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Outstanding Fan additons to Rise of the RunelordsDelthos —
This issue is crammed full of outstanding additions to the game themed around the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path.
As always there are new magic items, spells, classes, encounters, adventures, stories, monsters and other interesting things.
The great thing is that most of the articles are not tied to the AP. Almost everything is very usable outside of a campaign focusing on the Runelords.
To me a few things stand out. The Swallowtail games, the goblin magic items, and the Chopper's Isle adventure. That's not to say everything isn't good. This issue will help your players fall in love with Sandpoint more than ever.
Pathfinder Adventure Path: Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
Epic introduction to Golarian, updated beautifully.Delthos —
This is a beautiful update to the first Golarion based AP Paizo released. It consolidates all the volumes of the original into one easy to use book. Lots of the artwork has been updated significantly improving on many of the pieces from the original. The original stuff wasn't bad, just a big cartoony. It also updates the stats of everything using the Pathfinder 1st edition rules.
It was what kicked off the world's introduction to Golarion. This volume gave it a facelift and nice boost. My group took about 2.5 years to play through it to completion. Right around 500 hours of play. So tons of game play in it. It was the first campaign I've ever "completed" as a GM. It was only the 2nd campaign I've ever "completed" as a player or GM. I've played in dozens of other campaigns that never completed and only fizzled out. My players loved it and still talk about it and we are 1/3 of the way through Skull & Shackles having been playing it for a year.
Of all the APs Paizo has released this one likely has the most official and unofficial support for it. There are thousands of pages of fan material done for it. Paizo message boards, Facebook groups, fan pages, fan zines (Wayfinder #7 is completely devoted to it) and more have been done for it. Giving GMs unparalleled resources and support for it. It's no wonder it is one of the most popular APs they've done. I highly recommend all the additional support for it. Especially the fan stuff, it fills in lots of missing holes that just couldn't be filled in the AP itself.
I'm not sure how I feel about the construction quality of the book itself. We played for 2.5 years, but we played virtually via Fantasy Grounds with the data module for it there. A lot of my referencing and work was done through the module on the computer. I'd say in the end I only used the printed book about 1/3 the time I would have if I would have played through it in person. The binding is very loose for what I consider a small amount of usage. Other than the binding the cover itself is in good condition. I've got a feeling that had it gotten nothing but in person play and reference the binding would have fallen off by now. I'm not hard on my books, I always use the proper method of easing the binding of a new hardcover book, and I'm not rough in my handling of them. So this feels like it isn't made with the quality I would expect.
Book construction quality aside, this AP checks all the high adventure checkboxes. Wizards, dragons, goblins, magic, ancient civilizations, epic treasures, giants, ogres, dungeon crawls, sieges, wilderness exploration, haunted houses, city based stuff. You name it. This fully deserves the 5 stars I give it.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #56: Raiders of the Fever Sea (Skull & Shackles 2 of 6) (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
Has some high points, but can me monotonous.Delthos —
This volume wasn't as strong as the first volume for me. It's starts out great with the party getting a chance to disguise their ship and rename it. With a bit of monotony in the middle and a big epic treasure hunt at the end.
So some things that are a bit odd. The squib location is experiencing a drought, but there have been at least two big storms very close to the location just within a month of them getting there. So just a little quibble continuity wise.
The rules for ship to ship chases and boarding actions has the potential to be very slow and monotonous. Especially when your group is starting out. Your group will expect your crew to take part in ship boarding actions. If you don't find a way to do them with the PCs being the center of the action going after the captain and officers, they'll be long drawn out affairs. If you do go the route of having all the crews fighting each other, it'll make for some outstanding fights with players saving crew and crew saving players. It'll really make your players grow to value the crew.
One of the encounters requires your PCs to sail up a river to then get into the situation as they come back down the river. It's a bit of a stretch, especially if you have a cleric or other caster who can create water. It's unfortunate that it's a stretch get the player's into the situation as it really is a good opportunity to break the monotony.
Breaking the rock isn't all that exciting. They get a base out of it though.
The ghostship is probably my favorite part of the volume. They had to fight the ship multiple times. It's one of the things my players bring up all the time when talking about their exploits.
If your group hasn't specialized in operating in the water, the end of the volume will be a real slog and your group will struggle. Just taking a couple ranks in swim isn't enough to be effective in the water. It requires some serious effort, either through gear or abilities to really fight in it without hindering you. That's if they survive the encounter going into the underwater dungeon.
By the end of the book they should have made big names of themselves, fought off ghostships, hunted down legendary treasures, gotten a base, and are on their way to getting involved in Shackles politics.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #55: The Wormwood Mutiny (Skull & Shackles 1 of 6) (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
Fun but Fraught with PerilDelthos —
I've had this ever since it was first released. I've wanted to run it for a long time and finally got to start it last year. Next to Rise of the Runelords it's been the AP I've wanted to run most.
The story is very compelling. The antagonists are really well done in that your group should definitely grow to hate them. Once the inevitable happens, it's quite the payoff for the group. They'll make lots of friends and those friendships will payoff and create an awesome tapestry through the AP. They'll also make some enemies who will be there until the end.
That being said this isn't for everyone. The group starts out press-ganged on to the ship. Which is another way of saying they are enslaved. Their freedom is very limited and they are punished for the slightest infractions. It can be extremely oppressive. It is a roleplaying heavy volume of the AP. Not a lot of your typical action happens for pretty much the first half of the book. It is a gold mine for those who love roleplaying.
The PCs are also put face to face with some very high level and dangerous people. Groups who feel they can resolve everything with violence are going to be in for a surprise if they step out of line at the wrong point. If they try to mutiny too early, it's going to be the end of them. A mutiny is the expected outcome of the volume, but they need to do it as the right time.
There are a few encounters that are really dangerous and potentially deadly especially as groups have very little access to tools to deal with them. So it takes a bit of work to either modify the scenarios or try to find a way of getting something to help them in their hands.
This volume introduces a fair amount of water based encounters. If you aren't familiar with the rules for swimming and the effects of water as an environment, or you don't like them, this AP may not be to your taste either. A lot of encounters through the entire AP are set in the water.
Ultimately by the end of the book, if all goes well your group should be in command of their own ship with a loyal crew, no longer enslaved to their old captain, and charting their own destiny on the High Seas.
One of the worst figs in the set.Delthos —
This is a terrible fig. The face has almost no detail and the paint job on it doesn't help. It's face is pretty much a blob with some indication of facial features. Not recommended.
Pathfinder Battles—Legends of Golarion: Fire Demon (Balor)WizKids/NECA
Our Price: $20.00
Oustanding DemonDelthos —
I was surprised at just how large this fig is and I love his flaming translucent whip. One of the best in this set.
Pathfinder Battles—Rise of the Runelords: Harsk, Dwarf RangerWizKids/NECA
A great dwarf, but...Delthos —
To me he doesn't look like Harsk. I only say "Yeah, that's Harsk." because it's what's printed on his base, unlike most of the other iconics.
A great dragon, but...Delthos —
I was a little disappointed at it's size, especially when compared to the like of the Wendigo being such a large fig. They could have easily made this one just a bit bigger. It looks great, and with all of my DDM Red Dragons this will help give even more variety to the various sizes of Dragons I have.
Loving the KoboldsDelthos —
This is an outstanding miniature. If they keep up the good quality and looks, I hope they do gravity feed set for Kobolds like they did with Goblins and Undead.
Terrible miniatureDelthos —
Unlike others, my problem isn't with his sword. My problem is in his proportions, especially his left arm. His left forearm is less than half the length of his upper arm. It just looks ridiculous. It's like the sculptor didn't even pay attention. It looks more like his arm was broken at wrist so that his left hand could be bent into the position it is in. Just terrible. I don't know if this is a Reaper original or if this is one that came over from Crocodile Games, but it needs to be redone in any case.
If not for the arms I think it would be good and probably rate at least a 4.
Great shark.Delthos —
Wizkids really did an outstanding job on the sharks in this set. I love the slow prowling look of this Hammerhead. They are the perfect size for for the creatures they represent. The poses are great, the sculpting is great, and the paintjobs are just as good.
Awesome fig.Delthos —
Just like the sharks these are great. The head and legs are in very good proportions with the body. For what sounds like a silly miniature, the cat head and legs with a fish's body works. The spots are well done and the action pose is perfect.
One of the best in the set.Delthos —
These are beauties for such a simple miniatures. They are very nicely sculpted and are in a nice attack pose. I'm really surprised I like a shark miniature so much.
Pathfinder Battles—Skull & Shackles: Sea Devil Champion (Sahuagin)WizKids/NECA
Our Price: $2.00
Even better than the standard Sea Devil!Delthos —
The Sea Devils are some of my favorite miniatures in this set. These guys are big and imposing, well sculpted and in a good pose, and the painting is spot on. The Champions are even more impressive.
Outstanding miniatureDelthos —
The Sea Devils are some of my favorite miniatures in this set. These guys are big and imposing, well sculpted and in a good pose, and the painting is spot on. I want a bunch more.
Terribly cartoonyDelthos —
Wow, this is a bad fig. It really doesn't look like a wasp, it looks more like a bee, and is very cartoony. Its wings go out straight to the sides and it just doesn't look like it's flying. It would have been better if the wings were put on in a V-like shape to give it more sense of motion. They could have done much better.
Best Wyvern Model I've seenDelthos —
So I just picked up a booster for this set and was fortunate enough to get one of these guys. I was blown away at just how nice the miniature is. This one is well worth the money spent on it. Definitely one of my favorites in the set. It's so much better than any of the Wyverns that were released for the Dungeon's & Dragons miniatures game.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Campaign (OGL)Paizo Inc.
Decent offeringDelthos —
Arggghhh, I had a big review written, then I submitted it only to have it not be posted! Then clicking back in the browser window left me with an empty review! Not happy. Irritated, I now only give a capsule review of the two things I'm really not happy about.
First is the paper. I don't like the matte finish paper. I've come to expect glossy paper from Paizo and this matte paper makes it look unfinished to me. I also don't like the feel of the paper it just feels uncomfortable in my hands.
The other is the background section. This reminds me a whole lot of the Central Casting's various Heroes background books, only not as detailed. These tables hit on pretty much everything that Heroes of Legend did, just not as well. The only thing that I do like about the background section is the fact that there are class specific tables to help tie your background more to your choice of class. This is definitely something missing from Heroes of Legend. The background section in Ultimate Campaign is probably quite useful for anyone who has never heard of the Heroes of Legend, doesn't want to track a copy down (the books are all long out of print) or don't want to pay the high OOP print prices for them.
Don't get me wrong there a quite a few things that I like in the book, however these two really let it down in my opinion. I would like to give it a four, but three is all I can do.
Artwork lets me down.Delthos —
I've been collecting the Pathfinder comic and up to this issue I've been satisfied with the art. Unfortunately this issue left me very unsatisfied. I know the Big Bad End Guy is supposed to be chaotic and otherworldly, but I just couldn't make sense of the villain or what was going on. I felt it was nothing but a big mess of color and shapes. This is not what I expect out of a comic. I can understand the desire to show the other worldliness of the villain, but this went past what was necessary.
High quality art as always, poor cardstock not normalDelthos —
I've been back filling some item cards which I didn't pick up when they were originally released. I was surprised when I got these in my recent order because the deck box was so much thicker than other decks, even though they have the same number of cards as other decks. This got me a little worried. Upon opening them I found out why.
The art quality is right up there with all of Paizo's high quality art. As there is a good chance I'll never run every AP they produce, I'm not so disappointed that there are generic items in the deck. I like having the options and having lots of items for use in other adventures.
My biggest problem is with the stock used for the cards. All the previous cards were printed on stock that looks and feels like playing cards or CCG cards. This is a much thicker stock that has gloss finish on the front and a more matte finish on the back. I'm guessing that due to the thickness of the stock during the die cutting the cards are warped. They are convex on the front and concave on the back. Much more so than any other cards I have. Again this is probably from the die cutting process and the thickness of the stock used for the cards. The edges of the cards are not as sharply cut and are rougher. The printing looks like it could scratch off much easier than previous cards. This honestly looks more like the stock used to make the card boxes the cards come in rather than the typical cardstock for cards.
I'm disappointed with the quality of the stock used. Fortunately I've gotten some other decks since then and they look to have switched back to the more tradition CCG style stock. We also use 9 slot card sleeves to hold our cards so there is a reduced chance of the printing being scratched, but I can't in good conscience give a rating of higher than 3 for these.
Outstanding resource for a large cast of NPCsDelthos —
I'm not normally a big paper miniature gamer. That being said I read the first volume of the Skull and Shackles Adventure Path and I quickly realized I wasn't going to be able to field a satisfying pirate crew with my collection of miniatures. So I decided to take the plunge into paper miniatures with this AP. I'm so glad I did.
The artwork is outstanding. All the characters and monsters for the AP are there. There is some slight duplication of the more generic stuff, but there is still variety in those, as there are at least two different versions of each of the generic stuff. There were a few problems with the file, but they were quickly fixed. This is one resource I've been pleasantly surprised with.
I hope to see more in this style and quality. I was so surprised by this one that I decided to take a chance on another AP's paper miniatures. I will reserve comment for that one other than to say it does not stand up to the standards set by this set!
Great book.Delthos —
I've been meaning to buy the original three books this one replaces for a long time. I've just never gotten around to it and then I would have had to convert the stats all to Pathfinder stats to use them in Pathfinder. Now that's all been done for me and it's all in one handy tome! I am so glad all these great monsters are now in one book.
My only real gripe is the 17 pages of advertising I had to pay for in the back of the book. I don't mind a page or two, but 17 pages is just ridiculous, even in a book this size. For that reason it only gets 4 stars from me. Fortunately I purchased the print edition and got the pdf version with it. The PDF also contains some web enhancements as well, so it takes away the sting some.
Very fun read, if a little repetitive.Delthos —
I really enjoyed reading these stories. They are pretty light reading and nothing that you really need to think about. I like how you never really meet Gallegher Plus. It puts you into the shoes of Gallegher. Somehow Gallegher always manages to find his way out of his situations and figure out just what Gallegher Plus invented and what it was for.
Unfortunately it suffers a little from repetition. It is an artifact of this being a collection of short stories written over a number of years for publication in a magazine. He has to continuously reintroduce the character in each story, with a heavy handed manner to emphasize just how much of a drunk he is. This is to be expected considering the format of original publication. I don't have any problem with the character being a drunk; unfortunately the repetition just starts to get a little old. Mind you the stories themselves aren’t repetitive, just the constant emphasis on him being a lush.
If we could give half star ratings this would definitely get a 4.5 from me. As I just can’t give something a higher rating than it deserves it only gets a 4 from me.
Happy there are more to come.Delthos —
I've never read any mystery novels before. I was quite satisfied with Mr. Gygax's offering. Inhetep and Rachelle are interesting characters, although I would have liked to see a little bit more "screen time" for Rachelle. She isn't the main character so I understand why, but I would have liked to see more.
The plot was good, but the build up was a little slow with a big flurry of activity during the reveal. I don't know if this is normal in mysteries, but it seemed a little rushed at the end.
None the less, I enjoyed the book and look forward to reading of Setne and Rachelle's furthur investigations.
Before They Were Giants: First Works from Science Fiction Greats (Trade Paperback)Paizo Inc.
Our Price: $15.99
Only OKDelthos —
I didn't buy this book to give me insight into being a writer. I bought it to be entertained. In that regard I was entertained for about half the book. Some stories are downright bad and left me wondering what the point was. Others were very good and left me wanting more. Some were nothing spectacular, but nothing I'd call bad either.
The interviews with the writers weren't anything groundbreaking or insightful, just more of the same kind of stuff I've seen before. I felt the anecdotes were the best parts in some cases, but then some anecdotes left me wondering if the writer understood the question.
A decent offering, but a format I wouldn't want to see again.