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A High Variance ScenarioZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
This was a wonderful and unique adventure to run. This places the party in a unique situation where the GM is far more able to try to introduce a relatively large cast of NPCs that I was able to open up to a more free form set of roleplay that is less common in organized play.
The biggest issue draws from that quality though. This adventure threatens to be very long within the context of Society and take six to seven hours to complete at a table. If I had to run it within the time limit, my response would be to cut down the roleplay with the village to a bare minimum. It wouldn't make it a horrible adventure and it would still be unique and present interesting challenges to the party, but I think it would lose a lot of the appeal that make me love this adventure.
Even with cutting the village interactions, this is still a heavy challenge to a GM as there is a new system that I believe is unique to this adventure. How well this goes depends greatly on the GM to prepare for the system to understand it. Having good custom handouts can also dramatically affect the player experience. In addition, this section can be very long and it is important for the GM to keep the table having fun and engaged throughout without also going over time.
In preparing for this adventure I've read many reviews and more than any other adventure I have agreed with virtually everything I have read, from the 5 star reviews to the 1 star reviews. This adventure is in no way perfect, but I love it. I would encourage other GMs to heavily consider this, but I would never say a GM 'must' run this adventure given the amount of effort I needed to put in to run this adventure.
I would love to see other adventures to continue to explore the mechanics, gameplay, and plot threads that are within this scenario. For an Organized Play scenario though, I would want them to be more viable within a single 4-5 hour session time.
I don't know how to rate thisZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I choose three stars for the review just to set some sort of value, but I have considered 1, 2, 3, and 4 for this scenario. The most concise I can review this adventure is "I love it, but I hate it"
I love the setting and the sames seems to be the same for me group. The description of the people, the behemoths, and the setting overall made the groups I ran for want to come back to this world. I think that is a credit the NPCs, the city, and the final map contributing to that.
However the adventure has a lot of areas that frustrate me as a GM that I end up hiding from the players.
Radaszam demands to come on the adventure but doesn't actively contribute anything to the adventure. Any time I brought him up the party ended up regarding him as a waste of space and in the end I felt that it would be best to avoid acknowledge that he is there. This felt horrible compared to his presence in other adventures where he is busy elsewhere doing important tasks. For all he does in the adventure he could be replaced with Julzakama and spend the adventure drinking beers while in the back of the truck.
The High DC Beacons
What I consider worse is that the adventure only rewards activating all three beacons. If the first beacon is destroyed the adventure requires that the party "attempt to activate" the other beacons despite there being no reward for succeeding in this part aside from avoiding damage.
That thankfully isn't obvious to the party though and they might still enjoy this part, but I do not feel that is possible if the party fail to activate all three. I will get into that condition after I talk about the NPC ally the party try to work with this adventure.
The NPC Ally
The NPC ally the party tries to get help from is the opposite and I loathe him with a ferocity greater than I ever felt for Aram Zey. He is far too useful and completely necessary for the adventure to function. This makes it awkward if the party don't convince him to help. From the start he is a self important jerk who has the party climb many flights of stairs to reach him, only to demand a diplomacy check or head back down to reschedule for the next day. Talking to him, he explains exactly what the party needs to do, but offers his help only if they prove themselves worthy.
The fact that he tests the party for access to his aid isn't a problem, but the adventure doesn't really provide any insight on what do if the party doesn't get his help. He shows up later no matter what to join in after the beasts appear. There is a purposeless reflex save that throws everyone to the ground that seems to only be there to allow the NPC to show off how easily he automatically succeeds that check the party probably fails. So much of this is given to given an impression of his vast skill, but it completely unearned and I would feel Aram Zey would be less demeaning to the party.
The party really needs his aid to be able to hit the DCs the adventure places and his aid autopasses the difficult piloting task involved completely removing the need for a vehicle tag on this adventure. I would even argue the adventure doesn't know what to do if you don't have access to his vehicle as it doesn't offer advice on how the party might "launch" themselves inside of the colossus.
That lack of advice isn't an killer issue to me, but does make this adventure feel very fragile if the party goes off the optimal path.
Which brings be back to those beacons. If the party destroy each of the beacons, the NPC ally regards the group as little more than children and just fixes it for them. He even does this if they party didn't secure his help! He just shows up and fixes everything the party failed to with seemingly no effort. This is the worst path the adventure can take as it makes no attempt to hide the track the party are on.
There are ways to fix this, but require changing the adventure itself. The best hope for this adventure though is that the party doesn't encounter this portion of the adventure. It makes it very important that the GM do what they are able to offer the party every tool that they need to succeed on this task, even if it is on just one of the beacons to give them a feeling of their own accomplishment.
Inside the Beast
The biggest issue inside the beast is that all of the relics the party are supposed to find are hidden and near invisible to anyone without detect magic. Detect magic resolving something otherwise requiring a maxed out Perception makes either an irritating option. This can be an issue if the party has no spellcaster as locating these could be slow and the only time limit on this section starts when the party have all three relics in their hands.
While flight is a reasonable solution, the adventure should also not have high Athletics DCs in areas that are bypassable by flight. Those DCs should be lower or offer greater rewards than flight offer given that Athletics is a far greater investment. This would be less a note if this happened once, but it happens on both of the encounter maps where Athletics was mentioned.
If common equipment can avoid hazards, then the skill DCs to bypass them should not be be punishingly high.
I would be willing to run this again, but I would need to have a deep level of confidence in any GM running this before I suggest someone play at their table. This adventure has a great concept and, if the GM does a good job and players succeed on some checks, hopefully the party only sees that.
Fun Return to the Water WorldZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I played this at an author run table and I might adjust my review later after I run it up or down. It was a solid adventure that ties into the overall themes and plot of Season 2 and gives a decent setting.
I enjoy the overall themes of this high level adventure. I do wonder about the pacing of the combats and the amount of background the adventure needs to fit into the tail end to bring the party up to speed. It might be a bit overwhelming the way the information is partitioned.
I look forward to running it myself sometime soon.
Great adventure and very bad puzzleZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I overall enjoyed the setting of the adventure as I played in it.
The encounters were a bit rough, but that can vary based upon party composition. The overall adventure had a great setting and feel.
The largest issue I have with the adventure is the puzzle. I do really enjoy puzzles, but after playing it and running it I am reluctant to recommend this just because of this one puzzle.
The puzzle puts out a lot of unimportant and misleading information which makes it very unlikely to spot the answer. There are a lot of ways I could find this still fine, but the puzzle also responds to failure with a lot of damage that I would suggest requires the party to spend a lot of downtime to heal or TPK. This puzzle is the one major flaw in the adventure and it does ruin the entire adventure if a GM is unwilling to aid in the encounter.
Reducing the damage from the puzzle to zero is the easiest way to fix the encounter as it at least keeps the adventure flowing rather than stall the group tending to wounds and then throwing an additional encounter at the end of a long scenario.
The actual answer would be for the GM to have a sidebar on how to properly give clues for this depending on the group. This puzzle can be even harder depending on the vision of a player or their native language and that makes this really hard for me to recommend because I really want people to enjoy puzzles. This though is not a fun puzzle.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #1-08: Revolution on the RiversidePaizo Inc.
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Wonderful AdventureZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
I came away running this adventure very happy, it combines elements of roleplay that I wouldn't expect to see play out in a society scenario just because of the complexity of the information the PCs would need to be able to play it out.
This adventure pulls it off very well and I would highly recommend this and I look forward to running it again someday.
If I had a gripe, it would be that one of the maps has a very complilated set of mechanics dealing with several map elements that have special rules, but the map is wide enough that it isn't necessary to interact with them. It felt like it complicated the encounter more than necessary during my prep. That is not enough for me to not recommend this adventure highly though.
Good Idea, but Poor ImplementationZynete (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8) —
Others have said it before here. Even the most positive reviews admit it. This is an entirely too lethal of a scenario, especially a tier 1-4. I agree with the reviews saying that this a wonderful idea for a scenario and I will go as far as to say I want to see this sort of run attempted again, but this needs to be set aside and reviewed. Use this adventure to figure out what to do better next time.
This adventure legitimately tries to punish any mistake by the PCs with death and that is far too aggressive for what this adventure is trying to do. This adventure likely would have been a lot better if it didn't go to such lengths to spell out every detail on the trials this adventure puts out. It removes a lot of freedom from the GM to reward creative tactics and ingenuity. What is spelled out in the adventure it seems clear that the author has exactly one way they plan for the PCs to prevail in this because of the lack of party weaponry.
The scenario expects the party to go recover their weapons avoiding all of the sensor grids as long as possible. During this they will run into one of the animated guards and forced to defend while continuing to the door and recovering their gear and fight and destroy the two animated guards.
From here the party the party goes to the opposite side of the building in order to rescue one of the other survivors. The open the door to the room. While it isn't apparent, the room is filled with lethal radiation and the party should avoid entering it.
The party then moves to the exit, disabling several layers of traps, and then fights another difficult encounter before escaping.
If the scenario isn't done in that precise way then encounters will combine and likely force the party into more high lethality traps. The party might have more options depending on their character race or other combat abilities they can use while unarmed.
There are other minor errors in here as well, but nothing that does compare to the very real risk of TPK throughout this adventure and this adventure hasn't earned that at all by actually being a fun play through.
I can't recommend this adventure for any consideration for any game group. This is too deadly and not interesting to play in.
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.
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.
Our Price: $3.99
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.