Kobold Quarterly 19

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Magic shops and graveyard haunts, a new realm to explore and get-rich-quick schemes gone horribly wrong: This horn of kobold plenty is spilling over with what might be our most diverse assortment of articles ever. Coming in at 80 pages, KQ #19 includes:
  • A sneak preview of Tian Xia, Paizo's brand-new setting for Pathfinder RPG, and its arch-devil Lau Kiritsu, by two famous Paizo authors
  • An interview with indie designer Jason Morningstar
  • A new good-guy necromancer class for Pathfinder RPG
  • A new solo adventure – just bring a d20, a pencil and some paper
  • 2 new alchemist archetypes and 15 new discoveries

This issue features plenty of options that fit any campaign:

  • A guide to who’s who in any royal court
  • 4 unique magic shops, from the high end to the bargain bin
  • New werewolf themes compatible with 4th edition D&D
  • 10 new AGE System character backgrounds for the Midgard campaign setting
  • 4 new death-themed Pathfinder RPG archetypes: deathrager, grave druid, master of worms and zombie master
  • Zobeck’s Order of the Undying Sun
  • Monte Cook on how to spice up traditional fantasy races and classes with balance-free bonuses
  • ...and more!

Kobold Quarterly is bigger and better than ever, so get your copy today!

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At last, the wait is over: #19 is here


What I like best about Kobold Quarterly is that it always has articles which I can actually use. Notice the plural in that sentence: “articles”, not “article”. This issue, like all the others, is filled with excellent and useful articles. To illustrate that point, let me spend a few paragraphs talking about the three articles that most grabbed my attention.

“Magic Shops: What’s in Store?” by Christina Stiles and Spike Y Jones
Your typical FRPG magic shop can be a pain in the rump. Unless the players decide they want to rob it, a visit to one is about as exciting as a visit to the grocery store. Worse yet, if magic items are so rare and mystical that characters are expected to risk their lives seeking them, then why is it can you just walk into a neighborhood store and buy them? Like a lot of GM’s, I became disillusioned with magic shops a long time ago. So disillusioned that I eventually stopped putting them in my campaign.

Christina and Spike must have been spying on my game, because they address these exact problems - plus a few others as well. Better yet, they don’t just identify the problems, they present solutions. Their article provides a number of ways to avoid the “typical FRPG magic shop” syndrome. Christina and Spike show how to make magic shops exciting, mysterious, and just a little bit dangerous. In other words, they show how to make magic shops into valuable and exciting additions to the game. Their article finishes up with three examples of wonderfully imaginative magic shops that will certainly find homes in my world. Although tagged for Pathfinder, this article is also valuable for any edition of D&D, as well as Dragon Age campaigns.

“Lau Kiritsu” by Richard Pett.
Everyone knows that arch-devils are lawful evil, but almost every arch-devil description ever written concentrates on the “evil” and forgets the “lawful”. Usually a bland statement like “…this devil will attempt to twist any bargains…” stands as the only nod to lawfulness. After a while, all the different descriptions start to sound a little bit alike.

But not Richard Pett’s arch-devil! To begin with, Richard shows us exactly how torturously wicked law can be. Fittingly for a lawful denizen of discipline, Lau Kiritsu’s “church” is developed in wonderful detail. Followers, doctrine, holy books, sacred items, and a glimpse of frighteningly rigid obedience are all found here. If anyone ever thought that lawful evil is somehow softer or less dangerous than chaotic evil, this article will go a long way toward changing their mind.

Best of all, the Cult of Lau Kiritsu makes a scalable opponent for any level of adventuring group. Low lever characters can occasionally meet new initiates into the cult, while epic level characters can have a massive showdown with the cult’s unholy leaders.

“Balance-Free Bonuses” by Monte Cook
Do you want a way to make the different races in your campaign more wondrous and distinct? Do you want to do that without worrying about power creep? I certainly do. And now, thanks to Monte Cook, I can. This is yet another case where KQ presents an article which has a new (or at least seldom-considered) approach to an old problem.

The standard way to differentiate the races in recent years has been to give each one their own special combat powers, racial weapons, and other abilities which provide an “edge” over other races. But if you do this for one race, then you’ve got to do it for the other races so they aren’t overshadowed. It’s almost an arms race! No, not almost – it IS an arms race. Splat books are particularly bad about this.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways to enhance the races, to make them wondrous and unique without making them more powerful, and Monte Cook shows us how. I have only one complaint about this article: It is too short. Seriously. It is only two pages long. This subject deserves more ink. Please, Mr. Cook, please: Write a sequel!

Even though I picked these three as the top articles of this issue, it was a difficult choice. All the other articles were great too! The “White Necromancer” will be used in my game. “Courting Adventure” gives some real-life history to help you make the NPC nobility in your game more gritty and realistic; more like HBO’s “The Tudors” rather than “Monty Python and the holy Grail”. (Not that I have anything against Monty Python!) Doesn’t the title of “10 Ways to Turn Dull Traps into High-Stakes Encounters” speak for itself?

“Bark at the Moon” is about the werewolf - one of my favorite monsters ever since I saw Lon Chaney Jr. portraying the tragically cursed John Talbot in glorious black-and-white. This article rocks in every possible way. Brian A Liberge is able to convey volumes of information with an economy of words, and Otto Wilhelm Thome provides wonderfully stark artwork that brings the subject to life! (Yes Mr. Thome, I noticed those other bestial shapes lurking on the ruins in the background.) While the stat blocks are aimed at 4th edition, the bulk of this article will fit perfectly into any flavor of FRPG campaign, from old-school D&D through Pathfinder, Dragon Age, and even Call of Cthulhu.

Now you know why I like issue 19. Since you are here on Paizo’s website, I venture to say you might like it too.

Another excellent issue!


Kobold Quarterly issue #19 is another stellar issue from the Kobold gang. With articles ranging from White Necromancers, how to spice up trap encounters, to a solo adventure, to more archetypes and discoveries for alchemists, and more. There is certain to be something that will help inspire your game in this magazine regardless of your system of choice. It is nice to have a quality magazine on the market whether in print or PDF format.

See my full review at irontavern.com