Wrath of the Righteous - First Thoughts


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game General Discussion

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Dave Riley wrote:

We were all set to defeat minotaur villain, had him set up in the Torture Room after closing it via the henchman. Adowyn perched on the other open location, closed it easily.

What's that? He deals combat damage if it's your first exploration? And combat damage is combat damage+d4 at this location and Kyra's hand is now wiped?

We rolled the divine check just for the fun of it, and I think she actually took him out, but lack of magic left him undefeated. We packed it in for the day, didn't even bother creating the Maze location with only like 4 turns left.

I understand getting frustrated, but 4 turns is plenty of time to take a run at the maze. I think you guys robbed yourselves of what could have turned out to be a great triumph. More importantly, though I prefer to not read the villain before my first go, the game assumes you did read it, in which case, running into the torture chamber hunting down the minotaur without an armor in hand is rather reckless.


A couple standout boons in B, by the way:

1. Vulture (ally):
Allows you to give a card to a random someone else as part of the damage you are taking. It's also Basic.

2. Silver Raven Figurine (item):
Gives you an either-way "give a card" step almost on demand --- including the "when encounter" step of an encounter. :) It only works on weapons, armours, or items though.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Consus wrote:
It seems like that expectation may be what needs to change in WotR; maybe we should be playing to survive first, and to succeed second. Of course, whether players like that or not is a whole other matter.

This seems to me, at least so far, to describe the change in strategy required by Wrath. If the distribution of challenges / difficulty faced by any given party in any given scenario is on a curve. That curve looks different based on a lot of variables: number of players, characters selected, skill of players, player deck construction choices, level of difficulty of banes in the box, and the makeup of the scenario itself.

Wrath seems to have upped the difficulty of the banes in the box over S&S. The power of boon cards also comes into play. Runelords had powerful boons (Holy Candle) against weaker enemies (rats and skeletons, treasure chest barriers), and S&S had somewhat less powerful boons (no more Augury) against medium-strength enemies (more monsters in 10-12 difficulty range). In Wrath, at least so far, we seem to have weak boons (no more Spyglass, no stat gems, etc.) against powerful enemies (lots of resistances, more before / after damage, much harder barriers).

In addition, other things are harder. Elven Entanglement seems to penalize larger groups (because a higher % of locations are uncloseable), so scenarios / locations have some part to play in the difficulty curve.

The difficulty can also be somewhat erratic - because some banes are just so punishing, and there are multiple copies in the box, a party can go from "doing OK" to "dead or dying" very quickly within the space of one to three turns. You can't have any character "limping by" until their turn comes again to, say, heal - characters in danger need immediate assistance, because by the time their turn rolls around they just might be dead. Healers have to be on top of their game, and I would even say that turn-order - which is totally up to the players, and hasn't ever really been mentioned much as a strategy on these boards before - might be important, too, with divine casters spread out at even interval(s) around the table so that the party doesn't go long periods without healing potentially available, and / or scouting characters like Adowyn put before and / or paired up with "squishy" characters like Enora so that you can control what the fragile character(s) face a bit.

A lot of this depends on how "cooperative" your group plays. Groups with lower cohesion and coordination might have a much more difficult time, because this time around. Choice of characters might be more constrained - putting a wizard and sorcerer together in a group might have been something you could get away with in Runelords, but not now. If your group can't agree and everyone wants a lot of independence, you might have a Bad Time.

The characters themselves also don't seem to have some of the powers that might be particularly useful against these challenges. Not as much evasion (at least in the blanket, evade-everything Merisiel type) power, no "unlimited"-cure clerics, and nothing quite like Alahazra's scout-anything ability (although Adowyn comes close...and she can evade some things, too - one reason I think she's likely one of the most effective characters in this set).

Some of this does come down to strategy; some of it is also luck. Hard to say exactly how much is which at this point. In my experience so far, it's been a little bit of both.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Hawkmoon269 wrote:
Keep in mind that, at least for me anyway, failing in the B scenarios is probably to be expected. I know that every group I played in Skull and Shackles failed a few times in the B scenario. Part of that is probably learning new characters and part of it is forgetting that, unlike the characters that just finished the previous adventure path, you don't have all those skill feats to help you out. So, I won't be surprised to fail a few times in the B scenarios while I'm discovering whether a character plays the way I think they play.

That's my mindset as well, and I'm generally fine with that. But, when you think about it, doesn't that seem so backwards? Why are the hardest scenarios in the adventure so often the first few? I feel like doing that only serves to scare off casuals and disappoint the hardcore (since they don't get that experience in the later adventures). S&S did a much better job than Rise of scaling the difficulty up at a consistent pace, but I think the baseline was just 1 tick too high, so it was always just a tick too high, with the occasional luck-based scenario just making it feel cheap and killing whatever fun you had managed.

If WotR, instead of scaling back one tick, pushes two ticks forward, then I am going to be disappointed. Obviously it's still far too soon to tell, but that's my take. (I would like to add that, other than the whole 'henchman doesn't close' issue in the second scenario, the scenarios themselves have actually done a pretty good job of not being too oppressive. The locations are fairly bane-light, and allow a fair number of opportunities to gain new boons. If this was intentional, then kudos to the developers for trying to make a smoother into than S&S was).

It's easy to forget, but for each of these adventure paths, the base scenario is going to be someone's first experience with the game. If we keep notching up the challenge each time, aren't we just adding a barrier to entry for newcomers?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

My Roommate, a friend, and I started the base adventure on Friday the 22nd and finished it Saturday the 23rd. Then we got through three of the Adventure 1 scenarios before our friend had to leave.

We tried out a few group compositions:

1st comp: I played Alain, friend played Andowyn, and roommate played Kyra. Kyra took two cures and Andowyn took two cures. We all split up and worked on different locations. My Roommate seemed to struggle somewhat with Kyra as we were all used to class deck Kyra (that major change in strength really hurts) and she had some bad die rolls. Our friend loved popping Leryn out of his hand and being able to examine cards before encountering them. But due to some bad luck with the party pulling a tree barrier and a demonic horde found himself on the verge of death. I found Alain to be very durable. He lost his horse to the demonic horde. But his ability to recharge weapons at the end of his turn ensured my never got clogged. Because of this I was able to help the other two with blessings. I never did get his horse back though. We finished scenario 1 with less than 5 blessings left in the blessings deck.

2nd comp: I played Sharda, friend played Balazar, Roommate played Enora. This group had a really tough time, particularly me. There appears to be a lot of overlap between Sharda and Enora (at least with knowledge). We all felt near death the entire time as I was struggling to keep everyone healed up. I feel this was mainly because I didn’t know how to play her. Once our friend starting figuring out how to play Balazar, everything became a lot easier. We finished on our last turn. As others have said the tree barrier, demonic hordes, and carrion golem are very unkind to straight casters and we got all three!

3rd comp: I played Imrijka, friend played Seelah, and roommate went back to Kyra. This team clicked together really well. Kyra took 2 cures and Seelah and I took 1 a piece. I went off on my own with Imrijka and Kyra and Seelah ran around together. I was able to quickly burn through some decks with Imrijka’s power to possible explore again (a mechanic I loved seeing with Ranzak) and they stayed at near full health due to Kyra’s second power. When I would get low and didn’t have my cure, I would move to them and get a cure and then go back out. With this group we finished with 7 or 8 blessings left. We continued with this group all through the base adventure and on into adventure 1.

Adventure 1 seemed a lot easier to us than the base adventure. Even scenario 2 where you have to bury the top d4+1 cards of your deck was easier than the elven entanglement (which my roommate and I are stuck on in our other game).

All and all I am thoroughly enjoying Wrath. We found there is little room for error. You have to play smart and constantly adapt your tactics to the situation. We can’t wait to kick off our organized play game at my local game store tonight. We finished up Season 0 two weeks ago and have been chomping at the bit for this Season to start!


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Onesiphorus wrote:
I understand getting frustrated, but 4 turns is plenty of time to take a run at the maze. I think you guys robbed yourselves of what could have turned out to be a great triumph. More importantly, though I prefer to not read the villain before my first go, the game assumes you did read it, in which case, running into the torture chamber hunting down the minotaur without an armor in hand is rather reckless.

The game assumes you read it?

I'm one of those who do not read the cards especially villains/henchmen before the scenario is played. That's how my group has always played it. I don't like the idea of already knowing how to defeat a villain I have never heard of/encountered before.

I mean sure it only applies to the first playthrough, but even if it wasn't and we had someone in the group who is playing it as their first, I would still not reveal what the villain/henchmen does before it is encountered in play.

If we fail because of a crazy mechanic we weren't prepared for, then we were not meant to succeed that scenario at that attempt. We tackle the scenario again, but are now wiser.

I don't have my copy of Wrath yet but I'd hate to have to read the cards beforehand besides scenario cards. We even contemplate having location cards info unrevealed until someone actually goes there (setting up the scenario is an exception and is usually kept hush by the person setting up).

I look forward to have my butt kicked by this set. I'm definitely up for the challenge and all these comments about difficulty is daring me to start hating it.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
isaic16 wrote:
Hawkmoon269 wrote:
Keep in mind that, at least for me anyway, failing in the B scenarios is probably to be expected. I know that every group I played in Skull and Shackles failed a few times in the B scenario. Part of that is probably learning new characters and part of it is forgetting that, unlike the characters that just finished the previous adventure path, you don't have all those skill feats to help you out. So, I won't be surprised to fail a few times in the B scenarios while I'm discovering whether a character plays the way I think they play.

That's my mindset as well, and I'm generally fine with that. But, when you think about it, doesn't that seem so backwards? Why are the hardest scenarios in the adventure so often the first few? I feel like doing that only serves to scare off casuals and disappoint the hardcore (since they don't get that experience in the later adventures). S&S did a much better job than Rise of scaling the difficulty up at a consistent pace, but I think the baseline was just 1 tick too high, so it was always just a tick too high, with the occasional luck-based scenario just making it feel cheap and killing whatever fun you had managed.

If WotR, instead of scaling back one tick, pushes two ticks forward, then I am going to be disappointed. Obviously it's still far too soon to tell, but that's my take. (I would like to add that, other than the whole 'henchman doesn't close' issue in the second scenario, the scenarios themselves have actually done a pretty good job of not being too oppressive. The locations are fairly bane-light, and allow a fair number of opportunities to gain new boons. If this was intentional, then kudos to the developers for trying to make a smoother into than S&S was).

It's easy to forget, but for each of these adventure paths, the base scenario is going to be someone's first experience with the game. If we keep notching up the challenge each time, aren't we just adding a barrier to entry for newcomers?

Well, I think I'm sort of blaming myself for losing more than the game. Thought I see what you are saying about someones first experience. Here is how I recall my experiences with the B scenarios so far:

RotR: First played with Calthaer and another friend. I think we lost the first scenario. But we were super excited about the game. In fact, we may have lost multiple times that night. We introduced others to it and became a group of 6. We lost with them too, if not on the first scenario, then at least on the second. I'm not sure we honestly knew why we lost, other than realizing we needed to explore more. It took a few times playing before we realized how to play.

S&S: I think our group of 6 lost the first scenario. I think we had literally just finished the last scenario of RotR, we'd pre-chosen our S&S characters and gave it a go immediately after. I think we largely lost due to not changing our mindset and realizing that, without skill feats, checks are more swingy. The loss came down to me failing a Craft check with Damiel that let the villain escape. We could have won. With my wife, we did 2 each and kept losing. I dropped Alahazra for Oloch. I had to resign myself to the fact that I was not very good at playing Alahazra. I'd love to go back and try her again and see if I can understand her. But once I switched to Oloch, things began to go more smoothly. Is Oloch more necessary to victory or better than Alahazra? I don't think so. Is being able to understand how to play my character necessary to victory. I think it is. Or at least has a large impact on it.

WotR: Played once with Calthaer, each playing 2 characters. We lost. I'm not sure it was even really close. I think we made some bad strategy choices. I'm playing Balazar and he's a bit more complex than the average character. I never discarded a spell to get a monster from the box. I probably should have. But that is so new feeling, I wasn't sure how it would work. I still had fun.

So, I think a lot of times you lose more in the beginning just because you are learning. I'm constantly rechecking my characters to see what powers they have. I know that later on, I've got their powers basically memorized (along with the power feats I will be taking). Once you are more comfortable with the powers, you should become a more well oiled machine.

I've not played beyond the first scenario yet, but I felt that was a winnable scenario, that we (maybe mostly me) probably goofed up. So, for me anyway, losing more in the beginning I feel like is my fault and not the design. To go from playing Damiel with some feats and "knowing" his cards to playing Balazar fresh out of the box and having to read each card is a big change. My preconceptions are my own and they are my problem.

So, I'm still excited. Yes, this might be a bigger challenge. But I'd be fine with that. As Calthaer said, our group of 6 is much more casual. We only scheduled one night a month and sometimes we can't even do that. We get maybe 2 scenarios in a night. By the time we finish S&S, we'll probably be able to choose from either WotR or MM. So for the more casual groups you can skip an overly challenging adventure path. But I'm excited to try to tackle WotR, just me and Calthaer. We are both more experienced and I think we are up for the challenge. Whether the other 4 guys will be remains to be seen. But by the time we have to make that decision, we'll have tons of experience to base it on.


Riff Conner wrote:
Dulcee wrote:
Also, character perma-death is not a fun way to increase a game's difficulty. We might have to implement a house rule where characters can be resurrected after each scenario given how it sounds like character death has become increasingly common with this set.

My general rule is to assume a "save point" before each scenario. If the scenario goes badly, you have the option of loading the save, undoing any deaths but also resetting everyone's decks to the cards they had before the scenario.

Because yeah, if I get midway through the adventure path and lose a character, I'm /not/ starting over from the beginning. No way. And in a set as rough as this one? You'd be crazy.

I like that idea. Although I think for our group, I don't want to force the entire party to reset their decks. In S&S for example, there was a weapon I wanted to loot, but it never came up throughout the entire adventure path. I'd hate for a card someone really wanted to finally come up, and then for them to lose it because another player had really bad luck and died to some unfortunate die rolls. (And it sounds like in this game, there's at least one monster who can kill Seoni or Enora outright if they have less than 9 cards left in their deck.)

I think it'll be enough punishment to force a restart of the scenario and for the dead player(s) to reset their decks, but allow other players to keep anything they acquired. None of us make really poor decisions, but sometimes it can't be helped when a string of bad luck happens. My Seoni nearly died to random Manticore attacks many times in S&S.


Riff Conner wrote:
My general rule is to assume a "save point" before each scenario. If the scenario goes badly, you have the option of loading the save, undoing any deaths but also resetting everyone's decks to the cards they had before the scenario.

This is how we play at my house. Haven't had to use it yet, but this is our plan.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

We tend to play with deaths as final - but we likewise are really aggressive at letting the clock run out if we're in danger of losing someone.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
bbKabag wrote:
Onesiphorus wrote:
I understand getting frustrated, but 4 turns is plenty of time to take a run at the maze. I think you guys robbed yourselves of what could have turned out to be a great triumph. More importantly, though I prefer to not read the villain before my first go, the game assumes you did read it, in which case, running into the torture chamber hunting down the minotaur without an armor in hand is rather reckless.

The game assumes you read it?

I'm one of those who do not read the cards especially villains/henchmen before the scenario is played. That's how my group has always played it. I don't like the idea of already knowing how to defeat a villain I have never heard of/encountered before.

I mean sure it only applies to the first playthrough, but even if it wasn't and we had someone in the group who is playing it as their first, I would still not reveal what the villain/henchmen does before it is encountered in play.

If we fail because of a crazy mechanic we weren't prepared for, then we were not meant to succeed that scenario at that attempt. We tackle the scenario again, but are now wiser.

I don't have my copy of Wrath yet but I'd hate to have to read the cards beforehand besides scenario cards. We even contemplate having location cards info unrevealed until someone actually goes there (setting up the scenario is an exception and is usually kept hush by the person setting up).

I look forward to have my butt kicked by this set. I'm definitely up for the challenge and all these comments about difficulty is daring me to start hating it.

You seem to have answered the question yourself. Yes, the game's difficulty is based on replayability, meaning you know every card. It is more exciting not knowing, but more difficult, and recklessness over caution has consequences in the unknown.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Even if the assumption you're supposed to know every aspect of the card before you encounter it was codified in the manual, we'd still play it spoiler-free. Being surprised by the unknown is too important an aspect of the game for me and my wife and, believe it or not, it helps replayability too. Running through Season of the Shackles, we encountered two monsters we'd never seen before and they were both appropriately monstrous. Amaryllis couldn't deal with a 20 Combat Then 20 Combat Then 20 Combat shark with only one spell in hand, though Seelah housed her Wisdom 12 Then Wisdom 12 Then Wisdom 12 Siren handily, dusting her shoulders off as she left it in her wake (though at the cost of a couple top-of-deck allies, sacrificed to the her personal deity, the d6+3. :D)

Onesiphorus wrote:
I understand getting frustrated, but 4 turns is plenty of time to take a run at the maze. I think you guys robbed yourselves of what could have turned out to be a great triumph. More importantly, though I prefer to not read the villain before my first go, the game assumes you did read it, in which case, running into the torture chamber hunting down the minotaur without an armor in hand is rather reckless.

I wasn't trying to give the impression I was frustrated, but thanks for the Monday morning quarterbacking. ;D Our decision to call it quits (and whatever reckless Torture Chamber-related calls lead us to that point) was probably as much informed by the two of us suffering different stages of flu symptoms/exhaustion as it was our odds of success.

Out of the gate, Wrath feels harder--but not so hard that we still aren't playing with location+1, as we did for all of S&S (by comparison we play RotR Location+2). The B scenarios always rank high on the difficulty curve just due to weaker character stats (and lack of healing/recharge opportunities) forcing you to rely on beating the average more often than in later scenarios. Everyone's already made mention the lack of skill feats, which is always an issue in B (in RotR, a weapon user can go from +2 Melee to +5 in two scenarios), but resource management in WotR has been extremely tight, even with two people casting Cure (though Adowyn doesn't recharge hers without a Blessing of Shelyn). Still, even with 5 locations the only scenario we lost was the Minotaur one, but most have been pretty close on time. Timing is a pretty key difference; the one thing we haven't done yet in Wrath is purposely leave a location open for boon farming, which is something we'd do probably every other scenario in S&S, and every scenario in RotR. Time has just been too tight, and, more importantly, resources too precious.

Truthfully, the primary reason we started playing with extra locations in the first place is because scenarios would often end so quickly without them--hit a henchman or villain on your first turn with only 4 locs and the scenario is 1/2 over already. Right now, Wrath strikes a better value of keeping the game running and tensions fraught. Location closing checks are scary, location powers are nerve wracking, and monsters are so hard that the burn on resources isn't worth the risk of grabbing hot new loot by leaving a location open. And, yeah, the banes are on the whole stronger, as evidenced by:

Calthaer wrote:
Wrath seems to have upped the difficulty of the banes in the box over S&S. The power of boon cards also comes into play. Runelords had powerful boons (Holy Candle) against weaker enemies (rats and skeletons, treasure chest barriers), and S&S had somewhat less powerful boons (no more Augury) against medium-strength enemies (more monsters in 10-12 difficulty range). In Wrath, at least so far, we seem to have weak boons (no more Spyglass, no stat gems, etc.) against powerful enemies (lots of resistances, more before / after damage, much harder barriers).

This was a surprise for us yesterday, when we put a Zombie and a Rat Swarm back in the box from a closed location. Like--oh, these exist in Wrath? Because up until now we've just been encountering Carrion Golems 1-3 times per scenario with nary a Skeleton in sight. I don't think the RotR base set even bears comparison, where its toughest monsters were an Ogre at 14--whose "if undefeated" power I don't think we've ever had to deal with-- and the dreaded Enchanter. Here, you really long for the days of that easy 8 check, even with the 1 Fire Damage, 1 Force damage, when you pull a Mongrel Wizard with a difficulty of 14 from the box. Reading everyone's experiences with Enora getting squished into paste has been particularly terrifying. If I were to play her, I'd probably zealously claim both Blood Periapts and just try to stay afloat.

--but I also think (non-Radillo) pure casters are a real sucker gig, most of the time--

On the other hand, character powers have been more interesting/marginally stronger right off the bat (this is part of being "mythic," I assume). It's really fun when Kyra gets to use her power to transform some scary undead's into like a scrubby 6 Divine check on a d12+d8. (and maybe +2d12 from a blessing, if we're feeling generous? :D) Though that's hardly the norm. If Kyra gets lucky with Undead/Demon encounters, and doesn't hit a lot of monsters in a row, she can bless every check and run with an empty discard pile for at least her first few turns in a scenario. Meanwhile, there's been a lot of times with Aowyn where I turn over the card from my free explore and say "man, I really wish I displayed Leowyn [colloquially, "Woof Friend"] before I did that..."

But the resource management hog in me outright rejects using a card to scout a single card I'm going to encounter anyway. >:|

The resource management hog in me is pretty happy with the Woof Friend/Detect Demon/Carbuncle scam I'm running to eke extra explores out of the deck without discarding blessings or allies, though. Wrath might be harder, but its tactics have been considerably more complex, even with the character cards fresh out of the box.


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Andrew L Klein wrote:
Sure it can kill your character, but that just means your strategy needs to change, as it probably will with every adventure path.

What strategy do you use when you’re permanently dead by being one-shotted (through bad luck)? Raise Dead is tier 5.

PFACG isn’t a “one shot” game, it’s a campaign, and perma-death does more to destroy campaigns than anything else. That’s why there are “save points” in video games or there's no penalty in restarting. Even in Pathfinder Society, death is extremely rare and permanent death is even rarer. If perma-death isn’t rare in the APCG OP, it’s not going to be popular. Period.

Because of perma-death, I dislike any card that forces you to discard from the top of your deck, especially if it happens regardless of success.

Let’s face it, OP is already hard enough: support characters don’t get the cure spells they need (which is one of the many reasons Kyra is so popular), and other characters get non-optimal weapons and spells compared to campaigns. In OP, the odds are already stacked against us. We can’t “fudge”. Are we going to get mythic surges to help us with Wrath? So yeah, perma-death and not even being able to gauge your risk level (because of discards from the top of the deck) is not fun.

Pathfinder ACG Developer

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One useful trick in Wrath when someone dies is to arrange things (non-trivially) to get the Mythic Hierophant 5 charges so they can pull off a resurrection. It can take a bit of work maneuvering Blessings of (Ascension / the Gods), but it's an easily overlooked option at lower level.


Keith Richmond wrote:
One useful trick in Wrath when someone dies is to arrange things (non-trivially) to get the Mythic Hierophant 5 charges so they can pull off a resurrection. It can take a bit of work maneuvering Blessings of (Ascension / the Gods), but it's an easily overlooked option at lower level.

If you get a Marshal and Hierophant together, the Marshal can burn charges and the Hierophant would get them, if it's "random other at location" as I'm recalling.

Of course, that doesn't come online until after AD1 since you get your path at the end of AD1.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Mechalibur wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Mechalibur wrote:
Ugh, I'm starting to regret dropping my sub after S&S.
You'll find we have the solution for that problem here.
That fixed the issue, thanks.

Thank YOU! And welcome back!


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Jason S wrote:
Are we going to get mythic surges to help us with Wrath?

Season of the Righteous will give Mythic Paths at the same place as base game: when you start Adventure 2.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Dave Riley wrote:
Even if the assumption you're supposed to know every aspect of the card before you encounter it was codified in the manual...

Whether or not you read the cards in advance is part of what Mike refers to as "the social contract"—the code of "outside-the-rulebook rules" that each gaming group develops. (Other "social contract" issue include things like whether or not players are allowed to make decisions that harm other players, or how you divvy up Loot cards.) We avoid making rules that impinge on the social contract (though we occasionally have to make them for Organized Play in particular). But I will say that the designers do *not* assume that the players have read cards outside of play.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

First World Bard wrote:
Jason S wrote:
Are we going to get mythic surges to help us with Wrath?
Season of the Righteous will give Mythic Paths at the same place as base game: when you start Adventure 2.

Mythic Path cards are part of the reward for completing Adventure 1.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Whether or not you read the cards in advance is part of what Mike refers to as "the social contract"—the code of "outside-the-rulebook rules" that each gaming group develops. (Other "social contract" issue include things like whether or not players are allowed to make decisions that harm other players, or how you divvy up Loot cards.) We avoid making rules that impinge on the social contract (though we occasionally have to make them for Organized Play in particular. But I will say that the designers do *not* assume that the players have read cards outside of play.

I always read all of the cards when I get a new deck/set, but always forget about them immediately after I read them, especially the banes. Often times I'll encounter a villain, then encounter it again at another location the next turn or two and will have already forgotten everything about it. Even important stuff like the nasty things it does to me before I can attempt a check to defeat it.

So I guess I have the best of both worlds.


Got this yesterday, played the first 4 scenarios.

So far, we've managed all 4 at the first attempt, although that makes it sound a lot more comfortable than it was. The Tree Barrier is disgusting for Enora, and the guy who required magic to defeat is a pain.

I feel like the spells available at the outset are worse in this set - instead of just loading up on Force Missile, Lightning Touch and Fireblade, suddenly, you find yourself lumbered with Mental or Poison spells, which are entirely useless much of the time. Enora spends turns at a time unable to do anything, because she won't be able to fight, doesn't have enough cards to just discard, and would die to a hand-wipe.

Generally, I think this set looks good. I like the changes with the Blessings, I like the art upgrade - and the inclusion of flavour text on some old cards: helps keep it fresh.

The characters seem interesting. Already struggling to decide how I'll upgrade Seelah (bigger hand, to actually have enough stuff in to do things, or add to the discard for D6 which is needed to pass misc checks she's unprepared for. Skill feat into strength for fighting, or wisdom to recharge cures.)

I am concerned about the difficulty generally. So far it hasn't been too hideous, but I worry about the future.


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Keith Richmond wrote:
I love difficulty sliders, but they can cause their own problems as well. Among other things, it's tricky to playtest multiple at once and get good results

Genuine question (I have very limited experience of playtests) - how difficult would it be to play-test with +1/-1 location, and/or different numbers of blessings in the timer?

Keith Richmond wrote:
some people hate being classed into one set or another or resent the implications.
isaic16 wrote:

In RotR, there were at least a half-dozen threads discussing making the game more challenging. I'm not sure I saw one like that in S&S discussing reduced challenge.

Also, your point about difficulty sliders applies double to this. If a group resents the implication they're on 'easy mode,' how do you think they'll feel about the implication of 'I have to make this game even easier all by myself'?

I think this is a really important point - the more people talking about how a game is too easy, the more likely someone is to feel embarrassed about coming on and asking how to make it easier.

It really isn't difficult to add to the challenge - increase the number of locations, reduce the blessings in the blessings deck, add an extra barrier and/or monster into each location when building, make veteran banes double-veteran, the choices are vast, and the fact that they haven't been playtested isn't really a big issue for someone who finds the "as printed" version too easy.

Playtesters are always more likely to be people with lots of experience of the game (or else why would they have gotten involved in the play-test) - i think it's much more likely that the game fails to meet the needs of the novice player, who should be able to expect to buy a product that they can play and have fun with, without spending hours on the internet for strategy.

It seems much more sensible for all concerned to have the variations to make it harder, as this will be wanted by the hardcore gamers who already spend hours on here, Boardgamegeek etc, and will find out about the variations anyway.

Keith Richmond wrote:


I'll say, it[=variable difficulty?]'s something that a group already does when they select characters and feats.

Again, this concerns me. My wife and I will play the AP 2 or 3 times, so having to be selective with characters isn't the end of the world - we'll use them next time.

It does increasingly suggest though, that some characters are just bad, again penalising the novice player for not being able to spot the optimum route. In Runelords, we picked the characters, and the roles that looked the most FUN (I knew Drunken Master Saajan was useless, but I didn't care.) For S&S and beyond, we feel forced into picking the one which looks the most optimal.

Obviously, with everything, there needs to be a line. You can't design a game that will be manageable for a party of different Valeroses and nothing else, and expect it to still be interesting for everyone else, but it seems like the game has swung a long way towards optimisation required, and away from accessibility. Long-term, that can only be bad for the game, as it becomes impossible for new players to get into, meaning an ever-dwindling pool of players, and eventually a dead game, because it's no longer economically viable for Paizo to make.


I have failed the first scenario twice now. The second time by one explore!

On the bright side, the decks of the characters are now much improved :/


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MightyJim wrote:
Keith Richmond wrote:
I'll say, it[=variable difficulty?]'s something that a group already does when they select characters and feats.

Again, this concerns me. My wife and I will play the AP 2 or 3 times, so having to be selective with characters isn't the end of the world - we'll use them next time.

It does increasingly suggest though, that some characters are just bad, again penalising the novice player for not being able to spot the optimum route. In Runelords, we picked the characters, and the roles that looked the most FUN (I knew Drunken Master Saajan was useless, but I didn't care.) For S&S and beyond, we feel forced into picking the one which looks the most optimal.

I'm not sure how far you should take Keith's comment about the difficulty when selecting characters and feats. He could have simply meant, picking a sizable group of all ranged weapon characters or all arcane spell casters, which would obviously increase the difficulty, simply from all wanting the same spells and having the same skills. And with feats you are often given the opportunity to sure up your weaknesses, if you take them. (And if he was at all meaning taking characters from other adventure paths, then yeah, that is a obvious way to skew the difficulty).

But more importantly: Drunken Master Sajan useless!! What???? That guy was beyond awesome. Give him the Amulet of Fortitude (or the Belt of Physical Might), max out his constitution, hand him some potions and watch him astound you. With the Amulet in hand and maxed out Constitution, he can't fail that check to keep his potions. Play his multitude of blessings with abandon, because you'll be healing them all back into your deck. And don't worry about being short on cards in your hand, you have to draw one at the start of your turn anyway. Drunken Master Sajan is what allows me to say "I successfully completed RotR as part of a group of 4 with no Divine skill and no Cures."

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Hawkmoon269 wrote:
I'm not sure how far you should take Keith's comment about the difficulty when selecting characters and feats. He could have simply meant, picking a sizable group of all ranged weapon characters or all arcane spell casters, which would obviously increase the difficulty, simply from all wanting the same spells and having the same skills. And with feats you are often given the opportunity to sure up your weaknesses, if you take them.

Yep, that kind of thing.

Some players sit down and divvy up certain tasks and boon types - say being a melee tank, a healer, and a scout. Others instead pick the adorable or awesome looking one. As you add up more and more decisions, whether they're which characters, which feats, card choices, they all incrementally make the game harder or easier.

The game is playable for both, but it's not the same difficulty. The interesting thing is that often the people who want the harder game are _also_ the people who make the game easier for themselves. It's something I never 100% figured out when making difficulty sliders for the epic adventures I wrote for LFR, despite giving _many_ options to tables, for every encounter.

Scarab Sages

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Hawkmoon269 wrote:
I dropped Alahazra for Oloch. I had to resign myself to the fact that I was not very good at playing Alahazra. I'd love to go back and try her again and see if I can understand her. But once I switched to Oloch, things began to go more smoothly. Is Oloch more necessary to victory or better than Alahazra? I don't think so. Is being able to understand how to play my character necessary to victory. I think it is. Or at least has a large impact on it.

I found Alahazra to be powerful. Not easy to play, but powerful. Maybe we'll have to play a game with her sometime.

I do feel about Sharda the way you do about Alahazra. She just doesn't seem that good. Would be very interested to hear some success stories of players who have used her to good effect, as I'm sure it can be done. Don't really buy in to the idea that some characters are duds and others stars - think it's more likely that the strengths of some characters are more apparent, while others' is more subtle and / or niche. Some characters are also easier to play, depending on one's play-style.

Pathfinder ACG Developer

I think Shardra really likes getting a couple of those books that Knowledge can recharge (like Enora).

Her assists are quite strong, so I suspect it's a question of how many other players are in the group. In a group of 3 I'd rather bring Adowyn. In a group of 5, I'd be up for Shardra. Especially if I know we'll play to higher adventure #s (I like to be a Visionary).


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First, I want to pretty much agree with everything MightyJim said, as he summed up my thoughts pretty much perfectly.

Second, on the debate about character selection, I do think that character optimization was a bit more necessary in S&S than it was in RotR, at least in large groups. This is because of 2 reasons.
First, there were several characters (Oloch and Feiya immediately come to mind) which really don't start working until a few adventures in (Oloch needs some power feats for his support ability to work, and Feiya's Hexes don't really dominate until she has adventure 2 or 3 boons to use). Since my groups first team had both of those characters, along with the also somewhat slow-starting Selytiel, the group stalled out several times during the Campaign, and we had to come back to them a few times.
Second, exploration count became much more valuable with the higher difficulties and the occasional scenario that wasn't just beat henchman->close location. Again, our first group suffered as we had Oloch, Selytiel, and Lirianne, all of which started with very few blessings + allies, and two of which also had small hand sizes, which meant we were losing on time literally every scenario until we got 2 or 3 card feats.

This is not to say that the characters in S&S were bad or anything like that. I'm simply pointing out that character optimization was definitely a factor, and more than just not having a group full of str-based fighters.


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MightyJim wrote:
Genuine question (I have very limited experience of playtests) - how difficult would it be to play-test with +1/-1 location, and/or different numbers of blessings in the timer?

It wouldn't be difficult so much as time consuming. For the best results, you'd need the same player to do each scenario at least once to see how much of a difference +1/-1 would make for a specific group. In the same time, they could test 2 scenarios and point out the best/worst/confusing parts of those.

Adventure Card Game Designer

Keith Richmond wrote:

I think Shardra really likes getting a couple of those books that Knowledge can recharge (like Enora).

Her assists are quite strong, so I suspect it's a question of how many other players are in the group. In a group of 3 I'd rather bring Adowyn. In a group of 5, I'd be up for Shardra. Especially if I know we'll play to higher adventure #s (I like to be a Visionary).

Agree with this. I played some AD1 with Painlord & co this weekend in a group of 5 and found Shardra's "Oh, you just pooched that attack roll? Here, try that again," to be exceedingly tasty.


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I played a B scenario with Sarah Bull last weekend as well and I used Shardra, I thought she would be good but Mages that don't have a reliable way of getting an attack spell are exceedingly hard to explore with.


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Also, since I'm somewhat worried I'm turning into the inverse of what Orbis was in RotR (Doing nothing but bashing the game when just trying to look for ways to improve it), I want to emphasize that I haven't played Wrath enough to know if it is really suffering any of the problems I saw in S&S. I'm just trying to point out potential follies that can happen if the game heads too far to one extreme.

I also want to point out that my group uses several house rules that do have the effect of making the game easier, and we still found ourselves frustrated at times, so it's not just that we're not fixing the game as needed.


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zeroth_hour wrote:
I played a B scenario with Sarah Bull last weekend as well and I used Shardra, I thought she would be good but Mages that don't have a reliable way of getting an attack spell are exceedingly hard to explore with.

One upshot to that is there are several locations in the first scenario (at least for 6 players, don't know how many locations stayed when scaled down) that had no monsters in them. While there's still, of course, the risk of henchmen, your probability of surviving explores without an attack goes up a lot in those places.


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Keith Richmond wrote:
Her assists are quite strong, so I suspect it's a question of how many other players are in the group. In a group of 3 I'd rather bring Adowyn. In a group of 5, I'd be up for Shardra. Especially if I know we'll play to higher adventure #s (I like to be a Visionary).

Doubt I'll ever play Sharda, because she seems like she requires bigger groups to really have some oomph, but I love the look of her role card. Spreading your skills around to nearby characters is just my style.

The Exchange

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Tanis O'Connor wrote:
Agree with this. I played some AD1 with Painlord & co this weekend in a group of 5 and found Shardra's "Oh, you just pooched that attack roll? Here, try that again," to be exceedingly tasty.

I had to read her card to make sure Tanis was playing her right. She was...and that was just as I was misplaying Balazar all over the place. It was like I was playing Candyland (and getting lost), while Tanis was proving the Cake was a Lie with one set of cards and rescuing the Princess with the other.

Grand Lodge

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How many of other people's cards did Painlord take home this convention? :)

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

I've abandoned my solo Alain attempt - he just wasn't jelling for me - and am now trying solo Seoni. She's working pretty well, and so far I've found the AD1 scenarios to be generally easier than the B ones. Really my only issue is that I've now gotten 4 loot items and I can only ever keep one.


I thought Alain is meant to be the best solo character in WotR?


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Chimpy wrote:
I thought Alain is meant to be the best solo character in WotR?

Who told you that? Alain? That is just like him to think that of himself.


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If I do solo WotR, I expect I will use Imrijka. She seems quite well rounded.


Once he gets a lance his first explore packs A LOT of punch

The Exchange

ThreeEyedSloth wrote:
How many of other people's cards did Painlord take home this convention? :)

Dude, I pull off Besmara's Tricorn in ways than you ever could. Deal with it.

I don't have enough experience yet, but feel Balazar could rock things too. He's very flexible.


Troymk1 wrote:
Once he gets a lance his first explore packs A LOT of punch

Been trying him out, but have found once Alain loses his cohort horse Donohan he struggles. Very susceptible to troublesome barriers.

On a general note, WotR seems a little harder than RotR. I've not played SaS but the target numbers seem somewhat higher in general than the first game.

Grand Lodge

Painlord wrote:
ThreeEyedSloth wrote:
How many of other people's cards did Painlord take home this convention? :)

Dude, I pull off Besmara's Tricorn in ways than you ever could. Deal with it.

I don't have enough experience yet, but feel Balazar could rock things too. He's very flexible.

You have to actually play in order to become more experienced, ya know.

Last time we played, I was still trying to get you to understand that it's a cooperative game. ;)


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I REALLY miss Alahazra

She made things so simple in terms of selecting where to explore. This whole blundering into the unknown thing is just so...so...barbaric!


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How did you lose his cohort? It does not seem common for Alain to lose Donahan. I finished the first 10 scenarios without even coming across anything that would risk him getting banished.

I think he is very capable of being the best solo character due to strong attack, defense, and the ability to acquire diplomacy allies well. His downfall is hand size and reliance on first attacks for his damage. Further explorations could be devastating.

Grand Lodge

I think the means discarding him, not banishing him.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Onesiphorus wrote:

How did you lose his cohort? It does not seem common for Alain to lose Donahan. I finished the first 10 scenarios without even coming across anything that would risk him getting banished.

I think he is very capable of being the best solo character due to strong attack, defense, and the ability to acquire diplomacy allies well. His downfall is hand size and reliance on first attacks for his damage. Further explorations could be devastating.

I presume it's more "lose" in the sense of discard, not banish. Often when playing Alain I would end up discarding Donohan to mandatory damage, and since he really has no self cures, that's basically that for the scenario.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Ahh, that makes more sense and very easy to do with the amount of pre action damage in this set, and his limited hand size doesn't help in that aspect either. Helm was a lifesaver in multiple occasions for me, I also picked up a magic shield in the second scenario.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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You gotta take care of your horse. You'll notice his Lancer role has a power that can help with that.

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