The Good, The Bad and the Valiant
A Fistful of Meeples Review of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous Adventure 2 – Sword of Valour
Adventure two, for many people, is where things really get moving. Although the components were included in the base set, it’s also where the Mythic Path Tokens finally get some use, and therefore where I’m going to think about them in some depth.
At the end of Adventure 1, each character was allowed to choose a Mythic Path, and from now on, they will start each scenario with a number of Mythic charges equal to the current adventure number. Their chosen path will give them boosts to checks using two chosen skills, the chance to spend charges to add a D20 to those checks, a bonus for succeeding at that check, and finally a big “spend 5 charges to do X” power. This power looks like it will be one of the most significant elements of the whole process – for example the Mythic Hierophant can expend 5 charges to resurrect a dead character – in the early Adventures, it’s going to take a lot of engineering to get those charges (you can’t keep hold of a number of charges greater than the current adventure number past the end of your turn), but the ability could mean the difference between a character being out of the AP for good, or getting a second chance at redemption.
Mythic Paths are a really good way to sure up a key stat. Unlike earlier APs, your characters will only have a single skill feat under their belts by this stage, so starting the scenario with a +2 bonus on top of that is only going to make things better: it’s particularly good for spell-casters, as it ups the reliability of recharge checks, typically an area you can’t afford to burn too many cards on, but a major challenge if you fail too many.
For some characters, the Mythic path can also offer an option to solidify the core stat and sure up a real point of weakness – Alain chose his path for the strength bonus, but knowing he’s got +2 to his otherwise abysmal dexterity (and the ability to grab a D20 in a pinch) can help him get out of some tight holes – or more specifically, pits.
Speaking of D20s, this is where the big fuss around “Mythic” first kicked off- the chance to roll a much bigger dice (in terms of the numbers, the physical dice is about the same size as the others), with an average roll of 10.5 instead of 6.5 on its closest rival, the D12. In reality however, rolling D20s seems to still be a fairly rare activity.
For one thing, the bonus to your rolls on the chosen checks is based on the number of charges you have, whereas rolling a D20 tends to come from charges you spend. That’s great for getting something bigger to chuck at the villain on (hopefully) the final check of the turn, but if you do it early on in the scenario, you’ll find it slowing you down. It is possible to regain mythic charges, either by spending a blessing of ascension, or by defeating a bane with the Mythic trait, but the latter option at least is going to be quite rare at this stage – it’s typically only the villains (if anyone) who are mythic. All the more reason to make sure you’ve picked up the Temptation of Big Die.
You and what Army?
Aside from the Mythic Paths, the other feature which dominates the landscape of adventure 2 are the armies. These are the henchmen in two of the scenarios (and get walk-on parts elsewhere) and they are brutal. Barriers, with six listed checks, and every character needs to make a different check to defeat them, with even a single failure spelling disaster for the players. Additional effects like banishing all boons in the location, or dealing damage just serve to rub salt into the Worldwound.
You do get some help with this task, in the form of the Knights of Kenabres. A new support card will allow you to check of skills, and add a D6 to checks for the checked skills. Unfortunately, this won’t work if you don’t have the skills! If you’ve got perception, chances are it comes off your wisdom, but if no-one in your party has perception, then the poor character rolling D4s for the check isn’t going to get an extra D6 from the Knights.
As a consolation, when you finish the adventure, you banish the Knights – but not until you’ve gained a skill feat for each medal you ticked. 5 skill feats are pretty good, even if they are spread out all over the shop.
Mythic paths are fun – and as noted, good for sureing up your key stat
5 Skill feats for a 5-scenario adventure is a pretty impressive haul – even if it does provoke nightmares about the future. (As one of the developers said on the Paizo forums- the real question we need to be asking is “why aren’t they worried about us farming for better boons”)
There are some more really good boons. Imrijka is the first character we’ve seen to really get her money’s worth for the Longbow, and the Marksman’s bow from this just makes things even better.
With only 6 Mythic paths, not all combinations of skills will be available, meaning they work far better for some characters than others. Kyra loves being a Mythic Hierophant, as it feeds into several of the things she wants to do, but in our other party where Seelah is our principal divine character (and by default the healer), there is no option which would allow her to boost her wisdom and her strength.
Scaling has been an issue up until now with this set, but this Adventure was where it got really glaring. The siege of Drezen is so hard in 6-player that it’s just not funny anymore – and so easy by comparison with low player-counts (fewer checks to make, far fewer cards to wade through as you explore the sequential locations without banishing the cards from the last, and far more ability to pick and choose the type of check you roll against an army), that they barely qualify as the same scenario.
The Spells in this pack are a bit of a let-down: there are a few interesting utility options, and one that’s very powerful in a very specific fight, but no real chance to upgrade a generic combat spell. There are also some cards which seem to have over-sold themselves
Redemption was also a bit of a damp squib- having waited all this for the chance to redeem a card, the opportunity appeared once, at a single point in time, and required you to have a non-corrupted blessing in hand, immediately after recharging your hand and re-drawing.
The designers have certainly done a good job of making this AP feel different, and unleashing the Mythic paths fully does make a difference. The scaling of this adventure just feels terrible though – with three or four, this is a fun, relatively challenging game, with 6 it fluctuates between feeling like an insane logic puzzle that you can’t possibly crack and just an exercise in masochism. Get this box, but play it with a smallish group if you can.