Shining Child

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RPG Superstar 6 Season Dedicated Voter. FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 1,060 posts (1,070 including aliases). 53 reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 14 Organized Play characters. 1 alias.



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Walk away,

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I wouldn't recommend running this, or even organizing it.

This special is BAD, after Gencon I decided not to participate in any more specials because of this scenario.

Mike Brock told GM's before the event not to go easy on players, I can't figure out why. I think I had an average party, and could of killed them really easily with even the lower tier creatures.

I dont really have anything positive to say about any part of the special. Almost every part would get hammered.

So I will start with the positive things. At gencon the GM's got some flipmats and I think a chase deck.


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Long time to prep, long slot length

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Skipping my usual review criteria.

We have a 7-11 scenario, at these high tiers combats usually take longer. The time to prep seems to be getting a little out of hand.

We have 19 different NPC stat blocks...with the addition of allot of summoning spells.

Once I schedule a long slot for this scenario I will review my rating.


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Lordy

*( )( )( )( )

Rather than my usual scenario review.

I ran this once and really didn't it.

Basically this is a 7-11 tier scenario, that means combats and social encounters can take a bit longer. As a GM these higher tiers will take much longer to learn and prep to GM.

What we do have here.

20. Twenty.. TWENTY !!! different stat blocks.

6 different encounter locations.

Prepping this is about as much fun as studying for a high level math class.


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Best Gen-Con Special so far, sorry for the late review

*****

I helped run this at GenCon.

I played this at 1-5 tier

I replayed this at 10-11 tier.

I GM'd this for a table of 12+

I have to say this is by far my favorite special so far.

I think the only weakness is that players can only play it 2x.


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A new type of combat.

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Story 2/5

Season concluding that ends with an epic battle. Sounds great

Setting 3/5

So we have a series of encounters placed in the Worldwound. There are a lot of armies allot of chance to implement some cool chaotic effects. Allot of missed chances. It was nice to see the House of Reflection and Sliver shore in the scenario

Role-play-ability 0/5

"Kill them all Venture Captain?" yippee ki yay wheres my army?

Combat 1/5

Lets first talk about mass combat, not everyone likes it. I was one of those that actually looked forward to this.

Scenario adding the elite units raises the PC's mass combat effectiveness, adding elite units increases up to 4 more enemy units. So the mass combat will actually take longer?

What happens when you roll a nat 20? Look it up, man that sucks.
Next problem what happens when I attack and roll a nat 1? Look it up, wow thats worse.

Maps, more combat modifiers should of been implemented, I did really like what was being used for instance silvershore being fortified.
That being said the map itself could of used a trail or path, some way to help the Medevian Warpriests to catch up, why are they so slow?

Mechanics there are allot of mechanics to learn, the source material is not presented in a way to make this easy to run.

Since this time GM shared prep has had some added user documents uploaded.

Going on with the Mass Combat, is there any strategy?

Wolfcrags? To win the PC's must defeat all the enemy armies? Is this like the morale of an NPC that says "fights to the Death"

Really a group of NPC are expected to kill all the enemies.
In the Worldwound!
The once place where demons can just literally walk on through to the other side...

Some sort of victory point system could of been used. Hold this location till "Super Weapon" from the Weapon in the Rift arrives.

Swarms that are troops are cool until you run on in low tier that and deal 4d8+10 to 3 pc's, with a dc 19 sav, sorry cleric and mage. you should not have been there or been in the correct tier!

As well as a big floor trap with a 10d6 fall that will very likely kill a couple players on the low tier.

Suitability 1/5 I am not sure if this will be suited for home play my best guess is it will be Suitable for a home game of Wrath of the Righteous.


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Missed opportunity

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Story 1/5

The story was kinda simple, examine a ancient Cairn.

Setting 2/5

There are a couple cool things that tie in with Golarion lore. Whispered Song, Silent Enforcers as well as an old favorite Zon Kuthion. Much of this is referenced but not used, such as the Silent Enforcers

Role-play-ability 2/5 You really have 2 key npc's you can use to help promote a in character narrative with the players. The first is a tough as nails character named Alya, the second is one of 2 different NPC's that may arrive later.

Combat 1/5 I will be adding another section after this review that will also go into depth some of the problems with the mechanics of this scenario. I have GM'd this encounter twice and each time the party had almost 0 difficulty with it,

Suitability 2/5 So I actually like the Cairn itself, if a home GM would be willing to try this in a home game he should be prepared for a major addition to this scenario.

First the mechanics since this is a review all major spoilers will lie after this.

So we have a set of mechanics that deal with the shadow plane. These are good till you run across the Impeded Magic, as well as something like a wayfinder. So you have regular darkness. But this also effects the enemies alike. Even Maravan would be on equal footing with the PC's if not worse.

Next we have vision and chains line of sight to deal with, and these actually change while climbing. Another 2 sets of mechanics. Then there is climbing with yet another subset of climbing rules. Now this is perhaps one of the coolest strategic elements in the scenario but the ambush NPC's will still be locked into a shorter line of sight. Then we also have a mechanic for moving towards the entrance.

Allot of mechanics

NPC's at low tier the most dangerous aspect of the scenario is falling from the chains, at High tier it is either falling from the chains with a sleep effect, or falling into con drain poision.

There is also a cool river that holds some surprises.

Maravan each time I ran this Maravan went down in a single round. in both cases this was a little underwhelming each time. Something like invisibility would help his buff tactics. I am also not a fan of the Mirror Image, Displacement combo.

Editing, there is a secret door with no DC a couple area's were referenced in the scenario as different areas with no explanation to what was in the room. A trap that hides allot of the wealth in the scenario.

I cant help but feel that the scenario could of had the first part removed and focused on the Cairn itself or a whole scenario exploring Nisroch as a 2 part series.

The whole scenario feels rushed and could of been much better.


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Waste of Hitchcock

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Having only played this once at GenCon, I had a good GM, and a fun group of players. But I know a couple players at the table where not interested in the scenario.

Story 1/5

I am sure there must be one, at least from the GM side. So what we have is a series of quest based on faction leaders. Some characters may not even care or be interested in dealing with other peoples faction missions, let alone their own faction members. Can a Pathfinder choose not to be in a faction, or not loyal to a faction?

Setting 1/5

This is nothing really special that deals with Golarion cannon in fact this scenario could be happening anywhere. A dragon a monster or something would help with the mix. You do have a couple faction heads that show up to give you orders.

Role-play-ability 2/5

So there is some role play chances, but I guess it is dependent on how many factions are in your party. If you have 5 then it becomes much harder, being in a time slot. The surprise announcement of the scenario being tied to factions really caused problems with my group that had been formed for 8 months before hand.

Combat 1/5

I guess this will vary by group, I know that the group that I played with hit a trap. I am not sure combat lasted more than one round in any encounter, also there were some combats that lasted less than a round for my group.

Suitability 1/5

I am pretty sure not much of this would be used in a home game. Unless you are playing a home game that involves a faction head.


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Great 1st time Author

*****

Story 5/5

The story was well done.

Setting 3/5

There is a town, a VC a witch a wand some horses some crusaders and a faction leader, then leading to a obscure location.

Role-play-ability 5/5 Most of the creatures have great ability to interact with the NPC's. You have several chance to meet some key NPC's. Also to boot some of the combat encounters could lend to good RP!

Combat 5/5 I would say it in its normal mode, can be pretty easy I have yet to GM this on hard mode. I look forward to the chance. The hard mode dosnt looke like TPK Theatre.

Suitability 4/5 I am not sure how much of this could be used for a none PFS game. This scenario would be great to run along with the Wrath of the Righteous AP. It may be hard to adapt this encounter to most home games, unless they are battling demons with the assistance of crusaders.

Now some of the problems there was or is a problem with the riddle/encounter. Also if the party doesn't have the required skills this could be a hard one.

Stairs there are about 100 feet of stairs for a 20 foot raise. I guess this could be a wheel chair ramp.

A spell effect could of been written a bit better.

During a certain countdown effect, a key NPC, almost appears magically.

Really this could of used some editing, at least to make it a little easier to read and understand. Make sure you read the forum posts. I read this a couple times as well as asked some questions about it. I still ended up making a couple mistakes running it.

I also plan on running a couple more times. I think this will be my travel scenario when I visit cons!!! At least during season 5.


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Way to go Mike Shel

*****

Really as good as it gets.

What we have here is a good module for new players. I ran this for a 4 person party of experienced players all whom were testing out the Advanced Class Playtest.

The settings is great, Belhaim is a great city for new players!
I think this would be a premier module for new players as well as the rest of the Paizo dragon supplements.

Dragons Unleashed

Dragonslayer’s Handbook

This is unfortunately what I think some GM’s will miss. I will try to come around to it again but Mike Shel has really done really well with the content, some of this will be easily be missed by GM’s.

So let’s talk about Belhaim, the small town is really well represented. There is allot here, I would expect the more you let the players interact with the town the more they will appreciate it. This really is a great setting.

I will not spoil anything.

The first chapter is great everything here works. My party was almost died in the first part. They ended up getting robbed of most of their money. There is a very memorable NPC here.

The second chapter is great as well, Maffei is probably the most memorable NPC, I have ever GM’d. I am not sure if it is intended but the effects of interacting with her can really cause some long term effects.

The third chapter the Auction, I don’t think my party enjoyed this part. Then again I robbed them instead of killing them it ended up being very fun for me. So I guess a lesson learned, when a villain asks to talk when 3 party members are down sometimes it is just a good time to surrender.

Combat wise I think I ran all but 4 encounters from the whole module. One of the ones I skipped the party just didn’t encounter. One I rewarded PC for previous actions. The other two were very low levels.

Extra points for Mike that he included morale effects that very interesting, instead of the typical "fights to the death" that I often see. I think about 1/3 of the encounters ended due to morale. It is a great addition.

I think the toughness and challenge rating was spot on.

Grioths, are awesome I hope they make it into some more of Mike Shels works. They work on their first and second appearances. In hindsight I would of like to see more developed NPC’s based on them.

Yangethe a tough new monster, in my play it utterly destroyed the PC’s, a single player fled later retrieving his unconscious party members. Then the true interactions with Maffei presented itself.

Aeterperax very well written, a very nice map for the encouter.

Major Spoilers:

The Crypt of Tula, with her blessings the fight with Alturic was a bit to easy.

Keen longbow caused some problems since it is on the chronicle sheets for PFS.

The three commanders, the hardest for my group was the alchemist.

Lets talk about Maffei, the players loved her, my players used all 3 scrolls of restoration on her, after fighting the Yangethe unfortunately 3 players ended up with CHA of 0. So they ended up having to travel outside the city to get replacement scrolls.

Aeterperax, great dragon, I routinely used the Improved Vital Strike and relocated to the ledges the next round. By the time the PC's would close I had him do a AOO trip against the Barbarian type. Really great to see that the Green Dragon has the right motivations.


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Only as a player

*****

After playing this I would like to give a review this as a player.

Also I had a very prepped GM. This made a fun game.

Story 5/5
The story was well done,

Setting 4/5
So simple put, I think their was allot of Thassalonian lore that will be missed by new players. I would recommend to GM's to have a NPC give some historical details about the site.

Role-play-ability 5/5 Most of the creatures have great ability to interact with the NPC's. This is why season 4 is better than the past.

Combat 5/5 I would say perfect difficulty, my party played up. We are experienced players. Though we didn't complete the last encounter, we ran with zero deaths.

Suitability 4/5 I am not sure how much of this could be used for a none PFS game, a GM could easily change the general location. Though the location is such a great part of this scenario.


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Weak 2 star

**( )( )( )

Story 1/5
Setting 2/5
Role-play-ability 1/5
Combat 2/5
Suitability 3/5

What we have here is a weak scenario.

Story 1/5

First story, is basic at best. PC's put into a desert to go into a cave. The title of the scenario is also a poor choice.

Setting 2/5

The Pyramid was a cool idea that never was really realised. Other than as a basic dungeon crawl. An upside down pyramid in the underdatk could of been AWESOME. I am not sure but I hope the scale was off if the squares were 10ft and the map was larger I think it would of been a better scenario.

Role-play-ability 1/5

Lets see every drow "Fights to the Death" except the leader. Why? They are chaotic evil and should betray their mistress. Drow researchers, really? They fight to the death? At 9th level other than summoning their only offensive spell is Magic Missile. They should know better than to fight for to the death. Also why is their a sorceror as a researcher. This scenario does allot of diservice to the drow. Combat enccounters, the drow rarely use the enviroment to their favor. Languages, most of the drow will have little possiblity to even speak to the party.

Combat 2/5 Young Driders really? This is really a bad template to ever use. It also opens up allot of really glaring problems. The young template should be removed from all Paizo products. First lets make a large aberration that is tough but limit it to one size smaller weapons. Lets apply the young template to this abberation and forget to give it small weapons. Now it is a medium sized creature. Then lets explain to the players it is a baby drow with large sized spider legs and halfling sized weapons. But can still dish out lightning bolts like a 6th level sorceror. In a home game this would make a fun twist perhaps an irony of Drow.

Combats missed the mark on every encounter except perhaps low tier encounter 6 and high tier encounter 5.

Suitability 3/5 This is not paticularrly suited for Golaran as a whole. For Pathfinder Society as it doesn't really set out to explore to much of its settings. I think it is more suited for a home game in the underdark. Where a GM could modify some encounters and expand on a cool pyramid.

My players had fun playing this though. I just don't think it is a solid hit.


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Excellent Book

*****

This is the ultimate setting book to date. Among all companies.
Map, setting lore, history and character options as well as religions.

Plus it is Damn pretty to look at.

I recommend a player and a GM to buy this.

It is damn pretty to look at the art and paper are exceptional.


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Fun to play and GM

*****

Story, good old love. Title says it all.
Setting, nice use of an Island, good descriptions of the Absalons hampton's. -.1 on all the tables in the tent map.
Role-play 5/5 for sure.
Combat the Barbarian is pretty tough. As I played it, for about 4 rounds it was a shoving match between 2 npc's and 2 pc's.
Suitability I am not sure how a non PFS player would or why they would attend this wedding. It would take a bit of work to customize to a home game. I would still recommend it.

Story 5/5
Setting 5/5
Role-play-ability 5/5
Combat 5/5
Suitability 2/5


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Eat your veggies.

***( )( )

Story, interesting romp to the Green Market.

Setting really a market, a custom map for a big market. A big market that wont fit on a flip mat, also there is a flip mat made by paizo of a market.

Role play, average. Telemayne is the star of this scenarios RP.

Combat, the second combat really is Awesome. Very unique, the first was standard kill the goons. I haven't seen the optional ran. Then the Final.

The final encounter, this could of been better on in many aspects.
First of Ethereal problems, problems and more problems, then dismissal as well as Ethereal and insubstantial confound each other talk about a headache. My biggest complaint is the Fire Elemental's, why are they there. How are the eternally loyal. How can Galdron even speak to them. Lastly how did they end up ethereal if it was voluntary why did they stay they are fire elementals that like to burn stuff...

A dramatic approach with telekinesis and the klar's and a ceremony could of been used, or at least Galdron could use Telekinesis to toss Ms. Foxglove around.

Suitability, I wouldn't recommend bring this out of PFS. If you do expect to make a couple changes.

Story 3/5
Setting 2/5
Role-play-ability 3/5
Combat 2/5
Suitability 3/5


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Humor/Horror

*****

I want to place this in Alaska... Palin's Cove.

This is a good scenario. I hope it surprises players.
There is enough in here for every play style. It can be challenging.
The story is good, setting great. The role play will allow allot of give and take with the party and GM. Well thought out combat. I would recommend this for non PFS play.

Story 5/5
Setting 5/5
Role-play-ability 5/5
Combat 5/5
Suitability 5/5


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Great Scenario could use some tweaking.

****( )

I think this was a great scenario, I have ran this 3x so far. I would recommend.

Spoiler:
So I think the handout's 1-2-3, were a huge time trap, I think there should of been a mechanic in the scenario to reward players who actually took the time to figure it out.

Second I really liked the faction missions on this one.
The Lantern lodge faction mission lead to a split party once. This lead to a fight minus one player. With a 5 person party they fought 2 Beared Devils with 2 players.

Combat at low I ran the combat at low tier incorrectly one time.

I hope the players enjoy this. It is a great scenario, I hope future scenario's break from the norm.


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Great Writing, Format hurts

*****

Most of my problems were lay-out of this product.

+1 Great Job, Mr. Shel

-1 Table of Contents

2 entries
Shackles Gazetter
page 2
Threats of the shackles
page 40

It would of been great to have.

Shackles Gazetter
page 2
Port Peril and the Mainland 4
Bag Island 6
Devils Arches 8
Motuko Island 10
ETC...
Threats of the shackles
page 40

I like the fine folks of Paizo, but really should we need to know ALL these credits.. But we have 25 names listed, and only 2 table of content entries. While the first name sells it for me as a consumer, Mike Shel.

-1 Game Mastery settlement info modifier's, totally lacking. This I think is another major fault of this product.

I am currently running Skulls and Shackles. Another source book I have been using is Heart of the Jungle.

So I will be comparing the two products. I find as a GM, Heart of the Jungle is much better suited as a GM aid. As a sample compare the Bloodcove section to that of Port Peril in this book, I have as a GM sailed my players into Blood Cove with-in about 20 minutes. I can generate treasure and such for players to buy. Figure out quickly what plot hook I can use. So while I own the complete AP line, I am still forced to carry most of these books around just to reference city's, such as Port Peril, which is included as a source setting for this book.

-1 general formatting, after comparing this book with the Heart of the Jungle it is clear, that this book has 2 formats to use. A 1-page and a 2-page layout for each section. This is a terrible choice compared to a book like Heart of the Jungle. Pictures, there are allot, some seem just to be page filler. Compare to pictures or maps that would help a GM.

+1 Random encounters

+1 Bestiary, allot of good material here for all gm's, still allot of big pictures.


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Can be quick.

****( )

Let's see, I think the strength of this scenario is can be ran very quick. 2.5 hours quick. I have ran this 3x and played it once.

So 3/4 times this is fast easy scenario for players, the other time the team of pathfinders failed.

Allot of previous reviews were spot on.


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Into the well, new GM's may face hazards

*****

The map was great I hope future PFS maps use this cartographer. To gm this one I constructed small rooms and described the journey relying on atmosphere rather than a huge mega map. After some feed back from GenCon I did a 180 on map presentation, ditching gaming paper printing this great map out some rooms 2x. Tileling room to room.

I earlier gave this a 4 star review now after running it at GenCon. I am planning on running this locally for my players. So what has changed, I have GM'd it a couple times but as I prepare this thing again, I am looking at better ways to present this as a whole.

For GM's prepare prepare and prepare some more. This scenario is perhaps the best box of sand your players can play in. After 2 sessions, in both instances did things I did not prepare for.

Map, this will be your biggest obstacle in preparing. Predraw this, fog of war this. Create your map in advance.

Miniatures, try to bring relevent miniatures for each NPC, PC's may face.
Enviroment, there are some very important rules that you may need for this.

Effects create a list of all effects and spells players may have to face you may want to bring a condition card.

If a GM reviews this scenario and has questions feel free to PM me. Hopefully I can be of assistance.

As far as the other reviews, the map is great what you do with it is what matters, and Axe if you consider it is a sequel of sorts to Storming, Aspis makes sence as well as the Introduction.

Paizo please keep this author employed.


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Quite simply as good as it gets.

*****

I review allot of scenarios. Title says it all.

How i grade scenarios

story
setting
Role-playability
Combat
suitability

The story delivers the setting in game is dark and dreary. This will be my go to scenario on A cold October night. The chance to role play is really ingrained here, in a great way. The combat scenes were very memorable. This is suited for PFS as well as any home game.

Great scenario well done.


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Challenging

****( )

So I have ran this a single time, at the low tier. I have played this a single time at high tier.

I think the premise of the scenario is good.

Combats should be a challenging at either tier. As far as CR's this scenario has followed CR mechanincs pretty closly. This should be a staple of 5-9 play. I like scenario's that really set in the hooks for players that want to play up. This is a scenario that offers really 2 tiers of play.

Expect this to be a challenging scenario for your players at either tier. If you are running this I would really look the mechanic's that are presented on page 9.

Critisim, there are plenty of combats in this scenario, this one is likely going to go long as far as time is concerned. I would of liked an optional encouter.


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Great Scenario

*****

I really liked this scenario. It comes out firing.

It has great plot, a great enviroment. And unique enemies for the PC's to face.

This is one of Greg's best PFS scenarios in my opinion.


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Great Scenario

*****

So with this the PC's make a second trip to Rachican. This time the enemies are smarter and tougher.

So for the first time out of nearly 70 different scenario's GM'D. I have seen a realistic 32-cr2 creatures equal a cr 12, I have to congratulate Larry if I ever see him.

So all in all, GREAT ROLEPLAY oppurtunities. Great combat, good story its all here.


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Ran this at high tier

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I liked the story on this one, I think it would play much better at a lower tier than the high tier.

Since I have only ran this at high teir. I felt it was a bit easy as far as combat. I liked the story and the second map and the Tomb.

If I ever run this at low tier I will update my review.


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Repetitive

****( )

So I liked Whistledown.

I liked the optional encounter.

I liked the repetion, I have ran this twice now months apart and I have to say, I dislike it when the party believes they are not facing a threat(and them being right).

Play this at low tier keep those Pc's on their toes.


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