Legion Archon

Sebastian Hirsch's page

Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 8 Season Star Voter. ******** Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria 4,367 posts (4,751 including aliases). 64 reviews. 1 list. 2 wishlists. 79 Organized Play characters. 2 aliases.



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Good scenario though I am lacking a bit of context

4/5

Fun scenario, I am missing a lot of plot since didn't manage to actually play a plot-related scenario this season, but it felt like a good ending to the storyline (despite the regrettable fact, that the number of scenarios had been cut down to that degree).

The fights felt quite fitting if anything I feel the scenario could have used a bit of custom art, though it was nice to see a custom map.
I played this one at the higher end of the low tier and we had some level 8s (among them mine) so I can't really comment on the difficulty (though the players were rather proficient).

We finished in about 3 hours but that is not that unusual for this kind of location.
Personally, I appreciate the fact that while this was involving a ship, it did not necessitate any starship combat.

My appreciation for this will likely change a lot once I dive deeper into this season's plot, but I had a good time.

Edit: I ended up running it after I had played it and, I still really enjoy it ^^


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I could get used to this

5/5

This is not a review of the Beginners Box, but the Foundry version of said product.

It's spectacular, really a deluxe experience.

After running online for a fair number of years, honestly, there are a lot of highlights but the maps are certainly something that elevates this to another level.

Of course, all aspects of these products are already extremely polished, even if you just only rarely GMs online, you can likely learn a couple of tricks from this one.

After years of GMing online I am pretty picky and even I struggle to find a lot of things to complain about.
Edit: Okay found sometimes, the file sizes are sometimes a bit extravagant ^^ a the maps are very reasonably sized but a lot of assets are a lot bigger than I feel is necessary... but if you want super high quality assets, they are certainly in there.


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Great example of what APs can be

5/5

I enjoyed a lot of things in this AP, but to keep this one short and snappy, this volume hits the right notes. There are challenges but unlike some other PF2 offerings, I did not feel like I needed to hold back or change them.

The adventure manages to show large parts of Katapeshi culture, while also giving players a lot of options to engage with the plot of this volume.

And after all that very interesting content in the city, it manages to avoid devolving into an endless dungeon crawl. Personally, I feel like the challenge hits exactly the right difficulty towards the end, while also setting up the next part.

While I feel like the author later refined the skills shown here (in Mark of the Mantis) I feel like this is a great example of what a PF2 AP can be.


Excellent in so many ways

5/5

I need to spend time to write a proper review, but let me tell you, that if you are a GM this one is very much worth your time.

The amount of GM advice is quite impressive, and this really is an excellent template for how a heist can be executed.

There are so many different small excellent choices, that on a mechanical level this might be the best application and alteration of PF2 rules yet.

As a word of warning, as a GM you will likely want to spend a fair bit of time on your prep, it can be somewhat complex to run and to be able to run it effortlessly and adapt to what your players are going to want to do, benefits from the GM being aware of the existing options.

I had my doubts about this product line, and while I enjoyed another a lot, this has been the most delightfull adventure reading experience in PF2 thus far.


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A lot of fun and a good time, consider using optional rule

4/5

I would love to spend more time and write a longer review but alas:

While sometimes a bit odd the pregens showcase the gunslinger class quite well, the optional rule helps the flow of the scenario and I think that this is the first case where the characters feel competent in a scenario. The author cleverly uses the right DCs and made sure that every character is competent in some core areas.

To improve upon this a bit would likely require higher quality map delivered with the pdf.
The cover is not very representative since it uses re-used art from Guns and Gears, but that is not a huge deal, though I would have liked to see the area illustrated since we do not have a lot of artwork of this part of Alkenstar.

EDIT:Updated the review a bit the only version was mangled by a very agressive spell checker.


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Unfair and not super appealing

2/5

This one really is unduly hard, and the player's characters, while weird and complicated, are not set up well for this type of challenge to the point where it feels unfair.
Honestly, the story is not really helping it much, it's not very appealing. Consider using a mix of other pregens, maybe with a PFS style level bump, you are likely going to have a better time.

If you are the type of GM that prefers making things easier, and the story appeals to you, there is something worthwhile here, but if you want something to run out of the box, there are other, better options.
Personally, I would not recommend this for new players.

---

I played on a purchased VTT table and honestly, not sure what happened but I found the number of errors and incorrectly set up things embarrassing.


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choosing the least worst

2/5

Years after running this one, I honestly mostly remember that candidates, the mechanical challenges, and encounters are fine, some are even pretty good, but having to choose one of them to replace a very popular well-written NPC really does not feel appealing.

At least one of those characters felt like a joke and it is pretty hard to take the Starfinder Society seriously, and I kinda need a core narrative that makes sense.

I am not actually complaining to those players, from what I heard they only got to write a rather short description of their character, and it might be fair to say that this scenario does commit a certain level of character assassination. Unfortunately, that can happen if you have to showcase 4 of them, their platforms, and their missions in the time and word count allotted to a scenario.


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Promising story

4/5

I recently played the scenario and I am currently prepping it, it certainly was appealing, and I had a good time.
Personally, I am looking forward to how that storyline develops.


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Good Scenario, but unfortunately a bit much

4/5

This is a good scenario and you should take a look personally I think that the number of NPCs is a bit hard to handle and characterize, and I feel like while the final encounter is cinematic... I feel that most types of fog effects are more annoying than that they add much.

It is absolutely a good scenario and I can recommend it, but for me, it is slightly missing the mark, maybe because I have some trouble deciding what the standout feature is since its strengths are present in a lot of areas.. so I yeah. it's a good adventure but for personally slightly misses the mark for me.

On another positive note, if you are offering org play content as well, this scenario could be a very clever intro/setup for 1-03 Escaping the Grave.


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Great for org play or as an addon in a campaign

5/5

While I was hesitant about the bounty concept I adore this one, it really shows how great, descriptive writing combined with a carefully calibrated challenge can provide a great scenario.

I can unreservedly recommend experiencing this bounty and I am looking forward to more from this Author.


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This one has a disclaimer, please take it seriously

3/5

In many ways, this scenario is not your average Starfinder Society Scenario, it is something that's likely a good fit for players that are a bit more experienced with org play - but at the same time experience with the trappings of org play might only help.

This scenario made sense as something special for Thursty to run at conventions, but I am not sure if it needed a number to attract the completionists among us.
The chronicle sheet is tricky in it's own way and causes things that I am not delighted by, one aspect makes a current issue in org play even worse, while another thing.... just makes it harder to write scenarios.

Though that is a very personal thing, would I recommend this one to anybody - no, would I warn anyone from playing it... maybe.... if you plan to GM this for your group, make sure that everyone knows what they are in for and that your players can deal with the consequences.

It's not a badly made scenario, some parts are really enjoyable, but I feel like the chronicle sheet makes it so much worse.


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I had a good session, but some things felt a bit weird

3/5

I had the chance to play this recently and I had a pretty good time, but that is often based on the GM and my party members.

I saw some things that left me not super pleased, and while we did waste some time doing shenanigans, I might want a bit more. Our group was not set up very well for this, so we did not manage to learn some things and didn't make some new friends.

In general, I am looking forward to reading and GMing it and being able to provide some more comprehensive feedback after that. Right now it would be a 3,5 ^^


Old School in more ways than one

2/5

The setup of this very short adventure - literally 6 pages excluding handouts and pregens - might appeal to the players, but I feel like that pregens are not very well set up for this challenge. Even some of the gear drops later seem to suggest that they are kind of trap options for new players - and I am talking about the supposedly right options.
Some encounters are a bit pointless, and in a one-shot, I would personally want to maximize interesting content, a level 5 party killing level 2 creatures is close to being pointless, though one could argue that an easy fight to warm up and get used to the characters does have some value.

There are also a fair number of riddles, and you can like or loath those, but I am not super happy that there isn't even a DC listed to find the secret door. There are some other issues, that remind me of adventures that came out before I really started playing D&D/Pathfinder etc. and it's not really for me.

I am not sure if I would recommend this one to any GM who knows that their players would either want custom characters or play it with their own characters, after all, it is not hard to adapt it to give 4 of your party members a piece of the map.

A lot in this one-shot is not aimed at me, and I am mostly fine with that, unfortunately, the first version just had a lot of errors, you either have to choose a map without squares or one where the secret doors are not on a separate layer, so as the GM you either have spent some time removing them or just accept that they are there on the map. This is also the case with most APs, but since they started adding the files separately to be VTT friendly I just wanted to mention it.
And last but not least, the file size is humungous for the content, I am not sure what happened here, but it is really not a welcome change.

There is a lot of focus on the final encounter, it is the biggest file in the Art assets, and you can even get it as a wallpaper, but the characters are not set up terrible well to deal with it, I guess if they have been saving their spells, those could help, but as is the creature has a frightful crit range. Unfortunately, despite the fact that it got a tactic, it is a mindless creature, and thus some of the ways player characters could interact with it, don't quite work.

A lot of the value of this one-shot is the characters and the roleplaying hooks mentioned in their descriptions, I guess reading those will give you a hint if this product is for you.


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Solid scenario but something seems to have gone wrong somewhere

4/5

I really like the setup, but many areas feel like text is just missing, and sentences feel but incomplete. I get the impression, that this one has received some significant changes in development and the final result, while not being bad... just feels like some explanations are just missing.

For example, why bother naming NPCs if you don't even include their ancestry?

I can still recommend this one, but it likely needs the GM to fill some of the blanks and just make a call where certain things are.


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Great scenario with some issues

4/5

This is a pretty great scenario but some issues hold it back a bit, if I had the time I could likely praise a lot of fun things, but that final encounter, particularly with a lot of level 3 characters without a striking rune/spellcasters is just too hard. It does not help that the final encounter is immune to a lot of interaction abilities and affects the players could likely use to help them adapt to this challenge.

I would still totally recommend this scenario, but you as the GM likely want to try to plan the subtler and characters carefully. Worst case the last encounter, just tends to break the fluffy flavorful setup the scenario spends quite a lot of time establishing, though even that encounter has a lot of positve aspects.

EDIT: Looking at the Beginners Box and how they have changed the wording of construct armor, I am beginning to believe that the more player-friendly interpretation of that ability (hardness gets completely removed after the armor breaks) is the correct one, which should make low tier a bit less deadly.


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2/5

spoiler:

The start feels a bit like the single players version of one of the interactives you usually play in sync with a lot of other tables - and I feel that this approach does help the first part significantly. Unfortunately, the interactions with various Society personalities before the actual briefing is... underdeveloped, they really do not have that much to tell you.. if this was one of the older interactives you likely could have picked up a couple of rumors or could helped out somewhere and earned maybe an extra potion or something like that. In this scenario, they are just there, and players can roll to earn an invite into a faction, that does not really do anything - and I would hate to see players spending a hero point on this pointless check.

If you are considering the experience for new players, honestly there are too many NPCs at the start, since after that you are also meeting some members of the Society's masked leadership. Personally, I am not a huge fan of the concept in general, since it is really hard to make the players care for the wellbeing of some masked faceless person. One of the NPCs feels kinda antagonistic, and I am not sure why, If I had to guess it'S to make sure that the players remember that NPC, but since for all we know the people wearing those masks could switch at any moment....

Exploring the top level of the city is honestly pretty interesting, though I feel like an encounter with the haunt is a bit awkward since the whole encounter gets very underwhelming if the players disarm it or trigger it from a distance. Unfortunately, while the players liked investigating that dragon story, the scenario does not really dive deeper into it, though this might be setup for a future experience.
Of course, once you are done researching the top layer of the city, you are likely kinda done for the day since it does take a fair number of hours, I am not entirely sure if the scenario had expected that, but worst case the players push on and find the lower chamber when they are very close to exhaustion, which just ends up making things harder.

The various area descriptions are pretty nice, and the encounter with the mushrooms actually plays quite well, particularly once you make of their movement options. Every time I have run this fight, the players kinda liked it.

Unfortunately, after that the scenarios gets worse, the Library system used meant that usually only a select few players actually rolled checks that mattered - if you do not have a decent intelligence and ideally some training in those skills, the Mural really is a big problem, particularly since spending more hours here can have additional negative effects.

I have to stress the fact that I felt that 1-00 did something like this so much better, and while using the library system can work, in this case, only a few skills are truly relevant, and it still ends up as a truly unpleasant number of rolls the players have to make. The fact that the Ocularity also has the potential to make the surprise encounter even harder really does not work in favor of this setup.

The undead cyclops is a nasty surprise particularly since the players are very likely to be spread unfavorably over the entire room, and that his attack bonus and Swipe attack do have a significant chance to drop 1-2 players in the first round of combat.
This really is a great example of why adding the Elite template is often a blunt tool and should ideally not be used on enemies that are already significantly above the party as far as their level is concerned. The base damage is already in the danger zone of being able to kill a low-level character in one crit, and adding the elite adjustment makes it harder. Maybe we are in dire need of some better adjustments, but in this case, it makes the fight quite deadly, and even if people survive it feels unfair.
I can totally see groups dying in this encounter since the enemy does have significant resistance. Every single instance of the party fighting a Level +3 enemy has been pretty negative and while those encounters can work if the group has more time to prep or prepare, that is absolutely not the case here.

This is not a bad scenario, and the start is quite nice, but resolving the final part really drags it down.

EDIT: The Hazard really is beyond the pale, it has a pretty good chance to kill many characters with massive damage on an average damage roll. I did the math and if Ezren and Seoni get affected by it, if their roll20 ends up rolling a 5 or lower, they are likely just dead.

After I realized that, I kinda had to reduce the score from 3 to 2 stars.


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Lacking interesting NPCs and some other issues

2/5

I was looking forward to the character on the title appearing in a scenario again for literally years, unfortunately, that is barely the case, and I am left with more questions than answers. Literally just using a forgettable blank headmaster NPC would have been better, though I am hoping to get more content with that NPC later.

spoiler:

While I skipped through the scenario, after the fact, and discussed it with the GM, if you are not familiar with previous appearances of J Dacilane you might have some questions, particularly once you see the green swirls in the illustration.

So yeah, after that short introduction I was already a bit disappointed, though I really do not want to blame the author for that, the outline just ended up not matching what I was looking for and I likely will play each PFS2 scenario at some point.

Considering the core part of the scenario, you are very much limited to a single (reasonably sized to fit on a flip mat) map, which is not a bad thing, but the things we discovered felt quite random and I had a hard time taking it seriously, and understanding how the kids are not triggering any of these. It all felt terribly random to me and while the experience was not bad and never really felt unfair, the lack of NPCs to interact with was a bit vexing, so many of the party members just did more RP shenanigans and similar things.

We finally met the source of the issue, were offered some paperwork, and then... parts of the class decided to solve the equation with fire... followed by a final fight with large chunks of running around like a headless chicken trying to find the enemy.
The group might have missed things, but I like scenarios with a number of interesting characters, and I did not really get them here (though I also dislike dungeon crawls and this is close to being one)

I did not have a great time with this one and it feels a bit empty, and what's there feels a bit like filler (though the statues really do vex me for a number of reasons). All the various questions kinda get answered by "that chaos thing did it for the lulz?" and that is not really the answer I was looking for.
Other parties mentioned that they felt the scenario was a bit short, since they also skipped one to two combat encounters, but how much you enjoy this scenario is very much based on how well the setup works for you and how likely your players are to enjoy this mystery.


To be fair the scenario description is very accurate, but that is just not enough for me personally.
It's not my cup of tea and I could see myself running it if players strongly request it (and I can't find another GM to do it) but it is not something that I would likely want to schedule if I have more options.


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Update: The sceanrio has been improved in several ways

3/5

I am not quite done prepping the updated scenario, but I can already say that the team has pretty much solved all the problematic issues, it is a triumph that a problematic scenario has been improved this much.
Once I have run it, I will update this review again.

review of the first version below

Edit: I really struggle to motivate myself to run this one, and it is all the fault of that last part and the narrative decision.


Dishearteningly bad, maybe one of the worst scenarios I have ever seen

TL:DR: I do not recommend touching this one as a player or GM until it had a substantial rewrite, it has the potential to scare away new players.

This scenario has a lot of issues, some mechanical, but others are very much story-based, I would not want any new GM to try to run this one and I think this is exactly the right scenario for new players if you never want them to come back to org play.

I very much agree with most of what the other reviewers have said and will not repeat their feedback here, but want to hammer home some story complaints ( the mechanical ones are no less legitimate, particularly since it teaches players ways to play the game that simply will not work in any other scenario and are only going to cause bad feelings somewhere down the line)

spoiler:

The Deans are lying to you, there really is no other way to phrase this, but the people who likely spend a long time training you, have just straight up lied to you and brought you into a situation that could kill either the players or someone else.
How are those characters (players) ever going to trust literally any other Society NPC? And have you considered how much conflict this injects into every single briefing or the player/characters meeting another NPC Society agent in the field?

Page 16 is honestly a bit shocking and is likely a great argument to retitle this into Aspis Trials, the Deans have hired some Caligny to beat up/weaken the players, which is already unpleasantly close to torture/hazing or something some secretive spy organization would do to test their agents (which is not how the Society gets portrayed these days, and not how some of the factions are described).
The real unpleasant part is that the players have a really high chance to actually kill one of these, and considering their death throes ability and that NPCs normally do not get to use the dying rules, they are usually just dead, though a timely breath of life from one of the deans would likely save most creatures..... that is not the case here.
So they accept that the players will kill their mercenaries... that does sound more like the Aspis Consortium.
Tactics that tell the enemies to escape are usually just making the fight easier, by triggering a reaction, I rarely see enemies escaping though giving up can work, however that is not how the encounter is written, and as a bonus point, they do not speak common.

Letting players learn how the Darkness rules work these days is not a terrible idea, but without a way to cast it or move a higher level continual flame effect, interacting with this iteration of Darkness is pretty tough, especially since they can cast it at will.


I remember situations where a fresh release could have benefitted from some clarifications before I would personally want to run it or suggest it to fellow GMs, but in this case, I would prefer this one getting removed from circulation until it had a substantial rewrite to fix most of the issues.


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4/5

I just played this scenario and had a pretty good time. While I in general do not really love the subsystem used in this one, it might have been the best implementation of it, since it did not suddenly end despite our GM rolling pretty bad.

spoiler:

Not having played a lot of recent scenarios I was stumbling a bit in the dark at the start, the setup is interesting, but does not appear to go anywhere just yet - it feels a bit like a setup, but we will see.
Once we actually hit the first proper location with a map, it felt like we had a fair number of options, personally, I would have liked a handout with a list of drinks and bar snacks, but the GM was pretty flexible so my character got her drink and a fried vesk style protein bar.
Other parts of the bar went pretty well for us, though it turned out that I was the only one who could talk, but it worked out ^^
After the bar, things mostly worked out, we discovered more about the plot and then faced the subsystem. It did not work out spectacularly fast but our group composition was partially to blame, and our tactics, but at that point in the session it did not feel like talking about tactics was a much better option than just playing. Again, I was pretty happy that while the used system is a bit on the complicated side, it at least did not end too quickly despite pretty bad rolls, which is usually the problem (prepping it and explaining it to players compares unfavorably to the actual time playing it).

The final fight was pretty okay, most of the setup was done via audio logs, and the enemy leader did not really seem to be someone we wanted to talk to. Sometimes, you just want to hunt down the criminals and leave the world a slightly better place.

The wrap-up... well the interaction with the people that sent us on this mission was a bit minimal, maybe caused by the fact, that we kinda got hints that they are a bit shift. Good Scenario, will update the review once I had the chance to read and run it.


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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 scenario could have sed some more interesting NPCs/interactions.

Using the same weak mooks for 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 supposed to use injection weapons, and have plenty of poison.

Maybe I am missing something important, but I found the environmental 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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