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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Modules, Tales Subscriber. 1,203 posts. 4 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.



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A great Eastern romp

****( )

Lots of things to like here, if you're fans of the adventures of Jeggare and Radovan. Not just a "fish out of water" tale for the pair from Avistan, I liked very much that each in his own way had to deal w/ an unexpected layer of adversity. By the end, I got a tangible sense that they had grown as characters. Especially Jeggare. In gaming terms, they've definitely gotten more EXP, and I hope that future tales about them reflect that.

I was a little unsure what to make of the 3rd main role--the wolfhound, Arnisant. I was afraid that was going to be the weak link for me. But it allowed the introduction to the kami spirits that had their own role to play in the storyline.

All in all, lots of fun. As another reviewer noted, though, I'm not sure the alternating 1st person perspective should be repeated for a 3rd novel (which I definitely hope to see).


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Finally got around to reading this

****( )

Just read this on Friday, and Master of Devils yesterday. I'd been a huge fan of the short-story arcs in PF, but took my time getting around to the novels.

From a PF perspective, I enjoyed getting a good look at Ustalav, seen through the eyes of 2 interesting characters like Jeggare and Radovan. I like the nod to Sherlock Holmes & Watson in their dynamic, though of course it's a lot more involved than just that. Radovan's a great anti-hero; not too 2-dimensional like he could be. As for the Count, I find his pretensions quite amusing, and like how his worldview contrasts w/ Radovan's.

There were some minor editing issues (mostly missing words like "to", and "tenants" instead of "tenets), but luckily those decreased in the next novel. I wish the rating system allowed for 1/2 stars. I'd give this 3.5 stars (to allow for the fact I liked Master of Devils even more, which also gets 4 stars).

Look forward to reading more of their misadventures.


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Zobeck Gazetteer Vol 2 - Dwarves of the Ironcrags

****( )

Foreword & 1st chapter [History, Lore and Culture]
Nice northern European feel to their history, freely mixing real world myths and legends (e.g., the Norse Volund the Smith, the Slavic Perun the Thunderer, and Wotan as the Old High German form of the Norse Odin) with names and areas freely created for the Zobeck setting.
What’s new on this take is “The Free Dwarven Cantons of the Ironcrags”. Imagine a fantasy Switzerland, with a touch perhaps of the Ravilla treatment (Free States of Mordengard, I think, from the Sundered Empire campaign)? This section covers 13 settled cantons (though text says 14), followed by “The Lost Halls”; all of which (save one) have nice shield emblems that remind me of the original Greyhawk map and the country emblems. There’s then the “Northern Clans”, which offers a more traditional take on dwarves. There’s nice details on the interrelations between the various Cantons, outlying areas, the northern clans, and the dwarves of Zobeck. All in all, a very concise cultural view of these atypical dwarves, and very well-written (like the entire book, let’s get that out of the way right now...).
2nd chapter [The Most Honorable and Righteous Fraternal Order of Illuminated Brothers]
Dwarven secret societies meets the Masons (meets the Illuminati?) ftw! Another excellent fluff piece, in the best sense of that word, but it also has some crunch to it w/ related prestige classes. My forte is not picking apart crunch to say this is “underpowered” or “overpowered”--I’ll leave that to others--but the flavor is excellent and would work great for NPC’s. There’s even a trio of thematic magic items at the end.
3rd chapter [The Kariv: Clans, Magic, and Secrets]
I’ll be honest; I wasn’t expecting much out of this chapter if only b/c of my personal ambivalence towards gypsies. But! If ever you wanted a gypsy-like race in a fantasy setting, you could comfortably adopt this beautifully written chapter. You could also freely adopt the Hex-magic system, and I paid particularly close attention to this b/c I already have the framework for my own hex-based magic system written up, and I’m sure this chapter will help influence my final decisions. There’s also some flavorful Kariv feats to round off the chapter.
I would have loved to have seen Greyhawk’s Rhennee given the same loving treatment as this author’s Kariv did. Kudos.
4th chapter [Dwarven Magic]
Not to keep talking about me, but this chapter also ties into ideas I’ve had: racial magic (i.e., spells exclusive to a race) and proper rune magic (and Monte Cook has given me plenty of ideas there). “Lithomancy” is a great term for this dwarven magic btw. After the spells, there are also magic items and “dwarven technology”, along w/ setting-specific dwarven weapons. Even those crazy Derro get some love, w/ Derro equipment and some nasty “derro insanity tech”.
5th chapter [Monsters]
Always a fun chapter in a fantasy treatise, we have: Cavelight Moss (fills a nice ecological, predator role); Crag Drake (nasty one-size-fits-all dragon w/ cool tactical abilities); the Darakhul (template; perhaps related to Wolfgang’s Kingdom of the Ghouls, which sadly I will never own...that’s a hint, folks ;-)); Derro Fetal Savants (good lord, who came up w/ these creepy little buggers?!); Dogmoles (including the Derro created Dogmole Juggernaut); Fellforged (creative use of a construct w/ a trapped undead spirit w/in); Gilded Devil (for all you Mammon lovers out there); and finally, the Goldveined and Stone-Dead Dwarf (2 more templates).
There’s very good art w/in this book, and I can be very picky in that department. I think our very own Hugo Solis did most of the illustrations, and if you’re a regular reader of Kobold Quarterly like myself, you’ll appreciate how Wolfgang throws in classical art (e.g., Gustav Dore and Arthur Rackham).
This gets very high marks from me. Flavorful, w/ a nice bit of crunch thrown in there. My only knocks are very minor, involving some curious misspellings and typographical errors, but my guess is that most readers won’t even notice them.


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Funny as all hell!

*****

I just loved this book, and love Zogonia. I didn't have all the individual strips of this & Mt Zogon, so this was a no-brainer for me. I'm not sure why Zogonia stopped and Mt Zogon began in its place--b/c I much prefer the former--but this was often the ultimate D&D comic for me. Right up there w/ Fineous Fingers (back in the day!) and OOTS. Lots of serious, deep belly laughs from reading through this. I highly recommend it.



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