Five stars. As a GM, the prep was fast and clean. Stats were nearly all provided with few mistakes ( improved invisibility?).
Interesting fights with rare creatures, branches of magic rarely seen, and the curse mechanic brought heavily into focus for PFS.
The party I ran this for tried to protect their neck, but still couldn't identify the curses in time and succumbed to one.
The open roleplay investigation really shines hard; my party had a Hellknight Armiger who invoked diplomatic reciprocity to be deputized for investigation after the party was jailed ( another mechanic rarely seen in PFS brought to light. )
After CSI references and a number of bad puns, everyone had alot of fun. The last boss really illustrates the need for a wide spread of magics to defeat foes.
An excellent scenario, encompassing rules rarely seen. Good environment, challenging but fast fights, curses, puzzles, and a little bit of archimedes.
My party put itself out on the line for this one, and blew through half a wand and alot of heals. They found the puzzles to be puzzling, right up until they solved it. Fast to setup, medium difficulty to run with all the staves and puzzling, good rewards in lore and in loot. Chronicle sheet has a rarely seen item.
I have now both ran and played this. It can be challenging, combat can be deadly, enemies are well designed and have good tactics.
Culmination of the Lantern Lodge story line, ties up the package with a nice little ribbon at the end. The Tea Ceremony is a great way to have roleplayers proudly describe their past history. Both times I play/ran this, players scrambled through their chron sheets to recount their honor and glory over the evil Aspis Consortium.
Final boss crit two handed power attack charge instantly killed a player on low tier. He also rolled a crit while I was playing, and failed to confirm. Fake Samurai Oracles hit damn hard apparently. The real threat is the ninja alchemists. They can really melt partys, especially if the party gets trapped in one of the smaller rooms or staircase by the front door.
Good tactics, cinematic battles, smart preparation paying off for pc's, seige weapons, this scenario has it all. It can be difficult to prepare for, don't try to cold run it, but the payout is quite nice.
This one receives threes stars only because of the story and lore focus. The combats involve little danger and simply serve to extend the amount of time you need to play. The puzzle is quite nice with open ended solution and a nice tie in to the lore. It advances a rarely seen race ( dwarves ) and gives it it's own nice little metaplot. I am really hoping for more from the remainder of the series.
First boss is nothing but status effects. There is no threat here, it is fairly incapable of damage output. The next challenge is the obvious water trap on the door, but there are too many enemies in the next room. Their ranged attacks are weak and a party can bottleneck them in the doorway quite easily and slaughter everything. Third combat involves a cleric who became a ghoul using illusions to pretend to be a vampire who pretends to be human. Confusing? She is also trapped under rubble, and her placement in the room seems to be GM fiat. Her placement can greatly affect who can hit her via ranged combat, since her not being able to move means ranged attacks from a distance past her channel radius are instant victory. She is backed by two other ghouls with little combat effectiveness in the days of zen archers and shocking grasp scimitar magus's; with a less optimized group this combat may actually be a challenge indeed. Placement of the boss will be key in difficult the scenario becomes.
The puzzle is interesting in that one person is sent inside and that without serious thought, cannot communicate with those outside to report. Group came up with nice solutions after a few tries
Conclusion? Only run it if you intend to do the full arc, hopefully it gets better.