Elevator pitch: "Mapped Encounters: Saber-Toothed Tiger" is a Pathfinder based, plug-and-play, scalable mini-encounter set in snowy, ice-water ringed tundra authored by Steven Russell, with cartography by Jonathan Roberts. You get two things when you purchase it: a pdf, and a Maptool (digital tabletop) file.
Pathfinder based: this encounter uses Paizo’s uber-popular Pathfinder rule system. Me, I’m a big fan of this system – it’s my ruleset of choice – so I was pleased with some of the clever mechanics stuff Russell and crew put in. Consider the wicked “Felling Strike” feat: “2/day, when [badass Saber-Toothed Tiger] scores a successful critical hit, it can elect to make a felling strike by rolling again. If the result of the third strike would hit the target, the target takes full damage from the critical hit as normal, but must also make a saving throw (DC 22) or die.” Eek!
Plug-and-play: ME:STT is designed to be plugged into your campaign in an easy way. It features a neat “20 Ways To End Up Here” section that gives you some hooks to inject the encounter into your campaign. My favorite (because it would totally happen to my over-confident PCS): “The PCs decided they could make a full day’s march even though the weather looked bad and now they are lost.”
Scalable: so it shouldn’t be a big surprise that the BBEG is a saber-toothed tiger. Like the Pathfinder Society Scenarios, the level of the tiger scales according to party strength. It features a CR 7, 12, and 17 version of the critter. (The CR 17 one is an absolutely blisteringly badass God-touched killing machine. )
Setting: I’m a huge fan of Jonathan Roberts’ cartography. (Check out his gallery here: http://www.fantasticmaps.com/). The battle map here is pretty representative of his style: detailed, great textures, great use of color, and nice set pieces for making mini-battles interesting.
Maptools: I love Maptools (an open source digital table top program) – I run my home campaign using a ceiling mounted digital projector plus Maptool setup – and so I was of course pleased to see that ME:STT ships with Maptool digital files. The product is pretty straightforward – one map, some hidden layers for treacherous edges, and a token for the big kitty. If you use another VTT, it ships with maps and token files so you can do it yourself.
Conclusion: overall, a nice release from the talented guys over at Rite Publishing. Recommended if you’re a fan of the Pathfinder system, digital tabletops, battle maps, cartography, or super badass saber toothed tigers.