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I Normally Love Social ScenariosZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I played through the first part of this adventure with a 5th level character in the 7-8 subtier. I left the table about an hour into the adventure.
This review won't be able to gauge at all the quality of the combat encounters or the overall adventure, but the elements that I were presented with were so intolerable that leaving the game (with the general permission of the GM and the rest of the party) was the only option to enjoy myself.
Normally I'm the one of the strongest advocates for any social scenario or any scenario that has a stronger emphasis on skill checks and roleplay rather than combat. This scenario made design choices that made it completely unpalatable for me.
There are two adventure design elements that made me leave the table. The first was that the DCs felt outrageous. The second, and the more major reason, was that failing checks made skill checks harder for the party and would lock out attempts from everyone else.
After commentary the GM revealed that within this 7-8 subtier that the DCs for success started around 27. Even though I had a 5th level character in this high level table, coming in I felt like I would be able to contribute as I had an 18 dexterity/18 intelligence technomancer with a number of maxed out skills. However, even this only put me at +12 or +13 on my best skills. Although I would have been a better match for these skills with a few more levels, I know that my higher level Soldier character would have a had an incredibly difficult time hitting this high DCs even with any roleplay bonuses. In addition, 27 was about the lowest interaction DCs the scenario offered. Some characters were harder to interact with and DCs scaled up even higher as attempts were made. My biggest contribution during this was to make untrained Sense Motive checks against various characters, roll high, and get more information for other party members.
The worst part about this encounter though was that skill check failures affected the entire party. After a few attempts a character would refuse to allow other PCs to interact with them. I very quickly realized that, if I was doing more than aiding another, I was liability to the party would make the mission harder rather than help the group.
As a GM I worked very hard over the years to get players playing non skill based characters to interact with NPCs in this events with the message that all they could do is help. This adventure flips that on it's head and I would argue it is toxic just because of that.
This might have been an attempt to make a harder social scenario, but this fell entirely flat to me and I would encourage others to avoid this scenario.
Dungeon Crawl with the Faction LeadersZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I have played this scenario at subtier 5-6. I have not run it yet.
This is a nice and straightforward dungeon crawl. While this is not as interesting as a lot of other encounter set ups in other scenarios, this was a nice calm adventure that feels a lot like the many linear dungeon crawls from over the years.
I don't normally like dungeon crawls, so what pulled me into the set up of this scenario was the elements of investigation that made me feel like this was letting me learn about ongoing adventures in the future. While I have negatively commented on this aspect in another adventure, it felt good here because all of the hints felt like they were tying into a single future mission rather than a potential five missions. It made it feel like the information I was gathering was more meaningful and it has stuck in my head a lot longer.
I loved the cute aspect of the NPC ally within the adventure. It, along with the dialogue from the Faction Leaders felt very nice spaced throughout the adventure. Allowing me to enjoy the discoveries we made along the way while enjoying more roleplay focused aspects that weren't tied to the dungeon crawl itself. It was an interesting mix that I really enjoyed.
Reasonable Introduction but Not Enough Pay OffZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I've played and run this scenario at sub tier 3-4.
This felt like a reasonable scenario. Not one I would highly recommend nor heavily discourage people from playing.
It was a nice introduction to this organizations. I wish I left this adventure with a slightly better understanding of either of them. I got bits and pieces of them, but it is hard for me to describe what uniquely defines the Republic or Authority after running though this twice, aside from one being far more aggressive.
The area that it delves into is interesting and has tidbits that will likely lead into further development in later scenarios, but there isn't a lot the party can declare they accomplished or learned from this excursion beyond there being multiple other adventures leading from this one or that hobgoblins were here. It does give a glimpse at the society, but not enough for a well defined image that would let this scenario stand out.
I will complain about the first combat in the ruins. It had far too many resistances that cut a lot of damage off each of the mid to low damage characters. The scenario provided gear that helped offset that, but it would have been better for the adventure to have harder hitting creatures rather than something that resisted half of the damage types in the game.
I also will comment that the starship combat felt poorly designed from the perspective of utilizing the Pegasus. While it might be expected the party would always take the more combat focused Drake, as long as the scenarios offer the option for both, it should be a fun combat with either ship. With the Pegasus a lot of the terrain becomes invalid as neither ship has any weapons that interact with it. The enemy ship has one weapon with a ramming mechanic that works poorly (as worded) with how ships take turns (it would give an advantage for losing initiative to the enemy vessel). Also it has a large turret weapon that serves as the most powerful weapon in the ship's arsenal that minimizes the advantage of the Pegasus's maneuverability (as it matters far less which arc you put yourself in, as they still can fire their strongest weapon). I feel like either the Tier 4 Pegasus might need overhaul or this sort of scenario needs to be designed in such a way to allow more interesting choices with the Pegasus.
Another Good Wayfinder ScenarioZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I have run this scenario twice at tier 1-2.
This felt like a great scenario that presents a number of interesting combats, each very different from one another, and it ends with a wonderful science fiction appropriate sort of question to the party. Each part of the scenario feels very well paced and while there aren't too many NPCs for the party to spend with, it feels like enough to give the party just enough to make this scenario feel like a complete and well rounded experience. It doesn't have major plot tie ins to prior adventures and it feels perfectly fine as a one shot adventure.
I would match the recommendation that this serves as a great sort of introduction into Starfinder and the format of Starfinder Society.
I do wish the vehicle portion of this adventure could be more relevant. As it is there is only one encounter that offers much of any ability to use them and it feels just as reasonable to ignore the vehicles all together. That might be a reasonable choice at this tier to avoid too much complicated vehicle combat, but at higher level adventures I would like to see more vehicle interaction in scenarios with the vehicle tag.
Solid Story; Solid CombatsZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I have played and run this (both times at tier 3-4).
This was a nice exploration into an nice and atmospheric location. Both times I played through this a few of the combats hit pretty heavy. Despite them going down quickly to a damage focused party they still did a bit to threaten the melee PCs. That might have just been the way one creature managed to line up at this tier though.
I do love the information about the location and history. However it is given in a pretty heavy burst all at one location. I would have liked to seen this spread out or involve more skill checks from the party interspersed among the lore to avoid it becoming a long unbroken exposition from the GM. I also didn't like the read aloud text within the exposition as it kept the imagery separate from the dialogue that was happening. While that would have helped if someone couldn't understand the dialogue, it felt a bit out of sorts to jump between the two to provide a coherent narrative of the actions and what was being said. If I were to run this again, I probably would try to write something for this section that tries to combine those actions.
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-38: The Many Minds of HistoriaPaizo Inc.
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Lovely Interactions with Faction LeadersZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I played (at tier 7-8 with part of the party playing level 6) but did not run this scenario.
This was a great scenario to play though, I had an great time being able to have more interactions with the faction leaders and be able to get know more about them though the confines of a scenario. The way previous adventures built into this made this feel much better. This does mean that I think this scenario would be weaker if the players haven't interacted much with either of the faction leaders much prior to this scenario.
I'm happy to see more development with this characters rather than leaving them as static fixtures up until they are replaced.
My group did have a rather easy time cutting through the combat challenges of the adventure. I'm not sure if that is because the party build was just that aggressive or if there was a character in particular that was doing far above average damage. That falls secondary to the plot of the scenario that I enjoyed going through. If I run this and the combat does fall short again I will combat and adjust my review slightly downward. Even in that case, I would still highly recommend this scenario just for the fun romp and story elements.
A Day Trip To AxisZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I played this adventure at subtier 10-11 with four players. I have not run it.
I have a soft spot for a lot of parts of what this adventure presents. I love adventures that explore in any way the other planes of the cosmology. I always wish this adventures were a bit longer but in the framework of 4-5 hour scenarios I do really enjoy this adventure. These do rely a lot more on the GM for pacing and to fill in the portions of the city to make this feel like a full blown city rather than just a couple sites and people the party will visit in the couple hours.
This is a strongly social focused scenario with the latter portion of the adventure being entirely focused on social skills. The first set of encounters, taken individually, can feel a bit disconnected from the main plot, but are nice encounters within the planar city. However they are a nice way to give some of the background that helped me appreciate the final encounter.
I do agree that this is probably not a good scenario to present to a group that has no previous knowledge of the Hao Jin Tapestry. Without the background of those adventures I would have much less investment in the plot of this adventure.
A Wonderful Season PFS1 Conclusion to the BlakrosZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I played this adventure at subtier 8-9 and I haven't run it.
This felt like a nice conclusion to a lot of the elements of the Blakros family that have come up over the years. It has a lot of callbacks to previous adventures.
The adventure opens with a heavy investigation emphasis and eventually leads into more combat focused encounters. We don't get much of a chance to explore the city, but I didn't miss it that much as we got to delve into a few encounters that felt like they gave me a nice sense of the area.
At the start the GM provided a list of scenarios stating that my presence in those might affect the scenario. As I was starting up it made me feel like I was missing content by having other character out of tier for the adventure. I realize that isn't the case, but I would suggest GMs not to emphasize the list of Blakros related scenarios as unlocking any additional options, content, or bonuses.
I did one have an partial issue with some of the callbacks and referrals to prior adventures.
At some point the adventure brings the party into contact with a character that is from a 5-star exclusive scenario. A lot of my questions about this character were cut off by, "can't talk to you about that without spoiling this other scenario." At this point, since we are at the end of the run of PFS1, it felt certain that I'm not going to get a chance to play this scenario and it is especially true for my friend who had no idea who this character was. While I enjoy the reference, it felt like it relied too heavily on knowledge from that previous scenario.
Aside from that issue, I had a good time with this adventure.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-20: Countdown to Round MountainPaizo Inc.
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Open Area with a Check ListZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I played this once at subtier 10-11 and haven't run this.
This adventure didn't feel terribly exciting as we searched the area. The main reason I think that was the case was that, as we entered each area, the GM had us run through the list of required skill checks we had to complete to finish cataloging the region. He made it a clear point as he presented the check list he was referring to as we proceeded through the adventure.
With that direction we finished the adventure in a short time, both in and out of game. By the time additional NPCs were presented, they felt more like a sidenote rather than anything we were encouraged to interact with. We finished the game far ahead of schedule. Afterwards I wished that were were allowed to explore the area more freely and interact with the cast of characters. As it was presented, the adventure I played in wasn't very exciting.
The combat difficulty felt a bit awkward, but as always that might have been because the group I was with had more combat effective characters. One character was in danger of death in the final encounter, but each encounter felt short and that felt especially true in the final battle. It was described as a battle with the leaders of an army and it ended very quickly.
I'm not certain what is in the adventure, but I think this could be a more fun adventure if the GM focuses less on the combats and more the exploration, but I'm not certain if that is correct without running the adventure myself.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-10—Tyranny of Winds, Part 2: Secrets of the Endless Sky (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Cool EncountersZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I would highly recommend this scenario. I enjoyed the goals of most of the opposition of this adventure and how it made sense running a non-evil enemy. I enjoyed the tactics and the stat blocks felt like they were on point and provided interesting combats which is very good as such a low level scenario. It was a great scenario, I would be happy to run it many more times and, again, would encourage others to pick it up.
I felt disappointed in both the puzzles though. The first felt like it didn't have enough pay off and it led the party to believe more that they were missing additional treasure or information. The second ended up feeling pretty trivial. It is hard to say because puzzles of that type tend to be either you immediately know the answer or you will never figure it out.
The reintroduction of the NPC from several years ago was enjoyable, but I did find it disappointing that because of the level range of this adventure, the original adventure he came from, and the time between the release of both, I don't believe that there is any realistic chance that a single character will naturally play both of these scenarios in a "correct" order. I do hope this character is in more scenarios because I do enjoy having this sort of continuity between adventures, meeting characters I had encountered previously whether or not there are boons attached to the meeting.
The way the Sovereign Court goals integrated with the scenario reminded me a lot of older scenarios in a poor way. For these PCs, this encounter are important for them in and out of character. But for other PCs it is a distraction and irrelevant to the adventure. It would be nice to just be able to roleplay with these characters, but the PCs have goals they are trying to achieve and none of these NPCs offer anything to achieve those goals leading the PCs into dead ends and somewhat confusing them with minimal information results.
I would have liked to seen these Sovereign Court NPCs better integrated with the scenario and players for all factions. Give them information that the PCs might find some informative to their immediate goals. In the adventure where it calls out that Sovereign Court PCs are able to call upon the aid of the NPCs, just strike out Sovereign Court and allow all PCs that option.
Again, I do love the adventure and I know most of this is talking about the parts I felt could be improved, it is largely because I just that I felt most of the adventure was perfect and I would suggest that others check this scenario out.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–02: Six Seconds to Midnight (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Puzzle PowerZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I just love this scenario. It explores an unusual place that I read about quite a while back and I'm happy to see it explored. Unique creatures are throughout the adventure and I think there is something about variant creatures that put me in a good mood.
I liked the characterization of the fey in general. Even for the normal fey I get a sense of the unusual behind them beyond they have insect parts. That can be hard to convey as a GM though.
I liked all the encounters with NPCs. Talking in optional, but there are bits of rewards for being proactive and engaging with them.
That brings us to the puzzle. I do like the puzzle. To me, reading it, the answer seems obvious, but I know what information is important and how to interpret the clues and I can't turn that knowledge off. There are important aspects of this the GM has to keep in mind handing this off. The handout should be in color, the colors on it have to be clear and in color. If a color printer isn't available, I would recommend doing what I did and go over it with colored pens or markers. Refer tot the PDF to make sure the marking are accurate. The GM needs to keep track of the players progress thought the puzzle, if you handing a clue when they are already frustrated with the puzzle, I would say it definitely too late. In a loud convention space, I would expect this to be especially hard on a party. If I had to make a suggestion about the puzzle, I would liked slightly more of a clearer feedback system so that the PCs feel progress rather than being in the same place. That is handled somewhat via the clue system, but I could see something a tad more.
Puzzles aren't for everybody, and it is up the GM to prepare for that and do their best to make sure this is a fun adventure no matter the group.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–18: From Under Ice (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Fun Adventure with Less Optimal ExperienceZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
This was a nice adventure and I like the characters and setting, but only end up with complaints on encounter design. The majority of the combats the party got into were the party against one enemy and while that is a fair way to set up a combat, it ends up often feeling like the monster just chews its way through characters with high attack, damage, DCs and such.
One encounter in particular was a major problem but mostly because the GM admittedly made a couple error running it. While I normally wouldn't hold that against an scenario, the monsters stats for our particular tier were effectively spread over four different pages in different sections.
In addition, from memory the encounter is with something that either paralyzes or otherwise shuts down characters. One party member in the group spent eight rounds of combat unable to act because he couldn't make the high DC. Any scenario that can casually lock a character out of combat like loses some love from me.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–17: Fires of Karamoss (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Fun Technology AdventureZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
This turned into a fun adventure for the group. The map was problematic just for the fact that it was on an angle making it awkward to draw out.
The skill checks to deal with the mini-game in the adventure are pretty limited though and although they offer the option to attempt ability checks as well, at the high tier the DC scales up so high that even someone with an exceptional ability isn't going to be able to make it. A few more broad checks to allow people even to aid others might have helped. even if aid another is an option as a DC 10, I would rather involve the entire party in the skill checks if possible.
The only elements I have problem with in the adventure are the one combat with a single large monster that can easily leave one person twiddling his thumbs for a half an hour or hour combat if he just doesn't have the right options to combat the creatures and the final battle which gets quite chaotic to GM while checking multiple encounter features each turn while also running monsters.
While I don't typically note chronicles rewards as a reason for good adventures, I do like they way this is set up compared to some other tech adventures. There is a large array of items that a good number of classes might pick up rather then a couple of random items that one in fifty characters might find useful.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–13: Of Kirin and Kraken (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Rewards Murder HobosZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
There a lot of adventures that are better for parties that actively murder everything in their path that stands in their way. Usually by making combat vastly easier than talking, or just having combat being the logical conclusion for diplomacy or just not having situations where talking is required.
This is the first adventure that I recall that actually can penalize you for not being a "murder hobo". One of the encounters causes the loss of prestige if you fail a diplomacy check, but that prestige can be regained by murdering the hell out of a LN creature or at minimum robbing him with him getting beaten by the party as we are vastly more well equipped than him.
I enjoy so much about the adventure, but this element takes this adventure from "highly recommend" to "never recommend".
I don't think it is the loss of prestige that gets me about this adventure. If that prestige was dependent on a successful diplomacy check, then I would be fine losing it, but the way it is set up, the party that fails the diplomacy check then kills him because he is not doing what they want get pretty much everything, while Mr. Silver Crusade here who successfully talked the party out of robbing the creature (they are watching) effectively lost the party both money and prestige.
This is not an element that I want to see in any scenario and I honestly would rather not see this ever run again. There are enough murder hobos in Society without encouraging them anymore.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–06: Hall of the Flesh Eaters (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Liked it, Wary of Recommending Completely, but Looking Forward to MoreZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
This adventure feels like it hits the ton right. Although there isn't a lot of things to talk with (the first encounter doesn't count too much when one requires a rare language) there was a nice sense of danger going through the tomb.
I almost rated it four stars, but one of the creatures in the adventure makes this adventure too much of a gamble on whether I would recommend it to a stranger to play at any random table. It depends too much on other party members, GM, and luck for me to tell someone to throw four to five hours at it.
I wonder what would have happened if the party had to face the leech swarm which would be pretty difficult without party members being overly prepared, but the scenario does give enough warning for that and the ghouls that I feel it works out fine.
The chamber with the cyst is dangerous in part because even though it gives time to the party to respond and take out a large number, the adventure seem to assume they do that, if they miss one of those rounds for any reason they will be facing a hard fight.
The reason I gave the lower rating is the mess of ghouls around. That is way too much paralysis and it almost guarentees you are going to be locking one person out of that fight unless someone else had the right counter prepared in the best situation. In worse situations I can see some GMs using it to just throw coup de grace at PCs with child-like glee. The number of ghouls could have been cut down without eliminating them.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–02: The Silver Mount Collection (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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A Slog I Didn't EnjoyZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
This was really dissapointing. I was really excited to get into this adventure for several reasons. It started with a draining battle right from the start that killed the energy and left people wondering what they should be doing to contribute to the fight. It then ended as it began with another fight that had different problems but with the same results. Frantic flailing with a couple people just being unable to assist.
It was like being surprised with the first level of Bonekeep all over again with a party not prepared for Bonekeep.
Played at 6-7 with four players.
First encounter, four robots with high AC, good attack and damage, and hardness 10. No one had adamantine weapons as of yet since the brawlers haven't run into this sort of situation yet. The modification for four players was insignificant and stopped about five attacks out of over two dozen they got to make during the encounter. The staggered condition meant nothing in the fight barring the party just falling back and regrouping. That would have been a good idea, but forcing the purchase of adamantine weapons is just a horrible way to start the scenario.
Final encounter, we feel good about ourselves for about a minute after driving the swarm from Pendleton, but then it just turned into a fight with a 78 hp swarm and 21 touch AC. There were a couple characters with AoEs, but those only do so much. Half the party had trouble dealing more than a handful of points of damage at that point.
I enjoyed the story, but the encounter design just killed my enthusiasm for this adventure. Either providing a different mix in the encounters or granting equipment before or during encounters to allow unequipped characters to do something effective. Without that, I know that this will be one of the scenarios that I will never run and that makes me sad.
Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Miniatures—Icons of the Realms, Set 1WizKids/NECA
Standard for PriceZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I only picked up one box so I am not sure if what I get was a great example of the set, but I wasn't particularly impressed with what I picked up. In my pack was a sun elf druid, wood elf druid, a quickling, and a wyvern.
The shape and sculpt of the minis looks fine, but I'm not particularly excited by any of the paint jobs. A lot of it feels a tad sloppy when looking at them in my hands. Bits of the hair painted over with the flesh color. Gold trim on the cloak spreading over into the rest of the cloth. Even with that none of the paint work looks particularly complex. The wood elf wears a dark brown glove which holds a completely dark brown staff that has some dark brown rings near the head. On his back he has two swords still sheathed. The hilt and scabbard are also the same dark brown throughout.
The size of the box is another issue I had. After removing the plastic packaging and putting the minis back in the box, it feels very empty. The box is a lot larger than the Pathfinder Mini boxes nearby, but the size of the minis I got are as small as if not smaller than what I might expect from the Pathfinder box. I presume that the larger box size is to account for some of the dragons or other wing creatures with larger wing spans, but for the wyvern I got, the box ends up feeling very empty afterwards (this is also true for the Pathfinder mini box, it is just was much stronger with this product).
There is nothing horrible here for the price, but it certainly isn't outstanding and I probably won't be picking up another box given my other options.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #5–21: The Merchant's Wake (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Highly Recommended Low Level ScenarioZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
This is a scenario with one heavy roleplay encounter. Depending on the party and GM pacing this portion of the adventure might take a lot longer than expected to complete.
There were a decent mix of creatures that I really enjoyed. I like seeing fights that are consistent with one another, but don't involve the party fighting the same exact creatures. It could have used a bit more variation, but there was enough changing resistances and vulnerabilities that it worked perfectly fine. There is one common immunity here, but there are a few other creatures in play that I think make up for the common immunity.
The chase mechanic is used to good effect here. I suspect some GMs might breeze past the changes this scenario makes to the chase mechanic and end up making it much harder, but that isn't the fault of the scenario. The chase could have used some scaling rules for four players though.
The biggest issue I have with the scenario is that it offers a mystery over the course of the scenario, but offers no method of resolution for the players and it doesn't leave enough of a hook to make players remember the bits of this mystery months from now.
This is a good scenario that I would recommend easily.
Pathfinder Society Special: Ruins of Bonekeep—Level 1: The Silent Grave (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Not Recommended for Convention PlayZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
Edit: I've thought about this more and I decided that I let my own bad experience push my review of the adventure lower than I should. I still believe everything else I have written, but I think that this adventure does work for what it does.
If you have a group of friends that you like to play with and you are all looking for the challenge, this will likely work well for you. But if you are going into a convention, there is so much variation that can happen with number people at the table and with party composition to make this adventure a fun romp or, as it was with me, one of the worst gaming experiences one may have.
Below is my original review.
Even over a year later now, this still is the absolutely worst scenario experience I have played in. I blame part of it on convention staff, but in the end many of the problems are built into the scenario itself.
The scenario starts off with a bit on the challenge level of the scenario, but I find there are enough missteps within the scenario to make that warning itself misleading and pointless.
I was very much irritated to find out after our brief run into Bonekeep that it didn't scale for four players. This is ridiculous for a scenario that intends to challenge a party. It is obvious that what will challenge a six person party will be different from a four person party. Now, to the scenario's credit, it is meant to play as part of a special event with several tables to allow every table to be full for the run into Bonekeep. That is one place that I have to lay the blame for this experience at convention staff. I love you all for everything you do, but we don't know the scenario. When you saw a four person party with no idea of what was inside Bonekeep, you should have told us that it was meant for six person tables and that you were not scaling it down for us. I would have been fine with that, I would have found a different event. Instead you lead me to believe that this would be a challenge to our characters rather than the slog that it was.
For the half of the encounters, one class has it's damage dealing class ability negated. Our GM either accidentally also negated that same class ability in the first encounter or the adventure added that random immunity out of spite. Even in favor of the scenario, you shouldn't be negating any class ability that many times during a scenario. It doesn't make it challenging, it makes it either ridiculously hard if you have characters relying on that class ability.
Once I entered, I found myself bound to stick with the party until the rest of the party realized we couldn't handle this scenario. It was obvious to me following encounter 1. I couldn't leave though because other members wanted to continue forward. This is ridiculous for a special that will be gathering random groups of people into parties. I could have stayed by the entrance, but based on the murderous nature of the scenario, I felt like it would kill me as soon as we split the party.
Boring encounters. All the encounters I was exposed to were honestly boring. They were hard, but not hard in that I had to think of new tactics. They were ten to twenty round slug fests that just bored the hell out of me.
No roleplaying. I know, silly for this sort of event, but even bad scenarios can have some enjoyment created from basic roleplaying encounters. Since this one doesn't have them, it has to rely on the encounters being enjoyable. When the encounters fall flat, that leaves nothing fun about this scenario.
Encounters scale up poorly. The scenario spells out that we can leave any time, but with each encounter being so capable of killing any party member it feels so pointless. There wasn't a sense that we ran out of resources and couldn't keep going. Ever encounter was "wow, if we didn't get lucky there someone could have been killed." There was nothing we could do to gauge if we would be able to take on the next room.
Rewards metagaming. Almost all the encounters can be described as such. "Are you prepared for [blank]? If you are, then you beat the encounter!" All scenarios are like that to an extent, but this one seems to expect it.
This is only the first part. Because of the horrible experience with the scenario, there is none in this line I ever want to experience and in fact I will continue to warn people away from these series of scenarios in the future.
I can easily say to anyone I meet that given the option to play in any Bonekeep special or any other game, that they should go with the other game. The other game will be more likely to be fun even if they lose.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-05: Eyes of the Ten—Part III: Red Revolution (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Red World AdventureZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I have just played and prepped for this scenario so maybe it will play better than it did for me and will be a lot more fun, but this scenario was a bit of a disappointment for me.
I've been looking forward to this scenario for the longest time and it was the main reason I was pushing so hard to play through scenarios (unsanctioned or not) just to see how the adventure played out. Of all the locations that the series takes the party to, this was one that I absolutely was looking forward to.
In the end though, there was little interaction to be had from the scenario to make me feel like it was it was set on this location rather than any other. Maybe due to the restriction on length, but it didn't feel like there was really an opportunity to explore or play on this world, but that may be because I was hoping for a larger adventure here that the scenario couldn't support.
Barring that, the encounters came on pretty strongly, maybe I was unlucky to be hit with a crit but it killed my character right in the first encounter followed by another player's character. Since I was the only healer in the group and the scenario throws the party in such a place that they can't get any real options for raise dead, it would have been the end of the scenario if were playing this as a sanctioned scenario. The adventure just jumps to the next encounter and into the next. After losing two PCs in the first or second encounter, the game can't continue and the scenario doesn't give any way to recover from that aside from quitting.
Since we were not playing a sanctioned game, the dead character were brought back at a penalty and the game continued. The second encounter starts as soon as the first ends. If the party was having trouble with the first encounter, the second would finish them off given they have no time to heal between battles.
The adventure continues with a rush and gives high DCs to near impossible DCs to actually complete the adventure. While in our case this made it feel somewhat of a challenge that we had to do awesome to beat, if we replaced one character in the party it would have meant the end of the adventure.
It feels like there are too many abrupt ways this adventure can just end as well as there doesn't seem to be as much interaction with the world as I hoped.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #54: Eyes of the Ten—Part II: The Maze of the Open Road (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Two Short Scenarios in OneZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
This adventure was entertaining, but lacked some of the strength of the prior scenario. This adventure takes place in two very disparate parts of Golarion and have little to do with one another aside from a couple of the friendly NPCs having a connection to one another.
Because of that, it almost feels as if this is two smaller two encounter scenarios connected into one. The major villains seem somewhat disconnected from the overall plot of the retirement arc and while the final villain is entertaining, there is very little build up for them within the scenario causing them to come nearly out of nowhere right before the party drives him off.
This was an entertaining scenario, but left me wanting more. I would been happier if the scenario was a bit longer in each section and gave more of a feel of each of the areas than what could be seen with a couple encounters. The first half was significantly better if only for the additional NPCs to interact with, but the second half felt more like a series of skill checks that you had to pass in order to get to the next encounter.
For difficulty, two encounters were very easy for the (five person) party two deal with, while the other two were somewhat threatening, but never really put the party in incredible danger.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #46: Eyes of the Ten—Part I: Requiem for the Red Raven (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
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Good Adventure Depending On PartyZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I've both played and run this scenario and have a mixed opinion on in. When I played it we had a four person party that wasn't optimized. The first encounter was hard and caught the party off guard leading the group to being forced to fight on multiple fronts and losing. It then jumped immediately into another encounter (which a player had to set out of as his character was killed in the first encounter). Following that was an incredibly hard fight for our group in particular, but I think that other groups would have similar experiences.
Running it for my own group went a lot better. The party was five players with a lot better character builds as well as covering a broader range of party roles. They were challenged by the encounters, and threatened, but didn't feel that it was something they couldn't handle. They seemed specifically happy for the challenge which felt perfect for them.
I like the plot of this scenario a lot. I think the largest issue that I have with this scenario is that it doesn't scale. It is built exclusively for the greatest and most powerful parties and you find this out in the first encounter. It can easily come out of nowhere and kill off a few characters without trying too hard. The scenario does give advice against the adventure ending with a TPK, but with the creatures in play, it is very easy for a PC to quickly get killed. So it is an adventure that will be well balanced and fun for some and completely outrageous for others. If I knew about it beforehand, I would have never have wanted to play in this scenario, in this table's case it wasn't fun and just felt unbeatable.
The scenario seems to presume the party accomplishes the entire run in a single day, which with the level of the encounters, I can't see how it is reasonable to do so without an incredibly optimized (and full) table. Even the second party that made it through the adventure had a difficult time and couldn't do it without resting. Maybe if they had another character, it would have been different.
As the first scenario of the series, it really set the tone for the rest. For one group it was an exciting start and for the other, it really just killed any immediate desire to play through the rest of arc.
I would run it again, but I wouldn't do so for less than six players.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #11: The Third Riddle (OGL) PDF (Retired)Paizo Inc.
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Deadly for first level charactersZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
This would be a good scenario if for the fact that it did not claim to support 1st level characters. This is the deadliest, most unbalanced scenario I have seen.
Every puzzle battle was an EL 5 battle fight where every resource available had to be spent just to avoid a TPK.
I liked the plot and concepts that were there, but I can never recommend the scenario, especially for 1st level characters.