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The Staff

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Ephesos Ephesos

A God in Mote's Eye

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 08:17 PM #1 The Staff

The Staff

Author: Michael Slack
Recommended Levels: 1-100
Version: 1.0.0

Composite Score: 2.5/5.0

Best: 0.00% (0/2)
Good: 0.00% (0/2)
Average: 50.00% (1/2)
Substandard: 50.00% (1/2)
Poor: 0.00% (0/2)


Edited by sylae, 11 February 2015 - 08:04 AM.
Automated Sybot edit; worker IPB::csrThread/vanadium

Ephesos Ephesos

A God in Mote's Eye

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 08:27 PM #2 The Staff

I was excited to play The Staff, because it sounded like an interesting plot. Or at least, a solid one. It’s also nice to see Mike Slack putting more scenarios out, and this one seemed like a step up from his previous works.

The outdoors and towns are nice. Nothing too spiffy, but it's solid. Dialogue, while often brief, is good. The story, while nebulous, is acceptable.

Of course, it wasn’t that simple. It started off fine, and then I started wondering why everyone was named James or Jamie. And then I wondered why virtually every bit of dialogue was broken up into one-sentence blocks. And then I wondered why the items being sold in shops were absurdly powerful for a level 1 party. And then I wondered why every other door in the scenario was locked. And then I wondered why no two townsmen or townswomen had the same graphic, including weird choices like archmages. And finally, I wondered why a certain licensed cartoon character made an appearance.

In the end, I had to cheat to finish, because the last item I needed was in a trapped box beyond my skill level. And it still exploded. Also, it is not okay to sell the player a worthless item for 1,000 gold, when you’ve created the expectation that it’s a quest item. That’s the point at which I wonder, “why?”

For a scenario that boasts being beatable with a level 1 party, it’s absurdly unbalanced. And there’s really not much meat here. So it’s a step up from Proving Grounds and Crescent Valley, but it’s still disappointing.

EDIT: I've been told that there was a key for the exploding box. And upon further thought, I was a little too harsh.

Rating: Average

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 06:14 AM #3 The Staff

I love Mike Slack. I do not love his scenarios. I just love how he keeps coming back for more.

There is one significant change that separates The Staff from other Slack scenarios; there are women NPCs in it, but you cannot hit on them! Le Gasp! But apart from that it is a Slack scenario all around. The dialogue is functional at best, pointless most of the time. The towns look okay if a bit cramped. There is some silly humor thrown in that could have been left out. In fact, there is only one thing wrong with this scenario: the execution of the plot.

I was actually pretty intrigued after the intro texts. The Staff is a standard fantasy-fest with a hunt for the missing MacGuffin which the villain has broken into seven pieces and hidden them from the good guys. The knave! That is it, really, no fancy-smanshy philosophical rides through your mind, and none of that stupid tinkering with my PCs. The Staff could have been good if the puzzles you have to solve in order to get staff pieces would have been better. As an example of the idiotic locations the pieces are in: one piece can be found in a grave in the town the staff was stolen from. Really? No-one thought about looking there? Was the pretty obvious clue on the tombstone too much?

Obvious puzzles aside, there is also the combat. Slack claims that this scenario is for levels 1-100. This is patently untrue. I went in with a level 79 singleton. The only enemies that were even able to hurt me were the ones accompanying the final boss and even they came nowhere near killing me. Granted, there is not that much regular combat to begin with, and you could maybe ignore or sneak past most of the enemies, so maybe Slack thought that this would balance the issue somehow. It does not.

There are actually plenty of things I could complain about, but here is the bottom line: The Staff is not a good scenario. Is it even Slack's best? No, that title would go to Mystery Manor. It is not even
worth playing through, in my opinion, especially not with a party from the back end of the level range. Perhaps a level one party would be more suitable, though I am not sure how they would fare in the boss fight and I do not have the energy to find out.


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