Contract Devil

Sebastian Hirsch's page

Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 8 Season Star Voter. ******* Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria 4,039 posts (4,423 including aliases). 14 reviews. 1 list. 2 wishlists. 67 Organized Play characters. 2 aliases.



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Great choice for new players and returning ones

5/5

I have run this 4+ times and right now it is absolutely in my top 3 of scenarios I would choose to give new players a taste of PFS2.

It does a lot of things right and while it is caught in a bit of a weird place as far as the adjustments based on tier and number of players are concerned, that will apply to a lot of season 1 scenarios.

Of course, I also have some complaints (I would have preferred another map for the last encounter, and some things likely should scale a bit differently, and the name of that one NPC...) but it is a damn solid scenario.

Thanks to the solid mix of challenges and experiences (physical challenges, RP, and fluffy things) this is a great introduction to what org play scenarios can be, and IMHO a great example of what a PFS scenario should be.
I am looking forward to a follow up featuring some of the NPCs involved.


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Disappointing, read before you decide to schedule it

1/5

To keep this short, while this scenario does have a story, the players don't get to learn a lot of it. There are some issues in the scenario and a couple of things I found to be less than great but it's kinda serviceable depending on your group.
The final encounter makes this scenario end on a really bad note since it takes forever to resolve and some classes/builds will have a really hard time to contribute.

Still, this would have barely been a 2-star review...until I read that inter-faction drama at the end.
Things like this, just create drama where none is necessary and make an established and well-liked NPC sound unreasonable.

I have played this and have GMed it, but honestly had I had the time to prepare it myself first, I would not have scheduled it.


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Not terrible, but not what I wanted

3/5

I have just played it, and while my mood might change a bit after prepping and running it...this is not was I was looking for when I heard about a scenario that is attached to this storyline.

Maybe it was because I was not using my Exo Guardian, since the table was mostly level 5s and 6s, and coming with a level 8 would be a bit of a Richard relocation. Maybe.

There are some things I really did not love:

Spoilers:

- The first encounter was basically just a relatively boring fight against an escaped creature, it did not really tell a very interesting story.

- The curse just made the things pretty damn unpleasant, particularly since most characters left the location after the first time when the operative wanted to open something that looked like it would trigger.... the fact that this kind of tactic works, and splits the party really bothers me.
The trap is kind of connected, honesty with the curse and the damage... it is not necessarily bad, it just feels that way. SFS already seems to have some pretty high DCs to challenge some classes like operatives (at least if feels that way) but if you feel like you really can't contribute since you fail to roll pretty high... not a great experience if I am honest.

The curse was ended not that much later, but honestly all pretty anticlimactic. The final encounter was a bit more interesting but it kind of ends in a bit of a disappointment.

It is not necessarily a bad scenario, and I still need to run and play it, but it feels a bit like a bait and switch with the connection to this season's plot kinda cheapens it a bit.
Or maybe that makes it better, depending on your point of view.

If you want to find out more about the lost Headquarters, this will not tell you much, it might advance the plot a bit, but I was left a bit disappointed.

Usually, this would be a pretty solid 3 stars, though I realize that this is very personal feedback... unfortunately the way one boon was gated behind having slotted the Exo Guardian boon, and having reached the 2nd rep tier... honestly that just feels like a step back.
Reducing the rating to 2 stars feels a bit unfair, but I was pretty unhappy with this.

Also, the dropping of hints for further scenarios is really kinda getting old, it only seems to distract players from the current scenario.

Will update this one after I have run it, that might help.


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Not worth touching - shame for the story

1/5

This might have yielded good playtest data - I can't judge that aspect. I have run most of those parts until my group broke apart, and running it dealt quite a bit of damage.

Part 1 starts badly and the map is largely to blame for that, but things get worse. Considering the math of the playtest, and the encounter design of this adventure, it felt unfair and was absolutely not a positive experience.

My players forced themselves to play as much as they could to generate some playtest data, but I kinda hope that this one just gets forgotten.

Other reviewers like Endzeitgeist have taken more time and skill to describe the problems I had with this adventure, but it really left a bad taste and managed to kill a lot of hype for PF2. I really hope that the final product is worth it.

Looking at the feedback and grieve my players have given me, as something that was supposed to be enjoying it failed.


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Maybe the best quest so far

5/5

I wrote a long review, about the various aspects I really liked, the skilled application of mechanical solutions by the GMs and the fact that 4 quests are a good fit for a number of timeslots... but the boards ate it.

TLRD. It is great, good job everyone, I want to see more from everyone involved.


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Random GM toys


The boards at my first review so to keep this significantly shorter, good idea, but the difficulty really ruined this one for me.

Better luck next time.


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Exactly what I wanted

5/5

This scenario just works, I find it hard to describe how reminiscent it is without a lot of spoilers, but this was 5-star scenario after reading half of it... and it keeps that level.

I really want to see more from this author, I am really impressed.


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It's good

4/5

Short review, but I didn't want to wait any longer to recommend this one.

Wordcount might have limited this one, and the author certainly has potential. With a bigger word count, I am pretty certain that this one could have hit the 5-star mark.

I have run it before and will run it again. It seems amazing for groups of new players and I can recommend it.
It might be a bit more complicated than other 1-5s, but it is worth the effort.

4.5 Stars


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Difficulty seem about right

3/5

I will have to write a proper review at some point, but I played it on low, ran it in low tier with 6 players (they pretty much decimated it), and high with 3 and a pregen. The second group struggled quite a bit more, but it still seemed like a properly tuned challenge.

Three are quite a few things to like, unfortunately, it has a couple of flaws that prevent me from giving more than 3 stars.


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Exactly what I wanted/expected

5/5

This scenario is exactly as advertised, it helps me to fill convention schedules and introduces GMs and players to new systems in an organic fashion.

That said, there is definitely room for improvement:

- A sample scenario, or at least having the way a dungeon is constructed would help new GMs to familiarize themselves with this scenario.

- In some aspects, this is more like a toolkit than a scenario. While there is a lot of potential for ambient storytelling and showing your skill as a GM, if you don't do that it might look like a random collection of monsters.

- Filling out the chronicle sheets is not fun, for future scenarios please add some sort of page where it is easier to see which items you need to remove from the chronicle sheets (since players didn't find them in that version of the scenario). It sounds like a minor gripe but after your fifth time running the scenario, you will know what I am talking about.

- Variety, having a number of harder and easier encounters to choose from is very welcome, but slightly more would be even better. The scenario already gives the GMs a lot of freedom when it comes to difficulty, why not give GMs a little bit more to counter certain player tactics and make sure that the scenario is entertaining for the whole party, not the player who can efvade/dismantle every challenge the scenario provides (maybe a couple of treasure/equipment packs for the monster to use and add as additional loot).
Of course, it is important not to overcompensate, but GMs should already be aware of that.

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So this scenario has a lot of room to improve, so why still 5 stars?
It was an experiment and it delivers, most of the complaints/wishlist I have... might not have something I could have come up with without the scenario.

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An update/expansion of this one (new locations ?) or even a new everygreen would be very wellcome.


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Toying with expectations while being to nice

2/5

How much of this scenario you enjoy might really depend on your expectations of military service...

I have played and run this and always had someone at the table who had experience with hazing and most of the things that are done to the PCs were regarded as usual practice.
Without adding an enormous amount of foreshadowing, players tend to be really surprised by the ending, and unless you do a very specific thing (one that seems like a very bad idea), you could be missing a very important bit of closure.

It's not a terrible scenario and some areas are pretty fun, but it requires a bit of work, and personally, I think a map of the main location would have helped immensely.

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Oh and the motivation of the antagonist was very disheartening or rather boring, so cliche that players even joked about it during the game (before they had a chance to learn it).

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If you are going to run this, emphasize a lot of things, mostly that things are not just hard, but unfair to a troubling degree.

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Ideally, I would like to give this one 3 stars, but it was honestly the scenario in this season, that annoyed me quite a bit after playing it. It sits at about 2.5 stars for me. If asked to do so I would run it again, but it is certainly not on the short list of 1-5 scenarios I schedule for new players.


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Intro to the Wayang culture with serious mechanical problems

2/5

To keep it short, there is a lot to like, but verbal dueling system really ruined it for me.
Even with several custom handouts it takes way to long to explain... and while that would be fine, the scenario twist it in a fashion that made this very unpleasant.

Of course a good, GM can always try to make it entertaining, and I think I managed that, but it is very complicated to prepare and wasn't a lot of fun to run.

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Next time, if you include a new subsystem, please use it for larger chunk of the scenario... running the part of the scenario that used it took significantly less time than explaining it.


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Usefull to have but not essential

5/5

For most fights, the set included with the pad will suffice, but I find it useful to have spare. If your group is unusually big, or has a lot of companions (eidolons, animal companions etc.) you might want to purchase this pack with your combat pad.


Instant essential

5/5

The best gaming aid I have every purchased, I would suggest to invest in a set of permanent markers (for your players) and non-permanent ones (for the npcs). With this nifty thing, I can easily delegate the task of tracking initiative to one of my players.


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Invaluable aid

5/5

I was going to write a longer review about this book but frankly KTFisch7 nailed it. Not only will this book change the way you read rpg books and prepare adventures, if you ever want/have to design your own material, or even want to go into designing your own products - buy this book.

I can suggest the Print/PDF bundle, it's very attractively priced. I didn't read it on my PC or notebook (lacking a tablet pc) but if you ever want to read a specific chapter again, you can do so wherever you can access your pdfs.