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Pathfinder Society Scenario #4-05: The Arclord Who Never WasPaizo Inc.
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Enjoyable light hearted rompandreww —
I ran this at the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is fairly straight forward to prepare, highlights a region we havent visited much before and has one of the most amusing NPCs to run that we have seen in quite a while.
I would highly recommend this one to people. Lots of fun and games. If your party are lacking in skills then it could run long. Mine werent, they avoided all of the avoidable combats and we finished up in around 3 hours.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #4-04: To Seek the Heart of CalamityPaizo Inc.
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Needed some playtestingandreww —
I played this at the weekend and enjoyed it but I have still given it a fairly low rating. Overall the premise, setting, theme, mood and flavour are all good but it has some seriously flawed mechanics if how it was described by our GM is right.
Unlike others I dont mind the conflicting faction goals. What I disliked was that it was almost impossible to actually make one of them. The timescales given in various parts for what was achievable within the hexploration timescales were hopelessly unrealistic. It would have taken a party of elven monks with fleet to make anything like the times suggested by the missions.
Also, please stop putting spellcasters with Vampiric Touch in 3-4 adventures. Vampiric Touch has the death trait so f it reduces a PC to 0HP they are flat out dead with no way to prevent it. Only a very lucky hero point saved our level 3 rogue from what would have been perma death as they were a new player with their first ever character.
Looks brilliantandreww —
I have just started to prep this and I am about 2/3rds done. So far it looks absolutely excellent. I love the setting, the feel, the themes, the brooding menace, the NPC's, the range of challenges and the open ended nature of what I have seen so far.
Highly recommend this, its as good as if not better than Night of Gray Death (which was excellent).
Enjoyable dungeon rompandreww —
I have played this at high tier and run it at high as well. This is an enjoyable dungeon romp with some interesting exploration, combat and social encounters. There are lots of things to do for different types of characters.
The combat encounters are interesting and suitably challenging and the puzzle is interesting with plenty of clues seeded through the area.
This can I think have the potential to run a bit long and needs plenty of prep as the CP adjustments often involve elite or weak adjustments and the altered stat blocks are not provided.
Lots to do!andreww —
I played this today at 36 challenge points and I have prepped it to run it.
Overall this is an excellent addition to the Society scenarios. It has things to do for all sorts of characters. The combat encounters are suitably challenging, the investigation has lots of meat to it and we even meet up with old enemies in the form of the Aspis.
This does feel a little like Mosquito Witch with the Maid as the crypto critter which is definitely a good thing. It leaves various questions hanging which I hope get followed up in subsequent scenarios.
This does have the potential to run long and plenty of prep is required.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-18: The Fanciful March of UrwalPaizo Inc.
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Great story, dodgy editingandreww —
I have played this in high tier and have prepped it to run it.
Overall this is a great addition to the Season 2 metaplot. It has a slightly goofy start but the rest of it is very solid. You have an escort mission with all of the funky troubles of escort missions you will be familiar with from pretty much any video game with annoying NPCs who run themselves into trouble.
There is a good mix of exploration and combat with some challenging combat encounters. There is limited social stuff so I wouldn't bring a diplomancer to this one.
This would be 5 stars but it loses a star due to editing issues. In particular treasure bundles are wrong. The scenario lists 8 or 9 depending on if you look at the boxes or the text. This really shouldn't happen and should be a simple thing to spot. I wouldn't mind so much if editing issues were infrequent but they seem t crop up with every scenario.
Great exploration and dungeon crawlandreww —
I have played this at high tier and prepared to run it. Overall this is a great 3-6 adventure. We go back to see some old friends from first edition and go off for some old style pathfindering.
It involves exploration, dungeon delving, recovering ancient artifacts and cleansing the forces of evil. There are a few opportunities for npc interactions but this is a strong dungeon crawl adventure. There are a mix of different combat encounters which were suitably challenging at high tier.
My one slight disappointment is that you receive a reward at the end but it is not reflected on the chronicle. Obviously chronicle loot has often been criticised as being often irrelevant, it would have been nice to see some slightly early access to the item on the chronicle.
Straight forward, simple and lots of funandreww —
I have played this at high tier (with a group of 5 casters and me, a rogue) and I have now prepared to run it.
Overall this is an excellent 5-8 scenario. It deals with stuff suitable for the level, its nice, simple and straightforward. It looks easy to run and was a lot of fun to play.
If I have one criticism, I would have liked the interactions with the trapped guests to have a little more weight in the scenario. Otherwise I highly recommend this one.
Enjoyable wilderness rompandreww —
I have run and played this at high tier. Overall I enjoyed it a lot, it has a mix of stuff to do, is suitably challenging across various types of play and, potentially, has a big reveal at the end.
Having said that I do have a couple of quibbles.
1. The exploration part potentially involves an awful lot of dice rolling. Checks for finding game trails, checks for finding food, checks for events. There are a huge number of hexes to explore and I can see the dice rolling becoming a bit of a grind. Oddly, this makes the scenario a really good choice for PbP. I am not sure I would want to run this in face to face games. For VTT I provided the map and covered each hex with a marker for the Glyph of the Open Road. As they explored hexes I moved them aside.
2. When I played it we negated a lot of the dice rolling with create food, a rather low level and easily accessible option. When I ran it I did away with foraging after half a dozen hexes when it became obvious the group would never run out of food.
3. I think this could have made a brilliant repeatable. It has an excellent set up, there could have been a choice of 2 out of 4 fixed encounters (maybe one for each element) and then a mix of extra encounters to pick from scattered across the map. I know its part of the metaplot which would mitigate against this but it struck me as a missed opportunity given how well this format lends itself to being repeatable.
Interesting idea, deeply flawed executionandreww —
I have played this at high tier and prepared it to run.
The scenario is called out as an investigative one but there is very little investigation. You are led by the nose around the city engaging in various combats while you get to chat to the main NPC. She is an interesting character but it isnt really possible to learn much about what is going on with her through the influence system. Given that is what you are supposed to be doing this is a missed opportunity.
The first two combats are both fairly weak and also present the Society in an extremely poor light. You are pretty much engaging in Hunger Games style death matches in the middle of a major metropolis. The first encounter is particularly egregious are you are essentially killing a group of desperate locals. I cannot imagine why the society would have chosen to operate in this way, it feels like an extremely retrograde step. The scenario doesnt even bother to address the issue that you are being sent out to engage in death matches, as if this was a completely normal thing to do in a massive capital city.
The mechanics of the first two encounters are particularly weak, and neither presents much of a challenge to even a moderately experienced group. Twilighknights view that adding unusual abilities to an NPC is lazy writing is utter nonsense. Enemies often had abilities PCs could not have in 1E PF and now NOCs explicitly are not built using the same rules as PCs.
The final encounter again sees us using enemies that can massive damage one shot level 1 PCs.
Overall, the idea behind this scenario is great, expose a dangerous underground fighting ring and find out what the purpose of it is. The execution however is deeply flawed with the society pushing its agent to engage in deeply, deeply dubious activity, all the way up to outright murder.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #163: Ruins of Gauntlight (Abomination Vaults 1 of 3)Paizo Inc.
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Paizo continues not to understand its own mechanicsandreww —
OK, I have prepared Book 1 and Book 2 and so far have run the first level of Book 1. My group recently completed the Keep level, have done the graveyard event and are about to head back to start the first underground level. Or they would if we hadn't had effectively two TPK's.
This review focuses purely on the Keep. We have had two sessions.
The Keep level itself is interesting. The map is beautiful and well laid out with plenty of room to explore and various different routes to different places. The enemies are varied and interesting and there are some decent opportunities for role play interaction to break up the dungeon crawling.
In the first session the group happily explored much of the Keep. They negotiated with the mitflit King and enjoyed learning about his plan for the flying cavalry. At the end they found the shrine and just eeked out a victory. It is a very difficult encounter.
Returning the following day they headed over to the outbuildings where things started to go wrong. Putting something with vampiric touch in at level 1 is as bad as the Wight in thornkeep. It is a virtually guaranteed death as the spell has the death trait so there is no messing about with death saves when a regular fail drops everything except a dwarf barbarian on an average damage roll. 22 damage to the groups Champion ended him.
Heading back to town they recruited a replacement PC. Heading back they met up with Tangletop which they enjoyed. They gave him the shiny and decided to finish off exploring the Keep. They entered the scorpion room from the north and here we got TPK number 1. This thing is a terror with high AC, reach, opportunity attack, a dangerous poison and a lot of health. I had Wrin save them and they woke up in bed back in town.
Nervous they headed back, ignored the scorpion and entered the lighthouse. I had the haunt activate even though its only supposed to do so at night and it nearly murdered all of them. It is particularly mean that the entry door crumbles away giving the haunt clear line of sight down the very long hallway so it can continue to affect people if they try to run away, which my group did. Fortunately I have been having the mist limit vision pretty significantly.
They fled and just managed to stop the bleeding in time. I let them level up, restore themselves and then had the light show start. They rushed back to the graveyard, easily dealt with the undead and then were finished by the Skalthrax which is well above the recommended stats for a level 4 monster. I had the guard rally themselves and save the group.
A bunch of this leaves a fairly sour taste in the mouth. This is supposed to be the introductory level, the stage at which PCs are at their most fragile. We have had two effective TPK's and one outright murder and I am running for very experienced 2E players. This has certainly felt like a trend with similarly problematic encounters in starting levels for all previous APs.
If I was rating this for the lore, the setting, the maps, the layout and the presentation it would be a clear 4 stars. However, the encounter mechanics for level 1 PCs are blatantly too severe in a very obvious way. If I were running this for newbies I dont think we would have a session 3.
Not as bad as some suggest, quite a decent investigation scenarioandreww —
I have played this scenario at high tier and have prepped it to run. It is not nearly as bad as the initial reviews suggest. Some of those contain inaccurate information which suggest the scenario was run poorly.
There are some reasonable complaints and issues with it. The first encounter at high tier is difficult and dangerous, however this is a combat light scenario and I for one dont object to some difficult combats. The deus ex machina is a cheap get out for this encounter and undercuts much of the challenge of the scenario.
The camp investigation is well done. There is lots to poke about with and the scenario gives you many leads to follow. Some of the DC's are high however the scenario gives you more than one way to approach them. This could sometimes have been more explicit.
There are a lot of typos in the scenario. The scaling for the high tier of the first encounter is clearly wrong, referring to the low tier creatures. This results in a trivial encounter at CP23-27 against two level 5 creatures rather than 2 level 7's which it should be. This is significantly easier than the base version of the encounter.
Beyond this however it also have a number of basic typo's, some of which would have been picked up with simple proof reading software.
Poorly edited, story issuesandreww —
I have prepped this and run it once so far. I should preface this with saying that my group come out with full rewards but that was very much down to luck.
This is a poorly edited scenario with some significant issues, both mechanical and story based. I am not as critical as others have been, I think it can work but it needs careful preparation by a GM. Running this cold is likely to be a disaster. This is also not a scenario I could recommend for new players, it is simply too lethal in too many parts.
Paizo really needs to get away from the idea of level+3 boss encounters, especially in low level adventures. They are deeply unfair and extremely lethal. Watching a PC get dropped every round by something that crits even the best armoured level 1 PC on a 14 isnt great.
The betrayal at the end feels very forced and well outside the way the modern society has operated. The use of potentially expendable mercenaries getting killed for a small amount of pay as part of a "test" paints the organisation as pretty vile.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-09: The Seven Secrets of Dacilane AcademyPaizo Inc.
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Excellent but potentially deadlyandreww —
I have run and played this at high tier. Overall the story is interesting, the challenges varied and the mystery an interesting one which you gradually uncover.
It does have one or two editing issues around the empty hallway which isnt terribly clear and it presents the worlds deadliest ever Oppossums. This does run very short, neither game took more than about 2.5 hours.
Potential but a little underwhelmingandreww —
I have run this twice now at high tier. It is an interesting set up giving us a closer look at an ancestry which are often presented as little more than brutish monsters to kill. Overall the story is fine but I would have liked to see more exploration of Dawns Reach. Rather than the somewhat stilted trials I would have preferred to see more interaction inside the community with its residents. It is presented as a diplomatic mission, diplomats will be largely useless here.
Where I have more of an issue is with the combat elements. The first encounter is pretty easy, especially as you have help. They are completely unrequired for a vaguelly competent party.
The second encounter, at high tier, is uttery irrelevant. It is little more than a brief speed bump as the primary risk from the high tier enemies is almost entirely removed by the incapacitation trait.
The last encounter has a lot more going for it, mainly due to the terrain. My second group found the clock issue rather ufair given the locations of the items and the difficulty reaching them.
Lastly a note on DCs. We have seen some scenarios with very high DCs for their level, the chase in this one has what felt like extremely low DCs. Both groups I have run for have either passed Mahja or arrived at the summit at the same time. Neither ever felt in the slghst danger of falling behind.
Enjoyable story but weak mechanics, terrible editingandreww —
I have played this at high tier with 34 Challenge Points and I am part way through preparing it. The story is an interesting one, it opens up a bunch of background information about the museum and Nigel and the structure makes sense. It is well put together BUT there are some significant issue.
The editing of this is really very poor. One of the maps provided is the wrong side of the flip mat. The elite template is inaccurately applied to one of the enemies. The CP scaling for encounter 1 in the high tier uses low tier CP values. It uses the influence subsytem but Nigel has no perception DC for discovery despite perception being the default skill and the chronicle has an item priced at 20gp which should cost 228gp.
The combat encounters felt really very weak for our group although we did have 2 rogues, a fighter, bard, cleric and oracle. As the oracle I ussed all of about 4 spell slots the entire game. Nothing felt terribly threatening.
The influence encounters were intereting and pushed us into using up a bunch of hero points. There seemed to be a decent spread of useful skills which was helpful.
Overall I enjoyed the story but found some of the mechanical aspects rather weak and the editing very poor. For the story this would have been a 4 star review, for the implementation it is 3, the editing errors drop it to 2. I also disliked the retcon for Nigel, it felt rather hamfisted and similar to the after the fact justifications for Torch in Passing the Torch.
Nice but challengingandreww —
I have played this and prepared it to run. Overall I really like this adventure but it has some issues. The structure works well and it is easy to prepare. It has a good mix of combat and investigation with some RP opportunities with the kobolds.
However, there are some issues, particularly at low tier. The first encounter is particularly lethal for level 1 characters and I can easily see one PC dropping a round. This really hghlights the issues when you put level 3 solo monsters into low tier adventures. Having the potential for death from massive damage for level 1 characters does little to help foster new players which is important with a 1-4.
The skill challenge is challenging but the DCs are reasonable. The damage is low but given what happens when you get inside it seems unlikely you will rest before moving to the final confrontation. That is likely to make things even more dangerous.
Strong repeatableandreww —
I have run this once and played it a couple of times.
It is a strong addition to the list of repeatables. It pushes PCs into an unfamiliar environment, makes them look to adapt and forces them to work together to win.
It can be quite a long run depending on which choices you make.
Great new adventureandreww —
I have played this at high tier and run it at low. It is a great adventure, highly recommend it. I do find the premise a little strained, "we sail off into the west hoping to hit a continent at a relevant spot" but apart from that the rest is excellent.
There is a strong mix of combat, exploration and roleplayiing involved. The fights are potentially challenging, we played at 30+ CP and the final encounter had a lot going on which was thoroughly enjoyable.
The possible conflict with the drunken guard looks like it could go very hard but at least it can be avoided. The negotiation of the land dispute forcing the party to split up feels a bit forced with no real convncing reason given for it.
Once thing I have noticed which seems to be a very backwards step is that the text of the scenario no longer tells us what counts as a treasure bundle. We have numbers linked to locations at the back but with no explanation of what counts. This creates the potential for confusion and given we have seen more than one scenario now with missing treasure bundles this doesnt seem like a good change. Please put what counts as a treasure bundle back into the treasure bit at the end of each section along with the table at the end of the scenario.
Good but with some editing issuesandreww —
I have run and played this at low tier. Overall this is a good scenario, it has a nic mix of exploration, combat and diplomacy but there are some issues:
1. Some of the combats are pretty rough, especially at certain Challenge Points. This is exarcerbated by the map change to use the god awful tles in the first encounter creating confusion.
2. There are also a lot of combats. Three mandatory encounters, one optional and one which you might provoke are a lot for a 1-4. Expect this to run fairly long.
3. There is a puzzle. Puzzles are fine but this one has some issues around how it uses language.
4. There is a chase. The appearance of a chase in 1E was often met with groans. 2E chase rules are better. Unfortunately this doesnt just use the base rules in the GMG and instead it adds it own variation. Unfortunately these variatiions are poorly explained and the chaase was significantly changed in development. Despite the issue being raised in the GM forum there has been no dev comment on how it is supposed to be run. This, unfotunatley, seems to be the default now with issues like this just left to hang. I can appreciate that the covid situation creaes pressure but these sorts of issues shouldnt take too much time to resolve.
5. There are other editing issues as well such as the attack stat blocks for the low and high tier hound not changing.
Overall I did enjoy playing and running this and would have given it 4 stars if not for the issues created in development. I would give it 3.5 if I could.
This is probably the least enjoyable module I have ever played, filled with ridiculous, over tuned encounters. I see no way in which the pregens provided have any chance of surviving at all.
Lots of potential but falls flatandreww —
I have now played and run this at high tier.
This scenario had loads of potential. An exotic location ripe for pathfinders to do what pathfinders do, plenty of places to explore and lots to do but it suffers from various issues:
1. The initial exploration section is too thin. There are nine separate sections the group must explore and pretty much a single check in each except for the one combat area with a trap which has a decent chance to outright kill level 1 PCs. I would much preferred to see fewer areas with more meat to them.
2. The research section, dear god the research section. It doesnt help that two thirds of it is actually pointless. The only interesting part is the mural and that is because there is some tension to it. Can you recover enough information before the thing collapses into ruin. The rest is just roll a bunch of dice until you die of boredom. This is largely driven by DCs whch are too high, a narrow range of skills and the fact there there is no time limit. It is literally roll a mass of dice until you eventually succeed. The damage on the cystal is irrelevant as each check takes an hour and so you can treat wounds and ignore it.
3. The combats are wildly varied. The outside encounter is a cakewalk unless the haunt randomly kills someone. The fungus, at high tier, can involve 9 monsters crawling on the ceiling shooting poisonous pods at people! The end encounter is well overtuned, especially at low tier. Overlevelled bosses are murderous in 2e. I downed 3 out of 5 PCs at the high tier, 23CP pushed me to using the elite enemy.
4. Lastly the set up. The idea is great, the timings are ridiculous. There is a suggestion in the GM thread that the PCs should complete their exploration in a day. It takes two hours to exploe each location, each research check takes an hour, this is pretty much impossible.
Overall this would have been a much better adventure if the research element had been tightened up so that the whole thing had some tension to it.
Interesting additionandreww —
I have run and played this. I ennjoyed it a lot, there are plenty of interesting NPCs to get to know, some nice montage like scenes and some challenging combats. I got to swallow a couple of PCs whole! When I played this we had no-one with in combat healing making the final fight especially brutal and a close run thing.
Overll I really recommend this one, it was a lot of fun and wit Hobgoblins now an accessible race in PFS it provis a nice opener.
Full of flavourandreww —
I have run and plyed this. It is full of flavour with an interesting setting, interesting encounters and a lot to do. I would have liked there to be more ways to learn about the villain.
This would have been 5 stars but there are some editing issues and issues with the maps. The first encounter set up is not well described and encounter two can involve far too many large but weak enemies in a confined space.
Overall though you should go an play this, preferably on a dark and stormy night, by candle light, with suitable background music.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #1-24: Lightning Strikes, Stars FallPaizo Inc.
Our Price: $5.99Add to Cart
Enjoyable romp but with some issuesandreww —
I have played and run this, both times at high tier.
It is an enjoyable scenario which gives a good introduction to much of the weirdness of Numeria and is clearly laying the groundwork for future content.
There is overland travel, exploration and a decent amount of combat. You can avoid one comabt really very very easily. The DCs to avoid the first enconter are probably way too low. The second encounter has interesting terrain and hazards and party make up makes a big difference. When I played we had a lot of CP and therefore a lot of enemies but we also had a lot of area effect damage. When I ran it my group were mostly melee so they got a bit mauled but they had a lot of people capable of being disarmed.
The last encounter feels potentially very swingy, the bad guy can be very dangerous and the whole thing has a lot of movng parts.
So, I enjoyed the combat side of things and the setting and descriptions however there are some significant issues.
The entire travel mechanic simply does not work as presented. You cannot tell how long it will take to get to the destination until they actually arrive at the destination. The VC gives seriously misleading advice and the scenario recommends using a tactic (hustle) which is impossible to do at the levels involved.
Given the entire point of the adventure is to make it to the meeting on time this section needed much more careful review. As written it is virtually unusable.