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****** Pathfinder Society GM. Starfinder Society GM. 5,064 posts (9,089 including aliases). 60 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 83 Organized Play characters. 36 aliases.



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a failed attempt to make Mythic appealing

3/5

I should probably start with a disclaimer. High level Pathfinder games are already too swingy for my tastes. I think that the concept of adding Mythic to Pathfinder is one that cannot speak to my tastes. If I wanted to do mythic I'd go with Mutants and Masterminds with the Heroic Fantasy supplement in order to keep things far more balanced.

The adventure is well conceived. It most certainly was an enjoyable experiment.

I played it at low tier at a 4 person table. My character had played part 2 and so had the boon.

It was far too long for a 4 hour slot, especially considering that everybody is trying to learn the mythic system.

It definitely wasn't as tough as I thought it might have been. While we were never in danger of a TPK it also wasn't (quite) a cakewalk. Group included a pregens but also a level 5 character to offset that.

But it really didn't feel mythic to me. It basically played similarly to a 5-9 scenario. We were all powered up a couple of levels but so was the opposition. It did feel like the players had more control but also less danger because of that.

I hated the puzzle. Can't say why without spoilers. Read the GM thread if you want to know more.


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Monty Haul cakewalk

2/5

I played this with a group of 6 experienced players. All but 1 of the characters were brand new characters. While all were competent at level 1 none were overpowered cheese monkeys (they were 2 bards, an oracle, Kyra, a rogue and a wizard).

This group found the scenario a complete cake walk. Even as a front liner I never took a single hit point of damage. I think the others took a little but certainly at no point did any character get close to going unconscious.

Some of this was probably due to good play and a bit of luck

Spoiler:
Casting grease om the big bads weapon was a very good idea. But the save was 15 or 16, not some unreasonable 20.
But a lot of it was due to some seriously underpowered enemies.

It also felt like a Monty Haul dungeon. We got a LOT of stuff. And a LOT of effort was made to make sure that it didn't really matter what the party brought to the table, we'd find what we needed. I think the worst example of this was when I was chatting to an NPC looking for information and suddenly got handed a magic item.

While at one level it doesn't really matter in PFS what magic the characters get at another level it felt like we were getting stuff we hadn't earned.


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Good but not wonderful

4/5

Faiths and Pantheons does a good job of accomplishing what it set out to do. It is a good mix of fluff and crunch. Most of the material is new and it makes a great deal of sense to reprint the bits that I've seen before.

The book is primarily aimed at enriching the backgrounds of those characters for whom religion or philosophy is a major focus (including those characters who dislike or despise the Gods). The book will be useful if you have a particular concept in mind and want to know where you might come from. It is useful if you want to know how the rest of the world tends to view your character. It is useful in giving mechanical suggestions on how to build a character.

Mechanically, the book has lots of new material and some reprinted material (lots of traits I`ve seen before). The material is usually very flavorful and is the usual mix of mechanically weak and mechanically sound options. None are overpowered which I personally think to be a VERY good thing.

Mechanically, my favourite by far is the Juju Oracle Mystery. While similar to the older one it has been altered somewhat in a good way. This one is even legal in PFS. I`m definitely going to be creating one of these for my next character

But there are a lot of other options that I`d at least consider using, especially with a new character. And some of the background fluff will be applied to existing characters to make them a little richer and a little better tied to the world.

I`d like to give this 3.5 stars. The Juju Oracle causes me to raise that to 4 stars.


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Definitely a mixed bag

4/5

I'm writing this from the perspective of somebody who has spent over 2 years playing and running events in Pathfinder Society Organized Play.

After all that time this book made me look at the Society in a new light. For the first time the society seemed like a real organization in the world and not just a frame to hang adventure scenarios on.

5 stars for that.

Unfortunately, the society presented in the book isn't quite what one experiences in play. It is an idealized version of what one actually encounters at the table. Many of the characters at the table would NOT be accepted into the society described in the books. Although I doubt it will happen, I'm vaguely hoping that the guide to Organized Play 5.0 that is coming out in a week or 2 will have rules to somewhat enforce what the book implies should be the case.

The crunch in the book is worth significantly less than 5 stars. On the very bright side, there is nothing here that is significantly overpowered. Most of the options are very flavorful and clearly fit what the Society SHOULD be. Some are powerful enough mechanically to be worth considering, many are basically traps for the unwary. But there are feats, traits, magic items and spells that I'd at least consider taking for some of my characters. Even the Prestige Class is attractive enougn to consider.

As an aside, I'd point out that the Page Bound Epiphany spell so castigated by BPorter isn't all that bad. It explicitly says that it refreshes your memory so it does NOT obviate the need to go to WeirdLibrary in order to research TheLostMcGuffin.

So, should you buy this book?

If you're starting up a Home Camapaign featuring the Pathfinder Society then you ABSOLUTELY should buy this book. Reading it before character creation will give players all sorts of ideas with mechanics to back them up.

If you're new to Pathfinder Society Organized Play then the book gives a very good introduction to the ideal that is the Society. As I said, unfortunately the ideal isn't quite the reality. The book is very, very worth while as long as you take it with a grain of salt. Perhaps even 2 grains.

If you're a long time PFS player then the value of the book probably depends hugely on you. There is enough crunch that you're likely to find some options that you like. But there isn't anything that you'll really, really miss having. The fluff is very interesting but the cognitive dissonance between the book and what you've experienced may be large. All that I can say is that I definitely think that I got my moneys worth.

I'd like to give this book 3.5 stars. But I can't and rounded up to 4.


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Very well done Dungeon Crawl

4/5

I played this last night at Tier 4-5 with 6 players and quite enjoyed it.

Made me REALLY want to play an Urban Druid. If you have an urban druid, this scenario would get 5 stars.

For a dungeon crawl there is quite a bit of roleplaying potential, You can potentially deal peacefully with several of the encounters. Admittedly one of those requires some appropriate languages but that is fine. I'm tired of just about everybody speaking common and languages being all but irrelevant.

The combats were interesting, the story engaging, some of the faction missions above the norm. And it was nice to see the bad guys using some of the overpowered spells traditionally used by players. While it sucks to be on the receiving end it SHOULD happen more often.


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Excellent roleplaying experience

5/5

I played this last night and this is now one of my favourite PFS scenarios. I'd really like to see more roleplay heavy scensrios like this. Interacting with and learning about all the NPCs was great fun.

This scenario is going to appeal immensely to characters with good social skills and players who like to approach problems with some lateral thinking. It might be quite frustrating to players who just want to hit things or who are playing the wrong kind of character and either can't adjust or who get a GM who doesn't reward innovative solutions.

With a good GM and a good group (both of which we had) this is a 5 or 6 star scenario. My suspicion is that a bad group could dislike it and a poorly fitting group combined with an inflexible GM could be an utter disaster. To the extent reasonable I'd advise letting the players know in advance approximately what they're signing up for (a roleplaying heavy scenario with social skills being at a premium)

We played at L6-7 and the final combat was extremely tense. Not having access to all the toys that L6 and 7 characters generally have makes a HUGE difference. I don't know what the scenario states but I'd recommend that the GM be reasonably liberal in allowing players to attempt to circumvent the rules on the island and be at least reasonably equipped. Don't make the fighter cope with just a dagger if you can possibly avoid it.

On the other hand, our group of 4 DID still win that final encounter with no losses (and we'd used up a few resources before that final fight) so the GM doesn't want to go TOO easy on the PCs.

I played with my L6 Dawnflower Dervish Bard. My biggest problem was not dominating the scenario too much :-). If I'd read the scenario ahead of time and deliberately crafted a L6 character to fit it she wouldn't have been all that different from Alinza :-). Her wide set of skills and excellent interpersonal abilities were very. very valuable and her personality helped to focus the roleplaying and make it far more than an exercise in rolling dice. When we finally came to combat she was also pretty much one of the heavy hitters for the party. Admittedly, many of the security arrangements hadn't affected her at all


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Very good but slightly flawed product

4/5

I should probably start with a caveat about myself. I love prestige classes. I especially love ones that have a lot of flavour AND where the mechanics actually do a very good job of reflecting that flavour. I want a character with a Prestige Class to be less powerful in general than a member of the base classes but to be more powerful within their specialty.

Let me start with the good things about the product.

Every prestige class is very, very rich in flavour. While all fit well into Golaron most could fairly easily be moved into other, similar, worlds.

The book is very well organized. Its easy to read, easy to look up things in play. The artwork is often very evocative.

After reading the book I have lots and lots of characters that I want to play. Not quite one for each prestige class but more than 1/2 of them inspired me.

Artwork is very much a matter of taste but I thought all the artwork at least acceptable and really liked some of pictures. Cheesecake factor is reasonably low (I'll leave the reader to decide if that is a good or bad thing :-)).

Some of the characters are of the sort that, ideally, a group or campaign should be built around. For example, I can easily envisage an entire campaign being essentially centered on a RiftWarden (a class devoted to maintaining the boundaries between the planes). While freely mixing prestige classes within the group may be a bit problematic I see this as very much a good thing and a testament to how rich the flavour is.

I most certainly recommend buying the product.

However, there are flaws.

Some of the rules are mechanically unclear. This isn't a huge deal for most games as the GM can just make a ruling but it makes it a little awkward for PFS.

A reviewer pointed out the Winter Witch as an example. Another example would be the tattooed mystic. It gets Familiar Tattoo at level 1. Its not clear how that would combine with an existing familiar (tattooed or not). As a GM I'd certainly rule that it would stack (transforming the other familiar into a tattooed familiar) but that kind of thing should be explicitly specified.

My other concern is that, mechanically, the classes seem uneven in the cost that they are paying for the mechanics that they receive.

For example, the Lantern Bearer pays almost no admission charge (A few skill ranks that a character would likely have) and gets some quite potent abilities in exchange for little cost.

The Green Faith Acolyte, on the other hand, gives up a fair bit (if entered as a druid) and gets nothing at all in return until 3rd level and many of its benefits are purely flavour or GM specific. Interestingly, the mechanics all but force a Shaman or other Druid archetype that gets wild shaping to delay entering the class until they actually get wild shaping. That could have been addressed but only by writing some quite convoluted language.

The above said, those who concentrate on flavour and not so much on raw character power will love this book. And its not as if its really a major concern if a druid or cleric gets slightly less powerful. Although I'd have to do a lot more analysis to be sure my impression is that the more powerful classes may take slight nerfs in order to take a prestige class while the less powerful may get minor power ups. I'm not sure if that is deliberate or not but its certainly something that I can live with.

As an aside, I did find some of the choices as to what is legal in PFS a little questionable from a flavour perspective although a good back story could certainly justify it for lower levels of the Prestige Class. Fortunately, in most cases by the time the character is getting to a high enough level that they really should NOT be hanging around PFS they retire from most scenario play anyway.


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Different and entertaining

5/5

I ran this tonight and it was great fun. Lots of roleplaying potential in a quite interesting setting.

Definitely NOT one for the hack N slash players.

At 4 hours I did find it a little tight on time.

The final encounter is very, very dangerous (I ran it at L1-2 where it is likely more dangerous than at L4-5). When I ran it the characters quickly decided it was time to cut and run and save themselves. Its almost worth the 5 stars just to see PCs running for their lives :-).

Spoiler:

At level 1-2 the defences of the Demon are just insane. The characters hadn't been able to enlist the aid of the bodyguards and, at that level, had no way of getting much damage past the DR. The demon just spider climbed onto the walls and did mass inflict light wounds.

There is one definite flaw in the module in that the PCs had already accomplished almost all their goals at that point. The final encounter was almost optional.

Spoiler:

There is a sidebar addressing what to do if the PCs just try and leave but its hard to apply that when the PCs are only a few rounds from being able to flee home. When things went south in the combat they were able to flee and had little reason not to since they'd accomplished their primary mission at that point. They went after the Big Bad immediately after going into the crypt so it wasn't as if he had much opportunity to attack them first once they were convinced that there was a problem

Given the nearly sandbox nature of the adventure I suspect that different groups will approach this (especially the finale) in a great many different ways, some a lot more dangerous than others.

Strictly speaking, the way that my characters handled things at the end they should have had both the final encounter and the optional encounter together. But that would almost certainly have been a TPK so I took advantage of the fact that I didn't have time for the optional encounter :-)

Spoiler:

They fought their way past the bodyguards and burst into the BBEGs bedroom. That gave him more than enough time to summon his dretches. I decided that he failed his summons check.


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Very flawed module

2/5

As others have said, the idea is fine but the execution is flawed.

I particularly hated the faction missions. As others have stated, many are all but impossible to achieve. But my distaste goes further than that.

I was playing the Cheliax mission. The note handed to me explaining the mission made absolutely no sense at all given that my character HAD played in the previous adventure and HAD succeeded at his mission. Sure, that is just flavour text but it is nice when the flavour text ADDS to the story rather than giving one a massive WTF moment.

Spoiler:

And then to be told that I needed to make 3 diplomacy checks against a DC of 15 to succeed just seemed very silly. My character has diplomacy at a fairly good level (+9) but even with that level of skill the chance of succeeding on all 3 checks is only 42%.

And when I glanced at the module later to find that the information was so insanely irrelevant anyway just really peeved me.


The final climatic battle was exceedingly boring.
Spoiler:

The focus was obviously intended to be on the Giant gorilla and the Golem. But given the damage reduction of the golem the gorilla wasn't the tiniest threat. Not suprisingly since the Golem could only miss on a 1 it hit a lot and dispatched the gorilla in 2 entire combat rounds.

Then we had a golem to deal with the incoming waves of attacks.

The GM called the fight on the basis that we'd obviously won.

I certainly hope that one of the goals of the module was to convince the characters that the Pathfinder society is basically run and populated largely by a bunch of incompetent buffoons. Because that was certainly the impression left on my character :-).

If one ignores the meta fact that one cannot quit the society without quitting the campaign my character would have resigned from the society as soon as reaching home.


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Basically fun with one really silly bit

5/5

This set of mostly wilderness adventures is a nice finish to the introduction. The encounters had nice bits of flavour. We managed to do a fair bit of roleplaying as well.

The really silly bit was the encounter in the cold of the mountain peak. I presume the author is from some nice warm state in America and therefore has not the tiniest clue how cold weather actually works.

Let me make a suggestion. If you ever want to write an adventure where cold weather plays a part, consult a Canadian first (or a northern European for that matter).

I also think that the title shouldn't be quite as much of a spoiler as it is


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