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Charles Evans 25's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 7,312 posts (10,175 including aliases). 16 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 70 aliases.

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Macabre Pantomime

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This book comes across to me as pantomime taken to a macabre level. There is witty banter amongst the protagonists. There is slapstick comedy and farcical fight scenes where the heroes defy the odds and win as the bad guys step on metaphorical banana skins. There are melodramatic moments of doubt. The heroes swagger. The villains are sadistic and have a cunning plan for domination of their little slice of the world - which is remarkably ineffectual in the face of the heroes' even more cunning counter-plan (which goes off without a hitch). The only significant casualties at the end of the day are the bad guys and a couple of bit-part characters whose demises are there to emphasise how horribly sadistic the bad guys actually are; everyone else goes home to their respective rewards and with the world safe yet again.
Give or take the odd editing howler in the first edition, it came across to me as solidly written, but I would caution that it might annoy readers looking for something 'serious' and/or unprepared to put aside suspension of disbelief for several hours.

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Good; just don't point out on the boards that a caravan isn't necessary...

****( )

If you pay attention to the details of the adventure, and ignore the posters who insist that there is 'only one true way to run this module!' this module is actually quite good, with a lot of built-in flexibility which allows for customisation by GMs.
It's sufficiently open-ended, in fact, that even if you're not running the Jade Regent path, you could probably use this module as a stand-alone adventure around any or all of 'hunt the magic item'/'rescue the prisoner'/'destroy the evil guild' themes it offers, and it comes with a brief overview of the city where some of the action is scheduled to take place.

There are also an examination of the goddess Shelyn and her faithful plus the usual Pathfinder fiction and a short bestiary...

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What??? They're giving this pdf away free???


Someone at Paizo has apparently gone insane. Besides tips on how characters might (or might not) fit in with the Jade Regent path, and the usual Campaign traits, James Jacobs and his crew have designed a set of rules for travelling caravans (in the sense in this case of overland merchant wanderers with wagons) and included them in this Jade Regent player's guide. And that means they're giving them away free when it comes to the pdf version...
This guide also establishes the framework for a friendship/rivalry system with regard to prominent NPCs (although the mechanics are left to be explained in actuall installments of the path), and sets up the possibility (if a group wants to dabble in such) for romances with NPCs.
Surely this one has to be up there as at least a possible future Ennie 'Honourable Mention'?

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Cautiously recommended

****( )

I find some of the artwork choices dubious and some of the stat-blocks clearly don't hold up under close examination.
Also only about a third of the creature content is of current use/interest to me.

BUT, all that said, in a book this size at this price that third of content is the right side of value for money for me, and there's enough variety here in the creatures that I don't personally have much time for that I'm certain most of them will appeal to a fair portion of the audience amongst other readers. This is a follow-up bestiary - and like most such works it faces the challenge that most of the decent staples of fantasy have already been covered in an earlier work, inviting the editors to try and diversify to give everyone a bit of what they might want...

Warts and all this is a pretty spiffing book, and I would cautiously recommend it.
I give it a rating of four stars.

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Excellent artwork, missed opportunity

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(version 4.0 of this review)
The artwork in this book is gorgeous. The cover and the preview blog art of Alaznist duelling Karzoug are good examples of what this book has to offer in this department.

Sadly this is where I run out of nice things I can find to say about this book. As the large quantity of errata and FAQs either dealt with or still awaiting attention suggest the text of this book is in places highly muddled and/or confusing, besides lacking in clarity.

I have nicknamed my hardcover copy of this book The Necronomicon: The Bulmahn Edition and archived it somewhere deep and dark.

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