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You're charging money for this?


For a not terribly clever April Fool's Day joke?

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An Exciting Tale With A Few Unpleasant Flaws


The meat of this issue, the first of a new series, is quite excellent. There are clever twists, exciting battles, wicked magic and heroic fighters. The ending is ... well, unpleasant, as has been helpfully spoiled in another posted review here, but it opens up possibilities for more stories, which makes up for a lot.

The bigger problem is, the tale's framing story opens up with Sheila Heidmarch doing something extremely out of character and basically insulting the iconics to their faces. I really don't think that someone as clever about handling people as she is would do that, even if she did have her doubts about them. Surely there were better ways that the reader could have been reminded that these are somewhat disreputable people.

Still, it's a reasonably good start to the new series, and I look forward to next time.

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A Welcome Return to the Kingdoms of Legend, with a different view


H.P. Lovecraft wrote, "The crude human animal is in-eradicably superstitious, and there is every biological reason why they should be.
Take away his Christian god and saints, and he will worship something else." Whether a society based on the worship of that something else would resemble our own, or even an earlier version of it, like the medieval world of the Kingdoms of Legend, is something I've never been wholly persuaded to accept. But this product, the first to really discuss the religious background of this semi-historical setting in detail, gives the subject at least some verisimilitude. It's also a much welcome return to the Kingdoms, giving hope that we may yet see other products in this line sometime soon.

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Exciting and fun adventure done in by myth-making


Nobody who wasn't overenthusiastic would claim that E. Gary Gygax was a great writer when it came to fiction, but he could tell a heck of a story, and my own affection for the setting of this tale sharply inclines me in its favor. I would normally be inclined to give this book 4 stars ...

... but Erik Mona's introduction ruins it. According to a letter from Mr. Gygax, he submitted this to TSR Books only to have it rejected by a sneering author as a rip off of Fritz Leiber, condemning it (and its world) to the waste-basket of history. Terrible, isn't it?

And then you read the dialogue.

"'Great,' muttered Raker. 'Just f---in' splendid!'"

If Mr. Gygax submitted such a profanity-strewn manuscript to TSR in the early 90s, he could not seriously have expected its publication. It almost suggests someone who was trying to burn his bridges! And claims that he was rejected take the tone of one trying to build up one's myth of the lone genius brought down by lesser minds even in his dying days.

Sad, really. It's a pretty good book.

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Workmanlike, but ...


One of the most exciting sections of the, to my sensibility, unfortunately rather dry Mythic Adventures book was the section on mythic monsters. I was hoping that this would be more of the same. Sadly, I was disappointed. While the statistics for the various mythic demons presented here look pretty formidable, the product suffers greatly from a paucity of art, except for a larger version of the cover image and a single illustration of one new demon -- or even any descriptive text of what the monsters look like, how it looks different from a regular example of the demon in question. (Again, the new demon introduced here is an exception, and it's very well done. But one out of thirteen ain't good.)

This sort of limited artwork would probably be understandable coming from most third party publishers. But Legendary Games has set a very high standard for its products, including incredible artwork that's at least a close peer to anything in Paizo's publications. The result feels half-baked, like something that was rushed into publication to capitalize on the anticipated success of the Mythic Adventures rules. (Which seems to be materializing.)

In short, this is okay, but it needed to be more than that.