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RPG Superstar 8 Season Marathon Voter, 9 Season Marathon Voter. *** Pathfinder Society GM. 19 posts (20 including aliases). 215 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 19 Organized Play characters.



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Guess who's back!

5/5

The prequel to this scenario is one of my all-time favorites and I was worried the sequel would be less good. While that indeed is the case, this scenario is still excellent. My gnome summoner continued to run around and hug a certain NPC the entire time, which led to some awkward situations near the end.

The scenario does a great job at telling a story around one of the best NPC's in PFS history, while at the same time being able to create a creepy, mysterious atmosphere fitting to the surroundings. Combined with some interesting encounters that will surprise you, this scenario is simply a good adventure. I struggle to find a part that I didn't enjoy. The fact that it can run long is possibly the only thing that could be an issue, but I played it in a larger than normal timeslot anyway.

I'm more than curious to see what'll happen next. Everyone should consider playing this scenario, but I would advise them to play 5-09 first, just get to the most out of it.


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Kobold or go home!

5/5

Every now and then you stumble across a scenario that just blows you of the water. This is one of them. Every single thing about this scenario is amazing. It's like We Be Goblins went on steroids and not only maintained the same level of quality, but even improved on it. To that I can only say 'bravo'.

Each of the pregens feels unique, acts in a different way and has a nice gimmick to him or her. It takes hardly any effort to quickly understand what every kobold is about. It just works like a charm. Even the NPC are more than just memorable, so hold on to your Hats for this rollercoaster of a ride. It literally will take you from one laugh to the next, all while following an epic journey, at least for these lovely small creatures. I really hope to see more of this, preferably with the same cute kobolds.

In conclusion I'll say the same thing here as I've already told people face-to-face in real life: if given the opportunity to play this scenario, do not hesitate and go for it. Pregens might not be your thing, but without any doubt you're going to love these kobolds.


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A great introduction, but flawed as an evergreen

3/5

Roughly 18 months after I played my first PFS-scenario, I got to play this evergreen for the first time. I feel like an actual Pathfinder now, which is strange given the time it took me to get round to this. Looking back, I neither like nor dislike the scenario.

For a new player, it's a great scenario. You get to learn what a typical scenario would be like and it's pretty straightforward. It's a good introduction and it seems to be easy to prepare and run for a GM as well. For a more experienced player, it's a bit unfortunate that it lacks a story a little. You get various small arcs that create a story together, but it feels a bit like a patchwork of things.

Furthermore I have to say that having the BBEG fight potentially at the start – which is something my characters would opt for every single time as you don't leave a friend behind – it makes the rest of the encounters feel like a 'is that all?' kind of thing. It's a little disappointing in that sense, giving the whole a scenario an anticlimactic vibe.

My last issue is that I just can't see it be fun as an evergreen. It's too straightforward and lacks variety to simply play and appreciate it again. I'm sure the creatures will change, but if that's the only thing that will be different, it's just not enough for me personally. The only two reasons I can think of that would make me want to play it again, would be the boons on the chronicle or if I'd make it a legal table for others to enjoy. It's a good and enjoyable scenario, but not really worth repeating. As it's an evergreen, I feel obliged to lower my final rating by one star, leaving it with 3 out of 5 stars.


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An investigation that is overly reliant on specific capabilities.

3/5

I GM'ed this scenario earlier today and I had fun. It's a nice mixture of memorable encounters with opponents and NPCs alike, and a decent investigation with some extras. However I have to echo the sentiments of some of the reviews below and what has been written on the forums.

You see, the scenario features two distinct and separate storylines. For a GM it's obvious how these come together, but for players that's just different. You really need to use a particular spell multiple times to figure out one of them, and you likely won't have the means for that as a party. It's a shame really as it adds a lot of background to the scenario and enriches the scenario as a whole. You can do without for sure, but it's a bit too good to pass up on. Having that spell be more readily available can only be recommended to other GMs running this scenario.

I'm also a bit saddened that there's also a major focus on a single knowledge skill. Without having that one in the party, this scenario will be rather hard to comprehend. I don't mind having a certain area of expertise be important throughout an entire scenario, but I feel like it's a little overboard. That said, it's a double-edged sword. You need it maybe too often, but it also adds a lot of flavor to scenario.

Even though I quite liked it and would love to run it again, it's a bit too reliant on certain skills and spells. I'm worried that a party without access to them will struggle too much to understand what's going on and will thus not enjoy it that much. A party, on the other hand, that has that skill and that particular spell, and who also likes to role-play a lot, will love this scenario a lot and will certainly appreciate the story it offers. It's too much of a hit or miss for my taste I'm afraid.


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The awkwardness continues

3/5

In my review of part 1 I mentioned how it is essentially investigation-based railroad with a lot of role-play opportunity. The same can be said for part 2.

Once more I found myself GM'ing a scenario that offers a lot of freedom during the information gathering portion. The sheer amount of unique NPC's are a veritable treasure trove and the players loved talking to them. As characters, they loved it, but as players they really disliked the fact that all their clever talks more or less were leading to nothing. Once more the railroad struck again. Perhaps I should have improvised a bit better, but the whole 'roll the same check multiple times even though it doesn't matter' just didn't sit well with them, nor with me for that matter.

Luckily there were also combats. Now, the fight was supposed to be challenging turned out to be a joke. I'm sorry, but a 5 hp cleric at low tier is not going to do much. I'm surprised that she was left standing after 5D6 of damage were rolled and then halved due to successfully rolling a Will Save. That itself was a miracle. That said, the whole 'lodge' section of the story was a nice change of pace with a variety of fun fights. The scorpion was really scary and I do not have to explain why goblins can be hilarious.

Overall I rate it higher than part 1, say a 3.5 instead of a 3, but it still has its awkward moments where it struggles on a mechanical level. Some encounters feel outdated and a group of 6 players should not really struggle. Still it has its moments and it is certainly not tedious or boring. I can only recommend GM's to prepare some things to smooth out the storyline in case the investigation part isn't exactly what your party enjoys doing. Tossing some extra clues to visit certain areas of the city and forcing them to narrow it down might help players enjoy and appreciate the first part of the scenario just that little bit more.


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An awkward combination of sandbox and railroad

3/5

I had the pleasure of running this scenario earlier this week for a band of misfit pathfinders. Above anything else I agree with some of the others below that the scenario is hard to rate. It's essentially an investigation-based railroad with a lot of role-play opportunity.

And that's exactly my issue with it. It's a railroad, meaning players can not easily deviate from it. You have to accept a certain favor in order to progress and to proceed to part 2, but my players had valid in-character reasons to not do so. You can have all the fun role-play you want, but in the end certain things have to happen and there is no way around it, mostly due to the second part. It's basically frustrating and I could see the disappointment on the faces of my players. They specifically said they didn't blame me, but I as a GM still feel like I failed to some extent even though I probably shouldn't be feeling that way.

The scenario started on a great note. The players had fun dealing with the first encounter and loved role-playing with each other. They had the chance to really show off the quirks of their characters and enjoyed the first couple of acts. They also enjoyed meeting Dakar - the Taldor faction mission is weird and awkward, but still amazingly memorable - as well as the way they got to him. The freedom they had to talk to NPC's was appreciated as well, though it had to be cut a little short due to time constraints, but the way they had to progress through the story ruined the mood at the table a fair bit.

In short, I'd say that the scenario has a lot of things going for it, but that it fails to be an actual sandbox. It offers the room for it by having a bunch of fun NPC's the players can talk to, but in the end they still are forced to follow a certain path no matter what happens or what they want. It basically ruins the freedom they get. It has a huge amount of potential, but is limited by actions that have to take place regardless of what the players want to do. I know that's partially due to the premise of the second part, but it feels awkward.


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Great start for a three-parter

5/5

I really had a great time playing this scenario today. This is a typical case of a scenario that depending on the GM can either be mediocre or outstanding. Luckily for me I had a great one. He fleshed out the Chelaxian bureaucracy for instance, which in total kept us laughing for at least an hour. I know the devil is in the details, but it's certainly fitting for Cheliax.

In terms of structure, this scenario features some creative problem-solving with plenty of opportunity for social skills, but also some fun and challenging combats. Starting with the problem-solving, I have to say that it really allows characters to be true to themselves. They can virtually do anything in order to succeed at a certain goal I will not be spoiling here. Out-of-the-box thinking is definitely rewarded here.

The combats ranged from 'what is this/is this really happening' to a potentially scary encounter which can easily go either way depending on the dice involved due to the creatures involved. One of the encounters in particular is bound to leave people flabbergasted. To say it's something you've never seen before, would be an understatement. The locations and environmental effects add extra flavor, making this memorable and fun scenario overall regardless of the approach of your party.

There are however two downsides to this scenario, both having to do with the fact it's first part of three. The first is that we don't know if the other two parts will be fun to play, but now you're more or less forced to keep going anyway. The second issue, is the fact that it ends relatively abruptly. It doesn't really provide closure. While it makes sense and doesn't personally bother me, I can imagine this is different for other people. That said, I am really looking forward to the next part and I hope it'll be of similar quality.


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You only die twice, but once is enough

4/5

In the review below by Ascalaphus, he mentions the death of a character. Turns out that my Alchemist was going to have a bad day. It's a risk you take when playing up, but if we hadn't done so the scenario would have been casual stroll in the park. Even now I feel like the first couple of encounters were pretty much non-existant. However that last fight can really be scary.

Now, I'm not entirely sold on the story, or rather, the objective. If a book is that powerful, why are we Pathfinders the only ones actively looking for it? Just because you're undead doesn't mean you stop looking. You got all the time in the world simply because you can not die. That said, the rest of the scenario is excellent. You really get a different perspective on things once you've been undead and visited an undead heavy society. It's an eye-opener of sorts and the creative setup alone makes this a scenario everyone should play.

The only reason I'm not giving it five stars, is the fact that the scenario is written as a railroad and doesn't expect players to deviate from it. However, that's basically our group did with little to no effort: deviate from the beaten path. I could see (and hear) the GM struggling to get us to go in the right direction again since in his words 'this wasn't supposed to happen'. Mind you, he did a great job stitching things back together, but I find it unfortunate doesn't take multiple approaches into account. That said: fun and unique scenario, well worth playing!


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A sad and dissapointing sequel

1/5

Quentin, who was playing at the same table, stole my thunder with his review below. I can only echo his thoughts. I indeed spend one combat only casting Guidance since I really had nothing better to do. I could cast other spells, but that would have been a waste and frankly was not necessary either. Combat throughout the adventure was extremely one-sided and uneventful. It didn't pose a real threat or challenge to the party and more importantly, it was bland and boring. Maybe the last fight could have been interesting, but why was it optional, and why was it even there? No explanation was given.

It's sad to see a huge cave (one square is 10ft.) being used so incredibly poorly. If I look back to the areas where we had the small skirmishes and the little to no meaningful role-play with NPC's, I'd say only 25 percent of the map was being used. That leaves a lot of room for fun and engaging faction missions, but instead the faction mission I got was basically to not kill the aspis agents and to take them prisoner. If that wasn't possible, I could kill them but had to kill make sure their bodies remained intact. Since when is that worthy of being a faction mission; how does that differ from normal procedures? It added absolutely nothing at all to the scenario and instead was an utter waste of paper.

When I played part one of this small series, I was impressed by the location, the witty encounters, the rolep-playing and the puzzle. I was looking forward to playing the sequel, but now I can only say this part is outstanding in being disappointing at every single aspect. The amount of missed opportunities for interesting rooms, role-play and fights is massive. There really is no point in playing this, unless you wanted to follow up on the promise you might have made in part 1.


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The Zyphus Games

4/5

When signing up for this session, it occured to me that I would be playing this scenario somewhat out of order. After all, I had previously played Among the Gods, a scenario that is to be considered the sequel to this one. To make things even more confusing, I've not played the prequel, namely Among the Living, to this unofficial second part either. I would have missed out on a lot of background information had the GM not been kind enough to explain it to me regardless. If anything, I'd highly recommend playing the three scenarios in order, which also means that Paizo should mention the existence of 'Among the Gods' in the description above (even though I still recommend people to not play that scenario).

But back to Among the Dead. I was worried at the start that it would be similar to its sequel: annoying, no storyline and simply no fun. As I'm sitting at my desk behind a computer, I'm happy to say that Among the Dead is far better as I actually had a lot of fun. The storyline is still iffy and a bit on the weak side, but the overall theme was fun. This scenario is basically a big dungeon crawl with an emphasis on 'accidents', whether they already happend or still waiting to happen. Even the monsters really fit the theme. If the GM does a good job accentuating these, let's call them 'unfortunate situations', you get a very thematic, memorable unique setting. That is to say, I enjoyed what could best be described as Golarion's version of the Hunger Games. It really gave me, as as player, good insight into the worship of Zyphus.

As others mentioned before, you do require a certain skillset in order to reliably make your way through this hideout relatively unscathed. If you don't, the scenario could very well be a frustrating endeavour that requires either a lot resources, or a fair amount of creativity to even stand a chance. Luckily my party had two characters to deal with the issues at hand: a telekineticist and, perhaps surprisingly, a gunslinger. Instead of taking the normal approach of stealth and cunning, we took a more loud and arrogant approach. Things were flying everywhere to great effect, and while the scenario is limited on role-play opportunities with NPC's, our party ended up spending a huge portion of time interacting with each-other. We shared an equal amount of laughs based on our interactions, as well as the scenario. Without a doubt I will recommend this scenario to others.


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More than just excellent and memorable

5/5

Some scenarios are memorable because of the fights in it, some because of the storyline and the NPC's involved. Few however manage to excel on both fronts. The Frostfur Captives is one of those amazing scenarios.

The whole 'protect X on a journey' is a familiar plot for a quest. Having those prisoners be goblins in this case, is just wicked fun. Even if the GM isn't doing a lot when it comes to fleshing the goblins out, it's still a pain having to deal with such mischievous creatures. However if your GM goes out of his/her way to really make the party interact with the goblins, you'll be in for a treat. There is no limit to what you can do or what can happen.

This scenario offers interesting and good quality fights, but above anything is a role-play goldmine. It's a story that every player should at least experience once and I thoroughly agree with the high overall rating for this scenario. It truly is worthy five stars.


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Perfect for a stormy winter's evening.

4/5

I ran this scenario last week for a party of six and I had a good time. The atmosphere this scenario presents is exquisite. From the weather to the descriptions of the various rooms, all of them do a great job creating a really good stage for the story to take place. Compared to other scenarios, you really want to hear what every room looks like and you wonder what will be around the next corner.

The scenario however is very dependent on a single NPC. If that NPC gets dismissed by the players early on, be it by combat or by lack of interest to role-play with, the scenario loses a lot of its flavor. While there are some countermethods for the GM in order to keep that NPC around, it is certainly not a guarantee. I myself had to do my best to consistently make that NPC interesting for everyone to interact with and to convince everyone she was indeed a good person. Still I could see my players really doubt the NPC and struggling not to let that affect their character's decisions.

As for the encounters, I'd say they can be scary and very well kill a person. They too have a lot of flavor to them, making Day of the Demon an excellent scenario to play on a stormy winter's evening. Especially the optional encounter can be very rough for a low level party. Luckily my party spend a lot of time role-playing and talking to each other, otherwise there may have been a few casualties. The final fight, again, is a bit too dependent on circumstances. If the BBEG gets to follow her tactics, it'll be a nasty fight. If not, well, it could be fairly anti-climactic.

I honestly think this is a great scenario. Given the setting and the plot, I would go so far as to give it 5 stars, were it not for one little thing: the NPC this scenario more or less revolves around. Yes, the NPC is great and fun, but a few good skillchecks can really ruin the overall experience. Even if the skillchecks don't happen, players can very well not show any interest in role-playing with that NPC, which instantly makes the scenario less fun. If you like role-playing, this scenario is excellent in every single way. Even if you're a murderhobo, you'll still get some nice challenges. All in all, it's a solid scenario, worthy of at least 4 stars.


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A surprising railroad dungeon

4/5

I played this scenario with amongst others Quentin – see his review below. I basically echo his sentiments. For me this was a rather railroady dungeon crawl, but one that does stand out from others in multiple ways.

I'd start with mentioning the combats and environments. When you enter a pyramid, you obviously expect to face undead. This scenario however pits you against scary combinations of creatures you'd not instantly expect to face. At the same time, these combination complement each-other really well and combined with the environment could really pose problems for the average party. Especially the first fight really hit our group hard. The combination of environments and opponents really make this pyramid stand out from others.

Sadly I do have to mention the exception to that, which is the last fight. After some really nasty and tough fights, I expected something equally scary at the end. However the end came suddenly. The final fight didn't even last a complete round before it was over, and that's not because we as a party did a bunch of damage. We didn't do particularly well with our dice that fight, and yet it ended so abruptly that it felt rather disappointing. The one thing that fight did do well, was setting the stage for the second part.

A final mention should go to the puzzle. It was rather enjoyable. It had a simple design, but with a nice twist to it in the form of a different language. Now as others mentioned below, there's a rather easy way to solve it, but even without that we would have probably figured it out eventually. It would have honestly not bored me to figure this out over a large portion of time, unlike some of the other puzzles I've seen.

I quite liked this scenario and I'm looking forward to playing part 2. I do hope the final fight actually is a fitting end for this series though!


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Unknown, underloved and underappreciated

4/5

I'm sad and surprised there's no review for this yet, especially as it's a free product. Given the fact it roughly takes an hour to play, I'd imagine that it has been played a few times before. But fear not, I shall fix this.

The premise of this quest is straightforward: bring back an artefact and explore a location. Yet nothing is ever easy for a pathfinder. There's always something more to it and obviously that's the case here as well.

Now, given the fact that it's a quest, the investigation part has to be done quickly. In a mere 10 minutes you can find a total of 4 different clues that something is not what it seems to be. Even with one clue the player (and not the PC) will feel something is wrong and look for more evidence. Should the PC's not piece it together quick enough, there's a chance they'll be surprised by what's about to happen, though the players will probably already see it coming.

But there is more! If you try this now, you will not only have an investigation on your hands, but also a puzzle or two, a scary final fight and a whole bunch of creepy atmosphere along the way. Personally I'm a bit confused as to the point of two of the creatures in the final fight, especially when it comes to their tactics. Thematically it's great, but it's so unlikely to succeed, that's it honestly feels better as a comic element to it all. Which, I may add, is enjoyable as well.

But wait, that's not all! This product also comes with four level five pregens. You actually get an unchained rogue, unchained monk, unchained barbarian and unchained summoner to have fun with. Unless I'm mistaken, you finally get to play a pregen summoner is a Pathfinder Society session. It's a great way to get used to this class as otherwise you wouldn't be able to.

In the end, I'd say that the writer tried too much to fit the investigation portion in 10 minutes. It's a bit rushed. Had it been a bit more spread out, it would have made the rest of the temple a slightly more interesting location. However, it's a quest and thus time is an issue and has to be taken into account. In roughly an hour, you get to do partake in multiple fights, do some exploration, investigation and minor puzzle-solving while also having new pregens at your disposal. Let's be honest, doesn't that sound fun?


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A creepy introduction to Pathfinder

4/5

Just like the Silverhex Chronicles, I ended up doing the entirety of the Phantom Phenomena in one sit. Every player was allowed to change characters between quests, and so we saw the majority of the occult classes make an appearance. Especially the Spiritualist and the Kineticist were popular.

Harrow was the first one we visited. The group entered the village and one of them even got hit by a horseshoe. It wasn't the start we imagined, but it was fun regardless. What this quest does well, is create a spooky atmosphere. It really sets the tone for the entire series in a dramatic fashion.

Lightning was next and I'm a bit on the fence about it. The idea of exploring red lightning and gathering ectoplasm is nice and throwing in a haunt as well as a silly gnome is a nice change of pace, but if you have a certain pregen with you in the party – Hello Kyra! – it's basically a walk in the park. Without her, I can imagine it being a rather more difficult quest though.

Third up was Manor. Again immersion and atmosphere dominate this quest. I'm tempted to say it's tied with University for best quest in the series. It's creepy, spooky and the combat is fairly eventful. I quite like it.

I can not really say the same about Monolith. The description of the place is nice, but then instead of doing something with the monolith itself, you enter a creepy cave. The misleading title just annoys me and when the first encounter isn't scary at all, it doesn't really attribute to the overall immersion. The last encounter is more challenging, but I can't honestly say it fits the theme of the Phantom Phenomena overall. It felt out of place.

Following that, we played University. I loved this part. From the floating room with the entertaining NPC to the encounter at the end, it is simply a lot of fun. The encounter at the end actually was the most difficult in the entire series. It just went on and on due to some poor rolls on the PC's side, but it didn't really feel boring either.

Epicenter was the grand finale, or at least it's supposed to be on paper. Thematically it is great. Again the creepy atmosphere oozes through to the players, but that final fight was anticlimactic. The four-player adjustment really lowers the scariness by a lot and if you face casters or anything that just targets touch, it's just going to make the GM cry. I myself faced a spiritualist, kineticist, gunslinger and occultist. It hardly felt challenging for the players at all and I was honestly a bit disappointed I couldn't make it feel like an actual tough ending.

Overall the Phantom Phenomena are nice short adventures which all provide a different experience. There's role-play, puzzle-solving, investigation and combat. However players will miss out on a lot of the background and the bits that are available require a vast diversity of knowledge checks. If your party lacks those skills, it's rather difficult to get the overarching plot.

To summarise: it has a better plot than the Silverhex Chronicles, but it's a probably too hard to find out about. That said, it's thematically better as there's more of an emphasis on the atmosphere throughout the quests. I do however feel as if there's slightly less room for creativity than is the case in the Silverhex Chronicles. I'd say they're equally good so I'll just echo what I wrote for the Silverhex Chronicles: for a free product it's rather good and serves as a good introduction to Pathfinder. Based on that I give it four stars.


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Roughly ten hours of very well-executed investigation

5/5

I enjoy sandbox scenarios and modules. It rewards creativity and player ingenuity. You can imagine how pleased I was upon discovering this was one of those kind of modules. Now, of course there are some scripted events in order to keep the story moving. However, that didn't bother me or the other players in the slightest. There's was more than enough to do to fill the time between the events.

The NPC's were memorable and what can arguably be considered the main location had a ton of flavor to it. Exploring it and enjoying all the various activities there were more than just satisfying. I was lucky to have a GM that could really build on what was already there and who was able to create a massive sense of immersion.

We didn't get bored a single second. It was a huge roller-coaster of investigation and the occasional fight. The fights were scary and the last one in particular can kill an entire party. Through sheer luck and teamwork, we managed to come back from the brink of elimination and death. I do not have to say how happy we were that we not only survived, but also stopped evil from achieving their goal.

I can't speak for the others, but I think it's safe to say that we really got the feeling that we truly accomplished something, something more than in a typical PFS scenario. From that point of view, as well as the amount of fun and flavor involved, it was an excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon and evening. I wouldn't really play it again. After all, I know the plot and thus how to do the investigation. However, I would highly recommend this module to others, as long as they enjoy sandboxes and investigation.


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Excellent story with tons of flavor

4/5

After a very awkward part 1, I ended up playing part 2 this weekend. After the introduction, essentially the recap of first part, the story continued and my psychic found herself in a new party. During the course of the adventure, the backstory of part 1 was (finally) revealed to me. Part 1 suddenly made more sense and seemed more fun that it was for me due to circumstances.

But we're here to read my review of part 2. Long story short: I liked it way more than part 1. Compared to some of the recent scenarios I've played, this one simply stood out in a positive way. While it could have been due to a different GM, but there was more flavor to everything. The scenery had nice side-effects to it and every structure had a distinct and unique vibe to it. Every chamber felt complete from an immersion point of view.

Even the “monsters” encountered felt good. The fights were at times certainly challenging and each required different tactics. I could easily call two of the fights in this scenario memorable. The first due to the environment, and I'm pretty sure the other one is obvious after you have played the scenario yourself. A word of caution is in order: just like part one, it's best to not underestimate this scenario as it can be lethal.

If the goal was to create a worthy sequel, I dare say that the writer managed to exceed expectations and took the challenge to a whole new level. A special mention should go to the chronicle sheet, in particular the items. They too ooze a ton of flavor. I do hope this starts a trend of an increasing number of interesting and unique trinkets.


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Untapped potential strikes again

3/5

I played this scenario last night on the low tier. Truth be told, I'm still a bit on the fence about the whole ordeal. Let me start with saying that it is always interesting to venture to a certain museum where we all know something always goes wrong. This time is no different and you as player will soon learn of an interesting plot involving a portal and an evil returning called 'the Devourer of Reason'. So far, that's solid enough for a scenario and allows your imagination to run rampant.

But then disappointment struck, at least for me. Due to it being low-tier, every single creature, except for the BBEG and one other encounter, was in lack of a better description a baby version of something else. I'm not going to lie, but that makes me feel like this scenario was originally written for tier 4-5 only. Since a different tier was needed to make it an official scenario, the writer just took the easy way out and used younger versions of the creatures instead of finding a suitable alternative. It just doesn't sit right with me. Where are the mommy and daddy? Why are they not protecting their offspring? The answer is 'because this is not high tier' and that just ruins the immersion a bit.

At the same time, you're required to find certain components to progress through the building. You have to place them into some mosaic and the parts are made out of different metals. That's basically all there's to know about that puzzle and the trinkets involved. I'm going to be honest and say that's just too little information for a GM or player to work with.

When I play a scenario, I want descriptions of what I look at, how things fit together into a single thing, what it then looks like and what it could mean. Having it only be 'it fits into the relief of the mosaic' is simply not enough and honestly quite lacking. A similar comment could be made for statues: what do they look like? What do they depict? It's information like that brings a scenario to the next level in terms of experience. Sadly, it's missing in this scenario.

Like I said, I'm on the fence about this scenario. The plot has potential and the locations too, but it lacks the means of immersion. A good GM can easily fix that, but it's a little disheartening to know it's not already in the scenario itself. Furthermore I'm a bit disappointed in the creatures on the low-tier, though I'm sure that situation is better on the high-tier. In the end, I can't really say this scenario was memorable for me. It's not something I'd like to play again or would like to run for others. It's not bad, don't get me wrong, but it's not good either. It's just somewhere in the middle of the pack.


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Underwhelming and in desperate need of a revision

2/5

I played this scenario last night and overall I had fun, but that's mostly due to the players and GM. The scenario starts with a nice premise and the plot has certainly potential, yet fails to really deliver on it. It honestly feels like the atmosphere and story is made by the encounters and fights. The places you visit just don't really seem to contribute to the story. Given the plot, that's a shame. The books could have really been used more to set the mood than is the case right now.

I would even go so far as saying that the story is more based on the encounters, than on it having a story behind it. The creatures are great and diverse, especially the first and last one. That diversity is the sole reason I give it a second star. However yet again I'm forced to say that while there is potential, it's poorly executed. Honestly, the first encounter is great, but the fight with the BBEG is a huge, huge disappointment.

At this point I'm considering throwing in some more 'huge' in that sentence, because that really is the case. It was the biggest let-down I've had in PFS to date. The tactics make absolutely no sense whatsoever. It literally is 'it will do X, and then just do nothing other than getting killed while posing no threat at all'. That's just no fun. The only thing that it has going for it, is it's appearance. That's unique and really fascinating, but it will never succeed at anything due to the tactics it has to follow.

Due to that final fight, the scenario ends on a sour note. It's underwhelming and doesn't leave the players satisfied. I wouldn't recommend this scenario at all, unless it is for a revision, but that's something it sadly will never receive. I think the best we as players can do now, is starting a 'hug the sea witch' faction.


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A really solid investigation

4/5

I GM'ed this scenario this week for a low tier party. As the GM, I loved it. I like scenarios where you have to investigate areas in order to progress, but also are free to do so in a random order. You get a bunch of random places, a bunch of different NPC's and a whole lot of information that at first glance is very confusing to the players. They will look at it and wonder why it is all relevant. Some players literally asked out of character 'why would we even need that information, how could that possible be relevant?' only to have all of it make sense at the end. That last part is a testament to the story of this scenario and how well everything comes together.

The investigation part is simply put solid. More importantly, compared to Out of Anarchy which shares a similar setup, it is far more friendly when it comes to time-management. You can take your time to role-play at every location without having to worry you'll be able to finish the scenario in your timeslot. This scenario does an amazing job at balancing investigation with fights in a timeslot. The only negative thing I can point out when it comes to this part, is a lack of the map of Tamran itself to give the players a better sense of direction.

The combats can all be challenging, but are nicely spread out. I think the arcanists could be a handful given the right circumstances, yet my players managed to simply charge them down in a single round. I guess that's always a thread when there's a mounted, charging cavalier around. Having the map be a little bit bigger would have made it a bit more interesting though! The rest of the combats have a distinct flavour to them as well. They're not just encounters, but they have a certain atmosphere or character to them that makes them stand out. The final boss is just thematically excellent in my opinion.

All in all, I had a blast of a time. There was a bunch of laughing, lots of exploration and some rather nice combats. It's a great example of an investigation-themed scenario that's well executed. I'd easily recommend this scenario, even more so when compared to Out of Anarchy. It feels polished and satisfying, but a little bit more information on Tamran and the various locations would have made it even better. Right now, it's still a more than solid four-star scenario in my book; one that I'd happily run again and again.


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Winter is coming.. to an end

3/5

After the previous two parts, I was looking forward to finish this storyline in style. This part does a better job at setting the mood and scene. Though it's a railroad of scripted fights, which sadly have to be fights and can't be solved otherwise, part 3 of Shades of Ice provides the players with a good indication of what the surroundings are like. You get to meet local clans, diverse creatures and you are forced to deal with the inhospitable lands themselves. I quite enjoyed learning more about this corner of the world.

The fights are either really scary, or a walkover. There's no middle-ground, which is a little disappointing. The fact that you can't solve encounters multiple ways really annoyed me though. You're told that if you do X, they won't fight and when you act upon that information, you still get attacked. While I can understand why they're acting like that, it contradicts well-meant help given to you earlier. I spend an entire fight only spamming Stabilize and trying to use Diplomacy. It does not make for a fun or memorable encounter.

What is a memorable encounter though, is when you meet the leaders of a tribe and then face the big bad evil. Sadly that big bad evil isn't as scary as the first encounter in this scenario and ended abruptly when an NPC managed to crit the BBEG. That said, and combined with the boon, there's a lot of flavour to it and I'm thinking of getting a follower based around that.

Overall, it's probably the part of the series I liked the most, though the bar-fight in part 1 is the most memorable experience. It's not the best series out there, but it's still not bad. The boon is worth all the effort as well, so in the end I still recommend this questline albeit weakly.


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A chance for revenge

3/5

The storyline of this scenario only works well when your character has a connection to the villains. Without that you'll probably be left wondering why you are forced to chase down these random individuals that apparently are really dangerous, but that you have never heard of. But even if you have that connection, there might still be a chance you do not care that much about those two BBEGs. The plot, therefore, can be hit or miss and I can understand why some people didn't fully enjoy the scenario.

As for me, well, my cuddly, cheerful summoner is of a kind and forgiving nature, but when she was offered to opportunity to hunt down a certain individual in this scenario, she immediately accepted. That particular individual has done gruesome things and deserves to be punished in her mind. That individual is the only one she wants to die, so I as a player enjoyed the story a lot and felt immersed instantly.

The fights were challenging and at times rather rough. On multiple occassions I was wondering if we were going to survive this ordeal. Thankfully we managed to stay alive and even to get revenge. This was mostly due to some great teamwork and I have to admit that a big portion of how much I enjoyed the scenario was due to the other players.

If it wasn't for the other players, or for the fact that I had a connection of sorts with one of the evil guys, I think the scenario would have been rather plain. The fights are fine, and the atmosphere can be amazing, but it misses a plot that speaks to everyone. As a result, I'm hesitant to recommend this scenario.


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Am I glad I don't sleepwalk..

3/5

The whole idea of following or escorting an NPC is not a new concept. Having that NPC be a magically compulsed sleepwalker however is a pretty nice twist. It also adds a whole new dimension to helping an NPC navigate through different dangers. There's no convincing to be done, so instead you'll have to come with alternative solutions to traverse challenges. It rewards creativity, something that's preferable over being railroaded.

I also liked the whole 'hey, what's that gnome doing here' part. I'm sure it would have been a nice puzzle, were it not for the fact that we split up and accidentally woke up the final encounter from its slumber. That more or less forced to halt our investigation, something we would have easily succeeded at. The timing however ruined it for us, as was probably intended by the writer. It's a choice I personally don't really enjoy. Now I just feel like I was deliberately locked out of a fun puzzle by something that was out of my control.

I'm okay with not receiving the full reward for a scenario, but it should be a group decision that leads to that. Right now I just feel let down and disappointed I didn't get to experience the whole story. It doesn't sit well with me that I didn't get to understand the plot or can make complete sense of what was going on. That really bothers me and that will impact the final score.

That said, it's a rather fun adventure. Thinking outside the box to overcome challenges and having to solve some interesting puzzles is always nice. The fact you can miss out on some of the story, and thus understanding the bigger picture, is however a big flaw in my opinion. I'd still recommend the scenario, but with a note to others to take things slowly and one at a time.


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A special with a high emphasis on combat

3/5

Specials are always, well, special. It's fun to have a lot of people around, and that's no different for this one. However, if I'm going to be honest, it just didn't have the same 'wow'-factor as other specials I've played. A menagerie is fun, but it felt a bit out of place to me. I simply struggle to imagine such a zoo in the backyard of our glorious lodge, but that might just me. Various kinds of archives would have made more sense to me.

What also failed to make sense to me, but what might be explained in 6-98, were the combats. As it stands now, they felt a bit random. I struggled to find any sort of connection between them all. It was as if a handful of different encounters were just tossed together, only in an effort to provide the players with challenging fights. And challenging they were, they really packed quite a punch. I would have liked a bit more background on the fights. That way it would have been more of a story. Mind you, this is from a tier 5-6 perspective and might very well be different and more cohesive in the other tiers.

Another point that disappointed me a little, was the fact that the special didn't really reward creativity. In the previous specials I've played, such as Legacy of the Stonelords, it felt as if all skills were useful. This time around, you could only use non-combat skills at the start of the special. After that, it was basically fight after fight. That basically disallows you to showcase your prowess other than your martial capabilities. With all respect, I feel that's a flaw in design, especially for a special. A mix of the two throughout the entirety of a special, such as in the Legacy of the Stonelords, is far more preferable in my opinion.

That's not to say the special is bad in every single way. As I mentioned, the fights are challenging and I was happy to see the return of the 'district-control'-mechanism. It also felt as if players had more time for encounters compared to every previous special. That is a major improvement that can not be stressed enough.

I just don't think it's as good or balanced as other specials when it comes to storyline and creativity. Compared to scenarios however, working together with multiple groups at the same time always adds that extra something to a special. That sense of cooperation is unrivalled and that alone makes me want to recommend Siege of Serpents. If you have a chance to play a special, you should always do so. But if you get the choose between Specials, I'd honestly go for a different one instead.


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Already a favorite for years to come

5/5

After having played the prequel (Black Waters), I had been looking forward to this scenario. I can honestly say that I've not been disappointed in the slightest. This scenario is just as good as the aforementioned one. I can't find a single thing I do not like about this scenario. The setting throughout the scenario was excellent, the encounters are solid, the freedom you as a player get to solve situations is sublime and the plottwist works well.

Normally I'd write a page and a half for a review, but it's not needed for School of Spirits. I wouldn't be surprised if people years from now look back at this scenario and call it a classic or a shining example of a good scenario. And if you don't believe me, you should stop reading this and play it as soon as possible. You will not be disappointed, but you will enjoy every second of it.


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