I think our GM had us through in less than 20 minutes.
c) Be prepared and ready to run your (GM) end as well as possible. Our GM did a good job of this and knew what his roles and actions were.
d) Be ready to just "run with it" and make a ruling that sort-of makes sense in edge cases. Don't bog yourself down if you don't need to.

If the GM does these things, and doesn't poo-poo the mechanics, it really will work better.

The real issue I had with this section though was that PC involvement was the weak point , and the area that I wish would have worked better (and what keeps this from a 4-star review). Players just don't have the opportunity to learn what's going on well enough to play the role given to them in the debate. Even the "good" roleplayers at our table struggled to provide real allegories or logic without understanding the story behind what was happening. I wish the scenario had a better social lead-in to help establish the story better, and provide players a better idea of how to actively perform the role given to them. This is something I can't wait to see enterprising GMs whip together for future GMs.

That's it. Not great, not terrible.


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The Devil's in the Details

3/5

Played low tier with an overly-optimized group that plowed through combats. So my sense of the difficulty of encounters was impacted by group construction. I enjoyed the story, and I'm enjoying digging through the Gloomspires, but there was something just "off" on this scenario. You're about to read some major negatives below - this is because those are the things that stuck out as hurting an otherwise solid scenario to me. I really wanted to like this one, and I did, but the negatives were that big of a hit to me.

If you're a player, expect this to be tough. If you're a GM, just don't be a jerk when running it; you don't need to aim for a TPK in certain encounters to make it fun.

(From here on out spoilers abound).

Thematically nearly everything about this adventure should appeal to me. The idea of a boarding action is exciting. I'm a sucker for dungeon exploration. I love interesting use of exptraplanar trips.

And when those things worked, they really worked. But the devil's in the details. In every case the execution was sub-par.

Let's start with the boarding action. This should be a real moment of excitement, but instead it felt forced. But why? Mainly because even though I'm willing to accept the Gloomspires have some strange obscuring mist effects, it bothers me that a) your ship is incapable of seeing theirs, while the converse is not true, and b) that apparently a full grapple and boarding action takes less than 6 seconds (as that's all the time you have to react to what's happening). This encounter is something I think many of us have been waiting for in Pathfinder, but instead it feels like a missed opportunity for ranged combat from the rigging, to the placement of the boarding planks. That's not to talk about the opponent you're up against and how quickly he can decimate your party.

Then there's the "worst-trap-ever". The face "trap" IMHO is poor writing at its best. The placement of the face, and the effect were nothing more than a major F-you to the players at the table. There's no benefit to be gained, and it penalizes exploration and wanting to know more about what's going on with the story. Seriously - this is my biggest pet peeve in all of Pathfinder Society - somebody shows up to a game day, and then is forced to sit more than half the game out. This could have been remedied by a lesser effect than a poorly worded (and more severe) feeblemind. This could have been remedied by a "fix" the next encounter in. This could have been managed by making stats a three, but allowing the player to continue to participate (which would still cause the effect of a bumbling idiot, and still make stat damage later on a real threat). But instead I watched one poor player sit and do nothing for the rest of the game. People do not show up to game days to sit on their behinds while everybody else plays (I'm looking at you harpy encounters).

The rest was good - encounters were in a little to tight of spaces to make them interesting - but the theme, especially the ending was exciting. I just wish that this one could have lived up to its full potential.


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No Trouble at All Really

5/5

This, this is what I want to see in my scenarios.

I played this months ago, but frankly it was one of those nights and I don't think many of us recall exactly how the adventure panned out, except for the thing about the Halfling.

"You mean I can stop?"

I recently had the pleasure of running it though, and this is one of my new all-time favorite low-tier adventures. It's a really solid mix of a well designed "investigation" and then a more combative "adventure" from what you discover during the investigation. The part that made it really shine for me though is that player decisions mattered. Even the hook itself felt pertinent to being a Pathfinder; help a Lodge recover their reputation and supply lines.

The investigation
The set-pieces for the investigation were really tight, detailed enough for a GM to have a starting point, but open enough for a GM to take a group interested in role-playing to the next level. What really impressed me though was that it required the players pay attention and think about what was happening. It didn't feel like a "throw away" investigation where A->B->C-D, it felt like you piecing together a puzzle (not a complicated puzzle, but a puzzle nonetheless. The encounters aren't tough, but they're meaningful and have impact to the story as well, which I enjoyed.

The Adventure
I absolutely love that the result of the investigation has a mechanical effect on the second half of the adventure. I like how listening and paying attention quietly help the party without being obvious about it. Finally, the end set-piece and encounter really felt like a climax. Too many adventures set up an ending that never has the punch it deserves. Both the lead-in, and final encounters were memorable and exciting for me as a GM (and I think the players as well).

I mean it, easily one of the best adventures in the season. I hope to see more like it.


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I felt like I needed a shower afterwards

2/5

I don't just dislike the Forged in Flame series, it is my current go-to series for everything that is wrong with the way we portray Pathfinders. Go read my review for Forged in Flame Part 1'. No really, go for it. I can wait.

Now, that out of the way, this scenario was better.

But not much.

Why was it better? It didn't fall into the mechanical traps Part 1 did. One character couldn't dominate the series. The crazy loot penalties and failure conditions are eliminated. I even mentioned that Part 1's combats weren't awful, and that applies to Part 2 as well. These are good things.

But why was it "not much"? Well for one, the scenario drives you right back into the world of the Murder Hobo. Except lets not call it Murder Hobo, let's call it what it is. It's the world of a Petty Burglar with a side order of Murder Hobo. Where Part 1 sets you up for really, really horrible things, Part 2 at least just has you doing one generally very, very unlawful thing. Of course, unlike last time, be ready for that atonement for your Hellknight or Paladin, because there's no way around it for this "adventure". While you're set up for systemically dismantling your patron's horribly evil plans in Part 1 if you do that in Part 2 you're not succeeding at all. To be clear, Part 1 sets the precedent that there is an "out", but there is not in Part 2.

And herein lies the core of my utter disdain for this series. We are set up on a path that involves B&E, theft, murder of a head of household, and killing of guards. Our leadership tells us we're doing it for noble reasons (although that's not clear either, since all we're dealing with is the criminal underbelly of the Society), but it is absolutely clear we're assisting something evil at it's core. Worse yet, we're not even given suitable evidence that the evil we're eliminating is worse than the evil we're assisting. It's the classic two wrongs must make a right story, which is a story I don't really need to participate in. I would have loved an out, something where my good or lawful aligned character doesn't have to feel like I can't act because every action is counter to their character.

So there you go. I'm sure plenty of people will love feeling like true criminals. Personally, I just wanted it over.


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The Many Fortunes of the Plane of Fire

1/5

To anybody that knows the Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch, it has the poor reputation of being murder hoboism at its worst. How much so? Unprompted, there was a point where a player at the table referred to it as "The Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch redux". Everybody agreed. If you haven't played Many Fortunes, this was not a compliment. TMFoGMT is renown for a scenario with no consequences for bad behavior. Where the the players are told, "go rough up the innocents".

We hated it.

Why bring that premise back for round two?

This scenario can play out like a murder hobo's wet dream, and then reinforces that concept by providing all the negative outcomes from "doing the right thing" (such as not earning your prestige) and absolutely no penalty for being a bunch of jerks (such as fulfilling your faction mission objectives for the less reputable half of The Exchange).

I absolutely HATED this scenario. Like bottom 10 hated. Not frustrated hated where I think the power level is way too out of whack, or there's a really lousy puzzle or little logic, but I hope never to see a scenario like this again hated.

So from here on out spoilers abound...

The combat encounters are fine as written. There I said something positive about this mess. The problem is, following the "social route" is the only way for that Paladin not to need an atonement after the scenario is over, or for your character to sleep well at night (unless they are one of the aforementioned murder hobos).

The problem with building an entire series of social avoidances around bluff, or not using far more modern mechanisms of skill checks (such as group checks) means one character can defeat every single non-combat encounter. At my table, three of the players had nothing to do at all, and two were only involved because they were Exchange members. Even trying to split out some face-time with each player resulted in complaints by those characters that all they did was twiddle their thumbs.

In addition, in the poor design category comes the treasure. Every piece of treasure is listed in text as being associated with the combat itself. One can only be found if you decide to search the area around your latest murder. Another only comes from "ransacking the store" after a kidnapping, and the very last one requires that you literally tear off a chunk of somebody's private residence. Since the non-violent approach is not considered "a creative solution" for this scenario (is is advertised as a route to not feel like you need a shower after playing the scenario), a literalist GM could easily penalize characters simply for negotiating an encounter to not require heading off to a warehouse, or negotiating instead of getting into a fight, or by simply not being a complete jerkwad and ransacking somebody's home. Between that and the not-clear result of the party being deliberately defeated in the last encounter, it's hard to know exactly what the author was thinking in terms of treasure distribution.

Finally, other than avoiding the low-tier combat that can be a real mess for most groups, it is mechanically better in every way to just do exactly what you're asked to do...to the letter. That means it's mechanically better to literally murder, kidnap, extort, and murder yet again.

So, if you do horrible things, there is:
- No penalty with the Pathfinder Society leadership.
- No penalty with the Kelish embassy allies.

On the other hand, if you "do the right thing", there is:
- The possibility of missing the majority of the adventure's treasure (as written, maybe not the gold, but items for sure).
- You set yourself up for missing your prestige.

So other than perhaps not feeling good about yourself in the morning, the former option is perfect for Murder Hobos, and only reinforces that play style. Heck, even killing the other Efreet only results in an easy bluff check to explain to the cops, "this wasn't our fault", and if you fail that, You're let off without so much a slap on the wrist anyway that carries no penalties whatsoever.

This scenario was an entire step backwards in the concepts of not being complete d*cks.

I'm not even kind-of getting the like of this scenario. Not even a little.


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More Goosebumps than "Real" Horror

3/5

This is a weird review for me. I liked this scenario, but not the way it's presented, and certainly not it's layout.

To the GM, watch out for the flow charts some of the GMs are going to start pulling together. This scenario reads like a choose your own adventure book, which makes a "quick read and run" very difficult. At its heart though, it's not bad and the reasons it reads that way are pretty good.

For the player, expect to just have fun. Combats (especially a 1-2) are more of a joke than actual threats (this is probably the #1 reason I don't think "horror" fits this scenario well, there's virtually no feeling of risk), but with proper tools and encouragement, it can be a fairly fun roleplay romp.

IMHO, once you're tired of Goblins and We Be Goblins, this could prove to be the next "kids track" scenario.


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Rollplaying...

1/5

Yes this is a short review. That is because I honestly don't feel this scenario deserves the effort to say anything about it (yes it's that bad).

I felt my entire play experience (from a good GM I respect a lot) was more about figuring out craptastic mechanics than actually playing Pathfinder. Terrible.


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As mediocre as they come

3/5

Acted as a GM, not a player for this one. This scenario is really hard to judge. There were some things I really disliked about it, but there were some interesting lore ideas being presented as it's a clear set-up for a sequel. After my first read through my reaction was, "wow, that's a 3/5 scenario if there ever was one", gameplay confirmed this.

The story was okay (very traditional, no big surprises), the encounters were varied (although as I'll spoiler later, the last encounter was a huge disappointment), there are diplomatic solutions (but again nothing super exciting other than a number of options to negotiate), and the set-pieces are not entirely boring (the Elven village is interesting, although very stereotypical). I honestly can (and will) write some negatives about it, but I can't call it out for being awful, nor can I say anything really exciting about the story. If that's not a 3/5 I don't know what is.

Last Combat:

The final encounter felt like the biggest slap fight I've ever encountered in PFS. The key is that there are two different types of opponents. While they're thematically similar, they're not quite the same. Most importantly though their DR are exact opposites (Cold Iron for the Demons, Silver for the Lycanthrope). The result is that the party, attempting to be better able to manage the BBEG, had out their silver weapons, and couldn't do anything to the demons. The PCs, not being good, were targeted by the demons, which did minimal damage (reasonable chance of 1 point of non-lethal only). There were three rounds where two characters did nothing but 2 points of damage to the demons, and the demons did 2 points of damage back. At level 5. The last encounter isn't awful, but it's not great either; however, this unfortunate design choice made it the biggest slog I can remember in recent memory.


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It's no Weapon Master's Handbook

2/5

After the excellent and fun to read Weapon Master's Handbook I had high hopes for the Armor Master's Handbook. Unfortunately, it's nowhere near the level of crunch as was in the previous. Where Weapon Master's set a very high bar I don't expect in every product, I was hoping for something better than what was presented, both content-wise, and visually. It's almost as if the entire product was hastily pulled together with far less consideration.

In terms of specific examples, feats generally offer little in the way of bonuses, or seem to be just "missing it" when it comes to final content. While this is my subjective opinion and very generally, objectively I found the errors more annoying/present than in previous products. In particular there's a style feat mid book (please forgive me not having the book with me). In this style chain, just like every style chain, the first feat is required for the second feat, is required for the third feat. The desk-meet-head moment though was seeing that feat 1 had a 13 Dex requirement, feat 2 had a 15 dex requirement, and feat 3 was back down to a 13 dex requirement. There are little inconsistencies all over this book.

Lastly, and this requires special commentary and a section all on its own. The art is bad. Not just "huh, this isn't good" bad but atrociously bad. Not bad in that subjective way that art can be bad, but in a way where the artist clearly doesn't understand perspective (a group of four different people I know independently said this as their first comment when I showed them the particularly awful elf picture from later in the book). So while there are some of the typical quality Pathfinder artwork images we see in a lot of their products, a good chunk of it in this book doesn't even evoke the feelings that it was intended to.


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Not my specific cup of tea.

2/5

I just realized I never dropped a review on this one, and that needs to change.

Maybe it's not really caring about the NPC, maybe it's not really "getting" the story (having not played the prequel), but this one thematically didn't grab me (which it should). I'd have given it 3-stars, but there was one reason I did not (see spoiler below).

The scenario starts off with an unfortunate bang that swung a little too far in favor of the GMs that enjoy murdering PCs. It's not thematically bad or inappropriate at all (in fact it's quite interesting), but in the hands of the wrong GMs, this could prove to be a disastrous game day. That always puts me on edge when it comes to scenario design - I don't always play, or for that matter, want to play, with the optimal party.

Spoiler:
The bigger problem for me were the trap mechanics and how they tied into what I felt was a weak driver for the final encounter. Without a good trapfinder/disabler (which is not at all uncommon in PFS), I felt that the magical trap set-up the party for failure, and that it's placement, size, and difficulty was nothing more than a lazy way to set-up the final encounter. I know there's something mechanical going on here, but from the story perspective I did not like it at all.

I've always said my biggest pet peeve of Pathfinder Society in particular is making players feel like they're contributing and in charge of their own actions. My least favorite effects are those that take full control away from their characters and force them to sit through an hour long combat on their phones. For that reason alone, I can't give this more than two stars.


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More Scenarios Like This!

5/5

I loved every last thing about this scenario. I quite literally have nothing negative to say about it, and as a result this is going to be a short review.

Two things stand out though:

1) For what might be the first time in Pathfinder Society, I felt like I made a real decision. I believe when I ran it my players did as well. This scenario for that reason alone gets flagged in the top ten.

2) I loved the dungeon delve aspect of this, from the exciting and appropriate combats, the "less cumbersome" (no pun intended) research rules, to the need to actually "explore" and experience the environment. I've never felt quite like a Pathfinder until this moment.

More like this one please!


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4/5


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4/5


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3/5


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3/5


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5/5


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2/5


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3/5


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Read amugaba's Review First

2/5

The follow up to the scenario I once referred to as "the second worst scenario (Darkest Vengeance) I've played" is here! Should I be excited?

Probably not. Nor should you, for while I can no longer call Darkest Vengeance the second worst scenario (primary due to five more seasons of scenarios added since), this scenario lives up to the unhype of its predecessor. Although for entirely different reasons, even though I suppose you can call this one a bait and switch too (since it's not the investigation it's advertised to be). Even with a very good GM at the helm, this one could not recover.

I could write something lengthy here, but I'll save your time and mine. Go read amugaba's review of this scenario, as it's pretty much right on the nose regarding why you should avoid running or playing it. As for my star, I didn't give Darkest Vengeance once star, so I suppose I can't do it to Abduction either (although I really want to).


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Not Bad, Not Great, But Not Bad

3/5

I have played this scenario in a group of 6. While certainly not a bad scenario, it (like most of Season 4) has at least one encounter that borders on the hard end of things without a well designed/optimized group, but otherwise is fairly straightforward and easy.

Roleplay (2/5): Don't expect much except that which you make for yourself. This is a dungeon crawl, plain and simple. So while there is some here and there, it's on the light end of things.

Combat (3/5): Oddly, encounters range from trivial to difficult (depending on your group composition and tactics). There is one interesting combat, otherwise the rest are really nothing to write home about.

The X-Factor (4/5): A really cool dungeon with an equally cool story really props up everything though. The puzzle at the end surprised me, and it was fun to come up with something of a solution that was more than simply solving the puzzle itself.

Overall it's certainly not the most exciting scenario I've played, but the story is interesting and the elements it puts in motion are worth trying to pay through.


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Zero Star - Worst Scenario Written to Date

1/5

EDIT: 3 years later
When talking to others I often throw a lot of rhetoric around when it comes to Ron Lundeen scenarios. I've had a lot of time to consider and refine my position on them and I can honestly say, that in my opinion Ron Lundeen scenarios, which were capped with this particular scenario, represents the worst point in Pathfinder Society. This is particularly unfortunate, because Ron Lundeen is quite clearly creative. His non-combat encounters are fairly interesting, but he should never be given control over Pathfinder Society combat encounters again.

The authorship of scenarios like these were not just a symptom of the "war of escalation" between players and GMs, but rather a direct causal influence on it continuing and growing to the point it did. His scenarios, and in particular this one, represent a "GM v. Player" aspect that no other scenarios, in my mind, reach. This scenario can be attributed to the reason I quit PFS for nearly two years, it was both a symptom and a cause of a disease that resulted in over-deadly scenarios, "hard mode", and the social pressure to optimize every character. I find his scenarios toxic to PFS, and when I say "he caused me to quit for over a year", that statement has a lot of truth in it. Yes, Rivalry's End was not just one of the straws, but it was the final straw for the reasons I just noted.

Three years later and the ship is nicely righting itself, but considering this scenario made me not play for that long, I think it's fair to call this the worst scenario ever...

Formerly titled Horrible Ending for a Fantastic Faction
This review contains spoilers.

I have played this scenario at sub-tier 6-7. My feelings echo that tier. The lower tier may make some of the topics I discuss moot. I walked in hesitant about the ending of the Shadow Lodge, my favorite faction. I knew there was supposed to be a mighty "twist" (as revealed by the developers). I guessed the twist on the nose, I didn't guess it would be presented in the manner it was...a trudge of a scenario with everybody's favorite "sit back and watch you don't get to play through what's going on."

Roleplay (2/5): The beginning of the scenario involves infiltrating a gambling hall, except other than needing to make a roll to get in, there's no roleplaying at all. In fact, the whole adventure is a dungeon crawl in sheep's clothing. Don't expect much folks...especially with the "roleplaying" in the final act (oh wait...what roleplaying in the final act?).

Combat (1/5): Combat in this scenario is terrifying. Just because you can write encounters like this doesn't mean you should. If you think PFS is too easy, then this should be right up your alley. I'll be kind and spoiler this section, read on if you're really interested.

Spoiler:
The first real combat (which admittedly can be avoided, unless you're trying to get your faction missions, in which case chances are you'll trigger it anyway) is a monster. A monster that can one-shot well built characters with high CON scores, favored class bonuses in HP and who have given up all offense for defense. To add insult to injury there are three of said creatures. From there it only gets worse. The next encounter is quite simply a major slap in the face for any group. A one-two-three punch of a trap with a DC 34 to see (roughly a 50-50 shot for our well built but not optimized rogue) that can wipe out groups (and nearly did ours if it wasn't for a kindly GM who forgot about the 10' space of the opponents). We almost walked out of the scenario at that point and just called it quits, which I hear several groups did. From there there's an optional encounter/main encounter that is the final nail in the group's coffin. Our group survived because I (and the character built for my SO) broke my cardinal vow and decided to buy a clear spindle ioun stone because I've gotten sick and tired of the scaling challenge in Season 4, yay for forcing me to optimize to survive).

So to be clear. One TPK guarantee missed only because the GM allowed (against the rules) for a GM T-shirt reroll. One TPK guarantee missed because the GM missed the 10' square of the swarms instead of a 5' square, and one TPK opportunity missed because I decided to be a cheese-weasel...yup, fantastic scenario.

The X-Factor (0/5): Lets talk endings. Everybody remember when we complained about Dalsine Affair and how it's not fun to just watch the scene unfold without the ability to interact? Yup, it's baaaack. Sure, they added in a chance (for that appropriate build that decides to focus all of their abilities on one skill), but really...don't expect to get to act in the ending. Also, and most importantly, it didn't make any sense. There was no "wow" factor - it was a complete wrote ending where you have to sit back, watch the show, and then deal with the ramifications.

It's rare that I absolutely detest a scenario. In fact, with the exceptions of The Darkest Vengeance and Skeleton Moon (which by the way is still the only zero star scenario I've played) I can't say that I've really disliked that many scenarios. This one though joins that inglorious heap.


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Potential ruined by environmental encounters

2/5

I have run (but not played) this scenario for a group of four. My feelings are mixed, as I think the story has merit, as does some of the way things play out, but that good is pummeled to death by completely unnecessary second act.

Roleplay (3/5): Solid roleplay opportunities exist, with a story that's moderately well fleshed out. Unfortunately, the trek through the border town makes little sense when you actually start to think about how long it's been since your target has passed through, and the fact that none of the clues actually lead to the next clue, they're just random statements of fact (or potentially lies as the case may be). It takes a good GM to take the nonsensical statements and try to put something together where the players know where to go.

Combat (2/5): Combat runs the gambit. I had my group fearing all of their lives in the major combat encounter of the scenario with one nearly dead in the surprise round and a final outcome of the deaths of an animal companion and one PC (different than the one nearly killed in the surprise round). On the other hand, another fight was quickly ended by one of the standard save or suck spells.

The X-Factor (0/5): The environmental encounters of Act 2 are nothing more than a completely unnecessary resource drain. It served no purpose other than to drain the group of a total of nearly 2 cure wands. I had thought that scenario authors had realized that slogging through an arbitrary set of "random" encounters with no real chance of avoidance is absolutely not fun (as experienced by a number of other scenarios with similar mechanics). This scenario almost made a 1/5 for this alone.

Overall? Potential, but ruined. My group was not having fun, even though I tried to GM the hell out of it.


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Not bad, could be better

3/5

The three star rating I'm presenting here is a combination score - four stars for story, and two stars for the adventure's content.

I ran this last night for a group of experienced Pathfinders playing under the Pathfinder Society organized play rules. By the middle of the module our Paladin was ready to start killing "good" fey, and by the end several players commented that they considered the module "one big advertisement for owning a fey bane weapon" (and not in a good way).

From a story perspective the concept was well thought out and interesting. The players really did begin to hate fey at the end though.

From a mechanical content we noticed a couple of issues. First the whole module feels disjointed. The three acts do not flow that well, and the group was pretty fatigued by the time they hit the dungeon crawl at the end. Encounters included only four worthwhile encounters that provided a moderate challenge to the group followed by page after page of creatures that couldn't even hit the AC of a level 8 character and creatures without enough hit points to survive a single hit at this level; just speed bump after speed bump. The "main" bad guy type was an example of this - players were hit for a total of roughly 20 points over the adventure. Conversely, when the fights were tough, they were TOUGH. I think a lot was hit by the page count on this one.

Spoiler:
I'm getting really tired of seeing this. The four combats that actually were worth playing out were: The drunk treant that nearly murdered the entire party, the fight and escape from Dead Man's Drop, the fight at the fayenguard (which happened because the two fights ran into each other), and the fight with the fellnight queen herself. The fight with the fellnight queen should have ended in a TPK - her powers and the terrain mechanics are absolutely brutal.

Just as an FYI - for Pathfinder Society this is a longer one. It's linear nature means you're looking at about 14 - 16 hours of play. This is after removing a couple of the speedbumps...I mean encounters AND saying "you have the strange sensation the other direction would be faster" while they were exploring the queen's keep.


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A great role-play module - not for hack 'n slashers

5/5

We Be Goblins, yes it was!
You should believe all the buzz!
Being Goblins was much fun!
It's a mod you want to run!

I had the opportunity to play this module at PaizoCon with a group of Venture Captains. I haven't had that much fun in a module for a long time.

We Be Goblins is what you make of it. For those that find the game a series of moves across a tactical map, you might be a little disappointed, but for those who want a chance to come out of your normal adventurer shell and take on the roll of somebody significantly crazier, now's your chance.

The pregenerated characters that come with the module not only fit the story well, but also let everybody have a chance to shine as a group of goblins does what they do best - make a mess of everything. As an introduction to Pathfinder, it might not give players a great idea as to what it's like being a hero, but it contains a good set of mechanisms to make for a great game day.

Strongly, strongly recommended.


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