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Venture-Agent, Texas—Mansfield 894 posts. 7 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 15 Organized Play characters.



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Was this playtested?

1/5

From a DC 40 Spellcraft check which must be made to progress in the module and which has special rules to prevent party assistance - for a module intended for 6th level characters to a final encounter with a creature with the wrong CR - hint final encounter is at least CR 11 - again for a level 6 party.

That's a rhetorical question because these problems would have been obvious if it was playtested by anyone other than the author running it for his home group. It is amazing with the effort Paizo puts into playtesting new rules that I have only seen one module which didn't have massive problems that even a cursory playtest by someone other than the author would have caught.

I played the PFS version so the GM didn't have the option of correcting the authors egregious errors.

Never play this module! You will have more fun licking the edges of the pages in an attempt to get paper cuts on your tongue than you will playing the module.

Ed


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Throwback to Living Greyhawk Specials

1/5

It's unfortunate that there is not a zero stars option, because this module definitely earned it. About 5 fights and two traps with the cheesed out excesses that earned Mr. Lundeen a reputation back in Living Greyhawk days. A true meat-grinder with no opportunity to rest, heal or do much of anything except careen from fight to fight. (To clarify, one of the traps also qualifies as a fight).

I had the misfortune of playing the high tier and no, we didn't play up, that is where the calculations put us. It would have been a challenging module if it was the 8-9 tier of a 5-9 module. As it is, either the judges will softball it or lots of characters will die. We had one PC who died and was raised. It could have easily been four or five deaths.

I have now run the low tier version. It went far better than when I played the high tier. There were a couple of new issues - the gold amount/skill check to get into the tournament through the front door was excessive for lower level characters.

Some specifics, since the author is looking for constructive criticism.

Tournament:
There is a card tournament going on with thousands of gold pieces on the premises and the west exit is totally open? What's more PCs are hauling floor lamps around and NPC's are stealing said floor lamps and no check is ever required and none of the guards ever notices?

First Fight:
The ability to grab opponents weapons, specifically aimed at two-handed weapons made a long module even longer, caused more resources to be used, and didn't really add anything to the module. It very much seemed like a bit of cheese to hose players who needed to overcome DR.

First trap:
A DC 32 Disable Device check to disable the web and creeping doom trap seems excessive for level 7 characters. Actually the whole creeping doom seemed excessive for level 7. This is the encounter which I mentioned as a trap and a fight because you are left with four advanced centipede swarms with 60 HP each. This was the encounter which forced us to abandon the mission due to the inability to sleep and regain spells. We had a dwarf fighter at 0 Dexterity and probably lost 25-35 points of Dexterity as a party - I believe everyone in the party except my life oracle (thanks Energy Body) lost multiple points of Dexterity. A DC 20 Fortitude save with the difficulty increasing by 2 for each failed save is also excessive for level 7 characters. I have now read the module in preparation for running it(I have a level 11 Shadow Lodge member and I don't feel like forfeiting all my PA to change factions)and see where the swarms are only supposed to stick around for four rounds - I know our DM timed them but I thought it was well over four rounds. I spoke to my DM who confirmed the swarm stuck around for six rounds - he got the module to prep the night before.

Shadow Lodge faction mission:
The encounter says the faction must alter the ledgers secretly with a DC 15 Linguistics check. Linguistics can not be used untrained, so the faction failed. However, the faction mission summary gives credit for turning in the unaltered ledger. This seems to be incorrect, but it is confusing.


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Worst Module Ever

1/5

It takes a lot to qualify for the title of Worst Module ever, but since I have been playing organized play scenarios since the early days of Living City, I feel qualified in making that assessment.

1. Yet another trite module with monsters which can see in the dark and casting darkness. It was new and challenging once, but after a half dozen occurrences, the editors should be sending these encounters to be rewritten. It's so bad that my barbarian/oracle of battle/rage prophet has used a 3rd level spell slot for Daylight.

2. This is the first organized play scenario where I got absolutely no XP going back 20 over years to living city days. Why? Because we spent four hours on the second encounter (see #1). This is utterly assinine. We only saw two encounters out of the whole module. That's certainly a waste of player, author and editor time.

3. People play PFS to have fun. Beating your head against the table for hours due to a poorly designed encounter is not fun. To make matters worse, we were forced to play up due to the arbitrary PFS rules.

4. We had two PCs die (not mine) and the judge ruled that they were consumed by the rakshasa several levels above and were unrecoverable. If we'd waited a day, maybe, but not a 10 minute withdrawl to heal and buff up before returning.

I haven't read the module and I suspect that I would have enjoyed it far more with another judge, but due to the PFS rules I can not play it again even though I have only seen a fraction of the module. The Pathfinder Society needs to come up with a method of rating judges, because a poor judge makes a good module bad and a bad module worse.


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Don't Waste Your Time

1/5

It was interesting idea, so I would like to give it a better rating, but it was a colossal FAIL on too many fronts. IMO, it didn't seem to have been playtested thoroughly enough and probably was run by the author in the playtest which is the kiss of death in a module like this.

The general idea of the "timed event" was acceptable, but there were three major problems with the implementation. 1) The timings were too subjective or just out in the weeds - 5 minutes to walk 30 feet - WTF? 2) The players were unaware that this module was under artificial time constraints which is a bad thing when players are used to working to the length of a time slot and 3) The author fiat that everyone is captured and has all the proceeds of the module taken away if you don't complete your mission in 60 pseudo-minutes really torqued people off.

You have played four or so hours and the module says that you are ten minutes late, so you lose everything. Yes, the Chelish embassy knows exactly what you started play with and exactly what you may have picked up. First module that I've ever had that happen. Last module I will play by this author.

My suggestion if you are unfortunate enough to play this module. Aim to complete the module in 60 minutes of real time. Otherwise, you are likely to be shafted and find that four+ hours of your life is gone with nothing to show for it, except bitter memories.


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What was he thinking?

2/5

The scenario had an interesting premise, but needed refinement. I was a player (level 4 Sylvan sorcerer in low tier) and haven't read it. I will say that the other players liked it better, but they weren't as totally boned in the final encounter.

1. Our group captured and questioned one of the outside guards, but the scenario had no imformation on what he would know.

2. The puzzle was confusing and needed an illustration/handout to make things clear. It took too much time in an already long scenario.

3. The random tablets in the hallway were another big time waster, but since they were potentially a faction mission, they couldn't be ignored.

4. The final encounter was totally ridiculous.

Final Encounter:
It's bad enough that the party had to wind their way across a number of rickety rope bridges to get to the bad guys who were raining death on us the entire time along with multiple armies of summoned creatures, but when a fireball automatically destroys a bridge, what is the point?

Then you top that off with the BBEG diemsional jump at will makes it a long, frustrating finale to a long, painful module. Our four person table had two people make it past the original blocking monsters (aided by Glitterdust) and two people trapped behind the first bridge.

The fireball seriously damaged those two and one barely avoided falling 100' to his death when the bridge collapsed (And I think the Reflex DC 13 was very generous on the part of the DM.) My tiger evaded the fireball and made a DC 23 Reflex save to scramble onto the rock when the bridge collapsed. It spent the rest of the module fighting three lemures and an imp.

The sorcerer and Samurai (medium armor) had no chance of making the Acrobatics check to leap the 15' gap. If the foe had cast Fireball right off the bat, the party would have been bottled up. I think one character could have made the jump, but that would have been it. And there really was no reason for the BBEG to show himself when he could move freely about the cavern.

And this is at the end of the module when resources have been spent. The wisdom of including Fireball in tier 3-4 is also debatable. I'm not sure of the caster level, but the rolled damamge was 22 points.


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Major Disappointment

2/5

Disclaimer - I played the scenario, but haven't read it. In addition, my judge was a veteran player with little DM experience so that may have affected my experience.

For the first PFS module set in Tian Za, there was no local flavor in the entire module. You would think they would try to emphasize the difference between Tian Za and the other regions, but this one could have been set in Cheliax since we didn't get any local color.

The module starts out with 2 1/2 hours of rolling climb checks with two trivial fights included and culminates with hourly fortitude checks to become fatigued or exhausted prior to a horrendous combat. We had one PC death and it should have been at least three. It's possible that our judge misread the climb check rules because I can't concieve of anyone including four encounters worth of climb checks in a module. It did manage to hose the human cavalier in our party (the reason all you see in PFS is halfling cavaliers on dogs), but the judge generously allowed us to haul my medium tiger up numerous cliffs etc.

This is probably the worst PFS module that I played and the only reason it received a second star is because I think a more experienced judge would have thrown out much of the climb check tedium which among other things would have allowed more time at the monastery.


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Roleplaying and Challenge

5/5

One of the best PFS modules that I have played. Lots of historical background on Taldor, an interesting plot, and challenging combats. If possible, you should allocate extra time because it is likely to run long.