Well, it had to happen someday! I spotted my first one-star review for a Run Amok Games product on the Paizo boards (the review was actually left a couple of weeks ago, but I just recently noticed it). I've had some one-star reviews of my writing in the past--particularly from people angry about how my Pathfinder Society adventures played--but this is the first one-star review Run Amok Games has had. It's for the intro-level horror adventure, Teeth of the Storm.

The person that left it has no other reviews, or posts, or anything--it seems like he (or she) was riled up enough to come to the Paizo site and create a login just to post the review of my adventure. Here's the review, in its entirety:

"This is the worst module I have played. First you fight skeletons that don't have weapons they have two claw attacks my party was crited and died. then we fought a troll who was pathetic and then suddenly got big and scary though we managed to kill them all along with an incredibly disappointing final boss. the story is bad is basically a snobby rich guy who hates the party's guts hires us for chump change to do his dirty work. the npcs consist of unlikable nobleman, generic cleric, generic old lady, incompetent guard and unlikable farmer. We had to stop the game after the first battle to reroll new guys who were better prepared. Also the card chase mini game was dumb and time consuming and anyone at a disadvantage in terms of skills either by class or a low point buy is doomed. my time was wasted with this game. don't buy it."

It's hard to scan through this, but it seems the key complaints are (i) the first fight is too hard, (ii) using the chase rules to avoid the troll wasn't fun, and (iii) the NPCs aren't compelling or likable. 

I'd like to address these in brief, one at a time, because I think there's some real merit in here.

First, the first fight seemed too hard. Per the review, it seems as though his party was unlucky and the skeletons landed a lot of critical hits. That's bound to happen in any initial fight, when the PCs are at their squishiest. I've tried to keep an eye on whether crits against low-level characters will paste them (such as opponents with a scythe, with a x4 crit, or opponents with the ability to Power Attack with two-handed weapons). I actually received just this same feedback from John Compton, a Paizo developer, about a Pathfinder Society adventure--but I received it after Teeth of the Storm was already out. This comment reinforces that lesson to be careful with squishy first-level PCs!

Second, the chase rules are admittedly clunky; to the extent I have regrets about Teeth of the Storm and how I might do it differently, I think I'd remove the chase rules. This isn't the first review that mentioned that the chase isn't a tense flight scene, but a clumsy set of mechanics. So a good point here.

Third, whether NPCs are likable or not depends primarily on the GM. Any NPC can be sympathetic or irritating; ask my players, who are constantly frustrated by how pathetic I can make plainly evil NPCs, so that they feel bad about attacking them despite their plainly evil ways! So that's a bit out of my hands. What *is* in my hands is the ability to make the NPCs less generic, by providing compelling back stories, motivations, and builds. I think I succeeded in that with the Emergency Villain Collection, which I'll post about a bit later, but this review reminds me to keep this in mind.

So, thanks to whoever you are, bonethirstx!