Shelby Babcock's page

Organized Play Member. 8 posts. 6 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 13 Organized Play characters.



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Fun Times

5/5

I played this at GenCon 2016 with a GM I knew pretty well and a group of friends from my local lodge. We had a ton of fun and I'd LOVE to see more of these characters and adventures in the future.
In terms of gameplay, there is a section when you get to play around with fly speeds and gravity a bit, which was certainly interesting, especially for me because I'd never played as a fly-capable character before. Some events and fights may seem more difficult for certain characters than others, but I felt that each character had a chance to shine when we played.
Each character's secondary success conditions were interesting, though some were more obvious than others. The character I played, for example, did not seem to have a clear-cut objective for the mission, while other characters had much more obvious success conditions. Now, clear-cut does not mean easy. Some can be harder than others.
All in all, I enjoyed this scenario a lot. In fact, the only real gripe I have is that this adventure, like True Dragons of Absalom and We Be Goblins, is a convention exclusive and I thus can't play it with my other pathfinder friends who couldn't go to GenCon for various reasons.


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Good read, fun story, overall great

4/5

I admit that I haven't quite finished this book at this time...but I'm already enjoying it. This is the kind of book that you think of when people say "fantasy": a half-elf and half-demon in a strange kingdom in an adventure with werewolves. Honestly, if that description doesn't at least make you curious, then you're not the kind of person who would enjoy this book. If you are at least vaguely intrigued by the concept, then I'd recommend this book. The protagonists are likable, the lore isn't too hard for people who are new to Pathfinder (thanks partly to the index at the back and the fact that Ustalav is like every classic horror movie rolled into one gothic place), and the pacing is actually pretty good.


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A decent scenario but a bit rough around the edges

3/5

I am writing this review as a GM, not as a player. This was the first scenario I got to GM outside of a convention, where there's often lots of other GMs to give you advice. I spent a week going over every encounter, planning out the combat and roleplaying piece-by-piece...and yet no plan survives contact with the enemy (or PCs in this case).
There are parts in this scenario that can be too easy, such as Act 2 if they have the proper equipment, leaving a novice GM like me fumbling for what to say and do. Since the faction missions are no longer relevant, a lot of cool stuff and reasons to do things in the combat sections is essentially useless. Act 5 is also kind of rough because if the PCs make a successful check they will have no reason to initiate combat and will likely skip the whole thing (I was lucky that one of the players, even knowing what was in store, really wanted to fight some more, so we did the section anyway). Act 6 also fell kind of flat since the PCs were inherently suspicious. Also, for all the talk of having a time limit and Act 5 playing differently based on time of day, there's no mention of how to handle the passing of time in this scenario. There's one mention of setting up camp for the night, but that's it.
While the captives do provide an excellent opportunity for roleplaying, they can fall flat as well if, like me, you're not very experienced at GMing. They also have a tendency to either be a big part of the scenario or have almost no part at all, with very little in between.
Honestly, the issue was that, for a first-timer, there was a lot going on and not a lot I could do about it. So this isn't what I would recommend for first-time GMs, but if it's done right, it's lots of fun.
TL;DR: As a GM, this scenario had some stumbling points that threw me off, but my players said they had fun and, if done well, this scenario can be lots of fun to play and run.


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Tons of Fun

5/5

I really enjoyed this scenario. I kind of like pregen scenarios, where you play a character other than your own, because it lets me try out classes and mechanics I wouldn't normally think of. This is particularly true for magic-focused characters, which I always found to be a pain to create. The NPCs were well-done, which really did help move things along. I also felt there was a decent amount of free-will in this scenario, especially during the big "gimmick" in the middle. Honestly, the middle part was probably the most fun, but I would caution players that you get what you give in this scenario. If you roleplay your PC and have a good GM who knows how to handle combat and scene-setting, this scenario will be more fun than if you just sat at a table and droned on and on.
In my case, the final battle was rushed for time, which I felt cut out some of the experience, but the sheer amount of silly fun in the middle more than made up for it. However, I do wish there was just a little more creativity involved in the main gimmicky section. My group came up with a theatrical idea that went off without a hitch...but there was no real way of handling that in the scenario. So our GM had to come up with something on the fly without deviating from the scenario, which was a bit rough. All in all, the middle part could probably stand to be shortened a bit, as well as having a bit more variety (we over-prepared for it, to be honest) and maybe some sort of bonuses for off-the-wall thinking, but otherwise this scenario is in my top 5. I would play this again even if I didn't get credit for it just for kicks.
TL;DR: This scenario is guaranteed to cause laughter and fun, whether you are a new player or a veteran.
To any Paizo staff who see this review, please make more Sewer Dragon missions in the future. I would love to see what else these crazy, megalomaniacal, scaly fellows can do!


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Not for the faint of heart

2/5

I played this game with a good mix of old and new players. It was going great. We beat the first fight handily, while getting to know our somewhat quirky party members. We got through the social aspects with relative ease, though I felt that plot line had a lot of loose ends and ended with a strange off-the-wall ending that we didn't have any clue about (there was no real dialogue path or method for gaining information to understand the end result, so that seems like an issue).
The real problem came when we got to this big fight. If you play, especially in high tier, you'll know the one I'm talking about. My rogue got lucky with evasion to survive the onslaught, but our newest player, who was also the lowest level, was not so lucky. We retreated to safety and ended with a failure, which really stunk.
The worst part was that, unlike the one other time I've seen PCs die and a mission end in failure, this defeat was not a matter of poor optimization or a lack of appropriate gear or weapons. This fight, even as I look back on it, seems just plain mean. You're expected to handle these enemies who are set up specifically to wreck your day,with little to no info to go on to help you prepare and not a lot you can use to improvise if you have a bad time. All in all, this scenario was fine until that point, if a little confusing and long-winded at points. But that fight...


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Okay...but with a major snag

2/5

This scenario was kinda fun. We had a new player at our table, the GM was doing an excellent job of setting the scene and making sure we had fun without getting murdered. However, there were two things that made this scenario very very difficult.
Number one is the Twigjacks. Our new player nearly got killed by a barrage of splinters to the face. It was kind of annoying, if not terrifying. Still, I think that is less of a scenario issue and more of a slight balance issue. If we had been higher level or better equipped, we wouldn't find the Twigjacks so annoying (by the way, hope that doesn't spoil anything).
The second issue is the much bigger game-breaking problem: the puzzle section. I don't want to spoil anything, but this puzzle was so obtuse, with bits and pieces that seemed to have been left in from an earlier draft, but now felt out-of-place and downright confusing. This puzzle took up a huge chunk of our group's play time, and, in the end, it was solved not through our cunning or lateral thinking but because one of our players had GMed the game not too long ago and held our hands through the solution, though he made of point of saying he didn't want to just give us the answers.
If the puzzle made more sense, or rather any sense at all, this would have been an interesting and challenging scenario, but it was downright broken as it is.