RPG Superstar 8 Season Star Voter. Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber. Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis 2,849 posts (16,596 including aliases). 5 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 47 Organized Play characters. 17 aliases.
I still haven't decided, yet, if I like this better than Siege of the Diamond City, but they are both amazing.
I ran this table at subtier 7-8 at Gen Con, and just played it at subtier 5-6 at SkålCon. Both tables were fantastic.
Without going into too much detail...
Things I liked:
The options for characters in act two had a very similar feel to 5-99 The Paths We Choose. The characters could take options that best fit their characters, and the encounters were a lot of fun! I think between the two tables I ran or played all but the Silver Crusade mission. ☹
What I especially liked about these was that the encounters were a good balance of decent challenge without all of them being CR+3 or more, like has been the trend in recent years for specials. Some were mere speedbumps, some were more difficult. This is a Good Thing!
The choice in Act 3 wasn't as clear cut (though in playing, we went the path less chosen, especially at Gen Con). Having the choice was a Good Thing as well, especially when the choices were not the HUGE paths that were in Cosmic Captive!
On the Choices:
There probably needed to be a better incentive to go the Sea route. Most tables were afraid of going to sea, as they were wearing armor, and had very poor swim checks. This is totally understandable.
The choice to go the sea route seems even less effective since all of the other sections were opened up by going against the Minotaurs.
The special encounter was very neat for all but the highest tier, as they didn't get to use their new toy. This is unfortunately, but understandable.
On the final encounter, though, it seems that the lowest tiers had a bit too much drudgery involved, with a very limited cast of opponents. They were required to continually grind through the same encounters if they were fast about it.
Really, the same is true about the mid-tiers, without even having the advantage of a story encounter like the low tiers. Also, at least 7-8 should have been given the option of going after the boss (even though it would have been a Very Bad Idea for them to do so).
Thank you, Mikko, for an amazing scenario, and for listening to us at Paizo Con!
When I played it, we were warned about the need for Profession:Soldier, but for the most part, we were able to work around it and still succeed.
As a GM, I though this actually wasn't a bad scenario, but needed some GM love to bring it to life. Throughout the basic training, I had my R. Lee Ermey on, bringing out all the degrading rhetoric a drill sergeant could pull off. The players were frustrated by the high DCs (especially while they were fatigued), but once they got the full story, they got what was going on.
The challenges, at times, can be lethal for a level 1 PC, and the fact that this one actually discourages teamwork in the challenges makes it even harder (and counter-intuitive as a good Pathfinder).
But, all in all, the story was pretty good.
The one thing that I didn't care for was that we travel to the plane of Earth, and then really don't experience it. There wasn't a lot to differentiate this interesting city (other than some descriptive text, if the players are listening) from any city on Golarion.
This is an amazing scenario, but one that does demand a good amount of GM prep work, and it refines the social combat rules that have been evolving over the seasons. The mechanics used here are actually pretty easy to grasp for a player, but does require the the GM take a few moments to explain them (perhaps building a handout would help?)
The flow of this scenario is pretty cool, and totally unexpected. Will a team full murder-hobo AM BARBARIAN characters do well? Probably not, but if you are clever, it is still possible. Use of player aids, such as pictures of the people being interacted with, and perhaps note cards for what you have learned, would help, but isn't 100% necessary. What was really cool about it was that Diplomacy was not the only skill you could use! There was a lot of opportunity to use any skill... just might make the DC of the check harder! At one point, I even used Profession: Cop to make a check!
Could this scenario use more time to run than a five-hour slot require? Honestly, it doesn't need it. Heck, SWAT screwed around at first, taking 56 minutes to get through the briefing! After that, though, we were totally into the scenario. If a group wanted to talk out each end every encounter, sure. But, in a PFS environment, expecially during a Game Day or a Convention, all that is really needed is a few sentences to convey what is being said.
I had high hopes going into this scenario. Another trip to the Blakros museum! That's always fun, right?
Well, not in this case.
The investigation is dependent on some very specific skills... and you have to have multiple people in the group with those skills. You don't seem to get much out of the rolls, but if you don't make 6 perfect sets of checks, you fail your secondary mission.
Now I am all about investigations, or even research scenarios. Ancients Anguish was great, but the difference is that its mechanic allowed for more variation of skills, and rewarded a wider variety of skills. For this one, I would say that you want to bring in a team of arcane casters... with high int, and high skill checks in those specific skills.
My Warpriest, Gunari, is not a slouch at skills. In fact, he has 5 skills at +10 or better (Diplomacy +18, Intimidate +12, Sense Motive +17, Spellcraft +12, and Survival +10) (he is 9th level, but this is a class with 2+INT skills). He was utterly useless during the investigation phases. Useless
I felt punished for choosing what were good choices for my character, who is a reasonably well rounded individual.
I am sorry to say that this was a big let down for me, in a tier that is usually full of greatness.
Going to keep it simple and suite, but this scenario has pretty much everything in it. Interesting mechanics (some new, some used before), good RP, and good combats. Terrifying ones, even, which is what it should be for a 7-11.
Played this high-tier with MisterSlanky GMing... we had a BLAST playing!