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**** Pathfinder Society GM. 4 posts. 3 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 40 Organized Play characters.

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An Interesting Mechanic That Should NOT Be In a PFS Scenario


Why oh why do PFS writers feel compelled to introduce unusual (and in this case, overly complicated) mechanics into their scenarios? If you ever get talk of doing this again, please just hush that noise.

I went into this game with such high hopes. However, the introduction of the mass combat rules took up a lot of the start of the scenario time. The running of the mass combat rules was underwhelming and about half way through all of the players at the table were verbally wishing it to be over. The rules are somewhat neat for a home campaign but they have no place in a PFS scenario. [If you have a home game then I'd try these rules out. They are neat for military campaigns and PC's with the Leadership Feat.]

Our GM was proficient and prepared. He did a very good job. He had all of the rules printed out. He had all of the armies printed out. He had run this scenario at GenCon. He explained it all quickly. In the end, it was the mass combat rules. One of the other players commented that she'd shown up to play HER character, not a 'pre-gen' psuedo character. I completely shared her sentiment.

The end combat was interesting but felt very tacked on after the long, drawn out mass combat waste of time.

The Silver Crusade boon came down to a dice roll that many PC's have no hope of making. I felt bad for the single Silver Crusade player in the group. If it had been a real PFS scenario then perhaps there would have been moments to conduct actions to influence the end dice roll. Of course, roleplaying held no role in this D20 check. Actually, there was no actual ROLE-playing in this scenario at all.

One the PLUS SIDE, it was a GREAT idea to have accomplishments of your PC (and your other PC's) have some influence on the game; albeit, in the worst part of the game. Having previous sheets give options, boons, or bonuses in scenarios is a good idea (and really about the only reason this scenario gets even 1 star).

You wasted hours of our time, Paizo!

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Railroad to nowhere and stupid puzzle


This scenario had such a cool premise. Our GM was an awesome GM. Unfortunately, the scenario pretty much sucked in the end.

You just follow a good mood setting trail into a unique village with an interesting setup. Early, you get rewarded for some cleverness. Everyone is super excited because this seems like this is going to be fun! Then, you get a social interaction that is pretty cool. Then, there is an interesting combat, and then...an absurd puzzle that devours too much time for a PFS event. Then, a very anti-climatic ending (unless, once again, you go the murder hobo route).

The BIGGEST problem with this scenario (and it's a doozy) is the idiot inclusion of an overly complicated puzzle. Our group wasted about an hour of real life figuring out the puzzle. Then, we had to figure out the ORDER of the f'ing puzzle. Hey, guess what, my character has an INT of 16. Another player's character has an INT of 20 and skills that would be the envy of any PhD. If you REALLY feel the need to put a puzzle into a game then you need to put into the scenario a "quick-out" set of rolls for characters if they don't want to waste more than 15 minutes on your puzzle. Every time there is a puzzle in a PFS scenario, I hear groans all around the table. Many GM's are just hand waiving them now. The most horrible thing about the puzzle is...it contributed NOTHING to the scenario. It just gobbled up time that could have been much better spent in so many other encounters. Also, PC's are not rewarded for simply bypassing the puzzle with abilities they have at their disposal because it is a McGuffin puzzle that "must" be solved.

Then, after the pointless puzzle that nobody enjoyed...the railroad ending provides little roleplaying reward but is GREAT fun if you have time for those who are murder hobos with blood lust.

Paizo, the next time you come up with a "great" idea for a puzzle in one of your scenarios, please do everyone a favor and don't!

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You Need to Playtest for Time!!!


The plot / story of this scenario is not the problem. The overly complex, artificial mechanics thrown into "social combat" and the lack of consideration for PFS time slot restrictions are a HUGE problem. This is a great scenario, if you have 7 or 8 hours to run it. It seems (at first) to be a great scenario to reward roleplaying instead of running around like a pack of murder hobos. In reality, the only way to complete this scenario in time is to literally spend zero time in any roleplaying capacity whatsoever and to murder everyone up until the guy you need to capture. Just take him alive and kill the rest. It's the only way not to run out of time and you actually get all of the rewards.

Season 7 has slipped into writing some interesting scenarios but they are running FAR beyond their time limits. You'd better fix this before Origins and Gen Con. Remember Paizo, scenarios should be able to be finished in 4 hours. 5 hours with some good roleplaying and paperwork. This scenario had several elements that (although interesting and added some flavor) contributed nothing the final, critical events. If you want to keep writing scenarios this long to play out in PFS event time slots then you need to make more of the fluff encounters optional.