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Envious Ambitions

3/5

After the high bar set by the previous adventure, I was looking forward to how the adventure path would continue. On paper, it sounded pretty exciting; sneak through the shadow plane, and hope you don’t alert the master of the domain. Infiltrate a city trapped in time, and seek knowledge lost to the ages due to various events, and take down a tyrant at her full power. Exciting, and interesting. Sign me up! The first part of the adventure was a short, non-liner dungeon crawl that, by the end of everything, feels tacked on, with little thought put into it. To be honest, it felt as if the dungeon was merely an item n a checkbox of requirements. ‘Planer travel section. Check.’ When players get to the city itself, it is presented in a sandbox style, with three opposing factions at war, with innocents in the crossfire. Sounds intense, and difficult right? Once again, it is presented in a very poor manner. Now, there are things this book does that I like. For example, everything presented here is new, not relying on previous releases as much; but in that same sense, there are references within the adventure that suggest you use flip-mats to map out encounters, rather than giving you a map for these. The fact that these encounters are major encounters within the city lessens the impact these encounters have overall. This volume also offers more roleplay scenarios than any of the previous adventures in this path. I am all for these kinds of encounters, but they are over utilized here. Granted, the situations the PC’s find themselves in can lead to some fantastic, and even very tense roleplay scenarios, but still over used. In addition to these encounters, there are several research encounters; as you are attempting to research the past, I can get why these are here, but just as with the roleplay encounters, they are over used. Lastly, I have to talk about the challenge, or rather shift in it. In previous adventures, the encounters you faced were challenging for various reasons; interesting villians, or scenarios. Workarounds, or proper preparation gave the PC’s an edge in battle, and thus a more fulfilling encounter. Here though, you are given a challenge in difficult DR encounters with little outside of that, with maybe one exception. In conclusion, I found this volume lacking in comparison. What is here has the potential to be amazing, but how much enjoyment you get will be down to each GM. One who expands on what is already here will make an incredible adventure your PC’s won’t soon forget. However, one who goes with the bare minimum may find a group grow board with the repetition of roleplay, research, and lack of anything of import happening.


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Humbling Pride

5/5

In my opinion, this is the best adventure written for this particular adventure path up to this point. When I was beginning to write this, I was trying to think back to the beginning of the book, as I had to read this over a long holiday, and I couldn’t remember what was presented; which is never good, having something be forgettable. All it took was a few flips back through, and a few images, and I remembered how strong, and engaging the opening section was for this adventure. Now, like in the last adventure, it was a place players had been too before, but it brought with it something new, and very different than what we had seen before, making the encounters far more interesting. When players finally move on to the new locations, each is presented in a way that feels organic; the Npcs have goals beyond xp for the heroes, and many of them can be approached, and dealt with without the need for combat. Sure, you’re typical group of adventures will try to roll through everything, but as with the previous adventures, the challenge is also present here, and, if this is even possible, more difficult than before. Not only in the combat, but in traps, hidden treasures, caster checks, and knowledges. What I find even more impressive is that, with little work on the GM’s part, this could easily be run as a stand-alone adventure; if you wanted. My only real complaint is that there is little to no mention of how the NPCs react to the players if certain events had happened (such as a PC carrying the sword of Pride, or one of them looking exactly like Sorshen.) These are very minor things, but still are somewhat noticeable. Overall, excellent adventure, and I cannot wait to see where we go from here.


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A feast of Content

4/5

This is one of the more interestingly put together adventure paths I have ever read. As with previous volumes, there is considerable challenge presented here, and not just for players. This Adventure continues the trend of giving out clues to PC’s with incredibly high DC’s in order to get any information. This is not an adventure for new players, or even beginning Game masters, as the amount of note taking will be considerable. This adventure also begins to introduce the time traveling elements that will be taking part in the later volumes of the adventure path, and provides some ideas as to demonstrate that things are changing around the PCs. This is a very good section, and gives me plenty of ideas on how to implement this, but I feel it should have been covered in an earlier volume, so that canny GM’s could have been taking notes throughout the adventure and give the players a greater sense of change. This adventure also provides several opportunities for good roleplay between the PC’s, as well as NPC’s introduced here, and in previous titles. These sections are always limited in scope, and provide some ideas, but doesn’t force the roleplay, or leave it completely to the GM. Enough is provided to give the GM a head start, without taking up too much time. This adventure has multiple call backs to previous adventure paths as well, and not just from Return of the Runelords. Characters form Rise of the Runelords, Second Darkness, Wrath of the Righteous, and Curse of the Crimson Throne, but just like the roleplay, it is not forced onto the players; if you have players who went through those games, it just makes the appearances a fun twist, but doesn’t intrude on the action. I also favored the tasks presented here, being both varied and thematically interesting. I can’t say much without spoilers, but each event feels different from the last, and I feel can be very engaging for the players. With all this praise, you must be thinking this sounds like a near perfect adventure, and that is not the case unfortunately. While what is provided is good, and nearly all of it is new, the book accomplishes this by providing multiple sources that are used for this adventure, a total of 7 by my final count. These cover the various cities, and sites the players visit. None of them are detailed in the text, which works to it’s advantage in a way. The text however provides only the bare minimum of information needed to get the PC’s to their destinations, and anything they choose to do while at these cities, or how they get there is dependent on the GM, and more often than not would require these references. Even more so for the final encounter which requires the PC’s to perform a ritual, which was only detailed in a separate text. This feeds into the idea that this is not an adventure for new GM’s or players. Because of all this, this particular chapter could be the longest of all the modules presented in Return of the Runelords. Don’t get me wrong, what is here, I like, and would love to run this adventure myself. But this will require much more work than a typical adventure path, and you should know that going in.


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slothful slog

2/5

While I enjoyed the non-liner structure of the first adventure, this edition feels like it goes back to that liner format, with a few twists here and there. By the end of the adventure, the party has discovered what they already knew from the beginning. At best, this book feels like more set-up for what is to come, rather than a self contained story. NPC's and villains feel forgettable, with potential for some good roleplay scenarios, but it is left mostly to the GM's discretion. This volume continues the trend of difficulty from the first; this is not an adventure for rookie Pathfinders to be playing, and even intermediate players may find some challenge here. Overall, what is good is just ok, or setup for later. What isn't is unfortunately forgettable.


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Sins of the Past

4/5

I have written this twice now, and I keep getting timed out so, quick version. I like this adventure; good story, and set up. challenging encounters, and investigations. Consequences to the PC's actions, and the written structure of the adventure is set up to greatly assist a GM. Downsides though, there are several difficult, if not impossible for their level, skill checks that give the PC's important information, that they may not get. Could leave some PC's un-invested in the developments. There are NPC's to balance this, but can feel like hand-holding for some. Despite the flaws, I enjoyed the first volume, and can't wait for the next.


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Looking back, and looking ahead

3/5

As my group and I begin to enter the final stages of the Jade Regent adventure path, I'm taking a look back at where we have come. Getting into the actual review of this chapter, I found that there is some potential here. I like the premise of part one of this book; building support for Ameiko's claim sounds like something sensible to do. However, I feel that this particular section was rushed, and added in as an afterthought. The second part is where things pick up for the best, in my opinion. No real faults here. The final part is an epic conclusion, but seems to fall flat, though not by much. It seems like a pretty standard confront the final villain. Overall I think it's ok, but I feel like this volume lacks a lot of the eastern theme that makes some of the other volumes memorable. All and all, I find the volume to be good, but lacking something needed. I would do some work yourself before presenting this to a group.

overall with the Jade Regent adventure path, I felt that it had potential, but it just missed out on over all. If you plan to run this adventure path, read ahead, and make several changes yourself. Overall for Jade Regent: 3 out of 5 stars, written well, but missing several key points, and being inconsistent between volumes.


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Researching the Past

3/5

I was presently surprised with this month's volume. Everything presented here is well thought out, and descriptive, which has been a problem in previous volumes. They also introduce a new "research" encounter, and and though it is somewhat heavy in the first part, they spread it out a bit, and also provide various additions to it, so your sessions won't just be endlessly researching in a library. They also bring in very memorable npc's who the PC's must interact with, either because of necessity, or because their forced to. The only thing that really holds this back is that there isn't a lot going on in this volume. Doing the research and finding out more about the background of the adventure to come is fine, it's just kind of dull. When you do finally get out of the library and into the desert, once again it's well written and varied, but there just isn't a lot, so by the end you don't feel like you've accomplished much in this short time. Also, though the npc's are memorable, they are immediately removed after the adventure, even though one of them really should react to the PC's after learning what they have discovered. So overall, this is a well written, descriptive adventure, it's just very dull, and you don't feel like much has happened by the end. I find it weird that this almost seems like the reverse of previous adventures where there was less description, but much more going on. I feel there somewhere between these books, there is an amazing adventure here, but still buried in sand. I guess like the PC's, I'll have to keep on looking until I find it.


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Vastly improved

4/5

I was disappointed in the previous adventure. Too my surprise, Empty Graves is vastly superior to it's predecessor. The adventure is well written, and not just filled with undead as one would expect. Dealing with the chaos of a city under attack, and the repercussions of that make for a varied, and exciting adventure. The support articles in this volume provide further depth to the world. My only complaint on them is that these really should have been provided much sooner than here. For an AP with so many references to them, we should have known much sooner, and not just from a blog post. My only other complaint is that the main villain is kind of dull. While still a major threat as he is, he just seems dull as a character. Despite this flaw, this is a good volume and recommend it to anyone wishing to run Mummy's Mask, or even if you plan to run your own Osirion adventure.


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Lackluster

3/5

Ever sense I started playing Pathfinder, I have been looking forward to another Osirion set module or adventure path. After years of waiting here we are, and we are given The Mummy's Mask Adventure path to take us to that mystical kingdom in the sands. Sadly, this volume fell painfully short of my expectations. Just a fair warning, spoilers ahead....
The book starts off explaining the situation that the pharaoh has forced the church in Wati to open the necropolis to adventures, and hold a lottery to determine who get's what tomb. The one problem I have here is that there is very little set up for a party of adventures. The book assumes, you and your party have met, formed a group, and have already submitted yourselves to the church. For those who haven't, well it's up to a gm to decide how to handle that. Even the provided campaign traits do little to assist with the formation of the party. Aside from that, and an opening speech, players are immediately thrown into their first tomb. The first tomb is ok, but I feel some of the traps are oddly placed, and the whole tomb has very little bearing on the adventure as a whole. After the first tomb you are finally introduced to the other 'rival' adventuring parties. This also falls in my opinion. The main rivals each have details on how you can get them to abandon their group and join your cause, but this is the only time you meet them, and in this section, you're suppose to learn about them, and convince them to join you? Maybe if we had more time to interact and develop these characters, but here, it feels rushed. Also, in the event that you do convince some of them to join you, that really leaves a single CR 3 NPC as your final encounter, if you do everything right. Anticlimactic? I would think so. The second part, which is your second tomb is better set up and presented than the first, but like the first tomb, has very little impact on the over all adventure. The final tomb is where you encounter the rivals, but it only has a rough outline of what happened before the PC's arrive, and assumes the rivals remain in the basement the entire time while the PC's explore the upper levels. Maybe it's because I've never put on my Indy hat and gone to explore tombs, but I would imagine that you wouldn't stay down in the depths for long periods of time waiting on a group to find you.
Overall, the presented adventure is done very poorly; truthfully one of the worst first installments to an adventure path I have ever read. There is potential here, but most of it feels wasted. This volume would have scored a one or two stars, but the extras; the gazetteer, and the bestiary, are what bump this volume up to it's 3 star rating. What is presented in these parts are great; well thought out, and thematic, as well as descriptive. If you are looking to write your own Osirion adventure, these two articles are worth the price. If you'd rather wait until they release a new bestiary, then I won't blame you at all for skipping on this lackluster adventure.


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Good, but lacking depth

3/5

Going into Jade Regent, I was looking forward to this book the most. Finally arriving in Minkai with your goal close in hand, yet still far off and with plenty to do was exciting. After reading through it though, I found this volume lacking.

First of all, I don't think I can talk about this volume without mentioning the next installment as well. In The Empty Throne there are two characters introduced that play a significant part in the final battle. These characters are not mentioned at ALL in this book. What's more, is that the next book goes into details about how players can learn about these characters from NPC's in Tide of Honor. This is a glaring disappointment, and this should have been written into the book instead of a sentence or two mentioned in the final book.
Aside from that, I also found an issue with the "down time" between sections of the book. PC's are spending hours and even days traveling from one place to another, and the only thing you are given to help with the grind is a large random encounter chart in the back. This is a country that is suppose to be in turmoil. The people are being oppressed and need the PC's and their allies to save them; but all we get is a single sentence saying the people are being oppressed. This is a huge disappointment in my eyes. It really forces the GM to come up with all of this information and planning, even though a lot of it should be in the book already.
This volume does have it's strong points. The dungeons and encounters are all well thought out, and thematic. The characters you interact with are strong, believable characters. But the time between those character interactions and dungeons are what hold this volume back. If you are a GM and are thinking about running this volume, be prepared to do a lot more work than normal to make this into an enjoyable experience for your players.


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Strong start to a mediocre end

3/5

Will try and sum this up without too many spoilers. The book started out very strong, and my players loved the culture shock they received when they first arrived. It also allowed for some really good role-play and character development from the NPC's who have mostly been stuck with the caravan up to this point. It did take a down turn when they were leaving the first village because of their host suddenly refusing to see them, and closing off all trade to the heroes, and several of my players noticed that, and didn't overly like it. As the story progressed into the forest and the eventual dungeon, things started to drag; Encounter after encounter that ranged from needlessly easy ex grinds to, omg, why would they put that there. I've had more player deaths, or near player deaths in this book than any other mostly too the over-powered big encounters. While still strong story wise, the encounters need a bit of adjusting.


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A pleasant distraction.

3/5

Going in, this was the portion of the adventure path I was least looking forward to the most. This is my first time GMing and choose not to use caravan encounters in my game made me dread this a bit. That being said, my players thought this was one of the more interesting, and enjoyable adventures so far. At first glance, this is a difficult adventure to run, and for the most part that holds true, but what is presented here is well thought out, and enjoyable. It just seems like it has very little to do with the ultimate goal of this adventure; confronting the Jade Regent. Overall, it was enjoyable, but anyone looking to run this adventure path will need to do a lot of prep work for this installment to make things make sense in your game.


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Winter Nights

3/5

Overall, I thought this was an ok adventure to run with my group, but it fell a little short in comparison to the previous adventure. I thought that there were too many instances where the party was outnumbered, but no where near outmatched. Now, it could simply be my inexperience as a GM, but I thought there could have been a lot more to this adventure aside from throwing waves of level 2 NPCs at my PCs.

Overall, I felt like there was something else that could have been done with this adventure, but wasn't. Not that this wasn't a bad adventure, I just feel like it's lacking something.


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Storming Brinewall

4/5

First, before I start, I would like to say that this is the first time I have DMed anything. That being said, I did find The Brinewall Legacy to be a very fun, and engaging story; Starting off with a very simple adventure kickoff, and leading to a much more complex and detailed plot. Now that's not saying that the adventure is perfect. The second part was not enjoyable. Seeing as this is my first time DMing, I decided not to run the caravan rules due to still working to master the normal setting rules, therefor there was a lot more prep work needed for that second part, and compared to the rest...it fell flat. Even using what was presented for the caravan rules as a base, it still fell flat compared to the rest of the adventure. Despite that, I, and my players, enjoyed this adventure, and I am looking forward to continuing into the next installment.