Cayden Cailean

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber. FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix 38,876 posts (56,290 including aliases). 20 reviews. 3 lists. 1 wishlist. 39 Organized Play characters. 42 aliases.



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Epic conclusion to the Scarab Sage faction.

*****

I have run this twice, will be playing it in less than a month via play-by-post, and have discussed it ad nauseum in the product and GM discussion. There isn't much else to be said. You will either hate this for the unfair odds, or love it for the incredible challenge. I choose the latter.


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A wide variety to ensure something suits your needs

*****

Most of this set is very specific in use. The set list highlights that there are over a hundred 1x1 tiles of various items. I personally have little use for them, and could have used more 2x2 tiles for pits and the like.

However, even the smaller subset of things I feel I will actually use is worth the price to have, and having those 1x1 tiles may come in handy somewhere down the line. The main complaint I have is the small number of certain types of tiles, but given the wide variety, the breadth of items is more important than the depth of each one.


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New class, new race, and some old stuff

*****

Nice to get some consolidation of books in.


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Beautifully crafted story marred by too many mechanics

***( )( )

There is so much to this scenario that is right, that it is a darn shame the wrong brings it down. I have played this scenario with my wayang cavalier, and read the scenario to prepare for running it in the future.

The plot is laid out in a sensible, if transparent manner. Each stage gives plenty of chances for interaction with the NPCs and exploration of the themes of wayangs. There is enough combat to suit the tactical players and built in characterization for the fights. (Being directed to be unpredictable and confusing was very enjoyable for my CN cavalier.)

The problems come from the vagueness of the story and the maligned verbal duel rules. There just isn't space to give enough fodder for the players to work with, a fault of writing constraints, and the inclusion of dense mechanics cuts that space down even further. Players need to be prepped for this scenario, a practically unforgivable sin for an adventure that needs to be accessible to players just walking up to the table for the first time. Assault on the Wound benefited slightly from not allowing 1st level characters and was still a black mark. To Seal The Shadow is stained even further by lacking that compensation.

I love this story. I hate the hoops required to enjoy it. This is one of the few scenarios I honestly never want to run.


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*****


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*****


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Nice kickoff for Season 6

****( )

Played at subtier 1-2 with a party of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level PCs. Overall enjoyed the lead-up to the first fight and had a fine time with it. (Opening with a crit on the monster helped.)

The Silver Crusaders were all over the NPC encounter, and having a non-combat resolution was appreciated.

The full complex was smartly designed and fairly challenging overall. Acting out our characters cluelessness at the tech was amusing.

I have yet to get a chance to review the higher subtier or GM it, so more opinions may be forthcoming.


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A Brief Return To Faction Missions

****( )

This scenario felt very much like First Steps: Electric Boogaloo with the interactions with faction leaders. However, most of my entertainment came from the group I was playing with rather than the scenario itself. Each mission seemed to vary in quality and length, making for a rather disjointed progression. (And 15 minute adventuring day.) Overall I would also give it 3.5 stars if I could.

This review may be updated after a replay to experience the other factions.

Update: After using a replay to experience two more of the missions, I find nothing to sway my opinion. There is a wide range that this scenario can play over, and it is quite hefty overall for maybe not as much gain as I would like. I feel like First Steps would have felt like this, had it been done in one scenario rather than three.

I have not yet read the scenario, and cannot comment on the GM side of it for now.


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Dangerous and deadly, abandon all hope ye who enter here...

*****

I had a grand old time romping through the dungeon with my Seeker Oracle of Flame. This was one of the rare times that I was forced to use all of my resources up by the end.


Glad to see the maps go.

*****

And the story is pretty good, if maybe a little recycled?


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Chew the scenery and chew some PCs!

****( )

Having played and ran this scenario now, at high and low tier respectively, I can say this is a solid scenario. There are no particularly bad or good points to it, save some weak encounters. However, I feel those weak encounters make a certain amount of sense.

The story has a unique twist that most players will not see coming. It also has the tools available to the GM to ratchet up player paranoia if played right. More importantly, the players will actually learn the tale being told while they are playing, not just while the chronicles are being handed out.

There are also a handful of interesting NPCs to encourage roleplay, for which I am particularly grateful. Slipping into the persona of the big bad was a enjoyable romp, and non-murderhobo PCs are rewarded for once with enemies that aren't set to kill.

Overall an enjoyable if average adventure.


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Great adventure despite showing its age

*****

Played 1-2 tier with a range of 1st to 4th level characters. Combats ramped from non-threatening to a good warmup thanks to out-of-tier APG classes. Over all a solid scenario with a lot of fun NPC interaction and highly entertaining story the characters actually get to experience rather than being told via epilogue. Play for fun, not a challenge.


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Excellent rewards for service!

*****

In answer to the previous review, a GM may pay the cost for each individual boon that he qualifies for based on his GM star total.

e.g. A 3 star GM can pay 3PP or 3 day job checks to gain the first three boons. He must then wait until reaching 4 stars to pay the cost again to gain the fourth boon. Note: You do not have to purchase every boon! You may pick and choose from those that you qualify for.


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Smoked Goggles

*****

10gp. Buy a pair.


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Hot game even on a cold run.

*****

Picking up this scenario as an emergency session tonight had me hearkening back to The Disappeared. Covert entry, time limits, and skill monkeying galore. This is PFS's 'Ocean's Eleven' to The Disappeared's 'Mission: Impossible'.

The location is evocative, the riddles enjoyable, and the NPCs dripping with flavor and personality. I wish I had had more notice to prep and work out the characters, but even so my players were engaged and having a grand old time working their way through the mission.

Much like The Disappeared and The Stolen Heir, the fights are a little weak (at least at low tier) but they make sense for the setting and certainly draw the players in rather than shunt them out of the scenario.

Would love to run it again to better play up the interactions.


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Four to five hours of getting kicked in the face

***( )( )

This is not a scenario for the faint of heart. The first encounter is the long drop after the short ride to the top, followed by encounters that build you up to the final twisting and turning rush. Do not come light, do not come unprepared. You will TPK the same as my table did.


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Hard to play, hard to run.

****( )

This is PFS at its most brutal. You are up against impossible odds. You need the right resources to give you a chance. You need teamwork to capitalize on that chance. And you need luck to avoid random chance sending you to quick defeat.

Don't play this unprepared. Know your character. Know your team.

Don't run this unprepared. Know your monsters. Know your spells.

The mission brief sets the scene, direly important. Blindly stepping into the unknown instills fear. Instant crushing force delivers on the dire threat. The scenario is not overly interactive, but the combats have roleplaying underlying the deadly action. GMs should make sure to emphasize this.

Played at RinCon 2013, with a party of 8th to 10th level in the high tier, normal mode. Four character deaths and two companion deaths, with two PCs left standing when it was over. The dwarven barbarian slugged it out toe-to-toe with Krune down to his school powers while the rage prophet cowered from a failed Will save.

This scenario is exactly what it said it would be. Come prepared for battle or stay home.


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I like where this set is going!

*****

At first I was resisting the urge to purchase this when I saw it at PaizoCon. But every time I walked through the store it called to me. Finally, I mentioned it to my wife, who loves dragons, and we caved.

This is a fine set of minis, at an acceptable price for non-random. If you want to expand your collection of dragon figs, get this set. I hope to see more sets of the other colors coming soon.


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Happy with it.

*****

Glad to see the maps go. Never had a good time trying to remove them without causing damage. They were fairly useless and took up space.


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Excellent conclusion!

*****

This scenario is a superb conclusion to the Hao Jin Tapestry story arc. I ran the 5-6 Sub-tier with my group, most of whom have played the previous scenarios and understood the background. For starters, I must clear up the issue raised in a previous review.

Shadow Orchid:
Many GMs are running the encounter and performing a Death Attack at the start of combat. This is in direct conflict with the encounter tactics, which state that she is unable to make a Death Attack on the PCs. Regardless of whether you agree with the reasoning, do not alter the encounter as written. PFS scenarios like this one are meant to allow PCs to encounter enemies they otherwise would never have a chance of surviving in a way that gives them a chance for success. Otherwise you have negative feelings towards the campaign, as displayed previously.

To the scenario itself, I was surprised to learn in the mission brief that the tapestry was smaller than I had originally imagined it from previous scenarios. This did not detract from the adventure, however. Instructions were very clear and well presented, even the faction missions that raised some brows.

The first encounter opened with excellent role-play after the presentation given. When combat began the party found the map extremely confining, but I feel it added to the tone of the encounter. The design of the battle made it play out like a wuxia film, which I imagine was the intent. It made for a very exciting and involved battle for all players.

The investigative challenge that followed was somewhat bare, but could easily be embellished by the GM if desired. My players were not as hooked on it, so I relayed what information they needed as they made their individual rolls. The status conditions were a little unclear about application and should be studied during GM prep. They did very well in enforcing the flavor of the item however.

Once they completed their task and moved to the 'dungeon' of the scenario, we found it to be evocative and well used. The scenario does an excellent job of showing the story with imagery rather than telling it with exposition. The second encounter was less engaging tactically, basically operating on an empty plane. Further use of the rooms contents for difficult terrain and cover would have helped. The NPCs tactics were poorly suited to deal with my groups ranged focus and ended up being fairly easy. The role-play with the captured opponents made up for this thanks to the relevant faction missions.

The optional encounter would have greatly helped show the story had I the time to run it. The downside is that the table of DC modifiers to the initial interaction seemed likely to turn it immediately to combat. I look forward to using it the next time I run the scenario and testing my thoughts.

The final area was a white-knuckle knockdown brawl once the party figured out how to proceed. While the scenario says the party learns what to do, there is nothing mentioned about how to communicate that to the players. I recommend GMs come up with a good description to point them the right way. The combat that ensued was hard but winnable thanks to good tactics. Like the first one, the players were engaged in figuring out how to win, despite the same lack of strategic terrain on the map as the second encounter. Succeeding at the ritual afterwards was mostly a foregone conclusion but still had the players on seat edges when it was rolled.

Overall, an excellent conclusion that I will be keeping on my list of favorite scenarios. Proper prep and understanding of the encounters will help GMs avoid potential pitfalls, as always.


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Gaming Aid with multiple uses.

****( )

I saw this at my FLGS today and was actually impressed. As a 3.5 player I have little use for 4E products, but this one (perhaps unintentionally) is almost as useful to me as it would be for a 4E DM.

The tokens are pretty decent quality, with felt bottoms that should grip the battlemat well. The artwork is average, but quite appropriate and even amusing. (The dead body tokens made me chuckle when I realized what they were.) For the most part they could be used to represent 3.5 or 4E status effects with little confusion. The blank scroll tokens are the best, with space to write in what they represent with wet-erase markers.

The box itself is rough and unfinished, but serviceable. It has one large and six small compartments to separate whatever you want to store in it, dice, tokens, anything. The biggest sell of it is the lid, which is felt lined and can be used as a dice rolling tray when removed.

Overall, maybe a little pricey at $30, but quite multifunctional despite the minor flaws. I recommend it.