The Outcast King

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Fun, open-ended pirate adventure. Solid "A".

5/5

After the somewhat brutal first book which allowed for little freedom, this was a major breath of fresh air. My players have long wanted to play with their own ship. Having the freedom to explore, visit towns at will, and set their own pacing is lovely. The NPCs in the early and middle portions of the adventure are intriguing and memorable, and the combats are mostly better scaled difficulty-wise than in the previous installment.

This book is also stuffed full of iconic pirate-themed goodies, and some creative and memorable encounters as well. Nothing in this book is mind-blowingly bizarre or original, but it gives the players lots of room to forge their own story while progressing toward some more challenging encounters.

Definitely in the better-half of the AP books I've run, and worth every penny.


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Flawed start but well-rounded

4/5

This adventure path has some magnificent elements, but I fear this book will be off-putting for some. The players start off in bad shape, and for about 2 sessions will have to put up with being robbed, railroaded, abused, and put through a very Sixfold Trial-esque series of jobs/punishments that will test their endurance and willingness to put up with miserable circumstances (and in this case they are so low-level they don't even have access to many creative options to ease their pain). Assuming you roleplay the NPCs well and help the players to channel their frustrations toward fixing the situation rather than quitting, it should go alright.

The second half of the adventure is more fun, but there are still some encounters that were, frankly, unreasonable. CR4 swarms that move faster than the players and have 31hp are borderline unbeatable at level 3 in most parties, and the wealth of underwater combat, especially with the horrible-monster-which-shall-remain-unnamed in the final dungeon, might have been excessively taxing. It needs a difficulty adjustment, and your players need to be given some leeway or at least a clear warning at the beginning to avoid an instant-derail.

The good: The adventure has a good balance of roleplay, dungeons, and exploration. This is one thing Pett does very well.

TL:RD - Stick it out, because the rest of the AP seems like it will run a lot smoother. This book is fine if you make adjustments and keep things moving, or if your players are very patient.


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Solid finish to the AP

4/5

This was a good finish, just not mind-blowing. The players get to run around the city and tie up all their loose-ends, and this freedom was refreshing after several books that were very dungeon-focused to the point of being too railroading. Still, there was nothing super memorable about the encounters, except the final showdown which was exciting and well done.

It felt like a bit of a grab-bag of disconnected challenges, some of which were interesting, but many of which were just fights with groups of monsters straight out of the Bestiary. Spice it up, and add appearances and encounters with any recurring villains or characters you've accumulated, and it will not feel like an unsatisfactory ending by any means.

Oh, and one other piece of advice for GMs running this: You may way to adjust the fame-point table at the end, because achieving a satisfying ending requires that the players have earned almost every single fame point available in the entire AP. My players were consistently thorough and successful and still barely avoided having a bad ending result.

Overall, worth doing. We had a good time finishing out the AP, despite some bumps along the way. It always feels like a journey to get through a campaign like this, and Council was no disappointment, though it definitely had some stretches that were much more fun than others.


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Awesome book, would run again.

5/5

I could see a solid argument for this being the best book of Council, if many people make it this far. It is almost all combat with just a little room for roleplaying, but the fights are big, complex, and well-balanced from start to finish. I had a player death, but I think it was accepted by the players that it happened for tactical reasons and not because of any unfair design. The first half is all fantastic, and the finale is a showdown that the players had fun with despite a few kinks.

My only complaint would be the somewhat dry dungeon stretch in the second half of the book. There's a session worth of tight corridors packed with too many identical foes, and the players were sighing while looking for a way past it faster. Still, this book was a highlight of the AP, and was easily worthwhile.


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Super-dungeon, with all the pros and cons that entails...

4/5

Not a well-rounded adventure. Admittedly, it was an epic dungeon with some very fun elements, but the flow of the book was a little awkward and there wasn't much room for decision-making. Also, there is no way to do the whole thing without resting, and given that the whole point of the adventure is the ticking-clock, it was awkward for the players to have to sit and wait 8-hours or leave mid-action to replenish their resources and continue.

That having been said, it was fun because the encounters were memorable. The cinematic beginning to the book was also one of my favorite Council moments. Play it up for drama, because it's worth it!


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Dungeon-Centric Adventure, Players Enjoyed It

4/5

Not the most memorable of the Council books, but a nice bridge into the more intense second-half of the AP. An intriguing dungeon crawl with a few city-wide elements that were fun. I liked the flavor, and the players had a good time. Plot-light exploration and some cool enemies/items that we remembered long after.

One major concern though: There's an encounter in here that will skewer most parties unless they run like hell or have exactly the right spell or two to deal with it. Just beware. I had two player deaths on this one, and that was off-putting.

Overall, not bad, but not mind-blowing compared to some AP books.


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Memorable, Bizarre, Varied, Exciting - Instant Classic

5/5

Easily one of the best AP scenarios. This books is unconventional, puts the players through strange situations, and is exactly the kind of thing I couldn't come up with in a home brew. A good model for any adventure: A quirky set of scenes and challenges that test the players in bizarre ways, followed by a hilarious set of NPC encounters and roleplaying opportunities, and finally a non-repetitive dungeon crawl in a weird, supernatural environment. Perfect balance of elements, lots of flavor. A+ all-around

Only downsides: The first third of the book is dangerous, and could kill players without them getting much say in the matter. Also, as with most of Council, tends to be a little railroad-y at times. If you and your players like the story and follow the cues, or you are adaptable as a GM, there shouldn't be any problems.


Great Prop

4/5

These are a really fun game prop. Some tips for people looking to get these: be prepared to get two starters. They are a lot more cost-efficient than buying little packs (though supplementing with the small packs of ones you'd like isn't a bad idea) and it's hard to support a group of players with just one set. Also works great if you have a small dice bag for each player to keep theirs in. My players each keep their dice/coins/minis/item cards in colored felt pouches. The coins themselves are awesome quality. Only 4-stars because of the price really.


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Slow Start to a Great AP

4/5

This module is heavy on setup fluff and a bit thin on encounters. My major complaint is the large chunks of story XP to compensate for lite game content. Still, there are some very memorable moments in here, and one excellent encounter in particular that allows for some creativity and probably pleases most groups that go through it. Not the best in the AP, but enjoyable and worth doing largely because of what follows it.


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Print Edition Unavailable

Fantastic.

5/5

Plenty of information to make a whole adventure or campaign arc revolving around any one of the monster types included. This gives each of the generic monsters its own flavor and motivations, and the whole thing was just a fun read. Make more of these for other monsters!