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Pathfinder Tales: King of Chaos

****½ (based on 6 ratings)
Pathfinder Tales: King of Chaos
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by Dave Gross

After a century of imprisonment, demons have broken free of the wardstones surrounding the Worldwound. As fiends flood south into civilized lands, Count Varian Jeggare and his hellspawn bodyguard Radovan must search through the ruins of a fallen nation for the blasphemous text that opened the gate to the Abyss in the first place—and which might hold the key to closing it. In order to succeed, however, the heroes will need to join forces with pious crusaders, barbaric local warriors, and even one of the legendary god callers. It’s a race against time as the companions fight their way across a broken land, facing off against fiends, monsters, and a vampire intent on becoming the god of blood—but will unearthing the dangerous book save the world, or destroy it completely?

From best-selling author Dave Gross comes a new adventure set against the backdrop of the Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-558-7

Download a free sample chapter by clicking here! (61 KB zip/PDF)

King of Chaos is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle Sheet is available as a free download (397 KB zip/PDF).

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Tales Subscription.

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Product Reviews (6)
1 to 5 of 6 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

****½ (based on 6 ratings)

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Not as good this time around

***( )( )

I went out on a limb and got Queen of Thorns a few months ago, not expecting much, and was blown away by how tight Gross's writing is. The characters felt like they actually LIKED each other, the mechanics made sense, and the party felt actually competent, rather than the usual bunglers that only make it to the end of the book by virtue of the fact that they were simply the ones that didn't die.

King of Chaos, simply put, isn't as good as Queen of Thorns. I think it's a testament to Gross's writing that his characters still felt like they actually cared for and liked each other, but everything else feels like it was just slapped together and given the go-ahead. Like another review mentioned, the conclusion is pretty anticlimactic, with numerous loose ends all getting tied up in just a few pages, the party itself generally fails every dice roll, spot check, and the body count soars in an unfortunately meaningless way. For instance, the book ends on a hopeful note that the survivors might rescue one remaining companion; that would be great, if like eighteen other people hadn't gotten offed so quickly that I was actually able to form some sort of attachment to any of them, much less the captured adventurer.

Even the mechanics fall way short; at one point, a sorceress who at the start of the book says she casts wind and ice spells later on claims she's useless for the task because she casts fire and sand spells. She leveled and traded all her old spells away without saying anything I guess? I don't know, it just felt sloppy. I like Gross's characters, I love what he does to flesh out the world, and I respect his ability to tell a great story. This one just doesn't measure up to what he's done before, I'm afraid.

It is a sad day......


But I've finished reading this book. Did my best to try and make it last but, but it's all gone. And it's going to be ages until Radovan and Count Jeggare have another excursion.
But what a ride this was! Loved the tie-ins to the Wrath of the Righteous adventure path.
Superb way to give players some lovely background.
The addition of the third voice really worked well.
This series just keeps getting better :)
Brilliant stuff Dave!, and well wrangled James.

World Wound Colder Than Expected

***( )( )

The World Wound is a wicked place but this story left me wanting. Demon tales don't start my fire but I managed a flicker with David Gross' recent book, King of Chaos. Maybe that partly explains my lackluster opinion of the story; although I am working hard not to allow that personal penchant much credence when evaluating the book.

Pathfinder Varian Jeggare and bodyguard Radovan are as fun as usual. The relationship is campy yet deep. It continues to evolve as we learn new things about each of them. In fact, one of the best things about the story is the new things we learn about both of them. Their banter is always something to look forward to while the respect they have for one another is the foundation for their playful exchanges. The addition of a particular unicorn was more fun than a backward saddle on a camel. As a matter of fact, there are a couple new characters that I'm glad to see in Golarion. The book is full of new ideas and great additions to the world of Golarion.

Unfortunately, the story did not thrill me. At the risk of over simplifying the work Mr. Gross so obviously put into the story I'm going to summarize my experience of the book very briefly. The book boiled down to a quest for an item. After that it was fight-run-fight-sneak-fight-banter-fight-fight-fight. The item is found. Fight-fight-fight. The end was anticlimactic. Did you get there were a lot of fight scenes? Thankfully, those were often interesting but I wanted more of a story; mystery, a plot twist, or questions about what might happen would have made this reader more happy.

Clearly David Gross is an awesome writer and I absolutely loved Price of Wolves. Queen of Thorns, also by Mr. Gross, is next on my list to read and sits on my bookshelf ready to go. Apparently you should read his books in this order: Prince of Wolves - Queen of Thorns - King of Chaos. I messed that up but doubt it was the reason I feel so cold toward this book.

If it were mechanically possible to give this 3.5 stars, I would.

Another great R&V adventure


Dave Gross does it again! Another excellent entry in the adventures of Radovan and Varian, and the Pathfinder Tales series as a whole. This time picks up about a year after the previous book, Queen of Thorns, and has R&V heading to the Worldwound, a land plagued by demons. Along the way, the re-unite with their companion Oparal, the elf paladin, who gets promoted this time around to a main POV character. It was especially amusing reading her views on both R&V. Not as amusing as the third POV character from Master of Devils, but still a good addition. In addition, Gross weaves in an interesting cast of supporting characters, while combining elements from past books and stories in a way still very accessible to a new reader.

While the plot involves seeking a rare tome of twisted magic that might be able to help close the portal to the abyss that the demons are invading through, the core of the story is really about pushing the main characters to their limits and having them discover hidden truths about their innate natures. At the end of the book, there are some major changes to the characters (while still keeping true to their personalities.) I eagerly look forward to the next book, to see how these changes are further developed. I'm predicting either "Emperor" or "Ace" as part of the title.

Most magical action yet!


Most magical action yet!

About page 33 of the new Dave Gross Novel "King of Chaos" I realized it was part of a series. About page 44 I went ahead and ordered the other three books in the series, but since I was already hooked, I kept reading....

I like reading fantasy novels, sometimes including those set in a gaming universe. The problem with those is sometimes the authors are third tier , hired to crank out some hack books just to support the game side. Not so with Pathfinder Tales. James Sutter, the Editor, has taken great care to get some solid authors for his line of Pathfinder Tales fiction.

Now, sometimes the authors come out with a fantasy tale, which other than the setting, is not particularly ‘set” in that gaming universe. The characters don’t have “classes’, don’t use a lot of easily recognizable spells, and magic items are few and far between, unless they are a macguffin. This works as it gets in readers who don’t play that particular fantasy roleplaying game.

But as one of my friends was complaining, they don’t read as if they are set in one of those High Fantasy High Magic universes. I mean sure- the locations are there, but where’s the magic?

Well, this one does. There are scads of spells being tossed around here, not to mention magic items. Characters use scrolls, quaff healing potions, and fire spells which are clearly from the pages of the Player Handbook. Most of the characters (other than those with a mysterious secret background, of course!) are clearly identifiable as to their class, and those who track the spells, etc used can even get a fair guess as to level. Summoners summon their eidolons, wizards burn thru scrolls like it’s my Friday nite game, Paladins lay on hands, etc.

This is cool, fun & refreshing. And the combats! Ah here, Dave Gross excels! Our heroes are fighting a literal legion of demons from the depths, not to mention a despicable Undead Lord, who is definitely not sexy or sparkly.

In general, I am not fond of those books where the narrative shifts from character to character, but Dave handles that pretty well too, since the narrative stays with one of the three main Characters each chapter, and each is clearly labeled. I’ll also mention that our three main characters are well thought out with fascinating backgrounds and raison d'être .

Now yes, I imagine that those who don’t play Pathfinder or D&D might be a little lost (however there’s a complete glossary at the back) but those who do will love this book!

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