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Good story and RP momentsSliska Zafir —
But the combats just don't present a challenge as written. Foes were not equipped and enabled to be a threat. Runs in 4 hours or less. GM tip: Use a voice distortion app and record Valor. It made my session fun.
Nothing really stood out (from the shadows...)Sliska Zafir —
I wasn't impressed with this one. The combats were humdrum and too similar. The one bright spot was the thing that followed the path, and made for interesting movement choices. Overall, the plot was thin and repetitive; too little advanced in the metaplot. Villains attacking the lodge have to be more clever - they were bland.
Excellence incarnate.Sliska Zafir —
This is everything I want in a haunted mansion fantasy adventure. A wide spectrum of foes, superb storyline, a well-done Research subsystem that rewards players for unraveling mysteries, and frightfully good horror moments.
If you like horror adventures, don't miss this one. I'm having an awesome time running it, and imagine as a player I'd rank it one of the highest ever. Ever. It's that good, and I've been playing FRPGs since 1978.
As a GM, prepare to answer some things like...is there a nearby town where we can buy supplies/do library research? I said yes, and used Carnav (Ravounel). They also had a campsite in Crook Cove.
This party works well for our group - bard, champion, rogue, investigator with heal focus. Investigator is almost a must. Cleric/Oracle of Pharasma also good. Also, as another reviewer said, playing in long sessions or playing weekly will enhance the player experience, as the story will seem more contiguous and players will be able to connect discoveries better than long downtimes.
Starfinder Adventure Path #35: Merchants of the Void (Fly Free or Die 2 of 6)Paizo Inc.
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One of the best..it deliversSliska Zafir —
But it gets knocked down a star, just due to that the "experimental" Oliphaunt actually has serious build errors, as presented. A power core that can't fit its frame, for starters (Pulse Black for Small, Oliphaunt is Medium). Second, the stat block spends too many Build Points and doesn't have enough Power Core Units to even power *one* of its two weapons, unless you drop shields or defensive countermeasures.
It needed a serious rebuild, and being one of the main foci of the adventure - customizing your ship - it really should've been double checked so the players start with a build that actually works with rules! Calling it "experimental" is no excuse. Only the cargo holds are, which has nothing to do with PCU/BP expenditures.
I hate taking away anything I gave, it just leaves an ugly taste in players mouths. I had to downgrade thrusters and shields. Even though there hasn't been a starship battle yet, it is a big mistake to give out something that you have to later take away. I hope my players understand. I posted alternative, rules-conforming stats in the discussion thread.
That said, this has been a BLAST to GM so far. One grim job, one odd job, one funny job, really just keeps it fresh. It definitely echoes Firefly moments, and is my favorite AP so far. The story parts are original and fascinating, it is excellent gaming, imho.
Novel idea, light on roleplayingSliska Zafir —
There are more fights than in your regular scenario. They just keep coming.
If you like combat slogs and dungeon crawling, you'll probably enjoy this. There are some tough fights inside.
The adventure lacks puzzles of any kind, and roleplaying / diplomatic encounters are very few. "Face" characters may feel less important.
Also, I like the premise of the curse, and there are nice flavorful elements like the pillar-watchers.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-09: The Seven Secrets of Dacilane AcademyPaizo Inc.
Our Price: $5.99Add to Cart
Novel Idea, well-executedSliska Zafir —
I like this adventure quite a bit.
Menace Under Otari - Solid!Sliska Zafir —
This review is just for the adventure portion included in the box. Menace Under Otari, as a classic dungeon crawl, is XP-thick, and I like this, as a feature of this product; you get to level in the adventure, and fight the final fight as 2nd level. That's a win in my book for the players. Diplomacy-based PCs may feel less useful in this adventure, but luckily all PF2E classes have pretty good balance and are able to contribute. If playing with 4 players, I'd recommend rewarding each hero a hero point per hour of play, or at the very least every two hours. With so many die rolls, those will come in handy.
Without giving too much away, the adventure has a good mix of different difficulty-level combats, some terrain challenges, and a puzzle. All of this is great for teaching the game.
If you plan to orient players to Otari and its locations and NPCs (say as a non-Pathfinder Society adventure, or to start the beginning of a campaign), I would definitely allow 5 hours for each session, so 10 hours for both parts. I GM'ed it in one go, and in retrospect, would've broken it into two sessions. If running it in one go 10 hours would allow you to take some breaks throughout, if just to break up the slog through the dungeon.
If running this online, I'd insist player come early for characters and training, unless they are good at figuring out VTTs, and experienced PF2E players. One other thing. Ask players to have their 2nd level choices decided before game time, as the game assumes that you will level before the end fight.
Overall, I'd love to play this particular adventure, because I like dungeon crawls, the tactical challenge they present, and this is, imho, a great beginner adventure. That said, the sanctioning document is very liberal with interpretation on how to run it, think "campaign mode", so I allowed any class/ancestry combos, but not rare backgrounds. Also, I had 5 players, only scaled up a few fights. 4 players may take a bit shorter than 10 hours.
Enjoy this fine product!
Fairly typical scenario, but...Sliska Zafir —
the 'puzzle' (and I use that term loosely) makes no sense whatsoever. And for not the reason you might think. It's so bad, it drags this scenario down far. 1.5 stars.
Ok, so there's an order of insertion of 5 objects that were effective enough to seal a being behind it. The 5 items have runes written in an ancient language. You translate the language into, presumably, Common, and...What are the Chances! When you translate this ancient language of cyclopean into Common, the order of insertion is written in Common on each of the objects, 'cleverly' (and I use this term loosely), hidden within the words.
Why? I guess because the author thinks its clever. That's fine if you're trying to decode some thieves' guild puzzle, where it would seem likely a thieves' guild could or would do such a thing.
But this is ancient Cyclopean. It wasn't designed by ancient cyclopes to be translated into Common and used by non-cyclopean speakers that way. That just strains belief way, way too much. And then making the puzzle pieces semi-contradictory, having the party debate over which is the correct translation of the two-possible translations, what is the correct order of the phraseology...ugh...
Just throw the whole 'puzzle' in the trash bin. Honestly, I don't know how this monstrosity got past the editors. I could see players think it was deeply un-enjoyable to be 'deceived' by something that was not logically, internally consistent.
That said, the fights were tough for our party (good) (the 4-player scaling a little questionable) , but also dialogue with the
Spoiler:left too much gray area. The party simply does not have enough information to reasonably pick any of the options of what to do with it, which makes any decision seem arbitrary and pointless. Maybe that was by design, but wholly unsatisfactory as a player.
After being pounded on relentlessly by the combats, there was very little to no resolution or resolution of the non-combat things you achieved.
Sadly, 2-03 felt like it's not a scenario you play, but one you endure. I don't have that kind of play experience often with PFS. I hope not to have it again any time soon.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #1-24: Lightning Strikes, Stars FallPaizo Inc.
Our Price: $5.99Add to Cart
Easy?Sliska Zafir —
It seemed like the fights could have been a bit tougher, but perhaps that was a function of our group makeup and initiative order (throwing fireballs...)
I sure hope PFS 2E scales up well. This scenario made me wonder if the GM had enough to work with.
A trip to Numeria is always fun and full of surprises.
Billed as combat heavy - deliversSliska Zafir —
If you want to roleplay, find that elsewhere. This is a scenario that can teach the combat rules. Thank your GM if he chooses to run it. It requires a bit more technical prep than most scenarios, and the experience is probably governed by how much prep the GM is able to make. That said, players can make anything fun (and add roleplaying). A different kind of scenario, and I like that.
SolidSliska Zafir —
Typical formulaic structure (hard to be atypical in org play though, so not much complaint there.) Liked the consequences for failure on skill checks - although bad luck begets more bad luck - and the end fight was a tough one for the PCs, a good thing, if the GM can take advantage of the tactical positioning.
Cool idea, poor executionSliska Zafir —
The idea of this scenario - a Second Seeker returns from a horrible mistake, needs a personal retreat, and seeks an unusual experience - is terrific, and ripe for adventure. A closer look at the kasatha is welcome, if a little boring.
There is no real difficulty in the social interactions; no real consequence for failures. Eventually you get to the end of your quest, and then...WHAM! A TPK waiting for most parties. No joke. Lulled into a false sense of complacency perhaps? But this encounter is off the charts CR 7. The end encounter abilities create a wildly swingy potential, and is really uncalled for. If you don't have the right mix of party types, with experienced players, you will probably need to run away and fail the quest.
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-08: Sanctuary of Drowned DelightPaizo Inc.
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Something smells fishy...Sliska Zafir —
Loved it! I enjoy the foreshadowing of all the Starfinder scenarios, and this one didn't disappoint. A tense, problem-solving oriented mystery unfolds with dilemma. You fight in their element and must prevail. Great stuff, Kate.
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-11: In Pursuit of the Scoured PastPaizo Inc.
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A cut aboveSliska Zafir —
This adventure, which continues the storyline begun in 1-05 The First Mandate, begins with a very unusual ceremony, allows the PCs to travel to a restricted planet, access privileged information, discover some unusual technologies and creatures, navigate an interesting enigma, learn more about the Scoured Stars incident and then foil the efforts of surprise enemies.
The variety of experiences the PCs have is rich! The combats are tactically interesting. The finale combat presents both players and GMs with some intriguing decision-making, and potentially severe consequences, which heightens the quality of this adventure immensely.
Setting up the planetary guardians to be imposing protectors of single copies of data is a very cool concept, but to then allow the Starfinder Society to have multiple copies of restricted data seems to undermine the guardian's mission, and is a strange exception to allow without a very good explanation. It makes one suspend disbelief. That's about it.
Wide customization but cakewalk fightsSliska Zafir —
Fighting a living starship was fun. All the random elements are fun to put together, especially if you have extra time to prep, and can harness your own inventory of maps, minis and sound effects. The storm and bridge encounter was the best of the bunch especially with the dramatic rescue of the dying native, and the tense round by round saves. However, why it's there and the source of it is not explained well. Also, I'd like to see a reasoning built in to the story to determine if the PCs have time to rest or not after the storm.
All of the combats were not just easy, but way too easy, especially the outpost security creatures and finale. The exile needs to be much more powerful. I'd like to see a few different maps for the outpost, but I know that presents some logistic challenges. It's just that players who've played it before will know where the enemy is. Maybe build in the ability to move the exile around to different rooms.