Tabletop Review: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Sins of the Saviors Adventure Deck

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Sins of the Saviors Adventure Deck
Publisher: Paizo
Cost: $19.99 ($15.47 on Amazon.com)
Get it Here: Amazon.com

So here we are with the penultimate deck for theRise of the Runelords game. If you’re new to the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, now that Sins of the Savior is the fifth deck for the game and that you DO have to play them in order for the game to make sense or even work. This means you should probably scroll down to the bottom of the review and click on the tag which will bring up all the reviews for the series. The last thing I want is for someone to think this deck is a stand-alone or can be played out of order from the rest of the decks. A final warning is that by the time you get to this point, Rise of the Runelords will have a combined MSRP of $160 or $180 if you purchased the character add-on pack. When the final deck comes out the grand total will be an even $200, so know what you are getting into money wise with this one. Now then, if the cost and realization that you need to buy EVERYTHING to make this game work hasn’t scared you off, you’ll be happy to know that Sins of the Saviors is the best deck for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game so far. Sure it’s unbalanced and wonky in some areas, but far less than other decks, which means if you get this part, you’ll notice a sharp uptick in quality. Now, let’s take a look at what you get.

First up are the five scenarios in the set. It’s worth noting that all you will get for completing the scenarios is loot, except for a Power Feat in “The Halls of Seduction.” I should also mention to take special care with the second scenario in the set, “Rimeskull.” Here, the adventure is set up the exact same way regardless of whether you have a full six people playing or you are doing a solo campaign. This means the adventure is a lot harder for smaller parties while a four to six party game will cakewalk through it by comparison. It gets even harder when you realize you have to bury a spell when you defeat each of the seven henchmen in this adventure or take a lot of damage. This does make the adventure the hardest in the entire game if you have a party between one and three characters and doubly so if your party is say, the Ranger, the Rogue and the Warrior. You’re going to want spellcasters for this one. Other that “Rimeskull,” the adventures are pretty straight forward.

There are nine new locations in this deck. Fear the Halls of Wraith where six of the nine cards in that location deck are monsters. Meanwhile the Vault of Greed and the Iron Cages of Lust are great places to stock up on new cards for your deck. We also have six new Villain cards – all of which require a combat of 20 through 28 to beat. Only one requires more than one check to defeat so as long as you have been slowly improving over the game, many of these bosses should seem easy to you. It’s weird but the three magic using bosses are actually easier to beat with an Arcane Check of 18 rather than a Combat Check of 25. I would think it would be the other way around since they would be better suited to defend against spells. Ah well.

There are seven types of Henchmen in this set, but only two (Highlady Athroxis and Xyoddin Xerriock) are uniques. As you can imagine, they are the two hardest henchmen in the set to defeat. Here’s a hint use demihumans, preferably ones with divine magic on Xyoddin and just take down Highlady before her constantly fire damage whittles your life away. The other five Henchmen are Warriors of Wrath, Simukacrum of Vraxeris, Stone Heads, Hounds of Lamashtu and Alu-Demon Sisters. The Stone Heads are the only ones you need to worry about and then only if you are playing with a small group. Otherwise they are very straight forward with most requiring some sort of check beforehand or you get some penalty like not being able to cast spells or the check to defeat goes up. Things like that.

Now it’s monster time. I have to admit, this is my favorite set of monsters in the set so far. There are eleven monster cards but nine types. This means they are duplicates of both the Succubus and Sinspawn Axemen. The Succubus plays like a slightly weaker version of the Alu-Demon Sister Henchmen while the SInSpawn Axemen does extra damage when you miss your combat check. Ouch. Oddly enough as powerful as the Axemen are, the might be the least of your worries in this set of monsters. Out of the seven unique monsters, the Shining Child, is a return from Fortress of the Stone Giants deck. It’s a straight forward fire damage dealer. By now you should have ways to dampen that type of damage. There are two golems in the set – an Iron Golem and a Clay Golem. The Clay Golem prevents you from using attack spells and has a Combat Check of 21 so it definitely brings the pain. The Iron Golem is even worse with the same ability, a Combat Check of 22 and it deals a random type of damage before the encounter ever begins. EVIL! Thankfully there is only one of it. There are also two Elder Elementals – one earth and one water. Both are pretty straightforward creatures and are actually easy to deal with as if they are undefeated, they go to the bottom of the location deck, which can actually help you more than harm you depending on the adventure and your character’s current state. The last two monsters in the deck are my favorites. The Treachery Demon just looks cool and is a pretty nasty pieces of work. Not only does it take a 21 Combat Check to defeat but its attacks cannot be evaded and it is immune to Poison and Electricity. You also have to make a Wisdom Check of 12 or a random ally at the same location takes an amount of damage equally to the number of spells and/or weapons in the attacker’s hand! Hopefully the Monk is the one that reveals this guy, am I right? Last but not least is the Mummy. He’s straightforward with a 21 Combat check to defeat, a weakness against fire and immunity to cold and poison. It’s nothing special, but I do love mummies.

Now, how about we look at the non-antagonist cards? The first thing I noticed that is unique about this deck is that there are no new Blessing cards. In fact there aren’t any Blessing cards at all. Surprise! There are however four new barriers with two of each card. Crushing Door is pretty easy to evade if you have a decent Dex or Disable rating. If not, expect to take 1d4+1 damage. Disjunction Pulse causes you to recharge every magic card in your hand if you fail the check to defeat it by 3 or more. This of course means warriors are probably best against this one. Necromantic Deathtrap is the nastiest as each character that is at the location where this surfaces must put 1d4+1 cards of their choice under the top card of the location deck. You do not want one of these when time is of the essence or you are low on health. Finally we have the Trapped Spellbook which is awesome. If you can beat it, you get 1d4 random spells to add to your hand. If undefeated, you and everyone else at this location takes 2d4 damage. Boo-urns.

We have three new spells in the game and each of them are awesome. Unfortunately there are only two each and they are ones you’ll want to see more of. Blizzard gives everyone who encounters a monster this turn (regardless of location) an extra 2d6 cold damage to add to their roll. That’s pretty snazzy. Of course everyone but the caster takes 1 Cold damage, but it’s worth it when you want to clear out certain scenarios. Blizzard is a godsend against Stoneheads in a low player game. Next up is Disintegrate. Discard the spell to roll your Arcane die PLUS a whopping 4d6. If you succeed, the enemy is banished, even if it would be otherwise undefeated or have some other protection. This my friends, is extremely handy. Finally we have Raise Dead which lets you bring a character back to life along with shuffling 10 of his or her buried cards into the character deck. If there is one area where the game has been weak so far it is healing spells but Raise Dead is well done. Better late than never, eh?

There are nine Ally cards, but only three of which are unique. The allies with two cards each are the Elven Sharpshooter (adds Magic to your ranged combat check – a massive blessing for the Ranger), the Pyromaniac Mage (which would have been far better in the previous deck…) and the Sacred Killer. The Sacred Killer is weak as it adds a Poison die to your melee combat check and so many things are this point are immune to poison, that it might have been better off in an earlier deck too. Now, while there are two disappointments in the Ally deck, the uniques are really fun. You have a Shaman which lets every player at your location shuffle in a random discard back into your deck each time it is recharged. You have a Zuvuzeg (Pig demon?) which can let you explore up to three locations cards in a row. My favorite (and last) card is the Velociraptor because it’s a bloody raptor AND it has feathers. It also adds 2d6 to a combat check which is hilariously awesome.

We’re down to the various bits of equipment now. There are two new items. We have two Headbands of Epic Intelligence which add 2 to an Int check. This really should be 3 or 4 at this point in the game, especially with the title of the card. We also have two Wands of Treasure Finding. Here you bury the card and then you get to examine your current location deck until you find a weapon, item or armor. Shuffle the deck except for that one card and put it on top. Could be very awesome or a waste. It’s a crap shoot.

We have four armor cards. There are two Invincible Breastplates, which are decent if you are proficient in Heavy Armor. You have Bolstering Armor which is similar but for Light Armor users. Finally we have the Winged Shield which can reduce damage by two as long as you don’t have a two handed weapon in play. As usual, the armors are okay. I’d have liked to have seen something a bit more powerful than what we usually get or that had a slight bonus to a type of damage, but it is what it is.

We have seven new weapon cards, but only four new types. The Acidic Sling+3 is pretty nice ad it can add 1d6+3 or 1d6+3 and an additional 3d4 depending on if you reveal or discard it. A great weapon that would have been far more useful in earlier decks, say the ones with trolls? We then have two Venomous Heavy Crossbow+2s, two Flaming Ranseurs+3s and two Dancing Scimitar+2s. The crossbow adds 1d10+2 when revealed and an addition 1d12 with Poison if you discard it. The ranseur adds 2d4+3 when revealed and an addition 1d10 fire damage when discarded. These are pretty pat. Now the Dancing Scimitar is unique. You reveal the card as always for the bonus (1d6+2 in this case), but instead of discarding for the extra (another 1d6+2), you just have to recharge it. That’s going to make this rather sought after. Good thing that there are two of them in the deck.

Finally, we have all of our different loot cards for the deck. There is a fanged Falchion, which is rather unimpressive damage wise compared to early non loot weapons. We have Ordikon’s Staff which lets you exchange a spell for extra Str or Melee damage. It can also add 2 to an Int check, making it very versatile. The Revelation Quill gets you control over the order of cards in a location deck, which is always handy. Summon Monster is a scroll that lets you summon a monster to do battle with your enemy instead of fighting it directly. The Staff of Hungry Shadows lets you do an extra 1d8+2 damage with an attack spell and finally the Runeforged Weapons do absolutely nothing – at least until the Spires of Xin-Shalast deck comes out down the road. Then it adds an extra 2d4 damage against anyone with the Transmuter trait.

All in all, while I have a few quibbles with the Sins of the Saviors deck, it really is a vast improvement from previous Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Decks in terms of balance, playability and fun. It’s too bad it took this long in the game for things to start hitting on all cylinders though. What I took away from this deck is that the next base game in the series, Spells and Shackles and it’s expansion packs will be vastly superior to Rise of the Runelords and that if you haven’t started with this series yet, hold off until late summer and go with Spells and Shackles instead. That said, I’m excited to see what the sixth and final deck looks like as if Sins of the Saviors is any indication, Rise of the Runelords is going out with a bang!

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