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** Venture-Agent, Germany—Greater Munich Area 3 posts (17 including aliases). 15 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 11 Organized Play characters.



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Absolutely terrible for players and DM

1/5

(DM perspective)

This scenario took 6 hours to go through for our group and trust me, it could've easily taken 8 hours if you let it all happen fully and try to give a better experience. I only managed to have it he 6 hours cause I just brushed over half of the second map. Let it be known I'll always talk about the scenario as written here. You can make it way better by 1) scheduling two sessions for it and 2) adding way more flavor and RP potential and possibilities

Spoiler:

Let's go over the 4 parts of the scenario one by one: the sages and the intro, the first battle, the exploration middle part and the last fight with the ritual.

The intro was not good at all. For people who don't know the sages and their struggle fully, the entire intro made no sense. So many complicated and confusing names, so many plotpoints being thrown around, I had to give my players a summary after the whole thing OOC so they understand even remotely what is going on.

Then they meet the sages. In a scenario where you meet ALL SAGES, you're obviously supposed to interact with all of them, have some cool RP, but it was just too many. Apart from managing 6 voices and 6 personalities and cramping those in a miniscule timeframe, my players also didn't care. There was no need at all to interact with them. But even if they wanted to, the scenario gives like no input on them. This is supposed to be a conclusion scenario for an entire faction, but then each of the sages only gets like 3 sentences written about them. The only guy they actually kinda knew was Torch.... At later parts they get a sage as a companion, but they lack stuff like saving throws??? Saving throws and attacks just both, always automatically succeeed. That makes it easier for the DM but the players HATED that.

Then the first battle happened. We played high with 4 player adjustment because of the APL being on 9. So instead of having a good and well balanced fight (so the lower subtier without adjustment), one of the troops got taken away, so they took out the second troop in a single round. But then the Gashadokuro had its turn, used its breath weapon once, and instantly killed one of the players. from 100% HP to negative CON, with one breath weapon. Thank god one of our players took a pregen and played one with breath of life... The fight is so immensely awfully balanced. And here is where the first new thing comes into play: Troops! Some DMs might've done stuff with them before, but I haven't. Would it have been the only abnormally from a normal scenario it would've been find, but that was far from he only thing. Because there was so much going on, I even forgot about the auras and the Grasping Graves. Would I also have remembered those, they would've certainly faced death first combat. The hazard on the map has 3 different components to remember, together with the monolith "trap", which is completely under-explained. "Arcane runes cover the basalt monolith", WHICH MONOLITH? The map doesn't specify. There is no marker, nothing there hints at where this stuff emanates from. Then there are no visual clues for the players as to what is going on with that thing, I had to make that up myself, which is fine but still poor scenario writing.

The next part is the exploration segment. It is said they get a sage to explore with them, who gets weird flashes from that area, but these flashes are never explained either. It's just "uhh ohh I feel like the jewel is remembering this. Want me to dig deeper and try to remember more?", like the hell. Give the DM a bit more input on that stuff. If you wanna give the players a choice, you gotta actually have the choice be present. The players were just weirded out by it. Then here we have several new things to work with. The cleansing room which was lacking in descriptions of magic auras and anything else important. The mindscape with the Div inside who was completely lacking any personality. Once a player succeeded the check to find out its real identity, I had it just drop the masquerade. So then the players asked "which are the dangerous doors?" and since the creatures always lies, it pointed out the safe rooms. That felt good for the players, since they were smarter than a div, but felt cheap for the DM cause the creature was completely lacking in motive and personality. The acid room... How were they supposed to know its acid?? And what is "Powerful Acid"? I wasn't able to find that ANYWHERE. When their check found out its just a flame spell, they just ignored it, without even knowing its acid. Why exactly is the "cramped remains of a large blue dragon infected with an incurable variant of Fading Light" a hazard? Once again, no explanation or guidance at all for the DM. It is called a Hazard, but nowhere is it said what the problem with it is. My players instinctively went "no touchy", but I didn't even know why not to touch it. Just completely lackluster on explanations for the DM, which is the only reason why they managed to contain such a huge module into 35 pages.

And lastly, the boss fight. SO MUCH GOING ON. You know what this fight was? Someone must've played too much Undertale, because this was just the final boss fight in the pacifist run.... One player pointed it out and it was spot on. Don't get me wrong, the fight was very cool, very creative! I think this part was the best part of the entire session, sadly it still fell short. The DM gets BOMBARDED with backstory for Aryana, which the players never really get to see, but that is a given with Society. I really liked the Paladin, he gave the whole thing some cool bonus, since Antipaladins are rare. The mindscapes were kinda cool, getting to look inside of the Sages heads, but it fell short because at that point we were already on the 5 hour mark and nobody cared anymore really, since they were tired. Getting to know more about Torch was cool, but the other sages all felt so bland and boring. The ghost siphoning power from the stones was very cool, but once again a new aspect that the DM had to work with. The entire scenario is just a whole overburden when DMs are used to normal scenarios and prep times.

TLDR the scenario had so much amazing potential but it tried to do way too much in a 4 hour time frame that it didn't do a single thing really right. If you wanna run this, do the theme justice. Schedule 2 sessions (or 8 hours for your players. If you don't take that long, go get food afterwards, it'll be 6 hours for sure). Read it far in advance, make better sheets for the sages, give them true personalities, give your players a chance to actually interact with them. And know which PCs they'll bring, so you can figure out which scenarios they were in, that way Torch's knowledge of them will be cooler. If this was a module and better done, it would be awesome. But the way it stands now, it's bad.


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Not much RP (but on purpose) and usually good combat, but...

3/5

Stop the swarms against level 1 characters

EDIT: for those wondering, we needed 12 hours


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Very confusing but G!% D!~N it's enjoyable

4/5

I was torn between 3 and 4 Stars. I write this from the DMs perspective.

Preparing parts 2 and 3 of the book was an immense struggle. Usually you know "ok, event A happens, then B, then either C, D, or E, depending on B...." you can basically make a flowchart of ideas and scenarios that could obviously get railroaded. Part 1 of the book does this perfectly, but as another reviewer said, it's a bit railroady, but I'm not bothered by that. You know what the players encounter and you can work with that. Do the PCs have an eagle that scouts? Then they will see what comes ahead easier! You can still work with it but it also gives clear directions for the GM....

Not so the second and third part. I don't know if this is an isolated experience, but I felt utterly lost on the line the players were supposed to follow. There was no "this is what happens when the players ask around" or "when the players seek out a tavern" etc.... They just give you a bunch of random encounters and say "but most of those should be done after condition X", without ever saying how to reach that condition. I was very much missing the guidance for the GM in those parts.

But enough negativity! You know why I finally decided for 4 Stars? Because of everything and everyone you encounter. WOW! I introduced this book to my players with "from here on out, things only get more exciting!" because I was so hyped to Roleplay such diverse NPCs, ideas and things, and have some rather interesting fights and encounters.

TL;DR: Parts 2 and 3 lack guidance for the GM which he needs to work out himself, but the diversity and creativity in the book is amazing and great!


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Amazing scenario, poorly done for the GM

4/5

It is an awesome scenario for the players! Very creative combats, a lot of nice little lore bits around. Definitely Amazing for the players.
I would definitely give it 5 Stars by that!

But the prep for the game for the GM is pretty awful. Bad spelling, consistent inconsistency like "Braid of hundred masters" and "braid of thousand masters" or the fact that the scenario and the secondary success condition both talk about "finding out the way to get the braid to work" but you never find that out. You find out how to find it out. You find out that the master, who knew, left, but that is not "finding out how to activate the braid". The text literally is just incorrect. Once you understand that, it's fine, but the prep you have to do for this is not fun at parts.


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Sure!

4/5

This is one of my three "go-to" adventures when I wanna introduce new players to Pathfinder Society.
It has a nice mix of fighting, exploring, creativity and RP. A drinking and balancing contest, devious offers and a cult! Only problem: Very much on the short side. I ran this scenario several times. I calculate with 3-3 1/2 hours, but with the right group this might even be done in less than 3 hours....


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A blast!

5/5

My players had a lot of fun with this scenario and so did I. Very enjoyable RP moments, cool mechanics as well and awesome story.

I'd give the scenario 4 1/2 stars if I could tho. Some of the encounters have too many layers and it's somewhat difficult to remember everything in the fray of DMing. I was really angry when I forgot the air assault that was supposed to happen at one of the encounters (trying to keep this spoiler free) but my players enjoyed it nevertheless


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Awesome!

5/5

A truly epic quest. It is hard to find anything negative about it, except maybe for 2 things: the fact that it can be somewhat draining on the DM since he has to do a lot of short RPs with a wide array of characters. But even then, the beginning RP which is supposed to give you backstory can be completely done with rolls if your group isn't a talking party!
And the second negative thing might be that it's a bit too much backstory. It feels like this scenario is a side-quest of a side-quest, but that doesn't stop this side-side-quest from being truly adventurous.

Especially the last fight. With a good DM, the last fight can be done so well, with such a nice cinematic to it! My players made the fight a bit too easy by "befriending" the previous encounter, but that didn't stop the scene from being very nice


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Way overrated

2/5

Some themes were very interesting, which is the only good part of this scenario, so let's start with that.

Spoiler:
The blood ritual, the coral hall, the face just hanging there, the bloody spiders, the excursion to Leng, all very cool!

The issues arrive when it comes to literally everything else.

Spoiler:
The first thing the players encounter is a golem, making almost all spell casters completely useless. Immunity to magic is very harsh, even more infuriating than swarms. The worst part about that encounter? The reward for that entire minidungeon are tied to that golem. So even if you avoid it by D-Dooring or using any other way to get to the other side, you lose all rewards for the area for no reason. DR 10 that can only be bypassed by a material costing 3000GP. Very dull and frustrating for the players.

Every single encounter is paired with a bottleneck. Every, single, encounter. Almost killed one of my players simply because of that. Full attack from a denizen of Leng? 1HP away from actual death, on low Subtier. And because of the bottlenecked encounter, there was no way to quickly get to him. Thank god one of the PCs had a FLYING FAMILIAR THAT WAS ABLE TO USE A WAND OF HEALING. The only thing that kept that PC alive. The Golem? Bottlenecked by a wonky bridge you fall down. The spiders? Another bridge! And also obscuring mist. The Denizens? 1-square wide cave. The last fight? Literal hundreds of feet away from the fight, and then bottlenecked by a plank. The optional encounter was the only one that wasnt completely bottlenecked.

And that optional encouter. Why make a cool fight against a dragon optional?? And Bodaks as well!

And then Sevenfinger himself. Good 'ol "has 10 fingers now" Sevenfinger. He went down in 2 turns.... No DR, no high AC for a 7-11 game, and the morale makes him boring af. "if the fight goes bad, let him go into melee". Ah yes, the sorcerer that goes into melee, that will show those pesky PCs! This is the 4th Scenario and they were finally able to fight Sempet, and then the fight was so disappointing

Hey, you guys gave it a "greater challange" option, very cool! Where's the bonus? What do they get? Nothing? Higher chance of dying? Wow... Very useless :D No player that I know would take that under the threat of their PC dying


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Enjoyable

4/5

The cities of Cassomir and Katheer are rather bland, at least for how they are presented in this book. You can make them bigger and greater with the additionally ressources, but that is not what I'm rating here.
The dungeon crawlers were nice, except for the boring infirmary. I really enjoyed the library, although the puzzle at the end was..... sad. Honestly, reading that, it would've been a better campaign if you deleted that part all together, it was a huge disappointment of a puzzle.
Otherwise I adored the RP potential in the slave city, but the dungeon was rather forgettable again. The thing that pushed it over the edge to 4 stars for me was the Yithian, I loved the little messages she kept sending, gave it a great vibe all around.


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Good

4/5

Only 2 downsides:
-getting here is basically impossible if your players burned down the mansion and with that the books they needed to do the travels, but that is a problem i need to solve myself.
-In the end of the adventure, it says "oh yeah, I hope you took your player's character sheets at level 7 and copied them, cause now you'll need them. This encounter could've been so cool! And putting a short disclaimer in the beginning of the book would've been so easy, but noooooo, it's gotta be at the end of the book, when the PC's already advanced 2 levels. That's just neglect of the reader

This part of the adventure is gorgeous! 2 lines of adventure, intertwining together however the DM wants it to happen. you can count the days they travel and make it exact, or eyeball all the encounters! Add more sea encounters from behind the book if you want too! And the dreamland parts are amazing, so much creative stuff went into there, and the RP options are amazing as well


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Sometimes Railroading would be better

3/5

Thrushmoor is a great setting, it is fun to explore the town and the dungeons. Issue is: I have ran this for 2 different groups at this point, neither of them cared for the lower level dungeon. Putting the important info, the story-important info that they are after, into the higher-level dungeon will just result in them going there anyways. I'm not going to tell my players "no, go to the Fort first, you're underleveled for the mansion". So both my parties first went to the Mansion, got their ass beat but got through it, it was still not a good way to do it. Here, giving the players a better road to follow would've been nicer. Or realizing that the players will obviously first go to the important dungeon and only later to the optional dungeon, so having the optional dungeon be the higher level one, that could also help.

Apart from this, everything else seemed very nice. The town gave a lot of room to explore and for creativity, putting personalized stuff for the players into it to have fun and just improvising was easy as well.


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A great start

5/5

This part of the Adventure Path sets the perfect start for a Lovecraftian horror setting. It is very clear cut who is good and who is evil, making the Players believe it is always very clear, which is where we want them, so we can surprise them later!
It is one big dungeon crawl, which can be a bit tedious, but otherwise an amazing adventure and a great start. Not too much prep-work needed, so you are able to focus on stuff like soundscape, handouts etc.


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3/5

(DMd)
The phrasing was kind of weird in some of the places, but otherwise a good scenario. Nice mix of combat and tactical thinking, resulting in a lot of nice options.
Only problem I had was that

Spoiler:
after getting Emilio and then the Journal 1) the necrophidius attack, which have paralysis. and 2) the home owner comes back with her big bad evil monk/assassin. Fighting noises, of course the monk checks it out. Paralyzed PC on the ground, it's hard to avoid a TPK


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5/5

(DMd)
If you wanna RP, look for another scenario. But this was a great session! Any character can jump in as a first level and still enjoy it a lot


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5/5

Great module. If you are just a little bit able to RP as the DM, this is going to be a lot of fun! Nice fighting and a lot of "what the heck?" from the players, awesome