Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan's page

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16. RPG Superstar 6 Season Dedicated Voter, 7 Season Marathon Voter, 8 Season Marathon Voter, 9 Season Marathon Voter. Organized Play Member. 2,436 posts (17,910 including aliases). 22 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 12 Organized Play characters. 32 aliases.



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Those Aspis guys aren't so different!

3/5

When running an adventure like this at a convention, I think that having "Experience Required:None (You've never played before - rules will be taught)" listed as the experience required might be disingenuous. These pregens are complicated, and not something to be attempted by new players.

Running around as Aspis Agents? Attacking those Pathfinder Murder Hobos? Yes Please! I'll have some!

This scenario felt like the old school PFS ones. Everyone had a secret mission to hide and complete. At the same time, you had to work together to accomplish the big mission. It was most enjoyable, and I played this with a PUG (pick up group), which can sometimes lead to problems.

My complaint on this one though is focused on the combats. If things go poorly, and with pregens it might, then much fun will be lost. Its not the player's fault if they can't overcome some of the challenges when not given the proper tools to do so.

Overall, this one was fun.


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A nice bit of role reversal!

4/5

When running an adventure like this at a convention, I think that having "Experience Required:None (You've never played before - rules will be taught)" listed as the experience required might be disingenuous. These pregens are complicated, and not something to be attempted by new players.

Once you get going, you will love this scenario IF, and this is a BIG IF, you enjoy roleplaying. I mean truly enjoy roleplaying. I don't mean just putting a brogue on your hard drinking dwarf, or making LOTR jokes about the halflings or Gandalf's taking all of the XP for the Balrog. I mean the sort of roleplaying where you can be given an assigned role, with their motivations and truly run with it.

If you can't do that sort of willing suspension and getting out of your own box and getting into the box that the author of the scenario has offered you, then I recommend you find something else to play.

I won't even begin to talk about the scenario plot without spoiling it, because I'd fail. What I will do is state that the motivations and backgrounds of the characters were phenomenal. Even better than the prequel scenario (which I will write up next). The reoccurrence of a character from before was both cool and eerie, as that was the NPC I had played before. I highly recommend that people play the prequel first though, because the continuity will help, and where possible play the same character you did before (3 of the NPCs in this scenario were retreads from the prequel).

Being Aspis agents was a nice departure from the norm. As I said before though, do this one with role-players and a great GM!


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An enjoyable jaunt to a lesser known side of the Pathfinder universe

4/5

When running an adventure like this at a convention, I think that having "Experience Required:None (You've never played before - rules will be taught)" listed as the experience required might be disingenuous. These pregens are complicated, and not something to be attempted by new players.

As with many pregen type situations, people needing to both learn the mechanics of their assigned class, and also digest the motivations of their character's backstory can be a bit overwhelming. Add to that the fact that you are playing elementals in an unknown terrain and the pregame stuff takes a bit of time.

Once you get going, you will love this scenario IF, and this is a BIG IF, you enjoy roleplaying. I mean truly enjoy roleplaying. I don't mean just putting a brogue on your hard drinking dwarf, or making LOTR jokes about the halflings or Gandalf's taking all of the XP for the Balrog. I mean the sort of roleplaying where you can be given an assigned role, with their motivations and truly run with it.

If you can't do that sort of willing suspension and getting out of your own box and getting into the box that the author of the scenario has offered you, then I recommend you find something else to play.

I don't intend to spoiler any of the specifics of race and class for the scenario, but the description itself states you will be playing "Elemental Guardians." Air, Earth, Fire, Water, and a bit in between. I played Earth. The mechanic of satisfying my motivations may have been a bit unclear at the beginning, but it became more clear as we pressed on. As for the others, well, we played it last night, and just today I discovered something about one of the other characters that makes me all the more proud of the roleplaying geniuses I have been blessed with. EW, you played that stuff perfectly dude!

Edit: our "Air guy" (who is trying to sleep in the back seat as I type this) wants me to add though that he didn't get much background motivation, and his character was exceedingly complicated to play.

I was a bit disappointed in the final combat, but not overly so. I suppose it could just be that we rolled well, or poorly, etc, and that influenced things. We got the mission done, and had a great time. We added one of our perennial +1s to round out our regular 5-man team, and he was great as expected! (Thanks HW!)

My summary for this one is that it truly was an enjoyable jaunt, where you got to play VERY nonstandard things. Lighthearted, mission oriented, and just downright fun!


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Fun, but not exceptional

3/5

PFS has had some better interactives before, but also some worse ones. I just didn't feel the urgency, the desperation, the adrenaline fueled, blood pumping need to survive, both for my team, and for the Society itself in this scenario.

The fights were ok, albeit a bit redundant perhaps.

At our level (high tier), I didn't mind the terrain problems. I hope the lower levels didn't have to deal with the same ones though.

It was annoying not having near enough time from "start the final fight" being announced to "ok, that's it." We didn't get through a round of combat, and we weren't dawdling.

In the aftermath, I didn't feel we got a great explanation of what had happened, why, or how we had contributed to successes and failures. I enjoy the simple mechanics used in previous interactives whereby one table can pass aid to another, whether it is lowbys at one table providing fire support with some massive siege machine and helping higher level characters, or for higher level characters being able to provide some massive healing or buffage for a lower level table. Those sorts of things help foster a sense of everyone being in this business together. I hope to see more of that stuff in future interactives, as it was lacking in this one.

One BIG plus for this event though was the much improved audio-visual capabilities. We could hear much better, and I liked the prerecorded dialog and sound effects.

It was a good opening to the "Elemental Season."


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An excellent, and very well balanced scenario!!

5/5

For those of you who ever read my review of The Hellknight's Feast, much of our enjoyment of that module was due to the awesome GM we had. Last year at GenCon we got him to run us through True Dragons of Absalom, but could never get to play together. And he was awesome for that scenario too. Ok, so this year we managed a slot with him and it was for this excellent scenario. I add this to the review, both to compliment AC, but also to highlight that for some modules, probably most of them actually, playing with the right players and GM can make all the difference. Ok, so on to discussion of the module itself.

First of all, chalk me up as someone who loved the old scenarios where every faction had a mission. Playing a Liberty's Edge character in this scenario was great, although it happened quite by accident.

Combatting duergar enemies and traveling the paths beneath the surface of Golarion seems to be a tried and true journey to a scenario I am going to enjoy, and this scenario didn't disappoint. Our talky talky characters got their chance to chat with new and interesting people WITHOUT killing them.

Along those lines, and I don't want to spoiler this in any way, but there a few unused "talky talky" type skills that some characters have that rarely, if ever, show up as usable in a scenario. This scenario changed that, and a character (not mine) that might never have had the chance to shine on the social side of the game was able to utterly sway the direction of events for us. It was magnificent, and my only complaint on this front was that come cert time there was no real recognition of that social conquest. I would have loved to see some sort of "able to get an X because..." related to several different (highly unusual) events in this scenario.

Ok, so the fights. Well, as I said, we socialized our way through a couple that I'm sure could be a bit brutal, or at least resource draining, so I can't speak to how balanced they were, but the main plot fights were great. How awesome that the PCs had: a) decent terrain to fight from, b) time to discuss and prepare an ambush strategy, c) a decent idea of who was coming and when, and d) SPOILER, find out for yourself, haha, but it was a welcome twist.

Our GM for this scenario was awesome, having our usual 5-man regular team augmented by AC (as stated above) made this a very enjoyable scenario, for the plot, the fights, and the social encounters.

Well done Mike Kimmel!!


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Decent Story, but the final fight was grueling, not fun

3/5

Ok, so here's the thing, I was a bit tired by the time we played this scenario at GenCon this weekend, so maybe I didn't fully pay attention to the story itself.

However, from what I did get, it seemed to be a decent mystery with a puzzle or two and some knowledge and discovery to be had. If you find the clues, things are easier later, and those clues help to tie things together.

I enjoy the Varisian culture, and Harrow as well, so having that so integral to this storyline was cool. Someone who isn't into it, or some of the combat mechanics associated with it might not like it as much.

Ok, so here is my real complaint with this scenario, and with several others: the "terrain" for the final encounter was brutal. Sure, we played it at low tier, and maybe a higher level party could have blown by it, but at our level it was insanely boring. A tanked up fighter (20' movement) on a long board of difficult terrain will get really bored very fast. Couple that with the whole "if you don't get here in time, then you're a complete failure" results of the scenario make the "terrain" just a complete distraction from the final encounter.

Couple this with the idea that during the day you had hours upon hours to get stuff done, but at the end it's going to hinge a couple rounds either way.

Another comment, the use of "Ability Drain" at 1st level is a bit insane. We're a group of old school gamers, but I could well imagine that a new player could become quite demoralized with Society play when confronted with that.

My short answer is that for low tier, this scenario should be toned down.


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Flying Under False Colors

1/5

I cannot help but agree with Kerney's review below. I too signed up to play a Pathfinder scenario, and ended up playing a tabletop board game.

I'm not saying the scenario and the mechanic weren't interesting, but it's not Pathfinder. If you want to have a scenario that does this, then make sure the blurb properly describes what it is. Expectation Management is important in many places, and some could have been used here.

My other real beef with this module was the introduction of a brand new mechanic/creature that should likely TPK a lot of parties in the middle combat if run correctly.

A player's enjoyment of this module might change 180 degrees if it was properly described and people could choose to play a board game disguised as a PFS scenario.

Ironically, I recommend giving this a try, as the mechanic is interesting, and leading Crusaders in combat can't be beat if your character is into that sort of thing!


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2 Stars or 4?!

3/5

Ok, so this module is different than many others. The blurb did represent it well, but maybe making it clear this was more of a mystery/talky talky module would help.

The mission was concise, the opponent was murky, and the motivation a bit hazy. Some groups may solve/win this module without actually knowing what the heck was going on, and why.

We've all seen the Bard, or other character who has to spend the entire module playing their tune while the fighters get all of the glory. This module is just the reverse.

It is very sandbox, and mostly a murder mystery, so it is a chance for underappreciated characters to truly shine. Bring your Investigators and Inquisitors for this module, but bee prepared to fight, this isn't all just social encounters,

I recommend this for a group with some chatters and some fighter. Your enjoyment of this module will depend on which of the two you are though. For you fighters out there, suck it up and let the talker have the glory, just this once,


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The PCs Get to Make a Big Difference!

4/5

Sometimes it seems the PCs are small cogs in the huge World Clock. Not in this adventure. Here the PCs are given a vital role in fighting off the demon incursion.

Aspects of the task at hand might seem a bit anachronistic, and we joked about them at the time, but they aren't completely out of place at this technology level.

With the chance to fight or talk your way through encounters both viable options in cases, parties of varying mixes can all succeed, with different characters shining at different times.
The final battle was both under- and overpowered at the same time. Listen to the NPCs and what they tell you closely. If you do, things may be easy. If you don't, you may be putting yourself into hard-gear, and that's no good!

The puzzle encounter could be a serious bummer for groups not inclined to solve such things.

I recommend this one for anyone that is out to kill demons and save the world.


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A Solid Delve With Some Storyline

3/5

Well, you can't go wrong with hitting on the Blakros clan again, we love those guys!

Demiplanes too are a nice element. You don't need to worry about physics to explain strange effects, impossibly shaped and organized dungeon elements, and the ecology of why those guys are living here and doing that.

I doubt too many people are steeped in Nidalese history and culture, unless they've read the right Pathfinder Tales novel, so some of the plot line and grossness may be lost on them.

This module has the benefit of being a well constructed dungeon delve, a fairly self apparent goal and success conditions, along with a decent fight or two.

Sticking the loot in an unlikely place will screw a number of parties. I'm not a fan of caches of loot crammed in nooks and crannies. Take that gp and put it on the monsters, so that it's part of the challenge, and more likely to be found by the Pathfinders.

A decent module for a delver! Give it a try.


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Top Shelf to be Sure!

4/5

Ok, so the art of writing and conducting interactives is a difficult one. I've participated in quite a few, but I think maybe only 3 now for PFS. The Paizo crew is definitely getting it figured out. This one was well written, well organized, and well executed.

In general I try not to compare two scenarios, but I'll make an exception here. This was much better than Diamond City, and it is arguable whether we liked it more than Runecarved Key. There was a competitive aspect to Runecarved Key that was missing here, but the overall sense of being in a massive effort together was better in this one than either of the other two I mentioned.

It would be tough for me to describe some of the elements I liked most without blowing the plot completely, so I won't.

I loved the story, and let's just say the "plot twist" was both incredibly predictable and yet completely unexpected. It's the sort of thing where afterwards you say, "well of course that's what was going on, how did we not see it at the time?"

One thing I really enjoyed was the camaraderie and the mechanic that was permitting different tables to assist one another through this scenario.

If you get the chance to play this in a convention setting, do so!


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Ambitious to a fault maybe?

4/5

Ok, so we enjoyed this one a lot, and maybe 3.5 stars is more appropriate, but benefit of the doubt and I'll give it a 4.

When being seated we were told "only 3 factions per table." THAT would have been nice to know ahead of time when making tables, or even in the blurb for the event. For a group of old friends, we weren't going to not play together because of that! Still, we did it with 4 factions at our table, which was probably 1 faction too many, so the authors had the "3 factions per table" thing right. Our problem for being a non-homogenous group I guess.

We did the faction missions for: Andoran (Liberty's Edge), Cheliax (Dark Archive), Silver Crusade and Grand Lodge.

Each one was well described, with a good motivation and success factor described. A couple decent fights with new and interesting monsters, a new mechanic or two, some new NPCs, and when you're done with the event, the world has changed right around you, with factions merging and changing their scope. It was properly slotted on the first night of GenCon though, as the PFS factions were changing, but by then we had already played several mods in our new factions, and not understanding the change.

My only real concern was that the Silver Crusade mission seemed more appropriate for Andoran than the Andoran mission was.

Anyways, it was fun. I would recommend playing it if you are into your faction's identity and want to understand and help the Society and the world evolve.


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Our Fault or Theirs?

2/5

Ok, so my party did poorly on this module. Let's call it a draw. It's possible our GM gave us a false impression of timelines and importance of plot elements. If that's the case, maybe the module itself is a 3.

I'm going to assume the module was run as written though.

I like the fact that this scenario took us to some very new locales, in a dark and unexplored region. The module was very sandboxish, which lends itself more to an AP, or a home game, than to a slot at a major convention. Sandbox adventures can run off the rails in a heartbeat, and I fear we somewhat did that. We had the impression that certain things were MUST things, and certain were KINDA NICE things to do, and didn't catch the timeline implications. Again, whether we inferred it, or the GM/scenario implied it might be debatable.

This module certainly advances the season 6 storyline well, and gets the PCs involved in some major helping of a Pathfinder Lodge they might not usually think about, but in the end, mostly failing leaves a bad taste in my mouth for this module. I will also caveat with my general dislike of laser guns and robots in Pathfinder/D&D, but those elements were more flavor than crunch in this particular scenario.

I do want to say though, to compliment our GM and the module. Despite running off the rails, and coming at the final fight from completely the wrong direction, that fight was exciting for us. Starting as the underdogs, playing catchup, and battling through against a pretty determined and capable enemy, did help to redeem the experience for all of us.

I recommend this module if you are following the season 6 storyline, OR maybe for a home game, but would otherwise not recommend it.


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A Nice Blend of Old and New

3/5

First, let me caveat that robots and laser guns aren't my flavor for this particular gaming system. Sure, Barrier Peaks was fun, but still, I was much younger then.

Anyways, and with that said, I thought this module did a great job of taking the PCs back to a familiar location, filled with the usual bad luck that comes with being involved with the Blakros museum, while at the same time getting you into the the theme for Season 6.

A quick little dungeon delve, some new monsters, maybe a disjointed plot line, and some new wonky mechanics, but still a solid mod.

i'd recommend it, for sure, if you're tracking the whole plot line, and maybe even as a one-off "monster of the week" type module.


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An old fashioned cave crawl

4/5

Just played this one at GENCON.

Cultists, monsters, and a labyrinth, what's not to like about that?

A good little adventure.

I hadn't played the prequel, but my buddy had, and he says it was a good follow on. I'll likely play the other on another PC to get the storyline.

I think the only characters who won't enjoy this one are the bookworm talky types, but very one else has a role.


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We loved it, but some will be upset with it.

5/5

Just played this at GENCON.

Without giving any spoilers on it, I'll say that some players may get pissed off early in this module with how their character is "manhandled" mechanically by the module, but really if you're a good role player, then roll with it, and you will enjoy the module, and it will be fine in the end.

The mission is pretty straightforward for a true Pathfinder, and you'll see lots of great history and artifacts in this adventure.

The final battle is a bit anticlimactic, or at least it was for us (a couple good hits go a long way at low tier), but that's ok.

It runs quick, plays fun, and is one to keep in your hip pocket as a GM when your group has some spare time.


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Not as good as other Interactives I have Played

2/5

Just played this one at GENCON.

Maybe my standards are too high from my Living Greyhawk and Living Arcanis background, and even from Runecarved Key last year, but this wasn't up to standards, and I think I'd have preferred to have knocked out another year 4 if I could instead.

When the most interesting and memorable part of the event was the guy proposing in public to his girlfriend, with all of us cheering him on, the scenario was clearly lacking.

With all of that said, the interactive nature of the defense of the city was pretty awesome, and watching the city quarters wax and wane was fun, and the mechanic used to allow individual tables to affect the battle seemed very efficient and well run and impressed our table a lot.

With the redeeming parts of this scenario for us mostly being related to playing cooperatively with several hundred of our fellow Pathfinders at once, I'm just not sure how well this scenario would translate into a home game, but YMMV.

If you are looking for something to play at home, try something else.


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Good fights, and a good story, but the role playing lacks.

4/5

If you were a Lantern Lodge PC you probably knew to play this, obviously that's OBE now, as the Lodge is closed, but still the story is good.

Some nice fights, and opportunity for the PC's to demonstrate their tactical acumen while advancing the storyline, but it's a bit of a "railroad job" as modules go, although I didn't mind that at all when playing it, because it flowed well.


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A nice little dungeon crawl

4/5

Just played this one at GENCON.

A little bit of everything in here. If your party is all shoot and no talk, or balanced with social skills, then you'll do well in this scenario. Don't try this one without some beef in the party though.

Not much more I can say without hitting some spoilers, So I'll just leave this one alone and call it 4 stars.


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A bit of a "railroad job," but fun nonetheless

3/5

Just played this one at GENCON.

Our group had several nautical themed PC's, so we were looking forward to this one, but I don't recall getting to really use our sailoring skills, which was a shame. The module was pretty linear, and a railroad job, with several encounters to talk or fight through.

It is an easy scenario to be a bit "metagemey" at points, so suspend some disbelief and don't "look behind the curtain."

If you're into Dwarven heritage and history, you can learn some things in this module.

Overall enjoyable for what it was, a decent intro, but not a "must play" for season 5.


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A good preview for the "Year of the Demon"

4/5

Just played this one at GENCON.

This scenario gives a lot of background for the Worldwound, and the Wardstones, and helps PCs (and players) understand more of just how the Crusaders fight and hold back the demons.

Unlike a lot of modules, the provided NPC custodian doesn't just railroad the PC's through encounter after encounter with "veto power" over morally ambiguous decisions.

The PC's really get drawn into the fight against the Demons.


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Nice for the Social Types

5/5

Just played this one at GENCON. A fun module for groups that enjoy role playing, and not just combat. Lots of great interaction with important NPC's, and then some good combats to round out the module.

A well prepared GM makes this an even better module, and ours was great.

One piece of advice that I have to make the experience even better would be for the GM to explain the core mechanic for the interaction a bit at the beginning. I say this not knowing how much of that is internal to the module, but it seemed like it was, and it seemed well balanced to allow the "shootie shootie" (and other non-socially skilled)PC's to be able to contribute alongside the "talky talky" PC's.

An Andoran (and probably several other factions) PC will love this scenario.
A well spoken Bard would love this module, but also not be able to overpower the other PC's.

Not knowing what the module was, we had one guy playing an iconic, and he tried the 7th level Gunfighter. If there was ever a scenario for Lem, this is it.