Contract Devil

Sebastian Hirsch's page

Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 8 Season Star Voter. ******* Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria 4,117 posts (4,501 including aliases). 21 reviews. 1 list. 2 wishlists. 61 Organized Play characters. 2 aliases.



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Quite short and ends on a sour note

2/5

I ran this recently and played it today, unfortunately, the story did not really grab me, and it ends with starship combat that dragged it down to 2 stars for me. The fights were so very underwhelming that it felt hard to me as the GM to present an actual threat.
The idea of going to a market on Akiton is nice, but I would have wanted more content on the market itself, rather than a short scenario with enough time for the starship combat.

I haven't run a lot of Starfinder recently, but this one really showers the party with different items and creating handouts for all of them started to feel like a chore. It feels a bit distracting, and the entire scenario does feel a bit short as I mentioned above, my player wanted to do a bit of RP and go for some local food (which is easy enough for the GM to improvise, but really showcases that the sceanrio could have sed some more interesting NPCs/interacitons.

Using the same weak mooks for a short combat and then using them again at the end, makes the first one even more questionable. As much as I like the idea of a shuriken wielding operative, it unfortunately overlaps with the fact that they are kinda knows to use injection weapons, and have plenty of poison.

Maybe I am missing something important, but I found the enivormental details of the final fight, made things slow and rather uninteresting, though the enemy ship is really not set up for it. Honestly it ended up as a moderately boring fight until the players finally dared to fly more and attack from another side.


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My favorite PFS1 scenario

5/5

I just wanted to find it online so I could link to it, and while I was shocked to realize that I never wrote a review for this - one NPC totally made it my favorite scenario.


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A lovely setting but it tries to do a bit too much

4/5

This is a preliminary review, which I plan to update once I have run it a couple more times and played it.

As a short review, I like it but I feel like the scaling, particularly in the higher end of low tier is a bit on the easy side, in some cases, I would appreciate some higher level monsters/more elite templates.

The first map is not ideal, as players seem to be a bit confused about what could as a room.

The scenario does toy with a couple of themes, but I feel like the illogical architecture is not really explored properly, and does not add much, it mostly distracts from the other stronger themes.

It is a good scenario, and I can recommend it, but some things keep it from a perfect rating.


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a decent scenario getting dragged down by some mechanical problems

3/5

Paizo.com ate the last review, so to keep this one brief, it was okay, but that one condition that is inflicted early made it quite annoying and after the fact cost 5 fame to remove. There is a longer version of this, and my opinion might change if I ever GM this one it, but the scenario really wants to have a particular kind of player character. I did not bring that kind of character.

Without that condition and some other things, this would be an average scenario, but my opinion is somewhat colored by how I experienced this.

Some of my problems with this one are Starfinder core systems, but yeah, it is not a bad scenario if the premise appeal to you. Updated my review to 3 stars, while I stand behind my complaints, it does have significant redeeming features.


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Not my worst experience in SFS but the complexity really is an issue

2/5

Just played this one, and will update my review once I have read it.

There are a couple of nice scenes, but a lot of the encounters drag on for way too long, and especially that last encounter just takes forever to resolve, without including a lot of interesting tactical options and choices.

The best I can say about some encounters is that they are there, but unpleasant speedbump is the best I can say about some of them.

Writing and concepts are as expected pretty good considering the author, but I find the mechanical implementation a bit lackluster and it does feel a bit like stumbling upon a random mission.

I think that final encounter deserves it's own, retrospective, it seems to have a lot of moving parts, for little to no actual benefit. If a complicated encounter does not actually give players challenges to solve or overcome, then it is just idle busywork.

GMs are busy, pretty much always, and while I also complain about encounters with no real tactical dept, in this case, it is the worst of both worlds.
Other relatively recent scenarios have similar problems, but if the GM has to write a tracking sheet, the scenario likely could have explained it better.

The boards ate large parts of the first version of this review, but to keep this short, the rising complexity and need for the GM to do a lot of annotations to statblocks, can make it pretty unpleasant to run some scenarios and the final encounter is really only hurt by it.


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A great experience you do not want to miss

3/5

preliminary review (will be expanded at a later point):

I have run a played this one, and you are likely going to have a nice time on both sides of the screen. Though it is a pretty complicated scenario.

Unfortunately the information inside is not super well presented for the GM, and the scaling is a bit rough in some places.

The setting and ideas presented are welcome, but some of the mechanical implementations are not as solid as the GM needs, this really is one of those scenarios, that takes a worksheet and plenty of notes to run smoothly.

If you are scheduling this one, plan at least 5 hours, more if your players are known tho enjoy somewhat longer RP parts of the scenario.


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Nice idea, but a number of annoying things hold it back

2/5

I just played this, but while my review might change after prepping it and I will upgrade my review of that happens.

If I am perfectly honest, the main idea is not bad, but it feels like a large collection of little annoyances (and really big annoyance with the environmental effects) - not necessarily dangerous for a well build group - but it takes longer to resolve than necessary.

Personally I am not a fan of the preview bit on your way to the mission, particularly since players often want to interact with them, so the scenario is actively trying to distract players from its own current storyline. They also do not tend to age very well if players do not have the luxury of playing scenarios in order.

Just like a lot of scenarios, unfortunately, the short description of the scenario promised things that are not quite covered in the scenario, learning more about that fabled explorer would have been nice, but unfortunately this seems to be the setup for a future scenario.

I honestly did not enjoy all the tiny annoyances combined with the encounters and their setup, but the starship combat part kinda seals the deal.
The encounter is very easy, but like all scenarios with the starship tag, it usually forces players to talk about starship boons, chose a ship, adapt the weapons, and talk about who should fill each role. If you add that time on top of the actual time spent running the starship combat, it really more like a chore and I prefer to get more out of a scenario if possible.

Despite that, as a player, the "fumbling in the dark" part of the scene felt like it dragged on forever, so despite any actual danger it did not feel like an enjoyable encounter.

It's not a terrible scenario, but unfortunately not so


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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.

There is also a pretty central element that is at first confusing and then the players start to game the system.


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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.