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Website ate the review so you'll never ever know why I'm giving this 5 stars.

*****


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TALDOGIS

*****

Excellent kick off an AP that is supposed to be about PCs helping drag an outdated male-dominated archaic dumpster hole that Taldor became into better times.

Also, Taldogis.

Also, angry conservatives.

What's not to love?


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This was a normal review up to some point and then I went full Jeff Goldblum

*****

The book opens with ARG-style details on three nature-aligned races: gathlains, ghorans and vine leshys. Please note that ghorans did change slightly in this iteration, losing some of their powerful plant type immunities.

Next up is grand total 6 (Six! A staggering number, which left me reeling!) pages on the Shifter class ... which I would likely explore, if anybody in my gaming groups was interested in one. They aren't.

Chapter 2 are the usual barrage of archetypes and class options. I like many of them, in particular the Green Knight. Kudos to whoever wrote that one!

Chapter 3 is the even more usual avalanche of feats. They run the usual fare between "never gonna be used at my table" and BOW WOW WOW. In the second category, there are feats which grant you access to Barbarian totem abilities and improve the core Spring Attack Feat. Neat!

Fourth Chapter is oooh, oooooh, ooooooh this is where I go full Jeff Goldblum on the book, yes, mmmmmhmmm. It's a monster. It's 50 pages long. 50 pages! It's like a short novel, not a chapter. It starts with codified rules for exploration and discovery, including territory statblock rules! Mmmmmm mhmmm mmm exploration, more like HEXploration, running across hexes while casting ... hexes ... you know, those cool D&D kids like that. They also like to use one word for many things, like they have class levels ... and spell levels ... and dungeon levels ... levels.

I've warned you I'm going full Jeff Goldblum, mmmmhm?

Anyway, up next is a section on the First World, that crazy, crazy fey place, you know, where everything is relative, and nothing is relevant, it's a bit like a William S. Burroughs place, with some Tolkien sprinkled on. Tolkien, that guy, you know, I know he was a timid English professor, but I'm sure did throw wild parties for his Inkling pals at Oxford, wild parties, like the ones in the First World.

Then comes foraging and salvaging, you know the stuff you do when you're stuck on an island amusement park where dinosaurs just ran amok, and you need to, you need to look for stuff which you then put together to build a helicopter and escape the island or to forge a +1 longsword, +3 against dinosaurs. But let me tell you, I went up against a T-rex once and that didn't end all that well, no it didn't.

Next is a long section on Green Faith, Golarion's druidic religion. Druidic religion? Man, those people are, I don't know, I figure they're all herbs and mushrooms and rites of nature. Their parties are likely a bit more wild than those Tolkien parties I've mentioned above, but you need to take care what you eat and whom you sleep with, because not everybody would like to end up with a satyr, I mean I'm fine with satyrs, you're fine with satyrs, but there might be people out there who would find waking up next to a satyr ... uncomfortable. So, in this chapter you get Green Faith's lore, holy sites, holy smites, holy rites and archetypes, not architects, these people do not look like they do architecture much.

Coming up is the harvesting poison section. Man, those folks at Paizo really want us all, you know, to get down and oh oh inhale uh uh ingest, man this book is so salacious! But it is all PG, no nipples here my friends, no need to reach for the Holy Book and pitchforks. So harvesting poison is all about answering that question which the little girl always asks, "how do you produce poison from the dead giant spider?" Smart girl, she always asks the right questions. So, this section answer that and you no longer need to look at her all puzzled.

Man, this chapter never ends, it just goes on and on like a Marcel Proust novel. You Americans read Proust? You should have, maybe then you would be a little less jaded in places. Anyway, Hazards and Disasters section is up next and amazingly, there is no reference to last year's politics there. Well done Paizo, well done, I know your silky Seattle-ian hands were itching, twitching, to play that trump card of referencing real world events but not, you have made your brave exit on this. So, this chapter is earthquakes and fording wild rivers and vampire orchids instead. Vampire orchids? Man, somebody, somebody hook me up with whoever writes that.

Herbalism subchapter is ... I mean, Paizo, you have made one mistake with this book. The graphic design, the artwork, this all should have been deep 60s/70s LSD style. I am sure there are some retired (or not so retired) hippies among your company, c'mon, this was asking for this. So, herbalism, how to find and use herbs such as Merfolk's Comb. I have gone to the field of Vampire Orchids to gather some Merfolk's Comb. This is, this is, you know it is an adventure hook in itself, I mean I am hooked already, I want to go where the Vampire Orchids grow.

Spells of the Wild subchapter goes on about how does magic alter the world around us. It is about all those situations where ... real life we would be in deep trouble, lost in the forest with no food and water, velociraptors on our tail and a wounded, useless professor of mathematics to drag around ... after he ran into a T-rex ... while trying to heroically save some kids ... that was a role everybody remembers. Anyway, this chapter tells us what happens if the Jurassic Park protagonists hooked up with a Druid or a Wizard and their magical spells would solve most of the issues right away. Say what magic could they use and how would that interact with the wilderness on a more ... general scale, not just the regular target, duration stuff.

Remember that "how do I harvest a spider for poison" clever little girl? Little girls ... so clever. And brave. And getting stronger each year, now they do not want to do your dishes anymore, they want to be ... what was her name, she was played by Daisy Ridley in the new Star ... Wars, not Trek, right? Ah, Rey! So, all brave girls want to be Rey and that is good, that's veeery good, we will be better for that. Anyway, so this little girl comes around again and asks, "now that I have the poison, I want to chop the dragon and sell his horns and teeth as trophies". And you are what, stunted again? Like I would be. So, this section tells you how to handle that. Imagine how will everybody smile when the little girl ... rides into a big city and sells all those dragon horns for millions of monies.

This chapter still? I am exhausted, I need some magic spell to revive me. Cure light wounds it was called? What is the D&D spell to make you less tired? We need more of that in real life. Anyway, concluding section of this chapter ... did you notice, D&D books are a bit like law, like bills and statutes, chapter, section, subsection ... lawyers must have fun playing this game. So, this section is weather. Now I know we here in America use Fahrenheit but ... come on Paizo, there are thousands, millions even, playing this game in Europe or UK! How about we maybe ... acknowledge the existence of Celcius? I mean, they acknowledge the existence of Jeff Goldblum, we owe them something in return. Anyway, this section reads a bit like some scientific article on weather, complete with tables for wind strength and rain intensity. I guess it helps by putting all those crazy, crazy specific rules in one place, I mean they are really crazy specific, when I run a game I just say it is -2 to all rolls because it is effing cold. But you might want to do it differently.

Chapter 4 ends with Wilderness Traps. Traps ... Clam Clamp ... a "classic" trap ... with a pearl inside ... Paizo, you are really, really DIRTY because I fell for this kind of trap a couple times in my life and ... well, it was nice most of the time, but I can see how it can be a deadly trap sometimes.

Chapter 4 is over, and I am still at my jeffgoldblumiest.

Fifth chapter is companions and familiars. First it updates the magic item slots on all animals, so if you want to put a belt and a saddle on your walrus, you know that you are green to go. A saddled walrus ... we are deep (ha!) in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou territory here. Man, that was a movie. Cate, Will, Owen ... we have had a ball with this one. I was so happy to work with Cate again lately in that ... that movie you geeks and nerds will all love, Thorrr ... Rrragnarrrok ... yeah. I get to fool around there a lot. So, you are riding ... whaling ... whaling your saddled walrus and then you happen upon an armorfish, one of new animal companions. Armorfish! But it is not just fish here, there are other companions, and there are plant companions for those of you what want to walk around with an intelligent bonsai tree, or vermin companions ... we are back in William S. Burroughs territory here, big bugs, big talking bugs. Ewww. Next up are familiars, can anybody tell me what is the difference between animal companion and familiar? Oh, I understand now. Now that I know that familiars are a bit more of a dressing, I am not sure why do they get so many stats, so many numbers, -2, 1d2-4, is it all that relevant? But I guess some of you folks like that kind of detail. So, you get a lot of detail, and new familiars, including Perry the Platypus. Perry the Platypus! Oh, and you get archetypes for both animal companions and familiars, so you can make a saddled walrus an Ambusher or have Perry the Platypus the Ambassador. I don't even. And sure, you get tricks and feats for all those animals and vermin and plants because ... yeah, that's how deep we are here with Steve Zissou and his crew.

Chapter 6 is Spells and Chapter 7 is Gear and Magical Items, your usual dose of ... magic. The spells once again feel like somebody was really on to something here with stuff like Wandering Weather or Snowball. Snowball got nerfed, you know? Nerfed, like hit by a nerf gun, so I am told it means it is weaker than it used to be. There was obviously a moment of self-reflection there by the writer, when he or she stopped and said "nooooo ... there was too much of good stuff here, we need to dial back". I like how people can walk back and fix things like that here. So, spells, dozens of spells, and rituals, natural rituals, no ritual of joyous love here sadly, more stuff like "Reinforce Campsite". You need a magical ritual to reinforce a campsite?

And finally, there's gear and magic items, the usual, with stuff like Goblin Fishing Lure or Altitude Fern to make you scratch your head and wonder just how fresh is the air in Seattle. I need to go there.

As for my final verdict, mmmm, mhmmmm, well I bought this book for crazy news stuff to do with my friends in the wild and you know what? It delivers, it does, I can now fly a saddled Ambusher Walrus through a field of Vampire Orchids while looking for Merfolk's Comb that grows between two Altitude Ferns. I mean this alone is worth the asking price. It is like, a message, a message from the writers that we should go out and have fun, fun, not spite and hate and all the other bad things that happen when somebody expects something to be +2 and it turns out to be +1. I give this 5 stars and I will now try, try to exit the Jeff Goldblum mode, that might not be all that easy, I feel like Jeff is taking over, run.


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A HEX UPON YOUR EYE

*****

I'd like to pretty much echo Samy's comments (and remind him that he forgot to give the stars in his review :P).

Blood of the Coven is focused, but not too focused. There's stuff for changelings and witches, obviously, but there's also stuff for other classes.

And I really, really, REALLY love the battlepot cauldron. Kudos to whoever came up with idea :)


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Very good horror spaceship crawl.

*****

Ran this yesterday for a party of 5.

The initial RP encounter was augmented by playing some J-pop and the players enjoyed Zigvigix immensely.

The spaceship combat still drags and I'm not sure whether it's our lack of experience or the rules being too clunky. But everybody loved the unusual opponent and RP opportunities.

The exploration part was spooky, creepy and just long enough to wrap it all up during one evening. The fights were tough but manageable. Some really nice touches in form of room dressing and treasure.

Overall, a very good module.


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Paizo's Make it or Break it Makes A Splash

*****

- ratpeople with cheek pouches
- iterative attacks done away with
- civilised evil undead overlords as pillars of solar peace and stability
- no prepared casters
- awww, poor dwarves *kicks a dwarf*
- streamlined math
- KNIGHTS OF CYDO...GOLARION!
- almost half my house rules got printed despite no playtest :P
- Space Fantasy Opera vibe intensifies

First run got sold out, so hopefully this one bumps Paizo back up and paves way to Pathfinder 2.0. The future is bright, and now we can go through The Drift to search for The Gap among The Stars.


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Worth the price for the Aquatic Rules chapter alone

****( )

First things first: this is Campaign Setting, so if you bought it to power up your PC and found out that many options are so narrow that they work best for NPCs ... well, you get what you deserve for not reading my review.

Second thing is that there are some very nice things for PCs here. I kind of wish that some of the stuff here was included in Blood of the Seas, but that ship has sailed. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. You got the joke, right? Right?

Anyway, apart from rules material, this book has two things going for it. One are the chapters on Golarion's oceans and seas which, while evocative and well written, are somewhat brief. They're more primers than full descriptions, so as usual with Paizo, there's a lot for a GM to fill out with her or his imagination.

Now the big kahuna is the Aquatic Rules chapter which gathers, updates and expands the rules for aquatic movement and actions. Why is this such a great deal? Well it's because these rules are horribly spread across the core rulebook thanks to the CRB inheriting less-than-stellar layout of the 3.5 PHB. Here you have everything in one place - movement, buoyancy, combat, spellcasting, drowning AND the creme de la creme, some guidance as to how do spells work underwater. My snarky tongue-in-cheek argument about lightning bolts underwater suddenly holds far less water than it used to. AHAHAHAHAHAH! Also a joke! C'mon, you did get this one, too? Let me know in comments below.


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Thanks Beckett!

*****

For reminding me to review this book! Anyway, AA2 collects some of the more interesting and obscure gear from books printed since AA1 and UE, but it also adds several new great elements. Three standouts for me:

1. Weapon/Armor Mods - non-magical means of enhancing your arms and defenses with new feats to go with them. A very interesting system which hopefully will be expanded in the future (Ultimate Equipment 2, please!)

2. Equipment packages - a step up from kits, these are complete "starting loadouts" for various groups of classes (eg. Holy Warrior Package = cleric, inquisitor, paladin, warpriest). They require having a trait (or a generous GM) but also serve as a great checklist for starting purchases. This is going to solve so many "so what gear do I need?" questions from newbies.

3. Poppet familiars - customizable construct familiars, about time.


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Solid, if short.

****( )

My review is pretty much what Ixos and Serisan said. It's a solid book, but I'd love to see more flavour for each organisation and I'd likely shuffle them around a bit but hey, maybe there will AG2. Or maybe not, given the reprints outcry. Personally, I don't mind those, nor do I mind recycled artwork. But the book really could be longer.


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Another excellent opening of an AP

*****

In Search of Sanity is something unusual for Paizo's opening adventures - it is effectively a massive dungeon crawl set entirely in one building. The dungeon oozes atmosphere, has many unique encounters and events, a smattering of RP opportunities and some really memorable fights.

I'm very sad to see F.W.Schneider leave Paizo - I was a bit afraid that this adventure will be written in his signature, somewhat melodramatic style, but I was overjoyed to see that it reads easily while retaining all the spooky quirks which Wes is famous for. My players enjoyed In Search of Sanity very much and we will have many fond memories of the adventure. On to the rest of the Adventure Path, and a warm farewell to Wes!

Oh, and never, EVER trust small dogs found in grim dungeons. Never.


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Krampus!

*****

While it is true that B6 skews towards high-CR end of the spectrum, it also features some excellent design, both creative and rules-wise. There are some absolutely great monsters here which fill thematic and mechanical gaps long time standing. Notably, many previously published monsters are not just straight reprints, but received overhauls to stats and abilities.

And it has Krampus. Krampus, people. KRAMPUS.


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Solid, nuanced regional sourcebook

****( )

While this book doesn't feature as much of weird and exotic as other recent Campaign Setting books did, it brings some nicely nuanced insights into Golarion's only major ongoing war. I doubt I'll ever use it, but I did enjoy reading it a lot. The only slight nag is that we didn't get a new, *functional* map of Nirmathas and Molthune, with the book using reprints of Inner Sea Map Folio instead. Still, a solid 4/5 for this one.


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I'm with Feros on this one

**( )( )( )

1. The map of Thrushmoor is very useful, it has all the most important locations marked (although I'm not sure if I prefer the names on the map or numbers to reference). The only problem is ... that it's the low-res map of Thrushmoor from Rule of Fear, enlarged. The buildings suffer from pixelitis as a result, and the whole map feels a bit iffy. Still, serviceable and valid, if every map in the folio was like it that would be a solid 4/5 but ...

2. Neruzhavin. OK, it's a pretty map but ... there's next to nothing you need it for. Neruzhavin is a big ruin with 3 landmarks, there's really no point in mapping it out.

3. All right Paizo, it's time to let it go. Pictorial country maps which feature no names BUT do feature doodles of monsters and buildings are useless. I'm sorry, they are cute and obviously somebody in Seattle fell in love with them, but you gotta take this idea out and apply chainsaw to its brain. Yes, plain Jane old school topography is boring, but useful. The Inner Sea Map Folio style should be applied to every individual map folio. The Ustalav map from Carrion Crown map folio is exactly what you should be doing and I wouldn't bat an eyelash if it got reprinted here.

And the double sucker punch of these being inevitable parts of Campaign Setting subscription for some reason, meaning you need to go through the hassle of temporarily cancelling your subscription if you want to skip one...


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Fantastic space-saver

*****

This is basically a shrunk-down, softcover, cheaper edition of the Core Rulebook. No content was altered, no artwork or formatting was lost. It's an incredibly handy book, far more handy and easy to use than the hardcover. The only possible problem could arise from the font being a wee bit on the small size for some, but as long as your eyes or glasses/contacts are fine, you'll get a lot of good use out of this one. I can't wait for Ultimate Equipment in this format!


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The best Paizo AP?

*****

*DISCLAIMER*: This is a single review for all adventures in this AP.
Hell’s Rebels is the best Paizo Adventure Path. Of all the AP, it is the one that’s most coherent, approachable and GM-friendly. This review applies to all 6 books because their quality and style are so consistent that you don’t even notice the fact that they were written by 6 different authors.

Let me quickly list some of the most important things which Hell’s Rebels gets right:

1. It has a clear, believable and complex plot which goes from point A to point B to point C while at the same time allowing for multitude of side treks, optional quests and player-driven initiatives.
2. It goes full on Golarion. It touches upon core themes of the setting and is heavily nested in its history. It provides the much-anticipated opportunity to punch one of the biggest evils of the setting in the face. One warning: you can’t just lift HR and drop it into other settings without massive amounts of work.
3. The BBEG is front and center, introduced in adventure 1, encountered and fought against several times across the campaign. He’s evil, callous, quirky, nasty, brutal, amoral and good at being bad. He’s right up there with Ileosa from CotCT.
4. The campaign starts in one city and mostly stays there, with some small side-treks and one bigger detour which, fortunately, is also urban.
5. There is a cadre of sympathetic, recurring allied NPCs to play second fiddles to the PCs. There are also enemies whom you can interact in ways other than roll for initiative. The RP opportunities are plenty.
6. The cast of both allies and opponents is diverse in every sense of that word.
7. The players get opportunity to discover some of the setting’s secrets and, to a limited yet satisfying degree, reshape it without causing a Realm-Shattering Event.
8. The ending is epic to the core and fitting for a campaign of this scale and magnitude.
9. Episode 4 is a special issue with extra page count, longer adventure, more support material, an excellent article on Aroden and much, much more!
10. I love the blue colour theme for this AP AND Wayne Reynolds did the cover art. Double victory!
Edit Review


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The best Paizo AP?

*****

*DISCLAIMER*: This is a single review for all adventures in this AP.
Hell’s Rebels is the best Paizo Adventure Path. Of all the AP, it is the one that’s most coherent, approachable and GM-friendly. This review applies to all 6 books because their quality and style are so consistent that you don’t even notice the fact that they were written by 6 different authors.

Let me quickly list some of the most important things which Hell’s Rebels gets right:

1. It has a clear, believable and complex plot which goes from point A to point B to point C while at the same time allowing for multitude of side treks, optional quests and player-driven initiatives.
2. It goes full on Golarion. It touches upon core themes of the setting and is heavily nested in its history. It provides the much-anticipated opportunity to punch one of the biggest evils of the setting in the face. One warning: you can’t just lift HR and drop it into other settings without massive amounts of work.
3. The BBEG is front and center, introduced in adventure 1, encountered and fought against several times across the campaign. He’s evil, callous, quirky, nasty, brutal, amoral and good at being bad. He’s right up there with Ileosa from CotCT.
4. The campaign starts in one city and mostly stays there, with some small side-treks and one bigger detour which, fortunately, is also urban.
5. There is a cadre of sympathetic, recurring allied NPCs to play second fiddles to the PCs. There are also enemies whom you can interact in ways other than roll for initiative. The RP opportunities are plenty.
6. The cast of both allies and opponents is diverse in every sense of that word.
7. The players get opportunity to discover some of the setting’s secrets and, to a limited yet satisfying degree, reshape it without causing a Realm-Shattering Event.
8. The ending is epic to the core and fitting for a campaign of this scale and magnitude.
9. Episode 4 is a special issue with extra page count, longer adventure, more support material, an excellent article on Aroden and much, much more!
10. I love the blue colour theme for this AP AND Wayne Reynolds did the cover art. Double victory!
Edit Review


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The best Paizo AP?

*****

*DISCLAIMER*: This is a single review for all adventures in this AP.
Hell’s Rebels is the best Paizo Adventure Path. Of all the AP, it is the one that’s most coherent, approachable and GM-friendly. This review applies to all 6 books because their quality and style are so consistent that you don’t even notice the fact that they were written by 6 different authors.

Let me quickly list some of the most important things which Hell’s Rebels gets right:

1. It has a clear, believable and complex plot which goes from point A to point B to point C while at the same time allowing for multitude of side treks, optional quests and player-driven initiatives.
2. It goes full on Golarion. It touches upon core themes of the setting and is heavily nested in its history. It provides the much-anticipated opportunity to punch one of the biggest evils of the setting in the face. One warning: you can’t just lift HR and drop it into other settings without massive amounts of work.
3. The BBEG is front and center, introduced in adventure 1, encountered and fought against several times across the campaign. He’s evil, callous, quirky, nasty, brutal, amoral and good at being bad. He’s right up there with Ileosa from CotCT.
4. The campaign starts in one city and mostly stays there, with some small side-treks and one bigger detour which, fortunately, is also urban.
5. There is a cadre of sympathetic, recurring allied NPCs to play second fiddles to the PCs. There are also enemies whom you can interact in ways other than roll for initiative. The RP opportunities are plenty.
6. The cast of both allies and opponents is diverse in every sense of that word.
7. The players get opportunity to discover some of the setting’s secrets and, to a limited yet satisfying degree, reshape it without causing a Realm-Shattering Event.
8. The ending is epic to the core and fitting for a campaign of this scale and magnitude.
9. Episode 4 is a special issue with extra page count, longer adventure, more support material, an excellent article on Aroden and much, much more!
10. I love the blue colour theme for this AP AND Wayne Reynolds did the cover art. Double victory!
Edit Review


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Non-Mint Unavailable

The best Paizo AP?

*****

*DISCLAIMER*: This is a single review for all adventures in this AP.
Hell’s Rebels is the best Paizo Adventure Path. Of all the AP, it is the one that’s most coherent, approachable and GM-friendly. This review applies to all 6 books because their quality and style are so consistent that you don’t even notice the fact that they were written by 6 different authors.

Let me quickly list some of the most important things which Hell’s Rebels gets right:

1. It has a clear, believable and complex plot which goes from point A to point B to point C while at the same time allowing for multitude of side treks, optional quests and player-driven initiatives.
2. It goes full on Golarion. It touches upon core themes of the setting and is heavily nested in its history. It provides the much-anticipated opportunity to punch one of the biggest evils of the setting in the face. One warning: you can’t just lift HR and drop it into other settings without massive amounts of work.
3. The BBEG is front and center, introduced in adventure 1, encountered and fought against several times across the campaign. He’s evil, callous, quirky, nasty, brutal, amoral and good at being bad. He’s right up there with Ileosa from CotCT.
4. The campaign starts in one city and mostly stays there, with some small side-treks and one bigger detour which, fortunately, is also urban.
5. There is a cadre of sympathetic, recurring allied NPCs to play second fiddles to the PCs. There are also enemies whom you can interact in ways other than roll for initiative. The RP opportunities are plenty.
6. The cast of both allies and opponents is diverse in every sense of that word.
7. The players get opportunity to discover some of the setting’s secrets and, to a limited yet satisfying degree, reshape it without causing a Realm-Shattering Event.
8. The ending is epic to the core and fitting for a campaign of this scale and magnitude.
9. Episode 4 is a special issue with extra page count, longer adventure, more support material, an excellent article on Aroden and much, much more!
10. I love the blue colour theme for this AP AND Wayne Reynolds did the cover art. Double victory!
Edit Review


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The best Paizo AP?

*****

*DISCLAIMER*: This is a single review for all adventures in this AP.
Hell’s Rebels is the best Paizo Adventure Path. Of all the AP, it is the one that’s most coherent, approachable and GM-friendly. This review applies to all 6 books because their quality and style are so consistent that you don’t even notice the fact that they were written by 6 different authors. Let me quickly list some of the most important things which Hell’s Rebels gets right:
1. It has a clear, believable and complex plot which goes from point A to point B to point C while at the same time allowing for multitude of side treks, optional quests and player-driven initiatives.
2. It goes full on Golarion. It touches upon core themes of the setting and is heavily nested in its history. It provides the much-anticipated opportunity to punch one of the biggest evils of the setting in the face. One warning: you can’t just lift HR and drop it into other settings without massive amounts of work.
3. The BBEG is front and center, introduced in adventure 1, encountered and fought against several times across the campaign. He’s evil, callous, quirky, nasty, brutal, amoral and good at being bad. He’s right up there with Ileosa from CotCT.
4. The campaign starts in one city and mostly stays there, with some small side-treks and one bigger detour which, fortunately, is also urban.
5. There is a cadre of sympathetic, recurring allied NPCs to play second fiddles to the PCs. There are also enemies whom you can interact in ways other than roll for initiative. The RP opportunities are plenty.
6. The cast of both allies and opponents is diverse in every sense of that word.
7. The players get opportunity to discover some of the setting’s secrets and, to a limited yet satisfying degree, reshape it without causing a Realm-Shattering Event.
8. The ending is epic to the core and fitting for a campaign of this scale and magnitude.
9. Episode 4 is a special issue with extra page count, longer adventure, more support material, an excellent article on Aroden and much, much more!
10. I love the blue colour theme for this AP AND Wayne Reynolds did the cover art. Double victory!


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The best Paizo AP?

*****

*DISCLAIMER*: This is a single review for all adventures in this AP.
Hell’s Rebels is the best Paizo Adventure Path. Of all the AP, it is the one that’s most coherent, approachable and GM-friendly. This review applies to all 6 books because their quality and style are so consistent that you don’t even notice the fact that they were written by 6 different authors.

Let me quickly list some of the most important things which Hell’s Rebels gets right:

1. It has a clear, believable and complex plot which goes from point A to point B to point C while at the same time allowing for multitude of side treks, optional quests and player-driven initiatives.
2. It goes full on Golarion. It touches upon core themes of the setting and is heavily nested in its history. It provides the much-anticipated opportunity to punch one of the biggest evils of the setting in the face. One warning: you can’t just lift HR and drop it into other settings without massive amounts of work.
3. The BBEG is front and center, introduced in adventure 1, encountered and fought against several times across the campaign. He’s evil, callous, quirky, nasty, brutal, amoral and good at being bad. He’s right up there with Ileosa from CotCT.
4. The campaign starts in one city and mostly stays there, with some small side-treks and one bigger detour which, fortunately, is also urban.
5. There is a cadre of sympathetic, recurring allied NPCs to play second fiddles to the PCs. There are also enemies whom you can interact in ways other than roll for initiative. The RP opportunities are plenty.
6. The cast of both allies and opponents is diverse in every sense of that word.
7. The players get opportunity to discover some of the setting’s secrets and, to a limited yet satisfying degree, reshape it without causing a Realm-Shattering Event.
8. The ending is epic to the core and fitting for a campaign of this scale and magnitude.
9. Episode 4 is a special issue with extra page count, longer adventure, more support material, an excellent article on Aroden and much, much more!
10. I love the blue colour theme for this AP AND Wayne Reynolds did the cover art. Double victory!


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That's how you do Player Companions and get the reviewer drunk, too!

*****

My oh my. Have we gone a looong way since Blood of the Elements.

This is a Player Companion which focuses on precisely 7 furry (bite me) races of Golarion. Okay, Gripplis aren't furry. OKAY, NEITHER ARE THE SNAKE GUYS. LIKE I SAID, BITE ME.

This could have been a disasterpiece, with each race getting 2 pages of lore on the race, 1 page of lore on its homeland, 3 racial traits, 2 feats and 1 spell.

It isn't.

See, somebody, and by "somebody" I mean the indomitable Alex Augunas, the intrepid John Compton and the ever incredible Crystal Frasier *waves The Crystal Fanclub Banner furiously*, working under developing gaze of the invincible Mark Moreland, figured out that you can tell a story using mechanics. Because when you write an archetype that's called "Prowler at the World's End" or a feat that's called Lovable Scoundrel, you're conveying lore through crunch. Which is kind of a smart thing to do if you have just 32 pages AND need to set aside some space for supergeil af artwork like the kitsune on pages 13 and 14.

Also, it doesn't hurt that the crunch is excellent. The Warp psychic discipline? I mean, this wants me to built a time machine and sent the people behind the recent Player Companions back in time and have them re-write some of the earlier books. Yes, Blood of the Elements and Blood of the This Book Isn't Really About Dhampirs. I am looking at you.

If there is any issue with this book it's the cover. I mean, it's not bad, but it's impossible to look at it while sober/not stoned. I've had to empty a vodka bottle to get this review done, which might or might not have some impact on coherency and relevance of my thought process. Bite me. It's a great book, go buy it.


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Fantastic collection of NPCs, just not Golarione-y enough

****( )

This is the third hardcover 'Codex' book from Paizo. The NPC Codex was pretty much a long list of core class NPCs. While statblocks are always useful, there was little in the way of new content, and the book was setting-agnostic.

Then came the Monster Codex. Things got better there, with some new material, although most of it was limited to monsters in question. Again, setting-agnostic.

And here is the Villain Codex, presenting no less than 20 organisations, each with several villainous NPCs. Good news: there's much more rules content here! You get archetypes, feats, spells and items which you can use with more than just the provided NPCs. Also, the provided NPCs are not just core classes, you'll find material from all Paizo hardcovers, including Occult Adventures and Ultimate Intrigue.

So, why four stars? It's still setting agnostic. If I want to integrate those into Golarion, I need to do extra work. I don't like doing extra work for my $. I respect Paizo's desire to keep the core hardcover line separated from Golarion but at this point it's becoming an awkward arrangement.

Furthermore, Paizo hardcovers still ignore the material from the Player Companion line. Recently, the Companions got massively better, with some bright diamonds such as Weapon Masters' Handbook, Haunted Heroes Handbook or Divine Anthology. Despite being all open content, Paizo refuses to draw from their own softcover books in the core line, likely out of fear of irritating people who don't know that Internet exist and continue to rely purely on print material. I'd really love to see some cool stuff from Player Companions appear in hardcover books - perhaps Paizo will reconsider their policy at some point.


How on Earth is this a thing in 2016?

*( )( )( )( )

Pretty much what the previous reviewer said. I'm baffled how come Pathfinder compatibilty license conflicts with nudity but is OK with racial slurs.


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Sweet Blasphemy, Sand Mantas galore! Talk about your prehistoric pigeons.

*****

This book allows me to build D, as in Vampire Hunter D. This alone makes it worth the asking price, despite the fact that Paizo once again missed the opportunity to print a Paladin of Jesus Christ archetype. Oh well, maybe they'll fit him in the upcoming Blood of Beasts.


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One of better PGs out there

*****

This PG does an excellent job of helping players ease into the opening of the AP, which is by no means typical for a D&D campaign. I like how it foreshadows things without spoiling them and ensures that players are mentally prepared for the first adventure. It also provides the usual tips for character creation, traits and a brief outline of Ustalav and the nearby surroundings. I've perhaps wished that the Ustalav outline was a little longer, but then again this PG is short and sweet at 12 pages, which seems about right.


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