American Diver

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***** Pathfinder Society GM. 43 posts (665 including aliases). 11 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 17 Organized Play characters. 2 aliases.



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Great fun!

5/5

An exceptional scenario, and very strong indeed despite the unnecessary rage-inducing map.

On a more spoilerific note;

Spoiler:
I was sad to discover there was no legitimate way to keep Caught out of prison at the end of the scenario without just failing.

I played this scenario with my kitsune character who is an inveterate trickster (which was amazing when it emerged I was the only character in the party who spoke Sylvan!), and I wanted to get Caught to join the Society so I'd have a partner in crime! Alas, it was not to be. Farewell, my whiskered compatriot! Maybe once the archives have dried out a bit I'll see if I can slip back in and read the Name of the Fox..


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A solid scenario

3/5

My 'true' rating for this scenario is about 3 and a half stars, but given I have to round it, I'm choosing to round down.

I ran this scenario for a team of 6 at the low tier. My party was 5 level 4s and a level 7.

The first fight and the boss fight are good fun, and their tactics are generally solid. The only exception is a spell cast in the final encounter on an illegal target. (rage is a mind-affecting spell.)

The fight with the baddies on the cover is disappointing at the low tier. Why are these things 1 CR higher than, say, ghouls, but inferior in nearly every way? I suspect the high tier may punch it up a bit into a good battle.

My players main complaint with this scenario is that it seemed creepy and all, but they had no idea what was behind it all. This scenario has some amazing backstory that the players have a 0% chance of finding out about. As a result, they were lukewarm on the entire business. I can understand their point of view - to them, a bunch of weird monsters broke out of a dig and killed some people, and that's all they ever get to know.

Surely haunts are tailor-made for this sort of exposition? I think some kind of haunt that played out the ritual or Tholrist's final sermon might have gone a long way to change this from 'So...we're done? Huh.' to 'Ohh, *that's* what was going on!'

In conclusion: Mechanically sound and good fun, but lacks a level of engagement, as the whole adventure is basically a cipher to the players. A good creepy atmosphere can't quite paper over the hole where any plot exposition should go, but I'm going to keep an eye on this author.

I also must say that I hope this lack of uncoverable backstory doesn't become a 'thing' for season 4 - sure, a lot of this stuff happened 10,000 years ago, but if no way remains to piece together the past, you may end up with a bunch of frustrated players looking for an explanation that never materialises.


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Perspective: GM

4/5

My group found thing to be a solid, entertaining scenario. The first encounter is the only one of its kind that I'm aware of in PFS at this time, and it was great fun to have a few of the party figure out what was going on and have to try and innuendo the other party members to bring them into the loop.

The last boss was fun in a genuine 'What the heck is THAT?' kind of way - you don't get to surprise savvy players with monsters very often!

The rest of the scenario was good fun, with some cool fights that weren't over the top. The rogue actually felt useful in this scenario, and the lair made nice thematic sense - people went into a room and went 'Ohhh, I know exactly why this room is here and what it's for!' That's the kind of internal logic that a lot of evil villain hideouts can lack.

All in all, a solid 4 stars - I'm bound to admit that it gets harder to get a 5 star review off me the less roleplaying encounters there are, and this module only really has the one.

Final words: I would recommend this module - it's good fun, and well-executed.


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Perspective: GM

5/5

I ran this module at Paizocon UK last weekend and had an absolute blast! Even if I didn't already know who Kyle was from the boards, all of the encounters in this scenario bear the hallmark of an author who's extremely experienced in PFS rules and situations...and is intent on using that experience to utterly crush you. Good stuff!

I ran this at Tier 10-11.

Spoiler:

Encounter 1 - This went fine. Prior to the game, I wasn't sure how to handle the Lantern Lodge mission if the players went for diplomacy, as raiding the ratfolk's footlockers seemed to be a bad thing for a guest to be doing! In the end I didn't get a Lantern Lodge player, so the problem was bypassed, if not resolved. The players used Diplomacy and got through fine.

Encounter 2 - I had high hopes of murder here, but my dice betrayed me. The dark slayer went too late in initiative to stop the dispelling of the first darkness, and while the stalker put up a second one, the sorcerer with the party had dispel magic and the cleric had daylight. Action economy defeated the dark folk with little damage done.

Encounter 3 - This was a fun one. The swarm popped up, and the alchemist stepped up. I was in two minds about whether a regular bomb would trigger the collapse, but I also knew he had another kind of bomb up his sleeve...but having spotten the weak ceiling, would he really use it?

Alchemist bombs. I ask 'what kind of bomb?' Answer: 'regular bomb. Oh, actually, I'll make it explosive.' Mwahahahaha! 50 damage to most of the party.

Encounter 4 - The party then dug through the rubble after healing up. As they broke through, one of the party was exhausted, and two were fatigued. Perfect time for 2 advanced gugs to attack!

The gugs won initiative and moved up to bottleneck the party in the narrower corridor they were exiting. In the first round, I took 7 attacks of opportunity as characters kept walking into 'the Venn diagram of doom'. Then a full attack on the exhausted dwarven tank...5 hits, 104 damage. Already injured, the dwarf dropped to -50 hp! However, a (very!) well-rolled breath of life from the cleric brough the dwarf up to -13 (1 point above their Con!) and stable.

Unfortunately, the cleric then went down in the next round, dropped to -9 by a gug claw. This meant there was nobody to help the inquisitor when he went to -36 from the other gug's full attack. So sad.

At this point the party were getting worried - the main fighter had 12 hp remaining and the sorcerer and alchemist were not looking forward to being the front line! Still, some flame strikes saved the day and the inquisitor was raised the next day.

Encounter 5 - compared to the gugs, the dragon was easy. With 2 buff rounds, the party were in much better shape than they were for the surprise gug attack. The dragon tried wall of stone; the sorcerer dimension doored. Then it got staggered by a terrible remorse. All the while the dragon is getting pelted with frost bombs and an enlarged, divine favoured (from spell contract), hasted etcetera fighter is ripping it up. The dragon got 2 actions and then bit the dust.

All in all this was a brilliant scenario, and I heartily recommend it for experienced players! Just be sure to bring your A-game and 21 prestige at least, just in case...


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Perspective: GM

5/5

Both myself and my players found the God's Market Gamble to be a highly enjoyable adventure. Its deviations from the standard PFS tropes made the situation feel quite fresh, and for once, you get the feeling you're working for actually competant individuals, rather than horribly inept bureaucrats. It's nice to actually feel that the Society has your back for a change!

Act 2 was very good fun, and it's a shame that it's the optional encounter. Try and fit it in if you can!

Finally, my only negative mark regarding this scenario is the final encounter. At the high tier, the boss is a murder machine, and I almost TPKed the party. Their tactics also don't seem all that feasible, with hefty penalties making success at 'strike-and-fade' unlikely. But still, with the stats they're rocking, they don't need much in the way of clever plans. They might be less of a beast at the low tier, but I'd strongly discourage playing up on this one.

In short, fun, slightly different adventure, good roleplaying opportunities, nasty final boss. Highly recommended!


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Viewpoint: Player

5/5

I love this mod. The kobolds in it are properly sneaky, there's some nice roleplaying, and the fights should have you respecting the nippy little buggers. Some have said it falls down at the higher Tier, but I can't comment on that. At Tier 3-4, it's great!


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Viewpoint: Player & GM

3/5

The encounters mean business, but the framing device is weak. For high-level I hope for more urgency and higher stakes (Sarkorian Prophecy, Wrath of the Accursed spring to mind).

Also, the monsters are built in 'interesting' ways, pulling out the stops to maximise ability while minimising alleged CR.

Spoiler relates to Tier 10-11:

Spoiler:

Harpy warrior 5 is CR 6 with 82 hp and attacks doing 1d8+17? Seriously? Also, the 'odd NPC levels so as to minimise CR increase' thing is getting really old.

I did find this quite good with a fairly optimised party at Tier 10-11, but the wrong group will be destroyed by the fights in it.

Good if you want a challenge, but be wary of the whiff of cheese.


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Viewpoint: GM (twice)

5/5

The setting is great fun, the premise interesting. It's nice to have a different spin on the briefing and to do something a little different from standard Pathfinder jobs. The encounters can get pretty mean, but I enjoyed it as a GM. It's a fun, sandbox-y romp.


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Viewpoint: GM

2/5

Ugh. The scenario works and makes sense, so it doesn't get a one star. First encounter can be amusing, the rest are a cakewalk. Tactics on the boss are bafflingly poor (and difficult for him to manage), second encounter especially is a bad joke that folds like a wet paper towel. Best to avoid if better scenarios are available.


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Viewpoint: GM

4/5

This plays better than it reads. Nice roleplaying potential and encounter variety. A dull encounter in the middle with little threat potential and the tight confines of the final encounters pulls it down a bit.


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Viewpoint: Player

4/5

Great fun. Amusing setting,varied encounters. Is somewhat dependent on GM skill to make the major plot element memorable. Yet more overuse of the Mountain Pass map loses it some points, though.


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