john Whyte
New Zealand
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Whoever the five of you are who nominated me for Citizen Recognition I am truly touched
So I played this scenario as a Pathfinder society game. Sometimes it is nice to sit on the other side of the pathfinder screen. (Sometimes it's not, and I will preface this review by saying that my table for this game wasn't the best. I'll make a comment later, but at one point the table devolved into a rules argument for 15 minutes, about a rule that didn't have an impact on play). This will be spoiler laden by a takeaway line if you are considering playing 'Very linear, if you like chases and have a good DM this could be cool, but this is below average'.

So this scenario starts with visiting a grippli village who have the MacGuffin but before giving it up you need to do a fetch quest. For T-Rex eggs. There were four Grippli NPCs which seemed excessive, as you only need one, and the others sort of blurred together. Scenes with more than 2 NPCs are hard anyway, so to introduce this complication for no real reason seemed confusing.

You set off from the village into a (now much cooler) jungle. If you pass a check you elect the right side of the canyon to travel along (presumably avoiding an encounter).
You then need to cross a deep (30ft) and wide (60ft) ravine. Which is a well written problem at low levels. (Correctly) Guessing there was a monster in the ravine we managed to cross peak to peak.

Then it is into the ravine, and through a tight twist the party locate a corpse covered in fire ants. This immediately leads to initiative despite the point party member saying he didn't want to get close. I'm not a big fan of swarms (as they requires specific tools). As we were prepared it wasn't hard but it felt very 'forced' as a combat.

After this the T-Rex nest in the ravine was located. There is one dead T-Rex, a dead aspis agent, several eggs, and two lizard folk. Now based off asking the right questions previously we knew that this was likely to be an encounter that could be bypassed with talking. Which is great as my character is a knowledge and charisma based bard. Which is fine, we negotiate for the eggs. Then it is discovered that the apsis agent has gear. So the CHA8 (and STR8) wizard leaps in to negotiate for that. He passes the diplomacy check, then tries to bluff them, and passes that check as well. I admit that this rankled me, as he outshone me in every knowledge check, and I'm surprised the GM rolled with it (as the party had no full BAB classes, and no combat focused characters either).

In the loot are several feathers of instant trees. Throw the feather to the ground, bam instant high tree. Having seen Jurassic Park I suggest we use one immediately when the GM reads the boxed text, and its quite clear a Dino chase down the canyon will start. My suggestion is that we throw a tree down and climb out of the canyon. I understand (sort of) where the GM comes from in disallowing this, as the dino chase is the large part of this adventure, but I don't understand why it is so forced in the writing.

So it is a Pathfinder chase. Each scene chose one of two skill checks, roll high. There were 7 or eight decision points, of which I believe I had a total of 2 trained skills. Given I'd tried to build my character around knowledge and charisma based skills I found it very surprising how many of them where skills I just didn't have. Swim, acrobatics, CMB, ranged weapon attacks, Escape Artist, Climb all got good screentime.

After the chase scene is over, its back to the grippli village which has been taken over by Aspis agents. It's a combat on a battlemap with a couple of huts on stilts. So it does have some nice 3d encounter space. We were spotted before climbing up, but most of the party were effective at range, and the cleric was enlarged and with a spear (so effective at reaching up). If we didn't have that it would have been a tough battle. It certainly wasn't easy.

I guess that summed up my feeling about this adventure: every scene seemed to reward you for having characters that the designers wanted you to have. Splash weapons. Charisma. Relevant skill specializations. Ranged combat options. I like computer role playing games, but this adventure felt like that. There were the clear 'two options 'and it wasn't possible to deviate off script. I don't blame the GM, but I certainly don't recommend the adventure. Actually I have one last thought: if you were a stealthy rogue you could probably do this adventure single handedly. Perhaps the author wanted to give rogues more chances to feel awesome.
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