Mirrored Moon made my players quit.


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Not the encounters, though. They actually enjoyed being spellcasters and managing to get information on an encounter in advance so they could prep spells accordingly. Example, knowing they were going to be going up against a red dragon, thanks to the cyclopes, and then being ready with appropriate spells (mostly cone of cold, in their case, but still).

No, it was the hex crawl that did it in. With the time limit, plus the vast majority of hexes have literally nothing in them unless you crit for a clue, left the players bored and frustrated. And this was using the original, lower DCs (I have no idea how a player is supposed to crit on the updated higher DCs outside of a 20). Even random encounters would probably have made this better, as bad as random encounters can be.

So we only played half the chapter, they gave up, I told them what encounters they missed or were coming up, and they went "oh, we can cheese that by doing x/y/z" and figured nothing of value was lost. Whether their strategies could have worked or not, I don't know, and that's not the point of this complaint.

The point is that hex crawl with so few spaces that do anything is boring. *I* get that its supposed to be a flashback to Kingmaker stuff, but I'm the only one in the group that played and enjoyed Kingmaker, and even then, the hex crawl was the worst part.

We'll be playing chapter 5 since one player is excited to try the grey maiden archetype there - but that very well might be the end of our testing.


Interesting! My group found this the best, (and only 'good') module in DD so far, and the hex mechanics probably the best part.

I think it might have been that the table-time for us to explore an empty hex was perhaps 15 seconds. Everyone hit their perception macro, they got a yes/no/clue, and we moved on. There simply wasn't enough time to get bored with the hex crawling, it moved at a great pace (due to the system where you couldn't fail to learn if something was there, it only took longer in character - table-time wasn't injured).

Overall my group explored... probably 10 empty hexes during the module before completing it? Which means less than 3 minutes was spent on them, and two had clues.

(the new higher DCs are a terrible idea, though)


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I remember a lot of times where we barely hit the DC with the old ones, i can imagine that with the new DC's; it would end up in more frustration after failing consecutively because of absurd number requirement.

We had ~5 attempts before finding the gnomes by themselves and if we hadn't found the clue early on, we probably would've taken much longer as at one point we were heading in a direction we thought made sense but contradicted the clue which is why it "only" took us ~5 attempts. So i'm certain we had more then 10 although the gnomes did take us the longest.

I do remember some tabletalk about how empty the map was at several points through out the session.

Nevertheless, that part was the more enjoyable one for us in any case. I think with more failures, it might've turned into a more negative experience which is why i was so surprised the DC's got raised with the latest update.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Looks like raised DCs killed the clue system, that worked well before.

Liberty's Edge

Lyee wrote:
I think it might have been that the table-time for us to explore an empty hex was perhaps 15 seconds.

I think this is my main takeaway from the hex exploring. Tough to get bored when all you have to do is take 15 seconds to roll dice and move on to the next one. My group is doing the same thing - quick roll and move on.


I played with the new DC and quickly figured out the main problem - I had players missing from the table.

The +4 works fine with 4 people, but with 2 players it's a massive gate that prevents progress. We actually took a break to run the numbers (success % if 4 players rolled, considering our group's modifier, vs success % if two players rolled, considering their modifiers) and eventually resetted the chapter after 2 hours of near-empty exploring and 15 minutes of maths, adjusted the DC for amount of players (artificially creating the same % success), and it worked fine from there for the remaining hour.

Next session will have 4-5 players and we'll compare results. For now, it certainly is going in my feedback. That +4 is a handy guideline, but it's too rigid.


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This was with two people assisting and a third making the main check (yes, we know assists don't stack, but it was a higher chance at getting a critical assist). The majority of the checks were failures, and at no point did they get a clue.
If assisting is a trap and everyone should be rolling their own things then either assists need to be rebalanced or removed.


The math works out to be quite similar, single player assists have a better chance of crit succeeding, but separate checks are better for regular successes.
We did not calculate the results with two players assisting, but I imagine it'd be slightly more skewed towards crit success, with a lower overall success rate.


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Ediwir wrote:
with 2 players it's a massive gate that prevents progress.

How? Even if they fail the roll, the learn everything about the hex. I understand they won't get clues often, but my players narrowed each encounter to around 4 hexes from the intro spiel. Many they knew to the specific hex (lake, river end encounters). With two players, I'd expect them to find any encounter in less than a minute out-of-character.

P1: 'We're looking for the gnomes, this hex first <pointing>'. <roll>
P2: <roll>, 'nope, we failed'
GM: 'not there' <marks up day counter>

P1: 'This hex' <roll>
P2: <roll> success but not a crit.
GM: 'not there' <marks up day counter>

P2: 'Okay, what about this one?' <roll> 'Oh that's a success'
GM: 'Yup, you found it, good job. Alright, as you enter the village...'

That's how it played out for us.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Well, you don't need a success to find the stuff in the hex, as far as I can tell. It's still tedious as my group ended up searching a lot of hexes with nothing in them. This mechanic would work better in a Kingmaker-style scenario where there are a lot more things to find. I was using the updated DCs, and that was basically "no one ever succeeds" as they're just too high.

One thing I have noticed is that some of the folks that like this part seem to have been getting much more accurate crit-clues than I was giving. The book says that you learn the "direction" to the nearest interesting hex... but that can be 3-4 hexes away, depending on where you are. Not that it really matters since I had... two crits on searches in the first month.


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I mean, there's only 3 items that are in a non-obvious place? (Gnomes, Dryad, Cylops), the rest are all at river ends or in the lake. With those, you're given clues that they're north-of, in, or south-of the middle forest. My group guessed every area to within one hex on their first attempt, so 'that can be 3-4 hexes away' definitely never applied.


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The last time I ran a hex crawl (using Savage Worlds, & ripping off some ideas from Paizo's goblins adventures among other things) I decided that every hex had to have something in it which could be found given time. Not always something important, but hopefully interesting to my players. It worked reasonably well. Supposedly there are people who are good at writing adventures at Paizo & when they start letting them do their stuff rather than writing to a recipe for the playtest I expect they'll do at least as well as I did.


I actually like that failures just take longer. It prevents the metagame issue of seeing everyone roll less then 10 and trying to justify searching again.


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Lyee wrote:
I mean, there's only 3 items that are in a non-obvious place? (Gnomes, Dryad, Cylops), the rest are all at river ends or in the lake. With those, you're given clues that they're north-of, in, or south-of the middle forest. My group guessed every area to within one hex on their first attempt, so 'that can be 3-4 hexes away' definitely never applied.

My group found all the important hexes like yours did. They searched a total of 3 empty hexes in the process of finding everything on the map just by using educated and lucky guessing. Of course they wanted to improve their chances of finding stuff by flying for aerial recon, talking to animals for clues about where certain creatures are and using assortments of divination spells, but we just played it by the book and I told them nothing helps, just roll.

Silver Crusade

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Knight Magenta wrote:
I actually like that failures just take longer. It prevents the metagame issue of seeing everyone roll less then 10 and trying to justify searching again.

It's not that failures make the process longer. It's the successes making the exploration faster.

There's no consequence of failing the checks.

But, yeah, the adventure isn't very interesting while searching for the next set piece. That is by design of the playtest.
Kingmaker had ready made random encounter tables, which I would guess were not used in Doomsday Dawn to keep the adventure short.

My players understood (without me telling them) that this wasn't the chapter to test out the hex-crawl rules.


Lyee wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
with 2 players it's a massive gate that prevents progress.

How? Even if they fail the roll, the learn everything about the hex. I understand they won't get clues often, but my players narrowed each encounter to around 4 hexes from the intro spiel. Many they knew to the specific hex (lake, river end encounters). With two players, I'd expect them to find any encounter in less than a minute out-of-character.

P1: 'We're looking for the gnomes, this hex first <pointing>'. <roll>
P2: <roll>, 'nope, we failed'
GM: 'not there' <marks up day counter>

P1: 'This hex' <roll>
P2: <roll> success but not a crit.
GM: 'not there' <marks up day counter>

P2: 'Okay, what about this one?' <roll> 'Oh that's a success'
GM: 'Yup, you found it, good job. Alright, as you enter the village...'

That's how it played out for us.

Really? I thought if we failed the roll, we had to try again and that hex remained a mystery. That's why when we failed on so many hexes we got discouraged.

Are you saying that even if we failed the search check, we still learn if the hex had no encounters in it?


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Pramxnim wrote:
Lyee wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
with 2 players it's a massive gate that prevents progress.
How? Even if they fail the roll, the learn everything about the hex. I understand they won't get clues often, but... out for us.

Really? I thought if we failed the roll, we had to try again and that hex remained a mystery. That's why when we failed on so many hexes we got discouraged.

Are you saying that even if we failed the search check, we still learn if the hex had no encounters in it?

Yes. It uses a 'fail-forward' mechanic. Failing only makes you take longer. You never have to roll more than once per hex.

Silver Crusade

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Yeah, you take 2 days to explore any hex completely, finding anything the adventure tells you. Even if you don't roll.

If you make the check, the time shrinks to 1 day, and getting a clue to the nearest 'interesting location' if the hex is empty.


So it looks like we played it wrong then. Oops!

Silver Crusade

Franz Lunzer wrote:

Yeah, you take 2 days to explore any hex completely, finding anything the adventure tells you. Even if you don't roll.

If you make the check, the time shrinks to 1 day, and getting a clue to the nearest 'interesting location' if the hex is empty.

You only get a clue on a critical success. Without crits you'll rapidly run out of time


Basically, the whole adventure is a bunch of "Mini-Games" with some combat encounters thrown-in, between them.

However...:
That sea-monster really nearly killed us, though...


pauljathome wrote:
You only get a clue on a critical success. Without crits you'll rapidly run out of time

I think the four degrees of success are a weakness here. Gradient success would help keep momentum going.


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The Once and Future Kai wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
You only get a clue on a critical success. Without crits you'll rapidly run out of time
I think the four degrees of success are a weakness here. Gradient success would help keep momentum going.

My group hasn't gotten to this adventure yet, but I think this is a case where I'm going to have to change the adventure despite playtest just to make it fun. So a basic success will give a clue, namely which direction the next interesting hex is. I don't necessarily want crits to tell them exactly where the next interesting hex is because they do have two months, but I think a crit will act as searching all adjacent hexes. So they can find anything interesting next to them, or know to skip the next hex if nothing is nearby.

Liberty's Edge

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My group found every single relevant thing just exploring the map (they explored the forests and areas right next to it, plus the ends of the rivers), with no hints beyond those built into the adventure.

They also have yet to collectively fail an exploration check (though, with a Cleric trained in Survival and a Ranger, that's fairly understandable).

Of course their Cleric has the Advanced Travel Domain, which doesn't help with exploring, but is broken for purposes of moving across the map (especially since the party have mounts), since it doubles their overland speed. On the other hand, that's saved them less than a week so far and they've completed almost everything within the first month (they need to fight the dragon, go back to camp to set things up, then go to the final encounter...everything else is done)...

But really, it sounds like the problem is that you were having them re-search areas, which is something that is not mechanically correct or required.

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