Perhaps the best compliment I can give Giantslayer is this: this may prove to be the Path that finally forces me to break down and actually run the game! It's a path full of classic "Against the Giants" fun, which starts in a pretty epic fashion and grows from there (as, indeed the bad guys literally grow in stature).
That said, it's not perfect, on three main counts:
- Like a lot of Paizo paths, it starts extremely well and then loses steam somewhat. Part Six then gets back to its best, but parts Four and Five, in particular, seem a bit weak.
- Because the focus is on giants, giants, and more giants, it's all a bit same-y. That's fine provided you know that's what you're getting into, but if you're looking for a wide variety in the key opponents, you'll not find it here.
- In a case of unfortunate timing, both Giantslayer and "Hoard of the Dragon Queen" hit much the same climax at much the same time, with HotDQ getting there first. (That said, Giantslayer's climax is by far the better version, if for no other reason than it has about four times the page-count in the last adventure as HotDQ's last chapter.)
I'd love to love this adventure path. Its back-to-basics heroic adventures against a classic enemy, giants. And I do love it - the first 4 parts of it. But the end is just one big dungeon - yes the last two parts is effectively a single dungeon. Ah yes, its a dungeon with a story, a theme, lots that can make a dungeon fun... But still the last third of the series is one big dungeon.
And yes, I am making this very subjective, to better show what I like and why.
In the first part, the enemies are orcs and the heroes are meddling kids. This is usually fun to play, but I feel its a bit disassociated from the rest of the adventures in a typical adventure path. I tend to put in a lot of filler between parts one and two, and I will certainly have to do so here. Still, this is probably the best part.
The second part has a very fun plot about the misadventures of an amorous hill giant - only we get to see very little of this plot. I think this can be salvaged by my group, as I think they'll play more like relationship councilors than giant slayers at this point, but most groups are likely to miss a big chunk of the plot.
Part three is a small dungeon, the tomb of a giantslayer fron the past. Its varied and pretty interesting, but nothing to write home about.
Part four is a guerrilla campaign against frost giants. You need to demoralize a frost giant army without getting caught or provoking them too much. I think I'll add an additional complication (and make sure my players know); if provoked, the frost giants will also rampage some civilians. Very exiting and tricky, and a contender for best part of the adventure path.
Part 5 is an assault on a fire giant mine, which is frankly just a slog. Maybe my group can solve it in some indirect, sneaky way that they and I enjoy, but it will be hard work. If I can get the whole giant honor thing going, this could work out well.
Part 6 is another dungeon, set in an exotic locale and more focused on defeating a number of important sub-chiefs than on slogging room after room. I have a problem with the pacing, the players are expected to go directly from part 5 to part 6, which never works well in Pathfinder; trading, crafting, spell-learning and such matters take a lot of downtime, and Pazio adventures generally take this into account; not this one. And the end fights feel a bit like MMO fights, a bit contrived, but probably fun to play out just the same.
Now, to the rating. As usual, the text is a good read and the production values are gorgeous. There are some NPCs in this that will be really fun to play, and some great moments are sure to come about. So, even if I have objections to some of it, my overall impression is still that I am impressed; it gets a 4 from me. One has to remember to judge Pazio on the same scale as other publishers, and production values do count.
As an end note, I hate to have to go back to edit the text to restore my formatting. Bad job, ENworld.
This is the first Pathfinder Campaign I've run, and am running it for my kids and their friends (aged roughly 12/13). We're currently partway through adventure four and they're really enjoying it. If you like roaming through the wilderness and battling against giants, it pretty much has it all. There are one or two frustrating parts which a GM has to find a way around, such as the magic item which permanently welds itself to a player and then makes them take a Will save whenever the see a giant to resist attacking it. Not a bad thing in a magic item in itself, but given that the player with the item then has several adventures of having to sneak around large giant gatherings that it would be suicide to attack head on - well, I had to nerf the item in some way. It's light on urban roleplaying interaction, except for the first adventure which was an excellent introduction to roleplaying for the players, but in terms of epic giant slaying it's a good one.
Giantslayer starts out strong and continues strong into its second adventure, but after that starts to become repetitive. The fifth part is a long, dull slog through countless combats with little variety. The final adventure redeems the adventure path somewhat, but overall, Giantslayer is of variable quality.