Pathfinder Legends—Rise of the Runelords #1: Burnt Offerings

****( ) (based on 21 ratings)
Pathfinder Legends—Rise of the Runelords #1: Burnt Offerings

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Sandpoint. An ordinary town on the Lost Coast of Varisia. When Ezren, Merisiel, Valeros and Harsk arrive, seeking rest from their adventures, it seems the town's annual Swallowtail Festival will give them what they need—until goblins attack during a ceremony to consecrate the town's rebuilt church.

After defending Sandpoint, the adventurers discover a sinister plot to return an ancient evil to Varisia. Can they discover the connection between the goblin attack and the removal of mortal remains from a crypt in the town's graveyard?

This is just the beginning of a new quest for the iconic Pathfinder characters Ezren, Merisiel, Valeros and Harsk. The Rise of the Runelords begins with burnt offerings—and only four heroes stand against it.

Pathfinder Legends audio dramas adapt the world and characters of the best-selling Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Each episode runs about an hour and features a cast of professional actors, sound effects, and music that immerse you into the dangerous and exciting world of Pathfinder!

Audio Samples

Download the trailer! (3.4 MB MP3/zip)

Download Ameiko sample (86 KB MP3/zip)

Download goblin sample (180 KB MP3/zip)

Download Nualia sample (135 KB MP3/zip)

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Product Reviews (21)
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****( ) (based on 21 ratings)

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Sadly, Not Worth the Money

**( )( )( )


Pathfinder Legends is the title of a product line that dramatizes chapters of popular Pathfinder adventure paths by including four of Pathfinder's iconic characters (Valeros the fighter, Merisiel the rogue, Ezren the wizard, and Harsk the ranger) in what is basically an audio-play complete with background music and special effects. So, the somewhat awkwardly titled "Pathfinder Legends: Rise of the Runelords # 1: Burnt Offerings" covers the first installment of that adventure path.

The most important thing to remember before buying this is that these are *not* novelizations. There is no narrator, nor is there description of events or action scenes. Instead, the story is told solely through dialogue (and sound effects), which means that the listener can usually get the gist of the plot but there is far, far less detail and immersion in the setting than one would get through a novelization or even reading the adventure itself. Because many scenes in the adventure are skipped and there's no narration, the entire first chapter of the adventure path (which would take several sessions to play at the gaming table) is reduced to less than an hour. In other words, this audio recording will hit the highlights of each chapter of the adventure path, but in a rather shallow way.

There are some nice features in the recording. The voice acting of the Iconics is strong and fits with how I imagined them from the comics (the goblins need to be more shrill though, methinks) and the sound effects and music is quite good and up to Big Finish's usual standard. The dialogue is professionally written and manages, for the most part, to establish what is happening in the plot.

Still, all of that being said, I think the conclusion has to be that this is a disappointment. Combat scenes, so integral to a sword-and-sorcery adventure like this one, are reduced to a lot of grunting, exciting music, and "sword clangs" sound effects. There's no way to get a sense of what's going on, who's doing cool stuff, how the difference Iconics fight, what the villains look like, how overwhelming the odds are, etc. If you haven't read the adventure path, I'd imagine the listener would be quite lost in many places and find it incredibly difficult to imagine the scenes. I would have far, far preferred that this was a true audiobook based on a novelization of the adventure path than in this sort of "dialogue-only" format.

What adds insult to injury is how expensive these recordings are given how short they are. It's just not good value for money, and I'd be embarrassed to spend something like $ 90 to $ 120 USD to have all six parts. I can get full-length, full-cast audiobooks for a third to a half of that.

Even hardcore Pathfinder enthusiasts could find better things to spend their money on. So, as a whole, I have to recommend giving this one a miss.


Some parts of the first chapter of the adventure path are skipped. There's very little "role-playing" in Sandpoint, and most of the key NPCs (apart from Ameiko and Sheriff Hemlock) barely appear at all. Some of the most memorable encounters from the adventure, like "The Shopkeeper's Daughter" and "Monster in the Closet" don't appear at all. The Catacombs of Wrath are also skipped. I'm not saying we need to see the Iconics in every random encounter that would feature in a real campaign, but I can't help but feel like the writers of the script were in a big hurry and with instructions to condense the story down as much as possible.

I will say, to be fair, that they did a really nice job explaining Nualia's backstory in a clear, coherent, and interesting way. I'm sure most gaming groups get a much more confused picture of why she's doing what she's doing. In addition, I quite liked the "twist" of the Iconics getting captured at Thistletop.

Terrific! But why so short?

***( )( )

I really enjoyed the heck this audio production. Well acted, great music and sound effects, and just well done all together. But I can't figure why it was so short. Was it the cost of production? I mean the running time was about an hour, and like 10-15 minutes of that was just music. It felt like a credits sequence, but without the credits...

Anyway, I really wish it had a little more time to develop the characters and the story, which with the material it's based on could have easily had 4 hours worth of stuff. I mean, obviously I get cutting out the dungeon crawling parts as that would have been boring, but there was a lot interesting side characters that were omitted from the story that I think would have made it a much richer experience.

That's my 2 cents, anyway. Hopefully Paizo and Big Finish will consider that for future Pathfinder Legends works.

Great voice acting and production value!

****( )

My biggest complaint is that it's too short. I understand the need for tightening up the story, but I feel it may have been too much.

The other minor issue I had with it is the combat scenes. It's obviously very difficult to portray a melee fight scene with audio only, but I think there's definitely some room for tweaking.

Overall though, I loved listening to this. The music is great, voices, sound effects, etc. I look forward to more!

Greatly done and a excellent game aid as well


This is brilliant. I have used Big Finish for Blakes 7 and Doctor Who and love what they do. I could not believe that Pathfinder was doing this. The acting is great and while the length is a little short it does not butcher the story. Its a great listen and worth every penny.

As a game aid it can give both GM and players ideas for characterization, storytelling and pace.

Great stuff and I hope the community has embraced these audios so that they will continue.



We finally got around to listening to this and I was surprised by how much I liked it. From the outset the accents make me think of the complaint that modern fantasy worlds are "ren faires with elf ears," but after you get past that you can start having fun. The voice actor for Valeros is perfect, the guy who does Hemlock fits the image I've always had in my mind, and it gets into the motivation of the NPCs in ways that the PCs in my campaign just didn't really manage. Also, it's not afraid to mess with the plot in minor ways, so it's not just the same story re-hashed--it's more like it's re-told. So: Bonus.

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