Sin Spawn

bugleyman's page

RPG Superstar 6 Season Star Voter, 7 Season Star Voter, 8 Season Star Voter. **** Pathfinder Society GM. 8,804 posts (8,928 including aliases). 77 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 11 Organized Play characters. 16 aliases.



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Solid season ender, but...

4/5

Context: I'm read this three times and GMed it once for a high-tier, 19 CP table.

The focused scenario aims to deliver an epic experience to wrap up the season, and from my side of the table at least, it seems to have succeeded. I especially appreciated that, despite the scope of the action, the focus was kept squarely on the PCs as the main heroes. Really all you could ask for in a season ender, except for the fact that the chronicle is, once again, barren. This is especially disappointing for the season ender. For this reason I just couldn't give this otherwise excellent scenario a full five stars.

The good:
* Editing is mostly solid; I only found a few typos, and one thing missing a spell attack modifier.
* Challenging combats which require solid tactics, but feel like they stop just short of too difficult at their hardest.

The bad:
* Some of the stats and DCs don't appear to have been properly adjusted for levels 9-10; this could be deliberate, but it seems unlikely.
* A few chunks of text about what the players are expected to do don't *quite* line up with the rest of the scenario. This isn't a big deal if you are familiar with the material, but it could be rough if you're trying to run this after a single read-through.

The ugly:
* Another chronicle devoid of interesting gear/boons. Come on, folks...give epic scenarios interesting chronicles!

(****-)


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Serviceable, but the presentation could use work

3/5

Context: I'm read this three times and GMed it once for a high-tier, 20 CP table.

Give this one lots of prep time. I appreciate that this is a higher level scenario, and the varied encounters are nice, but basically everything in here some combination of resistance, immunities, unusual reactions, etc. Still not as bad as GMing higher level 1E, but noticeably more balls for the GM to juggle than lower level stuff. It doesn't help that this scenario is laced with modifiers based on what the characters (in some cases) or the players (in others) have played before. There is a ritual, and a custom resource system, varying light levels, invisibility, and a big list of NPC spells. Overall, there's lots for the GM to parse/track, and it could have been presented much more effectively (say, as tables).

The good:
* Editing is solid; I only found a few typos, and didn't spot any stat block errors
* Cool, evocative location for the final confrontation
* Custom maps

The bad:
* Another chronicle devoid of interesting gear/boons
* The GM could really use a little more specifics on the interior of the colossus

The ugly:
* The reporting conditions are, once again, logically muddled for no apparent reason

(***--)


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Utilitarian, but lacks the charm of the original

3/5

Context: I've used these on half a dozen PFS tables

The good:
* Useful and effective -- they largely get the job done
* The cards handle the numeric aspect of conditions well

The bad:
* These just don't have the charm of the original condition cards for 1E pathfinder

The ugly:
* Not enough goblins :(

(***--)


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Disappointing...avoid

2/5

Context: I own this in PDF, but have never run it. I generally run an adventure before I review it, but in this case I gave up on the first read-through knowing I would never run it.

The good:
* The art and graphic design are well done
* The need for a non-human party is a clever twist

The bad:
* The combats are super repetitive
* The maps are overly boxy and "samey"
* The plot strains credulity

The ugly:
* Backtracking through an (already lackluster) area was a big no no; it didn't work in Halo, and it doesn't work here.

Overall I cannot recommend this adventure.

(**---)


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Solid first outing

4/5

Context: I have GMed this for three different groups.

The Fall of Plaguestone provides a good mix of wilderness adventuring and classic dungeon crawling wrapped in a (mostly) coherent plot, making for a solid adventure -- especially for a product launched alongside a new edition of the game.

The good:
* The art, background, maps, etc. are all very well done
* Includes the bones of a small town, which is handy, especially for first-time GMs
* The villain has an actual motivation, and the heroes get to learn it

The bad:
* Some of the combats are simply too hard and need to be toned down
* The treasure is lackluster and could use a rework
* A map of the general store/tavern would have been nice

The ugly:
* The scale on one of the maps is wrong
* The intro boxed text references a non-existent NPC

(****-)


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Actually tops the 1E beginner box

5/5

Context: I own the 2E Beginner Box in both PDF and print (where it truly shines).

The good: This box really offers unparalleled value for money in terms of the physical components. Everything you need to play is here. I especially liked the fact that six player reference cards were included, making them useful for games that include more than the four included pregens. Also noteworthy is the selection of pawns, which makes an ideal supplement to the Bestiary Box with respect to additional low-level baddies. The included adventure also seems well-crafted. Finally, I love that -- unlike the 1E beginner box -- the rules are fully compatible with the "full-fat" game. These factors combine to make the package compelling, even for established players.

The bad: Providing a flip-mat with one blank side would have better supported homebrew adventures, possibly extending the utility of the box. Speaking of the included flip-mat, the squares are -- like the Star-Finder basic flip map -- a bit too large. Not a huge deal, as this map probably won't be mixed and matched with other maps/tiles, but seeing this continue to happen years down the road is unfortunate.

The ugly: The D4 is numbered wrong? :P

(*****)


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One of the best Season 2s so far

5/5

I GMed a high sub-tier table for a group of six players on Roll20.

The good: Cool romp through a (possibly haunted?) school that offers multiple thematic options, with a mix of combat and skill challenges. Not perfect, but quite good.

I also didn't find any grammatical or editing problems whatsoever, which is rare for a PFS scenario.

The bad: Charisma focused "face" characters won't have much to do. Some of the treasure bundles also felt a bit forced.

The ugly:

Spoiler:

One of the encounters can pit up to six (!) creatures against the party in a 20x10 area. Even though said creatures can move through enemy spaces, this just won't run smoothly. Making the area 20x15 would have worked much, much better.

(*****)


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Good low tier investigation scenario

4/5

I GMed a high sub-tier table for a group of five players on Roll20.

The good: Pretty clever structure in the initial investigation. Open-ended, but never really "stalls" if the characters can't make the right skill check (though I wish the "catch all" combat took place on a map that is plausibly in Admiral's Fen, but that's a minor quibble). The combats seems of an appropriate difficulty (though admittedly we only saw the last one).

The bad: Aside from the normal editing snafus ones sees in most PFS scenarios, I think the big omission is here is a map of Admiral's Fen. In my opinion a map really helps give the players something to focus on during the investigation phase. It was easy enough to pull one from my Cities of Golarion PDF, but other GMs may not have such convenient access.

The ugly: The flip-mats used here just weren't a good fit. As already mentioned, the first one couldn't plausibly be where the characters spend most of their time, and the second one is of an inn instead of a chapel. (This is explained away by said chapel being temporarily converted into an inn, but that seemed forced. Why not just use something more appropriate?)

(****-)


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Great, but one sheet short of perfect.

4/5

This is a great product overall, and the sheer value is impossible to beat as a less expensive alternative to miniatures. Unfortunately, the 2E Bestiary Box repeats the biggest mistake of the 1E version: Too few pawns of common, low-level baddies (skeletons, ghouls, wolves, etc.). While I appreciate that there are cost constraints in play, a single extra sheet devoted to these guys -- even if it came at the expense of including multiple copies of some of the more obscure monsters in the Bestiary -- would have made the box vastly more useful for new GMs (or GMs just getting into pawns).

The pawns themselves are exactly the same form factor and material as the 1E pawns, but the art appears to be all new. As one should expect, the art is distinctly "2E" style, which makes these slightly less useful for other games (though this is to be expected as Pathfinder continues to develop it's own visual style). The box is about 1/2 inch taller than the original Bestiary Box, in order to make room for what looks like several additional sheets of pawns. The box did get come with bases, including one colored (blue) medium base.

(****-)


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Solid, good-looking screen

4/5

This is a solid, good-looking screen with well-considered info inside. I especially appreciate starship combat panel. If you're a Stafinder GM who uses a screen, buy this.

Why not five stars? Simple...it's not landscape. Portrait screens are so 2009. ;-)

(****-)


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Good looking and functional, but...

3/5

...but as with the squares on the Starfinder Basic Terrain flip-map, the hexes here are too big...nearly 1.25 inches, in fact. This doesn't hurt quite as much as it would for a grid, as you're unlikely to try to line it up with anything else or lay templates, etc. down on it, but it is still unfortunate.

Also, I don't see why this had to be as large as it is...as a "basic" product, keeping the price down by using a regular 24"x30" map would have been the way to go. Plus my bigger basic -- which folds the same way this does -- has an odd flap that often gets hung up on things.

All that said, the art is good and it gets the job done. It's just a needlessly flawed product that should have been a no-brainer.

(**---)


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Great product

4/5

A Core Rulebook pawn set is a great idea, especially for Starfinder. Covering the PC/NPC bases without having to buy an entire box set is a niche Pathfinder still hasn't really covered, and this is doubly helpful for a new game in a less common genre.

The art itself is great and exactly what you would expect. If, like me, you have almost no sci-fi themed minis, then this set is a no-brainer for Starfinder GMing.

One small downside: The pawns are NOT numbered, though there there is a set icon, and multiples of the same pawn display that icon in different colors.

(****-)


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Gotta imagine something went wrong with the printing...

2/5

...because the squares on this aren't even close to an inch; they're much too large. In fact, the 10-inch side is less than nine squares long! Not a huge deal if you're using it by itself, but forget lining it up with another flip mat or overlaying with map tiles, AoE templates, etc. Coupled with the fact that this feels like a different material than any of my (many) Pathfinder/Gamemastery maps, and I'm guessing they used a new printer. Clearly there are some kinks to work out.

Printing issues aside, the map itself is a pretty bad design for a basic flip-mat -- it would have been much more useful to new Starfinder GMs to have a basic grid on one side, and the flip side be a hex-map star field. Yes, I know there is a separate product for that, but it could have easily been covered here.

Finally, the art that IS here is mediocre and lacking detail. This product simply isn't up to the standards of modern Paizo Flip-Mats. Unless you're an avowed completest, avoid this one.

(**---)


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It's the little things in life...

4/5

I just scooped this up at the FLGS (Game Depot in Tempe, AZ). One of the owners mentioned that she had to specifically order it -- her distributor didn't send any copies as they do other new Pathfinder stuff. You may have to hunt for it.

Anyway, this is about what you'd expect…a smaller CRB, but with half the price of entry. The page stock seems identical to the full-size CRB, so it's a dense little book. The print is small, but manageable, though I'd avoid it if you use/need bifocals.

There are no obvious changes from the full-size book, and of course it is Pathfinder, so it may be cruncher than some might like. But at this point, you should know what you're getting.

My main concern is how the binding will hold up. The book does have "pre-scored" crease lines designed to limit strain on the binding, which is a good sign.

(****-)


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Squares are not one inch!

2/5

This is a great map -- I used to own the original -- but when I tried to use a printed ship tile (from the excellent Map Pack: Boats and Ships) in conjunction with the water side, I made an unpleasant discovery: The squares aren't an inch. They're ~4-5% too small. Not an issue if you're going to use the map by itself, but if you want use it with another flip-mat, or say, overlay some dungeon tiles, the squares don't line up.

As much as I love the idea of bringing back classic flip-mats, the square sizing issue is simply too big a blow to usability for me. Hopefully Paizo gets this sorted out for future flip-mat classics releases.

(**---)


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Trouble in the fold

4/5

Long has the world needed a larger flip-mat. Too many maps flaunted their 31" dimensions in defiance. Finally, Paizo heard the cries of the people and created Bigger Basic. And it was good. The people rejoiced.

Why, then, is this not a five-star product? The folds. Not sticking to whole-number multiples of 8" or 10" length and width means there are fold lines quite close (3") from the edge of the unfolded map. These folds are more difficult than normal to keep flat when the map is in use. Further, when the map is folded, there is a "flap" along one side which is surprisingly effective at catching on other flip-mats/objects.

I would have much preferred a size of, say, 32" x 30". Yes, that would have meant the maximum dimension of the map increased by only two inches; however, from a PFS point-of-view, at least half the time when a flip-mat is too small, it is two small by two or fewer squares. 32" x 30" would have, for instance, accommodated the original Blakros Museum while still folding into uniform 8" x 10" panels.

This product was sorely needed, and I really appreciate Paizo recognizing and meeting the need. Buy it. Just be aware that it is stopped (frustratingly) short of a home run by a questionable design choice.

(****-)


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Just okay

3/5

The Good:
* Clearly expressed site-based adventure ready for easy drop-in to an ongoing game.
* Timeline of suggested events helps make the keep feel "lived-in."
* Every encounter includes scaling instructions.

The bad:
* The map is the weak point of this offering, which is problematic in a site-based adventure. It isn't bad, per se, just very routine. One main path through most of the areas, lots of rectangular rooms going off in seemingly arbitrary directions, etc. This is pretty much the sort of map I'd draw if I were making it up as I went.
* Minor editing errors. Some rooms described as having columns show up as such on the map, while others do not. Rooms that are 30' on a side are described as 'small," whereas elsewhere rooms of similar size are referred to as "large."
* Flavor mismatches with "baseline" elements of Pathfinder monsters. For example, plenty of goblin writing. Not a big deal, but something to watch for...

I picked this up based on the strength of Village Backdrop: Fulhurst Moors, which was my first real exposure to Raging Swan. While that product was fantastic, I found this one to be merely okay.

(***--)


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$2.45 well spent!

5/5

The Good:
* Neat, evocative setting
* Includes a great map
* Enough detail to get things moving, but not overly specific
* Neat little tidbits to discover sprinkled throughout

The bad:
* Separate PDFs for print/screen; would have preferred to see layers
* That's really the only negative I can come up with...which says a lot

This product was my first real exposure to Raging Swan (I think I got a PDF of theirs long ago as part of a package and just filed it away), but it won't be my last. Just a well-done, immediately useful product at a fair price.

(*****)


The line has promise, but this release is all over the place.

3/5

Full disclosure: I do not have (nor am I planning to purchase) the entire Icons of the Realms set. This review is based on my purchase of a single booster, supplemented by a few singles. I own:

#001 Rock Gnome Female Wizard
#007 Mane Demon
#008 Human Paladin
#009 Sun Elf Guard
#011 Human Zhentarim Bandit
#012 Hobgoblin Fighter
#013 Human Female Barbarian
#017 Green Hag
#019 Human Red Wizard
#026 Stone Giant Elder
#028 Pegasus
#031 Green Dragon
#036 Half Red Dragon Fighter

The good:

* These minis are very durable, maintaining the flexibility of previous D&D releases. It's hard to imagine these not standing up to years of use.
* Sculpts and paint. The good figures in this set -- such as most of the dragons -- are as good as I've ever seen in pre-paints.

The bad:
* Price. $4 a mini is a bitter pill.
* Sculpts and paint. What, wasn't that a pro? Yes, but the bad figures in this set -- such as most of the commons -- are as bad as I've ever seen in pre-paints. The face on #011 Human Zhentarim Bandit...*shudder*
* Figure selection could use some work, especially since this is a "re-launch" of the line. How does this set not have a skeleton? Or a zombie? Or a wolf? How is there an Ogre Mage, but not an Ogre? This was a wonderful opportunity to cover the major bases, but they missed it.

This line has my attention, but they need to bring the sculpt and paint job quality of the commons up quite a bit. For now, Pathfinder Battles is a better bet, despite the comparatively brittle plastic employed in that line.

(***--)


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Worthy release in the Battles line

4/5

Full disclosure: I do not have (nor am I planning to purchase) the entire Lost Coast set. This review is based on my purchase of two boosters at the FLGS, in which I received the following minis:

06 Small Water Elemental
10 Firepelt Cougar
11 Lamashtu Cultist
13 Lamashtu Thug #2
14 Shifty Noble
21 Sinspawn Champion
27 Forest Drake
30 Troll

The Good:

* The sculpts are very detailed.
* The paint jobs are generally quite good.
* This set has a strong selection of minis with well-considered rarities, with only a few questionable decisions (two boggards?).
* Packaging is very good -- there was no breakage in either booster, with each mini individually wrapped.

The bad:

* The paint job on my shifty noble was poor; the figure completely lacks any detail on the face. It's just a fleshy blob. Easily fixed, but kinda defeats the purpose of buying pre-paints.
* These minis are still pretty fragile, especially protrusions like the cougar's tail. Throwing these in the bin with my D&D minis will definitely result in some breakage. I appreciate there is a trade-off between sculpt detail and durability, but my preference would be err a little more on the side of durability. This is especially disappointing because WizKids seemed to have this issue sorted in Undead Horde.
* The Price: $4 a mini is a bit steep, but it appears to be the new normal for the industry.

All in all one of the better entries in the series, both in terms of figure utility and sculpt/paint quality.

(****-)


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Good scenario; great for Halloween.

4/5

Just ran this on October 30th; great fit for Halloween.

We ran with four players, high sub-tier. Things were pretty easy until the final battle, which was a stiff (but not overwhelming) challenge.

Pros:
* Oozes flavor. Lots of neat little descriptive flourishes really make things easier on the GM.
* Some hard choices can come up during negotiations.
* Came in right at four hours.
* Secondary success condition isn't a gimme.

Cons:
* Some of the pertinent info is a bit scattered around the manuscript.
* The descriptions of the hazards in the first room are a little jumbled.
* Many seemingly unnecessary changes in ceiling height (20'! 12'! 10!') were a bit of a pain to keep track of...

(****-)


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Promising, but could use a revision

3/5

Wow, are these a great idea. The implementation, however, could use a bit of work. That said, it's nice to see this product realized, even in a somewhat-less-than-ideal form.

Pros:
-----
* Price. These won't break the bank, and they definitely add something over an empty grid.
* The doors are great, especially if given a quick ink wash. Combined with a bit of poster tack as the instructions suggest, they are ideal for use on just about any 1" grid. In fact, I wish they sold the doors separately, maybe in a few different styles. Hmmmm...

Cons:
------
* The walls need to be 25-30% taller to hit that sweet spot of looking clearly like a dungeon but still allowing easy manipulation of minis. As it stands, these can look more like a field-stone fence than a dungeon wall.
* Slightly higher quality casting would have made these much more user-friendly. As it is, you definitely want to carefully cut away the flash before use. On the other hand, that's inexpensive, mass-produced plastic for you.

(***--)


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Bored of the Dragon Queen

2/5

WotC bravely brings its tradition of mediocre adventures in the era of 5th edition with this wholly unremarkable product. Unfortunately, it does so on ground which has already been tread by the (superior) Red Hand of Doom.

Pros:
* High quality full-color book with heavy paper.
* Most of the art is good.
* First major adventure available for the new edition.

Cons:
* Plenty of editing mistakes, some seemingly related to the fluid nature of the rules during development; Others...not so much.
* Punishingly difficult in the early going.
* Zero PDF/eBook availability (at least at the time of this writing) is a MAJOR disappointment. -1 star.

(**---)


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A second strong showing for Fifth Edition

4/5

Dungeons and Dragons comes surging back looking much more like the game I've always wanted.

Pros:
* Huge book jam-packed full of monsters.
* Most of the art is fantastic.
* Consists largely of compact, easy-to-use stat-blocks.

Cons:
* No "monsters by Challenge" index. Huh?
* Some monsters are buried -- seemingly arbitrarily so -- in an appendix.
* Zero PDF/eBook availability (at least at the time of this writing) is a MAJOR disappointment.

(****-)


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Functional and well-built, but utilitarian

4/5

Pros
---------------
* Very sturdy.
* Good selection of DM info.
* Fair price.

Cons
---------------
* I'd prefer a landscape screen. Pretty please?
* The art is a collage of recycled iconic portraits, which probably helped keep costs down, but I would have preferred something a bit more inspiring. After all, the players are going to be staring at this thing quite a bit...

(****-)


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