Kobold Quarterly 21

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OPDKQ021E

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Kobold Quarterly #21 takes on the theme of Divine Majesty, with a host of articles to take your campaign into the higher realms, or lower depths.

"The Shaman" introduces a new base class for Pathfinder RPG that gains powers and abilities by unlocking secrets about the natural and spirit worlds. "Daughters of Lilith" presents the ecology of the succubus, a lusty article indeed.

David "Zeb" Cook's article "It's a Mystery!" provides an antidote to generic fantasy religions using the secrets and traditions of the mystery cults that flourished in ancient times.

"Clerical Conflicts" makes the life of a cleric extremely interesting with soul-ripping demands made by his or her god—dilemmas such as Disillusioned Crusader, Chosen One, and even the Were-Angel!

TSR and Wizards of the Coast alum Steve Winter explores how GMs can build a compelling monotheistic campaign setting in his "Howling Tower" column, and "Divine Archetypes" gives players a way to make angelic heroes, holy traps, and celestial Fists of Fury.

This issue of Kobold Quarterly also features official Pathfinder Society content, robber knights and vile wizards, new Zobeck and Midgard articles, and alchemists, druids, illusions, and seers for AGE gamers — and a sultry pinup cover!

Here’s what lies within this issue’s 76 incense-redolent pages:

  • The Shaman (Pathfinder Roleplaying Game)
  • Daughters of Lilith (4E)
  • It's a Mystery
  • Clerical Conflicts (Pathfinder Roleplaying Game)
  • Divine Archetypes (Pathfinder Roleplaying Game)
  • A Background in Magic: 4 New Magic-Users (AGE)
  • Nine Treasures of Deep Midgard (Pathfinder Roleplaying Game)
  • Saints of Mavros (Pathfinder Roleplaying Game)
  • The Scriveners of Allain (4E)
  • White Tongue, Black Heart: Twisted Familiars (Pathfinder Roleplaying Game)
  • The Shadow Lodge Insurgency (Pathfinder Roleplaying Game)
  • Why No Monotheism?
  • Q&A with Bill Slavicsek
  • Ask the Kobold (Pathfinder Roleplaying Game)
  • Free City of Zobeck: Deadly Tolls and Honest Challenges
  • d20 Monkey and the 10'x 10' Toon by Stan!

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KOBKQ021


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An RPG Resource Review

*****

Hmm... an Editorial on that contentious question: semi-naked female characters. Traditional game fare, perhaps, but provoking comment. Being of the female persuasion but pragmatic rather than sexist, my only complaint is that if I were participating in a fantasy adventure I'd want a decent layer of armour between me and the monsters - and that doesn't mean hiding behind the nearest paladin! A few bare-chested blokes would be nice, to maintain balance, though.

The first article proper introduces a Shaman character class for Pathfinder. Opening with an evocative narration of a shaman performing a divination (not for the squeamish, she's using rabbit entrails!), the class is described as very druid-like, recognising the spirit with all components of nature. They are shape-shifters and healers, whilst the most powerful can send their very essence forth from their mortal body on a spirit quest. Spell lists are limited, but unlike most divine casters a Shaman does not have to prepare but can cast any spell he knows, up to his limit, when he chooses. They have a bond with an animal spirit, which takes the form of the animal in question and acts pretty much like a companion. As they gain in levels, they learn Totem Secrets - such as the ability to use entrails for divinations (or a less messy alternative involving interpreting the flight of birds) - and gain other abilities. Quite a fun class, particularly in wilderness adventures or when there are lots of barbarians around, although I'm not sure just what benefits there are over choosing a druid. Probably more style, and the variety is always good...

Next comes Daughters of Lilith, an article about the ecology of the succubus. Written in academic style, ostensibly with research assistance by a wizard called Oziel, it looks at the possible origins of succubi and moves on to dicuss their appearance and behaviour... even their growth and development from childhood. The concept of succubi celebrating their birthdays is quite unusual, as is the startling fact that apparently very few are actually able to bear children themselves, despite their tendency to engage in fornication whenever they get the chance. There's also a sidebar on the male equivalent, the incubus... overall, this is not an article for the prudish although it's all in the best possible taste. You may want to consider your group carefully as you decide how much (or if at all) you will incorporate into your game. If you do decide they'll be suitable, there are several neat plot ideas laid out, while the rest of the article is quite ripe for plundering for ideas. And there are a few new powers, feats, actions - and a quite scary curse spell - for those who enjoy adding variant game mechanics to their monsters.

Then comes a thought-provoking piece on mystery cults as a way to make the religions encountered in your game world more interesting. There's plenty of historical precedent, and they don't even have to be evil - just a group which prefers to hold worship rituals in private. Public worship may also happen in overt temples, and even participants in mystery cults may not be required to hide their membership - they just don't talk about what happens in their ceremonies, and may have secret doctrine that is not shared with outsiders. The article then runs through the basics of designing such a cult, along with suggestions as to how to use it to effect in your game.

The next article is a look at Clerical Conflicts, by Tim and Eileen Connors. Within the alternate reality of your game world, the deities your cleric characters revere are real (whatever your views about religion in the real world might be), and they have the potential to make personal demands on their followers. Even if the deity doesn't intervene directly, the church or other religious organisation may well give that cleric orders. These can lead to powerful opportunties for role-playing and character development, as well as being a potent way to introduce plot events... and the real fun begins when the organised church wants something different from the desires of the deity they ostensibly serve! Plenty of ideas are presented here, along with notes for the Pathfinder ruleset. The ideas will work whatever system you prefer, of course.

This is followed by an article asking a question that's puzzled me over decades of gaming: Why No Monotheism? Real-world religions include several monotheistic faiths, most of those with a pantheon of gods are confined to ancient history. Yet fantasy games have pantheons of deities galore, or at least gods who do not insist that their followers never, ever worship anyone else. The author comes up with some compelling reasons for why things are the way they are in the heavens of your favourite games... and presents ideas for how you can, if you wish, have a monotheistic religion and still have a good game without offending your more religious players!

Next comes a whole bunch of Divine Archetypes. Why should clerics have all the religious adventures? Lay followers can be as devout, gain special abilities, and serve their god in far more active ways than attending temple on the relevant holy days. You might also use some of these to ensure that all members of the party feel fully involved in a campaign that centres on the divine... rangers specialising in hunting undead and incorporeal spirits, fighters with celestial companions on the battlefield - there's even a fighting style for monks called the 'angel fist' to play with. I wish I'd had access to them a few years ago when running a campaign in which the characters formed a party of missionaries sent out on behalf of a deity to explore and convert unknown parts of the game world!

What else? There's an enlightening interview with Bill Slavicsek, some intriguing backgrounds in magic for the AGE ruleset - alchemists, druids, illusionists, and seers - while Skip Williams muses on heavy armour and flat-footedness in his rules query column. Then we meet the Scriveners of Allain, a bunch of scribes for D&D 4e, who have formed a cult practicing secret rituals based around glyph magic... and noted for their talents at taking revenge on those who have wronged them! Treasures from the depths under Midgard, the saints associated with the worship of Mavros, and a really creepy wizard's familiar which bonds to the wizard's very flesh follow, with strange goings-on in the Pathfinder Society and amidst Zobeck's bandits rounding out this issue... an issue well worth the reading, with masses of things to spark your imagination and make any campaign divine!


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Liberty's Edge

Wolfgang Baur wrote:
Thanks, Foghammer! And you should totally write a review, because sometimes it is encouraging to the writers, artists, and publishers to hear from the people who just love it. Totally up to you, but really, lack of objectivity can be ok.

Well said!!!

(sorry, I missed this comment before, but it's such a great comment, I had to respond :)


I quite enjoy the Divine Archetypes section on this KQ. A lot of interesting ideas in there.

The Exchange Kobold Press

When the authors are David "Zeb" Cook, Tim & Eileen Connors, and the amazing Steve Winter, it's hard for them not to load it up with great ideas.

I think I like Winter's piece on the hows & whys of monotheism in RPGs best, but from a practical perspective, Connors and Cook both deliver really playable ideas for any fantasy game.


Hi Wolfgang and the KQ crew,

I have a question regarding my subscription (which I recently renewed, choosing the print/PDF bundle). While I have received my email telling me the issue is available for download I haven't received my print copy. (Usually it isn't that long of a wait between my "download it" email and receiving my actual magazine) but it's been 2 weeks and I'm concerned that it has either been lost in the mail, or worse some little thief took it after it was delivered.

Is it possible to confirm whether or not it has been delivered (from your end of things I mean)?

I appreciated any help in figuring this out, I miss my KQ already. :)

Sincerely,

Dean Siemsen

Contributor

The_Minstrel_Wyrm wrote:

Hi Wolfgang and the KQ crew,

I appreciated any help in figuring this out, I miss my KQ already. :)

Sincerely,

Dean Siemsen

I'll send Shelly and email, but you should also send one from your attached email acct to subscriptions@koboldquarterly.com

The Exchange Kobold Press

Yep, the best way to get an answer to a KQ question is the subscription email. Give Shelly a shout!


Christina & Wolfgang,

Thanks for the help and also the direction. I will indeed email Shelly and go from there.

Thanks a bunch.

Dean

Liberty's Edge

Nice review of Kobold Quarterly 21 over at the Tower of the Lonely GM


So, July is coming up pretty soon. Wonder if we'll get a surprise for the 4th (well, those of us in the US).

Contributor

Foghammer wrote:
So, July is coming up pretty soon. Wonder if we'll get a surprise for the 4th (well, those of us in the US).

Good question! Let's hope Wolfgang responds.

We've got a Journeys preview in there that I hope goes over well...

The Exchange Kobold Press

That is an excellent question. Ask me at PaizoCon.

EDIT TO ADD: Ok, that might be more mysterious than intended. The issue has gone to press. Shipping before the holiday is a little tricky to predict, but early-to-mid July is a good bet.


Awwww... Maybe AFTER PaizoCon I can ask. :/ Poor college kids gotta work to feed the gaming.

Looking forward to the announcement though! :D

Liberty's Edge

I know what one of the articles in the next issue will be :)


I have a question about the Peacemaker, the Gunslinger archetype presented on page 46.

Do the new deeds replace any other Gunslinger’s deed (like it happens with the other Gunslinger archetype), and if so which ones?

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