Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-99B: The Solstice Scar, Version B

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A Pathfinder Society Special designed for levels 1–11.

The world-renowned Blakros Museum has outdone itself, gathering an unrivaled collection of relics from the Shining Crusade, a holy coalition that felled the greatest lich to threaten Golarion. When trouble befalls the exhibit mere days before its debut, the Pathfinders intervene, only to discover that one of the relics is key to averting a far greater disaster that has laid in wait for a millennium.

The story continues, taking the Pathfinder Society into the frozen north to complete a fallen hero's unfinished business and vanquish a powerful foe that rules from the icy Tusk Mountains.

"The Solstice Scar” is a multi-table interactive adventure in which each group's actions can affect neighboring groups and contribute to the entire room's success. This is an ongoing adventure that will be updated and rereleased incrementally several times each season, collectively telling a longer story while also presenting exciting stand-alone chapters.

Written by Andrew Hoskins.

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*½( )( )( ) (based on 2 ratings)

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Not bad, just terribly unexciting.

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(I GMed this.)

I GMed at the same event as TheDegraded, see his review below. I pretty much agree completely with what he says. After having GMed and played Version A once, this feels like not enough has changed to keep it fresh. Yeah, if you switch tiers the enemies might change, but the overall story doesn't. Talking to the same NPCs again, meeting the same kinds of creatures but slightly different this time gets tiring. There are scenarios I've GMed multiple times and can keep invested in over multiple times, but this isn't one of them. When we reached the new part, it really felt like the breath of fresh air it needed much earlier in the story. Repeating one part of the story is understandable, but the second part had clearly overstayed its welcome. i think I agree with TheDegraded and skip part C, because honestly I can't muster the enthusiasm to go through either that museum or the Twinhorn part a fourth time.


A completely failed experiment

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Version B is a major disappointment. It suffers from exactly the same problems version A has. When I reviewed version A, I wrote that I was not impressed by the special, but that I could also see that the modular approach had potential. I also said that Version A didn’t feel epic enough, that the time-schedule was a mess since (among other things) role-playing encounters take longer than the time permitted for them unless you skip the role-play entirely and go straight to rolling dice. At the end I expressed my wishes for Paizo to pay closer attention to balancing things out when B came around Long story short: they didn’t.

In fact, I’d say it even got worse because of the same modular approach. The fact is that only a third of this scenario is actually new content. I can hear you say that you can switch tiers, but that doesn’t change the story at all and only slightly changes some monsters you face. Skill checks and decisions remain the same. While I myself went to play this version anyway, numerous others decided to shy away from it because it would be so similar. While normally we have roughly 8 tables for a special, now we only had 5. That is a significant difference.

Even worse is the fact that new part is after the two parts you already know. That basically means you’re a bit and exhausted and then the new and hopefully exciting part starts. If the entire room is behind schedule, this coincidentally means you’ll have to rush through the new content a bit. I trust I don’t have to explain why that is just an extra slap in the face. Now, truth be told I’m a big fan of the kind of creatures you face, so that was a good thing. However everything else stayed the same. Again you get a role-play encounter that takes longer than the writer thinks it does if you actually role-play. Again certain combats take longer. I will, however, say that Paizo did make the final encounter feel epic. This is the only improvement I’ve seen compared to part A. That is the only reason I give it a single star. That may sound harsh, but the truth often hurts.

So what does this mean? Well, I think I only saw a quarter to a third of the new content simply because of the fact that there are time-issues within special itself, as well as the fact that we had to hurry a bit since we were near the end of our timeslot. I think we also spend less than a third of our total playtime on the new content. Paizo, please pay more attention to the whole balancing of things. The fact that only a third of the content was new is simply terrible. Players won’t show up and I’ve heard multiple people say this was just lazy design. The modular approach can work, but clearly not when executed this way. The balance is completely missing. Unless I see or hear improvements, I think Version C will be received and perceived the exact same way. I myself might even opt to skip C personally and just play D since maybe then two-thirds will be new content.


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