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Kobold Quarterly 16

***** (based on 2 ratings)
OPDKQ16E

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The super-sexy Winter 2011 issue is loaded with a high tide of Pathfinder RPG materials, plus the launch of the new Midgard campaign setting. The top-notch materials from the best KQ regulars include:

  • 12 official Paizo magic items for Golarion
  • Harem Assassins feats and spells for Pathfinder RPG
  • Potion Miscibility rules for 4th Edition D&D
  • the Ecology of the Gearforged for the Midgard setting
  • the armies of Zobeck
  • an interview with gaming legend Robin Laws
  • plus Pathfinder RPG clockwork adepts, wildly original magical items for 4th Edition D&D, Monte Cook's column, and much more.

This issue also features the return of Dungeon Adventures maestro Willie Walsh with a humorous mini-adventure, plus a sneak peek of the Northlands sourcebook with a beer run among the Thursir Giants. Two great mini-adventures, fully mapped and described for Pathfinder RPG in one issue!

Pick up your copy of this amazing issue today!

To put it simply it's the best gaming periodical on the market, print or digital!
    —Vorpal Spork

As sleek as the mermaid on the cover, KQ 16 has a great synergy, its articles meshing together to provide instant game fuel.
    —Fame and Fortune

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OPDKQ16


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Product Reviews (2)

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***** (based on 2 ratings)

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An RPG Resource Review

*****

The Editorial opens with the promise of a great treat: Wolfgang Baur's own home campaign is to be written up for publication! Apparently Kobeck is part of it, but the rest of the setting is now to be subject to the Open Design process and brought into the light of day. Wolfgang's words show his excitement... now I'm looking forward to it as well.

And so to the first article, Ecology of the Gearforged. They started off as an act of desperation, Kobeck's craftsmen and wizards collaborating to create something, anything to stave off the House Stross forces during the rebellion that saw Kobeck free - but they have matured to more than mere war machines. The price is high, to make a gearforged someone living has to abandon their flesh and see their spirit, their soul transplanted into a living construct which although powerful, tireless and long-lived is limited in many important ways: no sense of smell or taste, unable to cuddle up to someone, love becomes an intellectual pursuit. The Ritual of Soulforging is explained in detail, along with the mechanics for both the Pathfinder and D&D 4e rulesets. If successful, the new gearforged can be played as a character; if not you may have a ghost or a wraith on your hands. Assuming success, we then find out about the appearance and components in a typical gearforged, including the incredibily useful 'memory gears' that store the memories these creations accumulate - effective, gearforged remember everything! They also share knowledge with a devotion bordering on the religious. Some stick to basically humanoid form, others go for bolt-on accessories. Then there's a look at their faith, they all revere Rava, the Gear Goddess, whilst many still hold true to whichever deity they worshipped before becoming gearforged: however most are not particularly devout. Their place in society is explored, as well as the nuances of their everyday life. People who keep pet rust monsters are unwelcome visitors! Overall, if you fancy playing a gearforged or they feature much in your campaign, there's plenty here to bring them to life.

Next - and this is a sneak view of some of Midgard's lore - comes an article, Odalisques and Assasins: Courtesans of Zobeck. Here we learn about the practice of the 'oldest profession' and how a well-trained courtesan can provide a lot more than a quick roll in the hay. Ambassadors, assassins and more have all got their start as ladies (and perhaps gentlemen, too) of negotiable affection. Connoisseurs of the courtesan's art have much to revel in here, as the styles and nature of the entertainment provided in different parts of Midgard are detailed. Many practitioners include Bard amongst their classes, as skill in performance or storytelling often enhances the entertainment that they provide. Sorcerer and Rogue are also popular. Rules additions include adding the art of conversation to the Perform skill, those Bards who take it gain extra options for class abilities, likewise there are other options for those who choose storytelling as a Performance skill. There are also some new spells, which could become quite amusing - enhancing your beauty or causing a target to become obsessed with you! Or perhaps you'd like to craft the magic item called a Pillow Book - not as you might imagine, the Karma Sutra but a collection of salacious gossip about notable individuals. The article rounds off with feats, weapons and mundane items that may also be of use to the professional courtesan.

This is followed by an interview with Robin D. Laws, who has written or contributed to more games than you can shake a stick at, and still delights in it all. An interesting approach has been taken, in not just talking to Laws himself but gathering thoughts from several others with whom he has worked over the years. This neatly reflects in Laws's own words as he talks about the meticulous structural planning that underlies his work. Fascinating stuff!

Next, a treat for Pathfinder players, a collection of magic items collected from entries in Paizo's 'RPG Superstar' writing competition. Revel in the delights of the Cacophonous Monkey, which looks like a wind-up toy but animates to enhance bardic performances... and if that performance doesn't go to plan you might care to use a Snapleaf, a one-off aid to running away which activates both invisibility and featherfall spells. There are 10 more innovative items, many of which could inspire a whole adventure or provide hours of innocent fun for the GM if not for the character who has them - actually, they're all of the useful and beneficial nature, a refreshing change from the cursed items that frequently see the light of day.

There's a whole lot more - see my full review here - for both Pathfinder and D&D 4e... although a lot is applicable to any system provided you're happy writing your own mechanics!

Overall - as usual! - it's a fascinating collection of ideas and inspirations, all easy to incorporate into your campaign and even better if you use the Zobeck (soon to become the full-bown Midgard) setting. Kobold Quarterly is still what a role-playing magazine ought to be.


Another fine issue of KQ

*****

Kobold Quarterly by Open Design

This product is 76 pages long. It starts with a cover, ToC, credits, 5 pages of ads and a forward about the upcoming Midgard patron project. (9 pages)

Ecology of the Gearforged (6 pages)
A 4E DnD and Pathfinder articles. Gearforged are a new race created in the city of Zobeck(a book by Open Design). It has their history, stats for them for both 4E DnD and Pathfinder. Rituals and magic that was used to create them and how more can be created. Everything you need and them some to introduce them as a new playable race. While they are tied to the setting they could be fairly easily adapted to any setting.

Odalisques and Assassins (8 pages, 6 pages of content, 2 pages of ads)
This is a Pathfinder article. This is a article about courtesans that have been turned into spies and assassins. There is 2 new variant rules for bardic performance, 3 new weapons, 2 new equipment items, 5 new feats, 5 new magic items, and 5 new spells. While the fluff is written for the world of Midgard the rest is easily useable in any setting.

If your having Fun (4 pages)
This is a interview with Robin D Laws.

Magic Items of Golarion (6 pages, 4 pages of content, 2 page of ad)
Pathfinder article. This is 12 of the magic items from the 2010 RPG superstar contest. Collected and then printed here. These are some very good magic items and it nice to see them put to good use.

Clockwork Adept (4 pages)
Pathfinder article. A new 10 level PrC, d6, 2 skills, low BaB, simple weapons. 8 caster level gains, all their class abilities deal with creating, commanding, fixing etc clockworks. A interesting PrC.

The Royal Order of the Golden Fox (4 pages, 3 pages of content 1 page of ads)
4E DnD article. This is a group of hunters, from hunting exotic beats, monsters or even bounty hunters. If PC's join it they can gain access to 10 new types of magic items as reward for completing tasks for them.

The Curse of the Blue Titchyboo (6 pages)
A Pathfinder article. This is a 2-3rd level adventure about investigating a Tengu community. The adventure takes place at the local school. It is mostly a social adventure and pretty quick and short. It was a bit amusing reading about how the kids react to things.

The Ring of Rule Breaking (2 pages)
A article by Monte Cook about knowing when and how to break the rules and how they are only guidelines to make good games.

Ask a Kobold (2 pages)
Pathfinder article about rules questions, about illusions and reality.

Dancing Brooms and Skittering Scones (2 pages)
Pathfinder article. Rules for expanded Animated Objects. 11 new construction traits, 5 drawbacks, 3 samples, and a new lower level animate object spell.

Places of Sanctuary (2 pages)
Pathfinder article. This is about giving a location a sanctuarial aura and talking about why you might want to. There is 3 versions of the aura, there is also 3 new magic items with the aura's.

Potion Miscibility (2 pages)
4E DnD article. Rules for mixing two potions together. How to do it, a table for what happens when you do it and two examples of finished results.

The Minion Academy (3 pages)
4E DnD article. This is about making the most of your minions. 10 new powers for minions and a new template that comes with 2 new powers.

True Hit Location (3 pages)
4E DnD article. Rules for using hit locations in your game and 3 sample monsters that use the new rules and what it requires.

Bear Run (4 pages, 3 pages of content, 1 page ad)
Pathfinder article. This is a 5th adventure is about getting beer from giants, there is a few adventure hooks on why the PC's might be after the beer. It is a fairly short adventure that leads the PC's to a giant mead house of Thurbin giants. This includes the stat blocks for the new giants.

Clockwork Monsters (3 pages)
4E DnD article. 11 new powers that can be used to turn any existing monster into a clockwork version.

Coming Next Issue (1 page)
A page about what will be coming out for the next issue of KQ.

Book Reviews (2 pages)
There is 4 book reviews in this section.

Banners of Zobeck (1 page)
This talks about the military of the city, those who surround the city and then gives a order of battle for the cities forces.

It ends with a map of the Mead House for Beer Run and a 1 page ad for the new Patron Project Midgard. (2 pages)

Closing thoughts. This is my first magazine review and I will be honest I am not completely sure how to review one but here we go. The articles are well written and most are very interesting. While much of it is geared towards Open Designs own campaign world, most of it is fairly easy to adapt to any setting. Beyond the interviews, reviews and fluff pieces there is 1 article for both 4E and pathfinder, having both stats. 6 for Pathfinder, 5 for 4E, and 2 short adventures for Pathfinder.

There is 12 full page ads in the magazine. On page 19 there seems to be a error, it is a full page ad for Pathfinder tales fiction but almost all the words are little blocks instead of letters. That was the only error I noticed while reading the magazine. The artwork is fair to very good. All and all it is a nice mix of Midgard fluff articles, 4e and Pathfinder, though a bit leaning this issue to Pathfinder. KQ is really stepping up to fill the hole left in the hobby with the removal of Dragon magazine from general circulation. So whats my review? I am settling on a 4.5, there was that one error and while most of the stuff was interesting in some cases I felt they was to short and I wanted more about them.


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